Monday, May 29, 2017

Ridge Run Results

Well, today's 10k + 5k local extravaganza hasn't posted official online results yet, and I know I got thoroughly beat because there were a lot of fast people there. It was a "CARA Circuit" race, which attracts the city's speedy set. But I had a good time, and good times, for me.

After the an earlier forecast of off-and-o rain, we got nothing but sunshine for a beautiful day in the neighborhood. When I was done running, I actually joined the Memorial Day Parade down Longwood Drive, stepping in with the contingent from Council Oak Montessori, an institution dear to my heart.

There were speakers at the park, emphasizing the historical meaning of the day - honoring the war dead. I've noticed a drift away from remembering that - even though the holiday's name means remembering.

Fighters who died for the USA,
I bow my head for you today.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Cutting Branches

The funny thing about using the chainsaw is that I am always reluctant to start, because the thing scares me, but once I start I enjoy the activity. It does keep me very focused.

A quote from Donald Hamilton kept floating through my mind: "Don't monkey with the buzz saw when it's busy cutting wood."

Now that I've googled it, I see that it's some kind of old saying, at least the first clause is.

Think before you stick your paw
Anywhere near a buzzing saw.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The One And The Many

I'm almost done with the first volume in Copleston's History of Philosophy, the one on Greece and Rome. Copleston pauses, before the index appears, to look back at the world of ancient philosophy, and he mentions the issue of "the one and the many" as a key theme.

In the middle ages it became the "problem of universals".

The problem, the issue, is that we deal in particulars, but we perceive generalities. How can that be? You can say that we are pattern-recognizing beings. As are lots of animals. But we carry it to extremes. And we've even gotten to the point where we can build machines that mimic, in some ways, our ability to pick out patterns.

So we recognize them, but why are they there to be recognized? Why is reality such that patterns always emerge when you look for them? Granted, it's hard to imagine an unpatterned reality - a reality without rules, without regularity, a reality consisting of nothing but chaos.

In a reality without rules
The wisest would be fools.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ridge Run at Forty

There's a local 10k that's celebrating its 40th anniversary. I've been running it since 1983. I missed it one year since then. It's the first road race I ever did, so I kind of keep time by it - it's a fixture in my life, a ceremonial start of summer since it occurs on Memorial Day. Doing the math, I see that I have run this race 32 times so far - half the years of my life.

All those miles
Under my feet,
Sometimes bitter
Often sweet.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

States of Direction

The Carolinas are South and North.
What's more, the Dakotas are much the same.
Why must the Virginias sally forth
With just one direction attached to their name?

Let's call one East Virginia - we ought!
Pattern it after the one we call West,
Which now sounds too much like an afterthought.
Balance in naming would be for the best.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Indoor Tri Report

I had fun doing the indoor triathlon this morning at the West Loop Athletic Club. I was BY FAR the oldest participant. It was mostly club members in the club's triathlon training program, I think.

I checked my personal race log afterward, and it looks like the last time I did an indoor tri was in 1996.

Well, that was a while back.
I need to pick up the slack!

Why They Are Called Sea Lions

There's some very vivid video of this at the link, scary but with a happy ending.

Some people were throwing food to a sea lion from a pier.

"But when the girl sits at the edge of the harbor to get an even closer look, the animal springs up grabs a hold of her dress and forcefully yanks her backward into the water as onlookers scream in horror."

A man jumped in immediately and lifted her out of the water.

Girl was scared but fine.
Think twice before you cross the line
Of enticing critters with food.
Predators can be rude.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Indoor Tri Signup

I'm signed up for an indoor triathlon tomorrow. We will be competing to see who can go the farthest, while, really, we're mostly exercising in place.

You see, we will swim laps for 10 minutes in a pool, spin pedals for 15 minutes on stationary bikes, and then gallop 15 minutes on treadmills.

The winner is whoever goes the farthest, measured in miles I think, trusting the electronics on the bikes and treadmills to give you virtual miles, and adding in the actual distance covered in the lap swimming.

But your whole time exercising is limited to 40 minutes, which is why I recommend this to anyone who wants to try triathlon but who is worried that they will simply not be able to complete one of the three legs. Most often it's the swim they're worried about. The beauty of this format is that you are practically guaranteed to finish. So you slow down on the swim - so you stop and stand up in the pool to catch your breath - so what? You're still going to finish in just 10 minutes total time, just like everybody else.

Also - there are no temptations to spend big bucks in this format. Expensive wetsuit? Not allowed! Expensive bicycle? Nope. Use the same stationary bike everyone else does!

And the weather? No worries about thunderstorms or heat!

