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It's a fine line between living for the moment and being a sociopath.

Patricia B McConnell: For The Love Of A Dog.

Pema Chodron: The Places That Scare You

Daniel Wallace: Mr Sebastian & the Negro Magician

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

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Location: Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hats Off to 2008!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The shape to be in the UK

From the extremely reliable UK magazine Fabulous: the 2008 Body Survey results.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Heard this morning in the Spencer household

Flame-Haired Angel:

"You have an ass like a glam rocker."

I'll get back to you as soon as I figure out what that means.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

So long as we're traveling in poetry land...

The random web-walk that brought me to reminisce, last night, about Izumi Shikibu, had me drinking my draught of refreshed memory at Beautiful and Depraved. It's one of those blogs that proves "not safe for work" can also mean moving.

In addition to remind me to pay attention to my old love of Shikibu, Beautiful & Depraved also put a new (to me) fragment of a more recent favourite poet in my face:

One thousand half loves
Must be foresaken
To follow one whole heart home.


So many people have written to me about the Shikibu lines, I feel obliged to mention that the other poet represented in The Ink Dark Moon is just as wonderful: Ono No Komatchi, who lived just slightly earlier than Shikibu.

I thought to pick
the flower of forgetting
for myself,
but I found it
already growing in his heart.

Ono No Komatchi

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Izumi Shikibu

Years ago, I fell in love with Izumi Shikibu's poetry. I am not the kind of guy who falls in love with poets. Most poetry, to me, is like modern art. I'm glad it exists, but I don't need it in my house.

Shikibu was different from the first five lines I read. I fell for her, completely. She was fast and sexy, delicate and direct at the same time. ...and she wrote over a thousand years ago. I still have my first copy of The Ink Dark Moon, from more than 20 years ago, which came before all those others I gave as gifts to anyone I thought would read it.

Even so, I haven't read her stuff in a long while. I don't think about obscure Japanese court poetry all that much.

Then, up she pops, completely unexpectedly, in an RSS feed, and she knocks the breath from my chest all over again.

Even if I now saw you
Only once,
I would long for you
Through worlds,

- Izumi Shikibu (c.974)

Monday, December 01, 2008


And since I'm on a tear about the X-Factor, here's the blow-you-away performance from Saturday night.

Until a few weeks ago, Alexandra Burke was a professional waitress and an amateur singer. (...although she does have rather advantageous parentage.)

After this performance, she's unlikely to ever have to wait tables again.

Speaking of addicted

Flame-Haired Angel and I have become X-Factor addicts over the last several weeks. (Non-UK readers: X-Factor is the equivalent of American Idol and the like.)

Given that we've both sung in front of live audiences -- FHA far, far, *far* more than me -- we have strong opinions about the singers and the justice (or not) of the results.

We were more or less content to watch the victims go until Saturday night, when a singer named Ruth Lorenzo got booted.

There are at least three other acts who can't carry Ruth's notes in a bucket, but they're all cuter. The show's up-front about being a popularity contest rather than a singing contest, but it still cut this addict up to watch Ruth go. Not only does she have a fantastic voice, it's a voice made for just the kind of shlock-rock power ballad that gets under my skin.

Ah, well. Vale Ruth.

Addictive like potato chips.