Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Poetry - Enigma Or Illusion

     



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 "I don't quite understand about understanding poetry. I experience poems with pleasure: whether I understand them or not I'm not quite sure. I don't want to read something I already know or which is going to slide down easily: there has to be some crunch, a certain amount of resilience."
--John Ashbery

The above quote started me thinking about a long-time problem that has bugged me again and again, seemingly without end. The problem is that I become irritated when I read a poem that just seems to have no meaning. If I can't understand it, even though I might feel some slight emotional twinge or two, I still experience a vexatious sense of vague inadequacy; if I cannot understand the wording in a bit of text, whether from prose or poetry, then it seems to me that either the poet or the reader (me) has somehow failed. Because there is a lack of cogent communication. And communication seems (to me) to be the ultimate goal of both the reader and the writer. Or should be.

The quote seems to indicate that certain word combinations (poetry) can somehow communicate something to the reader even if the reader does not technically understand the grammatical definition of individual words and word combinations.

I have a problem believing that.

While seeking a bit of elaboration on the subject, I read a piece from the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute titled Understanding and Appreciating Poetry : Afro-Americans and Their Poetry written by Frances Pierce.

LINK:

Instead of saying I read the entire piece, I should say that I read from the piece. It contained too many subjective conjectures by the author for me to give it the credence it probably deserves.

At one point the author writes: "The word poetry almost defies definition. Part of the beauty of poetry is its elusiveness."

That makes no sense to me.

From the piece I was spurred to look up a specific  poem:

The Negro Speaks of Rivers
by Langston Hughes

I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in
   human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans,
   and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.


I do not understand that poem. But it somehow speaks to me. I think.

Perhaps someone more astute or more well-informed than I will attempt to further enlighten me.

Or maybe not.

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Did You Know . . .?

Millie the White House dog  . . .
earned four times more than President Bush in 1991.

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HISTORICAL EVENT

On this day in 1956, two years after pushing to have the phrase "under God" inserted into the pledge of allegiance, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a law officially declaring "In God We Trust" to be the nation's official motto. The law, P.L. 84-140, also mandated that the phrase be printed on all American paper currency. The first paper money with the phrase "In God We Trust" was not printed until 1957. Since then, religious and secular groups have argued over the appropriateness and constitutionality of a motto that mentions "God," considering the founding fathers dedication to maintaining the separation of church and state.

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WORD FOR TODAY

renown  [re-NOUN]
noun
1. widespread and high repute; fame.
2. wide reputation, especially of a good kind.

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CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS


(born July 30, 1947)
Arnold Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-born American actor, former professional bodybuilder and politician. Schwarzenegger served two terms as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011.



(born July 30, 1963)
Lisa Kudrow is an American actress. She gained worldwide recognition for her ten-season run as Phoebe Buffay in the television sitcom Friends.



(born July 30, 1961)
Laurence Fishburne is an American actor. He is best known for his roles as Morpheus in the Matrix science fiction film trilogy, Clean in Apocalypse Now, Cowboy Curtis on the television show Pee-wee's Playhouse, Ike Turner in the Tina Turner biopic What's Love Got to Do With It and as Furious Styles in Boyz n the Hood



(born July 30, 1956)
Delta Burke is an American television, stage and film actress. Burke is best known for her role as Suzanne Sugarbaker in the CBS comedy series Designing Women (1986–1991).

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Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
--Abraham Lincoln

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

7-29-14

     



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But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
--Lord Byron

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Did You Know . . .?

In Los Angeles there are more cars than people.

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HISTORICAL EVENT

On this day in 1958, the U.S. Congress passed legislation establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a civilian agency responsible for coordinating America's activities in space.  NASA was created in response to the Soviet Union's October 4, 1957 launch of its first satellite, Sputnik I. The 183-pound, basketball-sized satellite orbited the earth in 98 minutes. NASA has since sponsored space expeditions, both human and mechanical, that have yielded vital information about the solar system and universe. It has also launched numerous earth-orbiting satellites that have been instrumental in everything from weather forecasting to navigation to global communications.

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WORD FOR TODAY

logocide
noun
1. to kill a word or any attempt to eliminate or to destroy a word.
2. logocide refers to the destruction or perversion of meaning.

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CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS


(born July 29, 1972)
Will Wheaton is an American actor, blogger and writer, known for his portrayals of Wesley Crusher on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gordie Lachance in the film Stand by Me, Joey Trotta in Toy Soldiers, and for his recurring role as a fictionalized version of himself on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.



(born July 29, 1936)
Elizabeth Dole is an American politician who served in both the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush presidential administrations, as well as a United States Senator.



(born July 29, 1990)
Munro Chambers is an actor, best known for his role as Wilder on The Latest Buzz and his new role as Elijah "Eli" Goldsworthy on Degrassi. His identical twin brother named Thomas Chambers is also an actor.



(born July 29, 1953)
Ken Burns is an American director and producer of documentary films, known for his style of using archival footage and photographs. His most widely known documentaries are The Civil War , Baseball, Jazz, The War, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, Prohibition, and The Central Park Five.

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Words aren't only bombs and bullets -- no, they're little gifts, containing meanings.
--Philip Roth, (Portnoy's Complaint, 1969)

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Monday, July 28, 2014

7-28-14

    


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"Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood."
--Jane Yolen

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Did You Know . . .?

The people of North Korea have state sanctioned hair styles. There are 28 total choices: just 18 for women and 10 for men.

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HISTORICAL EVENT

On this day in 1945, a United States military plane crashed into the Empire State Building killing 14 people. The freak accident was caused by heavy fog. Upon impact, the plane's jet fuel exploded, filling the interior of the building with flames all the way down to the 75th floor and sending flames out of the hole the plane had ripped open in the building's side. One engine from the plane went straight through the building and landed in a penthouse apartment across the street. An 18 foot by 20 foot hole was left in the side of the Empire State Building. Though its structural integrity was not affected, the crash did cause nearly $1 million in damages, about $10.5 million in today's money.

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WORD FOR TODAY

penchant
noun
a strong inclination, taste, or liking for something: a penchant for outdoor sports.

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CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS


(July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994)
Jackie Kennedy was the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. Five years later she married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis; they remained married until his death in 1975.



(born July 28, 1957)
Scott Pelley is an American television journalist who is anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News and a correspondent for the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes. Prior to his 60 Minutes position, Pelley was a correspondent for the 60 Minutes II program and served as CBS News's chief White House correspondent



(born July 28, 1964)
Lori Loughlin is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Rebecca Donaldson Katsopolis on the ABC sitcom Full House, appearing in the series from 1988 to 1995. From 2008 to 2011, she portrayed the role of Debbie Wilson on the The CW series 90210 (2008–11, 2012), a spin-off of Beverly Hills, 90210. She is also known for portraying the role of Ava Gregory on the The WB series Summerland (2004–05), which she also co-created and produced.



(born July 28, 1947
Sally Struthers is an American actress and spokeswoman, best known for her roles as Gloria Stivic on All in the Family, for which she won two Emmy awards, and as Babette on Gilmore Girls. She was the voice of Rebecca Cunningham on the Disney animated series TaleSpin.

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"He liked the mere act of reading, the magic of turning scratches on a page into words inside his head.” 
--John Green, An Abundance of Katherines

NASA TV

   

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Guest Blogger 7/27/2014

     


Departure

I sighed as I loaded the suitcase in the truck. Another item checked itself off my mental list. Book, check. Pillow, check. Clothes, check. Birdcage, check. I walked back into the house and looked around. Nothing left on the couch to pack. I was ready.

As I locked the door I sighed again. Who'd have thought I'd be leaving behind everything I cared about on this, my twenty-fourth wedding anniversary?

I locked the door, hearing the "chunk" of the deadbolt with the finality of a jail cell door. I got in the truck and drove away without looking back.

A glorious trip beckoned, a long drive with good companionship, but even that couldn't compare with what I knew to be behind me. Tonight, as I bed down in my friend's new home, I know my husband will be spending his night in our house, alone. Even the animals won't be there.

I wonder if he will, like I did, wander through the echoing rooms, fingers lingering over a shirt, the bedcovers, a coffee cup? Knowing there are a zillion things to be done, yet doing none of them? Wondering where I am, what I'm doing right this second?

It doesn't feel like twenty-four years. Jokingly, I tell people we've only actually been together for twelve or so, since Harry's so often out. "My part-time husband," I say. Like all couples, we've had bad times, good times, hard times, and those moments we coast. We've fought and made up, struggled to make ends meet, and rejoiced in our good fortune. We've had dogs and cats and birds and mice and snakes and fish and even a few wild animals in the house, underfoot, or in the backyard. We've owned no less than eight vehicles.

We've gone through the stages of the Kid Question. When we first got married, the "thing" to do was settle in and have children. We didn't. So people would ask us, during the first couple of years, "Oh, when are you having children?" When we said we weren't, they would either shut completely up or look upon us with sympathy - obviously if we weren't having children, one of us couldn't . . . perform, right? Then for the next few years, the question was "How many children do you have?" When we said, "None," that sympathy look would reappear. How sad that we'd been married for one to five years and didn't have children, right? Then the questions no longer came for a bit. I can only guess that everyone figured it was a sore subject for us. Finally, these days, when we answer "None," the return comment is almost always, "You were so smart!"

