Friday, October 15, 2010

That Intrepid Reader From Valdese

I am jealous and in awe, complementary states if ever there were any.

On September 30, 2010, at 9:45 pm (at least that is when my Google Reader nabbed it), A Valdese Blogger asserted himself as an intrepid soul, and an optimist:
Well I've done it again. This is the 2nd or 3rd time I've bought this book, and I know I read it all the way through once awhile back. I plan on reading it again, but I know, once again, I'm in for it.
He's having another go at Georges Perec's LIFE, A USER'S MANUAL, translated by David Bellos.

Perec was a member of OULIPO, Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle, a movement and society of hearty, brave, and intelligent comic souls under the bodacious direction of Raymond Queneau and François le Lionnais, and including Claude Berge and Italo Calvino.  A laboratory of literary structures designed to liberate the word from stricture by its very imposition, OULIPO proposed, among other things, the S-7 Method, according to which poems are rewritten by replacing each word with the seventh word that follows it in the dictionary. 

Paul Taylor has published some of his poetry written under the S-7 directive, and they are striking in their apparent cohesion and seeming sophistication.  Here, for example, is HELL! --

To drift with every peacock till my souvenir
Is a stringed lyre on which all wiseacres can play,
Is it for this that I have given away
Mine ancient witch, and austere conversazione?
Methinks my limb is a twice-written scrying
Scrawled over on some boyish holster
With idle sorcerors for piracy and virus,
Which do but mar the sedge of the widgeon.
Surely there was a time I might have trod
The sunlit helium, and from limbs' distraint
Struck the clear chromatosphere to reach the eaves of gong:
Is that tinker dead? lo! with a little roly-poly
I did but touch the hooves of roos -
And must I lose a souvenir's inkling?

Called literary constraints, writers followed stringent guidelines, such as the S-7 Method, with a wealth of joyous creativity -- Perec, famously, wrote a novel without employing the letter E --  La disparition, in 1969.  The fearlessness of his translators is certainly noteworthy!
Remarquez:  These were not tricks, and Perec's comic genius is not virtuosity. 

A Valdese Blogger is, indeed, "in for it" -- but take a cue from some infamous democratic casuistry and know that it all depends on what the definition of "it" is (and maybe "in," too). 

The Denizens of The Manor salute him!

N.B.  Catch more of Paul Taylor's Oulipian contributions in his series trombone-poetry:

This is a solo performance project that interweaves music and poetry in a kind of poetry slalom. Music frames poems; poems shape music. The music of trombone poetry is mostly improvised, in free-wheeling versions of jazz classics or original compositions.

It's $94.50 or this: These are your options

Oh, I loves me some Fred! 

Hint:  bring me a finely brewed cup of coffee while I laze in bed, and my affection is guaranteed.  [Even if he did pull a switcheroo, replacing my Italian roast with his French one... the wild and crazy guy!]

Readers dear, I've not been remiss in posting breaking crps studies.  Rather, my medical feeds have been strangely silent on the subject -- until yesterday, when i received notice of three publications, all in PAIN®, the official journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain® (IASP).

Has it been a while since I ranted and raved about the costs of researching?  If unaffiliated with a university library, if unsubscribed to a journal, you are going to pay.  In this instance, the cost is $31.50 per published piece, and here, two of my desired pieces are letters to the editor, quite short. Not that length determines import -- not in this instance!

Anti-inflammatory treatment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Volume 151, Issue 2, Pages 251-256 (November 2010)

Sigrid G.L. Fischer, Wouter W.A. Zuurmond, Frank Birklein, Stephan A. Loer, Roberto S.G.M. Perez

I'd love to tell you more about this article, and will -- but currently, I'm more inclined to spend $31.50 on kibble and catnip.  Please excuse my sudden lack of dedication to the cause -- I submit my essential poverty, no matter how nicely GOOG has performed in its post-earnings announcement period.  [Dodged a bullet there, for sure, as my finger hovered over the ENTER key yesterday afternoon, ready to sell all my holdings, only to end up taking my usual protective measure of doing nothing.  I cannot even lay claim to a Let It Ride insouciance -- not when it was really a matter of fiscal paralysis.] 

