Wed 11 May 2011
This is the 300th posting on SparselySageAndTimely.com, and my friend Dave LaFontaine of Los Angeles has urged me to write something commemorating the occasion.
Usually it’s been fun although on a few slow weeks I’ve felt like The Desperate Man (at right), a self-portrait by Gustave Corbet (1819-1877).
As was explained in the first posting, keeping a log on the web (i.e. a blog) is a bit like keeping a log on a ship. It includes both a journal of one’s trip through life and reports on significant events along the way. How a web log came to be called a blog, by the way, reflects the whimsy that has long characterized those who gambol on the World Wide Web of the Internet.
A blogger named Jorn Barger coined the term in a Dec. 17, 1997, entry on his site, jokingly turning “web log” into “we blog.” And who is Jorn Barger? Wikipedia reports he is editor of “Robot Wisdom,” has taught at Northwestern, and once lived at The Farm (Stephen Gaskin’s commune in Tennessee).
Some weeks my topics were obvious: major storms, the November 2007 oil spill along the coast, community celebrations, and the deaths of prominent people. Some postings, such as those recounting West Marin history, required a bit of research.
West Marin’s animal life, both wild and domestic, has been a constant of this blog. Here two horses in a field next to mine enjoyed a sunny day last weekend.
Naturally, so to speak, some wildlife adventures chronicled here probably aren’t as fascinating to all readers as they are to me. This past week I’ve been delighted that a new possum (seen here) has begun visiting my cabin in the evening. It’s younger than the one that had been coming around, and both are more skittish than the possum a couple of years ago that would let me pet her as she snacked on peanuts.
Regular readers know I am particularly intrigued when seemingly unrelated events turn out to be connected. My favorite such posting told how a grim, 1909 Hungarian play called Lliom led to the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, which in 1963 led to Gerry and the Pacemakers’ rhythmic recording of You’ll Never Walk Alone, with that rendition then becoming a worldwide professional soccer anthem.
My April 19 posting What does the Easter Bunny have to do with Jesus’ resurrection? drew readers by the hundreds.
The posting told how Gregory the Great (at right), who was pope from 590 to 604, unintentionally brought about the Easter Bunny’s becoming associated with Jesus’ resurrection.
Some 877 people dropped by here this past Easter — 308 on Easter Day alone — to read the story. I was struck by the fact that 270 of those visitors found their way here via Google.
While we’re on the topic of Google, are any of you old enough to remember the 1923 hit tune Barney Google? “Barney Google, with his googley eyes./ Barney Google had a wife three times his size./ She sued Barney for divorce/ Now he’s living with his horse.
“Barney Google, with his googley eyes./ Barney Google, with his googley eyes./ Barney Google, has a girl that loves the guys./ Only friends can get a squeeze./ That girl has no enemies./ Barney Google, with his googley eyes.”
Nor should we forget the comic strip Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, which is still going strong after 92 years.
Doesn’t all this make you wonder about the origin of the corporate name Google? In fact, it comes from a misspelling of “googol,” which refers to the number one followed by 100 zeros. Nonetheless, the verb “to google” (use the Google search engine) is now included in major dictionaries. But I digress….
With thanks to T.S. Eliot, Allen Ginsberg, Matthew Arnold, William Butler Yeats, Alfred Lord Tennyson, William Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas, and Robert Frost for their contributions:
West of Eden
The hollow men/ Headpiece filled with straw./ Starving hysterical naked,/ dragging themselves through the Negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix.
Who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs/ Where ignorant armies clash by night.
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;/ Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world./ Half a league, half a league,/ Half a league onward,/ All in the valley of Death/ Rode the six hundred./ To die, to sleep.
Do not go gentle into that good night,/ Rage, rage against the dying of the light./ I have promises to keep/ And miles to go before I sleep.