Stupid Quote

You are going to have to search hard for worse. Tom McIntyre sends this masterpiece of po- mo ignorance from National Geographic’s Explorer- in residence (“Isn’t that an oxymoron?”), one Derek Joubert: “Hunting will one day be relegated to the category of awful things we did as humans, alongside apartheid and the Holocaust.”

If you believe as I do that this sets new standards for invincible ignorance please let Mr. Joubert (and the magazine) know.

He is not an intellectual…

…and neither am I. On About last Night, Terry Teachout, possibly the most wide- ranging American critic and cultural writer, explains:

“I incline as a rule to the mode of thought and feeling implied by T.S. Eliot’s remark that Henry James had “a mind so fine that no idea could violate it.” All history, especially the history of the twentieth century, argues against placing ideas in the saddle and allowing them to ride mankind. Too often they end up riding individual men and women into mass graves. As Irving Babbitt pointed out:

‘Robespierre and Saint-Just were ready to eliminate violently whole social strata that seemed to them to be made up of parasites and conspirators, in order that they might adjust this actual France to the Sparta of their dreams; so that the Terror was far more than is commonly realized a bucolic episode. It lends color to the assertion that has been made that the last stage of sentimentalism is homicidal mania.’

That’s one of many reasons why I choose not to call myself an intellectual.”

Also see, perhaps, Michael Oakeshott.

Eagle Dreamers

I must assume that ALL my readers have seen some version of this:

 I have gotten over 100 emails, and they are still coming in. The one most saw was a BBC article (see David Zincavage’s blog), but I like the photographer’s, and his background info. It seems that the wild men of central Asia, as pragmatic as can be, have not opposed the few brave young women who have decided to take up this difficult but thrilling way of life (not exactly a”sport” by the way, as some call it, unless at the games at the annual fall “fiestas” there and in the ‘Stans).

I was delighted by the photos, and the whole phenomenon. But I thought the real pioneer was being ignored– Lauren McGough, who contacted us when she was 16, went out to hunt for a month with the late Aralbai, “The Coolest Man in the World” (Google it up), then returned on a Fulbright to spend a year there as an apprentice, then another year back and forth to the ‘Stans and Mongolia. She is now in Scotland writing her doctoral thesis, and has continued flying eagles on the plains here and in Scotland.

Lauren is not worried, though she has a sensible distrust of the accuracy of the press: “The photos are just brilliant of course – I recognize in that smile the pure joy of flying an eagle! I always have mixed feelings about media articles of Mongolian eagle culture, though. Its hard not to be possessive of “my” subject!…  If I can find the funds, perhaps visiting the girl myself would be a compelling epilogue. It in a way, it is like coming full-circle, from my own 14-year old self that used to daydream her red-tail was an eagle. Or something!”

After I got her notes I wondered: Olgii Aimag is not too big; could the young Kazakh girl have heard about the strange American berkutchi? Could it have swayed her father?  Could she have seen this not- very tall American with the huge eagle named after the Milky Way?

There is going to be a book, and it will have insights I never dreamed of. Meanwhile, back in the USA, the government is considering shutting down the (at most) 6 eagle annual falconry take, while wind farms and eagle- killing natives are given a pass. Sometimes I think I should go off to live and die in Asia, where eagle dreamers get some respect.


I have tons of material– John Wilson on sending some Mexican wolves to Mexico, with pics; all manner of current events; books to review (Paula Young Lee’s delightful Deer Hunting in Paris is way overdue); more poets to quote– Zarzyski!); foodbloggiing, imminent novels by friends,  gyr coming….

And all I seem to do is catchup work, repairs on me and objects, above all the horrible and apparently necessary struggle to sell myself and my “product”, none of which so far has paid off– no publisher interest in PP’s or dog book at least if I have to be PAID for it…

Cue Peter Bowen, novelist, western wit, professional curmudgeon, and stoic: “WHINE, WHINE, WHINE– all writers do is whine. Nobody asked you to be a writer!”

He’s right. Thanks to Beth, old friend and new blog fan, I just got a new laptop which liberates me from the Parkinsonian pain of the desk. Decks are clear. I am going to write The Hounds of Heaven, about my dogs and their roots and our adventures here and there (Beth: splendid phrase re hounds “… flowing fierce animals..!”) and walk, and train a new bird. And if things don’t sell by fall, I’ll sell some guns and go to Szechuan. Or Rome and points south, for Frederic. And publish my own damn books…

Q Cover Redux

In the home stretch  on the new  edition of  Q.  For the cover, I still favor some variety of this photo (forgive quality of my amateur efforts; I am sure a designer could do wonders with my template). The publisher favors the old cover. Any last thoughts? Here are the mockups I attempted.

The old one is wonderful but I believe in new covers for new editions. And I should add it is a lot better than this image below– I have been shifting files and couldn’t find a version so got it off Amazon!)


From Larry Gavin’s new collection The Initiation of Praise:

My Reader

My reader is part of a small

club like those who fancy

terriers and the taking of game

to ground. My reader stumbled

on this book by accident because

of a mistransposed order

number or an absent minded

librarian that was thinking

about fishing instead of listening

at the time. My reader

holds a glass of something

that has some grief in it,

and folds the book

back on itself breaking the binding

like day breaks in the east

orange and then yellow. My reader

smells of dew and wild mint,

and can keep a secret, and knows

at least two good lawyers.

My reader is sensitive; believes

in Bigfoot and not the Loch Ness

monster. My reader’s favorite

north Americabn ungulate

is the Musk Ox. My reader

dreams of flying, dreams of vessels of containment, dreams

of more poems like this one.

–Available from Red Dragonfly Press (

Farming Makes You Weak

I know I’ve mentioned a number of times here, that as prehistoric peoples moved from a hunting-gathering economy to agriculture, in general their health declined. This was apparently due to a number of factors, including eating a more limited diet, living for long periods in one place increases the spread of disease, etc.

I just came across a link for a new study of human remains from the Danube region of Europe that shows the population’s bones became weaker as it transitioned from hunting-gathering to agriculture. The magazine’s title was a little more dramatic than mine – From athletes to couch potatoes: Humans through 6,000 years of farming.