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1000 Black Lines

:: digital coffee stains on the paper of the blogosphere ::

Rapid River publishes another poem

With all the holiday hub-bub, I almost forgot to mention that local arts magazine Rapid River published my poem, "Abstract Painting in Blue," in the December issue. It's a short poem in a series of poems I've been writing on the topic of art theory as explained through the life of an artist.

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Merry Christmas!

Last night my family went to Westville Pub to enjoy an energetic performance by Gypsy Bandwagon. For a Christmas Eve, the Pub was busier than I thought. We arrived a little after 8 PM and there was only one booth available near the back.

Gypsy Bandwagon played lively Irish and Scottish jigs and reels, tunes that sounded a bit Bluegrass, classical piano numbers and traditional gypsy pieces. They even brought gifts to give away to people in the Pub. If you owned a dog, you won a wrapped gift. If you like the Chicago Cubs, you received a gift. If you liked the last number they played, you got a free Gypsy Bandwagon CD.

The band added original pieces here and there as well as many traditional Christmas favorites. They performed a 16th century carol which was new to me. I don't even remember the name of it, but it haunted me. I imagined a New England tavern must have sounded much like last night over a hundred or two hundred years ago.

Thinking back to how I was reared, I suspect the notion of attending a show in a pub with kids on Christmas Eve must seem odd if not a bit disturbing. My son loved the whole experience. I'm not sure if it was the ginger ale or the nachos or the bouncing on the booth seat to the music or the fact that he was up past his bed time but he seemed glad to be there. His baby brother fell asleep.

The drummer, Uncle Biscuit, came back and said hello during a quick break after "last call for drinks" was announced. He's a local cartoonist and illustrator who I know. We left shortly after that greeting--wishing him and his wife a Merry Christmas.

It had begun to rain outside as the family gathered into the car and we drove home. As we arrived home my son said, "Our home is waiting for us." I like that expression--home is waiting for us. The smell of fresh cut poplar was sweet in the damp night air as we entered our waiting home.

Today it is Christmas. The first recorded celebration of Christmas took place in Rome on this day AD 336. St. Francis of Assisi assembled one of the first Nativity scenes in Greccio, Italy on December 25, 1223. The well known Christmas carol "Silent Night" was performed for the first time at the Church of Saint Nikolaus in Oberndorff, Austria on this day in 1818. I wonder what the first Christmas celebration was like. Was there egg nog? Probably not. I wonder what Christmas celebrations will be like in a 100 years.

My family attended church this morning. Coena Domini, or Eucharist, was celebrated. In a non-denominational church they simply call it "Lord's Supper." I guess it's okay to be simple. After all, it was twelve rather ordinary, simple guys that witnessed the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. So many people I meet want to be different, want to be unusual, want to be known as an individual. What shame is there in being common? Being common is not one of the seven deadly sins.

As the elements of Eucharist were distributed, I thought about Jesus the babe born in Bethlehem. It is reported that Jesus fulfilled more than 300 prophesies. During the morning service I casually read of ten. I'm not a theologian and I'm sure there are others who know more about this than I, but I find the fulfilled prophesies amazing. I'm not a mathematician either, but the probability factor is equally fascinating. Ann Rice admits to discovering similar facts as well when she researched her recent book, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt.

What I didn't find fascinating was the small plastic cup (which resembles a urine sample cup) filled with grape juice and a crumb of broken Saltines. Considered by some Christians to be a Blessed Sacrament, I had a challenge finding anything sacred about a piss glass of grape juice and a scrape of cracker. But these are simple reminders of a greater story--nothing wrong with simple, common things.

For some reason I thought of the pale ale and nachos I consumed last night at Westville Pub. Why couldn't ale and nachos be sacred reminders of the holy truth? Maybe that's a bit sacrilegious. It was on the night that the Christ was betrayed that he shared his last meal of wine and bread with twelve common guys who were being prepared to turn the world upside down. I identified with Jesus the Christ by taking the Eucharist.

Am I more holier now than I was before? No, but it is a curious thing that such common objects represent such sacred truths. Yet, sometimes it's the simple things in life that cause the most challenges.

Merry Christmas, ya'll!

Happy holidays to you and you. Thanks for leaving seasonal greetings in the comments! Maybe some day we'll celebrate the sacraments of pale ale, nachos and mango salsa.

