Monday, May 17, 2010

The night in reverse

I'm not cutting and pasting to make this right. But now I know when you upload photos to go in the other direction. I love how serious everyone is at the dinner table-- that's the exact right response to that meal.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pensee & Vignette

The Irish Goodbye

Because the gesture goes so deeply into the infinite. Each goodbye is every goodbye and names the distance between us.

Because the meeting is so fleeting.

For some the word is a placeholder, a bookmark, the other half of hello. But I think it the echo of an ever-shouting oblivion.

When I leave the world it will be through a window if all the other exits are blocked.


the things are against us

I have been friends with Su since my freshman year in college. We were going to be writers!

And goddammit if we're not.

She's the only writer friend I ever had until recently. Lawrence Kansas is a stray dog in need of a tick shave, flea bath, some serious worming to rid it of the pestilence of writers, but I always felt the word signified a posture rather than an avocation.

And thus avoided the self-proclaimed as though they were lepers.

I have since learned that those personalities in Lawrence I thought were frauds are the same people who became fairly successful writers in the Bay Area and New York. Real estate and publishing is all

location location location.

But I'm not here to gripe. All writers are fraudulent in essence, otherwise we'd utter the holy words that would immolate the universe or glow silent against the fire the flood until it consumed our silence instead.

It's the clay and not the breath of God that makes us human.

But Su and I have grown into this life together. And though we have read each other's work for years...

In fact just a month ago she sent me an old poem of mine. Something arcane about a moon-lusting monk... here's a bit.

An old man of the earth
Not of the cloth
His mouth is wafer thin and ill suited for this passion
Which has conferred with the ice covering his white brier beard
And the tides of his brain:
A fever for seven days to allow her another quarter
And his escape
A fever for tonight’s dance he moves
Gracefully at a boil


...and last weekend was the first time I have seen one of her plays.

I like red-eye flights. We arrived in New York at the same time everyone else was arriving and we began the day together. We took the train into New Haven with a great number of young people dressed in now wrinkled evening attire and night-randy hair through the green green of early North Eastern Summer. Another playwright friend of Su's was there for the opening, Sharif, and he has a delightful story about Mexico's premier Shakespearian scholar, Yale, a young woman, and his inability to make out the word 'betrothal' on his phone, and her downstairs neighbors visited, bring the gift of homebrewed stout, their lovely near-newborn, and fantastic conversation that ranged from Tom Waits to The Watchman to Roland Barthes to Axe Cop and then our chocolate maker friend Alexandra arrived from Cornell and invited us to her aunt's beautiful home in the woods, where rhubarb pie awaited and her grandmother from Charlotte who said I could be from the south because I was so good-looking and then we saw the show, although I had to park and run a desperate few blocks alone to be ushered quietly into the back by an usher who was waiting just for me.

Of the show I may speak later. Old houses are scary. So are Germans. Also now we know why Lorca died young. And redheads are still totally hot. Afterwards we rang in the new day with a bonfire despite a driving North wind.

The next day we day-tripped up the Atlantic to visit a Book-Barn, which is a barn that is filled with books, and nommed some seafood in Mystic, which is actually a place.

Other quotidian adventures followed but the main point is that I strode the wide earth, met fellow workers in song, ate and drank art in the great comfort of a green deciduous old mountain earth. It felt like a window into a happy future. I will fight for it. Thank you, Susan Soon He Stanton.

Sometimes it really does feel like we travel through time together and that space is an illusion.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Forty-Dollar Fine

Maybe because I just had my first beer, maybe because I've paid my share of fines and lament the dearth of songs about it, but this song by this guy really struck me tonight.

The Webb Wilder character was created for a short film about a backwoods private detective who fell out of the '50s and happened to also be a musician. With his group, Wilder combines the surf guitar of the Ventures with the rock roots of Duane Eddy, drawing on the feel of both country music and film noir. Though sometimes bordering on the gimmicky, the band is quite humorous yet plays serious music. It Came from Nashville featured a cover of Steve Earle's "Devil's Right Hand," appropriate because, like Earle, Wilder rocked too hard to be country but kept a twang that might put off mainstream rock fans. Wilder's next two albums didn't necessarily forge new ground but refined the band's sound somewhat, making its R&B influence more apparent. In concert, Wilder often gives stream-of-consciousness recitations that touch on motor homes, voodoo, television, and other somewhat kitschy subjects; usually they're funny enough to work.

Click here for a video of them honky-rocking out in someone backyard.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

329 Hihn Street

At least I think that's our address. I never got 'round to learning it.

Here are some pictures Olga took of our place for our craigslist ad. I thought I'd post for those who didn't get a chance to visit. It's a great place and we've been happy here.

Francesco Marciuliano, Author of "Sally Forth" as Pat Robertson

The Onion's Summer Movie Round Up led me to the reader's comments where the upcoming Marmaduke movie inspired commenters to bitch about other comics they hate, like Family Circus and Sally Forth, which I have chuckled at, and was later defended by a link to his blog

Which is really good! The conversations with his brother, who works as the Lycos Mascot, are worth the time alone.

