Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Issue four

of Otoliths has just gone live & is as diverse as ever.

This issue contains text & visual work from Vernon Frazer, Eileen Tabios, Márton Koppány, Katrinka Moore, Jnana Hudson, Jeff Harrison, Peter Ciccariello, Amanda Laughtland, Carol Jenkins, Jean Vengua, Dion Farquhar, Ed Higgins, David Prater, Carl Baker, Elizabeth Kate Switaj, Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney, Samuel Wharton, Spencer Selby, Martin Edmond, Ayşegül Tözeren, Daniel f. Bradley, The Pines, Alexander Jorgensen, Jonathan Hayes, John Mercuri Dooley, David-Baptiste Chirot, Richard Kostelanetz, nick-e melville, Phil Primeau, J.D. Nelson, Mikhail Magazinnik, Nicholas Manning, Andrew Topel, Kristin Hannaford, Karin Kroetlinger, C. Mehrl Bennett, Kevin Doran, Ed Schenk, Paul Siegell, Raymond Farr, Suzan Sari, Suzan Sari & Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Caleb Puckett, Tom Beckett, Keith Kumasen Abbott, MTC Cronin, Bob Marcacci, Thomas Fink, Nico Vassilakis, Vernon Frazer & Michael Rothenberg, & Ray Craig.

Hie there & enjoy!

& a reminder that print editions of the earlier issues are available from the Otoliths Shopfront at Lulu.

Also, later in February, the book publishing arm (?) of Otoliths will be bringing out new collections from Jordan Stempleman, Vernon Frazer, Nico Vassilakis & harry k stammer. Let me just say that they're all fantastic.

As far as I am aware

I have never had commerce - nor congress for that matter - with any of Google's suite of spreadsheets, word processing, nasal-hair removers, etc.

In addition, the Google search function ignores Otoliths with an intransigence that I can't understand. I have tried vainly to get it to trawl through the pages, am trying something new this issue. Yahoo lists it high up, so too MSN; but I think you need to scavenge through an Amazonian forest of growth rings to find a link to the e-zine in Google.

Yet this morning, I received an email from Google Calendar reminding me that today was the last day for submissions to the current issue. I don't want to go there. It has taken two pieces of information from the "front" pages that it otherwise ignores, joined them logically, &, in the process, frightened the life out of me by such a level of snooping sophistication.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

another thing I never told anyone

I had a dream once—or, at least, I think I did. I don’t remember my dreams, & this was no exception. So let’s suppose I had a dream which may or may not have occured, may have been remembered, may have just been a synapse activated by another incident, devolved déjà vu.

Let’s assume. Dream. In which I am walking past a row of shops, between rows of shops. Plate-glass windows. In which people piled up—no, faces pushed against the glass, one above the other, layers of them, levels, like a sequence from a Fritz Lang film or a page from a noir comic book. Mosaics of faces. I am walking past them. They remind me of sheep. I make baa-ing noises at them. Swear at them.

Then the scene changes. I am walking along a country road at night. The person I am with turns to me, says “That’s funny. I didn’t know there was anyone behind.” I turn, look; & under a streetlight about a hundred metres distant, is a person just standing there.

No memory of it. Memory of it.

No dream. Date stamp c.1960. Must be. Age, activity. Some University philosophical thinktank, out in the country, over a couple of days. Get bored around midnight, decide to go out & hitchhike north. Anywhere, away from the here. Take someone with me.

We walk. & walk. Main highway. No cars. Nobody. Reach the small country town that’s a couple of miles away. 1 a.m. Wait. No-one around. Decide to. Walk back.

A train goes by on the track that parallels the road. Freight train, lots of wagons, each several levels, all of them filled with sheep, meat train, will be, abattoir-bound. Baa-ing in the night, multifold, louder than the steam engine. I baa back at them, I swear at them. The person with me says “That’s funny. I didn’t know there was anyone behind.” I turn, look; & under a streetlight about a hundred metres distant, is a person just standing there.

No dream. The running. Away. The physical escaping the metaphysical. I do not go back. Do not.

