Friday, August 26, 2011

04/11/1994 and My Responses Now

Is love locked in the blackness of this ink,
No. It's not locked in anything except maybe loops and transactions
of neurotransmitters.

or somehow nestled on the fibers of
Little sparkly birds "nestling" in the blingy pink
manes of shiny pink ponies! Yay!

this paper? Did the jeweler make distinct
an alloy ring, amalgam gold and love?
That's probably it.
Yes. That's it right there.

Sometimes old age and failing health make poor
the circulation of life's blood,
I suppose I could have trimmed a little
fat from the bone there. Too late now.

and rings
must then be cut from swollen finger four,
omg I did that once or twice.
Pesky little lapdog, that memory.

and words on paper meet all mortal things...
Yawn. Yes of course, because eventually
there won't be any men to breath nor
eyes to see.

Yet somewhere, in the Book of Time, there is writ
all happenings,
Yawn. omg can you believe that it is
me who wrote that? Me?!
Look! A squirrel!

all circles, joining hands
Ouch. Where's my hacksaw? Or the cheese-knife. That could do it.
and barefoot celebrations of the spirit.
Okay, so it's a comedy now.
Where's my green hosiery?

Though that is a book which we can never read,
Sheesh. That's the best line? Really?
at Weddings, everybody understands
that love is found in fulfillment of its need.
No. *That* is the best line.
Just saying.

I titled it "Where Love Is."

It was my portion of our wedding vows. We were do-it-yourselfers. I wrote a sonnet. My betrothed made a primitive painting of a couple, acrylics on paper, with a written dedication on the back. We framed it in a shadow box with glass on each side so both text and painting could be seen. It looks pretty cool suspended from the ceiling of the music room.

Well, soon it will be. We're painting the walls of an "office" room, which before that stage of its life as a room was a nursery connected to the main bedroom. We moved our Martin-Logans up there with other music stuff. It will be in turn a sanctuary (mine) and a music room shared by all of us.

I'm anticipating how good it will be to listen to these in a proper setting: out from the corners of the short wall facing into the long part of the room with me the listener about equidistant from each. For overkill I have a small subwoofer with a variable crossover frequency. Sometimes I like them in a corner, sometimes I like them along the wall between the stereo speakers.

So we have an anniversary of sorts coming up. The Anniversary of Our Second Kiss. It's not easy to explain. The first time we kissed was an accident, really. I was not brought up properly. It's as if I thought it were entirely appropriate to kiss even very remotely familiar people. We were in the same running club. That was it. Their hair went up; a situation which caught my attention and which I felt I needed to eventually address personally.

That became a reality but somewhat later on.

Then a miracle occurred.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

These Musicians Can Be Heard on NPM and BBC Radio

Camilla Tilling, soprano.

Susan Gritton, soprano.

Sarah Chang, now a prominent established concert solo violinist of the previous generation.

Violinist Julia Fischer.

Natalie Clein, cellist.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Something to Do to Earn a Slice of Pie Even Though You Suck, Or Journalism: How to Slack By and Avoid Math

"The agency [the Department of Homeland Security] has spent more than $85 million over the past eight years to transport Mexican illegal immigrants far beyond the border in a humanitarian effort aimed at saving lives by deterring migrants from making another dangerous border crossing."


"Since 2004, the government has repatriated 102,201 migrants to Mexico under the program..."

$85,000,000 divided by 102,201 is $843 and a few cents.

The Arizona Republic feature dated Aug. 21, 2001 1200 a.m., by Daniel Gonzalez, goes on to state:

"Records obtained by The Arizona Republic show that within months, hundreds of the migrants flown back to Mexico - each at a cost of more than $500 - are caught crossing illegally again." "More than $500?" Really. I do not like that. We're out more than $300 each. It must have gone somewhere. I say there's a story in this.

Then I looked at the cost of one-way flights from, say for example Tucson. According to Expedia, US Airways 2835 goes out at 5:00 p.m. today for $426.74. (Some days are cheaper.) Since it connects in Phoenix before going to Mexico City it could pick up more people there for an even less expensive ticket each.

Rut-roh. We're short a few more bucks here now. But perhaps there's an explanation.

You see, after arriving in Mexico City the returned immigrants have bus tickets to take them out into their home towns. That could account for a few dollars/pesos, and then maybe there's some hidden "processing fees." Would that get us up to an individual cost of $843 for each person so deported? It does not seem add up. Not without a proper accounting.

The article itself does not address the discrepancy in the numbers. It emptily acknowledges only this:

"But some humanitarian groups say it is a waste of money because migrant deaths have continued to rise, and the Government Accountability Office has been critical of the lack of accountability." Lack of accountability? Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

Well, that's it then. Nothing else to see here folks. Move along now.

"These are my views on the matter: the law is the law and immigrants who cross into our country illegally from Mexico will be apprehended and flown to Mexico City as soon as can be arranged, all at a profit of $300 each for me. Me me me. Just me."

(That was just me saying that.)

Of course "we have an illegal immigration problem." At least as it appears in this Arizona Republic article, it's a money-maker. And it's been graciously incentivized! The more illegal immigrants, the more flights to Mexico City, each multiplied by $300. 23,384 people just last year alone (though a record year.) Multiplied by $300? A cool $7 million; $5 million maybe after payroll and expenses. Even at half that price it's a solid business plan and growth has been the recent trend.

Nah. I have to be wrong. Maybe a bus pass from Mexico City to El Este Podunkalupe does cost $300. What with the cost of fuel and all, and Mexico is a big country.

Of course there could be an explanation, a documented and legitimate money trail that would make all the math questions go away. But conspiracy theorists nor journalists need to dig into that to make a living, apparently. That's my real problem here. Numbers are not peanuts. You cannot be allergic to them. Phones all have calculator apps now so journalists have no excuse; no excuse at all, to gloss the numbers at the heart of the story. My guess is that money goes to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to cover their costs for each detainee. A bus ride to the Tucson airport and the price of a fast meal or two. A night in the paddy.

And then a very interesting little slice of the pie that just seems to disappear somewhere, I think. Like a vapor or an apparition. But that's just the little link in the chain.

But why are we paying for all this, anyways? That's the big link that attaches the anchor to the rest of the heavy chain. Would it have taken all day for Gonzales to call staff at the Mexican consulate in Tucson and the government program providers in Mexico City to ask them why we are paying for transporting their own citizens back to them? We negotiated this with Mexico? Somebody got their axle greased. At least there's that. Another missed story line. In modern U.S. journalism this is regarded as "conventional wisdom:" seeing neither forest nor trees.

Thus spoke Percival, Dark Guardian of the Clawrovian Gates, Beyond Which Few Survive.

One more little thing from the article:

"The entire cost of transportation is borne by the U.S. government." That's us, folks. Unless you happen to have contacts in the government, a charter airline company in Tucson, and a Mexico City bus company, you're losing money on this one.

Oh wait. There's a second one more little thing from the article:

"The government is expected to spend $9 million to $11 million on the program this year, ICE officials have said."

I don't think so. Remember, it's incentivized. Personally I assure you it will cost *at least* $11 million and probably much, much more. I'd like to see an article on that in about a year. They either overspend or they don't. Either one would be an awesome story.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Dearest, the Measure by Which I Miss You

Suppose the good people of Gilligan's Island were never rescued.

They either did or they didn't. Get rescued, I mean. Maybe they did. After The Professor hailed a passing commercial ship they all returned to San Diego or wherever. La Jolla for the Howells. L.A. for Ginger. Wine country for Mary Ann. Maybe the Skipper dropped dead five minutes after landing, he was so excited. The Professor went on to publish several books and noted peer-reviewed articles on the subject of higher primate behavior in small groups; their assumption of roles based upon family models, partial group degenderization, shared power, currency, and many other issues. Gilligan, of course, took over as drummer for The Beatles.


There are two basic kinds of "I will do this."

First let's go with the "I will do this" that one person might say to anotherwhile directly confronting them at a very short distance with a powerful weapon. Perhaps a gun to the head. And then there's the other kind, like when your spouse offers to clear the table after an elaborate meal.


So getting back to the sit-com about those stranded together by the shipwreck of the Minnow...

What if they were never rescued and they all grew old with only one another on that forsaken island? Frail each and prone to illness or injury. Or possibly both. What's the best thing that could happen?

A pirate Physical Therapist crash-lands onto the island with a plane-load of contraband scooters, wheelchairs, walkers, canes and such? Really. In the sand? Oh, that's rich. As in not.

Rhymes with rich...


