Marking time in December 2002
Traditional fire warning rhythm
Jeremy Hedley, an Australian in Tokyo, has posted a sound clip on his blog. He writes:
During winter nights the traditional Japanese reminder to take care with fire and kerosene heaters and so on can be heard throughout the neighbourhood. The warning is produced by striking together two blocks of wood. Volunteers stroll around tapping out the rhythm — clack … clack … clackclack — which echos through the cold, a woodblock public service announcement. You can hear them streets away. Watch out for fires! Be careful with those heaters! Have a safe night, everyone.
Go to Jeremy’s site and listen. It carried me away to a different place and season.
If I had a sound recorder I would give you my summer night soundscape: Outside the kitchen window, flying foxes (Pteropus bats) stuffing themselves with mangos, backed by the white noise of cicadas.
On Monday nights I meet friends in a Sunday-school room and sing — for pleasure and refreshment. We don’t aspire to excellence (which, for me, is just as well).
Rex Addison, a Monday night singer who makes linocuts, sent me this card for Christmas. He has caught the vibe of that wooden room, full of songs. Margret RoadKnight, with her big clear voice, is pulling us along. Queen Elizabeth is joining in. Thank you Rex.
Saving black rhinos
I read about the work of the Save the Black Rhino Trust through the aus.photo newsgroup. I followed up, and received some more information:
The black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) of Namibia is an endangered species. For many years it has been poached for its horn to the point of near extinction. The animal poachers who developed skills to track down and kill the black rhinos are now themselves an endangered species. It has been recognised that the former poachers have useful tracking skills that can be used to locate the small number of black rhinoceros surviving in the extreme north western corner of Namibia. Once tracked down, these animals are no longer killed but instead can be observed and their habits studied in order to better understand them and develop strategies for their continued survival. To assist in recording observations the former poachers complement their tracking skills (and income) with photography. They now take pictures of the rhino instead of killing them. Shooting with rifles has been replaced by shooting on film but they need cameras to do this. Hentie Burger, our guest presenter from Namibia at APSCON 2002 is seeking simple SLR cameras and lenses that can be used by these indigenous Namibians to take photos of black rhinos in order to record their behaviour and movements. Anyone who has such a camera or lens sitting unused in a closet and is willing to donate it to the “Save the Rhino Trust” can send it…
OK, I’m convinced. Anyone else? Just let me know, and I’ll pass on the details.
4 wheel drivers
Just as I thought. From a book review in the Washington Monthly:
According to market research conducted by the country’s leading automakers, Bradsher reports, [Sport Utility Vehicle] buyers tend to be “insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors and communities. They are more restless, more sybaritic, and less social than most Americans are. They tend to like fine restaurants a lot more than off-road driving, seldom go to church and have limited interest in doing volunteer work to help others.” [Link from Arts & Letters Daily].
I have added bells and whistles to this website: Dean Allen’s nifty Google Hilite. Now, when you come here from a Google search, your search terms will be highlighted on my page. To see it in action, search Google.com for dean allen porridge. Thanks Dean, that’s brilliant!
World AIDS Day 2002
Six weeks ago, the mother of a five month-old baby girl noticed that her daughter was breathing rapidly. She had never been to the pediatrician before — somehow, the mother had managed to avoid all of the regular infant visits — but she knew that there was something wrong with her daughter’s health, and felt that a doctor’s visit was in order… [Read the rest of this story in Q Daily News.]