Poetry–Opinion

Opinion

Marianne Moore, writer and baseball fan

poet Marianne Moore

Image result for marianne moore photosd. 1972

                                  Poetry

(Suggested by post-game broadcasts)

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all                                         this fiddle.Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one                         discovers in

it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
they are
useful. When they become so derivative as to become
unintelligible,
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf
under
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that
feels a
flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician–
nor is it valid
to discriminate against ‘business documents and

school-books’; all these phenomena are important. One must
make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
‘literalists of
the imagination’–above
insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, ‘imaginary gardens with real toads in them’, shall
we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry.

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Her baseball poem.

She liked athletics and was a great admirer of Muhammad Ali, for whose spoken-word album I Am the Greatest! she wrote the liner notes. She became known as a baseball fan, first of the Brooklyn Dodgers and then of the New York Yankees. She threw out the ball to open the season at Yankee Stadium in 1968.   Wikipedia

Moore was a Dodger fan for most of her life but felt so betrayed by the team’s move to Los Angeles that she switched to the Yankees.   source

Margaret and Trees

 

Image result for autumn leaves photos
 A long time ago I worked for a couple of years doing several things at Loyola University.   For one thing, I taught a course in teaching reading skills for English teachers, a state requirement, in summer, I think.  After the last class, the students invited me to have a beer with them.  After that, I rode the “L” with a woman of the group who convinced me that the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins was a lot of fatuous nonsense.  I don’t remember now what her argument was, and I still love one Manley poem.  The voice in the poem speaks to a young girl who is upset to see autumn leaves fall.
 

 

 

Spring and Fall:     to a Young Child

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Image result for autumn leaves photos

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

I Don’t Believe in Ghosts, but . . .

 

. . . I’ve heard some strange things in this 120-year-old house (brick foundation).

Image result for ghost photos

Not long after I moved in, I was standing in the living room and heard the sound of a barrowful of gravel run down between the inside and outside walls over about 30 seconds.  Heard the same thing, more briefly, in the kitchen recently.

One evening, sitting in the living room, I heard faintly, just for a moment, a male and a female voice on the stairs to the second floor.  I think.

The event I like best occurred in our upstairs bedroom.  Alice was out of town, so I was there alone in the middle of the night when I heard a clear knock-knock in the south wall.  Again a knock-knock, a bit to the left of the first.  Then the same thing on the east wall.

A few days ago I was sitting in my living room chair when I heard a loud pop on the face of the fireplace 3 feet from my shoulder and saw a flash !  Alice denied throwing a grenade at me.

I’ve felt no fear in any of this, just a kind of wonderment.

Maybe we have a friendly ghost, just staying in touch.

rjn

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Not usually thought of as a Halloween poem, an old story, The Cremation of Sam McGee, comes to mind, more fun read aloud.  VIDEO with introduction and reading.

 

Solar Car Race

 

Photos of cars

Race videos

Video on solar power at source

A Dutch University Has Just Won Australia’s Solar Car Race

during the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge at XXXXXX on October 22, 2015 in Adelaide, Australia.
Morne de Klerk—Getty ImagesThe Nuon Solar Team of the Netherlands celebrates after winning the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge at Victoria Square on Oct. 22, 2015 in Adelaide, Australia

The biennial race is a friendly testing ground for cars that run on nothing but the sun

The 1,800-mile journey from Darwin to Adelaide cuts through the center of Australia, traversing deserts where the sun can bake asphalt to well over 100°F. While these conditions make travel perilous for most drivers, they were perfect forcompetitors in the nation’s solar car race, of which the team from Delft University in the Netherlands won its second victory in a row on Thursday.

Held once every two years, the World Solar Challenge is a friendly testing ground for cars that run on nothing but the sun. The hope is that one day the technology will find its way into consumer products, the BBC reports.

This year more than 40 teams from universities and schools around the world set off from State Square in Darwin on Oct. 18. Five days later, after 37 hours, 56 minutes and 12 seconds of driving, Delft’s Nuon Solar Team’s car Nuna8 was the first to cross the finish line at Victoria Square in Adelaide.

It was a tight race. Nuon’s countrymen from Solar Team Twente and its car Red One joined the revelry just eight minutes later. Japan’s Tokai University took third.

