Saturday, April 30, 2011


Feeling old lately, the aches of moving parts worse, a greater exhaustion from teaching and grading, the pits. Trend or passing condition? Find out soon enough. Meanwhile a struggle today.

Summer video

I came up with a summer video project I can do alone and use in class: a narrated comparison of parts of the screenplay of The Fr Lt's Woman with corresponding scenes, showing how the stark simple clarity of Pinter's writing translates into lush film storytelling, clarifying what the screenwriter contributes -- and does not contribute -- to movies. I can make a 15 min or 30 min video and use it in class. If it comes off as I imagine, this would be very useful -- and I'd put it online so other teachers and students can access it. A worthy project.

More on Kindle

I haven't paid much attention to the audio features of Kindle. But today I loaded some classical mp3s. Very nice. And I tested text to speech, which is quite good and, to my surprise, works with my own documents. I can have Kindle read a screenplay to me, for example. Again, very nice.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Don't look now but ...

...the Mariners have won 4 in a row and are only a game from getting out of last place. This is a big deal in the rainy Northwest.

Red carpet

Hey, Yanks, let's not get too smug about the wedding across the pond. We have the Oscars!

Brilliant film

Energizing my weary body today, sort of, by watching for the upteenth time The French Lieutenant's Woman built from Harold Pinter's brilliant screenplay. Never see enough of this one. I need to teach it next year. Never have because the screenplay is out of print but I can work around that. Yes, I can.


A very exhausting week for some reason. May take me a few days to recover. Takes longer for an old fart.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rough day

More midterms to do ...


Mids to grade and banjo class tonight ... so much for today.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A very busy week

A full day of student conferences ahead. I also collect midterms, which means I read them all day tomorrow, a lengthy chore. Thurs we share the best of them in class. Next week we study Juno. Onward.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Royal Wedding (poem)

Royal Wedding

It is important to remember
amidst all the flashing cameras
the media's drooling over-statements
the ostentatious glory of it all
royalty indeed being different
and the bride is so beautiful
and the groom is so cool
so why not wish them the best?
even as we remember
because it's important to remember
that even as they give their vows
even at this very moment
in the dark shadows of Afghanistan
there is a young teenager as
beautiful as any future queen
if you know what to look for
a girl who dreams of her future
no less than commoners wedding
royalty a girl not yet a woman
but woman enough for the soldiers
who drag her into the barn and
have their way with her before
beheading her for her sin of
compliance the unholy whore
it is helpful to put royal
weddings in perspective in
this larger vision of the world
because this and not royal
weddings is what we must call


--Charles Deemer

20th Century Fox Starts “Emerging Writers” Program To Incubate Original Script Ideas –

20th Century Fox Starts “Emerging Writers” Program To Incubate Original Script Ideas –

Celebration (poem)


I celebrate writers who
are dead. They don't need
charisma. They don't peddle
books after readings or
have a Facebook page.

The longer dead, the better.
A man can do worse than
read Greek classics the rest
of his days. Far worse.

Dead authors speak over time
as if time did not matter.
If they don't, they quickly
are forgotten and truly
dead. I celebrate writers
who speak living words from
the grave. There are many.

Forget the lists and the clubs
(Pound said never join
a Book Club!) and the hype
and the awards and the prizes
and tune your own ear to
your own frequency -- and
when you find it, keep
the power on, keep the
power on. And listen.

--Charles Deemer


When From Here To Eternity was published in fifties it was heavily censored ... in May the original version is being released and I just ordered Kindle version.

So far so good

Short of something turning up on blood tests I am still alive and kicking. Have scheduled separate eye and ear exams. Go the whole hog. Back to gray and lazy.

Writing poetry

I haven't written a poem in a while because I haven't awoken with one in my head. This is how they happen. Very mysterious. I don't plan them. They just appear in my head, usually just a portion, and I get up and work them through. Not lately, however. I have no idea how to make it happen and no idea why it does happen when it does. It's like a mysterious gift.

A rational important book

What makes this book special is the cool rational approach of the author entering a controversial subject matter full of hoaxes, exaggerations and true believers. The result is an argument far more mind-boggling than others because the evidence here is so solid. Something is out there. Period.

