Friday, August 13, 2010

Nightcap Poem: Making the Universe

Together we
created constellations

placed a star
just ... here.

Another ... there.

Formed Orion.
The Great Bear.

Bettlejuice flowed
from our fingers.

You knelt
in prayer

golden curls
cascading over your shoulders

you the perfect

"Our Father who art
in Heaven ..."

You prayed with
all the might of being
3 and a bit

10 packets later of day-glow stars
we had set the Universe to right.

by Donal Dempsy

Friday Poem: Limits

Of all the streets that blur in to the sunset,
There must be one (which, I am not sure)
That I by now have walked for the last time
Without guessing it, the pawn of that Someone

Who fixes in advance omnipotent laws,
Sets up a secret and unwavering scale
for all the shadows, dreams, and forms
Woven into the texture of this life.

If there is a limit to all things and a measure
And a last time and nothing more and forgetfulness,
Who will tell us to whom in this house
We without knowing it have said farewell?

Through the dawning window night withdraws
And among the stacked books which throw
Irregular shadows on the dim table,
There must be one which I will never read.

There is in the South more than one worn gate,
With its cement urns and planted cactus,
Which is already forbidden to my entry,
Inaccessible, as in a lithograph.

There is a door you have closed forever
And some mirror is expecting you in vain;
To you the crossroads seem wide open,
Yet watching you, four-faced, is a Janus.

There is among all your memories one
Which has now been lost beyond recall.
You will not be seen going down to that fountain
Neither by white sun nor by yellow moon.

You will never recapture what the Persian
Said in his language woven with birds and roses,
When, in the sunset, before the light disperses,
You wish to give words to unforgettable things.

And the steadily flowing Rhone and the lake,
All that vast yesterday over which today I bend?
They will be as lost as Carthage,
Scourged by the Romans with fire and salt.

At dawn I seem to hear the turbulent
Murmur of crowds milling and fading away;
They are all I have been loved by, forgotten by;
Space, time, and Borges now are leaving me.

by Jorge Luis Borges

Coffee Break Poem: Heart Valve

They told me there’d be pain

so when I felt it,
sitting at my beat-up farm desk

that looks out glass doors

onto the browning garden—plain sparrows
bathing in the cube-shaped fountain

so violently they drain it,

the white-throats with their
wobbly two-note song

on the long way south still,

and our dogs
out like lights and almost

falling off their chairs

freed of the real-time for awhile
as time began for me

to swell, slow down, carry me out

of all this almost
to a where

about as strong a lure as love.

by Elizabeth Arnold

Coffee Break: Good dog

Writer's Block: iQuit

A designer left a note on his computer at the office. This is just one of 'em.

For the rest, click here.

Shoebox also comes out with a list of other (more legal) ways to quit your job.

* Tattoo “I” on one buttcheek and “Quit!” on the other. Drop pants.
* Giant foam middle finger
* Well, first you’ll need 200 squirrels and the key to the supply closet…
* Two words: mariachi band
* Wrap towel around fist, punch timeclock
* Google your hot coworker… without a computer
* Streak the cafeteria. Stop to make a salad.
* Sing “I Believe I Can Fly” while riding your swivel chair through the lobby
* Forget to flush… for a month
* Re-create the closing scene of An Officer and A Gentleman, with yourself as Richard Gere and your cat as Debra Winger
* Engage your boss in an hour-long game of “I know you are, but what am I?”
* Commandeer the warehouse forklift for a trip to Hardee’s
* Respond to every customer question with “That’s what she said!”

And since we're on the topic of quitting, here are some tributes to ex-Jet Blue employee Steven Slater.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Why money can't buy happiness

Are you unhappy? Maybe it’s because of all that money you have. Jonah Lehrer of Wired’s The Frontal Cortex blog explains:

Once we escape the trap of poverty, levels of wealth have an extremely modest impact on levels of happiness, especially in developed countries. Even worse, it appears that the richest nation in history – 21st century America – is slowly getting less pleased with life. (Or as the economists behind this recent analysis concluded: “In the United States, the [psychological] well-being of successive birth-cohorts has gradually fallen through time.”)

