Friday, April 28, 2006

GOTHIC FUNK #7 The Rites of Spring: Every New Beginning Comes from Some Other Beginning's End


As reported by Amber:

That's thought it was over (okay, well, maybe not YOU...but Most of you)...but it's only the beginning!

Mark you calendars and dust off your ids...'cause GF #7 comes to Hyde Park May 6th!

Er, that is...if you're willing to help bring it. :)

If you're interested in helping organize this event (I won't be in Chicago for the planning, myself, though I will be at the party) let me know and I'll forward you more specific info.

~ Connor


Oculine 9, 28.


- YESTERDAY - It was a day. I started and finished Calvino's Invisible Cities, which was great fun, (especially being able to rank the cities and decide which would be best to live in). I spent two hours at Tillie's and later that night, Jess and I watched the O.C., which is in rare form again (they always miraculously pull their shit together right at the end of the season) and then went out to Junior's for cheesecake. So: good day.

- WEATHER - One of the interesting things about working at Facts on File (two of my recent assignments have been weather-extensive) combined with posting about the weather daily on this blog is I've gradually accumulated a more substantial base of knowledge on how the weather works, inostensibly without having really earned it. I'm really starting to see these fronts and storm systems as an endless series of waves, crests and troughs rolling through space, compromised by lateral movement and each other.
Two waves are converging on each other over the country. The first is the low-pressue front that's been stalled over the western midwest all week (just a couple-hundred miles west of Chicago, actually). The second is the low pressure system that has slowly been moving east from California. Today the latter will move out over Texas and interacts with the former as well as moist air rolling up from the Gulf. The upshot may be violent storms in Texas and Oklahoma. As far north as Iowa, there's a real threat of flooding.
Meanwhile, the eastern midwest and East Coast should continue to enjoy pleasant weather (the East Coast may get some rain) as a result of the high pressure system pressed between the lows to the west and another out over the Atlantic.

- TIGERS - Tonight, vs. the Twins. At Comerica.

- APRIL - is international guitar month.
- TOMORROW - is Arbor Day.
- SUNDAY - is Beltane.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Today - Charles Cotton, Jan Oort, Tomorrow - Henri Poincaré, Duke Ellington, Jerry Seinfeld. Sunday - Jane Campion.


Which European city do you belong in?
(Take the quiz here and/or supply your own answer).


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Oculine 8, 28.



- YESTERDAY - It was a day.

- WEATHER - The cold front that has made California to wet and unpleasant these last few days has moved east over Arizona and New Mexico, bring a threat of hale and thunderstorm. Meanwhile, the storms over the western midwest have stalled because a high pressure zone over the eastern US is further pressed against an Atlantic storm. This means more rain west of the Mississippi, sun to its east, and cold temperatures in New England.

- TIGERS - Lost a second time to the Angels, 4-0. It was a frustrating game, involving two errors. In one case, the Angels' Chone Figgins tried to steal third, but Brandon Inge didn't catch the ball, and Figgins turned the steal into a run. Meaning the Tigers lost their ninth quality start, the best since 1982.

- APRIL - Is Mathematics month.
- TODAY - Is the World Day of Design.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Ferdinand Megellan, Edward Gibbon, Mary Wallstonecraft, Ulysses S. Grant, Coretta Scott King, Casey Kasem, and August Wilson.

Les Jones - Hurricane Bill.

Nerd Test. This one is much better than the lame one I posted before.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Oculine 7, 28.


- FIRST - Feast Your Eyes Upon This. It is a sight for sore eyes.

- YESTERDAY - Smooth. Worked all day, went to church, went home, finished reading La Maison de Rendezvous. Then, bed.

- WEATHER - Seeing the sun out and assuming it would be warm, I left my coat at home. This was a mistake. Out West, the jet stream has buckled far to the south and isn't in a hurry to straightedn itsel.f The storm over LA, then, will gradually drift eastward, picking up moisture in the Gulf of Mexico and forming violent storms (again) over the southeast near the end of the week.

- TIGERS - They beat Anaheim yesterday, with quality slugging all around and Jeremy Bondeman's pitching. This trip, in which they've played the Mariners, the A's, and the Angels, is decisive, and so far they've won 6 out of 8 games. If they win today (again, against the Angels), they'll be .800 for away games. More significantly, we're approaching the one month mark, where wins and losses can start to represent something more than the local weather pattern. No, we haven't caught up with the Sox yet, but the fact that we're pulling away ahead of Cleveland, a symbolic achievement this decade, is more encouraging. Being ranked 2nd in the AL Central Division at the end of April is nothing to bitch about

- APRIL - Is Grilled Cheese month.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - The Prophet Muhammed (in the Shi'a tradition), David Hume, Frederick Law Olmstead, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Florida Division of Emergency Management - Hurricane Gilbert.

Okay, I checked ahead, and the questions aren't lame. In fact, they walk the fine line between enticing and adorable.
If you decide to post a url, remember the it will run off the end of the coment box if you don't add line breaks.
Kissing Purity Test.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Oculine 6, 28.


- YESTERDAY - Weird. I coughed and hacked my way through work, taking pains to keep as quiet as possible. Later, workshop went well, and by well I mean interesting. I submitted the third chapter of part two of Adrift... easily the most unusual and convoluted part of the whole piece. The criticism was vigorous, and I still object strenuously to most structural objections. That said, the line-edits continue to be spot-on, and more importantly, I have a sense of how to revise. The impulse behind structural comments are telling, even if I reject the suggestions themselves. For example, a number of people have objected to the second person narrator as confusing and unnecessarily distancing. I disagree with this assessment, however, it is true that the language and voice is not precise enough to carry off the second person. Moreover, one criticism that I do think is well-advised is that there is insufficient distinction between narrative voices. Since the question of narrative source is at the center of the piece, it is a question which may be resolved. Quite simply, the "unconventional" perspecitves in the piece have not had the necessary precision to carry out their intentions. This will be the thrust of the next revision. I went home and shortly went to bed. When I first woke up this morning I was not tired. But now I am tired.

- WEATHER - In the middle of the country, big thunderstorms followed by a temperature drop. Northeast and California, rain.

- TIGERS - The Angels, by which I mean Ervin Santana and Francisco Rodriguez, ground us down. 3-0.

- APRIL - Is the month of preventing Child Abuse.
- TODAY - Is Yom HaShoah, Alice Day, and the Feast of Saint Mark.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Ella Fitzgerald.

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
- Abraham Lincoln

Okay, here's another purity test. Should be more up our alley:


Monday, April 24, 2006

More Fluff.


If you comment...

1. I'll respond with something random I like about you.
2. I'll tell you what song/movie reminds me of you.
3. I'll name something we should do together.
4. I'll say something that only makes sense to you and me (or just me).
5. I'll tell you my first/clearest memory of you.
6. I'll leave you a quote that is somehow appropriate to you.
7. I'll ask you something that I've always wondered about you.

If I do this for you, you must post this on your journal so you can do the same for other people.


Chicago Visit


There's a heavy haze all around, but I won't talk about that quite yet.

For now: you need to know that Jess and I are arriving in Chicago on Saturday, May 6th and departing on Monday, May 15th. The latter half of our trip we'll be doing Scavhunt, but that notwithstanding, we want to see all of you. We'll also need crash pads, for anyone who's feeling particularly generous (though we've already received a couple offers...)

~ Connor


Oculine 5, 28.


- LAST WEEK - It sucked. I was exhausted. I didn't get as much done as I wanted. On Tuesday night I went to a diner and left without my coat. I walked a half-hour home without noticing. The next morning, when I walked back to pick it up on my way to work, I accidentally left a reading assignment there. So I had to return a second time. The Diner, Happy Days in Brooklyn Heights, was cool though. On Thursday I saw Marko, Reinhardt, Sara, and Mac all read at the final installment of Fiction Flask.
- WEEKEND - It also sucked. I was dead sick from beginning to end. I got over twelve hours of sleep each day, had a ton of tea and soup, and missed my last Gravity's Rainbow. Jess nursed be through, though.
In fact, I was sick enough the I wrote a poem about it:

My salt-encrusted eyes --
shutter once, shutter twice --
would rather remained closed than blink.
I'm assembled all funny today;
my insides are outside of my inside.

- WEATHER - More of the same. Unless you're in Wyoming; then you get a lot of snow.

- ASTRONOMY - If the weather clears up in the next day or two you might have a chance to catch the tail end of the Lyrids. The meteor shower peaked on Saturday, but there might be some stragglers.

- TIGERS - After their frustrations last week against the Socks and Cleveland, the Tigers swept their series against Seattle. Of course, it's Seattle, and despite Hernandez pitching against Verlander, the wins weren't nearly as momentous as those against Oakland and Cleveland. Tonight the Tigers take on the Angels... that will be worth watching.

- APRIL - Is autism awareness month.
- HOLIDAYS - Last Thursday: Lima Bean Respect Day, Bicycle Day, and National High Five Day. Pot Day. Saturday: Earth Day.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Last Wednesday: Tim Curry. Thursday: Muhammad and Luther Vandross. Friday: Max Weber, Queen Elizabeth II, Iggy Pop. Saturday: Immanuel Kant, Vladimir Lenin, Vladimir Nabokov, Robert Oppenheimer, Bettie Page. Sunday: William Shakespeare, Shirley Temple, Michael Moore, SAM SMITH and SAM PH! (Happy Birthday!) Today: Mayor M. Daley and Cedric the Entertainer.

A lot this week: elections in New Orleans, a possible merger of the New York and London Stock Exchanges, and so on... I'll go with this one:
The New York Times: Protests Mount as Nepal Parties Reject King's Bid.

Fluff Issue #1. What is your score on the Freudian Purity Test?


Friday, April 21, 2006

Fluff Mode?


I may just decide to revise my approach to blogging in months when a semester is coming to an end (or I'm moving/getting married). I haven't had much time this week to give to BSF, and I don't expect things to get better for the next couple weeks.

However, I usually feel anxious because I'm unable to post something substantial and critical in nature... I'm fairly confident that I can do something more relaxed, like posting dumb surveys and asking you to answer them yourselves and post the results. And getting into a bitch fit over some magazine's list of the 7 Greatest Classic Rock outfits ever.

So I am officially declaring the rest of Oculine "fluff mode" for this blog. Expect to see a much higher proportion of superfluous posts in this time, but be advised that I will be blogging about Jess and my trip to Chicago (coming up in just 2 weeks), I'll blog the Hunt for the third consecutive year. And then I'll get back to blogging about music that nobody will leave comments about.

Some magazine I came across back in the day listed the "7 Indespensible Classic Rock groups" as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, the Who, the Doors, Led Zeppelin, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Who are they jerks for having left out? What would your list look like?


Thursday, April 20, 2006



No, I didn't post yesterday and I'm barely posting today.
But I'll explain all that tomorrow.

Anyway, the Oculine material is posted. All of the images this month share the fact that they were taken from either the roof or the windows of my humble apartment. Essentially, the view from the apartment is four stories, and the roof, six. Looking to the west, one sees the Walt Whitman homes and the Brooklyn skyline. The south and east are less remarkable; South Brooklyn, Williamsburg, and Bedstuy are interesting on the ground, but the most one can see from up and far away are streets, trees, and brownstones. The eye catcher is to the north. Half a block north races the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. One block beyond that, the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Half-a-mile further, the East river, and another half-mile, Manhattan.

Because Manhattan is angle from the southeast to the northwest, you're not actually looking perpendicular to a grid; because of this angle, looking to the northeast from my apartment, you see the downtown skyline, punctuated by the Manhattan bridge, and looking to the northwest, you see midtown, punctuated by the Empire State Building.

The pictures, then, are as follows:
The background is looking toward Downtown Manhattan.
The square box at left is looking toward Midtown.
The three rectangular boxes are each views of the Empire State Building.

If you're interested in a more detailed shot, check this out.

I won't explain what's cool this month... the links should speak for themselves.

I will however, leave you with a Question of the Day.

What's out your window?


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Oneidine 29, 28.


- YESTERDAY - Actually, a pretty good day (though I say it as if surprised.) Busy. I managed to fire off a cover letter as application for a TA position opening up next year. I left work early to clear up some registration trouble I'd discovered over the weekend. I'd been warned of a $150 fee, but the rumor must have been embellished, because I was fined == zero ==. I had a few free minutes, so I stopped by the writing center to let Megan know I'd listed her as a reference and to say "hi." At six I had a meeting first with Helen (workshop, last semester) and then with David (workshop, this semester), and both were very productive. And... there was time to grab a coffee before workshop. Our workshop was energized and vigorous today... I'll be going up next week. I stopped at Spain for some chicken and whiskey and got home by midnight.

- WEATHER - All storms as predicted yesterday. South Dakota gets snow, not rain. Very warm in the southeast and southwest. The northeast: AN OMEGA BLOCK! (This is when the jet stream is shaped like an omega with a high pressure center occluding fronts moving in from other directions. Rain and cold is trapped on the outside of the omega, while the interior (in this case Michigan and southern Ontario) is filled with cloudless blue skies and gentle downward moving air.

- TIGERS - Yesterday: 10-2. Cleveland. What happened? Shelton got another homer, setting a new AL record. But that's all. As the Freep says: "The last time the Tigers stood 7-6 after 13 games -- in 1996 -- the team embarked on a three-city trip that included stops in Seattle and Anaheim. The Tigers will do the same now. A decade ago, they went 1-7. They never again found the good side of .500 and finished 53-109." It's been about twice that long, incidentally, since they played a winning season.

- APRIL - Is the month of woodworking.
- TODAY - Is Cheatday.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Clarence Daroow, Leopold Stokowski, Albert Einstein, and Conan O'Brien.

"The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax."
- Albert Einstein

“If life gives you lemons, make some kind of fruity juice.”
- Conan O'Brien

First, list all the languages you know *well*: let's say well enough to READ books and street signs without help, and literature with help from a good dictionary, and to SPEAK without help or significant difficulty.
Second, list and rank seven more languages you'd like to know.


Monday, April 17, 2006

A freebie.


Someone please write to the Flint Journal and let them know how irrelevant and insulting this thing is.

