Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nobody called, nobody wanted me

I forgot to turn on my cell phone yesterday.
Then, when I remembered
I had forgotten to turn it on,
I still didn’t turn it on
Until this evening.
But, nobody had called for me

No voicemails, no text messages.
Not even a list of missed calls.

I guess I’ll survive.

Do I have a choice?
Well, it seems pretty stupid otherwise.

I never thought I would appreciate
The wireless link to the outside world.

But, sometimes it relieves a bit of loneliness;
Is there anything so bad about that?
After all, farmers a century ago led our nation in suicides
Before the wireless waves of radio
Relieved the mind-numbing, stupefying tedium
Of life after dark
In the not-so-idyllic rural heartland.

So, before we overl8y bemoan
The electricity-gobbling technology of modern life,
Let us remember that many would-be Luddites
Actually do not want to make too far a trip
Back into the oh-so-idyllicized past.

Talk of carbon taxes, or traded caps,
Can be a time for reflection
At just what price we paid for our modern era,
And just what we have been paying to escape.

(It still would be nice, though,
To escape the sense, the expectation,
Of on-demand availability
Others may have of us now.
Or that we have of ourselves.)

-- Dec. 31, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

NY Phil revolts against Gilbert Kaplan

The grande dame of the nation’s symphonies has said “ the emperor has no clothes” on amateur orchestra conductor Gilbert Kaplan, who conducts only the Mahler 2nd and has parlayed himself into an expert, or self-alleged expert, on interpreting the symphony.

NY Phil musicians are doubly pissed, because Kaplan got the gig to conduct the “Resurrection” on the 100th anniversary of Mahler debuting it in America, with the same orchestra.

In fact, trombonist David Finlayson filleted and gutted Kaplan on his blog.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy 238th, Ludwig!

My musical playlist suggestion?

Here in the States, where much of country is hit by winter weather today, the Choral Fantasy. Sprightly vocal music without Christmas connections.

Then, to honor "a great man," the funeral march from the 12th Piano Sonata. Then, all of "Moonlight." Add a late-era quartet, perhaps the C-sharp minor or the Serioso.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


The last time I was in Starbucks,
I saw a quite curvaceous woman.
Judging by the degree of her shapeliness,
The neighborhood of Dallas we were in,
And some other, lesser signs.
I guessed her shapeliness had been shaped
With some sort of professional, plasticene help.
I immediately thought of Colin Powell
And his famous “Pottery Barn rule”:
“You touch, you break, you buy.”
Touch those breasts and break — what?
As I write these words, I reflect on that.
Break, or brake, an illusion? A dream? A fantasy?
And whose? Hers? Mine? A generic male’s?
Perhaps all, simmering together in a stew
Of mutual self-deceit —
Her illusion of what the surgery does for her.
My illusion of what her breasts could do for me.
Male generality’s illusion about her attractiveness.
I get to the counter; the barista takes my order.
I steal a last sideways glance while awaiting my half-caf.
The usual. No illusions about Starbucks coffee.
Or about me being all that much less plasticene
Than two D-cups briefly seen while window shopping Silicone Barn.
What’s broken?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Only in Sweden, eh? – virtual reality body-swaps

No sir, or madam, I kid you not. Using closed-circuit TV and well-known psychological and physical illusions, Swedish researchers have shown it is possible to make people like you and me think we’re in another body, even a body of the opposite sex.