Friday, June 29, 2012

So near and yet so far.

Blogger’s overview page says this blog has 995 posts, but the page that lists all of the individual posts says there are 994 posts. One of those numbers is true, I suppose, but I don’t know which one, and I am not going to count all the posts personally to find out. I do know, however, that both of them can’t be true.

If one of you would like to undertake that task and report back to me no later than Tuesday, you will not have to take the final examination.

That thingy over there on the right says this blog has 97 followers. At one point the number had reached 98, but it slipped back to 96, and now says 97. At least one of the followers is shown twice, though, so maybe 96 is the correct number. Maybe even 95.

Not quite 1000 posts. Not quite 100 followers.

So near and yet so far.

I am reminded of the opening lyrics of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s song “Is A Puzzlement” from the musical The King and I:

When I was a boy
World was better spot
What was so was so
What was not was not
Now I am a man
World have changed a lot
Some things nearly so
Others nearly not

Does it matter whether I have 96 or 97 followers?

No.

Does it matter whether I ever reach 1000 posts?

No.

Does it matter that President Obama insisted in his interview with George Stephanopoulous that the individual mandate portion of his healthcare legislation was not a tax and now Chief Justice John Roberts, writing the majority decision in the case U.S. Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida, says the mandate is a tax?

Yes.

It matters a great deal.

So near and yet so far.

Just like November.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It takes a long time to get the long view

The following poem is a fictional account of actual people and events; only the names have been changed to protect the innocent the guilty whomever.

Florabelle Oxley (1918-2007)
by rhymeswithplague Robert H. Brague whomever


Born Florabelle Stillwater, part
Choctaw Indian, or maybe it was Cherokee,
in a little town in Central Texas;
she married Bud Oxley, a nice enough guy
who owned his own plumbing business
in another little town
and who also drank
maybe a little too much
a little too often;
she had two sisters, one in
North Las Vegas, Nevada,
and one in Tulare, California.

Florabelle raised Poland China hogs on
a forty-acre farm she and Bud owned
two miles north of town;
she also raised a
son named Jimmy Wayne who
didn’t do well in school
but loved to hunt squirrels, loved
to drive a tractor, loved to
swim in the pond where the hogs
and a small herd of cattle
came often to drink,
loved most of all to fish
in the selfsame pond,
and after leaving home
he became a fishing guide
somewhere down in
East Texas.

We could hear Florabelle
calling her hogs
every afternoon at four-thirty,
regular as clockwork,
sooooooey, sooooooey,
suey, suey, suey,
sooooooey, sooooooey,
a siren beckoning to Ulysses,
or Circe wooing Ulysses’ men
in from the fields to be
slopped and penned up for the night,
fattening them up for the kill
but not before winning prizes at
the annual Livestock Exposition and
Fat Stock Show in Fort Worth.

Florabelle had a heart of gold,
telling my parents, “So sorry
about your well,
of course you can get water
from the spigot and hose on the
side of my house,” which we did
for three long years,
or rather I did,
I, carrying drinking water
in buckets across the pasture
between our houses every other day,
I, pulling an old Red Flyer wagon
with a large aluminum garbage can,
shiny and new
and filled with water,
balanced on top
across the same pasture
twice a week,
I, hauling water so we could
bathe and wash dishes
and have clean pots and pans,
I, whose mother had earned
a teaching certificate from
West Chester State College in
Pennsylvania but
died of cancer anyway
in October of my senior year,
I, whose father never finished
high school and didn’t intend
to part with good money
just to dig a new well or
install indoor plumbing
for a sick wife,
I, who did quite well at school
and became valedictorian
of my class,
dependent on a country woman
with little education
who raised hogs
and had a son who
didn’t do well in school
didn’t do well
at all.

