Saturday, November 06, 2004
Japanese mushrooming diary -- a year spent hunting wild edibles on the lower slopes of Mount Fuji. I like this site a lot, as much for its literary and scientific asides as for its detailed descriptions of fungi.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Guy Fawkes Day on the west coast, the western sky solid grey like the side of a piece of Richard Serra plate steel. Charles Manson lookalike grifting on the corner, "Hey, help out the homeless, got a bus ticket, got a smoke, spare change?" This charming six footer's panhandling methodology typically involves shambling up to someone smaller than him -- which in this neighborhood usually means a Vietnamese or Chinese grandmother -- and then standing right on top of them, flapping his arms up and down and blocking their path till they cough up enough to secure their release. "Fuckin' chink," I once heard him say to one grandma who wasn't emptying her purse quickly enough to suit him. That day I had the presence of mind to lay my umbrella right across his ass with all the swing as I could muster. A nice satisfying crack. Posted by Hello
Thursday, November 04, 2004

These days...

I've stopped my dreaming,
I won't do too much scheming
These days, these days.
These days I sit on corner stones
And count the time in quarter tones to ten.
Please don't confront me with my failures,
I had not forgotten them. Posted by Hello
nst '99 -- first story I ever read by Kevin H., and still a favorite. Formatted kind of strangely for the web, but worth perservering.

Winter's here! Sun gone by 430, chilly wind on my bald head, bare trees, spectacular sunsets, the western sky orange-red above Architectural Antiques and the Lee Building's big nonconforming sign.

Too tired to contribute much else today (day 1 of 30 with no coffee intake, thanks to yesterday's visit to the urologist), so here's an interview with Kevin Huizenga, my current favorite young cartoonist, interviewed by Tom Spurgeon, my long-suffering ex-editor at the Comics Journal.

Read some of Kevin's comics online. Tell me what you think!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Vija Celmins, Night Sky #2, 1991, oil on canvas mounted on aluminum.

Well Harpo, Harpo, we're in the galaxies and where did you get that sound so fine?
Harpo, Harpo, we gotta hear it one more time.

Jonathan Richman -- "When Harpo Played His Harp" in my head all day, knocking off Celmins' sky pictures and the Japanese maple leaves on Hornby Street.Posted by Hello

Talk about the life in Massachusetts
Speak about the people I have seen
And the lights all went down in Massachusetts
And Massachusetts is one place I have seen

I will remember Massachusetts
I will remember Massachusetts
I will remember Massachusetts Posted by Hello
Monday, November 01, 2004

At Larrabee Park

The winding southern road. Fern forests, thick in scribbled
damp ravines. The cliffside homes pinch out at last, replaced
by giant trees. Hard right hand turn in past the shuttered gatehouse, its
backlit Coke machine presiding over parking lot and bandshell like Kubrick’s
monolith. Across the lawn, disturbing ghosts of picnickers the rangers’ spycam
only grasps as watercolor, run smears of motion, rain against the glass. Rail
tunnel’s concrete floor and low-hung dripping ceiling evokes Guinness’
pale scheming Smiley. Bellingham or East Berlin?

Along the cliff edge, views are numbered, tour stops tied to the brochure
rack by the pay phone. The shoreline’s scattered logs and cobble
heaps. Sandstone cliff detailing everyone who ever waded through the thorns
along its base to chisel out their name. Tide high and ebbing, licking at the line
of wrack thrown up by larger waves. The tidepools Drew described all drowned.
Visible: just one brick-red star. The current stirs the glassy sea
like the air above a fire.

Fat ghosts stalk the gloomy forest trails armed with megapixel
cameras. Isn't the sea always this blue in memory, the San Juans green
like glass? Website thumbnails: cupped in sandstone hollows,
sculpins stars anemonies, little portholes to be peered through, the eyes
devouring whatever the lenses' optics seize.

Cats’ paws today on steel grey sea. Rain clouds across the sound,
slow blimps of drifting grey, the darker squall lines tangled like the offshore
chop. The root that tripped the climber on the trail. The static on her friend’s
head phones. The flints that nicked my hands. The understory’s
devouring microscopic roots. A landscape by Seurat, all pricks and dabs of color.
Less resemblance each year to pictures. Less resemblance, less and less.

Juan Cole analyzes the consequences of tomorrow's election:

"The Bush administration is full of revolutionaries. They are shaking up the world by military force. They are playing a role familiar in modern history, pioneered by Napoleon Bonaparte, of using overwhelming military superiority to establish new forms of hegemony by appealing to desires for change among neighboring publics. Bonaparte promised the Italians liberty on the French model, but in fact reduced the Italians to a series of French puppet regimes and then he looted the country. So far Bush's Iraq looks increasingly like Bonaparte's Italy in these regards.

At a time of increased radicalization in the global South, at a time when mass terrorism has been made possible by new technologies, the last thing the US should be risking is destabilizing Asia by provoking a series of revolutions.

Kerry is not a revolutionary, unlike Bush. He recognizes that al-Qaeda is a real threat and needs to be the main focus of US security thinking. Kerry will capture or kill Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri because he will put the resources into that endeavor that Bush instead wasted in Iraq.

Kerry is worried about Iran's nuclear ambitions, but is highly unlikely to resort to military force or connive at a coup in Tehran. He will use diplomatic methods and more subtle military pressure.

Kerry will rebuild the alliance with Europe, which is crucial for fighting al-Qaeda. He will attempt to improve the US image in the Muslim world, which Bush has completely shattered. His approach to China will be measured.

So the choices are clear. Those who want a revolutionary who will risk further wars and instability, should vote for Bush. Those who want someone who will use diplomacy to manage the status quo and roll back asymmetrical threats should vote for Kerry."


Republicans at Hallowe'en

"As distasteful as it was, the stunt had the smell of desperation. ('Where evil meets stupid,' Stephen Elliott called it.) If Republicans are spending Sunday afternoon trying to fool voters with the some Gay Adoption signs then they must be in trouble. And the people in line weren’t buying. 'Nobody in this line is going to listen to them,' one woman said. A chorus of voters on either side chimed in: 'That’s right”; “We’re know what we’re doing'; 'We’re voting for Kerry no matter what that guy in the sign thinks he’s saying.'

Among the few people who didn’t realize what was happening at first, they were extremely annoyed when they figured it out. 'Is that Republicans over there? Yeah, it is!' said a man toward the back of the line. 'They’re gonna come down here and, try to try to fool us? That’s not happening.' Behind him, a woman added: 'Un-huh, that’s not right.'"


Better put the mask back on, George. Need a hand? Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Wheels and Cogs Turning Dept.

Q: Are you saying you want him dead or alive, sir? Can I interpret --

THE PRESIDENT: I just remember, all I'm doing is remembering when I was a kid I remember that they used to put out there in the old west, a wanted poster. It said: "Wanted, Dead or Alive." All I want and America wants him brought to justice. That's what we want.

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