Friday, October 29, 2010

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

- William Butler Yeats

Monday, October 4, 2010

How I Learned to Stop Worrying...

I got a call from a friend last night, and the conversation devolved into his fears and anxieties about the frightening decline of civilization. He began to yaw and bend toward how dangerous our times are as compared to the past. Maybe he's right. But as chance would have it, I had found over the weekend a piece of ephemera that I thought at least merited mentioning to him, as a reminder. It's a map of evacuation routes from our city, along with a lot of other instructions, in the event of a nuclear attack. It's dated 1956, and gives a pretty specific idea of where the bombs would fall, with circles indicating the immediate areas of most dire effect. Suffice to say that I live well within the zone that even a namby-pamby 50s-era nuclear bomb would blow clean. All that's just a pretext to show some other thematic images I've gathered over time that also caused bemusement or amusement. For example, a dexterity game where you try to roll the clear capsules into Hiroshima and Nagasaki on a map of Japan. How about a children's toy ring featuring a facsimile of a nuke? Or a dartboard with degrees of success measured by what you destroy, made in Japan, no less. And a panel from a comic book, showing the monster ape problem being neatly solved. In closing, I note that the southern evacuation routes for refugees from nuclear attack are the same roads used by the fleeing citizenry upon the incineration of the city by one William T. Sherman, a few years back when life wasn't as scary as it is today...