Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Maybe they will last "forever"--
that is, more than ten years, in that
someone will read them, their ink making
a light scratch on his mind, or hers.
I think back with greater satisfaction
upon a yellow bird--a goldfinch?--
that had flown into our potting shed
and could not get out,
battering its wings unintelligently
upon the dusty panes of the never-opened windows.
Without much reflection, for once, I stepped
to where its panicked heart
was making commotion, the flared wings drumming,
and with clumsy soft hands
pinned it against a pane,
held cupped this agitated essence of the air,
and through the open door released it,
like a self-flung ball,
to all that lovely perishing outdoors.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
How is that Marconi, Tesla, Popov, Lodge, Fessenden, Hertz, Dolbear, Loomis, Stubblefield and Maxwell all conceived of the radio and invented its necessary parts, separately and apart from each other at the same time? But it was Marconi who nailed it - he owns the radio - Tesla went on to other things, but Stubblefield? - Lost except to Google and 3 radio historians in a library somewhere.
In the movie, The Wrestler, Randy -The Ram - Robinson and his junto of wrestler/performers put on a show, an American show - staged, pure fakery - the ritual is more powerful than the reality.
In the movie, The Reader, Hannah Schmidt, is tried for the murder of 300 Jewish prisoners trapped in a burning church. The Defendants and Judges sit on stage - we know there is a deeper explanation than the evidence will admit but the Court will render its verdict - its ritual of punishment meted.
Two days before the inauguration of Barack Obama, flight 1549 is steered to safety by an unlikely hero, a rather standard issue guy who saves 155 lives just as Obama, an unlikely President, starts his attempt to steer the country to an economic soft landing in hopes of saving countless livelihoods. Sully, the pilot, is a seemingly reluctant hero, no interviews, no show, no ticker tape parade - just did his job and turns a respectful but cold shoulder to the limelight of the 24/7 cable TV spectacle. By nature more Stubblefield than Marconi, our pilot is more than brave - he is decent.
The Reader and The Wrestler - one refined and utterly sad, the other gritty and utterly sad. Two very different films but each bound by connective ligature to the pyramidal (and maybe particularly modern American) kernel of human isolation - that core inside all of us that our flight 1549 pilot seems to have (amazingly) excised from his DNA: the it's-the-outside-that-matters-not-the-inside gene; a/k/a longing for adoration; a/k/a pride - amour propre.
Hannah Schmidt (in the Reader), the former SS guard stands accused of murder and she is illiterate. Robin "Randy The Ram" Robinson, (in the Wrestler) the former wrestling headliner, stands all blond haired, steroid pumped, heart failed image and he is emotionally illiterate.
Hannah Schmidt has a "kid" (she calls her young lover - who reads to her before they make love - "kid") and Ram has a kid, a grown up daughter whom he has not seen in years. Hannah's kid, her lover, reads to her and teaches her heart-love and in return she teaches him fuck-love (he seems the better pupil than she) - but in the end - it's not enough. Ram's kid, his lost daughter, teaches Ram forgiveness - but in the end - it's not enough.
Hannah's pride, her refusal to admit her illiteracy, leads to her confinement without kid. The Wrestler's pride in his past glory and refusal to kick his addiction to the known commodity - impersonal fame (no matter how small time) for the unknown cold turkey love of one single woman -- who says to him all anyone can ask or give: "I'm here, aren't I?" - leads to his emotional imprisonment (without his kid too). She goes to jail. He remains confined in the isolation of the roar of the crowd. For both its a life sentence.
In the end, Hannah, still behind bars in her jail cell, climbs up a stack of shaky but carefully balanced books and from on high hangs herself. In the end, the Wrestler, behind the ropes in his jail cell of a wrestling ring, shakily climbs up the corner post, carefully balanced, and from on high throws himself down to the canvass for his last jump.
Two movies as related in their sadness and regret as Marconi and Stubblefield were in their invention. We shall see how Sully fares when the talk shows come calling. Its the nature of things.
Monday, January 19, 2009
This past Saturday, I was accompanied by a few friends including a professional photographer to a country road in Gilead, ME, on the ME-NH border. A few Bates kids have been living in a tent up there before they go abroad for the semester. Close to the tent, we built an awesome ski jump over the road. It was a day full of excitement, big air, and great pictures!
