November 30, 2005

haiku of the moment

fire extinguisher
alone on clean median
what is your story?

November 29, 2005

conversation of the moment

i walk into whole foods and take a pecan bun to the counter. like an automaton, the cashier lady says, "$1.99."

i put a $2 bill on the counter and she just stares at it. after, maybe, 30 seconds she says, "that's a $2 bill."

i respond with a statement that i tend to use a lot when people say things that are right, namely, "that's right."

she keeps staring.

it's becoming clear that i need to do something or i will stand here, quite literally, forever. she is somehow transfixed by hideous nature of thomas jefferson and his mona lisa smile in the same way drivers can't avoid looking over at a grisly car accident as they drive past. "i always carry 2's. a girl friend of a friend of mine works at the federal reserve -- i get a stack of 100 from her whenever i run out."

the woman looks at me without expression and says, "you're evil."

i smile. "i am. but it's the lowest form of evil and the best kind, right? i mean you can see it and you know it for what it is, right?"

she looks at me blankly and says, "i'm not so sure," sliding my penny change across the counter.

"thank you," i say, beating a hasty retreat to the door. i glance back as i leave, only to see the cashier, glaring steadily, at the bill on her counter.

haiku of the moment

soak all of my clothes
in a bag of permethrin
die mosquitoes die

November 28, 2005

haiku of the moment

pray make the wind swell
throw turbulence at the world
flee humanity

November 27, 2005

World's Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Full to the brim with fat and cholesterol, this recipe is as good tasting as it is bad for you. Feel free to do any substitutions to the straight milk products to bring the fat content down -- the taste will suffer very little. Do not, however, substitute low-fat cheeses -- those things don't melt worth a damn.

Use any pasta shapes of your choosing -- the classic American choice is elbow macaroni which is both boring and in my eyes, wrong. You want something that'll hold some of the cheese when you dig your fork in and surprise your guests when they eat it, so go with some good short cut shape like fusilli (corkscrews), farfalle (bow ties), conchiglie/pipe (sea shells) or orecchiette (tiny cups).

This is a recipe that is so spectacular that not only will it, very likely, make people become blasphemous when they eat it ("GODDAMN THIS IS GOOD!"), but you'll find that your life will forever be divided into the "before" (aka "the bad time") and "after" (aka "enlightenment" or "yum-bo") of your having it.

Be prepared for some psychological fall-out associated with eating this along the lines of "I can't believe I was eating something else all these years." This mental state is nothing leftovers won't cure.

(5/3/15 addendum
i've since backed-off on the worcestershire sauce in this recipe and only use 1t, instead of 2.  i think the flavor of W is too profound relative to the other tastes.  you can/should play around with it yourself, but i've had good results omitting it entirely.

1T Olive oil
1c Heavy cream
1c Half-and-half
2 Egg yolks
1/2t Nutmeg
2c (8 oz) Extra-sharp cheddar (grated)
2c (8 oz) Fontina (grated)
2c (8 oz) Parmesan (grated)
2t Worcestershire sauce
1/2t Pepper
3c (12 oz) Any pasta shape of your choosing
1c Bread crumbs (optional)

Yield: This recipe feeds eight people easily as a side dish.

Cheese note: If you have trouble finding fontina, you can just up your amounts of parmesan and cheddar, or even add something like a Gruyere swiss. The dish is much better with the fontina, though. Do not use goat cheeses (unless that yakky taste really appeals to you). Even if you're turned off by sharp cheddar, you should use it -- the sharpness drops significantly on baking/mixing, but keeps a distinct cheese flavor (a trait many mac and cheeses lack).

1. Heat oven to 400º.

2. Grease a large casserole dish (3-to-4 quarts).

3. Cook pasta according to instruction for your chosen shape al-dente (you can skip forward and start #4 while this is cooking). Toss pasta in olive oil when finished to prevent sticking, coat more evenly with cheese and ramp the taste slightly.

4. Combine cream, half-and-half, egg yolks and nutmeg in a good-sized sauce pan over medium heat. Add 1-1/2 cups of each of the cheeses. Stir frequently until all cheese is melted (about 10 minutes), being sure not to let it boil (boiling causes the cheese to "break" and gives it a distinct broken-down rubbery feel). Add Worcestershire sauce and pepper.

5. Place cooked pasta in the casserole dish, and coat with melted cheese mixture. sStir a bit to make sure everything is well-coated.
6. Sprinkle remaining uncooked cheese on top.

7. Bake for 15 minutes.

8. If adding bread crumbs, sprinkle them on top when the edges have turned golden brown, and crank the oven up to broil for about a minute. If you're not using bread crumbs, just keep cooking until the top is golden brown. serve hot.

Please leave a comment here if you make this recipe.

haiku of the moment

a car alarm drones
for well over three hours
someone steal that thing

November 26, 2005

haiku of the moment

ravens swirl the sky
shrieking as the sun goes down
ominous bastards

November 25, 2005

haiku of the moment

few things reassure
more than hours in a kitchen
with great food produced

November 24, 2005

unknown flowers -- salinas

haiku of the moment

holiday problem:
if you are not in the mood
you can't push it off

November 23, 2005

haiku of the moment

lafave's fate is sealed
a "sexual predator"
time for me to prey

November 22, 2005

haiku of the moment

screedily the peers
undeniable in all
and the wind crave nept

November 21, 2005

haiku of the moment

if i don't go out
and buy up a few supplies
there'll be no t-day

poetry of the moment

someone offered to give their pair of nine inch nails tickets to the person on craigslist who sent them the best email. this didn't win, but i wanted to keep it as part of the vast b1-66er archive.


