Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books



lunes, abril 24, 2017

Arkansas Executions This Evening

This evening Arkansas plans to kill two men by lethal injection. Jack Jones, Jr., convicted of rape and murder 22 years ago, is scheduled to die at 7 pm; Marcel Williams, convicted of murder 23 years ago, at 8:15 pm. Litigation concerning both men is pending; no stays have been issued. Governor Asa Hutchinson has repeatedly argued that it was proper for him to schedule a mass of executions before the end of April, because one of the drugs used to kill prisoners will expire then. The state’s inability to get fresh drugs, or find out of if out-of-date ones would work, resulted in the unseemly rush to execute prisoners who have been incarcerated for decades. The Courts have stopped some of the planned executions. But tonight’s might go ahead. Hutchinson also argues that somehow Arkansas owes it to the victims’ families to carry out these executions. It doesn’t. In fact, the decision to kill or not isn’t up to victims. If it were, states would allow honor killings and vigilantism. They don’t because punishment is a state, justice function. Medicalizing state killing with gurneys and medical apparatus doesn’t make it less barbaric. It just hides the violence. But state killing remains violent at its core. It remains unreliable, error prone, racist, and regionalized. It continues not to be a deterrent, but instead to represent the ugliness of vengeance. The suffering in all of this is horrible and ever expanding. The victims, the prisoners, their families, those who prosecuted and defended them, the police officers who arrested them, their jailers, other prisoners, the waves of suffering grow as time passes. There is no closure. Only suffering. May those facing execution be spared.May all beings be well and safe. May all be free from suffering.

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lunes, diciembre 19, 2016

Felices Fiestas! Queremos tomar esta tiempo para ofrecerle nuestros mejores deseos a usted y sus seres queridos. Esperamos que su hogar este lleno do gozo, cordialidad y buena voluntad durante esta temporada de fiestas. Que usted y su familia gozen de paz, felicidad y buena salud durante el nuevo ano.

Seasons Greetings! We'd like to take this time to extend our very best wishes to you and your loved ones. We hope your home will be filled with joy, warmth and goodwill during this holiday season. May you and your family enjoy peace, happiness, and good health throughout the coming year.

The bird at the top is a Caribbean laughing gull. In Spanish its name is guanaguanare. This bird always appears when the fishermen are unloading their catch after a day of fishing. The bird hopes for a fish to be dropped from a basket as the boats are unloaded so it can whisk it away. Manuel Acero (you remember him from the novella "The Dream Antilles") has watched the guanaguanare for his whole life. Whenever he unloads fish, he saves a few to throw to the gulls. He wishes them and you a joyful Holiday Season and ease and prosperity in the New Year.

miércoles, mayo 04, 2016

If A Blog Falls In The Woods

It's been over a year since I posted anything here. I haven't disappeared.

Instead, I've been posting on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Do I wish I were producing more writing here? Sometimes. But to be honest, not strongly enough actually to do the writing and post it.

Yes, I'm working on a new novel. It's coming in fits and starts and long intermissions. Maybe it will be finished during 2016. I hope it will.

I see all of this as a logical progression in my Internet activity. First it was mass emails. Then there was my death penalty listserv (Affirm_Life_Absolish_Death_Penalty at Yahoo groups). That dried up a long time ago. Then there was this blog. I haven't posted anything here since early 2015. Then there were the 600 or so hiakus I posted on Facebook and later on Twitter. And the many, many pictures of plants and landscapes (and never people) on Instagram and Facebook.

You can still find me if you want to on any of those platforms. David Seth Michaels on Facebook. @thedavidseth on Twitter, davidsethm on Instagram. Also, there are lots of pictures of Tulum and Bahia Soliman on Facebook pages for Nah Yaxche, Bahia Soliman and Soliman Bay.

I leave this blog here so that if I feel called to write on it, I can.

domingo, marzo 22, 2015

The Busted Brackets

This year it was the pundits who led me astray. If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, lots of information is worse. Far worse. And so it was that Eastern Washington/Iowa State and their Cinderella spokesmodels led me astray. Once again, as two years ago, my brackets are pretty much busted.

That means it’s time to recall the story of Diane (not her real name). About five years ago members of her extended family encouraged her/bullied her to fill out a bracket and enter the family $100 pool. $5 per person. She probably felt this was just another attempt to filch money from her. She acknowledges that she doesn’t know anything about basketball (but has a loyalty to Illinois) and the pool wouldn’t be the first time she was played for a sucker. She ponied up the fin and set to work.

Her method was unusual. It’s Applied Kinesiology, in other words: use a pendulum to choose the winner of each game. This is very time consuming. She filled out the full bracket, but Diane never put it up on line. That was a level of commitment she didn’t quite summons. I was a part of her family pool also: I came in second.

After the tournament, noting that she didn’t actually post the bracket at ESPN, I asked her how she did. Said she, “Well, I got them all wrong.”

“You mean almost all of them, right?”

