Thursday, August 27, 2009

Luscious Luddite Lassitude

Ah, the joys of a news blackout. . . .

Many a summer I indulged in a self-imposed blackout of any news while vacationing on Brantingham Lake, in New York, in the Adirondacks. For me it cooled the fever of obsessive-compulsive attention to world events, the kind of fever that feeds the illusion that says, "This level of attention actually influences the course of events," which is not only a fallacy and nonsense but hubris of the silliest sort. Anyway, the blackout, which got to be a bit of a family-tolerated game (averting my eyes from newsstand headlines when in Lowville, or almost clapping my ears to avoid hearing anything about the baseball strike of '94 [was it '94?] on the radio in a store in Old Forge), did seem to recharge my batteries -- but not cure the obsession.

However, the tragedy of a so-called news blackout is that it is a joy, a respite, a sane retreat, a Luddite pleasure, only for news junkies.

When the vast majority of the population delights in willful ignorance or obtuse one-sidedness -- in other words when a news blackout is the daily norm -- there is no joy in Muddville or Topeka or Pittsburgh or Skaneateles or Solvay or Encino or Hibbing or Bemidji or Greenwich or Syracuse or Pittsburg or Manhattan or Springfield or Darien or Saint Louis or Collegeville or Stamford or Warner Robins or Scranton or Wilkes-Barre or Portland or Los Gatos or San Francisco or Crawford or Honolulu or Salem or Erie or Conklin or Santa Barbara or Albany or Otisco or Kalamazoo or Flint or New Canaan or Bismarck or Dickinson or Mott or Phoenix or Santa Fe or Del Rio or Bridgeport or Kirkville or Kirkwood.

"All the news that's fit to miss."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Sounds of Summer

Crickets, fans, leaves rustling, grass sleeping, more crickets.

Their absence will echo like a gong during December's silent snows.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Doggone It!

Now that the Dog Days* of summer are ending (July 24-August 24, by some counts), and a reign of lassitude or howling frenzy is coming to a close, I offer the salubrious effects of my serial-comma-laden, I Leap for Kierkegaard-promoted, super-hyphenated blog.

* Caniculares dies, at whose start the Romans, it is said sacrificed a dog to appease the rage of Sirius, the Dog Star, brightest in the firmament except for the sun.

With the Dog Days behind us, we now don't have to take things so Siriusly, eh? (woof! OUCH!)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dewatering Hole

As I strolled through Burnet Park this evening, I was greeted by the shock of emptiness, an alabaster rectangular hole with black crosses painted at the far end. The pool was empty. Stark empty! On August 19! No lifeguards? (Back at college?) No cash? Where did all the turquoise madness drain to?And what did all the kids do as they approached the railings only to find this stark absence of cerulean-emerald shimmering in the heat?

Empty. Gone.

And summer, rudely hanging around, sweating.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Noble Wireless & Other Tightropes

I am sitting at Barnes & Noble Booksellers Cafe, in DeWitt, New York, decaf coffee at my side, having just finished a Warm Granny Smith Apple Purse pastry (rather dry). The good news is that AT&T wifi is now "complimentary" here, which to me spells f-r-e-e. I'm not saying that makes B&N all virtuous and all that. I'm sure they finally figured out that it's better to lure customers with free wifi. But that's cool. I'm here. My daughter purchased (actually not yet; I'll buy it later) a notebook she is already sketching in, sketching the design of her Vera Bradley purse. Who knew I'd find two such very different meanings of "purse"? A few moments ago, while paying for my coffee and purse (is "purse" truly a name for a type of pastry? I guess so), I saw someone who appeared to be a colleague from 2003. I hesitated. When I spoke, I figured if it was her [she, for you grammatical purists], she'd respond upon recognizing my inimitable voice. She did not. When she spoke, I recognized her apparently inimitable voice and began an "Is that you?" conversation. Her face blushed. Why? Was she essentially planning on avoiding me -- a plot I had foiled? We traded some stories of mutal former colleagues. She told me what she was doing, after my initial wrong guess. She never asked what I was doing or have been doing since 2003. This does not rankle me as much as you might think. [Dr. Freud: Then why are you blogging about it, Pawlie? Screw off, Sigmund.] Reciprocity. It ain't that one needs to keep count or keep score. No, not at all. But civility demands at least the appearance of reciprocity. Reciprocity, such as, "Oh, and what have you been up to?" would at least provide the pretense of mutual interest. No big deal. I hardly had the conversational momentum or verve to explain the last six years, or even the last six weeks, or six minutes. So be it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Serial Comma Society

Hats, gloves, bras, shirts, sandals, and socks off to The Serial Comma Society on Facebook.

We are not alone!

Carry on!

As you were.

March on, Serial Comma Commandos.

(Yes, yes, we struggled over whether to hyphenate between serial and comma. We sided with poetic license, available at the city clerk's office, for a nominative fee.)

Monday, August 10, 2009


After having counted thousands (more like thousandths) of votes, I can share this:

I say, "I have a
pebble in my shoe" to describe an objet d'art, or object de natura, bothering my step.

Others report saying "stone" or "rock," both of which strike me as akin to saying "boulder."

Sui generis.

Age quod agis.

