Friday, April 01, 2011

must see themselves (Friday's Sunday's Poem/Hot Actress 77)

White Stallions
by Bruce Dethleftsen

the children of the street
must see themselves
in the greasy puddles of the forenoon
in the sundown storefront windows
in the luster of the shoes they shine

must see themselves
in the reflection of a customer’s sunglasses
in the tears of the old women
in the shadow of the bus

the children of the street
must see themselves
flying purple kites on sunny beaches
dining with the family after church
riding white stallions

the children of the street
must see themselves


About the poem: Today's poem is from Bruce Dethlefsen, courtesy of the "Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective." I picked it because (a) it's up on that site for free, (b) I liked the transition in images from the poor kids in the street shining shoes to kids riding white stallions on the beach, transforming poor kids' images into dreams...

... although, if I must quibble (and I must!), I'd point out to Mr. Dethlefsen that nobody really shines shoes anymore, outside of Andy on Parks & Recreation...

and (c) Bruce Dethlefsen is Wisconsin's Current Poet Laureate and the latest victim of Liar In Chief Governor Scott "Patsy" Walker's Unnecessary Budget Axe. You may recall when I suggested that it would be a nice symbolic gesture on Gov. Patsy's part to cut his own pay -- a move that wouldn't make a dent in the (non-existent) budget "crisis" but which would make the point that he's going to sacrifice, too.

Well, Gov. Patsy isn't one to miss a symbolic opportunity, so long as it's not him who's taking the pay cut. Among the minor items buried in various budget plans is Gov. Patsy's decision to end the annual $2,000 contribution from the Governor's office to the Wisconsin Poet Laureate.

Wow! I can feel Wisconsin's economy improving already.

Before jumping down my throat, keep in mind that $2,000 is not only a tiny sum of money, but Gov. Patsy is also ending a program that was created by Wisconsin's Republican Superhero, Former Governor Tommy Thompson.

Oh, and also keep in mind that while he's ending that program, which Wisconsin clearly cannot afford what with the way we're all swimming in red ink, Gov. Patsy just had the state buy him not one, but two cars, including an SUV, the purchase of which shows just how bad at math this administration is. A Department of Administration spokeswoman said that the SUV it purchased for $40,225 was a deal, because a new SUV would have cost $50,939 -- but failed to take into account the $935 per month the State's been paying to lease the old SUV. If they leased it for more than 10 months, it's at best break-even.

Poetry and politics. Fun! Time to talk about

The Hot Actress: It's Sarah Michelle Gellar. I don't even know what made me think of her. But I did, and I looked into it, and she's 33, so she qualifies.

Let's finish up with some Andy:

Click here for the complete list of Friday's Sunday's Poems.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The legal system is one big job creation machine? (It is for me...) (Publicus Proventus)

I'm not a one-trick pony and don't spend all my political thinking on pointing out that Gov. Patsy Walker -- whose list of illegal activities is growing by the day, impressively -- faked a death threat to get sympathy while trying to sell Wisconsin's power plants to the Koch Brothers using anti-union legislation as a smoke-screen.

That, by the way, is a perfectly acceptable sentence.

I also, politically speaking, pay attention to things like the election for a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice that's coming up next Tuesday, April 5. (As you'd expect, given my job.). So I thought it was interesting that Justice For Now David Prosser complained about an ad that was running in support of challenger Joanne Kloppenburg. Here's the ad:

Prosser complained about that ad, but he's being hoist by his own petard: he voted not to punish Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, a decision the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel decided was a license to lie. And Prosser himself decided that civility was not the highest and best goal of the judiciary when he called Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a "bitch," and later said that his epithet was warranted.

Now Prosser has responded via an apparent third-party ad that began airing, at least on radio around Madison, this morning; the ad is remarkable in that in it, the group supporting Prosser repeatedly refers to Joanne Kloppeburg as a "government" lawyer, using government almost as an epithet. That alone would be a bad enough pander to ignorant voters -- Prosser, after all, is a government lawyer himself, having been a justice, a District Attorney, and a legislator -- but the ad goes on to attack Kloppenburg for filing lawsuits "against farmers" and others "who create jobs," and urges voters to call Kloppenburg and say we need more jobs and fewer lawsuits.

