f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

May 31, 2007

whale-fare reform

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 10:11 am

whaleG Delta & Dawn:  I can’t decide what to think about the frenzy over Delta and Dawn, the mother-and-calf pair of injured humpback whales, which were discovered way off-course in the Sacramento River two weeks ago, and may have finally made their way back out to sea last night.  See “Whales vanish with the morning fog,” San Jose Mercury News (May 31, 2007) and “Thousands watch wales depart California port,” WISN.com (May 20, 2007).  The California Highway Patrol was unable to discourage folks from clogging the seaside roads trying to get a peek at D&D.  After Lt. Gov. John Garamendi named the whales Delta and Dawn, “after the Helen Reddy song,” CHP acknowledged its losing battle and advised the sight-seakers to bring water and a lot of patience.   Apparently, some whale watchers are quite disappointed that D&D didn’t put on a farewell-and-thankyou show before slipping past the Golden Gate Bridge overnight.  Today’s San Jose Mercury News gives a taste of the disappointment:

whaleDelta [AP photo] The dozens of rescue team members who tried to lure them with whale songs and push them with banging pipes, who scared them with fire hoses and nursed their wounds with giant syringes of antibiotics, spent Wednesday on the San Francisco Bay wondering which way the mammals went. “If we have learned anything about these two, they are going to do what they want to do, when they want to do it,” said Bernadette Fees, a spokeswoman with the California Department of Fish and Game.

Should we rejoice at the attention paid to Delta and Dawn, seeing it as an outpouring of love and interest for fellow mammals in distress and affirmation of human bonds to nature?  Or is it a sad demonstration that — if you’re not already a celebrity — you have to be very large or very cute to capture the fancy of the average American?  Perhaps it is both, and the episode will be an inspiration for some good haiku or senryu.  One result of the tale of Dawn and Delta is an interesting column in today’s New York Times,  “Speak Whale to Me” (May 31, 2007).  In it, professor of philosophy and music, David Rothenberg point out just how hard it is to figure out why whales do what they do.  For example, he says: 

“Because only the males sing, scientists long assumed that their songs were mating calls directed at females — like bird song in spring. But observation of humpback whale behavior has revealed that females actually pay no attention to the males’ singing. . . . So marine biologists tried playing feeding calls. This strategy worked 22 years ago when Humphrey, another humpback, was stuck in the same river. This time, it didn’t work.”

Rothenberg concludes, “It’s not easy to tell great whales what to do; it is even harder to figure out what drives them. But it is encouraging to see how many people have rallied round the cause of this stranded family.”


migrating whales  whaleG
all our footprints
wash away


unpacking a new home —
do whales strand themselves
in this bay?


…….. by paul m. – from The Heron’s Nest 
“migrating whales” – THN Poem of the Year  [2002]


hands on the rail . . .
the humpback whale
doesn’t resurface

…………….. by Randy Brooks, WHR Vintage Haiku of Randy Brooks


whale2 Speaking of not paying attention to males, check out Linda Greenhouse’s article, “Oral Dissents Give Ginsburg a New Voice on Court,” New York Times (May 31, 2007). Greenhouse say that the current term of the U.S. Supreme Court “will be remembered as the time when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg found her voice, and used it.”  Going against her collegial, get-along posture of prior years:

“Both in the abortion case the court decided last month and the discrimination ruling it issued on Tuesday, Justice Ginsburg read forceful dissents from the bench. “

Greenhouse points out that “To read a dissent aloud is an act of theater that justices use to convey their view that the majority is not only mistaken, but profoundly wrong.”  The article has quotes from numerous Ginsberg watchers on why she’s decided to speak out at this time.  [There is an NYT editorial today, “Injustice 5, Justice 4” (May 31, 2007), that sees this week’s pay discrimination lawsuit decision, Ledbetter v. Goodyear, as “the latest indication that a court that once proudly stood up for the disadvantaged is increasingly protective of the powerful.” You can read about the case at Legal Blog Watch, which has lots of links to other coverage of Court’s decision.]


 A Haibun by Andrew Riutta

 – Andrew Riutta

In two days she turns just twenty-one. Twenty-one. So young. So pale. I tell her she should stay away from the bars. I tell her she should go out west and save the whales, or a redwood-or the endangered laughter of working-class people who go out on porches at dusk to hum the same hymns over and over in their heads that their grand- parents did. She tells me that saving herself from her father is hard enough.

peaceful autumn-
a window display
of hunter’s orange
 – andrew riutta – Simply Haiku Summer 2006


murky sky—
the tug of emptiness
on a fish pole


distant foghorn—
a perfect stone
skips forever

…………………. by Andrew Riutta
“murky sky” – World Haiku Review Peace Bridge
“distant foghorn” – Haiku Harvest (Vol. 5:1, Fall/Winter 2005)


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