Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Adding More Randomness to an Already Purposeless Existence

The Generator Blog

Site Description: This blog is not about those machines used to change mechanical energy into electrical energy. It's about software that creates software. Software to play around and have fun with.

Here are a couple of generator softwares to get you started:

The Euphemism Generator

The Debauched: They found him naked in the alley behind the bar,
licking the headlight.

The Violent: Like most guys his age, he wasn't above
punishing the Welsh eel.

The Fanciful: I couldn't believe my luck as she started
basting the perpetual sly elves.

The Absurd: They were hoping the neighbors couldn't see them
shouting at the sheets.

Random Disease Generator

Persistent Identity Dysfunction Disease
Restless Penis Syndrome
Bacterial Tom Cruise Insanity Disorder
Post Traumatic Gastric Worms Disorder
Acquired Post-Operative Dementia Disease

And of course, Death Cause Generator

Let it be told:

While watching whales in a observation area of the aquarium, a suicidal maniac shoots the glass wall of the tank with a shotgun. Four million gallons of water quickly rush out of the tank and into the hallway, drowning you (and everyone else around).

4 out of 5 users agree: is more fun than actually dying!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Used to be a Time When All You Could do Was Talk to a Shoe!

Adidas´1.1Intelligent´ Running Shoe

A smarter, faster, stronger version of adidas' revolutionary running shoe. A built-in microchip calculates your weight, pace and terrain and makes automatic adjustments for optimal comfort during your run.


Boulevard des Capucines

Jean Béraud (1849 - 1936)
Oil on canvas
20 x 28 5/8 inches
(50.8 x 73 cm)

Monday, March 27, 2006

"...Translating a Poem From One Language to Another is Impossible, But Necessary..." : Ed Hirsch

The Washington Post columnist & author of "How to Read a Poem (and Fall in Love With Poetry)", Ed Hirsch, makes some other interesting comments:

Neither the poet nor the reader necessarily "begins with a deep interest in language, although the more you read poetry, the more sensitive you become to the materiality of language. Language is the medium of the arts. In reading poetry, you must understand that the way it is said is inseparable from what is being said."

"First of all, translating a poem from one language to another is impossible, but necessary. You have to be sensitive to the original language and to make the poem in the new language. Translating word for word does not work. A poem written in another language is remade into a creative entity in English."

Hirsch believes "poetry ought to be as accessible to as wide an audience as possible, and poetry can find a larger audience — but it's crucial that you don't change the essential nature of poetry. The readers have to know how to go about thinking about poetry; they want a way in. Poetry is an art form and the deepest reading of it is sensitive to the nuances of the art."

"My central impulse is to say poetry belongs to everyone. It's not just for the elite. The art of poetry is more available than you think. Poets are not entirely born with a gift from the Gods. There is a lot that can be learned about the art."

"Poets are not necessarily the best interpreters of their own work. People who are not poets who understand the rhythms of language can do a good public reading of poetry. I like to read my own poems aloud and I have a sense of how to make them available to listeners. But I hope the dramatic impact of the poem lives in the words. I don't think I'm a necessary presence to bring them alive."

Read the full article HERE.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Promise of Things to Come

Jean-François Millet (1814-1875)

Pastel on paper, circa 1867-1868
15 3/4 x 19 3/4 inches (40.20 x 50.17 cm)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Shoveling Snow with Buddha

by Billy Collins

In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok
you would never see him doing such a thing,
tossing the dry snow over the mountain
of his bare, round shoulder,
his hair tied in a knot,
a model of concentration.
Sitting is more his speed, if that is the word
for what he does, or does not do.
Even the season is wrong for him.
In all his manifestations, is it not warm and slightly humid?
Is this not implied by his serene expression,
that smile so wide it wraps itself around the waist of the universe?
But here we are, working our way down the driveway,
one shovelful at a time.
We toss the light powder into the clear air.
We feel the cold mist on our faces.
And with every heave we disappear
and become lost to each other
in these sudden clouds of our own making,
these fountain-bursts of snow.
This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.
He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.
All morning long we work side by side,
me with my commentary
and he inside the generous pocket of his silence,
until the hour is nearly noon
and the snow is piled high all around us;
then, I hear him speak.
After this, he asks,
can we go inside and play cards?
Certainly, I reply, and I will heat some milk
and bring cups of hot chocolate to the table
while you shuffle the deck,
and our boots stand dripping by the door.
Aaah, says the Buddha, lifting his eyes
and leaning for a moment on his shovel
before he drives the thin blade again
deep into the glittering white snow.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My New Poetry Disclaimer (Via Denise Duhamel)

by Denise Duhamel

Do not swallow.
If you accidentally swallow this poem, contact a Poison Control Center
Do not read this poem while sleeping.
If you consume 3 or more alcoholic drinks everyday, consult your doctor before
...reading this poem as a pain reliever.
This poem is not for use with the browning unit of your conventional oven.
Never place this poem in a microwave.

