Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cyber Sleuth

A reporter's laptop is stolen:
But it came to me, in the shower of course, that I'd installed a remote-access program on my stolen laptop called LogMeIn. It allows users to access home computers from anywhere over a secure Internet connection.
He managed to hack
his laptop back!

Rehearsals Are Rolling

I am so lucky to have all these great people working this production of Ready or Not -

Director: Jeremy Menekseoglu
Design + Assistant Director: Anna Weiler
Stage Manager: Kathleen Cawthon

Cast:

Edward: Tom McGrath
Susan: Danielle Gennaoui
Kyle: Jeremy Menekseoglu
Norma: Tamika Morales
Diane: Rachel Martindale

My thumbnails of the characters:

Edward, earnest and glad to be out of jail
Susan, his wife, not so glad to see him
Kyle, his friend and coworker
Norma, a young woman from Mexico
Diane, a boss who is all business

Some are old friends, others are new,
but what a super talented crew!

The President Giveth And The President Taketh Away

AP reports:
Millions of Americans enjoying their small windfall from President Barack Obama's "Making Work Pay" tax credit are in for an unpleasant surprise next spring. The government is going to want some of that money back.
No, it's rather worse.

ALL of the money the President gifted
sooner or later will have to be lifted
out of someone's purse.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Crack in the Drug War

Get caught with 5 grams of crack cocaine, you get 5 years in prison.

But you need to get caught with 500 grams of powder cocaine to get the same sentence.

Sentencing for crack cocaine
is insane.

The scare story, at one point, was that crack was vastly more addictive than powder coke, and was destroying poor communities, etc.

So - giving credit where credit is due, I want to applaud the new administration's intention of getting rid of the special crack penalties.

But does it really make sense to lock people up for putting dangerous chemicals in their bodies?

I'm not a proponent of drug usage, and cocaine can kill you in the right circumstances, but a lot of these laws are based on wildly exaggerated claims.

I think that putting people in jail
for using - is an epic fail.

EuroBot Rebellion

It began innocently enough, in a factory in Sweden:
Thinking he had cut off the power supply, the man approached the robot with no sense of trepidation. 

But the robot suddenly came to life and grabbed a tight hold of the victim's head. The man succeeded in defending himself but not before suffering serious injuries.
Double-check the power supply,
or walk into trouble and possibly die!

Big Step

Rehearsals began tonight for my full length play.  (Due out for a 3 week run,either 6/11-6/25 or 6/18 to 7/5.  Performances will be on Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun. nights.)

They're quite a bunch of highly intuitive and creative people who seemed to be sliding into their roles and trying them on for size.

It was tons of fun
hearing them read Act 1.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Let's Not Make Scapegoats Of Pigs!

Pork.org is complaining that this new flu shouldn't be called swine flu at all - because it hasn't been found in swine yet.

We stumble when we assign
blame upon the humble swine!

File Under "What Were They Thinking?"

So, for a classified photo-op, whatever that is, the White House Military Office allowed a 747 and 2 fighter jets to do a low altitude fly by of downtown Manhattan.

As I said, it was classified, so the residents of NYC were not warned.
“Everybody panicked,” said Daisy Cooper, a Merrill Lynch worker in Jersey City, who lost a nephew on 9/11. “Everybody was screaming and we all ran downstairs. I’m devastated…Everybody was running, we didn’t know why we were running. We just knew it was a plane, there we go, 9/11 again.”
I hope no one had a coronary or a stroke in the panic.

It's the sort of photo-op
that can make your heart just stop.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Performance

I suppose this may sound odd, but I wasn't just pleased with the performances of Venice Averyheart and Lorelei Sturm. I found myself deeply moved. They saw some things in the script that I did not. That always happens, of course. And they filled it with fully fleshed joy and regret, anger and hope.

A script is like a pencil sketch,
over which the actors stretch
their souls in living color
to make the portrait fuller.

Actresses and Director

That's Colby Sellers, the director, talking to Lorelei Sturm (Louise) while Venice Averyheart (Claire) looks on.




Rehearsing in the theater lobby, Venice Averyheart, as Claire, tries to make a point to to Lorelei Sturm, as Louise, while Colby Sellers observes.

I wasn't really involved at this stage. But I did spy on them a bit, and I made sure to let Colby know I thought the performances were looking great! I had the impression that the 3 of them were working well together as a group.

