Dada Koan #21: immense traditionalism and warm spoons


Rip van Winkle yawns and stretches, saying, “Okay 2017– but who is president? Who? Oh, c’mon! Knock it off guys– I’m serious. Who? Who? Really, who?”

I’ve been reading the Weekly World News. Someone was about to throw out seven old copies. Bat Boy at NASCAR, the face of God photographed from a Hubble telescope (blurry), a severed finger turns up in a can of peas. Two stories about men who died from their own flatulence– one suffocated, one passed by an open flame. Two stories about female surgeons who– confronted by their rapists who needed appendixes out or something– castrated them.

The Weekly World News definitely had its big furry Bigfoot toe on our 2017 zeitgeist.

Well, here’s Dada Koan #21. The above dada koan was made by following– sort of– Tristan Tzara’s rules for a cut-up technique surrealist poem. Ten words and phrases, blindly chosen, are taken from a Whitman’s Sampler chocolate box and glued to colorful paper. The words are rearranged– sometimes extensively– for sense.

Thanks very much for stopping by. Well here we all are, huh?


Unrelated Addendum: Shirley Jackson was amazing.


Dada koans #8: for a safe & healthy business


Well, I’ve been posting these dada koans since January.  Thanks to A Book of Surrealist Games by Alistair Brotchie. Why make dada koans, you may ask, as opposed to doing laundry?  Because a koan takes a minimum of effort– and in the end you’ve got yourself a weird little story.  Whereas with laundry…  To paraphrase Joan Rivers– you cook, you clean, you do laundry and then in a year you just have to do it again. So. Fill a Whitman’s chocolates box with words and phrases–little rectangles cut from Orkin ads, dental check-up come-ons, free newspapers, etc. Shake the box and pull ten slips.  Glue the finished piece to colored paper to fool yourself that your dada koan has some permanence.

The good: It’s calming to rearrange words. To be Whitman’s Sampler-gifted the words– narrows the options. Thank god.

The bad: What you’ve created is one of these Tristan Tzara-esque cut-up technique dada things. Which may not make sense. Or, in the case DK #8, too much sense.

The above blood red poem in more consistent typeface:

YOU DON’T NEED Online Application

Protect your family from


2000 to 2002

tech bust

For a Safe & Healthy BUSINESS



Well, there you go.  Helpful advice.

Thanks for stopping by.  “Winter is coming” which I say in a positive non-Game of Thrones way.  If you live in Chicago– make sure to drink your diet Dr. Pepper, and iced caffeinated beverages.


Unrelated Addendum:  Buying a Snickers last night– I was delighted to see none of them said “Snickers.”  Took me a while to choose the right one.  Had my hand on “Forgetful” but then thought ‘but I don’t want to be Forgetful’.  Rebellious seemed inappropriate.  Finally, I made my decision and slammed “Loopy” onto the counter like a challenge.


Dada koans #4: what do robots want or surrealism strikes again!


Yes, another Dada koan. A tiny one, eh?  Fresh from my Whitman’s Sampler box.

HOW-TO make a surreal poem: Scissor out words and phrases from old newspapers, AARP magazines, or tanning salon ads.

Stick the words– heavy on the verbs– into an empty candy box.  Shake.  Extract a maximum of ten slips.

Do not sneak a look.  Pulls must be random or it’s not surrealism.  If you cheat– then it’s just a stupid poem and you are just a stupid poet.

Make some sort of surreal something out of what fate has handed you.  Glue it onto neon paper and call it a Dada koan just to be fancy.  Also, because you are borrowing Tristan Tzara’s original idea.

The above screaming yellow poem in b&w (for clarity):

Robots are


for things


gold bangle



This is a great day to schmooze with others

This is nice.  Perhaps it lacks greatness.  That will be for posterity to decide.  But it does seem to answer that age-old question “What do robots really want?”

Thank you very much for stopping by.

Unrelated addendum:  Regarding the Unrelated Addendum of the last post (Dada koan #3).  Some people may judge that calling Donald Trump PUS does not “elevate the national conversation.”  Be that as it may, I believe I’m able to be objective.  For example, years ago I remember enjoying Trump’s Pizza Hut commercial (with his ex-wife) that promoted a cheese-filled crust.

