Thursday, December 30, 2010

Clear Dawn, Motor Started Eventually

Well it's almost a new year and a beautiful clear, cold Bellingham morning -- a perfect opportunity to pluck a few keys and get this old machine rolling again.
I bought a Nook, and was just comparing the readerly qualities between it and a paperback book at my desk.
The Nook's page is smaller, but there's no inner crevasse of a margin that needs to be tipped towards the light.
The heft is the same.
And I could say that there is a sensuality of paper that can't be matched by plastic but that's subjective.  But I'll say it anyway.
On the other hand, the damn thing can hold 1500 books, and I can check out books from the public library, get Google Books, and shop at our local Village Books as well as the nefarious Barnes & Noble.
So for my first two options I chose "Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi" by Geoff Dyer and "Just Kids" by Patti Smith which unbelievably won a National Book Award.  I'm grazing a bit in the Dyer, but have several paper texts to put away first.
On to the new year, beginning appropriately enough with a wedding on New Year's Eve (my friend Jim).

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Frazey Ford (OMG, Obadiah)

I apologize in advance for the "Youtube Quality" but I love watching her move while she sings.  Obadiah is my favorite album of the year thus far.  And the sound is much, much better, as is the song diversity.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Poetry on Glenn Beck's new site - the bLAZE


GPS phones with EXPLICIT POETRY!  For Illegal Aliens (the ones from Mars?) Funded by taxpayer money!  Holy )&%)&^&_ Batman!

Blaze away Beck, with your "real journalists."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tuli Kupferberg RIP

I was deeply moved today when I read that Tuli Kupferberg had died some weeks back.
I first saw Tuli perform with his band The Fugs in 1967 in Chicago at the Electric Playground, and this pivotal concert opened up more than a few doors of perception.  Tuli wrote amazing songs, and one of my favorite was "Morning, Morning" which is pure poetry.
These lines written by Ted Berrigan and Anne Waldman in Memorial Day 1971 describe Tuli perhaps better than anything ever written.

"I asked Tuli Kupferberg once, "Did you really jump off of The Manhattan Bridge?" "Yeah," he said, "I really did." "How come?" I said. "I thought that I had lost the ability to love," Tuli said. "So, I figured I might as well be dead. So, I went one night to the top of The Manhattan Bridge, & after a few minutes, I jumped off." "That's amazing," I said. "Yeah," Tuli said, "but nothing happened. I landed in the water, & I wasn't dead. So I swam ashore, & went home, & took a bath, & went to bed. Nobody even noticed."

A god of peace and vicious personal honesty has passed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Such a Stone

Such a stone
Rolling down.


Reality Hunger

Read this Book:

Reality Hunger: A Manifesto.
David Shields, UW

then let's talk

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Dead Hand

A dead hand is an expression for writer's block, but in Paul Theroux's new novel of the same name it becomes a real object handed to him by a former hotel maid - the hand of a young boy.  Theroux's novel is set in India, primarily Calcutta, and like much of his work can be somewhat ponderous and self-absorbed, but rich in ambiance and detail.  The plot involves a writer, Jerry Delfont, who is in Calcutta to give lectures, and is contacted by a mysterious and beautiful humanitarian, Merrill Unger, who wants him to do her a favor.  As a mistress in the Tantric Arts she sucks him into her world, which is not what the somewhat naive Jerry Delfont expects.  Playing off Hindu mythology (Unger is the perfect Kali), Theroux takes us into the duality that is India -- Spiritual, harmonic, enlightened and equally impoverished, brutal and materialistic.  No one can deconstruct a utopia like Theroux.  One of the funnier moments in the book is when Paul Theroux himself shows up and has a brief encounter with the narrator Delfont, whom he considers a hack.  A decent read, but I still rely on John Burdett for my Southeast Asian mysteries.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More El More

I just read Elmore Leonard's Be Cool which is a sequel to the fabulous Get Shorty.  Near the beginning Chili Palmer, talking about the movie sequel to Get Leo (Get Lost) says that the sequels are never as good as the original.  Unfortunately, it sets the tone for this book, which is a meandering novel about using and manipulating life to make a movie (kind of like writing a novel about using life and manipulating life to make a movie).  Along the way we meet US mobsters, bad-assed rappers, a gay Samoan body guard, Russian mobsters, star-starved women, and any number of LA entertainment industry characters.  It's a fun romp, if not a bit depressing, because the realization that talent doesn't really matter all that much is probably true. (A top music business CEO tells Chili that most of the women who do toothpaste ads can sing better than the stars.)  Anyway, the end result is that Chili hands the whole thing to a screenwriter and hopes that he/she can turn it into something.  Elmore Leonard did not.  He published it as is.  But of course because it's Elmore, and he's even cooler than Chili Palmer, it's worth the time.

Over or Under?

Ever wonder what the characteristics of people who take their toilet paper from under rather than over were?
I thought not, but here they are anyway, courtesy of

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Olives, Anyone?

Olive Kitteridge is a stunning book.  Simply and beautifully written; complex in its simplicity, the novel is a collection of interwoven short stories, a form that if not birthed, was certainly given identity by Louis Erdich with Love Medicine.  Olive is not a likeable woman.  She is intolerant and speaks her intolerance, alienating her son and many others.  As Olive states, “And I am essentially a peasant.  I have the strong passions and prejudices of a peasant.”  But she is far richer in character than this, and to paraphrase a New York Times book reviewer commented, the gravitational pull that anchors the various stories in the novel.  The novel will shock you, amuse you, stun, marvel  and nearly devastate you, often within a few pages.  Set in contemporary Maine, Elizabeth Strout won the Pulitzer for this work.  And she damn well deserves it.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Spill Baby, Spill

On the average of twice a day I wish for the powers of a Greek God.  This morning my wish is to take all those morons who were chanting "Drill Baby, Drill" at the Republican convention and displace them to the shores of Alabama where the first fingers of the largest oil spill in history are beginning to degrade wetlands, fisheries and beaches, and magically have them continue their chant, while jumping up and down and generally acting like idiots.  I would welcome what the locals would do to them.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Eating Ants

A recent poem, "Eating Ants," was accepted by Alimentum's MenuPoems.  Hear it being read in a noisy eating establishment by someone I don't know but am now indebted to.

Quick Takes

Rush Limbaugh, who claimed he was going to move to another country (we were hoping) if the health care bill passed, still hasn't found one without socialized health care.  Keep looking Rush.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the University of Phoenix, which many of us used to think was a hoax, is now the second largest university in the country, beating out the California university system.  New York's is still the largest.

Almost perpetual motion machine:  Given the two universal laws that cats, when dropped from a height, always land on their feet; and the law that dictates a buttered piece of bread will always hit the ground (or floor) butter side down = if a buttered piece of bread is attached butter side up to the back of a cat, and the cat is dropped from a great height, it will spin indefinitely generating great amounts of electricity.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Clay Shirky on Cognitive Surplus

This is a fascinating talk by a very interesting contemporary social observer, Clay Shirky, who's book "Here Comes Everybody" I'm currently reading, learning from, and enjoying very much.

Battling the AntiChrist

Given this is who is currently battling the AntiChrist, I'm going to have to put my chips with him.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fox News Folks

To get a good idea of the average Joe (and Jill) who reads Fox News, take a look at the comments
for the story about Jesse Jackson confronting the Tea Party.  This is really scary, and I hope the FBI, etc.
is following these clowns.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Original Earworm

I'm sure everyone out there feels the same way about Pachebel's Canon as I do, so here's a rendition for you:

Take that Tea Party

It's the Coffee Party, a new political movement that is challenging the Tea Party to a competition of mudslinging and chicanery.  I'm waiting for the W(h)ine party myself.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Vooks are the new thing.  A combination of book and video that work on computers and I-Phones and soon on Kindle-like devices (c'mon engineers, let's open these up and sell the cheap).  And at the rate video is evolving, they'll probably be in 3-D by next year.

Sonata for John Cage

Here's where I wish I had a million readers.

Walk to the nearest bookcase, magazine rack, etc.
Open a book or magazine to any page.
Read out loud for exactly three minutes.

Taken to the next level, each participant would video themselves and we'd post them into a huge mashup.
Such is my so-called life.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Village Book Reading!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paul Piper,

Allen Frost, Laura Smith, myself and our publisher Larry Smith will be reading at Village Books out of "Bottom Dog Press Poetry Anthology: 25th Anniversary." The event takes place at 7p.m. All attendees will be wined and dined, receive free money and numerous back issues of the National Geographic. Plus Great Poems!!! Be there or be polygonal.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Colbert at Irish House

Although it's only a snippet, and the sound is crap, it is a great moment in Western Culture when Stephen Colbert reads a small portion of Ulysses at the Irish House.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bloom Boxes

The future of energy?  A stack of disks the size of a brink powering an average home, and running on SAND!?
Check it out.

Two Interesting New Search Engines

You may have heard of these two newcomers to Search, but they are worth noting and playing around with.

The first is Wolfram Alpha, and here is a nifty Youtube tutorial  Wolfram is an excellent research tool for gathering any kind of data, particularly comparative data.  For example, if you want to compare the demographics of two cities, type the city names into Wolfram along with the word demographics.  If you want to limit this to a certain date, or time frame, enter that as well.  Comparisons, such as nutritional values of foods, is a breeze with this tool.

The Second is less of a search engine per se and more of a Web navigation tool.  It's called HyperWord and a instructional video is here.  By highlighting a word in a web document, you are offered a number of choices, such as search, reference, convert, shop, share, copy, and translate.  Definitely worth the free download.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Palin is the Essence of 2012

In Michael Tomasky's blog in The Guardian today he traced a possible path for Sara Palin to win both Iowa and New Hampshire, feats which would give her a good shot at the Republican nomination. And while all things Palin have great comedic and interest value, one of the comments to Tomasky's post deserves serious (:) consideration. PhillipD wrote, and I quote "I thought she'd be a shoe-in for New Hampshire. If I lived there and I was a Dem I'd round up everyone I knew to vote for her, purely for the entertainment value." While Sara has the Tea Party vote fairly wrapped up, the Entertainment vote (which could include the likes of Colbert) is not being widely discussed, yet it is exactly this vote which may squeak her into the nomination. Many wonder how incredibly weird it would really be. Really.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Literature that Gets Under Your Skin

This is the last line of Tobias Wolff's short story Bullet in the Brain, courtesy of Karl Yaeger, a true fan. More literary tats at contrariwise

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Spuggies are Fledged

So goes the line from Basil Bunting's poem Briggflats, and it's Spring & All with the first crocuses out, and the flowering plum not far behind.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

King Crimson

Well I was going to try and be more diligent and/or ambitious about posting this year but winter in B'ham is a time for hibernation, despite the record warmth. What's this got to do with King Crimson you say? Who knows, other than I've been enjoying this phase of the band (Discipline, Beat) lately. Also Sara Tavares. Yum.