Sunday, February 25, 2007

This Sweet Dream of Being a Woman

in love with vast expanses
the clean green sugar of grasses
warm repose after a hard ride on a reliable horse
and the gentle ride home
feeling the direction of where she is going
and knowing it is the way she's going
not the getting

her native softness clothing all that hushed power
in the delicate elegance
flowers reaching up for her measured touch
all that she's left behind
and all that waits for her, impatiently
aholler in windstorms and othertimes plaintively
whispering in the light tongues of summer whisks
because she is the one most beloved
remember that

(photo by Eve Arnold, from her In China series, photographed in 1979, book publ. 1980. The much better version of this photo is here, please go look at the original. I could only find a poor quality image that was grabbable. Click on her name. It's the first image that comes up. She's probably most famous for her Marilyn photos.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

If this picture

was everything you knew about us
would you think the Earth was a place where every man
walked on water?
Maybe you'd gather we skim just above the surface, airy and light,
never breaching the exquisite tension of her taut miniscus -
the way physics tells us we touch, without touching.

If that story can be told at all,
only from a photograph.

Do you find here, people divided by wrought iron and
veiled from clear sight by the light cotton of fogs?
Or does it seem that each is given his turn
in the center of a great dance
while the rest look on, attentions undivided and waiting
for him to release into the same arabesque papered on the walls,
as promised.

photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Good Thing

...about the fourth consequetive night of flu is that

1) You cannot recall for the life of you how to spell consequetive, even though that's never been an issue before, but you really cannot be fucked to go to or even run a spell check on its haughty ass. A word that is simply one following the order of many, should not be getting all uppity and self-important. Come back and bother us when you are unique or unparalleled, or even rebellious For all you know, it's pulling some kind of shape-shifting trickster shit and is really been put down correctly the whole time, the way you'd like to see it on the Scrabble board. That is, if it had the good sense to be seven letters or fewer.

2) When the deluge of clear liquid, which appears to be your brain leaking out of your head via the left nostril, commences, it does signal the end of the constant muscle and joint ache that has been your constant companion since Sunday afternoon. Oh, and the sore throat is gone. Though we seem to be taking the glassy eyes and headache to the grave, attached as they are to us.

I'm never this sick this long without a real fever. It's a drag, because a good temp always seems to knock it out of my system so much faster, and I've had some doozies in my time. 106 a few times when I was a kid (always when I had my yearly bout with strep throat. The fever was always a minimum of 103). Let me tell you, delirium is seriously underrated. Perhaps it explains why I am now moderately retarded, and cannot spell 'consecutively' on queue.

Tedious Nothing Tales

Is what we are full of these days. We know we've been boring you, Dear Reader, almost as much as we've been boring ourself. Sometimes it's what happens when the things we might like to discuss, we oughtn't. Sometimes it is because we are trying to keep things simple. Null and void. Anyway, we like this title, "Tedious Nothing Tales" or, more plainly, "Nothing Tales," so much we might use it for an anthology. Something akin to Kipling, but less "Just So" and more "Just No Stories." Nothing comes from nothing, so nothing ever really disappoints, right?

Or maybe it's just the fever talking...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Take Time to Smell the Goldfish

He would sit there for hours, if you let him. I've had to drag him out of my friend, Stella's, bathroom, he loved those fish so much. I don't blame him, as I rather used to enjoy feeding old Crookmouth by hand, myself. Now they have a new home, but Duff still bursts into that room with an expectant heart. Poor little fellar. I should really get him a pet of his own.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mighty Aphrodite, II

Here we are, smack dab in the middle of Fèvrier (from febris, L. fever). In French it is the month of the "fever of love," bizarrely placed in the sign of the Anarchic Computer Nerd of the zodiac, Aquarius, which might offer us a clue as to why for many the season is so fraught with, well just fraught. Before any of you naysayers start scoffing at the notion, let me say that your non-belief is irrelevant here. As if I really need to tell you, the subjects of our history here relied heavily on the stars, which is why that mythology is spread across our night skies. Furthermore, it is not necessary that you believe in certain things in order for them to be true. Whether or not such privilege belongs to the Zodiac, we might in this lifetime never know.

