Friday, December 19, 2008

Fount Blog is Up!

(You never know what you will get when you type in "Fount" on Google)

Fount Blog is now up and running. There is art, poetry, and music. I've got a little something on it, and I highly recommend Talkin’ Barack Obama in G by Steve Nelson.

Go forth and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

If the Turks had Captured Vienna in 1683...

I think it would go like this

(the laugh remains the same though)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Office Hours

No, I'm not holding them (though someday I will, hopefully, maybe, possibly). I wrote a story with that name and it is on Diddle Dog, a self-proclaimed miscellany of flash fiction. Ergo, it's not that long. Read it sometime. Or now.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Poet Walks Into A Bar...

I have a poem up at Every Day Poets. Something humorous, a departure from doom and gloom, sein und zeit, sturm und drang, etc. etc.
(I am ordering it!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Eviscerator Heaven!

Check out their fifth issue here. You will have to download it, but I think it will be worthwhile. My poem "City on a Dune" is on the front page. Thank you. Thank you. But good to see it has found a home. I wrote it so many years ago when Coates and I were at the Outer Banks and trying to imitate the Wright Brothers by being first in flight to somewhere. Anyway, enjoy!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Poetry is the Opiate of the Masses

I wish! Here is a new poem at Opium Poetry
(first gratuitous nudity on the blog, I believe)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Grand Old Party

In case you can't read the original handwriting, the figures (Left to Right) are saying the following to John C. Fremont:

Skinny Guy: "The thing we want is a law making the use of Tobacco, Animal food, and Lager-bier a capital crime."

Butch-Femme: "We demand, first of all the recognition of woman as the equal of man, with a right to vote and hold office."

Bum: "An equal distribution of property is what I go for."

19th Century MILF: "Col. I wish to invite you to the next meeting of our Free Love association, where the shackles or marriage are not tolerated and perfect freedom exist in love matters and you will be sure to enjoy yourself, for we are all freemounters."

Papist: "We look to you Sir to place the power of the pope on a firm footing in this Country"

Free Black: "De Poppylation of color comes first arter dat you may do wat you pleases."

John C. Fremont: "You shall all have what you desire and be sure that the glorious principles of Popery, Fourierism (i.e. Socialism), Free Love, Woman's rights, the Maine Law (i.e. prohibition), and above all the equality of our colored brethren shall be maintained; If I get into the Presidential Chair.

Funny how perceptions change. In 1856, this was how the rest of the country saw the Republican Party. It was the party of sexual and racial equality, the party of socialism, the party of strange ideas and utopianism, and sexual experimentation.

Fast forward to 2008 and the party has completely changed, and it looks like it will have to again. The defeats in the recent election point to the party losing ground in the once Solid South, being almost completely washed out of New England, and failure to gain in any key areas or demographics. The Bush administration's treasonous and criminal ineptitude is partly to blame, but the problem lies within the party that Reagan built, its foundations were simply too shaky to last much longer.

The main problem was trying to keep too many groups together that opposed one another on principle, namely the social conservatives, the neo-cons, business people, and libertarians (who should have left in droves a few elections ago). The primary campaign showed these divisions coming to light, as did Palin's nomination. The GOP simply has to reorient itself, purge a wing or two of its party, and then rebuild a grassroots campaign with a new base and new message.

But here is the question, which wing? The easiest answer is to remove the evangelical voters. they other factions can get along much better, and in the past, they traditionally have. It was not until the 1980s that they became solidly Republican. However if they are booted out of the party either outright in deed or through a change of the platform, they will rob the GOP of its grassroots support and in all likelihood they could join the Constitution Party and give the Democrats a few more decades in power.

Undoubtedly many in the party are calling for a return to core values, but the problem is 1) what are these values? 2) Which ones to we embrace when they contradict? and 3) Can we actually win on them? The last question has gotten the least amount of attention. Yes, Bush has betrayed many of the core principals of conservatism, at least defined in the last quarter of a century by Reagan. But so did Reagan. What is often not asked, is why such a betrayal? Were these compromises of principle made out of spite? Were leaders simply not thinking?

I think the answer is simple, whether or not conservatism works, it is hard to run on a platform of small and limited government except in certain areas. In cities and suburbs it is not that appealing. People will hate to admit it, but on the whole, they like their programs. People generally are not sympathetic to conservatism in practice, even when they may self-identify as conservatives. This is no critique of the philosophy itself, just a belief that it is hard to campaign on it. That is why Republicans have run their campaigns focused heavily on social issues and foreign policy (and playing to the fears of white people). Discussion about cutting programs and deregulation almost never gets that much attention. Taxes, yes, but taxes are it, and they are dragged out and talked about and then put back away when talk of cutting the actual budget comes up.

Reagan and Bush made compromises and eventually sold out conservatism because they saw that adhering to the ideology could not get them votes. The demographics were working against them. Goldwater tried to run an honest conservative campaign in 1964, and he was trounced (the same could be said with McGovern running from the other side - but part of it was his own ineptitude).

Where does this leave the Republican Party? I think they should reposition themselves as the party of good government, not simply a limited one. I think they should work to maintain their credentials on law and order, and take up a humane, but rational stance on immigration. They should adopt more of a conservative approach to the budget, and less on taxes. They should embrace libertarianism on social policy, the future favors them on that. And they should become heavily invested within environmentalism and create a consensus on the greening of America, to deprive the Democrats of one issue where they continually trounce them.

This means the GOP will, however, become a smaller party. The social conservatives will leave, and perhaps either stay at home, form a new party, or join the Constitution Party. The GOP will have a chance at retaking the presidency, but will be weaker in congress, much like it was before Reagan. The party might give up everything right, and find itself in the center, the balance, and the heart of the country. The cartoon above should show that such transformations are possible.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On the Making of History

It is done. It is finished. But we have only gone through the door.

It's been a while since I have written anything (other than poems) because I was working to help get out the vote in NY's 13th precinct. It was one of the few competitive areas of New York City, the last red district there. I did data entry for our canvassers, going over their travels with as fine a comb as I could manage. It was exhausting work and hectic. It is mostly done for now. I am taking today off and absorbing it all.

History would have been made no matter who won, but probably better to elect our first Black president and not the oldest one. true a female VP would have been a step forward, even if it was only a tiny one with Palin. But nonetheless it was a night to remember, full of drama and then finally getting out into the clear.

Unfortunately the senate dd not go as smoothly for the Dems as it should have. They are still counting the ballots as I write and haven't called several races. But it looks like the filibuster proof majority will not be reached. However with a large enough majority they can get what they want on a day to day basis. Judicial appointments might get tricky though, and large budget measures.

McCain was probably the strongest Republican who could have won. None of the other candidates could have fared any better. The fact that he was even facing a competitive election speaks more to her personality and story than any love of the Republican Party, and also from the fear of some voters with Obama.

He was the best they could put up, and he lost. with his party branded with the high stench of failure, there wasn't much he could do. But I think there were several things that kept him from being able to win, which were his doing. Regardless of how Bush, Iraq, and the economy were doing, he shot himself in the foot too.

First, was his age. In 2000, it was less of an issue. But the idea of electing the oldest president didn't sit well with a lot of voters, and I could't blame them. America may give its money to old people, but it doesn't like to elect them. We have resisted the kind of gerontocracy that the USSR and China have, and I think it has been a factor in our success. The American people wanted change and it is hard to believe it can come with wrinkles on its face.

Second, and related to his age, was his VP choice, perhaps the worse since Eagleton in 1972. Palin simply wasn't experienced, nor was she vetted enough. Her being on the ticket did not reflect well on McCain. She had charisma, but she simply did not stand up well under pressure and questioning. she brought little of her own ideas to the table and in the end probably did not get along with the rest of the McCain campaign. She couldn't even bring a large state to the table (which is why Biden wasn't the best pick either).

However she could be the reason the Democrats did not sweep through the senate elections, since she probably helped to boost social conservatives coming out.

