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 670,000 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.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Madaleine Beckwith

Madaleine Beckwith represented Team Phoenix in Round 2 at the Old Town Shootout, Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Old Town Center for the Arts, in Cottonwood, Arizona.

Video courtesy of Apollo Poetry, of

Dan Seaman

Dan Seaman representing Team Sedona in Round 2 at the Old Town Shootout, Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Old Town Center for the Arts, in Cottonwood, Arizona.
This was my favorite poem of the night.

Video courtesy of Apollo Poetry, of


Evan representing Team Flagstaff in Round 2 at the Old Town Shootout, Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Old Town Center for the Arts, in Cottonwood, Arizona.

(To skip the microphone stand problems, advance to time index 1:10, and then ignore me running around like an idiot after Evan finishes)

Video courtesy of Apollo Poetry, of

Jonathan Standiford

Jonathan Standiford representing Team Mesa in Round 2 at the Old Town Shootout, Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Old Town Center for the Arts, in Cottonwood, Arizona.

Video courtesy of Apollo Poetry, of

Mickey Randleman

Mickey Randleman representing Team Tucson in Round 2 at the Old Town Shootout, Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Old Town Center for the Arts, in Cottonwood, Arizona.

Video courtesy of Apollo Poetry, of

Jen Valencia

Jen Valencia,
a poet, graphic designer, and resident of the Village of Oak Creek.
Sorbet poet between rounds 1 and 2 at the Old Town Shootout, Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Old Town Center for the Arts, in Cottonwood, Arizona.

Video courtesy of Apollo Poetry, of

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Team Flagstaff

A group poem by Team Flagstaff, comprised of Evan, Faldwin, Brian and Maple Dewleaf in Round 1 at the Old Town Shootout, Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Old Town Center for the Arts, in Cottonwood, Arizona.

Video courtesy of Apollo Poetry, of

Tufik Shayeb

Tufik Shayeb representing Team Mesa in Round 1 at the Old Town Shootout, Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Old Town Center for the Arts, in Cottonwood, Arizona.

Video courtesy of Apollo Poetry, of

Team Tucson

A group poem by Team Tuscon, comprised of Lindsay Miller, Mickey Randleman, Ethan Dickinson and Maya Asher in Round 1 at the Old Town Shootout, Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Old Town Center for the Arts, in Cottonwood, Arizona.

Video courtesy of Apollo Poetry, of

Jose Magana

Jose Magana represented Phoenix in Round 1 at the Old Town Shootout, Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Old Town Center for the Arts, in Cottonwood, Arizona.

Video courtesy of Apollo Poetry, of

Gary Every

Gary Every, represented Sedona in Round 1 at the Old Town Shootout, Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Old Town Center for the Arts, in Cottonwood, Arizona.

Video courtesy of Apollo Poetry, of

Terence Pratt

Terence Pratt as the calibration poet before Round 1 at the Old Town Shootout, Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Old Town Center for the Arts, in Cottonwood, Arizona.

Terence Pratt begins at time index 0:58

Video courtesy of Apollo Poetry, of

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Old Town Shootout Poetry Slam results

Results from the Old Town Shootout Poetry Slam
The third Poexplosion 3

Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008, Old Town Center for the Arts, Cottonwood, Arizona, 7:30 p.m.

Calibration poet Terence Pratt, a professor at Yavapai College and a Cottonwood City Councilman

Round 1

Sedona, Gary Every, 28.8 (1:59:47)
Phoenix, Jose Magana, 28.4 (2:41:29)
Tucson, group poem with Lindsay Miller, Mickey Randleman, Ethan Dickinson and Maya Asher, 28.6 (3:00:43)
Mesa, Tufik Shayeb, 29.6 (2:59:02)
Flagstaff, group poem with Evan, Faldwin, Maple Dewleaf and Brian, 26.1 (2:40:56)

