Monday, December 31, 2007

Jesus Camp

I've been home sick for the last week which means my days and nights have been turned around. I sleep half the day and watch television half the night.

Somewhere around 2AM I was watching A&E and ran across Jesus Camp which I proceed to watch in it's entirety:

In spite of the fact that the camp itself has since been shut down, I'm feeling even sicker now. My reason is simple - why would anyone, Christian or otherwise, willfully cause a small child to cry?

Jesus Camp Trailer

Monday, December 24, 2007

Huckabee Reinterprets The Bible - What'll He Do To The Constitution?

Presidential wanna-be (and former minister,) Mike Huckabee, really needs to get his facts straight. If a Chrisitan candidate feels free to reinterpret and rearrange his church's bible, then God only knows what he'd be willing to do to his county's constitution.

According to CNN Huckabee recently gave a 30-minute sermon to the nearly full 5,500-seat auditorium at Cornerstone Church which focused on the Christmas story, which he said was the "remarkable story of an unwed teenage mother."

Excuse me, Mike, but check out the defination of "unwed mother" and then check out
Matthew 1:20-25

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her a firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.


Where I come from, a girl is not quite an "unwed" mother if she's someone's wife.

I just love the way people rearrange stories sometimes.

Must be a Republican thing, yes?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

One Old Christmas Story, One New Christmas Poem




Behold the season's
greatest joy.
A small green tree
and a red-cheeked boy.






The Gift of the Magi O. Henry Coming Home Jim Hayes

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pinsky Goes Public

Interesting "question and answer" discussion with former Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky.

I especially like the part where he mentions C. Dale Young and Alicia Stallings. I don't know why, but I do. Maybe it's because I know Alicia through Eratosphere, West Chester and Formalista, and because I read C. Dale's blog often enough to feel downright chummy with him in a strictly-internet-sort-of-way.

Anyhow, it's a good read and you'd do well to check it out.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Dan and the Annual Swift Contest

Arghhh....Dan made the semi-finals for this year's Swift contest, but not the short-list. What's with those people??? It was really really good!!

Anyhow, you can read it here if you're interested. There's no names posted because it's a blind contest but now that he's out of the running, I think it's ok to acknowledge it. I don't know how it didn't make the final cut - I think it's brilliant.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sean Taylor and the Quest for Appropriate Punishment

Four Arrested in Death of Sean Taylor

I'm glad they caught these guys. I'm glad one of them has already confessed. I hope they're punished appropriately. (I realize "appropriately" means different things to different people but I don't want to re-start the always ugly disagreement that Dan and I have over the death penalty.)

I do have a few small questions, however, and I hope some really smart prosecuting attorney questions the same things.

1) Why, if the 4 would-be burglars planned this home invasion around the premise that Sean Taylor was going to be away at the time they entered his home, did they carry a gun?

2) Did they think they had pre-knowledge that Jackie, his girlfriend, and Jackie, his daughter, were also going to be out of town playing in a football game? Because if not, then they already knew there was a better than average chance that someone, although maybe not Sean, was going to be home sleeping. That makes it even more sinister, in my humble opinion. Who breaks into a home knowing that only a young woman and a small child are going to be there?

3) Why, if their only intention was burglary, did they not leave the house immediately when they heard the bedroom door being locked? Obviously if a person is locking himself in he has no intention of coming back out. They'd have had more than enough time to make an escape before the police department was notified and on the way if they'd left as soon as they heard a noise and realized someone was home instead of continuing on their merry thieving way. Not only did they not try to beat feet and leave, they went to the opposite extreme, kicking in the bedroom door and firing two shots directly at Mr. Taylor. I don't know about you, but this does not sound like a bunch of kids out to do nothing more than steal a few valuables.

And finally:

4) If this story is to be believed, at least two of the suspects had personal ties to Sean Taylor. Apparently Sean's sister dates (or has dated) a cousin of one of the suspects and he's been to at least one party at Sean's home and another of the suspects cuts Taylor's lawn and does other odd chores around the house for him. Having that sort of working-relationship with the owner of a house means that, at the very least, the would-be burglar could have, without attracting much suspicion, called the house with some bullshit story about wanting to come 'round and cut lawn, pick up sticks, dig up dirt or whatever it is handy-men are hired to do. Why wasn't that easily accomplished and not-hard-to-figure-out phone call made before the "nobody home, let's rob the place" plans were implemented and carried out? How many brain cells would making that one small, confirming phone call have taken?

And lastly, why - why would you bite the very hand that feeds you unless, of course, it really was personal?

As a recently married, middle-aged mother of grown children with a nice safe cushy job who's living in an upscale suburb of Washington D.C., I'm turning pretty mellow nowadays. I'm also a fairly recent convert to the idea of strict gun control, and like all fairly recent coverts to anything, I'm pretty gung-ho over the idea. However, I gotta be honest, the South-Side Chicago Ghetto-Child who still resides inside of me understands that the outcome of this whole thing most likely would have been entirely different had Sean Taylor kept a loaded shotgun instead of a shiny machete hidden under his bed.

But that's blood-lust and spectulation. Justice after-the-fact and appropriate punishment is all that's really left.

I have a son exactly the same age as Sean and a grandson just a wee bit older than Sean's baby, Jackie. I'm not talking street justice here, I'm talking mother justice, and I know exactly what sort of justice this particular mother finds sufficient.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Visiting the Local Animal Shelter

I am off (in spite of Dan's vigerous protests) to visit the Alexandria Animal Shelter in order to check out Kady the Jack Russell/Pug and Peaches, the Senegal Parrot. They are both approximately one year old and I think either one (or both) would make a good addition to our little "family."






