Friday, February 27, 2015

He Said "Live Long and Prosper"

He said "Live long and prosper," and he did.
Somebody wrote those lines for him, but he
Delivered them so perfectly that we
Accepted him as Spock. But was he hid?
Held down beneath a pressure cooker lid?
He wrote "I am not Spock," but came to see
The role affected how he chose to be:
More logical, less driven by his id.
An actor can get tangled in his role.
He searches for an inner motivation,
He strives to grasp an overarching goal,
That gives his character an explanation.
He ends by finding something in his soul
That springs unbidden, beyond expectation.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Net Neutrality

I'm not sure what to say re: net neutrality.
Does it imply the net is getting neutered?
I hear it's coming to my net locality,
And fear that soon I will get over-tutored
In detailed rulings from the FCC
On what is fair and square and - what is not.
The lawyers should be filled with ecstasy
To think of all the suits that will be brought.
I know that DARPA helped start up this party.
I stand in awe at just how well it works.
But will the net remain this hale and hearty,
Or will it be chained down by bossy jerks?
I do not mean to overrate the scariness,
But common sense suggests some watchful wariness.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Snowy States Cause Longer Slumbers

"People in snowier states appear to sleep for a little longer during winter months than those in sunnier states, according to a recent analysis of data from a popular sleep tracking app."

The news is: snowy states cause longer slumbers.
It's scientific, measured with an app,
With lots of quite impressive sounding numbers,
And best of all, a multicolored map!

I cannot say that this result is shocking.
If you have ever burrowed in your bed,
Because the Brrr is something you are blocking,
You know you faced the dawning day with dread.

Who wants to wake up just to see the dark?
Who jumps up eager just to feel a chill?
Who wants to go out jogging in the park?
Around this time of year I've had my fill!

In my next life, I plan to be a bear
And snore for three whole months inside my lair.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Some Sonnets Do Not Use The Letter Z

Some sonnets do not use the letter Z. 
It's E Z to avoid, that much is true. 
Unless you're writing sympathetically 
About the plight of zebras in a zoo. 

The sound of Z is quite another matter. 
When S getz added to the end of wordz,
It often sounds like Z in standard chatter. 
Our spelling system's strictly for the birds!

And if your accent leans toward the French,
Why, zen zee problem will be even worse.
So put the letter Z upon the bench,
But let its sound play freely through your verse.

Though forced to always trail behind the rest,
Z tries to catch up with a burst of zest. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Watching The Western Sky

I watch as Venus hovers in the sky.
I know she orbits slowly round the sun.
I know her surface temperature would fry
My body like a steak that's too well done.

The Evening Star has always made a show -
Heavenly beauty, simple and sublime.
But don't you think it's rather strange to know,
What no one ever knew, for all Earth's time?

I'm grateful for the gift of living now,
In this bold age of far flung sensory probes,
Which let us see in vivid detail how
Things really are on all our neighbor globes.

The Roman goddess may be dead and gone.
But science, and its sense of awe, live on.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Ice balls hanging on utility lines
Alien invaders creeping up electric spines. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Chore That Works Your Core

A gym is just fine, as far as it goes,
But the very best workout arrives when it snows. 
And no it's not skiing that meets my approval. 
I'm speaking instead of the white stuff's removal. 
It may in fact kill you by wrecking your heart,
And if you are worried, please don't even start. 
But what doesn't kill you, could make you much stronger,
So I go on shoveling a little bit longer,
Helping my neighbors get rid of their snow.  
But this year in Boston - hey - where can it go?
It's piled all over with no end in sight,
In street corner mountains of dizzying height. 
I know we must play with the cards we are dealt,
But dear weather gods, won't you make this junk melt?

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Naked Ape

Lacking a mammal's normal coat of fur,
The species was nicknamed the naked ape,
But paradoxically they do prefer
To keep their bare-skinned bodies mostly draped. 

Some nudists walk among them, it is true,
And in the summer, on the beach you'll find
They get quite close to naked - yes they do -
But get too naked and you might be fined. 

In northern climes, when winter's in the air,
A snowstorm on your bare form is the worst. 
There are some Finns who will take up the dare,
But they warm up inside a sauna first. 

The nickname's catchy, but, who would have guessed?
The naked ape is almost always dressed!


I came across a funny quote, from the National Review, that rang true:

"In Washington, they are practically praying for a Christian terrorist."

In the old lists of logical fallacies, there was one called "Tu Quoque," aka the "you too" fallacy. In other words, "Your religion has terrorists too! Get off your high horse!" Recent examples are better, of course. The I.R.A. was so last century, and perhaps more nationalist than primarily Roman Catholic.

It's hard to find examples with equivalent ferocity
To the ISIS bastards with their taste for grim atrocity.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Some Sonnets Do Not Use The Letter Q

Some sonnets do not use the letter Q.
They take a pass on posing weighty questions,
And seek for somewhat simpler things to do,
Like bundling forth a bunch of bland suggestions.

So when you see a sonnet that is Q-less,
Withhold your judgment. Don't assume too much.
Perhaps the poet isn't fully clueless,
But merely getting old and out of touch.

I'd say that Q is way too co-dependent,
Refusing to go walking without U.
If Q commits a crime the co-defendant
Is bound to be... well, surely U know who.

Besides all this, there is no need for Q.
We could get by with K and W.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Some Sonnets Do Not Use The Letter J

Some sonnets do not use the letter J.
They do not speak of jealousy or justice.
And if they specify a summer's day,
They mean the month that's named after Augustus.

Or if the season that we may behold
Is one associated with Kris Kringle,
You may hear sleigh bells ringing through the cold,
But never will the poet say they jingle.

It really isn't right to ban a letter.
It's bad enough that G steals half J's work.
For instance, jentle really would look better.
G, when you think about it, is a gerk.

If G would spend less time in mocking J,
English phonics would face a brighter day.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Offensive to Left and Right

Haven't seen it, haven't read it, and I'm evidently not the target audience. But I am amused by the way that Fifty Shades Of Grey is hated by pundits of all political stripes.

The left hates it because it fetishizes traditional gender roles. The right hates it because it assaults traditional gender roles.

And altogether too many women love it because it gets them hot and bothered.

I've heard the book is poorly written, but that is obviously beside the point.

People don't mostly read novels
to savor the artful prose.
It's more about the characters
and where their story goes.

Reminding Her Of Someone

I don't usually read the Harvard Law Review, but Ann Althouse had this great quotation:

"I recently assisted a young man who was subjected by administrators at his small liberal arts university in Oregon to a month-long investigation into all his campus relationships, seeking information about his possible sexual misconduct in them (an immense invasion of his and his friends’ privacy), and who was ordered to stay away from a fellow student (cutting him off from his housing, his campus job, and educational opportunity) — all because he reminded her of the man who had raped her months before and thousands of miles away. He was found to be completely innocent of any sexual misconduct and was informed of the basis of the complaint against him only by accident and off-hand. But the stay-away order remained in place, and was so broadly drawn up that he was at constant risk of violating it and coming under discipline for that."

The article is written by a woman law prof, and is written from a feminist point of view, but the author takes the issue of fairness to the accused very seriously.

She walks through the sort of hard cases,
that a sexual assault investigator actually faces.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

V Day

Wore a red shirt to yoga. Spotted Venus in the sky. These weren't conscious Valentine decisions. But was subliminal awareness the reason why?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cold Conflict

Greg Pratt digs up another great story from his south suburban news beat:

'A 64-year old Tinley Park man threatened to "spit on" and "fight" a village public works snowplow driver while making "a karate-style motion" during a dispute, according to a police report.'

Karate versus man driving snow plow?
Do not try it - no way no how!

Sideways Facing Dog


Lacking a pillow, she rests her head
on a food bowl, instead.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Windows Craziness

Excuse me while I rant about computers.

A Windows 7 pc had some kind of overnight update, maybe this one?, and wouldn't reboot in the morning.

