Books Media Bob

An elegy for Peter Orlovsky

Steve Silberman offers this wonderful tribute to Peter Orlovsky, who died Sunday. Orlovsky was a poet and, more prominently, Allen Ginsberg’s lover for decades. I heard Orlovsky had died but couldn’t find anything Sunday to confirm it with the exception of changes to his Wikipedia entry.

Silberman was no stranger to Ginsberg and Orlovsky, to be sure. He was an apprentice to Ginsberg at the Naropa Institute and offers this wonderful passage in his Orlovsky tribute to put it all in perspective:

“It was Allen’s belief that the best education came not from niggling over line breaks and metaphors in airless workshops, but from living with poets and seeing how their minds worked in ordinary situations. (In an old Hasidic folktale, a young man says he is making a pilgrimage to a renowned rabbi not to discuss Torah, but to watch him tie his bootlaces.)

“One virtue of this approach was that seeing a world-famous poet in his underwear in the morning, turning the pages of The New York Times, tended to strip one of exalted illusions. These Beat Generation icons sweated, gossiped, got crabby about the littlest things, schlepped to the supermarket (except when they had me do it), made clumsy passes at sexy young poets, and had enormous and very fragile egos. In short, they were a mess, but as my Buddhist poet friend Marc Olmsted puts it in his best Burroughsian drawl, ‘It’s Samsara, my dear, we’re all a mess.’”

While Orlovsky wasn’t a critical figure in the Beat movement, I expected a little more attention from the mainstream press. Perhaps the New York Times will run something this week. I guess it’s tough to compete with Gary Coleman and Dennis Hopper …

Assorted Bob

Hockey from a dentist’s perspective

It’s common to joke about toothless hockey players. But some of the injuries that keep NHL team dentists busy are no laughing matter. Check out this story from the Toronto Globe and Mail for the brutal details …

Techno Bob

Two cool tools for Mac geeks …

A few gems I stumbled on while surfing this week:

Gruml: I switched from Bloglines to Google News long ago as my RSS reader of choice. But although Google News was superior for managing my feeds, I missed Bloglines’ user interface. Gruml gives me the best of both worlds, allowing me to read and manage Google News through Gruml. I’ve been using it for a few days now, and the only thing I’m not liking about it is the email function. I constantly email items I find in feeds to friends, and Google News makes that very simple. Gruml has that feature, but I don’t like it as much. It sends the URL to the feed and in a sample I just sent, the URL was so long it broke and wasn’t clickable in the email. I think I can live with that, but it’s a glitch I’d like to see fixed. The app currently is free. Definitely worth a test drive if you use Google News on the Mac.

Witch: Most Mac users quickly learn the command-tab trick to toggle among open apps. Witch puts this on steroids, allowing you to toggle not only among apps, but also among open documents in apps. I’ve been using it for a few days and fully intend to pay the $15 they want for it. The demo version works for 250 switches, and then a payment nag starts popping up. I tried using Mac’s Spaces to solve this problem but always found it weird and buggy. Witch allows me to hop from item to item on my computer fluidly. It’s a keeper.