Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Updating old technology for tax season: The horror! The horror!

I'm about to upgrade to El Capitan/High Sierra, as my trusty Mac OS companion of 8.5 years, Snow Leopard, is no longer long of tooth, but bereft of any pearly whites whatsoever. The latest discovery that the Intel chip has a back door, much to the delight of Hackers Anon, means every technological agency is tightening up bootstraps in order to stick their big toes (and cocks—whatever is largest) to shoal up the wall of data vulnerability.

And in turn, data service providers are also tightening things up. This translates to my web browser Firefox being no longer upgradable, Safari is next to useless. I can't even load a Daily Kos petition because my browser's too old and therefore "vulnerable." I can see tighter security needed if I'm actually donating money (I'm not), but to fill out a petition? And who knew that MacWorld articles were top secret documents FYEO fergawdsakes? (For your eyes only.)

Then there's the new and improved software: take TurboTax. Ah, yes, the tax season rears its ugly head, and shoves it up yer arse looking for fool's gold. That's the litmus I use to update software. When I need to load TurboTax. That's how I updated another hard drive to Mountain Lion, and later, to Mavericks.

Suffice to say, I hated both Mountain Lion, and Mavericks, but I managed to convince TurboTax to play nicely on my MacBook, so I could file my taxes. Sort of. (BTW, TurboTax did not require such stringent hoops for Windows users during this time. And we KNOW how vulnerable Windows is. My partner has an old PC laptop with a crusty virus-ridden version of Windows that still runs TurboTax. What's with that?)

So, after I purchased this year's version of TurboTax, I read the FINE PRINT. Minuscule. Unreadable without a microscope, or #2 readers, whatever's handiest. Minimum system requirements, written in 6 point white type on grey background: such secretive minimum operating system requirement: OS 10.11. Whoa, Nellie! That's El Capitán. O Captain! My Captain! Decapitate me now.

We went from the rogue sneaker waves of Mavericks, that's OS 10.9 to you, to the heights of Machu Pucchu, I mean—that mile-high monolith, that sheer granite wall of El Capitán, AKA OS 10.11, that has challenged so many climbers—in one fell swoop? In one year? What happened to OS 10.10? Holy crappy crampons! The Krampus came late this year. Or he came back for seconds.

So, (remembering to breathe), I took a shot, and steeled my nerves. I girded my loins, and began to upgrade a hard drive to El Capitán. After more than an hour of upgrading, it worked swimmingly. Until it didn't. This I found out after I went two OS'es further down the plankety-plank road to perdition, to the holiest grail of OS of time present—High Sierra, AKA OS 10.13. Lucky 13, it wasn't. I was locked out. Epic password fail. Black screen. Spinning cursor of death. Random restarts. Complete disappearance of the Finder. Again. And again. And again.

So I spent an entire day (and most of the next day too), trying to coax two fussy operating systems to play nicely on my souped-up 2011 MacBook. I learned some things. New tricks, old dawg. I practiced deep rebuilds and even deeper cleanses. I gnashed my teeth. I invented new portmanteaus swearwords. Corrupted kext files? I found combo update fixes. Suffice to say, El Capitán is now working. Or at least, I can load it. I haven't even opened TurboTax. Too exhausted. I'm afraid to even restart High Sierra.

Ah, well, there's always next year.

Meanwhile, I decided to also organize and upgrade my old poetry teaching files. (I'm running out of room on the hard drive.) Yup, even more Unix executable files. I swear they're breeding. After some seriously deep panicking, I found some workarounds and was able to open a few of those proprietery binary beasties via TextEdit, (Works 2, Word, 4, Appleworks, and, get this—AOL files—what was I thinking?), but no joy on any graphics files. I even played with Terminal scripts. Dangerous. Where's Chris Breen when you need him?

Come to think of it, all this MacMadness began to go south when I upgraded to Snow Leopard from Tiger. Yes, I resist updating my software early and often. If it ain't broke.... I loved Tiger OS 10.4, but it dies along with PPC Macs, and I also loved the pre-PPC version, OS 8.6, OS 9, not so much.

This is how I got into this massive file rescue project in the first place, when, in 2015, I attempted to open my old poetry files, only to find random ASCII madness embedded within the Unix Executable Files. That translated to poems with missing endings, or, if I was lucky, with multiple endings. And lots of random text to mark carriage returns, dashes, and notes on every printer I've ever used with that file.

Not the end of the world if I had a polished hard copy of everything I ever wrote, which I didn't. That meant hitting the Luddite journals to find the poem endings. Or rather, beginnings. Either that or maybe I should resurrect one of my Really Old Macs and move the files. Ah, therein lies the rub. Moving the files off the old Macs bearing SCSI drives, no wifi, no ethernet, no USB....then there's the bridge, or lack thereof. No way to translate them. Another case of FYEO. (For your eyes only.)

I now know that Unix Executable Files does not mean that  the files are executable, or operable, but have been duly executed in situ. WTF is the .bp file suffix ending? I know .txt, .doc,. jpg, .bin, .pict (which is unopenable). But .bp? No internet search joy. But I found Free File Viewer with a formidable list of files. But it only does Windows.

Needless to say, I am now rescuing old poetry and art lessons as well. Most of the art lessons are now posted—along with art, in December of the year it was created. Unless it was a Valentine, then it's either Jan. or Feb., depending on my whim.

Also needless to say, I'm back to using Snow Leopard. Such a lovely, elegant beast with its clouded spots. It just works. Always. Doesn't intrude, or say Lookit me! I'm so cool with all my fancy bells and whistles.

An OS should not behave like a circus clown. Or lock the front door on you. I'm glad to see the back end of Mavericks. But the Sierras have their own Dante-esque hell waiting for me to unravel. Meanwhile, Tax Day looms. I have 40 days and 40 nights left. They'll be the death of me yet, and it's not even the cruelest month.

I grow old, I grow old.... Where is J. Alfred when you need him? But I think The Great Antlered One, AKA the opinionated free-thinking beast, the Macalope, would totally get this one. A tip o' the antlers to you, Andy.

Let me out of this technological oubliette before I start channeling Conrad: The horror! The horror!

More MacMadness:
Hotroddin' my MacBookies
Mac Hell and the realm of Lost Permissions
Macury Retrograde Or what could go wrong with my flies upgraded to Snow Leopard?
Mac Trackpad woes
Dead iMackii
On iClouds & Motherships
Lloyd Reynolds' Calligraphic Legacy
Dear Google, Using Blogger is a Painful Experience

Monday, February 26, 2018

Will Durst asked: How many of your high school teachers would you have confidently armed?

Will Durst asked: How many of your high school teachers would you have confidently armed? The ex- Marine wrestling coach? The English teacher who spaced out during John Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn?” The librarian regularly hitting her flask behind the stacks? Sister Mary Uzi?

I replied: Our English teacher Ms. Mary McKay spaced out over Eleanor Rigby, and got a contact high from Kubla Khan. But then, she wore rose-colored glasses, had a permanent headcold, and lived in her own personal Xanadu in the Haight. No telling how she managed to get to school and back on her own. She was always enveloped in blue smoke, her aim would be clouded.

