Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Billie Jean



Just saw another blogger post this and I had to steal the idea; what an incredible rendition. Chris Cornell is a genius, but I have to admit Cook sang it better. NOT that the gravelly, tortured and smoked voice of Chris Cornell is anything to scoff at or to offer up comparisons to necessarily, just that Cook made it more rock n' roll and pop, not so grungy and edgy.

What an inspirational quote...

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO HOO, What a Ride!'" --Anonymous

Calling AI this early...

Yes, I admit it. I am an American Idol fan...not a fanatic, though. There are a few on here who I would like to see or would anticipate seeing in the end, but I have to go with the top three.
I have to say Danny Gokey is pretty good, but I think this year the final two will be Allison Iruheta and Adam Lambert. Which makes Danny number 3, or the Syesha of this season--someone who could have easily won had it not been for the other two in the competition. Sorry to the others.

Favorite Poem

Though I'm sure I will reference this again and again and will probably find myself posting it on multiple occasions, here it is in its full glory for the first time. Thank you, Bob Hicok. Thank you.

Founder's day
I introduced John Adams to the Pacific
and likewise I am sure. The book
by McCullough, not the book
by Chinard. Carried it
in December from Michigan
where it's cold to California
where it's not Michigan. America
did not include Point Lobos
when he was alive. America
included horses and bloodletting
and Jefferson, who died
with Adams on the same Fourth of July.
The Pacific is wide and deep
and Adams was wide and deep,
was fat and obstinate
and wrote tender letters to his wife.
Not the letters but the words
were tender, not the words
but their meaning, which was always
that he missed her, always that he wanted
nothing more than home in her arms. So I
have made him travel again,
as with Holland, as with France,
years out of country but never
out of hope. Brought him to hear
the calliope of seals, to smell cypress
and salt where the world's cracked open,
is not ashamed to reveal its faults.
And raised there the book
with his face on the cover—
powdered hair and pink cheeks, a chin
hiding behind other chins—
to be kissed by an ocean
he never saw from this, the prow
of the ship he dreamed.


Bob Hicok, from The Southern Review

Wow.

A new way to fly...

A Jet Blue employee was stuck in the cargo hold of a flight as it took off from JFK international and remained trapped there until the plane landed in Boston. Read all about it below. I suppose it's good that it wasn't a transatlantic flight..or one of the ridiculously long flights to Hawaii or Australia (Read: 18-20 hours).

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/31/the_flight_was_free_but_the_ride_was_rough/

Keep Tryin' for the Ivy League, Kids!

In a recent report, the top Ivy League schools across the country stated they have had dramatic increases in the amount of students applying for the very few open positions they will offer for the 2009-2010 year. Likewise, smaller, more expensive colleges reported a drop in their numbers of applications while larger, state schools (traditionally less expensive) have seen huge increases in the amount of applications for their positions and a lot of them have considered opening up additional classes, boosting class sizes, and opening their doors to many more commuter residents, even on a one-year trial basis in order to give more students their necessary college education.

The bottom line: Don't give up on the Ivy League, and that community college or state college close to home that you'd like to commute to while saving more money because you're living at your parents might be a better idea today than it was just a few years ago. Nowadays, the college that you graduate from means a lot less than it did just a decade ago: community colleges are well-respected, same goes for online colleges (U. of Phoenix, Kaplan, etc.), and state colleges. And if you do happen to get into the Ivy League, cherish your acceptance; there are many more students who applied for the position you're in. Each spot in Harvard is now a 1 in 18 shot, up from one in 17 last year. Doesn't sound too bad, right? Well, when you consider that close to 30,000 applicants aren't considered in this figure because their applications either don't meet the basic requirements or they applied as a 'joke' or 'on a whim' without merit, prior querying, etc.

Wow.

What a photo this is...



Had to share it; it's hilarious.

The Body Swap Illusion

So it seems Swedish researchers have figured out a way to make humans think they are mannequins. Check out the link below. By placing a mannequin in front of the test subjects and inserting virtual reality helmets over each of their heads, they were able to switch the input lines so it appeared each person was the mannequin. Sort of creepy, yes, but it looks like people came close to interpreting pain in their nerves when the mannequin was stabbed by a knife. What does this say about us as people--that more of our interpretation is from our senses or from our minds?

