An Invitation to Haiku Yourself and a Bit o' Joy:
Oh, it's that time, it's that time, it's that time again. The Rude Pundit rings out the old on a few words. Starting tomorrow, he'll be posting his annual end o' the year haiku retrospective. And he invites readers to send in their own trio of lines (5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables - the Rude Pundit likes his forms, motherfuckers). For instance, longtime rude reader and haiku contributor Mona P. got a jump on the festivities by sending in this one (even if she cheated on the last line):

2011 Countdown To Oblivion
Blackbirds plummeting
Arab spring when tyrants fell
Occupators fill streets

Send your own to "rudepundit@yahoo.com." Titles are not required. Neither are pants. The Rude Pundit will publish the best ones or the ones that tickle him in bad places on Friday and, if there's a-plenty, Monday.

And because life is not politics alone...

A Few Things That Brought the Rude Pundit Joy in This Wearying Year in This Ragged Nation
1. Two musical moments: Elvis Costello tearing the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, New Jersey apart with a savage version of "I Want You." Over ten minutes of snarling singing and face-melting guitar work that was exhausting and exhilarating. And, at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee in the intense heat of Sunday at noon, hearing The Head and the Heart perform their song "Rivers and Roads" was pure, unbathed hippie bliss.

2. Two museum moments: The Experience Music Project in Seattle is the museum that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would be if it stopped trying to be a grown-up. And the Nirvana exhibit was actually, really interesting. At the Brooklyn Museum, the Norman Rockwell show was revelatory in an unexpected way: it showed how artificial his works were, in a way that you always knew, but really wanted them not to be. Just like America.

3. Two movies: Martin Scorsese's Hugo, which the Rude Pundit despised until, about two-thirds of the way through, during the George Melies sequence he realized he loved it. And the animated flick Rango, which was a deeply-weird, subversive drug dream masked as a kid's movie.

4. Two theatre moments (both on Broadway): The mythic end of the viscerally exciting play Jerusalem, where you realize that, sometimes, even liars are telling the truth. And, even though you're sick of hearing about it, The Book of Mormon, which was so funny and so twisted and so stupefyingly sweet (even with jokes about baby-fucking and having AIDS) that it actually helped the Rude Pundit feel better in the wake of a personal tragedy.

5. One TV moment: Yeah, yeah, The Walking Dead was too fucking talky and not enough zombie-killy this season so far. But when zombie Sophie walked out of that barn, it was a nut-kick that you rarely get on television. Hope, it seems, was for suckers.