Friday, October 29, 2004


Taking the Piss

Right, left, and middle, if you haven't seen it yet, you should enjoy Fellowship 9/11.

Helps if you've seen the original, but not entirely necessary. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


Crazy Stats

Dunno how many of you are following the madness behind the polls this go round, and I'm not about to expose myself as that much of a political hound...suffice it to say, there are as many news stories about methodology behind polls, not to mention the bizarre way in which they're playing out this year (Hawaii trending Bush? Next they'll tell us Badnarik is likely to take D.C...), as there are polls themselves. However, this particular presidential stat, an odd one to be sure, very much struck my eye as something that needed to be shared.

What can I say? Go Packers.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Did I say that?

Yes indeed, last night, trolling the web and just before I go to bed, the story of the 377/380/400 tons of missing explosives came to light, and by all indications at that point, it sounded as if it had happened under the guard of the US Army. Then, this morning, I wake up to find out that an embedded NBC reporter says that the more powerful among the explosives reported missing were not there upon the arrival of the US Army. Now, as tempting as it might be, in light of the administration's own precedent, to now re-define my terms, and thus justify last night's post, I'm gonna say it plain and clear: I was misinformed, and I acted, insofar as a blog post makes any difference at all in this world of course, under a set of assumptions that simply were not correct. For all 3 of my regular readers, I apologize now.

Having done that, I urge everyone to read the reports on this story carefully. Look closely at the timing of these events. Find out, to the extent that you can, when this happened.

As far as I can tell, from the media I'm able to access (and unlike Tammy, my friend who is an extremely capable poet but whose politics are in diametrical opposition to my own (ABB on my side, I'm willing to vote for the wax Shreck pulls out of his ear before I vote for the current president, ABK on Tammy's) I have to wash my hands immediately after I am, for whatever reason, compelled to type the word "Drudge" ('scuse me...okay, back...)), these explosives were last verified in place in January 2003 by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Iraq's director of planning, Mohammed Abbas, said the material disappeared sometime after Saddam's regime fell in April 2003. US Troops began bombing on March 19th, and Baghdad fell on April 9th. US troops went into Al Qaqaa on April 10th, at which point, according to the NBC crew that was embedded with those troops, the explosives were gone.

Understand that 377 tons works out to 754,000 pounds. Understand that this would have required SEVERAL semis. Understand that the US Army knew these explosives were there. This means someone has the timeline wrong, or that there was a massively coordinated effort to move these explosives in a relatively narrow window of time (between January 2003 and April 10th of the same year, or even less, between March 19th and April 10th, if we take Abbas' word as truth. I'm going with NBC having the timeline right, but still reserve the right to personally suggest that these weapons would not have disappeared if the current administration hadn't been so bull-headed about diplomatic efforts.

Understand (please understand, anyone who doesn't) that these were not WMDs, but conventional weapons--but "conventionally" strong enough to take out 754,000 jumbo jets.

In any case, obviously not the cause for alarm it was last night, though that hardly negates the many, many other problems this "policy decision" has unleashed upon us.

Comes right down to it, I don't understand why humans find it so bloody worthwhile to kill each other. I'm not entirely naive to the political workings of this world, but I'm finding it harder, each day, to understand why so many Americans still believe this war was in any way a good thing.

I'm sure those that do continue to shake their heads in wonder that I can think the way that I do, as well. But hey, I promise not to lob any bombs if you don't.

Shee-it. More poetry, 'swhat I say. That, and vote, god-damn it.


What a nightmare

I forgot, I didn't want to go trolling around for political material again...

380 tons of bloody explosives disappearing?

What did they think?

If there were less at stake, it would all be a bit like watching an undefeated football team swagger into the Superbowl to get shut out by the underdog--kinda fun, and one of those nice instances where hubris is duly rewarded. Unfortunately, it ain't football we're talking about.

