Friday, August 31, 2012

Once in a Blue Moon

Today is one of those "Once in a Blue Moon" days when a rare event will occur.

We'll be experiencing a "Blue Moon!"

According to folklore, the second full moon in a month (or sometimes the fourth full moon in a season) is called a Blue Moon.  It has nothing to do the color of the moon itself.

If you want to check out today's Blue Moon -- the last one you'll see until July 31, 2015 -- you'll have TWO opportunities:
The first will be between 6:30 and 7 a.m., as the moon is setting. (You probably missed that one.

Then later, around 7:13 p.m., you'll get your second chance

As I said, the color of the moon isn't actually blue. If anything, the Friday evening moon will most likely appear an especially brilliant white.

Mooning and more at

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Connected World

Connected World.  That's a phrase that has spawned from an internet-based society what doesn't go much more than a few minutes without posting, blogging or tweeting some kind of message out to the world.

Sometimes I hate how connected my world has become.

I feel a mild sense of panic when I grope my front pocket and find I don't have my cell phone.  I turn the car around and go back home when I realize I'm headed away -- for hours -- without my connection to the world.

For me, that connection started by wanting to keep in contact with my parents, after my mother had a stroke.  I felt a need, perhaps an obligation, to remain available at the other end of the phone line.

But I was connected long before I had a cell phone.  I think I was one of the original users of American Online. (That's AOL to people under 30).

I used my AOL account mostly for the chat feature.

Back then you could jump into a chat room titled with a location or interest.  Inside the chat room you would find people who shared your interest in a topic or destination.

I managed to establish many "friendships" in those chat rooms.  We were a community with no borders.

Many of those friendship have lasted the 20 or so years since they were formed.  And while we may not be in touch as much, we are still connected but now we use Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

It's not unusual for me to log into my chat software and say hello to a few friends while watching TV.  Sometimes one of them may be watching the same show and we make comments back and forth, like we're sitting in the same room.

Other times, we offer our greetings and not much more.  But there they are, in the chat list, if I did want to chat.

My connected world makes my real world a little larger and less lonely at times. Because my connected world spans the globe, I can often find someone to sit quietly in my living room with me at 2 am.

So while there are time I would like to disconnected from my connected world, I'm always happy to know that I can just sit quietly in my chair, surrounded by my connected friends, and not say a word.

There are some really lame blogs at: Check them out!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Forces of Nature

I’ve had this blog written in my head for weeks.  It would be a simple statement: “All Aboard!” with a photo of me standing in front of an Amtrak passenger train at the Flint, Michigan station.

After much thought and internal debate, I finally purchased the ticket three months ago on May 29.  I would be riding the rails. The first leg would take around six hours to travel from Flint to Chicago. Then, after an eight-hour layover in Chicago, we would depart for another 19.5 hour ride.

I love trains.  Maybe it’s the kid in me but I’m fascinated by railroads, trains and train travel.

This trip, the first of any distance by train, would include a roomette. That’s a small compartment where the two facing seats fold into a bed.  There’s a fold down bunk, should I had had a travelmate.

But I wasn’t standing on that depot platform this morning. No train whistle, no surge forward as I begin the journey.

No, this trip was stopped by the forces of nature and a hurricane named Isaac.

You see my final destination on this train trip was New Orleans, Louisiana. NOLA as it’s sometimes called.  The Big Easy. Crescent City.

There will be no Bourbon Street. Not beignets and (strong) coffee at Café du Monde. No sightseeing tour of the Garden District or City of the Dead. No drunk standing in the alleyway taking a leak.

Instead, I’m here, at home, safe and sound.

And as promised to the gracious hotel clerk who helped me cancel my room reservations, I’ll be saying prayers for her safety and the safety of everyone in New Orleans.

And I’ll pray that New Orleans will be there for me to visit on another day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Sound of Money

Most of use will take note to an unusual sound.  A humming of an electric motor doing bad, the repetitive ticking of a car engine in need of oil or something that goes bump in the night.

"What is that?" we'll ask. And curiosity often leads us to find out.

Last week I was walking out the door when I heard an unusual sound from the coins moving in my pocket. No, it wasn't that I actually had change in my pocket, but the unique sound it was making.

I knew I had some Canadian coins in the mix and thought, perhaps, their alloy mix was the cause. But this sound was still different.

Upon inspection, I found the culprit: 1964 U.S. silver quarter.

Silver quarters were issued from 1932 to 1964 and contain about 90% silver and 10% copper. Today U.S. quarters are minted with around 92% copper and 8% silver.

This unique coin reminded me when I was once unwrapping a roll of quarters into a cash registers and I heard that special sound. The bank had given me an entire roll of pre-1965 silver quarters for my ten-dollar-bill!

Someone was probably cleaning out a drawer and didn't know what the contents were worth. Today's values of those coins, based upon current metal values, is just over $4.50 each.

When I add my latest find to that roll I have just enough for a nice dinner... if I can find a buyer to pay the price.

For now, I'll just keep listening for that special sound of money.

Other rare finds at

Monday, August 27, 2012

Movie Critique: Obama's America 2016

I'm not going to give an opinion on this movie, except to say that EVERYONE should see it before the next election.  Hopefully it will motivate you to vote!

Movie Info

Sunday, August 26, 2012

One Small Step

Yesterday we learned of the death of a national hero, Neil Armstrong. He was the first person to walk on the moon and I, for one, was riveted to the television on July 20, 1969.

Like so many other kids on that day, I wanted to be an astronaut.

Years after that historic event, we didn't hear Neil Armstrong's name in the news. He didn't run for political office, open a chain of electronics stores or be involved in some scandal like so many famous people today.

He was one of the last great American heroes.

His family issued the following statement:
 “We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.

Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.

Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.

He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.

As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.

While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.

For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.” 

Service, accomplishment and modesty along with one small step can make you an American Hero.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Code of Ethics, Las Vegas

Seriously... am I suppose to care that the nearly 28-year-old Prince Harry was hanging out naked in his Las Vegas hotel room?  Frankly, I don't care.  It's like a frat-party thing and only seems like news because his highness had his heiny exposed to the world.

It wasn't a bad thing.  Interesting in travel to Las Vegas jumped substantually in the days following the scandal.

I just hope that everyone traveling to Las Vegas (a place I have yet to visit), remembers What Happens in Vegas, STAYS in Vegas.  Know the Code.

As for Harry... I hope you had a good time.

Harry! Check out the (no nudity here... so far)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Succotash Sufferin'

We’ve all heard the phrase “Sufferin’ succotash” exclaimed by the Sylvester, the lispy-mouthed cat who tries in vain to capture/eat Tweety Bird.

Did you ever wonder what the phrase means?

"Sufferin' succotash" is believed to be a Depression-era a minced oath of "suffering savior."

So much for the phrase… the heck is succotash?

Well, it’s as bad as it sounds!

Wikipeda defines it like this: Succotash (from Narragansett msíckquatash, "boiled corn kernels") is a food dish consisting primarily of corn and lima beans or other shell beans. Other ingredients may be added including tomatoes and green or sweet red peppers. Because of the relatively inexpensive and more readily available ingredients, the dish was popular during the Great Depression. It was sometimes cooked in a casserole form, often with a light pie crust on top as in a traditional pot pie. Succotash is a traditional dish of many Thanksgiving celebrations in New England as well as in Pennsylvania and other states. In some parts of the American South, any mixture of vegetables prepared with lima beans and topped with lard or butter is called succotash.

I stopped reading that definition when I saw the words lima beans.

There are people who like them.  They’re not in their right minds, obviously, or they wouldn’t be partaking in such a vile vegetable.

Why anyone would take perfectly good tomatoes and sweet peppers and ruin them with lima beans is beyond me.

I’m pretty sure they serve lima beans (or succotash) to terrorists in detention camps.  A couple meals with lima beans and you’d be giving away every secret you had – guaranteed!

There’s plenty of sufferin with lima bean-laced succotash.

But not for me! Sufferin’ succotash!

No lima beans in the other posts.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vinegar and Honey, Part 2

For centuries honey has been used its healing properties and sweet flavor. Honey is much sweeter than sugar and is better for you.

