Monday, March 31, 2008

Book Carvings

Brian Dettmer carves into books revealing the artwork inside, creating complex layered three-dimensional sculptures. Interesting work, but please, don't use library books. Courtesy of Miguel.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Black Holes

OK, one more Murakami mention the other night in Paris, je T'aime of all things. It can only mean one thing -- the world is coming to a end. Which it might be if the Hawaii scientists are right. They are suing to block the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva Switzerland because it could create mini black holes that last long enough to suck in matter all around it. This may usurp climate change. The LHC will simulate conditions less than a billionth of a second after the big bang by smashing protons together at enormous force.

Friday, March 28, 2008

More Distortion of Space & Time

I often toy with the ideas that each personal life might have a pre-determined direction or shape, and other times discard this as nonsense, opting for the more scientific argument of randomness and accident. Perhaps it depends on my level of depression. Still...

The other day I picked up 2 books from the "New Books" shelf at our library. The first, The Blue Door by Andre Brink I chose because of it's size -- small -- and it's lovely blue cover. I had never heard of Andre Bink, a South Afican writer, before. The second book, ghost by Alan Lightman, i chose because I've been a fan of Lightman's ever since his elegant and engaging Einstein's Dreams. So, two very different books, however...
The Blue Door is about an artist, David, who returns to his studio house one day to find a family living there he doesn't recognize. However the woman claims to be his wife, the two children his, and there is mail on the table addressed to both he and his wife. Attempts to return to his original life, the apartment where he and his architect wife live are futile -- the elevators not working logically, and then the building vanishing entirely. David begins role playing his new life with his new family while searching for clues that will solve his delusion. One of the first clues he uncovers is a book his new wife, Sarah, is reading in bed their first night together: Sputnik Sweetheart by Murakami. Referring to a situation in the book, Sarah says "Can you imagine a thing like that happening? Shifting between dimensions?" David answers, "I think it happens every day."

While I have just cracked ghost, on page 6 Lightman's narrator states: "Somewhere in my apartment there's a novel I would finish if I could bring myself to read. It's a novel by a Japanese writer about an unemployed man who sits at home all day and gets pornographic phone calls from a strange woman." The novel, if my memory serves my correctly, is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by, you guessed it, Murakami.
And Lightman's next sentence is, "It rained friday." Today is friday, and it is raining.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Dolphin Hotel

The other night I watched a movie entitled 1408 starring John Cusack (we're on a Cusack - John and Joan - currently). Cusack plays a writer who explores haunted hotels and writes about his findings, largely exposing them as hoaxes. After discovering a haunted room, 1408, at the Dolphin Hotel in NYC he tries to make a reservation, but is initially refused, and later the hotel manager, Samuel L Jackson tries to talk him out of it. In fact the room in not only haunted, but is a link to another dimension or reality. The movie was based on a Stephen King story that was released in the collection Blood and Smoke in 1999.

Now, I also happen to be reading a book entitled Dance, Dance, Dance by one of my favorite writers Haruki Murakami. In this novel the protagonist stays in a run-down family hotel in Sapporo called the Dolphin Hotel with a call girl who mysteriously disappears. Later he is called back to that hotel only to find it rebuilt into a contemporary monstrosity. He finds however, that when the elevator stops on certain floors, initially the 15th, he enters another space or dimension, which is, needless to say, more sublime and mysterious than King's.
Coincidence that I watched this movie at the precise time I was reading this book? I think not. I await the universe's next move.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

WikiBaker &

There is a great article on Wikipedia in the March 20th New York Review of Books. It capitalizes on the community energy that went into creating one of the most highly used websites in the world. In Baker's words "It was constructed in less than eight years by strangers who disagreed about all kinds of things by who were drawn to a shared, not-for-profit purpose." This movement toward the Internet Commons carries on the energy to share information (vs. the proprietary demands on information) that fueled Usenet, Linux, and open source movements. I am proud to say I am a librarian and I love Wikipedia.

Another cool tool that I was just introduced to is The Encyclopedia of Life
This is another web product that is seeking community involvement. In their words -
"EOL is an unprecedented global effort and we want you to be a part of it. Natural history museums, botanical gardens, other research institutions, and dedicated individuals are working to create the most complete biodiversity database on the Web.
Check it out.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dairy Queen Poem


Friday, March 7, 2008

Back to My Roots

For anyone who wants to jump back into the late forties, early fifties, check out the Lake Forest House Museum, a two story brick townhouse that is a sealed time capsule of life and decor at that time.

I might
right outta my skin.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Speaking of eating, Napa chef Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking is a treasure. Tres simple and exceedingly tasty recipes. Reintroduced me to Fennel! Now I must plant fennel, and also, by Julene's prodding, Argula. An asparagus recipe (in the above book) forced me into the yard looking for dried lavender flowers. And lo and behold I found some. Pays not to clip back everything.

Sam Barsh is one of the most precise, melodic and stylish keyboardists in the game today. After 3 years with the Avashai Cohen Trio he's breaking into his own with a record on RazDaz. Check him out.

My friend Gary McKinney is looking for short fiction for his sequel to Tribute to Orpheus. If interested contact him at His press is Kearney Street Books.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

More d a levy

at BigBridge


Phil Whalen's Collected


Jaap Blonk Ursonate!!!!!!!!!


Google joins with Starbucks to form Googlebucks and take over the world!!!!!!

And what is it with Grey Salt???

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Fits and Starts, Bits and Bats

Fits & Starts - great Jacques Dupin book that Peter Stark turned me onto in the 70's - one of my first non-Rimbaudian, non-Baudelarian forays into French poetry and poetics. Interestingly, turning back to it the other night after many years, I find that it was translated by Paul Auster.

Today the democrats will settle the dust. Or will they?

And what about this Leap Year. 29 days in February. As if THAt month needed to be longer. Can't they add it to August?

Recently read -

RL's Dream by Walter Moseley: a solid book by the master, featuring Soupspoon, an 84 year old blues guitarist who once played with Robert Johnson, and wants to lay down his memories. Paired with a southern white girl married to Jack Daniels, the couple is one of the odder and more endearing pairings I've seen, but Mosely makes it work, as he does most things.

Finally started the Kite Runner, and have to admit I'm enjoying it.

All for now.....