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

February 28, 2009

a few farewell haiga

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun — David Giacalone @ 11:55 am

.. ..

last day
for ice fishing
buckets half-full

– photo by dagosan (Feb. 24, 2009, Mohawk River, Schenectady, Riverside Park)

How does one say goodbye to a weblog and its readers after almost six years and 2500 posts?  I’m not sure, but happily won’t have to decide until the next and final posting here at f/k/a later today.   For now, I put up one last sunset photo from the end of my block, and then sorted through my previously-published haiga (pictures with a linked haiku or senryu), and found some that match my mood(s).  My brother, Buffalo lawyer Arthur J. Giacalone took each of the haiga photos in today’s post, except for the first and last one.

comes too soon

. . .

curtain time:
the stage crew as silent
as the props

… from Simply Haiku Journal, Modern Haiga, Vol. 5 no. 1 (Spring 2007)
– at The Gates, NYC (2004) – click to see the original haiga: “curtain time:” – “snow melt


February 25, 2009

all that great haikai

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 10:53 am

In this last week of new posting at f/k/a, how can I possibly put together a piece that pays adequate homage to the vast body of haikai — haiku, senryu and related poetic-literary genres — that our Honored Guest Poets have allowed me to share with you?  In two words: I can’t.

Beginning in late November 2003, with a little feature located in our Sidebar called “haikuesque,” this weblog has brought you “one-breath poetry” by some of the finest English-language haiku poets alive (plus hundreds of translations of the work of 19th Century Japanese Haiku Master, Kobayashi Issa, by David G. Lanoue).  In total, 27 well-known and respected haijin have generously let me share their poetry with you, in my role as Haiku Missionary, bringing the joys of “real haiku” to lawyers and other folk not familiar with the genre. [The post “Yes, Lawyers and haiku” explains why haiku seems like a perfect art form for lawyers and others in our too-busy society.]  Little did I know that rubbing elbows with some of the best haiku poets would inspire me to work hard at the craft myself, and would also result in my making some of my very closest friends.

Other than repeating here my heartfelt, immense gratitude to each of our Honored Guests, there really is no sufficient way to express my thanks or sum up their contribution to the success of this weblog.  As suggested here, I have neither the time nor inclination to select my “favorite” haiku by each poet.  Happily, their haikai will remain at this site for as long as Weblogs at Harvard Law School exists.  So, I hope readers of f/k/a will use our search function or go often to our Honored Guest Poets Index page, and click on links to each poet’s f/k/a archive.   Then, sample their wares, and let them seduce you with the charms of haiku.

In alphabetical order, and with haiku-like pith, the f/k/a Gang says: “many thanks for all that great haikai; best wishes, and ‘auf Wiedersehen’ ” to our Haiku Family: Roberta Beary, Randy Brooks; Yu Chang; Tom Clausen; Devar Dahl; Alice Frampton; Barry George; Lee Gurga;  Carolyn Hall; Gary Hotham; Jim Kacian; David G. Lanoue; Rebecca Lilly; Peggy Willis Lyles; Paul Miller; Ed Markowski; Matt Morden; Pamela Miller Ness; W.F. “Dr. Bill” Owen; Tom Painting; Andrew Riutta; John Stevenson; George Swede; Hilary Tann; Michael Dylan Welch; and Billie Wilson.

alone at sunset
i pick a pair
of faded daylilies

the morning rush—
the whiteness of last night’s snow

….. by David Giacalone – Legal Studies Forum (Vol. XXXII, No. 1. 2008)

Instead of further farewell fanfare regarding our Honored Guest Poets, I’m going to do what I would have done in the normal course of events this week:  Present more haikai selected as among the very best of their genre for inclusion in “white lies: Red Moon Anthology 2008” (see our prior post for details). (more…)

February 11, 2009

cur-mudgeonly valentine

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 10:27 am

.. ..

Valentine’s Day –
a new sign says
“Thin Ice”

… by dagosan

.. Valentine’s Day has often brought out the curmudgeonly side of the f/k/a Gang.  [see, e.g., our posts “not really in a Valentine mood” and “off-peak romance“]   This year, JC Penney’s declaration of Doghouse Prevention Week has turned the secretly-romantic Prof. Yabut into a growling cur, rather than a lapdog.  Penney’s wants men to know that “No Bad Gift Will Go Unpunished,” and its Beware of the Doghouse website allows sweethearts to send their guy a warning or even list him as being In the Doghouse.  Naturally, in addition to graphic examples of what happens in the doghouse, there are many (expensive) suggestions on how to avoid or get out of Casa Canine.

We are not impressed.  Instead, we repeat our contention from 2005 that “Cherries in the Snow” author Emma Forrest makes a very good point:

“Love is so delicate, you can’t afford to risk it on fake holiday.” (AP/Nashua Telegraph,  “British author had no need for Valentine’s Day rubbish,” Feb. 20, 2005)

All quips aside about stimulus (or stimulated) packages, our economic crisis seems like a perfect opportunity for Valentine lovers (and even spouses) to let each other know it’s the thought not the price tag that counts.  Indeed, in today’s Schenectady Gazette article “Economy tops love this year: Retailers expect recession to cut into Valentine’s Day spending” (February 11, 2009), we learn that “Low-cost items this Valentine’s are expected to have greater sway over lovers on the prowl for gifts.”  For example, folks are buying half-pound boxes of candy rather than the larger heart-shaped offerings at Krause’s in Colonie. [Sharing fewer calories has many other advantages of course, in a nation where waistlines and bottoms keep expanding, even when the economy shrinks.]

The Gazette also reports that “The National Retail Federation said American adults are expected to spend an average of $102.50 on Valentine’s gifts and merchandise, compared with $122.98 a year earlier.”  In addition,

“BISWorld Research, a Los Angeles market research firm, earlier this month projected holiday card sales to rise over the year by 1.1 percent and candy sales to increase 0.9 percent. But holiday apparel, dining out and jewelry are forecast to take the biggest hits, declining 6.7 percent, 6.1 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.

More cards and fewer diamonds sounds like a good trend to us.   However, if you’re heading for the doghouse, we suggest you click to hear Hank Williams’ plaintive request that his good dog “Move It on Over” and let the bad dog squeeze in, too.

If you’d like to tell your beloved how you feel in more than one language, click here for “Valentine’s Day phrases in 8 languages.”

