Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jazz Poetry

Every now and then I get really into poets.org. It largely focuses on more classical forms, but also has a nice selection of some contemporary work.

Anyhow, they just featured Hayden Carruth in their recent newsletter and I thought I'd share just how a person can get lost at poets.org for a couple of hours.

1. You begin by reading the bio of a poet (Hayden Carruth), and if you can avoid clicking all the links provided then you may proceed to step 2. Otherwise click through the links, get lost, then return for step 2.

2. Read some poetry by the author (Of Distress Being Humilated by the Classical Chinese Poets). You can often find recordings of the poets reading the poem embedded in the page for you to read along to. Nice.

3. Read another poem by your selected poet. (The Cows at Night)

4. Decide to look into the large framework of their movement and read about the history of the movement they may have been a part of. Follow links or not as stated in step 1 (A Brief Guide to Jazz Poetry). Ultimately choose another poet whose work is listed in this section and begin again. (Jayne Cortez)

That's all there is to wasting time reading poetry at poets.org. I suppose you could do that anywhere. But that's what I was just doing.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Between reading Pafko at the Wall today, starting to watchSports Night, and the Wild winning tonight to become the only undefeated team (in regulation) left in the NHL.

Pafko at the Wall is the kind of book that makes the "good old days" seem real good. It makes me want to be there and experience a moment like that. Though, I guess, part of the thematic reasoning of the book is that there really isn't any time like your own, the unique circumstances that create an event out of every day of life. But nonetheless I just want to be a part of something I'm nostalgic for, which is impossible, and that is a big part of the allure. Maybe that will happen with the Wild this season and I'll feel like I got to watch a moment happen, even though I can't be there any more. Maybe they will take on the Rangers in the Cup and I can go to a game and then everything will be ok.

Randy Newman on Taxes:

"They lowered my taxes! How can a country countenance lowering taxes on the upper income? I can't believe it!"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New Polls Are In Today!!!

needlessly stolen from the New York Times

I'm not sure if this should be called awesome or disturbing, but I think it might be both

This is the new music video for Flying Lotus' track "Parisian Goldfish." It has been pretty much banned everywhere, and for good reason, so Warp Records has started a site called DanceFloorDale.com to host the video. It might make you throw up or commence an epileptic seizure, but it's pretty hilarious, and it's a good song.

01000010 01101111 01101111 00100000 01111001 01100001 00001101 00001010 00001101 00001010

I just discovered a binary code translator. So if you ever feel the need to send unnecessarily cryptic messages, or maybe you receive death threats in binary code from your neighbor and have never really known what it said, you can use this to encode or decode various messages.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

From Leaping Poetry...Again

Very often intellect is poetry's enemy because it is too much given to imitation, because it lifts the poet to a throne of sharp edges and makes him oblivious to the fact that he may suddenly be devoured by ants, or a great arsenic lobster may fall on his head.
-Federico Garcia Lorca (quoted in Robert Bly's Leaping Poetry)


According to an e-mail from the Obama campaign this is the new mailer the McCain campaign in sending out. "Terrorist." Strong words. This is some pretty dirty campaigning. The way the McCain campaign has manipulated the dialogue and the perceptions of the undecided voters is frightening. I find it frustrating when voters / citizens can see this kind of manipulation and blatant lying and then think it's still ok to vote for someone who does this (though no one is innocent of course), that this kind of manipulation of information wouldn't be taking place in everything that was being done in the White House, it's inconceivable to me to figure out just how someone thinks that this kind of lying is completely separate from other kinds. That there is no reason to fear a politician like this when they have power because these are separate things.

These are not separate things.

This is politics, in the White House, or on the way to the White House. This attempt to manipulate the way I think is infuriating, it makes me crazy. Why would you notice this and then support someone who you catch being deceptive, trying to manipulate the way you think?

