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What a difference a link makes

my blog before links

Thanks to Derek and, my obscure little blog has been getting so-o-o many more hits. must be some kind of hub and well, she sure has some interesting links. . . . (thanks you guys!)
For example there is a link to one of my favorite hobbies- grafting. It seems that there is a theme park in California, which contains a number of sycamores whose stems have been intricately grafted into the shapes of lightning bolts, hearts, baskets etc. The trees are incredible living sculptures, some of which were started as far back as the 1920’s. Even more amazingly, the trees were *dug up and moved to their present location* just a few years ago, with apparently no damage.
I have been grafting European apples to the native Pacific crab apple (Malus fusca) for some years now, and have done some cool bridge grafts that look like a triple bypass of (say) Dick Cheney’s heart. Grafting brings out the “mad scientist” in me and I’ve actually got a several crab apple trees which I’ve transmogrified into *monsters* that bear up to five different varieties of apple, each ripening at a different time. For complete instructions on how to do this check out my article in the March 2001 issue of the Permaculture Activist

I just sat through the Victoria screening of Matthew Barney’s hauntingly beautiful Cremaster 2 and was surprised to see some rather spectacular shots of the mountains around Banff Alberta, (I immediately recognized the bedding patterns on the rock faces.) Cremaster 2 recreates Gary Gilmore’s murder of a Utah gas station attendent as well as his subsequent trial and execution, all in a very metaphorical, cowboy, American baroque way. Gilmore’s execution is presented in rodeo format with Gilmore (played by Matthew Barney himself) riding a bucking Brahma bull (till they both collapse) in a paddock surrounded by mounted State Troopers (and Canadian Mounties) in a giant horseshoe shaped salt dune rising from the vast expanse of the innundated Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah. Norman Mailer pops up as Harry Houdini and there is a supporting cast of bee swarms. The whole thing struck me as a rather strange morphing of David Lynch, Merill-Lynch and the Invasion of the Bee Girls. Still, Cremaster 2 has a haunting beauty and its cinematography is sumptuous. Barney really captures the anomie inducing landscapes of the intermontane American west as well as the strange sexuality of its rodeos, 1970s automobiles and seething swarms of bees.
Speaking of insects, I checked out the Royal British Columbia Museum’s display of giant japanese animatronic insects today They were beautiful and gnashed and scrabbled appropriately, much to the delight of swarms of children. My favorite was a giant disembodied mosquito head that inserted it’s nacelle of suckers and stingers into a waiting hole in the surface of a carpet-like simulacrum of human skin. It was definitely a Matthew Barney moment. The trouble is that these moderately amusing contraptions would really have been more at home in a Disney theme park rather than in a provincial museum. It is so sad to see so many museums go down the dumbed down road of ‘info-tainment’, in order to stay ‘relevant.’ This reductive populism really has made these institutions lose so much of their aura. I’d rather see cases and cases of meticulously labelled specimens and *make my own mind up about what they mean.*
I wish these repositories of artifacts tried harder to impart some perspective to the public on the length, breadth and complexity of *what there is to know* and (perhaps) to try and show how not all scientific information can be rendered into a sound byte or an executive summary. What’s so bad about *complexity* anyway?

animatronic mantis in full snatching mode

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