Thursday, August 31, 2006

Slogan contest

Here's a contest for all you word warriors.

Working for Change is looking for a phrase that cuts through the "cut and run" shield conservatives are hiding behind defending their failed policy in Iraq. Anyone with half a brain knows by now that getting out of Iraq is not "cutting and running" but tagging dissenters as cowards has, so far, been pretty effective. It's a war of words. Simplicity is essential. Brevity is not only "the soul of wit". It is the heart of wisdom. Being a very complicated person I'm having a hard time of it. Can you do better? More info and contest rules here.

Ps. Ah.....and speaking of brevity... the contest ends tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

New space

End of the day. A dog is barking in the distance. At dusk I caught a glimpse of the waxing moon at midheaven and now the stars are out.

I set up another work space in my office today which is amazing because the room is so small. I found the table yesterday at the second hand store, seven bucks, talked down from ten. It fits perfectly so I'm feeling pretty good about things.

And at the moment I'm listening to Low through headphones...

"two-step around the room
kneel down on white

that's not all
voices small
heed them either way they call

and the light, it burns your skin
in a language you don't understand."

Monday, August 28, 2006

Uncle Monkey and Ugly Bear in Otherland

I haven't got time tonight to write a scintillating revelation or grind out a scorching rant. We're going to watch a movie in about 15 minutes. I just have time to finish pounding out quick update about what's been going around the office today.

I hate to say it because he's a nice guy, very likable, but Uncle Monkey is, well, sometimes full of shit. No, I take that back. He's a story teller, not a liar. Anyway, he loves telling Ugly Bear all kinds of wild ass stories and the poor guy believes every word he says. But no harm, I suppose. They enjoy each other's company and don't get into any trouble. Well, much trouble.

I managed to snap a candid shot of them this afternoon when they thought I was out of the room. I don't know what crazy yarn Uncle Monkey was spinning but Ugly Bear was transfixed. Looks like it had something to do with the book but we'll never know. As soon as they heard the click of my camera they looked up and Uncle Monkey became veeeery quiet.

Nice book though, wouldn't you say? I got it for 13 cents at the second hand store this weekend. I was already reading the crappy paperback version with tiny print that was hard to read to the end of the inside line when I found this one. In case you're wondering why I got it for such an insanely low price it's because Saturday was Half Price Day.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Note to the future self

Don't change the tempate for this blog yet. I tried out the new features on one of my other blogs and found out that Blogger hasn't activated html editing yet. Very bad. They're only allowing access to templates at the moment, slick but too limited.

Beta blogger

It's been out for a couple of weeks but I just switched to the new beta Blogger format. It's a mad thing for me to do but it had to be done. Mad because I will now waste even more time screwing around with templates but there's no going back. Once you switch, that's it. No return. I haven't started fiddling yet but I'm sure I'll be down in the rat hole soon enough. My kind a fun/nightmare. There's a helpful link on the upgrade at BotHack if you're interested.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saturday at the Roxy - Weird Day

Today is Weird Day at the Roxy. A few friends of mine just showed up from Mexico bound for Burning Man, reminding me it's that time of year again. Burning Man, for all it's strut and fret, sham and flim flam, is still a feast for the eyes and, if nothing else, the desert will restore some perspective on the ephemeral nature and tenuous hold we have in the universe. Also, Burning Man is in Nevada and therefore it is only right to honor this prestigious, local event. But first a word from one of today's fine sponsors...

Before going to Burning Man
you'll want to get a costume together
and for all your costume needs,
I always recommend ...

Shaye's Thrift Store
03:15 YouTube

Now on to...

