Friday, January 30, 2015

Another Pupdate

After a long night's sleep,
time for a morning leap.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Chicago wasn't affected, but I watched with fascination while New York was spared and Boston got just another big snow.

Snowpocalypse has gone by.
What's left is not that high.
What blasted in as scary dread,
Was ordinary snow instead.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

American Sniper

I liked the movie. It was very engaging. It was pleasantly unironic. Chris Kyle was the kind of guy I would want covering my back if I were trying to check buildings door-to-door in Fallujah.

I didn't serve in the military, but I've heard that ex-military types think this film gives the most accurate view of what it's like to fight in these modern Middle Eastern wars we've been getting into. As Hollywood movies go, it's got a very matter-of-fact feel to it. But the combat scenes are intense.

I'm told Chris Kyle wasn't a saint.
I'm also told that heroes often ain't.

I Fall For NY Times Clickbait

The NY Times has a story up about an apparently minor mystery surrounding a woman who died in 1961. The headline pitches the story as being connected to Ayn Rand's following, which she evidently was, but the story is sort of rambling and speculative. I imagine it was a good idea to put Ayn Rand's name in the headline, to get viewership. It worked in my case!

The woman, Vivian Grant, died of a botched abortion, at a time when abortion was illegal. And, what's really odd, is that she wasn't pregnant.

The big question from the story, I guess, is who was the man who didn't get her pregnant. Her death was a big news story at the time... so why was the non-father never identified?

The doctor, a gynecologist, doesn't strike me as being a model of competence. Why didn't he test to see if the woman was really pregnant first, before attempting an abortion? Pregnancy testing technology did exist in those days, even if you couldn't buy a kit at the supermarket. And then there's this:

"One year after Ms. Grant’s death, Dr. Friedman, while out on bail, would perform another fatal abortion, on a woman named Barbara Covington."

Seems like he needed another line of work.
Perhaps a department store clerk.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Flight Tracker

My 10 week old puppy is doing something I haven't noticed a dog do before: watching the airplanes on the Midway landing path.

It can't be unique, but the dog looks right at the plane, which after all is visible and noisy, and watches it for a few seconds.

Well, she is a retriever.

Perhaps she thinks that noise she heard,
is just a great big silver bird
and when she finds out where it lands,
she'll bring it to my waiting hands.

One Thousand Of Them

My trillion dollars in cash, which gives me constant thrills, is stored in a tidy stash, of Billion Dollar Bills.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Her Specialty

So if there's an NFL deflation threat,
have we got Janet Yellen working on it yet?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

DNA Labeling

I saw a weird poll result today, where they got 80 percent of respondents to say that they wanted mandatory labeling for all food that contains DNA. I guess water and diet soda might be the only exempted nutritional items. And maybe salt.

I think some people were unclear on the distinction between GMO food with purposely manipulated DNA vs non-GMO food with DNA that came about the old fashioned way.

My daughter-in-law the food scientist suggested that maybe we could go further and require that complete genetic sequences be printed on the labels. Which would require extremely fine print or extremely big labels.

I like to stay away
from food containing DNA.
But sad to say
I ate some just today.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Imaginary Etymology

I used to think that provolone meant a professional volone. Not only was I wrong, but it seems I was alone. Everyone else knew it was some kind of Italian cheese. It's sad that words can't mean whatever I please!

Great Galloping Gonads

Yesterday I related that horrible story about a demonic wife who took a scissors to her husband's private parts. Twice.

Today I see that Elizabeth Scalia published a rant called "Twilight of the Vaginas". I felt a little embarrassed to read it, because it seems somehow like a just-among-us-women fight, but I enjoyed it anyway.

"Let’s stop obsessing over a gift women did nothing to earn and over which they therefore can claim no bragging right."

The occasion of Scalia's rant is that Eve Ensler's theater piece, The Vagina Monologues, is now being trashed as transphobic, because, as their theory has it, some women are born with exclusively male private parts.

Anyway, I have my doubts about Scalia's theory of bragging rights. I think people routinely brag about what they are and what they have, whether they have earned those things or not. And I'm not going to be the spoilsport who tells the genetically gifted that they can't brag about their good looks, their brains, or their athletic ability, as the case may be.

