Sunday, March 31, 2013
This grand show is eternal.
It is always sunrise somewhere:
the dew is never all dried at once:
a shower is forever falling, vapor is ever rising.
Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming,
on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn,
as the round earth rolls.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
This poem is by Seamus Heaney from "Opened Ground; Selected Poems 1966-1996"
I never warmed to them.
If they were excellent they were petulant
and jaggy as the holly tree
they rendered down for ink.
And if I never belonged among them,
they could never deny me my place.
In the hush of the scriptorium
a black pearl kept gathering in them
like the old dry glut inside their quills.
In the margin of texts of praise
they scratched and clawed.
They snarled if the day was dark
or too much chalk had made the vellum bland
or too little left it oily.
Under the rumps of lettering
they herded myopic angers.
Resentment seeded in the uncurling
fernheads of their capitals.
Now and again I started up
miles away and saw in my absence
the sloped cursive of each back and felt them
perfect themselves against me page by page.
Let them remember this not inconsiderable
contribution to their jealous art.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
I live in a house of sand and dust and dog hair. It is a Sisyphean task to keep clean, 24/7 dusting and vacuuming and washing is futile since an hour after dusting, there's a new layer. So, there I was in Staples looking at keyboards when suddenly, there it was; a new type of keyboard -- A WASHABLE keyboard, with the keys floating above a flat board like little square plastic mushrooms on fat little pillars. It's a Logitech and -- if it indeed works as planned -- when it becomes filled to the brim with dust, sand and dog hairs, I can just unplug it, slip the little protective cap on the USB port, run it under warm water with a little spritz of dish-washing liquid, let it drain and dry and I'll be good to go.
No more running through cans of compressed air or poking around with a brush and pin to fish dog hair out of the crevices like I had to constantly do on the old style keyboards. With this one, there are no crevices. The pillars keep the keys floating above the dust and hair so a quick blow sends them all scattering off the flat surface.
Woo-hoo. Now, let's hope the washable part works also, though it's so flat and crevice-free it doesn't look like it would actually need washing, just a quick wipe with a damp microfiber cloth.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
And, Lo, it cometh to pass. Senator Harry Reid stripped out the assault weapons portion from Senator Feinstein's gun bill before taking it forward for a vote. Reason? He doesn't think a single Republican and a number of Democrats, fearful of losing their next election in a gun-loving district, will vote to reduce those "weapons of war" on our streets.
The New York Post carried a front page with photos of the dead children and the words, "Shame on US." Shame? Not a bit of it. Not this gun-sick, gun-addicted country. So, we wait for the next mass shooting. After all, we've now got a target to go for -- 20 kids. That's a record and in this country, we love challenges. So load and lock, America. The game is on.
Country SongWhen I was young, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and unicorns were plentiful, "country" music was pretty plain, twangy and rootsy as hell. Bill Monroe and Hank Williams were just getting barely traction with a wider audience, but most of country music was generally considered to be some kind of low-class, hayseed stuff relegated to low-power radio stations in the Bible belt. But somewhere in there rock and roll started drifting into the Appalachians and when I next looked up, Old Timey country had turned into "country/western" and it had changed from a whiny simplicity (mah dawg died, mah wife ran off with another man, ah'm waiting ta go ta Jesus) into something far more frisky and upbeat and downright witty.
Since our local KYNS station turned into a Faux Noise wannabe, I started listening more to our several Country stations and one thing I began to notice is how unstereotypical and revelatory country lyrics are. I mean, to a latte-sipping liberal progressive like me, I always assumed gender roles in "country" were pretty rigid: big, tough, macho guys and helpless, sweet, little gals, (and of course, dead hound dawgs and a pickup that won't run.)
Surprisingly, that's not the story that comes out of the songs. Instead, the guys are helpless, sweet, soft and in thrall to their women, without which they'd be nothing but an abject failure, a loser puddle outside the local bar. And you should hear the tender, sweet songs they sing about the love they feel for their little daughters. The word "sentimental" doesn't even begin to cover that tender sweetness.
As for the women, Holy Shit. They are the macho, rawhide tough, fully self-sufficient, whip-cracking adults riding herd over their errant child-men and willing to go to war if betrayed. Prime sample: "I'm a Tornado," sung full-throat by a whirlwind Medea in cowboy boots, a vengeful Dorothy whose man has done her wrong and she's baaaaack as a force-10, squared, who's gonna lift up his house, turn it around and bury it deep in the earth . . . with him in it. Yikes!
