Sunday, September 27, 2009

R.I.P., William Safire

Rest in peace, William Safire.

O Pulitzer-winning conservative pundit,
O Nixon speechwriter,
O clever wordsmith, you
probably used
a Windows PC–
but only because
the Times made you.
“Nattering nabobs of negativity.”
That was your catch phrase.
What did it mean?
Why did you say it?
Nobody seems to know.
Even today, it remains a mystery.
Yet everyone remembers it.
That, my friend, is genius.
Jon Ive says you were
a pedantic old prick
& a craven warmonger
who pushed us into Iraq.
A bit unkind of him, I think.
Frankly, I never read
your political columns.
Why start the day angry?
That was my feeling.
Plus, in the end, I believe
your essays on language
are the ones for which
you will be remembered.
Though I must admit, I
never read those either.
I’m sorry.
I’m told they were very good.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

R.I.P., Ted Kennedy

Rest in peace, Teddy Kennedy.
O last knight of Camelot,
O lion of the Senate,
O liberal Boston Irish hero, you
drank & fought & fought & drank,
though not always in that order.
Civil rights,
voting rights,
health care —
these were your issues.
“I have a dream.”
That was your famous line.
Or was it the one about some people see things
and ask why, but other people
see things that aren’t even there?
I’m sure you saw a few things like that.
Because let’s be honest.
Let’s get real.
Can we do that?
Let’s just admit that
you were not perfect.
That test you cheated on in college?
That thing where you drove off a bridge?
Not great.
You also betrayed your party
& ran against Jimmy Carter,
& cost your party the White House.
Not cool. Seriously.
But after that you dedicated your life
to helping the least fortunate among us,
& that, not the car crash,
or the backstabbing of Carter,
is what
you will be remembered for.
I think.
Also the way
your great pure noble spirit
drove the right-wing shitbags
crazy, so that they
hounded you
& smeared you
& made your life
a living hell.
Even now, the haters are out there hating.
Dredging up the past.
Jon Ive says your dad sided with the Nazis
& wouldn’t help the Brits
in World War II.
Jon says he can’t understand why we all
go around worshipping the Kennedys.
He’s even been telling Kennedy jokes,
like, “What is a Kennedy’s favorite sex position?”
to which the answer is,
“The full nelson.”
A bit unkind of him, I think.
As for me, I choose
to remember the other Teddy Kennedy,
the one with the marvelous mane of snow-white hair
& that wonderful Boston accent.
“Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd.”
And: “I have a dream.”
Those were your lines.
That is the Teddy Kennedy
I will remember.
The one who kept going —
on and on and on, hours after
everyone had fallen asleep,
in those marvelous speeches
with those ornate phrases,
those Latinate words
falling around us like softly swooning snow,
faintly falling, falling faintly,
those winding sentences
that took so long
to convey so little
& seemed as if they might never end.
Well, now they have.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

RIP, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson

Rest in peace, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett & Michael Jackson,
O sidekick
O angel
O scary freak from hell–
You know how they say that bad news comes in threes?
Well I have to admit
I was kind of crapping my pants
when Ed passed, & then Farrah,
& then for a while the number three slot
was just hanging out there, unoccupied,
& I’m like, Dear sweet baby Jesus,
I don’t care which celebrity buys it next,
just as long as it’s not me.
Then came the news about Michael,
& all I could say was,
I would have bet on Swayze, but still.
We’ll take it.
Phil Schiller sent around an email saying
that in memory of Michael,
Wal-Mart would be running a special offer:
boy’s underpants, half off.
A bit unkind of him, I think.
Not very original, either.
Now he’s in trouble with HR.
Honestly, Phil. You should know better.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Poetry corner

RIP, William Safire

RIP, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson

RIP, Teddy Kennedy

RIP, Evel Knievel

Eric Schmidt’s Serenity Prayer

RIP, Norman Mailer

RIP, Kurt Vonnegut

RIP, Jerry Falwell

RIP, Don Ho

RIP,  James Brown

RIP, Ray Noorda

RIP,  Alan Shugart

sometimes i feel like a hunted animal

sometimes i feel like a golden god

sometimes i feel like a great chef

Vista’s perspective, by H. Aiku

Twas the night before they met Fake Steve

Ode to the iPod

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

R.I.P., George Carlin

Rest in peace, George Carlin.
O humorist,
O genius,
O breaker of new ground, you
were more than just a comedian,
more than just a funny man.
You were an artist of the highest order.
That was your famous line.
And for this the cops arrested you.
Jon Ive says he never
found you funny.
A bit unkind of him, I think.
But then again, he’s British.
And they have a weird sense of humor.
Fawlty Towers? Monty Python?
I’m sorry but I just don’t get it.
Sleep easy, George Carlin.
If we ever do another “Think Different”
ad campaign, I promise
you will be in it.
But not your dirty words.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