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/12/02/body-swap-illusion.html

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I sure did, lots of turkey and the like. I'm still ransacking through some leftovers today, though I suspect they'll be gone before long. T-minus 38 days until the residency begins and I still have classes to sign up for and plenty of poems to write (15 to be exact). Oh boy, I need to get to work...but then I see Man Vs. Wild is on, and though I've seen Bear cross the frozen Siberian stream more than five times previously, I find myself too compelled to turn away.

Do other poets and writers go through the same distractions and problems as me or does everyone have a firm grip on their reality as writers and forgo the television (especially repeated shows) in favor of discovering more about the world through writing?

I'm scared I lack the motivation to do this for a pseudo-career. Though I enjoy it, I wonder if I can seriously focus and be motivated forever or if I'm too immature (and forever?) for this sort of lifestyle...and responsibility. Because, as any 'good' poet will tell you, there's this nagging refusing in their minds to allow themselves to become "bad" poets.

Marilyn Nelson Reading

Marilyn Nelson, a terrific poet and Pushcart-winner, will be giving a reading tonight at ECSU, which I will be heading off to. I'm excited to speak to her and see if she can offer any tips on my writing seeing as how she taught at UConn for 25 years, was poet laureate of CT, and her writing displays the kind of introspection and intelligence that is conveyed only by someone with a firm grasp on their art. I'd like to strengthen mine tonight after I hear her speak. I'll be bringing a notebook, of course, to jot down the myriad ideas I'll get during her speech.

I also hear that I might be doing a little bit of judging in the poetry contest later that night, along with DDD and Ms. Nelson. Now that's intimidating. Do I deserve to be in such company and have I proven that I can really 'judge' something like this...with a limited number of trivial publications, I doubt I actually qualify, but it's experience and should inspire me, I hope.

Maybe it means that other people have faith in my abilities even when I am in doubt? Regardless I plan to use it to the best I can.

I've got to start writing and publishing more. I hope the Lesley program really inspires that in me and gets me creating some really good stuff.

More to come later.

PS...I read another few articles online today: One on Espn.com in particular, where "myriad" was used incorrectly again. Geez...when will the media (and the majority of the population) learn the correct usage of the word?

Great Photography Website

http://hershman.smugmug.com/Landscapeshttp://hershman.smugmug.com/gallery/6391557_9qBcf#404279438_9uuA4

I found some awesome photography...links are above, obviously. I'll save these for some inspiration when the nature-esque poems come out again. I wish that I had a digital camera to capture everything I've seen in the CT woods during those years by the Salmon River. I could have a HUGE collection of photographs by now...I'll save this site for later.

First Snow

It is beginning to smell more like Christmas each day.

I now see countless cars rolling past with trees strapped to their roofs, the first snowfall is coming tomorrow, and the nonalcoholic eggnog is now available (and on sale!) at Stop and Shop. It is absolutely delicious.

All that's missing is a nice gift in the form of an end to the recession.

Ho ho hope you're saving.

Sports excess during a recession

Not to say I am not a fan of the Red Sox pursuing Texeira and of the large contracts other players have been offered, but hearing the Yankees have offered a 7-year $160 million deal to CC Sabathia is just insane. Now they have a $250 million contract with A-Rod and a $160 million with CC...(and after this post was written, they signed Teixeira for a contract so unimaginably expensive I think words to describe it are more powerful than the number itself, especially during our current times of multi-billion dollar bailouts: excessive, ridiculous, exorbitant, asinine, extortionate, etc. etc....

I wonder, since we are in a recession of which has not diminished anything but in reality has actually escalated prices, what will it take for salaries to level out or come down?

What remains to be seen: If this upcoming MLB season comes with empty seats, higher food prices, and fewer and fewer attendees for even the most competitive and/or antagonistic teams, will we see calls for players to donate a portion of their salaries to keep their teams, stadiums and fans afloat in this down economy? Baseball during the Great Depression took a backseat, and that was when players made modest amounts (even less than some menial jobs), but now with sports stars earning amounts that require an exponent, I wonder what sort of concessions they will need to make.

Already we are seeing layoffs in staff for MLB and the NFL with the NBA looking into it immediately following the current season, so if staff is cut and salary caps are imposed, will some players be ousted from their jobs because of the more expensive stars who have renegotiated ridiculous contracts? Will this cause a 'tax' on these huge contracts, which are essentially the same as Wall Street bonuses, some may argue?

This is for an economics class to discuss, and I am an English teacher, but it's just some food for thought.