For me there's a strange thrill in watching gifted people perform my script.

As the other artists engage,
the words jump off the page
and come alive on stage.

Script

Here's a pdf of the working script for Believe in Me.

It kind of surprised me, since it just came pouring out. I hadn't written a two-person piece before, and was worried about being confined to just 2 characters.

I had planned a completely different play, about a couple of police women, but ended up going with 14 year olds instead.

The opening lines, which concern cutting the hair of an American Girl doll, are inspired by an incident in the life of emilya . The rest, not so much!

The funny thing was that the play just before mine also mentioned American Girl dolls - twice!

I suppose play-writing is an adult form of playing with dolls.

You move the players about
and give them words to laugh or cry or shout.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Titles

I have come home to take a nap while the director and 2 actresses start working with my  10 minute script.  I started writing at 10pm, got done at 3am.

My title ended up as: Believe In Me. I happened to be listening to the Smashing Pumpkins tune of the same title, and realized it would make a good title for what I was writing.

I heard 2 of the other titles: "Lady Pirates" and "Jesus Fish."

But I haven't been tipped
as to what's in those scripts.

CORRECTIONS: 

The Smashing Pumpkins tune is entitled "Tonight Tonight" but "believe in me" is a repetitive part of the lyrics. 

It wasn't just "Jesus Fish," it was "Swoop, Swoop, Jesus Fish".

Friday, April 24, 2009

And I Don't Have A Title Yet Either

Well, I'm supposed to have a ten minute play finished by 6am. And I'm not supposed to start writing till 9pm.

Piece of cake.

I'd better go out and buy some Mountain Dew.

Warm tingle of excitement 
and cold surge of dread
mingle in my head.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Great Connections

My wife is organizing a 1 week seminar for college and high school students. In Chicago, July 25 to Aug 2. Here is a *partial* list of presentations. I believe the 2nd item is for me to do:
Presentation on "Statistical Literacy and the Liberal Arts" - Evaluate the accuracy of statistically-based arguments for public policies such as gun control, IQ testing, and racially-based affirmative action. 

Seminar on Poetry - learn how poetry works and consider the role of reason in the most romantic and spiritual of poems.

Presentation on "Global Warming/Climate Change: Dissecting the Evidence" - Understand the scientific evidence and theories on both sides of the climate change argument. Apply your newly acquired reasoning skills to significant issues in the news.

Seminar on Property and Money - Debate the views of James Madison, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Carl Menger on the nature of property and money. Develop your economic literacy and understand how they relate to current economic developments and crises.

Seminar on the Powers of the President - Consider the role of the president's Constitutional authority and how it has been interpreted. Wrestle with the pros and cons of the rise in presidential power.
So... just commenting on that 2nd item, "how poetry works" is fascinating, complicated, and the subject of much debate. The "role of reason" in poetry is also an interesting question. Not all poems are argumentative, but all deal in concepts and propositions, and the thirst for art arises from the needs of the human brain.

Prose is best for normal reasoning.
Poetry throws in formal seasoning.

Lagomorph Lyric

Departing from my normal rhyming habits, I've written this haiku about some rabbits:

Snowbound snoozing done,
fluffy bunnies bounce about
nibbling fresh sprung green.
 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

And When Is Mars Day?

You know, our home planet. 

After all, it has now been established that parts of "the" Earth are rocks from Mars.

And some speculate that life on Earth was seeded from Mars.

In which case all living things on this planet are really invasive exotic alien species which have infested the Earth.

In other Earth Day News:

Our president took his 747 on an Iowa expedition
to talk about keeping carbon footprints low.

If your mission is lower emissions, 
a cross-country trip is the way to go!

Just Say No

Ann Althouse reports that today our Supreme Court Justices pondered the case of a 13 year old girl who was strip searched...in quest of extra strength ibuprofen:
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the school officials should be shielded from being sued since the law governing school searches had not been clear...

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy... objected when Adam Wolf, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer for Redding, argued that the strip search was unreasonable because there was no evidence she was hiding anything in her underwear.

"Is the nature of drug irrelevant?" he asked. "What if it was meth to be consumed at noon?"...

It is "a logical thing" for adolescents to hide things, [Justice Breyer] said. A student might stick something "in their underwear," he added, provoking laughter when he said that this had happened to him at school. "It's not beyond human experience."...

