- Remove the wire cage from the bottle, always keeping a finger or thumb on top of the cork. Corks can pop without your help, and with devastating force. Could be a bad thing.
- Hold cork in one hand, bottle in the other. Keep the bottle horizontal. The reason? The pressure is upward from the surface of the wine. Holding the bottle vertically can inspire a rapid exodus of the contents of the bottle towards unprepared regions. You can wrap the bottle in towel or napkin, for a better grip and added safety, but you will look a bit poncy. Also, wear a Kevlar suit.
- Twist the cork slowly. I have heard it advised that one should twist the bottle. In my experience, it is easier to twist the cork. Do whatever you think is right. Just because I have professional experience does not mean you should listen.
- Ease the cork out. The trapped gas will help.
- As the cork reaches the point of extrication, maintain a firm grip on the cork and let the gas slowly hiss out as you raise the bottle to a vertical and remove the cork entirely. Oh darn, did not spill a drop.
- Pour wine into glasses, not the ones modeled after Marie Antoinette's breast--oh those French!--but tall flutes. Flutes are made with a rougher surface. Bubbles emanate from those rough points. Oo, the bubbles tickle your nose!
- Hail the New Year, lads and lasses.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
saw Batman the Dark Knight. it exceeded expectations. it is based more in a human reality than these comic book movies usually manage. Heath ledger was certainly riveting. of course, that is how it works, the crazy, intense one is the centre of attention. as has been noted, Satan is far more interesting in Paradise Lost than Adam or Eve. that given, Ledger still made every moment crackle. Cesar Romero played the role campy, pretty much as Bob Kane envisioned the character. Jack Nicholson was Jack, creepy yet fun. Ledger’s Joker was disturbing. late in the movie he deliver unto Batman an examination of Batman’s moral dilemma that was splendidly biting and well-aimed. Joker himself is hors de combat of that problem. he’s a terrorist without the moral clause. the sense of the city being terrorized, in the current political sense, was strong and compelling. Aaron Eckart as the white knight DA was good. he’s startlingly goodlooking in a brisk public servant way, and entered the role of Two-Face smoothly, I thought. no need to go entirely Willem DaFoe. Michael Caine as Alfred was good, cockney Alfred, and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, worked well as well. do not go cheap on the little roles in these things. Batman as Dark Knight is wearisome. he’s got issues just like the criminals, but is far less evolved. Christian Bale as Wayne has life to him, but no Batman has succeeded in being more than a costume. which is the point, I suppose, of the character. the movie was well-contained, did not allude outside itself to other entries in the franchise, and its themes held thru out. I haven’t seen the latest James Bond movies, but I think they tried to just start over, treat them more like separate movies. there was that obvious sense in Iron Man that this began the series. it worked nonetheless, but one fears the attenuation that likely will occur. one need only look at the Pirates flicks following Black Pearl, and the 2nd Matrix was so awful that I could not watch the 3rd, tho that is supposed to be better and resolve the 3.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, check. 1st one is still the best. this one has the same self-conscious manipulation as The Last Crusade, the urgency to touch all the franchise keynotes and let the plot take care of its own. the result is even more muddled than Last Crusade. I even found it visually cluttered. it looked remarkably cheesy, which is surprising given that as a film technician Spielberg aint no slouch. the movie starts with some malarkey about Russians invading Area 51 to steal, oh, you know, the Crystal Skull, or some hint to its whereabouts. the movie simply accepted that certain forces must push the plot, and dealt something to suffice. Indy is accompanied by a Brit who, it turns out, is a double agent. and a triple agent, except no one likely believed that reconciliation. but Indy gets away, and survives a nuclear bomb test by hiding in a refrigerator. I believe everything I see. there’s a brief 50s blackball theme, then Indy meets Shia LaBoeuf, who arrives looking like Brando in The Wild Ones. decent rapport exists between Ford and LaBoeuf, albeit a contrived tension, plotwise. on a vague hint, they fly to Peru, in search of that crystal skull. the Russians remain in the story, poor man’s Nazi. I did not mench Cate Blanchett being the nutsoid in charge of the Russians. she’s Stalin’s head of psychic research, or some such. which sounds more like a Hitler thing but anyway.she’s a dully campy dominatrix. is she a good actress??? her