Don't you agree?

Friday, November 23, 2007

FREE RICE


Very fun word game here - and it feeds people. It doesn't get any better than this, does it?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Why It's Sometimes Good to Be A Woman in America

Someone is beating and raping women in my immediate neighborhood. The first three assaults took place right outside my front door. There are warning notices plastered all over the inside of my condo building and the same print-outs are prominantly displayed on the walls of my office building down the street. The police are becoming more and more visable, especially early in the day when I leave for work. The word is out there and the entire community is rightously and rightfully outraged at these attacks on it's female citizens.

Springfield, Alexandria Masked Assaults Analyzed

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A woman walking in the Springfield area of Fairfax County was sexually assaulted early Wednesday, and police are investigating whether the attack is linked to three recent similar incidents in Alexandria.

All four episodes occurred before dawn by a man with the same general description, Fairfax Officer Eddy J. Azcarate said. In Springfield, an 18-year-old woman walking in the 6900 block of Industrial Road about 5:45 a.m. was approached from behind, forced to a remote area and assaulted by a man in a black ski mask, police said.

In Alexandria, women walking alone between 5 and 6 a.m. were dragged off sidewalks and assaulted Aug. 31, Nov. 5 and Nov. 9. Detectives from Fairfax and Alexandria met yesterday to compare the cases, Azcarate said. The assailant in the most recent incident was described as being 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-10, with an average build, wearing a black ski mask, a black nylon jacket and bluejeans. The assailant in the second and third Alexandria attacks also wore a ski mask, Alexandria police said.


Quite a different scene than this one that's playing out in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Court Ups Punishment for Gang-Rape Victim

(CNN) -- A court in Saudi Arabia increased the punishment for a gang-rape victim after her lawyer won an appeal of the sentence for the rapists, the lawyer told CNN.

The 19-year-old victim was sentenced last year to 90 lashes for meeting with an unrelated male, a former friend from whom she was retrieving photographs. The seven rapists, who abducted the pair, received sentences ranging from 10 months to five years in prison.

The victim's attorney, Abdulrahman al-Lahim, contested the rapists' sentence, contending there is a fatwa, or edict under Islamic law, that considers such crimes Hiraba (sinful violent crime) and the punishment should be death.

"After a year, the preliminary court changed the punishment and made it two to nine years for the defendants," al-Lahim said of the new decision handed down Wednesday. "However, we were shocked that they also changed the victim's sentence to be six months in prison and 200 lashes."

The judges more than doubled the punishment for the victim because of "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media," according to a source quoted by Arab News, an English-language Middle Eastern daily newspaper.



As if that weren't enough punishment meted out - her lawyer's had his license to practice law revoked for even taking her case in the first place.


Don't worry, though, The United States is on top of things - or are they?

Read the article and you'll understand why we, as a country, really ought to be a lot more careful about whom we get into bed with.

Monday, November 05, 2007

HATE TO WAIT??

This is marvelously helpful for those of you who hate wasting valuable time and cell phone minutes trying to get past the goddam automated telephone prompts and talk to a real live breathing thinking human being.

www.gethuman.com

God bless whoever had the time and patience to put this all together in one handy-dandy easy to navigate website.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Literary-Cat



So, does anyone know how to spell "tuna?"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Search Words

Ok.....someone found this blog using the search words "Chinese Tufu Recipes With Cat" and someone else found it looking for "Spiders Named Lindsey."

You've got to love Google.

Really.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mass. Rules!!!

HURRAY FOR THE


AND THE NEW ENGLAND

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Carol Frost - Poetry Magazine - Go There Now

Call me a formalistic heretic but this free verse poem is absolutely, without doubt, one of the best things I have read in eons.

Really.

Read it and weep.

Literally.

Monday, October 15, 2007

So, T.O.

Would ya like a recap with your

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dare I say - Patriots???

By God, I think the







just might pull this one off!!!

edited to add after the start of the second half:

Or not.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Poets, Pundits and Anti-Semitism

I'm not quite sure which one is more pathetic.

Anne Coulter

or

Leo Yankevich

One does it in the name of Christianity and the other does it - well, I'm not quite sure why he does it - because he can, I suppose.

Problem is, they both seem to think they're going to win friends and influence people with their cleverness and their ingenuousness. Someone ought to tell them just how unattractive, unimaginative and unbelievable they are.

Ugly combination, fear and ignorance, hey what?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Retraction

Last week I said this: Judging a person's character is different than judging that person's poetry. One should have no bearing on the other.

Today, after meeting poetic racism up-close and personal, I'm printing a public retraction.

I was wrong. It should have a bearing. We are morally responsible for what we write, for what we print, for what we publish, for where we publish, for who we publish and we are morally responsible for making the reasons for our choices known.

If we print the poetry of a known Nazi-sympathizer, if we print the poetry of a Holocaust denier, of a racist, of a bigot, if we give these people praise or even acknowledgement, if we give them even an inch of publicity - we give them a platform and we give them power. By publishing them, by bestowing awards on them, we give the rest of the world a chance to meet them and to embrace them. By virtue of our open-mindedness and our appreciation of art and by our own "acceptance" we make them acceptable.

By admitting them into our magazines and our publishing houses, we send the message to the rest of the world that we approve, not only of their poetry, but also of their beliefs - because, in the eyes of the world, it is damn near impossible to separate the heart of a poet from the heart of his poem.

