Sunday, November 30, 2008

Phil's Quick and Easy Chinese Mexican Chow Mein

1 pkg. Nissin Chow Mein1

1 8oz pkg. John Soules Foods Fully Cooked Fajitas2 (refrigerated)

1 cup Fresh Express 3-Color Deli Cole Slaw3

large pasta bowl (20oz)
chopsticks (or fork)

*      *      *

Microwave chow mein box as per instructions, placing the box on a microwave-safe plate to catch any overflow. (I have found that I need to add a bit more water above the "fill line" on the box.) While the noodles and other ingredients to be cooked are microwaving, put the cole slaw in the bowl and add the remaining ingredients from the Nissin package on top. When the noodles have finished microwaving, remove plate and box from microwave, set the noodles aside, and pour any overflow onto the plate into the bowl. Put contents of fajita package on plate, cover with a paper towel, and microwave as per instructions. Add the noodles and fajitas to the bowl and mix. Eat!


1. Chinese Chicken Vegetable, Orange Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken, Spicy Chicken, Teriyaki Beef, Chicken, Thai Peanut, or Shrimp

2. Chicken Breast or Beef (more or less can be added, as desired)
3. (more or less can be added, as desired)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's like turtles . . .

A poem is a poem ...
but a poem prompt prompts for poems —
itself, poem or not.

A prompt for poem prompts ...
could recurse ... It's like turtles
all of the way down!

If this poem itself
were prompt ... would it be its own
prompt and circumstance?

prompted by read write poem prompt #55 (a prompt for poem prompts)

This triptych haiku is an example of what I would call a Gödel poem: a poem that reflects on itself endlessly.

Also see: Global Poetry Prompt Appreciation Day, and Poster Poems by Billy Mills

Friday, November 28, 2008

Why turn your poem into an alien?

There is some discussion on read write poem about — who would have thought! — words. "Obscure" words in poems are double-edged swords: they can be just the "right" word in the right place, or they could send the reader grumbling to the dictionary. Making the reader do that too often may not be good for business — some say. Allusions, such as cultural artifacts or historical names, can pose the same or even greater problem.

But if your poem sits in a blog and not in a book, there is a simple technical solution. Consider the following couplet and the "code" behind it:

Why turn your poem into an alien?
It looks like a sesquipedalian!

Why turn your poem into an alien?
It looks like a

<span title="Given to the use of long words" style="color: #333333;">sesquipedalian</span>!

When the curious reader sends his mouse to sit on top of sesquipedalian in the couplet (try it), the definition will appear in a text box. No need to run to or search a dictionary.

Here is a more functional version of the above couplet:

Why turn your poem into an alien?
It looks like a sesquipedalian!

Why turn your poem into an alien?
It looks like a

<a href="" style="text-decoration: none;"><span title="Given to the use of long words" style="color: #333333;">sesquipedalian</span></a>!

What is different in this version is that, in addition to giving the reader the definition in a box, when sesquipedalian is clicked, a dictionary page is revealed. The same idea works even better for "obscure" allusions.

There are more advanced webby ways (Cascading Style Sheets) to accomplish fancier things (e.g. prettier pop-ups), but it is as simple as this using "style"s and "span"s. The color #333333 (which happens to be the color of my blog's standard text) was used to color sesquipedalian to make it seem like nothing is going on, until the curious reader's mouse sniffs around it. But anything goes. Of course when the poem is printed, all help is lost.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ping-pong poetry

Bruce Lee would have been 68 today. He is called an "icon", and in this case, I would not call that a trivialization of the word. Like James Dean, who also died too soon, he is frozen in a state of perpetual youth. I don't think many were — are — immune to his on-screen sexual magnetism. (A Bruce Lee poster has a prominent place in Tony Manero's bedroom in Saturday Night Fever, 1977.)

I vividly remember him as Kato on The Green Hornet (1966-67), but only vaguely as the blind investigator Mike Longstreet's martial arts instructor (1971-72). I was in college when I saw Enter The Dragon (1973). By then, Bruce Lee had already died.

Now, thirty-five years later, Bruce Lee "comes back to life" in a 2008 Nokia ad.

