Saturday, March 31, 2007
I think I've figured it out. (A big rubber band called a rim wrap got loose and wrapped really tight behind my rear sprocket.)
I can't fix it on my own. I'm not even sure how to reassemble it properly.
But there's no need to panic.
I'll just find a good mechanic.
Friday, March 30, 2007
For some reason, whenever I "come back" to chess, I have trouble really concentrating on the game.
But I've been doing heads-down coding all week, so I figured I was fired up to focus.
When I was in elementary school, my father taught me how to play. I was fascinated by the game, and started playing him often - one night after another. I lost every single time. For years.
Until one night I cornered his king -
Such a small thing,
Thursday, March 29, 2007
I shudder to imagine a world where all structures are the same standard size, where there is no private ownership and no personal accountability, and where every decision has to be arrived at by a consensus among a bureaucratic group or committee. In fact, I am witness to such a spectacle quite regularly in the socialist style of housing quarters and housing societies in Mumbai, for example, the Bank of India housing society, the Air India quarters, etc.
When building turns bureaucratic,
Designs are dead and static.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Basically, the kids at this private school had some huge "Legotown" project going on - building and building - and the kids got competitive and possessive about it.
Into their coffee shops and houses, the children were building their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys — assumptions that mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society — a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive. As we watched the children build, we became increasingly concerned.The school resides in a church building. According to the teachers, some kids from the church "accidentally demolished" Legotown one weekend. The school kids were upset, weeping and wailing. So the teachers used this opportunity to ban Legos.
Taking the Legos out of the classroom was both a commitment and a risk. We expected that looking frankly at the issues of power and inequity that had shaped Legotown would hold conflict and discomfort for us all.Months later, after much re-education of the children, the Legos were re-legalized - but with a new set of rules.
All structures are public structures. Everyone can use all the Lego structures. But only the builder or people who have her or his permission are allowed to change a structure.
Lego people can be saved only by a "team" of kids, not by individuals.
All structures will be standard sizes.I see a little Howard Roark,
Banned from building his own New York,
Held back from letting his towers rise -
All must be a standard size!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
It opens up:
"A poem should be palpable and mute
Like a globed fruit."
So he's proceeding by paradox, since no poem is either palpable or mute.
It ends like this:
"A poem should not mean
Another paradox, since words are born to carry meaning.
However, he's also stating a version of a major movement in modern poetry, Imagism, in which poetry properly presents images, rather than making statements or music.
Perhaps it will come as no surprise that John Cage, who wrote the silent piano piece, reportedly liked this poem:
"Ars Poetica," John Cage suggests, is the best piece of propaganda the imagist movement ever had. It is not an imagist poem, he says, because, first, it is almost impossible to write one, and second, it is too didactic; there is too strong a message.I like MacLeish's poem as well.
But at the top of my lungs I yell
That poets must be allowed to tell
I think they're right that this issue has been blown completely out of proportion. They zeroed in on the misleading use of the word "epidemic," which headline writers love, and which suggests a widespread contagious disease. They went into the misleading use of the BMI to determine whether one is overweight. And they kept asking "Where is the pie?"
I liked their suggestion that this issue will look different decades from now. For example, suppose a medicine is developed that safely regulates weight - a pill that lets you eat what you want but stay thin.
The diet book business would suddenly die,
And I would be asking, "Where is the pie?"
Monday, March 26, 2007
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Linda researches her subjects carefully, and her reading was informed by a knowledge of the author's world and his place in it.
It was a small get together, with an intimate tone. Linda loves much of Kipling's poetry, as do I, and that feeling came across very clearly.
You couldn't ask for a warmer
Or more intelligent performer.
While I waited in a park for her to arrive, I watched a child flying a fancy kite with help from dad and granddad.
The kite swooped and hovered,
And life was extremely
Saturday, March 24, 2007
The article mentions the "apparent vacuity" of the composition. I would say that beneath the apparent vacuity, lies a deeper vacuity.
One thing positive I'll say:
It's a piece that I can play!
Friday, March 23, 2007
He keeps saying he had nothing to do with it. He also keeps refusing to denounce it. He says the ad has "captured the public's imagination."
He's got plausible denial,
But I bet it makes him smile.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
When we help them, I gather, we strip them of their wildness.
"Give them wildness, or give them death!" seems to be the position.
But interspecies sympathy and assistance is a natural phenomenon, periodically seen in birds and mammals, often involving a baby animal on one side of the equation. Like this wacky story about a lion adopting an antelope.
If even lions engage in cross-species adoption,
Shouldn't humans beings have the option?
Robert Bidinotto has the story, cute pics, and a rhyme on the subject: "Better Dead Than Fed."
I imagine the cub would find it odd
To be starved to death for the great green god.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
On the other hand, a Spartan's highest goal is to die fighting for his State,
Which she wouldn't have thought was quite so great.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
I guess even Baptists
Sometimes have lapses.
Perhaps his synapses
Weren't wired too well.
He's not on the loose now.
He's locked in the hoosegow,
And cries "What's the use now"
Inside of his cell.
As my friend says, "duh?"
Why were these poor men put out there - in police uniforms - but without guns?
Wait. I forgot. They were safer without guns, right?
Across the millennia, being disarmed
Too often ends in bodily harm.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
During World War II, Gandhi penned an open letter to the British people, urging them to surrender to the Nazis.Ah, pacifism.
Was this in his movie biography?
If we and the British had been this "noble",
Perhaps the Nazis would have gone global.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
"There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama," he preached, "because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So [my parents] got together, and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don't tell me I'm not coming home to Selma, Alabama."
It was such a spellbinding story that I almost didn't want to wonder how the 1965 march could have led to the senator's birth, which happened four years earlier. We might call it a story too good to allow the facts to get in the way were he not a presidential candidate.Thus does a tale of time travel
Begin to unravel.
I found a point of overlap.
Sontag makes much of the idea that photography teaches us a new way to see.
Austen, more humorously, makes the same point - about drawing:
They were viewing the country with the eyes of persons accustomed to drawing, and decided on its capability of being formed into pictures, with all the eagerness of real taste. Here Catherine was quite lost. She knew nothing of drawing -- nothing of taste: -- and she listened to them with an attention which brought her little profit, for they talked in phrases which conveyed scarcely any idea to her. The little which she could understand, however, appeared to contradict the very few notions she had entertained on the matter before. It seemed as if a good view were no longer to be taken from the top of an high hill, and that a clear blue sky was no longer a proof of a fine day.Often enough,
A truth of note
Can be backed up
With an Austen quote.
Say you sell your kidney for 200 big ones. Is that 200,000 of income? What about the loss - namely your kidney? Maybe it's just a wash for tax purposes?
There's one sort-of-comparable situation right now, but I don't know the answer to this question:
When women get paid for donating eggs,
Does the IRS take an arm and a leg?
Monday, March 12, 2007
I just signed up.
There is fear in my gut.
I've only done one of these before.
I was limping when I was done.
I finished in a state
I hope, this time, to skirt
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Larry J. Sabato, a professor at the University of Virginia, is a kind of all-purpose political commentator. He told me, "The unholy trinity of politically corrupt states are New Jersey, Illinois and Louisiana."
I asked former Gov. Jim Thompson what he thought about Sabato's Top Three. "Illinois can't hold a candle to New Jersey and Louisiana," he said indignantly. "We're poor country cousins compared to those states."
However as this other Sun Times story reveals, we truly NUMBER ONE in another category of calamity:
In Chicago, mail delivery has gotten so bad that in-town, overnight delivery ranks the worst in the nation, according to Chicago postmaster Gloria E. Tyson.
You know what this means.When you need to get a bribe
To a leader of the tribe
And you can't afford to fail,
Don't ever use the mail.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
The sun is in the sky today.
It's almost like Spring is on it's way.
"In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is apt to be more successful in white women than in Asian women, a study suggests."
Well, that's mysterious. Because according to Wikipedia:
"Most biological and social scientists regard the concept of race primarily as a social construct..."
Why didn't anyone explain this to the women?
Wikipedia, goes on to say that scientists "prefer to conceptualize and analyze human genotypic and phenotypic variation in terms of populations and clines instead."
Ah, that clear things up.
I'm not so in love with the concept of race
But throw it away and you soon see the face
Of something much like it, taking its place.
Friday, March 09, 2007
So far, she's not too happy with photography. The camera aggressively "appropriates" an image, and metaphorically "rapes" its subject. How's that for a Marxist / Freudian critique of picture-taking?
She seems at pains to fight off a certain idea, namely that a picture is worth a thousand words. You can see where that relative valuation might not appeal to a writer.
