Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Tie me to the roots
where your hand grasps Spica
Tie me to your life line
Tie me where black is bland
and red is waiting
Tie my shackles to the seconds
Tie the melody to that vagrant heartbeat
Tie the words to the burned grass
Tie me to the rising tide
to the setting sun
to morning mist
to the winter chill
Tie me to the minutes
Tie me to the hours

Monday, December 29, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008


In which I indulge my crush on Anne Hathaway, using images from Entertainment Weekly.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

God rid me of god

A more eloquent discussion of a theme I've tried to express: that most so-called atheists are rejecting a particular definition, or image, of God. This gentleman goes further, to say that truly spiritual Christians refuse to put God in a box.

J.B. Philips a famous translator of the New Testament in the '50s, also wrote a book titled Your God is Too Small. My understanding is that he was trying to make the same point.

I'm afraid that most of the time my image of God is closer to the big Santa in the sky that to the Tao that can't be spoken. At least, this is the image I presume others have of God — and I suppose this judgment is closer to home, that is, what I fear is in my own heart.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Left to right: Melchior, Balthazar, and Casper
(jac, Kent, and Tiger)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Idée d’jour

Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat.
— Jack Clement, quoted by Roy Blount, Jr, in Oxford American Music Issue 2008, now on newstands.

Xuefei Yang

I learned of this video through the Jan ’09 issue of Acoustic Guitar. Ms. Yang is playing a Greg Smallman, the guitar featured in the "Great Acoustics" section. The appreciation is written by Adrian Legg, no slouch either.

My search lead me to this video, which brought tears to my eyes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


DJ's Aunt Shadow, as the star she was always meant to be.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Thanks to some on-line instruction, I'm closer to achieving the "Warhol" effect. I think.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Talking Post Trauma Blues

Song by Tom Smith; video by a veteran of the Iraq War.
Helmet tip to Brother Dave

Monday, December 01, 2008

Honeycomb Tea

Honeycomb foam floats
as a head on my green tea;
I float into winter morning.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Cat

DJ's "aunt" Shadow, Thanksgiving morning.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I'm thankful for pink-pawed dawn
stalking across yellowed grass;
I'm thankful for yellowed grass
and green weeds and
and dust of leaves;
I'm thankful for blown leaves
a piebald pattern on my lawn.
I'm thankful for my lawn,
for the steps to my porch,
for the stories my door tells,
for the cat by the window.

I'm thankful for the cat
on my lap.
I'm thankful for the quiet
of an empty house.
I'm thankful for the boy
skateboarding east.
I'm thankful for the woman
picking the paper up from her steps.

I'm thankful for the song
sealed in this guitar string.
I'm thankful for how her hair
shines in the afternoon sun.
I'm thankful for how fingers dance.
I'm thankful for the words
for the notes for the breath
for how the diaphragm supports the song
for the subtle chimes and the brassy organ.

I'm thankful for the table spread
and the peaked roof
and the tossled bed.

I'm thankful for this walk.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Over a Month Ago...

A little over a month ago, I drove to the Four Corners area in Northwestern New Mexico. It was a ten-plus hour drive. I made the trip to attend my cousin R—'s funeral.

The curious thing about driving those ten hours was the fact that I could not recall much about time spent with R—. I typically saw her twice a year, at Thanksgiving and Christmas, when my family would travel to Ardmore to visit Padre's siblings. R— was among a large number of cousins; for most of my childhood, she was one of Aunt Merrie's two children. Aunt Nelle, Padre's oldest sister, had four children.

I did remember that R— and I were close in age. When I read her obit I learned we were only a month apart — I was born today, Nov. 22, in 1955; she was born in December of the same year. Thus, it makes sense that her death would haunt me a little.

I only remember one event that includes her. I was very young, and had gotten a splinter in my finger. Her dad, Jack, told me a story of the clowns at bullfights as he extracted the splinter.

More importantly, though, I remember the feelings I have for her. We were quite close. I remember playing with her, though I couldn't tell you a single game we played.

