Thursday, June 21, 2012

A blogger abroad

An annual combination of business and pleasure brings us once again to Germany and my old blog stomping grounds:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wrong vs. right

Fused chicklet-kabobs: WRONG. Wearing safety goggles when you futilely attempt to dremel kabobs apart: RIGHT. Thinking even your wife's ruined work is too good for the landfill: CHARMING.

Avoiding kabob membership in the first place: RIGHT.

Monday, June 11, 2012


One of my favorite poems is "Daffodils" by William Wordsworth. In a fatigued but heady moment, after staying up late at Claymakers inhaling kiln-room fumes, glazing chicklets, and sending the first mini-whistle flock into the kiln, I pillaged Wordsworth's rhyme scheme, yielding the poem below. The poetry gods exacted vengeance by striking down the flock: I had hung the birds on a bead rack (two ceramic posts across which multiple high-temperature metal bars rest) that supposedly could handle a cone-6 firing, and every bar sagged and fell off the posts. The result? Fused chicklet-kabobs. The resilient poet has yet to engineer a bulk (i.e. full flock vs. individual bird) firing solution, but in the meantime, I offer the poem publicly to let Euterpe and her sisters know I will not be deterred. (Not that, you know, I'm dropping the gauntlet or anything; I would never diss a Muse.)


I wondered to myself out loud,
How that same self to entertain,
When all at once I thought: a crowd:
A flock of birds to play a strain
With notes chromatic, diatonic,
Up scale, down scale, enharmonic.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle o’er the fruited plain,
I threw a flock in one long line,
For weeks the focus of my brain.
Three dozen made I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

Their fipples are a pain to make,
But when they resonate—what glee!
A potter could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company.
I made—and made—but little thought
What wealth the flock to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
I play a bird! Notes low and high
Bring music to my solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure quickens,
and dances to the well-tuned chickens.