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Friday, June 22, 2018


Carry as little as possible, but choose that little with care.
~ Earl Shaffer
- - - - -

Jared: Kirk, do you think we will carry Zak more on the back or on the front with this new backpack.

Kirk: Okay, so... answer this instinctively. If you were going to fall into the Grand Canyon, do you think you'd fall backward or on your face?

Jared: Well, I think him facing forward would be better for pictures.

Kirk: Oh! True!

Thursday, June 21, 2018


It will always be summer; build barns.
~ Hesiod
- - - - -

So we should plan for what is to come because what is to come is what is now. Is that what this means? Or is it that what has been will come again and we should be ready for its return? 

Or maybe the barn represents something. People? Build up people because they are always a part of us? Or maybe barns represent safety and in good times (summer) it is important to cultivate safety for the bad times.

Or is it that Hesiod's family owned a lumber store?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Summer is always best through a window.
~ Jens Lekman
- - - - -

Something not smart at bedtime is to try and look online to figure out what kind of snake that was that jumped up at you when you were walking in the woods earlier that day. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Man, if you gotta ask, you'll never know.
~ Louis Armstrong
- - - - -

How can jazz be so cool and jazz hands not?

Monday, June 18, 2018


Who doesn't love a stuffed cherry tomato?
~ Alex Guarnaschelli
- - - - -

Why is Hi-Ho-Cherry-O such an addicting game? Leslie said Aurora was addicted to it and wanted to play it over and over and over. I remember feeling that same way when I was a kid. It's not really much of a game of strategy. The board game is simple. It's just luck.

Kind of like farming. 

Wow. It harkens back to an agrarian time when there was peace and hard work and everyone knew that there were times when things would happen beyond their control and things may not go they way they wanted.

Wow. It's not only a parallel to farming, but to childhood. It represents the randomness of the world and not having any real control because your parents think they're boss of you. And you do what you can. And dogs happen. And birds happen. 

And cherries. Cherries happen, too. What a simple and beautiful game. 

Also that spinner is super fun to spin. WOO HOO!!!

Also, one more thing: I think it depends on what it's stuffed with, Alex Guarnaschelli.

Sunday, June 17, 2018


I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn't park anywhere near the place.
~ Steven Wright
- - - - -
The word hydrant comes from the Latin "hydro" and the American "ant" and when translated literally means, "To drown a lot of ants in a lot of water."

Saturday, June 16, 2018


Dog's lives are too short. Their only fault, really.
~ Agnes Sligh Turnbull
- - - - -

This is Sadie. Sadie was Bill's dog. She died a while ago. That is sad. Bill is getting a new puppy that will be in Canada with us this summer. That is happy. It's a yellow lab puppy named Zeke. That is really, really good.

I still miss Sadie, but I am excited to meet Zeke.

Sometimes when I'm up late at night, I look at dog rescue / adoption sites. That does not make me happy because I want a dog. Leslie says no. I said I wanted a dog when I get tenure. Sometimes I find a really good dog and ask her about it and she says, "Do you have tenure, yet?"

She knows dang well I don't have tenure, yet.

Does it make me angry, sad, or motivated? That's what you want to know?

The answer to your questions is, "Yes."

Friday, June 15, 2018


I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?
~ Ernest Hemingway
- - - - -

The other night, I went to bed and dreamt I was traveling and visiting people. Unfortunately, the people I was visiting wanted to spend time with me and even though I was very, very tired,  they wouldn’t let me go to sleep. Also old episodes of Carol Burnett were on that I hadn’t seen before.

I woke up exhausted - yet somewhat amused.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


Oh what a tangled web do parents weave when they think that their children are naive.
~ Ogden Nash
- - - - -

Kids are way smarter than you think. I mean, take Kid President vs. Actual President. 

Never mind. Don't do that. It's too depressing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.
~ Jane Austen
- - - - -

I have a lot of little-known claims to fame. For example, one of my great-great grandfathers was the original advocate for a four-second rule. Of course he would eventually be outvoted in favor of the three-second rule. Still. Kind of famous.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


Setting my mind on a musical instrument was like falling in love. All the world seemed bright and changed.
~ W. C. Handy
- - - - -

If you had a kid and your last name was Joah and you named him Ben, wouldn't it be ironic if he had no talent at all for stringed instruments?


Yes. It would.

Saturday, June 9, 2018


The more storage you have, the more stuff you accumulate.
~ Alexis Stewart
- - - - -

The less storage you have, the more stuff you accumulate on your lawn.

Friday, June 8, 2018


The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
~ Sun Tzu
- - - - - -

I think the supreme art of war is also to subdue the self without fighting. 

And for cats - especially ones who are fast as lightning - the supreme art of war is to subdue the self without Kung Fu Fighting.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.
~ Og Mandino
- - - - - -

And I will appreciate the nightlight for it shows me the corners of things that I otherwise bang my shins on and then say bad cusswords.

Monday, June 4, 2018


Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition, and myth frame our response.
~ Arthur M. Schlesinger
- - - - - 

Kirk and I are working on a book together about family. In writing this, I have reflected periodically on the difference between memory and myth. There are lots of ways to look at these two concepts. I think the biggest distinction between the two of them however, is that they are spelled very differently.

Sunday, June 3, 2018


Dreams have only one owner at a time. That's why dreamers are lonely.
~ Erma Bombeck
- - - - - -

Also, the person who dreamt up the art form in this photo is lonely because just look at the art form in this photo.

Saturday, June 2, 2018


Every time you post something online, you have a choice. You can either make it something that adds to the happiness levels in the world - or you can make it something that takes away.
~ Zoe Sugg
- - - - -

I just read a lot of things about what "POSTED" on signs like this means and if it is necessary. I don't have a good answer, all I can say is this: It didn't work on me in this particular case. Will I say that it didn't work because I didn't understand if the usage of the word POSTED was descriptive or legal? That I didn't know if it was literal or figurative? That I didn't know if the poster was serious and was thinking specifically of ME when posting?

No. I'm not talking about this at all anymore.

Friday, June 1, 2018


Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?
~ Robert Browning
- - - - -

I have heard all that "reach for the stars" stuff, but stars are made of fire and they will burn you. I say instead reach for reflectors on light poles. They don't burn you, you can actually reach them, and at certain times, they are even brighter than stars.

Thursday, May 31, 2018


Perseverance is not a long race. It is many short races one after the other.
~ Walter Elliot
- - - - -

The other day I saw a photo of a baby pig - a piglet, if you will (a piglet even if you won't). On the image were the words "Bacon Seed." I laughed and laughed and then I thought how sad it was for the little cute pig. 

Then I forgot all about it because Leslie made BLTs for dinner.

The point is to persevere. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


The true nature of evil is that it is so very casual.
~ James St. James
- - - - -

Thoughts on this sign...

I think that even someone dressed formally who is loitering can appear casual. 

I think that you are more likely to be asked to leave a formal event for being dressed to casually than asked to leave a casual event for being dressed to formally.

I think because of the issues around men and masculinity in our culture, not all of them would be comfortable coming to an event wearing a casual dress.

I think it's time we gave up blaming violence against women on their attire. I don't believe in causal dress.

35 years and up seems random to me. Unless of course it is because they want to exclude anyone who isn't eligible to be president of the Ireland, Russia, the United States, or Uruguay.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.
~ Marcus Garvey
- - - - -

Don't forget that part of courage is rage. You have to be brave enough to get angry enough to create change or face your fears or lift up others.

Also you can rearrange the letters to make "e-cougar" which would be a pretty ferocious e-animal. Way more ferocious than the e-sheep, for example.

Monday, May 28, 2018


Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one's ability to persuade.
~ Ruth Bader Ginsburg
- - - - -

I don't know why Leslie was annoyed with my Uncle Sam finger puppet first thing in the morning. It's not like I even had it on a bad finger.

Sunday, May 27, 2018


Hospitality: making your guests feel at home even if you wish they were.
~ Justine Vogt
- - - - -

Supposedly the suffix "ity" means to have the quality of something. In this case, this can of beans and potatoes seasoned with Vidalia onions has the quality of a hospital. A hospital in the south.

Interesting marketing approach.

Saturday, May 26, 2018


When fortune calls, offer her a chair.
~ Yiddish Proverb
- - - - -

What you see probably depends on where you sit. If you always keep your head down, you're likely to see less. And if you are a butthead, you're likely to see virtually nothing at all.