It's all funny, rich stuff. And happy feet music, to boot.
Is it just me or does anyone else feel that the world would be a better place if the whole murderous "family" that battered Dystiny Myers, should all be wiped off the face of the earth? Mommy Dearest eating her own children alive and consuming everything around her, Medea in an orange jump suit. Perfect example of what scociopaths and meth can do to people.
And in a surprise move, one of the killers, Cody Lane Miller, who plead out to a 39 year sentence, changed his plea and asked for life in prison, no possibility of parole, because he said he feels he doesn't deserve forgiveness with plea-deal lighter sentence. If that's a genuine attempt at penance, at least one soul here has a chance at redemption. But what a waste.
Monday, March 18, 2013
Sunday, March 17, 2013
This posem is by Wistawa Szymborska, from her book, "Poems New and Collected."
This spring the birds came back again too early.
Rejoice, O reason; instinct can err, too.
It gathers wool, it dozes off -- and down they fall
into the snow, into a foolish fate, a death
that doesn't suit their well-wrought throats and splendid claws,
their honest cartilage and consientious webbing,
the heart's sensible sluice, the entrails' maze,
the nave of ribs, the vertebrae in stunning enfilades,
feathers deserving their own wing in any crafts museum,
the Benedictine patience of the beak.
This is not a dirge -- no, it's only indignation.
An angel made of earthbound protein,
a living kite with glands straight from the Song of Songs,
singular in air, without number in the hand,
its tissues tied into a common knot
of place and time, as in an Aristotelian drama
unfolding to the wings' applause,
falls down and lies beside a stone,
which in its own archaic, simpleminded way
sees life as a chain of failed attempts.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Pathetic. That’s what it is, pathetic. I mean, look:
Hours of pruning, whacking, trimming and there it is. Ugly on a stick. Look again:
Rhubarb’s asleep, tomatoes gone, the scraggy, leafless bush-type thingee against the fence is soon to get a severe haircut, making the place even more bare. All of it made worse since this is the picture in my head. There it was, just a few short months ago in all its glory:
Including the resurrected mallow plant.
But now all is drear, depressing, messy, asleep, clipped, trimmed and waiting. The sand is damp from the recent rain and full of long useless holes dug by the greyhounds who are reincarnated coal miners, always burrowing in search of a cool place to park their butts or a nice narrow, smelly hole to stick their snooters in for a sniff. Don’t ask, I have no clue what they’re thinking.
But despite weather that’s lurching hot then cold, spring is on the way, the vernal equinox just around the corner. In the front yard, in a large pot, the new baby Rogers Red grapevine has gotten the word, sending out its soft fuzzy leaves, searching for the sun. It’s a small handful of hope, heading for the sky. The rest of the garden will follow.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
On the upside, having now had a 2-hour preview of Disneyland's new Oz ride, I won't have to go to Anaheim to see Disneyland's newest Oz ride. Been there, done that. At the Bay Theatre. With popcorn.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Yea, Though I Walk
beside the unpaved road
the shepherd often passes here
with his hundred sheep
their hooves churning the soft sand
the lambs bouncing as they follow along.
We walked under the palms
to see the shepherd lead
his traveling company
but they had gone by earlier
the dust had settled.
Under the stunted bush
a cool hollow in the sand
in it a lamb too lame to follow
a lamb with its feet wired together
lifted its little face.
Friday, March 08, 2013
Ah, Supervisor Gibson. He’s the gift that keeps on giving. And in this case, the gift that keeps on costing the county. And keeps Tribune reporter, Bob Cuddy, fully employed. Case in point, a March 7 story, “Gibson’s email search daunting; Sifting through 5 years of files while ensuring privacy isn’t easy – or cheap.”
No, indeed, it isn’t cheap, but thanks to the Public Records Act, it’s gotta be done when former Los Osos CSD Director, Julie Tacker, decided she smelled a possible rat in the Gibson Canoodlegate and sent in a PRA for the emails. And since she thinks there is a rat in the pile of paper but she doesn’t know where it’s lurking, so she requested the whole pile, which has to be sifted.
