Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Photo of the day

The governor and the president: What bipartisanship looks like

Terrific morning

Really good writing and progress including setting tone of new novel. Very pleased with new start.

NY Governor Cuomo: 'Anyone Who Thinks That There Is Not A Dramatic Change In Weather Patterns Is Denying Reality' | ThinkProgress

NY Governor Cuomo: 'Anyone Who Thinks That There Is Not A Dramatic Change In Weather Patterns Is Denying Reality' | ThinkProgress:

"At a press conference yesterday, New York Governor Cuomo talked about the need to plan for this permanent change in extreme weather. Cuomo has already had to deal with two devastating superstorms  since taking office in 2011 — Sandy and Irene.
He said, I don’t believe that” this is “the last occurrence we will have.” He told reporters, ”We have a one-hundred year flood every two years now.”"

A politician facing reality. What a concept. Obama?

Musee des Beaux Arts - W.H. Auden

W. H. Auden
We were studying this poem in English class the morning of JFK's assassination. With all the suffering in the land from our first superstorm of many to come, with much more suffering ahead, it's appropriate to remember it today.

CPP - Musee des Beaux Arts - W.H. Auden:

About suffering they were never wrong, 
The Old Masters; how well, they understood 
Its human position; how it takes place 
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along; 
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting 
For the miraculous birth, there always must be 
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating 
On a pond at the edge of the wood: 
They never forgot 
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course 
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot 
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse 
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree. 
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away 
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may 
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry, 
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone 
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green 
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen 
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, 
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

What modesty?

Delivering CJ's ashes is a brilliant conceit. Gives the story just the right set up and perspective. Now to make it work.

Lighten up

Scrapple for breakfast! Voltaire.


By and large we are an ignorant electorate. We are incapable of making choices in our own best interests. We prefer myth to history. We prefer opinion to conclusion. Most of us don't know what evidence looks like.

Nonetheless we've managed to survive by the skin of our teeth. Wilder's phrase. But maybe no more.

I'm not a sadist. I hate seeing all the suffering in the land. But it's going to get worse. Our history is built on myth and ignorance and now we must endure the consequences. There have been wiser voices among us. We ignored them.

In ignorance suffering does not lead to enlightenment. It doesn't even lead to common sense. It leads to irrational denial and violence. We ain't seen nothing yet. Our teeth finally have no skin left.

Be nice. It's the only thing left.

i'm brooding about reality. I'm brooding about my new book.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mitt Romney In GOP Debate: Shut Down Federal Disaster Agency, Send Responsibility To The States

Mitt Romney In GOP Debate: Shut Down Federal Disaster Agency, Send Responsibility To The States:

Keep this in mind, voters.

Teaching moment

A grad student came in, after recovering from a near heart attack when she saw I gave her a C+ on her midterm. Never in her entire life got a grade so low. I was kind.

Problem is, she wrote a screenplay using the rhetoric of a novel -- for some reason, hadn't gotten the message yet about what screenwriting is and is not. She's a fine writer -- of prose. What she does well is harder than screenwriting. So I started translating her midterm into screenwriting for her and she's a quick learner. Oh! I think she'll be fine now.

Took a wake up call. Was so used to getting accolades for her writing etc etc etc. Screenwriting is a very different form! Not a writing form so much as a storytelling form.

Good fortune, or On the kindness of the gods

After class I always stop by Starbucks to bring coffee to my office hrs. Today a student in the shop wanted to talk, so I stayed a bit before rushing off. In my rush I forgot my briefcase! Didn't notice until some 15 mins later. Raced back to Starbucks -- and student was still there, my briefcase on the floor. Whew. Hell to pay if I lost my briefcase. Goddamn old age anyway.

Q & A

An ad agency in town is putting together an anthology called American Dreamers. A variety of people invited to respond to 3 questions. I was invited.
The questions for you are:
1) With the future seeming more and more pessimistic, what  is your dream for the future and how will it make things brighter?
2) What social changes excite you the most and make you hopeful for tomorrow?
3) What steps can we be taking now to change the future?
So I replied as follows:
 1. My dream for the future centers on EDUCATION, esp K-12. We would teach a generation how to THINK CLEARLY, and I believe the basis of this is a sound education in the sciences and math. The arts can be emphasized later. Our failure here has been to end up with an electorate that doesn't know what evidence is or why one thing should be believed and not another. The late great Oregon senator Wayne Morse once remarked that the best foreign policy is an educated citizenry because only then does democracy work. He was right. And at the moment we don't have one.
2. The social change that excites me the most are the social consequences of the digital revolution, that now people around the world can connect instantaneously, that voices that never had audience before now become heard around the world. I am hopeful that the world's peoples will have voice to counter the increasing power of the international corporate elite. I am hopeful that many Americans lend their voices to this cause.
3. Here are two steps that would change the future, one short range and essential, the other longer range and political. 1. Treat and respond to Global Warming as the threat to planetary life that it is. Nothing else matters if life as we know it disappears. We need leadership to declare a Planetary Emergency. 2. America must own up to its past political sins: from genocide against American Indians to greedy and arrogant wars (named or not) of global empire, we have caused many of the world's present problems. We need to admit it, own up to it, and institutionalize both, in an annual Day of National Mourning. 

Daily Kos: In Hurricane Sandy, a powerful reminder we need government

Daily Kos: In Hurricane Sandy, a powerful reminder we need government:

Thank the gods Romney wasn't in charge for Sandy.


Yes, a new character will be the protagonist in The Reluctant Suicide, CJ's recent road friend, who follows CJ's written request after death and delivers his ashes to Matt in Portland. Both Matt and Molly from the CJ novel will be prominent supporting characters in the new one. There will be flashbacks to CJ and the new guy on the road. I'm thinking of calling him Brinkley Davis.

Quite a change! But I like it. Stories develop in mysterious ways sometimes.

Television News Outlets Ignore Climate Change During Sandy Coverage. Should We Really Be Surprised? | ThinkProgress

Television News Outlets Ignore Climate Change During Sandy Coverage. Should We Really Be Surprised? | ThinkProgress:

"After one recent presidential debate, CNN’s Candy Crowley inadvertently revealed how many television news reporters feel about climate. During the post-debate analysis, Crowley regretted not asking a question “for all you climate people” — dismissing climate as a fringe issue that doesn’t have any bearing on anything else being discussed.
And therefore, you get the kind of television coverage we’ve seen around Superstorm Sandy: anchors talking for hours about a broken crane in New York City; reporters sitting for hours in the middle of a flooded street saying nothing new; and the complete avoidance of any scientific explanation of the factors driving extreme weather.
If we want our political leaders to start talking about climate change, we also need reporters to do the same when the opportunity arises. This was yet another failed opportunity."

We Are All from New Orleans Now: Climate Change, Hurricanes and the Fate of America's Coastal Cities | Common Dreams

We Are All from New Orleans Now: Climate Change, Hurricanes and the Fate of America's Coastal Cities | Common Dreams:

"The presidential candidates decided not to speak about climate change, but climate change has decided to speak to them."

