Quoting Atticus

Written in response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt:

Quote Me

Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it and why does it move you?

  
Through the character of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, author Harper Lee shaped my ideas and attitudes about courage and race from a very early age. Perhaps the most radical thing my mother, who was hardly a radical herself, ever did was to take me to see the film version of the novel.

As soon as I was able, in those days before E-readers made every book easily accessible, I checked To Kill a Mockingbird out of the Floyd County Public Library in Floydada, Texas. There were adult ideas embedded in the book that I did not yet understand, so I read the simple story of Scout and her brother.

I read the book again and again through the years after buying the paperback edition at a garage sale. With every reading I gained new understanding. When the physical book finally fell apart I downloaded it onto my Kindle, and I read Atticus’s story at least once a year.

The quote above about real courage speaks volumes to me, especially in these times of fear mongering and gun worshipping. My fervent hope is that more people would make Atticus’s words their own.

Going to the Cats

We’ve recently found ourselves saying final goodbyes to musicians who’ve left indelible marks on this world. Songwriters and vocalists who were the voices we turned to for solace and inspiration. David Bowie, Glenn Frey, and Natalie Cole have all been taken from us way before their time. It’s been a depressing way to begin 2016.

 

Bowie
  
Frey
 

 

Cole
 
But as I was shopping for lotion and makeup at Ulta this morning, I heard these groundbreaking lyrics, “Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow,” and thought, yes, we are doomed. It wasn’t a lullabye, and it wasn’t a commercial for cat food. There were additional lyrics, but the meow really was the best part of the song.

  
And to think I have talented friends and relatives waiting for their respective big breaks in the music business and some schlub gets air time repeatedly singing “meow.”

It’s a crazy world. 

Peace, people!

How about some Eagles to get your day started?

http://youtu.be/kCdjvTTnzDU

The Final Phase

I found this so incredibly moving. Read more at scottishmomus.wordpress.com.

scottishmomus

to all who looked

could bear to look

he was diminished

a skeleton of man

the faintest stamp

a vague tattoo upon

earth’s crusty dermis

his ink near finished

vibrant shades now

faded by his hands

a pencil etch-a-sketch

self-erasing shaken with

each dram and draw he took

a tracing watercoloured

in a wornout painting book

a disappearing frame on which

the cloth of life was worn

to disassembled threads

eliminating, obsoleting

even with each breath, he dreads

the final phase, the loss of vocal chords, the emptiness, the void of words – the stoking fear as death draws near, the absent smile, an unchecked tear – the fatal blow that takes him from those loved, those lost – the furtive reek encroaching, the avalanche, the bitter cost – the vapour misting, the misfiring heart, the solemnities, those torn apart – the shitting and the palour, the wasted times – the pungent puke of…

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This Does Not Compute

In response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt:

Your life without a computer, what does it look like?

I wake in the morning

Check the weather online

Google my teams’ scores

Cruise Amazon for a time

I log into WordPress

Along about seven

Peruse my statistics

I’m in hell or in heaven.

In the shower I ponder

Topics to write

Great ideas flock to me

Then fly, out of sight.

My house is a wreck,

But never you mind

I’m too busy Facebooking

And my Twitter feed’s unkind

Without my computer

And nowhere to post

I might go bonkers, you see

I’m more addicted than most.

  
Peace, people.
<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/life-after-blogs/”>Life After Blogs</a>

A New Arrangement

A few weeks ago, Studly Doright and I spent all afternoon moving furniture from one end of Doright Manor to the other. 

When we moved in nearly two years ago I made an error in measuring our guest bedrooms. Ok, let’s be honest, I didn’t bother measuring, and one of the bedrooms ended up being cramped and claustrophobic, while the other felt cavernous. With two sets of company coming for a long weekend, we decided to right that wrong.

One set of bedroom furniture is antique and fragile. It belonged to my grandmother, and even though I’m sometimes tempted to sell it I just can’t bring myself to part with it. While the headboard and footboard are massive the bed is a small full size and barely allows one adult to sleep comfortably. 

   
 
The other set is fairly new, acquired when my dad lived with us. The queen sized bed and armoire are nothing fancy, but the mattress is top notch. I’ve dubbed it, The Texas Bedroom, and it holds my go-to bed when Studly’s snoring passes the merely annoying stage and heads into the sonic torture realm.

   
 
The moving process from one end of the house to another was tricky, in that one room would need to be completely empty before the other furniture could be moved down this hallway:

  
Studly, a self-proclaimed master of both logistics and wiseassery carefully studied the necessary steps for a week before finally declaring, “Well, this is gonna suck.”

It did indeed suck. Neither Studly nor I are young any more, and that antique bedroom set is both heavy and unwieldy. Add fragile into the mix and we had ourselves quite an afternoon of gently persuading the pieces to hold together while we balanced them precariously on moving dollies. At the end of the day copious amounts of both wood glue and Ben-Gay were involved.