Talk about it. Tell.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Inside the
outside

      is much
      the same

as outside
the outside

      except
      there are

far fewer
people.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

entrnech

Saturday, January 27, 2007

 
 
entr'ache

 
 

Emporium

                         He paused to let
                    a brass band
       pass—these days
                  the streets were full
     of them. Not from
                           any new-found desire
          for music but a
               re-discovered           need for
               uniforms. Not winning is
                         never easy—especially
when you also haven't
          lost. But the games
                    are never over until
               the games begin. So
          redefine the space
          between with passing-
                         out parades &
          streetgear & get
               the answers ready
for the questions that
          are sure                to come.

Friday, January 26, 2007

My nomination for Australian of the year



Procoptodon goliah - the largest of the leaf-eating kangaroos (200kg) could stand on tiptoe, prop on its tail and reach leaves up to three metres from the ground. Was wiped out around 50,000 years ago, with the arrival of the first settlers, thus making an Australia Day that celebrates the arrival of the first European settlers 219 years ago somewhat insignificant.
Have time,
but / don't
    have time
to enjoy the
    luxury of
having it.

On January 26, 1788

Captain Arthur Phillip, on behalf of the Crown of Great Britain, took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales and became its first Governor.

However, for Aboriginal Australians and many others, the 26th of January is not a day for celebration. To them the date signifies invasion and dispossession. As Thomas Keneally noted in his 1997 Australia Day address -
"A majority of Australians can see why today cannot be a day of rejoicing for all, and that therefore there may be grounds for ultimately finding an Australia Day, a celebration of our community, with which we can all identify."
The choice of 26 January as the day of celebration for all Australians has been queried and argued from a historical and practical viewpoint from the 1800s. That the day might symbolise invasion, dispossession and death to many Aboriginal people was a concept alien to the average Australian until even the latter half of the 20th century. The Editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald of 2 January 1995, arguing for a change of date, stated that January 26 "can never be a truly national day for it symbolises to many Aborigines the date they were conquered and their lands occupied. This divisive aspect to 26 January, the commemoration of the landing at Sydney Cove, will never be reconciled".

Involvement of the Indigenous community on Australia Day has taken many forms - forced participation in re-enactments, mourning for Invasion Day, peaceful protest through to an acknowledgment of survival and an increasing participation in community events at a local level.

By 1888, the year of the centenary celebrations, the white population had increased significantly while the Aboriginal population had declined from at least 750,000 in 1788 to a mere estimated 67,000. (Aboriginal people were not counted in the census until after 1967). The 1888 Centenary events overwhelmingly celebrated British and Australian achievement and as Nigel Parbury writes in his book Survival: ”In 1888 Aboriginals boycotted the Centenary celebrations. Nobody noticed.”

By 1938, the Aboriginal community was becoming well organised in the white ways and able to make strong demands for political rights and equality. An Australian Aborigines League (AAL) had been formed in 1932 and this was followed in 1937 by the Aborigines Progressive Association (APA), a group that began to achieve publicity in the press and addressed a variety of groups such as the NSW Labor Council.

The AAL leader William Cooper and the APA's leader William Ferguson, were instrumental in organising the Day of Mourning Committee for the 1938 Sesquicentenary celebrations. A manifesto, Aborigines Claim Citizen Rights, was published and on Australia Day a conference and protest were held in the Australian Hall, Sydney. Five days later, the APA led an Aboriginal delegation to meet with the Prime Minister and soon after Australia Day, the Committee for Aboriginal Citizen Rights was formed.

The Aboriginal community's push for recognition was highlighted by the 1938 official Australia Day celebrations. Due to a refusal to cooperate by city-based Aborigines, the government imported Aborigines from western communities, locking them up in a stable at Redfern Police Barracks. Immediately following the re-enactment, the group featured on a float in the huge parade in Macquarie Street. The following day they were “sent back to their tin sheds on the Darling River”.

