Thursday, May 24, 2007

Blog tag, Jim's it!

So.... I posted a blog on Jim Coppoc's rules of Poetry, and notified him he was now famous (as everyone knows, if you made it on my Blog, you have reached a certain level haha). So Jim posted a blog about it on his MySpace page We'll see who gives in first. While I can rarely win a staring contest with my dog, I think I got a chance at this!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bring on the Rules of Poetry

Tonight I had my first summer class at Chatham University. This is an experimental hybrid type of class. It is partly on campus/residency, partly on line. Three days on campus-- Wed 6-9pm, Thurs 6-9pm, Fri 9am-5pm, then four weeks of online connectivity, then three more days on campus. This class is called Bring on the Poetry and incorporates rhetoric and performance into the curriculum. I HAD to write down what the teacher, Jim Coppoc, said were his two rules of poetry (there are only two). I don't know if he came up with this off the cuff or if he has thought about it for years, but here they are:

Jim Coppoc's Rules of Poetry**
  1. Have something to say
  2. Don't f--k it up.

** for the purposes of this class, a poem is something that has an author (ethos) who attempts a purpose (wants the audience to think, feel, or act differently after the poem), with an audience, under a context (where it's delivered, how it's delivered, cultural context, etc.)

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Incongruos Nature of Pittsburgh


My friend Crystalee pointed me towards an interesting lifestyle piece in the Post-Gazette, "Loving the Pittsburgh We Have" by Ruth Ann Dailey. In it, Dailey grapples with the contradiction that Pittsburgh often is. Another item she could have mentioned to illustrate this was how one day on the news there was a blurb about Pittsburgh having the second nicest drivers (WHAATTT?!), and the next day they report: Road Rage Incidents on the Rise. Yes, Pittsburgh is chock-a-block full of mixed messages, but Dailey reminds readers to "stop and smell the bus fumes," or, don't take for granted the beauty that is here all around us in Pittsburgh.

*picture by Athalia Markowitz of San Francisco-- Dailey also reminds us of the difference between being a resident and being a tourist, how many Pittsburgh residents have really noticed this mural downtown? have thought to take a picture of it?

Whose Food Is Safe?

I had heard about the Bees dying. I had noticed a particular lack of them flying around. It was tossed about that this had to do with the weather changes, with cell phone signals... Now some scientists at the Dept of Agriculture wonder if some Honey Bees may have consumed commercial bee feed tainted by the same thing that caused the deaths from the dog and cat food that was later recalled-- melamine, the industrial chemical used to raise protein levels.

I was already afraid of what to give to my dogs. Whatever I put in their food bowl they eat. They don't have any reason to suspect it's poisoned. They are trusting. I have already been a little worried about all of the diseases that have been around in livestock, like Mad Cow and Bird Flu (though not enough to stop eating chicken when I was overseas...). It concerns me that so much of this could have been prevented or at least diminished. If you recall, the brain disease in farm animals was caused by feeding them stuff they should have been fed (meat and bone meal with ground-up brain in it, when cows are herbivores-- cutting corners to get them protein). The companies trying to make more money without spending more money put the melamine in the dog food to raise the amount of protein (and now maybe in the bee food).

Not to mention all of the hormones that are pumped into livestock. Not to mention the horrid conditions of factory farming. Not to mention the inhumane treatment of the animals humans kill for food while they are yet alive.... I'm not exactly saying we reap what we sow....but at the addage "we are what we eat" is becoming more threatening than ever.

"DOA Has a New Theory On Why Bees Are Dying, Disappearing"
A Scientific American Article on Mad Cow

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Dream Nest

I had an awe-inspiring surreal experience yesterday on a visit to the "House Poem" by Huang Xiang. Located on Sampsonia Way in the North Side of Pittsburgh, this is the home of Huang Xiang and his wife Zhang Ling. The house is covered in calligraphy of his poetry. This is an amazing attestment because Mr. Huang's work was banned in China, and when he lived there, he had been imprisoned altogether over ten years of his life. He and his wife came here in 2004 as refugees with the help of the City of Asylum Pittsburgh.
Huang Xiang reading

I suggested this venue for part of a Literacy*AmeriCorps Pittsburgh training day, and was thrilled when City of Asylum via Henry Reese helped to coordinate this. Huang Xiang was very gracious and thrilled us by reading seven poems and taking questions and comments. I am planning to blog more about this soon, but for now, here are some pictures from the event. I was asked to read the English translations of Mr. Huang's poetry before he read each poem in Chinese. Josh Cohen and Steve Thomas, also AmeriCorps members each read a poem as well.

