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VOLUME 2, NUMBER 20    <>  MONDAY, May 21, 2001

this & that

fence2.jpg (358651 bytes)Mid-Market weekly report. The city continues to rearrange the furniture. First, it removes the benches from U.N. Plaza. Then, it removes Food Not Bombs from the same place. Now the minions of DPW have wandered around the corner to McAllister and Larkin, where a sunny grassy space has long provided a place of leisure to people with no other place to go. The grassy space remains, but it is now off limits, guarded by a tall, uninviting cast-iron fence. The last person I saw hanging out there was truly a dangerous-looking character, as he lay upon his sleeping bag, engrossed in a novel. Makes you wonder where they’ll hit next. The library?

Boys and girls, can you say nucular? Homesick for the fine Mr. Rogers cardigan that Jimmy Carter wore? That may be just what the Republican folks in Washington are counting on, according to a May 16 article by Ben White in Grist Magazine. Mind you, he’s only working from a reliably leaked memo, but White suggests that “the Bushies will try to change the terms of the debate and, in the words of the memo, attempt to ‘Carterize the Democrats.’ They will let you know that detractors in the Democratic Party and the environmental movement would like nothing more than to plop you back in the middle of the 1970s energy crisis when lines for gas snaked through neighborhoods and a besweatered Jimmy Carter pursed his lips and told you to flip off the lights, turn down the air conditioner, and eat your peas.” The energy crisis? It’s really a lifestyle problem, and “whoever captures the quality-of-life argument wins.”

The next nexus. The Place-To-Be this Friday is the Luggage Store, at 1007 Market, where a plethora of poets and politicians will do what they do best — string words together in the service of serious subjects. Among the speakers: Supervisor Matt Gonzalez, and poets Jack Hirschman and Agneta Falk. The time, 7:00 p.m. For more information, call 415 255-5971.

When pesti-cide becomes people-cide. According to a BBC report on May 9, the human beings of this earth have outdone themselves in ridding their towns and farm of unwanted vermin — and in the process, they’ve very nearly done themselves in. It’s not just what’s sprayed on your veggies that’ll get you. It’s what’s been left behind after the job is completed. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says the amount of pesticide waste that has been left lying around, particularly in the developing world, amounts to some 500,000 tons, at least five times the amount it estimated just two years ago. The FAO is urging to pesticide companies to help clean up the mess that created this “lethal legacy of obsolete pesticides.”

More on the poetry front. A computer haiku, courtesy of Peter Strauss:

Your file is so big.

It might be very useful.

But now it is gone.