Thursday, November 28, 2002

Further Turkey Verses

These verses
On your fridge,
You working stiffs.
Say thanks with friends and such.
Today's the day to loosen up enough
To scarf down pounds of succulent hot Turkey,
Grandma's cornbread dressing, peas and broccoli,
Gobble gobs of new potatoes mashed, and yummy stuff
Like giblet gravy, candied yams, succotash and buttered squash--
So much food that most must undo belts that cinch too tight
To fit a slice of homemade pecan pie, or another bite
Or two of pumpkin, or a goblet of white wine,
Why not? A hefty snifter of fine brandy,
Or piece of peppermint hard candy.
A pleasant walk to help digest it,
Since the doctors all suggest it
After a major meal's ingested.
Perhaps a nap (a sleeping fit)
Will do the trick as fast:
Convert the tasty feast
To compost waste
No keeping it
Next day,
No way.
A big

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

The Turkey Verses

The day before Thanksgiving,
And all throughout the town
Everyone was planning
To be chowin' down

The bird they call the Turkey,
Perhaps some pumpkin pie
On this month's final Thursd'y--
A holiday of "Thanks" is why,

When banks are closed--oh my.
You'd better mail that letter soon--
Stick 37 cents on it, and let 'er fly
By Post, to get it there pre-June.

Or better yet, send email
To those you love or need to.
Write well before the big meal,
To tell what you've agreed to,

Or take your time, today--and fast
Along with Muslims all
Across the globe's land mass;
Or buy a Hanukkah prayer shawl,
Or hoist a cross of credit to the Mall
To buy a sale thing, while it lasts,
The last one of the Fall.

Or read another poem, perhaps,,
If you're relaxed, with time to pass.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Students out of town for Thanksgiving break this week, so the Daily Egyptian won't be out again until next Monday. But Southern Illinois' #1 newspaper reports that Jackson County Sheriff Bill Kilquist "wouldn't be opposed to [having the right kind of] advertising" on county police vehicles. It's part of a small but growing trend among cash-strapped police departments, according to an article in the Southern Illinoisan.

Although other municipalities dismiss the idea, neither Carbondale City Police nor the SIU Campus Police have weighed in on the issue. How about the State Police? The FBI or DEA? The next time one of these agencies pulls a high-visibility raid, they could pre-sell advertising on the back of their flak-jackets. I'll try to find out today what Carbondale's finests think of the idea--as soon as I get the lowdown on the mysterious Bright Spot Awards (see below).

Monday, November 25, 2002

Keep Carbondale Beautiful. Hoping to publish photos of Carbondale's BRIGHT SPOTS to counter-balance the ever-growing list of downtown BLIGHT SPOTS.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

The sound of one hand typing:

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Nutri-Sweet Baby James Taylor, whose saccharine tunes have been lulling baby boomers to sleep ever since Suzanne committed suicide rather than listen to his drivel, performed last night at the Arena for $40 bucks a (grand-)pop. Those in attendance report that it was mellow, and the Handyman sang his all-time hits with excellent backup. But that's old news. What's happening today is this:

The Brad Cole ad has been revised so as not to be offensive to the intended beneficiary.

I just realized that if Maggie Flanagan is elected as mayor and Priscilla Pimentel is voted on City Council, it would mean two redheads on the Council. I think there may be a city ordinance against that. At present there's a well-balanced mix of follicles on the Council--why tilt the balance? (Of course if Brad Cole is elected, his conservatively-cut sandy strands will blend well with all but the most extreme metal-heads.) Will Priscilla go blonde? Will Maggie shave her head in solidarity with the Bald Knob Coalition of Concerned Networkers? What hat will stately Sheila Simon wear?