Third, McCain did not have a consistent message. Even when he found his mantra of Joe the Plumber, it wasn't enough. Obama took the mantle of change early and McCain, in trying to steal it from him, was playing catch up. In 2000, McCain could have seriously tried to take it away from Obama, but in those eight years his public persona had changed and he had been brought into the fold of the GOP too much, ostensibly because he was thinking about 2008.

I liked him in 2000, but when he went over to praise Falwell, that was the end of it for me.

Which brings me to number four, on why he lost. McCain's problem was that he was too honorable and too much of a politician at the same time. Unlike Bush, he could never comfortably get down in the gutter, probably because Bush could do so while clutching a cross. That was his justification. But McCain always believed in his message and his being a maverick, which made it hard for him to use scare tactics and subtle racism like most Republicans. At the same time, he had tarnished his image by standing by and behind Bush and the social conservatives, who in the end did not appreciate his efforts, leading him to nominating Palin, which hurt him even more.

I do think he gave a good concession speech, and that hopefully will be the first honorable thing he does before going back to the senate, where he can try and build up a new legacy for himself, or become one of the key figures in Obama's reaching out to the other side of the aisle to try and make this country work.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cafe Espagnol

Click on the link to see a poem of mine on Litkicks.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Old Pond

East meets West!

West meats East!

Est wheats Mast!

Messed eats Wast!

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Story, A Story, A Story!

A story of mine is up at Greenbeard. Read it here

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Deviating from the Curve

I came across this interview in the New York Times Magazine. The questions are being asked of Charles Murray, who is known as the co-author of the controversial 1994 book, The Bell Curve (not to be confused with The Bell Jar). He gained notoriety for making claims about the inheritability of intelligence and its power to determine a good deal of our welfare, along with the widening the gap between the intelligent and non-intelligent. Well that and the claims of linking race to IQ and then linking IQ to overall intelligence. There's a lot written on the matter which people can decide for themselves. I'm a skeptical supporter or a supporting skeptic, either way I want to dissect the interview.

The interview focuses around the claims of Murray's new book, "Real Education," which is in a sense an extension of his work with The Bell Curve. The first question:

Although attending college has long been a staple of the American dream, you argue in your new book, “Real Education,” that too many kids are now heading to four-year colleges and wasting their time in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree.

Yes. Let’s stop this business of the B.A., this meaningless credential. And let’s talk about having something kids can take to an employer that says what they know, not where they learned it.

I agree with him here, however one can say these things and not immediately be an elitist. Being an elitist is when a person puts a moral judgement on people who do not go to college, and in that aspect a lot of the people who do attend universities (including many of those who really shouldn't) are elitists. But I make no such value, I simply look around and see many people my age overwhelmed with material they are supposed to learn. I have been in classes where I was the only one talking and answering questions, even in writing classes people had trouble engaging with what the teacher was saying.

Now there are two reasons that could be causing this, either people are not mentally equipped for more intellectual pursuits, or perhaps our high schools aren't rigorous enough. Not enough people consider the former option and I don't think Murray considers the later. When it came to the "high-brow" stuff: I largely taught myself. I read philosophy, geography, literature, philosophy, religion, all on my own during those four years I spent waiting for college. I was also willing to avoid having a social life.

However are some people not capable of intellectual pursuits? In regards to abstract reasoning and speculation about metaphysics and such, probably. First of all, most people aren't really interested, and many unfortunately try to convince themselves that they are while going to school. Second many people may not be able to comprehend the material, but is this such a bad thing? Often when one boils down complex texts, one find only a few central points. The rest is showing off with footnotes. I feel the problem may not be the ideas, but their presentation. A university education is supposed to do this, but maybe that's the wrong approach. It might be better if left up to the media (as problematic as they are).

When the facts are simple but the implications broad, we should not recoil. As long as people can grasp the central ideas behind what moves and shakes the world, that's all that matters. While I would not claim that someone who read the Cliff Notes for War and Peace "understands" the book, I don't feel that one has to read An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (always shortened to Wealth of Nations by intellectuals) to understand capitalism. I feel that Murray's approach to the issue is too avoid educating people about high falutin' ideas at all, which is not any kind of solution to the problems of our education system. he would do good to remember what Chomsky said:

it's striking to see the intelligence that's used by ordinary people in [discussions of] sports [as opposed to political and social issues]. I mean, you listen to radio stations where people call in -- they have the most exotic information and understanding about all kind of arcane issues.

Ordinary people are capable of learning, processing, and retrieving information, its a question of appealing in the right way. There is a way to dress things up for intellectuals, and then a way to do it for carpenters, another for housewives, another for young children...etc. this is something Murray seems to forget.

Well, that was a lot on just one question.

I’m sure you’re aware that unemployment is very high right now.

There are very few unemployed first-rate electricians. I can get a good doctor in a minute and a half. Getting a really good electrician — that’s hard. If you want jobs that are in high demand, go to any kind of skilled labor. And by labor, I mean things that pay $30 or $40 an hour.

This question and response show the fact that neither the interviewer, nor Murray has any idea of what really is going on. It is a follow up to his response that people should enter the workforce instead of going to college (which for most people I agree). The interviewer (Deborah Solomon) responds with this questions, which makes no sense to ask. Murray is thinking about the long term, not simply what unemployment is like right now. It isn't actually very high (it's still lower than many countries, and I'm not intellectually snickering, I'm unemployed too, thanks to Bush & Co. and NYU's inability to make a degree anyone wants - I went to the Detroit of colleges!). However Murray seems to ignore something about his line of thought, if people go from being in college to going to trade schools, there will be a glut of those electricians, plumbers, etc. Also most jobs without the college degree are not in those fields, they are in retail and the like, which does not pay as much (I know, I see the wanted listings).

Another exchange:

I believe that given the opportunity, most people could do most anything.

You’re out of touch with reality in that regard. You have not hung around with kids who are well in the lower half of the ability distribution.

I agree with Murray here. I don't have the legs to be a dancer or the fingers to be a concert pianist. But I'm fine with that. The fact is we have aptitudes for different things. We are a species with a diversified mind, which helps us to be efficient in division of labor. However unlike Murray and his ilk, I don't think that means people should be paid wildly different amounts of money.

and so it goes:

Aren’t think tanks basically welfare for intellectuals?

Actually, the interesting thing there is the extent to which it’s the think tanks in the last 15 years that have been producing the stuff that has had the most effect on the debate, as opposed to colleges.

Well Mr. Murray, who produces the thinkers for the tanks? I suppose you just take 'em off the street? Well, maybe they should.

Have they affected debate, of course? But I think what intellectuals dream up together usually ends up causing more harm than good, intellectuals have to be checked in their excesses. As an intellectual, I understand that better than anyone. Now if only the scientists understood their limits...

Are they welfare for intellectuals? Of course they are (and I want some). And so are colleges. Just like monasteries in the old days. A place to put the crazy people with big words so work could get done in the real world without people stopping to wonder if God can make rocks he can't lift!

I digress

The last answers are the most worrying, displaying the kind of intellectual self-loathing that the thinkers of the Nazi Party exemplified in its worst aspects. When I disparage my eggheaded kin, it is a suggestion of improvement and done out of love, but these responses show utter disregard and well, ignorance. but think tanks don;t have much to so with history and historians I guess. They like number crunchers but not people who pin ideas to dates.

What do you make of the fact that John McCain was ranked 894 in a class of 899 when he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy?

I like to think that the reason he ranked so low is that he was out drinking beer, as opposed to just unable to learn stuff.

His ranking so low is not a good thing, and his inability to comprehend things is not either. He is supposed to be running the country, remember? In a normal case, one could say "well someone has to be on the bottom, and he had to be a hard worker to get in right?" However he was the son and grandson of admirals, the closest the thing to royalty one could be in the navy. It's like W's lackluster performance in college, a warning sign.

What do you think of Sarah Palin?

I’m in love. Truly and deeply in love.

