Saturday, May 31, 2008

Breaking Ties with Trinity United

Obama is leaving his church.
Now he'll have to search
for another place
of prayer and grace.

But where on earth will it be?
Chicago or DC?

Artwork in the Mail

I got a surprise in the mail - a beautiful piece of artwork entitled "The Unicorn Forest."

Thank you, Ella!

The forest is dark. Almost forlorn.
Through it steps a unicorn.

The great beast turns. Does it hear the neigh
of another unicorn, far away?


Weekday mornings, I'm out of bed first.
But on the weekends, our roles are reversed.

And once you've left the bed, I steal
your soft pillows, which somehow feel
as if they've retained the touch of your skin.

Then I doze off and my dreams re-begin.

Such are the pleasures of sleeping in.

Friday, May 30, 2008

One Solution To Homelessness

A Japanese homeless woman, who was living in a man's closet, has been evicted.She lived in his closet for a year. He didn't know.
The resident of the house, who has not been named, became suspicious that he was the victim of repeat burglaries after he noticed food was going missing from his refrigerator.
Her solution might have been complete,
except for the fact that she needed to eat.

The Wheels of the Bus Go Round and Round

So Obama repudiated another religious friend late today. This time it was Michael Pfleger, a radical reverse-racist white Catholic priest, who is quite the publicity hound here in Chicago.

Pfleger, speaking at Trinity United, accused Hillary of thinking she was entitled to the presidency because she was white. He said this in front of cameras, which is where he likes to be, but this time his act ended up on YouTube and caused further embarrassment to Obama.

Pfleger has been similarly outrageous for forever, so for me it's heartwarming to see him thrown under the bus with Jeremiah Wright.

doesn't need this drama.

No need to fuss,
just get under the bus!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Beware of Dog

From Deb Ross comes a tale of a religious object adapted to a new use:

You thought it was clever to hide your cocaine
in a 3 kilo statue of Jesus,
but then the patrol dog came down with sneezes
and barked as if going insane...

that's when you knew that your plan was in vain.

Law Abuse

The Texas Supremes
have ended the dream.

Which dream? Why the dream that the state government has the right to take children away from parents on the slightest suspicion.

I'm no big fan of renegade polygynous Mormons. I wrote a novel where the leader of such a group was the bad guy and his followers were a bunch of dupes. But you can't take children away from people just because they believe stupid stuff.

Do I suspect that some age-of-consent laws were broken? I wouldn't be surprised. But present some evidence to that effect! And don't just take 400+ kids hostage to make people talk.

Officials this intrusive
themselves become abusive.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Carbon Belch Day

Many global warming believers try to minimize their carbon footprints, in order to delay the melting of the polar ice caps.

But some global warming skeptics are promoting June 12 as Carbon Belch Day.

Evidently the skeptics
are feeling dyspeptic,
and planning a belch
that won't be squelched.

Bad Train Day

In the Boston area, one "T" train rear-ended another, for reasons not yet clear.

In Chicago, an "L" train derailed, apparently due to operator error, but luckily none of the cars fell to the ground.

So far, the Boston accident sounds quite a bit worse in terms of injuries incurred. One death is reported.

In an odd coincidence, each mishap occurred on "the Green Line."

Cities use color-coding
for commuter railroading
but how on earth do the color-blind
ever find
the right line?

Bashing the Pursuit of Cash

David Boaz wrote in the Wall St. Journal today about our leading presidential candidates:
There is a whiff of hypocrisy here. Mr. Obama, who made $4.2 million last year and lives in a $1.65 million house bought with the help of the indicted Tony Rezko – and whose "elegant suits" and "impeccable ties" made him one of Esquire's Best-Dressed Men in the World – disdains college students who might want to "chase after the big house and the nice suits." Mr. McCain, who with his wife earned more than $6 million last year and who owns at least seven homes, ridicules Mr. Romney for having built businesses.
Millionaire politicians
preaching public service
make me nervous.

Why are they so quick to condemn
those who wish to be rich - like them?

I do have my suspicions.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Singing Revolution

We went to see a new film, The Singing Revolution, tonight. It's about the events that led up to Estonia finally getting free of the Soviet bear.

Oddly enough, singing
played a big part in bringing
Estonians together to resist
Russian communists.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Musings

My big Memorial Day tradition is running in a 10k and watching the parade afterward. I've been doing this particular 10k, in my neighborhood, since 1983, a long time indeed. Back when I didn't do any races, this was the one I did. I would train for it in the spring, do it, and then stop running for the rest of the year until spring rolled around again.