Which is to say: David Prosser is trying (or at least complicit with those who are trying) to convince voters that working for the government is a bad thing - -as he tries to stay working for the government. And he's suggesting that the role of the Department of Justice (where Kloppenburg works) should be to foster job creation; and, he's implicitly saying that the Supreme Court of Wisconsin should be focused on job creation. Two good rules to know if you're going to be arguing a case in front of the Court anytime soon: 1. lying is okay, and 2. the justices want to create jobs.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

If the missing girl wanted us to pay attention to HER, she should have starred in a movie 50 years ago. (Sweetie's Hunk Of The Moment)

Hunk Of The Moment: Michael Wilding

How You Might Know Him: Nobody knows him, or at least nobody knew him before last week, when his mother, Elizabeth Taylor, died, news I learned because Good Morning America interrupted a story about a missing 13-year-old girl to let me know that a "movie star" had passed away, and I don't mean to be disrespectful but is it really major news when someone whose last major credit, and I'm using that term loosely, was The Flintstones, dies? Yes, it's very sad, but "break into a story about a missing teenager?" sad? Special Edition of People Magazine major news?

Well, yes, as to that last part, I suppose, but the point is that as sad as it is when someone dies, it's not break-into-the-news type of things when a movie star dies, especially a movie star who doesn't mean anything to anyone younger than the Baby Boomer generation. (The overwhelming attention to Liz Taylor's death being yet another example of Baby Boomers driving the news to cover themselves, along with the idea that Woodstock was important in any way.)

So anyway, hate mail pointing out that I'm completely insensitive and Liz Taylor was wonderfully talented and starred in more movies than just The Wizard Of Oz and I'm a rat should be directed to Let's just all agree that it's sad when someone dies and Liz Taylor deserved an article in the paper and a mention at the end of the news, just before they show that scene of the crowd in Times Square, and move on to how I know about Michael Wilding, or at least...

How I Found Out Sweetie Liked Him: Sweetie made the mistake of talking to me about Liz Taylor's death on the day Liz Taylor actually died, which I responded to by for the first time ever telling Sweetie I thought something she was talking about was boring -- in over a decade I've never said anything Sweetie was talking about was boring, even though on many of those occasions Sweetie was talking about something extremely boring, like "her feelings" or "the exact time and day we were getting married, which she wanted to make sure I was aware of so that I wouldn't make plans that weekend and would actually show up and also remember to rent my tuxedo ahead of time for."

Sweetie was talking about Liz Taylor was we were waiting at the drive-through of the local pharmacy for a prescription for Mr Bunches, who had an ear infection, and she responded to my first-ever comment that I just... didn't ... care [remember: email me at] about Liz Taylor dying because I'm not 73 years old and so never saw her movies by going on first to point out that Liz Taylor's son Michael Wilding was good looking.

Then, when that didn't make enough of an impression on me, Sweetie also pointed out that the pharmacist was, in her opinion, also very good-looking -- pretty, was the word Sweetie used.

Then, when that didn't do anything for me, either, Sweetie decided to lean over, just after the pharmacist finished ringing up our prescription, and shout into the intercom system "I just wanted to tell you that you're very pretty," saying that across me, so that I was caught in the middle of what had suddenly turned into a very awkward situation, and somehow it seemed as though I had done the flirting/complimenting even though I hadn't, with the pharmacist thanking Sweetie and backing a little away from the window in case we tried to kidnap her or molest her through the glass or something, and giving me a glance that seemed to say "You're really the one behind this, aren't you, you pervert?"

I responded by trying to smile in such a way as to suggest that Sweetie is completely nuts but also harmless and that I couldn't control her and that also she'd just been talking about a boring movie star and that this was just her way of acting out. I don't think I entirely conveyed the message, because the pharmacist sort of shuffled off to her right and disappeared, and we drove away with me telling Sweetie that she had just turned a simple errand into one of the most awkward situations of my life.

To which Sweetie replied in the best epilogue to this story that I could have come up with and it's completely true:

"She and Michael Wilding would make a cute couple."