Monthly Archives: October 2006

Day of the Dead Beats

The below information copied verbatim from posting to Yahoogroups list by the organizer of the event.


St. Louis, MO. – On Thursday, November 2, at 8 PM, local literature lovers will crowd into Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Ave., Maplewood, MO 63143) to celebrate the poetry of the Beat Generation in the tenth annual “Day of the Dead Beats” festival. The event is free and open to those interested in the poetry, writing and spirit of The Beat Generation. Doors will open at 7 p.m.

Since the death of Allen Ginsberg in1997, the local “Day of the Dead Beats” evening has carried the torch for the radical and transcendental literary subculture pioneered by the Beat poets. By far the largest yearly Beat celebration in the region, “Day of the Dead Beats” invites local writers, actors, musicians and personalities to give live readings of the works of authors such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Charles Bukowski, Kenneth Rexroth, Peter Orlovsky, Bob Kaufmann, Gregory Corso and Herbert Huncke and even some of the still-living writers of the Beat Generation, such as Gary Snyder and Lawrence Ferlenghetti.

The event, started by Paul Thiel and others in 1997 following the deaths of Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, has continued every year since. Its title is a play on words incorporating the Mexican holiday, “Day of the Dead” (“Día de los Muertos”) and is a sort of remembrance of those who are gone but not forgotten.

This year’s lineup is as follows:

  • Ann Haubrich (host of KDHX’s “Literature for the Halibut”) reading Jack Kerouac
  • Stefene Russell (poet, actress, and 52nd City editor) reading Philip Lamantia
  • Poet Ken Brown reading from the Yage’ Letters and other William S. Burroughs
  • Performance artist Brett Williams reading Brion Gysin
  • Kevin McCameron (St. Louis Poetry SLAM! master) reading Gregory Corso
  • Brian Jackson (Former roommate of Greg Corso and friend of many Beat poets) telling shocking stories and reading Allen Ginsberg
  • Bob Wilcox (theater and film critic and co-host of dhTV’s “Two on the Aisle”) reading Allen Ginsberg
  • K. Curtis Lyle (St. Louis Warrior Poet) reading Bob Kaufmann
  • “Bar Room” Bob Putnam (Way Out Club co-owner and KDHX personality) reading Herbert Huncke
  • Aaron Belz (Observable Readings organizer) reading Kenneth Rexroth
  • Paul Acker (poet and SLU professor) reading Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • Brett Underwood (organizer of Day of the Dead Beats, bartender and host of KDHX’s “The No Show”) ending the night with Charles Bukowski

Notes- For more information about “Day of the Dead Beats”, there’s a Yahoo! discussion group “Day of the Dead Beats” is part of the Observable Readings regular season calendar. Observable Readings are supported by grants from MAC and RAC as well as by funding from numerous private benefactors. Although there is no admission charge for this event, donations will be accepted at the door. All donations are tax-deductible. This will be “Day of the Dead Beats'” first year in a smoke-free environment.

I win!

Boss: November 15th..what else is occurring on that date?
Me: The Ides of November
Boss: Every month doesn’t have an ides
Me: Sure they do
Boss: No they don’t
Me: Yes they do
Boss: Bet?
Me: Sure.

I won a nickel.

(Though I’m lucky the bet was phrased the way it was, because the Ides of November fall on November 13th)

Things you have to believe to be a Republican today:

(From my inbox to a post in under 60 seconds)

  • Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.
  • Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush’s daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a “we can’t find Bin Laden” diversion.
  • Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade
    with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

  • The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our Highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.
  • A woman can’t be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.
  • The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans’ benefits and combat pay.
  • If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won’t have sex.
  • A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, Then demand their cooperation and money.
  • Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism.
  • HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.
  • A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.
  • The public has a right to know about Hillary’s cattle trades, but George Bush’s driving record is none of our business.
  • Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you are a conservative radio host. Then it is an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.
  • What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the ’80s is irrelevant.

Happy Halloween

A Jewish Approach to halloween.

Jewish Halloween costume ideas (Admittedly, this might be a little late this year for some to use.)

Some might be surprised that the Witch of Endor isn’t a Tolkein or George Lucas character. But if the word Endor only means “Electron Nuclear DOuble Resonance” to you, you’re on the wrong blog.

Somewhat related:

How the spider saved David from King Saul.

And of course, everyone knows how a spider saved a pig, right? I’d argue there are some interesting parallels, but I suspect they’re all coincidental.

Finally…A poem I wrote in 1975 at age six:


It’s a flying bat
A big black cat
And a witch in a hat

The monkeys are still busy working on Shakespeare

back in November 2004, I blogged abut the Monkey-Shakespeare Simulator. At that time the monkeys had accurately typed 22 characters of a Shakespearean play.

Now they are up to 42!

After 4.47132e+80 pages in this session, a monkey typed:

So shaken as we are, so wan with carwkHYffw;]6amA4sf I,cQM,l7bJbkAL…

the first 42 letters of which match “The First Part of King Henry the Fourth”:

So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
Find we a time for frighted peace to pant
And breathe short-winded accents of new broils
To be commenc’d in stronds afar remote.

According to Wikipedia

In 2003, lecturers and students from the University of Plymouth MediaLab Arts course used a £2,000 grant from the Arts Council to leave a computer keyboard in the enclosure of six Sulawesi Crested Macaques in Paignton Zoo in Devon in England for a month; not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five pages consisting largely of the letter S, they started by attacking the keyboard with a stone, and continued by urinating and defecating on it.

Which is perhaps not completely dissimilar to the work habits of some authorsssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.

The Artist – by William Carlos Williams

Sometimes a poem can create unintended images for a reader, decades after it is written. When William Carlos Williams died, Laurence Tureaud was only 11 years old. I’m not sure it is possible to read the following poem, though, without Mr. Tureaud appearing in my mind.

Mr T.
                           in a soiled undershirt
his hair standing out
           on all sides
                           stood on his toes
heels together
           arms gracefully
                           for the moment

curled above his head.
           Then he whirled about
into the air
           and with an entrechat
                           perfectly achieved
completed the figure.
           My mother
                           taken by surprise
where she sat
           in her invalid's chair
                           was left speechless.
Bravo! she cried at last
           and clapped her hands.
                           The man's wife
came from the kitchen:
           What goes on here? she said.
                           But the show was over.

I’m not sure when WCW wrote this, but it can be found here, here, and here (as well as in The Rattle Bag)

CDC Warning

Gonorrhea Lectim Warning
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

THE CDC has issued a no-nonsense warning about a new, highly virulent strain of sexually transmitted disease. This disease is contracted through dangerous and high risk behavior.

The disease is called Gonorrhea Lectim (pronounced “gonna re-elect him”).

Many victims have contracted it after having been screwed for the past 4 years, in spite of having taken measures to protect themselves from this especially troublesome disease.

Cognitive sequelae of individuals infected with Gonorrhea Lectim include, but are not limited to,

  • anti-social personality disorder traits;
  • delusions of grandeur with a distinct messianic flavor;
  • chronic mangling of the English language;
  • extreme cognitive dissonance;
  • inability to incorporate new information;
  • pronounced xenophobia and homophobia;
  • inability to accept responsibility for actions;
  • exceptional cowardice masked by acts of misplaced bravado;
  • uncontrolled facial smirking;
  • total ignorance of geography and history;
  • tendencies toward creating evangelical theocracies;
  • and a strong propensity for categorical, all-or-nothing behavior.

The disease is sweeping Washington. Naturalists and epidemiologists are amazed and baffled that this malignant disease originated only a few years ago in a Texas bush.

Please inform any of your friends and associates who have been acting unusual lately.

— Received in email. Author Unknown. Earliest internet appearance I have found (Dec 2004)

(Sure, I could have worked a little and updated it for the 2006 elections…tried to make it apply to re-electing current incumbents…but why bother?)

Guess what? I bought another book.

I was driving down Manchester this morning and decided to check to see if the Book House was still there. As I mentioned back in June they were planning on moving late summer, early fall. The move has been postponed. A year, or so.

I understand. It’s hard to get up the courage to move books. I know I bought the home I was renting when the owners decided to sell in order not to have to move my books. (There may have been other factors.) And I have a tiny fraction of what they have.

Of course, I entered the Book House. And I never leave empty handed.

I did limit myself to one book. I purchased The Rattle Bag, an anthology of poetry selected by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes.

I know it was only a week ago that I said I had given up on Heaney. However, there’s not a single poem in the collection written by him. It’s a collection of his and Hughes’ favorite poems, and neither has an ego high enough to select one of their own.