As I run through my neighborhood, there are flags on display all over, and many people are out just watching the race, standing on their front lawns, cheering us on, offering water, and sometimes offering to hose us down if we're just too darn hot. Music blares from many of the houses, idiosyncratic choices, but we always seem to get the Rocky theme and the Chariots of Fire theme.

The parade is a small thing, 2 marching bands, some bagpipers, local organizations, lots of boy scouts and girl scouts, local churches, etc. Also a high school ROTC unit and some war protesters, just to give full representation to political tensions! The war protesters say they want to support the troops by bringing them home, but when you talk to people who are over there, this doesn't seem to be the sort of support they want.

For all who have ever fought in freedom's defense,
I offer thanks. Your accomplishment is immense.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Poetry and Motion in Wisconsin

I thought my poetry talk last night went pretty good. At one point I talked a little about Roger Bissell's "microcosm theory of art."

I agree with him on many points, but I don't think the central metaphor is quite right. No poem passes muster as a micro-recreation of the totality of reality. They are more like windows into what the artist thinks is important about reality. And short poems present very small windows.

Works of art
are way too terse
to show more than a small part
of an artist's universe.

Then, this morning, I ran a "quarter marathon" in Madison. It was a fun race, with rolling hills, wind off the water, and medals just for running 6.55 miles!

Quarter Marathons are fairly rare birds in my experience. I never run one before. I suppose the problem is that it's too close in length to a very popular distance, the 10k, which is 6.2 miles.

The 10-K is close to a Quarter -
but a third of a mile shorter.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Poll Dancing

I admit to being irked
by the way public opinion jerks
back and forth within a day.

At least, that's the way
it seems when you follow the polls.

It's taking a heavy toll
on my poor brain.

Who's ahead, Obama, or McCain?
Which poll said which? It's hard to remember.

Maybe it doesn't matter till November.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Congratulations, John

I am reliably informed, from no other than himself, that my son has successfully defended his dissertation, thus earning a doctorate in mechanical and aerospace engineering from UCLA.

It can't be denied -
I'm puffed up with pride,

even though he was the one
who took to the task and got it done.

Toad Venom in New York City

Beware of the aphrodisiac
that comes from a venomous toad.

Some have suffered fatal attacks,
leaving their love life slowed.

Walking Away

Rebecca Walker is the daughter of Alice Walker, the famous feminist. They don't get along so well.
You see, my mum taught me that children enslave women. I grew up believing that children are millstones around your neck, and the idea that motherhood can make you blissfully happy is a complete fairytale.
You can see where a child might not like hearing that. And it appears Rebecca accepted this belief... for a long time. But then something happened.
I love my mother very much, but I haven't seen her or spoken to her since I became pregnant. She has never seen my son - her only grandchild. My crime? Daring to question her ideology.
For those who believe reproduction is wrong,
it's tragic when grandkids come along.

She says she loves her mother, but it's not because she felt particularly treasured:
I came very low down in her priorities - after work, political integrity, self-fulfillment, friendships, spiritual life, fame and travel.
When your goals are oversized,
they must be kept prioritized!

Well, it sounds like her mom picked her priorities, and now has the unpleasant experience of being chewed out about it in print.

Many a famous writer has wrecked
family relationships through neglect.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chip Off The Old Block

Vandals attacked Stonehenge with a hammer
but ran away, thereby escaping the slammer.

Of course, I frown on them,
but it would been a laugh riot if it had come down on them.

Child Protection That Wasn't

A Texas Appellate Court has reprimanded the state's child-protection agency, ruling that they never should have taken all those kids away from their parents in the big rogue-Mormon case.

Remember that mysterious telephone call that inspired the raid? A footnote in the ruling even mentions that "the authenticity" of the original telephone call is "in doubt."
The existence of the FLDS belief system as described by the Department's witnesses, by itself, does not put children of FLDS parents in physical danger. It is the imposition of certain alleged tenets of that system on specific individuals that may put them in physical danger.
Thank you, Appellate Court, for differentiating between beliefs and actions.

This is a relief.

No one should get legal grief
for an odd religious belief.

Isn't that something the first amendment forbids?

Now give back the gosh darn kids!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bag Checking Ka-ching!

