Archive for Arts

God bless L7 … the band is back

This should be a splendid documentary.

I saw this band in 1994 in a small Palo Alto club. One of my life’s beautifully overwhelming aesthetic experiences. I pray they come to Vancouver.

Best TV appearance by any band:

‘People Explain Why Their Job Sucks in Six Words’

It is hard to imagine any job I have had that actually “sucked.”

I very much like my current job, an applied communications and marketing professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. This job has been hard, especially when I was the  department chair, but it never actually “sucked.” I’ve taught at a few places; none of these teaching gigs could ever have sucked. That said, they were more-than-full-time jobs. Weekends were/are never off.

I was let go from Burger King at age 16 for somehow, weirdly, failing to put the fish filets on the fish filet sandwiches, but I actually liked that job, the pretty cashiers who were from my high school, the smell of the broiled burgers, the record store across the mall hallway.

I worked for Paul Kurtz. He was hard to work for, and rough. But he was wise and helped people’s careers including mine. The job did not suck. Though it ruined some mornings, afternoons, and evenings.

I worked for myself at Basil Communications Inc. That job did not suck, but my boss had issues.

My managers at Your Host (graveyard shifts) and Mighty Taco (more graveyard shifts, but with slightly drunker people) in Buffalo in the late 1970s were estimable and … thank you very much, managers, from this point in the future; my time at your workplaces definitely did *not* suck. It was, instead, charming, thoroughly. And I wrote a lot on the job and then after I ran home, loving memories and scenes and the exercise. (I had so much energy!)

Here is the Vice piece about the six words.

I don’t even like writing the word ‘plagiarism’

As a communications professor, I have to attend to the possibility that some students will use words that are not their own. I believe I can usually tell when that happens – a change in diction jumps out at me after a lifetime of writing, editing and publishing – but this might not be the case.

This recent plagiarism scandal is especially puzzling because Jill Biokosky is herself an editor at an esteemed publisher as well as a poet and memoirist. She knows the rules.

Also puzzling to me is Biokosky’s non-apology:

[This reviewer] has extracted a few ancillary and limited phrases from my 222-page memoir that inadvertently include fragments of prior common biographical sources and tropes after a multiyear writing process. This should not distract from the thesis of this book, which derives from my own life, my experiences and observations. I will, of course, correct any errors that are found for future editions of the book.

Perhaps the ultimate puzzlement, to me, is that here is a poet who could not take care to recognize her own words, or to see which ones were not her own. Even I would go, “Hey, that doesn’t sound like me!” when going through my own work. I remember breathing every word, or that I could.

Tom Petty

I have always loved the music of Tom Petty, and was an especially conspicuous fan in my younger days. A friend wrote me this morning:

I instantly thought of you when I heard the news, in particular you telling us that you were in the Nevada desert, concluded you needed to hear “I Need to Know” and hitched back to 27 East Northrup [our hangout in Buffalo, NY] to hear it on our stereo.

I told part of the story at a poetry reading at Stanford University back in 1984:


(Click on the image to see larger words.)

Kootenays shed

Side of Barn

With wild turkey.

Jessi Zazu

This musician and artist was truly brilliant, and died way too young, at 28.

“Blogging is not a form of writing.”

In his very fine blog “Research as a Second Language,” Thomas explains why.

[Blogging] is not merely writing in another medium or even writing for another purpose. We might say that just as writing is not merely literacy, blogging is not merely literature. Blogging is an activity that is so distinct from the experience of writing that it should be called something else altogether. One does not write a blog post except in the sense that one “writes” a shopping list or a business plan. …

Some bloggers, of course, don’t know this. They try to blog by writing. They are perfectly competent writers and produce perfectly capable prose. But it is just not blogging. It remains writing. They are kidding themselves to think they have produced a blog post. They have written an essay and posted it to their blog. Others are, in fact, natural bloggers but kid themselves that their blogging makes them writers. Why should it matter whether you are submitting something to a publisher or magazine? Why does posting something directly to the internet undermine its status as “writing”?

… The short answer is that blogging is a social activity, while writing is, properly speaking, a use of one’s solitude. There is nothing solitary about blogging.