Your House.

Ray and I drove out to my grandparents' house to help them pack things up for their move to an assisted living home. Aside from the time some idiot pulled a fire alarm and I had to carry Ray down seven flights of stairs at 2 a.m., this is pretty much how it went:

Your House (Draft)

I know it's the last thing on your mind right now,
but I'll miss your house.

You know, you have too much stuff.
You save everything, from fabric remnants twenty years old
(Am I exaggerating? Tell the truth now)
to Parkay tubs stuffed with leftovers all-too-easily
identified from the last time I saw you.
(Okay, so that's an exaggeration. But only a small one.)

You've been giving things away for a while.
A hundred interrupted and well-intentioned projects,
now boxed up and sent off in minivans and pickup trucks,
looking for homes with your children,
your grandchildren, your friends, the church rummage sale,
the goodwill, anyone who needs them,
anyone who will give them a home.
Each canning jar, each spool of thread has a story:
This is the story of the Jello mold.
This is the story of the story of the broken beads.

Maybe I'll like the new place. I didn't like this one
when you left the farm. But it grew on me,
until I can't imagine it without somebody's RV
parked on the dry grass in the front yard,
the neighbor's horses begging for apples,
the vinyl tablecloth patterns that I've traced and retraced
with one finger and the sweat from a glass of icewater,
the couch lined with relations who drove five hours
in a minivan to do just this -- sit --
and, always, the hutch, where old dishes breed like rabbits.
The truck stop. The gravel road, complete with warshboards.
The evermoving wind, picking up tumbleweeds
and blowing them away.



Ran into this one again today...

"A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side."


Sounds like he beat Machiavelli to the punch, eh?


Stuff of dreams.

Because I'd been dreaming about googling this:

Gene Wilder is the "Young Frankenstein" actor, b. 1933. (Here's the version of "Alice in Wonderland" where he sings "Beautiful Soup.")

Billy Wilder is the writer of "Some Like it Hot," b. 1906. (Also "Double Indemnity," "The Seven Year Itch," and "Stalag 17.")

Thornton Wilder is the writer of "Our Town," b. 1897.


Awesome geekiness of geeky awesomeness.

Some folks playing a live-action role-playing game put together a stone golem suit out of foam mattresses, glue sticks, and paint. Click here for a short video. It's the kind of thing that makes me proud to be a nerd, and proud to know others of such kind.

(via BoingBoing.)

Note: My brothers and brothers-in-law should follow the link and be prepared to make the geek version of the Tim Taylor rrr-rrr-rrr.


Buenos Aires.

The city of Buenos Aires will pay homage to the writer Jorge Borges ("The Aleph") from the twentieth anniversary of his death, in June, to his birthday in August. He would have liked that, I think.

"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library." -- Borges.


Book Review.

The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova.

Here's a thought: we have moved out of the era where historians and horror movie fans are two entirely different sets of people -- there's enough overlap to justify this book, after all. The plot (which successfully pulls off almost as many stories-within-stories as The Arabian Nights) involves a naive young woman inquiring into the history of her father, a scholar who was pulled into researching the legends of Dracula after finding a mysterious book. So. Lots of history, lots of horror, and lots of the even darker area where they intersect:

"For all his attention to my historical education, my father had neglected to tell me this: history's terrible moments were real. I understand now, decades later, that he could never have told me. Only history itself can convince you of such a truth."

The book is well written (for some reason, I kept comparing it to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, as in "almost as good as"), the characters are interesting, and I feel like I gained a real insight into the fascinations of history (vs. fiction). The ending wasn't handled as well as the rest of the book, and I had to roll my eyes at one point -- I'm sure that it's nothing that would bother most people, but I hate that kind of ending, so, like many of the characters in the book, consider yourself warned.
More good poems...

If you're interested, check out Eric Campbell's poem "Navigating in the Dark" here.


Later this month...

May 25th is Towel Day, a tribute to author Douglas Adams, who died in 2001. Fans carry towels throughout the day.

From the website’s FAQ:
"Should I really carry a towel all day? It might be embarrassing!

"Yes, you should really carry a towel with you all day. You might get teased or looked at weird, but then you can just hide behind your towel until the offensive people go away."