Saturday, May 26, 2007

Angelina, In Memory of Her Brief Life With Us

I wrote a little blurb this evening, with many photos, about the short time we had our cat Angelina.

Check it out.

This is something I wanted to blog about, and yet post a lot of photos at the same time. So, I found the form of a web page with downloadable photos to better suit the purpose.

~ Basil

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Arts and Pop Culture

This was an interesting article:

a particular phrase:

"The arts don't live in the media. ... Our society has chosen not to
make arts part of our public culture." By contrast, pop culture is
glorified. Our schoolchildren can name NBA stars and contestants on
"American Idol." But, asked Gioia: "Can they name a living American
poet, a famous architect, a classical musician, a philosopher or a

Well, what made this article so interesting to me was I surprised myself by finding I disagree. The main problem here is the contrast between "the arts" and "popular
culture." There is no such contrast. It takes the same collaborative
effort of many artists to create a great movie, or a rock concert, as it
does to create a ballet performance, or a performance of the opera. The
problem is not an unbreachable divide between "the arts" and "pop
culture" - the problem is "no sense of history."

The more traditional (historic) arts (like a ballet or opera performance) need to be taught in our schools alongside the newer arts. It can take work to enjoy an opera or a ballet. It can also take work to enjoy a good movie. Our main problem is that as a society we really don't like things that aren't easy.

So, in that respect, movies, literature, music and other elements of the arts that "aren't easy" are also good for us. They challenge us to think at the same time that they entertain us.

Do you folks know that Socrates (the original) actually took part as an actor in Athenian plays. He sometimes played the roll of god (which ever one was needed in the particular play) by being let down in a great basket above the stage where he made sagacious pronouncements. He sometimes did this and made a great buffoon of himself, much to the enjoyment of the audience.

Let us not be so quick to divorce the "true arts" from pop culture.

Even in history we see the sage playing the part of the fool in order to entertain the crowds - even to make them laugh.



Thursday, May 24, 2007

To Blog or Not To Blog

I don't blog very much. At least not 1/10th of the time that I email myself some grand new idea that I want to blog about.

By the time I get home and re-read my email I'm no longer interested.

Now, today's idea "Osama Wears A Burqa" was really a short story, and not a typical blog post. It may end up on my blog, because I loath the commercial publishing industry and don't really want to send my stories and poetry I write to commercial publishers. Or it may end up on my blog because I think it is too funny, too interesting, and too poignant to wait around for somebody else to publish.

Either way you go, I'm not ready to write it. It takes some time.

Now, other stories, thoughts, ideas: they pop into my head, and by the time I get home from work at night I am weary of them.

Take for example this blog post here...
(insert link)
.. I was all hot about the topic when I first read that article... but the heat subsided, and by the time I was at my home computer, it wasn't interesting any more.

Now today's idea, I'll tell you, is really more of an anecdote than a traditional "blog post":

I was in the break room at work fixing some green tea. A co-worker comes along... now this guy is really into hiking - I mean serious hiking, for weeks in the wilderness, that sort of thing. But as far as I know he doesn't have any vices, like drinking bourbon, smoking cigars, or drinking green tea.

Anyway, I'm fixing my green tea. And mentions the fact that we've got a large assortment of teas stacked up there. (I sense you aren't getting it... so some background is necessary here: our company provides food and beverage all day long..) Okay, so he's looking at the huge pile of teas. I mean there's about 30 or 40 different kinds of tea. "Well," I say, "many of them are here because folks like to bring in their own tea that they like a lot. Or maybe their own tea that they don't like."

(He laughs.)

And then I say, "Well most of the white teas are here because Bill is on a white tea fling right now and keeps bringing them in to keep it stocked up at work." Then I explain what white tea is all about, how it has (possibly) even more antioxidants than green tea, and how that has more that black, and so on.

"You see," I say, "you keep pumping your blood stream full of antioxidants, and you'll live forever."

(He chuckles.)

And, I'm thinking, yeah it's funny, but I know people who really live their lives like they think that.

"Well, forever is a long time..." he says.

(I'm on a roll with the "forever" thing). "Yeah, you become immortal like a vampire: all those antioxidants rushing through your blood veins."

(he laughs again)

Then he says: "Yeah, you live forever, but then you get old and your bones are brittle, and your body breaks down..." (here now I'm feeling self conscious because I'm all out of shape) "... and pretty soon someone is feeding you through a tube...."

"If I can't enjoy life," he concludes, "I don't want to live life any longer at all."

And I'm left with that thought. And, really, I think it is a profound life. I think of someone I know who is obsessed with living forever, and yet never goes out of his house. What's the point?

I think I'm on the other extreme. I enjoy life so much that it is probably slowing me down. I have so many different interests that I cannot possibly feed them all. I have so many hobbies, pursuits, ideas... that I cannot possibly write them all.

And so I'm back to the blog... and thinking: why don't I blog more?

Blogging, the experts now tell us, is a form of journalism. Where the heck did all these !#@$#@!$@ experts come from. Where were they back when blogging was invented? Where were they when the internet began? Well, I was there. I remember it.

I am a Poet, and to heck with blogging journalists. Literature is an art form, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A journalist is someone who reports the facts, but a Poet is someone who makes you feel them. What on earth makes these idiots think that to give someone who blogs the title of "journalist" somehow elevates them? No thank you: do not sink us that low.

They are a bunch of idiots, the blogging journalists. It's just a ploy by the newspapers, by the traditional media, to pull in the net and see if it can catch some fish. You see, we all know that people are reading less and less. Yet at the same time, more people are reading and writing blogs. So, what does it end up amounting to? Fewer and fewer people are reading commercial literature of any sort. So, the commercial literature giants are going after the little guys - in hopes for a "piece of the action."