Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Creatures Surrounded By Stone

And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life

Genesis 3:14

Surrounded by stone, buried, dinosaurs move slowly
but they’re moving, coming out of the stone, into air,
as scientists assist them out of their buried lair
and clean them and study them as if they are holy.

The bones preach in the church of paleontology
and scientists puzzle out the parables, compare
the epistles and test the truths their gospels declare
to fossil hunters hunting fossil theology.

When professors and students dig into the Badlands
on their knees, bending their whole body into the task
of rescuing from the rock another precious bone,

do they ever ask—do they ever look past their hands
and wonder, maybe just for fun—do they ever ask,
What if there’s a reason the creatures are in the stone?

Monday, November 29, 2010

“The Stupidest Conversation Since Time Began”

Underwater, this is the cathedral
sea. Diving, our bubbles rise
as prayers are said to do, and burst
into our natural atmosphere—
occupying, from this perspective,
the position of a heaven.

Michael Schmidt

“Oceanic White Tip,” Oil on canvas
Paul Browne

“Bob Pearl, the president of Pearl Films, wants to meet with me,” I said. “He told me to bring my team. I don’t have a team. I have to bring somebody. One of you has to pretend to be my team.”

“I’d love to,” Jason said, “but I’ve got an assignment this afternoon. I can’t drop out. If I drop out my agency will drop me. Judy will have to go.”

I looked at Judy. “You have to come along and pretend to be my team.”

“I can’t,” Judy said. Her eyes were wide. She was looking back and forth from Jason to me so quickly that I was afraid she was going to hurt her neck.

“Judy,” I said, “you’re smart and you’re beautiful. All you have to do is sit there, silently. You can look angry if you want, or maybe just distant. Whatever. If anyone says anything to you, just look at me and I’ll deal with it.”

“I can’t,” Judy said, again. She stopped looking at Jason and stared at me. Somehow, her eyes got even wider. “I can’t meet the president of a movie studio,” she said. She was almost crying. “I can’t meet studio executives. What if— You know— What if— What if they want sex?”

“Oh, for Christ’s sake,” I said, “we’re going to be talking about developing a script. A monster movie about scientists and sharks and dinosaurs, for Christ’s sake. They’re not going to be talking about sex. It’s a business meeting.”

Jason started laughing.

Judy ran her fingers through her hair. “I can’t talk about sex,” she said. “I get nervous. I’ll throw up. I can’t have sex in a meeting room. I can’t have sex in a meeting room with all those people there. I just can’t.”

“Nobody’s going to be talking about sex,” I said. “And nobody’s going to be having sex! They want to talk about a script. It’s like a story conference. Pearl took his studio private so he’s financing a lot of low budget stuff from independents. It’s a business meeting.”

Judy stepped toward me and jabbed a finger at my chest. “It’s the movie business! The movie business! What if someone asks me for a— What if someone asks me for a blow job? What if someone wants— Oh, Christ! I’ve heard about that Kardashian stuff. The Blake Lively stuff. I won’t do it. I won’t. No, no, no. What if someone wants to— You know— No, no, no. What if someone wants to piss on me?” Judy was crying now. “I don’t want anyone to piss on me! I won’t do it.”

Jason was laughing so hard that he let himself fall out of his chair. He continued laughing on the carpet.

“Judy, are you insane?” I asked. “What the hell are you talking about? He wants to talk to me about writing a monster movie. You just have to look like my assistant. Just sit next to me. Maybe pretend to take notes. You won’t even have to talk.”

“I am not giving anyone a blow job,” Judy said. “I just won’t do it. No.”

I said, “This is the stupidest conversation since time began.”

“Listen you sons of bitches,” Judy yelled, looking from me to Jason on the carpet, “I’ve just never done that, okay? It doesn’t mean I’m a virgin. And it doesn’t mean I’m some kind of small town hick. I’ve just never actually, you know, done that, you know, the oral sex thing.”

Jason screamed and continued laughing, pulling himself into a kind of fetal position, holding his thighs against his chest and laughing as he banged his forehead against his knees.

“Oh my God,” I said. “Judy, this is a business meeting. You are going to pretend to be my assistant. They probably won’t even look at you, let alone talk to you. They just expect me to have, you know, my ‘people’ with me. I promise I’ll do all the talking. Nobody is even going to mention sex. It’s a business meeting.”

Judy’s eyes narrowed. She stepped even closer to me and grabbed my shirt in both her hands and pulled me so close to her that for a second I had the freaky thought that she was going to bite my nose.

“Do you promise,” Judy said, “there won’t be any sex? I mean do you swear there won’t be any sex? I’m saying are you giving me a fucking blood oath nobody is going to expect me to have sex?”

“Yes, yes, yes” I said. “Nobody is going to have sex with anybody. Nobody is going to expect you to have sex. It’s a business meeting. About a script. A monster movie. I swear.”

“Okay,” Judy said. “I’ll do it.”

“Good,” I said. “The meeting’s this afternoon, downtown, just north of the river.”

