Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Here Be the Signs

The first flash is of an idea: to 
begin, crunch the dates—maybe 
eleven, maybe twenty—in spring, 
and if you entered  talking (who 
doesn’t?), you are my friend. 
Watch the illness then, on 
the drive over. From early 
on. Everything abstract stayed 
separated, your child can’t 
remember you and is by 
early June seated against 
the loneliness of stone.

From each of the first lines of the first ten stories in The Angel on the Roof, by Russell Banks.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Work to Do

In the end,
the job required
local kids to run
together around
the clock, more
watching the swirling
blizzard than working.

In other ways,
the 24 men and 43 women as well
as people who could not
pitch in tossed dirt hurriedly
through the towns.

Build a gray sky
in the background! The snow
moving along, it needed to be
miles above catastrophe.

This scene helped the
unrelenting volunteers
for days. Try to avoid the
boots and coats tossed into
the air. Everyone knew equally
the next person. Mothers
and fathers weighted
with foreboding had to
save the last-standing friends
and neighbors rising against
complete strangers racing to
a late-spring stretch of  water.
From the first two paragraphs of The Weather of the Future, by Hiedi Cullen, excerpted in the New York Times.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Before the 12th Century

Youthful recruits discolored 
with cold, as if by bruising, not 
especially concerned with appearance; 
the haze of low spirits marked 
by smoke, matured by apples and liquor.

From the definitions for "blue" and "green" from Merriam-Webster.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Two Snapshots

The geography returned to signs of stability. The landslides overseas had been tremendous, the hurricanes devastating. When the customers returned to the market, conviction showed in their faces.

An unanticipated flash, the focus on the months ahead. The engine boomed to an end, and with it the sole prospect of a post office driven against the backdrop of a reasonable, still-moderate universe.

Created from the October 31, 2005, annual report for the Janus Overseas Fund.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

On Style

People complain about
anything, but writing, darling, is helping
he who can hurt stories
and elements of essays,
and while I can work
hard or waste your time,
be kind of emotional, insightful—
and mind-boggling if you're serious
about it—only because he
really cares can I not imagine
that he’s exhaustingly brilliant, tough
as ****, but definitely
unparalleled for feelings.

Created from the four most recent comments about David Foster Wallace at

Thursday, December 01, 2005


After the lifetime was explained, the daughter depended on the past and held it up to the light.

People were standing.

“Well,” she would later say, “I wasn't struck down,” and give up.

At the end of the day, the author pointed out, ugliness is no match for refusing fees, refusing to give in.

More than a year later, she proved that like so many to come, you're kind of one of the family, see.

Created from the White House news release “President Signs H.R. 4145 to Place Statue of Rosa Parks in U.S. Capitol.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Coulterkampf #9

The aging porn star
said she’d bend over just for
laughs: it’s movie night.

He rents what kind of
videos? Best for the job:
hot-blooded, steamed.

Consequently, my
dreams of oral sex will be
a fitting tribute.

I mean, joke about
the idea to invade
the bush and G-spot.

The facts: blown only
once, has eight condoms, has an
opening. That’s it.

I’m preoccupied:
(1) a woman, (2) a secret life—
doesn’t have to be.

What would porn stars do?—
Remain skeptical, that’s what
they typically do.

Totally nuts—I
inadvertently stepped on
a massive condom.

Perhaps Anita
also: based on sexual
guidelines, she’s too much.

Haiku created from Ann Coulter's September 21 column.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Coulterkampf #8

On the bright side, this
week's sad story had grieving
moral fanatics.

It's no wonder: a
celebrity understands
PR funerals.

This isn't about
the theoretical. How
about a coin toss?

Mom is the strangest.
She's conditional, fleeting,
and out to teach hurt.

Someone’s at the ranch.
How to mourn full-time?
Going to stop now.

Call me relentless:
you old-fashioned, grief-stricken
dead should cheer up now.

