April 3, 2005 |
From Glen Canyon Bridge on U.S. Highway 89, you can see both sides of an argument. To the north is placid Lake Powell, a big, blue tropical cocktail in the arid no man's land of southeastern Utah. It's Exhibit A in the case for letting 42-year-old Glen Canyon Dam stand. To the south is the Colorado River, testily emerging from impoundment, cutting through sheer rock walls on its way to the Grand Canyon, wild and free, the way nature made it. I stood there with my brother, John, in early February, thinking about Seldom Seen Smith, the fictional mastermind of a plot to blow up the Glen Canyon Dam in Edward Abbey's 1975 novel, "The Monkey Wrench Gang.
February 6, 2005 |
For centuries in America, we tended to our dead. People died at home, and relatives prepared the body, laid it out in the parlor and sat by as callers paid final respects. The body was buried in the family cemetery, if there was one, or on the back 40; pieties were spoken, and life went on until the next person died. Death, if not a welcome visitor, was a familiar one. This changed, incrementally, during the Civil War, when others were paid to undertake the job of transporting the bodies of soldiers killed far from home; this is when formaldehyde as an embalming agent was first used.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 5, 2004 |
On a warm July afternoon, an impish second-grader named Dunia Tasejo was running home after buying ice cream on her South Los Angeles street when a car sideswiped her. Knocked to the pavement, she screamed for help, blood pouring from her mouth. Her father bolted from the house to her side. An ambulance rushed her to the nearest hospital: Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center. For Elias and Sulma Tasejo, there was no greater terror than seeing their 9-year-old daughter strapped to a gurney that day in 2000.
November 10, 2004 |
Yasser Arafat, guerrilla chieftain turned statesman who juggled armed resistance and political diplomacy, yet failed to achieve his lifelong dream of creating a Palestinian state, died today. He was 75. Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a top Arafat aide, confirmed to The Associated Press that Arafat died at 4:30 am Paris time. He spoke to reporters at Arafat's headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Arafat, who had been a prisoner in his West Bank headquarters since 2002, died in a military hospital in a Paris suburb.
September 12, 2004 |
Winds blast the bald outcropping 1,530 feet above the Atlantic as the stars melt into the creeping light of dawn. Perched on Cadillac Mountain in America's easternmost national park, I may be the first person in the country to witness this new day. Around me, there are only the crash of the waves, the cry of a seagull and a cold, numbing wind. Acadia National Park, established in 1919 as the first national park east of the Mississippi, dangles from Maine's tortuous coastline on a land formation called Mount Desert Island.
September 12, 2004 |
"Do I believe in elves?" Sveinki repeated my question. Tap, tap, tap, he knocked the ash from his pipe on a chunk of lava. He had done this so often during our four days of hiking together that it had become a comforting soundtrack to our trip. We were leaning against our backpacks, sipping Danish coffee and eating butter cookies in the sun on the shore of a lake within Tjarnargigur crater. "I believe they are an early form of urban legend," he said slowly in the tone of the professor that he is, "or a graphic means of passing on to the next generation local dangers, like wells that have gone bad and such.