Wednesday, May 30, 2012

If various seriously high tuition is what you desire to do, you will not perhaps discover yourself disappointed

[Editor's note. What follows is the text of an actual website (with real names camouflaged) that was written by someone who wants to help prospective students, but for whom English is obviously a second language. I find it charming, humorous, and appalling all at the same time. --RWP]

XYZ School of Theology is an institute of XYZ International University serving the educational needs of [XYZ-type students] and completely online from all over the U.S. and Canada. Get an accredited college degree.

Finding the right XYZ Bible Colleges can be hard. Luckily, there are all types of choice out there. The way we do school in this nation (and all through the world) is changing, and more and more people are choosing to leave to school online. If you are exclusively looking for a Christian or a private XYZ Bible Colleges, let me help you make a decision which you are right for you.

Initially, let’s start with the thought of a Bible-based university. You require asking yourself if a Christian college is the exact choice. If you desire to follow several types of religious studies, or if you desire a school with a Christian worldview, this selection makes sense.

However, several people want to decide these schools because they are private schools, and a lot of private schools have more status. While this may be accurate on some level, it is not the case with online colleges. Online schools, as a common rule, do not have the status that customary, brick and mortar colleges have. Therefore, don’t prefer any of the available XYZ Bible Colleges for this reason, because you will perhaps discover yourself disappointed.

Also, think what “Bible” college means to you. The reality is that many schools that had religious or denominational affiliations at one time at this time do not have the strong ties they once did. The “Christian” in their name is more a momentous or symbolic gesture than it is a real expression of the worldview at that school.

If that is the case, then it would behoove you to expend several serious time learning more about the worldview of the XYZ Bible Colleges you are fascinated in. To do this, expend several time on their website, reading the in sequence about their mission and standards. This may not be a choice if they do not have a physical campus, but if you can, get a visit and see what you discover on the tour. Ask the recruiters some precise questions regarding what the school in reality believes and practices. Go out online and see if you can discover some impartial information on social networking sites as to what previous and present students imagine about the school.

If you have a listing of schools that fit your criteria, then you have to think what the biggest issue is almost certainly -- price. The truth is, XYZ Bible Colleges are leaving to charge you some serious cash. Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities for financial aid, but given the fact that these are private, online schools; you can bet you are going to pay maximum tuition out there.

The fact is, private schools are more expensive than public schools. Online schools are more expensive than customary schools. Place those two together and you have a method for various seriously high tuition. However, if this is what you desire to do, it may be worth it in the end.

XYZ Bible Colleges are out there, and there are several enormous ones. Best of luck in your search.

Monday, May 28, 2012

One live godwit is worth a thousand paintings

Shooting Parrots posted today about a painting with an unlikely title, 103 people that changed the world discussing The Divine Comedy with Dante. It is an oil-on-canvas work done in 2006 by the Chinese artists Dai Dudu, Li Tiezi, and Zhang An. If you click on the picture in his post you will get an enlarged version with helpful scannable captions conveniently added.

I thought I would add my two cents’ worth in my own post.

I went over the painting with my version of a fine-tooth comb, and here, in no particular order, are who and what I found:

