January 31, 2005

The Shakespeare Code

It's one thing to play volleyball on the internet with the supposition that the Bard had some Irksome Syphilitic Nastiness. Historical perhapsedness will always waft across the grid, I suppose. And then it's perfectly understandable when speculation might suggest that certain parts of the canon attributed for centuries to one William Shakespeare of Statford-upon-Avon, might really have been written by one or another of his contemporaries.

Fair Enough. Really anything that took place in the mean streets of Jolly Olde England over four-hundred years ago is up for a little interpretation.

Remember the "Paul is dead" craze? Of course you don't. There are books about it, though, in the "If-you-are-over-40-you-might-find-this-interesting" Section.

In the late 60's and early 70's, entirely pre-dating any of the silly speculation that Jim Morrison faked his demise, or that Elvis is actually a tour guide at the Carlsbad Caverns, or that John Kerry is the guy who played Herman Munster, there floated the really entiiiiiiirely believable rumor that Paul McCartney was shredded in a car accident in 1966. The highly likely theory suggests that since then, Paul's conveniently available, and equally left-handed, doppleganger has stepped in and filled our hearts with "Let It Be", "Blackbird", and of course, silly love songs. I only bring it up because, well, I just thought of it for some reason, but also because I'm wondering whether a bunch of 30-year-olds were wandering around 1625 England whispering that Shakespeare had really just been fronting for someone else, who strangely enough wouldn't be caught dead writing Sonnets and Plays. Read Ye This.

And then there's the good stuff. The outright "Shakespeare never existed" stuff. The "Shakespeare-was-just-a-bit-actor-who-clipped-magnificent-shrubberies-for-the-Hawthornshire-family-but-couldn't-rhyme-if-his-life-depended-on-it" stuff.

This Stuff.

If you've got a few hours to kill, you've got a couple theories to parse! Me, I don't have a single second free, what with all these Sonnets I'm working on. Curse thee, word.

Anybody got an Iambic Pentameter Meter I can borrow?

Read The Rest HERE

January 24, 2005

The Shuffle

About ten days ago Bryan Curtis over at Slate wrote a little piece memorializing the nowhere-near-dead Dave Barry. Actually, it's an excellent piece, I'm glad he didn't wait 42 more years to break it out after Dave actually expires. That's what you get, Dave. As soon as you leave the room they'll start talking about you, especially if you've ended the game by taking the ball home with you.

The reason I bring it up is that William Safire is pulling stakes, too. He's not retiring, he's only 70 for God's sake. He has decided to change careers mid-waterfall and finally pursue something he likes. Good for him. That whole "Respected Op-Ed Genious" gig was just grinding him down.

Oh yeah, the reason I'm bringing it all up. Right. In the Dave Barry article, Curtis coughs out the tantalizing suggestion that maybe Barry would rather find himself writing something a little headier than exploding bovine ruminations. Like, say, New York Times Op-Ed pieces, perhaps. It's not out of the realm of possibility.

This would be awesome. Seriously.

And while we're dreaming, how about when Dan Rather departs - uh, resigns - then Jon Stewart and team can deftly bring us the CBS Daily News at dinnertime, or something like it. Cuz you know, Jon's funnier than a cat caught in the whipporwhills during a Texas drizzle.

Oh, and you have to love how I used the word "ruminations" in the same breath as "exploding bovine". (Look it up if you have to, dammit.)

Read The Rest HERE

January 08, 2005


telling is seeing
zen and the art of blogging
truth revealed in bits

On the surface it's terribly hard to take Haiku seriously. But it is still strikingly addictive in its seemingly pedestrian charm. Like Limericks, but without all the sleazy anatomy.

about a Nantucket man
and what he once did

I like Haiku because I'm lazy. Seriously. It's easy. Well, as easy as getting hooked on Heroin.

The sadistic truth of the matter is, once you get sucked in by the simple mechanics, there is no going back to the real world, not without some incarceration and a serious marathon of convulsions, hallucination, innards-twisting pain, and recuperation. I don't know about the Heroin. Haiku is a bitch.

Just like the game of GO - another sick and twisted joke of complexity from our friends in the Far East - Haiku's difficulty is in making something meaningful happen with the barest of tools in a nominal workspace. Anyone, and I mean Anyone, can string together three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. Doing it well is the trick.

