Friday, December 31, 2010

Kevin Young comes to town on Thursday, January 6th at 6:30 PM.
He will be at the Phillips Collection. It's part of the O.B. Hardison Poetry Series.
Young will read poems in response to the museum's exhibition TRUTHBEAUTY: PICTORIALISM AND THE PHOTOGRAPH AS ART 1845-1945.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $7.50 for students

The Phillips Collection is located at 1600 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC
New book from Kim Roberts:


Winner of the 2009 Pearl Poetry Prize

Order from:
Pearl Editions
3030 E. Second Street
Long Beach, CA 90803


Also available from

Kim's website

E-note for the end of the year:

 ...the beautiful path is patient,
always waiting for you to come back,
that path that is so familiar to you,
and so faithful.
It knows you will come back one day,
And it will welcome you back.

The path will be as fresh and as
beautiful as the first time.
Love never says that this is the
last time.

    - Thich Nhat Hanh


    - Zen proverb
2010:  Don't leave me hanging...

The year has only a few more hours. So much happened in 2010 - still I'm curious about one thing.
How did Leslie Johnson (with the FBI knocking on her door) hide $79,600 in her bra?
I've been corresponding with the poet Ravikumar today. Here is some of his work:


Nine poems 

Translated from Tamil by Meena Kandasamy 


Engravings on mud walls
Don't last after the monsoons.


To drink tea
He should pay with
Two rupees
And his self-respect.


Tamil unites
Tumbler divides.


The torso was found here.
The head was found in that well.
The bus stood there.
There, that's where the men came from.
The banyan tree stands as a judge
Groping in the sky for the evidence of crime.


You can learn archery
Sacrifice your thumb.
You can become the President
Sacrifice your head.


Life lies
A little between
That man's sickle-sword
And this man's neck.


Until one stops walking,
The path shall keep on growing.


There are five stories about Nandan.
One, as you were pushed and pushed
Into the fire, you kept rising and rising.
Another, to lose the Pulayan smell you bathed
In the fire because water proved useless.
Another, as the Nandhi chased you,
With shaking legs, you buried yourself.
Another, the blazing heat of a foreign tongue
Made you seek the shade.
Another, you beat and killed the feudal lord
And put the blame on the Brahmins.
What really transpired?
Will the Nandhi say the story?
Or will Natarajan say it?


If we just keep on watching
We can only give testimonies. 

Ravikumar (1961) is the Kattumannarkovil MLA from the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (Liberation Panthers party). He is the foremost activist-theoretician of the Dalit movement. As a human rights activist, he has earlier served as the State President of the People's Union for Civil Liberties in both Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. He co-founded Navayana, India's first publishing house to exclusively address the issue of caste. He edits the Tamil quarterly literary journal Dalit. He has published several collections of essays including Kothippu Uyarnthu Varum. Renowned for his essays, we have included his poems in this volume, mainly for their sharpness of insight and the sheer power of expression.


            Xoregos Performing Company's next production is
       HARLEM ON MY MIND at Metropolitan Playhouse 
          at 220 East 4 Street between Avenues A and B: East Village
Xoregos Performances are: January 18.22,27 at 7:00 PM & January 29 at 4:00 PM, 2011
Tickets $18.00/15.00 (st/sr) available at,at box office or telephone: 212-995-5302 
           Summer: ANTIGONE or NEW SHORT PLAYS
                Website:    212-239-8405
A real nice SUN RA album is LANQUIDITY. He recorded this back in July 1978.

I've been listening to it for the last hour; cleaning my office, and doing those things that black men do at the end of the year.

Time to move on.
An E-Note to a friend at the end of the year:

Loving another person is so difficult. I see why people grow plants and flowers. I'm paying more attention to the needs of my cat. Maybe all we can give another person is clean litter.
Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Thu, December 30, 2010 -- 11:11 PM ET

Stanford Ends UConn's 90-Game Streak in N.C.A.A. Women's Basketball

Ninth-ranked Stanford defeated No. 1 Connecticut, 71-59,
breaking a 90-game winning streak for Connecticut since it
lost to Stanford in the 2008 N.C.A.A. semifinals.

 - Paul Auster from INVISIBLE
You must help yourself. If something inside you is broken, you must put it back together with your own two hands.

  - Paul Auster, from INVISIBLE

Nothing Is...

At first nothing is;
Then nothing transforms itself to be air
Sometimes the air transforms itself to be water;
And the water becomes rain and falls to earth;
Then again, the air through friction becomes fire.
So the nothing and the air and the water
And the fire are really the same---
Upon different degrees.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Film:


A documentary by Kenneth Bowser.  Opens in New York at IFC Center on January 5th.

According to a recent study by the Brennan Center for Justice, the 15 states with the largest prison populations - which together house almost a million people, or more than half of the state prison population in the U.S. - all impose some kind of fee post-conviction, and all 15 impose parole, probation, or supervision fees.  In Illinois, the Shriver Center estimated that the total cost in fees for being convicted of felony drug possession was $1,445 in 2009. And the fees don't stop when an inmate leaves prison. Florida charges its inmates for post-release supervision while the formerly incarcerated are on parole, and some states actually charge parolees for treatment. If they fail to pay, they could end up reincarcerated - not for committing a crime or failing a drug test but simply for being too broke. 

 -  Adam Serwer,  "Permanent Lockdown"
     The American Prospect, January /February 2011 
Is China Good For Africa?
The Internet has brought countless benefits to mankind, but as we see now, it also creates incalculable potential for mischief: it amplifies the threats of schoolyard bullies, empowers terrorists and fringe groups, and opens up huge new spaces to technologically savvy criminals. Now that data can be shared, linked, and exploited with near-instantaneous ease, the risks entailed by the publication of information mushroom out of all recognition; there is simply no way that any editor, however well-meaning, can make an informed judgment about the potential repercussions entailed by the release of vast amounts of confidential data of this sort.  But this is where we are, and I wonder whether preaching restraint can have much effect. The technology has outpaced the ethics, and it seems justified to ask whether the ethics can ever catch up again.

  - Christian Caryl  "Why WikiLeaks Changes Everything"
    The New York Review of Books, January 13, 2011
Daily Buddhist Wisdom

Skillful speech not only means that we pay attention to the words we speak and to their tone but also requires that our words reflect compassion and concern for others and that they help and heal, rather than wound and destroy.
- Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness"
BILLY TAYLOR, Jazz Pianist, Dies at 89.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


In old E-Notes I mentioned that I thought Rep. Mike Pence was the Republican to watch.  This guy looked and sounded presidential. Well it looks like he might decide to run for governor of Indiana instead of seeking the White House. It seems the current Republican Lt. Gov Becky Skillman has some health issues. This opens the door for Pence to run for a state seat. Look for the guy to make a decision before the end of January.
Just received a new poem ( "On Cleaning Up All These Ashes in The Sand") that Wanda Coleman wrote for me. It's her response to my Black Houdini poem (see old E-Notes). When poets write to each other the world is a better place.
Don't think about the future.
Just be here now.
Don't think about the past.
Just be here now.

   - Ram Dass

I Like It Like That - Pete Rodriguez - Cinema Tune

I needed a song to guide me into the New Year. A sound that would have the echoes of my past but the uplifting pull of a healing tomorrow. I wanted music that would make me rise again. Here it is...I like it. I like it like this. Somehow I can imagine my mother and father dancing to this tune if they were alive and young again.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Nearly a year after the earthquake, an estimated 1.3 million Haitians are still displaced from their homes.  The cholera outbreak has killed more than 2,500 people and hospitalized 58,000 more.

Oh, and the Obama Administration has been quietly moving to resume deportations of Haitians.

Here is a word to add to your vocabulary in 2011:  Deaccession.
Quote of the Day:

The train did not move until 7:52a.m. Its 400 passengers had to contend with teasing announcements from conductors about a rescue train that never arrived and a total lack of bathroom access. One passenger, Mr. Gedeon said, began talking about cannibalism. Others turned their anger on the conducter, who eventually disappeared into her vestibule, saying, by Mr. Gedeon's account, "I am not going to get beat up on the day after Christmas at work. "

- The New York Times, December 28, 2010

Brady will get the MVP nod. Vick will limp into the playoffs.  I don't see the Eagles going far.

Hello, Mr. Chips: Bots Teaching English in Korean Schools

Dec 28, 2010 – 3:59 PM
John O. Membrino
John O. Membrino Contributor
Remote-controlled instructors have begun teaching English to elementary school students in South Korea, introducing a brave new world of technology into the classroom while boosting the country's robotic industry.

