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Friday, January 02, 2004
12:59 PM      

Lake Superior State U's 2004 Banished Words List

An annual compilation of “words banished from the Queen's English for mis-use, over-use and general uselessness.” This year's list even includes a reinstatement.


Panning for Gold
The other day, I spotted a sticker with an intriguing tag line on the Jay Street subway platform: “It's not a cap - it's a flag.” The sticker's URL turned out to be a site selling baseball hats.

Marketing hype's output has spilled outside the traditional confines of billboard / television / magazine ads. Stickering is becoming a significant advertising medium. You never know how big or how well organized the folks behind a sticker campaign might be.

I had all but dismissed the site when I noticed one interesting section. It featured hats representing some of the old Negro Leagues teams, with a link to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. That made the whole trip worth the surf.


I've always wanted to read Amiri Baraka's “Somebody Blew Up America” for myself. When I finally did, it struck me that the controversy centered around misinterpreting a few lines of a very long poem. I also realized that it's not a seething anti-semitic rant, as it's been characterized in the news and among politicians – in fact, the piece makes at least two sympathetic and direct references to the Holocaust.

The poem is, however, a strong indictment of some others; it pulls no punches, and it delivers its message with passion. For that, it receives the same kind of treatment as the movie “Boyz in the Hood.”


Year-end Glimpses
Through the afternoon and evening of New Year's Eve, certain images played repeatedly on the news channels. I don't think I'll remember what they were a few months from now, much less a year from now, but it is interesting to stop and think about what was being pumped into the collective psyche on the eve of this new year.

• The Secretary of Agriculture' talking head with the caption “Agriculture Officials Defending Meat Supply.” That one's actually a cool double-entendre. Defending the meat supply is their job, and what the headline is really trying to say is that they're defending their actions regarding the meat supply.

• Helmeted and Kevlar-jacketed cops with menacing weapons inspecting Times Square in preparation for the big ball dropping. Times Square became a militarized zone, and record crowds showed up. Go figure.

• Footage of a pathetically spastic cow stumbling around a pen. Subtext- this is what Mad Cow Disease (BSE) does to you. A related clip that ran in the last few days was an interview with someone who ate some of the ground beef that's suspected of being tainted with BSE. The woman said she's not worried, and she's going to continue eating beef. I doubt that ranchers could get a better cheerleader.

• Saddam's hirsute “dental check-up” movie. Rule #1 when fighting an image war: always show the enemy in the most unflattering light. Don't make them too pathetic, though, because America loves an underdog.


Those industrious spammers
are cashing-in on the spirit of New Years' resolutions. My in-box included a message that came in at 4:40 this morning with this subject:

Experience Rock Hard Erections for the New Year

I guess that's one way to turn over a new leaf.

[ link | e-me ]

Thursday, January 01, 2004
8:09 PM      

Happy 2004!

The week between Christmas and New Year's always seems to move with greater vitesse than the normal week, which have all begun to feel surprisingly short to me in the last few years. And so, in a flash, a new year is upon us!

I hope that this year is an exceptional one for everyone. A year when we see the cycle of violence broken in some corner of the world. A year when something greater than greed or world dominance prevails. A year when humanity reasserts its importance. A year when passion, rather than fear, is the dominant motivator.

Between last night and this afternoon, I was struck by how many people said “Happy New Year.” It's a strong tradition. People wearing their silvery hats, coming back from parties all over town, where Champagne corks flew, and noise-makers blew were saying that to complete strangers. It's as if the collective consciousness, if only briefly, yearns for something better than more of the same. When we say that phrase, it's as if we really are wishing for something special to happen in the next 365 days.

Around three in the morning, we saw a car with its hood pushed in being loaded onto a flatbed truck. The driver had crashed, maybe into a light pole. We hoped that no one was hurt. Not an auspicious start to the new year for the unknown driver. I plan to have 2004 be an “up” year for this household.


Together Again

Tyra, Kevin, Dianne, Lyle

We managed to combine New Year's Eve and Christmas into a single fun event this year. My brother Kevin and his wife Tyra came in from Texas, and my other brother Lyle and his girlfriend Dianne came in from Ohio and Indiana. Thanks to work and family schedules, we didn't get to spend a lot of time together, but the time we did have was nice.

I tried to take the gang over to Chelsea to see some art. Had no idea that most of the galleries would be closed on New Year's Eve. We ended up going bowling at Chelsea Pier. That was a hoot, and it was noticeable that all of us were very supportive of each other. The game wasn't about sibling competition at all, though I think we have managed better than many to put our sibling issues behind us some time ago.


I have no idea

what this says, or even what language it's in. Mmm hmmm – like I'm going to bother opening it to find out.


Drat! Joshua Davis' Flash course at SVA is already full.

[ link | e-me ]

Tuesday, December 30, 2003
1:00 PM      

From: Daniela Gioseffi
Subject: Fwd: Memorial to Enid Dame, her poem for remembrance...
Date: December 29, 2003 10:02:03 PM EST

Enid Dame, good person and poet, writer and teacher, died of complications from pneumonia on Christmas Day, Dec. 25th, 2003. Her book of poems Stone Shekhina was published by Three Mile Harbor press this past fall. For nearly 40 years she edited, with Donald Lev, Home Planet News, and she was a loved member of the New York poetry community for as long. I offer this pointed poem by Enid Dame in memorial, and in memory to her lively spirit and her very human poetry. She had given me permission to use "BULBS" on my web page: so I share it with you now, in memorial. Read and remember.

