local news & newish bios

Almost a month back in my U.S. base in south Jersey where a nationally reported story was the burning of over 17,000 acres of pineland and homes of people living there when an Air Force training jet let go a flare into the woods. Not the first time pineland fire and destruction in the pines has been caused by the military here. There are the usual political speeches about closing this particular military training area permanently, but I'd be surprised, pleasantly, if that happens.

Not nationally reported was the electrocution and burning of over 35 cats housed in a no-kill shelter in Ocean City, NJ. Something about faulty wiring - not arson, so they say.

Also in Ocean City, a movement to prevent city council from using Amazon rainforest hardwood to rebuild their boardwalk; Wildwood, also a south Jersey shore community, is planning as well to use Amazon trees for their boardwalk. Anyone requirng further information should phone the southern New Jersey co-ordinator for Rainforest Preservation, Georgina Shanley @ 609 398 1934 or e-mail shanleyg2001@yahoo.com.

Meantime the wars go on and the stock market rises.

Unless you have no interest in the subject matter, a rather riveting read is the excellent new biography of Neal Cassady, by David Sandison & Graham Vickers. Many good quotes from interviews with Carolyn. Some snapshots of Luanne Henderson I hadn't seen before. Quite a sad text in many ways I guess, but it does delineate the energies, and it made me have another look at THE FIRST THIRD. & The Green Automobile.

Likewise, unless you have no interest in the materials, a good, if a bit ponderous prose-wise, new biography, perhaps as definitive as we are ever likely to get, of Doc Holliday, by Gary L Roberts. Some interesting speculations about Doc's possible chance meetings with other mythological figures from the West of just over a century ago, like Bonney. The best take on Bonney remains Ondaatje's THE COLLECTED WORKS OF BILLY THE KID.

(Not much in-depth on Curly Bill Brocius in any biography of 19th century Western American gunmen - not quite as cathecting a figure, although a lineal descendant, Bob Brocius, lives on the island of Moorea, and would like to, shall we say, have a word or two with the biographer who wrote a piece he saw which claimed Curly Bill was gay.)