Friday, August 05, 2005

Going to Blogolina in My Mind

A Blogtour of North Carolina

The blogosphere is not equally distributed throughout these United, or should I say Untied States. It is not even equally distributed around this state. Any look at will tell you that. The heaviest concentration is in the Triad/Triangle region, with Charlotte and the Mountains in second rank, with Jesse country pulling up the rear, so to speak.

There are reasons for this unequal distribution, just as there are ways and needs for expanding into these undernourished regions, these bozarts, again, if you will.

That makes twice that I've said "will", and it is beginning to disconcert me. I am growing ill at the thought of Will. And no, not Will Robinson, should you be lost or spaced. I'm talking Will, as in Der Willen. Will as in George's "They will not break our Will." Or Leni and Dolphy's "Triumph of the Will". Not wit. Not love. Not caritas. But Will. Getting your way, costs be damned.

But alas I digress. It is what I do. Life is digression. The opposite of Will.

That said, let me try to hoist this travel guide back into the saddle, and quit examining the remains of our passing.

Coming, going, the waterfowl leaves not a trace,
nor does it need a guide.

I remember that koan from the sunny '70s, when I first made their acquaintance. I remember telling Rob Urban, who also thought it was "pretty neat". Neither of us embodied it though.
But neither, I predict, have you. Yet we have no Hiroshimas to live down either.
Or do we?

Live simply that others may simply live.

More true to that one I suppose. Some are actually astonished, or turned to stone, at the simplicity of my lean-to down by the river.

OK, it is not really a lean-to, and it is not near a river, but it is simple, practically Thorouvian. But relatively energy-efficient.

So, what was that about a saddle?

Alright. Enough! Time to start over.


Blogtouring North Carolina

The blogosphere is not equally distributed throughout these United States. It is not even equally distributed around this state. Any look at will tell you that. The heaviest concentration is in the Triad/Triangle region, with Charlotte and the Mountains in second rank, and Eastern North Carolina pulling up the rear.

There are reasons for this unequal distribution, just as there are ways and needs for expanding into these undernourished regions of the state, country and world. In the old days, it was the seaport cities where civilization and culture mostly took place, because of their being a crossroads of different cultures. As the late Dr. Richard Schultes once said, "Monoculture breeds disease." But moreover, it breeds ignorance.

In these new times, it is not just the seaports, but also the blogports, and other places where minds meet, where you will find civilization and culture thriving. North Carolina is among these meeting grounds, along with New York, California, Massachusetts, Virginia, Oregon, Washington, and parts of Texas. Places where universities also thrive.

Within North Carolina, the universities are mainly in the Triad/Triangle area, along with the bulk of the blogosphere. And it is these places who will reap the rewards of blogtourism. So when a blogger, such as the illustrious Iddybud (who is an honorary Tarheel, although she lives in New York, and has appeared on CNN, the LA Times, Yes Weekly, and on John Edwards' blog, as well as others), comes to North Carolina, she knows she can contact Tarheel bloggers, tell them of the upcoming visit, and then tour the state with bloggers as guides and helpers. No blogger a stranger. And speaking of which, Jude (Iddy) plans to attend the upcoming event of the year, which is ConvergeSouth, to be held in Blogsboro (Greensboro) on the weekend of October introduce yourself, and extend some of that famous Southern Hospitality. But if you really feel the need to throw tomatoes, make it the Jellybean variety, or the Sungolds or Juliets or the Calabash Purple, such as you might find in the garden, or blog, of Laurie, who because of her Slowly She Turned blog, has recently been named "Blogsboro's slow food guru". And throw them at me, not Jude, or anyone else for that matter. I'll come armed with lettuce and bacon.

Laurie's 'maters

And speaking of Bacon, how about them six degrees of Kevin Bacon! To think that every person alive has only six degrees of separation, at most, from Hollywood's Kevin Bacon, whose quatrayle, or great-great-great grandfather, was non other than Novum Organum's Sir Francis Bacon, who, no, did not write Shakespeare (or "Sheik's Peer", as some have insinuated).
Was he really a Sufi?

