Come together

Excerpt from Night of a Thousand Stars and Other Portraits of Iraq (Nazraeli Press: 2006)

They kill you with kindness. It will not always be this way, but for now it’s its own weapon, its own devastation. A Kurdish taxi driver hauls me from the Ameriya Bomb Shelter—where the aquarelle ghosts of 408 Iraqi civilians were burned into the concrete walls Feb. 13, 1991 during a U.S. bombing attack—to the Al Fanar, a 45-minute drive in heavy traffic, and refuses to take my money. “You are American,” he says, “you are my friend.”

I leave one of my cameras—a Nikon with a new 300-mm lens—sitting under a chair in a hamburger… Read More »

Nanotech on the Menu

From In Good Tilth magazine: January/February 2009

Interest in nano is also fueled, in an aberrant way, by the visions of a fringe element of futurists who muse on biblical life spans, on unlimited wealth and, conversely, on a holocaust brought about by legions of uncontrollable self-replicating robots only slightly bigger than Einstein’s sugar molecules.
    — Gary Stix, in Understanding Nanotechnology (Warner Books, 2002).


Just when you thought it was safe not to sweat the small stuff, it turns out the truly small stuff may be infinitely worse than the large stuff—if, by truly small, we mean nanoparticles, which have come… Read More »

Code Oranges

From In Good Tilth magazine: July/August 2009

The Department of Homeland Security’s lime green website recommends that each home-preparedness kit include a can opener. The agency, not well known for linking cause and effect, goes on to state that a can opener is used for food. And then, just to be sure you don’t put your eye out with it, or attempt to paddle it past the broken levees, the agency observes that your disaster preparedness kit should include a can opener if your kit contains canned food.

What the agency doesn’t recommend, but that we’re hearing more and more these days, is that your disaster kit should include a… Read More »

Sowing the Vine

From In Good Tilth magazine (July/August 2011)
Photos (on this website) by the Staff and Volunteers of the Homeless Garden Project, Santa Cruz, Calif.

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. (Matthew 7:18; King James Version)

Janet O’Brien did what she was supposed to do—what any loving, desperate mother would do—and in less than 21 days will be homeless.

Simple, yet convoluted. It’s not supposed to be that way, of course. It’s an unspoken rule that narratives about the chaos that ultimately lands a person on the street must open with a list of moral breaches, self-destructive acts, tearful confessions … and conclude with… Read More »

Preparation 500

Preparation 500
From The Bear Deluxe magazine (June 2011)
1912 words

To our modern way of thinking, this all sounds quite insane.
– Rudolf Steiner, Lectures on Agriculture, 1924

Allan Balliett got sick in 1980. It came on as a flurry of symptoms, all of which seemed to take roost at once, and no one knew what was wrong or how to fix it. A systems analyst for the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C., Balliet suddenly found himself fatigued, his hair falling out “by the handfuls,” too weak and unfocused to adequately unravel the federal computer network. He says he “serial napped” on weekends 40 hours or… Read More »

Swine defense (essay on specious ‘cures’ for swine flu)

Swine defense
From In Good Tilth magazine, Spring 2010

Swine flu is now widespread in 48 U.S. states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, told health officials July 3 in Mexico that the “virus is now unstoppable.” 

Add the scarcity of H1N1 vaccine, distrust over the safety of the vaccine itself, and growing demand for alternative or self-prescribed medicine, and it all adds up to an excellent marketing op for unscrupulous businesses preying on a fearful, and suspicious public. Consequently, herbal remedies for swine flu are all the… Read More »

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