Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rainy Days and Tuesdays

.. always get him down, especially rainy Tuesdays -- like it is right here in Akron.

Coldish, wet, heavy rain at the moment. I came home to eat - mashed kidney beans and steamed chard with vinegar - and now I am waiting for the rain to let up so I can go back to work. I want to throw myself onto the couch like Otty and forget it all.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rise and Shine

As my wife leaves our bed in the morning, the covers blow her scent to me, a blend of: Blackberry, blackberry. Autumn, grass, green or yellow; redwing blackbirds; the little kiss of red on the wings. Bach. The ocean. Death, sunbathers, sun, breast milk, deer, pine trees. Heat, rain in hair, lilacs. Tea rose, fig jam. Coffee on lips.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jaan Kaplinski: Two Takes

I recently picked up a new release, Evening Brings, which pulls together three of Jaan Kaplinkski’s early works. Reading through I found this translation that echoed a poem I remembered from The Wandering Border (from the late 80’s).


There are so many insects this summer.
As soon as you go into the garden
a buzzing swarm of flies besieges you.
The bumblebees are nesting in the boxes you made for birds,
the wasps have made their nests in hazel bushes.
And sitting at your desk in the attic room
you constantly hear a buzzing, and don’t know
whether it’s the sound of bumblebees, wasps,
electric wires,
a plane in the skies, a car on the road,
or the voice of life itself wanting to tell you something
from the inside, from your inner self.

from Evening Brings Everything Back
trans. by the author and Fiona Sampson


This summer is full of insects.
As soon as you go to the garden,
a cloud of flies buzzes around your head.
Bumblebees nest in the birdhouses,
wasps nest in the hazel,
and as I sit at the window
I hear a buzz I cannot name,
whether the voice of bumblebees, wasps,
or electric lines,
a plane in the sky, a car on the road,
or the voice of life itself that wants
to tell you something from the inside out.

from The Wandering Border
trans. by the author with Sam Hamill and Riina Tamm

Of the two, I prefer Hamill and Tamm’s translation.

Why say “nesting boxes you made for birds” instead of birdhouses? From the inside, from your inner self is the “get it” elbow in the ribs I didn’t need. And I prefer the “I” in Hamill’s take to the “you” in Sampson’s. More notable choices: swarm vs. cloud; besiege vs. buzzes.

Uh-Oh! Bad Kitty!

Opening day I saw Cloverfield twice and thoroughly enjoyed it. The monster is amazing. Not your garden variety lizard-saur.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thumbs Down -- Finally

A good two months late with their rejection, Willow Springs finally passed on my poems. Alas, alack. Etc. Etc. The tiny, speckish little part of me that read the delay as a good sign wants to get drunk and forget the humiliation. They were nice enough to point out they have a new address for future reference. Please make a note of it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Belated Meat Surprise

Besides the Kitty Surprise my nephew got from Santa, as a joke my sister gave me the gift of meat, a book that is surely the apogee of processed meat literature -- All About Sausage by Oscar Mayer.

It is essentially a recipe book and shameless promotion of Oscar Mayer meats. Oh, the wonderful things you can do with meats. The photos of these concoctions are as nauseating and amusing as the names of them. Perfect for keeping guests from ever coming back. Here are a few images to whet your appetite.

The Holiday Meat Tree
It all starts with 2 lbs. over assorted cold cuts ...

Nothing says summer like a bowlful of cool, chewy Meat Pops*
*Use a variety of meats!

Remember two things: you had no idea meat was so versatile; and, take in these names through the lens of processed meat as the key ingredient. That said, here is a list of more recipe names (best not shown):

Can Sandwich
Bean Bells
Hodgepodge Salad (from the section titled Saladry)
Sausage Pudding
Yummy Buns
Smokie Cosmopolitan
Little Weiner Shortcake
American Weiner Pie
Smokie Link Bundles
Weiner Chow Mein
Thermos Bottle Sandwich

NOTE: Sorry about the image quality. These are photos of photos in the book. Any crisper though and you might just think you taste 'em

Belated Kitty Surprise

Running way behind on a few posts I wanted to put up back around Christmas yes, I am that far behind. I wanted you all to meet Kitty Surprise - this is a toy my nephew got and it creeped me out to no end. To begin with, it has a hard plastic doll face instead of a soft furry face. Kind of like if Chucky were a stuffed animal. Then, the surprise! Flip kitty over and a giant slit in her belly allows you to pluck up new born kittens - ala tissue dispenser engineering.In the end, we turned Kitty Surprise into dark Spidercat.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Happy Cloverfield to Me, Happy Cloverfield to Me ...