Re-enactments of Phillip's landing continued to be an accepted part of Australia Day ceremonies around the country and it wasn't until the Bicentennial in 1988 that the New South Wales government refused to condone a re-enactment as part of their official proceedings.

On January 26 that year, 40,000 Aboriginal people (including some from as far away as Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory) and their supporters marched from Redfern Park to a public rally at Hyde Park and then on to Sydney Harbour to mark the 200th anniversary of invasion.

From this march grew the concept of "Invasion Day" and "Survival Day", marking the anniversary of the beginning of land loss, but also recognising the survival of a race of people who had been expected to die out. In 1992 the first Survival Day concert was held at La Perouse and in 1998 the event moved to Waverley Oval near Bondi Beach.



The Aboriginal Flag was designed by Harold Thomas, an artist and an Aboriginal, in 1971. The flag was designed to be an eye-catching rallying symbol for the Aboriginal people and a symbol of their race and identity. The black represents the Aboriginal people, the red the earth and their spiritual relationship to the land, and the yellow the sun, the giver of life.

In the late 1960s, Aborigines stepped up their campaign for indigenous land rights through protest marches, demonstrations, banners and posters. The protests increased in the early 1970s and Harold Thomas noticed they were often outnumbered by non-Aborigines with their own banners and placards. He decided they needed to be more visible and the idea of the flag was born.

The Aboriginal flag was first raised in Victoria Square in Adelaide on National Aboriginal Day in 1971, but was adopted nationally by Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in 1972 after it was flown above the Aboriginal "Tent Embassy" outside of the old Parliament House in Canberra.

It is perhaps the only symbol commonly accepted by the diversity of Aboriginal people.

The Aboriginal flag is increasingly being flown by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. In view of its increasing importance in Australian society, the Government initiated steps in 1994 to give the flag legal recognition. After a period of public consultation, the Government made its own decision in July 1995 that the flag should be proclaimed a "Flag of Australia" under section 5 of the Flags Act 1953. The flag was so proclaimed by the Governor General of Australia, William Hayden, on 14 July 1995.

The official flag, the Union Jack, the outcome of a competition 100 years ago, reflected the 1901 Federation’s historical background, the Southern Cross its place in space, and the large star the six States making up the Federation. Here, it was said, was a flag containing "history, heraldry, distinctiveness and beauty".

However, the flag still had no legal status beyond the original British Admiralty authorisations which only related to use at sea. It wasn't until the Flags Act 1953 (enacted 1954) was passed by the Menzies Government that Australia finally had an official national flag, and one that was required to be flown in a superior position to any other national flag (including the Union Flag).

The Flags Act 1953 formally adopted the current design as Australia's "National Flag" and the Act was assented to by Queen Elizabeth II on her first visit to Australia on 15 April 1954, the first Act of the Australian Parliament to receive assent by the Monarch rather than the Governor General. Finally, more than 53 years after the first design was hoisted, Australia had an official national flag.

The Australian flag was usually flown in conjunction with, often in an inferior position to, the Union Flag of the UK well into the 1960s despite the requirements of the Flags Act 1953. Many Australians considered themselves to be Britons, and Arthur Smout in his 1968 The Flag Book lamented the fact that many seemed to show more loyalty to the Union Flag than to the Australian flag.

Today, there is a growing debate about whether Australia should adopt a new flag, as many see the current British ensign-based design as inappropriate in an increasingly multicultural country that has been progressively weakening its ties with Britain since 1901. Also, the Union Flag occupies what is known as the vexillological honour point, and as Australia becomes more independent, many think Australian symbols rather than the flag of another nation should occupy this position.

(compiled from various sources, including http://www.ausflag.com.au/flags/aushist.html
http://www.ausflag.com.au/info/flagsact.html
http://www.australiaday.com.au/rick_farley.htm
http://www.australiaday.com.au/indigenous.html
http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/barani/themes/theme6.htm )

recycled from pelican dreaming, 1/26/06.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The latest issue

of my favourite e-zine, Michael Rothenberg's Big Bridge, has just gone live. Chock full of goodies doesn't even begin to describe it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Insisting he
must be seen
as a “Man
of the People”
The President
today delivered
his “State of the
Boiler” speech
dressed in a
Union suit.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Today the
postman brought
me a style
     manual. I
opened it up &
picked out a
couple of boxed
heading hierarchies
coated in
dark chocolate to
have with my
morning coffee.

