Friday, October 19, 2018

I am not F. Scott Fitzgerald

I am on track, or so it appears, for 2018 to be a more productive year blogpost-wise than 2017. In all of 2017 I created 71 posts and with two-and-a-half months to go in 2018 I have already created 66 of them. Of course, in 2008, a whole decade ago now, I created 228 blogposts, but we won't go there. Changing horses in midstream, I could die tomorrow, and then where would that leave you?

High and dry, friends, high and dry.

I trust that will not happen, but one never knows, especially as one grows older.

Which all of us are doing, n'est-ce pas?

But of course.

There is no other way. No going back. Only forward.

Unless you are F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose novel The Great Gatsby ends with Nick, the narrator, contemplating Long Island, thusly:

Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning——

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Tell me in the comments who you are not.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

One little, two little, three little Indians....

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA, which means Democrat from Massachusetts), whose picture I am not going to show -- you can look it up for yourself -- finally underwent DNA testing to prove once and for all that she is of Native American heritage. She said she was Native American on an application to be a professor at the Harvard Law School a couple of decades ago, and Harvard, eager to comply with the desire of the U.S. Federal Government that there be minorities on their faculty, hired her. It may not have happened in just that way or for just those reasons, but that is how it looked from 50,000 feet to the casual observer in the general populace.

This week the Boston Globe reported the results of Senator Warren's DNA testing, then issued a correction, then issued another correction. It first said that Senator Elizabeth Warren was between 1/32nd and 1/64th Native American, then said she was between 1/32nd and 1/1024th Native American, then said she was between 1/64th and 1/1024th Native American.

As the parole board told Nicholas Cage in Raising Arizona, "Well, okay then."

This is very confusing to the casual observer, and even to the observer who is not so casual.

Senator Warren now feels exonerated and is demanding that President Trump pay up on his offer to donate a million dollars to a charity of her choice if she is Native American. He denies making such an offer, but even if he did, wouldn't it be fairer if he donated 1/1024th of a million dollars ($974.56) instead?

Here's an interesting footnote. An expert (some people say an expert is anyone more than 50 miles from home carrying a briefcase; others break the word down into its component parts, saying "ex" is a has-been and "spurt" is a drip under pressure) has determined that Senator Warren is 0.09% Native American, slightly less than one-tenth of one percent. He also says that the average European-American is 0.18% Native American, or slightly less than two-tenths of one percent. Here's another interesting footnote. Leaders of the Cherokee Nation, whose politics I am not aware of, said yesterday that the amount of Native American blood Senator Warren has does not qualify her for membership in their tribe.

That is all backdrop and prelude to the real subject of this post, which is:

Genealogy is fascinating, but it also can be very confusing.

For example, what does all that stuff mean, 1/32nd, 1/64th, 1/1024th, and how do they know, and where do they come up with those strange numbers?

I will tell you.

It's really simple.

It all has to do with the fact that everyone has two parents, a father and a mother. You would not be here if you didn't have two parents. I could go into more detail and speak at length of XX and XY chromosomes, but I will not. The very astute among you may also note that you have (or had) four grandparents because your father had two parents and your mother had two parents.

It has to do with powers of 2. Yes, math. Sorry.

If you think of your parents as being one generation back from you (because they are), and your grandparents as being two generations back from you (because they are), and your great-grandparents as being three generations back from you (because they are) -- you can carry this on as far back as you can find names and data -- you can determine the number of direct ancestors you have in each generation by thinking of the powers of 2. That is:

21 = 2, 22 = 4, 23 = 8, 24 = 16, and so on. If math makes your eyes cross and your head hurt, I'll put it into words. Two squared (2 x 2) is four, two cubed (2 x 2 x 2) is eight, two to the fourth power (2 x 2 x 2 x 2) is 16, and so on. Let's fill out that table a little more fully:

21 = 2
22 = 4
23 = 8
24 = 16
25 = 32
26 = 64
27 = 128
28 = 256
29 = 512
210 = 1024

and so on and so forth. If your eyes are glazing over, hang in there just a little longer. It will be over soon.

Simply substitute the phrase "In the xth generation before me, I have y direct ancestors" where x is the ordinal number instead of the cardinal number of the power of 2 and y is the number after the equal sign. That is:

In the first generation before me, I have 2 direct ancestors (my parents).
In the second generation before me, I have 4 direct ancestors (my grandparents).
In the third generation before me, I have 8 direct ancestors (my great-grandparents).
In the fourth generation before me, I have 16 direct ancestors (my great-great-grandparents).
In the fifth generation before me, I have 32 direct ancestors.
In the sixth generation before me, I have 64 direct ancestors.
In the seventh generation before me, I have 128 direct ancestors.
In the eighth generation before me, I have 256 direct ancestors.
In the ninth generation before me, I have 512 direct ancestors.
In the tenth generation before me, I have 1,024 direct ancestors.

I have used American-style nomenclature here. It is my understanding that in the U.K. what we call great-grandparents are called grand grandparents, and the greats are one off after that. Continental differences cannot be helped in this post.

So if one, count 'em, one of Elizabeth Warren's 1,024 ancestors in the tenth generation before her was a Native American, she is claiming to be Native American for purposes of Harvard Law School being able to report to the U.S. Federal Government that their faculty included a minority.

I think the Boston Globe waffled in order for Senator Warren to save face, for she had always said that either her 3rd or 4th great-grandmother was Native American. If that were so, she would be 1/32nd or 1/64th Native American, the numbers used in the Boston Globe's original story. To be 1/1024th Native American, the ancestor would be her 8th great-grandmother, several generations earlier.

The total number of direct ancestors you have to the tenth generation before you is cumulative: 2+4+8+16+32+64+128+256+512+1024 and that's a lot of direct ancestors.

Maybe next time we'll explore Fibonacci numbers and the "golden spiral". Then again, maybe we won't.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Two great talents, three if you count conductor Seiji Ozawa

In my continuing effort to bring culture to the masses, here for your musical edification and listening enjoyment are two versions of the same song.

