Haiku Friday: Rules

Here’s my haiku for today, on the topic of Rules:

tumble like Alice
into the Wild Otherworld
all the rules have changed

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

Technorati Tags: haiku, writing, syllable, rules, Alice, tumble, wild, otherworld, changed

Sharing History: Genealogists of 2210

I like genealogists. When I give talks to genealogical societies I applaud them for digging up all those great dates and places that belong to people of the past. And then I ask them to please not forget the stories that go with them.

Genealogists are good at looking back. But they also need to think forward – to the genealogists of the future. After all, in two hundred years someone might come looking for you. What do you want them to find? Just your name and the dates you were born and died, maybe the city you lived in? Isn’t there more to you than that?

Remember that your life too, is part of the historical record. For instance, let’s suppose your great-great-great-grandfather was born in Harlem in 1828 and died in Brooklyn in 1888. That’s what the genealogists could tell you. But what was your g-g-g-grandfather doing for those sixty years he was on the earth? In 1860 he was 32 years old and probably voted in the presidential election of 1860. Who did he vote for? Was he a supporter of Abe Lincoln, or was he angry that William Seward of New York didn’t get the Republican nomination? Or did he just not care? Wouldn’t it be great if he had written some of his thoughts down?

If he didn’t, it’s too late now. But it’s not too late for you.

Technorati Tags: history, genealogists, societies, digging, dates, places, people, stories, looking back, forward, Harlem, Brooklyn, presidential, Abe Lincoln, William Seward, Republican

Goody Beagle Says: Roll

It rains a lot here. Good thing I am a Seattle native or else I would go crackerdog. But sometimes I like the rain. Walks in the rain are especially fun because when I get back home I roll on the carpet and it feels so so good.

This rolling has been called the Wet Beagle Dance. One of my Twitter dog friends advised me to do rubbing as well as rolling – if you rub up against the couch it hits the hard-to-reach places. I tried this, and it is true.

Now I Rub N Roll.

Technorati Tags: Goody, Beagle, roll, rain, Seattle, native, crackerdog, walks, fun, carpet, rolling, Wet Beagle Dance, Twitter, rubbing, rub n roll

Haiku Friday: Freedom

Here’s my haiku for today, on the topic of Freedom:

polish your shackles
there's no such thing as freedom
if you love someone

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

Technorati Tags: haiku, writing, syllable, freedom, polish, shackles, love, someone

Writing: Word History

Have you ever pondered idioms? Idioms are a fascinating glimpse into the past. But if you are just learning English, all they do is confuse you. How about “bite the bullet”? If you take this literally, it is pretty nonsensical – why on earth would you put a bullet in your mouth and bite on it? To native English speakers, this idiom of course means that in order to end something uncomfortable or unpleasant in the long run, it is necessary to undergo something unpleasant in the short run. But why should “bite the bullet” mean that?

It originated during a long ago war, probably the American Civil War. Men were getting shot, and for the ones lucky enough (or unlucky enough) not to be killed, their wounds often led to bacterial infection, or gangrene. This was way before antibiotics, so the only sure cure for gangrene was amputation. Surgeons in filthy conditions sawed off men’s limbs – often with NO anesthetics, which were in short supply.

Unsurprisingly, men tended to writhe and scream in anguish when their legs or arms were cut off, with nothing to dull the pain. This scared the other patients waiting their turn, disrupted the surgeons, and must have been agonizing to watch. So in order to give the patient something to focus on and cut down on his screaming, he was given a bullet to bite on. Bullets were used because they were readily available and were soft enough not to break the teeth.

When a man agreed to bite the bullet, he did so because he knew that this short agony was necessary to prevent a longer and more agonizing death

And now this idiom makes sense.

Technorati Tags: writing, word, history, idioms, English, confuse, bit the bullet, American Civil War, wounds, bacterial infection, gangrene, amputation, anguish, arms, legs, disrupt, patients, surgeons, focus

Compost: 1983

The other day I was listening to my iPod as I wrote, swaying in my chair as I typed to songs such as “All Night Long” by Lionel Ritchie, “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, “Down Under” by Men at Work, “Flashdance” by Irene Cara, and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper. I felt free and confident and together.

Suddenly I realized that all those songs were released around the same time. When I looked them up, I saw they had all been released in 1983. Well, no wonder I felt together. 1983 was a great year for me. I had been promoted at work, and was making more money than I’d ever made before. I was in the midst of a new romantic relationship. I had just bought a new car – a sleek dark blue Z28 Camaro.

So it makes sense that when I listen to the popular songs of 1983, I feel damn good … even if I no longer have that high-paying job, the romantic relationship has long since bit the dust, and I drive a 10-year-old sedate sedan that gets good gas mileage.

You gotta love the power of music.

Technorati Tags: compost, 1983, All Night Long, Lionel Ritchie, iPod, Beat It, Billie Jean, Michael Jackson, Down Under, Men at Work, Flashdance, Irene Cara, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper, great, year, promoted, relationship, Camaro, power, music

Haiku Friday: Bees

Here’s my haiku for today, on the topic of Bees:

dirt bees buzz upward
raspberries hang low, heavy
get drunk on summer

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

Technorati Tags: haiku, writing, syllable, bees, raspberries, low, heavy, drunk, summer

Sharing History: Animals

The concept of history seems to be exclusively human. Animals don’t care about history. They live in the moment only. (At least as far as we know; we must always keep in mind that we’ve been wrong about animals before.)

But our relationship with the other creatures who share our planet is part of our history. It’s a part worth exploring. The way we see animals has changed radically in the last twenty years. Animals are now used in a wide variety of healing work with humans. Perhaps you were part of this societal change?

I remember a story a woman told me about her mother and a Pekinese. About twenty years ago “Maryanne” helped her mother move into a nursing home. “When Mom first moved there,” said Maryanne, “she was very depressed. She wouldn’t even get dressed, but just sat on her bed staring out the window, all day long. But then the nursing home started an animal visitor program. All her life Mom had loved Pekinese dogs – she must have owned and trained at least twenty throughout her life. One morning she was sitting on her bed staring out the window when her door opened and in trots this little honey-colored Pekinese with a blue bow in her hair. Mom just opened her arms and that little dog jumped right in them, as if she had known Mom all her life. When she left, Mom was smiling, and the next day she got dressed.”

How have animals changed your life? How have you changed theirs? Share their history.

Technorati Tags: history, human, animals, live, moment, relationship, creatures, mother, Pekinese, nursing home, depressed, smile

Goody Beagle Says: Bunnies!

That big fat bunny was back one night, eating MY lawn. My human wouldn’t let me out to kill him. She just doesn’t understand me. She says it’s not nice to kill bunnies, even if they are destructive little varmints when it comes to gardens. But I say they are cheeky devils who deserve to die!

I tweeted about this bunny and said right up front that I wanted to kill him – and then another tweeter named @BuddyRabbit followed me – and he is a rabbit! I figure he must be an advanced soul.

Or else he is out for revenge. You cannot trust those bunnies.

Technorati Tags: compost, Goody Beagle, bunnies, fat, eating, law, human, destructive, varmints, gardens, devils, revenge, trust, soul

Haiku Friday: Trouble

Here’s my haiku for today, on the topic of Trouble:

if you're in trouble
the cavalry's not coming
there is only you

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

Technorati Tags: haiku, writing, syllable, trouble, calvary, you