After fifty-three years of
living with Bud, Florabelle
became a widow and lived
thirteen more years
to the ripe old age of
eighty-eight; she was
confined to a wheelchair
for the last three years of her life,
but that didn’t slow her down much
because Bud’s niece, Jolene,
his sister Gaye’s youngest daughter
whose father had been mayor of the town,
Jolene, who as a teenager thought
dancing was a sin and told us all
she was going to become a
Southern Baptist missionary,
Jolene, who instead became
a registered nurse and
a three-time divorcee,
and decided to learn how to
square dance when she was
in her fifties,
Jolene, who fell in love
for a fourth time with
David, a Mormon guy from Utah,
and told him, “If you agree
to learn to square dance for me,
I’ll become a Mormon for you,”
and he did, and she did,
and they lived happily ever after,
that Jolene, at the age of sixty-three
assumed full responsibility
for Florabelle who was eighty-five
and confined to a wheelchair and
needed help getting dressed
and into and out of bed and couldn’t even
go to the bathroom by herself
and had a touch of the
Alzheimer’s
to boot,
assumed responsibility for her aunt
because Jimmy Wayne was still
somewhere down in East Texas
helping all those city people
catch fish on weekends;
she and David, her fourth husband,
toted Florabelle all around the country,
driving all the way to North
Las Vegas, Nevada, and Tulare, California,
and back east to North Carolina
to visit Jolene’s sister, Bernice,
and all the way up to Washington state
where they flew kites on a beach
by the Pacific Ocean and took
photographs to prove it,
and out to Kaysville, Utah,
several times each year
to visit David’s children
and Jolene still found time
to produce and distribute
a quarterly newsletter complete with
scanned photographs
on her laptop computer
for her old classmates.

On the night all forty-six members
of the class of 1958
marched across the football field
and sang “Moments To Remember”
as sung by The Four Lads to the crowd
assembled in the stadium seats
and I gave my valedictory address
and we graduated from high school,
Jolene was my date, although date
is the wrong word because I
didn’t know how to drive yet
so we sat in the back seat
of my Dad’s car while he and
my soon-to-be-stepmother
took us somewhere to eat
and drove us around for a
couple of hours, pretending to
have a good time
when they probably wanted to
be somewhere else;
it was Florabelle who had quietly
suggested one afternoon
that it would be nice
if I asked her niece
to go out
after graduation.

A couple of years ago
Florabelle, Jolene, and David
spent a Saturday night with us
in North Georgia
on their way back to Texas
from North Carolina;
Florabelle didn’t know
who we were or where she was
but she did remember
Ruth, Ted, and Billy,
her old neighbors from
fifty-some years ago, and she
flirted shamelessly with David
at the dinner table,
and they all attended Easter service
with us the next day because
Jolene wanted to hear me
play the piano once again,
and Jolene seemed to enjoy our church
even though Florabelle said
the service was too long
and David said it was
more exuberant than he was used to,
and before they left
to get back on the road
Jolene snapped some pictures
and scanned some photographs
to use in a future newsletter.

Last week Florabelle died. I sent
flowers to the funeral home and
signed the online guest book
that was provided by the
obituary department of the
Fort Worth Star-Telegram;
I left a note saying what a
good neighbor she had been,
always ready with a laugh or a tear,
whichever fit the occasion,
and that Mama and Florabelle
were neighbors once again;
the next evening
one of the class officers
called and said “I went
to a funeral today and
your name came up; it was
mentioned from the pulpit.”

According to the Bible,
love covers a multitude of sins;
I would simply add that
love lets your neighbors have water
when they have none,
love makes you more than happy to
rearrange your life
to care for an elderly relative
who can no longer care for herself;
love doesn’t mind all the equipment
you have to lug around or
all the trouble it is
to produce a quarterly newsletter
for your classmates.

Dancing is not a sin;
being divorced three times is not a sin;
drinking maybe a little too much
is not a sin;
wanting to be a fishing guide
is not a sin;
not having enough money to be able to
afford to have a new well dug
is not a sin.

Sin is that which causes you,
upon receiving a brand new
telephone directory, to look at
your own name and address first;
it is loving yourself
to the exclusion of others,
it is concentrating on your own needs
and ignoring anyone else’s;
it is the complete self-centeredness
that makes you secretly pleased
to hear that your name
was mentioned from the pulpit;
it is trying to write a poem
to honor a neighbor or a friend
and ending up making it about yourself;
it is the missing of the mark altogether,
the coming short of the glory of God,
the glory in which, I hasten to add,
Mama and Florabelle now reside.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Owe joey! Ode ill height!

I remember reading the book Anguish Languish by Howard L. Chace when it was first published, way back in 1956, but I hadn’t thought about it in years.

Wikipedia reports that Anguish Languish is “an ersatz language” constructed from English language words. It is not really a language but rather “a homophonic transformation” created as a work of humor.

Now, thanks to the expiration of the book’s copyright, a fellow named Kevin Rice has made Anguish Languish available online.

