Lame Excuse Post

Yesterday we were having connectivity issues. Today I have a lot of other things I need to do. And, to be honest, I’m really almost completely out of blogging steam. Should I make fun of Donald Trump? I feel like I should be horrified that he might be our next president but I am more relieved that Ted Cruz will not be. No matter who wins I am going to get a t-shirt with Obama’s picture on it and the words, “Miss me yet?” and wear it on Inauguration Day.

But enough of that; I don’t do politics. (except when I’ve got nothing better to say and I can’t resist the temptation) What else? The weather? It’s kinda nice and kinda stinks. Afternoons this week have been beautiful and perfect but mornings are too cold for May. I want to wear a dress! A cool breezy summer dress and I want to wear it all day, not just for a couple of hours in the afternoon. I can’t really explain to you how badly I want that.

Here’s another nice spring photo. I actually took this one about a month ago.

Sunburst locust

Just a Few Links

Bacon Lover Heaven – A store devoted to bacon and bacon related products. Plus, there are bacon memes.

Surreal Photo Art – I love these.

Tiny Wearable Worlds – I love these too but I’m afraid they might be bulkier than what I’m comfortable wearing.

Painted toenail stockings – Clever idea but for me, if it’s warm enough to wear sandals it’s too hot to wear stockings.

Peeling Paint Art – Neat.

Reading

My latest read was Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh, the first book in the Ibis Trilogy. It is set in India in the first half of the 19th century and follows the changing lives of a number of characters, both Indian and European as well as one American, as they eventually come together on board the Ibis on a trip to the Mauritius islands.

Sea of Poppies is excellent and I highly recommend it. It’s a good picture of life in 19th century India and contains a little humor as well as drama. It did have a lot of words that were unfamiliar to me, mostly names of foods and articles of clothing and other items in Indian culture, but this did not cause me a great deal of difficulty. One thing that was odd about it – I’ve never seen this before – this author did not use any quotation marks. Once I got started though, I didn’t have any trouble with this at all. It’s easy enough to realize when a character is talking and after I got into the book I didn’t even notice the lack.

An interesting note about the physical book itself. I bought the dead tree version since the Kindle version was not significantly cheaper. I like to say that the format doesn’t matter; it’s the content that’s important, and I stand by that but there is a certain pleasure in holding an actual book and this one especially so. I was surprised by the weight of it and the pages are a higher quality paper than you usually see in paperbacks or even most hardbacks and just touching the pages and turning them is a treat. I ordered and received the second book in the trilogy, River of Smoke and was disappointed to find that its pages are merely what’s typical for paperbacks. Oh well. I was going to order Flood of Fire, the final book in the trilogy, but it’s not available, at least in the US, until August. Again, oh well.

Random Linkage

Soviet River Rockets

Metal Sculptures – Animal and insects made from car, bicycle, and motorcycle parts. Way better than most of the scrap art we see occasionally.

Top Ten Funny Moving Videos – I haven’t watched all of them yet.

Historic American Currency – The appearance of our money has changed before. No point in getting worked up about it.

Hurricane-Proof Architecture – I’m generally not a fan of modern architecture but, strictly for beach homes, these are nice. They look like they belong.

Prince

Sometimes there’s a sort of odd feeling of regret when a celebrity you never paid any attention to dies. Like you missed out on something. Of course you can still listen to the music, or watch the old movies or read the books (whatever the celebrity’s thing was) but you missed out on being a part of the living fandom. I never paid any attention to Prince. By the time he came along I had stopped paying any attention to popular music and to me he was just another singer who dressed funny. I did see him on the Superbowl half-time show a few years ago and thought, “You know, he’s not all that bad.”

Whenever a cultural icon dies the media talks about him a lot and non-fans learn things that fans knew all along. I learned two things about Prince that particularly grabbed my attention. One is that he was born the same year I was and that’s always a little disturbing. The other was that Prince was actually his real first name. I have also heard more of his music in the past few days than I had heard in all the years of his whole career. So, based on that, could I have been a fan? Honestly, probably not. Maybe I might have sort of liked one or two or three of his songs but I never would have been a big fan. But I still feel just a little bit like I missed out on something.

