Saturday, December 25, 2010


Puts a whole new spin on "blue Chirstmas," eh?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Communist Christmas

This one goes out to the Utah Legislature who see a communist behind every Christmas tree.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Way of the Puck Review Pending!

Way of the Puck Promotional Button
Eric Anderson, director of Way of the Puck:  a documentary of professional air hockey...Really kindly sent me a review copy of the final release of the piece on DVD.  A few years back, I was a test audience for the movie thanks to Middlebrow, so I do have a memory of that version with which to compare.  The test version was quite good, mind you, but I am interested to see how Eric has shaped the final form, and how he worked out the conclusion.

I was away for a long while for working purposes, so it was rather nice coming back late Tuesday night to find the DVD in my mail box.   Along with the DVD was a promotion pin which I shall place on my disc bowling bag, since I have no air hockey back and air hockey is more akin to bowling in quirky commonplace than is, say, golf.

I've been having too much of a holiday to view the film yet, but I have hopes to watch it tomorrow during our next blizzard(non-blizzard) here in Salt Lake City.  I will tease you with the lead that I know I am going to use in the review:  "how air hockey killed Santa Claus."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

After the storm #2

After the storm #2
Originally uploaded by Clint Gardner

It is interesting to watch people's mass panic from 1200 miles away.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Now that's one heck of a poem

Poor Sean Day...I think the bill collectors are after him/her.

What an odd thing to say at the end. I assume that the whole thing is recorded on their end too.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Originally uploaded by Clint Gardner

While I was in Baltimore, we had the opportunity to visit the Visionary Arts Museum. The VAM is a collection of mostly outsider art. Baltimore likes to celebrate its weirdness, you see, rather than hide it.

Monday, November 08, 2010

"Put your hands in the air!"

"Put your hands in the air!"
Originally uploaded by catinlap

"The novel is a genre that eats other genres." --Michael Berube.

Monday, November 01, 2010

An entertaining alternative to laundry

Kansas City kids exercising from American Memory, by the way.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ask not

Ask not
Originally uploaded by Clint Gardner
It tolls for thee.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's the singer, not the song

She was classy
They observed
Never turning away
Her stammering fans
Stunned silent by her

But they didn't know
The dark empty
She held tight in
Her clenched fists
Its oily surface
Making her lunge
Forward to keep
It from shooting
Out into the crowd
Knocking them awake
With an icy gut

They heard her wail
But they didn't see
Her whiskey tears
Late at night
In another hotel

Monday, October 11, 2010

Last Disc Golf at Solitude

Last Disc Golf at Solitude
Originally uploaded by catinlap

Where in the hell did the summer go?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Des Moines Farmers' Market: Squash

Des Moines Farmers' Market: Squash
Originally uploaded by Clint Gardner

This picture should get you in the mood for fall. We're finally getting some fall-like weather here in Slicky Town. Is it really October?

Des Moines Farmers' Market 1

Des Moines Farmers' Market 1
Originally uploaded by Clint Gardner

Iowa farmers' markets put anything I've ever visited to shame: 4 blocks of pure fruits from the land.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nature Preserve-Number 1

Nature Preserve-Number 1
Originally uploaded by Clint Gardner

The Legacy Nature Preserve only exists because of power poles and a highway.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Europas Macho-Club!

I knew my photography and ability to imitate Hulk Hogan would make me famous one day:

Europas Macho!
Two questions:
  1. What is the number for David Hasselhoff's German agent?
  2. Is this what European macho men look like?

Friday, September 10, 2010


Originally uploaded by Clint Gardner

This orchid will fade
Withering fast in cold fall
Intemperate weed!

Monday, August 30, 2010


They say, you know, something important
So you are supposed to pay attention
Pay attention, I said, you stupid child
Pay attention with eyes locked there
Just there, for they will see when you do not

There. Look there.  Are you looking?

I didn't think so.

Child, child, child you will not amount
To much, if you don't pay attention
With coins and bills and, above all
Your mind that is coins and bills and

Are you paying attention, child?