Nevermind all the reasons I would cite for not waging war, for spending money on social programs instead, for at least understanding exactly what sort of precident a policy of 'pre-emptive strikes' really looses on the globe in an age of nuclear warheads, nevermind that the premise for going in was completely flawed, nevermind all the rubbish that invariably accompanies war (and the spectacle of American troops acting as they did in Abu Ghraib remains the single most hopeless sight I have thus far experienced under the present administration)--nevermind all of that, and concentrate on this fact: when 380 tons of explosives go missing under your guard, you must admit that there may have been some fairly hefty miscalculations when this administration was assessing the true cost of this war.

The result is many, many dead, on both sides, a nation in chaos (and looking quite likely to elect a fundamentalist Muslim government--if allowed to...), and even more weapons in the hands of terrorists. To say absolutely nothing of what looks more like the death of democracy in America every day.

My wife reminds me that the America I love is a literary conceit. I know it's a lot more complex than saying things used to be better--but damn, I sure don't want to see them get worse.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


October Surprises

Gonna keep this one short, because if I get off on either politics or the bizarre manner in which emerging technology seems to be changing them, I'll end up with another one of those mad, lengthy ramble-ons like yesterday. I just wanted to post this link, a story I picked up over at the Zogby forums, but which was not accompanied by links. I googled it, came up with a clearly partisan site (though his criticism has focused on the intelligence community before, and was equally critical of pre-9/11 Clinton admin approaches to intel). Scheer, though, is apparently a well known journalist, so this has more credibility than your average blog.

I don't know how sexy the legs are on this story, but wanted to issue a heads up to anyone following these things.

For a less scary political fix, hop over to and take in The Truth About John Kerry

Monday, October 18, 2004



Just a brief passage to alert those watching of recent developments in my own life: I'm hoping to tend to the sidebar in the near future, slotting in a number of resources I've been gathering of late, and updating the 'work' field to reflect a few recent successes. I'm working on a few fronts, have a couple of poems--and a prose piece I am at present working on--being considered for publication. Also a poem, slated for publication in January, at a smaller zine entitled "Writers against the war." I have one sub out that has been getting the serious runaround, and I'm trying to remain patient until November before firing off an e-mail to the editors of that publication letting them know of my displeasure. I'll probably post the results here, just for funsies, though should I do so, I will likely assure myself of never being published in that zine.

Absolute Beginners is, at present, in deep hiatus, after a year and a half run. Many of the core members have moved, and I'm likely to be facing a move myself within the next couple of months. The energy required to keep the venue active and thriving simply has to be directed to other pursuits--like planning for what is very likely to be yet another shift to another continent. Hopefully Australia, where I have a PhD proposal being considered, one that would, if accepted, put me in a position to develop a thesis regarding poetics on the internet, with a specific focus on the particular economics surrounding the "commodity" of poetry. I posted, a while back, a brief question regarding how information stacks up to other, more physical commodities in terms of classical economics, and received some feedback on that, feedback that I am still very much mulling over. At issue for me, at present, is the base question of how the mathematics of a "quid pro quo" approach to exchange translates when the commodity is one that is not lost in transfer to another human. Basic talking point: if I have a bushel of apples, and I sell them to you, I no longer have those apples. If, on the other hand, I have information, and I sell that to you, I still have that information at the end of the exchange. Furthermore, the bushel of apples has value in and of itself--should I not sell them, I can still use them. This is not necessarily true in the case of information, for information often increases in value when shared. So. Still thinking all this out, and hoping I'm given the opportunity to more fully explore these thoughts on a more formal basis.

As this all pertains to poetry: simply put, while poetry is not, strictly speaking, information, it may act more like information than it does apples. I'm hoping to make use of insight into information exchange to illuminate the economic process involved in the generation and publication of poetry--and with luck, the discussion may also provide some insight into the exchange of information as well. Who knows? Thoughts welcome.

