history, politics

Rowing Against the Current

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I row against the current.  My oar bends.  Will it break?

« Current ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #97 »
Thru a haze of fatigue, my mind drifts to a far away place and long ago time.  To Salamis.  I remember the ancient Greek navy, the mostly Athenian “wooden wall” that defied long odds to save Western civilization.  Salvation is not permanent.

trireme
Greek Trireme (public domain)

I cannot draw to save a life, and it is hard to find a trireme to photograph on short notice.  I used an image I did not create because something about triremes really matters now.

The rowers in Greek triremes were citizens rowing to defend their communities, not galley slaves rowing to avoid the lash.  Tho they could not see the Persian ships they needed to ram, they could trust their leaders to see and steer.  Themistocles owed nothing to Xerxes.

Here and now, rowing as a citizen is more complicated.  The peril is a strong current (stealthy as metastasis) that surges around breakwaters.  What is there to ram?  Will the rowers be swept out to sea while squabbling over which cove to head for?  Are the leaders loyal and competent?  What does Trump owe to Putin?

I row against the current.  I am not alone.

Update [2017-07-30]

Here is a good example of rowing against the current that has gotten less publicity than it deserves.  Senator Mazie Hirono [Dem-HI] interrupted treatment for stage 4 kidney cancer to speak eloquently and vote against the latest pseudoconservative travesty of healthcare legislation.  U can read more details and hear the speech (under 5 minutes) by clicking here.  U can sign a petition to thank her by clicking here.

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haiku, humor, math

Two Season-Words; Two Cuts; Several Allusions

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Rules 1 and 2 of
Carpe Diem’s Writing and Enjoying Haiku #3 classical haikurequire a season-word and a cut, which is not the same as requiring exactly one of each.  (Guess who has a math background.)  Dunno how to write a haiku with interchangeable short lines (per Rule 6) that also flows naturally with exactly one cut, but I try to remember that there is a big difference between saying that I cannot do it now and saying that nobody can do it ever.

Hmmm.  Suppose there is exactly one cut, that it is made by punctuation, and that moving the cut is allowed when interchanging the short lines.  This permissive interpretation of Rule 6 did not occur to me until I saw Virginia Popescu’s beautiful haiga, where the haiku still flows naturally with exactly one cut, if we move the dash from after “stone” to after “sun” when interchanging the short lines.  Her response to this episode is also a gentle reminder that my most dangerous assumptions are the ones I do not know I am making.

Maybe I can satisfy Rule 6 with a single stationary cut some time in the future.  Maybe not.  For now, I cut in both places where one line follows another.

This Haiku Is Kosher
 No mosquitoes fly.
 Basho’s frog just meditates.
 The pond stays silent.

zen-frog

Not Quite Kosher
|Zen frog bronze sculpture
|(credit lost, like casting wax).
|Dunno who to thank.

haiku, humor, serendipity

Seedless Raspberries?

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The images in this post are derived from

Carpe Diem #1223 Raspberry,

where similar reds appear in very different places.

RevolverMaps Widget
 Tiny raspberries
 twinkle on revolving globe.
 No seeds between teeth.

haiku, photography

A Life Is Like A Day

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It is late afternoon, so I will get while the getting is good.

Do It Now
|Low sun; long shadows.
|Take photos before sunset:
|twilight summons night.

Spider-Rock

Spider Rock — ©2012 John Wanserski for Creative Juice LLC

While there are many fine photos of Spider Rock and its shadow, this splendid one by John Wanserski has colors and composition that are distinctive and especially appropriate for my haiku.  Click here to buy a print.

engineering, humor, STEM

Creativity Averted Catastrophe

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before-afterDesigned and built long before there were supercomputers, the great Gothic cathedrals often developed cracks and bulges.hernia-support-belt_200x206

When more buttressing did not look like it would be enough to avert a catastrophic collapse at Amiens, the engineers there devised a way to get the net effect of putting a really big and really strong hernia support belt around the cathedral walls.  Cathedrals don’t wear clothes; how do U hide such a belt?  How do U cinch it?  How do U accomplish all that with medieval technology?

The answers are sketched in the Wikipedia article on the Amiens Cathedral and visualized in a 2010 NOVA episode on PBS: Building the Great Cathedrals.  (To read more detail, look for “iron” in the transcript.)  U can blame me for bringing up hernias.

Dunno whether the engineers at Amiens were called ingénieurs at the time; at least one of them should have been called créatif.  The cathedral is an enduring monument to the faith of many and the creativity of some, including a few engineers.

(reblog), politics

Join Us in the Fight for Net Neutrality

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Glad to see that WP is encouraging people to take a stand with this clever temporary plugin.

It is a little disappointing that the actual comment area provided by BattleForTheNet.com is so small that it doubles the temptation to just send the zillionth copy of the default comments.

After sending the default in response to the WP plugin on my own blog, I sent in a concise original comment in response to yet another link:

My electric utility company distributes the electricity I use, whether I buy it from them or from someone else.  The company does not skimp on maintaining the wires for people who buy from someone else.  The Internet has succeeded with a similarly neutral stance.  It ain’t broke.  Don’t “fix” it.

The WordPress.com Blog

Automattic strongly believes in a free and open Internet and it’s hard to imagine a truly open Internet without Net Neutrality.

What Is Net Neutrality?

“Net Neutrality” is the simple but very powerful principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. Whether you’re reading a blog post on WordPress.com, streaming Game of Thrones on HBO GO, or browsing handcrafted tea cozies on Etsy, your Internet service provider delivers the Internet to you at the same speed, without blocking, throttling, or charging extra tolls based on the content you’re viewing. You can learn more about Net Neutrality and why it’s important by visiting battleforthenet.com.

Net Neutrality gives all online businesses, large and small, a chance to reach customers and succeed. It also protects important free speech rights online by prohibiting Internet providers from slowing or blocking sites or messages they don’t agree with.

Net Neutrality means an Internet where…

View original post 560 more words

haiku, humor, photography, serendipity

Beyond Rules

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While obeying many rules is common and often helpful, there are very few rules that must always be obeyed.  I had thought that poems in haiku form must have 3 lines.  Then I wrote a 2-line haiku.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

naro-h-v_18pc wide-18pc-392x442

Rules Went Away
!Doorknob meteor shower:
!mundane miracle.

Have U read Alice in Wonderland ?  Expecting me to refrain from reworking an initial idea in my wordsmith’s forge is like expecting Alice to refrain from following a white rabbit who looks at a watch and frets about being late.  Ain’t.  Gonna.  Happen.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Rules Came Back
!Meteor shower
!seen by day in a doorknob:
!mundane miracle.