This is the official blog of Northern Arizona slam poet Christopher Fox Graham. Begun in 2002, and transferred to blogspot in 2006, FoxTheBlog has recorded more than 423,000 hits since 2009. This blog cover's Graham's poetry, the Arizona poetry slam community and offers tips for slam poets from sources around the Internet. Read CFG's full biography here. Looking for just that one poem? You know the one ... click here to find it.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I miss Mitch Hedberg

Every time I eat a non-frozen banana, I imagine that it had once been frozen ... and think of Mitch Hedberg.

Sedona Poetry Slam flyers

All flyers made by my cohort in crime, Alun Wile. I found the stock art images, he did the layout artwork.
Cute little girl pulls at the heartstrings. I hope we get some grandparents who see this and identify with young kids. When the first poet busts open with a verbose description of fucking in a dorm room, well, they're already in a seat.

Sometimes you find an image you want to use somehow, some way, no matter what.

I don't want to exploit the homeless, but I do want to point out to Sedona's uber-rich that it doesn't take much to change a young kid's life. $2,000 is a drop in the bucket for Sedona's retirees who own million-dollar homes, if they spread the wealth around, they can do a lot of good.

Same issue as the poster above in terms of not wanting to exploit someone who's in dire straights, but I didn't take the photo and really don't know this fellow's story. Deeds thinks this fellow might be an Indian ascetic, I think he's probably not.

Sedona Poetry Slam benefits team going to nationals

Full-tilt face-off fundraiser for phonic force from Flagstaff
Studio Live in West Sedona will beat with the heart of poetry on Saturday, July 27, as the best poets in Northern Arizona join together in an exhibition slam fundraiser.
Beginning at 7:30 p.m., the five members of the 2009 Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team will compete against other top poets from around the state. Proceeds from the poetry slam bout will help send the Flagstaff team to the National Poetry Slam, held this year in West Palm Beach, Fla., Aug. 4 to 8. The team will represent Northern Arizona against more than 80 other teams from around the country.
Since it was founded in 2001, the Flagstaff National Poetry Slam Team has served as the common banner for all Northern Arizona poets at the National Poetry Slam.
Poets from Sedona, the Village of Oak Creek, Cottonwood and Camp Verde have routinely made the trek up the hill to compete in Flagstaff. Likewise, Flagstaff poets often bring their spoken word talents to Sedona audiences. Several Sedona poets have also been members of the Flagstaff team in past years.
This year, Jessica Guadarrama continues that proud tradition. Guadarrama is a Sedona Red Rock High School alumna and current Northern Arizona University student. Jessica Guadarrama describes herself as a bilingual Mexican American. She started writing in eighth grade but it wasn't until ninth grade that she discovered slam poetry when NORAZ Poets held a slam at the SRRHS auditorium. Her soul has been captured since then and she asks anyone that knows of its whereabouts to please come and let her know,she stated.
Guadarrama is joined on the team by poets Frank O’Brien, Ryan Brown, Antranormus and John Cartier.
Frank O'Brien is a 20-year-old student at Coconino Community College, focusing in the general studies and pre-nursing. Originally from Phoenix, O'Brien entered the slam poetry scene in fall 2007. In August 2008, he traveled with Cartier, Brown and Guadarrama to Madison, Wis., as a member of the 2008 Flagstaff National Slam Team. O'Brien is now an active poet and administrator of the FlagSlam Poetry Slam in Flagstaff.
Ryan Brown stated that he is a kid from Phoenix who spends most of his time posing as a writer and poet. He now goes to school and lives in Flagstaff, where he is the SlamMaster of the FlagSlam Poetry Slam.
Writing mainly about love and the true impact that it can have on the world, Brown stated that he enjoys baseball cards, cheap candy, and eating his girlfriend's cooking.
Antranormus is a hip-hop artist who stated that he constantly seeks to redefine or blur completely the boundaries between hip-hop, poetry and absolute absurdity. Known for his complex, multisyllabic rhyme schemes and controversial subject matter, he has shared the stage with members of the Wu Tang Clan, Jurassic 5, and solo artists Abstract Rude, Illogic, Sole among others.
The June 27 slam will be hosted by Sedona poet Christopher Fox Graham, who was on the Flagstaff team in 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. The team needs to raise around $2,000 to fund the trip.
Studio Live is located at 215 Coffee Pot Drive, Sedona. For more information, visit http://studiolivesedona.com.
Founded in Chicago in 1984, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport. Poetry slams are judged by five randomly chosen members of the audience who assign numerical value to individual poets’ contents and performances. Poetry slam has become an international artistic sport, with more than 100 major poetry slams in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe.
Since 1990, teams from around the North America have competed at the National Poetry Slam, held in a different city every year. For five days, poets enjoy critique and camaraderie as they compete. The top four teams face off on the final night.
Daytime events include instructional workshops, featured readings, poetry showcases, the infamous “Haiku Deathmatch.” Because of the rich diversity and intense focus on the art of spoken word, the National Poetry Slam is considered a transformational experience for young poets.
For more information about the 2009 National Poetry Slam, visit http://nps2009.com.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Three Breakup Words / Three Words After Sex