What is it? Difficult to say but an extraterrestrial origin stands high among possible explanations. The United States stands alone in the world in its aggressive debunking of solid evidence, and the author looks into this curious cultural phenomenon with interest.

This is the most important book ever written on the subject: UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record. Very highly recommended.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Watching replay of last year BCS...quite Chip Kelly Ore coach...calls a daring game...too bad Nike has to own the team

rainy sunday

student script to look at on a slow wet day...

The Y Article - By John Norris | Foreign Policy

The Y Article - By John Norris | Foreign Policy:

"By investing energy, talent, and dollars now in the education and training of young Americans -- the scientists, statesmen, industrialists, farmers, inventors, educators, clergy, artists, service members, and parents, of tomorrow -- we are truly investing in our ability to successfully compete in, and influence, the strategic environment of the future. Our first investment priority, then, is intellectual capital and a sustainable infrastructure of education, health and social services to provide for the continuing development and growth of America's youth."

Oregon senator Wayne Morse made the same argument decades ago, endlessly, to no avail.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The sun! the sun!

Like the end of Ibsen ... but rain returning tomorrow so enjoying the day while I can. And making a pot of blackeyed peas.

Friday, April 22, 2011

a mellow day

like slow days like this...learning new tricks with kindle

test message

written on kindle

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rewards of writing

Someone just posted this comment to the Juniper Tavern trailer on YouTube:
I just wanted to say, that Xmas at the Juniper Tavern was a New Years Tradition in my family as I was growing up. From the time I was six, until I was fourteen, New Years was all about making a big bowl of popcorn, digging out the BetaMax, and watching an old OPB recording of XJT. Thank you for making this!
From TV Guide
I know several families in eastern Oregon used to do this as well. We writers don't often get the news. It's always appreciated when we do. Maybe we don't live in a vacuum after all ha ha.

And here is an informative piece by Bob Hicks on the 25th anniversary of Juniper Tavern, including my revelation of the true DNA of Swami Kree.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Running On Empty

A really fine film. Rewatched it tonight for maybe 6th or 7th time, always moves me.

The tone of the "news"

In my lifetime, what is considered "news" has changed considerably. By prior standards, maybe 90 percent of what we hear on the TV news would have been considered "fluff" and ignored. Moreover, the tone of how the news is delivered has changed dramatically. News used to be serious -- because the stories were serious. But today the news is entertainment and newscasters use a chatty, informal, "friendly" tone that drives me up the wall. Aaron Brown may have been the last "old school" newscaster I admired. Local news especially has gotten so bad it's all I can do not to throw things at the TV if I heard it. No wonder I get my news from Kindle these days.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Two approaches to jazz singing

Jazz singers generally fall into one of two camps: those for whom the song comes first, and those for whom the voice comes first. Most singers fall into the second category. Their song interpretations are free and creative, taking advantage of whatever special vocal talents they have. They pull out all the stops. In essence, their voice gets front billing, not the song. The first camp pays more attention to the intention of the songwriter. The interpretation is determined by the song, not by their special skills. Thus scat singing belongs in the second camp, not the first, unless the songwriter specifically wrote it with scat singing.

Song first
The King and Queen of the song-first school are Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. You never hear either scat sing. The King and Queen of the voice-first school are Mel Torme and Ella Fitzgerald. Vocal histrionics are usually central to their interpretations of songs.

I prefer the former, as you might have guessed. Respect for the songwriter and all that. But the other camp has many more followers, in both singers and audience, than the former.

Voice first
I cringe whenever a singer in the voice-first camp sings the Star Spangled Banner before an event. I cringe! Give me the U. S. Navy Chorus any time, singing the song in a straight forward manner.

Monday, April 18, 2011


2 JFK miniseries on assassination

I finished watching the 1983 miniseries today. Nowhere does it differ more from the new 2011 miniseries than in its interpretation of the assassination. What surprised me is that the new version goes out of its way to endorse the Oswald single-assassination myth. And it is a myth unless you disregard considerable medical and eye-witness evidence that shots came from two directions because the president was shot from the front as well as from the rear. Every doctor first seeing the body described frontal entrance wounds. Witnesses saw gun flashes and smoke from the grassy knoll. Yet the new miniseries spends time with Oswald, establishing a sole gunman theory, and this after a Congressional investigation decades ago presumably put the Warren Commission's error to rest. And there was no dramatic reason to do this whatever. Why? Perhaps because the author is a conservative and all the conspiracy theories blame forms of extreme right politics for the assassination. But who knows? It was unnecessary but it was done.