This poem may cause stomach bleeding.
In case of bleeding, consult a doctor promptly.
Do not take this poem by mouth or place in nostrils.
Do not put this poem into the rectum by using fingers or any mechanical device
...or applicator.
Avoid contact with open wounds.
Do not read this poem for persistent or chronic cough.
If symptoms persist for more than seven days, discontinue reading this poem
...and consult your doctor.
Do not place this poem in any container in which you are heating water.
Do not apply this poem to broken or irritated skin.
In case of serious burns or animal bites, do not read this poem. Consult a
If you are pregnant or nursing a baby, seek the advice of a health care worker
...before reading this poem.
This poem has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This
...poem is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This poem is not intended for weight reduction.
A very small percentage of readers may develop a sensitivity to this poem. This
...sensitivity may result in an allergic reaction.
This poem may contain nuts or nut fragments.
This poem contains caffeine.
This poem contains phenylketonurics which contains phenylalanine.
This poem contains 21-28.7% mercury. Reading it may cause serious mercury
This poem contains saccharin which has been determined to cause cancer laboratory animals.
This poem contains ical known to cause birth defects.

Read this poem only in well ventilated areas.
Avoid fire, flame, or smoking while reading this poem.
As with most poems, electrical parts of this poem are electrically live even when
The poem is not being read. To reduce risk of death, always "unplug it"
...after use.
Do not read while bathing.
Do not place or store where poem can fall or be pulled into tub, toilet, or sink.
If this poem falls into water, do not reach into water to retrieve it.
This poem may explode or leak and cause burn injury if disposed of in fire,
...mixed with poems of different types, or disassembled.
This poem contains liquid and vapors which may ignite.
Never spray and pull poems apart at the same time as this action creates static
...which in itself is an electrical charge which could possibly ignite.
Do not puncture this poem.
Do not attempt to iron this poem or any poem while it is being worn on a body.

Rinse this poem thoroughly before reading it. Defrost.
Always shake well before reading.
Read with food.
Read on an empty stomach.
After opening this poem, read it within seven days.
Do not turn this poem upside down before reading.
Refrigerate after reading.
Read at room temperature.
Read in a cool dry place.

Do not read in temperatures above 120 degrees F as poem may burst.
Do not attempt to drive or operate heavy machinery while reading this poem.
Deliberately concentrating and inhaling the contents of this poem can be harmful
...or fatal.
Read only as directed. Entering this poem into the ear canal could cause injury.
The red tip is to remind you not to put this poem in your eye. If accidental with eyes occurs, immediately put down this poem and flush eyes
...with water.

Read liberally to the affected area.
Do not read more than three times a day.
For external use only. If rash develops, discontinue reading.
Avoid reading this poem if you have skin prone to spider veins and/or skin
...which is sensitive to peel-off face masks.
If the reading of this poem is accompanied by fever, headache, swelling, nausea,
...or vomiting, stop reading immediately.

Do not read to children under twelve years of age.
Supervise any children over six who read poems.
For children under two, use only a pea size amount of this poem.
Consult your pediatrician before reading to children under six months.
Keep poems away from baby's nose and mouth.
Keep this and all poems out of the reach of children.
The reading of this poem does not enable you to fly.

Originally published in SEGUE Vol 2.1

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Jean-Léon Gérôme

An Arab Caravan outside a Fortified Town, Egypt
Artist: Jean-Leon Gerome (1824 - 1904)
Oil on canvas

Saturday, March 18, 2006

At Long Last...Redemption!