Miles Davis & John Coltrane, in "So what", live, 1958.

Amongst the shows that graced the screens in the early days of tv in New Zealand was a U.S.-made series, produced, I think, by CBS, called The Robert Herridge Theatre. The only reason I think it made it across the Pacific was that it must have been offered at a cheap price.

It didn't last for long in the U.S., maybe eight shows in all, a strange assemblage of unrelated pieces—adaptions of short stories including Poe's The Telltale Heart, a couple of live jazz shows, at least one made for tv drama, & a ballet version of Frankie & Johnnie danced by two of the principal dancers from Balanchine's New York City Ballet & with Jimmy Rushing singing the title song. Such a variety could never attract a sponsor, so it lapsed. (Though Herridge as MC—see this clip here—may have been another reason.

I don't know how many shows NZ TV bought. I know I saw the ballet, & I also saw the episode that caused such an outcry in those conservative times that the series was abruptly terminated in NZ. That was an adaption of Shirley Jackson's short story The Lottery, with its somewhat gruesome ending that came out of nowhere.

But before they pulled it, they did show a half hour of Miles live, with a Gil Evans orchestra, although the clip of So what I came across today is essentially a quintet with Coltrane in fine form.

Which of the shows are still around today I am unsure. I know there's a dvd of the Miles one, & there's an audio of part of the other jazz program. But I think the rest are maybe lost—whether forever or in some archive. I don't know how the drama would stack up today—they were live recordings in a primitive system—but the Miles & Coltrane clip is still wonderful.


Miles Davis & John Coltrane, in "So what", live, 1958.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Since I like decorative things



even a simple pdf has to have a cover.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Postman Poems

In the course of doing something else, I've put together a pdf of some of the postman poems. If anybody wants a copy, just email me at the address in the sidebar.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dear Tom

At first I
had three
tvs

to
accommodate the
Greek chorus. But

I couldn't fit
in a
fourth

when
Fox moved
further to the


right. So I
bought two
statues

of
antiquity which
are placed on


either side of
the single
tv

that
now remains
& the chorus


scrolls across the / screen as / subtitles.

Friday, January 19, 2007

No, not that Bjork

EARTH may not be visited by aliens for a long time to come, according a new mathematical model which suggests it would take billions of years to probe the universe.

Mathematician Rasmus Bjork, from the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, has calculated that eight probes travelling at a tenth of the speed of light, and each capable of launching up to eight sub-probes, would take about 100,000 years to explore a region of space containing 40,000 stars.

When he scaled up the search to include 260,000 such systems in our galaxy's habitable zone, the probes took almost 10 billion years - three quarters the age of the universe - to explore just 0.4 per cent of the stars.

New Scientist magazine reported: "Bjork's answer (is that) aliens haven't contacted us because they haven't had the time to find us yet."
Now I find that a tad unneighbourly, would suggest that they take time to make time. Even if it's not for a nice cup of tea, they could at least drop in to borrow some sugar.....
I did not
intend to
write about
ptarmigan;

but then the
sky occluded
& they flew
into frame.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

An historical sonnet

      for Tom Beckett

Declines /
defines /
designs /
refines /

insights /
delights /
incites /
indicts—

ah,
it's
full
of

contra
dictions.

The Philosophy of Ficciones

      for Thomas Fink


The history
of history

is one of
         spaces

waiting
to be filled

that then
are ready

to be re-
written.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

     First sign

of. Turns. Runs

     in the. One in

     front of. Shame-

less. Self.

     Emotion.