In the 1983 version we not only don't see Oswald, we don't even see the Book Depository. When the president is shot, he grabs the front of his throat -- the front -- and this is the only clue about the nature of the assassination. The miniseries ends when JFK dies.

I prefer the 1983 version but neither is as strong as it could be and the 2011 version has much going for it. Maybe the third try down the road will be the charm.


I experience Time differently than I used to. What's curious about this, a result of aging, is that it works both ways: time slows down in the short run and speeds up in the long run. On a day when I don't have much that I'm required to do, time can really drag. Then I can turn around and something that seems like it happened yesterday happened several years ago. Interesting phenomenon. I wonder how one might build this into narrative, slowing down the short run (without being boring) and speeding up the long run. Well, maybe that's what is done in that brilliant Coover short story in the NYer recently, Going For A Beer. Hmm.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lessons From Flip: What We Lose As Our Gadgets Gain

Lessons From Flip: What We Lose As Our Gadgets Gain:

"The Flip video camera Cisco discontinued this week marks the latest casualty in consumers’ migration to all-in-one gadgets. But what do we lose as our gadgets gain?"

Super Rich See Federal Taxes Drop Dramatically | Common Dreams

Super Rich See Federal Taxes Drop Dramatically | Common Dreams

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Parallel Universe (poem)

Parallel Universe

In a parallel universe I'm a
retired high school math teacher
with three ex-wives, five children
and three grand children.
I spend a lot of time playing chess
at the neighborhood senior center
and talking to my kids on Skype
and watching grand kids play soccer
and trying to convince a local
topless dancer to go to law school
like she dreams about. Now and
again I drink too much and go
home to feel sorry for myself,
imagining that in a parallel
universe I'm a writer who produced
a very large archive of work
that he's very proud of but
which for some reason doesn't
satisfy him so that he sometimes
imagines that in a parallel
universe he's a retired high school
math teacher with three ex-wives
and ...

--Charles Deemer

American History In My Lifetime (poem)

American History In My Lifetime

So there was this President
and he actually was going to
change the power structure in
the country, which of course
threatened those who held the
power. They conspired to protect
what they considered theirs
and successfully assassinated
the sonofabitch President who
dared to think he could change
the status quo. They killed the
sonofabitch. They actually did.
And the plan was so good they
even had a fall guy and they
killed him too so he couldn't
talk. And there was so much
dirty laundry everywhere that
an actual honest investigation
was impossible without dire
consequences,"national security"
and all that, so they made
a half-ass investigation they hoped
would put the matter to rest
forever. Unfortunately a few loonies
didn't buy the official results
and investigated on their own
and came up with unbelievable
frightening theories about what
actually happened, which in fact
was pretty close to what happened,
and many people believed them except
for some reason they didn't get
pissed off enough to take to
the streets and demand full
disclosure. Instead they just
shrugged and said, Well politicians lie
and there's nothing to be done
about it. So nothing actually
changed even though many folks
realized they'd been duped.
They went shopping and forgot
about it. And the original
criminals who assassinated the
sonofabitch President in the
first place retained power
and now could relax because
they learned a profound lesson:
in the end shopping wins out
and if you let people shop,
hell, they'll put up with

--Charles Deemer

Climate (poem)


I feel like I'm in a room
wired with bombs about
to go off and most know
this, yet everyone carries
on as if there were no
danger, as if there's nothing
to be done about it.
No one, however, has announced
that we're having a wake.

I feel like I'm on an alien
planet where one plus one is
three and gravity is random
and all roads circle back on
themselves and the best among
us strive in school to earn
a Doctor of Stupidity and
everyone is waiting for Jesus
but not like in the play
because no one has a sense
of humor.

I feel like I'm under water
at the moment just before
I give up, unable to hold
my breath a second longer,
my lungs ready to explode.
The thing is, the fish,
the reefs, the light in
the water, everything is
so goddamn beautiful.

Everything is so
goddamn beautiful.

--Charles Deemer

Friday, April 15, 2011

Truism (poem)


When we were planning the wedding
that never happened, shopping
for rings, asking Kelly Broadway
to sing at our reception at
Seafood Mama's, tasks as American
as regime change, for a moment
I imagined that a certain kind
of happiness was available to me.