Did you know Alex Rodriguez earns more for one day's work (8 hours, which is usually spent doing things besides his job of playing baseball) than a family on welfare earns in three and a half months? That means in a 24 hour period, he earns as much as that family makes in 11 months and a 4 days (or about 1 year.)

How do we define 'casualty'?

Amazing new piece of reporting/memorial coming out of the Virginia Quarterly Review illustrates in startling fashion the overwhelming problems of PTSD on returning Iraq/Afghanistan War/Conflict veterans.

http://www.vqronline.org/articles/2008/fall/gibertson-noah-pierce/

Read the full article by Ashley Gilbertson above. It's a big long overall, but the story is profound, impacting and heartwrenching. It raises the question of how many, and as an underscore, how can our current powers and leaders pretend such a thing doesn't exist.

The word 'casualty' needs to be redefined in terms of governmental or legal standards, as the dictionary definition is much broader. And again, as a linguist, I completely support the adoption of a definition incorporating a wider breadth as this 'casualty' argument is a big problem.

I have many friends and family currently in different branches of the service, have had direct relatives in the conflicts of WWI and WWII, and know many others involved in Vietnam and Korea, but I find it disconcerting that the definition has not changed over the course of 100 years. We need to address this immediately and get help for many of our veterans whose problems are not so easily categorized or remedied.

Under current law, a broken leg is greater than (>) and receives more attention and medical care than suicidal tendencies caused by PTSD. That is concerning.

College at age 16--the norm?

Check out this: http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20081107/us_time/shouldkidsbeabletograduateafter10thgrade

An article from Time magazine I found from Yahoo's homepage: Consider it a step in the interesting direction (notice I did not say 'right' direction...I still believe you must be physically as well as mentally mature enough to handle the rigors of college and the total immersion, which is FAR different [can I emphasis that more?] than high school or "Your Hometown, U.S.A."


The proposal is for students in NH to leave school by age 16 and enter community college for a year or two and then head off to 4-year colleges for their final two years. The plan will indeed free up millions, possibly billions, of dollars in educational spending for the state, will increase community college enrollment to generate more state revenue, will keep dropout rates virtually non-existent, and promises to keep students at the same level as their peers in Europe and Asia who are consistently supposed to display the same sort of intelligence at age 16 as an American college junior...kind of shows our lacking education and our need for more funding.

I support this on the condition that college enrollment doesn't decrease, teachers will not be fired, but instead class sizes will diminish as a result and therefore grades will increase (a proven fact ignored by NCLB [No Child Left Behind]), and that the tests coincide with a broad scope of knowledge useful on both paper and life, instead of a grand knowledge of Algebra and Catcher in the Rye, let's say for example.

Also, if other state's begin to adopt it, I think it's a turn in the right direction. But if kids start dropping out before the test, or refuse to use their last two years, or don't go the comm. college-4-year college route, I think this will be another failed experiment. Kids HAVE to follow this path in order for it to work, and how many will, or will want to?

That remains to be seen.

New anti-aging pill discovered! No, this is not a pop-up ad...

A new anti-aging pill has been developed in mice that essentially makes them burn twice as many calories, display more positive attitudes and characteristics, and allows them to exercise for twice as long.

The drug has been approved for human testing almost immediately. With no known side effects, this drug may assist those who feel haggard and fatigued feel rejuvenated and could lead to breakthroughs in healths and exercise goals for the elderly and those in physical therapy resulting from accidents or cancer and other diseases.

While it's not the fountain of youth (of the pill of youth...), it does offer some hope that by finding drugs that can stimulate certain areas and receptors of the brain that we are quickly finding we can live healthier, happier lives. Surely we'll find some kind of negative side effects soon with it, or maybe we'll find it doesn't work as well in humans...

BUT this is very cool news.

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/11/07/anti-aging-pill.html

50 things you didn't know, but need to know about Barack Obama

Coming out of Britain, this was a fantastic entry that I found randomly one day when looking up a poem by Sydney..who would have thought it would lead to this? It was afterward picked up by CNN of course, which heavily promoted Obama before the election. I could not for the life of me find one for McCain though (in order to equally promote the candidates on my blog, which I try to make as impartial as possible, but not as impartial as National Public Radio, for example.) If for nothing else, this list should serve as a snicker and a short-lived reprieve from an otherwise very serious current world we live in nowadays.


