Monday, September 01, 2014

Oops

I never make
A single misteak. 

I make them in pairs
Caught unawheres.  

Mini Harvest

I shall never malign
tomatoes on the vine.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Going Long

I did a training run for the marathon today. 
As usual I found coins along the way,
Namely a quarter and three cents
Which I construe
As 26+2. 
Silly, of course. I offer no defense,
Except that a long run tends to drain
Logic from my brain. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Not To Worry

Our strategy is not worked out,
but that's okay, you see.
We'll have one soon enough and then
I'm sure that it will be...
a most ingenious sort of plan,
the very height of clever.
And everyone who hears will shout,
"Why that's the bestest ever!"

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sturm's Yellow Wallpaper

I went to see Lorelei Sturm's The Yellow Wallpaper. She adapted the piece, from the classic short story, and she stars in it as well.

It's not quite a one-woman show. There are 2 other actors, with important things to do. But it often feels like a one-woman show, with extended periods in which the lead character addresses the audience.

It's not the sort of story that I love. A woman, suffering from post-partum depression, is confined to a room as a "rest cure" by her know-it-all doctor-husband. She then slowly loses her mind staring at the wallpaper. It's a story to give you bad dreams, but it's very well acted, particularly by Sturm herself, who gives one of those performances that just feels soul-baring.

Lorelei-Sturm-in-The-Yellow-Wallpaper-The-Mill-Theatre

Walls, narrowing.
All in all, harrowing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Message of the Messy Ink Stamp

salvadorreexamined

Observe the messy ink stamp from my luggage tag, from yesterday's trip home.

AIES is short for "Aeropuerto International de El Salvador" where I had a layover.

"Reinspeccionado" means reinspected.

Guess what? I was missing 2 things from my suitcase when I unpacked!

I think my iPhone charger and umbrella
got "reinspected"
and collected
by some felonious Salvadoran fella.

UPDATE:
My wife, who is still in Guatemala, found the umbrella.
So I slandered some poor Salvadoran fella.

Except, well, the charger is still missing. And she can't seem to find that.

To all you Salvadoran security guys,
I half-apologize.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Brief Thoughts On Guatemala

I know a bunch of people who live in Guatemala. Mostly it's people who have something to do with UFM, the University Francisco Marroquin, which has a distinctly pro-free-markets culture. That makes it a rarity in Latin America. They actually have a big bas-relief of Atlas holding up the industrial world with a quote from Ayn Rand displayed. Here I am with my wife in front of "Atlas Libertas".

wMarshaAtlasLibertas

The University seems like a well-run operation. I was invited into their network-monitoring room and was suitably impressed. The part of the school I know the most about is actually a relatively new component, the Michael Polanyi College, which is an English language operation with some parallels to the program at St. John's College, where my daughter took her degree. The central parallel is the intense usage of respectful and text-focused group discussion.

"Instead of attending a series of lectures and taking end-of-term memorize-and-forget exams, students at MPC engage in dialogues, debates, group work, creative and analytical writing, and other activities that illuminate core texts of enduring value. The program is centered on the reading of texts that invite us to explore, understand, and advance the frontiers of knowledge."

I had the opportunity to participate in a couple of group discussions, and had a great time. I hope I didn't derail the train for anybody. Sometimes my mind shoots off on tangents.

As for Guatemala itself, it's a confusing society, with a lot of talented people, a lot of good food, a wonderful climate - but deeply dysfunctional public institutions.

You can't drink the water out of the tap. It's contaminated. That's actually not so bad, if you can just remember not to run tap water over your tooth brush. I, of course, kept forgetting. I was pretty careful, and did not get sick. Well, no symptoms so far.

But the real problem is ordinary security. The streets are mostly not safe. Delivery trucks often have a guy riding shotgun - with a real shotgun.

antiguashotgun

Photo is from here, but I saw the same sort of thing in person, repeatedly. It's much worse than New York City was in the Seventies. But NYC did get better, basically by cracking down intelligently. Maybe Guatemala can figure out a way to do that too.

Next up in Guatemala: consequences from the drought that made a lie of their "rainy season" this year.

"Guatemala’s government declared a state of emergency in 16 of the country’s 22 provinces Monday as Central America suffers one its worst droughts in decades. Experts have warned that major crop losses – mostly in the region's staples of corn and beans - and the deaths of hundreds of cattle could leave hundreds of thousands of families without food."

I admit I'm glad to be back
where basics do not lack.

Monday, August 25, 2014

At Church In Guatemala

Baby Jesus in Saint Joseph's left,
With steel cable to prevent theft.