Triathlons always involve some stress,
The indoor format involves much less.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Dogs File A Report

We saw no raccoons
Tonight on our walk.
Smell them, we did,
And did eagerly stalk
Their traces across
The grass of the lawn
Their stealthy claws
Had crept upon.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Psychopath Not Taken

Fairly interesting article entitled "When Your Child Is a Psychopath" from the Atlantic.

This doesn't do the article justice, but here is what came to me by way of partial summarization:

If your kid was born this way
Punishment won't work
To train the murderous jerk -
At least that's what these experts say.
Reward, they claim, works fine,
At getting the heartless to toe the line.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Not Affected So Far This Time

I do not care
For ransom ware.
It makes me want
To rant and swear.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Friday, May 12, 2017

What Else Is New?

I fear that many puritans
Have a hypocritical streak.
They're good at preaching sermons,
But they find their flesh is weak.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

OPEC Problem

CNN Money headline: OPEC to U.S.: Please don't pump so much oil!

I would say that my heart bleeds for them, but would sound snarky, wouldn't it?

When a big producer
Won't join a cartel
The price-fixing doesn't
Function so well.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Stand Up Guy

They fired my homie,
Director Comey!
(Everyone wanted to end him,
So I decided to friend him.)

Monday, May 08, 2017

Cis-Het Et Cetera

Cis-het is contemporary academic slang for cisgender heterosexual, and cisgender itself is contemporary academic usage for non-transgender.

In Latin, I'm told, the opposite of trans is cis. Well, in some contexts, anyway.

When I was in college, the polite term was transsexual. But that's rude or worse now.

For some reason, most people turn out cis-het.
They'll continue to do so. At least that's my bet.

I do expect these terms to change again.
I guess it's safe to use them until then.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Against Translation

I'm working on a theory that translation
Promotes cultural appropriation
And is therefore as problematic
As an old hula doll in your grandma's attic.

It may be that translation is protected by some amendment, possibly the first,
But of all forms of appropriation, cultural is the worst,
So I propose to discourage it, by keeping each and every foreign word
Away from American children- let no bon mots be heard!

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Trek for Tech 5k

I ran a 5k this morning, one that was put on by a Catholic parish school, The Infant Jesus of Prague, in Flossmoor, Illinois. Very nice people. It's a small 5k. I had looked up results from some prior year, and I had seen that NO ONE had run in the 60-69 male age bracket. So I figured I would be alone in my bracket. But when I got there I noticed another white haired guy, and he took off ahead of me, and stayed ahead of me, even though I was actually running pretty well. Basically, I was running nines, and he was running eights. So I thought I had probably taken second place, and thought I would get a medal for that.

Well, it's a small race, and they were only giving medals out for first place in these age bands that could span 20 years. But then it turned out that the other white haired guy was in the 40-59 age band.

So I did take first place in the male sixties group. I thought to myself, well, you were the only guy in the group, you were number one in a group of one. But later I got the online results, and I was number one in a group of five, two of whom were pretty close behind me. The second place guy was running at a pace I often race at. But I was a bit faster than usual today, and so I just stayed ahead of him, without even knowing it, without making any particular effort to beat him.

I did lots of wrongful assuming.
Luckily, I was zooming.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Another Shot

Another shot from Tuesday's opening show.
You've four more chances, if you want to go.

Once again, that's Whitney Pipes and Kate Moss, playing a couple of police detectives with a lot to talk about. The conversation only goes on for ten minutes, but it doesn't work out so well for one of them.

I know there's a more famous Kate Moss, who's a model or something, but this is Kate Moss the ACTRESS, from Chicago.

If and when she becomes an international star,
I hope they don't change her name to something bizarre.

Photos from Fellow Officers

Fellow Officers discuss a cold case,
In a lock-up, face to face.

Thursday, May 04, 2017


Just now, while waiting for the train, there was a little backender on the road at the crossing. And the car sort of sat there as the bells were ringing and the gates were coming down and the train was blowing its horn.

I assume the driver was sort of stunned and unsure what to do.

The people at the station were yelling and waving to the driver to pull off the track. And the train, still approaching, was continuing to sound its horn, and finally the car moved out of the way.

I think the train was far enough away that it still had time to stop.

When you're on the tracks and the train is coming, move!
Your odds for life will improve.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Empathy Festival

The festival opened last night. It consists of nine pieces by nine different writers so it's the sort of situation where you are likely to like some and be less appreciative of others. The performances were strong.

Performances begin at nine o'clock.

It's nine by nine at nine,
Which sounds kind of late but it worked out fine!

Monday, May 01, 2017

After Rain

Colors streak the sky.
Wavelength dispersal is why.