1. Here's Kathleen Battle singing the aria 'O mio bambino cara' from the opera Gianni Schicchi by Puccini (2:09).

2, Here's a chicken playing the aria 'O mio bambino cara' from the opera Gianni Schicchi by Puccini on the piano (2:02).

Which did you enjoy more?

Please note that Miss Battle sang completely from memory and did not require visual promptings of any kind.

Kudos to her. Also to the chicken.

To prove that time definitely marches on, which someone said recently, here are the artists when they were younger:

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A public apology, and a look at small-town America [redacted version]

[Editor’s note. In the original version of this post, I revealed too much personal data about one of our readers. After receiving multiple slaps with a wet noodle, some of them self-inflicted, I have decided to do what the Federal Bureau Of Investigation does when asked to provide sensitive material to the Senate Intelligence or Judiciary Committee, and that is to redact the document. The post below is the redacted version of today’s original post. Only persons who have passed a Top Secret Background Investigation (as I have) and who spent the entire month of February 1969 in Stockholm, Sweden on IBM's dime (as I did) and whose location in the military was just off the Staff Balcony in the Underground Command Post at Strategic Air Command Headquarters where all the General officers sat during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 (as mine was) will be permitted to see the original, unredacted version. —-RWP]

[Redacted], a reader who lives somewhere near the little town of [redacted] in [redacted], was unhappy with the title of my last post, so I want to apologize (British, apologise) publicly to her and anybody else who was offended, because if [redacted] ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. I'm just saying.

I never said any bad words, I just mentioned an acronym, and the offending acronym involved the letters W, and T, and F. [Redacted], another reader who lives in [redacted], also mentioned in his comment that the word SNAFU in the body of the post was no better.

SNAFU can be cleaned up by substituting the word 'fouled'... and WTF could have meant a number of things:

Where's The Fudge?
Who Told Francine?
When Turkeys Fly
While Tempers Flare
Wilbur Teased Fiona

I could go on, but I hope you get my drift (as the iceberg said to the Titanic) that I am truly sorry.

I'm not really feeling sassy today, only semi-sassy, but I'm hoping it will clear up by noon.

The town of [redacted], current estimated population 634, was officially incorporated on [redacted]. [Redacted] says there have long been several versions of how [redacted] was named, none of which can be authenticated.

● [Redacted].

● [Redacted].

● [Redacted].

The rich agricultural and timber resources of the region attracted farmers, millworkers, and loggers. By [redacted], the town had a bank, three dry goods stores, two general stores, three grocery stores, two barber shops, five saloons, four hotels, a newspaper, a blacksmith, and even an opera house.

[Redacted] doesn't actually live in [redacted], she lives on an [redacted]-acre farm in the boonies out from [redacted], but her family is contemplating moving to be nearer their brand-new, first grandchild.

[Redacted] reminds me a lot of Mansfield, Texas, where I grew up, except I don't think Mansfield ever had an opera house. When we moved there in August 1947 the city limit sign said 'Population 774'. It is not like [redacted] any more. Mansfield has grown over the years, and the estimated population of my old home town in 2018 is 69,340. Surely it has more than two traffic lights now.

Here's a picture of the Farr-Best Theater that is still going strong as an events venue in the old one-block-long 'historic' downtown portion of Mansfield:

In the building with the green awning, right next-door to the theater, Mr. Farr, Mary Ann's father, also ran the Farr-Best Cafe where I downed many a hamburger, fried peach pie, and cherry coke in my yute.

Tell me a little about the town of your yute.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

As the young folks say, WTF??

For some strange reason unknown to me, for the last few days I have not been able to enter comments on my own blog or anyone else's from my iPhone. I can still enter them from my trusty desktop computer, but I can't carry that thing around with me everywhere I go. Not even some places. No way, José.

So there may be a slight delay in my responses to you until the Apple gremlins get themselves sorted out.

I can still compose posts on my iPhone, I just can't make comments.

Another one of Mama's sayings comes to mind: It'll all come out in the wash.

Unless it doesn't, of course.

I hope in this case that Mama was right.

My dad had a word for it -- an acronym, really -- that he learned in the Navy. Without translation, I now share it with you.


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

If it's not karma, it must be something else

The only karma I know about is Putz's wife, Karmalee Barlow of Tooele, Utah.

I have had a terrible perplexing challenging few days.

Last Thursday our niece Rhonda in North Carolina was found unresponsive and without a pulse on the floor of her bedroom at 1:30 in the morning by her 83-year-old mother. The paramedics came and worked on her for 45 minutes, then transported her to the local hospital, where she died. She was 53. Yesterday would have been her 54th birthday. She was ten days younger than our oldest son. It has been a shock.

It was determined on Friday that our 12-year-old family car has a broken motor mount. I now have to decide between spending several hundred dollars to have it repaired or begin looking for another vehicle to replace it, not that I can afford one just now, but them's the breaks, I suppose. This news prevented us from being able to attend Rhonda's funeral.

Our little dog Abby lay down in the grass in our back yard yesterday afternoon and was promptly bitten by about 25 little black ants. I know the number because that's how many pinkish-red bites we counted on her abdomen. The vet, when called, said to give her half a Benadryl tablet every eight to 12 hours until she gets to feeling better.

They say good things come in threes. Maybe bad things do too. Or maybe it's just called "life".

Nevertheless, thanks to all of you for the happy blogaversary wishes on my last post.

I'll try to be cheerier henceforth.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Happy anniversary to me, or What happened to the Aral Sea shouldn't happen to a blog

At one time the Aral Sea in Central Asia was the fourth-largest freshwater lake in the world. Almost as big as Ireland, it covered 26,300 square miles (68,000 km2) and appeared on maps of Asia just east of the Caspian Sea in what was then the USSR (or, if you prefer Cyrillic, the CCCP). If the Aral Sea were still there, today it would straddle the border between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Unfortunately, it isn't there any more.

It began shrinking around 1960, and its slow disappearance over the last half-century is illustrated in the following map:

Not much remains but the rusting hulls of ships atop the dry desert sands, many miles from towns that once bustled with activities related to the fishing industry .

Although I like to think I keep up with current events, I had no idea that this long decline had occurred. It was off my radar completely.

Did you know that the Aral Sea has a middle name?

Well, it does. It’s Stockra. I made it up just now so that I could mention a book written in 1990 by David Cannadine, The Decline and Fall of the British Aral Stockra Sea, you know, those people portrayed on Downton Abbey and their friends.

Well, I thought it was funny.

What happened to the Aral Sea is not due to global warming. But it was caused by humans when the government decided to divert the water from the rivers that fed the huge lake to irrigate the land for the growing of cotton. In the process, the Aral Sea has just about disappeared.

Today, on the eleventh anniversary of this blog (yes, friends, it began on September 28, 2007), it is my fervent hope that it will continue for a long time and not dry up like the Aral Sea. I have learned far more from you, dear readers, than you have learned from me during these eleven years, so I will bring this post to a close with a little something from Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I, the opening of a song that Deborah Kerr sang to the children of the king of Siam:

It's a very ancient saying
But a true and honest thought
That if you become a teacher (or blogger),
By your pupils (or readers) you'll be taught.

As a teacher/blogger I've been learning,
You'll forgive me if I boast,
But I've now become an expert
On the subject I like most:

Getting to know you.

At this point, all the children of the King of Siam say, 'Ahhhhhh'.

In this metaphor, sometimes I am Deborah Kerr (no snickering in the back) and you are the children of the king of Siam, and sometimes you are Deborah Kerr and I am the children of the king of Siam.

Now that I think about it, eleven years is a long time not to know from one day to the next whether you are Deborah Kerr or the children of the king of Siam.

But at least we haven't dried up and disappeared like the Aral Sea.

Not yet.

For extra credit, read "When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be" by John Keats and write a 500-word essay using personificaation to compare the poem to the Aral Sea.

Sunday, September 23, 2018


We humans are such strange creatures. For example, I read this headline today:

Author of 'How to Murder Your Husband' arrested for allegedly murdering husband

and immediately I thought, 'That's impossible'.

Now before you start quibbling with me or scratching your head in confusion, let me explain what I mean.

It is impossible to allegedly murder someone. Either you murder someone or you don't murder someone, but you cannot allegedly murder someone. Someone can allege that you have murdered someone, true, but I repeat: You cannot allegedly murder someone.

It is certainly possible, as I just said, to allege that someone has murdered someone, but under our system it must wait for a jury of one's peers to decide, based on evidence presented in a court of law, the guilt or innocence of such a person. Keep in mind that in our society one is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and it is only after having been proven guilty that it might be said that what was alleged -- that someone had murdered someone -- was, in fact, true.

Therefore, in an attempt to head off lawsuits for unequivocally declaring that a person has murdered someone (although that may well be the case) before the judicial process has run its course, our print journalists and radio/TV newsbroadcasters daily make such ridiculous statements as 'Author of 'How to Murder Your Husband' arrested for allegedly murdering husband'.

How might we say that better? Certainly not by saying

Author of 'How to Murder Your Husband' allegedly arrested for murdering husband

because an arrest definitely took place. The arrest is not alleged. The murder is.

Perhaps this is better:

Author of 'How to Murder Your Husband' arrested for murdering husband, allegedly

Part of the problem is that editors and publishers want headlines to be short, so words are omitted. It would be much nearer the truth to write a complete sentence:

Because the author of the book 'How to Murder Your Husband' is alleged to have murdered her husband, she has been arrested.

but if headlines were that accurate there would be no need for an article to follow it except to provide details such as the woman's name and address and the date the event occurred. Alleged event. The method she used might prove interesting as well, such as by clobbering him over the head with a frozen leg of lamb or plunging him through with shish-ka-bob skewers or putting belladonna in his tapioca.

Having talked that subject to death (literally), let us now turn our attention to...

Panel One

In the following passage from Through the Looking Glass by Mr. Charles L. Dodgson, whose pen name was Lewis Carroll, Alice, who has unexpectedly found herself in Wonderland, is speaking with Humpty Dumpty, who is sitting on a wall. You may discover that the passage explains some thimgs you never knew before:

'You seem very clever at explaining words, Sir,' said Alice. 'Would you kindly tell me the meaning of the poem called "Jabberwocky"?'

'Let's hear it,' said Humpty Dumpty. 'I can explain all the poems that ever were invented — and a good many that haven't been invented just yet.'

This sounded very hopeful, so Alice repeated the first verse:

''Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.'

'That's enough to begin with,' Humpty Dumpty interrupted: 'there are plenty of hard words there. "Brillig" means four o'clock in the afternoon — the time when you begin broiling things for dinner.'

'That'll do very well,' said Alice: 'and "slithy"?'

'Well, "slithy" means "lithe and slimy". "Lithe" is the same as "active". You see it's like a portmanteau — there are two meanings packed up into one word.'

'I see it now,' Alice remarked thoughtfully: 'and what are "toves"?'

'Well, "toves" are something like badgers — they're something like lizards — and they're something like corkscrews.'

'They must be very curious-looking creatures.'

'They are that,' said Humpty Dumpty; 'also they make their nests under sun-dials — also they live on cheese.'

'And what's to "gyre" and to "gimble"?'

'To "gyre" is to go round and round like a gyroscope. To "gimble" is to make holes like a gimlet.'

'And "the wabe" is the grass-plot round a sun-dial, I suppose?' said Alice, surprised at her own ingenuity.

'Of course it is. It's called "wabe" you know, because it goes a long way before it, and a long way behind it —'

'And a long way beyond it on each side,' Alice added.

'Exactly so. Well then, "mimsy" is "flimsy and miserable" (there's another portmanteau for you). And a "borogove" is a thin shabby-looking bird with its feathers sticking out all round — something like a live mop.'

'And then "mome raths"?' said Alice. 'I'm afraid I'm giving you a great deal of trouble.'

'Well, a "rath" is a sort of green pig: but "mome" I'm not certain about. I think it's short for "from home" — meaning that they'd lost their way, you know.'

