Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

"A man takes contradiction and advice much more easily than people think, only he will not bear it when violently given, even if it is well-founded. Hearts are flowers. They remain open to the softly falling dew, but shut upon the violent downpour of rain."
--Jean Paul Richter

Friday, May 27, 2005

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry

Psalm to the Night

The dark is my refuge; it hides me well.
It whispers strange advice about moths and ink:
thoughts spinning webs full of ornate secrets
and sleek lies, like soft fur.
It tastes of moon powder or dry milk, smells like the rain-soaked earth
and coffee grounds. Planets fill the sky with holy sequins,
so many tiny mirrors, bright and indifferent; I am made of dark matter.
Cold fingers massage my limbs as the hours drift by like slow ghosts, and I shiver
and do not sleep. I welcome no morning when life hurts.
Shadows offer safety from buzzing tubes of laboratory light
and shelter the candle flame still flickering within.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Like, what? Beatnik play discovered

Beat me

I've never read much Jack Kerouac--just The Dharma Bums and The Subterraneans--but I read recently that a lost play by him has been discovered in a dusty warehouse in this very city. The title is--what a surprise--Beat Generation, and it will be published in October. "It details a day in the drink and drug-fuelled life of Kerouac's alter ego, Jack Duluoz," according to the BBC. I look forward to reading it, or seeing it performed, as I have some affection for the Beats. Just about everything in recent history that could conceivably be called countercultural can be traced back to them, I suppose: rap, punk, "spoken word" in all its permutations. When I read something at the local open mic, I'm conforming to some kind of, like, beat stereotype, I suppose--me with my goatee and black jeans. So it goes on. The beat goes on. Ughh. Now I won't get that stupid song out of my head all afternoon . . .

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Quote of the Day: When the President Talks to God

Quote of the Day

"When the president talks to God
Are the conversations brief or long?
Does he ask to rape our women's' rights
And send poor farm kids off to die?
Does God suggest an oil hike
When the president talks to God?
When the president talks to God
Does he fake that drawl or merely nod?
Agree which convicts should be killed?
Where prisons should be built and filled?
Which voter fraud must be concealed
When the president talks to God?"
--Conor Oberst, "When the President Talks to God"

Well, Dylan he's not. But this song was performed on The Tonight Show (!) earlier this month. Who says no one is writing protest songs today?

You can read the complete lyrics and download the song for free at: onegoodmove: When the President Talks to God

Monday, May 23, 2005

Word of the Day

Word of the Day

amyloid (adj)

containing or relating to starch; starchy

"These shirts are too amyloid!" exclaimed Dr. Klaxon. The laundry staff looked mystified.

Assia Wevill, 1965

The Other

If the name means something to you, click. Otherwise, don't bother.

Assia Wevill, 1965

Friday, May 20, 2005

Connections: packing a "weapon"


Seen on the street today: a curly haired little girl in a pink party dress, maybe 4 or 5 years old, waving a green "light saber" at everyone she passed and wearing a big smile. I hope she wasn't a sith. It reminded me of my son dressing up in plastic (knight in shining) armor a few years ago and waving a toy sword at people in the local park. They either laughed, which annoyed him, or pretended to be terrified . . . I often wonder how many people--adults--are walking around with real weapons. Apparently, in Florida, you don't need a license or permit to carry a handgun, unless it is concealed. And a new law there allows gun owners to use deadly force against perceived attackers, even if they have the ability to flee. According to the Washington Post, "prosecutors must automatically presume that would-be victims feared for their lives if attacked." Incredible. I've never carried a weapon, unless you consider a pen knife to be one. (They sure do at airports.) I did have a cap gun when I was a kid, though, and enjoyed firing it at other callow cowboys. I think I was on the Dark Side then.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Stupid Star Wars Humor

Attack of the Groans

"A tremor in the underpants. The last time I felt this was in the presence of my old master."

Could lines from classic Star Wars films be improved by substituting the word underpants?

Photoshop Beatles 1962-70

Come Together

Through the magical mystery of Photoshop, the moptops of 1962 meet the older, wiser, grumpier and much shaggier Beatles of 1969.

(via things)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Wrong Number

Wrong Number

The phone rang at 5 AM. My wife answered, since the phone is on her side of the bed, but it woke both of us. The side of the conversation I heard consisted entirely of questions like "Who are you?" "Who are you trying to reach?" and "Why are you calling?" -- each repeated a couple of times. It seemed to go on and on. I couldn't decide, in my groggy state, if it was a wrong number or not. "Who was that?" I mumbled after my wife finally hung up. "The U.S. Army," she said. "Somebody with a heavy accent. They said they were coming to pick me up." "Oh, great," I said. "They're shipping you to Iraq. They're not even waiting for people to sign up anymore." Obviously, a wrong number. I went back to sleep, but not before wondering who it was they were really calling. I imagined some kid waiting out there in the pre-sunrise dark, nervous about embarking on a journey with no guarantee of a return ticket.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Word of the Day

Word of the Day

aboulomania (n)

pathological indecisiveness

Chocolate or strawberry? Cursing his aboulomania, Sylvester continued to stare at the ice-cream parlor's menu.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry


She knew she could
give form to him,
a stalwart silhouette,
even a uniform,

and teach him
all the proper movements.
He would be her diamond,
brilliant and fortunate:

a gift waiting to be opened.
She slept at night
with the shining heart
of a tiny sovereign

beating in her body,
feeling a small wheel
kneading her loaf of desire
as it rose in her belly.

She dreamt
He would be a dancer on a rope,
high above death,
till her fine line was gone.

He would laugh, then cry out,
but wear a sober face,
like some dead
president on a coin.

Friday, May 13, 2005



Friday the 13th and nothing (particularly) unlucky has happened. It's almost disappointing. I even had some good luck today: I found convenient parking places everywhere I went in the car, despite living in a dense little city whose layout dates to the horse-and-buggy era -- which means parking lots are as rare as, well, wide open spaces. Speaking of large spaces, I attended an event this evening in an enormous high-school auditorium that doubles as a gymnasium. The acoustics were terrible, and it was almost impossible to make out what was being said in the (projection) video. It was as if the soundtrack was in some loud, guttural foreign language that gave me a slight headache. Luckily, I could follow the narrative pretty well from the images and the titles that occasionally flashed on the screen. It might better have been a silent film. Speaking of films, I can't remember if I've ever seen any of the Friday the 13th films. I get them confused with the Halloween movies.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Masticaters on Webcam

I Spy

Like to watch people eat? Then you may enjoy this live restaurant webcam, which records the mastication at a place called Prejeans. Another webcam records activity outside a palace in some anonymous European (?) city. (via fantastic planet)

Advice To A Young Poet

Advice to a Young Poet

Richard Kostelanetz explains how to make it in poetry's big leagues. Hilarious.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

"Land of snap decisions, land of short attention spans,
nothing is savored long enough to really understand.
In every culture in decline, the watchful ones among the slaves
know all that is genuine will be conned and scorned and cast away."
--Joni Mitchell, "Dog Eat Dog"

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Online confessions

Admit It

You can confess your malefactions (anonymously), or read about other peoples', at Not Proud -- online confessions. For your convenience, the "sins" are categorized into "pride," "envy," "sloth," "gluttony," "greed," "lust," "anger" and the deadly "misc."


I stole $2300 from my grandpa's safe. I steal from my mom's purse. I stole $500 of my sister's money. I'm not feeding a habit. I'm just poor.

You moron. I suppose you think Buddhists and Hindus are all going to your little make believe hell where a red devil with horns awaits to punish them for not worshiping the newest religion on the planet? You prove my point exactly. Thank you.

I cannot stand authority. If anyone tells me what to do, I want to break their face. Maybe I'll join a group like the Hells Angels and fight authority.

I envy you. So much I can't stand it. I envy the fact that he wanted you and not me. I envy the fact that I'm not as crazy as you and that's what turned him away. He is the most perfect man I have ever met and when you break his heart, again, he'll be with me, again, and then you will envy me. Again.

I almost shot the pizza boy with my .22 Ruger. He walked through the landscape and I thought he was an intruder.


Monday, May 09, 2005

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry


At first, all it thought about
was food and sleep.

When it slept, it praised death
in drowning dreams,

full of rushing waters
and white seeds.

Food was precious,
and it chewed apples carefully,

as if they felt pain.
When love touched it,

a lust for quantity congealed
and swam out of control,

beyond the safety of echoes,
of predictable things.

It began to see itself as a planet,
untethered from any star,

with oceans of dark red blood--
a world frightened of itself,

of venomous fogs,
of its own weapons.

So it forgot its name
and narrowed its thoughts

to the limits of a house
where it danced to strange music.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Connections -- Mother's Day, flowers and a nervous fish


Yes, it's Mother's Day. But it might just as well be Flowers Day (or "All Circuits Are Busy -- Will You Please Try Your Call Again Later" Day). While wandering aimlessly this afternoon -- one of my favorite weekend activities -- I saw an amazing number of tough looking hombres walking around with floral bouquets . . . I'm not good at identifying flowers, except for roses. A lot of them were purple or pink blooms, though. The pink ones reminded me of the many flowering trees around here, which are currently dropping a huge number of flower clusters and petals all over. There are tiny pink tumbleweeds blowing down the street and pink petals drifting against the curbs. From a distance, it looks a little bit like the pink snow in Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, the inferior (but still enjoyable) sequel to The Cat in the Hat. One of the problems with Comes Back, I think, is the absence of that nervous goldfish in the original, which functioned as a sort of voice of reason/superego for the anarchic cat, his "Things" and "Sally and I." What happened to the fish? Well, fish don't live forever, I suppose. Neither do cut flowers, though I've heard that they last a lot longer if you change their water every day.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Word of the Day

Word of the Day

sylvestral (adj)

Pertaining to trees

Xavier, lost in a thicket, was nevertheless awed by the sylvestral beauty of the canopy overhead.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Cigar Store Indian

Oh deer . . .

Somewhat disturbingly, a "cigar-store Indian" has appeared in the neighborhood. It stands outside an establishment that sells specifically Cuban and Ecuadorian cigars. (I didn't know that carved Native Americans were associated with stogies in Cuba and Ecuador, but maybe they are.) How these figures came to symbolize cigar smoking is a mystery to me. Maybe some Native American tribes enjoyed puffing on a nice roll of tobacco, but so did a lot of other groups . . . I'm tempted to say this fellow has a wooden expression--sorely tempted--but actually he wears a warm, enigmatic smile. I suppose he's extremely pleased with himself for bagging that deer, and maybe planning to celebrate with a good cigar.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

"A butterfly flaps its wings in India and we feel the breeze on our cheeks in New York. A throat is cleared somewhere in Africa and in California there's an answering cough. Everything that happens affects something else. Books come into the world and the world is not what it was before those books came into it. The same can be said of babies or diseases."
--Salman Rushdie

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry

Reading a Map

Blue as veins,
rivers of ink

connect us.
I trace great movements,

cool rushing, slipping

through spread fingers.
A network of flowing

or slow winding,
traffic or salmon.

Sunday or Monday,
poisonous wrangles

mean nothing
on paper,

in a faultless country
unfolding like gift wrap.