“We’ve got to stop at my apartment,” Judy said. “I want to put on a shorter skirt.”

Jason screamed again and rolled under my desk laughing.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A Scene From “The Big Screen Girl”

Margo Makes Movies That Don’t Get Released

Laura Makes Clips That Don’t Get To YouTube


I first saw that beautiful shark painting last week at a scuba diving site I sometimes look in on. But, although the scuba site used the image, they didn’t credit the image anywhere I could see. Very bad blog etiquette.

So I used a reverse-search engine geared toward images called TinEye.

TinEye tracked down the image to the painter’s website.

Really great stuff. Such beautiful images. I really admire people who can create such wonderful art. I shudder thinking about what a tough time they must have in the modern world, but, still, I admire them for developing their skills and creating the great art.

Friday, November 26, 2010

This Airship, This Woman, This Dream

The last US Navy dirigible
is underwater now after flying
New York-to-California and crashing
in the Pacific. It’s invisible

a thousand feet down, but indelible
darkness is cut away by imaging
built from sonar sound and white light probing
by a remote control submersible.

The Navy’s last rigid frame airship crashed
in 1935 and it’s never
going to leave the sea and fly again.

Like this airship, to a boulder I’m lashed.
This woman comes, my organs to sever.
This dream is for my next flight to begin.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monterey Bay National Marine
Sanctuary: USS Macon

Thursday, November 25, 2010

This Woman And A Flickering Candle

Clouds and puddles, soft things flowing under
light from the Sun or light from a street light,
flow above and around sidewalks and streets,
hard things crumbling under light from the Sun
or light from a street light. Soft and hard things.

She read what I wrote. She said, “People flow—
like clouds or water—when they walk or drive.
People walk and drive on sidewalks and streets
and when they do they touch them, they become
contiguous with them, with the hard things.
People are soft and hard at the same time.
Two landscapes are like one portrait of me.”

I don’t like taking pictures of people
but every picture I take becomes
this woman and a flickering candle
illuminating her every move.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Night Without Boundaries

Fluorescent Lights On A Book Of Shadows


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Real Writers Almost Never Say ‘Sparkle’

I don’t have plans and schemes
I don’t have hopes and dreams
I don’t have anything
Since I don’t have you

When the audience laughs at sad Penny
in her hopeless desperation,
Buckaroo talks to the audience,
saying, “Hey, hey, hey. Don’t be mean.
We don’t have to be mean. Because
remember—No matter where you go,
there you are.”

“In the movie Scream 3,” I said,
“the Parker Posey character
is Jennifer Jolie, after
the Jen/Angie tabloid hatred.”

Borgy said, “Christ, I should have read
the credits. I love when chatter
from real life is subject matter
for art. Well, what we have instead.”

For three or four generations
films were created and consumed
by readers. Story was the star.

Now television sensations
raise us all and we’re all subsumed
in the sparkle. And here we are.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I know I said I wasn’t
going to embed video
but I changed my mind

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gain Joyful Expressions

I won't be watching

your new film, but thanks, Mandy,

for bringing me Gain.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Latest Disney romp puts lively spin
on ‘Rapunzel’
, at NewsOK


Unrequited As A Cosmology

The Once And Future Mandy Moore

Monday, November 22, 2010

Desire, Wonder And Sleeping Alone

Maria Sharapova got engaged not too long ago. Her fiancé, a professional basketball player, gave her an engagement ring reportedly valued at a quarter of a million dollars. Maria said her fiancé is “sweet” and she said she feels “spoiled.”

Maria Sharapova feels spoilt by her fiancé Sasha Vujacic

Nine billion years ago on another planet—that is to say, in New York in 1967—when musician Frank Zappa got married in a civil ceremony, the official asked Frank for a ring and Frank told him he didn’t have a ring. Frank said the only thing he had with him was the pen he used to fill out the application for a marriage license. So Frank Zappa clipped the pen to Gail Sloatman’s dress and the official declared Frank and Gail husband and wife. They remained married for the rest of Frank’s life.

FZ:My Fabulous Wife


There is a big billboard behind where I’m living. It used to display a giant picture of Maria Sharapova.

Exact Numbers

I’m not a big fan of Maria’s tennis. She’s what tennis people call a bang-bang player. One dimensional. She hits hard but doesn’t move well, doesn’t have an all-court game. But she’s very pretty. Tennis-wise, I like players who have a style, a strategy that goes beyond hitting hard and hoping your opponent misses more than you do.


The billboard people took down the giant picture of Maria just before the French Open tennis tournament started. I had planned on taking a photograph of the billboard and doing a blog post about it during the French Open but the billboard people changed it just before I got around to taking a picture.

For some reason, I still find myself thinking of that big picture of Maria Sharapova.

I miss the giant billboard image.

It used to be the first thing I saw when I drove away from my parking slot, and it would be the last thing I saw from my car when I returned from wherever I’d gone.