Alternately, the English spelling of the month is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as the "month of purification," from februa - expiatory offerings, possibly of Sabine origins" (If any of you so versed in classics can tell me in what month the Rape of the Sabine Women occurred - a tale oddly pantomimed in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, I kid you not - I am curious, but could not discover it). Perhaps this sense of purification explains the link to Aquarius, the Water-Bearer. The connection is not offered in the dictionary, but I'd also like to point out the purgative and cleansing function of fevers in the body. I've had a biologist tell me this is not "actually" the case, but mother wit, common sense, personal experience and Chinese medicine suggest a different story - once again, belief need not necessarily preclude truth. I've never failed to improve once my fever broke, have you? In any case, the practice of purification is anthropologically common as a preparation for rituals, as it was in Rome for this feast time. Houses were swept, and sprinkled with salt and spelt, to prepare for Gamelion (mid-January to mid-February) the "Month of Marriage." A sacred marriage (hieros gamos, known in India as Shiva-Shakti, at the core of Tantra) was celebrated at the end of the month to mark the marriage of Zeus and Hera, or in Rome, the Lupercalian festival of Jupiter and Juno, wherein Vestal virgins offered holy salt cakes.

The union of the hieros gamos is beautifully depicted in the alchemical text and illustrations of the Rosarium Philosophorum, 1550.
Known also as "the chymical marriage," it is "the union between two divinities, or between a human being and a god or goddess, or between two human beings (under certain special conditions); more particularly, it is used to refer to the ritualized, public sexual union between the king and a hierodule (‘sacred prostitute’) in ancient Mesopotamia. This union was accompanied by the belief that the human partners became divine by virtue of their participation in it."

Shakespeare refers to this season in Julius Caesar, and rather conservatively so. It is interesting that he invokes the alchemist's preoccupation with base metal, as it is the goal to transform the lesser matter into immutable gold, which symbollically represents the union of masculine and feminine, so often used in wedding bands.

Flavius: See whether their basest metal be not moved;
They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.
Go you down that way towards the Capitol;
This way will I disrobe the images,
If you do find them deck'd with ceremonies.

Marullus: May we do so?
You know it is the feast of Lupercal.

Julius Caesar Act 1, Scene 1.

Of course, Shakespeare's writing also reflects the more modern Christian consciousness, one that separates the divinity of spirit and God from the "baseness" of the human body. Though this seems not consistently his point of view, and one should point out his persistent use of paganism (and rightly so). Here, in Hamlet:

Ophelia: Good morrow! 'tis Saint Valentine's day
All in the morn betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine!

Good morning to you, valentine;
Curl your locks as I do mine ---
Two before and three behind.
Good morning to you, valentine.

Pagan traditions like St. Valentine's survive, partly because they bring back to the forefront essential human truths that cannot and should not be lost, namely, that the profane (the body) is sacred. As Karen-Claire Voss' research reveals, "Many alchemical texts like the Rosarium insist on the interrelatedness of body and spirit. It would appear therefore that in seeking the ‘conjunction of opposites’ the alchemists were attempting to overturn the conventional conceptual dichotomization between spirit and body, and to offer in its place models that reflected their intuitions of ontological wholeness."

Clearly, the sexual act is the ultimate linkage of body to spirit, beyond that one existing and contained in one human being, as it requires flesh and soul to move out and through, an energetic intercourse, "a running between." I've never seen it explicitly described as such, but the symbol of infinity, an eight laid on its side, seems as perfect an image to describe this union as any other, particularly as the procreative function is our material link to the Infinite and Divine Creative. This symbol is often seen floating above the Magician's head, as well as that of the Strength card, with the Empress figure taming the lion.