I think not.  It is time for you to start
Minding and not be wandering around
Those brown snow-laced  furrowed fields
That are clearly

Are you minding me?  I don't think you
Are.  Why are you being this way?
What put that in your head?
Do you think you are something

Let it go, child.  Please.  Let it go and
Perhaps someday you will know that
It was all meant for the best.  That
He really did mean the best. That
If you just paid simple attention
Attention would have been paid.

Until then

Monday, August 16, 2010

Crafty Mother & Daughter

Crafty Mother & Daughter
Originally uploaded by Clint Gardner

This past Saturday I went to "Craft Lake City" an annual craft fair held in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. While there, flickr's very own Big Brown House got my attention and we chatted about her craftiness. She makes items out of recycled sweaters, buttons, and what not. Pretty great stuff. It was also nice to finally meet BBH & Daughter finally. She also regularly attends Craft Sabbath (another regular SLC crafty event). Check out her cool stuff at I bought a doodad that looks rather fetching on my summer sun head protector device (also known as a recycled paper--rather than straw--Panama hat.)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Disc Golf: The Wilhelm Way

Ah the profanity-laced memories.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Monday, August 02, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Preserving Summer

Originally uploaded by Simon Gate

Many Northern European languages have compound words for strawberry jam. In Swedish (as we see in this photo from Simon Gate on flickr) it is "jordgubbssylt." The other Scandinavian languages are similar with the Norwegian "jordbærsyltem," the "refined" Danish "jordbærsyltetøj" and the decidedly Scando-archaic and non-compound Icelandic "jarðarber sultu."

Moving south, the Dutch offer us something closer to English with "aardbeienjam." The "jam" figuring prominently in that construction rather than the Scandinavian "sylt." The Germans take a decidedly European spin on Strawberry Jam by offering "Erdbeermarmelade" which, as you can see, is closely related to the Dutch in the "Erd" part, but take a decidedly Spanish spin by calling "jam" "marmelade." Many of the the southern Romance languages, you see, call any kind of jam a marmalade. Witness, Spanish: "mermelada de fresa,"

The French and the Italians are much more fancy in their naming of strawberry jam. The French say "confiture de fraises," and the Italians offer us "confettura di fragole." If you pretend you can speak either French or Italian, both of those phrases sound particularly high class and extra-sweet. Champagne comes to mind. Somehow I think the common folk of France and Italy have another word for strawberry jam that the official dictionaries compiles by snoots and even snootier snoots would have us see. You can sort of see that in the Spanish version of strawberry jam, mermelada de fresa, although it is still too uncompound. The Portuguese offer us "geléia de morango." While "morango" relates to the Basque/Finnish/Estonian Marrubizko/mansikka/maasikas, it still insists on making strawberry jam as a process, rather than a product.

Sure they all call the berry something unique, but only a few languages call the thing a compound thing "jordgubbssylt." Is one thing. "Strawberry jam" is two things.



What is my point?

Look at it this way: Northern climes experience about two months of summer at best. You have just a few weeks to collect and preserve those precious summer berries like strawberries. Those fruit are rare. The come and then go as equally as fast. No forgiveness for missing them.

So what do you do as a resourceful human? You find a way of preserving them. For berries, funny enough, it means putting them in more sugar, I've heard that sugar is, despite its smashing nutritional value, a remarkable preservative and antibiotic. Like our friend salt, bacteria can't seem to do much with food items preserved in desiccated sugar.

This is why we have ham.

This is why beehives survive unmolested by bacteria.

As you can see, the English word for "jam" is much more closely related to Dutch. The Dutch, however, kept their term for strawberry jam to be one word.

Strawberry is a lovely word.

Strawberry Jam. Imagine that.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pioneer Heritage

Pioneer Heritage
Originally uploaded by Clint Gardner

I'm ramping up to celebrate my Old West pioneer heritage this week. Here in Utah we have "Pioneer Day" on July 24, and it consequently gives us one more 3 day weekend then the rest of the country gets in the summer. This oil lamp is one of the few heirlooms that I got from my family. All I know is this one came from my Mom's family. I don't know much else about it, but I've posted a pic of the burner before. It was made by the White Flame Lamp Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

After processing the photo it struck me that at least I could have dusted the damn thing. My Mom would be very unhappy.

