Sunday, October 31, 2010


As if Bobby didn't already
have enough shows!

What's Who's 
on the grill, Bobby?

Saturday, October 30, 2010


That time of year thou mayst in me behold
(Sonnet 73)        
by William Shakespeare

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the deathbed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
   This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
   To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Why I Am Not a Painter

         by Frank O'Hara

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
"Sit down and have a drink" he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there."
"Oh." I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. "Where's SARDINES?"
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven't mentioned
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

from: Selected Poems. Copyright 2008.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy forever

from: Endymion, Book I,
      by John Keats

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: 
Its loveliness increases; it will never 
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep 
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep 
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.          
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing 
A flowery band to bind us to the earth, 
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth 
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days, 
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways           
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all, 
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall 
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon, 
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon 
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils           
With the green world they live in; and clear rills 
That for themselves a cooling covert make 
'Gainst the hot season; the mid forest brake, 
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms: 
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms           
We have imagined for the mighty dead; 
All lovely tales that we have heard or read: 
An endless fountain of immortal drink, 
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink. 
  Nor do we merely feel these essences           
For one short hour; no, even as the trees 
That whisper round a temple become soon 
Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon, 
The passion poesy, glories infinite, 
Haunt us till they become a cheering light           
Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast, 
That, whether there be shine, or gloom o'ercast, 
They alway must be with us, or we die.



The really sad thing about this is
that it's an accurate portrayal
of the current state of American politics.
But its strength definitely comes from the fact 
that it lambastes both sides equally.

If you want to make your voice heard
and prove that you are not a mindless follower of the hyperbolic and hysterical politicians who claim to speak for you, 


Choose candidates who acknowledge
the complexities of real life, make cogent arguments,
and answer the hard questions - with specifics.

...Democrat: ...Republican:
You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding. You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread because people are evil and should be punished.
You have to believe that the same teacher who can't teach 4th-graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex. You have to believe that evolution is a myth (despite the evidence of biochemistry and the fossil record) but that Intelligent Design theory should be taught in schools.
You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than U.S. nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Chinese & North Korean communists. You have to believe that there is no causal link between legal, easily-obtainable handguns and high murder rates.
You have to believe that there was no art before Federal funding. You have to believe that unfunded arts and school programs are still subject to government control.
You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical, documented changes in the earth's climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUVs. You have to believe that global temperatures are completely unaffected by fossil fuel emissions, that the best way to save the national forests is to allow logging companies to cut down old-growth timber, and the best way to save endangered species is to allow trophy hunters and wildlife traders to import more of them.
You have to believe that gender roles are artificial but being homosexual is natural. You have to believe that homosexuality is evil (despite the fact that it occurs in nature) and that women should stay at home to cook and bear children.
You have to be against capital punishment but support abortion on demand. You have to be against abortion but support capital punishment.
You have to believe that businesses create oppression, and governments create prosperity. You have to believe that corporations never purposely hurt anyone to make money.
You have to believe that hunters don't care about nature, but loony activists who have never been outside of San Francisco do. You have to believe that hunting requires an automatic rifle.
You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it. You have to believe that middle class income should be taxed, but capital gains and inherited wealth should not be.
You have to believe that the military, not corrupt politicians, start wars. You have to believe that war is an acceptable solution to any economic or social problem.
You have to believe that the military is another political porkbarrel for wealthy campaign contributors of certain politicians. You have to believe that everyone should support the troops - except when it comes to pay or benefits.
You have to believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution. You have to believe the NRA is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.
You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high. You have to believe that taxes are for poor and middle class people, not the rich.
You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Gen. Robert E.Lee, and Thomas Edison. You have to believe that Oliver North and Monica Lewinsky are more important to American history than Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.
You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not. You have to believe that affirmative action is wrong, because everyone knows there's no more racism in America.
You have to believe that Hillary Clinton is normal and really a very nice person. You have to believe that Ann Coulter is normal and really a very nice person.
You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been in charge. You have to believe that the only reason supply-side economics hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been in charge.
You have to believe conservatives telling the truth belong in jail, but a liar and sex offender belonged in the White House. You have to believe liberals telling the truth belong in jail, but a liar and draft-dodger belongs in the White House.
You have to believe that homosexual parades displaying drag, transvestites, and bestiality should be constitutionally protected, and manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal. You have to believe that all Americans should be white heterosexual Christians.
You have to believe that illegal Democratic Party funding by the Chinese government is somehow in the best interest of the United States. You have to believe that illegal Republican Party funding by corporations is somehow in the best interest of the United States.
You have to believe that this letter is part of a vast, right-wing conspiracy. You have to believe that the media are biased toward liberals, despite the fact that all the major media outlets are owned by ultra-rich conservatives.