'And what does "outgrabe" mean?'

'Well, "outgribing" is something between bellowing and whistling, with a kind of sneeze in the middle: however, you'll hear it done, maybe — down in the wood yonder — and, when you've once heard it, you'll be quite content. Who's been repeating all that hard stuff to you?'

'I read it in a book,' said Alice.

(end of passage)

Here is Jabberwocky in its entirety.

I do wish Humpty Dumpty (that is, Lewis Carroll, that is, Charles L. Dodgson) had explained the rest of the poem. I can guess at whiffling and burbled and galumphing, but I don't have a clue about manxsome, frumious, or frabjous.

Moving right along, here’s...

Panel Two

This passage is from Chapter 6:

“There’s glory for you!” [said Humpty Dumpty].

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’” Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t -- till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’”

“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument,’” Alice objected.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master -- that’s all.”

(End of quotation)

Humpty Dumpty has a point. Take the word 'john’. It can be a man's name, a toilet, or a prostitute’s paying customer.

Panel Three

Here from Chapter 7 is part of a conversation between Alice and the March Hare at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party:

`Come, we shall have some fun now!’ thought Alice. `I’m glad they’ve begun asking riddles.–I believe I can guess that,’ she added aloud.

`Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?’ said the March Hare.

`Exactly so,’ said Alice.

`Then you should say what you mean,’ the March Hare went on.

`I do,’ Alice hastily replied; `at least -– at least I mean what I say–that’s the same thing, you know.’

`Not the same thing a bit!’ said the Hatter. `You might just as well say that “I see what I eat” is the same thing as “I eat what I see”!’

`You might just as well say,’ added the March Hare, `that “I like what I get” is the same thing as “I get what I like”!’

`You might just as well say,’ added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, `that “I breathe when I sleep” is the same thing as “I sleep when I breathe”!’

(end of passage)

So what do I want you to take away from this post?

Saying what you mean and meaning what you say ought to be the goals of everyone, from Alice in Wonderland to the alleged writer of the alleged headline about the alleged woman author of the alleged book ‘How To Murder Your Husband’ who allegedly murdered her alleged husband.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A few poems, or Trees have leaves and roots and branches, not all Texans live on ranches

In my old hometown of Mansfield, Texas, 60 years ago, there was an electrician and repairer of television sets named Beverly Bratton. Let me back up and start over. As far as I know, there were no television sets named Beverly Bratton in my old hometown 60 years ago. What I meant to say was that our local electrician and television repairer was named Beverly Bratton, and the point I'm trying to get to is Beverly was a man.

Not a transgendered man, mind you, but a born-male baby whose parents gave a name that sounded decidedly female.

It has happened before. George Beverly Shea, whom everyone called Bev, sang at just about every Billy Graham crusade. Joyce Kilmer, a man, wrote a poem called "Trees". Johnny Cash famously sang about a boy named Sue (3:46) in his San Quentin Prison concert.

If you know of other examples of boys with girls' names, tell me in the comments.

Here, from 1913, is "Trees":

by Joyce Kilmer (1886 - 1918)

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Joyce Kilmer looked like this in 1908, when he was attending Columbia University:

Many years later, poet Ogden Nash wrote:

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree;
Indeed, unless the billboards fall,
I'll never see a tree at all.

Here is Ogden Nash in his youth:

Here he is later in life weariing a spiffy houndstooth jacket, the money for which might have been better spent on dental work:

And many years after that -- today, in fact -- yours truly wrote the following:

Blogposts are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.

Here I am at age 37:

I end this post with these trees, whose age I do not know:

Friday, September 14, 2018

More Dad sayings

Yesterday I told you a couple of things my dad used to say, like ‘Pull my finger’ and ‘Listen my children, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice’. No sooner had I pressed PUBLISH when a few other things my dad used to say (he died in 1967) popped up in my mind from the depths of wherever they had been hiding.

I thought I’d share them with you as well:

1. ‘Use your head for something besides keeping your ears apart’.

2. ‘Put your hand on your “huh” and see if your heart’s beating’. (whenever someone* said “Huh?”)

3. ‘ “I see”, said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer and saw’.

4. ‘Can’t never did anything’.

5. ‘Cat fur to make kitten britches’. (whenever someone* said “What fer?” instead of “What for?”) (Note. People in Texas say "What fer?" and people in Missouri say "What far?")

6. ‘I should hope to kiss a pig’. (which meant "Definitely!" and not what you might expect, "Never!")

7. 'Rise and shine, it's daylight in the swamps!'

*The someone was usually me.

I miss him and I don't miss him at the same time.

Your assignment: Pick your favorite(s) and give reasons.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Dad sayings

Long before Captain Hawkeye Pierce said something similar on M*A*S*H, my dad used to say, 'Listen my children, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice'.

I never did that, but -- ever the daredevil -- I find that I am beginning to favour British spelling and punctuation in my old age (77). You know what they say, there's no fool like an old fool, and I am just trying to keep up my end of the bargain.

I'm feeling silly today. Did you notice?

Laughter is good for the soul.

With a dad like mine, is it any wonder I turned out the way I did?

He also said, 'Pull my finger’, but I won't go in that direction today.

What did your dad used to say?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Since it's 9/11 (British, 11/9)

Ponder this op-ed piece from today's edition of The New York Daily News.


To whom it may concern

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.

I'm working on a post. It just takes me a little longer nowadays.

I just realized that the only whom to whom it may be of concern is probably me.

You're not all out there hanging on my every word.

You're not all waiting with 'bated breath, impatiently drumming your fingers for more, more, more.

Message received and understood.

Lesson learned.

"O wad som Pow'r the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us."

Robert Burns.

I now return, slightly older and slightly wiser, to the proverbial drawing board.

See you later.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Odds and ends and reminiscences

An old man stares back at me from my bathroom mirror, a man I do not recognize although he does seem strangely familiar. It seems impossible, but this year makes 60 years since I graduated from high school.

In my school days in my part of small-town and rural America, gender roles were set in concrete. Girls took Home Economics* (cooking in the fall, sewing in the spring) and boys took Vocational Agriculture (Vo Ag for short), even boys like me who had absolutely no interest in farming or agriculture. In our school district the "choose an elective" list was rather short. I took vocational agriculture for one year only, 9th grade, my first year of high school. I learned a lot, actually, and was a member of several teams at competitive interscholastic meets. Land judging, dairy cattle judging, beef cattle judging, hog judging, poultry judging, grading of eggs, you name it, I did it. You don't want to know how to determine whether a hen is a good layer of eggs; the answer has nothing to do with looking in the nest. I can still identify various breeds of cattle and hogs and chickens. My project for the year -- we all had to have one -- was raising a Hampshire pig whom (or which) I dubbed Lady Henrietta. At the end of the year my dad had her slaughtered and we enjoyed (if that is the right word) ham and bacon and pork for some time afterward.

*nowadays it's called Consumer Science.

After my 9th-grade year my electives included Typing, Shorthand, Concert Band, Marching Band, and Chorus. Although I wanted to take Drivers Education (my parents did not own a car), I could not because the only period Drivers Ed was taught conflicted with Band. As a result, I didn't learn how to drive a car until I was almost 22 years old; it happened after Ellie and I became engaged. I thought it would look rather strange for the bride to drive the car away from the church. Necessity is the mother of both invention and getting your rear in gear (to continue the automotive metaphor) when the occasion calls for it.

Boys never took Home Ec and girls never took Vo Ag. But boys took Typing if they wished even though most of the students were girls who aspired to enter the working world as secretaries. No boy in my school had ever signed up for Shorthand until I came along. I figured it would help me take notes in college in the days before cassette tape recorders, and I was right. What I took, in case you were wondering, was Gregg Diamond Jubilee Shorthand With Brief Forms. I can't remember if that was the actual name of the class, but it's how I remember it. I was valedictorian of the class of 1958, and the following year, when Tommy C. became the second boy in the history of the school to take Shorthand, he became valedictorian of the class of 1959. Whether there is a cause and effect there, I cannot say.

The shorthand stood me in good stead through the years, and most people seemed surprised that I knew how to do it. One of my supervisors at IBM, Jim P., wasn't surprised, though, as he had formerly been one of three male executive secretaries to Thomas J. Watson Sr., the founder and CEO of IBM. From what I understand, when an IBM executive traveled in the earlier decades of the twentieth century, it was a no-no for a woman secretary to travel with him. Hence, chaps like Jim P. were in demand.

In case you didn't notice, I'm just rambling with this post and going nowhere in particular.

Speaking of band, here's a photo of my youngest grandson, now a senior in high school, playing his trumpet with some of the members of his school's band. He looks very intense, and all grown up.

Finally, here's Mrs. RWP's latest creation, a crocheted baby blanket (it's the blanket that's crocheted, not the baby) for a young couple at our church. The color (British, colour) is not true because the photo was taken late in the afternoon in a room on the east side of our house. Although it appears to be almost lavender, it is in reality a beautiful shade of pink.

And now, for the big reveal, here it is unfolded:

Tomorrow would have been my parents' wedding anniversary, and the day after that is the day my wife's mother died in 1986 and our second grandchild was born in 1996.

I think I have run out of things to tell you.

For your reading pleasure, this post has contained nothing at all about either Aretha Franklin or Senator John McCain, which is all that has been on television this week in the good old U S of A.

See you next time.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Alert the media! I am occasionally wrong

Speaking of questions, Bob M., my treadmill buddy at cardiac rehab three days a week, asked one out of the blue on Thursday. We had just checked our blood pressures when he suddenly asked, apropos of nothing, "Who said 'a chicken in every pot'?"

I said, "Al Smith, I think, but I will look it up to make sure."

Since Bob is 80, I didn't have to explain who Al Smith was.

It was not Al Smith.

I was wrong.

I was close, though (they say "close" only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades). I was definitely in the right neighborhood. In the U.S. presidential election of 1928, Republican candidate Herbert Hoover won the electoral college vote 444 to 87, defeating the Democratic candidate, Governor Alfred E. Smith of New York. During the presidential campaign, a circular published by the Republican Party claimed that if Herbert Hoover won there would be “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.“ I had the right year but the wrong guy.

Note that Herbert Hoover himself never specifically made such a promise, but that was the perception throughout the land. In actuality, less than a year after his election the stock market crashed. During the decade-long Great Depression that followed, many people didn't have chickens, pots, cars, or garages.

A memorable thing happened in 1931 when, on the president's birthday, radio announcer Harry Von Zell goofed, creating one of the most famous spoonerisms of all time when he inadvertently referred to Herbert Hoover as Hoobert Heever.

Which one looks more presidential to you?

To my mind, Mr. Hoover looks like a very kind Methodist minister (he was Quaker) and Mr. Smith looks like either a robber baron of the Victorian era or a New York City police commissioner.

Not that I'm given to making snap judgments.


Later, while we were walking on adjacent treadmills, I asked Bob why he had asked me that question. He replied that he had seen his wife putting a chicken in a roaster pan.

Moral of today's post: There is generally a perfectly logical reason for everything that happens even if you can't see it at the time.

Friday, August 24, 2018

kylie asks a few questions that deserve answers

In the comments section of the previous post, the following appeared:

kylieAugust 23, 2018 at 11:51 PM

this leads me to question:
is your name Rhymes?
and do you have plague?
"the" plague or are you just plagued?

plague is a silly word when over used

and I shall now address her three questions and her statement one by one.

Q. Is your name Rhymes?
A. Rhymes is part of my blogger name, Rhymeswithplague, or RWP for short, which I arbitrarily chose as my blogger initials by isolating the first letter of each of the three words (rhymes, with, and plague -- note that I used the Oxford comma there) that one might perceive as being the component parts of my blogger name although they are not; my blogger name is, as I have already said, Rhymeswithplague, a single but all-encompassing word that pleases me. My actual given names in real life, although you did not ask that question, are Robert and Henry. My surname is Brague, which just happens to -- you might have guessed -- rhyme with "plague"; I began saying this some years ago in an attempt to get people to pronounce my surname correctly. Many people said Bragg and some people said Brahg and some people even said Bragoo to rhyme, I suppose, with Mr. Magoo. My name definitely does not rhyme with Mr. Magoo. Some people still have difficulty pronouncing my name, so I am considering changing my blogger name to rhymeswithegg, but don't hold your breath.

Q. And do you have plague?
A. I do not, as far as I know, have plague.

Q. "the" plague or are you just plagued?
A. Although this is a sentence fragment and not technically a question, I will do the gracious thing and try to answer to the best of my ability. I do not, as far as I know, have plague (see previous answer), "a" plague, or "the" plague. What do you mean by "the" plague, exactly? There are a number of plagues, as this list indicates, although I suppose you meant the diseases, of which there are at least three: bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic (once again I have used the Oxford comma; I am nothing if not consistent). I am occasionally plagued by questions from readers, however.

Q. Plague is a silly word when over used
A. This is not a question either. But here's one: What do you mean by "over used"? To my mind, that is a very subjective term and cannot be answered with objectivity, as one man's meat is another man's poison, so to speak. Same goes for "silly".

Now I have a question for you. Is Australia really down under?

To readers everywhere: Your questions are important to us and will be answered in the order they are received. The current wait time is seven months, 14 days, 21 hours, and 42 minutes (and I am still using the Oxford comma).

(Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library. It is in the public domain and used by permission PD-USGOV-HHS-CDC)

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Ifs and buts, or Having fun with language

Pam Doyle (real name of a blogger in southwest Washington who calls herself Hilltophomesteader, I suppose because she lives in a homestead on a hilltop) took up the theme of the previous post (What If?) in the comments section, asking, "What if 6 days went by and we didn't see a post from RWP???"

I posted that post on August 12 and Pam must have written her comment on August 18, although because of my slowness in moderating comments it wasn't published until August 20. Now it is August 22 (10 days, forsooth!) and I still haven't posted another post.

So here at last is another post to tickle your collective fancies, although it might prove to be both uncomfortable and embarrassing to go through life with tickled fancies (collectively, of course).

I shall take the lazy man's way out, however, and refer you via this link to a fascinating -- I urge you to read every word -- look at the possible origins of the idiom "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts".

Happy reading!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

What if... Bonnie didn’t lie over the ocean?

...everywhere that Mary went the lamb did not want to go? could check out anytime and leave whenever you liked?

...auld acquaintance were never forgot and always brought to mind?

...Nellie doesn’t wait till the sun shines?

...that doggie in the window isn’t for sale?’s not a small world after all? take the high road and I take the low road and I’m not in Scotland afore ye?

...I won’t take you home again, Kathleen?

...mares and does didn’t eat oats and little lambs didn’t eat ivy?

...Jimmy cracked corn and I cared quite a bit?

...not all of us go out to meet her when she comes?

...I loved thee but I didn’t try to count the ways?

Monday, August 6, 2018

Time may march on but some things remain constant

Mrs. RWP celebrated another birthday near the end of July. We welcomed one grandchild home from a two-week trip to Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay). We prepared to bid adieu to another grandchild who leaves this week for her first year of university in another exotic locale, Athens, Georgia.

Still another grandchild started his second year at university by moving to a new dorm:

His seventh-floor room has a stunning view of the hills and clouds of northern Alabama:

Two of Mrs. RWP's three North Carolina cousins also celebrated birthdays in July:

Half a world away, in a school in a village in Kenya, our friend Linda B. and her teaching staff stay busy with 82 kids, almost double last year's enrollment...

Mrs. RWP and I are sponsoring two of them, and by "sponsoring" I mean paying for their tuition:

Somewhere, Air Force One is landing so that Donald Trump can hold another rally.

Probably not in this city, though:

(Photo of Rijo Street in downtown Hiroshima, Japan, 2013. Used in accordance with CC BY-SA 3.0)

Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, life goes on.

Except, of course, when it doesn’t.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Sunset in north Alabama, with HTML codes

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а б в г д е ё ж з и й к л м н о п р с т у ф х ц ч ш щ ъ ы ь э ю я
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Thursday, July 19, 2018

A dedication to end all dedications, or Meet the king of the comma splice

[Editor's note. I haven't mentioned Billy Ray Barnwell in a long time, and since there may be new readers among you (one can only hope) I thought I would show you/them the dedication to his now-decade-old book. Billy Ray is not exactly my alter ego, but he was ensconced in my brain for quite a while before I managed to get him out of there and down on paper. If you would like to read the whole book (again, one can only hope), it can be reached online by clicking on the link under the heading MY OTHER BLOG IS A ROLLS-ROYCE in the sidebar to your right. I want to warn you that Billy's writing style is rather unorthodox and you may find yourself gasping for breath, but please don't let that deter you. --RWP]


Billy Ray Barnwell here, I let Udella Mabry who lives two apartments down read what I wrote for a Preface when she got back from her regular weekly hair appointment at Opal’s Beauty Palace and she said well, you have some pretty long sentences in there and you spell right good too, I was quite pleased to get both of those compliments because I consider Udella as fair and impartial a judge as they come plus you can’t hear nice things too often if you ask me, which you didn’t, but it reminded me of the only time I ever wound up anything but first in one of Mrs. Mary Lillard’s Friday afternoon eighth grade spelling bees, we would choose up into two sides and stand along opposite walls and if you missed your word you took your seat, I was always the last one standing and whichever side chose first always chose me before anybody else, it was kind of a guarantee of winning, but one time when several people were still standing, Mrs. Lillard gave me the word “material” to spell, only being a good Texan she said it like it had three syllables instead of four, I think that’s what threw me, because I stood right up there in front of God and everybody and spelled it M-A-T-E-I-R-A-L, and the whole room whooped and hollered for about three minutes, it was a day I would rather forget, prolly the low point of my entire life up to that time. Anyways, getting back to dedicating this book, if you managed to read the preface all the way through you prolly think I’m going to dedicate it to Mr. D. P. Morris, my old English teacher back in Grapevine Texas, well you would be wrong because I am not, I am going to dedicate it to Mrs. Janet Baines Brockett instead. Mrs. Brockett lived on the same gravel road we did about two miles out of town, we were the first house and she was the fourth, so we were neighbors even though it was about a mile to her house, Jimmy Wayne Oxley and Howard Griffin lived in between, Jimmy Wayne was two years behind me in school and his mother raised Poland China hogs, and Howard was the guy who later wrote the book Black Like Me even though he was white, Lord, that’s a whole story in itself, he went blind for ten or twelve years because of a plane crash he was in during World War II but one day when he was walking in his parents’ fields with his collie dog a blood clot behind his eyes suddenly dissolved, Howard’s eyes I mean, not the collie dog’s, and he could see again, and after that he said his blindness had taught him that the color of a person’s skin meant nothing, now this was a revolutionary idea in the South at the time, it was so shocking that after Howard’s book came out some local racists made a dummy and hanged Howard in effigy from one of the town’s two stop lights during the middle of the night, its right side was white and its left side was black and a big yellow stripe was painted down its back, the dummy I mean, not the stop light, and there it was the next morning, just hanging there, when everybody made the turn to go to school, personally I thought it said a whole lot more about the local racists than it did about Howard, and nobody took it down until after a news photographer from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram came out and took a picture to put in the paper. All Howard had done was he went down to New Orleans and paid to have a doctor chemically darken his skin, Howard’s skin I mean, not the doctor’s, and after wandering around the South for a while as a black man he came home, eventually his skin went back to being white and later he wrote about his experiences in a book, and his parents kept hogs just like the Oxleys, wait, I don’t mean the hogs were just like the Oxleys, I mean the Griffins kept hogs just like the Oxleys did, but they were Ohio Improved Chester Whites, the hogs I mean, not Howard’s parents. While he was blind, Howard had married Pie Holland, well her name was really Elizabeth but everybody in town called her Pie, and they had two children which he had never seen either her or them until that day he went walking in the field with his collie dog, you talk about a story. Anyways, not counting summers I rode to school with Mrs. Brockett every day of my life between second grade and eleventh grade, well Mondays through Fridays anyways, mainly because she was going there anyhow, she taught mathematics in the high school and all twelve grades were in the same building, and I would have gone with her in twelfth grade too if she hadn’t retired from teaching after my Junior year and the school hired old Mrs. Vickers, Flavill George’s mother, as math teacher when it hired Flavill as the new football coach, let me tell you she couldn’t hold a candle to Mrs. Brockett when it came to teaching, for one thing during trigonometry tests Mrs. Vickers let us use a sheet of paper with all the formulas on it, sines and cosines and secants and tangents, stuff like that, she didn’t make us memorize them like Mrs. Brockett did and as a result I can tell you very little today about trigonometry but I can still quote you the quadratic equation thanks to Mrs. Brockett, X equals minus B plus or minus the square root of B square minus four A C over two A, and to think some people actually say what good is algebra. Mrs. Brockett would tell me things on the way to school, for instance she told me about her grandfather who was a Southern Baptist preacher back in the early days of Texas before there was even such a thing as Southern Baptists, he supposedly baptized Sam Houston, stuff like that, and she got all upset at the thought that her daughter Genevieve had gone and married a Presbyterian but after visiting her daughter and son-in-law she seemed so relieved, she went to church with them and saw that Presbyterians preached the Scriptures too so she decided that they were just Baptists who have a little money, Presbyterians I mean, not Genevieve and John, although John was an architect so I suppose he had money, and also Mrs. Brockett’s son Delwyn became chairman of the board of Gulf Oil and whenever it was that Queen Elizabeth came over to Canada and dedicated the St. Lawrence Seaway Mrs. Brockett got to sit on the same platform with The Queen thanks to Delwyn. He was really Ernest D. Junior but I guess they called him Delwyn so they wouldn’t get confused at home and he went to Texas A&M and got a geology degree and eventually he married Francis Sammons from over in Keller and they had a son named Belmont who went to Duke University and years later after Delwyn retired from Gulf Oil they moved to the Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club in Boca Raton Florida and eventually it was bought out by British Petroleum, Gulf Oil I mean, not the Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club or Boca Raton Florida. But back to Mrs. Brockett, she drove her old two-tone green 1949 Pontiac with both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road and she wouldn’t look anywhere else for all the tea in China, I know because I tried to get her to many times, but the thing I love most about Mrs. Brockett was after she retired from teaching I visited her in Arlington Texas when L.B.J. was in the White House, and I said, “Mrs. Brockett, you were a Baines weren’t you, are you any kin to Lyndon Baines Johnson?” and she said, “Oh, yes, Billy, I thought you knew that,” and I said, “Well, have any of the White House historians contacted you?” and she said, “Yes they have, but I told them they didn’t want to talk to me, they should go talk to the other side of the family,” and she wasn’t real happy that Lynda Bird or Lucy Baines one, I can’t remember which, had brown eyes instead of blue eyes like the Baineses and she told me how she and President Johnson’s mother, Rebekah Baines, were first cousins and how they used to go shopping together when they were young ladies before either one of them was married, we’re talking 1906 or 1907 here, and how Rebekah Baines was so stately and so dignified and that it was like being in the presence of royalty to walk down the street with Rebekah Baines and then Mrs. Brockett got a faraway look in her eyes like she was remembering something she hadn’t thought of in a long time, something she would rather forget if she could, only she couldn’t, and what came out of her mouth was “And then she had to go and marry that trashy Sam Johnson” and need I remind you she was talking about the father of the man who was then president of the United States and who if he had had a son in addition to his two daughters Linda Bird and Lucy Baines would prolly have named him Bird Baines, L.B.J. was so self-centered even his wife and dog had the initials L.B.J., Lady Bird Johnson and Little Beagle Johnson respectively, but L.B.J. the dog’s pups were called Him and Her and the president later got his picture in the newspapers when he picked up either Him or Her by the ears, I forget which one, dog I mean, not ear, and one time he even showed photographers the scars from his gall bladder operation, Lyndon’s operation I mean, not Him’s or Her’s, you talk about a trashy guy, I guess it’s true that the apple never falls far from the tree. Anyways, that one statement of Mrs. Brockett’s, plus the fact that A she may have been the first woman to graduate with a degree in mathematics from Baylor University in Waco Texas and B she lived to be 92 years old and C one day in the car on the way to school this woman whose whole career involved numbers shocked me by reciting from memory the first twelve lines of Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard” complete with the beetle’s droning flight and the moping owl complaining1 and D when I came back from my hitch in the military and told her I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior she said, “You know, don’t you, Billy, that only a Southern Baptist minister has the right to baptize you,” is why I have decided to dedicate this book to the memory of the one and only Janet Baines Brockett, because they don’t make people like that any more, or if they do I haven’t met any, and this is Billy Ray Barnwell signing off.


1Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
(first twelve lines only)
by Thomas Gray (1716 - 1771)

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
.....The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
.....And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimm'ring landscape on the sight,
.....And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
.....And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r
.....The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
.....Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Monday, July 16, 2018

An enigmatic reference explained

In a recent post I happened to mention Archimedes (c.287 BCE - c.212 BCE), after which Yorkshire Pudding commented, 'I was puzzled by your enigmatic reference to a "water screw". Please explain.'

Here is what I was referring to:

(Illustration from Chambers's Encyclopedia (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1875)

Its purpose is to lift water from a lower level to a higher level, usually for irrigation of land, and it operates on the following principle:

(Animated diagram created by Silberwolf, published 6 May 2007, and used in accordance with CC-BY-SA-2.5)

Why Silberwolf would use a red sphere to represent water, now that's what I find enigmatic. Nearly eight decades ago the motion picture How Green Was My Valley won many awards.

Perhaps Mr. or Ms. Silberwolf's motion picture should be called How Red Was My Canal.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

C'est juillet quatorze! or maybe C'est quatorze juillet!

Bastille Day - July 14, 1789 - Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité - the French Revolution

I have mentioned it five times before.

Anything I say five or six times is worth investigating.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Yes, Virginia, there is life outside of blogging

I don't tell you much about my life, which sets me apart from a lot of bloggers. Today, however, I have decided to give you a look at a few recent things and events in my real life, by which I mean what happens when I am not sitting in front of this computer.

It will not be One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich because I am not Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn. Here he is in 1974:

(Photo by Verhoeff, Bert / Anefo, February 1974, in Dutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989, Nummer toegang Bestanddeelnummer 927-0019)

He died in 2008 and I didn't, so I couldn't possibly be him he Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Maybe I will just show you some pictures, although I do realize that I run the risk of producing in your minds the effect one reviewer felt after watching the film Last Year At Marienbad: "The film is famous for its enigmatic narrative structure, in which time and space are fluid, with no certainty over what is happening to the characters, what they are remembering, and what they are imagining. Its dreamlike nature has both fascinated and baffled viewers; many have hailed the work as a masterpiece, although others have found it incomprehensible."

I will just have to run that risk. No, I will be helpful and include explanations to alleviate any confusion amongst my readership. I say "amongst" instead of "betweenst" because I am confident there are more than two of you out there.

Let us begin. This will not be a chronological presentation. Here, in no particular order, is my recent life:

-- We went to a place called Ollie's (motto: Good Stuff Cheap) and bought new seat cushions and a new umbrella for our patio.

View 1:

View 2:

View 3:

-- Here are our identical triplets out on a lark. Actually, they are my daughter and two of her teacher colleagues at the Birmingham airport this week on their way to Orlando for the SREB (Southern Regional Education Board) Conference. My daughter will be making one of the many presentations.

-- I got into an altercation with a trash receptacle at our local Burger King and wound up with a boo-boo. Please notice the vintage Benrus watch on my wrist. It belonged to my father-in-law, who died in 1983. It passed into the custody of my brother-in-law, who kept it in a box for 32 years and never wore it. When he died in 2015, his widow gave it to me. I wear it every day.

-- Mrs. RWP and I compare boo-boos. Her thumb is partially out of its socket and she also has some arthritis, so the doctor gave her a shot of cortisone and put her in a wrist brace. My boo-boo was minor, just a little cut, but it bled a lot because I am on a blood thinner and it hurt like the dickens.

-- As a belated Father's Day gift, my two sons took me to the Ferst (not First) Center for the Arts on the campus of Georgia Tech to see a play, Martin Luther On Trial. Satan was the prosecutor, Luther's wife (an ex-nun) defended, and Saint Peter presided over the trial. Witnesses included Adolf Hitler, Saint Paul, Martin Luther King Jr., Sigmund Freud, and Pope Francis. It was excellent. Even Snowbrush would have enjoyed it.

-- On the way to the Ferst Center, we stopped for lunch at It's Greek To Me, a restaurant in Marietta.

-- The 20-year-old son of my son on the right in the photo above is currently in Mumbai, India, for 15 days. I did not feel the need to show you a picture of Mumbai, India, but if you want to see one you can Google it for yourself.

-- A group of us Senior Adults from church made a two-van caravan trip to the Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle, Georgia, for lunch.

-- the Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle, Georgia

-- Lunch (table #1):

-- Lunch (table #2):

-- After lunch at the Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle, Georgia:

Are you bored yet?

Just a few more, and we will be done.

-- Sometimes Mrs. RWP and Abby The Dog watch horse racing on TV:

...and sometimes they watch the National Dog Show:

...even though there are so many other things they could be doing.

-- Three days a week I go to cardiac rehab:

-- I had to get a new pair of glasses.

The lenses get thicker every year.
-- One of my teeth broke in half, so the dentist had to modify my partial to include a second tooth.

Perhaps that is too much information.

Perhaps I have gone a bridge too far (groan).

In spite of the many other activities, sometimes my life seems to consist of this:

Etaoin shrdlu to one and all.

I have to go now. The men in white coats have arrived.