Monday, December 31, 2018

happy new year!


i don't know
where we are going
or how we will get there
but i think it will be one bumpy & wild ride

remember that all of us
from those that hold the door open
to those that cut us off at the stoplight
suffer too

Sunday, December 30, 2018

this is the last sunday night of 2018.  a little over 24 hours from now & we will be in the new year.  2019 sounds like science fiction.  indeed, the action of blade runner [1982] is in 2019.  so will the past be prologue for the future?  is it not always?  so instead of flying cars & replicants we shall all carry devices that plug us in to information, entertainment & news.  these devices are connected to our vehicles.  they are connected to our homes.  they are connected to our innermost layers of our lives.  instead of a 4 hr work week that was envisioned by a few futurologists, economists & the circa 1960s era animated sitcom the jetsons we have the gig economy [provided by that same device that connects us to almost nearly everything in our hyper socioeconomic societies] that forces many to work 60 - 80 + hr workweeks.  so what will the new year bring us?  more of the same, which means profound disruptions in our lives, for we are not done with our changes.  these changes, whether it be social, economic, political & environmental, can be very scary.  what to do?  surely we can grab the horse by the reigns & ride as best we can.  we can also remember life, as prince reminded us in his great song '1999', is a party.  'if i'm gonna die/i'll dance my life away.'  as for me, i was promised the 21st C would bring flying cars & jet packs.  i'm still waiting.  2019 is a sci fi kinda year.  but in the meantime, let me go old skool.  i'll celebrate the new year by unscrewing a bottle of cold duck, watching dick clark's rockin' new year's eve, & hope i have the gumption to face the bright clear morning of what will ultimately be just another ordinary new year's day.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

unplugged: jim mccrary


Monday, December 24, 2018

anna & i binge watched the entire season of this show, Derry Girls, today. it is one of the smartest, funniest, & bravest shows on Netflix right now. that is the highest praise i know.

happy christmas

however, you celebrate the holiday, or don't celebrate it, might we all try to have a little peace & good will toward each other, boils & ghouls.  it was 50 years ago today that we got to look at our earth from the orbit of the Apollo 8 mission.  the photograph, called Earthrise, taken by astronaut bill anders is arguably the most influential & important photo ever taken.  for it shows both our utter insignificance in the universe & how vital, crucial & critical the earth is for all of its creatures.  we are, after all, one species, the human being, on this little blue pale dot, to use the phrase of carl sagan who coined that phrase within the context of another important photograph of our earth.  so it is so fucking important that we be kind to each other.  at any rate, from this old atheist poet who inhabits his own very little iota of a speck on this pale blue dot, among every human, & living thing on this planet, be good, practice lovingkindness, happy christmas, & rock out to these holiday surf sounds by the Surfrajettes.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

from the department of WTF

hold on to your hats boils & ghouls i promise you ain't seen nothing like it

Friday, December 21, 2018

happy winter solstice

however you celebrate the shortest day of the year, the longest night of the year, & the start of winter, do get get your bronze age-pagan-berserker on & celebrate the season to the very fucking max

Thursday, December 20, 2018

my very very fucking favorite christmas song
[oh, how i love, & miss, the wonderful kirsty maccoll]


Saturday, December 15, 2018

cooking classic poems with nathan & lexi

my travels thru the internet brought me to a series of videos titled cooking classic poems with oz poet nathan curnow & his daughter lexi.  a novel idea.  & a fun one.  curnow takes a classic poem, by sylvia plath, andre breton, & this one, a recipe translation of the poem 'candy man' by roald dahl, & translates each line into an ingredient to make something, hopefully, yummy.  these videos are a delight to watch.  these recipes might even be good enough for an alternative cookbook of literary texts & the stuff to make food.  which makes sense because don't we call poetry, at least sometimes, food for the soul?  at any rate, bummer that curnow has published only a few of these vids.  & as i hinted at above, this recipe made from the poem by roald dahl is a lot of fun to watch.

bon apetit!


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

i fire up the laptop, turn on the TV & scroll the channels
the slots for Turner Classic Movies say
& nothing else
of course i click my remote to TCM
i like a good little mystery
the MOVIE is a collection of music performances
from the late 1960s
a few performers i recognize
some i don't know
i think i know what film this is
it hits me
the movie is the great docu
on the Monterey Pop Festival 1967
i'm as old as these performances
or is that the other way round?
who cares because when the soul
is exposed to this performance
of janis joplin singing 'ball & chain'
i am humbled by how the whole
of the human heart can be expressed
in song & i am confirmed in its presence

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

it was late, i know, far too late for me to be up, listening to dark ambient scores on youtube, & having just one more beer.  i was feeling good & calm.  my house is an extension of my body.  when i move thru it, even at this late of an hour, it feels like another limb.  & yet, i got up to take a piss.  the house felt normal, looked normal.  i went from room to room making sure the lights were all off.  i looked out the front window.  i could hear the oceanic rush of the nearby freeway.  whether it be one pm or one am there are always vehicles on that freeway.  somehow, it is a comforting noise.  but i've been ill.  i have a cold.  so for the last three nights i've made a pallet on the couch.  i am usually the last person to go to bed in my house.  i am by nature a night owl.  normal bed times for me hover around the 2 to 3 am range.  not so for work nights.  but tonight, i have a cold.  i have a sick day at work tomorrow.  i am up listening to dark ambient scores & doing my best to exhaust myself so i can get to sleep.  i wandered from room to room.  my wife & son were in their rooms, asleep, with that wonderful reassurance of their deep breathing.  i made another round about the house satisfied by all that was good in the universe.  i entered the kitchen.  i looked out the kitchen window.  nothing but the dark stillness of the neighbor's house. i turned toward the front of house.  my home that is as natural to my hand as my own thumbs.  i  saw a shape in the pallet i made for myself on the couch.  the very place where i had taken my rest during the convalescence of something as mundane as a common cold.  i stared hard.  for this shape was familiar.  it raised itself, briefly, in the brittle night.  then it collapsed unto its makeshift pillows & blankets.  i stirred.  my heart was beating fiercely in my chest.  for what could this apparition be.  i moved toward the shape.  it saw me.  & stiffened too.  together we did what any sentient being would do.  we looked.  it was me looking at me.  rather it was him looking at him that was me.  together with such fright we both fainted.  when i awoke my house was just the same solid extension of my body.  the shape in my pallet was me fully recombined toward a night's slumber.  my phone was open & was playing, still, a dark ambient score, but the fellow creature who was not-me was no longer in my bed.  i don't know if it was him or me that made these notes.  really i don't know if that shape was the real me, or if the real me might be the one making these notes.  

real genius [1985]

filmmaker martha coolidge made some damn fine cult classics in the mid 1980s, like Valley Girl [1983], which remains high in my personal pantheon, & this delightful teen raunch-com.  i haven't seen Real Genius in a long time so when i found it on TV last night i slowed my shit down to watch it.

i developed a cold last friday.  it hit me hard over the weekend.  last night i was feeling a bit more on the mend but i couldn't sleep.  i was up late.  & so was this movie.  i needed to reacquaint myself to coolidge's tale of teen geniuses slaving away to their professor to develop a laser for a weapons system sold to the u.s. military.  but between the toils of these geniuses & corporate profits our principals discover life, love & that grades ain't everything.

val kilmer is chris, a legendary intellect, & massive screwball.  gabe jarrett is mitch, a 15 year old prodigy admitted to the prestigious university to help chris develop that laser for william atherton's prof jerry hathaway.  oh, & there is the very fine actor michelle meyrink [who later gave up acting in favor of becoming a buddhist adept (i've written about her before, she is that special)] as jordan, self-described as '19, brilliant & hyperkinetic.'  she & mitch later hook up, as if you didn't already know.  leave aside their age difference.  it's a movie, & another time.

the casual critic might think that this is a val kilmer vehicle for he is bright & center of the action.  when a prof asks him, 'are you really chris?' intimating a mind so vast can't also be so juvenile, chris answers, 'i hope so.  i'm wearing his underwear.'  that is some sharp repartee.  & kilmer is charismatic & handsome.  the camera loves him.  but for me, you know what?  the camera loves jordan more.  she is something to behold.  graceful, geeky, pretty, hyper smart, & magnetic.  she is something we hardly ever see onscreen, at least at that time, the thinking person's sex symbol.  i don't mean to reduce michelle meyrink to the sum of her parts.  not at all.  nor make her just an image in my head.  rather, her jordan is a complicated person of deep feeling & meaning.  there is a scene when her & mitch do manage to make manifest their true feelings for each other.  gabe jarrett is a fine actor for this role.  but it is jordan who commands the space.  she is geeky, hyper intelligent & comely.  she is a real, flawed, complicated human being which is not easy when the genre you are working in is raunch-com. 

perhaps i'm making much of a muchness.  i do recall watching the wonderful TV film critics gene siskel & roger ebert comment on the same when they reviewed this picture.  i can't find their review.  perhaps it is buried somewhere online.  & maybe their review clued me on to meyrink's talent.  i don't remember.  i am going on about the character jordan because i think the actor who embodied her was immensely talented.  & i miss her presence, or her kind, in cinema today.

& perhaps it was the histamines at play within my system.  for the geniuses prevail.  hathaway's plan to sell their work to the military is thwarted.  i do wonder how these young fine minds managed to do such advanced work without advanced degrees?  surely they are doing post-doc research.  but chris is just worried about 'graduating.'  i'll leave that for another debate.  the laser destroys the evil professor's house.  chris, mitch, jordan et al.  filled it with jiffy pop-like popcorn.  so when the laser strikes the house it will also pop the corn.  it does, while the wonderfully sentimental [for me] song by Tears For Fears 'everybody want to rule the world' plays as the neighborhood children delight in the house of popping corn.  i was almost near tears myself.  something about that song that takes me back.  & there, our young geniuses who have thwarted an evil, mad, prolix, & insatiably greedy professor, dance in the golden light of an early california [the light!  where else could it be] evening, & i am almost back to being a teenage boy too.

[yep, the link below will take you to that final scene & song] 

Sunday, December 02, 2018

things seen while driving from monterey to sacramento

fields tilled with such rich dark soil it looked like moist & yummy chocolate cake

an older man driving an older model chrysler with a brier clenched between his teeth

hills roiling with cows lambs & goats

the cars of mexican farm workers parked in long lines beside the toiled fields

the pacific ocean large powerful & indifferent

& finally before we left the sea otters in the kelp feeding & at play