Selasa, 26 Agustus 2008


I want this. My cousin's son introduced me to it last night, and though I only tried it once, and only went about 4 feet, I think I'm hooked. The deck pivots and there are casters, so everything seems to swivel and tilt. It feels different than a skateboard...but similar too. There must be very good bearings in there because it felt smooth, at least for the four feet that I traveled.


I do like his REAL last track, "Oh You," much better than "Let Me Be Your Gigolo." And everybody likes to end with something good. "Oh You" also is a much more poignant message of love.

Greg Brown

I was listening to Greg Brown's Milk of the Moon the other day and wishing I could reorganize his song list. I always start that disc on track four, "Smell of Coffee," and play the loop, finishing up with track three, "Let Me Be Your Gigolo." I had arranged some poems into a collection (an order) for a chapbook, and I'm looking forward to spending more time with that this fall. So my head has that emotional, narrative arc in mind and I suppose I bring that sensibility to Brown's work. I can't help wanting to tinker with it. Here is how "Smell of Coffee" begins:

Bouffant hairdo, ne'er-do-well
Warm the car up, perfume smell
Work is there when love is gone
Smell of coffee, crack of dawn

Pheasant clucking, ice cold dew
Backseat shotgun, frosty slough
Chevy coughing, let's move on
Smell of coffee, crack of dawn

Clearly, the lyrics alone say "Morning," which is a good place to start something. But more than that, the rhythm and pacing of this song is a good introduction to the CD. I'm not ready for "Let Me Be Your Gigolo" on the third track. As the third track, it's a little jarring. But by the end, I'm sufficiently loosened up for it. Greg Brown will do that for you. He just sort of kneads away with his voice and his guitar.

Senin, 25 Agustus 2008

Rabu, 20 Agustus 2008

People are chattering about school but summer hasn't retreated yet. Here are more pictures from Nordhouse Dunes to remind you that it is still August. We had stretches of the beach to ourselves, but I loved peering in at other encampments and creations. Somebody built this:

Senin, 18 Agustus 2008

Beach Boat

On Thursday, we went to Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area near Manistee. We camped and had a great hike along the ridge trail into Nordhouse Lake and over to Lake Michigan. On our beach walk, we discovered this fine boat.

Here is the bow and the crow's nest.

Here is a closer look at the crow's nest.

Here is the wheel.

And here is the captain.


I buy old copies of the The New Yorker at the library for 25 cents. This brings me great pleasure -- more satisfaction, in fact, than finding an old beer can (10 cents here in Michigan) on a walk in the woods. Some of the pleasure comes from the irregularity of it. I don't always know if I'll find a copy in the stack. Last week, I found the July 28 (2008!) issue, which included an article by Jonah Lehrer about what happens inside the brain when people have an insight, and why good ideas come to us when they do. What he learned from two cognitive neuroscientists, Mark Jung-Beeman at Northwestern University and John Kounios at Drexel University, is consistent with what many writers know: if you're waiting for an epiphany, you need to let your mind wander.

Here is a summary from the article: "The insight process, as sketched by Jung-Beeman and Kounios, is a delicate mental balancing act. At first, the brain lavishes the scarce resource of attention on a single problem. But, once the brain is sufficiently focussed, the cortex needs to relax in order to seek out the more remote assocation in the right hemisphere, which will provide the insight....As Jung-Beeman and Kounios see it, the insight process is an act of cognitive deliberation -- the brain must be focused on the task at hand -- transformed by accidental, serendipitous connections. We must concentrate on letting the mind wander."

Here is the article.

Rabu, 13 Agustus 2008


My head is full of good things. My stomach only has coffee and a croissant and a fresh peach from the farmers market in it, so it will need something else soon. But my head is stocked with fine pictures.

Tommy took his boat collection up to the cottage. Here is one I started to make about 20 years ago. My dad and Tommy finished it last summer, adding a keel and a rudder, and my mom made the sail.

There were loon babies this year on the lake. Here is one of them, accompanied by a parent. I have tremolos and yodels in my head too.

This is a favorite spot...a pond surrounded by a spongy bog. The spongy part is solid enough to walk on and has some good hummocks to bounce on.

And here is a boy with his head in the clouds.

We had a good week which included a trip down the Au Sable and a wedding in Harbor Springs. My dear old friend Maureen got married on Saturday. It was a beautiful celebration. Among other fine things -- her sister's broad smile, her mom's pleasure, the grand tents in the field, the tomato salad with basil and chevre, the late evening Lebanese Mazza --was her brother's toast. A toast is really its own literary genre, distinct from the essay or the poem, and the artful side of the tribute or the wish is sometimes neglected. Too many are bland or generic or sappy. Tom's was funny and poignant and meaningful. It was art.

Minggu, 03 Agustus 2008

A Day at the Beach

Today we went to Saugatuck Dunes State Park, a day-use (no camping) park that gives you a walk in the woods before you get to the lake. We took towels and books and a shovel and castle molds and a bucket and iced tea. We even took a beach umbrella. Here is what I saw when I looked up.
Here is what I saw when I looked down (on the trail to the beach)...Indian Pipes!

Sabtu, 02 Agustus 2008

County Fair

Just got back from the Ingham County Fair. It was the last day, so the draft horses were gone, kids who had been there all week were napping in the stalls, and the just-hatched chicks were getting used to the world.