Fondly to all who knew her,
Daniela Gioseffi

BULBS by Enid Dame
--for Patricia Fillingham

You gave me six daffodil bulbs
to plant in my upstate front yard,
letting each one stand for an unrescued name
entombed in the Tower wreckage.

I carried the box to my mountain,
set to work with a shovel.
It proved slow going,
that ungiving October day.

One of the bulbs had split:
two bodies joined at the stem.
I thought of those mythic co-workers
who held hands before they jumped.

My shovel kept finding rocks
or pieces of Catskill bluestone.
Finally, I grubbed out six holes.
I propped one bulb in each cavity.

Then clawed at the compost heap,
hoping to strike riches:
black earth busy with slick worms,
mother's moist fudgecake batter.

But luck wasn't with me that day.
My yield was a thin brown
mix from a grocery box.
I trickled it over the bulbs,

thinking of other gravesides:
the ritual shovels of earth
jaggedly hitting the casket,

our last conversation
with our well-known dead.

I thought: I'm burying six people
I probably never knew,
their bodies unfound their names amputated.
All we'll have is six flowers,

if they actually bloom next Spring,
if we're here to see, to remember.


Like Found Poetry
I got a bit of spam under the subject "amsterdam" today. It's a piece of work – you just have to read the copy (carefully) for yourself (I added italics for emphasis):


Genierc and Super Viarga (Caiils) available online!
Most trusted online source!

Cilais or (Spuer Vagira)
takes affect right away & lasts 24-36 hours!

Genierc Virgaa
costs 60% less! save a lot of $.

Both products shipped discretely to your door

Hmmm... can you really trust anyone who types that badly?

The really strange part of the message appears at the bottom, though. A "Not interested" link appears, then this strange list of words...

needlework paranoid earwig input barbell derbyshire sainthood chipmunk barrington iconic devolution mathias converse harelip indiscretion handbook de erotic intimater assignee approximable ross pharmacist jocose feb expropriate mutatis pecuniary flea astarte astigmatic platte root commendation du canada hammerhead piotr
parsonage bridgeable osteopathic arkansan flammable gentry disney herman bounty headsmen collector industrious committing bond cutler patriarchal edible granulate hostler ignoble allegheny carolinian gallstone hydroxide chalky kernighan reversible betty
discussion bellboy fly bust messy dusty ar brest rajah alba riverside holstein apple executive cauchy if epidemiology gaugeable athabascan heine corn commercial hydrochloride inoculate aldrin anaerobic chromatin omission cowbell fragmentary district eight car literature
quality gasohol mandate cotyledon flycatcher flair camino refereeing rectangular checkpoint alderman sainthood eventual citrus olive ft
grind elfin elsevier inbreed gemstone hydrophobic hatred homeland eohippus sari hydrophobia carleton cordial betsy fundraise charismatic nina milestone sire adjectival harmonica ge circumscription chummy meetinghouse hausdorff reminisce lev biography
abnormal cation len rent pdp relic emissivity munich sinh shelter adhesion blockage fisk clergymen hawaiian barefoot shuffleboard bucketfull diddle edna apport bag ablution aerate sedulous obscene grub demon regretful agree epiphyseal hath denton citrate germantown essex
browne penance inert escapade aldrich crayon roseland exponent bottle business aylesbury graves imagen cursory gratitude extendible lesson
blockage aires mardi pass kindred domingo degassing albacore aurochs centennial auerbach dunk epsilon obsolete ache cheekbone ramrod gregg
heritable ground hellbender connivance enthalpy circumcision canvass hawkins garibaldi discus honest merck fibrosis collegian epiphysis flanagan jim downtrend dahl bashful devon hue shrivel middleman exhaust econometrica common casteth appropriable consanguine gibe epidermic insufferable catalogue antisemitic
flash agnomen rhodolite begging haitian fifteenth halverson hypothetic grave boatmen promenade mao ifni blaspheme passe inputting emery quadrupole cog mop

... maybe it's some kind of incantation. Read it out loud repeatedly for best effect.


Just Spell My Name Right
Melissa Harrington of Lincoln Nebraska got a ticket for appearing nude inside the Marz Intergalactic Shrimp and Martini Bar. They didn't catch her naked at the bar, they saw her pictures posted on the web.

The bar owner says he's upset, and that he's the one who called the police to complain about the pix. I wonder how it is he knew to look there.

The AP story goes on to detail that Melissa has a day job doing web design for a local bank, and lists URLs for two of the porn sites she's affiliated with.

Melissa faces a potential fine of $500 and up to six months in jail. In the mean time, I figure her sites will see at least a brief spike in traffic, thanks to the publicity. The Marz bar might not do too badly, either. On the other hand, bankers tend to be pretty conservative – I wouldn't be surprised if Melissa's employers find a convenient reason to let her go.


– Taschen's 1000 Favorite Web Sites is. It's a massive collection of screen shots and URLs. It's not deep on context or explanation, in fact it barely has any, but it's worth a browse, when you're looking for inspiration.

Critics can say that the book is purely about surface, but then it's rare to be exposed to that much surface in one place. Since the book is titled favorite web sites, I'm not even sure that the editors hold these screen shots out as examples of good design, much less best design; perhaps they're just samples of sites that are somehow organically catchy to the staff. Maybe they're acknowledging just how arbitrary so much design “critique” really is. I certainly applied my own filters to the images I was presented with, focusing in on the designs that were most interesting or compelling to me.

Now, the work starts – visiting the sites to glean more about their intent and design. Of course, I started typing in some of the URLs from the book, and some sites have already changed or gone missing. Such is the nature of the web.

[ link | e-me ]
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