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Holiday bloom, timber & live music

The Christmas cactus bloomed this week--just in time for my son's fourth birthday. Even though it's been a chilly week, the Christmas cactus bloom has been quite an attraction at home.

It's been an odd Christmas Eve. I heard a chain saw while eating breakfast. Who cuts down trees on Christmas Eve? Since we don't own a television, my son and I watch two guys fall some poplars.

That was pretty exciting for a child. He wanted to know if they would cut down more trees and whether or not they would fall on our house and why do people cut down trees and do they make houses with trees and I think he asked all those questions without taking a breath.

After supper, the family is heading over to the Westville Pub to hangout and enjoy an evening with Gypsy Bandwagon. I suppose there's churches across America which are holding candlelight services or something like that. The church fellowship I frequent had a candlelight service earlier this week. It seemed nice, but I really don't know. The boys were a bit squirmy so I spent most of the service in the entrance way drawing pictures with all the other kids who couldn't sit still.

I've been pondering the Christmas story about how the Christ child was born and how it seems to be a bit sanitized. I reminded of Jackson Browne's song:
Well they call him by the Prince of Peace
And they call him by the Savior
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
As they fill his churches with their pride and gold
And their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worshipped in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

I wonder if Gypsy Bandwagon will play The Rebel Jesus as a cover song?

See, ya'll at the Pub. I'll post photos later.

Merry Christmas!

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Christmas Eve at Westville Pub

There are these ads from True that keep populating my Hotmail page when I go to check email. In most cases I just ignore them because I'm checking emails not reading ads. But today I actually glanced at one and remembered how lonely it can be for single adults during the holidays.

A friend of mine sent me an email this week to let me know his band was playing at Westville Pub on Christmas Eve. The band is Gypsy Bandwagon and "wanted to do something for the folks that have nowhere else to go for the Holiday." I can't think of a better place to be on Christmas Eve.

I came up with a Web banner ad to replace the ubiquitious True ads:

The show starts at 8:00PM and is free to the public. Gypsy Bandwagon is an "Eastern European Pre Post-Modernist Folk Revivalist kind of thang." Should be a good show. Maybe I'll see you there. Cheers! Egg nog! and all that ho-ho Merry Christmas goodness!

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Merry Christmas, reject

Listening to "The Christians and the Pagans" by Dar Williams

A few days ago I sent off a half-dozen poems to a half-dozen publishers. I got my first rejection back today--hah, Merry Christmas and all that. Last week I compared poetry submissions to a swimsuit contest for a beauty pageant which got a couple laughs and catcalls.

It wasn't a bad rejection note. In fact, the editor wrote that one poem (which he mentioned) in particular "came closest." That's cool. It's actually a poem I thought might find a place in a literary journal.

Some poems I write have a mature quality about them that seems to sing while other poems are like crazy cousins that seem dissonant (but their still part of the family). So, it's nice to have an editor affirm that a poem sings even though he can't find room for it in his publication.

Listening to Robert Earl Keen's "Merry Christmas From the Family"

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I won something!

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Yup. That's me in the red highlight. This is an odd victory. Last week I won a gift certificate from a contest during the company Christmas party. This week I won a book from inBubble Wrap which is part of 800 CEO read! What am I going to do with a book titled It Takes a CEO? I'm not a CEO. The book discusses
"[P]roblems with the business world while weaving into conversation how social trends such as lack of inner-city employment and unmotivated young people are contributing to a problematic society."

Hm, maybe this will be a good read after all.

I've been reading a lot of business management books recently due to new responsibilities at work. I have yet to derive an opinion on business writing. Most of the books are anecdotal and conversational which makes it light reading.

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The day is now the longest night-- happy Winter Solstice

From today's The Writer's Almanac:
"In the northern hemisphere, today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and the longest night. It's officially the first day of winter... The stone circles of Stonehenge were arranged to receive the first rays of midwinter sun. Ancient peoples believed that because daylight was waning, it might go away forever, so they lit huge bonfires to tempt the sun to come back... In Ancient Rome, the winter solstice was celebrated with the festival of Saturnalia, during which all business transactions and even war were suspended, and slaves were waited upon by their masters."

Interestingly, the debate over which came first Saturnalia or Christmas seems to depend on which group (neo-pagan or Christian) the intellectual is attempting to support. The role of the intellectual and historian is to examine the evidence in search of the truth.

