Sunday, August 08, 2004

i go up and down these stairs twenty or thirty times a day... sometimes i notice the picture on the landing but usually i ignore it... because it is ugly in a bland kind of way... because i don't understand why it is there... who found it... bought it... and put it there... as a good, necessary or fitting image for this stairway in this house... it seems to me to be none of those things...

when... and why...

nobody around here remembers... some blame a guy many years back who was an artist... he "left"... to marry... many years ago... could this be his work... no... this is not an original... it's a mass-produced print on some kind of hard board... maybe masonite...

this has been and is a house of men... roman catholic male religious... carmelites... we are not famous for our aesthetic sensibilities... on the whole, our house is beige... just beige... and i fear this may also be the color of our spirit... vivid colors we seem not to be... rich subtle various... nope... just beige... please... but there may be some advantage to this kind of sensory deprivation... i suppose... it probably explains my obsessing over the tiniest bits of garden color... blowing them up real big and all...

but this picture... some 60's version of the muse... a feministic take on picasso's man with a blue guitar... woman with a blue banjo... or maybe the guy who bought it just thought she was pretty... anima for the animus... as he trudges down and off to school each day... we'll never know...

dominic doesn't want to take it down because it will expose a mark on the wall... the ugly frame's outline... i want to take it down... a blank dirty wall would be better for now... this picture needs to go away... what could take its place...
posted at 1:16 PM


Saturday, August 07, 2004

The Incredulity of St Thomas by RUBENS, Pieter Pauwel
posted at 10:25 PM

District 202 - Niehus Award
The Plainfield School District Foundation for Excellence is pleased to announce that Mr. John C. Murphy, Science Chair at Plainfield High School Central Campus, is the 2004 WALTER G. and JUANITA F. NIEHUS AWARD recipient.

not quite sure what this award is... or is worth... (if only these folks would learn to finish their press releases)... but i'm happy to see my brother has won it... way to go, dude... (thanks mt for the announcement.. i think we all missed it back in may)
posted at 7:09 PM

The New York Times > A Comic-Book Response to 9/11 and Its Aftermath
Next month Pantheon is releasing 'In the Shadow of No Towers,' Art Spiegelman's artistic response to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as an expression of his deep opposition to the war in Iraq... an interview with spiegelman...

(yes... you probably have to to register for the nyt stuff... but why would you not want to... for access to the paper of record?)
posted at 2:47 PM

looking at that abebooks listing... i'm wondering why anne waldman's copy and why nicholas delbanco's copy are up for sale... why... if i were anne or nicholas and had been given a signed copy of this book by john ashbery... with love or fondness... why would i let it slip off to some used book shop? some sadness there...
posted at 10:26 AM

Ashbery. Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. I wish I had this edition; it would be worth a lot of money.
this comment from j mayhew at Bemsha Swing remembering the books of his youth... sent me to my shelf... and then to where i find he's correct... if this is a first edition (it's not stated)... if this is a first printing of the first edition... and it's in pretty/really good condition... it's worth upwards of a hundred bucks... not a bad return on an initial investment of 5.95... but i'm thinking that 5.95 back in 1975 was just about equal to a hundred... for me... and what have the poems been worth ever since...
posted at 10:21 AM


Friday, August 06, 2004

Rekindling the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we pledge to do everything in our power during the coming year to ensure that the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings will see a budding of hope for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. We humbly offer this pledge for the peaceful repose of all atomic bomb victims.
posted at 7:18 PM

read this really good article on Wendell Berry...

While keeping himself put, Berry has constructed a politics that has changed little over his 45-year literary career, yet remains iconoclastic. In the 1970s, he made new-guard environmentalism look aged by marrying it with traditional agrarian sentiment. Then he made 'conservatives' look like reckless futurists by pointing to the threat that unchecked market growth and technological expansion pose to both community values and ecological well-being. In a nation ostensibly locked into a well-defined political divide, he represents an American voice that avoids easy classification.
posted at 6:57 PM

watched a good chunk of a documentary on jacques derrida just now... on the sundance channel... funny... i don't think of people like him as being alive in bodies with bright grey hair and a pretty good tan... in response to a question he said he'd like to hear hegel or heidegger talk about their sex lives... their loves... wondered why they wrote in such an asexual manner... wouldn't talk about his own just then... so directly... but says he does in his work...
posted at 2:00 PM

on the walk this morning for no reason that i can remember i tried to name the author of To Kill a Mockingbird... and could not... i visualized the cover and saw every tiny detail... could feel it in my hand... but not her name... i ran through a mental list of every southern female writer i knew... i thought about truman capote as dill and her work with him on In Cold Blood... i remembered that they called her "Nell"... nothing... i reconstructed the voice-over from the film and remembered once thinking it was her voice but now believe it was an actress... i finally turned to my walking companion... who teaches freshman religion and never reads books... and asked him... with predictable results... finally rushed back up here and found it on my shelf... there on my shelf but hiding in my from my brain... harper lee...
posted at 1:55 PM