Sorbet poet Jen Valencia, a writer from the Village of Oak Creek

Round 2
Tucson, Mickey Randleman, Ethan Dickinson, Maya Asher, 29.3 (2:34:16)
Mesa, Jonathon Standiford, 30 with -0.5 time penalty (3:19:25)
Flagstaff, Evan, 26.7, with -1.5 time penalty (3:33:25)
Sedona, Dan Seaman, 29.9 with -0.5 time penalty (3:11:00)
Phoenix, Madaleine Beckwith, 28.4 (2:48:41)


Sorbet poet and host Danielle Miller
Sorbet poet Terence Pratt
Round 3
Flagstaff, Maple Dewleaf, 27.1 (1:32:37)
Sedona, Apollo Poetry, 30 (2:58:32)
Phoenix, Megan, 27.7 (2:49:03)
Tuscon, Lindsay Miller, 29.2 (2:24:37)
Mesa, Neil Gearns, 27.6, (2:27:22)

Sorbet poet Kaila Haas, from the Village of Oak Creek and 2007 graduate of Sedona Red Rock High School

Round 4
Phoenix, Lauren Perry, 28.6 with -1.5 time penalty (3:33:06)
Tucson, Maya Asher, 28.4 (2:24:24)
Mesa, Tristan Marshell, 30, (3:08:18)
Flagstaff, Brian, 28.9 (1:36:44)
Sedona, Christopher Fox Graham, 30 with -0.5 time penalty (3:11:18)
Sorbet poet Tara Pollock, from Sedona
Victory poem, Apollo Poetry, Team Sedona

Final scores
Sedona, 117.7
Mesa, 116.7
Tucson, 115.5
Phoenix, 111.6
Flagstaff, 107.3

Slam staff
Scorekeeper: Alun Wile
Timekeeper: Danielle "Deeds" Gervasio
Host: Danielle Miller
Organizers: William Eaton, owner of the Old Town Center for the Arts
Christopher Fox Graham, Sedona 510 Poetry
Richard Hazen, owner of Green Carrot Cafe and D'Lish Very Vegetarian

A series of haiku

Traditional 5-7-5 haiku
Jedi Haiku
We are Jedi Knights
our words are our lightsabers
our Force is the Word

Mother's Day Haiku
I blacked out last night
no, this isn't my blood but
happy Mother's Day

Serial Killer Haiku
Funny you should ask
my trunk can fit two Boy Scouts
and a grandmother

Nicholas is in the Will; I'm a Footnote Haiku
I thought my mother
loved both her sons equally ...
until I saw the will

Heavy Pause Haiku
Then, years afterward,
I realized the problem was ...
... I hesitated

American 17-syllable haiku
My Grammar Can Beat Up Your Grammar Haiku
Why isn't "phonetic"
spelled phonetically?
While you think, let's make out

Dirty Old Man Haiku
And old man told me
the way to stay young
is sleep with 18-year-olds

Ella Garrett Haiku
We copy editors judge you,
when you use bad grammar

Crucifixion Haiku (stolen from a joke by Dan Seaman)
Why did Jesus Christ
die on the cross?
Because he forgot the safe word

Bruce Haiku
Fathers should suffer
labor like mothers so they
don't bolt on their sons

Why I Act Like a Child Haiku
The older you get
the younger you feel.
At 40, I'll be fetal

Pudenda Haiku
My hand rests on your cleft:
the moist doorway from where
poems and poets are born

Theory of Relativity Haiku
The illusion of light
traps believers in the past
must move faster

Emigration Haiku
America is taxing my dreams
so I'm moving
to Canada

Arboreal Haiku
A tree falls in the woods
and no one is around.
Termites have no crowd

Insurance Haiku
"Drop your pants
and give me $100."
I hate my HMO.

Call Center Haiku
Work is so boring today.
I'll liven it up
with a homicide

Urban Violence Haiku
We were children once,
why do you now hold a gun?