Yes, I use Twitter, somewhat reluctantly. I don't consider it anything more than an online quirk. However, I don't "tweet" or send "tweets." "Twitter" is not an irregular verb just because some computer nerd wants it to be. The correct regular conjugation would be "sending twits from one Twit to another Twit."

In any case, I discovered "trends" on the sidebar, which are just other ways to goof off on Twitter.

Three Breakup Words
"I'll have decaf"
"You're from Canada?"
"What's a Fraggle?"
"Dating your dad"
"We're still divorced"

Three words after sex
"Best threesome ever"
"Got a shovel?"
"Forgot ... safe ... word"
"Viagra works wonders"
"You awake now?"
"Still lesbian? Damn."
"Church pews rock"
"Run! The cops!"
"Thanks, Mr. President"
"What's on television?"
"Cut! Roll tape!"
"That'll be $200"
"You've got syphilis"

2012: Tsunami of Stupidity

Why the latest apocalyptic cult is a silly scam.
By Ron Rosenbaum
From Slate.com


The growing harmonic convergence of apocalyptic stupidity that goes under the rubric 2012 or "the Mayan Calendar Prophecy" has not yet reached Y2K proportions. And while it's broken out of the New Agey cult status where it's been fermenting for some years, there are still many in the chattering classes who haven't heard about it. "The end of the world in 2012?" my friend Stanley said. "You mean I have to wait that long?"

The cult around the date Dec. 21, 2012—the supposed apocalyptic final day on something referred to knowingly as "The Mayan 'Long Count' Calendar"—has been the subject of fevered fantasies on the net and the free New Age "magazines" given away at health-food stores. But last week Newsweek gave it serious attention, and there's a metastasizing web of 2012 sites, including at least one anti-2012 site, which has a section devoted to debunking the apparently limitless number of gullible airheads who have become 2012 believers.

Even within the web of believer webs there are bitter mini-schisms already: Some believe that Dec. 21, 2012, will mark the end of the world in some kind of fiery apocalypse, planetary collision, gravitational reversal, black-hole disappearance, spontaneous combustion, or planetary rotational reversal of some sort. Then there are those who believe that the end of the old Mayan calendar will be something to look forward to: a transformational moment in the history of creation that will be all good for earth's peeps—a "harmonic convergence"-type thing. (Remember that from the '80s, when a bunch of planets lining up were supposed to work wonders on Earth?) In 2012, human nature will undergo a rebirth, the beginning of a New Age. (The Age of Aquarius at last! Maybe it's all hype for the revival of Hair.)

And, of course, there's at least one major motion picture of the cataclysm school, Roland Emmerich's 2012, due this November. And, needless to say, the New Age section of your local chain bookstore is bursting with 2012 titles. There's the literate Daniel Pinchbeck's 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl. I was an admirer of Pinchbeck's brave first book, Breaking Open the Head, about his search for shamanic experiences, and must admit I'm disappointed that he seems to have reduced all that mystery and wonder to a single number in 2012—although I'm sure that's not how he would put it.

And, finally, there's the frankly exploitive: everything from Beyond 2012 to (I swear) The Complete Idiot's Guide to 2012 (a bit redundant). Then there are the "2012 survival kits," a 2012 iPhone app, an "official" 2012 store, and other foolishness—the whole Y2K survivalist huckster aspect of 1999 replicating itself.

It's a harmonic convergence all right, a harmonic convergence of ignorance and superstition—a tsunami of stupidity—worthy of the millennial cults of the 19th century most enjoyably anatomized in Leon Festinger's famous study, When Prophecy Fails, a look at the way end-of-the-world cults grow even stronger after their prophet's end-of-the-world date flies by and the world confoundingly continues to exist. (Festinger's study gave rise to the term "cognitive dissonance.")

In addition to 2012 the date, 2012 as a concept has its harmonic convergence (or maybe cataclysmic convergence) with an ever-widening spectrum of New Age idiocies. It's like a magnet for mindlessness. There's the literal convergence with "Planet X," for instance.

