Suzanne Wilson


I believe that once or twice I’ve commented on the fiction of Jim Harrison. Here’s the beginning of his poem Suzanne Wilson:

Is it better to rake all the leaves

in one’s life into a pile

or leave them scattered? That’s a good question

as questions go, but then they’re easier to burn

in one place.

I’m sure I’m doing Harrison a disservice by not including the whole text (so you get the whole idea), instead leaving it up to you to find a copy of Saving Daylight (2006), page 101, on your own.

Meanwhile, my copy is due back at the library tomorrow….

“Tree islands”


The way cool thing about anthropological archaeology is that anything interesting can be considered within the field. Poetry? Yup. History? Yup. Climate change. Yup. Keeps me coming back!

This colorful image is from a report by Margo Schwadron, on the web from the venerable journal Antiquity, examining prehistoric settlement of the south Florida Everglades. Given the effects of small fluctuations in sea levels on this terrain, where people lived should directly reflect when that spot of ground was a) above water, and b) accessible.

Love those smeary-appearing “tree islands”. Just imagine how many bugs would attack you if you visited them.

Olmec debate


Got distracted thinking about the Olmec and the Mother/Sister Culture debate.

A few relevant references….

Blomster, Jeffrey P., Hector Neff, and Michael D. Glascock. 2005. Olmec Pottery Production and Export in Ancient Mexico Determined through Elemental Analysis. Science 307:1068–72.

Flannery, Kent V., and Joyce Marcus. 2000. Formative Mexican Chiefdoms and the Myth of the “Mother Culture”. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 19:1–37.

Flannery, Kent V., Andrew K. Balkansky, Gary M. Feinman, David C. Grove, Joyce Marcus, Elsa M. Redmond, Robert G. Reynolds, Robert J. Sharer, Charles S. Spencer, and Jason Yaeger. 2005. Implications of New Petrographic Analysis for the Olmec “Mother Culture” Model. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102:11219–23.

Grove, David C. 1997. Olmec Archaeology: A Half Century of Research and Its Accomplishments. Journal of World Prehistory 11:51–101.

Pool, Christopher A. 2006. Current Research on the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Journal of Archaeological Research 14:189–241.

Wilk, Richard R. 2004. Miss Universe, the Olmec and the Valley of Oaxaca. Journal of Social Archaeology 4:81–98.

Shrimp comment?


I promise—making shrimp our entree for this evening was not intended as a comment on the Academy nominees….

Park users

Lots of visitors to the leash-free area in Piedmont Park today. At the other end of the park, we saw someone sitting on a blanket, his back to us, and his dog(?) with it’s rear end only visible. Tail looked funny. Spine angle extending to tail: also odd. A few minutes later, I finally saw the front of the critter. Pig.

Cholesterol special!

Made Spaghetti Carbonara for the first time today—last time, too. It would be difficult to raise the cholesterol in the dish; it has bacon, bacon fat, eggs, heavy cream, parmesano reggiano, and, just to make sure there’re plenty of carbos, there’s of course the pasta. Yummy. Worthy of only a rare indulgence!

Reflective façades

Outside the perimeter, here in Atlanta, means several things. One is tall, reflective buildings. —A few places….

And traffic! —Many places…. (Not shown.)



Vocabulary of the day: geopiety. Basically, a kind of topophilia.

And there’s nothing dirty about either one!

Illustrator map-making


What you’re looking at here is a moderately high-resolution aerial photo (more or less) of an eroded hill-peak down in the Mixteca Alta (see this page), with some shapes drawn on it (thank you Illustrator). The shapes variously represent temple-mounds (the white squares), residential terraces (those long shapes rather like bacilli), and retaining walls (the long grey wide lines).

The whole mess is a map of a residential and civic-ceremonial architectural cluster slopped across a ridge, part of a now-abandoned community that extended across a spider-shaped set of ridge tops beyond the portion shown here, and had several thousand residents in its heyday. Occupation spanned the Classic and Postclassic (roughly), but now the hilltop is pretty eroded making discerning the architecture not only difficult while standing there, but hair-pullingly difficult if you’re trying to make this map—my task for today!

Metal awnings


Few awnings like this survive in our neighborhood today. Even this one may be upgraded soon…. Nice pounding rain sound, as I recall, right up there with the echo in an attic under an uninsulated tin roof….

Love those stripes, too!