Galadriel was probably not her fault, the director forced her to look like such a bemused drag. I cannot remember what else I have seen of her. the plot was muddled beyond repair. the crystal skull attracted metal, but only when convenient to the plot. the action set pieces were lacklustre and did not seem to worry about plausibility. one accepts that Mythbusters might bust certain imaginative elements in a movie, but not that Jamie and Adam would not even bother to probe the possibilities. that is how it seemed with this movie. the movie was enjoyable enough, since I like Ford, and Spielberg’s failures are still largely competent. the crystal skull belongs, we learn, to ETs, so we end up with Richard Dreyfus’ friends with a somewhat more malign aspect. I do not know the budget of this flick but it looked cheapo. I wonder about Lucas, who has twiddled away his most interesting projects for the sake of merchandise and 2nd rate productions. I imagine that the plan was to slip River Phoenix into the Indy franchise, back in that day, and death kinda precluded that. LaBoeuf might be the next chance to move on, because Ford’s not good for many more punch outs. the movie ended smarmily, so maybe we should just tuck the baby in and say goodnight.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
traffic to this space tripled because of searches on Emma Bee Bernstein, indicating the interest in her. Beth and I did our share, just wanting to know a little more. I did not intend to write a poem to her (see link below), but it was immediately identified as such by someone on the Wryting-L list. intent is a difficult thing in poetry. I (hope to) let feeling find the words, rather than, say, replicate the feeling in a structured response. if there is a School of Quietude, its sin is boosting emotional moments into crass simulacra. some things are too large in feeling, and too essential, death certainly, that we cannot play them like that. when Olson tells Blackburn that he did not know it was a subject, he lets boundaries find themselves. when I write ‘E’ in my poem, I really meant the letter, mostly. that was a safe distance, you might safe, tho I did invoke her name. i like the poem, because I see language passing thru me, mostly, rather than me at the steering wheel, sorry if metaphors are mixed.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
- Myspace, simply too ugly even to start with
- Twitter, could be useful but it did not stick with me. do we really need too much???
- Facebook, overwhelmed by structure, and people counting coup, but it seems useful, tho it also seems like a lot of work. come on, be my Facebook Friend!!!!!
I like these 2, however:
- Goodreads, advert the books you are reading, write reviews. I like reading what other people are saying, and it is fun to write my own wisdomisms.
- Wakoopa, reviews and usage data of computer applications. Wakoopa can tally what applications you use, how much, plus you can learn about what others are using. really useful!
Sunday, December 07, 2008
also saw Get Smart. this surprised me by having good pacing without the antic imperative of many comedies (I am thinking of Steve Martin's Pink Panther). the actors had good rapport, tho 99 was played generically. could 99 have been played strongly? she was strictly support team in the tv series, sense to be placed against Max's nonsense. Steve Carel played the role earnestly, that is, played Smart as an earnest fellow, less pompous than the tv character. the plot was stupid but flowed well enough. regularly sown throwaway jokes served to keep the standard plot from weighing heavy.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Saturday, November 08, 2008
I frequently see a man down the street from us. I suppose he is in his 60s, I am not a good judge. looks healthy enough. he looks like he is waiting for a bus, but the stop is across the street, and he never gets on or off one that I have seen. he lives a few yards away from where he stands, in what I am guessing is a group home. just stands there and watches, for considerable stretches. I have taken him to be simply interested in the passing flow, but there is that in his face, and this is completely inference, a sense of worry. I think of my father, who would, at times, have no idea where he was. nothing in his surroundings was familiar, tho he recognized me, and Beth, if not to the degree of knowing exactly the relationship. this past summer I was at the library at closing time. there was a man there about whom the librarians were concerned. the man did not know where he lived. he sat in a chair while the police were called. he looked at me with the same look my father used to have, surrounded by an unfamiliar world. this condition does not cease to amaze me, that panging sense of loss. we rely on certain foundations that are not, we discover, so secure as we believe. Buddha gives a clue, not to put a shine on this.