The chimney shattered awhile ago when I lit it. It wasn't the original chimney, by any means, as I remember my mom buying them all the time. I have no idea how the rest of the lamp survived all these years, given that it is glass and my brothers and I pretty much broke every piece of glass my mother ever acquired. I proudly carry on this familial tradition.

Keep an eye out for the annual re-posting of Dancing Brigham--so good it made the Cold Cold North cry!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Let it go

Let it go
Originally uploaded by Clint Gardner

I think this cactus is done for, but I still keep it around. It is such a good photography model.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mobile Poetry #5: from Grim Fandango

Snyder Mahler offers up an unexpected spin to the mobile poetry project:  an excerpt from the LucasArts video game Grim Fandango primarily written by Tim Schafer.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mobile Poetry #4: "Jabberwocky"

Ethan Millard gives us Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky."  Brillig!

Mobile Poetry 3: "At the Seven-Mile Ranch, Comstock, Texas"

Friend Cordelia offers Naomi Shihab Nye's "At the Seven-Mile Ranch, Comstock, Texas" for your consideration.

Mobile Poetry #2: The Vacuum

Come on people! I've done two now. Pump up the volume and add your own poem or favorite poem. Dial +18019300674. Identify the author of your poem and its title, even if it is by you. You might want to identify yourself too.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Winged Ants

Winged Ants
Originally uploaded by Clint Gardner
The life of ants was much improved when they re-discovered their wings.

Mobile Poetry #1: The Death of See

A new SigNo feature for you: mobile poetry! Join the revolution and call in the poem of your choice to 801-930-0674. It can be your own work or a favorite of yours. Be sure to identify the author (even if it is your own) and the title. I reserve the draconian right to exclude any submission I see fit. The submissions will be featured here on SigNo.

Ok, Megastore, Dr.Write, Middlebrow, Snyder Mahler, Counterintuitive, Cordelia, Kendrakoo, Antistrophe, & Sleepy E I'm calling you out in particular. Don't be some kind of poetic wimp and flake on the mobile project!

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Economy is Impoving?...

The Economy is Impoving?...
Originally uploaded by catinlap

Sign of the time. (Taken by Friend Catinlap. q.v. flickr.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

In these tough economic times

I've accrued many blog side-projects over the years, most of which I've started and abandoned with little fanfare.  Because I am probably going to merge my "professional" online identity with whatever the hell everything else I do online is, I've decided to merge several of my side projects directly into  These projects include (right now) "The Silence Project" (that did have submissions from friend Snyder and are suitably noted), my unplugged experiment, "Signifying nothing Uplugged," and "The land of lost notes."  I am leaving "disc-a-rama" as a side-project, since I have hopes that other disc golfers may decide to join in the fun of it.  "eye or orris" will also survive as an independent blog, since it is a useful reference blog for me to find pictures I've found interesting over the years.

I haven't made a decision as to when I will leave in the dust yet, or if I ever will.  I moved my professional site away from a server from the place I work mostly for several technical reasons, but, I will admit, there is also a need to "own" my online professional self, as opposed to it being owned by the place where I work, I suppose.  The same goes for Signifying nothing, ultimately.  I've purposefully used a pseudonym here and will continue to do so in other media simply because, in some ways, my professional online identity is not really "owned" by me.  I know we all wish to believe that we are all free to do what we wish or write what we wish, but that is clearly not the case. My professional identity is owned by various entities out there.  In any case, the whole notion from the very first post of Signifying nothing was to explore online identity.  I guess I'm at a crux right now.

Ultimately I see as an art piece.  I've been slapping away at it for many years now.  Yes, it is mundane, at best, but what I put here is intentional.  In any case, given that I've chosen to have as a sort of pseudonym, it does get in the way of stuff (like my photography) that I want to own with with the Clint Gardner identity.  That's why you will see that I've changed all the flickr stuff over to my real name.

Of course I realize all of this could be seen as a massive exercise in ego management, and that is somewhat why I wish to avoid the aforementioned "professional site" identification. I am very leery of anyone who has the audacity to have their name as a web site.  Perhaps that why will survive.