She keeps emphasizing that ethics and politics, in words, are irreplaceable by photos. That's true. But her ethics and politics keep sounding like radical chic to me.
Oddly enough, there were always a lot of striking photographs of her floating around.
For someone who thought it was not so hot.
She sure got "shot" a lot.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
She's from the Chicago area. I can hear it. But there's other stuff mixed in too. That figures, since she also went to Wellesley, went to Yale, was the first lady of Arkansas, and is now the junior senator from New York.
She has lived around the nation,
But those flat Midwestern vowels
Refuse to throw in the towel.
To me they sound great, and I howl
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
This guy claims to be the second coming of Jesus.
He also claims to be the Antichrist.
Such a dialectical approach!
Jesus plus the Antichrist?
No matter how that's sliced and diced,
It's logic that gets sacrificed.
Monday, March 05, 2007
What did our Democratic governor do yesterday? He went to church, declared "We are all God's children," and said he was following a "moral imperative" in announcing his new forced health insurance program.
Both parties hit religious notes
When calling for our votes.
Eventually, they fall in love and live happily ever after.
Something similar happened recently with Ralph Fiennes and a Qantas flight attendant.
Sadly, there's little chance of a fairy tale ending. After their exploit became public knowledge, there were allegations floating that Mr. Fiennes had forced himself upon the flight attendant. Then the woman got fired.
This morning I learned from W.C. Varones that Fiennes is feeling victimized as well.
His PR person declares "This woman seduced him on a plane. She was the sexual aggressor."
Such are the risks of being a movie star.
Watch out for aggressors, no matter where you are.
They'll follow you into the loo
And do the nasty with you,
And spread your name in the papers near and far.
If I live to see
The federal government take over this giant slice of the economy,
I hope to hell
I'm always well.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Saturday, March 03, 2007
He's talking about those studies where they hunt through medical databases, searching for correlations between conditions. Apparently the researchers have trouble with rules of statistical inference when testing multiple hypotheses.
Hey, I would have trouble too. Probability and statistics can be counter-intuitive. It helps to have a real guru handy.
Could this explain why medical recommendations about what to eat keep changing so much?
When searching for natural laws
Beware of correlation without cause.
Friday, March 02, 2007
A Russian astronomer, Habibullo Abdussamatov, blames fluctuations in solar radiation. He thinks that's why Earth got warmer, too.
Other scientists dismiss his views. They say Earth and Mars are warming up for separate reasons.
They say that warming here is due
To human production of CO2.
On Mars, they say the rotational fact is
That warming is due to a wobbly axis.
Perhaps this theory is the cleanest,
But I'd like to see some stats for Venus.
Perhaps they should have asked whether
It was wise to rent the place
To someone wearing black leather
Everywhere but her face.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
It's a sobering topic, but he was an entertaining speaker - and there was free beer and pizza! Thank you, Cato and Heartland Institutes!
He distinguished 5 types of big government conservatives:
1) neocons, former Marxists who still think the welfare state is great
2) "national greatness" conservatives who believe we need a great national purpose because individual purposes are unworthy
3) religious right, who are want to impose their values
4) supply siders, who think if you keep the economy going strong, then you can afford a nice big welfare state
5) technophiles, who want to use computers to control behavior
At one point, he said something I've heard before: "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."
That's not always true, but it's true often enough. The thing is, freedom lovers really do care. We know that freedom is the best system for generating human happiness. But we do get sick of all the fake syrupy "caring and sharing" stuff that is always being trumpeted about by political cynics.
faustin left an insightful comment the other day that ended:
You and I know well the need for independence and the benefits of independence. But the environment and survival conditions which shaped us give us all sorts of challenges, and there are compelling reasons why we've strong tendencies to turn towards each other and help each other in times of suffering. It doesn't change the metaphysics of the individual, the need for independence in cognition and the unarguable power of self-reliance, of course.I think that's right.
And then creates a giant lair
Where caring is rare.
First they eat
Then they excrete.
They do this all night while you sleep on your sheet.
So there's a new study that says:
Maybe you shouldn't make up your bed,
Since light and air leave dust mites dead.
kirinqueen suggests an Asian style of bed making: "with the blankets, sheets and pillows folded together, and the bed mostly uncovered."
This sounds promising, but it also sounds like more work in the morning!