Once again I can read Furry Tells like Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, Guilty Looks Enter Tree Beers, and Center Alley.

Once again I can read Noisier Rams like Mary Hatter Ladle Limb, Oiled Murder Harbored, and Pitter Paper.

I can even thing thumb thongs, thongs like Alley Wetter, Fur Hazy Jelly Gut Furlough, and Hormone Derange.

And now, through the magic of my blog, soak an yew (so can you).

Owe joey! Ode ill height!

Dish cub bathers tar tub sum pink pig.

Friday, June 22, 2012

I Never Saw Another Butterfly

All this posting and blogging and thinking makes one weary.
In need of a good nap. Ready to chuck the whole shebang.

But every once in a while, through all the blog surfing and speed-reading and taking in and digesting of information, one runs across a thought or idea that brings one up short.

I found one of those today on Jim Murdoch’s blog in a post about truth and beauty and ugly poetry:


“To write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric.”


So said German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno (1903 - 1969).

I think he was wrong.

One might as well say that to write a poem after September 11, 2001, or after George W. Bush’s or Barack Obama’s presidency, or after Tony Blair’s or Gordon Brown’s or David Cameron’s tenure as prime minister, is barbaric. I mean, life goes on.

Man’s inhumanity to man is very real. There have always been victims, but fortunately there have always been survivors also whose duty it is to record accurately what happened to help us prevent such things from ever happening again.

Life does go on.

It must.

Not to write a poem after Auschwitz, that is what would be truly barbaric.

I want to leave you with Pavel Friedman. (The text is from Wikipedia)

Pavel Friedman (January 7, 1921 – September 29, 1944) was a Jewish Czechoslovak poet who received posthumous fame for his poem “The Butterfly.” Friedman was born in Prague and deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp, in the fortress and garrison city of Terezín, located in what is now the Czech Republic. He wrote a poem “The Butterfly” on a piece of thin copy paper which was discovered after liberation and later donated to the State Jewish Museum.

Little is known of Friedman’s life prior to his incarceration at
the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where his arrival was recorded on April 26, 1942. More than two years later, on September 29, 1944, he was deported to Auschwitz, where he died.

The text of “The Butterfly” was discovered at Thereisenstadt after the ghetto was liberated. It has been included in collections of children’s literature from the Holocaust era, most notably the anthology I Never Saw Another Butterfly, first published by Hana Volavková and Jiří Weil in 1959, although Friedman was 21 years old when the poem was composed. The poem also inspired the Butterfly Project of the Holocaust Museum Houston, an exhibition where 1.5 million paper butterflies were created to symbolize the same number of children that perished in the Holocaust.


The Butterfly
by Pavel Friedman


The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
.....against a white stone....

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ’way up high.
It went away I’m sure because it wished to
.....kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here,
.....in the ghetto.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How’s that again?

An article in this week’s issue of The Cherokee Ledger-News began with the following sentence:

An area man was transported to WellStar Kennestone Hospital with non-life threatening injuries after his KIA Optima left the highway, traveled down a 50-foot embankment and was struck by several trees.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The vibrations of deathless music

Some songs deserve to live on and on, and to be listened to frequently, and to be appreciated by one and all.

This isn’t one of them.

But I’m presenting it to you anyway, not because the singing is so great (although the singer’s voice reminds me a lot of Johnny Cash), and not because the chord progressions are so fantastic, and God knows it’s certainly not because of the subject matter.

It’s the guitar playing. This old boy plays a mean guitar.

Here’s Junior Brown singing “You’re Wanted by the PO-lice and My Wife Thinks You’re Dead” (3:36).

And if for some unearthly reason you might like to have a copy of the lyrics, here they are:

“My Wife Thinks You’re Dead”

It’s good to see you baby,
it’s been a long long while
We’re both a whole lot older
and seen a lot of miles
But things are really different now
since the good ol’ days
And you’ve been in some trouble
Since we went our separate ways
We’ll have to say hello
maybe some other time instead
Cause you’re wanted by the PO-lice
And my wife thinks you’re dead.

Somebody spread the rumor
that you had lost your life,
Least that’s the way I heard it
and what I told my wife
Now here you’re showin’ up again
and talk is gettin’ round
And I can see that one of us
will have to leave this town
If you think that I want trouble
Then you’re crazy in your head
Cause you’re wanted by the PO-lice
And my wife thinks you’re dead.

