Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fifty years ago this week (August 26 to be exact)

The Perfect Nanny
by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman

Wanted: A nanny for two adorable children

If you want this choice position
Have a cheery disposition
Rosy cheeks, no warts
Play games, all sorts

You must be kind, you must be witty
Very sweet and fairly pretty
Take us on outings, give us treats
Sing songs, bring sweets

Never be cross or cruel
Never give us castor oil or gruel
Love us as a son and daughter
And never smell of barley water

If you won’t scold and dominate us
We will never give you cause to hate us
We won’t hide your spectacles
So you can’t see
Put toads in your bed
Or pepper in your tea

Hurry, Nanny!
Many thanks

Jane and Michael Banks

The rest is, as they say, history.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Go with the flow, or Thou knowest not what a day may bring forth

In my email this morning there was a message from Snowbrush that was so inspiring I want to share it with you. Here it is:

Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life.

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the Nova Scotia back country.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt bad and apologized to the men for being late.

I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man. And as I played “Amazing Grace” the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished, I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head was hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I never seen anything like that before, and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”

Apparently, I’m still lost...must be a man thing.

(Photo from

Monday, August 18, 2014

Show biz is my life

When I sign on to my computer, it happens that is the first page I see. On that page today was the link “9 Things You Should Know About Kelly Ripa” but I was not tempted to click on it.

No way, José.

I don’t know what things Yahoo thinks I should know about Kelly Ripa, but in my opinion here are the nine most important things anyone needs to know about her:

1. She is annoying.
2. She is annoying.
3. She is annoying.
4. She is annoying.
5. She is annoying.
6. She is annoying.
7. She is annoying.
8. She is annoying.
9. She is extremely annoying.

Perhaps that is unfair.

Let’s try that again (and these are my thoughts, not Yahoo’s) :

1. A recent quote attributed to Kelly Ripa: “Botox changed my life.”
2. She thinks she is funny but she isn’t.
3. She thinks she can sing but she can’t.
4. She is no Kathie Lee Gifford.
5. She is from New Jersey.
6. She is married to actor Mark Consuelos.
7. She met her husband in 1995 when they co-starred on the television soap opera All My Children.
8. She co-hosted “Live!” with Regis Philbin.
9. She is extremely annoying.

Perhaps that is still unfair. I’m sorry, but it’s the best I can do. Millions, of Americans disagree with me. Can I help it if they’re wrong?

That is not Kelly Ripa (or Kathie Lee Gifford or Mark Consuelos or Regis Philbin) . That is Ruth Warrick in 1973 as Phoebe Tyler on All My Children.

If this post makes no sense to my international readers, it’s probably just as well.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

I probably should not post before I’ve had my morning coffee.

Plus, I am old and getting more curmudgeonly all the time.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Atheists, take a 10-minute break. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

Today my friend Light Expectations out in southern California posted the words of Psalm 8 from the Old Testament on her blog.

Here they are.

Psalm 8 is worth reading and pondering all by itself, but I could not help thinking of Tom Fettke’s magnificent choral anthem based on it, “The Majesty and Glory of Your Name”.

Here is the choir and orchestra of Hyde Park Baptist Church of Austin, Texas, with “The Majesty and Glory of Your Name” (6:10) .

I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to sing and shout and laugh and cry and jump up and down and run around outdoors and throw my hands in the air and lie prostrate on the floor all at the same time.

Electric guitars and drums just don’t affect me that way, but first sopranos hitting that high Bb and second basses hitting that low Eb and all those “Alleluias” do it every time.

Somebody tell the atheists they can come back now.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August in French is août

...and it isn’t pronounced ay-out or ah-oat or even oot.

It’s pronounced ooh.

As in:

Ooh, it’s hot.
Ooh, school is already back in session.
Ooh, we desperately need rain.
Ooh, aren’t you thankful for central air conditioning?
Ooh, the grass is dying.
Ooh, the birds are thirsty.
Ooh, in six months we’ll be wishing it was hot.


It comes between zhwee-ay and seh-tome(br).

Roger, over, and ay-out.

P.S. -- For an amazing lesson in things French, I recommend this post by Vagabonde.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Gaza is child’s play compared to World War II

There has been much in the news lately about what is termed Israel’s “disproportionate response” to the firing of 3,000 rockets by Hamas from the Gaza Strip into Israel over the last four weeks (my numbers may not be accurate) .

Disproportionate response? Really?

Here’s food for thought from a website called

“On August 6, 1945, the Japanese city of Hiroshima was destroyed by a nuclear weapon, an atomic bomb dropped by the United States. Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki; five days after that, Japan unconditionally surrendered to the United States, bringing an end to World War II.

“The atomic bombs killed several hundred thousand people, many instantly in the nuclear fire, many later with burns, injuries and radiation sickness, and still many others, over the years, with cancers and birth defects. These deaths continue to this day. Like most of the cities bombed in World War II, the majority of the inhabitants were women, children and the elderly.

“Before the war began, bombing cities was considered an act of total barbarism; there were no “conventional bombs” and it certainly was not considered “conventional” to target civilian populations for mass destruction. But this ideal was shattered early in the war, and eventually all sides engaged in mass bombing raids against cities and civilians.

“After the Nazis conducted their massive bombing raids against London, the British retaliated by developing incendiary bombs, fire-bombs designed to burn down cities. British and American bombers dropped these bombs on five German cities, killing hundreds of thousands of German civilians in Hamburg, Dresden, Kassel, Darmstadt, and Stuttgart. In March, 1945, the U.S. fire-bombed the city of Tokyo, killing at least 100,000 people.

“By the time the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, 50 million people had already died in World War II. The bombing/murder of civilian populations had occurred so many times that it was no longer even regarded as unusual. This is perhaps the greatest tragedy of the war, and it set the stage for the Cold War and the nuclear arms race that followed.”

And among those 50 million, let us not forget, were six million Jews in ovens and gas chambers.

That’s the thing about war. Eventually you do what is necessary to bring it to an end. On his television program last Saturday, Mike Huckabee reminded Americans that at Hiroshima and Nagasaki 50 people were killed for every life that was lost at Pearl Harbor.

In another era Theodore Roosevelt said, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” Sometimes you can’t walk quite so softly, and sometimes it actually is necessary to use the stick.

Might may not make right, but might is often what is required to bring violence to an end.

When viewed through the long lens of history, the outcry against Israel this month, particularly from some quarters of the U.S and the U.K., seems to be pots calling the kettle black.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Waxing philosophical as the dog days continue to wind down

So near and yet so far.

In just under two months this blog will be seven years old. I wonder if it’ll make it.

I wonder if I will.

We have no promise of tomorrow, or even of today. All we have is this moment, and this one, and this one, a constant breathing in and out of earth’s atmosphere (78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide) until we don’t do it any more.

Just think, that stuff in our lungs is 78% nitrogen, the liquid form of which was once used to remove a couple of warts from my fingers. I watched them turn black (the warts, not the fingers) over a period of a few days, then rubbery, and finally peel off, leaving no trace of their former nastiness.

According to some people, human life is like that. We are, and then we are not, and all trace of us is gone.

I beg to differ.

We live on in the faces of our children and grandchildren. We live on in the lives of those with whom we have come in contact. We even live on in old blogposts. We live on in ways we cannot fathom. Matter may disappear but it is converted to energy. E equals mc squared and all that. Our minds are too finite; we cannot take it in.

But we live on.

I’m counting on it.