What is Main Street?

From the Google.

Main Street is mad
Main Street is a state highway
Main Street is too broke to pay them back
Main Street is white hot these days

Main Street is fed up
Main Street is part of the iconography of American life
Main Street is blinded
Main Street is upside down too

Main Street is theirs
Main Street is already gridlocked at certain times during the day
Main Street is hot and trendy
Main Street is not there

Main Street is an earnest, homey spot
Main Street is a limited, inadequate and inapt metaphor
Main Street is skeptical
Main Street is going to take over paying the electric bills

Main Street is already feeling the pinch
Main Street is looking for an 18-20 foot tall evergreen
Main Street is hosting its inaugural Scarecrow Decorating Contest
Main Street is becoming a row of refugee camps

Main Street is the first bank to fail
Main Street is open or closed
Main Street is so true now
Main Street is set for reconstruction and some watermain work

Main Street is not so bad
Main Street is also getting angry at itself
Main Street is wider and more exposed
Main Street is at risk

Main Street is excited about the falling price of gasoline
Main Street is where the mansions are in your town
Main Street is in real trouble
Main Street is the patsy in this deal

Main Street is also a good incubator
Main Street is now at stake
Main Street is about to get hit
Main Street is crowded with wood awnings

Main Street is taking a stand as of today
Main Street is speaking out
Main Street is so busy being angry that it isn’t sufficiently frightened
Main Street is still waiting to exhale

Main Street is a self-help program
Main Street is scheduled to continue
Main Street is running right past us
Main Street is hurting very much.

In partial response to ReadWritePoems’s echolalia prompt.

Thought-blogging the Democratic debate

The debates have become so scripted now, the only real action takes place in the candidates’ heads. And since that’s pretty much pure speculation, why hold off blogging tonight’s debate until it actually happens? Here’s as good a guess as any at what they’ll be thinking tonight.

B: I’m Bruce Springsteen and I’m reporting for duty! Heh.

H: I don’t get it. After everything Bill and I have done for these people, to drop me for this upstart. Why can’t I get no RESPECT? Now I know how Aretha feels.

B: I can meet with my enemies. I can, I can! Ugh. Diplomacy is a bitch.

H: If I can just get the Bubba vote, I can win this thing. Lotta Bubbas in Texas and Ohio. We’ve done the race-baiting, we’ve stoked anti-Muslim sentiment… I just need to beat a bit more on the “all words, no action” bone. Trailer trash HATE intellectuals!

B: Go ahead, call me “articulate.” I dare you.

H: Now if we could only link him to the French. Anything French. I’ll bet we can find a tape of him refusing to order Freedom Fries…

B: She is so Yale. She fairly reeks of noblesse oblige. Probably shared Dubya’s silver spoon. Go Harvard!

H: Wait! My God — he’s left-handed! Must tell my staff to work on an innuendo about that. “Sinister”? No, Bubba won’t get that. Uh, let’s see… Leftie. Leftist. Left behind. Is America ready for a left-handed president???

B: Is this where she does her skit with the Happy Hands Club?

H: American voters are such pathetic sheep. And now they think they’ve found their perfect shepherd! Jesus Christ. Just once I wish he’d morph into McCain and start frothing at the mouth.

B: I see your “experience” and raise you one “Iraq war vote.” Flush!

H: Now with the cursed “mandates” again. I am so sick of these preemptive attacks.

B: So “bitch is the new black,” huh? Good luck with that. Last time I checked, Americans liked bossy women about as much as they liked angry black folks. Hope the unsinkable HMS Hillary packed enough lifeboats.

H: Wait, why did they boo that line? My writers told me it was fool-proof! O.K., time to enter the confessional, I guess. I hate this shit.

B: I could do this in my sleep. In fact, I could use a nap right now. Damn! Did Ms. Weepy Eyes slip something in my water?

H: He’s not the underdog — I’M the underdog! Do you hear me, America? Owooooo!

