Friday, September 29, 2006

The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara, by Frank O'Hara.


For each of the prior readings I was able to take the entire selection and integrate it into a sort of overall impression that I was able to relate independently to my own experience and more explicitly to the theme of the class itself. I was surprised, then, when I came into class on Wednesday to discuss Frank O'Hara to hear Eric describe him as one of the more straightforward of the writers we've engaged. In fact, I found that O'Hara's reading of his work played in class to support this. Unlike the Stein and Cummings readings, which were very self-conscious and pause-heavy, O'Hara read with candor and personality; his poems almost sounded like conversation. This was very interesting to me because in reading both the assigned poems and others I most often disoriented and confused.

Part of this, which I referred to in class, was a lack of obvious syntactic clues. These clues are abundant in Cummings; however weird the actual words or sentences may be, he provides clues in the cadence, the sound, and the visual shape of the poems... it seems like just about everything becomes clear with repetition. Gertrude Stein seems much closer to O'Hara, especially in Lifting Belly, but still there was the phrase itself, "lifting belly," which acted as a sort of anchor or carriage return. However abstracted the poem might seem, I was always brought home to one visceral idea which seemed to provide a point of access.

Of course, comments in class gave me a number of ideas of how to approach O'Hara, as I was certain they would. It was interesting to note that these were more narrative than prosodic; that is, the poems yielded their secrets not by way of a sort of systematic analysis (eg. as a sonnet, as onomatopoeia, as invented words) but as a contextual perspective (eg. something written for a party (Poem Read at Joan Mitchell's) or as a set of free associations (Second Avenue)).

Incorporating this knowledge and thinking back upon the poetry itself, there does seem to be a connection between the more straightforward poems I understood the first time through, such as Having a Coke with You, and those I really wanted to understand, but couldn't like Easter.

On the page, Having a Coke with You offers some clues, but nothing that ought to be taken too far. There are two stanzas, left justified. The first is uninterrupted by any spatial device except breaks at the logical end of each line. The second has unusual breaks on the second and thirteenth lines; the subsequent line is indented to resume the line as if uninterrupted. If there were not these line breaks, the stanzas would be respectively ten and thirteen lines. Considering breaks, lines number ten and fifteen. I might venture that the shape suggests a consistency and fluidity of thought in the first stanza that is disrupted in the second. But if I'm drawing any narrative conclusions, they have to follow from the words themselves. In this sense, the poem follows its shape. The first stanza argues that the listener is more lovely than any number of romantic locales. The second, while not backing away from this claim, qualifies it by expressing others' doubt, mentioning the single exception (Polish Rider), and finally claiming regret that others cannot share this experience. In other words, I "got" this poem because it has both an approachable meaning and interpretation and they happen to intersect.

Other poems, particularly Second Avenue and Easter are not so friendly. Second Avenue has enumerated "stanzas," but only if a pagelong thing can be fairly called a stanza. Easter was similarly shaped, but lacked the numbered divides. Both poems lacked the interpretive advantage of Coke in that there was no coherent narrative, or even a continuous argument or description to follow. For all that, I enjoyed Easter more of the two because it seemed, in a way slightly reminiscent of Lifting Belly, to default to an essential question of decay; it was a pressing argument I didn't find in Second Avenue.

These were, I thought, incidentally, the two toughest poems we read.

They do, however, have the same conversational or epistolary quality as his more straightforward poems. So I think, in reapproaching O'Hara, I might read try a more dialectic reading, considering different inflections, pauses, punctuation, enjambment, and most importantly, context.

For example, Easter might be considered as follows:

  • The razzle dazzle maggots are summary.

  • The razzle dazzle maggots are summery.

  • The razzle dazzle maggots are a summary tattooing.

  • Sammary tattooing my simplicity on the pitiable.

  • Summery tattooing my simplicity on the pitiable.

  • The razzle dazzle maggots are a summary tattooing of my simplicity on the pitiable.

  • The razzle dazzle maggots are summary tattooing, my simplicity on the pitiable.

And so on.

Or, to try a shorter poem that was a real bugbear, Poem (Now the violets are all gone, the rhinoceroses, the cymbals):

  • Now the violets are all gone. The rhinoceroses and cymbals are a grisly pale...

  • Now the violets
  • and
  • rhinoceroses are all gone. The cymbals are a grisly pale...
  • ... the cymbals a gristly pale...

  • A grisly pale has settled over the stockyard where the fur flies...

  • ... is that of a bulldozer. In heat, stuck in the mud where a lilac...

  • ... is that of a bulldozer in heat. Stuck in the mud where a lilac...

  • ... where a lilac still scrawnily blooms and cries out "Walt!"

  • ... where a lilac still scrawnily blooms and cries out "Wait!"

Having such a variety of plausible options, that are at least consistent from line to line, and trying each on under different "circumstances" (a reflection on a painting or painter, a letter to a friend, a love poem, a love letter, a stream-of-consciousness recollection of a street) does not, most likely, yield a definitive reading. It does, however, allow a sense of tone and a subject specific and nuanced enough to be able to approach the poem as a whole entity. Which is what I've lacked with O'Hara up to this point.

I realize that this paper is more heavy on poetic terminology than my last two, and I don't think it necessarily makes it a smarter paper. Nor do I think I ought to apologize for this. It's more that I'm having a more difficult time with this material, so I'm pulling out the stops on anything that might get in the way of understanding the work. We did talk quite a bit about O'Hara's artistic connections, both as a poet and a friend of painters. Given what I know of those movements, by "interpret" I'm not expecting to nail him down to a particular reading or understanding, but to find an approach that enables me to see and hear a shape in the poem more distinct and interesting than an arbitrary collection of words on a page. His choices seem too specific, nuanced, and crafted to be arbitrary.

All that said, I think I've still got a ways to go.


Today is the Feast of the Archangels.






Galvane 6, 29.


- HERE IS NO WHY: Current Projects

13) Hollywood, a play. (Under Construction).

14) New School MFA Program: Hungry Rats. (Under Construction).

15) May You Live Forever and May I Never Die, a novel.

16) Various small projects.

17) Urbantasm, a novel.

- SEPTEMBER - is the month of school success.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Enrico Fermi.


what song is most likely to make you cry?


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Galvane 5, 29.


- I'm sorry that I've been falling behind so much lately. Partly, I'm trying to write more substantial and serious posts, and that can screw with the order of the littler things as well. Also, my schedule is much busier now that I'm back in school, with classes, writing, reading, events, and so on pretty much every day. It takes a lot of energy to get a lot out of this.

- One thing I've thought of cutting are the "of the week" entries each day. I'd keep the Questions, since people seem to enjoy those, but I practically never hear back about the Weather, News, Quotes, Pictures, Links, Countries, or even the poor Tigers (who are playing next week -- in October). I might keep the Links and Countries because they're pretty easy to do, but I don't know that the effort is worth it otherwise. If I'm mistaken, let me know, but right now the Daily posts take about forty-five minutes to put up and this would cut down preparation considerably.

- I've been listening to the Beatles' White album.


11) Gothic Funk. Somewhere both between and encompassing a series of parties and most of my future career ambitions, gothic funk is also a place/idea/group, a way of writing, and an amalgamation of two things that have never been satisfactorily defined. If you want to see further attempts at definition, they've been preserved here. The photos are more visceral.

