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

January 16, 2006

snow bocce update — Haijin Snow Bocce Festa

Filed under: pre-06-2006,Schenectady Synecdoche — David Giacalone @ 7:29 pm

We’ve got big news for fans of bocce, snow and haiku: the
first-ever New York Capital Region Haijin Snow Bocce Festa
was held on Sunday, January 8, 2006, in Schenectady’s Central
Park. To our knowledge, it was the first all-Haijin Snow Bocce
event on this (or any) continent (or island).

[“haijin” are people who write haiku and related literary forms.]


Participants were

John Stevenson of Nassau, NY. JStevenson
who is editor of Frogpond.

YChang Yu Chang of Schenectady, founding
member of the Route 9 Haiku Group (along with
John Stevenson and Hilary Tann), and

f/k/a’s editor, David Giacalone [a/k/a dagosan], boy writing
also of Schenectady, NY.

Preparation for the competition portion of the Snow Bocce Festa
included a long lunch, at the home of Yu Chang, near the Park,
featuring Chinese dumplings that were prepared, along with other
delicacies, by Professor Chang.

bocci The actual bocce competition was an adventure, as none
of the players had previous experience with snow bocce. Conditions
in a thinly wooded section of the park were optimal, with varying sur-
faces — both smooth and uneven ice and both powdery and ice-
crusted snow. There was three to six inches of snowpack, and little

Some observations:

– the game was, at the same time, very much like and
very much different from traditional “informal” lawn bocce.
– no special rules were adopted for play on snow
– the pallino was often difficult to see (except by John) snowflakeS
– the bocce balls, as might be expected, skidded on
ice and made nice, round, deep holes in soft and ice-
crusted snow
snowflakeS – a passing bocce ball can often cover the pallina with
a spray of snow
– unlike play on lawns or courts, balls can sit atop
each other in snow bocce, raising interesting measuring
– putting backspin on the ball was often useful
– it didn’t take too long to get used to wearing gloves,
and to playing with cold hands and feet

Yu brought a mini-video camera, which did nothing to improve the quality of play, but did memorialize portions of the contest, which dagosan eventually won.


Despite the participation of two veteran and one newbie journey-

man haiku poets, the competition has not yet inspired a rash of

poetry (or, perhaps, John and Yu are saving them for publication

in their Upstate Dim Sum journal). As they are produced by

dagosan and submitted by Yu Chang and John Stevenson, they

will be shared with f/k/a‘s audience and added to this posting.

Snow Bocce Festa –
my back remembers
more than my brain



snow bocce
left the pooper scooper
at home

dagosan at simply senryu


snowflakeS The Festa was unanimously declared a success, and future Snow

Bocce Festa will be staged. We hope to entice Hilary Tann, Tom

Clausen and other haikuists to join the fun — and the agita.

winter evening

a cafeteria tray

at the end of the slope

Yu Chang

Upstate Dim Sum 2003/I



first snow

what a racket

from the geese

John Stevenson

from Quiet Enough

p.s. It’s cool, but it’s not fluffy. Check out

Blawg Review #40, hosted by Anita Campbell at her

award-winning Small Business Trends weblog. Good



martin luther king, jr: a dream plus courage

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:20 pm

Martin Luther King, Jr., walked the walk. He knew that achieving a dream took commitment and courage. Two prior posts from this weblog are worth repeating:

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy has many aspects. His hope for a color-blind and truly integrated America truly inspires me. But, I want to point out the courage it took to take the stances he took, when and where he took them. Rev. King understood — unlike many who claim to be engaged in civil disobedience today (see our post) — that Civil Disobedience entails “Risking punishment, such as violent retaliatory acts or imprisonment” in an attempt to bring about changes in the law.” And, unlike today’s “slacktivists” who feel selfrighteous making meaningless gestures, Rev. King knew that meaningful change takes a lifelong commitment of time and energy and sacrifice.


To convert slacktivism back to effective activism, it seems important for the politically disappointed (I’m one of them!) to remember:

  • – activism takes action
  • – likely results are highly correlated with amount and duration of effort
  • – preaching to the choir is not an effective way to change minds, and neither is self-congratulation over your moral or intellectual superiority

Click here to read Coretta Scott King’s message on the meaning of the King Holiday.

Martin Luther King Day —

they say it’s too cold

to march


. . . by dagosan


ChangYyu chang

just long enough

to leave an impression


boundary dispute

the dead tree

still standing

snowflake giving color

to a dry reed


snowflake snow blower

a sharp edge

at the property line

vacant lot

dandelion fluffs

and children’s laughter

flu season snowflake

she refuses

my hand


wish you were here

this very moment

shooting star

new dean

all blackboards

turn white


evening class

a toddler comes in

with her mother


……………….. by Yu Chang – from Upstate Dim Sum/ Rt. 9 Haiku Group handshake mf

“just long enough” – (2005/I) “boundary dispute” – (2003/II)

“vacant lot” & “flu season” – (2004/I) “evening class” – (2002/II)

“giving color” – (2004/II) “snow blower” – (2005/II)

“wish you were here” – (2002/I)







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