Folly of the Faithful Canine|
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|Sunday, December 4th, 2016|
|More on Democracy
“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb
Voting on what to have for lunch,”
Said Benjamin Franklin? No, that’s a sham;
He never beat Gary Strand to the punch.
In any event, I no longer agree
With the sentiment that the speaker implied.
The alternatives to democracy
Would logically show an uglier side:
A wolf could outvote any number of sheep,
As often occurs in the natural realm.
I have to conclude that it’s better to keep
The largest number of folks at the helm.
|Sunday, November 27th, 2016|
|Sleep on This Idea
For years, I wished that people didn’t have to go to sleep:
Our brains would never need it for our memories to keep,
We wouldn’t feel exhausted just from staying up too late,
And days would seem to have an extra bunch of hours. Great!
The one thing that I thought I’d miss was having pleasant dreams
(Tho sometimes even nightmares have their benefits, it seems).
That wouldn’t be a problem if we could
sleep when we pleased,
But few would then respect the practice. “Let the day be seized!”
Well, nowadays, I recognize that sleep is good for more
Than dreams and brain recharging. It’s a boon I won’t ignore:
To wake up in the morning makes the day feel nice and new,
Instead of never-ending. I will cherish that; will you?
|Sunday, November 20th, 2016|
|A Poem of Law and Anarchy
In the novel The Man Who Was Thursday
The hero’s a “poet of law.”
A “poet of anarchy” meets him
And finds his wit quick on the draw.
The two of them publicly argue
On which kind is better to be.
“Is beauty in order or chaos?”
Alas, what they both fail to see
Is that neither is wholly sufficient:
A world of pure law would be dull,
While a world that was fully anarchic
Would drive you right out of your skull.
The story goes on to be silly—A Nightmare
, the subtitle’s said.
For a Chesterton work, it’s not lousy,
But it isn’t the smartest I’ve read.
|Saturday, November 12th, 2016|
|Deserving in Democracy
“A democratic country gets the leader it deserves.”
This sentiment is common, but it’s getting on my nerves.
Deserving is for human individuals, not nations,
Espec’ly when exhibiting such voter variations.
The people who have voted for a candidate who lost
Should not be held responsible for what the winner’s cost,
And do not give them credit for the benefits in store,
Provided there will be some (I’m not certain anymore).
|Sunday, November 6th, 2016|
|Remember, Remember This
Guy Fawkes is an anarchist symbol
Because of the Gunpowder Plot,
But few people know much about him:
An anarchist man he was not.
It’s true he was part of the party
That tried to assassinate James,
But Guy was a Cath’lic extremist.
Restoring the Church was his aim.
That might have meant total dominion
Or naught but a tolerant king.
Whatever he wanted, I’m certain
That anarchy wasn’t his thing.
|Sunday, October 30th, 2016|
|If Looks Could Unkill
In some works of fiction, the ghosts look like sheets
Or possibly blobs, like the kind Pac-Man faced.
In others, they look as they did before death,
Tho often transparent and colored like paste.
If lucky, they’ll show as the age they prefer
Or, better yet, alter their shape as they will.
The less lucky spirits reflect their own corpse.
If ever I see them, I’ll head for the hills.
|Saturday, October 29th, 2016|
|Book Review: No Time for Sergeants
A member of my extended family felt like giving away a lot of books. I picked this one off the shelf because it had a familiar title. Indeed, it became a movie I might have watched if I didn’t read the Mac Hyman book first. What really sold me was the blurb asserting that the critic laughed till he cried. It occurred to me that 1950s hilarity might not fly today, but it was worth a shot.
I still don’t know where the title came from. At no point does any character say it, nor does it seem to fit anyone’s attitude. But the story does have a military focus.( Cut for lengthCollapse )
Since that reading was basically devoid of females, I’ve move on to Howl’s Moving Castle
by Diana Wynne Jones. Here’s a book whose movie I did see, but I heard the two versions don’t have much in common.
|Sunday, October 23rd, 2016|
“One of them always tells the truth, and one of them always lies.”