American Airlines wants to charge people for checking luggage. Any luggage. As in 15 bucks for your first bag. Although if you pay full fare, or you're a high-end frequent flier, it won't apply. You're already paying them plenty!

American seems to be really crunched economically. The problem is that jets are big oil-burning machines. They're too expensive!

Here's an alternative we can afford:
an electric jet with a long, long cord.

Adventures in Commuting

I saw a guy take a big chance today, running in front of an oncoming train that was very close and fairly fast. If the guy had tripped or slipped, there would have been no getting up. He would have been dead.

Why did he take the chance? Because he wanted to get on the train. And you can only board on one side.

The engineer laid on the horn and stopped a bit short of usual. The guy nonchalantly joined the rest of us who were waiting to climb aboard.

The conductor chewed him out, but let him board. The guy looked sort of unflappable.

When we got downtown, I saw the 3 railroad cops coming toward the disembarking crowd. The conductor, who was walking along with the guy, loudly told the cops what the guy had done.

When he trotted in front of the fast-moving train,
I thought to myself - is this guy insane?

Arriving on time was his risk-taking quest,
but in the end he was under arrest.

House Finale

If you happened to see the finale of House M.D., would you agree with me that Anne Dudek ("Amber") did an astonishing acting job?

She performed
beyond the norm.
In fact, she seemed transformed.

And to think she played a ditzy heiress in White Chicks!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Back in 1983, Chris Dunn and Pam Jensen were a famous couple. Why? Because they had met online. In an early version of a chat room.

It wasn't the internet yet. It was an old proprietary dial-up network called CompuServe. (And yes, I confess, I was a member. It still exists, but it was a market leader back then.)

A lot of folks thought that this was a bad way for people to meet. It couldn't possibly work!

How could love at first byte
replace love at first sight?

Chris and Pam just celebrated their 25th anniversary.

And nowadays people think nothing at all
about meeting on somebody's facebook wall.

At Ella's Request

Yes, it's another unicorn poem, so if you don't like unicorns, you may want to skip this.

Unicorns are easy to find
in the corners of your mind,
and on the pages of picture books
which show you how the creature looks.

But if you go looking in the forest,
that's where your chances are the poorest.

Vague Resemblance

The closest thing to a unicorn I know
is a rhino.

Particularly when it's albino.


A horse with a horn
is a unicorn,
but sadly of course
none have been born.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Some states are in the middle
and some are on the edge
but whether big or little
I take this solemn pledge:

I love you all, please vote for me -
I'm studying the map,
I'll burn it in my memory -
but first I need a nap.

Something There Is

I'm going to be giving a little talk, "Poetry - What Is It?" on Saturday night in beautiful Verona, Wisconsin - just outside of Madison.

The title belatedly puts me in mind of a couplet from T.S. Eliot:
Oh, do not ask "What is it?"
Let us go and make our visit.
But we will go ahead and ask "What is it?" anyway.

I mean, it must be something, otherwise why do we have a word for it?

Unless it's just imaginary,
something from the land of fairy,
dreamed about with persistence
but missing in existence.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

How You Say The Thing

Very funny performance piece here on ending all statements with a question mark. I think the performance is what's called slam poetry, a genre I don't follow much, but which I enjoy in small doses.

The performer is Taylor Mali. Here's the text of a very interesting slam poetry piece on "how to write a political poem."
Mix current events with platitudes of empowerment.
Wrap up in rhyme or rhyme it up in rap until it sounds true.
It's funny, isn't it, that rhyme can make something "sound true?"

Somehow when we listen
to shiny words that glisten
we start to nod our heads
at whatever's being said.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ponderings and Wanderings

I finished plowing through Pascal's Penseés.

It's not really a book, more a collection of notes for a book.

As such, it's a bit like a trip inside his agitated mind.

He greatly fears death, and sees worldly people as constantly seeking to distract themselves from the inevitability of death.

But it kept occurring to me that his own obsession - trying to justify his religious beliefs - was itself a make-work distraction from the real business of living.

I do not say that life is brief.

According to my own belief,
it's fairly long, but has an end,
and it's a gift to comprehend
that this is so, since we can act
in recognition of this fact,
by living while we have the chance.

So we step forward and dance.


As you may recall, the cops shot a wild cougar in a Chicago neighborhood about a month ago.