Burning Man
06:42 YouTube

Today's Feature Presentation:

Elephants Dream

"Elephants Dream is the world's first open movie, made entirely with open source graphics software such as Blender, and with all production files freely available to use however you please. The short film was created by the Orange Open Movie Project studio in Amsterdam during 2005/2006, bringing together a diverse team of artists and developers from all over the world."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Off-road dreaming

Today Mr. Lee is working on the off-road trailer he picked up a couple of months ago in Idaho. He's going to take the tent off the top of the jeep and put it on the trailer. That way we can make a base camp and explore further with the jeep without having to break camp to do it. All the birds are pissed. The little ones keep darting in and grabbing a few sunflower seeds but even they can't take the noise and comotion for long. It's causing me a bit anxiety as well, but not because of the noise. Fixing up this trailer means that now we will be able to get deeper and stay longer in the Great Basin than ever, a prospect over which I have mixed feelings.

I love and hate disappearing into Nevada's outback and disappear we do. I love it because it's fun, breathtakingly beautiful and it's a great cleansing for body, mind and spirit. A few days out and I finally get out my head and to my heart. Even Bush, if I think of him at all, resumes his true form, a mere bloodsucking tick painfully embedded in world's collective ass.

And I love seeing, being, knowing that I am walking on the living planet, not property. People who don't understand the desert think ugh ... brown dead wasteland. All the better. They must stay away. Go to the lovely beach resort. The clean, fun campground. Go visit relatives. Even those that do understand the glory of this wild solitude should go somewhere else. I want it all for us. It's fun pretending to be the only people on the planet ... explorers of a lost, living world in a universe far, far away. It's a great fantasy and finding thousands of years old human artifacts coughed up by spring flooding only adds a post-apocalyptic thrill of it all.

The problem is that we really are out there and, if we get hurt, break an ankle, wrench a knee, run out of gas, food and/or water it might as well be true.I think about these things. Of course Mr. Lee is a savvy outdoorsman. We are fucking prepared, I'll tell you that. And he reminds me of that when, after a day or two, I stop writing and snapping photos and begin silently staring at the horizon ringing us fifty miles out and start talking about how we are bugs cupped under a foreign sky and locked in a vanishing point were, if the slightest thing goes wrong, we will surely die. He reminds me we have food and water for a month but I'm never convince that's enough, that probably we'd die long before some desert rat or drunken hunter happens by. Which is to say I'm a chickenshit but it's been so long since we've camping that these days I catch myself visually following a dirt road up into the nearby hills. I don't talk about it much. Don't want to appear too eager. We'll be there soon enough but the truth is I miss it. Where else will I meet a team of noble Great While Pyrenees caring for their flock? They were so cool, I just wish I'd had some food handy. They seemed hungry.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Madame Rolla

As I have now done four political rants in a row, it seemed time to give the few, rare people who manage to make their way to the language barrier a break so, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I give you ...

Madame Rolla, dancer extraordinare

Backfire in Iraq

Casualties in Iraq

Bush's big gun war on terror totally backfired but this idiot hasn't got the brains or the balls to admit it. He led us into a dead end yet insists we "stay the course". He's too stupid to see that, like the government's war on drugs, this war on terror boomeranged, increasing rather than decreasing the problem. In fact, if you compare them, it's clear that both "wars" use the same strategy, blast the hell out of an enemy that multiplies on contact.

Regan's War on Drugs:
  • Making drugs illegal automatically fosters an insanely profitable, irresistible underground economy that will only deflate when drugs are legalized and regulated.
  • This so-called war spawned a costly yet ineffective bureaucracy that is now entrenched in a sick, symbiotic relationship with the underground drug culture.
  • This loop is self-perpetuating.

Bush's War on Terror:
  • Terror is a feeling. You can't wage a war on a feeling.
  • The Bushites nurture a culture of terror in order to get support and funding for their "war on terror".
  • Bush's "big gun" approach to the terrorist underground kills and maims more innocent citizens than terrorists.
  • The survivors feel resentment and rage towards us and sympathy for the terrorists as "freedom fighters".
  • People in other countries increasingly share this rage and resentment towards the US.
  • This loop is self-perpetuating.

There's no quik fix. Iraq is now mired in a civil war. Bush's legacy. It could last for generations. Oops. But I'm not one to pine in silence waiting for an invitation to share my opinion...

