Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cleopatra's Tomb?

There are some interesting predictions in archeology over at Discovery News.

A team of 12 archeologists and 70 excavators is working at the site of a temple, the Taposiris Magna, 28 miles west of Alexandria. So far, they have found a 400ft tunnel beneath the temple containing clues that the queen and her lover, the Roman general Mark Antony, may lie beneath.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I've got a poem in the new issue of Anti-.

Thanks Steve.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Obama's Poetry

I'm not going to try analyzing this, but I can say it is better than I thought it would be!


Under water grottos, caverns
Filled with apes
That eat figs.
Stepping on the figs
That the apes
Eat, they crunch.
The apes howl, bare
Their fangs, dance,
Tumble in the
Rushing water,
Musty, wet pelts
Glistening in the blue.

Check out another one here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

national geographic wallpaper

Adam Walsh

It was announced today that Adam Walsh's killer was a man named Otis Toole who died in prison years ago. I am the same age as Adam Walsh if he were alive today. His abduction and murder changed much about life in America. It changed the structure of how law enforcement reacts to missing people which is a great thing, but it also has caused a fear that I don't think we will ever get over. I know if I had a child I could never let him or her out of my sight. We do not trust anyone. I was afraid of all adults except for my parents. I don't think we will ever get that trust back. Stranger Danger! may keep children safer, but what is it doing to our psyches?

Gotta get a Snuggie!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Daily Routines

Here's an interesting blog called Daily Routines that shows "how writers, artists, and other interesting people organize their days."

I liked how Joseph Campbell organized his days while he wasn't "working" for five years.

So during the years of the Depression I had arranged a schedule for myself. When you don’t have a job or anyone to tell you what to do, you’ve got to fix one for yourself. I divided the day into four four-hour periods, of which I would be reading in three of the four-hour periods, and free one of them.

By getting up at eight o’clock in the morning, by nine I could sit down to read. That meant I used the first hour to prepare my own breakfast and take care of the house and put things together in whatever shack I happened to be living in at the time. Then three hours of that first four-hour period went to reading.

Then came an hour break for lunch and another three-hour unit. And then comes the optional next section. It should normally be three hours of reading and then an hour out for dinner and then three hours free and an hour getting to bed so I’m in bed by twelve.

On the other hand, if I were invited out for cocktails or something like that, then I would put the work hour in the evening and the play hour in the afternoon.

It worked very well. I would get nine hours of sheer reading done a day. And this went on for five years straight.

This is how you learn! I ask my students to read short, easy essays and most don't want to. A graphic novel, a video, a hyperlinked blog, they all facilitate learning, but for the most part they can't hold a candle to a deeply layered poem or piece of prose.


Here's an interesting excerpt from an article/open letter to President Elect Obama in the NY Times.

After cars, the food system uses more fossil fuel than any other sector of the economy — 19 percent. And while the experts disagree about the exact amount, the way we feed ourselves contributes more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than anything else we do — as much as 37 percent, according to one study. Whenever farmers clear land for crops and till the soil, large quantities of carbon are released into the air. But the 20th-century industrialization of agriculture has increased the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the food system by an order of magnitude; chemical fertilizers (made from natural gas), pesticides (made from petroleum), farm machinery, modern food processing and packaging and transportation have together transformed a system that in 1940 produced 2.3 calories of food energy for every calorie of fossil-fuel energy it used into one that now takes 10 calories of fossil-fuel energy to produce a single calorie of modern supermarket food. Put another way, when we eat from the industrial-food system, we are eating oil and spewing greenhouse gases. This state of affairs appears all the more absurd when you recall that every calorie we eat is ultimately the product of photosynthesis — a process based on making food energy from sunshine. There is hope and possibility in that simple fact.

The whole article here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

This Makes Me Sick

When America exports our culture it is fast food and advertising. This is our food? This is who we are?

Smart Drivers or Poor Drivers?

Fewer cars, smaller cars and slower drivers are probably the cause of a decrease in driving fatalities this year. Of course this would also mean we have less emissions from vehicles and a slow down in the amount of goods bought means less emissions from those goods being shipped all across kingdom come and lo and behold the horrible economy is a good thing for the environment! Now how do we make these two things meet up? How can we let people keep their homes and jobs and not expand carbon emissions and overall environmental degradation? This of course is a question people have been asking for a long time and I have no answer for it.

Capitalism lends itself to cash over consequences at every turn. The idea that "green" technologies can even these things out is probably our best chance, but I see so much greenwashing that it is hard for me to believe that capitalism won't skew the balance so far to the cash side that the consequences will continue to be dramatic and devastating.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

President Elect Barack Obama:

This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.