• He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics
• He was known as "O'Bomber" at high school for his skill at basketball
• His name means "one who is blessed" in Swahili
• His favourite meal is wife Michelle's shrimp linguini
• He won a Grammy in 2006 for the audio version of his memoir, Dreams From My Father
• He is left-handed – the sixth post-war president to be left-handed
• He has read every Harry Potter book
• He owns a set of red boxing gloves autographed by Muhammad Ali
• He worked in a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop as a teenager and now can't stand ice cream
• His favourite snacks are chocolate-peanut protein bars
• He ate dog meat, snake meat, and roasted grasshopper while living in Indonesia
• He can speak Spanish
• While on the campaign trail he refused to watch CNN and had sports channels on instead
• His favourite drink is black forest berry iced tea
• He promised Michelle he would quit smoking before running for president – he didn't
• He kept a pet ape called Tata while in Indonesia
• He can bench press an impressive 200lbs
• He was known as Barry until university when he asked to be addressed by his full name
• His favourite book is Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
• He visited Wokingham, Berks, in 1996 for the stag party of his half-sister's fiancĂ©, but left when a stripper arrived
• His desk in his Senate office once belonged to Robert Kennedy
• He and Michelle made $4.2 million (£2.7 million) last year, with much coming from sales of his books
• His favourite films are Casablanca and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
• He carries a tiny Madonna and child statue and a bracelet belonging to a soldier in Iraq for good luck
• He applied to appear in a black pin-up calendar while at Harvard but was rejected by the all-female committee.
• His favourite music includes Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Bach and The Fugees
• He took Michelle to see the Spike Lee film Do The Right Thing on their first date
• He enjoys playing Scrabble and poker
• He doesn't drink coffee and rarely drinks alcohol
• He would have liked to have been an architect if he were not a politician
• As a teenager he took drugs including marijuana and cocaine
• His daughters' ambitions are to go to Yale before becoming an actress (Malia, 10) and to sing and dance (Sasha, 7)
• He hates the youth trend for trousers which sag beneath the backside
• He repaid his student loan only four years ago after signing his book deal
• His house in Chicago has four fire places
• Daughter Malia's godmother is Jesse Jackson's daughter Santita
• He says his worst habit is constantly checking his BlackBerry
• He uses an Apple Mac laptop
• He drives a Ford Escape Hybrid, having ditched his gas-guzzling Chrysler 300
• He wears $1,500 (£952) Hart Schaffner Marx suits
• He owns four identical pairs of black size 11 shoes
• He has his hair cut once a week by his Chicago barber, Zariff, who charges $21 (£13)
• His favourite fictional television programmes are Mash and The Wire
• He was given the code name "Renegade" by his Secret Service handlers
• He was nicknamed "Bar" by his late grandmother
• He plans to install a basketball court in the White House grounds
• His favourite artist is Pablo Picasso
• His speciality as a cook is chilli
• He has said many of his friends in Indonesia were "street urchins"
• He keeps on his desk a carving of a wooden hand holding an egg, a Kenyan symbol of the fragility of life
• His late father was a senior economist for the Kenyan government.


Certainly shines a light on the presidential candidate, one which we might not otherwise see. Really humanizes him, doesn't it? If anyone has one for McCain or for the little-known Sarah Palin, please reply or comment with a link to it. I'd love to post it.

Little Fockers

The story is being picked up again after no one's discussed it for more than a year: Universal has announced (again) the plans for Little Fockers, the next (NOT final, according to the reps..) installment of the "Meet..." franchise which has grossed nearly a billion worldwide while in theaters. Now sure, I admit that I am excited for this and it does sound like a very intriguing film (and I suppose it's just the next step, right?), but isn't there a larger question that remains begging to be addressed?

Wouldn't it be nice to put some of that money to work for the economy? Or better yet, why don't the huge production companies donate the money they would have spent on ridiculous movies like Saw 15 or Epic Movie VVII (get the joke?) for example, and throw some of that our way directly?

Maybe to our schools and towns in desperate need of funding? Or for the states battered by natural disasters and other unforeseen events that have left them devastated and poor.

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117960004.html?categoryid=13&cs=1

Hey, Mikey liked it after all!

Did Michaelangelo paint hidden messages into the frescos of the Sistine Chapel? One former guide and now author of a new bestselling book which makes the Da Vinci Code's claims of 'truth' look like a senior thesis, sure does think so.