My action short list:
  • Bring our troops home now.
  • Leave diplomats there.
  • Clean house here.
  • Impeach Bush and Cheney now.
  • Throw them into a big hole like say ...
  • San Quentin
  • Throw fascist buddies including Rove and Rummy in after them.
  • Throw the key away.
  • Renounce US imperialism.
  • Rebuild America.

    My motto


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Is Bush is an idiot?

The question in this CNN segment is whether or not President Bush is an idiot. If you haven't see it check it out. I'd say it's an historical and appropriate question.

YouTube link

The answer? Yes! Naturally. Bush is an idiot but he's so much more. He is a maniacal ChristoFascist with more destructive power at his command than any other human being on the planet. That's a hair-raising thought in itself, a horror compounded by the fact that his vision of Armageddon shapes and guides both is domestic and foreign policy. It wouldn't be so bad if Bush were merely the village idiot but he's also a fascist, criminal mob boss with unlimited wealth and power at his quivering fingertips. Lovely.

Monday, August 21, 2006

12 signs of fascism - No. 1

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.”~ Benito Mussolini

Many of the politicians currently controlling the US are fascist. Don't believe it? Compare the 12 signs of Fascism with the actions of  leaders.

No. 1 from the 12 signs of Fascism

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, is always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity are common themes in expressing this nationalism. It is usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often borders on xenophobia.

fascist republicanism

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bush choking on his own bullshit

Bush is learning the hard way you can only spread bullshit so thin. Ha ha. 00:23

via onegoodmove


Ephemera at dawn, Plonk at 2

A magpie woke me early this morning with a short, loud call. My head was filled with ephemea floating deliciously within reach ... words, connections, images waiting as I slipped out of bed. I grabbed my pencil bag, notebook and followed but in moments the possibilities floating in the stillness faded.

Now it's another hot afternoon. On the upside, Plonk stopped by, traveling alone as usual. Other than the girlfriend he had a couple of years ago seems he doesn't mingle much with the local pigeons. I also keep to myself so we are birds of a feather. Our paths only crossed when he ended up in the middle of the street one fateful afternoon, after he plonked on a car. Anyway, he ate, bathed, rested in the weeds a while then took off. How can you trust me when I say that Plonk, not some look alike, was at the Bird Park? Faith, my friend. You'll have to have faith.

Just after Plonk left a tiny bird landed outside my window and spent a few minutes watching me through the screen. They do that from time to time, the little guys, never the big ones. Seems they are not as fearful as the larger birds, which is odd.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday at the Roxy - 08.19

It's Saturday again, time for the MATINEE!

Hold on to your seat. Today we begin with a little animation by Allen Becker called Which side are you on?

This week at the Roxy I'm featuring one of my favorite writer performers, Ricky Gervais. He's a Brit so you may not have heard of him but he starred in, co-wrote and co-produced The Office, a sitcom first broadcast in 2001 on BBC2. He's hilarious, if you like dry humor. As he's not that well known in the US we begin with Jon Stewart...

Now on to the Main Feature...

Rick Gervais in:

That's it for now. Remember now kids ...
walk don't run to the nearest exit.

MInerva strikes again

I servered the last of the those horrible, organic, frozen waffles in the Bird Park this morning. Eating healthy is an acquired taste. Anyway, as usual Minerva and her partner showed up almost immediately. She must always have her eye on the place. In less time than took me to doctor this image they (and the waffles) are gone. No video. I'm sure that's a big disappointment. You'll just have to use your imagination but check back later for Saturday at the Roxy.

image derived from Crow’s Nest II by Inge Mardal and Steen Hougs

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dog massacre

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated ... I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man. Mahatma Gandhi

China is a very old country with history stretching back over 4,000 years but despite all the glorious achievements of which it is so proud, human rights are non-existent, what to speak of animal rights. The plight of animals in China again came under international scrutiny when around 55,000 dogs were murdered in mass hangings and clubbing during the government's recent "antirabies" campaign.

