Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Bible Sonnet


You cannot argue with the Bible, man,
because the words therein are what they are:
a trashy bric-a-brac of tales and tolds
of tribal strictures from a land of sand,
of sects who knew no physics of the stars,
and now to dim know-nothing souls is sold.

The Bible is a tinseled B-rate script:
of genocidal romps and bigotry,
of poetry that sometimes is sublime,
of magic shows and dead raised from stone crypts.
It does not bode well for the thinking free:
the world, you see, is just on borrowed time.

But I would change not one thing in its books,
all sixty-six: they've moved both scribes and schnooks.

placed in the Poets United Poetry Pantry #73

Friday, October 28, 2011

When writers' brick walls crumble not

When writers' brick walls crumble not,
cementing out the muse,
I turn to chips made kettle-pot
and sweet hamburger blues.

On top is stacked tomato red,
lettuce with purple fringe.
It's all on salty pretzel bread
that's griddled just a tinge.

Add spicy mustard, pickled dill
cucumbers, onions too.
I hope the burger doesn't spill
when I add cheese fondue.

That may not let the muse go in,
but one thing is for sure:
My tummy's left with one big grin  ·)
— one writer's fond detour.

placed in Poets United Thursday Think Tank #72: Writer's Block

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

back-alley Wednesdays

the white liquid blasts
with sounds of ahh!
a row of cum-filled men
so gallantly streaming
into the air
from cannons size six to ten

their faces are frozen
their lips are bared
their muscles are flexed and taut
there's no other moment
that's frozen in time
that memory's so magically caught

white glistening streams
like lightening strikes
electrify the scene
it's like a church service
and chorus sings praise
a Wednesday night routine

the camaraderie
of men who replay
these moments of cum commune
to free their elixir
from anxious ball sacks
beneath the bright full moon

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Flying Spaghetti Monster

Strings and branes and M-Theory tales:
That's what the Fly-Monster's made of.
Oodles of noodles wave out as He sails
Into the twilight with nothing but love:
That's what the Fly-Monster's made of.

Flying Spaghetti vibrating in rhyme:
That's what the Fly-Monster's made of.
Eleven dimensions — de facto space-time,
Seven dimensions are bended and shoved:
That's what the Fly-Monster's made of.

Supersymmetric He makes gravity:
That's what the Fly-Monster's made of.
Filling His churches with grand levity,
Large scales and quanta now sing hand and glove:
That's what the Fly-Monster's made of.

All worlds' religions He mocks tongue in cheek:
That's what the Fly-Monster's made of.
Churches are filled with the bard and the geek
Hearing His psalm, not a hawk but a dove:
That's what the Fly-Monster's made of.

photo from the pews of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
placed in the Poets United Poetry Pantry #72

Thursday, October 20, 2011


The day the Purple beats the hate,
repels the negatives,
leaves bogus churchmarms in its wake
without their big-hair wigs.

It's Purple mountain energy
that 'lectrifies the scorned —
the ones in search of dignity
but just are this way born.

The Purple people eat the love,
digest its hopeful seed,
reminding generations of
what's real humanity.


placed in Poets United Thursday Think Tank #71 - Energy

Monday, October 17, 2011


They're camping out in social nets,
they write outside the range,
before the current world forgets,
before the stock exchange.

What difference does their crafted lines
make in the scheme of things?
If they could nourish those with signs
with bold linguistic strings.


placed in the imaginary garden with real toads' Open Link Monday

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Southern Baptist Conventions

And every other one's a Mormon cult
or a Catholic fake. Or like the Jew:
an incomplete.
The only books I will consult —
they number sixty-six: the New
the Old repletes.

The only Jesus I will ever know
believes in atheist Ayn Rand
on government:
It is the Devil that takes dough
from Godly rich men in the land
from Heaven sent.

My Holy Bible sets the rule for all —
as long as it aligns itself
and Jesus text is trumped by Paul.
It sits right-side upon my shelf
and bedside stand.

written for Poetics — Taboo Subjects in dVerse Poets Pub

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stay hungry

And there is really so little room! So little time!
The poet becomes an expert packer of suitcases.

— Sylvia Plath

Tweet constraints make for creativity —
what can be said should be said sparingly —
while bloviators need the extra space.
What once was bloated words now filled with grace.

The clever twibes stay hungry all the time —
they learn to thrive by living on a dime.
They fast enough to only just consume
the room they need for crystal thoughts to bloom.