1. Bill Gates
2. Plato
3. Cui Jian – Father of Chinese Rock N Roll
4. Vladimir Lenin
5. Christopher Columbus and the Santa Maria
6. Bruce Lee
7. Golden Eagle
8. Stonehenge
9. Great Pyramids of Egypt
10. The Tianenmen or “Gate of Heavenly Peace”
11. Great Wall of China
12. Original Artist – Li Tiezi
13. Original Artist – Dai Dudu
14. Dante
15. Original Artist – Zhang An
16. Osama bin Laden
17. Liu Xiang
18. Genghis Khan
19. Napoleon
20. Pelé
21. Pavel Korchagin
22. Bill Clinton
23. Peter the Great
24. Margaret Thatcher
25. Charles de Gaulle
26. Ramesses II
27. Guan Yu
28. Alfred Nobel (playing a trumpet)
29. Sun Yat-sen
30. Alexander Pushkin
31. Chiang Kai-shek
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
33. Deng Xiaopeng
34. Maxim Gorky
35. Saddam Hussein
36. Benito Mussolini
37. Adolf Hitler
38. Ludwig van Beethoven
39. Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
40. Audrey Hepburn
41. Jack Kevorkian
42. Sigmund Freud
43. Norman Bethune
44. LOL Cat
45. Lei Feng
46. Henry Ford
47. Charile [sic] Chaplin
48. Mike Tyson
49. Ford Model T
50. Phonograph
51. Vladimir Putin
52. Lewis Carroll
53. Shirley Temple
54. Leo Tolstoy (playing a concertina)
55. Albert Einstein
56. Li Bai
57. Elizabeth II
58. Lu Xun
59. Ernest Hemingway
60. Winston Churchill
61. Henri Matisse
62. Elvis Presley
63. J. Robert Oppenheimer
64. Joseph Stalin
65. Leonardo da Vinci
66. Gutenberg Bible
67. Typewriter
68. Karl Marx
69. Friedrich Nietzsche
70. Alberto Snatos [sic]-Dumont
71. Shakespeare
72. Mozart
73. Steven Spielberg
74. Pablo Picasso
75. Abraham Lincoln
76. Mao Zedong
77. Marie Curie
78. Zhou Enlai
79. Che Guevara
80. Fidel Castro
81. Marlon Brando as Don Corleone – The Godfather
82. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
83. Lao tzu
84. Marilyn Monroe
85. Yasser Arafat
86. Julius Caesar
87. General Claire Lee Chennault
88. lol cat
89. Celerbrities [sic] that look like camels
90. Houri – the concept of 72 virgins in Islam refers to an aspect of paradise
91. Charles Darwin or Noah (that’s what the caption says, so take your pick)
92. Ol’ Roy (Sam Walton’s dog)
93. Confucius
94. Corneliu Baba
95. Mohandas Gandhi
96. Michelangelo
97. Dolly the Cloned Sheep
98. Vincent van Gogh
99. Marcel Duchamp
100. Henri de Toulouse-Latrec
101. Dwight D. Eisenhower
102. Michael Jordan
103. Salvador Dali
104. Ariel Sharon
105. Empress Dowager Cixi
106. Luciano Pavarotti
107. Goerge W. Bush (looking through a telescope)
108. Liu Xiang
109. Prince Charles
110. Kofi Annan
111. Qi Baishi
112. Hideki Tojo
113. Qin She Huang
114. Aristotle
115. Liu Bei
116. Mikhail Gorbachev
117. Mother Teresa
118. Song Qingling (they obviously mean Soong Ching-ling, known as Madame Sun Yat-sen, and not Song Qingling the field hockey player who won a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing)
119. Rabindranath Tagore
120. Run Run Shaw
121. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
122. The flag of the kingdom of Castile and Leon, 1230 - 1516
123. Easter Island statues (moai) created by the Rapanui
124. Easter Island statues (moai) created by the Rapanui
125. Photo by Cartier-Bresson Srinagar, Kashmir, 1948

If you take out the obvious jokes (LOL cat #44, lol cat #88, and celerbrities [sic] that look like camels #89), the list shrinks to 122. If you take out one of the captions that appeared twice (Easter Island statues (moai) created by the Rapanui), the list shrinks to 121. Finally, if you take out all of the captioned items that aren’t “people” so they couldn’t possibly discuss The Divine Comedy with Dante (#7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #39, #49, #50, #66, #67, #90, #92, #97, #122, and #125 – fifteen “things” in all, and many of them -- like the phonograph and the Gutenberg Bible and the Model T Ford -- did change the world), the list shrinks to 106. I’m assuming that the three artists who painted the picture and also included themselves in it (#12, #13, and #15) near Dante (#14) at the upper right are not counting themselves, so the number is reduced -– voila! -- to 103. That number includes Dante.

Christopher Columbus counts but the Santa Maria, which was included on his caption (#5), doesn’t. The little airplane on the table in front of Friedrich Nietzshe (who is sitting between Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln) counts because its caption (#70) says “Alberto Snatos [sic]-Dumont” who, when spelled the right way, refers to the early aviation pioneer from Brazil. I suppose he’s there instead of the Wright brothers.