In case any one was confused, I was wearing a brown jacket and jeans.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
"Interestingly, neither Gates nor Buffett seems motivated by the possibility of being rewarded in heaven for his good deeds on earth. Gates told a Times interviewer, "There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning" than going to church. Put them together with Andrew carnegie, famous for his free thinking, and three of the four greatest American philanthropists have been atheists or agnostics. (The exception is John D. Rockefeller.) In a country in which 96% of the population say they believe in a supreme being, that's a striking fact. It seems that in one sense, Gates and Buffett are probably less self interested in their charity than someone like Mother Teresa, who as a pious Roman Catholic believed in reward and punishment in the afterlife."
Peter Singer in his essay, What Should A Billionaire Give? In his research for the essay, Mr. Singer calculated how much America's top 10% of income earners actually make and concludes that it would be easy for the world's rich to virtually eliminate global poverty. Mr. Singer is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at the Center for Human Values at Princeton University.
Friday, January 16, 2009
This amazing, incredibly corny line is from one of CNN's articles on the crash landing in the Hudson River entitled Investigators to quiz pilot who landed plane in Hudson
"'We circled around ... the captain came on and said, 'Look, we're going down. Brace for impact.' Everyone looked at each other and we said our prayers. I said about five Hail Marys,' said the 31-year-old Norwalk, Connecticut, resident, who was en route to Charlotte to play golf.
But the water hazard he faced was unlike any he'd encountered on a golf course."
It sounds to me like a line that should be read in an incredibly deep voice during a trailer for a horror film.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
"...Life is a motherfucker; living it anyway, and sometimes laughing in the process, is where humanity is won."
from an essay by Jerald Walker entitled "Dragon Slayers" published in 2007 in the Iowa Review. "Dragon Slayers" is from Notes from the Promised Land, an in progress collection of essays on being a black academic. Mr. Walker is an assistant professor of English at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, MA.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
GREETINGS IN THE NEW YEAR!
EECO Farm is raffling off a SMART CAR this spring,
and I am sending this little reminder in hopes that you will buy a ticket and WIN!
It’s the perfect vehicle for zipping around the east end- great on gas and a dream to park!
The Ticket Price includes a one-year membership to EECO Farm
Only 500 Raffle Tickets to be Sold
Drawing to be held on April 17th, 2009
Proceeds to benefit EECO Farm
You may be aware that the Town of East Hampton will not be funding local nonprofit organization this year, so our finances will be very tight.
It is your involvement with what we do- and your belief that it is worth the effort- that allows us to keep going- and growing.
You can purchase tickets on the website, www.eecofarm.org
Or by mail: Print the attached form and mail it with a check.
Or contact me directly for personal assistance.
Hope you will be able to support this fundraising effort, and help keep this community farm going-- and growing healthy fresh produce for our local community.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Our last "twins separated at birth" segment proved very popular with out readership - thus
we bring you installment no 2 - in this case however you have two options to consider
which is the real twin:
January 12, 2009
To Friends and Supporters of Lori Berenson
END-OF-YEAR MESSAGE FROM LORI
Penal de Huacariz
30 November 2008
As 2008 and my 13th year in prison come to a close, here I am awaiting my transfer to the maximum security women’s jail in Chorrillos, Lima.
It is indeed sad for me to be leaving Cajamarca after 7 years of beautiful scenery, fresh air and a hospitable community attitude that still prevails to some extent, in spite of the damage done to the “atmosphere” of increased wealth, unaccompanied by local development, due to the presence of giant mining companies.
Although the great mineral wealth is taken out of Cajamarca’s hills, only a small fraction of it trickles down to benefit the area, through the stipulated percentage returned to the local government, additionally to certain jobs temporarily created in the service sector.
The environment met smog, and the water met with many years of contamination with minerals and chemicals. One wonders how bad the contamination of values and of community pride has been.
Worse is to think what will happen once the mineral extraction leaves the hills barren, the water sources contaminated, highways destroyed by the excessively increased transit, when there were and are ways to prevent it.
But, sadly, I will soon leave Cajamarca, due to the need for specialized medical care that I’ll have done once I give birth. My pregnancy is a blessing for me, and motive for much happiness to me and my family.
Although I don’t see the political crisis getting better here, there’s a saying that says “no hay mal que para bien no venga” (there isn’t an evil/bad thing that doesn’t happen for a good reason).
Wishing you all a happy holiday and the best for 2009, for you and our suffered humanity.
Note: Lori was transferred to Santa Monica de Chorrillos Prison in Lima on the night of 8 January 2009.