Then I learned you were still
sleeping with the guy who was
half your age.  Planning stopped.
I canceled the order for Champagne
at Seafood Mama's and instead
put a dent in their supply of
Irish whiskey.

How strange I remember this now
with such fondness.  What fun
to plan a wedding!

Joyous lies trump painful truths
for old men as well as youth.

--Charles Deemer

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A poem I found at Round Bend Press


Wine comes in at the mouth

And love comes in at the eye;

That's all we shall know for truth

Before we grow old and die.

I lift the glass to my mouth,

I look at you, and I sigh.

W.B. Yeats

Mark your calendar

Now here's lots of lead time: October 5, 2011. That's when First Wednesday readings at Blackbird Wine Shop is given to poets and writers published by Round Bend Press, and as part of that I'll be reading from my upcoming book of poems In My Old Age which they are publishing this summer. Terry Simons, who owns the press, will be reading but I'm not sure who else at this early date. When I find out, I'll note it here.

I look forward to this. I've written some recent poems that are fun to read -- I know because I read them aloud to myself. It will be fun to share them.

2 miniseries on JFK

Since I enjoyed the recent miniseries The Kennedys, I decided to watch the 1983 miniseries Kennedy starring Martin Sheen. I missed it at the time. I didn't own a TV through most of the 80s.

I've now seen half of the 83 one, enough to make some comparisons.


  • It quickly hit me how production realities influence storytelling. In the 80s, there were fewer commercials per hour, so scenes can be more sustained. The 2011 version is driven by vignettes; in 1983, more developed scenes.
  • Very different focus in each. The recent one focuses on the power of the father and the womanizing of JFK. While both are visible in 1983, the focus is on historical context and challenges and on the obsession of J. Edgar Hoover about JFK's "sinful" behavior.
  • Different portrayals of Bobby. He knows more about JFK's womanizing and comes off more powerful in the recent one.
  • Both Jackie's are strong but the 83 interpretation makes her look a bit more snotty in her wealth and tastes.
  • Much more is made of JFK's health in the recent one.
  • For those interested in history, 83 wins hands down. Overall 1983 offers a more contextual, historical story of JFK, less focus on scandal. But as a result, the recent one suggests more about the man himself, often negatively.
  • I recommend watching both. It's especially suggestive to watch them back to back as I am.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Email Stress (poem)

Email Stress

according to my email
I have a chronic condition
of an undersized penis
which I can afford to fix
with a penis transplant since
a lawyer from some strange
nation I never heard of
has millions of dollars
for me which may explain
why so many manufacturers
of viagra are after my
business and why so many
women from Russia want
to marry me which may
be difficult with the
busy schedule I'd have
if I accept the startup
offer to build cars
that run on dog shit

what's a guy to do?

--Charles Deemer

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Worst Thing (poem)

The Worst Thing

the worst thing
that can happen
is incomplete death

a stroke heart attack
leaving me half dead
only, immobile silent

a burden to others
no, not for me
give me the whole hog

I am prepared
to die but I'm not
prepared for less

--Charles Deemer

Why Cisco’s Flip Flopped in the Camera Business | Gadget Lab |

Why Cisco’s Flip Flopped in the Camera Business | Gadget Lab |

"Cisco is shutting down a business unit that it bought for over half a billion dollars: the Flip camcorder division.

That’s a shame, considering how high the Flip was flying a few short years ago. It’s also a waste, considering that Cisco bought Flip from Pure Digital only two years ago for a cool $590 million. But Cisco probably had to act fast, because its earnings fell 18 percent in the second quarter of 2011, and CEO John Chambers had to show he was doing something decisive to stanch the flow."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Curtain Lines (poem)

Curtain Lines

40 years have passed
since I wrote my
favorite curtain lines

and unfortunately they are
more true than ever:

"what the people expect
they deserve

what they deserve
they get


--Charles Deemer

The Kennedys miniseries

I liked this for the most part. I ordered, on Netflix, the earlier miniseries so I can compare.

