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Rhyme of the Day

Various meanderings with a rhyme in there somewhere.

Merhants of Truth
Jill Abramson, former editor of the NY Times, has written a book about modern journalism, calling for a maintenance of high standards... and then the book got called out for plagiarism. And now she says mistakes were made.

What is wrong with these people? This came from a major publisher - Simon & Schuster.

Professors have software for catching plagiarists. It's used at many colleges. Couldn't Simon & Schuster spring for such software?

Enough publishers have been caught like this - with celebrity authors - that they ought to have the sense to protect themselves.

I wonder if celebrity authors are a little more inclined to pull this nonsense because many of them have fallen prey to a sense of invulnerability that can come with high status.

No matter how great your renown,
Though you soar way up high with the birds,
If you steal other writers' words
They will angrily shoot you down.

Blondie and the Cold
I've got a yellow Lab. Labs have a rep of being good in cold weather, and of being outdoorsy. Blondie likes the outdoors, but she doesn't like being alone in the yard. She's so sociable, she seems to get lonely, despite the intermittent walkers-by. And when it comes to the cold, well, if it's down around zero Fahrenheit, she really doesn't like it much. The big vulnerability seems to be in her paws. Of course, in humans, it's the digits that get cold first, too. So I ordered some wax to put on her paws for the extreme cold, because she doesn't seem to want to wear booties.

But tonight I took her for a walk in a pretty good downpour, with temperatures just above freezing. So that was a cold shower, by human standards. Didn't bother her at all. I suppose that matches to the breed's original function - helping hunt ducks in the autumn, gladly diving into cold water to retrieve ducks that have fallen into a pond, and so forth.

She also has the "retrieving" characteristic. She carries things around in her mouth all day.

It's too bad I'm not a hunter! She'd probably enjoy it.

Would she be a good retriever?
I'm a firm believer.

I think that everyone
Can learn to code,
But learning to love it
Is a harder road.

So Sue Me
Read about a show-boating anti-natalist in India, who claims he wants to sue his parents for giving birth to him without his consent.

No one consents in advance to the gift of birth.
But without it, what is anything worth?

Wind out of the South
After subzero
Comes the big thaw.
Loveliest mud puddles
I ever saw.

Missed Opportunities by Jillian Leff
I went in with good expectations, but my wife was with me and she is a tougher critic than I am. Well, she was laughing from the beginning, always a good sign with a comedy!

I got to know Jillian Leff when she acted in a play of mine a couple of years ago. She was a talented performer onstage and a fun person to talk to offstage - full of witty-but-upbeat observations about contemporary life.

Now she's starring in a play of her own, put on by the Cuckoo's Theater Project Company. It's a romantic comedy of a modern, Millenial sort, involving a woman (Max) trying to attract the romantic attention of a man who thinks she's a lesbian. Of course, she could just tell him that she's not, right? But, no, for a variety of reasons she is reluctant to take the straightforward (ahem) approach, and instead embarks on a rather funny course of deception, which gets deeper and deeper, as deception does. You know the truth is going to spill or explode eventually, but the tension keeps building.

The acting was very funny. The set and lighting design was an elegant solution for a play that had a lot of scene changing. The sound design provided us with some amusing stuff when characters are working their electronic devices, including a voice-over so that we could eavesdrop on what our heroine was typing when she was writing her blog entries.

I have a minor complaint: I wish the actors had delivered their lines a little bit slower. Maybe I'm just old, but I know I was missing some funny jokes now and then! The repartee was crisp and new. As long as I'm mentioning my age, I should mention that the Den Theatre's third floor spaces are reachable only by stairs. Not a problem for me or my wife, but I know if could be an issue for some.

Jillian told me she has a couple more full-length plays in the works, which pleased me greatly, because it gives me more of her work to look forward to.

I enjoyed this opportunity
To laugh at some human lunacy!

That Day Again
Today it occurred to me that Bill Murray had starred in 2 films where one of his co-stars was a varmint.

Caddyshack is a less coherent film, due to improvising without a script; it was stolen during editing by the gopher puppet, as the film editor searched for a way to give the film a comprehensive story arc. Groundhog Day had a solid script, and used actual groundhogs, who did not steal the film, but who did bite Murray, resulting in his being give a set of rabies shots.

Bill Murray’s costarring critters
Were very persistent - not quitters.

Goose Egg
Everyone talks about temps being plus or minus,
But there's another temp, kind of a zero, known for its awkward shyness.

If you think it's overly cold weather,
You haven't put enough layers together,
To cover your skin,
The most important layer you're in.

LIbrary Play
I wrote a ten-minute play for the Heartland Theatre Summer Festival contest. I've submitted to them 4 times before. I've only made it into the festival once. But those are pretty good odds, all things considered. A ten-minute play is a fair amount of work, but if you're under enough pressure it can be written in a day or two. As a matter of fact, when you write for a 24-hour festival, you have to write your ten-minute play in about 9 hours, max.

I liked the way this one came out, which makes me a little more optimistic about it. And my wife was enthusiastic about it, another good sign.

They choose blind, without knowing the author of the play, so they don't discriminate either way as to prior successes in getting into the festival. And despite my success there with Space Cat Graduation, I didn't create a "space kitties in the library" play, so they won't identify me as the author that way, either.

The theme of this summer's festival is "The Library". You might say it's more of a writing prompt than a true theme, but you get the idea. They get a lot of submissions, and I heard from them that there's a tendency to get multiple submissions touching on familiar ideas about a topic. So I figure they will get a bunch of plays about long-overdue books and the "Shush!" rule, and probably a bunch of pieces touching on the fact that books are going digital.

I had a complete false start on Saturday. Wrote about 3 pages and froze up right where I was going to put a 3rd character onto the stage. Rethought the whole thing, and stuck to just 2 characters.

Well, I'll know in a couple of months.

It was fun to create,
And now I wait.