Monday, July 31, 2006

Word of the Day

Word of the Day

anastrophe (n)

Inversion of the normal syntactic order of words

"Mrs. Woolf also makes use of other figures of speech, such as anastrophe (the deliberate inversion of word order)..."
--Monarch Notes, Works of Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse

Thanks to my Star Wars-obsessed offspring, I'm aware that the most famous anastropher (is that a word?) in contemporary popular culture is Yoda:

"Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh! Excitement. Heh! A Jedi craves not these things."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Consciousness Streaming

Consciousness Streaming

Took my son to the orthodontist today and was surprised to see that all the "dentist" chairs were equipped with widescreen TVs. A DVD of some Bruce Willis movie, in which he portrays an "image consultant," was playing. More painful than a toothache?... Listened, briefly, to "Z-100," the "number one hits station" in the car. They were playing some "new music," which consisted of a three-note ostinato competing with some forgettable and oddly passionless rap lyrics. An ugly, humorless song, definitely not Top 40 material (in my admittedly non-expert opinion), and it went on and on for about five minutes. Payola?... Wickedly hot today. While I was out walking around, doing various errands, a mixture of sweat and sunscreen ran into my eyes, which made them sting like hell. I suppose I should wear a sweatband around my head. Better to look like a bit of an idjit than to go blind... Why don't I... take all my loose change to the coin machine at the supermarket?

Visual Version

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Make some fireworks

Boom

Create some fireworks (requires Java).

A childhood memory: driving with my parents and siblings one muggy summer night to see a fireworks display in a nearby town. When we got there, we sat on the hood of the car to watch the pyrotechnics -- all except for my little brother, who curled up on the floor behind the driver's seat to escape the thunderous booms.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry

In Your Dreams

A fisherman becomes a flounder, then swims off
into the mouth of a sperm whale.

The whale spits out a howling baby,
which grows up into a weeping widow.

A woman jumps off a twenty-storey building
and bursts into a million ball bearings.

They roll everywhere and make us slip
and crack like china dolls.

Condors descend and fly off with the pieces,
then drop them onto an orange desert.

Millions of cacti sprout and point their spikes
into a blackening sky.

Rain falls for the first time in twenty years,
and rivers wander off to the sea.

A fisherman drops his hook off a dock
and waits for something to happen.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Found elsewhere

Nota Bene

A website entitled Imagining the Tenth Dimension might also be called String Theory for Dummies -- but it's still hard to understand. What it most effectively conveys is how limited our minds are.

~~~

"Things I Saw with My Own Eyes," over at Whiskey River, is a wonderful poem by Dan Chiasson.

~~~

There's a description on Amazon.com of the yet-to-be-released new Thomas Pynchon novel. Apparently, Pynchon wrote the blurb himself. Here's an amusing excerpt: "Spanning the period between the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I ... With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred." (via Maud Newton)

~~~

The blogger formerly known as Wanderlust is questioning everything these days. I guess.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Word of the Day

Word of the Day

hesternal (adj)

Of yesterday

"I passed up a side street, one of those deserted ways that abound just off the big streets, resorts, apparently, for such people and things as are not quite strident or not quite energetic enough for the ordinary glare of life; dim places, fusty with hesternal excitements and the thrills of yesteryear."
--Rupert Brooke, Letters from America

Speaking of the "thrills of yesteryear," I've taken to riding a bike in the local park in the evenings, something I haven't done -- at least on a regular basis -- since I was 13 or 14, I think. It can be quite thrilling, what with all the other bikes, baby strollers, joggers and urban hikers I have to share the byways with.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Consciousness Streaming

Consciousness Streaming

Visited a sci-fi store in New York today with my son. It's called Forbidden Planet. I thought I'd see nothing but teenagers there, but I wasn't even the oldest person shopping. I saw pre-teens to senior citizens perusing the action figures and comic books. Interesting... I've started taking fish oil capsules. They seem to have a calming effect (not that I'm particularly stressed right now). Maybe, like the Tin Man, I need a lube job... The problem with having central AC in a two-storey house is that it's always a little too warm upstairs and a little too cool downstairs (heat rises). Still, when it's 97 degrees (36 C) outside, I shouldn't complain... I'm feeling a bit curious about why a strange woman was staring at me in an elevator today. I get that sometimes. People think they know me from somewhere... Why don't I... create my own alphabet?

Visual Version

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Writers on Writing

Writers on Writing

I like this page of quotations by writers about writing. As you might expect, they're quite pithy.

"Know something, sugar? Stories only happen to people who can tell them." --Allan Gurganus

Monday, July 17, 2006

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry

Gold Coast

So many ghosts on First Street.
You can almost hear their whispered

lament: Something about dying
as these hoary bricks

crumble before towering phalluses,
the 24-karat ingot weight

of your spectacular
views and mortgages.

So quaint, you think.
First a factory floor,

then the coldwater flat
of an artist.

And you "love" artists.
You love them to death.

You'll even keep a few
around, like pets,

jesters in the court
of the golden man.

But there's a charge
for visions evicted,

portraits unpainted,
scraps never reimagined

into intricate mosaics
and maps of the mind,

for the musician's
silenced grace note

that might, for once,
have moved you.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Found elsewhere

Nota Bene

Dark Lanes has a list of hilarious chemists' last words. "And now, the taste test."

~~~

Check out these abstract paintings by Cheeta. Not bad for a chimpanzee, eh? (I especially like this one.) And yes, this is THE Cheeta from the old Tarzan movies. He's retired from acting but is still painting at age 74. There's an article about him here. (via 2 Blowhards)

~~~

"It promises to be a long summer," says Baghdad Burning. "We're almost at the mid-way point, but it feels like the days are just crawling by. It's a combination of the heat, the flies, the hours upon hours of no electricity and the corpses which keep appearing everywhere."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Iraq War Memorial - Know War

Know War

An Iraq War memorial

Word of the Day

Word of the Day

jeremiad (n)

A long lament or complaint, or an angry harangue, derived from the name of the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah.

"...virtually every one of Albee's plays can be read as an American jeremiad, which Sacvan Bercovitch has called 'a nationwide ritual of progress [that] contributed to the success of the republic.'"
--Lincoln Konkle, "Good, Better, Best, Bested: The Failure of American Typology in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

Woolf is one of my favorite plays. I even wrote a paper on it in college. Or a few papers, if I recall. It can be analyzed from several angles: political, Freudian, rhetorical, dramatic, etc. George and Martha...hmmm.

"I said I was impressed. I'm beside myself with jealousy. What do you want me to do, throw up?"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Consciousness streaming

Consciousness Streaming

Ever driven Route I-78 in New Jersey during rush hour? I'm doing it twice a day this week, dodging tractor-trailers at 70 mph. Yesterday, someone in a silver Corvette drove across the raised median between the local and express lanes, right in front of me, and then sped off, weaving through the heavy traffic at about 100 miles an hour. Sometimes I wonder if these drivers think they're playing a video game... I thought I had left my favorite belt at the security checkpoint at the airport (I usually take it off before attempting to walk through the metal detector), but I just found it curled up in my suitcase. I guess I didn't wear it that day. Sometimes I'm amazed at my absent-mindedness about these little things... Image on a Tarot card: A man with a severed head floating in space with a couple of tree branches across his back (two of wands). The meaning is supposedly "be a good listener." Or else?... Why don't I... make eye contact with everyone I pass during the day? Is it illegal or something?

Visual Version

Monday, July 10, 2006

How people read web content

An "F" in Reading

Here's some interesting (and perhaps disturbing) results from an eye-tracking study that shows that people read web pages -- including blogs, I assume -- in a roughly F-shaped pattern. They read the first few lines horizontally,
then
move
down
a bit and read some more horizontally, but typically not as much as at first.
Then
their
eyes
move
down
the
page
as
they
scan
for
interesting
content.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Skyline view

My 'hood



A view of New York from a local park in Jersey City, NJ.

You can see more of my pics at Channel Z

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry

Eric's Hangover

Not hell, no,
but a street--

broken glass,
chicken bones.

Does no one stop
for the light?

The sun's
a naked lightbulb.

Someone's been drinking
golden Absolut

or was it
apricot brandy?

A patrol car
wailing:

turnpike pile-up,
some emergency

in my head, my head,
my timpani of pain.

Black trash bags
on concrete,

another high-rise
bringing me down,

or was it
something I ate?

~~~

Not about me. This is an internal monologue for a character in a short story I'm working on.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Found elsewhere

Nota Bene

Bread and Roses suspects there is a black hole in his house. My mother knows there is a black hole in her house. In fact, that's what she calls the little junk room off her laundry room. And my basement is some kind of gravity well.

Goodnight June: the Known Human had a bad one. And they say April is the cruelest month.

Mr. Joe Clifford Faust treats us to some micro fiction, inspired by these guys.

Making Stuff is about just that. And believe me, it's no ordinary stuff...