Now’s a great time to reprise Roberta Beary’s haibun from Modern Haiku (Vol. 39:1, Winter 2008):

What I Mean Is

everyone knows everything old people know only the good die young and kids know parents don’t know it all and teachers know students wait until the day before the project is due and you and i both know that love doesn’t conquer anything in fact it doesn’t even come close

as if it mattered
i pocket
a red leaf

………………………………… by Roberta Beary, Modern Haiku 39:1 (2008)

And a couple of senryu by Ed Markowski:

valentine’s day
we do nothing

valentine’s day
the sensous curves
of a snow drift

…………. by ed markowski

p.s. National Inventors’ Day (February 11): If the love of your life loves creativity and service to humanity, Prof. Yabut suggests you remind her (or him) that February 11th is both Thomas A. Edison’s birthday and National Inventors’ Day. (via Securing Innovation weblog, which has a familiarly-anonymous editor).  If you really want to impress her, bring her to the far-too-little-known Edison Exploratorium in downtown Schenectady.   The Exploratorium aims to “preserve, promote and celebrate the unique heritage of Edison and the pioneers who gave birth to the electric age here in ‘The Original Electric City’.”  You might get sent to the doghouse for giving her an electric iron, washing machine or microwave oven, but you’ll light up her eyes with exhibits filled with those and other items pioneered in Schenectady.

Can’t make it to Schenectady?  You can find dozens of YouTube clips from the Edison Exploratorium, including one featuring Charles P. Steinmetz, General Electric’s Chief Engineer and Scientist (1865 – 1923), who wanted to use inventions like the production and distribution of energy:

“to develop the most perfect civilization the world has ever seen.  The civilization not for a minority depending on the labor of masses of slaves or serfs but a real civilization of benefit to all the members of the human race.”

…. finally, our lonely-guy 2008 Valentine haiga (photo Mama G. 1951):

February 7, 2009

punctuation punditry: ‘ & ;

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Procrastination Punditry — David Giacalone @ 4:40 pm

..  .. avoid apostrophe catastrophes .. 

In 2001, New Zealander Matt Powell created an instructively entertaining cartoon titled “The Apostrophe Catastrophe,” as the first installment of his CRGttEL series (The Complete Retard’s Guide to the English Language). Matt said,”The apostrophe is probably the most misused punctuation mark there is.”  That sentiment was surely behind the launch in 2008 of the weblog Apostophe Catastrophes by “Worlds’ Worst. Punctuation;” maven “Becky.”

It’s too bad Matt Powell’s weblog is dormant these days. As you may have noticed, over the past week, the phrase “apostrophe catastrophe” has turned up again all over the print, broadcast and cyber media.  Two street signs in Birmingham, England, illustrate why the apostrophe “problem” was in the news; the version on top has been replaced by the one on the bottom:


See: “Birmingham City Council bans apostrophes from road signs” (Birmingham Post, by Paul Dale Jan. 29, 2009); “Apostrophe catastrophe for city’s street signs” (The Independent [UK], Jan. 30, 2009); “City drops apostrophes from signs” (BBC, Jan. 29, 2009); “Its a catastrophe for the apostrophe in Britain” (AP, Meera Selva, Jan. 30, 2009);  “Apostrophe catastrophe” (Language Log, Arnold Zwicky, Jan. 31, 2009)

As the Associated Press reported on Jan. 30, 2009:

“England’s second-largest city has decided to drop apostrophes from all its street signs, saying they’re confusing and old-fashioned.  But some purists are downright possessive about the punctuation mark.”

The local paper, The Birmingham Post, explains further that:

“[T]o make things simpler, Birmingham City Council has decided road signs and place names should not have apostrophes.

“After years spent arguing the finer points of whether Kings Heath should be King’s Heath, or even Kings’ Heath, and if it would be better to call Acock’s Green Acocks Green, local authority leaders have concluded the safest thing is not to bother at all.

“All remaining apostrophes will disappear as signs are replaced, and English language pedants hoping for a return to the days of Druid’s Heath and King’s Norton are being warned to expect to be disappointed.”

This is exactly the sort of problem that gets far too many people worked up, and admittedly soaks up far too much of the f/k/a Gang’s time and energy.  But, it also gets our “language legacy” juices flowing, as well as those mischievous genes that love to watch pompous people in a tizzy and ditzy public officials strut their stuff.

According to the Associated Press, Birmingham Councilor Martin Mullaney, argues “We keep debating apostrophes in meetings and we have other things to do.”  He has a point, except that the apostrophes weren’t offending anyone and no groups were calling for their removal.  It was their mindless deletion that caused the controversy.

Mullaney’s argument that the apostrophes were tripping up GPS systems and making it harder for emergency responders to find certain streets and landmarks seems bogus and has been disproved by many observers.

Here are a few notions we found interesting enough to pass on to you, our readers, concerning the Great Birmingham Apostrophe Castastrophe:

In his Stage column for the Birmingham Post, titled “Laughs for the wrong reason” (Feb. 4, 2009), John Slim writes, “So Birmingham is suddenly the city where the pantomime season extends into infinity.”  I’m not sure just what that means, but I can understand his assessment of the impact on his City’s image:

“[T]he only effect of this nonsensical edict is that Birmingham, already burdened with national mockery for its accent, will now stand alone as the half-witted city that wrecks the language in writing as well as verbally.”

In a similar mode, Sarah Evans insists in her column “Punctuation is all the rage” (Birmingham Post, Feb. 2, 2009), that “It’s not difficult to teach the use of the apostrophe” and writes that it’s “quite extraordinary that it takes the council’s debate on dropping the apostrophe from city place names to put Birmingham in the national news”  — while “The nation couldn’t care less about job losses, city regeneration, transport systems, education or health in its second largest city.”  Evan wishes civic leaders had been better prepared to “best exploit the media’s fickle and short attention span.”  Saying there were lost opportunities last week, Evans suggests:

“What about getting rid of capital letters – so old fashioned and a bit of a bother, no one uses them in text speak – and having ready a long list of technological innovations in the West Midlands when the media juggernaut hits again?”

The Birmingham Post has a Quick Vote online poll along with its original story, asking “Is Birmingham City Council right to ban apostrophes from road signs?” As of 1 PM EST in the USA, here are the results:

Is Birmingham City Council right to ban apostrophes from road signs?

– Yes, get rid


– No, keep them


Naturally, such polls are in no way scientific and surely tend to attract the disgruntled (while the gruntled are off meditating).  For what it’s worth, the f/k/a Gang would have kept them. [update (May 14, 2010): The final tally in the Birmingham Post Quick Vote poll shows 90.3% of the participants wanting to keep the apostrophes.]

The B-Post article notes that “Birmingham has been inventing its own rules of grammar since the 1950s, with apostrophes being routinely removed when cast iron street signs are given a new coat of paint.”  Which leads our Prof. Yabut to speculate the whole problem had its origin in some summer-hire teenager who painted over a street sign apostrophe by accident, ignorance or sloth.  Yabut also notes:

Without the apostrophe, it looks like there’s more than one St. Paul.  Is that a victory for clarity?  Russell Smith in the Toronto Globe and Mail was right to sound the alarm at the Globe and Mail: “Now, even the Birmingham Children’s Hospital is the Birmingham Childrens Hospital, dashing the ambitions of that city’s schoolteachers to ever hope to teach children how to write.”

