foto by smith

natalija (our host’s older daughter) and ognjen arrived from the states to visit their parents this week.  we’re talking to them more here than we ever had a chance to when we were all in cleveland.  intense, serious, thoughtful folk who live their life by a collaborative reasoned philosophy.  they write together, study together, live together, plan together, put out their collaborative literature website together. like kathy and i, they’re together 24/7. don’t believe i’ve met another couple with such a thoughtful, thought out life path.  they grew up behind the iron curtain under socialism, matured during the birth of fledging croatian capitalism, and are now studying at case western university in cleveland’s decaying diseased unfree-for-all market capitalism.  how odd to travel around the world to get to know poets we met at a poetry reading in cleveland.
last week, sara holbrook and michael salinger visited from cleveland as well.  in echoes of synchronicity, they also are a collaborative poetic couple whom we talked to more and got to know better here in croatia than we ever did in cleveland.  irony lives, and i work in the irony mines.

on their drive back, sara got me the tunnel dimensions i missed on the way back from zagreb.  there are 20 tunnels between pula and zagreb in croatia totaling 17,851 meters – that’s 11.1 miles underground.  the longest tunnel is 5,062 meters or 3.14 miles long, which is a long time to be inside a mountain.  all 20 tunnels are badly ventilated, so it’s also a long time to breathe brain damaging carbon monoxide.  if i go thru them often enough and kill enough brain cells, i’ll eventually be as smart as our current Predicament george w. bush (i believe the W stands for war crimes).

speaking of war, i believe all those mountains twixt here and the rest of croatia is one of the factors that kept the bosnian-serbian war away from istria (the triangle on the map jutting down into the adriatic sea just to the upper right of italy – where we are).  plus our hosts say istria has been ruled by so many different countries and nationalities and is composed of so many various peoples, they’re used to communicating rather than fighting.  they’ve been ruled by rome, venice, austrio-hungarians, communists, socialists, yugoslavian-serbs, etc.  pula is a 3,000 year old city, so they’ve had a lot of masters.

kathy turned 34 xmas eve.  we’ve been coupled 15.5 months, lived together 14.5 months, been 24/7 12 months, married 9 months, and escapees from america 5 months.

finally finished the alexandria quartet.  4th volume is even more boring than the first 3.  found a valid use for it tho – used it as a soporific when i couldn’t sleep.  there’s some fine scenes sprinkled throughout, but no one to care for or about. i wanted more of the characters pursewarden and clea, which i got in this last book.  but the more you get to know them, the smaller and more mundane they become.  sort of like life.  have to say much of the quartet mirrors the less pleasing aspects of life.  i would never recommend anyone read them.  now i’m reading emily bronte’s wuthering heights since i recently walked the very moors cathy and heathcliff wandered.

collage & foto by smith

finished my sea-worn wood collage… not my normal edgy assemblage… more like a sea shanty show piece.  i’m proud because i didn’t have a concept of the piece, just a hundred pieces of collected beach fragments i thot could become something – so for 6 days i sat down and forced myself to work without inspiration or vision, and an interesting decent piece appeared.  i could probably sell them in gift shops.

collage & foto by smith

christmas croatia 12.25.2006 – blue skies, light breeze, sun… t-shirt & light jacket weather.  you can keep your white christmas – i’ll take elvis’ blue christmas any ole time (blue in sky, not in heart).  elvis has some of the coolest xmas tunes around – especially the raunchy blues of ‘santa claus is back in town’, and the slow blues of ‘merry christmas baby’.  he also has some of the best gospel music i’ve ever heard from any era, any color, any combo.  tho if i could only choose 1 singer, it’d be bob dylan… i have more respect for folk who write their own songs – and no one out writes dylan.  leonard cohen comes close, but he’s produced only 1/10th of dylan’s output and stayed pretty much in one genre while dylan’s done em all.

collage & foto by smith

for xmas, kathy’s giving 3 of her new collages to our host family mom&dad, sister&husband, & sister… while i’m giving the new worn wood to the parents and a small 10 year old collage i brought along for us to the sister&husband to take back to cleveland.  kathy also gave sara&michael one of her new assemblages to take back to cleveland… now they have 2 cuz mike bought my large “the stranger within” piece at our after-poetry-reading-wedding party last march.  kathy’s new stuff is excellent – and anyone who knows me knows i do not say such things lightly.  she has her own art style and philosophy.  even tho we don’t exchange presents, for her birthday/xmas, i gave kathy the 2nd of the two collages i brought with us for us – “afterthought” with the real live dead baby bird in it (on top of a grandma moses print). this was always MY collage (along with runoff).  folks have tried to buy it thru the years and i always said no.  for my own present from me to me, i did 3 loads of wash this xmas day – now everything is clean except my soul and my bill of health.

two years ago i made $70,000… this year i made  $7,943 – all from unemployment.  next year i look to make $zero.  it’s the old no-money-in-much-money-out game.  think i’m going to have to find a new game to play.  my long-played fame game hasn’t panned out for me… but the outlaw game has been rather fun… as has the ganja game, tho it’s a hard game to play these past 8 weeks due to this pot-less present.

day after xmas.  went to town to blog.  streets dead.  library closed.  town ghostly. only open cyber cafe had a single computer with an usb port, and it was being used by a smuck not using the usb port.  so no blog. strangeness in a strange land.

kathy asked me about offworld.  offworld first came up in cleveland when i bought an intricately woven belt and wondered how they machined such an item – kathy said they were manufactured offworld.  it’s been our joke line since.  today she asked for details how offworld worked, so i began explaining.  she kept asking more.  the result is offworld, which she’s blogging above.  her large assemblage is also titled offworld, so it all goes together.

day after day after xmas – ex-president gerarld r ford died… on the news, the consensus is he did a good thing for the nation by pardoning richard m nixon for watergate and other crimes.  all i know is ford lied to congress and lied to the american people because in his confirmation hearings, he promised he would not pardon nixon.  the powerful always lie, always take care of their own.  nixon should have been jailed for what he did.  news also said ford was the only american president never elected – they seem to forget that george w. bush has never been elected… he stole the presidency both times. if i ever come across an honest politician, i’d drop dead of shock.

foto by smith

james brown also died.  he may not have been the nicest person in the world, but he certainly made music move. hail thee, soul funk man.

past 2 days kathy & i’ve written 3 science essays: offworld, cosmology, and hot box.  think we’ve hit upon something here.  particularly like hot box, where i explain how women’s heat radiating vulvas are contributing to global warming and possible alien attack.  cosmology explains how the universe came about.  bungling boy bush should hire me to explain the good bush/bad bush theory of science.

and now, data from the downside…

The top 10 warmest years have all occurred in the last 12 years. – (Published on Thursday, December 14, 2006 by Reuters)

foto by smith

The world’s largest armies ( SOURCE: CSIS/DOD )
  China:             2,225,000 troops
  United States: 1,426,713
  India:              1,325,000
  North Korea:   1,106,000
  Russia:          1,037,000
  South Korea:     687,000
  Pakistan:          619,000
  Turkey:             514,850
  Vietnam:           484,000
  Egypt:              450,000

foto by smith

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