to be the best email
is very very rough

because sure i'd like to see the nails
(oh so very very tough)

and those queens of the stone age
with all their super-heroes

but the question on the page
is how to beat the other zeroes?

i guess i could say i had "enthusiasm"
because sure, it's one of my tricks

but within the general protoplasm
it's not clear that beats the other pricks

i could pick 'em up at your house
and give you a smile and a "thanks"

and if you say "no," i won't be a louse
nor fire up my army of tanks

your offer is super generous
of that i'm absolutely sure

i certainly don't want to be onerous
nor give you a whiff of manure

but industrial music
hits a place that nowhere else can

when the atmosphere gets mesic
and you starting looking for a fan

i could say i'm a head-banger
although that's not really true

i mean it's not like i'm a clothes hanger
just because i like mountain dew

but i am a little strapped for cash
in these times, who isn't?

and it's not like the way i'm going to thrash
is by selling my jizz-int

so consider these couplets
i assure you it's no ruse

i just want to clot your platelets
in a lame form of dr. seuss

November 20, 2005

nine inch nails -- oakland

neon sign, mid-light -- san jose

haiku of the moment

i don't understand
why you'd ever eat pancakes
when there are waffles

embarrassing site fact of the moment

if you do an msn search on the string:


the archipelago comes up first in the list.

all i can say is, "i'm sorry." (note to all language-learning web searchers: this is an english phrase roughly meaning, "i'm sorry.")

November 19, 2005

haiku of the moment

your world is busy
when your haiku deadline's missed
it can't be that hard

depeche mode -- san jose

November 18, 2005

Haiku SlugFest Index

The English Language Haiku SlugFest of the World occurred in November of 2005. Following is a set of links that will help you sort it all out (since this 'blog is listed in reverse-chronological order).

(Note: If you shift-click these links you open a new window and can keep coming back to this index.)

The conversation that created the Haiku SlugFest.

The official rules.

The judges:
Captain Hops (Author of "Beer Haiku Daily")
JDiego (Author of "haikus from hell")

The fight and decision (including spectacular combatant analysis). (Best read bottom-to-top. Note: Includes my first ever mondo!)

(This post written 2/12/09 as an index for my application for Santa Clara County Poet Laureate, but put back in correct chronological order for posterity's sake.)

November 17, 2005

conversation of the moment

i went to talk to my company's art designer the other day and stopped in a gas station to grab a drink. it's owned and run by an older chinese guy known to be a character -- his preferred (possibly only) form of spoken communication is yelling. let's pick this up right about where i walk in ...

gas station guy: "HELLO! WHAT YOU LOOKING FOR!?"

b1-66er: "hi. i just want something to drink."

i stand looking for a bit.

he grabs my arm and gestures wildly, "YOU CAN CHOOSE ANYTHING!"

i smile, "that seems like an excellent strategy." i paw through the coolers as he sings liberetto in italian. i put a vanilla coke on the counter.

"THAT'S ALL!?" is he incredulous? i can't tell, but he seems so.

"that's enough, i think."

he hauls back and slaps the counter with a loud crack. "A DOLLAR SEVENTY FIVE!" if the way you declared war was by saying $1.75, this would be war. for sure.

i tend to carry small stacks of $2 bills with me, a currency that is rarely seen (and precisely the reason i carry it). i peel out a 2 and hand it to him.

he's excited. i can tell only because he's yelling louder now. "OH! HOW MANY YOU HAVE?"

i count 'em out. "2's?" assuming he doesn't mean the b.e.p. roll of 100 i have sitting in my car, i count out what i'm carrying and lay them on the counter, "i have eight of 'em."

he puts on a pair of cotton gloves and counts eight dollars out of his cash register, laying them gingerly on the counter. "HERE YOU GO!"

"it's not enough. those are $2 bills. i need $16."

"WHAT?!" he's indignant ...

... and that makes me laugh, "count 'em. multiply. gimme."

he shuffles the bills. "OH! THAT'S NOT ENOUGH! 16 DOLLAR! YOU NEED 16 DOLLAR!"

i wish i'd said that. he puts the original $8 back in the register, counts out $16 in 1's and hands the stack to me.

as i start to leave he grabs me by the shoulder, "THESE MAKE EXCELLENT CHRISTMAS PRESENTS!" i'm pretty sure that's the first time i've ever heard the phrase "christmas presents" screamed in such a way that it seemed like a threat.

"i'm sure they do. you have a good day."

i leave and he goes back to liberetto at precisely the point he left off.

haiku of the moment

the web is a lake
infinite information
about one inch deep

November 16, 2005

haiku of the moment

cleaning maniacs
crazily sweep 'round my car
the source of leaf drifts

November 15, 2005

haiku of the moment

i need a jacket
that looks something like a rake
leaf storm protection

November 14, 2005

quote of the moment

"if it's yellow, let it mellow;
if it's brown, flush it down."
-- water conservation phrase of the california state government, 1970's

haiku of the moment

walking down the street
large object flies at my head
i duck -- goddamn leaf

November 13, 2005

haiku/quote of the moment combo

"it's good to be here ...
it's good to be anywhere."
quote by keith richards

rolling stones -- san francisco

hideous volkswagen rabbit limo -- san jose

overly large sycamore leaf -- campbell

November 12, 2005

haiku of the moment

bright red on the top,
yellow middle, green bottom
tree, make up your mind

manzanita -- henry coe state park

manzanita -- henry coe state park

November 10, 2005

haiku of the moment

it is a "bad thing:"
my third tire nail in two months
i'm gonna blow out

nasturtium -- san jose

u2 -- oakland

November 09, 2005

haiku of the moment

world becomes radar
so many blips and dashes
need new wiper blades

The Vegan: Seven Round Stream of Slugfest Consciousness

b1: A champ's champ

Bell rings to start bout
The Butterflies barnstorming
Beat or be beaten

Round 1:

I know I'm in over my head, but, hey, doesn't everyone dream of dethroning the champ? I'm no different, except, perhaps, for the fact that I'm getting a crack at it. I'm not going to let my chance slip away...