How do you celebrate after five days in the scorching Australian Outback? The orange-clad students jumped in the square’s fountain, naturally.

Cancer Drug to Treat Dementia

At my age there is no point in fearing death, but I do fear slipping into dementia or otherwise becoming helpless.  I don’t want to live long enough for that to happen.  rjn

___________________________________

Cancer Drug Reverses Parkinson’s Disease And Dementia

Alan Hoffman, shown with his wife, Nancy, at their home in Dumfries, Va., found that his Parkinson's symptoms improved when he took a cancer drug.iAlan Hoffman, shown with his wife, Nancy, at their home in Dumfries, Va., found that his Parkinson’s symptoms improved when he took a cancer drug.

Claire Harbage for NPR

A drug that’s already approved for treating leukemia appears to dramatically reduce symptoms in people who have Parkinson’s disease with dementia, or a related condition called Lewy body dementia.

A pilot study of 12 patients given small doses of nilotinib found that movement and mental function improved in all of the 11 people who completed the six-month trial, researchers reported Saturday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago.

And for several patients the improvements were dramatic, says Fernando Pagan, an author of the study and director of the Movement Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical Center. One woman regained the ability to feed herself, one man was able to stop using a walker, and three previously nonverbal patients began speaking again, Pagan says.

“After 25 years in Parkinson’s disease research, this is the most excited I’ve ever been,” Pagan says.

If the drug’s effectiveness is confirmed in larger, placebo-controlled studies, nilotinib could become the first treatment to interrupt a process that kills brain cells in Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

One of the patients in the pilot study was Alan Hoffman, 74, who lives with his wife, Nancy, in Northern Virginia.

 Hoffman was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1997. At first, he had trouble moving his arms. Over time, walking became more difficult and his speech became slurred. And by 2007, the disease had begun to affect his thinking.

“I knew I’d dropped off in my ability to read,” Hoffman says. “People would keep giving me books and I’d have read the first chapter of about 10 of them. I had no ability to focus on it.”

“He had more and more difficulty making sense,” Nancy Hoffman says. He also became less active, less able to have conversations, and eventually stopped doing even household chores, she says.

But after a few weeks on nilotinib, Hoffman “improved in every way,” his wife says. “He began loading the dishwasher, loading the clothes in the dryer, things he had not done in a long time.”

Even more surprising, Hoffman’s scores on cognitive tests began to improve. At home, Nancy Hoffman says her husband was making sense again and regained his ability to focus. “He actually read the David McCullough book on the Wright brothers and started reading the paper from beginning to end,” she says.

The idea of using nilotinib to treat people like Alan Hoffman came from Charbel Moussa, an assistant professor of neurology at Georgetown University and an author of the study.

Moussa knew that in people who have Parkinson’s disease with dementia or a related condition called Lewy body dementia, toxic proteins build up in certain brain cells, eventually killing them. Moussa thought nilotinib might be able to reverse this process.

His reasoning was that nilotinib activates a system in cells that works like a garbage disposal — it clears out unwanted proteins. Also, Moussa had shown that while cancer cells tend to die when exposed to nilotinib, brain cells actually become healthier.

So Moussa had his lab try the drug on brain cells in a petri dish. “And we found that, surprisingly, with a very little amount of the drug we can clear all these proteins that are supposed to be neurotoxic,” he says.

Next, Moussa had his team give the drug to transgenic mice that were almost completely paralyzed from Parkinson’s disease. The treatment “rescued” the animals, he says, allowing them to move almost as well as healthy mice.

Moussa’s mice got the attention of Pagan from Georgetown’s Movement Disorders Program. “When Dr. Moussa showed them to me,” Pagan says, “it looked like, hey, this is type of drug that we’ve been looking for because it goes to the root of the problem.”

The pilot study was designed to determine whether nilotinib was safe for Parkinson’s patients and to determine how much drug from the capsules they were taking was reaching their brains. “But we also saw efficacy, which is really unheard of in a safety study,” Pagan says.

The study found that levels of toxic proteins in blood and spinal fluid decreased once patients began taking nilotinib. Also, tests showed that the symptoms of Parkinson’s including tremor and “freezing” decreased. And during the study patients were able to use lower doses of Parkinson’s drugs, suggesting that the brain cells that produce dopamine were working better.

