Monday, March 31, 2014


When I first started getting serious about poetry (again), it was, as I recall, about 2000. Fully 14 years ago now, which I can hardly believe. Anyway, I and a couple of friends would every three weeks or so go to lunch, and each of us would share a poem we had found that particularly touched us or spoke to us. It was a beautiful spring day in Tampa and, as I recall, we had lunch outside some place. The poet I chose that day was Marie Howe, and the poem--I could probably find it if I looked--was about her taking care of her dying brother. I later wrote a poem about this experience we all had of her. All of which is just a long introduction to this latest poem of hers that I encountered a few months ago, saved, and then just recently rediscovered. She has perfectly described my own prayer life, which, I think, is probably not that much different than a lot of people I know whose brains are always going at 100 miles an hour. Poetry says it so much better.


Every day I want to speak with you. And every day something more important
calls for my attention—the drugstore, the beauty products, the luggage

I need to buy for the trip.
Even now I can hardly sit here

among the falling piles of paper and clothing, the garbage trucks outside
already screeching and banging.

The mystics say you are as close as my own breath.
Why do I flee from you?

My days and nights pour through me like complaints
and become a story I forgot to tell.

Help me. Even as I write these words I am planning
to rise from the chair as soon as I finish this sentence.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Progress . . . Yep

Brought to you by ExxonMobilDowShellMicrosoftGoldmanSachsMonsanto Corporation. How can you not be filled with hope for the future after watching this? 

Another video for you . . . it's the weekend.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

You're Not Going to Believe This

If you google these guys, you'll find a lot more of their stuff. Apparently, they can pack concert halls. Easy to see why after you hear them.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Love Stuff Like This

Here's the article. Ran across this site in my travels today and was immediately intrigued. For a couple of reasons. First because I simply love stuff like this about language, words, and how they came to be. And second, I'm old enough to have been around when these phrases were not in danger of going obsolete. Which  of these phrases are a mystery to you? I knew them all instantly, except the very first one, which I never did know because I'd never heard it before.
  1. The Rabbit Died
  2. Drop a Dime
  3. Don't Know Shit from Shinola
  4. You Sound like a Broken Record
  5. More ____ than Carter Has Liver Pills
  6. Don't Touch that Dial
  7. Film at Eleven
  8. One Lump or Two?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Third Base Doesn't Cut It"

I really hate to be harping on cops again, but this story just kinda demanded that a harp on 'em again. I think we can take this as confirmation that we're living in an evolving police state. You really can't make stuff up like this.
Cops usually can’t break the law, even when they’re undercover, but police departments in Hawaii recently lobbied state lawmakers to carve out an exception to what is a pretty good rule. Last week, when the state legislature was considering amending an anti-prostitution law to prohibit undercover officers from having penetrative sex with prostitutes, the police were like, “Actually, we need the flexibility to have full-on intercourse or we can’t do our jobs properly. Third base doesn’t cut it.”

Hawaii’s House passed the bill, thereby saying “you can have sex with prostitutes if you really need to,” but, understandably, a week’s worth of headlines like, “Hawaiian Police Want to Have Sex with Prostitutes Real Bad” and “Haha Dude Wasn’t This Exact Thing in The Wire?” caused legislators to have second thoughts about the rule now that it’s hit the state Senate.
Sex trafficking victim’s advocacy groups are horrified by the prospect of the cops having sex with people who are being forced to perform these acts, and some former sex workers dispute the frequency of “cop checks,” where suspicious prostitutes start performing sex acts to determine whether their john is really an undercover officer. But Honolulu cop Jerry Inouye argued to the state House judiciary committee that the police need this statue in place just so that pimps and sex workers don’t know cops are barred from sleeping with prostitutes while on duty. The Honolulu Police Department’s written statement likewise pleaded that not letting cops engage in full-on sex would be “preventing officers from enforcing prostitution laws.”

On the other hand, technically just agreeing to participate in a sex act for money counts as prostitution in the state of Hawaii. It seems like it would be easy for cops to bring someone in without having to, y’know, do it. And, according to the Washington Post, prostitution—a petty misdemeanor—made up a whopping 0.7 percent of the arrests in Honolulu in 2012. It doesn’t seem like a priority for their officers, so why exactly is this right to unrestricted sexy time with sex workers so important? And why does the rest of America seem to be doing fine without such a law?