Is Climate Change Responsible For Hurricane Sandy? : The New Yorker

Is Climate Change Responsible For Hurricane Sandy? : The New Yorker:

"It is, at this point, impossible to say what it will take for American politics to catch up to the reality of North American climate change. More super-storms, more heat waves, more multi-billion-dollar “weather-related loss events”? The one thing that can be said is that, whether or not our elected officials choose to acknowledge the obvious, we can expect, “with a high degree of confidence,” that all of these are coming."

Climate Progress | ThinkProgress

Climate Progress | ThinkProgress:

"Climate change is upon us, folks, and if this is what a 1 Degree Celsius rise looks like, imagine what a 2, 3, or 4 degree rise looks like."

New normal

The bullshit continues ... Sandy called a once in lifetime event ... but as oceans warm and Arctic melts, storms will keep getting bigger ... Imagine! ... How many Frankenstorms will it take to own up to our share of the blame ... Germany and Denmark are already acting ... We may be last ... American exceptionalism ... a disgrace to our founders.

Rethinking new story

A strange idea popped into my head at some early hour of insomnia this morning ... CJ is dead. The story is about his recent road friend who brings his ashes back to Pdx. More freedom for the character of the protagonist this way. First thoughts good. Brooding time.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Frankenstorm Sandy

Very sad to watch and realize this is just the beginning ... and our politicians are deniers or impotent.

Atlantic City

In Hurricane Sandy's Fury, The Fingerprint Of Climate Change

In Hurricane Sandy's Fury, The Fingerprint Of Climate Change:

With many more to come.

ATHEMOO - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

ATHEMOO - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

"In its first year ATHEMOO hosted numerous performance events, in March 1996, Charles Deemer reproduced his hyper drama, "Bridges of Edgefield," a play made entirely out of hypertext in the ATHEMOO space. Charles Deemer is an award winning playwright who has worked since 1991 creating 5 different hyperplays. "

Here is some inaccurate history. The hyperdrama was called "The Bride of Edgefield" (script online). It was an adaptation of Bateau de Mort, the sequel to Chateau de Mort, which I had written for the McMennamen's Edgefield resort. The online hyperdrama was quite a first actually. 16 years ago!

San Francisco

Sport is the opium of the people, says a book I'm reading. A nice high last night, in bed early but listening to Giants on radio as they sweep series. Then reading SF Chronicle this morning. Quite a contrast to and escape from the Frankenstorm new normal. This is what CJ is putting up with. No thanks.

Went to bed in a funk. Better.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Useful present

H got me a very useful bday present: a lap desk for my netbook. Works really well, with place for coffee and a removable lamp. Cool.

Who can beat Oregon?

The BCS, that's who. Without help they won't play for the championship. Weaker schedule is the excuse. Even in the new rankings today Notre Dame likely will take number three because of ranked opponent. And USC lost so it's not as big an Oregon foe next week. Unless two of the top three lose ... no glory for the Ducks. Too bad. They may be best team in country.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Stunned they won actually. Definitely growth in character and confidence.

SF leading. Notre Dame leading. Maybe a sweep. Wow.

H brought home Korean food. Man was it good.

Easy finish of midterms tomorrow. And a cooking project.

UCLA vs. Arizona State: Bruins pull out late win - SB Nation Los Angeles

UCLA vs. Arizona State: Bruins pull out late win - SB Nation Los Angeles:  45-43

It looked like the game would be a disaster when the Bruins gave up 14 early points. But they showed real character and came back, led most of the game, then did a late 4th Q drive for the winning FG after giving up the lead with under 2 mins. Real growth here! The offense looked great.

Georgia is upsetting Florida but close. Florida and KState need losses to help Oregon in the BCS. But Oregon had 56 in first half against Colo. Man, they look unstoppable. They must end up in the title game!

Brooding is good

Brooding about CJ pripr to game. Scene w Matt upon return. Maybe finish it this weekend.

Mojo Saturday

Today finds two former powerhouses on the road with challenging games. UCLA at Ariz State is hoping to salvage a season and show a new day with a win. Unlikely but possible. I'll be rooting for them. Notre Dame needs to beat Oklahoma in order to show a great start to the season is real. Very possible. Rooting for them too.

These are the two big games ... and the series. Lots of channel changing this eve.

Probably will read some midterms too but no pressure today. I totally mellow out on Saturday.

Friday, October 26, 2012

As 'Frankenstorm' Barrels Towards East Coast, Newspaper Coverage Ignores Connection To Climate Change | ThinkProgress

As 'Frankenstorm' Barrels Towards East Coast, Newspaper Coverage Ignores Connection To Climate Change | ThinkProgress:

Sports mania

On a whim I bought today's SF Chronicle for Kindle for fifty cents and found a Sports section with 41 stories ... half on the Giants! Talk about conprehensive coverage. Have to look into this.

Lost ritual

There used to be a Japanese sushi buffet downtown that gave you a free dinner on your birthday. For years we went there for each of our days. Now it's gone. Why? It was always packed.

There's a new J buffet in town and H is taking me there for my bday dinner. Look foward to it.

My present to myself

Read half the midterms and wrote a little in CJ. Not a bad morning.


Another birthday. They don't mean much as you get older. A VA doctor once told me I wouldn't make it to 55 unless .... I did.

Lots of work to read ... midterms ... writing exercise ... get a good start today.

Did some Kindle housecleaning ... cut some blogs ... singing to the choir gets old.

Is the country really filled with as many jerks as the media portray? A lot of decent folks mind their own damn business.

The wise old lady who quit voting: "I don't want to encourage them." Another Lew Welch moment. Time to get to Thoreau ... the mother of American dropping out.

A very big game for UCLA tomorrow. And the series moves to Detroit.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Public or Private: The Fight Over the Future of Water | Wired Science |

Public or Private: The Fight Over the Future of Water | Wired Science |

"All around the world, from the Himalayas to the Great Plains, fresh water is starting to run low. It’s shaping up to be one of the 21st century’s great environmental and humanitarian challenges: People use water faster than nature can replenish it."


Images etched in memory

White Bird, Idaho

Goose Necks of the San Juan River, Utah

Santa Anita racetrack with San Gabriel mts

Objectivity Does Not Mean Neutrality: The Danger of False Equivalency in the Media | Common Dreams

Objectivity Does Not Mean Neutrality: The Danger of False Equivalency in the Media | Common Dreams:

"What happens when public officials don’t tell the truth? Traditionally it’s been the role of the media to point this out. It is the role of the media not only to uncover hidden deceit, but also to point out deceit in plain sight. The media should not and cannot hide behind the phony gauze of neutrality. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously quipped, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.”

It is the job of the media to distinguish between the two, and to clearly and blatantly point out the discrepancies to the public.

And yet, too often, they do not."

Susan Jacoby was great on this in her book.

A treat today

Hey, I get a ride to and from school today! Feels like a special treat.

Giving them an in-class writing exercise today, so from my end it's a pretty easy day. Collect the midterms, which makes it a specially busy weekend. But they're always fun to read. Most usually rise to the challenge and do pretty well.

Game two of the series today, which I look forward to.