I am still really fond of what Signifying nothing is supposed to do, after all.  In any case, it has even more bloggity goodness, having been merged with several side projects.

It all just boils down to a rhetorical decision.  How do I want the world to see me, and how the hell can I let what I really want to say sneak out?

There you go.

[The land of lost notes] Note 39: O ring

Found near Beacon Heights Elementary, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ways of Seeing #3: Better living through technology!

For your consideration in celebration of the new issue of Signifying nothing:
The Limbourg Brothers.  February, from the Very Rich Book of Hours of the Duke of Berry. c. 1415.  Manuscript Illumination.  Musée Condé, Chantilly.

I won't grade responses this time.

*You will note that the people in the Limbourg Brothers' illumination probably had a great deal to fear, despite the relative security of the  trio in the house.  Note the wild birds eating seed, the broken wagon, and the hole in the roof of their sheep pen.  The machinations of the heavens above them need to be taken into consideration.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sliding past yesterday

Sliding past yesterday
Originally uploaded by Theorris
This might make it into my video essay for a workshop lead by the inestimable Hightoughmegastore (q.v.).

Walking schmalking. I'm going bus.


Originally uploaded by Theorris

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Prelude to Summer: Our friend the dandelion

Our friend the dandelion
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Summer Prelude: Perfect Day

Perfect Day
Originally uploaded by Theorris

We're getting there, people. I suggest just enjoying the high 70 degree temperatures, and remember them fondly when we hit the low 100s in July.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Prelude to Summer 5: Baseball!

Originally uploaded by Theorris

Yeah--I know, another repeat, but summer is about repeats. Oh yeah.

Summer Prelude 4: How Sweet It Is

How Sweet It Is
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Look at that sky, god damn it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What snow? aka Tom Collins

Tom Collins
Originally uploaded by Theorris

My summer prelude series is apparently going to be interrupted by snow this evening/tomorrow. Cheers!

Prelude to summer: Pineapple Cocktail

Pineapple Cocktail
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Saturday, May 01, 2010


April Snow #1
Originally uploaded by Theorris

After a long end of the semester event-filled day at my place of employment, a colleague offered to give me a ride home--well that is stretching it a bit, given that I asked her to give me a ride home since I am "on her way."

"Sure," she said without hesitation. In retrospect, I don't think I offered enough thanks for her kind agreement, given that instead of arriving home as early as I did, I would have had to face the evening mass-transit schedule, that has been hit hard by our tough economic times, and might get me home just in time to go to bed.

As it was, I was dropped at my door step in ample time to actually get some things done.

While we were on the highway, however, I received a text from my sister: "Wow mom died 9 yrs ago today." I felt the phone in my pocket vibrating this message to me, but given that my colleague and I were involved in conversation about Michael Saffran Foer's book Eating Animals, I didn't check it.

Moments later, as I got out of my colleague's car at my house, I felt the vibration again, this time accompanied by my ring tone: an Elk Call.

The elk call on my phone never ceases to bring attention from people when my phone goes off. "Nice!" I often get, or "What the hell is that?" which gives me a chance to tell people about elk, replete with my various elk encounters--all the way from being in Rocky Mountain National Park and hearing their eery call through the darkness, while I was safe in my tent with 5 millimeters of fabric protecting me from Nature, to the sheer silent joy of watching a herd of elk at midnight in the backyard of a good friend many years ago.

My colleague didn't hear my phone, but my salutation and valediction stopped me from pulling the device out of my pocket.

And then the voice mail came as I unlocked my door and unpacked myself.

It was from my sister. "Uncle R--- just died," she began and asked me to call her. Of course you always expect calls like this, but they tend to take you aback. It took me all the way back to when my father, the brother of R--- died, since that is just about what my mother called out to my brother and I in the early morning.

"L----- you're Dad's dead."

I called her back, of course.

The next morning we had a late April storm. I tried to tell myself as I was leaving my house that it was because I was living at a higher elevation now that caused for the snow to stick. Later, I realized, that this wasn't anything typical. This was a full-on storm.

The coincidence of deaths bothers me.

My mother, some nine years ago. My uncle--my father's only surviving brother.

As I walked down the hill, wrapping myself in the void, I came upon a pair of daffodils bowed down in snow.