12) The Black Hole in the Wall. My Deep Dark Secret, sort of. It's going to be awhile before this page is fully-launched, but the suggestions on the right have been assembled with loving care.

- SEPTEMBER - is the month of organic harvesting.
- SEPTEMBER - is the month of waffles.
- SEPTEMBER - is the month of pianos.
- SPETEMBER - is the month of potatoes.
- TODAY - is Cabrillo day.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Confucius, Caravaggio, Ethel Rosenberg, and Hilary Duff.

The Beatles.

Pick a plant and associate a personality trait with it.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006



I'm tired and I got 16 hours of sleep in the last 3 nights... okay, it could be worse... that's still about 5 1/3 hours a night, but my brain is melting. So I took a break from a reading upstairs to close my eyes in the informal computer lab (because New School doesn't grace us with public space along the lines of the South Lounge in the Reynolds Club or even the Rec Center at U of M Flint) but it's difficult to relax due first to the old man snoring a few feet away and more significantly some student social group grappling (in very passionate, emotional terms) with the issue of whether or not their donated membership cards are equitable or something along those lines.

Anyway, despite the noise they seem like a fun, invested bunch, so I might ask to be on their mailing list.

But anyway, yes. I'm tired and crabby. Class tonight is going to be an absolute delight. And then I get to go home to Jessica. And then I get to go to sleep.


That will be nice.


5: Watch this. And this.


Watch this.

Under heated discussion. Numbers One, Two, and Three.
I feel like I'm directing you to the eighth circle (Malebolge specifically), but all I can suggest is that you ignore the popups and avoid Yahoo! at all costs.

And this.

Which in the end, I just find incredibly moving. Neutral? No. He isn't neutral. But he is correct. It's nice to see, occasionally, the power of bias working on my side, and to see that when it does the passionate rhetoric of the moment is directed by my most rigorous calculation to act consistantly with the facts.

And here's another thing.

As I mentioned I felt more on September 11th this year than I have any year since the thing happened. I've acknowledged that a lot of that emotion, if not an indulgence, is at the level of instinct, since the threat to me specifically has never been more than abstract.

At the same time, one can't feel eternally jaded and cynical, or so wrapped in the momentum of careers and daily routines to ignore thoughts so thudding and unsubtle that they almost seem rhetorically excessive.

That thought is that before my eyes, in the last six years, the nation I live in and love has become much uglier, meaner, and darker than I like, and I don't think it's just because I've aged.

And here's another thing.

At work I've been working on a textbook on the 1970s, writing citations that have required me to read and analyze a large chunk of the information itself. After Vietnam and Watergate, the tone overwhelmingly suggests disenchantment and cynicism with government and politics, and this tone was so pervasive that it permeated the decade through Democratic and Republican presidents, all the way down to a speech President Carter gave in 1979 on a "Crisis of Confidence." A full five years after President Nixon resigned and Ford pardoned.

And I can't help but feel jealous.

Because as the enormity of what Nixon had done became clear, he lost his supporters one by one; there may be some disagreement over the extent to which he received the reckoning he deserved, but there was a reckoning. The man left office because a congress split between two parties was ready to throw him out, because his public abandoned him, and because he'd fired his most loyal supporters.

With Bush, with this congress, with this war, with these policies, there has been no reckoning.

Will the public see, in a meaningful way, what has been under all of our noses since the very beginning?

They did with Watergate.

We shouldn't be in Iraq. We shouldn't be racially profiling. We shouldn't be torturing. It's wrong. It's all wrong.

Therefore, I'm jealous.

I prefer Watergate. Any day.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006



As per last week's Question of the Day:

You are a female farmer and herder born in the year 28 CE. You will probably live into your late twenties.
You are part of a small Bantu tribe. You live in what is present-day Nigeria, near what will evantually become the city of Enugu.

Information: (Unfortunately, this information is very inconclusive.)


Galvane 3, 29.



6) GUESTBOOK! You are my friends! I'd really like for you to sign the guestbook...

[#7 - #9 are conspicuously self-absorbed, just so you've been warned.]

7) Facebook, Friendster, and Myspace profiles.

8) Autobiographical Stuff: a pretty background in image format and recent news, more straightforwardly.

9) Pictures: expectant me, literary me, scary me (a favorite), serious me, and happy me with Sharky.

10) Links. This the the "semiprofessional" list, in that I only linked to sites that people/organizations are using to actively promote their careers/missions in some way. Let me know if I've missed anyone/thing.

- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Johnny Appleseed, George Gershwin, and Olivia Newton-John.

"I am not a crook."
- Richard Nixon

Suppose Nixon stumbled into a time hole in late 1973 and wound up in the present. Now you're stuck with him for the whole afternoon. What will your itinerary be?


Monday, September 25, 2006

The Alice B. Toklas cookbook, by Alice B. Toklas.


Of course, the most titillating aspect of reading this piece was the anticipation of coming upon the infamous recipe for "Haschich Fudge" on page 259. This arrival of this moment was somewhat disappointing. There's nothing Earth-shattering about the recipe itself, nor is it presented with the colorful background information that surrounds most of the other recipes.

That out of the way, however, this is a cookbook that could be read for pleasure. In fact, I have to take as ironic the final comment, "as if a cook-book had anything to do with writing." (280) Is it too speculative to suggest that anyone living with Gertrude Stein for decades would necessarily examine and reexamine any conventional writing with an eye for multivalence and ambiguity? Or that an American who so obsessively immersed herself in French culture and cuisine wouldn't at least briefly consider the specifically Catholic understanding of the Eucharist as a possible parallel to writing, reading, cooking, and eating?

I'm inclined to think that these are reasonable inferences.

Regardless, The Cookbook is more integrated than it need be to simply offer a regional cookbook with a bit of local color. To begin with, the structure of the book does not favor finding a particular type of recipe with ease. The index is arranged by name, not type, and the table of contents is even less practical. There is, in broad terms, a general theme to each chapter that sometimes groups similar recipes; "Beautiful Soup," for example, contains seven national variations on a single soup recipe. Many chapter titles, however, such as "Murder in the Kitchen" and "Servants in France," suggest very little about the recipes they offer.

Organization is equally fluid and casual within each chapter itself. Recipe titles are given in caps with the instructions indented. However, the latter may spill over into the passages following the actual recipe, and there is no set distribution of recipe and anecdotes. Two chapters, "Little-known French Dishes suitable for American and British Kitchens" and "Recipes from Friends" almost exclusively consist of recipes and offer very little commentary. Other chapters go pages at a time without a single recipe presented. Two of the more dramatic examples of this, "Food in the United States in 1934 and 1935" and "Servants in France," present stories-in-miniature, complete with characters and a discrete plot. In "Food in the Bugey During the Occupation" the recipes are even compromised; Alice almost always qualifies the formulas by explaining that, in actuality, she could not make the recipe as written due to wartime privations. "The flummery cried for cream. So did we." (206) Add to this the frequent illustrations and the tendency of prose sections to lean toward exposition and description as much as toward storytelling, and The Cookbook often seems closer to an open amalgamation of written forms than a regional cookbook.