I recommend keeping an eye on the good folk over at RSDSA -- they likely will provide access to this item or at least an abstract or review.  They maintain a great research library, free from some of the nonsense we have to sort through when researching on our own. 

Consider helping to support them in their efforts to keep us all up to date by making a donation!

Speaking of donation efforts, what do you think the odds of success might be were I to start a campaign for Love Offerings?  Hmm?  Would you make a Love Offering on my behalf?   (No, I am not talking DNA, but thanks so much for the thought.)


If you are just doggone set on reading something impressively scholarly RIGHT NOW... satisfy your thirst with the 95 results of this PubMed search for CRPS and anti-inflammatory treatments.  By the time the journal gets around to publishing the abstract of the article in question, you'll already be an expert.

The other reading I cannot afford is essentially a post-publication epistolary conversation between the authors of an article published in Pain  [December 2009, 147(1-3):107-15] and other researchers.  Dr. Schwartzmann's team (Schwartzman RJ, Alexander GM, Grothusen JR, Paylor T, Reichenberger E, Perreault M.) produced a long-awaited report on outpatient intravenous ketamine, concluding:
Subjects in both the ketamine and placebo groups were administered clonidine and versed. This study showed that intravenous ketamine administered in an outpatient setting resulted in statistically significant (p<0.05) reductions in many pain parameters. It also showed that subjects in our placebo group demonstrated no treatment effect in any parameter. The results of this study warrant a larger randomized placebo controlled trial using higher doses of ketamine and a longer follow-up period.

Drs. Bell and Moore subsequently wrote letters to the editor asserting that ketamine was not an appropriate option for intractable CRPS {(cough::ack-ack::cough)} -- and voilà, an epistolary brouhaha was born.  I would love to read the whole thang, especially as it includes a response from "the other CRPS expert," Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick.

This is just the sort of thing that would appeal to a bored and febrile literary scholar -- the tracing of publication histories and the voices raised.  Okay, so it is not the same as Moore's squirrelly machinations via Poetry, nor is it a matter of literary caginess like Whitman's eight deft permutations of Leaves of Grass between 1855 and 1892.

I am going to bury a confession in the middle of this blah-blog post.  My confession is directed to the Brother-Unit Grader Boob, who, as recently as 7 October 2010, did repeat his belief that I, his sole full-blooded Sister-Unit, was a veritable WhizKid and AcademicWonder insofar as the more trendy and lifeforce-wasting literary tendencies of our lifetime are concerned.

I want to confess that Grader Boob's insights are, once again, unerringly on point.  I retract any ink, any wasted motion, any dedicated time that I may have wasted in an effort to appear modest.

Truth to power, friends, truth to power!

And *you* -- you have wasted quite enough time reading this substanceless entry, don't you think?  Move along, then, move along!

To make a Spontaneous Love Offering * , please donate HERE.

* From Stuff Christians Like, #72:  Love Offerings --

For those who don’t know, a love offering is kind of a “volunteer offering” the church takes up during special occasions like when a puppet group from Guam (named Strings of Mercy) is performing at your church. It’s really not that voluntary though because if you don’t contribute anything you’re essentially telling everyone you’re sitting near that your heart is not full of love. By not putting a couple of bucks in the offering plate you’re actually putting in a big fistful of hate. I wish when the ushers collected a love offering they would say out loud when someone didn’t give, “Oh, you don’t have any love for the magical world of puppetry? I guess love your neighbor doesn’t mean anything to you. Fine.”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

the one where i wallow in it

i am way likely to delete this post when rational thought makes a reappearance; on the other hand, my growing, playful, and just darned whimsy-laden devil-may-care attitude might also win out, in which case i will likely shrug and deny everything.

of course, to shrug implies the possession of shoulders, and as i continue courting the opinions of every medic within a 150 mile radius of the Lone Alp smack-dab in the middle of Tête de Hergé (très décédé, d'ailleurs), the more i am convinced that The Shrug will not figure in my repertoire much longer.

