Friday, July 31, 2020

Blogger was not dicey, it was DuckDuckGo, plus an unusual reading assignment

At least I think it was DuckDuckGo. I stopped using it as my search engine and the quirk disappeared. I call it a quirk because I don't know what else to call it. It was very frustrating not being able to access one's own blog.

Be that as it may, your reading assignment for today, class, is this article from the loved/hated (choose one) Wikipedia on Peerage of the United Kingdom.

All of the peerages in the United Kingdom are listed, not alphabetically but by the date of their creation, which makes things a bit confusing if you are trying to look something or someone up.

In all, according to Wikipedia, there are 31 Dukes (although I read somewhere else that there have been 74), 34 Marquesses, 193 Earls and countesses, 112 Viscounts, and 1,187 Barons. I don't know whether that figure represents currently or historically. (Note that I continue to use the Oxford comma. Graham Edwards who lives near the town of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides Islands of Scotland will be so pleased, but Yorkshire Pudding, who is without peer, couldn't care less.)

If you absolutely refuse to read today's assignment, please stay busy by twiddling your thumbs until next time and try not to disturb the other students.

This is my 84th post of the year, which is 2020 but feels in many ways like the 1984 described by George Orwell. Since 2020 is now 7/12ths complete, my handy-dandy calculator tells me that if I continue on my current pace of blogging -- I can hear some of you saying "God forbid" -- I will have posted 144 posts by the end of the year.

One cannot know whether one will continue on one's current pace. One can only watch and pray.

Whether you pray for or against is entirely up to you.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Blogger is being dicey and I'm not feeling too peppy myself

Wouldn't you know it, just when I finally figure out how to create new posts and modify existing ones using my Apple phone, my desktop computer's version of Blogger has decided to prevent me from reaching my own blog, at least with the browser and search engine I use, which are Mozilla Firefox and DuckDuckGo, respectively. The only way I know of at present to get around this fine kettle of fish dilemma is by clicking on links to myself in the blogs of my friends who have added me into their bloglists.

I don't have a bloglist, at least not one showing on my blog. My bloglist is in my head, and I usually access my favorite blogs in alphabetic order by blogname, starting with Adrian's and then Neil's and then Michelle's and on and on through Graham's and kylie's and ending with Ian's and Tasker's. My old friends Remus and Carolina and Daphne and the other Ian have all disappeared from Blogland. For the longest time I continued going to both Frances's and Kate's places but they seem to have stopped blogging as well so I stopped going to their places. Pam still blogs occasonally so I have high hopes for her. I no longer read JG's as he tends to be too earthy for my tastes. In recent months I have added Bonnie's and Red's and Linda's and Rachel's to my mental list. I do check in at Sue's but rarely leave a comment. Lowell has slowed down significantly. Dr. John Linna in Neenah, Wisconsin, has been dead for several years.

Some of you know who these people are and some of you don't have a clue.

Maybe I am just talking to myself here, or into thin air.

I will come back when I am in a better frame of mind.

Don't take any wooden nickels.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Someone had a birthday a few days ago

...and she does not mind at all my telling you that she is now 85:

(Editor's note. Ai this point in the post I originally included photographs of both of our sons and their families and of our daughter and her family, and I thanked them all for making this particular birthday of Mrs. RWP's so memorable. Because of the terrible things that can happen in today's crazy world, I have decided to remove the photographs in the interest of their privacy and safety. --RWP)

Moving right along...

In comments on the previous post, several people commented how green our neighborhood looks, but Graham Edwards who lives near the town of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides Islands of Scotland didn't. He said it looked verdant. (For readers in Alabama, verdant means green.) Graham went on to say that he was going to say green but then he remembered that this is a highbrow blog so adjusted accordingly.

This being a highbrow blog and all, my mind went immediately to the second stanza of "The King Of Love My Shepherd Is", a hymn written by Sir Henry William Baker in 1877 that uses an earlier English translation of a Welsh poem based on the 23rd Psalm:

Where streams of living water flow,
my ransomed soul he leadeth;
and where the verdant pastures grow,
with food celestial feedeth.