He's an orthodox Jew who grew up Catholic, has given tours at the Vatican for the past decade or so and has a firm hold on Kabbalistic, Jewish, pagan and Christian symbology--sounds like a would-be Robert Langdon, minus the whole Harvard angle.

The article is below. I can't wait to get my hands on this book--especially since it's claims are more truthful (if not entirely truthful) and the Vatican affirms that 'most' of the content is 'arguable in the least,' or in other words "wow, Mikey might have gotten us!"500 years ago, mind you...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122661765227326251.html?mod=yhoofront

NOTE TO SELF: Could be made into another excellent journal topic.

Can I draw a spider for you to pay off my bills?

If you haven't read this yet, then get a load of this:
http://www.27bslash6.com/overdue.html

The truth behind it is that it is totally real in every way (the author did pay the bill, but wanted to have a bit of fun the collection's agent on the other end of the e-mail..and boy did he ever). Also, word indicates that the drawing of the spider was put up for bid on eBay and was purchased for a hefty $10,000, but there's no indication the person who purchased it will pay up..or if he does, it might be in pink elephants.

Say it ain't so, Houghton!

Disheartening news coming out of Houghton Mifflin today as the press officially announced they were suspending "acquisitions of new books until further notice."

So what?

Well, this means presses big and small are feeling the economic pinch and it could only be getting worse. How many small presses will be lost to this recession? Too many is the answer.

This move also demonstrates that one of the largest and oldest publishers isn't immune and must take drastic steps to stay afloat in an economy that is sinking, and among readers who are dwindling more every year. The fate of book sales is bleak, and authors and readers is sorely lacking in America today and we must do something immediately to reverse this.

Step 1: Educate.
Step 2: Make reading entertaining again and not a chore and many students feel it is.
Step 3: READ, WRITE, and demonstrate by example.
Step 4: Turn around and assist someone else (preferably a student or child) to do the same in hopes they will turn around and follow suit.)

Leaving for Disney World

Leaving for Disney World!!!

Upon my return in early November I'll be posting all the pictures up on the Facebook account and will drop a few of the best in here. I'm looking forward to getting some really good shots of the Halloween decorations that they have up all over the parks. It promises to be excellent.

Talk to everyone when I return,

Jeff

(NOTE: The pictures and entries were never posted online but will be soon, and will come to fruition as long essays to be reprinted [hopefully] elsewhere, as I polish and proofread them. It's going to be very exciting when everything is complete, uploaded and I can sit back and take it all back in in reflection.)

Scotch Tape Emits X-Rays?

Who wouldda thunk it?

NEW YORK – Just two weeks after a Nobel Prize highlighted theoretical work on subatomic particles, physicists are announcing a startling discovery about a much more familiar form of matter: Scotch tape. It turns out that if you peel the popular adhesive tape off its roll in a vacuum chamber, it emits X-rays. The researchers even made an X-ray image of one of their fingers.

Who knew? Actually, more than 50 years ago, some Russian scientists reported evidence of X-rays from peeling sticky tape off glass. But the new work demonstrates that you can get a lot of X-rays, a study co-author says.

"We were very surprised," said Juan Escobar. "The power you could get from just peeling tape was enormous." Escobar, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, reports the work with UCLA colleagues in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

He suggests that with some refinements, the process might be harnessed for making inexpensive X-ray machines for paramedics or for places where electricity is expensive or hard to get. After all, you could peel tape or do something similar in such machines with just human power, like cranking.

The researchers and UCLA have applied for a patent covering such devices.

In the new work, a machine peeled ordinary Scotch tape off a roll in a vacuum chamber at about 1.2 inches per second. Rapid pulses of X-rays, each about a billionth of a second long, emerged from very close to where the tape was coming off the roll.

That's where electrons jumped from the roll to the sticky underside of the tape that was being pulled away, a journey of about two-thousandths of an inch, Escobar said. When those electrons struck the sticky side they slowed down, and that slowing made them emit X-rays.

So is this a health hazard for unsuspecting tape-peelers?

Escobar noted that no X-rays are produced in the presence of air. You need to work in a vacuum — not exactly an everyday situation. "If you're going to peel tape in a vacuum, you should be extra careful," he said. But "I will continue to use Scotch tape during my daily life, and I think it's safe to do it in your office. No guarantees."