Fortunately, some-
one’s at the reality
show. Fight back, children.

If the dead son is
firstborn, we’re sorry. Unless
we have a book deal.

I've decided I'm
not sure our policy needs to
eliminate hope.

Haiku created from Ann Coulter's August 17 column.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Coulterkampf #7

General crime, the repeal of the "fundamental right" was a dream. In retrospect, we had a pretty good idea the eating of french fries no more promotes the cause than arguing with women. I know about the interview with that guy—as the newspaper called it—and all the nasty things I've said: “Killing, murder, destruction, blah blah blah….” I deeply apologize for dismissively allowing (1) thinking and (2) chortling in private. At this point, just shut up about the people responsible.

Created from Ann Coulter's Aug. 3 column.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Two Questions and Two Answers

Is it allowed?

There is no objection: perfume, although foreign,
is bound to be permissible. You can take half of it,
mix with interest and deposit in a bank.

Any restriction?

It is ok if it is forbidden; give the other half
to her dead brothers so that it comes under their feet.
Using medicine is all that is left.

From the questions and answers posted at

Saturday, February 26, 2005

The End of History


Mr. Phenomenology is by now a familiar story,
the basic principles of which are considerable contradictions,
a jumble of current events, modern political doctrines,
and a flood of articles. Flabby and weak-willed, the professor
might best be understood as watching over some
larger process in violence and self-confidence.


For him, the apparent promises regarding the passionate
on the right and the well-educated on the left are
spiritual pollution. The various slowdowns in world history
are more properly seen as virtually irrelevant.


Such nostalgia I can feel in myself.
The struggle for recognition
is still caught in the grip
of a very widespread belief that is impossible to rule out:
systems previously unrecognized out of sheer cynicism.


A hand on the trigger of the gun:
what has happened, what is important—
here again the example seemed intolerable,
increasingly dismal, and anachronistic.
Explicit and self-aware, he scrambles human history,
creates consciousness, which in the long run
may not be what one might label
a rational tendency to retreat (correctly understood).
With typical solipsism his conflict remains
primarily a deformed outgrowth in which
there are no homogenous rivalries.

From the essay "The End of History," by Francis Fukuyama, published in The National Interest, summer 1989.

Coulterkampf #6

She won't even share
such things, saying, “I used to
play the worst skinhead”

A savage lie, a
promise not to laugh: it must
be a real doozy

Admittedly, these
"reasons" were not prestigious:
how about sharing?

Haiku created from Ann Coulter's February 17 column.

Friday, February 18, 2005

To the Reader

New books, important this winter, submit without the expectation of payment, except, occasionally, in comments.

Neither time nor space is undertaken imperfectly without capital.

But the opportunity suggests all the books of the season have made the project possible, have supplied their reviews and their time on short notice.

This issue of some books temporarily demands a need to hope, to discover, to take, and to pretend.

Pay the editors entirely, however.

Created from the editors' letter "To the Reader," The New York Review of Books, vol. 1, no. 1, Feb. 1, 1963.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Coulterkampf #5

Churchill’s been punished
by well-known people because
he smokes. Oh shut up.

Churchill was supposed
to search for combat teams, not
that Galileo

Churchill, talentless
and incompetent, at risk
because of Swiss cheese

Churchill poses by
the crackpots—so enamored
they make women cry

Churchill, why is it
men run? The whole idea
is very “2 plus 2”

Churchill, David, and
Jimmy grasp the current state
of little bright lines

Churchill, admitting
we are almost nothing to
the facts of disease

Churchill continued to
believe casino-blanket
camp mechanisms

Churchill cited Andy,
denied calling the army
little red herrings

Churchill has nothing.
A deus ex machina
for, of, toward, blah, blah…

Churchill is paid to end
knowledge in addition to
higher education

Haiku created from Ann Coulter's February 17 column.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A Serious Problem

That it has not been solved in the last 20 months
ought not to surprise anybody. A reluctant process
would take people a matter of years—
11 years, 12 years—to ever really believe
the task is done. The situation is,
it's been months, it's been months....

