Jul 19

Pointless.

It is one of those nights… when I have written a dozen different entries to 188… and scrapped them all.

I wrote about everything from Lizzie Borden the alleged Ax Murderer, to the way a good dish of Shrimp Scampi makes me feel.

And tonight, it all just sounds like bunk to me.

So when the dog bites… when the bee stings… I simply remember my favorite things.  Like useless facts about random things that are happening on our shared planet.

So.  I bring you another version of “188:  A Glimpse at the Pointless Particulars.”

And here we go.

I really like the song “Amazing Grace.”  It has some good words and sounds to it.  What I didn’t know is that a former slave ship captain wrote the song.  That kind of bummed me out.

So…  to get cheered back into happy… I went and watched my goldfish.  His name is Theobald.  He swims happy… round and round in that little bowl.  But I noticed that little dude never blinks. As it turns out, goldfish don’t have eyelids.

All of that made me feel wifty.  And is something is “wifty” it is eccentrically silly, giddy, or inane.  Sometimes it is even classified as ditzy.  And I know ditzy.

Now here’s something.  If you’ve been searching for another name for the nape of your neck, try “niddick.”  I’m just saying.

Some of you know, I have a thing for frogs.  They are whacky in so many ways.   For instance….  frogs sometimes eat enough fireflies that they themselves glow.  That is just frog-leggin-crazy.

And while we are talking about light.  At the turn of the century, most light bulbs were hand blown, and the cost of one bulb…. was equivalent to half a day’s pay for the average U.S. worker.   You light up my life had a whole different meaning back then.

I am not sure who figured out this next fact… but I hope they were wearing gloves.  All porcupines float in water.  Somebody threw a whole LOT of porcupines into a lake to find that one out.

And last, but not least.  The seed of the redwood trees are so small that 123,000 of them weigh scarcely a pound.  Out of little things grow great things.

“It is easier to believe a lie that one has heard a thousand times than to believe a fact that no one has heard before.” – Unknown

Jul 18

Sense Us

Times have changed.  I was having this discussion with someone, just today.  We spoke of my father,  who is now 90 years old.  We imagined all the transformations he has seen in his lifetime.  In this country.  In matters of technology, and medicine.  Well… in everything.

I was reminded of this same thing…. again this evening.   After dinner, I was doing some shuffling of books in my office, and came across the 1850 Census of Preble County.  I love that book.  The truth of the matter is…. I like any old census record.

To me, it is comparable to hopping in a time machine, and setting the year of my destination.  I am thrust back into time.

In this particular record, this 1850 Census of Preble County, I turned to Washington Township, and had a little stroll up and down the streets of Eaton, Ohio.  The streets were mostly dirt.  Everything was dusty.  Even me.  And wagons followed horses up and down Main Street.

Right in the center of town, I came across the home of the town Physician.  His name was Dr. John Sturr.  Dr. John was born on the east coast.  Maryland.  He was 55 years old at the time I stopped by.  That means he was born in 1795.

He married a woman 14 years his junior.  Elizabeth.  I wondered if he called her Liz, or Beth… or Betsy…  or maybe Snookums.  Who knows.

He probably went to Medical School in Maryland.  Probably spent his entire life there… up until 13 years ago.  All his children were born in Maryland… except for the youngest.  Her name was Mary.  She was born after the family moved to Ohio.  Yep… 13 years ago.  In all… they had five children.

Dr. Sturr and Snookums lived right next door to one of the few stone cutters in town.  His name was E.B.  Hathaway. E.B. (Edward Benjamin?… Ebenezer Boris?) was born in Georgia.  Yep.  He came all the way up north at some point in time.  He married the lovely Louisa.  Old E.B. and Louisa got busy, I’ll tell you.  Five kids in the house….  the oldest was 10… and the youngest just turned one.  Cold winters in Ohio.

So much to learn from these recordings.  There were tailors, and saddlers.  Gunsmiths, coopers, shoemakers and butchers.  Hiram Jones was the County Recorder.

I could pour over census records for hours, and really enjoy doing this, from time to time.  I would rather read through this sort of thing than any novel.  Yes.  I love to go to these places.

But instead of being transported into the world of fiction, I am able visit the world of the past.