 (See this blog post for more info)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Do not go gentle into that good night

        by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

from: The Poems of Dylan Thomas. Copyright 1953.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010



        by Amy Lowell

To Ezra Pound: with Much Friendship and Admiration and Some Differences of Opinion

The Poet took his walking-stick
Of fine and polished ebony.
Set in the close-grained wood
Were quaint devices;
Patterns in ambers,
And in the clouded green of jades.
The top was smooth, yellow ivory,
And a tassel of tarnished gold
Hung by a faded cord from a hole
Pierced in the hard wood,
Circled with silver.
For years the Poet had wrought upon this cane.
His wealth had gone to enrich it,
His experiences to pattern it,
His labour to fashion and burnish it.
To him it was perfect,
A work of art and a weapon,
A delight and a defence.
The Poet took his walking-stick
And walked abroad.

Peace be with you, Brother.

The Poet came to a meadow.
Sifted through the grass were daisies,
Open-mouthed, wondering, they gazed at the sun.
The Poet struck them with his cane.
The little heads flew off, and they lay
Dying, open-mouthed and wondering,
On the hard ground.
"They are useless. They are not roses," said the Poet.

Peace be with you, Brother. Go your ways.

The Poet came to a stream.
Purple and blue flags waded in the water;
In among them hopped the speckled frogs;
The wind slid through them, rustling.
The Poet lifted his cane,
And the iris heads fell into the water.
They floated away, torn and drowning.
"Wretched flowers," said the Poet,
"They are not roses."

Peace be with you, Brother. It is your affair.
The Poet came to a garden.
Dahlias ripened against a wall,
Gillyflowers stood up bravely for all their short stature,
And a trumpet-vine covered an arbour
With the red and gold of its blossoms.
Red and gold like the brass notes of trumpets.
The Poet knocked off the stiff heads of the dahlias,
And his cane lopped the gillyflowers at the ground.
Then he severed the trumpet-blossoms from their stems.
Red and gold they lay scattered,
Red and gold, as on a battle field;
Red and gold, prone and dying.
"They were not roses," said the Poet.

Peace be with you, Brother.
But behind you is destruction, and waste places.
The Poet came home at evening,
And in the candle-light
He wiped and polished his cane.
The orange candle flame leaped in the yellow ambers,
And made the jades undulate like green pools.
It played along the bright ebony,
And glowed in the top of cream-coloured ivory.
But these things were dead,
Only the candle-light made them seem to move.
"It is a pity there were no roses," said the Poet.

Peace be with you, Brother. You have chosen your part.

Monday, October 25, 2010


It's worth clicking through to read the specifics. 
Once you take partisan politics out of the equation, 
the way is fairly clear. 
No, not easy. But clear.

"A few months ago, we announced the formation and mandate of the Esquire Commission to Balance the Federal Budget. The plan was simple: A group of former legislators from across the political spectrum would convene, make the hard choices that our current leaders refuse to make, and erase the annual budget deficit by 2020. Below, the results of their efforts in all their statistical detail (also available in the November issue — now on sale). You can also read the authors' introduction here and the story of how it all happened here.

A Few Words on the Objectives:

Primary Objective: To balance the federal budget by 2020 by instituting spending cuts and/or revenue increases, most of which would not begin until 2013.

Secondary Objective: To adjust annual government spending and annual government revenue so that both equal 20 percent of the gross domestic product by 2020.

