Thursday, January 04, 2007


Well, I've decided to run my own blog on my own site.
So from now on, find me on begins in wonder. For historical laziness, this will remain, but look for me elsewhere. or on Technorati.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

hours of halloween audio fun

Checkout the scream stream of free halloween public radio, brought to you for gratis by the fine folks at PRX.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

FeedTools and FeedUpdater fun

Playing around with FeedTools and FeedUpdater.
Fun stuff.

Had a few lessons learned I wanted to share:

1) load the rails app feed config file

To get FeedUpdater to find my 'feed_updater.yml' file, I had to make a small change to some of the file loading logic. It kept loading the example/default comfig - so I changed the list of paths to look for my file first, by climbing out of the vendor directory, and getting the file in the regular rails app config directory.

config_file = FileStalker.hunt([


config_file = FileStalker.hunt([

2) Use the rails app model objects in the custom updater script.

This took some experimentation to figure out.

As the rails wiki says, you need to require the environment script to be able to use the rails app goodies in a standalone script. But where, pray-tell, should you put this require?

Use the on_begin method of the custom script.
So if you have in your 'feed_updater.yml':

load_script: lib/my_feed_updater.rb

Then in this file, you need something like the following:

class MyFeedUpdater < FeedTools::FeedUpdater

on_begin do
#load all thing needed to use rails app stuff
require File.dirname(__FILE__) + '/../config/environment'

#use your model like its going out of style

on_update do |feed, seconds|"Loaded '#{feed.href}'. Updated (#{feed.title}) in #{seconds} seconds.")

on_error do |href, error|"Error updating '#{href}':")

on_complete do |updated_feed_hrefs|

Hope someone else gets some fun out of this.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Decreation - Anne Carson, triple threat

Working my way through Decreation by Anne Carson.

I got tipped by a literati family member to Autobiography of Red awhile back, and so when my local amazing bookstore posted the new book to their poetry section, I snagged it. And then a week or so later came the review in the aptly named Boston Review.

I can't do it justice, I'm just trying to appreciate it - go read for yourself.

The Knopf site has clips of the author performing pieces of this. Can you beat that?


Grups, at least the etymology is a clever repurposing from "speculative" pseudo-Twilight Zone original Star Trek sci-fi, monosyllabic, and easy to remember.

Gen-x is too old, gen-y is too young, and a guy who would rather buy scissors for $5 and cut his own hair than spend $100 at a salon cannot be described as "metro"; but now, it seems, I have been labeled. sigh.

I feel less than comforted, and it certainly makes me rethink buying a 3rd pair of pumas (oh, yeah wore them before they were cool and had a huge Newbury St. store).
I haven't bought distressed jeans since an embarrassing acid wash incident in the actual 80s - most folks I know got their distressed blues by never throwing them away (and for a few of us, by still being able to fit into what we bought 15 yrs ago).

Maybe it will catch on, maybe it won't. I just can't get all that excited by yet another attempt to establish a stereotype for fertile aging cool kids. Besides I have more jazz than Interpol on my iPod, thanks very much.

I think this may be like writing a horoscope for the 30-ish; there is enough there in its 8 pages for us all to read and find a few things applicable, while remaining vague, superficial and a bit obvious.

You don't want to wear a suit!
You wear jeans and a hoody!
You would rather snowboard than work!
You never stopped listening to new music!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

too long, and too much is wrong

Way too long since I last posted, but more time is at hand.

Talked to my brother, he's hopefully dodging an ID card since he is already in Scotland, and is legal and all.

What a lovely time. Tech makes nations and geography less important (arguably), while politicians highlight the importance of national origin as the difference between criminal and patriot.

Does it need to be said? Villainizing illegal immigrants is a PC way to hate minorities. You know, it's not that they are different and poor and not white, it's that they are criminals (they're illegal , so that means they're criminals, right?) and probably terrorists to boot (right out of the country).

Besides, they are all thieves because they are stealing our jobs. I wonder if the politicians noticed that these "criminals" can't vote before they made them into congressional punching bags?

So maybe, just maybe, this is all code - some subtle form of racism (on second thought, not all that subtle).

When the riots start, please remember I am a petite liberal and not worth smashing.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Kooser for President

As the talk about the 2008 race gets started, my vote is for a Kooser/Walken ticket.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

The 2005 Mark Twain Prize celebrating Steve Martin

The Kennedy Center Presents: The 2005 Mark Twain Prize celebrating Steve Martin . Home | PBS

In a similar vein, Steve Martin is still funnier than you.
Get used to it.

Worst Job Ever - ad nauseum

Yes yes yes...

Sweet lord that is some good comedy.

Makes you wonder why there is so much drivel on television (i.e. mad tv, snl) when you see something like this. At least Chapelle is coming back.

Remembering those we lost

We lost many artists this year, and I see the press about the biggest names like Richard Pryor, Pat Morita, and Carson. But look, here is one that touched a nerve for me: Jerry Juhl.

The guy created Super Grover, wrote Gonzo out of thin air, and then made up the Fraggles - where would you be without them?

I only wish Avenue Q would spark a new puppetry rennaisance, it's about time.

Thanks Jerry.

2005: Lost lives that touched our own: "Jerry Juhl, 67, who was head writer for 'The Muppet Show' before he co-created 'Fraggle Rock.' Juhl worked as a puppeteer on Jim Henson's first television show, 'Sam and Friends,' and later spent six years writing for 'Sesame Street' after its 1969 premiere. Juhl was head writer for 'The Muppet Show' from 1977-81, receiving two Emmys for his work."

End-of-Year Reflections from Ted Kooser

I am a Ted Kooser fan. Why aren't you reading his work every day?

I read Delights and Shadows last month, and am ready to buy more of this retired insurance salesman/poet laureate's work. Please don't let me try and do justice to describing his work, but I will say it reminds me of Charles Wright - I heard him speak once in NYC, I think he read from Black Zodiac.

Differently, I also enjoyed his Poetry Home Repair Manual, which I am almost done reading, and only started digesting.

And even if you could care less, he has excellent citations/examples, so you are also getting poems that have stuck with Kooser, like this oft-mentioned one from Joseph Hutchinson:

O heart weighed down by so many wings.

To paraphrase Kooser, after you read that, can you ever see, or think about an artichoke the same way?

If all else fails to convince, I like that he writes for those of us without advanced degrees in Ulysses, and most of you will like that too.

Today, while it has a 'rural elitist' slant (i.e. urbanites are spoiled, real life is in the country, the nobility of a rugged individual accomplishing of small things, etc.), he provides a bit on the end of the year. It's a breath of cold air to sweep the year into the dust bin.

NPR : End-of-Year Reflections from Ted Kooser:

december 31
Cold and snowing.

The opening pages forgotten,
then the sadness of my mother's death
in the cold, wet chapters of spring.

For me, featureless text of summer
burning with illness, a long convalescence,
then a conclusion in which
the first hard frosts are lovingly described.

A bibliography of falling leaves,
an index of bare trees,
and finally, a crow flying like a signature
over the soft white endpapers of the year.