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Wildly Interesting Books

  • Adam's Task by Vicki Hearne
  • Anything by Colin Cotterill
  • Auguries of Innocence by Patti Smith
  • Big Box Swindle by Stacy Mitchell
  • Darwin: A Life in Poems by Ruth Padel
  • Gehry Draws
  • Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker
  • Out of Our Heads by Ava Noe
  • Stylepedia: A Guide to Graphic Design, Mannerisms, Quirks and Conceits
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson
  • The God of Small Things by Arundahti Roy
  • The Long Fall by Walter Mosely
  • The Martin Beck Series by Maj Sjowall and Per Waloo
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
  • The Wrecking Crew by Thomas Frank
  • Vermeeer in Bosnia by Lawrence Weschler

Monday, December 31, 2007

What a Dictator!!!

Chavez to Pardon Coup-Related Crimes
1 hour ago from AP
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — President Hugo Chavez said Monday he will grant amnesty to people convicted of a failed 2002 coup that briefly drove him from power.
Chavez said the amnesty decree he intends to sign will also pardon others accused in suspected attempts to overthrow the government or assassinate him. It was not immediately clear how many accused opponents would be affected by the amnesty.
"It's a matter of turning the page," Chavez said in a telephone call to state television on New Year's Eve. "We would like a country that moves toward peace."

Happy New Year or Whatever

Throw away the totally ridiculous new year's resolutions

Here is David Maybury's prescription for life.

I eat foods that I like. I try to favor whole foods, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
I drink as much spring water as I can.
I rest as much as I can.
I have as much fun as I can.
I listen to music that I love as much as I can.
I spend some time alone everyday.
I spend time with wise friends. These are friends who are mindful and kind.
I spend time with my family.

This is from one of David's health updates:

I just have to stay with the truth of the moment. There are going to be ups, and there will be downs. I might be a melanoma miracle, or the cancer might catch up with me. I have been here before, and I know that all this speculation and crystal ball gazing is a waste of energy and time. I want to rededicate myself to my real purpose, which is sharing my experience as it unfolds, sharing with love and compassion. Right now, for whatever reason, my choice is starkly presented to me. Either I face the depression and anxiety of a terminal illness which all the medical people tell me is real and will get me, or else I believe in the miracle of healing, and share that miracle with my friends and family. In the space where I exist now, where time is art, and where multiple realities coexist at every moment. I simply need to rest in the winter sun streaming through the window, close my eyes, and go wherever the music takes me. The choice is then clear, without meaning, without judgement, without outcome.

When the Power of Love Overcomes the Love of Power, the World will know Peace. - Jimi Hendrix



Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Crazy Horse

Little Indians, Big Oil

BBC Newsnight has been able to get rare footage of a new Cofan Indian ritual deep in the heart of the Amazonian rainforest.
Known as "The Filing of the Law Suit," these natives of Ecuador's jungle, decked in feathers and war paint and heavily armed with lawyers, are seen presenting their official complaint seeking $12bn from Chevron Inc - the international oil giant

Greg Palast reports
And don't forget to click the link under the picture of the Indians to see Greg's typical Investigative Noir film,
or watch the film on Democracy Now on a better screen and including an interview with Greg and Rafael Correa.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Fearless Jones

Walter Mosley

"Hampton had a sharp laugh, like the chatter of a dozen angry wrens." ---Walter Mosley writing in Fear Itself.

I find myself compelled to re-read all of Walter Mosley's books. It's that time of year when a gal wants nothing new but the old favorites. There's a new Fearless Jones novel out--Fear of the Dark. Paris Minton is back, of course and has somehow gotten himself involved in another big mess. This one, like the others, starts with a knock on the door to his used bookshop. Paris makes the mistake of answering the door, and there stands Fearless Jones. Paris and Fearless are the perfect counterbalances to each other. Paris is an intellectual, timid and forever attempting to be logical. Often his intellectual skills are crucial to figuring out the twists and turns in the endless and horrifiy adventures that take him and Fearless into the disturbing and violent places of L.A. in the fifties. Fearless is, well, fearless. He intuits people and exerts his homegrown moral system in situations that seem to defy order and integrity. But if you make a wrong move, he'll beat you to a pulp in a hearbeat. Fearless and Paris take care of one another and once in a while they both take care of other people who wander in and out of the bizarre and shady situations that build in complexity throughout the series. Paris and Fearless are two Black men in L.A. in the fifties and this determines to some degree who they are, and to a larger degree the framework within which they have to work things out. The first in the series is Fearless Jones, followed by Fear Itself, and the latest --Fear of the Dark.