R— did not have an easy life. It might be said she had poor taste in men. The men she was attracted to were verbally abuse and controlling. She had broken up with such a man a few weeks before she died.

On the other hand, she had a fulfilling career as a nurse at a local extended care facility. Half the chapel was filled with her co-workers, who also provided the traditional post-funeral feast for her family.

Officially, R— died of an accidental overdose. She was sad the weeks before she died, and some might leap to the conclusion that the OD was no accident. I make no such judgments.

Her memorial service was held at a Baptist church. Once I learned this, I was worried that I might have to sit through a stereotypical Baptist "get right with Jesus" sermon. I was pleasantly surprised. Although R— was not a regular church-goer, the minister assumed she had a good relationship with God.

What especially impressed me about his message is that he directly confronted R—'s depression. He named it. But he went further; he spoke of his own struggle with depression, and admitted that he had sought medical help for it. He said his relationship with Christ helped, but that he needed antidepressants as well.

Not something a stereotypical Baptist preacher would admit.

I was confronted with the fact that darkness was something R— and I shared. Even as I drove those ten hours to NW New Mexico, I could hear the dark voice at the edge of my consciousness. The dark voice sounded a lot like my own voice, only it was criticizing my every decision. It was telling me how I have wasted my life. It still tells me that I have poor taste in women, and might as well give up on finding a romantic companion.

As I type this, I'm aware it's melodramatic. But it's also true. It's something I believe I must get out of my head & send outer space.

I don't know what R—'s last days were like. I don't know for a fact that she had her own dark voice to wrestle. I know her spirit haunts me. That philia we shared continues today. I believe she wishes me well.

Perhaps she would encourage me to wrestle that dark voice. Perhaps she would suggest I say "get thee behind me" each time the voice whispers in my ear.

R— blows a farewell kiss

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Cat

Can you find the cat sunning itself in the morning light? It's one of the cats who live at the retreat center just east of Seminole, OK.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Morning on the Lake

Same lake, facing west.

f5.6 @ 1/125

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Beside the Path

There is a path which circles the lake we've viewed the past few days. This small weed caught my attention as I walked early Saturday morning.

f5.0 @ 1/30

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dawn, Nov. 8

Same lake as picture posted yesterday.
f10 @ 1/125

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunset, Friday, Nov. 7

Shot at a camp near Seminole, in SE Oklahoma.
ASA 200 f10 @ 1/800

Friday, November 14, 2008

Idée d’jour

I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if he didn't.
— Jules Renard, writer (1864-1910)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Idée d’jour

Strike the midnight bell at noon.
— Zen Saying

ISO 200, f3.5 @ 30

Friday, October 31, 2008

Day with the ducks

Picture taken Saturday, October 11th, at the Myriad Gardens in downtown OKC. This was a blurred picture of a duck until salvaged and savaged in Photoshop Elements.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Idée d’jour

What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?
— Ursula K. Le Guin, author (b. 1929)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It Takes Time

It takes time to kill the Buddha,
It takes time to shine your shoes,
It takes time to choke the rainbow,
It takes time to teach the blues.
They took their time
They took their time
They took their time
They took their time

It takes time to shrink the dollar,
To build your cross of gold,
It takes time to spoil the water
before your child grows old
They took their time
They took their time
They robbed us blind
and took their time.

It takes time to steal tomorrow,
To set the devil free,
It takes times to dig the canyon
between wealth & poverty
They took their time
They took their time
They robbed us blind
and took their time

It takes time to murder Jesus,
To set mercy on its ear,
Time to poison people
So cities live in fear
They took their time
They took their time
They robbed us blind
and took their time

A song, based on the poem "Some Things Take Time" by George Wallace (of Suffolk County, NY)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Idée d’jour

Where was the sound of Tommy Ramone hitting the first rim shot on Teenage Lobotomy before you heard it?
— Contemporary Koan (from Zen Calendar)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Barack O’Bama is Irish!