"Better embarrassment [of one student] than the risk of violent sickness and death," Souter said.

Personally, I liked this from one of Althouse's commenters:
I'll just have to let the principal know, if I can't keep my daughter out of public schools, that I will exact personal revenge in the most horrible manner if he ever ever ever tries to strip search my daughter for anything that doesn't include dismembered bodies as the cause of the search.
If the courts won't let you sue,
threats may have to do.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tough Love

The president of the Cook County Board fired his first cousin - the county CFO - the other day.

He says it was for her own good:
"All I can tell you is that I know certain commissioners were determined to drag Miss Dunnings through the mud, and I thought it was undeserved and it would not serve her or the county for that to happen," Stroger told the Sun-Times Monday night.
So, to keep her reputation from being muddied, he fired her!

Since someone else decided to attack her,
he concluded that he should no longer back her.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Play Progress

My full-length play has 4 of 5 characters cast. I'm very happy with them all. Opening night is scheduled for Thursday, June 12.

It's starting to feel
tangibly real.

We're holding another audition tomorrow with 7 or 8 actresses scheduled to appear, so we ought to be able to fill the remaining part - a clever young woman from Mexico.

UPDATE 4/21: saw some very good people... trying to decide. One was even a possibility for a part I was already thinking of as cast...

I also want to line up a certain prop -
an old-fashioned desk with a rolling top.

Meanwhile, I'm still on track for this super-charged 24-hour drama festival, Theatre of Women IV, wherein I shall have a 12 hour stretch from 9pm-6am to write a 10 minute play. That's less than 2 pages per hour! Good thing I handle deadlines well.

It should be quite a night-full,
frightful and delightful.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Talk Like Shakespeare Day

Chicago's Mayor Daley is going to declare Thursday to be "Talk Like Shakespeare Day".  Thursday is the poet's birthday.

So be prepared!

Forsooth means "in truth".
Prithee means "please".

"How sharper than a serpent's tooth"
means "Ouch, that stings like bees."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Theatre of Women IV

I'm going to be writing one of the short ten-minute plays for Theatre of Women IV - next Saturday evening.

It's a 24-hour play festival, which means the entire thing - from writing to performance - is done in 24 hours.

Basically, the writers are given some actresses' photos at 8pm, and they have to have ten-minute plays written by the next morning.

I've always been a writer
who was able to pull an all-nighter.

Diurnal Course

The earth has a practice
of spinning on its axis
exactly once a day.

I'm glad it worked out that way!

What if the earth's rotation
took 23 hours - the nation
would soon be confused
about when to snooze.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Annoyed by a Boid

My wife generally loves to listen to the birds sing in our yard, but there's this one bird... with a wheezing, asthmatic sound to its song... that gets on her nerves.

Oh no,
It's a wheezing
oiseau!

Hard vs. Soft Individualism

Today I've been looking at American Individualisms: Child Rearing and Social Class in Three Neighborhoods, by Adrie Kussero.

She believes there's more than one variety
of individualism in U.S. society.

The author studied pre-school practics in 3 different neighborhoods in New York City in the early nineties: one rich, one full of cops and firefighters, one full of gangs and the poor.

As she sees it, the upper middle class parents favors "soft individualism." Children are little flowers, who must be encouraged to open up.

The less "privileged" parents favor "hard individualism." Children are future fighters, who must learn to keep their defenses up.

The author, although somewhat guilt-obsessed over her own high-end upbringing, is a sharp-eyed observer.

She describes how the teachers at the tough schools make no attempt to hide their negative emotions. They show anger, they ridicule, they induce shame, they show disappointment. But at the ritzy school:
Parkside teachers' efforts to be postivie, warm, chipper, and what struck me as immensely enthusiastic were so pronounced that the teachers sometimes seemed like actresses in a play. I remember returning from these Parkside days feeling exahusted because of the amount of exaggerated facial posturing, verbal praise, and enthusiasm I felt I was required to show in relation to almost any aspect of the children.
When she got home from the tough schools, where she didn't feel required to play-act this way, she felt fine.

You can't be relaxed
if you're constantly taxed
with the need to appear
a picture of cheer.

Susan Boyle

I know a lot of people have already seen this clip from the Brit version of American Idol.

Somehow I had resisted clicking on it, but Charlie McDanger sent it to me, so I broke down and watched. 