It’s almost as if Hawaii cops just really, really want to believe that having sex with a woman, then arresting the woman for accepting payment is a vital part of their jobs.
I don't for one second think there's any truth to that last statement. It's not even close to them "wanting to believe" it. We all know what they want. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ah! The Sooner State

Actually these two stories could have happened anywhere. (I never fail to recall H. Wayne Morgan's wonderful observation that we should never forget that the U.S. is "one red neck from sea to shining sea."  Let's just say, I'm not surprised they happened here in our fair state. I read about both these incidents in Raw Story just a little while ago.

The first concerns the awesome power of prayer. In this case, the awesomeness was just too much. A guy prayed too hard and unleashed flooding that ended up killing 22 people and washing thousands out of their homes.
An Oklahoma pastor this week said that his attempt to remove demons from the United States had worked a little too well, causing a severe drought to turn into massive flooding.
In an appearance on the Christian Internet broadcast Generals International, Church on the Rock Pastor John Benefiel recalled how he had used a “divorce decree” to severe Baal’s hold on drought-stricken states like Texas and Oklahoma.
This happened during the early part of 2007 when months of drought were washed away by the heaviest rainfall ever recorded for Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas between February and June.

God's really something, isn't he? Just isn't able to judge when it's too much of a good thing for people.

And the second tale goes this way: A family pet, a two-year old pit bull named Cali, got out of the fence in Ardmore, OK, and was loose. She had on a collar, but no tags. Neighbors called the cops and of course animal control people got involved, but they had trouble catching the dog. Now here come the cops.  
Officer Brice Woolly wrote in his report that the dog acted aggressively toward animal control officers and several residents near a public park.
Woolly said he used his assigned shotgun to shoot the dog once in the neck, wounding it, and he asked an animal control officer to fire a second shot from a .22-caliber firearm to kill the dog.
Protecting the public, right? That's what the police chief said about his guy. But wait . . .
A neighbor told Brown (Cali's owner) that she did not see police shoot Cali, but she heard the shot and saw the officers’ reaction.

“Did you see the way its collar flew up into the air when I blew its head off?” Woolly told the animal control officer, according to the neighbor. “It was awesome!”

The neighbor said Woolly also bragged about shooting another dog with his handgun a few days earlier.
Here's the way I see it: another yahoo with a gun, a badge, and and a sense of entitlement to cruelty.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hardly Surprising

According to news reports, there's "certainty" now about the fate of Malaysian Airlines Flight 360 which disappeared on a flight to Beijing over two weeks ago. In this day and age, apparently, actually putting eyeballs on wreckage is not required. The Malaysian government put out the definitive word based soley on analysis of satellite data. The plane went down in a remote region of the southern Indian Ocean, about 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia.

What's hardly surprising is that the plane crashed. What other explanation could there be for a Boeing 777 aircraft that just disappeared off the face of the earth sixteen days ago? But beyond this fact, nothing else is known about why this plane turned around less than an hour into its flight and flew thousands of miles in the opposite direction. Like the rest of the world, I'm wondering about the answer . . . and the even greater puzzle of how such things are even possible in a world where the NSA can read emails sent from the middle of Africa somewhere in an instant and guys sitting in Nevada can blow up a wedding in Pakistan killing a bunch of people and then go to Micky D's for a Big Mac and fries before their afternoon workout at the gym.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Defining Define

Here's my latest:

Defining Define

What’s in a name? the Bard once queried,
getting to the heart of the problem, actually.
It’s still a rose if we call it a wagon or weed.
That’s what he meant, and true enough.
But what’s a rose to a bumble bee or Eskimo,
a blushing Valentine or florist in the corner shop?
Or toddler or poet? The Bard didn’t address
these mysteries, content, one supposes,
with first level wonderment, a fair-sized inland sea.

He skirted the larger ocean that laps the shores
of Saggitarius. Who says what’s a rose? Merriam-
Webster? Or his counterparts in Paris, Milan, or
Pago Pago? Or the aging botanist, once an
American beauty, who’s spent her seventy-six years
lost in the Carolinae section of subspecies Rosa?
Perhaps it’s King Kim Jong–un who can say, since
he seems to know everything. Or God, who does
know everything, but doesn’t share.