In a show of solidarity, Irish bookies are no longer accepting bets on the American Election.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Winfield I: After the Flood

This was my tenth year to attend the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS. This decade of experience has taught me to pack for the “three seasons of Winfield:” hot, cold, and rainy. It's hot during the day (mid 80s this year), and cool in the evening (low 50s). It typically rains Friday or Saturday, often torrential rains. This year, the rain came the week before the official beginning of the festival.

A few words of explanation are in order: the Festival takes place on the county fairgrounds (Winfield is the county seat of Cowley County). I have been told these grounds constitute a square mile. The grounds include two groves of trees (commonly called Pecan and Walnut) where people camp. The Walnut Valley River meanders around the border of these grounds.

So, when the rains came Sept. 11 & 12, the river began flooding. I was told there is a dam upstream which needed to be opened, in order to avoid flooding the town. The combination of rain and opened dam caused the river to crest to ~32 ft. The festival grounds are low-lying, and were flooded.

Pecan Grove, 9/18/08
Part of Pecan Grove Thursday morning, Sept. 18, about a week after the flood

People who had arrived to early were evacuated. Some went to near-by Oxford (about 10 minutes west of Winfield). The group I normally camp with went to Winfield City Lake, about 30 minutes north-east of town.

I heard heart-warming stories of how local farmers used their tractors to help pull campers out of the mud. How grateful campers performed for the retirement home in Oxford.

As I say, I was at Winfield City Lake, about 30 minutes away. Another way the city pitched in to help was by providing shuttle service to and from the remote camping areas. The bus ride from the lake was a little over 30 minutes long.

A very different experience from being able to walk over to a concert, then walk back to camp. One had to plan ahead. Plus, I had to take into account the poor night-time visibility at the lake, and the challenge of finding my way back from the bus stop, at the Marina, to where I was camped — maybe an eighth mile as the crow flies, but a little further by foot.

In the end, I only went to the fairgrounds to hear music three times. It was on the first trip that I heard the Wiyos, whose video is posted below. I also saw Stephen Bennett, who I always enjoy. On Friday, I saw Beppe Gametta, Italian finger-style and flat picking whiz; and the Kenny & Amanda Smith band, which was better than you might imagine.

Four good acts, and one exceptionally bad one (who shall go unnamed). This was worth $80?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Depak on Palin

I'm no fan of Depak Chopra, but he has an essay on how Sarah Palin is the Shadow (in Jungian terms) of Barack Obama, which seems somewhat worthwhile. Some money quotes:
  • she "deride(s) his idealism and turn(s) negativity into a cause for pride"
  • "Palin reinforces the overall message of the reactionary right, which has been in play since 1980, that social justice is liberal-radical, that minorities and immigrants, being different from “us” pure American types, can be ignored, that progressivism takes too much effort and globalism is a foreign threat."
In a follow-up essay, Chopra makes clear that Democrats could have an unhealthy response to Palin: "Reacting to Palin with fear, confusion, panic, and lashing out also comes from the shadow."

Read the two essays, and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Song for the 2nd Great Depression

This is one of the few groups I heard at Winfield this year, The Wiyos. Hadn't heard them before, but I'm now a fan.

They mentioned "the 2nd Great Depression" when they introduced this tune. I wonder if Ms. Pit Bull was in the audience?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Coming Attractions

I recently returned from my visit to the Walnut Valley Festival (aka, "Winfield"). I have the goal of writing some about this year's experience sometime within the next week.

In the meantime, here you see some notes toward that entry (written in my Moleskine Notebook ®) along with an unused Camping Permit.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Haiku: 20.Sept.08

Mowing the lawn
ahead of the rain.
What am I to do
with all these mushrooms?

This is intended as an "American Haiku", as defined by Jack Kerouac (my mentor in eternity)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fungus Among Us

This lone 'shroom appeared in my front yard a little over a week ago. This shot reflects how it looked Sunday morning; as of last night, it had grown larger, with some brown. Really a mutant, compared to other mushrooms that have appeared in my yard in the past.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Self Portraits

This is how I looked Saturday morning, 6.Sept.08. I always try to catch myself off-guard. The expression seems to me that of a man with some private secret. What gnosis do I suppose I hold? None at all, my dears; none at all.

