Sunday, December 27, 2009

Comp Books, a Nerd's Confession

I have to admit, that one my greatest joys is finding notebooks, especially the comp book style, at super low, post-back-to-school prices. Here is the latest batch I got a Office Max for 80c a piece. A while back, I found some good ones at Target for 60 cents a piece. Cool.

Poetry News


I am very upbeat about a recent rejection letter I got. The poem R.W.W. is on the death of my son Rainer back in 1998. There was a note scribbled on the form reject saying the poem was lovely, wish it didn't end with a question though. Not the first time I was told that and since poetry is what, 80% revision? I am working on a new last line and will resubmit it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Nuts, It's Been Ages

What's up with the life stuff that keeps me from my beloved Poor Fool?

Here are few quick updates.

SPAM has discovered Poor Fool and at present I have 33 comments from Anonymous, for everything from Viagra offers to War Craft cheats. So if you comment and you are a legitimate Anonymous I probably won't see your message anymore. Alas!

On an off note, I have been beseiged by Peter Sellers-like (Pink Panther) missteps. Feeling all upbeat and cocky because of a good jog, I threw a handful of cashews into my mouth and a bunch of salt(because they were the last nuts in the container) got in my eyes.

As part of my efforts to be more relaxed throughout the day, I stopped working and took a deep sniff of a Vanilla candle and snorted the flame into my nostril. Now there's a smell you don't want to think about. Burnt nose hair. Trapped in your nose no less.

Other than that, freelance work has been crazy steady. I am jogging again. And I even have a few poems out.

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Bad, scary monkey. bad!"

Working on a freelance project today that could involve stuffed animals, I was sad and a little terrified to come across this one. It is a monkey, so they say. I would go so far as to say it tops the clown from Poltergeist -- furthermore, I am getting this weird Chucky meets flying Oz monkeys vibe.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Brussel Sprouts

No, it's not a prop from Day of the Triffids, but rather, Brussel Sprouts before they're harvested. I had no idea.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Little Bunnies Foo Foo

Inside my Black & Decker leaf sucker upper, there is a sizable and very toothy grinding element which makes quick but noisy work of leaves and buckeyes, and almost bunnies.

While doing the yard suck yesterday, I found two of these little fellas hiding in plain sight in the leaves and grass I was cleaning up. I thought they needed a little help getting to better cover so we worked out a deal where they would stay in the thicker ground cover by my porch and both promised to beware the cats in our neighborhood. We talked a bit about "stealth mode" a then I got back to work.

Lights out

My doctor's office just phoned and my doc' secretary Vicky says I have severe Sleep Apnea and I need to go back in for a, quote: "CPAP Titration Study".

Sad at slow moving paper work! They are sooooooo behind the old 8 ball. The sleep lab already got me in and out for the Titration before my primary even got back to me with results of the first test.

"Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the main treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea. It is a pump which uses a gentle stream of air to splint open the airway at night. Depending on the case an overnight study may be conducted at the laboratory or in the home to determine the most effective setting for the machine to alleviate symptoms of apnoea." What you see in the picture is pretty much what I was wearing last night -- only I looked cool in it.

My technician dude for the Titration must have known I am a worrier, though, because when I asked him what the first test results showed, mild or moderate, he said, "You know, I don't really like to use terms like that ..." Blah blah blah. It took the courage of my primary's nurse, Vicky, to give it to me straight.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

All I Need is the Air that I Breathe

So I have an update on the blackouts. (see below)

Did a Sleep Study the other night and it showed that I stopped breathing off and on during the short time I did sleep. Spooky. So I go back in tonight to sleep with a PAP something or other on my face. Sounds like it fits over my nose and face like that many-legged thing from Alien. Spooky again.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Andrew Sullivan & Me

Tonight at the pharmacy I was mistaken for several versions of Andrew Sullivan.

