• Last night on my way home from work I caught the tail end of an NPR story on an interesting new cd called Strange Conversation by Kris Delmhorst. She has taken poetry by Walt Whitman, Robert Browning, e.e. cummings and others and turned them into songs. My Bookman was already home when I arrived, had the radio on and had heard the whole thing. As soon as I walked in the door he asked me if I had heard the story. Looks like we’ll be getting a new album soon. (Have I just totally dated myself by calling it an album? I still say record too sometimes. Heck let’s air the laundry. When I was a kid my parents had an 8-track tape player and the whole family thought it was so cool. I bought my first cd when I was 18 after I had won a drawing for a portable CD player at Arbys. Janet Jackson. $9.99 at Target. Soon followed by Dream Academy. I no longer have either. Some will say I’ve branched out into even dorkier music.)
  • You’ve probably heard about the winners of the National Book Awards. No surprises really. I’ve not read any of them (no surprise there either). I do have Octavian Nothing and Echo Maker on my TBR list though. What I am really waiting for, however, is for them to post the speech Adrienne Rich gave when she accepted the Distinguished Contribution to American Letters award. I really wish they would hurry up. The anticipation is making me jittery.
  • Be sure to view this phenomenal reading that took place at this year’s Geraldine R Dodge Poetry Festival. The video is of poet Taha Muhammad reading his poem “Revenge” in Arabic followed by Peter Cole, Taha’s translator reading the poem in English. It’s beautiful. And it’s what poetry is all about.
  • Fox TV has reached a new low with the upcoming O.J. Simpson interview in which he talks about how he would have “theoretically” killed his ex-wife and Ron Goldman. The interview is to coincide with the release of a book called If I Did It, Here’s How It Would Have Happened. This is wrong on so many levels, not least of which he really committed the murders and will never go to jail for it since he’s already been acquitted.
  • Last weekend I hopped onto my exercise bike and planned to spend at least an hour pedaling away and listening to Stephen King’s The Gunslinger on audiobook. All was going well until, after a mile and a half, one of the pedals fell off! This had happened about two weeks before that too. I couldn’t get the pedal back on. It took my husband using a wrench and a hammer to get the pedal back in. The bolt and the hole the bolt screws into to hold the pedal on were partially stripped. Nearly every time I rode the bike the pedal had to be pounded back in. Last Saturday was it. No more of the pedal shenanigans. I did some online searching and found an acceptable bike at Sears that was on sale for $75 dollars less than it’s original price. The plan was to go get it after dinner last night. But my Bookman picked it up after work and surprised me with it when I got home. What a guy!

    It took us an hour to put the thing together. Obviously the good people who make Ikea instructions do not also make exercise bike instructions. This bike has a console readout with a cup holder larger than any cup I own. What are they thinking I’m going to put in there? I mean, this thing could probably hold a two-liter bottle! The console also has a heart rate monitor that the directions tell me I must stop pedaling to use. I am supposed to stop and put my thumb on the sensor, but it’s a Three Bears sensor: don’t press too hard, don’t press too soft, press just right. I’m not going to be able to use it because I can’t get an accurate reading from it. Just standing next to the bike to test it, I got a heart rate first of 48, then 164, then 98. I was excited about this little feature too. Oh well.

    The bike and I have a date with the Gunslinger this afternoon. At least I know the pedal won’t fall off.