Tertiary Objective: To stabilize national debt at less than 60 percent of GDP by 2020.
Other Objectives That We Hadn't Intended to Meet but Did Anyway:
• Guarantee the solvency of Social Security over the next seventy-five years.
• Restructure the military to better meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.
• Keep individual tax rates at or near their current levels for all Americans.

Note: All projected savings and revenue for fiscal year 2020 only, and all amounts in 2020 dollars."


3. In and Out Double Double Burger,

Animal style


Top 10 Fast Food Recipes You Can Make at Home

Find this recipe (among others) at
and Enjoy.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dangerous for Girls

       by Connie Voisine

It was the summer of Chandra Levy, disappearing
       from Washington D.C., her lover a Congressman, evasive
              and blow-dried from Modesto, the TV wondering

in every room in America to an image of her tight jeans and piles
       of curls frozen in a studio pose. It was the summer the only
              woman known as a serial killer, a ten-dollar whore trolling

the plains of central Florida, said she knew she would
       kill again, murder filled her dreams
              and if she walked in the world, it would crack

her open with its awful wings. It was the summer that in Texas, another
       young woman killed her five children, left with too many
              little boys, always pregnant. One Thanksgiving, she tried

to slash her own throat. That summer the Congressman
       lied again about the nature of his relations, or,
              as he said, he couldn't remember if they had sex that last

night he saw her, but there were many anonymous girls that summer,
       there always are, who lower their necks to the stone
              and pray, not to God but to the Virgin, herself once

a young girl, chosen in her room by an archangel.
       Instead of praying, that summer I watched television, reruns of
              a UFO series featuring a melancholic woman detective

who had gotten cancer and was made sterile by aliens. I watched
       infomercials: exercise machines, pasta makers,
              and a product called Nails Again With Henna,

ladies, make your nails steely strong, naturally,
       and then the photograph of Chandra Levy
              would appear again, below a bright red number,

such as 81, to indicate the days she was missing.
       Her mother said, please understand how we're feeling
              when told that the police don't believe she will be found alive,

though they searched the parks and forests
       of the Capitol for the remains and I remembered
              being caught in Tennessee, my tent filled with wind

lifting around me, tornado honey, said the operator when I called
       in fear. The highway barren, I drove to a truck stop where
              maybe a hundred trucks hummed in pale, even rows

like eggs in a carton. Truckers paced in the dining room,
       fatigue in their beards, in their bottomless
              cups of coffee. The store sold handcuffs, dirty

magazines, t-shirts that read, Ass, gas or grass.
       Nobody rides for free, and a bulletin board bore a
              public notice: Jane Doe, found in a refrigerator box

outside Johnson, TN, her slight measurements and weight.
       The photographs were of her face, not peaceful in death,
              and of her tattoos Born to Run, and J.T. caught in

scrollworks of roses. One winter in Harvard Square, I wandered
       drunk, my arms full of still warm, stolen laundry, and
              a man said come to my studio and of course I went—

for some girls, our bodies are not immortal so much as
       expendable, we have punished them or wearied
              from dragging them around for so long and so we go

wearing the brilliant plumage of the possibly freed
       by death. Quick on the icy sidewalks, I felt thin and
              fleet, and the night made me feel unique in the eyes

of the stranger. He told me he made sculptures
       of figure skaters, not of the women's bodies,
              but of the air that whipped around them,

a study of negative space,
       which he said was the where-we-were-not
              that made us. Dizzy from beer,

I thought why not step into
       that space? He locked the door behind me.

from: Rare High Meadow of Which I Might Dream. Copyright 2008.




Saturday, October 23, 2010

The World is Too Much With Us

         by William Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God!  I'd rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

Friday, October 22, 2010

When Autumn Came

   by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
translated by Naomi Lazard

This is the way that autumn came to the trees:
it stripped them down to the skin,
left their ebony bodies naked.
It shook out their hearts, the yellow leaves,
scattered them over the ground.
Anyone could trample them out of shape
undisturbed by a single moan of protest.

The birds that herald dreams
were exiled from their song,
each voice torn out of its throat.
They dropped into the dust
even before the hunter strung his bow.

Oh, God of May have mercy.
Bless these withered bodies
with the passion of your resurrection;
make their dead veins flow with blood again.

Give some tree the gift of green again.
Let one bird sing.

from: The True Subject. Copyright 1987.

Thursday, October 21, 2010



Spring and Fall: To a young child        
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010


by Edward Hirsch

Fall, falling, fallen. That's the way the season
Changes its tense in the long-haired maples
That dot the road; the veiny hand-shaped leaves
Redden on their branches (in a fiery competition
With the final remaining cardinals) and then
Begin to sidle and float through the air, at last
Settling into colorful layers carpeting the ground.
At twilight the light, too, is layered in the trees
In a season of odd, dusky congruences‐a scarlet tanager
And the odor of burning leaves, a golden retriever
Loping down the center of a wide street and the sun
Setting behind smoke-filled trees in the distance,
A gap opening up in the treetops and a bruised cloud
Blamelessly filling the space with purples. Everything
Changes and moves in the split second between summer's
Sprawling past and winter's hard revision, one moment
Pulling out of the station according to schedule,
Another moment arriving on the next platform. It
Happens almost like clockwork: the leaves drift away
From their branches and gather slowly at our feet,
Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins moving
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us,
Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets.
And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.

from: Wild Gratitude. Copyright 1986.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Red, Red Rose

by Robert Burns

O my luve's like a red, red rose,
    That's newly sprung in June;
O my luve's like the melodie
    That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
    So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
    And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
O I will love thee still, my dear,
    While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve,
    And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
    Though it were ten thousand mile.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Autumn Grasses

by Margaret Gibson

In fields of bush clover and hay-scent grass
the autumn moon takes refuge
The cricket's song is gold

Zeshin's loneliness taught him this

Who is coming?
What will come to pass, and pass?

Neither bruise nor sweetness nor cool air
knows the way

And the moon?
Who among us does not wander, and flare
and bow to the ground?

Who does not savor, and stand open
if only in secret

taking heart in the ripening of the moon?

from: Autumn Grasses. Copyright 2003.



Sunday, October 17, 2010


Refusing at Fifty-Two to Write Sonnets        
by Thomas Lynch

It came to him that he could nearly count
How many Octobers he had left to him
In increments of ten or, say, eleven
Thus: sixty-three, seventy-four, eighty-five.
He couldn't see himself at ninety-six—
Humanity's advances notwithstanding
In health-care, self-help, or new-age regimens—
What with his habits and family history,
The end he thought is nearer than you think.

The future, thus confined to its contingencies,
The present moment opens like a gift:
The balding month, the grey week, the blue morning,
The hour's routine, the minute's passing glance—
All seem like godsends now.  And what to make of this?
At the end the word that comes to him is Thanks.

from: Walking Papers. Copyright 2010.
A decade's worth of poems by one of our most reliable witnesses, National Book Award finalist Thomas Lynch. In his fourth collection of poems, Thomas Lynch attends to flora, fauna, and fellow pilgrims: dead poets and living masters, a former president and his factotums, a sin-eater and inseminator. Faux-bardic and mock-epic, deft at lament and lampoon, fete and feint, Lynch's poems are powerful medicines, tonics for the long haul and home-going.
- from Amazon dot com.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


from: Ode to the West Wind 
by Percy Bysshe Shelley


Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened Earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Friday, October 15, 2010


from: Heart's Needle        
by W. D. Snodgrass
For Cynthia

      No one can tell you why
   the season will not wait;
      the night I told you I
must leave, you wept a fearful rate
         to stay up late.

      Now that it's turning Fan,
   we go to take our walk
      among municipal
flowers, to steal one off its stalk,
         to try and talk.

      We huff like windy giants
   scattering with our breath
      gray-headed dandelions;
Spring is the cold wind's aftermath.
         The poet saith.

      But the asters, too, are gray,
   ghost-gray. Last night's cold
      is sending on their way
petunias and dwarf marigold,
         hunched sick and old.

      Like nerves caught in a graph,
   the morning-glory vines
      frost has erased by half
still scrawl across their rigid twines.
         Like broken lines

      of verses I can't make.
   In its unraveling loom
      we find a flower to take,
with some late buds that might still bloom,
         back to your room.