Still, we are all human beings.  I’ve made mistakes and have many regrets about things I’ve said and done.  These are not in the past but are ongoing.

Well, what can you do?

Dada koans #3: delicate Gothic children


Hello.  After five months, I decided to try to tidy up my apartment. Found my WordPress password! Crushed under a hardback of horror novel House of Leaves (by Danielewski)   the notebook paper had soda stains, was crumpled and ripped in two, but still readable.

Due to a wrist injury– I now use a razor blade instead of scissors to cut words and phrases from old newspapers.  Other than that, my methods for these Dada koans– Whitman’s chocolates box, Tristan Tzara input, random pulls of word slips– haven’t changed.  For a more in depth explanation, see Surreal Poem How To: Dada koans #2.

The above pink Dada Koan reads (in b&w):

a fertile


appeared to be mulling


delicate Gothic



supported themselves



Thank you for stopping by.

Unrelated addendum:  The President of the United States is often shortened to POTUS.  If Donald Trump becomes President, it could further be shortened to PUS.

Also, I guess Bernie Sanders is the best choice for campaign 2016.  However, in politics, it’s dangerous to like anybody at all.

The Whitman’s Sampler chocolates: what happened to Whitman’s moral imperative?


Yesterday– and I guess it’s been a little while– I bought a half-price (thank you, Walgreens!) Whitman’s Sampler candy package.  In fact, I got two because Whitman’s Sampler chocolate sales don’t grow on trees .  Those auld cardboard cross-stitch boxes are sturdy and attractive. That fake homespun look is kickass.  I’m sticking my Micron pens and foo-foo Derwent drawing pencils in them just as soon as I can polish off four layers of chocolates.  Which should be momentarily.  My cat watches me chew candies with her permanent scowl.

But back to my initial point.

Jeez, I feel like Rip van Winkle here.

What the hell happened to you, oh Whitman’s Sampler? Where are your awful pink and green-coated Jordan Almonds?  Where are your dreaded Orange Creams?  Or were they Orange Whips?  Your Strawberry Whips/Creams were equally unpleasant, I recall.  But how wrong that all your sad bad candy should have gone the way of pterodactyls and dodos.  Did you guys hold some Whitman’s Sampler focus group that I missed?  A bunch of housewives got paid fifty bucks to mouth off on chocolate?  And I wasn’t one of them?

I think the Whitman’s Sampler suits have made a grave error.

Yes, nothing in this two-layer yellow box tastes totally terrible but nothing ascends to the heights of candy-ambrosia either.  Everything here is just sorta okey-doke average. (Got through one whole box so far.  For research purposes.)  The Molasses Chew is pretty good.  The chocolate-covered peanuts were fine.  To give Whitman’s its due.


During the days of my idyllic childhood, a Whitman’s Sampler box was like a magician’s box, a jewelry box, a Pandora’s box.  It held vanilla caramels and chocolate caramels.  The vanilla caramel’s caramel gave off a light amber glow while the caramel inside a chocolate caramel was dark and snub-nosed-revolver-noir and mysterious. Both of those caramels were amazing. Now there is just one lousy caramel (per layer).  And it’s pretty lousy.  Forgettable-looking and tasting inside and out.  Neither “vanilla” nor “chocolate” but only regular regular regular blah.

When I was a tyker, a Whitman’s Sampler for dessert was a fancy treat.  After dinner we were allowed a chocolate from the box.  One chocolate.  There was a lot of pressure on your choice.  Nobody consulted candy charts in those days as that was considered cheating.  Or maybe I was pre-charts.  Still, everyone wanted a caramel or a truffle or something good.  You sure as hell didn’t want to screw up and get an Orange Cream!  Or a Strawberry Whip!  Or some other ghastly jelly-filled palate-horror.  It was a big deal.  The stakes were high for the precise reason that the caramels were so awesome and the lousy candy was so to-the-depths lousy.

So the Whitman’s Sampler folk were no doubt patting themselves on the back for getting rid of all of  their crappiest candies.  When actually they made a big freaking mistake.  Why?

You shouldn’t need to ask that.  Why is there evil in the world?  Why are there harsh winters instead of an endless spring?  Why do cats exist and not just dogs?  Why is Brigadoon such a stupid play?  For god’s sake.  Think about it.  Read: The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin.  Read: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.  Figure it out.