That is, while food is a constant thematic presence and the recipes are integral to every chapter, it is difficult to consider the work as only a cookbook, or as a collection of recipes independent from the other included stories and notes.

Finally, the chapters are sequenced in a loose thematic and chronological order; early on they both explain French cooking for the reader's benefit while Alice recounts her own early explorations of French cuisine, through lunch and dinner parties and her own trial-and-error attempts. Later on, sequences of recipes appear amid broader recollections of Gertrude Stein's lecture tour or the occupation of France. This keeps with the fluidity of transition between recipes and prose, and ultimately shapes the book, not as a collection of several hundred recipes, but as a sort of memoir that can be experienced in several ways.

Ultimately, these distinctions encourage reading The Cookbook progressively, from beginning to end. To return to my earlier speculations, the ideal way to experience The Cookbook, then, is on as many levels as possible. By reading the book in its entirety, returning to and preparing a desired recipe, and enjoying this with friends one can ingest the material as specifically French cooking, as cooking from the early 20th century, as cooking compiled by Alice with reference to her own experience, and in the immediate context of a present meal.

The Cookbook is a piece of organic writing in the most literal possible sense.


Galvane 2, 29.


As I mentioned, my website has undergone a more or less complete overhaul. So each day I'm going to promote one Part of the site.
Inostensibly, the site is divided into three parts, but there are segues and shortcuts to relevant matters of the main page. These are:

1) The Whole Story. Hopefully useful at a later date, this was kind of an artistic/critical project on its own. I attempt to chart and define a master plan (Here Is No Why) that has evolved over the last two decades. The main command is Blue Skies Falling, Gothic Funk, and Black Hole in the Wall. The main components are the First, Second, and Third Family. The evolution is a product of experience and vice versa. The "tour" also procedes along the lines of an excursion through Hall's Flats in Flint.
Anyway, this is very introspective and will probably only be of interest to a few of you. But... if you are interested in the rhyme and reason of Here Is No Why, here it is.

2) The List of Projects is pretty much that... a list of the thirty-four major projects I've worked on so far, sorted by family and date.

3) A resume and vitae for potential employers.

4) The blog, which you already know about (ie. you're there).

5) The contact form to protect my email from spamminess.

A lot of this is nuts and bolts, but I hope it's interesting and well organized.

Tomorrow: Blue Skies Falling.

We Have Arrived!
The last time that the Detroit Tigers made the playoffs, I was nine years old. I'd recently tried and given up skateboard, had made peace with Jeff across the street, and was a Wolf Cub Scout. Now I'm almost thirty.
But oh, this is sweet.

Last week: Weathorr: Screw you, midwest!
Anyway, all is tranquil now. A few scattered showers and thunderstorms will advance seaward in the South, while in California fires will weaken due to a subsiding offshore flow. Everywhere else, today should be beautiful. Things will cool off appreciably throughout the week, but nothing dramatic.

- SEPTEMBER - Check back tonight to find out.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Fletcher Christian, Dmitri Shostakovich, Barbara Walters, Shel Silverstein, and Christopher Reeve. And yesterday, Greg. Who does not read this I think.


Which Indiana Jones movie do you love the most?


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Galvane 29.


So here we are astride the first full month of school...

The pictures here are all from the southern half of Central Park which I spent part of Friday exploring.
The background is of a statue of William Shakespeare standing at the southeast corner of the mall. I'd originally thought that I'd use exclusively photos from the "Walk of Writers" but, as it turns out, only about five writers were featured, and I didn't find them all exceptionally interesting.

The square in the upper left ("The month is...") is of the currently unused bandshell at the northeastern end of the mall.

The three rectangular frames were taken in and around Conservatory pond. I held the lens of the camera against my sunglasses to give them a reddish glow, which should be in keeping with the spirit of the month ahead.

As for links, they may seem a little unimaginative, but I was trying to take in a lot of ground. From left to right:
- I've linked to the Tigers again because, once again, they are relevant.
- Also, with an important election coming on in the U.S., I linked to the Politics page of the New York Times; it's frequently updated and carried a broad range of perspectives.
- Finally, last month I linked to Doris Henson, an indie band I'm in love with. So this month I linked to the Rolling Stones.


Saturday, September 23, 2006




I cleaned up the blog and changed the font colors to the darker, wintry format.
Tomorrow I'll change over the links and images for Galvane. Throughout next week I'll be promoting my website here; I've recently given it a pretty comprehensive overhaul and there ought to be no more dead links. (Though, of course, it remains a work in progress.)

Here, however, I'm going to briefly promote the blog itself. Each week I try to post on politics, religion, life, and art. To the right is a sidebar filled with links. The links at the very beginning go to other friends and those at the end lead to archives. I'm happy to see that these are used somewhat frequently. But don't forget everything in between.

In Group 2's "People" section are currently links to ten blogs/journals from around the world: Japan, the UK, Armenia, Norway, Ireland, and some from the U.S. as well. I'm trying to expand this section, but it's a slow process since I hand pick these links and only use them with permission. However, 100% of them should be interesting. Group 2's "Others" are links to blog hubs, which is simply a useful tool.

The Group 3 links are sorted into categories: Art, Chicago, Flint, New York City, News and Politics, Philosophy and Religion, and "The Vicious Circle." I've tried to represent many opinions, especailly in the political and philosophical columns. The Vicious Circle is a catchall category for anything weird and fun. It ought to make for good browsing during a slow day at work.

Group 4 is a summary of the activity on this blog. You're probably already familiar with everything there, but if you ever wonder, for example, what the difference between a BODY and a DIARY post is, this is my attempt to explain.

Consider the blog promoted until this December!

- SEPTEMBER - is Honey month.
- TODAY - is the Autumnal Equinox (11:04 PM CST) and the beginning Ramadan (Islam), Rosh Hashanah (Judaism), and Navaratra Dashara (Hinduism).
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Yesteday, Michael Faraday and Milligan! Today, Euripides, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, and Ani DiFranco.

El Salvador.

What would be a worthwhile link for me to add to the side column?
And for a more fun-type question, what flavor of jellybean do you love, and what flavor do you hate?


Friday, September 22, 2006

No posting today.


I will be posting tomorrow (Saturday) instead.


Thursday, September 21, 2006



As per yesterday's Question of the Day:

You are homo erectus, an ancestor of humans and possibly other primates.
You are a male hunter living at approximately 347,400 BCE. If you survive until puberty, you have a good chance of living into your late twenties. You are able to shape and use basic stone tools and can probably use fire. While you can communicate effectively within your extended family, you do not speak a language in the contemporary sense.
You live in an area that will eventually be known as southern China.





As per yesterday's Question of the Day:

I am a female rice farmer living at approximately 280 BC. I will probably live into my late twenties.
I am part of a small tribe that makes up a culture that will be eventually known as the Yoyoi. The island on which I live will come to be known as Japan.



Gloamane 29, 29.


- SEPTEMBER - is Chicken month.
- TODAY - is the Feast of Matthew the Evangelist and the International Day of Peace.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Bill Murray.

At Powells: Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich.
I've read this book and recommend it.

Kind of a serious question for a moment. Since I'm doing all these political posts for the next month plus, what subjects are people most interested in? What angles/issues are most important to you right now?


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Gloamane 28, 29.