If we do not speak up and tell the world what we feel we share responsibility for what happens as a result of our silence.

For anyone who thinks editors are not morally (and sometimes legally) responsible for what happens as a result of what they publish, I'd suggest reading up on Julius Streicher.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Someone's Playing Stupid on Wikipedia

Within the last 48 hours there was a crudely worded reference on a rather disgusting blog to a wonderfully talented female poet having twice won The Nemerov Sonnet award by virtue of possessing talents other than poetic.

Within the last 24 hours there was a post on the same blog which referred to another well-respected woman poet as a "poetasteress and hybrid human-cow" and which requested her to get off of her "bovine ass."

Knowing both of these ladies as well as I do, and knowing that virtually no one finds the obscure blog in question interesting enough to read very often, I tend to find this all rather amusing. For some reason, the farther from the truth one gets the funnier I find it. Maybe I'm just weird that way, but I think most people would agree with me. Lies and accusations are not humorous when there's a even a kernel of truth in them - but when they're totally outrageous they just can't be taken too damn seriously.

So that kind of childish stuff is just funny. The Internet's full of childish stupidity - the Law of Averages says some of it's got to be funny.

The flip side of the same law, however, says that some of the information which can be found, even on the same subject, will fall into the "not quite so humorous" catagory.

Something like this, for instance.

For one thing, Wikipedia is not some obscure blog. Rightly or wrongly, people from all walks of life use Wikipedia as a kind of Internet-Encyclopedia and they trust it. The fact that anyone would choose to deliberately include dishonest and/or misleading information is utterly unconscionable. The fact that it's gone unchallenged since last July is just ice on the disgusting cake.

For another thing, The Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award established in 1994, has always been one of the more prestegious and sought-after awards for formalist poets and The Formalist first published in 1990, was, from the first issue to the last, a first-rate and highly respected publication, as is the current benefactor/administrator of The Nemerov Sonnet Prize, Measure. To see any of them portrayed in any light other than favorable is just painful.

To further clarify things, neither publication is related (or akin) to the imaginary "It's Talon Time" or the very real "Highlights For Children" Nor was there an award given for "It's Talon Time, Bitch" by a fictitious Michael Plittman in 1993. The Nemerov, as stated above, was not even established until a year later - in 1994.

And just in case you didn't already know it - the judges for The Nemerov Award are now and have always been well-known and well-respected poets - not some secret tribunal committee composed of horse doctors.

I hate to ruin someone's childish fun, but I'm gonna notify both Wikipedia and Measure and hopefully this:

Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award was established in 1978 by The Formalist. The winner, usually selected from about 3,000 entrants, receives $1,000 and publication. Beginning in 2006 the winner will appear in It's Talon Time!, a successor publication akin to Highlights for Children also published in Evansville, Indiana.

The award is administered by a secret board of veterinarians.


will be gone soon.

It's my good deed for the day.

Besides that, I really do enjoy stomping the annoying little buzz of idiots. I'm such a taloning-telling little bitch that way.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Leaving the Live Poets Behind For a Moment -

Robert Graves may have been something of a fruitcake - what with his multi-colored goddesses and his strange affair with Laura Riding (who literally moved in with him and his first wife, Nancy and their family. A bizarre bit of threesome which eventually drove Laura into a failed suicide attempt before the first wife bowed out and Laura and Robert packed up and moved to Majorca. ) Still in all, as with countless other dead poets - he shines every bit as brightly today as he did all those long years ago.

However, knowing the history of Robert, Laura and Wife #1 - it kind of puts the following poem in a whole new (and somewhat creepy) light, doesn't it?

The Cool Web


Children are dumb to say how hot the day is,
How hot the scent is of the summer rose,
How dreadful the black wastes of evening sky,
How dreadful the tall soldiers drumming by.

But we have speech, to chill the angry day,
And speech, to dull the rose's cruel scent.
We spell away the overhanging night,
We spell away the soldiers and the fright.

There's a cool web of language winds us in,
Retreat from too much joy or too much fear:
We grow sea-green at last and coldly die
In brininess and volubility.

But if we let our tongues lose self-possession,
Throwing off language and its watery clasp
Before our death, instead of when death comes,
Facing the wide glare of the children's day,
Facing the rose, the dark sky and the drums,
We shall go mad no doubt and die that way.

Robert Graves

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Resignations and Accusations Reign

at The Poetry Society of America. Are we or are we not entering a period of McCarthyism and rampant unrepentant conservatism?

Not only that but just who in the hell is John Hollander and why haven't I heard of him before today?

Whoever-he-is, he apparently has made some remarks over the years which some voting board members considered to be racist. Other board members said they felt that such comments were not characteristic of Mr. Hollander’s views or had been misinterpreted. Mr. Louis-Dreyfus said that even if the comments were representative, they were irrelevant criteria for judging the Frost Medal, just as he would argue that Ezra Pound’s anti-Semitism should not detract from the literary appreciation of his work.

Mr. Louis-Dreyfus (whom I've also never heard of) runs an international commodities trading and shipping firm and dabbles (how the hell does one "dabble" anyhow? Either you do something or you don't) in writing poetry, said he resigned partly to protest what he regarded as an “exercise of gross reactionary thinking” among the other board members who left in the wake of the award to Mr. Hollander, a retired English professor at Yale.

Regardless of all that, I'm miffed because I thought I knew all the damn suspected and/or well-known bigots in the poetry world.

The point is - Mr. Louis-Dreyfus is right. Judging a person's character is different than judging that person's poetry. One should have no bearing on the other.

Be that as it may, I probably wouldn't buy a book of Mr. Hollander's poems for the same reason I wouldn't buy a portrait of a clown from John Wayne Gacy or stand in line at the book store to buy the latest copy of O. J. Simpson's new book (regardless of the fact that he won't ever collect any royalities from it) or wear a pair of Michael Vick running shoes or (although Dan disagrees with me) go stylishly jogging while sporting a light gray hoodie bearing the name of Bill Belichick or pay good money to listen to Don Imus on the newest pay-for-listen radio show - simply because there are too many other damn good clown portraits, novels, radio shows, running shoes, jogging hoodies and poetry books out there to choose from.

The way I figure it - why encourage stupidity when it's so simple (and so much cheaper) to avoid it?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

If You Think There's Honor In Poetry

read what Seth Abramson and Quincy Lehr have taken the time to write about Heather McHugh and Joesph Salemi. Then tell them both "Thank you." What a heart-breaking, myth-busting, gut-sickening confirmation of everything you've already suspected about the poetry world!!

Seth Abramson

and

Quincy Lehr

When you're done reading, ask me why I no longer care to submit poetry to anywhere or anyone.

Tell me if you're still comfortable doing it yourself.

Why do we tolerate this sort of crap in poetry? Would sports fans turn a blind eye if Bill Belichick suddenly pulled Tom Brady out of the QB position and stuck his recently-graduated-from-high-school nephew in the Super Bowl? Would we tolerate a member of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee awarding himself the prize? When President Bush consistantly appoints no one but his best friends and highest campaign contributors to high places, tell me, honestly, what is it that even his die-hard supporters understand explicitly?

I'll tell you what I think - I think that President Bush and his Republican cronies have nothing on The Live Poet's Society. Nothing at all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What Hemingway, cummings, Hammett and Stein Have in Common

This is quite interesting. I have no idea what it means, but it's interesting.

I've got some thoughts, of course, but nothing's really formed enough for words as of yet.

My biggest wonder is this - what comes first? The fascination with death/chaos or the proximity to it? Do certain people end up writing about it after they've inadvertently seen too much of it or do they deliberately seek it out beforehand?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

No Winter Wheat For the Working Wicked

Ugh. Scratch the entry below. Dan and I will not be presenting anything come November. Reality bites and it bit us in the ass again. Work commitments prevent our running off on a poetry jaunt for a long weekend at that particular time. Sometimes having a job is just a minor annoyance and sometimes it really sucks.

On the plus side, we've promised ourselves a different weekend away - with no poetry commitments, no family commitments, no work commitments. We will commit to nothing but a decent hotel room with room service, a hot tub, a fifth of gin, a bottle of vermouth, a bunch of olives and one another. (I'd say a bottle of coconut scented bubble bath, too, but I tried that once in Pittsburgh and found out the hard way that bubbles and hot tub jets just don't mix well. Or rather, they mix way too well.)

Meanwhile, it's Sunday - are you ready for some football????

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Winter Wheat Festival of Writing

It's offical, Dan and I will be jointly presenting a program at Winter Wheat Bowling Green University in Bowling Green Ohio, on November 10, 2007, tentatively called "Poetry By and For the Common Man" focusing on poetry written by poets without formal education. We also hope to offer discussion on how poets can still manage to obtain a poetic perspective without the benefit (or drawback) of a classroom setting.

It's a topic near and dear to my heart for obvious reasons and I'm excited to have the opportunity to share the concept.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Poets Without Education

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm getting sick and tired of all the MFA and PhD talk about what school and which degree makes good poetry lately - as if nothing else mattered.

Just for the record, with a good memory and about 20 minutes worth of research, here's a few poets WITHOUT the all-important credentialing that goes on nowdays.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY - ambulance driver

ANNE SEXTON - advanced education consisted of attending Finishing School.

CARL SANDBURG - left school at 13, went back and re-tackled academia at a later date but left before completing a 4 year degree.

HART CRANE - dropped out of high school and took to the sea and the streets.

LANGSTON HUGHES - left college after two semesters and eventually ended up doing a myrid of things - two of which were washing dishes and writing.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLY - expelled from Oxford

EMILY DICKINSON - returned home after one year at Mary Lyon's Mount Holyoke Female Seminary and seldom left home again.

DYLAN THOMAS - left school at 16 to become a reporter.

BOB DYLAN - left college after his first year.

EDGAR ALAN POE - gave up formal education in 1927 at the age of 18 after losing his tuition money due to a gambling problem.

WALT WHITMAN - His mother was barely literate and his father was a carpenter. In 1823 the family moved to Brooklyn, where for six years Whitman attended public schools. It was the only formal education he ever received.

CARL SANDBURG - joined the army during the Spanish American War, spent 2 weeks at West Point, left for another college in Galesburg and then left there without a degree.

ROBERT FROST - attended both Dartmouth and Harvard but never obtained a formal degree from either.

WILLIAM BLAKE - never attended school - was educated at home by his mother.

PABLO NERUDA - gave up his formal studies at the age of 20 to devote himself to writing.

ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING - self-taught

ROBERT BROWNING - In 1828, at the age of 16, Browning enrolled at the University of London, but he soon left, anxious to read and learn at his own pace.

WILLIAM BLAKE - When he turned fourteen, he apprenticed with an engraver because art school proved too costly. In 1782, he married an illiterate woman named Catherine Boucher. Blake taught her to read and to write, and also instructed her in draftsmanship. Later, she helped him print the illuminated poetry for which he is remembered today.


