Monday, December 31, 2007

Middlemarch and War and Peace

Middlemarch was a tough book to read. Eliot is an amazing writer, as far as getting into the minds of the characters with complex and beautiful phrasing and intricate and philosophical conjectures, but it is not easy to comprehend her sentences without concentration. The ending was a bit too much of a "happy ever after" type of ending, but I would rate George Eliot as being one of the very best writers ever, next to all the other greats.

War and Peace, after reading the first 400 pages, is turning out to be great. It is easy to see how much easier life is for people today, given the level of medical care and so forth. The battle descriptions are cool and the characters are complicated and not cliches.

So far my resolution to watch no tv or movies is going well. I have the time to read heavy literature.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

today was a'cold

the owl, for all its feathers, was a'shiverin'
and silent was the flock in wooly fold
I however was protected
because in Fred's was detected
a set of warm long underwear
purchased to protect me from the freezing air

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Notes from the Overfed

(After reading Dostoyevsky and "Weight Watchers" on the same plane trip)

I am fat. I am disgustingly fat. I am the fattest human I know. I have nothing but excess poundage all over my body. My fingers are fat. My wrists are fat. My eyes are fat. (Can you imagine fat eyes?) I am hundreds of pounds overweight. Flesh drips from me like hot fudge off a sundae. My girth has been an object of disbelief to everyone who's seen me. There is no question about it, I'm a regular fatty. Now, the reader may ask, are there advantages or disadvantages to being built like a planet? I do not mean to be facetious or speak in paradoxes, but I must answer that fat in itself is above bourgeois morality. It is simply fat. That fat could have a value of its own, that fat could be, say, evil or pitying, is, or course, a joke. Absurd! For what is fat after all but an accumulation of pounds?

-woody allen

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

rubin and cherise recorded over the phone

Cherise was brushing her long hair gently down
It was the afternoon of carnival as she brushes it gently down
Rubin was strumming his painted mandolin
It was inlaid with a pretty face in jade played in the carnival parade

Cherise was dressing as Pirouette in white
When a fatal vision gripped her tight Cherise beware tonight
Rubin, Rubin tell me truly true
I feel afraid and I don't know why I do, Is there another girl for you?

If you could see my heart you would know it's true
There's none Cherise, except for you, except for you
I'd swear to it on my very soul, If I lie, say I fall down cold

When Rubin played on his painted mandolin
The breeze would pause to listen in before going on its way again
Masquerade began when nightfall finally woke
Like waves against the bandstand, dancers broke to the painted mandolin

Looking out to the crowd who is standing there
Sweet Ruby Claire at Rubin stared, at Rubin stared
She was dressed as Pirouette in red
And her hair hung gently down

The crowd pressed round, Ruby stood as though alone
Rubin's song took on a different tone and he played it just for her
The song he played was the carnival parade
Each note cut a thread of Cherise's fate it cut through like a blade

Rubin was playing his painted mandolin
When Ruby froze and turned to stone for the strings played all alone
The voice of Cherise from the face of the mandolin
Singing Rubin, Rubin tell me true for I have no one but you

If you could see my heart you would know it true
There's none Cherise, except for you, except for you
I'd swear to it on my very soul, If I lie, say I fall down cold

The truth of love an unsung song must tell
The course of love must follow blind without a look behind
Rubin walked the streets of New Orleans till dawn
Cherise so lightly in his arms and her hair hung gently down

Thank you Robert Hunter for your amazing and mutifaceted poetry.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Aeolian music

-There can be no very black melancholy to him who lives in the midst of Nature and has his senses still. There was never yet such a storm but it was Aeolian music to a healthy and innocent ear. Nothing can rightly compel a simple and brave man to a vulgar sadness. I trust that nothing can make life a burden to me.

-In eternity there is indeed something true and sublime. But all these times and places and occasions are now and here. God himself culminates in the present moment, and will never be more divine in the lapse of all the ages. And we are enabled to apprehend at all what is sublime and noble only by the perpetual instilling and drenching of the reality that surrounds us.
-from Thoreau's journals.

There was a great seminar this weekend in Corvallis by two exceptional and high-ranking Shotokan instructors, Bob Graves and Jerry Fitzpatrick. The subject was kumite (sparring) and much fun was had with no exceptional bruises.

Monday, November 05, 2007

spring tour 78 peggy-o's

They were all good.

the spring tour peggy-o's
were all good

Monday, October 29, 2007

I wish I had seen this concert. I saw Jerry with

this group once, the keyboard guy and backup singers.

Monday, October 22, 2007

the Eternal

Only the Eternal is always appropriate, and always present, is always true. Only the Eternal applies to each human being, whatever his age may be. The changeable exists, and when its time has passed it is changed. Therefore any statement about it is subject to change. That which may be wisdom when spoken by an old man about past events may be folly in the mouth of a youth or of a grown man when spoken of the present. The youth would not be able to understand it and the grown man would not want to understand it....

There is a large and diverse world out there, and yet I remain in my safe little bubble, doing much of the same things every day. That's the way it goes. It's hard to travel with no money. The good news is I am learning a new skill that may very possibly lead to some decent paying work. I certainly hope so anyway. I would say what I am studying, but that would be giving away too much information about myself. Lets just say that I am studying Machine Tool technology and leave it at that. I would say what school I am going to, but that also might be revealing too much. Okay, here's a hint. It's either OSU or LBCC, and it's not OSU.

The New Yorker iz lame

That's right. It has got so many ads for luxury items that I may as well be reading some yachting magazine. Recently each issue has a theme. Any issue with a theme means all the writing in that issue will be bad. Seriously, what's the deal? Has Remnick (the editor) lost his mind, or maybe he just sleeps all day. What happened to quality writing? Also, the New Yorker, is so full of itself that it is really starting to get to me. The editors wouldn't know a good poem if it came up to them and hit them in the head. Wallace Stevens could send in a poem and they wouldn't print it. Seriously, time to get your act together, people. I don't love you because you are trendy and fashionable and think you are really cool. It used to be, fairly recently, a great magazine. What happened?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I dreaded that first Robin, so,
But He is mastered, now,
I'm some accustomed to Him grown,
He hurts a little, though-

I thought if I could only live
Till that first Shout got by-
Not all Pianos in the Woods
Had power to mangle me-

I dared not meet the Daffodils-
For fear their Yellow Gown
Would pierce me with a fashion
So foreign to my own-

I wished the Grass would hurry-
So-when 'twas time to see-
He'd be too tall, the tallest one
Could stretch-to look at me-

I could not bear the Bees should come

-emily Dickinson

So the days pass on, the sun rolls around, shining from its central position.

John Donne's Devotions (Gutenburg, 1543) is an interesting book. I haven't got into his poems too much, but this book reminds me a lot of Kierkegaard's Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing.

Friday, October 12, 2007

anyone lived in a pretty how town

and walked around
drank a few coffees
here and there
found a salamander on the moss
in the rain

Saturday, October 06, 2007

pome penyeach

Sonnets to Orpheus I,1

a tree ascended there. Oh pure transcendence!
Oh Orpheus sings! O tall tree and an ant!
All grew hushed. But in that very silence
a new beginning, sign and change appeared.

Quiet creatures gathered from the clear.
unhurried forest, out of lair and nest;
so it must have been, their stealthiness..
was not born out of cunning or fear.

But just from hearing. Bellow, cry, and roar.
Seemed tiny in their hearts. And where before
There barely stood a hut to take this in...

a harvest of deepest darkest yens
and with entryway whose doorposts trembled
you built for them an auditory temple.