Don't tell me you haven't heard of Planet X? Obviously not, otherwise you'd be aware of the following compilation of Planet X lore I found on a skeptical Web site:

Apparently, Planet X (aka Nibiru) was spotted by astronomers in the early 1980s in the outermost reaches of the solar system. It has been tracked by infrared observatories; seen lurking around in the Kuiper Belt, and now it is speeding right toward us and will enter the inner solar system in 2012. So what does this mean to us? Well, the effects of the approach of Planet X on our planet will be biblical, and what's more, the effects are being felt right now. Millions, even billions of people will die, global warming will increase; earthquakes, drought, famine, wars, social collapse, even killer solar flares will be caused by Nibiru blasting through the core of the solar system. All of this will happen in 2012, and we must begin preparing for our demise right now …

Sounds scientific to me. I hope I have flashlight batteries for when Nibiru comes "blasting through" the solar system. (As far as I can tell from a brief survey of the subject, "Planet X" is an artifact of some infrared anomalies that may or may not have "planetary" reality. Scientists disagree, but few have formed apocalyptic cults around it.) Of course, this summary leaves out the various UFO versions of Planet X (and 2012) theories in which space aliens are going to manifest themselves, maybe hopping off Planet X during a flyby as either Wise Teachers or Sadistic Destroyers.

Spiritual idiocy doesn't afflict only the ignorant, of course. See this recent account of how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the great rationalist detective Sherlock Holmes, got taken in by spiritualists.

Maybe those obsessed with making the world conform to rigid rationalities are the most vulnerable to the shambolic visions of mystics who can "explain" the anomalies and mysteries that elude their "Science of Detection." And, as always, consolation is likely to be a big factor in the swelling of 2012 superstition: The vastness of the cosmic event swiftly approaching (check your iPhone app for exact hours and minutes) will dwarf any petty sorrow and frustrations one experiences between now and then. (Isn't there something too ironic about the possessors of the apex of technological science consulting their Flintstones-era apocalyptic calendar of ignorance on the iPhone, that icon of intellect?)

Whatever the cause, I see a tidal wave of swill poised to overwhelm all media beginning with the November release of the 2012 film. (Possible ad slogan: "Will this be the last Christmas?")

It's hopeless; grit your teeth; it's coming whether you like it or not. And don't be surprised when you find the same people who sneer at creationism start talking about the prescience of the Mayan calendar-makers who, by the way, thought the world was flat and was created 4,000 ago. Some have already tried to correlate the calendar with the end-time prophecies of the Book of Revelation.

So, as a public service, if you do have to be polite to an otherwise rational friend who wonders about the coming 2012 apocalypse, here's a link you should send them: "The Astronomical Insignificance of Maya date 13.0.0" by Vincent H. Malmström, professor emeritus (geography) at Dartmouth College.

It leaves 2012 in shreds. Shreds and patches of pseudoscience starting way back with the Mayan "astronomers" themselves who fiddled with dates and calendrical cycles and logic. Malmström writes: "The world is recorded as having begun on a day numbered 4 in the sacred almanac, and one numbered 8 in the secular calendar which reveals at once that this date [Dec. 21, 2012] was derived from projecting each of the two time counts then in use, backwards in time." In other words, the Maya started from an end date they liked and fiddled with their calculations so that they ended up with different (and nonzero) starting dates.

The Maya have long been a source of mysticism to archaeologists who couldn't grok their language and to Northerners who came down to Central America to seek visions from psychedelic plants like yage (first William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg; later, Pinchbeck) with local shamans. The focus on the Mayan calendar has led to questions of when it really ended—was it Dec. 21, 2012, or some alternate or specific "Time of Troubles"? This is just one of the many unresolved issues that give 2012 a shaky foundation. Some people have wondered why, if the calendar ends on a certain date, you can't just turn the page on your Mayan wall calendar or buy a new stone tablet that starts the next day.

The question has been around since the '20s and '30s, when an archaeologist named John Thompson began writing about the calendar. In the latter part of the last century, the 2012 theory was taken up by Mayan calendar "prophet" José Argüelles (who now believes that UFOs are going to be involved) and then it gradually filtered into the easily excitable cortex of the New Age and of New Age "entrepreneurs"—let's call them—who knew that there was a buck to be made exploiting fear and superstition with a mystical twist.

Professor Malmström gently rubbishes recent western "expert" claims. The whole focus on the date, Dec. 21, 2012, he says, "is only true if one employs the discredited revised version of Thompson's calculation. ... [T]hey [the New Age hucksters] have chosen to disregard Thompson's own admonition against attempting to assign astronomical meaning to dates recorded by the Maya because, he argued, they were not true 'astronomers' but really 'astrologers' instead." He sums up his feelings by saying categorically: "That to suggest this date will have any meaning or importance to anyone but a historian of chronology is to embroider it with significance it was never intended to have." He is fairly harsh on the "shoddy 'research' " by self-proclaimed 2012 experts who have "sought to profit from 'science fiction.' "

It's pretty convincing, and I'd bet anyone who's a 2012 believer a steak dinner on Dec. 22, 2012, that it's all going to go the way of the Hale-Bopp comet (remember that?) and Y2K.

Why is this tsunami of stupidity so irritating to me? I think it has a lot to do with one of the more recent moronic convergences I found on some 2012 site. One that supposedly aligned the Maya's 2012 thing with the Hopi end-times prophecy. The best cultural explanation I found for this flowering of idiocy said that New Age fads like the Hopi prophecy and 2012 are a kind of cultural colonialism in which white people endow the minorities they have wiped out or repressed with mystical powers made more mysterious by their virtual vanishing.

But I have a personal connection to the Hopi prophecy: a sad episode in my past involving the prophecy and the flying-saucer con man who was exploiting it.

It was one of my early reporting junkets for the Village Voice. I had escaped from Taos, N.M., where I had spent a lot of time not interviewing Dennis Hopper at the ranch that D.H. Lawrence had once rented, and I loved the desert and desert hot springs. So I was traveling west, and I remember I stopped at a broken-down filling station while driving through the Hopi Reservation in Arizona and saw a sign for a strange rally. It seemed to be in support of a 101-year-old Hopi "prophet" who was claiming that UFOs were coming soon to fulfill the age-old Hopi prophecy and that everyone should show up to greet them at this rally.

According to a grungy pamphlet tacked to a bulletin board on the gas station's interior wall, the UFOs were signs referred to in the Hopi prophecy. The pamphlet showed this sketchy-looking white guy in a cheap suit next to the alleged 101-year-old Hopi prophet and claimed that Mr. Sketchy was in psychic communication with the UFOs and had confirmed that they were arriving to vindicate Hopi mythology about the end of time. As far as I could tell, the sketchy guy had arrived out of the blue and insinuated himself into the confidence of one of the two most ancient and revered Hopi holy men—let's call him Prophet A—and convinced him he had messages from the ETs saying that they were coming to help him fulfill the Hopi prophecy of the end of time. There's a lot in 2012 literature that tries to connect the Maya calendar to the Hopi prophecy as if one is evidence for the other.

UFOs in the Hopi prophecy? Sure, why not? A lot of people believed UFOs were going to be involved in the Maya calendar apocalypse.

Unfortunately, it turned out there was another 101-year-old Hopi prophet, Prophet B, who wasn't buying the whole UFO business. He expressed skepticism about the sketchy newcomer who was acting as middleman between Hopi Prophet A and the UFOs. A schism, a virtual civil war between the two centenarians, was brewing, dividing the Hopi tribe.

Then ... well, I remember at the end of the couple days I spent in the dusty little town reporting on this story I ended up in the lovely terra-cotta cottage of a refugee from Greenwich Village, an elderly woman who had left New York, where she had danced with Martha Graham, to come to the "highly spiritual" Southwest, where she had been caught up in the Hopi-flying-saucer prophecy and come under the spell of the sketchy UFO middleman, who claimed prophetic powers himself. She believed in the mysticism of love, she told me earnestly, and she thought the sketchy guy was somehow a prophet of love. It also seems he told her that he was a bit short of cash and had to borrow the whole of the poor woman's savings to pay for the rally where the UFOs were going to land and prove everything he said about the prophecy. The aliens had to be given a proper reception. Only they held the rally, and not only did the UFOs not show up; the sketchy guy didn't show up, and he and her savings were in the wind.

The poor woman was trying to keep the faith. I witnessed Festinger-style cognitive dissonance in action. But something more sad and touching, too. Jealous people were plotting against the sketchy guy, he had been telling her. Agents of Prophet B and even the U.S. government. False charges of a shady con man past were being leveled. He might have to leave town for a while, but he'd be back, he assured her. She hoped that would happen before she lost her home and became destitute. But whatever happened, she told me, she still believed in Love and the Spirit of Love that she knew was the essence of the Hopi prophecy.

It reminded me that New Age stupidity isn't always harmless, that it can be a cruel hoax playing a con game with people's hopes and fears. I'll never forgive the sketchy con man who stole that poor woman's money and illusions.
Get real, 2012 people. It's an embarrassingly silly scam. Prepare for cognitive dissonance.