The success of the recent one, I think, rests largely on what was left out. They didn't try to do too much. They left out Teddy, for example. I wish they had left out Oswald or treated him differently than supporting the mainstream, so-called, single killer theory, which has been discredited for a long time now, even by the House
Committee investigating the matter. Few who have looked into the assassination buy it. There was more than one shooter. And you go from there into wild and not so wild explanations of this. But they endorsed something that the series didn't need to endorse (except that the writer is conservative politically, and most conspiracy theories blame right wing extremists to one degree or other). I also didn't like the characterization of Sinatra as a wimp, which contradicts my impression from other sources. Otherwise everything made dramatic sense to me -- and Oswald makes dramatic sense here, I just think they didn't need to take a stand on this issue.

The series was especially strong in its characterizations of the major players. This is why it works so well.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I never played golf, and the only regular golf player I knew was my close friend, Ger (gone about a decade now). Ger turned me on to watching golf, emphasizing the mental aspects of the game. And the mental aspects were never more important than on today's final rounds of the Masters, where a 21 year old golfer started the day with a lead of 4 -- until Tiger Woods started hitting eagles and birdies and came from six back to tie, at which point the pressure totally and completely unraveled this young leader, in a sad display of losing it -- and he's still losing it, from 4 ahead to 5 behind, and the day isn't over yet. 7 are in close contention now, with Tiger among them. It will be an exciting finish and maybe even a playoff. Great distraction for a Sunday afternoon.

And tonight are the final two episodes of the Kennedys miniseries, which I love. AND I have been practicing banjo all day and am getting Bill Cheatum down.

Obama (poem)


you piss me off
Mr. President but
it's not your fault

once again I
got sucked in by
inspiring rhetoric

you'd put on your sneakers
and march with workers
on strike if need be

you'd put the fat cats
banks and wall street
in their place

you were unbelievable
FDR reincarnated
with Chicago street smarts

well I wish I'd
voted for Hillary
because the truth is out

you were all bullshit
you don't stand up
you give in at once

a politician is an arse
said cummings
upon which everyone has
sat except a man

and norman o. brown
added that politics
is pissing in public

and I knew this
before I voted for you
but alas I forgot

--Charles Deemer

Boston Review — Todd Edwin Jones: Budgetary Hemlock (UNLV, philosophy, budget cuts)

Boston Review — Todd Edwin Jones: Budgetary Hemlock (UNLV, philosophy, budget cuts):

"I was in the middle of teaching the difference between knowledge and belief when my cell phone buzzed in my pocket. It was a call from the dean of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Liberal Arts. The dean informed me that he was very sorry but, barring an unlikely immediate solution to the state’s financial crisis, the university had decided to eliminate the Philosophy Department, which I chair."

Saturday, April 09, 2011

A Poetry Critic Asks: Why Bother? : NPR

A Poetry Critic Asks: Why Bother? : NPR

Anoush Deli - Portland, Oregon - (503) 254-7676

Anoush Deli - Portland, Oregon - (503) 254-7676

Need to check this place out. Looking for the best feta in Portland.

Sidney Lumet Dead: Director Passes at 86

Sidney Lumet Dead: Director Passes at 86

Mean spirits

Despite my age, I'm still shocked by mean-spirited email or comments I get from time to time. Someone who disagrees with a post here begins a comment with "another vanity blog by a so-called writer," which doesn't bother me because it's an ignorant cheap shot but because it's simply mean=spirited. I harbor this theory that some of these comments come because I've identified myself as a professor and the commenter has had a bad experience or several with past professors and here's an opportunity to get even. Mean-spiritedness comes from somewhere. You see something similar in student evaluations at the end of the term, where every student in the class gives you a certain "good" mark in an area -- except one, who fails you. I wonder where this comes from.

But I don 't lose any sleep over it. And I filter the comments here but I let these negative ones pass because the commenter provides his own context.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Yuri's Night

Yuri's Night

April 12, 50th anniversary, world space party!
"Circling the Earth in my orbital spaceship I marveled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty — not destroy it!"
--Yuri Gagarin

Info on Portland gathering.

Waiting for Godot

Rereading a masterpiece after decades ... I'd forgotten Beckett shares, sort of, my zero-sum universe theory:
"The tears of the world are a constant quality. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops."
I say more ... And adds, or somewhere someone adds, positive energy equal to the tears.

Daily Kos: Kathy Nickolaus in Waukesha forgot to save? Really?

