Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ye Olde Mystery Shoppe

Lamplighter Stan

In the very Beginning there was, if not light, let there be doodles...

And on, and then on, some more, scribbling...

This sketch was the initial fleshing out of what was meant to be an actual set for a Public Acess show. I do not recall exactly what scotched the larger idea, may-be the cast fell thru-- or there was a problem booking the favored time slot.


In any event, classes were taken----->and Passed!

Of course what ended up happening was setting up stakes in a broken down old portal that was destined for the boney-yard ... all about plans, and more plans and how they go awry, hey?

And, mea culpa for the record, it was here and all the efforts of mine to make this work (mainly for my brother but I saw a future in this for me as well), which the Big Guy scotched that began our acrimonious relationship which persists to this day. Pulled the rug right out from under my producership without even a by your leave!

Paybacks a Bitch named Betsy....but she's mis-identified as 'Karma' to throw people off so they never see her coming....Ha

Friday, October 12, 2007

Del Shmouffy's B/R

Sports journalism has become a booming industry and, as such, I'd like to present here---for those who might be interested---some pieces submitted as first runs to Bleacher/Report sporting news site, but allowed for reprint by Del, to yours truly (we go back a ways):

Michigan Football: If Things Can Get Worse, They Probably Will


IconCynicism isn't necessarily an attractive quality, but it's unavoidable at times.

Keeping that in mind, this isn't about being cynical—it's about being realistic:

The Michigan football team's season is only going to get worse.


Because it can.

After Michigan lost to FCS power Appalachian State, prognosticators argued that the Wolverines could still run the table, win the Big Ten, and go to the Rose Bowl for a long overdue dose of redemption.

There were only a couple of problems with that scenario.

First off, the sheer volume of mojo that Appy St. sucked out of the Big House would have left even the greatest of powerhouses feeling, um, unmanned. By the time Oregon came to town, it was clear the Wolverines were in trouble.

Lou Holtz's motivational speech on ESPN was a Band-Aid in battlefield triage. Oregon was Appy St. writ large in terms of ability.

Secondly, the Big Ten itself is clearly cycling downward. Contrary to what some observers have claimed, though, that doesn't make the Big Ten the newest midmajor.

The Big East, ACC, Pac-10, and Big XII have all gone through their downturns. The breaks have finally caught up to the Big Ten—or at least the truth is finally being recognized.

The BCS Championship game this past January should've sent a clear signal. The implications for the conference signature's programs—like Michigan—aren't positive for the foreseeable future.

Please understand, I'm not anti-Michigan. If anything I'm neutral—and while some may consider neutrality to be contemptible in both man and beast (see the Swiss), at least I'm not hovering about a prone victim with long knives drawn.

Why do bad things happen to good programs? You'll have to ask the Football Gods on that one (the differences between Football Gods, Basketball Gods, and all other sporting deities is a topic which needs a separate report for clarification).

It could be an over-extension of "luck credit," or racking up back membership dues in an elite club. Or, something more tangible, simply getting lazy and distracted.

Suffice it to say that the desperation bell tolled when I heard Michigan running back Mike Hart guarantee a win against Notre Dame. Hart, bless his heart, is obviously upset by how the season has started...but grasping predictions will only make the situation worse.

My prediction: Michigan will get beaten by a bad Notre Dame team. After that, the Big Ten teams are salivating to feast on the Wolverines, and there's a dangerous matchup with Eastern Michigan the first Saturday in October.

The writing is on the wall at this point—Michigan will most likely have a losing record on the season and miss a bowl game for the first time since 1975.
What does all this mean for the Michigan players and fans?

Simply this: It's over—at least for this season. Box it, bury it, get it over with as quickly as possible.

After this season draws to a merciful end, a new head coach will be crucial to Michigan's recovery. Lloyd Carr may be the most decent man in his profession, but presiding over this plane crash makes his departure an imperative.

Only then can a new regime sweep away all the bitter debris of a party gone on too long—and broken up by the police arriving on the doorstep.