A God can do it. How do you expect
A man to squeeze through the lyre and follow?
His mind is torn. Where heartways intersect
You won't find any temple to Apollo

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Paul Potts

Paul Potts has a new album named "One Chance". I thought he was occupied with the Khmer Rouge and the atrocities in Cambodia. I guess he has free time now for other interests.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

the maker

This is a song by Daniel Lanois, done by EmmyLou Harris, Jerry Garcia, and others. And now me. Here's Jerry Garcia doing the song.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

top songs

Top Four Neil Diamond songs
1.Dry Your Eyes
3.Girl, You'll be A Woman Soon
4.And the Grass Won't Pay no Mind

Top Three Neil Young Songs
1.Sugar Mountain
2.Cortez the Killer

Top Four Grateful Dead Songs
2.Wharf Rat
3.Fire on the Mountain
4.Row Jimmy

Top Three Jerry Garcia Band Songs
1.After Midnight
2.The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down
3.Tore up Over You.

Monday, September 17, 2007


This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond-
Invisible, as Music-
But positive, as Sound-
It beckons, and it baffles-
Philosophy-don't know-
And through a Riddle, at the last-
Sagacity, must go-
To guess it, puzzles scholars-
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown-
Faith slips-and laughs, and rallies-
Blushes, if any see-
Plucks at a twig of Evidence-
And asks a Vane, the way-
Much Gesture, from the Pulpit-
Strong Hallelujahs roll-
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul-
-Emily Dickinson

I love that "narcotics cannot still the tooth...that nibbles at the soul." To me that says that there is a longing out there, for transcendence, or maybe merely for happiness.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Jamba styrofoam

The Jamba chain came to Corvallis, so I went in there, perused the menu, and ordered something. They seem to be really trying to sell you on how healthy everything is. I believe a lot of their stuff is fairly healthy.
Everything they sell, they put in a styrofoam cup. Styrofoam is totally nonbiodegradable and completely environmentally unfriendly.
Just another chain.

Monday, September 10, 2007

long hair and lined face

Sometimes people make a strange impression on you and you have no idea why.

Guy with hands over head.

The above looks somewhat like the Kanji for "hand" but isn't.

Person looking at book.

Books I have read recently:

Dead Season, by some writer, published by some publisher, some number of pages, and all that other bibliographic crap which I won't bother to give you because I have no illusions about the worthless hot air that makes up 99% of liberal arts academics. This book was about corruption and the terrible conditions of the Philippines in the 1990's. I don't think things are much better now. Corruption-o-rama.

Raymond Chandler, by Tom Hiney. This is a very well written book about the life of Chandler, who wrote hard-boiled crime fiction with literary qualities. Chandler was a recluse and a drunk. He worked hard at his writing. Some of the techniques he used were interesting. He would go around with a notebook, writing down the details of people's clothing, being very detail oriented in his descriptions. He would also type on small notecards, so if a scene wasn't turning out, he could easily rewrite the whole thing, rather than having to retype a whole page. He also wanted to have something of interest in every notecard, so that affected the style of his novels. The descriptions of early L.A. are also kind of neat. The cops were all bought out by the mafia back then.

Leaving Dirty Jersey, by some Joe. A true memoir of a year spend doing methamphetamine. The author doesn't come off looking too good, although he is clean and sober now. It is a shock what that stuff does to you, compared to, say, marijuana.

Legacy of Ashes. All about the CIA's failures over the years.

Moses and Monotheism by Freud. I haven't read this yet. Apparently, although Freud was an atheist, in this, his last book, he starts to appreciate the positive qualities of the Jewish ability to live for a completely abstract entity, and how he thought this contributed to their cornucopia of intellectual endeavors.

Schopenhauer. Also on the need-to-read list. He influenced Neitzsche and others, so I should check it out.

Tearoom Trade. This was a study done in the 50's about how men went about having sex in the bathrooms. Their signals and methods. Sounds fascinating. It has been in the news recently with that Craig thing.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

sheaves of grass

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,
and the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree-toad is a chef-d'oevre for the highest,
and the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
and the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
and the cow crunching with depress'd head surpasses any statue
and a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.

Friday, September 07, 2007


We must not rely too much upon ourselves, for grace and understanding are often lacking in us. We have but little inborn light, and this we quickly lose through negligence. Often we are not aware that we are so blind in heart. Meanwhile we do wrong, and then do worse in excusing it. At times we are moved by passion, and we think it zeal. We take others to task for small mistakes, and overlook greater ones in ourselves. We are quick enough to feel and brood over the things we suffer from others, but we think nothing of how much others suffer from us. If a man would weigh his own deeds fully and rightly, he would find little cause to pass severe judgment on others.
The interior man puts the care of himself before all other concerns, and he who attends to himself carefully does not find it hard to hold his tongue about others. You will never be devout of heart unless you are thus silent about the affairs of others and pay particular attention to yourself. If you attend wholly to God and yourself, you will be little disturbed by what you see about you.
You will make great progress if you keep yourself free from all temporal cares, for to value anything that is temporal is a great mistake. Consider nothing great, nothing high, nothing pleasing, nothing acceptable, except God Himself or that which is of God. Consider the consolations of creatures as vanity, for the soul that loves God scorns all things that are inferior to Him. God alone, the eternal and infinite, satisfies all, bringing comfort to the soul and true joy to the body.
-The Imitation of Christ

"Man does not live by bread alone....frequently there must be a beverage."

Monday, September 03, 2007

dry your eyes-best version so far

Althea by grateful dead:

Jerry was an amazing rock genius. One of a kind. The best concert I ever went to was the Jerry Garcia band in 1988 at the Warfield in San Francisco. Nobody like him, or even close, in what he does, anyway. A poetic soul who had a bit of a drug problem.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Lovely Rita, meter maid

Lovely Rita, meter maid
nothing can come between us
when it gets dark I tow your heart away

Standing by a parking meter
when I caught a glimpse of Rita
Filling in a ticket in her little white book
In a cap she looked much older
And the bag across her shoulder
Made her look a little like a military man

Lovely Rita meter maid
may I inquire discreetly
When are you free to take some tea with me

Took her out and tried to win her
had a laugh and over dinner
Told her I would really like to see her again
Got the bill and Rita paid it
Took her home and nearly made it
Sitting on a sofa with a sister or two

Lovely Rita meter maid
where would I be without you
give us a wink and make me think of you

That's a Beatles song, of course. Another Beatles song from the BBC Sessions album is entitled " I forgot to remember to forget her" which is pretty funny. Those guys were so charismatic, and geniuses as well, of course.

Friday, August 24, 2007

classic poem

I gave myself to him,
And took himself for pay.
The solemn contract of a life
Was ratified this way.

The wealth might disappoint,
Myself a poorer prove
Than this great purchaser suspect:
The daily own of Love

Depreciates the vision;
But, till the merchant buy,
Still able, in the isles of spice,
The subtle cargoes lie.

At least, 't is mutual rush,
Some found it mutual gain;
Sweet debt of Life, each night to owe,
Insolvent, every noon.
-emily dickinson

I think my favorite line by her is "some take the Sabbath going to church/I keep it staying at home/with a bobolink for a chorister/and an orchard for a dome."

"night by night, I stare straight through his gorgeous roof."
"By God! I will accept nothing which any and all cannot have as a counterpart on their own terms."

Somehow it is annoying to hear people talk that are so left wing they are completely delusional. Some guy talking about how this country is "Orwellian." Okay. Has he read the book? Human rights and the rule of law is going downhill in this country, but we are not exactly seeing journalists getting murdered in the street like is happening all the time in Russia. China also has a press that is vastly less free than ours. Yeah, our country is going in the wrong direction. Acknowledged.

When Paul Krugman is gunned down on the streets of New York and there is no investigation, then we are getting to "Orwellian." Until then, come up with some facts and specific policies on how to improve this country. Comparing the US, to, say, Liechtenstein, isn't going to work, because the US is the only superpower in the world, and with that comes a lot more responsibility than the small countries have.

If you don't have any ideas on how to improve the country, you can always go to the default rant and rage mode, like twenty millions bloggers and coffee shop talkers. When it comes to real things that can be changed, that's when you actually have to have some grasp of how this government works and some grasp of how the good people in the government (Congress) can make some decent changes. Maybe when Bush the destroyer gets out of there, things might improve.