You never called or wrote me,
just up and disappeared
Nobody knew what happened,
where you been for all these years.
Now trouble’s what you’re lookin’ like
Cause trouble’s where you been
And I can see the kind of trouble
you could get me in
You better pay attention
to every word I said
Cause you’re wanted by the PO-lice
And my wife thinks you’re dead.

So goodbye to you baby,
I’m glad we got to talk
But I’m faithful to my wife
and I don’t ever break the law
I don’t know where you’re headed for,
But I know where you’ve been
We reminisced, now let’s just go
our separate ways again
Go find another ex-sweetheart
to hang around instead
Because you’re wanted by the PO-lice
And my wife thinks you’re dead.
I said, “You’re wanted by the PO-lice
And my wife thinks you’re dead.”

--Copyright 1996 by Jamieson Brown

[Editor’s note. The first person who can tell me where the title of this post comes from without looking it up will receive 50 bonus points. --RWP]

P.S. - The answer is in the fourth comment.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Bilbo Baggins Principle

I’m telling you, that Shooting Parrots is a veritable treasure trove of blogging ideas.

He went and used Google Translate to translate a random English sentence (“So you see, not only is this useful for visitors, but it’s educational for me.”) into Latin (Videtis igitur non solum utile sagittis sed rutrum quis enim.) and then applied Google Translate to the translation and re-translated the translation back into English. Here’s what that little exercise produced:

“Do you see arrows, but more useful, therefore, not only for who.”

I think you will agree with me that the concept may still need a little work.

So I thought I might have a little fun by subjecting some well-known proverbs and phrases to the same process.

Here goes:

1. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. -> Equum agere potest facere aquam non bibant. -> He can make a horse, intending to do nor drink water.

2. A rolling stone gathers no moss. -> A volubilem lapidem congregat musco. -> A rolling stone gathers moss.

3. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. -> Pomum a die tenet medicus a. -> An apple a day keeps the doctor.

4. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. -> In urbe, non faciunt Romani. -> In the city, they do not do the Romans.

5. Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don’t mess with Mr. In-between. -> PREMO positiuo, tollere non, venenatis et Donec In nec medium. -> FEEL THE PINCH the positive, not take away, not until the middle of the, poisonous.

6. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. -> Cinis cinerem, pulvis ad pulverem. -> Ashes, ashes, dust to the dust.

7. When the cat’s away, the mice will play. -> Cum cattus suus, consectetur erit ludere. -> With his cat, I will be playing.

8. If you sit on the table, you’ll get married before you're able. -> Si idcirco sedetis super mensam es tu poteris uxorem ante. -> If you sit there you are, you will be able to set upon the table before the wife.

9. In a cavern, by a canyon, excavating for a mine, lived a miner, forty-niner, and his daughter Clementine. -> In antro, per canyon, excavating enim a mea, vixit a METALLICUS, quadraginta niner, et eius filia Clementine. -> In the cave, a canyon, excavating for a mine, he lived from METAL, the Nina, and his daughter Clementine.

#7 looks a little phony to me. I thought the Latin word for cat was felix, feline. Something is rotten in the Google Translate state of Denmark.

#8 is something my mother used to say to me. It proved to be untrue. I married at 22 and today I’m still married to the same woman 49 years later.

#9 is almost perfect, except it left out the Pinta and the Santa Maria.

And the moral of this post, kiddies, should be obvious. I call it the Bilbo Baggins Principle:

There and back again isn’t always as easy as it may appear.

In conclusion, may I just say that in the city, although they do not do the Romans, with his cat, I will be playing.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I ain’t never went to no Barcelona

Some people actually think that all residents of Georgia speak this way. I forgive them. (Full disclosure: Some people in Georgia actually do speak this way. I forgive them too.)

This post is dedicated to Brian (a Brit who lives in Catalonia and blogs in both Catalan and English) and also to Katherine (the famous New Zealand artist who paints, among other things, godwits and grapes). But I hope the rest of you enjoy it as well.

Let us begin.

If you think this building looks funny from the outside:


(published under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)

You should see it from the inside:


(published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.)

It’s a church. Yes, it is. It’s the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, Catalonia, and the second photo is of the crossing and dome of the nave, looking up from the floor.