Lisa Gaston Haiku
Somehow you can make
the words, "fuck me"
the most romantic phrase I know

Atheist Haiku
You ask why I am an atheist?
Fathers are our models
for God

Punk Rock Chick Haiku
Punk band patches
tats, pink hair, pierced attitude ...
I want her to break me

Michael Bay Haiku
If we're really headed to hell
in a hand basket,
I call shotgun

Why I Need My Sins Haiku
The histories we try to forget
end up
defining who we are

Nearsidedness Haiku
I should have seen
fucking you was dumb;
my testicles need spectacles

Thanksgiving Haiku
Before we start, I
want to say I hate you all.
Pass the salt, aunt Beth

Was it True Love Haiku
Loving you was
endless disappointment
with moments of denial

I Need a Front Page Story Haiku
Wildfires threaten Sedona
but I work for a newspaper.
So light up.

My Longest Relationship was 42 Days Haiku
Whales beach themselves
when they know it's over;
We stayed at sea way too long

Head to Head Haikus
Greg Nix Haiku
Greg Nix once said
he admired me.
Will he slobber on my pecker?

Greg Nix Haiku #2
I doubt it
a bottle, his foot and his shame
already fill his mouth

Damien Flores Haiku #1
Damien is cocky
about his haiku
but he still can't buy beer

Damien Flores Haiku #2
Easy way to win:
"Damien is 20, officer,
and he's drunk."

Why it's Hard to Kill Aaron Johnson With My Car Haiku
God damn lefties!
Aaron Johnson hitchhikes
facing oncoming traffic

Monday, December 1, 2008

State teams converge for Old Town Shootout Poetry Slam

The art of competitive spoken word returns to the Verde Valley with the Old Town Shootout, a high-energy, high-stakes team poetry slam on Saturday, Dec. 13.
Performance poetry communities from around Arizona are sending their best four-poet teams to face off in four rounds of poetic competition. Tickets are $10.
The Old Town Shootout is the third “Poexplosion” team slam poetry event in Arizona. The first took place in Flagstaff in October, the second took place in Tucson in November and the fourth will take place in Phoenix.
Starting at 7:30 p.m., on Dec. 13, teams from Flagstaff, Tucson, Mesa and Phoenix will face off with a local team at the Old Town Center for the Arts, 633 N. Fifth St., Cottonwood.
Your local team consists of veteran slam poets from Sedona including Apollo Poetry, Gary Every and Christopher Fox Graham and Prescott poet Dan Seaman.
Poets from around the Verde Valley will also break up the competition with featured performances between rounds, including Terrence Pratt, a Yavapai College professor from Cottonwood, Jen Valencia, from the Village of Oak Creek, and Sean Mabe, from Sedona.

Team Sedona:
Born in Jerusalem and raised in New Jersey, Apollo Poetry is preparing for a nationwide spoken word tour, "Traveling Poet," being shot for The Travel Channel.
Apollo was featured on MTV's "True Life" with over 10 million viewers, watching in a dozen different countries. In 2007, he became the first spoken word artist to perform at the Billboard Awards.
Apollo's major appearances include VIBE Magazine, The WakeUp Show, Source's Unsigned Hype, Showtime at Apollo, along with performances at Madison Square Garden & America West Arena.
Gary Every has been a geology explorer, carpenter, chef, piano player, punk rocker, dishwasher, photographer, mountain bike instructor, soccer coach and bonfire storyteller.
Published nearly a thousand times, he has four books to his credit, "Cat Canyon Secrets," "Barrio Libre Poems," "Inca Butterflies" and "Drunken Astronomers." Every's poetry has appeared in the last three Rhysling Antholgies and he won the 2005 and 2006 best lifestyle feature awards from the Arizona Newspapers Association for his articles "The Apache Naichee Ceremony" and "Losing Geronimo's Language."
Christopher Fox Graham has been a performance poet since 2001 and represented Flagstaff and Sedona at four National Poetry Slams. In 2002, he co-founded a four-poet, three-month poetry tour in 2002 that performed in 26 U.S. states and Canada.
Graham has performed for MTV's "Made" and on The Travel Channel's "Your Travel Guide" episode of Sedona. He has performed poetry in nearly 40 states, Canada, Ireland and Great Britain. Graham has self-published four poetry chapbooks and been published in three Northern Arizona poetry journals, three poetry slam anthologies, two spoken word CDs and two slam poetry DVDs.
One of the most distinguished voices in Arizona poetry, Dan Seaman is a second generation Arizona native and has lived in the Prescott area for 36 years. In 1997, Seaman formed the Prescott Area Poets Association to promote poetry as performance art and has been hosting open mics and special poetry evenings ever since.
Seaman co-founded the Arcosanti Statewide Slab City Slam in 2000 and hosted the event until 2007.
Seaman hosts “Two-Lane Blues,” a blues and spoken word show aired Sunday evenings on KJZA 89.5 FM, the Prescott affiliate of National Public Radio.

