Thursday, April 20, 2017

Update

Since the photo over there to the right is nearly seven years old, I thought you might like to see what we look like today.

Here we are, Mr. and Mrs. Rhymeswithplague, outside our church on Easter Sunday morning:


Mrs. RWP is as beautiful as ever. I may be a bit longer in the tooth, but I am still hanging in there. Either my head is shrinking or my ears are growing.

Robert Browning probably summed it up best: "Grow old along with me! / The best is yet to be, / The last of life, for which the first was made."

We are not throwing in the towel just yet. We hope to be around for a while longer yet.

Stay tuned.

(Editor's note. I definitely am slipping slowing down, though. I let April 18th go by without once mentioning Paul Revere's 1775 ride or even Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and I let April 19th go by without mentioning the Battles of Lexington and Concord in our little spat with George III or even Ralph Waldo Emerson's 1837 poem "Concord Hymn" -- you know, the one that begins "By the rude bridge that arched the flood, / Their flag to April's breeze unfurled, / Here once the embattled farmers stood / And fired the shot heard 'round the world". I shall try to do better by you in the future. --RWP)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How doth the little busy bee*

What an incredible amount of time I waste on the computer.

But if I had not been poking around on the computer this morning, April 19th, I would not have thought to google "April 19th" and then click on the article in Wikipedia about April 19th, or found the very long list of events, births, and deaths that occurred on April 19th in history, or seen the smaller section at the bottom of the article entitled "Holidays and observances", and my eye would not have happened to fall on the bulleted item "Bicycle Day" which intrigued me enough to explore further.

Nor would I have discovered, if I had not clicked on the bulleted item "Bicycle Day" that the article it leads to is entitled "History of lysergic acid diethylamide" which gave me enough pause to stop and say "Whoa!" or at least think it. I don't think I said it out loud.

Anyhoo, here, for your reading pleasure and enlightenment, without further ado, is the section on Bicycle Day *waves to All Consuming from the article "History of lysergic acid diethylamide" in Wikipedia:

"Bicycle Day"

On April 19, 1943, [Albert] Hofmann performed a self-experiment to determine the true effects of LSD, intentionally ingesting 0.25 milligrams (250 micrograms) of the substance, an amount he predicted to be a threshold dose (an actual threshold dose is 20 micrograms). Less than an hour later, Hofmann experienced sudden and intense changes in perception. He asked his laboratory assistant to escort him home and, as use of motor vehicles was prohibited because of wartime restrictions, they had to make the journey on a bicycle. On the way, Hofmann's condition rapidly deteriorated as he struggled with feelings of anxiety, alternating in his beliefs that the next-door neighbor was a malevolent witch, that he was going insane, and that the LSD had poisoned him. When the house doctor arrived, however, he could detect no physical abnormalities, save for a pair of incredibly dilated pupils. Hofmann was reassured, and soon his terror began to give way to a sense of good fortune and enjoyment, as he later wrote...

"... Little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes. Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux ..."

The events of the first LSD trip, now known as “Bicycle Day”, after the bicycle ride home, proved to Hofmann that he had indeed made a significant discovery: a psychoactive substance with extraordinary potency, capable of causing significant shifts of consciousness in incredibly low doses. Hofmann foresaw the drug as a powerful psychiatric tool; because of its intense and introspective nature, he couldn’t imagine anyone using it recreationally. Bicycle Day is increasingly observed in psychedelic communities as a day to celebrate the discovery of LSD.

The celebration of Bicycle Day originated in DeKalb, Illinois, in 1985, when Thomas B. Roberts, then a Professor at Northern Illinois University, invented the name "Bicycle Day" when he founded the first Bicycle Day celebration at his home. Several years later, he sent an announcement made by one of his students to friends and Internet lists, thus propagating the idea and the celebration. His original intent was to commemorate Hofmann's original, accidental exposure on April 16, but that date fell midweek and was not a good time for the party, so he chose the 19th to honor Hofmann's first intentional exposure.

(Original work by Yttrium Ox, used in accordance with CC-by-SA 3.0)

(end of Wikipedia excerpt)

This is not a psychedelic community -- at least I don't think this is a psychedelic community -- but I thought a certain segment of this non-psychedelic community might enjoy learning about or, if you were already aware of it, reading about Bicycle Day. It was a new one on me.

I will now share with you the wisdom of the ages on this Bicycle Day as filtered through my own finite, mortal mind in the form of a new proverb I just invented:

"Individual journeys may come to an end, but the road goes on forever."

It's not as good as the one in the 1983 movie High Road to China in which a guru told Tom Selleck, "The ox moves slowly, but the earth is patient," but it will have to do.

Until next time...


*for those who care or wonder, the title of this post is from the following poem by Isaac Watts:

Against Idleness And Mischief
by Isaac Watts (1674-1748)


How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!

How skilfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labors hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.

In works of labor or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.