Here Nokia has done an amazing Forest Gump style blending of an archival Bruce Lee nunchaku bit into a ping-pong video fakery.

People will indeed remember his kung fu artistry and neo-Confucian philosophy, but what I want to remember today is his poetry. There are eight poems published in Artist of Life (by Bruce Lee; foreword by Linda Lee Cadwell; introduction and edited by John Little; Tuttle Publishing, 2001). Today being Thanksgiving, I would like to thank John Little for this collection.

Here are three Bruce Lee poems:

The Dying Sun

The dying sun lies sadly in the far horizon.
The autumn wind blows mercilessly;
The yellow leaves fall.
From the mountain peak,
Two streams parted unwillingly,

One to the West, one to the East.
The sun will rise again in the morning.
The leaves will be green again in spring.
But must we be like the mountain stream,
Never to meet again?

Boating on Lake Washington

I live in memory of a dream
Which has come and gone;
In solitude I sit on my boat
As it glides freely down the tranquil lake.

Across the blue sky, the swallows fly in couples;
On the still water, the Mandarin ducks swim, side by side.
Leaning on the oar I gaze at the water far away.
The sky far away, the loved one far away.

The sun goes down in flame on the far horizon,
And soon the sunset is rushing ti its height through
Every possible phase of violence and splendor.
The setting of the sun is supposedly a word of peace,
But an evening like the soft and invisible
Bonds of affection only adds distress to my heart.

Over the lake the round moon rises bright
And floods the horizon with her silver light.
I look into the water; it is as clear as the night.

When the clouds float past the moon,
I see them floating in the lake,
And I feel as though I were rowing in the sky.
Suddenly I thought of you---mirrored in my heart.

The lake sleeps in peace,
Not the faintest murmur of waves can be heard.
Lying back on the boat,
I try to conjure up the land of dream where I may seek for you.
But, alas, no dreams come.
Only a moving point of fire in the dark,
The distant light of a passing boat.

For A Moment

For a moment
The surrounding utters no sound.
Time ceases.
The paradise of dreams come true.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country
that wants to impose its will on the rest of us ...
[It] is a very dangerous threat to anybody
who believes in traditional religion.

— Newt Gingrich on The O'Reilly Factor

Writer and historian Patricia Nell Warren has an article in The Huffington Post on the history of political fascism, its connections to Christianity, and how Hitler's image has been manipulated by the American right.1

But it is the irony of using the word "fascist" to refer to gays that, as a word-curious poet, fascinates me: "fascist" and "faggot" come from the same Latin ancestor, "fasces" — a bundle of sticks!2

On one lineage ("fascist"), it was a representation of power and authority taken from the Roman Empire. On the other ("faggot"), it was either something to be burned — whether witches or cigarettes — or (even more ironically) something to call a man who doesn't have the burden of a wife to carry around.3

That last sense of using the word was one I hadn't heard before.


1. Newt Gingrich and "Gay Fascists"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Looking Wimpy

The stakes for dark matter go beyond cosmology.
The most favored candidates for its identity come
from a theory called supersymmetry, [which] posits
the existence of a realm of as-yet-undiscovered particles.
They would be so-called wimps* — weakly interacting
massive particles — which feel gravity and little else,
and could drift through the Earth like wind through a screen door.

The New York Times, November 25, 2008
"A Whisper, Perhaps, From the Universe’s Dark Side"
Dennis Overbye

Lazy, always hungry, always eating,
Weighty Wimpy's weekly interacting:
He would gladly pay you Tuesday for a
Galaxy-sized hamburger on this day.
In the dark, leaves tricky Wimpy's nonsense,
Innocents who fail to see the pretense.

Seasoned patrons, science's refiners,
Physicists and customers in diners,
Wimpy mystifies both priest and layman.
Hey now: Is he real or is he daemon?
Hamburgers and galaxies sucked in by
Gravitational pulls they can't deny.

   (Nothing more reveals in double-sestet
    This tro·cha'·ic pen'·ta·me'·ter sonnet.)