But there are some caveats, Pagan says. For one thing, the study was small, not designed to measure effectiveness, and included no patients taking a placebo.

Also, nilotinib is very expensive. The cost of providing it to leukemia patients is thousands of dollars a month.

Hoffman says his symptoms have gotten worse since he stopped taking the medication as part of a study.

Hoffman says his symptoms have gotten worse since he stopped taking the medication as part of a study.  Claire Harbage for NPR

And finally, Parkinson’s and dementia patients would have to keep taking nilotinib indefinitely or their symptoms would continue to get worse.

Alan Hoffman was OK for about three weeks after the study ended and he stopped taking the drug. Since then, “There’s (been) a pretty big change,” his wife says. “He does have more problems with his speech, and he has more problems with cognition and more problems with mobility.”

The Hoffmans hope to get more nilotinib from the drug’s maker, Novartis, through a special program for people who improve during experiments like this one.

Meanwhile, the Georgetown team plans to try nilotinib in patients with another brain disease that involves toxic proteins: Alzheimer’s.

What’s Up at Supreme Court ?

 

The Supreme Court’s New Term: Here’s What To Watch

An American flag flies over the Supreme Court in June.iAn American flag flies over the Supreme Court in June.  Mark Wilson/Getty Images

5 Cases To Watch

  • Public Unions: Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

    Does requiring employees who are not members of a union to pay their “fair share” to cover contract negotiations they benefit from violate their free speech rights?

  • One Person, One Vote Principle: Evenwel v. Abbott

    Should state legislative districts have the same number of people, or the same number of eligible voters? Does the population count include children, non-citizen immigrants, and others like those with a criminal record who are thus ineligible to vote.

  • Abortion Regulations

    The abortion test case will likely come from Texas, where the Republican controlled legislature enacted strict new regulations on abortion clinics, maintaining that they would protect the health and safety of women. Abortion providers, backed by major medical organizations, counter that the regulations are in fact aimed at making abortions difficult to obtain.

  • Birth Control And Obamacare

    A test of the Obamacare provision that exempts religious organizations from having to pay for birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. Religiously-affiliated organizations such as universities and hospitals argue that having to notify the federal government of their objections, which triggers a mechanism to provide the coverage to some employees, makes them complicit in facilitating birth control coverage and thus violates their religious principles.

  • Affirmative Action: Fisher v. University of Texas

    Brought by a white applicant, Abigail Fisher, who was rejected by the University of Texas at Austin, this case considers the validity of considering of race and ethnicity in college admissions.

The United States Supreme Court opens a new term Monday, and, as always, many of the most contentious issues facing the country — including abortion, birth control coverage, public employee unions, affirmative action in higher education, voter participation — are likely to be before the court.

But there is a difference this term. Chief Justice John Roberts, despite his overall conservative record on the bench, has become a punching bag for candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination.

Presidential candidates have often criticized the court, pledging that they would appoint a different kind of justice. It’s been more than a half century, though, since politicians have put a chief justice, by name, in the cross-hairs of criticism. What is puzzling about the Roberts critique is that the right hailed this George W. Bush appointee when he was named ten years ago, and Roberts has a consistently conservative record on most issues.

He has voted with the court’s conservatives to strike down most of the legal limits on campaign spending, opening election campaigns nationwide to a flood of new cash. He has consistently supported an individual’s right to bear arms. He wrote the court’s opinion in the 2013 case Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He has consistently opposed any sort of racial preferences. Last term, he wrote the leading dissent when the court struck down state laws banning same-sex marriage.

On only one flashpoint subject has he parted ways with some or all or the court’s most conservative members: Obamacare.

Yet, in the first two televised debates, Republican candidates took turns pummeling him, characterizing his nomination as a grave mistake, and suggesting that Roberts follows a political path rather than a legal one. If President George W. Bush had appointed someone more conservative than Roberts, said Sen. Ted Cruz, “Obamacare would have been struck down three years ago, and the marriage laws of all fifty states would be on the books.”

Never mind that Roberts actually dissented in the same-sex marriage case.
Jeb Bush, whose brother appointed Roberts, was less strident, but suggested nonetheless that Roberts was a “politically expedient” choice because he was a conservative whom the Senate could confirm. And Gov. Mike Huckabee said that he would require anyone he appointed to oppose all abortions and to see religious freedom as the first of all rights.

