Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What U drive

In the ‘50s, I puzzled over
Canadian Mercurys as Meteors.
Since 1984, NUMMI,
New United Motor Mfg. Inc.,
has built Pontiacs & Toyotas
in a GM plant in Fremont CA,
so what you drive may not
be what you think: soon
small Chryslers may be Fiats.

(31 MAR 09, Santa Clara CA)v12

Monday, March 30, 2009

SF Bay: CoG?

As the daily SF CHRONICLE (called The Chron, here), currently owned by Hearst Corp., is currently halving staff & may well disappear; back East in NYC, the NYT claims it's because "SF Bay has no real center of gravity." Actually, SF Bay has multiple centers of (media) gravity, which may prove 2B the wave of the future. e.g.:

Aristide Maupin, once a Chron columnist, became a bestselling gay novelist, TV-script-writer etc., & is now its emeritus gay media-star; murdered gay supervisor Harvey Milk is back (as portrayed by Sean Penn), thanks to Hollywood. Super-photogenic mayor Gavin Newsom is making (inter)national news (cf. gay marriages, etc.) To the major media, SF is America's gay-capital.

Last nite I was watching Will Smith in "The Pursuit of Happyness" (on DVD) realizing it all took place in SF & I knew every landmark in it, proving even I've become visually familiar with SF in only a few years (thanks to my indulgent friends, the National Writers' Union, & having interviewed for PR-jobs in downtown), while living 50 miles south at the bottom of SF Bay in Silicon Valley, whose 'capital' is San Jose, daily is The San Jose Mercury-News, once the premier Knight-Ridder paper, but now a McClatchy. Across in the East Bay, the Media News Group-owned Oakland TRIB, & McClatchy-owned Sacramento BEE papers are micro-regional.

Meanwhile, the NYT & WSJ sell down here at the bottom of the Bay because many people (like me) are East Coast transplants, so the NYT connects many with where they grew up or were schooled, etc. (Not me; tho a Boston-area resident until 62, I read the Guardian Unlimited on-line; I began reading it in hardcopy while living most of 1985 in Scotland with Carolin Combs.)

[aside] Back-East, Boston is notably ethnic (Irish) & architecturally historic (Revolutionary-era); the liberal daily Boston GLOBE (partially owned by the NYT) is losing millions a month, while its competitor, the rightwing daily Boston HERALD (a fat tabloid) ex-Hearst, now independent, also owns many of the region's weeklies; in my mid-20s, I began there; decades later, before Harte-Hanks pulled out of the region, I wrote for a suburban daily & a suburban weekly. In the nearest major city, 40 miles due west, the Worcester TELEGRAM is also partially owned by the NYT; 50 miles due south, the independent Providence JOURNAL serves RI; slightly southwest, the independent Hartford COURANT serves CT, but the NYT has local editions (pages) for both, so someday it all may end up totally NYT-ish.

Meanwhile, small-tab newspapers can, will & do supply micro-local news to every town, no matter how small. But What's news reportage (vs opinion), Who gets paid to write any of it, & Who reads it, & Why? I've done both, on both coasts, & am doing it now, on-line, as you read this. Soon after I arrived here in SF Bay, I wrote for the on-line reincarnation of the once-subfamous SFCall (www.sfcall.com) that Mark Twain wrote for; now even that on-line Call is defunct.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

veggie ombudsman

G.H.W. Bush disliked broccoli;
Obama dislikes beets. I like both.
Where R U, veggie ombudsman?

(21 MAR 09, Santa Clara CA)v3

Friday, March 20, 2009


[for F. Pohl & C. Kornbluth]

AIG's is now insuring everything
on our Earth + Moon; ditto, Mars,

changing its name to AIOU Holdings,
(Interplanet@ry) & its slogan to: No
stone unturned, no rock un-insured;

so when you lift one, better bend
your knees: it's heavily insured.

(20 MAR 09, Santa Clara CA)v9

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Big Blue may soon eat Sun

Big Blue (IBM, fund. 1894 ) was once big; then it shrank; now it will grow again if it eats Sun Microsystems, (fund. 1982) This matters here in 'Silicon Valley' CA, because Sun’s an offshoot of Stanford University in Palo Alto (fund. 1885.) In 1975, Carolin & I met while working for Light Blue (Digital Equipment Corporation a/k/a DEC, fund.1957) Does any of this matter to you? If all you know about computers is what Microsoft (fund. 1975) sells you, none of this may matter to you, but it should, because many other companies & countries & people got us to where we are right now, on the internet where you're now reading what I’ve written here for you to read. Think (IBM's slogan) of what this really means. Maybe only those of us brought up on sci-fi mags & novels really can; I was & do. (flashback:) Reading Frederik Pohl & Cyril Kornbluth’s radical sci-fi novel "The Space Merchants" (1953) changed my early adolescent mind & life thereafter. Kingsley Amis wrote (in 1960) it “has many claims to being the best science-fiction novel so far." [Ex.] It previewed the contraceptive Pill (1956) as Preg-Not; so did Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End" (1953.)

AIG - Interplanetary?

Noise about corporate bailouts being ‘socialist’ has dwindled as rage against AIG (American International Group) retention incentive bonuses has peaked with U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) suggesting that AIG executives go wholly Japanese. "Obviously, maybe they ought to be removed. But I would suggest the first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them if they'd follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I'm sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide." (by seppuku) What’s next? AIG relocate its corporate HQ to the moon & rename itself Interplanetary? (Not while the U.S.gov(ernment) owns 80% of it!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Paddy Day

On St Paddy's Day, I spent from 6pm to past midnite in a nearby HMO-hospital ER where I had blood tests, an EKG, & 2 CT-scans, just to get 3 stitches put into my eyebrow so that I can now see easily out of my R eye. They asked me why I came in so many hours after my unusual accident around noon: tripping on my cat's tie-out rope, falling & slamming my face into a green wooden park-bench; my excuse was a St. Paddy's Day dinner I had to go to first. They (my Chinese docs) were bemused, once I told them I was from (incurably Irish) Boston.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Green-Eyed Dagh

As a child, growing up just 11 miles north of Boston, when I dressed for early morning mass on St Patrick’s Day, my Polish-speaking mother would straighten a flimsy little wire & thread shamrock on my lapel as I went off. As I got older, I liked wearing it less, finally protesting “Look, my eyes are green, aren’t they enough?” (Hers were green, too, but she was wholly Polish.) But no exemptions from overt Irishness were to be had in 'greater' Boston. My father, born in Glasgow, was (perhaps) partly Irish, his father being named Francis and an R.C. but I never pled to being Boston-Irish & won’t start now on the West Coast; San Francisco does Paddy-up, nowhere equal to Boston, New York or Chicago, with their large Irish-American communities. Here's an infra-NYC joke: "What's 5 miles long & has an asshole at both ends?" (The St. Paddy's Day parade!)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Focus: Money

The economy grinds to a halt;
the halt grinds a powder;
the powder grinds a lens;
the lens focuses on money;
whose? Even yours, now.

(13 MAR 09, Santa Clara CA)

Sunday, March 8, 2009


RUSH sniffs the tips of his manicured fingers, stealthily reinserting them deep into the well of his inspiration, craving a bubbly high-colonic to purify his thinking: “My load’s much greater than the masses know,” he whispers, afraid it might be heard beyond the neo-hard castle of EIB (Excellence in Broadcasting) where {{reson@nce}} validates all. Caught by a wide-angle lens, expanding full-width in fascistic black, faking hipoidal pump-action, he is pitifully, transparently condemned 2B a radiobe@st.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


"How will you explain Daylight Savings Time to your cat?" asks Ivo, saying Congress may pass a law that it only apples to states with names of more than 2-syllables. I explain: "Reggie's time-agnostic. He can really only distinguish analog day from analog night."

Last night, packed into NASA Ames Immersion Center (Mt.View), Ivo & I watched the Kepler liftoff at Canaveral, surrounded by scientific graybeards & multi-ethnic families with teenagers, witnesses to galactic history...beside me, Dr. Ginny Zeitman (NASA), joined the hand-clapping countdown as I sat on my hands...

Friday, March 6, 2009

CHENEY raves alone

CHENEY raves alone
on the porcelain throne,
damning Obama’s blood
as lacking real manhood:

“Real men can disagree
about what's tortury,
but only communists
cancel war-contracts!”

CHENEY will retire
to Dubai to the heart
of Haliburton corporat,
protected by Black-
water Men in Black.

“I am who I was & am;
I am the realer Man!”
CHENEY boasts alone.

(05 MAR 09, Santa Clara CA)v5

People no longer

People no longer
ask me about Carolin
as tho they’ve just heard she’d died.

Those who need to know, now know;
the rest of the world will have to be told
in every way I am capable of:

On You Tube: Chef Carolin
crafts a Crème Marie Louise
as I sweatily sous chef her,
for as long as You Tube exists:

Material irony: Carolin
really didn’t like chocolate
& only chose it out of sheer bravada
because chocolate impresses people,
always has & always will.

(06 MAR 09, Santa Clara CA)v5

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ri$ing Expectation$

A child bends over to pick up a penny,
an adolescent, a Benjamin,
a banker, a billion, expectations
just about equal: Where’s the next?

(05 MAR 09, Santa Clara CA)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pennies into Dollars

Pitching pennies into a penny-jar
on your way out the front door
teaches your children

how to save pennies indoors;
rolling them up in paper tubes
teaches their paper value to banks.

What teaches us the reification of
millions, billions, trillions of dollars?

(04 MAR 09, Santa Clara CA) v8

A Libertarian

Once a Libertarian I carpooled with tried to talk me into mortgages as rock-solid investments: “My mortgage is my bank account!” he chortled, smiling. “But the bank actually owns your house,” I argued, “If you lose your job, the bank will take your bank-account-house. What will you have left then?” In his scenario, it could never happen. In a while, the computer company we both worked for was taken over twice. I wonder if he still works in high-tech, & still has his same suburban house?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Walk, off

After e-mailing Ivo that
light rain's cancelling our walk
to the posh mall a mile away.

I hold out my R-fingers
to my cat Reggie who sniffs
them, growling appreciatively.

(01 MAR 09, Santa Clara CA)v4