Originally, my Blog was to have some focus on monsters. I think my descript line was along the lines of fatherhood, monsters and poetry. Well, it's become more about random shit that I have time to post than anything else - however, I want to put up a little post on my latest monster buzz - Cloverfield. I have been waiting (impatiently) like a lot of monster movie freaks for this to open, and finally this Friday it does and I will be there as a birthday treat to myself. I am ready for a ride and expect the movie will be extremely scary. Here are a few stills I grabbed from the web. Bleeding from the eyes and mouth ... what's next? I won't say just in case you have not read up on the movie - but I can tell you it ain't pretty.

McSweeney's Open Letters

With so many emails flying back and forth these days, I some times fear the art of letter writing has gone the way of the dinosaur. If you're of the same opinion, buck up. Here is a wonderful web site dedicated to Open Letters. My wife Myla is a big fan of the site and told me to pass it on.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Good Old Days, Brought to You by Olan Mills v.1

... Say smelly Cheese ...

I must have an Olan Mills portrait somewhere in my Mom's basement ... knit tie, hair gel. Basements are scary places.

Fans Outraged at Miley

Yes, I can feel the outrage. The palpable outrage.

Jesus H. Christ, it's like we say in advertising. It'd be great if it weren't for clients. The same must be true of fans.

Just remember, Miley is Smiley without the S.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Kins You Dig It? Riffing on Pup Part 3.1

It’s a fact.

If you add “kins” to most any word it makes it sound cuter than it is – potato-kins for example.

Add ‘kins’ to something already cute, like say our puppy –and you’re talking serious cuteness. Ottykins. Or puppykins.

Who’s a little puppykins?

The baby talk and cooing are non-stop around our house lately, but it’s all worth it. Otty is such a great little addition to the family.

Daddy-kins, mommy-kins. Cheese-kins …

Creepy Old Ads (very creepy)

My buddy Jon has a nice Blog up and I have been meaning to put it on my Blog roll. Until then, here is a 'creepy ads' post he put up that's worth a peek.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Book Report - Birthday Blues

Just in time to numb the pain of my 45 birthday (Jan. 19th), some post holiday book orders are arriving:

Mary Jo Bang's Elegy (thanks Brent!)

Mary Ruefle's Tristimania


Mary Ruefle's Indeed I Was Pleased with the World

Peter Levi Noise Made By Poems

Plants, Bodies, Glass: A weekend in Pittsburgh

As something of a last hurrah before our son went back to school this week, my wife Gwendonna planned a trip to Pittsburgh (just a couple hours away) and we took in the Chihuly exhibit at the Phipp's Conservatory.I have to say, walking through room after room of tropical plants married with sensuous glass is very soothing. (The flirty little orchids did their part as well.)

On Sunday, we went to the Carnegie Science Center and put our hands on a lot of hands on type exhibits. Whit built a small structure on an earthquake simulator and apparently he knows something of engineering because his creation survived all the shaking. Easily a 1.1 on the Ritcher Scale. In the adjacent building, I got a close look at myself via the Bodies Exhibit. I don't have a picture of it, but in one body length glass case they had a complete suit of skin, eye, nose, mouth holes, etc. Nothing else gave me the willies - but this. (BTW, those are bands of skin on the body to your left.)

Last but not least, we did the famous Incline ride which overlooks the city and the stadium where the Steelers lost later that night.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year - A Dog's Life

The Blog is getting rusty these days. I have not been around much, but I am hoping to get back in a groove now and breathe a little life into Poor Fool. New Years Eve was pretty quiet here, though Otty got into his stash of Schnapps and turned into Loopy Dog on us. Here he is dancing through his buzz.

Thanks to all of you who come by still.
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