Needless to say, this data contradicts one of the central assumptions of modern society, which is that more money equals more pleasure. That’s why we work hard, fret about the stock market and save up for that expensive dinner/watch/phone/car/condo. We’ve been led to believe that dollars are delight in a fungible form.

But the statistical disconnect between money and happiness raises a fascinating question: Why doesn’t money make us happy? One intriguing answer comes from a new study by psychologists at the University of Liege, published in Psychological Science. [...]

The Liege psychologists propose that, because money allows us to enjoy the best things in life – we can stay at expensive hotels and eat exquisite sushi and buy the nicest gadgets – we actually decrease our ability to enjoy the mundane joys of everyday life. (Their list of such pleasures includes ”sunny days, cold beers, and chocolate bars”.) And since most of our joys are mundane – we can’t sleep at the Ritz every night – our ability to splurge actually backfires. We try to treat ourselves, but we end up spoiling ourselves.

Link via Neatorama

iPad owners "selfish elite": study

Photo by Bryan Derballa/

It’s not exactly official, but should also surprise no one: According to a new study the psychological profile of iPad owners can be summed up as “selfish elites” while have-not critics are “independent geeks.”

Chart courtesy of MyType

Consumer research firm MyType conducted the study, in which opinions of 20,000 people were analyzed between March and May. The firm’s conclusion was that iPad owners tend to be wealthy, sophisticated, highly educated and disproportionately interested in business and finance, while they scored terribly in the areas of altruism and kindness. In other words, “selfish elites.”

They are six times more likely to be “wealthy, well-educated, power-hungry, over-achieving, sophisticated, unkind and non-altruistic 30-50 year olds,” MyType’s Tim Koelkebeck told

96 percent those most likely to criticize the iPad, on the other hand, don’t even own one, although as geeks, they were slightly more likely to do so than the average population — and far more likely to have an opinion about the device one way or the other (updated). This group tends to be “self-directed young people who look down on conformity and are interested in videogames, computers, electronics, science and the internet,” said Koelkebeck.

Read More

Think pink: Thieves hate Paris Hilton cars

I heard or read once that car thieves usually steal red cars first. Then they go for white, black and silver.

If you don't want your car stolen, get a pink one. Good news for Paris Hilton and Hello Kitty fans out there. Heck...I wouldn't steal it either.

Read about it here.

Writer's Block: Edible drinking glasses

The folks at The Way We See The World have designed edible, flavored and naturally biodegradable gelatinous drinking cups made of agar agar (You can find agar agar in Asia).

More via If It's Hip, It's Here.

The Blueness

The blueness reaches from horizon to horizon
wrapping everything in blueness,
poppy fields, a prisoner hanging from his wrists
in Alabama sunshine that I heard about
on the morning news. Is there hope for us?
The phrase, Se frego la cosa is stuck in my brain
and I am trying to resist the temptation
to rhyme it with Julius LaRosa, but who
would remember him? Such buttery
memories I have that dribble down the sky
giving it a sickly green tinge, like those strange
Jerusalem sunsets when we lay expertly pleasing
each other like a single serpent devouring itself.
Now the wind shakes the palm outside the window
so soothingly flapping the blueness back.
This time it's a thin, almost invisible blue
just this side of whiteness, barely audible,
and I want to lie on the carpet with you listening
to whatever blue is saying now. Remember
the first dream is what it says: the closet, the pile
of shoes and the bones you found underneath.
The hell with that. Just look at this sky will you,
how it covers us with its soft, blue fabric of illusion.

by Richard Garcia
from The Blue Moon Review

Coffee Break: Rushdie, Brit authors criticized

Salman Rushdie

The author Salman Rushdie is one of several leading British writers criticised by the academic Gabriel Josipovici. Photograph: John Bazemore/AP

Their mantelpieces might creak under the collective weight of literary gongs but, according to one leading academic, leading contemporary British authors such as Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes are unworthy of the accolades they receive.

More here.

Coffee Break Poem: Bluebird

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
in there.

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
you want to blow my book sales in

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there,
so don't be
then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
and we sleep together like
with our
secret pact
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
weep, do

by Charles Bukowski
from The Last Night of the Earth Poems, 1992