Meanwhile, a tip of the hat to one of Carbondale's "native son's," 1984 CCHS graduate, Peter Gregory for putting up $20,000 of his own money for The Southern Angels Business Plan Contest in partnership with the SIUC Office of Economic and Regional Development's Southern TECH to develop regional technologies and local businesses. A total of $40,000 will be awarded to contestants in different categories, with $7,500 the top amount. Details of the plan are available at the Southern Angels website.
Here's a photo I snapped at the press conference yesterday. Sorry about the poor quality. br>

That's Peter "Moneybags" Gregory, second to the left, next to Maggie Flanagan's husband, Ray "of Light" Lenzi, and two blondes with very important jobs with the Office of Regional Economic Development at the university, all of whom undoubtedly enjoy the musical stylings of everyone's friend, James Taylor.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Last night, the annual "Vegetarian Thanksgiving" feast was held at the Interfaith Center and a couple hundred folks showed up including some candidates for the upcoming City Council election.

Council hopefuls Sheila Simon and Priscilla Pimentel were there, as well as Mayoral candidate Maggie Flanagan, all with petitions in hand for feasters to sign . All three said they support building a public outdoor swimming pool within the city limits. So did the other random people I asked. No sign of anyone from POOL, though. They should have brought their own petition for people to sign. (see below).

Although Maggie doesn't have her position paper ready yet, she does have a website called Maggie Listens. It has a feedback form, where you can enter comments and ideas, whereas Brad's website doesn't give his email address.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

To strike or not to strike? whether to nobler to suffer etc. or take to the picket line. As the DE tells it, it's about the money.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

City Councilman Brad "Brad" Cole has just released an excellent booklet on why he should be mayor of Carbondale.

brad cole

Does Margaret "Maggie" Flanagan have a comparable document for voters to read? Not yet. It will be ready in December at her press conference announcing her candidacy.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

A petition is being circulated by POOL (People Organized against Only Lakes), a Carbondale-based group of deep-thinking community activists. To call POOL an organization goes too far--they don't even have a website!--but "Poola" Bradshaw and company have a good idea, and growing support among town residents. Here's the petition.

A Po(o)litical Issue

It is an affront to the standards of the Carbondale community that no public outdoor swimming facility for children and families exists within the city limits. Therefore, we, the undersigned residents of Carbondale, in order to establish a more perfect community, do hereby petition the Carbondale City Council, Carbondale Park District and Carbondale School Districts 95 & 165, Southern Illinois University, and any other governmental body, private organization, or individual with an interest in the matter to join in forming a task force to construct an outdoor swimming school with a diving board and a water slide in town, so children and parents can ride their bicycles--and not have to drive out to Cedar Lake (which gets too warm by July anyway). We urge the people of Carbondale and its government to pool its resources to bring this goal about.

name, address, email

Copies of the petition will be circulated at various locations by various people over the next few weeks. POOL believes that 5000 signatures before Spring Break next year would be impressive. There's a city-wide election for mayor and city council on April 1. Perfect. Poolhaps it can be put on the ballot.

Stop by Carbondale Greyhound, 402 S. Illinois Ave to sign or circulate a copy.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Let's have no talk of faculty strike today, because it's official--two Carbondale City Council members--Brad Cole and Maggie Flanagan want to be mayor when four-termer Neil Dillard retires after this term.

Cole (deputy chief of staff for George Ryan) and Flanagan (a researcher in the College of Agricultural Sciences) will offer voters a clear choice:

Flanagan: "I feel as if I can bring Carbondale to a new millennial level," she said. "I'm very well-networked in the community and I'm effective at getting things done."

Cole: "The mayor needs to be the number one salesman for Carbondale," Cole said. "The mayor needs to be the one singing our praises and doing whatever he can to attract people here."

According to an article in today's Daily Egyptian , "The election will be on April 1, 2003 along with four city council seats. Candidates must file with the city clerk between Dec. 9 and Dec. 16. If three or more persons file for mayor, there will be a primary election on Feb. 25."

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

"It's a good thing you made it clear that I wasn't currently at the Taj Majal," Jim Kelly joked. Prof. Kelly is the chairman of the public information committee for the SIUC teachers' union, the Faculty Association, who directed me to the Frequently Asked Questions at the union's website for more details about the 75(!) issues concerning the 680 faculty members represented by the union.

He said five people represented each side when talks were taking place, but didn't know whose move it was to resume negotiations. Where do the talks take place? In the Student Center? At the Taj Majal? Who are the talkers? Lawyers? Teachers? Administrators? Do they order out for lunch? What will the University's public information representative say?

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

A reader expresses the need for "more buttons, visuals, enticing explanations, gut-grabbbing language" on the Shawnee Network home page. Gut-grabbing language seems too severe, too intense for a portal page like the SN home page.. How about head-scratching, instead? Or crotch-fondling, rib-tickling, ass-kicking, back-slapping, chest-thumping, eye-opening, elbow-rubbing, or foot-tapping? Should it be buttoned up? Buttoned down? Unbuttoned? Yes. Enticing explanations, visuals, yes. Read on.

The sound of one-hand typing:

Today, the Faculty Senate is urging the SIUC administration and the Faculty Association union to resume bargaining. Next week, the FA will vote on whether to call a strike on Feb. 3 of next year if a contractual ageement isn't reached. In addition to a substantial salary increase, other FA issues include workloads, layoffs and academic freedom.

According to Associate Professor, James Kelly, the FA information chief (speaking from the SIU campus, not the Taj Mahal, pictured here), no matter what the Senate says, The Faculty Association alone has power to negotiate working conditions and its primary focus must be on exercising that power, as quoted in today's Daily Egyptian.

You can read what the other issues are at the FAQ section of the FA website.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

The sound of one hand typing

Patched up today, my Dispatch will be brief. Typing with one hand, broken clavicle from wicked spill on bicycle on Sycamore St. at dusk on Friday. Emergency Room, x-rays, pain pills, sling, appointment with surgeon Monday.
* * *
Stuffy in the Kaskaskia Room in the Student Center on Friday, but the view from the 2nd floor was lofty as a panoply of 8 academic poets spoke about their favorite poets--living and dead--and the future of poetry, prompted by questions from SIU's Allison Joseph, the panel moderator.. The discussion got started late due to a bomb threat--an omen, because for most of the hour, the poets' panel discussion "bombed" due to excessive name-dropping.

That's Rodney Jones, the "dean" of SIU's poets, at left, then Beth Ann Fennelly, Judy Jordan, Cate Marvin. Not pictured, Allison Joseph, Bob Hicok, Joelle Biele, and Kevin Prufer. Remember those names. Read their poetry someday. Meanwhile, read what's-'is-name.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Today is Duns Scotus Day (for John of Duns, Scotland). No "dunce" was Duns. In fact, he was a brilliant philosopher.

In an age when many people adopted whole systems of thought without qualification, John pointed out the wisdom of Augustine, Aquinas, Aristotle and the Muslim philosophers.

At a time when people believed that human actions are determined by outside forces, and free will an illusion, Scotus offered a liberating world view. He said if he started beating someone who denied free will, the person would tell him to stop. But how could he stop if he didn't have free will? John could be very persuasive. A Ph.D. from Paris, he lectured at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Unlike today's philosophers, John never contemplated going "on strike". But he was a member of the Franciscan order of priests, having taken a vow of obedience. If the Prior called a work stoppage at the Cologne Cathedral, John would have been compelled to join the picket line. So it appears that free will can be influenced by outside forces, and be limited by them.

What are these forces? Are they the same in our time as they were in the Middle Ages? I'll leave that for today's philosophers to answer--wise men like Anthony Steinbock, who knows more about phenomenology and "strikes" (I daresay) than anyone at SIUC.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Dispassionately dispatchin' it lately.

11/7. Today sounds lucky. But luck is more than sound, it's a combination of effort and faith, with a dash of hope thrown in. And a pinch of desire. It's a real kick when it kicks in. The luck.

Here in Karmadale, how lucky can we be? Today, the Devil's Kitchen Literary Festival kicks off with readings at the Student Center this afternoon and tonight, AND G. Love with Special Sauce kicks out the jam at Shryock Auditorium, brought to you by the Student Programming Council.

If your thing is sports that don't kick, but you dig the jam and the slam, the Saluki Men's basketball team is facing a team from Mexico in an exhibition game tonight at the Arena as well.

You may be lucky enough to attend one of these events-- Or just kick back and relax at home. Watch television or read or listen to G.Love & Special Sauce CD. while cooking up your own special sauce, something with a kick.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Greens were in the news yesterday, but for some, the news brought on the blues.

Green Party candidate Rich Whitney lost (to the Bost man) for the job of State Representative (with 6%, not too bad) while at Hickory Ridge Golf Course, the golf course needs new greens, but doesn't have enough green..

While in the green fields of the Superblock, Doug Lee Park may get a new name. An advisory committee is going to look into it. Who was Doug Lee? Can't find anything about him on the internet. Will ask someone on the citizens advisory committee. Whoever he was, the park should be named for THE BEST ATHLETE CARBONDALE PRODUCED in the last century. Who was it? I Maybe it was Doug Lee! Or a girl named Green?

More colorful dispatches to follow.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Monday, Monday...Tuesday Afternoon, Morning Becomes Electric, but not as Electric as it will be Thursday night. First the news:

The University is filing a motion AGAINST the faculty for bad faith bargaining, and other stuff.
check it out.

The other big event, after tomorrow's un-strike, is the Devil's Kitchen Literary Festival this Thursday thru Saturday.

At 8 p.m. on Thursday night at Shryock Auditorium, G. Love and Special Sauce will kick it for $20 per ticket. Should be a FANTASTICALLY FUNKY show.

Maybe the readings will be videotaped.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

Insh'allah, another day, another blog.

Insh'allah is Arabic for "God Willing," while blog, in these pages means "a creative flow of constructive thought (unimpeded by troublesome thoughts or worry), organized organically, written engagingly, and read appreciatively."
It is the opposite of "writer's block." Like taking a good shirt. And putting it on.

I wore my "Grateful Dead" tee-shirt yesterday, the one I got at the Green Parrot in Key West, to commemorate "Dia de los Muertos." After I put in five hours of "day work" at my downtown office, Allah didn't "insh" that I attend "Day of the Dead Festival" events at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Even so, I DID have a most-excellent encounter with a man who nearly DID die from cancer earlier this year. For me, it was a "Day of the Did," instead.

I ran into into Don Waddell (Wah-DELL) and his wife, Freddie (the health therapist) at the NEIGHBORHOOD COOP.

It was great to see them. Don, as you may know, is a world-class woodworker and home builder, who was stricken with leukemia more than a year ago. Perhaps you saw one of the benefit flyers that was up around town back then. Well the treatment worked! Both of them looked terrific.

We didn't discuss his treatment or anything, but when I asked him how he was doing, he smiled "I'm still here.... I've actually gained 3 pounds." Don said that during his chemotherapy treatments he was down to 128 pounds. (I joked, "you mean you only lost 3 pounds?" you have to know don to get this. he smiled)

Don hasn't done any woodworking for months, but he's starting to think about finishing a table he began before he got sick. But he's somewhat reticent. "Those (power) tools look so DANGEROUS," he joked. "I guess maybe I should just take-on one tool at a time."