Blame it on the Revolting Colonists? Along with a BBC piece, the B-Post article points out that:

“Martin Mullaney, who devised the new policy, believes Birmingham should follow the example of America, which dropped the possessive apostrophe in place names in 1890.”

In his Globe and Mail column, Russell Smith also notes:

“Long ago, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names decreed that it was against policy across the United States to include apostrophes in place names, and there hasn’t been an outcry about that.”

Indeed, at Language Log, where descriptive linguistics seems to hold sway over “prescriptivist grammar,” Arnold Zwicky pointed out on Jan. 31, that:

“Here in the U.S., we’ve been managing without apostrophes on most street signs (and maps) for some time, and often without periods and commas as well. Does utter chaos surround us?  Well, no; the system is that place names don’t get apostrophes, while other expressions of possessive form do get them, and contractions get them as well.”

It seems to me, though, that America has avoided apostrophic chaos and grammatical apostasy by removing the possessive element in place names, rather than erroneously deleting apostrophes.  Thus, we say “Washington Avenue”, rather than “Washington’s Avenue” or (spare us) “Washingtons Avenue.”   That makes practice here in the USA a very poor precedent for introducing the confusion of apostrophe-less signage in situations where a place name has traditionally been expressed in possessive form.

update (Feb. 9, 2009).. .. This afternoon, I went to the corner of State and Ferry Streets, in Schenectady, NY (about 5 blocks form my home), to see if my recollection was correct about this historic marker for The King’s Highway.  Seeing that little yellow apostrophe warmed my heart.

See: The New York State Museum’s discussion of “The King’s Highway,” which is strangely inconsistent in its use of the possessive apostotophe.

It’s quite possible to agree that “a living language must evolve,” without also subscribing to the notion “and you just have to sit back and accept the changes that occur, even if they clearly add confusion and defy useful grammar rules.”  Linguistics Professor Arnold Zwicky wrote last week at Language Lab:

“I have no particular stake in the choice between preserving the older system for the use of apostrophes (and so on) on signs and maps and adopting a sparer system of punctuation (omit needless marks!). I wouldn’t even insist that punctuation practice must be consistent; apostrophied and apostrophe-less names could simply be seen as optional variants.”

Although we’re more and more wary of appearing to be old fogies or just not sufficiently liberal/hip, the Gang can’t quite understand the willingness to allow “optional variants” that serve no particularly useful principle or public goal, but will surely make it more difficult for English-speakers-writers (especially of the post-Boomer variety) to learn a perfectly useful and rather uncomplicated rule for creating the possessive form.  We find ourselves leaning more toward the sentiments of Ms. Evans at the Birmingham Post:

“The national fuss is because some fear we are losing our sensitivity to language. We are a more visually based culture – a bit like cave-men – so the subtlety of words to convey and expand the possibilities of the human condition is being deemed a waste of time and the wisdom of millennia is being lost in a decade or two.”

Indeed, it’s precisely because we’ve become a “visually based culture,” that it seems counter-productive to go out of the way to produce, at public expense, ubiquitous signs that violate a rather simple rule of grammar.  Official signage offers a teachable moment.

Finally, in “Trust the British to make apostrophes a class issue,” Russell Smith at the Toronto Globe and Mail (Feb. 5, 2009), after noting “This is an ideological battle,” has a good description of extremists on both sides:

“Language reformers have often thought of themselves as anti-elitist. If only the highly educated can understand the irrational vagaries of grammar (and they are, no question, irrational), then those vagaries serve only the privileged, the argument goes. And the proponents of grammar do often embarrass themselves by conflating language, good taste and morality, as if changes in usage are evidence of an unpleasant proletarianization of society. It’s no accident that British writer Lynne Truss (Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Talk to the Hand) is equally obsessed with punctuation and with manners.”

Did I say, “finally”? Three more points about the apostrophe controversy:

  1. Song Review: Save yourself a couple minutes, and avoid the mp3 song “Apostrophe Apostasy,” mentioned in “Birmingham apostrophe row inspires US songwriter”,” which Chris at the Apostrophe Abuse weblog calls “really bad.”
  2. To Peeve or Not to Peeve: This whole controversy had a fun side-effect: It allowed me to discover the words “peevology” and “peevarazzi,” relating to pet peeves.  See Ben Zimmer, and Mr. Verb, along with the Boston Globe’s Jan Freeman.  Count me among those who thinks “peevologist” — one who engages in the study of peeving — should be a separate word from that which designates the people who do a lot of peeving and/or love to collect peeves.  Prof. Zimmer seems not to mind using one word for both groups, but I can’t image why we need to create that confusion, simply because some folks don’t know that the suffix “ology” means “the study of” (as with the use of “ecology”).
  3. No more “DVD’s”: Inspired by the OWL commentary on the proper use of apostrophes (see directly below), and the example of Becky at Apostrophe Catastrophes, the f/k/a Gang is promising to weed the erroneous use of apostrophes to create the plural form of acronyms.  We’ll be saying “DVDs”, “TVs” and “1960s.” As OWL says, “There is no need for apostrophes indicating a plural on capitalized letters, numbers, and symbols.”

Want More Punctuation Punditry?  Why not? Below the fold, you will find Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab treatment of the apostrophe; information from Jim Kacian on punctuation in the haiku genre; plus Roberta Beary’s haibun (a brief prose piece with a linked haiku) “The Proper Use of Semicolons,” which was selected for inclusion in white lies: RMA 2008.

. . . (frame from Matt Powell’s cartoon “Commas,” March 23, 2001)


January 16, 2009

a few new haiku for a frigid January day

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 10:06 am

.. warm up with Snowdays haiku from 3LightsGallery .. ..

Liam Wilkinson at Three Lights Gallery felt deprived of school-free snow days when he was a wee lad.  In the near-universal lament of schoolboys, he felt all the deep snow came on weekends and holidays where he lived in the North of England.  Liam tells us:

“whilst I was sloping off to school in the light flurries of my northern winters, I couldn’t help but envy those who were staying home to enjoy the snow.”

As an adult with an “online haiku gallery,” Liam had a solution — ask your haijin friends to contribute a blizzard of snow and cold haiku and senryu.  He did:

“So, welcome to Snowdays – pour a cup of something hot, wrap up, sit back and enjoy the snow.”

You’ll find poems by over three dozen haiku poets, including Liam’s talented buddies Alan Summers and John Barlow. Two of our Honored Guests poets, Roberta Beary and Laryalee Fraser, appear in Snowdays.  Here are their offerings:

morning mail—
sunlight slides down
an icicle

the last rose
still attached…
four degrees of frost

… by Laryalee Fraser  – from Snowdays (3LightsGallery, January 2009)

my resume disappears
from the screen

frigid morning
under the covers
i enter your warmth

whirling snow
divorce papers fall
from a red folder

winter stars  without you  to name them

.. by Roberta Beary – from Snowdays (3LightsGallery, January 2009)

Here’s a wintry haiga from the Giacalone twins, who also never seemed to get enough school days off in snowy Rochester, New York:

morning shadows –
the gunslingers wait
for high noon

…….. photo by Arthur Giacalone, Esq; poem by David Giacalone, Legal Studies Forum (Vol. XXXII, No. 1. 2008). Click for a B&W version of the haiga (photo with poem) at HaigaOnline, Issue 7-2 (Autumn-Winter 2006).

