Saturday, December 31, 2016

On The Seventh Floor



Library Tree constructed of books,
The kind we had before Kindles and Nooks.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Adaptation

"Some people say that I'm aloof
Because I live on this tin roof,
And when the day gets boiling hot
Then most cats jump, but I do not."

- from Cat in the Hat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Quest

A missing book.
I look and look.
Round and round.
Until it's found
Next to a spot
I checked a lot.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Brrrinng It On

With a loud alarm clock
Morning arrives without warning
In an auditory shock.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Inadequately Incentivized

What would you expect from a concerted effort to raise the status of women while encouraging the idea that the male/female distinction is fluid? I'd expect more male-to-female trans-actions than vice-versa. This seems to be the case. I cannot guarantee that's the reason.

Despite the incentives, without fail,
Every morning I wake up male.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Geo Wishes

This is the time of year I would want to visit Panama. Just so I could say

Merry Christmas
From the Isthmus.

But under the circumstances...

From the urban prairie:
May your Christmas be merry.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Faith Spotted Eagle, 1

A so-called "faith-less" elector
Decided to select her,
And so Ms. Spotted Eagle,
In a process quaintly legal,
Won herself a vote
And a spot as a foot note.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Kitchen Scene



I find it hard to be whiny
While staring at something shiny.

Monday, December 19, 2016

CGI Extravaganza

I was asked for my unpopular opinions,
So I looked out across my vast dominions,
But every time I thought of a belief,
I found most feel the same - what a relief!
Except, now here's a thought that's not in vogue -
I went to see a movie called One Rogue,
Or something like that, anyway, and I
Was not as spellbound as the average guy.

Secondarily

I just found out that the word "college"
Isn't in the Constitution.
So I'm for calling it the Electoral High School
As a compromise solution.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

My Lack of Knowledge Regarding the Electoral College

I thought they all got together for one big vote in D.C. But, no. They meet in their own states and mail in the results. Who knew? Well, I'm sure a lot of people knew, and for that matter, maybe I knew and forgot. I did take Civics at one point.

But I don't want to blame myself for my ignorance. I want to blame somebody else. So I blame the media. Why didn't they keep me informed about this?

Also, I blame the government. When I vote for President, I'm really voting for some Electors, right? But do I see their names on the ballot? No! I am kept in the dark about who I am really voting for. Can that be constitutional?

I'm in favor of keeping this system,
Although my knowledge is weak.
If the college were gone, I would miss them -
Let's treasure it as an antique!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Woof

Dogs and humans co-evolved
To get some sort of problem solved. 
No one's sure what that was at all,
But probably it involved a ball.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

+11 F or -12 C

The moon has risen: bright, enormous.
But its rays tonight don't warm us.

I'd say to make a home complete,
It's very nice to have gas heat.

Breaking In

All the best hacking
Involves Russian backing.
American kids are falling behind!
A little spear-phishing could sharpen their minds!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

No Revelation

When naming a truth is impolite
It's left to the rude to be right.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Solar Powered Destruction

Snow person I built
Just the other day
Has developed a tilt
And is melting away.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Lights



It's the time of year
for electric evergreen cheer.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

In Canis Major

Why is the Dog Star
Always Sirius
When real dogs are
Often delirious?

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Two Parties

The two party system is a see-saw, in which whoever is "up" tends to think their triumphant upness is permanent.

The humiliation burns
Whenever it's time to take turns.

Evolutionary Question

Fish struggles to understand
Whether it's true
That going on land
Is a better thing to do.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Olfactory Imagination

If you ask me to remember a smell, I can, but it never seems super vivid. 

However I sometimes dream a smell, quite vividly, and I know this because I sometimes wake from a dream, still "smelling" something, puzzled whether the scent is real or imaginary. 

My brain in its dreams
Works better it seems
Than when it's awake
And I consciously make
Requests to re-smell
A scent I know well. 

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Baking

Last night, for today's charity bake sale at work, I made the only thing I've ever baked on my own - lemon bars.

By coincidence, I was watching a TV legal drama last night, an episode of "Bull", in which jurors were being dismissed by the defense when they answered that they preferred baking to cooking. The idea was that baking requires lots of attention to details, and the defense didn't want jurors who were focused on the details at the expense of the big picture. 

When you fail
To deal with details
They can derail
The effort to bake
That glorious cake
You're hoping to make. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cat

I met the actress playing Maggie tonight. It was her first rehearsal. I was favorably impressed. 

Not sultry exactly,
But sexy and frank
With lots of tiger
In her tank. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Who Stole It?

Was it the Russians
By dint of digital hacking?
Was it immigrants
Whose documentation was lacking?
Was it the Electoral College,
Old fashioned, in need of sacking?
Or was it Martians,
With possible Klingon backing?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Economic Experiments

Typically when it was tried
lots of people died.

Yes, that's Communism with a capital C. And speaking of things with a capital C, Fidel Castro, longtime dictator of Cuba, has died.

They were celebrating in the streets last night in Miami.

They know how to hold a grudge.
Their attitude did not budge.

Those were exiles, and the children of exiles, and I suppose the grandchildren of exiles at this point.

Meanwhile, people are fleeing Venezuela, noted ally of Cuba, where they have once again been conducting the great experiment of Socialism. And when we say experiment, we do mean experiments on human beings.

Be you businessman or peasant,
starvation is not pleasant.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Movies vs Maps

Scott Adams has been an insightful commentator on the race for prez. But his abstract philosophy lacks insight into its own condition.

On the one hand:

"I don’t believe reality is something the human brain can understand. We didn’t evolve with the ability to see reality for what it is. Evolution only cares if we survive and procreate."

And, if this is the reality, how does he know it? Is his brain somehow connected to reality after all?

He imagines that we are watching movies in our heads, not really attending to reality. But...

"Still, it might matter who has the most “useful” movie among us."


And there it is. Pragmatism as the solution to unknowability.

My follow-up question is: mightn't it turn out that being in touch with reality is crucial to survival and procreation? You think the mammalian nervous system evolved just to keep all those furry critters amused? You think the startling powers of the human brain, which have summoned forth our modern high-tech world, evolved just to give us movies that might prove useful in some way?

Nervous systems are guidance systems. Plants don't need them because they stay in one place. Animals need them because they wander around and need to find stuff. Guidance systems that don't provide useful maps are going to be guidance systems that don't survive. And do you know what kind of maps prove useful? Maps that reflect reality.

A map that doesn't reflect
The actual lay of the land
Exhibits a major defect:
You end where you hadn't planned.

The View from Up Close

When you follow politics closely,
In hopes of enlightenment,
You may end up morosely,
In a state of enfrightenment.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hamilton in the News

I think it's kind of funny that the "polite" little lecture delivered to Pence, from the stage, included that verbal quirk, beloved of Keith Olbermann, panhandlers, and security guards: "Sir".

