Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category

Fermilab-CERN rivalry

12 August 2009

There is a rivalry of sorts between Fermilab, in the US, and CERN, in Switzerland.  Both laboratories are racing to detect the Higgs boson, and last year the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was completed at CERN.  Last summer, a video of the LHC Rap was posted on YouTube, to the delight of physics teachers everywhere.

Fermilab is finally making a countermove, having asked funky49 “the Rapbassador” to create a rap for Fermilab.  I’ll link to the video when it is available.

Giving 2

12 January 2009

I win.

You know how it is really fun to find someone exactly the right gift, and they didn’t even know they wanted it or even suspect it as a possibility?

And then they react to it, and you feel all smiley inside because they love it, and its perfect, and you are so amazing to have found it!

I did that.

When I visited my parents over break, I perused the outside of their refrigerator as I always do, scanning the postcards, photos, newspaper clippings, and other things that find themselves stuck on refrigerators.  I tend to re-read the poems there, clipped from the Buffalo News and yellowed with several years of existence.

Mom saw me reading and remarked that she would love to have a book of poems by Albert Sterbak, who wrote three of the poems on the fridge.  So, since her birthday is in January (she shares the birthdate with  Stephen Hawking, David Bowie, Elvis Presley, and Mary Queen of Scots) I immediately started searching for such a book.  No luck.  Not on Amazon.  Nothing on Google.  But I was able to find an address.

So I wrote to Mr. Sterbak, with a nice pen on nice paper and sent it in a stamped envelope, hoping to have found the correct Mr. Albert Sterbak in my search.  I did, and he called me up on the land-line phone!  (This is the way we all used to do things)

We had a lovely conversation, and Mr. Sterbak agreed to send an autographed  poem to my mom, since he has no book as of yet.  We decided on a sonnet that is also a recipe, albeit a recipe for weasel (he didn’t tell me that part on the phone) and in less than a week I was on the phone with my mom hearing the excitement in her voice as she read the address from the envelope (in poem form), the sonnet, and the letter from Mr. Sterbak.  She was very happy and very surprised!  WIN!

I wrote back to Mr. Sterbak with a check enclosed.  After all, he had spent time and postage and this was a gift for my mom.  And while he has no book I would have bought one.  But today, I received my own poetically-addressed letter.  Actually, it is a limerick and an additional couplet:

O Postman:

Please rush this without a delay
The Zip, when you go
Is 1 – 9 – 0 – 7- 0
But the rest doesn’t rhyme much, I’d say

Yet, lest this cause you further pain,
Try 1 – 3 – 8 ALTHEA LANE

He refused my check (sent it back), and mentioned that he has placed my letter and the one my mom sent him in thanks on his own refrigerator.

So, maybe eventually there will be a published book of light verse by Mr. Albert Sterbak.  In the meantime, write your favorite living poet a fan letter!  You never know what may happen!