The results, though, were pleasing. The beds are much better suited to their respective rooms, and I am a happy camper. And in the end, isn’t my happiness what it’s all about?

Peace, people! 

Foul Balls and Grand Slams

Written in response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt:

Key Takeaway: Give your newer sisters and brothers in WordPress one piece of advice based on your experiences blogging.

————–or————–

If you’re a new blogger what’s one question you’d like to ask other bloggers?

I’m a blogging addict. At least once a week for the past year and a half I’ve pledged to quit, and yet here I am, plugging away. Pledging and plugging in an endless cycle of despair and euphoria.

If new bloggers are looking to me for advice then it’s a very sad state they inhabit. Nonetheless, here is my one piece of wisdom: 

Just write and publish something every single day. Don’t make apologies or excuses, just write.

You’ll hit a lot of easy out pop flies, but occasionally you’ll get a triple, and on that rarest of days, a grand slam home run. Those are the days that stoke the writing fire, and to continue mixing metaphors, feed the addiction. 

And because I don’t follow directions very well, here’s one more piece of advice: Read the work of a diverse mix of bloggers. Interact with them and savor their unique talents. Perhaps the best part of having begun writing has been the exposure to this great wealth of writers, poets, and photographers.

  
Peace, people!

Key Takeaway

Snow Warning

On Saturday night a light snow fell near Havana, Florida. I looked out the window and told Studly Doright that I saw white flakes fluttering on the breeze, but he was too busy polishing his golf clubs to get up and look for himself. He didn’t see snow; ergo, it did not snow.

When he returned home from playing golf on Sunday afternoon his first words were, “Hey, did you know it snowed here last night?”

I swear, one of these days that man is going to wish he’d paid attention to me!

 

Someone must have given this guy a lift to our neck of the woods.

The best thing about Florida living is that cold snaps are invariably followed by warm, sunny days.

  
And that’s just the way we like it.

Peace, people!
 
  
 

 

What I Would Tell the Governor of Michigan

Words of compassion and wisdom from Jan Wilberg at redswrap.wordpress.com.

Red's Wrap

There is never just one thing wrong.

This is the great truth of everything. The connectedness of all the things that are wrong strangles even the most sincere and competent problem-solver. You can get one knot out of a silver necklace but twenty will drive you over the edge.

That’s the situation in Flint right now. There are so many layers of wrongness, going back decades and decades that untangling the current water crisis from everything else is impossible. It isn’t a stand alone event, it’s just an extraordinarily big knot in a necklace with thousands of intractable knots.

Likewise, going forward, remediating the impact of lead poisoning on Flint’s children who are already disadvantaged because of racism and poverty is a challenge of such complexity and gargantuan proportions that no one can even conceive of a plan.

So the people of Flint get a lot of bottled water. And…

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Taking a Stand

Written in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Not Lemonade. When life hands you lemons…make something else. Tell us about a time you used an object or resolved an issue in an unorthodox way.

Weekly travel was once the norm for me as a consultant for a non-profit educational foundation. One week I’d be in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, and the next week I’d be in Detroit, Michigan, or Albuquerque, New Mexico, or some point in between. As a result of all this travel, I’ve stayed in more than my share of hotels. Some have been luxurious. Others have been dumps.

  
 

Detroit
 
One thing they all have in common, besides the requisite bed, is a notable lack of a plunger for the toilet. On more than one occasion I’ve managed to clog a hotel bathroom toilet. Blame it on faulty plumbing setups or questionable Mexican food, but a clogged hotel john is a lemon of the worst kind. 

Typically the clog occurs in the middle of the night, and even if one could face the embarrassment of calling the front desk for assistance, seldom would anyone answer the call. I don’t know what the main desk clerks do at night, but fixing toilets apparently isn’t a priority.

I quickly learned that I had to be my own best plumber. (If you’re squeamish, just stop reading now and imagine fuzzy bunnies and pink flowers.) the first time I was faced with the clogged toilet predicament my initial instinct was to use a pair of my own underwear to cover my hand for a foray into the bowl. But that was an indescribably icky thought, and I don’t buy cheap undies.

Casting around for anything to keep my hand dry I spotted the small trash bin with the ubiquitous clear plastic liner. Channeling my inner Archimedes, I shouted, “Eureka!” while inserting my right hand into the liner and then quickly into the bowels of the bowl. 

My idea went swimmingly! The clog came free. A flush took all of the waste away, and no one but yours truly knew there’d ever been an issue. Well, I did have to swish the liner around in the clean toilet to remove any evidence of my activity, but that was a minor task in the scheme of things. After one’s arm has been in poop up to one’s elbow, everything else is, well, lemonade.

  
Peace, people!