Valparaiso Poetry Review Picks up One of my Poems

Albeit, poetry e-zines are probably the wave of the future, not all of them are created equal. But when they're good - they're very good! Some good ones that come to mind are (& please don't send me all your e-mails and missives renouncing me as an imbecile for having missed your particular choices - I mean I usually can't even remember what I had for breakfast!) : Eclectica, Adirondack Review, Cortland Review, Stirring, No Tell Motel, Three Candles, Tarpaulin Sky and one of my favorites of the bunch VALPARAISO POETRY REVIEW . Some of the digerati that have had their poetry appear there read as a who's who of poetry:

David Baker, Claire Bateman, Jared Carter, Billy Collins, Barbara Crooker, Bernardine Evaristo, Patricia Fargnoli, Annie Finch, Jeff Friedman, Carol Frost, Brendan Galvin, Reginald Gibbons, David Graham, Jonathan Holden, Colette Inez, Gray Jacobik, Adrianne Kalfopoulou, Laurence Lieberman, Rachel Loden, William Matthews, Walt McDonald, Alicia Ostriker, Kevin Pilkington, Stanley Plumly, Rochelle Ratner, Sherod Santos, Margot Schilpp, Vivian Shipley, Beth Simon, Floyd Skloot, Kate Sontag, Virgil Suarez, Charles Wright, and many more.

However, in my humble opinion it is the editor of Valparaiso Poetry Review, Edward Byrne that makes VPR as good an on-line journal of poetry & poetics as it gets. The publication hails from Valparaiso University Valparaiso, Indiana. Here is a brief bio of Edward Byrne:

Edward Byrne is a graduate of Brooklyn College, City University of New York (B.A., M.F.A.), and the University of Utah (Ph.D.). He has won a number of awards and fellowships, including an Academy of American Poets Award, the Donald G. Whiteside Award for Poetry, and a Utah Arts Council Award for Poetry.

His first full-length collection of poetry, Along the Dark Shore (BOA Editions), was a finalist for the Elliston Book Award. A chapbook-length collection of poems contained in The Return to Black and White (Tidy-Up Press) was selected by Library Journal as among "The Best of the Small Press Publications." Work in his third book of poems, Words Spoken, Words Unspoken (Chimney Hill Press), was awarded the Cape Rock Prize for Poetry in 1995. His fourth book of poems, East of Omaha, was nominated for a Midland Authors Award in 1999. A fifth collection of poems, Tidal Air, appears from Pecan Grove Press in 2002. His poems also have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. In addition, he has written many film essays and movie reviews.

He was born in New York City and currently resides with his wife and son in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is a professor of American literature and creative writing in the English Department at Valparaiso University, where he serves as the editor of Valparaiso Poetry Review.


"The world of Edward Byrne's poems is our own world viewed through the wrong end of a telescope: curiously small and urgent. But the minuteness of scope is deceptive.... Particulars explode into universality as through the action of a zoom lens." —John Ashbery

"Edward Byrne's poems are sinewy yet delicate, clear yet atmospheric; the precise character is unpredictable, but they are always moving, always engaging." —Mark Strand

"Reading a poem by Edward Byrne is like emerging at the top of a stadium ramp for a first glimpse of authentically green grass. Byrne's lines restore visibility to objects darkened by over- exposure." —David Lehman

I guess it's pretty obvious that I'm tickled pink to have my work presented in Volume VIII, Number 1 (Fall 2006) of VPR and having had the particular poem in question - "Malinconia" chosen for publication by its editor. Do you think drinking all that green beer had anything to do with it?... Nah!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Monday, March 13, 2006

Something Sorely Lacking

by Katherine Larson

For Max Rojas

Once a month
when the moon loses everything,
Don Max takes a chair
to the edge of the sea.
Black sand beach & green-backed heron.
The moon
casts off her milkglass earrings.
I am nothing, she says, but black & white.
I keep losing my face.
Don Max feels for his pipe in his pocket.
Takes it, knocks it against his palm.
I am old! She cries. I get gooseflesh
in the dark. Don Max is looking for his tobacco.
Don Max has found a match.
You don’t know how hard it is
to come back from nothing.
Don Max smiles & lights up.
I keep making the same mistakes, she says.
I think you should leave me, she says.
Through smoke, she watches Don Max
fold a strip of seaweed into a grasshopper.
Leave me for your own good! She demands.
Don Max has set the grasshopper in the sand.
Besides, I am too beautiful.
She speaks it as though it makes her sad.
I’ll find other lovers. I will
forget you.

Featured Poet in Latest Issue of Poetry - March 2006

Katherine Larson was awarded a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship in 2003.
The poems in this issue are her first publications.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Slacking Off!

"A Game of Billiards" - Jean Beraud
Oil on panel14 3/4 x 21 3/4 inches (37.5 x 55.3 cm)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What Three 6 Mafia Should Have Been Singing:

It’s Hard Out Here For a Poet

You know it's hard out here fo’ a poet
When he tryin’ to get the money for the rent
For the chapbooks & SASE's money’s always spent
Because a whole lot of critics talkin’ shit
Will have a whole lot of editors takin’ it

In my eyes I done seen some crazy thangs on the scene
Gotta couple roomies workin on the changes for me
But I gotta keep my pome tight, like a poet groupie on slam night
Like takin’ from a newbie don't know no better, I know that ain't right

Done seen poets plagiarize, done seen workshop poets criticize
Done seen poets live in the burbs with no wheels
It's fucked up where I live, but that's just how the po biz is
It might be new to you, but it's been like this for years
Always sendin' out letters to submit, when it come down to this poet shit
No use tryin’ to get rich offa it

I'm tryin’ to have thangs but it's hard fo' a poet
But I'm prayin’ and I'm hopin’ to God I don't slip, yeah


You know it's hard out here fo’ a poet
When he tryin to get the money for the rent
For the chapbooks & SASE's money’s always spent
Because a whole lot of critics talkin’ shit
Will have a whole lot of editors takin’ it

(you ain't knowin’) repeat

Monday, March 06, 2006



My seven year old daughter is going to church every Sunday morning - bright & early. I’m not sure but I think it’s a sin in the catholic religion to sleep in on Sunday. All this in order that she can prepare for her first communion. Suddenly, it’s become a long drawn out process. Used to be, that you got your daily dose of religion in a classroom from a “religious instructor”. Not any more! Now it’s a five year commitment or “stretch”. Three years for “communion” & another two for “confirmation”. And there’s no time off for good behavior. The warden is bug-eyed mean and the guards shoot anybody trying to sneak out the church door. When the collector passes the plate around, you had better chip in with your last sawbuck.

Funny thing about Catholicism is that I remember a time when eating meat on Friday was a venial sin. You had to eat fish. (This made the fish mongers very happy.) If memory serves eating flesh on Friday could land you in purgatory. Then you started hearing that it was okay to eat meat on Fridays. So that it was no longer a punishable offense. Make up your minds already! And I’m thinking what happened to all the people that spent centuries in purgatory because they had eaten meat and gruel and died before they were absolved of their sin. Talk about a “bum rap”!


In Quebec a.k.a.: “La Belle Province”, once upon a time religion was part of the regular curriculum. There was a Catholic School Board & Protestant School Board here in the greater Montreal area. Now since the vast exodus of Anglophones in the seventies & eighties and the constant trickle of English speaking Quebecers leaving the province there just aren’t enough Anglophone schools to warrant a dual school board system. It’s been a language war of attrition for English schools.

Certainly it doesn’t help that the Quebec provincial government has made it impossible (via Bill 101) for citizens of this province and new immigrants to choose the language of their children’s education. The catch-22 of the situation is that if you or your spouse has not attended public school in the English language in the province of Quebec then your children are not eligible to attend an English school within the province. Imagine the surprise of the English couple that I met who had just arrived from Britain to the province believing that they could send their son or daughter to a public elementary of their choice, when I told them about Bill 101.

To add insult to injury - Bill 178, tabled in 1988, banned English on outdoor signs but permitted it indoors - provided that the French signs were twice as prominent or twice as numerous. This was met with ridicule and derision by anglophones and was summarily called the “two-for-1 rule”. This then gave way to the language police – civil service vigilantes who hunt down violators of the 2-for-1 rule. Mordecai Richler (author, English activist) and his Montreal drinking buddies formed the “Twice as Much Society” a call for French to be spoken twice as loud as English inside and outside.

Quebec is the province of angst! Its license plates read “Je me Souviens” - a reminder of the French’s defeat (on the plains of Abraham) in the colonial battle for Canada. In the immortal words of General DeGaulle, “Vive le Quebec Libre”. Freedom for whom? Don’t your freedoms end where mine begin?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

La Lettre - Jean Beraud - 1908

Oil on panel - 17 7/8 x 14 5/8 inches (45.7 x 37.2 cm)