Ever wake up with a poem stuck in your head? This morning was one I’ve not thought of in years… Wallace Stevens’ “Emperor of Ice Cream.” Check this out:

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month’s newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

A collage of images set to music.


My banjo habits are weird. I’ll spend months practicing the same tunes over and over, unable to learn new tunes, then bam.. I’ll pick up three or four new bluegrass tunes in the space of a week or so. I’ve recently picked up “Red Wing,” “Lonesome Road Blues,” “Down the Road,” and the first parts to “Liza Jane” and “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” You watch….those will be the last new tunes I learn until May. Instead, I’ll suddenly pick up half a dozen new Irish tunes for the tenor banjo instead–which is fine with me. I haven’t really picked up a new tune for the tenor since “The Gravel Walks.”

Why does it work that way? I suppose with the five-string banjo, it’s a question of internalizing fingering techniques and roll patterns. I get some down so I can do them in my sleop, and only then am I ready to move onto to something else. Maybe something more complicated. With the tenor, where there aren’t roll patterns to internalize, maybe it’s more the rhythms and intonations. It’s been over a month since I’ve picked up the guitar. I wonder what will happen then?

Hell, why question it at all? It’s not the fact that the bear dances a waltz, but that he’s dancing at all.


Lots of work still to do, and miles to go before I sleep–figuratively. The February issue of Medicine & Health/Rhode Island has been delivered to the printer. Issue 181 of the SFWA Bulletin will likely go to the printer tomorrow morning. I’m continuing with the extensive edits and changes to the Hardcastle & McCormick book and really need to get the new cover finished. Lewis Stadlen sent me some new text for his book, Acting Foolish and Lonnie Burr has sent me some new photos and edits for An Accidental Mouseketeer. On top of that we’ll be putting out a new edition of Spotlights & Shadows: The Albert Salmi Story. Plus some little errands here and there. Contracts, promo copy and such.

Busy busy.

And prepping something for this weekend. Still intending on announcing Project X for February 2.


Today’s link goes to a time-waster… a page of old, corny computer geek jokes. Newer jokes appear at the top, which means as you scroll down, the jokes get older and more obsolete. Fun for classic fans such as myself…and archaeologists.