She attended five colleges in six years.

So what?

He attacks people going to college when they're not ready, she clearly wasn't, and if she wasn't running for VP (as a Republican) and was her college counselor he would have said to her, "Sarah dear, this isn't the place for you, you're just not capable of absorbing all these books!"

Why is the McCain clan so eager to advertise its anti-intellectualism?

The last thing we need are more pointy-headed intellectuals running the government. Probably the smartest president we’ve had in terms of I.Q. in the last 50 years was Jimmy Carter, and I think he is the worst president of the last 50 years.

What is Murray doing here? Why is he so willing to embrace anti-intellectualism? I think such behavior usually has two causes. The first is a feeling of inadequacy for being concerned so much with affairs of the body, perhaps memories of being the last picked to play on the schoolyard, maybe not. But it is a feeling which produces a loathing of oneself and this becomes projected outward. The intellectual becomes attracted to figures who show physical vitality and power (think Heidegger and Machiavelli).

Second, I think that this is something stoked by right wing intellectuals as a way to put down their left wing brethren so they can rule with less opposition and lead the people whom they consider little better than sheep (people can sing better but sheep give off wool). McCain has plenty of pointy heads around him and so did Bush, and both are manipulated, advised, controlled, and consoled by them. Same with all leaders. But celebrating anti-intellectualism never leads to suggestions they should hire the "regular folks" for the administration.

What is interesting is that Murray seems to debunk his whole thesis by invoking Jimmy Carter. Murray worships at the temple of the IQ, but the president with the best one had the worst administration. Well at least according to Murray (another case of why political parties make whores of most intellectuals left and right - by Murray's own libertarian standards Bush is the worst president of the past fifty years: terrorist attacks, wars, rights violated, debts, and now bailouts).

The case with Bush show why you want a sharp intellect in the White House, because you need a mind that will battle it out with the policy wonks and intelligentsia assembled at Pennsylvania Avenue. Bush simply became a Yes-Man to his own policies when they were fed back to him in the pleasing jargon of his Neo-Con Man buddies. The Oval Office should be a Hegelian battleground, a dialectical slaughterhouse where wills and intellects collide to result in the unfolding of the Absolute Spirit over the dimension of world-historical...okay, okay enough with the intellectual fancy talk.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

God Bless Unitarians!

(a famous Unitarian)
A positive mention of some poems of mine at Rivers Are Damp. It's a little more than a month old, but it has just been brought to my attention. The originals are posted here. Thanks for the kind words Jay!

Monday, September 15, 2008

For my Main Man David Sterry


September 22, 2008, 7p.m.



Performances, followed by discussion of the joys and perils of making a narrative out of your own life, dealing with issues of privacy and the lunacy of family, and figuring out how to navigate the stormy seas of publishing. All questions will be answered. And perhaps an audience member or two will get a chance to tell one of their life stories.



Find out what it was like to be the ugliest man at Chippendale's in the cash-happy coke-crazy 80s, when it was raining men and girls just wanted to have fun. Sterry has appeared on NPR, the BBC, and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. His first memoir, Chicken, is being made into a TV series by Showtime.



James Levine is one of America's great superagents, and the founder of Levine-Greenberg literary agency. He has spent decades putting together ideas, people, and money; identifying, nurturing, and marketing talent; and creating projects that make a difference. He is also the author of seven books, and has appeared on Oprah. He has helped dozens and dozens and dozens of writers become professional authors.



MIKE DAISEY has been called "the master storyteller" by the New York Times for his many monologues, which include How Theater Failed America, Great Men of Genius, and 21 Dog Years. He has performed at the Public Theater, the Spoleto Festival, Yale Repertory Theater, the Noorderzon Festival, and many more. He's been a guest on David Letterman, has been heard on the BBC, NPR and currently he's a commentator for PRI. He has been the recipient of the Bay Area Critics Circle Award, two Seattle Times Footlight Awards, and a MacDowell Fellowship.

*Anyone who buys this book will get a 10 minute publishing consultation.

"We were thinking of naming it either Siegfried or Brünnhilde "

Ad that caught my attention, mostly because it was labeled: "Blond haired-blue eyed egg donor needed"

Couple needs the help of an egg donor to have a family. Seeking an egg donor with the following qualities,

-some form of college education

-BMI of 28 or less

-20-28 years of age

-height 5'3 or taller

-Blond hair

-Blue eyes

-some form of post HS education


-no use of illegal drugs, cigarettes, alcohol abuse or antidepressants

-active lifestyle


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Good to Know

Your result for The Would You Have Been a Nazi Test...

The Resistance

Welcome to the Resistance (Der Widerstand)! You believe in freedom, justice, equality, and your country, and you can't be converted to the the dark side.

Breakdown: your Blind Patriotism levels are borderline unhealthy, but you show such a love of people from everywhere and a natural resistance to brainwashing, you would probably focus your energy to fight the Fuehrer with furor, so to speak.

Conclusion: born and raised in Germany in the early 1930's, you would have taken up ARMS against the oppressors. Or even your friends' oppressors. Congratulations!

Less than 5% of all test takers earn a spot in the Resistance!

The Would You Have Been A Nazi? Test

- it rules -

Take The Would You Have Been a Nazi Test at HelloQuizzy

Sunday, September 7, 2008

If There is No God, What Really Follows

I came across this list by Dennis Prager in which he describes what would happen if there was no God, or more appropriately, if people came to believe that there is no God. It's the usual claptrap about religious belief that uses the old argument from morality to prove the existence of God, or at least argue for the necessity of belief. The problem with his list is that its full of holes, each point grasps very little about the nature of religious belief, particularly Christianity (although Prager is Jewish he has to have read a Chick tract somewhere or other), and woefully ignores history, philosophy, and sociology. Let's get down to brass tacks and rip this apart shall we? Atheist, Agnostic, or Theist, the discussion between us is not helped by this sort of thing.

First, the introduction. Prager here talks about how students learn all about the Inquisition and how it is linked to religion, but that they are never told the secular roots of the twentieth century's great calamities, such as Mao, Stalin, and Hitler. That's odd, because I remember learning in school that these ideologies lead people to slaughter one another and never thought, "gee I wonder if it was Catholicism's fault that Stalin happened?" Prager seems willing to ignore the genocidal parts of the Old Testament, where God specifically orders the Jews to massacre and enslave their neighbors. Of course this doesn't let Stalin off the hook, or Hitler, or anyone else, but it does undermine his claim that God is a meaningful source for morality. The problem is also that he lumps all secular belief systems together. A Liberal secularist and a Marxist are two different people, and even within Marxism, there were those who opposed Stalin and Lenin's excesses of power.

Prager then goes on to write this:

For all the problems associated with belief in God, the death of God leads to far more of them. So, while it is not possible to prove (or disprove) God's existence, what is provable is what happens when people stop believing in God.

Unfortunately he doesn't follow this line of thought through, and acknowledges little positive influence that secularization has had. Gays would still be burned, tithes forcibly collected, science stifled, and his own ancestors would still be stuck in Ghettos if it wasn't for it. But these details aren't worth noting, instead there is nothing but bloodshed and decadence because people stopped kneeling and blindly accepting everything their priests and poorly edited books told them. The idea that maybe these movements and dictators could inspire such ferocious and bloody loyalty because they took on the trappings of the old churches is also not considered.

Anyways, to his points, he's got fourteen of them, just like Mr. Wilson.

1. Without God there is no good and evil; there are only subjective opinions that we then label "good" and "evil." This does not mean that an atheist cannot be a good person. Nor does it mean that all those who believe in God are good; there are good atheists and there are bad believers in God. It simply means that unless there is a moral authority that transcends humans from which emanates an objective right and wrong, "right" and "wrong" no more objectively exist than do "beautiful" and "ugly."

The problem is that even WITH a God we are left with subjective moral facts because every religion claims their God wants things a certain way. A secular worldview could take such principals as Utilitarianism for a way to think about the issue, or base its reasoning from enlightened self-interest, which even religion has to fall back on (after all, when one acts good to get into Heaven, isn't that stemming from the same desire?)

