Random neuron firing, lame philosophy, literary pontificating, movies, sex, clothes & other femme stuff

Sunday, September 07, 2003


I'm going away for a few days. To a desert island.

2 points.

1) Isn't the gradual transfiguration of the word "desert" in this context cool? Orlando, AYLI (2.7), says, "But whate'er you are / That in this desert inaccessible, / Under the shade of melancholy boughs / Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time. . . ." It used to mean just wilderness, generally—merely the opposite of civilization, of cultivation. Forests, bogs, mountains, oceans, moors—all could be deserts, without a speck of sand in sight. I guess it changed when the advance and dissemination of biological discourse sat upon and smooshed the notion of these places as utterly devoid of life. So that left only the lone and level sands. But now, what with the dissemination of the fact that deserts are really complex organic ecosystems teeming with biodiversity, is the word going to fall into desuetude? And just be applied to, like, the surface of the moon?

2) Why is the island comprehending Acadia National Park called Mt. Desert Island? And why is it pronounced like what, in the West, is sugary and served after the main course (don't get me started on the weirdnesses of, what would you call it?, ethnogastronomy. . . )?

If I can blog from there, I will. If not, see you all soon. If I survive. . . .

Just in case anyone cares, here are the books I'm taking (listed according to increasing necessity):

(* books my library is blessed to harbor already)

10. Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls : True Stories of Castaways and Other Survivors, by Edward E. Leslie

9. How to Die in the Outdoors: 100 Interesting Ways, by Buck Tilton, Brian Thomas (Illustrator)

8. Exploring Tropical Isles and Seas: An Introduction for the Traveler and Amateur Naturalist, by Frederic Martini

7. A Naturalist's Guide to the Tropics, by John Venerella (Translator), Kitty Capua (Illustrator), Marco Lambertini

6. Primitive Technology: A Book of Earth Skills & Primitive Technology II: Ancestral Skills from the Society of Primitive Technology, by David Wescott (Editor), Society of Primitive Technology

5. Ditch Medicine : Advanced Field Procedures For Emergencies, by Hugh Coffee

4. Primitive Wilderness Living & Survival Skills: Naked into the Wilderness, by John McPherson, Geri McPherson

3. *Blueprint for Paradise: How to Live on a Tropic Island, by Ross Norgrove

2. *Henry David Thoreau : A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers / Walden; Or, Life in the Woods / The Maine Woods / Cape Cod (Library of America), by Henry David Thoreau, Robert F. Sayre (Editor)

1. *How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art, by Kathleen Meyer

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