Cary Neeper

Writer, Blogger, and Painter -- esteeming life wherever and whatever it might be.

Check out Critical Non-fiction for links to reviews in Goodreads.com

COMPLEXITY
Exploration of complexity, its indicators, embedded chaos, and value in human organizations.

Forty Years with Birds and Dogs
Care and Respect

The Power of Story

December 19, 2012

Tags: Human Self-Image, Sustainability/Steady State Economics

The January 2013 issue of National Geographic "Why We Explore" brought it home. "The fastest spaceship ever built--the Helios 2 probe, launched in 1976...attained a top speed of 157,000 miles per hour . At that rate, a spacecraft headed to Proxima
Centauri, the nearest star, would take more than 17,000 years to make the 24-trillion-mile journey...some scientists...find the prospect of eternal confinement to two [Earth and Mars] small planets in a vast galaxy just too depressing to contemplate." (Emphasis mine.)

Where is this coming from? Are we unable to appreciate the awesome beauty and diversity of Earth, still partly unexplored and largely unknown by most of us? I suspect that the depressed scientists have been imprinted (as have we all?) with decades of stories, powerful stories, assuming humans can and should travel to the stars, even explore the galaxies and/or subdue them. True, star travel has also been irresponsibly oversold, but perhaps the power of stories based on time-bending warp drives has warped our perspective--the ability to sense the enormity of universal space and time.

Can stories really be so powerful? Religions of the world know they can be. In this holiday season, we know they can be powerful indeed . (more…)

A Review of Pi, Dogs, Geese and Family Values

December 11, 2012

Tags: Animal Consciousness, Writing and Publishing, Domestic Bird Care

Cary with DeeDee, Bobbi and Lucy. The chickens are lost in the shadows.
Yesterday we saw the movie "The Life Of Pi"--a thoughtful exploration of religion and meaning and the animal mind--a masterful use of 3-d to express nature's power and human fragility and beauty without going over the top too often. The effects did not steal too much story time, just a little, with lengthy storms. What impressed me most was the director's restraint 1) in leaving the large questions unanswered, and 2) letting the human be a human and the tiger be a tiger.

Tigers are not dogs, nor are dingoes or wolves, though they share genes with domestic dogs. I suspect coyotes' tameness/civilized gene packages may be changing with their urbanization as dogs' did. The many nuances of eye contact tell the tale.

Geese also do eye contact, but it's very hard to read, maybe because their facial muscles don't attractively contract the orange ring that encircles their eyeballs. Or maybe I lose the eye contact in the constant honking they do when faced with a creature who leaves them puzzled.

My geese--Lucy and Bobbi--honk every morning at the three ducks, establishing their dominance over the favored area in the pen. Then everyone quiets down to do their morning washup, using their fluffy heads as very effective washrags--which bring me to the point of this blog--the concept of family. Dogs are family. They've had 50,000 or more years to refine their tameness gene cluster. They understand my emotional outbursts, and I understand theirs.

I don't understand goose Bobbi, as Pi failed to understand the tiger. We meet on a primitive level all right--the level where hunger and safety and dominance are clear, but Bobbi is also family. I am committed to her well being, to her health, her happiness. (I do believe she has such a thing.) Geese hate being handled, so I don't try to pet them, and I restrain them only when I must, to tend to a torn toenail or to put them into a dog crate for a fire evacuation. I provide shelter from the cold, and I will never prepare Bobbi's carcass for Christmas dinner--because she trusts me. She eats corn and Honey Dew melon rind from my hand. In fact, she expects goodies to appear every afternoon at 4, for she follows me to the pen when I come out with the kitchen scrap bucket. She doesn't know I'm a carnivore and never will, for I will never stalk her. She's a creature of schedule, like most animals, but she's puzzled. She hasn't got me figured out. I'm not quite flock. Lucy knows that; she was raised by 4H girls. But Bobbi hasn't learned what family is. Yet.

Two Duck Marriages--Of Sorts

December 3, 2012

Tags: Animal Consciousness, Domestic Bird Care

Tomorrow is launch day for THE WEBS OF VAROK, and here I am talking about ducks instead of gorgeous, funny aliens. It may not be obvious at first, but as you get into WEBS you'll see that it's all related, the issues I'm talking about here. They just get a little more serious in WEBS because they involve humans--and you know how humans are about such things. For a sneak preview go to
ArchivesofVarok.com or my blog on Goodreads.

So--two duck marriages, sort of: Colin Tudge uses the term in his wonderful book THE BIRD, (Another find in Hamilton Books) so I've decided I can, too. (more…)
2013 Nautilus Silver Award YA and 2012 Foreward Finalist Adult Science Fiction




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A Place Beyond Man
Authors Guild Edition 2011


The Oil Patch Project--Mystery team Cary and Don
See Oil & Gas tag above.