Monday, January 30, 2017

Been Dumb So Long

Been reading fake news
Reading it since I began to crawl
If it wasn't for fake news
I wouldn't have no news at all.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

I Do Not Like A Green Card Ban

I hear they've reversed the peculiar ban on "green card holders" from re-entering the US from countries of concern.

Permanent residents
Welcome back.
Your current president
Cut you slack...
Or maybe realized
He'd overstepped.
Some promises really
Should be kept.

We've had some green card terrorists I believe. And citizen terrorists and every other kind of terrorist. But unless you've got a particular reason to ban particular people, it seems unfair to lock people out while they were on vacation or business trips.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Happy Opening

Cat opened well. We had a nice audience, 3 times the size of the sizable cast, and they laughed a lot, which meant their attention was held. Cat has a lot of humor in the script, but I fear it's not often found.

If you've never seen the show, but would like to, and you live in the area, I recommend it. It's a crisp production with a lot of strong performances.

Critical discussions of the play often focus on its tragic aspects, and it's a grim play in many many ways, but, on the other hand, it's a story about two hard-driving women who have married into a wealthy family who are competing to inherit and control that wealth. Hence, the cattiness. And the more sympathetic of the two unscrupulous women wins at the end. At least, this is the ending in our version! The situation has its comic aspect.

Anyway, slight change of topic, the play has been published in at least three versions, and I was comparing two of them at the library yesterday. I found that the Broadway version had some of "my" lines in the mouth of Big Mama:

"In my day they had what they call the Keeley cure for heavy drinkers. But now I understand they just take some kind of tablets."

In one way it makes sense for me to say this. I'm the doctor in the room. But on Broadway it was a little monologue by Big Mama, thinking about possible treatments for her heavy-drinking son.

There's a follow-up line, one I've written about before:

"They call them 'Annie-bust' tablets."

In the Broadway version, Big Mama said this. In the later version, her other son says this. 'Annie-bust' is a pun on Antabuse, a pun hardly any younger person is going to recognize nowadays, because Antabuse is no longer in favor as a treatment for drinking problems.

Moving dialog from mouth to mouth is something playwrights are given to doing in the process of revision. They want to get some lines into the play, and they're not sure who should say them. In narrative fiction, if you have something you just want to say, you can say it as the narrator. But in stage plays, usually you've got to give your words to a character.

Everyone is accustomed
To a narrator on the page
But he's just another character
When you put him on the stage.

California Dreaming

When California
Secedes by vote
Will they let me visit
Or build a moat?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Opening Tomorrow

It's photographic proof:
Cast on a hot tin roof.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Our murder rate in Chicago has been high lately and now our prez has taken an interest. I'm not sure what he's going to do. Should be interesting.

Our murder rate
Is not so great.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Imagine That

I find that my life lacks
Sufficient alternative facts.
Don't worry, I plan to make
Some up on my coffee break.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Peaceful In Chicago

From what I can tell, the march of women went peacefully here. Some traffic laws were probably broken, some parade permits probably ignored, but none of this burning and breaking that was perpetrated in other towns. Basically a bunch of people gathered in a park then wandered around downtown for a while on a pleasant Saturday.

Our murder rate has been the talk of the nation, lately.
So the peacefulness of this march pleases me greatly.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Peaceful Transfer of (Way Too Much) Power

I have to admit, I was amused by this:

"Here’s the thing: I’m a libertarian. I’ve been surrounded by people who don’t agree with me for as long as I can remember and it has never occurred to me to isolate myself from everyone because of our political differences. Certainly not to assault them. Nor am I filled with anxiety by the thought that people who work in my home might have different political views than mine. To me, you’re all a bunch of fascists. But I’ve somehow learned to live with you."

On the other hand, as Tom Wolfe so pithily put it:

“The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.”

Here I am, at 64, with more faith in my country than a lot of my countrymen seem to have. I don't think this will be the end of freedom here. I think Americans love freedom in their hearts, even when they embrace theories and politicians with tyrannical leanings. And I think James Madison gave them a written constitution that still, after two centuries, gives them the ability to protect freedom.

