Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's age got to do with it?

So I peeked in on Salon this morning, scrolling down the list of articles looking for something funny. Funny is a good idea these days in my view. Aha. Garrison Keillor is usually good for a heartfelt, mom-and-apple-pie kind of laugh. I quote from his piece "The trouble with John McCain" -

It's no surprise that Senator McCain likes to bring out his 96-year-old mother Roberta, I suppose. The problem is that she is a lot perkier than he. The gentleman has had a few bad weeks, thundering in a dithery way about America's enemies, looking vaguely purposeful campaigning up and down supermarket aisles as if he couldn't remember what kind of cheese he'd been sent to buy. He surely will hit his stride after the Republican convention, but at the moment he looks to be eight years too late. The brash Bull Moose independent of 2000 has made all sorts of accommodations since, abandoning common sense when necessary, and his unsteadiness the past couple weeks makes his age an unspoken issue: Anyone who remembers the Iran-Contra years and the president who couldn't remember is not anxious to see a genial oldster dithering in the Oval Office. There is more to the job than flashing a big grin. You do need to make sense now and then.
It's sometimes hard for me not to jump on the bandwagon that supports the notion that John McCain is too old to be president. I'm so horrified of the thought of him winning that any port in a storm . . . But it's just not necessary.

No one, Garrison, no one should be desirous of seeing another idiot dithering in the Oval Office, whether they be flashing a grin or ordering the invasion of another country and illegally imprisoning citizens of that country for what is turning from days into years.

But age has nothing to do with it. And hey, where's the laugh?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nameless Art, Untitled by Unknown

This just in from the MOBA (one of my favorite museums of "fine" art) newsletter: "The Museum of Bad Art is excited to offer one lucky person the title of "Official MOBA Guest Interpretator" in celebration of the new book release. Submit an inspired title for this work, along with an interpretation to enter. The winner will receive a free copy of the book as well as have the unequivocal honor of "interpretating" an official specimen of the MOBA gallery. The competition will run until September 30, 2008. Send your title and interpretation to:"

We all need more silly in our lives. I'm just sayin'.

Oh, and the titles I'm working on so far: "The Eyes Have It" and "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen."

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm just not sure what to think.

The New Yorker is right up there as one of my favorite publications. I've been reading it since I was a little kid. Okay, at least I've been reading the cartoons since I was a little kid. Many years ago my mother started a game of trying to guess the title of the cover each week. Jerzy and I do it to this day. That said, I don't know what to think about the cover of the next issue. I guess even one's favorite thing can let them down from time to time. I just don't know what to think.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A message from The Rev Billy

And I quote:
A headline in the papers said: Americans Stop Shopping. Can you believe this? It goes on to say: Discretionary retail spending is down six quarters in a row, big boxes in receivership, independent shops springing up...

So, the market is no longer a great shadow up in the elevator shaft that crashes down on us every time a rich person needs to leave home. The President told us that shopping was how we fight for our country - that we deserved this nationwide hypnosis - but then Americans Stop Shopping, and oh the freedom from that pain throws us forward into a delicious waltz of little everyday gestures, oh this feels good. Americans Stop Shopping, did anyone see this coming?

Yes, the corporations did. They were afraid we might stop at any moment but then we kept shopping for years and they started buying homes in the Hamptons, oh but feel that? Feel that shopping stop? Could we be fascinated again with the pharmacist couple that survived the chains? Were they Tony and Mary? Are the old first names returning to our shouts? Look at that! It’s a miracle. Our hands are changing - ungrabbing - returning to us from the credit cards and plastic-lid to-go cups...

Americans Stop Shopping and why does it make no sense to sit in traffic now - is it really just the gas? Because - see that? We are leaving our cars and trucks up on the interstate and wandering off across fields, suddenly I meet you after all these years! I remember you and I remember myself - from before all the shopping started. You know what? I’ve got a question for you.

Can you believe this headline? Americans Stop Shopping? We shopped too much because we were afraid of death but now that we stopped - the forests rise through the super mall roof and birds cry “I am here! I am here!” Americans Stop Shopping? Can we believe we are consuming less? - if we believe it then we can do it. Amen?

This has been a message from The Rev Billy Bulletin

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Friday, July 11, 2008

mc was a good fish.

mc was a good fish. He lived alone in a tank with a big hunk of wood and a device that made bubbles and he ate store-bought fish pellets twice a day. Baby liked to help feed him. She liked to eat his food and watch him swim. Sometimes she'd put her front leg (her arm, to me) into the tank up to the shoulder to try to reach him. She's our only cat that comes to the call, "Wanna feed the fish?" But mc died today. Jerzy and I put him in a tiny box and took him to the field tonight and dug a hole with a stick and buried him. We told him he was a good fish and we hoped he'd been happy. Jerzy said she'd get me another fish . . . a better fish, she said. What could be better than mc, I thought? Jerzy said my new fish will be blue. I'm gonna name him mc squared.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

George Bilgere is a wonderful poet. IMHO.

Like Riding a Bicycle
by George Bilgere

I would like to write a poem
About how my father taught me
To ride a bicycle one soft twilight,
A poem in which he was tired
And I was scared, unable to disbelieve
In gravity and believe in him,
As the fireflies were coming out
And only enough light remained
For one more run, his big hand at the small
Of my back, pulling away like the gantry
At a missile launch, and this time, this time
I wobbled into flight, caught a balance
I would never lose, and pulled away
From him as he eased, laughing, to a stop,
A poem in which I said that even today
As I make some perilous adult launch,
Like pulling away from my wife
Into the fragile new balance of our life
Apart, I can still feel that steadying hand,
Still hear that strong voice telling me
To embrace the sweet fall forward
Into the future's blue
Equilibrium. But,

Of course, he was drunk that night,
Still wearing his white shirt
And tie from the office, the air around us
Sick with scotch, and the challenge
Was keeping his own balance
As he coaxed his bulk into a trot
Beside me in the hot night, sweat
Soaking his armpits, the eternal flame
Of his cigarette flaring as he gasped
And I fell, again and again, entangled
In my gleaming Schwinn, until
He swore and stomped off
Into the house to continue
Working with my mother
On their own divorce, their balance
Long gone and the hard ground already
Rising up to smite them
While I stayed outside in the dark,
Still falling, until at last I wobbled
Into the frail, upright delight
Of feeling sorry for myself, riding
Alone down the neighborhood's
Black street like the lonely western hero
I still catch myself in the act
Of performing.

And yet, having said all this,
I must also say that this summer evening
Is very beautiful, and I am older
Than my father ever was
As I coast the Pacific shoreline
On my old bike, the gears clicking
Like years, the wind
Touching me for the first time, it seems,
In a very long time,
With soft urgency all over.

"Like Riding a Bicycle" by George Bilgere, from The Good Kiss. © University of Akron Press, 2002.