February 12th, 2015

The Red Tree

"That echo chorus lied to me..."

Today we celebrate the life and works of Charles Darwin. We celebrate the courage of intellect and conviction and our triumph over superstition. Today we celebrate the miracle of life on Earth. Today is Darwin Day. Happy 206th, Professor Darwin. To quote Carl Sagan:

The secrets of evolution are death and time — the deaths of enormous numbers of lifeforms that were imperfectly adapted to the envirnoment; and time for a long succession of small mutations that were by accident adaptive, time for the slow accumulation of patterns of favorable mutations. Part of the resistance to Darwin and Wallace derives from our difficulty in imagining the passage of the millennia, much less the aeons. What does seventy million years mean to beings who live only one-millionth as long? We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it forever.


Yesterday was, unexpectedly, a very good work day. Aside from attending to all manner of busyness and marginalia, and helping Spooky help Joshi with another Secret Project, and speaking with Jared at Centipede Press about Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales, and attending to various short-story reprints, aside from all that, I did some good pages on the screenplay. They came in a sudden burst. Hopefully, toady will be a repeat performance. And I'm organizing my thoughts for The Aubergine Alphabet. I think A is for Ash. I have a long way to go to Z.

Last night, Kathryn and I talked about living in Oxford, Mississippi.

Later, we watched Mark Pellington's The Mothman Prophecies (2002), based, of course, on John Keel's perfectly ridiculous book of the same name (1975). We'd both seen it before, me in the theatre and Kathryn on VHS. I was pleased to see that the film is as effective as I recall, sort of like an especially good episode of The X-Files crossed with an especially good episode of Fringe. It is worth noting, though, that while the the film claims that the December 15, 1967 collapse of Silver Bridge was never explained, in fact it was explained quite some time before the publication of Keel's book, having been caused by "the failure of a single eyebar in a suspension chain, due to a small defect 0.1 inch (2.5 mm) deep. Analysis showed that the bridge was carrying much heavier loads than it had originally been designed for and had been poorly maintained." Also, the death toll wasn't 36, it was 46. If it seems odd that a film would actually make a disaster seem less disastrous, consider the mystical connotations of the numbers 36 and 37. The film also claims that "mothman" sightings in Point Pleasant ended when the bridge collapsed; this is also not true. But, this is why I watch this sort of thing as fiction. As fiction, I can heartily enjoy – and be creeped out by – complete fucking twaddle.

It's snowing again.

Gradually, By Degrees,
Aunt Beast