Slam: Saturday night, went out to a new venue here in town, hosted by the same people who are behind the big kahuna of Munich slams, but with a less exclusive policy regarding who reads. So, I got to read. Thing is, this is a slam directed toward Germans, and of 11 readers, I was the only one speaking English. This is less of a handicap than might be expected, simply because most Germans have a passing knowledge of English, though not always to the point of fully understanding English poetry (toughest form of reading, in my opinion, in any language, due to the denseness of the form). However, presenting English in such a venue does require one acknowledge the fact that they are making more demands on the audience's ear than others. This takes valuable mic time--as the readers are limited to 5 minutes in this venue, and the piece I chose to perform clocks in at about 3 minutes and 10 seconds, and contains a reference to Abbie Hoffman, a specific enough cultural reference to also require a brief note of explanation. I handle it like this, and this intro is actually surprisingly effective. "Entschuldigung, aber meine Deutsch ist kaput." (big laughs--literally says 'My German is broken,' but Germans don't use this construction to describe poor German skills--but the laughs are confirmation of the fact that they have enough of a grasp on English to know that we, in fact, do) Then, "Es ist schmertzlich fuer Deutschlander. So...Englisch." (schmertzlich=painful). Nuff said. Main thing: out of 11 readers, the top 3 scores were selected for a second round--and I came within .4 points (out of 30) of making that round, being edged out by the very last act. This in itself was enough to make me very happy with my performance--but more to the point, that crowd was hushed by what I had to say. Good night.

Does slam kill poetry? According to this guy, yes, and truth be told, this particular debate holds little of real interest to me, but I'm joining in the fray (Mr. Gene=papa_geno) because the author of this thread decided to diss my "hip and urban online slam rag" based not on his actually reading the thing, but because of his prejudice against the slam format. I wish I could say the discussion was enlightening, but so far, my interlocutor is not proving particularly adept at actually engaging the issues behind his topic of choice. I'm posting them here, just in case anyone wants to follow along.

Ok, me out. Politics I am actively trying to avoid, as mostly all I can do is hope and hope and hope. There's some good signs, but damn, I don't think the polls have ever been harder to read--especially as, this time around, many of us are better informed as to how those polls are conducted, and just exactly what kind of biases can be at work there. I generally trust Zogby, but even he seems to think the vote near unreadable. Again, my biggest hope is simply that we do not have a repeat of 2000.

Or, then again, perhaps that is exactly what we do need to come to terms with what needs fixin'. We'll see.

tchitch out...


Yer Gonna Burn in Hell...

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test

Friday, October 15, 2004



Trip's up!

(oh he's a happy bear/he's not crying, and neither should you/or they're gonna find us, and we're gonna get in trouble...)

So now the word is out, official and all: Bob Holman for a spotlight (and a whole lotta fun talking to him over the phone--during the RNC, no less...), and inclusion in this year's Pushcart Prize anthology--news that I've been sitting on for the last 6 months!

Anyway, now I'm gonna go ruin my eyes doing final proofs--but you heard it here first--the new issue's out! Hope you all find a few things worth reading there.

(BTW, the person writing under the name "The Barbaric Yawp"--well, let's just say that I am very, very familiar with his habits, some of which are truly, truly dispicable. Sometimes he writes a decent piece, though. Check him out.)


Friday, October 08, 2004




Okay, I think at this point it could honestly be said that I am a political junkie. I know waaay too much about not only the issues, but the candidates this time around, and like the greater proportion of the citizens, I probably know more about the spin than I do either. All that said, gotta say, the main reason why I find myself riveted to this year's presidential campaign has to do with the way the media, plural, has shifted, and the manner in which a couple of old school candidates are trying, and to a large extent failing, to make use of emergent media to control their public image--and the very real way in which the internet, specifically, is having an effect on the campaign as a whole.

This medium (or channel, depending upon your assessment of the role of the internet in communication) has, arguably, an even greater effect upon my own viewpoints as very nearly all of the news I absorb on this front reaches me through the internet, because I'm not actually in the states, thus radio, newspaper, and television is not going to have the same effect on my viewpoints. And I have to admit, I get a lot of my own information via blogs and forums, not reliable sources in and of themselves, but often containing information that leads me to decent sources about fairly obscure stories. What is really compelling to me, however, is much the same phenomenon that makes the net compelling to me as regards artistic expression, i.e., that as a result of interactivity, of being able to not only choose the channel you're watching, but with relative ease create your own channel, and to invite near-instant feedback on how your particular channel is working, the information takes a very different shape. Case in point: as any regular reader will know, I co-edit an online zine, and one portion of that zine is a 'spotlight' interview with a chosen poet. To date, I have generated 10 of these interviews (the latest to go online by midnight of October 15th (that is, at the temporal border between the 15th and the 16th), and these interviews are in and of themselves complete educations in the art of writing--not only for their content, but as a result of the process involved in generating them. The latest was conducted over the phone, with a hand-held tape recorder, over 3 Q&A sessions. These taped conversations were then transcribed, ums, ers and all painstakingly rendered into the written format, then the natural pauses, repetitions and stutters that mark conversation smoothed out, questions and answers involving barely verbal constructions rendered in (mostly) full sentences while taking pains to preserve as much of the conversational tone as possible, and finally, the entire conversation was re-arranged to group like themes with like themes. All of this changes the nature of the original communication, though most especially the re-arrangement, which is the rule on all 10 interviews, the sole exception being the Jason Pettus interview, which was also a transcription, but involved no rearrangement. Point being, as I go through the process of generating such a piece, I can't help but reflect upon the high likelihood that similar processes are at work in the generation of 'news' stories. There's little that is unvarnished truth--which is perhaps why I can excuse the tactics of folks like Michael Moore. (having said that, I think Moore stops considerably short of real brilliance, speaking solely on aesthetic grounds, precisely because his movies fail to apply the criticism he levels at the 'media' to himself--if Moore just once took that additional step, I would probably be gob-smacked, and submitting a rave review of his work. As it is, B4C posits the use of fear as a controlling mechanism used by politicians and 'the media', while neglecting to note its own use of fear for precisely the same ends, and F911 is most compelling when showing us Bush administration members preening before the announcement of the war in Iraq, while failing to draw our attention to the fact that there is considerable off-camera preening going on in the shooting of the film at hand--in either case, if Moore takes that one additional step, he moves from the merely entertaining and provocative, and to the truly brilliant. But he doesn't.)

So, to the real 'issue' today: what are some of my sources? Well, surprise to many of you, I'm sure, especially in light of the above long parenthetical, to find out that I am an unredeemed lurker at the forums at Moorewatch, where I tend to watch for the latest popular conspiracy theories and conservative spin on breaking news. Of particular use is the 'General Discussion' area--I do not contribute, am not registered, as I have contributed one or two comments to the main page of this site, and have found myself subject to attacks that have little to do with logic. However, the forum does prove useful in picking up priceless little quips like the one Steve Schmidt offered in response to the Dem's providing proof that the VP and John Edwards had indeed met before the VP debate. It is also excellent for finding out the latest non-issue to rage through the many bloggers providing commentary on the campaign, whether it be SBVT, one of the many 'anti-Moore' movies slated for release (can you say 'stalking horse'? I knew you could.), or the latest regarding the controversy over whether one or both of the presidential candidates cheated at the debate. This latest, I gotta admit, is, on the level of pure entertainment, the best and most fun of the bunch, progressing, as it has, from slow motion video replays showing Kerry removing something from his jacket, to video evidence suggesting Bush was unfolding something at the podium, to suggestions that Bush might have been wired for sound during the debate. (And for the record, I don't think this issue truly relevant--though my estimation of Bush might actually go UP, in a sense, if it were to be proven definitively that he can listen to an audio feed and speak at the same time--it's not easy. Try it some time.) Some of this last 'issue' may be reviewed by following the links provided in today's Electoral Vote Predictor, an interesting site that, while run by someone who calls himself a Democrat, does seem to attempt to aim at a level of objectivity not always achieved by websites. Another regular resource is Zogby International pollster John Zogby's site, and probably one of the better go-to polling sites one can access (though who the hell can really make sense of any of the polls this go-round?). Zogby's also has a forum, considerably further to the left than is Moorewatch, but generally containing political discussions of a much higher tone. Finally, for kicks, and because sometimes the posts there are amusing, I regularly access Mr. Moore's 'Must Read' page, and have recently discovered the joys of The Daily Show via video excerpts posted on the web.