* "Dark matter looks to be particularly wimpy" [PDF]
   Nature News, April 19, 2007

for read write poem prompt #54: (not) following the rules
(wherein WIMPs break rules of science and Wimpy breaks rules of good sense)

see also When µWorlds Collide

Monday, November 24, 2008

What transcends existence?

Hokoji, a philosophy student, asked the haiku poet Basho, "What transcends existence?" Basho replied:

I will answer that
when you swallow the Xi Jiang
river in one draught

Hokoji suddenly became calm, bowed respectfully, took a cup of tea, and drank it down in a single gulp.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Of a long weekend

Of a long weekend, forty-five years ago,

Sitting in my fourth grade class, on a Friday,

Listening to the principal on the intercom telling us that President Kennedy had been killed,

Getting told to go home,

Riding home on my bike on a cloudy day,

Seeing a next-door neighbor, Dorcas Johnson, working in her garden,

Being asked why I was home so early,

Telling her what happened,

Seeing her go inside, not believing me,

Finding my Dad at home, off sick from work that day,

Hearing him say that he already knew,

Watching Oswald get shot in the stomach on live TV, on Sunday, two days later,

Running to the kitchen to tell my parents,"Oswald just got shot!",

Watching the funeral procession on TV in the school library the next day, a Monday,

I have indelible memories.

prompted by the post Forty Five Years on firedoglake

Saturday, November 22, 2008

différance in the league

by Steve Bell (The Guardian, 1992)*

In the West now we find many intellectuals who take part
against the intellect. If you want an example, look at Richard Rorty** [...]
Consider his philosophy of anti-foundationalism. There is no foundation
to things discoverable by the intellect, and no foundation to the things
that we believe, no reason to believe them; they're mere assertions.
And being mere assertions, they're ultimately political assertions.
Activating your intellect, using your bean, doesn't help.
It doesn't change anything.

The Heritage Foundation, Lecture #337

Anyone who follows academic philosophy blogs, even if only a few of them, knows that there is something — supposedly related to one's philosophical orientation — called the "analytic/continental divide" (or "analytic/continental distinction") that is debated from time to time. (See, for example, Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog). There are even conferences on the matter: Analytic vs. Continental? Rapprochement? — a mini-conference at the 2008 AAS Conference.

One has a certain picture in their mind of analytics being the science-y types and continentals being the artsy types of the philosophy world. I also have this picture of — in addition to mini-confererences — philosophy departments having an annual softball-basketball-bowling-etc. match like the Republicans and Democrats do in the Annual Congressional Baseball Game, but with ANALYTICS or CONTINENTALS emblazoned on their jerseys.

(If anything, I prefer to sit on the scrimmage line with the postanalytic philosophers. Maybe they are the referees — though I am a bit biased toward the side of the underdog.)

But would there be enough CONTINENTALS to even field a team? A cursory search led me to a couple of examples. A news release from the University of Alberta noted the recent hiring of a professor who "[specializes in] continental philosophy, including existentialism, phenomenology, poststructuralism, deconstruction[ism], and post[-]modernism" — that's a good sign — while the University of Rochester flatly states "deconstructionism and existentialism are not offered in the department".

In the annual Congressional game, the teams are separated along political lines. But is there any sort of political split in the above imaginary philosophical match? Steve Gimbel, in Politics and the History of 20th Century Philosophy (Philosophers' Playground), concludes: There simply is no neat mapping of the analytic/continental divide onto the contemporary American political split.

My own conception is that in American college and university philosophy departments the political leanings are overwhelmingly liberal, and they are mostly reliable Democratic voters, whether they are "analytic" or "continental", but the few who are conservative are much more likely to be "analytic" — as long as we are talking "divide" here. There are, no doubt, quite a few continentals who are anarchists or libertarians of some sort. But then I am reminded of the definition of "libertarian" as being a Republican on drugs.

A conservative case is Alvin Plantinga, John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, evangelical Calvinist, called by Time magazine "America’s leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God", and a leading critic of Darwinism from an analytic-philosophical framework. He touts, for example: Christianity, these days, and in our part of the world, is on the move, There are many signs pointing in this direction: the growth of Christian schools, of the serious conservative Christian denominations ... .