I am thirsty for odors and laughs,
I am thirsty for new poems,
poems with no lilies or moons,
and no love affairs about to fail.
- Federico Garcia Lorca

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Robert Bly

Robert Bly can kind of be laborious and boring (more frequently than not) but sometimes his criticisms are dead on. I'm reading Leaping Poetry, a new release from the University of Pittsburgh Press, where he talks about the history of the "leap" in poetry (which is often meant in a very tangible way and more often focuses on a leap in consciousness that has long been forgotten or berated in poetry, especially in America). There are translations, criticism, untranslated poems, etc. Anyhow, it's not terrific, but it's engaging and I'm enjoying it. And I thought this was interesting:

Obviously the ethical ideas of Christianity inhibit [the leap]. Christianity has been against the leap. Christian ethics always embodied a move against the "animal instincts"; Christian thought, especially Paul's thought, builds a firm distinction between spiritual energy and animal energy, a distinction so sharp it became symbolized by black and white. White became associated with the conscious and black with the unconscious. Christianity taught its poets - we are among them [as Americans] - to leap away from the unconscious, not toward it.

The intellectual Western mind accepted the symbolism of white and black, and far from trying to unite both in a circle, as the Chinses did, tried to get "apartheid." In the proces, some weird definition of words developed.

If a European avoided the animal instincts and consistently leaped away from the unconscious, he was said to be living in a state of "innocence." Children were though to be "innocent" because it was believed they had no sexual, that is, animal, instincts. Eighteenth-century translators like Pope and Dryden forced Greek and Roman literature to be their allies in their leap away from animality, and they translated Homer as if he too were "innocent." To Christian Europeans, impulses open to the sexual instincts or animal instincts indicated a fallen state, a state of "experience."

It's an interesting distinction to trace throughout history. He starts at Beowulf and begins to dissect how the Western writers lost the instinct for the leap through Christianity while many nations writers' did not. This segue-ways nicely, and quite literally, into William Blake's rebellious poems The Songs of Innocence and Experience.

This all leads into modern writer's who are trying to, or have, bring the leap back into the mentality of Western readers. He points out a lack of interest in the Spanish poets by non-academic writers and how this lead to other countries becoming interested in this literary move while America did not. He also points out that in some ways American poets were interested in this through their interest in the French Surrealists like Breton, yet this movement is now, oddly, looked upon with disdain by many contemporary critics and poets, it has fallen out of favor, but it's influence is largely unnoted.

It's an interesting book. I'll through in one more quote that utilizes Neruda's use of the leap to illustrate further what exactly Bly is trying to point out in this collection:

In "Nothing but Death" Neruda leaps from death to the whiteness of flour, then to notary publics, and he continues to make leap after leap. We often feel elation reading Neruda because he follows some arc of association which corresponds to the inner life of the objects; so that anyone sensitive to the inner life of objects can ride iwth him. The links are not private, but somehow bound into nature.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Please do not click the link below if you are not a discerning reader...

This link was passed on to me, and I thought I would share, simply because it's crazy what some people believe. And that's fine. "Some people" probably think what I believe is crazy too. But the intro video to this site has some interesting facts about politics that I had never heard before (and some even more interesting omissions).

Check it out and beware the creation of the USSA (and remember a vote for Obama is a vote for the communists).

Look Familiar?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What is Happening in the Wild Game Right Now?!?

I'm watching the Wild play the Lightning right now, and since I'm watching it online I'm watching a Tampa broadcast of the game.

The announcers just decided to point out that Tampa Bay goaltender Mike Smith has a new mask featuring the characters from Saw, which would be fine in itself, everybody likes designs on the mask, and there are worse things they could be spending the down time talking about (like the New Kids on the Block show they are relentlessly advertising) . Then they mention that the owner of the Lightning, Oren Koules, is the producer of the new Saw V.

Oh, weird.

After pointing out the mask and displaying a CGI version of the mask on the screen, from all angles, they began to talk about how much they are looking forward to the film, gave it's release date, and little history on the series. Shortly after that they, again, mention the mask by saying that it's probably scaring the Wild in the offensive zone, and that the movie is going to be really scary, too.

Play then continues for awhile.

But before the next commercial break the camera zooms in on Smith (Tampa's back-up tender) and then announcers again say, there is Smith in his scary new Saw mask, the new film in theaters across the country next week.