So there sits a county employee and a county attorney, rustle-rustle-rustle, a Rumplestiltskin-like pile of paper before them, spinning it all into redacted gold, line by line, page by page, 1,300 down and 14,000 more to go.
Ridiculous, you say? Well, if you think somebody’s the sort of character who breaks the rules with impunity, is up to no good, who sneaks around behaving badly, then when found out, games the system and basically indicates that he’s above the social norms of behavior, well, you might be inclined to think that this personage has likely been up to no good in other areas of his career not involving romance. Like maybe this personage has been skating over the line and has gotten involved in other wrong doing or illegalities.
So you put in a PRA and the County starts sifting and runs up the bill, which in this case, may end up costing a few thousand dollars with a 50/50 chance it’s all a wild goose chase. And Bob Cuddy writes another story and the Tribune sells a few more papers. And the Supervisors are left to roll their eyes again and lie quietly in the bed Mr. Gibson has made for them.
Speaking of Rodents
I never thought I’d live to see the day when I would praise Libertarian Wing-Nut, Congressman Rand Paul, but I’m here to praise him for his stunt: Filibustering for 13 hours on the floor of the Congress to demand the answer to a question he already had. Silly, yes, but by gosh, he had the guts to filibuster the way it should be done – in public, his face and name all over his remarks, ‘splaining to any and all what his objections are about, what his point is, right there in the middle of Congress, in public, instead of using the silent, secret un-American shiv in a back room the way Senator McConnell does it.
So, good on Rand Paul. Some of his blathering trivialized the whole drone-killing debate – Rest peacefully, Jane Fonda, you’re in no danger – but at least Paul dragged the beast out into the public eye where it needs to be. I can only hope that the debate doesn’t get stuck in the “Let’s Kill Jane Fonda” nut-case mode that the media loves, but can seriously engage the public. Drones are here to stay and whether we use them well or ill, whether they increase our freedoms or diminish them, depends on how we act now to control their use. And that discussion will have to be guided by adults and the rules of engagement will have to be debated by adults who understand that the real world lies somewhere between appallingly sociopathic Dick Cheney’s “dark side,” and the sitting duck smile of Dr. Pangloss.
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Piedras Blancas Light Station Association has started a new fundraiser, "The Lighthouse Path Brick Paver Project." For $100 you can buy an engraved brick which will be used to line the path around the lighthouse with all proceeds going to support the restoration of Piedras Blancas Light Station (just north of San Simeon.) The bricks allow for three lines, each line can have up to 16 characters, and you can purchase multiple bricks. Bricks can honor individuals, your entire family, or commemorate a special date (like an anniversary). And after the pavers are laid, you can go visit your brick whenever you wish, knowing you're now a part of a very special place.
If you haven't been up there recently, you're missing something. The lighthouse is all painted now, the surrounding grounds have been completely restored to native habitat which is spectacular and plans are underfoot to rebuild the lightkeepers original home.
Guided tours run Monday through Saturday day Starting June 15 through Aug 31st. Visitors meet in the parking lot of the old motel just past the lighthouse on Hwy 1 at 9:45 and caravan into the grounds. The tours are 2 hours in length and include a 1/2 mile walk that included spectacular ocean views.
So, if you're looking for a special gift or a perfect gift for your whole family, give the brick-selling folks a call at 927-3719 (unfortunately, they don't have ordering information on their website yet) or drop them a note as ask for the brick order forms to be sent to you. Their address is Piedras Blancas Light Station Association, PO Box 127, San Simeon, CA 93452.
Sunday, March 03, 2013
Outside the Mainway Market
Every day, our mother says,
kids die on those goddamed things,
and she nods at the lone yellow horse
with the red vinyl bridle
and four black, shining hooves
like police hat brims.
Not only do we stop our five-part
begging, we walk wide around the beast,
though Mary brushes the coin box
with her sleeve.
Rigid in flight, the great horse's legs
flange out towards us. Not one of us argues.
We hold onto our mother's coat, cross
several streets, touch the dog we always touch
when we walk home, fingering
his freckled snout. Then we scream
and run in the yard while supper cooks,
and the sky shudders pale for some seconds
before it darkens, as if in that lavender moment,
three blocks away, a child drops
the reins and gasps as his shoes fly off,
and plumes of smoke rise
from the crown of his hand-knit hat.