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Saturday, March 25, 2017

A TO Z ...Has It Gotten Too Big?





In 1954, Warner Brothers made the Sci-Fi film, THEM!


about irradiated ants growing to enormous size and threatening the United States.


Of course, this couldn't happen ...


Since ants' legs are hollow,


the poor creatures wouldn't be able to support their increased weight.


Which leads me to this post's question:




Has the A TO Z CHALLENGE
gotten too big to support itself?




The Linky list has become too large and cumbersome with fewer staff to monitor it.


I understand!


The number of people participating last year


nearly equaled the population of some 3rd World countries!


So now we will go to each day's A to Z post on the home web page and post our blog address.


Then, we go to FB and then to Twitter with the hashtag #AtoZReveal on Twitter to share.


WHEW!


That's a few more hoops to jump through than last year ...


   ... and me with less time than last year, too!




I've noticed many of my Blogging Friends are not participating this year. 


Social Media is already a time-leech without feeding it further, right?


So What Do You Think About This?

Friday, March 24, 2017

WHY WE LOVE PUPPIES


Buy a pup and your money will buy love unflinching.
Rudyard Kipling


Yesterday was National Puppy Day

 The little guy above seems to sense I missed his day.

But like puppies everywhere, he forgives me.


After all, their large foreheads and big, round eyes are reminiscent of human babies.

A puppy may be of a breed that unsettles us, but that does not matter.

Our hearts melt at the sight of the little guy. 

 March 23rd was set aside in 2006 by author Collen Paige ...

and adopted by other groups since.  

The idea is to focus attention on puppies in need of adoption

and on the abuses found in puppy mills ...

But also to celebrate these little furry heart-warmers.

Do You Have Any Fond Memories of a Particular Puppy in Your Life?

Tell Us About It and Make Our Day Brighter.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Some A to Z Questions



Are You Participating In This Year's A TO Z?

    If so, why are you?

    If not, why not?


Do You Think It Is Cheating To Write Those Posts This Month?

    Are you doing that?


Do You Think It Is Mandatory to Have a Theme?

    If you have one, why did you pick it? 

Just Because This Tune Has Been Running Through My Mind:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

NOCTURNE FOR POETRY


Yesterday was National Poetry Day.  

But since Poetry is an endangered species of literature, 

it came and went unnoticed by most.

Here is a tip of my Stetson to Poetry and its unremembered day:




I have a ghost cat.  Gypsy is her name.  It's all right if you think I am crazy.  Most days I do as well.

Being a ghost, she warns me when I am about to be visited in the midst of my sleep.  

She mutters under her breath as she was muttering now.



A reedy voice quavered in the darkness by my bed, "I have been one acquainted with the night. 

A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness"

Robert Frost slowly materialized in a misty cane chair by my bed. 

"I thought people would always be held fixed by poetry -- not necessarily mine.  But now, poetry is as dead as I."

Gypsy muttered something in cat and shoved her head under my pillow, and Frost shook his head,

"Yes, even more so since I am keeping your loyal cat awake."

He smiled at my frown.  "I am fluent in Cat."

His smile died, "But no one is fluent in the magic of poetry any more it seems."

I murmured a bit of "I Knew a Woman" by Theodore Roethke:

"I knew a woman, lovely in her bones
When small birds sighed,
she would sigh back at them."

He shook a long forefinger at me.  "You do not count.  You are Lakota."

I snorted, "We Lakota hear that a lot."

He ignored me.  We Lakota are used to that, too, and he whispered,

"Society has been changing in a way that did not favor the reading of poetry. 

From the Me Generation of the '70s to the get-rich-quick '80s, our culture became intensely prosaic.

Ambiguity, complexity and paradox fell out of favor. You the living embraced easily defined goals and crystal-clear communication 

(Ronald Reagan was president, presiding over the literalization of America).

Fewer politicians seemed to quote contemporary poets in speeches, 

and the relatively small number of name-brand, living American poets died or faded from view.

By the '90s, it was all over. 

If you doubt this statement, consider that poetry is the only art form where the number of people creating it is far greater than the number of people appreciating it.

Anyone can write a bad poem.

To appreciate a good one, though, takes knowledge and commitment. 

As a society, you lack this knowledge and commitment. People don't possess the patience to read a poem 20 times before the sound and sense of it takes hold.

They aren't willing to let the words wash over them like a wave, demanding instead for the meaning to flow clearly and quickly. 

They want narrative-driven forms, stand-alone art that doesn't require an understanding of the larger context."



The ghost of Hemingway materialized beside him, sipping from a glass of whiskey. 

"Roland is part of a world that apotheosizes the trendy, and poetry is just about as untrendy as it gets. 

Bored housewives want to read books with buzz, the latest trend."

I shook my head.  "Not everyone."

They both said as one, "You don't count."

I was starting to get a complex.

Hemingway muttered, 

"Poetry is designed for an era when people valued the written word and had the time and inclination to possess it in its highest form."

Frost nodded, "Poetry is dead."

Hemingway scowled over to me. 

"If poetry is dead, you prose writers are in the next ward over, wheezing noisily, with your family gathered around looking concerned and asking about your silverware."

I shook my head and murmured from Theodore Roethke again:

"I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow."


And since Gypsy is now a ghost cat, she drew her tiny head out from under the pillow

and yowled in a voice which sent shivers through the marrow of my bones,

 "Little do you two-leggeds know of the things that ink may do, how it can mark a dead man's thoughts for the wonder of later years, and tell of happenings that are gone clean away,

and be a voice for us out of the dark of time, and save many a fragile thing from the pounding of heavy ages; or carry to us, over the rolling centuries,

even a song from lips long dead on forgotten hills.” 

