Saturday, February 28, 2009

Easy Answers


I try to keep polemic to a minimum here, while still expressing what I think. It's a fine balance, and I generally follow the maxim, especially true in politics, that "less is more." But I do keep an eye on a number of progressive news sources (in lieu of having a television) and occasionally find something, or someone, I think needs to be shared. Dissident Voice is among the top few I heartily recommend for variety of opinion and readable depth of coverage. Today, this list and the surrounding article caught my attention:

In our addicted brainwashed state, when we are called to act, the following are our varying reactions and responses when presented with the true facts, all based on our inner fear that is usually not known or acknowledged.

* Refusal to listen or read. I will not waste my time with that crap.

* Claimed lack of time. I am too busy earning a living to keep what I have. I am doing ok right now.

* Claimed lack of intelligence. I do not have enough brains or facts to act. Those in control know far more than I do.

* Denial. Things are not really what the facts show. Our situation is not nearly as dire as you say.

* Moral Relativism. What you say is “dire” is just a matter of opinion and there are a lot of contrary opinions.

* Groundless Optimism. Things will work out alright. They always have in the past.

* Self Destruction. If it really is that bad, I will kill myself.

* Alcohol. Have a drink, fella. Relax and it will all go away and you will feel better like I do.

* God will save us. All we have to do is pray.

* Conspiracy Nut. You are a just a proponent of some crazy conspiracy theory.

* Retreat into Inner Life. Meditation, serious prayer, being in the “now,” “our survival depends only on our own inner growth,” I am saving us all by doing my inner work.

* Science will save us. I have confidence in our human ability through science to survive.

* Claim of impotence. There is nothing that I can do that will really help.

* Communism. What you propose is communistic or socialistic.

* More Big Government. We need to get the government off our backs so that we can enjoy our freedom and take care of ourselves.

* Ad Hominem attack. You are a crazy grandiose zealot. What gives you the right to proclaim the truth? I too keep up with the current news. I know just as much about the truth of what's going on as you do. You are a control freak. Your proposed actions are unloving. All change must be based on love.

* That is class war. We have no classes in America. We all have the same common interests. We are all Americans, like Obama says.

* There is no alternative. For example, many will say Israel has no alternative. About the private Wall Street banks, defective that they may be, most people say they are better than any possible alternative.

* Obamamania. President Obama will save us. This is probably the most dangerous of the ruling class myths of all because it immobilizes the civic impulse in thousands and thousands of bright knowledgeable citizen-voters from acting to support Obama.

I can't speak for other nationalities, but these rationalizations are, in my experience, the very essence of Americanism. These are the things we've all heard a thousand times, and many are ones we've said ourselves. From the age when one first starts asking questions and questioning Authority, these are the answers one hears. I listened to them all through the Sixties relative to the Government, and the next three decades I heard them in response to any criticism of The Employer. It's shocking to see them all all laid out so tritely - those rhetorical grenades guaranteed to stop any 'dissident' conversation.

The man who has this insight, Doug Page, also wrote the following:

Capitalism has always had this fatal flaw that some are now calling a “systemic defect.” This is the defect noted by capitalist Henry Ford in the 1920’s and first enunciated 150 years ago by Karl Marx. Capitalists do not pay their employees enough salaries and wages so that employees can buy the products that they produce. Capitalism is thus inherently unstable.

He has his own web-page,, it's worth a visit.



"Despite having been unmasked, presumably by one of these moles dormant obese, placardisées by the CIA and who attend that awakens the avachi on a dirty sofa, lip seal, bad habit contracted in Saigon and giving it the uchronique think that the landing of the Bay of Pigs was a success, I am continuing my insidious propaganda for bloody panties ..."

This is the Google translation of a story ("Un défilé en slip rouge") about some sort of strange fashion show (in Saigon?) where all the young models wore red briefs. Granted the French is pretty idiomatic - that's why I sought help - but this is practically William Burroughs!