      Night comes and the stiff dew.
   I'm told a friend's child cried
      because a cricket, who
had minstreled every night outside
         her window, died.

from: Not for Specialists: New and Selected Poems. Copyright 2006.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


faint female ghost in the dark 

AN EXCERPT: "Are you in here, Mr. Marconi?" asked seventeen times in a row [...]

No response. It seemed a lost cause.

And then a thought occurred. Maybe these ghost "hunters" are good at their job. Maybe they're experts at finding and communicating with ghosts. Their only sin is stereotypical American ethnocentricity when traveling abroad. Think about it. Why would a ghost girl from 1500s Tuscany UNDERSTAND ENGLISH?!

MONEY QUOTE: "Let this be a lesson, non-American ghosts. If you really want to address your unfinished business, sign up for an ESL class."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


 “If my sister or brother is not at the table, we are not the flesh of Christ. If my sister’s mark of sexuality must be obscured, if my brother’s mark of race must be disguised, if my sister’s mark of culture must be repressed, then we are not the flesh of Christ. For, it is through and in Christ’s own flesh that the ‘other’ is my sister, is my brother; indeed, the ‘other’ is me…”

M.Shawn Copeland

Tuesday, October 12, 2010



To eat or not to eat:
seniors prove "five-second rule" more like 30

The women found no bacteria were present
on the foods that had remained on the floor for five, 10 or 30 seconds. 

(chart from BuzzFeed)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mmmm . . .

 Where Bacon and Religion Intersect


I eat a pound of bacon
To start the day off right
And then a pound at dinner time
To get me through the night.
It fills me full of goodness,
A porcine piety,
Culinary righteousness
I think you would agree.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Victorian Ode

The streets of dear London in bygone years
Were haunted by men with long sideburns.
They wore their nice suits, though frayed at the edge,
And kept close to their vests, taciturn.
Dickensian charmers with unlikely names
Like Picklesworth, Tweedle and Frump,
They ate porridge mornings and when evening came,
Ate stew with indefinite lump.
Black were their lungs from the soot in the air,
And pale was their skin from the fog,
Dickensian men who would gather at night
To drink ale at the Hare and the Hog.
Hail to these gents who have all passed away
Three cheers for their manners so couth.
They were Victorians down to the bone,
Great Englishmen all.  Yea, forsooth. 


But I say, “What of it?” These are facts. 
I don’t care about facts.
I ask for proof.

from: Suffrage On Stage: Marie Jenney Howe Parodies the Opposition, on History Matters

Saturday, October 9, 2010

iBook IT'S NOT!

The World’s Largest Book

Take, for example, the book that’s in Mandalay, Myanmar (which used to be called Burma), specifically the Kuthodaw Pagoda. Guttenberg is commonly considered to be the man responsible for bringing cheap, affordable books to the European masses, but King Mindon of Myanmar didn’t have portability in mind when he commissioned the creation of his book in the middle of the 19th century. His Tipitaka Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism is the world’s largest book, and it’s not going anywhere -- each page, and there are 1460 of them, are marble, with the lettering done in gold.

close up of large weathered stone tablet with remnants of gold lettering
(images credit: José Rodrigues)

Alas, in the late 1800s, the British invaded and much of the pagoda’s treasures -- including the book -- were damaged or stolen. But, fortunately, the structure has been restored, as much as possible, and the world’s largest book is still on display in all its non-paperback, non-portable majesty.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Po' Boy Blues

        by Langston Hughes

When I was home de
Sunshine seemed like gold.
When I was home de
Sunshine seemed like gold.
Since I come up North de
Whole damn world's turned cold.

I was a good boy,
Never done no wrong.
Yes, I was a good boy,
Never done no wrong,
But this world is weary
An' de road is hard an' long.

I fell in love with
A gal I thought was kind.
Fell in love with
A gal I thought was kind.
She made me lose ma money
An' almost lose ma mind.

Weary, weary,
Weary early in de morn.
Weary, weary,
Early, early in de morn.
I's so weary
I wish I'd never been born.

from: The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes.
Copyright © 1994.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


to those of you in the UK.

A book of verse, a cup of tea, and a comfortable reading chair 
are a small price to pay for bolstering international relations.

They have an Official Website.
This year's theme is Home.
Here are some links for poetry around the world.


The Maldive Shark

   by Herman Melville

          About the Shark, phlegmatical one,
Pale sot of the Maldive sea,
The sleek little pilot-fish, azure and slim,
How alert in attendance be.
From his saw-pit of mouth, from his charnel of maw
They have nothing of harm to dread,
But liquidly glide on his ghastly flank
Or before his Gorgonian head;
Or lurk in the port of serrated teeth
In white triple tiers of glittering gates,
And there find a haven when peril’s abroad,
An asylum in jaws of the Fates!
They are friends; and friendly they guide him to prey,
Yet never partake of the treat—
Eyes and brains to the dotard lethargic and dull,
Pale ravener of horrible meat.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I just had quite a time trying to read a verse novel in English.
Yes, you read right. It was written in English.
Well, sort of.
It's voice is in a heavy Australian vernacular.

It is the story of a man who meets the love of his life;
their courtship, marriage,
and his transition into a contented family man.
I struggled at first, but once I got the hang of it,

it was quite fun.

Clicking on the title will take you to the home page of the novel and you can navigate from there. 

Warning: This is the last chapter.
(It made me think of my own husband.)
So if you do not like spoilers, by all means, start at the link.

The Mooch o' Life

THIS ev'nin' I was sittin' wiv Doreen,  
 Peaceful an' 'appy wiv the day's work done,
Watchin', be'ind the orchard's bonzer green,
 The flamin' wonder uv the settin' sun.

Another day gone by; another night
Creepin' along to douse Day's golden light;
 Another dawnin', when the night is gone,
 To live an' love—an' so life mooches on.

Times I 'ave thought, when things was goin' crook,
 When 'Ope turned nark 'an Love fergot to smile,
Of somethin' I once seen in some ole book
 Where an ole sore-'ead arsts, "Is life worf w'ile?

But in that stillness, as the day grows dim,
An' I am sittin' there wiv 'er an' 'im—
 My wife, my son! an' strength in me to strive,
 I only know—it's good to be alive!

Yeh live, yeh love, yeh learn; an' when yeh come
 To square the ledger in some thortful hour,
The everlastin' answer to the sum
 Must alwus be, "Where's sense in gittin' sour?"

Fer when yeh've come to weigh the good an' bad—
The gladness wiv the sadness you 'ave 'ad—
 Then 'im 'oo's faith in 'uman goodness fails
 Fergits to put 'is liver in the scales.

Livin' an' lovin'; learnin' day be day;
 Pausin' a minute in the barmy strife
To find that 'elpin' others on the way
 Is gold coined fer your profit—sich is life.

I've studied books wiv yearnin's to improve,
To 'eave meself out uv me lowly groove,
 An' 'ere is orl the change I ever got:
 "'Ark at yer 'eart, an' you kin learn the lot."

I gives it in—that wisdom o' the mind—
 I wasn't built to play no lofty part.
Orl such is welkim to the joys they find;
 I only know the wisdom o' the 'eart.

An' ever it 'as taught me, day be day,
The one same lesson in the same ole way:
 "Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
 Fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."

Life's wot yeh make it; an' the bloke 'oo tries
To grab the shinin' stars frum out the skies
 Goes crook on life, an' calls the world a cheat,
 An' tramples on the daisies at 'is feet.

But when the moon comes creepin' o'er the hill,
 An' when the mopoke calls along the creek,
I takes me cup o' joy an' drinks me fill,
 An' arsts meself wot better could I seek.

An' ev'ry song I 'ear the thrushes sing
That everlastin' message seems to bring;
 An' ev'ry wind that whispers in the trees
 Gives me the tip there ain't no joys like these:

Livin' an' lovin'; wand'rin' on yer way;
 Reapin' the 'arvest uv a kind deed done;
An' watchin', in the sundown uv yer day,
 Yerself again, grown nobler in yer son.

Knowin' that ev'ry coin o' kindness spent
Bears interest in yer 'eart at cent per cent;
 Measurin' wisdom by the peace it brings
 To simple minds that values simple things.