Some cougar lovers were upset
and dashed off letters full of threats.

Now it seems that someone set fire to the grass next to our mayor's lake house in Michigan. Somehow the mayor's place didn't really catch fire, but the million dollar house next door was destroyed.

Arson seems to be a favorite tactic for animal-rights fanatics.

It's not about loving critters.
It's about being hateful and bitter.

Friday, May 16, 2008


If you want to be a uniter,
first you must be a fighter
to lambaste all the dividers
and turn them into outsiders.

World's Worst Poet Sells Well

From Charlie McDanger comes the paradoxical news that "the world's worst poet" is increasingly popular.
William McGonagall was mocked by literary critics and had food thrown at him during public readings, before dying penniless in an unmarked grave in Edinburgh in 1902.
But an old edition of his poems is expected to raise a hefty sum at auction.

Now he's the toast of society,
due to his notoriety.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Differing Attitudes

They've picked all 12 jurors for the R. Kelly trial. The defense complained that black jurors were being rejected too much. There are now 4 black people on the jury.

Mary Mitchell isn't happy about it, but she writes that a lot of black women support Kelly:
When I talked about the upcoming R. Kelly trial during a recent segment of "Chicago Speaks," a radio program I co-host on Sunday mornings, several black women defended Kelly and blamed the alleged victim, pointing out that today's 14-year-old girls are developed physically.
I'm sure Kelly would like some of these callers on his jury!

Personally, I find this case has a high "ick" factor. But I do wonder whether the callers had a point.

Some say it's best if you design
every law with a clear bright line.

But whether one is "old enough"
ventures into murky stuff.

Library Empathy

You hold a book that unknown hands
have held before. The pages fall
open at certain poems. One lands
under your eye. You read. That's all?

Some person loved this verse, but why?
You read again. A glimmer grows
as if dawn peeked across the sky,
and something in you feels it knows.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

State of Fatigue

Over at the No Quarter blog, they're tracking Obama's recent history of embarrassing gaffes.

The best was when he spoke of having visited 57 of these United States.

The latest is complaining that we don't have enough Arabic translators to assist in our Afghanistan efforts. But... they don't speak Arabic there.

Of course, these gaffes
are good for laughs.

Some people think he's mentally fatigued. Perhaps. But can we find a solution? Yes we can!

Even a brain
that's sharp as a tack
starts fading fast
when it's time for the sack.

It's a brutal campaign.
Is the man overstressed?
Somebody, please,
get him some rest!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Who Are The Libertarians Running?

It was reported yesterday that Huckabee is at the top of McCain's short list of VP picks.
Economic conservatives and supply-siders may balk, but the threat of four years of Obamanomics and higher investment, income, and corporate taxes might be enough to keep them on board.
Oh, Lord,
count me as balking,
running not walking,
yelling not talking,
and jumping overboard.

The Legend Speaks

Reena Kapoor picks up a story about Barbra Streisand, who wants us all to save the planet... by doing things like not running the dishwasher until it's fully loaded. But she doesn't seem to be living that way herself.

I am shocked, I tell you, shocked.

It's almost as if Barbra didn't mean what she said,
but was simply spreading it on for the rubes, instead.

Sinless on Other Suns?

Good news from the Vatican: it's okay to believe in aliens.
Just as there are multiple forms of life on earth, so there could exist intelligent beings in outer space created by God. And some aliens could even be free from original sin, he speculates.
But that would mean... they wouldn't need to be saved... so they wouldn't need someone to save them... which would be sort of unchristian of them.

Was there a planet
where the first couple
avoided the apple
and stayed out of trouble?

Did their descendants
get an exemption
from the much-mentioned
need for redemption?

Monday, May 12, 2008

That Pensive Rascal, Pascal

I'm reading Pascal's Pensées for book club.

The man is obviously brilliant, but he's obsessed with making the best case for his own somewhat contradictory religious beliefs. For me it's not a pleasant journey so far, because he spend so much time talking about the misery of human life.

The founder of probability theory, he put forward the "Wager" argument for believing in God. Super simplified version:

1. If you believe Christianity, and it's true, you win.

2. If you believe Christianity, and it's not true, you're none the worse off.

3. So, believe!

This argument has a variety of logical problems, but I think it accurately describes a lot of people's decision-making processes.

