Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Surprisingly Good Poem at Poetry Daily Chase Twitchell.

When I read the first line, ending on "tumor," all I could think was, "Crap, another cancer poem." I'm glad I kept reading, however. Even the most seemingly exhausted subjects are, in capable hands, inexhaustible. At least that's my feeling reading this one.  

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Possible Domestic Abuse Situation

Not to make light of the very serious issue to which my title alludes, but I might just be beaten to a pulp by my wife tonight. I was ironing our clothes while she was off squaring things away for the new school we are opening, and like the inexperienced ironer that I am, I burned one of her favorite tops. There's a huge hole in this white angelic affair, now, with parchment colored edges. Just got off the phone with her, and there was an awful disappointment in her voice. I offered one of my favorite shirts to be burned, but she declined, saying it wouldn't bring back her nice blouse. She's being very graceful about this, but I haven't ruled out possible and deserved violence directed upon my person when she gets home. 

All this after flooding our kitchen and living room yesterday. I arrived home from an all morning teaching gig to find her waiting for the water man. He shows up, puts the huge plastic water tank in our living room and takes the old empty vessel away. So far, so good. I then hoist the new water tank, carry it to the kitchen to set it down on the floor where we normally keep them when they're full (our "water cooler" is pretty cheap and we're not confident it can hold the weight of a full tank). So, I lightly drop the tank on the ceramic tiled floor and crack! and sploosh! there goes all that water into the hallway, rushing into the living room, and all throughout the kitchen. "Oh no Oh no Oh no!" So I spent a good twenty or thirty minutes mopping up spring water. (No carpet, so it could have been worse) Adding insult to injury, we had to pay for a new bottle on top of the charge for more water. Jesus. 

Lesson: always pay attention to the thickness of a plastic water tank before just dropping it on the ground. I've handled these babies before, in nearly every office where I've worked. The Poland Springs and Abita! tanks are much sturdier than these local Brazilian brands. 

The burned blouse? I should have looked at the label. And to punish myself further, I'm recounting my idiocy here so that 1st grade classmates googling me can rest assured I've come a long way from stuffing crayons up my nose. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Death of the Book

Reading this article made me sick.  

Quote: “When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books,’’ said James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing and chief promoter of the bookless campus.

Books are not outdated. That is what I hate about the info-age zeitgeist: everyone is in such a hurry to make grand pronouncements such as this without thinking them through. And they assume that because technology now is characterized by its fast decline into obsolescence that all old technologies will find similar fates. 

People like this headmaster need to listen to what others have to say. From the same article: “Books are not a waste of space, and they won’t be until a digital book can tolerate as much sand, survive a coffee spill, and have unlimited power. When that happens, there will be next to no difference between that and a book." - Keith Michael Fiels, Executive Director of the American Library Association. 

I remember visiting the Watertown Free Library when I lived in Massachusetts. It never became the hangout my old university library had been, chiefly because their stacks had dwindled to an embarrassingly small assortment to make way for banks of computers. I realize they are serving a legitimate need for the community to have computer and internet access, but what about the community's need for books? I'm not sure I could have survived the small town I was raised in without the local library. Why has it been so easy for many to forget the value of browsing and reading? 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


The president said "jackass." What the fuck does this have to do with anything? 

Pop Culture

I am always elated when I drop some pop culture reference from the States and my students don't get it. Today I mentioned Jerry Springer to blank stares. The other day I prattled a list of light night talk show hosts, from Johnny Carson to Conan O'Brien, and nary a student knew what I was talking about. They have their own talk shows, of course, but something about meeting people who haven't been stained by the same culture as I have is charming and refreshing. The first day I met my wife, in fact, I mentioned that I was from the hometown of Britney Spears, not to impress her as much as just get it out of the way. She said, "Who's that?" And that's how I knew it was love. 

It turns out she knew who Britney was. But it took a few minutes to jog her memory.

All this in light of the Kanye thing that most of my friends on Facebook are mentioning. Before that, the most popular topic was the upcoming LSU Tigers football game. What will happen if I ever see the phrase "Geaux Tigers!" again? I don't kneaux. Something violent. 

All of this has made it easier to turn off the computer, though. 


Tuesday, September 8, 2009