For example, Congress is pushing to get health care for all children. That's a good thing. They passed an ethics reform bill that was better than nothing.

I'm reading about the Phillipines in the 1980's, where all you have is graft, corruption, indiscriminate murder of civilians, extreme poverty, no medical care. In other words, hell. We are not there yet.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The moon is full and the rain is starting in a little bit maybe, but at least it seems to be starting to seem like fall a little bit. September is neat because there is a lot of mist in the air. It is one of my favorite months. I would say that September is my second favorite month right after May. August is probably only fourth or fifth, probably because I am more of a slightly cold and rainy kind of person, but the darkness of midwinter does get to me.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Robert St. James at the Beanery

This guy was really cool. Very talented. He was playing what sounded like original songs with complicated chords and interesting lyrics, although I couldn't hear them too well. He had a steel string guitar hooked up to an amp and set so it sounded kind of fuzzy, which is a sound I like. Obviously quite talented. Plus, he looked just like that guy in Reservoir Dogs who cuts the other guy's ear off. Maybe that was just because of the dark glasses.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I went down to Coos Bay to get some instruction from a high ranking instructor, George Clark 4th dan, and he was a keen eye for detail. The difference between Shotokan karate and other forms is that the structure of its movements has really been turned into a science of how to generate maximum power and how to eliminate extraneous motions and get to maximum directness and effectiveness in the application of technique. These principles are widely agreed on among the highest level black belts, although Nishiyama is the leader of this particular organization. Anyway, the fact that there are these principles, and the fact that a Shotokan practitioner can continue to improve over the course of his life is what sets it apart from, say, kickboxing, tae kwon do, or many other watered down karate styles.
Anyway, it decided I had to make use of my time teaching the basics in my class and make sure that people were doing things correctly, and more than that, understood why it matters to do the motions correctly. A good instructor can always demonstrate his points, and has an understanding of how things are applied. I need to work on all of that stuff, having a lot of bad habits myself.
I have been focusing on maximum power to the detriment of other principles that are just as important, so I have a lot to work on, but I knew that, considered that I have failed 2nd degree three times so far.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Democrats fail miserably

The Democrats have refused to raise tax rates on capital gains, mainly because they are being paid off by the hedge funds. What a bunch of chokers. So now we get more and more ultrarich while the poor can't afford basic medical treatment. Is that the kind of country we want? Still, the next president may make that change, but the current congressional Democrats are proving what a bunch of spineless bought-and-paid-for bribe-takers they have turned into. They also passed that FISA bill that gives MORE POWER to the Attorney General. That's Alberto Gonzalez.

I'm still more of a Democrat than anything, but I really don't like to see the rich getting richer and Congress doing nothing about it while everybody else, especially the poor, are getting worse off. The farther this country slides into a land of the very rich and the very poor, the more it will come to resemble Brazil, i.e., total hell.

But things can still change for the positive. Especially if something is done on health care. And there will be always more opportunities to change the tax code for the better.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

handwritten lyrics

These are the words to Dry Your Eyes, which appears to be about Jesus Christ, even though I thought Neil Diamond was Jewish, but whatever. It is a good song.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid

This is a great movie. It was directed by Sam Peckinpah, who is legendary for his violence. The scenes of the desert are also quite amazing. I don't think a film like this could really be made today, because there are no such open spaces in existence anymore. Billy is played by Kris Kristofferson who is a cool actor.

Peckinpah's use of slow-motion in gunfights and action scenes was copied by just about everybody after him. This movie also has a soundtrack by Bob Dylan, and he wrote "Knocking on Heaven's Door" for this movie, which of course has gone on to become hugely popular.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Democrats totally fail to reform the farm bill

The darn Democrats are totally blowing it with regard to changing the farm bill the way it should be changed. Most of the farm subsidies are going to huge megafarms and this bill does nothing to change that. What's the problem? There is also nothing in there about supporting organic farming. These are huge problems that need to be corrected. Our current farm subsidy system is hurting small farms while encouraging huge one-crop non-organic environment-destroying status-quo farms, and these guys are passing the same bill the Republicans passed last year. What's the problem? Show some backbone and do what needs to be done for this country.

McCabe and Mrs. Miller

This is a good movie by Robert Altman starring Warren Beatty, who was pretty charismatic for a long time. It is also set in a very cool natural and remote setting in Canada. It is definitely one of those little-known movies that is worth watching.

Monday, July 23, 2007

me doing Bassai Dai

I think this looks good up to a point. Here's a master doing the same kata: Kanazawa.

But in any case, it has a few areas that could use improvement, but it looks a lot better than katas that I have been putting a lot more work into. Maybe because Bassai Dai has a lot of dramatic motions. That could be it. It would also look better with me wearing the appropriate uniform in the appropriate setting and without the music.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

from "Think on These Things"

Questioner: Why do we want to live in luxury?

Krishnamurti: What do you mean by luxury? Having clean clothes, keeping you body clean, eating good food- do you call that luxury? It may seem to be luxury to the man who is starving, clothed in rags, and who can't take a bath every day. So luxury varies according to one's desires; it is a matter of degree.
Now, do you know what happens to you if you are fond of luxury, if you are attached to comfort and always want to sit on a sofa or in an overstuffed chair? Your mind goes to sleep. It is good to have a little bodily comfort; but to emphasize comfort, to give it great importance, is to have a sleepy mind. Have you noticed how happy most fat people are? Nothing seems to disturb them through their many layers of fat. That is a physical condition, but the mind also puts on layers of fat; it does not want to be questioned or otherwise disturbed, and such a mind gradually goes to sleep. What we now call education generally puts the student to sleep, because if he asks really sharp, penetrating questions, the teacher gets very disturbed and say, "Let us get on with our lesson."

Saturday class in Portland with Sensei Jerry Fitzpatrick

I went up to the karate class at the VA Hospital today, and it was a good class covering some of the basic Shotokan karate blocks and the body dynamics involved in using them. There were also a lot of people there and quite a few black belts, so I will probably be going back, and I also got some feedback on my kata, so that should also come in handy. Sensei Fitzpatrick is a great example of why karate is good for you. He has to be around seventy years old now, but he is extremely strong and seems much younger than he is. Intensive karate training is the only thing I can think of that will allow you to be in such amazing shape even in the seventies. The old karate masters were known for living extremely long lives. That is assuredly due to the health benefits, but there are also the mental benefits of karate, which include peace of mind and a philosophy of right action. Not that every karate practitioner is a perfect example of the ideal.
I would have liked to do some sparring, but maybe next time. Our class is small, and we don't have too many people that can challenge me, and the ones that can I already know well, so it would be very interesting to spar with different black belts from the same style.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Dashboard Confessional

How did these no-talent excuses for musicians get to be so popular? I could play better music myself on a ukelele. What happened to rock music? I can't think of a single decent new band except for the White Stripes.

I also have no interest in Radiohead. I don't understand why people like them. Nor do I think much of Wilco.

I like a lot of music, a lot of rock, a lot of rap, jazz, classical, and even country and bluegrass, but it seems like rock has fallen off a cliff into total patheticness. Still, there are plenty of groups putting out good music, but most of them have been around for quite a while. Then again, I am probably just not hooked into the vibe any more. Live music is not my thing.

I guess there is always Devin the Dude and Bus Driver.

come on you pretty women
with your hair a hangin' down
come look out your window
cause the candyman's in town
come on you boys and gamble
roll those laughing bones
seven come eleven I'll take your money home

I come home from memphis
where I learned to talk the jive
when I get back to memphis
there'll be one less man alive
hello mr. benson
I see you're doing well
if I had me a shotgun I'd blow you straight to hell

come on you boys and wager
if you have got the mind
hand me my old guitar
pass the whiskey round
come and tell everybody you meet
that the candyman's in town

Saturday, July 14, 2007


It is time to impeach both Bush and Cheney. They have clearly violated the law by claiming executive privilege, illegal wiretapping, and probably a lot of other things. If Congress doesn't impeach them, every president from now on will think they have the right to unlawfully ignore Congress and the law.