Really? Are they required to do this much promoting for the owner's new film? Seems a little out of place to me. It was relentless for about ten minutes, and they were talking about it while the game was going on. This is almost as bad as the Flyers owner having Sarah Palin drop the puck at their home opener (he just happens to be a big donor to the McCain campaign).

UPDATE: They just did it again. The team is offering free tickets to Saw V with purchase of tickets for the next couple home games. They also have a hand made portrait of the Saw doll hanging from the rafters. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Thanks for the heads up on this Colin. This is fantastic. We need more political advertisements that are willing to insinuate that Politicians and Wall Street are urinating on large crowds of angry people.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I was looking at my profile on Blogger today and realized that the number of blogs under my name is out of control. I have frequently randomly decided to start a blog and then let it die. I can be a little impulsive. I have one that's photos of a family gathering that I posted for the family, my Minneapolis street art project, the InDigest Blog, this blog, and random shit that I never use.

Anyhow, I can't really do my Minneapolis street art project anymore, and don't want to change the page, because I'd like to continue working on that, albeit in slightly more spaced out time frames. But I wanted to continue to take photos of street art and write about street art, so I'm starting a new site that's basically the same thing but in New York. I was going to do the same project in my neighborhood here, but I'm not sure how well that work for various reasons that are too boring to really delve into here. But I'm going to start doing it in one form or another, and it might not be exclusively photos from New York, who knows what will happen. Anyhow, I'll put up a link in the sidebar. Don't go see it now, there really isn't anything there, but soon there will be, and that's when you should look at it, at a time when you think it might make go "ooooo" instead of "meh."

That's all. Wild won last night.

Monday, October 6, 2008

If I keep doing this, though, I'll really improve my daily average. When I do this for my 200th post, in a year (maybe less), my average will be much better.
Just getting to 100 now isn't very impressive really. That means I write far less than once every three days on here, and that's not really a work ethic to be proud of.


This is my 100th post. Which isn't that great since I've had this blog for over a year. But this is 100. And I wasted it on being meta, kind of.

I've Been Writing

I've been writing a little, mostly working on some new fiction, but here are a couple of other things...also I started this new list of links at the side. I often link other writing I like from writer's I like, but now I'm just putting it all over there, with some other stuff from magazines that I like, and some random stuff, like the Constitution.

Intentionally Urban
Stuff at F10 again (subscribe to the RSS feed, it's pretty solid)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Homer tries to vote for obama

Point, Counterpoint, Point

In case you haven't read a frustrated post on here called Why Do the Candidates Continue to Refuse to Talk About Anything, David Luke Doody (responses are posted at his blog This Is How I Love You) and I are having a battle in which we agree, but somehow disagree in some abstract way that no one really understands. Here is what has happened some far, followed by the latest counterpoint:

Point (Question):
Why Do the Candidates Continue to Refuse to Talk About Anything

It seems like the election has been a constant contest to seem who can say the least. I'm really amazed that we are only five weeks away from this being over. It feels like they are just getting started. Obama and Biden have really receded from the headlines and McCain is either stealing the headlines with Palin's idiocy (I believe my recent favorite was that she can't name a supreme court case outside of Roe v. Wade), or he's in the news aimlessly attacking Obama. What about what's actually happening, particularly the erosion of American civil liberties. Neither candidate would touch that topic with a ten foot pole. In their defense, it's lethal. What can you say on the topic that wouldn't piss someone off? But isn't that what we really want? I leader who isn't scared of opinion polls or talking about a something that people might get sensitive about? It's a real issue. The Bush administration has slowly but surely given the executive branch increased control of torture, spying, and all intelligence routes through the government. This is a flagrant violation of our constitution, of our rights. Yet, no one really seems to want to prod the candidates into speaking on the subject.

