JANUARY 22, 2015 2:14AM

Writers Workshop

One of the first things you notice is how autobiographical most of the material is.  I guess people write about the things that matter to them.  One time this guy brought a fairly long manuscript, we are only supposed to read a few pages; he started at the beginning and read… Read full post »

DECEMBER 19, 2014 12:09AM

Meat and Milk

For thousands of years Jews have had a prohibition against mixing meat with milk. This is a lot of work. It involves separate sets of dishes, and by separate I mean compulsively separate.  In the last hundred years some of our rules have found scientific justification. One might suppose that cor… Read full post »

OCTOBER 22, 2014 4:57PM


I doubt that most of you still read newspapers. This Sunday we read the Tribune in bed while drinking coffee.  Christine did have her laptop, which she used to plan our bike trip.  Then she spoiled the day by dragging me bicycling in the forest preserves.

It is not surprising… Read full post »

OCTOBER 6, 2014 2:55PM


Trip Advisor recently picked The Art Institute of Chicago as its best museum. I like museums that have a flavor of subversion to them.  The worst museum in the world might be Epcot Center.  It doesn’t claim museum status but it is supposed to represent Future World, sort of a perpetua… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 12:30AM

Termination of Pregnancy

At the end of 1971 the draft had ended and my school no longer had any ethical reason to keep me and I flunked out.  At the beginning of 1972 I obtained employment as a medical records clerk at University of Chicago Hospitals.  The mother of a girlfriend quit her job… Read full post »

AUGUST 13, 2014 2:21PM

One Shot Mosquito

My job is to find some way to keep the mosquito from spreading malaria.

Mosquitoes evolved from biting flies.  Over time, they developed efficient ways to extract blood, and became dependent on it for the nutrients for breeding.  Their life cycle hints at a difficult and complex evolution.… Read full post »

JUNE 24, 2014 7:13PM

Kentucky Campaign

Christine dragged me through Kentucky this spring, and I strongly recommend it unless you dislike Bourbon, heat and bicycling through beautiful, hilly country. I don’t mind Bourbon.  The greatest liabilities are the fried food and the pollen count. I found the reverence for the Civil War pRead full post »

JUNE 3, 2014 8:42PM


Nothing against Cate Blanchett, besides her difficult name but Bullock and Clooney were robbed.  Gravity received precisely the wrong awards. Bullock and Clooney sold a ridiculous film.

 It’s dangerous to credulity to have science fiction slightly in the future. Tyson has already po… Read full post »

MAY 10, 2014 6:43PM


Password restriction rules are Vogon. The initial problem is that people choose simple passwords that are easy to remember. It’s like locking the screen door to let in the breeze.  But when you restrict the universe of passwords that people can choose from you make it easier to hack. … Read full post »

APRIL 6, 2014 5:48PM


In second grade out teacher Ms. Bowers introduced us to Cantor’s diagonal proofs.  You are already familiar with this, of course.  The rational numbers, the fractions, are listed with 1/1, ½, 1/3… on the top row, 1/1, 2/1, 3/1… in the first column and the diagonal… Read full post »

MARCH 11, 2014 2:55PM

Jackasses Drive Drunk

Your tattoo is ugly and stupid.

Your butt is so big because it gets the most use.

Plastic surgery looks goofy.

Loud is dumb.

Check your medications, check them again.

You are fat because you eat too much.

Cubs fans are losers.

Maybe… Read full post »

It is obvious by now that both Obama and Romney campaigns were trying to keep the race as close as possible in order to maximize fund raising. Our political campaigns are in the potlatch tradition.  They provide the means for us to make payouts within the tax code without the appearance… Read full post »

JANUARY 6, 2014 7:04PM

Veteran Grandfather

Fritz, as Grandmother Hilda called him, his name was Fred, served as a lieutenant in the German army in World War I.   He served on the western front, so he may have been fighting Americans.  He won the Iron cross:

-Everyone went over the top, except me and this other… Read full post »

DECEMBER 6, 2013 9:48PM

Plasticene Porters

When you’re talking about police and soldiers, you’re essentially talking about a lot of guys who like to play Call Of Duty and Halo. It is difficult to appreciate the level of hypocrisy they confront and the depth of compartmentalization that this requires. Most of us at some fundamental/… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 9, 2013 8:26PM

Teachable Moments

I am not going to get into the issues of truth and justice because I am not a good advocate for that.  I think there are some teachable moments in the Martin/Zimmerman case.  It is so rare that children might pay attention to us older folk and this instance may give/… Read full post »

OCTOBER 6, 2013 11:32PM

Arendt and Community

After Marx, academics had a serious issue:  they had to build on his work without referencing it.  This isn’t all that different from the difficulty academic psychologists had with Freud.  Freud talked goofy and it sounded silly when you were writing grant proposals.  Cognit/… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 9, 2013 5:45PM

Kinison and Syria

Just recently some Americans from Bulgaria were warning me about the dangers of Muslim immigrants.

I said:

-If we can survive the Irish, we can survive anything.

They responded.

-You don’t understand. They are violent fundamentalists who want to impose their religion on everyone.

 Sam K… Read full post »

JULY 31, 2013 5:01PM

Bicycle Safety

Someday Bicyclists will have to pass a driver’s test, get a license and have a plate on their bicycle just like motorists. Until then some observations on bicycle safety: 

To begin with, ride straight.  The bicycle version of the two footed goof who drives with one foot on the/… Read full post »

JULY 12, 2013 12:32PM


My girlfriend’s fixation on the Great Gatsby took us to Sands Point and the Howard Gould estate on Long Island.  It became obvious how F. Scott Fitzgerald came to the device of a pedestrian accident.  It is just hilly and winding enough to encourage adventurous driving.

It also confi… Read full post »

JUNE 2, 2013 7:10PM

Action Movies

This should be read at poetry slams, open mic events, or wherever writers might congregate.

All movies, romance, comedy or drama are really horror movies. The one thing that cinema does well is draw you into their premise and then surprise and shock you.  That sense of outrage as you/… Read full post »

MAY 14, 2013 4:00PM

South Side Vignette

It was difficult for me working against fourth ward Alderman Timmy Evans.  I liked his people.  They were better than some, try as they might to distinguish themselves.  I was carpet bagging, coming into their precinct/ward from my own ward, the fifth. There are fifty wards in Chicago./Read full post »

Some years ago, after many academic adventures I found myself taking an introductory programming course as a general requirement for graduation.  The best part of the course was the computer problems book.  It encapsulated all the uses for a computer up to the undergraduate senior level.&nbRead full post »

MARCH 8, 2013 2:28PM

Can the President Kill People?

The short and simple answer is yes. The various authorities and means available to him are as diverse and varied as our government agencies.  Most obviously as Commander in Chief the president commands the military.  The military will carry out his orders. The military should also record hi/… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 26, 2013 3:52PM

Coffee Problem

The major task in marketing is categorization.  For instance once you have categorized groceries you can compare the UPC codes sent against the categorized items you have and kick out the ones that are new.  Assuming that you have correctly categorized the current ones and no one complains/… Read full post »

JANUARY 25, 2013 6:09PM

Liberate Unions

Mark Ames has written a rant against Michigan passing the right to work law:


Howard Zinn would have been proud.

While all his facts seem correct he has missed the point about the Wagner act. The reason for all the atrocities he lists and for the Wagne… Read full post »