Natasha Trethewey, U.S. Poet Laureate of 2012-2104, was born in Gulfport, Mississippi on April 26, 1966. I suspect that the incident described in this poem was a lived experience and not mere literary invention. There was something chilling about reading, at this time of year, the line describing “the cross trussed like a Christmas tree”. [Read more…]
During the holiday season the harp seems to stand out a bit more in the orchestral landscape than usual, although its repertoire tends to be limited to the traditional holiday fare. I find it regrettable that it doesn’t seem to get as much attention during the rest of the year, and I appreciate works outside of the holiday canon that demonstrate the versatility of the instrument. Here is a performance by Lavinia Meijer playing Philip Glass’ Metamorphosis Two, Flowing. It was recorded in the church of the Reformed Gemeente Kortenhoef for the Dutch radio station NPO 4’s program NTR Podium. [Read more…]
there is no avenging angel or red burning devil
there is only me sitting here
at the age of 70
playing with the word. [Read more…]
It’s the most wonderful time of the year for the town criers at Fox News, when reality intrudes on their dreams of a White (Evangelical) Christmas.
This year the outrage was triggered by a church nativity scene referencing hypocracy about attitudes toward immigrants and an asssertion about The Left opting for child pornography over Rudolf the Red Nose Reinder for holiday entertainment.
San Diego’s Mike Slater got the call from Fox and Friends this morning to bemoan a statanic statue in Illinois, and the banning of candy Christmas canes in a Nebraska classroom.
Last year it was the #MeToo movement spoiling office holiday parties as companies limit alcohol consumption. And who could forget the 2015 uproar over Starbucks cups with “no Christmas designs?” [Read more…]
There’s a funeral toast, “Here’s to a man whose like won’t come this way again.” That’s Bob Dorn. Writer, jazz man, stone mason, gardener, cook, and maker of carnival masks; he was also a warm, witty, and constant friend. About that last semi-colon, Bob and I had two caffeine-fueled discussions on the semi-colon, which he put to bed with these words,
“I think the notion that language usage should (or could) be proper is
‘… a hobgoblin of small minds’ (Emerson). Communication is the proper aim of writing.”
When I met Bob early in 2013 he had been playing the trumpet for many years, and for me jazz informed his writing in ways wonderful and a little mysterious. After asking him about the process in a couple of different ways, Bob emailed on his 74th birthday,
“Music’s even more mysterious to me than
language but the comparison isn’t fair because language …. ? I was
gonna say it’s more like rocks fitted together and music has structure,
but that’s not good enough because there are musicians who can
can explain the system but they often can’t play as well as others who
nevertheless can’t explain the system. There’s a so-what in there,
someplace. One thing that comes to mind is
that there are alternative phrases in jazz and writing. A phrase like,
“dawn came a little slowly…” might be jazzy, but “he waited for a dawn
that never seemed to arrive” is more like writing.”
Updated Jan. 5, 2019: to include memorial service info [Read more…]
I tried to leave
can be cruel
to women and children
unkind to the strangers
she once was herself
in a remote countries
and there she was
looking out of starry eyes
Stowed in my suitcase
carried over seas of clouds [Read more…]
Pulling back the curtain on the ostensibly “bipartisan” orientation for newly elected members of Congress at Harvard’s Kennedy School in Boston, Reps.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) informed the public through live social media updates on Thursday that—contrary to the ideologically neutral advertising—the private conference featured a heavy dose of speeches by corporate CEOs and completely shut out organized labor and members of the progressive community.
“Our ‘bipartisan’ congressional orientation is co-hosted by a corporate lobbyist group,” Ocasio-Cortez noted, likely referring to the Koch-funded American Enterprise Institute, which is co-sponsoring the event. “Other members have quietly expressed to me their concern that this wasn’t told to us in advance. Lobbyists are here. Goldman Sachs is here. Where’s labor? Activists? Frontline community leaders?” [Read more…]
When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when you’re feeling sad, what are some of your favorite things to think of? For Trump, when his friends flip, when his day sucks and his hair looks bad, Randy has some insight into what might be going through Trump’s mental playground. [As usual, Randy is NFSW, so there’s that] (h/t to AGD) [Read more…]
The path away from planetary hell got a little steeper with release of a trio of scientific papers produced by 76 scientists from 57 research institutions in 15 countries associated with the Global Carbon Project on the eve of the opening of the 24th annual U.N. climate conference in Poland.
‘Everybody knows’ that something must be done and soon to at least keep the planet habitable for our species beyond the next century. The problem has been the lack of an agreement on a comprehensive course of actions bold enough to have an impact.
Cap and trade, carbon taxes, and increased government regulation are all (probably) well-intentioned piecemeal approaches. All of them together, assuming the political will to implement them could be found, still aren’t enough. [Read more…]
I didn’t think much of the novel, Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami while I was reading it. But just like the Beatles song of the same name, that became a maddening earworm for weeks after hearing it recently, the story keeps creeping into my thoughts and coloring my perspective of life.
Life is dark and sad and fraught with uncertainty, and yet buried in all of that sadness are bits of light and delight – like tasting the fruit of a Peruvian Apple Cactus that seems at first to be tasteless, but suddenly delights your mouth with an irresistible crystalline popping sensation.
Uncovering these hidden gems in a bleak life is the raison d’être of artists. We spend our lives with imaginary magnifying glasses extended, searching for the ubiquitous gems hidden in plain sight. That moment when a reader exclaims, “Ah yes, I’ve had that feeling!” or, “I never thought about it in this way until I read what you wrote,” is when I feel that I have lived with a purpose. [Read more…]
This year we have looked back on the U.S. of 1968, including the assassinations of Dr. King and presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy. However, for hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops overseas or on the seas, we were not here. Those of us trained for combat were serving in the major duty areas of Vietnam, Germany, and South Korea for 12-month assignments or longer.
The lack of the internet, cell phones, or even U.S. television disconnected us from these events. We were immersed in military life, which was and is very structured, with defined duties and daily accountability to one’s superiors and fellow soldiers. 1968 was the height of the Vietnam War and there was a military machine operating 24/7 with equipment to run, planes to fly, ships to sail, communications to process and with millions of people coming in, being trained, getting out. [Read more…]
By Gabe Ortiz / Daily Kos
José Andrés’ latest humanitarian mission shows why he not only deserves his recent nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, but also why he deserves to win it. The chef has taken his famed World Central Kitchen to the Mexican side of the southern border, where in the last few days he estimates he has fed as many as 3,000 refugees a day. He tells The Washington Post he’s there because he’s compelled to be there.
“’In the end, it’s very simple,” he said. “Our motto comes from John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’ Wherever there’s a fight so hungry people may eat, I will be there.” The Washington Post reports that “then Andrés put his own amendment on Steinbeck’s famous line: ‘We will be there,’ he added.” Over 30 volunteers are there currently helping a smaller group of World Central Kitchen people. [Read more…]