Saturday, July 31, 2010

Poetry In Plain Sight - Don Kingfisher Campbell

I recently wrote a post at BlogHer about poetry and poets as reporters. Yes, indeed there is much work for the poetry community to tell the rest of us. Great time to be a scribe.

Without hesitation, on to the video of the day. Don Kingfisher Campbell is too tall to be an mischievous elf. There are times when listening to him I have to straddle between the spoken and the intended meaning of his words. This can be a lot of fun except in situations where I'm not supposed to be laughing.

To quote the Second Sunday Poetry site:
Though often his poems have a message, just as often they are as fun and easy to take as a high-fat, high-fructose dessert. Nothing is off limits, no one is spared in Don's robust, luxuriant, maximalist universe, which we enter today.
He is also a very good poet. This is recording of Don reading his poem
Queen Mary at the Saturday Afternoon Poets meet-up in Pasadena.

Don has got books, chapbooks, audio recordings for sale on Amazon and is popping all over the Southland. If he is not hosting an event he is reading at one.

I'm going to miss the next couple of poetry readings but you don't have to, it is open to everybody. Just plunk your butt in a chair, bring some cash just in case you want to buy a chapbook or something and go with the flow.

Here is a quick run down of current events to soak up some goodness:

Monday, August 2nd, 8 to 11pm - Don Kingfisher Campbell, features with CaLokie as part of the open mic for Da Joynt poetry reading series @ The Attic Theater on 5429 W. Washington Blvd. in Los Angeles, J. Evert Jones (AKA James Maverick) hosts, also offering kick-ass blues from Tokyo Mississippi! Beer/Wine and a $5 cover.

Saturday, August 7th, 4 to 6pm - CaLokie, Don Kingfisher Campbell, Marvin Dorsey and friends Thea Iberall, Pete Justis & Angel Uriel Perales plus Special Guests Peter Lewis & M.L. Liebler perform on the Center Stage @ Frazier Park Fiesta Days Celebration on Frazier Park Mountain Road in Frazier Park (3.7 miles west of Interstate 5)

You can also check out what is going on by visiting Don's blog and other places such as Poetic Diversity, his Facebook page, and certainly at the Emerging Urban Poets blog.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ring My Bell on the Finally Friday Freakout

You know what the biggest surprise is about the Bell city council story? That the Los Angeles Times actually investigated and created a news story worth reading. The reports about fiscal mischief is what newspapers are supposed to do.

To pay attention to the local community. This story has resonated with everybody cuz if tiny Bell is on the scoop and dupe then we might have a solution to the budget crises. This is what you need a bean counter for; not to run television shows but to do the government numbers like taking a lice comb through school kids hair.

You are going to come up with something. So in honor of the L.A. Times not running another story about Lindsey or Mel, for allowing non-AP content on the front page and in full recognition that they are gonna milking this story for all it is worth and then some, I give you Ring My Bell by Ann Lee.

I would have linked to the Anita Ward version but Warner is not fooling about yanking stuff down, if you catch my drift. Anyway this is a fun, dance inspired version. Very respectable.

Unlike those rascals in the city government of Bell,California.

Damn. I see multiple investigations. I see people booking a flight to a non-reciprocating country. I see someone looking for the guy in MacArthur Park who specializes in reconfigured identities.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Poetry In Plain Sight - Raindog

The beat goes on, this time is Raindog, who on first glance, I know we are two different people living on this planet. He has experienced stuff I'm not going to understand. It is a masculine, hard knock focus of living. It is an appreciation that we come from different spaces.

This is a recording of one of his poems that he read at the Saturday Afternoon Poetry reading at the library. Raindog is a poet and publisher; his publishing company is called Lummox Press. I bought two of his books and there is good stuff twixt the covers.

The poems and stories are full tilt living until the brick wall causes you to stop and ponder the wisdom of your actions. Reading poems from a very strong masculine voice has provoked questions.

There is a poem of Raindog's that ticked me off. It might explain why I'm not going to be dating much in my future. It is the one on page 139 of FIRE and RAIN Vol. 1 where he is talking about reaching the age when the older women he use to seek out now remind him of his mother.