Of course, like everyone else, I was blown away - even though I knew - vaguely - what to expect.

They say don't judge books
by the way that they look.

But the norm in the video age
is that no one can be "the latest rage"
unless they look sizzling hot.

How good, then, to see a lady who's not
belt out a song so gloriously

and leave the stage so victoriously.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

As Seen By Opponents

Here are a couple of write-ups from non-supportive visitors who came to observe the Chicago Tea Thingie.

Person 1:
Most attendees were pretty open about their anger. The term, socialism, was thrown around pretty liberally. Yet no one got nasty (me being in my Obama jacket) or accusatory. I asked several people if they had a copy of their talking points, but no one admitted having a copy. People did admit that they got an email about the event.
Talking points? Ha! This wasn't that controlled. At all. I wouldn't attend an event that had talking points. I've been to the Democratic Convention, and I don't recall being handed talking points for that either!

Person 2:
Despite the fact that I don't agree with the premise of the event, nor understand what motivated any of them to attend (ftr, I also don't understand the leftist groups that protest the G-5, et al), I thought it was a good event. 

I hate typing that, but it's true. They may be misguided, but they live here too.
And those last 2 sentences... they rhyme!

Yes, it's true.
We live here too.

Federal Plaza, Chicago


The crowd
was loud
and mad as hell
but hope ran among them as well 
whispering to each
that change was not out of reach.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Kevlar Schmevlar

A woman in Brazil was shot when a gunfight broke out on the bus she was riding.

She was okay, because the bullet was slowed down by paper money she had stuffed in her bra.

There's no need to buy a bulletproof vest.
Use a bra and some cash - it's been put to the test.

But I cannot tell a lie -
I'm unlikely to give this a try.

Futurity Via Obscurity

I'm reading a collection of essays by Isaiah Berlin.

He doesn't think there is one correct system of ethics. He thinks there is some limited number of ethical systems humans can decide to follow. I found his account confusing, but then I came across this:
...that Berlin's articulation of value pluralism contains many ambiguities and even obscurities has only encouraged further work on the subject by other philosophers.
Philosophers - don't be too clear!

For I fear
that scholars may shirk
exploring your work
if you say what is simply true
with no more explaining to do.

Monday, April 13, 2009

2737 BC Tea Party

I see the Chinese have an exact year that tea-drinking was invented:
Tea was first discovered by the Chinese Emperor Shennong in 2737 BC. It is said that the emperor liked his drinking water boiled before he drank it so it would be clean, so that is what his servants did. One day, on a trip to a distant region, he and his army stopped to rest. A servant began boiling water for him to drink, and a dead leaf from the wild tea bush fell into the water. It turned a brownish color, but it was unnoticed and presented to the emperor anyway. The emperor drank it and found it very refreshing, and cha (tea) was born.
For all I know, this could be truly precise.
Otherwise, at least the story is nice.

Sitting Ducks

It's very hard to accurately shoot a rifle from one boat to another -  because of the way boats rock.

Obviously, it's harder in choppy water, and easier in calm water.
The remaining three pirates and the U.S. Navy, like barroom brawlers agreeing to take it outside, had decided to move their standoff to calmer waters. 

As night fell, the Bainbridge had the lifeboat under tow when two developments told the Navy the pirates might be getting desperate, U.S. officials said in their reconstruction of events.
Whoever talked them into moving to calmer water deserves a medal.

If you're a pirate, avoid calm water.
Don't let the Navy tow you to slaughter!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tough Day To Be A Pirate

It's a tough day to be a pirate -
you're expecting big bucks - but instead
some SEAL sights a weapon and fires it
and gives you a rude taste of lead.

What a shot!  But you can't quite admire it
with that big ole hole in your head.

Pirates 0, USN 4

The U.S. Navy has rescued the captain from the pirates. Three of the pirates have been killed. The fourth pirate is wounded but in custody.

Some people were calling this a big test for Obama. If it was a test, let me say, it looks like he gets an A.

He let the Navy do it stuff -
which was plenty good enough.

Banking Elsewhere

Compensation caps for American banks have their predictable effect:
According to the banks and executive recruiters, hundreds of bankers have been jumping to Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, neither of which took a government bailout. They see a rare chance to upgrade talent and standing on Wall Street — and globally — by luring top minds who would not have considered moving from a Goldman Sachs or a Morgan Stanley in flush times. Now that their rivals must accept compensation limits and other restrictions that come with the use of taxpayer support, the foreign banks are finding more eager takers.
Perhaps if we slap enough caps
we might even get a collapse.

