Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Boxing Day

New Year

Skiing in July,
fishing in February,

the days disjoint
and groove,

a meltdown of months,
a mind out of whack.

I'm still back at August
where the Beaujolais

that came
from 35 villages

fit sideways
inside my head,

the dorsal fin of it,
the brain slowed

por fin to belief.
Between then and now

the numbers,
an 8-Ball routine

jacked on polyethylene,
trees unmercifully diminished,

choked by maneuverings
and light.

I'll release last year
in May

when I shovel
the driveway

and go geologic,
a Paleolithic hell—

if each season
were twice as long

the year
would wear me well.

Teresa Leo

The Halo Rule
Elixir Press

I spent most of last night with Humphrey Bogart on his birthday as TCM was showing my favorite movies of his (Casablanca, The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen). The clip above played in between movies and was very moving like the clip they do on the Oscars.

Christmas Day was pleasantly spent on couch watching television and finishing Amitav Gosh's amazing Sea of Poppies. The only downer is that the book ended on a cliff hanger and I must wait for the next book to come out.

I talked to some of my family back in Connecticut and was relieved to hear that presents had arrived in time. I picked out some of the pretty Ugly Dolls, Ox and Puglee, for my niece and youngest nephew.

The poem is due to be retired from the Poetry Daily archive and it is likely that this will be my last post of 2008 so its kind of a mixed bag. Peace.

Friday, December 19, 2008

"James Bond is what every man would like to be and what every woman would like to have between her sheets." - Raymond Chandler

Hyperbole aside, Chandler is mostly right. I saw this on the new book shelf at the library and decided its been too long since I have read any Fleming. This will go well towards warming your cockles by the fire.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Alphabet Juice

This could easily be my favorite book of the year. It is definitely at the top of my gift list for those who love words, usage, and etymology. Plus its hilarious. There is an except here.

I know I talked about Iowa City being recognized as a city of writers but I think it is clearly one of the best cities for readers. I have managed to find numerous steals at the local public library's retail store. Someone recently dumped what looks like their entire non-fiction collection and I happily snapped up several wonderful biographies (Morgan, Rockefeller, Teddy Roosevelt) as well as some great collections of essays, Jacques Barzun's From Dawn to Decadence and Clive James' Cultural Amnesia.

Despite the quote about cultural and reaching for ones revolver (James covers this a bit) Cultural Amnesia is an amazing concentration of erudition. I can't believe I have never read much of James before this. I can not recommend this book highly enough. Like Blount's book it is perfectly suited to skip around and dip into. It will also lead one to at least another several dozen books suggested by its author. lector emptor.

Sea of Poppies is also a feast of words and one of the few novels I have come across that comes with its own Chrestomathy. (Which is online at Amitav Ghosh's webpage.) It turns out this is the first book of an intended trilogy which means one will have to wait patiently for the story to continue. Drat!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

He took down the Decembrists and Kanye; Who's next?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Modern Skirts

December has arrived bringing with it the first blanketing of snow for our fair city. I had a good time over Thanksgiving. Wednesday night at the last minute I was talked into going to see a hypnotist at a local club. I almost went under but some one's drunken fiance brought the bouncer over to our table and broke my concentration.As it was the performer also had to come over bring two of us fully back awake as we were partially hypnotized.

One of our group did end up on stage and even became the closing act. After enjoying the series of minor humiliations of others I am so glad I was not one of them. There would of been a video of me hypnotized to imagine that I had no genitalia on YouTube about 20 minutes after the show ended.

So after a long Wednesday night Thursday was a relaxing day of great food, a croquet match, several rounds of euchre, and getting beaten down in Foosball. I made a pumpkin cheesecake that came out okay even though I forgot the bourbon whip cream topping.

The song now most stuck in my head is the single, Soft Pedals, from the Athens based band Modern Skirts forthcoming record. I heard it on the new Paste Magazine sampler. The new album is produced by REM's Mike Mills and Cracker's David Lowery. Check it out here from Aquarium Drunkard blog. If you happen to be in Atlanta for New Year's Eve they will be playing with Cracker and Young MC. Not too shabby a line up.