I was thinking about what I read when I was young, in terms of my later (age 16) becoming a writer. I was not a voracious reader in that autodidact sense that comes up in bios. I read, but I also watched the 3 Stooges. I know that I read Robert Benchley early on, and was mystified by James Thurber's cartoons. both those writers were in my parents' collection. Winnie-the-Pooh might have been read to me but I doubt that I read it myself until I was an adult. I was fond of Landmark Books, which were history and biography books for elementary school readers. I read every sports bio available at the school library, including bios of such unknowns as Red Schoendiest. which brings to mind the time a cereal box offered a small figurine of an American president in every box. when I fished out the prize I was thoroughly disappointed. it was James Polk. I was hoping for a real president like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or Benjamin Franklin. anyway, I was fond of the adventures of Danny Dunn (Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint, which detailed his adventures in a sort of space bathyscath that was painted with this miracle paint, anti-gravitying its way into endless space), and the Happy Hollisters. we had 2 HH books, and I assumed until I consulted Wikipedia today, that those 2 were the extent of their adventures. in sooth, there are some 20 HH books. The Hollisters were essentially proto-Brady Bunch, tho with no implication of anything so decadent as remarriage. just as the 3 sets of Bradys paired off in neat incestuous units, so too the 4 older Hollisters. the littlest, Sue, is right out. I really enjoyed the 2 stories that I read. one was set at some oceanside resort, one was in the desert. turns out that the same mill that made the Hollisters made the Hardy Boys and such like. at Barnes & Noble yesterday, the juvenile selection was pretty oppressive. lots of franchises like Hannah Montana, just reams of bleary looking product. I never hooked into that stuff when I was young. I read a few Hardy Boys, but no Tom Swift, none of Edgar Rice Burroughs various series. dunno why. I have since read some Tom Swift Jr adventures. they are hilarious. son of erstwhile genius Tom Swift Sr from a generation before. Jr is much smarter and more capable than his dad. he just flies around in his rocketship with his pals, solving crimes, comes home for a delicious meal cooked by his mom, during which he explains to dad his latest discovers and victories. fully loaded, that is.
I started reading Brothers Karamazov. not sure why but I have only read one Russian novel, War and Peace. which is great. it's the milieu and the Napoleonic history that I like. I read 200 pages of Anna Karenina and could not get interested. the inferred gloom of Dostoevsky put me off from him. well, I have gotten thru several Thomas Mann novels so I guess I have the right stuff. at least he has some humour. I have to applaud B&N for producing less expensive editions of public domain authors.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
the movie begins with Tony Stark touring Afghanistan in an armoured car, checking out the playground for the weapons he sells. frankly, this was just about redux of the fun parts of Less Than Zero. Tony Stark, is just riffing charmingly. well, this is war time: the car gets attacked and Stark gets wounded. this brings on an awkward flashback, to set the table plotwise. the arms industry is in his blood. as is the Playboy lifestyle. the morning after his viciously unlikely one night stand with a reporter, Gymneth Paltrow arrives. I had forgotten that she was in the film and I had forgotten about Pepper Potts. I would not have cast her because she is cool and elegant, and Pepper is more like Della Street. but Paltrow plays it well. putting capable actors into these movies works every time. Jeff Bridges was stuck with Mr McNasty. I like him but there was nowhere to go with the role unless he went all Christopher Walken, which would have been nice. I mean let Walken do it, or Anjelina's father (I forget his name). so, wounded Stark is captured, and in fact kept alive by another prisoner who hooks Stark up to a car battery. not too unlikely, prisoners in a cave. the Afghani warlord wants Stark to build the nasty missile that Stark demo'd earlier. instead, they build a robot outfit. thus Iron Man. well, Stark gets out, and decides that the weapons industry is a poor place for his creative impulses.
back home, Stark demands a hamburger, but gets a McDonald's instead. at the news conference, he munches that and has the gathered press sit on the floor. which just rang so silly. Stark's insistence on leaving weapon making behind brings bad guy Bridges into the open. Stark develops his IM rig while Bridges sets up the dramatic finale. took a long time to get to the IM part. it's a franchise, I realize, but it is a long wait for the story to find its cheese. it is entertaining, because Downey is so comfortable playing above and below the role. R2D2 and C3PO appear in spirit with a robotic whatsis that does funny stuff and a poncy computer voice that advises Stark. the denouement is stupid, with Bridges in a Transformer-like robosuit. no effort involved here.
having the real world, Afghanistan, bump against this crap was a bad risk. what's stopping IM from selectively killing off all the bad elements there except his complicated relationship with Pepper. Samuel Jackson arrives after the credits to enlist IM against some heinous evil, you know, a guy in tights, chapter2. once that's cleared up, IM can save the Middle East.