From the transcript of a March 4, 2003, BBC interview with Donald Rumsfeld.

Seven Statements about Freedom

Freedom is enhanced by the expansion of freedom.
Freedom has deadly enemies.
Freedom has great and growing momentum.
Freedom is important.
Freedom is a part of a wholesome society.
Freedom is necessary.
Freedom scares them.

From the transcript of President Bush's January 26, 2005, news conference.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Coulterkampf #4

Churchill could give a
kiss on behalf of con men--
a crucial factor

Churchill already
has gone from being the chief
to anti-teepee

Churchill won't give you
credulous proponents of
other subtle clues

Churchill bought a white
poodle and never answered
the news magazine

Churchill hoodwinked some
books big-time; soon thereafter,
paintings of Elvis

Churchill forced his art
to confirm a series of
little memberships

Churchill is not in
the process; his phony “good
day” will answer that

Churchill’s souvenir
was apparently something
broken by The Man

Churchill was to stop
that verification; guess
what that means, readers?

Churchill met one of
the “witnesses” under tales
of “velvet combat”

Churchill, by his own
claim, is in a recent hell;
end of sad story

Churchill's unit is
central to his career—just
like his terror quotes

Churchill had simply
blurted out, “I never say
‘tommyhawk payback’”

Churchill revealed his
need to argue math, only
if against one-eighth

Haiku created from Ann Coulter's Feb. 9 column.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


1 : framework 2 : a trained central unit especially able to control others with a unifying relationship* 3 : a group of people

Example sentence: Modern-day heroes needed courageous astronauts.

Did you know? To understand, we must first trace Latin roots. Squares can make good first French speakers and later English speakers. If you think, you'll understand how the framework holds well-trained military leaders together, even if they aren't unifying.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

From Merriam-Webster Online's entry for "cadre," the word of the day for February 7.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

All Americans Have the Same Health and Environmental Protections

Although power is a basic pollutant,
the entire geography ensures that limits
do much of the work. The example
recognizes that it makes sense to develop
a special understanding over designs,
money, controls. Each implementation plan
allows for problems anywhere. The weaker
individual studies opportunities to comment.

Created from the EPA's Plain English Guide to the 1990 Clean Air Act.

Coulterkampf #3

Millions haven’t been
this depressed since the French shot
four towel-biters

The cameraman’s plan
warned excited French, risked
dancing and singing

This one ball, if good,
could move something French to be
flying out my butt

The independent
audience may have been one
word to getting free

"Experience" of
events in the world imposed
by fading fingers

More than 100
would choose no countries, believe
they’re managed alone

Didn't reach out, get
out of said club because there's
bad news to add there

Haiku created from Ann Coulter's February 2, 2005, column.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Story of Tobacco

When John arrived, he was an instant success, with a special taste and aroma. England saved Jamestown by becoming exportable; 1,613 Indians, for a time, accounted for the balance of trade.

Created from the Philip Morris USA website.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Coulterkampf #2

I am virtuous,
masculine, and constantly
molesting Afghans.

Major news: stuffing
top-secret undergarments
into my own pants.

Single biggest move:
I stunned the experts and chose
a sidekick blowhard.

I think it may have
been the Communist Party's
smoking-research group.

I didn’t want short
voters in my head in the
blow-dried pajamas.

A few moments of
chasing people around their
living rooms: progress.

Haiku created from Ann Coulter's December 29, 2004, column.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Pliable Pimpwear for Serious Fellows

Modernism delivered discreetly
brings value, value, value.
You will see a few
of Oprah's favorite things, Jack,
factory-direct. We dare you.

From the subject lines of spam received on or about January 3, 2005.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

On Food and Cooking

Strange. He's just
not that into
your wife. I eat
pork chops, dress
against the fear
in the kitchen.