2. Without God, there is no objective meaning to life. We are all merely random creations of natural selection whose existence has no more intrinsic purpose or meaning than that of a pebble equally randomly produced.

Number one, what is this objective meaning worth? Since only God knows it, it really doesn't do us much good. We assume it's out there, but it's not even much of a crutch since we have no idea what it is. Number two, simply because there is no God does not mean human life is worthless, or is equal to a pebble. If we are the products of random chance, it took more variables to make us than that pebble, or even a rock the same size as us. That alone means that humans do not lose their uniqueness under such a universe.

And intrinsic purpose? What is that? Notice how Mr. Prager claims that without God we lose our intrinsic purpose, and that we also (point 8) lose our free will as well. This seems to be a contradiction. An intrinsic purpose and meaning imply a determined being, one that isn't free.

3. Life is ultimately a tragic fare if there is no God. We live, we suffer, we die — some
horrifically, many prematurely — and there is only oblivion afterward.

It's tragic even if there is a God. A being claims to be all loving and all powerful, but we are left to suffer anyways under the illusion that it cares. Nothing really changes if the secularist has his or her way.

4. Human beings need instruction manuals. This is as true for acting morally and wisely as it is for properly flying an airplane. One's heart is often no better a guide to what is right and wrong than it is to the right and wrong way to fly an airplane. The post-religious secular world claims to need no manual; the heart and reason are sufficient guides to leading a good life and to making a good world.

So many flaws in this statement. Let me screw my head back on, it just spun off. Alright. there we go. Several things are wrong with this argument.

Humans do need instruction manuals. We are not born with intrinsic notions of right and wrong. we have an instinct towards self-preservation and that's it. over time this drive is channeled into service towards others, as well as being courteous and polite. I agree there. But the problem is that acting rightly is not a set of specific instructions like flying an airplane. There are too many variables. The notion that one cannot trust their heart because the heart can't tell you how to fly a plane, is terribly misguided because it confuses one set of instructions for another. More appropriately, ethics is a game and not a guide to operating a piece of machinery. One has to react and plan in a given situation with others.

This runs counter as well to most Christian ethical thinking (although the author is not a Christian, he has the Judeo-Christian God in mind), since Christian ethics COME from the heart. There is no more law, there is only love, which is a force and not a body of set principals. This is, after all, why Christians claim they can eat bacon and their women aren't ritually unclean while menstruating.

The heart and reason are all we have, even if we are religious. So many groups claims so many different ethical and moral imperatives that it is hard to see what believing in a God means. Plenty of groups say one thing is allowed and others claim the exact opposite, even when they claim to follow the same book.

He also claims that the secular world claims to not need a manual. This is not true either, as there are several ethical codes of conduct that different groups have come up with (Marxism, Buddhism, Humanism, Utilitarianism, Objectivism, etc.), while not relying on any divine revelation. One may not agree with them, and neither holds sway over the majority of atheists, but most theists in the world don't believe in the Resurrection of Christ either.

5. If there is no God, the kindest and most innocent victims of torture and murder have no better a fate after death than do the most cruel torturers and mass murderers. Only if there is a good God do Mother Teresa and Adolf Hitler have different fates.

What the author fails to realize though (and maybe he needs to read Jack Chick, I know, I know, I keep saying that) is that for Christians salvation is by faith not works. Adolf Hitler can repent on is death bed and go to heaven. His horrible crimes would still have been committed. Mother Teresa can have a crisis of faith before she dies and where does she end up? In hell. There are also plenty of religions that don;t have heaven and hell, and in the Old Testament it's not clear what happens when people die. They simply go to sleep with their ancestors for the most part.

6. With the death of Judeo-Christian values in the West, many Westerners believe in little. That is why secular Western Europe has been unwilling and therefore unable to confront evil, whether it was Communism during the Cold War or Islamic totalitarians in its midst today.

In City of God, Augustine confronts the pagans who said the same thing of early Christians. they blamed them for undermining the Empire and allowing it to be lax in its defenses, letting the barbarians to invade. Secularists are accused of the same things these days. When the ruling classes lose their grip on power, or when they themselves are too weak to fight, they often blame those with different beliefs for their troubles

The author seems to willingly ignore many of the secularists who serve in the armed forces of those nations involved in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as many of the intellectuals and public figures who have condemned Islamic extremism, especially in the reaction to the Danish depictions of a certain prophet.

The fact is that secularists do oppose Islamic totalitarianism, they just think that labeling it as a crusade and invading countries preemptively is not a good decision and are critical of a war against terror that allies the US with such progressive regimes as Saudi Arabia

7. Without God, people in the West often become less, not more, rational. It was largely the secular, not the religious, who believed in the utterly irrational doctrine of Marxism.
It was largely the secular, not the religious, who believed that men's and women's natures are basically the same, that perceived differences between the sexes are all socially induced. Religious people in Judeo-Christian countries largely confine their irrational beliefs to religious beliefs (theology), while the secular, without religion to enable the non-rational to express itself, end up applying their irrational beliefs to society, where such irrationalities do immense harm.

This is an incredible bizarre argument. Prager admits that religious beliefs are irrational, which the first thing. Second he thinks that becoming secular makes you a Communist, a common ploy among theists. And third he is right in suggesting that secularists were responsible for bringing about sexually equality, and he seems to think this was a bad thing, founded on "irrational" beliefs.

This argument is really grasping for any veneer of intelligence. We should believe in God because it will make us more rational on the outside and keep our irrationality on the inside. This is another unhistorical claim made by the author. We only have to look at the Crusades and witch hunts to know that irrational beliefs, when they are the foundations of a society, will produce irrational actions and are not confined simply to theology or (in the case of Marxism) philosophy. Religious people always want to make their societies function according to their faith. Occasional it works well as in the Civil Rights movement, but most of the time ends up with books banned, books burned, people labeled heretics, and people burned.

8. If there is no God, the human being has no free will. He is a robot, whose every action is dictated by genes and environment. Only if one posits human creation by a Creator that transcends genes and environment who implanted the ability to transcend genes and environment can humans have free will.

Soooooo if God controls everything, God knows what we are going to do, and we can't go against God's will, we are still free. The prisoners in concentration camps and gulags had more freedom than we do if God exists. Actually only an atheist can believe in free will, but one who is not a strict materialist (i.e. Peter Unger).

9. If there is no God, humans and "other" animals are of equal value. Only if one posits that humans, not animals, are created in the image of God do humans have any greater intrinsic sanctity than baboons. This explains the movement among the secularized elite to equate humans and animals.

Okay, first, they don't want to equate humans with animals. They want to give them equal consideration when it comes to causing a being unnecessary pain. They are also not unanimously supported by the secular community and they have religious advocates as well. Second, they are not "elites." Secularists don't have a Pope or a High Priest. Thirdly, as humans we can value members of our own species without needing to make reference to God. Simply saying humans matter because they are made in the likeness of a man in the sky is no real argument. If any other creature had a God it would make its God resemble it. Horses would give their gods hooves, pigs would have gods with snouts.

10. Without God, there is little to inspire people to create inspiring art. That is why contemporary art galleries and museums are filled with "art" that celebrates the scatological, the ugly and the shocking. Compare this art to Michelangelo's art in the Sistine chapel. The latter elevates the viewer — because Michelangelo believed in something higher than himself and higher than all men.

The fact that religious people have often destroyed works of art is of course ignored. While many people in the past were inspired by religion for their art (and many are still) getting rid of religion does not lead to the end of it. Look at most of the songs written, and how many of them are about human love. Something is motivating the writers of these songs, and it is entirely worldly in its subject matter. While I'm not too happy about the state of the art world, I wonder if Mr. Prager has been to many art galleries, and how many Catholic churches he has entered. While the "scatological" is not found there, plenty of art that celebrates suffering and gore can be seen.

11. Without God nothing is holy. This is definitional. Holiness emanates from a belief in the holy. This explains, for example, the far more widespread acceptance of public cursing in secular society than in religious society. To the religious, there is holy speech and profane speech. In much of secular society the very notion of profane speech is mocked.

The concept of "holy" only exists within a religious context. Remove that and the term is not meaningful, true. But losing the term doesn't really matter. If you took away Judaism, you would lose the ability to call things Kosher, but so what? Most people would not notice its loss in their daily lives.

12. Without God, humanist hubris is almost inevitable. If there is nothing higher than man, no Supreme Being, man becomes the supreme being.

Hubris exists with God and without it. People simply think they are carrying out God's will. In fact this is a form of hubris which is more dangerous because any one can believe it. Secular hubris is usually much more well founded, it takes a period of success and a position of power to develop.

13. Without God, there are no inalienable human rights. Evolution confers no rights. Molecules confer no rights. Energy has no moral concerns. That is why America's Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that we are endowed "by our Creator" with certain inalienable rights. Rights depend upon a moral source, a rights giver.

The problem is that the people who did the most to oppose the early advocates of these rights were themselves religious too. And God can take rights away, he often does so in the Bible and Koran, as well as in the Book of Mormon. Look at how he treats Job. How can God punish us for breaking his laws when we could not elect him? That doesn't seem to be the kind of thing our founders would approve of, even if they did put vague religious phrases in their manifestos an declarations.

14. "Without God," Dostoevsky famously wrote, "all is permitted." There has been plenty of evil committed by believers in God, but the widespread cruelties and the sheer number of innocents murdered by secular regimes — specifically Nazi, Fascist and Communist regimes — dwarfs the evil done in the name of religion.

Crimes are crimes, we don't need to play the numbers game. Do secularists commit crimes? Of course. Have Secularists slaughter people? Yes. This is an argument for secularism, not religion. Why? Because if he exists, God allowed the Nazis and Soviets to kill so many people. He also let his own followers kill people as well. Think of all the people who prayed, asking to be spared from the gas chambers, and whose prayer weren't answered. Believer and non-believer both perished. Is this a God worthy of worshipping? Believer and non-believer both perished.

Even with God, all is permitted. Its simply a matter of waiting for the right, convenient revelation.

As noted at the beginning, none of this proves, or even necessarily argues for, God's existence. It makes the case for the necessity, not the existence, of God. "Which God?" the secularist will ask. The God of Israel, the God of America's founders, "the Holy God who is made holy by justice" (Isaiah), the God of the Ten Commandments, the God who demands love of neighbor, the God who endows all human beings with certain inalienable rights, the God who is cited on the Liberty Bell because he is the author of liberty. That is the God being referred to here, without whom we will be vanquished by those who believe in less noble gods, both secular and divine.

Okay, he finally ends his argument, and once again leaves me aghast. He claims he is not arguing for God's existence, but he is. The argument from morality is just that. X exists, X can only come from God, therefore god exists.

Does he make a strong case? I think that history, real life experience, and logic show that he is wrong. Why? Because the middle part of his arguments, where X comes only from God, doesn't hold up. Only if X comes from God, without any doubt, can it be said that God exists. Since I have thrown doubt on his attempts to do this, Mr. Prager's argument is neither true, nor valid for all that matter. His attempt to cloud everything with the smoke and mirrors of patriotism only highlights his weakness.

He still needs to make an argument why "the God of Israel" is the right God. Simply writing an answer to the question is not sufficient. Everyone claims their God can deliver the same moral goods. He invokes the ten commandments as a code to follow, ignoring Leviticus and Deuteronomy and the clearly intolerant parts of the Bible. He commits all the usual fallacies of religious thinkers and ads a few brazen and unfounded allegations of his own to give his failure flourish.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Poetry Time! Poetry Time!

Alright, five more poems drifting out in cyberspace for you all to read.

On Penman Lounge there are three:

Along with one of the worst pictures of me ever taken.

LitKicks, a good place for information on underground, Beatnik, and Counter-cultural literature has two by me as well:

Monday, September 1, 2008

My Roomate's Blog

You can check it out here. He's just getting started. Probably more interesting than anything I could write about my own life (that's why I talk about ma poems and ma thoughts). Hopefully it won't simply become a litany of bad things that I do. I'm sure there must be blogs out there with names like "" or "," for a blogger who lives with somebody who has a crazy name like Jon Levine. Not that anyone named Jon Levine has had a blog. Ever.

Flashin' My Fiction

I have three short pieces over at the Shine Journal. Check them out! (Yes, that's an order)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Images of the Inspiration

I think this poem came from an assignment revolving around E.E. Cummings' "may i feel said he" nobody else wants it, so I'll give the orphan a home here.

The Images of the Inspiration

A mountain gives way
To a hand that squeezes it,
Fingers grip the foothills
And proceed to the peak
Where they stop and dance.

The ridge rises and a breath
Heaves a ghost out from a mouth,
She falls to the bed and he follows her.

Buttons slide from holes and come out,
Skin flies open and strong, a pale ocean
Opens up that his hands skate along
As the flags that cover them up fall to the floor.

Coming together in one vessel, waves
Turn them over and each one struggles
To be the general, the prophet, the genius
She wants to play a game,
He wants to divide and conquer.

Arms hold, they swallow her body,
Cover her in new clothes that he made:
Strong bars of iron, she wears him like a cage,
His lips come down to her forehead,
She is smacked by them until she is numb.

The battering ram lowers and is dropped
Barbarians ease through the gate
It is raised again, though the gate has fallen,
It comes down beating the walls like a drum
Waiting for everything to fall.

A wail stops the rhythm,
But he resumes
Once there is a promise
That comes from his heart
Like a blind messenger in the night,
A vague contrition coupled with a plea
To let him continue with his drumming.

Her skin grows cold, though only
A patch on her shoulder holds winter
While the rest of her sweats summer,
His finger carries the feeling of night
It rolls on her skin and she feels it
A wheel of gold spinning along.

He lights a cigarette, the paper sail
In his lips ignites and spreads smoke,
For him a convenient curtain
To announce the end of the action and
The coming of the next scene,
For her, it gathers like a storm
And her breath stops, trying to hold in
The air of the recent past.

A Terrible Idea

Not owning a television makes one forget there's an election going on. Hard to believe that conventions are right around the corner. In 2004, I was mostly at home during the summer and in the DC area, so EVERYTHING was about the election. But this one has passed me by for the most part, I guess because I don't really care that much. It's the name smoke and mirrors as far as I'm concerned. Plus I'm unemployed and neither of the candidates seems to have any ideas for real job creation, especially for young people. So the red elephant and blue donkey, they can all claw at each other's throats.

But nonetheless, I still like to comment on it all even though I don;t think it matters what happens. This is probably why I hate sports. I basically treat the elections like matches. That is what I put my powers of analysis and prediction into. While others look at the election with care and at sports with the enthusiasm of little armchair strategists, I leave sports behind and look at elections, if only to keep my wits up. For me democracy is just a game, and sports are the real waste of time.

Anyways, I was looking at the polling information, because I originally wanted to write how shocking it is that the election is so close (once again, because the liberal is a wuss). And I came across this article: "Caroline Kennedy floated for VP." I can't believe what Michael Moore is suggesting. Yes, let's convince America's of its doubts of Obama by having a wealthy daughter of a president with no foreign policy experience on the ticket.

The stupidity of this suggestion is paramount, it would be better for him to try and nominate Lieberman than Kennedy, better to drag Ted Kennedy out than Caroline, if all he wants is the name of America's 1# overrated family on his ticket.