Here's the Pat Robertson.

"Halloween is an abomination, a dark temptation. It encourages young Irish boys and girls to cut school, consume alcohol, get into fights and fornicate right on the parade route. Now, you might be thinking I've confused Halloween with St. Patrick's Day but let me tell you, those Micks will use any holiday as an excuse to get drunk."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Weed Scientists

As an agent of chaos, weeds are my friends. While weeds are a problem in any farmer's field, should that field be small and mostly tended by human, rather than chemical, attention, they will always been a problem with a solution.

Weeds can be pulled up by hand. At most, you may have to wear gloves. It may even take years to tame a particularly weedy patch of ground. I once saw Mike Madison spread clear plastic sheeting on a new field. The idea was that, in the sun, the plastic sheeting would collect moisture and heat up, thereby steaming the soil underneath and killing the seeds.

It didn't work. Round-up used to work, but now in an unprecedented and unforeseeable turn of events...

No, I'm sorry. That's wrong. Wrong words, William! Let me start again. a completely predictable and almost unavoidable turn of events, weeds have become resistant to poison! It's the Rise of the Super Weeds! Monsanto is twitchy about it. (Each link is different! It was quite rewarding to type 'Monsanto' and 'Evil' into an image search.)

Monsanto, which once argued that resistance would not become a major problem, now cautions against exaggerating its impact. “It’s a serious issue, but it’s manageable,” said Rick Cole, who manages weed resistance issues in the United States for the company.

Kansas has, of course, all six Super Weeds.

This will could either eat away at the nasty authority of monoculture farming, or force Monsanto to fulfill its Destiny of Poisoning Us All.

So, oddly, the farmer's great enemy, the weed, is actually a farmer's great friend.

Here's to you, noble Pigweed.

Excerpts from a how-to manual for building a walk-in cooler

I'm trying to figure our cooler solutions for the Green Horse and ran across a primer on the subject that was unexpectedly entertaining. Here are the best bits.

(By Ron Kholsa)

A "down" economy might be waking the rest of the country up to the importance of savings and DIY, but for farmers working on low margins and high risk it's business as usual. Although we still live off the income from our 200 family CSA, I developed and now sell the “CoolBot,” a device that makes a standard window air-conditioner run down to 33 degrees, turning it into a walk-in cooler compressor.


Which leads to... “Water Falls”! Cold air, like a cold heart, leaves no space for love. When you open the door of your cooler and the warmer, more water-vapor-laden air comes whooshing in, within moments it sadly suffers the pangs of rejection and condenses in tears on the cold heartless walls of your cooler.


Don't use Fiberglass insulation! I know there are people out there who've done it and seem happy but inside, they are not happy at all and you might want to tell them that. What's happened with them is that (even with a very good vapor barrier) moisture laden warm air from outside somehow found it's way into their walls where it condensed back into drops of liquid on the cool inner wall of their cooler. It saturated the fiberglass batts, reducing the insulation value and ultimately growing a goth-style black mold which dragged down both the spirit and loft of the fiberglass even further until they have whole areas of their walls with gaps in the insulation.


Here in NY, grungy male farmers who happen to be suffering from tree-allergies and sneezing into their shirts will find that this stuff is cost-prohibitive at over twice the price of the rigid foam products. But if you happen to be a more attractive neighboring female farmer, the same company might spray-insulate your 12x20 cooler for around $100. Go figure. Folks living in the midwest seem to be finding prices are neither gender specific nor prohibitive, so check with your local spray-foam installer.


Don't cut your insulation up and fit it between the studs! Not only will you invariably leave a few gaps and holes, no matter how careful you are polyisocyanurate shrinks a bit over time, making your kids think you were a sloppy builder when they re-build the cooler 15 years down the road because the cooler costs too much to keep cool!


Many people just leave the exposed insulation on the inside of their coolers. If you don't have employees and you're careful, that's fine. We have aggressively destructive employees and our cooler is open to a public I seriously suspect to be drunk most of the time by the way they ransack the place so our inner walls are sheathed with $7/sheets of "OSB board."


We live in a registered historic district and we are often in trouble with the village elders for not taking their “hysterical” district as seriously as we should, but our cheap plywood siding solution (properly stained a dull green) apparently looks nice enough from the road that it's one thing no one has ever bugged us about!

les choses sont contre nous

This is a link to an article about the 2010 Carlotta Play Festival in Yale. My friend Su, on the far right in a very, very, very awkward video interview, completes her playwriting program with a full length production of The Things Are Against US (les choses sont contre nous) about a murderous house, Lorca, two sisters, and the dangers of pear cider.

The Play is brilliant, (not just because my friend wrote it-- that is an objective judgment and not one I make lightly) and we'll be watching it with the playwright some this Saturday.