26 May 2003

An old poetic effort.... Probably circa 1995 or 96.

Sheet Music

Last night we made rock 'n' roll
with the art of jazz musicians
an impassioned interplay
of instruments
reaching out
and reaching in
an undulating quest
to unfold the robes
of harmony and melody
the dressing-down
and dressing-up
of sound and rhythm
for a symphony
of the ecstatic
and the primal
each quiver a triumph
for an unseen maestro
keeping us in time
keeping us in rhyme
a fluid conversation
of hushed moans
and swallowed sighs
the breath tracks
for enfolding flesh
nearer than the sea
ebbing and rising
melting and melding
in a secret smouldering dance
of bodies wrest in motion
of bodies wrestling emotion
for some sweet transfiguration
of soul and cadence
crescendent from their essence
into the unbound screams
of two sweat-drenched singers
with a single



Blogspot has been bloody ridiculous lately, with tons of problems ranging from non-loading pages to slow transmissions to non-functioning refreshings. If anyone's been having problems reading or accessing this site, let me know. Sometimes, I've discovered, this can be remedied by rentering the address here with the "www" location at the beginning. Let me know if anyone else is having persistent problems.
Brief note: this site now has its first external posting... He he he. Thanks RK-- even if it seems RK and I are about the only ones visiting his site. I feel so important. ;-)
"I'm as impure as the driven, yellow snow." -- Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I sometimes wonder if could write love poetry again. There was a time I did-- years ago, seeming more like eons ago-- and though I can't say any of it particularly good, it came from a part of me that I'm not sure still exists. To write good love poetry, it seems, one has to have a kind of purity that most of us tend to lose, which I think I may have lost some time ago. Purity, perhaps, or innocence, or something to that effect-- a purity that people like WCWilliams, cummings, Millay and Dickinson had but which most of us do not. I do not think Eliot, for example, could have written good love poetry if he tried. Stevens could have. Hardy probably could have but didn't. Coleridge, never. I'm debating whether or not to dredge some old stuff and look at it again-- since I spent much of last night rereading my MA thesis, another work of juvenalia-- to see if that part of me that could write that stuff still exists. Writing love poetry is very different than loving, or even writing about love per se; what that quality is I'm not sure, but once can tell when that quality is present or absent. I wonder if I have it, but I have to admit I'm a tad wary of finding out the answer. Some questions are dangerous.....

25 May 2003

Some Random Things: Wisdom From The Strangest Places

"Not try. Only do or do not. There is no try." --- Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

"All things are possible except skiing through a revolving door." -- old adage, source unknown

"If you do not trust / you will not find what is trustworthy." -- Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, tr. Timothy Freke

"Then what is good? The obsessive interest in human affairs, plus a certain amount of compassion and moral conviction, that first made experience of living something that must be translated into pigment or music or bodily movement or poetry or prose or anything that's dynamic and expressive-- that's what's good for you if you're at all serious in your aims. William Saroyan wrote a great play on this theme, that purity of heart is the one success worth having. "In the time of your life-- live!" That time is short and it doesn't return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, and the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, Loss, Loss, unless you devote your heart to its opposition."
-- Tennessee Williams in an essay normally called "The Catastrophe of Success," originally published in The New York Times 30 November 1947

"You've got to kick at the darkness til it bleeds daylight." -- Bruce Cockburn, "Lovers in a Dangerous Time"

"Now there's a beautiful river
In the valley ahead
There 'neath the oak's bough
Soon we will be wed
Should we lose each other
In the shadow of the evening trees
I'll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me
Darlin I'll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me..." --- Bruce Springsteen, "If I Should Fall Behind"

"Optimists belittle nothing.
Cynics belittle everything.
Midgets simply belittle." -- old adage, origin unknown

...Stuff to keep in mind... And a short addendum: I've heard through the grapevine that I've received a another generous vote on ratemyprofessors.ca (why a TA is on there..., but never mind), and (whuda thunk it) another chili pepper. I'm now 50% hot. LOL. If the donator of that rating and the very kind comments thereto is reading this (and I suspect you are), thank you.
From Graham Greene's The Comedians, the epilogic letter from Doctor Magiot: "Catholics and Communists have committed great crimes, but at least they have not stood aside, like an established society, and been indifferent. I would rather have blood on my hands than water like Pilate. I know you and love you well, and I am writing this letter with some care because it may be the last chance I have communicating with you. It may never reach you, but I am sending it by what I believe to be a safe hand-- though there is no guarantee of that in the wild world we live in now (I do not mean my poor insignificant Haiti). I implore you-- a knock on the door may not allow me to finish this sentence, so take it as the last request of a dying man-- if you have abandoned one faith, do not abandon all faith. There is always an alternative to the faith we lose. Or is it the same faith under another mask?"

24 May 2003

A *HUGE* Update today (by my standards, anyway) --- Hilarity abounds....

Titles for Failed Children's Books

You Are Different and That's Bad
The Boy Who Died From Eating All His Vegetables
Dad's New Wife Timothy
Fun Four-letter Words to Know and Share
Hammers, Screwdrivers and Scissors: An I-Can-Do-it Book
The Kids Guide To Hitchhiking
Kathy Was So Bad Her Mom Stopped Loving Her {a personal fave}
Curious George and the High-Voltage Fence
All Dogs Go to Hell
The Little Sissy Who Snitched
Some Kittens Can Fly
That's It, I'm Putting You Up for Adoption
Grandpa Gets a Casket
The Magic World Inside the Abandoned Refrigerator
Garfield Gets Feline Leukemia
The Pop-up Book of Human Anatomy
Strangers Have the Best Candy
Whining, Kicking and Crying to Get Your Way
You Were an Accident
Things Rich Kids Have, But You Never Will
Pop! Goes the Hamster.... And Other Great Microwave Games
The Man in the Moon is Actually Satan
Your Nightmares Are Real
Where Would You Like to be Buried?
Eggs, Toilet Paper and Your School
Why Can't Mr. Fork and Ms. Electrical Outlet Be Friends?
Places Where Mommy and Daddy Hide Neat Things
Daddy Drinks Because You Cry {Another favourite: Dr. J has a cruel streak today}
101 Things You Should Put up Your Nose and in YourEar
Fighting Solves Everything
Wrong Plus Wrong Equals Right

Random Links

Dave Barry has a hilarious column about that device responsible for so many, ahem, columns. I personally love this line:
"If you're a parent, there are few experiences more embarrassing than when you report a missing child to the police, and the officer asks you where you last saw little Tiffany, and you have to answer: 'She was entering a giant colon.'"
Indeed, I hate it when that happens...

This image is for Christie who will no doubt enjoy it on two levels. ;-) Same with this one and this one.

I don't know why I find this picture funny, but damn it, I do. Maybe because Dad used to have motorcycles, and I can very much imagine him sporting this shirt.

Similarly, don't ask me how I stumbled on this site, but it *is* funny. It also leads me to think I'm in possession of a top-of-the line model.... ;-) Question, though: if fructose sugar is the chief ingredient, why is it as salty as I'm told it is? Further question: considering how much 'driving' is done manually, isn't a manual ironic? One has to reconsider the meaning of the word 'troubleshooting.'

Now, over the years I've heard some doozy excuses for missing classes, but these take the cake. My personal favourites are #s 10, 12, 16, 18, 31, 47, 81 and 95. The page includes links to tons of other excuses for work, school, and not having sex.

Do you know your Star Wars name? Check this link out if you don't. Apparently, I am Jersh Ham, Pra of Codeine.

The Top 15 "Star Wars" Euphemisms for Masturbation

Shooting Womprats in Beggar's Canyon
Grooming the Wookie
Making the Kessel Run
Polishing Vader's Helmet
Evacuating Tatooine
Unsheathing the Meatsaber
Releasing the Special Edition
Jumping to Delight Speed
Communicating with Red Leader One
Lightsaber Practice with Captain Solo
Tinkering With the R2 Unit
Manually Targeting the Rebel Base
Performing the Jedi Hand Trick
Scratching Yoda Behind the Ears
Test Firing the Death Star

and a few addenda from Dr. J: Mauling the Darth, Obi-Wanking Your Kenobi and Going Hooooo-Pah.

I had to laugh at this. Apparently, if your name begins with J,
You are blessed with a great deal of physical energy. When used for a good cause there is nothing to stop you, except maybe that they aren't always used for the good. (You could have danced all night.) You respond to the thrill of the chase and the challenge of the mating game. You can carry on great romances in your head. At heart you are a roamer and need to set out on your own every so often. You will carry on long-distance relationships with ease. You are idealistic and need to believe in love. You have a need to be nurtured deep within.

Me sayz nussing. I wonder what the ladies I've been involved with over the years would say about this.... ROFLMAO.... Added note: was told this morning that apparently I am (or was) "fuckable." No one is laughing at this harder more than I am, I assure you. ;-) Alas, the photos that prompted the comment were at least six years old, but it still made me nearly spit rye and Pepsi out my nose. Thanks Wendy, aka the Yodabitionist, who has just done wonders for Australo-Canadian relations.... I feel nurtured deep within. *huge grin*

Remember Deep Thoughts? If not, check this out. Don't read too far down, though; they start hilariously but end up, like SNL itself over the years, increasingly lame and stupid.

Random Quote: "Could you not use two syllable words? You're confusing our American friend." --- Clive Anderson

Another Random Quote: World's Worst TV Show: "And now it's time for another episode of Saliva Darts!" --- Tony Slattery

Modernhumorist.com has some funny stuff, but I like the situation of poems if written by authors who wrote poems that were anagrams of their names. Here is Eliot, Dickinson and WCWilliams. Here is Shakespeare and Dylan Thomas. And here is Blake, Nash and ee cummings. He he he. Here's one of my own:

Leonard Cohen

Hard Once Lone

I watched her there, peeling oranges
And contemplating doorhinges,
Her face the figure of distraction,
Longing for satisfaction. I could not rise
With that sorrow in her eyes,
I could not corrupt her with my lies
And bring myself between her thighs.
Such is the terror of her perfect zone,
That again I will only be hard once lone.

She twirls her hair, adrift in her peignoir,
Remembering some other faits de gloire,
Remembering the countless names and faces
That traced her graces, that better knew
The tremorous things abler lovers do.
His desire will come when she is gone,
When he does not feel so put upon
To deliver her that sacred moan.
His pleasure his, he will be hard once lone.

Meh. One tries.... RK, If you read this, this is probably my first and only attempt at nonestets. (It should be apparent why.) I couldn't be bothered to go whole hog and try to keep to the rhyme scheme of a Spenserian stanza.

And yes, there does appear to be a recurring theme this morning....

Some Great Quotes From Famous People

Ah, yes, divorce, from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man's genitals through his wallet.
--- Robin Williams

There's a new medical crisis. Doctors are reporting that many men are having allergic reactions to latex condoms. They say they cause severe swelling. So what's the problem?
--- Jay Leno {a rare instance of Leno being funny...}

When the sun comes up, I have morals again.
--- Elayne Boosler

If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten.
--- George Carlin

Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and give her a house.
--- Johnny Carson {I miss Johnny sooo much...}

See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time!!!!!
--- Robin Williams

I'm always amazed to hear of air crash victims so badly mutilated that they have to be identified by their dental records. What I can't understand is, if they don't know who you are, how do they know who your dentist is?
--- Paul Merton.

There is one thing I would break up over and that is if she caught me with another woman. I wouldn't stand for that.
--- Steve Martin.

First you forget names, then you forget faces. Next you forget to pull your zipper up and finally, you forget to pull it down.
--- George Burns.

If toast always lands butter-side down, and cats always land on their feet, what happens if you strap toast on the back of a cat and drop it?
--- Steven Wright. [Brilliant!!! I love Steven Wright's other classic, "I'm studying evolution. It's going REEEEEEEAL SLOOOOOW."}

I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous - everyone hasn't met me yet.
--- Rodney Dangerfield.

The big difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money costs less.
--- Brendon Francis. {No kidding...}

Have you ever noticed? Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.
--- George Carlin.

I love mankind; it's people I can't stand.
--- Charles Schultz.

Sometimes I need what only you can provide - Your absence.
--- Ashleigh Brilliant.

What's another word for Thesaurus?
--- Steven Wright. {For the life of me, I can't think of one...]

When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, 'Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don't believe?'
--- Quentin Crisp.

If you ever see me getting beaten by the police, put down the video camera and come help me.
--- Bobcat Goldthwait.

Television has brought back murder into the home -- where it belongs.
--- Alfred Hitchcock.

When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself.
--- Peter O'Toole. {I love this one...}

They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad that I'm going to miss mine by just a few days.
--- Garrison Kiellor

My advice to you is get married: if you find a good wife you'll be happy; if not, you'll become a philosopher.
--- Socrates.

It was God who made me so beautiful. If I weren't, then I'd be a teacher.
--- Supermodel Linda Evangelista.

They couldn't hit an elephant from this dist...
---The last words of US General John Sedgwick.

And a Selection of Bushisms

Dubya always makes me appreciate Jean Chretien....

Taken from The Complete Bushisms compiled by Jacob Weisberg

"It is not Reaganesque to support a tax plan that is Clinton in nature.'' Los Angeles, Feb. 23, 2000

"I don't have to accept their tenants. I was trying to convince those college students to accept my tenants. And I reject any labeling me because I happened to go to the university."—Today, Feb. 23, 2000

"I understand small business growth. I was one."—New York Daily News, Feb. 19, 2000 "The senator has got to understand if he's going to have—he can't have it both ways. He can't take the high horse and then claim the low road."—To reporters in Florence, S.C., Feb. 17, 2000

"Really proud of it. A great campaign. And I'm really pleased with the organization and the thousands of South Carolinians that worked on my behalf. And I'm very gracious and humbled."—To Cokie Roberts, This Week, Feb. 20, 2000

"I don't want to win? If that were the case why the heck am I on the bus 16 hours a day, shaking thousands of hands, giving hundreds of speeches, getting pillared in the press and cartoons and still staying on message to win?"—Newsweek, Feb. 28, 2000

"I thought how proud I am to be standing up beside my dad. Never did it occur to me that he would become the gist for cartoonists."—ibid.

"If you're sick and tired of the politics of cynicism and polls and principles, come and join this campaign."—Hilton Head, S.C., Feb. 16, 2000

"How do you know if you don't measure if you have a system that simply suckles kids through?"—Explaining the need for educational accountability in Beaufort, S.C., Feb. 16, 2000

"We ought to make the pie higher."—South Carolina Republican Debate, Feb. 15, 2000

"I do not agree with this notion that somehow if I go to try to attract votes and to lead people toward a better tomorrow somehow I get subscribed to some—some doctrine gets subscribed to me."—Meet The Press, Feb. 13, 2000

"I've changed my style somewhat, as you know. I'm less—I pontificate less, although it may be hard to tell it from this show. And I'm more interacting with people."—ibid

"I think we need not only to eliminate the tollbooth to the middle class, I think we should knock down the tollbooth."—Nashua, N.H., as quoted by Gail Collins in the New York Times, Feb. 1, 2000

"The most important job is not to be governor, or first lady in my case."—Pella, Iowa, as quoted by the San Antonio Express-News, Jan. 30, 2000

"Will the highways on the Internet become more few?"—Concord, N.H., Jan. 29, 2000

"This is Preservation Month. I appreciate preservation. It's what you do when you run for president. You gotta preserve."—Speaking during "Perseverance Month" at Fairgrounds Elementary School in Nashua, N.H. As quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Jan. 28, 2000

"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."—Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000

"What I am against is quotas. I am against hard quotas, quotas they basically delineate based upon whatever. However they delineate, quotas, I think vulcanize society. So I don't know how that fits into what everybody else is saying, their relative positions, but that's my position.''—Quoted by Molly Ivins, the San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 21, 2000 (Thanks to Toni L. Gould.)

"When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were," he said. "It was us vs. them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they're there."—Iowa Western Community College, Jan 21, 2000

"The administration I'll bring is a group of men and women who are focused on what's best for America, honest men and women, decent men and women, women who will see service to our country as a great privilege and who will not stain the house."—Des Moines Register debate, Iowa, Jan. 15, 2000

"This is still a dangerous world. It's a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mential losses."—At a South Carolina oyster roast, as quoted in the Financial Times, Jan. 14, 2000

"We must all hear the universal call to like your neighbor just like you like to be liked yourself."—ibid.

"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"—Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000

"Gov. Bush will not stand for the subsidation of failure."—ibid.

"There needs to be debates, like we're going through. There needs to be town-hall meetings. There needs to be travel. This is a huge country."—Larry King Live, Dec. 16, 1999

"I read the newspaper."—In answer to a question about his reading habits, New Hampshire Republican Debate, Dec. 2, 1999

"I think it's important for those of us in a position of responsibility to be firm in sharing our experiences, to understand that the babies out of wedlock is a very difficult chore for mom and baby alike. ... I believe we ought to say there is a different alternative than the culture that is proposed by people like Miss Wolf in society. ... And, you know, hopefully, condoms will work, but it hasn't worked."—Meet the Press, Nov. 21, 1999

"The students at Yale came from all different backgrounds and all parts of the country. Within months, I knew many of them."—From A Charge To Keep, by George W. Bush, published November 1999

"It is incredibly presumptive for somebody who has not yet earned his party's nomination to start speculating about vice presidents."—Keene, N.H., Oct. 22, 1999, quoted in the New Republic, Nov. 15, 1999

"The important question is, How many hands have I shaked?"—Answering a question about why he hasn't spent more time in New Hampshire, in the New York Times, Oct. 23, 1999

"I don't remember debates. I don't think we spent a lot of time debating it. Maybe we did, but I don't remember."—On discussions of the Vietnam War when he was an undergraduate at Yale, Washington Post, July 27, 1999

"The only thing I know about Slovakia is what I learned first-hand from your foreign minister, who came to Texas."—To a Slovak journalist as quoted by Knight Ridder News Service, June 22, 1999. Bush's meeting was with Janez Drnovsek, the prime minister of Slovenia.