Here is why Mr. Moore doesn't know what he's talking about:

1) She's an elite, something Obama is trying to fight again

2) She is the daughter of privilege, again, something that is not appealing

3) She has never run for office

4) She has never held any sort of office

5) No foreign or domestic policy credentials

6) She says that Obama will be a "president like her father"....her father who really didn't do anything, whose greatest legacy was the Bay of Pigs debacle (which led to the Cuban missile crisis), and who was nothing but charismatic with lots of empty promises and...oh wait...I guess he probably will be like her father. Then according to that logic, Obama will have a policy wonk VP who will get the real work done after the president is assassinated, a la LBJ to JFK. Of course that is only the implication of C. Kennedy's words. History does have a tendency to repeat itself though. First time tragedy, second time farce.

Of course this will probably all be made obsolete by Obama's announcement of his VP, whenever it comes. Oh, and I think Tim Kaine would not be a great idea either. Not a terrible idea, but not a great one either.

Monday, August 11, 2008

2,000,000 Words

Today I passed another milestone in my writing, two million words. That makes since the start of my recording these statistics in June of 2006, over 1,589,143 words written, for an average of 2,017 words per day. Some of them have appeared in print. Others have not. Since I am a bit of a sucker for statistics, here is a breakdown

Progress by Day:

By Genre (rounded):

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Writers Revolutions!

The website Writers Revolutions (check them out on Facebook too) has put up three poems of mine, centered around this week's theme of Coffee. Check them out:

(anyone from Arlington want to guess where I wrote this one, you are welcome to try)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Heroin Love Songs

But not love songs to Heroin. I have two new poems up at the above mentioned web site. The first one "Hot Summer Night," was about a dream I had a year ago. I sent somebody some money, and then regretted it. Anyways, check 'em out if y'interested.

Also happy birthday to my sister Anne. She is turning 16 today, in Australia. She was arrested for poaching on the lord's manor, in the lord's manner, and was sent there rather than endure oakum picking in the poorhouse for a fortnight of years! Hopefully she won't end up with Ned Kelly and his gang, or any other swagman.

Let's look at all the things that have changed since July 29,1992 so we can all feel older together.

1992: Clinton Elected President

1994: Mandela becomes president of South Africa

1995: Rwanda Genocide

1995: Rabin assassinated

1997: Dolly Cloned

1998: Suharto steps down in Indonesia

1999: Coup in Pakistan

2000: International Space Station up (also start of Willenium)

2001; 9/11 Attacks

2002: Euro adopted

2003: Start of Iraq war

2004: Bush re-elected

2005: Pope John Paul II dies

2006: Danish cartoons controversy

2007: Bhutto assassinated

2008: Obama wins Democratic nomination (something Anne is interested in)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Adventures on Google

Alright, so I am going to be doing a new thing here, and well, let's just "Fuck this duck" shall we? Basically I am going to be going on Google with a selected phrase and am going to see what I find, and if I agree with it.

Today's phrase is going to be "Overrated Poem" I would suspect that most of the top hits would be for the Waste Land, The Raven, The Cantos, something by Robert Frost, something by Shakespeare, after all, to be overrated, means to be held in high esteem, by someone, somewhere.

The first one is a review in Reason Magazine of Hitchen's review of the Waste Land. I should have figured. The reviewer makes light of Eliot's conversion to Anglicism when all the cool spiritually tormented people were moving into the Catholic camp. An interesting take on his life I suppose, seeing Eliot's religious movement as Prufrockian.

The next is from one "pixdogg" with a poem entitled, "Hell is overrated." Certainly this poem itself could not be considered overrated. Who would rate it so high? the only response is from ClericOffHis Light, who says, "And you say that my poems r deep! lol"

Here is a sample:

"Melting flesh off bone/No one has a home/Everyone feels alone/This is what everyone strives for/Not knowing what their in for"

Nice rhyming "for" and um..."for."

Then we have Poetry Snark's The 10 Most Overrated Poets, and although I agree with the names on there as being overestimated in their talent, I do think that since almost half of them are not known, even among poetry aficionados, then they don't count. "Boring?" Yes. But some degree of renown is required for being overrated. being British Poet Laureate would do it, but being American Poet Laureate does not, simply because people forget who they are, one is leaving it seems as soon as another one is coming in.

And there is the wonderful Dan Schneider, who of course would have to show up on any search of this nature. Here he "edits" Robert Frost's poem "Birches." I'm not really enough of a fan of Frost to be offended, or to appreciate the edits. In fact I'm not much of a fan, but I respect the man and Mr. Schneider's cause, even if at times it can seem obsessive.

There is an essay that briefly mentions Wordsworth's "Ode on the Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Earliest Childhood," as an overrated poem, no not just that, "much overrated." I agree with that. Wordsworth and the romantics never did much for me, perhaps because despite the emotion they wanted to put into the verse, for feeling's sake, the poetry becomes very repetitive and is usually too long. But the essay is a about teaching children morality without a grounding in religion, which I'm all for any day of the year.

Sherry Chandler brings up the Hitchen's quote, but talks about the story of Madison Cawein, a little known poet, who probably inspired the title of the Waste Land, and some of its lines and images, as well as parts of "Prufrock." One of his poems is even posted on the site.

Perhaps this is the most depressing site. I got onto it because it mentions William Carlos Williams as an overrated writer and his poem 'The Red Wheelbarrow." Personally I think Landscape with the Fall of Icarus is better. The mention is part of an outline for students at USF Health. I guess what gets me is how 1# there can be a way to so accurately play the system, so that it can be put up online, 2# how ethics is hardly taught in depth, 3# Generally how rote the whole college experience there seems. Structure is good, but predictability ruins an education like nothing else. It also lists places to eat and drink, including bars. I wonder if they card.

Well, that's the end of our adventures. It seems I was fairly accurate in my predictions, though Shakespeare did not come up. I forgot about WCW bashing as well.

Here was the #1 image:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Penetrating Certain Camouflages

Penetrating Certain Camouflages

Those who see with Dalton’s eyes
Are lucky, they avoid
The dictatorship of the red,
The conformity of the green.

It is easier to turn away a steak,
A roast, the rich red is nothing,
Only gray matter on a plate,
A salad looks the same,
But it was never killed,
Only harvested.

Crimes of the past are easier to avoid,
Bloodshed gathers no more attention
Than spilt wine or syrup,
Memories find nothing vivid to latch onto,
Trauma is left behind, relinquished,
Justice can wear robes then, not dangle
A knife or a sword by its side.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Gloomy Cupboard Makes me Happy

An nice English site has decided to post of a poem of mine, scroll down and you will see, or just look up "Nardolilli".

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fun with Misheard Lyrics

Here is a poem composed of them:

Lady Mondegreen

And nobody was really sure
If he was from the house at all,
In a prior life, Fernando,
The whole line of bees crashed to the ground
What a nice surprise
When your rabbit dies,
I get scary eyes, I get scary eyes
Your smile is a big disguise

Can you help me?
Thought you were my friend,
All those tulips covered with oil
You're free to leave the key in my pie.
Stomp on your fingers
The blame is on me.
I get no clowns, when I get home again
Round the furniture, mother and child

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Case for a Running Mate: Jeff Bingaman

In a day and age where health care is able to save most from a heart attack or an assassin's bullet, the role of a vice president in an election has changed since it was envisioned in the 18th century. Yes, the vice president will succeed a president should the president die in office, be removed, or otherwise become incapacitated. However the goal in an election now is to balance a ticket. A Northerner takes a Southerner, a centrist takes an ideologue, an old one takes a younger running mate, an insider runs with an outsider. And vice versa. Also, it helps if the VP can secure victory in a decent sized state.

With this principle in mind, I would like to make a case for Jeff Bingaman as a potential running mate for Obama. He has not seemed to get as much consideration as other potential candidates. Especially Richardson. Even though I believe Richardson would be his ideal choice, Bingaman could be a boost to Obama's campaign.

A little background, Jeff Bingaman is the 64-year old senator from New Mexico. even though he is the junior senator from New Mexico, he has held the job since 1983. He has been re-elected with wide margins since then, and so his presence on a ticket with Obama would probably ensure New Mexico swinging into the Democratic column. Because he has been in the senate for so long, he gives an air of authority to the campaign.