Barbaric doesn't even being to cover it. There is, however, a sliver of light in this monstrous dark. Pet owners, the same people who slavishly participated in the massacre, have begun to mobilize. They are protesting online and circulating petitions, in an effort to stop further killings. Here's an excerpt from an article Howard W. French on the story for the New York Times ...

"In fact, discussion of the issue has surpassed the bounds of a simple conversation about petsÂ’ rights, with many commentators sharply questioning a system that could order the mass extermination of dogs, whether or not they are licensed and vaccinated. The reaction of groups and individuals, often through the Internet, also provides a striking illustration of the emergence of true public opinion in China, unmediated by the official press or censors."

In this country, Bush and his fellow nazis conservatives have put animal rights groups on their terrorist watch list. China knows. In a corporate police state there is no room for compassion or rights, human or otherwise. To such governments, an act of kindness may be considered an act of civil disobedience.

"The human spirit is not dead. It lives on in secret . . . It has come to believe that compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind."
Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize address: The Problem of Peace in the World Today


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Image doping

I took this photo of Mt. Shasta on our way to Oregon this weekend, but as people are touchy lately about doctored photos, I want to warn you that I doped the image. I didn't change it much, just cleared up the haziness and brought out the color of the mountain a tiny bit, but photo isn't the "way it was", whatever that was.

I have to laugh though about all the fuss over doctored images. What do people expect? Take televsion for example. Seconds of TV time cost tens of thousands of dollars but "news" items air for free, courtesy of the sponsors. Truth in reporting? My god! How naive is that? It blows my mind. What are people thinking? That politicians and multi-billion dollar corporations are honest? When the White House releases a photo of Bush it's as staged and phony as any Hollywood poster ever was. It's called Perception Management ... Truth®. "Photo ops"? Come on. It's the fine art of using the camera to lie. Yes! Cameras lie. Movies lie. We all know it but want to believe the news anyway, as though somehow Big Media holds our trust sacred. Viewer beware. If that blows your cookie, wah-fucking-wah. Sober up.

I've always preferred Eastern Philosophy because at least it gives main stage to the idea that so-called "reality" is maya or illusion. But materialists don't want to know that, spoils the fun, plus it's a lot of work using your brain when you're hypnotized. Then add the extra difficulty of facing reality when you're an idiot in the first place. People like nice, spoon-fed American Dreams, pablum for the lazy mind, so now we're up to our eyeballs in lies and outraged when we notice that fact. Crazy, but as the saying goes, "nothing changes if nothing changes" and I must say, harsh as it sounds, change is a hell of a lot harder when you're hooked up to the brain drain.

tv images courtesy of TurnOffYourTV

photography politics

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Elephant Sanctuary update

Probably you don't think about elephants very often but I regularly follow the lives of several at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Today the August eTrunklines included a final report of the tragic accident that happened there last month. Perhaps you too will find it interesting.

Joanna Burke was the primary caregiver for the elephants over the last eight years. It was her dream come true. Sadly this July, in a single tragic moment, Winkie the elephant knocked her down and crushed her. Joanna died instantly.

After an investigation it was determined that the incident was accidental and that the Sanctuary's standards continue to be impeccable. Winkie will not be put down (yeah!), a decision also fully supported by Joanna's family. It was also Joanna's often expressed desire that no harm should come to any elephant no matter what their action. What a terrible loss for everyone that such a fine person died so young.

eTrunkLines also carried the happy news that Misty just completed her year long treatment for tuberculosis and enjoyed a special party which included her favorite treats and plenty of playful silliness.

Also good news, Delhi is enjoying the custom elephant shoes Teva donated to the Sanctuary for Tina who was suffering from osteomyelitis (acquired during her bad old days at a zoo). It's nice to see the shoes are finally getting some use. Unfortunately Tina died suddenly of undetected heart disease before she could use them.

So that's it. The news of the day here at the Language Barrier. At least it's not disheartening like news about Bush & Co. I don't know about you but I need to hear stories of love and compassion, even sad ones.

