Monday, February 29, 2016

Tea Cup Erosion

The other day I was carrying my hot tea with lemon from Dunkin Donuts, and the cup started to leak tea in a way that just baffled me. I poured the tea into a different cup and examined the leaky cup. It appeared to be corrosively eaten away, as if by a chemical. I thought, maybe this was just a defective cup.

But, no. It turns out that lemon oil - which exudes from the peel - can dissolve foam cups.

Which means, I was also drinking some liquefied cup,
while I was drinking that lemon tea up.


I did not realize that the Supreme Court got expanded to 11 seats at one point, then pared back down to 9.

There have been 11 seats, but now we're down to 9.
And one is empty, so, appoint me - I'll do fine!

Really, truly, no fooling -
I'll rhyme in every ruling.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

23 & Me

For Christmas my wife got me 23 & me - you know, you swab your cheek and send your DNA to this company, and they make some SWAGs about your chromosomes.

There weren't any big surprises. The vast majority of my selfish genes appear to be Northwestern European, mostly British and Irish.

But there were a few tiny surprises:

They gave me Ashkenazi Jewish and Asian/American Indian ancestry. But both were less than half of one percent. If I did my math right, that means that somewhere back in the 1700s, at the great-great-great-etc. level, my family tree had some exotic branches.

I was also kind of surprised when they told me that, as a runner, I was a sprinter - that I have a big supply of fast-twitch muscles. I've never had my muscles tested for their twitchiness, but in my youth it was sprinting that I was good at. Even today, the longer the race, the less "competitive" I am. So I wasn't surprised at the result - I was just surprised that they could TELL from my genes.

I've got a report on all sorts of genes,
but mostly nobody knows what it means,
except for these less than helpful hints:
I'm Jewish and Asian and better at sprints.

Friday, February 26, 2016

A Phase

Saw a play which previewed tonight, so I shouldn't "review" it, but I'll say it was well acted, warm, and funny. It's titled A Phase, and it's about a young woman who moves to Chicago after a big break up, kind of a slice-of-life personal-growth piece.

It's presented by the Broken Nose Theatre Company, which runs on a "pay what you can" basis. I bought my ticket "free" online for a 4 buck "service charge".

But I threw in 20 more
while heading out the door.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Play That Wasn't There

I went to see a play tonight. But it wasn't there. It's showing on Thursdays. Except tonight. Which is noted on their website, but not on all those "guides to theatre in Chicago" type websites, which had featured it as one of tonight's performances.

When I got there, there were 3 other people who also seemed to have shown up for the play. They caught an Uber out of there.

I went to see a play that wasn't there,
or maybe I should say that wasn't when,
but if I try to see this play again,
I'll first review their schedule with great care.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Snow less heavy than feared.
Dogs seem happy it hasn't been cleared.

The FBIphone

I think the FBI should make its own phone,
And give them away to those who are felony-prone. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Mysteries of the Organism

Why is it that when I get up one hour early
the rest of the day my brain feels drearily squirrelly?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Uber in the News

A headline from the Chicago Tribune website:

"Uber driver suspected in Michigan shootings that killed 6"

At the moment it's the lead story. I'm not sure why Uber made it into the headline. Is it memories of a certain movie?

Anyway, this guy reportedly started killing people at random in Kalamazoo.

They caught him alive, so I guess we'll get to hear some version of why he did it.

But the truth is, I don't too much care.
Just lock him up somewhere.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Trust Us

Funny headline at Techdirt:

'Trust Us With More Data,' Say Government Agencies Hacked By A 16-Year-Old

I sympathize with the sentiment, except for the part where they harp on the age of the hacker.

Not all teens are slackers.
Some become excellent hackers.
Too young for legal employment,
they turn to illegal enjoyments.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Marsupial Procedural

In a kangaroo court,
justice runs short,
but verdicts of guilt,
charge forth at full tilt.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Big Bills Going Bye Bye

I read where some big government types don't like big government currency. They want to get rid of the 500 Euro note and the 100 dollar bill. Of course, with inflation, those 2 items are worth less all the time. But that's not happening fast enough for people who are worried that financial transactions are taking place that are untraceable by the world's government.

You know, like drug transactions, terrorist transactions, and possibly other perfectly ordinary transactions for people whose credit is shot.

For the smugglers and bad people, I suppose they will find other ways. There's bitcoin, in the new world. And gold coins, in the old world.

The government wants the satisfaction
of knowing they can track
any financial transaction.

Weight Loss for Feline Companions

Apparently many cat owners are afraid to put their overweight kitties on a diet, because they're afraid that their cats won't love them anymore.

The NY Times has reassuring news:

"...a new study in The Journal of Veterinary Behavior suggests that owners need not fear rejection if they restrict their cats’ calories."

They may love you more
if you feed them less.
Can that be true?
The research says yes!