Music teacher Darryl Parker laced his coffee so heavily, it was a wonder he could drive over White's Hill at the end of the day, let alone, aim a gun. Art teacher Warren Fairbanks who sampled the ample wares of one classmate, was also an imbiber of sorts. His aim was sexual. The school narc married a classmate. His gun was always loaded. Kelly was one hot redhead.

Maybe I would trust my math teacher Archie Williams, who won the 1936 Olympic gold medal, and shook Hitler's hand, but he was far too kind a man to pull the trigger. I never did learn much math in his classroom but loved him anyway.

Maybe the Dean of Girls, Miss Ann West. She suspended me for wearing culottes, and for cutting class to hitch to Stinson Beach in February (the sunburn gave it away). She could have handled being armed. She had plenty of ammo. No problemo.

Philosopher Jerry Lucy taught us to question everything. I can't imagine twin Uzis mounted to his wheelchair. But hey, something he said must've resonated, we shut down the San Rafael Draft board and said no to war. But then, Michael Rossman's little brother was our school president, we had a direct line to the Free Speech movement even though we were tweeny-twerps.

The FBI was very interested in us, and well-armed right from the very beginning.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Mad donkeys

Someone posted photos of donkeys wearing floral headbands, they looked so angelic. But looks can be deceiving.

My donkey Joshua was one of the mean ones who didn't like kids. She plotted all forms of nefarious revenge for riding her. One time I was feeding her a carrot and she latched onto my finger, knowing it was my finger, and then ground away, and sawed her jaw back and forth, hell-bent on severing my finger. I had to pound on her somewhat hollow head in order to get my finger back.

Josh was plain old mean to the bone. She didn't like kids, and I was stuck with her because no one else could, or would ride her. Or get past her teeth. Born under the mean tree. She taught me to be wily. She'd dump me in the most awful of places. Ditches, briar patches, thistles. 

She'd bloat, would wait for the cinch to loosen up, hit a gallop (she was otherwise lazy and dawdled), then slam on the breaks at a strategic spot. She even broke my arm (but I never knew it until I was in an accident in 1997, as I hid all wounds from my granny....) 

There are many sour donkeys out there. I love Jim Dodge's descriptions of Ol' Pissgums in Not Fade Away. Our neighbors had tall grey donkeys who were sweet. More like Irish donkeys. I wonder if it was the particular breed that was so ornery? Josh was the smaller brown Spanish type. She had the Latin temperament down cold.

 I'd rather take my clever, scheming Shetlands (who kept me up nights) any day. Luckily Joshua's lame daughter Nay-nay was sweet. My horses were sweeter yet. I understand there are sweet donkeys out there...but Josh was not of that tribe. 

One of the few times Josh was a good donkey was when we were part of a Christmas pageant in Marin City. We began at the top of the hill, and there I was, Joseph, decked out in white sheets (al la KKK) leading Josh down the hill with my friend Step as Mary on her back.... (everything hinges on the location location location...I knew something was off, but I didn't know what.)

I do wonder if the type of donkey has something to do with their temperament. When I was young, I thought there was only one breed, I was astounded to discover there were many breeds of donkeys. I suspect Josh was a Spanish donkey, the donkey breed of the American West, and of prospectors. She came from Clear Lake, and lived a very long time...

A photo of my friend Steph and Nay-nay, caught diving through the fence. (She got stuck...) Sadly, I don't have a photo of Josh.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Almost Ten Years a Bloggin'

Wow! My blogpage counter whirled past 500,000 hits in January and I didn't even witness it. I never imagined having that many readers, ever. I know that people are reading my blog, I just don't know who my audience is—whether they're avid readers, or merely flybys. About the only thing I do know is what people are reading.

I added the blog counter in 2010, I would imagine that I didn't have all that many visits during the first two years, perhaps 40-50,000. But it's 517,056, right now, and whirring up. It boggles the senses. My most popular post, The Viking-Irish Redhead Gene Myth 3/23/2009, has garnered 87,113 hits. Does anybody actually read it, or do they just click on it? Gratified to see Mill Valley's Unknown Museum and the Gluers Junk Art move up to fourth position. The art movement was important, and there was very little about it on the internet.

I've been blogging for nearly ten years. I began blogging in 2008, though I founded the blog in January of  2007, I let it lay fallow for a year. I was a slow adopter. To be fair, I really didn't begin blogging until August, 20, 2008, so I guess this is a bit of a preamble.

Since ca. 2015, I've been actively filling in the backstory timeline, posting work from the early years. (Groan.) I've still got a long way to go, as I am gleaning old journals. I'm branching out to include prose—and especially my travel journals.

Right now I'm focusing on the John Oliver Simon years (1985-89). Not that there were that many solid years, as I ran far from him when things went south, but he continued to influence my life and we finally buried the hatched, to become deep friends again.

My goal is have at least 52 posts a year, some years' worth of material is rather slim on content (especially 2005 and 2006), but most years are robust.

Because I've given myself permission to also post freewrites, vs. polished poems, I'm beginning to see crossover connections between posts (and also anchoring the actual date some of the early writing was written.) Matrix. Matrices? Who knew my Tengo Dinero piece had its roots in a CPITS workshop on Marge Piercy's Charm for Attracting Wild Money?

I still hold a vague hope that some of those early corrupted files where I lost vast swaths of work, will resurface, at least in draft form as I glean my old journals.

Thank you Guy Kawasaki for getting me into this mess. It's been a fascinating journey. LITERRATA or Veritas and the art of Memoir.

Happy blogaversery!
Sort of.

NB In case you're wondering why I even bother posting all these blog milestones, it's so I can keep track, and it's a way to measure my progress. Otherwise, I despair. It becomes a morass, and when self-doubt kicks in, it becomes a raft, and a memory aid. And as an added bonus: a timeline!

Porque Anadrio!

I am re-reading Otto-Raúl González'
Diez Colores Nuevos en Españo, aloud, badly.
Porque Anadrio es el color allegria!

Re-reading old journal entries from 1985, I was surprised to discover that John told me about Otto-Raúl's poem, Anadrio, when we first hooked up. No wonder I've been fulminating over that poem lately.

Funny, how the mind works circuitously, and circles back to settle like an old dog in front of the hearth. I guess I am seeking joy in a time of sorrow.

After I had helped John's daughter Kia scan photos last Thursday for the memorial, she was browsing John's bookshelf, and out of the blue, handed me the book. Of all the books on John's bookshelf, why that one, the one I wanted? Surely it was fate.

Looking up into that exact blueness of sky, I say, I begin to understand the how the theory of time and space continuum began. You say the word, Anadrio, an invented name for a new color for joy. You tell me of a Mexican poet, Otto-Raúl González, who invented ten new colors, and you said Anadrio is the color of joy and of good luck. —from Long Distance Relationship, 1985
see also Mexico Journal: getting our Guatemalan visas
It took several years for De Diez Colores Nuevos to be published (1993), and John was beginning to translate them in 1985.