Joanne and Tina

Pic of the day - Geese float

Monday, August 14, 2006

Going backwards

As Saturday has passed and gone I have to post something just to release the Roxy to the backward flow. I'm home from Oregon and at the moment eating soya bologna stuffed in a pita pocket and seasoned with soya mayo, salt and pepper. I'm not a full-blowen vegan but after watching the video narrated by Alex Baldwin I moved a couple of ticks further along that continuum ... meaning I'm trying out new things ... rice cream, vegan "butter" and "mayo". I'll let you know how it goes. So far, the mayo gets two spoons up but the rice cream sandwiches are in the trash. Tasty but too sweet and too many calories. I should have bought the plain rice dream or soya ice "cream". All I wanted was something ice something or other, not a cold cookie. Besides they are miniscule for 100 calories. Bah!

We had a good and quick visit in Oregon. I didn't try to do everything which is the great secret for a short trip. But the big news is that I did a full revolution on the recumgent at the gym today! I know that's not mind-boggling like Brent and Eivind's adventure riding through Canada on a homemade recumbent attached an old couch but it was a breakthrough for me. I'm delighted even though, so far, I can only do it going backwards.

Also, if anyone knows which poem the quote below is from I'd really appreciate hearing from you. Thanks.

"On clear days such as these..."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Saturday at the Roxy 12.08

As David Letterman was one of the topics this week here at the language barrier, it only seemed right to include something from the Late Show on the marquee so to kick things off sit back and enjoy Napoleon Dynamite as he presents the day's Top Ten List...

The next clip is from David Attenborough. It's a fantastic ... bird video. Consider it an amend to those of you who have suffered through the Bird Park thrillers. I hope you trust me enough to give it a play. I guarantee, it's well worth your time.

Theatre isn't really complete without music so here's William Shatner (he's actually pretty good) doing

I didn't intend to make this "Bird Saturday" but the next amazing real life adventure is also about a crow ... and a kitten.

If you want extra points check out this final video. It's not just a science lesson. It's mind boggling. If you think you're up for it, try wrapping your head around

This link is now fixed. Sorry for the confusion.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Trip report

Mr. Lee is shutting down the house, blinds, doors, windows and I'm here pounding out a blog post. What is it with this thing? Don't get started is my best advice. Anyway, we're on our way to Oregon for the weekend. This is my big week. I've hardly been out of the house since summer solstice and now.. an all day adventure in Reno, now Oregon until Sunday. Not looking forward to the ride. My knee will surely stiffen up but gotta go. Also, just got busted. And I have to put some goodies out for the birds. I already have the videos picked out so be sure and come back for Saturday at the Roxy!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Message in a bottle #10,001

F.T. Wuck recently left me this fuming comment: "I type in "ashabot" and all I get is "Yahoo News, Rabid Edition", but all I really want is comix, dammit! Jeez, even static films of feathery shitbirds is welcome at this about a fucking poem or little story even?" Although the rants aren't going away (sorry F.T.) I get damn few visitors around here and even fewer comments so when someone makes a fuss I do pay attention.

Sadly, I only have excuses for why I don't post more fabrication. Certainly politics is fabrication of the grossest order but F.T.'s right. I am pretty stingy about posting my own poetry, comix, even feathery shitbird movies. I guarantee you, it bothers me a whole lot more than it bothers anyone else. I know, while it's true that I'm very disturbed by the advancing shadow of the corporate police state and, however marginally, have to participate in this maddening political debate, I am also profoundly lazy and spend far too much time mucking in the muck when I could otherwise be working on my own, creative projects. So no promises but, rest assured, the matter is under consideration. So, okay. Stories is it? Here's a short one I just heard, a true story as a matter of fact. It will have to do for moment.