Who says?
Who knows?
Your rose is not my rose nor hers nor his nor its.
It’s a one-of-a-kind that can’t be cataloged, cultivated,
or grown for showing. And next instant, it’s another altogether, 
a transient blip winking out over a stew
of a billion genomes and tons of stardust. Yet real
as the thorn that pricks blood from the careless.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Another Slant on Crimea

Sounds Plausible: Jack Matlock, former US Ambassador to the USSR, says that in annexing Crimea, Putin may be at least partially reacting to years of provocation by the US, including the eastward march of NATO and the expansion of US military bases in Eastern Europe.  Source: here
 Gee, ya think? Why is it that the U.S. can do anything it damn well pleases in our "national interest," can define anything it damn well pleases as our "national interest," can deploy as many troops, ships, aircraft, and drones as we damn well please in our "national interest" and other countries are not afforded the same privileges?

Could it be that other countries' national interest is what we say it damn well is as well?

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Poetry knows how to say it. And Wendell Berry is gentle.

        by Wendell Berry
How much poison are you willing
to eat for the success of the free
market and global trade? Please
name your preferred poisons.

For the sake of goodness, how much
evil are you willing to do?
Fill in the following blanks
with the names of your favorite
evils and acts of hatred.

What sacrifices are you prepared
to make for culture and civilization?
Please list the monuments, shrines,
and works of art you would
most willingly destroy

In the name of patriotism and
the flag, how much of our beloved
land are you willing to desecrate?
List in the following spaces
the mountains, rivers, towns, farms
you could most readily do without.

State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes,
the energy sources, the kinds of security;
for which you would kill a child.
Name, please, the children whom
you would be willing to kill.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cops! What Next?

A Kansas bill being considered by the House Standing Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice would give police the power to arrest people who file complaints against officers if those allegations were proven false.
It's things like this that fuel my substantial distrust of law enforcement. I'm all for this law if we get to arrest cops who falsely arrest citizens. Oh, and what about killing citizens by mistake? Can they get arrested for that?

I realize this is just a law being considered in one of the most backward states in the country . . . but still, as Bob Dylan reminded us, you don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Grinding Out the Axiom . . . Again and Again

It is axiomatic, so it seems, that whatever Americans hear from the Western press, politicians, and pundits is the truth.  Even the most enlightened among our citizenry in the USA seem to believe every fable they are fed by these greedy ignoramuses.  For some reason, if the current occupant of the White House makes a claim, and it is repeated ad infinitum by his paid mouthpieces, it becomes gospel for a majority of the country.  What we fail to recollect is that, like most gospels, these fables or fairy tales are constructed and proferred to ameliorate the masses regarding their way of life, their beliefs. 
America is not the pristine and morally righteous land of the free, home of the brave.  Its ignorant leaders and their mouthpieces hide behind false flags and national security, as they manage their kill lists, drone bombings, trumped up NGOs, special ops, secret services, illegal  data collection, and grandiose spectacles; all of it in order to keep the blinders well in place and the masses preoccupied with the problems of housing, clothing and feeding themselves. All of this transpires as the wealthiest in the West, without fear or recrimination, steal and loot and enslave the rest of the world.  Why are we so stupid and oh, so lazy?
The latest boner is the arrogance of the Obama administration and its Euro-dupes to declare financial and economic war on Russia for publicly agreeing to help its own citizens living in Ukraine while addressing its own security interests, safeguarding its own borders from a newly installed fascism (with Washington’s assistance) in its sister country. All I hear from the Western politicians and its media lapdogs is whining about Russia and its evil intentions. I do not care to entertain any more American whining and complaining about Russia or Putin’s ulterior motives in Ukraine.   Let us focus on our own asshole in D.C., not someone else’s!  No modern government is perfect! Quite the opposite. They are all complicit in the degradation of the planet and the destruction of life, human or otherwise.  But, the smug self-righteousness of the American imperium is simply too much for any person with more than a forth grade education to stand for anymore!  source: here
 The writer of these truths continues with his wishes for Obama--the "oligarch in chief"--to suffer the same indignities as he's visited on others, such as being imprisoned in Guantanamo. I'm not going to go there. This sample is angry and true enough. I simply wonder whether he's right about the fourth-grade education part. Alas, if that were true, we'd be OK. But you and I know it's not true. There's a whole nation of sheep out there who have been propagandized and socialized into smug self-righteousness. And it won't be long before we all pay.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sound Familiar?

A NASA funded research paper says that our unsustainable consumption of resources, our excessively large population and the increasing levels of inequality will lead to “irreversible collapse.” This is not exactly a fringe group of doomster conspiracy nuts. The authors cite compelling historical data showing that "precipitous collapse - often lasting centuries - have been quite common” throughout history. The main factors leading to civilizational collapse have been excess population, changing climate, high levels of economic stratification, water shortages, agricultural failure and failing energy sources. Sound familiar?