Archive for the ‘On the street’ Category

I’m lingering in Duluth. The eclispe-that-never-happened is on no one’s mind here though the echo of the librarian’s microphoned voice has barely dissipated.

I’ve begun my revision of Twelve: lives with(out) drink, pulling back on that author-horse that wants to run away with the wagon. No galloping. (more…)

Work station Duluth Public Library

My workstation at Duluth-main Public Library- Superior Street out the window looking east.

All bookstores want you on the weekend. That leaves weekdays to edit and revise my latest, TWELVE: lives with(out) drink, striving to satisfy my editor, my writer/readers, (more…)

All is well under the sun! The events at Western Edge in Medora, at Books on Broadway in Williston, and Main Street Books in Minot prove the voracity of North Dakota readers (including visitors to the state). Thank you to the INDIE-bookstores and INDEPENDENT THINKING readers!

Up next:


Cosmos trying too hard.

It all makes me wonder who the audience is. 

Yes, Cosmos starts with a bang, a big bang—President Obama introduces the program (it makes me wish he were promoting NASA more)—and as it rushes on, the bells and whistles never cease to ring and shrill. Big bangs turn me off.

I’m not a TV watcher, but the Neil de Grasse Tyson, Phd. interview on public radio made me jump to watch the new Cosmos. On radio the astrophysicist seemed personable, well-bred and educated, but sharply critical when he needed to be (vis-à-vis his public school education). On Cosmos he resembled more a stand-offish, dumb-it-down sycophant-for-science. On the tube, he did not win me over.

The homage to his meeting at age 17 with Carl Sagan came too late in the hour to soften the initial image presented—Dr. Tyson standing alone where ever, you name it: California Coast, outer space, on top of the galaxy, or on a huge checker-board calendar of cosmic time. I understand the purpose may have been to demonstrate how alone and remote we really are in the cosmos, but his appearance on the bridge of starship-Tyson and in a seedlike, flying space capsule did not make me want to sit down and chat. He was a remote, impersonal, and over-dramatic.  The still clips of Carl Sagan—intimating with a young student, interacting in his classroom, sitting, relaxed with Johnny Carson—did more to contrast with Dr. Tyson than to tie him to that popular lineage.

The “whoo-whoo-look-at-this” tone intensified when Dr. Tyson emphasized one of his overwrought points: we are small, insignificant in this universe.  “Hey, tell me about it. We know. We know.” The emphatic deep-throated proclamations had the opposite effect of that intended. Rather than enlighten, they dumbed an interesting topic right down to earth and into the ground.  In much the same way—let me not rush to reveal my generation here—the glitz, the sizzle, and rush of special effects made Cosmos difficult to differentiate from the Fox commercials (a couple decibels louder than they need to be).  Give me a fireside chat, not a fireworks show. Too much, way too much cosmic bling.  Any student, including Dr. Tyson, who has really learned from a professor will tell you that it was the personal touch (usually outside of class), not the proclamations from the lectern,  that taught him best. The personal touch was lost in this blitz.

Dr. Tyson’s critical side came out in ways unlikely to win approval of the Vatican or creationist “thinkers” in the USA.  For his courage, we must commend him. He is a man of science. But presenting Giordano Bruno as a cartoon did not do the trick for me. The Inquisition is too serious to be animated.  Maybe that is why it was done that way, but something about the euphoric, apostate monk twirling amongst the planets and sun does not inspire the young to explore outer, rather inner, space. Still, the program presents Bruno as courageous.

 One more gripe.  After waiting thirty minutes to learn something new, things of interest were glossed over or lost in the inarticulate, drooping tone at the end of a sentence.  Dr. Tyson passed one item—the idea that the moon was once much closer to Earth and was driven back by what?, tidal forces?—I wanted to know more about. Was it a tickler for future programs? I’ll check other sources first.

I want to like the host.  I want to give Cosmos another chance. The program deserves that. It is a noble idea, but better ideas, than inspiring new generations through glitz, special effects accompanied by cartoonish and undignified overkill, is to go to Mars, establish a base on the moon, expand a space station. Cut the talk and do it. That is inspiration.



Food trucks and writers

Posted: January 26, 2013 by Jollymore in On the street
Tags: , , ,

What am I doing here?

That was what I asked last night as Carol and I wandered through the young crowd outside OMC, Oakland Museum of California. I had gone for the music.  Well, it was Funk.

Can I dance to Funk? No.  Can I listen to Funk? No, but I can’t not hear it. I had to steer Carol behind a thick glass door to talk and to be able to hear anything but Funk.

Drink? I left that escape behind 27 and a half years ago.

Art? The most interesting piece of art in the gallery was the expression of “protocols” stamped on the security guard: “Please, take your purse strap off your shoulder,” she told Carol, “and hold it in your hand.”  Well, I had to know why.  What possible reason could otherwise well meaning people – I assume OMC is filled with them – have to foist such an odd and intrusive request.  Why? “Protocol.” What is that? Well: P-perpetrate, r-ridiculous, o-or, t-tedious, o-obligations, c-coupled with, o-obnoxious, l-license on all passersby.  Why? Because we can.  We are security; you are the public.  The final explanation was given me by Emily, a museum authority, that the glass work in the exhibit could easily be broken by one turning around while shouldering a large bag.  I viewed the exhibit.  Most of the glass work was encased in, well, glass. Boxes that fully protected the “art.”  All right.

What was I, then, doing there? I discovered the reason: I had come to visit the Food-Trucks. Yes, Food-Trucks, is a proper noun.

What an assemblage, too:  a cupcake truck, a lumpia wagon, a creme brule van, a Mediterainean flatbread sandwich cason, and others less well defined but all organic, all local, all “off the grid.”   But not one taco truck (note: those are common nouns). I didn’t sample, but I did read and interview. I wanted to know who was “driving” the Food Trucks. I gathered from three conversations with truckers who were SOLD OUT and, therefore, accessible and willing to talk that to “do” the Trucks, you have to be 30 something or so, and have the most common credential, a diploma from a culinary academy.  The largest, a red sandwich truck boasted two Cordon Blue graduates.

Germane to this blog, though, was news emblazoned across each truck in singular and signature font, the requirement that to be a Food-Truck, just as I am told is true of writers today, you need to have a Twitter following, a Facebook page, a web site as well as, bien sur, a blog and email address. In short, we writers, like Food-Trucks must have a web presence.

So. What am I doing here? I am basking in “presence.”