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Reflections on an oak tree

  If we go by the gospels, Jesus had unhappy encounters with trees. Not just the tree of Calvary, the wooden cross on which he was hung; there was also the fig tree that had no figs, which Jesus, like any hungry traveller, cursed. Later, the fig tree died, and the disciples, who were following the wonder-working rabbi, put down the casualty as another miracle. I don’t think Jesus thought it was a miracle, but he figured it was a good emblem to illustrate a sermon, and so he made it one. Why not? I have happier experiences with trees than Jesus, and I’m not talking about not having been nailed to a cross. Although I haven’t. Mine are more like those described in Marin Buber’s I – You: the tree is my other, my true you. I can contemplate a world without people and think that this would be very sad, at least for people. But when I imagine a world without trees, I am truly horrified – this would be a planetary injury, a real loss. Of course, I’m   wised up, taxonomy-wise, and know that
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The platform review rides again! Stephen Marche at Lithub

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she reached out - a poem

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Interessant, na? cool thoughts in a cool shade

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  -          In 1966, a   campaign against the manufacture of N. began in Redwood, California, a harbor town on the San Francisco bay. Standard Oil Company, the enterprise that had built the test Japanese and Germany structures for the War department in 1942 applied to the town council for a permit to sublease their facility to United Technologies, which plans to produce 100 million pounds of N. there. Protestors gather together a number of professionals – engineers, English professors from Stanford – to block the permit. They fail. However, the protests against N. are widely reported. Ramparts magazine, a leftist Catholic periodical, published an article (January, 1967) about N. used in Vietnam by William F. Pepper,   with color photographs of children among the burn victims. -          In January 1967, in the Ladies Home Journal, Martha Gellhorn published a report about her visit to hospitals in Vietnam. There, unlike a number of physicians on the payroll of the military, who had b


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N: the fire that clings to everything - part 1

 I've finished the fifth  of my Cold War stories. They are: Crossed Lives; The Curious Case of the Missing Dogs; Double Cross; Almost a True Story; and my latest one, N: the fire that clings to everything.  I haven't found the illustrations yet for N., but I am going to publish it here in bits. This is part One. 1. -          “The people in these villages had been told to go to relocation camps, because this was all a free fire zone, and technically anyone there could be killed.” -          “The materials are excessively simple: 25 percent benzene, 25 percent gasoline, and 50 percent polystyrene, a plastic manufactured by Dow Chemical and others. The point of this mixture is to form a highly incendiary jelly that clings, and so causes deep and persistent burns.” – George Wald -          Everybody seems to have gotten used to the idea that war, if it comes, will be total, and the lamination of Korea has been received by the populace with fatalism. We have to destroy the en