Sunday, April 30, 2006

Friday, April 28, 2006

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

Zen Door

"In the West, we're advised to make an entrance when we walk into a room. But in the art of the Japanese tea ceremony, that's impossible. The traditional houses used to host the events are purposely built with low doorways so that all who pass must bow their frames as they enter and exit. No one can stride through.

The intent is to physically impose a posture of humility, requiring the head to be down, and in so doing effect a change in attitude. Entering, one is humbled before the others present, as those who follow are humbled toward you; exiting, one is humbled before the outdoors and Great Nature.

The door to the teahouse thus symbolizes the only door that matters in life: the one leading to enlightenment. Step humbly through the door, with no expectations, into the great wide world."
--Philip Toshio Sudo
Zen 24/7
all zen/all the time

(via whiskey river)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Consciousness Streaming

Consciousness Streaming

I was trying to figure out why the freebie magazine I've been flipping through is called Exit. Then I realized it's a local New Jersey magazine. Duh ... Ants have invaded our kitchen. We had fun vacuuming them up this evening. What a way to go. It made me think about "the Rapture" ... My son says: If photos of UFOs are sharp, that means they're hoaxes. But if photos of UFOs are blurry, that also means they're hoaxes ... Why don't I ... find a large ring somewhere and toss my hat into it? ...

Visual Version

Monday, April 24, 2006

Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes

Hey, hey we're the monkeys. An interesting perspective, provocative and funny.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry


Low hills on Channel 13
cup a reverence
around a hole in the ground.

Diggings and scrapings
with garden tools
echo off dead crater walls

where life once extended
like a run-on sentence,
adding too many centuries.

The digger carries on, carries
his leathery body
like a sack of pipes,

eyes bright chisels
chipping at strange mounds, reveling
in broken dishes

and the trash of the ancients.
Who were these stone-faced people,
God's voiceover asks,

so proud of their mallets
and ugly jugs?
What totems did they bow to?

Who are these doctors,
picking through bones and teeth
like patient grave robbers

while thousands lounge on couches--
we peepers, safe in our millennium,
anxious to fathom a mystery pit.

And what does dusty litter
whisper about those
who might fear demons,

we curious gods gazing
through the flickering squares
of the future?


The writing prompt was: "Write a poem about a TV program."

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Word of the Day

Word of the Day

mumpsimus (n)

1. Someone who adheres to a mistaken idea in a pigheaded way

2. A notion that is obstinately held although it is unreasonable; a clinging to such a notion

"She spoke with an extreme display of mumpsimus, persisting confidently in error."
--C. P. Snow, The Corridors of Power

My opinion: the current administration in Washington is infested with this sort of idiot, which reminds me of an old saying. "A fish stinks from the head first."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Consciousness streamed

Consciousness streaming

An overdue library book cost me 20 cents today. Still a bargain ... Mowed the lawn for the first time this year. My neighbor's backyard is covered with dirt and a swimming pool. Mine is covered with grass and an apple tree. I'll take mine ... The annual molting: I've stopped wearing my winter jacket this week ... Found a Canadian coin in my pocket: a caribou quarter. Where's the Queen these days? She's 80. I imagine she's a pretty nice "girl" ... Why don't I ... have an archnemesis?

Visual Version

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Drawing: Shoo Fly, with Chinese proverb

What is the REAL meaning of LIFE?

Quote of the Day

"O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke,
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
To spin! A wilde release from Heaven's yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
The Hoke, the poke -- banish now thy doubt
Verily, I say, 'tis what it's all about."
-- by "William Shakespeare"

Yes, the Hokey-Pokey is what it is all about.

(via Jose Diablo)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Conversational Grunts in English

Um, yeah, well...hmm

I enjoyed listening to (and got a giggle from) an online collection of audio clips "illustrating the uses of non-lexical utterances in casual English dialog," also known as Conversational Grunts in English. It, uhh, made me realize how much of our daily conversation actually consists of sounds, not words.

(via boynton)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Close Encounters

Close Encounters

Good Deed

There I was, walking down the street, lost in my vagrant thoughts, when out of the crowd came a desperate plea: "George! George!!"

A white-haired woman with thick glasses grabbed my arm and repeated "George!" Since my name isn't George, my first thought was that she was some kind of lunatic, or maybe a pick-pocket. She had quite a strong grip and refused to let me go. "I'm not--" I started to say, thinking that maybe she had mistaken me for someone else. But she interrupted with a lot of whimpering jabber in what sounded like an Eastern European language, and I began to wonder if it was really "George" she was saying, or just something that sounded like it.