Daily Kos: Kathy Nickolaus in Waukesha forgot to save? Really?:

"Here's the problem. Microsoft Access (any version) doesn't ask you to save. When you enter data into a table, it automatically updates the underlying database. If you close the database accidentally, the data you entered (or imported, in the case of Nickolaus) remains. If you stop to take a phone call from your buddy the governor (for example), your data will still automatically save."

In Your Face (poem)

In Your Face

I suppose the government
often has been
this incompetent

but in the past
it wasn't thrown
in my face

without analysis
by a media
loyal only

to its advertisers
every crackpot
getting a story

six feet under
Murrow Cronkite
Huntley Brinkley

get trampled by
so much stupidity
there's not even room

for them to roll over
in their graves

--Charles Deemer

Thursday, April 07, 2011


Our new song this week is Bill Cheatum, the most fun song yet. Man, if I get this down, I'll sound like a banjo player! And yes, I will get it down.

This summer I may make a CD for friends. A good reason to keep practicing.

Mainly this summer, I am writing my novella and hugely excited about it because, in fact, it is a COMEDY and I haven't really written a comic novel, although my novels have comic moments. But the vision of this one is comic. Two old farts in the 21st century. I mean, that's comic by definition.

A man with a mattress

H had business in town so I caught a ride early. Stopped at Starbucks, my ritual of getting coffee and a fruit & cheese plate to bring to the office.

On the hobble here, I passed a man carrying a wet old mattress, homeless by the looks of it, probably addicted to something or other and maybe drunk now, mumbling to himself -- and I remember how easily that could have been yours truly in the early 90s. This was when my doctor convinced me it was "now or never" in terms of getting my act together, and I'd like to say I saw the light and got my act together. In fact, I took advantage of some accidental and available steps that led to getting my act together but if those steps had not been available, well, I am sure I'd have been dead for quite a while by now. 

The most important "accident" was the availability of programs at the VA that, in fact, are not available today. With these, I was able to get in house treatment for nine months. Nine months! That's a hell of a long time to be out of circulation, so to speak. My "self-employed" writing life made it possible, as did the scheduling of a production that would give me a significant royalties check when I got discharged, transition money. And meeting H was hugely significant. She gave me a social life apart from my old one. Everything added up. I think the gods were looking out for me. But without these accidents, well, that guy with the mattress could have been me in about 1994, my last year on the planet. 

You can understand why I count my blessings so often.

The only main character in my body of work who is homeless is Mort in my play "A Chateau for Mort," which is one-third of the hyperdrama Cocktail Suite. I tried a different storytelling strategy here, trying to ease the audience into the pleasures and challenges of hyperdrama. Instead of a sprawling branching narrative, I wrote three self-contained plays that run simultaneously in 3 parts of a restaurant-bar, and major characters in one became minor characters in the others.

One play was a dark sex comedy, "Lonely and Horny in the City"; a second a fierce marital drama, "The Contract"; and Mort the third, which amazingly enough was ... a musical! 3 very very different genres playing at once, with characters slipping in and out of them, each with major characters, and minor characters from the others.

This was probably the most successful hyperdrama project I've done. We formed a coop with shares ... I got 2 as writer and director, and the actors got 1 each, and we split the gate. Our host got the drinks and food and didn't charge us rent (I knew the owner). We all made damn good money for the early weeks of the run. But as audiences tapered off, and actors wanted to do other things, we shut it down. But it was a successful hyperdrama production in many ways. Publicity was terrific and we had many sold out houses.

Read a 1988 preview article about it.

Sequel hilarity


50 years ago, in the early years of the Kennedy administration, this country was filled with energy, hope and promise. So it's very sad to watch it self-destruct now in endless, unresolvable bickering between rightwing Christian extremists, a spineless administration, and an irresponsible media, especially in times when we face extreme and urgent challenges with climate change and growing corporate plutocracy. Despite a glimmer of hope in Wisconsin, until the streets of New York City are flooded, most good folks may not feel the urgency enough to put their bodies on the line for needed change. By then it probably will be too late, and the human experiment will have failed. Well. I'm going to have a good day anyway. I'm damn lucky to be an old fart with my life behind me.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Rain rain rain

Sometimes I really get tired of it.

