Falconry Goddesses

Ourc regnant falconry goddesses, Helen Maconald and Lauren McGough, do a podcast TOGETHER at the BBC.More please!

Full of good sense and unexpected insights-; as Helen says., only Lauren would fly an eagle because it is so SERENE.

Lauren is currently in S Africa chasing drunken  monkeys with  a “little” male Crowned eagle. We hope to see her here soon.


Apologies for being slow. The “Venom” is doingsome good, but it is a three month process and it does not cure. An attack of cramnps has really knocked me down the last couple of days..Meanwhile, word is out for a new EFECTIVE gene therapy method in Mass- a cure? We staggger from hope to hope…

Meanwhile I have two books, one finished, making the rounds, thanks to Pat Cooper, Malcolm Brooks, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas,  and above all Sy Montgomery.

I am no fan of the literature of sickness but I will make an exception.Anyone wanting to understand PD should read Alaska cartoonist Peter Dunlap- Shohl’s graphic novel <a href=”My Degeneration : a Journey through Parkinson’s“<http://tinyurl.com/yc8f2ozw></a>. It is terrifying, relentless, true, and hilarious.  He is still working..

Rock and Hawk

“This gray rock, standing tall
On the headland, where the seawind
Lets no tree grow,

Earthquake-proved, and signatured
By ages of storms: on its peak
A falcon has perched.

I think, here is your emblem
To hang in the future sky;
Not the cross, not the hive,

But this; bright power, dark peace;
Fierce consciousness joined with final

Life with calm death; the faqlcon’s
Realist eyes and act
Married to the massive

Mysticism of stone,
Which failure cannot cast down
Nor success make proud.”

Robinson Jeffers, Rock and Hawk

Black Gyr on basalt in Iceland, taken by Kirk Hogan theee days ago


“The Blood of the Eastern Dragon!” That is how Vladimir Shakula, Russian Kazakh, former soldier, hound breeder admnisrator, scientist and alleged war criminal, described the Kyrgiz Taigan.

Shakula with Himalayan Snowcock.

Now Lane Bellman has bred the first US litter in NM

My pick!

Venom Plus

My new and most effective drug (may halt, if not reverse, Parkinson’s “progress”) is based on a synthetic Gila monster venom.

Tim already has a poem for the ‘Venom Drug”, as everybody is naturally calling it:

Hope is Our Word for Elpis

Stephen is taking Gila monster venom

to treat the brain disease I deeply hate.

I pray this treatment hasn’t come too late.

Now he can ride his horse in faded denim,

hawk on his fist, young of the year spring kite

as the rose-fingered dawn rolls back the night.

Parkinson’s has taken too many friends

as I have written you too many times,

grappling with meters and my anguished rhymes.

The greatest of these pitiable ends?

My pope who strode the world like a colossus

as Homer’s longest strophe, the molossus,

leaves its huge footprint in his epic verses.

Jesus, relieve us of our lethal curses.

Bayetta, the variety of Exanamide that I take, is synthetic; no Gila Monsters are harmed, or even harassed by milking, in its making.

Our modern Mithridates cont.

… in the right amounts venom, especially neurotoxic venom,  is good for you. Bill Haast of the Miami Serpentarium lived to be 101 after taking shots of venom every day. He never had a sick day in his life and survived 197 snakebites. He is a legend.

 I heard about Haast from my pen-friend and journalistic inspiration  Dan Mannix, one of the best writers on animals in his time,  an unusual rebel from a Main Line Pennsylvania family, who wrote among other things All Creatures Great and Small, The Wolves of Paris, The Fox and the Hound (Disneyfied into a silly children’s cartoon), and The Killers, as well as ones on pop culture subjects like carnivals seen from the inside (Step Right Up). In the forties, Dan and Jule Mannix, then
living at an expensive Manhattan address, started in this strange business when they were forced by circumstance
to obtain and train two eagles, a Bald (“Pre-Act”- remember both
species were shot as pests into the Sixties) , and a Golden to hunt iguanass in Mexico
and write about them. He was as usual ahead of his time; later, Harry Crews and Gordon Grice would make a literary genre  out of such things, writing about tattoos, toxic and dangerous animals,  Carneys and chickenfights in such venues as Esquire even as  Mannix had pioneered before them in Argosy and True.*

 In the Seventies Betsy and I were living in an apartment complex in Newton, Mass. Upstairs lived a faded Grande Dame from Philadelphia with a kind heart and a wealth of complicatedly pinned up hair. She stopped us on the stairs one day when we were carrying in a Merlin, and stopped us to examine the bird. She nodded and said “Many, MANY years ago my sorority housemate had one of those, but it was rather LARGER.”

Suddenly inspired, I made the correct guess: “Was your housemate Jule Mannix?

Surprised, she said “Yes..?”

“Then it was a Bald eagle, and yes, it was bigger than this one!”

*Sublit? They were considered so by snobs then. But certainly my long-term correspondent Geoffrey Household, whose Watcher in the Shadows I first read in Argosy when I was eleven, whose publisher was Atlantic Monthly,  who first mentioned the works of his “fellow pirate” Patrick Leigh Fermor to me, and who last wrote to me the week of his death, was not considered so. And John D Macdonald’s dead-on Florida portraits , which I discovered in Darker Than Amber back then in that venue, got a real second wind when rediscovered by new literati like Jim Harrison in the late 60’s.

Venom 1 ; Mithridates (from A E Housman, A Shropshire Lad}

The volume used was Betsy’s ancient first edition.”Lad” has provided more titles than any other English work of art than The King Jame s version or Shakespeare, including many in Science Fiction. Reid? How about “For a breath I tarry”? I always thought his and Poul Anderson’s stoic world view had much in common

There was a king reigned in the East:
There, when kings will sit to feast, 60
They get their fill before they think
With poisoned meat and poisoned drink.
He gathered all that springs to birth
From the many-venomed earth;
First a little, thence to more, 65
He sampled all her killing store;
And easy, smiling, seasoned sound,
Sate the king when healths went round.
They put arsenic in his meat
And stared aghast to watch him eat; 70
They poured strychnine in his cup
And shook to see him drink it up:
They shook, they stared as white’s their shirt:
Them it was their poison hurt.
—I tell the tale that I heard told. 75
Mithridates, he died old.