And this is how I appeared this morning, about 30 minutes prior to heading to church.

Some years ago, Rusty N. owned what we called a "magic" hat. The magic of that hat was that it looked good on anyone who wore it. It was a black felt hat, similar to this one.

This gray hat seems to be magic as well. Days when I wear it, everyone who passes me smiles and often comments on what a nice hat it is. What you don't see here – I'll try to capture it on another day – is the small colorful feather on the left side.

As for my expression here, it is that of someone concentrating on holding the remote shutter release at just the right angle. As for that cocked right eyebrow, there is little I can say. I started cocking it, unconsciously, at some point during high school, and it got stuck that way. Let this be a lesson to you, children!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Toward the Equinox

Summer burns away the last of its days like campfire memories.
Let's watch the flames turn into poem banners.
Let's float our dreams on the wings of monarch butterflies.
The sun dips lower in the morning, hides behind buildings it once challenged.
The light dons the quality of soft rain, blowing from all directions.
Afternoon shadows bend toward the equinox,
then lengthen onto your bed
where a gray cat
sleeps on an Indian Blanket.

A Corner of My World

“Don't seek reality. Just put an end to opinions.”
— Seng-Ts'an

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sunflower, 08.Aug.16

This sunflower stands at least a foot above my head. It is growing on the western side of Venice Blvd, a block away from my house.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Nader 08

Seems appropriate that a pick-up truck be parked in the drive of the house which hosts this yard sign. Rancid Ralph and ... Bertie Gonzalez?

My response to this candidacy? Feh!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ideé d’jour

Paths cannot be taught,
they can only be taken.
— Zen Saying

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Idée d’jour

A hair in the head is worth two in the brush.
– Oliver Herford, writer and illustrator (1863-1935)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


I am so voting for Paris Hilton!
See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Feather in the Grass

Tuesday, July 29, 2008. The wind was low, but the feather turned as I was taking its picture - facing north-south to facing east-west.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


This represents a small fraction of the lantana that has volunteered itself on the east side of my house.

For the Netflix Que

See also Neil Young at Sundance

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Old Dogs

This one's for you, Brother Dave.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Remember the Bonus Army

This week marks the 76th anniversary of the Bonus Army. This was a group of World War I veterans who marched on Washington, DC, for benefits. They had been promised benefits, but did not receive them. President Herbert Hoover, the spiritual godfather of the current president, called out active duty soldiers to smash the veterans' tent city.

So, the poor treatment veterans of the Afghan and Iraq wars have received is nothing new. It has continued into VA denying the effects of Agent Orange following the Viet Nam conflict, to so-called Gulf War Syndrome*, to recent stop-loss measures.

Brother Dave, a veteran of Viet Nam and current veteran's advocate, recommends we read Vets Under Siege: How America Deceives and Dishonors Those Who Fight Our Battles by Martin Schram to commemorate the anniversary of the Bonus Army. Click for a full review of the book.

*Calling something a "syndrome" suggests the symptoms are psychological. In fact, the dominant story concerning Gulf War Syndrome is that there is no known physical cause. As the review notes, Mr. Schram's book makes a good case that the "syndrome" is linked to exposure to chemical warfare agents at various sites in Iraq in the early 1990s.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Required Reading

To See This Clearly, by Maya Stein. Here are the opening lines:
I am no magic trick, no doer of miracles, no water walker.
I am no architect of glory, no layer-on of hands, no angel wing.
I am no weaver of gold, no mythmaker, no parachute artist.
I am no halo of stillness in a downpour.
Trust me, it just gets better.