I can’t imagine why Joseph Garton, a Weaver from New Jersey… lived all by himself.  He was 57.  Did his wife die?  Was he gay?  Or had he just moved into town? Was he running from the law, and ended up in Eaton? Who knows.

But I like the stories.

And I then wonder what the stories will be another 100 years from now.

Will someone find my name… or your name…. in a census record, and wonder about us.

 

“What you need to know about the past is that no matter what has happened, it has all worked together to bring you to this very moment. And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new. Right now.”
– F.G. Ebersole

Jul 17

Going Green.

I find myself, at times, just staring closely at the simplest things.

Or are they?

I can look at a leaf for a long time without getting bored with it.  What a marvel.

Take this fine leaf, for example.  The color, the texture, the veins, the stem.  It is all perfectly designed.

Now this one, had spent some time…. on a tree…. somewhere.  It probably lived up way, way high close to the sky.

It sprouted out from its branch, and grew into a big green leaf.  It gave shade.  It photosynthesized. It bumped into a bird.   Finally, for whatever reason, it fell from its tree and landed on this rock.

Sometime later, an older, more decrepit and shriveled leaf… fell from its tree too.

It found a soft place to land… on this big green leaf.

Who knows how long they had been there together, or how long they remained.  But there they were… at that exact place… in the same exact time.

They exchanged atoms.

Spectacular.

And then, a breeze probably founds it way along the crevices of that rock… and the two leaves parted ways.

It could have happened that way.

And when I chanced upon that spot, I never dreamed I would have so much to think about.

That leaf.  And the places it had been.

I don’t know that I’ll ever contribute anything of meaning to this world.   Yet….this again, is one of my daily assignments.  Not merely just to bumble through.

But to see past the surface of all moments.  To catch a glimpse of the shining wonders that live beyond…. and right beneath…. the obvious.

Those extraordinary opportunities we are given.  To see.

“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what kind of a person you are.” – C.S. Lewis

Jul 16

I have a bill too.

 

In the magical land of Bisho, there was a beautiful lake.  It was an enormous body of crystal clear blue water.  Lake Scand. It smelled like Jasmine.

And on this lake…. Lake Scand…. there was simply one type of water fowl.  It was, of course, the amazing and wonderful Kubo Bird.  The Kubo was a swan-like goose.  Charming, and handsome, and prepossessing was this bird.

Now there were two types of Kubo’s.  The Red Kubo and the Blue Kubo.  They didn’t much care for one another.  And while they had to share Lake Scand with one another, they did it begrudgingly.

Yes, they ate the same fish, peed in the same water, and walked on the same banks.  Yet… in their bird brains…. they were different.  They all came out of their eggs…. exactly the same.  But as they grew older they began to sport different colored feathers…. you see.

Well one day, a great wind came across the land.  It smelled like vinegar, and Vicks Vapor Rub, mixed together.  The wind was hot and it roared.  It blew the leaves off the trees.  It turned the water brown.

And when the wind finally left, all was quiet again in Bisho.  But Lake Scand remained as  brown as could be.  As a result of the rusty waters…. and before they knew it … the Kubo’s began to molt and lose their feathers.  First they lost their tail feathers, and the rest followed.  Yes.  Both the Red Kubo’s and the Blue Kubo’s had become as bald as ping pong balls.

However … something very strange happened.  As they began to look around at one another… they noticed something very peculiar.  They were all the exact same color underneath.  No Red.  No Blue.  Just a beautiful shade of Gold.

And then… all at once … they realized….  they couldn’t tell who had been the Red Kubo’s and who had been the Blues.

They began to talk to one another.  They found out they ate the same fish…. and peed in the same exact way…. in the lake…. where their food source lived.

Which is kind of gross.  Really.  (But I digress.)

So the Kubo’s were now….. just Golden Kubo’s.  More beautiful than they had ever been before.  All alike… underneath.

Oh yeah.  They figured out a way to clean up the water too.  It turned back to crystal clear blue.  Except when they would pee in it.  You could always tell when someone was peeing in the lake.

“By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart”
– Confucius

Jul 15

The day after tomorrow.

I have a tendency to make up words.

I don’t really do it on purpose.  They just come out of my mouth that way.

“Holy Smokes.  I feel Kloojey today.”

“Boy oh boy.  Was the guy ever besmackeled or what?”

“That thing was a real whip digit, I’ll tell you.”