(Your results may vary.
I hope it doesn't turn scary.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Air Force One

We saw Air Force One sitting at the Palm Springs airport. There was also a similar plane, same coloring, but without the 747 head bump. I didn't spot any fighter jets but I've read they sometimes accompany the prez. Nor did I spot the big transport plane which is reportedly necessary to lug the armored limo around. 

An armored limo would give me a sense of class. 
But I'm afraid it would be a guzzler of gas. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy Some National Holiday

Across the country, it's a semi-celebration
of a holiday with uncertain designation!

Is it President's Day? Presidents' Day? Presidents Day? I know how to say it, but I don't know where the apostrophe goes.

On top of that, the federal government still has it as Washington's Birthday, but the law that put it on a Monday also made sure that it never actually fell on the man's birthday - which would be exactly a week from today.

And a lot of office workers have the day off. But retail workers seem to be busy operating cash registers in the hopes that office workers will show up to buy stuff!

One thing I like about just calling it Washington's Birthday is that it celebrates the man's whole career, which covered a lot more than his 8 years as president.

I mean, if it weren't for his generalship in the revolutionary war, we might well have lost. And we'd all be talking about "colours" instead of "colors".

Here's to General Washington -
He got the revolution done.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

In Joshua Tree National Park

V-day got off to a lovely start
when I spotted this cactus heart.

The Length Of An Hour

People like to say
There are only 24 hours in the day.
Let's make it 100 and be metric all the way!

Or, on second thought,
Maybe we really ought
To go with 32.
It's the binary thing to do.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


In the Getty Villa
They have a golden Scylla. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gravitational Waves

They found gravitational waves, at least they think they did, with an insane experiment involving lasers underground. What they think they found is a gravitational wave caused by a collision of 2 black holes. So the astrophysicists regard it as a huge event.

Deep in underground caves
they detected gravity waves
from black holes crashing, don't you know,
far away and long ago.

Nomenclature Continued

Rename Montana now! I'll give a hint as to how: if New Mexico is a good name for a state, wouldn't a New Canada be first rate?

Tuesday, February 09, 2016


Why is New Hamster the name of a state?
I think Old Gerbil would be great. 

Monday, February 08, 2016

Kinds of Hard

A friend posted something about writing being hard. And it is, of course it is, but I don't think it's like steel - consistently hard. I think it's a discipline with hard parts and fluid parts.

Or maybe steel is a better metaphor than I think it is. In the steel mill it certainly has hot fluid parts and cold hard parts.

Of course, writing is mostly "first-world-problem" hard. Unless you're writing in the third world and you've been condemned to death for writing heresy. Which still happens.

"Hundreds of writers around the world have joined human rights groups in urging Saudi Arabia to release a poet who faces a death sentence on charges of apostasy for his poetry."

People who write Broadway plays live in fear
of a bad review in the New York Times.

But at least they don't fear beheading
for literary crimes.

Friday, February 05, 2016

His Girl Friday

Watching this movie from 1940. The mayor sends "the rifle squad" after the escaped prisoner. 

Before there was SWAT
The rifle squad was hot. 

Thursday, February 04, 2016


Jonathan Haidt interviewed:

'Something like 70 or 75 percent of America is now in a protected group... And now you have to try to explain social problems without saying anything that casts any blame on any member of a protected group.'

It's a disaster to tell people in these groups that they need a lot of special protection. It sets them on the wrong path - the path of complaint rather than the path of performance.

They tell you you're under duress,
and lead you away from success.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Comedy's Mother

There's an old medieval outline which some think is a summary of Aristotle's lost second book of his Poetics.

This is the second modern book I'm reading about this lost second book, but this time I am struck by an odd lack of symmetry in the outline itself. It states:

Tragedy... has pain as its mother.
Comedy... has laughter as its mother .

If you want to have laughter for the mother of comedy, mightn't you pick weeping for the mother of tragedy, especially if you're going for a theory of catharsis, since laughter and weeping are both shakers of your bodily self?

Although, it's true, for almost everyone, weeping is a less frequent experience than laughter. So maybe they are less parallel than I first thought.

Am I talking myself out of my critique?
Was my logic deplorably weak?

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Diversity vs. Inequality

My head hurts:

"But, as pointed out in a correction issued later in the day, Stewart was actually talking about gender inequality in the industry -- not diversity -- in the Variety video."

Does this mean that it was okay for her to say something vaguely critical about women because she is herself a woman, but that she wouldn't say anything about nonwhites because she is white? I think maybe that's what it means.

One strategy for staying out of the soup,
is to only criticize your own group.

Monday, February 01, 2016

The Voting Begins

Fortunately, a big river separates Illinois from Iowa, so we haven't had to put up with candidates crisscrossing our land, hats in hand, kissing our babies, seeking our votes.

The idea of someone seeking my vote
at the moment seems remote.