My recent play had a whole bit about the parallel usage of Ma'am.

If you stick a "Sir"
In front of a slur,
That's makes it polite,
Or maybe not quite.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Back from Boston

Had a great weekend visiting grandchild,
Who, at five months, is not yet wild.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Selfie Plus



Selfie with kid - not as easy
As taking one alone. 
He was working really hard
To snatch away my phone.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Preference

It's just more fun than all the rest -

That's why I like fake news the best. 

Did you know alien life has been detected?

Yes, in Congress, that's how they get elected!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

MT

An immigrant is taking over the job of First Lady. 
Don't you agree that sounds a bit shady?
If the president must be a natural-borner,
How come it's fine if his wife is a forner?

Doc Baugh

I played Doc Baugh some years ago in a different production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. 

This is my second time "repeating a role".
It's somewhat relaxing. I've already tried in this soul. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Night Walk

Last night it seemed the Supermoon

Followed me wherever I walked

But the cops just laughed at me

When I complained of being stalked. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Camo

Ocelots got lots of spots.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Paleozoic Coincidence

In spring 2016 I ran the Paleozoic 25k, a 15.5 mile trail course in the Palos forest preserve.

Today I had signed up for the Paleozoic 50k, but just ran the first of 2 loops, so basically I ran their 25k course. It was a totally different course than the spring course, but it was in the same forest preserve.

Anyway, here's what's a funny coincidence:

My official time in the spring: 3:17:29.0

My time from my watch today: 3:17:52.0

That what we might call consistence
In the face of distance.

Don't Let Them Get Too Comfortable

I think it's a good thing that one party doesn't stay in control of the government for too long.

Often you see a kind of hubris creep into the party in power. They literally can't imagine being out of power. Which is fascinating, because, as a rule, they haven't been in power that long. But they think that this time - this time! - the cosmic balance has tipped in their favor forever.

Probably the Republicans will start thinking like this shortly. Probably they will start overreaching, doing things that start unpopular and just plain stay unpopular, as the Democrats did with health care reform.

In the mean time, I experienced some schadenfreude at the spectacle of the fallen faces of people who were sure they had the American people sufficiently terrified of the other guy.

Their chosen candidate stumbled.
Behold, the mighty are humbled.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Hearing Vs. Listening

They tested my hearing, and it's in normal condition.
But that has given my wife a new suspicion:
How can it be, when she has something to tell,
That I don't always seem to hear so well?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Keepsake

Souvenir poster on my wall,
signed by entire cast and crew;
we hit some speed bumps at first - it's true,
but in the end we had a ball.

Speaking of Which

I'd play it more, I really would -
If only badminton
Could choose to be good. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Surprised

On the bright side, Trump
Rhymes with lots of words
Like hump and dump and jump. 

But as far as I have heard, 
Clinton
Only rhymes with badminton.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Cast a Cold Eye

Conjured up by a local wizard,
Here's an Election Monitor Lizard.
Try to vote twice,
Which just isn't nice
And he'll probably try to rip out your gizzard.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Last Step

We managed to deconstruct
Our set's back wall
And away from there it was trucked
Thanks to U-Haul.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Cubs Rally Garbage

They had a huge... YUGE... rally for the Cubs yesterday in downtown's Grant Park. And afterwards I saw a picture of the trash left behind. And someone was complaining about all the trash, of course. But then I read that the city had not provided trash receptacles... for security reasons.

I don't understand. They were checking the bags of everyone entering the park. So why would garbage cans be a problem?

How can you have a Cubbies Bash
Without a place to put the trash?

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Game 7

That was something I thought I'd never see.
It almost made a Cubs fan out of me.

Game was overly exciting,
But Chicago kept on fighting.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Hard to Believe

Cubs refuse to play dead,
Force game seven instead.

At Orchestra Hall tonight, 

Some violinist named Hilary Hahn

Announced a home run had been hit 

With three men on. 

The Show Must Go On

I mentioned yesterday that All Mixed Up had had three "the show must go on" moments when actors suddenly departed, in separate incidents, from our cast. What I didn't mention was that the last departure, that of our "Beth", occurred just 11 days before our scheduled opening.

We had thoughts of canceling, or starting a week later, and so on, but we found 2 actresses willing to take up the challenge of trying to memorize Beth's lines in about a week. That's how we ended up with two Beths, taking turns. It's not an understudy situation. It's a situation of "we promise you can have at least half the performances if you can get off book!"

Anyway, my hat is off to both actresses playing Beth.
Together they saved this production from premature death.

Getting It Done

I waved down goblins walking the streets for treats,
And succeeded in giving away a ton of sweets.

Monday, October 31, 2016

One Weekend Left

A four weekend run for a play is pretty long. It's the typical time for what we call "storefront theater" in Chicago. And we've done three weeks. So there's just one weekend to go. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Then it's time to pack everything up and let someone else have the theater.

This show, All Mixed Up, had 3 major "the show must go on" moments, all involving actors suddenly departing the cast for their own personal reasons. But the show went on, with a revised cast, and I'm very grateful for that.

We will go our separate ways
But I hope that something stays
In memory's golden haze.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Mystery of the Migrating Messages

Usually you would know, right? Emails don't just walk across the wifi from one device to another.

Apparently she told the FBI that she had already, previously, given them all the devices she used for email handling.

"The person, who would not discuss the case unless granted anonymity, said Abedin was not a regular user of the computer, and even when she agreed to turn over emails to the State Department for federal records purposes, her lawyers did not search it for materials, not believing any of her messages to be there."

Well... "not a regular user". In other words, "a user".

"[She] has told people she is unsure how her emails could have ended up on a device she viewed as her husband’s computer"

They were doing things on the net
That they wanted to stay hidden,
Things that were embarrassing
Or maybe even forbidden.

Such computer incompetence.
It makes me want to laugh.
They needed a security pro
In their home, on staff.a

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Skyrocketing

At the moment, I'm enrolled in an Obamacare "bronze" PPO plan. My monthly premium is: $567.36

Next year's monthly premium, for the same plan: $991.53

Well, that's a 75% increase!

At least it isn't doubling.
Still, I find it troubling.

I don't mean intellectually troubling. Intellectually, this makes complete sense to me.

The program suffers from deep flaws,
Defying economic laws,
Which really should have made them pause
Before they passed this mess.

They didn't care, I guess.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Why I Missed Game 2

The Cubs won yesterday, but all I saw was the highlight reel. During the game itself I was busy reading "directions" aloud for the audio recording of a friend's screenplay. You know: "Interior. Tom's Living Room. Day. Tom is sipping tea. Tim staggers in, barely able to hold onto his bottle of Jack Daniels."

Except, that's not really from her script. That's just something I made up.

The funny thing about having the Cubs in the Series is that I care a bit less than I normally do when a Chicago team is in some set of playoffs. They're the north side team, after all.

They do not give me a primal thrill.
Still, I do not wish them ill.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Game 1

Cubs, are you just doing this to increase the suspense,
and get everybody tense?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Peanut Butter Vandal

Her blood alcohol level was elevated:

"Disorderly conduct charges are pending against a woman who authorities say smeared peanut butter on 30 vehicles outside a gathering in central Wisconsin that she mistakenly thought was a Donald Trump rally."

It was actually a conservation group.

Do you think she got confused by the visual resemblance between conservation and conservative?

Even when in a drunken state,
It's best to keep your suffixes straight.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Parachuting In

Last night we had "walk in" audience members who just felt like seeing a play after eating at the restaurant next door, which is called Parachute. They actually had 2 plays to choose from last night at the theater at 8pm - my play and an opera about a woman escaping from the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints. Somehow I persuaded them to see my play.

Perhaps the spicy Korean food
had put them in a comedic mood.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Answer Is Blowin' In The Wind

Yes, they gave Bob Dylan the Nobel prize for literature, for his songs, and he won't even return the Committee's calls.

'Days after he was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition" the Academy said it's given up on trying to reach the iconic musician.'

Nobel? Oh, well!
Dylan just chillin'.

Now, don't get me wrong -
In his way, he's second to none,
and I like it that someone won
for putting rhymes into song!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Play Offs

Our theater is about 2.5 miles from Wrigley field. And when there's a big game...

Cubs traffic can interfere
With people getting here. 

Our show today
Is a matinee. 

So I think it's quite all right
That the Cubs don't play till tonight. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Opening Night

I've barely been posting,
because I've been hosting 
lots of rehearsals 
through highs and reversals,
but now I am certain -
we're raising the curtain -
so if you live near
come see our show here!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Race Report

Abel KiruKirui... was well able to beat me in today's Chicago Marathon. "[He] won the 26.2-mile race in a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes and 23 seconds."

He beat the number two guy by 3 seconds. He beat me by a little more.

Timothy Enright beat me too. He's not a relative as far as I know. But when I searched for my results with just my last name, he popped up.

The race results come with a very nice split chart. If you just look at the miles/h (mph) column on the far right, you can see that I slowed down a lot, with a particularly slow pace on the line that says 35k:

Split Time Of Day Time Diff min/mile miles/h
05K 08:53:26AM 00:32:46 32:46 10:33 5.69
10K 09:26:47AM 01:06:06 33:21 10:44 5.59
15K 09:59:41AM 01:39:01 32:55 10:36 5.67
20K 10:33:16AM 02:12:36 33:35 10:49 5.55
HALF 10:40:49AM 02:20:08 07:33 11:04 5.43
25K 11:08:00AM 02:47:20 27:12 11:13 5.35
30K 11:46:28AM 03:25:47 38:28 12:23 4.85
35K 12:34:28PM 04:13:48 48:01 15:28 3.88
40K 01:17:04PM 04:56:23 42:36 13:43 4.38
Finish 01:35:11PM 05:14:31 18:08 13:18 4.52

You can also see I really slowed down all the way to 3.88 mph, but then picked up the pace again. That 3.88 mph period was my "slough of despond" stretch. As usual lately, the culprit was cramping in the legs. Ouch.

My wife and daughter and son-in-law were waiting for me very close to the finish, cheering on Michigan Avenue, giving me high fives. I think the expectation of seeing them helped re-lift my spirits.

The crowd excitement through-out was great.
But the family greeting was truly first rate.


Thursday, October 06, 2016

Following Instructions

What I like about Waze...
It lets me drive in a daze.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Reminder

Don't let setbacks knock you flat. 

Moving forward's where it's at. 

Monday, October 03, 2016

Clowning Around

"Police say an 18-year-old Ohio woman lied about being attacked by a knife-wielding clown as an excuse for being late for her job at McDonald's, reports WCPO-TV."

But, while talking to police, she didn't seem unnerved, and inconsistencies developed in her story, and the police charged her with making a false report, spoiling all the fun!

Some people in this hectic life
Make up excuses for being late,
But "I was attacked by clown with a knife!"
Didn't seem to work out that great.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Kitties in Space, Remounted

John Morrison directed my 10-minute play, Kitties in Space, as part of this weekend's Paragon festival, which consisted of 40 sci-fi and fantasy plays, presented in 2 days.

It was quite funny, and they really ran with the play's last line, turning it suddenly from a comic space opera to an existential moment which they milked for at least 30 seconds of silent acting.

A good director thinks of things,
and fits your lines with shiny wings.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Kopp-Etchells Effect

"How a Combat Photographer Named a Phenomenon to Honor Soldiers"

Photo by Michael Yon
Quite a phenomenon:



Sparkling spirals, eerie, grand...
From rotors clouting clouds of sand.

Phlebotomy

Some people give blood
And fall with a thud. 
Their knees just get too loose
When they're short a pint of juice.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Slow Going

I like raspberry jam,
And blueberry too,
But the traffic flavor, damn,
It leaves me very blue. 

Seasons

Where has the heat of summer gone?
Why are there penguins on my lawn?
I made that up, of course, you know. 
But yes, my thoughts have turned to snow. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Round 1

Attended rehearsal until it was late. Sorry / not sorry I missed the debate. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Birthing for a Play

I just got done selecting a set of videos to be the stand-in for the "Lamaze video" in my new play.

Basically, in the second act, one character is supposed to have watched this video a couple of times overnight and now feels vaguely ready to coach a pregnant woman through childbirth.

This is what we call foolhardy. I mean, he might get lucky. The video might have prepared him for everything that he will, in fact, face.

But human childbirth often arrives with complications, peril, and emotional roller-coaster experiences.

And all the coaching in the world is only so much help to a woman whose body is just doing stuff on its own, stuff it may never have done before, in a big damned hurry.

Modern medicine makes it safer than ever.
Still it's a scary journey. We need a lever
Where you can just pull and a baby - poof! - appears
Without any agony, danger, fuss, or tears.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Working Riddle

When you have it, you don't want it.
When you don't, you do.

Work can be exactly like that.
Crazy, but it's true.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

20 Miler

I did a 20 mile run yesterday. I tried this new "Hot Shot" product which is supposed to fight cramping in runners.

It's supposed to be a scientific version of pickle juice, a longstanding folk remedy for runners' cramps. 

The theory is that the cramps are a neurological problem, caused by muscle neurons over firing. And the pickle juice - coating the mucosal membranes in your mouth as much as your stomach - supposedly disrupts that.

Anyway, I didn't get a full on case of cramps and had a pretty good finish time - for me. 

Did it really work?
I don't really know. 
But since it didn't hurt,
I'll give it another go. 



Saturday, September 17, 2016

Baby at a Bar Fight

My father was telling me a story recently, a story I've heard before over the years, about his last bar fight - which occurred on New Year's Eve in 1951. My mother was present, and apparently did not approve.

Despite having heard the story before, a new thought occurred to me when he told me the date, and I interrupted him.

"I was there," I said.

"Yes, you were," he said, and continued with his story.

I was young, too young to recall
these events at all.

I was, in fact, an embryo,
floating around in utero.

Dorothy Reflects

They have fine spas
In the City of Oz. 
But if you seek a helping hand
You might do better in Munchkin Land,

Friday, September 16, 2016

Cubs Clinch



For the second time in my life, I went to see the Cubs play at Wrigley.  

They've been playing hot 
And they had a shot 
To win last night 
And clinch a spot.   
Alas, it was not 
To be.   

Lucky for the Cubs, the Cardinals lost later in the evening, so the Cubs are now the winner of their division.   

But there was no party in the park.  
We filed out. The lights went dark.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Non Ignition

It's kind of late
And my car won't start
But my wife is on her way
So I won't lose heart. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Rehearsals for All Mixed Up

We have started rehearsals for my new play. 

It's a process I enjoy. 
I am a happy boy. 

In Saugatuck, Michigan





That's 2 views of the Kalamazoo river, as it flows through Saugatuck, just before it pours into Lake Michigan.

I joked that the second shot was a soggy duck in Saugatuck, but of course ducks don't get soggy.

When big old wave attacks,
the water rolls right off their backs.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Persona Grata

A play without an actor, is short a crucial factor. 

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Balancing Act

Great local school-district headline:

'Records: Lincoln-Way superintendent predicted deficit before presenting balanced budget'

Money quote from the story:

'Robert Ripp, a certified public accountant and member of the community group Lincoln-Way Area Taxpayers Unite, said Tingley's 2014 correspondence with the assistant superintendent shows "they factually knew they were deficit spending and they decided to prepare balanced budgets anyway."'

One way of balancing a busted budget
Is just to fudge it.

In Logic

In Logic there is no "but". There is only "and".
That's one of the reasons that logic can seem so bland. 
It drains some sense of dramatic opposition,
When it deftly proves a proposition. 

Monday, September 05, 2016

Transplants Who Thrive On This Soil

They come from all over the earth,
foreigners by birth,
but from the very start,
Americans at heart.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Cal City Mini

I ran the Calumet City Mini Marathon this morning.

It was only 30 dollars to enter, which is off-the-charts cheap.

I can see some of how they kept the price down. They had water, every 2.5 miles, not every 2 miles. And they only had water on the course - no Gatorade type stuff. Also, the course was not completely closed to traffic, although I thought they did a fine job of keeping us safe. There were Calumet City cops all over the course.

I heard some fellow-runners talking, and one was saying that this is actually the oldest half marathon in the Chicagoland area. Maybe that's why it's got this strange monicker of "Mini Marathon". Maybe they named it before the half marathon distance got popular.

At one point, the course ran on State Line road. If I'd strayed just a bit to the left, I would have been in Indiana.

Instead of drifting, I stayed straight,
and kept my course to just one state.

At Home Depot




Bubble, bubble
Toil and trouble 

This is a recycled rhyme, going back to Shakespeare's time, flowing out of Shakespeare's pen. Still, I'd rather live now than then.

Friday, September 02, 2016

As In Glengarry Glen Ross

Mamet 
rhymes with damn it, 
but his favorite curse 
was something worse.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Beginnings, Middles, and Ends in Poetry

I was just reading an article by Frederick Turner, "Beginnings, Middles, and Ends in Poetry", which appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Think: A Journal of Poetry, Criticism, and Reviews.

I think Turner's very interesting at times as a critic

"The postmodern movement, with its objections to what it calls 'essentialism,' its hostility to any kind of hierarchy or priority... and its rejection of the objective rality of nature, subtracted even more of the ways that we make meaningful sequences."

Unfortunately for postmodernism, fandom
abhors the merely random.

Where Did I Read That?

On the face of it, this seems comforting:

"In other words, forgetting is the brain's way of flushing out the irrelevant stuff so we can remember the important stuff."

There are various things I'd like to forget,
that I haven't succeeded with yet.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Anthem

He's getting a rise out of people,
just by staying seated.

If everyone ignored him,
I suppose he'd feel defeated.

Of course, that will not happen;
this must play until completed.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Pin Pen Merger After All These Years

I have a friend who was complaining today about the pen pin merger, which he says he has been encountering more on national media.

Well, the population has been moving south, and that's the locus of pin pen merger!

'This is another academic term for something you’ll recognize the second you hear it. In this merger, words that end in -en or -en merge with the vowel in words like pin or Tim. So, for example, my own name, Ben, sounds more like “bin,” and hem sounds a bit like “him.”'

You hear it in Chicago from people whose recent ancestors came from down South - which includes a large proportion of African Americans here. I remember a nun in elementary school - she was from Massachusetts - trying to get a black student to say "pen" not "pin". He didn't seem to be able to.

I'm guessing he just needed more specific instruction, and probably a lot of practice, to master speaking consistently with the distinction:

"It's absolutely normal not to be able to reliably hear or pronounce a distinction that not part of your native phonological system. This is an experience that I've had every time I've encountered a new language, or a new variant of English. But usually people can hear that a minimal pair, performed side-by-side in the over-distinct facultative style of such productions, is in fact different; and usually it's fairly easy to learn to identify which member of such a pair is which."

I hear them as different, personally.

Pin does not rhyme with pen
Pin rhymes with been
And pen with again.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Proposal

Perhaps we could have a free competition between trigger-warning schools and robust-discussion schools. Over time we could see where most students really preferred to go, and which schools did a better job of preparing young minds for real life.

I imagine market selection
Would trend against over-protection. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Burning Man Airport

I don't follow this Burning Man festival thing closely. I've never been there. But it's exotic and amusing, and involves a lot of people with money. I was amused today to find out that a temporary airport goes up in the desert.

"Last year, this airport in the middle of the desert handled more than 2,300 passengers during the event, which is otherwise a two-hour drive north of Reno. Many of those arrivals came on small planes, and to increase capacity, this year airport managers are having both 20- and 30-passenger airplanes offer charter service to Reno and points beyond."

Volunteers build towers
for air traffic control,
but the FAA and TSA
have no official role.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Making Sense

It's a poor dramatic arc
that leaves you totally in the dark.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Armageddon Deferred

How come Great Britain is still doing okay?
Wasn't Brexit supposed to wash them away?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Some Still Hate the Late Andrew Wyeth

From an article titled "Why Do Critics Still Hate Andrew Wyeth":

"Modernist and postmodernist art tends to be urban art—the structure and pace of life and media experienced in cities—while most traditional realists have directed their attentions to the countryside. It is for this reason that critics have tended to see realist art as sentimental and nostalgic. There are not just differing ideas about art at stake but competing visions of America."