According to Wikipedia, “The catalan basilica of La Sagrada Família (The Holy Family) is THE global icon of Barcelona. After more than a century building it, in 2011 the interior was finished and consecrated by the pope Benedict XVI. It’s an incredible structure, fruit of the unique mind of Antoni Gaudí. The ceilings look like a spaceship, and the nave and columns, like a palm tree forest. Work began in 1882 and should be completed in 2026, like the medieval cathedrals of old.”

Besides having an extraneous comma after the word columns, the preceding paragraph contains a serious factual error in the final sentence. Not a single one of the medieval cathedrals of old was begun in 1882 or is expected to be completed in 2026.
I do know what the writer was trying to say, but he or she didn’t say it.

Here are more incredible photographs of La Sagrada Familia and scenes of Barcelona from Silverback’s trip there last summer, including an impressive video clip he made himself (7:34).

And here are some more of Gaudi’s buildings.

Gaudi’s grades at university were average and he even failed courses occasionally. When handing him his degree in 1878, Elies Rogent, director of Barcelona Architecture School, said: “We have given this academic title either to a fool or a genius. Time will show.”

The English word gaudy has absolutely nothing to do with architect Antoni Gaudi (1852 - 1926). If you don't believe me, dictionary.com will set you straight.

This entire post was created without using, until now, the word Spain.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Today is Flag Day



Today, June 14th, is Flag Day in the United States. I blogged about it two years ago and you can read that post here. Or you can read what Wikipedia has to say. Or you can decide to skip them altogether. It’s really up to you. That is what freedom is all about.

The first American flag had 13 white stars (representing the original 13 colonies) in a circle on a blue field, and 13 stripes, alternating red and white. After Vermont and Kentucky entered the union, the flag had 15 stars and 15 stripes, but people with foresight could see what was coming and settled on 13 as the permanent number of stripes. Only the number of stars changed as more states were added. Since 1959, when both Alaska and Hawaii were added to the union,* there have been 50 states. The current U.S. flag contains five rows of six stars (30) interleaved with four rows of five stars (20).

If Puerto Rico or Washington, D.C., or Guam or some other place ever becomes the 51st state, another star will be added. Can you think of an orderly pattern that would contain 51 stars?

The only one I can come up with besides three rows of 17, which would look ridiculous, is three rows of nine (27) and three rows of eight (24). Oh, and there’s also five rows of seven (35) and four rows of four (16). And there’s....

We have to be ready for any eventuality. I mean, what if we annexed all the provinces of Canada?

* [Editor’s note. Many in Hawaii continue to be less than thrilled. --RWP]

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

SP is for Shooting Parrots

There is a weekly game online called ABC Wednesday that has been around forever and there is also a man named Ian who lives in Yorkshire,* England, United Kingdom, and calls himself Shooting Parrots. Fortunately for the rest of us, Ian and ABC Wednesday found each other. In the current go-round, which began in January, Ian has produced some fascinating glimpses of obscure figures from the recent and not-so-recent past:

1. A is for Angelsey (18 January 2012)
2. B is for Backing Britain (25 January 2012)
3. C is for George Cayley (1 February 2012)

Interlude: Rolling Rice Krispies (2 February 2012)

4. D is for Dr. Dicky Doyle (8 February 2012)
5. E is for Edgar the Etheling (15 February 2012)
6. F is for Charles Fey (22 February 2012)
7. G is for Sir Humphrey Gilbert (29 February 2012)
8. H is for Silvester Horne (7 March 2012)
9. I is for Kikunae Ikeda (14 March 2012)
10. J is for Jerome K. Jerome (21 March 2012)
11. K is for Wrestling (28 March 2002)
12. L is for Ruby Loftus (4 April 2012)
13. M is for Marcus Morris (11 April 2012)
14. N is for Horatio Nelson (18 April 2012)
15. O is for Annie Oakley (25 April 2012)
16. P is for Harry Pollitt (2 May 2012)
17. Q is for Fred Quimby (9 May 2012)
18. R is for Gilbert Romme (16 May 2012)
19. S is for B. F. Skinner (23 May 2012)
20. T is for John Tarrant (30 May 2012)
21. U is for Donald Unger (6 June 2012)
22. V is for Vesna Vulović (13 June 2012)

I had heard of only four of these people (Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Horatio Nelson, Annie Oakley, and B. F. Skinner) before Mr. Parrots gave them their day in the sun.

