Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Joseph Heller started his novel "Something Happened" with as memorable an opening line as you're going to find:

"I get the willies when I see closed doors."

Well, I get the willies when I see plywood.

Especially plywood replacing windows.

You don't want to see plywood in your neighborhood unless it is part and parcel of a healthy renovation or construction project.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

new year's resolutions

I typically do not make any new year's resolutions. Why would I? At least not out loud or written. So, how y'all doing with yours now that the year is just about half over? Hey, you can throw in the towel on the 2010 resolutions, if you like, and begin drafting the 2011 resolutions, ok?

Fine by me.

the affective effect of affectation

In the Tuesday, June 22, 2010, print edition of The New York Times, the newspaper announced that Arthur S. Brisbane had been named the paper's next public editor, or ombudsman, for a three-year term.

Bravo, Mr. Brisbane.

The article in The New York Times said:

"Mr. Brisbane, who is the grandson of the legendary Hearst editor Arthur Brisbane, said he expected to tackle a wide variety of subjects during his three-year term, including the affect on The Times's journalistic standards of publishing articles for the Web on tight deadlines." [emphasis impertinently added]

Mr. Brisbane may want to begin by tackling the person who ran off with The Times's style manual, or at least the page that covers affect versus effect.

[Note: Well, maybe Mr. Brisbane did tackle the appropriate editor. Somebody did. Immediately after I posted this, I checked the Permalink, as The Times calls it, to the original story. Someone had corrected the word, to good effect, at least for the permanent online version. Fair is fair. Bravo to The Times for making things right. I might have looked like a persnickety fool who was wrong if I did not check that Permalink. This is restorative. It is refreshing to learn that someone saw this and fixed it. It affects me positively, but it certainly does not impact me! Insert emoticon of your choice.]

Thursday, June 24, 2010

walkin' in the rain

The song was hot. The Shangri-Las who sang it were too (too hot). Walkin' in the rain. Lo, these many years I thought the sound of rain on a car roof or any tin roof was among the most evocative and lovely on the planet. Numero uno. Then, on Tuesday, I took an umbrella from the porch, was it blue and white or pink and white, slightly in need of repair with ribs unattached to fabric, and walked down Whittier in a torrent, a bit torrent of raindrops pelting the umbrella, with this laptop safely tucked in my backpack on my back. The exquisite pounding of the summer shower on the canopy of safety over my head. The delicious rain we are divorced from in our cars, SUVs, trucks, buses, trains, planes, apartments, homes, schools, universities, factories, country clubs, office buildings, coffee shops, garages, grocery stores, megamalls, and convenience stores open 24/7. This rain on the umbrella. My very own rain. My personal sound machine. A memory flash from the 1980s, when I worked in NYC: I was walking to work, at Random House, and a car drove by and inundated a young lady, probably also on her way to work. A taxi just launched a wave right over this woman. Kapow! Was she pissed and enraged? No, she laughed! She looked delighted. I remember that, I don't think I'm conjuring it up from nothing and nowhere, and even right then I got it. She got It. It with a cap T, oh did she get It and thank you. And as my friend Dr. Shiva said later Tuesday, "And why not? God who gives us the sunshine also gives us the rain. They are both from God." Rain, another good song.

Monday, June 21, 2010

as if, or not

I'm scratching my head over the term "anosognosia," not as if I could pronounce it.

But, yes, denial or unawareness of a disability.

Or denial or unawareness of problems, or tragedy.

Yes, I can see where it's pandemic.

This from the Times:

ERROL MORRIS: Yes. Maybe it’s an effective strategy for dealing with life. Not dealing with it.

David Dunning, in his book “Self-Insight,” calls the Dunning-Kruger Effect “the anosognosia of everyday life.”[10] When I first heard the word “anosognosia,” I had to look it up. Here’s one definition:

Anosognosia is a condition in which a person who suffers from a disability seems unaware of or denies the existence of his or her disability. [11]

Dunning‘s juxtaposition of anosognosia with everyday life is a surprising and suggestive turn of phrase. After all, anosognosia comes originally from the world of neurology and is the name of a specific neurological disorder.

When people use the phrase, "it's a disease of denial," I think: doesn't everyone do that with every disease, and with death, to some extent?

Just thought I'd share this.


Saturday, June 19, 2010


I went to a high school graduation today. At Bishop Ludden Junior-Senior High School. Naively, very naively, I was surprised, though shouldn't have been, to see vending machines near the entrance, in the hall. For beverages. No, no, not beer. Nothing like that. Juices and stuff. And water! Bottled water. Commercially bottled water. Can you tell me why? Nearby, in the hallways, were several water fountains. In fact, the gym was hot so I made use of those water fountains two or three times during the ceremony. The water was fine. Perfect.

I noticed how people were happy to shell out money to get bottled water from the machines. That's how brainwashed we've become. The water I drank from the clean water fountains was likely cleaner than the bottled water. Most people do not realize, or accept, that municipal water standards are typically stricter than the standards for bottled water. The water from the fountains was pure and clean and cold and tasty. And free. (Not counting taxes or fees, but I don't live in that town; maybe my county taxes figured into the equation.) We'll say virtually free. The point is, municipal water is way cheaper than commercially bottled water.

Of course, people who felt that they'd be repeatedly thirsty could've brought a container (as can school kids, presumably). Or we can -- get this -- walk (!) to a water fountain.

Syracuse-area water is among the best. Why does anyone have to buy water bottled by Pepsi or Coca-Cola?


Marketing, brainwashing.

Now, kids at Bishop Ludden, those of you who have not yet graduated, here's an Earth Day project for next year: unplug and empty those vending machines. Demonstrate. Boycott. Stop using bottled water.

Stroll to the water fountain.

Now that's environmental radicalism.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bloomsday blogaversary sentence

Pawlie, on the fourth anniversary of his blogging inauguration, took a night stroll without the dog, this time, and under starless, clouded cover, taking slow steps with squeaky shoes, soaking in the aftermath (the natural algorithm of I'll Go Rhythm) of this morning's curtain of delicious downpour, wondering where to find welcome in these freight-train-echoing hills and behind these doors, mourning losses unnamed and unspoken, and interrupted by the stray grammar of fireflies.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bloomsday warmup sentence

Turtle-head popping out of his (hers, really) auto-mobile, Pawlie sniffed honey locust blossoms impersonating fecund cat piss unperfuming the Plum Street corner of Franklin Square, the smearedsmudged petals slipperating the sidewalk, cat pee it stung like, but no felines incite, only the humankind (and not so kind claws bared) just past noon, no priestly bellsballs clanging.

Monday, June 14, 2010

the unflagging flagness of flag day

Flag Day. June 14. As a schoolkid, flags galore, a parade around the school. Then, in the Sixties, the flag was appropriated by the "America, love it or leave it" crowd, meaning the crowd that brooked no dissent, that wanted blind allegiance during an unpopular war, the crowd that seemed to say, "The flag means this and only this or else you are un-American and disloyal" and cue the music and the bromides and the jingoism. There were backlashes to all that, ranging from flag burning (which I opposed and still oppose and don't get, but still believe in freedom of speech even if I radically disagree with such speech or expressions of speech) to clothing of flag designs, on undies or kerchiefs or dresses or ties. One person's honoring the flag was seen as blasphemous by another, and vice versa. Then right after 9/11, we put a flag up on our house. Proudly, defiantly, gladly, collectively, sadly, yes, patriotically. Our hillside street on Tipperary Hill, in Syracuse, looked picture perfect with flags rippling at dawn or dusk. But should we have castigated a neighbor if they chose not to fly a flag? No, and we did not. But I myself felt it really was a time, like my childhood, when the flag was a true unifier, when it represented a huddling of a family under a protective shelter, a collective cloak of armor and quiet pride. That's just me. For some, it was a rallying symbol of jingoistic and simplistic revenge, or would-be revenge. I guess. I can't read minds. Today? I don't know. I think the right still likes to appropriate the flag for exclusionary and militant purposes. When I saw American flags waving in Berlin while Obama spoke or in Chicago when he won, I thought that maybe we were over with parochial possession of the flag's meaning. Don't get me wrong: it would be no counter-victory for broad-minded patriotism if the left seized the flag for its own agenda to the exclusion of others (not sure, really, how that would work). The flag is broad, its stripes sweep outward. Its stars are in a wide firmament, its colors are of multiple hues. May it stand for the values no one owns alone but that everyone embraces in a civil and free society (don't forget the civil in civilization).

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Bloomsday's a-coming, and it's the anniversary of this blog, fittingly fit and fiddle faddle filial familially.

presolstice haiku

rolling emerald

sonorous robin's lament

dusky cumulus

Thursday, June 03, 2010


My biological purgatorium event went fine, thanks.

You might infer, from the paucity, nay, the nullity, of comments to my posts that no one reads this, that these postings reside in a solipsistic vacuum, as it were.

You might think that, but, nay, it is not quite so.

I have data showing that people from all around the world visit this blog.

They may be mum, but, um, they're my mums.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


I purged my office of months, if not years, but not decades, of stuff: bills, notes, memos, receipts, solicitations, ads, magazines, articles, cards, minutiae, flotsam, jetsam, effluvia, and other papers. "Purged" is only partially accurate: many items were tossed into a paper bag that will go to the curb for recycling (and then where?); other items went into folders -- folders marked with a handwritten identifier, folders I'll probably never consult. So, why not toss the stuff?

This document purging was preparation for some tidy projects coming up; call it a rolling up of the sleeves, figuratively speaking, to mix metaphors.

The paper winnowing curiously coincides with a procedure tomorrow that requires a winnowing of the human plumbing system. Yay. It's not too bad, not as invasively cathartic as the procedural prep years ago.

Purgatory. That was a tough concept as a kid. "Let me get this straight. It's like hell but not quite forever. Do they tell you it's only for a couple trillion years?" And you wonder why I became an Episcopalian?

Stras Wars

I'm ready for Stras Wars!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

fecund storm

We are adrift in seeds. Seeddrift. (No, this is not a digression degenerating pornward. Pornward, now there's a new word. Or maybe not.) You see the breeze blowing puffy white fertility carriers, with pockets of accumulation in corners or dusting the tops of unmown grass. Cottonwoods? Tulip trees? Dandelions? Swirls and surficial saturation of potential fertilization, risk-averse, harbingers. Bingers (as in binge-ers) of fecund possibility, riding the crest of natural market conditions.