Do some imagine there's great social harm,
In painting nice pictures of life on the farm?

For a Friend

When you are lying shattered, you recall
The way your pieces used to fit together
In one cohesive and coherent All. 
At first you stare in shock, and wonder whether
Your mind can find a way to solve this puzzle
That Humpty Dumpty's helpers could not solve,
Or feel the urge to give it up and guzzle
Your life away, to let the world revolve.
But even if your strength is sapped by sadness
Go pick the pieces up. No need for glue. 
For though the shards are sharp and edged with madness,
They'll stick together just because you're you -
An underlying and organic whole,
With hidden power to heal the splintered soul. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pedaling

I cycled out to the end of the trail
Then recycled back to my car without fail.

"First Landslide President We Don't Want"

Headline on a column in the NY Post:

"Americans are about to get the first landslide president we don’t want"

I think maybe we've had at least one of those already.

In 1972, Nixon was running for a second term, and not many voters really wanted him, but he won in a landslide anyway, because his opponent, McGovern, was even scarier to the electorate. Which is kind of how this election is shaping up - at the moment.

Oftentimes no candidate
Really makes us merry
And it becomes our sullen fate
To choose the one less scary.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

"All Is Number"

Pythagoras thought that numbers were the world's secret base,
That underneath the veil there lurked a geometric face. 


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Luna

Reflective rock
Down the next block. 




Tuesday, August 16, 2016

With Plentiful Blooms So White


In late summer evening light,
Bush impersonates a snowball fight.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Blondie



She follows her nose wherever it goes,
Chasing a scent to wherever it went.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Rejection

Trump thinks the media is biased against him. Duh.

I wonder if maybe they were actually biased in his favor during the Republican primary. They sure gave him a lot of free exposure. Maybe because they thought he would be the most beatable of the Republicans?

Did he think they really loved him before?
Their current slant must hurt even more.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

When I'm 64

Right here I'm 63 and holding steady,
But in the Eastern time zone I'm a year older already. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Learning My Part

I'm going to perform Saturday in a short preview scene of what looks to be a very clever play by Olivia Lilley, Mary Shelley Sees The Future.

Mary Shelley saw
a future full of awe.

DeRailed

It happened in Iowa:

"Police say a freight train car that derailed in northern Iowa rolled into and damaged a trackside tavern called DeRailed."

A freight train car
rolled into a bar
which is now gaining fame
for its too-perfect name.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Cast and Crew and Dates and Times for All Mixed Up, the Play

All Mixed Up
by John J. Enright
directed by Denise Smolarek

A comedy about love, betrayal, trust, and the things that keep us apart.

Assistant director: Xavier Lagunas

Featuring:

Nickclette Izuegbu as Beth


Paige Taylor as Carrie


Jillian Leff as Ada


The play will run October 13 – November 6, 2016, at 8pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and at 3pm on Sundays. Tickets will go on sale soon. Performances will be at PROP THTR on Chicago North Side.

I feel we have amassed
a wonderful crew and cast.

What I'm Reading

Dostoyevsky: short on cheer. 
Long on existential fear. 

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Stone Lake

Morning clouds. 
No big crowds. 



Thursday, August 04, 2016

Punishment for Flashing

Interestingly punitive:

"For the first time, a Cook County Jail inmate may be required to register as a sex offender for repeatedly exposing himself to correctional officers, a sheriff’s official said Thursday."

"Even hardened criminals balk at the stigma of being labeled sex offenders, she said."

To me it isn't clear
if it's just the "stigma" they fear...

or could it be the laws that give
sex offenders few places to live?

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

More Plausible Than Pastafarian At Least

Gizmodo reports that it's the Aussie atheists who are complaining:

"So Many Australians Are Claiming 'Jedi' as Their Religion That It's Becoming a Problem"

The atheists think the people claiming 'Jedi' are really non-religious, and want them counted as non-religious, in order to swell the reported numbers of the non-religious.

My question is: how can the atheists tell what is in the hearts of these Jedi? Can these atheists read the minds of the Jedi? I think not. That's a Jedi skill, not an atheist skill.

I trust this source
but I do wonder
why is the Force
so strong Down Under?

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Sacrifice

There's a concise "full definition" of the secular meaning of sacrifice at the Merriam & Webster site:

"3 a: destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else"

It's different than what Ayn Rand thought the word meant:

“Sacrifice” is the surrender of a greater value for the sake of a lesser one or of a nonvalue.

Note that Rand's version would be a subset of Merriam Webster's version.

Natural languages are messy, of course. Rand may have been onto something when it came to the word's mid 20th century connotation. But it's clear that a "sacrifice fly" in baseball has nothing to do with Rand's definition, while it fits neatly in Merriam Webster's. I don't wish to put too much importance on baseball idiom, but I think it's clear you could pile up such examples, where sacrifice merely indicates painful but beneficial prioritization.

Of course, Rand was an atheist, so the background metaphor of sacrifice - destroying something to please a divine being - may have predisposed her towards the "nonvalue" definition.

If you don't believe in a god
you may indeed find it odd
that valuable things get burned
with nothing apparent returned.

Monday, August 01, 2016

"Secret Asian Man"

"An FBI electronics technician with a top security clearance pleaded guilty on Monday to funneling photographs of FBI documents and other sensitive information to China."

He should have claimed he had nothing to hide -
And then denied, denied, denied!

Or maybe that was what he tried
Until they proved that he had spied

Not Routinely Seen



He's taking a State Street snooze,
With a perfectly nice pair of shoes,
And some "This Bed Ain't Comfy" blues.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Wasted at 4:15 PM

There were a couple of young rock festival attendees who wandered up to our office floor, looking for an actual women's bathroom. The rock festival has porta-potties. Our office women's bathroom has a push-button combination lock, so they weren't having any luck. One of them was pretty stoned on something already. I tried to point them at the public library, which does have truly public bathrooms, and which is just kitty-corner to our building. I'm not sure they quite understood what I was telling them. They seemed like nice suburban girls, but with their mental clarity impaired.

I don't think alcohol was involved. I would have smelled that.

I was leaving for the day.
Hope you girls got on okay.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Gift Getaway

As a present for Samantha
I purchased one pet pantha.
I had him wrapped and taped,
but somehow he escaped.
If you see him running free,
Please ship him back to me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Two Party Blues

It isn't very inviting to vote
For folks who want to hold your throat. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Upcoming

When does the Zika Olympics begin?
Spray repellant on your skin
And pray the skeeters don't delight
In sucking out your blood at night!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Relief from the Heat

Did the rain bring cool air? Or did a cold front cause precipitation?
Whichever one it was, it improved the situation.