Friday, July 13, 2007

"rig" and Iran

When someone refers to his vehicle as his "rig", you can be pretty sure he does not drive a Honda Prius or some other kind of dinky car. I think of a "rig" as being some kind of clunky truck, usually, that the person has done a lot of work on himself, as in "rigged it up" himself, maybe.

What's the deal with Iran? Here's the thirty second briefing:

Sure, invading Iran would be a terrible idea, but why is invading Iran even a question in the first place? Why aren't we worrying about, say, Zambia, or Upper Volta, or Bahrain? The deal with Iran is that it will have enough Uranium refined in three months to be able to make a nuclear bomb, and they already have warheads to put it on that could reach Israel. Ahmadinejad has already said that they would love to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and, consequently, Israel is not okay with Iran having the nuclear warhead that could obliterate them. So if something is not done, Israel could launch a preemptive strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities that could easily turn into a larger war.
How can this be prevented? Iran is vulnerable to sanctions because total sanctions would be an immense hardship on the economy, and there already is a lot of dissent against the lunatic right-wingers such as Ahmadinejad. So the U.S. should join in talks with Iran if Europe will agree to instigating total sanctions against Iran. That should result in enough pressure on Iran for them to opt for making a deal and joining the world economy. Anyway, that's the best hope, according to Dennis Ross.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Starbucks going downhill

Starbucks is finally starting to go downhill. I always kind of liked the place because they pay for health insurance for the employees, which is no minor expense. Their espressos were also fairly good. However, they recently switched some sort of automated pre-packed espresso pod process, which, for one thing, takes all the art and skill out of making espresso. It also eliminated the spectacle of the espresso being created, because any fool can press a button. Furthermore, there is none of that coffee ground smell in Starbucks these days, because everything is shipped in in vacuum-packed pods. They have the kind of marked dominance now where they can continue to degrade their product in the interest of profit margins and people won't be able to go anywhere else because they own most of the coffee shops in many areas.
Their food also doesn't look as good, maybe because they went along with the "no trans-fat" thing, which is overblown and oversimplified in my opinion. All in all, Starbucks in getting worse and worse, and they have bought up all the alternatives, so the customer suffers.

Luckily, Corvallis people can go to the Beanery

Friday, July 06, 2007

"The Slack" at the Beanery

This was kind of a trippy psychedelic band with two guitars, bass, and drums. They were pretty unstructured but the one guitarist, who is skinnier than in the picture, seemed to be good at coming up with strange lengthy solos consisting of chords sustained for extended lengths of time. He was talented, and the other guitarist had the riffs for "Back in Black" down perfectly, and he had an opportunity to play them when the bassist broke his low-E string and they took an extended break. The Beanery seldom has music featuring electric guitars.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

the race is not to the strong nor is the battle to the swift

Here's another masterpiece by me. I know it is good. I just maybe don't fully comprehend how good it is. It is a nice little song by Neil Diamond, the lyrics of which remind me both of Leaves of Grass and the Book of Isaiah ("the flesh is grass"), a Carl Sandburg poem ("I am the grass, let me work."), and an Emily Dickinson poem:

The grass has so little to do
a sphere of simple green
with only butterflies to brood
and bees to entertain

Saturday, June 30, 2007


The new Michael Moore film is on a good topic, our completely messed up health care system. He makes a lot of good points, like how people are arbitrarily denied coverage , how people with preexisting conditions are excluded, and generally how messed up it is. However, he never really gets into the details, and how complicated the issue of health care is. He makes a big deal about how perfect national health care in other countries is, which I am sure is true relative to this country. But there are problems with national health care, I am sure, that he doesn't mention.
I agree with Mike that national health care is a good idea, but I didn't like the movie because I knew all the information already and he didn't really get into the details of what would make a good system, much less the difficult decisions that would have to be made about what kind of care would be allowed or covered in a national health care system. Still, if it makes more people aware of the disaster that we currently have here in this country in health care, then that will be good.

Friday, June 29, 2007

3 Women

This is a good Altman film from the seventies. Robert Altman has a really unique and measured style. He seems to get a lot of voices that seem to be in the background but what they are saying, although it sounds casual, adds to the texture and the momentum of the story. His best film was probably Nashville, of course, but I would recommend 6 Women. He will be missed by me, for one.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


There was a good Shotokan seminar in Coos Bay last weekend. Sensei Steve Sharifi, 8th dan, taught many things of which I really did not know too much about. It was good to see him.

Yoga is another extremely cool thing of which I have been getting more interested recently, although I always have thought it was neat. Yoga instructors attain high levels of strength and flexibility in their muscles, as well as some peace of mind through the mental aspects. It seems a good complement to karate, and something that I could see myself getting more and more into. Stretching has always been something that I have worked at, and my muscle tone is fine from all the karate, so I am having no problem getting into it at all. I'm starting out in the beginning class though, and that's hard enough.
It has become extremely popularized recently, but yoga is an extremely ancient spiritual and physical exercise that predated and heavily influenced Buddhism. It also has to do with rejecting materialism and learning to be more fully in the moment, both of which seem like good ideas to me.

Karate in a lot of cases can be too aggressive and over-competitive. It doesn't have to be that way, and in our school is really not that way at all, and yet it can have that tendency, so the whole atmosphere of yoga, where you have no ranking, nothing aggressive or fighting-related, is a good counterpoint to my main preoccupation.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The excesses of god

Is it not by his high superfluousness we know
our god? for to be equal a need
is natural, animal, mineral: but to fling
rainbows over the rain
and beauty above the moon, and secret rainbows
on the domes of deep sea-shells,
and make the necessary embrace of breeding
beautiful also as fire,
not even the weeds to multiply without blossom
nor the birds without music;
there is the great humaneness at the heart of things,
the extravagant kindness, the fountain
humanity can understand, and would flow likewise
if power and desire were getting along famously.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Funakoshi lived to be ninety years old. It is said that a lot of the karate masters lived to be very old. This might be because karate is good for your health. Done right, it promotes well being in mind and body, kind of like yoga. Then again, the Japanese and Okinawans are renown for living long lives, probably due to their healthy diet. But I like to think that karate promotes longevity.
I found a cool book on yoga, on one of the most famous instructors, from much before yoga was popularized and turned into a diet-of-the-month kind of thing, the way it has recently. I would love the opportunity to learn from a good instructor. However, for one thing, I am broke, but for another, I am not sure where to look. The yoga center has some good teachers.

One thing about global warming: sure, it is important, but what about the universe? Apparently, astronomers and physicists have determined that the universe is flying apart in all directions. In ten billion years, we won't even be able to see any galaxies. What are we doing about that?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I decided to record these videos to get a sense of what I need to do to improve. I look very strong on some moves, but I also have a lot of problems. This is jion, a shotokan karate kata. The space wasn't big enough, so I had to readjust in parts. Playing in the background is Pink Floyd. I also need to get a new gi (karate uniform). I'm not the greatest at keeping white things white.

Here's a link to the kata done well:

Sunday, June 10, 2007


"Those who have identified themselves with the mortal body and its affections will necessarily find that all is painful, since everything- for them -must end. But for those who have found the still point of eternity, around which all- including themselves- revolves, everything is acceptable as it is; indeed, can even be experienced as glorious and wonderful. The first duty of the individual, consequently, is simply to play his given role-as do the sun and moon, the various animal and plant species, the water, the rocks, and the stars-without resistance, without fault; and then, if possible, so to order his mind as to identify its consciousness with the inhabiting principle of the whole."-Joseph Campbell, Oriental Mythology

So does that mean I can't buy an Ipod? Or maybe I can buy one and periodically feel guilty about it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Jasmine is on the left. She's only 14 months old or so, and kind of hyperactive, always hunting around for mice. Homer, on the right, is four years old. (Named for the Greek poet, of course.) He is more a sit around and sleep or eat type of cat. He also spends time in the back yard meditating.

