Wednesday, October 31, 2007

one last halloweenie-ish post

If you haven't visited Jail Finds, it's worth a look.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

who put a nickel in henry?

Well, I guess I did. 400 or so, actually. I went to see Henry Rollins do his spoken word thing, "PROVOKED", and I do believe I got my money's worth. The man stood in one spot and spoke for three hours straight. No intermission.

I knew some about Henry, but not a whole lot. He's been in a band or two of the heavier variety. I'd heard "Liar", and know exactly 4 words of the lyrics: "'cause I'm a liar!" I'd also heard tell that he was politically outspoken, but I had no idea that he was doing a spoken word tour or that he had done more than one until it was mentioned here by Jagosaurus. She's a fan of Henry's. I'm a fan of hers. It followed that given a convenient opportunity, I would check out.

About ten minutes in, I was concerned—not about subject matter, but about style. He started out talking about the typically poorly written and unsigned hate mail he's received. One letter in particular was from someone who disapproved of his live-and-let-live stance on homosexuality. The writer asked something like, "What's next—men who marry horses?" Henry's point was funny enough: the phobe spoke as if homosexuality were a "gateway" orientation. Experiment once and there begins a progression through various animals that ends with an exchange of vows with a horse. Absurd.

What I didn't need to hear was the description of the progression. It was an all ages show, so I was surrounded by stinky college students (an observation, not a judgment—I, too, was once a stinky college student) who sniggered incredulously at HR's crude descriptions of seduction and sex with various animals. I could not suffer a whole show of dick humor. Luckily, it ended there. To his credit, if he was employing a hook to engage those in the audience who came based only on his musical resumé, he likely succeeded.

He covered a pretty broad range of topics, and was a genuinely good speaker: smart, funny, honest, bullshit free, and, while I have a hunch he was largely preaching to the choir (the thundering guttural "YEAHHHHs!" from the gent 5 ft behind me were an indication), he was respectful of other's opinions.

In short, Hillbilly, thanks. Great recommendation & well worth my nickels.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

makes me rather tired

Ma is famous for gifts of random miscellany. On a recent visit she left me this garage sale find:

A New Self-Teaching Course in
and Effective Speech

vocabulary development, grammar,
pronunciation, enunciation,
and the fundamental principles
of effective oral

Estelle B. Hunter, Ph.B.

It's a box of 15 lesson booklets published in 1938 by the Better-Speech Institute of America. Apparently, they made quite a killing with these courses. In the "personal message to you from the author," Estelle states that while "[a]t first your efforts to avoid mistakes and slovenly speaking may cause you to speak with a somewhat studied expression," one should not be discouraged because "in due time your speech will be both fluent and correct."

Each booklet ends with exercises. Here's Exercise 9 from Lesson 2:
Correct all the mistakes in the following paragraph:
What kind of a time did you have at the club last night, or wasn't you there? I saw Jones, and he sez, "The new club don't seem homelike, but you can't blame it on me--I'm not the House Chairman." Those sort of remarks make me kind of tired. He most always complains, but he don't take a hold and help. He's dark-complected enough to be a Russian or Italian, but he sez he ain't.
What kind of time did you have at the club last night, or weren't you there? I saw Jones, who said, "The new club doesn't seem homelike, but you can't blame me--I'm not the House Chairman." That sort of remark makes me rather tired. He almost always complains, but he doesn't take hold and help. He is dark-complected enough to be Russian or Italian, but he says he isn't.
What the...?!?
Never mind fluent and correct if your speech is daft and dull to begin with. What kind of non sequitur is that last statement?

I think I'd rather hang with Jonesy. But don't mind what I sez, I ain't the House Chairman.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

chronic introspection, ca 1999

[Embarrassing, yes, but I do like pieces of it.]

another pint-sized ton
again burdened by another
conflict or confrontation
friend or foe
so brash and bold
I shy away
retract, fold
into my cave of contemplation
my home
my traveling companion
blocking, locking out light that
might project through the
scatter the image some
more perspective
under the scope
examined at every scale
dissected and multiplied
crazy thinking, thinking
maybe too much
p.s. had it right
wise? in sight
can drive a gal
in sane

what did i do was it me
no of course
not sure
it was as always
mountains and valleys, ravines to
mole hills and furrows, creases
and back
dispense with the
discourse within
could I do without?
god please stop and
someone else start
do me that favor
but beware
I'm told
of those red angles
paradoxes perching, lurking
lurching from dark corners
and bright expanses
seek comfort from the wise
they are as confused as I
view scattered image fragments
through compound eyes
what am I to be?
stay strong or
bend or both
the hub and the spoke

I give up
you go ahead
take a snap shot
try to sum it up
this picture's worth
more than a thousand
million single words
phrases, cliches, ambiguities
take a shot
if I can't do it
of course you can
of course you can
see so clearly
and me, sure
oh, me too
nice and neat
little package
me up of course
you can
Box me in
label sin
wash, rinse, repeat
again burdened by another
reflection on reflection
chronic introspection

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Or, questionable provenance. My code for "stolen books". The dirty secret's out. I am an honest woman, a reformed woman (in that respect, anyway), but in my personal library thing, there exists a handful of books obtained through dishonest means.

These ill-gotten items are a remnant of a spell in my mid to late teens (I was a minor, for those of you thinking of calling the po-po or five-o...or homeland security for that matter). I have no justification for my thievery, but I've thought a lot about why I took the books. I used and loved libraries (a few of the books are from libraries) so it's not like I didn't understand the free borrow and return, reusable community resource concept.

Out of curiosity, I did some shallow digging about commonly stolen books. Common, of course, is relative. I'm unfamiliar with all but three of the authors commonly lifted from b&n. Public libraries commonly lose how-to books. Dictionaries and poetry books are the first to disappear in correctional facilities (followed by the how-to's). Folks steal "immoral" books to keep them out of the hands of others. How moral. I wonder if they have ties to the Bible nabbers--another hot title.

Some of my bibliobooty probably registered in my mind as "cool old books", but the majority fall in line with the how-to's and poetry. My motivation was hardly lofty or meant to impress. I see these books as mementos. Anchors. I know that life back then felt incredibly impermanent, and one thing that I felt semi-solid about was writing and appreciating those who did it well. I also had a great English teacher who loved literature and writing. His criticism was constructive, and his praise was hard won, but deserved. He had high praise for Sheridan Baker (RIP).

So, there you have it. Think of me what you will.

[Ha! There are two mentions of stealing in the Amazon customer reviews of The Practical Stylist! ]

Thursday, October 4, 2007

why don't you stay?

Wow. One could read into why this struck a nerve. I chalk it up to raw emotion. You don't have to live something to feel something. Not having experienced such a tragedy in my life, I easily well up just listening to La Momma Morta.
12/8/07, ETA :
Blerg. This has been pulled from YouTube by the corporate empire. Here's a link and here's a link to sanctioned videos which I cannot embed. Yes, I do see the irony: "Ask the corporate music factory why."

She wrote this pre-Sugarland--or at least at its very beginning stages. It's on this live recording (2003) and this live recording (2004) . She'd heard Reba McEntire's "Whoever's in New England" about a woman waiting faithfully for an unfaithful man and thought, "Screw that." This is her fresh twist on a tired story.

For comic's one I could embed: