Monday, July 12, 2010

So yeah...

All I can say, is that sometimes you wake up with a nearly-fully-formed thought that wants to be let out. It's generally better to let it out, I suppose.

Oh, btw - sounds like Alvin Greene paid his Senatorial paperwork fees out of his unemployment cheques, at least in part. I gotta say, the prospect of someone saving over ten thousand dollars from two years of unemployment is pretty impressive - I think more of him for it. While he might be something of a narcissistic clown, at least he's a self-made loon.
I woke this morning to a radical sky
The world dyed red, pouring through a cracked-open door
And every eastward window
Red sky at morning, sailors take warning
A city some where is burning
The reflections of its flames
And agonized death
Is reflected in the raging
Of my placid Pennsylvanian dawn.

I woke dreaming
Of laughing vicious crowds
Of idle rich children, assaulting the streets
Of some inner Parisian bohemian museum-piece
Like schoolkids run amuck
Through a preserved waxwork display
Of expatriate imagination
The French existential ideal
Stuffed and mounted and put on display
A disneyesque trap
For intellectual tourists
To waste the riches of their elders'
Long fruitful toil

I shouted "ordered liberty" at the masked mob
Amateurishly brandishing card-board battering rams
More intent on hurting themselves and their peers
Than anything around them.
It was they that respected the display
And I the interloper
In their 1968 of the night.

Their happy cruel clowning
That suited this stage
The curdled imagining of
Streets cobbled with pretension
And meaningless riot.

Out in the gray brutal suburbs
The mob of reality lurked
Hostile, alien, hopeless
Lit by the light of small burning
French cars
The desparate disordered ruined wreckage
of a foreign working class
Imported by a country
That no longed needed them
Their strong arms made weak
By the collapse of a world
Built from things and hope.

Now the inner country
Subsists on the revenue
Of a different set of imports
Exporting the memories
Of expatriate nostalgia-tours
And dreams of hedonism
To those who would be
Cynical wanderers in the ruins
Wherein they could be woken
From their well-fed nightmares
To these burning clouds of
This radical sky.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

In other CDT news, a side-mention in an article on a police back-pay issue in Bellefonte brings up a plan to convert the old Gamble mill-race to hydroelectic generation. That's a pretty nifty idea, but I have to wonder how much of an installation would be required to wire it into the grid, and whether it would be worth the investment. While it's a consistent flow in most years, Spring Creek *is* somewhat variable in drought years.

As for not having any near-by projects requiring the power - the whole town has street lighting. I'd imagine that it could be run into the grid, given some transformers and the like. I don't know, Dad's the electrical engineer in the family.
Looks like Webster's Books is folding tent. Something about being behind on the rent, "starting two years ago", whatever that means. Before it was Websters, it was Seven Mountains Books, then before that it was the Book Swap. Svoboda's got folded into the operation at some point during its existence if I recall correctly, which means that two families of independent booksellers are leaving State College's downtown this month. Supposedly there's another location out in Patton Twp somewhere, and I have to agree with the angry people in the comments, it isn't kosher to be opening new locations when you can't pay the rent on your downtown lease. Rather looks like a "strategic default" move from this remote vantage-point.

Look, the reason *I* stopped going there was the raging political polarization, their increasing prices, the stink of coffee (despite the smartass comments about hippie stench, I never noticed any such thing - but I can't abide strong coffee odor), and my having moved out of the immediate State College area some ten years ago. Websters long ago became... repellent to most of its potential customers. The only people they were interested in appealing to - fair-trade fanatics, localvores, leftie college professors, students, and hangers-on - are, as a rule, cheap, cheats, or contemptuous of the profit motive. That isn't a long-term path to profitability.

Looks like Fred's still alive - he was defending his former business partners in the comments. I wonder if they still have the warehouse under the block across the street - Fred used to say that the majority of the business's cash flow was in the mail-delivery online business through Amazon and other outlets.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

"Sorry. That last paragraph was supposed to be in defense of the film, but I got distracted by the thought that someday, somebody might quote me on a DVD box."

Aw. come on, Howard. That's the sort of mishap that you can drink out on for a decade or two! Sort of like being publicly abused by Harlan Ellison used to be a badge of honor on the fan circuit.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Hrm, my tax refund finally processed. More than it should be - they apparently pay interest. What should I do with it? I'm thinking of plowing it back into the principal on my house.
So I was sitting in my basement watching Fringe last night when I started hearing these muffled booming noises. Apparently Bellefonte was celebrating the Fourth of July on the First again. So I walked down Crawford Street about a quarter-mile until I could see the fireworks in the distance. Must have been setting them off from behind of the high school or from the fields around Governors' Park. Not bad for a podunk little burg like ours, I suppose.

Fringe is interesting, but I'm not sure if it's going to turn into another overwrought J.J. Abrams MacGuffin-chase like Alias. First three episodes were pretty OK, and it has a strong sense of place in its Boston setting.