Wednesday, July 21, 2004
'A Victory For Traditional Values'

And now, we take you to Instapundit for what is sure to be the true test of this year's political season.

The Form

I was perusing this massive stack of papers I have at my desk (actually, I've been going through it for a few weeks now, bit by bit), when I came across the collection of poetry that I set aside for 'digitization' at some point in the murky future. I absentmindedly started browsing, and decided that I had some time to type some of it up.

Piece after piece fell before my keyboard (some of it horrible, some not half-bad), and before long I came across something I wrote last year. As is so often the case with me, I looked at it, and said 'Well, it's got potential.' And then it hit me, all in a flash, and I started to meddle. So, after beginning this poem a year less two days ago, I present to you "Sonnet."

Syllabic poetics, couplets of rhyme
Rhythmic stanzas, and fourteen measured lines.
One section of eight, another of six,
An intro, a middle, and rhyme that sticks.
These things are sonnets, and historical:
Shakespeare, Petrarch, Spenser methodical,
Tried to romance with kisses and word sweets.
Long they won women, or wooed them at least;
But they too have been mocked, e'en criticized
For subjects not real, but idealized.
Poets call them high, elevated form
Which kills many good sheets, crumpled and torn.
Difficult to write, a strain on the mind
And as to women, no more do they bind.

Okay, so I vanished for a while. Matter of fact, I'm probably still not back yet. I've got school things keeping me busy, among other distractions. Plus the fact that I'm writing. And I don't mean just prose, either. Poetry, novels, short stories, I'm doing the whole gamut. It's quite enthralling, but as a result, I rarely have the drive to put up a post or two, even if it's just to let you - dear readers - know what's going on.

So no, I haven't gone missing in reality. But I am rather busy. With luck, things will slow down after the next few assignments are in, tests taken, and grades given (by the way, I figure I have a solid A in pre-1960 American Lit - this from the three papers I've already gotten back, not a one below A-). But who knows even then? I've got another move coming up at the end of August (vacating Toronto for what might be the final - heavy), and I'll be a bit fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-y for a while. Scary stuff. And on top of that, I have to start looking for gainful employment in Hamilton - and I have to start now, because by the time I actually move down there again, all those young university students will have snatched all the fruitful positions (although I can hope that because I can commit to a full-time position, employers will give my resume some further weight...).

So much to do, so little time to do it in. And I thought things might get a little easier after deadlines were done! (Yeah, yeah - save the chiding about naivete, I've heard it all before).

So yeah, there you go. I haven't given up here. It's not something I can give up, seeing that I need an outlet for creativity, lest I explode. I'm just taking a bit of time - perhaps for the next few months, who knows? - to get things settled, get my positions staked out. After that, I'll see about restarting regular posting.

And now, I'm already up way too late. To bed!

Thursday, July 15, 2004
A Modification Of Wallace Stevens

So I'm in American Literature class tonight, weakly holding onto consciousness (I have class straight from 10am to 9pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays) as we make our way through William Carlos Williams' poetry. I enjoy parts of it more than others, but on the whole, I'm rather impressed with the work.

So the prof moves us along, after much discussion, and we shift from Williams to Wallace Stevens. Now, up to this point, I have very little experience reading Mr. Stevens, and my introduction to him is a pair of pieces by him 'attacking' the romanticism of Mr. Williams - not a way to get on my good side (especially since I myself am a bit of a romantic). Here's Williams' piece:

It's a strange courage
You give me, ancient star:

Shine alone in the sunrise
toward which you lend no part!
Here's Stevens' rebuttle:
Nuances Of A Theme By Williams

Shine alone, shine nakedly, shine like bronze,
that reflects neither my face nor any inner part
of my being, shine like fire, that mirrors nothing.

Lend no part to any humanity that suffuses
you in its own light.
Be not chimera of morning,
Half-man, half-star.
Be not an intelligence,
Like a widow's bird
Or an old horse.
Now, in class, I took the position that Mr. Williams, in this instance, was miles better than Mr. Stevens. Yes, I recognized what Stevens was doing, I just thought it would be better if he had stuck closer to the source material he was riffing from, rather than go off on his own rather rambling attempts at a response. This was all good natured, and the class was in a good humor. Half-jokingly, and in a similar good humor, the professor said, "Well, you do it better and bring it with you when you come back."

So I did. Before I left class, even. Actually, I walked up to the prof afterward, and handed her a scrap of paper with my poem. She read it, looked at me, and said, "Can I keep this?"

Now that just made my night! Oh, and in case you were wondering, here's how I 'one-upped' a great American poet:
It's an odd absence
you give to me, oh, light:

Of darkness and courage
in which you have no part.
Monday, July 12, 2004

Now this is hilarious! (Language warning).

[HatTip to Jonah Goldberg & National Review.]

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Spiderman 2 is quite the film. I don't have much left in the ol' emotion tank after that one (yeah, yeah - just wait 'till you see it before you start to jeer), so don't expect a long review from me. Suffice it to say that it surpasses the first by a mile. "Well done" to Mr. Raimi & Co. (I especially enjoyed that last "Go get 'em, Tiger." - straight outta comic book heaven!)