Today I took a couple of photographs of the billboard with the new advertising on it and I was going to use one of those photos along with this post, but the photographs weren’t very good.

I’m not sure why I miss that billboard so much. And I’m not sure why I’ve done so many blog posts about Maria Sharapova.

I’ll have to do another blog post or two about her someday when I figure out why I miss her billboard or why I like doing blog posts about her.

But I need to work on my graphics for her.

I mean, hey, some guy gave her a ring that cost $250,000.

I should have kept working until I had a good photograph of the billboard.

Heck, I didn’t even do a drawing of a pen.

No wonder I’m sleeping alone.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Los Angeles, Nonetheless, Is

The Biblical Mount Sinai (Hebrew: הר סיני, Har Sinai) is an ambiguously located mountain at which the Hebrew Bible states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God. In certain biblical passages these events are described as having transpired at Mount Horeb. Sinai and Horeb are generally considered to refer to the same place although there is a small body of opinion that the two names may refer to different locations.

According to the biblical account, after leaving Egypt and crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites arrived to the ground below the holy mountain and gathered there in anticipation of the words of God. Even prior to the Israelite encounter with Sinai, the ground of the mountain was considered holy, when Moses first found the burning bush upon the mountain (named as Horeb in the first instance).

According to some biblical scholars, Horeb is thought to mean Glowing/Heat, which seems to be a reference to the sun, while Sinai may have derived from the name of Sin, the Sumerian deity of the moon, and thus Sinai and Horeb would be the mountain of the moon and sun, respectively.

Los Angeles is almost eight thousand
miles west—as the crow flies—of Mount Sinai.
That would make a fun documentary,
following a crow from Los Angeles
on a great circle flight to Mount Sinai.
Some actor or actress in a hushed voice
would speak over slow motion video
of the crow flying, “Nobody knows why
this crow is flying from Los Angeles
to Egypt, but the crow, nonetheless, is.”

Nobody knows, too, if the Mount Sinai
in Egypt is the one from the Bible.
You’d think people would have kept track of that
from generation to generation
but history is full of surprises.
The same Sun and Moon that moved in the sky
above all the Mount Sinai’s over there
move in the sky above Los Angeles.
Everyone knows where Los Angeles is,
although, like the crow, nobody knows why.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Crow Equinox

Singing Is For The Birds

Los Angeles Is My Daisy

Trans Am Girl

“Yet Baghdad Is”

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Damn Punk Human Who Isn’t Jamie

I thought I saw Jamie in a store but
it was a woman who looked like Jamie.
We chatted. I made the discovery
that this non-Jamie was a crafting nut,

who teaches, too. The world is Lilliput.
She was buying bird seed, not one bag, three,
to teach kids something that was new to me —
Bird seed candle holders! I’m such a mutt.

You find a cool glass, like a mason jar.
Add a layer of seeds. Add a candle.
Choices. Arrangements. That makes it a craft.

What do birds think? “This is going too far.
It’s winter. We’re starving. This craft vandal
calls our food art? Damn punk humans are daft.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

When I was talking to the one-who-isn’t-Jamie I was knocked out—as I always am—by how crafters have this seemingly infinite capacity for finding two or three disparate things to put together in an odd way and, something like decorative alchemy, create something out of almost nothing. I had never heard of bird seed candle holders but when I got home I looked on the internet and sure enough it is a real craft. Here is one example I found:

I love Mason jars for their inexpensive functionality. Decorate for autumn by simply filling glass jars with bird seed.

The bird seed anchors the tea light candles, raising them from the bottom of the glass and giving them autumn appeal. When you're done with the candles, remove the tea lights and feed the birds.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Unattractive Pumpkins Learn The Way To San Jose

When you’re not attractive enough to eat
Or cut up in shapes and put on display
They toss you in the big blue bin out back
And garbage men come and take you away

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The New Nirvana Vs. The Lost Mountains Of Tibet

At some point I’d decided to stop embedding music videos because I wanted to kind of force myself to get to work and make more of my own. I kind of put aside that resolution for a while and I went back to doing too many YouTube videos.

So I’m going to stop.

But that doesn’t make me happy because the whole mainstream music world doesn’t interest me at all and it’s fun looking around YouTube for interesting live performances. But, nonetheless, I remind myself, too, that this is basically a writing blog, not a drawing or music blog so if I’m not doing videos of music I’ve written myself it’s kind of out-of-place here.


Anyway, so, I’ve decided to cut back on the music videos.

However, I’ve got one I’ve been saving. So I can’t really begin my resolution until I post this one last one. I don’t have a poem to go along with this, or any links to earlier posts. (Except: Squirrels And The Lost Mountains Of Tibet ) I’d been thinking of putting something together using this video for this Friday, but, as I said, I’m trying to get away from other people’s music so I’m not going to do that.

The singer and the song both have interesting histories, but I’m not even going to discuss those. I want to start having an interesting history myself.

But I do have links to Wikipedia for both.

Anyway. I’m just going to post this and move on.