Quien primero vio una nube de color anadrio
era un joven pastor de diecisiete abriles
que más tarde fue monarca de su reino
y hombre feliz hasta decir ya no,
porque el anadrio es el color de la alegría
y de la buena suerte.

¡Y de la buena suerte!
¡Y de la buena suerte!
¡Y de la buena suerte!

En mil quinientos veinte
un español porquerizo de Castilla
vino a América y cuando se internó en la selva
vio un árbol de color anadrio
ese mismo soldado de fortuna
más tarde comió con Carlos V
y fue virrey;
porque el anadrio es el color de la alegría
y de la buena suerte.

¡Y de la buena suerte!
¡Y de la buena suerte!
¡Y de la buena suerte!

En la época moderna otras personas
han visto objetos de color anadrio
y su suerte ha cambiado en forma radical.

Un pescador vio una sirena cuya cola
era anadria y desde entonces
pescó y pescó y pescó y pescó y ahora
es dueño de una flota ballenera;
porque el anadrio es el color de la alegría
y de la buena suerte.

¡Y de la buena suerte!
¡Y de la buena suerte!
¡Y de la buena suerte!

Vendía periódicos un niño,
rapaz sin desayuno, de pobreza trajeado,
un día en su camino vio una piedra
que era, por supuesto, de color anadrio.
Ese niño actualmente es accionista
de una inmensa cadena de periódicos;
porque el anadrio es el color de la alegría
y de la buena suerte.

Pinte usted
las paredes de su casa
de color anadrio
y le irá bien.

Otto-Raúl González, De Diez colores nuevos, Editorial Praxis, 1993)

Thursday, February 1, 2018

OK, so my very, very elderly technology is biting me in the butt bigtime. The scanner I have does not have high enough resolution to scan negatives, and now the light table is off, so one side scans darker. So not OK.

I either need a GoFundMe project or find Patreon support (or both) to get a decent scanner that also scans negatives (Epson V800/850, around $1k used), and the time to scan. Any takers/supporters out there? I have some incredible photos of poets spanning 30+ years.

Luckily, I had already scanned most of the travel photos of John Oliver Simon earlier...

In the box: Harry Mattison & a poet flasher (aren't they all?), Will Staple & Gary Snyder at poet Robert Aitken Roshi's zendo on Maui...and that box is filled with photos. Mostly from Napa Poetry Conferences, and National Poetry Week, but also other events. Nice ones of Carolyn Kizer, Carolyn Forché, Galway Kinnell, Tess Gallagher, Frank Bidart, Janice Mirikitani & Cecil Williams, Jessamyn West, Meridel LeSeuer, Dennis Banks, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Ann Waldman, Alan Ginsberg, Larry Ferlinghetti, Bobby Kaufman, Gene Ruggles, Judy Grahn, Derek Walcott, Shirley Kaufman, etc...

And somewhere I have negatives of Alberto Blanco, Otto Raúl Gonzalez, Elsa Cross, Carlos Orellano, etc.

Then there's Poetry International negatives as well: Seamus Heaney, Dmitri Prigovv, Iosip Brodsky, Breyten Breytenbach, Miroslav Holub, the two Adrians....Henri, and?

Happy Imbolc, let there be light.

After scanning photos of an ex for his memorial (haiku)

Haffa bottle of wine
and a haffa cheesy pizza
and I'm right as rain.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

RIP John Oliver Simon 23 April 1942 - 16 Jan 2018

¡Presente! Mi corazón de los sueños. Buen viaje mi amor viejo. This was the back cover photo of our bilingual chapbook, Falling to Sea Level, Aldebaran Press, 1986. A chronicle of our many journeys to Mexico and beyond. Jorge Luján photo. Safe journey, old friend. 23 April 1942 - 16 Jan 2018.

JOS poet teaching article in T&W

JOS in Argentina 2012

John Oliver Simon, one of the Bay Area’s most beloved poets, died in the early hours of Jan. 16th, from cancer, in the home of his fiancée Susie Kepner. He is survived by daughters Kia Simon and Lorelei Bosserman, son-in-law J.D. Moyer, granddaughter Tesla Rose Moyer, and former wives Pam Simon Hazel, Alta, and Jan Courtright Simon. He was 75.
Born in New York City in 1942, he wrote his first poem under a full moon in 1956. Educated at The Putney School, Swarthmore College (Phi Beta Kappa), and the University of California Berkeley, Simon was mentored by John C. Adler, Jeffrey Campbell, Daniel Hoffman, Gary Snyder, Lew Welch and Carol Lee Sanchez.
While at Cal and after, Simon was active in the Free Speech Movement and in the famous struggle to liberate Berkeley’s People’s Park. Of this time, he wrote “I was a newcomer to the Bay Area, having arrived in Berkeley in September 1964 in time to sit down in the crowd on Sproul Plaza surrounding the police car which was holding Jack Weinberg prisoner in the back seat in the first act of what would become the Free Speech Movement. I came west three months after graduating from Swarthmore College, planning to get my Ph.D. in English at Cal since I had not been accepted to graduate school at Harvard, and because my mother’s forebears had arrived in San Francisco a 110 years before that and California was my terrain of legend.”
Simon’s nine full-length books of poetry included Caminante (praised by Gary Snyder and Juan Felipe Herrera), Roads to Dawn Lake (Oyez Press, 1968), Rattlesnake Grass (Hanging Loose Press, 1978), Lord of the House of Dawn (Bombshelter Press, 1991), and Grandpa’s Syllables (White Violet Press, 2015). His poetry was published in numerous literary journals and reviews, “from Abraxas to Zyzzyva.” He also co-founded and edited the poetry magazine Aldebaran Review, which ran from 1967 to 1978.
In 1989, Simon was awarded an Individual Artist’s Fellowship by the California Arts Council. He also received an NEA Fellowship in Translation for his work with the great Chilean surrealist poet Gonzalo Rojas (1917-2011). On Jan. 20, 2015, Simon’s contributions to the Bay Area writing and educational community were recognized by the city of Berkeley with “John Oliver Simon Day.” On May 14, 2016, the Berkeley Poetry Festival presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
As an educator, Simon devoted himself to teaching children to write poetry. He co-founded and taught at the People’s Community School in Berkeley, 1969-1973. He was a former president and board member of California Poets in the Schools (CalPoets) and served as the artistic director of Poetry Inside Out, a program of the Center for the Art of Translation. In 2013, he was named the River of Words Teacher of the Year by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass.
Despite not learning Spanish until the age of 40, Simon became a noted translator specializing in contemporary Latin American poetry. His cultural reporting was featured in Poetry Flash and American Poetry Review. In 2017, he traveled to Madrid to attend a conference of translators of Gonzalo Rojas.
In addition to his daily writing practice, Simon was an avid backpacker, kayaker, gardener, and baseball fan.
John Oliver Simon touched the lives of thousands with his teaching, friendship, and poems. Mexican poet Alberto Blanco wrote, “The poems of John Oliver Simon, like all true poems, trace a map, a psychography, which allows us to enter, not only into another life but into the voyage of that life, and not only into another culture, but into other cultures: into another point of view.”
Simon himself wrote, “Language is the central human invention, the hive which we are ceaselessly elaborating, even as I speak.”
A memorial service will be held at the Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, on Feb. 3rd, at 2 p.m.