When I say that Americans love freedom in their hearts, that's a metaphor, that's metonymy, using a body part to stand for a whole self.

As Rand wrote:

'An American is an independent entity. The popular expression of protest against "being pushed around," is emotionally unintelligible to Europeans, who believe that to be pushed around is their natural condition. Emotionally, an American has no concept of service (or of servitude) to anyone. Even if he enlists in the Army and hears it called "service to his country," his feeling is that of a generous aristocrat who chose to do a dangerous task. A European soldier feels that he is doing his duty.'

I think the two-party system has its strengths, and that even though both parties have deep faults, it's important to rotate them periodically. It may not be the best method of self-rule, but it's what we've got.

This president is definitely giving me a science-fiction vibe. I under-estimated the man's ability to get elected. I don't feel that I really understand him, but he does remind me of people I knew when I lived in Queens, which is where he grew up. He's a familiar sort of character in that respect.

My countrymen do not always do what I think is sensible. They have their peculiar enthusiasms. But I grew up with them, I live with them, and on the whole I love their company, those of both parties, and those of no party at all.

Although I'm concerned and a bit perplexed,
I'm waiting to see what happens next.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Breaking Out The Costumes

Big Daddy and Big Mama
Rehearsing the Williams drama.

Tech Week starts this coming Monday, but we finally put on costumes yesterday. That's Wina Shelley and Ken Evans in the photo, and Wina is looking very distressed.

Big Daddy is a rich man
With the manners of a peasant
And when he thinks he's lied to
He's ferociously unpleasant.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Who Will Quit?

I read a report about a survey saying that a quarter or so of the federal workforce might consider quitting due to unhappiness with the Donald.

I think it's like the celebrities who threatened to move to Canada.

I'm not losing any sleep.
Talk is cheap.

Monday, January 16, 2017

A Request

Alif Muhammad made a firm request:
That my next versifying post should be
Iambic, with five feet, since that's the best
Of all the meters found in poetry.
It's what Will Shakespeare used, at any rate,
In Hamlet and the Comedy Of Errors,
And English teachers swear those worked out great.
So let me join the valiant standard-bearers!
I write this in pentameter - I hope!
At least I write it in approximation
Of rhythms used by Wordsworth, Keats, and Pope.
Each turned vague thoughts into an exploration
Of beauty, truth, and how the human soul
Can somehow, through minutiae, grasp the whole.


Now that Bob Dylan
has won the Nobel,
Will Paul Simon be next?
No one can tell.

But it just occurred to me that two of his famous songs make reference to prophetic wall writing.

Early big hit:

"The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"

And years later:

"When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
It's a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of education
Hasn't hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall"

So, was the second a reference to the first?

That was my "duh!" of the day.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Pitch Accent

Japanese has something we call "pitch accent". And when I say, "we", I mean people who know something about it, which actually excludes me.

Somehow it's different than the "tones" in Chinese.

Japanese has words which are the same two syllables, but mean distinctly different things when you pronounce them with different pitches.

"Hashi" can mean chopsticks, bridge, or edge, depending upon pitch.

We have some roughly parallel things in English, having to do with accent or emphasis. "Conduct" can be a verb or a noun, spelled the same, but pronounced differently: "He was supposed to conduct the school orchestra, but was expelled for bad conduct."

English isn't easy - at least that's what I've heard.
But somehow babies learn it, so I fear this view's absurd.
Best of all, it doesn't contain a single foreign word.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Waiting For The Call

I hear we're going to have a celebrity-lite inauguration.

I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of the inaugural fuss that has ballooned over the years, and I haven't paid it much attention. I mostly remember that Robert Frost read a poem at Kennedy's inauguration, and that Maya Angelou read one at somebody else's.

Trump has not yet invited me
To his inauguration.
I'd gladly write some poetry
For this divided nation.
I'll even do it all for free
With perfect punctuation,
But maybe one obscenity
To cause a big sensation.

Doc Baugh Softens

Doc Baugh's role in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is not a big one, and functionally he's kind of like a messenger in a Greek tragedy, the guy who delivers the bad news. In this case, the bad news is that Big Daddy has terminal cancer.

I find my portrayal of him, in our new production, is different than last time. I don't think it's so much that my interpretation has changed. I think it's that everybody around me has changed.

In the prior production, Big Mama seemed less willing to accept my bad news - seemed ferociously in denial - and I countered by being ferociously assertive.

A friend of mine, commenting on my performance, said something like: "Well, everyone else was being an a-hole, so why shouldn't you be one too?"

With changes of cast, you must
Let your self adjust.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Easy Entry Dog Door Blues

Door for pooch
Lets burglar scooch.

"Home surveillance cameras capture thieves in Peoria who entered through dog door, left dog outside"

There's great video, because the victim had a lot of security cameras in place. And he had a big dog in the place, which comes out of the door before the burglar goes in. But the dog, perhaps a golden retriever type, seems to be pretty friendly, perhaps because the burglar brought treats.

A dog door for a Dachshund might
Be small enough to be all right
But a door big enough for a Golden
May result in your stuff getting stolen.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


"A teenage girl who slipped into an abandoned Illinois prison for an urban adventure ended up serving a short sentence when she accidentally locked herself inside a cell."

Firefighters rescued her. Now she faces trespassing charges.

Perhaps when she is brought up for this crime,
She can say "I've already done my time."

Yahoo, We Hardly Knew You

Headline news:

"Marissa Mayer leaving Yahoo board after sale to Verizon; Yahoo will change name to Altaba"

Altaba? Is that supposed to sound like all these other "alt" things? Is it just me, or do a lot of these other alt things seem like they aren't all that different, just slightly repackaged versions of the old things?

I take the prefix "alt"
With a healthy dash of salt.

I'm skeptical. That's my fault.

Monday, January 09, 2017


Last month in Florida:

"Melissa Kitcher had full intentions of completing her first half-marathon Sunday, but it's safe to say she pictured it ending a little bit differently. Kitcher went missing for nearly 12 hours after running off the trail during the Trail Hog Half-Marathon at the Carlton Reserve near Venice in Sarasota County, Florida."

Her phone died just before the race started. So, that was a contributing factor.

I've taken some turns that were wrong
But none that went on quite so long.

A Puzzle

If you are only acquaintances,
Is it legal to play Words With Friends?
(When you are in my brain space,
The questioning never ends!)

Friday, January 06, 2017


Alt right, Alt left, Alt reality. Maybe it's because I've been watching the Amazon series, The Man In The High Castle, maybe it's just because American politics has taken such a surprising turn with the Trump victory, but lately I've been thinking about the wacky theory that alternate realities, very much like our own, exist.

So, in the alternate reality I contemplate, Trump lost.

In our real reality, there are rumors circulating that Hillary Clinton is thinking about running to be mayor of America's largest city.

Somehow I find it haunting
That on some alternate reality fork,
It's Trump who tweets about wanting
To be the Mayor of New York.

Weather Report

Cold, cold, cold. 

Gets old, old, old. 

Or could that just be me?

I wish it were seventy. 

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year's Day

Slug found
On ground.

Well, more precisely, found on the street, in a neighboring suburb, while I was out doing a New Year's Day jog. I suspect someone was celebrating last night by shooting their 9 millimeter pistol into the air.

I'm guessing about the caliber, but I included a dime in the picture for a visual size reference.

I looked up an article, about whether a bullet shot into the air could kill you, which said that it would be almost impossible - if the shooter aimed straight up. But if the shooter aimed at a 45 degree angle, the consensus was that would be pretty dangerous. Anyway, I don't think this one hit anybody, although it looks like it got scratched up somehow.

Maybe they could lessen the chance of someone getting hurt
By shooting it downward into the dirt.