But off and on about getting myself a Kindle Fire. No rush. Probably won't actually since you can't write on it very easily. Students with Ipad, on the other hand, can write their splays on them with an external keyboard, which Fire does not support. Fire for me would be movies and sports. And the Fire is so cheap ...

But I'm in no hurry. Maybe they'll be a mighty sale down the road.

Just checked out my winter term classroom assignment: a high tech bldg, great, that is several blocks from campus, not so great in the winter (a  long wet walk). But easy to deal with.

My signature scrapple recipe

I've been making scrapple much of my adult life. I began in grad school, making it the traditional way with a heavy-duty hand-cranked meat grinder. But over various life changes I parted ways with the grinder and stopped making scrapple.

Then a few years ago I found an online recipe for "easy scrapple" using ground pork. I tried it and we liked it. I experimented and ended up with an easy scrapple recipe I liked. Here it is.

Then, a while back, I saw a sale on a small kitchen meat grinder. I bought it and decided to return to traditional scrapple. Interestingly enough, now it tasted too "gamey" for us, compared to the easy scrapple we were used to. So I started experimenting again.

I now have, I think, the outline of a permanent recipe that we both find very tasty indeed. And it uses the grinder. Here it is.

Rough chop the following: a large carrot, a medium turnip, a medium onion, a stalk of celery. Cover with water. Add chopped garlic and a bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and optional seasonings. Sometimes I use about a TB of Italian seasoning.

Bring to a boil and simmer for at least an hour.

Mix one and a half pounds of ground meat, and here you can experiment. What I like is: one pound of Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage, 1/4 lb of Dean Maple sausage and 1/4 lb of Dean Hot sausage.
Shape the mixture into medium sized meat balls and add to the simmering veggie liquid. Keep simmering for another hour.

Drain and cool.

Into a bowl put: the meat balls, 3 or 4 chunks of carrot, 3 or 4 chunks of turnip and a handful of onions. Mix everything by hand and put it through the grinder, medium grind.

Add two cups of remaining liquid above to pot and bring to simmer. Add the ground meat mixture above

Mix: one cup of white oatmeal and a package of gelatin. Add a cup of cooled liquid above. Add everything to simmering pot. Continue simmering and stirring until thick, pour into loaf pan.

Cool to room temperature, then into refrigerator overnight.

As you can see, there is lots of room here for your personal touch. The key, we think, is the veggie liquid. We save the leftover, skim the fat, and use it to drink or as broth. It's tasty!

Have fun.

See photos of my process.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


After our Japanese lunch both H and I had a significant energy drain. Weid. So an afternoon of vegetating. Looking for world series energy now. Go, Giants!

What we've come to

What we've come to:  GOP Senate Candidate: Pregnancy from Rape is "Gift from God" | Common Dreams:

This would be hilarious in a musical farce.

Frightened Men Love Romney | Common Dreams

Frightened Men Love Romney | Common Dreams:

And frightened white people!

Literary publishing

Just had a short phone chat with Andrew Hoyem, one of the treasures of literary San Francisco, a publisher, whose Auerhahn Press published my teenaged brother in the early 60s and who in 1974 founded Arion Press, which still exists today. He was contacted by the San Francisco Poetry Center, which was trying to track down my brother, and Andrew found my blog and called.

He designed and published a celebrated edition of Moby Dick some years ago. Anyway, he was relieved Bill is still alive and kicking since the Center's search was for "the estate" of Bill Deemer. Hmm. Maybe somebody owes him royalties.

Clear sailing

The necessary chore of the day, writing a letter of recommendation, is done. I can give a lot of time to CJ as a result. Going out to lunch with H and a friend, to a Japanese restaurant. And then at 5 the world series! I'm ready to play ball.

The American elections: he said, she said | Editorial | Comment | The Guardian

The American elections: he said, she said | Editorial | Comment is free | The Guardian:

"To put it at its simplest, the election is so close that its outcome may be determined by whether the lies told during the campaign, above all by the Republican side, stick or not. Because the candidates are so close, because the country has been so submerged by wave after wave of negative advertising, and because the falsehoods and unacknowledged shifts of position have come so thick and fast, mendacity could triumph over merit. If it does so, it will be because democracy's main tool for checking deception, the media, have fallen short of their duties. When politicians find they can make assertions and perpetrate falsehood without fear of being exposed, or at least of being exposed in front of the broader public, some of them will do so."

Dirty tricks will determine the winner. Sad but I am betting it's true. You can see how little faith I have in the culture any more.

Global Gender Gap Report 2012: The Best And Worst Countries For Women

Global Gender Gap Report 2012: The Best And Worst Countries For Women:

U.S. ranks 22nd best. American exceptionalism.

Play ball!

The world series starts tonight. An iconic event when I was growing up, along with the Army-Navy game, the Rose Bowl, the Triple Crown, the Olympics and a Rocky Marciano bout. These became the focus of life.

Go, Giants!