It's the worst I've seen since "Anorexic teen should swallow her pride."

No taste at all.


Politics Schmolitics.


Your Political Profile

Overall: 10% Conservative, 90% Liberal

Social Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Not the greatest political quiz I've ever taken, but oh well. Got this from Jen. We appear to be relatively inline, surprise surprise.


Oneidine 28, 28.


- THE WEEKEND - On the ups, I had an absolutely exhilerating Holy Week. I felt at home in my new adopted parish and I got to spent a wonderful weekend with Jess whether we were walking in the wind on Thursday night, eating a midnight breakfast of bacon and eggs on Easter or laying out on a beach towel in Fort Greene Park. Even the weather was fine. On the downs, I'm even further behind, now owing five workshop critiques and needing to hand in an application for next years TA positions today. I have work today, class, two meetings with instructors, and I probably won't be home until after midnight. Also, I haven't had coffee for well over a month now, but went overboard yesterday and stayed up until five. So forgive me if I'm incoherant. Iff this posr is plague by obvious typo.
Actually, I've already discussed the weekend in some detail. The rest I'll let rest in my memory. Yesterday Jess and I did have Crown Fried Chicken for dinner and watched Desperate Housewives.

- WEATHER - States hit by crazy-ass storms today and tomorrow: Illinois, Iowa, Misourri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Nebraska and South Dakota. Air fronts are in disagreement about who is to occupy which space. To be slightly more specific, the jet stream is in an utterly weird shape at the moment plunging from north over Saskatoon straight (literally straight) south to Kansas. Almost as crazy, the westerly intersecting a north-flowing front from the Caribbean that itself collides with a south-moving front from along the Appalachians.

- TIGERS - Easter Sunday. Chris Shelton hit another homer. His eighth in twelve games. It led to a 1-0 victory over the Indians. Of course, credit is also due to (a still arm-sore) Mike Maroth who manage to shut out one of the other impressive offensive lineups in the American League. Of course, that means that the Tigers, the White Sox, and the Indians are in a threeway tie for top of the Central Divison. Meanwhile, the Royals just lost their seventh game in a row. Detroit plays Cleveland for a series sweep at 1:05 EST today.

- APRIL - Is Straw Hat month.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Nikita Khrushchev, Thornton Wilder, Liz Phair who is also very talented, very attractive, and very from Chicago.

CNN.COM - Danube at highest in more than a century.

Who/What/Where/When/Why? That is... what is the most interesting story you can plausibly contrive from any combination of five answers given over the past five days?


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Today is Easter!


Happy Easter!

I halfway thought of posting something detailed and religious today, but it's a day of rest, and the eye of a big storm that won't be over until sometime in May. That said, revel in this; isn't it beautiful?

Who wants to guess what/where this is?


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Yesterday was Good Friday.


And what a good Friday it was! I got up with Jessica, and after she left I did my morning "chores": stretched, cleaned, blogged. Didn't have enough time for Spanish. But from that point on, it was all religion.

I walked to the Oratory in time for the twelve o'clock Stations of the Cross. I wonder what monastic life at the Oratory must be like; all of the masses are executed with such a sense of seriousness and precision that I think they must practice extensively. They seem plagued by few of the technical problems and difficulties I've encountered at all of the other parishes I've visited. Not that technical problems are a damning thing (sometimes, they add just the right level of worldly chaos to make a particular theme relevant). But I admire the gravity they can bring to a ritual they perform so routinely. As usual, the stations of the Cross we read by high-school age kids from the sanctuary, while the cross processed about the church. As the homily of the later service noted, the stations of the cross at this church are actually set in the floor, and are carved out of glass from Jesus' point of view. For the walk, for example, you see a thorn-crowned statue extending along the groun at an elongated angle. For one of the falls, just a tired hand. They are engraved with the appropriate line from gospel, but also a question central to the issue.

After Stations of the Cross I went to Confession, (with chagrin) the first time since I went around the time of my baptism/confirmation in 2003. This was a much more formal experience, and I was always in danger of losing the track of the litanies and whatnot, but managed to make it through, and the priest's advice was pertinent, and the experience did refresh me.

After that, I had about two hours before the Good Friday service; not enough time to make a trip home worthwhile, but long enough that I didn't want to hang about the church. Instead, I walked down Flatbush and crossed the Manhattan Bridge, wound my way south through Chinatown, crossed back to Brooklyn along the Brooklyn Bridge, and took the Fulton Street Mall's approach back to the church. I briefly stopped at Macy's to pick up a new water filter for my coffee maker, but without luck.

The Good Friday service was one of the longer services I've ever attended, clocking in at about two hours, and again, the church was packed, but there was a warm smell of rising steam. People had been out in the rain prior to the service. It was raining outside throughout the service. There's a small courtyard on the lefthand side of the church that I periodically caught a glance of throughout the service. Inside, it's screened from its surrounding by high brick walls and shaded by trees. But looking up to both the east (from across Duffield street) and west (directly adjacent) rises a skyscraper. The Brooklyn Skyline seems not so tiny when one is actually in Brooklyn.

Afterward, I rushed to Associated Foods, picked up groceries, and hurried home to make Hot Cross Buns. What can I say... this was a recipe far beyond my league, and not only did the buns themselves fail to rise, but I think I murdered our poor mixer in the process. But Jess got home (just minutes after the mixer had stopped smoking, actually) and we had rice and fish (whitefish) for dinner with spinach salad. Then, by eleven, the hot cross buns were done. Not done well, but they tasted good enough for a fatally botched recipe. I spent the evening listening to Jimi Hendrix, doing the dishes, and reading and then watching Conan O'Brien with Jess. We went to bed around two.


Friday, April 14, 2006

The Twenty-Seven Club.


Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and Robert Johnson.

Fortunately, I'm almost out of this particularly unpleasant thicket.


Oneidine 25, 28.


- YESTERDAY - A good day. I got a lot accomplished, and wnet up to the roof to start reading Wittgenstein's Mistress which I am enjoying greatly so far. Of course, I have to reread Ryder... that's not going so hot, and I barely cracked Gravity's Rainbow. But I'm close enough to the end that I can negotiate whatever problems I'm presently facing, and I'll be able to catchup this summer on whatever I haven't read.
At seven I met Jess at the Oratory Church of St. Boniface for the Holy Thursday Mass. It was a remarkable setup; that church never fails to amaze me. They had the chairs rings un concentric circles about the altar. While this made for confusion during communion, the effect was heightened and intimate throughout. The crosses were all covered, of course, and purple light mingled with the rest. The place was dense with people, and during the washing of the feet, people were led up to the sanctuary, more removed than usual. As a result, the rite seemed almost like a staged performance or a movie because of the distance in between. Afterward, we processed around the church, with adoration of the host in a small chapel, and almost empty white room with wooden floors. And, of course, plenty of spoke; that church is in love with incense. And the homily was intense... but that's all of this thing I can perhaps appropriately convey. It was the first time in six years I've not attended Holy Thursday at St. Thomas in Hyde Park, and while I don't really think any church could be a "replacement," I have to admire and respect the gravity and seriousness demonstrated by the Oratory of St. Boniface.
They had a small courtyard separating the church from the rectory, and on two sides, the buildings of Downtown Brooklyn soared overhead to a height of maybe thirty stories - the Metrotech Center and another. We had a full moon last night.
Back home, spaghetti and popcorn.