Later, when I was safe on the bus, I wrote the following in my notebook:

Bowing to the ground
Daffodils shed the spring snow
They rise tomorrow

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ways of Seeing #2: Ugolino & his sons

Ugolino & his sons
Originally uploaded by Theorris


Grades for #1:

Cordelia: A

Kendra: B

Everyone else: F

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ways of Seeing #1: The Land of Cockayne

Pieter Bruegel the Elder.  The Land of Cockayne.  1567.  Oil and tempera on panel, 20 1/2 x 30 3/4".  Pinakothek, Munich.

"Seeing comes before words.  The Child looks and recognizes before it can speak.... But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words.  It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it.  The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled."  (John Berger, Ways of Seeing,  7)


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Unknown spring

Unknown spring
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Today is the kind of day that demands we go outside. "Get out of the damn house!" the grass and trees and birds and sun all shout in unison. There is only the mildest of breeze, and even the concrete sidewalks have warmed to the idea.

So I decided to go for a long walk.

I have not really explored my new neighborhood on foot. I've really only looked at it from on high via our friend the satellite. I knew, therefore, what, generally, to expect, so I headed north from my house on an unknown street, with no particular intent in mind, other than the thought that my friendly household machines were doing my laundry and I needed lemon juice.

So I walked north past many interesting houses: a sprawling McMansion squeezed into its lot like a forty-year old man into his twenty-year old suit; a radical self-sufficient cabin completely out of place with its green, primitive-cut clapboards; and house after house of duplexes. I mused that the only reason for both the far-ranging architectural style and the prevalence of duplexes in my neighborhood is that I live in a corner of Salt Lake City that was not brought into the city until it had been well-established as a radical and unordinanced outlier.

At the end of this street, as I knew from our friends the satellites, there was a park area, abutting the back end of the local elementary school. To my surprise, however, most of the lot was fenced and a new imposing school building was set in the far corner. What will soon be open playing fields are now barren, sculpted by the latest in earth-moving machinery.

I stopped a moment on top of the hill to appraise the situation, and noted the many steps (some made of sandstone) that descended to the fenced-off hard hat zone. This is one of those secret public areas that you can find if you look hard enough in neighborhoods. I was happy that they decided to leave the big trees in place that stood watch over the once secluded space.

I started to notice the trees then. While some are more recently planted, there are many that are old--very old. Gnarled fruit trees throw their blossoms up to the sun, and giant pines have sprouted new growth for the spring.

Like the trees, the houses vary in age--from the odd Victorian to the single-level ranch house. I've gathered from the time here that my neighborhood is just as old as any in the city. I can only imagine the farms that once stood here--most likely orchards because of the hills and the hardscrabble, alluvial soil.

Moving down the hill, I begin to encounter people. At first I was a bit shocked that no one else had heard the command of the birds, the trees, the grass, or the sun, and felt compelled to be outside. While the moonscape of the construction was not very inviting, I began to notice people making their way out: A woman with her children in tow on a bike; some teenagers intending to play frisbee on the elementary school's greening playing filed; and the guy deciding today was as good as any to wash his '57 Chevy.

So I made my way down the hill, and passed by a duplex with a couple of hungover twenty-somethings sitting on the front stoop.

"Hey man!" the one with long hair and goatee said. I knew he didn't recognize me, but was just feeling the spring.

"How's it going?" I said not breaking my gate.


I am not sure why, but this was the start of my seeing several hungover twenty-somethings. Several were in the grocery store where I picked up the lemon juice I needed and some biodegradable trash bags. One of them was asking for a job.

I started to muse, as I'd mused about houses earlier, that spring had got the best of these kids, and a proper Bacchanal was instituted.

Even in our seclusion of single-family housing the call of spring cannot be ignored, although I'm still surprised not to see anyone out on the street from my vantage point cozy in my own house over looking it all. Perhaps they are all inside, as am I, contemplating the spring.

Perhaps, however, the Dish Network truck that just pulled up in front of a neighbor's house is a more telling sign.

