Friday, February 23, 2007

A critical review of “Big Bag of Douche” by Murray

I recently had the pleasure of reading a new work by poet, Murray. In this piece he transcends the trappings of metaphor and alliteration that often plague young writers and delivers a message with clarity and without apology. Stripped bare of ornament, Murray borrows the form of Haiku to deliver a message that grabs the living squarely by the shoulders and looks them in the eye, as well as rattles the bones of dead literati. It says what we all too often long to say but cannot find the courage or the words or pander to the constraints of what is considered an “ordered society.” But, like all revolutionaries, clearly Murray has signed R. Mutt on his urinal and hung it as art in a gallery to make us gasp or giggle in embarrassment or walk out of the gallery in a huff. And though many will debate from this time forward, as they did with Duchamp and the Dadaists, whether or not it is art, no one can deny that it is. And now that it has been done, it is forever in the history books and time can only embrace it as the gospel of innovation.

Though I wouldn’t use the term alliteration, this piece is not without rhythm and repetition. It flows from tongue and teeth and makes one want to close their eyes and soak in its canter:

You are such a dick
You are such total dick
I hate you, you dick

And sit back one more time and say, “read it again, dear. More slowly this time.”


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Holidays from Saudi Arabia

Hello everybody,

I was going to comment back to you all on the post that C created, but there was just such an overwhelming rush of well wishing that I thought I'd take a moment to create a post and thank you all here.

First of all, thank you so much for all of your messages. I did get them and they meant a lot to me, being so far from home. Unfortunately, for some reason I cannot perform many functions, like get into blogger to update my blog, etc., with the service that I have in my room here, so basically I just pick up and send e-mail from there. however, there is a dive center at the palace that has satellite service and that is how I am able to do this post. I use it occasionally for chat and internet browsing.

Christmas here was pretty funny. I went to the house of a British friend in a Western housing compound (the kind that like to get car bombed) and as it housed Western diplomats we wound our way through checkpoints and cement barricades and army trucks with rear mounted machine guns with guys sitting in seats attached to them and then through an inner guard station and gate to get to his home. That was how Christmas began. Their house was decorated with the center piece being an artificial fig tree with christmas lights and ornaments. in the back courtyard we barbecued and where the courtyard was positioned we could hear the call to prayer from three different mosques mixing together and echoing in the couryard in a surreal caucophony.

For those of you who don't know, I am a sort of court artist and designer for a faction of Saudi Royalty and do a variety of art and design projects for a specific palace on the Red Sea. My primary reason for being here is to do maintenance on 10,000 Square feet of murals that I perfromed years ago in the marina where His Excellency's yachts are docked in the Red Sea. In additon I completed and had presented at the request of H.E. (we call him "the boss" here) a design that I have been working on for a couple of months now for a private shark aquarium about the size of half a football field with underwater acrylic tube and 360 degree underwater observatory. It is a crazy design that I might share with you later and was met with approval to send on to the architects and engineers for detailed plans. There is a possiblity that the meeting with said architects and engineers will be in Cyprus where the primary contractor has his offices. The architects and engineers are from England. Last project I went to England but I'm hoping this one will be Cyprus for something new and I can take Cindra with me!

So, that's a slice of my alter-life that crops up in between terms of teaching and here and there as the need arises. Mystery no more. I will be bringing home pics so that the curious can see what I am talking about.

Again, thanks so much for dropping by my blog and may peace and love fiind you wherever you are and whatever you may be celebrating this holiday season.

With Love,


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas from here to there

Hello Bloggers,

This is Cindra, just hijacking my husband's blog for a moment.

As most of you know, Tom has been in Saudi forever, I mean, for awhile, and he will be there through Christmas this year since our collective brood is scattered about with their other parental units and it won't be Christmas until we are all together anyway. Well, seeing as most of the peeps who work with him have gone home to be with their families for the holiday, although his stoic damned self would not admit it, Tom is understandably getting a wee bit lonely. He has a but a few days left until he is safely home again enjoying his own happy Christmas, but in the meantime, knowing full well how embarrassed this will make him, I encourage you to wish him a happy holiday in the comments area which will go directly to his email, where he will be surprised and thrilled to receive them, I'm sure.