LORD BYRON - once he inherited the title and property of his great-uncle in 1798, he went to Dulwich, Harrow, where he excelled in swimming, and Cambridge, where he piled up debts and aroused alarm with bisexual love affairs. It's unclear as to whether he actually got a degree in anything or not.

DANTE - studied at home, as was usual for the times.

****

"Educated poets" seems to be a late 20th century type thing. Maybe that explains why there are so few real poets left, hey what? Perhaps while the universities are busy turning out cookie-cutter-poets - with poet-teachers intent on recreating their poet-students in their own image, poetry is, in fact, dying. It sometimes seems as though no one who claims to be a contemporary poet knows (or wants to know) anything about a life composed of anything other than than the relative safety of academia and academic publishing. I mean, really, publish or perish might be the Sword of Damocles to some - but, trust me, it isn't the worst thing which can befall an individual, yanno?

Perhaps I'm just jealous, but I don't think so. I think I'm just pissed off at the current attitude which seems to imply that if you didn't go to school you have no business trying to write poetry - for that matter, if you didn't get at least a BA you might as well be declared functionally illiterate.

Not so, sayeth the drop-out.

The fact that I couldn't spell Damocles without help is immaterial. That's what the dictionary is for. Last I heard you didn't need a college degree to be capable of using one.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

PatriotsexPatriot

If you like football - or even if you DON'T like football but have an overwhelming fondness for really sharp witty sarcasm, intelligent opinion, and/or lively ruminations on poetry, religion, relationships, sex and politics - here's a really good blog to visit. PatriotsexPatriot

Anyone who can bury SEX in the middle of his header by appearing to merely repeat the name of a football team is bound to be interesting.

Advice Not Taken




Better titled - "My Summer Vacation - A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words."





When I landed last week at Midway Airport for a short 5 day visit it was raining. When I left Midway Airport after what turned out to be a very emotional, very upsetting, very busy, very grueling, and very long EIGHT day visit, it was still raining. And by "still raining" I mean it never once STOPPED raining.





When the plane landed in DC, it was raining. When Dan stopped at McDonalds to buy me a burger - he rear-ended the car in front of us. When we left McDonalds and came home we found not one but several police cars along the side of our building, several police cars in the parking lot of our building and a few more police cars (and an ambulance who wasn't in a very big hurry to leave) in front of our building. Apparently, according to the man at the front desk, someone left the building via a 9th floor balcony.

Ugh.

Welcome home!

And yes, in case you're interested, it's STILL raining.

Everywhere, I think. Or maybe just on me.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Disorder In the Court

These are hysterical!!! They are excerpts (supposedly) from a book called "Disorder in the American Courts." I googled to find the book but couldn't - which is a shame, because I'd surely like to read it.
*************************

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.
_______________________________

ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.
_____________________________________

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks
______________________________________

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
_____________________________________

ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS: Forty-five years.
_____________________________________

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan.
______________________________________

ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
ATTORNEY: Voodoo?
WITNESS: We do.
ATTORNEY: You do?
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.
______________________________________

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
____________________________________

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-one-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: Uh, he's twenty-one.
________________________________________

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Would you repeat the question?
______________________________________

ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Uh....
______________________________________

ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
WITNESS: None.
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
______________________________________

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
______________________________________

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
______________________________________

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
______________________________________

ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.
______________________________________

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
WITNESS: Oral.
______________________________________

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!
____________________________________________

ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Huh?
____________________________________________

And the best for last

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law
____________________


Thank you, David Anthony, for posting them in a place where I could find it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Off With The Old

On with the new!!!

I am removing dead links - such as Jessica Smith's Look Touch blog because, as you can see, the link no longer goes anywhere.

In it's place, I am adding Patti McCarthy's new blog, Fools Like Me. Patti's one heck of a poet and a good friend as well which makes her doublely (is that a word?) worth the read.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the cats have taken to eating plastic of all sorts and I am sitting at my desk eating brown sugar straight from the box. It's a toss-up as to which of us will get sick first.

I am outa town bright and early Saturday morning. I am going home to see two kids, one daughter-in-law, one girlfriend-in-law, one grandchild, 3 nephews, one niece, one mother, one aunt, thirty seven former co-workers, and, hopefully, a whole bunch of old friends.

No blogging until I return. Maybe not even then. Because I get home just in time for Dan's birthday, my birthday and THE DRAFT!!!!

After that, it's football season. And we've got our brand new 22 inch flat screen TV all set up in the bedroom and ready to go!!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Score One for The Herd Animals

This is long - but worth the watch.

So please, watch it!!

Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Drafted

Bush War Czar Says Draft Worth a Look

I reiterate:

Those Dead


The gods have whispered war, let each sane woman wonder why.
They have no say as men go forth to die perhaps today.
Their men are lonely heroes all; those dead - those still to die.

The gods destroy while women mourn a future passing by.
They have no choice as men go forth to die in disarray.
The gods have whispered war, let each sad woman wonder why.

False gods are seeking sacrifice. Each woman hears the lie.
They have no say as men go forth to hold those gods at bay,
for men are lonely heroes all; those dead - those still to die.

Young children wail and old men weep, yet women simply sigh.
They have no choice as men go forth to fight in distant fray.
The gods have whispered war, let each brave woman wonder why.

Their silence sings a sad refrain of each unsaid good-bye.
They have no say as men go forth, both predators and prey,
for men are lonely heroes all; those dead - those still to die.