I bought some organic espresso and went home and made my customary "latte" and looked up the skinny on today's Saint of the Day (as promised yesterday) from among the list of 20 (!!) I found on the net (

St. Martin de Porres--the first (and only?) black Saint?
St. Winifred--a Welsh girl
St. Acepsimas--who has time to read all these bios?
St. Vulganius
St. Valentinian
St. Winibald
St. Valentine & Hilary
St. Cristiolus
St. Domnus of Vienne
St. Elerius
St. Englatius
St. Florus
St. Germanus
St. Guenhael
St. Hermengaudis
St. Hubert
St. Malachy O' More
St. Quaratus
St. Papulus
St. Peter Francis Neron
St. Pirmin

And the winner is... St. Malachy O'More!

A Bishop famous for writing prophecies of the popes in the 11th Century. Malachy reformed ecclesiastical discipline and replaced the Celtic liturgy with the Roman (boo...hiss) and established a monastery and an abbey. Malachy is known for many miracles, including healing the son of King David I of Scotland. His prophecies did not appear until 1597, when they were "discovered." Today it is thought that they are elaborate forgeries, probably perpretrated by a school of Jesuits. After Malachy died, St. Bernard said he was a saint. Two centuries later, Pope Clement III agreed.

I like his name better than Martin of Porres, not necessarily what he did. After all, Martin could fly and bi-locate and he started an animal hospital at his sister's house. Perhaps Martin's greatest miracle was helping his niece raise a wedding dowry in only three days. Also, he was Rose of Lima's friend (before she was a saint herself), so he had the right contacts. Martin, who died 403 years ago, received the honor in 1962. And he's the official "Saint of the Day."

I saw Don Waddell only yesterday, but there is something saintly about him, too, although no pope would declare it so hastily. His wife Freddie's no slouch in the spirituality department, either. (I wonder if she's any relation to St. WiniFRED? Food for thought? But I digest....).

The communion of saints, is the spiritual solidarity which binds together the faithful on earth. Not in a long list of dead dedicated men and women from centuries ago, but in the flesh--in accidental meetings and at organized events like the one held at the Church of the Good Shepherd yesterday. Meetings of the faithful in solidarity bound in common faith. Faith in a Higher--the benignest--Power of the Universe(s). Does this mean we know the Age of God? That s/he benign? Would a benign god permit such pun(ning)ishment? Pardon me for asking.

That's what I did on the Day of the Dead.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

May the souls of the faithful departed rest in bliss. It's "All Souls' Day" in the Catholic tradition. Yesterday was "All Saints'". The two special days are for Hallowed ones who don't have a special day of their own. Some of them were killed by enemies of their religious system, a thing unthinkable today, but true.

Today, some people in Carbondale, Illinois who seek enlightenment on the topic of death are gathering for a "Day of the Dead Festival," to pay respects to their loved ones, etc. and learn good coping strategies. I've posted a link to it on the home page of the Shawnee Network home page (

Tomorrow I plan to begin "Saint of the Day" feature, to highlight these long forgotten courageous religious heroes who showed fortitude in the faces of people who opposed their religio-political system, such as Ghandi of India and St. Joan of France.

Who will tomorrow's Saint be? It's between St. Winifred and St. Martin de Pores. Poor Martin, I think Winifred may win.

Friday, November 01, 2002

Today is All Saints Day. There are thousands of them in the Catholic tradition. Plus thousands more among the other religions of the world (preparing to march in, in March?) A few might show up at the "Day of Dead" observance on Saturday, which also happens to be "All Soul's Day" in the Catholic tradition.

The month of November is also designated as Native American Heritage month, and SIUC has scheduled speakers and presentations throughout at different venues.

A few other people and things that are special this month:
The First week is National Split Pea Soup Week, so split some peas and slurp away. Meanwhile, the last week of November (23rd-29) has even MORE going on: It's National Geography, Leftover, AND Game and Puzzle Awareness Week. Take your choice.

Tomorrow observes both Daniel Boone's Birthday and National Deviled Egg Day, along with all those souls. So, if you're a saint, or if you ain't, try to make it to the Day of the Dead observance on Saturday. See you there. I'll be the one wearing a coonskin cap, with mustard on my cuff.