"If the East Timorians decide to revolt, I'm sure I'll have a statement."—Quoted by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times, June 16, 1999

"Keep good relations with the Grecians."—Quoted in the Economist, June 12, 1999

"Kosovians can move back in."—CNN Inside Politics, April 9, 1999

"It was just inebriating what Midland was all about then."—From a 1994 interview, as quoted in First Son, by Bill Minutaglio

22 May 2003

Happy News

Dr. J has a new member of the clan. My cousin gave birth to her second child, Lucas Kyle, very early this morning. He's 8 pounds 7 ounces, and apparently both mommy and child are healthy and well. No word on how well daddy is doing. ;-)

20 May 2003

Buffy Series Finale

..... or, Bring On The Andalusian Horses

I promise not to say too much here about the Buffy finale, but I've discovered two things: that I do indeed have to find six Andalusian horses to rend Joss Whedon into shreds, and that I finally agree with many of the show's recent critics who thought the series should have indeed ended with Buffy's sacrifice at the close of season five. Although the script itself had a few more 'one-liners' and gestures toward clever repartee than the past few episodes, it was nonetheless cynical, preposterous, heartless and pretentious. It was easily the worst episode of the show that Whedon himself wrote, and I'm frankly *disgusted* by it. The plot is unbelievably convenient and utterly ridiculous. The characters are fundamentally irrelevant and profoundly underdeveloped. There are faint nods to events raised in season seven, but they're classic examples of supplication that are as trite as the answers parents give young children about the sky being blue just to shut them up . The implied ending is tacky, populistic crap that may be all cheery-girl-empowermenty in intention but which reminds me all too much of situation that bred the Mutant situation in X-Men, while the ending proper was self-congratulatory pulp that had me wondering if the writing staff had become extremely proud of itself for finding a way out of the mess it had created for itself.

Joss and company, I really did hope you wouldn't go where you went-- and you did. This episode is the epitome of vapidity and smugness, and, frankly, I think it betrayed the characters and the series as a whole.

A few brief remarks, though, without being spoilery:

-- Spike: Joss, I knew you'd do it, this shamless Spuffy piffle. At least he had a few good lines about Angel, and his final words to Buffy almost rdeem a scene that is otherwise pure maize. Credit to James Marsters for delivering some of his lines without breaking into "I'm the hero" self-rhapsodizing.

-- Anya: Do Joss and company hate Emma Caulfield? They must. I say little more except: (1) I was right about what would happen; and (2) I don't think I've ever seen a character dealt with so fliply and cheaply. Or perhaps she owes them money? And what was with Xander taking so many unnecessary and demeaning cheap shots at her? Sure, he can have the 'yellow crayon' speech that restores Willow's humanity in season six, and he can imbue the human appreciation for Dawn being 'extraordinary' in season seven, and this is what Anya gets? So much for the eseential humanity of our characters. *hock, spit* By the way, I do not so much object to Anya's fate as I do the manner in which it was handled; in fact, I'm one of those who felt that the show really needed to sacrifice some of its characters for the sake of gravity.

-- Magic: Well, gee, it's nice to know all of the stuff about magic was utterly irrelevant and had absolutely no dramatic consequence. Christ. And, of course, Willow, the episode implies, assumes her place as a giddy good witch, a Guardian just like the one whose neck we saw so unceremoniously broken last week. Nice to know she got off pseudo-sexually, though; it at least proves that the minds of the show's writers are focussed on the truly significant concerns of our characters. All in all, Willow should just change her name to Glinda and be done with it (though I can't imagine Glinda making any cunnilingus references, ruby slippers et al).

-- Giles: Could they have made him look more pathetic? There really was no dramatic consequence to his return, and that's a bloody shame. He wields a sword, has a few lines, and suddenly praises Buffy's genius? Give me a break. His arc this season has been shameful. Anthony Stewart Head has my sympathies because he had more to do in those old Taster's Choice coffee commercials than he did here.

-- the action: some parts are way too Lord of the Rings-wannabe; other parts are just plain phony (Buffy's estimable healing powers are played to incredulity); and what's with the Buffy-Bruce Willis-ing at the end? The action at the end was astonishingly far-fetched to the point it seemed Whedon and company were doing two things: desperately finding a way to get Buffy out of danger without confronting the ramifications of what had been set up, and also making sure they spent every last dollar remaining in the Buffy budget. Note about the plan to go into the Hellmouth: the crew are attacking in broad daylight, and yet they leave the normal humans to fight inside the school, out of the rays of the sun; shouldn't the characters have been smart enough to blow holes in the school to use sunlight to contain the flood of Uber-vamps instead of using human cannon fodder? Somebody's not thinking here...

-- the final scene: could they have possibly down-played dramatic consequence any more? could they have further undermined the lives lost in the battle? This is the most heartless ending of any Buffy finale, and I found myself agog that the characters would be saying what they were saying, and speaking so flippantly. I watched this scene absolutely horrified at how bad it was, to the point I seriously wondered if any of these characters had actually grown or developed over the past seven years. And, of course, insert Cleveland joke here. How ripe. *rolls eyes*

-- the defeat of the First Evil: suddenly the FE seems like it was no more threatening than an average vampire; and what the HELL was with everybody suddenly being able to slaughter the Uber-Vamps? And where were the Bringers? I only saw a few of them. There are some major continuity problems here, and there is absolutely no dramatic pay-off in the defeat of the FE. This is shocking because this show has generally been strong in handling the defeat of the Big Bad-- whether in the pyrotechnics of defeating the Mayor, the dramatic poignancy of defeating Glory, or even the emotional recentering in the defeat of Willow (as flawed as that episode was). There was no poignancy, no resonance, no truth; instead we got braggodoccio from our heroine and childish taunting from the FE. I should also add that by the season's conclusion, the FE surpassed Glory in its stupidity; I remember all too well Buffy's wonderful rebuke to Glory, "You're not the smartest god in the heavens, are you?" The FE became conveniently defeatable.

-- the Slayer line question: Yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck. Nice way to remove all dramatic and significant context from the series, especially as Buffy is figured as a kind of idiot Moses leading the tribe of girls to the Promised Slayer Land. Tack a thoughtless happy ending onto this whole scenario and everything will be all right. *Barf* The Fem-Bots will love this, though.

-- Caleb and Angel: dramatically irrelevant. Oh, biggie, we got to hear Buffy whine about vampire jealousy. Spare me.

I cannot believe how much I hated this episode. The ending was even worse than I feared. Everything felt rushed, pat, cushy, and *stupid.* And what happened with Anya was nothing less than criminal.

What a shame.

I guess I better start learning how to do an Irish jig.

And one closing note for Joss Whedon and the Mutant Enemy writers, who thought this cliched, callous ending would be a satisfactory way to round the series with a sleep--- Fuck you, too.
Ah, another day.... Thinking about Bob Dylan this morning, trying to figure out whether he's a poet or not. There was a time-- in a younger incarnation-- I'd have answered that affirmatively without reservation, but I'm not so sure anymore. Sure, Leonard Cohen is a poet, but Dylan's a tougher call; at the very least, though, he's better than most writers of 'verse' today. He has (from "My Back Pages") one of favourite pair of lines-- "I was so much older then / I'm younger than that now" -- and there are some songs that are as good as any poems written since 1950 ("Like A Rolling Stone," "It's All Over Now Baby Blue," to name just two). Regardless, he's a genius, even if he tends toward colloquial sentimentality more often than he needs.

"I'm walking down that long, lonseome road, babe
Where I'm bound, I can't tell
But goodbye's too good a word, gal
So I'll just say fare thee well
I ain't sayin' you treated my unkind
You could have done better but I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don't think twice, it's all right."
-- "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" from The Freewhelin' Bob Dylan

Must dig up my Dylan collection, such as it is. Something in me always prefers the cynical Dylan to the romantic Dylan; the romantic Cohen or the romantic Van Morrison are far more palletable. Ah, more later-- I'm gonna change my way of thinking...

19 May 2003

I absolutely had to post this link. It goes directly into the "me sayz nussing" file. I wonder what is more pathetic, though, that which is criticized or the people who take up a web site to decry it.

"Men are but Children of a larger growth,
Our appetites as apt to change as theirs." --- Dollabella in John Dryden's All For Love (4.1.43-44)

Rickety Rak (Don't Talk Back)

Spent much of tonight reading from Christopher Ricks' Essays in Appreciation(1998), which is -- to my general surprise-- more in tune with my of thinking than I had anticipated. In many Ricks is a mixed bag: his editions of Eliot (Inventions of the March Hare) and Tennyson (simply called Tennyson) are annotated to the point of copious excess, and his study of Eliot (T. S. Eliot and Prejudice) provides some fine insights while occasionally tumbling toward dross. Essays is very interesting-- even if, very often, his purported topic falls by the wayside like a snake's skin-- and exceptionally erudite, and more often than not one gets the sense of a broad range of reading asserting itself in somewhat kaleidoscope forms. I particularly like some of his remarks on the academic juncture between theory and 'practical criticism' (a term Ricks finds as euphemistic as I do), and I would like many of my colleagues to consider them without defensiveness. I like these lines, for example:

Theory, in its professionalized and systematic intellectuality, widens the gap between critics and non-professional readers; between critics and writers; between critics and scholars; and -- smaller of scale but professionally germane-- between graduates and undergraduates. [Geoffrey] Hartman, for whom the only alternative to theory is 'practical criticism,' says roundly that 'practical criticism is more of a pedagogical and popaedeutic than mature activity' (the words 'propaedeutic' itself being intended to couw the young and immature); he speaks them of 'the mind of the novice,' and of 'the danger in whis undergraduate or undeveloped form of practical criticism.' I share none of the beliefs which underlie such a way of speaking, such an estimate of practical criticism in any of its forms, or of undergraduates, or of the alternatives as Hartman conceives them. But I am sure that Hartman is right to depict theory, or advanced thought as they like to think of it, as intrinsically inimical to undergraduate teaching. ("Literary Principles As Against Theory" 331-332)

The Hartman text to which Ricks refers, by the way, is Criticism In The Wilderness. Much of the criticism I read that is of the past 35 years tends to think itself 'enlightened' as it quibbles endlessly about philosophy, history, materialism, and the importance of theory. I remember about five years ago being told by a professor that I wore my distaste for theory like 'a badge of honour, and in part she was right; she was, I think, wrong though to assume this a failing or a limitation on my part, and I think in many ways Geoffrey Hartman a living proof of this error, as he began an intelligent and insightful critic only to become righteously converted to theory (deconstruction in particular) and, as a result, little more than a prattler of the same old ideas and the same old issues. The academy is glutted with theorists rather than thinkers, people who have come to accept certain ways of thinking as natural laws (e.g., every text is informed by ideology, and is therefore a statement of ideology), and who spend their careers in effect reproducing so-called proof of such laws. Part of this, I suspect, has something to do with a desperate attempt to prove that literary studies has a specific social function, a role to play in the broader determinations of human thought and how hums think (and with this, it becomes insipid self-justification). Another part of this, though, is a general reluctance to accord literature itself much power-- instead, the notion of theory-driven studies empowers the critic and effectively allows the critic to stand with a kind of superiority over literature which very often becomes a kind of condescension in the analysis. Further, literature ceases to be a subject of study as it becomes instead little more than a platform for supposedly 'higher' levels of thinking-- what Hartman might call 'graduate' and 'postgraduate' thinking. Ultimately all of this tends toward hornswoggle, towards self-legitimizing and evasive "but but but-ing" that attempts to categorize and to characterize rather than to contemplate and to study. As Ricks says, the gap between scholars and writers, and scholars and amateurs (and so on), is widened, and deliberately widened, with theory as its crowbar. To discuss literature in terms of its properties and principles is merely "propaedeutic," which means, basically, introductory or preliminary; it is 'naive,' a good start, but green and immature. Horse-shit.

One of my critical mentors remains Northrop Frye, who once quite rightly remarked that literary theory that cannot be explained and made useful at the kindergarten level is ultimately useless. To speak as critics like Hartman do-- and to think as he so often does-- is to lock oneself in the ivory tower and to pretend with a kind of Freudian super-authority that one knows 'what is really going on' when, in fact, one is every bit as muddled in one's thinking as anybody else. Theory becomes a crutch, a shot to the alcoholic, a fix for the addict. That crutch or shot or fix becomes a means of verifying and asserting one's supposed critical importance, or one's so-called intellectual sophistication. It becomes the dais seperating the professor from his/her students, even if, all the while, the professor lectures that the readers are as responsible in the creation of the text as the author is. It's a profoundly democratizing gesture, but it is merely gesture because it in fact implies and necessitates a prescribed way of thinking about literature that is more social-scientific (and therefore verifiable) than humanistic, more paradigmatic than individual. As such, recent critical theory takes more from other fields-- like philosophy, history, gender studies, cultural studies, anthropology, poltical and social thought-- than it does from fields that are distinctly and a priori literary or rhetorical (musical, dramatic, verbal). It seeks a language of its own, a jargon that includes such verbal dandies as 'discourse,' 'construction,' 'diaspora,' 'regendering,' 'marginilization,' and 'politicization.' I'm not, of course, against such words per se but their application in recent criticism is roughly equivalent to academic braggadoccio. And when I see them in scholarly print, or hear them invoked in supposedly intelligent discussion, I'm provoked to realize that the gong has been struck and the discussants in question should remove themselves from the stage before Chuck Barris has to drag them off. It ultimately becomes about sloppy and lazy thinking guised as high-mindedness, and the perpetrators of it become rather like Malvolio, yellow stockings and cross-garters replaced with convenient lingo and easy answers. But their language and their answers are not accessible to kindergartners-- they depend on an accepted world view that children have yet to adopt, and which they hopefully will not have to adopt. Theory, it seems to me, is only as valuable as its immediate applicability, and the recent tendencies to assume the be-all-and-end-all-ness of theory are as misguided as the tendencies of religio-fundamentalists who cling to the Scriptures without placing the words of those Scriptures into context, even if, for example, "an eye for an eye" stands in contradiction to turning the other cheek. It becomes the easy answer, readily supplied-- an interpretive god out of the machine. And this fundamentally ires me because critical thought becomes taciturn and tautological, and critical responsibility becomes minimal. The critic/scholar/thinker abandons the basics-- including the so-called 'undergraduate' desire to interrogate-- and tends toward 'advancements' of a conceptual revolution (post-1968, or so it's often dated) that are basically little more than 'graduate' tendencies to determine and to fix.

When I think of the truly important scholars/critics of literature, I think of the people who confronted what they studied with individual character, and with individual honesty-- T.S. Eliot, Samuel Johnson, John Dryden, Matthew Arnold, G. Wilson Knight, Northrop Frye, William Empson, Frank Kermode, Hugh Kenner, R. P. Blackmur. Each had their bailywicks, each had their problems. Each developed what one might call theories. (I'm sorry I name no women, but even many of the better female critics, like Julia Kristeva, are very uncomfortable adherent to awkward paradigms and assumptions; I could add Virginia Woolf, perhaps, but her criticism is often stilted and obtuse.) But none of them belonged to schools, even if for some of the above schools followed in their names. And I have to find it indicative, or at least suggestive, that many of our major surviving critics-- Kermode, Harold Bloom, Frank Lentricchia-- have taken to elegizing or eulogizing the study of literature. One of Bloom's best gestures is his declaration in The Western Canon that he is a Marxist critic, following Groucho rather than Karl in the notion "whatever it is, I'm against it." He wouldn't belong to any club that would have him as a member. (Bloom probably recoils at the fact that he and Eliot shared a fondness for the moustachioed one). Our 'schools' devote themselves almost monastically to a series of precepts which almost invariably cloud them from responding 'honestly,' and indeed the 'honest response' to literature (and the world) is seen as cliched and naive Platonism. It is not.

I, for one, will remember occasional insights and turns of phrase (and analysis) far better and far longer than most of rancid theoria now current; I will better remember criticism that is imaginative and lucid than I will jargonistic fol-de-rol. And, what's more I will pass on these ideas and thoughts to others, whether they know it or not, because they influence my own way(s) of thinking about literature and often the world. After all, what use is criticism if it is impractical?

16 May 2003

Weird 'Facts'
I'd read these before, but never had a copy of them; thanks to Dave Ublanksy for forwarding them to me. I don't about some of these 'facts,' but at least a *lot* of them are true. Very funny. Thanks Dave.

*Mosquito repellents don't repel. They hide you. The spray blocks the mosquito's sensors so they don't know you're there.
*Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least 6 feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.
*The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as substitute for blood plasma.
*No piece of paper can be folded in half more than 7 times.
*Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.
*You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.
*Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty years of age or older.
*The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley's gum.
*The king of hearts is the only king without a mustache.
*A Boeing 747s wingspan is longer than the Wright brother's first flight.
*American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating 1 olive from each salad served in first-class.
*Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise.
*Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.
*The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets.
*Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin.
*The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer.
*Michael Jordan makes more money from Nike annually than all of the Nike factory workers in Malaysia combined.
*Marilyn Monroe had six toes.
*All US Presidents have worn glasses. Some just didn't like being seen wearing them in public.
*Walt Disney was afraid of mice.
*Pearls melt in vinegar.
*Thirty-five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married.
*The three most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca-Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.
*It is possible to lead a cow upstairs...but not downstairs.
*A duck's quack doesn't echo and no one knows why.
*The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days when the engines were pulled by horses. The horses were stabled on the ground floor and figured out how to walk up straight staircases.
*Richard Millhouse Nixon was the first US president whose name contains all the letters from the word "criminal." The second was William Jefferson Clinton.
*Turtles can breathe through their butts.
*Butterflies taste with their feet.
*In 10 minutes, a hurricane releases more energy than all of the world's nuclear weapons combined.
*On average, 100 people choke to death on ball-point pens every year.
*On average people fear spiders more than they do death.
*Ninety percent of New York City cabbies are recently arrived immigrants.
*Elephants are the only animals that can't jump.
*Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older.
*Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
*It's physically impossible for you to lick your elbow.
*The Main Library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.
*A snail can sleep for three years.
*No word in the English language rhymes with "MONTH."
*Average life span of a major league baseball: 7 pitches.
*Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing. SCARY!!!
*The electric chair was invented by a dentist.
*All polar bears are left handed.
*In ancient Egypt, priests plucked EVERY hair from their bodies, including their eyebrows and eyelashes.
*An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
*TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.
*"Go," is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
*If Barbie were life-size, her measurements would be 39-23-33. She would stand seven feet, two inches tall. Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
*A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
*The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.
*Americans on average eat 18 acres of pizza every day.
*Almost everyone who reads this email will try to lick their elbow.
*Don't forget to pass these weird facts on to everyone you know.

They will get a kick out of it !!

PS... So, did you try to lick your elbow????

You did, didn't you? I'm sure you did.

15 May 2003

It's bibliography and proposal time.... I don't even want to guess how many pages the biblio will ultimately be, but I'm finally getting down to the task. Hell, cataloguing the relevant stuff that I *own* will take up enough bloody time-- and enough pages. Why the hell did I decide to do a Ph.D. again? Anne, if you're reading this, are we psychotic or what? Seriously, kiddo, I want an answer. ;-)

Sigh.... And sometime in the next bit I ought to start putting together sample syllabi for courses I could (conceivably) teach. This is something they encourage idiot Ph.D. candidates to do in preparation for appointment interviews. I started working through a rough list of possible courses, and I think the last tally was around 30 courses. Mind you, some I probably wouldn't be allowed to teach except in the case of a major departmental deficiency (i.e., some things are technically outside of my specializations, even though I could teach the material very easily, and in some cases already have). It's been a running thing lurking in the deep, dark, terrifying recesses of my mind for a while-- the thought of course design-- but a recent speculation in a discussion with a former student has the thought moving more to the front burner, especially as I tend toward cleaning up my own loose ends. Designing courses, for me anyway, is a lot more fun than doing dissertation work, partly because it allows the freedom to organize matters in a much looser form, but also because I've found myself preferring the act of discussion more than the act of punditry; like a comedian, I've discovered I work better with an audience, so I don't tire of the sound of my own voice and so I can riff spontaneously rather than predictably or necessarily.

Yes, you read properly-- Dr J tires of the sound of his own voice, despite what this blog might imply. *smirk* Damn, I can just imagine the remarks I'll hear to that... *rolls eyes* Alas, to the biblio...

14 May 2003


Leave it to fucking ABC to destroy one of my favourite shows, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which has now been all but cancelled. First they ruin the British format. Then they make it a pure sitcom with three out of four regular improvisors, including making the infernally bad Wayne Brady a regular. Then they hire Hollywood comedy hacks to write 'gags' and 'games' that effectively destroy the entire concept of improvisation. Then they insist on censoring even the *slightest* thing. Then they insist on mining tapings till the cows come home. Then they move it around -- and remove it from-- the schedule willy-nilly, only to have their 'replacement' material do equally badly and prove fundamentally more embarassing (e.g. Are You Hot?). When it was a UK show, it kept building an audience over its (count 'em) TEN seasons. In half that time ABC drove the show into the ground. I hate ABC, and that corporate mentality that systematically reduces everything to ridiculous formulae of what 'will be a hit.' Yes, I'm pissed. Not that Whose Line had been in top form lately, but the show could have been handled so much better-- if they'd only damned well let the Brits run it as they had. ARRRGH.

Dr J is now very, very cranky.

Colin Mochrie, in memoriam-- "I'll be your lightning rod of hate!"
Had to post this-- a text-only version of Where's Waldo that will no doubt amuse and delight. With thanks to DB.

Here's yet another link for Anne-- alas, possible answers for our eternal question. ;-) Maybe they should have to pass a quiz first. To my female readers: note that the quiz is called the "I'm Not Bitter Quiz," which should qualify a lot. Or so I hope. If not, I'm hiding under my desk hoping the blunt objects you're throwing don't end up concussing me. ;-) In repentance, I offer this for the ladies from Dave Barry, on How Guys Think. One pauses to wonder if there's any correspondence or connection between the woman named at the end of the article and a much-loved professor of English and current Associate Dean of Arts.... ;-) Couldn't be.

Found this for any of you surfers pereptually on the go. How sad do you have to be? Or how much sadder is it that it may really have been considered seriously? See here.

She Moved Through The Fair

My young love said to me,
My mother won't mind
And my father won't slight you
For your lack of kind.
She stepped away from me
And this she did say,
"It will not be long love
Till our wedding day."

She stepped away from me
And she moved through the fair
And fondly I watched her move here
And move there.
And she went her way homeward
With one star awake,
As the swan in the evening
Moved over the lake.

Last night she came to me,
My young love came in.
So softly she entered,
That her feet made no din.
And she came close beside me
And this she did say,
"It will not be long love
Till our wedding day."

This is an old Irish traditional song, but I adore its lyrical simplicity, and there is a genuinely haunting version of it by Van Morrison and the Chieftains on their collaboration Irish Heartbeat (1988). It occurred to me this morning that I'd not listened to this song in a couple of years, and the ethereal closing coda (with Van half-whispering half-singing 'It will not be long It will not be long It will not be long...") is one of the finest exercises in phrasal repetition that I know. The entire album, by the way, is beautiful -- if you like Irish music, it should go without saying-- with sprightly versions of "Marie's Wedding" and "I'll Tell Me Ma," and a fine setting of the poet Patrick Kavanagh's "Raglan Road." The only unfortunate thing is that the album is less than 40 minutes long. :-(
"In music the passions enjoy themselves."
--- Friedrich Nietszche, Epigrams and Interludes

You know it's going to be a weird day when I end up quoting Nietszche.... ;-)
Buffy: The Slouch Continues, Or How I Learned To Stop Bothering and Learned To Love The Devolution

Precious time is slippin' away
You know you're only king for a day
It doesn't matter to which God you pray
Precious time is slippin' away

--- Van Morrison

Ah yes, the penultimate episode ("End of Days") aired tonight, and though it was at least better than the moronic, manipulative game of sexual musical chairs we were treated to last week, it succeeded in further convincing me that the show has trapped itself in a corner and cannot get itself out without trite conventions and patently silly situations. Season 7 set itself up to deal with a lot of issues and a lot of characters (part of the problem: *way* too many characters), and with only 60 minutes remaining in the entire series, it now seems impossible-- barring some kind of miracle-- that there will be any sort of satisfying resolutions. Some general remarks:

Buffy: What ever happened to dealing with the reason for the First Evil's sudden desire to destroy the slayer line? After so much emphasis was put on the fact that the Slayer herself was the problem, we've not had it addressed in a LONNNNG time, and this penultimate episode didn't make a single gesture toward realizing it. And if the spoilers I've heard about the final episode prove true, all of that will have been a giant time-wasting Macguffin and I will be mighty pissed. Worse, the emphasis with Buffy herself has been on her romantic relationships (blech! enough already, or at least take it past the Dawson's Creek level of self-agonizing banality) and on her role as a general (okay, but even the other characters were tiring of her preachiness). There's one remaining possibility, which would go contrary to the spoilers I've heard, which is that Buffy herself becomes connected to the First Evil. Dramaturgically, this seems to me where it should have gone, but it seems like the Mutant Enemy team lost their nerve at the last. So we have a Buffy who's now less interesting than she was in Season One.

Angel: Blah. So trite, so hackneyed. A crappy entrance, and obviously there only for unity and to appease the legions of teenie-boppers still praying for a Buffy-Angel reunion. Also, his appearance is yet another deus ex machina gesture to get the show out of a nasty situation. But this use of the 'god out of the machine' rang hollow, utterly hollow; for a better version of this, see Giles' magnificent return at the end of Season Six with the classic line, "I'd like to test that theory."

Xander, Willow: They've been about as relevant as a tampon is to me. Xander gets to make a speech now and again, Willow gets to feel all tingly again and keep threatening us that she could go bad at any moment. But all of this is to no avail, and the characters are as paper thin as the walls in a Virginia Woolf novel.

Caleb: "Gee, aren't I menacing?" Well, no; the irony is that Buffy already faced a much more difficult challenge in Glory. "But we can give him all these crazy, wacky David Koresh aspects that will send chills down everyone's spines." No, it's stereotypical writing, and the show has never reconciled his supposed religiousity with his conscious embrace of evil. Next week, he'll get back up from the floor-- you know he's not dead yet.... Yawn.....

Faith: Nice to see her back, but what was the fucking point? It hasn't added anything to the story, and only succeeded really in serving as a satiation of those of us who wanted to see her again. She's been thrown to the crowd like a bone, and her whole sub-plot with leading the Slayerettes was little more than exercise in demonstrating how heavy the world weighs on poor Buffy's shoulders and that's why she's such a great heroine. *rolls eyes* Have the Mutant Enemy team forgotten that Faith is more than just a hottie? (Whew-- indeed, a hawt hawt hawt hawt hawttie, but I digress.)

Slayerettes: Pointless, time-wasting characters, mostly cannon fodder and bitch-bitch-bitchers-- except, of course, for Kennedy who's there to be a snot and to give teenage boys their fantasies of lesbians going at it. At least Chao-Ahn provides a few moments of comic relief.

Andrew: Yes, he's been developed, and he's become quite funny. But did keeping him around really add anything?

Dawn: Has there been a point at all to having her around?

Anya: How could they make such horribly little use of Anya, who has proven very often over her development to be either the much-needed splash of cold water for the others (as in "The Body") or the sorely-needed Falstaff to prick through the pretentious rhetoric of some of the characters, especially Buffy? Looks like she's meat to the dogs next week; after the corny conversation between she and Andrew tonight (wherein he anticipates his own death and her survival), you know who's going to die (probably saving the other). Cornball. It's been criminal what they've done to Anya this season.

Wood: Except to make yet another triangle of romance and revenge, has he really served any purpose? Oh, he had to supply the shadow device-- which ultimately proved useless. Really, he was put in here so the writers could feed more into the history of Spike.

Spike: Overdose, overdose, overdose. James Marsters has done what he could, but did we need to have him essentially be the bad-boy British version of Angel? Look for him to make the ultimate sacrifice next week. *Weep weep weep* *Puke puke puke* This is unfortunate because they could have done much more-- and much better-- with him in these final episodes.

The First Evil: This started as a great 'character'-- and in some episodes (like "Lessons" and "Conversations with Dead People") its polymorphous nature, oracular ambiguity, and subtle menace were terrific. (The last few moments of "Lessons" at the beginning of the season were brilliant.) But over the past several episodes the First Evil has been about as threatening as Mr. Snuffleupagus. The FE can see and know everything and exists everywhere, but doesn't know if the Bringers sweat? The FE has its centre everywhere and its circumference nowhere, and yet cannot keep tabs on the plans and machinations of the Scoobies? Bah. This should have been played out much more adeptly; the FE could have been the Biggest of the Big Bads. Instead it's become a caricature.

And my nominee for most wasted character of the season:

Giles: A great character, utterly wasted. The whole is he evil, is he not evil question was a total waste of time, and since then he's been little more than a cipher. Unless there's a hell of a surprise coming next week, there really was no point in bringing him back, even if it's always nice to see Anthony Stewart Head back on the show.

And think of all the red-herrings we've had teased before us but which so far have proven irrelevant: Beljoxa's Eye, Joyce's warnings, the Shadow Men, the slaughter of the Watcher's Council, the question of the First Slayer, the threat from D'Hoffryn, Willow's magic use, the uncertainty surrounding Giles' life and death, the demonic connections of being the Slayer, the declaration from the FE that this was "about power," the ramifications of the existence of two Slayers and two souled vampires, they've all been underdeveloped, handled fliply, or played as tricks of plot. And then tonight we have two new tricks out of the bag brought out as easy answers to the series' crises. Unless Joss Whedon has one helluva trick up his sleeve for next week (which IS possible, but highly unlikely), most of this season is gearing up to look like a giant waste of potential, and indeed a phenomenal waste of time. Maybe the Buffy crew needs to remember the words of Shakespeare's Richard II, "I wasted time, and now time doth waste me."

And, by the way, my title lied: I haven't learned to love the devolution. So much for the saying making things true. Joss, it's all up to you. Precious time is slipping away.... But a pair of warnings. If you put all of this is Buffy's mind from inside a mental institution, I'll hunt you down and gut you. This show deserves more than a Dallas-type ending. If it goes all "Spike sacrifices himself to save the world because of his truly eternal love for Buffy," I will hunt you down, tie all six of your extant appendages to Andalusian horses, and then I'll set the beasts asunder before dancing an Irish jig on the cankerous chunks of carcass that remain.

I kid, of course.

I can't do an Irish jig.

13 May 2003

Here's a poem from John Donne, perfect for this time of day-- even if Donne's 'scene' is very different than my own at the moment.
Breake of Day

Tis true, 'tis day; what though it be?
O wilt thou therefore rise from me?
Why should we rise, because 'tis light?
Did we lie down, because 'twas night?
Love, which in spite of darkness brought us hither,
Should in despite of light keep us together.

Light hath no tongue, but is all eye;
If it could speak as well as spy,
This were the worst that it could say,
That being well, I fain would stay,
And that I loved my heart and honor so,
That I would not from him, that had them, go.

Must business thee from hence remove?
O, that's the worst disease of love.
The poor, the foul, the false, love can
Admit, but not the busied man.
He which hath business, and makes love, doth do
Such wrong, as when a married man doth woo.

BTW, a great resource for the literary-minded is right here, including a great set of links to net material. When I say literary-minded, I should say "poetry minded"; I still have a hard time thinking of the prose-minded as literary-minded per se. Yes, I'm being very flip again.

Any of you who have heard my impression of T.S. Eliot reading James Brown's greatest hits (and it is very hard to believe that bit is now *seven* years old) may have thought I was doing a gross disservice to the man. Though I can never *completely* hear what I sound like when I do, I suspect I'm actually being kinder to Eliot than he ever was to himself. If you doubt me, check out this record of Eliot reading his "La Figlia Che Piange" and tell me I'm wrong. NOTE: Requires Real Player, that infernal piece of spyware.
Had to post this link for Christie and other vampire afficionados. Reminds me of those John Carradine movies of the early 70s. I will refrain, for once, from making my characteristic puns and dirty jokes.... And yes, I can hear the gasps of surprise out there. ;-)
A New Addition

In what may yet prove a foolhardy move, I've added a new function to this blog-- the capacity to comment on individual posts. Chances are this function won't see much use, but it's now there for anyone who wishes to use it. BTW, although the comment screen allows you to enter an email address connected to your name, you are by no means required to do so; thankfully there will remain at least some semblance of privacy. And yes, I reserve the right to edit, delete, or otherwise block anyone who abuses the comment function, though I'm confident I shouldn't have to do any such thing as this is a private site and it should really only be people I know reading it or ostensibly responding to it.

All in all, I'm surprised how easily the installation process went. I may get the hang of this yet. ;-) I'd like to say this the result of genius on my part, but it's surely the result of a serendipitous discovery. Serendipity, by the way, is best defined as looking for a needle in a haystack and finding the farmer's daughter. Cheers and best to all. --- J.

10 May 2003

Anne, I did threaten to put them out there.... Click here to see what one of my oldest friends thinks of me-- even if it says more about her than me, I think. ;-) So there, Anne.

09 May 2003

I strongly encourage everyone to bone up on their recent history with Dave Barry's nose-blowingly funny recap of 2002. Ah Dave....

And thanks CSM for supplying this link, though I'm stealing it from her rather unceremoniously.... ;-) For those who love Dr Seuss, and dare question US foreign policy, check this out.
"When grown people speak of the innocence of children, they don't really know what they mean. Pressed, they will go a step further and say, Well, ignorance then. The child is neither. There is no crime which a boy of eleven had not envisaged long ago. His only innocence is, he may not yet be old enough to desire the fruits of it, which is not innocence but appetite; his ignorance is, he does not know how to commit it, which is not ignorance but size."
--- Grandfather in William Faulkner's THE REIVERS: A REMINISCENCE

08 May 2003

"We live in an age of apologies. Apologies, false or true, are expected from the descendants of empire builders, slave owners and persecutors of heretics, and from men who, in our eyes, just got it all wrong. So, with the age of 85 coming up shortly, I want to make an apology. It appears I must apologise for being male, white, and European."
--- Sir Alec Guinness

Those wacky Texan judges.... Wonder if their ruling had anything to do with something ensconced their asses....

You know, some things are better fresh than frozen. But one has to wonder what the hell is, ahem, up with frigid things in the news lately. I'm detecting a trend.... Either that, or some people truly have no lives.

I truly wonder what these people would do in case of a strike. I'm suddenly thinking our union less preposterous than it was. Only, however, less preposterous.

Until later.....

07 May 2003

Buffy: The Final Slouches

In a review of the horrible, horrible film North, Roger Ebert wrote: "I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensiblilty that anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it." I've held that review as an example of criticism at its most clearly frustrated, agonized, and spiteful. I've admired its clarity while all along thinking 'nothing could possibly be that bad.' I've held that such invective is normally the result of extenuating circumstances which otherwise must coloured the critical perspective. I no longer think any of those things. Thanks to Rebecca Kern Kirshner, writer of last night's episode ("Touched") of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I find myself not only understanding Ebert's sentiments but echoing in them. Buffy, for its ups and downs, has been a good solid show for six seasons, and even the first portion of season seven was solid. But after a series of increasingly idiotic episodes, wherein serious issues of plot and character have been handled with the deftness of a two-year-old petting a dog, I can declare that the show has reached its nadir. I hated hated hated hated hated-- and dare I usurp Ebert by adding one more?-- HATED this episode. I've now all but given up on a graceful or even decent ending to an otherwise solid series. This was an episode so bad that, despite it's tell-tale odour and brownish colour, I'd be reluctant to compliment by calling it shit-- especially when half of its constitution is premised on yesterday's dinner, the equally self-identifying remnants of half-digested corn. Is this getting gross? Well, that should tell you something. Did I mention I hated this episode? This is cynical, thoughtless, empty writing, and I'm not sure who I'm more pissed at-- Kirshner for authoring this trite, obnoxious, and fly-attracting sample of television, or Joss Whedon for allowing a third-rate writer of the show's worst episodes to write a key episode in the series' final five. I'm not disappointed-- I'm angry. Such potential utterly wasted. I could itemize my reasons for thinking this, but I'm reluctant to waste my energy any more than I already have. This is a bloody fucking shame; this could have been a dynamite close to the series. Even the Mayor was disappointing. G'night Buffy-- you're on the way out, not with a bang but with a whimper. You're slouching toward oblivion, waiting to be unborn.