Your best bet is to buy locally grown (organic) raw honey, produced by bees in or near where you live. This is beneficial because it will contain immune enhancing properties needed for your body deal with allergens in your community.

Fresh, raw honey is also tastier and more potent. 

For health and healing, there are far too many benefits of honey to list here. However, here are a few:
  • Organic, raw honey provides an energy boost. Its carbohydrates supply energy and strength and boosts endurance while reducing muscle fatigue.
  • Honey is a great aid in relieving morning sickness!
  • Honey is good for sore throats, laryngitis and pharyngitis.
  • Honey and cinnamon may in relieving bladder infections, arthritis, upset stomach and bad breath.
  • There are claims that it is slow down hair loss (too late for me!).
  • A salve made of honey, for diabetic ulcers, is effective when other antibiotics are not.
  • Honey and apple cider vinegar (as mentioned yesterday) can be used for stomach aches, constipation and migraines.
  • Honey and lemon works in the body shifting the extra fat, making it usable energy for regular body functions.
  • Honey is cholesterol-free and aids in keepings cholesterol levels in check
  • Raw honey has a viscous (thick) texture due to low water content. This makes it a poor environment for bad bacteria to grow and is a good natural preservative. It stores well on the shelf!
One note of caution: Due to some of the natural components of honey, it should not be given to children under one year old should not be given honey. A young child’s intestinal tract is not mature enough to inhibit the growth of Clostridium botulinum (a form of botulism), which is often found in honey. As we all mature, our bodies are able to process the trace amounts contained in honey.

So there you have it.  Vinegar and Honey!  Maybe we'll start seeing it on restaurant menus someday.

Nothing sweeter than

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vinegar and Honey

I'm fascinated with home remedies. I'm sure they are better at healing our health problems than the gazillion synthetic chemicals physicians prescribe on a daily basis.

My grandfather lived to be 98 years old.  I think I heard that for years, he took a daily dose of vinegar and honey.

I've done some research.

Apparently Raw (Organic) Apple Cider Vinegar, the murky brown stuff with the sediment in the bottom of the bottle, is the vinegar that has been used for hundreds of years largely for medicinal purposes.

It's important to use the raw (unfiltered stuff) because clear vinegar has none of the benefits of raw apple cider vinegar. Through processing and distilling, it’s been stripped of everything beneficial

Some beneficial ingredients in raw apple cider vinegar include:
  • Potassium – helps to prevent brittle teeth, hair loss and runny noses.
  • Pectin – helps to regulate blood pressure and reduce bad cholesterol.
  • Malic Acid – gives ACV the properties of being anti-viral, anti-bacterial & anti-fungal.
  • Calcium – helps create strong bones and teeth.
  • Ash – gives ACV its alkaline property which aids your body in maintaining proper pH levels for a healthy alkaline state.
  • Acetic Acid – It appears that this acid slows the digestion of starch which can help to lower the rise in glucose that commonly occurs after meals.
Benefits of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar include:
  • 1 tablespoon of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar mixed in 4 ounces of purified water after a meal has been used as a natural remedy for heartburn and as a replacement for toxic heartburn medications.
  • Raw Apple Cider Vinegar may help improve bowel irregularity, thereby removing toxins from the body at a faster rate.
  • Helps clear up skin conditions and blemishes giving a smoother texture and complexion.
  • Raw Apple Cider vinegar may also help with joint pain and stiffness.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar helps to break down fats so that your body can use them rather than store them.
I haven't started taking ACV, yet. I have it ordered and will be picking up some LOCAL honey soon too.  I'll try to write about the benefits of honey and give an update health improvements in the future.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Tally: Vacation Packing List

I'm making a list of things I need to pack for my upcoming vacation. Some of my must-haves include:

  1. Suntan lotion
  2. Slippers
  3. Camera
  4. GPS
  5. Snacks
  6. Hat with a brim
  7. Good shoes
  8. Shaving kit with personal items
  9. Kindle (or other reading materials)
  10. Credit card (to buy things I forgot)

That's just a start, and that's my blog for today.  ( 8-/

More blogginess at

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Morning...

Ah, Monday morning.