B: What is up with this woman? Why do we have to keep sniffing each other’s butts?


Is the angler fish ever tempted
by its own bait? Does it ever stir
from whatever trance-like state
passes for sleep in the aphotic zone,
see the glowing decoy & think,
Ah — mine! & surge forward,
jaws agape, like the proverbial donkey
tempted by a carrot? Or does it get
snappish at its traveling companion,
persistent as a bad conscience,
haunting as the image of its own death?

Written for the Read Write Poem prompt, “traveling companions.” Links to other poems for the prompt are here.

For a more overtly political poem, see SB’s I Have This to Say About That, at Watermark.


In some parts of Africa, the Chicago Bears won the 2007 Super Bowl, and the Colorado Rockies, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Cleveland Indians all won the 2007 World Series. It’s true! I read it in the newspaper.

And it’s funny, because for years, internationally minded folks have criticized major-league baseball for calling a purely North American contest the World Series. What are they going to say now that kids in Ghana or Zambia can wear t-shirts and caps advertising teams that won the series in alternate universes? Dreams that were thwarted here still shimmer with potential in the African sun.

Where did all this apparel come from? It’s made in preparation for one of the simplest but most powerful rituals in the entire ceremonial year of an American athletic association: the donning of new costumes proclaiming the superior medicine power of the championship team.

“The moment of a clinch, the teams celebrate. They pile on top of one another, they get all crazy, and part of that celebration is, in fact, them proclaiming their championship clinch with a T-shirt and a cap,” explains Steve Armus, MLB’s vice president of consumer products. “It’s something that’s traditional in baseball and some other sports, and for all the teams it’s an important moment.”

The centuries-old tradition that governs Euro-American sporting contests prevents more than one team from performing this ritual in a given year, due to a superstitious belief in something called the Law of the Excluded Middle. So to preserve the purity and efficacy of the sport, the ritual garments prepared for the other teams must either be destroyed or shipped to Africa, which has in recent years become a major destination for global waste and hand-me-downs. A Christian aid group called World Vision collects, ships and hands out the apparel. Isn’t it inspiring that missionaries still take such a strong interest in seeing that the bodies of brown-skinned people are kept properly covered? And the manufacturers get a tax credit instead of simply taking a loss. It’s just like the Special Olympics: everyone’s a winner! Even the Cleveland Indians.

It Came From the Woods

Go visit Windywillow for Trees of Halloween. Then continue down the page for Trees and Fruit of Autumn: a two-part Festival of the Trees!

Inside Jack

Each slice of the pumpkin carver’s knife lets a little more darkness out. The stringy remnants of Jack’s brain dangle like strands of spider web, or errant vines of some sinister creeper…

creeper locust

Nobody’s safe from the red menace! That’s right, I’m talking about Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). I used to think of it as just a pretty native species with berries that the birds love, but then I looked it up on the web (a world-wide web – how creepy is that?). Here are some of the testimonies of ordinary American gardeners, selected from Dave’s Garden, “the website where friends share their triumphs and dilemmas in their home gardens and their lives.” Slightly edited for spelling and punctuation.

This plant is HORRIBLE!! I have thought for years that it was poison oak and have been terrified to touch it. I have a bed of English Ivy in my front yard and this creeper pops up all the time. I just pulled one out of some photinia bushes I have and the roots ran for about 15 ft down the side of my house. … We found some growing into the Architecture library, it had worked its way through tiny cracks in the caulking around the old windows. … It comes up all thru my lawn. I have pulled and dug and chopped large roots of this. It is impossible to get rid of. I have even sprayed it with Round Up and everything around it died, but it flourished. My other neighbor said it causes him to break out in a rash. … I’ve learned my lesson to wear gloves, but talk about an evil plant. … Last week I was trimming weeds and pulled alot of this off my fence (without gloves–big mistake!!!) The next day my face was on fire. It went from redness to scabbing, and now I have what looks like dark burnt skin. It never got blistery or oozed like poison ivy. … I just completed taking a prescription steriod, am taking an OTC antihistamine and using Cortaid topically – nothing seems to be working. It just keeps spreading. … Virginia creeper is a menace in Pompton Lakes, NJ. … Anyone got some agent orange left over from Viet Nam?

