Archive for the Humor Category

Words Tell IT All

Posted in Arts, Bird of Time, Culture, Education, Humor, nuance, nuance, Philosophy, poets, poets, The Arts, words on July 20, 2014 by bird of time

England. The English. English. A tiny island stuck on Winston Churchill’s back.

It shouldn’t be odd to me that the scrappy Churchill with his wonderful words should be the savior of this scrappy England. What a great pair, a great icon.

I’m a poet, a writer and I love words.It doesn’t matter what they say; it’s what they are. It’s the secrets they hold.The treasures they reveal. My high school English teacher, Jane Pavey later Stephans, gave me one of  my greatest gifts when she told us to look at the root of our words. Each word is a history book. Each word can tell stories of long boats and horned helmets, of the good ship Bounty (or not so good). and even ragtime and Beatles. It can tell if the old village was Saxon or Norman, tell its age by knowing that. It can sing and boast and weep:

“And Crispin Chrispian shall ne’er go by
But we in it shall be remembered
From this day to the ending of the world,
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;”
(Shakespeare, of course. Henry V)

We band of brothers. It isn’t quite what Shakespeare meant, but the tiny island is a brotherhood of men created by the Phoenicians, by old Greek gods, Caesar, the Picts and Franks and Saxons. They, like the Happy Few have left their mark on the language and the people.  England and English itself – a happy brand of brothers. A kinship of words.

They say the language is so difficult to learn because of all the nuances, because the same word can have entirely different meanings like junk, ship, and junk, trash. There are all those ghosts in the language. But It has a wealth of expression that is perhaps unmatched.

Even the sounds of the words are like a picnic in the United Nations. Harsh sounds, or soft, sometimes lilting sounds.  Good Night. I’d guess that is German from the gutteral sound of it. Actually, the dictionary said Anglo Saxon, Germanic, of course.  gòd niht. The German is Gute Nacht. I don’t know for sure as I don’t often hear them, but I think I hear a softer gutteral sound in Polish and the Balkan states.  In England I love to listen to the accents and try to figure out where in England they are from. Some of it sounds a bit like a foreign language.

The soft, gliding sounds: sibilant, a Latin hiss. That delights me: a Latin hiss. What a picture! In spite of how much I like English I think Italian is the most musical of all the languages – it rolls and spits and kisses and even laughs. If I had to give up English I’d go dancing in that wonderful Italian  barrel of grapes marked for the finest wines.

And then there is the meaning, the nuance that makes a Shakespeare, a Browning or an Emily Dickenson. Look at the sloop, a barge, a clipper and, of all things a junk. England, the land of The Navy. Almost all of English  history can be seen in its ships. The most beautiful,  the heart-stopping clipper ship: clip – race fast, Old Norse – who better with those wonderful long boats? What a vision.  Junk, the ugliest of the ship words (not helped by its twin, junk for trash.)  It is still the most romantic:  Malay – adjong. You never hear it any more, I suppose it is not PC, but when I was young every concert singer sang On The Road to Mandalay, where the flying fishes play. Where the dawn comes up like thunder out of China ‘cross the bay.  Strangely, the beautiful song came from a definitely un-PC poem by Kipling.

Everyone jokes about reading the dictionary as the most boring pastime in the world. But I love the words, I love to see where they are from, what they can tell me what is new or remind me of the old, the romantic. They are the tag lines of history. I think if there were a University of Words, we’d have a very educated, civilized society.

 

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Just a Little Tweaking, Here and There

Posted in Bird of Time, Congress, Constitution, Education, Free Speech, Humor, lies, Obama, Politics, truth on July 7, 2014 by bird of time

An artist or an author has a great deal of trouble knowing when to quit. He/she – actually, He. I am going to quit any of this pc baloney. Especially since I am a LOL – Little Old Lady. We get to say anything we want.

I both paint and write so it’s double trouble, I’m a compulsive tweaker. I enjoy palette knife paintings, and those are hard to mess with when dry. Writing? I never go anywhere near a piece of my writing, however old, without changing something: a comma, a misspelling? – been there, done that.

I have to assume most of it is because I get smarter with age rather than dumber. I think most people think stupidity happens automatically  when you turn sixty-five. I was playing bridge one night when one of the ladies complained about a question put to the mother of one of our presidents. “They’re just taking advantage of a Senior Citizen.”  Tell me who the dumb one was.