I'm not sure what happened, but I managed to get to bed before 11 pm. Amazingly, I pretty much slept the night through with the alarm clock waking me.  Being awakened by an alarm clock is pretty rare for me.

My guess as to the cause of a good night's sleep was pure exhaustion... both physical and emotional. It was a busy weekend on my second job (EMS) and I managed to add some over-tired self-induced emotional stress on top of it.

While I slept well, I feel lethargic this morning. I think that is partially due to less daylight as the days grow shorter.  Maybe the lengthening of my days on earth adds to it as well.

As I rolled out of bed, I realized I hadn't written my blog for today.  Here I am "on deadline" typing away.

Hopefully this isn't a sign of things to come this week.

We'll see.

Happy Monday all!

Nothing lethargic about

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dr. Seuss... not just for kids

I'm always looking for words of inspiration and often find those clever photo-sayings when I'm nosing around the internet. And, I often find the most encouraging words just when I need them most.

Yesterday I StumbledUpon this beauty.  Dr. Seuss, he's not just for kids.


More stuff for kids and adults at

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Uninspired blog

I'm uninspired to write today's blog.  I don't have any great news, nor have I done anything of great interest.

The only thing of interest, at least to me, was a trip to Royal Oak to see a movie with my friend Andrew.  We decided to check out the Main Art Theater for the next show, which was Moonrise Kingdom (I reviewed it Wednesday).

Andrew didn't know much about the movie, but recognized the director we so decided to see it.

As I said, it was an awesome show.  Something good from an unexpected whim.

We also saw a couple previews and other said, "We need to see that."

Unfortunately, I don't remember the names of any of those shows.

Hopefully Andrew will recall them and I'll be inspired to write a review after seeing them.


Some of my writing is inspired. See it at

Friday, August 17, 2012


I'm one of those crazy people who loves riding roller coasters! And thankfully, in 2013, Cedar Point in Sandusky Ohio will be adding another to the XX already at the park.

With a trip that travels 4,164 feet that includes a 16-story drop, GATEKEEPER will be the world's longest winged coaster. It's called a winged coaster because the seats on the coaster's train are situated on wings off the wheel-track assembly. The winged design givers the riders the feeling of flying.

As part of the design, Gatekeeper's tracks will come to the front of the park and ride over the entrance gates to welcome arriving guests.

I have ridden every coaster at Cedar Point. Coasters are something you either love or hate.

Get a feel for the ride in this video: Gatekeeper Video.  One note, the ride does NOT go backwards as the video implies.

If you need someone to hold you hand on the coasters, let me know.  We'll have a blast!

Lots of ups and downs at

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Math

Did you know that 6 + 27 + 46 + 51 + 56 + 21 = 320 Million?

Well it does if you're the lucky Michigan resident holding a Powerball lottery ticket with those numbers.

Last night's Powerball drawing landed that single tickets holders an estimated at $337 million, according to

News reports a quoting a Michigan lottery spokesman as saying that the winning ticket was sold at a Sunoco gas station in Lapeer, Michigan.

Lapeer is about an hour south of my hometown of Pigeon. I travel through Lapeer all the time.

So close, yet so far.

I had five tickets for last night's drawing. It's fun to dream about all the things you would do with that kind of money: pay off all my debts, remodel my 100+ year old home, make sure my family's needs are met, give a lot of it away to my community, travel... yes, travel.

But dreaming is all I'll be doing today.

I hope the winner does great things with all that cash.

If they need help spending it, I'm just a phone call away.

More winning blogs at

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Movie Critique: Moonrise Kingdom

Staring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward and Bruce Willis

Set on an idyllic New England island called "New Penzance" in 1965, features 12-year-old Sam Shakusky, an orphan, is attending a "Khaki Scout" summer camp led by Scout Master Ward.

Suzy Bishop lives on the island with her attorney parents – Walt and Laura – and three younger brothers in a house called Summer's End.

Sam and Suzy met the previous summer during a church performance of Noye's Fludde and remained pen pals for the following year. Together, they made a secret pact to reunite the following summer and run away.

Sam brings camping equipment, and Suzy brings six books, her cat, and a record player.