They never really see the holy light,
but they bet on the chance the preacher might be right.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Congratulations, Graduate

My son is named John, but my daughter, Felicia, for the past 4 years, has been a "johnnie," i.e., a student at St.John's College.

They're an unusual school, focused on the direct study of key works of Western civilization. Felicia took to the program like a fish to water.

Today, she graduated.

It was a pleasant outdoor ceremony, cloudy, but no rain to speak of. Well, I did feel a drop or two, but I won't speak of it.

She gobbled up gobs of Great Books,
Homer to Hobbes to Heidegger,
sifting for sense through centuries
of the world's weighty words.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Case of the Too-Small Gloves

One legal case in recent history seemed to turn on a rhyme: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit."

As for me, I thought the man guilty, but I have always been curious as to why the gloves seemed small.

Now, one of OJ's buddies offers a possible explanation:
Gilbert also claims that he counseled the jailed Simpson during his murder trial to stop taking his arthritis medicine so his hands would swell up and not fit the bloody gloves in court.
What do you think?
Can you believe
he got out of the clink
by not taking Aleve?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Push Presents

There's a new trend called "push presents". Women get them from their mates for pushing babies out of their bodies.

Helen Smith isn't sure she likes the idea: is the expectation that one is to be reimbursed for the act of child-birth that is troubling here.
I do wonder if Michelle Duggar has been cashing in on this trend. She's pregnant with her 18th child.
With two sets of twins, Michelle, 41, has gone through 15 pregnancies that ended in 13 natural deliveries and two Caesarean sections.
Speaking of C-sections, there's no real pushing involved when they are of the scheduled variety. So do you still get a "push present"? Or would it be better to call it an "operation donation"?

Due to the size of the human infant's brain,
pushing out babies can be a giant pain.

Math Gaffe

Obama says he has visited every corner of the U.S., hitting 57 states as part of his campaign, with just "one left to go".

Video and other links here.

I guess the 57 with 1 to go refers to the 58 contiguous states. When you throw in Alaska and Hawaii that's 60. You didn't know about the 10 new states?

The funny thing is that he's in the Senate. You know - the legislative body with 100 members because there are 2 for each state? Of course, it's his first term in the Senate, so maybe he hasn't gotten around to counting all the seats yet.

If there's more contiguous states than we already had,
Mexico and/or Canada will really be mad!

But the people who sell American flags will surely be glad.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Extreme Monotreme

They've run through the DNA code for the Platypus.

You know, that comical critter from the land down under.

It's furry and duck-billed and lays leather eggs
and keeps deadly poison in claws on its legs.

Update: it's only the male who has the poison on a spur on each of his back legs, and it's not deadly to humans, just very painful.

Of course, it's only the female who lays eggs, so I could try redoing it like this:

They're furry and duck-billed.
She lays leather eggs.
He has spurs - poison-filled
upon his hind legs.


If Thomas Jefferson came back to blog,
he'd stare at our technology, agog,
and post some words of happiness and praise.

Then to our politics he would turn his gaze,
That's where I'm worried he might choose to write
words that border on the impolite.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

That Second Spot On The Ticket

I've idly wondered if Hillary is trying to get the vice-presidential slot under Obama.

But apparently, Jon Stewart was trying to talk McCain into having her as his running mate:
"If you choose Sen. Clinton, you would win this election."

"That’s one I never contemplated," McCain said of the New York senator who is running for the nomination of the Democratic party.

"Do you want to say into the camera right now that you would do that?" Stewart asked the candidate.

"No," McCain said. "I don’t want to look in the camera and say that I would ever do that."
If Mrs. C
joined the GOP
and asked real nice if she could be
McCain's VP,
I'd hope that he
wouldn't agree.

Academic Boom

Could higher education be in trouble?
Will it pop in the next market bubble?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Do I have to go to bed without a full consensus on whether Hillary really edged out Obama in Indiana?

She sounded victorious, but I also thought I heard the first signs that she is facing reality. She said something about Democrats coming together to support whoever the candidate is. It kind of sounded like she wasn't so sure it would be her.

The delegate count
continues to mount
in Barrack's column.

For Hillary, the moment must be solemn.

Bird Business

The birds go about their business,
flying, mating, making nests,
and singing in the spring.

Eggs can soon be expected,
young who must be protected
until their lives take wing.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Crash and Burn and Get Rescued

This morning a guy crashed his car on the North side of Chicago.

The car caught on fire.

