Sunday, July 8, 2007

Cars Redux

More car misfortune: Last Tuesday my son, who's only been driving regularly for about a month (to work and back mostly) was rear-ended about four blocks from home while stopped to make a left-hand turn. The woman who struck him said she was distracted by a young bicycler who threatened to swerve in front of her. The car, a 1992 Plymouth, is totaled. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Ironically, the other driver is a personal injury lawyer, but she admitted from the beginning that it was her fault, and her insurance company intends to pay for everything. Of course, we'll be lucky to get more than $2000 for the car, even though it had only about 86,000 miles on it. So now we are in the unusual position of having had two serious accidents in the family within 10 days of each other (neither of which was our fault). Fortunately again, our insurance has a rental car provision, so my wife and I are driving his-and-hers Ford Focuses until things get sorted out with our cars. And we still have the other two cars which the sons will drive.

Not much new on the poetry front - still in a major creative slump. Waiting to hear on my other submissions. Picked up a volume of poetry by A.R. Ammons which I intend to read.

Music: I just saw the documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston - fascinating bio of a creative but tortured soul - sort of like Brian Wilson but even further out there. He grew up in West Virginia in a fundamentalist Christian household but always aspired to be a songwriter. artist and musician. He chronicled his life from his early teens through a series of home movies and self-produced music tapes, and he had a history of mental illness - mainly manic depression with paranoid delusions. But he developed a cult following largely from his tireless self-promotion - he serendipitously landed in Austin, Texas in the mid-1980's just as that city's music scene was exploding, and succeeded not only in winning some awards at the annual music festival, but even insinuating himself onto MTV. But mainstream fame always eluded him, despite having influential fans like Kurt Cobain and Yo La Tengo. He sabotaged a generous major label contract because he was too paranoid at the time to sign it, and he went through a period where he ranted on about the Devil (hence the movie's title). But it's a fascinating film, and he's had a bit of redemption in the end. See it if you can.

Most recent album acquisitions:
1. Dog Problems by the Format (bombastic power pop - think Queen and Jellyfish with a dash of Squeeze thrown in, and a bit of old-style dance hall music)
2. This is Ryan Shaw by Ryan Shaw (a throwback to the old 60's and 70's Memphis soul sound, and he's got a great voice to carry it).

That's all for now - I'll give you my latest poem, a "double dactyl" (a humorous form invented by Anthony Hecht and Paul Pascal) about our "leader of the free world".

Dubya Dactyl

Hubble-yoo, bubble-yoo,
President “W”,
malaprop champ, no one
else can compete.

His forte’s not to speak
extemporaneous –
with foot-in-mouth one can’t
think on one’s feet.

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