Were we? I don't know, but it is the lifestyle we chose and I wouldn't change it. If our biological clocks ever ring the alarm bells, we can always adopt. There are plenty of kids out there who need good homes, and I feel like my home is one of the best.

I feel blessed every day when I come home to alaHouse. I have many of the good things so many people don't: a husband who loves me, a house that's been partially renovated to our specifications, my health, my job, my pets, and my life. Of them all, I value most the man who shares my world, even though we'll be spending tonight apart.

As they sang in Cabaret, "Somebody wonderful married me." Twenty-four years ago today.

Copyright 2014 Michelle Hakala
http://www.winebird.com/








   

Saturday, July 26, 2014

7-26-14

     


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NO ENTRY TODAY

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Dry Desert Storm

     



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The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
--Albert Einstein

Yesterday at 3:30 P.M. as I prepared to watch Jeopardy, a strange noise caught my attention. I glanced out the back window and saw the tree limbs being violently hurled about in a continuous gale of wind, and the desert sand just outside the fence was being blown horizontally in a miniature storm.

I ran to the bedroom to get my camera but by the time I got back outside the storm had faded into normal hot, dry sunshine. The only damage I could see was an overturned flower pot... which Eva sniffed at and snuffled sufficiently to ease her curiosity.



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Mountains In The Mist

6 A.M. 7/25/14  Tucson, AZ

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Did You Know . . .?

In 1880, the Queen of Thailand drowned even though her subjects were present at the time. Her subjects were forbidden to touch the queen.

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HISTORICAL EVENT

On this day in 2000, an Air France Concorde jet crashed upon takeoff in Paris killing everyone onboard as well as four people on the ground. The Concorde, the world's fastest commercial jet, had enjoyed an exemplary safety record up to that point, with no crashes in the plane's 31-year history. The Concorde fleet was grounded in the wake of this disaster while the cause was investigated. Concorde jets went back into service in November 2001, but a series of minor problems prompted both Air France and British Airways to end Concorde service permanently in October 2003.


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WORD FOR TODAY

curiosity
noun
1. the desire to learn or know about anything; inquisitiveness.
2. a curious, rare, or novel thing.
3. a strange, curious, or interesting quality.

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CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS


(born July 25, 1967)
Matt LeBlanc is an American actor, best known for his role as Joey Tribbiani on the NBC sitcom, Friends and its spin-off Joey.



(July 25, 1923 – July 22, 2008)
Estelle Getty was an American actress, who appeared in film, television, and theatre. She was best known for her role as Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls from 1985 to 1992.



(born July 25, 1935)
Barbara Harris is an American actress who was a Broadway stage star and later became a movie actress. She appeared in such movies as A Thousand Clowns, Plaza Suite, Nashville, Family Plot, Freaky Friday, Peggy Sue Got Married, and Grosse Pointe Blank.



(born July 25, 1976)
PHOTO REMOVED
Tera Patrick is a former American actress.

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Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.
--Zora Neale Hurston

NASA TV

   

Thursday, July 24, 2014

7-24-14

     


____________________


“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
--Jack Kerouac

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Did You Know . . .?

According to a study, couples who share housework equally are more likely to divorce.

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HISTORICAL EVENT

On this day in 1915, the steamer Eastland overturns in the Chicago River, drowning between 800 and 850 of its passengers who were heading to a picnic. The disaster was caused by serious problems with the boat's design, which were known but never remedied. The Eastland was pulled up from the river and converted into a naval vessel. It was turned into scrap following World War II. All lawsuits against the owners of the Eastland were thrown out by a court of appeals and the exact cause of the tipping and subsequent disaster has never been determined.

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WORD FOR TODAY

desiccate
verb
1. To dry out thoroughly.
2. To preserve (foods) by removing the moisture.
3. To make dry, dull, or lifeless.

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CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS


(born July 24, 1949)
Michael Richards is an American actor best known for his portrayal of Cosmo Kramer on the television sitcom Seinfeld.



born July 24, 1969)
Jennifer Lopez is an American actress, author, fashion designer, dancer, producer, and singer. 



(born July 24, 1947)
Robert Hays is an American actor perhaps best known for his role in the film Airplane! and for his role as Robert Seaver in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey.



(born July 24, 1981)
Summer Glau is an American actress best known for playing River Tam in the series Firefly and its film sequel Serenity, Cameron in the science fiction series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Isabel Rochev on The CW series Arrow.

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“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” 
--Anaïs Nin

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