This is the first stanza:

I have reached that age where the older women
whose company I once sought (because it made
me feel more mature) now all remind me of my
mother and the desire to go to bed in the grave
each night put me off so badly that I can't stand
the sight of them the next morning.

Other Women
FIRE and Rain
RD Armstrong
Selected Poems 1993-2007
Vol. 1 page 139

It starts out like you want to slap him upside the head. As you keep reading the rest of the poem in the book you find out that time and space have done it for him.

It is a good poem but the sucker does generate questions in me. If men my own age look at me and see their moms and I look at them and see them for who they are in the here and now then I can see why there is an uptick of Rocky Road ice creme and beer on Saturday nights.

I'm a Cherry Vanilla person with leanings to Vanilla Fudge Swirl but I have taken the pledge not to indulge for a bit. I have brick walls of my own that I'm trying not to slam into.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Poetry In Plain Sight - Armando Flores Jr.

Men are human beings. Women are human beings. When you separate the cruff and the extreme forms of base nature people there are some good folks who go through bad things. Some of them involve love.

If you are wise you write a poem about it. It was a hot Saturday afternoon but thank goodness the air conditioner in the library was working. This is Armando Flores, Jr. with his poem about the passing of love, Eulogy.

For more info on Armando or his work visit his blog at

Poetry In Plain Sight - CaLokie

I have always loved poetry. I use to participate in a poetry group. I wrote ok but not great poetry. I stopped because the pain of living grew to be greater that the pain of creating.

We need poetry. One of the things I want to see change is the visibility of poetry in our society. Not just by the anointed; it needs to be spoken by those of us on the front lines of life radio back to those to come we lived as best we can and here is what we found on the journey.

This is a touch-up of humanity in these times. This is my small contribution, long delayed.

CaLokie has seen a thing or two and works hard at crafting poems as a reminder that 140 characters does not always cut it - we need to soak up feelings, meaning and intent.

This is CaLokie with a poem about the six month anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti.

The Back Story

I have a memory, me, Alice Dayton, Don, CaLokie and a few others were sitting in a restaurant. We were trying to figure out how to advance and move poetry out of the niche or closed society it was in the early 1990s.

We didn't have an answer. We didn't have the full blown Internet that we have today.

A few weeks back I was curled up in the bed remembering what a crummy excuse for a human I was when I looked at the cover of To Kill A Mockingbird. One book, one creative act can change a heart, soul or way of life.

You don't have to write a book. A poem will do. Poems are really good at getting to the essence of our being. You don't have to be perfect.

You just have to write it down.

Or say the words.

Or listen.

Anyway, for how ever long it last I will try to post a poet reading his or her work or interview a poet. The video will be homespun, not fancy and gently edited. All poetry belongs to the creators; they maintain their copyright.

All I'm doing is recording what I experienced on that day. Poetry in plain sight.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Saturday Stuff To Do

If you can't find something to do Saturday July 17th you need to be shamed.

On the poetry tip there is a reading by three fine representations of So. Cal poets at the Santa Catalina Branch of the Pasadena Public Library on 999 E. Washington Blvd. The lyrical flow starts at 3 and ends at 5.

L.A. BlogHers are meeting up at Mel's Diner in Hollywood on July 17th as well. If you can take the Metro Red Line and save yourself some parking grief. This is also a 3-5pm event. And no, I haven't figured out how to be in two places at the same time.

In-between Pasadena and Hollywood is Glendale and they are going to have a downtown Vintage Car and Rock Show starting around 6pm I believe.

Have that urge for meat on a stick? OC County Fair is also in play with Weird Al Yankovic involved in some way or another.

Don't Play That Song on the Finally Friday Freakout

There comes a point when a song isn't just a song. It is a combined lesson in storytelling, musicianship and all the elements coming together to draw your attention to a different level.

At the time Aretha was the only singer that I cared about. I was 10 years old so I could be excused for my musical one track mind. I did like other women singers but Aretha was my queen, my only queen of soul.

This song just made me want to listen to it over and over again. The piano, her voice and something about how it was constructed was astounding. It was like unlocking a puzzle, a musical puzzle. It would be a long time before I understood the true meaning of the song but musically I kept asking "How did she do that?"