Friday was July 4th. 238 years. I don’t know at which age you begin asking yourself, how many years have I got left? An individual can wind up his motor and get down to finishing his dreams. A country has to ask itself how is the old dream? Better or worse? Or is it lost altogether? Is there time to catch the falling star? Does anyone believe in the star any more? Shall I tweak it or really take a go at it?

It rather looks these days as though someone has licked the icing from our cake. It is a ragged cake with a president who is voted the worst since WWII. For myself I’d say the worst ever in the history of our country.

He is like a child who believes his charm can so fill the eyes of his audience they do not notice he is a Svengali intent on owning their spirit. It is only his ineptness that has kept him from completely doing so. If he were as smart as Bill Clinton, with his own disposition, we would be in big trouble.

Adolph Hitler was the smartest of the tyrants we have known in the last century. Stalin was a bull in the china shop, knocking over his country’s treasures. Mao did the same thing. Mussolini made a good start at making things work in Italy, but as big as his stomach was, his eyes were bigger.

If you look at Hitler’s planning, his deviousness, his political smarts, he was a true Machiavellian. By promising the people what they wanted to hear, he wormed his way into the government – legally. He pretended at each step that his actions were legal. He got the German people to swallow his formula for a Greater Germany.

It is in this political planning that Obama resembles Hitler. Perhaps there is a kinship with ego-maniacs who want to make their dream the world power. Ego prevents true wisdom. It activates the crazed part of our being.

Germans did nothing to stop their hero.

What are we doing to stop our little tyrant?

The progressives (most democrats) have been working on their plans for years. Since Teddy Roosevelt at least. When they could not do it voting, they went for the Hitler deal. Call the present government names. Hitler used traitors, Jews and Communists. His weapon, of course, propaganda. We, of course are thieves and killers and destroyers.

Obama has a much easier time of it. Since he is part African-American, all he needs to say is “Racist.” Then he has a newspaper industry who loves it and makes that their password. As Saul Alinsky says, to destroy the opposition, ridicule it. Don’t argue. That seldom changes minds but ridicule stirs the emotions and closes the conversation. The man in the street, doesn’t have to be knowledgeable then. He can be a clever debater by shouting a name.

The smartest thing the progressives have done is to take over the universities and education. They have  eliminated History from the schools so that students have no argument to make against the rewriting of it. In a way, it is amusing to watch those candid questions on TV asking about history. Recently some College students could not name the founding fathers. One thought Lincoln was the first president. Another had no real clue who George Washington was or did. College kids.

If you asked them about the Bill of Rights, what those rights were, I’m sure the girls would say the right to have the government pay for their contraceptives.

Of course, they have a good example in the White House – a man who didn’t know what language Austrians spoke. How much history can you know without knowing of the German-Austrian  connections? I wonder if Obama knows that the German Hitler was born in Austria. Or cares? How bad is it when the president who has gone to Harvard doesn’t know history?

My only hope is that Obama has at last shown himself for what he is and perhaps Americans are waking up to the real McCoy. As he gleefully oversteps his bounds, time after time, the Americans will, I hope begin to realize how important the Constitution is, and how right the founding fathers were.

If they ever learn what a founding father is, of course, and who and what they were. Some of those kids thought we fought the Revolution with France. One said Russia, most hadn’t a clue. Only one girl knew it was England.

As the old radio show, Fibber McGee and Molly said (well, Molly always said it). “Taint  Funny, McGee.” By the way, Fibber and Molly were delightfully Irish and no one complained.

For myself, I’d like to see Obama deposed from his throne for: Fast and Furious; Failure to do anything about the Marine in a Mexican jail, supposedly in Obama’s  politics,  because he had a gun; Benghazi – again failure to protect our citizens – gross negligence and lying; The IRS scandal – using them as a political too; Failure to carry out the laws passed by Congress – i.e. changing them illegally or only carrying out the parts he wanted to; Failure to see that the Justice Department is doing it’s sworn duty; Lying to the American people deliberately and willingly; Failure to carry out his duties for Veterans as their Commander in Chief, letting them die while he goes out campaigning; Failure to follow the Constitution. Lying. Lying. Lying. And now, deliberately, knowingly and with planning  using children as immigrants to destroy the Immigration Department and our country.