So let the widowed women weep, let history hear their cry.
They've had no choice as men went forth and died too far away.
The gods have whispered war, let each lost woman wonder why
their men are lonely heros all; those dead - those still to die.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Second Judge Declares "Abusive Driver's Fee" Unconstitutional

Richmond General District Court judge, Thomas O. Jones, ruled Friday that the fees violate the 14th Amendment's guarentee of equal protection under the law because they aply only to state residents.

The ruling by Judge Jones has not been appealed by The Commonwealth.

It's not over, but it looks promising to those of us who were concerned solely with the inequality of it. David B. Albo (Remember him? He's the Representative from Fairfax who was the primary backer of the fees. He's also a partner in the law firm of Albo & Oblon, where he handles (you guessed it) mostly traffic cases) is busy drafting legislation for the 2008 General Assembly that will include out of state drivers, even though he still believes the current law is constitutional.

The Henrico verdict has been appealed and is scheduled to be heard later this week in the county's circuit court.

The thought's been offered from somewhere in the governor's office that the lawmakers do not believe the law was intended to impose a "disproportionate burden" on Virginians. They were more thinking it was, perhaps, a matter of "administrative convenience."

Gosh, that makes me feel so, so - so icky, yanno?

Stay tuned for further developments.

Poetry Is Where You Find It - Sometimes You Find It In Leesburg, Virginia

Dan and I went to hear Susan McLean read at a poetry reading sponsored by the Leesburg Poetry Series in Leesburg, Va. on Friday night. Afterwards we were invited by Claudia Gary Annis, the inexhaustible woman who organizes the entire series, to join her and Susan and several other artists at a nearby Chinese restaurant for dinner and drinks. It was a wonderful evening and I was, as always, struck by the sheer and simultaneous beauty and violence of words and language when held in the hands of a poet or writer.

It was, however, the aftermath of the evening which has stuck with me - and which has, once again, shown me that reality can never truly be duplicated by words - nor can language alone ever hold the same terrible and awesome power that life, itself, possesses.

After taking leave of our new-found companions, Dan and I were walking towards our car. I was flush with the excitement and the joy of the night and the beauty of the town which is Leesburg and, as usual, I was not really paying much attention to the rest of the world. I did, however, at the last possible moment, notice a rather large group of wildly gesturing teenagers in front of The Tally Ho Theater and I was sufficiently aware of the hour and the darkness that I prudently considered the idea of crossing the street right now might be a very good one. As we were jaywalking across we noticed two of the young boys (who had been obviously arguing with the only adult present) suddenly breaking free from the group and running down a nearby alley way. From our vantage point across the street, we could see that a third boy, probably about 12 or 13 years old, had been left leaning against the building, holding his head in his hands.

As we got into our car I was struck with a sudden severe case of medic/mother remorse and guilt and so I asked Dan if we could drive back and make sure the boy was not seriously injured. By the time we drove around the block and returned to the scene there was a core group of approximately 8 or 9 young teens standing around the injured boy who was, by now, holding a very large bag of ice to his left eye area. Of those still standing around, four or five of them were young girls, the rest were equally young males and there was still the one adult who later turned out to be the boy's father. I identified myself as a former medic and asked if there was anything I could do. The boy immediately lowered his six-pound ice bag and offered his head and eye for examination. He'd been popped pretty good, with both swelling and bruising already present but the laceration itself was not large and, while actively continuing to ooze, was not profusely bleeding. The ice was a good idea, but the application of ice directly onto unprotected skin is never the optimal mode of delivery. I asked the crowd around him if anyone had a handkerchief (yeah, right, in this day and age) or some other type of cloth with which the ice could be covered and almost immediately one of the girl, a pretty little blonde who was noticably dressed to impress in her Friday night best, shrugged off her immaculate and obviously brand-new white sweater and offered it to me. I was reluctant to take it, telling her it would get bloody and that bloodstains do not come off, ever, and she smiled and said, "I don't care. He's my friend."

Poetry conveys - life is.

There's been no poetry ever written in this world, past, present or future, which says more or which speaks so eloquently or which offers more hope.

None.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Step-Kitties


Henrico County Judge Declares Va. "Civil Remedial Fees" Unconstitutional

Finally, a judge with sense! Thank you, Judge Archie Yeatts of Henrico County, Virginia. It's good to know that some people in positions of power still understand the basic concept of fair play for all.

It's onto the Circuit Court now - one can only hope those judges have the same sense and sensibility that Judge Yeatts apparently possesses.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

How Not To Email Your Students

Robert Olin Butler - A Classic Example of Passive/Aggressive Behaviour Via E-Mail

Damn!!! And he's embarrassed and unhappy to find his artless little "loving and compassionate" missive on The Internet?

Sheesh.

Um, Excuse Me, Please,

This would be my side of the bed.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tips On How To Practice Safe Cell

Before you get on the


with your



or your


be sure to visit

Safe Travel at U.S.A. D.O.T.

(Tell them Dan sent you)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Ta Da!! We DID It!!!

Virginia Traffic Fees Challenged in Court - Update

While I don't condone Anthony Price for amassing his 5th violation for driving on a suspended license, I do support the lawyers who have taken his conviction and are using it to challenge the legality of Virginia's newly enacted "Civil Remedial Fee" law and who are expecting a verdict on August 2nd.

Don't forget, you can make your own displeasure known by signing your name here.


In other, unrelated legal news, in less then 7 hours I'll finally become a law-abiding citizen of Virginia.

In other words, I'm that close to marriage in one of only a small handful of states remaining which still legally prohibits unmarried people from cohabitating with one another.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

54 and Counting

Ok....it's 54 hours and 10 minutes away!!!