The Faces of Fear, ... & Stupidity, Hate, Racism

I am depressed enough these days without seeing this Freakshow, but alas it came my way and I want to share it with you. They are actually scared by the word Czar. I guess it sounds spooky and perhaps Muslim. But not as spooky as the Tea Baggers . They don't know who or what a Czar is and what kind of murky plans he has.

Speaking of words, I think they should take a break from the frenzy and look up the more contemporary meaning of Tea Bagger which they've proudly nicknamed themselves. This kind of unfocused, uninformed, and generally confused rage and indignation is painfully reminiscent of the terrifying video clips of Ohio Palin supporter during the election.)

Everyone is so tired of all the spending, and all the freedoms being eroded. You know, all the "stuff" that Obama has done in his short time in office.

God, these sad, noisy maniacs.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Haven't Got the Stomach for this Heart Stuff

My stomach is all nerves. As of right now, it looks like I am going to see Richard Josephson (with all sorts of John Hopkins credentials) this Wednesday for the first of what sounds like many tests.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

More Blackouts - Could be Terrorists?

Here is a bunch of gobblygook that talks about what "may" be wrong with me, but I have also read about Pulmonary Hypertension presenting itself with similar symptoms.

(Of course, I like Syncope because it almost sounds like a poetry term: Metonymy, Synecdoche, Syncope.)

Syncope is the temporary loss of consciousness or, in plain English, fainting. The situations that trigger this reaction are diverse and include coughing. Situational syncope is caused by a reflex of the involuntary nervous system called the vasovagal reaction. The vasovagal reaction leads the heart to slow down and, at the same time, it leads the nerves to the blood vessels in the legs to permit those vessels to dilate. The result is that the heart puts out less blood, the blood pressure drops, and the blood that is circulating tends to go into the legs rather than to the head. The brain is then deprived of oxygen, and the fainting episode occurs.

Sounds involved.

Here is an additional link I found with a few helpful tips. Reading this and everything else, it is beginning to feel like I am circling the heart disease drain.

Last time it happened, which would have been just this past Sunday on the porch during dinner, I was told my eyes kind of rolled back and I nodded into the table top. Bad Dinner Theater indeed.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Common Dreams Bookmark

Depending on which way you lean, I encourage you to share this site with anyone who you think would benefit. Currently at you will find an important reminder (think Orwell's Polictics and the English Language) about that words matter from Ralph Nader. Or, for more on the myth of healthcare reform and the phony debate going on, this piece from Rolling Stone.

"Then again, some of the blame has to go to all of us. It's more than a little conspicuous that the same electorate that poured its heart out last year for the Hallmark-card story line of the Obama campaign has not been seen much in this health care debate. The handful of legislators - the Weiners, Kuciniches, Wydens and Sanderses - who are fighting for something real should be doing so with armies at their back. Instead, all the noise is being made on the other side. Not so stupid after all - they, at least, understand that politics is a fight that does not end with the wearing of a T-shirt in November."

Pass it on.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Pfizer is Pfined, Pf----ing A!

This is wonderful! Good news for a change. If I were drinking, tonight I'd drink to John Kopchinski.

"In the Army I was expected to protect people at all costs," Kopchinski said in a statement. "At Pfizer I was expected to increase profits at all costs, even when sales meant endangering lives. "I couldn't do that," added Kopchinski.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Laughter is the Best Medicine, Unless it Kills You

I am officially worried.

Last night, I shared the Poo Trap video with my son Whit (see below) and when I saw him laughing I started laughing, hard really hard, and then I kind of just went away ....

I came to with my head on the edge of the desk where I was sitting. I had blacked out.

This is the second time this has happened to me now.

Always the same circumstances, laughing so hard I black out.

The first time was also with Whit -- sharing a little bit of humor with someone else, and seeing them laugh just makes it funnier I guess. But what if I am driving and someone makes me laugh.

I just saw the doctor for an upper respiratory infection, now I need turn around and go back about the laughing disease.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

PooTrap - As Seen on TV!