- WEATHER - East of the Mississippi, rain and storms all weekend long. Sorry. And more rain in California. Sorry.

- TIGERS - They lost to the White Sox again, meaning a sweep. More, the two teams are now tied for second in the AL Central division. It was a weird game, though. While each team's star hitter, Jim Thome and Chris Shelton, each delivered, the star pitchers, Jon Gardner and Justin Verlander did not. That's oversimplifying it, and as in the last two days, the Sox did enough better to win, but there were runs all over the place, and the final score was nine to thirteen. And, for the second day in a row, the Tigers stacked the deck in the bottom of the ninth, only for a final strikeout. So it goes. More detail here.

- APRIL - Is customer loyalty month.
- TODAY - Is Good Friday.
- TOMORROW - Is Income Tax Day, Jackie Robinson Day, and Holy Saturday.
- SUNDAY - Is Easter.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Today - Anne Sullivan and Arnold Toynbee. Tomorrow - Leonardo da Vinci, Leonhard Euler, Bessie Smith, Harold Washington, and Emma Watson. Friday - Charlie Chaplin, the Pope.




Thursday, April 13, 2006

Today is Holy Thursday.


We should all go out and wash sombody's feet.


Oneidine 24, 28.


No time! There is no time today to ramble on through my blog. Too much to do! Too much to do!

- YESTERDAY - Yesterday was exhausting, and I felt a little queasy at the end, like I ate too much of something rich, very quickly. Except the most exotic thing I ate all day was a can a Ravioli. Also, I continue to feel that many of the comments I make in my Seminar are next to pointless to the material discussed.

- WEATHER - There's continued drama in California. Beyond that, not much. The Midwest will get storms by this weekend. The East Coast will cool off.

- TIGERS - They lost to the White Sox again; it was more painful, the Tigers coming within a run of the White Sox score of five with two off a home run hit by (who else these days) Chris Shelton. But the next game is almost more promising, since Verlander faces the Sox today as the Tiger try to prevent a sweep. 1:05 PM EST, kids.

- APRIL - Is the month of self-publishing.
- TODAY - Is Holy Thursday.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Datherine de Medici, Thomas Jefferson, Jacques Lacan, and Samuel Beckett.

About: Easter Egg Coloring and Decorating.



Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Oneidine 23, 28.


- YESTERDAY - Not a bad day overall. I wasn't tired. After work I ran a couple errands around New School and Manhattan. I'd misplaced my keys at home, so I had to wait on the stairs for Jess to let me in. I spent most of the evening finishing A Form / Of Taking / It All by Rosemary Waldrop for Shelley's class.

- WEATHER - Nothing too special outside of California's flooding.

- TIGERS - Today they take on the Sox again; hopefully with better luck than on Monday.

- APRIL - Is the month of Pecans.
- TODAY - Is Holy Wednesday and the beginning of Passover.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - FDR and David Cassidy.

NASA - The largest solar flare on record.



Tuesday, April 11, 2006

In April, 1984.


Don't remember much, although this was drawing near the close of my second and final year at Valley Private School in Grand Blanc Township (today in Flint). My time there was kind of a strange experience, anyway... it was an experimental (and expensive program) where we didn't receive grades but written evaluations and were allowed to choose out own textbooks, given certain limitations.

I think I will assign this month a memory that may have happened at another time: I became particularly excited by some work we were doing in mathematics... it was less advanced than carrying in subtraction, because I learned that while home-schooled. I was so excited that I took the textbook home (which was allowed, but essentially unheard of) so I could continue. The textbook cover had the background of a blue sky with light altocumulus clouds and rows and columns of numbers (all single-digit), metallic-looking, stacked like the chips in a game of Connect Four.

When I finally finished that textbook I was excited to pick out another, though I was slightly dismayed that my classmates and friends had moved on much sooner and some of the girls in the class had torn ahead through several reading books.

I was even more substantially behind on reading.

Where were you in April, 1984?


Oneidine 22, 28.


- YESTERDAY - I felt lousy all day long: my teeth hurt, had a sore-throat, and I was exhausted. My hypochondriac mind kicked in and imagined it all to be something dreadful, but today I feel a lot better (though still very tired). I think it's late-semester syndrome... I can't overstate now how much I prefer the quarter system: the length of semesters (and especially this second semester) is so much that I don't feel like I'm learning a lot now. I just trying to keep my sanity intact until May. Though it will be nice to be out of school in early May.
That out of the way, last night I attended a very revealing talk and reading by John Glusman (again, Urbantasm fodder) and in Workshop the writing was extraordinary and the debate energized. It was enough, actually, to set the rest of my exhaustion aside, and revel in the best of academia.
(I know that's an obnoxious sentence, but I have better things to do than revise it.)
After class I went to Spain with Andrew, Erica, and Mac. Then I went home to Jess and Sharky. I was home by midnight.

- WEATHER - The average rainfall this month is above average (a marked change from last year), but unfortunately it's all over California. The drier parts of the state have only gotten two or three times the average, while south and central California have gotten up to seven times their average amount. There are Thunderstorms in Iowa (where the jet stream makes a plunge to the north between Lake Michigan and Superior. But nothing to worry about.

- TIGERS - As Michael Rosenberg wrote this morning in the Detroit Free Press:
The Tigers lost their home opener Monday afternoon, but the day was still filled with highlights: It didn't snow, Chris Shelton was selected American League player of the week, there was no ice storm, Craig Monroe hit a two-run home run, Comerica Park drew its biggest crowd ever and the ball did not freeze in mid-flight.
And then there was this: After five innings, the Tigers and White Sox were tied, 2-2, and there was genuine tension in the air.
For the first time in years, the Tigers' Opening Day was actually about the team. Not just the smell of green grass. Not fathers playing catch with sons. Not a beloved former shortstop coming back to manage, or a Hall of Fame catcher joining a team that seemed hopeless.

It was also their first loss of a home opener in at three years. But the last two years were losing years. So can we make something of a principle of inversion here? Rosenberg also said: 'White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said the Tigers had “the best lineup in the Central, no doubt about it.”'
Tomorrow the Tigers play the White Sox again.

- APRIL - Is the month of Holy Humor.
- TODAY - Is Mawlid an Nabi (Birth of the Prophet) in Islam, also, Barbershop Quartet Day.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Meshach Taylor. And my dad!

"Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical."
- Yogi Berra



Monday, April 10, 2006

Don't tell me, "American-made cars suck." Just don't.


I'm getting really tired of people, friends, indiscriminately ragging on the quality of American made vehicles.

Now I have to qualify this, because in objecting to a generalized smear, I don't want to be guilty of one myself.

  • I don't mind when people complain about the mileage (in general) of GM vehicles, because this is an area in which GM has generally suffered for many years, or rather, is an area in which GM has declined to compete.

  • I don't mind when people object to the sticker shock of many domestic vehicles, although no vehicle is really cheap by today's standards... I could buy a house in Flint for something comparable to many vehicles, domestic or imported.

