Friday, March 31, 2017

The burning question of the day

So (my apologies to Graham Edwards) if Arnold George Dorsey can transform himself into Engelbert Humperdinck, why can't I be Ludwig Wittgenstein?

Well, one reason is that he has been dead for, lo, these many years. Of course, that didn't stop Arnold George, did it? And another is that most people wouldn't know him (Ludwig) from Adam's off ox.

It has been done with grocery items here in the U.S. long ago, as I remember a mayonnaise commercial that said, "It's Hellman's in the east, Best Foods in the west." It has been done with fictional characters in the movies. For example, in The Wizard of Oz the Scarecrow could have been Lincoln, the Tin Man saw himself as Romeo, and the Cowardly Lion aspired to be Caesar. For the skeptical among you, here's proof.

If you wish to sing about having a Brain/a Heart/the Nerve whilst accompanying yourself on the ukelele, the chords are waiting for you at this address:

I would like to hear from my vast reading audience. Who would you become if you decided to rebrand yourself after the manner of Engelbert and moi? The only requirement is that you throw caution to the winds and let your imagination soar. I see Elephant's Child as Marie Antoinette, Emma Springfield as Amelia Earhart, and Yorkshire Pudding as Benjamin Disraeli, but I'm sure that's just the drugs talking.

Let the fun begin....

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Belle et la bête and other stuff

Before I get to that, I am indebted to Shooting Parrots (Ian in Lancashire) for the first million digits of pi and I am also indebted to All Consuming (Michelle in Yorkshire) for a lovely animated musical birthday card. It featured "Spring Song" by Felix Mendelssohn (2:46). Very timely, too, as my birthday was two days before the first day of spring.

Accordingly, here from yesteryear is comedian Anna Russell singing "O How I Love the Spring" (an English folk song of the nymphs and shepherds style), plus a Russian song, "Da, Nyet, Da, Nyet" thrown in for good measure (6:37). She continued her musical journey through the vocal genres with a German lied ("Schlumpf") and a French art song ("Je N'ai Pas La Plume de ma Tante") (5:50).

...which phrase from French I class brings us at last to Belle et la bête, or how I spent my birthday.

Belle et la bête, you know, Beauty and the Beast.

Not the new motion picture that has certain sections of the population upset over the introduction of homosexual attraction into the world of children's fairy tales. No, indeed. I'm speaking instead of the stage musical based on the Disney cartoon version of a few years back as performed by the school my granddaughter attends.

My granddaughter had the role of Babette the Feather Duster. Here she is with Lumiere:

...and after the show with her biggest fans:

In other news of note, our older Alabama grandson attended his senior prom and also played a French horn solo at the All-District Band concert. Not at the same time. On consecutive days.

...and our younger Alabama grandson, his brother, who is ranked first on his school's golf team, won his first match of the season. That's him, er, he second from the right in the group photo:

...and our oldest grandson of all helped his college baseball team, currently ranked #5 in the nation among Division III schools, beat the #3 school, Emory University, by a score of 9 to 4:

Here he is with his proud brother:

Finally, Babette's older brother flew in from North Carolina (and boy, are his arms tired) just to see his sister on stage but since we managed to attend different performances we don't have a photograph of him except for this one from a couple of years back:

A bientôt.

Friday, March 17, 2017


Instead of a St. Patrick's Day-themed post, I present today the latest evidence that the Oxford comma controversy is alive and well. It is a fitting way, I think, to commemorate the last day I will ever be 75.

You don't have to be a Mainiac, but it helps.

I have blogged about this subject before.

I'm sure you have all turned green with envy at my talent, erudition, and general humility.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

All things being equal

...means we get two equinoxes a year, vernal and autumnal as they are known in some circles or March and September as they are known in others. Solstices, which happen in June and December, are a subject for another day.

So everything is equal on an equinox, right? Day and night. Hours of daylight and hours of darkness. Sunrise and sunset twelve hours apart, right?


The equinox doesn't occur until next Monday, March 20th, but where I live the 12 hours exactly between sunrise and sunset came closest yesterday, March 15th, when the sun rose at 7:46 a.m. and set at 7:45 p.m. By today things had already slipped past the equal stage because sunrise occurred at 7:45 a.m. and sunset at 7:46 p.m. today in Canton, Georgia. So when were things equal? At midnight?

Turns out these things depend not only on the tilt of earth's axis but on the exact latitude on earth where you happen to live. So it's different for just about everybody.