The Obama-Kennedy Puppy Connection

The first daughters' first dog is finally coming.

I speculated previously that it would be hard to find a "rescued" dog of this breed. I noted that Biden had been scolded for adopting a non-rescue dog. I even wondered aloud if a rescue could be rigged:
Some political friend could buy a Portuguese Water Spaniel, walk it over to a shelter, and the shelter director could immediately call the White House with the good news that they have found a match!
But, fortunately, the LA Times reports that everything worked out okay:
The black male pup was sold to someone who gave it back to the breeder, as commonly happens with reputable breeders. It is usually part of a breeder contract that if the owner cannot keep the dog, it must be returned to the breeder for a new home...

The kennel has sold three Portuguese Water Dogs to the Kennedy clan over the years, all from the same lineage...

In a way, it's kinda cool...

But in another way, it feels kinda calculated. Or are we being paranoid?

The Kennedy family will be presenting the new dog to the Obamas...

The fact that the pup is being re-homed makes it kind of a rescue, doesn't it?
Thinks are looking up -
they finally found a pup!

I'm sure the girls are doing a happy dance,
so let's forget the political happenstance.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Seasonal Observation

The earth itself
appears to rise
from wintry hell
to shiny skies.

Easter Monday Revelry

My wife is one quarter Hungarian.  Hungarians are a fun-loving people:
On Easter Monday boys and men visit their women relatives, friends, neighbors, often even if they are not close friends. They usually go in small groups and are "armed" with soda-water siphon and cologne water. The "tour" usually starts early in the morning and lasts all day long. They greet girls and women with shorter funny and sometimes a bit blue poems then sprinkle women.
My wife is also one quarter Slovak:
Easter Monday is associated with boys pouring water over girls in Slovakia, and in Western Slovakia the tradition also includes the boys whipping the girls with thin willow branches. The tradition was that if the girls wanted to be beautiful, healthy and full of life, they must not try and avoid the water soaking or the whippings.
That's one half her heritage,
so maybe I should try it.

I'm just afraid her Italian half
will be incited to riot.

Invisible Menace

I just put up a carbon-monoxide detector.

They always tell you that CO is odorless and invisible and deadly, and they surely speak the truth. So back in the day - before carbon-monoxide detectors were widely used - why didn't more people die of it?

I'm thinking it was because you don't usually encounter CO alone. Usually it's a product - and not the sole product - of combustion. So even if you can't smell CO, you can smell the things that come with it - i.e., you can smell other ingredients of exhaust or smoke.

In this way, smoke
is healthful - no joke -
as a warning sign
for what's more malign.

There was an old-fashioned low-tech CO detector:
Canaries were once regularly used in coal mining as an early warning system. Toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and methane in the mine would kill the bird before affecting the miners. Because canaries tend to sing much of the time, they provided both a visual and audible cue in this respect. The use of so called miner's canaries in British mines was phased out as recently as 1987.
Of course this job was very
scary for the canary.

Unfortunately, I'm Allergic

If you see a chocolate rabbit,
grab it.

And, calmly, with aplomb,
go nom nom nom.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Biden's Doggone Purchase

Vice President Biden adopted a dog recently - from a breeder - and somehow this was turned into a scandal.

Some loud-mouths claimed to be upset that he bought from a breeder - rather than paying "fees" to "adopt" from a dog orphanage.
[An obnoxious organization] seized the moment as an opportunity to blame the killing of shelter animals on people who buy from breeders. The organization's TV commercial, "Buy One, Get One Killed" ran in Delaware after the Biden puppy story made headlines.
These publicity hounds
should be placed in pounds.