Of course, the obvious problem side of uncrowning the king is that Biden will be president. Perhaps that is why he was picked – to make it harder to impeach Obama.  But I don’t think Biden can do much damage. He hasn’t the following. Although the press probably still won’t cover the news properly. They’ll just repeat Biden’s lip slips.

Well, I’ll settle for that. But I’ll wish for Biden a long and healthy life. The next one up is Pelosi. I think she is the most disliked person in Congress, although Harry Reid must be a contender. But, we need to get the establishment out of congress and the news away from Obama.

So, how many more good birthdays can the United States of America count on? It all depends upon you. We need more than just a  little tweaking.

Happy Birthday, United States of America – and many, many more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Night. Another World

Posted in Bird of Time, conservative, Constitution, Culture, Humor, Opinion, Philosophy, Politics, The Arts, wordpress with tags , , , , on May 21, 2014 by bird of time

A lady never tells her age. It just sneaks out when she isn’t looking:  her manners (or lack of them), the smile that a word might bring, even the swear word she might use when she is totally annoyed. I have no doubt that by the time this bit of whimsy is finished you can tell the month, the date and the year I was born.

Well,  almost.

Someone mentioned a poem they had written about a Saturday night.

Saturday night. Another world.

In this real world, well, the Old Grey Mare, she ain’t what she used to be. Saturday night now means ho, hum. There is nothing on television until Fox’s Bulls and Bears at eleven. Don’t know where the Brit Mysteries went, but since that station only has eight months of programs (four of appeals), there is no point in looking for them. Perhaps this is one of those gifts that keeps on giving.

Saturday Nights. How I loved them. As a kid, it meant a movie. And later, a movie with that good night kiss you sang to yourself about all week

i lived in Toledo, Ohio in my sort of single days. You know, that town that everyone makes fun of. Actually it wasn’t bad then. It has one of the world’s best art museums and the theaters still had wine velvet drapes with gold thread, small restaurants in a downtown that stayed open for the movie crowd, street cars that ran only on the hour after twelve and I think stopped totally at two. Several of the nicer restaurants had a dance floor and one of the stone quarries offered dancing under the stars. I’ll take that.

Saturday actually started on Friday nights. Hair, nails, iron our special dresses and shine the shoes – an evening routine that was the equal to any “I have to wash my hair” excuse.

Then the dressing up for Saturday deal. White gloves. Highest heels we had. The latest in hats (or not). Then downtown on the bus for lunch – for which my future sister-in-law, friend was always half an hour late. Our favorite lunch place was  the restaurant in our favorite store. Later I’d take my kids there for their birthday lunch.

At Christmas time the stores filled their windows with manger scenes and angels that left you gasping. My store had the best Santa in town.

My sister-in-law was a tiny thing and there were always great bargains on the racks for her. So we’d head for the dress sale racks. There was always a clerk to greet you and actually wait on you. She’d check your dressing room to see if everything was alright, see if she could find something for you, or get a different size. For a long time, she got a commission but that disappeared about the time the clerks disappeared.

After that we’d go to a smaller but pricier place to drool over their hats.  If only I had those lovely things today. big black and huge straw, sparkling white Scarlet O’Hara hats, little straws that actually did have cherries or tiny flowers and ribbons on them, a black Ingrid Bergman hat from Casablanca, a stacked straw, a glorious pink hat with big pink roses, a white fur that the Czars’ wife might have worn. Oh my.

If I could have some reminder of those days, I’d take the hats, plus maybe one wine velvet dress, one lavender cotton with big embroidered lilacs, and one pair of gold sandals.

it was like a gigantic treasure box. No bare shopping malls. Just “Downtown” where all the good things were. I wonder if New York City is still like it was when I visited th city with Macy’s and Sacs, a .small downtown  A mall just is not the same. No romance. No big deal.

The stores then had a book and a candy department, and a yard goods department. Big bolts of heavy Skinner satin and lovely soft Pendleton wools. Huge books of patterns for beautiful dresses and fuzzy pajamas. They had one of the prettiest leopard print furs I’ve ever seen. I don’t like most they look so artificial, but this was soft (fake furry) and beautiful.  I made a coat I loved for years. It was my signature coat.