January 6, 2009

ending the holiday season with a Beary Merry Christmas

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 11:35 am

Yesterday, January 5th, was Twelfth Night and today is the Feast of the Epiphany.  For most folks, they represent the end of the holiday season, when we take down decorations, look for loose-fitting clothes, and get back to our everyday routines. I can’t think of a better way to close the holiday season than by spending a little time with our poet-lawyer friend Roberta Beary (although we’d prefer to do so in person).

Curtis Dunlap had the same idea last night. At his Tobacco Road Poet weblog, he presented a YouTube video of Roberta performing her haibun (that’s a short prose piece with a linked haiku) “The Day After Christmas.”  Rather than repeating the video posting here, we suggest you give yourself a treat and view it at Tobacco Road, and then browse that interesting haiku site.

We’re going to let you savor the text version of Roberta’s “The Day After Christmas,” which was first published in Shamrock Haiku Journal (Issue 6), and can also be found at Haibun Today (October 15, 2008):

The Day After Christmas
(by Roberta Beary)

We are at the mother of all sales, scrunched up against the hats, the no-good, the bad and the downright ugly. Try this one, she orders, and this, and this. There is no room to move, let alone try something on. With stone face, I lift my hands and obey. She is, after all, my big sister. Buy the red one, she points, yelling for all to hear, it makes your nose look less big.

my neighbor’s tree kicked
to the curb

Here’s another pair from the author of the much-acclaimed volume of haiku, The Unworn Necklace:

too tired
to untangle
christmas lights

first snow
at every window
a child’s face

…. by Roberta Beary
“first snow” – Published in Haiku Happens (1998)

.. Orthodox Christmas: Of course, if you celebrate Christmas based on the Eastern or Greek Orthodox Christian calendar, your Christmas celebrations take place on January 7th, and we wish you a most merry Orthodox Christmas. In Schenectady, Xrysanthi, the little Angel pictured here is celebrating her first Christmas season.  She brings a special joy to her parents Kathryn and Michael, and their families and friends.

December 30, 2008

a sparklingly Savage year

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,lawyer news or ethics,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 11:46 am

.. It’s not even close: Wendy Savage was by far the most popular subject in 2008 at our modest little weblog — attracting thousands of extra visitors a day for many weeks.  See posts such as “Boston’s ‘Beautiful Lawyers Calendar’ is launched” (October 2, 2008) “Wendy Savage Wendy Savage” (Oct. 23, 2008), “lots more Wendy Savage, Esq.” (November 18, 2008).  Wendy graced the f/k/a Gang with a pair of blawg Comments, a few additional photographs, and a series of personal email communications, which allowed this Editor get to know her beyond the fashion-model aura.

The death last week of Eartha Kitt — a woman known originally for her sexiness but respected and treasured worldwide for her talent, allure and spunk — reminded me that I wanted to come back to an issue that our coverage of Wendy raised with some of my most valued friends.  One intelligent and sensitive Baby Boomer female friend chastised me, saying:

“The world does not need more posting of women with low cut dresses calling attention to themselves. Sorry, but that’s just the way I see it.  We get to be human beings , too—women these days are way too sexually objectified constantly.”

.. the calendar photo that started it all . .

My reply at the time was something like: “To me, one of the glories of the human race is that we produce people who can be good, intelligent, talented human beings AND beautiful, and even sexy.”

One of the best things about our current age is that it is possible for a woman to be fully respected — among people with even average levels of EQ — as a human being, and a professional, while being beautiful and sexy.   For over a quarter century, I’ve seen smart, sexy women in important positions, as bosses, managers, colleagues, and partners within the legal professsion (beginning in the late 1970’s at the Federal Trade Commission).  When such a talented professional woman chooses to have a tasteful-but-sexy photo of herself used for a good cause in a fund-raising calendar, I believe it helps the cause of cross-gender appreciation — even if some juvenile males (who shall always be among us) act like jerks when viewing and discussing the photo, or some thin-skinned females choose to be offended or to act catty.  [Note: On a related topic, we opined about neo-puritanism within the legal profession back in 2006, during the flap over a Jiwani ad in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. And see our post on the Fetman Firm Billboard.]

When I raised this topic with Wendy Savage back in November, she replied: “I do think that modern, educated men are able to appreciate that a woman can be smart and beautiful, and they want both in a partner. “

Furthering this discussion (a little), Boston Magazine has opened its new publication year with an article that focuses on Wendy Savage, titled “Counsel Requests the Right to Appeal: Smokin’-hot lawyer Wendy Savage defends her buzzy turn as a pinup” (Boston Magazine, by Alyssa Giacobbe, January 2009).  After noting that Wendy was “by far the most come-hither among the calendar’s 12 male and female models, and thus the only one who’d attract significant attention,” the BM article states:

.. Photograph at Boston Magazine by Jackson Stakeman ..  ..

“Since Beautiful Lawyers was released in October, Savage—2006 graduate of BU School of Law, corporate lawyer, and sometime model—has inspired both a following of oglers and a torrent of criticism on legal blogs for what some consider a risky move for any attorney aiming to be taken seriously, especially a female one. Beneath a post on Above the Law, which shows a picture of Savage in a plunging neckline and calls her “Boston’s version of Joe the Plumber,” the responses go something like this: Wendy Savage can work on my pipe anytime she wants. Or: Her? She’s not that hot. And then, a multipost, Porky’s-esque debate over whether her breasts are real. (Savage declined to comment on such speculation, calling it ‘gutless objectification.’)”

In actuality, Wendy did submit a longer written response to Boston Magazine writer Gioccobe about the authenticity speculation, but they chose not to print it.  According to an email Wendy sent us this morning, she wrote:

2) I am conflicted about responding to the gossip on the blogs. The fact that my “peers” are taking time out of their days to offer such asinine commentary (all anonymously I will note) speaks volumes about their character (or lack thereof, to put it more accurately). I have done my best to avoid those who are driven to such pathetic, gutless objectification – I don’t intend to start engaging them now.

It seems to me to reflect the “dumbing down” effect of the Tucker Max culture.

I have learned firsthand what ad agencies and countless women before me have known for ages — all it takes is a little cleavage to turn some men into driveling babies.

The BM article does get a bit more substantive, stating:

“Coming off an election season that saw an intellectual woman flogged for her appearance and an attractive woman attacked for her lack of depth, Savage is acutely aware of the double standard that female professionals face—and how to maneuver around it. ‘I wouldn’t say my looks have been a big positive in my career, but people tend to underestimate you if you look a certain way,’ she says. ‘I think I’m smarter than I appear. That’s worked to my advantage’.”