The abstracted shape of the heart ♥, so often used for this holiday in tokens of love, which rather imperfectly describes that vital organ, seems more accurately representative of the breasts or even the buttocks. The first seems intrinsically linked to the heart, the latter to the heart of the sexual matter. " A Sumerian cuneiform symbol for "woman" closely resembles the heart shape, and is believed to directly depict the pubic mound."
Is it possible there is a graphic link between the symbol of the heart and that of the infinite? This image is also seen in the symbol for Pisces, and the Cancer glyph representing the breasts and the mother. More history for this glyph can be found here. Interestingly, the symbol of two circles intersecting (oddly reminiscent of the MasterCard logo, priceless), meaning union, togetherness or marriage, is included. Its similarity to the reclining eight should be obvious.
Can Canova possibly have missed this connection when he carved his Eros and Psyche? Consciously or not, the embrace of these lovers clearly evokes the tenderest sense of unity and infinity. It is impossibly beautiful.

After all, Love is Forever.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

What I Learned on Feb. 14th

well, it was 'hump day.'

For the "Slow Hand,"

or those who like it a little rougher. (this one's old skool)

Now, for something more highbrow, and really quite cool -

Elephonic Rhapsodies. That's right, pachyderms playing instruments. Click on "Ganesha Triumphant," "Little Elephant Saddle," or the short video 'by SBS in Australia.'

Friday, February 16, 2007

Woe, Nelly.

I think I'm officially too depressed to write. Unless you have some inspiring topic for me to pick away at. You should see all the research I did for that damnable Valentine's Day. I suppose there will be a belated post for more on that topic. Right now, I don't see the point. The School has lost its Charm, if ever it had any.

It's alright, I'll get over myself one of these days.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Valentine's Game

Fill in the blank:

The internet is to the mind as ___________ is to the heart.

Mini Me, You Complete Me

"Plato writes a dialogue on a symposium, a private banquet, where each guest is asked to give a speech in honor of the god Eros. The guests in this dialogue include Phaedrus, the doctor Eryximachus, the playwright Aristophanes, the poet Agathon, and Socrates:

"Socrates maintains that Eros is ... a 'great spirit' who is 'midway between what is divine and what is human,' his ambiguous nature owing to the strange circumstances of his conception. Sired at the birthday party of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love, Eros is the child of [his mother] Poverty, who came to the festivities uninvited as a beggar, and [his father] the god Plenty, a welcome guest who passed out there drunk. ... [They produce] a son who is neither 'mortal nor immortal.' Now fully grown, Eros takes after his mother. Constantly in need, he is 'hard, unkempt, barefoot, homeless.' But, like his father, he is 'brave, enterprising and determined.' Having inherited 'an eye for beauty and the good,' Eros continually searches for these two qualities through love, as befits one conceived in the presence of Aphrodite."

"Aristophanes [retells the] celebrated fable that human beings were originally joined two at a time to form complete wholes. Overly powerful, these four- legged creatures provoked the suspicion of the gods, who had them sundered to reduce their strength; now each half walks the earth in search of its other. ... It explains our sense of longing and loss, as we wander the earth in search of the one who makes us whole. '[W]here happiness for the human race lies,' Aristophanes concludes, is 'the successful pursuit of love.' Eros is the great benefactor who will '[return] us to our original condition, healing us, and making us blessed and perfectly happy.'

- Darrin M. McMahon, Happiness, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006, pp. 33-34.

Likewise, KFace would like to recount in paraphrase an embellished story from an old French film she saw so long ago, she might even have dreamt it. Its title is lost to her, but if any of you recognize the parable, please let us know -

Back in the beginning of the beginning when happy dogs roamed the planet, and before they became infatuated with stink, there came a great blustering and unhappy wind! Oh my how it shook those doggies about, from head to tail were they agitated! When the whirlwinds and galeful gusts subsided, it was found that all their assholes had dislodged and reattached haphazardly, upon the wrong hosts! What junky jumble! Now the canine, of baleful eye and tender heart must stop and inquire of each dog-friend he meets, if it's his asshole they are wearing. Like us, they too are split-apart.

Now you know why they sniff each other so, mes enfants. As is their custom.

Mighty Aphrodite, v. I

Valentine's Day seems overwhelmingly to be associated with Cupid these days. The little putto is frequently seen brandishing his bow and full quiver on our greeting cards and holiday decor. Oddly enough, far less is made of his mother, though most people could probably answer when queried, that the goddess of love is Venus (from whom we get the etymological progeny venereal, venerate, Venice, venison, venial, and siblings, wean, wont, winsome, wish), or Aphrodite.

"This charming Virgin [...] was the ancient pagan Sea-goddess Marian [...] A familiar disguise of this same Marian is the merry-maid, as 'mermaid' was once written. The conventional figure of the mermaid--a beautiful woman with a round mirror, a golden comb and a fish-tail--expresses 'The Love-goddess rises from the Sea'. — Robert Graves
from The White Goddess

It is no accident that the Mother Love Goddess should come from the saline ocean so like the contents of her own impregnated womb (mer (sea), mère (mother), mari (wife), marriage, maritime, and the biblical Mary are intimately related), from which issues Cupid/Eros/Amor, Love.

Why do we choose to represent this holiday of the union of love with an infantile Love-God, while ignoring him in his more mature stages, and the grown woman, the Goddess? One might speculate it reflects how our cultural consciousness relates to matters of the heart. It's not surprising that after throwing out many of the traditional conventions of marriage and gender roles, that our struggles to redefine rightful relationships are reflected in a certain symbolic lack of maturity. Cupid is an often errant prankster (depicted as chided by his mother in the black and white above), and big-league shit-stirrer.

Certainly Cupid offers us a much more complicated and grown up mythology to comtemplate:

Cupid and Psyche

Cupid grew to become Eros/Amor, inflamed with lust, he found no rest until he fell for Psyche ("breath" or "the soul"), a mortal. His mother, Venus/Aphrodite, affronted by Psyche's reknown, as she was now preferred to the goddess by mortal men, appointed Eros/Amor to "punish harshly this girl’s arrogant beauty... See that the girl is seized with consuming passion for the lowest possible specimen of humanity." (Apuleius, The Golden Ass) But as will happen in myths, where turnabout is fair play, Eros/Amor is struck by his own arrow, some say it was a prick on his finger, and becomes smitten with the incomparably beautiful Psyche. He sweeps her away to his palace, then marries her, but admonishes her never to gaze upon him.

As with all similar tales of such females (Eve in the Garden, Pandora and her Box, the girl who unlocks the Secret Garden, Beauty takind the Beast's roses, Persephone eating pomegranate seeds in Hades, Alice down the Rabbit Hole), curious to probe depths, uncover secrets, lift the 'the veil', and learn the truth, she breaks her vow. Eros flees from his bride, and a doubly vengeful Venus/Aphrodite sentences the unfortunate girl to a series of impossible (sometimes described as hard and humiliating) tasks, known as the Labours of Psyche. Completing them with some "magical' assistance, the girl became not only Eros' bride, but immortal and bound to him forever. She is often represented as a butterfly, which is a symbol of the soul.

"Psyche is as fragile as a butterfly. However, without her, lust never becomes love nor are passions put to rest. (Gerard; Roman)

Love is key to the health of the human psyche; no soul flourishes without knowing it in some form. I wonder if there is any language in which there exists no equivalent term for "I love you." If so, its speakers are either the most emotionally bankrupt culture on the planet.

When the gods gave people sex,
they gave us a wonderful thing.
Sex is food:
just as people cannot survive without eating,
hunger for sex can cause people to die.

!Kung (of the Kalahari) saying

There is so much more, but the hour is late, and I'm in desperate need of my beauty sleep.

Sweet dreams, my lovelies.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It's Not the Heat, It's the Humility

Red Dirt Girl, this should interest you -

I retract what I wrote about the passerine.

In regards to my Aussie, I am eating crow right now, lovely delicious crow.
I couldn't be happier about it, because being right would be legions worse.
This is a rather liberating experience for me on several levels.
Just hope he doesn't stay mad at me for too long.

(btw, this is not about lottery tickets.)

I love you honey, and even though I know you'll probably never read this, I hope you are having the best time ever.

Here's the etymology of 'the humble pie.'

Pass me another slice.


One day you'll ask me,

'Which is more important to you, me or your life?'

I'll say, 'My life.'

and you'll go and leave me with out knowing that you are my life.

