Saturday, March 31, 2007

Our Daily Bread

"The fine art of surfacing?" Email from The Walker led to cool photo from German film about food production.

Dust off the cobwebs

A beautiful Saturday morning here in Tucson. At least that is what it looks like from inside this cavernous warehouse type building where I am working. I should have a little more time next week to post some pictures from last weekend's Cubs game with Juche & son. The Kermit link was from The Sports Guy via The Sports Gal. I am probably the last person to have seen it but here it is. I am looking forward to picking up the new Jonathan Lethem book. His site is cool.

Also this is the perfect time of year for a new Fountains of Wayne album.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Today is my sister's birthday. If I am 40 then she must be...hmmm?

I am heading off to Chandler, AZ to celebrate another birthday girl, Ju Che's daughter, who just turned 1 yesterday. I picked up a new cd on a whim for the road trip up, Lily Allen. Check out her Myspace page to hear the super catchy song Smile. Sort of like a British Gwen Stefani with a sense of humor and better music.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Work is the curse of the drinking class."

Busy. Busy. Busy.
I do have a spring training game to look forward to this Sunday with Ju Che. We are going to see the Cubs at Hohokam Park (Which is fun to say).

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

By the time I get to Phoenix...

Drive by shot of Orange Grove in Tempe

Downtown Phoenix

I spent some time with Ju Che Child & Family this morning. Ran into downtown Phoenix to do some errands. They are tearing the whole place up to put in a light rail system. The orange grove is close to Ju Che Child's house and it was for Churlita. Not a great shot but she did mention something about orange blossoms and I aims to please. The unseasonable weather we had in Iowa a little while ago was also down here as it hit the upper 90's which apparently is high this early in the year even for Arizona. So things may be blooming ahead of schedule.

Flight down yesterday was uneventful. I finished Kate Atkinson's One Good Turn (sequel to Case Histories). Can't say enough about both of them. Love the intertwining plots and all the twists and turns. They also inspire me to visit Edinburgh. Not exactly a place that was high on my list especially after reading Irvine Welsh. After changing planes in Dallas I began reading Seamus Heaney's Beowulf, excellent stuff. I did start drifting off to sleep right before Grendel's mother arrived. The poem caused me to wonder about Earth Goat's Grendel and how he was doing over in the Netherlands. He has an update and some more pics up.

I was extremely fortunate in the rental car pickup. I managed to snag a 2007 Mazda MX5 convertible. I think it was due to high volume of people combined with an afternoon arrival that caused a shortage of vehicles available but the Mazda was the only car left besides a couple of PT Cruisers. Bonus is that they are still charging the same rate if it had been a Corolla so the corporate office can't complain. Somebody will I am sure but I am covered. I had my eye on a Mustang but the woman in front of me grabbed it. So I shoehorned my luggage into the styrofoam cooler sized trunk and hit the road.
The car has a manual/automatic shift which took me a while to get used to it but you can shift it like a standard or just switch it on the fly to auto. I figured it out after I had it up to 5000 rpms in 2nd gear. Next stop Casa Grande and the Toltec Tavern for lunch.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Patience & Fortitude

Hopper striking a Bob Roberts pose and Iggy a slightly more relaxed one.

I am leaving town tomorrow morning so one more cup of coffee and a cat picture before I go. We had a mellow mellow St. Patrick's Day yesterday just a few pints and some corned beef and cabbage. We rented Borat which I felt did have its funny moments but I still thought overall was the film was just okay. I think the half-life of this film is about 2 years before we see it again and wonder what all the fuss was about. In fact it felt a bit dated already after all of the hype, lawsuits etc... I have to give Sacha Baron Cohen credit as he does know how to make an audience cringe. The next post will be from Arizona.
P.S. I also have to mention that after watching 300, even with my diminished expectations, it was still disappointing. Who knew the Persian ruler Xerxes also could have doubled for a really tall version of the transvestite in The Crying Game? Also some of the scenes were reminiscent of the Castro district in San Fran on a Saturday night in the late '80s. It just needed a techno-dance soundtrack to complete the scene. The movie was beyond campy plus it directly ripped off Lord of the Rings a couple of times. Wait for the video (game).

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Beware the Ides of March

"Some days I feel like Janet Leigh"

Some days I feel like Janet Leigh in Touch of Evil —
I wake up, sunny and blond, but by the time midnight
rolls around I've been hijacked by Akim Tamiroff's
greasy thugs, shot up with heroin, framed for murder,
and I'm out cold in a border town jail. I didn't kill
Akim, of course, it was Hank Quinlan — drunk, overweight
Orson Welles — who for thirty-odd years as sheriff
has been framing creeps for crimes they maybe did. Enter
Mike Vargas, tall handsome Mexican cop — Charlton
Heston with a weird little mustache and a dark tan
from a can. "You don't talk like a Mexican," Welles
says to Heston, which speaks to me, because talking
like a Mexican could solve any number of roadside hells
I am currently running away from — well, walking.

Barbara Hamby
Five Points
Volume 9, Number 3

Yes, I know another poem but Hamby is always worthwhile and it is being retired from the Poetry Daily archive.

I just finished up a mini-project for work and I am running around trying to prepare for a return to Tucson for a month long assignment. I need to make sure I have all things done that are supposed to get done plus we are working on a mini Spring cleaning. A cold has slowed me down since last weekend's debate (probably where I caught the cold). First things first though, today I think I will catch a matinee of 300. I can get some more stuff done tomorrow. The cats are getting there nails done.

Just finished reading Kate Atkinson's Case Histories which I enjoyed quiet a bit and have just checked out the sequel from library. I first ran across her by accident picking up a copy of her Emotionally Weird at used bookstore because of the cover and then reading the jacket. I have read that one at least twice and recommend all of her books. Other than that I am still plowing through Ross Macdonald. I think I am up to the 13th book in the Lew Archer series and they continue to get stronger. Quick reads but I have to find most of them through inter-library loans which takes time.

Last night saw Casino Royale (Daniel Craig not David Niven)...I like the idea of starting a new Bond from scratch and look forward to the next chapter. I enjoyed Craig in Layer Cake more though with a bit more action. The Bond film had some extended quiet longueurs while building up the romance angle. Off to the post office.

Coming Soon: Cat Pictures!

Friday, March 09, 2007


The title of the movie and probably the number of negative reviews it will receive. I still want to see it.

My favorite blurb is from NY Times' critic A.O. Scott, "300 is about as violent as Apocalypto and twice as stupid. " I read his whole review and while it probably is an accurate assessment it hardly matters to me if the film is excessively violent or sophomoric. It's from a comic book by Frank Miller not Herodotus. As the NY Post reviewer states in his 2 out of 4 star rating. "Its philosophical underpinnings are not freedom and courage but Itchy and Scratchy. "
I am hoping that I feel more like Richard Roeper after seeing it. "It is excessively, cheerfully violent -- and it is gorgeous to behold. It looks like the world's most sophisticated and expensive video game, and I mean that in a good way. "
I am off to go eat and catch some of the Iowa game. Later I get to help judge a high school debate tonight.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A little Madness in the Spring, Is wholesome even for the King.

One of my former roommates used to disappear in the spring and return with bags of morels. I had never tried them before moving to Iowa and they are quite yummy. Of course most things dipped in flour and sauteed in butter will taste pretty good but that was how he liked them. I have since had them cooked in other manners and love their flavor. The ones pictured above are actually Italian morels but I liked the purple flower so there it is.

Mr. Kooser seems to be a nice man so I wanted to follow the rules completely about using his column as noted in the postscript below. A pdf of the column suitable for framing or sharing is here. Enjoy!

(Consider yourselves fortunate as I was very close to posting another picture of the cats when I found this poem in my email.)

American Life in Poetry: Column 102


Those of us who have hunted morel mushrooms in the early spring have hunted indeed! The morel is among nature's most elusive species. Here Jane Whitledge of Minnesota captures the morel's mysterious ways.

Morel Mushrooms

Softly they come
thumbing up from
firm ground

protruding unharmed.
Easily crumbled
and yet

how they shouldered
the leaf and mold
aside, rising

breathing obscurely,
still as stone.

By the slumping log,
by the dappled aspen,
they grow alone.

A dumb eloquence
seems their trade.
Like hooded monks

in a sacred wood
they say:
Tomorrow we are gone.

Reprinted from "Wilderness Magazine," Spring, 1993, by permission of the author. Copyright (c) 1993 by Jane Whitledge. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.
American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. The sole mission of this project is to promote poetry: American Life in Poetry seeks to create a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. There are no costs for reprinting the columns; we do require that you register your publication here and that the text of the column be reproduced without alteration.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Closely Watched Trains

I got caught at a railroad crossing yesterday while a very long cargo train passed. I realized this is something that almost never happens in New England but frequently occurs here in the Midwest. Once on a trip down to Columbia, MO I swear we were on a main highway with the speed limit around 60 and there was a railroad crossing bisecting it. Insane.

Monday, March 05, 2007


I liked the John Wayne...

... and S. preferred the Annie Oakley.
Yesterday we went to Cedar Rapids and visited The National Czech and Slovak Musuem to see the Andy Warhol exhibit. It was a small exhibition by well worth the short trip. Definitely a better value than our recent trip to the Figge. If you are in the area I recommend seeing the Warhols before they leave on March 11th.
We had some good sushi at House of Sushi before heading off to see Delbert McClinton's son Clay at Mahoneys. Small bar good show.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Web 2.0

I meant to put this up a while ago. I ran across this through a friend (Doolittle) of a friend's website, We'll Know When We Get There. One of my goals was to be more web savvy this year and apart from watching this video I have done little about it. "But I am trying Ringo."
(There is a clue that last bit as to how Doolittle got her nickname from Smooch or Blaze. For about 2 months at UConn I thought that was her real last name. Smooch's nickname is self-explanatory and it rhymes with his last name.)

Anyway the video is interesting in the non-pejorative sense although a tad bit new-agey near the finale but I still thought that the three or four people that read this that don't already read the aforementioned blog would get something out of it or enjoy where it takes them. I added the link to my blog list which makes for a nice counter balance to El Duderino's reactionary-libertarian anti-Clintonian rants. I would say that Allison and her blog rate high on what one of my Poly/Sci profs used to call "political efficacy". I forgot what that means.

I am also throwing up some torrent sites chiefly for my own use. I recommend getting into them if you have the bandwidth as it is a great way to get live music of all sorts. Granted there is lot of jam bands but you can sort through the Leftover Salmon/Dead/Phish to find some great shows. How else could I assuage my obsession with all things Mould, Tweedy,and Dylan?

Thursday, March 01, 2007