- SEPTEMBER - is the month of Biscuits.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Alexander the Great and Upton Sinclair.

The Cliffs of Moher (aka "The Cliffs of Insanity").

Humans have been around for millions of years but only a few million living at any one time until very recently. More recently, there have been billions of humans, but only within the last two centuries. Considering all of this, if you were to randomly "become" one arbitrary individual within the last 2.5 millions years, who would you be? To find out: PICK OUT AND POST TWO NUMBERS. THE FIRST: BETWEEN 1 AND 231693. THE SECOND: BETWEEN 1 AND 100. Pick youself, or get even more random.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

4: Immigration. My experiences.


A couple of weeks ago when my parents came in for a visit we went to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, which literally every tourist's guide to New York we own (Jess and I have probably three or four of them) assured us was all that. The tour (which focused on two textile working families from the late 1800s and the early 1900s) itself was certainly very interesting, although the hurried pace at which we moved from one room to the next compromised our ability to really soak in what we were doing.

After the tour, however, the museum encouraged us to participate in a "kitchen conversation." The focus of this conversation was reconciling the obstacles faced by the immigrants featured in the museum with those faced by immigrants today. As my parents observed, the moderated questions didn't really suggest an opening up and sharing of experiences, but more a stating of political views. On the other hand, there was nothing didactic about the setup of the conversation.

As it turned out, this whole approach caused problems. The whole group was pretty much split down the middle with my parents, Jessica, myself, and another couple taking one position, and five older visitors from the Bronx taking another position.
The "Coyne Group" position, allowing for shades of difference, emphasized the difficulty of immigration as opposed to a settled life with a citizen's status both in the past and today.
The "Bronx Group" position stressed first the difference between the legal immigration of the tenement museum families as opposed to contentious illegal immigration today and second the general inprovements in standard-of-living in general.

As might be expected, with such an open-ended format in which we were directed to make generalized statements, the dialogue hit an impasse early on, with a following half-hour argument.

I don't think that the conversation need have been didactic. As my father mentioned afterward, by sharing personal experiences instead of opinions right off the bat we could have found points of connection and communication regardless of differences in opinion. I would extend that to say that even if political opinion became engaged later on, the conversation would be less likely to hit an impasse since we would have a better grasp on each-other's perspectives, and would be able to better qualify our own words in order to get our thoughts across.

In other words, communication is good. Political debate depends upon the sharing of ideas, and if you cannot communicate, there can be no sharing. More, if you cannot understand another point-of-view and address or reconcile it with or in your own, then your own ideas may not be as rigorously developed as you would hope.

* * * * *

It shouldn't surprise anybody that Genesee County, Michigan in the eighties and nineties was far more influenced by intranational migration than immigration. While the city of Flint has a Hispanic population of several thousand dominated by recently arrived Mexican Americans, and Flint and Grand Blanc Townships are the source of arrivals from India and the Middle-East, objectively these numbers are unremarkable even within Michigan.

While both Chicago and the University of Chicago have much larger international footprints, and while I had several friends with foreign (mainly Chinese and French) citizenship, their situations were stable and their nationality was rarely a legal or even social issue. In Canaryville I did hear a lot of talk about illegal immigrants from Ireland trying to legally reuinite with their families. And the issue of legal and illegal immegration was particularly tender in Humboldt Park, a large Puerto Rican neighborhood with an influx of both Mexican Americans and Caucasians in the last decade. I lived there for a year.

Finally, I should add, that while my family is a medley of Western European thisandthat, quite possibly with various skeletons in the closet, nobody has made the crossing more recently than a hundred years ago. There's no discernable issue or drama there.

My personal experience with immigration issues of any kind doesn't amount to much.

I probably should have made this a question of the day.

What are your experiences with immigration?


Gloamane 27, 29.


- I never says that the week prior to prior I goes up to Inwood Hill Park and finds me a Dungeons and Dragons campaign run by former New School scaalawags.
- Nor does I say that the week prior I sees Gemma and sees Timothy and Eric read on the Lower East Side.

- SEPTEMBER - is Metaphysical Awareness month.
- TODAY - is Talk Like a Pirate Day.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Mike Royko, Mama Cass, and Jimmy Fallon.

"The average man will bristle if you say his father was dishonest, but he will brag a little if he discovers that his great-grandfather was a pirate."
- Bern Williams

Which of the Seven Seas will ye be pillagin'?


Monday, September 18, 2006

No dice? No. Dice.


You are the rare, the overlooked, yet incredibly useful dodecahedron: the d12. You are a creative, romantic soul. You often act without thinking, but make up for your lack of plans with plenty of heart. You easily solve problems that stump others, but your answers tend to put you into even deeper trouble. You write long, detailed backgrounds for all your characters, and are most likely to dress up as one or get involved in cos-play. You can be silly at times and are easily distracted by your own day dreams, but are at the end of the day you're someone who can be depended on.

To include these results in your blog, please use this code:

I am a d12

Take the quiz at

This survey is completely scientific. Despite the mind-boggling complexity of mankind, the billions of distinctly different personalities found on Earth can easily be divided into seven simple categories that correspond to the five Platonic solids, a pseudo polyhedron, and whatever the hell a d100 is. The results of this quiz should be considered not only meaningful but also infallible, and pertinent to your success as a fully realized individual. If you feel the results of this examination do not match your perceived personality, you should take whatever drastic measures are needed to cram your superego back into proper alignment, as described by the quiz results.

And if you believe that, we have some really great critical-hit insurance to sell you.


3: Squick vs. SQUICK, Virginia vs. Connecticut.


Let's start here:
The New York Times: A Democrat Rises in Virginia.
Race profile page: The Virginia Senate Race.
The Caucus: Virginia Senate Debate: War, Race and Women

Now, what do we think of this?

I'm assuming nobody here votes in Virginia, though I'm sure most of us know someone who votes in Virginia. And: this is one of the most important races in this upcoming election. First, for the obvious reason that the Democrats are within reach of a senate majority, and this is one of the most closely contested seats. Second, and somewhat more obliquely, Webb's victory would mean an unambiguous Democrat victory in the South, and in a state that moreover, for all its urban agglomeration, is a haven of social conservatism.

Not that there isn't plenty in Webb to disturb your average liberal... he vocally opposed women involved in the military and favors further repealing and/or limiting of Affirmative Action. Or, for that matter, (consider this) enough to disturb your average human being. In the former case I mentioned, he was quoted in a printed article he wrote for the Washingtonian:

"being at the Naval Academy is a horny woman’s dream."

#1. Ewwwww. #2. I don't think many military women would see it that way. #3. #1. I won't pretend that doesn't squick me out. It still squicks me.

Fortunately, Senator Allen is further out of the pale, having not denied hanging (as Virginia's Governor) both a Confereate flag and a noose at his home. His position on women in the military or affirmative action are more-or-less as tenable as Webb's. Maybe most dramatically, at a campaign gathering, in reference to a Webb campaign worker, Allen said:

This fellow over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca, or whatever his name is — he’s with my opponent. Let’s give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.