creeper and shadows

Last week a neighbor tried to remove this Virginia Creeper. After trying unsuccessfully to get rid of it for years, he hitched a tow chain to it, then to his pickup, and pulled on it. He successfully removed 3 fence posts and the chain link fencing from a good portion of his ‘cyclone’ fence that was 4 foot high. I guess he was so mad at it he took out a small axe and started to chop it up into small pieces; alas there-by giving some of the smaller cuts a chance to live on. Next year, I guess, he might be getting a whole new yard full of them, and bombing the place out too. … The roots of this vile weed spread between our yard and the neighbors (on both sides!). It is EXTREMELY established in our block and we see there being NO way that we would be able to get all the roots. Is there a poison or some kind of miraculous Virginia Creeper killing weapon that we can use? We are anxious for any kind of solution people may have for the removal of this vile weed! … A trip to the emergency room seemed to be in order when my arms started swelling up. I’m taking a 12 day course of prednisone, and Benadryl. It seems to be helping, as the swelling’s gone away, and the blisters are no longer oozing but the itching is intense. … I can’t get away from this stuff! I moved last year from Philadelphia, PA, where it was battling with English ivy to take over my front yard, to Savannah, GA, where it grows at least twice as fast. When I moved in last June it was threatening to engulf my detached garage like kudzu. … Every kind of vine or invasive plant — native or nonnative — went crazy all over my yard. The worst, however, was Virginia Creeper, which crossed the lawns, attacked all kinds of trees and had me reliving Little Shop of Horrors. … I have discovered many long runners of this stuff all over my yard and it has grown up under the siding and forced pieces of siding loose. … This week I went and pulled some more because it was taking over my beautiful row of flowers all along the fence and WHAM. I have it everywhere on my body. It hurts, itches, is red and swelling. … My eye is almost swollen shut, it is around my mouth, ears, belly, legs, arms, fingers, etc. … Each blister itches like crazy and feels like a pin is inserted into each one of them. There are at least 1,000 blisters on me. This isn’t my worst reaction. That one caused a 4″x6″ bright red blotch on my forearm where ALL my skin was eaten away. The doctor had to stiffle a scream when he saw it. … Virginia creepers flattened several acres of woods where I grew up in New York. Where mature forest trees stood fifteen years ago is now low scrub with a vanguard of virginia creeper like some kind of space-slime invasion. … While spring cleaning the yard I noticed that my 8 foot azalea bush was dying on one side. Upon inspection I saw what looked like a demon vine wrapped around the branches choking it to death. My neighbor said it killed all his azaleas.

cable and creeper

So far at Dave’s Garden, 60 different people have warned against growing Virginia Creeper. But intermingled with these horror stories were 34 positive comments and 15 neutrals. Could it be that the creeper’s noxious power has somehow penetrated their brains?