Christ, this is subtle. Here's what I miss by not watching television .... I can't breathe and am laughing so hard. How tasteful the way they blurred out the steamer caught in the bag on the home page image.

I think we will pass and stick to grocery bags ... showed the video to Otty and Indy and they both gave "the weird ass apparatus" thumbs down.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Colossus Dog - B-Movie Victims

Unspeakable terror. Skin crawling ickiness!
Behold! It started out as fun-filled hike in the Purple Range Mountains with four friends, and turned into a gore-bespattered trip from hell when the Amazing Colossus Dog of Hades fell upon them! There was nowhere to run! But straight down her throat.

Movie slogan, Sometimes, the dog days of summer really bite!

Laundry Basket Blues

Maybe we never outgrow the pleasure of sitting in laundry baskets, we just outgrow the baskets. Whit, busting blue at age 9.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Shawn McNulty or McNUTly.

Shawn McNulty signs are everywhere in Southside Akron front lawns which is/was good for his campaign, but is even better for a laugh.

As we drove through the area on our way to the Reptile Show, Whit asked (doing his best young Seinfeld voice), "Why would you vote for some guy named McNutly." Of course, it's McNulty with an L but driving by you can't really tell that. So we had a good laugh thinking that out there somewhere is a guy who's last name is looks like McNutly.

Must. Kill. Bun. Bun.

with the help of our dog trainer friend, we have determined that one way to minimize (not completely stop) Indy's incessant barking during her walks, is to use her crazed passion for stuffed furry things.

Neighbors do double takes when they see her walking along with some brown, furry, lifeless remains hanging from her mouth, but do you know how hard it is to find purple rabbits? Affectionately, we call these stuffed toys her "comfort corpses".

She yikes them so much, and to see her trot along, so proud of the fake dead thing in her mouth, it almost makes me weepy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Healthcare on Democracy Now

This will take you to a page on Democracy Now's web site that is loaded with fantastic excerpts on the healthcare debate from the past few months.

I think one of the best is "Watchdog Group Sues for Disclosure of White House Meetings with Healthcare Execs" -- which relates to the Nader piece below.

Campaign promises of "more transparency" are, it seems, officially broken.

Healthcare Fix

"Never much of a fighter against abusive corporate power, Barack Obama is making it increasingly clear that right from his start as President, he wanted health insurance reform that received the approval of the giant drug and health insurance industries.

Earlier this year he started inviting top bosses of these companies for intimate confabs in the White House. Business Week magazine, which proclaimed recently that “The Health Insurers Have Already Won” reported that the CEO of UnitedHealth, Stephen J. Hemsley, met with the President half a dozen times."

Where is some of that change I can believe. Say it isn't so O! Here is a small piece by Nader that lines up with much of what I have read elsewhere. "Last night, the so-called "gang of six" -- three Republican and three Democratic senators on the Senate Finance Committee -- met by conference call and, according to Senator Max Baucus, the committee's chair, reaffirmed their commitment "toward a bipartisan health-care reform bill" (read: less coverage and no public insurance option)."

Friday, August 21, 2009


Let’s just say you have a favorite pair of something. Oh, I don’t know, like an old worn out pair of sandals. Let’s say in the opinion of others, like your wife, they have outlived their usefulness. Let’s say they disappear one day and upon interviewing your wife it is discovered that “Oh yeah, I threw those out.” I have known for some time now that she had her eyes on my obliterated, worn out, near useless sandals. But I never thought in a million years she would cross that sacred line and dispose of, covertly mind you, my stinky treasures. This crushing blow gives me paws. My mind wanders to ventilation units, and end of life scenarios when some might say I have outlived my usefulness. Oh, sandals, where are thou!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I Like it Hot & Dirty: Annual Mud Fight

Here in the Heights, family get togethers are messy. Forget horseshoes. Forget cookouts. When we get together -- meaning me, my son Whit and my nephews from Kalamazoo -- we have a mud fight. They ganged up on me, and minutes into the fun I took a huge plop of it right in the eye and had to manage one-eyed for much of the time.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hummingbird Moth

I am digging up and under the back of our yard these days, which in the past has been covered with vines, bush, phlox and an odd assortment of everything. Today, while getting my ass kicked by lily roots, I noticed this little fella in the phlox. A Hummingbird moth. Click on the photos to embiggen the moth,

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Review of David Ray's New & Selected

Cool beans. My write up on David Ray's selected poems in up on Rattle now.

Blackberry Eating - Friday Finale (Late)

I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths or squinched,
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
in the silent, startled, icy, black language
of blackberry -- eating in late September.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

10 Minute Spill

Today marks the third day in a row I have been jogging after too too much time off. I am working through some ankle pain but am very encouraged.

I am reading Umberto Saba. Yum yum.

New (to me) songs that I am digging ...

This Love is Fucking Right, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Goodnight Moon, Shivaree

Am laying off the hops indefinitely.

Got my first nibble on eLance today.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rain Rain Rain...

means worms worms worms. Tonight I took Whit out to the curb and we hunkered along through the dirt and grass with the flashlight, snatching up nightcrawlers for fishing. I did most of the plucking. But Whit finally got the hang of it after having many snap back into the dirt and disappear. It was a beautiful thing.

Wow, Phantastic

Hey I love Black and White as much as the next guy but this shit is almost scarier in flesh tone. Feast your eyes, gloat your soul on my acursed ugliness!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Mower - Friday Finale

The Mower

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time

P Larkin

Friday, June 5, 2009

On Earth - Friday Finale

I am hoping to get in the habit of closing out each week with a Friday poem.


Resurrection of the little apple tree outside
my window, leaf-
light of late
in the April
called her eyes, forget
but how
How does one go
about dying?
Who on earth
is going to teach me—
The world
is filled with people
who have never died.

Franz Wright

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rainer Woodruff, June 4, 1998 - July 14, 1998

Back in May, I posted about Amy Issacson Price, a librarian at our branch who recently committed suicide – three years after her young son died. I knew her well enough to feel her absence now, but not well enough to know she was in so much pain. We have this in common, losing a child. My infant son Rainer died back in 1998 from a rare mitochondrial disorder. Today is his birthday and he would be 11. So happy birthday Rainer Walker Woodruff.

Last year, as part of my ongoing grief work, I started volunteering at the Akron Children’s hospital, doing in-hospital visits in the neo natal ICU and regularly visiting the home of a young man with Duchene’s MD. I stuck with it for about a year and a half. Then, between losing my job and having this nagging feeling I just wasn’t where I belonged with my volunteer work, I decided to take a leave.

Amy’s death turned me around and now I am getting back into volunteering -- but in a different vein. Beginning very soon I should be doing follow up calls to bereaved parents as part of the hospital’s growing bereavement services program. It will do me good and maybe I can help someone along the way.

Thinking of you son. Thinking of you too Amy.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Lebron James

Here's a little addendum to the post below about Lebron James redefining competitor.

I’m a winner, King James proclaimed. So, there you go. That’s his reason for rushing out of the conference finals without so much as a nod to Dwight Howard(notes) and the Orlando Magic. That’s his reason for marching to the bus and letting the Cleveland Cavaliers’ spare parts take care of his responsibilities in the interview room.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I'm a Winner

"It’s hard for me to congratulate somebody after you just lose to them,” he said. “I’m a winner. It’s not being a poor sport or anything like that. If somebody beats you up, you’re not going to congratulate them. That doesn’t make sense to me. I’m a competitor. That’s what I do. It doesn’t make sense for me to go over and shake somebody’s hand."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dandelion Whine

It’s that time of year. Everything’s green. Birds are busy everywhere gathering dog fur for their nests. The dandelions have gone to seed. They look harmless, right? But I remember a day back in Madison, WI, when they weren’t so fluffy and cute. I had my son Whit at a local park and the grass was filled with them. He was probably about 4. I showed him how to blow the seeds into the air and when he grabbed a handful he somehow just shoved them into his eye and the seeds just stuck there—lots of them. Of course, the little hard ends with the seeds were very painful. He started screaming and clawing at his eye and I started my heart attack. I grabbed him up and tried brushing them out with my finger but he screamed more and fought me with his little flailing fists.