Macaca, by the way, means "monkey." To which, perhaps, the perfect response came in interview with Tim Russert:

And here is the young man, S.R. Sidarth, he’s a resident of Virginia, an American citizen, straight A student at Fairfax High School and now goes to the University of Virginia. Critics say that "macaca" is a racist slur and that you used it because he was dark-skinned. What did you specifically mean when you said, "Welcome to America and the real Virginia." Why did you use those words toward a dark-skinned American?

* * * * *

To veer off on a tangent, for a moment, the question here, for those of us for which there is even a question, draws a sort of parallel with the Lieberman situation. I'm inclined to conditionally support Webb, his conduct notwithstanding, against Allen, while I could not support Lieberman against Lamont, even while Lieberman's conduct is probably more admirable than Webb's and their platforms are presumably in the same ballpark.

Is this a contradiction?

There are two possible explanations I can think of, the easier of which is simply a choice between the lesser of two evils. In Lamont I saw a preferable alternative to Lieberman, and in Webb I see a preferable alternative to Allen.

But the complicated answer is also useful. And that is the issue of the kind of the race at hand. Superficially, this would be a primary vs. an actual senate race, with all the accompanying difficulties such as the risk of a third-party candidate splitting the vote down the road, or perhaps running blue in a red state.

More fundamentally, the question is what each race means. In the Connecticut case, I'm operating on a national perspective and from a general understanding. That is that while the U.S. is a democracy, I'm not convinced that most Americans take a very sunny view of compromise. This is a fact that the Republicans have been exploiting quite successfully in driving toward a hard line, while the centrists that dominate the Democratic party, in their attempt to draw water from both wells, seem to be pandering, groveling even, hence, "weak." I was pleased when Lamont won the primary, but I was overjoyed at the news that the Democrats were going to fully support him in the actual race. Even if the Democrats lose a seat as a result, I will see this as a good thing. Why? Because the Democrats have to "find themselves," both philosophically and rhetorically, and a rejection of Lieberman was a rejection of perniciously unstable and unproductive compromises. (Not that I object to compromises in general, but a compromise that deprives one party of its traction isn't much of a compromise, is it?)

The case of Virginia is, thankfully, much simpler. We should throw our support behind Webb because he is much better than Allen, both idologically and objectively. It doesn't mean we can't find them both somewhat squicky... we'll take Webb with the same temerity that Republicans take Bloomberg for New York City. He represents a more acceptable option where we might reasonably expect none at all.

* * * * *

What do you think about all this?

* * * * *

Of course: There's plenty of good in our world.

"It's similar to the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Gateway Arch in St. Louis in that when you see the weather ball, it's a clear indicator you are in Flint."
- Gary Flinn

"I see the weather ball as the eye of Flint. If you look at the shape, it's the shape of an eye. For 50 years, it's been watching over us, predicting or telling what's coming. For 50 years, it's been through all and seen all in Flint."
- Kofi Brown

Photo copyright Stevel Kleeman / The Flint Journal.



Gloamane 26, 29.


- TIGERS - The Tigers won the series yesterday, but failed to sweep Baltimore, allowing the Twins to inch even closer to the division lead. They are now just one game behind. When the Tigers win just one more game they will come to 90 wins, a number they haven't seen in nineteen years. This week will be a nice time to do this as they play the White Sox who, at five games back, just might contend for a wild card spot. The Tigers are able to suck no longer. I hate when they play the White Sox.

- WEATHER - It's winter in the northwest (snow in the rockies!) and the midwest, and summer everywhere else. This will change as the week moves along. By Tuesday, New York will be wet, wet, wet. Also, plenty of rain in the south. Somewhat as predicted this year has been producing substantial hurricane activity on the Atlantic basic; fortunately, predictions have been off in that none have given the U.S. a direct hit. Still, the combined activity of Gordon and Helene in the Atlantic this week will cause some trouble in the form of rip currents and swells.

- SEPTEMBER - is Little League month.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Samuel Johnson and Lance Armstrong.

Here -

How much are you willing to pay for the best burrito you've ever eaten?


Friday, September 15, 2006

Dash against Darkness.


Last night I pulled an all-nighter drafting my first submission for workshop this semester. It's a short story entitled Dash against Darkness. Let me know if anyone's interested in checking it out. (Comment or email, natch.)


In September, 1978.


I don't remember.

I think I was lying on my back, spitting, burping, farting, and drooling on myself.

What were you up to in September, 1978?


Feast of the Exhaltation of the Holy Cross (Yesterday)


In a perfect work, I would have posted this yesterday on the actual feast, and in truth I haven't posted much on religious content recently. This isn't intentional; rather religion is one of the more difficult things to write about so when things get busy it is the most easily neglected.

But I should write something about the Exhaltation of the Holy Cross, because it represents in many ways what is the most difficult for me about both my Catholic faith and Christianity in general.

My Godfather was raised Jewish and so he has always had difficulty with the notion of the Holy Trinity; to him the idea of a "Godhead" consisting of three persons is almost blasphemous – a trick to work a polythiestic edge into a monotheistic faith. That's an understandable objection from a Jewish perspective.

I, on the other hand, was raised Unitarian Universalist; a faith better defined in terms of its social priorities than its religious dogma. And after having been Catholic for almost four years now, I still have some difficulty with the idea of "exhalting" an object of torture.

Theologically, this doesn't interfere with my acceptance of the Nicene Creed and whatnot; I think I basically understand and accept the notion of sacrifice and redemption. It's the place of the cross in that dialogue that trips me up. That is, the cross seems as if it should be suggestive of evil and murder; the final weapon against God in the gospel narrative, and momentarily effective because it essentially killed God. The counter, the resurrection, was an un-trumpable response to this weapon. That is, one cannot kill God unless God accepts the moment of Death, and doing so within the context of a gift, everything is forgiven and we all go home.

How did the cross (besides being an easily manufactured and striking symbol of a faith) come to be appropriated as an instrument of good, even an object of the holiest distinction?

* * * * *

Before I continue, I should point out that I think my intuition is wrong here.

There are plenty of matters in which I think the Catholic Church is wrong, both in the priority it gives to its somewhat venial issues with the social world, with the lack of balance and perspective in its own composition, and even sometimes its interpretation of scripture and liturgy. I'm not shy about this.

But I think that the Church is correct to venerate the Cross. There is a scriptural suggestion of this, not only in the way Jesus describes his cross as a necessity, as something he "takes up," but even more broadly in the reversals throughout the gospels: rich for poor, foolish for wise, and so on. There's a sort of symbolic appropriateness to coopting your enemies weapon as your own, something that Paul states outright just a little bit later.

So I accept that the sacred interpretation of the cross is both resonant and true.

It simply runs against the grain of my mind; understanding is an effort.

* * * * *

This week I made more headway on this issue than I have in years.

At work I've been doing work on Medieval Literature, and one of the pieces I examined is known as The Dream of the Rood where the "rood" is the "cross." It's a archetypical Dream Vision in which the narrator dreams of an encounter with the one true cross. The cross explains, in courtly language, his encounter with Christ; that Christ is a lord in Feudal fashion and the cross is his retainer.

While this creates an automatic distance from a modern reading, several arguments made here were poignant to me.

The first was that the cross represented trees as Christ represented humanity. In other words, if Adam was the human to initiate original sin and Christ the redeemer, a similar relationship can be drawn between the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the cross. They're active agent in the sense that they interact with humans and impact the course of events, but they lack the power and autonomy to direct action themselves.