The pc didn't present Safe Mode as an option, but did offer the services of Windows Startup Repair, which looked pretty fancy, but which did not work. Even when Startup Repair tried to do a restore from the last good install, it would not work. And it couldn't diagnose what was wrong either.

So I looked up how to force it to go into Safe Mode - hold down the F8 key - and it booted right up into Safe Mode, and then when it was rebooted it was fine. It's running fine now. Somehow booting in Safe Mode just fixed it.

Now, booting into Safe Mode often does "just fix boot problems somehow". It always has. It's a standard behavior for the operating system. Indeed, that's why I tried it.

But I was really stunned that Safe Mode, on its own, did a better job than "Startup Repair". Why didn't they just build a "Safe Mode Reboot" into "Startup Repair"?

I'm sure there's a logical explanation
but it runs counter to expectation.


Having a job and rehearsing a play and dealing with a puppy have made me, I notice, a bit remiss in truly meeting the "rhyme of the day" standard.

But I do see that the press and the Democrats have begun nipping at the heels of Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin and Republican presidential wanna-be. And one main line of attack is: he didn't finish college.

He got married and got a job in his senior year.

Howard Dean called him unknowledgeable, linking his lack of a degree with some hedging statement he made about the theory of evolution.

Dean: "Because evolution is a widely accepted scientific construct, and people who don’t believe in evolution either do it for hard right religious reasons or because they don’t know anything."

Actually, that's pretty mealy-mouthed too. Construct? Pretty widely accepted? I'm not sure that Dean is sufficiently committed to "evolution as a hard fact"!

As a person who barely got his degree,
which focused on plays and poetry,
and not a class of biology,
I resent the idea that college
is necessary for knowledge.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Crucible Heats Up

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, at 7:30 pm, you can see me acting as the second-banana judge in Arthur Miller's classic play about the Salem Witch Trials: The Crucible.

Come hang out and watch our play.
You can enjoy it any witch way.

Boston Snow

I see where the Bean Town T is closing for a snow day. 

I don't think we have EVER done that here in the Windy City. Not the whole mass transit system. Not for a whole day. 

Rails that keep running,
It's one of the perks
Of regarding this place
As the city that works. 

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Anachronistic Selfie

Puritanical and more than a tad tyrannical. 

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Unhoppy Event

The service animal scam, er, oppression, continues:

"A Wisconsin woman was kicked out of McDonald’s last week after another customer complained about her therapy pet – a kangaroo."

If have a pet kangaroo,
and it's therapeutic for you,
but McDonald's demands that you shoo,
what's left to do but sue?

How dare they!
Make them pay!
Make them rue the day!

Zero F

Where do the squirrels hide, when it's this cold outside? Even with those with furry faces, scurry and skulk to warmer places.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Ginkgo Stinko

What if lots of herbal remedies, didn't even contain the herbs on the label?

"A warning to herbal supplement users: Those store-brand ginkgo biloba tablets you bought may contain mustard, wheat, radish and other substances decidedly non-herbal in nature, but they’re not likely to contain any actual ginkgo biloba."

The accusation comes from the NY state attorney general's office. They say they did DNA testing to see what was actually in the pills.

Did the lawmen make a mistake,
or are the pills just fake?

Monday, February 02, 2015

He's Tired Of It

A groundhog on a round log said he doesn't scare when his shadow's there, it's a dumb myth that he's done with.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Storm Crawls, Snow Falls

We had, are still having, a semi-blizzard. I say semi because I've seen plenty worse around here. So I shoveled a lot of snow today. Shoveled out my house, and my dad's house, both of which are corner houses with big yards, meaning lots of extra sidewalk to clear.

A friend from across the street cautioned against overdoing it today. "It's heart-attack snow," he said, with somber earnestness. He's right, it was heavy snow, the stressful kind, the kind that brings on heart attacks. But my heart seems to be okay. I got quite the workout.

Clearing the snow away from your hovel,
is just like a marathon, but with a shovel.