Monday, January 15, 2018

John Oliver Simon dream

Last night (or rather, this morning) I dreamed that John Oliver Simon and I were on the road. I'm not sure where we were but it was something like New Mexico, or it could've been Nevada. I don't think it was Mexico. We were in a new white VW Beetle, crammed to the gills with all our gear. I must've been driving, because when we parked the car, he took my face in his hands, and tenderly kissed my cheek, saying, I love you. It was so tenderly sweet. He was so present. Not his ambivalent self. I said, I love you too.

We pulled into the driveway of a sagging two-story house that spoke of the Southwest. We clamered up the steps to meet some poets, and were talking for hours. I went out to get my camera gear and the car was gone. John joined me on the porch, as we looked all over the yard for the car.

Someone had stolen it with all our gear, electronics, cameras, clothes—everything. I was too shocked to be angry. Then as I looked around the yard, John had disappeared. I was alone, cameraless, in a strange town, in a strange state, or country, utterly alone, with no way home. He had left me. He had left me.

I awoke feeling utterly bereft. Abandoned. It was almost 4 AM, I couldn't go back to sleep.

That afternoon, as we were headed to Savers in Dublin to get rid of old clothes, and buy some new ones, I told Neil about the dream. I said I think it's a warning that John is dying. The doctors gave him a year or two, but I had a bad feeling. I couldn't shake John from my mind.

Next morning, Tina from CPITS called to tell me the news and I said, I already know. I could feel it. His leaving. She said he died between 2 and 3 AM on Tuesday. I knew. Irish clairvoyance at work. We dream of the dead. They come to us in dreams to say goodbye. Somehow I thought we'd have a little more time together.

I am so grateful we had such a sweet goodbye after our Emerson after school class on the eve of the Winter solstice. Complete and total melding into each other's arms. I said, I love you John. He said I love you too, Maureen. He didn't shove me away, or do the ambivalent hug.

He said, I want you to meet Susie. I haven't told her about our star-crossed path, but she knows about you. You'll come to our wedding. I said, I'm still wrapping my mind around that one. He laughed, and said, Yeah, me too. I held his face in my hands, and wished him well on his upcoming chemo. I said I will hold healing thoughts for you, We want to keep you for a good while longer. He laughed and said, Me too. That was the last time I saw John alive.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

To sleep, perchance to dream (haiku)

Good news: I slept 8 hours last night.
Bad news: It's  2:30AM
So, how does the full night's sleep thing work?
What fresh hell is this?
Resist mid-winter, sleepless
& cranky as a bear.
I resorted to
watching Hawaii 5-0, 
worked like a charm. Zzzzzx. 
A rockabye shake
from a 4.5 quake

thus murdered sleep.

I strive for 7 hours sleep a night. So I was excited that I got in a full 8 hours on NYD eve (even if it was in two shifts), I woke up at 5:30 AM and was so tired, after 5 hours sleep, I actually went back to sleep until 9 AM, which is pretty rare.  

I don't want to embrace my sleeplessness at 3 AM. But I've been so tired, averaging 5-6 hours sleep a night. So I was excited that I got in a full 8 hours (in two shifts. Then, with a full 8 hours sleep under my belt, I couldn't go back to sleep last night. Pie owl-eyed.

Reading articles doesn't work, BTW, no matter how boring they are....

I can't nap. If I do, then I usually feel awful (hung-over), when I awaken. Then I have to redo the full morning wake-up routine at dinner time—sans tea (a miracle drug.) No flasks of tea are ever harmed after about 1 PM. 

It could've been the wee bit o midnight chocolate. Apparently I slept on a piece of fudge. (I do make a mean bittersweett fudge, flavored with Kahalua.) I don't recommend sleeping on bittersweett fudge, a batard adaption of a See's recipe from when my aunt worked at C&H. See's was a very good client. But when they sent her the bill, she nearly fainted, it was something like $250 in 1960s economy. So she sold copies of the recipe for $5 ea.

Why it's all such a big deal, besides being permanently cranky, if I don't get enough sleep, (7+ hours), then I fall prey to every virus that comes along. In fact, one of the signs that I'm getting a virus is when I nap! Two bad colds in December.

On second thought, it was probably the full wolf moon, as my bed is locked away in a dark recess, where no streetlights or moonlight falls, I'm extremely sensitive to light at night. But to be fair, I was editing photos til late last night, and that tends to amp me up, as it's such intense work.

If only I could schedule sleep...well, every once and a while I meet the sleep quota.

Preparing for The Big One, 'QUAKE! (and other qaiku)

Last night, or rather, this morning, I had just fallen asleep around 2 AM, but I had trouble sleeping as I was having odd pre-'quake symptoms—like before the 1989 6.9M Loma Prieta, and the 2014 6.0M Napa earthquakes struck. I felt ill all over right before this earthquake. A weird musty smell was wafting from the closet. It was so strong (something like mold hitching a ride on argon, or radon gas?), but the closet door was firmly shut. What's with that? I firmly resolved to clean up my bedroom.

I buried my head under the covers, but I could still smell it. The odor was coming up from the floorboards, and from under the bed. I was so queasy so I swigged some Pepto-Abysmol. But it was more than GI indigestion. I was uncomfortable all over, prickly, as if I wanted to run away from my own body. It was just like before the Loma Prieta, and Napa 'quakes. But I was also so tired, I just wanted to sleep.

I dozed off, then the earthquake struck, practically beneath my pillow. A magnitude 4.5M, and 8 miles deep, with the epicenter under the Claremont Hotel. OK, so the earthquake wasn't under my pillow, but it was less than 4 miles away. 

There was a big cataclysmic jolt, southwest to northeast, then when I ran to the door, the wooden  floor was undulating, making me stumble as I headed to the doorframe.  

A real bitch-slapper. It hit so hard, I thought there was no way there wouldn't be another aftershock. I was positive this was a precursor to The Big One. Nada. A one-off. I was thoroughly awake—but I found myself shakily counting quaiku syllables at 3AM. Most of the 8 million of us who call the Bay Area home, were awake at the same time.

Big 4.5M 'quake, Hayward Fault, Berkeley.
House lurched, a sharp jolt, but nothing fell.
And I was waiting for another strike.
A rockabye shake
from a 4.5 earthquake
it doth murder sleep.
Big 'quake slapped us awake
The house lurched, and settled down.
We wait for the Big One.
I invent a new poetic art form
quaiku haiku—after the quake—
to measure a magnitude of words.

Jack Gilder asks: So, how's that insomnia coming along? I had to laugh as I got a rare 8-hours'-worth of sleep NYD eve, only to be up all hours last night. Again. We're a right buncha loony nightowls on FB. I wrote back:
Good news: I slept 8 hours last night.
Bad news: It's now 2:30 in the morning.
So, how does the full night's sleep thing work? 
The problem is that the Hayward Fault north of Berkeley has not budged in more than 175 years, meanwhile the bottom end of the fault from Fremont to Oakland is creeping north at about one-fifth of an inch a year. And the San Andreas Fault, which moves north about 1.5 to 2 inches a year, is dragging the Hayward Fault along with it. This can't end well.

The last major earthquake on the Hayward Fault was October 21st, 1868, flattening Hayward (then the Alameda County seat), and San Francisco. The estimated 6.8M temblor was called the "Great Earthquake" until April, 1906, when it lost its heavyweight title. I imagine Santa Rosa too sustained significant damage, as the Rogers' Fault may actually be the Hayward Fault. Since the Hayward Fault has erupted on average, every 140 years, we're all sitting ducks waiting for The Big One.

The last big middle of the night temblor was the 6.0M Napa earthquake, Aug. 24, 2014. I was visiting a friend in Point Reyes at the time and was flung from his couch. We thought the San Andreas Fault had ruptured. A brand new fault was discovered, much of Napa was destroyed, and a lot of wine was spilled.

You can bet I went through the food cabinets the next day to check my food stores. And I carefully restacked my wine—preparing for The Big One.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


I hear mayhem and people cooing in the street
like fat pigeons strutting in figure eights.
I'm playing a useless messiah line 
in my head like a broken record.

Is that the slender rain I hear
thrumming a staccato beat
after having gone missing in the fall,
and all the the winter too?
The sirens, our city bred wolves, 
begin a lonesome chorus.

We danced to fallen embers
and we breathed the hellish smoke,
while the infernos raged, both north & south,
and we wondered who was left to count
among the missing and the dead.
The cats of Coffey Park keep close vigil
where their home hearths once stood.
When the wind blows, love letters,
in the form of singed pages of books
continue to fall from the sky.

So many of homeless, and so many more,
living in parking lots, under bushes, and underpasses.
They say that after the fires died back
their hearts were still intact.
But the ranks have swelled like an angry river
at full flood. King tides and new rain
under a full werewolf moon.
O welcome. Welcome, Rain! Oh!

3 Jan 2018

Happy Perihelion Day!

Happy Perihelion Day! Today, tho it be mid-winter,
the earth (in the northern hemisphere) is close to the sun
than any other day of the year. Let there be light.
Let Apollo race his chariot across the sky.
And may his pale horses fly like the wind.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

MoHurley's Amazon Book Reviews 2017

Dear Ones,

Thank you for stopping by and reading my ebook reviews. I am primarily interested in women's fiction and the well-crafted murder mystery genre. I delve into historical fiction, and cozy mysteries, sometimes even alpha make action adventure series, but I am no fan of chick-lit Regency bodice rippers, nor am I a fan of sugary cupcake who-dun-its, though I will read them if there's nothing else to read.

I am also not a horror fan (though I occasionally read Willow Rose, despite her awful writing style), nor am I a big sci-fi fan (having read the best of the genre when I was young). But I like an occasional time-travel story, such as Sara Woodbury's After Cilmeri Series series. She does her medieval Welsh homework. And yes, I read all the Outlander series when they came out.

Freebooksy, BookBub, and The eReader Cafe are my main sources of free books. OHFB is another good source. So I rarely need to buy books ( I download 2-5 books a day; most books languish unread), but when I discover an author I like, I tend to buy everything they've ever written. Otherwise, I tend to review the first book in a series—which should be strong, and well written, but is often flabby and full of conundrums—as it's often the author's first book. 

So, I also try to read the sequels as well, or download the boxed sets, when they become available—to give the author another chance. Such is the case with Wayne Stinnett. I really hated his first book, and was willing to write him off, but when I read the first three books boxed in a set, the story flowed, his writing (syntax and sentence structure) improved, there were fewer typos. He hit his stride, and had found his voice as a writer by book three, so I reversed my initial decision.

I began writing Amazon Reviews in 2013 after reading a Kindle ebook that was so awful, I was distraught. My cousin suggested, rather than screeching about it, that I write an Amazon Review. And so I did. I'm into it well over a hundred reviews, total. My goal is a minimum of 25 reviews per year. I don't always make it. I am woefully behind this year...

Unfortunately many Amazon book reviews are nothing more than a popularity contest. "I liked it/didn't like it" is not a review—it's an empty response that has little, or no merit. It takes me considerable time and thought to write (and rewrite, AND rewrite) reviews. I don't take the process lightly.

And authors, I do note those pesky typos in my reviews. Too many typos, or sloppy writing garners a minus star in an otherwise perfect five-star review for a well-crafted story with solid characters. Hey, free copy editing here! 

If there's a typo in the author's bio, or story synopsis, I won't even bother downloading it. What's the point? It is my hope, that after reading my reviews, that the authors will improve their craft, correct their typos, and upload revised books so that we all benefit. 

My ad-hoc book reviews generally begin with an internal argument I have going with the author as I'm reading. Slovenly writing, and too many typos throw me out of the story. Then, I begin to flag those typos with the Kindle notes feature. That often becomes the basis of my review. But I certainly don't review only books laden with typos. With a select few books (I read far more books than I write reviews of), some inner dialogue develops, and I begin writing. I never know what book, or when.

It's almost impossible to Google search my individual reviews on Amazon (why I began reposting them here). But I found that I could add Customer reviews, MoHurley's review of (and add book title), I can access some of my reviews. If you go to the author's review page, there is now a search window to find customer reviews. I'm MoHurley. But it doesn't seem to work.

Please click on the popularity meter button at the bottom of my reviews: was the review helpful (or not). Unfortunately, negative reviews also garner negative points. My Amazon rating plunges. So LIKE some of my reviews. Amazon's all about Like. And if you leave me comments too, I will respond. Ta!

My older reviews are buried deep within my Amazon public reviews. I'm up to 12 pages' worth. So I include the direct links whenever possible here as well. Go to Amazon, MoHurley's Amazon Reviews click on the comments section under my review and that will take you to the review where you can like it. Or not.

On Blogger, I move my collected year's worth of Amazon reviews to December 31, each year. An end-of-year housekeeping event. Here they are listed by year.

I sometimes repost condensed versions of my reviews on GoodReads, but I don't think anyone actually ever reads them. I've only garnered three Likes in two years.

MoHurley's Amazon Book Reviews 2016
MoHurley's Amazon Book Reviews 2015
My Amazon Book Reviews 2014
My Amazon Book Reviews 2013

Mo's Amazon Book Reviews 2017 (in progress)

End of year writing stats

So I washed my hair at noon
making ready for the New Year,
I wasn't expecting it to be freezing all day.
Only to say, Stay cold, Pony Boy.
Of my 137 entries for 2017, at least 60 to 90 are poems (some posts have multiple poems), a few are prose poems, a few are themed haiku. I try & tag all my poems. I'm not always successful. Standard poems have BLOCK CAPITALS for titles.

animal poem (45-was 29) WOW
CPITS (261-was 196) WOW
ekphrastic poetry (78-was 52) WOW
found poem (17-was 14)
haiku (55-was 39) WOW
poem (1104-was 928) WOW
Poem a Day (34-was 29) OK
poems (52-was 50)
prose poem (82-was 73) OK
writing prompts (7) stet

The California firestorms very nearly derailed me, and we lost Brian's dad, Monte Kervin: see THE MAN WHO LOVED FALCONS. My cousins and aunt in Santa Rosa lost everything in the Tubbs fire. I also lost a first cousin, James Santos, and two 2nd cousins. A year of death personified.