Idée d’jour

Year after year
   on the monkey's face
    a monkey face.
— Basho

Friday, June 20, 2008

For the Netflix Cue

Haiku d’jour

Red morning sky —
     are you glad of it?
– Issa

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Idée d’jour

The struggle with evil by means of violence is the same as an attempt to stop a cloud, in order that there may be no rain.
— Leo Tolstoy, novelist and philosopher (1828-1910)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

How It Goes

It goes in fits & starts.
It goes summer sun slow.
It goes with ham & eggs & flap jacks.
It goes past the creosote dumps.
It goes where no poem dares turn.
It goes with kettle bangs and wet whispers.
It goes like a gong.
It goes like sparklers chasing fireflies.
It goes like the terraces of a woman sleeping.
It goes like night terrors.
It goes well with white wine or vinegar.
It goes & it goes, & it rolls & it flows.

I walked with the morning light.
Now I sit shiva with the setting sun.
And it goes down soft and dusty.
It goes down smooth.
It goes on straight toward midnight.
It goes past memory
and takes a right at justice.
It goes to the heart of darkness
at the center of the light.
It goes & it glows & it rolls & it grows.

I like watching it go.
It goes like a lover's hips rolling
like a ship on steady waves.
It goes like pastures waving
in the harvest season.
It goes well with the hustlers and the street car punks
and the men huddled in doorways
and the women hidden in culverts.
It goes like a half-remembered riddle.
It goes & it goes & it rolls & it flows.

Begun as a free-write inspired by Dr. Omed on Twitter

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Blossom, 08June12

The bush on the north edge of my property (my backyard) is blossoming. Does it celebrate southern sun? The impending arrival of solstice?

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Palm Reading

I trace the lines of my hands: blue highways of intimate discourse. Bright backroads where the stars taste my heartbeat.

This long diagonal line - does it aim to Scorpius? Or is it the left-hand side of the path from soul to mind? It slices my lifeline, which traverses the full palm map.

Seven loves flow from the heart. Blue highways near my thumb suggest alternate tales.

This line intersecting the Scorpion line at the left could be the Archer. Let my aim be plain and true. My words the plumb line into meandering destinies.

A new line flows from the top of that line, falling off the right to where monsters may dwell. An alternate future parallels from the base of the life line.

I would reveal all my secrets, but they remain hidden even to me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Morning Prayer

I bind unto my self this day
the shattered stone.
I bind myself to the rift in the rock.
I take shelter under the sparrow's wing.
I rest in the shadow of the thistle.

I bind myself this day to the spring grass.
I bind myself to the summer tornado.
I take shelter in gathering winds.
I rest in early evening warmth.

I trust in the moon's vengeance.
I have faith in the compassionate breeze.
I study the scripture in the jewel
at the heart of the lotus.

I bind integrity to my right arm,
and discerned justice to my left.
My right hand is named "Love"
my left hand, "Honor".

I follow the example of volunteer clover.
I follow the path of the wild mint.
I heed the morning dove's cry.
I shall not forsake my name.

Even though my name is dust.
Even though my honor is fresh mown grass.
Even though my words are light as rain clouds.

I bind myself to the split stone.
I bind myself to the creek's memory.
I bind myself to morning flags
and evening traffic reports.

I bind unto myself this day
the Name beyond names;
the Path which has no route;
the Law which has no letters;
the People who have no borders.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I just purchased Duffy's debut album, Rockferry, on iTunes after listening to samples of all the tracks. As you'll hear in the live sample embedded above, she's got a powerful vocal instrument. Never mind the hit single, Mercy, which I think sounds a bit too much like Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" for comfort. The other 12 songs on the album far out shine it. Check out Syrup & Honey for a peek at the artist at work.

There's a iRumor circulating that this Welsh singer calls herself Duffy as an homage to Dusty Springfield. She's close to Springfield, no question - just needs a little seasoning.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

935 Lies

Listen to the hit you won't hear on Clear Channel (tip o' the fedora to Brother Dave).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Jesus for President

Review of a book by Shane Claiborn, Chris Haw, and Friends

A little over 300 pages long (including appendix), this book covers salvation history from the Garden of Eden to the present. The history is, of course, made with very broad strokes. What is fascinating about the presentation of the history is how the authors constantly use events such as Israel's demand for a king (in I Samuel) to comment on current events.