You’ve seen a puzzle like this before, but do you think it wise?
Oh, I can believe in the sort who lie so rarely that we can trust ‘em,
But liars prefer to include some truths to make it harder to bust ‘em.
And now that I think on it, how do we know the instructions are correct?
The instructor might be mistaken—or a liar, as I suspect.
And otherwise, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out who’s who.
Just ask for an answer that everyone knows, like the sum of two and two.
Then ask whoever has solved it right whatever you need to know.
These puzzles may be fun, but in real life, they’d have to go.
|Tuesday, October 18th, 2016|
|Book Review: Lord Foul's Bane
This 1977 novel is the first in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, a title that might misleadingly evoke a religious fable. As I recall, sleepyjohn00
's advice regarding the series was "Ignore him; enjoy the scenery." How ironic that a character dislikes the word "scenery" for implying that something beautiful is unimportant.( Cut for lengthCollapse )
Now I've decided to get away from both fantasy and sci-fi for a while. Fortunately, on my last vacation, I got talked into taking a bunch of books with me, one of which is No Time for Sergeants
by Mac Hyman. Ordinarily I'd watch the movie instead, but this looks promising.
|Sunday, October 16th, 2016|
|Timing Is Everything
A man was in the shower when there suddenly appeared
A woman with a futuristic fashion sense. How weird!
The man freaked out; the woman put her hand before her eyes.
“I’m sorry,” said the woman; “I just didn’t realize
The time was bad, but I’m afraid we have no time to lose.
I come from 2090, and I’m bringing dreadful news.”
She started her synopsis while he fumbled for a towel.
It seemed his future grandkids got involved in something foul.
She hoped that he would come along and tell them what to do.
“They’re bound to listen better if the warning comes from you.”
The man was grinning wildly as he said he was on board,
For now he knew he couldn’t die until he’d someday scored.
|Sunday, October 9th, 2016|
Oh, good, someone’s reading me! Please pay attention!
I seem to be trapped in another dimension!
Specifically, I have been eerily hexed
To have no other body than this very text!
My words all come out in this rhythm and rhyme
That I can’t really help, and there isn’t much time
Till this poem must end, and the poem is me!
Do you know of a way I can set myself free?
|Sunday, October 2nd, 2016|
|That's How We Don't Roll
No earthly life has wheels for feet,
But if some did, would that be neat?
It’s not as easy as it sounds.
Consider all the unpaved grounds.
An animal could smooth its way,
But would the effort really pay?
The wheels could help one move real fast,
And trips and limps would long be past.
To climb a hill’s another matter;
One’s terrain must stay much flatter.
Furthermore, what body part
Is semi-sep’rate from the start?
Good luck in getting wheels that work
To come by nature; what a quirk.
In short, we’ll prob’ly never meet
A specimen with wheels for feet.
|Saturday, September 24th, 2016|
|A Prequel You’ll Never See
A long time ago lived a handsome young man,
Who knew he had looks to kill,
But he also knew that the passage of time
Could take them against his will.
He searched for a remedy far and wide
And finally learned of a force
That could grant him tremendous powers to use
To delay nature taking its course.
Unfortunately, in a while, he found
That his body continued to age.
He’d live a long time, but he wouldn’t look young.
In fact, he would reach a new stage,
When his body would change as he couldn’t predict,
For no man had lived so long.
He wasn’t surprised to lose much of his height,
But his ears and skin tone seemed wrong.
Eventually, he no longer looked human,
And others thus simply forgot.
But he told them if nine hundred years they should reach,
Then look as good they would not.
|Sunday, September 18th, 2016|
|A Super Sonnet
I think I’ll set the stage beneath the sea,
With caterpillars coming out in force.
You’ll have to be as fast as you can be
And hit a switch to activate the doors.
Feel free to grab the coins along the way,
But watch your head: They point to hidden bricks,
Which may contain a star to clear the way —
Or enemies I put there just for kicks.
Ascend a pipe that empties underground,
Where ghosts with wings bear fire-spitting plants.
You’ll need their help to light the bombs around
And open up the walls — your only chance
To stop that good-for-nothing princess taker.
Now thanks for playing Super Mario Maker
|Monday, September 5th, 2016|
|Book Review: Berserker
This is one of those books I wouldn't have heard of if not for forums. Nor would I likely have heard of author Fred Saberhagen. But if it's nearly 50 years old, the first of 17 volumes (the last of which came out in 2005, a couple years before Saberhagen's death), and still talked about sometimes, I figured it's worth a look. Once again, my folks bought an old copy for my gift.( Cut for lengthCollapse )
Now I've started Lord Foul's Bane
by Stephen R. Donaldson. I credit Nefaria for getting me interested in the start of the Thomas Covenant series.
|Sunday, September 4th, 2016|
You say that the dog ate your homework…
dog but “The” Dog, you say?
That sounds like a terrible creature.
I’ll try to stay out of its way.
It might be the king of all canines,
Existing for thousands of years
And larger than all of the others.
The one thing allaying my fears:
Its diet consisting of paper,
Especially homework, it seems.
Regardless, I don’t want to meet it.
It’s sure to start haunting my dreams.
|Saturday, August 27th, 2016|
|Space Is Dark
For me, the pattern started with a “bullying” report:
Black hole strikes neighbor galaxy with “punching” of a sort.
Within a few months afterward, a galaxy had died.
That didn’t sound dramatic, so they called it “suicide.”
And then there came a “cannibal” as galaxies combined.
By now I had concluded they had darkness on the mind.
I know they want to simplify for readership, but ugh!
I have to ask astronomers, “Do you guys need a hug?”
|Saturday, August 20th, 2016|
|...And Statistics About Lies
The study of lies isn’t easy.
Who knows just how often it’s done?
Depends if you count writing fiction
Or kidding around just for fun.
And what of nonverbal deception,
Like wearing a sort of disguise?
The estimates further are hindered
By people who lie about lies.
For my part, I don’t think that babies
Are lying before they can speak.
So what if they cry by volition?
They don’t know another technique.
It’s all about saying, “I want stuff!”
I’m certain that’s perfectly true.
The researchers prob’ly aren’t lying
But think they know more than they do.
|Sunday, August 14th, 2016|
|PC: Planetary Contact
Some extraterrestrial life forms arrived,
Got onto the airwaves, and then
Announced to the listening people of Earth,
“Do NOT call us ‘little green men.’”
The speakers in question were smaller than us,
But “little” seems rather degrading.
Their skin was much greener, but they didn’t like
Identification by shading.
Their humanoid shapes meant that some could be “men,”
But others were women or kids.
It soon became clear that the terms they don’t like,
Our PC decorum forbids.
|Saturday, August 13th, 2016|
|Book Review: Eragon
When I reported receiving this book as a gift, one forumite replied, "Ouch." It's a pretty polarizing book, tho not on the same level as Twilight
. Author Christopher Paolini was only a teen, and his parents ran the publishing, which would call the quality into question. So what if he did great in school? He still has a lot to learn, right? But I was still curious, and the unpopular screen adaptation wouldn't do.( Read more...Collapse )
But I've learned not to mind low originality or even predictability when enough else goes right. At no point in the nearly 500 pages did I feel like giving up; it was always at least adequate in entertainment. That's more than I can say for a lot of fantasies I've reviewed here. Had I been Paolini's age, I'd probably love it. I won't pick up volume 2 any time soon, but I'll keep it in mind if I ever want to return to the basics that got me into the genre in the first place.
Now I've started on a short sci-fi novel, Fred Saberhagen's Berserker
. Not sure how long it can sustain its opening level of intensity.