Our Bay Area Generations Poetry Reading: Maureen Hurley & John Oliver Simon at the Bellevue Club (a Julia Morgan residence) was pretty awesome. In September, we drove to Lone Pine for a CPITS conference and poetry reading, and finally laid to rest all the old ghosts. And now I'm preparing for the next big transition, as John's cancer is back, and wrapping itself around his aorta...

So many atrocities and grave insults in 2017, I grew numb. Wordless. PTST. Daily atrocities. If it wasn't hurricanes, it was firestorms. Mass shootings. Unkindnesses. What a fucking bitch of a year. I won't even mention our so-called government, other than it is YET ANOTHER CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES. Is there no light at the end of the tunnel? 2017 went up in smoke: the year that the golden state of California burned, and then it was doubly-burned again by the federal government. Cognitive dissonance won't resolve this.

I can't seem to make myself write more on Herman Berlandt's Memorial, Bolinas. Fodder for later. On the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was a lot of work—necessary research. It needs focus. It began when a former Facebook friend insisted that almost everyone was illiterate in the 1800s. I proved my point, and she unfriended me for my efforts.

And my Spanish words from the Arabic also yielded a surprise poem, as did Stopping to Sniff the Poison Oak Flowers. See MAD HONEY. Translating "Chun" from the Irish: a triad of sorts yielded a translation nugget. All, good brain food.

I did write several indepth memoir stories, and one blog entry, Mill Valley's Unknown Museum. has garnered 2079 views, 1918 of them within the past month, thanks to Facebook. A new top 5 contender, kicking my Black Bart piece off the Top 5 list.

I enjoyed writing Defiant Fruitcakes. It took me to some unexpected places. I was happy with my article, Ghost town, Rhyolite, Nevada (photos). And Lemon Meringue Marengue is a madcap cooking adventure. All are marketable stories. Maybe someday. My Summer of Love, etc. piece was picked up by the Press Democrat. I got nice press coverage there.

I really fell down in the Amazon review department. I just wasn't motivated. Only five reviews, I didn't even remotely meet my quota as I strive for 25 reviews a year. I read lots of books, most of them were not memorable.

However, I also added many (about 250) new blog posts from the 1980s and 90s. Especially from 1987 to 1989—mostly lengthy travel journals. Interesting to meet myself on the road (Latin America). I fleshed out 5 years. Still to do: Amsterdam and the USSR. 1994-95, I also managed to double the amount of entries on several years. Huge inroads.

I still have *14 years where I don't have 50+ posts. I may never be able to add more posts from 1997-2006. But 1990-93, I just need to transcribe more work. 1980 and 1982 may not have more work forthcoming. I didn't date early poems so I've a lot of orphans. But I still have boxes of papers and memorabilia from the early years to process, and scan.

My Facebook words aggregate 2017

Dear Facebook, stop blocking me

Dear Facebook:

Nearly every time I post a link anywhere on Facebook these days, it is marked as spam. Your newest spambot algorithm sucks. Usually it is a link to one of my own blog posts that sets it off, and now even a friend's very benign YouTube link was marked as spam.

There is absolutely nothing spammy about any of the content of what I post, and my comments generally enhance, support, or illustrate a point on a given thread. Your Facebook algorithm is absolutely senseless. And yet, you let real spam through all the time. What gives?

Or do you have a grudge against writers who post links to their own poetry? Thinking it's faux news? I know it is difficult getting the news from poetry, but really? When someone else posts one on my blog pieces, say, my story on Mickey McGowan's Unknown Museum, you don't mark that as spam. But when I make comments on that thread, it's suddenly spam?  So, I take it that this is personal?

It's bad enough that you continue to block me whenever I correct my typos on my own comments and threads. I'm a terrible typist, and often need to revise my comments because I'm dyslexic. Sometimes you even tell me it isn't possible to open or edit my own update posts.

You are not keeping Facebook safe by blocking me when I revise my own comments on my own page. I have contacted you to complain over 100 times—this year alone. Talk about falling on deaf ears. I've been saving up a few of my comments for a blog post as I've gotten rather creative with them. Be forewarned.

But blocking my blog links makes me absolutely cranky because there's no rationale for your actions. And yes, I do contact you when a comment is marked as spam, and I tell you that it's not spam, but still, you delete it anyway—along with my notes. A lot of good that does.

When I came aboard the social media platform, I had some rules. That I would write and post relevant content, in themed threads, that I would interact with my larger writing and art community in a meaningful manner, that I would use my Facebook comments as warmer-uppers, jumping off places to write blog posts—whether news, memoir, or poems. So, I tend to save the more interesting comments, and recycle them. Sometimes I get lucky and get some decent writing from it.

But this censoring has gone too far. And yes, I know I'm ranting at bots. No hoo-mans involved. But I will continue to rant and complain for all I'm worth—because I can.

I treasure my Facebook community—all 885 of my "friends" and my 185 followers, I would hate to lose that very rich matrix, but sometimes I just want to delete my account. I grit my teeth and step back. And remember why I signed up for this. There is no way I could've reconnected with so many folks from my myriad walks of life, sans Facebook. You included. I treasure you all.

SOME FACEBOOK COMMENTS I KEPT (I've probably contacted FB about 100 times this year alone. I didn't get the idea to start saving my comments until later. These are but a few (one quarter) of the comments I saved from 2017). Out with the old.....
Maureen Hurley Dec 31, 2017 Dear FB, I just wrote a note to Jesse Colin Young: "A long way from Inverness. Remember your blue VW bus? You used to give me rides home from school, when I was hitching. The Zettls lived on my road in FK, so it was always a great ride score, as I only had to walk a half mile home. You were part of my matrix. Thank you for that.

(Sigh) Facebook nanny removed my blog post on hitching in Marin with a paragraph about you. I don't understand why FB assumes that writing one's own memoir could be construed as spam."

Hitching in Marin during late 60s, early 70s
October 11, 2010 (I wrote out dot where every dot was. Pain in the arse.)

And also today Dec 31, 2017, on another thread, who knew the NPR article and link on bread was spam? FB Spambot strikes again. Here is the offending post.
"Friendship Bread — also known as Amish Friendship Bread — is the chain letter of baking. A simple starter of flour, sugar, milk, water and yeast is mixed together and then developed for 10 days at room temperature. The person who makes the starter, similar to a sweet version of a sourdough starter, keeps some to bake up a loaf of bread or other baked items, then they divide the rest to pass on to friends. If a little of the starter is kept, it can become the basis of a new batch of starter.

Well, FB nanny removed the link from NPR, claiming it was spam.
Here is the offensive title:
The Friendship Bread Project: Can Baking Promote Unity In A Divided World?