Wendy also told Boston Magazine: ‘When I was younger, I cared a lot about what people thought about me, people that I didn’t even know,’ she says. ‘But I’m 28 and feeling like I’m starting to grow up. Doing the calendar was my choice, and I’m proud of it.’

We clearly are not going to resolve the issue of the effects on professional and personal reputation from the publication of sexy (but not trashy nor pornographic) photographs of lawyers and other women (or men).  When I’ve thought about this and similar topics over the years, I’ve tried to figure out how or why sexiness is any different from all the other attributes that we use to judge/treat/value other human beings, many of which are simply genetic accidents (e.g., intelligence, height, wealth, power, fame, charisma).  I’ve also wondered how and whether to distinguish situations where the individual freely chooses to be judged by or to utilize a particular attribute.   It is tricky stuff.  I know that many disagree with my current sentiments, and I am open to further discussion, while hoping that dissenters or skeptics are also willing to reconsider any blanket condemnation of publishing lovely women in skimpy black dresses.

Enjoying beauty is very natural for human beings of all genders, ages and cultures. If you come here often, you know that the f/k/a Gang also appreciates and greatly enjoys beautiful scenes in nature.  Here’s a (non-retouched) photo that I took from the end of my block yesterday afternoon.   That’s my favorite bench in Riverside Park, and Wendy Savage is welcome to join me there any time to enhance the scene and the sublimity of the experience:

– Riverside Park, Schenectady, NY, along the Mohawk River; Dec. 29, 2008; photo by David Giacalone –

sua sponte
madame justice
catches me staring

. . . by dagosan

Of course, we have long agreed with this sentiment by Jesse Winchester in his song “Isnt’ That So?” [YouTube video here]

Isn’t That So

Didn’t He know what He was doin
Putting eyes into my head?
If He didn’t want me watching women
He’d a-left my eyeballs dead

©1972 Jesse Winchester – From the LP “Third Down, 110 To Go

Now, please let us know what you think, with thoughtful and polite comments (both IQ and EQ will be graded by Prof. Yabut).

Leap Day –
an old friend
takes off her glasses

.. by Yu Chang – photo haiga orig. posted at Magnapoets JF (March 2, 2008)

p.s. Speaking of brains, beauty, and talent, here’s a haibun (short prose plus a haiku or senyru) by Roberta Beary, Esq.:


pity the daughters of beautiful mothers the years spent waiting to
grow into a beauty that never comes the sympathetic looks finally
understood at the moment when childhood ends

mother’s visit
side by side we outline
our lips

– by roberta beary, Modern Haiku Vol. 37:1 (Spring 2006) –

December 21, 2008

let’s move Christmas to May

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,q.s. quickies,Schenectady Synecdoche — David Giacalone @ 11:41 am


Christmas Eve
in an airport lounge
grandpa paces

poem: by dagosan; photo by Arthur Giacalone

This kind of headline is never really news at Christmas Time in America:

Fierce Northwest storm adds to nation’s numerous weather worries as holiday approaches” (Associated Press, December 21, 2008)

As is all too much a part of our nation’s holiday tradition, tens of millions of Americans are facing harsh and dangerous weather conditions this week, while rushing to create joyous Christmas celebrations and reunions for their families and loved ones.  We never know when or how the weather will turn our plans upside down, nor who will spend Christmas Eve in an airport lounge or roadside ditch.

We noted this time last year, in our post “Christmas and Winter Don’t Mix“, that:

It looks like a Winter Wonderland, but it has me wondering yet again why we jeopardize our physical and psychic health every year trying to perform an already-stressfully-long list of holiday chores — and accomplish the related travel — in the time of year that is most likely to have the most inhospitable weather.

It’s quite clear that the historical figure Jesus of Nazareth was not born at this time of year (see our prior post).  Christmas was placed around the Winter Solstice (click for related haiku and discussion) to make Christianity more popular by piggy-backing on the traditional pagan solstice celebration.  That’s simply not a good enough reason for subjecting the nation (and all its grandmas) to the vagaries and worries of winter in North America.

where I sat as a child
I wait out the storm

……….. by Hilary Tann, in Holiday Haiku from Schenectady; orig. pub. in Upstate Dim Sum (2004/I)

Prof. Yabut opined last year:

We need to get over [the childish desire to have snow on the ground for Christmas] — if only to help assure that as many of our loved ones as possible can travel in safety and with some assurance that they will arrive and depart when planned. As a bonus, we wouldn’t have to dig our cars out, before heading (in bulky, hot clothing unsuitable for indoor shopping), on treacherous roads with ineffective defrosters, to mall parking lots cluttered with space-stealing snow banks, in order to buy and return Christmas presents.

In this season of hope, as we usher in a political era of hope and practicality, the f/k/a Gang implores President-elect Barack Obama to get behind a campaign to move Christmas to a more reasonable time of year.

The Saturday before Mother’s Day might be a good substitute, since we already focus on motherhood and familial love and sacrifice (rather than gifts and greed) that weekend.

The new date might just allow us to put the loving spirit-of-Christ back into Christmas, and to shake off the commercial excess symbolized by Santa Claus.

Given our current economic woes, this might be a particularly good year to celebrate Christmas in the Spring.  It will bring a well-needed economic stimulus early in 2009, while leaving the option open for another buying spree in December around the optional old-timey feast of Giftmas.

snow emergency
santa’s running
a little late

poem: by dagosan; photo by Arthur Giacalone

Meanwhile, we wish all of our readers, kith and kin, safe travels and smooth itineraries, as they work to re-unite with their families in the face of Mother Nature’s whims.

If you’re sitting home waiting for delayed and waylaid guests to arrive, a photo display in today’s Schenectady Sunday Gazette might help to bolster your holiday mood.  It’s “Grand Entrances” (Dec. 21, 2008), which features thirty Stockade doors decorated with wreaths and garland for the holidays.  They are all located in my neighborhood, the Stockade Historic Distric.  The Gazette display inspired me to bundle up and walk up the block with my Canon PowerShot 5, to 32 Washington Avenue, the home of the Schenectady County Historical Society, which somehow did not make it into the Gazette display.  Here it is for your enjoyment:


.. Schenectady County Historical Society, 32 Washington Avenue, Dec. 21, 2008..

Christmas snow
my father’s footsteps
bigger than mine

………………….. by yu chang

December 9, 2008

boomer birthday be-musing

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 12:42 pm


poem: David Giacalone
photo: Mama G.  (Dec. 9, 1950)
– haiga orig. posted at MagnapoetsJF weblog
“mom’s arthritis” – Roadrunner (Nov. 2005)

Affectionate Birthday Greetings to Mama G. (Connie, 82 yesterday), and to Brother G. (Arthur, 59 today).  Long before they provided photos for dagosan‘s haiga, my mother and twin brother obviously played large roles in forming — for better or worse — the person I have become.  We also share a genetic heritage that seems more pressing now than it did back in my youth. Therefore, as I begin my 60th year (and, especially since I’m known both for sounding the alarm over the Graying of the Legal Profession and for trumpeting the broadened horizons that come with appreciating the haiku moment), it would be most appropriate to ponder how nature and nurture have prepared me for my remaining time on this planet.