I propose that there should be a measure by which we calculate the level of discomfort you feel when your beloved is away. Like "For-Each-Day-Your Love is Away" as if it were an assignable value. Hold on a moment... maybe this is a very bad idea. Some things, many things, perhaps even all the minutest of all sub-atomic fields (the very foundations of reality,) are all ultimately nonassignable in values that may tend to run off towards either Infinity or Zero as a denominator.

But I do feel a discomfort. A sense of someone or something being presently missing. It's spectral. Another facet of Death. A temporary death that will soon be over, but Death nonetheless.

My dear spouse, off to a distant state for a business weekend, often says that they experience this phenomenon on just a level of feeling. As if they could sense some change in things on a super-string (or at least what they used to call "super-string,") level of fluctuation.

"Something just shifted," they'll say as they stop dead in their tracks, holding up a "hush" finger. I hear only the counterpoint in my head. And then the feral lovebirds nesting up in the palms. One of the dogs has sat to scratch at its neck. The collar jingles. Then we resume the walk.


The New Kitten Who Carries a License to Kill.


The Eighteen-pound Siamese Sumo Wrestler.

The kitten will hide among the chairs and houseplants then pounce upon one of the bigger cats like a hungry lioness taking down a stumbling water-buffalo.


For a while he just stood attentively and respectively, honorably quiet. But as the game wound down and the outcome became obvious he began trying to banter with the players.

"I used to play quite a bit," he said. "I've got a pretty good memory. Like that book you have there. I know all those games. They're good. Actually, Botvinnik has always been one of my favorite players. So rock-solid."

"You know all these games?" one of the players asked this shaggy-looking older guy with a scruffy ponytail. The player stroked through the pages of an old paperback containing Botvinnik's 100 Best Games.

"Well, I know all 1,197 catalogued Botvinnik games, including those," the messy man said. There was a moment of looks all around. Then the banter resumed, with the newcomer doing most of it. The one player was setting up the pieces on the board, arranging them in a position from the Botvinnik gamebook.

"I love Keres too," he said. "He unfortunately loses the game, probably with that move. Botvinnik never lets the White kingside into play."

"Yes, sure, but then... what game is it?" the other player pressed.

"Oh, it's from the 1941 USSR Championship. That's just after Keres as White castles queenside on his 8th move."

The two seated players began to set up the table for a fresh game when one of them said "I can't believe you remembered that. When did you learn chess?"

"My father taught me when I was a little boy," he replied.

"Was he a professional gamer?" one asked?

"No, he was a drama professor. But really good at chess. He was really good," the man said before going up to the counter when they called him for his coffee.


So you are staunchly conservative. You believe that private enterprise always provides superior products and services. You are quite a bit more than disdainful of government programs such as AHCCCS and Medicare. As a matter of admitted fact you fully support the expected attrition from AHCCCS registration by childless adults in the forthcoming months. After all, this may just be what those dumbass lazy slackers need: a good kick in their collective fat ass to finally get them pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps, eh? Weekly dialysis be damned.

You are the sort of guy who thinks that doctors are over-educated bullshit-artists. Nurses however are pretentiously under-educated amoral slackers who never answer the call light right when you need more ice and your drink has gotten just a shade too inappropriately less cool.

You are unreceptive to the fact that the policies you advocate really boil down to one thing, and one thing only, for me and my ilk: You make hospital nursing, already a difficult job, even more difficult.



The dogz and I were out on our morning stroll. Cloudy and nice. A wisp of a breeze. They stopped to inspect some moist grass. It was all still wet from last night's light rains. A woman of shall I say retirement age was setting out her bins.

She called over cheerfully "You got your pooper-scooper?" as more of an exclamation than an inquiry. Or an accusation.

I pulled a plastic bag out of my pocket and waved a friendly wave. "I always carry three," I explain earnestly, "One for each dog and an extra one just in case the need strikes."

She stood there momentarily as if I had just reminded her of something that she needed to do, then turned. "Oh. Well have a good morning then!" she said as she went back to her clean and fashionable condo.

"You also!" I offered as the gurlz and I continued.


I guess I'm the same way at work. The moment I see bullshit I call it. If nobody helps out then I bury it myself, usually in about a baker's dozen truckloads (with Union drivers) of metric tons of return-addressed bullshit. Because I'm ironic as all hell.


The hospital was having half-hour-long mandatory inservices about response to hazardous materials. They taught us how to set up a little cubical 8'x8'x8' tent made of plastic piping and tarps. They showed us a HAZMAT suit that we needed to know how to wear in case we were the ones who had to decontaminate people.