Created from the titles of's 25 most-wished-for books as of January 5, 2005.

A Short History

Show the people you meet daily the curious truth of Da Vinci, America, Shakespeare, Jesus guys. Fear presents the world with inaction, with a democracy of angels and demons. The approach to understanding heaven (the plot, the code, the science, the lore) became the world. How will I chronicle the zero tolerance, the excuses? When will nearly everything be complete?

Created from the titles of's 25 most-wished-for books as of January 5, 2005.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Question-and-Answer Session


I missed
the personal view.


I'm here
every day.
I don't see.


No, I don't just say,
“long-term,” “short-term,”
“in,” and “out.”


I do not think
the period
is still on the table.
I don't believe
it's on the table
it wasn't
when I left.


Again, I wish—
My view is—
I'll give you
my opinion:
My opinion
is free and fair.


It's undetermined somewhere.


You guard it.
You restrict it.
You keep it.
I mean, rather than
just huddling around.
That's offensive.


I wouldn't necessarily see it.
I would see a symbol.
In actuality, it's a classic technique
to provoke
an action-reaction-counteraction
cycle that we go through.


A little bit of each: we're working
with the traffic, the road.


Behind you and back.


My view is on track.
Accomplishing our objectives
is representative of all the people.
I believe
we will get there,
and I believe
we are there.


What was the second part?


I do. I mean, my! What I believe!


To help 25
young women:
that's what makes
this country great.


Last part first.


Their ultimate disposition.


Everyone has a story,
a variety of places.


Oh, I will tell you,
going after the fish
is really providing direction.


It has been
an important
intermediate hypothetical,
the answer to that.


Well, you also have
a good answer
to that hypothetical.


Let me talk and build
improvised devices,
rehearse with impunity.
That's what they had,
that's what they don't have anymore.
That's what they had for a while,
that's what they don't have anymore.

The status quo needs to improve.


To be clearly elsewhere—
dramatically, necessarily, frankly.
Oh, yeah.


That's a great question.
We think you know
we felt we needed momentum,
pressure, training.
Crank all the way up.


I said, “Everybody knows the bag,”
but we're generally pleased.


Frankly, I've thought
about the need
to pay and encourage,
maybe. To
continue to move.


I wouldn't want potential go-ahead.


We're working. We've said
we'll be working. We need to have
a second point.
Third point is, I think. Oh, absolutely.


I mean the history of a long, long time.


I have two concerns.
As you suggest,
a direct involvement is coming.
Stop it, stop it.


He's a back-and-forther in there.


What I have attacked fairly heavily
wasn't a complete shock.

Created from a Department of Defense news briefing held Thursday, December 16, 2004.

Monday, December 27, 2004


1 : moist plaster 2: painting*

Example sentence: There are actually two types: applied and true.

Did you know? Cave painting reached its height in the Sistine Chapel. The cathedral took the late 15th and early 16th centuries to plaster. Michelangelo used murals.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

From Merriam-Webster Online's entry for "fresco," the word of the day for December 27.

Friday, December 24, 2004

A Brief History of Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism

American criticism of accuracy and theory
has a basis in bibliographic procedures.
Historical scholars placed criticism
on contributions.

Modern criticism is scope, sciences,
attention to problematic and peripheral industry.
Poetic truth is beholden to modern discussion.
Critics never support ascertainable
facts about mimesis.

Created from the entry for "literary criticism" from the Encyclopaedia Britannica on-line.

Matthew Arnold,

born this day, noted the “Populace.”

Created from Encyclopaedia Britannica's "Biography of the Day" for December 24, 2004.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Berlin Journal

When right is right, self-sufficiency slips in attracting the world's best.

Don't smile where men are persistent.

The strongest force any parent living; hear what you want to hear, pressure the sweet nothings for desperation.

Make no mistake, some are pleading at my table.

Fighting on is the only option, says an Italian prince.