Carol Ann Duffy: texting and Twitter 'help students perfect poetry' The Telegraph
this poem placed in Poets United Thursday Think Tank #70: Hunger

I use both Twitter and Google+. Google+, though, is like Twitter on Hulk-sizing steroids.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

poetry in "e" major

There seems to be a mindset in the poetry world that poetry is primarily to be published in print, and that electronic versions are an afterthought or annoyance. As one publisher (who publishes print and now electronic books) wrote, "For poetry and eBooks to REALLY work, you need short lines. Even the indentations on longer lines bug me (poetry is so much about form and intended line breaks)."

I think this is completely wrong. If you look at how Whitman or Ginsberg poems (which have lots of long lines) reflow in a properly marked up ebook, it is vastly more pleasing to see the long lines indented when they need to reflow than just being flushed left as if they were new lines (indistinguishable from the actual next line). When that happens, the poems are virtually unreadable. (In fact, print books reflow these lines depending on the publisher. There are always constraints, even in the print world.)

I recently bought a poetry book from Smashwords and this "feature" (of not indenting longer lines when they needed to reflow) was annoying. So I put it into Sigil (an ePub editor) and added two lines to a class selector definition (the one in that particular ebook that "wrapped" each line of the poems) in the stylesheet.css file:

padding-left: 1em;
text-indent: -1em;

Now the poems are visually pleasing and readable.

(Want proof? Go to Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" at Poetry Foundation (, do a View→Page Source, and you can how this principle is applied in their markup. And it's for a reason they do that: It's to make sure the poem is readable whether on desktops/notebooks or on smartphones. I am looking at it right now on my MacBook and on my iPod Touch and lines are reflowed correctly in each case. This poem would not be readable otherwise.)

I think a lot of people produce content (poems in this case) in Word or something like that (really meant for producing things to print) and then rely on some automatic conversion (perhaps at Smashwords) to produce the HTML/CSS that ends up in an ebook. Markup that one intends to control how the ebook looks can be lost. This is the completely wrong way to do things if one cares about how their poems look on nooks and Kindles and smartphones. Unfortunately, this is the case of many poetry ebooks on the various vendors it seems.

I’m a believer in poets doing (or getting help to do) their own HTML/CSS coding. It turns out that that code is part of the poem itself, just like the words.

And actually, the reluctance to change from a "p" (print) perspective to an "e" (electronic) pespective is beside the point. The public wants "e" now, and interest in "p" versions is waning. So moving to an "e" perspective for creating and disseminating poetry is a given. It's a new age.

Printed books are the hallmarks of elite societies, but today "e"-devices are proliferating in underdeveloped countries like those in Africa <>, enabling youth to access thousands of books they would never have access to in a print world. The "e"-world is liberating, the "p"-world one of confinement and isolation.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mystery of 3:19

Why do afternoon baseball games start at 3:19pm?

[Game 2 began at 3:19pm om Monday, October 11th in Arlington.]

Game 3 of the A.L.C.S. begins at 7:05pm central on Tuesday, October 11th at Tigers Stadium in Detroit. Game 4 is Wednesday, October 12th at 3:19pm at Detroit. Game 5 (if necessary) is Thursday, October 13th at 3:19pm.

Games 6 & 7 (if necessary) would be played in Arlington at Rangers Ballpark. Game 6 would be Saturday, October 15th at 7:05pm. Game 7 would be Sunday, October 17th at 7:05pm.

Why is it 3:19pm? The 5 minute "buffer" (7:05pm) makes "sense" (it's not 7:04pm — if 3:19 is "correct", why not 7:04?), so why isn't it 3:05pm? or 3:20pm? (Those two times would make sense.) Why 19?

3:16 makes sense for Jesus-loving Texas.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

3:18 would be a bitch.

... whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

I don't think 3:19 is much better, though.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

So what's the deal with 3:19?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The GOP Show

       to the tune of The Patty Duke Show (1963-1966)

Meet Romney, who's been most everywhere,
And Gingrich, who's had the most affairs.
But Michele's only seen the light
A girl can see from Christian Right —
What a crazy stare!

They're the can-didates,
GOP candidates all the way,
Running to be the president
of the whole USA.

Where Perry adores succession threats,
And Jon likes science and Paul no debts,
Herm Cain disputes the ozone hole,
Santorum, it's Google he can't control —
What a wild octet!

Still they're can-didates,
Republican candidates and you'll find
They laugh alike, they walk alike,
At times they even talk alike —

You can lose your mind,
When candidates are eight of a kind!

Mitt Romney, Ron Perry, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum appear today in the GOP presidential nomination debate at Dartmouth College.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Writing for Derrida

No one gets angry at a mathematician or a physicist whom he or she doesn’t understand, or at someone who speaks a foreign language, but rather at someone who tampers with your own language.
– Jacques Derrida

Yesterday (October 9, 2011) was the seventh year since the death of Jacques Derrida, the inventor of deconstruction.

