Friday, November 30, 2007

Oakland's Lake Merritt at dusk

(c) 2007 K Smokey Cormier

Oakland. I've loved it for many years.

For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery.

Jonathan Swift born on this day in 1667. That's his words in the title of this post.

From Wikipedia:
Died October 19, 1745. He was an Irish cleric, Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin, satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, and poet, famous for works like Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, The Drapier's Letters, The Battle of the Books, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, and is less well known for his poetry.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New York Times' 10 Best Books of 2007

December 9, 2007
The 10 Best Books of 2007

By Michael Thomas. Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic, paper, $14. This first novel explores the fragmented personal histories behind four desperate days in a black writer's life.

By Per Petterson. Translated by Anne Born. Graywolf Press, $22. In this short yet spacious Norwegian novel, an Oslo professional hopes to cure his loneliness with a plunge into solitude.

By Roberto BolaƱo. Translated by Natasha Wimmer. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27. A craftily autobiographical novel about a band of literary guerrillas.

By Joshua Ferris. Little, Brown & Company, $23.99. Layoff notices fly in Ferris's acidly funny first novel, set in a white-collar office in the wake of the dot-com debacle.

By Denis Johnson. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27. The author of "Jesus' Son" offers a soulful novel about the travails of a large cast of characters during the Vietnam War.


By Rajiv Chandrasekaran. Alfred A. Knopf, $25.95; Vintage, paper, $14.95. The author, a Washington Post journalist, catalogs the arrogance and ineptitude that marked America's governance of Iraq.

LITTLE HEATHENS: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression.
By Mildred Armstrong Kalish. Bantam Books, $22. Kalish's soaring love for her childhood memories saturates this memoir, which coaxes the reader into joy, wonder and even envy.

THE NINE: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court.
By Jeffrey Toobin. Doubleday, $27.95. An erudite outsider's account of the cloistered court's inner workings.

By Linda Colley. Pantheon Books, $27.50. Colley tracks the "compulsively itinerant" Marsh across the 18th century and several continents.

THE REST IS NOISE: Listening to the Twentieth Century.
By Alex Ross. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30. In his own feat of orchestration, The New Yorker's music critic presents a history of the last century as refracted through its classical music.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Is legal sex anal?

Tracey Emin: Is Legal Sex Anal? 1998,
Pink neon and dimmer switch.
Photograph: Stephen White/Tate, London 2007

I was listening to NPR the other day and they had a piece about an art exhibition in London that I'd really like to go to. Here's a summary about the radio piece from the NPR website:
A major art exhibition in London at one of the UK's top galleries is not open to anyone younger than 18.

"Seduced," at the Barbican Gallery, is billed as the most sexually explicit fine-art exhibition ever staged. It attempts to show 2,500 years of sexuality in world art, and to explore how attitudes about what is erotic art and what is pornography have changed through the ages.

When are scientists going to finally invent that Beam-me-up-Scotty contraption? Also, while I'm wishing ... I want the service or device to be reasonably priced.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


SAVE THE DATE: March 20 to 23, 2008 - Washington, DC

Great group ... I'd love to participate. Here's info from their website:

Poets have long played a central role in movements for social change. Today, at a critical juncture in our country’s history, poetry that gives voice to the voiceless, names the unnamable, and speaks directly from the individual and collective conscience is more important than ever. The festival will explore and celebrate the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for change: reaching across differences, considering personal and social responsibility, asserting the centrality of the right to free speech, bearing witness to the diversity and complexity of human experience through language, imagining a better world.

As we head into the fifth year of war in Iraq, our country faces a crisis of imagination. Most Americans agree that we need dramatic change: to end the war, reorder our national priorities to meet human needs, save our planet. How we address these challenges is a question not just for policy makers and strategists. It is a question for all of us. We believe that poets have a unique role to play in social movements as innovators, visionaries, truth tellers, and restorers of language.

Poetry and the arts are also vital to youth development and empowering young people to speak out and have confidence in their voices. Our intention is to bridge differences in our city and literary community: to place on the same stage poets who work primarily on the page and poets who write primarily for performance; gay and straight poets; African American, Latino, Asian, white, and Native poets; young poets and older poets; poets with disabilities; poets of all social classes.

The organizers of this festival believe that as citizens and artists, our obligation has never been greater. Our intent is twofold: To call poets to a greater role in public life and to bring the vital, important, challenging poetry of witness that is being written by American poets today to a larger and more diverse audience.

The goals of Split This Rock are:

1. To celebrate the poetry of witness and provocation being written, published, and performed in the United States today.
2. To call poets to a greater role in public life and to equip them with the tools they need to be effective advocates in their communities and in the nation.

For more info, go to their website.

On this day ...

Mike Nichols was born. Here's a favorite quote of his:

Cheer up. Life isn't everything.

I love it. It's almost spiritual.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Autumn, lookin' good

(c) 2007 K Smokey Cormier

Just wanted to put a couple of nice photos up here. These were taken at The Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, California.