However, with my body and brain definitely feeling their age this morning, my credentials as Nap Room advocate and overall napping expert seem more pertinent and pressing than any pretensions as pundit or poet.  That little voice in my head, which has done so much to sharpen my procrastination skills over he past six decades, is telling me I’d be nuts to work any harder than necessary on my birthday.  Therefore, I’m merely going to point you to a couple articles that ask questions and try to provide answers to the question “am I too old to be doing this?”

.. ..In My 60 Years is Jacob A. Stein’s Legal Spectator column this month in the D.C. Bar’s Washington Lawyer magazine (Dec. 2008): The dean of lawyer pundits says:

Well, October marked my 60th year of practice, and I think I have earned the prescriptive right to stand up and declare, “In my 60 years of practice, …” for whatever effect it may have. However, I have yet to do so.

I was speaking with a friend who also is a member of the 60-year club. We questioned whether age denies us what it takes to read documents, court rules, fine print, and appellate opinions that run more than 10 pages. Do we still have that vigor of mind?

Do we still have that vigor of mind?” is certainly the question.  In their more candid moments, quite a few of my Baby Boomer friends have admitted that they’ve seen a diminution of that mental vigor (not to mention the physical variety).  Stein’s column seems to wander more than usual, and we see that he is unhappy with the mindset that “gradually moved the practice of law into the culture of the marketplace.”  I know quite a few small-law practitioners who will get a warm glow from this observation from Jacob Stein:

“There continues to be a thriving practice that is separate from the marketplace. It is made up of lawyers who vindicate the constitutional rights of people, lawyers in small firms who practice in the counties surrounding the big cities, and specialty lawyers in domestic relations, personnel matters, and probate matters. However, it is the marketplace firms that define the big-time practice.”

After 60 years of practice, the only personal platitude for lawyering that he leaves us with is: “you must make your own mistakes and you must learn your own limitations.”  He ends with a few more maxims that “may also work for you,” including:

  • Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.
  • Most irrationality has some connection, however attenuated, with reality.

And, this one, that comes in handy for weblog pundits (like Scott Greenfield), too:

“This day I shall have to do with an idle curious vain man, with an unthankful man, with a talkative railer, a crafty, false or an envious man. An unsociable sarcastic man. A greedy man. A deceiver. Such is the way of the world, and I shall be no more affected by it than I am about changes in the weather.”

–Marcus Aurelius
(Stein’s translation from the Latin)

“Where age matters less: newspapers” — Rex Smith, managing editor of the Albany Times Union, offered his take on aging boomers in the workplace a few days ago (December 6, 2008).  Rex was responding to the New York Times article “A Generation of Local TV Anchors Is Signing Off” (by Brian Stelter, Dec. 1, 2008).  In that article (in a warning to other high-priced “veteran” talent like lawyers, perhaps), Robert Papper, chairman of Hofstra University’s journalism department, says longtime anchors at top-rated stations in local markets are at little risk of being laid off. But:

“if I were a very highly paid anchor of a No. 3 station, I’d be really nervous.”

Smith lists and explains the attributes he is looking for in a newspaper journalist: intelligence (a  “clever, analytical brain” to interpret what’s going on), energy; curiosity; and (not until fourth) communication skills.  He concludes:

“So by my reckoning, the only key skill for a newspaper journalist that is likely to diminish over time is energy. That’s not why those aging TV anchors are losing their jobs. Their problem is that the skills a TV station values aren’t the same as those that matter to we newspaperfolk, and the anchors are mighty expensive.”

Your assignment (hey, it’s my birthday, I’m taking the rest of the day off) is to read the entire column and let us know how the attributes chosen by Rex Smith for journalists compare to your own list for lawyers — which, if any, diminish over time.

Discovery channel –
an older male vanquished
heads for the hills

within the red wine
a nap in my chair

……………………. by Tom ClausenUpstate Dim Sum (2003/II)

— find more Giacalone Birthday Haiga here

November 28, 2008

our haiga calendars for December 2008

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun — David Giacalone @ 11:48 am

November is almost gone, so we better tell you about our haiga calendars for December 2008.

As we’ve mentioned many times before, haiga are pictures (paintings, sketches, or photos) that include a subtly-linked haiku or similar poem (such as a senryu, which is like haiku but focuses on human nature). Last year, we created two free “haiga calendars” for 2008: the “artsy” Giacalone Bros. Haiga Calendar 2008 (with photos taken by my brother Arthur) and the nostalgic fka Haiga Memories Calendar 2008 (with most shots snapped in the 1950’s by Mama Giacalone).  The poetry is written by your Editor “dagosan”.

Here are thumbnails of the calendar pages for December, and the related poems:

round and round with you
on thin ice


happy birthday!
you cut and
I’ll choose

Click on “more” to go below the fold, where you will find larger images and links to the original haiga used for the December calendars.

.. check out our exploration of the saying ‘dancin’ on thin ice’ . .


November 13, 2008

apply for this!

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 11:45 am

? . . . Finally, my having CFS seems like an advantage: It’s kept me from even thinking about seeking a job with the Obama Administration (like those surely opening at the Justice Department) — and, therefore, kept me from having to answer the questionnaire they’ve cooked up for high-level job applicants. The New York Times says today that those seeking cabinet and other high-ranking posts face what appears to be “the most extensive — some say invasive — application ever.”

In “For a Washington Job, Be Prepared to Tell All” (NYT, Nov. 13, 2008) we’re told:

“The questionnaire includes 63 requests for personal and professional records, some covering applicants’ spouses and grown children as well, that are forcing job-seekers to rummage from basements to attics, in shoe boxes, diaries and computer archives to document both their achievements and missteps.

” . . . They must include any e-mail that might embarrass the president-elect, along with any blog posts and links to their Facebook pages.”


Gee, have I ever said anything at my weblog or in an email that might embarrass myself or the President-elect?  Where would I start?  At least I never used any “aliases or ‘handles’ . . . to communicate on the Internet” (other than my f/k/a alter egos like Prof. Yabut and ethicalEsq) and never leave anonymous comments — or, would anonymity have come in handy about now?

How would Pres-e Obama feel about: My reaction to his staff’s politically-correct response to the New Yorker Cover; or my general aversion to the over-played sexism card, and to the Left’s neo-puritanism?  (Was I too tough a few years ago on Lani Guinier? Last year on Hillary Clinton?)  Can Barack take a little constructive criticism from a supporter who hopes he lives up to his own highest ideals? (E.g., my complaints over his dodge on speed limits and his on-going failure to mention the poor)  I think he can, but I’m not as confident about his transition team.