I come out swinging with the alliterative vowel challenge.

BOOM! I let my fist down for a second and he smacks my puss with a quick all "a" alliterative jab.

Shake it off! Honoring a great like Rosa's no problem, but Georgey? I'll tie 'em up into a combo and hope for the best.

Got lucky. Think I landed a shot to the body that'll make him think twice about another Republican taunt.

BAM! I knew he'd throw a good Yoko at me, but I wasn't quick enough on the duck. Now I know why he's the champ, and, brother, does it smart.


Well, nothing's broken yet, that I can tell, and I think I held my own. At the very least, I didn't go down like a chump in the first round.

Round 2:


Gotta keep this guy on his toes. Maybe I can distract him with a little juvenile, "is that a roll of quarters in your pocket," shot.

Pip! Pap! He didn't quite land that Gerard-styptic double jab. Maybe my plans working. No time to over-analyze; I'm going for it.

BOOM! That's right! Hoosier daddy now, huh?! I saw the knees buckle, but ...


... damn, no time for a bout-ending blow just yet. Still, I bet he stops prancing around the ring like he owns it now.

Round 3:


I don't want him getting any ideas about recovering during that break.

POW! Yeah! Dishing it like God with some Old Testament style wrath.

OOF! Not so quick. He's obviously got some sturdy legs, and that bird flu fist foists fury. Dodged that Didi dish.

He's too quick, though. Can't land the definition hook-u.


Need some water and a breather.

Round 4:


POOMPH! Hand renting? More like, "rending," as in, "my ribs!"

One good render deserves a double fender-bender. That got his attention but ...


... where am I? How many fingers IS that that guy holding up? Wait a minute. That's the ref. Gotta get back on my feet, and fast.


Saved by the bell. I got a little too cute and left myself open for that pummeling "play."

Round 5:


Was that the bell? Hard to tell with the constant buzzing that's now in my ears.

I'll decline his hearing aid swipe, though. If I hadn't juked that second swing, however, he'd be trumpeting about it. I don't wanna be hearing that.

You're dead meat, buddy! I'll teach you to mock me, turkey. The jab glanced, but I pipped him with the hook.

Bap. Nice try, bomber, but you're not going to show me the other side of the coin this time.


Hey, at least my hearing seems to be coming back.

Round 6:


Waldo? Whatever. You're going to have to do better than that, Mr. Prizefighter.

My turn now. I'd like to throw a heymaker, but my fists feel like lead under the weight of all these syllables. I can barely lift them to protect my face, much less finish the ol' one-two punch sequence, alphabetical or not.

WHAP! Is that blood I feel on my face now? Is this guy trying to send me to an early transfusion?


Shite! I can definitely feel my eye swelling up. Doc! Cut me quick.

He's got one more chance to shut the other one, but I ain't envisioning that.

Round 7:


Survival. That's all I'm askin' for. I don't wanna come this far only to not reach the finish line.

POW! Now, he's just toying with me and treasuring it. Gotta keep moving and backpedalling or this guy's gonna pillage the prize.

I'm swinging wildly to terminate this guy. It's Miller time; I've got to get one more punch in to sway the judges.

BIFF! One more "Bangor" to the head, but I refuse to lose by K.O, technical or otherwise.


Cripes! I don't know who won, or even care at this point. I'm just thanking the cosmos to have gone the distance. My brain is hurting from harrowing hammering the haiku champ hefted on my head, and my ribs are screaming with each draught of air my lungs pull.

Speaking of draught, is that the final tally being "captained" up to the ring? Talk about giants of the verse. Those judges are legends in their own right and could probably bring a "hellish" haiku heymaker or two if they stepped in the ring right now. They've earned my respect, and whatever they say is paramount. You'll hear no bellyaching from me, other than my actual belly aching.

The Decision:

What's that? The bomber takes it? Yeah, I expected it, and wouldn't disagree. By rights, that "towering" blow should've ended it. I actually still feel like a winner just for bringing the ship home after that blast to the bow.

Yeah, I'll shake your gloves, bomber. True, I respect you now more than ever, but I'll bet you return a little of it, too ... and that's enough for me at the end of the match.

At the very least, you know my name, now: The VEGAN!