Venus In Exile

Spent my lunch hour with Venus In Exile: The Rejection of Beauty in Twentieth-Century Art, by Wendy Steiner.
In the twentieth century, the avant-garde declared a clean break with history, but their hostility to the female subject and the beauty she symbolized had deep roots in the past. It arose from the Enlightenment notion of the sublime and from a disgust toward women and the bourgeoisie that had been building throughout the nineteenth century among increasingly disaffected artists and writers.
She has something to say about beauty:
...the judgment of beauty is not a one-way street. One discovers a valuable Other, and rises to recognize oneself in it. In doing so, one "participates" in beauty. This gratifying self-expansion produces profound generosity toward the beautiful Other in the form of compliment, infatuation, love, critical rave.
She describes the alternative aesthetic ideal:
None of this pleasurable and complex reciprocity occurs in the experience of the Kantian sublime, which was the aesthetic model for high modernism. In the sublime, as we shall see, aesthetic experience is specificially thenon-recognition of the self in the Other, for the Other is inhuman, chaotic, annihilating.
It's worth noting that the beautiful did not depart from all art, just from most critically-approved "high art".

Venus knocked at the critics' door.
"You're not wanted anymore!"
came the harsh reply.

Not wishing to starve and die,
Venus took a walk
and now she lives
where no one listens
to critics' talk.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

What Would Ogden Say?

Writerspleasure had the story about chimps who exchange meat for sex.

Headline writers said: "Candy is dandy, but steak is quicker."

This was a take-off of Ogden Nash's famous rhyme: "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker."

But, look, "steak" doesn't rhyme with "quicker"!

So here's my chimp version:

For baiting a mate,
meat can't be beat!

Missing Dog

Can Obama deliver?
He told Jay Leno the puppy he promised his daughters would be in place when he got back from a NATO summit in Europe. But Barack Obama has been back at the White House since Wednesday.

So Mr. President ... where's the patter of little puppy feet?
I think he's got a problem. He needs a hypo-allergenic pooch for one of his kids. Those are specialized expensive breeds.

But his wife promised to adopt a "rescue dog."

By "rescue dog," they don't mean a dog that rescues people, like a St. Bernard. They mean a dog that people rescue - a "shelter sheltie" or a "pound puppy."

But expensive hypoallergenic dogs don't get found
in the average pound.

Why not rig a fake rescue? Some political friend could buy a Portuguese Water Spaniel, walk it over to a shelter, and the shelter director could immediately call the White House with the good news that they have found a match!

Usually I oppose fakery of this kind,
but now I'm of a mind
to help out those 2 little girls
who need a pooch with non-shedding curls.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I Should Have Saved More!

Chicago moneybags in DC:
When President Barack Obama moved into the White House earlier this year, he took several of his fellow Chicago millionaires with him.

Newly released disclosure reports show virtually all of the top Chicagoans serving in the West Wing had assets valued at a million dollars or more at the end of 2008.
Could it be I wasn't asked to join
just because I lacked the coin?

Extirpation

Whew. I seem to have cleaned up a viral infection today - in a pc at one of the places I work.

It was a clever beastie. It kept you from downloading new antivirus software. It kept you from running some antivirus software.

But the internet - searched from a different pc - held solutions.

One thing I've found is that a lot of these malwares display a message at some point. Write that message down and look it up, because that is the most specific clue you've got. And someone else has probably already solved your problem.

The creators of the virus
hope that they can tire us
with variations galore.

But this is bleeping war
and I never stop until
their code is killed.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Earl Grey, Hot

Every year, on April 15th, there are people across the U.S. demonstrating against the tax burden.

Usually, the numbers are small, and they get no coverage at all.

This year, I figure, it'll be a little bigger.

What does it mean? Remains to be seen!

Buffalo in St. Joe

A former Chicago alderman, raises buffalo near St. Joseph, Michigan. Today, one of them got away. He jumped over a fence, and swam across the St. Joseph River. He scared a herd of deer, indirectly causing a car/deer collison. Then he headed into town.
"It was a risk to public safety," Banasik said. "It was running through traffic, vehicles were stopping, it was running through residential neighborhoods, and it ran past a playground that was occupied. We had made an attempt to use our cars to try to force back into the ravine, and it wouldn't stay there. Then, of course, when the officer got out of his vehicle and it charged, you had no choice."
According to the cop,
it took a lot of bullets to make it stop.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Cleaning Tip

We have 3 smoke detectors in the house. Basement. First floor. Second Floor.

One of them is new. Why? Well... I was cleaning the one from the first floor, and I dropped it in the sink... and it landed in a bowl full of water.

After that, it didn't work.
In fact, it simply went berserk,
beeping till my ear
could barely hear.

So, here's my cleaning tip:
don't let such gizmos slip
into anything wet.
They just get upset.

Gringo Who Lacks The Lingo

Who is briefing the Prez as he travels from nation to nation?
“There’s a lot of -- I don’t know what the term is in Austrian -- wheeling and dealing, and people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics,” he said in response to an Austrian reporter’s question.
If he thinks there's a language called Austrian,
he's suffering from exhaustrian!

How hard is it to determine
that most of these people speak German?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Burmese Albino Python


We went to Reptile Fest, put on by the Chicago Herpetological Society.

As you can see,
a python got hung up on me.

Finding Someone To Squeeze

The Chairman of the Cook County Board explains increasing cigarette taxes:
"That is the American way," Stroger replied. "And the way that it's generally done is, you find some group that's small enough where they can't beat you up, and you tax them and you tell everybody else, 'See? We didn't tax you.'"
So just relax
it's only a tax
on a small group of folks.

And if you don't smoke,
you're in the clear
with nothing to fear.

Until they swoop
on your small group.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Limited Debugging Potential

A friend who is a doctor was talking about the limited usefulness of doing brain scans to determine "what part of the brain does X".

One of his points was that neurons work (mostly) by "exciting" or "inhibiting" other neurons. When you see, on a scan, that part of the brain is "working," you don't actually know whether the area's neurons are firing more excitation signals or more inhibition signals.

It's too bad we lack a schematic
for brains that are acting erratic.

Walls

Stephen Hicks has a very short politics-and-architecture quiz up.

Fortresses, prisons, and malls
have different sorts of walls.

Merest Observation

Excuse, please, no rhyme, just unrhymed minimalist haiku type thingie:

the robin returns
eyeing dark dirt for fat worms
with fluffed-out feathers

Friday, April 03, 2009

Someone's Got A Pitchfork

Obama gathers America's top Banking CEO's for a meeting, and puts them in their place:
“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”
How nice to have that protection.
Who could have been stirring up this insurrection?

Update: funny picture - full size here.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Drshti Dilemma

A guy at work was complaining about some yoga class he attends. He said it was full of distractions - which seemed to consist basically of spandexed female anatomy in action.

I told him it might be wise
(if he wants to avoid seeing butts)
to do his exercise
with his eyes
shut!

The Other Shoe Drops

Rod Blagojevich is vacationing in Florida. But today he got indicted in Illinois.

You see, even though they arrested him months ago, and even though they filed a "criminal complaint," they never actually indicted him.
There were several new allegations, including:

That Blagojevich, Monk, Kelly and previously convicted Blagojevich associate Tony Rezko agreed to use the governor's office for financial gain and would spilt the proceeds after Blagojevich left office. They agreed to a scheme in which they would split fees after directing state pension business to a certain company whose lobbyists agreed to pay Rezko for the business. Rezko then agreed to split the fees with the group;
It seemed to take forever,
but the Feds have finally filed.

It sounds like good old Rezko 
has been singing for a while.

But Blago's on vacation
enjoying the state of denial.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sonnets

The sonnet is an older form of verse, in which the lines must total to fourteen, which makes the style lean toward the terse, in order to express all that you mean. The foot must be iambic - that's "dee DUM"; you may try substitutions but take care since readers (if you write it, they will come) may feel your rule-departures are unfair. Perhaps, indeed, it really would be best to toss the thing away - into a pile of verse forms that deserve a permanent rest - away into the wasteland, vast and vile. Sonnet, begone, and from this April hence, for all of time please make yourself past tense.

Such is the rule
of the April fool.

Hail Jimmy Wales

My wife had a chance to see and chat with Jimmy Wales a bit today. He was giving a talk at the MacArthur Foundation. We know him from when he lived in Chicago and worked as a trader, way before Wikipedia.

I don't really keep in touch with him anymore, but he was always alert to opportunity, and always very reasonable, and I imagine these are 2 of the qualities that helped him shepherd Wikipedia into the most stupendous encyclopedia ever written.

(As an aside, I don't want to put Larry Sanger down in any way - he's also a brilliant guy. But I didn't know him nearly as well.)

It's a knowlege compendium
with no endium
in sight.

And the price is so right.

Spontaneous Lost And Found

I lost my key-card for work today... but found it in front of the building... where I figured I might have dropped it.

Someone had picked it up - and had placed it on a higher surface where I would see it - on top of a trash receptacle.

It could have been a hassle, but was not.
Whoever you were, I have to say: Thanks - a lot!