(What would Kierkegaard say?) (WWKS)

Friday, August 07, 2009

This Is A Test

...well, more like a quiz.

Actually, a para-quasi-survey of language use.

To wit: complete this simple phrase by filling in the blank:

"I have a __________in my shoe."


As you were.

Carry on.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Underachiever's Manifesto

Good enough.

The perfectionist in me balks at that. Balks radically at the notion of "good enough."

And yet.

And yet.

What a treat to come upon "The Underachiever's Manifesto: The Guide to Accomplishing Little and Feeling Great" by Ray Bennett, M.D. (Chronicle Books, 2006). $9.95. Found this find at Twig Gallery, a pleasant shop at 2162 Union Street, San Francisco.

Devoured the book in tasty morsels while at the Coffee Roastery, La Boulange, the Hilton, and at SFO International Terminal.

Good-enough sagely stuff.

Check it out.

San Francisco Pastiche Fluvial Farewell

Mt. Tamalpais Muir Woods Hagiwara Tea Garden Golden Gate Park tai chi de Young Museum Golden Gate Bridge Mason Powell Taylor Hertz Westin Saint Francis Union Square Grace Cathedral Hilton Financial District Commercial Merchant Clay Chinatown tai chi Specialty's lunch special Sansome sourdough Peet's Montgomery New Montgomery Vallejo Levy tunnel Union Fillmore Twig Gallery Ray Bennett Underachiever's Manifesto Chronicle Books Coffee Roastery grant sacrament Sacramento Grant Old Saint Mary's Cathedral Gold Mountain Sagely Monastery obscenely mumbling panhandler adult media positive always defeats negative Lombard Laguna Webster Muni hearing Buchanan Kearny Yellow Cab Cooperative word collage La Boulange dazzling eyes Marina USPS purple mosque house Russian Hill arabic Emporio Rulli California NPR lounge Washington 101 South San Francisco SFO Reflection Room asleep security jetBlue fog night red eye memory twig gallery Lorca Suites postcards sweet

Monday, August 03, 2009

City Lights Illuminati

The pure pleasure of City Lights Books, at Columbus (near Cafe Vesuvio and across from the patina of Zoetrope, reminiscent of the Flatiron Building), Lawrence Ferlinghetti's literary mecca in San Francisco, is encapsulated in this incident from last evening.

Browsing upstairs, in the poetry rack, I spy a vineyard of tasty selections of poetic treats. I page through them. One of them entrances me. Its spare, few words magnetize me. "Christ,/a mirror/in each hand./He multiplies/his shadow./He projects his heart/through his black/visions./I believe!" This from Symbol of the "Mirror Suite" from "Suites," by Federico Garcia Lorca, translated from the Spanish by Jerome Rothenberg. It is Green Integer 31 from Green Integer, Kobenhavn & Los Angeles. 2001.

So, Lorca is born to me, in San Francisco. Lorca is baptized to me here and now, introduced not by water and fire but by sidewalk and stairs on an August Saturday evening in the city of Saint Francis.

The priest of this sacrament is Lawrence Ferlinghetti and his City Lights Books, whose iconic gray on black bags beckon beauty, whose store is a conclave of revelation, one not found on the Internet or World Wide Web electronically but in the tactile tent of this nomad's journey, in the silence of the Kierkegaard leaping heart.

San Francisco Pastiche Panorama Puzzle Gestalt Reprise

Coast Highway Cabrillo Highway McNee Ranch Montara Beach Montara State Park Highway 1 cliffs beach pristine sand surf sun azure cobalt tsunami warning sign 280S nameless blazing flowers verdant sand pine crag Ireland-like meandering road Davenport Home Cooking Santa Cruz Monterey aquarium jellies gel jellyfish zen dance slent pulsating room zazen pales diaphonous Monte Rey king mountain crown falls out of mouth uncrowned Los Gatos Whole Foods Market 68 to 101 to 83 to 280N Third Street game emptying out Lincecum nightlights home of sorts City Lights illuminations Sunday Pablo Sandoval Pablo T-shirts Barry Zito Giants win AT&T Park Steps of Rome City Lights sunburned nose Portsmouth Square garage Montgomery Clay Commercial street parking Federico Garcia Lorca Suites nameless building across from Hilton Financial District Chinatown with scupltures facing our room atop the facade dancing muses fog wind walking up Kearney St. Francis National Historic Site Washington Square park public toilet cigar fragrance of al fresco diners Grant Columbus weeping Buddha carvings

Saturday, August 01, 2009

San Francisco Pastiche Panorama Puzzle Gestalt

Old Ship Saloon Highway 101 Kearny Post Sutter HSBC House of Nanking flowering blossom tea Muni 30 Stockton 9x AT&T Park blazing sun shadow green Tony Bennett hearts cascade of tears Angelina's 22 Avenue and California fog son mist fog Stanford ELMI McCovey Marichal Mays Cepeda Portsmouth Square Ghirardelli Square Mechanics Institute Library Post Giants Winn Eugenio Velez Bay Bridge Adobe Saint Gregory's of Nyssa Sara Miles Federal Reserve Bank Powell & Hyde Powell & Mason Van Ness Third & King Chronicle beach siren artichoke hearts salmon Golden Gate 1 Marin Vista Point yes yes yes Saint Francis!