Out & about

Dan Waber has started up a new blog (his term for it) at his Logolalia site. It's called ars poetica, & how it's structured is best described by Dan's own words.
"This is a themed blog (poems about poetry) that will lead to a print anthology. Dan Waber invited five of his favorite poets to send him an ars poetica they'd written along with the names and email addresses of five other poets. He then invited those twenty-five poets to do the same. He then invited those hundred and twenty-five poets to do the same. He then invited...you get the picture."
With only one poem being published per day, this has the potential to make the Guinness Book of Records.

A new issue of Sugar Mule has just gone live. It's an anthology of collaborations, guest-edited by the Divine Miss M. - Sheila E. Murphy, that is, not that Midler person. An enormous collection, testament to just how high the esteem that Sheila is held in is. Geof Huth has a nice review of it over at dbqp.

There's a great interview with my dear friend Ernesto Priego over at Tom Beckett's e-values.

& elsewhere in the ether, I explain in Turkish about my fetish with certain words.
AT: Dergi adı olarak neden “Otoliths”i tercih ettiniz?

MY: Belli sözcükleri severim. Otoliths de bunlardan biri..Otolith, balığın kulağında bulunan ve onun büyüme seyrini gösteren bir kemik, ağaçlardaki yaş halkaları gibi..

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Today the
postman brought
me my Golden
Globe for best
poetry soundtrack
to an animated
daguerreotype
adapted from a
stage musical or
a foreign-language
reality show.

Monday, January 15, 2007

one of those evenings

when the cat
greets me
at the door
looking old &
worn-out, & I

feeling much
the same, but
add sore & sorry
for myself, &

the only birds
around are crows
so there is no
music in the
air, & clouds

are clustering
on the horizon
which means
that for the
third evening

running I won't
be seeing the
current comet
& this the night
for brightest
sighting, & what

is worse the clouds
don't hold
a hint of rain.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

so, who is in favour of this surge in U.S. troop numbers in Iraq?

Amongst those against-
The Iraq Study Group called the situation in Iraq "grave and deteriorating" Wednesday and recommended a radically different approach from President Bush's current policy, including the withdrawal of most U.S. combat troops by early 2008.

The nation's top uniformed leaders are recommending that the United States change its main military mission in Iraq from combating insurgents to supporting Iraqi troops and hunting terrorists, But the Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military.

no more troops from NATO countries would be sent to the country. (An older statement, but their position hasn't changed.)

most Democrats and an increasing number of Republicans in the legislature believe sending more troops compounds a bad situation.

The latest public opinion poll from the Associated Press and the Ipsos research firm found that 70 percent of those surveyed oppose sending additional troops to Iraq, a finding consistent with other recent polls.

Meanwhile, a radical Shiite cleric is condemning U.S. plans to send more troops to Iraq. The deployment would be part of a wide-ranging new effort to curb violence waged by militias, including those loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr.

An al-Sadr spokesman said Iraq's problems are due to the U.S. presence and called on America to withdraw. The spokesman urged Americans to oppose sending more troops who might end up "flown back in coffins."

Sitting on the fence-
Al-Maliki may not even tolerate the presence of more US troops for long, although he spared Bush the humiliation this week of saying so outright. But leading Shias, close to al-Maliki and his sometime rival Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, have openly opposed the notion of a “surge”, as an encroachment into Iraqi sovereignty. There lies the rub. They have taken the US at its word — that it has transferred sovereignty to Iraq’s elected leaders, and is staying only to advise and help. Let us run our country, then, and tell the US how to help, is their answer. But after years of suppression by the Sunni elite, the leaders of the Shia majority seem in little mood to make concessions to a minority, although they go through the motions of acknowledging the principle in their pledges to the US.

& those for it-
Frederick Kagan, "resident scholar" at the American Enterprise Institute, a neocon finktank, who basically wrote the blueprint for the surge.

The President must request a substantial increase in active duty ground forces
– At least 30K Army and Marines per year for the next two years
– Vital to offset increased demands on the ground forces in Iraq
– Vital to provide strategic options in many scenarios beyond Iraq
– Increases must be permanent

Gen. Petraeus, new chief cook & bottlewasher for U.S. forces in Iraq who assumed his position after the "retirement" of the previous incumbent who did not support an increase. He "stands out from his predecessor as a believer in the value of increased troop strength in Iraq".

