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

November 23, 2008

more Frenchie, Duci, Morden and Rapp

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies,Schenectady Synecdoche — David Giacalone @ 7:29 pm

. . . spending a chilly Sunday with some old acquaintances . . .

Frenchie’s Family Sketches His Life:  A lot of people were touched and angered by the story of Wilford “Frenchie” Hamilton, the affable homeless artist who was beaten to death at age 61 by two or three juveniles on the streets of Pontiac, Michigan, back in August. See our prior post and links.  An interview with his sister-in-law Laura Hamilton provides more details to the story of Frenchie, in the article “Family: Man’s death ends haunting past” (The Oakland Press, November 10, 2008; click to see his self-portrait with an inset photo).  I’m glad to know more about the man — his closeness to two siblings, six-figure job in NYC, cancelled marriage, battle with alcoholism, love for painting and for a niece and nephew, and several family tragedies before his dreadful death.  (hat tip to Ed Markowski)

  • We shouldn’t need a reminder, but we sometimes do, that street-people are full-dimensional human beings.  Here’s another reminder: To start doing something about the increasing assault against the homeless, see the web page “Stop Hate-Motivated Violence Against Homeless People” from the Coalition.

christmas eve
homeless men crouch
at the back of the manger

………… by Ed Markowski

Frank Duci On His Feet Again: A lot of people have seen our post from October about the spoofing of Frank Duci’s will.  At the time, the 87-year-old former mayor of Schenectady was bed-ridden, suffering from lung cancer. His old journalistic antagonist, columnist Carl Strock visited Mayor Duci, and mischievously got him to sign a will on a shopping list that was very much like a real one Duci had witnessed on the deathbed of a friend, with Duci as the sole beneficiary. (see Strock’s account in “Duci’s will”)

.. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to see a feature story in the Albany Times Union, describing Frank Duci’s return this week to a regular little coffee-klatsch at Burger King with a few of his old pals from the neighborhood.  In “An Electric City original still burns brightly: Frank J. Duci may lack official standing, but he’ll always be a mayor” (Nov. 20, 2008), we’re reminded:

“It’s going to take more than a diagnosis of lung cancer and three months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments to silence the four-term populist mayor and 87-year-old gadfly, who refuses to let his passion for politics and the Electric City dim.”

. . click for a 1-minute VIDEO: Frank Duci reminisces ..

And, Frank Duci doesn’t just talk and walk, he’s still writing his legislators and newspaper editors on behalf of “hard-pressed taxpayers.”  In this morning’s Schenectady Sunday Gazette, you’ll find his Letter to the Editor, “Use Metroplex to offset local property taxes” (Nov. 23, 2008, scroll to 5th letter).  Frank writes:

“Please, local legislators, your bosses are local taxpayers; voters must not be put into a serious financial debt payback. Legislative action must be taken to prevent [our economic development agency] Metroplex from borrowing up to $75 million at the expense of local, hard-pressed taxpayers.”

We can only repeat what we said five weeks: “we can all only hope to ‘keep our faculties’ and our zest for the political fight as long as Frank Duci has.” Let’s hope — and bet — it will be a very long time before we get to run this senryu regarding Frank J. Duci:

his quiet funeral—
a man who did
most of the talking

……….. by barry george – frogpond XXVIII: 1

update (October 17, 2009): Yesterday was declared Frank Duci Day in Schenectady, and Frank Duci Plaza was dedicated around the Avenue A home of the now 88-year-old former mayor.  See “After a long road, ex-mayor gets a street” (Albany Times Union, October 16, 2009).

Rapp Raps Political Pundit Campaign Cliches: The f/k/a Gang is often on the same wave length as Albany entertainment and copyright lawyer (and adjunct professor) Paul C. Rapp. (E.g., his position against policing lawyer ads to preserve the dignity of the profession, and his attack on big-media’s Broadcast Flag ploy.)  We found ourselves nodding vigorously in agreement with another of his Metroland columns again this week, titled “Reclaim the Language” (Rapp On This, Nov. 20, 2008). Even though he forgot our favorite campaign bug-a-boo word (battleground), we agree with Paul’s hopeful demand that “a number of grammatical terms disappear from the lexicon of the pundit class,“because they lead to “unimaginative discourse, a swarmy and almost childish sameness to what is supposed to be enlightened, independent insight. Which it never is.”

The phrases Paul wants “to see banished henceforth and forever from our political commentary” are:

  • flip-flop, close the deal, thrown under the bus, blame game, maverick, and comeback kid

Check out his reasoning to see whether you agree, and whether he missed some cliches you’d like added to the list.

.. Matt Morden (and many more) in Wing Beats:  When I told you about the book “Wing Beats: British Birds in Haiku” last August, I’d only seen a selection of the poems and the cover photo.  Thanks to its co-editor/publisher John Barlow, I now have a copy and have browsed through the wonderful illustrations by Sean Gary, while skimming the poems. too.  I must say I am impressed with the beauty and gravitas of the publication.  It feels good in the hand and it is a treat for the eye.  The 320-page volume features 323 experiential haiku (most written by Barlow and his co-editor Matthew Paul, but joined by 30 other poets) and 131 species of British birds.

If you know a haiku lover, or a bird lover, consider making them a holiday gift of Wing Beats from Snapshot Press, 2008 (ISBN 978-1-903543-24-5; to order); the USA price is $40 (including P&P).

Seven of the poems are by haiku friend and Honored Guest Matt Morden.  Here are a few for your enjoyment:

mountain wind
the stillness of a lamb
gathering crows

winter solstice
the flock of starlings
takes a new shape

osprey talons
a twist of silver
catches the sun

… by Matt Morden – “Wing Beats: British Birds in Haiku” (Snapshot Press, 2008); from Stumbles in Clover (Snapshot Press, 2007)

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