Monday, November 10, 2008


Here's a cool photo from our own Lisa of a tree she saw on her weekend sojourn in the Texas outback. It has kind of a Tolkien flavor, I think, and also reminds me of Andif's "pattern" tree photo. I think this one could scare kids on Halloween, which is probably why Lisa calls it "Jack O Lantern Tree." Thanks, Lisa!


Nancy P said...

Lisa, the background is amazingly abstract, like something flowing. Is it just tree branches?

Is it too soon for another poetry day? I don't want to burn us out on doing that. Should we wait another week, or two?

Nancy P said...

If it's not too soon we could do it, say, Thursday?

Anonymous said...

Never too soon! I saw Billy Collins has a new book out, when I browsed BN today.

Made it to San Clemente safely. Visiting the most grounded people in the world - we laughed all evening - just what I needed. Beach at 7am tomorrow - a little writing, a lot of love in the next few days.

I think happiness has been waiting for me to show up here, tapping its foot, saying "Where have you been?"

Happy Tuesday - and Veterans' Day.

Nicola Slade said...

Veterans' Day? That'll be Armistice Day over here. At the commemorative services today there will be the last remaining men who fought in WW1, right from the start in 1914 - one is 112 and the other 110. Isn't that amazing? They're very frail but completely on the ball - and they remember it all. These services are so touching, you see old men who bore it all without a murmur for decades but now they cry. And the two minute silence at 11.00am sends shivers down your spine.

Have a good day,all; it's mid-morning here and I'm off out baby-sitting in a minute!

AndiF said...

Lisa, really fantastic photo! (Nancy, you need to save that one for next Halloween).

Beth, build me a sand castle. :)

It was Armistice Day here too, Nicola, when I was a kid but then they changed it to honor all vets.

Morning all.

Lisa M said...

Nancy, I wish I could take the credit for the back ground. But overexposed ground and limbs due to sun being in wrong place when I saw the tree and took the picture. Interesting that I'd never seen it before and neither had Hubby. Got to get off the beaten path more often.

Morning Andi. Thank you for encouraging all us budding, rebudding photographers. A sand castle does sound nice.

Nicola--boy those two guys probably got some great stories. I am sorry to think about the loss of history as the veterans pass on. We need to understand and not forget those experiences. So few young people understand their sacrifice. We Americans don't really understand the sacrifices of the Brits during WWII.
I was blown away the other day by your description of that Christmas Cake. That is quite a process.

Beth--Enjoy the beach.

We got RAIN!!!!!!! Ground's been mighty thirsty.
Tremendous Tuesday to All.
Hand over Heart--Veteran's Day
Hubby did two tours in Vietnam.
Father and Father-in-law in WWII. So it is personal.

Paul Lamb said...

Makes me wonder what scarred the tree originally to make that pattern.

Is the photo upside down?

FARfetched said...

It has a kind of deep-sea-creature-maybe-Cthulu vibe to it… you can just imagine it closing around your hand as you try to grab the bait it offers. Great shot, Lisa! Don't worry about the background; it's so not there and that's what you want — you want people to focus on the Cthulu Tree.

Beth, yay for happy times!

Nicola, it's both astounding and sad that there's only two WW1 vets left "over there." When my kids hit my age, there probably won't be any WW2 vets left at all. OTOH, the people surviving both wars were pretty tough cookies, so there might be some surprises.

Coffee & biscuits for everyone… time for me to go play in traffic.

Maria Lima said...

Morning, all! It's a bright, bright, sunshiny day here, cold & crisp like the autumn weather should be.

Lovely, twisty tree, Lisa! I can imagine it as a temporary home for wandering dryads.

I'm all for Poetry Thursday this week.

Off to Bethesda this a.m. for client meeting and lunch, then back to the office for the balance of the day.

Still psyched about book 3, working title now: Blood Lines.

Ta, all and have a terrific Tuesday! said...
This comment has been removed by the author. said...

Speaking of Veterans Day, I just finished The Forever War, by Dexter Filkins. Filkins' work may not possess the chilling post-modern artistry of image in Herr's Dispatches, a book TFW is often compared to. But it is damn good.

Remarkably, Filkins spends time with all the major players in Iraq -- and with the "kids" -- what he calls the 19-year-old marines from small towns across America.

And he didn't quarter inside the Green Zone. This is the only book I've read on Operation Iraqi Freedom that left me with any sense of understanding of what is going on over there.

At the end of the book, once Filkins is home, someone says to him in dialogue, "I can't talk to anybody about the war any more who wasn't there." Filkns replies, "I can't talk to anybody about anything who wasn't there."

Most Highly Recommended. If you get nothing else out of The Forever War, you'll come up with a dandy recipe for a quick cup of coffee while on the go:

Open one small package of Taster's Choice instant coffee, empty into mouth. Quickly open and add contents of packets of faux creamer and/or sugar. One big gulp from canteen (remember, water is scarce!). Shake head violently. said...

P.S. Herr's book on being inside the Vietnam Conflict didn't appear in print until two years after the fall of Saigon. Everything Filkins writes about in The Forver War is still going on.

Jen said...

Great composition, Lisa!

"I can't talk to anybody about the war any more who wasn't there."
"I can't talk to anybody about anything who wasn't there."

