Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day: please watch this short film about the plight of homeless vets. It made me wonder what it really means to "pay respects" to service men and women, and the long term consequences of these dumb wars our country is always getting tangled up in.

WHEN I CAME HOME is a film about homeless veterans in America: from those who served in Vietnam to those returning from the current war in Iraq. The film looks at the challenges faced by returning combat veterans and the battle many must fight for the benefits promised to them. Through the story of Herold Noel, an Iraq War veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and living in his car in Brooklyn, WHEN I CAME HOME reveals a failing system and the veteran's struggle to survive after returning from the war.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

From today's Poem a Day. I love the magic realism of this.

The Aerodynamics
by Rick Bursky

The night she walked to the house
she held a string; on the other end,
fifty-three feet in the air, a kite.
Wind provided the aerodynamics.
Does every collaboration
need to be explained?
She tied the string to the mailbox
left the kite to float until morning.
Every night this happens.
She sleeps, I listen, darkness
slides through us both.

The next morning
the string still curved into the sky
but the kite was gone.
This was the morning
newspapers announced
the Mona Lisa was stolen.
This was the morning
it snowed in Los Angeles,
the morning I wore gloves
to pull from the sky
fifty-three feet of frozen string.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Born This Way, Special Edition, quick review

I bought the Special Edition (3 extra songs, plus 5 remixes) of Lady Gaga's new album Born This Way the other day, and have played it through a half dozen times now. It's really good! A bit less pop, a bit more rock/metal than I was expecting. Impressive amount of variety. Something here for everybody.

Some favorites so far (that have not had wide radio play *yet*):

"Americano" Great klezmer-Gypsy-like rhythms, about a possible LA-based, lesbian love affair?
"Hair" This has perhaps a little to do with the 60's hippie anthem, and being a free spirit. I could see it being done on Glee.
"Scheibe" Gaga sings in scary robotic German on this Euro-techno-disco masterpiece, about being a strong woman. (I think Schiebe might be a derogatory term for a woman in German?)
"Black Jesus+Amen Fashion" Jesus is the new black. HA!
"Heavy Metal Lover" I want your wiskey mouth/All over my blonde south. (oh my!)
"Electric Chapel" Smooth cruising love song, over a driving electric guitar riff.
"You and I" Wow. Almost a country twang going on here, a love song full of nostalgia for her ex-boyfriend, heavy metal drummer Luc Carl.
"The Edge of Glory" this song premiered on American Idol, and it was f**cking amazing. I think I have played it 20 times now on the CD. Dean thinks I am on the edge.

Highly recommended!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bees Beeing

Dean and I had a good time at the Bradner Plant sale yesterday. It was a cool and cloudy day, unseasonable even for Seattle. But it was good to see so many friends and neighbors there! We are so lucky to live next door to such a wonderful pea-patch garden. We picked out a few heirloom tomatoes -- Black Zebra, Green Zebra, Mr. Stripey -- and also a few perennials for the shade garden. Had coffee and snacks and chit chatted.

And today, the bees are coming! The bees are coming! There are several bee boxes being set up in the park, in their own little bee house, and I think today is when the queen arrives.

It makes me think of Sylvia Plath and her bee poems:

The Arrival of the Bee Box

I ordered this, clean wood box
Square as a chair and almost too heavy to lift.
I would say it was the coffin of a midget
Or a square baby
Were there not such a din in it.

The box is locked, it is dangerous.
I have to live with it overnight
And I can't keep away from it.
There are no windows, so I can't see what is in there.
There is only a little grid, no exit.

I put my eye to the grid.
It is dark, dark,
With the swarmy feeling of African hands
Minute and shrunk for export,
Black on black, angrily clambering.

How can I let them out?
It is the noise that appalls me most of all,
The unintelligible syllables.
It is like a Roman mob,
Small, taken one by one, but my god, together!

I lay my ear to furious Latin.
I am not a Caesar.
I have simply ordered a box of maniacs.
They can be sent back.
They can die, I need feed them nothing, I am the owner.

I wonder how hungry they are.
I wonder if they would forget me
If I just undid the locks and stood back and turned into a tree.
There is the laburnum, its blond colonnades,
And the petticoats of the cherry.

They might ignore me immediately
In my moon suit and funeral veil.
I am no source of honey
So why should they turn on me?
Tomorrow I will be sweet God, I will set them free.

The box is only temporary.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lady Gaga performing Judas and Born This Way on the Graham Norton shown. Wow. Just great.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Can hardly wait to read this new book!

Michael Dickman’s second collection of poems Flies, just out from Copper Canyon Press, debuts at number 14 on this week’s contemporary best seller list. An auspicious start for the poet whose first book, The End of the West, is Copper Canyon’s best-selling debut ever. Dickman, who had a cameo roll opposite his twin brother in Minority Report, won the 2011 Laughlin Award for this collection. He teaches at Princeton. (from Poetry Foundation)


PS: check out Copper Canyon's terrific new website.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Flashback: McCain in the 2008 presidential debate, calling Obama naive for saying he would take out Bin Laden in Pakistan if given the chance. My oh my. Check it out here.


Sunday, May 01, 2011