Prince Albert Gore Vidal Sassoon
Earl Warren Christopher Lloyd George Michael Jackson Brown
Patricia Neal Diamond Jim Cary Grant Tinker Bell
Osama Bin Franklin Roosevelt Grier Garson Kanin Abel

OK, so I was wrong about Kevin and Francis. His quatrayle was a guy named Lonnie. But this fascination with the interconnectedness of humanity, not to mention the interconnectedness of all life, has now merged with technology, and now, because of so-called "social software" such as as well as Ecademy, Ryze, Multiply, MySpace, Friendster and others, tracking and using these connections has become but a mouseclick away. I have to thank Tarheel Taverner -- not to be confused with John Taverner, who is one of America's premiere composers, I believe, although I know there were Taverners in colonial Virginia -- Dr. Sue of Sue's Place for urging me to get linked in, as I now see that it is to blogging what blogging is to solitaire. Which is to say that when you play solitaire, you connect with no one. When you blog, you are likely to connect, but usually with Americans. With sites like LinkedIn, you are just as likely to connect with people from other countries as you are to connect with Americans. Your cybertourismic possibilities are equally widened, as are other possibilities.

Also linked in are Billy the Blogging Poet, Matt Gross, Roch Smith Jr., Ben Hwang and others, included, but not limited to, Dan Gillmor, Steve Rubel, Dave Taylor, Wiley Wiggins...but there is nothing stopping everyone here from also connecting in with these new tools. And by using them, welding the relationships, in a manner not unlike that of photoblogger, Mandie's omnicapable father, one may truly cast their net worldwide, and fish the exotic seas of distant shores. Bring the world home, and home to the world.

And North Carolina has so much to offer to the world. Do people around the world suffer loss? Of course not! But if they did, they could find comfort in the books and blog of Erin Monahan, for example, and learn how to cope with loss, divorce, death. Her Poetic Acceptance could touch hearts not only in North Carolina, and America, but could be touching lives, while making a nice profit for Erin.

Poetry, it seems, has helped more than Erin cope with loss. Billy Jones too has found meaning in his own poetry, and others. And his blog, highlights his poetry and online novels, but also features the poetry of others. His shorter prose is also enlightening, as in this post, where he celebrates the life of his father, and laments his passing on the anniversary of his death. And although Billy wonders if he will ever attain the greatness of his father, we think his father would be darned proud. Particularly of his work in establishing North Carolina as one of the blog hotspots on the globe.

But lest it be said that North Carolina is great, but so serious, one need look no further than Valerie Nieman to be given a dose of levitas and jocundity...


Automatic pencil
Autopencil, to write moving finger without thought, to fill page after page like a signature machine freed of the loops and squiggles of a program, like the mind in long stretches of waiting for something, waiting is all, waiting is the empty place from which understanding blooms like a seed sudden from the desert after a breath of rain.

Automatic pencil
My father’s clipboard, his pencils, shop pencils thick in the barrel, industrial.I have one, black plastic or Bakelite, steel at each end where the lead came out and where the eraser sat, now an empty tube. The legend:Champion Tool & Die Co.McKeesport, Pa. 15131412 751-6000

I wonder if they’re still in business, or rusted with the rest of the belt, foundries and steel suppliers, solvent and paint dealers, tool and die works, trucking companies, designers, fabricators, merchants. A whole world whittled away, year by year, until now the red brick buildings stand like historic sites, Hadrian’s Wall or the Great Wall or some other useless thing, a single bare bulb burning over a back door.

Automatic pencil
Is not to be preferred over the traditional sort. Thin lead in yellow plastic. Ersatz. No smell of cedar, no scalloped shavings, no angled shading across a ruled page as faces and horses emerge from doodles, no pencil-point under the skin from grade-school bullies. - Val Nieman


Her latest book is Fidelities, a short story collection from West Virginia University Press. The collection of 18 stories includes two winners of the Elizabeth Simpson Smith Prize from the Charlotte Writers Club, as well as stories that have appeared in the News & Observer, Wellspring, and the anthologies One Paycheck Away from Main Street Rag Press (Charlotte), The O. Henry Festival Stories 2003 (Greensboro) and Racing Home: Stories from Award-Winning North Carolina Writers, The Paper Journey Press (Durham).
She has also published poetry, a novel about the '70s called Survivors, and an SF novel way back when, Neena Gathering.


In which our state's most beloved Ogre, makes the following astute assessment:

The Quick Brown Fox
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

But after the quick brown fox jumped over, the lazy dog moved quickly. The lazy dog ran after the quick brown fox. The quick brown fox discovered that it was not as quick as it thought it might have been. The formerly lazy dog quickly closed the distance between it and the not-so-quick fox as the chase continued.

The quick brown fox ran past Chicken Little, Henny Penny, Turkey Lurkey, and even past his cousin, Sly Fox. The lazy dog, now panting profusely, continued to get closer and closer. The quick brown fox hopped on the alligator's head for a ride over the river. Still the lazy dog followed.

They continued over the hills and through the woods. The race went down the path and the quick brown fox took a shortcut that his half-brother suggested through the woods that led past grandma's house. The lazy dog fell behind a little while traversing the thick undergrowth of the woods.

On the other side of the forest, the quick brown fox ran through the brier patch. Brer rabbit waved as first the quick brown fox, then the lazy dog, sped through his brier path. The briers slowed the quick brown fox, but the lazy dog continued.

Past the brier patch, the quick brown fox ran up the hill. At the top of the hill was a well that had recently been abandoned by Jack and Jill. With nowhere else to go, the quick brown fox stopped and turned to face the lazy dog. He bared his teeth at the lazy dog, hoping that it would turn him away.

The lazy dog stopped, panting from the long chase. He paused to catch his breath, watching the quick brown fox the entire time. Finally, the lazy dog said, "Why did you jump over me?"

From the Left Coast of North Carolina, to the Right, our state abounds in talent.

And speaking of which, Science and Politics' Bora Zivkovic, inches from his PhD, graces us with his ample and protean mind, week after week, and for this occasion has explained the differences between left and right...when it comes to science, pseudoscience, borderlands science, and nonsense.

About the pseudosciences he says:

Lefty pseudoscience was always marginal and marginalized by everyone on both the Left and the Right. No political party has ever pushed for astrology or biorhythms to be used in classrooms or in military planning.
However, attack on science, reason and rationality is the centerpiece of the Right-Wing strategy. The only way they can save their medieval notions about society, economics, religion, science, race, gender equality, etc. from being deposited forever in the trashbin of history is if they systematically brainwash every new generation into dogmatism, uncritical thinking and fearful obedience to their authority. They are in power now - White House, Congress, Supreme Court - and they are ramming anti-science and anti-reality ideas into school (and into media) as hard as they can.

His provocative and entertaining explanation can be read in its entirety here.

And for a slightly different take, you may want to snort a sprocket...which is a helluva lot safer than snorting "the powders", or "the vapors", which is just gross. The best thing to snort, though, is air. And the best way to snort air is pranayama...not to be confused with melinama, which is not to be confused with melinoma.

Thhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee thing is this. This is the thing, and the thing, is thusly this. You see.

And thus, you may feel something a bit odd in your whithers today. It could be that you are dreaming of taking droughts of Dramamine (unit of measure: drams), or perhaps possible pensives of Pontius Pilate’s palate, who ponders persimmons.

We are the persimmons. EAT US.

You can rest assured that the way is weirdly wondrous and wends through the jungle. Night thoughts, we can be assured. Assuredly, be.

Thoughts of 1 (2? 3!) hit my cortex. Impaled! It is time for much work, and we have so much to do, and not much time.

Lastly: remember. We are all (in love). In love, we all are.

In love.

Quick! Get this man some Asinine Alliteration Antidote with the anti-Charles Dodgson additive!
— Andrew S. Damick Aug 5, 10:01 AM #
“You don’t see the Shintus come around here, shattering sheetglass in the shithouse, shouting slogans…”

“Oh, don’t you go practicing your alliteration on me!”

Or so says Snort a Sprocket from the smerpological depths.

"Smerpological depths?", you ask. Why not alabandical depths, or antipelargical depths, flosculational depths or miasmic depths?

To answer these questions, we have to turn to our resident sesquipedalian, Melinama at Pratie's Place: a phrontistery (affront history?) where you will learn the meaning of the previous paragraph, as well as much else besides.

We owe this word to the Roman writer Horace, who wrote in his Ars Poetica (The Art of Poetry) [ see also Arse Poetica] : “Proicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba” (“He throws aside his paint pots and his words that are a foot and a half long”). It comes from Latin sesqui–, one and a half, plus ped, a foot. It was borrowed into English in the seventeenth century and has become a favourite of those writers who like self-referential terms, or are addicted to polysyllabic humour. - Weird Words

Carolinians, and indeed, Southerners, have long been verbophiliacs, which may alas stem from the predominance of Shakespeare in our cultural heritage, dating back to England, or maybe the interplay of cultures, or it may be what historian David Hackett Fischer called our love of leisure and "killing time".

With that in mind, allow me to share the adventures of Durham's Ron Hudson, who is killing time in Spain and Portugal. Let him share some of his own methods for killing time. You can keep track of his journeys by bookmarking his blog, 2Sides2Ron.

In this present age of threats to democracy and individual liberty, probably only the scamp and the spirit of the scamp alone will save us from becoming lost as serially numbered units in the masses of disciplined, obedient, regimented and uniformed coolies. The scamp will be the last and most formidable enemy of dictatorships. He will be the champion of human dignity and individual freedom, and will be the last to be conquered. All modern civilization depends entirely upon him.
-Lin Yutang
The Importance of Living 1937

On the other hand...

"War paralyzes your courage and deadens the spirit of true manhood. It degrades and stupefies with the sense that you are not responsible, that 'tis not yours to think and reason why, but to do and die,' like the hundred thousand others doomed like yourself. War means blind obedience, unthinking stupidity, brutish callousness, wanton destruction, and irresponsible murder."
—Alexander Berkman

The Berkman quote just came to me in an email from another honorary Tarheel, who absolutely loves it down here, but lives in Cleveland, just a couple of miles from the base that sent so many to their deaths recently, and about which he says:

I'm sure you heard about the deaths of all those marines who came from my home state. Everyone here is just devastated at the tragic loss of life. I have never seen such an outpouring of grief and sorrow in quite a long time. The battalion headquarters where those marines were stationed is only a couple of miles from where I live. I drive past it every time I go visit my Mother. I think people are now starting to realize how absolutely insane and senseless this war is and who it's truly impacting.

But that's so negative, man! Don't drag me to negativeland. Sharks and Condit are what everyone is talking about now! No wait, that was on 9/10 and the months before. What is it we're talking about now? Oh yeah...shuttle debris and flag burning.

The question then becomes...

When the Media obsesses on junk-food news, are we in for a whacking? On September the 9th, while walking to a Yes concert at Radio City Music Hall, in, yes, Manhattan, I asked a media person about the obsession with sharks and Condit, to which he responded, "It is a slow news time." My intuition told me otherwise. That is why I trust my intuition.
And when I need a muffler repair, I trust Maaco. To charge me an arm and a leg.

So why is the media obsessing on trivial, diversionary matters? Don't tell me they are still in cahoots with Daddy Warbucks, and that we are about to be taken to the cleaners yet again.
And wasn't Bush vacationing in Texas during the months before and during 9/11?
Is there a connection between Bush's vacations, a pussilanimous and diversionary Media, and terror?

It is such negativeland, Debbie Downer kind of stuff, that makes people want to watch sports all day and night, with the only reality being reality TV, which should really be labeled "reality-food TV", following Kraft's famous individually wrapped cheese-food ... also a few degrees of separation from reality.

But I digress. I am not a Fascist so I am allowed that luxury. More people should digress. Procrastination can be a virtue. I wish we would have procrastinated on the war. But nooo! Even the War Machine has to show a profit, and the Media has way too much invested in their parent companies. Thank God for blogs!

But I am surely starting to sound cynical. The MSM, mainstream media, corporate media, have great and good people working for them. Some could even become bloggers if they tried! Maybe I should talk about religion...

How 'bout then stupid Baptists!

Naa...better not go there. Hell, Clinton AND Gore were both Southern Baptists! The exemplars!(Not to be confused with the Templars.)

Speaking of confusion, who, besides me, is confused by this most appalling of Tarheel Taverns? Can I git a show of hands? OUCH! Not of the face, Reverend!
I hand clapping. Very funny.

Now I realize that there are going to be some fellers who do not agree with my position on war and peace, and might even claim that our illustrious prince of war is to be preferred to the prince of peace, as Pam's House Blend points out, but alas, their numbers are dwindling, largely because of the relationship between time and truth. What is new is rarely good, because if it is good, it is not long new, but long old. I'm long and old, so I know. (Stupid, the word is "tall"!)

Fine! Whatever!

And so it goes in sweet Caroline. Sweetness and light. Delicacy of feeling. Whimsical charm. T'ungjen.

And speaking of T'ungjen, we may as well go over some other Chinese terms, and why not start from the top?

Time will tell
your mama that Karl
Rove will fess most
lies that Rush took
into Hell when dope
took that mind away.
Away! Into that cool
blue roof. Away! Help
your mama make soup.
Some days seem like they came from Hell.


At 2:01 AM, Blogger jon said...

astrology forecast info is so cheesy but we were looking at it anyway...why i dont know. I guess it is fun to play around online. Anyway, I saw your astrology forecast posts and though it was cool...Alright, well...have a great night, I am back to astrology forecast surfing LOL : )



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