LORI IS MOVED BACK TO LIMA FOR MEDICAL CARE
After a 15-hour trip on a public bus, Lori arrived in Lima Friday morning January 9th. She is now in the women’s prison in the Lima suburb of Chorrillos where she had been incarcerated during her civilian trial in 2000 and 2001. Articles on her transfer by AP and Reuters (see www.freelori.org website) appeared in English throughout the US and in English and Spanish around the world. Television coverage http://www.elcomercio.com.pe/ediciononline/HTML/2009-01-09/la-terrorista-lori-berenson-arribo-lima-evitar-riesgo-aborto.html shows the bus arriving in Lima and Lori transported to headquarters for processing. The transfer process went smoothly owing to help from the US Embassy officials in Lima. Now that she is in Lima, Lori will be able to coordinate her prenatal care with orthopedic and pre-surgical care for her back.
Mark will be visiting Lori next weekend.
OTHER GOOD NEWS
We are relieved to learn and thrilled to report that long-time activist Bob Carpenter is alive and well and continues to champion causes of social justice. In our previous Lori Update on December 31 we had reported otherwise. We are grateful that Bob has a good sense of humor!
Mark and Rhoda B.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
(I called mine Rough Fractals (I chose the name having just recently learned what they are (in fact I had never heard of them before and I liked the psychological bent - naturally recurring amarinthe patterns in nature that repeat endlessly no matter what degree of magnification is applied - for example a snow flake - each unique flake (all flakes are unique) has the exact same pattern as does each piece of the flake - there are many other examples and intricacies and a fractal subset called the Sierpinski Pyramid that seems interesting (though way beyond my ken)...(see below)
...and you pick a template (you can customize and select from various options) etc etc etc. Then you hit "save" and boom - you can toggle from the recliner in your tv room to Matrix at will. The next part is actually pretty cool - it takes about 20 days for Google and other "web crawlers" to find you - when they do all of a sudden you pop up in google. You can get statistics from a site called feedburner that tells you how many hits and visits you have in any 24 hour period. It does seem to have a kind of organic growth to it, if you feed it new content it grows, if you leave it dormant it withers. You can also download photos and videos (your own and from the internet) and link to anywhere else in the Matrix.
The unfathomable Matrix is a cryptic boulevard...
Waclaw Sierpinski (1882-1969) was a professor at Lvov and Warsaw. He was one of the most influential mathematicians of his time in Poland and had a worldwide reputation. In fact, one of the moon's craters is named after him.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
We can no longer go back, to the Bible, or the Diaspora, or the Holocaust, or the founding of Israel, or the many wars, or the occupation to determine where the moral starting point is. We are here, and a humane, decent political class would not have created conditions that end in the slaughter of innocent children in a school by decent Israeli young men. Its easy to condemn Israel, as it is easy to condemn Hamas for provoking them, but the failure is much more widespread. It is the failure of politics, the triumph of fanaticism, of tribalism, of militarism, of racism, of fear and hatred over humanism. It is sad, but it is where we are.
While these examples clearly demonstrate some of the problems with the BCS system, I think there is one aspect of the season that stands out as the most dramatic. The Big Twelve South is the most overrated conference in the history of college football. It was at one point supposed to contain three of the highest powered offenses in college football history. Texas Tech had an amazing season, including a huge win over Number 1 Texas (another Big Twelve team), but gave up 47 points in a loss to a decent four-loss Mississippi team in the Cotton Bowl. Texas, furious about not getting a chance to play in the national title game, come out flat against Ohio State and squeek out a victory on a last second touchdown because of a bone head play by a safety and bad defensive play call. Finally, to top it all off, Oklahoma, with a Heisman winning quarter back and having scored more than 50 points in 5 straight games, gets shut down by Florida for the championship in one of the biggest games in school history.
The moral of the story is that no matter how big of a college football fan you are, it is easy to see that the current system based on Bowl games and conference play is flawed. It allows teams in bad conferences, specifically bad defensive conferences to build themselves up throughout the season, looking much better than they actually are. The best three teams in the country are Florida, Utah, and USC, and I would love to see a playoff system (Like Obama wants, to throw a little politics into the mix) in which two of these teams would play each other to become the National Champion. The current system will always lead to a January full of confusion, frustration, and dissappointment for the coaches, the players, and the fans.
P.S. A fourth Big Twelve South Team played in a Bowl Game. Oklahoma State lost 42-31 to Oregon.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
The Grateful Dead have announced that former reinsurance executive. Steve Germain, will be doing back up vocals for the band starting immediately. When asked how he came to join the band, Steve said it started with a letter he wrote to the NY Times quoting the Dead's lyric from their classic hit Uncle John's Band. Bob "Ace" Weir has recently been unhappy with the performance of his investment portfolio and was looking for a new investment advisor when he came across Steve's letter. Weir, Lesh and drummer Billy "Pig Pen" Kreutzmann spent a weekend with Germain at the Post Ranch Inn at Big Sur listening to music and talking about alternative investment strategies. They decided to join forces: Steve views their partnership as a 50/50 sharing arrangement adding: "our philosophy is that we can share what we got of yours because we done shared all of mine". Weir added, "we are partners in the truest sense, we can share the women, we can share the wine - we are not possessive types". Germain concluded his remarks commenting that he regrets that he will no longer be attending Ramada Inn sponsored "accounting for insurance" seminars but stated, "I will get by, I will survive." From now on Steve will be using his stage name, Casey Jones.
Monday, January 5, 2009
""The people who most interest me now are people who are older and people who have been through a sort of mid life crisis. They tend to get weird because the normal incentives for getting out of bed don't tend to apply anymore. I have not found any satisfactory new ones yet."
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Fergie, "Glamorous": If you ain't got your money get your broke ass home.
Ace Mack, "Make it Rain, Remix":
It ain't no money like custom money
It ain't no bitch like a hustle bunny
Ain't no bitch gettin' none of my money
That why the money gotta clip to protect it for 'em
T.I., "Whatever You Like"
Anytime you want to pick up the telephone
You know it ain't nothin to drop a couple stacks on you
Wanted you could get it my dear
Five million dollar home, drop Bentley's I swear
and you ain't never ever gotta go in yo wallet
Long as I got rubberband banks in my pocket
Five six, rides with rims and a body kit
Ya ain't gotta downgrade you can get what I get
My chick can have what she want
And go in any store for any bag she want
And know she ain't never had a man like that
To buy you anything ya heart desire like that
It seems that there is a group of people that have definitely managed to avoid the economic downturn. At least someone is still pouring cash into the US economy.
January 4, 2009
Letters: Lessons in the Lyrics
To the Editor:
Bob Dylan is one of my heroes, too, so I enjoyed Ben Stein’s quoting him to great effect in “They Told Me He Never Lost Money” (Everybody’s Business, Dec. 28).
As investors, we may have learned everything we need to know in kindergarten, but those of us of a certain age also had a second chance — call it “Everything We Need to Know 2.0” from our generation’s music icons. You may also recall the Grateful Dead line from its anthem “Uncle John’s Band”: “When life looks like easy street there is danger at your door.”
Steven D. Germain
Saturday, January 3, 2009
There are Paradoxical Fractal Patterns In nature and Human behavior i.e. lattice patterns that occur naturally when different currents run cross wise in the same system e.g. in large bodies of water when tide shifts, certain crisscrossing pie crusts, and in certain moments like those described below:
The sommelier recommends a 1997 white Bordeaux from the wine list and describes it as having "broad shoulders and being "minerally" (which applies equally to a coal miner as a fine wine).
Upon leaving THE RESTAURANT:
When dinner is at an upscale restaurant is over you walk to the front where your parties coats are already held open for you by men in tuxes (for the ladies) and women (for the gents) wearing festively gay and dare I say, sexy, masks (a fun thing you will probably never do again - have your coat put on for you by a very attractive young woman wearing a mask) and then you go out into the 5 below zero wind chill factor tundral night...
Upon GETTING INTO CAR:
Cell phone falls out of your coat pocket. After a great deal of effort and some real shoulder, elbow, wrist, leg and feet contortions, to retrieve it from way deep in the seat well of the car where it had fallen (quite exasperating made worse by imaginary rehearsals of the necessary future conversations you are going to have to have at the Toyota dealer asking them to remove the seat to retrieve the cell phone) you give up only to realize that if you move the car seat full forward you could simply grab the phone.
Friday, January 2, 2009
"My first impulse in Costco is condescension. I look around with something bordering on loathing and think, what am I doing with these women in tinted hair and pantsuits and large-bellied men in button up short-sleeved shirts and chinos? By the time I leave, however, I feel an affinity with everyone there - the parents and children and husbands and wives and lovers and brothers and sisters of my neighbors making do as best they can from paycheck to paycheck. My heart breaks for them.
I am one of them."