Monday, September 30, 2013

Visit the alternate universe blaming Harry Reid--rather than GOP obstructionism--for government shutdown.

Some examples from the above link:
Now that Harry Reid shut it down government, the Stay Puft man is going to walk through New York.--Dana Loesch, conservative pundit

Democrats want to kill the TeaParty. They know gov't run media will lay blame upon them & the statist GOP will pile on--Victor Nikki

Why is it ok for Pres Obama to stand on principal but not ok for GOP?--Representative Jeff Duncan

because he's fine w/ forcing Americans to purchase what he has exempted himself and his minions from!--Jennifer McFarlane

HarryReidsShutdown because they could care less about what Americans truly want!!!!!--Andrew

Harry Reid would rather shutdown the government than have an honest debate about how Obamacare is ruining our economy.--Amanda Carpenter

Will Michelle Obama tell me to drink water when thirsty pro bono?--Rufus Kings

STOP SAYING most are blaming Republicans for ! NOT TRUE! Reid is ARROGANT NAZI SCUMBAG! --Debra Pianalto

The choice is clear: Shut down the thing that is shutting down America by --Representative Jeff Duncan

This is another step by the Kenyan to turn America into a 3rd World Country. What a shame. --Dan Freeman

And finally, as rebuttal to the above:
Don't like a law? Defund and disobey it. Blame someone else for your recalcitrance. All better now. Stay strong, Harry.--Gail James

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book consignment deals from a San Francisco independent bookstore's point-of-view.

Allow me to preface this anecdote by stating I actually bought a book from the San Francisco CA independent bookstore (name will go unmentioned, but it's located in the SOMA--south of Market--area) which will be discussed below.  In other words, no hard feelings on my part (particularly since I was able to place copies of HOLLYWOOD POETRY: 2001-2013 and the print version of POEMS BELOW THE LINE in other stores in San Francisco/Berkeley, plus donating copies for resale at the SF Public Library's main branch near City Hall).

A poet enters an independent bookstore.

He asks if the store does consignment deals.

The male employee on the ground floor asks about the genre.

Poetry, the poet says.

Male ground floor employee directs poet to go downstairs.

Downstairs, there is a poetry section as well as arts/entertainment/film books for sale.

Poet goes to downstairs employee behind counter in a work area.

Could you take this book on consignment, asks the poet.

Downstairs employee does a fast flip through poet's book.

Then downstairs employee says something like this:
Why don't you check out City Lights?  They might take this.

[Background: City Lights, located in North Beach, is an overall well-regarded long-running progressive bookstore, still blessed with the presence emeritus of Lawrence Ferlinghetti.  In past years, the store would take self-published chapbooks or non-elite small press volumes by area poets.  This week, though, I notice that the nook under the staircase to the upstairs poetry section is filled with saddle-stitched zines.]

I answer something like this:
It seems like City Lights has gradually stopped selling [these kinds of] poetry books over the years.

The downstairs employee, with no visible heightening of emotion, says something like this:
We don't take consignment books anymore because of those times when authors don't come to pick them up [when the store can't sell them and time is up under terms of the deal.]
And also, people may not know who the author is. [looks at poet]  No offense.

So, I politely thanked him for answering my questions, found a book to purchase and went upstairs to pay the male employee on the ground floor.

End of Anecdote (which may or may not have resonance for poets reading this blog post).

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The snarkiest film review you'll read this year.

Turning the floor over to Scott Marks of the SAN DIEGO READER, with his five-star review of Morgan Spurlock and Simon Cowell's ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US:

At around the 30-minute mark, Martin Scorsese and his young daughter appear backstage after a concert at Madison Square Garden for an audience with the boy band sensation. Marty speaks of how He and Francesca exchange music and then proceeds to offer the group His personal dispensation. With a forced chortle, He’s off. It’s 16 of the most divine seconds ever committed to film. Five stars! A must-see! The greatest concert movie since Shine a Light! Compared to this, The Last Waltz is a masterpiece! Starring Martin Scorsese, Francesca Scorsese, Chris Rock, and The New Monkees. Directed with measured anonymity by Morgan Spurlock. 2013.

Friday, September 13, 2013

ROCK AND RAP CONFIDENTIAL on Ted Nugent, conservative role model.