The pilot project began Monday at 21 schools in the southeastern city of Daegu, Agence France-Presse reported. The robots are controlled by English teachers in the Philippines, whose facial images are displayed on screens atop the 3-1/2-foot-tall, egg-shaped device developed by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST).

Robots begin teaching English in South Korean classrooms
Knowledge Economy Ministry / AFP / Getty Images
An English-teaching robot stands in front of children at an elementary school south of Seoul. Robot teachers have been a hit with pupils during a pilot project in some South Korean schools, a government report said.
The live teachers are able to listen to and watch the students through the remote link and can direct the robots to move around the classroom, according to AFP. The machines have software programs that enable them to play educational games and even sing songs with the children, the news agency said.

"The kids seemed to love it since the robots look, well, cute and interesting," said Daegu education official Kim Mi-Young, The Daily Mail reported. "But some adults also expressed interest, saying they may feel less nervous talking to robots than a real person."

Third-grader Sim Geun-hae declared the experiment "awesome and interesting," the South Korean JoonAng Daily reported. "I felt I could learn English better," he told the newspaper. Daegu education officials said that if the students take a liking to the robots, more will be introduced to other schools.

While the verdict is still out as to what parents think of the cyber-instructors, one of the developers thinks the robots already have an advantage. "They won't complain about health insurance, sick leave and severance package, or leave in three months for a better-paying job in Japan," KIST senior scientist Sagong Seong-Dae told The Daily Mail. "All you need is a repair and upgrade every once in a while."
OK - Who is responsible for this leak?
Countdown:  The Iowa caucuses are less than 13 months away.
New Book:

Daryl Russell Grigsby's new book came in the mail today.

The title is CELEBRATING OURSELVES African-Americans and The Promise of Baseball.

You can order this book from Amazon .com

Baseball has long been a force among African-Americans and their families. The game enhances “personal achievement, community advancement, economic independence and social equality,” the author writes. From slavery to Moses Fleetwood Walker’s 1884 major league season; from the founding of the Negro National League in 1920 to Jackie Robinson; from the pinnacle of black baseball participation in 1975 to todays Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities program, baseball has deep roots in black America. Although the book touches on a rich social history, the author’s love of the game shines through each page.

Celebrating Ourselves, published by Dog Ear Publishing, includes more than just statistics and accomplishments on the diamond. It’s also a tribute to African-American baseball fans. The African-American community needs baseball, and the game benefits from a black presence. “African-Americans bring a laughter, noise and color to a game that many times has needed all three,” the author writes. The book’s four major sections include the history of black baseball; a review of African-American players; a summary of the organizations and programs that promote African-American participation in the game; and personal stories including the author’s family journey with the game and interviews with fans. Photographs throughout the work add to its authenticity.

Detailed examples of baseball history provide insight into how the game led to social change. Robinson’s debut on April 15, 1947, with the Brooklyn Dodgers preceded Brown vs. Board of Education, Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott and the civil rights movement. Simply by appearing on the field, Robinson changed how some whites viewed blacks. Likewise, Curt Flood’s challenge to the free-agent clause when playing for the St. Louis Cardinals forever changed the relationship between players and owners. Baseball’s ties to black families and communities is no less important, and the author urges African-Americans to return to the game as players and fans, continuing a relationship that began in slavery, was critical to the Civil Rights movement, and continues to bond generations, families and communities.

Treve de blues.
- Leon Damas

Compassion is my art.
-Grace A. Ali

God makes stars. It's up to producers to find them.
- Samuel Goldwyn

My guest today is the author Marita Golden. Ms. Golden has a new book coming out in January 2011. The title is, THE WORD: BLACK WRITERS TALK ABOUT THE TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF READING AND WRITING. This book features interviews with the following writers:

Chimamanda Adichie
Faith Adiele
Pearl Cleage
J. California Cooper
Ellis Cose
Edwidge Danticat
John Hope Franklin
Nikki Giovanni
Wil Haygood
Mat Johnson
Edward P. Jones
David Levering Lewis
Nathan McCall

When you look at the writers included in your new book, what is your assessment of the state of black writing in 2011?