And how did the "serious conservative Christian" churches vote? People who described themselves as born-again evangelicals, presumably energized by the vice-presidential candidacy of Sarah Palin, were firmly behind McCain by a huge margin of 47 percentage points.

On the other hand there is Francis Fukuyama, who has been called an American postmodernist on the right, now writes in Newsweek (Oct 13, 2008): It's hard to fathom just how badly these signature features of the American brand have been discredited. Between 2002 and 2007, while the world was enjoying an unprecedented period of growth, it was easy to ignore those European socialists and Latin American populists who denounced the U.S. economic model as "cowboy capitalism." But now the engine of that growth, the American economy, has gone off the rails and threatens to drag the rest of the world down with it. Worse, the culprit is the American model itself: under the mantra of less government, Washington failed to adequately regulate the financial sector and allowed it to do tremendous harm to the rest of the society.

Fukuyama, of course, ended up voting for Obama. I guess he is now post-(neo)conservative as well.

What is most intriguing though — and this is where the politics comes in — is that while there may be anti-"continental" grumblings from some academic analytic philosophers (witness that now-famous letter to Cambridge University), and some — hopefully few — departments that actually "ban" them (so much for diversity), in the conservative political world there is nothing like the "postmodern anti-foundationalists", called out by name**, who are hung out to be their philosophical punching bags.

I've never seen analytic philosophers receive such attention. Perhaps it is because, unlike the continental or postmodern philosophers, they are not seen to be a threat.


* The cartoon refers to a letter that was sent to Cambridge University in 1992 asking them not to award an honorary degree to Jacques Derrida. W.V. Quine was one of the signers.

** Besides Rorty (and Derrida of course) are names like Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and Sartre. The Heritage Foundation, Lecture #136

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Gay LIFE


more ...

Income and Obama

from red state blue state rich state poor state

This is one of the more dramatic charts from the 2008 presidential election. The Republican vote share peaked within an income range of $75,000 to $125,000 at about 50%, and then decreased from there to comfortably below 50% at the $250,000 income level. This is in stark quantitative — and qualitative — contrast to 2004, where then it zoomed above 60%.

I didn't find a chart extending this to higher income levels (I would suppose sample size would be problematic), but still, the above chart counters many presumptions.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Burning Bush

The Kuwaiti oil fires were a result of the scorched earth policy
of Iraqi military forces retreating from Kuwait in 1990 after
conquering the country but being driven out by the military
forces of the United States and other nations ...

Bush is taking a leaf
from the pages of history
and using it as kindling
to leave behind his own scorched-earth legacy

in the wake of his escape
(how much they take on the looks
of former foes [e.g., the mean Hussein]
just like in the comic books)—

you could read it in his face
at the White House door
that day the Obamas first came:
Let's get this over

with, so I can get back to leaving as big a disaster
as I can to totally screw the Democratic victor.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

From Gaea Shorn

photograph by Martin Kingsley
Drawing Lines In The Sky (2006)

Now some four billion suns have passed the sky.
Upon this fractal world's horizons rise
the beasts that won dominion. With the tie

to Gaea shorn, an order they devise
with true lines made above the jaggèd earth,
zealously feeding from her mere supplies.

They spread their brood around fair Gaea's girth,
strip bare her fragile skin and sully air.
Can next green generations save their berth?

From Gaea comes the urgent plea: "Forswear
the plunder of my soils; replenish me.
My sunlight, wind, and tides and heat prepare

for your nine billion future souls to be."
Then Gaea turns to earth and sky and sea.

for read write poem image prompt #3: gypo#53

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Faint Andrew

Andrew Sullivan wrote after Proposition 8 passed

"My advice to the marriage movement: educate, speak, reach out. Stop the litigating. Resist the impulse to revel in victimhood. It may be justified and I certainly know how it feels, but it doesn't change any minds. That's what we have to re-focus on. And that's the only reason we have had the success we have had. Patience, diligence, charity: these are what a civil rights movement needs to stand for."

and more recently

"Both supporters and opponents have asked for a judicial ruling on whether the initiative can stand. My own view is that it should stand, and the court should decline to reverse it. We lost. They won in a fair fight. No whining."

and (even worse)

"The LDS [Mormon] church has every right to lobby for the public law to reflect their religious truths, and if the majority of others agree, there is not much a minority of gay people can do about it."*

What he doesn't mention here is that it took a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the laws making interracial marriage illegal, and that this was three years after the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

It is hard to figure out his aversion to — and his blatant ignoring of — the constitutional process that has figured so prominently in establishing minority and individual rights in this country. I know he is British (Britain has no constitution), living in America, and not an American citizen, but there is something else confusedly strange going on with him. (Being a gay, conservative Catholic? Who knows.)