now, is it a propos of me to write now a few words about the recent Apple press con? it is available from iTunes. I was curious what the buzzmaking machine does when it is doing. I do not own a Mac, nor have I used one much, but I am attracted. and I got an iPod without thought that other mp3 players exist. Steve Jobs is Mr Cool in black turtleneck. he's just selling the latest merchandise, you know. my god, what is so gorgeous about a track pad? Tony Stark creates a totally smoove robosuit, not just power but slick design. thus Apple. Apple renders as a slack superficiality with this ultimate design stuff. Jobs brought highranking Apple folks on stage, the core of his desmesne, haha. and the press is rapt. didn't they realize they were machined? well I do not have in me right now to paint it clearer, but I connect IM with Jobs up there selling the latest Apple confections. which I want, of course.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Subsistence Equipment by Brenda Iijima.
as I mentioned with Orizaba by Stacy Szymaszek, design of these chaps is similar. Faux Press delivers a consistent concept, let us say, which connects the writers by way of editorial choice. it works, and as I have said previously, the design makes these chaps inform and connect to each other, tho they were not written with that in mind.
Iijima's work is an unnumbered chunk of text with no titles or headings. such blocks of text are forbidding to some extent, at least for those of us who get nervous without footholds. I write that while having writ my share of forbidding blocks of text. reader must find a way in. in is in the words here, simply enough, perhaps rhythm and sound.
Struggling city skeletal intermingle serial order existence
little punctuation in this work. I am disconcerted by occasional punctuation but this is not worth being anal about. but it does make me think why this lone comma.
each line is capitalized. authors make choices.
mostly regular spacing but with some extensions, exalted breaths.
the sense of verbal monolith breaks down as one reads/speaks and respects the words. as I read, the felicities unveil. it is a text. I take it as an exercise, as, say, Midwinter Day by Bernadette Mayer. where the press of text forward, over the 'long haul', instigates the poem. the poem converses. I could imagine that Iijima, like Mayer, wrote the text in one day, with that as the stated goal when beginning. if not, there natheless remains a sense of process. I also think of Coolidge as I read, in the sense of translating sensory experience into word alignments, which is not the same as description. you could say that what Iijima writes is her state of mind, but it is the idea of stating that does not seem accurate, I guess because of the musicality that I hear. 'what felt through the cracks is want' is punny but it rattles interest by sounding a familiar note that is not exactly what we hear. this sort of partial transmogrification happens thru out the poem, part of Iijima's hearing, and more like a penitent pun than straightforward exercise. 'ratcheted up to strangest denominator'. the title seems pretty canny.
lines come from anywhere, it seems:
'American career girl cleavage'
'Tally ho leeward below the kneeling'
'At the real place 96 degrees hot day to do this'
'Separate events from time'
I am fishing these lines out randomly. I should be clear that this is not the reading. Iijima's metric is almost entirely three-lined stanzas, tho lines of varying length. one steps first at the level of line, the syntactical oddity and picture conveyed. how these lines combine is the reader's larger work, which I can only suggest at this time that one should do. the grand involvement of lines into stanzas and stanzas into poem are the work of work, and time. to which I recommend thee. and me.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The Complete Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus translated by Ryan Gallagher, published by Bootstrap Press. he is one of the proprietors of the press. I have, or perhaps had--maybe I deep-sixed it--a wretched translation of Catullus. I do not recall the translator but his crime was his choice to bring Catullus' slang to the present age. I think the translator's sense of the present age's slang was archaic or anachronistic, and certainly the ear was not good. the effect was merely goofy.
I am no Latin scholar so I can only read the poems for their sense of freshness. they seem like poems not exercises, which is always the first endeavour in translation, at least in readership's view. Gallagher includes an extensive and useful afterward about his process. he cites the Catullus that the Zukofskys produced. now, Gallaghher, does not attempt a homophonic translation, but I can see how he placed the lines in his head and worked them into poetry. he makes the translation process a very present one, with the sense of writing rather than rewriting. I get that sense out of Paul Blackburn's translations. or let me say, I do NOT get that sense from the army of translators who have latched onto Neruda, Bly et al., who seem relentless in producing what even I, barely voiced in Spanish, can see is mangled versions of the originals. Gallagher's translations are unlaboured, respect the language into which they have been translated, and live. the Latin originals are placed at the back of the book. I would prefer seeing them en face, the better to compare, but that's a choice. buy the book, support the press that wants to live in Lowell.