In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be passed,
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Let the games begin

Today, friends, we will be playing Atlanta Traffic Bingo.


Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

(Editor's note. I found this on Facebook this morning. It may not float your boat (British, be your cup of tea), but I find it uproariously funny. --RWP)

Monday, April 10, 2017

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

Today is my mother's birthday. Ruth Elizabeth Silberman Brague would have been 107 years old today.

Unfortunately, she died at the age of 47 when I was but 16. I am going to show you a few photographs of her from long before I entered the picture. I was born in 1941, a month before her 31st birthday. These pictures are all from the 1920s and 1930s. I do not have specific dates for any of them.

In my all-time favorite picture of her, taken around the time she graduated from West Chester State College in 1930, she wore a black dress and a long necklace made of what looked like mahjongg tiles linked together. It has somehow managed to become lost. This one was taken a few years later: :



Here she is with her mother and sister:


Here she is with her brother Jack. He called her Roothie-Poothie. He became Dr. J. DeWolf Silberman, M.D., and set up practice in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania:


Here is my mother with her sister Marion, probably in New York:


And here she is with her parents, my grandparents, Rosetta and Nathan Silberman, possibly on the boardwalk in Atlantic City:


Long-time readers of this blog may remember some of these photos as I included them in posts in 2010 and 2013, ancient history as time is counted in the blogging world.

Some years ago I wrote the following sonnet. I was remembering two small oval-framed photographs of my mother's grandparents, Max and Sarah Nussbaum Silberman, taken around the turn of the twentieth century, that I once saw in my uncle's house. I wish I could show them to you as well, but I cannot. Perhaps you will think of some old photographs of your own relatives as you read it.

On Being Shown a Photograph of an Ancestor
by Robert H. Brague


Those things speak most that never say a word,
Like eyes that meet on streets when strangers pass;
The loudest cries so often go unheard,
Like silent prayers reflected in a glass.
Though never have we spoken, there’s a bond
That shatters my veneer, my thin disguise;
You look beneath the surface and beyond,
And all of time is frozen in your eyes.
Departed generations in between,
Like links of chain from viewer to the viewed,
Peer over Heaven’s edge, survey the scene,
Hold their collective breaths, and don’t intrude.
While thoughts of love, and death, and DNA
Swirl through my brain, they bow their heads and pray.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Odds and ends

1. Some back-formations drive me bonkers. Others, not so much. When you're around me, therefore, please say orient, not orientate. Converse, not conversate. Reveal, not revelate. Crown, not coronate. Don't make awkward new verbs out of good nouns (orientation, conversation, revelation, coronation) when perfectly good verbs already exist that express what you want to say (the aforementioned orient, converse, reveal, crown). Here's more on the subject by an Irishman named Stan Carey.

2. My all-time favorite (British, favourite) helpful household hint is found, appropriately enough, in a book entitled Phyllis Diller's Household Hints. Remember her? Zany, wacko comedienne. Is that word still politically correct? I suppose not. If we must say flight attendant instead of stewardess, I guess we should abandon comedienne and say joke teller. Maybe we already have. I'm always one of the last to know.

Here's Phyllis's hint: If you let your children write their names in the dust on your dining room table, don't let them write the date." That has to be the best household hint ever.

Phyllis wrote several books along the way. Here are some of them:






I'm as sure as I can be (although I have been wrong on occasion) that you can't get enough of Phyllis. Here she is doing her schtick (and, let us not forget, earning a lot of money) as a guest on Liberace's program back in the 1960s (8:45).

And here she is playing the piano with Liberace (gasp!) on the same program (2:56).

Finally -- and you really should listen to this -- here is Phyllis Diller at the age of 94 in January 2012 (she turned 95 in July and died in August that same year) singing "Smile" (3:04). Although she doesn't have a great voice, anyone who still wants to sing at 94 should probably be paid attention to.

3. Another writer, Lewis Grizzard, who wrote humor (British, humour) columns for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for many years, also tried his hand at books. It is my considered opinion that the best things about Lewis Grizzard's books were their titles. I was never enamored (British, enamoured) of what lay between the covers. Here (wouldn't you know) is a list of some of his titles:

Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You (1979).
Elvis Is Dead and I Don't Feel So Good Myself (1980).
Won't You Come Home, Billy Bob Bailey? (1980).
Don't Sit Under the Grits Tree With Anyone Else But Me (1981).
They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat (1982).
If Love Were Oil, I'd Be About a Quart Low (1983).
Shoot Low Boys, They're Ridin' Shetland Ponies (1985).
My Daddy Was a Pistol and I'm a Son of a Gun (1987)
When My Love Returns From the Ladies Room, Will I Be Too Old to Care? (1987).
Don't Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them 'Taters Got Eyes (1988).
Chili Dawgs Always Bark at Night (1989).
If I Ever Get Back to Georgia, I'm Gonna Nail My Feet to the Ground (1990).
Advice to the Newly Wed . . . & the Newly Divorced (1990).
Does a Wild Bear Chip in the Woods? (the book is about golf) (1990).
You Can't Put No Boogie-Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll (1991).
Don't Forget to Call Your Mama, I Wish I Could Call Mine (1991).
I Haven't Understood Anything Since 1962: And Other Nekkid Truths (1992).
I Took a Lickin' and Kept on Tickin' and Now I Believe in Miracles (1993).

