Saturday, July 31, 2010

Life, liberty, guns, and teeths for all!

I've been too busy of late to pay much attention to affairs of state, but here in Tennessee one can't help but take an interest in the upcoming gubernatorial primary. The lone Democratic party candidate, Mike McWherter, is no progressive's prize, having opined against adoption by gay couples and for the teaching of intelligent design in the state's schools. (Why am I living here, again?)

The Republican party's half dozen candidates have unleashed a plague of mailers and canned campaign phone messages to households here in Bubbaville, but it is in their unrehearsed pronouncements where they shine brightest, some promoting secession, while others ponder whether Islam is really a cult and therefore not afforded all the protections of "true" religions.

But the shiniest star in this primary has got to be Basil Marceaux:

Swoon. I could just listen to him say "pwedge of aweegance to da wepubwick" all day.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Funky Friday

This brings back memories of Baltimore summers, hot & muggy and no air conditioning in the apartment I shared with my best friend's finger-pickin-blues guitarist boyfriend. Not that she had other boyfriends, mind you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

up to my ears

Friends and family know that I have no shortage of words when it comes to whining about the less-than-positive aspects of my job. I could write pages and pages about every outdated, poorly designed, mismanaged, ill-conceived aspect of the job, and how even though I am charged with coordinating the program, the things that are in direst need of attention are outside the realm of my influence, etc., etc., yada, yada....

Words failed me last week, however, when I had to write a 360-word promotional piece to accompany an ad for next year's program. I think I managed to eke out 194 words before my mind started to warp...

Come spend a month at our campus. We have cleverly timed the program to coincide with the arrival of several hundred high-schoolers here to attend wrestling, cheerleading, and football camps. If you are lucky, they will not have eaten all the good stuff at the dining hall by the time you shuffle your middle-aged rump across campus.

If you missed the opportunity to experience dormitory living during your undergraduate studies, you will now have the chance to live in a 14' X 20' room, sharing a bath with someone who is the Oscar to your Felix, or vice-versa. We hope that all of the mildewed carpet in the residence hall will be replaced by the time your group arrives, but cannot guarantee same.

Your days in the classroom will be spent among colleagues whose tales of woe will rival your own. Nobody has it worse than they do back at their home campus. Prizes will not be given for the saddest tale of administrative abuses of power, but that doesn't stop the sharing.

You may or may not be assigned to a qualified advisor to guide you through the design of your project, since you failed to return the required paperwork on a timely basis. We are not mind readers and have no preconceived idea of what the hell you want to work on while you're here.

Need more information? Your program director will cheerfully answer any questions you have, at least the first and second times. After that she will become quite testy and refer you to the program Web site or the informative handout you were given 5-minutes prior. She will smile when you ask how she is. And she will weep to see you leave at the end of 4 weeks. Whether this is because she will genuinely miss you, because her veneer of self-control has finally cracked, or because she knows she must immediately begin planning for next year's program, well . . . .

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Listening to fireworks


-- by David Baker

Yesterday a little girl got slapped to death by her daddy,
out of work, alcoholic, and estranged two towns down river.
America, it's hard to get your attention politely.
America, the beautiful night is about to blow up

and the cop who brought the man down with a shot to the chops
is shaking hands, dribbling chaw across his sweaty shirt,
and pointing to cars across the courthouse grass to park.
It's the Big One one more time, July the 4th,

our country's perfect holiday, so direct a metaphor for war
we shoot off bombs, launch rockets from Drano cans,
spray the streets and neighbors' yards with the machine-gun crack
of fireworks, with rebel yells and beer. In short, we celebrate.

It's hard to believe. But so help the soul of Thomas Paine,
the entire country must be here-the acned faces of neglect,
the halter-tops and ties, the bellies, badges, beehives,
jacked-up cowboy boots, yes, the back-up singers of democracy

all gathered to brighten in unambiguous delight
when we attack the calm pointless sky. With terrifying vigor
the whistle-stop across the river will lob its smaller arsenal
halfway back again. Some may be moved to tears.

We'll clean up fast, drive home slow, and tomorrow
get back to work, those of us with jobs, convicting the others
in the back rooms of our courts and malls--yet what
will be left of that one poor child, veteran of no war

but her family's own? The comfort of a welfare plot,
a stalk of wilting prayers? Our fathers' dreams come true as nightmare.
So the first bomb blasts and echoes through the streets and shrubs:
red, white, and blue sparks shower down, a plague

of patriotic bugs. Our thousand eyeballs burn aglow like punks.
America, I'd swear I don't believe in you, but here I am,
and here you are, and here we stand again, agape.

Read this poem and others at Poets Against War