He is also the co-author of the Army's "brilliant new counterinsurgency field manual", in which he endorsed the principle that 20 counterinsurgents per 1,000 residents is "the minimum troop density required for effective COIN operations." To pacify Baghdad, therefore, would require at least 120,000 American and Iraqi combat troops. There are 70,000 U.S. combat personnel in Iraq, only a fraction of which are deployed in Baghdad. Figuring effective Iraqi combat strength is a numbers game.

But what that means is don't be surprised if troop numbers rise again because the existing numbers don't meet the model.

Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim (again, & somewhat different to his position above) said the government should "strike with an iron fist" against anyone who endangers the "safety of people."

He's also urging al-Sadrs’s militia to disarm. The militia has been blamed for much of the sectarian violence that has killed thousands.

Al-Hakim heads the 130-strong Shiite bloc in Iraq's parliament. He offered his support just hours after President Bush announced his new strategy to stop the violence.

& then there's the President. Who knows what goes on in his tiny brain, but all I can come up with, watching his tears at a medal ceremony for a dead U.S. serviceman, is to use something said some time back by Richard Armitage to Colin Powell, & take it totally out of context.
‘Has he [President Bush] thought this through?’ Armitage asked Powell. ‘What the President says in effect is we’ve got to press on in honor of the memory of those who have fallen. Another way to say that is we’ve got to have more men fall to honor the memories of those who have already fallen.’”

Saturday, January 13, 2007

E-X-C-H-A-N-G-E-V-A-L-U-E-S

Tom Beckett has added another interview to his excellent e-values, this one with Jordan Stempleman. & Tom has also recently posted, at his Soluble Census, a very positive review of Jordan's (e- & pod) book, Their Fields, that came out under Bill Allegrezza's Moria imprint a year or so ago.

So it's probably a good time to inadvertently let slip that Jordan's new book, What's the Matter, will be one of four that Otoliths is publishing around the middle of next month.

t
r
i
c
k
l
f  e  e  d  .

solace

trick
photgraphy

Friday, January 12, 2007

Iraq, c'est moi



"He's our guy.
No one wants to go against our guy.
And he's the commander-in-chief and
the guy who campaigned for all of us.

But he is Iraq."

so says Republican Representative Ray LaHood

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

orthodon'tist

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Are little-
known facts

made in a
little-known
factory?

Monday, January 08, 2007

an "axiom of history"

President Johnson has commited a further 50,000 US troops to the conflict in Vietnam.

Monthly draft calls will increase from 17,000 to 35,000 - the highest level since the Korean War, when between 50,000 and 80,000 men were called up each month.

It will take the US force in Vietnam up to 125,000 but officials say at this stage demands should be met by conscription, without calling upon the reserves.

Speaking in a televised address from the White House President Johnson said: "We do not want an expanding struggle with consequences no one can foresee."

"Nor will we bluster, bully or flaunt our power. But we will not surrender, nor will we retreat," he continued.

The President gave the news conference after a week of intensive talks with senior military and security advisers in Washington.

7/28/1965


President Bush's new Iraq strategy calls for a rapid influx of forces that could add as many as 20,000 American combat troops to Baghdad.

The number of U.S. troops has fluctuated up to around 150,000 since the March 2003 invasion and now stands at 127,000.

1/7/2007

then add this to the mix

ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.

Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources.

The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb.

Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.

“As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,” said one of the sources.

Israeli and American officials have met several times to consider military action. Military analysts said the disclosure of the plans could be intended to put pressure on Tehran to halt enrichment, cajole America into action or soften up world opinion in advance of an Israeli attack.

Robert Gates, the new US defence secretary, has described military action against Iran as a “last resort”, leading Israeli officials to conclude that it will be left to them to strike.

Israeli pilots have flown to Gibraltar in recent weeks to train for the 2,000-mile round trip to the Iranian targets. Three possible routes have been mapped out, including one over Turkey.