After leaving the store with my lemon juice and biodegradable trash bags in hand, I climbed the hill back to my house on my familiar, everyday route. I noticed a disturbing amount of water flowing down the gutter. After imagining several pipe burst scenarios, I recalled the man with his 57 Chevy. The engineer in me wanted to capture that water or at least break up the hard cement and let it absorb into the thirsty soil. The environmentalist wanted to shake my head in disgust. I did neither, because as I came around the slight bend in the street, my eye and nose were taken in by a flowering plum, standing gnarled and crooked by the roadside. I can see it now from where I sit here in my house.

I stopped and admired the tree and thought of Basho's haiku on a plum tree:

Unknown spring --
Plum blossom
Behind the mirror.

I returned, then, to my house, and my friendly household machines had completed part of my laundry without me. While moving my wet clothes from the washer to the dryer, I was struck by the flowering plum. I grabbed the box top off some detergent and wrote the following:

Along the roadside
Stands a solitary plum
Calling us to her.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


While I was awake at my normal 5:30 am this morning, by the time I left the house, I felt I was running late, given that I had to go back inside the house three times to collect all the various items I feel that I need to accomplish the day.  Oh no, I can't forget my phone.  No.  Oh no, I can't forget that letter I have to mail.  No.  Oh no, I absolutely cannot forget my bus pass, or I shall have to pay my way to and from work.

Oh no.

So by the time I actually managed to lock my door, and head out across the slush, I knew that I would miss my connection, and, therefore, be 15 minutes late.

Oh no.

So I made my way as quickly as I could in my dress shoes (it was an important meeting day, after all) across slushy sidewalks, and strove not to slip.  The snow that fell last night seemed to be testing my mettle, and by the time I reached the intersection at the bottom of the hill, I was 4 minutes behind schedule.

Oh no.

Now 4 minutes may not seem like much, but when you are a committed pedestrian and mass transit user, 4 minutes translates into being much later than is appropriate.

As I stepped into the crosswalk, however, a black and white police car sped past, and turned west.  I stopped to watch him, and the approaching SUVs on my side of the road.  None of the drivers of the three SUVs seemed to notice me, a six foot three inch man in an unmissable big black coat, however, so I had to stand there as they passed.

I thought of how in the past I used to shout at such miscreants.  Once a pedestrian is in the crosswalk, you see, motor vehicles are required to stop. 

Not these drivers.  Oh no. Perhaps they were late too.

Oh no.

These days I just shake my head in disgust at them, particularly the ones who make the guilty "oops" face at me.  If you can make that face, you can stop, friend.

So they passed, and I crossed the road and made it to my bus stop with a minute to spare.  

And I waited.

And waited.

I've never been a complainer about the bus being late as some bus riders are wont to be.  I figure there must be a pretty damn unfortunate reason for that lateness, and my bitching about it isn't going to do any good, but raise my blood pressure or foment misplaced anger in fellow passengers. 

So, oh well.  

By the time the slacker high school teens in their usual inappropriate garb of shorts and tee shirts came out to stand at the stop with me, I knew that my lateness was a foregone conclusion.

Oh well.

The bus came, as buses always do, and I boarded and commenced my usual morning reading.

All was normal until we approached the Catholic Church on the route, and then all on the bus craned to look at the collection of a dozen or so police cruisers blocking the street.  The driver turned the corner and took an odd route.  Half-way down the block of the normal route, a white tarp covered a body.

I learned later that a man was struck down in the street by a light blue SUV.  The driver of the SUV fled the scene.

Now as I sit and think of the man whose life was ended because he dropped his back pack, I write the following:

You in your steel tombs
We, the living, plead that you
Wake from your slumber.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

From an Incarcerated Artist

From an Incarcerated Artist
Originally uploaded by Theorris

She killed her husband
That's admitted

She killed her husband
And dug a grave
Behind their double-wide

She killed her husband
And he deserved it
The drunk son-of-a-bitch

She killed her husband
But before she picked
Up the gun

She stitched away
Her suffering
Into dragons

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April Fool

When I was a kid, a favorite joke of my older brother was to wake us all up on April first with the exclamation "It is snowing!"  Now growing up in Utah, the possibility of snow on April first was entirely possible, but usually spring had taken root in the land: the lawn was greening, trees were cracking blossoms and birds were assured that winter was pretty much behind.  Of course we kids always fell for the joke, and sprang out of bed to see the miracle of one last welcome blanket of purity over the land, only to see the green lawn and the budding trees accompanied by the laughter of my brother.  There were only a couple of times that he was wrong, and today would have been one of those days.   April first snows make fools of us all, and it has been snowing hard here most of the day.