Obama is scared of looking left wing. And McCain has voted with Bush through the entire erosion. (and Obama is not innocent here) Why doesn't someone try to make them talk about it in a debate, or why aren't reporters hitting them with these questions. Katie Couric made Palin look dumb, but Palin has nothing to do with this, she is not a national politician, in my mind she's not much of a politician at all, but that's besides the point. Why can't we actually have an open discussion about these kind of issues in an election year? I think I know the answer, and maybe I'm being naive and idealistic in hoping that this could be possible, but dammit I don't care, I want to hear them speak about this. This may be a great plan for McCain in fact. It seems as though the debate would go to Obama, because McCain has always followed Bush through this erosion of our rights, and anyone that cares would have to side with Obama. But what if Obama can't defend a somewhat patchy track record here? What if he can't speak about it as eloquently as you would imagine? It might be a good chance for McCain to win over some of the liberal vote...try it, see what happens. It won't happen, but it's fun to imagine what kind of democracy you would wish for.
-Dustin Luke Nelson

There's a book by Dana Nelson called "Bad for Democracy" that shows how over decades and decades--not just through the W years--the presidency has sought and received more and more power, throwing the balance of government completely out of whack. The position becomes more and more like that of a king, and all the while the American people have accepted this piracy of the balance originally sought after by our founding fathers. Think of the language we use: "The leader of the free world," "The most powerful position in the land," et al. This is not what the presidency was supposed to be. It was supposed to be just one branch with no more and no less power than the others, or at least it was supposed to be able to be checked and put in line when it stepped out of that line.

But, more specifically in response to this post, you're right, they won't talk about incendiary issues because they cannot afford to piss anyone off who may be on the fence about those issues. It's like when they say "middle class" but never utter the word "poverty." It's spinning what they say to get votes...a watered down version of tackling the tough topics in order to get votes.

The point is, the position of president carries too much power and importance in the average American's mind. Yes, it is important that our representatives actually discuss important issues. But it's even more important that we not rely on them as much as we do to do anything about those important issues.

The fight does not end on November 5th, even if Obama is elected. Yes, we can all breath a sigh of relief if that is the outcome, because we will have taken a step in the right direction. But, and be sure of this, he is not a savior. He cannot undo all that has been done. He will not be able to retroactively give back all the civil liberties lost over the years. And you can be sure that there will be those fighting tooth and nail to keep the powers and tactics they have become accustomed to. The president is not our king and we cannot simply rely on him to answer all of our questions.
-David Luke Doody

I would not argue that this (straightforward dialogue on the issues) will ever happen, because that's election year politicking, this is not a new revelation for anyone. But what happens in a presidential race is mimicked extensively in congressional elections. The presidential race sets the tone for the rest of the contests. If we had candidates that weren't concerned that speaking about the issues that could irritate the “on the fence” voters the congressional races would follow suit.

I think there is something to be said for that, because while the president should not be the "king" of America, there is a collective mentality that it is so (to a certain extent). So, whether or not it's true, it is made true by the actions of the constituents.

This is easily exemplified by the debates last night when the moderator asked Palin and Biden how they would act as vice president and if they would use Cheney's interpretation of the vice president’s duties as outlined by the constitution. I don't have the exact quote from the moderator, but she spoke about the constitution being vague on the exact location of power for the vice president. Palin immediately responded that she agreed with Cheney (red flag anyone? The first time anyone besides Bush and Lucifer have publicly agreed with Cheney). The specific branch where the powers of the vice president lie are not vaguely stated in the constitution, he (or potentially she) is a part of the executive branch, he is not a roving force that hovers over all branches of the government. But because someone argues for such powers, and convinces people of them, that can make it reality, whether or not it should be. The mere fact that this was phrased in this fashion and that Palin, without hesitation, responded she subscribes to this doctrine legitimizes this view. The president, especially now, as the executive branch continually expands it's power, the position functions beyond it's equal power doctrine between the branches. The checks and balances are broken.

From Article One of the Constitution:

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall choose their other officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the office of President of the United States.

