Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
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
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
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
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
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
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.