As in any form of poetry, the mechanics are nothing more than a starting point. (Except maybe in the case of the Sonnet, a torturous and all-consuming exercise that I like to call a Linguistics Manhattan Project. But I digress).

I bring all this up because I am descending into the depths of hellish addiction. I am admitting here before you: "Hello, my name is Don, and I am Haikooky".

Or rather,

Hi my name is Don
I haiku and can't get up
please stop the madness

Every stupid news story, sports highlight, song, or SDG&E Gas Bill, is fodder for my silly addiction. Help me.

Ok, maybe it's not that bad. It only just sort of consumes whole chunks of otherwise healthy daydreaming time, like, let's say, cancer of the earlobe. On a good day I can just lop it off and move on with my life. So ultimately this is my own demon and I'll keep it that way. In the meantime, I warn you: I am going to foist upon you my menacing glop. More than I already have. Pity those who wander aimlessly into this blog.

the clever waters
softly weaving past the rock
reduce it to sand

By the way, Luke, this is partly your fault. You do it well. And before that, Maya's.

Another catalyst is sports talk show host Jim Rome and his bemused endorsement of Haiku-format comments showing up in emails to his show. I listen to the Jungle. I hear the Haiku... can't ... resist ... lotus ... position ... aaaarrghhhh! Blammo, Haiku about Ricky Williams never returning to the NFL. or whatever. After something like that, all day I'll suddenly find myself contemplating my coffee, or the pen sitting uncapped next to my keyboard. And see what happens?

coffee is cooling
pen uncapped on the desk lurks
hating the keyboard

The difficulty really is all in the editting. The restraint. If I whip out two ways to express roughly the same idea, do I keep both? Change one? Merge and destroy?

meditate and sneeze
clear your mind and your sinuses
haiku, gezundheit

like meditation
clearing your mind of clutter

Another question: Are you allowed to be funny with Haiku? Are there any laws about this? I would hate to have the Japanese John Ashcroft come a calling someday.

Anyway, as you can see, this post has nothing at all on the history of Haiku, its meaning or its cultural significance in the development of Eastern Philosophy and teachings. That's your job, you're on the internet.

I'm no expert. I'm just hooked.
Maybe I'll take up Limericks.

Read The Rest HERE

January 04, 2005


ego knows the law
play with instinct, tag, you're id
superego rules

Read The Rest HERE

Culture can Kill You

Roger (Ebert) and Me, I'm not

I have decided after much soul searching, and some great-movie-viewing-via-Netflix-rental recently, that I will in fact be posting some sort of movie reviews or analyses or at least some generally inane comments from time to time. If you're me, you will certainly notice the occasional sly cultural references embedded in my seemingly benign commentary. But most of you, I should add, are not me. And yes, I know that less than 2 months ago I posted exactly why I might never actually review a film online, right about here.

But just ignore me. I certainly do.


My self-absorbed little corner of the Music World

Kim, who I don't know but whose blog I check in on occasionally, posted once about New Order's mythic single Blue Monday from 1983. Turns out I have that 12" vinyl collector's item. It' s probably not that hard to find, actually, if you just run down to a few of the holdout vinyl fiends in your area. Find guys that look like Steve Buschemi in Ghost World.

I also have the full album Power, Corruption and Lies which was, I think, released shortly after the Blue Monday single. It has the same diecut sleeve design as the single, but strangely, doesn't even contain the song.

It's funny what collector fiends will do, for "fun". Back at the time of Blue Monday's release, my friend and I were on a mission, musically. A mission from God.

We would go, just about every hour of every day, to little shops all over San Diego digging up original imports and short run prints of whichever fifty or so bands we had discovered that particular month. We worked as DJ's at student-run radio stations in college not so much to further a particular career goal, but rather to drop the stylus into every newly released track on earth in order to determine which albums to buy. These days there's this thing called the internet where you can do much the same thing from the comfort of your own laptop, and skip ruining your Physics career with On-Air shifts of 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday on Cable Radio.

My obsession waned a few years later, to the great relief of many of my favorite internal organs.
But this friend of mine went full blown audiophile. No, the above does not already constitute "full-blown". Trust me. In the subsequent few years he amassed a collection of something around 10,000 vinyl albums and about the same number of CD's. Without even cracking a sweat. Ever see a studio apartment looking like a record store? He's still going strong. Minus, perhaps his liver and spleen, and his career.

