POEM: Moby-Dick in the break room

Moby-Dick in the break room

because otherwise it’s a round Formica table
& the clicks and beeps from the alarm system
& the vending machines
a slowly shrinking horizon of possibility
& the monstrous white shape of the future

I read to remember myself
(a boss walks by, says, “Call me Ishmael”)
Melville was in his late 20s & early 30s
as he was writing his Great(est?) American Novel
luckily Alan Rickman was 42 when he played Hans Gruber
so there’s hope for me yet

///

Jason Crane
4 November 2019
State College PA

Book Review: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Buddha! by Bodhipaksa

I Can't Believe It's Not Buddha!: What Fake Buddha Quotes Can Teach Us About BuddhismI Can’t Believe It’s Not Buddha!: What Fake Buddha Quotes Can Teach Us About Buddhism by Bodhipaksa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun and fast read that is a real boon to anyone hoping to (a) figure out when things attributed to the Buddha are wrong, and (b) learn more about what the Buddha actually said (knowing, of course, that the first couple hundred years relied on oral transmission). Recommended.

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Book Review: Uppity by Bill White

Uppity: My Untold Story About The Games People PlayUppity: My Untold Story About The Games People Play by Bill White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A real page turner that highlights some of the lesser-covered parts of the game of baseball. While the racism that has plagued the game is certainly no secret, White’s first-hand account as a player, broadcaster and president of the National League puts a personal, human face on the changes baseball has made, and the distance it has yet to travel. This book was written by someone who is very confident, and who certainly seems to feel he rarely if ever made a mistake, but at the same time he made it through a four-decade career in a tough business as a black man, so some protective ego isn’t surprising. All in all, well worth reading.

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POEM: Kees Popinga

This poem was inspired by the book The Man Who Watched Trains Go By by Georges Simenon

Kees Popinga

to pretend with all your might
for fear that one slip
& you’ll find yourself carried
like so much dead wood on the waves

to stop pretending
yanking at the door of life
till it bursts open & the light
spills over your face

you make a pledge of fealty
death its only end
as if the human soul were
a bright unchanging diamond

rather than a sand castle
with the tide approaching
the little architect long since gone
leaving a half-buried plastic shovel

/ / /

Jason Crane
19 January 2018
State College, PA

What I Read In April

whatireadapril

I thoroughly enjoyed my April reading. I finally caught up on back issues of The Sun, Barrelhouse and The Baffler. I also finally read Edward Abbey’s brilliant Desert Solitaire. I’m a big fan of Sparrow, so I was excited to get to read his new book ahead of its release in May. I’m still reading the wonderful manga series Lone Wolf & Cub. And finally I read (and was underwhelmed by) a couple new comics. How about you?

What I read in March

read

March was nothing if not eclectic. I read a book about how the Pittsburgh Pirates used data analysis to turn around the team’s fortunes; a collection of samurai manga; and a book about Dogen’s Shobogenzo, one of the seminal texts of Zen Buddhist philosophy.