In my yard, it’s vigorous but I wouldn’t call it invasive. Personally, I love the plant and especially the fall color. … I planted it against my garden shed to soften the hard edges. It was a small clipping that has been gradually increasing in size for the last 5 years and is only now reaching the top of the shed. … This vine grows all over my brick house, and I just love it. It keeps the house nice and cool in the summer, and sticks well to the bricks without damaging them in any way. The birds nest in it, and when the wind blows the sides of the house ripple like the ocean! It’s terrific! … I have not seen any of the evil side of it in 2 years of observation; it covers things well and in a short period of time, growing about 60 cm higher per year. Its foliage is visible from far away, and it produces berries that feed birds. … As a native American, it has its right to existence and I will not call a native an invasive. Weed, yes. A weed is a plant growing where you don’t want it. And I yearly remove it from the cultivated gardens. You will find it growing beneath trees mostly, because that is where birds drop the seeds. I know many of them are dependent on this natural food. … I love this plant. It turns a cheap welded wire fence into a 6 foot tall 2 foot wide wall of lush green leaves. It makes a terrific barrier between properties. … I was prepared to battle it to the death if it started to get out of control, but it’s simply spread up the fence as intended, and is easy to train. … It has caused no problems and we love it. It tends to grow over our doorway, and DH and myself have to pull or clip a new opening several times a summer, and neither of us have had any reaction to it. … I would recommend this plant, but only if you’re not the type who goes postal and runs for the roundup over three dandelions in your lawn. … For some of us that don’t get mad at a leopard acting like one, or a creeper that seems to always be creeping, it’s a wonderful addition. … It has nice foliage in the summer, berries for the birds and gorgeous fall color. What’s not to like?

People: still by far the scariest invasive species on earth. They give me nightmares.

Happy Halloween, though. I think I’ll dress up as myself and go visiting all the creepers with a spray-can of Agent Orange.


In a few words, explain what this blog is about.
–Wordpress Dashboard > Options > General > Tagline

These are my thoughts
Engaging in Conversation
A thing about other things
Just another WordPress.com weblog

Where the hell is Poeville?
Joann’s little corner =)
You know you want it.
A source of relevant information.

Crunchy on the inside.
Just ticking along
The long road to literary success
Just another WordPress.com weblog

Capturing the Film World One Frame at a Time
I don’t wanna miss a thing
About me and my thoughts
But texas loves me anyway

Welcome to my mid-life crisis
Where I Open My Brain And Pour It Out On A Metal Slab. Poke If You Must.
More people fail from a lack of encouragement than anything else!
Just another WordPress.com weblog

One man’s gripes against… well, everything…
Unlock the treasures within!
Tacos. Palabras. Espanol. English. Love. Life. Food. Movies. Poetry. Photos. Chicano. Alma.
Spiritual caffeine for advancing the Kingdom.

Life In The Age Of Promise
Pursuing datameaningfulness, online and off
Much study is a wariness of the flash.
Just another WordPress.com weblog

All lines are actual blog taglines, found by surfing WordPress.com blogs. The refrain is the default tagline, which a surprising number of bloggers elect to keep.

Holiday letter

Eurasian water milfoil

Dear Friends,

We hope this letter finds you in good health and abundant happiness. We’re nearing the end of another solar year here, prompting us to think back upon the blessings we’ve enjoyed and the milestones we’ve passed during the course of our most recent swing around our favorite local star.

2006 has been a banner year for the most prolific of our members. The autotrophs continued to profit from the surge in carbon dioxide emissions from the planet’s least charismatic species of megafauna, Homo sapiens. At 3.8 billion years young, you might think cyanobacteria would be ready to slow down, but thanks to their ability to metabolize CO2, their populations expanded in every conceivable niche — even in newly melted portions of Antarctica! The quiet generosity manifested in their habit of fixing nitrogen wherever needed, their close partnerships with other species such as fungi, corals, and plants, and their uncomplaining ability to persist as akinetes when the going gets tough, make them an especially inspiring example during this holiday season.

Also in the spirit of the season, the dinoflagellates have been featured in a number of festive off-shore displays this past year, especially along the coasts of North America, where their so-called “red tides” excited considerable attention from other species.

As expected, those species that make their homes on or in the bodies of Homo sapiens have continued to prosper, some among the viruses and prokaryotes even evolving new strains, thanks to their hosts’ misguided efforts to “control” them. Space doesn’t permit me to mention them all by name, but Entamoeba histolytica, Escherichia coli, and Plasmodium falciparum are among those that have done exceptionally well in 2006.

Many populations of multicellular lifeforms experienced growth spurts during the past year as a consequence of their recent introduction to new ecosystems. Cheatgrass, kudzu, feral housecats and Eurasian water milfoil (pictured on card) are among the hundreds of non-native species currently doing well in North America, for example, and most other land masses large and small are also playing host to armies of newcomers. Though the original invasions might have been a poor idea, we think it’s important to support these species during a long and difficult occupation, as they strive to bring order to chaotic local ecosystems. We hope you’ll join us in saying, “We Support Our Species”!

For most eukarotes, unfortunately, this past year has been a little more challenging. Reef habitats — always among the most sensitive indicators of planetary health — have begun to die back at an alarming rate. Many marine and terrestrial ecosystems are at or nearing collapse, with hundreds of species going extinct each year. But we trust that, like most bad news, this too shall pass. Given its uniquely biocidal tendencies, we’re sure that H. sapiens will very shortly remove itself from the equation. And though in general this will be a very welcome development, we must remember the less fortunate ones in that event — the human parasites and colonists mentioned above — and keep them uppermost in our thoughts and prayers.

They say that every dark cloud has a silver lining. If past experience is any guide, in a brief ten million years or so, most of our currently troubled chloroplast- and mitochondria-bearing phyla will bounce back, stronger than ever, as fully functional components of brand-new food webs. The joy and mystery of this holiday season should serve to remind us that we’re all part of a larger plan, even if we don’t see it, and sometimes sacrifice is necessary to advance the greater good. The more traumatic the extinction event, the more creative and unpredictable the evolutionary consequences. Just look how much more closely knit we became after the great Permian extinction! It really strengthened our bonds as a family.

On a brighter note, our various tectonic activities show no sign of slowing down. Though progress in rift formation and subduction appeared incremental, slow and steady wins the race, as they say. Despite a warming troposphere and stratosphere and the associated adjustments in local and regional climates, our fundamental atmosphere-generating processes continued unabated. And as always, it’s been a good year for the magnetic field, too, protecting all of us here from the otherwise deadly solar wind. A coronal mass ejection on December 13 produced a spectacular geomagnetic storm just in time for the holidays!

Wherever you are in your own orbits, we hope that you are having a safe and joyous holiday season, secure in the blessings of God’s love. We wish you all the best in the coming year.


New seat

The seat on the new toilet cracked after less than a year. No more cheap shit, we resolved.

Just for the record, it wasn’t me that split it. I’m not going to name the culprit, but he has broken his share of chairs, as well — not because he’s too heavy (he isn’t), but because he can’t sit still.

There are some things it just doesn’t make sense to be impatient about, you know? Like meditation — the whole point is to practice stillness and letting go, right? Only one side of the O-shaped seat split, though, so it still held together well enough for my daily practice, such as it is. The bit of a jagged edge helped prevent me from getting too comfortable, kept me focused.

But this is a guesthouse, and the owners — my parents — became concerned that some of their guests might not take it as lightly as I do. So this afternoon, Dad finally splurged and bought a new seat. It’s a 16.5″ (42 cm) WestportTM Designer, “Hard,” with Lift-OffTM for Easy Cleaning and Quiet Slow-CloseTM Action.

The old seat came off without too much trouble. I like jobs that require nothing but a screwdriver, because that’s the only tool I have in the house. If I need a hammer, I have to go borrow one from my parents. Though sometimes I can get by with a rock.

It felt a little odd to be putting a toilet seat in a garbage can.

One thing I wondered as I put the new seat on is why public restrooms always have U-shaped toilet seats, while toilet seats for use in the home are O-shaped? Perhaps the latter is more of an invitation to solitary contemplation, suggesting by its very shape both completeness and emptiness. I mean, I can think of some practical reasons for not having the seat connect in front for toilets with a high rate of usage, but I’m curious about why no one ever installs that kind of seat at home. I suppose the U-shape is too closely associated with public restrooms, and people are after a different ambience at home. After all, for the average American household, the bathroom is the most often redecorated room in the house. It’s not just a place to shit, shower and shave, it’s a place to nest. Maybe lay an egg or two.