That's right, I'm the veg that can sledge, and I allege my verse is leading edge. I'll see you back in the ring, b1, and I know you won't hedge.


slugfest from deeper inside -- inside the shorts of b1

and then there is va vegan.

he came to me as nothing more than a nice guy wanting to link to my blog. in exchange for his pleasantry, i essentially mocked him and told him to step up to the bar.

know for the record, and forever, if you have even the tiniest bit of doubt: he is a champion. he is fearless and courageous.

he's a dying breed of gentleman. even the most perfunctory of our exchanges were courteous and cheerful. at the very least he's the head of a family and a student. he strikes me as the over-achieving type, so he is probably also somehow responsible for feeding everyone in his family as well (just for the record, i am not suggesting he's a black-market poet). that he was able to pull this off, with both grace and charm, is a testament to both his character and spirit.

he's also at best, a liar. he implied his haiku wasn't worthy and then proceeded, for one week straight, to beat me about the head and ears with a keyboard. i'm lucky to have escaped alive, let alone with a positive nod from the judges.

until the slugfest i'd never believed the rumors that i'm sure you've all heard: there are living wraiths amongst us that are more-than-willing, if not eager, to lull people into a sense of false comfort then brutalize them with language. (and i'll admit here, for the first time ever, that it is in fact the reason i don't write limericks.) i wouldn't go so far as to say that's what the vegan is, but there's certainly "more than a little" circumstantial evidence.

as a kid i worked as a cashier in a pharmacy that was actually a front for a low-key bookie operation. we'd get dozens of loudmouths and wiseguys through the door and by the perfect developmental age of 17 i was able to put nearly all of 'em down with a sentence or two (dopes could be had with a single word).

the vegan is a lot of things, but he's not from those categories. he's something closer to what appears to be a cute jack-in-the-box toy that's actually (SPROING! SURPRIZE!) a spitting cobra.

i mean come on, look back at his work. i mean really thumb through it. do you see anything there that hints at his greatness here? anything? no. in retrospect he is very clearly a poetic wolf in sheep's clothing.

i know what you're thinking, i thought it too, but my camp has thoroughly researched his communications and whereabouts -- it's as true as it is unbelievable: he actually wrote that stuff himself. no help.

which means he's played completely by the rules. he is, to use an mc hammer phrase, "legit."

but that doesn't mean the situation isn't worth exploring, at least a little ...

we know he's a cyclist -- is he a blood doper? probably. but remember, that's not only not against the rules, it's actually encouraged. i went through four pints myself over the week.

he's a vegan, did he accidentally get a piece of steroid-laden meat? maybe. it would certainly explain his behavior, including the noticeable sag at the end. but if you read the verse and really think about it, it feels like chlorophyll.

we all know, for sure, he's a super-competitor and fires himself up for a contest. if i knew he was going to be that tough, i would have done something a little more creative like starting the competition and then telling him the rules three days later.

but let's open the door to my soul and look deeper, shall we?

i truly believe in the buddhist concept of duality: that the world can be divided an infinite number of ways in a yin and a yang. as part of this, i see two kinds of people: those who battle their inner demons, and those who do not.

i can't speak for the vegan, i don't know him well enough, but i most sincerely and honestly hope, both for himself and his family, that he's one of those who is not compelled to fight.

demon fighters are all around. hemingway was one, mikkel is one (it's almost certainly a contributing factor to why i adore and admire his writing), the last guy you walked past begging with a change cup is one, so am i. in case you're not getting the point, it's not something to be envied -- i'm not bragging about it -- it's simply a state of being i'm trying to explain to make a deeper point.

i've lived a life fraught with self-imposed versions of insecurity, uncertainty, doubt, and questions of worth. as a result i can be a procrastinator or an over-achiever. i can be heartless or warm. i can achieve the nearly unimaginable or barely function.

you can view the slugfest a million ways and you better believe i will (fear not, my dear, dear reader -- i'll will be spare you anything further than this post). but in the pit of my soul, at the very bottom, where the ugly things refuse to die, there is a deep-rooted sense of truth. and that truth knows that the vegan bested me.

and a day is coming, very soon, when i'll be cutting through the alley to my favorite diner. the night will be chilly, dark and just a little malefic. i'll be trying to shake my mind of the things in my world that i allow to hold me in such an uncomfortable grip. the wind will blow ever so gently on my back and leaves will rustle past me.

in that moment i won't think there is someone behind me, but instead for reasons i will never know, i'll suddenly think of the vegan. "hoosier daddy." the leaves will become oddly prominent and baleful. the alley will seem to grow longer and the wind will clutch me under the jaw.

i'll want to be anywhere but there. i'll want to be anyone but me. and yet, i'll have to deal with both.

you'd think that just knowing that was going to happen would be enough to keep me out of that alley. but no. i'm a little lazy, i always look forward to the diner, and i like taking the shortcut that most people are afraid of.

the funny thing is, having to experience it all isn't the worst part. the worst part is that the first occurance won't be the last time in my life that it happens.

November 08, 2005

slugfest from the inside -- b1's glove view

from an archipelago perspective, the slugfest was a huge success. site numbers hit record highs and a surprising number of my friends mentioned to me how much they were enjoying it.

my sincere thanks to the judges (especially captain hops for rushing in as a judge when it looked like jdiego went a.w.o.l. and then jdiego for romping back to tie up loose ends -- the chaos added to the suspense, which i liked). they were given, literally, no warning, nor any instruction and handled it all with a great cross of humor and seriousness.

as a combo, they were great.

the cap'n took it all as earnestly as a trip to a trappist monastery (that round 5 could not be called a draw, and his recusal from round 7, just busts me up), with a clear penchant for technical moves.

jdiego was much more shoot-from-the-hip, throwing rounds merely for the mention of things like "tofurkey" and "streetbeater."

the match was close enough that any different combo of caffeine, alcohol or sugar in the collective blood streams of the judges could have yielded radically different results. never in my life has an outcome of an event depended so heavily on what someone else had for dinner the night before.

i'm not an al gore type -- i don't second guess the judges, nor what they did for the reasons they did it. they were, in a word, awesome.

but i did want to catch, for the viewing audience, and especially the vegan, what i saw transpire in the events.