All in all, it has been a particularly cold winter.  March is usually a transitional month where spring begins to stir in the land.  Trees begin to bud.  Birds find some comfort in the hope of of regeneration.  I went away on a trip for a week with the hope that spring would take hold and the world would explode with flowers and birds.

When I returned, I came back to the same winter-overed, silent land.  Empty branches greeted me.

Even still, I put away my sidewalk salt.

But no.

The peach tree  in my backyard was fooled, it seems, and has nearly budded.  Its buds are iced-over now, and nearly open. The forsythia in the neighbor's yard was fooled and came out in full bloom weeks late and on an April Fool's snow day at that.

All have been fooled, you see, as I've brought out my sidewalk salt again and cast it widely on my steps, even though I know the snow will most likely all melt tomorrow.


And so, as I sit here contemplating the long, strange winter, I look out on the darkness of the street below and write the following:

The promise of fruit
Is all you have to offer
Snow-covered peach tree

Thursday, March 25, 2010


While I was waiting for the bus today at my place of employment one of the folks who works with me approached the stop too.  While I am technically her boss in terms of the relationship that our mutual institution applies to us, I am generally uncomfortable with such designations as I find them old-fashioned and rather counterproductive to the goals and purpose of the work we are doing.  I truly believe in shared governance, you see, and while I have a role of leadership in said organization, I prefer to allow input and feedback from those who work in that organization and who do the work that takes place there.  Yes, of course, I have to make managerial decisions, but I feel that the people who do the work should share in the governance of the place.

She and I talked about her French class.  She commented that she found French a very difficult language to speak, and noted that was probably why the French drank so much coffee.  We both laughed at that.  This person has quite the sense of humor, not muddled by a disability that would surely knock me flat.

We chatted some more, this time about work matters, as the bus we were both taking approached.  I boarded first with the able-bodied, as she had to request the driver to lower the lift.  We lost track of each other at this point, as I moved to the back of the bus as is my usual wont, and she scrambled to a seat in front.

And I did feel badly about not sitting with her, but stayed in the back and thought.

She got off in a most unexpected place--by the river that bisects the Salt Lake valley, near a path that follows the river bank.  While there is a sidewalk by the roadside there and a somewhat steep incline to a wild-looking area where reeds and wild plants take over.  After leaving the bus, she moved up the hill, towards the wild area.  People in the bus were watching her, and I was struck with sudden emotion--not of pity or even compassion, but of pride of knowing such a powerful person who has faced so much struggle in her life, but strives and strives for more.

As the bus pulled away, I jotted the following on my notepad:

Against the cold wind
You climb against your body
The wind shakes the reeds

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Float Like a Butterfly

Float Like a Butterfly
Originally uploaded by Theorris

My travels took me to Louisville, Kentucky this week. Louisville is an unassuming city. Like most American cities it seems to strive for the gaudy and the fantastic, yet at the same time seems to want to maintain its simplicity, while trying to understand its past.

The mighty Ohio river borders the city to the North, and my hotel was smashed up against its banks. Despite an unfortunate decision made decades ago to place a major highway along the banks of the Ohio, the simple quietness of that river overwhelms any human presence.

I watched a coal barge saunter down river with nary a sound from my 16th floor hotel room. The passing traffic was no match for its silence as it carried tree branches the size of small houses across its muddy depths.

My room looked out on Louisville, toward the river and, most prominently, the Muhammad Ali center, with its pixilated boxers who noisily float like butterflies and sting like bees.

Ali was the boxer of my childhood: a noisy man trying to shout down the cacophony of oppression in the heart of an oppressive era.

The silence of the great river overcomes even Ali. The river rolls on, but the hope remains. Dead trees are carried downstream to the sea, eventually, where they will be interred.