The authors remind us that when the people of Israel asked for a king, God warned them that any human king would be no better than the Pharaoh. The ideal is that God is the only king we need.

It seems to me that this is the primary point of this book: we project onto our leaders all the hopes and dreams that can only be realistically fulfilled by God. We try to legislate a better society and better people, when this only be effected by changing the individual heart of each person.

This doesn't mean we don't vote. We choose a candidate we believe will do the most good and the least harm. But we fool ourselves if we believe any candidate will be able to do everything s/he promises. The only person who could deliver on all his promises was Jesus; and he promised nothing more than suffering and servanthood.

Look, the U.S. Constitution has a system of checks and balances which intends to prevent any one person or group of people from gaining absolute power. The only way any person could fulfill all his/her political promises is if that person were a dictator or emperor. There is a reason many have described the current administration as "the imperial presidency," and we are no experiencing the negative fall-out from its actions.

Human politics can only go so far. People obey laws as a duty to the social contract, or from fear of punishment. Typically, such laws do not change the human heart. The Law of Love, Jesus' platform, is written on the human heart.

Jesus, as Claiborn and his co-authors point out, would be a poor candidate in the traditional sense. Jesus would be "soft on defense": no where in the Gospels does Jesus take up a sword (the gun of his day). When asked whether to oppose Rome (by means of refusing to pay taxes), he rejected the question. For Jesus the point was not whether to oppose Rome or to support a new human leader, but to submit oneself to God.

Jesus would take a new view of welfare that might shock both Democrats and Republicans. Jesus did not judge the poor — as an itinerant preacher he was among them. Instead, Jesus fed those who were hungry. In the early church, pre-300 C.E., the norm was for the community to hold all property in common and share according to each member's need. What the U.S. has done, over time, is to cede the Christian responsibility to care for "the least of these" to the state; the results have been mixed, to say the least.

This is a thought-provoking book, with new readings of scripture (the Christian testament in particular) which I found enlightening. I recommend it to all who seek an expression of Christian life founded on practice rather than dogma.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


This is one of the artifacts found in what are called the Spiro Mounds, in far eastern Oklahoma. These Native Americans are probably the ancestors of the Creek, Caddo, and others. They lived in this area from approximately 500 - 1450 CE.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Last Poem

My last poem
will walk under storm-green skies
past haunted duplexes
through echoing culverts
through knee-high grass.
It will walk from New Jersey Pine Barrons
and coast up Gravity Hill;
it will walk from mother's horror
to father's death;
it will walk from the myth of Saturn
to the mouth of the whirlwind.
It will walk all this way
to sit on my chest,
some cat-like Buddha,
to flip through the uneven pages
of my unjustified heart.

My last poem and my first poem
will sit on the front porch
and tell tall tales
about the neighbors.
They'll compare rhetoric
and the scope of their rhythm.
"You've got a charming rhyme scheme,"
my last poem will say;
"You've got a mysterious metaphysic,"
my first poem will reply.
And they'll write sketches of the wind
while drinking green tea
with a pinch of fresh mint
and a spoon-full of local honey.

My last poem
may have forgotten every cherished image;
it may have lost
its connection to each borrowed symbol
and 40 years worth of repetends.
It may find itself confronted
by each unfinished stanza,
every half-begun epic,
each muse in passing
and muse in waiting -
each shopgirl, waitress,
movie star, pew mate,
class mate, anima projection -
all the false goddesses
and true harridans,
all the true goddesses
and faithless lovers.
It may have forgotten
their names in eternity.
It may have lost its breath
and its measured lines.
It may not want a song
or need one more sip of beer.

