Halfway through my three-week, 417-mile journey down the “most endangered” river in America, the water began flowing backward and the mud started talking. It spoke in baritone gurgles, like Barry White trapped in a bong. You know what this is, John? No, Barry White mud. This is QUICKSAND.
Last month, a twelve-year-old girl named Lauren Arrington was credited with research showing that lionfish, an invasive species, were surviving in water with a much lower percentage of salinity than was thought possible. [more inside]
It only happens once every few years: a brackish river in New Jersey freezes over, and the iceboats come out. It's happening all over the Northeast, where an unusually cold winter is welcomed with delight by aficionados of this sport. Lightly constructed, beautiful, and fast (the record stands at 84 miles an hour propelled by wind alone), iceboats provide a winter thrill ride like none other. Iceboating or ice yachting has thrived in pockets of North America and Europe since the nineteenth century. When conditions are right, see them sailing and racing in Wisconsin, on the Hudson, in Maine, Minnesota, Prince Edward Island. and wherever else "hard-water sailors" congregate.
A new critically acclaimed film (96%) is coming out soon 12 Years a Slave (trailer), the true story of Solomon Northup. His memoir is a riveting read (or listen to Louis Gossett, Jr. reading it), but this post is about where Northup was enslaved, a cotton plantation near the Red River, Louisiana. [more inside]
"Have you ever dropped a stick in a river and wondered where it might go if it floated all the way downstream? Now you can trace its journey using Streamer." In addition to displaying the distance traveled, difference in elevation, and number of states, counties and cities the stick will pass through before reaching its outlet point, Streamer can do an upstream trace to show you which rivers and smaller streams fed into the spot where the stick was dropped. [more inside]
Starting on September 22 last year, Professor Robert Fuller of the University of North Georgia spent four months paddling down the Chattahoochee River system, from the Chattahoochee's headwaters in northern Georgia down through the Apalachicola into the Gulf of Mexico, studying water quality along the way. Then he paddled 200 miles through the Gulf, turned at the mouth of the Mobile River, and paddled another 750 miles upstream on the Mobile, Alabama, Coosa, and Etowah Rivers all the way back to northern Georgia—a total of just over 1,500 miles of solo paddling in his Kruger Sea Wind. Along the way, he kept a blog, "ate a lot of Beanie Weenies", and faced difficulties including cold, hunger, injuries, and river obstructions. Incidentally, he did all this while living with leukemia. [more inside]
Perched high up above the Thames in downtown London every month this past year a different writer has spent four days living in a replica of the Roi des Belges, the boat Marlow travels up the Congo in Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness. Each author would write a short text during their stay "which explores London, rivers, the work of Joseph Conrad, or even all three." They would be visited on the last day by a journalist from The Guardian who recorded them reading their essay, poem or short story. Among the poets, historians and novelists were Adonis, Jeanette Winterson, Teju Cole, Michael Ondaatje and Kamila Shamsie. These recordings, each prefaced by a short interview, are all available on the Guardian website, to stream or download. Below the cut there is a link to each recording, with a short description. [more inside]
Pull my daisy, tip my cup, all my doors are open. Cut my thoughts for coconuts, all my eggs are broken.
Pull My Daisy Robert Frank, Alfred Leslie - 1959. Written and narrated by Jack Kerouac. Featuring Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and Larry Rivers. An account of the making of: The Making (and Unmaking) of Pull My Daisy by Blaine Allan.
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
London's River Fleet may be the best-known buried river, but there are examples around the world, including the Bievre in Paris, the Wein in Vienna (as featured in The Third Man), the Neglinnaya in Moscow, the Tank Stream in Sydney, the Minetta Brook in New York and the lost streams of Los Angeles. Some buried rivers are now being restored to the urban landscape. Why bury a river? Well, Ben Jonson's On the Famous Voyage gives an idea of what the Fleet was like in the 17th Century. [more inside]
The long-polluted New York rivers are getting cleaner, but can still be dangerous to swim in. There are efforts underway to clean up the Bronx River, but that will take years, if not decades. Until then, signs are posted, warning would-be swimmers, yet people still risk sickness to battle the heat. One current safe solution is the Floating Pool Lady, a barge that was remade into an 82-foot-long city parks department swimming pool. She first arrived in the Bronx in 2008, and she'll return to the Bronx in a week. There's a new Big Idea to bring swimmers back into the rivers: the +Pool, a floating swimming pool located within a river, designed with a series exterior walls to filter the river water and make it safe to swim in. While that's in the early design stages, you can take a chance and jump in a swimming hole.
When "Proto-Pop" artist Larry Rivers' died in 2002, he left behind extensive archives of his letters, paperwork, photographs and film documenting the New York artistic and literary scene from the 1940s through the 1980s. They chronicle his friendships and relationships with dozens of artists, musicians and writers, from Willem de Kooning and Andy Warhol to Frank O’Hara. Also included: films and videos of his two adolescent daughters, naked or topless, being interviewed by their father about their developing breasts. Now, one daughter, who says she was pressured to participate beginning when she was 11, is demanding that material be removed from the archive and returned to her and her sister. [more inside]
Durango Bill's Home Page. With topics that include: 3D end-to-end tour of the Grand Canyon, the origin and formation of the Colorado River, and examples of river systems that cut through mountain ranges instead of taking easier routes around them in Ancestral Rivers of the World. [more inside]
Jimmy Smith Park. Breadcrumbs so you can find your way back: Jimmy Smith Park -> About -> Rivers Park -> Dreams about Drunks -> The evolution of previously.
While God was fooling around with his celestial SimCity control panel, he accidentally built a river right through the middle of a road. [more inside]
Dead Zones - Causes and Consequences Found by way of this article series where I read: "Ask scientists, government types, fishermen, almost anyone about the low-oxygen zone coming off the mouth of the Mississippi River and one question spills from their lips. "Have you talked to Nancy Rabalais?" ... marine ecologist Rabalais has led the search for answers to the 8,500-square-mile zone and the charge to find a solution. " ----- From the first linked page, you can view eight video clips -- each about 9.5 minutes long -- of a February 2005 slide lecture. She's awesome.
Joan Rivers on the subject of Boobs: "I think the stereotype that if you ah big breasts you can't be smart came from the fact that your breasts hid your schoolbooks. So it was a little harder to learn." A&E tackled the subject of cleavage in a special that aired first in 2002 and again last night. SFW unless you work for the Archdiocese.
Two great tastes that taste great together. Are you a scat fan? Well, Congress will soon vote on a bipartisan measure that would block the EPA from allowing sewage blending. Scientists & environmentalists gave BushCo some flak on this, but notice how bipartisan the bill is: it's sponsored by Bart Stupak (D-MI) as well as Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) The whitehouse site yielded inconclusive results (searched for sewage blending) This issue first caught my attention on another site (rhymes with 'bark') and I discovered it matters, at least to me, because people crap in my drinking water all the time and apparently the municipal waste treatment systems aren't handling it.
Swimming the Columbia River - lengthwise. What have you been up to for the past week? How about the next 6 months? If you're Christopher Swain, the answer is "swimming - and lots of it". Swain plans swim the 1,243 miles of the Columbia River from headwaters to the Pacific over about 180 days. The further downriver he goes, the riskier it gets - aside from the rapids and ocean freighters that await him, he'll be in waters contaminated by atomic waste, PCBs and other toxins - which is the point of the swim, to raise awareness and support for river protection. "I learned that tasting every mile of a river is a great way to build the credibility to speak on its behalf"