Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Adirondack haiku

stately pines drying

needles carpet chipmunk paths

diving loon absent

Sunday, August 22, 2010

to touch rice

In the centuries-old tradition of sushi apprenticeship, years must pass before you can "touch rice."

Those wishing to learn to master sushi must spend years watching and observing; in the meantime, they wash dishes and mop floors.

Times are changing, and some sushi academies are letting students "touch rice the first day."

I submit that the ancient traditions are likely to fade, losing out to the immediacy of the modern age -- the tyranny of instant success.

Patience is a casualty of the age of immediacy. Patience, from the Latin word meaning to bear, to suffer.

We can't bear to wait, to suffer; we're insufferably impatient. (Or maybe it's just me.)

Take it a poetic, metaphorical step further, this delay, this deferral before one can touch rice.

(Reminds me of how decades ago the Boston Celtics routinely made rookies sit on the bench for a while -- the whole first year? -- before they could actually play in a game. Maybe that is still true to a degree, but I doubt it.)

So, tradition says the sushi maker waits years before being allowed to touch rice. By metaphor and analogy, can we say that these delays are long gone, too?

-- To touch the baseball

-- To hold the pen

-- To tap the keys

-- To fire the gun

-- To start the engine

-- To tell the student

-- To hold the chalk

-- To diagram the sentence

-- To touch the heart

-- To say the prayer

-- To take the step

-- To hold the brush

-- To click the mouse

-- To hear the confession

-- To roast the coffee

-- To make the tea

-- To wear the ring

-- To announce the score

-- To state the opinion

-- To drive the train

-- To touch metal

-- Smell honey

-- Eat locusts

-- Hold breath

-- Exhale

Friday, August 20, 2010

Teapot Dome Mystery, Revisited.

And now the teapot is just as mysteriously gone.


Not a trace.

But the coffeepot is there.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Teapot Dome Mystery

Picture this.

An abandoned house.

Out of nowhere a teapot and a coffeepot appear on the front steps.


From where?

By whom?


Tell me.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

think feel see

"The wise reject what they think, not what they see."
-- Huang-Po

But who said I am wise or aspire to be or that I think or even see? I get it, what you are saying, H-P. Or at least I think I have the willingness to be willing to get what you're saying, or said, or wrote in masterful brushstrokes of calligraphy, maybe hundreds of years ago. (Who are you, H-P?)

Thinking? What is it? In Descartes' Error, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio makes the case that neurologically speaking thinking is not divorced from thinking; we can't think without the feeling supplied in all those neurons that make up the central nervous system; the popularly believed thinking vs. feeling dichotomy does not exist in anatomy, in our biology.

But I get, or seek to get, what you're getting at, H-P.

See things for what they are feel the world for what it tastes touch the tongue of reality's open secrets lick the corners of the cosmos on the blade of grass smell the earwax of my dumb questions.

It has been said, "you need a meeting." A meeting of mind and matter, not mind over matter; a marriage of true minds and emotions, not divorced or legally separated from out there or in here, from the business of is-ness.

Something like that, but not quite, H-P. Calling H-P.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

They Are Watching You Watching This

"We never don't know anything about someone."

-- John Nardone, chief executive of [x+1]


Have you been de-anonymized? You probably have been de-anonymized, a victim of de-anonymization. I too have probably been de-anonymized. No, this has nothing to do with having one's anonymity broken in Alcoholics Anonymous or another 12 Step anonymity program. As reported this past week in The Wall Street Journal, this is about what They know about us. We learn that only 33 "bits" of information are needed to identify someone. stuff like ZIP codes, gender, birthdates, income. The WSJ article tells us how a data-mining company called [x+1] in a fifth of second, one click, tells Capital One a whole bunch of information from your computer so that Capital One offers you a credit card tailored to that data.

So, if [x+1] does this we can only imagine what Blogger, Yahoo, Google, the Department of Homeland Security, Tiffany & Co., ESPN, HSBC, ABC, MSN, Apple, USPS, Facebook, et alia can discern, ascertain, intuit, estimate, suggest, guess, or retain.

Identity theft?

How about the theft of anonymity, the loss of the loss of identity? How about the loss of the illusion of privacy?

Surprised, anyone?

Dear Anyone,

We know who you are.

p.s. "De-anonymization" is one of those nouninization words that tend to annoy me; one of those words carrying a freight-train's worth of syllables, Germanic-like, trudging along and running over a bunch of crisp and simple verbs.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Someone we know is about to have a baby; the term of pregnancy is nearing completion. She had been having contractions, and now through the wonders of modern science her contractions have, well, contracted. Her contract with nature, though, reads, somewhere in the fine print, that Nature will have the last say about her baby's first say, and when it will be. Contractions. I was thinking: Why call them contractions? Pregnancy is all about expansion, ain't it? Just look at the impending mama, the pregnant, the full, the expanded version of womanhood. Why not call contractions "expansions"? Of course, being a male, I was reminded that contractions are called contractions because the uterus is contracting. Well, okay. If you say so. But those contractions still complete the whole expansion regime, don't they? Grammatically, contractions are another matter altogether, being the combining of two words and then using an apostrophe to stand in for missing letters. so, even grammatically contractions contract, but do they really? It's more like they are a shortcut to expansion. (Don't can't won't hasn't didn't aren't isn't hadn't and so on; find me some that are not so negative.) So there we are again: contractions masquerading again as expansions. More or less. Depending. On a letter here or there. Or one's viewpoint. So, here's to

c o n t r a c t i o n s

contrarily speaking.