An' when I take a look along the way
 That I 'ave trod, it seems the man knows best,
Who's met wiv slabs uv sorrer in 'is day,
 When 'e is truly rich an' truly blest.

An' I am rich, becos me eyes 'ave seen
The lovelight in the eyes of my Doreen;
 An' I am blest, becos me feet 'ave trod
 A land 'oo's fields reflect the smile o' God.

Livin' an' lovin'; learnin' to fergive
 The deeds an' words of some un'appy bloke
Who's missed the bus—so 'ave I come to live,
 An' take the 'ole mad world as 'arf a joke.

. . . . . .

Sittin' at ev'nin' in this sunset-land,
Wiv 'Er in all the World to 'old me 'and,
 A son, to bear me name when I am gone.…
 Livin' an' lovin'—so life mooches on.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

SOMETHING TO KEEP IN MIND When Reading Just About Anything

wood cut of monk writing with a quill

This is a news website article about a scientific paper

In the standfirst I will make a fairly obvious pun about the subject matter before posing an inane question I have no intention of really answering: is this an important scientific finding?
In this paragraph I will state the main claim that the research makes, making appropriate use of "scare quotes" to ensure that it's clear that I have no opinion about this research whatsoever.

In this paragraph I will briefly (because no paragraph should be more than one line) state which existing scientific ideas this new research "challenges".

If the research is about a potential cure, or a solution to a problem, this paragraph will describe how it will raise hopes for a group of sufferers or victims.

This paragraph elaborates on the claim, adding weasel-words like "the scientists say" to shift responsibility for establishing the likely truth or accuracy of the research findings on to absolutely anybody else but me, the journalist.

In this paragraph I will state in which journal the research will be published. I won't provide a link because either a) the concept of adding links to web pages is alien to the editors, b) I can't be bothered, or c) the journal inexplicably set the embargo on the press release to expire before the paper was actually published.    . . .

It's entertaining as well as educational.

from: TheLayScientist by MartinRobbins

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fear of the Future

         by John Koethe

tattered curtains seen from outside window

In the end one simply withdraws
From others and time, one's own time,
Becoming an imaginary Everyman
Inhabiting a few rooms, personifying
The urge to tend one's garden,
A character of no strong attachments
Who made nothing happen, and to whom
Nothing ever actually happened—a fictitious
Man whose life was over from the start,
Like a diary or a daybook whose poems
And stories told the same story over
And over again, or no story. The pictures
And paintings hang crooked on the walls,
The limbs beneath the sheets are frail and cold
And morning is an exercise in memory
Of a long failure, and of the years
Mirrored in the face of the immaculate
Child who can't believe he's old.

from: Ninety-fifth Street. Copyright © 2009.


Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh

Alabama Representative Gerald Allen (R-Cottondale) proposed legislation that would prohibit the use of public funds for the "purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle." The bill also proposed that novels with gay protagonists and college textbooks that suggest homosexuality is natural would have to be removed from library shelves and destroyed.  The bill would impact all Alabama school, public, and university libraries. While it would ban books like Heather Has Two Mommies, it could also include classic and popular novels with gay characters such as Brideshead Revisited, The Color Purple or The Picture of Dorian Gray (2005).

Animal Farm, by George Orwell

A Wisconsin survey revealed in 1963 that the John Birch Society had challenged the novel's use; it objected tot he words "masses will revolt." In 1968, the New York State English Council's Committee on Defense Against Censorship conducted a comparable study in New York State English classrooms. Its findings identified the novel on its list of "problem books"; the reason cited was that "Orwell was a communist." A survey of censorship challenges in the schools, conducted in DeKalb County for the period of 1979 to 1982, revealed that the novel had been objected to for its political theories. Banned from Bay County's four middle schools and three high schools in Panama City, FL by the Bay County school superintendent in 1987. After 44 parents filed a suit against the district claiming that its instructional aids policy denies constitutional rights, the Bay County School Board reinstated the book, along with sixty-four others banned.

 - ALA

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I SAW THE BEST MINDS OF MY GENERATION DESTROYED BY madness, starving hysterical naked,

Fifty years ago, on October 3, Judge Clayton Horn ruled that Allen Ginsberg's  great epic Beat-era poem HOWL was not obscene but instead, a work of literary and social merit.

