Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Negative Land

Check out On the Edge Radio, it will tickle your inner artistic lobe.  It is weird stuff from San Francisco, but if you are daring check this out, you may like it or you may hate me for suggesting it, either way you will not have a neutral opinion.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

3000 Hits on this Web Site.   Thank you for making this possible!!!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Kareuac on Food and San Francisco

San Francisco is a food hunter’s paradise; even the United Wing of the San Francisco Airport has a plethora of delights.    Jessica (my wife) and I had so many choices for lunch, there was Clam Chowder in San Francisco Sour Dough Bread Bowls, Japanese Bento lunches, mission style burritos, good micro-brews, and probably a lot more; I was unable to see it all because my senses were overwhelmed.    

Jack Kerouac wrote of the bounty of food in San Francisco:

From on the Road by Jack Kerouac (Part Two - Chapter Ten)
In the window I smelled all the food of San Francisco.   There were seafood places out there where the buns were hot, and the baskets were good enough to eat too; where the menus themselves were soft with foody esculence as though dipped in hot broths roasted dry and good enough to eat too.  Just show me the bluefish spangle on a seafood menu, and I'd eat it; let me smell the butter and lobster claws.  There were places where hamburgers sizzled on grills and the coffee was only a nickel.  And oh, that pan fried chow mein flavored air that blew into my room from Chinatown, vying with the spaghetti sauces of North Beach, the soft-shell crab of Fisherman's Wharf- nay, the ribs of Fillmore turning on spits! Throw in the Market street chili beans, red-hot, and french-fried potatoes of the Embarcadero wino night, and steamed clams from Sausalito across the bay, and that's ah-dream of San Francisco.  Add fog, hunger making, raw fog, and the throb of neons in the soft night, the clack of high heeled beauties, white doves in a Chinese grocery window.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Goodwill and the perfect Shirt (Insight from Gregorio Roth)

What is the perfect shirt? What makes something good and something trashy?

I went to Good will today to find the answer to these questions:

Americans, I mean you and me, (yes I am just as bad as the next guy) love the new thing. We love to buy stuff that will exhibit our evolving personality. We love too be considered cool in our own evolving Face Book profile.   Our profiles are blown like a kit flown during a Tornado, no wonder we say are tired.  We go to great lengths to be unique in a world that wants us common; for more on this idea check out my Mom's Blog on the Blue Allium?

As I was saying before I rudely interrupted my own thoughts, I went to Good Will today to look for the perfect shirt. I went through 100 or more shirts in order to find two that would be bonuses to my collection. I love the thrill of a good deal, $5.00 for a one of a kind shirt. We all love to search for something cool; (my brother loves to look through records to find the perfect album). 

 I looked through the Short Sleeve dress shirts.  And I found a University of Oregon replica jersey with the number 96 and tire treads on the sleeves.   Finding an Oregon replica jersey in Florida is something that makes me smile.   

BTW: Happy Birthday Mom I love you!!!!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jack Kerouac: First Road Warrior Book Pick

Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell Massachusetts in 1922.  He would change the face of modern America and the nature of writing.    This book is not really specific to one state, it is specific to all of America.  So I have decided to read a series of road warrior books alongside my state reading books.  The state specific writers describe their quite lives inside gated communities, while the road warriors go buzzing by on the interstate; the road warriors may stop by for a bite to eat, but their domain is the road and must set out again before the trap of quite living stills their flighted feet.

I am excited to finish the journey I began in high school almost twenty years ago, but never did finish.    

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Worst Song of All Time

Worst Song of all time has to be: Gene Simmons and Cher's Duet of When You Wish Upon a Star. It rates up there with terrible ideas, kind of like the time I put the vacuum in the sink thinking it could be used as a Wet Vac. Oh Well, I warned you, this is terrible. Did I say terrible, I mean terrible terrible terrible. Enjoy the audio torture treatment.

  • Gene Simmons and Cher – When You Wish Upon a Star


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Crayola and Semantic Mysticism

Crayola in 1999 changed the name of their Crayon "Indian Red", because of a misunderstanding in language.   Words have two meanings the literal one in the dictionary, and the connotative meaning found in the culture's use of a word.  

Parents were raving madly in a superior din when Johnny brought them a Crayon with the words, "Indian Red" printed on the red crayon.  

"How dare they print this racist term on my child's crayons." they roared in protest.

Crayola seemed to be residents from a bygone era.

But in fact Indian red was a term for a type of red found in India.

This incident proved that words do in fact have power, a sort of semantic mysticism.