"Rolling Stone is dead to me"

This one is for you Stitch. Here's an excerpt from the IHoB:

"What’s my beef with John Mayer, you ask? The first time I ever saw John Mayer, he referred to himself as “a rock star.” This is a major no-no. There are two important criteria involved in order for you to call yourself a rock star:

1. You must actually rock


2. You must be Robert Plant"

Hear, hear, now toss me a beer.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Over by the wildwood
Hot summer night
We lay in the tall grass
Til the mornin' light

If I had my way I'd never
Get the urge to roam
A young man serves his country
And an old man guards the home

Never gave a second thought
Never crossed my mind
What's right and what's not
I'm not the judgin' kind
I could take the darkness oh
Storms in the skies
But we all got certain trials
Burnin' up inside

Don't send me no distant salutations
Or silly souvenirs from far away
Don't leave me alone in the twilight
Twilight is the loneliest time a day

Over by the wildwood
Where young lovers go
Sparks flashing in the night
True colors show

You only hurt yourself
Don't know what you're doing
Tryin' to make it all alone
Who ya think you're fooling

Don't hand me nothing I can't hold
Or nothing that I can't give away
And don't leave me alone in the twilight
Twilight is the loneliest time of day

Don't put me in a frame upon the mantel
'Fore memories turn dusty old and grey
Don't leave me alone in the twilight
Twilight is the loneliest time a day

- Robbie Robertson - The Band, Northern Lights, Southern Cross, 1975

Friday, February 09, 2007

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Separated at Earth?

If You'll Only Just Believe

A slight argument welled up in November between the Aussie and myself. I had been bellyaching about money, then daydreaming aloud about how great it would be to win the lottery, to which he brashly responded:

"You're probably one of those people who talks about how much you want to win, but never actually buys a ticket."

"True, but why are you trying to put limitations on my world?"

"You cannot win if you don't buy."

"Unlimited potential of the Universe, Baby. I could find a ticket on the ground, or perhaps someone will put a winner in my Christmas stocking..."

He just stared at me.

"You're the one who brags about being so optimistic. Anything's possible, right?"

He just shook his head.

A few days later, before our trip to Mexico, I went over to a massive red vending machine in the Glendale Von's (remind me to tell you another story about that particular excursion), and tried to choose from about ten different styles of lottery tickets. Obviously, I was succumbing to his influence. Though completely overwhelmed by the choices, I was trying to be a man of action. Except that course was utterly stymied, as the machine refused to accept any bills at all. Closed for business. I took that as a sign that I almost certainly was completely right about my theory, and soon God and the heavens would be showering me with Ben Franklins.

Or Krugerands, maybe?

Sometimes you simply have to be patient.

So imagine my elation today when I serendipitously opened my bulk email bin (looking for an errant message from RPP), and found this message: WINNING NOTIFICATION...CONTACT YOUR CLAIMS AGENT IMMEDIATELY!!!!........


Attn: Sir/Madam,

We happily announce to you the draw (#942) of the SOUTH AFRICA
SPORTSTAKE program, Wheel E-game held on 2nd of February 2007. It is yet to be
claimed and you are getting the final notification with regards this."

I will spare you the tedium of details, such as the winning ticket number, my agent's name and contact information, etc.
My prize, however, is a whopping 17,253,000 ZAR. After putting it into an online currency converter, I learned that is about 2.4 million US dollars.

That's right, I didn't have to do a thing but dream it up; the universe will provide.

But you know what I love most? The sweet motto of their Lotto, so spiritually aligned with my own Weltanschaung.

*Love the game, Win the game*

(Citizen H, I do believe you have experience with this sort of thing after your wranglings with the Nigerians. I appoint you chief officer in the task of handling this matter and my accounts. Should you accept the post, you will be rewarded most handsomely. I'll just need your SSN and acct. information. Feel free to post them in the comments section. Yours, KF)

luck runs out

(this from the archives - a letter sent. april '02)

ma chere flore -

just as i get a job they decide it is superfluous. they asked for a
five month commitment. i gave it. apparently it was unilateral, which
is reminding me of the romantic situation i'm in.

i sprained my ankle in a retarded physical maneuver outside the 7-11 on santa monica and las palmas. it was the anti-ballet. ice packed all night, it healed quickly, but the water leaked all over my bed, and now my roommate thinks i suffer from enuresis.

career, heart and body are in sad shape.
i'm taking what's left of my mind and auctioning it on ebay tonight.
this might be the last you hear from me.

feeling puny,


Tuesday, February 06, 2007


for Ruth Fainlight

I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root;
It is what you fear.
I do not fear it: I have been there.