The hymn has had several musical settings, including the well known Irish folk melody St. Columba, and the one by Dykes that was sung at Princess Diana's funeral in 1997, but my personal favourite is the one by Harry Rowe Shelley (1858-1947), performed here by the First Baptist Church choir of Portland, Maine in 2004:

"The King Of Love My Shepherd Is"

Here are the lyrics in case you couldn't understand them all from the video clip. They are actually a combination of the 23rd Psalm from the Old Testament and the parable of the lost sheep from the New Testament.

The King of love my shepherd is,
whose goodness faileth never.
I nothing lack if I am his,
and he is mine for ever.

Where streams of living water flow,
my ransomed soul he leadeth;
and where the verdant pastures grow,
with food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish, oft I strayed,
but yet in love he sought me;
and on his shoulder gently laid,
and home, rejoicing, brought me.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill,
with thee, dear Lord, beside me;
thy rod and staff my comfort still,
thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spreadst a table in my sight;
thy unction grace bestoweth;
and oh, what transport of delight
from thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days,
thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
within thy house forever.

(end of song)

The Welsh really know how to write a poem and the English really know how to translate one.

Just think, if this were a lowbrow blog and Graham Edwards had not used the word verdant, we might all be singing "Lavender Blue, Dilly Dilly, Lavender Green" or "The Green, Green Grass Of Home" by now.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, but some neighborhoods are more beautiful than others

The image below is not a blow-up of a paramecium surrounded by green mold, nor is it a paisley-shaped creature atop a bed of broccoli florets.

No, friends, it is an aerial photo taken a few days ago of part of my neighborhood. The entire subdivision has around 400 houses. My house is included the photo.

From the air, the houses seem very close together, but they don't seem all that close at street level. Most of the lots are about 1/3 of an acre.

Not too far away, other people live in houses that are bigger than my entire lot:

Mrs. RWP has always said she wouldn't want to live in a big house. It is just more to have to keep clean, she says, and besides, you can only live in one room at a time anyway.

That's what Mrs. RWP says.

Here's what I say:

Be it ever so humble, or not, there's no place like home.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Funny, we all act like monkeys sometimes

Yorkshire Pudding, bless his black heart, has introduced me to "The BOB Song". I don't know how it escaped my attention before, but it did. Here is Willie Nelson's recording of it for your edification consternation listening pleasure:

The BOB Song (4:15)

Just in case you (a) never click on links or (b) had difficulty understanding all of Willie's impeccable diction, here are the lyrics:

The BOB Song

Well I once knew a pirate named BOB
B-O-B Bob was a drunken old slob
B-O-B Bob, 'bout as dumb as a rock
But Bob, he made it to the top

He said, You swing from your tree and I'll swing from mine
You have your lemons and I'll have my limes
Funny we all act like monkeys sometimes
So you swing from your tree and I'll swing from mine
I'll swing from mine

He said, I'd rather make love than war
And I'd rather have millions than to ever be poor
But I'd rather be happy than to have any more,
Guess I'm a little tangled in the vine

Oh, You swing from your tree and I'll swing from mine
You have your lemons and I'll have my limes
Funny, we all act like monkeys sometimes
So you swing from your tree and I'll swing from mine
I'll swing from mine

Funny, we all act like monkeys sometimes
You swing from your tree and I'll swing from mine
You have your whiskey and I'll drink my wine
You save your dollar and I'll spend my dime
You swing from your tree and I'll swing from mine
We'll all be happy sometimes
And we'll all be happy sometimes

(End of song)

Please consider answering the following questions in the comments:

1. This is a really (good/lousy) song. (Choose one)
2. This (is/is not) more evidence that Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution is true. (Choose one)
3. This song (describes/does not describe) dear rhymeswithplague to a T. (Choose one)
4. This blog has reached a new (nadir/zenith) with this post. (Choose one)

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Now it can be told

Here are the original songs whose titles I attempted to parody in the previous post. On some of them I have included an artist who made it popular. If you want to know the year, you will have to look it up yourself.