Monday, June 21, 2010

On the Craft of Writing: Notes from Winesburg, Ohio

 I don't really have the money to get an MFA in writing.  But I know one way to improve my writing, read great authors, and those that influenced great writers.   Sherwood Anderson influenced Henry Miller, and now I know why! I have taken some writing notes on Sherwood's techniques that I hope you will find helpful.    I am not looking for a formula, but understanding the frame of the craft allows the writer to express his/her thoughts well.   

In order to understand (the man or woman) we need to go back to an earlier (period/day/era)
Root the Character to the American Spirit: By the standards of the day
True to the traditions
"He was a man born out of his time and place and for this he suffered and made others suffer." 
Everyone retired into the background.
He could master others but he could not master himself. 
Show desires, what moves the person, motivations
did not intend (Specific Evil) Show that the man is acting naturally and that naturally this is what comes about.
How does the Character see the times?
When you take the character to the wall pan out and give a panorama of the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age.
Describe the setting of the Character.
Show motivations through a glimpse into private prayers said with the doors closed, and the lights turned low! One can also do this by revealing the words said in a conversation, words twittered, emails, letters etc.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Satire Defined

"Satire is a sort of glass wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own, which is the chief reason for that kind of reception it meets in the world, and that so very few are offended with it."  Swift

The satirist is thus a kind of self appointed guardian of standards, ideals, and truth; of moral as well as aesthetic values.   Satire is a kind of protest.  

Ronald Knox likened the satirist to a small boy who goes about with a water pistol charged with vitriol.  He also suggest that the satirist is a kind of spiritual therapist whose function is to destroy the root causes of the major diseases of the spirit, like hypocrisy, pride, and greed.   

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Poetry Slam America

Inspire your muse through this first episode of Brave New Voices. Young poets who are brave enough to write their truth, sometimes brutally, in poetry competitions. I found this when I was looking up writers from Guam. If anyone has a good Guam writer let me know so that I can add them to my list of 50+ Writers of the United States of America (and its territories).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Eric El Camion Hates Imperial Bedrooms by Brett Easton Ellis

Imperial Bedrooms

(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780307266101, 192pp.)

Publication Date: June 15, 2010
Categories: Literary

Eric El Camino has hated me for loving Brett Easton Ellis novels. His feelings were a flame of burning desire. His rage burned like a bonfire set by an eddy on the beach.   He would put a chock hold on me and hang me in my locker, because he was the authority on what was good literature.  He was only thirteen but he knew better than all the other kids, and he was willing to use violence to prove it.

I consider Brett Easton Ellis one of the best writers of all time. He is one of my guilty pleasures.  There was a time when his books, even American Psycho, shaped how I interpreted the times I was part of. Ellis books are always dark, but inside that dark is a flickering light that gives hope, a promise of future glory. They are a true reinterpretation of the American Dream. Something happened to the American Dream between 1997 and 2010 (tragedy at Columbine, the twin Towers, space shuttles exploding on a return flight, the dot boom fiasco, the BP Oil Spill) taking the alluring world of Ellis and twisting it into a knot. An unyielding knot holding hope and joy locked into an affair with disillusion.

Today, I listened to the album that coincides with Ellis's new novel Imperial Bedrooms and think,

"Wow, I can't wait to read his new novel!"

I also think I will download the soundtrack and raise a toast to my innocence.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Long Hot Summer (1956) Review

Faulkner books at times are very difficult to understand; but they are books worth the effort. The books stay with you and shape your understanding of people like ghosts from a haunted time. His books carry the hot muggy atmosphere of the South; at least the south in my imagination.

Ben Quick arrives in Frenchman's Bend, Mississippi after being kicked out of another town for allegedly burning a barn for revenge. Quick is all the gossip! So he sets out towards anywhere but here and finds himself picked up in Frenchmen's Bend a quite hamlet in Mississippi, and finds himself helped out by the Varner Clan.

The Varner family owns everything in Frenchman's Bend. Will Varner the patriarch wants a heritage left for him. He spots potential in Ben Quick. He hires Ben to work in his store. Will thinks his daughter, Clara, a schoolteacher, will never get married. He decides that Ben Quick might make a good husband for Clara to bring some new blood into the family and Frenchmen's Bend.

The Long Hot Summer is a delight. The movie is  a smooth adaptation of six of Faulkner's stories (including the  Hamlet)by Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr. Scenery  (directed by Joseph LaShelle) is true to the earthy, muggy Southern latitudes.