Is it the sea you hear in me,
Its dissatisfactions?
Or the voice of nothing, that was your madness?

Love is a shadow.
How you lie and cry after it.
Listen: these are its hooves: it has gone off, like a horse.

All night I shall gallop thus, impetuously,
Till your head is a stone, your pillow a little turf,
Echoing, echoing.

Or shall I bring you the sound of poisons?
This is rain now, this big hush.
And this is the fruit of it: tin-white, like arsenic.

I have suffered the atrocity of sunsets.
Scorched to the root
My red filaments burn and stand, a hand of wires.

Now I break up in pieces that fly about like clubs.
A wind of such violence
Will tolerate no bystanding: I must shriek.

The moon, also, is merciless: she would drag me
Cruelly, being barren.
Her radiance scathes me. Or perhaps I have caught her.

I let her go. I let her go
Diminished and flat, as after radical surgery.
How your bad dreams possess and endow me.

I am inhabited by a cry.
Nightly it flaps out
Looking, with its hooks, for something to love.

I am terrified by this dark thing
That sleeps in me;
All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.

Clouds pass and disperse.
Are those the faces of love, those pale irretrievables?
Is it for such I agitate my heart?

I am incapable of more knowledge.
What is this, this face
So murderous in its strangle of branches? ----

Its snaky acids kiss.
It petrifies the will. These are the isolate, slow faults
That kill, that kill, that kill.

- Sylvia Plath, 1962

A Thing of Beauty

is a joy forever.

- John Keats

This image, which will not be grabbed, works heavily on my psyche (once you've entered the site, click on folio, then editorial, et voilà!). This should be a poster for Earth Day - updated aesthetic. I'd love to have a copy.

Nowak, Run!

Why I read Unremitting, without failure.

Good common sense. Don't speed past the comments section.

In space, no one can hear you scream. Spaceballs. Astronut.

I like pie, though in my day, it came from a Holly Hobby Oven.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Let us take a moment to honor the Super Bowl, or at least football. I had thought to treat this as I do the scripture of all other red-letter days, but my books don't cover much sports mythology, and what I know about football and its history would fit in a pill box. This will simply have to be personal anecdote. It's not like you true believers needed any schooling, anyway.

My best friend from college was a monstrous 6' 6'', 280 lb Minnesotan, who played regularly during his freshman and sophomore years as a lineman on our football team. That Rogue, the Stitch, teased me yesterday, "Your school had football?" Many of you might echo his question. The answer was "Yes, A-head, and we won the Rose Bowl back in, like, '26." His retort? "You mean, when there were six schools in the nation?" Except that oops! No we didn't. My bad. Played the first or second ever Tournament of Roses, depending on the logic in the timeline (I really don't get it, and why the thirteen year gap between games?), in 1916, and lost to Washington. Big fat goose egg.

Still, I had moved up in the world; my high school didn't even have a team. Student body of fewer than 120, we were often champions at soccer, dominated state in tennis. We also kicked ass at track (I did the 1500 and high-jump and sucked at both, but that's another story). Prep schools, you know.

Still, at Uni, John Madden's son played for our team, and I would see Big Poppa down on the perimeter of the field, peddling his hardwares (not really). I always wondered if the fellow in charge of the home team ever got a bit itchy with that famed coach skulking about. Did he butt his nose into it? Give instruction from the sidelines? He was quite an imposing figure - looked like two beer kegs piled atop a sturdy trestle. His other son played for Harvard, so sometimes the game was a real family affair.

Boys eat a lot when they play football. My boy, Stephen, couldn't be bothered to take his dinner plate back when he went for seconds and thirds and fourths in the refectory, so his tray looked a bit like the Capitol Records building, stacked saucers.