James Grout writes:
"[A]t the time of the winter solstice (December 25 in the Julian calendar), Saturnus, the god of seed and sowing, was honored with a festival. The Saturnalia officially was celebrated on December 17 (a.d. XVI Kal. Ian.) and, in Cicero's time, lasted seven days, from December 17-23. Augustus limited the holiday to three days, so the civil courts would not have to be closed any longer than necessary, and Caligula extended it to five (Suetonius, XVII; Cassius Dio, LIX.6), which Claudius restored after it had been abolished (Dio, LX.25)."

Here's some historical context: Cicero lived from 106–43 BC. The Julian calendar was created in 45 BC. Augustus (and all the world should be taxed) lived from 63 BC–AD 14 and Claudius lived from 10 BC–AD 54.

William J. Tighe writes:
"[T]he pagan festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Son” instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians... The idea that the date was taken from the pagans goes back to two scholars from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Paul Ernst Jablonski, a German Protestant, wished to show that the celebration of Christ’s birth on December 25th was one of the many “paganizations” of Christianity that the Church of the fourth century embraced, as one of many “degenerations” that transformed pure apostolic Christianity into Catholicism. Dom Jean Hardouin, a Benedictine monk, tried to show that the Catholic Church adopted pagan festivals for Christian purposes without paganizing the gospel.

In the Julian calendar... the winter solstice fell on December 25th, and it therefore seemed obvious to Jablonski and Hardouin that the day must have had a pagan significance before it had a Christian one. But in fact, the date had no religious significance in the Roman pagan festal calendar before Aurelian’s time, nor did the cult of the sun play a prominent role in Rome before him.

There were two temples of the sun in Rome, one of which... celebrated its dedication festival on August 9th, the other of which celebrated its dedication festival on August 28th. But both of these cults fell into neglect in the second century, when eastern cults of the sun, such as Mithraism, began to win a following in Rome."

If you really want to read some history check out the Catholic Encyclopedia. The Catholic Encyclopedia establishes that the first attempt to celebrate/recognize the Advent of Christ was recorded by Clement of Alexandria around AD 200. However, the celebration was actually in May. Christmas in December, as a Church tradition, really didn't take hold until the fourth century due to Constantine (and all the world should be Christian).

So, if you're a Christianized pagan or a paganized Christian enjoy the longest night of the year with a cup of java and compare The Pagan Left to the Catholic Encyclopedia to The Annals of the World and see what you discover.

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Finalizing a manuscript

Do you think it's good to combine poesy and prose in a manuscript? I have a 64-manuscript which is just that.

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To great Americans at home and abroad

I've been delaying the publication of this post because I rarely post anything regarding the War in Iraq or other political hot-button topics. I wanted to publish it last Friday, but couldn't seem to press the "publish post" button. However, since this regards books and writers it fits this blog's niche.


Part of my cousin's Iraq story is in a book I just read. To be honest, I didn't read the entire book. I hopped from chapter to chapter searching for an account of my cousin's Iraq experience. I haven't actually seen him since I was we were children and living in the Upper Midwest, and now we're adults living in strange, different days.

The book is Crosshairs on the Kill Zone. It is a collection of military stories of snipers who participated in Vietnam as well as Iraq.
[A] new generation of true tales... including the feat of Sergeants Joshua Hamblin and Owen Mulder, who took down thirty-two enemy soldiers in a single day outside Baghdad in 2003.

I read Owen's story in Kill Zone and didn't know what to think. I had just finished reading Umberto Eco's essay "Reflections on War" from his book Five Morals in which he concludes that war is an economic and social waste. However, it is a reality that needs to be understood. He also made a resounding point by stating that intellectuals should not play the pied piper to government leaders. It is the role of the intellectual to disseminate the unglamorous truth and deliver it to decision-makers without the intellectual's personal agenda.

Owen's account, from Sergeant Hamblin's perspective, was a clinical report of what happened. I know there must be more to the story than what is in print, but I am amazed by his heroic efforts.

My position on the war itself... I did not support the invasion of Iraq. However, I know faces of men who serve on the forefront of this war. I know a boy who entered the Marines earlier this year and by late summer said it wasn't exactly what he expected. First-hand stories of what is really going on in Iraq have changed my criticism of the invasion. I agree with Senator Joe Lieberman that...
"The war (in Iraq), which arguably began as a "war of choice" has become a "war of necessity" we cannot afford to lose. The costs of victory in Iraq will be large for the U.S. But the costs of defeat would be disastrous for the U.S., Iraq, the Middle East, and most of the world.