 Summer time and the living is easy; the banter between Paul Newman and his future wife Joanne Woodward is genuine and a beauty to watch. They match wits like good old sparring partners. 
ORson Welles provides a strong center to the dramatic action.   He is the glue that holds this piece together.  

The music score by Alex North adds a great depth to the dramatic  action.   North conducted other great scores for movies such as, Wise Blood, Spartacus, and the Rose Tattoo.  

One weakness in the movie is that the Southern accents betray the Northern Actors. Too bad they didn't get Southern Boys and girls to play the parts, it would have been better. The girls will love the scenes where Paul Newman does not wear a shirt.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Write Write Write Everyday!

Do you ever think there is just nothing to write about. 
I wish I could write every day? 
But Where, what, how do I generate ideas:

  1. Write Reviews of Books you Finish
  2. Write Reviews of Movies you Finish
  3. Use your memories
  4. Read the newspaper especially the editorials.
  5. Write reviews of favorite places you want others to find out about.

  6. Write write write

    everyday no matter what. No excuses! Just do it! Don't worry about being crappy because what matters is that you write. Don't get self conscious about your writing 

    just do it. 

    Write Write Write Everyday.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Thomas Hart Benton An American Original

(Kansas City)  I recall enjoying the brisk September air, and that flap jacks were sitting heavy in my stomach.  I had just eaten at a local greasy spoon.  I was enamored with all of the big pretty white suburban houses.   Then, I chanced upon the former residence of Thomas Hart Benton.   I had no idea who he was.  I decided to go and visit and find out!   I am glad I did.  His studio was left just as if he had gone out for an errand, downtown.  Coffee cans held paintbrushes.  His studio was a  place where work had been done, not necessarily orderly and clean. A place reserved for creative expression.  Thomas Hart Benton embodied the Western Landscape just like the buffalo did long ago.

 Thomas Hart Benton
on the model for Susana: 
"that delightful hillbilly girl (a true Ozark product gone wrong) who became the model for "Susannah" - My boy- what a skin what a blood pulsing skin - just enough yellow in the belly to make the tits look pink - we don't find models like that anymore."
on his art 
"We were different in our temperaments and many of our ideas, be we were alike in that we were all in revolt against the unhappy effects which the Armory Show of 1913 had had on American painting.  We objected to the new Parisian aesthetics which was more and more turning art away from the living world of active men and women into an academic world of empty patterns."

Simpson Marc, Sally Mills and Jennifer Saville The American Canvas Paintings from the Collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1989), 218.

Friday, June 11, 2010

To the West-Side: Hole N" the Wall Utah

Driving down Highway 191 towards Moab, past Bluff, past Blanding, past Monticello lies an incredible piece of Americana.  The place is as american as Apple Pie Ala Mode and Fried Squirrel.

Your so close to Moab Utah (your final destination) that you might say, "Honey lets keep going." And saying this would be a mistake.  You would pass by an Americana Art Piece.  An art piece that shows the wit and heart of America,  the place is the former home of Albert and Gladys Christensen.

Albert and Gladys were determined to make the most of being settlers in an out-of-the-way- type of place. Albert desired to create a Sand Stone Palace for Gladys. Scrapping out the Sand stone mountainside, patiently he made a home.He painted the Sermon on the Mount above his abode and carved out a tribute to F.D.R.. He worked so patiently that before it was finished Albert died (1957).   Gladys loved Albert with a devotion, and carried the passion forward until she died in 1974.

Its off the map! But hey why not stop by and see what this Hole N the Rock really is.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

An Army of Ordinary People: Felicity Dale

a full five course 

dinning experience

Felicity Dale offered small nuggets of evangelism opportunities in a fragmented world. Each bite was rich and encouraging to the renewal of the Church today. "When ever we get together, everyone brings a contribution, and the Holy Spirit takes what each person supplies and makes it into a meal to nourish us spiritually." (Pg 191) Mrs. Dale shows the importance of each person to the whole of the church. (1 Corinthians 12) She shows how each of us is responsible to faithfully fulfill the great commission stated in Matthew 28:16-20. She does not shy away from the struggles we may face in order to bring the gospel to all believers. Her honest portrayal in the book is refreshing. The book was segmented into various topics. Each chapter had a theme and a summary at the back of each selection. Because the book had a number of broken components it did not capture momentum to get me to read the book quickly, frankly the book's flow just never grabbed me.