All the housekeeping done, we can have a chat now.

The artists, being Chinese, definitely saw the world from a Chinese perspective. We could not expect otherwise. It is heavy with Chinese heroes and Communist stalwarts. I did not recognize some of the names in the painting at all, but I had a grand time reading about them in Wikipedia.

I do question the inclusion of Pelé and Michael Jordan.

Elvis Presley? Maybe. But what about the Beatles?

Marilyn Monroe? Okay, I’ll give you that one.

Marlon Brando? Charlie Chaplin? Bruce Lee? Mike Tyson? Shirley Temple? Really?

The painting is very heavy with folks from the 19th and 20th centuries. What about Pythagoras? Joan of Arc? Galileo? Sir Isaac Newton? Ferdinand Magellan? Alexander the Great? Hannibal? I mean the one who crossed the Alps with elephants, not the one who liked Jodie Foster so much.

And except for Confucius, few religious figures appear in the painting. Mother Teresa is there. Moses? Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha? Jesus Christ? The prophet Muhammad? Nowhere in sight, although they certainly can be said to have changed the world.

Shooting Parrots, you gave me a very busy morning. Thanks a bunch.

Readers, do not leave without checking this out.

Oh, and if you want to read more about any of the people, be my guest. I can’t do all the work.

Click here to see a re-enactment of the painting by a flock of bar-tailed godwits in Auckland, New Zealand. It is not clear whether the role of Dante was played by the pied stilt or the spur-winged plover.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Me, me, me -- I'm in love with me, me, me

Snowbrush, a reader in Oregon and a prince of a man, left a comment asking me to post more photographs of myself, perhaps even video, as -- to use his words -- “just posting ONE photo doesn’t quite satisfy your adoring readers.” Well, your wishes, dear readers, are often -- though not always -- my commands, and I have decided to grant Snowbrush’s wish. This post, as the title indicates, is all about me, me, me.

I do not own a digital camera or a smart phone or a camcorder or a scanner. What I do have are old photographs and a semi-dumb cell phone that can take photographs also. So for this auspicious occasion I took photographs of my photographs, sent them to my e-mail address, and uploaded them to this post. So much for my not-quite-state-of-the-art technical abilities.

As befits a dream sequence, the results are a little blurry, but that’s okay. One never remembers the past exactly as it happened anyway, but through the filter of the passage of time. Fuzzily. Through a glass dimly, even.

If you need to turn your computer sideways or even upside down to get a better look, well, that simply cannot be helped. You don’t expect me to do all the work, do you? For your sake, however, I hope you have a laptop and not a desktop, or you may end up having to stand on your head.

Here goes.

Me at six. It was the winter of 1946-47. I was in the first grade at Hancock Street Elementary School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island:

Me at 11 or 12 with my dog. This photo was taken two miles from the one-block-long central business district of Mansfield, Texas, population 970, around 1952. By 2010, the population of Mansfield had grown to 56,368:

Me at 37. This photo was taken at a photographer’s studio in the Royal Palm Shopping Center in Boca Raton, Florida. It (the photograph, not the shopping center) was paid for by my employer, IBM, just before Christmas 1968, and it was eventually used in the only passport I have ever had, the one I took with me on my month-long trip to Sweden in February 1969, which was also paid for by IBM:

These have been three slices of my fascinating life, featuring -- who else? -- me, me, me.

We now return you to the program in progress.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This post makes absolutely no mention of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright

In our continuing discussion of Mr. Obama’s birthplaces, real and imagined, Katherine in New Zealand commented “Isn’t it more important whether or not he’s a good president of the USA? I must be very naive.”

Why, yes, it is, Katherine, and that’s the whole point.