(Via Le blog de Bernard Alapetite.)

Tiny Signs of Life!


Partly Cloudy, 0ºC (feels like -6º)

Wind: 23 km/h, direction NNW

Pressure: 1013.9 mb, rising

Humidity: 69%, Dew point: -5ºC

Visibility: 10.0 km, UV-index: 0, Low

Sun Rise/set Sun: 6:48 AM/5:14 PM

Natical Rise/set Nautical Twilight: 5:20 AM/6:42 PM

Longitude/Latitude 18.30/57.63

Measured: 28 Feb 09, 16:20

Friday, February 27, 2009



"Who says living in Scandinavia makes you crazy!?"

Photo of Henrik Ibsen courtesy of the New York Public Library

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I don't feel like playing today.


I just bought myself an expensive new toy: Ulysses. Really! It's the writing application I've wanted for years, but it costs 79€ (with the dollar momentarily stronger, about 110$) and I've tried everything else. It would have been considerably cheaper to have got this one in the first place - I'd say "live and learn," but I never do. As I suspected, it suits me to a T, and now I'm writing again, after weeks of procrastination. All I want to do is go to my room and take it apart all by myself. So I'll play later, when the novelty's worn off.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Daily Walk


Everywhere we lived, for as long as I can remember, my mother took an hour-long walk at least once, but often twice a day. Here it is in Stocksund. In Santa Fe, she was usually accompanied by a dog. This picture of her striding up Ringen toward our house is, for some reason, terribly evocative for me: small as her image is here, it is unmistakably Kay: the trench-coat, her attention focused on something in the hedge, probably birds, the sensible shoes and silver hair - it's almost as if I could run out to meet her. As my sister said in a recent email, "I still miss her."

Sunday, February 22, 2009


One of the surest ways of becoming the Richest on Earth is to contrive the impoverishment of everyone else.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Now this...


Is beginning to look like Sweden! (Click to enlarge)

Sunday morning, 07:30,

Light Snow, -1ºC (28ºF)(feels like -8º(15ºF))

Wind: 34 km/h (21 mph), direction S

Pressure: 1010.8 mb, falling

Humidity: 83%, Dew point: -3ºC

Visibility: 3.5 km, UV-index: 0, Low

Noted (approvingly) in passing...



February 21, 2009, 7:57 pm

"Last night at a minute to midnight, a ragtag group of queers and allies, trans folks and brass band friends, some decked out in their most scandalous (over thermals, of course), danced through the streets of Providence, Rhode Island, stopping to flirt with and provoke our local gay bars. Queers decry a heteronormative consumerist holiday!

We are sick of the majority of queer spaces in our city revolving around consumerism and intoxication. We are sick of ‘queer’ meaning ‘assimilated white gay men’ when there are a whole lot of us who don’t fit with that identity. We are sick of monogamous relationships being the accepted norm. We are sick of feeling like we have to prove our love to our partners by showering them with unnecessary mass-produced crap. We are sick of feeling like crap for being single. Instead of sitting around and complaining, we decided to throw our own party!

On Valentine’s day at midnight, we took to the street, to create a free, all-ages, festive queer space that for once, didn’t revolve around alcohol. We danced to brass provided by a few members of the what cheer! brigade and had signs with slogans such as, ‘i have straight friends,’ ‘we recruit,’ and ‘break up with patriarchy.’"

Emphasis mine


Gianfranco Ferré

Born 1944.png
Picture 1.preview_0.jpg



Marcellous Jones

June 18, 2007

Paris, FRANCE - The Italian couturier, Gianfranco Ferré died yesterday at age 62.

On Friday, June 15th, Ferré complained of not feeling well, and had himself admitted to the San Raffaele hospital in Milan for examination. Throughout the night, his condition rapidly deteriorated; and from Saturday to Sunday, he was in intensive care. On Sunday night, the French news anchorwoman Claire Chazal briefly interrupted her network’s coverage of the French legislative results to announce his death.

