these are the timesdirty beloved



William Soutar, the Perth poet

He was educated at Perth Academy.
“That was my eighteenth year while yet the shadow of war was unacknowledged. Then I was one of the fleetest at the Academy; one of the strongest; first in my year at most things; I was writing poetry; I was in love; I was popular both in the classroom and the playing field. I never reached this condition of living fullness again except in brief moments.”
This was written in 1937 when he was already permanently confined to bed.

He remembered local worthies too:
Kirsty Hogg of Dunkeld, “byord’nar fond of kale” ; Teenie Dot of Madderty; Meg Murtrie from Methven with nine children, “wha lauch’t at a’ mishanter” , or Jonathan Maconachie, “the beadle o’ Kinclaven” and many more.
Whan Gowdan are the Carse-lands
Braw are the Grampian Mountains
Whan simmer licht is still;
And gowdan are the Carse-lands
Ablow the Corsie Hill.
Yonder the gowdan steeple
Spires up frae the auld toun,
And the brig wides through the water
Owre far awa for soun’.
Sauls that are stark and nesh:
Sauls that wud dree the day:
Sauls that are fain for flesh
But canna win the wey.

Hae ye the unco sicht
That sees atween and atween
This world that lowes in licht:
Yon world that hasna been?

It is owre late for fear,
Owre early for disclaim;
Whan ye come hameless here
And ken ye are at hame.

... a dowager Countess of Strathmore who entered into a second ill-fated marriage. The account of her bitter experience impelled Thackeray to write his romance of sordid life entitled Barry Lyndon.
In some editions of that romance, a note by the author explains its foundation in history. The unhappy woman wrote about her wretched experience, the letter being described as the most damning indictment of a husband ever written by a wife.
Even in the last decade of Queen Victoria’s reign many Carse folk did not care to pass the Bogle Brig at night.
Electric Scotland
In the 16th century, Janet Douglas married the Sixth Lord of Glamis. When he died she was left unprotected and exposed to the full wrath of James V who had a deep and vicious hatred of all the Douglas clan. Determined to get his hands on Glamis Castle and avenge himself on his hated enemy, James accused Lady Janet of witchcraft. She and her son were imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle’s dark and dank dungeons.
Nobody believed that Janet was a witch, being beautiful and kind.
...James ordered her to be punished nonetheless.
Janet was tortured, her servants were put on the rack and stretched and her young 16-year-old son, the heir to Glamis, was made to watch his mother’s agony, before experiencing it all for himself first-hand. In the end, they confessed.
Lady Janet was convicted and on 17 July, 1537, she was burned alive.
When James V died, Lady Janet’s son was released and parliament restored Glamis to him.
Glamis Castle
Diane Maclean/Scotsman 21.Jan.05
bonus link:
The Monster of Glamis
"Wentworth-Day describes a tale whereby a workman carrying out renovation at Glamis in the early 1900s found the secret passage, and explored it, and became "alarmed" at what he found there. The Earl and his lawyer were summoned from London, and they stopped the work and interrogated the man. The result of this was that he was bribed into silence and emigration (to Australia) with several hundred thousand pounds of hush money."


'not titled [Man driving a car]
Mathias Kauage
Imagining Papua New Guinea

"This exhibition celebrates 30 years of independence of Australia’s nearest neighbour. Stories and images, both traditional and imaginary, are recorded in pen, pencil, woodcuts and screenprints – all new forms of expression to artists from the region."


The A9 map beta is astounding and a little scary in its photographical accuracy concerning the two areas I'm familiar with that I checked before writing this.

The Obligation to Endure: Art & Ecology since Silent Spring

"Despite the seminal influence of Silent Spring, the battle that Rachel Carson fought on behalf of all living things is a long way from being won," said Nick Debs, curator of the exhibit. "We are increasingly polluting our water and air and are causing irreparable harm to the biosphere."
New York Academy of Sciences
link ArtCal


Ultrasonic Songs of Male Mice

"Here, we provide a quantitative description of the ultrasonic vocalizations of the adult male mouse, and show that they display unexpected richness, including several syllable types organized into phrases and motifs. Thus, these vocalizations display the characteristics of song . Different males, even though genetically identical, show small but significant differences in syllable usage and the temporal structure of their songs. These results indicate that communication among mice may be more complex than previously appreciated."
Timothy E. Holy/Zhongsheng Guo
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology,
Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
PLoS Biology December 2005
Popular story in the news feeds, but the Plos link has...wav files! Of mice! Singing!
This small file gives some hint as to what's what.
This 1.6 mb file is world-changing.
The single most significant thing the Internet has shown me, right there.
There are graphs, also:
Male Mice Vocalize in the Ultrasound

The Roosevelt family (detail) no date

The woman on the right is a ringer for my mother at that age; she also looks a great deal like Bob Dylan, which explains some of the confusion of my youth, I expect.
My mother's people were, before they came out to California, from Oklahoma by way of Kansas and Texas. Scots-Irish, Scots, Irish, French, etc.
The original linkage that started this is something like bloggy > Dumbo Arts Center (esp. Kathe Burkhart) > Virgil Marti (which eventually sort of recursively led to James Wagner) > OKGenWeb, whose url has the string "marti" included in it because the sitemaster, whose name is Marti, is ill, and the person running it in her stead did so to honor her.
We wish her well, and take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to all the contributors who've made the OKGen site the treasure it is.
All the images except where otherwise noted are from there.

