Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Who Pays The Piper

Logical, given the incentives:
Facing severe budget cuts from the state around 2010, University of California campuses started increasing their admission of out-of-state students, who pay much higher tuition rates than do California residents.
But as it turns out, a lot of Californians are unhappy about this.

It's only a matter of fiscal prudence
to strongly favor out-of-state students.

Matchmakers With Dirty Shirts

Common scents dating:

Love at first whiff is the idea behind Smell Dating, a New York matchmaking service that promises to help single people sniff out their perfect match by breathing in the odors from dirty T-shirts.

But it is real, or is it... art? It's described as "an art project". In other words, it's what we used to call a glorified publicity stunt.

What's true is that scientists have been trying to test human olfactory attraction/repulsion for a while now, often using clothes with body odor. My impression is that the results are less than impressive.

Love is in the air - that's the theory.
But I admit I'm feeling kind of leery.

Monday, March 28, 2016

What Remains


Radar scan of Shakespeare's grave confirms skull apparently missing

I suppose now they'll start campaigning to dig him up, to see if the scan is right.

Alas, poor Shakespeare
were there mistakes here?

Or is it true some thief has fled
with your venerated head?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Trail Running Hazard

On the slippery, hilly 25k trail run yesterday, I walked for a minute with a runner who had fallen and broken a ring finger. It was snapped sideways. I asked her if it hurt and she said not really, that she had given birth twice without drugs, so this wasn't the most painful thing she'd done.

It looked kind of like this:

I have to say her attitude seemed great.
I hope the docs have got her finger straight.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Kitties in Space Team

L to R, Roy Rainey as Mittens and Nick Hassebrock as Socks. That's catnip in the plastic bag that Mittens is holding. The best catnip in the galaxy, they say, grown under a dome on Mars.

L to R, we once again see our kitties, Roy Rainey as Mittens and Nick Hassebrock as Socks, and then we see our invasive mice, Ross Childs as Twitchy and Vincent Greco as Pinkie.

I have to say, the play is over the top, and the actors really went with it, taking it WAY over the top.

I'm sure a major thank you is due to the young woman who directed it, Sarah Patin. I didn't attend any rehearsals, so I didn't get to see her working, but she obviously did something right, because the show is getting a lot of laughs at the festival.

Also, I should thank Gannon Reedy, who organized and curated the "Doing Drugs And Dying In Space" festival for Runaways Lab. He invited me to submit a play, and then accepted the one I wrote for him, and somehow found a new space for this show and made it all happen.

They took a script that was deeply absurd
and tuned it till the engine purred.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Festival Opens With Kitties

That's one of the actors playing one of the sentient felines in Kitties in Space, which is part of the Doing Drugs And Dying In Space festival of short plays from Runaways Lab Theatre. The show, consisting of 12, or was it 13, short plays, runs 3 more nights - including Easter! Maybe I should have written a bunny into my play.

The actors in my piece were hilarious, really channeling their animal spirits. I think Sarah Patin, who directed, did all kinds of awesome.

I enjoyed a lot of the other pieces too. Many were funny. Many were thought provoking, or touching, or even scary.

Like a kitty leaping from its haunches,
the festival launches.

Update, The Cast:

Twitchy: Ross Childs
Socks: Nick Hasselbrock
Pinkie: Vincent Greco
Mittens: Roy Rainey

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Canine Tenacity

The dogged pursuit of your goals
Can sometimes involve digging holes. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Othello Live

We saw Othello the other day, live. Maybe the first time I've seen it live.

I really wished that just this once
our hero wasn't such a dunce
and instead let his doting wife
hold onto her life.

Monday, March 21, 2016


Springtime is here, and for some reason so are the ants. Maybe it's a newly invasive species, but for the last few years everyone around here has complained about springtime invasions from ants - into their houses! And our house is no different.

I'm glad I'm still wearing my white shirt from work today, because when the ants go crawling on it, they make easy targets.

Were I a scientist, begging for grants,
I would be sure to blame the ants' swarming
on global warming.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

PC Joke

What kind of computer never gets hoarse
and sings very well?
Of course,
it's a Dell.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Prosecutor of Prostitutes Nailed as John

In lovely Lansing, Michigan:
Prosecutor known for fighting prostitution charged with paying for sex hundreds of times
It's a recurring sort of story. He's a hypocrite, no doubt. But some of these people I think are something more - they are people of two wills. They really do disapprove of prostitution, but they are also really drawn to it. In a way, it's got its own logic: you most attack the sin that most attracts you.

My prediction:
he'll claim addiction.

But this will fail,
and he'll go to jail.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Kitties in Space, Publicity Hounds

Gannon Reedy did this great poster for my upcoming show:

And somebody, perhaps the director, Sarah Patin, wrote this perfectly accurate blurb:

"Space Kitties Mittens and Socks get loaded on catnip and face off against a pair of cocaine addled mice on a space shuttle carrying a doomsday device of immense potency."

Play by John Enright
playing at
MARCH 24 - 27
#spaceritual #ddadis

Cocaine addled mice
are not nice.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

On Pi Day

e complains that February 7th wasn't a day of internet fun. 
But it doesn't have a name with a tasty pastry pun. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016


I don't mind daylight savings,
but the next few morns make me weep,
when I am full of cravings,
for just a little more sleep.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Brown on the Disrupters

Speech disrupters in Chicago yesterday managed to derail a big Trump rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago. So Trump cancelled it.

Today, in the press, the people who play at being responsible are mostly trying to blame it on Trump, who apparently brought it on himself. In other words, they're saying he was asking for it.

A fair number of left-leaning friends of mine are happy that his rally was disrupted.

I think the most astute comments I've seen were from Mark Brown, a local columnist for the Sun-Times. He is no friend of Trump.

To be clear, I’m glad people came out to protest Trump. I was hoping for it.

But as I watched an elderly man with a walker trying in vain to return to his car because idiots were running wild through the parking garage where many of Trump’s fans parked their cars, I was ashamed.

“This is what free speech looks like!” shouted a leader of the protesters on his megaphone while the old man asked the police if it was safe yet to get to his car.

I hope this isn’t what free speech looks like.

Brown argues that this is just the sort of thing that lends energy to the Trump campaign, and I think he's right about that. It was a prime example of political correctness, of unwelcome speech being shut down by a mobilized left. And one of the big things motivating Trump voters is that they're sick of it.

The idea behind free speech is to let people go on talking
even if you think it's offensive squawking.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Update Aggravation from Microsoft

A Windows 7 PC updated itself to Windows 10. Not my PC, a client's. I didn't think it was supposed to do that.

A certain important program doesn't run in Windows 10. Probably it can be made to run, but that will take some work.

So I restored the machine to Windows 7. Which seemed to be straightforward and relatively successful. The important program ran again.

But now the PC is complaining that it doesn't have a legitimate copy of Windows 7. It does, mind you. It's just suffering from some kind amnesia.

Microsoft is being delusively protective,
and this update process was sadly defective.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Cockrell Hills Public Library

I'm rereading a book, A Poetics for Screenwriters, and the copy I'm reading is a like-new copy that has a label for the Cockrell Hills Public Library. I wondered where on earth that was, and I believe I found it:

It pleased me unreasonably to get a look
at this intermediate source of my book.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Reading Shakespeare Is Hard

Handwriting styles are far from immutable,
and Shakespeare's is now nearly inscrutable.

Here is Will's will, courtesy of Wikipedia:

The Wall St. Journal had an article today about Heather Wolfe, an expert in "Secretary Hand", which is the style of cursive used by Elizabethans.

I was amused by this account of her studies in Cambridge, England:

'She thought she would be reading Shakespeare plays. Instead, she was immersed in the archives, learning how to read 400-year-old handwriting. “I had never heard of paleography,” the study of historical handwriting, she said. “There is an addictive quality to it, once you learn how to read it.”'

Who knew old handwriting
could be so exciting?

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Menander and Aristotle

I came across an interesting article, by Masahiro Kitano, on Aristotle's Theory of Comedy. The part that really interested me was this bit of speculation:

"Menander, as a student of the Peripatetic school, might have known Aristotelian Poetics, including the lost book. Menanderian comedy might well have constituted an answer to the Aristotelian censure of the comic genre in earlier period." (PDF)

Menander was a major innovator in Ancient Greek comedy. He's one of the guys who led the way with "new comedy" in the world of ancient comedy, which you can see as directly influencing most of the comedies we watch today.

I'd had no idea he might be influenced directly by Aristotle, but his Wikipedia article does say he was a friend of Aristotle's successor, Theophrastus, so maybe there is something to this hypothesis.

It's funny that scholars call it "new"
since that's strictly an ancient view.

To A Class Room Metaphysician

I have the following poem in some friend's handwriting. I recall that he wrote it out for me, but I don't remember now who that was. It was long ago. I can't find the poem on the net, so I've typed it here, because I think it's hilarious, at least if you've spent any time reading philosophy books. It does include, I think, a couple of obscene puns, but if you don't get them, the poem still works. Henry Morton Robinson, to whom it's attributed, is the name of a prof who taught at Columbia University, who died in 1961. I was there in the early 1970's, so I suspect it was some friend at Columbia who passed it on to me. By the way, "to pull a phiz" means "to make a face".

To A Class Room Metaphysician
by Henry Morton Robinson

In the realm of metaphysics I enjoy a daily stroll
Around the rim of Socrates' dominion,
Where philosophers, indulging in catharsis of the soul,
Distinguish cosmic truth from mere opinion.
On the Nature of Reality these gentlemen are hot,
Each local Plato pulls a solemn phiz
While discussing in his lectures the Nothingness of Nothingness
And the fundamental Isness of the Is.

Oh, the Ain'tness of the Wasn't,
And the Isness of the Ain't,
And the Don'tness of the Doesn't
Make your inner spirit faint,
While hyour tongue gets thickly coated
With a philosophic fuzz
Gained by chewing on the problem
Of the Dizziness of Does.

