- HIRES INTERNATIONAL: I'm the type of guy who enjoys other cultures and countries.

I'd love to go to Russia, for instance, and visit all the ethnic groups that made up the former Soviet Union.Fortunately for my bank account, I don't have to. All I need to do is get a hamburger at Hires Big-H on 700 East.

Don Hale, the proprietor, hired one worker from the former Soviet Union. He brought in other workers. Today, 10 Russians work there.

For patrons, buying a burger during the night shift can be like buying a burger at the Moscow McDonald's.

The people are from different areas, different backgrounds, different histories. But they do have one thing in common.

They all like to eat hamburgers.

Lucky for the rest of us, they've also learned to make a good one.

- POETRY POWER TO THE PEOPLE: "Poets come down!" wrote Lawrence Ferlinghetti in his famous "Populist Manifesto." "Come down from Mount Olympus."

In Utah, however, our poets seem to be going the other way.

They're working their way toward Mount Olympus. They've become "poets as part of the landscape."

The rap against American poetry today is it's invisible. Where songwriters and screenwriters mix it up in national debates on culture and social issues, poets tend to hide out at the university library.

Well, some of them are tired of that image. They're mad as Dante's Inferno and not going to take it anymore.

They're getting their feet wet - in real rivers.

The Utah Arts Council has slated a full series of poetry events at Utah's state parks this summer. Last night, Katherine Coles, Lisa Bickmore and Joel Long were slated to read at Buffalo Point on Antelope Island.

And on July 17, a merry band of 40 bards will storm Little Cottonwood Canyon for an overnight "poetry campout," where poets will grill burgers and bob and weave among the vacationers.

Let Ferlinghetti call his poets down from their perches on mythological Mount Olympus.

Utah poets seem determined to scale the face of ours.

- FIT TO PRINT: You can't convince me that the American publishing industry is frightened by the Internet or worried about sales. Publishers seem intent on publishing books about everything and anything.

Today I got a 400-page, hardbound, $30 book from Pantheon that is entirely about the human hand. Chapters range from "The Articulate Hand" and "The Twenty-Four-Karat Thumb" to "The Right Hand Knows What the Left Hand Just Did."

It also has more diagrams than a medical textbook.

I wouldn't mind reading the thing, but I don't have time.

I'll wait for something smaller. Maybe a little something on the pinky.