Me reading English translations with Huang Xiang looking on.

Steve Thomas reading with Huang Xiang

The House Poem

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

They Are Me?

Ummm, I'm not quite sure about the new marketing slogan for Chatham University (previously Chatham College). Playing on the schools new name (Chatham U.), they released a new commercial (which has been airing at least once every 5 seconds...well at least every commercial break, i swear!) that states "We are You." I think there may be a plural/singular agreement issue there, but I kind of like the idea that a Whole is composed of all its Parts..the parts make the whole, without the students there would be no university, so all of the yous make the U....or something...

~S of you....or screw it

Coffee: My Drug of Choice

It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity. I bet this kind of thing does not happen to heroin addicts. I bet that when serious heroin addicts go to purchase their heroin, they do not tolerate waiting in line while some dilettante in front of them orders a hazelnut smack-a-cino with cinnamon sprinkles. ~Dave Barry

click here to read the Pop City article about Simpatico!
Believe it or not, I did not start drinking coffee until the year of our lord two-thousand-and-six. What did I do before then? Fall asleep a lot.

Since I started working downtown, I frequent Simpatico Espresso, located at a kiosk in the lobby of the Regional Enterprise Tower. Meet my suppliers, Ward and Cappy:

Ward and Cappy
Since then, I have had white chocolate mochas, cafe au laits, americanos, etc. Of course, I still use a lot of sugar water, but now I am spoiled by the taste of good espresso. I tried to drink one at the Beaver Eat-N-Park, and I couldn't finish three sips.


UPDATE: Simpatico is having an Anniversary (1 yr, 3 days) Celebration, with some menu items on special, including the Northwest Berry Smoothie!!!


So Bill Richardson turns out to be an idiot. Great, just great. Now who am I supposed to vote for? It may be back to Barack, but we shall see. If you don't know why I am referring to Bill Richardson as an idiot, it has to due with his comments regarding his favorite Supreme Court Justice ever... Check out this article on the Daily Kos for more details. Dumbass quote for the month of April: "White was in the 60s. Wasn't Roe v. Wade in the 80s?" Sure, Bill...1973, 1980s...what's the difference? ehhhh not even a date in that 10 yr span. So he could be off by anywhere from 7 to 16 years. I'm not saying the average person has to know this (though it'd be nice), but I AM saying, if you are citing as your favorite Supreme Court Justice a man who had a dissenting opinion in this pivotal landmark case, you ought to know your facts. And so what if he's good at football???

In local news, the primaries in Pennsylvania are today for the local stuff. I am now an official Pennsylvanian, having got my license after a one-hour-forty-five-minute wait on Friday. I registered to vote while I was at it, but too late for these elections. I'll catch the ones in November, I guess. Before, I was registered as an Independent, because I felt it gave me more freedom of choice, but I got tired of only voting on the issues in primaries, and want to help determine the candidates for Presidential elections, so I signed up with the Dems this time around.

I saw people outside with giant signs endorsing Luke Ravenstahl for Pittsburgh Mayor. This struck me as particularly pointless as he is running uncontested. That's right, the mayor who became mayor by the previous mayor dying has no one running against him. Some loophole or something. Goodness. He may have won regardless, but at least there would be an illusion, if nothing else, of a choice to make at the ballot boxes. Apparently, the Republicans are encouraging voters to do a Write-In. I wonder what the statistics are on a write-in winning? Hmmm. Note to self: Research Write-Ins...

Sarah On The Town

One of my part-time jobs is as "magic secretary" to local (Pittsburgh) sculptor James Simon. Here he is above with his cat "Fi-Fi"

These are some sculptures of his friends as dogs... this was at the "In Full Bloom" gallery on Liberty Avenue downtown.

Here's my pal Crystalee posing beside on of James's larger projects, the "Liberty Avenue Musicians," also on Liberty Avenue.

^^^The top part of where Crys is standing ^^^

The other two musicians (Accordian player and trumpet guy).

This is John Fleenor. He is a painter who lives accross the street from James's studio with his dog, Betty.

Here's Betty herself! A 13-yr-old Border Collie, Betty enjoys fetch and knows many commands. She is also a very sweet and playful girl.

Betty is a celebrity! Here is a painting John did, called "Betty and the Princess"

Lastly, just a random painting I sighted in the walking tunnel under/through buildings between 5th Ave and Forbes Ave downtown. It appears to be George W. with bleeding eyes. Interesting.