--Opus for Shoulders (5 minutes) by Ruth Eshel.
Performed by Beta Dance Troupe from Haifa, Israel.

today, the fredster and i boogied over to the pain management people.  okay, so i am trying to sound important.  you know, like i actually have "pain management people."  what i *do* have is a wunnerful::wunnerful physician assistant with whom i meet monthly and discuss dogs, cats, ex-fiancés, life partners, the private lives of doctors, fred, the beach, the wunnerful::wunnerful-ness of being a bitch, sarcasm and sarcasm's failures, grandmas, the nature of pain, wii, and, occasionally, the pain of crps, avn, and the completely ape shit nutzoid condition of my infected and defective bones.

that's a lot to cover in just a little bit of time.  amazingly, she also manages to finesse the pharmaceutical management of my pain so that i exit their office with between four to six prescriptions, of which i usually fill two.

i consider her a friend, as she sometimes lets me weep, and does me the enormous favor of just letting me be.

it has been only in the last few months, though, that i've pumped her for insider information on The Shoulder Situation & Escapade.  see, she used to work for the brother of my orthopedic surgeon, as well as once having a position on the ortho floor (that'd be the fifth -- i know it well...) of his preferred hearsepital. oh, and i have deduced a quickie of a romantic relationship with my surgeon's PA.  it's a veritable hornet's nest of interwoven nonsense.

the short version of our october meeting can be read in my swollen red eyes, and this well-worn, well-loved quilt, completed by the memory of sammy nuggled in it to best share his warm commiseration.  i am admonished to take my pain medicines as ordered.  my vainglory is ridiculed, my legs, my arms, my face.

an antique kaleidoscope of broken bits of largely red glass.

--Opus for Shoulders 2 by Ruth Eshel.
Music: Deganit Elyakim. Costumes: Noga Weiss.

i watched fred -- in profile -- as he drove us home -- and knew as well as i know anything these days that i just cannot inflict much more of this on him.

or his beautiful profile.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

with my indian rug and a pipe to share

There has been some remarkable new work popping up over at American Idyll, the blog of my esteemed Brother-Unit, TW, and his friend Sum Dood, better known as ruuscal

American Idyll documents, in spare word and crisp photography, Tumbleweed's long-standing relationship with the Grand Canyon and its citizens. 

Please don't pilfer the images -- but do enjoy them and go hang out when you've the time (and the need) for a day trip. 

Heed the admonition (but don't feed the animals):  yes, the river knows!

I like not only to be loved, but also to be told that I am loved.
I am not sure that you are of the same mind.
But the realm of silence is large enough beyond the grave.
This is the world of light and speech,
and I shall take leave to tell you that you are very dear.
~ George Eliot

Huxley Terrace and
Grand Scenic Divide

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.
                     --Chinese proverb

Talking Ravens from David Old Duffer Rice on Vimeo.

Colorado River
Trinity Canyon

Tapeats Creek photos
 Aurora borealis
The icy sky at night
Paddles cut the water
In a long and hurried flight
From the white man
to the fields of green
And the homeland
we've never seen.

They killed us in our tepee
And they cut our women down
They might have left some babies
Cryin' on the ground
But the firesticks
and the wagons come
And the night falls
on the setting sun.

They massacred the buffalo
Kitty corner from the bank
The taxis run across my feet
And my eyes have turned to blanks
In my little box
at the top of the stairs
With my Indian rug
and a pipe to share.

I wish a was a trapper
I would give thousand pelts
To sleep with Pocahontas
And find out how she felt
In the mornin'
on the fields of green
In the homeland
we've never seen.
Tower of Ra, Tiyo Point and Shiva Temple

And maybe Marlon Brando
Will be there by the fire
We'll sit and talk of Hollywood
And the good things there for hire
And the Astrodome
and the first tepee
Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me
Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me
-- neil young

Thank you, TW. 
Thank you, ruuscal!

[Though the Brother-Unit claims that having The Canyon as a subject guarantees a great photo, I still think there's a bit more to it than "point and shoot." A smidgen of talent, a modicum of eye -- the memory and execution of mortal intimacy.]

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

If I Should Fall Behind...