  • day 1

i think this is a round that goes easily to the vegan. va wears a sign on his back the size of virginia saying he's a democrat -- i mean, come on, how many republican vegans do you know? so i figured i'd just mentally trip him up straight from the start. he'd seen me doing my heteronymic-homonymic-palindromic haiku and i knew he'd expect me to come out with a technical challenge -- so i came from the other side with a mental feat.

now it's true he ignored the task of why george bush was a great president (much to the dismay of a hardcore republican friend of mine), but i've got no problem with ignoring, or even breaking, rules as long as you have a compelling reason to do so.

coupling the two ideologies together was clever, and i'll forever wonder if the line "intolerable darkness" was double entendre or not.

for some reason people seemed really pleased with my yoko poem, but i feel the alliteration is actually better.

1-0 vegan

  • day 2

i'd thrown out chuck taylor as an idea because i own about 50 pair of converse and know only vague things about the man. figured i might as well have the vegan do my research.

oh my, how little did i know.

i don't watch t.v. (which by default, also means i don't follow sports), so i don't know anything about the phrase "hoosier daddy." if it's a familiar sporting phrase, the vegan did well to incorporate it; if the vegan coined it for this event, it's a work of genius. (and that's a word i've used seriously, maybe, ten times in my life.)

simultaneously taunting, informative and dripping with entendre.

chuck taylor is so strong that the other haiku of the vegan's isn't even worth talking about and i could've written haiku at the level of bashō and it wouldn't have mattered.

my friend feddy spoke the truth when he said, "if this were a real fight, there'd be no round three."

2-0 vegan

  • day 3

Light! Life! Floods! Laws! Whales?
Kill your son, Abe! Just kiddin'!
Hold the bacon, please!

god made everything
then god made a few people
then things went to hell

i thought the vegan's definition of the word "a" was over-played, but his biblical piece was stunning. eight different biblical images in 17 syllables, with abraham (not noah, not moses, not adam) mentioned by name and a leviticus closer. hilarious. amazing. i studied the bible in original direct-greek translation in college, and it's remarkable how close the vegan's take is in spirit -- it actually feels like the bible. from a fight perspective, the chuck taylor piece is the vegan's best work of the 'fest -- from a modern-internet-haiku-purity point of view, this biblical piece is.

i had written my piece after i'd given the vegan his assignment, but before he'd written his and i think the differences are very very telling.

the vegan's style, very much, is massive information in a small space. hit hit hit. we see it again and again in his work.

mine is more slow and plodding. essentially, "this is my one joke and here is my punch line." i was very impressed that jdiego caught this difference in his final commentary.

but i also show a fighting chance here, really for the first time. i was looking for some information on the bird flu that i could hang my hat on and came across that ridiculous picture as one of 75 slides in a yahoo! bird flu slideshow. all i could think was "what the hell is that?"

now i hate using pictures as part of my haiku, but i really really couldn't pass that one up, so i used it.

my didi senft piece is, in a word, crap.

i'd give myself this round if the senft piece was just a tad stronger. it isn't, so i call it a toss-up.

2.5-0.5 vegan

  • day 4

in my mind this is, truly, the closest day of the match. vegan's shuffling haiku surprised me. i was expecting him to take a key word that actually has two different meanings and play against it ... something like this rough draft i just banged out:

golden fields of rape
recall all the older times
and lives of pirates

pirates’ lives recall
the older golden times of
rape and all of fields

(side note: i consider haiku with wrapping lines to be big-time cheater stuff. e.g.
i went shopping with
my little sister and her
thirteen dumb boyfriends

in my mind you have to have one complete thought per line. adding to that thought on the next line is only okay. where i make the exception is if i'm trying to do something technical.)

there're two things i like about vegan's scramble. one is it's ribald, sticking it not only in the face of classic haiku, but also keeping the competition at about the right mental level.

the other is that it's pretty obviously mucking with the rules of shuffling words -- and it's good at it, so i find it acceptable.

having said that, i think my two poems here are both very worthy. the anagram is topical and wouldn't be too bad "normal," as an anagram it's great.

but the play is where it's at. just the fact that i turned it into a play should be good enough, but i think it's truly funny. i looked at that photo for about 15 minutes and kept thinking about the tower and i was going to write it from the tower's point of view. and then i thought i want to have the tower fall on the car. and then BOOM it hit me.

i give myself this round.

2.5-1.5 vegan

  • day 5

my second pat benatar is a lot better than my first, but it is second. the susan b is good, i think, but a little too droll.

tofurkey, though, is the clear winner. i knew it would be a nice, easy, softball pitch for the vegan, but hey, tofurkey is funny and a large part of this is about funny.

his hamburger piece is lame, and dodging the bullet again, although without the acceptability of george bush.

still tofurkey carries it (and i love the mild disdain here of tofurkey with the word "eerily").

3.5-1.5 vegan

the only way i even have a chance to win from here is to win two-straight and then make a tie-breaker.

  • day 6

my stuff this day isn't that great, but neither is the vegan's. his work this day feels either rushed and/or uninspired. running through the end of the alphabet feels like an act of desperation to me and i was expecting more from 12(1), 5(1). i really thought he was going to nail the 12-5 piece -- it plays very well to his tempo and style. a disappointment, both ways.

3.5-2.5 vegan

  • day 7

i still don't know what to make of my pun dictionary piece. it's either really good, or just reaching way way too far. the pangram is solid, though.

of all the days of the vegan, this is clearly his worst. the disappointing one is the "terminator 2" piece (movie tag title:judgmentt day) and the vegan has chosen to ignore it completely with a weak schwarzenegger reference.

i like the idea of having to say a haiku in pirate voice, pretty much no matter what it is, so that's a keeper.

still, i give it to me.