Those who think Mr. Obama is doing a marvelous job and don't mind the fact that our nation is now $16 trillion in debt under his leadership try to silence the opposition by branding as racists and hatemongers anyone who disagrees with them. Those who think Mr. Obama may be a puppet on someone else’s string, successful to date at squelching questions about his birth certificate, his passport, his possible receiving of scholarship money earmarked exclusively for foreign students, his Marxist-Leninist associations in college, and his friendship with unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn (in whose Chicago home he announced his entry into political life and about whom, in response to a question in 2008 from George Stephanopoulos, he said, “He was just some guy in the neighborhood” and the mainstream media never investigated further) are less enamored of both the president and the direction he is taking the country.

Also, those who are not at all happy that Mr. Obama has given billions of dollars in "stimulus money" (translation: U.S. tax- payers’ money) to so-called “green” companies that (a) are run by political donors to his campaign and (b) subsequently go bankrupt are growing daily in number despite what the dwindling supporters of Mr. Obama want you to believe.

Another reader, Snowbrush in Oregon, responded to Catherine as follows:

“Absolutely NO one who thinks [Obama]’s a good president worries about this. Absolutely NO liberals worry about this even if they don’t think he’s a good president. ONLY ultra conservatives who think Obama is doing a terrible job worry about this.”

Except for his calling ultraconservative anyone who believes the Constitution is there to be followed and not just to serve as a piece of window dressing, I think Snowbrush is pretty much right. Oh, and also except for saying that conservatives are worried. Conservatives are not worried. Conservatives are completely outraged.

Have you ever wondered why conservatives are called the “right” and liberals are called the “left”? I found an answer in the Bible:

“The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.” (Ecclesiastes 10:2)

In closing, I would just like to point out that the last four letters in American are I Can, the last four letters in Republican are I Can, and the last four letters in Democrats are Rats.

This has been another non-partisan, fair and balanced post from rhymeswithplague.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar -- all for an end to the controversy, stand up and holler!

In the comments section of the preceding post, Shooting Parrots said, “It’s hard to understand this obsession with Obama’s birthplace for us non-Americans, apart from the obvious -- that it would make him one too.”

I replied at length and decided to elevate my reply to full post status:

Shooting Parrots, I don’t understand what you mean by “the obvious - that it would make him one too.” One what? Please explain. [Editor's note. Later on, I figured out what he meant. Keep reading. --RWP]

For all of my readers, Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution states the following: “The President must be a natural born citizen of the United States or a citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, at least 35 years old and a resident of the United States for at least 14 years.”

The rub with BHO is that little phrase “a natural born citizen.” If he was born in Kenya, he was and is ineligible to be President of the United States. Even Mitt Romney’s father, Governor George Romney of Michigan, faced the same problem when he wanted to run for the presidency. Although both of his parents were U.S. citizens, they were living in Mexico at the time George was born, and many believed George’s having been born in Mexico disqualified him to run for President.

Conservatives believe that the wording of the U.S. Constitution should be followed literally. Liberals seem to believe that since it is just a piece of paper written 230 years ago it can be re-interpreted by succeeding generations to mean whatever liberals want it to mean and to further whatever agenda liberals want to further. Liberals, it turns out, ignore the plain wording of the Constitution and interpret “a natural born citizen” to mean the child of at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen, regardless where the child happens to have been born. There is no question of BHO’s citizenship through his American mother. The question is whether he is “a natural born citizen.” That’s all.

The Constitution also describes the procedure for amending the Constitution, and it has been followed successfully 27 times since 1789: The proposed amendment must be passed by two-thirds of the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the Senate, and then be ratified by three-fourths of the State Legislatures (of which there are currently 50). An alternate path is that two-thirds of the States petition Congress to call a Constitutional Convention. This method has never been used to date.

So it is very important whether BHO was born in Kenya or in our 50th state, Hawaii. Some idiots known as “birthers” think that even Hawaii should not count, which is completely ridiculous as Hawaii had entered the union two years before BHO was born.

I hope this clears up the confusion rather than making it worse.

That was the end of my comment. Then it hit me. I knew what Shooting Parrots had meant. So I wrote another comment:

Shooting Parrots, I just got it. That it would make him a non-American too.

No, it wouldn’t. As someone with an an American mother and a Kenyan father, BHO is an American citizen. The question, as I elaborated on in the previous comment, is only whether he is “a natural born citizen.”

That was the end of my second comment.

Then I thought of something else I wanted to say. So here goes:

Yes, there is a form showing that BHO was born in Hawaii. But the question persists, because even BHO’s step-grandmother (one of his grandfather's four wives) has said he was born in Kenya, and others say that BHO’s mother flew from Kenya to Hawaii when BHO was just a few days old and registered his birth in Hawaii. The form released by the state of Hawaii is the “short form” but the “long form” with more information has never been released.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It was fun while it lasted (part 2)

This is a dummy post that lets me add more labels to my “It was fun while it lasted” post because Blogger allows only a certain number of characters in the Labels section of a post. I ran out of room before I ran out of labels.

So if you wound up here because you were looking for “Cold Day In July” or “Full Moon and Empty Arms” or “Racing With the Moon” or “Moon River” or “Moonlight Serenade,” please go here instead.

Do not pass GO. Do not collect two hundred dollars.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It was fun while it lasted

...but Katherine de Chevalle finally called it a trip and bid farewell here to Blogland (not our Blogland, Yorkshire Pudding’s make-believe island of Blogland somewhere in the Indian Ocean) with a clever parody of this song by the Dixie Chicks (5:13). The opening line of both Katherine’s poem and the song by the Dixie Chicks (“The moon is full and my arms are empty”) reminded me immediately of this song by Frank Sinatra (3:13), the tune to which, as we all know (or you do now) is based on the Third Movement of the Second Piano Concerto by Rachmaninoff, performed here (7:52) and here (4:09) by Amy Wu in an October 2003 performance with the Oregon State University Symphony. (Why Miss Wu’s performance of the Third Movement is split between two video clips, I really can’t say. Also, why, at the end of the second clip, the First Movement begins, I really can’t say either, unless the universe is out to get us.)

On a roll now, I thought of this guy (1:49) and also this guy (2:55), but most of all these guys (3:37).

If you are not moonstruck by now, you probably never will be.

Whatever happened to Rumpelstiltskin and Rapunzel?

Straight from the records of the Social Security Administration, here are the top names given to new babies in the U.S. in 2011:


1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Emma
4. Olivia
5. Ava
6. Emily
7. Abigail
8. Madison
9. Mia
10. Chloe
11. Elizabeth
12. Ella
13. Addison
14. Natalie
15. Lily
16. Grace
17. Samantha
18. Avery
19. Sofia
20. Aubrey


1. Jacob
2. Mason
3. William
4. Jayden
5. Noah
6. Michael
7. Ethan
8. Alexander
9. Aiden
10. Daniel
11. Anthony
12. Matthew
13. Elijah
14. Joshua
15. Liam
16. Andrew
17. James
18. David
19. Benjamin
20. Logan

Jacob remained in the top spot from 2010, but Isabella moved down one position, having been replaced by Sophia. Thirteen of the boys’ names appear in the Bible, but only six of the girls’ names do. I looked carefully, but neither Judas nor Jezebel made the list.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Opening of British Parliament, 2012

Good afternoon.

My gubmint will institute the following series of reforms:

My gubmint will fund a study into the possibility of everyone here in the United Kingdom driving their motorcars on the right like people in the United States of America do, reversing our country’s centuries-long drift to the left. The study should cost no more than six million pounds.

My gubmint will appoint the Earl and Countess of Wessex as my co-ambassadors to France, giving them at least the appearance of doing something important whilst actually accomplishing nothing.

My gubmint will recognise the new country of Blogland in the Indian Ocean and invite them to become the seventeenth member of the Commonwealth, joining the illustrious countries of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. My gubmint will also take today’s historic occasion as an opportunity to invite India, Burma, and half the continent of Africa back into the fold.

My gubmint will introduce a bill to build a land bridge made of recycled aluminium cans and compressed, deodorised garbage between New Zealand and Australia, allowing the kiwi birds and kangaroos one loves so much to intermingle freely, and perhaps one day even to marry.

My gubmint will introduce a bill to change the laws of Royal succession in such a way as to allow one’s Welsh Corgis to become monarch ahead of one’s children and grandchildren if one’s children and grandchildren don’t call on a regular basis, preferably weekly.

The Parliament is now open for deliberation on these and other issues that my Prime Minister may deem worthy of attention.

Come, Philip.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Laughing all the way to the bank

Perhaps because this blog has several readers from the Southern Hemisphere (Ahoy, Katherine! Hi, Helsie! Hey there, Elisabeth!), my creative juices have been working overtime. I have created a whodunit television series to be set in Down Under. I’ve already fleshed out several characters, including:

Sydney Melbourne -- A shy, retiring, private detective in his thirties who is very effective at getting to the bottom of heinous crimes, especially those committed during the heat of passion, using only his brilliant mind and his uncanny knack for recognizing clues others have overlooked. He longs to have a romantic relationship with:

Adelaide Brisbane -- His beautiful, blonde, twenty-something assistant who joins him in crime-solving exploits. Alas, Adelaide is not the least interested in the seemingly (but only seemingly) tame Sydney, not realising that his still water runs particularly deep, preferring rather the likes of:

Darwin Perth -- An exceedingly handsome yet villainous ne’er-do-well who has designs of his own on Adelaide. He would like nothing better than to have her in his clutches, but he is thwarted time and time again by:

Hobart -- Adelaide’s pet kookaburra, who bursts into gales of laughter whenever the dastardly Darwin makes an amorous move toward Adelaide, such as asking whether she would like to see his billabong.

Alice Springs -- A demure librarian by day who doubles as an espionage agent. Each night, using only a knowledge of Morse Code and a short-wave radio, she reports to her superiors in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) of New Zealand from her secret, subterranean headquarters located beneath Ayers Rock. Alice is seriously considering birdnapping Hobart and training him in the ways of carrier pigeons.

These are just a few of the regular characters who will appear on-screen each week to interact with an ever-changing supply of murderers and victims.

Each week a recurring subplot will revolve around the attempts of both Alice and Hobart to keep Darwin away from Adelaide. Hobart wants Adelaide to marry Sydney, and Alice fancies Darwin for herself. I think the show has definite possibilities. I may truly be on to something (not to be confused with on something).

I am currently working on an idea for a show about a young kangaroo who wants to have lots of friends. I’m thinking of calling it Pal Joey.

If you have any ideas for scripts, you may submit them in the comments section.

Lazy Day

Yesterday was Lazy Day at our house. We didn’t get out of our bedclothes the entire day. We sat around in our pajamas and petted Jethro and occasionally mustered enough energy to get up off the sofa and let him out the patio door so he could putter around in the back yard and do what dogs are wont to do before returning to their lives of leisure-filled luxury (or is that luxury-filled leisure?) with their humans. I did put on a bathrobe around 1 p.m. and bring the mail in. That was probably the high point of our day.

In the evening we watched reruns of Antiques Roadshow and Undercover Boss Abroad:

[Editor's note. The photo above is for illustrative purposes only; it does not show an actual member of our household. Actual members of our household are all trim and svelte.--RWP]

Scintillating existence, eh, wot?

Even better than Lazy Days are Quiet Days when the television stays off and we read.

Nothing is so intimate as shared silence.

I read that somewhere once.

Life goes on and Lazy Day is over for another week or two. But I am having trouble getting Tantalizing Tuesday started.

Any suggestions?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

L’État, ce n’est pas moi

You win some; you lose some.

Today, May 6, 2012, that guy up there, whose name is Nicolas Sarkozy, lost an election in France to another guy named François Hollande.

Today some people in France might be saying, “The 23rd President of the French Republic is figuratively dead; long live the 24th President of the French Republic!”

And others might be saying, “Aux armes, citoyens!”

I mean, after all, it is France.

You just never know.

Ever heard of Jeanne d’Arc? Looey Quatorze? Robespierre?

The really important news this weekend, though, happened in Louisville, Kentucky, where a horse named I’ll Have Another came from behind to win the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs (2:18).

Now that was a horse race.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

And now for something completely different...