John N Williams courting Parrilla Montgomery
on the Ferry at Webbers Falls
Muskogee county, Oklahoma

Sarah Ballard Dryden, center, probably at the wedding
of Kitty Ballard and John B. Vincent (detail)
April 8, 1901

Vincent Family page at rootsweb
Another Vincent family photograph:

late 1890's at the Bent Creek homestead of Nicholas B. Vincent
(or, perhaps, the adjacent homestead of his son, Hiram J. Vincent)


Those are sod houses.
An image from the U.S. National Archives and records Administration:
Teacher and children in front of sod schoolhouse
Woods Co., Okla. Terr., ca. 1895

Something of the tenor of their daily lives shows in the posture and expression of the children, though at least part of that must come from the seriousness of being photographed, and the strangeness of having to sit still and stare at a man who's doing basically nothing but hiding behind a small box on legs.
How young the teacher is, with the bell in her hand.
Not all the sod houses were squalid and dark. I've lived in rougher rooms than this one.
These images are from the Library of Congress but they don't have pages of their own.
Sod was the turf under the prairie grasses that covered what's called the Great Plains in the US. It turns out that the grasses, and the buffalo that lived on them, and to an extent the indigenes, had an inter-relationship that worked to everyone's advantage, once they got accustomed to it. The disruption of that ecological harmony was a primary cause of the Dust Bowl, another significant part of Oklahoma history.
The country was young, and like all young things, a little naive.
And even then, there were images of mystery, if you knew where and how to look.
There's a lot of hard work visible in this picture, and a lot more right behind it:
Jordan Log Cabin and the Charlie Jordan Family
"This was Charlie & Ellen's first home in St. Louis, Oklahoma after their marriage. The log cabin belonged to Charlie's father. It was the William Thomas Jordan old home place. Taken around late 1912 or early 1913. Vera looks to be about a year old."

These folks were no strangers to hard work, either:

The William Duckworth Family
Okmulgee County, OK 1913

Here's a bunch a fellas down at the axe-handle factory.

It's easy to read into a photograph, that's one of the reasons this kind of immersion is so easy for me to get lost in, but at the same time there's an unprovable contact with what's there, at least I believe there is.
I'm thinking a lot about decency these days, how rare it's getting, how small a thing it is, but how much impact it has when it comes your way. I like to think something shows through from these families that's decent, not in the way the word's come to mean prim and puritanical, but straightforward, what it's always meant - upright and relatively virtuous.
"A Hearty Welcome To All"
Samuel Thomas "Tom" McGuire family
There were at least as many characters per capita in Oklahoma a hundred years ago as there are today, probably a few more.

Polly Belle Barnes
with an unknown friend from her school days


Unknown Man, Hartshorne, Indian Territory
Babe and Earnest Sweat 1910-1920 Osage County, OK.
Jesse Jerome Stewart and Maggie Mae Duncan,
married August 10, 1907 in Eufaula, Oklahoma, Indian Territory. They lived on High Early Mountain.They had 13 children.
When things got a little too individual and threatened to get out of hand, or did, there were always groups like the Anti-HorseThief Association to step in and do what had to be done.
Bill Fossett was a lawman in the Territory who rode some with the AHTA. Fossett wasn't exactly a Pinkerton but he did do some security work for the railroad interests. Later on in life he was appointed U.S. Marshall by Teddy Roosevelt, which brings us almost full circle here.
Jesse James had way too much familiarity from the Pinkertons. In a botched phosphor-bombing of his family home, when they thought he was inside though he wasn't, his mother's arm was blown off. His mother was not an outlaw. His step-father, a fairly crippled man and not at all young, was hung from a tree and seriously abused in an attempt to get him to divulge Jesse's whereabouts. Jesse James was and is a folk hero for the same reasons Robin Hood was and is a folk hero, and the Pinkertons are reviled by many for the same reasons the Sheriff of Nottingham is reviled.
Susan M. Dodd wrote a fine book about Jesse James called "Mamaw". Which brings us even closer to full circle, now.
Except for some obligatory gratuitous chicken imagery, that is.

Woman feeding chickens
And this from LoC, which is what I imagine a terraformed Mars might be like.



"Up close, Mr Angry is on the left and Mrs Calm is on the right -- move back six feet and they switch places!"
If you're near-sighted you can do it sitting down.

"...but this documentary --structured as a court to try evidence about the existence of this elusive animal -- keeps the woo-woo out and all the possible science in..."

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