3.5-3.5 tie

okay, i didn't put day 3 as a toss-up just to get here at a tie. the first time i realized it makes a tie is just now in writing.

in my mind this means you have to go back and examine the works as a whole. don't look at them as days, look at them as canons.

if you do this, it's pretty clear in my mind that the vegan wins: first day intertwined (and not required to do so), chuck taylor, bible. i don't have three items that lock together that tightly, nor that well. let's see, i've got bird flu, play and _what_? and you could very well argue that i need four to make up for just how much better chuck taylor is than my collected work.

the only thing arguing against this is a concept of momentum -- the vegan feels like he simply ran out of steam.

i say the momentum argument is not enough and therefore, in my mind at least, vegan wins. so forgive me if i don't tap dance on his still-warm grave.

the cap'n has the right idea for the future -- each make an idea and write against both. maybe do 15 tasks each and randomly draw 14 from the pool so you don't have people "priming" going in.

i have more to say about the vegan, specifically, but i'll leave that in a post for later.

quote of the moment

"mp3 is not a crime"
-- bumper sticker, palo alto

haiku of the moment

thanks to the judges
for helping make the slugfest
so entertaining

slugfest closing mondo

okay. heavy stuff here. very heavy stuff.

absolutely i'll rattle on with both a technical and emotional analysis of the slugfest -- stay tuned for those. but at this very moment we have a more pressing matter, and that is a formal closing ceremony for the event itself ...

before there was haiku, japanese poets had already spent centuries investigating a form known as "mondo" (while my ancestors tried to figure out how to keep a fire going). a mondo is written by two people and is made of two "katauta," both of the 5-7-7 form. the first katauta is written as a question, the second as an answer.

i have never in my life written a katauta, nor been the co-author of a mondo. to be honest, i've never had a good reason to do so.

now i do.

i can tell you, with 100% sincerity, there is no one in the world i'd rather share this honor with than vegan. he is a fighter. a spirit. a liar about his poetic abilities. and a force.

having fought so hard
in epic syllabic war
what's the next course of action?
remove ice from face
toast your formidable foe
parley and train for next clash.

Well, here we go: judge JDiego's decision

The fight goes to b1.

Two worthy, worthy opponents. One hopes there will be a rematch (after several months of taunting, of course), but these seven rounds are over, and it looks like it's the homeboy over the awayboy by one round.

Round seven, two punch-drunk fighters weaving around the ring. va gets off a strong send-up of ol' Cap'n Hops--very well played. However, b1 had already poured the last of his remaining strength into a pangrammatic effort worthy of (dare I say?) Haikus from Hell. His last push was enough to slide this one over the top and into the laps of the judges. (hmmmm, something kind of creepy about that image...)

My hats, all of them, are off to these two brave and powerful haikugilists!

vegan dances like
Astaire, jabs like Ali in
bigmouth verbal prime

b1 bomber, well,
he may not move as fast, but
his punch? all Foreman.

Congratulations! And please let me know when and where the next fight takes place. (Maybe Vegas??)


Judge recuses himself from final round!

Must recuse myself
fighters attempt to flatter.
How can I be fair?

such blatant attempts
to influence the Captain
Throw them to the mob!

Hard to tell who won
but one thing is for certain
readers are victors!

November 07, 2005

Decision time

At end of long bout
Both always raise fists as if
Swagger sways a judge

b1-66er's seventh (and final) punch

I've gotta "P":

Task 1: Write a pangrammatic poem about pirates

ersatz swashbucklers
quixotically jump 'round
giving disney funds

Task 2: Each line of this poem will contain a pun that starts with p.

ptomaine: bangor smells
phony baloney: call spam
pea: vegan's urine

[previous posting
perfunctorily proceeds
"puns' pictionary"]

Saved ...

(Task 1: write a haiku about "terminator 2.")

He said he'd be back
But he's helping us this time
'cept CA teachers

... by the bell?

(Task 2: write a haiku about captain hops.)
**To be read by the roughest, gruffest pirate voice in your head:

Sharp as I.P.A.
Smooth as draught o' oatmeal stout
No half-pint he, squabs!

November 06, 2005

round six is ALL b1

Damnnation! Waldo in hell?

Sorry vegan, some good footwork there, but b1 swaggered into the ring this time, confident, spitting brimstone, and with one hell of a wallop.

None of us could have withstood the force of his punch. Ouch!

Round 6: Tension Mounts...

tension mounts as
we come down to the wire
how will it all end

Artfully parsing
ancient cultural icons
which one is older?

Technical challenge
thrown in the face of Vegan.
He spits blood, smiles.

Another damn fine round. This time B1 took the tact of humor and Vegan was forced into a technical response. I have to admit that I liked both responses and was going ot give it to B1 until I found out that "suq" was actually a word. These technical rounds are incredibly impressive to me, because my brain doesn't seem to work that way. Because of Vegan's strong response to a difficult technical challenge I am leaning towards Vegan for the round.

I can only hope that a decisive blow is landed in the final round to help sort this out.

Incredible job, guys!

b1's sixth punch

Bloody 'ell

Task 1: Write a haiku about Dante's Inferno.

evil portrayed huge ...
... gluttons, pagans, killers, thieves ...
... damn ... where is waldo?

Task 2: Write a haiku about Keith Richards's blood.

i am richards’ blood
“please no booze, drugs, s.t.d.’s!”
i’m waiting in vein

Punch drunk ...