Most people (including writers) don't think much about Derrida, but I think his invention may have been most significant philosophical development of the second half of the twentieth century.

I write this being one who has read only a moderate selection of what he wrote and not being anywhere close to being a 'Derrida expert'. But like everyone else, I have my own pithy definition, which is probably wrong:

Deconstruction begins with recognition that writing is a natural entity without metaphysics.

Once that step is made, where it goes from there may be useful or not.

One thing is for sure: Derrida raises the hackles of religious fundamentalists and secular foundationalists alike. That makes him attractive right there.

Now he is compared to a variety of anti-foundationalists — Nietzsche, Hegel, Wittgenstein, Quine (who dissed him), Rorty, Foucault — but what distinguishes him is his claim of writing itself as the object of his study.

I've read that some deconstructionists say that since virtually anything humans make or do can be considered writing (a statue, a film, a dance, a walk in the park, ...), anything can be deconstructed.

I'll just say that I define writing to be that which I can type on a Mac keyboard into a simple text editor.

Now forty years ago, I was using an APL keyboard. And one can do some interesting writing (APL programs, naturally) with that. And then there's the infamous Space-cadet (Symbolics Lisp Machine) keyboard . But I'll just stick to the Mac keyboard.

But still there are things one can consider to be writing sticking with that. Math is writing when it is done in LaTeX math mode, for example. One could do it in MathML, but LaTeX is the most elegant language for writing mathematics ever invented. Math is not writing if it is done in Word or PDF.

Here is Schrodinger's Equation:

i\hbar\frac{\partial\psi}{\partial t} = \frac{\hbar^2}{2m}\nabla^2\psi + V(\mathbf{r})\psi

Copy and paste it here and see. (Also see and right click on a formula to see its MathML translation.)

The proofs of Euclid's Elements are literature like any other.

Computer programs are writing. (See 433 Examples in 132 (or 162*) programming languages.) The way they are portrayed sparsely on a screen make many look like poems.

Writing web pages and ebooks in HTML/CSS/JS is certainly writing. (You need some of this to make poems look good on various displays, for example. You don't write poems in Word or PDF.)

I'm sure I'll think of other things that are writing.

So whatever it is you write, give a nod to Derrida.

Current events note: How would Derrida respond to 'Operation Wall Street'? The excerpt below seems to be right on target.

The ‘New International’ is an untimely link, without status ... without coordination, without party, without country, without national community, without co-citizenship, without common belonging to a class. The name of New International is given here to what calls to the friendship of an alliance without institution among those who ... continue to be inspired by at least one of the spirits of Marx or of Marxism. It is a call for them to ally themselves, in a new, concrete and real way, even if this alliance no longer takes the form of a party or a workers’ international, in the critique of the state of international law, the concepts of State and nation, and so forth: in order to renew this critique, and especially to radicalize it.
— Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx, the state of the debt, the Work of Mourning, & the New International

"Derrida seeks to do the work of inheriting from Marx, that is, not communism, but of the philosophy of responsibility, and of Marx's spirit of radical critique."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Comedism and M-theory

In the beginning was the Joke, and the Joke was with God, and the Joke was God.

Steven Gimbel, author of the blog Philosophers' Playground, is the founder of Comedism — the philosophy qua theology of seeing the funny side of existence. Its revelation comes in a continuing series of posts.

Comedism -- The New Religion
That which is holy is that which is funny. Our God is funnier than their God.

Its central object of worship and study is the Joke.

Comedist Basics
Jokes have two parts, a set up in which a normal situation you think you understand is sketched (a chicken crosses a street or the pope, a rabbi, and a Viagra salesman walk into a bar) and then the punchline that forces you radically rethink how you understood the world of the set up (to get to the other side or at least the beer isn't flat anymore). The humor exists in that moment when your brain is split, trying unsuccessfully to resolve the tension between the two incompatible interpretations. The very possibility of a joke presupposes that reality may always be looked at in more than one way.

Its scripture is only beginning.

The Comedist Manefesto
In the beginning, there was the LORD. And He was funny.

On the first day, the LORD made light. He made light of everything. And the LORD sat back and said, "This is funny."

On the second day, the LORD created the Heavens and the Earth (in a way that is completely consistent with our best current geological theories). And He created the sun, and did moon the Earth. And the LORD sat back and said, "This is funny."

[and so on]

That Comedism is at odds with Fundamentalism is no joke.