Birds fly
In the eyes of the faithless daughter

At the bitter end

Sacrificed for the new Nirvana

Night time
Sends us on our way

Whisper To A Scream,”
peformed by its writer, Ian McNabb

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Difference Between Clouds And Conquistadors

A prominent, brownish stripe in Jupiter's southern hemisphere that vanished completely in May could soon return, suggest photographs taken by amateur astronomers.

Jupiter normally has two prominent dark bands, one in each hemisphere. But in May it became clear that the southern equatorial belt (SEB) had completely disappeared.

Now, several amateur astronomers have photographed a small white dot above where the SEB used to be. They say it's a sign that the stripe may be making a comeback.

"It might not look like much, but this is how a revival of the SEB begins - a small disturbance in the upper atmosphere heralds a much larger profusion of spots and swirls bursting forth around the whole circumference of the giant planet. Amid the confusion, Jupiter's vast brown stripe emerges," reports Spaceweather.com.

"Small disturbances like this one are an omen of more spots and swirls to come, ultimately reviving the great brown stripe," reports Wired.

It's still not clear whether the stripe will return completely. "Will this outbreak fully revive the SEB? Time will tell," amateur astronomer Christopher Go, who took one of the shots, told Wired.

The discovery is the latest in a string of recent finds by hobbyist astronomers. For example, since July 2009, amateurs have captured three instances of an object striking Jupiter. Prior to that, only one definite case of such a strike was known.

Is Jupiter's lost stripe making a comeback?
New Scientist, 12 November 2010

I’ve written a lot about Jupiter the last couple of years. A lot has been happening out there. There have been interesting space probes, impacts from comets and asteroids and just a few months ago the whole southern equatorial cloud belt (SEB) on the planet disappeared.

Now the southern equatorial cloud belt might be reappearing.

A few days ago a bright spot appeared at the latitude of the SEB. Then the white spot changed and became discolored by blue filaments which seem to be spreading out. Astronomers suspect the blue discolorations will spread and deepen in color as the predominately brown SEB re-forms.

One of the interesting things about this cloud business on Jupiter is the scale involved. Jupiter is very large. Wolfram Alpha can generate a size comparison of the Earth and Jupiter:

The white spot that appeared is roughly the size of the Earth! Imagine the physics that must be going on out there to have visible, physical changes of this size appearing and changing on a day-to-day timeframe.

Almost certainly this is the southern equatorial belt reappearing.

But it sure would be more interesting if this turned out to be the start of an ignition event.

All The Sunlight Is For Laughing I wrote. I haven’t had a lot to laugh about lately. There would be nothing funny, of course, in Jupiter turning into a small star, a binary companion to the Sun. But it would be wonderful, in the classic meaning of the word, full-of-wonder.

It’s easy to forget that the universe is full of wonder, even without Jupiter somehow turning into a star. And even if you know the universe is full of wonder, it’s easy for all the grotesque, day-to-day awfulness of the modern world to darken your heart.

Jupiter is already a bright spot in the darkness surrounding us. It would be cool if Jupiter became even brighter. We need all the light we can get.

The clouds of Jupiter are changing.
It’s not the kind of thing you notice
unless you point a medium-sized
telescope at Jupiter and look.
Or if you check pop science web sites.

More people, I suspect, are aware
Demi Lovato is in rehab —
another Disney princess destroyed —
than know or care about Jupiter
and the changes in Jupiter’s clouds.

I wish Jupiter’s clouds could come here
like conquistadors and change things here
like conquistadors changed the Aztecs.
Clouds can’t protect anybody’s heart
from monsters who need a sacrifice.

Friday, November 12, 2010


According to the “doctrine of the affections” there are three pairs of opposing emotions that make six “affects” all together: love/hate, joy/sorrow, wonder/desire.

Lorenzo Giacomini (1552–1598) in his Orationi e discorsi (1597) defined an affection as “a spiritual movement or operation of the mind in which it is attracted or repelled by an object it has come to know as a result of an imbalance in the animal spirits and vapours that flow continually throughout the body.”

Someday soon we’ll stop to ponder
What on Earth’s this spell we’re under

When the keyboard player in a rock band
writes and sings the songs but guitar players
run back and forth in the spotlight layers
fans always cheer some guitar player’s hand

so technicians will build a special stand
that makes the keyboards spinning portrayers
of rock jive fans will cheer, while naysayers
can play a jazz club at some baby grand.

I knew a woman who made my head spin.
I think I understand dichotomies
structured on hate and love, sorrow and joy.

Desire and wonder need meditation.
Rock and jazz are music philosophies
musicians perform, compose or destroy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hobo Unbound

Normally when I disconnect the chain that usually shackles my ankle to my computer desk and go out into the so-called real world I always have the feeling that people looking at me probably assume I’m some kind of homeless bum.

But this morning I got a shock.