If I could create something so tight and perfect that lasted three minutes I'd be a happy girl.

Still striving.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Book I Haven't Read or I'm Slipping

I am a book junkie. This means when I buy or acquire a book I read it. I have to get rid of a few books. This is causing internal trauma. Some books I know I can find good homes for them.

Other books like my four different 1999 tutorials on Microsoft Access should, no, they gotta go to the recycling bin. Nobody should still be working in Access2. Oh my gosh, I might have the software on stiffy discs someplace in the closet.

So I look at the other books in the pile that I meant to read but didn't. A decade has gone by. Strategic Planning for Information Systems is one of those books. I got it for a 25 cents.

Flipping through looking at headings like "Sophisticated Extrapolation" does not bode well for me diving in and reaping the warm fuzzy glow of knowing what the heck the guy is talking about.

It is hot. The brain chemistry is jacked up and I did nothing but breath.

You know how you can feel the chemicals releasing in your brain and something has changed? It takes you a while to sort it out but you have to pretend to act normal?

For the men folks the equivalent sensation would be that you looked at an object of desire and you got lost inside of yourself for a moment. You eventually come back but it is not the same.

I want to clear my space but I get lost in memories that are no longer valid. I want ice cream. I'm drinking Aloe Vera kinda sorta juice instead. I put off clearing my space for another day.

It is 8pm. I'm going to take the book and see if I can pretend to be a linear thinker.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Send Him Up Proper - Mr. Walter Hawkins

I do not go to church. I am neither save or unsaved. I am loved without somebody else telling me so or quantifying how much or how little. You may feel different about it but that is a discussion for another time.

This is a tribute post for Mr. Walter Hawkins who passed on July 11, 2010. This is a song composed by Walter Hopkins called Goin' Up Yonder:

I was raised in a musical tradition that allowed you to hear a variety of gospel music. Traditional, soul based or however you came to the path. I was lucky enough to be born when there was a melding of secular and sacred music that played on commercial radio stations.

Sometimes the DJ would slip one of the songs in during the day. Sunday mornings you could get the full dose of Rosetta Thorpe, Rev. Cleavland, Albertina Walker and so many talented choirs it would make my head ache to try to do justice remembering them all.

But you might not know of the tradition. You might think that the choir in the Blues Brothers movies is what a black choir is. Sure it was played for comedy but there are folks who think they know but they do not know.

They do not know the true intensity of intent of the music. It can be as powerful as a little old lady. This is the Georgia Mass Choir with Rev. Milton Biggham and Miss Alice Coney with a 1989 version of Come On In the Room.

I'm telling you this and I am a first class heathen. Or 2nd class. I keep forgetting. Before more of us forget or never knew I pass these musical treasures on to you. There needs to be other memory keepers for when I am gone.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Cherish The Day on the Finally Friday Freakout

I am not long and lean like Sade. I have come to accept it most days. I was supposed to be at least 5'9. I'm not. I come from average sized people.

When I was a teen being tall was like a passport to being cool. I was a nerd so I needed something. I thought height would help me transcend my nerdom. No, it was foretold that I was destined to be a nerd.

Extra inches would not have made me less of one. But I could dream.

Looking at Sade I still feel I was robbed. Cuz we don't visualize short women singing down into the city and everybody chilling out.

Now truth be told, I can do a lot of things that tall people cannot. I got that short grizzly determination that cannot be obtained by being born to be lanky. Sade is born to be who she is and she is dang good at it. Her voice puts folks in relaxation mode.

I celebrate her greatness and how she isn't in the headlines doing or saying embarrassing stuff. Really, she needs to give celebrity lessons on how to behave yourself in public.

Me, it is a day to day job just being me. Except for the days when I get pissed at being me because somehow I wasn't enough. Then I remember, I am supposed to be here looking this way.

I am comfy and cushy and, in certain countries, I am a sex symbol. I am all of this plus a nerd. Who could ask for anything more?

So here I am. Finding my way again. Come the end of the day I will remember to Cherish the Day and catch up with my Sade CD.