What is slam?
Created in Chicago in 1984, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport. Poetry slams are judged by five random members of the audience who assign numerical value to individual poets’ content and performance.

For tickets or more information about the Cottonwood poetry slam, call the Old Town Center for the Arts at 928-634-0940.
Additional ticket outlets include Green Carrot Café, Jerona Café and the Desert Dancer in Cottonwood; Golden Word Bookstore and Crystal Magic, in Sedona; The Worm bookstore in the Village of Oak Creek; and The Sage Post, in Jerome.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Vacancy Sign Over the Bed

embraced by solitude
a vacancy sign hangs over the bed
I expect no takers in the near future
nor do I advertise the free space

over coffee or pints
the cornucopia of hips and thighs
parade pheromonic aphrodisiacs
and carressable limbs
languidly eager for a lover’s touch

they pass my ascetic indifference
drawing xenobiologic attention
but not the primal leers
of a potential mate
I take mental notes for later publication
in an alien script
but feel no urge beyond curiosity
to explore hot breath or racing pulses
CNN holograms or Renaissance art
holds the same interest to look on
mumble an analysis
and pass on to other distractions of equal import

perhaps my pipes need lubrication
in the alcoholic bliss
that used to guide nightly paths
even penmanship has changed form
lacking the swirls and flourishes
that used to impress shoulder-huggers
now small and architectural
as articulation marries form
while the grace finds conviction
in the precision of each character
betraying emotionless observation
of the passing details without suspecting ulterior motives

my bed has no space
for conventional deceptions
the minor untruths spoken between mediocre lovers

if she’s hunting for me,
my exiled absence is the only quarry to discover
unless she breaks down the door
to kill me in my sleep
but I’ve long since given up the misguided assumption
that I’m chase-worthy

blank stares now purged of judgment
lacking younger preconceptions
I’ve played out all the manipulations to inevitable endings
leaned the tricks of chess masters
sighing at the impossibility of innovations
knowing all the results,
I seek other sports
something in four dimensions
worth the time and effort to maintain my interest
but lacking an adversary
such drive is just masturbatory exercise
that just leaves me spent and still hungry for more than this

I yearn for a match of
multiple-centenary plural-dimensional global thermonuclear chrononavigational hopscotch
but the world is still mastering 8-bit Pong
and my lightsaber hasn’t been invented yet
video pixels can’t encapsulate a proper opponent
worth the quarters I could waste to reach the credits
in the meantime I leave the vacancy wide open
stack pages of poems in place of a person
and look over my shoulder
hoping she’s caught me in her crosshairs

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Smoking a Menthol

This poem was sent to me from a fan after a poetry slam in Flagstaff last Wednesday:

Love, Ithaca

a little girl in love with a man

because he spits like nobody can

i only write angst but it's not sad this time
you've given a soul to my immature rhyme

a beautiful poet exposing himself
wih words that others would leave on the shelf

a time and a place and a moment in space
when each of your words explode in my face

you've officially released my epitomized hunger
if only,
if only,
you were about ten years younger

My reply:

Smoking a Menthol

Age is just a footnote
a rank and role occupied for the convenience of labeling
name it to own it
but it defines the owner instead
i am no man
just a boy in well-worn skin
who still says "when i grow up ..."

in the days when i still thought
i could count all the stars
if I just kept trying
I believed there some faraway day
would welcome me to the adult fraternity
with pomp, circumstance and silly hats
but the calendar cycles never changed gears
and i'm still that boy counting stars

those who know four score and seven
but still see wonder in sunsets
are boys no older than me
and i've met old men
in the eyes of children
who stopped listening to strangers' fairytales
they're dying before growing tall enough to live

when generations divide at dinners
i prefer the kids' table
because the conversations are more honest
and imagination is just another utensil
i don't squirm to say the right thing
or earn favor through pleasantries
adults are done learning
they speak to be heard not to answer
glance nervously when i dangle a spoon from my nose
or crash land asparagus into mashed potatoes
with sound effects in stereo

a decade ago
i was too ripe off the vine
too raw to taste
it took ten years
shaken, stirred and slammed
by our wars of words
to ferment a vintage worth savoring
to shake loose the stems which formed me,
try on a thousand different skins,
ingest the angst, swallow the sins
let the teachings of sages sink in
and find new wisdoms to spill out
onto my pages in poems and prose

ten years passed
ten-thousand miles traveled
ten million words spit
to siphon out what needs saying
what needs burning
and what needs sanctifying
for students seeking guidance

assuage your hunger with our wine
each word is a sacrament
passing from speaker to speaker
assembling into our three-minute sermons
reciting scripture while hallelujahs await witness
hold each word holy
because the only gods worth knowing
are the stories we choose to teach
break your body
spill your blood
and spit "let there be light"
in your own tongue
to taste divinity on your breath

pull the unused words off the shelf
give them purpose with conviction
pack them tighter than dynamite
and detonate poems
to move the mountains
between you and the stage

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Alternative weekly covers

Great cover.

A portrait of Barack Obama made from election day covers.The long national nightmare is finally over. I wonder what we'll be telling our kids 20 years from now. "Timmy, long before you were born, we did something really stupid. We all did a lot of drugs in 2000, then again in 2004, and we paid for it. So don't do drugs."I bet the pie tasted awesome. As victory does.

We're all secretly hoping this. Politics is a brutal game and Americans have invested a lot of hope in Barack Obama. He grew up in the politics of Chicago so he can get rough and tumble. We want a Franklin Delano Roosevelt or an Abraham Lincoln from Obama, not a Jimmy Carter or G.W.H. Bush.Finally, someone used "Yes we did" in a headline.
Thank the gods.
Sweet. I still prefer Obama as a Jedi Knight.

I have no idea what this cover is supposed to mean, but I bet it was a copy editor who suggested it. Politics is sexy? Obama makes me horny? If Obama wins we all take off our clothes? Obama can cure the clap that McCain gave you? I'm confused.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What do Obama supporters do now?

The Onion has the pulse of America.

'Yes We Did' Americans elect Obama

Seriously, there are 9,000 newspapers in the country and no one writes "'Yes we did'" in a headline? Seriously? Come on, people, it's the easiest, best headline you could write. I am disappointed in my copy editor brethren. Come on, journalists, write the headline somewhere.

Dear world, we're sorry we've been insane for eight years

Sent to me by Deeds (From the Al Jazeera news agency):
Obama's victory was celebrated around the world, and not just by Americans [AFP]Barack Obama: [To] all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world - our stories are singular but our destiny is shared. A new dawn of American leadership is at hand.


Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, congratulated Obama on his US election victory, saying it took the world into a "new era".


Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister, said Washington would not adopt a "quick disengagement" policy with Baghdad under the presidency of Barack Obama as a "great deal is at stake here".

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Zebari said: "I think it [Obama's election] was a major, major change ... although as far as Iraq is concerned I don't believe there will be any changes overnight. And there won't be any immediate disengagement because a great deal is at stake for everybody.

"I don't think there is much difference between the Iraqi government position and President-elect Obama's. He is contemplating withdrawing US forces within 16 months. We may have some difficulties with that time-line, but we also, in the status of forces agreement, set the date of 2011 as the date for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. So really the differences are not very wide."


Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan's prime minister, congratulated Obama on his victory, saying he hoped the Democrat would promote "peace and stability" in the region around Afghanistan.

"I hope that under your dynamic leadership, [the] United States will continue to be a source of global peace and new ideas for humanity," he said in a statement, directed at Obama.

"I look forward to more opportunities to discuss ways to further strengthen Pakistan-US relations and to promote peace and stability in our region and beyond."