Now, anyone who has watched this blog, or tracked my comments elsewhere, is probably perfectly clear on where I fall on the Political Compass (i.e., considerably 'left' of the Dalai Lama), so I'm not out to try to convince anyone at this point, just making my own stance known in a relatively quiet way. My real purpose, in addressing all this, is just to try to collect my own thoughts re: how informed/effective the various campaigns have been in assessment of the net's potential to make or break a campaign. This particular election process looks weirder than previous ones, but I'm not entirely sure that perception of the process extends past the point of appearance, because the fact is, as a result of any old fool being able to publicize their suspicions and/or conclusions about even the most marginal aspect of this campaign has meant that the actions, and past records, of both candidates has been under what is arguably an unprecedented level of public scrutiny. "Cheatergate" being but the most recent example of this phenomenon. It is rather fascinating to watch the whole process, to assess a story as it comes out, and to try to figure out which stories will stick--and I think this is something that is giving both campaigns headaches right now, as both have suffered from it--Kerry with his decision not to immediately address the SBVT nonsense, still thinking in terms of a 'small advertising buy' and not really considering the fact that the commercial would be propagated via the web, and Bush's campaign getting what is quite likely a very unwelcome squelch as a result of the close scrutiny to which many right-wingers subjected the opening moments of the last debate--a minor story, one that probably would not have factored in any significant way in the past, and which may be nothing more than conspiracy-mongering, but one that is still developing, and might well influence less issue-focused voters than I. All very fascinating to watch, no matter what quadrant of the political compass you inhabit.

Many other thoughts, though this is meant mostly as a quick update, thinking forward to tonight's debate. One gem, not for the faint-hearted, as it emanates from the mouth of the lewd and crude Uncle Rollie, who I hope does not resort to litigation as a result of my sharing an invective-laced extract of a recent private e-mail regarding last week's debate. I asked him what he thought of the debates, a question to which he responded: "Debate? I guess I missed the debate. There was a nicely scripted media boondogle last week in which Kerry and Bush traded soundbites while someone was apparently shoving a corncob up W's keister off-camera, but I tend to think of it in terms of collaborative drama than debate."

Somehow, the visual left me chuckling in front of the monitor. Though chuckling may be too mild a word for what I was doing. Chortling may be better.

Last, a linguistic note: after a recent exchange regarding the distinction between the words 'discrimination' and 'racism,' I have finally cracked the dictionary in an attempt to track down a little of the history behind that oft-used syllable, crim--Latin, apparently, and related to 'accusation'. Crime, criminal, recrimination, discrimination...but I wouldn't mind having a more thorough sense of this word, and my dictionary isn't real thorough on the etymology front. If anyone has more insight to offer on this one, I'd appreciate, much.

Ok, off to drink beer, and stuff.


Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Could you run that by me one more time?

Warning: Blatantly partisan link below.


could you run that by me just one more time?

(be afraid. be very afraid.)

Now, if I could just get a soundfile of that Scalia quote...that could do with some mixing...

Friday, October 01, 2004


Moses, then MLK, now Bush...

A few years back, a man who did great credit to the name "American," spoke these words:

"I just want to do God's will. And he's allowed me to go to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land! I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land."

Last night, while I slept and wondered how things would turn out, another American spoke these words:

"We've climbed the mighty mountain. I see the valley below, and it's a valley of peace."

Before either of them was, of course, Moses.

I am so going to resist the temptation to either a) compare the careers, thus far, of these three leaders, or b) make any of the many bad puns presenting themselves with alarming ease. However, do feel free to make your own contributions in the comments section.