But being a psychologist is outside my "pay grade".


(11/19/2008): Since I first posted this, Andrew has posted Dissents of the Day, which at least quotes some readers with a knowledge of constitutional history and law and their significance for minority rights.

But he still calls them "dissents": opinions on the "other side". I suppose even creationist bloggers, who of course have as much of a free-speech right as anyone, could post comments from evolutionary biologists, the dissenters in that case.

(11/20/2008): A meager inking appears in Faint Andrew. One can tell he has not read the California Supreme Court's 150+ pages of majority opinion delivered on May 15th.

* The first part of this last quote is true, of course. The last part is pure baloney.


When I read the day after the election about the meeting to be held at Brent Bozell's "weekend" home that would include Leonard Leo, Grover Norquist, and Tony Perkins, sitting around the table to discuss how conservatism can make a comeback, I was taken back to the bridge playing sequence in Sunset Boulevard, with Gloria Swanson (Norma Desmond), and Buster Keaton, Anna Q. Nilsson, and H.B. Warner (playing themselves).

Two scenes almost sixty years apart of four creaky, creepy has-beens.

Now I read that Newt Gingrich, as part of his "return", wants to make his mark with
I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion.

(I think he just called his sister, Candace, a fascist.)

I see. It's Newt Gingrich who's the Norma Desmond in this tale*.

* The script could almost (re)write itself:

You're Newt Gingrich. You used to be in politics. You used to be big.
Newt: I am big. It's the politics that got small.

I didn't know you were planning a comeback.
Newt: I hate that word. It's a return, a return to the millions of people who have never forgiven me for deserting the campaign.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Slam Poet Hippie-Hopp Doggie-Dogg

Jumpin' to th'mic at this poetry jam slam
I'm no fool don't view me like a ham ma'am

This doggie dogg        don't get flogged

I ain't no bad dog    shit, I don't sin man
Don'cha say I sound like Say-rah Pay-lin

I'm on it        doggonit

Don't look t'me for any crash landing
Just you see I'll be the last bitch standing

Pleased'ta meet'cha        you bet'cha

Hope my jam will leave'ya with a smile
C'back next time to see me do-it Doggie-style

Lizard Lounge Poetry Jam:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Book or MacBook? (or Kindle?)

Or if you will, thrusting me beneath your clothing,

Where I may feel the throbs of your heart or rest upon your hip,

Carry me when you go forth over land or sea;

For thus merely touching you is enough, is best,

And thus touching you would I silently sleep and be carried eternally.

"Whoever You Are Holding Me Now in Hand", Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

This weekend I have been watching the Miami Book Fair International 20081 on C-SPAN2.2 In an interview on Saturday, Mitchell Kaplan (book fair chairperson) made a comment to the effect that, even in the growing shift of eyes of the reading public from printed pages to electronic screens, books still draw consumers.

Some might be tempted to say that's because the quality of the content in many books is superior to what can be found via the Internet in digital form. But — in principle — this is nonsense. There is nothing in principle preventing any book content from being delivered to your MacBook (or Amazon Kindle3 or whatever device comes next).

No, there is something else that will keep books alive: their physical materiality. The unopened book is a three-dimensional cube you can carry around — you can let it tell people what you're cool with. Opening it reveals paper pages that have a certain sensual texture; you don't get the same tactile experience with a glassy computer screen. Its inked words have a physical presence that is missing in mere pixels. You can curl up with — and curl — a book; that's not easy to do with a MacBook. (Although a Kindle comes a bit closer in this regard, it still will not have the material, physical, presence of the printed book — though I think it could nicely replace the unwieldy, fingers-smudging printed newspaper.)