Obama has riled Islamabad in the past, pledging that the US under his leadership would "take out" al-Qaeda and Taliban bases in Pakistan.

Palestinian Territories

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, congratulated Obama and urged him to speed up efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

"President Abbas congratulates US president-elect Barack Obama in his name and in the name of the Palestinian people and hopes he will speed up efforts to achieve peace, particularly since a resolution of the Palestinian problem and the Israeli-Arab conflict is key to world peace," Nabil Abu Rudeina, Abbas's spokesman, said.

"President Abbas hopes the new administration will continue to make the peace efforts one of its top priorities."

Meanwhile, Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, urged Obama to learn from the "mistakes" of previous US administrations in dealing with the Muslim and Arab worlds.

"He must learn from the mistakes of the previous administrations, including that of Bush which has destroyed Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine," said Fawzi Barhum, a Hamas spokesman.

"He must improve US ties with the rest of the world rather than wave the big American stick.

"We want him to support the Palestinian cause or at least not to be biased towards the Israeli occupation. We have no problem establishing normal relations with the United States to explain our just cause."

Ahmed Youssef, a Hamas senior political member, hailed the vote as historic.

"We [Hamas] do believe that if America's political equilibrium is to be restored, this political election should be the turning point.

We hope that Obama will address the Palestinian issue in a fair and honest way. The Palestinian question is the mother of all issues in the region – it concerns 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world.

"During the political campaign in the US, people used a lot of rhetoric … Obama said a lot of things to please the Jewish community, looking for their votes and money. We understand that. But all that rhetoric will be changed because looking at the list of Obama's advisers, I believe that they have a better understanding of the conflict in the region."


Israeli-US relations face "a bright future", Ygal Palmor, a spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry, said in reaction to Obama's election to the White House.

"Israelis congratulate the two great friends of Israel, John McCain for his great campaign, Barack Obama for his historic victory.

"We are certain that Israeli-American friendship faces a bright future."

Tzipi Livni, leader of the ruling Kadima party, recalled Obama's visit to Israel in July and said that "the people of Israel felt he [Obama] is a man who is deeply committed to Israel's security and peace".

"Israel hopes to pursue close strategic cooperation with the new administration and the new US president, and hopes to further tighten the unshakeable ties between our two countries," she said.


Iran's official news agency quoted a leading politician as saying that Obama's election win was a rejection of the policies of George Bush, the current US president.

"Obama's victory is... evidence that Bush's policies have failed," Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said, according to IRNA.

"Americans have no option but to change their policies to save themselves from the quagmire Bush has created for them."

The government daily newspaper Iran said in an editorial on Wednesday that McCain's failure to take the presidency lay with Bush.

"Defeat for the Republicans is the price they pay for Bush's strategic and tactical blunders," the newspaper said.

Mohammad Hasan Aboutorabi-Fard, Iran's deputy parliament speaker, called on Obama to make good on his promises to bring change.

"Obama is expected to learn from Bush's failed policies and correct America's wrong policies in the Middle East," IRNA quoted him as saying.


Mohsen Bilal, Syria's information minister, said on Wednesday that Damascus hopes Obama's election will lead to changes in US foreign policies in the Middle East and boost the prospect of regional peace.

Bilal said he hoped Obama's win "will help change US policy from one of wars and embargos to one of diplomacy and dialogue," the Syrian news agency SANA reported.


Hu Jintao, China's president, congratulated Obama on his victory in the US presidential poll, saying a closer relationship btween the two nations would be "for the benefit of Chinese and American people, and people around the world".

"In a new historical era, I look forward to ... taking our bilateral relationship of constructive co-operation to a new level," Hu said in a written message, according to a statement on the Chinese foreign ministry's website.

Wen Jiabao, China's prime minister, also congratulated Obama, while Xi Jinping, the vice-president, sent a message of congratulations to Joe Biden, Obama's running mate and America's next vice-president.


Gordon Brown, the UK's prime minister, congratulated Obama, hailing his "energising politics ... his progressive values and his vision for the future".

"I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Barack Obama on winning the presidency of the United States," he said in a statement.

"The relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is vital to our prosperity and security ... Barack Obama ran an inspirational campaign, energising politics with his progressive values and his vision for the future."


India's ruling Congress party hailed Obama's victory, saying his "youthful energy" was in tune with the energy of emerging India.

"Obama represents youthful energy, exuberant dynamism and a forward-looking progressive mindset which is also the spirit animating India," Abhishek Manu Singhvi, spokesman for India's Congress party, said.


Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, congratulated Obama on a "brilliant victory".

"I give you my warmest congratulations and, through me, those of all French people," Sarkozy told the Democratic candidate in a letter made public by the French presidency.

"Your brilliant victory rewards a tireless commitment to serve the American people. It also crowns an exceptional campaign whose inspiration and exaltation have proved to the entire world the vitality of American democracy. By choosing you, the American people have chosen change, openness and optimism," he wrote.

"At a time when all of us must face huge challenges together, your election raises great hope in France, in Europe and elsewhere in the world."

The European Union

Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Comimission, applauded Obama's victory, with Barroso calling for a "new deal".

"This is a time for a renewed commitment between Europe and the United States of America," Barroso said in a statement. "We need to change the current crisis into a new opportunity. We need a new deal for a new world."

"I sincerely hope that with the leadership of President Obama, the United States of America will join forces with Europe to drive this new deal. For the benefit of our societies, for the benefit of the world."

South Africa

Kgalema Motlanthe, South Africa's president, congratulated Obama on his presidential victory, saying Africa "stood proud" and looked forward to a fruitful working relationship.

"Your election ... carries with it hope for millions of your countrymen and women as much as it is for millions of people of ... African descent both in the continent of Africa as well as those in the diaspora," he said.

Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black leader, also congratualted Obama, saying that Obama's election as US president showed that anybody could dream to change the world.

"Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place," Mandela wrote in a letter to Obama.

The 90-year-old Mandela applauded Obama's commitment to support global peace and said he trusted that combatting poverty and disease would become the mission of Obama's presidency.

"We wish you strength and fortitude in the challenging days and years that lie ahead," said Mandela.

"We are sure you will ultimately achieve your dream [of] making the United States of America a full partner in a community of nations committed to peace and prosperity for all."


Khartoum expressed hope that Obama's election win would mean "real change" for the country's strained relations with the US - America has branded Sundan as a "state sponsor of terrorism".

"The result of the election is a purely domestic affair, but certainly the United States, being the only big power in the world, it affects almost everything in other countries," said Ali al-Sadiq, a spokesman for Sudan's foreign ministry.

"We would hope that the slogan of president Obama - 'change' - would be reflected in the foreign policy in the United States, especially towards Sudan and oppressed countries, the Palestinians, the Iraqis and the Somalis.

"We would like to see some real change between Sudan and the United States."


Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, the president of transitional Somali government, voiced hope that Obama would help end conflict in the world.

"I am congratulating Barack Obama for his election as the president of United States of America," Yusuf said in a statement released by his spokesman.

"I am hopeful that he will help end major crises in the world, particulary the endless conflict in my country Somalia. This was an historic election in which a proper leader was elected. This is a great moment for America and Africa."


Taro Aso, the Japanese prime minister, offered his "heartfelt congratulations" to Obama, pledging to work with the new leader to strengthen relations.

"I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Senator Obama on his election as President of United States of America," Aso said in a statement.

"I will strive to further strengthen the Japan-US alliance and to resolve various challenges the international community faces when addressing issues such as the international economy, terrorism and the environment."

The Philippines

Gloria Arroyo, the Philippines' president, congratulated Barack Obama for winning the US presidential election.

"We wish to express our profound congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama for his historical and stellar win as the 44th president of the United States," Lorelei Fajardo, a spokesman for Arroyo, said in a statement.

"His call for change opened a new phase in American politics, sparking hope and inspiration not only for the American people but the citizens of the world.

"America has always been the bastion of democracy and the world has always looked to the USA for direction. Obama has promised change and the American people and the world await these changes. We look forward to greater co-operation between the USA and the Philippines, the Democrats have always been good allies."