I believe Senator Lieberman is a great American statesman for taking that stand regardless of our party's general tone on this topic.

After reading my cousin's battle story, I realize there are certain realities in this world that never change. I remember, when I was in grade school, I had to face several playground bullies. I remember one guy (and his gang) had it in for me simply because of my father's occupation--a local minister. On the last day of the school year, he and some of friends chased my brothers and me across a vacant lot and cornered us. Pushing, tripping, hurling dirt clods and rocks led to a deteriorating situation. Things looked badly for us brothers. To our relief, the older son of the apartment community manager (where we lived at the time) came to our rescue and the bullies' tucked tail and headed back through the vacant lot.

When kids fight on playgrounds there is often a more manageable response to those conflicts. When nations fight the response is devastating. Yet the reality of playground bullies and national tyrants still exists.

The U.S. Constitution took roughly a year to write and ratify and a new government, free from tyranny, was born on March 4, 1789. Many Americans look back at the founding of this nation with romantic patriotism but forget the tremendous cost involved.

Sergeants Joshua Hamblin and Owen Mulder are great Americans. Not because of their sniper skills and recorded kills, but because their job was to protect the men and women they served alongside and to liberate the people of Iraq. In a small way, they embody the apartment manager's older son. In a large way, they helped Iraqis vote last week.

I read Matt Pottinger's column "Mightier Than The Pen" published last Thursday in the Wall Street Journal on why he left the Journal for the U.S. Marines.
[L]iving in China ... shows ... what a nondemocratic country can do to its citizens. I've seen protesters tackled and beaten by plainclothes police in Tiananmen Square, and I've been videotaped by government agents while I was talking to a source. I've been arrested and forced to flush my notes down a toilet to keep the police from getting them, and I've been punched in the face in a Beijing Starbucks by a government goon who was trying to keep me from investigating a Chinese company's sale of nuclear fuel to other countries.

When you live abroad long enough, you come to understand that governments that behave this way are not the exception, but the rule.

Why does a writer go to war? In a nutshell, Pottinger said he was weary of writing about other people being an exception to the rule. He desires to be an exception to the rule in an intimate first hand way.

This country isn't perfect. As I write this, it is, December 16th. It was on this date in 1773 that the Boston Tea Party took place. American colonists, protesting taxes on tea, boarded a British ship in Boston Harbor and dumped more than 300 chests of tea overboard. What's the House-Senate working on today? Ironically, on the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, the USA Patriot Act. This country isn't perfect, but it beats the nondemocratic alternative.

Thank you, to great Americans at home and abroad.

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Winter Solstice is almost here

Last week's ice storm brought hysterics and humor (if you're a Yankee, you won't get it, it's a Southern thing...yee-haa and all that). Refugees from the ice storm stayed with us because they were without power for almost three days.

And yea, verily, with four adults and five children under one roof, I chopped much wood (see number five).

On the bright side: I have plenty of wood prepared for the Winter Solstice bonfire.

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Sketch: Another Cafe Reader

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Intellectual swimsuit contest

I'm sending off a number of poetry submissions this weekend.

The one thing I abhor about the whole process is the "write a brief bio" portion of the submission letter. I mean, shouldn't my publicist do that (not that I have one).

It's like an intellectual swimsuit contest for a beauty pageant. How do you look in a two-piece swimsuit with a tiara on your head? If you fit the definition of intellectual beauty and you've been published by notable literary magazines than you avoid the slush pile. If not, try finding another line of work.

So, here's a new bio I wrote to accompany my latest submissions. It's me in a red thong with a bright yellow Wisconsin cheese wedge on my head.
Bio: I am a cultural creative theory slut from Asheville who is considered by some a true postmodernist. I collect hard cover books in foreign languages, eat critical theory articles for breakfast, bath in Icelandic mythology and digest ancient manuscripts for light reading.

Do you think it's too over the top?

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1000 Black Lines at 10,000

The 10,000th guest just visited 1000 Black Lines on December 15, 2005 at 5:05:01 pm.

Shots Fired in the 'hood

Around twenty after nine at least four shots were heard in the neighborhood as my family was returning home from an excursion. I'm not sure if I said this or my wife, but the comment was, "Did you hear that?" My son replied yes as he stepped onto the back porch. I got everyone inside and to the opposite side of the house.

About 10 minutes later more shots were heard. This time it sounded different--almost like two guns were involved. Minutes later five squad cars barrel into the apartment community east of my home. Do you think it's time to move yet?

Update: Still don't know what's going on, but three squad cars just sped out of the apartment community and headed north. No lights. No sirens.

Update: Two, squad cars tear out of the apartment community with lights and sirens going. Do you think it's odd that I'm trying to find my digital camera to take photos?

Update: Three squad cars return to the apartment community twenty minutes later. No lights flashing. No sirens. Investigation?

Update: And do you think I'll find out anything from the Western North Carolina's news leader News 13 WLOS? No. They have nothing.

Update: Still no news. Or rather the only news anyone is reporting regards the ice storm that was supposed to hit the mountains twelve hours ago. So, far it's cold and dark but no rain or snow or "wintery mix." And no gun shots from the apartment community behind my home.

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H_NGM_N Publishes Poem

Just received an email from the editor of H_NGM_N that the latest issue (#4) is available online. H_NGM_N published my poem "Last Bus" in this issue. I'm still reading through it myself and really enjoy the company... especially, Tim Bradford's "Scope." H_NGM_N also offers merchandise (T-shirts, coffee mugs, bumperstickers and journal notebooks) which is just in time for the holidays.

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Oh, Look What the Postman Delivered

Yesterday afternoon, I received my first royalty check from my publisher. I thought about celebrating, but then I looked at the amount... it should cover this week's bus fare. I didn't expect a big fat royalty check; after all it is a small poetry book by a virtually unknown character. I do find it curious that it's delivery coincided with the birthday of American poet Emily Dickinson (she only had seven poems published in her lifetime).

Most (if not all) the books were sold through online retailers, and almost half the books were purchased in the last three months.

So, thanks to those who purchased Late Night Writing. The sophomore book cometh soon.

For those who haven't purchased Late Night Writing... it makes a great gift. Or as my brother put it: "I have it displayed in the most predominant room in the house, the bathroom. I can't tell you how many times I have enjoyed reading through this quality reading product. But a rough guess is at least once a day." No, I didn't pay him to write that.

So, next time you pick up a roll of toilet paper, remember to purchase a copy of Late Night Writing for that special room in your home. Here's a list of places where you can find Late Night Writing. It is also available at Amazon.com, Abebooks.com, Alibris, Powell's Books and Barnes & Noble.

One reviewer wrote: "Late Night Writing is easy, feeling-good reading, almost like a Rimbaud sobering up with Miles Davis over tequila sunrises at Venice Beach on a windy September late afternoon."

Another reviewer wrote: "[T]hese poems are for & of the quiet moments we mostly overlook & are doomed to lose, snapshots of what's been lost. This collection provides a kind of recollection & understanding,... in that space where we are alone with memory & desire."

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Sketch: Cafe Reader

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Fiction: From the Novel I'm not Writing

A young woman reaches down and scratches the back of her knee. She then folds her hands back in her lap under a Tea House table.

“What ever else is involved,” says an older woman. “The doula is not the primary caregiver.”

The younger woman is nodding her head politely and trying to ignore someone’s cell phone burping a digital ring tone.

“To me it’s a very beautiful thing--very natural,” the young woman says as two men walk to the front counter and inquire about coffee.

“You can create whatever you want, be a doula or a midwife -- come in as whatever you want,” says the older woman as the younger woman rubs the side of her nose then places her hand on her lap and curls her feet behind the back legs of the chair she sits upon.

The two men inquiring about coffee wear orange sneakers, the kind that says: I’m cool, I listen to alternative music, I shop at Patagonia and Goodwill. But really means: I’m a wannabe hipster. They both order black tea with honey.

“What do you see? Where are you in this scene?” the older woman asks. “Do you have any questions?”

The young woman across the table says, “Monday night I had this dream about an unsealed envelope.” She uses her hands close to her breasts as if she holds the envelope right in front of her --reenacting the dream. “It was unsealed and I wasn’t ready to open it... it was sealed, I tell you, but I wasn’t supposed to open it.”

“To me that means you need to stand your ground, be ready, be powerful in the presence of this dispatch.”

The younger woman folds her hands back in her lap and says, “The clock didn’t work... in the dream... it didn’t work even though there was this sound... a sound that kept changing through me dream, but it wasn’t the clock. The clock was broken. It’s pieces were all over the desk.”