See you on Dec. 22, 2012. I like my steak medium rare.

Ron Rosenbaum is the author of The Shakespeare Wars and Explaining Hitler.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Built a Starship

When I was a kid, I loved Legos. Part of the reason my father and I grew apart growing up was because of the racket I would make in the living room dumping them out and leaving sets out there for days at a time.
By the time I was a 12, my creative ability to create new objects, usually spaceships, had surpassed his. After that, there was no reconciliation.
I have since discovered a CAD program, Google SketchUp, and on days when I'm bored, I build things, still spaceships.

This is a small carrier I built yesterday. It is 270.11 meters long (885 feet), a little longer than a real-world Iowa Class Battleship, and a beam of 72 meters (236 feet), which is twice as wide.
The ship has 5 fighter launchers on both port and starboard (above).
The bow carriers larger fighter launcher bays and two shielded docking ports.
This image is from the starboard docking port looking toward the port bow.
A large hanger also occupies the stern, just below the bridge.
The ship bears a missile launcher on the port bow that can fire 31 missiles in a single burst.Primary armament are 8, 1.1 meter cannons in four turrets.There are also 30 anti-aircraft turrets and 38 escape pods.
I've always been into science fiction. I started writing a sci-fi novel about a fighter pilot when I was 15. Three years and 450 pages later I found that poetry was a lot easier to start, finish, and show off.I might go back someday and finish the novel. I re-read it in March after my birthday, and it's actually pretty well-written, even for a 15-year-old. I can see how I grew up through it because the beginning is far more detailed than it needs to be. The real character development and depth doesn't kick in until about page 100, probably around the time I lost my virginity and began to empathize with other people as separate entities.The last 150 pages, though, wow I was good. Of course the problem was I had so many characters interacting in different parts, it was like "War and Peace." They all filled their role and I knew what they were doing in the book, but it did require a chart. But that's how real life is. We don't interact with 8 people over the course of a month-long life story. The cashier at Safeway, the bouncer at the bar, the crazy next-door neighbor, the local drug dealer, the drunk roommate; they all play a role, have a bit of dialogue, and can dramatically affect the protagonist and the plot of the novel.
i don't show it, but I don't think most people in my life truly have any concept how much they affect my life on a daily basis. To tell them adds too much pressure they don't need.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The wit and wisdom of cancer


The video is associated with the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, a group which I found fascinating today, simply because it pushes environmentalism to one of the furthest extremes. It a way it's a cartoonish representation of Agent Smith's in "The Matrix:"
"Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure."
I don't things are that bad by any means. A professor of mine once said that if human beings ruin the environment and destroy life as we know it, the planet won't care. Earth has suffered mass extinctions on a global scale hundreds of times and if we kill ourselves and 70% of life, the planet will just start over. Sucks for us, sure, but we learn the hard way.

From "Extinction," John Baez, 8 April 2006:
  • The Ordovician-Silurian Extinction, 440-450 million years ago at the end of the Ordovician Period.
    27% of all families and 57% of all genera went extinct.
    This was the second biggest extinction of marine life, ranking only below the Permian extinction. There was only life in the seas at this time, and more than one hundred families of marine invertebrates died, including two-thirds of all brachiopod and bryozoan families. One theory is that as the continent Gondwana drifted over the south pole, there was a phase of global cooling, and so much glaciation took place that sea levels were drastically lowered.

  • The Devonian Extinction, 375 million years ago at the end of the Frasnian Age in the later part of the Devonian Period.
    19% of all families and 50% of all genera went extinct.
    By this point there were plants, insects and amphibians on land, fish in the seas, and huge reefs built by corals and stromatoporoids. The continents of Uramerica and Gondwana were just beginning to move together to form Pangea. The extinction seems to have only affected marine life, but 70% of marine species went extinct! Reef-building organisms were almost completely wiped out, so that coral reefs returned only with the development of modern corals in the Mesozoic. Brachiopods, trilobites, and other sorts got hit hard. Since warm water species were the most severely affected, many scientists suspect another bout of global cooling. There may have also been a meteorite impact, but it seems this extinction was not a sudden event.

