Rhyme of the Day

Various meanderings with a rhyme in there somewhere.

Busyness
john_j_enright
Posting may be intermittent.
I'll see how I can fittint.

Challenge
john_j_enright
I've been amused by the ice water challenge thing. Some of the videos are funny. But having briefly submerged myself in Lake Michigan in January a few times, it doesn't look like a big enough challenge!

If an ice water challenge
is what you pursue,
instead of pouring it
all over you,
jumping right in it
is what you should do,
followed by a quick run through the chilly air
trying to dry off and get clothes on before you freeze your derriere.

At Random
john_j_enright
Neither the Dalai Lama,
nor President Obama,
are singing "Hare Rama".

As for the Oxford Comma,
it got sick of the drama,
and went crying home to Mama.

Footnote on my lack of sources: I've heard a lot of theories about the president's religious beliefs, but I've yet to hear that he's a secret follower of Hinduism.

Building Up To Another Marathon
john_j_enright
I did 22 miles yesterday. I was on my city street training route, that has to do with utilizing public drinking fountains, mostly in city parks. I also can stop at stores along the way.

There is some natural beauty along the way, but there's also a lot of cramped Chicago neighborhoods and industrial grit. Yesterday was big with "block parties", a local institution where a neighborhood block is closed for a day, allowing children to play in the streets, often featuring an inflatable "bounce house", or "jumping jack" as they're known around here.

My route takes me to places I don't go otherwise, and I've grown to feel these places are mine in some odd sense, familiar way-stations on my private journey of preparation for the grueling event of running 26.2 miles. I've been visiting these places for 20 years or so, usually only a few times in the late summer and fall, and I have watched them change.

Oh, look, the soccer field now has artificial turf!

Once in a while I wonder whether any of the people along the way have noticed me, the perennial visitor. I do not see other runners along my way, as a rule. These are not runners' neighborhoods that I am going through. Have I been spotted and noted as that crazy old guy who jogs though the park once in a while?

Did I run by some 5 year old, 20 years ago, who vaguely recognized me yesterday as I trotted by?

I remember discussing running with some young person who was impressed with how many marathons I have run. And I said something like, "It just happens. You do one a year, and before you know it, you've done twenty."

26.2
is just a distance to do,
but the training takes my feet
down this set of city streets
where no one knows my name.
It feels familiar all the same.

Medea at Dream Laboratory
john_j_enright
I went to see Jeremy Menekseoglu's latest version of Medea last night, which has been getting very good reviews. knappenp was there, and he urged me to sit in the front row, which I noted he was NOT doing. Because Dream Theatre is a "shatter the 4th wall" kind of place, sitting in the front row sometimes opens you up for one-sided conversations with an actor in character.

Anyway, I took up the challenge, and sat in the front row. As it turned out, none of the actors really did the thing where they pick an audience member to speak to as if the audience member were really a character in the show.

The new "laboratory" space is very intimate - it was configured mostly in just 2 rows. I hear it will seat 30 with the way they laid out the seats for this show.

The show itself was quite spectacular. I had seen it before, in a version with a chorus, which this version did not have. I did not feel the lack - I guess I don't recall what the chorus did - but the drama among the central characters was not lacking. I don't want to spoil the basic myth - go do a search on Medea if you want the catalog of horrors that come from the original - but this is a full reimagining -still set in the Greek world of myth and magic - but with an incursion of modern American psychology.

I kept feeling the subtext of... this is what happens when parents divorce and when neither cares for the kids anymore. But, on steroids... or rather, with deadly spells.

In our own day, as in the Age of Bronze,
Children can become expendable pawns.

Antimeditation
john_j_enright
People talk about meditation as if it's some one thing, but it's a variety of practices that go by that name, and these practices blur into things that go by other names, such as prayer, self-hypnosis, and even daydreaming.

You see headlines about scientific studies establishing the benefits of meditation, but if you get into the details it's really not established at all, particularly if you want to prove that meditation works better than a placebo practice. Someone even developed an "anti-meditation" practice to use for the control group, where instead of sitting peacefully you pace and focus on problems.

I'm not trying to get anyone who likes meditation to stop. Far from it. Hey, I like to do it myself sometimes. I'm just saying it hasn't been established as better than a placebo. Which is a pretty high bar, since placebos are often effective. And it could be that the scientists are just falling down on the testing job. It's not as if it's easy to measure mental states with any precision. I really don't think it is. Psychologists have to make do with gauzy instruments.

The mind is a treasure
that's trouble to measure.

Denial, It's A Job
john_j_enright
Forbes claims that D.C. is now the nation's coolest city.

And, as if to back that up, Reason Magazine has a letter from what has to be the coolest job title going: FOIA Denial Officer.

You remember FOIA. It's the Freedom Of Information Act. And it turns out that the Education Department has someone whose job is specifically to write letters that say things like:

denied

After something as clear as that,
surely there's no need for further chat.

When I Stopped Reading
john_j_enright
I started reading an article with a click-bait headline:

"Why you should stop believing in evolution"

I immediately saw the cop-out subhead:

"You don't believe in it — you either understand it or you don't"

Well, this is crass equivocation on what "believe" means. To believe, in everyday usage, is not to "take on faith". It is, "to accept as true," whether such acceptance is based on scientific evidence, religious belief, etc.

And then I got to this sentence:

"Humanity, after all, is but one ugly branch on the big tree of life."

Well, my intelligence had already been insulted... but now my looks were being insulted too!

So I stopped reading.

Pseudo-intellectual snark,
I consign you to the dark.

Summertime Sadness
john_j_enright
I've been resisting watching Dead Poets Society. For forever. I tell my wife it's because I don't like hearing about Dead Poets. Really, it's because I know one of the boys dies somehow, and I haven't felt up for that. But now I suppose I'll have to watch, as a kind of goodbye.

I don't like goodbyes.
I don't like wet eyes.
But it's not like the blues
let you choose.

Power Dynamics
john_j_enright
Lana Del Rey is a singer who had a big hit called Summertime Sadness. In the video, it's dramatized around a lesbian relationship. I couldn't actually hear that orientation in the lyrics, but what do I know?

Then I ran into an essay by a lesbian, who wrote: 'I’ve been listening to Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence since its June release and here’s my review: gay conversion therapy is notoriously ineffective, but if I hear another Lana Del Rey song, I might switch teams on my own. Lana Del Rey makes me wish I were straight.'

I was somewhat amused by this line: 'And I rather like having a romantic relationship unobstructed by the stark power dynamics that inevitably come into play in heterosexual partnerships.'

Really? No power dynamics in same-sex relationships? Ever? I find this hard to believe. Or, is it just that same-sex power dynamics aren't "stark"?

But, again, what do I know?

Relationships flower
when they empower
hearts into flight
souls into light.

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