Friday, January 25, 2008

Friggin Blogger

Friggin Blogger.

I go to upload a picture, get all the way through the process, and what do I find missing?

The "Upload Image" button.

Kinda makes it difficult.

Friggin Blogger. No wonder everyone's cluster-flocking over to Wordpress.

Anyways, the only point to this entry is to announce that I will be, yet again, absent for a few weeks. Yes: algebra. What can I say, they bark, I jump.

But it won't be long. And in honor of that fact, here's a poem I wrote about running into an ex-lover back in my college days. Actually, it was largely inspired by Doc Nagel's pointing out that, much to his annoyance, I have a serious habit of saying "anyways" when I should say "anyway," since "anyways," semantically, makes no sense. It is entitled:


what matters
knowing you are the train I missed
and as your memory speeds byI can put a hand on the ladder
suddenly an airborn man
embryonic in a cocoon of wind
watching a short, fast landscape beneath me
and hoping for either fast death
or a hot
of tea.

Chris also gives this poem the distinction of prompting one of my favorite criticisms of all time: "I don't think you're getting a cup of tea." True. True.

Anyways, I might find the space-time to sketch a thing or two, but don't expect to hear from me between now and Valentine's. Peace.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008



TOM nearly spoke three times before finally lapsing into silence. Then he lowered his binoculars and said “No, that was the last one.”

The rest of us kept our binoculars raised. The others may have still been scouring the scene, looking for survivors, but I was just hiding. I didn’t want to look anybody in the eye.

We had been at it since before dawn the day before. Not that it made any difference. When we got there, we couldn’t see anything, and once the sun came up, we didn’t know what we were looking for. We had been mustered up to go fight a war in Mexico, which was over by the time we mustered up, and they called us up to help the flood victims because we were there. We didn’t know what to do.

At first we tried to ride out to the survivors. We saw people clinging to logs, to the remains of rooftops, and we figured we could ride out to them, that the water might not be any higher than a horse’s shoulder. The first few times the horses lost their feet under them were tough, but we still managed to make ground. But when the first horse stepped on the first submerged body, that was the end of it. Davey’s horse nearly drowned, trying to walk backwards to the high ground that had become a shoreline. We turned our mounts and lead them as calmly as we could back to dry ground. After that, the horses wouldn’t even face the water without shying away. No amount of coaxing would convince them to countenance the fetid floodwaters.

When the boats finally came, then we started to make something of a difference. We spotted survivors, shouting and pointing the boats to them. We worked through the night, making and lighting torches, measuring out the newly formed shores and surveying them yard by yard. At one point, we talked of starting to recover dead bodies, but before the talk turned to actions, we realized that somebody had already formed parties to fish out the corpses. We were glad of it. Every so often we would come across a pile of them, stacked like sawn lumber, and we didn’t care who it was collecting the bodies—either survivors or prisoners, we reckoned—we were simply glad it wasn’t us.

Tom’s head moved a half an inch to the left and to the right, and then he raised his glassed back to his eyes again, like me, unwilling to countenance the others. I suspected that he, like I, was thinking the same shameful thought. I didn’t want to help anymore. I just hoped the goddamned thing was over.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Didn't I Tell You?

Wrote this about 4 years ago. Things don't change much.


For Britney Spears

". . . when you see a chance, take it . . ."--Little Stevie Winwood

"When you see a fork in the road, take it."--Yogi Bera

"After a solid year of image-making-over, from wanton carousing to topless posing to Madonna macking, the pop tart just may have pulled her most un-Mouseketeer stunt to date--she reportedly got married in a quickie Vegas ceremony." (E! Online, Jan 3, 2004)"But the couple arranged an annulment Saturday afternoon in the presence of several people, including a Las Vegas lawyer, said a source close to Spears who spoke on condition of anonymity." (Charlotte Observer, Jan 5,2004)

play like you're making a video; imagine
you're playing a mock-up
of Lola, in that movie where she had to run,
Lola, run! Run, or your boyfriend gets it! I mean, I know
that either this is all a hoax, and nothing ever happened,
or publicity your management thinks will grab headlines and sell CD's
or maybe just another drunken stunt, but still, take my advice:
the timing is perfect, couldn't be better. Think:
the next year's models are already on the shelf,
and the Island of the Misfits
really does exist, just like in that claymation
Rudolph the Reindeer movie. You're damaged goods,
last year's broken toy, and it won't be long before your replacement parts
wear out. It's not like you're a puppy,
they can't swat you on the nose like you made on the carpet. With toys, broke is broke
So: genuine or not, take that boy's hand
and run! Run! RUN!
Back to Loosiana, where they don't know nothing.
Get the hell outta Vegas, make a run through the jungle
into the swamp, maybe even as far as the gulf!
Quick like a bunny, before anyone sees,
before they notice you and load you on a chopper
for the Island! Quick like a bunny! Before it's too late!
Go! Churn those chubby legs!