  • Along a similar line, I also disapprove of the U.S. auto industry's overreliance on the SUV as the source of profit, not only because it's putting too many eggs in one basket or for environmental concerns (though these have been overstated; SUVs are more culpable for their low mileage than unfavorable emmisions standards) but also because they promote a lifestyle of unnecessary consumption among many customers.

I don't know a lot about cars... I can check my oil and give a jump, but that's about the extent of it. That said, it makes me angry that many people who unquestionably know as little or less about cars as I do love to make generalizing statements about how poorly built, how unsafe, how weakly designed domestic vehicles are.

Don't make such statements unless you're ready to back them up.

With many generations of family in this industry (my father inspected engines and designs and repairs tools, my aunt worked with computer systems for EDS, my grandfathers on both sides made spark plugs, and my grandmother was a secretary for GMI), it's not only laughably ignorant but is downright insulting to declare without justification that a whole class (not even a whole company, but a whole nation worth of companies) is involved in the design and execution of an inferior product. Such statements imply that my family has either knowingly participated for decades in a building products they knew to be inferior, or that they were somehow unaware of the fact (which seems particularly audacious given, again, the decades of experience involved).

I think that 99% of the time people tend to defend the vehicles their parents bought and drove. The fact is that I have more reason than almost anyone I know to actively promote GM vehicles, but I still try not to talk smack about things I don't know about: I won't belabor the point that Suzukis were known as years as death traps, and I won't delve into the tariff irregularities under the Reagan administration that so unfaily favored imports in the first place. The fact is I haven't done enough homework to make a convincing argument, and until I do I'm obliged to let the issue lie.

I don't care if you or your parents drive Mazdas, Toyotas, Hondas, Volvos, BMWs, Volkswagens, whatever... I don't even care if you object to the kind of vehicles domestic automakers are making. If you've got something to say about the way Chevrolets, Pontiacs, Buicks, Saturns, GMCs, or Cadillacs are designed and built, do us both a favor and do a little research first.

Here are some handy places to start out:
The Detroit Free-Press: GM's quality quandary: Some General Motors vehicles outrank Toyota's, but a few troubled models reinforce a bad reputation GM fights to change.
Consumer Reports, Cars makes/models A to Z.
J.D. Power Consumer Center.


The White Sox suck!


At least for today, my second favorite team in baseball is at the very top of my hit list. They will not only be playing the Tigers, the soon-to-be contenders in the American League Central Division; they're playing the Tigers at the Detroit home opener. Conventional wisdom says that the first weeks don't count for much more than Spring training, and I'm inclined to believe, but those numbers are real numbers; the Tigers 5-1 is almost the reverse of the Sox 2-4. After yesterday's "bad day" Chris Shelton's still batting around the .583 mark. Bonderman's pitching. He pitched a victory last year, and while the Royals aren't exactly in the same league as the White Sox (well, they are), his continued riot across the former team this past week is worth notice. Even the grumpy post-Cub catcher was optimistic.

Sorry White Sox... I guess it's raining on the South Side today for a reason.

I'll be posting comments (and hopefully photos) here throughout the game.

EDIT: No, the White Sox do not suck. In fact I love them dearly (albeit slightly less so than the Tigers), and cheered them to victory during their Series sweep last year, even skipping my expensive literature seminar to see the last game. I put this post up to poke some fun at my friends, most of whom are Chicago South Siders. I didn't anticipate that the subject heading would lend me at the top of the Google Blog search for "White Sox" and while your 217 emails yesterday were taken in the spirit of competition and not malice, I would like to redirect your rage.


Oneidine 21, 28.


- WEEKEND - It wasn't a bad weekend, though it is somewhat biased by my having a pretty lousy morning (subway trouble; I didn't get to work until forty minutes late, and now I have a toothache and a sore throat).
On Friday, Jess and I went to see Pen at Playwrights Horizons (again, courtesy of Hallie) which was both weird and fun (and involved sound instructions as to making a good martini). On Saturday, we stayed in most of the day, but split up in the evening, I so that I could go to Jeff's birthday party, and Jess to visit with Matt. On Sunday, I went to Palm Sunday Mass, and spent most of the afternoon wrestling with critiques for class. In the evening I went and read at 2773. And that was that!

- WEATHER - For the most part, the next several says are supposed to be calm. There will be a gentle rain over California and the midwest, with warmth and windiness throughout the rest of the country. The sole exception looks like the entirety of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and northern Illinois, which will be buffeted by thunderstorms. Through the week a surge of warmth will move from west to east. A calm week, overall. I was pretty groggy this morning when an NBC anchor interviewed a meteorologist who predicted nineteen hurricanes this year, with an 81% chance that at least one would feature 110 mph winds.

- TIGERS - The Tigers are hot so far (although it's still far too soon to abandon caution), coming home for their opener with a 5-1 record. Personally, I'm more comfortable with the single loss anyway. With this club (and certainly in the last several years) opening winning streaks have corresponded closely to losing streaks later on. Something about the pitching... but the Tigers are hot these days. Chris Shelton. Justin Verlander. Pudge had a tantrum, but otherwise, it wouldn't be Pudge. Today, we take on the White Sox. More on this soon.

- APRIL - Is Florida Tomatoes month.
- TODAY - Is Holy Monday and Siblings Day (apparently).
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Cosimo de Medici and Afrika Bambaataa.

The Buffalo News: Classified leak laid at Bush's door.
The Detroit Free Press: GM's quality quandary. More on this today.



Sunday, April 09, 2006

Palm Sunday




Friday, April 07, 2006

In April, 1995.


What happened in March...

After the end of The Flame of Peace, I wanted to move onto a new production. My friend Levi and I assembled self-written and public domain scripts (and probably several non public domain) from assorted sources to mount a production for our self-run theater group: Elysian Theatre. We called the production "Maze" for its strange battery of cast, to whom I'm pretty sure we assigned names on some conceptual basis: Mr. Green, Ms. Blue, something like that. We needed ten or twelve actors, and surprisingly, we actually manage to get six. I don't recall the exact situation, but I recall that my brother, Levi and I were all present, and I'd also (I have no idea how or why) has recruited some listless stoners from Kearsley (?) to participate. I'd probably also bullied some sort of suspended consent from Andy and Katie and Rebecca (from Fluishing) to get involved, so it must have seemed in the moment that the production might acutally go forward.

What can I say? If I wasn't so coercive a director back then I might have had better luck, but then, I might have had less. I do know, however, that the Flushing kids were worn out with our projects by that time, and stoners were only half-interested in first place. They really wanted to stand outside the Barnitorium (our rehearsal space) and smoke cigarettes, and I knew first that the bard was full of flammible dust and second that my parents would go ballistic if they found any cigarette butts lying around.

Needless to say, the first rehearsal of Maze was also the last... but I was sixteen and most of our projects were touch-and-go to begin with.

In the absence of Maze, April was probably the most uneventful month that year. I'd been approached by Bill at FYT and asked if I wanted to participate in the touring summer production of Trace Titanic. I probably obsessed over some new girl, since Claire was gradually receding over the horizon. I played in the Concert Band and read plays and it was also about this time that I had the seed of an idea for A Spring Storm, a play that would plant another seed that summer: Urbantasm. But April, 1995 was a quiet month. I don't mind that it was so.