Worst Sentences Ever Published

The Worst Sentences Ever Published in Books. It’s one of those annoying slide shows designed to get as many page views as possible so I’m going to list all the sentences here. You’re welcome.

“Aro laughed. ‘Ha ha ha,’ he giggled.”
(New Moon by Stephenie Meyer)

“It was about as distinctive as the most distinctive thing you could ever think of.”
(Killing Floor: The Jack Reacher Series by Lee Child)

“Physicist Leonardo Vetra smelled burning flesh, and he knew it was his own.”
(Angels and Demons by Dan Brown)

“I am all gushing and breathy—like a child, not a grown woman who can vote and drink legally in the state of Washington.”
(Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James)

“The TIE wibbles and wobbles through the air; careening drunkenly across the Myrran rooftops – it zigzags herkily-jerkily out of sight.”
(Aftermath: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Chuck Wendig)

“One man came running off the corner to stop him, but Rambo kicked him away and then he was whipping left around the corner, and for now he was safe and he really got that cycle going.”
(First Blood by David Morrell)

“He did not trust the woman not to trust him. And he did not want to be mistrusted now.”
(Thank You, M’am by Langston Hughes)

“Overhanging her precarious body was a jaundiced face whose skin resembled a sheet of parchment paper punctured by two emotionless eyes.”
(Deception Point by Dan Brown)

“Jeez, he looks so freaking hot. My subconscious is frantically fanning herself, and my inner goddess is swaying and writhing to some primal carnal rhythm.”
(Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James)

“Like the wolf he was named for was he, he realized, for his life was solitary above all else.”
(Unicorn Vengeance by Claire Delacroix)

“For a minute, the three of them sat in silence, within the expensive, single-engine, overhead-wing, two-hundred-mile-per-hour, sixteen-mile-per-gallon, white and red and mustard-yellow, airborne cocoon.”
(Whispers by Dean Koontz)

“’Stop!’ I shrieked, my voice echoing in the silence, jumping forward to put myself between them.”
(New Moon by Stephanie Meyer)

“‘Fighter weather,’ agreed Lieutenant Colonel Bill Jeffers, commander of the 57th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, the “Black Knights,” most of whose F-15 Eagle interceptors were sitting in the open a bare hundred yards away.”
(Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy)

“Her legs were quills. They were bundles of wicker, they were candelabra; the muscles were summer lightning, that flickered like a passing thought; they were captured eels or a cable on a windlass. Her thighs were geese, pythons, schooners. They were cypress or banyan; her thighs were a forge, they were shears; her thighs were sandstone, they were the sandstone buttresses of a cathedral, they were silk or cobwebs. Her calves were sweet with the sap of elders, her feet were bleached bones, her feet were driftwood. Her feet were springs, marmosets or locusts; her toes were snails, they were snails with shells of tears.”
(Silk and Steel by Ron Miller)

To be fair, some of those probably make more sense in context.

This ‘n’ That

The sun came out yesterday! Looks like we should have three or four nice days before it starts raining again. Honestly, we need the rain and sometimes I even enjoy it but after three straight days of rain and not seeing the sun at all for even longer I get a little tired of it.

So, it looks like this will be the last season of Castle as we know it. If they’re going to write out Beckett and Lanie I wish they would just go ahead and end the series. I would like to say that I will not watch it without these two characters but I can’t make a firm commitment to not watching. Curiosity sometimes kills my intentions. Nathan Fillion hasn’t signed his contract yet so season 9 isn’t a certainty. On the last episode there was a huge opening for Castle and Beckett to literally ride off into the sunset together. I hope that’s what happens. It’s been a good eight seasons. Don’t spoil it, ABC. End it well.

Hmmm… sorry, that’s all I’ve got right now; here’s a cat video.

National Poetry Month

A poem for the kind of weather we are having right now. Waiting impatiently for the sun to come out.

The Rain by William Henry Davies

I hear leaves drinking rain;
I hear rich leaves on top
Giving the poor beneath
Drop after drop;
‘Tis a sweet noise to hear
These green leaves drinking near.

And when the Sun comes out,
After this Rain shall stop,
A wondrous Light will fill
Each dark, round drop;
I hope the Sun shines bright;
‘Twill be a lovely sight.