My friend was mystified as to why it was marked as spam. Máirtín Taidhg Jack said: Thank you Maureen Hurley. FB marked your comment as spam so I was a little disappointed that there was no full frontal nudity when I eventually got to see it.

Maureen Hurley Well the bread really is naked. So I guess that might be construed as full frontal nudity. FB spamnannybot really has it out for me... All those yeast beasties breeding. The naked and the bread.

Here's another nonsensical FB block I get early and often. I'm using the edit feature too fast. Should I type S L O W E R ? You secretly prefer typos?
"Facebook Blocks
To help keep Facebook safe, we sometimes block certain content and actions. If you think we’ve made a mistake, please let us know. While we aren’t able to review individual reports, the feedback you provide will help us improve the ways we keep Facebook safe.
Please explain why you think this was an error
Thanks for taking the time to submit a report.
Learn more about what happens when you’re blocked or if your content was removed."

Maureen Hurley  12/10/17 Why are you blocking me? I am adding titles to the links on a thread I posted on my own page, since you've changed the format how links display, they often have no title.

You began blocking me this morning. SO more than 12 hours later, I thought I'd finish my task, and fix the rest of the titles, and yet you're still blocking me. It's Christmas cartoons fergawdsakes. It's really stupid for you to block such a benign series of posts.

It seems like you pick on me a lot, and I'm not abusing Facebook, nor am I doing anything wrong. This problem has been going on for months now. And all I'm trying to do is be a responsible poster. Add titles to links, or descriptions. Fix typos, revise poorly crafted posts. No reason to punish me for it.

Maureen Hurley 10/15 Clearly this comment on my own post on my own page is a threat to Facebook safety:

" “Olly olly oxen free” is a mutation of something like "All ye out come in free." (Meaning, back four centuries ago when we have the first known games of hide-and-seek) that anyone still hiding (out) can come back without getting tagged (free)."


Maureen Hurley 10/15 Would someone at Facebook turn off the spambots? Every time I correct or revise a comment ON MY OWN POST, ON MY OWN PAGE, I am blocked. Every single time I make a correction or clarify a comment, I get this window. I complain. What good does it do to contact you, Facebook. You don't listen.

What does it mean, I'm posting too fast? So I might revise a single comment 2=3 times before I get it right. I'm also dyslexic. How is revising my own comment on my own post on my own page, going too fast?

I get that you don't want me to post often, and it's clear that you sure don't want me to edit or revise my own previously posted comments. Revising the same comment to get it right is not posting too often. It's the SAME COMMENT. It's not a numbers game. I probably am mot posting too often, BTW, I also revise my comments on other people's posts. I hate typos.

If I am too quick in my editing, your bot grays out my post and blocks it so I can't repost it with corrections. It's a flawed algorithm. Clearly somehow thinks I'm abusing the system by revising a previously posted comment. Did I mention that I'm dyslexic? Yeah. How is this hurting you Facebook, for us to be literate.

Clearly nothing I post could be construed as spam or hateful. So it's clearly not my content, unless you think posting information about the devastating fires is wrong? Ergo, it must be my actions. Revising one's own comments on ones own post on one's own page is somehow construed as harmful to Facebook. Huh?

Your blocking system is utterly stupid, ridiculous, and useless. You are not even remotely "keeping Facebook safe" by doing this. You do know that, don't you? Fix it.

Maureen Hurley 10/15 Just STOP blocking me just because I've corrected an old comment that I posted two days ago. That's not going too fast. I correcting a typo on a comment that is a couple of days old. I revised and clarified a point. I'm a writer. That's what writers do. We revise. Early and often. I'm also dyslexic. And a terrible typist. So I revise my comments.

Your block system is utterly stupid, ridiculous, and useless. Just makes me angry. You are not even remotely "keeping Facebook safe" by doing this.

Maureen Hurley 10/14 See what you continue to block every time I try and correct a typo? Is this really necessary? JUST STOP.

"They had to evacuate 400 people from an Oakmont rest home, all at once, with no evacuation plan, and chaos ensued. Some are at Essie Allen HS, others are in Sacramento. So, yes, it's probably real."

Maureen Hurley 10/14 This is a freaking fire evacuation notice, Blocking me as I alert people is just plain stupid FB.

Maureen Hurley 10/10 Lemme see, you're blocking me because I'm trying to find out if there's a fire in Forestville, where my cabin is, and you deem that worthy enough to BLOCK me? Shame on you and the bot you rode in on.

Maureen Hurley 10/10 Is it my fault that FB spazmodically leaps all over when we write. You want I should post this typo?

o longer synonm, full blown metaphor.ony

Yes, FB, that's what you chapped my hide on, as I was trying to fix TYPOS!! How is this even remotely construed as "going too fast." Just stop. Draconian. And guess what, it won't stop spammer...if that's what you think I am. BTW, I;ve been saving my comments to you, should make for a juicy blogpost, how you thwart and harass the average Facebooker over nonsensical BS....

Maureen Hurley 6/19 It's my photo, my post, my freaking wall, an obituary of a friend, and you choose to BLOCK me? What kind of jerk action is that?

Maureen Hurley 3/28 Stop blocking me because I revise my own comments on my own page. It's harmless. The content you objected to:

"Might be easier to use liquid glass to draw/paint the knotwork, yellow on a blue glass field would work.Just a thought."

How is this even remotely construed as harmful? I make lots of typos, and tend to revise my comments several times over as I have dyslexia.

Serious mistake indeed. I really hate this extremely stupid algorithm. ANd for some reason, it zeroes in on me if I make any changes on my comments. Like most writers, I am a bit OCD with language, and want to get it just right. Please just STOP. This is the second incident on the same comment today. Serious mistake on your part. Do you even read these comments? Be forewarned: I am saving them all up and plan to write a massive blogpost using some of these complaints as examples.

It would behoove you to fix the glitch. Otherwise you will continue to hear from me early and often on a large scale format. I'm a whole lot more than just a little tired of this inconvenience. I'm thoroughly sick of it. And it's stupid. Stupid. Stupid. It does not make Facebook any safer. What do you think you're protecting readers against? Correct language usage and spelling/punctuation, not to mention, typos? How very noble of you to promulgate illiteracy.

Maureen Hurley 3/19 Hey, that was my first post of the day, so how could I be going too fast? And how is this comment to Brenda HIllman a risk?

"That's my homleland! I grew up there. My family came from Ireland to settle in the SGV, and called our place Coomb ab Or, hill of gold. And Butler is also a Norman Irish name...."

How is that even remotely considered as spam, or a danger to the Facebook community. Why the fk do you keep blocking me at every turn whenever I correct or amend a comment? I make typos, have dyslexia, and think in incomplete sentences. About they only way that you're making Facebooks safer, is by encouraging typos.

Your algorithm is so very WRONG! I write to you several times a day. I really am annoyed by all this, it's been going on for days, weeks. It's clear that you don't actually read these notes or you'd deal with it. Last spate of communication I had with you, when I got a real comment back, you said it would take some time to fix the faulty algorithm. That was November. Hello? Did you even deal with it, or am I being subjected to some kind of permanent Facebook Hell here? Time for me to write a blog since my complaints are clearly falling on deaf ears.