Where were you in April, 1995?


Orbital #6. Snivilisation


Here is it... Snivilisation represents the beginning and end of my Orbital albums, so I won't be writing about them for quite some time.

Snivilistion was the first Orbital album I ever bought, it having been recommended above all others in some book... for that reason, it bascially formed (along with Halcyon + On + On and Lush 3.1 and maybe that song off the Pi soundtrack) my first impression of them.

I'll mention the jacket arts, just because it's so weird and compelling. The jacket is primarily a muted white and black ink on a gray surface, and suggests French Surrealism like every other marginally antiestablishment album of the nineties. Here, however, there's an advantage of detail and thought. On the front, a piece of tubing forms the outline of a figure, with swollen hands on each end, the cord twisting before a loop to form the neck and head. Two globes form eyes (crowned with an "Orbital" halo) and a piece of rummer tumbing tears through the background to form a trunklike nose. These can just as easily be seen as testicles and penis. The mouth is a barcode. The right hand holds a tissue that wipes the nose. The left hand fingers a pause button on a console of CD player controls. The "figure" is wearing headphones, and listening to a walkman cassette player. Musical notes dance across the background, at the latitude of the ears. The figure is crowned with the flags of ten developed nations: I believe them to be France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, China, Switzerland, Italy, and Mexico (though it's difficult to tell in the grayscale). A dotted line runs the perimeter of all this and cars drive on either, unmarked lane.

On the inside are two basic pictures. At center, a giant egg with webbed feet and human arms emerging from holes reclines in a chair with a newspaper over its "face" a fifth hole facing a TV (which depicts a fruit-filled tree and a smiling sun). On the wall behind the TV hangs a painting of a fruit-filled tree and a smiling sun. Out the window is a fruit-filled tree and a shining sun. Beside the chair is a coffee mug depicting a fruity tree and a shining sun. On either side, this scene is guaded by two phallic loking naked female figures (phallic on account of their rounded theighs and elongated torsoes). They stand on webbed feet, and hold spears and shields with a lightning motif in their human hands. For heads they also have an egg with a small hole to setve as an "eye."

The final image is a large bearded man seated on a throne set upon a cloud (presumably God). He wears a black helmet device that covers his eyes entirely, and it is fitted with a plate that reads 'VIRTUALITY'. So much for that.

* * * * *

I bought Snivilisation in my annual music buying binge. It was January (early February) 2004 and I'd been saving my nickels and dimes for Jessica's engagement ring all year. Compared to the first two Orbital albums this one has a sad breathyness to it, an almost echoing effect as if the different layers of music were recorded at different distances.

It's also, of the first three, by far the most unified. Snivilisation lacks the innocent highs and searing lows of the Green album. It builds and progresses throughout instead of suddenly jumping without rhyme or reason. Moreover, while I might argue that the best songs are on the Green album, Snivilisation is the more orgnanic album. For all this, it has also been called their most eclectic work. As someone reviewed on Amazon stated, "I believe the Hartnolls set out very deliberately to catalogue the insecurities of the modern era, and then propose a transcendent musical solution." I agree. The music is explicitly philosophical and political; the sound bites are no longer limited to oblique science errata, and the sound texture through out maintains a low, sober concern... I don't know exactly how to express it. The layering reminds me of the "beehive" background that I've heard attributed to many Techno albums, except the effect here is soothing instead of infuriating. It seems to suggest, "do not worry. You were much too small to save the world."

* * * * *

Snivilisation goes easier on the sound-bites than its forebears and the first song Forever begins with a synth-driven melody over a chorus of voices proclaiming on human suffering and human damnation. The song moves forward at mid-tempo, but it's got meloncholy overtones... almost a more beat-driven, less operatic take on Belfast. "While millions of others suffer, go hungry, condemmed forever."

"Ladies and gentlemen, everyone please, gather around for the show, we're going to have a freak show." Throughout I wish I had Duck Feet a showman announces various sideshow acts (the Illuminated Man, the Sword Swollower, etc.) over an addictive drumming effect and the same sad (though now more self-assured) overtones of Forever.

Sad but True is the first uptempo (by which I mean upper mid) installation. It also sounds a little less bleak with the mounting chopped up vocals and climbing lyrics of Alison Goldfrapp. Half of Orbitals' genius was in their ability to sample the best female vocalists. "Somehow feel alive."

Crash and Carry is wonderful and complex and sounds just like what its title implies. It's generally uptempo. As I described the album as sounding organic, by this far in it's moved from a quiet meditative pace to something angrier and more forceful.

Because the voice samples on Snivilisation are more extensive and deliberate than on earlier albums, they create the suggestion of a conversation, but more, the songs (like Crash and Carry) without vocals seem more machine-driven than they would have in earlier albums (where voices were just part of the progression). Also, songs are distinct, beginning and ending separately from each other. This might seem to work against the assertion of an organic wsound, but the build of the mood throughout is so consistant that the shifts are almost unnoticed.

Science Friction is fast and gorgeous, blending the furious pace of Crash and Carry with a trickling piano sequence. Eventually it breaks down into solid sound.

Philosophy by Numbers is dominated by a woman offering degrees, a woman offering cosmetic surgical options, and a man discussing physical ramifications... to what, he does not specify. It's easily my least favorite track, but I can appreciate its role in the build of the album.

Kein Trink Wasser or "Not for drinking!" Again, Daniel Stanton on Amazon writes:

It begins with what sounds like an attention-starved child banging on the same piano key over and over again, then almost imperceptibly other piano melodies are introduced and begin to interplay and weave around the simplistic core. What was initially annoying is suddenly startlingly poignant.

In the closing minutes of the song all of its diverse accumulated elements rush in and build, then gradually fade out, one-by-one.

And Quality Seconds is angry and punky. It clocks in at under two minutes.

This is a more abbreviated commentary than I've allowed the other albums; it's a sign of nothing but my exhaustion. I listened to this album (especially Science Friction and Kein Trink Wasser) each morning in 2004 when I was riding the Orange Line each morning to work at Neurosurgery, where I was frequently exhausted... it was an exhausting year, but those mornings gave me something crystalline to look forward to.

Are We Here? is Snivilisation's seminal track, it's Halcyon. It begins with an irrit
"Are, are we here?"
"Are we unique, are we something utterly special in the universe or are we, are we, example of many different civilizations, many different life forms?"
And "What does God say?"

While the drum rhythm of this fifteen minutes song is addictive from the outset, I do admit to finding the samples a little grating at the beginning, mainly on account of the "professor's" graphite-edged voice. But the song has an animation and a build that takes hold right from the beginning.

"Why do you want a nuclear attack?"

Several minutes in, most of the accumulated sounds drop out, and abrasive electronic notes drop in at alternate planes simultaneous. This angry sequence continues for several minutes, and gradually recedes to the drumming sequence. Now the original samples return with more optimistic chimes and Alison Goldfrapp:

"Being at a higher level."

This meanders, builds, recedes, and builds, and finally, when the music seems like it will fade out without effect, I am treated to the most engaging voice samples on the album:

"What does God say?"
"The prodigal son is alive and well and living in the front bedroom."
"We never see him. He treats this home like a hotel."
"He's got his picture."
"...disgust long-haired work-shy dirty lay-about who ought to be in the bloody army!"
"What does God say?"
"What does God say?"
"What does God say?"

There is it: Are We Here, the album within the album.

Attached could possibly loop around (Brown Album style) like the snake to eat its own tail. The last and first songs seem sequenced for each other, and the phrase "attached forever," could take on significance given the environmeental and political themes of the album.

It's an abient piece, a slow building organ epic of electronic buzzes. It builds slowly for several minutes, and fades for several more.

And that's all I have to say about Orbital today.


Oneidine 18, 28.


- YESTERDAY - Routine. Reading and critiquing. At night, Jess and I had Mac and Cheese for dinner. It wasn't a so-late night. Tonight we're going to one of our Playwrights Horizons plays.
- WEATHER - I should just cut and past "thunderstorms" here each day and type in where they're hitting. Today, a human surge from the gulf will plunge north over the Mississippi and dry winds out of the southwest will drive it towards the Atlantic. States hit: Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and maybe Indiana and Ohio. It may be drizzly in the Northeast, or it may not. It will assuredly be drizzly in the Northwest.
- TIGERS - It doesn't mean anything, being only three games in, but it doesn't feel bad. The Tigers are the only team in the American league with a perfect standing so far this season. More impressive, they set a club record of 12 home runs in just two games, including two by Chris Shelton against Rangers' pitcher R.A. Dicket. Again, not a bad way to start.

- APRIL - Is Couple Appreciation month.
- TODAY - Is World Health Day.
- TOMORROW - Is Worldwide Roma Nation day.
- SUNDAY - Is Palm Sunday.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Today - William Wordsworth, Billie Holiday, and Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Black. Tomorrow - Buddha.


Who is your favorite Major League Baseball Team?


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Oneidine 17, 28.


- YESTERDAY - Routine. Work. It was snowing out. Home (bought milk on the way). Hung out with Jess. Did the dishes.
- WEATHER - More of what we've seen lately: storms and tornadoes along the Mississippi, and gradual warming to the East.

- APRIL - Is the month of scratching your butt with the back of your hand instead of the front.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Raphael, Elizabeth Barnett Browning, Gerry Mulligan. I should have given Rochester Chris a birthday shout out yesterday, but I neglected to. So happy birthday Rochester Chris, wherever you are.

Chevy Tahoe: The Apprentice (c). Lot's of fun, ironic and no.

No question, per se. Design your own chevy Tahoe ad, and post the link here.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Damn you, Fox, and your idiot viewers!


I'm not even bitching about Fox News this time!

First, I have to sit through an (admittedly pretty good) episode of The O.C. where, now that they've finally written Ryan out of that sad little box he's been punching for two years, Marissa's been degraded to where she was at the top of season two... (with the added bonus of copious cornucopias of crystalline cocaine!) I read gothic fiction... I'm used to seeing the same tricks over and over again... but it has to be done well and be done cleverly and sparingly, and this writing is about as bankrupt as Delphi these days.

Second, my short lived tryst with American Idol is over. Ever since I laid my eyes on that scrawny affected skank ("what's a ballsy?!" - You're fucking kidding me) I've wanted to see her go down in ignominy (no, not like that), but I'm fairly sure now she's on for awhile. While Mandisa, one of the two people I consistently enjoyed watching perform got kicked off, and I'm pretty sure it's on account of her big bottom, since she's got better pipes, more soul, more power, and more charisma than anyone else in that competition. Evidently the American people (or Fox viewers) know about as much about singing and performing as they do about choosing a president. Should I be surprised? Not at all.


Oneidine 16, 28.


- YESTERDAY - Weird emotional day yesterday. I have to admit, I'm continually moved and troubled by all the reports coming out of Delphi and GM these days... I do think the situation will resolve itself favorably within my own family. My dad works for GM, which has not been as cavelier towards its obligations lately as Delphi, and he has sufficient seniority to be assured an appreciable compensation in any case. Many friends' family, however, could be hit quite hard. Moreover, in considering Flint as a home, as a place dearly loved, and as a place to which I may someday return, this is very bad news, and there is little good news, that is, there is no favorable outcome. For years people have described that city as having hit rock bottom; situations like this remind me of how much further it could possibly fall.
I described the moment to Sam as: "You know how when the Titanic split in half, the afloat-half levelled off, almost as if it wasn't going to sink? I wonder if that's what the last 2 years have been like..."
On a related note, for my Sarduy emulation for class, I created a satirical ad using Chevrolet's Apprentice program. If anybody's interest, you can watch it here.
Definitely more effective with sound.
So, yeah: work, homework, class, home. Yesterday.

- WEATHER - Crazy rain out west. Windy out easy. Probably more storms and tornadoes the next couple days over the plains.

- APRIL - Is Animal Cruelty prevention month.
- TODAY - Is First Contact Day. What, you didn't know?
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Thomas Hobbes and Booker T. Washington.

Flint Delphi West, soon to be shut down.

What is the luckiest thing that has ever happened to you? (Remember, luck; this can't be something you could have been reasonably considered responsible for... an arbitrary occurrance that worked in your favor).


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Oracle Speaks (Delphi Deathwatch) -- #1


Will I be $100 richer?

Now that things are heating up again, I've been gearing up for a big string of posts on Delphi and General Motors and the developments we'll be seeing later this spring and summer. In fact, I haven't had a chance to put a post together (the subject being quite complicated, and in this case, personal; I've already described how listless Flint felt on this last visit), but with all this craziness going on, I should at least start out with *something*. So:


Rickey Hampton:
You won't be laughing when the ax falls on your job.

Andrew Heller:
Buy GM car? Probably not this time.
Parachute not gold, but it is shiny.

Laid off workers demonstrate inside Flint East.
Polish labor leader's visit inspires workers.
Plant workers seek 'plan B'.


Tom Walsh:
Future Weighs in on CEOs.

GM shows its faith in Wagoner.

CEO say Delphi can save pensions.

Delphi Bankruptcy Proposal: Miller defends plan for cuts.


GMAC Sale a Mixed Bag for General Motors

Don't Write Auto Sector Obituary Yes: Delphi CEO.

Car Parts Maker Moves to Break Its Union Deals.


On The Brink of Destruction...Again.

Links are sorted into editorials and articles by periodical, most recent to least.

* * * * *

Last November I made a bet with a P. Northup.
According to the bet, if the UAW strikes Delphi with the effect that GM shuts down for at least a month, then GM will declare bankruptsy within two years of the beginning of the strike.

I'm optimistic for my bet and pessimistic about everything else: so far, everything has been happening just as I predicted it.

That said, I will not blame the UAW for striking; more than my $100 is riding on this concern, and I'll explain my reasons soon.

In the meantime, I'd much rather lose, I'd much rather have pensions assures and contracts renegotiated instead of thrown out. We'll keep our fingers crossed and see what happens.


But at least there's the Velvet Underground.


