Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

A title of a wonderful story by Ernest Hemingway, whose short stories * I love but haven't read in many years.

A description of the jetBlue [I believe that's how they write it] terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport.


* Is it true that Papa wrote this six-word, tragic story?

"For sale. Baby shoes. Never used."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Editore, Prego!

Without an editor, the headline of this post might read, "Editore, Play-Doh!"

Or "Editor, Legos!"

Or "Editore Cacciatore."

Perhaps I exaggerate.

Nevertheless, on a more serious note, Peter Steinfels, in a recent New York Times column, makes a good case for a papal editor. Steinfels argues that Pope Benedict XVI's most recent encyclical, "Caritas in Veritate," or "Charity in Truth," makes for ponderous reading. Not that encyclicals are typically knee-slappers or potboilers or beach reading.

But Steinfels laments some of the "molasses-like text" and other elements that make for "hard going." (Of course, the Vatican only approves of "hard going" if used in the service of procreation...HAHAHAHAHAHAHA...as long as you don't take pleasure in it.)

In effect, according to Steinfels and many otherwise-admiring critics, the encyclical could have used an editor. (I have not read the text [don't you love that deconstructionist word, text? No, I don't.] Nor have I perused the picturebook edition of the encyclical.) The work tackles important issues, such as the rights of workers, wealth, poverty, and markets, and undoubtedly makes statements worth debating and discussing. But the letter's "ungainliness" makes for "hard going" (I'm getting like David Letterman, working on a theme here).

Well, I'm an editor! I'm an editor! [Picture a kid in the back row waving his hand like someone in peril flagging down a police car.]

But I doubt if His Holiness would employ the services of an Episcopalian. . . . even if he promises: no papal bull jokes.

Come to think of it, this is a real hard job. I mean, a difficult challenge.

"Your Holiness, this phrase? Cut it in half. It's ponderous and ungainly. Too turgid a sentence."

"Pardon me?"

"Well, no, Your Holiness, I leave the pardoning, the absolution, to you. I don't do any pardoning. But let's talk about that sentence again, shall we?"

"Pardon me?"

"All due respect, Your Holiness, but we just went over that."

"What about the issue of infallibility, son? Do you dare to edit, redact, modify, or otherwise alter the text of an infallible piece of work?"

"All due respect again, Your Holiness, but infallibility only applies to ex cathedra statements. I don't believe, if I may say so, that it pertains to grammar, syntax [sin tax?! -- stifled laughoristic Laughorist laughter], diction, rhetoric, or style."

Of course, if the pope were American-born, he would possibly say, "Stop with the 'all due respect' already, will you? You sound like a character in 'The Sopranos'!"

Speaking of American-born popes, I nominate Greg Tobin for this position of papal editor, if he is so inclined and interested. (Did that last sentence have a dangling participle? And is that sinful?) His credentials are better than mine, plus last I heard he's in New Jersey.

All due respect.


Look out for a blizzard of blogging.

It's been almost a week.

Post time (all manics, all aboard!)!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Driven to Distraction (i.e., Distinction)

Holy mother of mackerels!

I tried this interactive texting-while-driving video game at The New York Times website and almost jumped out my second-floor window it was so frustrating:


I don't know if the game will work for you if you're not registered with nytimes.com (easy to do), but let me tell you. It's great to be old. Meaning: texting and driving is not on my radar screen, or in my toolkit, or part of my skill set. Not anytime soon.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kinesthetic Melody

Ran across this term in a story in the NY Times, about a woman who used to get seizures, never got them while running, but through a brain operation loses track of place and time. Her neuropsychologist says she runs according to a

kinesthetic melody.

I like that.

Good name for a band.

Or a religion, or afterlife, or this life, or intuitiveness, or synchronicity in work or play, or harmony (not the dot com one), or art, or music, et cetera, ad infinitum.

"Age quod agis," as Father Birge so wisely intoned when we were seminarians (and we hooted and hollered until he closed the door to our classroom). Little did we know.

I added "kinesthetic melody" to my list at Wordie.org.

Friday, July 10, 2009

one-sentence meditation upon a sympathy card

Commissioned by my wife to buy a sympathy card for her sister-in-law's father, someone I had never met (well, not for him; he's dead; a card for my spouse's sister-in-law and her family), I ambled into the Hallmark Gold Crown store (sure, I did in fact recently join the retailer's crown rewards [trademark but not i-capped on the thingy I got in the mail] program) at Carousel Center mall, destined to be Destiny USA, or Arendi, or more precisely likely predestined to be a cavernous echo of the last of our swollen appetites (appetites are so pre-recession), I browsed the variegated racks of offerings as displayed by signs, like highway markers or exit announcements (after all, an exit is what made me enter this retail outlet): Retirement, New Home, Get Well, New Job, Birthday, Thinking of You, Encouragement, and realized, albeit whimsically if not flippantly (and shared as much with the mother and daughter or mother and sister near me, garnering a nervous chuckle), that all such markers are but synonyms for Sympathy, conceding that our Buddhist friends are right in saying that all things are connected.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Facebook Security Word Poetry, an addendum

All right.

I'm a Facebook newbie.

These security "passwords" are common for many sites, including here.

In Facebook it says:

"Enter both words below, separated by a space."

Has the definition of words been so broadened as to include any combination of letters, letters and numbers, and so on -- in a quasi-English syntactical fashion?

Or are all these "words" in the latest O.E.D. Supplement?

Facebook Security Word Poetry

condon hirth

roth 20

kookje Ali5

medan fourth

scofield netted

5 pxp sanely

since stiller

vagabond 39-77

urban haiku IV

whispering grass grows/wind rustling backyard maple/green leaf falls, fallen

Thursday, July 02, 2009

New Year's Resolutions, 2010

Why wait till 2010?

Let's do a dry run now; see what works; or doesn't.

I hope this starts a movement. What would we call it? The Pre-New Year's Post-Last Year's Quasi-Resolute Resolutions?

1. Run the Bhutan Marathon 2010.

2. Do the dishes every day. Maybe every other day.

3. Give up cigarettes. (Wait. I'd have to start!)

4. Meditate. Especially if someone is yelling at me; go into a deep trance.

5. Eat haiku.

6. Chew.

7. Walk.

8. Skip, at least once.

9. Write.

10. Sleep. (Perchance to dream.)

11. Nap.

12. Revise.

I need to revise my list.

But, as I said, I've got time to work on it.

Put back on your head those too-small, colorful cardboard cone hats and resume twirling your little noisemakers.


Happy 2010!

(Just practicing.)

(What would Kierkegaard say?)