Air force squadrons based at Hatzerim in the Negev desert and Tel Nof, south of Tel Aviv, have trained to use Israel’s tactical nuclear weapons on the mission. The preparations have been overseen by Major General Eliezer Shkedi, commander of the Israeli air force.

Sources close to the Pentagon said the United States was highly unlikely to give approval for tactical nuclear weapons to be used. One source said Israel would have to seek approval “after the event”, as it did when it crippled Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak with airstrikes in 1981.

The Sunday Times

Sunday, January 07, 2007

You realise

just how much a product of another age you are when you see a newspaper headline saying Mansons to split & you think "I didn't know Charlie had ever married", then read on to find out that it's Marilyn Manson they're writing about.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Jukka's got a new skin



Just click on the logo to go there.

bringing delight

to my jaded eyes & heart, two double-barred finches, about the size of my thumb,


are in the process of building a nest in the crown of one of the smaller palms in our front garden. Made from light, almost white, dry grass - the bird's preference - the nest is only about one & a half metres above the ground, but they're quite safe because the palm fronds have spiny needles along their ridges, a couple of inches long & sharp & tough enough to pierce leather - which is why I just let the dead fronds hang down rather than cutting them off.

They're cute little birds. My "working name" for them, as I'm sure it is for a lot of other people, is owl-faced finch since when you see them face on & looking down a little, those bars & their light colour create the impression of the stereotypical owl face.

There may be eggs in the nest, because when one of them - the male? - is off gathering bulding materials, the other sits within the nest, moves when the first returns bearing thatch, places it correctly, & then returns to sitting.

The image I've used doesn't really show the owl aspect, but it was the only one I could find that wasn't copyrighted. When I start using the digital camera that came down the chimney I'll take my own photos, but I'm a little scared of starting using it because I may become obsessive. Click. Click.

Clickclickclickclickclickclickclick..........

The double-barred finch goes tiaat-tiaat. Sensible.

Friday, January 05, 2007

found hay(na)ku

I
am the
president. I am

the
bully pul-
pit. I am

going
to put
my agenda forward.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

He lived died

far enough away
from the
river

for
it not
to disturb him.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Why I am jealous of Alan Greenspan

In an un-
provenanced manuscript
of Oedipus Rex
which has just
been placed
on the market
by an anonymous
vendor from
Uzbekistan, there is
an exorcised passage
in which Oedipus
states that the
presence or
absence of poets
after the various
Greek Wars
were the first true
example of labour
economics. "Who
needs bards" he
ends "when there
is no victory
to sing about?" Some-
one—a different
hand, most probably
Sophocles' editor—
has crossed it out
& in the margin
written "Economics
is fine, but what
relevance have
poets to a story
about a man who
fucks his mother?"

Thank you, Geof

In his year end post, A Year and a Day - the year a summary, the day a beautiful poem in response to Tom Beckett's call for "day poems" - Geof Huth lists a number of people for "special thanks" for providing him with some of the pleasures he'd experienced during the year. Amongst them:
"Mark Young for blogging his way through his day, yet finding time to put out Otoliths, the finest blogzine and hardcopy zine around, filled as it is with more imagination than a thousand days of other attempts."
My thanks for your generous words, but I just provide the platform, the outlet. It's the contributors, such as yourself, that deserve the praise, not just for their work but also their presence which attracts other contributors who I never dared let myself think would want to come on board. Plus the new people I'm getting a real buzz out of publishing.

Issue four of Otoliths is shaping up to be a spectacular issue, & will be going online on February 1. The print version of issue three should be dropping into contributors' letterboxes - if it hasn't already done so - as I write this.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Hope

is
what
people
with
cleft
palates
wash
their hands
with
&,
again, I
begin the year

irresolute

 

Welcome to the Hotel California

(For Richard Lopez, who in an email yesterday asked me to "write me when it is midnight of the new year. wanna get a peak into the future.")