06 May 2003

Discovered this on Dave Barry's page. Make sure you read all the way to the end. Hilarious. Hmmm.... I wonder if box therapy would work with my classes...

Somethingawful.com has some very funny stuff, including: What traffic signs really mean, Twisted Children's Books, Movie Prequels, Biblical Endorsements (the Always ad is a riot), and Wrong Casting Choices (I love the Titanic ad).

I will say absolutely nothing about this.

Find myself thinking about Williams today-- William Carlos Williams, some of whose poetry (especially the early stuff) is absolutely gorgeous. Below are a few offerings, the first of which is a response to Henry James that James would likely have found entirely too sexual. It's wonderfully seductive, though.

Portrait of a Lady

Your thighs are appletrees
whose blossoms touch the sky.
Which sky? The sky
where Watteau hung a lady's
slipper. Your knees
are a southern breeze—or
a gust of snow. Agh! what
sort of man was Fragonard?
—As if that answered
anything.—Ah, yes. Below
the knees, since the tune
drops that way, it is
one of those white summer days,
the tall grass of your ankles
flickers upon the shore—
Which shore?—
the sand clings to my lips—
Which shore?
Agh, petals maybe. How
should I know?
Which shore? Which shore?
—the petals from some hidden
appletree—Which shore?
I said petals from an appletree.

The Dance

In Breughel's great picture, The Kermess,
the dancers go round, they go round and
around, the squeal and the blare and the
tweedle of bagpipes, a bugle and fiddles
tipping their bellies, (round as the thick-
sided glasses whose wash they impound)
their hips and their bellies off balance
to turn them. Kicking and rolling about
the Fair Grounds, swinging their butts, those
shanks must be sound to bear up under such
rollicking measures, prance as they dance
in Breughel's great picture, The Kermess

The Rose from Spring and All

The rose is obsolete
but each petal ends in
an edge, the double facet
cementing the grooved
columns of air-- The edge
cuts without cutting
itself in metal or porcelain--

whither? It ends--

But if it ends
the start is begun
so that to engage roses
becomes a geometry--

Sharper, neater, more cutting
figured in majolica--
the broken plate
glazed with a rose

Somewhere the sense
makes copper roses
steel roses--

The rose carried the weight of love
but love is at an end-- of roses
It is at the edge of the
petal that love waits

Crisp, worked to defeat
plucked, moist, half-raised
cold, precise, touching


The place between the petal's
edge and the

From the petal's edge a line starts
that being of steel
infinitely fine, infinitely
rigid penetrates
the Milky Way
without contact--lifting
from it-- neither hanging
nor pushing--

The fragility of the flower
penetrates space.

Part V of History

But it is five o'clock. Come!
Life is good -- enjoy it!
A walk in the park while the day lasts.
I will go with you. Look! this
northern scenery is not the Nile, but --
these benches-- the yellow and purple
the moon there-- these tired people--
the lights on the water!

Are not these Jews-- and Ethiopians?
The world is young, surely! Young
and colored like-- a girl that has come
a lover! Will that do?

You Have Pissed Your Life

Any way you walk
Any way you turn
Any way you stand
Any way you lie

You have pissed your life

From an intellectual fool
butting his head blindly
against obstacles, become
brilliant-- focusing,
performing accurately to
a given end--
Any way you walk
Any way you turn
Any way you stand
Any way you lie

You have pissed your life

The Girl

The wall, as I watched, came neck-high
to her walking difficulty
seaward of it over sand and stones. She

made the effort, mounted it while I
had my head turned, I merely
saw her on top at the finish rolling

over. She stood up dusted off her skirt
then there lifted her feet
unencumbered to skip dancing away

Love Song : First Version: 1915

What have I to say to you
When we shall meet?
I lie here thinking of you.

The stain of love
is upon the world.
Yellow, yellow, yellow,
It eats into the leaves,
Smears with saffron
The horned branches that lean
Against a smooth purple sky.

There is no light--
Only a honey-thick stain
That drips from leaf to leaf
And limb to limb
Spoiling the colors
Of the whole world.

I am alone.
The weight of love
Has bouyed me up
Till my head
Knocks against the sky.

See me!
My hair is dripping with nectar--
Starlings carry it
On their black wings.
See at last
My arms and my hands
Are lying idle.

How can I tell
If I shall ever love you again
As I do now?

And it's marvellous stuff, isn't it? In these poems (and others), Williams rivals Stevens for lushness and sensuality, though the poems themselves thankfully avoid the trap of over-sentimentality. Unfortunately, most people only know Williams' fragment poems "this is just to say" and "the red wheel barrow," so their familiarity with him is minimal, and their relationship stilted. I find my relationship with Williams very awkward: in many of the later poems, including Paterson, I find I tire of him quickly and need to turn my back on him; at other turns, I'll look at Williams again, as I do now, after a long separation, and I'll find myself savouring the poems like a very fine wine. Right now, I've got a very pleasant buzz going. ;-) Rediscoveries are wonderful things....

05 May 2003

Searching for old stuff of mine on the net to archive before the material disappears, I discovered this regarding the production of a film. Figured any of my readers would enjoy the last few sentences. Here it is:

Filming The Many Trials of One Jane Doe was the first time Gary had traveled to North America and he was very enthusiastic about joining the film’s cast. “I was intrigued by the project from the start. Once I got the part I did some research on the Internet and couldn’t believe how this story had played out.” It was a challenge for Gary to play Jeremy Sharp. “I don’t subscribe to any of Jeremy’s character traits! When I was discussing this role with some of my friends they had to give me a shake because I was too sympathetic to the character of Jane Doe.” But once he delved further into the script, he totally appreciated the character of Jeremy Sharp.

“Knowing who the person is provides you with both barriers and keys,” explained Gary. “Being that arrogant is something you have to portray to the audience.”

Found this on the net again-- somebody pointed it out to me a year or two ago... But I find it funny. Yes, the words were contained in my review-- but here I was quoting the poet in question, Anne Szumigalski. Funny to find myself quoted for quoting somebody else. Weird. ;-)

Date: Sun Aug 20 00:06:13 EDT 2000
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--scurf
X-Bonus: Today the real test of power is not capacity to make war but capacity to prevent it. -Anne O'Hare McCormick

scurf (skurf) noun

1. Scaly or shredded dry skin, such as dandruff.

2. A loose, scaly crust coating a surface, especially of a plant.

[Middle English, probably of Scandinavian origin.]

"One moment the sky was full of words, the next flakes of blue
were falling upon the earth like scurf from the unwashed heads of
Jeremy Sharp, Necessary Angel: On the Nature and History of Anne
Szumigalski, Essays on Canadian Writing, Fall 1998.

This week's theme: words that make one say, I didn't know there was a word
for that.

Had to post this old favourite.... NO, there is no subtext to the posting of it.... NOTE: Odd-numbered lines should read as they are; even numbered lines should be indented, but HTML always erases tabs and extra spaces. Grr. Or *I* don't know how to keep HTML from simply sliding indentations back. If anyone knows a way that isn't overly laborious, I'd appreciate learning how. ;-)

The Fornicator. A New Song

Ye jovial boys who love the joys,
The blissful joys of Lovers;
Yet dare avow with dauntless brow,
When th' bony lass discovers;
I pray draw near and lend an ear,
And welcome in a Frater,
For I've lately been on quarantine,
A proven Fornicator.

Before the Congregation wide
I pass'd the muster fairly,
My handsome Betsey by my side,
We gat our ditty rarely;
But my downcast eye by chance did spy
What made my lips to water,
Those limbs so clean where I, between,
Commenc'd a Fornicator.

With rueful face and signs of grace
I pay'd the buttock-hire,
The night was dark and thro' the park
I could not but convoy her;
A parting kiss, what could I less,
My vows began to scatter,
My Betsey fell -- lal de dal la lal
I am a Fornicator.

But for her sake this vow I make,
And solemnly I swear it,
That while I own a single crown,
She's welcome for to share it;
And my roguish boy his Mother's joy,
And the darling of his Pater,
For I boast my pains and cost,
Although a Fornicator.

Ye wenching blades whose hireling jades
Have tipt you off blue-boram,
I tell ye plain, I do disdain
To rank you in the Quorum;
But a bony lass upon the grass
To teach her esse Master,
And no reward but for regard,
O that's a Fornicator.

Your warlike Kings and Heros bold,
Great Captains and Commanders;
Your might Cesars fam'd of old,
And Conquering Alexanders;
In fields they fought and laurels bought
And bulwarks strong did batter,
But still they grac'd our noble list
And ranked Fornicator!!!

--- Robert Burns (1785)

Probably Not of Interest: Old Notes On John Dryden to RK: Here for archive purposes only.

Also: Wanted to archive these notes on Dryden before they disappear permanently from the Net, b/c I don't think I have my own copy of them anywhere. They were written in response to some notes made by RK on Dryden.