According to all accounts, complications from a brain hemorrhage are cited as the cause of death. The couturier had previously suffered two brain hemorrhages, with the first coming four years ago. Somehow, he always managed to bounce back into good health.

Ferré was born in the north of Italy on August 15, 1944. After formally studying architecture, he began designing accessories in 1970. It was in 1978 that he created his eponymous fashion house and became an immediate hit. In 1989, he was named artistic director at Christian Dior. He remained at Dior until 1997 when left to focus attentions entirely upon his fashion house. Over the years and under his own label, he has dressed some of the worlds most famous and glamorous women including Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, Naomi Campbell and Madonna.

Ferré’s style is characterized by his encounter with the Orient, his giving privilege in his collections to warm and lively colours such as pink, orange and yellow. Through his creations, he was able to reshape women into his own ideal: free, intelligent, seductive, impassioned, elegant and strong. Upon his death, Ferré left behind a heritage of an expanding fashion house with both women’s and men’s lines, accessories, jeans, eyewear and perfumes.

(Via. Fashion Insider)


Danny Schechter Scalpels "Frontline"


Read PBS Screws Up Report on Financial Crisis for a critical analysis of what Inside the Meltdown failed to discuss. It's an instructive, if disheartening, appraisal of what passes for journalism, even from PBS, these days. I may not entirely agree with his over-arching condemnation - "Inside the Meltdown" was the first detailed, step-by-step examination of the historical events that I (and I think, most people) have been given and it helped put the whole thing in perspective. But through it all (so far, only episode one) I had a suspicion that a lot was being neglected or glossed over for the sake of video spectacle - just as Schechter demonstrates. However, as a 'starting point' to understanding, it is certainly better than nothing.

(Via. AlterNet)

Domingo to Receive Birgit Nilsson Award


Sveriges Radio International - English -- Engelska: "The first ever Birgit Nilsson award goes to Spanish opera legend Placido Domingo.
The one million dollar prize money makes this the largest award of its kind. The prize is to be awarded to a classical singer, conductor or specific production, every two to three years, starting in 2009.

The creation of the award was revealed just before Christmas last year but at that time the name of the first winner - who was chosen by Birgit Nilsson herself - was still in a sealed envelope.
When the news of the prize reached Domingo on Thursday he is reported to have been especially moved to be chosen by Nilsson, who was a role model during his early career, according to Swedish Radio news.

Birgit Nilsson and Placido Domingo sang together for the first time in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Tosca in New York in 1969 – almost exactly 40 years ago. 
Domingo will be presented with the prize in person at a ceremony in Stockholm later in the year."

(Via SR.)

Friday, February 20, 2009



"No, no, boys. That's not what I meant by an erection!"

Why is it that strapping youths seem inevitably
to make pyramids with their semi-naked bodies?

photo courtesy of DCWooten

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Harvey & Hugo.jpg

Harvey died in my arms

He was the best friend

I ever had, though

Only a dog.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Igor Mitoraj

Born 1944.png

Igor Mitoraj - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Igor Mitoraj (born 1944) is a Polish artist born in Oederan, Germany... Mitoraj's sculptural style is rooted in the classical tradition with its focus on the well modelled torso. However, Mitoraj introduces a post-modern twist with ostentatiously truncated limbs, emphasising the damage sustained by most genuine classical sculptures".


See more at CaffèEuropa and Museo d'Arte Moderna di Lugano

(Via { feuilleton }.)

Monday, February 16, 2009

I can't help it... more tulips!


At first I wasn't going to post this, thinking it would give me a too floral reputation - "that big pansy with his flower pictures." But then it occurred to me that these are symbolic: that last burst of brilliance before decay. It could apply to a number of things, including myself. So I offer it as that: A Tribute to Maturity!

Facing the Future


Image from calumerio's photostream

Recommended reading: Social Collapse Best Practices by Dmitry Orolv. “Forget “growth, “forget “jobs,” forget “financial stability.” What should (government's) realistic new objectives be? Well, here they are: food, shelter, transportation, and security.” (ie. the things they should have been focused on all along!)

Thanks for the heads-up from Michael Göbel on Twitter.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Poem 090215.03

Silence of melting snow.

Crackle of refreezing in

Black mirrors of moonlight.

Visby stillness Sunday night

Stone white in liquid chill

Shattered by ice slides.

Blue Baltic breath swirling

Over high-peaked tile roofs

Down ice-crusted alleys.

Within, small squares lit

Tangerine warmth glowing

Medieval windows be-candled.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Poem 090215.02

Loud noises in the hall

Door rattled urgently as if

The Messenger's last strength

Bad tidings to deliver.

Neighborhood adolescents

Aping Hollywood adulthood with

Soigné attitudes, hard boorishness

Meek incompetence to mask.

So I swallow anger remembering

How difficult it is, being stupid

Glandular and awkward when

Beauty passes you by.

Has P locked her lover out again?

This crazed midnight urgency

Must be rapture, self or other

It hardly matters.

This senseless knocking

As if a Cosmic Concierge

Will answer her desperation

With solicitous gentility.

For the record...


I just want to state, for the record, that this logo, exactly as it is being used now (minus the cloud background, which I rather like), was designed by me in 1985. It was produced while I was in the employ of the SDCO (at slave wages) and received nothing but criticism at the time. In fact, I was ultimately terminated by Donald Barra for not being a "team-player." I only wanted validation that something I made was good enough to survive... and here it is.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Visby Hibiscus


Ulla, Someday!

Embedded Recipe Image (Unsupported on IE 7 and earlier)
Pasta Puttanesca

Our take on this dish, famously named for the fact that Italy's "ladies of the evening" quickly made it between clients, is just as fast and easy as the original and requires nothing more than some everyday items you probably have in your pantry already.


  1. 1 lb dried spaghetti, or linguine
  2. 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  3. 2 tsp anchovy paste
  4. 1/2 tsp hot red-pepper flakes
  5. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice (preferably Italian)
  7. 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  8. 2 Tbsp drained capers
  9. 3/4 cup coarsely chopped basil


  1. Cook spaghetti in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 1/2 Tbsp salt for 6 qt water) until barely al dente.
  2. While pasta boils, cook garlic, anchovy paste, red-pepper flakes, 1 tsp salt, and
  3. tsp pepper in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and pale golden, about 2 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, break tomatoes into course bits with fingers. Keep juice.
  5. With a slotted spoon add tomatoes to garlic oil along with olives and capers and simmer, thinning with tomato juice as needed and stirring occasionally, until pasta is ready.
  6. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Simmer, turning pasta with tongs, until pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with basil.
Search, share, and cook your recipes on Mac OS X with SousChef!

Visby Mondrian


I couldn't resist!

Who says the Sixties weren't fun!
Thanks to FABULON
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In Case You Care...

The debate over Horace Engdahl's "insulting remarks" about American Literature is still raging in U.S. literary circles. Perhaps this is a good thing, if it makes Americans stand back and look critically at themselves, as opposed to self-involved analysis; something they don't do all that often.

Martin Earl: Translation and its Discontents: Part 2 (some preliminary examples of a attitude): The Poetry Foundation

(Via Harriet the Blog.)

Follow-up on Fairey

Shepard Fairey Strikes Back, Sues AP Over 'Hope' Image | Media and Technology | AlterNet: "Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford and the lead of Fairey's legal team said:

There should be no doubt about the legality of Fairey's work. He used the photograph for a purpose entirely different than the original, and transformed it dramatically."

This is a critical issue for artists who rework found images, which is to say most artists in this media saturated society.

Visby Crackleur


We Miss You, Keith!


This is the most beautiful and sensitive Dutch documentary about Keith Haring one can imagine. It's like an epitaph for an age, for a spirit of freedom and hope, and for all the friends who died - really worth taking the time to watch. (53 min.; if the "this" link above doesn't work, try to the Wooster Collective.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Evening Light


Time: 1640 (4:40pm)

Gifts for Buddha




G A M M M: "GAMMM is not a magazine nor a publisher. _ it just hosts research. _ low-fi, low-res, fragments, installation, no performance, no show."

A fascinating resource for anyone interested in multi-lingual poetry.

(Via International Exchange for Poetic Invention.)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Okay, you want proof...

...that something is seriously screwed up in the Land of the Free?


Shepard Fairey, the man who designed that poster that persuaded Americans that Obama is the New Messiah, has been jailed in Boston for graffiti, the very medium that drew him to everyone's attention in the first place. Without even going near the whole issue of public hypocrisy on the subjects of GRAFFITI and ANARCHISM, one can still make a very strong case that this is a blatant example of the shallowness of Change in America. It's business as usual for the Authoritarians and their corporate masters.

(Nothing Better to Do?) Cops Arrest 'Hope' Artist Shepard Fairey | Rights and Liberties | AlterNet


Is it coincidence that Fairey, whose work has become synonymous with Progressive causes and who has displayed an amazing flare for turning street art into political action and who, incidentally, is involved in a copyright dispute with Associated Press over the very same Obama image, should be arrested just prior to a triumphant opening of his work at the Institute of Contemporary Art? Or is this yet another instance of "terrorizing by example?"

See for yourself, at his website, the disturbingly radical nature of his work, and its genius:


(Via Obey Giant.)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)


Obligatory Gay Cher Post

...I just don't understand how anyone would want to be a Republican. I just can't figure it. I don't understand. If you're poor, if you're any kind of minority -- gay, black, Latino, anything. If you're not a rich -- I don't know. If you're not a rich born-again Christian, I don't get it." -- Cher,
who should consider going on a national tour to movie-smack every Republican across the face and tell them to "Snap out of it!" Thanks to Melissa McEwan at AlterNet

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Different Angle

tooker government bureau2 1956.jpg

George Tooker

1 Republic: Founding (Constitution)
2 Republic: Civil War
1st Empire (After Reconstruction)

3 Republic: Rise & Fall of Labor (Roosevelt-Truman)
4 Republic: National Security State (NSC, CIA, Cold War)
2nd Empire (George H.W. Bush...

This is not an original thought. In fact I've swiped the idea from IOZ, quoted below. I've merely elaborated and named the Republics. It gives one (or me, at least) a whole new perspective on the broad outline of American evolution. I'm not saying it couldn't be modified or reworked a half dozen different ways. But that the French are really onto something, thinking of their governmental history in terms of separate republics. It lifts one out of the realm of parties, of quadrennial changes in management, and focuses, instead, on the current structure of power and it's goals.

The French conveniently subdivide their post-Revolutionary history into numbered Republics. Makes reference easier and all. America might do the same, with our First Republic lasting from the promulgation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights to the Civil War, the Second lasting through the brief era of Reconstruction, the Third lasting through the period of expansion and Empire through the First World War, the Fourth beginning under Roosevelt and lasting through the early years of the Truman Administration, the Fifth beginning at the creation of the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the apparati of the Cold War, and the Sixth and current starting with the fall of the USSR, the Gulf War, and the stewardship of George H.W. Bush. IOZ Numerology

The question remains: whether this is the Dawn of the Republic V or a continuation of  Empire II. So far, the signs are not terribly hopeful. To quote from Margaret Kimberley, writing in Dissident Voice:

The usually peaceful people of Iceland threw out their government after international banksters destroyed their economy. The French, never shy about protesting, took to the streets to show their government that they wouldn’t be silent as unemployment rises and wages fall. The rest of the world may make demands on their political leadership, but Americans are stuck in a morass of apathy and ignorance brought about by corporate media disinformation....
Citizens ought to demand drastic cuts in military spending for the nation that spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined. Instead they are foolishly impressed when Obama puts on a show and pretends to be concerned about corporate jets and billion dollar bonuses on Wall Street...
Easily fooled Americans were glued to the television watching the Obama inauguration while simultaneous(ly) ignoring their own worsening financial situation. Who can bother to look at the fine print on multi-billion dollar deals when HISTORY is being made? Now the same zombified population ignores presidential inaction on bankruptcy “cramdown” legislation that could save their homes, explicit threats to Social Security, and backtracking on employee free choice for labor unions.
In their delusion and despair, the only reaction left to non-class conscious Americans is to turn on themselves. Murders and suicides are too often the reaction to financial disaster instead of righteous indignation directed towards a failed political and economic system. Americans are losing their minds when they might alleviate their depression by taking to the streets or at the very least giving their elected leaders a piece of their minds.
Americans never had the tools to fully understand the system that is failing them so terribly. Now they are enthralled by a man who explicitly instructs them not to confront the people and institutions that have brought them to the brink.

What's most interesting in the Republic Model is the patterns that emerge. First an increase in the military, for whatever reasons: Civil War, the Cold War, followed by a flourishing of imperialistic aspirations. Or, to put it another way, the population is pummeled into submission by fear and propaganda, so that the autocrats can grab the reins of power. What's less evident is how that power, once grabbed, is ever returned to the Demos. In this, America is not an exemplar. It occurs to me, also, that in the spaces after the empires, one might have inserted the marker, "...Financial Ruin..." and added yet another level of interpretation.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Go Little, My Tragedy.

If you would like to read the poem I read at my mother's wake/memorial service, go here.

Oh, my god...

They've Santa Fe Styled my Ancestral Home!


Photo courtesy of Jane Phillips and Shell MacKenzie.
Also thanks to Ray Peters and Ed Crocker for the information.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Poem

At night Chinamen jump
on Asia with a thump

while in our willful way
we in secret, play

affectionate games and bruise
our knees like China's shoes.

The birds push apples through
grass the moon turns blue,

these apples roll beneath
our buttocks like a heath

full of Chinese thrushes
flushed from China's bushes.

As we love at night
birds sing out of sight,

Chinese rhythms beat
through us in our heat,

the apples and the birds
move us like soft words,

we couple in the grace
of that mysterious race.

Frank O'Hara

A wicked tongue...


I was so taken by yesterday's idea of columns-within-the-blog that I decided to construct one for my other great passion: books. Alas I haven't written anything on the subject recently; and I'm still deeply involved in City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara, by Brad Gooch. (see in Sidebar, and click for the FO'H site) It's a big, thick tome: 470 pages, not including Notes and Index. It is, for me, a "read-before-going-to-sleep" book; the kind one takes in small enjoyable morsels, over time, letting it become part of one's daytime state-of-mind by inducing doses just before sleep. Eventually, I'll formulate an opinion of it and him. But right now I'm just enjoying the process.

Biographies of poets are, in my mind, both fascinating and frustrating. But I can't seem to get enough of them. An example is the last big one I read: Hart Crane: A Life, by Clive Fisher, which left me in an absolute fury. What a selfish, rich, self-pitying little shit! I've learned, over the years not to do bad reviews unless there's simply nothing else to say. Or, even better, say nothing. Perhaps the writer himself wasn't sympathetic, and someone who really liked Crane would tell the story in much different terms. But this was a book I hurried to finish and, through the last half, kept considering giving up altogether, except that I was curious about his death. I concluded, however that he was definitely a man I would not have wanted to know (no matter how sexually acrobatic he may have been), which sounds priggish, I know. Maybe I was just dramatizing to cover my own inability to find any merit in his pretentious poetry, when so many people admire it.

Whatever the final judgement, I'd better give you the full particulars, dear reader, so you can make up your own mind (although I wouldn't recommend it), and I've included a bit of review, filched from Google.


Hart Crane: A Life; By Clive Fisher; Edition: illustrated; Published by Yale University Press, 2002; ISBN 0300090617, 9780300090611; 567 pages

A gifted writer with a weakness for alcohol, a demanding mother and an untimely death by suicide, American lyric poet Hart Crane (1899-1932) might easily be mistaken for Ernest Hemingway, who was born the same day a few hundred miles away. Crane’s tragedies and creative struggles, like Hemingway’s, make for compelling biographical fodder. Clive Fisher, a very close reader, explicates attentively, and his meticulous detective work also sheds light on Crane’s forays into the gay underworld and the tense family dynamics that dominated much of his life. The book is less successful at sustaining a historical and intellectual trajectory, and, like his subject, Fisher likes to indulge in the occasional ecstatic ramble. Cahners Business Information (c) 2002

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Michael MOApp

Toolbox logo.png

If you look at the lower part of the sidebar, you'll see that I've added a component called "Toolbox." Look inside, you'll find the 35 applications I use most frequently... at present. I've spent so much time and money searching for the Mac utilities that suit my needs, I thought it might be interesting, and maybe even helpful, for me to write a fairly regular column, discussing what I've discovered and giving reasons for my choices.

Thus I decided to start with one of my favorites, which is representative of an entire new line of small simple applications, designed by the multi-talented Michael Göbel, called myOwnApps (I know, I know, but read on, there's a wonderful off-center logic to it.) The sample I've chosen is called myWords, an application for writers. This is a highly competitive field for Mac development right now. Some of the biggest guns in the shareware world are offering very evolved, sophisticated tools for novelists and playwrights, each with an avid following.

myWords icon.png

So, why did I chose this funny, slightly old-fashioned, oddly eccentric myWords? Well, partly because of all those supposed "drawbacks;" I'm not intimidated by it. It's totally flexible and fits my changeable work habits. Or to put it more negatively, it doesn't force me to work within a pre-concieved "writer's model." I make up the rules and categories, and change them at will. "Works," Entries," "Snippets," "People," and "Places" are the only inbuilt hierarchy. And there's that big yellow notepad at the top to remind me to keep notes as I go. Instead of learning software, I write. It's all up front.

But more to the point of why one makes these choices: this is Mac programming as it was originally meant to be. As far as I know MOApp is Michael, and cats. No corporate structure, pretend or otherwise. I've been following his output since the first (really eccentric) "Suite". He charges very little, but has always made it perfectly clear that they are a work-in-progress. They've progressed amazingly over the last several years. And, all along, I've felt personally involved. His sense of style is impeccable; it guides not just his design of interface, but an underlying philosophy of "simple is better."


I'm torn between wanting him to do really well, and keeping him my own secret source of satisfying tools. One recognizes a craftsman by his attention to details. myWords is typical of all MOApp designs, there is a joy in small details: a hidden picture viewer, the Snippet drawer that can become a palate, the way the window zooms to letterbox, or slides off the left corner of the screen on closing. There is also a means to take a snapshot of any current state in case a rewrite goes awry; and there are several ways to print/export. Occasionally there is a slight weirdness in function or odd transliteration from German. But these just make me smile, there's nothing to struggle with, and Michael's answer to inquiries is very fast, if a little terse.

I will probably be writing more about MOApp in upcoming columns. There is a much more sophisticated line of products at his site. These myApps are a response to requests from people, like me, who haven't yet upgraded to Leopard. But they're the same quality, just not quite as slick. At this point, there is no reason why these excellent applications aren't more widely known and discussed, except for their German or strange English names and lack of current "kitchen sink" mentality of adding more bells and whistles in lieu of making smooth, solid tools that do one thing simply and flexibly.

Michael's company is die Gestalteriche.