“You’re transforming,” says the woman. “And it feels like for ever.”

“Did I say there was this sound,” says the young woman hooking her feet beneath the front legs of her chair.

“Yes,” says the older woman leaning forward. “How does this dream resonate with you?”

The younger woman slouches and rubs the back of her heal and places her folded hands on the table--wrists at the table’s edge. “How should I know. I’ve no experience in these things.”

“Maybe it’s time you discover what’s in the unsealed envelope,” says the older woman leaning back in her chair. “There’s a vacancy-- a link that needs to be made in order to complete this dream. In your sleep you’re trying to solve a problem you have not realized.”

“But there’s this peace I feel,” says the young woman using her hands close to her breasts and below her chin. “Like the manifestation is complete.”

“Or maybe you’re comfortable in your cocoon.”

The young woman stands, smiles a disappointed smile, hugs the older woman and leaves the tea house.


Here's the bonus feature: This scene actually took place in a Tea House, but I altered the dialogue due to several factors. The overheard dialogue was actually an interview. The interview made me uncomfortable (i.e it was going badly for the young woman). The young woman did discuss a dream she had but I changed those details. It was during writers group and I needed to include certain elements (i.e a strange noise and an unsealed envelope). Do you think you should discuss your dreams in an interview?

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Top 10 of 2005

Since relocating to Asheville, I've come to love a little radio station with a big playlist--WNCW. Some of my favorite programming includes: Celtic Winds on Sunday afternoons, The World Cafe in the evenings, The Spindale Cycle on Monday nights and Saturday Night House Party. WNCW is organizing the annual top 100 songs of 2005 and running the following contest:
What were your 10 favorite discs you heard on WNCW this past year? Cast your vote now and you could be one of 10 lucky winners of the Top 10 of 2005!

Cast your vote here!

I voted. Here is my list:
1. Neil Young – Prairie Wind
2. White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan
3. Susan Tedeschi – Hope and Desire
4. Over the Rhine – Drunkard’s Prayer
5. Matisyahu – Live at Stubb’s
6. Buddy Guy – Bring ‘Em In
7. Duhks - The Duhks
8. The Decemberists – Picaresque
9. Cowboy Junkies – Early 21st Century Blues
10. Calexico/Iron & Wine – In the Reins

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More Photos from The Grey Eagle Show

20 photos from The Grey Eagle event (Dec. 3, 2005) are collected in a Flickr Set.

The set includes photos of: Martha's Trouble, Ash Devine, Kimberly Summer, Vanessa Boyd & Patty Keough.

I've also added a Flickr "badge" to the right sidebar which links to the The Grey Eagle photo set.

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21 Questions Answered

Hope you had fun answering 21 questions. I was able to find three other bloggers who participated. Blue Abstractions, A Revision, Bluegression and One Word. Here are my answers.


1. Were you named after anyone? Saint Matthew.
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2. When did you last cry? A month ago when I had the stomach flu--while dry-heaving I had a spiritual epiphany which made me cry.

3. What is your most embarrassing CD? None. I defend each one valiantly.

4. Have you ever told a secret you swore not to tell? I don't recall. Do you think that's why my friends stopped calling? Seriously, the answer is no.

5. How do you release anger? I chop and split wood. You'll be glad to know I haven't chopped wood in awhile. But it sure is getting cold 'round these parts.

6. Do you trust others too easily? Trust no one (I got that from the X-Files). Honestly, I give everyone a chance to be trustworthy.

7. What class in high school do you think was totally useless? Sex education class. A lot of education, but no sex.

8. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Um, read #7.

9. Favorite movie(s): Basquiat, The Blues Brothers, Open Range, The Princess Bride, The Remains of the Day, Last of the Mohicans, Ran, Matrix trilogy, Pollock, Castle in the Sky, Howard's End & 12 Monkeys.

10. Which celebrity do you most resemble? I've been told I look like Matthew Broderick during his filming of Glory.
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11. What are your favorite colors? Black, red & gold (see paintings on the right sidebar).

12. What are you listening to right now? Manheim Steamroller's Christmas.

13. What is the weather like right now? Sunny & raining (yeah, weird).

14. Favorite Drink? Kona coffee or cold Samuel Adams Ale or Killian's Irish Red or Guinness (even my favorite drinks are color coordinated...Black, gold, red & black again).

