Friday, October 15, 2010

Sing sin (Friday's Sunday's Poem/Hot Actress 65)


by Gwendolyn Brooks.

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.


About the poem: I liked that it kind of rhymed, and that it seemed like real poetry. More and more poems these days eschew (I'm not afraid to use a word that sounds like a sneeze) poetic structure and sensibility for a more prose-like style; the modern trend of free verse without rhythm or rhyme is turning many poems into short-short stories. Poems, though, should do more than just tell a story: they should create an image and do it by subverting, modernizing, abruptly changing, or emphasizing structure, rhythm, contrast, and the like.

All of which is so much psychobabble -- along the lines of the NPR caller I heard today who was going to describe the structure of a joke, rather than tell the joke. Poetry should be like poems, and this one is.

About the Hot Actress: I asked Sweetie if Goldie Hawn had ever had plastic surgery, and she said she didn't think so beyond maybe Botox, which is dumb but not plastic surgery. Then she asked me why I wanted to know and I said that I'd seen her on CNN yesterday and thought I'd put her up here for my Hot Actress, and Sweetie said "Really?" in a way that questioned the validity of my choice, so I'd just like to point out that Goldie Hawn is pretty (but not as pretty as Sweetie), and that she scored a "79" in sexiness on I don't know how high the rating go there, but 79 seems pretty good. (Sweetie would be a 3,234.1, at least.)(The 0.1 is because she makes really good egg salad.)

Listen to the poet talking about why she wrote it, and reading the poem, by clicking here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

1001 Ways To Tune Up The World, Number Seventy-One.

71. Personal Upright Transport Devices.

Or "PUT-D" (pronounced "putties.")

If you're going to change the world, give something a cute name and make sure it's something people really want. Forget Segways, forget the Google car that drives itself, forget light rail that only goes from city to city and not actually place-to-place. Putties are going to be where it's at.

And I thought them up.

Here's what I envision: A "Puttie" is a box-on-tracks, ranging in size from a phone-booth type box to a couple-of-phone booth sized boxes linked together. These boxes are completely enclosed, with windows that can be opened a little for fresh air, and heaters in the winter. Inside them, they have a map of the city and coordinates for various locations.

Putties would then run on tracks -- single-file tracks laid on the edges of current roads, kind of where the bike lanes are now. These tracks would go everywhere. There would be a track on every block of the suburbs, and tracks to all major shopping and business areas and bars and college campuses... everywhere.

Each location along a track would be designated with a coordinate -- so my house might be "BP1" or something, and a shopping center might be "SC12."

When I wanted to go somewhere, I'd simply log onto the Puttie system, and have a Puttie sent to my current location. Once inside, I'd punch in the coordinates of where I wanted to go, and the Puttie takes me there, on the track, while I'm free to relax and watch the sights and read or think.

If it was just me going on the ride, I'd ask for a small Puttie. For larger groups (like if our family was going to the restaurant) I'd key in that 2 or 3 or 4 people would go. Fares would charge by the person and by the distance (just like subways do now.) You could even, for a small charge, have the Puttie wait while you ran into a bank or store and came back out.

Then the Puttie system would route me around -- with no traffic jams or accidents or delays, no sitting on the bus while other people get on and off, no having to ride a train to Oconomowoc only to catch a bus to Waukesha where I'd need a taxi to get to the airport.

The installation costs would not be terrible, and the infrastructure would reduce commute times for people who wanted to drive while letting me opt not to drive without having to have all the problems of mass transportation; this is America: individual transportation will always be the preferred method for us. And by being enclosed, they'd work in bad weather (unlike bikes and Segways.) Coworkers could still commute together if they want, people could use them on dates and social occasions. Bar patrons could be sent directly to their door via Puttie.

Putties. Think about it. It would be awesome. I've done my part, world. Now you engineers and computer programmers and civil servants need to jump all over this. (And split the profits with me.)
Prior entries:

13. Ban driving any kind of automobile, motorcycle or other personal vehicle within 1-2 miles of downtown in any city with a population of more than 100,000.

12. Abolish gym class; instead, teach kids to play musical instruments.

11. Change copyright laws to allow anyone to use anyone else's creative work provided that the copier pay 60% of the profit to the originator and that the copier not cast the original work in a negative light.

10. Have more sidewalk cafes and outdoor seating.

9. When you have to give someone a gift, ask them what they want, and then get that thing for them.

8. Never interrupt or finish someone's jokes.

7. Periodically, give up something you like for at least a month.

6. Switch to "E-money."

5. Have each person assigned one phone number, and then add an extension for the various phones and faxes that person might be reached at.

4. Abolish Mondays and Tuesdays.

3. Don't listen to interviews with athletes or comedians.

2. Have "personal cashiers" at the grocery store.

1. Don't earn more than $200,000 per year.

Is this working? You bet --

1001 Ways also helped change the world here!


1001 Ways also helped change the world here!


Claudius wanted to be the first man to reach the stars... but it was murder to get there. Read
Eclipse, the haunting sci-fi book from Briane Pagel. Available at and on your Kindle.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Quote of the Day, 48:

So she stole our lightbulb from our lamp?
-- Me, to Sweetie, about Oldest on Saturday.

Saturday afternoon Oldest and The Boy watched the Babies! while Sweetie and I went to see a movie. (We saw My Soul To Take. Don't bother seeing it; it's terrible and it moved Sweetie down to what I say is 1-for-3 in picking movies and she says is 2-for-4, because Sweetie goes all the way back to The Collector, which I liked but which we saw way last spring, whereas I only count recently, when Sweetie's run of movies is The Back-Up Plan, Frozen, and now My Soul To Take.)

(The point is, generally speaking, don't let Sweetie pick your movies for you.)

We got home, and decided we'd just hang out with the Babies! and do not much of anything. I went to turn on the lamp on the piano, and it didn't go on. Thinking the bulb was burnt out, I went to unscrew it, but there was no bulb there.

"What happened to the light bulb?" I asked Sweetie, who told me that Oldest had been asking if we had a light bulb because she needed one at her apartment-- but Sweetie had pointed out that we didn't have any spare lightbulbs. Which apparently led Oldest to just take one from the nearest lamp.