I had my first two charge cards there, down town. My behavior was never so good again as it as with them!

And that was just the afternoon.

I don’t know what Saturday night is these days. Just another day to go out?

It really was the highlight of the week. If you were lucky, your date was a good dancer. If not it was movie night. The theaters were always packed. We didn’t usually bother with the first couple of weeks of a block buster, but settled for a good one in one of the smaller theaters. And yes, there were balconies and snuggling, but those weren’t our choice of seats if we could help it.

Then waffles and coffee in one of the small restaurants that catered to the movie crowd.

I look at the block malls and the tiny bare theaters and I’m glad I’m not a kid now. I guess maybe the screen  elements are worth the excitement of going to the movies, but I can’t think of trading that for the wonderful voice of Ronald Colman, or that lovely, deep French voice of Charles Boyer murmuring in your ear.

Those were the best of times, the worst of times. The worst only because they are gone forever Another world.

NUANCE

Posted in Bird of Time, Culture, Humor, Opinion, Philosophy, Politics, The Arts, wordpress, words with tags , , , , on May 18, 2014 by bird of time

Words can be like little gifts that arrive unexpectedly, and if we are lucky, hang around for a while for us to enjoy.

Lilacs. That one could keep me smiling for hours. It brings in its train, home, May, blue skies and a scent even lovelier than roses..

I’m a dyed- in-the-wool romantic who believed in fairy tales and happily ever after, as a kid. While happily-ever-after days seem to be gone for a while, hope is the one thing that never fled Pandora’s box.

But this is all a bit of a tangent (one of those words that keeps on giving, you can fly off on a tangent and land anywhere).

The other day I was kind enough or cruel enough, to suggest to a friendly poet that a certain word, therefore phrase, was weak. Cry, for instance. Not that there is anything wrong with crying – we couldn’t be sane without it, but this particular image came across as whimpering, crying  like a baby. I suggested he try the thesaurus for a better word, like weep which shows the situation is serious, sad and worth crying over.

There are some who make it a point of pride not to use the thesaurus. Well, McGee, you’re a better man than I am! (You must remember Fibber McGee and Molly, the old radio program? The one with the closet where everything fell on your head, once you opened it? If you don’t, Google it and give it a try). Now that is a lovely tangent, isn’t it?

But all those words in a thesaurus! What a treasure of emotions, of life. The poet was writing about a coming storm. The picture it brings to mind is of thunder and pelting rain But that kind of storm usually passes quickly and normally a grown man doesn’t cry because of it. He said he wanted to say it was not only a physical but an emotional storm.

Ah! Then, take that word “coming”. Not very exciting, is it? So we go to the thesaurus to see if there is a word, just one, that expresses our fears, our terror, dread, perhaps only annoyance, or a meaning close to coming. a nuance like stalking, pursuing, that gives us a more emotional picture.

It puts a whole new spin on things, doesn’t it?

There is another, beckoning tangent if I ever saw one.

Our whole world is being led to disaster by nuances. The word has a new definition : a  White House spin, a place where  we are led down a garden path. A laundry enhancer which bleaches the spots to make the truth less ugly.

We don’t have to think about a war on terror. All we have is a man-caused disaster! When you think about that, there is a delicious irony in the phrase. Man certainly is making disaster. He is a disaster. And calling the Ft. Hood massacre, “workplace violence” is trying to make it sound as though someone threw a book or swore. Or perhaps one of the soldiers slept through his duty time and didn’t cut the grass around the big flag pole.

When global cooling turned into global warming, which included an ice-cold winter of discontent, the blushing faces of those in the white-house came up with climate disruption, as though climate were a mild, controllable wench who suddenly lost her cool. She forgot to take her tranquilizer!

A nuance is a fanciful partner in our life of words. You know, those things that allow us to communicate with, to charm or, sadly, to harm our neighbors? A nuance can spread the wealth (make every one rich?)  or take from the rich and give to the poor so we can all be equally poor. It can turn a coming storm into a spot of trouble or a cataclysm.

Or it can be a gigantic lie.

Perhaps, instead of nuances, I should opt for the bald truth!

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