Bingaman is the chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which will be an important asset in terms of developing a comprehensive energy policy and being able to make oil prices and dependence on imported fuels a major campaign issue for once. He also has experience with immigration and has called for tougher enforcement on the borders, which probably will help with appeal to independents out West.

There are three drawbacks to him. First he is relatively unknown, second, he is also a senator, third, he is not a foreign policy and national security expert. This is where Bill Richardson beats Bingaman as a candidate. However being senator may not be as much of a liability in this election since Obama is a recent addition to the senate and choosing a non-senator is usually done to create the perception of a presidential candidate not being too much of a Beltway insider. Obama doe snot have this image problem and in fact has to convince voters he can attract experienced leadership to his campaign. Bingaman therefore can be seriously considered as a candidate for Vice-President.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

One Ghana, One Voice

I have a new poem published at One Ghana, One Voice, about the founder of modern Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. I am also interviewed on the site as well. The poem was a product of my boredom at a Minetta Review party. Erica Shumener can attest to that. She has the original in her Ghana textbook. Hopefully it will be worth mad money someday. Or a couple of Cedis at least.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Welcome! Welcome to My Blog

This is crazy. Unfortunately she doesn't talk about the well known imitation of her.

One has to ask, who would want advice from Ms. Dickson if they were suicidal? And seeing what she writes, who would want to follow it? This should be the new way of one saying they are desperate.

"I'm so lonely/crazy/suicidal that I wrote to Brenda Dickson."

But we have to band together and write to Mark Bennett "FOR SOME ACTION ON THE ATTORNEY/JUDGE FRAUD AT THE HONOLULU COURTHOUSE." Because we live in the "United States of America," and we have to stop these miscarriages of justice!

His address is 425 Queen Street, Honolulu, HI 96813.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Poetry and Prose Updates!

Alright, so first off I have three poems in "Ditch" a Canadian literary journal, it has the poetry "that matters" which is obvious because I'm in there. Hope you enjoy what you see. I find it amusing that I'm in the "International" section, even though I'm probably closer to where Ditch is compiled and released than anyone in Vancouver, but that's the way it is.

And I also have gotten a short story on The Tiny Globule, called "Scree at the Beach," I wrote it years ago, well, it seems like it. I wrote it for my first creative writing class at NYU. It pretty much summed up my neuroses while going on vacation with my family to Virginia Beach, you can see where my thoughts were wandering at the time when I just wanted to get out of the house and Virginia for good! I'm just happy to have a prose credit to my name.

Also, does anyone think "Einstein disguised as Robin Hood" would be good as a title, not even thinking about what the book itself, just judging by the cover. What about "Einstein and Robin Hood?" Ten points if you can guess the source and your last name does not rhyme with "praying mantis"

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Middle English Malt Liquor

Well, I was in my apartment last night, having a good time with some peoples, and yes alcohol was involved and I came up with a marvelous idea: Middle English Malt Liquor. There is already Olde English, but nothing to represent the language that really got English literature and identity rolling. I think it is a great idea and it would be a big hit with Lit and Middle Ages scholars from all around.

I can imagine a possible ad campaign:

Bathe Every Veyne in Swich Licour!

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Pseudo-Historian Sees Little Chance for McCain

An article on AOL news caught my eye, Historians See Little Chance for McCain and having been a history major, I read it, trying to see what grand truths from the march of time were being distilled.

Well, as the article says, a group of historians think that despite the apparent dead heat between the candidates, McCain will ultimately not win. Basically the thinking is that McCain happens to be from the party in power, and that party has been in charge for a number of years, and has not used them wisely. People want change, a feeling that helped Obama surge from out of nowhere to clinch the Democratic nomination. The article does point out, however, that McCain is not seen as a traditional Republican, and so that can help him. Also, he can play to racial fears and hatreds, and paint Obama as a closet Muslim and Marxist. Obama can strike back and bring up age. So the election this year can be pretty dirty, so much fodder for everyone to use.

There are two main comparisons made, with the presidential elections of 1968 and 1980. In 1968, there was an unpopular war and the party was not held in high esteem. In 1980, the sitting president was unpopular and even though he was an incumbent, there was a demand for a new approach to politics that somehow Reagan positioned himself as representing.

The problem with making such generalizations is that presidential elections are rarely mirror copies of each other. No one seems to make comparisons along the lines of, "this election is just like 1824..." or "we'll have a repeat of Tilden and Hayes!" Of course the modern party system begins in 1860, and electioneering as we know it started around the 1960 contest between Nixon and Kennedy, so there are few elections we can make comparisons too.

However I do think McCain's chances at winning are not very good. Slim, perhaps, but not impossible. His age, lukewarm support from his base, and his party are contributing factors to this. But comparisons to 1968 or 1980, are not well founded, despite the fact that this could prove to be a watershed election in which the Republican coalition (libertarians, social conservatives, security moms and dads, and business types) collapses, or begins to come apart at the seems.

Firstly, in 1968 there was an unpopular war, but not unpopular with everybody. In 1968 the tide was turning, but a majority still wanted to continue the war in Vietnam. If anything, people probably thought Johnson was not doing enough. And, even though the war was fought under a Democratic president at the time, the Republicans were pretty much staunchly for the it. There was no "peace" ticket. Humphrey probably would have beaten Nixon, and his defeat owed more to a strong independent candidate (Wallace) who took away blue collar and southern votes, than to the war.

In 1980, the situation was similar, and one could make a comparison between Obama and Reagan and the rhetoric they use, and the way they are perceived as bringing change to the table. Also, 2008 could prove to be a sweep for the democrats, much as it was for the Republicans in 1980. However the president is not running again and the candidate from the ruling party might be able to distance himself from the president. One has to go to 1928, to find an election with no vice-president or president running. This was an historical election too, because of the nomination of Al Smith for president, a catholic.

Perhaps the 1928 election provides the best example, given its historic significance in nominating a president from a minority group, and in the fact that there was no incumbent. In 1928 the first major chinks in the "Solid South" appeared because of Smith's religion. In 2008, a few southern states might go to Obama given the unpopularity of the current president, his popularity with the black electorate, and evangelical dissatisfaction with the Republicans (Plus the candidacy of Bob Barr). I doubt he will sweep the region, but he might win one or two states, and might help the Democrats pick up a few congressional elections.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Poem From Andrea's Blog

Well I wrote a poem based on the text of my friend Andrea's latest blog post. It's all cut-up, but there are patterns underneath, that my verse uncovers in its own special brand of alchemy. or something like that. This be the verse(s):

Rich by the Bosses

Like my sassy grandmother
We got there all day.
I was reminded
At my job scoring again
With another comedian
Whose name confuses possession.

Today, the gruesome
Drove around on tour,
The workplace around me
Left to explore guts
In different directions

I had just a bar,
Adequately entertained,
Then a benefit
Whose name I don't remember
Damn these crimes

Mike’s memories,
Keep the story
Miserable as usual,
I shouldn't actually have this,
I tour with a serial rapist.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Book Review: Ezra Pound, Volume I, The Young Genius

Recently I read the Ezra Pound biography by A. David Moody (sounds like the name of a blog). When one is unemployed, and an aspiring poet, (they go hand in hand) then one should try and do something productive. So I read this 410 page tome.

It is surprisingly a quick read, despite the density of information it contains. Every episode in his life is analyzed, every change of location, every publication, his meetings, his affairs, Moody has done his research and it shows. I would be very surprised if anything new about Ezra Pound's life will be revealed unless they find his elementary school valentines in the bottom of a sunken chest.

The approach is a more literary one, of course, and his life is told through his writing and the writing of others' mostly. This gives a very good picture of Pound the public figure, but some of the more intimate details of his life are lost. From a scholarly perspective, what he liked to eat and drink, how his apartments looked, and the kind of lover he is, are probably not as important, and writing about them creates a risk for digression, though it is hard to know what Pound was like when he was not in his "Poetic Genius Mode" unless he was in it all the time, which is possible.

I suppose knowing more personal information about him is only necessary for me because so little of him comes off in his own work, except his education and his linguistic skills. He was never a river merchant's wife, nor was he Malatesta. The closest we come to him is always an official version of his life, details in the Cantos, and in Hugh Selwyn Mauberley. But here he is still a character, a figure, a hopeful force for history, and if failing that, of history. We know he must have known what love was, eaten sweets, seen colors, etc. like any other poet. No poet can totally hide his or her life away from their work, it shows through the details. the only way around it would be to write nothing but lists of numbers and be in love with the sounds they make.

Another shortcoming is that in the work, it is hard to pinpoint where "Ezra" began to become "Pound." By the end of the biography, Pound is leaving London. It is 1920 and he has begun to help with the birth of modernism, him and Eliot are published, the Cantos have begun, etc. However there seems to be no singular point where we see him deciding this is where he wanted to end up. Was he always blessed with some sort of divine madness that drove him, right from the start of his life? Did it come to him later? Was there an awakening?

This is a hard thing to determine, and one may ask themselves, does it matter? Or can it even be found? Perhaps I am relying too much on the lives of the Beat poets, especially Ginsberg and Corso, who tended to have those moments, "Blakean Visions," a poet generally doesn't have the kinds of experiences they have, unless they are Ginsberg and Blake, or have a traumatic life that makes burst forth into poetry, like Sexton or Corso.

But Pound is still different from the other poets, it doesn't seem to matter when Pope thought he was good at verse, or even Shakespeare, one could imagine them simply "falling" into poetry and deciding to keep with it. With Pound, though, you have a figure who viewed himself as a poetic revolutionary, and so like any good biography of a revolutionary, Che, Mao, Jefferson, one wants to know when the spark went off, when the figure decided everything had to be changed, overthrown. The first poem is not enough, we want to know when the break happened, because when one tries to be revolutionary in anything, their lives are never seamless, there is is always a diving point.

But despite these two criticisms of mine, it is a strong work overall, soundly researched and it paints a good portrait of the family that Pound came from, I was surprised at the level of political involvement his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather engaged in, and how supportive his father generally was of his son's poetic ambitions. This is a stark contrast with T.S. Eliot's father, who pretty much disowned his son. the book also explores his poetry very well and the genesis of the Cantos. If it was extended another two years, his help on the Waste Land, but that will have to wait for volume II. It would not be right to break up Pound's life by his work with others, and the decision to divide his life around his departure from London, I think is justified.

Anyways, the biography is good for all fans of Ezra Pound and all you visionary and revolutionary poets out there. I think it shows whats in store for you and if you are a fan of his work, it is an interesting and captivating read.

Wazee Journal

Alright, another post about a poem of mine, go read it here. Then check out the rest of the issue. I know I will.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

On AOL Posting

Well, I admit that I get a good deal of my news from Is this a bad thing? It's more of a convenience than something that I actively seek out. I check my emails there, so it makes sense to peruse the articles that they have. I take it all with a large grain of salt, perhaps that's why my tears are so corrosive these days. What always surprises me is how the important and trivial are laced together. Although I guess it shouldn't really surprise me given the state of news in this country. part of it is probably the fact the stories flash so quickly before you. One sees reports of cyclones in Myanmar, and then what color is the new black, followed by something involving Obama, and then foods that will ruin your appearance in a bikini.

What I have taken a real interest in, and perhaps this is just the sociologist in me, are the posts that readers leave behind. I suppose one can see how people are, what the rest of America other than elite, intellectual New Yorkers have to say, and what people will say when there are no consequences, which can result in some pretty offense/hilarious comments.

Anonymity is, of course, one of the major problems of the internet. At this point I don't really see it as a mixed blessing, rather a curse. It's not enough to ban the internet altogether, I'm not saying that, but it's like exhaust from the car, an unfortunate bi-product rather than something that has to be controlled, like the speed of a car for instance. I feel that anonymity tends to dumb down debates and discourse and gives people too much opportunity for prank statements that become red herrings.

This is most apparent in articles covering the political elections. One thing I have noticed, is that Clinton seems to have more supporters on AOL, or at least supporters with more time on their hands. If she does well among retired folks, that would explain it, and maybe AOL attracts an older crowd. The vitriol seems to be more anti-Obama than Clinton, with McCain left relatively unscathed. i think this is the result of the media's portrayal of Obama, which has been largely positive, although his controversy with the rev. Wright I think has received more coverage than the controversial politics of McCain's own religious advisers, or the role that Clinton played in Bosnia. Nonetheless I can understand the frustration of Clinton supporters with the media. This is how I've felt in regards to their portrayal of Bush after 9/11.

So Clinton supporters turn to where they can express their anger and then do nothing about it, like frustrated teenagers graffiti-ing an overpass that cut their neighborhood in half and caused its decline.

Comments have generally been like this (these particular posts are from this article, but I think they could come from anything political):


"There is a media scam trying to convince Americans that Obama won. This scam will be apparent after the next few primaries that Hillary will win in dramatic proportions. There is a media campaign to push Hillary out of the race. She can still win this.
She is the only candidate able to defeat Mccain.That is why they are trying to push her out of the race." - mssspellr


"Even John "LERCH" Kerry would have been a better choice than
Barak Hussein "buckwheat" Obama" - tune2atis

"Obama - corrupt Chicago politician, do-nothing Senator.

Never saw a tax he didn't like.

Change: Will ship every tax dollar he can get to Africa."

"I can't stand the thought of a black MUSLIM (B. Hussein Obama) as president. For once I hope every KKK member and secretly predjudicial person in America votes Republican. This Democrat would have voted for Hillary. I WON'T vote for Obama because he's black...because the black voted for him for that reason ALONE!"

Ones that are both:



Occasionally rational and trying to make a point:

Hillary would have to win approximately 70% of the votes to even make a dent in all the remaining primaries, at a time when her popularity has taken a dive.

Besides, who wants to vote in a race for the injured horse?
Her style is outplayed. We are starting a new era of optimism, vigor, principles and ethics where there is no room for her shenanigans.
Vive Obama! - fofoye


"55Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08
Dream Team, at last.

Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08
Dream Team, at last.

Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08
Dream Team, at last.

Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08
Dream Team, at last.

Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08
Dream Team, at last.

Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08 Obama Clinton '08
Dream Team, at last.

Although a McCain Rice ticket would be a good alternative." - alexandersfol

I am noticing a fair amount of ones claiming a conspiracy to put Obama in charge of the country, more than I saw in articles coming from the beginning of the campaign, especially among Clinton supporters. I suppose her followers are trying to understand why she didn't win the nomination outright by now. Something other than her own lackluster campaign and the desire not to perpetuate a political dynasty must be int eh works, yes, yes, a conspiracy!

"Every blog, board, article and website I read, the majority are for Hillary not Obama.

Why is the media and the dirty, filthy backstabbing politicians pushing Obama down our throats. Notice how the blacks all ditched Hillary after Obama won Iowa.
They did not think he had a chance....they got lucky. Then they blamed Bill Clinton
and his statement that Jesse Jackson won S.C as a reason to ditch them.
No loyalty, they all suck..but the fat, old white guys are the worst ever. pundits and politicians....throw your buddies under the bus.

Obama is a very weak candidate against the Republican machine...just wait and see. hope is nice but not now...we have serious problems in this country." - kmakdn

A lot of the posts seem to bash "hope" and "change" which I think is funny. Look at the above quote, "Hope is nice but not now," because without hope we will really fix this country up!

In case anyone wants to accuse me of approaching this with a slant or bias, I am just going to say that it is not there. Personally, I don't think I am going to vote in the 2008 elections. I just think it is interesting how the followers of one campaign react when their campaign flounders and their rivals takes off and does better than expectations. I would think similar charges could be flung by Obama supporters if they were losing.