I would agree with her if she said "and for which they therefore can claim no moral credit."

Bragging is normally not in good taste,
but must it always be morally based?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Double Bobbitt

I hope this story isn't true. It's from China:

"A jealous wife in China chopped off her cheating husband’s penis as he slept, then snuck into his hospital room after he had it sewn back on — and hacked it off again and tossed it out the window."

Once is understandable,
but twice is just not nice.

It did not get sewn on a second time. Because it couldn't be found.

They say a stray
maybe took it away.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Old Lab, Young Lab

He thinks that she can be a pest, but likes her fine when she's at rest. 


Puppies alternate between insanely wired and plain dog tired. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


When you grow too obsessed with the beautiful face in the pool,
You fall in at last and discover in depth... you're a fool. 

Pets in America

Perhaps because I just got a new dog, this story attracted me: dogs may not have come to the Americas until 10,000 years ago, leading to the speculation that:

"The new finding suggests that dogs came to the Americas with a second wave of human migration, thousands of years after people first traveled to the Americas from Asia."

It's based on DNA studies of ancient American remains of dogs. Sounds like an early result to me. Come back in ten years to see if it holds up!

By the way, the pre-Columbian people did not have cats.

The path to getting a bobcat to follow commands,
frequently involves getting scratched-up hands.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

There Was A Failing, Of Course

This struck me as a profoundly French reaction:

"There was a failing, of course," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on BFM television. "That's why we have to analyze what happened."

What struck me as French, in the prime minister's statement, was the unvarnished acknowledgement of the obvious, combined with the call for analysis.

Apparently their intelligence services knew about these bad guys, but didn't make them a high priority.

Well, the intelligence role is hard. There's a lot of bad guys. It's hard to know who's about to really go berserk.

As with our Boston Marathon bombers, I wonder if the fact that the principals were actual brothers made it harder to catch them. The fact that brothers are associating would not raise red flags. And they might do more of their communication in person, making it harder to catch them by electronic surveillance.

The populace finds this sort of event unnerving. The populace then supports MORE electronic surveillance. But the intelligence services are already up to their necks in data. One of their problems is finding the signal in the noise.

In the midst of all the chatter
how do you find the messages that matter?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Coincidence or Unconscious Choice

On Facebook yesterday it popped up a '3 years ago today' post, which was a picture of my dog, Juliette, which I had posted shortly after she died.

The funny thing was, I already had an appointment to go see a breeder about a new puppy today. I didn't realize it had been 3 years already. We've only had one dog during that interim, namely, Romeo.

Now we're up to 2 dogs again. Here is my daughter with the new addition, on our ride home:

She's a yellow Lab. We have not yet chosen a name for her. The breeder called her Lilly. I'm leaning toward Blondie. My brother said instead of Blondie, maybe Hairy Debbie. I also had a suggestion of Butter, which I considered expanding to Butterball or Butterscotch or even Buttercup.

would rhyme with pup.
But so far it's Blondie
of which I'm more fondy.

Not True Muslims

It's a funny thing, this argument I hear with some regularity that so-and-so was not a true Muslim because no true Muslim would have done such a thing. I gather a true Muslim is virtuous, and since the act wasn't virtuous, the person's self-identification as a member of the community was false. Of course it must be the case that no truly virtuous person commits vicious acts. But surely this is all beside the point, which is that sometimes religious beliefs play a part in some vicious acts. I'd be willing to say that not all religious beliefs are true, and that the false ones can sometimes be hazardous to oneself and others. 

Not all religious beliefs can be true,
Since not all religions agree. 
This may seem controversial to you,
But it seems like sound logic to me. 

Friday, January 09, 2015

Murder Most Foul


From an essay by W.W. in The Economist:

"To describe the cartoons, and not show them, is essentially to do the bidding of the terrorists."

I, for one, welcome our new terrorist censors. Oh, that cartoon? I don't know how it got in this blog post.

It says something offensive? Something about 100 lashes if you don't die laughing? I had no idea. I don't speak French.

Crazed fanatics cannot be allowed
to get a country thoroughly cowed.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Flaky Crystals Of Ice

There's a temptation to think of snow as something measured in inches, on account of it so often is. But I often think, while shoveling it, that I would like to receive its measurements in mass as well, since 2 inches of fluffy snow seems to weigh less than 1 inch of soggy snow.

When it comes to shoveling, it seems like mass must matter more than volume.

This morning's load was powdery fluff,
and that's how I prefer the stuff.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Future Bleak for Van Den Bleeken

In Belgium, there hasn't been an official execution since 1950.

But they do have legal euthanasia now, which can be legally provided for the cessation of psychological suffering.

Which leads to this odd situation:

"Frank Van Den Bleeken, who has spent the past 30 years in jail for repeated rape convictions and a rape murder, will be euthanised in prison in the northwestern city of Bruges."

He has actually decline to apply for parole, because he thinks he's a danger to society. But he also feels conditions in prison are inhumane. So he went through the process of requesting euthanasia due to psychological suffering. And the powers-that-be approved his request. Doctors agreed his condition was "incurable".

'The sisters of his last victim were opposed to the decision, preferring that he be left to "rot in his cell".'

In the absence of execution,
he found a new solution.

Guilty of murder and rape,
he seeks the final escape.

Enright Bublitz

The 1910 Census records show a 7 year old boy in Chicago named Enright Bublitz. Both of his parents were listed as having been born in Germany. So how did this kid end up named Enright? It's an Irish last name.

It looks like he had a career as a police officer in Illinois but retired out of state. (You can see his name on a membership list here, but the PDF takes a while to load).

He died in 1995, in his early nineties.

Was his first name some kind of mistake? Or might he have been named after an Irish friend of the parents?

My last name
and his first are the same.

But how that came to be,
remains a riddle for me.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Donna Douglas

Actress Donna Douglas has died. She was known for 2 roles.

1) Elly May on the tv show, The Beverly Hillbillies

2) The female patient, in a famous Twilight Zone episode:


Here is how the LA Times described the episode:

'The episode recounted the recovery of a woman named Janet Tyler after a series of medical procedures attempting to fix a face that has apparently been completely deformed. While she deals with the doctors and nurses in the hospital, we see her head wrapped completely in bandages... But in the episode's final moments, the bandages are removed and Tyler's face is revealed to be Douglas'. "No change. No change at all," the doctor laments. And then we see the face of the medical staff -- snouted and horrific. But in this world, it's Douglas' face that's the monstrosity.'

Ayn Rand described the episode with more dramatic flair and philosophical overtones:

'In some indeterminate world of another dimension, the shadowy, white-clad, authoritarian figures of doctors and social scientists are deeply concerned with the problem of a young girl who looks so different from everyone else that she is shunned as a freak, a disfigured outcast unable to lead a normal life. She has appealed to them for help, but all plastic surgery operations have failed—and now the doctors are grimly preparing to give her a last chance: one more attempt at plastic surgery; if it fails, she will remain a monstrosity for life. In heavily tragic tones, the doctors speak of the girl's need to be like others, to belong, to be loved, etc. We are not shown any of the characters' faces, but we hear the tense, ominous, oddly lifeless voices of their dim figures, as the last operation progresses. The operation fails. The doctors declare, with contemptuous compassion, that they will have to find a young man as deformed as this girl, who might be able to accept her. Then, for the first time, we see the girl's face: lying motionless on the pillow of a hospital bed, it is a face of perfect, radiant beauty. The camera moves to the faces of the doctors: it is an unspeakably horrifying row, not of human faces, but of mangled, distorted, disfigured pigs' heads, recognizable only by their snouts. Fade-out.'

I don't think I ever knew that Elly May and the Not-Really-Ugly Patient were played by the same actress.

The snouted plastic surgeons failed,
and radiant beauty instead prevailed.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

TP Puzzle

photo (7)

There's a shot of the weird bathroom tissue they use at my office.

At first I thought it was an antitheft gimmick. Because home dispensers wouldn't accommodate this odd design.

But then I wondered if it was a more-paper gimmick. So the cleaning people woudn't have to replace them so often.

What is the goal
of a roll without holes?