It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

He knows that this nation isn't at its best when all its citizens are always looking out for number one. Human morality evolved from us needing to keep each other alive. We lived in communities that in very real ways were sustained by people helping each other out. Why do you think we evolved empathy? We need each other. We need to have the ability to put ourselves into each others shoes. This is just a basic tenet of human survival. In our modern world it may not seem like it, but we need each other. We must look out for each other. And it is this basic, but all important idea that he tapped into. I know it's not an easy thing for us to wrap our heads around. I know it is hard for me. I am a very solitary person. I don't like being around people that much, but I know I need them. I know that without community there is a no way to feed the soul, the mind and the body. I hope as Americans we can at the very least take his call to service seriously and look into our own lives and see where we can help our communities. It doesn't mean we have to give our life savings away or volunteer at soup kitchens every day (not that those are bad things!), but it does mean being more aware of what your neighbors are going through; being more aware of how you relate to others; being more aware of your choices, even the smallest of choices you make, and how they effect someone else. You don't have to like Mr. Obama. You don't have to believe in his policies, but I believe Senator McCain would agree with the above quote. In his speech last night he called for everyone to help and I think we can.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Choose Hope over Fear

"fruit fly research in Paris, France . . . I kid you not."

Sarah Palin's War on Science

I think some think it's just easier to be stupid and perpetuate the myth that stupidity somehow makes you superior. Seems like a pain in the ass when you could just work the same amount at listening and learning and thinking.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

My God Is Bigger Than Your God!

Rev. Arnold Conrad spoke before a John McCain rally in Iowa saying, in part,

"I would also pray Lord that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their God -- whether it's Hindu, Buddha, Allah -- that his [McCain’s] opponent wins for a variety of reasons.

And Lord I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you would step forward and honor your own name in all that happens between now and Election Day.

Oh Lord, we just commit this time to you, move among us, make your presence very well felt as we are gathered here today in Jesus's name I pray."

Ivory-billed Woodpeckers

I wrote this poem for my friend and all of those people looking for "the bird."

The Bird

There have been reports of the thought
to have been extinct ivory-billed woodpecker
in a panhandle swamp. I have
submitted these reports. I have seen the end
reimagined without despair,
somehow, wheeling over me, slow
as the sun. The particulars
are for another place, one where much
is lost in footnotes and cavity calculations
and some may see something
besides the bird if that is how it comes out,
how the words sound to all these people
who remember the way things should be.
But there is a catastrophic name given
to them and their henchman, their skidders
and hard hats, and the way they step on light,
believing it can be crushed, bent
and yes I will speak, I will admit
to the curvature of time, I will admit
to the misfire of neurons, the wish fulfillment
of every nascent morning, but I will not say
the world cannot be refound,
that this bird cannot awaken
from a dark sleep, that we are not capable
of becoming our better selves.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

See more Sarah Silverman videos at Funny or Die

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Foxtrot and LOTR

The comic strip Foxtrot has some funny Tolkien references. Here is a collection of them at Tolkien Gateway.

This is me! Click on it for a better look.


Thursday, August 21, 2008


I have a poem up at Arsenic Lobster.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Skokie River Nature Preserve

Spent the morning at Shaw Prairie. Here are a few pics of Purple Prairie Clover.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

North Pond

I work for The Lincoln Park Conservancy. I help take care of The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool and North Pond. I took some pictures of some of the flowers around the pond. There is a wonderful prairie we call the "West Prairie" that is full of good natives. It almost takes care of itself. It is probably my favorite part of North Pond.

The flower buds of one of my favorite plants, Prairie Dock
A wider view of Prairie Dock
Cardinal Flower, the only other red I can compare this plant to is a Scarlet Tanager
Joe Pye Weed and a view of North Pond and the Chicago skyline from the north end
Jerusalem Artichoke
The West Prairie
Wild Quinine
Purple Coneflower
Rattlesnake Master
Big Bluestem (Turkey-foot) reminds me of Kansas

The Garden

The garden looks good this year. Tomatoes are very late. I have only seen a couple ripe tomatoes in the community garden. We've had two cherry tomatoes ripen, but that is it. All of our Big Boys are still green. I've tried a new method this year of staking and pruning the tomatoes. I read that pruning might make fewer tomatoes, but better tomatoes. I liked the idea of keeping them in check and off the ground while at the same time getting better taste. We'll see. Gardening is always a work in progress. Our squash and zucchini look good, but I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop with these squash borer beetles! I see the little bastards, but I can't find their eggs. I also see and murder squash bugs and their offspring on a daily basis, but it may be a losing battle. Crossing my fingers right now. Here are some pics from today.