 One Concern:  Mrs. Dale puts the believer at the center of the book, so we must use great care to pray that Christ is the center of our theology and evangelism.  The book was a slow dining experience; a full five course meal. I would use this book as a reference guide to innovative church growth.
 A slight Cluck! 7.5/10

I received this book free from Tyndale Publishers as part of their [...] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."  

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Billy Graham His Life and Influence by David Aikman

A panoramic view point of Christianity today:

"Billy Graham His Life and Influence" is a book that centers the history of Christian Evangelicalism since 1949. The book provides a panoramic view point of Christianity today.

The book also shares with the reader what it means to be a Christian Man. A man who loves freely and passionately; George W. Bush said about Billy Graham, "He didn't make you feel guilty, he made you feel loved." (249)

Themes that are covered in this book are:

  1. Christianity and Culture
  2. Mainstream Evangelicalism since 1949.
  3. Orthodoxy vs. Orthopraxy
  4. Media's Coverage of American Evangelicals.
  5. How seminaries have dealt with the questions of the 20th and 21st century.
  6. How did Denominations interact with each other during this time period?
  7. How do men of God interact with people of power (especially presidents)?
The book does what Rick the Librarian stated good biographies should do: (1. Discover Fascinating people) (2.Rediscover people we think we know well) (3. Portray a hero dynamically, warts and all) (4. Learn how history was influenced by the life of the individual) (6. to celebrate ones culture through a deeper look). David Aikman succeeds in all 5 areas. One thing that was disappointing was the lack of pictures to go along with the narrative.

Cluck It Real Good
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their [...] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."  

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

50 States of Reading: Washington State-Sherman Alexie

 This month Washington State.  

 reads are: Ten Little Indians and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian A Novel, both books are written by Sherman Alexie... 

Note from Human Resources, one should update their Read Across the United States Map:  Sherman Alexie  is from the state of Washington.  One should color in the state of Washington.   

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nostalgia’s Thread Ten Poems on Norman Rockwell Paintings

a compacted punch,

 of literary power 

We yearn for a return to Eden; we yearn to return to commune with the untarnished world, a world that lacks pain, ugliness, and evil.  Nostalgia's Thread by Randall R. Freisinger takes another look at the perfect world illustrated in Norman Rockwell's paintings. Freisinger constructs words that eloquently juxtapose the imperfect world we live in to the perfect 1950's portrayed by Norman Rockwell. 

 He speaks to the desire to be 

"young again, and clean
of conscience, returned to the embrace
of a loving family that never truly existed
and which you mostly now visit
only in fading photos or rote prayers
at church when the liturgy's script
cues you in time for the dying to remember
the dead. You want to recall the vanished home
of childhood without the collateral damage of wrath
and uneasy laughter." (Page 24-25)

Freisinger's thoughtful poems are an invitation to remember our childhood dreams of a more perfect place. We once thought that life could be endemic. We are now older and have hung up those childhood dreams in our walk in closets; and yearn for prelapsarian dreams. Freisinger is a master of creating images by selecting pertinent words: "postman's pouch heavy with grief." Freisinger's book is small, but is a compacted punch, of literary power that knocks the reader out. 

 A definite Cluck, Cluck, Cluck.

  Nastalgia's Thread: Ten Poems on Norman Rockwell's Paintings

Randall R. Freisinger
U.S. $12.95
ISBN: 9781936102037
Genre: Poetry (Secular)

Note from Human Resources, one should update their Read Across the United States Map:  Randall R. Freisinger is from Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  One should color in the upper peninsula of Michigan as soon as possible.    


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Provos Activated Beyond the Human Line

"In Provo#12 the magazine was described as:

“a monthly sheet for anarchists, provos, beatniks, pleiners, scissors-grinders, jailbirds, simple simon stylites, magicians, pacifists, potato-chip chaps, charlatans, philosophers, germ-carriers, grand masters of the queen’s horse, happeners, vegetarians, syndicalists, santy clauses, kindergarten teachers, agitators, pyromaniacs, assistant assistants, scratchers and syphilitics, secret police, and other riff-raff. Provo has something against capitalism, communism, fascism, bureaucracy, militarism, professionalism, dogmatism, and authoritarianism. Provo has to choose between desperate, resistance and submissive extinction. Provo calls for resistance wherever possible. Provo realises that it will lose in the end, but it cannot pass up the chance to make at least one more heartfelt attempt to provoke society. Provo regards anarchy as the inspirational source of resistance. Provo wants to revive anarchy and teach it to the young. Provo is an image.” "

Provos Original article came from here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Discord and Harmony: On Postmodern and Hegelian Thought

Yesterday's junk is today's cool.