Yeah. Things don't change much. It just turns out that the Island of the Misfit Toys turned out to be a helluva good location for a reality show.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Crap at the end of the tunnel

Not that it makes any difference to anyone out there, but I have been down all week with a bad head cold. Although I had two reprieves-- what's the opposite of "relapse?"-- and made an outing each time, for the rest of the week I have been cooped up, sniffling, snorting, coughing, aching, and imbibing a nearly constant flow of liquids and tablets in an attempt to not feel like I am actually dying.

In other news, a friend reports that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp have utterly ruined Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, which is just a damned shame. Years ago, in high school, my drama teacher managed to finagle a videotape of a performance by the original Broadway cast, including Angela Landsbury and Len Cariou, which was jusy mesmerizing. I have never seen anyone put such heart into the role of an oblivious hussy as Landsbury, and Cariou . . . Let's just say he managed to be, by turns, pathetic, beat down, manic, and terrifyingly cold. It was a helluva thing. So, although I will certainly credit him with other triumphs in roles I will never forget, from here on out, Johnny Depp can get @#$%ed.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Out With The Old, In With The New

Calendar, that is. Last year's was a neat one, Japanese landscape woodcuts, something which I have long admired. My intent was to research each artist as the months rolled over, but it turns out they were mostly by Utagawa Hiroshige, with a few from his son, Utagawa Hiroshige II ("Chip").
The new one is old maps, which is something I have always always loved. Dunno exactly why. Maybe the absurdity of it. "I know it's completely innacurate now, but it's just so beautiful." (The one on the cover is old New York; January's map is of Italy circa 1897, displaying just why it was so incredibly difficult for political power to be consoliodated in that period of history. "You wanta rule over me? Fine. Come find me, bastardo."
Happy new year, y'all.
Now here's something else: I have always had more faith in "Happy New Year" than "Merry Christmas." First of all, because "Happy New Year" is something that you could, theoretically, keep saying all year. (This, of course, being distinct from "Happy New Year's," which you could think of as a consolodation of "Happy New Year's Eve," which, y'know, when it's over, it's over.) I always figure that "Merry Christmas" can take you up to Christmas, but once the day is done, well, you either had one or you didn't, and no amount of well wishing is going to change the facts.
I probably think that way because, in my experience, "Happy New Year" was more of an invocation, whereas "Merry Christmas" was more of a conditional. Now, follow me here: this is going to sound like middle-child-whining, but honestly, it isn't.
When Christmas morning came when I was a kid, say from ages five through nine, there was a curious phenomenon where by my sister would start opening her presents, then my folks would stop her and have my little brother open some of his (out of fairness, since he is the youngest), and then I would open some of mine last. Now, you may have already concluded that my complaint here is that I only got to open my presents last. Au contraire, my friends. That wasn't a problem at all.
My sister would whine about every third gift or so, because my sister, at this stage of her career, was a whiner. Not that she wasn't a good enough kid, just that whining, in her experience thus far, was how you got things done.
My brother, not having any real experience to go on, followed her example, only in his estimation the pattern was one-two, three-four, so the whining occurred about every other gift.
And then, of course, when it came to doling out the gifts, my Dad, for wahtever reason, figured it was best to start off with the great gifts and work down to the lesser ones. So, eventually, towards the end of the gift opening melee, I would open something that was almost-but-not-quite-entirely-unlike tea, whereupon I would spontaneously voice a modicum of complaint, which would be greeted with a loud and stern cesnure from my father. "GOD-DAMMIT, QUIT WHINING!!!" he would gently admonish me, "THIS IS CHRISTMAS!!!"
It took me a little while to work out what had just happened, which, it turns out in the final analysis, was just that I happened to be the point at which his temper overflowed from the slight, yet constant whining of a Christmas Morn. But my first reaction was to wonder what had become of the whole notion of a MERRY Christmas. This wasn't "Merry," this was YELLING!!! Oh well. I guess I will work on having a Happy New Year.
The upshot, after a few years, was that I learned never ever to complain about a gift of any sort, and my folks eventually figured out that if they let us take down and empty our stockings first, everybody was too knocked out on candy to complain about the gifts they got.
So anyways. Happy New Year, Y'all. Or, as I have been occasionally fond of saying "Glad ya had a Merry, and hope you have a Happy." Which I like, because while the meaning can be easily inferred, I could mean it any number of ways. So I could mean "Glad ya had a Merry [Wife of Windsor], and hope you have a Happy [Trails, To You, Until, We Meeet, Agaaaain . . . ]." Which I probably don't, but how in the heck would you know that?