Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Wrong Again

You know, well, you might remember, that I was guessing we would see a contested Republican convention. I imagined that things would sort of continue, with Trump not winning majorities, only pluralities. Wrong!

So what happens now on the GOP side? Are they just going to solidify around Trump?

I have a lot of friends who are now planning to vote for Johnson on the Libertarian ticket. They don't expect Johnson to win. But they can't quite vote for either HRC or DT.

As for me, I'm officially undecided,
even though that group is often derided,
I've decided to join their ranks
so the candidates aim their planks
at my array of political beliefs -
and if that happened - that would be a relief!

Cyborg in Training

"When Smartphones Become Too Addictive, Stylish Dumb Phones Offer a Respite"

The MIT review,
says: lower your phone's IQ!
But that's a very hard sell,
since I would get dumber as well.
Most of what I nowadays know,
emerges from my phone's bright glow.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Arsenic and the Elderly Audience

We did our matinee performance of Arsenic & Old Lace yesterday, and as expected we had a lot of older people in the audience, including at least one 90 year old who was celebrating his birthday. And, I must add, he had a very firm handshake.

Unexpectedly, it was a supremely appreciative audience. They laughed a lot. We got laughs on lines that we didn't get laughs on before. There was a big laugh on the line, early on, "This may not be very charitable of me, but I'm beginning to think that Mr. Hitler is not a Christian!"

Of course, a lot of people in this age group actually remember World War II, which is the era in which the play is set. The play's cultural milieu is the one a lot of them grew up in.

A lot of the play's humor has to do with old-fashioned respectability. They remember that. Many of the young have little grasp of it.

The past is an alien land
peculiarly distant
loaded with very firm laws
that are now non-existent.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Directionally Challenged

I sometimes go astray
using GPS apps.
But I went even astrayer
in the days of paper maps.

The Video from Kitties in Space

That's the official video of Kitties in Space, from the Doing Drugs And Dying In Space (DDADIS) festival put on by the fabulous Runaways Lab.

Felines seeking felicity,
encounter rodent duplicity.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Arsenic Initial Coincidences

Arsenic & Old Lace feels like a very well constructed stage comedy to me, but I was reflecting last night on the fact that it starts up with three coincidental events.

Yes, yes, spoiler alert in case you don't want to know!

In one evening:

1) Mortimer proposes to Elaine
2) Mortimer stumbles upon a corpse in his aunts' house
3) Mortimer's murderous brother Jonathan arrives at his aunts' house

Granted, there's a slight connection between 1 and 2. Mortimer has been spending more time at his aunts' house lately because Elaine lives next door. So his interest in Elaine makes it more likely that he will discover what his aunts have been up to. But, basically, 1 & 2 are a big coincidence.

There's also a kind of connection between 2 and 3, in that the play suggests there's a streak of homicidal mania that runs in this family, and the aunts and Jonathan are both afflicted. But, again, basically, 2 & 3 are a big coincidence.

Coincidence is just events coming together without a direct causal connection. There's nothing wrong with them, as such, in a story. The usual advice is to place them early in the story, to make them part of the "intractable problem build-up" and not part of the "surprising-but-logical solution". And that's what's going on here. The 3 events are just piling up to create a state of total humorous crisis for Mortimer, who I would say is the "hero" of the play, even though the "lead characters" are his aunts.

A lot has been written about including coincidences in a story. A storyteller makes a kind of bargain with the audience, a bargain whose terms are specified as the story goes along. The audience commits time and attention to the story, and expects a payoff of some kind at the end.

When the tale's completed
the audience shouldn't feel cheated.


In a nice suburb of Chicago:

"Outraged Naperville residents are demanding that Hassert Boulevard be renamed, mistakenly believing the road honors former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, who admitted this week he sexually abused students when he was a Yorkville high school wrestling coach."

Before you start yelling
over the name,
please check the spelling -
it's not the same!

Friday, April 29, 2016

At Target

Octagonal design, sold as "Hex Weight". 
Someone's geometric knowledge is not all that great.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hastert Gets 15 Months

Dennis Hastert, former speaker of the house, more recently a high powered lobbyist, got sentenced to 15 months today, in federal court here in Chicago.

He had pleaded guilty to "structuring" some cash withdrawals - purposely arranging them so that the bank wouldn't be required to report them to the government.

Maybe he would have gotten off on probation, if that was all he had done, but the cash withdrawals had to do with molesting a high school athlete long ago when he was a coach. And, as usual, it hadn't just been one molested athlete. More appeared. And probably a bunch kept quiet.

He got off lightly, although it may be
that many get away scot-free.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Officer Klein

I've found a new career.
Crooks should shake in fear.