It is true, for example, you can read Leaves of Grass electronically and do the things computers can do but books can't, like searching for keywords.4 But holding that 8 x 5.35 x 2.3 inch, 1.72 pound physical instantiation5 and rustling through its leaves is still, and will continue to be, an experience apart.

Physical books are sensual beings.

1. book fair home
2. schedule: Saturday, Sunday
3. Amazon Kindle: video
4. search Leaves of Grass
5. Leaves of Grass, (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Peter, Peter, poker player

    Peter Eastgate Wins World Series Of Poker
                    November 11, 2008

Peter, Peter, poker player,
Felted plain's Goliath slayer,
Backward-hatted Zen-like calm:
Let me praise him with this psalm.

Peter, Peter, Texas Hold 'Em,
Genius brain who just acts dumb,
Calculates the winning ways:
When to call or fold or raise.

Peter, Peter, Heart and Spade,
At the summit of his trade,
All the others he does drub:
Welcome to the Diamond Club.

Peter, Peter concentrates,
Final hand's a wheelèd straight!
Face untelling, icy blood:
Wins 'nine mil', this foxy stud!

Friday, November 14, 2008

(Thomas S. Monson is today's George Wallace)

"President, Prophet, Seer, Revelator,"
Mormon's Leader, Tradition's Defender,
Icon of the status quo,
Tolerance is his master foe.

(Thomas S. Monson is today's George Wallace)

(While millions more than Mormons stand
 By his side throughout the land
 At the wedding chapel door,
 The final battle in their war,

 Thomas S. Monson is today's George Wallace)

George Wallace, too, won some states
Back in nineteen sixty-eight.
While at the time he won some rumbles,
Soon his hate was left in crumbles.

(Thomas S. Monson is today's George Wallace)

or (Gays are today's new Coloreds)

AS 11.14.08

The dog of logic chases the cat of truth up the tree of grammar.

(As a "Japanese" koan versus an American sentence,
 this would appear:

the dog of logic
chases the cat of truth up
the tree of grammar

 Which one is "better"?)

for read write poem's birthday prompt

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Other The Car

After I dreamt last night

that I was this awesome cool polished revved up sleek turbocharged waxed motherfucking Mustang speeding through cool autobahn air,

who went wherever he wanted to go – he thought – but feared he sometimes really was out of the control of his own destiny, as if he were being hijacked by some horny hotshot honcho headed nowhere,

who feared he would pull up empty at the next filling pump and there would be no more gas money on his card since the market crashed and he didn't know what to do if that happened, and he would end up on the roadside with "will carry passengers for gas" on his hood,

who feared a goddamn thief would break in and steal his registration and title and papers and gas card PIN,

who feared that some internal part – valve piston crankshaft bearing – would blow and it would cost a door and a wheel to get that fixed,

who feared that his pretty profile would be depreciated by time and wear and he would be left fanless,

who watched his buffed body get more battered rattled dinged rusted and feared growing old with that old car smell and finally being towed away to the heap,

I woke up exhausted
and was glad it was just a dream.

for read write poem prompt #52: face your fears ...

inspired by "My Mother The Car" (1965-1966, 30 episodes, [opening theme]), considered to be the worst TV sitcom of all time

and Allen Ginsberg ("HOWL")

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sweetbitter Proposition

"[U]nder this state's Constitution, the constitutionally based right to marry properly must be understood to encompass the core set of basic substantive legal rights and attributes traditionally associated with marriage that are so integral to an individual's liberty and personal autonomy that they may not be eliminated or abrogated by the Legislature or by the electorate through the statutory initiative process." [emphasis added]

in re Marriage Cases, California Supreme Court, S147999, May 15, 2008

There is something sweetbitter about the 52% to 48% passage of California Proposition 8 on November 4, 2008 making same-sex marriage illegal.

If, in the opinion of the Court, the same-sex marriage right derives from the equal protection and other clauses of the state Constitution, then Proposition 8 is not only a shame but a sham. It would take instead the extra-popular route (an amendment passed by two-thirds vote of both branches of the legislature before being ratified by the voters) to nullify this right.

If—When—the Court now strikes down Prop 8's implementation, which would follow from its previous opinion, it would teach an important lesson: It takes extraordinary means to change an underlying constitutional right. (Think of the thankfully difficult "2/3 of the Congress, 3/4 of the states" process of amending the U.S. Constitution).

That seems much more significant to me than simply achieving a majority approval of same-sex marriage. In fact, if that were one's primary goal, what do you need constitutions for? Might as well be British.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

requiescat in pace

what sad irony
flaming bird of fairytale
frozen in twilight

(Postcards from North Pole, Mars: #4, #3, #2, #1)

ScienceNews, November 10, 2008: NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander Stops Communicating
The New York Times, November 10,2008: Mars Lander Succumbs to Winter

Monday, November 10, 2008


Everyone knows where
They were at the time
If they were there
Twenty July Nineteen Sixty Nine
Neil Armstrong stepping off the stair—
Mother Earth's first

Everyone knows what
Breakfast they ate
If they sat on their butt
Ten November Two Thousand Eight
Joe Scarborough spouting off the smut—
Morning Joe's no-no

MSNBC. The Place For Expletives.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Séance Sonnet

2:53 P.M. EST, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 20081

. . .

Q: Have you spoke[n] to any living ex-presidents [since your election on Tuesday]?
A: In terms of speaking to former presidents, I have spoken to all of them that are living. Obviously, President Clinton. I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any séances.

*      *      *

7:54 A.M. EST, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21, 20092

The circled summit, soothed by quiet's charm,
With touching hands on oakened table top,
Expelled of fears and fixed to do no harm,
Awaits the ghost. And then they hear a plop.
"What voice seek thou," the chief of all bespeaks,
"To speak thy peace and guide us on course true?"
A pregnant pause gives birth to phantom squeaks.
"Sev'n score and four years—now a darkly hue
Stands at this nation's governmental helm;
My soul wells tears. Remain steadfast through storm;
Let arrogance be banished from thy realm
and uncloaked windows always be the norm.
The spectral sounds send summit eyes around—
Whence comes this stately proclamation's voice?
From west wall's paintings lined with men renowned,
The pensive bearded one's the likely choice.3
    "The nether now reclaims my brief reprieve."
    And with a plop the ghost doth take its leave.

1. Lynn Sweet (Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times) questions Barack Obama (President-elect of the United States) during Obama's first press conference after the 2008 election.
2. post-inauguration day, first staff meeting
3. Abraham Lincoln, George P.A. Healy, 1869: [image]

Friday, November 7, 2008

(Gays are today's new Coloreds)

(Two signs in sight:
 Marriages only –   [that's what's]   right,
 Civil-Unions only –   [that's what's]   left)

What more
     do they want?
They've got a door.

But they can't sit at
     our lunch counter!
... what I meant to say was,
     wedding alter!

(Gays are today's new Coloreds)

They can adopt a kitty – that's ok.
But a kiddie? – that's too sick.

(Gays are today's new Coloreds)

I love them on those comedy shows:
They're the funny ones,
with the best puns.
(and buns)
But I wouldn't want my son
to "turn into" one.

(Gays are today's new Coloreds)

I love to hang with them at work. One's
my cubie workmate! He's fun.
But I wouldn't gym-shower alone with him.

What would people say?

(Gays are today's new Coloreds)

NY Times, November 5, 2008: Bans in 3 States on Gay Marriage
The Daily Dish: [cartoon]

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

o, yes, america can

langston hughes dreamt change
o, yes, america can
america be

re: Let America Be America Again

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

haikued voter

bored — standing in line
“sarah palin — boofhead mousse”
kept repeating that

Monday, November 3, 2008

Freudian peels


for read write poem prompt #51: peel the onion

based on the "square dance" form in reading 'round the square
(an example of a "pattern poem")

unraveled, or "peeled" (in verse form):

my outermost layer
reveals little
expression of skins
sunken sub-rim

       the peel below
       who knows
       something more
       ef'n beast

             being at
             ego's din