Comedist Anti-Fundamentalism
For a joke to be a joke, there must be more than one way to look at the world.

And that is the central belief of Comedism. There are always different ways to look at reality. The world is a multifaceted place and it is the appreciation of these distinct perspectives, even ones that seem irreconcilable, that makes life rich, interesting, and most of all, funny.

[F]undamentalists ... think there is one truth and one truth only ... They do not even allow the possibility that there are multiple ways to understand reality.

A year ago, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow published The Grand Design, a book on all things M-theory. (M-theory is the most general supersymmetric theory of gravity.) The scientific point-of-view promoted in this book — which they name "model-dependent realism" — appears to be very much in the spirit of Comedism.

Wikipedia: Model-dependent realism
Model-dependent realism is a controversial philosophical approach to scientific inquiry, which accepts that reality can always be interpreted in a number of different ways, and focuses on how well our models of the world do at describing the observed phenomena. It claims that it is meaningless to talk about the "true reality" of the model. The only meaningful thing is the usefulness of the model.

A quote from their book:

It might be that to describe the universe, we have to employ different theories in different situations. Each theory may have its own version of reality, but according to model-dependent realism, that is acceptable so long as the theories agree in their predictions whenever they overlap, that is, whenever they can both be applied.

And what does Hawking say of M-theory?

Stephen Hawking - M-theory Makes God Unnecessary

M-theory is the theory of everything. It explains how the universe was created out of nothing in the Big Bang and how it behaves now. It governs everything we think and do.

Now it's a matter of debate what the "M" stands for.

Wikipedia: Introduction to M-theory
In 1994, a string theorist named Edward Witten of the Institute for Advanced Study and other important researchers considered that the five different versions of string theory might be describing the same thing seen from different perspectives. They proposed a unifying theory called "M-theory", in which the "M" is not specifically defined, but is generally understood to stand for "membrane". The words "matrix", "mother", "monster", "mystery", "magic" have also been claimed. M-theory brought all of the string theories together. It did this by asserting that strings are really 1-dimensional slices of a 2-dimensional membrane vibrating in 11-dimensional space.

"M" for the many universes it can create? For the many ways to see it? With the holy alliance of Comedism and M-theory, I know what the "M" in "M-theory" could stand for.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Nomen est omen?

Was I to be true to my given name, I asked,
if horse would nag my every lifetime task?
Would I be bridled with the bit through every lap,
or hold my steed through every handicap?

But horse I soon began to quietly like, you see,
the studs that came undone and played with me,
and found I could not say neigh to that love. And I
just met my destiny with whinny sigh.

Philip is "a given name, derived from the Greek Philippos (Φίλιππος)", meaning lover (or friend) of horses.

Placed in the imaginary garden with real toads. (Use your first name in a poem.)
Nomen est omen: the name is a sign ("true to its name").
Photo: Daniel Radcliffe appears in Peter Shaffer’s “Equus”.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Adam Smith in Zuccotti Park

Adam Smith (from 1774) is transported into Zuccotti Park (2011) via an m-brane wormhole created by an unexpected Large Hadron Collider collision event. He sees an an oddly-dressed, mostly-young collection of people with signs that don't make sense to him. The stunned but curious Smith wonders, "WTF?"

A young "Occupy Wall Street" protester comes up to Smith.

Protester (to Smith): Hey, are you one of those Tea Party dudes?

Smith: Tea Party? No, I ... I heard about something like that that just happened on some boat in Boston. But I wasn't involved.

Protester: Oh, you're British. I can tell.

Smith: You sound American. I was just sitting around with my friend, David Hume, and ...

Protester: Who?

Smith: Is this America?

Protester: Uh, yea. New York. You OK?

Smith: (quizzically to self) OK? (Protester takes it as an acknowledgment) What is going on here?

Protester: We are here to protest against the powerful bankers and corporations. They are robbing us ninety-nine-percenters of the wealth of this nation.

Smith: Hey, I'm writing a book on the economy. (to self) Wealth of nations. Hmm ... (slight pause) Corporations are abominations. And bankers unregulated by government are left to deceive and even oppress the public. I'm on your side, lad. What are the ninety-nine-percenters?

Protester: The ones not in the richy-rich one percent. Really, we're the ones being screwed by bankers and corporations and a government that serves them, not us.

Smith: Government has to regulate banks and businesses, especially when they grow large, to protect workers and to maintain the well-being of the social fabric. Capitalism of individuals in a viable market of goods, services, and inventions cannot flourish otherwise. The alternative is corporatism, a scourge on the people.