I think that while the nonfiction memoir has unseated the novel in the
past 20 years as the dominant and most popular cultural narrative, for
society as a whole in black writing all the genres are very healthy
and that is great. 
Anytime we have 3 black women writers Harriet
Washington. Edwidge Danticat and Annette Gordon Reed winning the NBA
for nonfiction three years in a row, and young fiction writers like
Danielle Evans and Dolen Perkins Valdez and Victor LaValle and Ed
Jones and Percival Everett still at work, we have an embarrasement of
riches and  black writing is enriched by diasporic writers like
Chimamanda Adichie who live here and write  about Africa and America.

And fine poets keep coming! And Sonia and Baraka and Haki are still an
inspiration!  I think the state of black writing has never been
better. We just need more readers and more institutional support for
those who want to dedicate their lives to writing as
a career.



Online Classes Start January 11. Claiming Our Stories: Autobiography and Autobiographical Fiction, at

Dear Writers,
Looking for a place to push your work to the next step? Do it online with me and a group of varied and dedicated writers, at
I will again be teaching 2 classes online for on the net, beginning Jan. 11, 2011:  Claiming Our Stories: Working with the Power of Autobiography and Autobiographical Fiction, Parts One and Two. These are both 10 week courses for writers of both memoir/creative nonfiction and fiction.
For full descriptions and registration, please go to
For questions, email me at
I am also currently accepting clients for one to one work, long distance and in person, on large projects in progress, shorter works, and work to bring forward your writing, jump over roadblocks, and develop a deeper understanding of story and language and the tools to work with them.

Anya Achtenberg

Monday, December 27, 2010

THE CANING OF THE RACE: A Jean Toomer mugging by black hands.  Another case of Black on Black Crime.

I was thinking that maybe I don't want black scholars to write about me after I die.  In today's New York Times there is a long article about Jean Toomer. Did he pass for white?  Do we really care?  I first read CANE when I was a student at Howard University. I enjoyed Toomer's work and over the years keep going back to it. A number of musicians and singers (Marion Brown, Gil Scott-Heron) have been inspired by Toomer's work. If we suddenly discovered that Toomer passed for white would it change how we view the man or his books?  I don't think so. There is such a thing as dumb scholarship and what I consider literary distractions. Once a graduate student walked into my office and wanted to write a paper about the relationship between Tupac and Frederick Douglass. I finished eating my lunch, paused and asked, "Why?"
I then told her it was a dumb idea. Today, I put the newspaper down and thought about all the other dumb stuff that makes it into print.
The SF 49ers fired head coach Mike Singletary. Here was one black man who showed his emotions in public. Do we want Obama to be like Mike?  At the end of the day what does it accomplish?

I received a note yesterday from Nibir Ghosh. He informed me that our Charles Johnson book has been sent to the press and is in production. 

For information about Charles Johnson: 
The last week of the year. You remember promises now as broken as the cold. Snow fell last night but it now begins to melt like everything else that has happened in your life. You push yourself to begin again.
The possibility of pleasure provides warmth. You stare at your hands - each naked finger once taught you a lesson. Now a woman dresses somewhere with only the perfume of memories. The sky holds as many leaves as the river.
Life is like stepping onto a boat that is about to sail out to sea and sink.

    - Shunryu Suzuki
it is your own lush self
you hunger for

 - Lucille Clifton

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Listening to SUN RA: The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra.


1. The death of Enid Miller (My Mom)



4. Rescue of Chilean miners

5. Project 60/and the celebration of my 60th Birthday

6. Renewed friendship with Me-K (writer and teacher living in S. Korea)

7. Helping to coordinate the leadership change at the Institute for Policy Studies 
    from John Cavanagh to Joy Zarembka

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tricycle Daily Dharma
Be Grateful to Everyone

Gratitude does not seem to be that front and central nowadays. Instead of appreciating what we have, we keep focusing on what we do not have. We are filled with grudges and resentments and have strong opinions about what we deserve and what is our due. We may be taught to say “Please” and “Thank you,” but what have we been taught about appreciation? In our commodified world, we see things as material for our consumption. We don’t ask, we just take. And in the blindness of our wealth and privilege, we don’t see how much we have to be grateful for. We take all that we have for granted and we live in a very ungrateful world... I think we need to work on our basic gratitude, first. Simply adding this dimension to the way we view things would be a great improvement.

- Judy Lief, "Train Your Mind: Be Grateful to Everyone"
Weather Alert: Winter storm watch issued for D.C. area for Sunday
December 25, 2010 6:30:26 AM

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for D.C. and Fairfax, Prince William and Montgomery counties, and points east. The watch is in effect from Sunday morning through late Sunday night.