Probably, in any given hour… I slog off quite a few.

Yet… sometimes.  I think we need an extra word in our language for things.   Like we call today… today.  Tomorrow, is known as…. tomorrow.  But what about the day after tomorrow?  We need a word for that, I think.  The Day After Tomorrow.

In the Georgian language, the word for the day after tomorrow is Zeg.  “When is your doctor’s appointment?”  “Zeg.”

See how dang easy that would be? I just love Zeg.  For procrastinators… why do today what you could do Zeg?  Kabowzzzaaa…. that is good.

Or what about this.  The trouble getting out of bed in the morning.  We have all suffered from this… on at least one occasion.  For some people, it is an everyday occurrence.  Well here is the deal.  There really is a word for that.  It is called Dysania.

This morning… I had a bad case of Dysania.

I was SO sleepy, that my whole face was tired.  Even that little place between my eyebrows?  Which… by the way…. is called the Glabella.  My Glabella was sluggish.  It probably will be again Zeg.

All of this is pretty silly stuff.  But what if it were sad?  Then we might find ourselves in a woebegone condition.  Some people seem to turn to food when they are in such a state.

Well who knew?  The Germans have a word for that… it is Kummerspeck.  It really means….. the “weight gained from emotional eating.”  But the literal translation is… “Grief Bacon.”  Kummerspeck.  Grief Bacon.

Dogs have a word for all of it.  “Woof”… which loosely can be interpreted as “Arf.”

But there is no mistaking the wag of a tail.  In any language.

And, they always wag their tails.  Today, Tomorrow, and Zeg.

 

“Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.” – Benjamin Lee Whorf

Jul 14

Doing the good thing.

We all try to make our own way, don’t we?

Whatever that way is.  Some people live their lives with high moral ethics.  And by moral… I mean… the “moral” that translates into this:  The virtuous, good, righteous, and upright way.  Yes.  To be  upstanding, high-minded, principled and honorable.

Now… where ever this is defined for you…. makes no difference to me.  Whether it is in a book, on a wall, in the sky… or deep in your heart.

But nowhere in the English Dictionary Definition of “Moral” will any of us find the word judgmental.

We choose how we want to be.   That’s all.

Sometimes, we have help figuring that out.  Other times, we are on our own.

But deep down inside, I think we all know what it means to do the good thing.  The exceptional thing.  Mmmmm Hmmmmm.    To fly right.  There are circumstances where we may see gray areas… but all in all…  we know where true north is.

That old moral compass.  And Vamoose.  And Swoosh.   We are on our way.

“Our lives are defined by opportunities. Even the ones we miss.” – Unknown

“You is kind.   You is smart.  You is important.” – Aibileen Clark, The Help

Jul 13

One stitch, or nine?

There are two important lessons I keep encountering.  I wonder, if I’ll truly ever find a complete understanding of either one.  They are hard lessons for me to totally embrace and accept.

The first is this:  Life unfolds only in moments.  There isn’t a single one of us that has ever experienced ANYTHING… that wasn’t part of a single moment occurring.  The now happens.  The right here.  Life comes to us in instances.

We project about the future.  We linger on the past.  And all we really have… is the present moment.  Right here.  Right now.  The single moment is our only point of contact with time… with life.

The second lesson is this:  Life is really a subjective experience.  No matter how hard we try to convince ourselves in the “truth of the matter”…. it isn’t really so.

Everything we think, and believe to be true, is subjective. Everything I experience is based on my perception… which has been formed by my own, unique, life events.    The people I’ve met, the books I’ve read, the places I’ve been.  The implications of this, on a broad scale… are significant.  I will never see the world quite like anyone else sees the world.  Vice versa.  And on, and on.  One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.  And that is how it goes.

This is where I continue to seek balance.  In knowing how to set boundaries, and how to be compassionate for others.

Lessons, lessons, lessons.

And then I have to wonder.  What do I do with all the old axioms, I’ve come to know and love?

Does a stitch in time still save nine?

Since we only have the here and now… can the early bird really get the worm?  Is there such a thing?

What about better late than never?

Can time really be killed?  Or wasted?

And on, and on.  Yet….

I am pretty sure that time still does fly.

 

“The clock talked loud.  I threw it away, it scared me what it talked.”  ~ Tillie Olsen, Tell Me a Riddle

Jul 12

Making it real.

It is my postulation, that if you believe in something….  really, really believe in it… you will find the method to make that “thing” a reality.

Sometimes it just takes good old fashioned hard work. And other times, it takes a little luck.  But whatever it is, you first have to hold the “belief” in that thing… otherwise it will never manifest itself.

Yes. First the faith, trust, and reliance in something.  That confidence then prompts the endeavor.

I learned this lesson when I was quite young.  It was during my years in grade school… Our Lady of Mercy… to be exact.  There were two brothers in our school.  Their names were William and Wayne. Will was probably about 12 years old and his little brother was 3.  (I was probably in fourth grade or so….)  But they were like night and day.

The thing about these two is…. they always went around together.   If William went down to the ballpark, his little brother would toddle along behind him.  Even if the game was a bit rough.

But it worked both ways.  Like… when little Wayne went to playgroup, or daycare, his elder brother would go along too, and sit there with all the toddlers.

One of our neighbors thought this was really strange.   So one day,  he leaned over the fence and asked the boys’ mother why they were so inseparable….  even though they had nothing in common.

“Well,” their Mom replied, “didn’t you know? ‘Where there’s a Will there’s a Wayne.'”

Argghhhh.

I can’t help myself sometimes.

But what you hold true… eventually…. can come true.

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” – Gail Devers

“Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.” – Charles F. Kettering

Yep.  Every day… and every knight.

Jul 11

I spy…

 

I think the whole “spy” thing is pretty intriguing.  Interesting.  I wonder if there are as many spies as there used to be.

Today, for instance, is the birthday of Russian Spy Rudolf Abel.  At least, that is the name he adopted at the time of his arrest by FBI agents in 1957.

His real name is Vilyam “Willie” Genrikhovich Fisher.  But he went by a whole bunch of different names… and codenames…. like Emil Robert Goldfus,  Mark Collins, Martin Collins, Robert Callan… to site a few.

But old Rudy was born in the UK to Russian parents.  He moved back to Russia…. did the whole military thing… and ended up with the KGB.  That is when he came to the U.S. and was a part of a spy ring.  Yar.

He was convicted on conditions surrounding the Hollow Nickel Case (mostly for the Conspiracy to transmit defense information to the Soviet Union).

He got released early.  The U.S. traded him for the release of a U-2 pilot named Gary Powers.

Why all the fuss from me?  Oh… I just wonder how much of that stuff goes on anymore.  I bet it happens more than we might imagine.

In the era of the Cold War… people used to worry about the “spies” in their midst.  That cracks me up.  Sort of.  But really…. Like there would be a lot to spy about in most common U.S. households of the 1950s?

Folgers or Maxwell House?  Just how many times do they bowl per week?  How do they make their meatloaf?  Yep.  All things the Soviets were clamoring to know, I’m sure.

But these days… there is a whole new breed of spies.  I truly think we need to be aware of them.

They watch what we do online.  They track what we buy… .and where we shop.  They know what we watch on TV… and the music we listen to… what we eat.  Cameras in every building,  street corner, and in the palm of every hand.

The Spy Game has morphed from the days of 007 to the pages of Orwell’s 1984. Big Bro.

I try not to let it bother me too much.  I’m not sure there is anything we can do about …  not any time soon.  Nope.

So I will just keep doing the Hokey Pokey in my driveway when ever I feel like it.  And the Chicken Dance.   I won’t let the spies stop me from flapping my wings.

A girl’s gotta’ fly… a girl’s gotta’ dance.  After all.

 

“When the music changes, so does the dance” – African Proverb

Jul 10

Frost Bloom

Contrary to popular belief….  Queen Anne did not wear lace.  Ever.  She couldn’t stand the stuff.  It made her neck itch.    Her husband….  Prince George of Denmark… used to say… “Anne.  Dang it.  You should wear more lace.”  Then he would take a big bite of swill.

But she’d have no part of it.  She was more of a cotton-wearing kind of gal.

I’m not sure why… then…  the plant was named after her.

It is a pretty plant… that Queen Anne’s Lace.  The little weedy-flower-deal…  is also known as Bulwort, and Bishop’s Weed.

Both of these seem wrong too.

I would call it Frost Bloom.  For sure.  Just plain old Frost Bloom.

 

“Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it” – Confucius