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Showing posts from October, 2012

Dr. Seuss's Sandy

This came to me via a Shelf Awareness facebook share of a Bookish tumblr:

And then, after the storm swept through, journalist Bill Hangley and poet Pattie McCarthy shared these photographs from The Atlantic. Musician and bookseller Bill "Bile" Greene has also led me to some alarming images from lower Manhattan:

Stay as safe and warm as you can. 

new issues, new horizons

The September/October print issue is out and about, sporting "A Scottish Dizzen," and much, much more! Thank you, Dr. Daniel Peaceman for everything you are doing in this transcontinental literary world.

In my own literary way, I've been living vicariously through The Paris Review's interview with the Italian writer and publisher Roberto Calasso. If only all of our writing lives could be as charmed as his. Here's an excerpt from Calasso on a Kafka in his library:

And this is the first book that Kafka ever published, Betrachtung. There were eight hundred copies. In one of his letters, he mentions having gone to a bookshop to see if anyone had bought the book and realizing that, of the eleven copies sold, only one had been bought by someone other than him.

I hope everyone has a relaxing and healthy weekend.

toss up?

John Cassidy at The New Yorker, a magazine endorsing Barack Obama, seems to indicate that the race is as close as some recent polls indicate. His map still tilts toward an Obama victory and yet his writing acknowledges that some of the states leaning blue could very well wind up in the hands of Romney.

On the radio on the ride to Ohio, aside from NPR, whose experts both predict an Obama victory as at least 70 percent likely, almost all of the talk radio is unabashedly right wing to ostensibly neutral, that comes across as right wing when a Democrat (or this Democrat) is in charge.

Larry Kudlow, a bow-tie throwback money guy who will communicate in a friendly way with cohosts across the political aisle, seemed to be the only conservative acknowledging that the Obama victory is still the likely occurrence.

And then there is the conspiracy theory or legitimate questions surrounding Tagg Romney's purchase of voting machines that will be used in Ohio.

So it feels like everything is up…

God's hair?

"I'm not a Bible-thumper, I am a Christian, but I really feel like God's hand shaved my head. I really do … If Dolly had not lost her hair - or chosen to shave her head - I never would have found this … ," he said.

And so another one of us answers the call of cancer.

Best wishes and health to Bud and Dolly Stringer.

another home for the homeless adjunct

Debra Leigh Scott's "How The American University was Killed, in Five Easy Steps" was picked up and retitled at So Debra is fighting her way through the capitalist thicket of her "edupreneurship," and it appears as if she is making progress. My understanding is that she very much needs to get a profitable movie deal, big league book contract, or some other such financial reward from all of her hard work "saving" other people's faculty or students, and I'm sure millions of people she is fighting for could use some extra bucks, health coverage, and more. It would be a wonderful thing if all of her work ultimately does help level the economic playing field for students and teachers at American universities, but it's all important to recognize, and help publicize, that there are some programs in place to help both of these groups.

I guess it takes a lot longer to read a novel on the subject, and that could be one reason Fight for …

Philadelphia wandering

I flew in on remarkably small planes from GSP to Dulles to Philly and a few hours later, I was visiting my older sister and her family in always sunny University City. After we all ate at an Indian restaurant, I walked back through Penn and Drexel's campuses and saw new buildings and construction all over. The University of Pennsylvania had a whole bunch of new restaurants where I used to frequent the other movie theater as a kid. It was either the Eric III on Campus across from the library on 40th or the G-- on Walnut. But that was so many years ago and now even the Marathon Grill that replaced the Burger King is long gone. It seemed like a happy, healthy, economically stimulated area on an early Saturday evening, far removed from any evidence that American median incomes have slipped by four grand over the past four years or that our median family is worth 77K. It's probably bad form to bring all that up, yeah, I know.

So I walked down Walnut in the colder-than-I-thought-it-…

you said that's a Prize for Peace?

I wasn't thinking of all the different points Tariq Ali makes in this interview, but in light of the current austerity in Greece and Spain and European Union's extremely high unemployment rate, I was surprised and confused when I heard the news that the E.U. has won the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.

Mo Yan, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, is getting much stronger praise, at least from this expert in Chinese literature. Smith College's Sabina Knight says, "If you want to know why I love Mo Yan, just read anything by Mo Yan. His works seethe with a life force, and his grappling with human aggression transcends national borders. His works shed light on the dark depths of our psyches, a darkness on which China has no monopoly."

I like to think she wasn't speaking of my recent ice-cream intake when she notes that we all have darker depths than we care to recognize.

ah, the brutality

Marcus Hayes, along with the comments that follow, pretty much sums up the brutality, angst, glory, forgiveness, sin, exploitation, joy, pain, love, and numbness of most of the human condition.

Here's the link if you want to learn more about how Ricky Watters helps the kids.

I guess we'll begin to see assessment of how well these football camps for underprivileged kids are protecting the brains and joints of such, but for now, we can just appreciate the idea of Watters as the hardworking good man.

Makes me feel like I should scurry back to my own tasks.

more homelessness

This blog depicts a national war against the homeless, focusing mainly on aggressive city ordinances until toward the end it implies there could have been foul play involved in the death of an advocate for the homeless in Tampa Bay, Florida. The obituary I found seems quite legitimate though and doesn't suggest anything of the sort. One thing is clear though, that Bill Sharpe's passing will not in anyway help the homeless of Tampa Bay. Here's an excerpt from the obituary:

But his friends say Sharpe had a genuine concern for the poor, and as the economy got worse — and a panhandling limit in Tampa seemed more like a sure thing — he felt he had to do something.

Sharpe told the Times he saw how the often-bedraggled homeless people on street corners sometimes frightened drivers. He thought he knew why.

"They could be us," he said. "We're flat scared of that."

Ridge Avenue

I remember driving by this Ridge Avenue homeless shelter many times on my way to 8:40 a.m. Writing for Business and Industry classes at Temple University. In one of my 10 to 15-year-old economy cars (quality "hoopdees" for all your urban transportation needs), I'd glance to the left, see the men already standing outside, and be grateful I had an apartment, a fine collection of adjunct "opportunities," a working car heater, and more. If I'm not mistaken, Sam Katz once visited and spoke to the men during one of his failed mayoral bids.

And now, poof, the shelter disappears. . .

. . . or, rather, it has been replaced by another Stephen Starr joint, in this case, a catering operation employing 60 people (but the article states none of the previous tenants applied for work at the new venture).

Here's an excerpt from the news:

However, with Gov. Corbett's decision to cut off of general-assistance money to 30,000 Philadelphians in August and with the appro…


i've decided to add some austerity to my own life. although i have not yet determined exactly how this will be done, i'm leaning more toward cutting back on capitalization as opposed to reducing the ice-cream intake. the ice-cream intake is nothing to be proud of, but i just don't feel it right or proper to radically alter my diet in these troubling times. someone's got to keep the cows and scoopers employed, and i'm not sure i could handle the stress of significant change. status quo has gotten me this far, and i do often at least try to walk it off in the evenings.

in other news, i've found a little local charity i'm jonesin' to contribute to. contribute 44 meals for $11. yeah, sounds too good to be true, and we can be certain they won't be eating the same ice cream i'm eating, but all the same, i liked the little note and the small envelope, and i think i'll write that $11 check right now. of course, i haven't yet sent Oxfam anything …