Thursday, June 28, 2012


72 great quotes about writing.

The famous statue supposedly adopted by the Romans of Romulus and Remus nursing on the She-Wolf is actually younger than the ancient capital city.

As you enjoy your vacation, consider this as you drink in the scenery with camera in hand.

"Living brain image wins photography prize." Don't click if queezy, but the pic is beautiful.

"A man's attempt to bring the ashes of his grandfather home to Indianapolis ended with an angry scene in a Florida airport, with the ashes spilled on the terminal floor."

When Rives speaks, I listen. Here's a recent and golden presentation at TEDs. Oh, yes and you might have a new word for your vocabulary. Look out, "Bazinga!"

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Open for Discussion

Please reflect on this quote and post your comments with respectful consideration for your fellows.

"The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame"
(Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900).

Just for fun: Who is Oscar?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Reel Good Time!

It took me two hours to cut my lawn, increasing my time from 45 minutes and I feel great!

Like a teenager, my lawnmower began giving reasons as to why it did not want to cut the lawn so I called a friend who has the magic touch with all thing mechanized. The carburetor is non-repairable and must be replaced (must have gotten that trait from his cheap uncle). I’ve suddenly had the urge to go a different direction and instead of repairing the mower, made a note to self and seek out a Reel Mower—you know, the “old timey” kind with the 5 spinning spiral blades. In the meantime, the grass grows.

Though I’ve mowed uncounted miles of lawns over the course of my lifetime, I don’t ever remember having as much difficulty as I’ve experienced the last few years when I mow. I am “done for the day” if I mow. This last year, I’ve had to cover my face to protect my sinuses despite the medication. Then this idea of the Reel mower creeps into my head: no engine noise, no parts to replace, no gas and oil expenditure and no exhaust fumes!
While this idea stayed in the front of my mind, I could not help but notice the father of my future son-in-law swinging a weed cutter as he walked across his lawn, knocking down stubborn weed stalks. Something within me said, “I gotta get me one of those.”

So, as my lawn grows I remembered that another friend borrowed our mower frequently in the past, and since I had not heard from him at all this season thought to give him a call to see if I could borrow his mower (assuming he acquired one)—call in a favor kind-of-thing. Turns out he did have a mower: a reel mower! I picked up the mower, borrowed the weed cutter and got to work. I’m addicted.
Two sounds I absolutely love: the hypnotic whirring of the blades as it cuts (not rips) my grass and the rhythmic “snick snick” of the weed cutter as it swings back and forth lopping in the heads off the garden-zombies. If anyone ever says that pushing a reel mower is difficult has either never really tried or has tried in too-tall grass. I can’t think there is anything much easier when it comes to yard-work. Try pushing one up a hill, or even down and see which is lighter!

Since the reel mower will not cut the weed stalks down and only grass blades, one can rake the yard and get a fairly clean pile of cut grass with minimal weed seeds. Great for composting! I nearly filled one entire garbage can of grass clippings for the compost pile!
Another great benefit of this is I burn twice as many calories pushing the reel mower, swinging the weed cutter and raking. Much better than gasping behind a mower with a deafening growl.  My arms are strengthened as I swing the weed cutter, alternating left and right as I cross the lawn.

I feel better,  stronger and am even able to think more clearly working in the yard like this. I can’t wait for next week when I get to do it all over again!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Word of the Day

So here I am minding my own business, reading a short Bible dictionary entry on "Aaron." Here I make a startling discovery: “In addition to being Moses’ spokesman he also fulfilled a thaumaturgic role . . .” I sat back in my chair, stunned, splashing about in the shallow end of the pool of Biblical knowledge. I confess: I did not know this about Aaron. Did you know this about the brother of Moses?

I fast-forwarded to the end of the article to seek out this eloquent scribe. I read, “R de Vaux.” Having studied de Vaux through a course in Biblical Archaeology, I remain impressed by his scholarship.  A most intriguing scholar, this de Vaux.

Now here is where my love for my Granny increasingly deepens. She taught me when to reach for the dictionary and here this word blackens the page across my eyesight and I hear her sweet voice, “Now. It is time.” I reach for the dictionary: thumb, thumb, thumb. Nothin’. What kind of dictionary does not have “thaumaturgic” as an entry? What word is this that defies the cold calculations of the great Webster? I love you Granny. I tried.

Hope is not lost, though. I Google “thaumaturgic” in all its glory wondering in what case I might use it casually in a sentence.
The word is a compound of two Greek words. I begin to feel ashamed.
  • “thauma” means “miracle” or "a wonder"
  • “ergon” means “work”
I wish de Vaux were alive today because I have a new question for him: what were you thinking to decide on THAT word of all words? Yes, he could have said Aaron was a “miracle worker” but as I think about it, perhaps life-long learners like me would be just a little less smart.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Tip of the day: Beware of blaguers. 

Attention Life-long learners! Chris at offers excellent advice on studying Philosophy.

Just in case: "How to Use a [BUSTED] Cell Phone to Meet 5 Basic Survival Needs". Check the link at the beginning of the article for survival tactics using a certain women's personal item.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Looks like Venus was not alone in the solar transit. The Hubble Telescope crossed too (might have to squint a little)!

Spectacular! Rare photo of Venus crossing the edge of the Sun in this stunning view from the Hinode spacecraft.

Here's a photo of the sun rising over the Black Sea, Venus already in position.

Explore some of the unique cultural and religious meanings of shaving and men’s grooming from history and around the world. If you think today’s man is overly fastidious about his appearance, wait until you get a load of the practices of our manly ancestors.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Summer-time sans Bradbury

"The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with clocks, and not only with the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind, too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again. There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling, I had to believe whatever the clocks said--and calendars."  (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. "Slaughter-house Five")

Thanks, Ray. It was something wonderful.

Thursday, June 07, 2012


Travel Like Your Grandfather: How to Hitchhike Around the USA. Sounds exciting (fueled by Steinbeck, London and other great Americans and writers)!

Many volumes in the Loeb Classical Library are now in the public domain and available for free download in pdf files.

Nook version of "War and Peace" contains embarrassing search-and-replace error. "Kindle" no more!

Astronomers have found the faintest galaxy yet seen in the deep, distant reaches of space, an object whose light has taken 13 billion years to reach us.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Music to Transit By

With the transit of Venus (about now, if you are in my time-zone), here is a blast from the past (thanks, Kathy) via Tomita's interpretation of Holst's "Venus" from "The Planets" suite. Enjoy the ancient NASA footage (some actual, some artwork) of our visit to Venus in 1976:

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