“Appearances are Many, but Reality is One”
Is the essence of a hundred thousand pages;
When you learn this little formula you think your task is done,
But you get a rude upheaval from the sages,
Who feel duty-bound to ask you in the mid-semester quiz,
(Without apparent vestige of a cause),
“What is the true conception of the Eleatic Is
In relation to their doctrine of the Was?”

Oh, the A-ness of the B
And the P-ness of the Q
Open dialectic vistas
That your eyes cannot see through,
From whence loose metaphysics
And Syllogisms roll,
Deducing from the A-ness
The nature of the Whole.

Let me recommend philosophy to those who rather doubt
The appearances of Seeming and of Being;
If you really would decipher wotinell it's all about
And appreciate the TRUTH of what you're seeing,
You should decorate your discourse with a dualistic fringe,
Ambiguous and equivocal, and pause
To affirm in every sentence that Reality must hinge
On this esoteric business
Of the Isness
Of the Was,
On the sempiternal Isness of the Was.

Gold Heist

My wife alerted me to this story. Sounds like a comedy heist film.

Thieves intercepted a truck carrying 275 pounds of gold from North Carolina to Boston. To make their job easy, the thieves installed a GPS device under the truck, to track their target. And they also installed a remote-control pepper-spray inside the truck, to force the driver of the truck to pull over to the side of the road.

Anyway, the thieves pretended to be police, captured the truck security guards, and tied the driver and guards up in the woods next to the road.

"Then the robbers put out orange traffic cones (pictured) to make the stopped truck appear innocuous, and wore reflective clothing to appear as though they belonged on the roadside, too, according to the affidavit"

The police say they've caught the ringleader. But they're still trying to catch 2 other bad guys. And the gold. They're still trying to find the gold.

Where do you buy remote-control pepper-spray?
And what do most people do with it, anyway?

Sunday, March 06, 2016


Upon the Ides of March,
underneath a Roman arch,
Julius Caesar met his end,
stabbed, indeed, by a former friend,
and senators galore
who stained the steps with gore.

The republic, alas, they could not restore.

A Doll's House at Loyola

I went to see Ibsen's A Doll's House in a production at Chicago's Loyola University. I'm a fan of Ibsen, but it had been a long time since I read or seen the play, and there were some striking parts that I didn't remember. So even though I knew how the final scene would play out, some of the subplot kept me guessing.

I liked Jessie Ellingsen as Nora and Rodrigo Arreola as Dr. Rank.

I can't tell you whose translation it was. That information didn't seem to be in the program. At least, it wasn't prominent.

As for the direction, I guess I would say I mostly liked it.

But the director has qualms about dramatic realism. She's concerned about criticisms that realism is sexist and homophobic and so forth. I guess for this reason she added some nonrealistic touches, most of which didn't distract me too badly. But right at the end she decided to pile the nonrealism on - right in the middle of Nora's big explanation of why she's walking out on her family. Her explanation is a classic Ibsen - with strong "individual vs. society" overtones. And what did the director do? She had "offstage" actors repeat some of Nora's more striking lines, even though the characters those actors are playing would probably not agree with Nora's bold declarations.

I think that Nora's words,
Should be her words alone.
Every time the cast chimed in,
I felt an inner groan.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Scheduling Issues

Why didn't they arrange the first landing on the moon,
to occur in June?

That would have been the best time,
in regard to rhyme.

But, no, they chose July.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Bye Bye, Liver

After many years of seeing it advertised, I finally went to see "Bye Bye, Liver" tonight. I'm not the target audience - that would be young people who frequent the bar scene. It's advertised as a "drinking play" but it's really an evening of sketch comedy interspersed with audience participation in various forms of humorous contest.

I found parts of it very funny. I was bent over laughing a few times.

I went because I wanted to see Megan Renner Rieck perform. She was the understudy at my last play reading, so I didn't get to see her perform at the reading, so this was my chance. She was hilarious.

There was actually a moral to the show. When you're sober, you're brain is super intelligent and clear thinking.

When your brain's on alcohol,
expect your smarts to take a fall.

Thursday, March 03, 2016


This is not confidence-inspiring:

"The IRS is using a system that was hacked to protect victims of a hack—and it was just hacked"

Your identity data was stolen in that huge IRS hack? No problem. The IRS will issue you a secret PIN number that you can use to prove it's really you when it's time to get your refund. And what if you forget your PIN? No problem. The IRS has a system where you can answer some questions to get your PIN back.

One problem: that last system is the one that got hacked in the first place.

"Wittrock said she found out her IP PIN had been compromised by thieves this year after she tried to file her tax return on Feb. 25, 2016. Turns out, the crooks beat her to the punch by more than three weeks, filing a large refund request with the IRS on Feb. 2, 2016."

When your system's not secure,
your secrets won't endure.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Lab Test

Of course, I laughed.

The Lab will grab the food,
and do a fast test
in a most happy mood.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

19 Days

Winter is a wonderful thing
that really makes me long for spring.