The new head man will have to dredge the program up from the bottom of the well and set it in the right direction. A new, brighter day will come for Michigan football, and the Big Ten too.

Just not this season—it's already ruined. And yes, it will get worse. Merely an observation.

[This post originally pub'd Sept. '07, Edited Jan. '18]

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cynthia in The Defense of Poesy

>) Considering the opening lines of Richard Barnfield's Sonnet 11 from Cynthia, 'Sighing, and sadly sitting by my love,' it may seem on the surface that Sir Philip Sidney's The Defense of Poesy, would not be up to the task of defending the openly homosexual poem by Barnfield. After all, Sidney was arguing for poetical freedom against the attacks of Puritan moralizers who 'called into question the morality of any fiction-making.' Defending sodomy may have proved the point of such narrow-minded people, though anti-sodomy laws were very rarely prosecuted, and allowed for the strictly religious to argue for renewed persecutions of those who would dare to 'come out.'

            A difficult line to walk, for certes, but one which Sidney's Defense manages to carry off quite well. But with some room to maneuver, on Sidney's part, for purposes of seeming to uphold the efficacious benefits of Poesy. First off,  Sidney begins by relying upon the ancient Romans and Greeks to set the poet upon a pedestal 'as a diviner, foreseer, or prophet, … so heavenly a title did that excellent people bestow upon this heart-ravishing knowledge.' It is debatable whether Barnfield, as read through Sonnet 11, can be said to measure up to such a lofty stature. Indeed, the particular sonnet in question seems more a self-centered mope than any great revelation upon the ofttimes inadequacies of love: 'He asked the cause of my hearts sorrowing.'

            However, Sidney does not stop there, but delves deeper into all that a poet can provide, and as an apparent salve to the critics, proposes that he is 'content not only to decipher him by his works, … but more narrowly will examine his parts.' Now, Sidney may be outwardly talking here of different 'kinds' of poetry, but there is something beneath the surface that he calls upon to the defense of poets in general because of the worth that an individual may bring to his or her fellow human beings. In the same vein, Sidney calls out the critics' irrationality: 'But truly it falleth out with these poet-whippers, … so the name of poetry is odious to them, but neither his cause nor effects, neither the sum that contains him, nor the particularities descending from him, give any fast handle to their carping dispraise.' Is Barnfield a poet to be whipped?

            Barnfield is not giving Sidney's Defense a great deal of assistance in refuting some of the main charges laid against poetry, 'He straight perceived himself to be my lover.' Oh my, a male poet referring to his imagined, or real, lover as 'He?' And here Sidney has gone to the trouble of answering specific charges against poets, and poetry, in particular: 'that it is the nurse of abuse, infecting us with many pestilent desires.' This is probably rather high on the list of those malign attributes that the critics assigned to poetry. But Sidney rallies with perhaps his most famous and seemingly irrefutable defense, 'Now, for the poet, he nothing affirms, and therefore never lieth.' It is difficult to argue with or accuse someone who is merely 'making things up,' it would seem.

            Sidney goes to the ultimate source for the beneficence of poetry: 'the immortal goodness of that God who giveth us hands to write and wits to conceive; of which we might well want words, but never matter; of which we could turn our eyes to nothing, but we should have new-budding occasions.' And 'occasions' did Barnfield make of his when he wrote of that which  he felt separated him from the almighty, 'Love is the cause, and only love it is That doth deprive me of my heavenly bliss.'

            It would seem, though, that Sidney, reserved his final opprobrium for the end when he turns the tables entirely and exonerates all poets such as Barnfield, throwing down the gauntlet: 'since the blames laid against it are either false or feeble; since the cause why it is not esteemed in England is the fault of poet-apes, not poets.' No matter what their perceived merits, poets are as poets do.

[Noted: This composition was previously published, as well, on Yahoo's now defunct Associated Content contributor network, Voices-- or whatever it was called. In any event, it was shut down in July, 2014, and I have a number of articles that now only have a home here. Mostly on Lit., old English studies/classes, and from deeper in other books, and genres. Hopefully Blogger continues on for many years to come!]