James Hevezi, who chairs the American College of Radiology's Commission on Medical Physics, said the notion of developing an X-ray machine from the new finding was "a very interesting idea, and I think it should be carried further in research."

Lesley MFA program

Extremely pumped for it. Have been chatting with the director, Steven Cramer, for quite some time about it and I've looked through all the odds and ends of it and it's going to be an exciting, extremely trying time for me both creatively and mentally. (Cramer is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop and believes in the work ethic, creative output and environment of the workshop without the cut-throat aggressive critiques which, he said, are still very prevalent there. He's going to work with me to ensure I will be writing a very healthy amount, moreso than almost all the other students.) I'll also get the opportunity to go through Harvard (yes, Hahvahd) for some of my instruction as some of the Lesley faculty are faculty there. I wonder if I could meet Jorie Graham or Seamus Heaney at some point? I hear they both still haunt Harvard Yard. (And Pinsky is nearby too, I'm sure...)

The adjusted page count per semester should look like this: 45 pages per instructor of new material, constant revised material, several book reviews/magazine articles, etc. (depending on the interdisciplary study I choose), at least two annotations per submission (4 or 5 per semester), basically critical or analytical papers that could very easily be turned into book reviews, and a 2-3 page self-analysis for each of the submissions per semester. Whew!

This is per semester. (5 semesters total, including the final one where I give a presentation on a chosen topic applied throughout poetry. My god, am I going to be writing a lot. Hopefully all the new writers there will be able to pump me up though. I cannot imagine how great it will be to have a readership and vice versa. I miss the days when I could see a poem before it's printed somewhere.

**Ever get the urge to edit someone's poem after you see it as part of an electronic magazine, on verse daily, a link, etc.? I do all the time...It's not healthy**

Negating History and/or Definitions?

As a linguist, English teacher and writer/editor, I have to comment on this recent story not with a political lens, but for the pure enjoyment of the negated technicalities and historical implications, meanings and readings of a word which has now become ubiquitous in this Presidential election (on BOTH sides, though one side utilizes it much more than the other.) Wouldn't it make a great morning essay?--respond to this current event news, with a lens for connotative vs. denotative word meanings, etc.


Excerpted from Sunday's New York Times

"There’s that word again: maverick. In Thursday’s vice-presidential debate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, the Republican candidate, used it to describe herself and her running mate, Senator John McCain, no fewer than six times, at one point calling him “the consummate maverick.”

But to those who know the history of the word, applying it to Mr. McCain is a bit of a stretch — and to one Texas family in particular it is even a bit offensive.

“I’m just enraged that McCain calls himself a maverick,” said Terrellita Maverick, 82, a San Antonio native who proudly carries the name of a family that has been known for its progressive politics since the 1600s, when an early ancestor in Boston got into trouble with the law over his agitation for the rights of indentured servants.

In the 1800s, Samuel Augustus Maverick went to Texas and became known for not branding his cattle. He was more interested in keeping track of the land he owned than the livestock on it, Ms. Maverick said; unbranded cattle, then, were called “Maverick’s.” The name came to mean anyone who didn’t bear another’s brand.

Sam Maverick’s grandson, Fontaine Maury Maverick, was a two-term congressman and a mayor of San Antonio who lost his mayoral re-election bid when conservatives labeled him a Communist. He served in the Roosevelt administration on the Smaller War Plants Corporation and is best known for another coinage. He came up with the term “gobbledygook” in frustration at the convoluted language of bureaucrats.

This Maverick’s son, Maury Jr., was a firebrand civil libertarian and lawyer who defended draft resisters, atheists and others scorned by society. He served in the Texas Legislature during the McCarthy era and wrote fiery columns for The San Antonio Express-News. His final column, published on Feb. 2, 2003, just after he died at 82, was an attack on the coming war in Iraq.

Terrellita Maverick, sister of Maury Jr., is a member emeritus of the board of the San Antonio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.

Considering the family’s long history of association with liberalism and progressive ideals, it should come as no surprise that Ms. Maverick insists that John McCain, who has voted so often with his Republican party and for conservative ideals, “is in no way a maverick, in uppercase or lowercase.”

“It’s just incredible — the nerve! — to suggest that he’s not part of that Republican herd. Every time we hear it, all my children and I and all my family shrink a little and say, ‘Oh, my God, he said it again.’ ”

“He’s a Republican,” she said. “He’s branded.”

End of excerpt.