RRC Extra No. 36 / May 2013:
Ted Nugent’s Double Standards
Please feel free to forward or post this RRC Extra widely. We only ask that you include the information that anyone can subscribe free of charge to Rock & Rap Confidential by sending their email address to If you ever wish to unsubscribe, just send an email with “unsubscribe” in the subject line to
DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO… Ted Nugent spent the hours before his speech at the National Rifle Association’s recent national convention as just another vendor, hawking his books to the public. Then, as the confab’s final speaker, he gave his stock speech about his love of guns and his eagerness to kill people (“if you dare attempt to argue with me about my right to self-defense, I will just have to destroy you”). But the truth of the matter is that Ted’s never killed anyone and when he had a chance to, he bailed. Ted Nugent is just another chicken hawk.
He was born in 1948, so he was eligible to enlist in 1966 or early 1967. Why didn't he? Not because his family didn't want him to--his father was professional military, a staff sergeant. In 1977, Nugent described to High Times his efforts to evade conscription. Later he claimed to have a 1Y deferment because he was enrolled at Oakland Community College. It would be interesting to know how many times he entered a classroom, considering that by 1967 his band, The Amboy Dukes, had a record contract, which tends to make the band members pretty busy.  Nugent also claims he lied to a gullible High Times reporter. Why would he do that? Was it macho to be a draft dodger back then?
Nugent likes to brag about jamming with fellow veteran Jimi Hendrix…oh, that's right, Jimi enlisted as a paratrooper, while Ted fled. As for his “support for the troops,” which he trumpeted again at the NRA’s Houston convention, in 1977 he said that “If I would have gone over there, I’d have killed all the hippies in the foxholes.” Now he’s an avid supporter of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At least Nugent’s consistent—in all these cases Americans are being killed while Ted lives a protected life out of harm’s way.
Nugent also brags about his deep Christian faith, which by his own account hasn’t prevented him from screwing hundreds of teenage girls, often well after he'd reached the outer fringes of middle age. More recently, Nugent couldn’t marry his third wife, Pele Massa, because she was underage so Ted arranged (at what price one wonders) for Pele's parents to sign legal guardianship over to him until she legally ripened. Three of his children were born out of wedlock. Wonder what Christian splinter group he's found to endorse all that?
 Nugent's first hit was with the Amboy Dukes on "Journey to the Center of the Mind," which he claims not to know was about drugs, making him a unique teenager who wasn’t able to decode psychedelic drug references in 1968. Did he also not know it when he played the song at a Dukes reunion in Detroit in 2009?
In 2007, Nugent went on the Hannity and Colmes TV show to complain that at the Coachella festival Zach de la Rocha said that the Bush administration should be "hung and tried and shot." On April 17, 2012, Nugent said that if Obama was re-elected he would “either be dead or in jail by this time next year." This proved to be a lie. Or maybe he's filed for an extension.
Anyway, Ted couldn't die because he remains on Federal probation until next April. Seems the great sportsman killed more bears than he was entitled to in Alaska. (Nugent has a previous conviction for deer baiting in California.) His other monumental achievement as a nature lover is his support for Massey Energy's mountain removal program: "On behalf of the Nugent family, I say, start up the bulldozers and get me some more coal, Massey." Might as well, since he couldn't go hunting around there--the mountain removal devastates all wildlife.
Come to think of it, maybe  if Nugent took a closer look at the actual record of Barack Obama, he’d see a kindred spirit. After all, both Ted and Barack are big fans of fossil fuels. Nugent hates immigrants (“We should put razor wire around our borders and give the finger to any piece of shit who wants to come here”) and Obama has deported more immigrants than any President in U.S. history. Ted Nugent likes to kill defenseless creatures (animals), while Barack Obama is the world’s leading proponent of drone warfare. Maybe Ted should go over to the Pentagon with the President and spend an afternoon using a computer mouse to target and destroy a wedding party in Afghanistan. All would be forgiven. Except by us.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

Something new from Victor Infante.

Found this on a website called NAILED, edited by Carrie Seitzenger (who, if I recall correctly, is an alumnus of Orange County poeterati); marveling at Mr. Infante's eagerness to shoot at the easy (and past sell-by date) target of Kate Gosselin:
The Revelation of Kate Gosselin, as Revealed to John Connor from the “Terminator” Movies
(After the painting “Shoot the Stork” by Irving Phillips)
You speak of futures
and I’ll speak of storks –
ugly birds, descending
with a lumbering grace,
soaring thermal currents,
angel wings spread wide,
casting the sun into shadow.
Men with cameras came and built
a house composed of camera lenses.
They tattooed Nielsen ratings
onto my children’s necks.
My marriage became
cracked wallpaper,
discarded in the exodus
of birds and cameras
pushed by the wind
to some other miracle,
leaving me dancing
to hold their focus.
You’re speaking future tense
while I’m dissolving
into strangers’ living rooms –
you, oracle, for whom the future is pencil lead;
you, with Apocalypse dripping from your tongue:
When you vanish into the future,
please, leave the gun behind.