15. Favorite Food? Chicken curry.

16. Summer or winter? Winter.
Season = Winter
You're Most Like The Season Winter. You're often depicted as the cold, distant season. But you're incredibly intelligent, mature and Independant. You have an air of power around you - and that can sometimes scare people off. You're complex, and get hurt easily - so you rarely let people in if you can help it. You can be somewhat of a loner, but just as easily you could be the leader of many. You Tend to be negative, and hard to relate to, but you give off a relaxed image despite being insecure - and secretly many people long to be like you, not knowing how deep the Winter season really is. You're the most inspirational of seasons.
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(I actually took the quiz AFTER I answered the question.)

17. Hugs or kisses? Hugs. Though, I must confess, I am fond of the hug/kiss on cheek combination received from some I know. It says, we're not acquaintances, we're friends beyond ethnic, social or economic differences.

18. Where Would You Want to Go on your Next Vacation? Norway. I read an article about Norway several months ago and it left me with a desire to visit.

19. What Books are you reading? Five Moral Pieces, by Umberto Eco; Entries, by Wendell Berry, The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, Time & Money, by William Matthews; The Lakota Way, by Joseph M. Marshall, III; A Passion for Cigars, by Joel Sherman and Religion and Wine, by Robert Fuller.

20. What did you Watch Last Night on TV? Sorry, no television in my home.

21. What's the furthest you've been away from home? Japan.


Like myself, Blue Abstractions doesn't own a TV. Bluegression, One Word and I share a similiar taste in beverages while A Revision and Blue Abstractions generally prefer water. Seems like everybody prefers hugs and reads a lot of books.

THE INDIE, December 2005

The December issue of The Indie hit the streets last week. I have a short interview/review in this issue: "Deborah Crooks' Prayer for the World" (read the article here) as well as a few photos.

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Martha's Trouble at The Grey Eagle

Jen Slocumb of Martha's Trouble

I think Martha's Trouble is my new favorite Canadian band. Interestingly, Rob and Jen Slocumb (the members of Martha's Trouble) are touring with their 10-week old child! Jen mentioned after the concert that she played her first gig three weeks after giving birth. However, she added that she doesn't recommend touring with an infant.

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Summer & Boyd at The Grey Eagle

Kimberly Summer

Vanessa Boyd

Just got back from The Grey Eagle Music and thought I'd post a couple photos from tonight's event. I'll post more later... like when it's not 2 a.m.

more photos here

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Keep Warm on a Cold Night

[Photo from inside The Grey Eagle]

Looks like it will be a chilly evening here in the mountains. Might be a great night to hangout at The Grey Eagle with friends and enjoy great local and national music and poetry (details in the previous post).

I plan to attend the event, take photos for this blog (and maybe this blog), drink a glass of merlot, write in my notebook & converse with patrons, musicians & poets.

I'm looking forward to listening to the Canadian duo, Martha's Trouble, and Laura Blackley. Local performance poets Carrie Gerstmann & Glenis Redmond should be inspiring as well.

Earlier this week, (at writers group) I wrote these lines:

"A young couple moves to the back table
Finding harbor below three black and white
Photos of another time and place--

"Where women fainted at the smooth
Peel of a jazz man's trumpet;
Where a deep baritone laugh and
Slow groove of a precussionist

"Mark a moment lined with smell of
Cigarette clouds and shuffling feet."

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Martha's Trouble & Laura Blackley at The Grey Eagle

Martha's Trouble

Laura Blackley

Martha's Trouble & Laura Blackley with special guests will be performing at The Grey Eagle Music Hall & Tavern Saturday, Dec. 3, from 6PM-Midnight.

$5 cover charge.

Special guests include: poets Carrie Gerstmann & Glenis Redmond; Ash Devine, Kimberly Summer, Vanessa Boyd & Patty Keough.

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Poets have Sex Appeal

"Creativity linked to active sex lives"
"British psychologists have found... 'Poets and artists have more sexual partners but they also have high rates of depression,'..."

This research begs the question of whether poets/artists who maintain a sexually fulfilling monogamous lifestyle have high levels of creativity and low rates of depression.

This also makes me squirm a bit because it seems these British psychologists are simply promoting a long-held, romantic stereotype of poets and artists. And stereotypes are nothing more than formulaic, oversimplified opinions.

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