Friday, July 27, 2007

Decatur, GA

The last Sunday I was in town I was able to escape my strip mall hell of Duluth and just a short ride away thanks to the tip of a friend in Tenn. discovered the comforts of Decatur. I found some good food, a funky book shop where I picked up a short biography of Kafka illustrated by R. Crumb, and then a nice pub, The Angel, to read it in.

I have visited many of the more northern Civil War sites but aside from Chickamauga and Lookout Mountain have seen few of the southern sites. There are a quite a few markers surrounding Atlanta due to Sherman's March.

The plaque next to the bench reads: "A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouths of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." - Thomas Jefferson

Some real kids enjoying the cooling mists from the sculpted kids. Have a good weekend.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Cormac

Sean Penn Anti-Ode

Must Sean Penn always look like he's squeezing
the last drops out of a sponge and the sponge
is his face? Even the back of his head grimaces.
Just the pressure in his little finger alone
could kill a gorilla. Remember that kid
whose whole trick was forcing blood into his head
until he looked like the universe's own cherry bomb
so he'd get the first whack at the piƱata?
He's grown up to straighten us all out
about weapons of mass destruction
but whatever you do, don't ding his car door with yours.
Don't ask about his girlfriend's cat.
Somewhere a garbage truck beeps backing up
and in these circumstances counts as a triumph of sanity.
Sleet in the face, no toilet paper,
regrets over an argument, not investing wisely,
internment of the crazy mother, mistreatment
of laboratory animals.
Life, my friends, is ordinary crap.
Pineapple slices on tutu-wearing toothpicks.
Those puke bags in the seatback you might need.
The second DVD only the witlessly bored watch.
Some architectural details about Batman's cape.
Music videos about hairdos, tattoos, implants and bling.
The crew cracking up over some actor's flub.

Dean Young
July/August 2006: The Humor Issue

I was checking in on my Myspace page and noticed a bulletin from Cormac about his birthday and a blurb that he recently signed a new two book deal with Knopf. I am excited. So instead of torturing you with more travelogue photos I put up this poem that is scheduled for retirement from the Poetry Daily archives.

UPDATE: I am going to try something new by sporadically adding some tunes to this place with the help of the file sharing site. Earlier on the way to work I was listening to a mix cd my friend RL in Tucson made for me last year called Pop Tunes 6/6/6. Track # 6 on this sublime mix is a duet of Loretta Lynn and Jack White doing the song, Portland, Oregon from her album Van Lear Rose which was produced my Mr. White. Click on the song title to check it out and let me know if it works. The song has a long intro and White's vocals are bit subdued but Loretta can still belt it out.

Bob Mould has a new Ask Bob column about GNR, Iraq, and the Dutch Queen.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Random Sightings

This was taken in the parking lot of my third hotel in Duluth, Georgia. Due to my late arrival from Dallas because of cancelled or delayed flights and continued bad weather they gave my room away the first night in town. Then due to a co-worker's 'help' making new reservations that ended up erasing my original confirmed stay, I was forced to leave the second hotel early. My room in this last place smelled like it had been underwater until just before I checked in. Unfortunately there were no Carrie Underwood sightings by the pool to make up for it.

My feet on the trail map in the Stone Mountain visitors center. There was a small geological museum that had some interesting history on the formation of Stone Mountain and about monadnock type mountains in general. They were was also showing a short film about the battle for Atlanta and Sherman's march to the sea. I won't say it was completely biased towards the South but it was carefully phrased. "They fought bravely but were outnumbered..." being the primary mantra.

I am still not sure what this means or why you would want your child to wear it.

The sign is an outright lie. The only thing that lay ahead was traffic of the non-calming variety. And lots of it. Atlanta has to be up there with Houston and Phoenix as one of the worst cities for rush hour traffic with rush hour lasting up to 15 hours.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Marching through Georgia

I have returned to Iowa and have some pictures to post and stories to tell about travels from Duluth to Athens via Decatur. Which sounds much further than it really is.

After sifting the wheat from the chaff of my piled up bills, magazines and junk mail I did discover some pleasant surprises. I love the issue of Poetry that was waiting for me in that heap. I really recommend this Summer Break issue of Jul/Aug. with some authors and writers I did not expect. Michael Lewis of Moneyball fame has a hilarious take on the collapse on last year's New York Giants led by Eli Manning. There is a collection of anecdotes in a section called Poets We Have Known such as Christopher Hitchens on Auden's lover, Rick Moody on Susan Wheeler. and there are others. The best line goes to Joseph Epstein on John Frederick Nims as an example of the exception to the rule:

"I do not seek the company of poets, nor would I wish either of my two granddaughters to marry one. I have long admired poetry...yet poets all too often stand in relation to poetry as Christians do to Christianity: far short, alas, of the ideal."

There is a trove of other gems by Billy Collins, Robert Wright has a funny moose poem that I will have to post later but the one that caught my ear initially was the one below by Wendy Cope...this could be a villanelle but I am not that solid on my fixed forms. I know it is probably not a sestina. It reminded me of Elizabeth Bishop. Cheers.

Some Rules

Stop, if the car is going "clunk"
Or if the sun has made you blind.
Don't answer e-mails when you're drunk.

You fire off something fierce. You're sunk.
It's irretrievable. It's signed.
You feel your spirits going "clunk."

Don't hide your face with too much gunk,
Especially if it's old and lined.
Don't answer e-mails when you're drunk.

Don't live with thirty years of junk-
Those precious things you'll never find.
Stop, if the car is going "clunk."

Don't fall for an amusing hunk,
However rich, unless he's kind.
Don't answer e-mails when you're drunk.

In this respect I am like a monk:
I need some rules to bear in mind.
Stop, if the car is going "clunk."
Don't answer e-mails when you're drunk.

Wendy Cope
Poetry, Vol CXC No. 4
July/August 2007

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Stone Mountain, Georgia

I went for a hike up Stone Mountain this morning confirming precisely how out of shape I actually am but it felt good to get outdoors. The name Stone Mountain immediately reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Matewan, John Sayles' saga of the coalminers struggling to form a union featuring the relatively unknown at the time Chris Cooper and a very young Will Oldham.
Anyway, there is a huge mural carved in the side of the mountain honoring the holy trinity of the Confederacy (Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson). Not sure how it plays locally with the large African-American community here but I had mixed feelings of it. Not for any political objections as I do enjoy the concept of historical monuments but I think the mountain would be more impressive looking without it.

We also found a good place for Pho in the middle of the numerous Korean establishments.

I am listening quite often to the latest album from The Polyphonic Spree and enjoying it very much despite or perhaps because of how much I hear a bit of Blondie in them. Check out the clip below:

Here are some more snapshots taken from the top of Sandia Peak. Not sure what the flower is but the other shot is part of the cable car system. I am trying to catch up on uploading pictures taken over the past few weeks. The project in Atlanta is winding down. and I hope to back in Iowa soon.

Sandia Peak Redux