Student project proposals to evaluate, banjo to practice for class tonight (I'm in good shape actuallly).

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Is America Addicted to War? - By Stephen M. Walt | Foreign Policy

Is America Addicted to War? - By Stephen M. Walt | Foreign Policy:

"Here are my Top 5 Reasons Why America Keeps Fighting Foolish Wars:"


One of those days when the office feels like a sanctuary. Easy day, show the documentary Tales from the Script, a good look at screenwriting from the experiences of working pro's.

One Drawing for Every Page of Moby-Dick by Matt Kish: MOBY-DICK, Page 001

One Drawing for Every Page of Moby-Dick by Matt Kish: MOBY-DICK, Page 001:

"Because I honestly consider Moby-Dick to be the greatest novel ever written, I am now going to create one illustration for every single one of the 552 pages in the Signet Classic paperback edition. I'l try to do one a day, but we'll see."

Dorothy Parker, 1937

James Jones, 1950

John Cheever, 1979

NCAA men's national championhip: Don't remember the Butler Bulldogs for this performance - ESPN

NCAA men's national championhip: Don't remember the Butler Bulldogs for this performance - ESPN:

"If you're a fan of the 'little guy,' try to put in perspective what Butler has done the past two seasons and it'll make it a little easier to digest that horror show in Houston."

Maybe (poem)


maybe today is the day
when there will be no beheading

maybe the gang rape of the
13-year-old girl doesn't happen today

maybe today the rich get a little
bit poorer and the poor get
a little bit richer

maybe today the education of
our children gets more priority
than the regulation of
which couples can marry

maybe today a politician gets
elected who does in office
what s/he pledges on
the campaign trail

maybe today is the day
I win the lottery even
though I never play

--Charles Deemer

Sunday, April 03, 2011

UCLA suffers loss

Nikki Caldwell, the wonderful new UCLA women's basketball coach who put the program back on track, has gone to LSU, a storied program needing a shot in the arm. Very sad if you are a Bruin fan. She's a fine coach and will be hard to replace. Money and prestige talk.

A curious observation

I usually watch March Madness with the sound off because the pundits drive me up the wall. But as I watch the Mariners play this afternoon, with the sound on, I find it curious that baseball pundits, who in the slower game have much more time to sound off, do not -- that baseball pundits are far less obnoxious than basketball and football pundits. I have no idea why this is so but it strikes me as accurate, as least by my sensibilities.

Another fine memoir of the sixties

More than any book of the era I've read, this book communicates what it felt like to live in the sixties. I couldn't put it down -- and even though the story is to follow three women, the male experience is here as well. A fine achievement, a best seller from the late 90s that I missed then.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

How "Grey's Anatomy" suggests a term project

I'm not a fan of Grey's Anatomy. Strikes me as an often pretentious soap opera. However, H is a great fan and I often am reading while she watches it, so I learn something about it despite my dislike. But I was blown away last Thursday by the "musical" episode, which came off as something like a chamber opera, because I was engaged and moved by it. In fact, I loved it.

And this, of course, fed my interest in doing a short chamber opera on video. My term project could be writing the libretto for it. I don't have a story in mind, so I'm going to browse through Chekhov short stories to see if anything strikes me as adaptable to my needs. He writes the sort of thing that would work in this format (indeed I believe "The Good Doctor" was adapted musically to stage). I have 199 stories on my Kindle now -- surely something there might work. We'll see!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Local News | King Felix delivers for Mariners in opening win | Seattle Times Newspaper

Local News | King Felix delivers for Mariners in opening win | Seattle Times Newspaper

The Body I Look Out Of (poem)


the body I look out of is
not the body you look into

what I see through two holes
in my skull has not changed
much over the decades
but what you see in the
reverse angle is no longer

the young folksinger on stage
curly hair red beard
singing Woody Guthrie
or the graduate instructor
turning students on to Norman Brown
or the regular at his bar stool
not quite boorish as he talks
about his latest play in rehearsal
or the obsessive lover who makes
you wonder if sex may be enough
or the adventurous cook proud of
his paella and his scrapple
or the restless traveler in
a red bug named Ruby
camping coast to coast

what you see in the
reverse angle is an
old man growing older

so how can you possibly
know it's a young man
looking back at you?

--Charles Deemer

Ah, attitude!