Monday, December 22, 2014

The Case of the Funnybone Faint

Once it happened to me,
I got knocked out through my knee...

It was in elementary school, maybe 4th grade. The teacher gave us a problem, I think a math problem, to solve. Anyway, it was some kind of speed contest, and the teacher instructed us to stand up as soon as we solved the problem.

I was good at this sort of thing, and I'm competitive, so I finished the problem and jumped up very quickly... and banged my knee into the underside of my desk. I got an immediate radiating sensation, like I'd hit my funnybone, except in my knee.

And then... I was waking up. I thought it was morning. I thought I was home. And then I heard my teacher saying: "John Enright, get up off of the floor this instant!"

Yes, she thought I was faking it. However, as Angela Gentile explains it:

"A vasovagal or vasodepressor response is a reflex the body goes through when a certain trigger is present. When the funny bone, or ulnar nerve is struck hard by a pointy object, a vasovagal response can occur. This can also happen when the peroneal nerve (just below the knee) is struck. The body responds by having a large amount of blood pool into the legs, which in effect pulls blood away from the major organs, like the brain and heart. The brain goes unconscious for a short time, until the blood gets pumped back into the brain and heart."

Why did she think I goofing around?
Did she mistake me for a class clown?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Merry Widow

Last night we enjoyed the local Light Opera Works production of Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow. It's a new translation/adaptation. Act III doesn't quite match either of the versions described in the linked Wikipedia article. But I liked it.

There's a joke in this version that got a lot of laughs. I'm guessing it wasn't in the original. So, spoiler alert on the joke.

*** recurring gag spoiler ***

The joke depends on the fact that the characters are all multi-lingual in European languages, but they all consistently regard English as "the language of love".

English, you see, is the modern language of science, of business, and so forth. But we tend to think the "Romance" languages have the edge on expressions of romance.

I think it's the tendency, in English speaking cultures, to emphasize speaking plainly, as opposed to high-flown hyperbole. English is seen as lacking in ornament, like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, kind of bare.

But, in fairness
to English's alleged bareness,
take a good look at a Shakespeare sonnet,
and whether or not you find ornament on it,
I hope you'll agree that it's lovely beyond compareness.

Cop Killer

So, after all the tormented examination of some killings by police officers, we get an unarguable revenge killing of 2 police officers.

The killings by police officers, were an odd mix of cases (Brown, Garner, Rice, Crawford), but all involved black men shot by cops in cases where the initial situation involved either very minor crime, or no crime at all. The Rice and Crawford cases involved toy guns that the police didn't know were toys. The Brown and Garner cases involved confrontations that escalated terribly.

But now we get this, a black man, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, killing 2 cops in revenge, "putting wings on pigs" as he reportedly put it on Instagram.

NYC has a melting pot police force, and the 2 cops he killed were not "white" exactly, but not "black" either. Going by surnames and appearances, one looks to have been Hispanic, and the other East Asian. In other situations, if they were victims being lionized by the left, they would already be referred to as "people of color".

The perpetrator, though, is a black-looking man with a Muslim-looking first name, who may have considered himself as a Muslim, who shot 2 cops on anti-terrorism training duty.

Needless to say, the perpetrator, who also shot his own girlfriend, was probably all kinds of crazy. And I think he did us all a favor by offing himself.

Did I mention that NYC protesters were filmed calling for "dead cops"?

This reminds me of the 60s, when the revolutionaries would chant "Off the pigs!". The way it plays out, is renewed respect for the police.

People feel a need for organized protection. They would like that protection to be conducted in a reasonable, non-discriminatory manner. But they really don't like murderous jerks who set out to kill cops. The optics on this are terrible for the left. This is a big splashy case which will command a lot of national attention.

When you demonize the police,
you do not help the cause of peace.

Correction: They weren't on anti-terrorism duty. "In a related story, both were reassigned from an anti-terror beat to enhancing security at a public housing development in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood — the exact population the NYPD is accused of victimizing."

Bedford-Stuyvesant is a notoriously tough black neighborhood. You may have heard the old Billy Joel song:

I've been stranded in the combat zone
I walked through Bedford Stuy alone
Even rode my motorcycle in the rain
And you told me not to drive
But I made it home alive
So you said that only proves that I'm insane.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Welcome Mat

Sean Penn has concerns:

"This week, the distributors who wouldn't show The Interview and Sony have sent ISIS a commanding invitation. I believe ISIS will accept the invitation. Pandora's box is officially open."

You may believe that you're saving,
yourself from grief when you're caving.
But that sort of grief has a way,
of returning to stay the next day.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Instagram Ka-Blam

It's not easy being a celebrity. You need to keep your star shining. You're famous partly just for being famous.

And one way to prove your famousness is by having many followers... social media followers... let's say Instagram followers in particular... some of whom were recently eliminated as being fake accounts:

"On Thursday, we noticed about 1.3 million of Kim Kardashian’s vanished. Rihanna’s decreased by about 1.2 million. Katy Perry’s went down 300,000. Even Oprah lost 100,000."

You may think it's funny,
but I bet they paid good money,
to make their numbers surge.

Gone now, in a purge.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Kind of Luck

Usually captains of police are not on the front lines of shoot-outs, but earlier this year a Chicago police captain took 2 bullets. He lived, and has now returned to work.

'Next time, he joked, he'll know to duck a little better, "so I wouldn't get this big head shot again."'

That's rather cool and self-deprecatory, but the story makes clear that getting shot was a big emotional experience. I remember talking to a police officer once, shortly after he had been shot at. He was in no mood to make light of it at the time. He was still quite shaken by the experience. Well, I don't blame him. I've never been shot at, but I bet I wouldn't like it.

Struck in the head,
lucky not to be dead,
ducking next time instead.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Censored Rhyme

I came across a discussion of "censored rhyme", a.k.a. "mind rhyme", a technique I'm familiar with, although I don't think I had a name for it. Anyway, here's my news-of-the-day contribution.

I put all my money in rubles,
because I thought Putin was smart.
But now my big bubbly investment,
is starting to smell like a... foully aromatic raspberry tart.


Key event in American history:

"The infamous Salem witch trials began during the spring of 1692, after a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft."

Whether they were insane,
or whether they merely lied,
panic ran amain
and innocents died.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Some say it was a titan,
who long ago enlightened,
our cold and shivering kind.

But surely Prometheus,
was merely one of us,
with bold and questioning mind.