It will indeed be a lovely site when it finally happens. More rain poems

Random Linkage

Castle for Sale – It’s not much of a castle, actually, but it’s cute. A weekend getaway place maybe?

Famous art for cats – Clever

Amusing Fun – Beautiful photos and art. I like these

Flower and Vegetable Tiles – Beautiful

Cats Who Collect Things – Funny story: I used to give my cat those plastic rings off of milk jugs to play with and she would always lose them under the refrigerator so I figured we would find a hundred of the things someday when we had to move it but when we had to replace our old refrigerator we did not find a single ring. Our homes definitely have interdimensional portals that stuff disappears into.

Rainbow Nests – What happens when you give wasps colored construction paper

Chroma – Playing with color in city photographs

Hole

The description on YouTube: “…hole from Covão dos Conchos, in Serra da Estrela, [Portugal] is made of concrete and granite, has 4.6m high, 48 meters crowning was built in 1955 and serves to forward the Naves river waters to Lagoa Comprida. It has 1519 meters in length and is able to reach 120 thousand cubic meters.”

National Poetry Month

Another one by Carl Sandburg:

Calls

Because I have called to you
as the flame flamingo calls,
or the want of a spotted hawk
is called-
because in the dusk
the warblers shoot the running
waters of short songs to the
homecoming warblers-
because
the cry here is wing to wing
and song to song-

I am waiting,
waiting with the flame flamingo,
the spotted hawk, the running water
warbler-
waiting for you.

Spring Woods

My yard is a wonderful place.

Path through the woods, spring

Each of these lovely little flowers is about half an inch to five-eighths of an inch across.

Tiny yellow flowers

If you want to be truly happy learn to love these again, like when you were little.

Dandelion

A Few Links

Colorful abandoned places – A lot more photos on the photographer’s website. The thumbnails are not loading right now but just click on the first space where there’s supposed to be a picture and you’ll get the full size pic and you can click on the arrow to go through the whole bunch. (a little slow)

Bugs on the walls – An art exhibition; either creepy or fascinating depending on how you feel about such things. Maybe both.

Ma’agalim – Wonderful!

And the most purely silly thing I’ve seen in a long time. I envy both the imagination and the technical skill it takes to come up with something like this.

Peter William Holden Presents [ The Invisible ] from 686f6c64656e on Vimeo.

Dogwoods

Dogwoods

One of the dogwood trees in my front yard. Dogwoods remind me of my mom and of going to the Dogwood Festival in Siloam Springs years ago, back when it was still interesting and fun.

National Poetry Month: Carl Sandburg

It’s funny… if you ask me if I like poetry I would say yes and yet, I don’t seek out poetry. I appreciate poems that I encounter but I rarely go looking for them. I don’t know why that is but it can change.

I have always liked Carl Sandburg’s Fog. I saw it dozens of times in school – a short, charming little poem often used as an example of poetry that does not rhyme. Well, today I decided to look for more by Carl Sandburg and found a much longer poem that I like as well.

Prairie

I WAS born on the prairie and the milk of its wheat, the red of its clover, the eyes of its women, gave me a song and a slogan.

Here the water went down, the icebergs slid with gravel, the gaps and the valleys hissed, and the black loam came, and the
yellow sandy loam.
Here between the sheds of the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians, here now a morning star fixes a fire sign over the timber
claims and cow pastures, the corn belt, the cotton belt, the cattle ranches.
Here the gray geese go five hundred miles and back with a wind under their wings honking the cry for a new home.
Here I know I will hanker after nothing so much as one more sunrise or a sky moon of fire doubled to a river moon of water.

The prairie sings to me in the forenoon and I know in the night I rest easy in the prairie arms, on the prairie heart.. .
.
After the sunburn of the day
handling a pitchfork at a hayrack,
after the eggs and biscuit and coffee,
the pearl-gray haystacks
in the gloaming
are cool prayers
to the harvest hands.

In the city among the walls the overland passenger train is choked and the pistons hiss and the wheels curse.
On the prairie the overland flits on phantom wheels and the sky and the soil between them muffle the pistons and cheer the
wheels.. . .
I am here when the cities are gone.
I am here before the cities come.
I nourished the lonely men on horses.
I will keep the laughing men who ride iron.
I am dust of men.

