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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

August 30, 2005

lee gurga: this dentist makes you say “aha”

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 8:18 pm

last bale of hay–
we sit down on it
and watch the moon

. . . by lee gurga


It may be the last week of August, but we’re here working hard to bring the very best in haiku poets to f/k/a‘s readers. Frankly, they don’t get any better than our newest Honored Guest poet, Lee Gurga.


GurgaMug Born in Chicago, Lee lives and works as a general dentist in the farming community of Lincoln, Illinois. A past president of the Haiku Society of America, he is currently editor of Modern Haiku, the longest-running journal of haiku and haiku studies in English.

His haiku collections have twice been chosen as best of the year by HSA, and his Haiku: A Poet’s Guide was recognized by HSA as the “Best Book of Criticism” for 2004.

Of course, as with our other Honored Guests, we care far more about the poet’s haiku and senryu than about his credentials. In the haiku of Lee Gurga, I believe you will see not only a mastery of the genre, but also the personal warmth and empathy that is mentioned by all who know him and his work. This is one dentist that everyone likes to visit — and to bring home. With clear words and direct images, and a zen-like egolessness, he allows the reader to feel the subtle “aha”

moment that was experienced by the poet.


GurgaScent  Reviewing Fresh Scent: Selected Haiku of Lee Gurga (1998), Cor van den Heuvel, Editor of The Haiku Anthology, declared that “Lee Gurga seems destined to forge a fresh poetic heritage for the midwest.” He continued:

“Not only does Gurga give us the beauty of the land, he presents us with the activities of its people in such a way that their loves and strengths, their sense of God and family, and their good humor and friendliness all reach out of the poems like a warm handshake. In giving us the heart of the heartland, his haiku give us the heart of America.”

At times, this weblog very much needs Lee Gurga’s warmth and humanity. Like his Fresh Scent editor, Randy Brooks, I’m “grateful to Lee for his gifts to us, these haiku from rural America.” Thank you, Lee Gurga, for the honor of sharing your poetry — beginning right now:


summer sunset—
baby finds his shadow
on the kitchen wall

street magician—
tourists appear

a bike in the grass
one wheel slowly turning—
summer afternoon

girl's bike

fluttering madly—
butterfly in the slipstream
of a passing freight

against the rumbling
of the thunderhead:
his toy gun

GurgaScentS Lee Gurga from Fresh Scent: Selected Haiku of Lee Gurga

(edited by Randy Brooks, Brooks Books, 1998)

“summer sunset” – 1st place, 1990 Manichi Dail News Haiku Contest

“street magician” – hon. mention 1989 World Haiku Contest

  • Click here for a few dozen Lee Gurga haiku,
    collected at Terebess Asia Online (TAO)

upsetting the ballast of nature

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:09 pm

!!!  Please don’t fear that yesterday’s posts agreeing with Prof. Bainbridge will

unduly upset the balance of nature.  This morning, I quickly found something

disagreeable at his website — a bit of self-promotion bragging that L.A. Times

columnist Tim Rutten called Steve’s analysis of Catholic teachings relevant to

judges “precise” and “convincing”.  I couldn’t resist leaving a Comment reminding

Prof. B, with some quick examples from our prior post, that his analysis actually

was incomplete and muddied waters that had been quite clear. 

boxerSignN   Stay tuned!  An email from Steve suggests that

he is quite upset that I would imply he’s left things

purposefully muddy concerning Church teachings.

update (Midnite): Prof. B. and I continue the discussion

in earnest in the comments to his Self-Promotion post.

tiny check  Wish I could be there:  There will be an AEI panel discussion on Sept. 7th

in D.C. on the meaning of the $253 Million Vioxx Verdict.  Prospective (and 

contingent) Vioxx billionaire plaintiff’s lawyer Evan Schaeffer will be on

the panel, along with Overlawyered’s Ted Frank.  Evan will speak on the

effects of Ernst v. Merck on the jury system.


tiny check  Today’s NYT op-ed by John Tierney is right on target: special hybrid-car lanes

on  highways are likely to have the net effect of “dirtier air and more gasoline

consumption.” (“The Road to Hell Is Clogged With Righteous Hybrids,” Aug. 30,

2005)  High-ocupancy toll (HOT) lanes make much more sense.  See this CATO

Which reminds me:  besides Hawaii’s risky attempt  gas pump g 

to control petroleum prices (perhaps meant to be an

object lesson in economics and civics for its populace),

there seems to be a lot more talk of consumers holding

gas boycotts.  Please see our prior post on silly one-day


  • by dagosan                                               

sticky sunrise —

waking to an empty

ice cream carton


                     [Aug. 30, 2005]



selective memory: slaps vs. strokes

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 12:12 am

A few years ago, I saw a magazine article that said it takes seven positive statements or

actions to compensate emotionally for each negative one you aim at your spouse.  I thought

about that insight into human nature this evening, when I got an email from Professor Bainbridge 

with the Subject “First for everything.”   Steve was amiably referring to my post earlier today,

in which I agreed with his conclusion that NRO’s Jonathan Goldberg had used an immature

and inappropriate brand of humor concerning the New Orleans residents taking shelter in the



“BainbridgePix”  prof. b.


I immediately wrote back to exclaim “Hey, Steve, I’ve agreed with you many times!!”  Just in

case Steve has truly forgotten all the nice things I’ve said about him, and wants some verification,

I searched my site for Bainbridge +agree> and came up with the following examples:



tiny check from crow with a mouthful (Dec. 11, 2004)

This time, we agree with Prof. Bainbridge: “it is grossly unethical for a

professor to take money to speak on behalf of some interest group without

disclosing the conflict of interest thereby created. “

tiny check from no losers here (Oct. 14, 2004)

I’m with Bainbridge — that was a boring debate; followed by aggravating

post-debate commentary.


But, Professor Bainbridge raises another important issue today: bar   hugSmall 

associations acting like any other special interest group when it comes

to rating judicial candidates.   Although I usually favor intelligently-liberal

judges, I agree with Prof. B. that the ABA’s rating process appears titled

against conservative judges.  

By the way, Prof. Bainbridge is the only weblogger I’ve  discovered

who agrees with me, as he said, that there will  likely be cases where

serious Catholic judges like John Roberts “would be religiously obligated

to put one’s faith-based beliefs ahead of, say, one’s views of precedent or

socially accepted moral norms.”

tiny check from vote for a kid-centered halloween  (Oct. 31, 2004)

It must be post-sugar-trauma syndrome (yes, I delved into the candy

early), but I agree withProf. Bainbridge today about, cats and dogs,

crooked business, and needing to close his eyes after the election.


tiny check from jobs & weblogs  (Nov. 12, 2004)

A job for webloggers:  Let’s join Prof. Bainbridge in urging the

President and serious politicians to remove the scourge of gerrymandering

and then following up and staying on the case to get the job done.



The Law Professor’s JobProf B. also has a tribute to his professor

Stan Henderson and quotes fromHenderson on the job of a law professor

(and that of a lawyer, too): [lengthy quote inserted]


tiny check from dandelion ghosts  (Feb. 17, 2005)

All kidding aside, for a moment, Steve Bainbridge has some very good  

questions for his fellow conservatives on private Social Security accounts

Check his TrackBacks and decide whether their answers are persuasive.


Of course, I could probably find more, by using some fancy search terms, but you

get my point — before today, I had voiced agreement with Steve at least eight times

in less than ten months (always leaving Trackbacks, and often being downright

cordial).  Why didn’t he remember?   Let’s chalk it up to human nature — we always

seem to recall slaps more than strokes.   (Hey, do you suppose he was trying to be

humorous? Nah, he’s a Conservative.)

puppySam  Do I get extra credit for posting a picture of 

puppy Sam Bainbridge last year, with a link to the original?

I’m just hoping Prof. B  doesn’t hold me to that spousal “seven to one” calculus.  I’d 

have a lot of homework to do for a passing grade.   




flea market-
seeing my old shirt
on her new husband



                                                        another argument unfolds the futon





“flea market”: Frogpond XXIII:3 (2000);

“another argument”: bottle rocket 4



through the open door . . .

her smile doesn’t forgive

all my sins







I forget my side

of the argument



    George Swede from  Almost Unseen 


                                                              boxer smf


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