Milosz’s defection from Communist Poland resulted in exile, exile from history, from European civilization, from memory, and from the Northern landscapes of Poland and Lithuania to California, the uniquely American hybridized version of Botany Bay blended with the country of the Lotus-eaters, of chaparral desert and Pacific fog, of ahistoric imbecility and unbridled consumption, California which turns its back on history and civilization, yet preternaturally offers constant sharp glimpses of the dystopian future.
Cynthia L. Haven offers a nice appreciation of the exquisite character of Milosz’s fate: an exile as remote and barbarous as Ovid’s at Tomis on the Black Sea, yet deprived of tragedy by the plush privileges of an elite University appointment and all the wine shops, shopping malls, and restaurants of the most self-indulgent region of the New World.
She offers a nice quotation from the poet himself:
I did not choose California. It was given to me.
What can the wet north say to this scorched emptiness?
Grayish clay, dried-up creek beds,
Hills the color of straw, and the rocks assembled
Like Jurassic reptiles: for me this is
The Spirit of the Place.
Ms. Haven does a nice job of describing the ambivalence of the experience of California of the civilized man in exile, the fear of real assimilation, of being unable to do without one’s favorite restaurants, of growing weakly dependent on a Riviera-like climate, of becoming happily Californian.
Miłosz returned to Poland for good in 2000, coming back to California only as his wife was dying in a Berkeley hospital in 2002. At her funeral, he whispered to Hass, “I’m afraid this place will catch me.” The return to Poland allowed him to turn against the land that had alternately embraced and ignored him.
Hass told me in an interview shortly after Miłosz’s death: “I just think he had some years of bitter loneliness, and what came back to him, when he came here to California again, was that. The isolation. When he first came here, he didn’t much like California. Then you follow, in some of his writings, he’s become a Californian and is quite loyal to it. As soon as he got back to Poland, then he could hate and resent his time in California.” He couldn’t divide his loyalties—but the rest of us do it daily, teetering on the ambivalences that make up our relationship to our adopted home on the West Coast.
Milosz lived in Berkeley on the lower slopes of the mountains offering this view.
Is setting buildings afire in order to force a suspect to come out or be burned alive an appropriate police tactic? I come from a family which produced large numbers of police officers over several generations. I’m not a bleeding heart or soft on crime either. But I’m pretty skeptical of the practice of equipping police with incendiary tear gas grenades, making it possible for them to intentionally torch buildings and then (like Sheriff McMahon) feign no responsibility by blaming the tear gas for “accidentally” igniting a fire.
Those California police would obviously have been perfectly entitled to shoot Dorner dead to reduce him to possession when he continued to resist, but I think it is (a) cowardly and (b) dubiously legal for them to destroy private property and use arson in order to avoid waiting and exchanging more gunfire with a criminal.
——————————————— CBS News:
San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon… told reporters that the fire in the cabin where Christopher Dorner presumably died was not intentionally set by authorities. He said tear gas canisters fired into the cabin apparently set the blaze.
An alleged recording of police scanner audio transmissions strongly contradicts McMahon’s statement.
Responding to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s invitation to California businesses to move to Texas, where they can find “low taxes, predictable regulations, [a] fair legal system and [a] skilled workforce,” Jerry Brown sneered:
“Everybody with half a brain is coming to California.”
which does basically explain the political situation out there.
Sanctimonious Animal Rights advocates stage a protest in a Bay Area Supermarket. Lena Dunham’s confreres may not live the most well-balanced and responsible sort of lives, but that certainly never inhibits them from assuming all kinds of baseless authority to tell the rest of us how to live.
The Lamoille Valley Fish & Game Club shooting range.
The local Fish & Game Club in a rural town just outside the urban community of fashion’s key outpost in Vermont, in response to recent Gun Control moves by Burlington’s left-wing administration and city council, told Burlington that its city police should go find some other facility to use for training and range qualification.
Burlington’s mayor and the police department are using the same word to describe a Lamoille County firing range’s edict that city officers are unwelcome to train there in a dispute over gun control:
Reached Thursday evening, Mayor Miro Weinberger told the Burlington Free Press that the ban on city police use of the facility is “an unfortunate response to the beginning of a process by the City Council to attempt to protect Burlington’s children and community.”
Said Burlington Police Department Deputy Chief Andi Higbee: “It is unfortunate that this important and much-needed community dialogue regarding gun control currently under way in the City of Burlington and across the Nation has resulted in this action.”
At issue is a decision this week by the Lamoille Valley Fish and Game Club Inc. to order a halt to Burlington police officers’ use of the Morrisville facility. The action is a response to the City Council’s advancing a measure to ban semi-automatic rifles and large-capacity magazines in Burlington.
The City Council’s action threatens constitutional freedoms, Robert Boivin II, board chairman, wrote in a letter to the police department and to city and state leaders.
That letter, dated Tuesday, was obtained Wednesday by the Burlington Free Press, which broke the news of the expulsion on its website Wednesday night.
The club’s executive board “can no longer support the City of Burlington with such a prejudice against our club and its members, and has voted to suspend the City’s use of our range for its law enforcement. This action is effective immediately,” Boivin wrote in the letter.
“We hope that the council reconsiders its actions and redirects its efforts towards perpetrators of violent crimes and security issues,” Boivin continued.
The city’s exclusion from the range likely would affect how and when officers train with firearms, Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling told the Free Press on Wednesday night.
“Training facilities are limited in the area,” Schirling said. “It’s unfortunate that a polarized discussion of this nature has this kind of impact.”
The Burlington City Council voted 10-3 earlier this month to direct its charter change committee to craft a ban on assault-type firearms and large-capacity magazines. The meeting was marked by a high turnout by the public, virtually all of whom were opposed to such a ban.
The saga now playing out in La Jolla Cove is the epitome of regulatory stupidity. In a rocky area by the cove once open to people but now fenced off for safety reasons, the feces of cormorants and seagulls just keeps piling up, generating a stench that can carry as far as a mile. Dry conditions, a hot summer and other factors have made this a gross everyday problem for the cove area, not an occasional annoyance.
So why can’t city work crews simply take care of the problem? Why can’t biodegradable cleaning products be used to make the stench disappear, as suggested by San Diego Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who represents the area? Why can’t any reason or common sense come to the fore?
Because of complex environmental rules stemming from the cove’s designation as a state-protected “Area of Special Biological Significance.” Officials say it could take two years to get various state agencies to OK cleaning procedures.
The SF Chronicle reports that in the bluest quarters of the bluest state panic is setting in.
There’s no shortage of their kind in the politically bluest parts of California. Liberals so freaked out about the prospect of President Obama losing his re-election bid that they can’t sleep at night. Can’t talk about anything else. Can’t stop parsing the latest polls.
David Plouffe, one of President Obama’s top campaign strategists, has a word for supporters he feels are needlessly fretful: bed wetters.
“Oh, I think I’m worse than that,” Kay Edelman said.
For the past several weeks, the 60-year-old San Francisco resident has frequently bolted awake in the middle of the night, in “a panic attack,” she said. She darts for her computer and checks the latest polls. Some days she’s so distraught that she can’t exercise.
Every morning, she gets e-mails from friends who’ve been just as sleepless. Most are so tense, they can croak out only a few words. “Very anxious.” “Worried.”
“Nothing more needs to be said,” said Edelman, a retired educational administrator.
Emotional role reversal
In this most unpredictable of campaigns, an emotional role reversal is happening in California. Republicans, who hold no statewide offices and are only 30 percent of registered voters, are more upbeat and enthusiastic.
Liberals, on the other hand, keep checking the polls.
It’s unlikely that even Republican Mitt Romney’s immediate family members think he’ll win California. But a Public Policy Institute of California survey released last week shows that while Obama holds a 12-point lead among likely California voters, 70 percent of Republican voters in the state were more enthusiastic than usual about voting – a greater proportion than the 61 percent of Democrats who were more enthused.
For liberals, part of the problem is that neither of the presidential campaigns is active in California, conceding the state to Obama. That means liberals have little to do other than reinforce each other’s fears about the voting predilections of a voting species seldom seen in the Bay Area – non-Democrats.
“We’re seeing these polls and reading about all these ads, and hearing about all of these undecided voters that are in other states, but we feel that we can’t do anything about it,” said Pat Reilly, a longtime press spokeswoman for national and California organizations and politicians who lives in Berkeley. “You feel like you’re part of a fight, but you can’t see your opponent.”
The big news in Clearfield was the Elk that took a plunge off the bridge.
This ~ 1,000 lb. bull elk jumped off of the Clearfield Bypass bridge near the mall this afternoon. Numerous crews including the Game Commission were called in to retrieve the bull from the water. It is unknown what caused him to jump. He died on impact.
Pennsylvania’s elk descend from a herd of elk presented as a gift from President Theodore Roosevelt to PA Governor Gifford Pinchot.
Western Outdoor News: COMMISSION PRESIDENT CELEBRATES A SUCCESSFUL HUNT – California Fish and Game commissioner Dan W. Richards travelled deep into the wicked terrain of Idaho’s Flying B Ranch to fulfill a long-held goal. “It was the most physically exhausting hunt of my lifetime. Eight hours of cold weather hiking in very difficult terrain. I told the guides I appreciated the hard work. They were unbelievably professional, first class all the way,” he said. Richards said he took the big cat over iron sights using a Winchester Centennial lever action .45 carbine. Asked about California’s mountain lion moratorium, Richards didn’t hesitate. “I’m glad it’s legal in Idaho.”
The LA Times reports that the president of the California Fish and Game Commission has been successfully hounded out of office by the usual West Coast crowd of left-wing extremists for the outrage of legally taking a trophy mountain lion on a hunt in Idaho. Residents of California have been regularly stalked, occasionally mauled, and even killed and eaten by mountain lions in unprecedented numbers of incidents since hunting lions in the Golden State was banned by whacko-supported initiative in 1990.
The California Fish and Game Commission was created a century ago (1909) by sportsmen to manage and regulate the state’s wildlife resources. Its operations and programs are funded by license fees and taxes on sporting goods paid exclusively by hunters and fishermen.
But, in California today, the tyranny of the fruits-and-nuts supporters of the democrat party is so far-reaching, their intolerance and bigotry concerning other people’s lifestyles and convictions so great, that the president of the state Fish and Game Commission has been hounded out office by a six-month-long campaign of vilification based on his being guilty of legally hunting!
Daniel W. Richards was replaced as president of the California Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday, seven months after he sparked a storm of controversy by killing a mountain lion during a hunt in Idaho.
Although the kill was legal in Idaho, California has outlawed the hunting of mountain lions for decades. More than 40 state legislators called for Richards to resign in March, saying he showed poor judgment in killing the cougar when the practice is opposed by most Californians.
At the time, Richards defiantly refused to resign from the commission, saying he had done nothing improper. Even though the commission voted to elect Commissioner Jim Kellogg as president Wednesday, Richards plans to remain on the commission until his term expires in January. ...
[Michael] Sutton, an executive with the Audubon Society [who was at the same time elected Vice President of the Fish and Game Commission], said later that the killing of the lion and Richards’ comments defending it were factors in his decision to vote to replace Richards.
“It was pretty clear that Commissioner Richards had lost the confidence of the majority of the commission,” Sutton said. “Most of us feel it is inappropriate to use the presidency as a bully pulpit for your views.”
The president of the State Fish & Game Commission is supposed, in California, to be out of line when he uses his office to speak in favor of hunting.
The presidency and control of the commission will be passing out of the hands of the sportsmen who pay for it and into the hands of Environmentalist granola-crunching ideologues eager to implement new policies based on junk science, Animal Rights theories, and hostility to firearms and the field sports.
The LA Weekly describes the politics of the situation:
[A]lthough Fish and Game commissioners haven’t explained specifically why they decided to vote Richards down from his throne today, it was clearly a symbolic move to kill the human who killed the beast.
“The president of the commission should be someone who has the confidence of a majority of his peers,” Mike Sutton, vice president, told the Mercury News leading up to the vote.
Richards was playing the feisty right-wing ideologue at the beginning of this battle, but he has since became strangely resigned to his ousting.
He looked on as the commission changed its own internal election policy in May so that they might replace Richards. And today, a Fish and Game Commission spokesman tells us that Richards himself took part in the unanimous vote to elect Commissioner Jim Kellogg as his replacement.
The ex-prez, appointed by Arnold Schwarzenegger (surprise, surprise) in 2008, will remain on the commission until his term ends in six months. But from there, he tells the Mercury News: “I think there is a zero chance that Jerry Brown will appoint me, so it doesn’t matter what I think. He has his hands full with shoplifters and other thugs in the Legislature.”
Pretty morbid, right? Let this be a lesson for all trigger-happy Republicans who dare to dream of swimming against California’s blue tide: We’ll eat your grin for dinner.
Rumours of a World War II German submarine at the bottom of the river have been around for years, but a sonar image may prove that it’s more than just a bump on a log.
Brian Corbin, a diver from Happy Valley Goose Bay, and others were searching the river bottom with side-scanning sonar for three men lost over Muskrat Falls back in 2010 when they came across what appears to be a submarine.