Running, I carried him back to the car hoping my wife Gwen had left (as she always does) a water bottle in the cup holder so I could flush his eye out. No such luck. So there, in the small cramped privacy of our car I cradled him in my arms, restraining his arms, and brought his face close to mine so I could suck the seeds out of his eye. It took a few minutes but finally he was ok.

On this day, I salute all father’s who’ve ever had to improvise and suck things out of their children’s eyes.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

New Book Releases

Jim Harrison, In Search of Small Gods

Jack Gilbert, The Dance Most of All

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Heavy Day

The day started off in a dark way yesterday.

While walking the pups, I noticed a bloated dead cat in the side yard of a house. Bloated like it had been there a day or two. Then I noticed the garbage cans were not curb side--odd for trash day. The car was in the driveway. Curtains closed up around the house. Walking the dogs I had often seen an elderly woman there, always by herself, doing yardwork. So in the name of being neighborly I freaked and called the police and asked them to check on the woman. No one answered the door when I knocked earlier. Have not heard anything more.

A few hours later, I got an email from my wife Erin saying that one of her students, an elderly woman, had died. She'd been struggling with brain tumors since her late 20's. Erin got the message right before class and had to break the news to her students. Hard class.

A few hours later, while I was at school picking up my son Whit, I was told by another parent that one of our neighborhood librarians had committed suicide. Her son had died 3 years ago, and she never recovered. I adored her and always looked forward to seeing her and joking with her when I went to the library.

I am in shock and deeply saddened. Her obit said she died of a broken heart. I am not sure why I am posting this. I think I just want you to know of her.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Qik Post

Imagine yourself saying through your gritted aching teeth, "I'll be back in a bit, just gonna run down to Immediadent." Or, you stub your toe enough to crack the nail open and say, "I need to make a trip to UrgiCare." I think I despise "Urgi" most because it just sounds so damn stupid.

Here is my Andy Rooney moment for the day. What the hell is with all these blended word names? Immediadent is what you'd expect, a kind of urgent care for dentistry, right here in Akron. No doubt useful, but the name? Come on. This is advertising at its worst. I think it all began with video stores spelling Time, Tyme! Or oil lube shops spelling Quick, Qik.

Here are a few I made up.

Escort Service:


Lawn Care:





The possibilities, sadly, are endless.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Babies: Shaken not Stirred

Shake the baby "quiet". Wow, that would make a great iPhone game app. Well, maybe not so much.

"The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has rejected apps that let iPhone users throw virtual shoes at President George W. Bush or watch clips from the "South Park" cartoon. It has accepted numerous programs that simulate flatulence."

Priorities. Priorities.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Still Praying

Still Praying

I pray for a breeze in sweltering summer,
A little less precipitation in winter.
May the flowers bloom red, purple, or whatever;
May love be spared derisive laughter,
May someone be available to prop up the fallen.
Let me have compassionate people around
So that when a man is really down
They at least won’t increase his pain
By turning a cold shoulder and arched eyebrows;
Each day of the year, like a cooling spring
Gushing forth non-stop, let us have some wisdom,
Instead of bans and rulings against this or that.
I ask to hear songs welling from the heart
Without someone laying down a formula
Of prearranged keys for every melody.
I pray
For the day when people will have no need
To pray the way I have had to do here.

Cai Qijao

Ars Poetica

Ars Poetica

Rather than speaking words, I’d prefer to give my hand
to a child, immerse my heart in living foam,
and be quiet, with my forehead full of ocean
under a silent pinetree, pulsating upward.