Repeat after me "I do" "I do" "I do"

Things to do in between reciting the above mantra:

Don't lose the rings between now and then.

Don't freak out.

Buy new underwear.

Paint nails - fingers AND toes.

Buy nylon stockings.

Don't freak out.

Drive to Montgomery County to get a copy of Dan's divorce papers.

Don't yell at Dan because he insisted he had a copy of his divorce papers even though it turns out he didn't.

Don't freak out.

Repeat after me: "I do" "I do" "I do"

Note to self: Don't ever do this again.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

This Is the Date

July 27, 2007

Someone called this old poem to my attention this morning.

It reminded of what a volatile 7 years it's sometimes been and how far we've come since this conversation took place in a Pittsburgh hotel room.

What a long strange trip it's been.

Seeking Definition

You tell me love is more
than moments spent
too artlessly entwined.
You tell me "Love is Fire."
I say that hell is hell
because it's kept
too goddamn hot.
You tell me hell
does not exist
and pull away in ire.

I tell you "Love is gentle heat --
The smallest embers
will survive."

We agree to disagree
and love's left undefined.
These, I think
are moments.
You brush the hair
back from my eyes.
We settle back more cautiously
and watch the clock unwind.

The Hypertexts

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

These Are the Rings




This is the story behind the rings:

The Now Ring

Nothing is worth more than this day!

The present ring contains one of the secrets of happiness. Most human suffering is caused by focusing our thoughts on the past and on the future. Yearning for the past and thinking about what has already happened as well as fearing the future and what may happen, results in a state of "non-existence". We exist in the present which is, in fact, the only reality that exists for us.

Our failure to recognize the present results in our being in a continuing state of fear and suffering. This ring consists of 4 states of awareness that were created to protect us from illusion and to bring us happiness.

The first word - "present" directs us to the only time that exists - now. Focus on the present, causes us to be aware of everything that is happening around us. When we are in the present we have a "presence" and we reach the state of "the present" - Ha-Nimtza (Hebrew word for is here). Ha-Nimtza hints to us the first stages that cause us to "awaken" and "find ourselves" - and in this way to reach a place where we can truly experience our own existence.

The release of false thoughts and trepidations, such as fear and anger, can bring us to a place of clarity and a sense of living a real life, free of suffering.


For me, marriage is acknowledging the past for what it was, accepting today for what it is and not fearing the future for what it might be. I am committing to the "now" and to each today that we share - and trusting that all of our tomorrows will become todays that continue to bring the laughter and the hope, the joy and the peace that I find within myself when we are together.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Petition to Repeal Va. "Remedial Fee"

Thanks to a fellow blogger whom I do not know but one whom took the time to send me A Petition to Repeal Va. Traffic Fees we now have a way to make our displeasure known - if not appreciated.

If you're a Virginia resident, I suggest you sign it. You can ignore the request from Pay Pal to support I-Petitions if you like (I have to admit, I did) and your signature still counts.

Meet Elizabeth

Poetry Revolt has seen fit to include my second accepted poem on their "preview" issue.

Heeeereee's Elizabeth (Must scroll down)

I have to admit, there's something about seeing your own name in print that just makes you wiggle - even when it's only Tuesday morning, the temperature is already 80+ degrees outside, your water pressure is nil, your electricity keeps flickering on and off and you've just discovered a huge mound of cat puke on the dining room table.

In other news, I see from Shann Palmer's blog that The State of Virginia is offering four fellowships worth $5,000.00 each to poets and/or music composers for the 2007-2008 year. Hmmmmmmm.

Nah. There's a better chance the cat puke will magically disappear before I go back downstairs to clean it up.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The New Yorker, Poetry and The Atlantic Monthly

Why is it that I long to see
a poem by me in Poetry
or find one tucked away inside
the magazine New Yorkers pride?

Atlantic Monthly Magazine?
I'd kill to see my poem between
the pages numbered eight and nine.
I'd puff my chest and crow "That's mine!"

So every year I resubmit
and six weeks later I get hit
with notes that say "I wish we could
print everything you think we should.

Perhaps you do not comprehend.
We've cardinal rules we cannot bend.
The highest standards must be met.
And you, you've mixed your hex with tet.

Poem Two's too short for our milieu
Perhaps you tried to write Haiku?
And Number Three's so goddamn long,
has no one told you long is wrong?

Regretfully we must reject
these poems you hoped we would select.
I know that this sounds awfully rough -
but frankly, they're not good enough."


And so I tuck my tail and whine
how I don't find their stuff so fine.
And I declare that I don't care
if I get published over there

'cuz I've been published lots of times
by editors that like my rhyme
and people who appreciate
the very poems the big boys hate.

And still I act like such a twit
and still I faithfully submit
whatever poems I think are best.
God, let one pass the Wiman test.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Oh Yeah - Happy Independence Day!!

More on Virginia's Civil Remedial Fees

Why are the new Virginia Resident Traffic Fees discriminatory?

Well, besides the obvious - the fact that it's just not fair to charge a resident of one state thousands of dollars more than you charge a resident of another state for the exact same infraction, there's this:

Suppose this is you
and you are sitting on the side of I-395 or behind a bush somewhere alongside of The Beltway and you see two cars, one in the 2nd lane and one in the 3rd lane - Both cars are
and they are being driven by middle aged
moms and both vehicles are, oddly enough, the same color, the same make, the same model and the same year and both are going exactly 22 miles over the posted speed limit - but because it is late and you are alone you can only pull over and ticket one of these vehicles. Will you choose Vehicle # 1

which will net your employeers a grand total of $100.00
regardless of this soccer mom's previous driving record?