R.I.P., Evel Knievel

Rest in peace, Evel Knievel.
O leaper,
O thrill-seeker,
O wearer of patriotic jumpsuits, you
earned huge amounts of money
with your pointless, suicidal stunts,
and brought glory to America.
Yet the IRS chased you down
& stung you for millions
in unpaid taxes.
“World’s Greatest Daredevil.”
That was your title.
Which is strange because
on the big jumps
you always crashed.
Caesar’s Palace,
Snake River Canyon,
Wembley Stadium.
Boom. Splat. Boom. Splat. Boom. Splat.
Jon Ive says if someone crashed
that much in our business
they wouldn’t call you “world’s greatest.”
They’d call you Microsoft. Or Windows.
A bit unkind of him, I think.
Because you inspired people.
Including me. One time,
when I was thirteen, I built
a ramp on my street
& put on a cape
& a football helmet
& tried to jump a Schwinn Stingray
over three kindergarten kids.
Each kid lay on the pavement
holding a pair of enormous torches —
rolled-up newspapers doused in gasoline.
Flames leapt eight feet into the air.
Soon after this
as a condition of my parole
I joined my school’s electronics club.
The rest, as they say,
is history.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Eric Schmidt’s Serenity Prayer

Dear Lord,
You have blessed me with many gifts
including a two hundred billion dollar market cap
and a search monopoly that gushes cash
like nothing in the history of the planet.
For these things, Lord,
and for allowing me to beautify the world
by splattering glorious text ads on every available surface,
I give you thanks and praise.
But now, Lord, your humble servant seeks your assistance.
My stock, though still widly overpriced, has dropped
by nearly one hundred dollars.
My followers, fully vested, grow restless,
and begin to seek a new promised land.
Though free delicious cuisine
from every corner of the globe
is available to them twenty-four hours a day,
like sweet manna from heaven,
still they hunger for more.
Though we offer haircuts and laundry
and saunas and massages
and a roller coaster and bumper cars and a skee ball arcade;
though each drone need work only four days
a week and may devote one-fifth of his or her time
to personal interests, such as designing time machines
and rocket ships that can fly to Mars
or just totally fucking off,
still, these spoiled, bratty, greedy little pricks
keep leaving for Facebook.
Damn them, Lord!
Smite them down!
Send a plague upon Zuckerberg!
Something that itches and burns!
But seriously.
Lord, I need your help.
Give me patience.
And kindness.
And courage.
Help me to put up with Larry’s bullshit
and Sergey’s smug, condescending tone.
Help me tolerate their Legos and jumbo jets and cockamamie ideas,
like this crazy campus that looks
so much like a friggin kindergarten
that you half expect to see Barney
leaping out from behind the bronze T-Rex
or riding on the replica of Burt Rutan’s spaceship
or having his photo taken with Meng.
Dear Lord, how did I get here?
And how can I get out?
You know as well as I do
that I have no idea how to manage this place.
No one does.
You know that our
ridiculous profit margins
have masked our many mistakes
and inefficiencies. You know
this madness cannot go on forever.
You know what time bombs
lie buried in our income statement.
Lord, I come to you now
in most humble supplication
to ask this favor:
Let your servants succeed
at something other than search.
VaporPhone ™, social networking,
desktop apps, herbal supplements —
frankly, Lord, I don’t care.
Just make it happen.
Speak to me, Lord.
I’m listening.
I’m all ears.
Of course, if this be not your will,
I will accept your decision.
But I swear if that’s the case
I am so friggin out of here
it’s not even funny.
Seriously, Lord.
One year, tops.
Then I’m gone.
That is all.
(Copyright Eric E. Schmidt, 2007. Published under the terms of the Creative Commons license.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

R.I.P., Norman Mailer

Rest in peace, Norman Mailer.
O brawler & drinker,
O winner of Pulitzers, you
wrote great books
yet the literary establishment
refused to acknowledge
your genius.
The Naked and the Dead.
The Executioner’s Song.
These were fine, important works,
& I wanted to finish them
but I only got about halfway.
I’m sorry. They were really long.
Did you not have an editor?
If they were shorter I think
they might have sold better.
Just a thought.
Jon Ive says you were a total
closet case because your books
are filled with buggery.
I think that’s a bit unkind of him.
Even though we both agree
that even if it’s true
there’s totally nothing wrong with that.
You also had some issues
with women. Like, you
stabbed your wife in the boob,
which was not cool.
And you challenged Billie Jean King
to that tennis match, which was
a big mistake, because
she totally kicked your ass.
My advice would be you should
forget about sports
& stick to writing.
But I guess it’s too late for that now.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Better late than never?

This masterful poem has been sitting in my email inbox for days now, and I just found it. Comes from a reader named Lars and is worth saving. He titles it:

“Jobs’ talk to retail staff.”

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Jobs.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is the iPhone Day.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on IPhones’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
I the Pod, Lisa and Macintosh,
Jaguar and Panther, Tiger and Leopard-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Job’s RDF shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in Gatesland now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon iPhone Day’s day.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

R.I.P., Jerry Falwell

Rest in peace, Jerry Falwell.
O hater of gays,
O supporter of segregation,
O denier of evolution, you
created the Moral Majority,
which as the old bumper sticker
said, was neither.
Friend of Anita Bryant
and George Wallace,
critic of Martin Luther King
and Desmond Tutu, you
had the courage to say out loud
what most bigots only whisper.
Jon Ive says you once claimed you
could leg-press two thousand pounds.
But I’m pretty sure that was
someone else.
Jon also says your bible college
has dinosaur bones which it claims
are three thousand years old when really
they are a trillion years old.
A small mistake, in the bigger
scheme of things. But Jon says
you also claim these dinosaurs
belonged to Adam and Eve, who
raised them as pets.
That one is tougher to swallow.
Jerry Falwell, I cannot call you
Reverend. I cannot
imagine a person with whom
I have less in common.
Except I’ve heard that
you once were hassled
by the SEC.
So there’s one thing at least.
Oh, and you ran a cult.
That’s two.