They spend several days hiking and camping together in the wilderness with the goal of reaching a secluded cove on the island, which they name Moonrise Kingdom. They dance on the beach and their young romance blossoms until Suzy's parents, the police, and the scout master eventually find them.

Suzy returns with her parents and is forbidden from seeing Sam again.

Sam stays with police Captain Sharp while they await Social Services, who will place him in a "juvenile refuge" because his foster parents no longer wish to house him.

The scouts, who previously were not kind to Sam, decide it is their duty to help the young lovers run away again. Suzy, Sam, and the other scouts seek out the help of Cousin Ben, an older relative of one of the scouts who works at the larger Khaki Scout summer camp.

After many twists and turns, Sam and Suzy eventually are apprehended on a church steeple during a violent hurricane and flash flood, evoking the earlier references to Noah.

Sharp decides to become Sam's legal guardian, saving him from the orphanage and allowing him to remain on the island and be with Suzy.

The last scene takes place at Summer's End, with Sam painting a landscape of the cove and then slipping out the window as Suzy and her brothers are called to dinner.

This movie is about as off-the-wall as it can get... that's probably why I loved it so much!

Screened on Saturday, August 11, 2012 at Main Art Theater, Royal Oak with Andrew Rivard

More movie reviews and other fun stuff at

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Tally: Daily Routine (attempts)

Ten things I attempt to do every day (in no particular order):
  1. Compliment someone
  2. Eat something healthy
  3. Read something interesting
  4. Learn something new
  5. Talk/Chat with friends
  6. Relax
  7. Do something unexpected
  8. Unclutter my life (throw stuff away!)
  9. Be creative
  10. Pray

Monday, August 13, 2012

Plans gone awry

If you know me at all, you know that I tend to have a plan.  I often have plans scheduled weeks, sometimes, months ahead. My type A, take charge personality allows me to function better when I have a plan.

When the plans starts to fall apart, I get mental.  When the plans are totally in the toilet, sometimes my worlds feels like it's falling apart.

That Type A personality I mention takes over and gets me through, but my head is usually spinning as I shoot from the hip.

This past weekend's plans started to unravel by Thursday, when the previously forecast rains began. I checked the forecast for Canadian community where I camp. It looked like storms and rain for most of the time I had planned to camp would put an end to those plans.

I'm a fair weather tent camper.

Which all worked in my favor as my friend Andrew wanted to hang out, so he made his way to my home on Friday evening. We planned to journey to Detroit on Saturday morning for some fun in the D.

Those dang storms managed to knock out the power in most of Pigeon around 12:30 am Saturday morning.

I checked the basement around 6:30 am.  Sump hole was pretty full, but not overflowing.  But it was still raining.  DTE Energy said, in a recorded message, that the power should be on between 4:30 to 6:30 am.

So much for DTE's plans to restore power.  I needed to round up a generator if the power wasn't back on soon.

A few quick text messages to a coworker and the generator was secured.  Grab some breakfast at the restaurant while my house guest was still sleeping, then grab the generator.

While I was picking up the generator, my brother called and said my nephew's basement was flooding. The battery backup, which is what you plan on supplying power to the pump when the electricity going out, was dead.

Since he had much more to lose in his basement (carpeted with furniture), I took the generator there first.

The next few hours were spent shuttling the generator between houses long enough to run the sumps.

Power was finally restored around 11:30 am, and the clean up began.

Thankfully I simply needed to place some fans to help dry things out.

By now my sleepyhead houseguest was awake but perfectly willing to kick back while I grabbed a short nap.  (I deserved it!)

Finally, about 4 pm we headed to Detroit.  Much later than our planned departure.

Of course our plans for shopping were detoured by businesses being closed by the time of our arrival.

As much as we plan things, we still need to shoot from the hip now and then.

That's exactly what I did this weekend... And I survived!

Many unplanned blogs posts at

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dry, Dry, Dry Dry, Wet, Wet, Wet

Flooded potato field.
Wow... we've had a super dry summer.  So dry that my lawn has been pretty well dead and burned up to the point that I haven't mowed since June.

Over the course about about two-and-a-half days, we have had a lot of rain.  I mean, A LOT of rain.