The Importance of Being Earnest

We saw a very funny production of The Importance of Being Earnest from the Dead Writers Theatre Collective, whose byline is "Classic Theatre Resurrected".

The play was well-attended
Despite a terrific storm
And Lady Bracknell was splendid
In truly classic form.

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Heated Question

Why is it that I don't mind
being awake in the heat
but trying to sleep in it
ends in defeat?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lemur Out And About

What?

"A lemur, which potentially escaped from a nearby home, attacked a 21-year-old woman in Florida as she was leaving her home."

It's the prose that bothers me here. "Which potentially escaped"? Wouldn't a normal speaker of English have written "which may have escaped"?

Actually, it's not just the prose that bothers me. It's also the scary prospect of a potential lemur attack.

What would I do if a lemur
chomped down on my femur?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Plymouth Rooftop Bar



Freaky inflatable. 
Marketing value debatable.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Due Diligence

When your speechwriter hands you your text,
Run it through a plagiarism checker next.

It's a bit like buying a term paper online. 
You want to be able to claim "It's mine!"

Monday, July 18, 2016

Putting the Fun in Family Dysfunction

Is it 3, or 4,
Or even more?

At any rate there are lots of
The brothers Karamazov. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Flying Home


Gazing north across Lake Erie
To Canada, in theory -
A land where fields of cactus
Are very rare, in practice.

What Is Going On Behind Those Eyes?

Newborns: little mysteries we are holding
While their natures are unfolding. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Aerial

I'm now a mere gaper
At white water vapor -
Gliding though clouds,
In spectacular crowds. 

As I fly beside them, 
And even inside them, 
They put on their show
Of darkness and glow.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Death in France

The word is that the driver of the truck is dead. Shot to death. Which is fine with me. But from the point of view of poetic justice, he got away easy.

Someone like this
explains very well
why people love
to believe in Hell.

Midway 2AM

It's two in the morning and Midway airport is strangely busy. I gather Chicago had storm activity during the day. My bag seems to be on the next plane from Vegas, which is now expected to land in 15 minutes. 

My beat-up bag
Has suffered a lag. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

At the Atlas Summit

Michael Newberry at the lectern, before the start, 
of his talk about art.


In left foreground is a portrait of Pietros Maneos, by Michael Newberry.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Lake Powell in View



A landscape that's striking
And much to my liking. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Blue Angelic Perfection In Formation

Today I saw a lot of the Blue Angels, the Navy fighter jet "demonstration" team, zooming around the Gary Air Show in tight formations.

We were at a beach in Indiana, just outside Gary. I know these shows they put on are actually a bit dangerous, but today, as usual, it all went without a hitch.

Well, there was the smallest hitch:
I got a bit sunburn. It's starting to itch.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Today's BLM March



It's hard to see it from this photo, but the members of this small protest were mostly Caucasians, including the guy carrying a big Black Panthers placard.

I was working, so I was glad they didn't make much noise going by. 

It's hard to be really loud
With a not-too-big crowd. 

Bomb Bot

The Dallas police killed the shooter by sending in a "bomb robot" with a bomb attached - and setting off the bomb.

Technology marches on.

I think this would have violated one of Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics. Particlularly number one: "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm."

But those were laws for robots with "positronic" brains - robots who actually had the ability to understand what they were doing. This wasn't that sort of robot at all. This was basically a remote controlled device.

When you're shooting it out with the cops
And all the action stops
So they can send you a bot...

Will it be friendly? I think not.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Sound Science

I guess I believe this:

"The Loudest Sound In The World Would Kill You On The Spot"

Fortunately, this hasn't been weaponized yet. As far as I know.

But it does raise a twist on an old philosophical question:

If a sound kills you in the forest,
did you really hear it?

Did you have time to process it,
before it expelled your spirit?

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Healthy Eating Contest

I like leafy vegetables, but I have my doubts about this:

"Competitors sanctioned by Major League Eating are famous for downing hot dogs by the dozen but will compete for the Kale Cup at this year's Taste of Buffalo food festival on Saturday."

Who can eat the most kale?
I think I could snarf up a pail.

But when it comes to amusing the crowd,
I fear that this contest will fail.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Rhyming Candidate

A certain candidate for prez made a rhyme, some time back, but due to today's events it has gained new currency:

"There should be no bank too big to fail
and no individual too big to jail."


A complete lack of penalization
does give an awkward appearance.

Could we do a short revocation
of her security clearance?

Monday, July 04, 2016

Wherefrom

An exchange I've always admired, from the Star Trek movie where they take the ship back to the 20th century:

Dr. Gillian Taylor: Don't tell me! You're from outer space. 
Kirk: No, I'm from Iowa. I only work in outer space.

She thinks he's full of it as I recall.

And he is so down to earth,
Naming his state of birth. 

Saturday, July 02, 2016

What's the Buzz

The business of the bee
Is visiting the clover
And sipping out the nectar -
Nature's secret treat. 

The hive's a factory
Where nectar is the input
And honey is the output
So baby bees can eat.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Reading

At a play reading tonight, not one of mine by the way, I got to read the stage directions and the part of Madam Curie.

A visitor from
Days yet to come
Made it exciting
With demonic fighting. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Turnover

June, goodbye. 
Hello, July. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bigfoot

There's a new book out. I saw it today at the library: Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot. It's from the U of Nebraska press, and I suspect it's gently skeptical.

The books's blurb begins: "Bigfoot sightings have been reported in every state except Hawaii."

He's visited all the other states in the nation!
Doesn't Bigfoot deserve a Hawaiian vacation?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Alliterative

Old English verse - an assault on the ear. 
Consonants clanging like rocks in a can. 
Rhythm so rough that you're ready to retch. 
Stop it, you yell, but it's just getting started. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

No Substitute

There's nothing like data in hand
To disprove claims that are canned. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

50th Reunion

I attended a 50th reunion for my elementary school class yesterday evening. Had a lot of fun. Someone had preserved a mimeographed "prophecy book" in which it turned out that my occupation was Parakeet Psychiatrist.

In that alternate life
When a pretty bird goes insane
I am the man brought in
To diagnose its brain.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brentry

Is it too late, to let England in as the 51st state?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Suicidal

Sinéad O'Connor, a singer with a big hit and a stretch of fame, is now living somewhere in the Chicago area, and she is making news in a scary way:

"Chicago police received a call from police in Dublin, Ireland, stating that the singer had apparently threatened to jump off a bridge in Chicago."

Don't take the dive.
Stop, please, and think.
It's a cold dirty drink.
Step back from the brink.
Stay alive.

Cognitive Dissonance

An oddly disguised purported gay lover has come forward in the Orlando murderer case, claiming the act of terrorism was really revenge against Puerto Rican gays.