Friday, June 08, 2007


There is a good guitar player at the bean this evening, Craig Sorseth. First he was doing "Crazy Love", a Van Morrison song, and he was playing it well. Then he went into "Long Black Veil", which I heard him say was by the Band, but I thought it was a Johnny Cash song, although Jerry Garcia did it too. Maybe it's a traditional.
It is kind of a quiet summer evening down here on 2nd street, kind of getting chilly though. I went for a two hour bike ride today so I'm quite tired. I'm not a competitive cyclist type of cyclist. I just do it to supplement the karate, and add in some jogging. Cycling seems to be easier on the knees. Don't let me leave out walking.
Apparently George Orwell was quite a visionary for his time. None of his attitudes or ideas really seem dated in the least. He wasn't a racist, and he saw the problems with colonialism right from the start. He also was one of the first to take note of the problems of the soviet union, and to take an active voice in criticizing their actions. 1984 was all about a state in which the individual is constantly being monitored and watched...a state similar to the disaster in Russia in the time of Stalin. Of course, many countries are moving towards increased monitoring of citizens, like England, setting up video cameras in all sorts of public places. That sort of thing is often described as being "Orwellian".
He also wrote about working as a dishwasher, and about life in the underclass, actually living the life of a bum and intermittent laborer for a while. Check out Down and Out in Paris and London and The Road to Wigan Pier. Definitely worth reading.
Another guy in the news recently is Philip K. Dick. He was an obscure science fiction writer during his life, but many of his themes have increased in relevance, making him seem like a visionary. He was an interesting character, fueled in his writing by amphetamine binges...not living the healthiest lifestyle. There was an extremely interesting short story by Robert Crumb about Dick's experience of a brain seizure. During the seizure he had some sort of extreme religious vision that he says changed his life. My question is, was the vision real if it was just the result of a "seizure"? How would one ever separate real visions from fake ones anyway? Read the story and see what you think.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


It rained again today, which is kind of nice. For one thing, I don't have to water the plants. I guess I made a mistake, planting tomato seeds, because they don't even seem to be coming out of the ground. The onions and tomato starts don't seem to be doing much either. I guess my knowledge of gardening is limited. The compost heated up for a while and then cooled down. Does that mean it is "composted"?
Jasmine killed three mice last night. I can tell because she starts leaping around and thumping on things; a natural hunter, I guess. I just wonder where all the mice are coming from.
I started watching the Sopranos again after writing them off for a while. The whole "I got a family to feed so I'm a mobster" justification was getting to me, as well as the extremely annoying psychiatrist, but then I read a little thing on them by David Remnick in the New Yorker. He seemed to like the series, right down to the final season, so I decided to give it another try. David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, is an extremely intelligent and cool guy, so I figured if he liked it, there must be something there.
Before that I was trying to get into some Japanese movies without a lot of success. Tokyo Story, by Yasujiro Ozu, is a must-see. Probably my favorite Japanese film of all time, but then I saw his Early Spring, and couldn't really get into it. I also watched Ikiru, about a guy who finds out he has stomach cancer and tries to do something meaningful before he dies, directed by Akira Kurosawa. It was a good movie, but I literally watched the whole thing on fast-forward, it was so slow-paced.
I have the postal exam coming up, and I hope to get that. That would be kind of a dull job requiring a lot of concentration, but it would pay fairly well. I'm sure I'd do great on the exam. In fact, I have the preparatory materials. Most of it is easy, but in one part, you kind of have to memorize a chart in three minutes and then try to recall it later to answer questions. That is kind of tricky. As far as the physical parts of hauling mail around, no problem. Definitely more dignified than washing dishes, as well.
I'm also kind of reading a book on Orwell, by Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens has been in the news recently because his new book is on why religion is bad. I can't really agree with that. I don't think you can even look at history and get any idea of what it would have been like without religion. It's also impossible to ignore the good impulses that come out of religion, like charity for the poor. Also, the whole Communist thing was about renouncing religion ("opiate of the masses"), and look what a fuck-up that turned out to be. But Hitchens had some funny quotes regarding the recent death of Falwell (he didn't like the guy), and Hitchens is obviously quite a literate and entertaining guy.
I'm also reading a book on sushi, and feeling sorry for myself that I can't afford to eat any sushi.

Monday, June 04, 2007

fluorescent lights and me

I finally fixed the fluorescent light in the kitchen. It was actually kind of interesting in a dull sort of way. I at first thought that it must be a problem with the end connectors, but I called Trico (actually I called them up to get them to come out to fix the thing) and during the conversation I learned enough to figure out that it was most probable the "ballast", which actually I had never heard of before, but it is some sort of very heavy rectangular thing in the middle of the fixture that is responsible for getting the bulbs to light. So anyway, I went down the Searing, and I learned a lot from the guy that helped me. I guess that's the reason to go to the locally owned place rather than the Home Depot behemoth where all the employees look really depressed and can't really tell you anything about any product. So anyway, all I really had to do is splice a bunch of wires together, which is a lot easier than it sounds. I guess my next project is to fix the living room lamp, only half of which works.
It rained for about three minutes yesterday. I noticed because I was on my way home from the parents' house on my bike. Today seems kind of cloudy. I guess I might go down to the bean and read the paper.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

notes from in between aboveground and underground

Ghod, it seems that I have become very old. The cafe people insist on calling me "sir" all the time, even though I'm wearing the same jeans and t-shirt I always have been wearing. One girl today, in the course of getting me a coffee, called me "sir" at least twice. I wanted to say, "please, call me stupid, call me "rover", call me late to dinner, just don't call me sir."
I have become incredibly old over the twenty years that have passed since high school. The time just seems to go on, counted out by little servings of espresso and scraps of paper. Occasionally, especially recently, I worry about how isolated I am, as in how few real friends, but then I think about it for a while, and I realize that I'm not alone because I have any history that I need to be ashamed of, or I have any skeletons in the closet, or any deeds or actions in my past that I really need to feel guilty about, so then if you consider the fact that I am isolated, the isolation doesn't apodictically follow from there to me being a dangerous psychotic. In fact, I wouldn't say that I have any long lasting resentments about anyone in particular, although I can be quite irritable in the short term. I always have the capacity to stand back from my situation, maybe after I've been spending time thinking about how worthless I am, and say that in fact, I have some intrinsic worth that is in there somewhere, and some enthusiasms that might not be obvious but are there nevertheless.
The night is warm and the little college children are out drinking and stumbling around, grunting and shuffling, a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
It seems to me that Christianity is really some kind of group-induced mania. Robert Crumb tells this funny story about how he and a friend went to a black church back in the 50's, when they were invited by a friend. The sermon was loud, people started wailing and crying, and suddenly the pastor pointed to them, the two white guys, and started talking about how they were not saved yet, so everybody was wailing and praying, trying to save their souls. When they realized these guys just simply weren't going to get it, they went back to what they were doing. That story is actually kind of not relevant to what I was going to say, but it comes to mind because Crumb had such a funny and honest way of telling stories, especially about himself.
I have personally found parts of Christianity and the sermons to be beautiful and uplifting, and I always think that theoretically it would be nice to be part of a beautiful group possibly such as that, but when it comes right down to it, why the heck should I believe the Jesus was more than any other mortal? Or that he was resurrected? Any why the heck would I want to drink his blood? Isn't that a little weird? There is never going to come a time when I suddenly realize that these things are true. Not going to happen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

travail of passion

When the flaming lute-thronged angelic door is wide;
When an immortal passion breathes in mortal clay;
Our hearts endure the scourge, the plaited thorns, the way
Crowded with bitter faces, the wounds in palm and side,
The vinegar-heavy sponge, the flowers by Kedron stream;
We will bend down and loosen our hair over you,
That it may drop faint perfume, and be heavy with dew,
Lilies of earth-pale hope, roses of passionate dream.

Already the ripening barberries are red,
and the old asters hardly breathe in their beds.
The man who is not rich now as summer goes
will wait and wait and never be himself.

