Folly of the Faithful Canine|
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|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.
|Monday, August 8th, 2016|
|Regarding My Sister
My sister is two years my junior,
And thus I can partly recall
Her life as a baby or toddler,
Tho not from before she could crawl.
She used to take me as a model,
Advancing much sooner than I’d,
And later outdid me at talents
In which I had taken much pride.
It caused me some real consternation,
And so I would push her around,
Yet Mom says we got along nicely
Compared to the norm that she’d found.
We did enjoy playing together.
There came a predictable trend.
By college, I’d lost all resentment;
My sister was simply a friend.
Last year, when she called up and told me
Her boyfriend proposed, I said, “Wow!”
(That’s one way she’s light-years beyond me.
I doubt I’ll be catching up now.)
The wedding is finally over.
Her life as a wife has begun.
I look back and think how she’s blossomed
And wish her the best with her hon.
|Sunday, July 31st, 2016|
I know some folks have little use
For drinking any kind of juice.
They note that fruit has more nutrition.
Sure, but please hear my position:
Fruit is food and juice is drink.
You don’t quench thirst with food, I’d think.
What else to drink? There’s coffee, tea,
Some drinks for sports and energy,
Then soda (pop), then alcohol;
But juice provides more health than all
Of those, from what I understand.
That just leaves milk and water, man.
Some folks can’t take the former one,
And water soon stops being fun.
It’s no surprise I like to stock
My fridge with juice, so don’t you mock.
|Sunday, July 24th, 2016|
|This Poem Will Not Be Remade
We’ve gotten used to sequels,
Which are sometimes more than equals
To their semi-classic predecessor fare;
But remakes get us groaning,
‘Cause the writers must be phoning
In their work to use a plot already there.
It’s really not essential,
Even with untapped potential
In the sources, as with up-to-date effects
Or modern all-star casting
(Actors want a role that’s lasting)
Or more violence, profanity and sex.
When people see a menu
Of what’s coming to their venue,
They may ask, “Is their idea well running dry?”
Me, I find the question funny:
If you followed all the money,
Then you wouldn’t have to ask the reason why.
|Wednesday, July 20th, 2016|
Some weeks ago, the Red Cross sent me a letter saying that I had tested positive for syphilis, but a follow-up test said otherwise. That was my second false positive this calendar year, and they will not allow a third. I didn't take the notice seriously until my dad tried to schedule another appointment, whereupon the system said I'd be eligible to donate blood or platelets in 2290.
I know for a fact that I don't have syphilis. Not only do I exhibit no symptoms, but I've done nothing that could spread it to me. I could get a doctor to back me up on this. But reps on the phone have assured me that it would make no difference. The Red Cross knowingly uses an extra-sensitive test prone to false positives. They're not taking any chances.
For this reason, I'm declining my parents' suggestion to write to a higher-up in the organization. I accept that they will never accept my blood or platelets again, barring a policy change. Hope they don't run dry any time soon.
My folks' next suggestion is to get more actively...activist in another way. I think I'll increase my financial donations to the Red Cross instead.
The other thing I can do is encourage others to give blood in my stead. If you don't have a blood-injection-injury phobia or another disqualifying factor, please consider.
Perhaps it'll help if I describe my experience.( Cut for lengthCollapse )
Maybe that honest testimony just reinforces your dread, but I like to think it makes the scenario less alien to newcomers. It should help prepare you.
And if you need one more incentive, it was the pet cause of Robert Heinlein.
|Monday, July 18th, 2016|
|Watch Where You Stretch
A jogger put hands on a pillar,
Extending his leg for a stretch.
An onlooker thought he was trying
To topple the building, that wretch!
Another supposed he was lending
His strength to support it erect.
But the phrases “hold up” and “knock over”
Can mean the same thing in effect,
And so, as an officer heard it,
Two witnesses spoke of a thief.
The jogger was swiftly arrested,
All thanks to mistaken belief.
|Sunday, July 10th, 2016|
|Hard to Figure out the Angles
Here's something hard to get about a comic work of art:
If everybody's dumb in it, then how can it be smart?
I have in mind a certain strip of malapropic fools,
Who frequently confuse themselves and break a lot of rules.
The bulk of them, as lousy friends, don't treat each other fairly,
Yet sins are soon forgotten; lasting changes happen rarely.
I feel as if I ought to call the comic strip a no-go,
But I can't hate cute animals, especially not Pogo.
|Wednesday, July 6th, 2016|
|Book Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things
While the main trilogy volumes of The Kingkiller Chronicle
are tomes, this spinoff is an unusually slim circa-150-pager with larger print and some B&W drawings. That doesn't make it geared toward a younger audience; after all, Patrick Rothfuss himself advises us in the foreword not to start here. Actually, he warns us that even preexisting fans may not want to read it, because it's missing a lot of what we'd expect. In the afterword, he describes how he almost didn't submit it for publication -- and much of the feedback is along the lines of "I like it, but I don't know who else would." I tentatively parrot that sentiment.( Find out how it"s strangeCollapse )
Feeling ready for a tome once again, I've picked up Christopher Paolini's Eragon
. I've heard mixed reviews of it, but so far it's no worse than cliche.