Russell Means and Pocatello

A recent email:
Pocatello High School
Russell Means, in the early 1970s, sued my father, and other named administrators of School District 25 in an attempt to force Pocatello High School (est. 1892) to abandon its logo and sports name, "Indians." The tribes of the local Fort Hall Reservation declined to join Means in the effort, labeling him an unwelcomed opportunist. Local media said the Shoshone and Bannock considered "Indians" an honor to their history, as was the name of the town and its first high school.
"Pocatello," as best as history has determined, was bestowed in respect by an admiring U.S. Army officer, perhaps from an obscure European legend, on a Shoshone chief who led a long resistance to depredations of the land by the rush of white settlers who responded in the 1840s, first to the call of "Oregon" country and then the gold fever of California. The main trails diverged at Fort Hall in what is now eastern Idaho.
Pocatello had various tribal names, as was the custom, reflecting his achievements as he grew through life. Tanaioza was one. None resemble the white man's moniker.
Fort Hall was built in 1832 by Nathaniel Wyeth, who a year before had established a Columbia River fur-trading post at what is now Portland, Oregon.
Unrecorded years earlier, French, then British, then Canadian, and following Lewis and Clark, American, fur-trappers traded with tribes of the Pacific Northwest to mutual benefit. The trappers got furs, food, brides; the natives received iron goods and other forged metals, plus manufactured beads and other glass works. (Horses came from the Spanish.) Compared with what followed, the peoples lived in relative harmony.
As late as 1840, the Shoshone -- most widespread of Western native Americans (the linguistic group extends into the Mojave) -- and the smaller warrior tribe of Bannocks hunted bison throughout the Snake River Plain. These groups long occupied the SRP and were present when the last of the volcano fields in the region erupted, roughly 2,000 years ago. The Shoshone have a legend of a snake curling around the mountain and squeezing it until fire shot forth.
Oregon- and then California-bound wagon trains cut swaths, said by white historians to be upward of 40 miles wide, across ancestral lands. These itinerants consumed all sustenance in their path. Virtually every plant and animal resource was consumed, the same provender that the hunter-gatherers required -- from the Camas root and wild grasses and stalks to the bison, antelope, deer and elk.
This, American history knows, sparked the US-Indian wars that burned through the region for the next four decades.
US armed interest in southern Idaho grew -- white man's politics being what they are -- not only to protect the wagon trains, but eventually, in the 1860s, to preserve hold during the Civil War. And to a certain extent to thwart the Indian policies of Brigham Young's church in Great Salt Lake City, which was waging its own battle against Washington authorities.
One result was what historians consider to be the worst atrocity committed by the US Army against natives in the West, the so-called battle of Bear River in 1863, a few miles north of the Utah border, in which an estimated 250-400, mostly women and children, were slaughtered in a dawn sweep through their campground.
Pocatello had taken his warriors out the day before.
The chief went on to destroy wagon trains in ensuing years, until the white surge was no longer resistible.
The land and its bounty once belonged to his people, from eastern Oregon to the Wind River range of Wyoming (they hunted eastward and battled with Blackfoot, Crow, Sioux and other plains tribes as bison herds dwindled). The influx of Oregon and California settlers forced these Shoshone and Bannock, probably never numbering more than 10,000, into starvation and then an unwinnable defensive war. During the period, an estimated 242,000 white people transited Fort Hall.
Sometime in the late 1860s or  early '70s, Pocatello gave up the battle and retired into obscurity, and perhaps reservation life. The details remain unknown, even to his own tribe.
In the 1880s, the Union Pacific company, setting up subsidiaries, built rail links from the transcontinental line -- itself a Civil War-era coast-to-coast knitting project -- to the newly opened Butte, Montana, copper mining operations (which for several decades made Butte the biggest city in the Northern Rockies) and to Oregon.
With the approval of Washington, The UP carved out a major rail center from land granted by treaty to the Shoshone-Bannock. The Fort Hall Reservation was reduced by more than half to create the city in which I was born. UP chose the city's name, by which a small sliver of history was respected.
Pocatello has always meant "Indians." By the time Russell Means showed up, the local tribes had accepted their fate. They bade Means move on, take his movement elsewhere.
One beneficial result was that the Pocatello High School mascot was shorn of its encephalitic, cartoonish Indian head, knicknamed Oske-Ow-Ow (meaningless), an embarrassment that my contemporaries and me mocked (1961-63). Today, something more akin to a warrior brave infuses the representation.
Recently (ca. 2010), the city fathers commissioned a statue of a noble Indian chief to represent Pocatello.
During my stay in the city this past summer, no one I spoke to knew of the statue's existence.
Today, it would be foolish for a white person to explore, hunt or fish on the remaining reservation -- or seek the site of historic Fort Hall -- without Shoshone/Bannock permission and an Indian guide.
-- Thomas Strah

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

iPad Mini | The Passive Voice

iPad Mini | The Passive Voice:

Looks pretty cool actually. But a little spendy, esp compared to Kindle Fire HD.

Deady Hall

Here is the oldest building on the University of Oregon campus, I believe. I have 2 stories. First, as a grad student, my playwriting seminar was on the top floor here. Unfortunately the professor, my mentor, weighed 350+ and, in a building with no elevator, it took him some time to recover by the time he climbed the stairs. He learned to get there early.

Years later, as editor of Sweet Reason, I came to campus to interview the physicist Amit Goswami for a special I was doing on quantum theory (ahead of its time for a general audience journal). I found him in a small room in this building, a room filled with blackboards and mathematical equations. He was a resident theoretical physicist. I envied him.

Unserious debates for serious times: How the empty, vacuous Obama-Romney face-offs failed voters - Yahoo! News

Unserious debates for serious times: How the empty, vacuous Obama-Romney face-offs failed voters - Yahoo! News:

Lap dances aren't art, so no tax break, court says - Bottom Line

Lap dances aren't art, so no tax break, court says - Bottom Line:

Day dreaming: Guatemala Retirement: Better Than Costa Rica?

Guatemala Retirement: Better Than Costa Rica?:

"Guatemala fits the bill. In most parts of the country, for example, experts reckon one could live comfortably on between $1,000 and $1,500 a month."

George McGovern: American Patriot and Truth-Teller | The Nation

George McGovern: American Patriot and Truth-Teller | The Nation:

Thomas Powers reviews ‘The Voice Is All’ by Joyce Johnson · LRB 25 October 2012

Thomas Powers reviews ‘The Voice Is All’ by Joyce Johnson · LRB 25 October 2012:

"Jack Kerouac’s short life, big talent and last dollar were all just about exhausted when the young writer Joyce Glassman bought him a dinner of hot dogs and beans on a Saturday night in New York City in January 1957. Glassman understood he was broke, but the rest she learned only later. She thought Kerouac was beautiful, with his blue eyes and sunburned skin. He had recently returned from 63 days alone on a fire tower in the Cascade Mountains of the Pacific North-West, where he wrote furiously in his journal and was tormented by dark thoughts of mortality. Glassman was 21, born, raised and educated on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She had read Kerouac’s ambitious first novel, The Town and the City, she believed in the redemptive power of love, and she was pretty much open for anything. When Kerouac asked if he could stay at her place uptown, she said: ‘If you wish.’"

Debate: Mitt the Shape-Shifter Falls on Obama's Bayonet : The New Yorker

Debate: Mitt the Shape-Shifter Falls on Obama's Bayonet : The New Yorker:

Man, is this overly optimistic! So many people think that common sense and accuracy matter. Politics is a shell game, man. Be great if it weren't true but the political world is what it is.

A 3-legged poodle brings back memories

The legendary Ash Grove
While I was waiting at the bus stop this morning, a guy came by, walking his 3-legged poodle. Immediately I was reminded of a long, extraordinary talking blues by Ramblin' Jack Elliott about looking for banjo player Billy Faier in New Orleans. A 3-legged animal turns up in the story, dog or cat I don't recall. In the mid-60s I saw Elliott deliver a half-hour version of this at the Ash Grove in L.A., filled with his usual diversions and wry commentary on anything and everything. A memorable experience! Elliott in his prime was the king of folk.

Ramblin' Jack Elliott

U. Utah Phillips
And on the heels of this came another memory, of "Sally" and yours truly doing our own search of comic errors, in upper state New York looking for her buddy and former music collaborator, Bruce "U. Utah" Phillips, "the golden voice of the great Southwest." We finally found him.

The Original Publishing Contract for Moby Dick

The Original Publishing Contract for Moby Dick

Dropping balloons too early

The progressive blogs are all atwitter with celebration at Obama's decisive debate victory last night. Alas they hang out with too many political junkies like themselves.

Clearly Romney's strategy is to woo an undecided and uninformed electorate. A contradiction doesn't matter if you have no info to see it. He is selling style. STYLE. And in style last night he did well.

This will be decided on turnout and dirty tricks.

No mention of climate change. We are an ignorant, pathetic culture. Jefferson is rolling over in his grave. Maybe we deserve Romney.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Russell Means, American Indian Activist, Dies at 72 -

Russell Means, American Indian Activist, Dies at 72 -

"He rose to national attention as a leader of the American Indian Movement in 1970 by directing a band of Indian protesters who seized the Mayflower II ship replica at Plymouth, Mass., on Thanksgiving Day. The boisterous confrontation between Indians and costumed “pilgrims” attracted network television coverage and made Mr. Means an overnight hero to dissident Indians and sympathetic whites."

Bob Schieffer, Do What No Debate Moderator Has Done Yet. Mention Climate. |

Bob Schieffer, Do What No Debate Moderator Has Done Yet. Mention Climate. |

"Yet it is unconscionable that the biggest crisis the world faces has not yet warranted a mention: global warming.

Will it be mentioned in the last presidential debate on Monday?"

I've always liked Schieffer. I hope he doesn't disappoint. His listing of subjects, however, is not encouraging. We'll see. I expect to be disappointed, as usual. What a time.

A day with two dawns - Astronomy Magazine

A day with two dawns - Astronomy Magazine:

"Jupiter approaches its peak during November and shines brilliantly among the background stars of Taurus nearly all night. Venus and Saturn court each other in the morning sky late this month, a spectacular union that places them within the same low-power telescopic field."


Did some work on the new CJ novel, got him out of the driveway. This one is already shaping up to be  maybe even more fun than the first one. Not as complex formally but more complex in content, I think. Lots of room for surreal play, too -- like a series of CJ's fantasy suicides. Talk about black humor.

The New Yorker’s Endorsement of Barack Obama : The New Yorker

The New Yorker’s Endorsement of Barack Obama : The New Yorker:

"The choice is clear. The Romney-Ryan ticket represents a constricted and backward-looking vision of America: the privatization of the public good. In contrast, the sort of public investment championed by Obama—and exemplified by both the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Affordable Care Act—takes to heart the old civil-rights motto “Lifting as we climb.” That effort cannot, by itself, reverse the rise of inequality that has been under way for at least three decades. But we’ve already seen the future that Romney represents, and it doesn’t work."

The most articulate argument for Obama you'll find.

Taking a break

A productive morning. Two chores left for afternoon: write letter of rec for student ... get CJ out of the driveway.

Republican logic

You announce at the very beginning of Obama's presidency that your primary goal is to make him a one-term president.

To this end, you fail to cooperate with anything he wants to do. You obstruct his programs. You put ideology above the interests of the country.

Your strategy works. Little is accomplished except what the president can manage despite your obstruction. It's amazing how much he DID accomplish.

In the reelection campaign, you fault the president for accomplishing so little.

What is wrong with this picture?

This November, Our Energy Future Hangs In The Balance | ThinkProgress

This November, Our Energy Future Hangs In The Balance | ThinkProgress:

"The President is looking to the future.  The Governor is looking to the past.  That’s a critical difference."

Lost opportunity

George McGovern, the man who never gave up - The Washington Post

George McGovern, the man who never gave up - The Washington Post:

A classy tribute by Bob Dole, a relic of civility.

"When I learned that George McGovern was nearing the end of his remarkable life, I couldn’t help but think back to the day in June 1993 when both of us attended the funeral of former first lady Pat Nixon, in Yorba Linda, Calif. After the service, George was asked by a reporter why he should honor the wife of the man whose alleged dirty tricks had kept him out of the White House. He replied, “You can’t keep on campaigning forever.”

That classy remark was typical of George, a true gentleman who was one of the finest public servants I had the privilege to know."

Round Bend Press: Published!

Round Bend Press: Published!:

K. C. Bacon's new work, a novella.

The return of leftwing cafe culture | Politics | The Guardian

The return of leftwing cafe culture | Politics | The Guardian:

"Two London cafes are reviving the art of coffee and political debate that hasn't been seen in Britain since the 18th century"

Chrystia Freeland: The Problem of Plutocrats: What a 19th-Century Economist Can Teach Us About Today's Capitalism

Chrystia Freeland: The Problem of Plutocrats: What a 19th-Century Economist Can Teach Us About Today's Capitalism:

"America today urgently needs a 21st century Henry George -- a thinker who embraces the wealth-creating power of capitalism, but squarely faces the inequity of its current manifestation. That kind of thinking is missing on the right, which is still relying on Reagan-era trickle-down economics and hopes complaints about income inequality can be silenced with accusations of class war. But the left isn't doing much better either, preferring nostalgia for the high-wage, medium-skill manufacturing jobs of the post-war era and China-bashing to a serious and original effort to figure out how to make 21st century capitalism work for the middle class."

The Question

The most important question to ask in the debate tonight: Do ypu believe global warming has an effect on foreign policy and if so, how?

I'll tape the debate and watch game seven live.

A busy day in my office ahead.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ducks will cream Beavers

I watched Oregon State last night. They didn't beat Utah. Utah beat themselves. I think the Beavers are over-rated. Oregon will kill them. Somebody else may get to them first. Not impressed.

Sunday in the kitchen

H in an art show all day ... will help her load up. Then home for two cooking projects ... new batch of scrapple ... plus try out recipe I found for twice baked sweet potatoes.

Online student work to look at.

Need to get CJ out of the driveway.

Reading. Overwhelmed by all the reading I want to do.

One foot after the other. I ache therefore I am.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Tribute to George McGovern | Common Dreams

A Tribute to George McGovern | Common Dreams:

One Mother's Reaction To The Climate Silence: 'I'm Angry As Hell And High Water' | ThinkProgress

One Mother's Reaction To The Climate Silence: 'I'm Angry As Hell And High Water' | ThinkProgress:

 "We have one more chance–before we vote–to demand that the candidates talk about climate change. And we have a moral imperative to demand that.
Because climate change is one of the most urgent and important foreign policy issues Americans will  ever face."


The greatest perversity in the culture may be advertising. It's the air pollution of the mind. Ubiquitous, based on half-truths at best, lies, exaggerations, the Muzak of image and words that informs our children and forever makes epistemological health an uphill challenge. We are reduced to a subspecies, Homo consumerus, prisoners from birth. We never buy what we want. We buy among the options of what corporations tell us we want. This system is dehumanizing, top to bottom. It can't be fixed. It's like Chicago in the Lew Welch poem. It's like William Goldman on screenwriting: there's no answer.

Most ignore the reality and go on, hoping for the best. CJ drops out ... until he can' stand it any longer.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tis the season

'Romnesia': Obama Coins Mitt Romney 'Condition' (VIDEO)

'Romnesia': Obama Coins Mitt Romney 'Condition' (VIDEO):

 "We have got to name this condition he is going through. I think it is called Romnesia. I think that's what it is called. Now I'm not a medical doctor. But I do want to go over some of the symptoms with you because I want to make sure nobody else catches it.
If you say you're for equal pay for equal work but you keep refusing to say whether or not you will sign a bill that protects equal pay for equal work, you might have Romnesia.

If you say women should have access to contraceptive care, but you support legislation that would let employers deny contraceptive care, you might have a case of Romnesia.

If you say you will protect a women's right to choose but you stand up in a primary debate and say you'd be delighted to sign a law outlawing that right to choose in all cases, then you have definitely got Romnesia."

I love it.

Slow forward motion

Still moving slowly but managed first reading of student work ... some good and some needing help ... usual first script pages. Will make comments tomorrow.

Gray and wet. Oregon.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Shoot out to blow out

I expected the O game to be a shoot out. I under estimated the O defense. O has a FIVE TD lead midway in second Q. This is outrageous. Bring on Alabama.


Waiting for kickoff of Oregon game ... TV muted because the ESPN pundits drive me nuts ... as bad as talk radio ... whether I watch game with sound depends on color commentator and how arrogant he sounds ... babble can spoil an otherwise good game ... I am definitely old school when it comes to sports commentary ... rooting for Nike Inc ... who by the way actually got decent and dumped the fraud biker ... So go Ducks!

Home sweet home

Hanging in ... not feeling any worse.
Glad the week is over.
Glad there's a good game on tonight ... Ore at Ariz St
Looking forward to student script pages this week.
Keep mellow. Mellow rules.

Creativity linked to mental Illness, study confirms

Creativity linked to mental Illness, study confirms

"That's my job"

Just finished talking with a student stuck on her video project ... and said the right words for the proverbial light bulb to go off and she left a happy camper, ready to rock and roll on her project. Makes me feel useful.

Soup Kitchen In Paul Ryan Photo-Op Faces Donor Backlash

Soup Kitchen In Paul Ryan Photo-Op Faces Donor Backlash:

A little science goes a long way: Math and language scores improve with 10 hours of instruction

A little science goes a long way: Math and language scores improve with 10 hours of instruction:

In Conference Call, Romney Urged Businesses To Tell Their Employees How to Vote | Common Dreams

In Conference Call, Romney Urged Businesses To Tell Their Employees How to Vote | Common Dreams:

Tells me something I already knew.

'270 Minutes of Silence': Obama and Romney 'Climate Change Silence' Deafening, say Environmental Groups | Common Dreams

'270 Minutes of Silence': Obama and Romney 'Climate Change Silence' Deafening, say Environmental Groups | Common Dreams:

Shocking, disappointing. Maybe not surprising, given the disease in the political system.

Road to recovery?

Feeling a tad better but still taking it easy. Short class today, I think. I have The Monster That Ate Hollywood to show. Work to pick up. That's about it. Moving slower than usual, that's for sure.

DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional By Federal Appeals Court In New York

DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional By Federal Appeals Court In New York:

Round Bend Press: McGovern

Round Bend Press: McGovern:

Nice historical reminder by TS.

I almost was interviewed on public radio the night of McG's landslide defeat. I'd placed in some contest or other at NPR, anyway I was on the list, and Susan Stanberg called me at the university before the election to set up an interview election night with a McG supporter -- it was in the wind that he'd lose. Sure, I'll do it I said. Thing is, I didn't have a home phone at the time (!!!) so used the next door neighbor's number. So election night, sure enough, SS calls and the neighbor runs over to get me. I go to the phone and JUST as the live interview is about to start in earnest, McG gives a concession speech and we cut away to that, my big moment lost ha ha. But it was pretty exciting nonetheless.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Queen of Speed: The Racy Life of Mary Petre Bruce « Oregon Magazine

Queen of Speed: The Racy Life of Mary Petre Bruce « Oregon Magazine:

My book review is online already. They don't mess around.

This, you may note, is a conservative rightwing mag. Which I'm not. However, I am an admirer of the fiction of the founding publisher, who invited me to do the book review. I've done pieces for them before. I don't mind being in a conservative magazine. It delightfully confuses many people. I get to say I'm a token Progressive.


Just sent in my book review ahead of afternoon deadline. Book would get a B- so it wasn't a thrilling experience.

A tad under the weather. Take it easy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Deadline tomorrow

I need to write and deliver my book review tomorrow. Nothing else on the agenda, so it shouldn't be a problem. It's short.

I also hope to add some pages to The Reluctant Suicide. Still brooding about the new important character, Helen's boyfriend. Much of the humor depends on my decision,.so I need to make it carefully.

The playoff game gives me a diversion from the debate. I think I'd go nuts watching the debate if Obama doesn't perform. I'm taping it, can watch it later if I can stand it.

Romney's tax plan

Check out how it works (humor).

Clean Energy Has Highest Documented Rate of Return of Any Federal Program -- When Will That Get Reported? | ThinkProgress

Clean Energy Has Highest Documented Rate of Return of Any Federal Program -- When Will That Get Reported? | ThinkProgress:

Woody Guthrie at 100 - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Woody Guthrie at 100 - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education:

"He was incredibly well read. He ate books for lunch, just took in everything that was around him, from American history to biology."

Deemer and Wylie perform Guthrie.

Youngstown News, President of St. Vincent De Paul Society blasts Ryan visit as 'publicity stunt' - Newswatch

Youngstown News, President of St. Vincent De Paul Society blasts Ryan visit as 'publicity stunt' - Newswatch:

"The event “was a photo op,” she said. “It was the phoniest piece of baloney I’ve ever been associated with. In hindsight, I would have never let him in the door.”

The event was completely staged by the campaign, she said."

Paul Nitze's Never-Seen Notes from the Cuban Missile Crisis : The New Yorker

Paul Nitze's Never-Seen Notes from the Cuban Missile Crisis : The New Yorker:

I'm reading an extraordinary book on the crisis now -- more later.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Manning Magic

Denver trailed 24-0 at the half. On the road at San Diego.

Then Manning found his old magic ... the defense picked up ... and the magician brought it home, 35-24.

I didn't watch the game. Watched baseball. But I loved reading about it on my Kindle sports blog.

The Failure Of 'Drill, Baby, Drill': Wall Street Journal Reports 'Oil Boom Providing Little Relief For Consumers' | ThinkProgress

The Failure Of 'Drill, Baby, Drill': Wall Street Journal Reports 'Oil Boom Providing Little Relief For Consumers' | ThinkProgress:

Senator Bernie Sanders: To Battle Global Warming, We Must Pick Clean Energy As A 'Winner' | ThinkProgress

Senator Bernie Sanders: To Battle Global Warming, We Must Pick Clean Energy As A 'Winner' | ThinkProgress:

Koch Industries Warns 45,000 Employees Of 'Consequences' If They Don't Vote For Republicans | ThinkProgress

Koch Industries Warns 45,000 Employees Of 'Consequences' If They Don't Vote For Republicans | ThinkProgress:

On having one car instead of two

Interesting how little it matters -- until I give it some thought. What is lost is convenience. And convenience has little to do with anything, especially at this time of my life, the last act, when my focus  is on living each day as if it's my last, which soon enough will be accurate; which is to say, get the trivial out of my life, and convenience is mostly trivial. What matters is what's going on in my head, which is not at all affected by how many cars are in the household. And it's a little jarring to realize all the other things in my life that are similar "conveniences." Not that I'm against conveniences. I'm as lazy as the next guy in some regards. But the world didn't end when we became a one car family.