Niagara Heritage Partnership
The Niagara Heritage Partnership is a group of concerned citizens who advocate the preservation and restoration of the region's natural environment and encourage socially responsible development. Currently, the Partnership is advocating the removal of the 6.5-mile section of the Robert Moses Parkway which runs along the Niagara Gorge from Niagara Falls, New York to Lewiston, New York, and restoring the natural environment (indigenous trees, grasslands, wildflowers) and creating a hiking and biking path. 
posted at 10:09 AM


Thursday, August 05, 2004

from Wendell Berry's "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front"

So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

go read it all... here
posted at 8:52 PM

I decided to stop hating the president
posted at 10:52 AM

a card-carrying member of the party of life
posted at 10:18 AM

springsteen in the times...
Through my work, I've always tried to ask hard questions. Why is it that the wealthiest nation in the world finds it so hard to keep its promise and faith with its weakest citizens? Why do we continue to find it so difficult to see beyond the veil of race? How do we conduct ourselves during difficult times without killing the things we hold dear? Why does the fulfillment of our promise as a people always seem to be just within grasp yet forever out of reach?
posted at 10:12 AM

rest in peace... henri cartier-bresson... (via the ever-exquisite wood s lot)
posted at 10:04 AM

Mr. Wendell Berry is 70 Today

Wendell Erdman Berry (born in Henry County, Kentucky on 5 August 1934), a farmer and writer, has published over forty volumes of essays, poetry and fiction. To a large degree his work grows from a neo-agrarian critique of American culture and agriculture which not only elegizes past and fading agricultural practices but argues for the renewal of local cultures, agricultures, and communities through a careful attention to the nature and needs of that particular place.

from "Healing" in What Are People For?

The teachings of unsuspected teachers belong to the task, and are its hope.

The love and the work of friends and lovers belong to the task, and are its health.

Rest and rejoicing belong to the task, and are its grace.

Let tomorrow come tomorrow. Not by your will is the house carried through the night.

Order is the only possibility of rest.

posted at 9:53 AM

Guardian Unlimited Books | Pinter awarded Wilfred Owen prize for poetry opposing Iraq conflict
posted at 9:42 AM


Wednesday, August 04, 2004

which reminds me that this is a wonderful site... and not just because it links to my two papers on William James...
posted at 8:23 PM

Affirmations for Professors
Today I will permit no talking during class discussion. (via

Full Transcript of Bill Moyers' Speech at Pentecost 2004, Sojourners Magazine/August 2004
I trace my own spiritual lineage back to a radical Baptist in England named Thomas Helwys who believed that God, and not the King, was Lord of conscience. In 1612 Roman Catholics were the embattled target of the Crown and Thomas Helwys, the Baptist, came to their defense with the first tract in English demanding full religious liberty. - How Dylan changed my life

ENN News Story - Annual 'dead zone' spreads across Gulf of Mexico
In the last 30 years, the dead zone has become an annual summer phenomenon, fed by rising use of nitrate-based fertilizers by farmers in the Mississippi watershed... The nitrates, carried into the gulf's warm summer waters by the river, feed algae blooms that use up oxygen and make the water uninhabitable.

took the car in for this turn-signal recall and thought i'd mention the squeaky brakes... and the a/c fan that only blows on 3 but not on 1 or 2... and the plastic cover that always pops off when the passenger kicks it... and...

well i spent the morning in the dealer's waiting room... reading terry eagleton's crystal-clear Literary Theory... trying to block out the really obnoxious waiting room tv with regis and whatshername (funny how much less obtrusive was the andy griffith show)... trying to block out the big loud hoover vacuum salesman on cell-phone... reading eagleton on husserl heidegger hirsch gadamer iser... and getting it... mostly more than before... all while... effortlessly... spending about 700 bucks...

then bouncing back here remembering that i'd forgotten to mention how the gas pedal squeaks on acceleration... but we'll save it for another day... and getting back here to find that has been down for who knows how long... but now it's back i hope... this has been a rough week for my friendly neighborhood web host... i'll be patient... but must admit i've started shopping for some new otherwhere... the cons outweigh the pros... for now


Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Book of the Week: Rediscovering 'Husbandry' - Christianity Today Magazine

Donahue takes us back to a people who, in making their lives dependent on the land they could daily touch and see, became caretakers of it, and so achieved an earthy prosperity that endured for almost two centuries.

lumbago salad day zen



Monday, August 02, 2004

The NCTE Committee on Public Doublespeak is now seeking nominations for this year's Doublespeak Award, which is given to a glaring example of deceptive language by a public spokesperson.

Dana Gioia, preface to "Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America"

Reading is not a timeless, universal capability. Advanced literacy is a specific intellectual skill and social habit that depends on a great many educational, cultural, and economic factors. As more Americans lose this capability, our nation becomes less informed, active, and independent-minded. These are not qualities that a free, innovative, or productive society can afford to lose.


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