Sunday, September 27, 2020

Nonsense Amusements










Plato at the Rave

Welcome to the rage cave
both old and odd

Dark Rebellion

In front of the crowd
he threw the detached claw
into the maw
and turned his back  
on stone monkey gods
with flames for eyes


Ready for bed
gashed my head
filled with dread

Furniture and Nothingness

What’s good
for the discount furniture store
is good for the nihilist
Everything Must Go!

Throw in Bad Alliteration

I destroyed the dessert
for the deserving desert party
At dawn it was desultory

Fade to Black

You’ll know it’s the end
when light sneaks away  
the space 
vacant for darkness.

Let’s Have Halloween License Plates

Slogan: First in Fright!

Perverse Boast

He sang
My spinster sister
the sinister usurper

Mark Your Calendars

On Opposite Day
I’ll watch my basement TV
in the attic.

Could it be a Song?

His brain was original
His heart was not
like all the others
it was broken.

Cut Grass

Sounds of the lawnmower
someone nearby  
is maintaining order.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

A Mystery and a Storm

Artist Unknown


Second Story Mystery

I remember living
on the second floor
the one you see from a passing car
on an urban highway and wonder
who lives up there
with the light
on so late at night
well it's me
watching the cars go by
until one night driving
home from my shift
at the liquor store
I run out of gas
on some other urban highway
and there it is
above the rusting guardrail
a square of light
from the second story window
and me
wondering who is
up there
so late at night
with the light on.













Gray and Gold, John Rogers Cox, Cleveland Museum of Art


Without Schedule

I want
enough time
to find a vantage point
to view armadas
of thunderheads
crawl the western plains
on tentacles of lighting
and see the bruised sky
after the storm
at sunset.

I want
more time
to understand the prevailing wind
and observe
of crows and hawks
and sit out on the land
long enough
to be watched by nature
as if I was part of it.

Saturday, September 19, 2020


Continuing on the theme of vintage travel guides, today's post offers two more contrasts: Britain and Greece.

Seaside resorts in Britain, British Travel and Holidays Association (1955)Printed 10 years after the end of World War II, the cover features very clever and colorful artwork. Inside is a series of summaries on British seaside towns from Lands End to the Orkney Islands and everything in between with black and white photos of towns landmarks and vacationers. Curiously, there's a stamp on the back, "Your vacation in France begins in New York when you travel France afloat go buy French line." Bought used at the State Department bookstore.

Greece, Mimic Cranaki (1960). "$1.25" Part of a travel series by Vista Books, a small imprint of Viking Press that published a series of 12 books, mostly European. Grease. The guide is an unorthodox approach with a series of essays about Greek history and culture. Definitely strong commentary that you won’t find in most travel books, e.g., “all creatures on two legs are scoundrel’s who have sold themselves to the Americans.“  Four pages at the back of the book have a few practical tips on phrases and advice.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Vintage Travel Guides: Part 4 - Africa to Iceland


Part 4 of Vintage Travel Guides. There’s nothing like contrasts and travel between your home and the place you’re exploring. Here I’m adding two completely unrelated vintage travel guides one for Iceland and one for Tanzania.  

1.  My east African safari, Keith Gatling (1971). A small booklet provided by African tours and hotels limited. Guide has drawings of animals and map inserts to help visitors identify different African wildlife on their Tanzanian safari. it even includes an animal checklist at the back. This one was owned by "E. Beaman", dated January 24, 1975. They’re checked off animals includes a Colobus, an Elephant, Warthog a Bungo, a Bush Buck, a Buffalo, and a Water Buck . 

2. Handy facts on Iceland (1972). 
A pocket size guide that provides summaries of the country the population and social affairs. 
3. Nagel's Encyclapedia Guide - Iceland. (1968). Part of a series of pocket sized guides published by Nagel Publishers in Paris.  Contains maps, practical tips, suggested routes, and survival vocabulary.

All purchased in the basement of the State Department at the AFSA bookstore.

Imagine packing for a consecutive Tazanian-Iceland travel adventure. Plan enough space for your trip to the Svínafelsjökull glacier with your ice axe and windproof gore-tex jacket together with a transition for the Safari with a pith helmet and khaki cargo shorts.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020



Switzerland, Dore Ogrizek and J.G. Rufenacht (1949). This seemingly benign book on Switzerland has some darker associations. The book was created and distributed by the Switzerland Cheese Association and the Swiss Cheese Union. The cheese groups essentially created an iron clad cartel controlling production of Swiss cheese (Foundue Conspiracy).  Rebel cheese makers tried to introduce new strains of cheeses without success but were kept out of the business. The association created huge subsidies of Swiss taxpayer money that even exceeded the cost of the whole army of Switzerland. By the 1990s, after corruption charges were leveled out a number of Swiss cheese magnates, the organizations were disbanded but the subsidies continue. 
The book also contains special book plate which complements of Switzerland cheese Association and Swiss Cheese Union's New York offices at 105 Hudson Street. I imagine cheese executives in their Tribeca offices in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. It sounds ideal--promoting cheese with parties and giving away books. 
The other intriguing thing about this book is the book plate is made out to "Mr. C.L. Alderman." I can't be certain of who Mr. Alderman was but there was there was a person by that same name who wrote a number of books in the 1970s on histories of Tudor England. 

The cover of the book is completely unassuming but it has inside beautiful little color illustrations maps a concise history of Swiss Switzerland and history on all the different regions. 

Inside the book is stamped printed in Switzerland with inside cover maps provided by Kummerly & Frey Burns Switzerland. They were known as a primer Swiss travel publishing company.  

Finally, the ultimate obscure fact you will read this year is that: "All rights reserved for all countries including Sweden, Norway and the U.R.S.S." [French language alternative initials for the U.S.S.R.]. Why are those three countries called out? Perhaps an international copyright thriller is waiting to be uncovered in this simple statement of legalese.
Purchased at the State Department used book store.