Now, while this clearly demonstrates the origins and meanings of the word, it doesn't address the main concern with how some of our most noted (because of exposure in media, press, etc.) citizens, representatives, etc. can frequently utilize a word without knowing the true definition of the word. Certainly somehow had to have looked it up to ensure it was a safe word, without denotations to the opposite, or had changed over time? I think this is a great argument for stronger and more reformed education. (NOTE: I am not assuming, presuming, labeling or otherwise implying that any candidate or anyone associated with his running is uneducated or in need of more education.) We need people who are going to open a dictionary and say, "well, actually, the word looks like it once meant something associated with liberalism and anti-established government. Maybe we should look for a suitable alternative." Crisis, argument and ubiquitous keyword averted. Though, if this is impossible (as it very well might be), at least it is important to spread the definition of words around so that we don't have middle-class Americans saying, "what does maverick mean? Something that is better or doesn't go with the wrong decisions?" (Read Chicago Sun-Times article on this exact quote...)

I know others will argue, it's like the definition of 'weird' when it first became a regularly used word. Weird once meant something closer to coincidence and fate, whereas now it means something mysterious or out of the ordinary (strange). They will argue there is no need to know that if you are using it during a Presidential debate, and they are right. So perhaps this argument does go both ways. There's an argument to immediately stop using it since technically it's like putting a square peg into a round hole, but at the same time, the other side may argue this hole is flexible and can easily accept the square peg, thereby making it perfectly acceptable to apply the word. Hmm...a great topic for an essay.

Though, isn't it weird how a word's definition and connotations change over time? Dually important to know, though.

Boston man sues Bon Jovi, TBS and MLB for $400 Billion...

What? Yes. $400 billion. Not a typo.

A local guy from Chelsea, MA wrote a song entitled "(Man, I Really) Love This Team" in early 2004 about, of course, The Red Sox. He proceeded to hand out demo versions outside Fenway, to Red Sox executives, and sent the song out to countless local radio and TV stations, ultimately earning him and his song appearances on radio, television, sports websites (including the 180,000+ hit-per-day fenwaynation.com), and music websites. He also hand-delivered (to some members) demo and lyric sheets to at least 25 members of the Red Sox Organization--players, coaches, board members.

Now, he's come up with a quite lengthy (abbreviated version link pasted below) suit against Bon Jovi, TBS, MLB, FOX and Time Warner looking for damages, copyright infringements and 'mental anguish' in excess of $400 billion. Let me repeat that. $400 billion. What for? Bon Jovi's country-inspired song and lyrics that have been playing incessantly since October 2007. This includes all of The Jov's "Lost Highway" CDs, DVDs, live albums, concert-generated revenues, merchandise, and much much more....

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=139960014&blogID=439693654

Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/chelseacitycouncil

When I Was M.I.A.(B). to the MAX

Have not posted, nor written in a very long time. I also see that mysteriously my former blog has been deleted and I doubt half the people who once read my up until the move are still here...I think I'll begin an experiment to see who's able to find me under the new name...Disney World in 4 days...Psyched can't begin to describe it.No recent poetry or fiction acceptances, though I'm sure that's to be expected since I haven't sent out since late May/early June. Still waiting on some big ones though: Ploughshares (206 days), Newport Review, Saint Ann's Review, etc...I'll assume no news is good news for now though.

Big news on the same front that I've not yet been able to blog about: accepted into Lesley University's MFA program! Really exciting time for me. I may now finally have a readership to speak of for the first time; I'm hoping this will continue the creative juices flowing as after 4 years I'm beginning to feel too Dickinson-esque as my four longtime readers have dwindled or disappeared (where are you, C?) to one who is overwhelmed with teaching, a new baby on the way (congratulations!), applying for tenure, etc...needless to say, I've not sent anything out to anyone--contest, magazine, or readership in almost 4 months. That sounds pretty hermitlike to me, in reading it over.

Note to self: reverse this immediately.I promise I'll make up for all the missed blog time with an overload over the next few days until the trip commences, and then plenty afterwards...There's a ton going on..including the presidential race which is heating heating heating heating.

George Carlin

From here-on begins the reposting of many many many older entries spread across the internet, on many physical pieces of paper, and in Word.

George Carlin passed away unexpectedly yesterday and I am saddened upon hearing the news this morning. It comes as a surprise and as an eerie occurance since recently I have been working diligently on a new poem epigraphed by one of his famous quotes. Very eerie indeed. (Ah...assonance...)

