Archive for October 16th, 2010

by problembear

when you are writing a script it is imperative that characters are well drawn and understandable to the audience. but that is not enough. if there is no tension or if the opposing characters are not evenly matched it is boring and too predictable and people soon lose interest.

now that payday lenders are finding it difficult to argue that interest rates that average 400%  for our working poor are reasonable they are resorting to their worn out script ….

“but where will the poor credit challenged go without us?”

and their companion piece….  “it will put our employees out of work.”

these be dragons folks. in other words, they are a concoction of imagination by payday lenders to make you think that these concerns are real.

now, i think a little plot twist at the end is very important in fiction, but in real life, these two dragons are mythical. first. i have never seen a law stop anyone from making money. you can’t tell me that 36% interest is not profitable and reasonable. second. many states (19 so far) have enacted similar laws and people still seem to survive just fine without being charged 400% interest. and the employees simply move where the money goes.

the thing about payday loans that is never examined is the ease with which they are taken out. ten minutes and no credit check. why? because at 400% interest the payday lenders are making so much that the few people who slip through their formidable collection net are simply meaningless and statistically irrelevant.

but let me ask one question…. what does it say about a nation that allows this slip-knot of easy money which traps people who cannot easily pay the original loan amount into a cycle of debt in the first place? it says that it is ok to be irresponsible with money. it says go ahead and ruin your credit all you want. it says eat live and be merry for tomorrow you die. it says why be an ant who saves for the winter when you can be a grasshopper who dies at the first sign of frost. payday lending  is simply not a healthy thing for our kids working low-pay jobs and our seniors on social security to turn to. it further impoverishes them to the point that already overly burdened non-profits during this recession must step in and support them.

the arguments of the payday lenders are false. beware the dragon… sells people on a false fairy tale of easy money that turns into a fire-breathing dragon in the end.

by lizard

When I stopped in to Shakespeare & Co. last weekend, I was surprised to see a new book of poems (titled Thin Kimono) by Montana author Michael Earl Craig. As I was purchasing the book I asked Garth if Michael would be reading any time soon from his new collection. Apparently the reading had already come and gone. Boo. But I was glad to hear the reading was well attended.

Since publishing his first book Can You Relax In My House with Wave Books in 2002, Michael Earl Craig has become something of a fascination in the local literary scene. Put simply, he’s a strange dude—a tall, lanky man who makes his living shoeing horses in Livingston, Montana, Craig is the antithesis of the stereotypical poet. And his poems? Well, the label that most accurately approaches the oddness of his poetic work is Surrealism, but in one of the new poems Craig (sort of) addresses what he thinks about the label that’s been most closely associated with his poetry:


The nitwit danced with the congresswoman
at the spring picnic.

I went down to the river to take a good look at it.
I stood on the bank and said “God, if you do exist—”

A handsome puppet passed, dragging its puppeteer by the hand.

Also a Pekingese wearing a University of Mobile sweatshirt.

To those people who are always talking about “surrealism”
can I suggest opening your fucking eyes?

If you do this, you will see mothballs. And a green nightgown.


Craig’s poems are difficult if you try to extract discernible meaning from them. Instead you have to accumulate sometimes disparate impressions and reflect on the resonance they create placed next to each other. Here is another poem from Craig’s new collection:


I don’t know how to behave but
I know what I believe. I believe
That if I stick my head in the oven
I won’t take it out. I believe in
Corduroy couch cushions. I believe
in digging a tunnel with a small
silver spoon. I believe in tunneling
with this spoon under the city
and never giving up.
I believe in after-breakfast naps
and Russian roulette—
Russian roulette while eating ice cream
as I watch the evening news.
I believe in the evening news.
And I believe in celebrity.

I believe in those photos
on the web of Putin playing doubles
Ping-Pong, outdoors, in his Speedo.
(Find those.) I believe in haircuts
and bubble gum, and putting my face
down into a pillow or cushion,
and that when I do this I will see
the future, plus other cultures, most
of them, and I’ll get work done
that couldn’t be done another way.

I believe in tacos and mortification.
I believe that all people fall
into one of two categories: Doonesbury or Farside.
Well, or Andy Capp. Andy Capp type people.
They’re everywhere.

Michael Earl Craig is weird, and that’s a good thing. It would be easy to write him off because of this, though, and that would be a mistake. By weaving his strange impressions of our culture and our world he illuminates the absurdity that does exist everywhere, like Andy Capp type people. The image of Putin, for example, is totally ridiculous, but pictures of Putin shirtless riding a horse have been seriously reported on the evening news (the news that Craig believes in).

Absurdity is everywhere. Craig offers his unique window into how he processes these absurdities and uses them to produce bizarre poems where anything can happen. It would be worth your time checking him out.

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