The running water babbled to the deer, the cottontail, the gopher.
You came in wagons, making streets and schools,
Kin of the ax and rifle, kin of the plow and horse,
Singing Yankee Doodle, Old Dan Tucker, Turkey in the Straw,
You in the coonskin cap at a log house door hearing a lone wolf howl,
You at a sod house door reading the blizzards and chinooks let loose from Medicine Hat,
I am dust of your dust, as I am brother and mother
To the copper faces, the worker in flint and clay,
The singing women and their sons a thousand years ago
Marching single file the timber and the plain.

I hold the dust of these amid changing stars.
I last while old wars are fought, while peace broods mother-like,
While new wars arise and the fresh killings of young men.
I fed the boys who went to France in great dark days.
Appomattox is a beautiful word to me and so is Valley Forge and the Marne and Verdun,
I who have seen the red births and the red deaths
Of sons and daughters, I take peace or war, I say nothing and wait.

Have you seen a red sunset drip over one of my cornfields, the shore of night stars, the wave lines of dawn up a wheat
valley?
Have you heard my threshing crews yelling in the chaff of a strawpile and the running wheat of the wagonboards, my
cornhuskers, my harvest hands hauling crops, singing dreams of women, worlds, horizons?. . .
Rivers cut a path on flat lands.
The mountains stand up.
The salt oceans press in
And push on the coast lines.
The sun, the wind, bring rain
And I know what the rainbow writes across the east or west in a half-circle:
A love-letter pledge to come again.. . .
Towns on the Soo Line,
Towns on the Big Muddy,
Laugh at each other for cubs
And tease as children.

Omaha and Kansas City, Minneapolis and St. Paul, sisters in a house together, throwing slang, growing up.
Towns in the Ozarks, Dakota wheat towns, Wichita, Peoria, Buffalo, sisters throwing slang, growing up.. . .
Out of prairie-brown grass crossed with a streamer of wigwam smoke—out of a smoke pillar, a blue promise—out of
wild ducks woven in greens and purples—
Here I saw a city rise and say to the peoples round world: Listen, I am strong, I know what I want.
Out of log houses and stumps—canoes stripped from tree-sides—flatboats coaxed with an ax from the timber
claims—in the years when the red and the white men met—the houses and streets rose.

A thousand red men cried and went away to new places for corn and women: a million white men came and put up skyscrapers,
threw out rails and wires, feelers to the salt sea: now the smokestacks bite the skyline with stub teeth.

In an early year the call of a wild duck woven in greens and purples: now the riveter’s chatter, the police patrol, the
song-whistle of the steamboat.

To a man across a thousand years I offer a handshake.
I say to him: Brother, make the story short, for the stretch of a thousand years is short.. . .
What brothers these in the dark?
What eaves of skyscrapers against a smoke moon?
These chimneys shaking on the lumber shanties
When the coal boats plow by on the river—
The hunched shoulders of the grain elevators—
The flame sprockets of the sheet steel mills
And the men in the rolling mills with their shirts off
Playing their flesh arms against the twisting wrists of steel:
what brothers these
in the dark
of a thousand years?. . .
A headlight searches a snowstorm.
A funnel of white light shoots from over the pilot of the Pioneer Limited crossing Wisconsin.

In the morning hours, in the dawn,
The sun puts out the stars of the sky
And the headlight of the Limited train.

The fireman waves his hand to a country school teacher on a bobsled.
A boy, yellow hair, red scarf and mittens, on the bobsled, in his lunch box a pork chop sandwich and a V of gooseberry pie.