Thanks for that.

May you and yours enjoy a warm and wonderful holiday!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy thanksgiving-- a patriotic message

Well, I didn't want the last thing that I posted before taking off to the middle east to be something as sad and disheartening (and political) as war crimes. As I have tried to let everybody know, I'm extremely busy with deadlines, wrapping my term up early in preparation for a solid month of work in what amounts to another world. Traveling to the middle east is one of those things that does cause me to count my blessings as an American.

And so, I thought it only appropriate that I should tell what I am thankful for and also make the distinction that cannot be made clearly enough between my unhappiness with the actions of my government and the love for my country, my home.

First of all, I couldn't be more thankful to simply have this experience we call life. I guess it's my way of saying "God first," on my thankful list as if by stating anything with the word God in it makes it clear. I don't pretend to know what God is, what shape or gender God takes. Aside from the statement made in Genesis that "God created man in his own image," I don't know whether that is to be taken metaphorically or if the maleness of that statement was just the writing style of the times-- even Jane Goodall, in the early part of her career, spoke of "man" when referring to humankind, Latin uses the plural male form of a noun when referring to male and female together in the plural form. But, what I do have is a profound sense that the mere fact that I can utter these thoughts about something as dark and intangible as what reason or madness is responsible for our existence and awareness of ourselves is in itself a miracle and one that I, in all of my Madisonian logic (if you knew my family you would know what I am talking about ), cannot solely attribute to a mere accident of physics. So, here's to being here. We have won the lottery and have at least a one way ticket on this ride (hats off to my buddhist friends) that we can be sure of. That, my friends, is something to be thankful for.

I am thankful for my family. I couldn't be luckier. We have the usual foibles of any family, the usual groans over this or that member that are the hallmarks of any good family. We aren't perfect but we love each other and more importantly, we accept each other. Shrinking that to the nucleus we have at home, I am blessed again. We love and fight and laugh like the best of them. We are loud in everything we do, but when we have a group hug, even the dog gets up on her hind legs and joins in.

And I am thankful for America. We are as corrupt as any country in the world but we have a couple of things that some countries do not. We have the right to say that out loud and to publish it here. We have the right to make change as a people, like we did in this last election that not only led to a paradigm shift of political power but the long overdue ousting of Donald Rumsfeld-- but we, as a people, got it done. We have checks and balances, investigators and prosecutors that bring down at least some of the rotten politicians. But, again I wax political and this is not exactly what I want to say. We have something even more important than that. We have the American Dream. I was flying on this same journey last year and seated next a man from Finland. And as we have lost the respect of most of the world there is always a little feeling of apology when you say that you are American abroad. He was quick to tell me how much he loved America and Americans. Then he said, "do you know why?" I asked him why and he said, "Because everybody has a plan. Everybody has a dream. Everybody is going to be rich or make it big and even if it doesn't happen they still have that dream and maybe next year. In Finland, if you are a carpenter you will probably be a carpenter and that's it." I hadn't really thought about it like that or maybe just assumed that's the way life was-- it certainly has been true for me and mine-- always scheming, always dreaming, going back to school or changing careers, writing novels or screenplays, holding out for "the plan" to work its magic. He gave me back a sense of what was great about being American.

So, heres to you, America, you sower of seeds, you conjurer of dreams. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all, whatever it may mean to you. And may peace find you on this day.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Update on War Crimes Complaint

Hiya folks, thanks for the amazing responses to my previous post on War Crimes. The discussion is still going strong. As an update, the Complaint has been filed. Interestingly enough, my local newspaper, which is fairly liberal being in Greenie Eugenie, made no mention of it. I went to NY Times online and didn't see it in the world section but did keep digging (I think I found it in European news) and came up with something pretty deeply buried.

Below is testimony I found on the CCR (Center for Consitutional Rights) site ( by Brigadier General Janis Karpinksi that is rather compelling. She has flown to Germany to testify. Check out what she has to say: