Monthly Archives: July 2005

Seeking Dream Interpreter

Last night I dreamt that it was Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Midnight to be exact. I was walking out of a restaurant I often walk out of at that day and time. The sun was still setting, but the moon was quite visible. Huge to be exact. Maybe it was actually an asteroid inches away from striking the earth. And maybe the ‘sunset’ was a trail of blazing fire.

A friend was trying to convince me that sunsets do occasionally take that long. I was doubtful.

I’m just saying…you might want to head to your local supermarket and stock up on the essentials…

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
Victor Hugo
from: Songs of the Streets and Woods
Translated by: (unknown 19th century translation)

For centuries past this war-madness
Has laid hold of each combative race,
While our God takes but heed of the flower,
And that sun, moon, and stars keep their place.

The sight of the heavens above us,
The bird’s nest and lily-like snow,
Drive not from the brain of us mortals
The war-thirst, with its feverish flow.

We love but the field with its carnage,
And the strife which turns earth into hell;
And eager for glory, the people
Would not change the fierce drum for church-bell.

The vain aspirations of glory,
With banners and cars of bright gold,
Draw tears from the widows and orphans,
As often has happened of old.

Our natures have changed to brute fierceness;
“Forward! — Die!” bursts from each angry throat,
While our lips seem to mimic the music
Of the echoing war-trumpet’s note.

Steel flashes, the bivouacs are smoking,
As with pale brows we eagerly run.
The thoughtful are driven to madness
By the flash and the roar of the gun.

Our lives are but spent for the glory
Of the kings who smile over our grave,
And build up a fabric of friendship
With cement from the blood of the brave;

While the beats of the field and the vultures
Come in search of their banquet of hell,
And they strip the red flesh from the bodies
That lie stiff and stark where they fell.

Each man’s hand is raised ‘gainst his neighbour,
While he strives all his wrath to excite,
And trades on our natural weakness
To inveigle us into the fight.

“A Russian! Quick! Cut down the villain!
Put your sword through that murderous Croat!
How dare they from our men to differ,
Or venture to wear a white coat!”

“I slay fellow-creatures, and go on
My life’s path. What glory like mine?
Their crime is most black and most heinous,–
They live on the right of the Rhine.”

“For Rosbach and Waterloo, vengeance!”
The cry maddens the heart and the brain;
Men long for the fierce glow of battle
And the blood that is poured forth like rain.

In peace we could drink from the fountains,
Or calmly repose in the shade,
But our brethren in battle to slaughter
Is a pleasure which never will fade.

The lust for blood-spilling incites us
To rush madly o’er valleys and plains;
The vanquished are crying in terror,
And are clasping our swift horses’ manes.

And yet I ask sometimes in wonder,
As I wander the meadows among,
Can brother for brother feel hatred
As he hears the lark’s musical song?

Parashat: Balak

Assyrian Ass Senryu
(Numbers 22:2 – 25:9)

I’m not just an ass.
I’m the most famous ass ever.
I’m the one that spoke.

Balaam, my master,
Couldn’t see the Angel of G-d
Blocking the road

So he beat me thrice.
I complained; and he saw
He was the stupid one.

King Balak had hired Balaam
to curse the Israelites;
But he praised them.

If their G-d could make me talk,
There was no telling
What else He could do.

So Balaam was truly smart,
But the King was mad,
And refused to pay.

[Note: Some poetic license is being taken with the title, as the Assyrian Empire hadn’t quite stretched yet to include the territory of Balaam and his donkey at the time of the events in the poem.]

Googling Poetry

Fellow NewsPoet, DL Emerick, created a ‘game’ a few months back, which he entitled A game for the future tense.

I hope he doesn’t mind I quote his rules verbatim:

Take a poem, any old one will do —
I’ve supplied my own, above —
and you are welcome to play this game that way,
with your own collection of lines,
that you may imagine to be a poem,
or a story, or even an essay…

the only requirement is for the collection
to have some parse to it into small segments…

Now, take the lines and run them against the web,
google by google,
giga-gaggle giggle goggle gallery galore…

Let’s take the first stanza of my poem, Loyal, for example, which I posted 10 days ago.

line Google Result
In history class I was taught 6
in order to be good Americans 42
we must seek to address our grievances 0
by working within the system. 1455

The numbers are the amount of times these lines appear in a google search. If you conduct the search yourself you will find slightly higher numbers. This poem has appeared elsewhere, and I subtracted those appearances. So we see the final line of that stanza is a lot less original than the other three. This doesn’t come as a disappointment, as I was intentionally using that well-worn phrase.

Here are the rest of the results, by stanza:
162 – 0 – 13,900,000
0 – 53,400 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0
0 – 32 – 0 – 0 – 0
0 – 0 – 9,780,000

The goal isn’t necessarily to get a perfect score of all zeroes. Sometimes that may be impossible, and just because you’re the first to say something, doesn’t mean its brilliant.

The most practical use of this, naturally, is to avoid cliches and plagiarism. Depending upon how a poem parses, a high result doesn’t indicate a problem. I’m not surprised “from within” occurs close to 14 million times. That actually seems low.

ShowMeCon IS happening

I don’t know who starts these rumors, but if I find out, they will be dealt with.

Someone is going around saying that ShowMeCon has been cancelled. This is FALSE.

Pre-registrations are up from last year, the art show room is sold out, and there may be one dealer’s room table left.

ShowMeCon

JULY 22-24, Airport Hilton

Guests of Honor

Author: Eric Flynt (1631, 1632, The Philosophical Strangler, and others)

Media: Michael Sheard (Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark)

Lani Tupu (Farscape)

Filk: Luke Ski (He had the #1 most requested song on the Dr. Demento Show in 2002 and 2003)

And there will be a hospitality suite, with free food and drink.

The Hospitality Suite is being run by The USS Discovery A group of local Star Trek and Science Fiction fans, and the Commanding Officer is a real swell guy. Part geek, part poet. He will be in the Hospitality Suite most of the weekend. Come by, and say hi.