I was explaining this to The Young Person Above Them All as I drove them to school. The radio had just voiced the term "hazmat" and I sensed that an explanation would be helpful. It was. They hadn't been previously familiarized with the word.

It was a community hospital that served an area of homes, schools, and workplaces of over a hundred thousand people. Train tracks rolled right by hospital property.

"So," I asked as the presentation wound down, "If a train car tips over and spills hazardous materials all over the neighborhood, how many HAZMAT suits do we have?"

The instructors whispered among one another.

"Five," one of them replied.

"Actually six if you include this one," said another instructor, indicating the one all of us had been using during the try-on demonstrations.

"The fire department may have more that can be put to use," the first instructor said, but the third teacher, the guy who actually was from the fire department, was shaking his head "no."

"Any other questions?" asked the lead instructor before we all trundled away.

"You see," I said to The Young One Above All Others, "That's bullshit" and they commented approvingly.

"One of the things about me, TYOAAO, is that I guess I'm too sensitive to bullshit. On the one hand, that's a good thing because I can figure out what's really bullshit and then I can do something about it."

"But before you can do anything about a problem you have to be able to see it," TYOAAO said.

"You have it," I replied, and added "The problem is that there's so much of it. There's bullshit everywhere, almost."

We rode along to the school.

"Not here, though," I concluded. "Not with just us."

"Just us," they replied and then immediately they sprung back with "Justice."

"You have it again!" I said.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Two Out of Three Ain't Meatloaf

Cats and dogs have a far more sensitive and stronger sense of smell than we do, by many factors. We tend to note this phenomenon in a particular way. We marvel at the profound difference.

"Oh my," we say, "That is a very keen sense of smell indeed."

Of course.

But I would suggest another focus for us to take regarding this: for cats and dogs, the senses of smell and taste do not track one another. For example, a cat may think that a houseplant has a powerful and distinct pungent smell, but it has no problem chewing on it daily because the taste is not bothersome; probably hardly discernible.

I mean, look at the stuff they eat.

Thought experiment: You can imagine the smell. You can put yourself in that fish house and take in the aroma. The fish are well-iced and it is a cool day, but you certainly feel your sense of smell activated by just the image. Now imagine that you are a cat in that same place. The smell would be intense, vastly more so than our own experience.

Yet there is a further departure: the cat would likely try to eat some of the raw fish right then and there.

Okay, so it's a subtle point.

It seems we humans have a strong sense of taste and many of us are quite willing to invest heavily in this.


What is it called when you have conversations going on in your head but you are a non-participating mere spectator of these?

What if one of the "conversations" you are listening to is music? Just the counterpoint of that itself is pleasing to my ears.

I was going to go for a joke with that but it turned all serious/deep on me.


If the U.S. Dollar were to collapse on the world market, the first thing I'd do would be to obtain a patent and copyrights to a kind of local currency which could be used in many of the most common daily transactions. I would be The Mint. This would require a complete change of wardrobe for my part.

Maybe a long white mink coat and a flashy broad-brimmed hat.

But this is Phoenix, so scratch the mink. I wouldn't wear fur anyway. Faux fur is a hundred times more stylish, if worn in the appropriate setting. (If you do a web search for "faux fur nurse scrubs," for example, you get nothing.)

I can't believe I googled that. And my spouse came in with the dogz just as I did so. Busted.

"So, what are you googling?" they asked.


"Faux fur nurse scrubs," I timidly replied.

"Why?" my spouse above all others continued, "Do you want some?"

"Well," I pondered, "No. But I guess what I'm asking is do you think there's some kind of market for "hot nurse uniforms" even on just a costume market? Halloween and holidays? Or maybe for pornography? Aren't people doing this already?"

"Oh I'd bet," spouse above all others said, "And isn't that a wonderful thought."

"Then how would you google it?" I further asked.

Lots of unnaturally blond hair and vinyl here for example but no faux fur. Maybe there is indeed a buck to be made on this.

Christmas Nurse with red faux fur trim on their uniform. Transvestite Nurse with pastels or bolds, depending. Your call on that one. Easter Playboy Bunny Nurse could wear tight satin with faux fur. That worked once, didn't it? Isn't there a new television show coming up which reincarnates this archetype? Valentine's Day Nurse with red white and pink.

"Furry" costumes. I mean, not everyone has the time and skill to fashion their own by themselves.

"Wouldn't faux feathers and boas be a lot easier?" asked my spouse.