  1. I Left My Heart In San Francisco (Tony Bennett)
  2. Chicago, Chicago, That Toddlin' Town (Frank Sinatra)
  3. Big D (Little a, Double l, a, s)
  4. A Foggy Day In London Town (Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald)
  5. By The Time I Get To Phoenix (Glen Campbell)
  6. California, Here I Come (Right Back Where I Started From)
  7. I Was Born In A Trunk In The Princess Theater In Pocatello, Idaho (Judy Garland in A Star Is Born)
  8. The Last Time I Saw Paris
  9. Shuffle Off To Buffalo
  10. Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis (Judy Garland in Meet Me In St. Louis)
  11. As I Walked Out On The Streets Of Laredo (Marty Robbins)
  12. Autumn In New York
  13. Swanee, How I Love Ya, How I Love Ya, My Dear Old Swanee (Al Jolson in Rhapsody In Blue)
  14. Moonlight In Vermont
  15. Carry Me Back To Old Virginny
  16. Oklahoma, Where The Wind Comes Sweepin' Down The Plain
  17. Mention My Name In Sheboygan (It's The Greatest Little Town In The World)
  18. Nothing Could Be Finer Than To Be In Carolina In The Morning
  19. Pardon Me, Boys, Is This The Chattanooga Choo-Choo?
  20. There'll Be Bluebirds Over The White Cliffs Of Dover (Vera Lynn)
  21. It's A Treat To Beat Your Feet On The Mississippi Mud
Also, Rachel's contribution in the comments, "24 Hours From Camden, New Jersey", was a parody of "24 Hours From Tulsa" (Gene Pitney).

kylie in Australia commented, "I don't know how you think this stuff up" and I replied honestly, "I don't know how I think this stuff up either. Maybe I'm just a product of our rotten culture".

In any event, you heard it here first.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Alternate universe imagined

What a different world it might be if these songs had been written instead of the ones that were:

  1. I Left My Heart In Cape Girardeau
  2. Orlando, Orlando, That Toddlin' Town
  3. Big P (Little i, Double t, s, burgh)
  4. A Foggy Day In Antwerp Town
  5. By The Time I Get To Cleveland
  6. Massachusetts, Here I Come (Right Back Where I Started From)
  7. I Was Born In A Trunk In The Princess Theater In Santa Fe, New Mexico
  8. The Last Time I Saw Stockholm
  9. Shuffle Off To Idaho
  10. Meet Me in West Memphis, Louis
  11. As I Walked Out On The Streets Of Toronto
  12. Autumn In Des Moines
  13. Utah, How I Love Ya, How I Love Ya, My Dear Old Utah
  14. Moonlight In St. Paul
  15. Carry Me Back To Old Rhode Island
  16. North Dakota, Where The Wind Comes Sweepin' Down The Plain
  17. Mention My Name In Toledo (It's The Greatest Little Town In The World)
  18. What Could Be More Vapid Than To Be In Cedar Rapids In The Morning?
  19. Pardon Me, Boys, Is This The Pensacola Choo-Choo?
  20. There'll Be Bluebirds Over The Electress Of Hanover
  21. It's A Treat To Beat Your Feet On The Susquehanna Mud
What if the little boy in The Music Man had sung "Kansas City, Kansas" instead of "Gary,Indiana"?

What if Frank Sinatra and Lisa Minnelli had sung "Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today, I want to be a part of it, Fort Worth, Fort Worth"?

What if BLM meant Baltimore Loves Macaroni?

It is mindboggling to think about.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

I'll be seeing you

Don't be alarmed; this is not goodbye. I'm not stopping the blog. I'm not suicidal.

My new glasses arrived (after only five business days, I might add, not the 10 originally told to me), and -- wonder of wonders -- I can see! Better than I have seen in years. Well, okay, months.

The lenses are very thick, thicker than ever. Kind of like moi, I suppose. It's amazing how much and how rapidly my vision changed (deteriorated) in just two years.

I was kidding about me being thicker than ever. Actually, I have lost weight, about 40 pounds since June 2019. If you must know, my current weight is 198 pounds (British, 14 stone).

And a smattering of applause was heard from the peanut gallery.

It was nothing. Well, actually it was something, and what it was was a lot of hard work and stick-to-it-iveness. Pushing away from the table. Laying down the fork.

These new glasses are single-vision. No more bifocals or trifocals for me. The doctor said I could see so well up close using my eyes alone (fancy that!) that it would be a waste of time and money to give me bifocals. All I have to do now is whip the glasses from my face any time I want to read something up close.

'Tis only a minor inconvenience. Maybe I'll suspend them on a rope/twine/thread and hang them around my neck.

Time will tell.

In the meantime, don't make a spectacle of yourself.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Odds and ends for a summer day

The high temperature in Canton, Georgia, USA today was 91°F (32.8°C) but with humidity at 60% it felt like 97°F (36.1°C). This is known locally as "a beautifuly summer day."

It's too hot to post anything else.

How do you stay cool when the weather is hot?

Readers for whom it is now winter may answer the question "How do you stay warm when the weather is cold?" instead, if you like.

Extra credit will be given if both types of readers answer both questions.

If it's too hot or cold to answer any questions, I will try to understand.

But it won't be easy.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Test from phone

Now is the time for all good men to blah blah blah

Well, what do you know! I did it! From my phone! For the first time!

Live and learn, necessity is the mother of invention, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, and other trite expressions.

Maybe there's hope for the old guy yet.

Maybe we'll all learn to use New Blogger.

Maybe I'd better quit while I'm ahead.

Friday, July 10, 2020

I will be laboring (British, labouring) under a handicap for the next couple of weeks (British, 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 phonetic alphabets. I really don't have a single set of words that I use. They're different every time. I just pick one on the fly as the need arises. One day I might say P as in pusillanimous and the next day I might say P as in pteradactyl. On Tuesday I might say B as in bituminous and on Thursday I might say B as in Bunsen burner. I might say E as in embarrassing in June and E as in ectoplasm in July

I am nothing if not inconsistent.

I am unpredictable, not satisfied with a single answer, mercurial (M as in marsupial, E as in edamame, R as in rhododendron,....)

But getting back to the mystery expressed in the title of this post, I am getting a new pair of glasses with a stronger prescription and I decided to have the lenses put into my existing frames, which cost a bundle and are downright excellent. They will be ready in "about 10 business days" according to the optician. Until then, I can't see very well, which puts a cramp in my blogging and replying to comments because Apple is wholly inadequate to the task. What I mean by that is this: I cannot create a post or reply to comments using my wonderful and expensive iPhone11, and no, I don't know why. I have to be at my desktop computer, as I am at this moment, to create a post or reply to your comments.

Normally, this would not be a problem (except that it takes me away from the room where Mrs. RWP usually is), but without glasses I must hunch over to be very close to the screen and will get a crick in my neck if I do it for very long. Hence, this is my notice to the world of my possible impending absence temporarily. I know the world is devastated at the thought.

A prescription for new eyeglasses is a marvelous thing. Mine says on the first line "O.D. Sphere -8.25, Cyl. +2.25, Axis 155°" and on the seond line it says "O.S. Sphere -9.25, Cyl. +1.25, Axis 180°". Someone who can interpret this strange language will magically produce a new set of lenses and return them to me in my beloved frames. At that point, I expect that God will be in His heaven and all will be right with the world except if Antifa and the Marxists behind BLM have anything to say about it. Until then, I am, as they used to say in the military, SOL (the clean version of which is simply out of luck).

Your trivia fact for today is downright educational. The O.D. and O.S. in my prescription from the ophthalmologist are easily explained. O.D. is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase ocula dexter (which means right eye) and O.S. is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase ocula sinister (which means left eye).

You're welcome.

I'll be back in a jif. In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

P as in Predicament, B as in Barbiturate, O as in Ophthalmologist

Somewhere in the back of my mind I think we may have talked about this before, long ago perhaps, but we're going to talk about it again.

Words people use to help others understand how something is spelled. Some people call them "phonetic alphabets" but that is actually a misnomer.