The new seat appeared most commodious, and I could hardly wait to take it for a test-sit. But if you don’t have to go, you can’t go, you know? (And just think how much simpler our lives would be if things were always that way — if we were incapable of doing anything unnecessary! Heck, if my mind worked half as well as my digestive system, I’d be in deep nirvana by now.)

So I contented myself with trying out the Quiet Slow-CloseTM Action a few times, and I have to admit, I was pretty impressed. Push the seat or the lid down as hard as you want; they still won’t slam. Instead, they sink slowly and ever so quietly into position, as if to remind us that we have all the time in the world. Just sit.

Good Poems

[A remix of lines from the Customer Reviews of the Writer’s Almanac-derived anthology, Good Poems, at Amazon.com]

I was at the airport newstand looking at the usual
Computer magazine section as usual
(The Poetry journals I enjoy
aren’t sold at smaller newstands),
and out the corner of my eye, I saw
my friend holding Good Poems.

I was immediately drawn to this plump little volume
and sat down to read the Introduction.
I was able to find several significant poems
for many different moods and occasions.
I don’t normally read poetry.

Anyone, if you’ve loved poetry for years,
two months,
weeks or minutes,
this book is absolutely right for you.
This book can stand firmly on its own two pegs.
You can carry this book in your hand, and enjoy
the huge amount of good poems contained.
It flows well.
Poetry lover or no, buy this now!

Here are poems you could read between meetings
or classes or before you make dinner,
poems that can send you or smite you
or speed you to joy.

this book is so much more than a barrel of laughs.
Think of it more as a brisk breeze,
that keeps stirring things up, keeping them
fresh, and bringing blood to your cheeks.
That’s what poetry is.

There are no commentaries or points to ponder
that accompany any of the poems
nor are there questions that test for understanding.
It takes the “fear” out of reading poetry.
I read these poems to my children
before putting them to bed.

This is a book for people
who like poetry that creates images and mini-stories.
This is a book for the sort of people
who like to be transported to crisp
autumn days, the sound of leaves
crunching beneath your feet, blah, blah;
or into relationships
you’ve never had.

This book is stuffed
with good poems, new good poems
you’ve never read,
and some old good poems as well.

And some of it is straight forward it isn’t
trying to hide behind huge words that
the average person doesn’t use. I like
that kind of poetry too but sometimes
I think it’s a little more gutsy to write
simple straight forward to the average
person. Because sometimes people end up
hating poetry because of poetry
that seems to just exist
to show off big words.

This book caused a bit of controversy,
but I’m not sure why.
What it is, is a collection of poems
that Keillor thought were good poems.
In short, he cuts out long,
boring poems written by
angry, depressed or
boring people.
“Good Poems” is a ‘Must Have’
for all lovers of well
arranged words.

Even though Mr. Keillor would not be happy
with long-winded praise, suffice it to say that,
as the Brits would, that this book
is altogether “lovely.”

This selection by Mr. Keillor is arranged
in such a way that one will be taken
on an emotional roller coaster ride.

Why is it
that when you care and you love a person
they treat you like your nothing, and after all the things
you do and say to him, He still dont care.
Then he tells you that he’s sorry and that he love’s you
and then you forgive him. And there you go again
gettin hurt, but you still wanna be
with him……..

It is hard
not to respect a poem
that grows warmer with every tread.
I’ve dog-eared pages of favorites and now see
the book is becoming one big dog-ear.

It’s what
a poetry anthology should be: a sampler,
a taster’s counter at the many-flavored
ice cream shop of verse. You can find
old friends and new ones, and learn who
you want to explore in depth later on.
And this anthology lays out
a richer feast of new friends
than any other I’ve encountered.
Highly recommended for any reason.

Tags: , Good Poems, Writer’s Almanac, Amazon Customer Reviews,

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