Ashes and Rising Satellites

The moon was before me, hanging pale in the night sky. She cast her light down across the mirror surface of Chocolate Lake, perfectly aimed to peak just before it reached the snow-covered shore. The brilliant whiteness was a celestial stream upon the ice-stilled water. Behind my screen I was awed.

I’ve been spending less time than usual online in the past week. I’ve had some rejuvenation I needed to undertake in solitude, but I plan to catch up on some short pieces I wish to write before long. Incomplete writings nag at me constantly, so I’ll have no rest unless I write.

Eyes For Telescopes has been one of my favourite bands for a while. From Prince Edward Island, they were one of the strongest acts here in Atlantic Canada. I was rather disappointed to learn that they have ended the band amicably after “five years, three albums and a pair of ECMA nominations.” I greatly enjoyed their first two albums and the one time I was able to see them live. This week I purchased their last album, Third, which I’ll write about soon. For now, know that it’s a thrilling rock album, lo-fi bliss.
Eyes For Telescopes arose from the ashes of Strawberry (my favourite band-no-more from this part of the world) and now other projects are emerging from Eyes. Dan Currie & Double Ought Buckshot produce roots guitar rock that will lift you up and just maybe knock you flat. Pat Deighan sends out songs of many genres, from country to roaring rock. Both have released projects already with Sandbar Music (A mighty fine group of folks also from PEI. “At Sandbar, it is still about the music, the artists, the audience, fairness and honesty.”).

The music fans among you may remember Scratching Post, a pop-metal band fronted by Nicole Hughes (I must admit to having a rather severe crush on her back in the day that may not have fully dissipated. No, I’m sure it hasn’t.) that had the hits “Master of Action,” “Bloodflame,” “Rock Past It” and “Fade Away.” With new members the band has taken on the name Minx and is sharing some blistering new tracks. You may very well be charmed and blown away by “Nothing Left To Die For” and “No One Leaves.”

Post Wodehouse.com is a facinating experiment to test the simple kindness of strangers. Run by “a sociology teacher by day, compulsive scribbler by night,” the experiment involves dropping of stamped and addressed letters in various places and seeing if someone will place it into the mail.

The story goes that PG Wodehouse never went to the post office. He’d throw his letters out the window, stamped and addressed – trusting in passers-by to pick them up and post them. Apparently none of his letters went astray.
It turns out, after some digging, that Wodehouse didn’t even do it. But it did work for someone – his friend, playwright Fred Thompson, from whom he pinched the story. Will it still work today, or has the world changed too much?
Since October 2004 I’ve been collecting names and addresses and writing to people all over the world, then leaving their letters in locations across London, from churches and libraries to train carriages and busy streets. I hope to find out if people are still of a mind to pick up a fallen letter and post it. So far the success rate is about 50%, but I want to find out more. Does it matter where I drop them? Do letters addressed to exotic places have more of a chance? I need more data, which is where you come in. (PW)

I plan to sign up and take part in the experiment myself on Wednesday. I’m not sure where I’ll drop the letter but I look forward to seeing if one can make it to a mail box. People of this part of the world are renowned for their kindness, so I’m hoping someone will show theirs in this simple way.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’m facinated by stories of all stripes. Those of simple people living in unusual circumstances are often the most facinating. The one told in the article Pop.: 1 Plus 5,000 Volumes follows this trend well. It tells of a town with only one resident, a barkeeper-librarian, who cares for her late husband’s large collection of books which he willed be made available as a public library. The story is full of folk charm but also shares some disheartening statistics of America’s great loss of libraries.

Because they run on volunteer labor, making do with the books at hand, rural libraries survive even in tight times like these, when big cities are shutting branches. In California, John Steinbeck’s hometown of Salinas (population 150,000) has announced plans to close all of its libraries by April to save money. But it’s still possible to check out a book in Gaylord, Kan. (population 97), and Strang, Neb. (population 38). (LAT)

This makes the work and generosity of men and women like Rudy and Elsie Eiler truly important to the survival of one of the most vital social institutions. Libraries keep us civilized, keep us rooted in knowledge, provide us with the stories that shape who we are and provide us with a shining beacon of egalitarianism. If you don’t drink down books your mind is bound to be thirsty and no one should be in a literary desert.

6 comments on “Ashes and Rising Satellites

  1. Hello, I'm the postwodehouse girl. Thanks for spreading the word, and I like your blog.

    And thanks very much for the stamp money!

  2. Hello, I'm the postwodehouse girl. Thanks for spreading the word, and I like your blog.

    And thanks very much for the stamp money!

  3. hey guys, i am rudys nephew.my name is collin eiler.i really miss rudy and i hope you guys keep up the good spirit.I just wish people would know what it feels like when someone dies in the famliy that is very important to me.well im goin to do some more reaserch on rudy elsie so peace out yall

  4. hey guys, i am rudys nephew.my name is collin eiler.i really miss rudy and i hope you guys keep up the good spirit.I just wish people would know what it feels like when someone dies in the famliy that is very important to me.well im goin to do some more reaserch on rudy elsie so peace out yall

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