Freshman year, I took the train with a friend to New Haven, where we watched the heavily tailgated Harvard-Yale game (aka "The Game." If you'd have asked me why before I read up, I'd have said it's Ivy-League pomposity.) It was the end of November, and the mean temperature was just that. I cannot recall the actual thermometer gauge, but it was bone-chilling cold, and there was a massive trafic jam to boot. Before walking to the satdium, I helped my over-zealous male friends stain their torsos blue. I'm sure the intent was more Druid than Smurf, but you can't really avoid looking like a cartoon when you drench your skin with food coloring and RIT dye. We had a few crimsons amongst us too. I remained as bundled up as a Siberian, and despite the schnapps, shivered through the entire game. The boys were half naked the entire game. Amazing what alcohol can do for you.

Wandering back from the bathroom, a photographer stopped me in the stadium and asked to take my picture. How he found me under the blanket, I don't know, but afterwards, he advised me to seek medical attention for the frostbite on the tip of my nose. I worried for a spilt second, registered his opportunism, then smiled to myself. It was blue dye. In the end, it was Harvard, 14-10. Mind you, I had to look that statistic up.

That same year, I dated a guy from Cleveland who played ball as well. In high school he had excited some interest from a couple of Big Ten coaches. I don't know if the offers failed to come, or he just chose our school for academics, but he told me rather proudly and with a big fat smirk on his face, that after one set of recruiters told him he reminded them of a young Bernie Kosar, he was so happy he went into the bathroom stall and jerked off. That's one of many funny masturbation stories from my archives that I intend to compile in an anthology some day. Submissions accepted.

I used to know a linebacker drafted from Yale to play for the Cowboys for five years in the eighties. He was a really good guy when I knew him, and an hilarious smartass, who apparently was booed heavily during player introductions in Nov. of '87. He claimed to have originated the comparison of Jerry Jones to The Beverly Hillbilles. Or was it Jimmy Johnson? Shit, I just shouldn't even try here, might just be spreading misinformation.

Anyway, you can find him here. It's just horrible. The indignities of the NFL. And the 80s.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Breaking Resolutions Fast As I Can Make 'Em*

A recent study showed that words affect our perception of odor, to the extent that when offered a whiff of foul body odor, the subject will respond more positively if it is labeled 'cheese.'**

This works particularly well on the French.


**Whether or not they pushed Stinking Bishop is unknown.)

The Other Side of the Equator

is a long way from here. I'm not really supposed to talk about all this, but I miss him too much.

Slide Down Your Cellar Door

It does not need that a poem should be long. Every word was once a poem.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

It seems the time has come again to play what I call, Sounds Like.

The occasion? While Googling a quotation I half-remembered from The World According to Garp, "Eighteen, the most beautiful word in the English language," I found a website claiming that James Joyce's pick is "cuspidor."

A spittoon.

Huck, you're right, Joyce must be addressed with a sense of humor, if one is to take him seriously at all.

A 2004 survey of non-English speakers in 102 countries found that "mother" is favored. I can't tell if they were choosing solely by phonetics (one would presume that was the reason for excluding those native to the tongue), which is my criterion for this exercise.

Henry James claimed "Summer afternoon, summer afternoon." I'm assuming he chose for the meaning, though 'summer' is not at all unpleasant.

Here's a preposterous list. It rankles more than it jingle-jangles.

The poet, whom my friend, Adam, referred to anagrammatically as 'Toilets,' offered this observation on sounding the voice of lyrics:

'Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
Will not stay still.'

T.S. Eliot, 'Four Quartets'

Nabokov's favorite "(took) a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta."

Oh bother, musn't leave the Pythons out of this mess.

Fitzgerald reminded us, 'You can stroke people with words.'

Thomas Hardy concurred, "If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the Inquisition might have let him alone."

Of course it matters who 's saying them, and how they deliver. Words alter as they are cradled, held on the tongue, and issued in various accents and differing parole. An 's' is harshly sibilant in one mouth, soft and seductive in another, turns to mush with a lateral lisp.

Leave the last advice to Shakespeare:

"flatter and praise, commend, extol their
graces; though ne'er so black, say they have angels' faces.
That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man,
If with his tongue he cannot win a woman."
- The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Act III, Scene I)

Here are my new entries:


Friday, February 02, 2007

Space Invaders

This is all so War of the Worlds.

Boston got shut down. The "ads" were places in ten other US cities, but Boston banned Boston, and it cost the city a lot. I can see how many feel the 'bomb scare' in Boston is tantamount to yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater, if I kind of squint my brain a little. I get that there is a lot of free-floating fear in the culture, some of it merited. These are reactionary times.

I am also supportive of subversive art, though any sense of real threat should be assuaged. Install responsibly, young sculptors.

But this was marketing gone awry. For a cartoon. Aqua Teen Hunger Force, wha?

So why make accountable the two men who installed the work for $300 apiece, and not go after the corporation as well?

Here, the 'pranksters' avoid any pertinent questions, as advised by their attorney, in favor of a discourse about hair. It's fairly asinine, but the split screen allows us to see footage of the installation.

I really need to see some close-ups of those things to see what was so terrifying about the 'devices' outside of the taint on that word. Seriously. Lite-Brite? Duracell, not Sleeper Cell.

Fortunately the Mayor turns out to be a decent sort:

"Mayor Thomas M. Menino was still smarting over the prank this morning, but expressed some empathy for apparent pawns Berdovsky and Stevens.

“I want to go after the boardroom,” he said of Time Warner and Turner Broadcasting.

I'm wondering if the worst thing they can get them on is billboard advertising without a proper permit, or maybe indecency. That little martian really did flip Boston the bird, which made the media nervous, too. Journalists, et. al., need to grow back their balls. Take a lesson from Rummy, he's not afraid to flip off hippies:

Groundhog Day!

Again and again.

Evidently the rotund mammal forsees an early Spring, which is just fine, as today was feeling too much like all the other ones recently. I've been seeing too much of my own shadow recently; so glad the little beastie didn't see his.

Today (and thereabouts), is also, and relatedly so...

- Christian Candlemas (lights in the windows from dusk till dawn), which celebrates the Virgin Mother and the returning of the light at the midway point between dark winter solstice and the vernal equinox. Said by some to have absorbed pagan traditions such as...

- the Gaelic Imbolc or Oimelc, 'in milk' (referring to the coming birth and nursing of spring lambs), is the day of fertile union (midpoint) between the God (winter, personified as male in some cultures) and Goddess (spring). seemingly inextricably linked to...

- St. Brigid's Day or Bride's Day (pronounced 'breed'), which celebrated a maiden goddess (Blessed Virgin). She (Ord Brighideach) is a keeper of sacred fire, the hearth, the 'spark' of life, often represented by candles. In some Scottish stories, she is rescued from the Cailleach (Hag - here, 'he's' a 'she') of winter by her lover Angus. Governess of healing arts and smithcraft, she was also a teacher of martial arts, and patroness of warfare (briga, hence 'brigands'), reflecting the maternal protective function, which is often fiery and ferocious as a She-Bear (a vastly prominent 'great mother' in Europe - think Ursa Major (Callisto), St. Ursula, Berne and Berlin).

- Roman Lupercalia, variously attributed, but sometimes cited as sacred to Venus (whom we 'venerate') and women (whom we should try harder to venerate).

-Groundhog day is thought to be a continuation of these and other folk/pagan traditions, though the connective fabric's a bit threadbare these days.

A poem is often referenced ( from Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations, Ortha Nan Gaidheal, Volume I., Alexander Carmichael, 1900), as evidence:

"The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bride,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground."

or, translated more oddly:

"Early on Bride's morn
The serpent shall come from the hole,
I will not molest the serpent,
Nor will the serpent molest me."

Goodness gracious.

My mother has just phoned me, crying, why she doesn't know. She's thinking about her ailing mother and the early days when Virginia (for real) was a very good parent, before she got bitter; about making changes in her life; about how emotional she is these days. I told her to think about these holidays. Maybe she can try to be a better mother to herself. She replied, "Yes, and be a better mother to you." It's a thing I'm trying to do for myself as well.

"I swear to you, I will, by Candlemas!"*

Swear to me, you will too.

(*James Joyce, from Finnegan's Wake)

Statue of Brigit