Okra Blossom!!
Cherokee Purple Heirloom
Drying onions
Squash and Zucchini Plot compared to then

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Apples/in winter are a bitter gift."

Just found a couple poems by the poet Daniel Hall. I really like this poem. Not sure what I think about this poem from Amherst Magazine, but I like the line I used as the title.

A Winter Apple

Grateful, I took an apple
from its paper, took it in both
hands, raised it to my lips,
inhaling its myth of open air
and closure—. Then a desire
to swallow space and time,
or to follow them, backward
and forward, endlessly up
and down the macadam, end
over end, back to seed or
on to cider— Not so fast
I pleaded. The heft of it;
the chill sweetness. Apples
in winter are a bitter gift.
I set it down again, entire.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Futurama Quotes

To see the entire cast of characters click here.

Futurama is easily in my top 5 favorite TV Shows of all time. Here are some of the reasons.

Soldier: This is the worst part. The calm before the battle.
Fry: And then the battle is not so bad?
Soldier: Oh, right. I forgot about the battle.

[in the library, absorbing all of Earth's knowledge]
Chief Giant Brain: Pathetic human race. Arranging their knowledge by category just made it easier to absorb. Dewey, you fool! Your decimal system has played right into my hands! Ha ha ha ha!

[the group's at a horse race]
Fry: C'mon. C'mon. Hey, Leela, how about a kiss for good luck?
[Leela gives him a quick peck on the cheek]
Fry: [disappointed] I meant tongue luck.

[Leela and Hermes are at a concession stand at the track]
Concession Man: Get your piping hot horse burgers, horse fries, horse cakes and shakes. We got tongue, straight from the horse's mouth.
Leela: Hmmmmm.
Hermes Conrad: It all sounds good.
Concession Man: All our horses are 100% horse-fed for that double-horse "juiced-in" goodness.
Leela: I'll have the cholesterol-free omelet with horse-beaters.
Concession Man: And you, sir? How can I horse you?
Hermes Conrad: I'll have a horse Coke.
Concession Man: Horse Pepsi okay?
Hermes Conrad: Neeeiiiggghh.

Walter Koenig: When we woke up, we had these bodies.
Fry: Say it in Russian.
Walter Koenig: [groans] Ven we voke up, we had these wodies.
Fry: [delighted] Wheeee. Now say "nuclear wessels".
Walter Koenig: NO.

Nibblonian: You are the last hope of the universe.
Fry: So I really am important? How I feel when I'm drunk is correct?
Nibblonian: Yes - except the Dave Matthews Band doesn't rock.

Bender: Game's over, losers! I have all the money. Compare your lives to mine and then kill yourselves.

Narrator: No one really knows when, where, or how man landed on the moon...
Fry: I do!
Narrator: ...but our Fungineers imagine it went something like this...
[Animatronic whalers emerge from a lunar lander]
Animatronic whalers: [singing] We're whalers of the moon.
Animatronic gophers: We carry a harpoon.
Animatronic whalers, Animatronic gophers: But there ain't no whales, so we tell tall tales and sing a whaling tune.
Fry: That's not how it happened.
Leela: I don't see you with a Fungineering degree.

Here are some random Futurama quotes.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My hint paid off!

Maggie, John and Debbie teamed up to get me two bottles! I'm no expert, but this stuff is so good. Sweet, but not too sweet--a buttery-caramel taste. And each sip lingers on my tongue, slowly dematerializing, or something. Very good.

Strawberry Shortcake!

Strawberries from the garden, Maggie's shortbread and a little cool whip!

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.
- Aristotle

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Birthday Present!

Last night Maggie and I went to Ravinia and saw Willie Nelson! It was my birthday present. Willie has the most amazing voice and is such an amazing person. The night was perfect!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

And the garden keeps rolling along

Squash plot: Crookneck, Butternut, Pattypan, and Zucchini,
A baby crookneck
Eggplant, herbs, sweet peppers, swiss chard, kale, brussels sprouts, okra, and herbs are packed in this plot.
Chard, kale and brussels sprouts
Swiss Chard

More Garden Stuff

Here are some beets. Wouldn't eat one if you paid me, but they're cool. And I'll eat the greens.

Strawberry flower

Mmmmmmmmmm, Strawberry! My favorite berry!
Cabbage, broccoli, onions, lettuce

Harvesting lettuce