The telescope I got as a present has been assembled for some days now, but still not used. The weather has been too cloudy for viewing, & yet the solar lamps beside the path shine. Go figure.

The local growers say that mangoes are slightly cyclical, biennial. One year the crop is good, the next only fair. That's unless they're chinese mangoes; in which case seven years of bad crops followed by three of good. Or is it the other way around? I'm such a vacillator. That's the trouble with having more than one finger to put on the spot that's causing the trouble. No change.

On the news I hear that a 64 square kilometer block of ice has broken off an Arctic iceshelf. Only thing is that it happened 16 months ago, & no-one noticed at the time. That's the way of the world—it's the transitory things that make the headlines, unless of course there's children or small animals involved. Or pestilence. Or Saddam Hussein. Or carnage on the country's roads at christmas. Quel alliteration! Now if the story had have started "One day Gregor Samsa awoke to find a 64 K² ice block had fallen on him & crushed the cockroach he had become" that might have made the news within a few days. Or maybe not. Cockroaches have been around since the year dot. That hasn't changed. & who knows about icefloe city? If anything's changed there we're going to have to wait until the year after next to find out. & what happened to the hole in the ozone layer? Did someone put a potplant in front of it to cover it up?

Last month, your this month, there were enormous bushfires in Victoria. It's a regular summer problem. Only this time they were ultimately put out not by man/woman power or supertanker helicoptors with dead popstar names but by a savage snowfall that lasted several days. The climate has changed.

Superman is dead. Long live Superman. & Mr Freeze—yes, I know that's a different superhero, but Lex Luthor is so passé—is in hospital with a broken leg from a skiing accident. But since he's your gubernator I expect you're getting minute by minute updates on his condition. Probably even keeping a vigil by his bedside & changing his bedsheets. Just another footsoldier in Arnie's Army.

I saw the new year in on television. Live, except that because this State doesn't believe in daylight savings—"it fades the curtains"; "the cows won't milk"—it wasn't live at all but beamed up from Sydney where it had happened an hour before. Now just close your eyes & pretend it's real. Trust me. The belief that you can fool at least half the people half of the time is still the same. & the psyche of this State hasn't changed. Two years ago, a police sergeant beat an Aborigine to death in the lockup of one of the offshore islands—at least that's what the Coroner determined when the inquest was finally heard a few months ago. Last week the Chief Prosecutor announced that no charges would be brought against the sergeant because "there was insufficient evidence". Even our beloved prime Minister was appalled at that decision & said so, out loud, in between comments about how Saddam had had "a fair trial". But he still hasn't said he's sorry about the nation's historic treatment of its indigenous people, & that's not about to change.

But back to television. In the hours leading up to the countdown they broadcast a couple of concerts, Old Men Eagles & Clotted Cream. At least that's what I changed their names to. Cream from my twenties, the Eagles from my thirties. Going through the motions—it's the audience that breathes life into them, that believes they're moving, that remember when they were young. Time transfixed. & drummers still can't sing. How do you know when it's a drummer at your door? Because the knocking speeds up. Ah, the times they are a-changin'.

What else to tell you? Michael Jackson is alive & well—saw him at James Brown's funeral. Along with Jesse J. The rainbow coalition with Michael playing six of the seven colours. He still had his nose, as far as I could make out. & I saw a pre-millenium eve concert by (the artist formerly known as)Prince. & gave his ankh a yank for old times' sake. So far they haven't trotted out Bing Crosby.

& so far this year I have avoided saying the more things change the more they stay the same, mainly because things don't really change. But does that mean, following the logic of the statement, that the less things change, the more different they are? Or is it because we are different, & see the same things differently? Do we become more tolerant or less? Or is it we become both less & more discerning?

I hope I continue to grow, to broaden my horizons, even as this body of mine undergoes discernible dimunition & change, that I'm not a prisoner here of my own device. & I'll finish this brief epistle from one year to another with the opening lines of an anthology that changed my life forever. Charles Olson, in Donald M. Allen's The New American Poetry.
What does not change / is the will to change.