Saturday, January 31, 2009

Literary Illusions

With this Sunday marking the occasion of the 43rd Super Bowl, the past two weeks have shown sports analysts & commentators working 24/7, waxing the poetic to fill the dead air so that we should never have a moment's silence without homage being paid to the teams, their players, their cities, their owners, their children, their pets & their officially NFL licensed team pajamas.

Obviously, these sports reporters have never read Kenneth Koch's ars poetica, "Fresh Air," in which he creates "a Zorro-like alter ego called the Strangler whose task it is to suppress poetic dullness," as John Ashbery describes it, "violently if necessary."

Apropos of the violence of the game, Koch writes: "In the football stadium I also see him,/He leaps through the frosty air at the maker of comparisons/Between football and life and silently, silently strangles him."

Let us hope the Strangler appears at this year's game when the announcers inevitably describe Larry Fitzgerald as "poetry in motion" or wonder aloud if Shakespeare could have written Kurt Warner's "bags to riches" story; he didn't--Ben Jonson did.

You'd think fear of showing their stupidity would muzzle some of these inane, cliche-ridden comments, but sports announcers apparently have had their already gi-normous egos amply fluffed so that they believe they are not only literate, but literary. I suppose to the inebriated, these guys pass for Nobel Laureates.

Everything's relative. For instance, one of the low points of Joe Namath's life--& that's saying something--would have been a highlight in mine. If I'd got really, really drunk at a football game & Suzy Kolber wanted to interview me on live national tv, but I told her that I didn't care about my team strugg-a-ling--I just wanted to kiss her, what a sweet, dumb memory for me! Broadway Joe, on the other hand, had to issue a public apology & enter rehab. Say it ain't so, Joe!

Back to the game, I predict Ben Roethlisberg will surmount an heroic 4th quarter comeback comparable to Tennyson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade." Then, with under 2 minutes left, the Steelers defense, led by Troy Polamalu, whose name neatly fits the meter, will hold off the swift-winged Cardinals' late rally, their scarlet glory falling short that winter's day.

Final score: Steelers 21, Cardinals 17.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Our Last Hope

I've always liked Richard Lovelace's sweet, melodious "Gratiana Dancing & Singing." Given my predilection for parody, I've written several spoofs of it over the years, one of which I thought particularly funny. My memory's sketchy, but I think it's called "Brittiana Drinking & Farting." I know! Good stuff!

Sadly, during the past few years, I've experienced more than my fair share of computer problems. Most notably, a summer storm fried my hard drive, despite my having used a surge protector. Since it was guaranteed, I got a new surge protector free of charge--which is akin to your server at Applebee's saying the riblets are "a bit off," so she threw in a few extra.

I'd backed-up my files. However, apparently some were infected with a virus, so when I downloaded them after installing a new hard drive, I spent the ensuing week trying to clean my system of a bug that kept recurring like a bad dream, one in which you're having a nice dinner out, but as events develop you grow increasingly uneasy about the way it's all unfolding & suddenly you're singing karaoke & a gigantic tri-headed beast that spits grenades chases you through a drunken maze, though you may call it corn.

The upshot is I lost many files, including my parodies of Lovelace. I've contacted a few friends to whom I emailed the poem for laughs, but as it was at least a couple of years ago, they've long since deleted those messages, so screw them, ok?

In light of the revelation that the NSA spied on Americans via emails & phone conversations, it occured to me that I have another way to recover this lost file.

Listen, NSA, since I'm technically a taxpayer & you technically work for me, I'd appreciate if you'd look around for a copy of my aforementioned poem. As I understand it, the government has absolved you & the telecommunications companies of any past, present, or future crimes related to "illegal" spying, so there's no need to fear legal recourse on my part. Plus, if you've been monitoring me for the past few years, you know I'm unlikely to say anything--not with the kind of information you've gathered on me.

Also, I lost a villanelle that depicts a menage a trois in such explicit terms that it borders on pornographic, so I'm pretty sure, given the details of the kind of "spying" you guys "allegedly" did--perhaps still do--you have that one handy. You can send it to . . . well, you know where to send it!