I'm not certain why - or I have a clue but don't want to divulge it to the Internet at large - but after the movie tonight, I found as I was walking to the subway that I felt rather dull. To the world, mostly. Hopefully it won't last longer than tonight. We'll see.

Have a good night, y'all.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004
On A Rainy July 4

I know it's a bit late (well, maybe not so much, as Monday was the 'official' day to celebrate the 4th), but I wrote a poem during the trip to Niagara on Sunday evening, and took some time to iron out a few wrinkles. It's still not perfect, I don't think, but here's where it stands now.

On A Rainy July 4
The gray-clouded mists
Hang dark in the air
And block out all sign of the sun

So as the rain falls
On this car's windshield square,
And our trip has only begun,

The feelings I have
On this great nation's birth
Are muffled by fear and by dread:

That the journey we take,
And this joyous day's worth,
Might be bankrupt before I see bed.

The fire's bright spark
And explosion's fine crack
May not fill tonight's sky

The weather's so wet,
And conditions are stacked
Against our seeing the lights.

But this day, of course,
Means so much, much more
Than any light show could express

Our Independence is worth
Any cost, any tour.
No matter how wetly it's dressed.

Having thrown off the rule
Of kingship and queens
And taxation without represent

We should eas?ly endure
Some rain on our scenes
Of celebration without lament.

Or ev'n o'ercome them,
Those inclement clouds
That would so abscond with our view,

And let loose the fire,
Regardless of shrouds,
And burn all those mists right through.

Wouldn't that be,
Among other things,
An appropriate act on this day?

So let the sparks fly,
As that grand chorus sings,
"O'er the land of the free and the brave."
And sure enough, they did.

In other poetry news, I've updated Hints & Allegations, my poem from a few weeks ago. If Blogger ever gets categories (or I ever switch to a format that has them), organizing things like this would be a bit easier. I think I'll go rattle off a request form.
Sunday, July 04, 2004

Have a good July 4th, everyone! See you on the flipside.

Saturday, July 03, 2004
Media Bias, As Seen... the subjects. The New York Post is running a story by Marine Reservist Eric Johnson - recently returned from Iraq - on the vast disconnect between events on the ground and events as reported.

In a related story, there's a new study on media bias out, this one from Yale. Instead of asking journalists what they perceive as their own leanings, the study notes the frequency with which various think-tank organizations are quoted. The basics of the results themselves are not surprising, but even the authors of the study were "astounded by the degree" to which the media leans Left.

[A pair of HatTips to InstaPundit.]

Friday, July 02, 2004
Various Updates

I've added a few links to my BlogRoll that I'd like to bring to your attention, as well as a nifty new feature that replaces the round-about way that I was handling post email notification.

First, we've got Diary Of An Anti-Chomskyite, a blog devoted to ruminations vis a vis Noam Chomsky (aka "A Blight Upon Humanity"). I've retitled the link (the length of the title would make my formating go all crazy) as "The Anti-Chomskyite." Go pay him a visit.

Second, we've now got a link to the wildly popular Protein Wisdom. Jeff Goldstein's wacky and (possibly) drugged-out commentary can now be reached from my linkbox. Scary.

Another link I came across the other day, but won't add to my BlogRoll as such (it's too issue specific for my tastes), is Fahrenheit Fact. Initiated two days after Michael Moore said he'd sue anyone attempting to point out his errors, the site is a_sdf and RecoveringCynic's attempt to call Moore's bluff. In their own words:

Fahrenheit Fact is a joint presentation between a_sdf and RecoveringCynic...Here we attempt to bring to light those "other" facts about Michael Moore's new film "Fahrenheit 9/11". We try not to make this an opinion blog- it is a fact one. We make sure to source every post, and will either cite or link to the source of the provided fact. It is our desire to see a well-armed populous that is ready to evaluate the film from an informed perspective.
Go read it every day, assuming you're interested in this sort of thing.

Last, but most cool - I came across the nifty Bloglet service today, and discovered that it will work much better than my (admittedly bloated) email notification YahooGroup work around. Those of you who are already to subscribed to my YahooGroup will be added to Bloglet's system, but if any of my readers (ha!) would be interested in email notification of my posts (which will begin to appear more regularly now - funk is over!), add your email into the form box in the upper right. Progress is such an awesome thing.

Oh, and on a weight/personal health note, My diet/exercise plan is really starting to work! I've been told by no fewer than five people this past week/end that I look 'smaller.' On a less subjective scale, I've been able to comfortably fit into the desks in the classroom for about a week and a half now (where before I would scrape my skin everytime I tried to put down the desktop). Very cool. No word yet on my actual weight - I'm trying not to focus too much on numbers, as I don't want to get discouraged. But things are looking good!

Well, I'm home for the Canada Day/Fourth Of July weekend (we're gonna drive to Niagara to see the fireworks on Sunday - sweet!), so blogging will probably be light until Monday. See you then!

A webjournal of ideas, comments, and various other miscellany from a Texan university student (with occasional input from his family) living in Toronto, Ontario. Can you say "culture shock?"

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