In other news: Some British guy declared Forvik, a 3-acre island off the Scottish coast, a soverign nation, citing a 16th century document which handed it over to England as part of a dowry. Awesome! He invited anyone from any nation who is interested in becoming a citizen to join. Takers?

The Oak Bend Review is now officially up: my work is on the very bottom of the poetry page because of the W..again.
http://www.oakbendreview.com/poetrypage.htm

The Beginning

As I recreate online what has already been written in Microsoft Word and in my countless legal pads, I come to the realization that this is the beginning of something great. No, not something totally cool, but yes, something awesome, in the 'awe' sense of the word. I am not creating something I think will be really fun to show my friends or to find in a search engine months from now; I am creating something to map out where I have been, what I have questioned, and where my life has gone. In a sense, I am my own great American novel...I have been born into an ever-changing world, experienced the once-in-a-lifetime events that shape each person, and can reflect on a history and see the progression and evolution of myself. Holden Caulfield I am not. Scout and Jem I am not.

One may argue that a journal or diary achieves the same thing as a blog, and true, they both do, but neither option allows readers, followers, friends, or complete strangers to read and reread (hint hint) the blog entries (read: journal/diary entries if you wish) and witness the progression. I believe many people in the near(er) future, will find themselves will the necessary tools to create great fiction (and perhaps some nonfiction) based directly on their experiences in the world and the experiences of others that they have been able to find, read and contemplate because of the internet and blogging. It is the beginning of something awesome.

So this entry serves as the beginning, though it is not the first (puns not intended), and though it comes while I am currently unemployed (called and interpreted as many these days as 'the end') it is the beginning and therefore honors the irony in the situation and aims to promote a healthy, intelligent and successful future for myself, this blog and the world in general.

The First

Purely as a way to organize, categorize and optimize my thoughts and desires, I began a journal during the middle of last year, which I feel has now grown beyond the confines of legal pads and Microsoft Word and needs to be instituted into a single location. Say hello to the blog.

I have had many blogs in the past: quote the raven, the new(er) edit(or), etc., but I decided this one should serve as the decisive, singular blog for my thoughts on everything in my world (not to be interpreted as self-centered, though.)

What better title for the blog than the Blog of Myself? Taken from Whitman's Song of Myself, the epic poem that changed my outlook on what Modern Poetry could look like, having only dabbled in interpreting Dickinson and Stevens' work beforehand, the poem was a far cry from ordinary--something I strive for in my life.

Concurrently, in our new digital age where the internet deserves its own chair at the dinner table, perhaps the 'song,' or the physical act of writing is not what it once was. That's not to say it's not respected, revered and still utilized by millions around the globe, but simply that it is an art form that has been transformed and has mutated and/or been augmented by our changing societies to include the computer as a standard tool for writing. Long gone are the parchments and papyrus rolls, so too must the ubiquitous scrap papers and filled notebooks; all in favor of an organizational form that doesn't try to steal the inherent joy in creating with the paper and pencil, but rather provides an outlet for its products. (Or even as an assistant to the process itself; to encourage and support it, perhaps.) So if the act of writing has somehow or somewhat become more public, more technological, it has also become more current, and that is a necessity.

With newspapers all around the US filing for bankruptcy, two questions still loom very large (ones which will be addressed in another entry shortly): what is the future of news, investigative journalism, and information, and what will our writing and reading habits look like in the future. I'm not saying Amazon's Kindle is a bad thing, on the contrary, it might just be a great step forward into encouraging reading in our children and young adults and NOTHING is more important than achieving a 100% literate country, interested in reading and/or writing and actively pondering the world. And there will always be a great desire to hold something in one's hands, to actually feel how the page crinkles between your fingers, or to read the news and close the paper after an hour and see bits of ink still clinging to your palms. There's an internal joy there that can't be matched with a portable reading device or with the internet.

So true, the blog may mean the skimping out of more traditional forms or writing in favor of new ones, but I belive it is something necessary if writing and reading are to transcend time. If Whitman could return for one day now and see his writing available to the entire world in a matter of seconds, for a fraction of the money it once would have cost, I'm sure he'd be pleased if for no other reasons than to see people reading, and especially reading his words. The greatest writers always had something to say, always had some new idea or radical interpretation, and the Blog of Myself is mine.