Fifty years later, with draconian FCC fines for language infractions, you still can't hear HOWL on the radio.

You can, however, see it below and read the full text of HOWL here.
Go ahead, read along with the clips.

from ROGER EBERT'S Twitter

(until Disney takes it down)

Saturday, October 2, 2010


from:  iPrufrock

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would have been worth while
After the LOLcats and the macros and the youtube clips,
After the spambots, after the blog space, after LiveJournal trailing on the floor --
And Digg, and so much more? --
It is impossible to type just what I mean!
But as if a new .avi threw the nerves in patterns on the screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, texting or throwing back Red Bull,
And turning towards the PC, should say,
"That is not what I typed at all.
That is not it. OH LOL."


Pentagon destroys war memoir,
Shaffer said he worked with the Army to ensure the information in the book was in line with the required procedures. He said he was careful to ensure the information in the book would not endanger US troops. During the process over the past two years he did remove items from the book when asked by the Army. Shaffer described the whole process as “collaborative”.
 - RT.

* Pentagon buys, destroys memoir 
* Publisher destroys first edition of US spy memoir
* Government muzzles officer, censors key information about terror attacks 
* Pentagon destroys thousands of copies of Army officer's memoir

Friday, October 1, 2010


Top ten most frequently challenged books of 2009

Out of 460 challenges
as reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom. - ALA.

1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: drugs, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality

3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group

4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group

5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence

8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

9. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group


"We believe attempts to censor ideas to which we have access--whether in books, magazines, plays, works of art, television, movies or song--are not simply isolated instances of harassment by diverse special-interest groups. Rather they are part of a growing pattern of increasing intolerance which is changing the fabric of America. . .
"Censorship cannot eliminate evil. It can only kill freedom. We believe Americns have the right to buy, stores have the right to sell, authors have the right to write and publishers have the right to publish Constitutionally-protected material. Period."
Excerpt from a letter to 28 newspapers, signed by Ed Morrow, president, American Booksellers Assn. and Harry Hoffman, president, Walden Book Co., Inc. (1990).

*   *   *

Some Censors and Bookbanners in the United States:

      Anti-Defamation League
      Barnes and Noble, bookseller, San Diego, California
      Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
      Christian Voters League
      Columbus Metropolitan Library
      Concerned Women for America - Beverly LaHay, president
      Drake, North Dakota - school board
      Educational Research Analysts - Mel & Norma Gabler, founders
      Graves County, Kentucky school board
      Lake Lanier Regional Library system in Gwinnett County, Georgia
      Marion High School, Foxworth, Missippi
      McCarthy, Joseph R. - U.S. Senator
      Meese Commission
      National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored Peole (NAACP)
      National Assn. of Christian Educators (Robert Simonds, founder)
      National Federation of Decency (Rev. Donald Wildmon, exec. dir.)
      National Security Agency (NSA)
      New England Watch and Ward Society
      Olathe, Kansas - school system
      Parade Magazine - national magazine
      Rafferty, Max - CA superintendent of public instruction (1963)
      Rib Lake, Wisconsin - school board
      Roberts, Cokie - ABC News Commentator
      Roman Catholic Church - Index of Prohibited Books
      Sixty Minutes, CBS News Program Feature Story on Internet
      Stahl, Leslie - 60 Minutes News Commentator
      Talmadge, Eugene - governor of Georgia (1941)
      U.S. Bureau of Customs
      U.S. Food and Drug Administration
      U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
      U.S. Information Agency (USIA)
      U.S. Justice Department
      U.S. Postal Service
      U.S. Treasury Department
      West Marion High School in Foxworth, Mississippi by School Superintendent

*   *   *

 "I work at a library, and librarians are not fans of banning books," he said. "We believe in letting people read what they want. It is part of what makes us great as a nation."

    Bolin said when books become controversial or banned, people want to read them more.

    "When a book is banned, people think there might be something to it, especially if others hate it," he said. "It makes the book edgy and becomes even more popular."

    Bolin said it is a personal choice if parents do not want their children to read a book, but government should never get involved.