Toga! Toga! Toga! (Make sure to wear your best legal briefs!)

Lots of stuff on the ground, and no, I'm not gonna get too stuck into the debates thang, though of course, I'm watching. Fact is, I'm very partisan (John Kerry is a right-wing conservative, though not a nut-job, from my political perspective...), and second, I tend to write these really long sentences and I don't always buy the same basic assumptions that many voters do (e.g., that the primary concerns of a political and economic hegemon in a world that is increasingly governed by international issues should be to protect 'its own interests' at the expense of others, or that free markets necessarily lead to free societies...), so, I'm not kidding myself about my own capacity to sway anyone on that front. Further, I'm not in a sitch to have actually watched the debates, and although there are multiple polls online. they're all hot after the event and non-scientific and likely to be so for some time. I do get the sense that Kerry managed not to step on his dick, which is as good as I expect the news to be most days. In any case....

Much happening here, smack into the lead in to the next Triplopia, lots still left to produce. Two friends leaving in the near future--Hugh left Wednesday, Tania and Jaques have recieved a post in Capetown, so they're off in November. I've decided to give up the show, as we're supposed to be upping sticks (though it isn't clear yet where to...) at the end of the year, and I'm bloody tired and starting to move into the reflective end of the spontaneous overflow/tranquil reflection cycle. I will perform and even host a show organized by someone else, but after 15 months of the stuff, I've done what I set out to do, had lots of good times for it, and made a few new friends and got closer to a few existing ones. One last show, more like a 'salon' in the Stein/Toklas tradition, this coming Friday, so I've work to do getting folks out to that. Tania's hosting that one at her own home. Will probably be more fun than anything we could do in a public venue, at this point.

On that note, Andrew is coming to visit this next week. Yee-haw! Andrew is a friend from back in Enid, haven't seen him in a good 7 years, haven't hung with him regularly in about 15, so it'll be good to touch base. Math/mechanics fellow who took a couple of years off when he was younger to explore the US of A in a VW bug he'd rigged up himself (with creature comforts such as hot & cold running water, no less...). We used to drink cases of AB beer (3.2, we were in Oklahoma at the time, and the liquor laws are such that there were regular police reports in the local 'news' rag that told of incidents of adults who had supplied minors with 'non-alcoholic beverages' (i.e., 3.2 beer) and been arrested/fined for it...) in his garage, and probably got a bigger high out of having to stand up and sit down so often to go to the toilet. In Munich, the rough equivalent of alcohol for a 24 can case of Busch or Budweiser in Oklahoma (3.2) , at 12 oz. a can, calculates out into (lessee, 12*24=288 oz.=2 1/4 gallons, or 9 quarts--there are 4.54609 litres to the US gallon, which means a case of Busch comes out to approximately 10.229 litres. As the standard beer in Munich is .5 litres (the maß is a litre), but the alcohol content is double, laving us with) 10 (and a quarter) standard beer, we should be able to easily match and even exceed the excess we used to attain when we were young and split a case between us. (see, if they'd given me problems like this in school, I would have understood math just fine...) Anyways, I'm trying to get as much work done on the Trip before that happens.

BUT the reason I got on here in the first place was not to calculate out Munich/Oklahoma beer equivalencies, but to share with you one of the most bizarre political, or at least judicial, quotes I have heard for many a year. "I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged." You know what? I will give double banana scores to anyone who can tell me who said this without peeking at the link. (and the going rate for you-are-a-complete-internet-political-junkie-if-you-know-the-answer-to-this-one questions stands at 20 for US questions, converting out to 24.80 bananas for European questions, or 14.5 bananas for questions about Australia--as this is a US question, you get double the standard rate, or 40 bananas, but only if you don't peek--and no, it is neither Bush nor Kerry)(I appear to be in a math mood this morning...)

Anyways, me back to work...just wanted to post a word or two, and make sure that quote got a little air-time.

Tschuss, for now.

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