If I can find it under all the books and papers.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Is College Worth It? The Story Part Two

To be sure, there were people that agreed with Dan Brown and others who put in their own rebuttal. This is one of the more creative ones I found from Mickeleh:

Now I don't disagree that the upper crust didn't necessary add anything to the society except the money to buy goods and services from creators. This is not a bad thing.

I ain't saying a mumbling word about the church because they wanted to hold on being the dispensers of information. Literacy was bad for business if you get my drift. Oops, I said too much.

Not sure that was what Dan was getting at but if you are gonna dis academic be fair and be accurate. John Fredricksen gets closer to it:

I disagree with John in that this has to be framed as winners and losers. We are talking about construction life tools to adapt to the changes in employment, environment and the society.

There are people with college degrees seeking grunt jobs to survive. There are people with a self-created skill set pulling down six figure independent income. Who would you classify as a winner or loser?

I feel the current debate about education is centered on vending machine outcomes. It is not centered on what a specific person needs at a given place and time. We are so locked into the mantra of if you follow a directed path you will get a perfect result and ipso facto a perfect life.

The Story Part Two

There are a range of educational options, not absolutes. The goal of education to me is to provide as much life flexibility as you can acquire. It is the ability to have as many choices as possible to support your life.

Let me give you an example.

When word processing classified ads started to replace traditional clerical work I understood in an instant I needed to secure a new level of job skills. When the opportunity came for free training there were people that refused; they didn’t want to learn anything new.

Two years later they were out of work or forced to catch up. Flexibility.

When I returned to college I knew what I would and would not accept in terms of instruction and access to opportunities. I asked questions and snooped around the place. I researched what I wanted to learn and questioned if the school would get me as close to the goal as possible for what I was able to pay.

I made decisions of what I wanted to learn and locating resources both on and off campus that would fill my need to know and understand about the world I live.

The truth is I have been an Edupunk even before there was punk music. In a future post I’ll talk more about the Do It Yourself /Open Education movement.

Let me be clear, I am not saying don’t go to college. I am saying it is ok to think about options and alternative paths that are right for you at this point in your life. That point may change or you might be forced into accepting a different path.

Being prepared for the road untraveled is a very good thing. This includes you Dusties who have always wanted to go back and get it done. Be the change.

BlogHer Recycling and Other Resources

This post appeared in its entirety in February 2010 on BlogHer as The Price May Not Be Right - Is College Worth It?

I am a Contributing Editor at BlogHer. Basically, I'm recycling some of my prior content and finding new stuff.

  • In 2009 Chris Brogan wrote about the various ways that stakeholders, businesses, creatives and others want to contribute to the conversation about How Could New Ideas Change Education.
  • Dr. Kathleen Bolman isn't waiting around for the change. She is providing information about art and architecture via her web site to any teacher, homes chooler or instructor that wants to incorporate it into their lesson plans.
  • Edubeacon is a place where folks can gather to talk about educational innovation. This is cross cultural and not necessarily American centric. We don't have a lock on good ideas lets be open to what other folks have to say.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Is College Worth It? The Story Part One

I get inspired to dive into a topic by other people. I messing around a few education blogs and I gotta tell you, a few of academicians where having fits about this young man's rant/declaration.

His name is Dan Brown and in February of 2010 he let it rip:

I actually said these words to one of my college professors many years ago. I have mixed feelings about it now. I can see both sides. I lived both sides.

My mother wanted me to get a job. I am fairly certain of this because when she got pissed off at me or my siblings she reminded us that when we were old enough we were to get a job and then get the hell out.

Other relatives also reinforced the message that I should work hard, graduate and then get a job to help out my mother. It was what they believed to be true. I knew that my mother felt that 12 years of schooling was more than enough. It would have been tolerable if I had decided to go to a trade school; which in those days it would have required attendance at night school to learn how to be a secretary.

I wanted to go to college. I wanted an education.

Maybe my mother felt that it was a waste of time. Perhaps she was protecting me in not allowing me to dream past the practical. Perhaps my mother was protecting me from what she believed to be institutional blocks of class and race.