Nobody thinks it will be easy for Chief Justice Roberts or the other justices to ignore such talk. But, the job of the chief justice is, among other things, to guard the independence of the judiciary and to preserve the court’s institutional role as a dispassionate arbiter of the nation’s laws and the Constitution.

Notwithstanding the critique in the GOP debates, the Roberts court is most often a conservative court. But it is closely divided, and last term, for the first time in a decade, the court’s liberals prevailed in the majority of 5-to-4 rulings. They did that by picking off not just Roberts and Justice Kennedy on Obamacare, and Kennedy on same-sex marriage, but other conservative justices in other cases.

Most experts see those liberal victories, however, as a product of an idiosyncratic mix of cases. This term, the issues play much more to the strength of the court’s conservatives. There are cases that could further cut back affirmative action in higher education, hobble or destroy public employee unions, and make it easier to limit voter participation in elections.

There is a strong likelihood that the court will revisit the abortion question, as well as the issue of birth control coverage under Obamacare. “The worry is, does what goes around come around,” said Tom Goldstein, Supreme Court advocate and publisher of SCOTUSblog, “and the writing on the wall sure seems to up there that has got the left scared — bejesus!”

The court, for instance, for the first time is being asked to determine the meaning of the one-person, one-vote principle in Evenwel v. Abbott. Does it mean that state legislative districts should have the same number of people, or the same number of eligible voters? Does the population count include children, non-citizen immigrants both in the country legally and illegally, and others like those with a criminal record who are thus ineligible to vote? Or does the population count include only those eligible to vote, or even just those registered to vote?

Virtually all state and local governments currently draw districts based on total population. But if those challenging that practice prevail, it could dramatically shift political power away from districts with lots of children and immigrants, and it would likely give Republicans a big boost in state legislative elections.

Also likely to come before the court are election cases involving strict voter ID laws and other provisions that make it more difficult to vote.

The union case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, could also have huge political consequences by crippling public employee unions and possibly all unions. The case pits the practical needs of collective bargaining against the First Amendment. The nation’s labor laws, as the court has interpreted them since 1977, have struck the balance this way. Once a majority of public employees vote to be represented by a union, those who choose not to join do not have to pay for the union’s political activities, but they do have to pay for contract negotiations that they benefit from.

In short, they must pay their so-called “fair share.” Otherwise they would become free riders on the backs of those who do pay. In two recent cases, four justices, and possibly five, have suggested that requiring such fair share payments violates the nonmembers’ free speech rights.

Waiting in the wings at the high court are two politically incendiary cases: one involving abortion, the other birth control under Obamacare.  The abortion test case will likely come from Texas, where the Republican controlled legislature enacted strict new regulations on abortion clinics, requiring them to make costly renovations, and limiting the ability of doctors to perform abortionsaiting in the wings at the high court are two politically incendiary cases: one involving abortion, the other birth control under Obamacare. The abortion test case will likely come from Texas, where the Republican controlled legislature enacted strict new regulations on abortion clinics, requiring them to make costly renovations, and limiting the ability of doctors to perform abortions. The state maintains that the new law was aimed at protecting the health and safety of women. Abortion providers, backed by major medical organizations, counter that the regulations are unnecessary and that the law is in fact aimed at making abortions difficult to obtain.

The birth control case is a test of the Obamacare provision that exempts religious organizations from having to pay for birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. While churches, synagogues and the like are totally exempt, religiously affiliated organizations such as universities and hospitals are exempt only if they notify the federal government of their objections. That in turn triggers an independent mechanism to provide the coverage for those employees who want it. Some religious organizations contend that the notification requirement makes them complicit in facilitating birth control coverage and thus violates their religious principles.

Homesick for Chicago – Beautiful HD Drone Video

Homesick Chicagoans Make Amazing Drone Video of the City, Its People

Full story on DNAinfo.

The video, called “Homesick for Chicago,” uses a drone to capture sweeping views of the city’s beaches and harbors, skyline, busy streets and Lake Michigan. But, it also focuses on people grabbing a hot dog, playing in fire hydrants, enjoying ice cream at Tastee Freez and hanging out in the park.