Then she pointed across the boulevard, which was full of speeding traffic. I gathered that she wanted help crossing. Now, I was never a boy scout, and it was out of my way, but I've never in my life refused to help someone across the street. Always before, though, it has been someone handicapped or infirm who has asked me.

This woman, despite her age, appeared to be quite healthy enough to cross on her own, and in fact it was more like she was crossing me as we shambled across the boulevard. She pulled on my arm to hurry me up as the DON'T WALK sign began to flash. "OK, OK," I said, walking faster. All the way across she kept whining in a pitiful way, and I decided she must have a phobia about traffic or being hit by a car.

When we reached the opposite curb, I assumed my good deed for the day was done--but no. She pointed to the other side of the cross street and started saying "George!" again. My arm was still a captive, so I let her pull me across that street, too.

Finally, she seemed to be done with me, but before letting me go she murmured "nice man" a few times and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I watched as she toddled down the block to the next cross street, whereupon she grabbed another guy's arm. I wondered how many streets she would cross that day, and how many "Georges" she would find in this crazy city.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Word of the Day

Word of the Day

anfractuous (adj)

Full of windings and turnings

"A multitude of anfractuous cracks spread out from the rim of the segment as though tendrils of frost were gripping the tube."
--The Naked God, Peter F. Hamilton

This word reminds me of driving along the serpentine Route 1 in California, though Big Sur. The views were astonishing, but I got a bit car sick.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry

Time Travelers

Travelers in time constitute incomprehensible questions. Their bead-like eyes see heaps of ashes, a world formed, polished and ignited but always relative. You can see the space between ellipses on their window-shade faces, always less animated than ours, and drained of perplexity. Their eyes may glow with an icy fire, but their mouths hang open like zeros. These wanderers presage a smooth cancellation of all money lust and other bubbling desires; their humanity has been crystallized. Give them a kiss and they will analyze it, turn around that affectionate moment and reject it for lacking exactitude. They see cribs and coffins as emblems of a predetermined rotation -- a paradox to be admired for its supreme inanity.

Friday, April 07, 2006



I've seen some weird blogs in my time, but UUUHHHGGG-rrrr! takes the cake.

Iraqis' daily lives

One Day at a Time

In their own words: Iraqis' daily lives. An English teacher says: "I have to be careful speaking English in the street too -- some people will assume English speakers are working for the government and target us."

Thursday, April 06, 2006



A wall of framed, clickable objects goes in some surreal directions. Very Paris in the 20s. It's part of the huge Spirit Of Bohemia site.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Random thoughts

Consciousness Streamed

Snow this morning, which all melted in the sunny afternoon -- six months of weather in one day ... Close encounter: As I was returning home from my lunchtime errands, I noticed an old man, all dressed in black, standing outside the gate to my yard. He was frowning and staring off into space. I noticed that he was holding a large paperback book: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Retiring Early. As I approached, he moved aside and shuffled off down the street. Not some kind of weird omen, I hope ... I have a tiny cut on my finger, but I don't remember hurting myself. Maybe this is a new phenomenon. Index stigmata? ... Why don't I ... try to talk in perfect iambic pentameter for a few days? It is, after all, National Poetry Month ...

Visual Version

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

"Always be joyful, no matter what you are. With happiness you can give a person life. Every day we must deliberately induce in ourselves a buoyant, exuberant attitude toward life. In this manner, we gradually become receptive to the subtle mysteries around us. And if no inspired moments come, we should act as though we have them anyway. If you have no enthusiasm, put up a front. Act enthusiastic, and the feeling will become genuine."
--Rabbi Nachman of Bratslau

(via whiskey river)

I smell a best-seller here: The Power of Positive Acting.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Word of the Day

Word of the Day

hypocorism (n)

A pet name or the use of pet names

"President Jimmy Carter ... institutionalized his hypocorism with determination and skill, thus becoming the first President in history to get away with official use of a nickname."
--Time magazine

When I was a wee tot, my mother's pet name for me was "Pumpkin." Don't ask me why -- I didn't resemble one. I imagine she just liked the sound of it. My pet name for Philip, my son, was/is "Peanut," as in "my little Peanut," which makes more sense, I think. Sorta.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry

Advice from Fred

To dance
on the ceiling
is a normal thing
when you're in
hilarity's red zone.

The dance, here,
means besotted ants
in your pants,
feet calling up

fantasy's dervish,
and turn)
to churn

the hysterical
of a mutual
electrical shock
secretly cherished

but unrequitable.
A zap of desire
provides the interior
that leads to

this pseudo-
sexual writhing--
arms wheeling,
legs giddy
whips of rubber--

till the tiles
begin to fall,
turn, slip,

and you wake up
head once again
banged up against
the concrete.

This one is for you, Peanut.