4. Finally, here from a long time ago (the 1950s) is a violin duet by Jack Benny and Gisele MacKensie (2:24). The voice at the beginning calling it legendary is none other than Walter Cronkite. If those three names don't ring a bell, I feel truly sorry for you.

Until next time, I remain your faithful correspondent.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

No, I'm not the least bit OCD. Why do you ask?

But I do admit to being a list maker.

For example, last Sunday we visited a church we had attended from 1979 until 2008, where the senior pastor was being honored. He is stepping down from his position of leadership after almost 34 years and passing the torch to someone else. Here are many of the people I recognized or spoke to, some of whom I had not seen in many years:

Don & Linda M.
Chuck & Candace R.
Bill & Twyla G.
Wayne & Ellen L.
Steven & Rosemary L. with son Russ
Tom & Cheryl B.
Steve & Kristi A.
"F.M." M.
Dana & Richard T.
Walter & Margaret T.
Ben & Helen C.
Richard & Ramona M.
Don W. (didn't see Razzie)
Nick B.
Josh H.
Darrell & Cindy H.
Jason H. (didn't see Brandi)
Tom J.
Jake R.
Geoff & Timarie R.
Charlie & Rita R.
Alan & Jessica R.
Audrey L.
Victor L.
Bill & Cheri F.
Ken & Sue T.
Sabrina L.
Kate S. with daughter Nelda
Mike & Julie B.
Esther B. with daughter Pam
Sherri S. & husband (can't remember his name)
Nathan & Stephanie M.
Mark & Gwen B. with son Noah
Jim & Amy P. with Avery & Edie
Staci B.
Wayne & Sharon S.
Tony & Lisa W.
Debbie M.
Matt B.
Clint B.
Tim & Jennifer W.
Ed & Wyn S.
Marc & Donita W.
Tony & Renee O.
Connie C.
Diane R.
Jack L.
Billy H.(didn't see Terri or Hannah)
Bruce & Vedonna R.
Jeff & Lori R.
Steve M.(didn't see Terri)
Vicki B.
Daryl & Janie M.
Linda W.
Todd M.
Beverly M. (Todd's mom)
Jared & Jennifer M.
Jonathan C.
Rick & Peggy M.
Rachael A.(didn't see Ken or Aaron)
Brian & Cheryl L. (didn't see Grant or Lindsey)
Rachel E. (didn't see Josh)
Clara L. with daughteer Suzanne
Phil & Marge H.
K. Ray & Shelia L.
Rick & Laurie J.
Jon & Mindy M.
David & Cheryl M.
Jon & Mindy M.
Bob M. (didn't see Linda)
Linda K.
Stephanie T.
David & Sue T.
David S. (didn't see Tracey)
Marcy B.

...and there were others, I'm sure.

Charlie B.would have been there but he was home taking care of Patrick, one of my favorite people.

I told you I was a list maker. Here's another one:

People who I thought might attend but who I never ran into into whom I never ran:

Kent & Cathy M.
Paul & Marti A.
Chuck & Elaine H.
Jeff & Wanda K.
Bruce & Lisa M.
Neal & Ro P.
Eddie & Trisha M.
Stephen & Renee G.
Kevin & Gwen M.
Ron & Judy F.
Bill & Cathy T.
Dutch & Sonya T.
Ken & Sheila H.
Mark & Audrey S.
Pepper & Mandi H.
Tammi M.
Carolyn S.
Gloria G.
Erin M.
Andrea M.
Todd & Christy C.
Jim & Chris C.
Mike & Sylvia C.
Gary & Sherri Z.
Ginny C.
Julie K.
Patty B.
Rose P.
Paul & Chris P.
Dick & Marti S.
David & Lisa K.
John & LaDonna J.
John & Pam S. (they are in England visiting their daughter)
Trip & Diana C.
Scott & Tamara G.
Tom & Kathy R.
Amalfi C. (she's in Florida at the moment)

If I were truly OCD, you know, those lists would be arranged in alphabetic order and numbered.

Speaking of Amalfi (everybody calls her Moffie), here she is being typically herself with her sister Sammie:


Here she is with a group called the ukuladies. One of them appears to be transgender:


And this one is my all-time favorite clip of Moffie - if you want to laugh, please watch!

Every single day I try to be thankful for something. Today I am thankful that Moffie was not on the pastoral search committee (I'm joking.) To be honest, Moffie washes up rather impressively. Here she is with one of her great-great-granchildren: