April 13th, 2009

moment of silence, candle

Elegy: "The Time We Walked Together"

Recently, ozarque posted that her son Michael had passed away. I didn't know him, but since he was raised by one of the finest people I know, I'm sure that this world is poorer for his departure and the next world is richer for his arrival.

Usually, when I get an elegy, it comes right after news of the death. This one took a while to emerge, and it combines two very homelike metaphors - embroidery and flower gardens - to speak of love and loss.


The Time We Walked Together
– an elegy for Michael, son of Suzette Haden Elgin


The time we walked together
is embroidered in my mind,
outlined in thread of gold
on the white linen days
and the black satin nights.

The garden of our memories
is full of flowers
picked out in fine silk ribbons –
        baby’s breath for everlasting love,
        white heather for protection,
        red hyacinth for play,
        sunflower for loyalty,
        calendula for joy,
        yellow poppy for success,
        cattleya orchid for mature charm,
        dark crimson rose for mourning,
        forget-me-not for recollection –
and I am glad
for the time we walked here together.

The place of our parting
at the end of our time together
is a ragged edge
that will remain raw
until the dear tailor Death
comes to sew up the hem of my life.
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Another Example of "Don't Drink the Water"

This article caught my attention as an example of how government "safety" branches are often more interested in covering their own butts than in protecting public health and safety:

Health agency covered up lead harm

April 10, 2009 | From 2001 to 2004, Washington, D.C., experienced what may have been the worst lead contamination of city water on record. Tens of thousands of homes had sky-high levels of lead at the tap, and in the worst cases, tap water contained enough lead to be classified as hazardous waste. Not that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the government oversight agency for public health, was worried.

A 2004 CDC report found that water contamination "might have contributed a small increase in blood lead levels." The study has been influential. School officials in New York and Seattle have used the CDC report as justification for not aggressively responding to high levels of lead in their water, and other cities have cited the report to dispel concerns about lead in tap water.

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How Saber-Tooth Cats Worked

Here is a fascinating article with detailed information about saber-tooth cats.

For those of you who enjoy writing speculative fiction, this is the kind of attention you need to pay when designing important species in your settings. They need to work. You need to understand how they evolved, how they get their food, how they interact with others of their kind. These details form the foundation for the creature's appearance and interaction (if any) with characters. You don't necessarily have to put all that into a story, but you should know it.
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Poem: "A Doe in Velvet"

Based on the recent poll, "A Doe in Velvet" holds the lead for the long poem, so here it is. This poem was inspired by a prompt from kadiera and sponsored from the general fund. This month's donors are: ellenmillion, minor_architect, mtrose2, dulcinbradbury, and janetmiles.

The term "a doe in velvet" is real, and refers to a rare phenomenon in deer species where a doe develops antlers like those of a buck. There isn't a lot of readily available information on this topic, but I did find a post about a hunter who had shot one (mistaking it for a buck), complete with photos.

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Shorter Poem Poll

Having selected "A Doe in Velvet" as the long poem, you folks now get to vote on a shorter poem from the remaining $10 and $15 ones.

Poll #1383161 Shorter Poem Poll

Which of the following would you most like to see published?

"Beowulf's Legacy"
2(14.3%)
"Dragonspawn"
2(14.3%)
"It Takes an Old Man"
3(21.4%)
"The Helm of the Huntsman"
3(21.4%)
"Whistling Girls and Crowing Hens"
4(28.6%)
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This Week on Hypatia's Hoard of Reviews

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Pimp a Friend: Jim Rittenhouse

Today is Pimp-A-Friend day. LiveJournal is a wonderful place to connect with interesting people. Feature one of your Friends, with a brief description of what makes their journal worth reading, and share the joy. Readers are encouraged to visit the featured journal and/or reply to this message with recommendations of their favorite Friends.

jrittenhouse is one of my fannish friends. We have encountered each other at enough cons that I've forgotten which one we met at. He blogs about politics, fandom, family life, and other interesting stuff. He has a particular knack for finding intelligent, pithy quotes in somebody's book or blog that cut right to the core of some topic that news or other sources are generally discussing in more vague terms. If you like things that make you go "hmm!" then visit his blog.