The 6.7%

The survey said that only 6.7% of people ever read poetry. Ever.
I’m not surprised.
It isn’t exactly basketball, or hockey, or even football, either the American version or what everybody else in the world means when they say football. Although they are very different games, the principal appeal for the fans is the same. You can sit around your living room with friends and drink beer and cheer when your team scores.
Nobody does that with poetry. Nobody leaps from their chair and shouts “Shelleeeeey!” “Wordswooooorth!”
It’s not as if poetry was a cute kitten video that everybody could watch and say “awwwww.” Well, maybe some poetry is. If it’s a poem about a kitten, for instance.
It’s not as if poetry was a reality show. If someone doesn’t like a poem, they do not recommend it to their friends, but they don’t try to vote it out of the library.
Poetry is poetry. It requires reading, which is not all that popular any more. It requires quiet reflection, which is at odds with our fast paced lifestyle.
It’s O.K. that we’re only 6.7% If someone wants to be like everyone else, there are plenty of ways for them to express that.

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My Books

I ordered a bunch of my own books from createspace recently, partly to have them on hand in case anyone wants to buy one, or I’m suddenly stuck for a gift idea, but mostly I just had to buy some because nobody else is, and I actually wanted to make sure the system works.
It does, sort of, imperfectly. We ordered them about 2 months ago and they never arrived so we went online and sent them a what-the-fuck-is-going-on letter just a few days ago and they arrived in the mail today. So, they can hurry when they have to and kudos to their customer service department, but still, we had to go through all that.
I was happy to see them and look through them. Some of them I’d never actually seen in book form before. Three of them are part of my rhyming tweets program. The first was Twoems, but nobody noticed that one, which was a series of rhyming tweets starting in the Autumn of 2011 and going through all of 2012. I figured maybe the name is lame, maybe that’s why no one is buying them.
So I changed Twoems to Rheets, and now there is a 2013 and 2014 version as well.
I was a bit nervous looking at them. What if the poems hadn’t stood the test of time? What if they just sounded dorky? I needn’t have worried.
I still like them. They are the little two liners I post every night to Twitter after writing this blog, and the nice thing about that length is you really can’t screw up too bad.
If you want to read them, but are too cheap to read the books, just click on this page above the blog where it says “poetry,” and you’ll be taken there.

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Chris Crocker Update

Somebody posted this video to my feed the other day and I was watching it and thinking “I agree with what he’s saying but, damn, he’s being vehement and angry about it,” but I can understand that. After all, I’m not the one who has to deal with that discrimination.
Then, I was wondering about why so many people lately are filming their videos from inside their car. There’s no good reason why not, I suppose, but did everybody get kicked out of their living rooms? It is an easy background, I suppose, everybody is familiar with the inside of a car, for most people it has generally positive connotations, and it necessitates a fairly tight focus on the face.
Then, I started thinking “Hey, wait a minute, I’ve seen this guy somewhere before.
Oh, yeah, right. Well, he’s changed a bit since then, mellowed out, has a slightly more controlled delivery. In both cases, I basically agreed with his message.
The thing is, unlike Jimmie O’Keefe, Chris Crocker is evolving. The more recent video actually delivered a passionate, yet coherent, message. He still has a way to go, though.
Since this is the internet, and anybody can comment on anybody, even though he’s drawn about a million times more viewers than I ever have, here are two tips from me to him:
1. Know the difference between passion and hysteria.
2. Edit. Once you’ve said the same exact words for a 2nd time, back up to just before that and cut.
Here’s wishing you, Chris Crocker, a long and productive career.

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Defriended

I got defriended today. I’m not too bothered. It wasn’t somebody I knew in real life. I’ve got too many people in my feed anyway. Plus, he didn’t have anything interesting to say.
How do I know that? He posted one of those facebook meme thingies, a little poster with words on it, that said “Less People, Less Problems.”
I commented, saying “fewer people.” Actually, I didn’t even think of it at the time, but it should be “fewer problems,” too. So, as a Grammar Cop, I am not perfect. I do my best.
He wrote back, saying “Fussy, fussy, fussy.”
I clicked on See Comment and was getting ready to write something along the lines of “Of course I’m fussy. If you’re going to open the conversation with some dumb platitude that you didn’t even think of by yourself, you should at least be able to choose one that doesn’t mangle the English language. Posting these things is the creative equivalent of putting a bumper sticker on your car, or having some stupid slogan like “Official Bikini Inspector” on your T-shirt. It means nothing except that you can read and repeat, and I’m not so sure about the being able to read part. And I especially hate the ones that say “Share if you agree,” which is the equivalent of “Honk if you agree” which was obnoxious enough. Nobody ever honked and everybody would have been pissed off if they had. And with all the totally amazing stuff on the internet, from music to dance to acrobatics to genius scientists explaining really cool stuff, this is the shit you choose to post?
Of those which say ‘share if’ my particular least favorite is ‘share if you are old enough to remember’ and then they either show some mundane device that nobody needs anymore because technology really has improved and we should be bloody grateful, or they wax nostalgic about the good old days when there were no safety regulations on playground equipment and parents were allowed to beat the hell out of their kids whenever they wanted. Yeah, I remember. The world is actually a better place now, in many ways. For one thing, we have the internet, a forum where everyone can trade ideas, can post their most original thoughts and get intelligent feedback, and you’re using it to post box quotes and you can’t even CHOOSE one that’s literate? You are a fucking moron.”
But, I got “You are not allowed to access this page.”
It’s probably just as well.

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Walking in Prague 8

If there’s one thing I hate, and I expect most expats would agree with me, it’s dealing with Czech bureaucracy. Admittedly, it is nowhere near as bad as it was 15 years ago, but they still find creative ways to make things more difficult than they actually need to be.bridge
So, when I got home from taking Isabel to school and Helena informed me that I had to go to the Finančni Uřad, I was less than pleased.
Still, it was for the purpose of getting some money back from taxes that had been withheld on a job I had last year, so I had no choice. I had to take in my permanent resident’s booklet, my children’s birth certificates, our marriage certificate, and a letter saying pretty please.
I found the place (which was not easy) and, since the office I needed was on the 4th floor, went on up. I got out of the lift on the 4th floor, and in front of the lifts was a semi-circle of glass doors, which were all locked. There was no access to the 4th floor, on the 4th floor.
I went back down, approached the receptionist, and explained the situation. To their credit, all went smoothly from that point forward, she rang ahead and someone let me in, the paperwork was quickly taken care of, and I left. So, it wasn’t too bad (15 years ago, there would have been a 2 hour wait involved, I would have been sent to a different office (in another part of town) to buy a stamp, and then they would have closed) but leave it to the Czechs to find some way to make a straightforward operation surrealistically complicated.
On leaving, I decided to walk down the hill as I could see the river down below and I sort of thought I would come out near Sam’s home football field, just a short tram ride from home.
As much as I dislike dealing with Czech bureaucracy, that’s how much I enjoy walking through a Prague neighborhood I’ve never been in before, and it is still a frequent experience.
I actually came out on the river path about two kilometers upstream from where I thought I would be, but that was fine. It was a beautiful day for a long walk home.

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Writing in my Sleep

Last night I did not write a proper blog as I was falling asleep and so now, this morning, I’ll write one to make up for that and then write another one this evening and consider my debt to the universe of words and thoughts paid.

Sure, I can drive!

Sure, I can drive!


When I read, this morning, the last comment I’d left on a facebook post, I cringed, the thought conveyed was so far from the original intent. It was incoherent, but people are so used to incoherent on facebook that aspect hadn’t even been commented on.
The question of the thread was “If extraterrestrials have been visiting Earth, why haven’t they made their presence known, why haven’t they landed on the White House Lawn, why haven’t they commandeered the air waves and said “Here we are, and here’s the deal.”
My intended reply was that perhaps our stage of cultural development is enough to justify monitoring, but not so great that they are interested in communicating with us and that therefore alien ships posted to Earth are not exactly their top of the line, maybe the people they send out to this undeveloped backwoods region of the galaxy are the misfits, the ones they don’t really trust on the front lines. Maybe the crash at Roswell was a couple of alien ensigns who came down and got drunk on earth alcohols one night. An embarrassment to their species, to be sure, but not worth risking open contact over.
What I actually posted was something about mimes and signposts. I didn’t understand it myself.
Perhaps the world might derive some value from it if greater minds than mine, a Joyce, or a Kerouac, or a Timothy Leary, were to post the detached meanderings of their uninhibited brainwaves. I’m not in that group, so I will attempt, from now on, to only write when fully awake.

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Placeholder Blog

On the one hand, I am committed to writing a blog a day, on the other hand I am falling asleep in front of the keyboard, so back to the first hand again I don’t actually have to work tomorrow, so I’m going to compromise and say “Screw it. I’m going to sleep. I’ll write a blog in the morning.” Thank you for understanding.

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