I'm sorry if this bursts your bubble or upsets your apple cart. Don't blame me. I just live here.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The spring has not yet sprung, the grass has not yet riz, but I know where one of the birdies is

This is a "homey" post of the type not usually associated with moi, but it's a whole heap less stressful on one's nerves than working oneself up into a permanent lather over BREXIT, Donald Trump, ISIS, China, Israel, Hillary Clinton, North Korea, Guantanamo Bay, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nancy Pelosi, Palestine, global warming, Iran, Yemen, Simon Cowell, or any other perceived threat to world peace.

Today I rise to speak of bluebirds, or, to be more accurate, of one specific bluebird.

He likes that particular chair by the door, as you can plainly see from all the poop with which he has decorated it.

He also likes to sit on our shepherd's crook to be near our blue feeder filled with dried mealworms...

...and on our other shepherd's crook to be near our green feeder filled with peanut suet.

From these perches he tries to be master of all he surveys, but he has to defend his territory against neighbors like The Mockingbirds and The House Finches and even a few robins. Mr. Bluebird also likes our birdbath but I have not yet been able to get a photo of him perched there. He is an alert little fellow and darts away to fight another day if startled.

If you are equally alert, you may also have spotted (no pun intended) the 1930 portrait of Mrs. RWP's parents on our kitchen wall as well as some of her orchid plants in bloom.

And if I were as alert as I like to think I am, I would have remembered that I already told you about the bluebirds and the blue feeder filled with dried mealworms and the green feeder filled with peanut suet a couple of weeks ago.

As the world can tend to be too much with us, we now return you to the apocalypse in progress.

Monday, March 6, 2017

On approaching the end of one's time on this planet, plus Davy Crockett

In less than two weeks I will be celebrating hope to be celebrating the seventy-sixth anniversary of my first appearance on planet Earth, ye olde Terra Firma, third rock from the sun, and so on, which to date has been both ongoing and uninterrupted. It occurred in the city of Pawtucket in the county of Providence in the smallest of all of the fifty states, Rhode Island, in a house on Merrick Street with a Dr. Ronne attending. Doctors still made house calls in those dear, dead, almost-beyond-recall days of 1941, the demise of which practice, though perhaps understandable, is to be lamented.

I have reached the point in life where one recognizes the fact that one does not know whether one has another twenty years or another twenty minutes but that either scenario is possible. I suppose this is true at every single moment along the continuum of everyone's life, but the difference that comes with age, I think, is the recognizing part, the recognizing that one's time breathing in and breathing out has an actual, unavoidable, and rapidly approaching end point.

The mortality rate, friends, is one per person.


Everyone dies. No one is exempted.

On that happy note, what should we do? Eat, drink, and be merry? Pour out our secret sins in a tell-all confessional novel? Retreat to a cloistered monastery for prayer and contemplation? Earn as much money as we can and send it to televangelists? Invest in gold and silver? Work in a soup kitchen in the inner city? Hoard our treasures so that our heirs can either enjoy or sell them? Waste our substance in riotous living? Complain about the current state of affairs? Get right with God? Stock up on freeze-dried food and move to an underground shelter? Be kind to our neighbors? Binge-watch The Walking Dead? Go dancing?

So many choices. So little time.

In other news, today is the 181st anniversary of the fall of the Alamo.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

I don't see London, I don't see France

...and I definitely don't see anyone's underpants. This snapshot of my blog stats showed an extremely high spike on February 25th. On the same day most of my blog hits came from the country of France.

A few months back it was Russia causing spikes. My spies (it's only an expression, people) tell me that an extraordinarily high number of views is probably the result of robots. Speaking of underpants, Yorkshire Pudding should not get his in a wad and start speaking in French all of a sudden. Sacre bleu!

Take a closer look at my blog stats. Do you see what I see? *That sound you hear is All Consuming beginning to hum a Christmas song*

What I see in my blog stats snapshot is -- wait for it -- the skyline of Dubai.

Yes, I see the Burj Khalifa, formerly known as the Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world poking more than a half-mile into the sky at 2,717 feet (828 meters).

One hundred sixty stories. Speaking of sacre bleu, sacre bleu! Here's a closer look:

Can anyone say "Tower of Babel"?

In my blog stats snapshot I also see Pinocchio lying on his back (see what I did there?) and if I squint and hold my tongue just right I can almost make out Roger Price's famous droodle "Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch" from his 1953 book that later became an album cover for Frank Zappa in 1982:

Here's another droodle from Roger's book. It's called "Four Elephants Examining an Orange":

I have done enough damage for one day. My work here is done.

P.S. -- I think I'm feeling giddy because today is the sixteenth birthday of our youngest grandchild. If you need a reason, that one will have to do.

<b> Mundane is also a word</b>

My blogger friend Rachel Phillips is currently in the midst of a series of posts (three so far) about a trip she took with her friends Liz...