  • The Permian-Triassic Extinction, 251 million years ago at the end of the Permian Period.
    57% of all families and 83% of all genera went extinct.
    At the end of the Permian there was one supercontinent, Pangea. There were many sorts of reptiles and amphibians on land, together with many plants, especially ferns but also conifers and gingkos. There were also complicated coral reef ecologies undersea. After the extinction, we mainly see fossils of one species of reptile on land: a medium-sized herbivore called Lystrosaurus. We also mainly see fossils of just one species of sea life, a brachiopod called Lingula. Eventually other species seem to reappear - the so-called "Lazarus taxa", named after the Biblical character who returned from the dead. Clearly they must have survived the extinction event, but in very low numbers.
    This was the largest disaster that life has ever yet faced on our planet.
    Perhaps 90% or even 95% of all species went extinct. (The figure of 83% above comes from some papers by Sepkoski, who tried to calculate the number of families and genera that died out in each of the Big Five extinctions.
    It took about 50 million years for life on land to fully recover its biodiversity, with the rise of many species of dinosaurs. Nothing resembling a coral reef shows up until 10 million years after the Permian extinction, and full recovery of marine life took about 100 million years.
    The causes remain controversial: some scientists blame an asteroid impact, while others blame severe global warming and a depletion of oxygen in the atmosphere due to prolonged massive volcanic eruptions in Siberia - we see signs of these in lava beds called the "Siberian traps". On the other hand, Benton and others argue that the rise of carbon in the atmosphere at this time is only explicable if there was also a catastrophic release of methane from gas hydrates under the ocean.

  • The Triassic-Jurassic Extinction, 205 million years ago at the end of the Triassic Period.
    23% of all families and 48% of all genera went extinct.
    By the end of the Triassic there was again a variety of reptiles on land and in sea. But the reptiles were completely different from those at the end of the Permian, and the biodiversity had not completely recovered: for example, there were no truly large predators. There were primitive conifers and gingkos; ferns were not so dominant as before. There were also frogs, lizards, and even the first mammals.
    The extinction at the end of the Triassic destroyed about 20% of all marine families, many reptiles, and the last of the large amphibians - opening niches for the dinosaurs of the Jurassic. The cause of this extinction remains obscure, but it's worth noting that this was about the time when the supercontinent Pangea began splitting into Laurasia and Gondwanaland, with massive floods of lava in the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province - perhaps one of the largest igneous events in the earth's history.

  • The Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction, 65 million years ago at end of the Cretaceous Period.
    17% of all families and 50% of all genera went extinct.
    By the Cretaceous there were dinosaurs and flowering plants on land, many new insects taking advantage of the flowering plants, and modern fish. Continents were beginning to resemble the current configuration. In the disaster at the end of this period all the dinosaurs died out, as well as many species of plants, diatoms, dinoflagellates, ammonoids, brachiopods, and fish. Often called the "KT" extinction, this was the smallest of the Big Five - it's mainly interesting because it led to the rise of mammals, and in particular, us. As explained above, many scientists believe this extinction was due to an asteroid impact at Chicxulub. Another popular theory is that it was caused by the enormous volcanic eruptions which formed the lava beds in India known as the "Deccan Traps". Either way, we know it took 10 million years for biodiversity to recover from this mass extinction.
  • Sex on the backs of unicorns

    "Ever seen two people having sex on the back of a unicorn? My life is the exact opposite." -- Alun Wile

    I have no idea what that means.

    Sunday, May 10, 2009

    Love Like a Scar

    Betwixt my eyebrows
    a three-second mistake
    of my 6-year-old self
    dug a pox mark divot
    forever into flesh
    the reminds me daily
    in the reflection of mirror,
    glass frame and inverted spoon
    how a reckless moment
    marked me months and miles
    after context collapsed into confusion
    and left me with a scar that pulls me back into
    that moment with increasing vividness
    so that the facts
    enrich and embellish themselves
    a vibrant fiction
    worthy of Vonnegut or Tolstoy or Tolkien

    she scars memory in the same fashion
    breaking my heart
    whenever her image emerges from picture frames
    or she slips into my peripheral
    to hang on every unsaid word
    I refuse to speak
    knowing the desperation
    with which she longs to hear them
    I revel in sadistically parrying
    her stabs toward my affections
    and hate myself for it
    the burning pleasure that lurks in abusing power
    seeped beneath skin in shameful celebration
    best elucidated in how children kill small animals
    then tearfully confess to parents hours later
    part of me wants to crush her beneath my boot heel
    while the other half of me wants to save her from it
    unreconciled, the two factions vie for control
    of my unsatisfied electorate
    whose ever-changing pulse pollsters calculate

    I've longed a decade
    for a lover beholden to my whims
    whose loyalty could dance on my fingertips
    and here, she twirls,
    a paper doll
    I want the conviction of her sincerity
    the fire of her resistance
    to burn my palms with any attempt to hold fast
    she yearns for a master
    but I require no puppet
    I left my toys in a box
    when I chose to play with words
    she finds new boys daily
    who seek the newest shiny thing
    to touch and prod and jiggle
    until it breaks or they get bored
    I learned too quick
    grew up too fast
    calculating the physics of matter
    while most boys were adding lips to lips
    I solved her equation long before I met her
    and now want new math
    to entice my interests
    she bears potential to spend my head like a top
    but refuses to try
    misbelieving I am some dull creature
    like those she's met before

    I want to want to love her
    free from scars or fictions
    let her slip into my mind
    as easily as she slips into bed
    when I'm too drunk, too tired
    or too uninterested to resist
    I won't share the parts of me she wants
    because she hasn't earned them
    she can't invite the army of fingers or
    heavy artillery of tongue
    or invasion of cock
    if my mind generally refuses
    to fall for an ambush
    I’ve read Sun Tzu too many times
    to acquiesce to her bait
    or be drawn into the conflict
    from which I know there is no swift retreat

    I should erect a Great Wall between us
    hold back her barbarian mess
    stand guard all along the watchtower
    and prevent her flanking maneuvers
    something in me
    longs for a pitched battle
    a contest of wits
    strategies, forces, and tactics
    the conflict between worthy adversaries
    a sparring match
    a fencing gambit
    a card game with control of an empire on the line
    because so few past lovers
    offered challenge beyond the moment

    I pull back too often
    shelter in my warm deceptions
    hold back from feeling
    the fall of water
    the touch of soil
    the warmth of fire
    the caress of wind
    and the shutter when nature shatters shelter
    too afraid of the stain
    I resist hearing the sound of rain
    just grab my gun
    and bring in the cat
    before she gets close enough to harm me
    I stand mome with mimsy sword in hand
    against the fabled frumious Jabberwock
    with jaws that bite and claws that catch

    the men who know me
    just want me to get laid
    “it’s just one more pussy vacation
    to notch on the headboard”
    but I’ve been down this road
    chipped so beaverly into the wood
    that it fears collapse if I orgasm again
    and new ports match old harbors
    I don’t care where I drop anchor
    because no storm yet has sunk me
    she’s merely a summer squall
    shimmying the jibs and fluttering books on deck
    but the crew is sleeping drunk down below
    oblivious to the winds stirring the soup outside
    she wants to swamp the boat
    but her crests fall below the gunwale

    I should sleep through her winds and waves
    remember her as a crossed-off calendar date
    but she scarred me in a moment
    somehow, somewhere, some when
    so that my fiction-focused protagonist
    fills in the potentials of how and why
    I’m unable to withdraw my rearguard
    trapped Slaughterhouse-style
    on her Vietnamese hillocks
    Tễt transfigures into Groundhog Day
    whenever she walks into my room

    this divot forged a new history
    once the flesh that filled it
    departed my skin for an undiscovered country
    but its secession stares back
    a perpetual absent passenger reminding me
    how adults can be broken
    by their own childish naïveté
    reminded with every wayward glance
    every new “hello”
    and every “good to see you again”
    how she marked me the same
    although the evidence lurks beneath skin
    I can still see her with these eyes
    and gritted teeth
    I yearn for a plastic surgeon who can fix me
    restore me to the way I should be
    before I met her
    made the mistake of loving her for a moment
    longer than I should have
    but enough to mark me with the reminder
    of how the absence of her
    will ride shotgun into my last decade
    separated only when my final campfire
    frees my visage from this flesh frame
    and converts Earthbound skin and bone
    into the ash of a million gray angels

    Saturday, May 9, 2009

    The Taste of Brownies

    The Taste of Brownies
    For Lori-Ann Rella, my "sister from another mister,"

    we sat over brownies the last night
    relating in our particular linguistic dance
    the stories of the last six months
    recounting in details only we knew
    how a brother and sister should speak
    when all secrets are thrown aside
    and we knew the combinations
    to the hall closets
    where daddy keeps the gun
    and mommy hides her booze

    “remember when …”
    “oh, yeah, that, wasn’t that a good time?”
    “only because no one got hurt,”
    the instigations and infidelities
    that defined darker days
    the anecdotes of our soap opera life
    all the lies laid bare
    without pretext that this deception or that
    had to be believed
    and we could compare what defines us
    the real us beneath façade
    when the mask of formality set aside
    and we see our nakedness reflected
    with moles and scars exposed to open airing
    talk honestly and slow
    about the facts and figures
    compare the notes borne through our veins
    bled out over bare skin

    over brownies
    she showed me her scars
    and I measured the entry wounds
    told her what each press of skin meant
    while she anecdoted the chapters
    in chronological order
    until I could Cliffs Notes the story for others

    over brownies I told her
    that with a new lover
    I was becoming a unrepentant sadist
    wanting her to suffer vividly
    due to how she wounds me privately
    but resented the shame in holding that power
    but over brownies,
    she patted my head
    and told me that she had faith
    that my atheist countenance
    would find the path
    back to the man I wanted to be

    over brownies,
    we flipped forward a few pages
    read the stories we had yet to live
    planned out how we’d like to reach there
    compared law and loopholes
    that technicalities and linguistic tenses
    could alleviate

    over brownies
    I said my goodbyes
    to a sister I was soon to lose
    knowing unwritten stories rarely
    follow the outline we so exhaustively prepare
    coffee spilt on the manuscript
    newborn babies interrupting writing rituals
    tornadoes and career changes
    adjust all the details
    until we forget where we left our lucky pens
    or the chunk of dialogue
    that seemed so flawless last night
    but unrealistic this morning

    over brownies
    I knew she was leaving
    the chapter between us was over
    and a new one would pick up
    time zones apart in media res
    I knew then
    but such things mean little before the fact
    only in retrospect moments in ages hence
    can we state clear hindsight
    of days gone by
    I knew our future but bit my tongue
    swallowed the late-night conversation
    without chewing the meaning into unrecognition
    enjoyed what was shared between us:
    a plate of brownies to say goodbye

    Friday, May 8, 2009

    Calculate Jesus in CFG

    Although I am atheist, this is not meant to be blasphemous, just pointing out a numerical fact. And having a bit of fun.

    Wednesday, May 6, 2009

    Zombies will eat your brains in 2012

    Seriously, people, zombies. The Mayans didn't say "zombies" specifically because they didn't want to frighten us. And the Mayan word for "zombie" roughly translates as "dumb as a banana," which got mistranslated.

    I figure I'll gain the anti-zombie vote at the cost of the zombie vote - which is fine because they usually only trip the voting booth lever while chasing those poor, poor, elderly election day workers desperately trying to scramble away.

    So when they come for your brains, Sedona voters, will you have chosen wisely?

    Honesty in politics

    Poster courtesy of Alun Wile.

    A new dawn is coming

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009

    Say Your Prayers and Vote

    Don't speak ... rebel

    I found a photoshop version of this photo about a year ago and built a flyer around it. Since I changed venues, I went back to find the photo for a new flyer and found the original image. Now I can credit it, too. The photo is by Austrian Berit Leena Raven and the model is Jasmin S. The image reminds me of a René Magritte painting.

    Rock on, grandma, rock on

    This woman isn't my grandmother, and my Grandma Redfield isn't a rebel per se, but my grandmother is awesome and this is kind of how I picture my grandmother in my mind's eye.

    Monday, May 4, 2009

    Nuclear weapons in Sedona


    Every elected official needs a little fear-mongering. George Washington used the British and "taxation without representation," Pericles used Sparta and "No dynasty without pederasty" and Thag of the Bent-Tree Cave used mastodon stampedes and "No dead youths without sabertooths."

    Speak for the silent

    Sunday, May 3, 2009

    Beware of the pink bunny ninjas!

    Some images just scream out for a flyer to be made of them.

    What Are Your Words Worth?

    These are all poets who spent time in prison because of their poetry. Flora Brovina (Kosovo), Irina Ratushinskaya (Russia), John O’Leary (Ireland), Myo Myint Nyein (Burma), and Armando Valladares (Cuba).

    Two new CFG2012 election posters

    Not sure which of these I like better. I like the text of the first one, but having a good haiku is nothing to shake a stick at.

    My destiny is mayorship


    We can not fight our destiny. Mine is to run for elected office. It might also be to face impeachment, but such is life.

    CFG2012 committee gets in gear

    The election heats up. Yes, it's 3 1/2 years away. So what? I plan on winning the procrastinators' votes.

    Saturday, May 2, 2009

    Art makes you famous

    You know you've become famous in a small town when you're included as a in local art. In this Brian Walker mural now hanging at Java Love Cafe in West Sedona, there are several local arts figures, everyone from Brian Walker himself as an elephant, my ex-semi-quasi-current-roommate Lori-Ann Rella as herself and a panda, Tyrell, Gianni, Angel Mike, Jesus and Streetwalker Jesus, Gandhi, Lou Moretti as Charlie Chaplin, etc.

    I stand out with my 2012 mayoral campaign sign, American Spirit cigarette and Red Star Communist hat.