I don’t know. We never talked about it. My mother did not stop me from attending college. She also did not support or encourage my efforts. I was on my own in figuring out how to get into college and how to finance my education.

You see, I was paying attention to what my mother and relatives communicated. I saw how hard it was for her to raise a family on almost minimum wages. Being exhausted and underpaid does not inspire maternal June Clever warm and fuzzy behavior. It was hard. Some days it was too much to bear without anger or tears.

I worked part-time as a teen. I knew crappy jobs. I specialized in crappy jobs like the restaurant owner who did not believe in hot water. Part of my day was spent washing dishes in that joint. In winter.

I didn’t last long.

There were other jobs that cringe in memory. The people with “good jobs” who were miserable, cranky and about to go psycho at the least variation of their carefully constructed empire of cubicle power dictates.

Yet the mantra was graduate high school, get a good job.

I did not have illusions about going off to an educational Disneyland. I wanted to go someplace where people wanted to talk and think about the big questions.

I listened to the voice within. I went off to college. I struggled through disappointment. It seemed like a sped up version of high school. Teachers talking and I was stuck listening: some times to a fool. Occasionally there would be inspired exchanges but routinely I was bored.

It did not matter that I worked as I attended college. The rank troopers like Pepper and Skippy did teach me that there was an educational inequality in our respective public school education.

They taught me that the meritocracy they spoke of wrapped around their necks like a shield might have been their parents’ money and not necessarily any effort they specifically had put forth toward their education.

I did much better with the campus activities and groups. The school radio station, a community silk screen art center, or volunteering. My grade were ok. I just wasn’t good at being a student drone.

The days leading to my dropping out were filled with a counselor trying to tell me discretely tell me that not everybody is cut out for college, perhaps a trade school would be better. A instructor, who did not want female students in his class, did his best to purged out as many as he could.

I took longer than most of my class but I dropped out of formal education and created my own. I eventually found the right schools that actually meant what they said about education and dropped back into the fold, on my terms.

BlogHer Recycling and Other Resources

This post appeared in its entirety in a slightly different form on BlogHer as The Price May Not Be Right - Is College Worth It? I am a Contributing Editor at BlogHer.

Basically, I'm recycling some of my prior content and finding new stuff.

  • Fellow CE Leslie Madson Brooks wrote an open letter to parents and future students that ask everyone involved to truly understand the reason for attending college.
  • NPR’s radio program The Take A Way interviews Anya Kamenetz author of DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education
  • For a faith based perspective on the road to college there is Mommy Life’s post is college for everyone?
  • Barbara at Roaming Writers asks Is College Necessary?
  • Karen Burns at Working Girl write a post on Is College Worth It?

Monday, July 05, 2010

Rory Sutherland at TED - Sweat The Small Stuff

I was explaining to a friend about the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conferences, the main one and the spin-offs.

This is a talk by Rory Sutherland talking about how solutions to problems don't always need a blunt force effort to effect change.

I have to pace myself cuz I'd OD on trying to consume all of the talks, even the ones I don't have a clue about what they are talking about; this one is no problem but some of the science videos are killers. Entertaining but they can make you feel a bit small in the cranium.

This post is also dedicated to my friends who keep asking why I don't turn on my television set or subscribe to cable. I am not against advertising to support television programs. I am against bad programs and constant commercials both within and outside of the program.

I don't like bone stupid TV all of the time. I can do 3% stupid. I need something for the other 97%.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Shout on the Finall Friday Freakout

The day was even longer than I thought it was. Whew! All I want to do is nothing. That is not in the game plan at the moment. What I can do it take a moment to, you know, Shout!

This is the Isley Brothers form 1959:

Yes, that will un-rust the mental lock step bucket. What is really trippy is cover versions made by other performers at that time. This video was an unexpected find but the girl did alright.

This is Lulu:

Her body was moving but her hair stayed in place. Gotta give props to the industrial hair spray of the day. In any case there is something about that song that can bust up the internal cloak of doom.

Just as a reminder for the holiday weekend: clean underwear, have a spare condom, think before speaking after a few beers and don't drink and drive, text, sex or ignore the living person next to you and your iPhone.