Created from headlines from the 25 most popular articles e-mailed by New York Times readers in the 24-hour period ending Wednesday, December 22, 2004, at approximately 4:15 p.m.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Notes on Languages Using the Latin Alphabet

No translator of a work would reproduce a status not intended. The remarks about punctuation apply to snippets. Anyone who has ever read a book knows it.

African Languages
Most use no letters. Characters too numerous are dealt with in sections.

Polite, personal. Now used ever more rarely. Until the mid-twentieth century, nouns were German.

Requires two vowels.

There is considerable variation. For advice, consult Maurice.

More spelling became official in 1998. For principles, consult ordinary sentences. Quotations usually take a single sound, although certain words are needed.

These nominative forms appear in many French publications. Suspension dots are rarely divided.

The polite personal pronouns no longer are.

Czekam na Twoj przyjad.

Months and days suffer from a lack of standardization.

Created from sections 10.9 through 10.88 of The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Harry Houdini Defies Natural Laws

Advancement improved the limited number of surprising transformations done in defiance of natural laws, left leg, or head. The decapitation of a man in 1874 was presented in the form of "sawing a woman in half." Gravitation involves disappearance.

Houdini's Performances
The present century is sensational. Success depends partly on the fact that above ground, he accomplished the so-called "milk-can escape." A box, which is locked, roped, and weighted, involves upwards of 100 needles and several yards of thread.

Mind Reading
The mortality of clever charlatans depended on Margery, ostensibly securing great adroitness of mind as well as mechanical ingenuity.

Created from the entry for "conjuring," written by Harry Houdini, from the 13th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Saturday, December 18, 2004


Not used to bruising
reality, so many clothes pushed to the breaking
point. Some people think
the grumbles are rank, like a brainstorm.

They're always touting parents of kids
who attract this: rumbling arches, you know,
"slap greetings," mere love letters.
They could sell out-of-shape sponsors

in the desert afraid to visit some good publicity.
In this day and age, think big: how about
huge heads (and necks), gold rings,
and some support sooner

rather than later.
A war could help a lot.

Created from the December 16, 2004, New York Times column by Maureen Dowd. All words are hers.

Coulterkampf #1

It might be cool to
be flogged publicly: one type
of juvenile badge.

You're consistently
screaming “sex crisis,” missing
my literacy.

Sweaters are anti-
Biblical. Go forth,
gas-guzzling cars.

I had enough turn-
of-the-century plants and trees.
Don’t pray; rape those guns.

maniacs are a good start.
Take the cheering ones.

Each haiku created from one interview with or column by Ann Coulter. All words are hers.

Friday, December 17, 2004


Let me kind of step back in general. I might hide in caves. This is just a part of analyzing, and that's good as well. I look forward again, I repeat, yeah. Right. We gave it a strategic look, big-picture capacities. Now look, I look forward and I look forward. One that will help a dangerous world where I'm coming from, a dangerous world. I wish it wasn't here. Again, I wish it wasn't true: the world the way it is. I mean, I'd be glad to visit. Listen, let me, first of all. I strongly believe on a regular basis. I can make extraordinary cooperation. As you know. Right. The danger out in the public is that I receive fear. People saying I need honest gentlemen and a full analysis against the context of place. Perhaps. Optimism may be the best way. We're doing a pretty good job of dismantling my speeches. That's the truth. Sure, sure. First of all, I expected this desk. I based my years, not only upon the context. In other words and therefore, every potential context, obviously. In other words, we remembered, which meant we knew we knew other words. That was the intelligence. Now, let me, which is vital. And so we found the theories as to where we entered and we'll find out. Let me finish the American people by quoting other words. Because I don't think the best, I believe it. They become my language, because a shadowy intelligence can't say, "Let's don't deal, let's hope, let's let me take a step back for a second."

Created from a transcript of Tim Russert's February 7, 2004, interview with George W. Bush broadcast on NBC'S "Meet the Press," Sunday, February 8, 2004. All words are Mr. Bush's.