As good an encapsulation of ptsd as any. The best argument against the idea of our species having achieved anything remotely like "civilization" is the continued brutality of the wars we wage against one another, public and private, on global scales and screens and one on one in the dark.

Nicola Slade said...

'We Americans don't really understand the sacrifices of the Brits during WWII.'

Thanks, Lisa. There are plenty of us over here who remember the sacrifices of the Americans in both world wars too.
Far - I got it wrong, there are two more WW1 veterans, one is 108 and the other, 107 now lives in Australia. I'm sure you have some of your own in the US too.

Well, we had the 2 minute silence and it got to me as it always does; couldn't stop the car but drove along in tears thinking of all the young men - and women - still dying in battle even now.
Let's hope somehow, somebody can DO something concrete towards bringing an end to the fighting in IRaq and Afghanistan.
(And of course this is the whole point of these remembrance days - to make us think!)(And having remembered, I'm going to have a cuddle with a 3 month old and pray he never has to fight!)

Janet said...

"The best argument against the idea of our species having achieved anything remotely like "civilization" is the continued brutality of the wars we wage against one another, public and private, on global scales and screens and one on one in the dark." - Jen

Can I get that in size medium? ;)

My country glorifies war. It's how we "serve" our country. You can never question war. You can never question "just following orders". It's our main export. Everybody in my country has someone who has died in a war, killed in a war, never came back from a war or who is in a war.

Today I go to work and I will try not to think about all the children in Iraq who are deformed and orphaned. I will try not to think about the triple amputee, 22 yr old virgin coming home without any reception and without a disability check after 4 tours.

My husband gets some of his disability from a sports incident while in the military for cripessake and under "support the troops" no votes and non-votes, these guys are who hurting mentally and physically from 4 and 5 tours of Iraq... are getting squat.

I'll try not think about it because quite frankly here in this country it is still considered "UnAmerican" to THINK of such things.

Just carry your flag and go rah rah rah rah.

Peace and freedom never comes from war and bloodshed. War only begats more war.

Today I will honor those who feed the hungry, shelter and advocate for the homeless, teachers who teach our children HOW to think rather than WHAT to think.

As always I will honor peace.

Today I will go to work and then afterwards I will do a meals on wheels route with a veteran of loss. My co-worker lost a dad and a later a step-dad in the Gulf War and the last in a non-treated PTSD suicide. There's no day off for hunger. And no real day off for her loss.

Especially since we have no money to feed the hungry. Have you seen meals on wheels meal? This is the best this country can do? No money for schools. No money for bridges. People living in terror of losing their jobs and people working paycheck to paycheck without health care. But we have tons of money for wars and illegal occupations.

And no money for the military families going through foreclosures. But we have yellow magnets to make us feel better about that. So we don't feel the need to think about it too often.

War is hell. They got that right. But don't think about it too much. You might want to STOP WAR if you do.

Honor the sacrifices but don't forget to support the living.

For me and mine, today is not the day to chant that sports mantra, "USA! USA! USA!"... it's more of a silent regard for humanity and how can we do better than war.

And since today is a day off for many... a time to run errands and consume... I need to get my butt to work and earn my time and a half.

Kelly McCullough said...


Hi all, waves

Just got back from an attempt at mailing contracts. I seem to have developed an uncanny knack for taking writing related trips to the post office on mail holidays. I think it's about one trip in three over the last two years. Nice walk except for the sleet.

Lisa M said...

Paul, you win the eagle eye prize. The picture is upside down. It was actually taken sideways and had to be flipped. Musta flapped.

I've loved what you guys think might live in that tree. A Cthulu tree--now that is fantastic, Farf.
I'm thinking cowboy fairies, or some other fantasy Texas. Hmm. Wish I was more creative and prolific.

I wear no rose colored glasses but there are so many wonderful people and fantastic happenings in this country.
Sorry your focus stays so sour.

bono said...

Amazing pic, Lisa. Kudos. What's the general landscape where it was taken? (Thanks for the tlc in yesterday's post.)

Nicola, amazing that those soldiers have lived so long. I hope there is video documentary of them telling their memories, lest we forget.

Ghost, thanks for the chuckle re: short cut coffee. I hope I never have to use it. lol

Amen, Jen. I wish we could live in a world of peace but doubt that is possible given humankind's frailities.

Beth, I'm so glad you're having happy times. You've had a stressful fall with all the moving. I'm glad you're getting some TLC from your friends in CA. Good for you! (p.s., the sunshine hasn't arrived yet. lol)

Kelly, I hope you have better weather for mailing tomorrow.

Poetry Day?!!! Yes, please! :-)

boran2 said...

That really is a cool photo!

Kelly, I did the same thing. And I had the day off. Silly me.

Janet said...

Lisa, Sorry?? Sour focus?? I do not find peace, anti-war activism or feeding hungry people to be a "sour focus". I'm a very happy, optimistic person as is my family.

Today we helped FEED mostly veterans and/or their widows. And I fed them with a few veterans :). My husband who is a vet works to help enable the vets coming home to have actualy help and actual needs met. Legal or medical.

We had a wonderful day today. Not sour at all and there is no need for an apology on anyone's part.