The horses fathom a snow to their knees.
Snow hats are on the rolling prairie hills.
The Mississippi bluffs wear snow hats.. . .
Keep your hogs on changing corn and mashes of grain,
O farmerman.
Cram their insides till they waddle on short legs
Under the drums of bellies, hams of fat.
Kill your hogs with a knife slit under the ear.
Hack them with cleavers.
Hang them with hooks in the hind legs.. . .
A wagonload of radishes on a summer morning.
Sprinkles of dew on the crimson-purple balls.
The farmer on the seat dangles the reins on the rumps of dapple-gray horses.
The farmer’s daughter with a basket of eggs dreams of a new hat to wear to the county fair.. . .
On the left-and right-hand side of the road,
Marching corn—
I saw it knee high weeks ago—now it is head high—tassels of red silk creep at the ends of the ears.. . .
I am the prairie, mother of men, waiting.
They are mine, the threshing crews eating beefsteak, the farmboys driving steers to the railroad cattle pens.
They are mine, the crowds of people at a Fourth of July basket picnic, listening to a lawyer read the Declaration of
Independence, watching the pinwheels and Roman candles at night, the young men and women two by two hunting the bypaths and
kissing bridges.
They are mine, the horses looking over a fence in the frost of late October saying good-morning to the horses hauling wagons
of rutabaga to market.
They are mine, the old zigzag rail fences, the new barb wire.. . .
The cornhuskers wear leather on their hands.
There is no let-up to the wind.
Blue bandannas are knotted at the ruddy chins.

Falltime and winter apples take on the smolder of the five-o’clock November sunset: falltime, leaves, bonfires, stubble,
the old things go, and the earth is grizzled.
The land and the people hold memories, even among the anthills and the angleworms, among the toads and woodroaches—among
gravestone writings rubbed out by the rain—they keep old things that never grow old.

The frost loosens corn husks.
The Sun, the rain, the wind
loosen corn husks.
The men and women are helpers.
They are all cornhuskers together.
I see them late in the western evening
in a smoke-red dust.. . .
The phantom of a yellow rooster flaunting a scarlet comb, on top of a dung pile crying hallelujah to the streaks of daylight,
The phantom of an old hunting dog nosing in the underbrush for muskrats, barking at a coon in a treetop at midnight, chewing
a bone, chasing his tail round a corncrib,
The phantom of an old workhorse taking the steel point of a plow across a forty-acre field in spring, hitched to a harrow in
summer, hitched to a wagon among cornshocks in fall,
These phantoms come into the talk and wonder of people on the front porch of a farmhouse late summer nights.
“The shapes that are gone are here,” said an old man with a cob pipe in his teeth one night in Kansas with a hot
wind on the alfalfa.. . .
Look at six eggs
In a mockingbird’s nest.

Listen to six mockingbirds
Flinging follies of O-be-joyful
Over the marshes and uplands.

Look at songs
Hidden in eggs.. . .
When the morning sun is on the trumpet-vine blossoms, sing at the kitchen pans: Shout All Over God’s Heaven.
When the rain slants on the potato hills and the sun plays a silver shaft on the last shower, sing to the bush at the
backyard fence: Mighty Lak a Rose.
When the icy sleet pounds on the storm windows and the house lifts to a great breath, sing for the outside hills: The Ole
Sheep Done Know the Road, the Young Lambs Must Find the Way.. . .
Spring slips back with a girl face calling always: “Any new songs for me? Any new songs?”

O prairie girl, be lonely, singing, dreaming, waiting—your lover comes—your child comes—the years creep with
toes of April rain on new-turned sod.
O prairie girl, whoever leaves you only crimson poppies to talk with, whoever puts a good-by kiss on your lips and never
comes back—
There is a song deep as the falltime redhaws, long as the layer of black loam we go to, the shine of the morning star over
the corn belt, the wave line of dawn up a wheat valley.. . .
O prairie mother, I am one of your boys.
I have loved the prairie as a man with a heart shot full of pain over love.
Here I know I will hanker after nothing so much as one more sunrise or a sky moon of fire doubled to a river moon of water..
. .
I speak of new cities and new people.
I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes.
I tell you yesterday is a wind gone down,
a sun dropped in the west.
I tell you there is nothing in the world
only an ocean of to-morrows,
a sky of to-morrows.

I am a brother of the cornhuskers who say
at sundown:
To-morrow is a day.

National Poetry Month: Take Two, They’re Short

If you ever need to prove to someone that poetry is not all stuffy or hard to understand introduce them to the poetry of Ogden Nash. Some of his poems are fairly long and I might post one of those later but for today here are two very short ones.

The Dog

The truth I do not stretch or shove
When I state that the dog is full of love.
I’ve also found, by actual test,
A wet dog is the lovingest.

Several of Nash’s poems have only two lines.

The Parent

Children aren’t happy with nothing to ignore,
And that’s what parents were created for.