If you do nothing else, take nine minutes and 40 seconds of your valuable time and watch the wrestling match at letter K.

Heaven only knows (and so does Mr. Parrots, of course) who he may have in mind for W, X, Y, and Z (weeks 23, 24, 25, and 26, respectively), but no matter who he chooses, each one -- much like Shooting Parrots himself -- is sure to be an interesting character.

* [Editor's note. I have been duly informed by both Shooting Parrots and another blogger, Yorkshire Pudding, that Shooting Parrots does not live in Yorkshire. Shooting Parrots lives in Manchester, Lancashire. A thousand pardons. --RWP]

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

In the interest of full disclosure...

I suppose I must tell you that in the wee, small hours of the morning a couple of nights ago, as Sunday slowly turned into Monday, I did something I haven’t done since I was about four years old.

I did not wet the bed. I did that until I was ten.

No, it was something else entirely.

It did involve the bed, though.

Before your naughty mind goes off in a salacious direction, I will tell you straightway.

I fell out of bed.

Rolled right off the edge.

Ker-thump.

The dog did walk over (rather nonchalantly, I thought) to see what had happened.

I’m fine. Nothing was bruised but my ego. I picked myself up, put myself back into bed, and went back to sleep.

Since then, though, I have begun looking at life a little differently.

I have to face it, I am getting old.

I wonder what other surprises await me in the time I have left.

There’s nothing like something that goes bump in the night, especially when it’s you, to give a person a new perspective.

If you’re having problems of your own in the wee, small hours of the morning, maybe a little Frank Sinatra (3:02) or a little Julie London (2:59) or even a time of quiet retrospection (4:27) will help.

Then again, maybe not.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday trivia (U.S. Geography edition)

Quincy, Massachusetts, used to be called Braintree.

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, used to be called Hot Springs.

Atlanta, Georgia, used to be called both Terminus and Marthasville.

Los Angeles, California, used to be called El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles or possibly El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula or even La cuidad real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco d’Assisi de la Santa Porciuncula de la Santa Maria de los Angeles. Take your pick; different articles say different things. Apparently the jury is still out.

The little state of Rhode Island has a much longer official name: State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

Rhode Island is the smallest in area, the eighth least populous, but the second most densely populated of the fifty United States. It was the first of the thirteen original colonies to declare independence from British rule and the last to ratify the United States Constitution. Its official nickname is “The Ocean State” and I was born there. I had no choice. I wanted to be near my mother and she happened to be there at the time.



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

suppose a monkey

in a room with a typewriter

had ten million years to come up with the Encyclopædia Britannica

and suppose he/she/it had been at it for sixty years now

you know, the length to date of the reign of a certain monarch who shall remain nameless,

what do you suppose the monkey might have come up with?

maybe something like this:


r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r
who
a)s w(e loo)k
upnowgath
PPEGORHRASS
eringint(o-
aThe):l
eA
!p:
S a
(r
rIvInG .gRrEaPsPhOs)
to
rea(be)rran(com)gi(e)ngly
,grasshopper;


or if the monkey had a really high IQ and had been at it for a thousand sixty-year reigns (a feat even the nameless monarch is not expected to achieve), maybe even this:


am was. are leaves few this. is these a or
scratchily over which of earth dragged once
-ful leaf. & were who skies clutch an of poor
how colding hereless. air theres what immense
live without every dancing. singless on-
ly a child's eyes float silently down
more than two those that and that noing our
gone snow gone
yours mine
. We're
alive and shall be:cities may overflow(am
was)assassinating whole grassblades,five
ideas can swallow a man;three words im
-prison a woman for all her now:but we've
such freedom such intense digestion so
much greenness only dying makes us grow


well i suppose anything is possible, but these two offerings

were not made by a monkey,

they are two poems by e.e. cummings

andthatmyfriendsiswhatisknowninsomecirclesasart

[Editor’s note. In other news, today is the 68th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe at the beaches of Normandy in 1944 during World War II. It also happens to be the 54th anniversary of the day in 1958 when my Dad married my stepmother in a small ceremony at the Coppell Methodist Church in Coppell, Texas. It was a Friday evening. Earlier in the day Claire Lowell, Ellen’s mother, married Dr. Doug Cassen on the television soap opera As the World Turns. I’m pretty sure that was just a coincidence. Still, it is true that my stepsister named her second daughter Penny after the character Penny Hughes on the same soap opera. My father died in 1967. My stepmother died in 2004. If you think I know when Claire and Dr. Doug Cassen died, you have another think coming.--RWP]

P.S. -- I hereby dedicate this post to my friend Putz.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Be a dear, Philip, and bring me my comfy slippers.

