Saturday, October 31, 2009

over your left shoulder're riding aboard spaceship Cassini, one million miles away from Saturn, and with only the sound of your own breathing, you have this incredible view of the ringed giant and little moon Tethys..

...and all your troubles slip away behind you.

photo by Nasa, October 11, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Turgenev on his birthday

The dark unclouded sky stood, inconceivably immense, triumphant, above us in all its mysterious majesty. One felt a sweet oppression at one’s heart, breathing in that peculiar, overpowering, yet fresh fragrance - the fragrance of a summer night in Russia. Scarcely a sound was to be heard around.... Only at times, in the river near, the sudden splash of a big fish leaping, and the faint rustle of a reed on the bank, swaying lightly as the ripples reached it ...

Ivan Turgenev
from Byezhin Meadow
A Sportsman's Sketches(1852)

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Trees were green with orange toupees. Other trees leaned and were more vulnerable, scared of October and losing their leaf-flakes, drifting, falling to one side in half-circles mirroring their shape, outlining the green grass like a body at a crime scene. The house at the end of the sparsely traveled leaf drive greeted one with purple cobwebs stitched over brown shrubs, and a bizarre rotting pumpkin on the crumbling porch with its face caved in, the twin brother of the old man close up at the door looking down at me, with his twisted furious jaw and white powdery skin. I detected no rusted bolts in his neck, but his eyes did not match, one looking at me and one looking way over there.

Once, I had seen him out on his property shaking a tree back and forth trying to loosen stubborn innocent leaves. I'd stop, straddling my bike laughing at him and he'd shaken his fists at me, but I was now disguised behind a 39 cent smiling tiger mask that fogged up my glasses since there were no nose holes. The smell of staleness and decay seeped beneath my ill-fitting mask as his stick arm came towards me with a handful of candy corn. I screamed and ran away hearing coughing laughter.

Friday, October 23, 2009

from black box of Flight 188

"It so is true!"

"No it's not."

"It is!

"You're a moron!"

"That was TOO Amelia Earhart's plane above us."

"No it wasn't."

"Yes it WAS! She waved at me!"

missile mail fizzles

In a 1959 communication transportation experiment, the US Postal Service shot a missile full of mail from a US Navy sub. Not high enough, of course, to burn up upon reentry. They were swift enough to place the mail first in this red, white and blue container:

And then it was placed alongside another inside a Cold War Regulus I missile and aimed for the Florida coast, landing safely 22 minutes later. The flight created quite a bit of excitement, at least from the Postmaster General, who planned to incorporate a plan for future use of cross-country mail flights.
Mysteriously, this was the only flight. Well, maybe not mysterious. Just stupid. Like Balloon Boy. Sounds like an episode of In Search Of when the ballgame is rained out.

I suppose I could build a rocket and try to send Marie a card, or even a pack of gum. I think she would be impressed, heh?

photo: courtesy National Postal Museum

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


He died 40 years ago today.
That is all.
Except about those dogs in the woods from The Dharma Bums..

I petted the dogs who didn't argue with me ever. All dogs love God. They're wiser than their masters. I told that to the dogs, too, they listened to me perking up their ears and licking my face. They didn't care one way or other as long as I was there. St Raymond of the Dogs is who I was that year, if no one or nothing else.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

t-bone stake

Dracula's least favorite dish you ask?
Naw, it's some flash I had as I inched away from a stop sign today as a van barreled through a four way stop and almost sliced me in two. I'm a witness to this madness almost every day. Let this be a lesson to you, Dear Reader - always handle an intersection like the other drivers are wing nuts, and approach all green lights as though they are red.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

the dog

Her nails would tap dance on the kitchen floor. My mother, at the stove, would look down and smile and hum one tone in a key that would make the dog's ears rear up and she would smile up at her. Yes, the dog smiled. I saw it. A thing between girls I guess. And not just because of the promise of a falling morsel.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

like hauling dynamite

Tilted at 45° leaning in to the radio, your head moving back and forth as though watching a tennis match.
Phone up to ear, gesturing with the other hand off the steering wheel as you obliviously chatter away, 10 below the speed limit. You stopped at a green light, pal. Two deep dents in your trunk lid, scratches on your bumper.
You're a pro, heh?

I let up on the gas, fading back, and hold my breath waiting for the blast.

Monday, October 12, 2009

getting to know you

Jack Benny and Gisele Mackenzie...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chiura Obata

Ken Burns' The National Parks was anything but the snooze fest I was anticipating. I found it to be an exhilarating tearjerker. Truly filled with passionate individuals changing the course of mighty streams for the good of all.

Through 12 hours I found myself growing a waist-length shaggy beard and having an uncontrollable desire to go hug a tree. And I shivered, still remembering my one visit to the spectacular Grand Canyon in the summer of 72 when it was in the 40's as I peered down over the edge of the rail.

And whatever happened to Glenn and Bessie Hyde during that tragic 1928 honeymoon adventure in the unforgiving Grand Canyon? More intriguing than, say, the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.

But I was mostly touched by the story of the Japanese-born artist Obata. Born in Sendai, Japan, in 1885, he came to San Francisco in 1903, taught at University of California, suffered during the internment during WW II, became a U.S. citizen in 1954, and made sketches as an eyewitness to the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, to those extraordinary watercolors of gorgeous Yosemite.

the harvest moon

Be sure to step out and watch the harvest moon rise at sunset. May it float brilliant in a clear sky and its glow turn your hair silver for a moment.

It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,
With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
All things are symbols: the external shows
Of Nature have their image in the mind,
As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
The song-birds leave us at the summer's close,
Only the empty nests are left behind,
And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.

The Harvest Moon

Friday, October 2, 2009

cyber dance a go-go II

Kickin' off the shoes and warming up for an invitation to dance, never can tell.

Oh, Uma!

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