"Uncool" become the "New Cool" because the Nerd/Geek/Fool/Punk studies the culture, juggles the culture into their unique lives, tosses it into their behavior and re-arranges what is hip into the artful Modern New Cool.  Hegel sees this as his triad of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.  We have a truth (what a culture considers cool) balanced by the opposite of that truth (what the rebels and reformers consider cool and the majority would consider uncool), synthesized into the new meaning of NEW COOL.  A good example of this would be Japanese Fashion.  Time progresses out of a synthesis between two extremes continually synthesizing into something fresher/newer.  Yesterday's junk is today's cool.
-Gregorio Roth

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Billy Graham: His Life and Influence-Why Read Biographies?

Rick the Librarian Posted this on June 23, 2009... AS for reasons to read Biography.  

Currently I am reading Billy Graham His Life and Influence by David Aikman

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reasons to Read Biography

In the June 2009 issue of Booklist, David Wright states that he can think of only two good reasons to read biography. He thinks it is a good way (1) to learn history and (2) to "get the dirt." He enjoys exposés and confessional memoirs that reveal inner demons. In the same issue, Kaite Mediatore claims that she enjoys reading about "dames," which she describes as strong, good-humored women worth admiration. Both David and Kaite review five books, some of which are old and rare.

Since they have opened the conversation, it seems a good time to bring out my list of reasons to read biography.

Reason 1: To discover fascinating people. 

Harry Harlow is one such person. He was an enthusiastic experimental psychologist at the University of Wisconsin in the 1950s, when he discovered how important parental care was to the development of young monkeys. He became a proponent of love featured on CBS Television news. Ironically, he ignored his own wife and children. Deborah Blum examines the life of a contradictory character in Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection.

Reason 2: To rediscover people we think we know well. 

In our mental processing of everything that we have learned about historical figures, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, we sometimes reduce them to a few facts, such as "general who became our first president" or "president who freed the slaves." In doing this we forget what truly made them remarkable. Luckily for us, biographers recollect the stories and present them fresh and new. Consider John Adams. Many people considered him pretty old and dry before David McCullough wrote his intimate biography, simply called John Adams.

Reason 3: To reassess infamous characters. 

Margaret Sanger was a nurse who saw tremendous suffering in the slums of New York City in the early twentieth century. She began a crusade for birth control, which included the distribution of honest and frank information about sex. For this she was condemned by many religious, political, and law enforcement officials. Ellen Chesler recounts the life and times of a woman ahead of her times in Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America.

Reason 4: To get the story behind legendary characters.

There really was a Queen Boudica who tried to expel the Romans from Britain, but she was not the mass murderer that some legends suggest. Vanessa Collingridge uses archeological evidence to redraw the queen's image in Boudica: The Life of Britain's Legendary Warrior Queen.

Reason 5: To get the dirt. (A nod to David)

Sir Thomas Malory is often credited with establishing the tradition of knightly chivalry. According to Christina Hardyman, he was really a rapist, murderer, and thief. She makes her case in Malory: The Knight Who Became King Arthur's Chronicler.

Reason 6: To find a hero, warts and all. (A nod to Kaite)

Ethiopian widow Haregewoin Teffera did not want to foster an AIDS orphan, but her priest insisted. Once she cleaned the girl, she fell in love and began working for all her country's orphans. Melissa Fay Green describes Teffera's life and work in There Is No Me Without You: One Women's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children.

Reason 7: To learn history through the life of an individual.

When the heads of her friends began to fall in Paris, Marie Tussaud was there to catch them and cast them in wax. Kate Berridge recounts how a survivor of the French Revolution became a entertainment pioneer and a very rich woman in Madame Tussaud: A Life in Wax.

Reason 8: To experience adventure from the safety of one's armchair.

Despite the dangers of travel over the Andes Mountains and on the Amazon River in the eighteenth century, Isabelle Godin des Odonais set forth to cross the South American continent to rescue her husband. Robert Whitaker tells an excite tale in The Mapmaker's Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon.

Reason 9: To celebrate one's culture.

Why did the life of an entertainer mean so much to his many fans? Novelist Bobbie Ann Mason explains in her compact biography Elvis Presley.

Reason 10: To enjoy a good book.

Take any of the nine titles from above and insert here.

Ten seems a nice number at which to stop. You might write some more reasons of your own after reading a few good biographies.

My book Real Lives Revealed: A Guide to Reading Interests in Biography publishes next week. It includes reviews of all of these titles, plus 591 more.

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