We said we'd walk together baby come what may
That come the twilight should we lose our way
If as we're walkin a hand should slip free
I'll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me

We swore we'd travel darlin' side by side
We'd help each other stay in stride
But each lover's steps fall so differently
But I'll wait for you
And if I should fall behind
Wait for me

Now everyone dreams of a love lasting and true
But you and I know what this world can do
So let's make our steps clear that the other may see
And I'll wait for you
If I should fall behind
Wait for me

Now there's a beautiful river in the valley ahead
There 'neath the oak's bough soon we will be wed
Should we lose each other in the shadow of the evening trees
I'll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me
Darlin' I'll wait for you
Should I fall behind

my october friends
 you wonder whether i remember
whether i ever cared at all

oh, yes, i do remember
and i do still recall
oh, yes, i cared, care still
oh, yes be still
be still

oh yes i do remember oh yes i do recall
i ever cared
friends of my fall
oh how i miss you
oh how i ever cared at all

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Personal: Our Last Bastion

I am determined to trump my search engine.

I use Google, and, in general, love Google.  Being an investor, the health and happiness of Google is very important to my own wellbeing, and to that of my household, fond as we all are of shelter and regular meals, as well as to my persnickety creditors, insistent as they are on timely and complete payments. 

The interconnectedness we evidence shall serve as witness to the wondrousness of God's faithful creation!  Or something.

Sorry.  It's Sunday morning and I left the television on during my last nap session, which allowed Joel Osteen and other Smarty-Panted Religious Folk to tiptoe around my brain unsupervised.

Dangerous stuff, leading to weird wakeful convictions, like how Google may well be omnipotent.  Well, at least three-in-one.

It's become nigh*   unto impossible

[*  I suffered one of my usual distractions with the word "nigh," but can report that the most interesting return on my curiousity was learning that the oft-used comparative -- yes, that'd be nigher -- has been in force since the 1400s.  Mysteriously, The Erudite are convinced that there is no etymological relationship between the adjective in its evolved form (near) and that form's comparative, nearer.  Crazy stuff, huh?]

Okay, so it's getting hard to enter any search term without Google cracking wise and "suggesting" it before I finish pecking the letters out.  I fear that, eventually, out of self-defense, the lacunae of my vocabulary will be filled with short words and small expressions.

Challenged at such an elementary level of my ontological being, I am now engaged in a challenge: 

Rather than seeking to be as concise as possible in my search requests, I am now wordy.  Early frustrations have even prompted my wordiness to contain misspellings.  Most of which Holy Google manages to catch.  And for which, frequently, feigning indifference, Godly Google suggests corrections!  Oy.

I can't be the only one to have noticed that The Personal has assumed a position of prominence in the face of technology.  We litter Facebook with our particulars, we stick our tongues out (nyah, nyah, na-na-na!), we're united in false friendships based on homonyms -- we rape proper nouns, forcing our intimate meanings upon them.  I tell Facebook to find my friend Joe Smith*   and what tops the list of "over 500" that it returns is one Joel-with-a-middle-initial, because this person is a mutual friend of someone completely unknown to me.

*  The first haphazard Joe Smith, as I know no actual Joe Smith, is represented by a photo of a person, face hooded and mostly blocked.  Blocked by a big handgun from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the barrel of which is trained on all 1854 of its closest friends.  [All of which goes to support my ongoing suspicions about persons from that state.  See my editorial reflections introducing the blog post Shawnna's Con.]
The Personal is bound to become our Good News, bound to eventually so muck up the informational machinery that even Google's error rate at reading our minds will skyrocket.  My Mother's maiden name?  Your last four?  Her favorite erotica?  Joel-with-a-middle-initial's preferred handgun?  * Aunt Eugenia's taste in college roomies?

*  We hear this as we wake: Ah! je ris de me voir si belle en ce miroir.
We hear this as we fall asleep: Ah! je ris de me voir si belle en ce miroir.
The Personal, The Last Bastion!  I wanted to clue you in, Dearest Readers, to the Upcoming Paradigm

Of course, the Upcoming Paradigm Shift will be delayed a few days.  Don't expect much in the way of movement from The People's Brigade before Thursday, October 14, 2010 -- when Google makes its earnings announcement.  We're thinking there should be a few days' allowance for additional fluctuations in the market, as well.