“We were looking for something completely different, not a submarine, not a U-boat — I mean, no one would ever believe that was possible,” Brian Corbin told CBC News.
It certainly wasn’t unheard for German U-boat to be operating off the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick during the war targeting convoys to Great Britain. One reached as far upriver on the St. Lawrence as Rimouski, some 300 km from Quebec City.
“I think it is possible,” Wyman Jacque, town manager for Happy Valley Goose Bay, told the Star Thursday.
Jacque said the U-boat could have quite easily made the trip inland on Labrador’s largest estuary to the shipping port of Happy Valley Goose Bay from the coast and he added the Churchill River before it was dammed back in the 1970s might well have been deep enough to allow the Germans sailors to get to the area of the Falls.
The Churchill River empties into what is known as Lake Melville, a salt water body of water where Happy Valley Goose Bay is located. Muskrat Falls is about 26 kilometres from Lake Melville.
“I can tell you that I have seen the sonar and the outline . . . and you can actually see an outline of what appears to be . . . a submarine,” Jacque said.
The German Embassy in Ottawa, which has been contacted about the possible find, has confirmed that as many as 50 U-boats were unaccounted for when the war ended in 1945.
[S]earchers believe they’ve found a World War II German submarine at the bottom of a Canadian river, 60 miles from the ocean.
What appears to be a German U-boat was first spotted at the bottom of the Churchill River in Labrador two years ago by searchers using sonar to locate three men who had gone over Muskrat Falls, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Wednesday.
“We were looking for something completely different, not a submarine, not a U-boat—I mean, no one would ever believe that was possible,” Brian Corbin told the CBC. “It was a great feeling when we found it.”
Corbin said the object appears to be a 150-foot-long vessel.
The German government says it would be “sensational and unusual” for one of its submarines to have ended up so far inland, though it concedes it’s possible, the CBC reported.
“We do know that German U-boats did operate in that region,” Georg Juergens, deputy head of mission for the German Embassy in Ottawa, told the CBC. “We must brace ourselves for surprises.”
Juergens said the whereabouts of more than a dozen WWII U-boats may still be unknown. He said it would be “against our tradition and our naval customs” to raise the wreckage if it does prove to be a German sub.
“This site then would be declared a war grave at sea,” he said.
The loss of German U-boat personnel in WWII was something like 75%.
General readers will need to bear with me. One of the basic functions of my blog is to pass along items I would otherwise be emailing to friends.
I grew up in the Anthracite region of Northeastern Pennsylvania, one of the principal centers of Lithuanian settlement in the United States. The coal mining industry expired after WWII. Americans had en masse converted to oil for domestic heating, and new post-War environmental regulations made extracting coal below the water-table impossible.
Nothing ever replaced Anthracite coal mining. Over the next 60 years after the last colliery shut down for good, essentially everyone who could walk left after graduating from high school. Populations dwindled, and once prosperous towns became almost ghost towns.
One renowned local institution after another closed down as the years went by.
A friend from back home, now living in Maryland, last night, sent me this video remembering our long-gone local amusement park.
At least the fine old Lakewood carousel survives and is today still being enjoyed by young and old in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Would you believe that I can look at this video and find the particular horse I preferred as a small child?
As a compliment to Canada, repeating a gesture made in 1897 at the time of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (“Royal” only since 1904) is being given the honor of replacing the Queen’s Life Guard for twenty-four hours.
Movies.com reports that even the later-era high-minded George Lucas can be moved to an act of revenge worthy of a full-fledged Sith Lord.
[F]or four decades Lucas has owned a large swath of land in Marin County in the North San Francisco Bay and has spent the past few years trying to transform the ranch on it into a massive, nearly 300,000 square foot, state-of-the-art movie studio complete with day care center, restaurant, gym and a 200-car garage. His neighbors, however, have rejected it every step of the way. Despite the promise of bringing $300 million worth of economic activity to the area, the already-well off neighbors are worried about years’ worth of construction activity and the additional foot traffic it will bring into their neighborhood once completed.
The local homeowners association has been such a thorn in Lucas’ side that he’s decided to abandon the studio construction entirely…
So what is George Lucas going to do with his property now that he’s tired of his rich neighbors putting up a not-in-my-backyard stink? He wants to transform the property into low-income housing, naturally, ending their official statement with this zinger, “If everyone feels that housing is less impactful on the land, then we are hoping that people who need it the most will benefit.”