This morning I was standing around in a medical building, flirting with the nurses, and one of the nurses I hadn’t yet gotten around to flirting with walked over and told me that while I was standing there first a senior citizen woman had approached her and pointed to me and asked if I was the new dentist on the second floor, and then a few moments later another senior citizen woman had approached her and pointed to me and asked if I was the new cardiac specialist on the ninth floor.

So I said to the nurses, “Well, there you go, see, if you go out to dinner with me you get all the benefits of looking like you’re out with a doctor but without the whole downside of, you know, actually having to go out with a doctor.”

I was just talking and I don’t know if there is a downside to going out with a doctor but all the nurses seemed to think that was pretty funny.

My takeaway was that apparently I look like a professional kind of guy to senior citizen women.


I still keep a piece of electrical tape over my webcam lens so the cool young women looking out can’t see me.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Hidden Princess Of Mount Shasta

The End Of A Barry Malzberg Romance

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Mad Scientist Is Always Laughing

I found the trailer depressing. The "kids" talked about psycho-slashers filming their work, but Mickey filmed stuff back in Scream 2. One kid was walking around with a headcam on, but the kids were wearing headcams in Halloween: Resurrection. The trailer made me think of the Wes Craven from "Cursed" rather than from "Scream."

Posted by: Mark | November 8, 2010 1:11 AM

Well noticed. It does feel like a lot of the other films from that trailer, which is maybe something they were going for to win audiences back. It certainly doesn't feel like a completely new take on the story.

Posted by: Richard Brunton | November 8, 2010 8:33 AM

Comments at Filmstalker

My Soul to Take has been universally panned by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes it currently has 9% approval based on 42 reviews, with an average score of 2.9/10 and a consensus of "Dull, joyless, and formulaic, My Soul to Take suggests writer/director Wes Craven ended his five-year filmmaking hiatus too soon." The 3D conversion was also received negatively.

The film opened at #4 on its opening Friday, but ultimately placed at #5 for the weekend with $6,842,220 behind The Social Network, Life as We Know It, Secretariat, and the previous 3D screen holder Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, in its third weekend. It has placed the record for the lowest opening of a 3D film released at over 1500 venues, claiming the record from Alpha and Omega.

“There was a scene that we actually cut out, in between the scene with David and Courteney at the car, after the scene with Patrick Warburton when Dewey leaves him up at the house, where they talk about how if you’re in Hollywood your creations turn on you.”

Patrick Lussier, Film Editor
“Scream 3” commentary track

Is Hollywood seductive because of fame,
or do people want to create a creature
that will turn on them? Is that bug a feature?
When the monster turns on you it gets the blame.

This is how you win the mad scientist game —
You bring it to life, play parent, friend, teacher
and it loves you, listens to you the preacher,
but transcends, sees through you, kills you without shame.

That’s why the mad scientist is always
laughing hysterically when the dam breaks
and the hero runs off with some actress.

As his monster chokes him into a daze
and the flood comes, the scientist forsakes
these scenes. He creates a way out of this.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Scream 4”


Becoming Forever

Rate Of God

Ghost Fishing In America Freddy

Tina At The Window

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

“What The Fuck Is Wrong With You?”

This happened a few weeks ago. I’ve been trying to think of a larger context in which to use this story, but I’ve never come up with anything. But this was so cool that I’ve never forgotten it. So I’m just going to tell this quick story and maybe I’ll think of something more to say about it later.

This was like a little real life cabaret the cosmos staged just to entertain me. And it was pretty darn good.

One afternoon I was standing around looking at trees. A mid-size car double parked in front of the apartment building across the street. I saw that a beautiful red-haired young woman was driving. An anonymous looking young man was in the passenger seat.

I was struck by how up-right the young woman was sitting in the driver seat. ‘She has great posture,’ I thought. ‘And she’s beautiful. She’s sitting so straight, looking so poised, she looks like a model.’

The young man got out of the passenger side and walked to the curb in front of the car.

The young woman driving backed up, and pulled alongside the curb to park in front of the apartment complex.

The young man extended his right hand, gesturing, guiding the young woman to align the car with the curb.

‘He’s helping her park,’ I thought. ‘That’s so cool. They must be really in love.’

The young man gestured with both hands. The young woman driving straightened the car. She pulled forward. The young man continued gesturing and the young woman driving pulled up until she lined up her front bumper with the young man’s hand. He waved her back. She backed up again, turned the front tires slightly to realign the car with the curb and pulled forward.

The young man guided her, slightly left, slightly right. She slowly pulled forward, turning the car slightly left, slightly right.

As the car’s front bumper reached the young man again, he raised both hands to signal that she was perfectly parked.

‘That’s really cool,’ I thought. ‘Two people who care so much about each other that they’d work together even for something sort of trivial like parking.’

The beautiful red-haired young woman turned off the car and opened the driver’s side door. When she got out, I saw that her standing posture was as perfect as her sitting posture. She closed the car door and stood there for a moment, her shoulders back, her neck straight. She looked perfect.

‘I wonder if she is a model?’ I thought. ‘She has such poise. Such style. What a woman.’