While thinking of the now silenced Ali and the river of his homeland and my country, I wrote this on the hotel stationery:

Muhammad Ali
A solid, quiet man now
Silent Ohio

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Kids these days

Kids these days
Originally uploaded by Theorris

My normal week-day walk usually takes me past a statue of Parley P. Pratt. The statue was erected in his honor to honor his contribution to local history (and place names), since he built the first more easily passable road into the the Salt Lake Valley through the Wasatch Mountains. His fame as a builder of roads is celebrated in the statue, rather than his scandal-tainted death in Arkansas (q.v.). To be fair, however, some see his death as martyrdom, and I would not wish to fan the flames of religious acrimony. Pratt was certainly a person of his times, and Mormonism was particularly controversial at that time. Of course no one deserves death for either their religious beliefs or for seemingly scandalous behavior with women in Arkansas. Whether Pratt deserves a statue, is certainly not up to debate for his proud descendants or for most people in Utah, it would seem. Statues certainly been erected for much much much worse human beings.

In spite of Parley's fame (or perhaps because of his infamy, which I doubt anyone really knows about) local teens often take it upon themselves to decorate him with a variety of items. At Christmas time he generally is donned with a Santa cap, and at Hallowe'en, a pumpkin is usually placed on his transit. Aside from these rather innocuous seasonal celebrations, however, I've witnessed poor old Parley festooned with a variety of items: a 40 of Michelob, or a Playboy Center fold hanging from his outstretched hand, for example. Invariably such risque paraphernalia is quickly cleared away by someone in the neighborhood who keeps and eye on Parley's virtue.

I hadn't ever seen, however, until the other morning on my daily walk to the bus stop, Parley sporting a hot pink thong bikini. Later when I was laughing again at the audacity of the kids who played dress-up with Parley, I jotted the following on my notepad:

Like God, kids these days
Are no respecters of person
Heroes included.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Catkins in Early Spring

Catkins in Early Spring
Originally uploaded by Theorris

My new house causes me to walk farther to reach the bus stop each morning. My walk, however, leads me past various interesting trees and plants. The other morning, I noticed that one of my gnarly favorites had set its catkins out. I stood, taking pictures of it, and nearly missed my bus.

As the city flew by, I wrote the following:

Cat paws on brown twigs,
Warm against early spring wind,
I forget my time

Monday, March 08, 2010


There is so much going on in this masterpiece of disaster that I have no idea where to begin, but as one witty YouTube commentator (a rare thing) put it: "This is a benind the scenes shot of Sarah Palin's brain."

I love the Internet.

Friday, March 05, 2010

These late games are going to be the end of me

Well worth losing sleep over, after a very dicey start by the Jazz.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

This Is Not Like Home

This Is Not Like Home
Originally uploaded by Theorris

These are meant to be looked at.

The anomalies are intentional.

Yeah yeah yeah.

She'll do anything

Gonna Make It Through This Year
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Monday, February 08, 2010


Originally uploaded by Theorris

I love this picture.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Photography is not a crime

Bus Stop 1
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Since I bought my beloved digital single-lens reflex camera around 3 years or so ago, I've had several occasions when I've been approached by rent-a-cops (aka private security officers) telling me that I am not allowed to photograph at a particular location, or that, indeed, public photography and photographing anyone in public is not legal. My camera has also been barred from various concerts and conferences as being "too professional" (as if "professional" is a noun that can take on a degree.)

Now most of us know that photography in a public space is completely legal, and you do not have to get releases from people who appear in your photographs while they are in public simply because the courts have ruled over the years that there is absolutely no expectation of privacy when you are out in public. In other words, you can't suddenly claim privacy when you are out in the open a decidedly un-private location.

Given that I'm tired of being accused of 1) violator of people's (assumed) privacy and 2) being some sort of professional photographer, I went out and bought me a nice little Nikon point & shoot for my birthday. As the camera is smaller than my cell phone, and takes pretty decent pictures, I think I will be able to carry it most places and not have to worry about some schmoe deciding he needs to enforce his non-existent authority on me.

I still have my old camera, of course, and plan on taking plenty of pictures with it. This new wee beastie just lets me expand my photo-mania to its highest extremes.