Pretty good compulsion

From this fall’s Northwestern alumni magazine:

John H. Worthington ’48 MS of Foxborough, Mass., is still going strong at age 93. He writes letters of the editor and to his three daughters. “Typing on my old manual typewriter is still a compulsion,” he writes.

There’s also a good piece on storytelling helping coma patients.

Meanwhile in this fall’s Medill alumni magazine, the back cover has a great picture (credit unknown) of young Michael Wilbon and Christine Brennan:

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What a quote!

Closing Times grafs on the papal lunch with the D.C. homeless:

As the pope climbed into the compact black Fiat serving as his limousine, Peter Atkinson stood at the fringe of the crowd, marveling at what he said was for him, as a Catholic, a “moment of grace.” Mr. Atkinson, 54, an engineer in a sharp black jacket, who speaks English with a French accent, said he is now living in one of Catholic Charities’ transitional housing programs. He said he had hit bottom abusing drugs and alcohol.

“I wouldn’t have been able to participate in this moment seeing the pope if I didn’t have this trash in my life that brought me to the shelter system,” Mr. Atkinson said. “It took this moment of nudging by the universe. If I can’t read the signs, I must be blind.”

‘Walking the streets of Cork…’

Love how the new issue of Poetry is all about young Irish poets. There are so many good and different reads. Even the editor’s note is strong.

One notable difference between this issue and the Contemporary Irish Poetry issue of 1995 is how evenly women are represented. In 1995, out of forty poets and translators presented, only six were women. I had to make no conscious effort to achieve gender balance in this selection.

LGBT themes have been explored by a handful of poets of an older generation such as Padraig Rooney, Mary Dorcey, Cathal Ó Searcaigh, and Sarah Clancy. As to the representation of racial diversity in Irish writing — that must await the next generation. Walking the streets of Cork I take great pleasure in hearing local accents emit from Filipino, Nigerian, and Chinese teenagers. I look forward to reading them in a special Irish issue of Poetry in the future.

My favorites from the issue:

Also, from the back-matter: “But the best education in the poetic art must oscillate between the two — between the need to dream fiercely and the need to communicate,” Thomas McCarthy writes. He quotes André Gide: “The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes. Essential to remain between the two, close to madness when you dream and close to reason when you write.”

(Off to Google both McCarthy and Gide.)

Quick trip to Los Angeles, part two

Previously: part one of the trip — downtown walk, Dodger Stadium, La Brea Tar pits, and a beautiful wedding.

Our last day in L.A. went too fast. Almost too fast to capture at points. Not pictured below: our lunch at In-N-Out Burger and our fantastic dinner at the on-the-rise B.S. Taqueria (tacos with lardo and clams!).

Also not captured, the outside of the soundstage where they filmed Casablanca and the inside of the soundstage where they film the Big Bang Theory. Something that shouldn’t have blown my mind but did: the stairwell in Big Bang is just one story. They redress the set for each floor. Hollywood is so much work.

Our goal was to make the city come alive for us, with our relatively little-to-none experience with the city, in relatively little time.

Successful? Yes.

On the Warner Bros. studio tour, somehow I wasn’t expecting the water tower. Yes, it’s in just about every Warner Bros. opening credits ever, and this image was obviously based on a real thing. But… it was more real than I expected, I guess. Too iconic an image to be real, maybe. Maybe some graduate student can write a paper on this feeling.


Continue reading Quick trip to Los Angeles, part two

A Branson wedding

My blogging fell off a cliff this busy, busy spring, and I failed to capture so many cool and fun things. It was a great time, if exhausting. Near the beginning of the spring came a weekend trip to Branson, Mo., for Lori’s cousin’s wedding and for me to meet all kinds of her relatives there.

On the way from St. Louis to Springfield…

Both kinds!

A photo posted by Patrick Cooper (@btrpkc) on

Continue reading A Branson wedding


Picked up Ron Padgett’s new collection, “Alone and Not Alone,” a while back and just got a chance/remembered to pull it off the shelf and read it. The New York Times, amid saying nice things about the book, opines on Padgett’s openness in saying “nice” and excerpts one of my favorite poems from the book in doing so.

Dinner is a damned nice thing
as are breakfast and lunch
when they’re good and with
the one you love.

That poem’s called “Pep Talk,” for what the food gives us. I also like one about a butterfly. And one about what it means to relax. And one about the first person to say “I think the world of you.” My favorite passage from it end up on this page, a page that oddly says almost nothing else.

Don’t go around all day
thinking about life—
doing so will raise a barrier
between you and its instants.
You need those instants
so you can be in them,
and I need you to be in them with me
for I think the world of us
and the mysterious barricades
that make it possible.