What brought this to the fore was an article I read recently, "It Might Be Time to Update the Old 'Alfa-Bravo-Charlie' Spelling Alphabet".

Read it. You might enjoy it.

What caught my eye was the word "Old" in the title. To my way of thinking, the "Alfa-Bravo-Charlie-(Delta-Echo-Foxtrot)" sequence is the new one, not the old one. I learned it in the U.S. Air Force, where it was called the NATO phonetic alphabet (okay, so it was way back in the sixties). The "old" one to me is the one everybody used before the sixties, during World War II: Able-Baker-Charlie-Dog-Easy-Fox and so forth.

When I say "everybody" I mean people in the United States. Of course, there was the occasional crazy divergence. I once heard comedian Shelley Berman say "N as in Newel Post" in one of his routines (unless it was "K as in Knewel Post" that he said, which would have been funnier).

I like to make up my own, the more obscure the better. You might say "B as in Boyfriend, G as in Girlfriend, M as in Merry Christmas" but I prefer to say "B as in Blitzkrieg, G as in Gargantuan, M as in Multitudinous". And therein lies the key, I think, to making oneself understood over a bad telephone connection. Use less-frequently heard words for your examples and the person on the other end of the connection will be more likely to understand.

Yeah, that's the ticket! (T as in Thermonuclear, H as in Happenstance, E as in Eucalyptus....)

Do tell us in a comment your favorite (British, favourite) ways to spell phonetically.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Fascinating, but useless

I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I am not talking about myself.

No, friends, I'm talking about an article by Nicola Davis in The Guardian entitled "Scientists say most likely number of contactable alien civilisations is 36" which you can read by clicking here.

(Memo to file: I prefer headlines with initial capital letters on important words.)

The article is interesting, but not enlightening. It will introduce you to the Drake equation and the Astrobiological Copernican Principle and include paragraphs like the following:

"Under the strictest set of assumptions – where, as on Earth, life forms between 4.5bn and 5.5bn years after star formation – there are likely between four and 211 civilisations in the Milky Way today capable of communicating with others, with 36 the most likely figure."

Somewhere between four and 211. That really narrows it down. 36 the "most likely".


And the paragraph after that one states that "our civilisation would need to survive at least another 6,120 years for two-way communication."

Who came up with that figure?

It's balderdash, True "pie in the sky". A wild guess couched in a scienific cloak. As I said at the beginning, it's fascinating, but useless.

We are supposed to bow and genuflect in front of such erudition and knowledge.

If a scientist says it, it must be true.

One must be careful, though. I'm sure many scoffed at the idea of sailing west to reach the east when everybody knew that the earth was flat.

You may disagree with me in the comments. I don't mind.

So far in the month of July I have produced a post every day. I may be turning into Yorkshire Pudding.

Talk about your alien civilisation.

(P.S. - Oops, I was wrong. This is the fourth day in July but my third post. I probably have no business speaking ill of scientists when I can't even count.)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

"the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America"

Today is July the twoth second.

One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams of Massachusetts, who later became our first Vice-President under Washington and then our second President, wrote to his wife Abigail, "The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America".

He missed it by two days. Independence Day is actually celebrated on July 4, the date that the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved.

Here it is in full. I encourage you to enlarge it (if you can -- you may have to use a magnifying glass) and read it in its entirety in the old-fashioned cursive script of the time. Even "our Brittish brethren" (a phrase used in the Declaration) and Canadian and Australian friends. It is an exercise worth doing at least once in your life.

It is much out of fashion in today's cancel culture. All the more reason.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Welcome to 2020.5

July the oneth first. The first day of the second half of the year.

And it's Canada Day to boot.

Congratulations to Red and his compatriots, all 35,585,953 of you.

That is all.

P.S. - Is it still okay to sing "the thistle, shamrock, rose entwine the maple leaf forever"?

Inquiring minds want to know.

<b>As Robin once said to his BFF...</b>

"Holy place names, Batman!" Here's a list of holy-sounding place names that I threw together. Can you identify the ones ...