Rather than speaking words, navigating in a plain
of crushed wheat, growing in waves, where immensity
extracts the juice of summer nights;
and instead of dreaming names letting the wind write them.

Rather than collecting songs harvested in infancy
I’d prefer my cheeks to be like a ravished nest,
and the taste of my lips to be moist with ignorance,

and with the very first delight of someone who has never kissed;
rather than speaking words, to be the words’ own fragrance,
and to be quiet, inside the poem, to be quiet …

By Leopoldo Panero

Monday, April 20, 2009

Reality Check for The Stupidly Weathly

If this weren't so nauseating it'd be funny. Read on about the hard times the wealthy are having. "I'm not after sympathy. We are blessed. What I want is a reality check on what rich means," Ms. Parnell says. "I can pay my mortgage and I can buy some clothes. I'm not going without, but I'm not living a life of luxury." If she wants a reality check, I'd say start with the vacation home. What a dork. Preciousssssss.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spring Beauties

Spring has sprung white in our front yard. We get this beauty every Spring for about a week. Less if we get a late frost. Isn't it gorgeous. Speaking of gorgeous, Indy got into my wife Drey's hair stuff again. Loves to play dress up I guess.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Anonymous Keith

after a long tour with Poor Fool, Anonymous Keith has been retired. To those of you who have told me on the side to make him go away, your wish has been granted.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Kenneth Patchen

Going on forever now, I have been reading David Ray who reminds me in many many ways of Patchen.


Wherever the dead are there they are and
Nothing more.
But you and I can expect
To see angels in the meadowgrass that look
Like cows -
And wherever we are in paradise
in furnished room without bath and
six flights up
Is all God! We read
To one another, loving the sound of the s’s
Slipping up on the f’s and much is good
Enough to raise the hair on our heads, like Rilke and Wilfred Owen
Any person who loves another person,
Wherever in the world, is with us in this room –
Even though there are battlefields.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Robin Fulton

Today, I am paging through a few books of poetry by Robin Fulton. To me, he has always been "the guy who translates Transtromer" (and a shelf full of other poets I admire,) but I recently came across this poem of his in an anthology and thought I should take a deeper look. Googling his own poetry is really tough if you don't have a title to search. He's so tied to Transtromer that's almost always what you get. But, here ya go:

Something like a sky

Something in us has suddenly cleared.
Something like a sky.
Something like a still-life, alive.
Behind us, our footsteps and voices.
Behind all the walls, a wide silence.
The air is white and open, ready for snow.

Robin Fulton

This is from his collection Fields of Focus and it reminds me quite a bit of the Transtromer poem 2 A.M. And why that last line, "the air is white and open, ready for snow", gives me such a lovely shiver I don't don't quite know.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mohican Resort

This weekend, we all went for an overnight stay at the Mohican Lodge. Here's the view, or a view, from out our room. With their awesome Stay for A's special, you get $10 off for every A on your kid's report card. Thanks to Whit we saved $50.

Here's an aerial view from the web site.

We were such good guests, the locals named a street after us.

Blistering Cold Freezes Blistering Heat

Blistering cold they say. Sounds weird, like cold fire.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Whit Does Carlin

Driving back from school with my son Whit, he says to me "How come we park in driveways and drive on parkways?" Not bad, eh? I told him it is odd they tell you to get on the plane in airports, instead of in the plane. (Props to GC for that one.)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"I'll have a glass of glass please"

Last night I was out with my wife Mae for Valentine's Day and we stopped by a mexican food joint on our way to see Benjamin Button. It was at the mexican food joint that I had a margarita or a glass of glass. Not sure yet. But near the end of the drink I happened to find a glass chip the size of sunflower seed in my drink. At first I thought it must be ice but it had such a pointy shape. I sucked on it and it did not melt. It was glass. For our trouble they took both drinks off the bill. Whew. That's good. As long as there wasn't a chip or two I drank without knowing. We'll see.
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