My son and his wife ran into David Letterman the other day. They were just starting out on the South Fork trail of Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness for a five day backpacking trip when a guy wearing chaps and a "Late Show" tshirt, came walking down the trail leading his horse and a small group of riders who were following behind. Naturally J. and A. moved out of the way to let the horse party pass. As the guide got closer they exchanged the usual, "Hi. Thanks. No problem. How are you? Fine. Thanks. How are you"s. It was then they noticed that the guy was none other than CBS Late Show host David Letterman. Now J. and A. are low key people, students at the U of M in Missoula, and not the kind to stop a stranger for a photo op, even David Letterman roughin' it behind a goatee. The next person to pass was a kid about eighteen. J. said to him, "Hey was that David Letterman?" The kid said, "Yes." Then J. asked where they'd been to which he replied, "Oh I don't know. Somewhere out in the Bob".

Yesterday, I promised W.T. "feathery goodness" but my doctor's appointment in Reno turned into a grueling all day errand quest so today, for you W.T. and Roy, I posted an all new, exciting adventure from the Bird Park.

The Waffle and the Crow


Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Lamont wins. Lieberman switches affiliation

Yes, I'm encouraged that Lamont won the Democratic primary in Connecticut tonight. And I think that Lieberman is a dirty bastard for switching to "Independent" when actually he is just another twit sucking on the neocon tit but, all things in perspective. A lot more Republicans are sweating under the collar and looking for "graceful" ways to jump their ship. I'm certainly willing to do what I can from my little corner to help restore some balance to the world but I can't help thinking how all this looks in a more comprehensive perspective.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Truth or squirm

Ass-kissing shills and craven hate mongers run interception for Bush Co. & Amerika Inc. I wish we had real journalists in this country like the BBC's John Snow.

Saturday at the Roxy - 05.06

Just a quick note about the feature of the day, "Night Life in Reno". However tame and cliched it looks now, it shocked and outraged a lot of people in it's day. They felt it glamourized "modern behavior" and in reaction pushed for the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930, aka the Hays Code, which started being enforced in 1934. It's a simple plot but almost an hour long so when I played it, I diminished the window to the size of the viewer and half watched it as I surfed other sites.

Get ready to take the
Boob Test

Feature Film
Night Life in Reno
1931 - run time 57:33

The Show, by ZeFrank
Yes, I'm shamelessly grinding the birthday theme
into the dirt but still I think you'll enjoy this epidsode
which he claims is Run out of Underwear and Contemplate
how far you can get on an Empty Tank of Gas Day.

Alex Baldwin does the voice over for the last clip of the day.
It's the video the meat industry doesn't want you to watch
so I won't blame you if you chicken out
but I hope you have the heart to open your heart and
take the plunge

Friday, August 4, 2006


Long day. I accidentally deleted half of my blog template this afternoon. A moment's inattention. I hate it when I do that. I've have a positively lovely afternoon reconstructing things just so they look halfway the same. Another check in the "Why Bother" column but the encouraging comments from yesterday kept me going and I got through the worst of it without pulling the plug. I'd only regret it anyway.

It's evening now, the worst of that is over and it looks like rain may be on the way but you can never be sure in the desert. I watch weather moving towards me from miles away, rain trailing below the clouds like a long gray veil that never touches the earth. But the wind is up and whistling around corners, rattling the trees and sunflowers in the Bird Park and the light is yellow bouncing back from an increasingly gray sky fringed with dusty rose. And thunder overhead. It's kind of nice.

Thursday, August 3, 2006


Yesterday was my birthday. It was also the 9th anniversary of William Burroughs' departure to Interzone. I really like Burroughs and as far as I'm concerned August 2nd is our day. I even wore my Burroughs' tshirt with the quote, "We intend to destroy all dogmatic verbal systems". My kinda guy.

The day started out on a low enough key with a trip to physical therapy. Still working on loosening up that knee. After that, it was a non stop party. The birds got the last of the scrumptous veggie Marvel Meal and a special mix of various seeds and Mr. Lee and I poisoned ourselves with mammoth helpings of lemon-strawberry cake and too much ice cream. My friend Susan even dropped by with a couple of cool gifts, which was totally unexpected. I offered her cake but she wisely ate watermelon. In the evening we went to a second birthday party. Big day.

Today, I'm a bit depressed. Don't bother telling me it's the sugar. Susan already kindly pointed that out. Plus I'm beginning to hate the pathetic "Dear Diary" quality of this blog. I don't know why I do one. It's embarrassing. All well. I'm a chronic sufferer of symbol overload. Blogging is a overflow valve. I've been in the house too long, almost constantly since the Summer Solstice. It's evening. The quail have just arrived in their little hats. In case you forgot, they spend the day under Dwayne's sprawling Indian Willow Tree, or whatever the fuck it's called. They stroll over here to the Bird Park for an evening snack. The finches spend all day on the feeders spewing seed everywhere and the quail drop by to see what's left when the temperature cools.

In case you're wondering, the image at the top is of the front of the birthday card Mr. Lee made for me this year. I love his cards. They are always unique and delightfully disturbing. Circuses are my thing anyway and this year's card has circus images on front and back and under his signature a tasteful gif of twisted barbed wire. The image on the back is very faded and grainy, in keeping with it being of a small, Depression era traveling circus. I'm not posting a photo of the backside. I have to keep something for myself. He always nails it. I'm sure I spent many of past lives in various traveling circuses and wandering theatre troupes. The backside also has a wonderful quote from Anne Sexton. I like her a more than Sylvia Plath these days although Mr. Lee was quick to point out that poor Sylvia was over-exposed. What can you expect when you stick your head in the oven and gas yourself, what with the children and a big mouth husband. She is a fine poet though. They both are.

An old friend of mine, Michael O'Rourke (himself a fine poet and playwright) wrote me yesterday and had some nice things to say about Driftwork... "Driftwork is like pure cold well water in the desert. My gratitude to all who contributed--it's wonderful to know that the universal loners, pit stop desperadoes and holy whores, pacifists with fists full of poems and diehard prose, can face down the high noon tactics of oil fume ghosts gurgling in the blood of the indigenous soul." Michael was probably thinking of me when he wrote "holy whore"; and probably "pit stop desperado". Both apply. Shit, it all applies. That's the problem with old friends. They know too much.

So that's it for now. No politics today.

"For God was as large as a sunlamp and laughed his heat at us and therefore we did not cringe at the death hole." - Anne Sexton

The last written words of William Burroughs

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Love story

Ann Coulter think Senator Joe Lieberman "should just come all the way and be a Republican". As usual this bitch misses the point. Lieberman already is a Republican.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Primeval Tide

Following links today, I found an alarming article on DailyKos by Mike Stark called "The scariest fucking thing I ever read." I decided to read it. Perhaps I'm getting inured to bad news. I don't know. I don't think so but today I thought what the hell? Might as well start at the bottom. So I read it. It's scary.

I don't want to force it on you. After all, you might prefer squinting at reality today and resent being snapped into sharp focus. Besides far be it from me to force anything. No. In these twisted times knowledge is optional. All I'll say is that it starts out like this:
"From Jeff Wells ' terrific Rigorous Intuition, I was tipped to this Climate Ark article."

Personally I suggest you go ahead and click one of links, either The scariest fucking thing I ever read, Rigorous Intuition or, if you're somebody who insists on going directly to the source, Climate Ark. But it's up to you.

I'll give you a hint though. The lock is broken. Beware the primeval tide.

No fee writer's contests - August 06

I take it as something of a civic duty to occasionally post information about writer's contests so here's a short list of upcoming deadlines from Poets&Writers. These are all no-fee contests, which I prefer. I don't know about you, but I balk at paying people to read my work but entry fees are a permanent part of the writer's world and they are a legitimate way for small organizations to help writers out. The long list, including contests with entry fees, is here.

New York Public Library
Young Lions Fiction Award
A prize of $10,000 is given annually to honor a novel or short story collection by a U.S. citizen who is 35 or younger. Publishers and agents may submit 10 copies of a book published (or galleys of a book scheduled for publication) in 2006, a nomination form, an author biography, and book reviews by August 25. There is no entry fee. Send an SASE, call, e-mail, or visit the Web site for complete guidelines.
New York Public Library, Young Lions Fiction Award, 476 Fifth Avenue, Room 73, New York, NY 10018. (212) 930-0887. Katie Sanderson, Manager.