That said, I agree with you. Any time radical change has come from within the government (it's hard to believe sometimes, but it's happened) it is not a result of a president taking more power into the executive branch, it is a result of a sweeping majority in one party through both houses of Congress. Obama is not the savior, and he isn't going to save the country by becoming president. I certainly believe that it's a step in the right direction, but to see radical change in government it's going to take a whole lot more than a president who is willing to stand up for their policies. (unless they want to tear the constitution to shreds and kind of have a free for all - as has happened recently, but even then, the Republicans had a solid majority when Bush first took office).
- Dustin Luke Nelson

New Ideas? Anyone?

It seems as though the Republican mantra of trickle down economics is something that we are sticking resiliently to. The notion that giving $700 billion dollars to Wall Street is going to, in turn, trickle down to the mythical “main street” both McCain and Biden have spoken of in debates. But where is the evidence of this working? Certainly not anywhere in the last 9 to 10 years. The parallel of our times to the Great Depression has been omnipresent, both in straight comparison of the economic downturn and when the comparison has been shrugged off, like McCain’s former advisor calling American’s a nation of whiners, invoking the Great Depression as something we couldn’t fathom.

Yet, looking back at one of the nation’s darkest economic times seems entirely relevant to a country where relatively few people remain from that difficult era. It was not a trickle down effect that led America out of the Depression (though war, in the end, didn’t hurt either). FDR’s New Deal policies never took the stance that a trickle down was an option, that there was time to watch the money trickle at all. The New Deal policies held it most important to get money in the hands of the middle and lower classes first. To allow the, um, steam to rise…I’m not exactly sure what to call this, but I guess that’s the only way I know that water rises.

Putting systems in place, such as social security, and using the government to temporarily employee citizens while they assisted in making the country a better place were policies that attacked a number of the nation’s problems at once. With Bush’s approval rating in danger of falling far below 30%, and congress at dismal 15% (who knows where Cheney is, what the percentage for 40 people in the country?) it seems more than reasonable to suggest that it is this kind of multi-pronged policy that is necessary to pull the nation out of this turmoil, to let the steam rise.

Obama has promised change relentlessly, but as the election lumbers forward his policies seem to be inching closer to centrist than ever before. Election years are notorious for making centrists out of the most earnest reformers, because that’s politics, policies can change; once the votes are cast they are cast. But isn’t it time for America to take on some bold new ideas, because whatever is happening now, isn’t working. Unemployment is at an all time low, the stock market has bottomed out in the past couple of weeks, increasing amounts of corruption are being unveiled on Wall Street, gas prices are at all time highs, the government is about to offer fiscal assistance to Wall Street while the housing market is collapsing, global warming is taking place at an alarmingly fast rate, parts of the country are still in need of repair from a hurricane that hit over three years ago, our president and congress are universally disliked, America is more unpopular than ever abroad, oh, and there are those two wars we are still involved in.

Obama once taunted Senator McCain’s adaptation of his “change” slogan saying, “Change isn't about slogans. It's about substance.” How about some substance? How about we implement a program that employees the growing number of unemployed whose jobs are being outsourced because of loose tax regulations, who are loosing their homes because of loose oversight on shady mortgages, who are loosing their social security and retirement funds due to poor oversight and the market crash? It’s no coincidence that some of the best policies still in place for the middle class were implemented by FDR. If the government helped the middle class to get back on their feet by assisting the country in rebuilding crumbling infrastructure such as old bridges and levees in disrepair, if they could help housing developments in urban centers go green to offset fears about global warming and the increased burden of gas prices on the lower class, wouldn’t that help everyone? Wouldn’t the steam rise?

With that increased income in their bank account maybe the bank wouldn’t have to close and they have some dispensable income that they might invest, or just try to clothe their families with, maybe they could keep up on their mortgages and not lose their homes because of laws that were loosened during the Clinton administration that had lasted from the original New Deal.

To some this might sound like Socialism. But desperate times call for some new ideas, and after Friday night’s presidential debate and last night’s abysmal vice presidential debate I’m tired of hearing the same old centrist banter, name-calling, and partisan politics. I’d like to hear some new ideas from a leader. I’d like to see them throw some water on the smouldering remains of the reigning policies of trickle down economics, so that the steam can rise.