Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Stoning. Wherein lies the attraction?

Is it a matter of spreading out the satisfaction
of taking angry action?

Monday, April 28, 2014


I surprised everybody with a stage fall tonight during rehearsal, in a scene we hadn't staged before. It was a last minute decision on my part. A "why not make this dramatic?" decision.

I'm afraid I'm old enough... that I worried people who weren't expecting it. But it played well.

I thought: What the heck?
Let's hit the deck!

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Let's eat the rich,
let's cook the goose,
that laid the golden egg.

Now, who gets which?
Mmm, smell that juice...
I think I'd like a leg.

When Did This Happen?

Giant forms of concrete
have appeared on my street.


Perhaps they are houses for some really big dogs who are arriving soon
to howl at the moon.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Near The Sidewalk

Daffodils, in a test of wills, trumpeting over the world's ills. daffodils

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Alongside Night

They've made a movie out of the libertarian cult classic novel, Alongside Night. It is very low budget. With some good acting. And some acting of the other variety. The radical "agorist" ideas are true to the original book. Maybe it can become a cult classic movie.

But there's a poem, from the original book, which is featured in song lyrics at the beginning of the film, and I'm just going to let this old poem, which I always liked, be today's rhyme:

Alongside Night
Parallel day
By fearful flight
In garish gray
Will dawn alight
And not decay
Alongside night?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mind Absorbed

Close reading session
leads to faraway expression.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Support Your Local Planet

It was Earth day today. 

I didn't observe it... except that I did stay on Earth all day.

I'd like to take a trip
in a soaring rocket ship
but I look at the current price
and think: "No dice."

Monday, April 21, 2014

Boston Marathon

They ran the Boston Marathon again today. And a lot of people ran it - many more than last year, when it was bombed by those horrid brothers. And it went without a hitch.

Why were there more running this year?
It was a case, crystal clear,
of the refusal to live in fear.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Forgotten Though Recently Gone

We went to a CSO concert last night. The same program played on Thursday and the Trib critic relayed some commentary the conductor provided to the audience:

'There is an entire "lost generation" of American symphonists who are shamefully neglected by their nation's orchestras, their works cast aside in favor of trendier, more recent music.'

But, you know, that's the way it works in the arts. Trends are important. And people who are considered immortals in their time are often forgotten shortly afterward.

There's a joke about it in Rostand's Cyrano. A character lists off members of the French Academy from the period, and gushes that they are all names that will never be forgotten. The joke is that no one today knows the names, but that Cyrano, who was not in the Academy, is nonetheless remembered.

Due to shifting artistic trends
immortal fame often ends.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Misleading But True

I was talking to a friend, a very well traveled man, so well traveled that he visited North Korea as a tourist about nine years ago.

I said to him, "A lot of Americans have been to North Korea."

He started to disagree, explaining that the North Korean government only lets a handful of Americans visit per year.

I explained that the Americans I was referring to had been to North Korea as part of a MacArthur's invading forces in the 1950s.

That made him laugh.

Just now I was looking around the internet and it's surprisingly hard to see details of the fact that the "U.N. forces" were stomping around North Korea until the Chinese counterattack came pouring over the Yalu River. But here's a nice photo of MacArthur in Pyongyang:

Join the army, see foreign lands,
especially when things get out of hand.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Giant French Puppets

Well, did you ever:

"Chicago has come up with a really big idea to boost tourism: giant puppets roaming the city's streets for days in an elaborate theatrical presentation."

There's a photo at the link, of a 30-foot deep-sea-diver puppet being operated from a big old crane.

It's a French thing, but they are willing to lend out their giant puppets to other countries. The story says that Liverpool attracted a lot of tourists with these things.

This is the part of the story that I actually like best:

"If a performance on the scale of Royal de Luxe were to be presented here in Chicago, the city would request the project and all associated city costs be covered by private donations,"

Since we've been told we're sort of broke,
I fear taxpayers would simply choke
to have to fork out dough
for a giant puppet show.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Constitutional by Default

Heard Clark Neily, of the Institute for Justice, make the case that judges, on most issues, bend over backwards to rule that laws are constitutional. 

I agree it's a flaw in the way they see law. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Taking Steps

Me being choreographed
gives other actors a chance to laugh.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Back to Nuclear

I kind of expected this:

"Japan is officially restarting its nuclear energy program, after shutting down its reactors in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima crisis."

Germany is in the same boat. Decided to dump the nukes... found out they needed the nukes.

Apparently it's still hard to run an industrial economy on windmills and solar panels.

They denuked
but got rebuked
when they couldn't produce
enough juice.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spare Me

For a year or more I saw a lot of online ads for testosterone supplements. Maybe targeting me as a male over a certain age. Judging from the ads, it would help me date twenty-somethings.

Today I saw an ad from a law firm, asking if I'd suffered a stroke or heart attack from taking testosterone supplements.

They sell all sorts of pills
for real and made-up ills
but be careful which you pick
it just might make you sick
and then - why, lucky you -
you get to sue!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Running Stuff

I still haven't returned my "recalled" fitness bracelet gizmo. I show no signs of rash.

Today I took it with me as my only gizmo on a long run. At the end it was estimating maybe 16.5 miles completed. It doesn't have a GPS, just a 3-axis accelerometer.

To check its estimate, I traced my route at the USATF Map-It site, which gave me 15.94 miles. Since I don't really run in perfectly straight lines on the road, that number was surely a bit low.

So, the gizmo is pretty accurate.

I run on the grass, I run on the road,
my path isn't perfectly straight.
I run around cars that are parked on the street,
and when there's a red light... I wait.

Friday, April 11, 2014

1327 West

I went to see a collection of short plays called 1327 West: Six Modern Cityscapes With Prologue.

I thought it was uneven, but there were flashes of clever writing, and a lot of vibrant performances. I especially liked Karolyn Ake for her stage presence, or, perhaps, for the way she seemed to be utterly absorbed in whatever she was playing. I think my favorite piece was actually the prologue, which opened with an all-too-heartfelt debate on how the work "pumpkin" is properly pronounced.

And... only ten dollars to get in.

I feel
ten dollars really
was a steal.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Headline at the Chicago Trib online tonight:

"Obama's health secretary resigns after Obamacare launch woes"

I want to focus on that preposition, "after". My father keeps complaining that modern journalists use "after" in place of "because". Possibly they've been exposed to Hume's theory that you never really know a causal chain - all you ever know is a sequence of events.

But what strikes me is how long after the "launch woes" it took for her to leave. Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe we've only begun to know what a mess we've landed in.

Someone has to be the goat -
they'll wipe their sins upon her coat
and send her off - look - there she goes -
bearing the blame for our woes.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

OEMC Checks

A City of Chicago employee, a clerk, was charged today with stealing almost 750,000 dollars.

She was in a position where she received checks, some of which apparently were made out just to "OEMC" - an acronym for a city department, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

So she opened a business bank account under "OEMC - Chenier". Chenier is her last name. Then, allegedly, she started depositing OEMC checks into the OEMC - Chenier account.

Several years later, somehow, the bank noticed that things didn't look right.

She re-routed
but got outed.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


I just came in from walking the dog. The night was clear. Jupiter and Mars were both bright in the sky.

We live in a time when we get pictures from the surface of Mars, and pretty good closeups of Jupiter. It's peculiar, isn't it, to have such good visuals of such alien environments?

Meanwhile, most Americans can't find Ukraine on a map.

Cold red planet, sister rock,
distant shining place,
somehow it remains a shock
that we have seen your face.

Monday, April 07, 2014


We have an art exhibit of 26 silver-surfer-without-the-surfboard statues in a public park here. And we have a 13 year old local tagger - a spray paint vandal - who decorated 18 of the statues with his special insignia.

Great quote from the story in the Sun-Times:

'"What these taggers don’t realize is that it is a lot easier to get caught,” O’Neill said. “Police can look up the graffiti through a database and match it to a person."'

Basically, he was signing his name.
I guess he won a sort of fame.
But now the tagger is tagged,
and snagged.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Mind and Cosmos at Book Club

Today at our book study group we discussed the controversial book by Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False.

I led the discussion, having nominated the book, because I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. People found the book difficult, but enjoyed because it was thought-provoking. I fit in that category, too.

Nagel believes it is important, to him at least, that the existence of life is not a "fluke".

I agree with him completely that the potential for life's existence had to be always present in the universe. Actuality today is proof of potential yesterday. But I'm not sure why the "likelihood" of the potential being realized is important.

Likely or not, it's clear
life is here.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Friday, April 04, 2014

Patient vs. Doctor

Have you ever read one of those stories where an ex-patient is complaining about a doctor's behavior, and the ex-patient is saying things that seem like they don't quite make scientific sense, but there is no comment from the doctor at all, probably because of confidentiality rules or legal advice?

I hate stories like that. And the internet lets lots of them through, of course.

I gather that doctor don't like those sorts of stories either:

"In the untamed world of online comment sections, no one is more vulnerable to criticism than doctors, who are restricted by confidentiality laws from defending themselves against even the most outlandish of claims. With patients increasingly dependent on internet marketplaces to find care — and increasingly prone to frustration — it’s the caregivers who get hurt."

I'm sure there are some low-quality docs out there. My concern is that high-quality docs have trouble defending themselves in the court of public opinion.

Asymmetric legal rights
can make for uneven fights,
with one side bound to stay quiet,
the other allowed to run riot.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The April Syndrome

What is this thing called Spring? It takes the form of feeling weirdly warm. Where is the snow? How could it go? And what does it mean when you see spots of green?