Read The Rest HERE

January 03, 2005

Happy New- HEY!, Whoa - Wuh Fuh?!

"Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in."
[Proper hand gestures required when saying this prayer - err, uh - reciting this line].


Brilliantly Conceived Essays are for Pussies

I mean, I could go on and on forever without posting, for want of a good day-and-a-half alone to write something publish-worthy. Or I could try this. Shotgun! Maybe it's lazy but I for one feel much better letting it go.

Honestly, I just can't catch up. Do you have any idea how many posts I've started this last few months? My world is a microwave bag of un-popped kernels. I need to learn to live with the crunchy stuff and get on with it.

All this because I woke up today and realized - of course, wildly belatedly realized - that here's the new year already, and once again it's just the same stuff, different time-stamp.


Ay Caramba

I see that the Anaheim Angels, formerly the California Angels, are now to be called "The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim". That's just great.

What, did the trial balloon hit a jet stream and just disappear? Angels owner-guy, I understand that you're a marketing genius, but honestly, you felt no need whatsoever to consult maybe just one sane individual before embarking on this linquistic folly?

Seriously, the Angels seem to have hired a new image consultant, and by the looks of it, the new guy, a mister Dr. Frankenstein, has turned his attention from animating corpses in stormy Ed Woodish chiaroscuro, to bolting together monster names for pro teams in sunny Southern California.

If I were Mickey Mouse - and that accusation has in fact been posited - I would be ticked! If I were a Dodgers fan, I would still revile the wicked Orange County American League Team, whatever the silly name. Verily. I'm not going to like them any more now that they're claiming to be from the same hell-hole as me. Since they're NOT. And if I were any Angels fan anywhere I'd feel as insulted and punked as any second-team in any major metropolitan area deserves to always feel anyway. And be proud of it.

Nevermind the sheer comic genius of naming your team "The City of Angels Angels of Anaheim". En Ingles.

To the point, this is baseball, dammit! Nicknames were invented in order to streamline one's references to the old ballteam. Thus, you get "The A's", and not, "The Guys down at the Athletic Club in Philadelphia who have put together a Uniformed Team of Base-Ball Regulars and who wish to Challenge us to a Contest of Nine Innings."

I already can't wait for inter-league games this year. Really. I want to head up to Anaheim for the cross-town out of town same town different place rivalry. Not even the teams themselves will know where to show up. I'll get there nice and early.

Usually I like to arrive early anyway, see some batting practice, wander the architectural wonder, knock down a beer and talk to the leathery old usher guy and hear some well worn nonsense about how he caught Jackie Robinson's first batting-practive foul ball about 59 years ago.

But not that day. No, I'm there early just to hear the public address announcer:

"Ladies and Gentlemen of Anaheim, welcome to the big game today between our own Los Angeles Angels, of Anaheim, and the Visiting Los Angeles Dodgers ... of Los Angeles ... here in beautiful Anaheim California. Not Los Angeles, IT's not here in beautiful Anaheim, just the game is here. And both of Los Angeles's teams. Well, I mean, Los Angeles's Los-Angeles-based Los Angeles team versus Los Angeles's out-of-town Anaheim-based Los Angeles team... All here in Anaheim, today. So, follow me here, the Visiting Team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, are here in Anaheim today to play the Home Team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. One note, before I announce the starting line-ups today: If I don't get a really quick explanation as to whom I actually work for, I'm out of here."


Say it ain't so, Dave

Dave Barry announces today that he will no longer be writing regular columns as he has done weekly for about the last 162 years, except for his time as a volunteer in the 54th Pennsylvania Infantry during the rebellion.

He will still chime in on occasion, and will be deciding by next year whether or not to re-ink the old typewriter ribbon again. Meaning, he'll be back next year.

And the part about re-inking the old typewriter ribbon, in case you couldn't tell, I just made that up. If you'd like to read Dave's final-ish column, his least funny ever mind you, you can click here, for maybe a week or two until the link dies. And you'll have to probably register for free to the Miami Herald, which is not generally a bad thing, but I don't know, for one lousy article by Dave about Dave not writing any more articles? C'mon, knock it off.



Do you like how I'm separating my thoughts here with approximately thirteen underlined blanks? Just so you know, everything is organized just like this inside my head.

Read The Rest HERE