Thursday, July 31, 2014

Snoops Oops

They were accused on the Senate floor. Their big boss testified and denied. And now they have admitted.

"CIA officials improperly hacked the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers as staffers compiled a report on “enhanced interrogation” techniques, the spy agency’s inspector general has concluded."

On second thought,
we hadn't ought,
but we did it,
and then we hid it.

It was all a dumb mistake,
so won't you please... give us a break?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hoi Paloi [sic]

Lois Lerner emails keep popping up. She sounds cranky. She wrote from England:

"I was going to take the train to windsor Castle, but stuff closes early in winter so it wasn't going to work. Instead, went [to] Hempstead –an Edwardian English village, full of beautiful, huge houses – which have been ruined by letting the hoi paloi [sic] live there! These people have ruined everything with their equality push!"

Some elite. Can't even spell hoi polloi right.

If you want to seem very bright,
by mocking the common folk,
be sure to spell "hoi polloi" right,
or you may just look like a joke.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Benign Neglect

Reason Magazine has a good headline for a bad situation:

No Child Left Outside: Another Mom Arrested for Letting Kid Play in Park

Another busybody made powerful by the local police, if you ask me. The charge, of course, was child neglect.

Vague laws confine the child.
Enforcement allowed to run wild.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Training Run

When choosing a distance,
I felt inspired.

Now, due to persistence,
I do feel tired.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Recruited

Today, one of the lifeguards at the pool was recruiting me for a big Masters Swimming competition put on by the Chicago Park District in January. I was flattered. I don't think I'm very fast. At triathlons, I am never in the lead pack. But he saw I could swim all 4 racing strokes, and I think he wants me to do Individual Medley. Maybe it's hard to get 60-year-olds to swim butterfly. Actually, that's the stroke he thinks I should work on improving. He gave me a drill to do. Butterfly was the last stroke I learned - in my forties I think - and I guess I've still got some learning to do!

I remember paying for individual lessons, one on one. Butterfly is just the sort of thing I have trouble learning - a complex set of simultaneous steps. If I overthink it, I get analysis paralysis. At least until I practice a lot.

Hopefully, if I practice his drill,
soon my butterfly will kill.

Fudging

A Forbes columnist writes:

"Gruber really does have one of the greatest empirical minds in health economics. When he’s not wearing his advocacy hat, I pretty much take what he says as gospel."

His inclination to truthfulness
depends on what he wears.

When there's a scholarly hood on his head
believe whatever he swears.

But when his fedora says "advocate",
take all with a grain of salt.

And blame it, please, upon the hat.
The fudging's not his fault!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Closer

I went to see Closer, which was put on by the Spartan Theatre Company. The play is contemporary, bleak in outlook, but does keep you guessing.

As one reviewer says:

"The plot of “Closer” is quite straightforward, involving four characters – Dan, a witty, albeit failed novelist; Larry, a kind-hearted doctor; Anna, a talented photographer; and Alice, a troubled ex-stripper – whose romantic lives do not so much intersect as collide violently, with all the seedy undercurrents bubbling to the surface in one way or another."

The pacing as tense. As the lady sitting next to me said at intermission: "I think I've been holding my breath the whole time." My sense is that the production is stronger than the play itself. I haven't actually read the play, and I have not seen the movie version either.

All 4 actors were strong, but if I had to pick a favorite, it was Brianne Duncan Fiore, as Anna, the character closest to sane in the show. One reviewer mentioned her "honest intensity" which strikes me as the quality that I admired about her performance. "Honesty in acting" is one of those paradoxical concepts, of course. But whatever it may be, she had it going on.

It's a form of art
where you step into a part
and then tug the viewer's heart.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

In A Fix

In sunny California:

"On the same day the state approved mandatory outdoor watering restrictions with the threat of $500 fines, the Southern California couple received a letter from their city threatening a $500 penalty for not watering their brown lawn."

Caught in a bind.
Either way they're fined!

I suggest a fiendish feint:
Spray your lawn with greenish paint!

Poetry Discussion

Led an interesting Socratic seminar at my wife's Great Connections program. We talked about poetry - an article of mine, a poem by Badger Clark, and a poem by William Blake.

We did not get to our final poem, by Emily Dickinson.

Time ran away with William Blake
(a gross breach of propriety)
and so we missed our chance to take
a certain soul's Society.