Here’s Pope Benedict XVI at the piano:

I just know he’s accompanying himself singing “Oh My Darling Clementine” -- I can feel it in my bones -- so why don’t we all join in and sing along? I’m sure you know the lyrics:

Oh My Darling Clementine

In a cavern, by a canyon,
Excavating for a mine,
Dwelt a miner (forty-niner),
And his daughter Clementine.

Oh my darling, Oh my darling,
Oh my darling Clementine,
You are lost and gone forever,
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

Repeat chorus

Light she was and like a fairy,
And her shoes were number nine;
Herring boxes, without topses,
Sandals were for Clementine.

Repeat chorus

Drove she ducklings to the water,
Every morning just at nine;
Hit her foot against a splinter,
Fell into the foaming brine.

Repeat chorus

Ruby lips above the water,
Blowing bubbles, soft and fine;
But Alas! I was no swimmer,
So I lost my Clementine.

Repeat chorus

Then the miner (forty-niner)
Soon began to pique and pine,
Thought he oughter join his daughter,
Now he’s with his Clementine.

Repeat chorus

In a corner of the churchyard,
Where the myrtle boughs entwine,
Grow the roses in their poses,
Fertilized by Clementine.

Repeat chorus

In my dreams she still doth haunt me,
Robed in garments soaked in brine.
Though in life I used to hug her,
Now she’s dead, I’ll draw the line.

Repeat chorus

How I missed her, how I missed her,
How I missed my Clementine,
Till I kissed her little sister,
And forgot my Clementine.

Repeat chorus

Now you Boy Scouts, there’s a moral
To this little tale of mine.
Artificial respiration
Would have saved my Clementine.

Repeat chorus

Somehow I found that curiously refreshing.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

There ought to be a law!

And guess what? There is!

These have made a few rounds through email-land already, but since there is a slight chance that some of you may not have seen them before, here they are again:

1. Law of Mechanical Repair. After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you’ll have to pee.

2. Law of Gravity. Any tool, nut, bolt, or screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

3. Law of Probability. The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

4.Law of Random Numbers. If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.

5.Variation Law. If you change lines at a bank or grocery store, the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now. This also works with lanes of traffic.

6. Law of Close Encounters. The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don’t want to be seen with.

7. Law of the Result. When you try to prove to someone that a machine won’t work, it will.

8. Law of Biomechanics. The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

9. Law of the Theater & Hockey Arena. At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle always arrive last. They are the ones who will leave their seats several times to go for food, beer, or to the toilet and who leave early before the end of the performance or the game is over. The folks in the aisle seats come early, never move once, have long gangly legs or big bellies and stay to the bitter end of the performance. The aisle people also are very surly folk.

10. The Coffee Law. As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something that will last until the coffee is cold.

11. Murphy’s Law of Lockers. If there are only two people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.

12. Law of Physical Surfaces. The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet or rug.

13. Law of Logical Argument Anything is possible if you don’t know what you are talking about.

14. Brown’s Law of Physical Appearance. If the clothes fit, they’re ugly.

15. Oliver’s Law of Public Speaking. A closed mouth gathers no feet. [Editor’s note. Mrs. RWP says that I was born with a silver foot in my mouth. Indeed, some days the only time I open my mouth is to exchange feet. --RWP]

16. Wilson’s Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy. As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.

17. Doctors’ Law. If you don’t feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor. By the time you get there, you’ll feel better. Conversely, don’t make an appointment, and you’ll stay sick.

I hope that you have learned something today. No, I don’t know who Murphy, Brown, Oliver, or Wilson are. Is. Are. Whatever.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

One day at a time, sweet Jesus

My Texas sister-in-law emailed us this photograph of a field of bluebonnets taken on April 1, 2012, near Ennis, Texas:

I immediately thought of the sixth chapter of Matthew in the New Testament:

“Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

I will be laboring (<i>British,</i> labouring) under a handicap for the next couple of weeks (<i>British,</i> fortnight)

More about that below. First, though, I want to add an addendum (what else would you do with an addendum?) to my previous post about phone...