Sunday, July 6, 2008

Word of the Year: "Staycation"

Yep, that's my nominee, anyway. There are a few "Word of the Year" lists out there, and past winners include "9-11", "metrosexual", "truthiness", and "w00t!" But it seems the soaring cost of oil, and consequently, travel, has made folks rethink their vacation and travel plans, deciding in some cases just to stay home and enjoy relaxing there. (Not possible in my home - we'd spend the week working on all the stuff we can't get done when we work 40 hours a week.) The comic strip "Cathy" has had a funny series where Cathy and her husband end up spending way more on their "staycation" (with internet shopping, etc.) then they ever would if they'd gone away.

We had planned two long road-trip vacations for this summer before this gasoline thing got out of hand. We just returned from the first vacation - to South Carolina - and spent over $200 on gas alone round-trip - and that's with a hybrid SUV that gets almost 30 mpg. Not that I regret the trip - we spent 8 days at Wyndham Ocean Ridge on Edisto Island, a beautiful, natural and quiet vacation spot with gorgeous beaches and interesting flora and fauna (palmettos, Spanish moss, live oaks and crepe myrtle, plus alligators!). We took day trips to Charleston and Savannah, both beautiful cities with lots of history, as well as Fort Sumter and Boone Plantation. I hope to post some photos on my Flickr account soon (stay tuned). Our August destination is Maine.

Poetry: Not much going on since the conference last month. I've written a couple of new poems but nothing to crow about. I did enter a few contests held by Mad Poets Review, Shakespaeare's Monkeys, and Finishing Line Press, and submitted some poetry to US 1 Worksheets, so we'll see what comes of all that. This Friday my group, Quick and Dirty Poets, continues their summer reading series with featured poet Tammy Paolino, whose day job is editor for the Camden NJ Courier Post, and who writes some excellent and often very funny poetry. We Q&D Poets are also planning a group excursion to the Dodge Poetry Festival this fall.

Music: If I could only recommend one album this month, it would be the new one from Alejandro Escovedo, Real Animal. The guy is just one of the best roots-rockers and songwriters around. This album is a bit of a return to his earlier days - whereas his more recent albums had a certain gorgeous craftmanship to them, this one has a harder edge and pays homage to his beginnings as a punk-rocker in the late 1970's. He hasn't abandoned the beautiful melodies, though - they're still represented on a few tracks. Sadly, it appears I'll miss his upcoming local appearance (at the XPoNential Music Festival this week) due to a schedule conflict - I've missed the last three or four appearances he has made in the Philly area.

Poem of the Month: Here's a silly little verse that was published in the online journal Sunken Lines. The origin is courtesy of my youngest son, who when he was much littler, went through a bedtime routine where his stuffed animals who were in bed with him all kissed me on the head, and I was obliged to kiss them back. One evening when he'd brought his stuffed alligator to bed with him, I said, "Isn't the alligator going to kiss me good night?" And he replied, "Dad! Alligators can't kiss!" Instant inspiration!

Alligators Can't Kiss

It's a fact: alligators can't kiss -
sharp teeth and a long snout like this
make their oral affection remiss.
Alligators aren't able to kiss.

And what's more, armadillos can't hug -
they'd rather roll up, tight and snug,
so attackers walk off with a shrug.
Armadillos just don't want to hug.

And centipedes, you know, cannot dance -
legs'll tangle; they don't stand a chance.
So forget any ballroom romance!
Centipedes don't know how to dance.

So that brings this poem to me -
I kiss and I hug admirably!
But dancing, I can't guarantee.
Still, that's not too bad, two for three.