Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oh Leap Year You Sly Devil...

...and the liberties you take with poor February!

As tomorrow is March 1st I have, for your (potential) reading pleasure, posted two of my very own short poems to the Poetry page off to the right - "Would You Lay With Me in a Field of Stone" and "Sour Mash Woman".

(Always be closing...)


Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Untitled Jackson Pollock (Detail)"

An original IBL photograph taken Friday evening, February 24th, 2012 in the men's room of the 5 Point Cafe, Seattle, WA.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Upon Learning That Dave Mustaine of Megadeth Is Just Really Dead Set Against Gay Marriage

So you may have seen that, recently, right here in Seattle, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth (and formerly Metallica) was asked his thoughts on gay marriage (why I'm not sure, but asked he was). His response, in essence, was that, as a Christian, he didn't support it. But he also said something else that was, to my mind, both very interesting and very dumb (and I mean separate from his "citizens better start prepping to wear red as long as George Soros is Obama's mentor" comment (bonus clue - Commies wear red)). In answer to a question about whether he supported the new marriage law here in Washington State he said, and this is a direct quote, "Since I'm not gay the answer to that would be no." To which I have to say (and this is also a direct quote), "Huh?"

I mean let's say that somebody doesn't support gay marriage because they believe that gay marriage is against a tenet of their religion. Okay, I can understand that even if I disagree with it; and, of course, I'm going to do my part to make sure that a particular religion's particular views on certain social issues don't deprive some American citizens of their fundamental equal rights. But "Since I'm not gay the answer to that would be no"? Why is one thing pinned to the other? ("Since I'm not gay the answer to that would be yes" would make as little sense to me.) I, personally, am not old or disabled, but I certainly want to make sure the elderly and the disabled are treated fairly within our society. Am I supposed to believe that Dave Mustaine of Megadeth (and formerly Metallica) would be against legislation geared toward protecting the equality of these (at times) vulnerable populations simply because Dave himself is neither disabled nor old? Truthfully, I have no idea; maybe he's a raging, selfish asshole and that's exactly how he'd answer. But I'd be willing to bet that, if not speaking up in support of such legislation, he certainly wouldn't be as vehemently opposed to it as he is toward gay marriage. More pure conjecture on my part - he might even site his Christian faith as a reason why he supported these other pieces of hypothetical legislation.

Everybody in, nobody out...


A Photograph of My First Martini of the Evening (Thursday, February 23rd, 2012, Little Red Hen, Seattle)

Right, I get it. I can't post to this blog endless photos of the endless Martinis I may or may not (may) consume in the lovely city of Seattle or elsewhere. I understand that could get repetitious, and might drive away a fair amount of my "web traffic". But, you know, on occasion I might; I just might...

And, so, the first Bombay Sapphire (no vermouth, no garnish) from last evening, artfully prepared at the Little Red Hen by Shorty. And, yes - those are Shorty's jean-clad legs in the background.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Loving Her Was Easier Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again", Kris Kristofferson

Another great song from Kris, and one of his best vocals, I think. From a performance about 40 years old...

Loving Her Was Easier...


Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Did Not See That Coming (Little Red Hen, Seattle, Evening of Saturday, February 18th, 2012)

Last night Danielle and I were sitting at the end of the bar in our reserved spots (because, quite honestly, that's how we roll) waiting for Knut Bell and the Blue Collars to take the stage at the Little Red Hen. Earlier in the evening, I had a brief conversation with a perfectly adorable bartender/cocktail waitress named Cory (spelling unconfirmed; in truth there are many adorable folks working at the LRH, both male and female) in which I discovered she is getting her MFA in Poetry from the University of Washington. I mentioned that Danielle and I had MFAs from the University of Michigan. Later, Cory came up behind us and, after a moment or two of MFA chat, she began to recite an Elizabeth Bishop poem (One Art). Now, Miss Bishop happens to be one of Danielle's absolute favorites, so that was a nice surprise; but more than that, the notion that we could be in a country bar waiting to see country music and one of the staff would begin reciting an Elizabeth Bishop poem, well, I have to say that we did not see that coming. When I commented on this to Cory she simply said, "That's what makes the Little Red Hen so special." And so it is.

A small taste of Knut Bell...

And a small taste of Elizabeth Bishop...

Suicide of a Moderate Dictator

This is a day when truths will out, perhaps;
leak from the dangling telephone earphones
sapping the festooned switchboards' strength;
fall from the windows, blow from off the sills,
—the vague, slight unremarkable contents
of emptying ash-trays; rub off on our fingers
like ink from the un-proof-read newspapers,
crocking the way the unfocused photographs
of crooked faces do that soil our coats,
our tropical-weight coats, like slapped-at moths.

Today's a day when those who work
are idling. Those who played must work
and hurry, too, to get it done,
with little dignity or none.
The newspapers are sold; the kiosk shutters
crash down. But anyway, in the night
the headlines wrote themselves, see, on the streets
and sidewalks everywhere; a sediment's splashed
even to the first floors of apartment houses.

This is a day that's beautiful as well,
and warm and clear. At seven o'clock I saw
the dogs being walked along the famous beach
as usual, in a shiny gray-green dawn,
leaving their paw prints draining in the wet.
The line of breakers was steady and the pinkish,
segmented rainbow steadily hung above it.
At eight two little boys were flying kites.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Inspired Emulation (or shameless aping)

MM: Though I was late in reading through them all, I was inspired by your '30-in-30' and was wondering whether it was a project you'd mind seeing replicated by others here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Here Comes That Rainbow Again", Kris Kristofferson

He may not be the greatest singer we have, and God knows he isn't the best actor, but Kris Kristofferson has written great song after great song for years and years, and IBL is happy to spotlight some of them over the coming weeks and months (Small Faces on the back burner for now).

You are likely familiar with Sunday Morning Coming Down, a huge hit for Johnny Cash; For the Good Times, a huge hit for Ray Price; and Bobby McGee, a huge hit for Janis. I'd like to focus on some songs that are, to my mind anyway, less familiar but equally brilliant, like this one.

Here Comes That Rainbow Again...


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Always Be Closing

In a post on 1/3/2012 I discussed my goal of completing one piece of art each day in this calendar year. My progress as of 2/15/2012 (46 days into the year)? Well, I have 42 separate pieces completed - crosses on cocktail napkins and coasters, natch (though now enhanced, often times, by a torrent of black raindrops); but, also, a completed story about a gentleman in a white suit visiting a little Mexican boy, some essay-work, some mixed-media stuff AND my timeless photos of hot sauce in the snow (and who wouldn't want to see these? I sure need to sort out how to post photos to enhance your IBL pleasure). Also, I have three new pieces that will be finished by C.O.B. today (and then Danielle and I are having dinner at the fine restaurant Nell's down the street), and that will leave me one down for the year. So I'm in pretty good shape, thank you very much, and can only reiterate that if you'd care to report on anything you're working on I'd love to hear about it and/or discuss it...



Monday, February 13, 2012

Fictional Lesbian Pairings (VI)

Marian, Madame Librarian, gets all dewy over Joan of Arc; la fille fairly burns for her fair maid.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"You've Really Got a Hold On Me", Small Faces

Marriott on lead vocal.

You've Really Got a Hold On Me...

Two Questions

When was the last time you heard someone say they were going to "get blotto"??

What are your most liked and least liked Coen Brothers films?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Monty Dicksion Has Found IBL

I posted a short piece in these pages on 1/5/12 titled Christians Aren't Perfect, Just Forgiven. Several people I know responded. But, then, last week, I found a comment awaiting moderation from Monty Dicksion. In his comment (nine or ten words) he indicated I had misperceptions about Christianity (or perhaps his comment was directed at one of the other comments? Not 100% certain either way). There was no analysis to go along with his criticism, no attempt to "enlighten" in any way. Of course I posted Monty's comment, then sent him a follow-up note welcoming him to IBL, and encouraging him to go a little deeper. Nothing so far, but I hold out hope...

That's the background, but here's the point - I know people who comment on this blog, and I know people who follow this blog without necessarily commenting. Outstanding either way. But the common denominator there is that I know the people. Monty Dicksion I do not know. Which means Monty was out there on the inter-web searching for this, that, or the other thing and somehow stumbled upon my humble blog. I can't begin to tell you how happy that makes me.

Onward and upward...


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Box Score from My First Baseball Game, Boston @ California, 6/13/73

I was not a member of the La Habra, California Boys' Club but had friends who were, and one night in June of 1973, when I was nine years old, I was invited along with several other boys to attend the first baseball game of my life, Boston Red Sox vs. California Angels at Anaheim Stadium. We had a black and white television at home and I watched as much baseball as I could; now, the thing I remember most vividly inside Angel Stadium that evening was my first glimpse of the grass, and how beautifully green it was, the most beautiful green I'd ever seen.

There is a website ( doing the Lord's work - it has information on all baseball teams, players, trades, rule changes and a million other things INCLUDING complete box scores back into the 50s (and some even further back than that). So it occurred to me a couple of years ago that I could find the box score for the first game I'd ever been to, and I've attached a link to it here.

Wednesday, June 13th, 1973 - California Angels 7, Boston Red Sox 5 (@Anaheim)

As someone who has now been watching baseball for 40 seasons, a couple of things stood out for me which I'd like to share. And, of course, should you care to track down the box score for a game you attended in the way distant past and share that here, well, I'd love to talk about it (Jim Ciulik - THIS MEANS YOU!).

First, with regard to the Red Sox -
  • I was a Tigers' fan then (and now - more on that in the next post) and didn't really understand the concept of the National League; I was somehow unaware there was another team to the west of us in Los Angeles (though that would change in 1974 when the Dodgers went to the World Series). I wound up becoming a big Dodgers' fan in 1976, and as a teenager my favorite Dodger was Reggie Smith, and here's Reggie batting second in the first game I ever attended.
  • Fisk behind the plate, Yaz at 1B. Enough said, really.
  • Cepeda at DH; 1974 would be his final year.
  • Tommy Harper in LF.
  • Aparacio at SS; 1973 would be his final year.
  • And, just starting out, Dwight Evans in his first full season.

And, for the Angels -

  • Sandy Alomar at 2B. His boys Robbie and Sandy Jr. played major league ball and they're both retired now.
  • Frank Robinson at DH. Enough said redux.
  • Behind the plate Jeff Torborg who, of course, went on to be a fairly successful major league manager for a number of years, and then a television analyst (and caught two of Nolan Ryan's no-hitters, as I recall).

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pitchers and Catchers

Less than two weeks.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

"The Lives of Ordinary Americans", Paul Krugman, 2/3/12

(Regarding Mitt Romney)

"But the dishonesty of his initial claim aside, how could a candidate declare that safety-net programs do no good and declare only 10 days later that those programs take such good care of the poor that he feels no concern for their welfare?"

The Lives of Ordinary Americans...


Saturday, February 4, 2012

"Wine Me Up", Faron Young

To my mind, a great country song. I believe Mr. Young has a fine voice, but I will admit that, in the case of this 2:19 video clip, it's better to listen to him - I'm pretty sure that shirt and tie don't match; I'm pretty sure his hair is plastic; I'm pretty sure I don't need to see him wink at the camera again or make any of those arm motions...

Wine Me Up...


Friday, February 3, 2012

Fictional Lesbian Pairings (V)

There's a royal wedding in the works and the tabloids are all abuzz - Mary Queen of Arkansas + Mary Queen of Scots. (Jars of corn liquor and bottles of Talisker complimentary to all invited guests.)


"The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret"...

... is the name of a television show on, I believe, IFC (though made in conjunction with BBC Television). I hadn't heard of it at all until last week. The first six episode season is available, streaming, on Netflix; the second and final six episode season is, I believe, airing now on IFC. The show stars David Cross who, among other things, was a regular on the Mr. Show and also portrayed Tobias Funke on Arrested Development. It is, technically, a comedy.

After watching the first episode of this show (the episodes run 20 minutes), I realized that I, personally, could not watch MORE than one episode during any one sitting. After watching the second episode, I wanted to re-name the show The Book of Job, but quickly realized that wasn't quite right; more like The Book of Job if God Was Not the Instigator of All the Job-Related Calamities But, Instead, Job Was Himself to Blame. To say this show is a demonstration of one man as a Human Train Wreck is likely an understatement. He says the wrong thing EVERY time; he lies; he fancies himself as smart but is, in essence, a rube; he's arrogant and crude; there is a running gag where he continually shits himself. And, yet, there is also something completely and utterly sad about Todd Margaret that Mr. Cross manages to convey. (Also, fine work from the supporting players including Will Arnett, Sharon Horgan and ESPECIALLY Blake Harrison as Dave, Todd's assistant, who never misses an opportunity to torture his boss.)

So, have I sold this hard enough, I wonder? It is NOT for everyone, that is clear, but I'm going to recommend you at least look at one episode and let me know what you think. I'd love to discuss it. (Oh, and if it matters? Danielle is watching, too, though it might be a little out of her wheelhouse...)


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Donald Hall on Becoming Old, New Yorker Issue 1/23/2012

There is a short and beautiful piece on aging written by the fine poet Donald Hall in the January 23, 2012 New Yorker. I would link you up to it electronically, but one has to register oneself at to access the website. So, if that doesn't interest you, maybe this issue is laying around somewhere - your hair salon, perhaps? It's only four pages and well worth your time.

(Also, Donald Hall was married to the equally fine poet Jane Kenyon who died way too young in 1995 (age 47) of leukemia. Coincidentally, two of Miss Kenyon's poems were featured here at IBL just last week in a post dated 1/28/2012.)

I would just like to say that no matter how traumatic the 70s were, they did have Soul Train. I always thought that if the benign, paternal, all loving God existed, his voice must sound just like Don Cornelius. I was quite sad in a kind of from afar way, when I heard he had committed suicide. Soul Train was revelatory, from the bubble lettering , to the pink blue and silver afro sheen commercials, to that universe of amazing music. Don is riding on the big Soul Train now.

First February in Seattle PLUS February Poem

So Danielle and I are finally in our new, permanent home in Seattle's Green Lake neighborhood. It's a one bedroom apartment and we are probably paying too much for it, and it is probably going to be a tight fit for all our stuff, but we looked out the window directly onto Green Lake and the park surrounding it (snow-covered mountains in the distance) and decided we'd give it a go for a year. So far I would have to say we are pretty fucking happy with our choice...

Also, in IBL's February poem, which you'll find off to the right on this page, Jesus and my father exchange a few pleasantries on a streetcar in Los Angeles in the 1930s. I hope you enjoy it...