I thought I would share a few links to some interesting blog posts that I’ve come across recently.
Although the controversy over the proposed Muslim community center in New York City is somewhat outside the geographic focus of the Western Literature Association blog, this post by Simon Moya-Smith (originally posted on I am Not a Mascot and reposted on the always interesting Native Appropriations blog) makes an interesting connection between the actual treatment of western sacred places and the outcry against the community center. Click on the excerpt for a link to the whole article:
Since time immemorial, the Black Hills in South Dakota have been a holy place for the Lakota Sioux – my people. And to the Lakota the Black Hills is where Life began. Although the story of creation significantly differs between Sioux and Christians (our messenger from The Creator came in the form of a woman) Paha Sapa is not unlike Christianity’s Eden in its significance.
But here is where today’s debate over the mosque and my peoples’ sacred site come together: It didn’t matter to the Christians, those innumerable settlers who came west seeking gold, land, riches and religious freedom (ironically) that the Black Hills was our holy site, our sacred location, our Jerusalem. No. What mattered was that their monument – Mount Rushmore – be chiseled into it.
And the key word here is “on,” not “near.” The American Muslim community wants to build their 13-story mosque near the World Trade Center bombing site, not on it. Only if we – American Indians – were lucky enough to have seen Christians build their much coveted religious institutions and monuments to their leaders near our holy sites, and not on them.
Also, to draw your attention to another new blog of interest, the folks associated with the new film adaptation of James Welsh’s Winter in the Blood have started a blog, which has lost of good stuff about the process of making the film (which is now scheduled to start production in spring 2011): The Official Winter in the Blood Film Blog.
For the Weekly Roundup, I thought I would share some links for blogs and websites associated with classic western writers:
The Louis L’Amour Project. This blogger’s ongoing project is “reading a bunch of Louis L’Amour and seeing what happens.” In addition to reviews/commentary on each of the books, each entry includes nice visuals of book covers and covers of magazines in which stories were originally published.
For Louis L’Amour fans, there’s also The Official Louis L’Amour Website.
And I should mention as well a couple of Zane Grey websites:
Zane Grey’s West Society
Zane Grey, Inc.
Surprisingly, I couldn’t find an Owen Wister website, but I’ll offer instead this page on Wister from the Cowboy Poetry website.
For this edition of the Weekly Roundup, I thought I would focus on nature blogs, which may not rival food blogs in terms of sheer numbers, but there are quite a few of them out there. One of the benefits of blogging technology is making the observations of local and regional nature watchers available for a wider audience, which is particularly wonderful for those of us who are fascinated by such events as the migration of Sandhill Cranes but can’t make it to see that event in person.
One of my favorite Montana blogs is Montana Outdoors, which often posts fabulous pictures, including most recently photographs of river moss (the beauty of which I had previously failed to appreciate).
Also of note is this Washington State birdwatcher’s blog, which has nice recent photos of Hairy Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, and Mountain Chickadees.
Picking up on the theme of James Fenimore Cooper, I thought I would include a non-western blog from the Allegany Mountains of western New York, which is notable not only for the Cooper connection but also because of one recent photograph in particular–of a snapping turtle making it’s way across a frozen lake, which is truly something to see.
I’ve been thinking lately that the real growth industry on the internet is blogs about food and cooking. People post recipes, step-by-step photographs of dishes in the making, and describe in sumptuous detail the results of their cooking experiences.
The most recent sensation in food blogging also has a western connection, the Kansas-City based BBQ Addicts blog. At the request of a group of bacon bloggers (food blogging is highly specialized), they posted what they described as the ultimate barbecue bacon recipe, which they dubbed the Bacon Explosion. I’ll go no further than to say that it involves two pounds of bacon and two pounds of sausage. The New York Times reported last month that nearly 400,000 viewers had visited the recipe, and 16,000 websites and blogs had linked to it. The finished product is certainly a sight to behold. I’m not sure I find it exactly appetizing, but it is astonishing.
Another good western-oriented food blog is The Homesick Texan, on which the most recent post is titled Saved by Red Beans and Rice. The recipes here are generally for much healthier fare than the Bacon Explosion, and the commentary from The Homesick Texan is entertaining.
I’ll end with a few more stops on a trip around the West via food blogs:
From Seattle, The Accidental Hedonist
From San Francisco, In Praise of Sardines
From Salt Lake City, Kalyn’s Kitchen
From Honolulu, One Kine Grindz, which also has a nice list of other Hawaii food blogs.
From Colorado, Culinary Colorado
From Albuquerque, Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling Blog)
For the Roundup this week, I thought I’d share some links related to western music, about songs in western films, songs with western themes, etc.
There’s a good discussion of western movie theme music (including a close look at “Do Not Forsake Me” from High Noon) at Western Americana: History of the American West.
There’s a new entry by songwriter Tom Russell on his blog, about recording his new album (Blood in Candlesmoke) in Tucson this month.
I also came across a clip from The Bronze Buckaroo (the black-cast western mentioned in an earlier post) of Herb Jeffries and band singing “Payday Blues.” This is a cool scene (watch for the tap-dancing cowboy), a good fun bunkhouse song well performed by Jeffries and his band.
Jeffries had a long and successful singing career through the 1940s and 1950s, including a stint with the Duke Ellington Band, with whom he performed what was probably his most famous song, “Flamingo.”
A roundup of interesting posts from the western region of the blogosphere:
There are a number of interesting activities associated with the Oscar Micheaux conference at Columbia University this week, including a screening of a work in progress by Lisa Collins, Oscar’s Comeback, a nonfiction short feature about the annual Oscar Micheaux Book and Film Festival in Gregory, South Dakota. The James Agee Cinema Circle blog has more information on this new film.
From the blog of songwriter Tom Russell, a post about his new album and about scouting locations for a new film about the West, California Bloodlines.
As part of a continuing list of Ten Westerns You Must Read, Tainted Archive has just posted #4.
At Western Fiction Review, there’s an interview with western author Jory Sherman.
And finally, in keeping with this weekend’s Grammy Awards and with the theme of western music, an interview with southwestern band Calexico about their new album Carried to Dust (well, new to me anyway, as I just bought it last week).
Please email any links and suggestions you might have for the Weekly Roundup to firstname.lastname@example.org