Accumulations of five or more inches of snow are possible. However, the prediction is not certain, and it’s possible that the storm could skirt the area.
I saw TRUE GRIT last night. I love the movies made by Joel & Ethan Cohen. Add this one to the list. This film is all about dialogue. Listen to the verbal dueling between characters which is first class all the way. Oscar nominations are here too. I give one to Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfield. This is a clever political movie. Watch it for how people of color are presented; the lines they say or don't say. Notice how Native Americans don't get to speak or in "Indian Country" are actually invisible. How the West was won? Well, maybe lost depending on who is doing the talking or making the movies. TRUE GRIT is about justice and business.

Friday, December 24, 2010

My daughter just gave me a copy of THE AMERICAN PROSPECT magazine (January/February 2011).
This issue has a special section on "Mass Incarceration in America."  Much to digest...
People usually fail when they are on the verge of success. So give as much care to the end as to the beginning; then there will be no failure.

   - Lao-tzu
Good cookies can be obtained from PRET. I purchased a couple yesterday from the Pret located at 1155 F Street, NW. 
Donovan McNabb, Kyle Shanahan

Agent: Coach undermined McNabb


Now check the Haynesworth files. 
Hey wasn't that?

Yep, there was Ethelbert walking around downtown yesterday with his friend Angie (from South Africa) and in his bag some newly purchased elf slippers.  Elf slippers?  A good buy from a street merchant for $21.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

OBAMA WATCH: Who has next?

Friend --

This time of year, Americans around the country are taking the time to exchange heartfelt messages with friends and loved ones, reflecting on the past year. They write of achievements and setbacks, of births, graduations, promotions, and moves.

These messages allow us to overcome the miles that separate us. And they allow us to continue one of the most basic American traditions that has held folks close for centuries -- the simple sharing of stories.

And as families gather around holiday tables this season, we also have the opportunity to share the stories of the change this movement has achieved together.

It is a narrative woven by individuals across America -- in big cities and small towns, hospitals and classrooms, in auto manufacturing plants and auto supply stores.

These are stories of rebuilding, and of innovation. Stories of communities breathing new life into old roads and bridges, of local plants harnessing alternative fuel into new energy. Stories of small businesses getting up, dusting themselves off, and beginning to grow again. Stories of soldiers who served multiple tours of duty in Iraq now coming home -- and enjoying the holidays this year in the company of loved ones.

These are stories of progress.

They unite us, and they are ours to share.

We've pulled many of them together in one place, PROGRESS. You can see what our reforms have meant to Americans in every state -- block by block, community by community.

Click here to read about stories of progress in your area -- and share them with your friends and family.

The reforms that we fought long and hard for are not talking points.

And their effects don't change based on the whims of politicians in Washington. They are achievements that have a real and meaningful impact on the lives of Americans around the country. They are achievements that would not have been possible without you. PROGRESS localizes them -- and brings them to life.

It tells of how a green technology business in Phoenix, Arizona, is using a grant through the Recovery Act's Transportation Electrification program to bring the first electric-drive vehicles and charging stations to cities around the country.

It tells how, thanks to closing the "donut hole" in prescription drug coverage, a diabetic woman in Burlington, Vermont will no longer have to choose between purchasing her monthly groceries or the insulin she needs to survive.

It tells about how 136,000 Pennsylvania residents' jobs were saved or created by the Recovery Act.

And about how, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 22,900 small businesses in Utah's 2nd Congressional District are now eligible for health care tax credits -- and how 17,500 residents in Idaho's 1st with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage.

There are thousands more stories like these.

In the coming days, as we gather with our loved ones at dinner tables around the nation, let's pass them on. Let's celebrate the spirit of service and responsibility that brought them to fruition. And let's steady ourselves with the resolve to continue pressing forward.

Because the coming year will hold new challenges -- battles that have yet to be fought, and stories of progress that have yet to be written.