Kevin Rudd, the Australian prime minister, praised Obama's victory saying it was a testament to the strength of the US democratic system and was a message of hope not just for the United States but for the whole world.

"Twenty-five years ago Martin Luther King [the US civil right activist] had a dream of an America where men and women would be judged not on the colour of their skin but on the content of their character," Rudd told said.

"Today what America has done is turn that dream into a reality. A world which is in many respects fearful for its future."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sedona Daily Herald, Sarrah Wile edition Front Page

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Sarrah is gone ...

Sarrah at Johnnie's Cafe, 433 1st Ave. S., Glasgow, Mont. Sarrah and I had gone to Fort Peck Dam, a massive which is the largest hydraulically filled dam in the United States.
Authorized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, construction of Fort Peck Dam employed over 11,000 workers at its peak in 1939, one of whom was my great-grandfather.
The dam, named for a 19th-century trading post, was completed in 1940, and began generating electricity in July 1943. The dam created Fort Peck Lake, the fifth largest lake in the U.S.
Sarrah and I also have an unnatural obsession with dinosaurs. Just down the way from the dam power stations is a dinosaur museum, which we spent hours in. The tour of the dam power stations only happened because a tour guide asked if we wanted to see it.
On our way back to Opheim, we stopped at Johnnie's.

This is definitely my favorite photograph of Sarrah. I have an 8x10 print of it up in my room. After two weeks in Montana, we were on our last, long drive home. The drive from Livingston, Mont., through Idaho and into southern Utah we talked a lot about us and our friendship. We had a great time on the drive. We also listened to a biography of Abraham Lincoln on tape.
As we got into southern Utah, I made a detour into a national park, thinking we could cut through and head south to Page, Ariz., rather than drive through Colorado City, Ariz., and the Mormon fundamentalist cult area, but there was a fee at the gate, so we had to turn back. We stopped to shoot the sunset and I shot this of Sarrah. She looks elated.

Monday, November 3, 2008

What are the chances if ...?

I love probability. The mathematics of poetry slams, elections, and meteorology.

This poll probability chart is from FiveThirtyEight. FiveThirtyEight uses computer models to simulate the election 10,000 times per day in order to provide a continually up-to-date assessment of probability for electoral outcomes.

Sarrah Countdown #14

Sarrah on my uncle's mountain.

We found these horses in a pen just north of Livingston, Mont.

On the shore of Yellowstone Lake, Sarrah collected stones to write "I love you" for a photo for her boyfriend in Arizona, Dylan Jung. She later used the photo in a shadowbox for him.

Sarrah shooting the countryside from my grandmother's barn.

Sarrah's mobile office.

Sarrah in a wheat field on my aunt and uncle's ranch in Paradise Valley. The land they own includes the mountains in the background.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sarrah Countdown #13

Along our hike on day two, we headed back to the ranch and had to hop a few fences.

At a kid's basketball court in Helena, Mont.

Perfect height.

In my grandmother's barn in Opheim, Mont.
Sarrah caught in the light streaming in the open window.

At my aunt and uncle's ranch in Paradise Valley, Sarrah and I stayed in their bed & breakfast cabin. It had a three-bed bedroom, a small sitting/dining room and a bathroom. Great with no microwave, tv, etc. Just a hotplate and a coffeemaker.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sarrah Countdown #12

Roosevelt Arch, the main entrance to Yellowstone National Park. It used to be the only entrance to the park, and lies on the Montana side of the border. It's eight miles from my aunt and uncle's ranch in Paradise Valley.
Just inside the park, still in Montana before we reached Mammoth Hot Springs.

Sarrah was leaning over the edge of this cliff to snap a few photos. The wind was fierce, maybe 30-40 mph.

At Mammoth Hot Springs on the north side of Yellowstone National Park.

Sarrah really wanted to see this buffalo up close, so she wandered out to see it. Then it charged the truck. It really just wanted to cross the road and ran right in front of us to the other side.

On the shore of Yellowstone Lake, Sarrah put sunscreen on me. I was already burned by this point.