Friday, May 11, 2007

Odds and ends and Alaska

Thanks to my friend Thomas Fortenberry (without whom this blog would be dull), this story of pure stupidity. The reason religions should be banned.

Soccer game for priests, imams canceled

The Associated Press

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — A soccer game between Muslim imams and Christian priests at the end of a conference to promote interfaith dialogue was canceled Saturday because the teams could not agree on whether women priests should take part.

Church of Norway spokesman Olav Fykse Tveit said the imams refused to play against a mixed-gender team of priests because it would have gone against their beliefs in avoiding close physical contact with strange women.

The church decided to drop its female players and the priests' team captain walked out in protest.

Hours before the game was to end the daylong "Shoulder to Shoulder" conference in Oslo, the church released a statement saying it had called off the match because it was sending the wrong signal.

"Because we thought it would be a nice conclusion of the conference we didn't want to call it off, so we decided to stage an all-mens team game instead," Tveit said. "We realize now that it will be wrong to have a priest team without women."

Stupid doesn’t cover it.


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And to finish the fifty states, Alaska.

Poetic States L - Alaska


Second to the right, and straight on till morning.
--Peter Pan

He took me west of the Tanana
towards the Bering Sea, flying
at two hundred feet in a two seater.
A pair of swans glide below us
with the grace of Inuit dancers
to settle on a backwoods lake.
No albatross has touched down better.

Below where bogs cover the permafrost,
black spruce and highbush bilberry
attempt survival with ever-damp feet.
A bull moose lifted its head from a pond,
water and swamp weed draining
from its antlers like glacier ice
into Kenai Fjord under July’s sun.

Although, we could not hear him
bellow over the rumble of the engine,
we knew he was unhappy
we had invaded his territory.
As we climbed to return home,
Denali gave us a rare smile
before closing her cloak of clouds.

When my wife returned
from her flight, she exclaimed,
“Where can we buy one of these?”


See you next week.



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Sunday, May 06, 2007

The 49th State and books to read

This week I’m late, mostly to recovering from a brewery tour of Portland and environs. Twelve breweries in 3 days will do that to you. Our favorites – Alameda, New Old Lompac and Laurelwood on the east side, Old Market in the southwest, and Hood River, Karlsson and Main Street along H26. (We did our first tour last year with Racoon Lodge, Tug Boat, Bridgeport, Full Sail and Roots among the highlights.)

This summer, we will do two or three days in the Puget Sound area. Silverdale’s Silver City about five miles away is and will be a favorite.


A couple of books to consider:

Roma by Steven Saylor, a fictional account of ancient Rome to Augustus. The volume is written in the style of Russka or Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd. I haven’t read that latter, but did enjoy the early chapters of the former.

Next, the Path between the Seas, David McCullough’s great book about building the Panama Canal although about half of the book is about not building the Canal. McCullough also wrote the brilliant The Great Bridge, the story of building the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the best “construction books written.

By the way, last week I mentioned John Grisham’s The Innocent Man. Sadly, we left it in a Portland hotel room, so I had to order another.


I’ve finally made it through the Poetic States – Connecticut in this post and Alaska in workshop. I will also do three more for DC, the Caribbean territories and the Pacific.

On to the Nutmeg State.

Poetic States XLIX – Connecticut


He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
--Wallace Stevens,
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

We can only speculate what made him turn -
an alcoholic father
loss of opportunity
a family succumbed to yellow jack
his mother’s death

the slights of army regulars
and the congress

Betsy’s rebuff
court martial for malfeasance
marriage to Loyalist daughter

All the signs were there
for this Yankee son
to take the wrong path

as they were for Burr
and many others
famous and more than ordinary

nothing left for Mr. Arnold
but an entry
in Mr. Webster’s dictionary

Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds. – WS

The states are indexed at

Until next week, when we will go to Alaska.



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