The upshot of this is that tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, inasmuch as it was a creation of God at the beginning, and hence a "good" think interacted with the world in negative ways. The tree was the site of two deceptions (the serpent toward Eve, and Adam and Eve toward God) and the medium against which condemnation was directed. The cross, on the other hand, interacted with the world in positive and negative ways. As an instrument of torture and execution, and murderer of God, most of its career was undeniably negative. But it was the chosen vehicle for the passion and resurrection, and as a result the cross was the medium through which repemption moved.

The second point was that the cross itself, as a creation of God was as subject to Jesus' command as anything else, and by a rough sort of natural law, would naturally have wanted to preserve Christ. This is suggested in Satan's exhortation that Christ fling himself from the temple in Jerusalem to be saved by angels; he would have been saved, according to the text, but such an act of earthly arrogance wasn't part of the plan. Likewise, the inclination of the cross would have been to save Christ, to release him, let him down, or as the Dream poetically suggests, cradle and shield him from his attackers. That the cross did not do so, then, is not an act of cruelty, but an act of obedience and fidelity. It is one entity in the gospel, in fact, that does conform to the principles and arguments that Christ holds forth.

These two observations, and especially the second, are the most compelling arguments I've heard for the Exhaltation of the Cross. This continues to be an important subject to me, since it's very close to the source and argument behind Christian faith. I hope that the future provides similar opportunities to engage the subject.


2: The Socialist International.



I know, I know, nobody likes a soapbox, or at least not a blatant one.

Anyway, after yesterday's link which I put up as the voice of practicality and collaboration, I'm offering up this one in the spirit of clarity and best-case scenarios. I realize that many of you have your own, distinct, "fringe" political tastes (probably along the lines of the Greens or Libertarians, if anything), which I sometimes don't find particularly palatable. And the rest of you are probably either more mainstream in your allegiances or less party-oriented in your means of expressing them. And that's fine as well.

Still; why be misanthropic in our politics or ideals? I really think that our cynicism itself is as big a part of "the problem" as the source of cyunicism in the first place.

These links are a shoutout to a more perfect world.

As with yesterday's link to the Democrats, I'm going to be seeing what I can do this autumn to support the SI and the DSA.


Gloamane 23, 29.


- SEPTEMBER - is Gay Square Dancing month.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Agatha Christie


Afej Saserfeiue Eidfdkjaleflejk?


Thursday, September 14, 2006

1: The Democratic Party.



They aren't what they were in the days of FDR and Kennedy, or even Carter and Clinton, but for 95% of the people viewing this blog, they're our objective best hope.

This weekend I'm hoping to browse their website and get a somewhat better sense of what low time-commitment efforts I can make on their behalf in the next month-and-a-half.


Gloamane 22, 29.


- SEPTEMBER - is the month of Fall Hats.
- TODAY - is the Feast of the Exhaltation of the Holy Cross.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Dante Alleghieri.

David Attenborough films the mating rituals of slugs.

Have you ever contemplated getting plastic surgery?


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Before: After 5 Years and 2 Days.


"happy 9-11 day!"
- A friend.

* * * * *

The second article was recommended to me by the same friend quoted above. It ought to be read to the end for the full effect.

The first article took a little digging; I originally saw it on a newspaper posted on the wall of an elevator in the building at which I work. I found the piece so compelling that later I tried to find it on the Times' website. The piece was actually dated September 7th, so I had to track back through all of the 5th Anniversary articles to that date... an effort that took about forty minutes. It ought to be free to read at the link provided for at least the next couple days.

The New York Times: Old New Yorkers, Newer Ones, and a Line Etched by a Day of Disaster.
The Onion: Five Years Later: NYC Unveils 9/11 Memorial Hole.

* * * * *

It occurs to me that I've rarely written or even talked much about my own 9/11 experience. It has a small fraction of the personal investment of Gemma's experience, and feels almost inconsequential next to the few stories I've heard this week from friends and coworkers in New York.

On the other hand, I am currently working on a Medieval Literature project involving the Canterbury Tales and the Decameron. The former deals with pilgrims visiting the grave of St. Thomas Becket, not Becket himself, while the latter involves a flight from the Black Plague by those who presumably escape. I've always thought that every story is important, on a bedrock level, and if we must avoid inflating our stories with artificial importance, it is just as important to avoid deprecating them unreasonably.

To put it a little differently, September 11th was the most defining political moment of my lifetime to date. I'm entitled and obliged to both a perspective and the opinions it informs.

* * * * *

I graduated from college in August of 2001, and went home to Michigan for a month of rest before heading back to Chicago and Jessica. September 11th fell roughly midway through this trip. My father woke me up, coming up the stairs and calling to my bedrood that I "might want to take a look at this." It was mid-morning and both planes had struck. The news followed a line of speculation as to what kind of planes these were.

As I remember it, I'd only been downstairs for five or maybe ten minutes when the first tower came down. That moment was vivid. It is the defining moment for me, visually speaking, because I literally did not believe it. Instead, I was searching for an alternate explanation, maybe an unusual moment of weather or bad reception, since the thought of the thing falling simply did not seem plausible. Then my dad said, "it's falling." And the spell was broken. Of course, looking back now, what else could it have been? Nothing resembles a building falling but a building falling.

The first time I visited New York, in July 1997, I did not get within two blocks of the World Trade Center. The second time, however, in December 2000, I stood between the towers and looked up. They had a cold, institutional feel to them, a starkness that I also associated with the communist plazas in Romania. But there was beauty as well. Especially standing in the space between with the winter wind shrieking all around and looking straight up, there was something special in seeing the sky crowded. The Sears Tower has impressed me with its height, but these two buildings mesmerized me with their almost inconceivable bulk. The higher they rose, they more they seemed to swell. To cast long shadows and squeeze the sky out of the way. It was like standing next to a mountain.

The television commentary continued and confirmed that the buildings had been struck by commercial airplanes. Now I began to feel genuine panic. Jessica's brother had joined the army that summer and graduated that day from basic training in Oklahoma. Jessica flew out that morning to celebrate with her family. But I didn't remember the flight number or time. A couple phone calls determined that two flights had been scheduled for Oklahoma City from Chicago that morning; one had been grounded in Kansas City, and the other was canceled. I knew, at least, that Jassica was safe. As it turns out, her flight was the second, canceled flight. She took the bus back to her apartment.

Later that day I drove my father to work so that I could use the car. After, I drove to downtown Flint. The streets were still; people were present, at work and class, but the lunch hour had passed. It seemed like any other day. I stopped at St. Michael's church on 5th Avenue to say a prayer. A nun reluctantly let me in, evidently having not heard the news. I ought to have explained the situation, but this didn't occur to me until much later. In Detroit, the Renaissance Center was held by the National Guard in Riot Gear. In Chicago, the Sears Tower was emptied.

That night I convinced my parents to let me drive to Chicago for a couple days to be with my sister and Jessica. I think I left at eleven PM, getting into Chicago around 2:30 AM. On the way past Kalamazoo, I noticed how thick the tree branches were with black leaves. They grew very close together.

Gemma recommended that I commemorate the anniversary by visiting all five buroughs. I liked that idea, a lot, but between work and class, I didn't have enough time to do the trip justice.