My last poem
will shake your hand and greet you.
It will welcome you like an old friend.
It will walk with you anywhere.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Idée d’jour

God must have loved the people in power, for he made them so much like their own image of him.
— Kenneth Patchen, poet and novelist (1911-1972)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Biggest Lie

"The biggest lie of our low dishonest decade is that we are doing so much better now than [arbitrary date in the last five years]. Casualties are down from [day/month/year arbitrarily chosen to make this point.] Now that [Bush lands on aircraft carrier / Saddam is captured / executed/ elections are held / one particular group is not attacking Americans as often], we have proved how wrong opponents of the war really were all this time. This lie gets repeated over and over again, with the bracketed parts changing. Sure, we messed it up for the first [one, two, three, four, five, six] years, but NOW things are going our way, and it's unpatriotic to suggest otherwise!"
— Jonathan, at Bemsha Swing!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

This Week's Cat

The lady poses for her close-up.

ISO 1600; f.5.0 @ 1/10; flash

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Worst President? Ask the Twins

Idée d’jour

The flowers fall, for all our yearning; weeds grow, regardless of our dislike.
— Zen saying

Another variant of this wisdom is found in Judeo-Christian Scripture: It rains upon the just and the unjust.

Photo details: ISO 200, f/7.1 @ 1/400; cloudy, natural light

Friday, April 04, 2008

April 4

The moon hauls in the water
the wind tears up the street
the stars hail down

The weather vane lost true north
the mailbox flag is frozen
the robin is far from home

She opens the drowsy window
watches rain wash the screen
she dreams her morning fog
in the swirl of her morning coffee

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Day Job

To pick up on how my employment situation has affected my blog/creative output:
My primary function (assisting with grant applications) is very seasonal. Plus, there is a limited amount I can do without information from the applicant. So, even when a grant is due, I have a considerable amount of "free" time. During which I would edit photographs, craft essays, and go surfing for topics or supporting evidence.

Until fairly recently, grant applications have been paper-based. Then, about three years ago, a number of agencies switched to electronic submission. Most NIH grants are now electronic submission only. Which means that there is even less for a secretary to do.

Finally, there are only three researchers who use my services on a regular basis. Even though I assisted with a grant application every month but three last year, there still was not enough for me to do.

Now, the average manager would probably respond, "There's always something to do." I accept that; but it doesn't necessarily mean that I would know what else needs to be done.

In any case, our primary boss started noticing. I do my best to be discrete in my surfing (mostly work-safe sites), and I typically have a "boss key" handy, but I was occasionally caught surfing. So, the boss said something to my immediate supervisor. A caution which was repeated to me twice – once in '06 and once in '07.

The first time my supervisor reported this caution, I responded with my view of the situation - pretty much as I've detailed above. My supervisor responded by saying it seemed like I needed to transition to another function. But nothing more was said.

When she repeated the caution in '07, I responded by listing the things I am doing, and how I spend my down time. I solicited ideas for other things to do, but she had none.

That's the point at which I started to apply for other positions. About the same time, I noticed the department was hiring part-time personnel to assist in our billing area. I immediately began researching whether this might be a function I could take on.

To make a long story less long, I sold management on the idea that I could serve the same function as the part-timer while continuing with my grant-support functions (as well as my web master job).

I'm not getting paid more for this (at present), but I do believe there is greater job security. Our business manager (who joined the department late last year)was especially impressed that I took the initiative. She has also told me several times what a good job I'm doing, and how glad the people in the billing area are that I have joined that corner.

So, now I have fairly full days at work. While I miss the opportunity to indulge in my creative pursuits, I do feel less anxious about being caught or being in a situation where I might lose my job. I feel more useful, as well, which has given my self-image a shot in the arm.

State of the Blog

Hens Bits

I have been unusually quiet. If not for a few "Idée d’jour" and photographs, you might think I fell off the earth. You might think, as Brother Dave possibly did, that I was seriously depressed.

I was moderately depressed, something that seems to be common for me in the dark months. I was under the weather for over a month. The two combined for a greater depression.

But I was also tired of the sound of my own voice. I didn't have anything to say. What little I did have to say, I couldn't think of new ways to say it. There are, after all, a limited number of ways to say "I hate Bush".

There is another reason I've had less to say — I seem to have less time to say anything. Over the past few years, I've written an embarrassing amount at work. I'll have more to say about my work situation in a different post.

I intend to maintain this space. I know I will be glad of the creative outlet once the quality of light springs my seratonin level back to normal. I won't make promises, but you're likely to hear from me more often.

Picture details: ISO 100; f/8.0 @1/60; zoom lens, 150mm; taken ~ 5:30 p.m., 14.Mar.08

Monday, March 17, 2008

Jonquil 08Mar17

This was a bud on Friday. Now, it opens to welcome the predicted rain.

Shot details:
ISO 100 f/6.3 @ 1/100; 95 mm

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ideé d’jour

Lose your mind and come to your senses.
— Fritz Perls

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Idée d’jour

The more intelligent and cultured a man is, the more subtly he can humbug himself.
– Carl Jung

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Idée d’jour

Cold you may be
but don't warm yourself by the fire,
Buddha of snow!
— Sokan

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ideé d’jour

Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?
— Thomas Wolfe

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


. . . about a stone, found along an unkempt path. Something about the striations of gray and white. Something about the path, unattended for more than a decade. Something about the lightning-felled tree. Something about the moss on the tree. Something about winter, and the new moon.

The stone is smoothed by wind and rain. I hold it in my hand and feel the weight of forgotten mountains. I perceive the ocean. I hear the waters rise and fall. I feel the mammoth's delicate tread. The stone knows more than I.

The stone now lies in the bottom of a double-wall basket. The reeds come all the way from China. The stone remembers the Cherokee women who originally wove this type of basket. The stone ponders, but does not compare.

There is something about a stone's wisdom which causes the clouds to part.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Idée d’jour

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and hence clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
— H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Ideé d’jour

... those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Cat Friday

This picture confirms DJ's solemn belief that the world revolves around her.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Idée d’jour

The more talking and thinking, the farther from the truth.
— Seng-Ts’an

Photo details: ISO 400, 1/13, f5.6

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Street Phantom

Ink stains on the pillow where dreams turned to rust
phantoms on fog streets walk over broken grass
thunderous brows open kitchen sink coffee grounds
counting the rest stops alone your life lines
counting the diversions in your tea leaves
opening blue evening closing your eyes
loving the calendar like a waitress
where dreams turn to rust and collections are untrue
where you open your hand and the rest stops are closed
where you open the central line and the heart beats faster
where the ink stains burn holes into your pillow


This is one of three "Midtown" markers I have noticed in my travels. This is on NW 10th Street, half a block east of Robinson.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Idée d’jour

We boil at different degrees.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Idée d’jour

Our heads are round so that thoughts can change direction.
— Francis Picabia, painter and poet (1879-1953)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Idée d’jour

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
— Leonardo da Vinci

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Original First Christian Church

The south entrance of the original First Christian Church, on the corner of NW 10th and Robinson.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Idée d’jour

When you've got it,there's no place for it but a poem.
— Wu Pen

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Idée d’jour

Open your mouth and you're wrong.
— Zen Saying

Monday, January 14, 2008

1st Baptist Church

A fine example of "Okie Gothic" near down town OKC. What strikes me as odd is the fact that it is a Baptist church.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Idée d’jour

Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.
— Oscar Wilde

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Composite Jonah

Not quite Warhol, but still different.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


This is the first picture I've taken using the RAW format. [GEEK ALERT].

I took a Photoshop class year before last, and the first thing the instructor did was write the following equation on the board:
“JPG = E V I L”
The instructor extolled the virtues of RAW. He claimed it was as good as film quality. The learned user certainly has more control than over a JPG, and the quality of the original file is never comprised. I've read that a JPG file loses quality each time the user opens it – even if s/he does not edit the file; the explanation has to do with the compression/decompression method.

Anyway, the colors in this image do seem to "pop", don't they?

By the way — this shrub is scheduled to get a trim this Saturday.