Or will you choose Vehicle # 2


which is now magically worth a minimum of $1,050.00 even if the driver of this vehicle has a perfectly clean driving record to date and a maximum fee of over than $3,500 if this careless Soccer Mom's already accumulated previous points on his/her license?

A gold-mine for the State of Virginia? Sure, but a gold-mine for


and for someone else as well.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Peace, Poetry and Traffic Tickets in Va.

Interesting new poetry blog.
This one's on Poetry and Peace and it's maintained by
Philip Metres. The title of it is, appropriately, Behind the Lines, Poetry and Peacemaking.

In other news, one of the two poems I had accepted for the Inaugural issue of Poetry Revolt is prematurely up already on the Fall 2007 Preview Page.

I have no other news worth sharing.

I will add this, however. I am totally pissed off at the State of Virginia for this little bit of resident discrimination. Makes me really happy to be a citizen here, yanno? I'm not sure it's fair to hold me to a higher standard of responsibility than a resident of Maryland or DC who happens to be speeding through The Lover's State on their way to work or whatever. In fact, I'm pretty sure it isn't. I certainly hope someone challenges this one in court. I certainly hope they win and everyone who ended up paying $3500.00 for a speeding ticket gets their money back - and I most certainly hope it's returned with an apology - and interest - not only from the state iteslf, but also from the main sponsor of the bill, one David Albo a part-time legislator from Fairfax County and a full time partner in the law firm of Albo and Oblon where he handles, you guessed it, mostly traffic cases.

God, it's enough to make you want to puke. Or at least un-elect someone.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Some days

I'm aware that poetry just doesn't matter.

Not at all.

Not even a little bit.

Nine Firefighters die in Charleston, S. C.




Rest in peace. Your brothers and sisters salute your bravery and your dedication and we mourn your passing.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hot Metal Press

Oh Happy Sunday!

Woke up this morning to hot tea already prepared, cats already fed and a brilliant sun shining through the balcony doors. What more can one ask for?

How about a poetry acceptance letter?

Got word about an hour ago that Martin Willitts, who is editing an anthology on Cancer for Hot Metal Press, has accepted my one and only offering, In Utero, for inclusion in his upcoming project which was sponsored by a grant from The Chenago County Individual Artist Grant Program 2007

YAY me!!

The acceptance letter was a bit different. I almost didn't finish reading it because it read very much like the standard rejection letter I've come to expect. It began with the familiar:

"Thank you very much for submitting your poem, ________________. I received many more submissions than expected and cannot possible include them all. Many good poems and poets had to be eliminated.

I am pleased that so many people from around the world participated. I hope
I provided a slight chance to represent some good poetry. Unfortunately I
could not accept everything.


But at the end of the familiar two paragraph explanation was the unfamiliar single stand-alone sentence:

"I would like to accept your poem."

Talk about a pleasant surprise!!!!

It's always gratifying to have a poem accepted for publication - always - and no matter how many poems get accepted there's always that same catch of breath and that same sense of wonder and pleasure at the proof that someone, somewhere, considers you good enough to publish so that other people can also read you.

When the poem is accepted by a publication with an underlying worthy cause, however, there's a special feeling of pride and an accompanying sense of fear that the poem will somehow not live up to the initial vote of confidence. The book will be reaching out to an audience other than poetry lovers - and this one will be reaching out to a group of people who have lived through fear and tragedy that I have only written of - to people with a courage I cannot imagine possessing. How will it meet with them?

I've always felt that being capable of writing poetry is as much of a responsibility as it is a gift.

Now I know it is.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The 13th Annual Poetry Conference at West Chester

We left town early yesterday to attend the last day of the 13th Annual West Chester University Poetry Conference. Actually, we didn't "attend" much - mostly we just hung around and met people in person that we've known in print for years. It was great to finally put faces to names - Michael Cantor, David Landrum, Toni Clark, Greg Dowling, Bruce McBirney, and Wendy Sloan from Eratosphere, and Robin Kemp and Marilyn Taylor from Formalista. There were a few others attending that I really wish I had been able to locate but time was short and the few hours we had there flew by and the day was over long before I was ready for it to end.


We hung around long past prudent leaving-time in order to hear Alicia Stallings, Dick Davis and H. L. Hix give readings and I'm really glad we did so.
They were, all three, wonderful. Dick Davis read several very funny and well-written poems loosely centered on random events at last year's conference which kept the audience in stitches throughout. Alicia read from Hapax as well as from her newest collection and gave us a long poem on the Plague from a translation she's been working on for over a decade. H. L. Hix read several poems which were fashioned solely from phrases taken from Bush speechs and one framed around words spoken by Saddam Hussein. He also did a most moving rendition of Shield of Achilles by W. H. Auden. Unfortunately we had to leave at that point and missed the readings by Molly Peacock and X. J. Kennedy.

It struck me while I was there that I was surrounded by the rarest of all poetic breeds - poets and artists who lived and breathed in form and meter and rhyme. I was talking to them, I was eating brats and drinking beer with them, I was listening to them read. For one brief and shining moment I was not a freak, I was not alone, I was not uncomfortable, I was not "different," I was not out of place. I was just like everyone else - albeit not nearly as talented.

Next year - as God is my witness - next year, by hook or by crook, by scholarship or by cash, we will attend the entire event.

I'm fired up.