(Task 1: write a haiku with 12 unique one syllable words and a five syllable word.)

When you try to write
A verse with one-sound words it's

... but not sunk.

(Task 2: write a haiku with every word ending in a letter in alphabetical sequence. you may start anywhere in the alphabet (e.g. can memo cap shaq roar ... [n, o, p, q, r ...]).)

Jam on radio,
Top suq car, this foot you rev
Mellow sax play jazz

*** special exhibition haiku ***

in honor of day 6-of-7. not for judging, and please, please, no wagering.

next to last frisbee
is gone -- we're canceling the
penultimate game

November 05, 2005

va Sneaks off with round 5 and a cheeseburger

How the vegan could know about cheeseburgers, much less where to find that photo of the big guy with the big sandwich, I do not quite understand. BUT...and here I quote from the "Big Book of Haiku Boxing Strategy": NEVER LET A VEGAN WRITE ABOUT TOFU. He'll take it every time.

sure, Susan B. and
Benatar are great subjects,
but tofurkey rules

Round 5...

another tough round
where are the other judges?
I really need help

vegan attacks meat
makes mockery of tofu
results are not fowl

B1 celebrates
revolutionary gals
who rocked the free world

This is the round that keeps on giving. I find more to love in each contribution with every pass. This round makes me proud to be a witness to this great battle, but it also makes it difficult to be a judge. I would love to call it a draw and take the easy way out, but that wouldn't be fair to the combatants.

Vegan has it on pure humor, but B1 delivers many layers of interpretation. I am going to give it to B1.

Great job!

b1's fifth punch

Today, it's all about the ladies ...

Task 1: In November (1982 to be exact), Pat Benatar released her fourth album, containing the single, "Shadows of the Night." Please, sum up her contribution to women's right to rock in verse.

aging rock vixen
now has obvious job path
hearing aid sales rep

(damn the vegan -- for those that don't see the interim moves, he kidney punched me flat-footed before i could finish the left-fake and get out my improved verse ...)

wait. haven't you heard?
a new gig for rockin' pat:
ear trumpet strumpet

Task 2: Susan B. Anthony was arrested on November 5, 1872 for leading a group of women to vote in the presidential election in New York, which was just a tad illegal at the time. Please, sum up her contribution to the women's rights movement in verse.

susan b was jailed
and pulled from circulation
living quarters mocked

Fooooood ...

(Task 1: write a haiku about how great a juicy hamburger tastes.)

To many - especially
Those who need it least

... fight!

(Task 2: write a haiku about tofurkey.)

Bird facsimile
You're eerily like your muse
Well, no harm, no fowl

November 04, 2005

Round 4 to b1: just cuz...

I know, lousy reason...but what can you do? So many haikus coming at ya. You can get confused, a bit dazed by the spectacle.

Then someone comes along and uses the word "streetbeater" in a haiku, and it just clicks.

b1 picks this one up with a bit of razzle-dazzle!

Round 4: Vegan

To play with the words
Or use the words as a play?
I think Vegan won

This round featured extremely difficult and technical challenges. Vegan was faced with the task of writing two haiku using the same words in different order with different meanings. I think he handled the challenge in the creative manner to which we have become accustomed. Both blows packed punch.

In B1's challenge, he needed to use an anagram of his first line somewhere else in the remaining lines. He handled this well and in context. His major blow came in theatrical form with a lead-in haiku and a roundhouse in the form of a play.

Inspired by pic
officials use sarcasm
to destroy tower

Although B1 made the Bard proud, Vegan overcame a bigger challenge to deliver the goods.

Again, my opinions are my own and the other judges may have more to say about round 4.

Editor's note: The post time of this entry was modified for better contextual flow.

b1's fourth punch

Task 1: Employ an anagram of your first line somehwere in the remaining lines of your verse.

i stand in the ring
pondering post-fight employ
hand renting it is

Task 2: Write a poem inspired by the photo below:

i have decided
that instead of a poem
i'm writing a play

blue: "hey, nice jacket."
yellow: "piss off, street beater!"
(tower falls on car)

va does the ...

(Task 1: write any haiku of your choosing.)

O', I hope I do
Not get in Fender-bender
With her when I drive

... Ali shuffle

(Task 2: rearrange the words to give the poem a new meaning.)

Hope when I bender
I get with-in, I drive her
Do not o'fender

Jdiego's Round 3 vote to va

[originally published at 12:22 -- moved time to 09:00 to make the ideological flow of the postings better. refs of haiku shouldn't have to step between combatants. -b1]

Y'know, every time I come to this page and see those two angry looking poets with punching mitts up, I gotta admit I feel a bit intimidated. Like the one I didn't vote for is gonna sock me right in the puss.

Bearing that in mind, I'll push on with fortitude to say that I think va took this round based on this logic: both delivered some excellent haiku hits, but va's challenges were harder. Thus, he had to have been punching harder to keep up.

We can let Sarah break the tie on this round, or just let the vote stand as is. (This isn't the WBF, after all, or is that WBA? b1 is kind of a Don King character however.)

The Devils in the Details: Round 3 to B1 by a Beak

Round 3 was terribly exciting. Our fearless gladiators have measured up their opponents and are starting to shift strategies to try and gain the upper hand.

First out this round was VA Vegan. Still basking in his "Hoosier Daddy" powerhouse, he now faced the awesome challenge of defining the word "a" and summarizing the Old Testament. He deftly displayed his defining ability in a manner that could have easily diminished that old Clinton "is" controversy. Then he sprung forth from that tiny word and made short work of the entire Old Testament.