Fortunately, Mike Gunia, 56, lived across the street, and responded immediately, pulling the man from the burning car.

Gunia's been a firefighter for 22 years.
After pulling the man out of the car, Gunia went back home.
Figures. If I pulled a man from a burning car, I'd be really excited. I'd be standing around telling everyone I met... till the buzz wore off, anyway, which would probably be 48 hours later. This guy... it's what he does for a living. So he just goes home.

Pulling people out of harm's way
for him is just a normal day.

Ironman the Sequel

The Ironman movie did so well at the box office, on its first weekend, that a sequel is already being announced.

And I haven't even seen the first one yet!

You know, just to carbon-date myself, I remember when Ironman didn't have any red in his suit. (See the Tales of Suspense cover at the Wikipedia site.)

Back then he was a metal tsunami
knocking over meddling commies.


To focus on one purpose for the hour,
and drive toward that goal with all one's power,
kicking in some hunger as a boost,
can leave one stunned at what has been produced.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Beaten by Kenyans Again

Whew. Just finished the Palos Bank Southwest Half-Marathon. The weather broke our way - blue skies, cool, light wind. The course was lovely - wide road through the woods - practically a straight line out-and-back route. 1500 or so runners.

The lead pack, when I saw it, consisted of 3 Kenyans.

I feel fine, which means I could have run faster!

It's my firm opinion
that no matter how fast I go,
I'll never catch the Kenyans.

They make lightning look slow.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Doubling His Trouble?

R. Kelly faces an upcoming "child pornography" trial.

Prosecutors have a videotape which allegedly shows Kelly having a close encounter with an underage female

Now the Sun-Times is reporting that another woman will testify that she joined the couple to make it a threesome.

It's bad to get caught on tape
doing statutory rape.

It also borders on witless
to invite another witness.


People frequently speak of "fight or flight" as if that covered the field of natural responses to danger. But what about "freeze"?

The deer in the headlights, the possum facing a predator, just become perfectly still.

Freezing doesn't always work. Neither does fight, neither does flight. But each has its moments of success.

Fight and flight
are both all right.
Each sometimes saves the day.

But many find freezing
equally pleasing
and manage to stay alive that way.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Naked Souls

On the one hand, Rand writes:
An artist reveals his naked soul in his work—and so, gentle reader, do you when you respond to it.
On the other hand, in a Q&A, she says:
You have no way of knowing my sense of life, although you have a better way of knowing mine than I have of knowing yours, since you've read my books, and my sense of life is on every page.... Nobody but my husband can give me works of art and know infallibly, as he does, that I'll like them.
As for art
it reveals
something real
but only a part.

The rest stays concealed.

The soul
is too vast
for the whole
to be passed
through words, tone,
paint, or stone.

Love alone
reaches that goal.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Shawn Klein reports that it's Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel.

It's also May Day, the traditional occasion for Red Parades.

Maybe I could roll the coincidence together into Democide Day.

How many have died
from the crime
of democide?

The total is lost in the bloody trail of time.

Deborah Jeane Palfrey

Deborah Jeane Palfrey, "the DC Madam", is reported to have hanged herself, with a nylon rope, in a storage shed, leaving handwritten notes.

It almost sounds like a game of Clue, but a rather sad one.

She had recently been convicted of: "money laundering, using the mail for illegal purposes, and racketeering." But she hadn't been sentenced yet. She faced something like 4 to 7 years in prison.

I don't wish to defend prostitution as good clean wholesome fun. It radiates an ick factor, to use a somewhat nontechnical term. But it should be legal, as long as it's consenting adults.

Consensual sex
shouldn't be banned
even if money
changes hands.

That Pesky Self

I just finished reading The Music of Life: Biology Beyond Genes, by Denis Noble.

I found it very educational and enjoyable.

Toward the end he tackles the subject of "the self," and whether it can be found in the brain, or whether it's a process of the whole body, or what else it might be.

He proposes that the self is "an object we hang onto because of our language and culture make it very difficult to do otherwise".

He compares our culture to Asian cultures, which he says lack a strong sense of self. He goes on to mention that the aim of Buddhist meditation is the elimination of the sense of self.

That gave me pause. If they don't have a strong sense of self... why do they have to meditate so much to get rid of it?

If losing your self is meditation's aim,
doesn't that really give away the game?

Something that's so hard to overcome,
must be as natural as an opposable thumb.