Friday, May 25, 2018


A fool sees not the same tree a wise man sees.
~ William Blake
- - - - -

That's because a fool can only see unintelligentree while the wise see sagacitree.

I make up words when I can't find the words I want, therefore I am neither wise nor foolish, but I just see things creativetree.

Thursday, May 24, 2018


A well-ordered life is like climbing a tower; the view halfway up is better than the view from the base, and it steadily becomes finer as the horizon expands.
~ William Lyon Phelps
- - - - - 

But sometimes we want to look deeply and intensely not broadly. In that case, it isn't the tower that helps or represents the view we hope for. Rather it is the microscope - or maybe just squatting if what you want to look at is on the ground but not all that tiny. 

In conclusion, sometimes a well-ordered life is like squatting on the sidewalk. 


I'm not sure if that will ever really catch on.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

You get mixed messages because I have mixed feeling.
~ Sarah Kane
- - - - - -

I love this combination of signs. It's kind of like - You aren't welcome here, and you can't do anything, but give us some money.


By writing that I guess I'm equating "no weapons" with "you can't do anything." I actually do lots of things without weapons. Unless you consider my sharp tongue a weapon - 'cause watch out or I will cut you.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


To the person who desires nothing and does not get entangled in desires, the manifold changes of nature are one panorama of beauty and sublimity.
~ Swami Vivekananda
- - - - -

And to the person who desires barbed wire and gets entangled in that desire - yikes! That sucks.

Monday, May 21, 2018


There's a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it.
~ Maya Angelou
- - - - -

There's also a fine line between this side of the clothesline and that other side of the clothesline.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


Guest: Everyone loves Mrs. Madison
Dolley Madison: That's because Mrs. Madison loves everyone.
- - - - -

I heard the above on a special about Dolley Madison. Dolley Madison replaced the use of diamonds (favored by European royals) with pearls. She did a lot to set the tone for what it means to be a first lady. 

She wasn't perfect. No one is - especially when viewed through the lens of history.

Or when viewed through a blurry lens. Everyone looks flawed then.

Also, according to Cokie Roberts, Mrs. Madison didn't actually love everyone, either. Cokie said, "That's not true. I read her letters."

Saturday, May 19, 2018


In the end, as any successful teacher will tell you, you can only teach the things that you are. If we practice racism then it is racism we teach.
~ Max Lerner
- - - - -

Practice makes perfect, but not if you're practicing racism.

Friday, May 18, 2018


The supply of the milk of human kindness was short by several gallons.
~ P. G. Wodehouse
- - - - -

This saying reminds me of the saying, "A day late and a dollar short." Except instead it is, "The supply of the milk of human kindness was short by several gallons."

Thursday, May 17, 2018


Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
~ Proverb
- - - - -

You can't spell frosted flake chicken on a stick without two ICKs.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it and by the same token to save it from that ruin, which, except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and the young, would be inevitable. An education, too, is where we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, nor to strike from their hands their choice of undertaking something new, something unforeseen by us, but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world.
~ Hannah Arendt
- - - - -

That's a lot of words, Hannah Arendt. 

All I have to say about this right now is that I like to think that kids are going to renew an uncommon world because that's the one where I live.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


We should use our opinions to start discussions, not to stop them.
~ Madeline Albright
- - - - -

What if the discussion I want to have is about using opinions to stop discussions, though. What then, Madeline Albright? 


Monday, May 14, 2018


Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no fibs.
~ Oliver Goldsmith
- - - - 
You know that part in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy says to Professor Marvel, "Oh please, Professor, why can't we go with you and see all the Crowned Heads of Europe?" Well, if I had a dollar for every time a student said that to me, my life would not be significantly different from how it is today. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018


I never rode a bull. I'm not that stupid.
~ James Caan
- - - - -

I bet if you worked at a western bar and were in charge of facilities issues and the main attraction in the bar kept breaking down and you kept asking the owner to replace it with a new one and he wouldn't because he was cheap and he didn't value your time... I bet if that happened, sometimes when you were working on the attraction you would mumble to yourself, "This is mechanical bullshit." But not too loud because the owner might hear you.

Also, I know that's probably a cow in the photo, so shut up.

Saturday, May 12, 2018


Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul a thousand different ways.
~ Oscar Wilde
- - - - -

You know what this says to my soul? It says, "I don't like this color."

