Friday, May 31, 2013

Spinning Gender Differences

Ann Althouse described this as a modern convention:

To write or talk about how women and men are different, make sure you portray whatever attribute you ascribe to women as better.

I was put in mind of this when reading about a study comparing women and men in the area of charitable giving and survey-taking.

This study also found that women were less likely to participate in surveys compared to men and concludes that women behave in this way because they have 'less dispersed distribution of altruism.'

Thus, women and men are equally altruistic, it's just that women are more focused in their altruism.

The other way of saying that would be that men are more inclined to help everybody, and women more inclined to help just friends and family.

But the second version favors the wrong gender,
and accordingly must be returned to sender.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Afternoon Shower

The pavement shines with moisture left
behind by summer rain.
I scurry over slippery streets
to catch my evening train.

The city in the aftermath
throws off a healthy glow,
like some great toddler after bath,
unsteady but ready to go.

AP, NYT, Just Say No

What if they held an off-the-record press conference and nobody came?

The Associated Press is the latest major news outlet to inform President Obama's Department of Justice that they will not be participating in an off-the-record briefing on how Eric Holder's team deals with journalists who work with leakers.
The announcement came about an hour after the New York Times declined participation as well.

It's kind of weird. Secret explanations of secret dealings... that are already news.

It's almost like they're in a rush
to make the whole story hush-hush.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

Oh, Say Can You Hear?

At the start of today's 10k, a young lady was singing the national anthem, except the audio kept dropping out, perhaps because of an electrical short due to the rain.

Anyway, as the silence lengthened, the crowd picked up where the young lady had "dropped off". I'm not saying we sang well, but we sang.

This repeated a couple of times. The crowd finished the song at the end.

"Oh, say does that star spangled banner yet wave
o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

I'm just going to stop now, and let Francis Scott Key be the guest-rhymer for this post.

Memorial Day

It's true that war is hell,
complete with blast and flame.
Remember those who fell
fighting in our name.

Running the Ridge

We have a local 10k that I've been running for 31 years. That's me finishing the 10k.

This year they set up a special deal where you got a medal for doing both the 10k and the 5k.

And you know me, I'm a sucker for medals.


In my age group, I came in 11 out of 29 in the 10k, and 5 out of 21 in the 5k.

But I wondered how I had done among all the 60-64 year old men who had run BOTH. So I compared the 2 lists. I was the only one on both lists.

From which I conclude that not everyone
is a sucker for medals for doing a run.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Into Darkness

Saw the new Star Trek movie. Enjoyed it. Maybe it helped that so many of my friends hated it. I went in with lowered expectations.

When expectations are super low
there's only one way for opinion to go.

Inflammatory Headline

The Wall St. Journal strikes fear into the hearts of runners with its headlines:

The Exercise Equivalent of a Cheeseburger?
New Research Says Endurance Running May Damage Health
Please note the question mark and the "may". They're both important.

What the actual research "suggests" is that endurance exercise is good for you, but maybe only up to a point.

That benefit may disappear beyond 30 miles of running a week, suggest recent research.

As for me, I don't average anything near that mileage. So I'm not going to sweat this.

Besides, are cheeseburgers really so bad for you?

As the cynical saying has it: Eat right. Exercise religiously. Die anyway.

If a newspaper's health advice seems strange,
wait till next week - it will probably change.

Die Räuber (The Robbers)

Saw Strange Loop's production of Friedrich Schiller's The RobbersSchiller's first play, which I have read a couple of times but which I have never seen before. It is truly rare on the American stage.

It's a drama about two noble brothers who just can't get along, a violent, emotional roller-coaster of a play.

The Robbers
just clobbers
an observer
with its fervor.

Friday, May 24, 2013


I saw a jet fly by the moon,
its contrails all aglow.
It swept across the milky sky
with motion soft and slow.

I know its speed in fact was fast,
I know it roared along.
But just a whisper hit my ear,
of secret soaring song.

Is Fascism Right For You?

A future president, in 1937:

...Kennedy, who was touring with his friend Lem Billings, wrote in his diary: “I have come to the conclusion that fascism is right for Germany and Italy. What are the evils of fascism compared to communism?” Billings later recalled that Kennedy was “completely consumed by his interest for the Hitler movement” during their trip.

Compare them with care.
Both are beasts in the night,
and neither one is right.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Due to Sequestration

I know you all will share my sorrow: the IRS is closed tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

Jane & Brocklehurst

Our production of Jane Eyre is over. I had a wonderful time playing an evil man, a bad memory, a kernel of doubt in a young woman's soul. But she persists and achieves her goal.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


So the Joker scrawled a note in the boat:
The note -- scrawled with a marker on the interior wall of the cabin -- said the bombings were retribution for U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, and called the Boston victims "collateral damage" in the same way Muslims have been in the American-led wars.
Of course, this wasn't a case of collateral damage, which involves aiming at a military target and incidentally killing the innocent. This was a case of aiming at the innocent.

Even monsters cling to their rationalizations, I guess.

It's interesting that the note was held back for a month. It speaks directly to motive. Pretty hard now to say this wasn't another case of... whatever we officially call it now... you know, this thing where various people declare that their Quran-based religion requires them to kill us.

I'm not sure how the "self-radicalization" narrative is going. That's the one where it somehow makes a big difference that Joker and Speedbump were not recruited by Al Qaeda... they were just deeply influenced by internet articles... which were posted by Al Qaeda followers.

So, Deval Patrick, governor of Massachusetts, what were you thinking?
The governor said he has no idea why someone would deliberately harm "innocent men, women and children in the way that these two fellows did."
Really. No idea. He seems to have said this on the Sunday after the capture. Didn't any of his state troopers tell him about the note in the boat?

I figure they told him. I think he knew. I think he had a clue.

I figure he just couldn't figure
how on earth to say
what the motive was
in a properly delicate way.

Beyond Belief

The ousted head of the Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for the agency's "foolish mistakes" in singling out conservative groups for intrusive and time-consuming scrutiny, but said that the effort was not driven by partisan motives.
Ah, singling out conservatives was non-partisan foolishness. That explains it!

So, they acted like fools,
but broke no rules?

Obviously, he thinks we're tools.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


It's hard to keep a handle on simultaneous scandals. We need a law, mathematically based, to keep the scandals evenly spaced

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hemlock Memories

Socrates, in argument, could be offensively smarter. And in the end it meant - he died a speech code martyr

It Has Legs

The situation at the IRS keeps sounding like more of a mess, yes? Whoever ran that show has got to go, no?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

UN Recommends Eating Bugs

Would you like some crickets fried? Organically raised - no pesticide was used to kill them: Open wide!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Polling

This seems like a poll they ran just to make a splash on a slow news day:
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 64% of American Adults whose mothers are still alive will visit them for Mother’s Day. Another 31% plan on calling their mothers in honor of the day.
So, 95%, in total, plan to get in touch.
Will they all succeed? Probably not quite so much!

Some children are forgetful,
which leads to being regretful.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Llamas all have mamas, but protozoa... no-uh.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Getting Our Goats

Can't wait to see how this works out:

A herd of about 25 goats will soon arrive at Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport and go to work munching weeds and invasive plants on about 120 acres of airport-owned land that is difficult to get to with traditional landscaping equipment.

In the past, some of the "weeds" grown in these areas were being cultivated by sneaky pot-trepreneurs.

They plan to keep the goats away from the runway.

But when you tell a goat he should go one way,
he frequently goes the other.

In which case... oh, brother!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Hearings Today

I don't know whether the actions of that night - or lack of action - is defensible.

It's clear the failure to provide security in the first place is indefensible.

And the cover-up is looking terrible.

I'm still not sure what they've got to hide,
but there's a smell coming from inside.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

For My Son's Birthday

An early-eighties flashback:


It was just about midnight
And up out of bed
Jumped Marsha. "I've got
A contraction," she said.

They kept coming on,
And I timed them with care.
They lasted ten minutes,
Which didn't seem fair.

By one they were coming
Five minutes apart.
So I called up the doctor
And he said to start.

So I shaved and I dressed
And was ready to go,
But Marsha threw up
And held up the show.

Then we got in the car
And I stepped on the gas
With the perfect excuse
For speeding - at last!

The rest - it all blurs,
But after six hours
Out came a boy!
Sweet joy! He was ours!

Charles Ramsay, Actual First Responder

I love this interview with the guy who rescued Amanda Berry.

This guy can tell a story,
with no attempt at self-glory,
but he's the heroic one
and he got the job done.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Waiting For The Truth

The whistle will blow
and trouble will grow
and whatever they did
will no longer be hid.

But what it was exactly, I really don't yet know.

Complete Run of Jane Eyre

11 days away and the show is going well from all that I can tell.

Saturday, May 04, 2013


Minireview of 42: heartwarming story of baseball glory, but not a lot of plot.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Charisma Aftermath

Some who can run a brilliant campaign
find governance a chore
or, really, a crashing bore.

Then the citizens complain
more and more
about their own selection
from the last election -
someone they used to adore!

Tough Minded Woman


At the Art Institute, they had more classical pieces out than usual. They tripled the space for the period and they're calling it the Jaharis Gallery.

I don't remember seeing this head of Athena before. Yes, that's a woman in a military helmet - that's one of the ways you can spot Athena, actually.

The sign described it as Roman, 2nd century AD.

She was known for delivering fearsome blows,
but it looks like she took one herself on the nose.