Gemma has posted a diatribe on environmental issues here. I share virtually all of her concerns, and posted a lengthy comment that I've now decided to post here as well:

Over the last month I was doing indexing at work for a reference text on the oceans, and I read a lot about this subject.

There are weird variables that come into play, but since there's no precedent, there's no way to know how extensive their effects will be. For example, global warming would lead (as some argue it already has) to an increase in storms and cloud cover, which are one of the more effective reflectors of sunlight and heat... that could potentially dampen (pun) the greenhouse effect.

But there are other concerns that hadn't even crossed my mind before. If you look at a globe, Europe is unusually temperate for its latitude... it corresponds to parts of Canada and Asia that are cold almost year-round. The gulf stream, one of the most powerful ocean currents, moves across the Atlantic toward Europe from the tropics and is a large part of an explanation for Europe's mildness. If, however, a lot of arctic ice melts, it would cool the northern waters as well as diverting much of the Gulf Stream. So while the tropics get hotter and hot, Europe could enter its own mini ice age.

Another deep (pun) concern has to do with world hunger. Many fisheries are strained to the limit now, and many edible saltwater fish species are only maintaining population through careful monitoring. However, (beyond the obvious and justified concern for coral reefs and kelp forests) most of these salt water species rely, directly or indirectly, on upwellings... regions where nutrient and sediment rich deepwater rises to the surfaces the surface, feeding plankton that are the bottom of the oceanic food chain. But regional warming of seawater retards the upwellings. That's why the Peruvian economy is decimated whenever there's an El Nino event; because they rely on the anchovy fishery, and about 90% of the anchovies die off.

And of course, the increase in storms is also a massively huge worry on its own. I'm fairly confident that wealthy port cities like New York and Tokyo can cope with a gradual rise in sea level. On the other hand, tiny Bangladesh (half the size of Illinois with half the population of the U.S.) is inundated (literally a third of the country is underwater) every time there's a particularly bad monsoon. If global patterns change for the worse, a lot of already stricken places are going to be in even worse truoble.

On the plus side, I've discovered the Velvet Underground.

I don't know the timescale of when all this will come to a head, but it's hard to be optimistic in the face of what seems overwhelming evidence that things are getting out of control... and to think that if we stop our destructive activities, now, today, things will continue to get worse for centuries at the least.

If people are around in two thousand years, they will doubtless look at us as the most decadent and reckless of civilizations.

I'm increasingly more concerned with the environment than any other issue confronting us today.


Oneidine 15, 28.


- YESTERDAY - Full. Work. Then, a four-person panel on how to get published... it was useful and their anecdotes were especially useful and interesting. They constantly reiterated politeness and professionalism, however, which was a little frustrating, first because I can learn that from any book on getting published from Borders, and second because if people aren't going to understand that after being told once or twice, the third, fourth, and fifth mentions aren't going to be of much use. The prospects of publishing are generally discouraging, but not overwhelmingly so. After this, workshop. We had a rousing discussion of pieces by Jesse, Shelley, and Andrew. Very strong this time around. I went home, flirted with a late night, but decided to go to bed. (Because I'm tired all the time now...)
- WEATHER - The jet stream is a big 'W' across the country this week, meaning up to a foot of rain in California, continuing thunderstorms (ie. more tornadoes) over the great plains, and a cold surge over the Eastern midwest and East coast. In fact, AccuWeather's groaning about how some parts of northern Michigan and northwest New York will experience wind chills in the twenties. That's right, wind chills... meaning the actual temperatures are actually in the thirties and above. Oh, boo hoo. Cry me a freakin' river.

- APRIL - Is the month of Alcohol awareness.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Muddy Waters and Dorothea Dix.

"To be an adult is to be alone."
- Jean Ronstand

If it was to be the same temperature outside, all of the time, everywhere, what temperature would you choose? If you wish, you may quibble about Physics, though you are not required to do so.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Kansas City, my regrets.


It begins.

By "it" I mean, as Michael Rosenberg so eloquently puts it, this. I haven't posted much on this, but for awhile this has been projected to be an important year for the Tigers. No, it isn't that they're hitting the halfway point to shedding their crotchety, expensive, outdated catcher. Like some said in the nineties: it's the economy, stupid. Well, this year, it's the pitching. Admittedly, I haven't been following the Tigers as closely as I should have these past months, but I'm encouraged by what I hear. I know even less about the Royals, but if the last few years are any indication, the season will be off to another strong beginning.

I'm hungry.


In April, 1981.


I was three, soon to be four.

I have no distinct memories of this month.
It may, however, have been somewhere around this time (though probably a little later in the year) that my parents loaded me up in their bicycle baskets and rode me out around the neighborhood. It was one of my first experiences of "other directions," that is, locations removed from familiar roads and rooms... I had a sense of the route to my grandmothers, for example, or Mitchell's, the grocery store, but one block to either side was complete mystery. I remember strange curved roads I would later come to know by name: Montclair, Chalmers, and Mountain.

I'm probably transposing something that happened later on (maybe the early summer of 82 or 83), but as I said, I don't remember anything specifically from April, 1981.

Where were you in April, 1981?




If I had to pick one single favorite months of the year, well, it'd be torture, but I'd probably pick April. Everything is leaping into life, theres a cold freshness in the air, but the pavement is warming up. The whole rest of spring and summer and autumn is right ahead, right there, and throbbing with promise! It's a great month to clean in... there's "spring cleaning" and "taxes" and Easter, so why not clean everything else out as well?








Oneidine 14, 28.


- POPOZAO - It took long enough to set up, so yes, you're going to have to look at it at least a day or two longer!
- THE WEEKEND - Meh. I've been feeling exceptionally groggy, getting eight or nine hours of sleep a night... it's awful timing, since I'm reading a novel a week for Shelley's class plus Gravity's Rainbow plus working on my own reading list for my thesis projects. I stayed in pretty much all weekend, though I did go to my Pynchon seminar on Saturday, and then again church on Sunday, and Jess and I spent a couple hours reading in Fort Greene Park. We had beer-chicken for dinner. I took a break and beat The Adventure of Little Nemo on emulation. It's a deceptively difficult game. I'm just trying to stay awake is all.
- WEATHER - By April 2nd, the average number of tornadoes per year is 85. Last year, the number was 110. This year, the number is 340. Oh, yes. The west coast is taking some tropical rain. Carolina and Virginia can also expect some angrier Atlantic storms today. Nothing too exciting elsewhere. Is there rain?

- APRIL - Is the Month of Poetry.
- TODAY - Is "Sizdah bedar," the 13th day of the Iranian calendar, or, their version of April Fools Day. Iranians go out to avoid the bad luck of the numebr thirteen.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Washington Irving, "Boss" William Marcy Tweed, Marlon Brando, Doris Day, and Eddie Murphy.

The Detroit Free Press: DELPHI SHOCKER: Plan deepens divide with its unions, GM.

At what age do you predict your death?


Sunday, April 02, 2006

April Fools!


Well, I was pretty pleased considering how last minute the thing was.
If you approve of the facelift and name change, I'm afraid Blue Skies Falling will revert to its old self within the next day or two. Still, I'm going to leave this thing up at least until Monday, to catch any stragglers.

Happy April 2nd. :)


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Word of the day.