I did stop by Ground Zero for few minutes on the way home, but it did nothing for me; the place seemed like a dwindling county fair interspersed with a few people in true grief. At any rate, most of the significance of that date for me lay elsewhere. Ground Zero never feels like anyplace I've ever been before.

Even though I had been there.

When I arrived crossed the Skyway bridge over the Calumet river, I was happy to see the Sears tower poking up through the haze, miles and miles away.

* * * * *

The New York Times article talks about invisible lines; it's an interesting article simply because such lines are pervasive, regardless of whether they're typically invisible. So often, I think the presence of use in any dialogue is simply in trying to listen and understand.

This week is a good time to listen.

About this.

All of it.


One times One, by E. E. Cummings


I have a general familiarity with E. E. Cummings, and so the playful weirdness of this collection did not take me off guard. What did surprise me (repeatedly and increasingly the more closely I read) was the persistent and hopeful, and ultimately ambiguous, play with the concept of unification and common experience.

The theme is most explicitly present in the title. Printed One times One on the cover of the book with a parenthetical 1x1 printed on the side, the two formats invite at least superficial consideration, which is further encouraged by the importation of the title in the collection. The poems are nominally bundled into three sections "1," "x," and "1" and the title and its parts come up repeatedly in the pieces themselves. For example, "XVI" begins "one's not half two. It's two are halves of one", "XLIX" states "of to born of / be / / One", and "XLIX" ends with "oneness". The last line of the book is "we're wonderful one times one". The range of references to multiplication and the number one throughout the poems (directly or indirectly as a union of two separate objects, such as "my are your" in "I") allow this consideration to be taken literally.

From the vantage point that the title equates what it claims to equate, we could fairly call this collection of poems "one." Tension, however, is retained between the presence of this simple and undifferentiated "one" and the pending one in the title as is: a one comprised of two separate entities put together. By matching the poems' references to the actual properties of the multiplication, the effect is neither additive ("one plus one") nor stereotypically multiplicative ("x times x"), but is unitive.

Literal reading also enables all kinds of fun, brain-teasing possibilities. For example, the image in the mirror in "XXX" is equivalent to the viewer. In "XX," "the single secret will still be man" suggests the chance to compound both secrets and humans together and with each other. Maybe most enticingly, in "XVI," "one's not half two. It's two are halves of one." This can be literally true if the "two" represents two independent and equal terms of any quantity. As equal quantities, their multiple is their value squared. As whole beings, as "ones" that add to two, their multiple is one.

The obvious extension is to consider these "terms" to be people, which I think is what Cummings does throughout in using the device to talk about love.

* * * * *

I've dwelt on the title for a long time, but the phrase "one times one" is the most permeating and ambitious plane of connection I found in this piece, and demonstrates the opportunity for and accessibility of multiple meanings and careful attention to large-scale structure. That said, most of these poems exhibit a selective ambiguity and the possibility of decoding independent of their relationship to the title. For example, in "XIV" one stanza concludes with "lenses extend" and the following stanza begins with the word "unwish." By splicing the last and first syllables, respectively, the sound of the word "tendon" is present, but split in half between stanzas. And this in a poem talking about doctorly incompetence!

Later, in "XXVII" statements may not make complete sense of an event or situation, but they convey a general impression:

old mr ly
fresh from a fu
ruddy as a sun
with blue true two


The words combined and rearranged, however, might spell out a more explicit statement:

old mr lyman
fresh from a funeral
ruddy as a sunrise
with two true blue eyes

Most of these poems provide a reader with some tool or device to use in deciphering. Even in the more abstract selections, the individual combinations can make their own individual sense. In "I," "nonsun blob a" could alternately suggest either a "blob of nonsense" or a "blob without sunlight."

* * * * *

In sum, I enjoyed this collection very much not only for its rhythms and images, but because its ambiguities felt like a dialogue with the author. That is, while the pieces do not fully add up a demonstrable end, elements relate to each other concretely and establish resonance with a theme of identity and combination. These themes are, themselves, paradoxical and ambiguous. I can manipulate his words and meanings and where they seem to take hold I can extract a meaning (about love or unification or identity and so on)... but only a negotiated and limited meaning.

To go out on a limb, this is what I see as the tie in to the broader theme of "myself and others." In considering the possibilities of merging two whole, discrete objects into one (and in choosing to be the "objects" he manipulates), One times One is an assertion of the validity of sharing, of common identity and common experience. Discreteness, in other words, has its own limitations.


Political Posts


I decided some time a few months ago that I would write a series of political posts, roughly and approximately around the theme of the upcoming midterm elections. A lot is at stake. Less, perhaps, than in 2004. Still, there's still three years to maybe reconsider act on this mess-of-a-decade so far. This is a good time to start.

Hopefully, the blogging is the edge of this effort. For over year I've had a ballpark dozen steady readers, so I know that I'm preaching to the choir here. Not to say that the choir doesn't need a homily (we all do); just that you're not reaping votes, exactly.

It is, rather, an opportunity to get to better know my own beliefs, and articulate them. Then cut-and-paste them as letters to the editors.

THAT SAID, if anyone has an interesting political comment or argument looking for a forum, I am happy to post it here either by your name or anonymously. Leave a comment, or write me HERE.


Gloamane 21, 29.


- SEPTEMBER - is College Savings month.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Arnold Schoenberg, Roald Dahl, and Fiona Apple.

From the Book of Kells.

What's the scariest thing you've ever bitten?


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Gloamane 20, 29.


- SEPTEMBER - is Good Manners month.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Ruben Studdard, and Sara and SMH!

"What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness."
- Leo Tolstoy

What is the scariest thing you've ever been bitten by?


Monday, September 11, 2006


. . .


Gloamane 19, 29.


- Today is the five year anniversary of September 11th, 2001.

10-20 in the last month. The Twins are two games back. If they go on to beat the Rangers tomorrow and the Tigers lose to the A's, the division will be all tied up. C'mon guys. Please don't suck.

Florence is a hurricane, but a weak one with a limited field of impact; Bermuda and, ultimately, the southern shores of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Later today, tropical storm Gordon will form over the Atlantic. Meanwhile, out west, the warmth will be eroded later this week with Pacific rain in the Northwest and general Canadian chiliness. With several Canadian highs, autumnal changes have registered all over the U.S. this week including heavy frost in northern Michigan and New England. Lower Michigan south to Tennessee and west to the Mississippi will be soaked with rain and storms. The same goes for Florida.

- SEPTEMBER - is a good month for Updating Your Resume.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Theodor Adorno (ie. "Mr. Grumpy-Butt") and Moby.

Reuters: ABC Debuts Toned-Down Version of 9/11 Docudrama.
BBC News: 'Coup plotters' held in Georgia.
BBC News: I will quit within a year - Blair.
BBC News: Bush admits to CIA secret prisons.
BBC News: Burundi rebels to lay down arms.
BBC News: Saddam 'had no link to al-Qaeda'.

What was the name of the last park you took a walk through?


Friday, September 08, 2006



I always thought this song was covered in awesome sauce, in spite of not knowing what either the boy or girl were saying.

Now I've looked up the lyrics, and I not sure how to begin to react.

Hm. Crazy.