Take a look at the progress we've made in your area -- and share the stories you read with your friends and family:

Happy holidays, and God bless,


P.S. -- Last week, seven OFA volunteers joined me at the White House for a special meeting -- and they brought along your feedback from the Vote 2010 campaign. It was incredibly meaningful for me to be able to hear directly from supporters like you. And your input will be front and center as we plot our course moving forward into the new year. Please take a couple minutes to check out some photos and stories from the meeting.
Listening to LET US BREAK BREAD TOGETHER - David Chevan and Warren Byrd.
Daily Buddhist Wisdom

Pride and indifference shroud this heart, too, as the sun is obscured by the piled-up clouds; supercilious thoughts root out all modesty of mind, and sorrow saps the strongest will.
- Fo-Sho-Hing-Tsan-King

Below is a recent comment made by Thomas Boswell in The Washington Post:

"The Jaguars and Giants might stampede Grossman. Or not. But it doesn't change what we saw Sunday.
Grossman seems to understand the Redskins' offense better than McNabb, run it more quickly, end up in the right play more often, go through his reads deeper and step up in the pocket as asked. He doesn't have McNabb's arm strength, ability to rip away from rushers to make plays, nor his career-long ability (until this year) to avoid interceptions. "

I read the above and found a little Sarah Palin in Thomas Boswell's thinking.  Notice how TB already has placed a spin on the upcoming game. Even if Grossman is awful, Boswell wants to live in the past.
This has a Tea Party turn the clock back feel and maybe Boswell should get ready for baseball games. Boswell wants Shanahan to look like a genius. It's either that or TB is taking an early out from journalism so he can be on the Redskin roster as a punter next season. Since Grossman's bar is so low anything he does is not going to smell. Boswell needs to walk a dog so he can see how a losing Redskin season sticks to a fan's shoe.
What's the difference between yesterday and today?

One day closer to death.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Receive with simplicity everything that happens to you.

  - Rashi

FRIDAY, JANUARY 14, 2011 AT 7:00 PM


National Museum of Natural Hitory
Baid Auditorium
10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, D.C.

The program is free and open to the public however reservations are required
Please call 202 -633-4875 or email

 "We are not a nation that says 'Don't ask, don't tell.' We are one that says 'Out of many, one.' "

     - President Barack Obama
Doubt everything. Find your own light.

     - Buddha
Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Tue, December 21, 2010 -- 9:03 PM ET

UConn Women Win 89th Straight Basketball Game, Setting Division I Record

The women's basketball team at the University of Connecticut
won its 89th straight game, setting a Division I record for
consecutive victories. The Huskies beat Florida State, 93-62,
surpassing a record set by the UCLA men's basketball team
from 1971 to 1974.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Read:

I also borrowed a copy of Paul Auster's INVISIBLE from the library today.
I will start reading it this evening.
Today I made a holiday trip to the public library. I had to stockpile. I borrowed 4 films:

A Serious Man
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Crazy Heart
35 Shots of Rum
I completed the reading of RUNNING THE BOOKS THE ADVENTURES OF AN ACCIDENTAL PRISON LIBRARIAN this evening.  Near the end of the book Avi Steinberg writes:

After nearly two years, I was still trying to figure out the purpose of my job and of the library at large. For this, I needed only take Elia's example. He wasn't merely counting down the days with each book. His elegant librarianship, his hands deliberating over each title, the gentle way he dusted and kept notes and piles, the care with which he arranged the shelves, his silence, made me appreciate how order is  created: Not through grand schemes - to which I was often drawn - but by small graceful actions, repeated often and refined with time.
E- Thoughts:

Maybe too many of our words rhyme. Maybe too many words are spoken these days. Maybe we are trapped inside couplets of black and white. What rhymes with love? Not another word but the act itself.
Everyone should be loved but too many of us are alone. Lines in poems are often bars. We struggle to let our feelings out. We fail at most things we do. Why should loving someone have a higher percentage?
Groucho Marx once said, marriage was a great institution but no one wants to live in an institution.


   - Kahlil Gibran

'No Labels' Political Movement Launches - The Takeaway


Hush Now, Don't Explain?

The Republican Convention will be held in Tampa, Florida.
The following sites are being considered for the Democratic Convention:

St. Louis

I would hold the Dem Con in Cleveland. A city that loses LeBron James should be rewarded with an Obama.

Merriam-Webster Announces 'Austerity' as 2010 Word of the Year
Dec 20, 2010

I started doing some work on my new collection of poems. I'm pulling together what I feel will be my best book. I just need to clear the desk of everything and focus on the manuscript. Each day however a new project or deadline comes in. Yesterday Potomac Books sent me a copy of Bob Luke's THE MOST FAMOUS WOMAN IN BASEBALL. I have to read and write a blurb by the end of January. Luke's book is about Effa Manley who was the owner of the Newark Eagles from 1936-1948.

I need to also prepare my presentations for the upcoming AWP Conference. 2011 is just a few days away.

last night my friend Wendy took me to a new restuarant located near the Silver Spring Metro (Red Line). A very nice place - checkout- 8407 KITCHEN BAR.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Quote of the Day:

Once in an interview in response to the question, "How do you manage all those newly rich, testosterone-rich, self-absorbed men on a professional football team?," Bill Parcells answered exactly the opposite of what I thought he would say. He said, "I treat each of them differently."

There's an important truth an irony there. In order to create a team, he had to understand each individual's quirks, defaults and idiosyncrasies, and then customize his interventions to what would work with each of them. This is not just a sports issue.

Lyndon Johnson ran the Senate that way as well. He was willing to do whatever it took with any individual senator to make progress in the Senate as a whole.

  - Marty Linsky, Co-founder of Cambridge Leadership Associates.

"We're going to learn how to win," Shanahan said. "It's going to take some time."

If you read the Washington Post this morning you know which writers might as well be on the Redskins payroll. It's nothing but spin. Words to prove that the Shanahan system is right. It's all about control and not adjusting to the needs of specific players. It's like reading a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. McNabb might as well be Thurgood Marshall. Let's look at the facts. Rex threw two "key" interceptions. Don't say the first one was because he was rusty. That's just an excuse. Don't overlook that the last one ended the game. Now, throw in five sacks from a Dallas defense that is not the Ravens or Steelers.  Rex is just Rex and will always be Rex. He is no better than McNabb. Right now he is just the system boy. Let me return to the Washington Post and quote what was in the paper before yesterday's game was played:

In the preseason with Washington, Grossman exhibited many of the flaws that cost him his job in Chicago: inconsistency, poor decision-making and a propensity for turnovers. In three preseason games, he was 33 of 55 for 446 yards and two touchdowns. But he also had an interception and five fumbles - two of which were lost - and took four sacks.

So tell me, what has changed except that it's Monday morning in December?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

JUST LISTEN TO A WISE MAN: Mike Wise tells all...

McNabb was the gift Kyle Shanahan never wanted

• Amazingly, as soon as the Redskins got the ball back, Grossman led them down the field again, hitting Chris Cooley in the end zone for a touchdown. He then completed a pass to Mike Sellers for a two-point conversion to make the score 30-30.

• The Cowboys finally got it together after that, with a seven-play, 31-yard drive setting up a David Buehler 39-yard field goal to make the score 33-30 with less than a minute to play. Grossman tried to bring the Redskins back once again, but Washington came up short, and Dallas won 33-30.

The above is a description of today's game taken off a website. Read the last sentence again: Grossman tried to bring the Redskins back once again, but Washington came up short and Dallas won 33-30. Short??? Grossman threw an interception that ended the game. He didn't move the team down the field for a chance to tie the game. Washington came up short and so did Grossman. Nothing but spin. Yes - amazingly. Oh, please. Don't buy into this nonsense. This is just an example of how the media tries to protect the owners and coaches. Every decision they makes has to be the right one. So Shanahan escapes for another week. Look for more hype and spin in the off-season. The Washington Redskins are going to be a losing team like the Wizards and Nationals- a long time.
SMART REX?  Another Egg?

Let's see the spin begin. Rex threw 4 touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys. Will folks just look at stats? OK- let's look at the stats. How many points did Rex give the Cowboys? I count 14. They came from his interception and fumble. OK, Smart-Rex still had time to get the Redskins a field goal. What did he do? Yep, interception - Game Over!  So what do we know about Mr. Rex? He is at best a back-up QB. Oh, and the Washington Redskins lost another game. Let's blame it on Haynesworth and the Easter Bunny.

We've had 13 games to gather data on McNabb's performance; we have all of his statistics, and he has done nothing to solidify his hold on the position. He has been visibly slow to master the new offense, and made routine plays look hard with his plaguing habit of skipping the ball off the turf. He can be shockingly casual and unfocused. He has made baffling mistakes for a veteran, such as running out of bounds when he needed to keep the clock running, or fumbling the ball on a routine slide. There is something frustratingly sleepy about him, even when he plays well.

 - Sally Jenkins, TheWashington Post, December 19, 2010
Daily Buddhist Wisdom

If a man should conquer in battle a thousand and a thousand more, and another should conquer himself, his would be the greater victory, because the greatest of victories is the victory over oneself.
- Buddha

It's one thing to disrespect Albert Haynesworth. He disrespects himself. It's another case completely when you trash McNabb's reputation. There are lots of free agents available this offseason. The chances that the best of them will come to Washington just got cut in half. If Albertross didn't chill you, the McNabb debacle will.

 - Thomas Boswell, Washington Post, December 19, 2010

Read the above quote again. Notice anything?  Boswell reaches the conclusion that Albert Haynesworth disrespects himself. I'm not clear about this. When did Haynesworth disrespect himself? Now, consider how Shanahan disrespected McNabb. This week we saw this. But are we surprised? All you have to do is put Haynesworth and McNabb together and you see a clearer picture. Haynesworth is Malcolm X. McNabb is King. Different personalities. I'm certain Haynesworth was disrespected very early and he fought back. Remember when he said it wasn't about money - he just wasn't anyone's slave? Typical Malcolm. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. People are beginning to see the Shanahans (father and son) for what they are. It's all about plantation control in the locker. It's not even about winning games. Shanahan is old school. Watch how some of the guys on the Washington Redskins just won't run as hard for passes today.  Rex G will need to have a super-duper game to quiet the critics. 2-3 interceptions and a fumble and Shanahan will have to explain the benching of McNabb to many African American - Washington Redskins fans. Yes, those Blacks who think they all have Indian blood and never have problems with the name of the team. Disrespect?  Let's begin with the treatment of Native Americans first.  I love you Haynesworth - put your arm around McNabb and welcome him to "your" club.
December 19, 2010
Tricycle Daily Dharma

What is True Freedom?

When I look for freedom today I find it not in fantasy or in dreams, but in my sitting practice. What kind of freedom is it that exists in doing nothing? It is the freedom not to interfere or react. It is the freedom to merely observe. I don’t have to judge the trauma that arises in mind. I don’t have to get involved with the hundred narratives that might try to occupy my mind during the day. In not clinging to thoughts and ideas, wants and desires, hatreds and resentments, the bondages of my most negative thoughts and emotions have faded into a haze that still arises but no longer dominates my life. I have found freedom: it is the freedom of nonattachment, the freedom to not cling and to not resist. It is the freedom to allow myself to be with myself.

- Ananda Baltrunas, "A Prison of Desire"

Saturday, December 18, 2010


The Question:

How does what you want out of writing change with age?

Terry Cross asked Philip Roth this question on NPR back in October.
I'm thinking about it this evening...

Friend --

Moments ago, the Senate voted to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

When that bill reaches my desk, I will sign it, and this discriminatory law will be repealed.

Gay and lesbian service members -- brave Americans who enable our freedoms -- will no longer have to hide who they are.

The fight for civil rights, a struggle that continues, will no longer include this one.

This victory belongs to you. Without your commitment, the promise I made as a candidate would have remained just that.

Instead, you helped prove again that no one should underestimate this movement. Every phone call to a senator on the fence, every letter to the editor in a local paper, and every message in a congressional inbox makes it clear to those who would stand in the way of justice: We will not quit.

This victory also belongs to Senator Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and our many allies in Congress who refused to let politics get in the way of what was right.

Like you, they never gave up, and I want them to know how grateful we are for that commitment.

Will you join me in thanking them by adding your name to Organizing for America's letter?

I will make sure these messages are delivered -- you can also add a comment about what the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" means to you.

As Commander in Chief, I fought to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" because it weakens our national security and military readiness. It violates the fundamental American principles of equality and fairness.

But this victory is also personal.

I will never know what it feels like to be discriminated against because of my sexual orientation.

But I know my story would not be possible without the sacrifice and struggle of those who came before me -- many I will never meet, and can never thank.

I know this repeal is a crucial step for civil rights, and that it strengthens our military and national security. I know it is the right thing to do.

But the rightness of our cause does not guarantee success, and today, celebration of this historic step forward is tempered by the defeat of another -- the DREAM Act. I am incredibly disappointed that a minority of senators refused to move forward on this important, commonsense reform that most Americans understand is the right thing for our country. On this issue, our work must continue.

Today, I'm proud that we took these fights on.

Please join me in thanking those in Congress who helped make "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal possible:

Thank you,