Previous to all the rain, the farmers were worried about the crops drying up or not producing their grain or bean.

Today, the fields are flooded and there seems to be too much water.

Again with the extremes.

Only time will tell how the farmers fair with the weather in 2012.

More than fair weather blogging at

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Powerful Storms, Power Outage

Last night we had some storms that, I suspect, was the cause of a power outage in the Pigeon area.

I had fallen asleep early and was awakened by a beeping of my cordless phone as the power was going on and off a few times until off because the final choice.

Of course I hadn't taken the time to write my blog for today.

This morning, my main concern was getting the sump pump running before the basement flooded. Thankfully one of my co-workers had a generator that I could borrow.  But pumping my basement came secondary to that of my nephew... he has carpet in the basement and slosh slosh slosh, it's wet!

Ran the generator at his house until the pumps stopped for more than a few minutes, then over to my house.

I did the back and forth shuffle (about three-quarters of a mile) before the two locales a few times before power was restored around 11:15 am.

Now, I'm dealing with drying out the basement.

Enough writing for now.

Powerful blogs posts at

Friday, August 10, 2012

Our World of Extremes

While conversing over dinner last evening, we somehow touched on how extreme our world has become. Andrew, my dinner companion, gave me some examples then paid me what I consider the ultimate compliment.

"You're very middle of the road," he told me. "You have strong opinions, but they seem balanced."

God bless you my young friend. That comments will have me beaming for a long time.

I have some very strong opinions on a huge variety of topics. But it's rare to find someone who totally agrees with how I came to hold that stance.

For years I have said that I'm far too conservative to be a democrat, and way too liberal to be a republican.

My opinions are not limited to politics.  I'll tell you what I think about just about everything. Just ask.

My more conservative ideals get me in trouble with my liberal friends and the opposite is true with my conservative buds.  Being middle of the road drives them all crazy.

The said part of Our World of Extremes is that no one is willing to listen to another point of view.  Everyone is so set in their own stance that they can't be budged.

Being a moderate in Our World of Extremes can be difficult, but maybe, just maybe, those polarized individuals who pass through my life will open their eyes and we'll see some common ground.

Extremely odd writings at

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Overcoming Overwhelming Fear

I'm writing this blog the night before you're reading it. I'm going to try getting some sleep tonight.

I doubt I'll get that really deep sleep where you get the best rest.  That's difficult to do when you sleep with one eye open.

You see a couple nights ago I woke up to find a bat flit flit flitting around the room.

I screamed that high-pitched girly-scream that comes from deep within me.  It's come from the total flight or fight response I have to these vile creatures flying about anywhere inside my home.

Because I've had bats in my house before, I keep a butterfly net handy.  After a few swings of the net, I managed to knock him to the floor and snag him with the net.

I apologize to all you tree-hugging "bats-are-our-freinds" people who are suffer from chestpains now that you have discovered that I killed the bat trapped in my net.  Before I could really even think what I was doing, I was standing on the front porch in my birthday suit at 2:00 am smashing the trapped bat until I was certain it was dead.

I plead totally insanity.

My insanity doubled when a second bat appeared above my head.

This time I was much more irrate that the "bats of hell" had somehow managed to find their way into my home.

Thankfully I've gotten pretty good with the net and was able to repeat the execution scene without too much additional trauma in my life.

The trama came from my insane fear of bats. I don't know if I fear bats or being in my house.

Regardless, I haven't really slept well in past 48 hours, knowing I could awaken to find a bat flit flit flitting over my head.

But I'll face my fear and spend the night here (hopefully) sleeping.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Chaos (English Language)

Recently I've share proofreading marks and grammatical information for those of you who might care (or care too much).

The poem below is called "The Chaos" and was written by G. Nolst Trenite, a.k.a. Charivarius (1870-1946).

It speaks volumes about our native tongue. Read it aloud:
 The Chaos

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation's OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.

Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.

Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation -- think of Psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict. Finally, which rhymes with enough --
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!! 

