POETS Day! Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

[This entry is cross posted at ordinary-times.com]

Nobody expects POETS Day! Our chief weapon is obfuscation… obfuscation and a willingness to gleefully trespass norms…  a willingness to gleefully trespass norms and obfuscation… Our two weapons are a willingness to gleefully trespass norms and obfuscation… and irresponsibility… Our three weapons are a willingness to gleefully trespass norms, obfuscation, and irresponsibility… and an almost fanatical devotion to our own needs… Our four… no… Amongst our weapons… Amongst our weaponry… are such elements as a willingness to gleefully trespass norms, obfuscation… I’ll come in again.

It’s the fifth of May, and that can only mean one thing: It’s Sir Michael Palin’s, KCMG CBE FRGS FRGSG, birthday – he’s turning 80, if you can believe it – so be sure and Piss Off Early. Tomorrow’s Saturday and you have all manner of Palinesque activities to get up to. Cut out of work and say “Ni” at people, decry the violence inherent in the system, pine for the fjords, face some peril, or go to the lavatory. It’s your weekend and if you say it starts a few hours before quitting time, it does. Just set aside time for a little verse. You’ll be glad you did and, if you aren’t careful, you might just learn something.


I worked for a guy who got calls from national publications hoping to get a quote from him about this or that wine release. His restaurant had all the expected awards and an enviable reputation so invitations to industry events were regular in coming. He told me about a wine tasting he attended at the James Beard House in New York – he was from upstate New York, and I can’t help but hear his clipped hyper-regional accent as I remember this story – attended by an assortment of restaurateurs, critics, and the like.

The event was hosted by a wine maker from California; I recall being told that the maker was from Berringer, but I just checked their web site and the guy they had at the time has a distinctive name I don’t recognize, so who knows. Whoever the guy was started out by signaling an army of waiters who put a glass of white zinfandel in front of the invitees. There were snickers, raised eyebrows, bemused glances, all the things you’d expect.

“What do you smell?” he asked. I’m paraphrasing.

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