And great things are going in my head today, now that CJ is resurrected and back in action. The Reluctant Suicide will have a similar structure to Sodom, Gomorrah & Jones, built with vignettes. The story takes place in 2015 when the consequences of global warming are beginning to get pretty bad along the coastlines, far ahead of schedule. Some of the vignettes will be blog entries from CJ's several years on the road -- an obituary for America. Others will look at the history of all variations of suicide as CJ weighs his options after learning the medical culture offers no help for a man ready to leave because -- he simply is ready to leave. Hence the reluctant suicide refers to methodology. Which illegal option to choose since there are no legal options? This is CJ's dilemma.

An important new character is a recent love interest of Helen's, who has moved in with her. I think I'll make him a composer working on an opera. He may be an Ayn Rand disciple. He may think CJ is so heroic in his quest that CJ may change his mind. Much in flux, as should be so early in the game. But I like the set up so far ... global warming obviously is beyond stopping now, the country is increasingly in evacuation and panic mode, food shortages, obviously much shit soon to hit the fan -- and CJ simply decides, Enough! why ruin what has been his good life by putting up with this shit? Leave while you still have good memories.

Haven't figured Matt's role but he'll be there. I don't think Kayla will be there. She may be dead, a tragic suicide, to contrast with CJ's context. A loss because young, as opposed to a choice because old.

So this is something of a novel of ideas, the least popular genre in the culture by far ha ha! Fuck the culture.

The new energy is good. Onward.

Same o same o

Historically major power shifts require violent revolutions. Short term progress results. Long term the new power becomes as corrupt as the old. Repeat ad nauseam.

Sensational meal

The cooking adventure yesterday was beef short ribs braised in red wine sauce. Three hrs in a slow oven. With mashed spuds and steamed carrots. Meat fell off the bone. Spectacular and pretty rich.

Comfort food

When I was sick as a kid, my mom fixed me a soft boiled egg on toast, covered with warm milk. I'm sure this informs my adult comfort food, which I just enjoyed. Toast ... milk ... scrapple .... egg. Comfort food rocks.

FDR to Romney!

Of Babies and Beans: Paul Ryan on Abortion : The New Yorker

Of Babies and Beans: Paul Ryan on Abortion : The New Yorker:

 "Paul Ryan did not say, as John Kennedy had said before him, that faith was faith and public service, public service, each to be honored and kept separate from the other. No, he said instead “I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do.” That’s a shocking answer—a mullah’s answer, what those scary Iranian “Ayatollahs” he kept referring to when talking about Iran would say as well. Ryan was rejecting secularism itself, casually insisting, as the Roman Catholic Andrew Sullivan put it, that “the usual necessary distinction between politics and religion, between state and church, cannot and should not exist.” And he went on to make it quietly plain that his principles are uncompromising on this, even if his boss’s policy may not seem so:"

Gary Hart: We Have Been Warned

Gary Hart: We Have Been Warned:

"Several senators introduced the Cyber Security Act of 2012 to create a government-corporate partnership to protect the critical infrastructure, virtually all of which is in private, corporate ownership, from attack. It passed by a majority but was not filibuster-proof because of Republican opposition. How can this be?

It can be because, at the behest of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Senator John McCain, a reputed national security expert, led opposition to the measure. He and the Chamber argued that it imposed too many burdens on business."

George Lakoff: Moral Leadership: What Obama Has to Show Tomorrow in the Debate Performance, and for Real

George Lakoff: Moral Leadership: What Obama Has to Show Tomorrow in the Debate Performance, and for Real:

"Mr. President, this is a grand performance that means something; it is much more than a policy debate where most people won't understand or remember the fine details of the policies. We need you to show America what real moral leadership is."

Every journey begins with ...

I wrote the opening pages of the new CJ story, The Reluctant Suicide. Man, I love that title. Exactly expresses the failure of the culture to deal with aging.

So I'm off and running! The Thoreau project is next. Maybe I'm getting back in my groove again.

Professional Distance and Protecting the Reader Experience

Professional Distance and Protecting the Reader Experience

This raises an impotant issue.


Not even sure I'll watch debate tomorrow. The Prez is such a wimp it will be too depressing. I can't imagine him delivering the kind of moral outrage of an FDR that is demanded. Clinton could. Pretty boy Romney will get away with the same old shit. O will just stand there being nice.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Second wind

Found enough energy to get student work online. Set for Tues. No stress left in weekend. Now to watch baseball.

Brick wall

I seem to be out of energy. The cooking project is under control but that's it. I need to get a second wind or rethink my Sunday activity. Much I can do tomorrow. But I should do something else today.

Today's adventure

Front and center is a cooking adventure, using a recipe I found on a food blog. A seven hour job. I love it. Fills the hours, as Virginia Woolf would say.

I did all my student reading yesterday. Need to get some of it online.

Read half the book I'm reviewing. Finish and draft the short review.

Want to finish the required stuff today so I can play a little tomorrow.

Treating food like stocks and shares is a recipe for disaster | Business | The Observer

Treating food like stocks and shares is a recipe for disaster | Business | The Observer:

Which the corporate elites will embrace.

UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013 | Global development | The Observer

UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013 | Global development | The Observer:

Laura Doyle: 6 Reasons Marriage Counseling is BS

Laura Doyle: 6 Reasons Marriage Counseling is BS:

Hear, hear! I'm sure glad a woman wrote this ha ha. The New Age intellectuals would have dismissed a man outright with their favorite defense: Denial!

Ex-Mariners to the rescue

Another extraordinary baseball game as the Tigers and Yankees opened the ALCS. Yankees down four zip in bottom of ninth, looks like a done deal. Then ex-Mariner Ichiro hits a 2 run homer! And a few batters later ex-Mariner Ibanez repeats earlier heroics and hits a 2 run homer! Into extra innings (Yankees lose in 13).

Baseball is really putting on a show.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

UCLA at the half

Bruins lead by a TD but I'm not impressed. They did two of the dumbest deeds I've seen on a football field. First ... attempted over the shoulder catch inside the five of a punt. Fumble and Utah TD. Second ... going for it on fourth down ... called for delay of game - after a time out! Amazing.

Sports commentators

I watch a lot of sports on TV with the sound muted. That's because I can't stand the commentary. Any jerk with an opinion, who can't get a radio talk show, becomes a sports announcer. Many are ex jocks.

I liked Joey Harrington when he was Oregon's QB. He played jazz piano. Pretty cool. But he was overrated and wasn't great as a pro. Today - what else? - he's a sports commentator and he just sucks. He should go back to piano.

UCLA kickoff soon. Nervous. Only a big win will satisfy the mean-spirited alumni, who show no mercy and have little patience.

Baseball rules II

Playoff games have been extraordinary for competitive drama. Last night a case in point. The home team Nationals had a six run lead over the Cardinals and the fans were loving it. As they should. This is a franchise without a legacy of success.

Hometown fans are the soundtrack of sporting events. As the Cards began a slow comeback the music changed but even in the ninth the victory felt at hand.

