July 28, 2005

B&W takes a brief break. Back Aug. 8 or thereabouts. In the meantime, take time to stop and smell the biscuits.

Seen on I-65 in northern Indiana, spring 2005.

Posted at 09:47 PM
July 26, 2005
Train in Rain

After two months of little or no rain, we finally had some today. Even the city seen through a train window looked a little bit better.

Let's hope it clears up by tomorrow, though.

Posted at 09:15 PM
July 24, 2005

On Friday, a terrible accident befell the zipper of my shoulder bag and so, for the second time since January 2004, I am on the hunt for a new bag.

Long-time readers will remember that this kind of mission is never an easy one. I have very specific requirements that are apparently impossible to meet:

1. Bag needs to be large enough to carry my lunch, a magazine, and possibly a pair of shoes.
2. Bag needs to close, preferably with a zipper, as I don't want any of these things to get wet.
3. Bag needs long enough straps to hoist over my shoulder (because it is, after all, a shoulder bag), without dislocating it.
4. Outside pockets are a huge plus. Most manufacturers think only women with babies need these.
5. Must be streamlined. Honestly, people. See 5a, must not have hideous metallic decorations that make me look like I work at the armory.
6. Must not be plastered with corporate logos.
7. Must not cost the equivalent of a car payment.
8. Seriously, must not cost the equivalent of a mortgage payment.

The search continues next week. I also need to buy a ceiling fan, shop for a new couch, get a physical, see my dermatologist, and find a new dentist, but hey, I have my priorities.

Posted at 04:55 PM
July 20, 2005
Condos Will Replace Us

A sad but not uncommon sight in Chicago these days. This one is on the Gold Coast, on what I'm pretty sure used to be this location.

At this rate, everyone will be moving downtown. But where are they all going to eat?

Posted at 09:18 PM
July 13, 2005

It is great consolation to Eric, I think, that I have finally begun listening to public radio, at least on a limited basis. For years I protested that it put me to sleep. But in recent months I've come to realize that NPR and the like do good reporting. What bores me to tears (and in fact makes me break out in a rash) are the constant attempts to scare and titillate on the part of cable and network television news (currently orders of magnitude worse without Peter Jennings). What I really like, though, is listening to "The World," especially the announcements that say "The World is brought to you by PRI." It sounds greater than it is, as if someone was, at last, really bringing me the world. Just what I always wanted.

Posted at 07:55 PM
July 12, 2005

Does anyone really read McSweeney's? We have collected this publication since 1999. In the last few years it has arrived in increasingly show-offy packaging, interesting to unwrap but often difficult to read on the train. So I have fallen well behind. Since we are financing them to the tune of a $50 subscription a year, however, I have decided to catch up. Today I am halfway through issue 5. Only 10 more to go!

Posted at 07:17 PM
July 11, 2005
Spare the Snark, Spoil the...

Exhibit a) you say that we shouldn't see the world obliquely through simile and metaphor, but your favorite 20th-Century American poet is ... John Ashbery? WTF! Oh yeah, Ashbery never uses metaphor... That "convex mirror," that "wave" that "flow chart"--those were things as they are (not played upon the blue guitar). When it comes to avoidance of metaphor, your boy should be Dr. Williams, but then again, even he succumbed to the urge, as in "The Yachts."

"How many times have you lied about a poem?" is the question Poetry Snark asks, and it's a good question.

As a former English major, I gotta love this site. It's like Television without Pity for poets. Don't miss last week's dust-up with Exquisite Corpse. I should add that I discovered this site via the more serious Contemporary Poetry Review newsletter.

Posted at 06:49 PM
July 07, 2005
52 Stations*

London is a frequent destination for B&W, so we were saddened by the news coming out of there today. (Here's a chilling personal account.) Our friends and relations there seem to be OK, and today's events even seem to have brought out the Churchill in some of them (here's a much-cited and lauded response to today). We're glad for that. But the photos of carnage in Russell Square and Tavistock Square, only a block or two from our usual Bloomsbury hotel, are difficult viewing indeed for me. It is devastating to see these places, where we have spent many happy hours hanging out in the park and reading the Guardian, as targets. The Kittyjoyce collective won't be going to the UK this year, having just made plans to go West instead, but we send sympathy and good wishes to our London bretheren today.

In terms of visual panache, the London Underground stations outdo the CTA by a mile. The Russell Square tube station is a good example. Here's a photo from our trip last year.

*on the Northern line. None of them is yours, one of them is mine.

Posted at 06:38 PM
July 05, 2005
Time Zones

Things I heard at my 20-year high school reunion:

"Tell me if you think ***'s husband looks like an axe murderer."
"I remember him, he used to pick his nose. He did it in public. He'd say 'yeah, I pick my nose.'"
"Didn't you come out to my house in LA a few years ago?" "No, I've never been west of St. Louis."
"She was the only person I knew who had walked in on her parents having sex."
"I'm only staying an hour." (Three hours later) "Did I mention I'm leaving now?"
"There's a lot of karmic justice at work here tonight."
"WHOO! In two years we'll be 40!"

Posted at 09:10 PM