Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Blogs Are Good For Something After All

I have finally discovered what blogs are good for: reconnecting with those lost people in your past (and possibly for hooking up with slightly older Cretan Goddess/Witches--if your girlfriend weren't so hung up on this monogamy thing...I mean, it's not like I'm trying to be Henry Miller or anything). Anyway, thanks to my public narcissism, I've been reconnected with a great friend from my undergrad days at Wingate University (the university formerly known as Wingate College): Scott Lewis. Here's a link just for him...he knows why...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Your Etiquette Advice from Some Old Books I Found

Today's etiquette advice comes from Book of Etiquette: Volume II by Lillian Eichler 1921 (Nelson Doubleday, Inc.):

Ask questions only if you are gifted with great tact. Otherwise you are bound to create embarrassing situations. If you do ask questions, make them of a general character, rather than personal. But never be curious, because people resent inquisitiveness--and rightly so, for it is a very undesirable trait to have, and each person has a right to privacy.

That's right, stop questioning me, you damned inquisitive people...everyone resents you anyway. This has been your etiquette advice from some old books I found.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Elephant in the Reading

Jet lag has made me into a 9 to 5 guy. I wake at 7 in the morning and get tired at 10 at night. I'm working through the pain. So I went to the Queens MFA reading tonight. First up was Margot Singer, who read from her short story collection The Pale of Settlement (University of Georgia Press), winner of the 2006 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. The other reader was Alan Michael Parker (AMP to acronym lovers), and he gave me hope for poetry with his comic listing poems and his reading of the title poem from his new collection Elephants & Butterflies. It also helps that he admitted to being a "pretentious shit" for titling a poem in Latin.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Triumphs and Disappointments

So 2 plane rides, 4 rough hours sleep in 36 hours, and some number of students (the correct number, not a one lost...physically--I'm sure they're lost in all kinds of mental and spiritual ways I'm not responsible for) delivered to the good ole U.S. of A., and I'm back in all my shabby, jet-laggy self.

Note to shabby self: write a museum guide for people who hate museums, e.g. ignore the overplayed Mask of Agamemnon at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens for the far more humorous phallic-handled spoon.

My major disappointment came when watching a round of Eurovision in an Athens restaurant where they gave me a salad with lettuce rather than that Greek abomination that contains only tomatoes, olives, and feta. Eurovision you probably know though I've never seen it mentioned in the States is that infinitely superior American-Idol-esque competition where countries send a musical act to represent them (often well known rather than just discovered). These are often pop princess clones like Greece's own entry this year, but sometimes...not. My favorite this year was eliminated that night of the lettuce salad: Ireland's entry. I'm doubly sad because mocking the contest you're trying to win is probably noble and also because the country that wins hosts the next year's contest, and I'll be in Ireland then.

So here's to the fallen Dustin the Turkey:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wine Poems

That's right, Wine Poems. Available only in Naphlion, Greece: poems in a box of wine.*

*Results may vary.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Am Braver Than Henry Miller

That's right, the big man who broke literary boundaries and wrote the risque Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn is a coward when it comes to cold, dark, wet confined spaces. He twice visited Mycenae, an ancient Greek hilltop fortress, home of the Mycenaen empire. Each time he attempted to climb down the winding steps that lead into the underground cistern:

"Thinking back on it now, after a lapse of months, I honestly believe that I would rather be shot than forced to descend that staircase alone. In fact, I think I would die of heart failure before ever reaching the bottom."
--- Henry Miller, The Colossus of Maroussi (1941)

Go to this Henry Miller blog to read more about his cowardice.

Not only did I descend the staircase, I reached the bottom. Along with a lot of other tourists. Here's the picture to prove it...okay that's not me, but a bunch of my students--I'm the one at the bottom taking the picture.

So there Henry Miller.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Banana in Santorini

So thanks to Heather and her banana lecture I did not go hungry today when faced with a green banana and unable to peel it the right way. I flipped that sucker over and opened it from the bottom. That's right, I'm as smart as a monkey. Here's a picture of the blue monkeys fresco in Santorini:

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Jackass in Greece

So this fine piece of artwork was over my bed in Heraklion, Crete. You know the Leda and the Swan myth, right? Horny old Zeus wants Leda so he turns himself into a swan and gets what he wants. I mean how could he not? Look at that swan--that is one smooth lady-killing swan.

Just to let you know, we've left Crete and the creepy bestiality picture behind and are now in the island paradise (cliche deserved) Santorini. I mean seriously. This picture is from my hotel:

You know the deal: the island has a volcano in the middle, and it blew sometime before Plato, and so there's this huge crater in the island that filled with the sea and surrounding the caldera are cliffs, on which people naturally built hotels and restaurants...because really what's the worse that could happen? And now people pay insane amounts of money to get taken for overpriced rooms, food, and drink in order to hang on the side of the cliff. And yeah, it's probably the most breath-stopping places I've ever been.

Finally, this is a picture of a jackass coming up one of the winding village roads. Or maybe it's a donkey...or a mule...the point is it's a play on words with the title. This is a literary blog after all.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Live from Crete: Kevin Keck?

You thought this post was going to be about me bragging about what a great time I'm having in Greece, but actually it's a post about me bragging about the review I wrote about Kevin Keck's Are You There God? It’s Me. Kevin. that has just been published in The Pedestal. Ha! That will teach you to try and anticipate what form my narcissism will take.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Greece or Bust

That's an old map of Crete and that's where I'm headed. Three plane rides and several time changes later, I'll arrive in Heraklion.

Below is an illustration of executions preformed by hoisting the victims up in the air and then dropping them on a hook, where they would hang impaled until dead. They don't practice that anymore...I'm fairly certain...

Wish me happy trails...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Goodbye NatPoMo

Crossing the Bar

by Lord Alfred Tennyson

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's May! National Poetry Month is over, and we can return to not caring about poetry. I can hear a nation-wide sigh of relief. Poets in particular can return to their regular lives as longshoremen and astrophysicists, remember their roles as mothers and sons. Speaking of mothers, I hear we will be required to care about them one day this month. That, I suppose, is only fair. Though if your mother is a poet, you may have already done your time.