And so the veteran Cards scored four and won by two. Major emotional crash by the fans. And i crashed with them and marveled at baseball's slow power to consume. As I once wrote years ago, it's the last slow dance in America.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Smokin' Joe Delights Democrats and Shows up the Boss Against Ryan : The New Yorker

Smokin' Joe Delights Democrats and Shows up the Boss Against Ryan : The New Yorker:

But the night belonged to Smokin’ Joe, who came out strong and kept slugging as long as his legs would support him. In a way, he’d been preparing for this since 1988, when his first Presidential campaign was derailed by allegations of plagiarism. Biden was just forty-five then, a rising star in the Democratic Party noted for his speaking skills, his bonhomie, and his populist politics. An elder statesman now, he retains all of these attributes. I said before the debate that he was an underrated politician. Last night, he demonstrated why that’s true. The guy in the Oval Office owes him more than a phone call.

In the zone

My copies of Varmints arrived and it looks great. This is one of those works, a small minority in my archive, that feels a bit mysterious to me, as if I wrote it while in a magical zone, a process more mysterious than my usual work pattern. As esoteric as it is, I dig it a lot.

Few people

Few people

Einstein hits the mark.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wash. Could Become First State to OK Pot Sales - ABC News

Wash. Could Become First State to OK Pot Sales - ABC News:

Most folks don't realize that Washington is much more progressive than Oregon. This legacy goes back to the territorial days when free blacks coming west would learn quickly that the Oregon Territory was much more racist than Washington Territory. Only in the latter could blacks own land. Indeed, as late as the 1920's an Oregon election was heavily influenced by the Klan.

A screenwriting technique

A graduate student of mine has embraced the note card / cork board method for outlining a film story. It's a technique that works well for writers whose methodology involves pre-writing planning, which I call "tree people" (as opposed to "forest people", who are sink-or-swim writers, of which there are many, figuring things out on the run). She sent me this image of her work in progress. I love it.

ESPN college football guru Beano Cook dead at 81 - Football -

ESPN college football guru Beano Cook dead at 81 - Football -

Always enjoyed this guy. Old school and funny.

The arrogant bicyclist

Portland is a big town for bicycles, so it's not surprising there are a few arrogant riders around. Met up with one on the bus to the university this morning. Taking up a narrow road just ahead of our bus, refusing to pull over to the shoulder when it was available so the bus could pass. At a stop sign, instead of pulling over so the bus could come alongside and pass, the rider when through without stopping. Reminded me of a rider who ran a red light so that I almost hit him, then gave me the finger for following traffic rules! Some of these riders embrace such green moral superiority that they believe the rules don't apply to them.

In time, the guy turned off and we could continue on our way.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Baseball rules

More ninth inning magic ... Oakland comes back to beat Detroit and tie series. More excitement tonight than I saw in football recently.

What? A deadline?

I once made my living as a frfeelance writer, hard and stressful work indeed, but it's been years since I had a magazine deadline. Oregon Mag talked me into reviewing a book and I need to do it this weekend. Maybe I need to turn offers down ha ha. Too mellow for deadlines.

No hero like an ex-Mariner

The Mariners have a long history of trading away players who go on to do great things. Tonight's example is Raul Ibanez. He pinch hits in bottom of ninth ... Yankees behind a run. His homer sends it to extra innings. Up again in bottom of twelfth ... still tied. Home run! Yankees win. Impressive.

Success story

Just watched Oregon Experience documentary on Oregon wine industry. Great story of young entrepreneurs with Big Dreams giving years of dedication and poverty to make their dreams come true.

I am proud to have directed the most comprehensive look at Oregon wineries ever published at the time when I was managing editor of Oregon Business magazine in the eighties. Had the idea but took some time to find the right writer. Then she walked into the office one day, a freelance writer from Calif whose husband was a winemaker. She did a great job and later had a syndicated wine column. One of my best memories from that job.


In these days of ideological warfare, how envious to recall my parents' generation when political affiliation was like religious affiliation: nobody's damn business! "I wonder if the Smiths are Democrats?" mom would wonder about new friends. My parents would never be so rude as to ask. Unthinkable today. My dad would scoff at anyone, and they were few indeed, who would display a political sign. "Who is he trying to convince?" Those times I recall as a kid couldn't be more different. I think we lost considerable civility.

The 7-inch tablet advantage

The 7-inch tablet advantage

I can go even smaller. I love the size and weight of Kindle. If this were a powerful computer....

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Daily Kos: Red State Rebellion- Joe Biden’s Wi Fi ing Debate Smackdown

Daily Kos: Red State Rebellion- Joe Biden’s Wi Fi ing Debate Smackdown:

"“Joe Biden’s Wi Fi ing Debate Smackdown” is going to try competitive, online fact checking in real time.  We’ll keep score."

The upcoming debates can get real interesting with organized real time fact checking in cyberspace. Of course, next step is counter-fact checking by "the other side" ... it will still be a mess.

The President has to win his own victory. Face to face, He has to walk the talk. He does so little of it.

David Siegel Email To Workers Threatens Layoffs If Obama Is Reelected (UPDATE)

David Siegel Email To Workers Threatens Layoffs If Obama Is Reelected (UPDATE):

Class war? What class war?

Two brilliant American short stories

Gilbert Sorrentino
Here is the ending of my favorite American short story, "The Moon In Its Flight" by Gilbert Sorrentino, a story about young love. The protagonist, now a married man years after the central action, has returned from a hotel rendezvous with his high school sweetheart, a love never consummated in youth.
“You are perfectly justified in scoffing at the outrageous transparency of it if I tell you that his wife said that he was so pale that he looked as if he had seen a ghost, but that is, indeed, what she said. Art cannot rescue anybody from anything.” 
― Gilbert SorrentinoThe Moon in Its Flight
Robert Coover
Man, this story, along with Robert Coover's recent New Yorker story "Going For A Beer" (read it online!!), are such major literary accomplishments that I stand in complete awe of the achievements. Both take "risks" with conventional form and get the pay off of making them work. Amazing stories!

Romney v. Romney

Somebody had to do it.

There's hope, o ye "poor" science students!

News from The Associated Press: "LONDON (AP) -- Teacher knows best?

That doesn't appear to be the case for one teacher who called a future Nobel Prize winner's dreams of becoming a scientist "quite ridiculous" in a scathing report card."

The Evolutionary Advantage of Depression - Brian Gabriel - The Atlantic

The Evolutionary Advantage of Depression - Brian Gabriel - The Atlantic:

"Genes influencing depression also bolstered our ancestors' immune systems -- an understanding that's informing experimental therapies. "

Physicists extend special relativity beyond the speed of light

Physicists extend special relativity beyond the speed of light:

"Now two physicists – James Hill and Barry Cox from the University of Adelaide in Australia – have shown that Einstein's theory of special relativity can be logically extended to allow for faster-than-light motion. They're quick to point out that their finding in no way contradicts the original theory, but simply provides a new aspect of it."

Free program makes computer graphics more realistic

Free program makes computer graphics more realistic:

Things Mainstream Reporters Can't Say: Mitt Romney Is Lying About The Environmental Protection Agency | ThinkProgress

Things Mainstream Reporters Can't Say: Mitt Romney Is Lying About The Environmental Protection Agency | ThinkProgress:

 "Mitt Romney is choosing to lie about the Environmental Protection Agency because he thinks that will give him a political advantage."

Bring on the digital overthrow of publishing

Bring on the digital overthrow of publishing