Friday, May 11, 2018


The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness.
~ Michel de Montaigne
- - - - -

It was a sleepy little town - located at the corner of mattress and stop. 

You might think that is a good start to a novel. You might be right. I don't know. I haven't read that novel.

Thursday, May 10, 2018


Everything is ceremony in the wild gardens of childhood.
~ Pablo Neruda
- - - - -

When we went to David's graduation, Aurora was there and provided some pretty interesting insights and commentary - as kids are prone to do.

For example, the provost came on stage at the very beginning and gave a welcome and opening comments. After which Aurora said loudly, "Are we done now?"

Someone said to Aurora, "Hey - whisper, don't talk."
To which Aurora replied, "Why can't I talk? I don't want to whisper!"

Then about a half an hour later, Leslie yawned. Aurora yelled, "GoGo - are you tired?!!"


It was a pretty fun graduation.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018


The expectations of life depend on diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work, must sharpen his tools.
~ Confucius
- - - - -

Kirk and I saw this last summer at The Desert of Maine. We laughed and laughed and laughed. We laughed because if you make holes in wood barrells all the water would run out. Also, I just realized it isn't spelled "barrells." 

Monday, May 7, 2018


This land is your land.
This land is my land.
~ Woddy Guthrie
- - - - -

When I go onto other people's property, I always carry a guitar. That way if I get confronted, I can start singing "This Land is Your Land" and it will distract the person who is confronting me. Or if I get chased by dogs, I can give them the guitar and run away. Also, the guitar is made out of steak.

Sunday, May 6, 2018


My mother and I could always look out the same window without ever seeing the same thing.
~ Gloria Swanson
- - - - -

These do not look like windows to me. They look like losedows.

Saturday, May 5, 2018


Nature knows no calendar,
the seasons move in a circle.
~ Flora Thompson
- - - - -

I think Flora is a nice name. 

Unless your last name is Scent. Or Duh.  

Friday, May 4, 2018


Carry not the Olympic torch, but carry the torch of love instead.
~ Anthony T. Hicks
- - - - -

I think it would be pretty funny if the person carrying the Olympic torch got caught up in a mob of people chasing Frankenstein. Even if the Frankenstein monster was scary, you couldn't help but chuckle at that Olympic torch guy, right?

Thursday, May 3, 2018


Be honest. Be nice. Be a flower, not a weed.
~ Aaron Neville
- - - - -

When I looked up "weed quotations" for this post, the internet thought I wanted something different than what I was searching for.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


Two of the cruelest, most primitive punishments our town deals out to those who have fallen from favor are the empty mailbox and the silent telephone.
~ Hedda Hopper
- - - - -

I wonder why these are called "mailboxes" and not "road cupboards."

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


Integrity pays, but not in cash.
~ Jennifer Stone
- - - - -

What does one have if not integrity? Millions of dollars? Fame? Glory even? Yes, but not integrity. Maybe fancy cars, clothes, and homes. Maybe the ability to travel anywhere at any time. Maybe mobs of adoring fans. But what does all that mean if you don't have integrity? That you have a pretty awesome life!

(Long pause)

I'm just kidding. Integrity is cool and stuff, too, I guess.

Monday, April 30, 2018


Two things are bad for the heart -- running up stairs and running down people.
~ Bernard Baruch
- - - - -

This place was abandoned. The wood was in rough shape, the stairs only sort of led somewhere, but not really. There was an old barrel and holes in the foundation and the side of the building where wood and brick had fallen away.

Even so, flowers grew by these steps. I thought that was beautiful. Sort of this message that beauty is everywhere - even in some of the most sad and neglected spaces. It reminded me that there is beauty also in even some of the most sad and neglected of people.

It wasn't nearly as poignantly beautiful when I picked the flowers to take home with me, though.

Sunday, April 29, 2018


An owl is traditionally a symbol of wisdom, so we are neither doves nor hawks, 
but owls, and we are vigilant when others are resting.
~ Urjit Patel
- - - - -

This owl was a prize at some carnival or fair I went to. Or maybe it was just for sale. I like owls, but I still had to wonder, "Who would choose this prize?"

If it were me, I wouldn't. I'd choose a Nobel Prize. Or a Pulitzer.