She looked at the young man waiting for her on the sidewalk. She said, very loudly, “What the fuck is wrong with you? Haven’t you ever fucking helped someone fucking park before? All you fucking have to do is put up one fucking hand. What the fuck is wrong with you? I’m trying to park the fucking car and you’re waving your fucking hands like a spastic fucking dancer or something. What the fuck is wrong with you?”

The young man turned and walked into the apartment building.

“Don’t you fucking walk away from me,” the beautiful red-haired young woman said. “Hey. I am fucking talking to you. What the fuck is wrong with you?”

And she walked into the apartment building after the young man.

She walked perfectly.

Monday, November 08, 2010

My Cactus Plants Hate My Pants

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway
They say there’s always magic in the air

“On Broadway”
Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil,
Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller

QUESTION: How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
ANSWER: Practice, practice, practice!

QUESTION: Do you know the way to San Jose?
ANSWER: Don’t practice, don’t practice, don’t practice!

Fame and fortune is a magnet
It can pull you far away from home

With a dream in your heart
You’re never alone

But dreams turn into dust
And blow away

There you are
Without a friend

You pack your car
And drive away

“Do You Know The Way To San Jose”
Burt Bacharach, Hal David

I think if my cactus plants could do it
they’d steal my car and bank card and skip town,
leave me, unwatered, to dry up, turn brown.
I think my cactus plants think I blew it.

They want the desert, I’d think. I knew it.
A real writer, a writer of renown,
would drive his plants to San Jose, not frown,
transplant them and endlessly work through it.

I hate doing this to my cactus plants,
hate ignoring the fat lady singing,
hate pretending the crystal ball’s murky.

They feel fifty years old, these writer pants,
but they fit. If I drove west, stopped clinging,
I’d take a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Wrong turns at Albuquerque


Five Songs: #3 – Shadows

Atlas Shrugged, Taylor Swift, Shangri-La

Shanghai Rain

Friday, November 05, 2010

It’s Children Screaming

A pregnant woman said she and her husband agreed
they were going to name their new baby girl, ‘Carly.’
“Named for,” someone asked, “the ‘iCarly’ show on TV?”
“Or ‘Carly Simon’?” asked a guy from the hippie breed.

“’Carly Simon’ is fine,” the woman said. “But we need
to do something about that show. It’s on endlessly.
Our oldest girl watches. New shows. The reruns. I see
‘iCarly’ nightmares. That’s not our ‘Carly,’ no, indeed.”

According to show business legend, Jimi Hendrix
performed on a Monkees tour as the opening act
playing to girls screaming endlessly for Davy Jones.

The screaming little girls didn’t scream for guitar licks.
Cash is kids screaming. Not how fans or artists react.
Hendrix quit, threw his Strat at their screaming little bones.

CARLY: Hey, listen, I called Ricky’s office to thank him for all the free steaks and his assistant told me he quit his TV show.

SAM: He’s not doing ‘Food Fight’ any more?

CARLY: He’s not doing anything any more. Ricky’s so depressed he lost to us that he said he’s giving up cooking forever.

SAM: It’s not our fault Ricky went psycho.

FREDDIE: Yeah, but come on, the least we can do is go talk to the guy.

SAM: No, the least we can do is nothing.

from “iCook”
iCarly, Season 3, Episode 2

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Night Without Boundaries

Street lights and puddles
make a show at night.

Puddles display lights
even though puddles
don’t have front-facing
cameras to capture
scenes in front of them.

Dark and light patterns
in wet and dry shapes.

Cameras can capture
a puddle’s display.

A photographer
can play with cropping
arranging the lights
and darks to make shapes
made up of the shapes
the wet and dry shapes
displayed in the night
without boundaries.

Playing with ourselves.

Photographers are
dark and light patterns
in wet and dry shapes
displayed in a night
without boundaries.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Laura Makes Clips That Don’t Get To YouTube

MILTON: There’ll be other films, Roman.

ROMAN: Nobody’s gonna want to work with me. Variety called me a pariah. I don’t even know what a pariah is.

MILTON: It’s good for your mystique.

ROMAN: You think it will help me get work?

Minnie is a reasonably successful, reasonably well-known and reasonably well-liked actress. Laura is Minnie’s friend and also reasonably those other three things, too.

Minnie heard about a supplier that had a shipment of film stock that was at its expiration date and the guy that ran the place was offering to give away the film for a screen credit and some mentions in interviews if anyone was making a film.

Minnie and Laura gave the free film offer careful consideration—they talked about it over vodka at lunch—and decided they would break the first rule of filmmaking, the golden rule of filmmaking: They would produce and star in a movie they financed with their own money.

So they teamed up with a writer they knew who was comfortable with the technical bits of filmmaking and, since the three of them were Shakespeare buffs, they decided to do a low-budget, independent Shakespeare film. Minnie and Laura were well-liked and they were able to talk some of their reasonably well-known actor and actress friends into signing onto the production for scale, basically as a lark and a chance to take a European working vacation for a few weeks. And a chance to “do Shakespeare” for the cred.

