Rhyme of the Day

Various meanderings with a rhyme in there somewhere.

Results Oriented
john_j_enright


I'm here to review
My lab work with you.

Please be patient while I retrieve it.
It's so good you won't believe it.

Pangolin
john_j_enright
A pangolin
Has scaly skin
But can't play scales
On a mandolin.
Nor can he tango
In trade for a mango
No matter how jolly
A mood he's in.

Self Surveillance
john_j_enright
If you want to brag about criminal acts,
Film them all to prove they are facts.
Viewers will know they aren't being deceived,
And you will be glad your behavior's believed.
But should the police obtain the recording,
You may find that crime is no longer rewarding.

Hunger in America
john_j_enright
I remain puzzled about hunger in America. It's evidently a sort of shorthand phrase for insufficient food. I mean, I get hungry every day, which is why I eat, but that's not what they're talking about. So, who has insufficient food? We're not talking about eating-disorder people, or people on hunger strikes, so we must be talking about people who are low on money to buy food. These are the people for whom there are private and governmental food programs. But we also hear a lot about obesity among the poor, so these programs must be working pretty well overall, except that maybe they need to deliver more Lean Cuisine to the heavier recipients. And speaking of the heavy, that's a group of people who are hungry a lot, from what I've seen.

It's a verity
Then and now
Everybody
Needs to chow.

Dancing at Lughnasa
john_j_enright
I finally saw my first Brian Friel play tonight, namely Dancing at Lughnasa. It's a charming play, with a very loosely structured plot, if plot is what you wish to call it, and an adult narrator who is remembering things that happened when he was seven. The core of the play is the household of 5 unmarried sisters, who are lovingly sketched.

I did not know what the title meant. I had assumed that Lughnasa was a place. But no, it is a time, a harvest festival.

"The festival itself is named after the god Lugh. It involved great gatherings that included religious ceremonies, ritual athletic contests (most notably the Tailteann Games), feasting, matchmaking and trading. There were also visits to holy wells... Lughnasadh customs persisted widely until the 20th century, with the event being variously named 'Garland Sunday', 'Bilberry Sunday', 'Mountain Sunday' and 'Crom Dubh Sunday'."

How do you say
The name of Lugh?
Simply enough:
It rhymes with Hugh.

Romantic Realism and Joseph Conrad
john_j_enright
"Joseph Conrad also called himself a Romantic Realist." That's something Ayn Rand remarked in a Q&A. Was she right?

There's a 1922 book, Joseph Conrad: His Romantic-Realism, by Ruth Stauffer, which I have a copy of and the text of which is available online. The author argues that Conrad should be viewed, indeed, as a Romantic Realist. You might think that if Conrad had identified himself as such, that Stauffer would make a point of citing this self-identification. But, no.

Today I did a little more digging on this, looking into Conrad's preface to his novel, The Nigger of the Narcissus. Wikipedia says: "The author's preface to the novel, regarded as a manifesto of literary impressionism, is considered one of Conrad's most significant pieces of non-fiction writing." Anyway, in this preface, Conrad seems reluctant to accept literary labels:

"The enduring part of them - the truth which each only imperfectly veils - should abide with him as the most precious of his possessions, but they all: Realism, Romanticism, Naturalism, even the unofficial sentimentalism (which like the poor, is exceedingly difficult to get rid of), all these gods must, after a short period of fellowship, abandon him..."

Anyway, if I have to guess, Rand may have been misled about Conrad's exact views, perhaps because she ran into this book or its title somewhere, like on a public library shelf.

Literary schools
supply great bags of tools,
but the struggling writer, still,
is left with lots of pages to fill.

Relative Positions
john_j_enright
I noticed recently, while walking home from the train, that Venus and Mars were very close to each other in the Western evening sky, but that Venus was rather bright and Mars was rather dim. I figured this meant that Venus was close and Mars was far, and that their "closeness" was just a matter of line-of-sight.

So, I found this nice snapshot of where all the planets are right now. Here's a cropped version:



As expected, Venus is near, and Mars is far, but if you are sitting on Earth they are in the same little piece of the sky.

I left Jupiter in, because when walking my dogs, I had noticed that Jupiter was visible, and quite bright, on the Eastern horizon, before midnight. And, somewhat logically, Jupiter is on the "opposite" side of Earth, and fairly close.

I'm not sure about the scaling in the snapshot diagram. But the relative positioning at least makes sense.

Where I live, the city's light
Is so darned bright
That it's hard to see stars at night.

Painting the Sky
john_j_enright



Sun does a fine job of setting
Despite inadequate vetting.

Gimme Shelter
john_j_enright
They were set up to film stuff downtown today on Van Buren street - with the shiny white trailers beloved by the film crews, at least around here. I don't know what show they were filming - I don't pay attention. But one of the white trailers had a sign on it that caught my eye:



We don't usually get tornadoes downtown. But if we did, you would not be heading for this trailer. You would be heading for an actual concrete and steel building, preferably toward the basement thereof.

So, maybe it's some kind of inside joke, some union humor about getting away from the director's mad orders.

So while the sign appears legit,
Maybe that's the joke of it.

V Day
john_j_enright
I hear it's a day for heart to heart,
A trying day to be apart,
And often a day that's hard as stone
For those who find themselves alone

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