Begun by Eileen R. Tabios
Completed by Others"
all of which is telling.
Eileen gathers commentary on her work (blogetics), a considerable mound, and, somehow, makes it all her own. this might sound self-consumed, but if Eileen is a black hole, she is a generous one. that is to say, she emits light. she is not, therefore, a black hole, just a heck of a presence. indeed (doesn't the use of that word give a poncy lift to the writing here?), Eileen Tabios is a positive force in our poetic world, promoting poetry itself as a beneficial energy. this book is evidence of that benefit, as people take to her work and engage in a larger conversation. tho conversation is a flat word to describe the nature of the gift. I have a couple of pages worth of words in this book, starting p29, which illustrate the casual tics of my blog as much as anything. when Eileen asked permission to use my postings, I replied okay but isn't what I wrote more about me than you? but that was just what Eileen wanted, that personal engagement. when I read Harold Bloom, I get oppressed by the academic torture of the work in hand. what got me about his lecture that I have mentioned listening to, was his enjoyment and personal revelation of the work. he speaks lovingly, I think that's the right word, about Stevens, and Crane, and Bishop. I have not read Keys yet, altho p 29-31 interest me greatly, but I can easily offer it to thee, Dear Reader, as a fascinating involvement. I speak to the choir, no doubt.
Friday, September 26, 2008
In all the argosy of your bright hair I dreamed
nothing so flagless as this piracy
arr, piracy (unavoidable Robert Newton allusion), 'tis the essence here, for Szymaszek. the piece is partly about her fascination with Crane. she delivers a fair chunk of biography, tho I am not Crane scholar enough to know how much might be invented (possibly none, I am just indicating that potential). the piece also contends with issues of sexual identity. she quotes Crane again: "Then in front of Orizaba everything suddenly begins to change." she describes and pioneers with her own awakening sexual identity by writing about Crane and her interest in him. Crane indeed is a wonderful possibility, romantic yet hard-edged, modern yet stalled. Bloom, I might add, in his Stevens lecture, declares more fully for Crane as 'the best' tho of course Crane's work was curtailed compared with Stevens et al. Bloom makes the point that Crane unfolded rashly (the adverb is mine) whereas all the other modernists of note had yet to write much of real interest by the age that Crane leaped.
I did not mention that this is all written in straightforward prose. the reverberations of Crane are heartfelt, made me want to get his poems out (too many books in boxes just now),and I have not read a full biography of him. Szymaszek connects with his disorder as well as his bloom.
balanced with this direct consultation with the reader are The Eustace Poems, which being a selection from a work called Hyperglossia. here, Szymaszek writes in jolting short lines. words are spread across the page in various layouts. the effect is punchy, which contrasts nicely with the meditative extension of Orizaba. here Szymaszek performs further identification, closer to home, perhaps. she produces an image of Eustace, the boy, which one must assume is, in some way, her. I have seen enough poetry LANGUAGEd across the page to be wary of 2nd rate explorers inventing what they have seen before. I have given myself largely to prose for reasons of this issue (and other reasons besides). Szymaszek rattled my prejudice because the words on the page look so thoughtfully presented. making me think of Mary Rising Higgins, which we all should do, poems wrought so carefully. these Eustace Poems are riveting and rhythmic, and play neatly against the self-examination of Orizaba.
I would like to deepen into this work but for now am content to leave these just notes* behind, since my intention here at Tributary is to coax interest and instigate engagement. the hard work is left to you, Dear Reader.
these Faux Chaps are well-presented. design is similar among them all and each bears a head shot of the author on front and back cover. this makes one want to read them as a single entity. they were not written that way, but it works somehow, six poets of the city. I shan't further that point but would recommend all six chaps. and I hope that I have made an engaging point about Orizaba: A Voyage with Hart Crane.
* I hope Gentle Reader recognizes that I meant to write just these notes. I leave it as I wrote it because it looks just funny, or funny just.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
"poetry is not a tribal code, it is a personal lighthouse on the edge of something wildly fascinating. "
Can't it be both?
and course poetry can be both tribal code and lighthouse. by tribal code I was thinking of something more minor, tribe of critics, or tribe of academics (not to mean all critics or academics, but the dullards, the non-progressive stones in the passway). poetry is very much a tribal thing, but a loss occurs when tribes put up boundaries.