Minnie and Laura made it clear to everyone that they had a very limited amount of film, a very limited budget and very definite ideas about what they wanted their film to be. The plan was to go to a few locations, film the script and storyboards exactly, and get out and into postproduction as fast and simply as possible. No improvisation. No genius inspirations. No screwing around.

So they took a bunch of their friends from the show business world to Europe on their own dime and told them no screwing around.

Yeah. Right.

That’s why the first rule of filmmaking is never use your own money.

We cut to about three weeks into production. Filming has wrapped for the day. Minnie, Laura and a reasonably well-known actor friend named Nathan are returning after dinner to their rooms at an old European hotel where the production is working.

Passing the room being shared by two of the stars of their film, from inside they heard men yelling, a man screaming and heavy things banging.

Laura immediately switched on her Flip video camera.

That is the background to the clip Laura made that will never get uploaded to YouTube.

The actual clip itself begins with a visual of Minnie frowning at Laura for switching on her camera and audio of men yelling and screaming in the background.

Minnie frowned at Laura then turned and tried the doorknob. The door was unlocked. Minnie pushed open the door.

Inside, the reasonably well-known actor friend of Minnie’s named Jude who was playing Hamlet and the reasonably well-known actor friend of Minnie’s named Chris who was playing Laertes were both being lifted off their feet and pressed up against the wall by the writer friend of Minnie and Laura who was serving as director of their film. We’ll call him ‘Matt.’

With his right hand Matt had gripped Jude’s shirt at his chest just below his neck and lifted Jude off his feet and banged him up against the wall. With his left had Matt had gripped Chris’s shirt at his chest just below his neck and lifted Chris off his feet and banged him up against the wall. Jude was attempting something that looked like karate chops to Matt’s arm which were having no effect of any kind. Chris, eyes wide, mouth wide, was crying so hard tears were visibly running down his cheeks and falling onto his shirt.

Minnie walked into the room. “Matt, is something going on here, or is this just boys’ night out?”

Chris saw Minnie and screamed. “Minnie! Help us!” Chris yelled. “He’s killing us! Minnie! I can’t breath! Help us!”

Matt said, “Hello Minnie.” His voice was remarkably calm for a man who was holding up two other adult men in the air even if the wall was supporting most of their weight. “Our two stars here decided they didn’t want to film the swordfight scene according to the storyboards,” Matt said. “They told me they wanted to make it longer. And more Hollywood.”

Minnie ignored Chris and looked up at Jude. “Is this true, Jude?”

Jude stopped trying to karate chop Matt’s arm. “Well, Minnie,” Jude said, “yes, but we were—”

Matt banged Jude against the wall and said, “Shut up. I explained to them, Minnie, that our film was about Ophelia, not Hamlet and Laertes, but they didn’t care. I explained to them that any changes this late in production made life hell for the editor and cinematographer and everyone else. But they didn’t care.”

Minnie looked up at Jude. “Is this true, Jude?”

Jude said, “Well, Minnie, yes, but we just wanted—”

Matt banged Jude against the wall and said, “Shut up. I didn’t want to be the bad guy and tell them they couldn’t do what they wanted to do, so, instead, I thought I’d just kill them both with my bare hands.”

“Sounds like a good plan,” Minnie said.

Chris screamed and shook his head wildly. “Minnie!” Chris screamed, still crying so hard tears were flowing off his cheeks. “He’s hurting us, Minnie! This isn’t funny! Help us!”

“I don’t mind killing them,” Matt said. “Unless you think they might listen to you if you talked to them.”

Minnie looked up at Jude. “I don’t know,” Minnie said. “Jude, will you and Chris listen to me if I talk to you?”

“Of course, Minnie,” Jude said. “We only wanted to—”

Matt banged Jude against the wall and said, “Shut up. Okay, Minnie. I’ll leave this to you.”

Then Matt shifted a little to his right and bent at the knees a little and heaved Jude three or four feet through the air to the room’s big bed. Then Matt shifted a little to his left and bent at the knees a little and heaved Chris three or four feet through the air to the bed next to Jude.

Jude straightened himself out, pushed back against the headboard and felt his forehead with both hands, making sure his toupee hadn’t gotten knocked loose. Chris continued crying and scurried next to Jude and pulled a pillow from behind Jude and clutched the pillow over his own head and hid his head underneath the pillow.

Matt turned away from the bed and walked to Minnie. “I’ll leave this to you,” Matt said, again. “See you in the morning.” He kissed Minnie on the cheek.

“See you in the morning,” Minnie said, and kissed Matt on the cheek.

Matt turned to leave the room and saw Laura holding the video camera. He put up his hand. “Hey,” Matt said, “none of that paparazzi crap.” He left the room and walked past the camera.

Minnie walked toward the camera. “Really, Laura, really?” Minnie asked. “Really?” Minnie asked, again, swinging the door closed on Laura and her camera.