The man who cannot quietly close his eyes,
certain that there is vision after vision
inside, simply waiting until nighttime
to rise all around him in the darkness-
it's all over for him, he's like an old man.

Nothing else will come; no more days will open,
and everything that does happen will cheat him
Even you, my dear. And you are like a stone
that draws him daily deeper into the depths.

Springsteen is a poet of the average american guy, a real lyric poet of the modern age. Perhaps the reason there are really no good poets currently writing is that the good ones are either writing lyrics or songs. Certainly Dylan and Young qualify as poets in their own right, and Robert Hunter.

Sometimes this town really just seems like a pathetic small little town.

Someone put down Buddhism by calling it "not even wrong." That's pretty bad, when not only are you not right, but you are "not even wrong."

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Planted some onions and tomato starts in addition to the tomato seeds I planted last week that may or may not come up. I also planted some lettuce, which is something I could definitely use, and may plant some mustard greens tomorrow, which would be good in stir-fries. The raspberries look cool with all the bees swirling around pollinating the flowers. I attacked the weeds for the last five days and finally got rid of all of them.
To do list:
1.continue reading new Einstein biography.
2.dink around on the guitar cover art for cd
4.think of a movie I might want to watch cat
6.clean bathroom some stretching
8.breathe deeply
9.cut down on fatty foods
10.learn how to play "cortez the killer"
11.figure out what's wrong with the kitchen light
12.observe the wind blowing through the trees.
13.write long letters to distant friends. something about the gender-dominant paradigm

Saturday, May 12, 2007

12th street

The nicest street between 9th and 26th is definitely 12th street. Walking north on 12th from Monroe to Taylor, there seem to be a lot of very nice gardens and landscaping going on, and a lot of nice trees here and there. Be sure not to miss it. Turn left on Taylor and walk up toward Fred Meyer. Taylor is also another great street in that region. It is quiet and people take care of their yards.

Friday, May 04, 2007

I decided to get rid of my post on Mormons. Live and let live. Religion is a touchy subject.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Major combat operations have ended

Mission accomplished.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


The sun is shining today, a big round ball of yellowness, and a cactus is sitting on a table. A coffee cup is sitting on the table and steaming.
"I'm moving into a house where I'm the sixth roommmate." The devices get smaller and the smell of cooking potatoes eminates from the other room. Some sort of hard rock is on the stereo, and I am sitting in the red and square-padded chair. There is a slight breeze from the ceiling fans, and the atmosphere is slow and just as the atmosphere of most Sundays in this little town.
The elements of nature cohere and split apart as they tend toward chaos, and I convince myself that I simply enjoy the physical process of writing more than what I am actually writing. I could be scribbling and get the same effect.
The guy that reminds me of Rasputin pedals by on his bike, making a glare in this direction, but what to make that? Increasingly, I lay out my words in lengthening sentences as the clocks wind around the face and the mania of owning things comes and goes, and the quintillions ripen, and the quintillions green.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007


This song is from American Beauty, an album by the Grateful Dead, released in 1972. There was a haunting video of this song on youtube for a while, so I really got to like it. Unfortunately, it got taken down.
My version of it cuts off at the three minute mark because that's the longest video my camera will shoot.
The lyrics are by Robert Hunter, who in my mind is one of the few really great poets of recent history.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poor-house. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man's abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace. The town's poor seem to me often to live the most independent lives of any. May be they are simply great enough to receive without misgiving. Most think that they are above being supported by the town; but it oftener happens that they are not above supporting themselves by dishonest means, which should be more disreputable. Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble ourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell you clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do not want society. Moreover, if you are restricted in your range by poverty, if you cannot buy books and newspapers, for instance, you are but confined to the most significant and vital experiences; you are compelled to deal with the material which yields the most sugar and the most starch. It is life near the bone where it is sweetest. You are defended from being a trifler. No man loses ever on a lower level by magnanimity on a higher. Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul.

I delight to come to my bearings-not walk in procession with pomp and parade, in a conspicuous place, but to walk even with the Builder of the universe, if I may-not to live in this restless, nervous, bustling, trivial Nineteenth Century, but stand or sit thoughtfully while it goes by. What are men celebrating? They are all on a committee of arrangements, and hourly expect a speech from somebody.
-from Conclusion, Walden.

So Thoreau was that kind of guy: detached, removed, able to write nice sentences. He wrote Walden in his twenties and got more cynical over time, dying young from tuberculosis. Then again, I would like to think there are people that can enjoy life for what it is, getting the essential elements out of life.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


It was a lover and his lass
with a hey and a ho, and a hey-nonino!
That o'er the green cornfield did pass
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing hey ding a ding a ding:
Sweet lovers love the Spring.

Between the acres of the rye
With a hey and a ho, and a hey-nonino!
These pretty country folks would lie:
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing hey ding a ding a ding:
Sweet lovers love the Spring.

This carol they began that hour,
With a hey and a ho, and a hey-nonino!
How that a life is but a flower:
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing hey ding a ding a ding:
Sweet lovers love the Spring.

And therefore take the present time
With a hey and a ho, and a hey-nonino!
For love is crowned with the prime
In spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing hey ding a ding a ding:
Sweet lovers love the Spring.
-w. shakespeare

This is a great little poem, probably part of some play. I never got that much out of his plays. I guess I'm not much for plays in general, but I always liked his poetry.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Friday, March 30, 2007

vocabulary from Nostromo

allocution: a formal speech, especially an authoritative or hortatory address

crabbed:1.morose, peevish 2. difficult to read or understand.

fastness: 1.a fortified or secure place 2.a remote and secluded place

landau: a four-wheeled carriage with a top divided into two sections that can be let down, thrown back, or removed and with a raised seat outside for the driver.

harlequin: 1 a character in comedy and pantomime with a shaved head, masked face, variegated tights, and wooden sword. b. bufoon 2 a.a variegated pattern b.a combination of colors in patches on a solid ground

cumber: hinder by being in the way

The day was somewhat springlike and ventured into the region of warm, with just a bit of a slight shower at six or so. The town has been quite quiet, which is generally good, from a traffic point of view.
The gorillas have all gone away, and the clouds turned purple. Many flowers shine and revolve in hexagonal carnivalurous mastications, with up so many flowers and various kinds of manure offered for free.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I got a new drawing pad and I hope it will be the beginning of some good drawing and some actual creative activity.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


What the hell is wrong with Charlie Rose these days? It's clear he was a Bush supporter. Even now, when he interviews democrats, he asks hostile questions and uses phrases like "some people say" or "many people say" and then asks a hostile question. This was a tactic of Fox news; they would say: "Some people say that Obama is a muslim terrorist." Who are these people exactly? Charlie actually tried to say that it looked to him like the White House was trying to straighten out this prosecutor scandal and be honest. They've been lying and obfusticating from the start, and if CR can't see this, he can't see what's right in front of his face. Sometimes he asks good questions, but as far as his political views, he's wearing rose-colored shades when looking at this miserable incompetent administration. Calling it anything other than that is a lie, and he won't call it that.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

the quiet life

happy the man, whose wish and care
a few paternal acres bound,
content to breathe his native air
in his own native ground.

whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
whose flocks supply him with attire;
whose trees in summer yield him shade,
in winter fire.

blest, who can unconcern'dly find
hours, days, and years slide soft away
in health of body, peace of mind,
quiet by day,

sound sleep by night; study and ease
together mix'd; sweet recreation,
and innocence, which most does please
with meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
thus unlamented let me die;
steal from the world, and not a stone
tell where I lie

-a. pope

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

jimmy page

Jimmy Page was undoubtedly the coolest guitarist of the early seventies, but not necessarily the best. Aren't those very subjective terms anyway? Let's just say that he was a very cool guitar player and leave it at that. Someone I used to know described Led Zeppelin as "approaching Hobbit rock", which is actually pretty funny if you think about it. They did get kind of silly at times, but the other times they were laying down tremendous waves of sound. Plus Page had that incredible double-necked Les Paul that he wore down on his knee and yet still managed to play somehow.