“It’s embarrassing. I got them all wrong, every single one.”

When I first heard this, I was astonished. I immediately thought that she must have asked the wrong question of the pendulum or didn’t know a yes from a no or maybe she just should have inverted her choices. She, of course, didn’t recognize that hers was an incredible achievement.

Mathematically, it is not as hard to get all of the choices on a bracket wrong as it is to get them right. That’s because after you lose the first 32 games, all of the following ones are also losses. You don’t need to worry about the second round or the Sweet Sixteen or the Final Four. All of your teams are on a bus home after Friday.

In comparison my brackets are clear, muddy mediocrity. The better of them (yes, I did 2 this year) now has 67.1 percent correct and is ranked 3,812,839. The other is far, far worse. My hope, the same as at all other times, is just to beat the President. He is hard to beat because he is very conservative (not just in basketball predictions) and does not get inveigled by the Georgia States, Iowa States and Eastern Washingtons of the world. He doesn’t like me automatically try to pick a 9 to beat an 8 or a 14 to overturn a 3. Unlike me, he’s not trying to bring home the long shot. So let me note that right now, the President has 56.2 percent correct and is ranked 5,065,809.

You're welcome to draw from this whatever conclusion you like.

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viernes, enero 30, 2015

Even Less?

Your Bloguero notes that Andrew Sullivan has decided to quit blogging. He has two reasons:

The first is one I hope anyone can understand: although it has been the most rewarding experience in my writing career, I’ve now been blogging daily for fifteen years straight (well kinda straight). That’s long enough to do any single job. In some ways, it’s as simple as that. There comes a time when you have to move on to new things, shake your world up, or recognize before you crash that burn-out does happen.

The second is that I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me. I want to write a book.

Sounds familiar. Your Bloguero has ruminated frequently on blog death. In fact, the demise of this blog. Would he just let the blog entries become further and further apart until one day there were no more? A fade out. Or would he write a farewell, a Good Bye Cruel World entry explaining himself and the end in detail? If only your Bloguero took himself and his output so seriously. Or his imagined significance to his readers.

And so this Blog limps along. Breathes shallowly. Seems to be sleeping. Or in a far deeper state of repose. Is it alive? Is it expiring? Will it stand up suddenly, Frankenstein like and bellow? That seems unlikely.

Meanwhile, your Bloguero has been listening to and thinking about winter night sounds. The sirens and the flashing blue and red lights. The car horns. The wind in the trees. And about radio signals, that invisible cloud in the sky. There is probably no more room for a novel or short story about that. David Foster Wallace, Daniel Alarcon having weighed in, there's not much left. Your Bloguero remembers how Jean Shepherd sounded half a century ago, but when he sits upright, awake in the dark, searching for the idea, your Bloguero cannot find it. Perhaps it will come.

Your Bloguero is working on a third novella. He can no more rush it than a cook can hurry a souffle.

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viernes, enero 02, 2015

The End of the Haiku Road

On New Year's day your Bloguero posted his 600th Facebook haiku. For now, it is his last. He felt it was enough. He stopped (for now). The repeated "for now" seems to have something to do with obsession.

He still has the odd habit of having a thought, thinking of a line and counting its syllables on his fingers, but that will pass soon enough. He hopes. That has something to do with obsession also.

In the meanwhile, he notices his present disinterest in "social media." This reveals itself in fewer and fewer blog postings (here and elsewhere), the end of the haiku project, few FB posts, an absence of tweets, a dirth of Instagram photos. Maybe it means that the next thing is about to arrive. Who knows what that will be? It might also mean that the "next thing" has already arrived, your Bloguero has missed it, and it has irretrievably passed him (and maybe you) by. This is a problem only if you or your Bloguero remains at all concerned about keeping current about the latest things. Or at least knowing what they are before the New York Times discovers them.

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martes, diciembre 23, 2014

Season's Greetings From The Dream Antilles

Felices Fiestas! Queremos tomar esta tiempo para ofrecerle nuestros mejores deseos a usted y sus seres queridos. Esperamos que su hogar este lleno do gozo, cordialidad y buena voluntad durante esta temporada de fiestas. Que usted y su familia gozen de paz, felicidad y buena salud durante el nuevo ano.

Seasons Greetings! We'd like to take this time to extend our very best wishes to you and your loved ones. We hope your home will be filled with joy, warmth and goodwill during this holiday season. May you and your family enjoy peace, happiness, and good health throughout the coming year.

The bird at the top is a Caribbean laughing gull. In Spanish its name is guanaguanare. This bird always appears when the fishermen are unloading their catch after a day of fishing. The bird hopes for a fish to be dropped from a basket as the boats are unloaded so it can whisk it away. Manuel Acero (you remember him from the novella "The Dream Antilles") has watched the guanaguanare for his whole life. Whenever he unloads fish, he saves a few to throw to the gulls. He wishes them and you a joyful Holiday Season and ease and prosperity in the New Year.