Delaware Division of the Arts
Individual Artist Fellowships
Established Professional Fellowships of $5,000 and Emerging Professional Fellowships of $2,000 are given annually to Delaware writers who are at least 18 years old, have lived in Delaware for at least a year prior to application, and are not enrolled in a degree program. Submit 20 pages of poetry or fiction by August 15. There is no entry fee. Send an SASE, call, or visit the Web site for complete guidelines. (See Recent Winners.)
Delaware Division of the Arts, Individual Artist Fellowships, Carvel State Office Building, 820 North French Street, Wilmington, DE 19801. (302) 577-8278. Kristin Pleasanton, Coordinator.

Graywolf Press
Nonfiction Prize
An advance of $12,000 and publication by Graywolf Press is given annually for a book-length work of creative nonfiction by a writer who has published no more than two books in that genre. Robert Polito will judge. Submit a manuscript of 200 to 400 pages between August 15 and September 15. There is no entry fee. Send an SASE or visit the Web site for complete guidelines. (See Recent Winners.)
Graywolf Press, Nonfiction Prize, 2402 University Avenue, Suite 203, St. Paul, MN 55114. Katie Dublinski, Editorial Manager.

Illinois Arts Council
Artists Fellowship Awards
Fellowships of $7,000 each are given annually to Illinois writers. Finalists receive grants of $700 each. The fellowships, which alternate yearly between poetry and prose, are given to Illinois residents who have lived in the state for at least one year prior to the application deadline and who are not enrolled in any degree or certificate-granting program. Poets may submit no more than 15 pages of poetry completed within the past four years, proof of residency, and a resumé by September 1. There is no entry fee. Visit the Web site for the required application and complete guidelines. (See Recent Winners.)
Illinois Arts Council, Artists Fellowship Awards, James R. Thompson Center, 100 West Randolph, Suite 10-500, Chicago, IL 60601.

Ohio Arts Council
Individual Excellence Awards
Fellowships of $5,000 and $10,000 are awarded annually to Ohio poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. Writers who have been residents of Ohio for one year prior to the application deadline and are not enrolled in a degree- or certificate-granting program are eligible. Submit 10 to 15 pages of poetry or 20 to 30 pages of prose completed within the past three years by September 1. There is no entry fee. Call or visit the Web site for the required application and complete guidelines.
(See Recent Winners.)
Ohio Arts Council, Individual Excellence Awards, 727 East Main Street, Columbus, OH 43205-1796. (614) 466-2613. Kathy Signorino, Program Coordinator.

Wyoming Arts Council
Blanchan/Doubleday Memorial Awards
Two prizes of $1,000 each are given annually by the Wyoming Arts Council for works of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. The Neltje Blanchan Memorial Award is given for the best work inspired by nature, and the Frank Nelson Doubleday Award is given for the best work by a Wyoming woman. For both awards, Wyoming residents who have published no more than one book in any genre are eligible. Full-time students and faculty members are ineligible. Submit a poetry manuscript of no more than 10 pages or a prose manuscript of no more than 25 pages by August 11. There is no entry fee. Send an SASE, call, or e-mail for complete guidelines.
Wyoming Arts Council, Blanchan/ Doubleday Memorial Awards, 2320 Capitol Avenue, Cheyenne, WY 82002. (307) 777-5234. Michael Shay, Literature Program Manager.

Olivet College
Sandburg-Auden-Stein Residency
A three-week residency at Olivet College, including a stipend of $3,100, will be given annually to a poet who has published at least one book of poetry. The resident will teach a class and host two events. Submit four copies of five poems from the most recently published book, a personal statement, a resumé, and two references by September 10. There is no entry fee. Send an SASE, e-mail, or visit the Web site for complete guidelines.
Olivet College, Sandburg-Auden-Stein Residency, Humanities Department, 320 South Main Street, Olivet, MI 49076. Martha Perkins, Humanities Department Chair.