Understand that I only complain about one time out of twenty. This is the tip of the iceberg. Please stop blocking me every time I edit a comment.

Maureen Hurley 3/18 You're doing it again. On my own posts, on my own timeline. STOP blocking me every time I correct a typo. You are not making Facebook, nor the English language any safer by preventing me from fixing my own typos on my own posts.

Maureen Hurley 3/17 I am so FN sick of this algorithm. Please kill it. It is deeply flawed. THis has been going on all day long. This is my 5th letter of complaints to you today as well.

BTW, I have been away from my computer for over 7 hours, and only just not had a chance to post a few comments, so I can't possibly be going too fast and abusing thee system...and yes, I made another typo. Silly me, I tried to fix it and AGAIN you've blocked me. Just STOP. I and cussing a blue streat at you...not eh te typo. That's something I do early and often, make many typos, and your algorithm is downright PUNITIVE. And yes, I am metaphorically shouting at you. STOP STOP STOP!

Maureen Hurley 3/17 How could I possibly be going too fast, I've managed to do an entire load of laundry (50 minutes) and am almost through my second load since I've last posted on FB. So posting comments once every hour or two is going too fast? Fix your fecking algorithm. I am SOOOOOOOOO very tired of this block, happens every time I try and correct a post, any post, no matter how old it is...

Maureen Hurley 3/17 Just stop blocking me. I can't even answer a post to wish my cousin a Happy St. Patrick's Day?

Apparently the offensive word was "too."

what I wrote: HSPD to you too Tina!

As to going too fast, I managed to clean the kitchen cabinets, make some oatmeal mush, and eat it since my last you. I'm not going too fast. Try another excuse, like a bad algorithm.

Did you miss the part where I'I told you that I can't edit my's maddening algorithm. I'm a terrible typist, and partial thinker, not to mention dyslexic.

Maureen Hurley 2/11 I'm having a lot of trouble with Facebook, and sometimes can't even go in and fix the typos. For example, I can type 4 to 5 words, and nothing happens, then the type comes chasing after me like a little train (of thought). And gawdess help me if there's a typo. The cursor has a mind of its own. Then Facebook sanctions me with a time out for posting too fast.

Maureen Hurley 2/7 Clearly, correcting a self-typo is now perceived as spamming, or as toy say, going too fast, no matter that 40 minutes had elapsed between my typing a comment on my own thread, on my own page, and fixing the typo. I'm sure you would like to know the typo as well. OK, so it was mammon. I guess it should've been asshat.

Maureen Hurley 1/29 STOP! I have the right to correct, edit, amend my posts withougt you arbitrarily deciding that I'm going too fast or that I'm a spammer. I'm a terrible typist, and I have dyslexia, so I make a lot of mistakes. It takes me upon average, about three tries for each comment to get everything corrected

Maureen Hurley 1/28 perhaps I haven't made myself clear....

Latest FB censor nanny trigger:
(You can see this is an innocuous post, right? SO why censor me?)

Maureen Hurley Yep, triggered. This post was copied and repasted.

For some reason, FB picked my calling card. (I'm attempting to add onto this post...let's see ...) One thing that seems to trigger it is the speed in which I go back in and revise.

(Two minutes between original posting and correction, revision is construed as spam????)

Maureen Hurley HEY! I have the right to correct, edit, amend my posts withougt you arbitrarily deciding thst I'm a spammer, As you can see, I'm a terrible typist, and I have dyslexia, so I make a lot of mistakes. It takes me upon average, about three tries for each comment to get everything corrected.

So fsr, today, you have blocked me about 20 times. Almost all those blocks were my own comments and posts on my own page. How can I be spamming myself? Mostly innocuous statements, BTW.

QUIT BLOCKING ME!!! Just stop.

"It looks like you were misusing this feature by going too fast. You’ve been blocked from using it."

What is significant, is not that I make typos, etc., but that you, Facebook are being a censor nanny, and your algorithms are broke, if they continue to construe my correcting of my typos on a comment as a form of spam.

BTW, I can't help it if I think fast. It's in my nature. As is complaining, and fighting with algorithms. Getting the last word in.

Is anyone else being blocked by Facebook censors?

Friday, December 8, 2017


—for Sara Menefee

our iPhones
seeking shoals
of lost words
to compose small poems
catch unschooled fish
leading us astray.


She gathers
purse seine nets
on the city streets
where the homeless
tell her stories
small poems
flashing a silver
of hope
in the gutters
of despair.


Because there weren't enough altos in the choir
my high school music teacher, Mr. Parker,
shipped me off to the meager alto section
where I sang Handel's Messiah in monotone riffs 
like a scald crow, or a ploughman at the fields.
Never the white dove soaring in the vaulted sky.
Decades later, after an accident, a punctured lung 
left me breathless, my therapy was to join a choir, 
where I discovered that all this time that
I was a soprano. I felt cheated at both ends: 
I was given no melody line when I was young,
singing a supportive third below the gilded flock 
who preened their swansong feathers, 
& screeched high notes because they could.
Mr. Parker's nose was as red as that fictional reindeer,
as he spiked his coffee with endless libations.
And now, with no way to reach the upper arpeggios,
I stagger between the two parts, a switch hitter
baying out all the song lines.
No wonder I was always trying to braid 
the alto and soprano lines together all at once, 
splitting the difference between the sour notes. 
No wonder I still can't sing to save my life.


No alto, I sang
the Messiah in flat notes
no melody line

to soar in the vault
of the soprano songbirds
preening their voices.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

At the Babi Yar: eating the dead

I have stood at the palisade of the Bibi Yar. The Babi Yar was "the largest single massacre in the history of the Holocaust." I mis-heard it as Bibi Yar, as there wasn't much available information about it in 1989. 

So much of what I learned was in the oral tradition from the Ukrainians themselves. During the height of Glasnost, they began to speak of the dark secrets of the land. I wonder if it's Ukrainian vs Russian sp.? Baba as in babushka. Babii, plural. The grandmothers' ravine. Yar, A Turkish word. A multi-cultural name. 

 It wasn't just  a mass grave of Jews. Armenians. Tsigani/gypsies. Ukrainian dissenters, students, poets, musicians. Any Nazi dissenter, and later, Stalinist dissenters as well. 

My friends spoke of the massive bonfire funeral pyres that reached to the Ukrainian sky because there were too many bones to hide. Stalin was sweeping it under the rug, so to speak. That summer, Ukraine's golden wheat fields were a carpet of shame. Bone ash fertilized the crops—the Ukrainians were eating their dead for decades to come. 

But the dead were speaking through the mouths of the living—a vast hunger for truth. And so they began to raise the Ukrainian flags for the first time in nearly a century. A vast blue sky over golden fields nourished with bones.

I remember standing at the rim and weeping. It was so visceral. So real. The wind in the trees whispering. Yet there were only a handful of us, there was no memorial. No visual markers to tell us how to feel, like at other holocaust memorials. Just the deep sorrow of the ravine.