Link to this poem, and others:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A type of bullying that may be practiced by some members of poetry communities.

I found this on and it's something that can be easily applied to situations among adults:
“The Vengeful Angel”
In this type of cyberbullying, the cyberbully doesn’t see themselves as a bully at all. They see themselves as righting wrongs, or protecting themselves or others from the “bad guy” they are now victimizing. This includes situations when the victim of cyberbullying or offline bullying retaliates and becomes a cyberbully themselves They may be angry at something the victim did and feel they are taking warranted revenge or teaching the other a lesson. The “Vengeful Angel” cyberbully often gets involved trying to protect a friend who is being bullied or cyberbullied. They generally work alone, but may share their activities and motives with their close friends and others they perceive as being victimized by the person they are cyberbullying.
Vengeful Angels need to know that no one should try and take justice into their own hands. They need to understand that few things are clear enough to understand, and that fighting bullying with more bullying only makes things worse. They need to see themselves as bullies, not the do-gooder they think they are. It also helps to address the reasons they lashed out in the first place. If they sense injustices, maybe there really are injustices. Instead of just blaming the Vengeful Angel, solutions here also require that the situation be reviewed to see what can be done to address the underlying problem. S there a place to report bullying or cyberbullying? Can that be done anonymously? Is there a peer counseling group that handles these matters? What about parents and school administrators. Do they ignore bullying when it occurs, or do they take it seriously? The more methods we can give these kinds of cyberbullies to use official channels to right wrongs, the less often they will try to take justice into their own hands.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

NEW YORK magazine commenter on runup to war with Syria's Assad.

"Ribonucleic" had this to say in a comment on a Jonathan Chait column on the NEW YORK magazine website:
Given the US history of lies about WMD, given the bum rushing of the UN inspectors, given that Assad had no reason to use chemical weapons in a war he is winning, given that the rebels had everything to gain by having Obama's "red line" crossed, you'd think that people would be demanding the highest standard of proof (i.e. Assad boasting about it on national television) before going along with yet another bombing of yet another Muslim country with yet another connection to desired energy resources. But no. the war drums pound, someone in the ruling party says the magic word "Hitler", the media parrots the official line, and the wheel of blood beginss another turn...

Here's a link to the column by Chait (who seems to support intervention on humanitarian grounds, but dislikes Tuesday's presentation by Obama Administration officials):

Monday, September 2, 2013

In 1980, a Great Man of Music told me "You think you deserve a medal?"

It was this Great Man of Music:

If aging memory is correct, Mr. Reed came to Midwestern State University (in Wichita Falls TX) in the spring of 1980 to guest-conduct the MSU Symphonic Band.

I was one of the non-music majors in the band (part of the percussion section).

During a Sunday afternoon rehearsal at Akin Auditorium, the band was playing a number to be included in an upcoming concert.

I made a mistake; Mr. Reed pointed it out in front of the regular conductor and the entire band.

Later, we returned to the same passage of the number.  I played better.

Nonetheless, Mr. Reed looked at me and said: "You think you deserve a medal?"

Obviously, I didn't. As he saw it, there was no need for praise regarding the ability to correct musical mistakes.

At 20 years of age, I handled myself better in that situation than I would have two-plus decades later.  I just kept my mouth shut and didn't display any publicly unacceptable emotion.

As one can see from the Wikipedia entry, Mr. Reed wrote reams of symphonic music and accomplished a lot during his teaching/writing/guest conducting career.

And obviously, this will (for many people) outweigh any bleats of complaint over his humiliate-in-public-in-the-pursuit-of-excellence style.

It was something I experienced in high school already.  And it also occurred in some work experiences years afterward.  Finally, it happened to me during the decade-and-a-half I have spent writing and reading poetry.

I wish I had handled certain of these later experiences (particularly in the last decade) in the way I took in Alfred Reed's symbolic back-of-the-hand: namely, grit my teeth, do things as well as humanly possible and carry on regardless.