There are so many other questions, my remaining brain synapses are going on overload.  I mean:

what did you forget?
retracing steps

ISSA, translated by David G. Lanoue

Emails? Despite my writings and musing over Prof. Solove’s book The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet (2007), there are quite a few emails (mostly baring my soul about life’s travails), I’d love to take back. I don’t think they’d embarrass the new administration half as much as they’d embarrass me, but you never know how risk-adverse they’re gonna be.

empty bottle
a few words
I would like to take back

…… by John StevensonQuiet Enough (2004)

There’s a part of me that would love to get back to the work force (and to Washington, DC) in order to help Barack Obama bring about needed change in how our government works and how citizens and their government interact.  Having used my Harvard Law Degree in very different ways than Sen. Obama (from regulatory work for consumers and competition, to children’s advocacy, to divorce mediation), and having earned and lost quite a few extra gray hairs, while spending the last decade of “disability” living at the poverty level, I’d bring a rather unique perspective to service in his Administration. But, . . .

No matter how willing my spirit may be, my body is too weak to fill out the application, much less handle a job that surely would require 60+ hours a week dedication.  I’m not worried about conflicts of interest, nor about any nefarious past deeds.  But, after a lifetime speaking my mind, and five years doing it in public on this weblog, there might just be too many verbal skeletons for the new President to worry about.  And, biting my tongue for eight years would considerably weaken my communication skills.  It looks like I’m going to have to serve Barack Obama from the outside, and apply myself here at my home office.

afterwords ((Nov. 15, 2008): TaxProf Paul Caron says “There goes my job in the Obama Administration;” via Overlawyered)

digital age
aging digits
on the keyboard

……………………. by dagosan

November 1, 2008

saturday morning career tips for lawyers

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,lawyer news or ethics — David Giacalone @ 9:40 am

Less than thrilled with your legal career? Two new online pieces offer suggestions for gaining relief: 1) D.C. Bar President Robert J. Spagnoletti gives us “Love the One You’re With” (Washington Lawyer, Nov. 2008) with ideas for useful attitude adjustments, and 2) Above the Law‘s associate editor Kashmir Hill presents their latest in a series of posts on job options for those with law degrees, “Career Alternatives for Attorneys: Writer/Author” (October 31, 2008).

litigation bags –
the associate’s
half-closed eyes

.. by dagosan

.. D.C. Bar President Robert Spagnoletti has noticed that “many lawyers and professional staff today seem to have different expectations about work than our parents and grandparents.”  Instead of staying in a job for decades, so long as it provided good pay, a decent pension, and the possibility of advancement, many in today’s workforce:

“move from job to job looking for the employment equivalent of a soul mate, and they become frustrated unless they receive constant praise and instantaneous rewards.”

More to the point:

“Many of us feel that unless we are completely happy every day with every aspect of our job, and that everyone notices what we do, we somehow are failing in our career—or that our career is failing us.”

After exploring why such attitudes exist, Spagnoletti notes that there are a lot of lawyers who do get satisfaction and even joy from their jobs, and that “Interestingly, those of us who love our careers are doing the same jobs as those who are feeling unfulfilled.”  Why the difference?  Spagnoletti [such a nice Italian name] says:

“I suggest that much of the difference has to do with how we approach our work and what we expect in return. Sound familiar? Every job, like every relationship, offers great opportunities and demands great effort. Lawyers who enjoy their careers can somehow focus on the positive aspects of their jobs—and there are almost always positive aspects.”

. . . ” In other words, the most successful lawyers are usually those who are able to find some joy in what they do. They are not necessarily smarter or more talented than the rest of us, they have no theme song that plays constantly in their head to keep them sane, and they don’t have a deal with the devil. Their only secret is that they no longer expect to be on Oprah.”

I like Spagnoletti’s “looking for a soulmate” metaphor better than his mostly-inapt “being on Oprah” theme (how many of us really need to be famous, at least for a day, to have career satisfaction?). For decades, I’ve remarked that we Baby Boomers somehow got the notion that a job is supposed to be totally fulfilling — interesting, meaningful, and hopefully lucrative.  Since, given the jobs available to inhabitants of planet Earth, only a tiny percentage of us will ever achieve that goal, we set ourselves — and now our even-more self-absorbed children — up for great career angst and agita.

Spagnoletti is surely correct that a good job, like a good relationship, takes “real work” and can’t be always stimulating and fun.  His final “practical advice” is:

if you can’t be in the job you love, love the job you’re in.”

That will usually be good advice — we need patience and reasonable expectations in order to find satisfaction in any job. However, jobs are also like relationships in that some are toxic or simply far too incompatible and stressful to be worth enduring for long. If you’re in one of those, and aren’t simply the victim of untenable expectations, looking for options makes a lot of sense.   Of course, while looking for your next career move, a good attitude (a willingness to do quality work and taking it a day at a time) will go a long way toward keeping you sane.

Our alter ego Prof. Yabut continues to a believe that “only a silly a$$ doesn’t self-assess.” Throughout our schooling and career, we each need to discover and understand our personal values, passions, and work rhythms. That self-assessment takes a commitment of time and a promise of honesty.   (See our post “the road to ‘L’ is paved with inattention” for discussion and links to self-assessment tools).  Of course, honest self-assessment before entering law school, or prior to graduation, may be the best way to avoid being a dissatisfied member of the legal profession. (see Yabut’s “1L of a decision“)

clear and cold
the snap
of her attorney’s briefcase

… by Ed Markowski

If your skills, propensities or dreams make you want to put that law degree to work (or aside) as an author, check out “Career Alternatives for Attorneys: Writer/Author” (Above the Law, by Kashmir Hill October 31, 2008).  Ms. Hill took her own experience and perspectives from within what she calls “the law-journo bubble” to Thursday’s panel discussion at the New York City Bar Association: Non-Fiction: True Crime Stories & the Truth about Being a Lawyer-Writer. The panel members included Thomas Adcock, who has written seven books (including Dark Maze, which received an Edgar award), and Dennis Hawkins and Rosemarie Yu have, who have recently had their work published in the non-fiction anthology Brooklyn Noir 3.

Each panel member offered advice for lawyers who would like to become a lawyer-writer, and the ATL posting summarizes their tips on Law and Literature, How do you get started?, How do you get published?, and Copyright Law.

.. Ms. Hill suggests John Gardner’s “On Becoming a Novelist” (1999)

Kashmir also relates the story of Ben Fountain, who left the BigLaw firm of Akin Gump to write full-time, and whose lawyer wife was his personal patron for the 18 years it took to win the prestigious Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award award for his book of short stories, “Brief Encounters with Che Guevara” (2007). She’s right that having a patron (i.e., an alternative family breadwinner) helps a lot when seeking to spread your writing wings outside the legal profession. But, with so many legal jobs in jeopardy these days, Kashmir advises:

“If you have a patron, or if you have lots of creativity, or if you just love spinning tales, perhaps you should think about trying your hand at the writing craft.”

Her final advice is to write every day, “And writing legal memos does not count.”

You don’t have to do much to convince the f/k/a Gang that there is a natural fit between lawyers and literature (or the subset lawyers and haiku). As ex-prosecutor and author Dennis Hawkins told the NYCBA panel, both lawyers and authors know that “the right word, and the right sentence matter” — and many of us greatly enjoy the feeling that comes from finding that word.  [See, e.g., our discussion of The Legal Studies Forum. And see, Prof. James R. Elkins course materials on “Lawyers and Literature” (Univ. of West Virginia, College of Law)]

. . . by the way: Your humble Editor is neither too humble nor too proud to accept a patron, should anyone out there want to help shelter me while I figure out how to make a living as an author.

A Haibun by Andrew Riutta

– Andrew Riutta

In two days she turns just twenty-one. Twenty-one. So young. So pale. I tell her she should stay away from the bars. I tell her she should go out west and save the whales, or a redwood-or the endangered laughter of working-class people who go out on porches at dusk to hum the same hymns over and over in their heads that their grand- parents did. She tells me that saving herself from her father is hard enough.

peaceful autumn-
a window display
of hunter’s orange

andrew riutta

.. Sometimes, you’ve got to endure a few bites and some itching, to achieve your romantic or professional goals:

you and me
and a million mosquitos —
calamine sunset

.. haiga: poem and photo by David Giacalone, orig. pub. 60th WHA Haiga Contest (Oct. 2008) —

p.s. The new November 2008 issue of the DC Bar magazine Washington Lawyer also has two topical articles of interest: The cover story “Oil: the never-ending crisis,” in which Joan Indiana Rigdon traces the country’s growing dependency on foreign oil, its economic impact, and how government is once again scrambling for solutions.

And “Mean Streets,” in which Kathryn Alfisi examines the crackdown on panhandling and food sharing as  “an increasing number of U.S. cities employs a hard-line approach to combating homelessness, [and] the phrase “public space” seems to take on a different meaning.”

Finally, the Autumn/Winter 2008 edition of Moonset Literary Newspaper (Edition 4/No. 2) arrived two days ago.  Here are one haiku and one senryu from the new Moonset, by our Honored Guest Poet (and much-used Issa translator) David G. Lanoue:

our escort
through the ruined garden

almost a nudist
his newspaper

… by David G. LanoueMoonset Literary Newspaper (Autumn Winter 2008, Edition 4/ No. 2)

October 31, 2008

a handful of haiga and haiku halloween treats

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,haijin-haikai news,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 9:18 am

.…… a little news, then the treats:

  • Realizing that a sign with a big orange pumpkin on it might actually attract children to a house, Maryland parole agents sent out a pumpkin-less version of the sign this week to sex offenders, merely saying “No Candy at this Residence”.   Strangely, SO’s apparently have the option to use the pumpkin sign.  Parole officials deny they were affected by a Saturday Night Live skit poking fun at their sign (with Seth Myers saying “They are also being required to take down the signs that read, ‘Knock if you can keep a special secret.’”).  See: “Halloween & the Law, Part Deux: Targeting Sexual Offenders“ (Wall Street Journal Law Blog, October 30, 2008); and “Maryland Sex Offenders Under Close Watch on Halloween” (, Oct. 31, 2008, with audio)  [see our prior post for an image of the pumpkin sign and a discussion of this scary Halloween law]

half-moon Halloween –
a young face painted
like yin and yang

… by dagosan

  • David Brooks ably argues today in his New York Times column that any “stimulus package” include funds for improving our nation’s highway and bridges. “A National Mobility Project” (NYT, Oct. 31, 2008).  Such a Mobility Project will create jobs and make us a lot safer on the roads:

“In times like these, the best a sensible leader can do is to take the short-term panic and channel it into a program that is good on its own merits even if it does nothing to stimulate the economy over the next year. That’s why I’m hoping the next president takes the general resolve to spend gobs of money, and channels it into a National Mobility Project, a long-term investment in the country’s infrastructure.”

two pirates smooch
on the overpass –
the Pumpkin Patrol closes in

……… by dagosan

McCain mask at the door
no thank you
when we spread the wealth

… by dagosan

gets all the treats –
first Halloween

by dagosan (with help from Cyndi & Anny Miner, 1991)
(original in b&w at MagnaPoetsJF, Oct. 20, 2007)

starless night-
Mars and Milky Way
in the goblin’s bag

… by Yu Chang – Shiki Kukai (2nd Place, Oct. 1999)

the aroma
of roasting pumpkin seeds
jack-o-lantern’s grin

… by DeVar Dahl – Shiki Kukai (October 1999)

halloween party –
the shrink dances with a witch
and a cheerleader

Poem: David Giacalone
Photo by Cynthia Miner (1992)

……see the orig. haiga at MagnaPoetsJF (Oct. 28, 2007)

seeing ghosts …
grandma recalls
Hallowe’ens past

.. by Hilary Tann – Shiki Kukai (October 1999)


mistaken for a mime –
the vampire bites
his tongue

.. by dagosan (orig. at MagnaPoetsJF, Oct.26, 2007)
Photo by Cynthia Miner (1992)

. . .

No Costume No Treat”
goth kids
at my door

Photo: Mama G. (1955); Poem: David Giacalone

(orig. haiga in b&w, at MagnapoetsJF, Oct. 31, 2007)

halloween —
part of the moon
follows a bicycle home

… by Matt Morden – Morden Haiku

p.s. One last treat: We posted two new photos of Prof. Yabut’s new friend Wendy Savage, Esq., yesterday.

October 30, 2008

our haiga calendars for November 2008

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun — David Giacalone @ 10:07 am

This evening — October 30 — is Haunted Refrigerator Night (brought to you by WellCat).  That means, besides checking out that strange glob in my fridge, we need to tell you about our two haiga calendars for the month of November 2008 before the new month arrives.

October 30
the fridge bulb flickers
and dies

… by dagosan

As you probably already know, haiga are pictures (paintings, sketches, or photos) that include a subtly-linked haiku or similar poem. Last year, we created two free “haiga calendars” for 2008: the “artsy” Giacalone Bros. Haiga Calendar 2008 (with photos taken by my brother Arthur) and the nostalgic fka Haiga Memories Calendar 2008 (with most shots snapped in the 1950’s by Mama Giacalone).  The poetry is written by your Editor “dagosan”.  Here are thumbnails of the calendar pages for November, and the related poems:

……… November Haiga Calendars ………

on the novice trail –
climbers wave
from the peak


just another Thursday —
without you

.. by dagosan

Click on “more” to go below the fold, where you will find larger images and links to the original haiga used for the November calendars.

Our prior post from last December has descriptions and links to the full 12-month calendars, for printing or just viewing.


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