Labels Added

Oh goodie, I can just hear people saying, "Now I can see all the labels for Jeanne's posts right under the blog archive section.

Why, all I have to do is click on any of them to retrieve some of those old chestnuts, like 'guido and suitcase full of money'".

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Isn't It That Time of the Year for the Cholslaw Family Newsletter?

Buster Points out Insitution he is so recently from.

Laugh it up with Buster and Bootstrap and the whole gang.

Bootstrap so philosophical in defiance of all reason. Sits quietly and grows moustache.

Prum's Haircut circa 2004

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Just in case you missed the Reverend Billy's New Years Message from last January. Get it on his blog below
Or go to my website to see it in larger print.

Emily Scudder's Back with Audio This Time

The link will take you directly to Emily's two poems. Click the sound button and you can hear her read. Worth it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

There's a Whole World Out There

And there's a whole world inside. this is a painting, crudely executed in oils, that's part of the world inside. This is from a time when David struggled with the world inside. Sometimes he drew into himself to cope with the disease. I had to go inside to try and paint it. I wish my painting skills were better. But I continue to work.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Love Story

Fionna Lafferty has a story in "The Meeting House", an online journal.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Totally Cool Picture of Guido...and the Suitcase Full of Money

Here's Guido, just as you pictured him, curtesy of
and see the suitcase and all the money?
check out what has to say.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Man Named Guido with Suitcase Full of Money

Honestly! And I though my novel was bad!!

So this guy, Guido Alfonso Something Italian Wilson, a Miami business man with dual American-Venezuelan citizenship is caught coming off a plane chartered by some Argentinian officials with a suitcase full of 800,000 US dollars. So the money is seized by customs in Argentina and Guido is picked up in Miami with four buddies (Venezuelan business men) and the four buddies are charged with being undeclared agents of a foreign power. The four are supposed to have put poor old Guido up to trying to deliver the money from the Venezualan government (this was in August) to a candidate for president of Argentina. Somehow we are supposed to know that this is what the money was for. Guess which candidate that was supposed to be! Maybe this was supposed to drive a wedge between Venezuela and Argentina. That's one of the speculations.

But guess what? Hell hath no fury like an Argentinian woman president. If this is a ploy by the US government to antagonize Argentina from Venezulea--it's had the opposite effect.

Day by day the story seems to get smaller and smaller in the press. Oh won't this be fun to run down?

Questions are being asked. Like why would the Venezuelan government bother to send Guido and his suitcase when a plane full of Venezulean diplomats, with diplomatic immunity, flew from Caracas to Buenos Aires a few days later?

What I would like to know is why Venezuela would bother to spend five cents on Cristina Fernandez's campaign when she was already a shoo-in.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Time to Drink some Illegal Whiskey

And time to talk about movies since I just upped my Netflix subcription to 5 at a time. Five. Who's gonna watch all these? Really it's part of my neurotic stockpiling disorder. This also explains why I have 45 cans of Trader Joe's beef chili in my pantry.

Last night, after eight hours on the road from Worcester to home.( see how I looked afterwards above) I took stock of myself and discovered that the cupboard was bare. So I watched "The Year of the Dog". What happened? I thought I was following along quite nicely, but things began to happen. And happen. Maybe this was someone's unedited entry in NaNoWriMos ScriptFrenzy that takes place in July. Okay, so Laura Dern did a great job with her "Mommy" character. But I had bad dreams about the rest of the movie.

Tonight I watched "Amazing Grace" and totally enjoyed it except for the fact that I know most of it sort of didn't happen exactly that way. It's a good movie for our times. Well, for people who already know how crazy we are now. It had some of those elements of being able to tell a story about then, that's also about now. Like Shaw did in Saint Joan. The Albert Finney character was fabulous. I think it's growing on me.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Por Ahora

Where's my upside down exclamation point on the keyboard? How about if I used a lower case "i". So..iHola! Not bad.Well,whatta week it was in Venezuela. One great thing is the emergence of "Radio Venezuela En Vivo. We were able to hear 24 hour a day live broadcasting from some pretty awesome people there. and not just cool and groovy journalists like Mike Fox and others, but many interviews with Venezuelans who are making the revolution in their neighborhoods. Lots of us are hoping they can bring it back now the that the referendum is over. Like totally over. Por Ahora,(for now) as Chavez said. His concession speech late Sunday night was a class act. Lots of talk about what went wrong and what's next. It certainly was a defeat, but not a concisive victory for the opposition by any means. The political landscape will be changing in Venezuela as the opposition tries to figure out who they are and where they're going. A more moderate leadership is predicted for the opposition, but the crazy fire-setting, molotov cocktail-throwing students are still a wild card. For the bolivarian revolution, people (including Chavez) are saying it happened too fast and didn't come from the base.(there was also a brutal scare campaign put on by the opposition) The 1999 constitution was created by the Constituent Assembly, and many thought that should have happened with the reforms. But Chavez and the huge majority that are still with him (in spite of the fact that many were afraid to vote for the reforms and abstained) intend to deepen the socialist revolution and the take stock of how to work to do that.
More recently, Chavez has pointed out that many of these reforms can be worked on by the people, and presented again, perhaps in a different form.
But...everything is always interesting.
Get great info from and keep your spirits up and keep on getting great information and keep laughing with

Friday, November 30, 2007

We All Did It!!!

An amazing NaNo year for all of us. Geoff Smith, the come-from-behind-boy (notice now that I am willing to hyphenate!) is worthy of being the subject of someone's NaNo novel 2008.

Kirk and Jeanne got sick and finished anyway. Fionna's character was on a journey to the center of the earth when she, Fionna, got bored and had to blow the character out of a volcano and land her in the south of England where she got a job as a librarian and went on a bus tour where Miss Marple, yes, that Miss Marple, was a member of the tour. Geoff's meat-stealing characters get involved with a Used Meat Store and eventually an "Onion Restaurant". Not to mentioed being threatend by hyenas and other scary things.

First timer, Rose Cheyette may eventually reveal the fate of the psychotic mailman.

Joe Stohlman, another first timer plowed through to the finish line with style.

Suzanne McLeod came in in spite of also getting sick and finding out the her mother was being forcibly removed to a nursing home. Amazing work, Suzanne.

I loaded Jim's words on the site last night. So he's in too.(will we ever find out who really murdered Trixie?)

My online NaNo buddy, a high school senior from New Jersey, came in a glorious winner this time.

I haven't heard from Dave Bufano about the fate of the infamous Vin and Baby.

Tom's friend Blig Blug also finished his novel. You will be seeing pictures of Blig Blug writing his novel at next week.

For all the fabulous people who wrote along with us, congratulations. I'm guessing that you have never written that many words in one month before. Dont envy those of us who got to 50,000. I'll bet your stuff stinks way less than ours.

I cheated and dredged up an article from the New York Times about authorities not being able to protect witnesses to mob crimes. This is a dilemma that my character has to face in the beginning of the book. My character suddenly notices that the cop on duty in her hospital room (she's been shot by the mob) has conveniently left a copy of the Times near her bed. She reads a whole bunch of this article and--Voila! I am a winner too.

Thank you to everyone who followed our progress with great interest, real or feigned. We love you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lucky he was only hit with a stick

Looks like a pretty scary stick to me!
An opponent to President Hugo Chavez, left, uses an iron stick to hit a Chavez supporter during a rally against the reforms to the nation's constitution proposed by the president in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2007. Venezuelans will vote to approve or reject the reforms in a referendum on Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Angel Manzanares)

Nineteen year old Jose Oliveras was not so lucky. He was shot three times and killed by anti-reform students attempting to block workers from PetroCasa, a company that builds housing for the poor in Venezuela from getting to work.

The opposition students are portrayed in the media as leftist fighters for democracy. After studying the demographics, it becomes clear that the opposition students are from the private and most costly universities in Venezuela. Furthermore, they put forward no alternative program to the programs of the Chavez government. Their issues are about Chavez and his programs.

I have read just about every mainstream media report on the opposition to the reforms. It has not once been said that seventeen countries in Europe have no term limits for heads of state.

I have also printed out and read all of the 63 reforms that are up for approval by the people of Venezuela. I honestly do not believe that here is anything in there that would lead to a dictatorship. Not even a dictatorship that I might like.

These student protests are very scary to me. The one peaceful march that was held ended with opposition students barricading pro-Chavez students in a room at the UCV and setting fire to the place and then hurling rocks at the windows where the students and others were lying on the floor trying to avoid getting hit. You can see this in the video footage. The press blamed the Chavistas. With the independent unedited film footage telling the real story, the press has simply downplayed this. All the other actions by these opposition students have involved the throwing of molotov cocktails, throwing rocks and setting fire to public property. And now they've killed someone. Up until now it's just been a lot of "fun" kind of violence. Gee whiz folks, can you say "Brownshirts"?

For great info from inside Venezuela, and wonderful information on the cultural scene go to

For more great info and some fabulous dark humor go to

For all the Venezuelan news go to

Friday, November 09, 2007


I will leave this world with an unshakeable conviction. Beyond ideologies and religions, we must hold the truth of our shared human destiny in our minds, and we must hold our planet’s well being in our hearts. Like all healing projects, the power of life works patiently to bring us to our senses. This is still a very sick world, where it requires courage and vision to say “Tout Moun se Moun” (a Creole slogan from Haiti, meaning “every one is somebody”). --David Maybury

Uh, Maybe We Don't Know Exactly Who's Responsible for the Violence, But We Know It's Them Venezuelans

This from the Associated Press:

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said it was unclear who was responsible for the violence "but it's just an appalling act and just another indication of the kind of atmosphere that you see in Venezuela."

Other reports are beginning to mention that some students were trapped inside the university. This information is presented in a fuzzy way. One article let the cat out of the bag--they were pro-reform students. Get a grip people. They were taken hostage by the thugs who last week went on a rampage through the streets throwoing molotov cocktails, rocks and sticks at the police and setting public property on fire. The same people who are threatening out loud to prevent people from voting on December 2nd. (Note: Molotov cocktail thrower not wearing red.)

Reports from alternative media are spelling it out. The oligarchy cannot believe that the country's poor majority have taken over and are running the place. That's what democracy is-that the will of the majority prevail and that the rights of the minority be protected.
Except when you kidnap 60 people and hold them hostage you kind a don't have the right to do that. Intimidation, bullying, willful destruction and stuff like that is not covered under 'the rights of the minority'. Nobody gets to do that.

By the way, the goverment has sponsored over 9.000 meetings thoughout the country to discuss the reforms. And then you get to VOTE ON THEM!! How would you like to see something like that in North America?

The source of the anger here is not the waiving of term presidential term limits-although the oligarchy knows that they have a snowball's chance in hell of getting rid of Hugo Chavez through the ballot box. Everyone knows that most European countries don't have term limits.

The source of the anger is the disbelief that with all their money, and the U.S. taxpayer dollars that are flooding into the pockets of opposition groups through NED and other sources, they still can't make it be the way they want it.

So when you see the media reports on Venezuela, wait and see what comes to light a few days later.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Real Story

Eva Golinger reports from Venezuala (click here to read the whole story)

Some Highlights"

  • Peaceful opposition marchers were able to send a commission into the Supreme Court where they were received by the judges. The students read a statement before the high court which was broadcast live on national T.V.
  • This is in contrast to a march the previous week where students tried to chain themselves to a staircase outside the CNE(National Election Council) headquarters.
  • However, after the peacful march to the Supreme Court the students returned to the Central University and proceeded to kidnap around 60 pro-reform students. The photos in the press of the armed pro-Chavez students 'attacking' the opposition students are actually members of Venezuela's Civil Protection Unit

There's more, plus pictures on Eva's blog above.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Psyched Out by NaNo Bar/Great Write-In

Daunted. That's what I am. After preening my feathers all morning over my 7,282 words I accidently let my cursor glide over the bar on my profile page. Who knew? Up popped the number of words left....42, something something...I couldn't see as my eyes glazed over and my spirit flagged. Help! I need to reset my living-in-the-now button.


We had a major word-producing write-in(and a cartooning about writing) yesterday.

(See Olivetti Dave)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Takuan Says

Right now, do you have a phrase that goes beyond the barrier? The writing brush comes forward and says: Daba-daba-daba-daba..

From Naomi Klein

Published on Friday, November 2, 2007 by The Nation
Rapture Rescue 911: Disaster Response for the Chosen
by Naomi Klein

I used to worry that the United States was in the grip of extremists who sincerely believed that the Apocalypse was coming and that they and their friends would be airlifted to heavenly safety. I have since reconsidered. The country is indeed in the grip of extremists who are determined to act out the biblical climax–the saving of the chosen and the burning of the masses–but without any divine intervention. Heaven can wait. Thanks to the booming business of privatized disaster services, we’re getting the Rapture right here on earth.
Just look at what is happening in Southern California. Even as wildfires devoured whole swaths of the region, some homes in the heart of the inferno were left intact, as if saved by a higher power. But it wasn’t the hand of God; in several cases it was the handiwork of Firebreak Spray Systems. Firebreak is a special service offered to customers of insurance giant American International Group (AIG)–but only if they happen to live in the wealthiest ZIP codes in the country. Members of the company’s Private Client Group pay an average of $19,000 to have their homes sprayed with fire retardant. During the wildfires, the “mobile units”–racing around in red firetrucks–even extinguished fires for their clients.
Read on, friends, at

Youth orchestra of Venezuela's poor wows the world
from the Christian Science Monitor
Venezuela's Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra arrives next week at the New England Conservatory. What drives this revolutionary group of musicians? Since 2001, there have been short-term student and teacher exchanges between the conservatory and Venezuela, and around 250 students with the conservatory's Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (a group for musicians up to 18 years of age) have traveled to Venezuela to play. Those who have taken part say their Venezuelan peers have much to teach them.
"The way the Venezuelans play music is exactly how I always thought it should be played," says Joshua Weilerstein, a violinist at the New England Conservatory who was invited to join the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra's current tour after two previous trips to Venezuela. "I think American musicians are incredibly enthusiastic, but there isn't a desperation about the way we play. [The Venezuelans] play as if their lives depend on every note. There's complete passion."
There is also a sense of collectivism and common purpose that might be sacrificed in an emphasis on individual training. "In Venezuela, the most important thing is the orchestra," Mr. Dudamel told The Independent in September. "You create a community, a shared objective."
Why the Venezuelan program, a seemingly obvious model for many places, is not better-known in this country might come down to politics. The administration of current president Hugo Chávez funds most of its $29 million annual budget, and Mr. Chávez, moved by the success of the program in Europe, has pledged to expand it.
With relations between the US and the Chávez administration often tense – and given Chávez's avowed anti-Americanism – shunning the US in favor of European venues might have been more expedient. But Churchill believes that "music will transcend" political discord and "be a model for harmonious relations."
'Freshness, excitement, and energy'

Click on the link below for the rest of the story

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Some Burmese Monks March Again

From Democracy Now!
Monks Return to Streets of Burma in Protest
In Burma, hundreds of monks marched in the temple town of Pakokku Wednesday. It was their first protest since the military junta’s crackdown on a mass uprising. Witnesses say the monks chanted prayers but refrained from political statements. The march comes ahead of a return visit from UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari. Speaking in Thailand, the exiled Burmese opposition leader Maung Maung called for increased international pressure on the military junta.
Maung Maung:
“We have to stop the money going to the regime and that is why we are calling for the Jade bill and also we are calling for action to be taken on oil and energy companies that are working in Burma so the money that goes to the regime is blocked and the regime doesn't have the money that will enable the military to move on the democratic opposition. So this is what we are asking for.”The U.S. oil giant Chevron

It's All NaNo All of November

It began last night at midnight. Here's an excerpt from my NaNo novel 2007. 2,150 words and counting.

It was my second to last night at the Coyote Club in Grafton Arizona when the thing happened that changed everything. The Coyote was a tacky town bar. It took at least two drinks to make the place glitter. It was decorated as if it were in another part of the country trying to look like it was in Arizona. This always cracked me up. When I mentioned it to Georgia one time she had no idea what I was talking about.
“But it is in Arizona, don’t you see” I explained.
“Right”, she said. “So that’s why it looks like Arizona”
“No, because it is in Arizona, it doesn’t have to try so hard to look like it is”.
The conversation went around for a while before I gave up.
On this particular night, two drinks down and a third on the table, I was enjoying the lit up plastic cacti along the bar and the neon coyote in the front window. I was leaving, getting out, and life was good. The Coyote owner, Joey Soucie, bought us a farewell round, though it was only me leaving. Life was very good. I didn’t much like it when the two creeps burst in from the street and shot Joey dead behind the bar. It was almost closing time. The three of us were the only ones in the place. Ray and Georgia were facing the bar and I was facing the creeps. I got a good look at them. Too bad for me. The tall one turned, aimed at me and fired. I went down like a clay duck at the amusement park.

People: Help me out here. I don't think the ducks at the amusement park are made of clay. What are they made of?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Blow Me Down

Colombians produce most of the world’s cocaine, and rich Americans snort it, so naturally the drug trade is pretty much Venezuela’s fault. Counterintuitive? Sure! But it’s also totally true because it’s on the front page of today’s Washington Post and based on the unflinchingly credible testimony of a Colombian drug lord captured by the Venezuelan government who couldn’t possibly have an ax to grind.
And it’s not like jailed Colombian drug lords have a history of conveniently blaming governments out of favor with the U.S. (like the Cubans or the Sandinistas, for instance) for the crimes they commit, which is why I believe every word of it, although I’m sure that poor black teenagers share a large burden of the responsibility here too and I’d hate to let them off the hook.
Many, many thanks to Eric for keeping us laughing at the "Skyful of Lies".

Friday, October 26, 2007

Kirk(Us) sends this link.

Our own Emily Scudder is featured on Agni online. Take a look. See why there's picture of a fiddler crab here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Oh That Rafael Correa, What a Card!!!

Ecuador wants military base in Miami
Mon Oct 22, 2007By Phil StewartNAPLES (Reuters) -

Ecuador's leftist President Rafael Correa said Washington must let him open a military base in Miami if the United States wants to keep using an air base on Ecuador's Pacific coast. Correa has refused to renew Washington's lease on the Manta air base, set to expire in 2009. U.S. officials say it is vital for counter-narcotics surveillance operations on Pacific drug-running routes."We'll renew the base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami -- an Ecuadorean base," Correa said in an interview during a trip to Italy."If there's no problem having foreign soldiers on a country's soil, surely they'll let us have an Ecuadorean base in the United States." The U.S. embassy to Ecuador says on its Web site that anti-narcotics flights from Manta gathered information behind more than 60 percent of illegal drug seizures on the high seas of the Eastern Pacific last year.It offers a fact-sheet on the base at:, a popular leftist economist, had promised to cut off his arm before extending the lease that ends in 2009 and has called U.S. President George W. Bush a "dimwit".But Correa, an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, told Reuters he believed relations with the United States were "excellent" despite the base closing. He rejected the idea that the episode reflected on U.S. ties at all."This is the only North American military base in South America," he said."So, then the other South American countries don't have good relations with the United States because they don't have military bases? That doesn't make any sense."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kirk's Pumpkin Carving Marathon. OOOH-WEEEE!

It was everything you ever wanted in a pumpkin carving marathon. First of all...there was actual pumpkin carving. Go figure. Here are some examples.
Above right you see Santiago's excellent Bat Pumpkin. Below left you see Geoff and Fionna's Pumpkins. What happened to Geoff's pumpkin (right)?

And there was food. What a spread! And then there were hours and hours of fun as Geoff and I tried to take a picture of Kirk's fish, Larry. We have simply dozens of photos of Larry streaking by in his bowl. Here's one of the better ones.

See the utterly striped Larry trying to streak by without being captured. Close up below. Jig's up, Larry.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

La Orquesta Juvenil Simon Bolivar de Venezuela

Rory Carroll in CaracasTuesday September 4, 2007
The Guardian
President Hugo Chávez has thrown his weight behind a scheme which brings classical music into Venezuela's slums, following international acclaim for the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra. The Venezuelan leader announced the creation of "Misión Música", a government-funded effort to give tuition and instruments to 1 million impoverished children.
He made the announcement on his Sunday television show, Aló Presidente, after reading out rapturous British reviews of the youth orchestra's performances last month at London's Royal Albert Hall (read more)

Absolutely must-see video

I got this from a terrific blog from the uk.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Kirk Davis's Amazon Reviews

I died laughing. According to Kirk, all this was done during a year of unemployment. See 'em all at the link below.

Reviews on Amazon by Kirk Davis

Here's just one example:

Mauviel Copper 8-Inch Egg White Bowl with Ring
Price: $54.00
Availability: In Stock
4 used & new from $54.00

1 of 11 people found the following review helpful: (I really, really want to know who found this review helpful-Jeanne)

At first I was very frustrated by the fact that this bowl had a perfectly round bottom and wouldn't sit on my countertop. Then: I got an idea. "Buy a second bowl!" I thought. Now I just put ingredients in one of the bowls and duct tape the other bowl so that the two combine to make a complete sphere. Then my kids and I kick the "ball" around in the back yard until we feel like getting back to the kitchen. By then, egg-whites will be beaten, ingredients blended, etc. etc. And by the time my boys reach college, they'll be certain to get scholarships for their soccer prowess. Oh, who am I kidding. Jacob can't kick his way out of a paper bag. Still, good times.

Round Robin Poetry Rocks

Some of us went to the reading at the Porter Bookstore last Wednesday and had a swell time. The last poetry reading I went to was at Borders downtown where Emily Scudder had been asked to read along with--it seemed-- a hundred and twenty writers of verse, most of whom should have stayed home. It was a night to remember for all the wrong reasons.

Wednesday night's cast of "local" talent was of the highest caliber. The local part is about where the poets live and work, but some are known more widely. It was lively, sometimes very funny and always accessible. It felt rich and dense in the sense that there was so much to the readings. I found myself thinking about what a pleasure good, unpretentious poetry is.

Our good friends, Jim Henle(right), Iron Man of the Arts, and Emily Scudder(above), a nationally recognized poet, were on the bill; we are big fans.

Please take a look at Emily's Website listed in the Links. It's a great place to spend a rainy afternoon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Manny's An Artist, But Not A Bullshit Artist

“Why should we panic?” he said. “We got a great team. If it doesn’t happen, good. We come next year and try to do it again. It's not the end of the world.”--Manny

I love Manny.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Bad Poets Society

Yes! It's Back!!
The Bad Poets Society, a loving and very public reading of the world's worst verse will be convened once again in Harvard Square after a 7 year hiatus! November IS bad poetry month.
This unique event will be held at The Speigel Auditorium 56 Brattle Street in the teeming heart of Harvard Square, Cambrige on Friday, November 9th 2007 at 8pm.
This event will feature the masterworks of Edgar Guest, America's own "Bard of the Banal, among other examples of ghastly doggerl and laughable idylls from sundry aspirants to poetic transcendence.
The Bad Poets Society commences on Friday,
November 9th in the Speigel Auditorium, 56 Brattle Street. Admission is $5.oo
the above is from the publicity flyer from Channel Zero
I will only add this :The Bad Poets Society is one of the most painfully funny experiences I have ever had. Don't forget to wear your Depends.

Body of a Buddhist Monk in a Yangon River

Painted from a photograph provided by the Democratic Voice of Burma

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Don't Say a Word

"If you have nothing to eat but garbage, don't say a word.
If the garbage makes you sick, don't say a word.
If they cut off your feet, if they boil your hands, if your
tongue rots, if your spine
Splits in two, if your soul fines down to nothing, don't say a word.
If they poison you, don't say a word, even if your bowels slide
from your mouth.
And your hair stands straight up, even if your eyes well with
blood, don't say a word.
If you feel good, don't feel good. If you fall behind, don't fall
behind. If you die,
Don't die. If you're sad, don't be sad. Don't say a word."

Bolivian Poet, Jaime Saenz (1921-1986)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Mayburrito

Wandering and Wondering with John the Mayburrito. to be confused with Tito the Conscious Burrito. He's good too.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Oblique Strategy

Go to an extreme, move back to a more comfortable place
click on the blog title to see one of the oblique strategy websites.

I got this very nice poster in the snail mail today from Emily Scudder. So get on over to the Porter Square Bookstore on Wednesday, October 17th. That's at 7pm. Lots of friends doing great things this month. There's Tom Swetland"s art show in Greenfield (blog posted below) and Heather Stewart has a two-woman art show at Harvard Neighbors--reception on October 16th. I'll see if I can get more info from Heather and post it up here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Federal Street Books Art Show

Tom Swetland invites anyone who can make it to Greenfield, MA to an art show at his bookstore. on October 12th, 7-9pm. Email me at if you are interested in going. If you can drive I have a car.

At left a sample of art called "Spaceman". Below a link to Toms great website with more pictures.


Our very own HUCTW Writes! poets, Jim Henle and Emily Scudder will be at Porter Square Books on Wednesday, October 17th, 7pm. I'll be there. Let me know if you want come along and cheer them on. More info at link below.

And be sure to visit Emily's website. It's a lalapaloozer.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Best Book Cover Ever

Here it is. I made a poster out of it and hung it in my kitchen.

Are We Not Men?

Was it 1979? No one had ever seen or heard anything like it. Here's a scene from my distorted and unreliable memory. Taking Miguel to see Devo.
"God made man but a monkey provided the glue"
Didn't they open for Elvis Costello that night? Devo onstage in yellow rubber boots. This was before the flower pots on the head. Elvis in some kind of checkered jacket. And when was it that we went to see "Rock and Roll High School"? And the Ramones were on stage live that night. Wasn't there a concert with David Johanson, Willie Alexander, Pere Ubu and the Ramones? Those were the days for sure.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Making Music

We're listening to Geoff Smith's latest music. Beachtree, You are a lion and They took my things. The music is sweet and quirky and the lyrics are strangely enticing. They are on my playlist and they seem to stay there.

We are also revisting some of the grand old operas. Seems as we work more on La Barba it brings up the classics. Rigoletto, up until now, has been the greatest story of deception and betrayal. It's hard to believe that any thing written since could come close to the level of duplcity that Rigoletto presents. but La Barba does that with relentless passion and at the same time an attention to detail that leaves the listener breathless. Visit our website, How to Build an Alternative Universe (on the gate way page ) for background on Lena and her tortorous struggles for gender identity and a decent aria or two.1:41 am est

Now that Jim is leaving us we'll have to postpone rehearsals. But La Barba will be back. Sorry.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

And now..A message from Reverend Billy

The present-day design of the thing called "Art" is to leave us shrugging our shoulders. As the artists writhe on the floor, recite obscure words, and go to college forever, we politely applaud – not wanting to hurt feelings. As in: let's be happy with something riskless that the foundations and corporations can support. At Burning Man there is a strong sensation that we broke through, back into real life. A statement can ring in the air and be carried from this Nevada desert right into our neighborhoods. We leave "Black Rock City" ready to do foolish things in the streets, confront official corrupt BOREDOM, the Starbuckization of the mind and the Halliburtonization of the soul.These images from chantel show our work at the "Astor Playa." The Open Planning Project constructed a perfect replica of the intersection where our church was arrested by Starbucks, chased out of Barnes and Noble, and where we stood up for the local Mud Truck , and down Lafayette a ways, the old Jones Diner. We preached to mostly-naked New Yorkers about the corporations choking Cooper Square. (Now that Walgreens took the Astor Spirits corner – Astor is completely ringed by logos.) Oh, THE SCARY PRAYER OF EXORCISM will return to New York!On the last day of our amazing week, we Fabulously Worshipped in David Best’s "Temple of Forgiveness." David is the man in the photos who looks like Walt Whitman with a trimmed beard. He taught me the physics of forgiveness throughout the week, including such befuddling koans as "The first step to forgiveness takes place when you tell someone 'I'll never forgive you as long as I live!'" In the show, we explored the freedom-to-be-brave that forgiving your enemy can make possible. The Arts suffer badly from a defensive position, a constriction. We didn't feel that when the CODEPINK lovers married at the Temple, and the choir sang the grand, rascally words of Kurt Vonnegut. Then the Temple showed the way for our Art -- it dodged the marketers by bursting into flames! A great Burn!

Visit with Reverend Billy :

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ben Shahn

Been hanging' aroun the house for weeks now rolling around in the works of Ben Shahn, kind of like Scrooge McDuck rolled around in his money. There's a lot to be said for saturation.

Also reading book by Shahn: The shape of content. There's that thing again. Get it right at the root and get everything else right. There's really nothing to figure out.

The Fat Man

New album due out next week celebrating Fats Domino. The great New Orleans Artist was feared dead in the wake of Katrina. But NO!!! The 79 year old Fats lives!
Now there's a tribute album and who isn't on it? No one. Check it out below.
The album will raise money to restore Fats's home which was pretty much destroyed in the flood. This promises to rival the Jerry Lee Lewis album "Last Man Standing". There's a link to the Jerry Lee album on my website


This is not to be missed. Hugo Chavez taunting George W. Bush. The opening line alone is worth it all. "You messed up with me, Birdie." Then Chavez goes on to call Bush a donkey, an assasin and a drunk...multiple times.

I'll make an analogy..maybe. It's like when you get into a groove with drawing or painting. You are no longer conscious of being careful. It's when you do your best work. This is Hugo Chavez stream of consciousness on "Alo Presidente". Not surprising that Mr. Chavez is a painter and a poet. It's all about where it comes from. There's a never ending fountain inside all of us. Go Hugo!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How to Draw a Bunny

This movie is just the thing that fits inside you and never goes away. I first heard of this movie at the Museum of Fine Arts. It was playing there and I missed it, but it looked interesting. So I ordered it on Netflix and then promptly forgot what it was about or why I ever wanted to see it. So I kept sliding it down on the list (trust, mistrust) until, finally, I forgot to manage my list and it came to the house. That can happen, as you know.
John Waters and Andrew Moore put together a film about the artist, Ray Johnson, that leaves you wondering which is better--Ray Johnson--or the movie? The answer is --both. Okay, Ray Johnson was, well, Ray Johnson. The movie is a Ray Johnson motico. On one level it plays as a retrospective of Ray's live and his art. On another level it plays out as a totally noir B detective movie. More like a noir detective documentary. (Remember Dragnet?) It's Dragnet in an exquisitly "Ray" way. Ray Johnson was not an outsider artist. He knew everyone in the arts, and everyone knew him. But in an important sense he was an outsider artist. He was outside of everything. Hilarious interviews with friends who tried to buy some of his art work. The negotiations over the sales became bigger than the art. And the art is stunning. Film footage of Ray at a suburban garden party-episodes on his "foot" period. He drew and collaged feet for a long time. Finally he rented a helicoper and dropped "foot-long" hot dogs over Long Island. I can't tell you what a fabulous movie this is. I am thinking of holding a showing of if. Yes, of course I own it.