Don't give up! There's plenty more at

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday Tally: Blogger's Bloggery

Some of my friends have asked me how I come up with topic idea for the blog. Obviously they don't read the blog very often because it's mostly a lot of non-sense that is fun to write and, honestly, I don't spend a lot of time doing. When I get paid to blog, I'll take it more seriously.

It is, however, more difficult to come up with fresh ideas to write about.

Thankfully the world is full of current events and Lord knows I'm not afraid to comment on any of them. My writing may not be very compelling, but at least there are frequent updates (um, daily!).

If you plan to blog, here are some suggestions in this Tuesday Tally:
  1. Lists: People love lists! David Letterman has made a career with his Top 10. Just start making a list and see where it goes.
  2. Reviews: You can give you opinion on just about anything. Movies, Products, Website, Books, Recipes, Restaurants, Friends. Okay, maybe not friends.
  3. Pictures.  Just share a recent photo and short caption. A picture is worth a thousand words.  I'm really bad at this, because the camera on my phone isn't working right now. A new phone is on the horizon as soon as the latest model is delivered to my cell provider.
  4. What's in the News. As I mentioned, the world is full of current events like the recent Mars explorer landing. Pick up a newspaper and you've got plenty of topics to blog about.
  5. Tips and Tricks. Nearly everyone likes to know how someone else would deal with an event, problem or other issue.  Share yours with the world.
  6. How To. Much like the Tips and Tricks, you can demonstrate your techniques with photos or even a video.
Before you know it, you have your blog post for the day!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Are You Smarter Than A Jeopardy Millionaire?

I'm a fan of general, sometimes useless, knowledge as well as trivia of all types.  I love watching Jeopardy, Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader and Who wants to be a Millionaire?

Jeopardy is always the most challenging.  Those contestants must be near Mensa-level intelligence.

Sometimes I think the producers of Smarter and Millionaire look for the dumbest people to appear.  Celebrities are even worse.

One of the recent questions on Smarter was a spelling question that asked, "How many vowel are in the word: VOWEL?"  Of course, it was a verbal question so the word wasn't displayed in front of the contestant.

She stood there, thinking, then said, "Three."

I was dumbfounded.  Three?  Seriously?  This was the first question of the show.  She was not going to win big money.

When the host asked her to spell the word, she said, "V-O-U-L."

By now I was screaming at the TV: WHERE DO YOU GET THREE VOWELS OUT OF THAT?

Thankfully she was saved by the fifth grader helping her out.

I'd love to be on a trivia-type game show, but I'm sure I'd turn into a bigger idiot than I already am.

Much Smarter posts at

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Acceptions to the Rule

Some proofreading symbols used by editors.
Yesterday I made a post to Facebook, commenting about getting a notification that someone had "excepted" a friend request from me.

My friend, Andrew, who will one day be a world-renowned typographer, quickly pointed out my error.

That's what I get for not rereading (aka proofreading) my posts.  But really, who cares, it's just Facebook.

But his comment reminded me of (now) funny proofreading story from my days of printing company ownership.

I had just purchased some Macintosh computers to use for typesetting.  They were cutting edge at the time and I was so pleased that that software included a spellchecker.  We would never need to proofread by hand again!

We quickly cranked out a couple of jobs, including an annual banquet program for the local Ducks Unlimited chapter, listing the hundred or so items they would be selling at the silent auction during the Saturday evening event.

Monday morning, I had the D.U. Local Chapter President standing in my office SCREAMING at me. "How could you do this? There were families at our banquet."

Bewildered, I had to ask what he was talking about.

Then he showed me one of the auction items listed in the banquet program, which we had not manually proofread because of our wonderful new spell checker.

The item was suppose to read: Hand-carved Wooden Duck.

I quickly learned that spell checkers (at that time) only found words that are spelled incorrectly. And the error was actually a correctly spelled word.

You see, on the keyboard, the U and the I are right next to one another.

Needless to say, we again started proofreading our materials before sending them to press.

You might find typos and errors in grammar at

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Weekend Honey Do

Like many men, I have a weekend Honey Do list.  My "honey" is myself, so the list generally has things I really want to get done.  Unfortunately there's no one motivating me with candle-lit dinners to follow my hard work. If there was, it would be me making more work cooking the candle-lit dinners.

Sorry, I digress.

This weekend will be packed full of activities laced between last night's fireworks and this morning's Fish Sandwich Festival Parade.

My list includes:
  • Mowing the lawn, which, due to the extremely dry conditions has not been touched since sometime in June. The downside of the infrequent showers we've gotten? Getting the mower out again.
  • Weeding the garden. What a mess.  A few light showers and the weeds have gone crazy.  I have a couple tomato plants that area not much bigger than when they were planted.  Maybe I'll spray everything with Roundup and work it all under.  I don't see much coming from these plantings anyway.
  • Turn my one-car garage and storage center back into a two-and-a-half car garage.  I can do that be cleaning out all the crap that has managed to take up space here and there.  Then the truck can once again be parked inside.
  • Wash windows.  I try to do that every couple of years. Okay, I'm kidding.  Regardless of the frequency, it seems like they always need to be washed.  We can put a man on the moon but there are no self-washing windows?
  • Clean the basement.  There isn't much down there, but what is needs to be hauled to a dumpster. Then the floor can be swept and maybe even painted.
  • Oh, back to the windows -- they should all have the old paint scraped off and a new coat of paint applied.  I bought the paint in the spring, so I'm at least prepared to do the work.
  • Replace and paint the trim around the big garage door. While this should be a few-hour project, I get the feeling it will last for an entire weekend.
  • Clean out the freezer.  I know, somewhere way in the back, is a package of something that is old and freezer-burned.  Time to toss it out.
  • Get ready for camping next weekend.  The tent was dirty inside when I packed it up, so after lawn mowing, I'll try to put it up and air it out.  Repacking what I really need (including a chair this time) and can get into my car will be the goal.
  • Do some pre-packing for my upcoming vacation.  The trip will be a little different since I'll be separated from my main luggage for nearly two days. Planning the carry-along will be important!
I can add to the list, but why bother, right?

So enough with the blogging and off to work I go.

Happy Weekend all!

Honey-do reading at

Friday, August 3, 2012


Do you remember playing Stratego as a kid? You know, the board game where two players try to either capture the opponent's Flag or capture so many enemy pieces that the opponent cannot make any further moves.

Game play requires careful thought and, obviously, strategy.

For some, it’s just a game. For others, winning is the only option.

I know people who live their lives where winning is the only option.  Divide and conquer, then destroy what’s left.  Their thirst for power is unending and they WILL achieve dominance by any means.

It’s sad to watch these warriors use people  – good people – for their own gain, regardless of how short lived the gain may be.

I always say, “You may not win the battle, but you can win the war.”

Winning the war (your game pieces are your army) is really the goal of Stratego.  Slow and steady in your moves.  Know your opponent and wait for the opportunity to make your move (or form them to make the wrong move).

Sometimes your actions drive the opponent into a move that causes a totally unexpected reaction, and you WIN!

More winning blog reading at

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Unsynchronized Life

I don’t know what happened, but somehow my life seems to have gotten out of sync.  I always feel like I’m running behind and that I have unfinished business.

Summer is always a busy time for me. I try to go camping on a lot of weekend and this summer is no different.  Well, except that I’ve only been camping two or three times. (That’s another story.)

For some reason I can’t get my tired butt into bed before midnight. Then for yet another unexplained reason, I wake up almost every night around 2:30 am.  I’ve actually stepped out onto the porch at that hour when there’s been a warm breeze blowing and makes me want to stay outside.  (That, too, is another story.)

By the time I get settled back into my most restful REM-sleep, the alarm wakes me up.

So why am I out of sync?

I have a theory that I will be testing out.  A couple weeks ago I thought I was getting up too early.  So I set my alarm for 10 minutes later.  When you’re tired, the difference between 5:45am and 5:55 am is huge! Think about how many times you hit the snooze!

Somehow the ten minutes sleep I tried to gain has cause a disruption in the time-space continuum and caused a ripple in the sequence of events that is my life.

Translation: Sleeping later just puts you behind.

Testing will begin on Monday, when I set my alarm back to 5:45 am.

Hopefully that will put me back in the groove.

Nothing unsynchronized at