A lesser man would have succumbed to this kind of pressure, but B1 took a page from Vegan's playbook and fought back with a laugh out loud explanation of the Bird Flu and a tribute to the Tour de France Devil - complete with pictures!

This round was close and I may be overruled by the other judges, but I think B1 took it. The analysts and commentators will probably spend hundreds of syllables determining whether Vegan can bounce back from his own medicine. I for one am on the edge of my seat to see what round 4 will bring.

Bring it on!

November 03, 2005

b1-66er's third punch

Task 1: A whole lot is being written in the press about the bird flu lately, but with WAY too many syllables for a guy like me. Can you pare it down, please?

pandemic flu tact:
if someone close is coughing
just give them the bird

Task 2: I love watching the Tour de France every year, and so does the Prince of Darkness, it just so happens. Please write a haiku dedicated to Didi Senft, the TdF Devil.

bike chasing german
and another pointed tale
in red devil's lap

Tit for tat ...

(Task 1: write a haiku summarizing the old testament of the bible.)

Light! Life! Floods! Laws! Whales?
Kill your son, Abe! Just kiddin'!
Hold the bacon, please!

(photo from the ever brilliant website,

... jukin' on the mat

(Task 2: write a haiku giving the definition of the word "a." you are not allowed to use "a" as a word by itself in your poem, but you may use the letter.)

You're mAking the grAde
HAngin' with singulAr nouns.
MAjor, on my scAle!

November 02, 2005

JDiego's vote on round 2: va lays it on with the combo

b1 showed strong with his frogger. It looked like it was going to be another round to him.

But when va came out with that deadly combo: the overpowering hook to the head of "Hoosier daddy," followed by that old numismatic standby, the "in my pants" jab, well, he took the wind out his opponent's second strike.
Second round to va.

welcome captain hops

both in the cheap seats, and at ringside you may see a fellow in a naval cap with a stein in his hand. that is none other than captain hops. raised by bavarian monks, he is devoted to the (nearly-dead) artform of writing meditative haiku based exclusively on beer.

wit, wisdom and weizen are his weapons. if he seems unsteady on his feet, i assure you, it's because of his unfamiliar surroundings, not his blood alcohol content.

here's a salute for captain hops.

b1-66er's second punch

Task 1: Gerard Depardieu has announced his intention to retire from acting. If you can work through the tears, please commemorate.

au revoir depardieu
you claim you're hitting the road?
sure, i'll play frogger

Task 2: Now that first blood has been drawn, use the word "styptic" in your next haiku.

a styptic pencil
does not write evil notes well
blood doesn't flow right

Va Vegan hooks ...

(Task 1: write a haiku about what numismatists call a "broadstrike error.")

Missing rim image?
There's a coinroll in my pants
Happy to see you!

... then jabs

(Task 2: write a biographical haiku about chuck taylor. do not mention converse or shoes in the wording.)

Whining to cobblers
Brought fame beyond ballcourt "feats."
"Hoosier" daddy now?

November 01, 2005

the NEW haiku slugfest -- now with more refs

the sporting commission has called to inform me that, at the end of any round that's even remotely related to boxing, it's mandatory to have a woman in a bathing suit holding a number.

i honestly had forgotten about that.

but fear not the fines for impropriety.

just in time we have sarah. you have to admit, she looks great in a gold lame bikini, a number in her hands and pink and black striped high heels on her feet (then again, who doesn't?); but don't let that appearance steer you from the fact that she's the genius behind officegirlhaiku. a take-no-prisoners force in the online-haiku world.

when she's not digitizing and swishing for us, she too will be providing judgment, scholarship and commentary over the occasion.

and a special note for you dear reader(s) in the audience: please, please do not feel as though you have to use any special language just because we now have a lady with us. remember, she's an office girl, she's seen worse.

all hail sarah.

First round to b1, barely

I've got to hand it to va, staying on his feet, and landing two solidly admirable haikus to to body. (The Rosa piece has tremendous resonance.)

However, b1's feint with the much less powerful alliterive ku--seeming to come out of the corner weak--followed up by his wild, swing-for-the-rafters, haymaker-to-the-jaw Yoko piece would likely have resulted in a first round KO with a lesser opponent.

It's too early to tell, but this could have all the makings of a classic confrontation.

everyone PLEASE take your seats


for the safety of the crowd, the fire marshal has asked us to add a referee to the mix here at the slugfest.

and to that end, it is my great pleasure to introduce jdiego, the legendary author of haikus from hell, and a haiku sensei in his own right.

he will be providing color-commentary, insight and wisdom as you could only expect from someone whose most recent works just in the letter "u" have been about underpants, uvula, ukiah and (and the ultra-controversial) utah.

what he says, goes. unless he's clearly wrong, of course, in which case you're welcome to throw chairs.

all welcome, jdiego.

b1-66er's first punch

Task 1: Write an alliterative haiku using only words that start with vowels.

any antidote
added admonishingly
attracts attention

Task 2: Yoko Ono is the subject for your second haiku.

yoko walks through grass
beetles scatter at her feet
that's the second time

Va Vegan ducks, weaves, and ...

(Task 1: in honor of "day of the dead," write a haiku about rosa parks.)

She moved us out of
Intolerable darkness
Not moving an inch

... throws a counter combination

(Task 2: in honor of "all saints' day" write a haiku saying *why* george bush is a great president.)

He moves us back to
Intolerable darkness
Not using a brain