So from listening to this alleged buddy with benefits, I'm supposed to infer that all those pledges of allegiance to the Islamic State were just... a way to disguise his true motives?

Well, I'm willing to believe that the killer was full of hate,
But that's just one more reason to support the Islamic State. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Misdirected

My daughter, who no longer lives with us, got a letter at our house, which had, printed on the outside, this message: Important Medicare Decision Coming Up For You!

It's not Official Correspondence from the Feds. It's somebody with a product to sell, I can tell. 

It's rather early in my daughter's life. 
Somehow they've got her mixed up with my wife!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Motivation

The Orlando terrorist, in his 3 calls to 911, in which he was so insistent about declaring his allegiance to the Islamic State, somehow didn't say anything about wanting to kill gays or Latinos in particular.

Beware of thunderous lectures
Based on early conjectures. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

HFD

As a father you get all the fun of bringing new life to the earth, 
without the extra exercise of personally giving birth.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Life

My wife is now a grandma, which makes me... 
Almost the same word but with a P.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Trouble Ink

A local Will County employee has been charged with pilfering and reselling thousands of dollars of printer ink cartridges. 

I'm not sure how many cartridges that is. They always seem expensive. 

Liquid gold,
Lifted, resold. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cold Front

I felt the cold roll in
Upon a sudden breeze.

A drop of ten degrees
Raised goosebumps on my skin.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Unreal

When you see pigs fly
Across the blue sky
You've gotten too high. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Putting the Pain in Campaign

Let us unleash memes upon each other,
as long as none of them insult my mother.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Could This Be The Year?

It's June and the Cubbies are leading their league. 
I hope that July does not bring great fatigue. 
I hope that in August they haven't gone bust. 
An autumnal pennant - I'd say that's a must!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunset 50k

You do 5k and then, 
You do it again and again,
Till your total of loops is ten.

Here's me completing a charming 50k in Valparaiso, Indiana. I came in second to last, but won my age group, since I was the only finisher in that group. 


Friday, June 10, 2016

Copleston's History of Philosophy

There's a massive history of philosophy, running to probably 4500 pages, by Frederick Copleston, S.J., a Thomist Jesuit. I've had it on my shelf staring at me for the longest time. And for some reason I picked it up the other day and now I'm 110 pages in. I'm through the pre-Socratics. I'm into Socrates!

The first history of philosophy I ever read was the one by Bertrand Russell. It was kind of an eye-opener for me. I was in high school, so I didn't know anything. Russell was a very chatty guide, very opinionated. Copleston is a more sober guide, careful about giving his opinions, although he definitely gives them.

Copleston seems to be the most encyclopedic of the popular histories of philosophy. I have the sense that he is sometimes approached more as an encyclopedia than as a book to read through. Well, we will see if I can keep it up to the end.

Why am I reading this book? Why now?

I don't know.
But here I go.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Humor Not Fully Globalized

I was reading a bit about a contemporary French playwright. There was a story about her being worried whether she had been translated quite correctly into English, since English audiences were laughing at different points in the play than French audiences.

I figure it wasn't really about the translation,
just different senses of humor in each nation.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Running to Gain Weight

After a long hard run, a day or two after, I find my weight goes up, by a few pounds. This is not what I expect, except that I have come to expect it. I think it has to do with my leg muscles being sore - inflammation or something, extra water retained in my quads and hams.

I don't know why, but without fail
my weight goes high on the scale.

Ok, I googled it, and my hypotheses are proposed by others as well. I didn't see a scientific study on the topic, but it's widely reported as an effect.

It isn't just me.
I have company.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Link Seen

"Celebs react"... to something Trump said.

Of course, he's a celeb too.

I resisted the urge to click on the bait.
I think it's wiser to sit and wait.
In about a week we'll no longer care
What they felt was so important to share.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

The Eviller Twin

I went to see The Eviller Twin today, a play, by Sue Cargill, about identical twins, one of whom was indeed, it turned out, rather evil. It was a comedy, of the dark variety. I found it quite enjoyable.

The identical twins were played by two women of only passing resemblance, and matching wigs, but that worked out fine. In effect, you were just asked to imagine that they were identical. I think as a writer I would have hesitated to do something like that, but as an audience member I accepted it right away.

The other question in my mind was whether the word was "eviler" or "eviller". It turns out they're both acceptable, somewhere or other, though I would always be inclined toward saying "more evil" for the comparative.

I think it's better with the double L,
since that gives eviller something in common with Hell.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

The Producers

Friday, June 03, 2016

Backlash

I think this is true:

"Americans admire protest movements and civil disobedience, but they draw the line at violence, so harassing and beating up Trump supporters could do him a lot of good."

Somehow, while it's right wing violence that the pundits mostly fear,
it's left wing violence that more often decides to appear.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Fake But Effective

"Medical mystery: Why are placebos becoming more effective?"

Improvement is most pronounced in the USA.
Placebos are getting better - hip, hip, hooray!
Or are we getting more trusting? No one can say.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Rat Fink Kid

Son drops a dime on dear old dad:

Massachusetts boy, 5, calls 911 to report 'Daddy went through a red light'

Putting him up for adoption
may be the best option.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Kangaroo vs. Cyclists

Great headline from Australia:

Cyclist says she and friend injured when jumped by kangaroo


The two women were hurt, but not too badly:

Heinrich said she broke three ribs and will undergo surgery on Thursday to replace ruptured breast implants. "They worked as air bags and have been ruptured by the ordeal," Heinrich joked.

Giant jumpers with pouches
can cause big ouches.

Steer clear. If you get in their way,
you'll roo the day.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial

I've noticed a drift on Memorial Day to people speaking as if it were Veterans Day. But it's not a day for people who served in uniform. It's not even a day for people who took terrible risks or suffered injuries. It's a day for remembering a subset of those groups, namely the people who actually died.

One of the costs of every war
is brave men who are no more.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

All Mixed Up Ahead

I had a good meeting today with an experienced theater guy about lining up a theater space for our upcoming production. When I say "our", I've got Denise Smolarek in mind, since she has signed on to direct. She did a great job directing my 10-minute "lesbian expecting a baby" play, in Theatre of Women 8. So I expect she'll be perfect for my full-length "lesbian expecting a baby" play.



That's just a placeholder cartoon, from here. We don't have a cast yet, after all, although both of us have some potential people in mind. It's way early at this point. We're scheduling for an October opening, with auditions maybe in July.

The clock is ticking. The play is expected.
Still, a cast must be selected.

Friday, May 27, 2016

In English: Re-run

Déjà vu: 
The sense that you
Are living again
What you did back then.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Superdog in Doghouse

There's a long-running story here, in Chicagoland, about financial shenanigans at the south suburban Lincoln-Way high school district.

