Tuesday, January 26, 2010

how are you?

Dear Blogosphere Citizens (Blogizens),

How are you? How you be? What up? We haven't talked in a while, have we? Oh, you've left a comment here and there, but for the most part you've been silent. Why is that? Am I not provocative enough? Is serial comma serial comma serial comma serial comma just not triggering enough search engines in the same way that, say, sex sex sex adult adult sex adult sex sex adult sex adult sex adult sex sex sex sex does as a string of keywords? Am I too bland? Not, um, sexy enough? Too verbal, not visual enough? (Incidentally, does sex ed. or gender studies garner the same response as the aforementioned verbal string? Probably not.) Ironically enough, does the mere repetition of the word "sex," paired with any word for that matter, mark me as something or someone that I am not? In other words, are we so Puritan that the mere repetition of the word "sex" demarcates one as a deviant -- just the word! - even though our society has a proliferation of images and music -- and words for that matter -- that stretches the bounds of good taste, civility, normalcy, and morality? And what if one were to quote this blog post out of context? A detractor could (wrongly) claim: it's all about "sex"! Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlett Letter" is the quintessential book that exposes America's long-simmering hypocrisy about prurience and prudishness, morality and the public square. Can you weigh in on any of this? It's been a while? Speak up. Eh?


P. Kokonuts, The Laughorist

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dear Economy

Dear Economy,
How are you? We have not talked in a while, have we? How are you, Economy, and all your relative economies? Are you feeling better, Economy? Has the fever broken? I sure hope so, Economy. I need and want you to feel better so I can feel better, so we all can feel better, especially those of us who do not work for Wall Street financial institutions, whose tentacles spread to Our Street. We hear so much talk of green, Economy. Dude, the green economy I want and need, Economy, is the kind that folds easily into my left pocket, right pocket, wallet, or purse. Economy, this green economy (unlike your alleged recovery, Economy) can be measured very accurately. This green economy is paper (although it can magically become paperless and digital) is 2.61 inches wide, 6.14 inches long, and 0.0043 inches thick. Did I mention it was green? These green pieces of healthy economy, Economy, are 75% cotton and 25% linen. Anyway, before signing off, Economy, my whole family sends you warm hugs. We really, really hope you are feeling better. Here's to a full and healthy recovery, Economy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

american eagle

so i exited the delavan center too tired or hurried or apathetic to worry much about uppercase letters and walked across west fayette street and headed east, under the railroad overpass, facing traffic, the minutues of living dangerously by walking on the side w/o a sidewalk like a knucklehead. seeing an american eagle shoe box or sneakerbox smack dab in the middle of west fayette street near west street I picked it up, angry to find such a blatant display of street rubbish. i carried it in my right hand. my left shoulder held my heavy backpack w/ my white MacBook; sometimes i simply carried the pack, almost dragging to the ice-melting pavement or roadway, with my left hand. the red american eagle empty shoebox or sneakerbox served as a display to oncoming traffic that someone was afoot, like ratso rizzo in midnight cowboy saying 'i'm walkin' here!' but as i went along the pedestrian-forbidden west street ramp and over west genesee street and down herald place i saw so much litter that i was tempted to toss it in the road. who'd know the difference? bottles boxes cartons wrappers plastic cans glass metal. the detritus of urban what? decay? carelessness? morass? lassitude? a pity. you walk you see it. you drive, you don't. i became sad at my quixotic quest. who notices? one piece of litter or one million pieces of litter in syracuse, new york, or nearly any other city in america; who notices? what is it about our national character, or lack thereof? (it's not national; it's individual and individual and individual ad nauseam) americans especially those so-called lowercase tea-baggers would be hugely insulted if they heard someone say that americans are dirty, that america is a dirty country; they'd be offended. but compared to some other places on the globe -- oh no, not all, not all, that's for sure -- we are sloppy and litter-strewn and not proud at all of our living space. proud american. eagle. but people get all up in arms, literally, about symbols of america, flags, eagles, etc. as if they are pristine, but the same people, do they accept the presence of a landscape strewn with litter? but i held onto the american eagle box until finding a plastic, bag-lined trash barrel (empty) over by mission landing. i tossed it in there, feeling vaguely as if i was being watched disposing of contraband. i continued walking across the mission landing parking lot and my left leg slid out from under me, the victim of melting black ince [now there's an everyday oxymoron]. my left hand caught the fall. my kneck and back wrenched. i got back up, uncut, unbroken unbowed. this reminded me of two years ago when completely invisible black ice caused my left leg to rip out from under me almost making me lose my breath and tearing my hamstring such that it was bruised, bruised!, for weeks afterward, even while in berlin, germany. i marched onward, to freedom of espresso, an oasis, a welcome respite.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

twenty minus ten oxymorons

intimate strangers
job security
committee decision
holy war
even odds
once again
front end
adult children
bad sport
auto pilot

More here, though many are not true oxymorons.

Monday, January 11, 2010


I'm on pace for 365 posts in 2010.

Not likely, given my track, or traction, record.

Anyway, who's counting?

Blogger is. As a favor to me.

visible erasure

From the January 11, 2010, edition of The New Yorker, "Top of the Pops," an article by Louis Menand on Andy Warhol:

". . . he painted over 'Thirteen Most Wanted Men' with silver paint--a visible erasure that was widely read as a statement about censorship."

Visible erasure.

I love that oxymoron.

Reminds me of Thomas DeQuincey calling the human brain a palimpsest, which, as you can see from the Online Etymology Dictionary, is a word akin to palin, which is YIKES akin to moron, not oxymoron.

In the long run, I'd say that all blogging is subject to the palimpsest of visible erasures in the Ephemerasphere of cyberspace.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

spin doctor, spinster, spindrift, etc.

We were driving along on a Syracuse snow-strewn boulevard and saw a car with Florida plates and not very helpful tires (a very damaged car at that) navigating (more like circumnavigating or quasinavigating) the roadway, and a spousal observer offered her opinion:

"They do a lot of spinning and not much traction."

I quickly quipped:

"Lots of spinning and not much traction. Sounds like my life."

Thursday, January 07, 2010

conversation starters

My friend Win T. (now, there's a winning combination!) tells me of his friend who refuses to engage in the typical conversational gambit of "what do you do?" as in, what is your work, your job.

Won't do it.

Win's friend, I'm told, says: "What are you reading?"

I like that, and not just because I myself am an avid or at least an ardent reader, though not as voracious a reader as is Bill S., who logged something like 87 books last year. (As an engineer, he of course has a spreadsheet and grades and categorizes his reading.)

I like "what are you reading?" as a conversational opener because a) yes, it plays to something I enjoy b) it tells you much more than someone's quotidian [mea culpa, forgive insertion of Latinate word] job and c) it is almost certain to be, well, conversational.

For the record, I am reading scroogenomics and the January 4, 2010, edition of The New Yorker magazine.

What are you reading?

12 Steps of Marketing 101

1. Last November while awaiting to get my rental car from Enterprise I struck up a casual and commiserating conversation with a customer more disgruntled than I.

2. I recognized the name of her business advertised on her baseball cap; I told her I knew of the firm, that I had once inquired about working there.

3. I offered to exchange business cards. She did not have her cards with her. I gave her my card and wrote down her name and email.

4. Days later, I sent her an email reminding her of our brief chat and introducing her to my website, etc.

5. Days after that, I sent her my linecard or brochure or handout or whatever we want to call it, with a handwritten note.

6. Time passed.

7. A little more time passed.

8. Then I sent a brief follow-up email, suggesting lunch or a cup of coffee. She was on vacation, the quick reply stated.

9. Some time passed.

10. I received an email from her not only agreeing to lunch but outlining possible areas of need and professional common interest and opportunities. She offered to bring a colleague to lunch.

11. All three of us had a brilliant lunch today reviewing specific needs and potential scenarios for collaborating. Their firm graciously paid the tab for lunch (in my neighborhood incidentally).

12. It is virtually certain that we will work together in 2010. It works if you work it.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Subjunctive of Epiphany Eve

Were the subjunctive to speak
I doubt that
Would they
If molecular biology
Were kings to fly
Or stars to speak
Contingent desire
Is more
Is just plain everything
As in this daily epiphany
The bread (crumbs) of life
As my my morning toast
Luscious in butter
And tea
For too
Too much

Sunday, January 03, 2010

I'm Just Wild About Harry

The New York Times Room for Debate blog asked people about books they'd discard, and books they could not live without. That sort of thing.

Someone who signed his name as "Harry" wrote this:

I Am the Book

There was a time, and it was quite a long time, in which I amassed books. What the wise heads nod are good books, daring books, deep books, great books. I read some, merely read from others. Some entered my bloodstream, others were a bore, but I kept on building my paper empire. Now, the question is not which ones to discard, since I’m the book, complete with spine and gray frontispiece, that will be discarded or remaindered, as the case may be, before very long. (Imagination dead. Imagine.) I once joked to a friend that my goal was to be the best-read skull in the ossuary. To an acquaintance who asked me if I read for pleasure, I replied by asking him if, as a devout Catholic, he prayed for pleasure. Between those extremities I’ve run my course as a reader. Now pious, now insolent; now real, now sham. One day soon, I’ll select the best of my books, and lay them out, for my grave clothes.

— Harry

I was bowled over by this. Knocked me out. In the wake of my own recent posting about books read in 2009, it made me ponder books and self and life and death.

Thanks, Harry. Whoever you are.


This just in, from the L.A. Times, reminds me of my 2007 post on the untimely and tragic death of cosmologist Jeffrey Willick and other thought-provoking matters:

EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say a 66-year-old man eating breakfast at a California fast-food restaurant was killed when a vehicle plowed through the corner of the building.

El Cajon Police Lt. Jeff Davis says the man was sitting in a front corner booth at a Carl's Jr. in San Diego County on Sunday morning when a Honda CRV slammed into the restaurant.

The 74-year-old driver, a resident of El Cajon, was taken to a hospital with moderate injuries.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. A witness told officers it appeared the SUV was going 45 to 50 mph.

The restaurant is closed as officials determine the structural integrity of the building.

resolved to post resolutions

If you recall, I posted my New Year's resolutions back on July 2, 2009.

I really did.

I'd wager that nobody else on the planet beat me to that!

But, alas, there is a touch of irony in all this, since I am not a big fan of new year's resolutions, whether they are uppercase or lowercase or titlecase or small caps.

2010's first haiku (by me)

crystalline whirlpools

albino road blindnesses

eyes wide shut open

shameless promotion

Come on in!


slip slidin' away

Drove from Stamford, Connecticut, to Syracuse, New York, today, experiencing wind that nudged the car, brief whiteouts of blowing snow, and even bouts of clarity and relative calm. Several cars slid off the road or were involved in significant accidents, especially in the Catskills. Along with all these elements, the drive home delivered its metaphorical sermon on powerlessness. Sure, I grabbed that wheel and opened my eyes wide. But . . .

What would Kierkegaard say?