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


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

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.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Illegal Primes

Of course it has to do with primes that are used to encrypt stuff:

"The possession of certain prime numbers is illegal in the US. For instance, one of these primes can be used to break a DVD's copyright encryption."

Basically, it's because a particular (very large) prime number can be used as a password to unlock stuff that someone intended to keep locked. Of course, you don't just need the number, you need to know what it unlocks, and how to do it.

If someone just sends you a big prime, and tells you there's something valuable you could get with it, it's a bit like someone sending you a safety deposit box key - with no indication of what bank you need to visit.

It's not clear to me, anyway, that anyone has been sent to jail just for possessing one of these numbers. But I've heard some of these laws are written broadly.

If I had an illegal prime,
I'd try my best to make it rhyme,
but that I fear might make it worse -
since that would be illegal verse.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tonight's Lesson

Do not change the bulb until,
you've verify the lamp is still,
plugged into a power source.

I learned this the hard way, of course.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Monday, May 09, 2016

Identity Politics

I'm seeing arguments that try to link Trump to white identity politics of the European variety. I guess it's another way to go Godwin and call him a Nazi.

I'm not one of his fans. But this seems like a smear.
People are scared of him, that much is clear.

As for the idea, pushed by many academics, that identity politics can be virtuous for one group of people, and evil for another group... that idea, however argued for, is implausible at first glance, and does not improve with careful scrutiny. It is based on false premises, leads to bad practices, and ultimately, if accepted widely, leads to a tyranny of the majority "identity".

I will not say it can't happen here,
but I don't get the sense it's near.


Amoebas have no mothers.
They are not even "born".

And so on every Mothers' Day,
Amoebas feel forlorn. 

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Neanderthal, Etc.

I reportedly have about 4% Neanderthal genes. That's just a little more than the mean for European ancestry.

Which is, roughly, the kind of percentage you would get from having a great great great grandparent who is a fullblooded Neanderthal.

The percentages of average shared DNA lay out like this:

3.125% great great great grandparent
6.25% great great grandparent
12.5% great grandparent
25% grandparent
50% parent

Troglodytes in the family tree,
And back, before that, a chimpanzee!

Such descriptions are inexact,
But rhyme exactly - that's a fact!

Not a Good Way to Pick

Not much rhymes with Clinton. 
That doesn't mean I'm hintin'
She shouldn't be your choice. 
But so much rhymes with Trump...
Including dump and chump...
So if he wins, the rhymers will rejoice. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

As The Parties Shudder

A few weeks ago, Jon Rappoport wrote a proposal for a combined left/right populism ticket:

"Trump plus Bernie? Horrible? Unthinkable?"

Can a "Trump/Bernie" ticket win?
It seems the chances are thin.
But given how the year has gone...
I'll see that sign on someone's lawn.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Wrong Again

You know, well, you might remember, that I was guessing we would see a contested Republican convention. I imagined that things would sort of continue, with Trump not winning majorities, only pluralities. Wrong!

So what happens now on the GOP side? Are they just going to solidify around Trump?

I have a lot of friends who are now planning to vote for Johnson on the Libertarian ticket. They don't expect Johnson to win. But they can't quite vote for either HRC or DT.

As for me, I'm officially undecided,
even though that group is often derided,
I've decided to join their ranks
so the candidates aim their planks
at my array of political beliefs -
and if that happened - that would be a relief!

Cyborg in Training

"When Smartphones Become Too Addictive, Stylish Dumb Phones Offer a Respite"

The MIT review,
says: lower your phone's IQ!
But that's a very hard sell,
since I would get dumber as well.
Most of what I nowadays know,
emerges from my phone's bright glow.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Arsenic and the Elderly Audience

We did our matinee performance of Arsenic & Old Lace yesterday, and as expected we had a lot of older people in the audience, including at least one 90 year old who was celebrating his birthday. And, I must add, he had a very firm handshake.

Unexpectedly, it was a supremely appreciative audience. They laughed a lot. We got laughs on lines that we didn't get laughs on before. There was a big laugh on the line, early on, "This may not be very charitable of me, but I'm beginning to think that Mr. Hitler is not a Christian!"

Of course, a lot of people in this age group actually remember World War II, which is the era in which the play is set. The play's cultural milieu is the one a lot of them grew up in.

A lot of the play's humor has to do with old-fashioned respectability. They remember that. Many of the young have little grasp of it.

The past is an alien land
peculiarly distant
loaded with very firm laws
that are now non-existent.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Directionally Challenged

I sometimes go astray
using GPS apps.
But I went even astrayer
in the days of paper maps.

The Video from Kitties in Space

That's the official video of Kitties in Space, from the Doing Drugs And Dying In Space (DDADIS) festival put on by the fabulous Runaways Lab.

Felines seeking felicity,
encounter rodent duplicity.