Monday, November 30, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays...

Sometimes, artificial storm clouds move me to deep introspection.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tales of Teancum Singh Rosenberg

The same friend who recommended Menachem Bloodaxe: Lost Legend of a Jewish Viking recently also suggested I read "Tales of Teancum Singh Rosenberg."

What my friend may not have realized is that I grew up on Teancum Singh Rosenberg stories. My mother would tell them in the mornings, over my father's oatmeal, in the afternoons, between Ducktales and Batman, and at night, as we lay in our beds, unaware that, perhaps, right outside our windows the moon was sinking. And then, after we fell asleep, she'd whisper the histories of the names in the stories into our ears, so they'd sink down into our imaginations and attach to everything, so that even today, whenever I go to pull thoughts out of my mind, something from the world of Teancum Singh Rosenberg invariably comes up with them. (For every word I speak, then--and I speak in many words--another one typically remains unspoken, the insight that must remain in the shadows for the listener's lack of cultural context.)

Perhaps that's the reason why I was so surprised to see Teancum Singh Rosenberg stories in print. I'll admit that, at many times in the past, I haven't particularly cared for the author of this particular collection, but I admire his audacity in putting these together. (Whether anyone outside the Caucajewmexdian community will read them, of course, is an entirely separate issue--but maybe in this case that's beside the point.)

A story a day keeps the Time Blower's needles away (illustration by Davey Morrison Dillard)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving made Simple

Kira explains the essentials of Thanksgiving:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


So, people in my graduate program hear that I write three blogs and they assume that means I'm extremely tech-savvy.

Poor saps. I didn't get my first email account until I was a junior in high school, which for people my age (26) is something like, well, not getting an email account until you're a junior in high school. I spent years hating the internet because it tied up the phone line in our house, so I could never get a ride home when I called.

Now of course, I love the internet, because the walks I took home while not being able to call for a ride were the times when I could think long enough to become the kind of writer I am today. It's kind of like famous mathematicians from past centuries doing great work while in prison--except that most of my work isn't great, and I never actually went to prison. But I digress. Where was I?

Oh, yes. The point is that I'm hardly on the cutting edge of technology. I got my first email account when I was a junior in high school. Deep down, I still think computers are scary monsters just waiting to swallow your ideas when it's least convenient, or else mesmerize you and suck half a day out through your throat. I didn't even make my first webcam video until yesterday, and, as you will soon see, it just goes to show that the world might be a better place if I'd stuck to postcards during my junior year instead.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

October Commies

The Commie Committee has convened once again! This month we've picked a very special guest presenter:

While not technically a communist, Joe McCarthy shared a communist affinity for abuse of authority, systematic scare tactics, and grand political plans based on laundry lists. He also did more than any other American to reconcile communist sympathizers with mainstream society by giving them the hallowed glow of excessive and unfair persecution. Surprisingly, this appears to be McCarthy's first appearance on this blog.

The October nominees are:

Monday, November 23, 2009

An Open Letter to the Master of the Universe

O Lord God, Master of the Universe
Creator of the grains of the earth
of the fruits of the vine,
Creator of the bodies we work until they break
the bodies we neglect because we're too lazy or too busy to do much else
of the bodies we get all sort of strange notions about from the media--
How are You? And how are things
up there
in Your cosmic abode
in the space your presence occupies
all around us?
Anything new you'd like to tell us about?
Anything you'd like to tell us about we're also ready to receive?

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Moon Rising

I love Stephenie Meyer for many reasons. I love that she's Mormon. I love her because she wrote books about not having casual sex and made millions of dollars in the process. I love her because her books are black and white and red all over. I love her because the last line of the last full paragraph on page 197 of Twilight ("It was a colossal tribute to his face that it kept my eyes away from his body") gave my cousin Jazon a new fitness goal: to work out until it's a tribute to his chiseled body that it distracts from his perfect face. Clearly, this is literature that changes lives. And I love Stephenie Meyer for that.

Do her books have shortcomings? Sure. There's a missing comma on page 67 of New Moon, for example. Her dialogue is often coated with a distracting number of adjectives and adverbs. And the way her books progressively romanticize controlling types and stalkers is a little bit alarming. But they can be forgiven all that, because they've inspired something better:

Monday, November 16, 2009

How to Ruin Your Child's Life in Five Minutes or Less


Difficult? Yes. Doable? Theoretically.

I have thus far successfully executed the basic ponytail, basic braid, and the advanced ponytail (with two hair-thingeys, one high and another one at the neck). This morning, I had intended to tackle the augmented braid, which is essentially a basic braid plus hair clips on each side above the ears. Admittedly, this was ambitious--I had yet to work with hair clips, and she was still eating her "monkey oatmeal," which increases the risk of unexpected movements and subsequent sticky disaster--but I thought the augmented braid was still reasonable and achievable.

Kira disagreed. "I just want it down, Dad. You can just leave it."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is Extinction Forever?

Sinclair stations know to respect the hand that
feeds them--even if it's extinct and does not,
strictly speaking, have any hands.

 I keep thinking about cars lately. The way they fly down roads at speeds no one would have once thought the human body can travel. The terrifying and exhilarating amount of momentum they generate. The way they colonize the land, making us make them asphalt rivers across our valleys, concrete palaces beside or below our busiest buildings. Who serves who, I wonder, in the relationship between the cars and us?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Why I Haven't Written in a While

I've been having this strange dream for two weeks now: it lasts all day and well into the night.

In the dream, I went to a huge party. I was deliriously happy. Like only can happen in dreams, I kept seeing people I know or who looked familiar but with the contexts all mixed up: school friends were there with distant relatives, childhood neighbors with current students, people who I know full well live thousands of miles apart standing and chatting with each other. In a similarly dream-like way, the cultural contexts for the party were all mixed up: we'd be dancing to bhangra one minute, to ABBA the next, then to something in Spanish I could almost make out before circling to the strains of Hava Nagila. I was flying, or at least floating, at one point, then Kira was floating above me--there was cake, there were old men and women falling deeper in love with the universe. We walked outside and the stars had come down out of the sky to glow in people's hands--"we" meaning me and this beautiful woman dressed in white with touches of gold, jewelry on her face and around her neck, mehndi on her skin, and my heart wrapped up in her soul. Kira left us, then, to join the night stars and we walked off past the stars, out into the darkness, past what would have been the edges of the universe if the universe had that kind of shape.
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