The Inner Vision

Most sweet it is with unuplifted eyes
To pace the ground, if path be there or none,
While a fair region round the traveller lies
Which he forbears again to look upon;

Pleased rather with some soft ideal scene,
The work of Fancy, or some happy tone
Of meditation, slipping in between
The beauty coming and the beauty gone.

If Thought and Love desert us, from that day
Let us break off all commerce with the Muse;
With Thought and Love companions of our way-

Whate'er the sense take or may refuse,-
The Mind's internal heaven shall shed her dews
Of inspiration on the humblest lay.
-W. Wordsworth

The flowers are all coming out and blooming, and I think from time to time that this is a bit early for that, but no use in worrying about it too much.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

sactimonious jesus freak flips out

David Fink, Pastor of the Potter's House, apparently beat his 13 year old kid with a 16 inch piece of wood, and punched him in the face, after which his 17 year old son called the cops on him. This guy loved to go around raging about the sinfulness of society, and now he flips out. Good. I personally couldn't stand the guy.
Now he's charged with child abuse. This is the kind of guy that gives Christianity a bad name. About a month ago, in my last conversation with him, he started to tell me that I was going to go to hell if I didn't believe in everything he did. I hung up on him. So yeah, I have to admit that I derive a certain amount of maybe not happiness, but definitely interest in this latest news.

Maybe he wasn't as holy and righteous as he though he was.

Here's the article:

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Potato Buttermilk bread: how 2 make

Put a half cup warm water in a large bowl with one T yeast, 1 T sugar, and 1 T salt. Allow the yeast to ferment for about fifteen minutes. Peel two potatoes and grate them. Add them to 3 cups buttermilk, and heat the mixture until it is slightly warm. Add to yeast in bowl. Then add 7 cups of flour or so and knead for at least ten minutes. The dough should look like this:

Clean bowl and put some oil in the bowl, roll the dough in it and cover the dough in the bowl with saran wrap. Let it rise for a couple hours until doubled in size. Then reknead it for five minutes and separate in two loaves and put on a pan:

Allow the bread to rise in the oven until almost double. Then bake for 50 minutes at 400 degrees.
Final result:

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Metterling Lists

Venal & Sons has at last published the long-awaited first volume of Metterling's laundry lists (The Collected Laundry Lists of Hans Metterling, Vol. I, 437 pp., plus XXXII-page introduction;indexed; $18.75), with an erudite commentary by the noted Metterling scholar Gunther Eisenbud. The decision to publish this work separately, before the completion of the immense four-volume oeuvre, is both welcome and intelligent, for this obdurate and sparkling book will instantly lay to rest the unpleasant rumors that Venal & Sons, having reaped rich rewards from the Metterling novels, play, and notebooks, diaries, and letters, was merely in search of continued profits from the same lode. How wrong the whisperers have been! Indeed, the very first Metterling laundry list

List No. 1
6 prs. shorts
4 undershirts
6 prs. blue socks
4 blue shirts
2 white shirts
6 handkerchiefs
No Starch

serves as a perfect, near-total introduction to this troubled genius, known to his contemporaries as the "Prague Weirdo." The list was dashed off while Metterling was writing Confessions of a Monstrous Cheese, that work of stunning philosophical import in which he proved not only that Kant was wrong about the universe but that he never picked up a check. Metterling's dislike of starch is typical of the period, and when this particular bundle came back too stiff Metterling became moody and depressed. His landlady, Frau Weiser, reported to friends that "Herr Metterling keeps to his room for days, weeping over the fact that they have starched his shorts." Of course, Breuer has already pointed out the relation between stiff underwear and Metterling's constant feeling that he was being whispered about by men with jowls (Metterling: Paranoid-Depressive Psychosis and the Early Lists, Zeiss Press). This theme of a failure to follow instructions appears in Metterling's only play, Asthma, when Needleman brings the cursed tennis ball to Valhalla by mistake.
The obvious enigma of the second list

List No. 2
7 prs. shorts
5 undershirts
7 prs. black socks
6 blue shirts
6 handkerchiefs
No Starch

is the seven pairs of black socks, since it has been long known that Metterling was deeply fond of blue. Indeed, for years the mention of any other color could send him into a rage, and he once pushed Rilke down into some honey because the poet said he preferred brown-eyed women. According to Anna Freud ("Metterling's Socks as an Expression of the Phallic Mother," Journal of Psychoanalysis, Nov., 1935), his sudden shift to the more sombre legwear is related to his unhappiness over the "Bayreuth Incident." It was there, during the first act of Tristan, that he sneezed, blowing the toupee off one of the opera's wealthiest patrons. The audience became convulsed, but Wagner defended him with his now classic remark, "Everybody sneezes."
-from Woody Allen, "Getting Even"

First it it was dumping down rain, then it stopped, then it dumped down some more rain. The rain can't tell what it wants to do today.
Things are starting to come out of the ground, like flowers, for example, and the bushes and trees are about ready to bloom. This is a time of year when spring hasn't got here yet, but you know it will be here in not too long.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


think of the sense of things
removed from all of the talk and conversation
the shape of squares or geometry or physical form
equations, formulas, questions, puzzles, which seem
so confusing, but the sense of things is for difference
of the totality and sweetness, energetic, heatedly mysterious
beyond all the talk of all the mortals of all times
or physical and mental well-being or construction
because what are they? What are you?
How much more than a bit of dust or the earth?
The idea of focality, swift wit, declines, dissolves
"you give me an idea," a frame of mind, a picture.
A game of positively pie-in-the-face dimensions.

Monday, February 19, 2007

on the prowl

drizzly and peaceful day. I was walking home along 12th street and the cars sounded like the roar of the surf in the background. There were many things that looked a bit photogenic, like an old stump surrounded by grass. Next time I'll bring my camera.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

last job and bread

Apparently I can't enter data as fast as they would have liked at the job I started, so I would say that I got layed off, but since I was a temp anyway, they just "ended my assignment." I thought I could have gotten up to speed in not too long, but I guess they thought it wasn't worth their time. Whatever. Entering data is not exactly the greatest job in the world anyway.
It was raining out and I was out and thinking of taking some pictures, but nothing came up that looked particularly worthy, so here is a picture of the loaf of bread I made two days ago: white bread with buttermilk. Some grated potato is a good ingredient too, I have found. Be sure to put in some salt. As far as wheat bread goes, I pretty much gave up on that. I know it is healthy and better for you and all that, but I just don't like it as well as white bread.
I also made some spinach soup that turned out okay, although it is better with sour cream. Most soup is better with sour cream.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

my pathetic life

I don't believe it. I got a job. Who would think that such a pathetic person as me could actually go out and convince somebody that I was worth hiring? I would say where I was working, but then I would probably end up being one of those bloggers that gets fired for blogging about the company where they work. Anyway, now I'm just one of the many 9-5 M-F type of people, except getting paid a whole lot less than what I imagined I would be earning by the time I got to this advanced age. It's really hard to believe I am old as I am. I guess you get up, go down to the beanery or whatever coffee shop is in the area where you are currently living, come home, read the paper, go to bed, repeat thousands and thousands of times, and you end up my age.
"Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself."

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


the thought of walking to the bean: if you check on the map, the streets are going at all sorts of angles near campus. It took me forever to figure out the best way to walk from where I live to the campus Beanery. It is especially tricky because Kings doesn't run parallel to anything. It is not at all parallel to the north-south streets. Also, the streets running more or less parallel to Monroe aren't parallel to each other either, but run at funny and confusing angles.

"The Gods are of no sect; they side with no man. When I imagine that Nature inclined rather to some few earnest and faithful souls, and specially existed for them, I go to see an obscure individual who lives under the hill, letting both gods and men alone, and find that strawberries and tomatoes grow for him too in his garden, and the sun lodges kindly under his hillside, and am compelled to acknowledge the unbribable charity of the gods."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

untitled blather

only whoso has raised
among the Shades his lyre
dares, with foreboding, aspire
to offer infinite praise.