I have gleaned from various sources the itinerary for Queen Elizabeth II during her Diamond Jubilee Week:

Saturday, June 2: The Queen will attend the Epsom Derby.

Sunday, June 3: The Queen will lead a Thames River Pageant from her barge. It starts in Chiswick around noon, but the Royal party aren’t joining in until it gets to Chelsea Pier at 3 pm. It will then go to Tower Bridge, finishing about 6 pm. There is also something called The Big Lunch happening all over the country where neighborhoods basically have come together to get their streets closed for a block party.

Monday, June 4: A concert for the Queen and Royal Family will be held at Buckingham Palace at 7:30 pm, and a lighting of Jubilee beacons all over the country will follow starting at 10 pm, culminating in the Queen lighting hers at 10:30 pm.

Tuesday, June 5: The Royal Family will attend a special church service at St. Paul’s Cathedral at 10:30 am. Later in the day there will be a procession of the whole Royal Family starting at Westminster Hall and ending at Buckingham Palace with the standard balcony wave and the traditional Royal Air Force fly-by.

By that time we should all be jolly well ready for the whole bloomin’ fuss to be over.

But if you are wondering exactly what it is that a Queen does, here are sixty fun facts staggeringly awesome accomplishments of her reign.

Just a song at twilight...

Here is what the British Empire looked like at its greatest extent (Click on the map for a closer view).

It has changed, of course. It is much smaller now.

But let this serve as a tribute from one in the former colonies to the woman who has been at its helm for the past sixty years:

“Love’s Old Sweet Song” (3:05)

If Queen Elizabeth II lives as long as her mother did, she could still be on the throne fifteen years from now.

Every day’s a holiday!

Well, almost.

Take June, for instance. Please. (My apologies to Henny Youngman).

1 -- Donut Day
2 -- American Indian Citizenship Day
3 -- Egg Day
4 -- Cheese Day
5 -- National Gingerbread Day
5 -- World Environment Day
6 -- National Applesauce Cake Day
6 -- National Family Day
8 -- Watch Day
9 -- Donald Duck’s Birthday
10 -- National Yo-Yo Day
12 -- Machine Day
12 -- Magic Day
13 -- Children’s Day
14 -- Flag Day
14 -- Hug Holiday
15 -- Fly a Kite Day
15 -- Power of a Smile Day
16 -- National Fudge Day
16 -- World Juggling Day
17 -- Father’s Day (third Sunday in June)
18 -- International Picnic Day
18 -- National Splurge Day
19 -- National Juggling Day
20 -- Bald Eagle Day
20 -- Ice Cream Soda Day
21 -- First Day of Summer
23 -- National Pink Day
23 -- American Kids Day
24 -- U.F.O. Day
24 -- America’s Kids Day
24 -- National Forgiveness Day
25 -- Eric Carle’s Birthday
26 -- National Chocolate Pudding Day
27 -- Helen Keller’s Birthday
28 -- Paul Bunyan Day
29 -- Camera Day
30 -- Meteor Day

See? I told you.

If you prefer celebrating a week at a time, June has:

International Volunteers Week (1st week)
National Fishing Week (1st week)
National Flag Week (2nd week)
National Little League Baseball Week (2nd week)
National Clay Week (2nd week)
National Camping Week (4th week)

and if you take your months whole, June is:

Children's Awareness Month
Dairy Month
National Adopt-A-Cat Month
National Candy Month
National Drive Safe Month
National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month
National Iced Tea Month
National Rose Month
National Safety Month
National Tennis Month
Turkey Lovers Month
Zoo and Aquarium Month

June’s birthstones (there are two) are Agate and Pearl, and its flower is the Rose.

All of this is in the U.S., of course. If you live somewhere else, your country probably has its own list.

If you want to celebrate National Pickle Week, that happened last month. You’ll have to wait until next year.

In the meantime, let’s go fly a kite (4:15).

Friday, June 1, 2012

Just when you thought we had run out of holidays

...along comes National Doughnut Day, the first Friday in June.

I am not even kidding.

You can read all about doughnuts here.

That’s it for today’s post. Short and sweet.