(Yes, these comments are pretty useless.)


Gloamane 16, 29.


- SEPTEMBER - is also the month of kindness to editors.
- TODAY - is International Literacy Day.
- SUNDAY - is Grandparents Day and Federal Lands Cleanup Day.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Today - Confucius and Antonín Dvořák and Aimee Mann and Pink. Tomorrow - Leo Tolstoy and Adam Sandler and Big Daddy Kane and Maya!


Who was the best Dracula, in your opinion?


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Gloamane 15, 29.


Birthstone: Sapphire.
Flower: Aster.
Virtue: Courtesy.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Queen Elizabeth I, Buddy Holly, and Gloria Gaynor.

Aphex Twin.

Oh no! We're going down! And there's only three parachutes between Lucy, Linus, Patty, and Charlie Brown! Who won't make it out alive?


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Myself and Strangers.


Poetry Literature Seminar Fall 2006
Instructor: Mark Bibbins
Myself and Strangers

This course deals with representations of the self in contemporary poetry, and some of the ways in which authors and their audiences choose to negotiate accountability, identity, honesty, embellishment, polyvocality, gender, experimentation, love, gossip, influence, accuracy, drugs, the lyric, authority, mental illness, genre, style, homage, race, innuendo, labeling, irreverence, independence, fakery, obsession, turf wars, sexuality, political correctness, horniness, objectivity, ellipticism, taste, politics, trust, daring, etc.

Reading List
E.E. Cummings, 1x1
Alice B. Toklas, The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook (introduction by M.F.K. Fisher)
Frank O’Hara, Selected Poems
Fernando Pessoa, (Richard Zenith, trans.) Fernando Pessoa & Co.
Lucie Brock-Broido, The Master Letters
Anne Carson, Plainwater
Lyn Hejinian, The Fatalist
Diana Vreeland, DV
Harryette Mullen, Sleeping with the Dictionary
Michael Palmer, Sun
Claudia Rankine, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely
Rosmarie Waldrop, Reluctant Gravities
Ron Palmer, Logicalogics

Class discussions will coincide with or be interrupted by songs, slides, videos, and recipes. Also under consideration will be Gertrude Stein* (“Lifting Belly”), Hart Crane (“Voyages”), Björk, Cindy Sherman, Throwing Muses, John Berryman, Amy Cutler, Tricky, Hannah Weiner, Lee Bontecou, Jeff Buckley, Larry Rivers, Joe Le Sueur, JT Leroy, Grace Hartigan, and Emily Dickinson. Additional handouts—essays, poems, reviews, articles, etc.— concerning these figures and others will be provided by the instructor.

*Familiarity with Everybody’s Autobiography and/or The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas is a class prerequisite.

Mark Bibbins received a Lambda Literary Award for his first collection of poems, Sky Lounge (Graywolf Press, 2003). He co-founded LIT, the journal of the New School graduate writing program. He is a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in poetry. His work has appeared in the Paris Review, Boston Review, Poetry, and The Best American Poetry 2004.

First class, tonight.


Gloamane 14, 29.


- Yesterday - Reading at Barnes and Noble, followed by roleplaying at Marco and Scott's. I'm the Neutral Evil cleric of Shar from Mulmaster.

- SEPTEMBER - is Being Kind to Writers month.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Jane Addams and Dolores O'Riordan.

"We slowly learn that life consists of processes as well as results, and that failure may come quite as easily from ignoring the adequacy of one's method as from selfish or ignoble aims."
- Jane Addams

Pieter Brueghel's The Triumph of Death (1560).

What is a sickness or malady that terrifies you?


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Gloamane 13, 29.


- Waking, I didn't know that today was "Be Late to Something Day," but I honored it by being an hour late to work. First, I got off to a late start, then, after walking fifteen minutes to the subway, I found out that the one thing I'd forgotten was my wallet with cash, credit card, and fare card. I didn't get in until 10:30.

- WEATHER - Ernesto packed more punch than the NHC expected and with a subsequent storm system presently moving off the east coast and TD 6 (recently named Florence) biding its time in the Sargasso until later this week, precipitation and storms in this region remain the most dramatic weather story this week. Hurrican John has caused abnormally high levels of rain in the southwest, and a jet stream plunge has allowed for pleasant, above-average temperatures in California and the Pacific Northwest.

- TIGERS - It was a week of mixed blessings. The worst, of course, was when the game at Yankee Stadium Jess and I had tix for -- billed as one of the most important of the season -- was rained out by a fine mist and temperatures in the upper sixties. W. T. F. Ultimately, the only games we could exchange the tix for this season were vs. the Devil Rays, so we'll wait until next year and see the Tigers. In the next day's double-header, the Tigers lost the first but won the second in dramatic fashion when Craig Monroe hit a three-run homer at the top of the ninth (two out) bringing the score from 2-3 to 5-3. If the Yankee series was mixed (1-2), at least the Tigers weren't having their asses handed to them by the Royals, unlike some contending-American-Central-Division-teams-from-states-beginning-with-an-'I' teans I might mention.

As a special treat, here's what the Boston's Globe Dan Shaughnessy has written about the 2006 Tigers:

I am old enough to remember 1968 -- the last great pennant race when you had to finish first in a 10-team league, and the Tigers fought to the wire with the Red Sox, White Sox and Twins. To all of you Motown fans, those of us in Boston wish you well as you re-enter the wonderful world of September games that count. This is when you stay up late to keep track of the West Coast scores and devour the morning paper as if it were a box of Krispy Kremes. Box scores become one of the four major food groups. There's nothing like baseball that matters when the leaves are turning brown. We are jealous here in Boston. Hope to see the Tigers in big games in October.

- SEPTEMBER - Is Baby Safety Month.
- TODAY - Be Late To Something Day.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Jesse James, John Cage

The Australian: Hurricane John threatens Pacific coast.
Detroit Free Press: Detroit teachers begin strike, hoping for improved conditions.
The Mercuty News: López Obrador vows to form parallel Mexican government.
Reuters: Israel rejects U.N. blockade appeal.
BBC News: UN denounces Israel cluster bombs.
BBC News: Stolen Munch paintins found safe.
Reuters UK: EU pushes for Middle East peace talks. Sudan reported to launch new offensive in Darfur.
BBC News: Donors pledge Palestinians $500m.
The Boston Globe: British police arrest 16 in anti-terrorism raids.
BBC News: Probe crashes into Moon's surface.
Reuters: "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin dies.
ynet: 2,100 year old cave found under high school.
BBC News: Pakistan 'Taleban' in peace deal.

What is your favorite kind of animal?


Friday, September 01, 2006

Gloamane 9, 29.


- I didn't post yesterday because I've been working on Here Is No Why, and I hoped to announce a comprehensive overhaul today. However, I have finished the pages for background, news, posted some pictures, links, and a guestbook. All updates are here.

- Tigers lost 2 and won 1 vs. the Yankees. But what a win it was. Oh, well. The White Sox lost to Tampa Bay, which is much less forgivable than the Yankees. They're still 4.5 games back.

- AUGUST - Is the month of Back to School.
(Yes, I know it's September.)
- TODAY - Is the beginning of Oyster Eating Season.
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY - Walter Reuther and Lily Tomlin.


Which Fraggle would you marry?