No one but that one
who has eaten with the dead
their poppies will never forget
the softest tone.

Though the picture in the pool
before us grow dim:
Make the image yours.
Only in the dual realm will voices become
eternal and pure.

There is a world we're living in, out there somewhere. Sometimes I feel like it is out there somewhere, hardly ever making a dent on my consciousness.

somewhere over in Albany
trains run around on the tracks
the rumbling goes right through you
big dogs bark from on top of boxes
junk and old cars in front of houses
down in front of the river park
the waters come up over the pavement
lights come on as you walk by
gangters with pit bulls
women coasting along on bikes with no brakes

Things that I can do without:
1)nasty comments
2)waiting in long lines
4)mary oliver
5)kata with overly-long slow parts

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

some crazy

skinny guy rides around with headphones on, and the differing dogs and the manners, and the scanners and belts and sliding doors of the mind, conjecture and reason
the keys of mostly flea-bitten swords
deleterious mechanisma
all of the key and the mostly
natural and unnamed parting
among the daffodils and natural looks
the ideas of the inward eye
with the moments in the wash of the sea
the tides and the lengthening
the manner of who might come
into what might be the only real lever.

People stroll by the cafe and I think of that Wordsworth poem about the daffodils "fluttering and dancing in the breeze" and think how much that poem meant , or how much I first thought of it-a real different and powerful kind of language.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


I find that lowercase seems to appear to be much more attractive the uppercase most of the time. The weather was a bit warmer today, and the beanery was much the same. That place is almost mythical to me. It seems that I would hardly exist if the beanery were not there. At some level, I chart all the years of my life as relating the the beanery in some way, from the early days coming back from the vineyard with dirt on my jeans, to the middle years, getting bowled over by some poem or other, to the recent past, sitting and doing sketches or contemplating the ceiling fans. A legend in my own mind.
sitting in the bean with a cup of tea
someone scribbling poetry in the back
a cup of ceramic banging against the wood
strumming on the guitars and instruments
and keyboards, and the letters of the rivers and memories streaming out of the water-closets and incoherent prose.

The grass is green from all the rain, but the trees are bare, and yet the leaves will come back as the seasons progress and the temperature makes its way back to the warm side of things. I see that the bricks on the churches are piled in even rows, and the cracks on the pavement are arrayed in a certain way, and that each word as it is imprinted in each book has a certain type of drivel associated with it, and that the imprint of the normal and the abnormal are in a bit of a clueless abstraction.

i paused by the fountain
the water streaming down
bricks of the red library
the pausing of bicycle locks
a leaf floated across
and ant on it
the ant each in place
the water streaming to the sea
coming back again as rain
a flash of the sun
the ripples on the water

Saturday, January 20, 2007

quotidian qualms

to watch a movie or not watch a movie, that is the question.
"Know this, that God has exacted of thee less than thy iniquity deserveth."-isn't that a delightful bit of prose? It is from the book of Job, which goes to show that the God of the old testament was kind of a menacing type of guy, to say the least.

Here's a little sketch of somebody in a coffee shop. I was supposed to be editing a story, but that wasn't happening, so this was done.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

person with laptop

I was sitting around the bean, wasting time, when I decided to do a little sketch, so here it is.
The weather has been kind of cold, but I have been getting a kick out of riding around town. I nearly broke my arm about a month ago falling off my bike, so that has made me a bit more cautious about riding around, if not just nervous in general, but hopefully I learned something from the experience, like to look where I am going. some guy was out walking his dog after dark and it was foggy, and I didn't see him and he didn't see me. Actually I saw him, but there are no brakes on the top part of my handlebars. it's an old style bike where you have to reach down to reach to brakes. I realized that if I didn't have to make that motion, I never would have run into the guy. anyway, we both basically should have been looking where we were going a little more. he said he was fine, and I was lying there for a while, because I really nearly broke my arm. a month later, it's still a little tweaked out, although nothing to worry about, hopefully, but it was a shock to the system, that is for sure. Riding around in the dark is always a dangerous proposition, and if you are going to do it, make sure you have the lights, for one thing, but also always be on the lookout and drive defensively. Also, riding in the rain is even worse. But it can be done.
The usual people were at the beanery. I won't name any names, but you know who you are. That's a great hangout, if you ask me. There are large windows, and the wooden tables are nice. Sure, some of the people (like me) may be self-centered, but usually I'm just going down there to read the paper, or read a book, or stare out the window and do a sketch or two.

Monday, January 15, 2007


it remains cold. the trees on the leaves are frozen. the cats sit around and bat at things. the espresso reamains dark. frost is on the grass.

it seems to me that we live our lives in most peculiar ways, never knowing exactly what the point of it all is. is the point to sit and blog about endless insane subjects? is the point to cook up burritos with green salsa and sour cream? is the point to read again how our commander-in-chief is messing up this country to the very best of his ability?
i'm going to get out there and do some gardening this spring. vegetables and tomatos and cucumbers and cilantro and all of that kind of stuff, maybe even a tomatillo.
i noticed there is a job at IFCO, which makes pallets. that would be rough work. it would be in my financial interest to get over and apply for that job right now. however, it is to my disadvantage that i don't speak spanish, because i'm thinking it might be one of those situations where everybody else is speaking spanish, and that is kind of a problem because then i can't figure out what is going on. on the other hand, it would be a lot nicer to do almost any other kind of job. nothing against albany, but the commute over there would be a drag, and as much as i love pallets and what they do for people, i don't feel any personal attachment or commitment to them.
i'd rather work out on some sort of farm, far from the hustle and the bustle of the city. or rather, i kind of imagine that i would. it is always quite nice to get out of the city and enjoy the peacefulness of the countryside. on the other hand, i've always been in a town or city, mostly because of whatever job i was currently working at.
i did dial-a-bus for a while, and it was nice to do something on a volunteer basis. that mostly involves driving old people around from one place to another. i was thinking of trying to be a nursing assistant, but that may be too much for me. i'm not sure that i have the personal abilities to do a good job at that kind of thing, and i wouldn't want to be doing a bad job, as in ending up being rude or dismissive to old people, all of whom are having a tough time if they are in a nursing home, so i think for the moment i would rather just get some sort of manual labor job and do that. so i guess i should start learning spanish.
perhaps i should get into insurance. sit around and analyze policies. that would be good. then i could also go down to florida from time to time and enjoy the sunsets and the mixed drinks and the beaches.
or i could be like ezra pound and go crazy, make up stories about my life that made it sound much more exciting than it actually was. no, i wouldn't want to do that. something about ezra pound really bothered me. he was not truthful about his life, tried to create a fake impression of impressiveness around himself, which isn't something that i would be interested in.
then again, i could get into writing long blog posts that go nowhere. that might be something to do.

Joe went over to salem to sit around in some bars and smoke some cigarettes, mostly at those slow-moving bars where the motions happen not at all, and then suddenly. He was digesting a burger and fries. On the way back, the dark of the night was getting to him. He was feeling something through the impressions of the fog, and a nervousness was getting into his viscerae. Suddenly, he decided to head over on Independence highway over to Albany rather than go to Corvallis, and soon was passing over the rolling hills and fields of that area. He had the idea that something was going wrong, and that alcohol was going to relax him or take him out of his situation in some way, and so stopped by the bar, which was closing, and went over to the 7-11 and got some wine. He was strolling down by the train tracks, and over to the river, recalling the "cherry wine" of the Van Morrison song, and the long nights of his youth, and then was on a park bench, and then back in his car, taking a drink every once in a while and staring up at the stars. A guy came around, walking down the street at him, a very skinny guy, with a little goatee and a bizarre look on the street. He got out of the car and said, "Who are you and what are you doing?" Somehow he found out that this guy was out scouting around from his sister's house, and that at certain times in the past he had been employed, "doing laundry." Making things whiter and cleaner. Somehow that seemed interesting, and they went over to get a coffee.