One of the oddest features of the story has to do with Superdog!

'Superdog is a dog training school housed in a barn at Lincoln-Way North. [A former superintendent], who retired from the district in 2013, created Superdog without board knowledge or approval and it had "no student benefit"...'

Apparently it may have had some benefit for the former superintendent, who seems to have spent official money on this private project.

Local Chicago Tribune reporter, Gregory Pratt, has been all over the many-splendored story of Lincoln-Way, which includes wonders besides Superdog. But Superdog is my favorite.

And now the Feds have decided to take a sniff at it too, issuing subpoenas for records relating to the school district's dealings with Superdog.

A dogged reporter's exposé,
of strange goings on at Lincoln-Way,
has left poor Superdog
facing a federal slog.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Community Service

A friend has a son in a Chicago public high school where the students are all required to put in some hours of "community service." So what was he doing this week for community service? He was marching for a 15 dollar minimum wage, which of course somebody at the school had organized.

At this stage,
couldn't we use a one thousand dollar minimum wage?

Its absence fills me with insane rage.

Lack of Authority

Sports Authority is having a big going-out-of-business sale. 

I think I'll buy a kayak, 
and paddle my way to Nyack.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Dino Appearance

Some researchers are claiming that dinosaurs had lips which covered their teeth.

It's good they had lips on their faces
To cover their teeth
But I fear they still they needed braces
Underneath. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Moon and Mars



The Moon and Mars
outshine the stars,
but they only look bright
by bouncing the light
of what's out of sight
at night:

a star, the nearest one,
also known as the Sun.

Failure to Prove

“It seems that people have this warped idea of vegans being malnourished and weak,” she said. “By climbing the seven summits we want to prove that vegans can do anything and more.”

Dead on Everest.

I'm not saying veganism caused her death. But it seems safe to say that veganism is not a universal antidote to severe altitude sickness.

I've done some triathlons and marathons where someone died, but those events are amazingly safe when you compare them to the death toll on Everest.

Items can only be crossed
while you still exist,
so maybe put this last
on your bucket list.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Snakes on a Postal Route

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat... but snakes are too scary!

Yes, they are harmless garter snakes in a Chicago neighborhood, and there aren't even that many of them, but a snake-phobic carrier was refusing to deliver the mail, and she was being allowed, at least for a while, to get away with that, without having a substitute appointed either.

You can bet that wouldn't fly at FedEx. Or UPS. But at the postal service, it's causing a lack of service.

Great quote from a boss:

"It is irrelevant if the snakes are dangerous or not. Our employees' safety is the utmost priority."

All the reality the post office can readily find,
is that the snakes are deadly in the carrier's mind.

Placard for Seussical the Musical


My little verse, up on the wall: a contribution's a contribution, no matter how small.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Yuri Kochiyama

Google's doodle today honored Yuri Kochiyama.

First link today is to the Wikipedia article, which was good, because I hadn't heard of her:

'Yuri Kochiyama was a Japanese American human rights activist'

'Kochiyama was an outspoken admirer of Mao Zedong.'

In 2003: "I consider Osama bin Laden as one of the people that I admire."'

Human rights?
By my lights
she labored in favor of those who slaughter -
men who let blood flood like water.

Denise Smolarek to Direct

It looks like I've got Denise Smolarek signed up to direct my new play, All Mixed Up. Had a great first meeting. Looking at opening in October.

Very happy to have Denise signed up. 
Now I need to get some space lined up. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Water From Above

I went into a downtown CVS today, planning to make a purchase and to use the Higi station, which is a brand of those free-to-use blood-pressure monitors. My son-in-law works at Higi, so I like to use his product, as a proud and supportive father-in-law.

But my trip was cut short. First of all, the carpet in the CVS, near the Higi station, near the pharmacy desk, had a big puddle. I looked around, and could see the puddle was caused not by a spill but by a leak from overhead - there was water coming down from the drop ceiling panels.

I stepped around the puddle, figuring I could use the machine safely as long as I kept my feet out of the water. I was starting to sign in when I heard a sort of muffled crash. An acoustic ceiling panel had fallen about 10 feet away. Well, that was disheartening. I heard a pharmacist telling a customer to be careful, and then I heard another muffled crash. Sure enough, another panel had dropped.

I studied the ceiling more carefully. There were a bunch of wet panels still up there. Dripping water. So I decided to leave... without successfully measuring my blood pressure at the higi machine. Maybe tomorrow.

I did complete my purchase.

I don't know about you,
but it's my personal feeling,
that it's bad luck
to get hit by a falling ceiling.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Can You Hear It?

During yesterday's marathon, I chatted with a lady volunteer at one of the aid stations. I asked her about the loud cracking sound, and she confirmed it was gun fire.

"Where are you from?" she asked.

I answered: "Chicago. Can you hear it?"

She repeated that to her friends, she thought that was so funny. Of course she could hear it! Ottawa is only an hour and 16 minutes from my house, but it is not a suburb. You're into "downstate" as we call it, even though, if you look at a map, Ottawa is well into the northern region of the state.

New Yorkers do the same thing with "upstate".

Most of the people are here,
clustered around the big city.
Most of the land is out there,
scenery spread green and pretty.

Starved Rock Country Marathon

I ran the Starved Rock Country Marathon yesterday, which took me through Starved Rock Park. It's a lovely run if you like country scenery. It doesn't afford the most spectacular views of the park, but it does take you over the Illinois River twice. Also, you get a lot of countryside and a little bit of small town industrial infrastructure, such as a transformer station. For music, for some miles, there was the resounding shooting of firearms, at either a gun club or a trap shooting event or something.



Overhead, there were large birds of prey. The area is home to American eagles, but I'm not sure if that's what I saw. Whatever they were, they were dark against the sky. Fortunately, I was not a fieldmouse.

It was chilly, in the forties, with a stiff wind. The wind felt tough against your front, and pleasant against your back.

Once again, I was threatened with quad cramps toward the end of the race, a very annoying threat, forcing me to slow down quite a bit. Statistically, these are more likely to come to older, well-trained runners. So I am a statistical fit. After doing some more reading on the topic, I am going to try doing hip extension drills as my new attempted remedy. We shall see.

You're more likely to get quadriceps cramps
When you're a well-trained jogging gramps.

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Price That's Low For A Buffalo

A family in Texas wants to sell its pet American Buffalo for 6 thousand dollars, on the condition that the animal should continue to be able to socialize with people.

Probably it thinks it's a person now. A big, shaggy, half-ton person.

It is described as "housebroken", but...

"Schoeve says Bullet is used to being around people but warns that the big animal should never be left alone inside a house or with children."

This bison
is a nice one,
and the price on it seems fair.

But allow it to roam
all alone in your home...
and your walls may soon not be there.



Film here.