With that, Gypsy thrust her tiny ghost head under my pillow.  

Frost turned to Hemingway and sighed, "When ghosts of cats speak wiser and lovelier than we, it is time to go."

Which they did.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  

IS POETRY DEAD? 

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU READ POETRY?

 WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU COMMITTED A VERSE TO MEMORY?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A to Z Reveal: Questions_FOOLS KNOW; THE WISE QUESTION


“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” 
- Voltaire 

My theme for this April is Questions

What kind of questions?  

Ah, you will have to turn in each day to find out.

“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided 

if people would simply take the time to ask, "What else could this mean?”
- Mark Twain

“There exists a passion for comprehension, 

just as there exists a passion for music. 

That passion is rather common in children, 

but gets lost in most people later on.” 

- Albert Einstein

 

“Reason is a tool, a machine, which is driven by the spiritual fire,” 

- Dostoyevsky (contemplating how we come to know truth)

 

TAKE THE QUESTION OF

DREAMS --

 

Why can we not remember most dreams?

 

When we sleep, we enter a "dim and ancient house of shadow."

We wander through its rooms, climb staircases, linger on a landing. 

Towards morning we leave the house again. 

In the doorway we look over our shoulders briefly 

and with the morning light flooding in, 

we can still catch a glimpse of the rooms where we spent the night. 

Then the door closes behind us 

and a few hours later,

 even those fragmentary memories we had when we woke have been wiped away.

It seems like a pact with the devil. 

As soon as you're in a position to record a dream, it starts to disappear.

 One possibility is that our brain's neuro-chemicals during sleep are very different 

from during wake time and so they don't allow us to consolidate memory. 

The other thing that's quite possible is 

 that we don't pay attention to our dreams or are unable to do so during sleep.

Those who are light sleepers, frequently awakening, tend to remember dreams better

 

Also strange, unsettling dreams

tend to stick in our minds, too!

 

WHY DO YOU THINK WE CANNOT REMEMBER OUR DREAMS? 

 “Sometimes it's not enough to know what things mean, 

sometimes you have to know what things don't mean.”

 - Bob Dylan

 

Friday, March 17, 2017

ST. PATRICK'S NIGHT AT MEILORI'S




It was St. Patrick's Night at Meilori's.
Hibbs, the cub with no clue, was hiding there from Ratatoskr, the Asgardian Squirrel.




As if hiding from that rascally rodent was possible.

Hibbs got smacked in the back of the head with a snowball so hard that for a moment he became TWO cubs!




Ratastoskr found that so funny he forgave the cub for trying to hide from him.

The squirrel scampered up beside the fuming Hibbs as the cub rubbed the back of his wet head.

"Why do people wear shamrocks on St. Patrick's Day, fur-face?"

Hibbs tried to think of a way to tweak the nose of this snowball ambusher and smiled, "Because real rocks are too heavy."

Ratatoskr pouted, "No fair!  You're not supposed to know the answer."

Hibbs smiled wider.  "I have one for you now.  Knock.  Knock."

The squirrel scowled, "Who's there?'

"Irish."

"Irish who?"

"Irish you a happy St. Patrick's Day,"  

And so tickled was Hibbs at the look in Ratatoskr's eyes, he fell giggling on his back.

The squirrel popped to the table to his right and snapped back his own question. 

 "How did the Irish Jig get started?"


The Asgardian Squirrel had not noticed the small man in green with murderous eyes sitting at the table who rumbled,

"Faith now, but the answer is clear: too much to drink and too few restrooms. 

And ye scrawny rodent, ye made me spill me drink. Now, I'll be spilling yer guts!"

Despite their long history of bickering, Hibbs thought of Ratatoskr as a friend so he waddled up to the table.  

"You get my pal over my dead body!"

Hibbs realized he might have possibly phrased that a bit better as the leprechaun rose evilly to his feet.

"Sure now, but that can be arranged."


A shimmer of snowflakes and stardust slowly formed into the regal Turquoise Woman

who held the First Hawk of Creation next to her icy heart.



Her voice was winter given life.  "Do you know why I love to eat leprechaun?"

First Hawk, later to be called Little Brother by Hibbs, cawed, "Short ribs!"

And off ran the yelping leprechaun with First Hawk flying happily after him.


Ratatoskr turned to Hibbs.  "What do you get when you cross a short-legged leprechaun with a hunting hawk?"

Hibbs shook his head mystified.

The squirrel laughed, "Not Fast Enough Food!"


Thursday, March 16, 2017

ONE WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT IN A STORM


is worth more than an hour of praise 
after a success.

You just don't know what is going on in a person's life.

You are probably going through some rough seas yourself.  If not, you will be.

That is why it is always a nice thing to do a random act kindness now and again.

You never know when it is desperately needed.

That said -- 

A tip of my Stetson to C. Lee McKenzie


Just before turning in after a grim day, I checked the Amazon Page for my latest book and happily found this:

A Luxury of Fantasy 
(4 Stars)

There's so much that can be said about this book, which is really several short stories with the main character being the charming and powerful Captain McCord.

One thing that captivates me about Roland Yeomans' work is the weaving of fact and fiction through characters who were unique in life and now have been given a chance to be unique after death through his fiction. 

I'm always delighted when he puts these people together and lets them reveal history or myth in one of his stories.

Another reason I read and enjoy this writer is his brilliant prose. "Whenever someone who knows you dies, you lose one version of yourself." 

That made me pause and return to re-read and note it. There were many others that I underlined and will remember.

In the day of the staccato sentence structure and the craze for fast-paced sock 'em in the nose plotting, 

I've enjoyed Yeomans more gently paced, but exciting stories that allow me time to luxuriate in his unusual fantasy worlds.

Thank you, Lee. It helped more than you know.  Roland