Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mark Twain to Walt Whitman

This transcript was sent round the office today (what great people I work with at Twitter!) and it took my breath away somewhat. Mark Twain wrote this glorious letter to Walt Whitman on Walt's 70th birthday in 1889:

Hartford, May 24/89

To Walt Whitman:

You have lived just the seventy years which are greatest in the world’s history & richest in benefit & advancement to its peoples. These seventy years have done much more to widen the interval between man & the other animals than was accomplished by any five centuries which preceded them.

What great births you have witnessed! The steam press, the steamship, the steel ship, the railroad, the perfected cotton-gin, the telegraph, the phonograph, the photograph, photo-gravure, the electrotype, the gaslight, the electric light, the sewing machine, & the amazing, infinitely varied & innumerable products of coal tar, those latest & strangest marvels of a marvelous age. And you have seen even greater births than these; for you have seen the application of anesthesia to surgery-practice, whereby the ancient dominion of pain, which began with the first created life, came to an end in this earth forever; you have seen the slave set free, you have seen the monarchy banished from France, & reduced in England to a machine which makes an imposing show of diligence & attention to business, but isn’t connected with the works. Yes, you have indeed seen much — but tarry yet a while, for the greatest is yet to come. Wait thirty years, & then look out over the earth! You shall see marvels upon marvels added to these whose nativity you have witnessed; & conspicuous above them you shall see their formidable Result — Man at almost his full stature at last! — & still growing, visibly growing while you look. In that day, who that hath a throne, or a gilded privilege not attainable by his neighbor, let him procure his slippers & get ready to dance, for there is going to be music. Abide, & see these things! Thirty of us who honor & love you, offer the opportunity. We have among us 600 years, good & sound, left in the bank of life. Take 30 of them — the richest birth-day gift ever offered to poet in this world — & sit down & wait. Wait till you see that great figure appear, & catch the far glint of the sun upon his banner; then you may depart satisfied, as knowing you have seen him for whom the earth was made, & that he will proclaim that human wheat is more than human tares, & proceed to organize human values on that basis.

Mark Twain

Thanks @shinypb.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Day 245

Lux turned thirty-five weeks old yesterday. Here's a photo I took on her 245th day:

Day 245

It's not true that I take a picture of her every day. I aim for at least every Saturday (marking the weeks) plus some opportunistic mid-week shots every now and then. Still, from this accidental project I've now collected quite a few photos at http://isaa.ch/thebeean. I'm trying not to feel pressured.

Bean Compendium

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Rest of Hawaii

one third of the world's pineapples are grown in Hawaii #hawaiifactsless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

After the tsunami was a surreal calm. The next day in the hotel lobby there was this:

and people selling t-shirts saying "I survived the tsunami: 3/11/11" (it's the American way, yo!). We got to keep our fifth-floor ocean-view room for another day (suck it, Priceline) and then left the hotel for our next accommodations. Time to downshift for a couple of days; we headed to a hut in the jungle near Hoolawa Bay.

In the hut: no drinking water, no bath, no shower, no crib, no heating, no AC. One 6" centipede.

Outside the hut: ah-ha! The shower (fed from rainwater):

our hawaiian jungle shack has a shower

And so it goes.

From the hut we explored the Hana Highway. It's a whole thing (it's got its own Wikipedia page) but the most spectacular sights aren't especially baby-friendly. Out guidebook suggested 300ft rocky scrambles, 25ft sheer climbs and 100ft swims to see the most amazing waterfalls. With a seven-month-old it's just not going to happen.

But we did the drive, hung out on the beach at Hana Bay, and came back again. It was a great way to end the vacation.

First waterfall we saw on the Hana Highway:

Thick bamboo:
Hana Bay:
Hana Bay
Wendy and Lux:
Wendy and Lux
The Highway itself:
Hana Highway

The rest of the photos are on Flickr.