Aug 112007

In the Seaworld auditorium, waiting for the evening Shamu show.

In the Seaworld auditorium, waiting for the evening Shamu show, watching the wide-screen video. It shows soldiers and firemen, then August Busch III, or maybe IV, representing Anheuser-Busch, the corporate parent. He tells us to honor our heroes, which we do, with applause. A whale trainer, perky, live, asks everyone who has served in the American, Canadian, or British Armed Forces to rise. They do, to more applause. I wonder where Australia went. The video ends and the show begins. Shamu splashes soldier and civilian alike.

Bertha, my server for the evening, points out that she makes the salads. I do not order one.

My ten-year-old niece says that she does not understand me and I scare her.

(After our new Poet Laureate.)

Update: Jim Henley comments. Jim and I have had our disagreements in the past, but we stand to shoulder to shoulder in the unalterable conviction that, as bad a poet as Charles Simic is, Billy Collins is worse, perhaps the worst in human history. Sound and Fury comments.

  10 Responses to “Holiday in North Florida”

  1. I believe one can tell virtually everything one needs to know about a person based on whether he chooses to sit in the “splash zone” or not.

    Your niece is smart.

    BTW, did you see anti-Miller beer ads at the urinal at Seaworld? There were many at the San Diego park.

  2. Hello Aaron,

    I stumbled over your blog via a link to your review of Paglia’s Break, Blow, Burn, and found myself staying up late to read subsequent entries. We seem to have very similar aesthetic sensibilities, but would probably get quite snappish and sneery with one another if discussing politics. But who knows, really …?

    Anyway, I flatter myself that you might be interested in an article I have written on Donne and metrics. You can find it here, but you need password for Project Muse. Otherwise, I’d be happy to send you a hardcopy, if you are willing to email me your earthly address.

    A slightly longer version of this article appeared as a chapter of my more recent(ish) book, Desiring Donne. Here’s a link to the editorial reviews. I’m not sure if the book as whole will be of much interest to you, unless you are VERY keen on Donne. And it might be that you will dislike even the short article — in fact, I rather fear so, given some of your expressed hostility the contemporary academy. I share a measure of that skepticism, but also believe that my own analytic skills, such as they are, have been sharpened by my encounters with literary theory.

    In any event, I have enjoyed reading your own prosodic criticism – not least for the splendidly magisterial tone – and look forward to doing some more archival research here, as my own schedule permits. Few bloggers that I have read can rise to your level of rhetorical flash and stylistic brio.

    Respectfully yours,


  3. Aaron. What is the latest on Alpha theory?

  4. Sounds like your niece has one up on you.
    Hopefully her name isn’t Katie and her future boyfriend isn’t named Peter.

  5. Aaron,

    On the off chance that this irony hadn’t occurred you already, I observe that your main blog is increasingly becoming an accessory to your sidebar rather than vice-versa. Will you continue living the lie, or cave in and rename the blog “InstaHaspel”?

  6. Dear Aaron:

    My compliments on your website, which I found on the Outer Life blogroll. I administer a website,, that promotes good writing, and I’d like to add a link to your site on our blogroll.

    Our site, actually a combination website-weblog, gives frustrated writers a place to publish their nonfiction, fiction or poetry of any length at no cost in a separate ‘Works’ section and gives readers a place to comment on that work either in that section or on the blog. We also seek out well-written sites and post them on our blogroll.

    When we add a site to our blogroll, I write a post about that site explaining what I like about it, particularly about the quality of the writing. I’m sure your writing has drawn plenty of compliments, but please add mine to them.

    If you’ll email me at, I’ll send you a tentative version of what the entry about your site will say so that you can let me know if I’ve made any factual or contextual errors. Otherwise, I plan the post and the blogroll addition for Oct 4.

    Until then, best regards.

  7. if you want to design new kitchen checkout the page

  8. Sounds like your niece has one up on you.

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