In the hallway, Laura kept the camera running. Nathan was leaning against the wall on the other side of the doorway. He was laughing and, as he laughed, he gestured with his index finger for Laura to come closer and give him a one-shot.

Nathan, in a one, choked out words between laughing and wiping his eyes and laughing harder. “The first rule of Gay Club,” Nathan said, “the very first rule of Gay Club is you can push the straights but you can’t push the straights too far or else they’ll pick you up, bang you against the wall and throw you across the room. It’s the first rule!”

Laura held on Nathan laughing, then switched off her camera.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Margo Makes Movies That Don’t Get Released

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Another Venus

“In 1979, the multi-platinum album Discovery
(or Disco? Very! as fans refer to it), was released.”

Though the low-thrust plasma drive had long since been closed down, Discovery was still coasting with her slender arrowlike body pointed away from Earth, and all her high-powered optical gear was oriented toward the outer planets, where her destiny lay.

There was one telescope, however, that was permanently aimed at Earth. It was mounted like a gunsight on the rim of the ship’s long-range antenna, and checked that the great parabolic bowl was rigidly locked upon its distant target. While Earth remained centered in the crosswires, the vital communication link was intact, and messages could come and go along the invisible beam that lengthened more than two million miles with every day that passed.

At least once in every watch Bowman would look homeward through the antenna-alignment telescope. As Earth was now far back toward the sun, its darkened hemisphere faced Discovery, and on the central display screen the planet appeared as a dazzling silver crescent, like another Venus.

“2001: A Space Odyssey”
Arthur C. Clarke

Sailing away
On the crest of a wave
It’s like magic

Guitars have frets. There are no frets on a cello.
On guitar, it’s easier to find the right note.
On cello, skilled fingers can shape a perfect sound.

In a perfect world I suppose everybody
would play the cello and the Gulf of Mexico
would be turquoise, with green microscopic sea life
modifying the natural deep ocean blue.

There’s a world where people type music notation
into computer programs and drag around sounds
using a mouse or a track pad or a stylus.
Music never played by a guitar or cello
plays through speakers where people shop or buy their gas.

Venus is a planet between the Earth and Sun.
Disco was music drunk businessmen and women
listened to before passing out. Or having sex.
The Gulf of Mexico will reflect light from stars.

Bright Venus in the east — and another Venus
in the water where boats move around like spaceships —
vibrates to music of the spheres. And other sounds.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Back in June, the business press reported
BP was leasing a deep sea drilling rig
called the “West Sirius” for almost
half a million dollars per day.

Seadrill rig to help BP in Gulf of Mexico

People following the on-going catastrophe
in the Gulf of Mexico note that the “West Sirius”
is still on station, still doing something,
at a cost of almost half a million dollars per day.

A New Drilling Rig at Macondo Site?


Sitting Here Cruising Thousands Of Feet Down

The Endless Death Of Maple White

Careful Thoughts And Getting Lost

The Flat Night

Fluorescent Lights On A Book Of Shadows

The Impossible Kisses Statement On Lady Gaga

This Scary, Pumpkin Time Of Year, Part Two

Monday, November 01, 2010

On Being A (Very) Sad Tennis Fan

Coming along at the same time as reality TV, sexpot Anna Kournikova, Martina "Chucky" Hingis and lineswoman-scourge Serena Williams, Dementieva represented class in a classless age. She was unassuming. She didn't bray or strut -- even though she could have. She's better looking than Kournikova and had a winner-on-any-shot game that lent itself to a Jimmy Connors-like smirk and hip waggle.

But she was raised well. (Her mother, wringing her hands on every point, traveled with her throughout her career.) She played because she loved the game and the competition, not because she had a chip on her shoulder. She didn't have to prove anything to the world to make herself feel OK. Dementieva's impact on tennis was apparent on the faces of the other players on court when she announced her retirement at the WTA Championships. Every one of her colleagues was crying.

November has become the month when tennis wraps up its professional season.

The women played their tour championship last week and the men play at the end of the month.

Already this has been a pretty depressing end to a pretty dismal season.

Last week Elena Dementieva, my favorite woman player, retired.

Damn it.

It’s getting harder and harder to find tennis on television and, when you finally find it, it is getting harder and harder to find players anybody would want to watch.

Poor Elena. At this year’s tour championship all the big names were out with injuries so Dementieva was something like a favorite going in. I considered trying to play out my #3 big fantasy and take a woman up to Evanston for the weekend to watch the finals at some hotel.

But Dementieva, it turns out, had injury issues of her own. She not only didn’t make the finals, but at the end of the round-robin play Elena Dementieva retired from tennis.

[ Sighs ]

Tennis has been a pleasant topic for me, but there is very little left to write about. None of the women left in the game, and none of the up-and-comers, have much style or personality. Maria Sharapova is still pretty in a glamour sort of way but she is getting old and has never really recovered from her shoulder injury.

I might be retiring tennis as a theme along with Elena retiring her career.

So, here’s goodbye to Elena Dementieva. And maybe to tennis.