Protester: What's your name, man. You really talk the talk!

Smith: Adam Smith.

Protester: Hey, the crazies who support the corporations always talk about someone with that name. He's supposed to be against government spending on infrastructure and social services that care for the people.

Smith: Well, that's definitely not me. That "Adam Smith" sounds deranged. The people who follow that one are misguided.

Protester: Hey, gotta march. Later man!

Protester walks away.

The Large Hadron Collider-produced wormhole, which was unstable, closes. Adam Smith is transported back to 1774 Britain and his friend David Hume.

''The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from (dealers ... in any particular branch of trade or manufactures) . . . ought never to be adopted till after having been ... examined ... with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men ... who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public.''

''There is no art which one government sooner learns of another than that of draining money from the pockets of the people. What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconveniency to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.'' Adam Smith, 1776

What Would Adam Smith Say? Justin Fox, Time Magazine, March 25, 2010

Thursday, October 6, 2011

apple seed

you planted quite a seed
that set the goal of what computers do —
us from the crass you freed

you followed Darwin's law
that gave us Mac OS and iOS —
you gave us, geek and all

you made them sleek and cool,
the casings your iThing devices come —
your products set the rule

your iTunes came in pods,
you redefined for all the music biz —
your talks: worshiped like gods

iPhone sure made the screen
a graceful thing of Magic gesturing —
so simple and so lean

the once elusive pad:
you conquered what naysayers said would fail
but now wish that they had

your evil China shops:
if Chinese youth used your iThings to kill
would be a mean flip-flop

and now you are at rest,
your planted Apple tree will grow I know —
to that I can attest

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Three cable news on Occupy Wall Street


Three cable news on "Occupy Wall Street":

FOX News - It's all Obama class war speak!
They haven't read von Mises through and through!
Just like MoveOn, they haven't got a clue!

Then CNN - There's nothing much to treat.
Blocked traffic, plastic handcuffs, funny masks.
They have no goals nor clearly stated tasks.

MSNBC - Seeds of springtime wheat
are being sown down in Zuccotti Park!
It's more than just a flightless autumn lark!

Three cable news, three ways to show the world
as tweeters' tweets and bloggers' blogs are swirled.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Casting for The Beverly Hillbillies

Casting Director Notepad

The Beverly Hillbillies

Granny (Daisy May Moses)
Rick Perry - The laughable Confederate Rebel still "fightin' the Yankees."

Jethro Bodine
Herman Cain - The homespun, poetic oaf who comes up with all kinds of crazy, cheesy ideas.

Elly May Clampett
Jon Huntsman - The most feminine member of the cast. Lover of "critters" and the outdoors.

J.D. "Jed" Clampett
Joe Scarborough - Generally clueless, but still tries to bridge the gap between the hillbillies and the normal world. (It is noted that no Republican presidential candidate can be cast for this role.)

Mr. Drysdale (Milburn)
Mitt Romney - "Corporations are People!"

Mrs. Drysdale (Margaret)
Peggy Noonan - "Keep those hillbillies away from me, Milburn!"

Jane Hathaway
Rachel Maddow - Who else?

Additional casting notes: In the original series there is an episode titled The Flying Saucer. Ron and Rand Paul would be perfect for two of the 'Martians'. (They are clearly not of this world.) Michele Bachmann is a consideration for the third Martian for her scary eyes. Duke, the Clampetts' hound dog: Chris Christie. Jethrine Bodine, Jethro's twin sister: Sarah Palin.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

OccuPied (The Pie Party is born)

Did you know that the father of the Koch brothers was a founder of the John Birch Society?
The Tea Party - the ghost of John Birch - a tool of corporate interests redux - fed on anxiety.

But then The Pie Party is born. Some come in pleats. Some come with a beat. Then, they begin to tweet.
They have Occu'Pie'd financial districts. They have thrown a 'Pie' into the face of Wall Street.

They have occupied the growing income-inequality gap. They have occupied stolen futures.
They have occupied hopelessness. They have occupied police pens. They have gotten sutures.

They have occupied the space briefly filled with hope and change. They have occupied the vast ignored.
They have occupied the hundreds of billions a year spent on wars. They have occupied corporatists' hoards.

They have occupied the places ignored by politicians. They have occupied the gaps in the lies of corporatist liars.
They have occupied a show the corporate media did not know. They have occupied a new economy. They are the Occu'Pie'rs.

Andy Borowitz: It's weird seeing Wall Street filled with people who still have their souls.
Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Together are planning multi-city events during October.

photo (Ian Murphy's cell phone): click to read article

2011/10/03: placed in the imaginary garden with real toads