Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"...You kings of New England."

Congrats to a classy championship team. It did not have the same emotional outpouring as the win in 2004 but it still feels good. Memo to Theo: Sign Mike Lowell immediately, forget Mr. April A-Rod. The Poetry Foundation has a baseball motif here. I hope Belichik is not lynched by all the haters out there before the Patriots make it back to the Super Bowl.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Mr Inside-Outsky just like some God-damned Bolshevik picking up his orders from Yegg Central. "

Just saw this interview with Coen Brothers and Cormac and had to share. I can't hardly wait for No Country For Old Men to be released.

"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness..."

One of the few remaining roses still in bloom at the house.

A patch of spearmint growing wild in the lawn. Mojitos anyone?

I walked downtown to the library yesterday on a beautiful day (as it is today). I enjoyed strolling past the trees with leaves erupting into the yellows, oranges, and reds of autumn. Alas, I have to give up the easy life of the past month on the dole and return to work tomorrow for a brief project.

I have almost finished the Wolf of the Deep by Stephen Fox. It is about the Confederate raider, Alabama, and its captain, Raphael Semmes. I remember first reading about this story as a kid when I happened upon Scott O' Dell's The 290. I had been working my way through all or as many of the ALA's Newbery Medal winners as I could find. After reading Island of the Blue Dolphins that lead me to his Sing Down the Moon and The 290. I think this was the beginning of my passion for history or at least historical fiction.

I still remember vividly those books which are now being made into films and am leery of watching them for fear it may dispel my memory of them at that time. The devastating (to me at the time) Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson and Susan Cooper's The Grey King come to mind as favorites. I also loved the mystery of Ellen Rankin's The Westing Game and was blown away by the racial tensions depicted in Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. I have forgotten more of these books than I remember and I wish I had kept up with the young adult fiction. I think I will go look for some of these again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Drive By Truckers w/ Ryan Bingham

DBT at the Englert last Thursday. It was technically an acoustic set but it was as raucous a set as they have been in the past. The only difference is they were sitting down. According to the program Spooner Oldham was supposed to have joined the band but I guess he couldn't make the Iowa show. He was replaced by Jack Daniels apparently.

The headliners played a new song, "Opening Act", from their upcoming album but the opener for the evening was the very talented Ryan Bingham and his band the Dead Horses.

Churlita covered the show well enough that I don't need to add much. She left out the part where she charged the stage and was wrestling the bottle of JD out of Patterson's hand during the final encore.

I first heard of the Drive By Truckers when their album Decoration Day came out. So for me while the show was very good I did miss Jason Isbell and his songs. That said I am still very much looking forward to new DBT album in January, tentatively titled Brighter Than Creation's Dark.

Last week I watched the film version Alan Bennett's play, The History Boys. I highly recommend it. I also caught the NPR story on his novella pictured at right, The Uncommon Reader. Both are very funny. Running out of time here at the library so I must close for now. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wilco @ Iowa Memorial Union

Excellent show last night. They played at least one song from all releases except the Mermaid Avenue records. Two of the songs from their first album were a pleasant surprise, "It's Just That Simple", and "Too Far Apart", that I had never seen live. Jeff Tweedy kept the banter to a minimum but did wonder out loud why those students that had been at the last IMU Wilco show five years ago had not graduated yet. I was too lazy to fight my way up to the front to get better pictures. I prefer the old folks section in the wings these days.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Tall neck like a Chinese chopstick..."

I will ensconce myself in baseball starting again this evening as the MLB league championship series begins with the Rockies vs. Diamondbacks. I hear there are still seats available. Amazing. That would never happen at Fenway. (Red Sox take the field Friday night.)
The amusing short story "My Poet" by Naeem Murr should not be missed and is the perfect thing to read while pretending to work. Try not to laugh outloud it might spoil the effect and blow your cover. I also recommend his most recent novel "The Perfect Man".

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

"... a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore..."

Neighborhood is getting ready for the season.

I long for returning to New England in the fall but I really can't complain about Iowa especially with the weather this year. However, I do miss celebrating Columbus Day weekend, which should always be spent at Baxter State Park in Maine. (I whined about this last year too if you want to read about it. The first part of previous post is here.)

I am enjoying the Ben Franklin biography very much. He was a complicated man but he does inspire one to begin a self improvement program. Well, almost. As the author points out he does seem to be the founding father that we would most likely be comfortable drinking a pint with. The most entertaining probably as well.

I took a break this weekend from the bio and was thumbing through another neglected book on my shelf The Poetry Anthology 1912-2002. It is the best magazine of poetry ever. Nothing could compare and itself is a guide to our literary culture. Granted that includes Joyce Kilmer's Trees as well as Eliot, Pound, and Plath. I ran across several Iowa allusions which I will share this week. The first is an airport poem and since I am heading out to Moline to pick someone up at the airport it seemed appropriate. It is by Philip Booth who dies earlier this year. For more about him see the Academy of American Poets here.

Seeing Auden Off

Ithaca last night, Syracuse at noon, Cedar Rapids tonight.
His face cracked like a dry salt flat, a line for every poem,
he tries two airport Gibsons, reserved (behind dark glasses)
for his flight. Sleet primes the runways, candlelight
preserves the bar. The jets suck air, burning their own feces.
Jakarta, Shannon, Idlewild, are everywhere the same.

He autographs deserted landing strips. In Iowa tonight
he’ll sign five gins, whet his faults, and lust for limestone.
He has his autopilot on; who am I to name the pieces
into which a poet cracks? Fire and sleet and candlelight.
I gulp the beer he pays for, and see through his smeared glasses
the dark impossibility of home: we drink the price of being done
with Ithaca and Syracuse; I wave him off, toward Iowa, tonight.

Philip Booth (1925-2007)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Smart Car?

We drove by this on the way out to the disc golf course the other day and stopped to take a look. It is a Mercedes Smart Car but for $25,000 I think I want my Mercedes to be a little more substantial. That is unless it runs on water or gets 100 miles to the gallon (gasoline).

I have been watching little else but baseball playoffs the past couple of days. Happy for the Red Sox so far but I realize there is a long way to go. Sad for the Cubs as I thought they would do much better against the Diamondbacks although I know Ju Che Child is happy for his home team. As is Red State Librarian whom I imagine is rooting for the Indians against the Yankees since his beloved Reds did not quite make the playoffs. I doubt the Yankees will go quietly in this series and I am hoping the Cubs rally. The Rockies have to be the sentimental favorite and no one wants to face a team this hot. I love baseball in October. Go Sox!

Monday, October 01, 2007

"...what calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?"

We picked up these pumpkins while shopping for rocks. I needed some rocks to put into plants that are going to be moved indoors soon. The rocks are to prevent the felines for digging in the dirt. My ficus barely survived last winters campaign of daily assaults by these nocturnal marauders. The pencil cactus was not so fortunate and did survive its wounds.

Tonight we are heading to see Ryan Adams on campus thanks to the generosity of friends. Crossing my fingers as to which of his many personalities will show up. I was just told that he had a meltdown at a recent performance. At least he should be sober.