"Just happened to read your blog on the idea of order. Quite good. Got me thinking, though, that one of the particular strengths to reading Dryden is his ability to coalesce the reasonable and orderly with the emotionally-aware, evidenced so clearly in the romantic clarity of All For Love, and in his ultimate preference for Shakespeare over the more rationally obedient writers (like, say, Ben Jonson). I think, in a way, this ability to coalesce those two 'pulls,' for want of a better word, may be (in part) why he was able to perfect the heroic couplet as well as he did-- and, indeed, better than just about anyone after, including Pope. Admittedly, much of his writing is of the intellectual sphere (primarily the satires, but elsewhere, of course), but that emotional sense always remains, and that sense is often manifest in the resonance of his rhymes. I think, for example, of the closing lines of "Song for St Cecilia's Day," with its "And in that last and dreadful hour / This crumbling pageant shall devour," and the triplet, "The Trumpet shall be heard on high / The dead shall live, the living die, / And Musick shall untune the sky." The completeness of the rhymes-- that is, the evasion of half-rhymes, the solid choice of sounds like 'our' and 'aye'--- manages a double task, of technical matching (and careful ordering) as well as achieving a rousing use of metrical structures. This is not of the 'forced' rhyme ilk, and the simplicity of the language ensures an emphasis on the rhythmical bases. This all sounds kind of airy-fairy, I know. But it's rather as if there's an emotional crescendo building, first in the turning of hour to de-vour (with that 'v' sound upping the verbal ante), and the following triplet capitalizing on the rhythm building. I'd also note, here, the beautiful mixing of directions: high/die/sky does rather an effective job of sending our poetic eyes inclining (high) then declining (die) then ascending once again, on the fixating image of the sky. Dryden manages to escape the tendency toward turgidity that often goes with rhyme, in part because his verse is aware of ordering sensibilities but is not desensitized by them.

It's pretty easy to see what so attracted Eliot to Dryden-- the clarity of language and poetic structure, but also the freedom from the binary pulls of the overly-rational and the emotionally slithering. A key word for this is 'untune,' a negative of an otherwise simple word which otherwise links up nicely with other key words in the poem (c.f., 'from harmony to heavenly harmony'), but which neither overstates nor understates the situation: in describing an otherwise apocalyptic moment, he uses deliberately unapocalyptic language, giving the final action of the poem to a metaphor of music, even if that metaphor is collusion of the apocalyptic and the harmonic. And yet the metaphor is decisive rather than querulous, and that adds to the solidity of the image: it functions so effectively because it unites the rational with the imaginative, without subsuming one to the other, and without investing too much in the symbol entire. That decisiveness -- or certainty, or whatever one chooses to call it-- seems reflective of a unified mind, not just in relation to the image described, but of poetic technique. All in all, those lines strike me as a kind of poetic masterstroke which few others mastered. I also wonder if Eliot would consider Dryden a practitioner of 'objective correlativity,' though I think the 'untuning' example I mentioned above would have caught praise from Eliot. So hard to find decent editions of Homage to JD these days....

This is all, of course, highly ironic, given Dryden's own internal divisions (his conversion, his dumping by the government, his final years lived in relative poverty). Dryden, I'm fairly sure, would have grown increasingly awkward with trusting patterns and impulses of order, though he'd certainly not have been a champion of emotionalism or an outright challenger of order, whoever was in charge. The poet, ultimately, is a verbal musician, a comparison appropriate too (in part) to his work for the stage, as mixed as that often was, especially as the years passed. And poetry, like music, was inevitably conceived as a fusion of emotional sensibilities with highly technical structures, whether metrical, lexical, rhetorical, or whatever. Dryden, more than he's now credited for doing, negotiated how that fusion could be done within a 17th century context. And it often seems that Dryden, at his best, could build emotional momentum, and then constrict it, and then open it up again, and then constrict it again, depending on the needs of any given poem or play. Just when order seems to become a burden, he tends toward the emotional; just when the emotional or the extra-rational seems to become a burden, he tends toward the rational; and the pulls react in relation to one another, and the result is a kind of 'measure for measure.' Even in the more intellect-driven verses like the satires, when allegorical references may seem to those of our age drawn for rational purposes, the carefully-reasoned choices for analogues (esp. in Absalom) are, or were, emotionally effective, and the two compulsions work in tandem with one another. Reading Dryden (again, at his best) is rather like watching a champion skier crest down a slope. Like any poet, he doesn't always accomplish the slope as well he would like, or as we watching would like.

I'm inclined to think of Dryden as a poet-- in Wallace Stevens' terms-- struggling to order words of the sea, 'the blessed rage for order.' But rage is an emotion (or an emotional action) and order is an abstract idea (or an action to make of things that exist to approximate that idea). And for Dryden, the impulse toward order is dominant, or more prominent, but the emotional impulse is always at work, and given a more significant place than in a lot of writing of the time. It makes me wonder how much Dryden's poetics was a result of watching the aftermaths of division and capriciousness and volatility; it also makes me wonder how much he came to see order as a self-legitimizing concept, especially in the wake of the battles for the governance of England. I wonder, too, how much Dryden learned, or tried to learn, from Milton's experiences with the above. Dryden may not have possessed Milton's sense of 'fire' or 'poetic rage' or 'righteousness,' but he was certainly not the emotionally-bankrupt, super-rational rhymester (and dead white guy) that recent criticism tends to suggest.

Or that's my current thinking, which may just be bunk, or which I might discard when I can look again at Dryden, all of my copies of whom still remain in my office since the poetry comp. Dryden was obviously not one to wear his heart on his sleeve, but he was certainly not given to the unidimensionality of which he is often unfairly criticized. Someone once described Wallace Stevens as a 'real' poet-- highly Romantic as he was (despite his Modernism), he was a man who worked during the day, and kept poetry for his own time, and who didn't lean on the image of the Byronic suffering poet. He felt, but he organized and dealt with emotions in a manner that was 'professional,' and, in some fashion, orderly. Dryden, I suspect, was of a similar ilk, 250 years prior, except for Dryden writing was his profession.

D represented passions, indeed, as well as anyone could expect in the same days as Nahum Tate. D was tidy but not a desperate maker of order, as Tate most certainly was. And D's attempts for a tidying of emotions within the capacities and possibilities of the rational and logical were more genuine attempts to grapple with the difficulty of that situation. All of this suggests to me why D is a much greater poet than he's now given credit for being. Or, again, I may be entirely off my rocker. Alas, to have the experience to flesh out thoughts on Dryden.... "

03 May 2003

"'The great thing, Mr. Strether will show you,' she smiled, 'is just to let one's self go.'"
--- Mme. de Vionnet in Henry James' The Ambassadors (1902).

Aside: it remains a mystery to me why more people don't read James. Young people today, if they've encountered James at all, only know "The Turn of the Screw," or maybe Portrait of a Lady. Maybe I should think up a James course.... Even if the kids would run kicking and screaming from it when they saw the reading load. The Golden Bowl alone would send shivers down their itty bitty spines. He he he. I love it.

"One went through the vain motions, but it was mostly a waste of life. A personal relation was a relation only so long as people either perfectly understood or, better still, didn't care if they didn't. From the moment they cared if they didn't it was living by the sweat of one's brow; and the sweat of one's brow was just what one might buy one's self off from keeping the ground free of the wild weed of delusion." -- also from The Ambassadors

"I don't trust air I can't see." -- Gene Hackman in Crimson Tide. I, sadly, concur.

Another hazy, lazy Saturday....

02 May 2003


Am thinking of actually writing poetry again.... Don't ask why. Suspect that after a long period of intentional hibernation, the bear senses it's time. May be delusional, and ultimately Quixotic (a word that sounds frighteningly like 'idiotic'). Now have skeletons for two poems, which is something I've not said since 1998. Yes-- I am old. I'm either onto something true, or I'm a fool of Jonsonian proportions. We shall see.

01 May 2003

For any fellow word-geeks-- alas, there are so many, he muses ironically-- Richard Lederer has his own site that can be found here. Lederer, the self-described 'verbivore' and compiler of some of the funniest brutalizations of the English language, has some interesting links, and some interesting stuff in the archives-- or 'ark hives.' If you find puns distasteful, avoid this link like the plague. ;-) Check out, especially, his encore to his famous World According to Student Bloopers-- American History according to Student Bloopers. Gotta love the bit about Martin Luther nailing 96 Protestants in the Watergate scandal.

My permanently evil self can't resist offering this link for the verbal masochist. I am not responsible for any resultant groans or stomach discomforts.

Alas, I'm in a goofy mood today, and have been scanning humour sites. Laughnet has some very funny stuff, and it's worth scanning around the myriad categories. Some of my personal favourites: If College Students Had Written The Bible; Bar Room Translations; the University Chain of Command; the Football Entrance Exam; the unfortunately all too true Top Ten Lies of Grad Students; Why God Would Never Receive Tenure; 50 Things for a Prof To Do in the First Class; Reasons Why Eng Lit Is Better Than Sex; and the huge list of Shakespearean Insults.

This, though has to be my overall favourite, perhaps just because of my own experience with defenses. Number 116 strikes me as a viable option... ;-) Number 143 might actually make things fun. RK especially should enjoy this.

And, entirely elsewhere: George Carlin's Reflections is typical Carlin stuff (i.e., on-point and very funny).

And last, but not least-- saw this article and surely regret seeing it. Definitely not something for guys to read, especially if eating. Ewwww..... The topper is the dog; talk about adding insult to injury. And who says a dog is a man's best friend? P'shaw.

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