Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Zipping it all

So, back to business.  The Letter Z--

Think about this one:  What invention created originally in 1851  has simplified life immeasurably, made possible other inventions?
I give you the letter Z:  the Zipper

The earliest form of the zipper was designed by Elias Howe, who cared more about his sewing machine success.

Forty-two years later, Whitcomb Judson also tried another version of the device, but had little success.  Didn't make any money.

Gideon Sundback.jpg
Source: Gideon Sundback
Then finally, Gideon Sundback in 1913 had perfected the zipper, called the "Hookless Fastener". 

 He held the patent, and did quite well.  No, change that.  He did extremely well.   

One thing led to another, and the modern zipper has been ever improving and finding new uses.

I know that I appreciate the zipper.  And so do you.

Thus ends the A to Z 2014 Bloghop!!
Huzzah to all!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Spooky Letter Y

Letter Y: sidewalk art
Source: wrenchristie
The letter Y
Has finally arrived! I'm betting on a lot of "Yesterdays" for this one. But I have another song running through this tired brain.
Let's hear it for:

Your Love is Lifting Me Higher...

as performed in Ghostbusters II.
 will always miss Harold Ramis, love Bill Murray, laugh at Dan Ackroyd, and enjoy Ernie Hudson with his talents.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Disappointment of the Letter X

Big X: An X on the asphalt in a parking lot. I may reshoot this sometime in the future, I was less than happy with the lighting.Please do not download these images and post them on other microstock sites as your own work. Photos on RGBStock are NOT copyright free
Source: dlritter
The Letter X

X...Y...Z   and then we are done!!

X is for Xanthium

My grandmother Amy Lucy Peck was a brilliant woman.  She surrounded herself with poetry books, biographies, theology, and books on science.

My Grandmother Amy, about 1916

She became a pharmacist in 1916, a difficult career move for a woman of that era.  When Grandma died in 1972, she left me a number of these collections.  Most interesting were the books on science.

In Gray's School and Field Book of Botany by Asa Gray, she assiduously (!) made notes in the pages and pressed leaves. A rather vague comment was on the page for "Xanthium".  Xanthium--such a lovely word! I thought. 

Source: caf.wva,edu
The definition of this delightful Xanthium is:

  A coarse and vile weed, with stout and low branching stems.
  Grows in barnyards and waste manured ground, about 1 to 2 inches high

  ....hooked leaves and the fruit is a burr fully 1/2" long, with 2 beaks at the apex

  ....numerous prickles with sharp bristles.

What!! What?? The Xanthium is a burr plant? The kind that catches on socks, pants, every fabric, and resists removal?

I was severely disappointed by this.  I am sure you are as well.

Please share your experiences and/or thoughts of the hated Xanthium.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Well, finally! the Letter W

What would you do with it?  White Whale, Withering Wisteria, Wildly Waltzing ...?
The Letter W:

The 19th Amendment: Woman's Right to Vote
Passed on August 18, 1920

Source: The House Republicans
This amendment came from struggles begun in the early 1800s, with Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia More, to name a few.

It was a 70 year struggle for equality.

Many Western states had already assigned the right to vote to the women of the states, starting with Wyoming in 1869. (Makes sense doesn't it?)  

It got mean to the point of brutality in Washington, D.C. where women picketed the White House, the first time this had ever happened. 

Women were arrested, per the order of Pres. Woodrow Wilson.  

If you watched the entire 5 minute video, you know it was brutal, with discrimination and violence.  It got nasty, very nasty.  
30,000 women marched for 4+ hours: Wikipedia

The big "Why?" lingers in my brain.  Some things do not make plain sense.
What do you think? 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Heart Heavy, the Letter V

Vietnam Memorial, Washington, CD

Jay Shelby

There are some letters, some words, some places that are painful to think, imagine, or to speak.  This is one of them.

The Letter V is for Vietnam
William Peyton

Joseph Michael Williams

Jay and Mike were from my hometown
of 427.
William was my cousin.

They were all so very young.

And we all know of someone who had gone to Vietnam.

When no photo was available, this
took its place.

When you meet a Vietnam veteran, greet them with thanks and kindness.
For them, Vietnam never ended.

Vietnam is for the Letter V

In our town of 427 residents, five young men died.  In our small rural county, full of farmers and hard-working people, over 100 boys died horrible deaths.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hidden from sight

Wet clothing pinned and clipped on lines
Towels and pants on one high end,
Sheets and shirts other end of twines,
Hanging down low as centers bend.

But, in the middle, too shy to publicly fly,

Hangs the underwear, bleached and white.
Playing hide and seek from those near-by,
Wanting oh-so-badly to take flight.

Oh, for a strong wind to play,
Coming across and sweeping away
The blues, the whites, and the gray,
Onto tractor windows, passing this day.

Bras, panties with hearts, boxers brave

Landing square on a farmer's face,
No dignity there is left to save,
Underwear at last has found a place.

I have had much experience with laundry on the line, years and years of it.  

I wrote this poem with a head full of memories and my mother's commands to hang the underwear in the middle of the second line, out of sight.  "We don't want neighbors to see what we wear." 

 Neighbors?  The nearest lived one half  a mile away.  The lines were behind the house.  But I was obedient. 

If anyone wants to sing the praises of laundry drying on clothesline, go ahead. I will not be agreeing with you. Too many memories of laundry basket after each other has left me with a desire to never dry clothes out blowing in the wind. Sorry.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

So much more than the Letter T

Character T on the dice: Letter on the cube
Krysztof (Kriss) Szkurlatowski
Here we are at the Letter T!  Only six or seven letters to go!

What to do is always the big question...after all the dictionary is mighty big, and ever increasing.

The Letter T is for
J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend
Tolkien, J. R. R.

A man of literary renown!  I fear, however, that the current generation will say, "Yeah, dude.  I saw the movies" without ever having opened the pages of Tolkien's amazing books.  

Before you head off to check another blog, I will post one of Tolkien's poems,

"Roads Go Ever On and On".

Roads go ever on and on,
     Over rock and under tree,
By caves where sun has never shone;
     Over snow by winter sown,
 And through the merry flowers of June,
     Over grass and over stone,
 And under mountains in the moon.

So much more than just a movie.  His writing is the creation of a world, language, people....

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Silence of the Letter S

Moonrise 1: A moon rising behind silhouetted trees reflected in water with a magical starry sky. You may prefer:  or:
Dez Pain


Don't move...legs cold... water

Noise ahead


You okay? ...'m okay


Go! Go! Go!

God, I am so scared 

Source: Michael Bells

Never forget those who said these words.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Letter R, the very important letter R

If a random person was asked about the Constitution, I would wager (big money) that he could come up with only one or two of the rights that were established by this Document.  

Would they know about Amendment 15?  

Would they know how life changing this Amendment was after the Emancipation Proclamation?

The letter R is for:    Race

Article XV:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.  Passed on February 26, 1869.

While it took many decades for this Amendment to be enforced uniformly, this was the starting point.

And every good thing that happens needs a starting point.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Letter Q is for Quinine

Q is often an awkward letter with which to work.  It is somewhat like the ugly cousin who hangs back, while all the other relatives are having a great time.  And, then she inherits a boatload of money, and then....

The Letter Q

In the 1700s when England was creating its empire, malaria became a persistent problem.  Eventually someone discovered that the bark of the chinchona tree could be dried and then ground.  As QUININE, It could be used to treat malaria.
Also called Jesuit's bark
The Ultraviolet light reveals the presence of quinine, although now negligible.
The problem was that the taste was absolutely foul and almost unbearable.  

British officers directed the cook to create a concoction that would make the quinine at least palpable .  He must have been brilliant in his combination of sugar, lime, and gin as soldiers were happy to take their medicine.  Since the military were already given a ration of gin, this mixture made sense.

Cases of malaria dropped dramatically.

So, lift your glass to the humble beginning of the G & T:

Here is to Q for Quinine.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Passion of the Pearl: Letter P

Souce: namu project
The Letter P
Could it be perfume, pink, pandering, pancakes ...?
Strong to my traditional form, the letter P is for:

Pearl harbored serious obsession here.
This Pearl is Great-Aunt Pearl, whom I knew only by reputation and photos. Grandmother Amy was the oldest of three sisters with the middle sister Grace and youngest sister Pearl

In 1911, Pearl was in high school, with all the expectations of any young woman in the early 1900s, which were basically marriage, children, and home.

But, OH, first came the tender innocent love, romance with its soft touches, shy kisses, sweet words...

In her English textbook, Pearl practiced writing her name, over and over.  Other pages were covered with doodles and sketches, dreamy sketches of young men.  
Even her perception of Hell expressed a passionate moment in her life.

This textbook must have been all over the classroom, passed from girl to girl.  Squelched giggles and hurried scribbles asked and answered questions.  Comments and questions (what did he say about me?...Certainly I know that YOU know!..Girls are made to flirt with men---But men with girls??  Oh! No!...) ***

 Pearl's dreams of romance were recorded for a great-niece to find:

The drawings and notes were found in History of English Literature by Reuben Post Halleck, M.A  (Yale), published by the American Book Company in 1900.

Pearl married shortly after graduation, at the age of eighteen or so.  The man she married was named Fred, who was rather plain and balding early, liked to fish, and was not greatly ambitious.  He was the very antithesis of the ideal heroic man of her dreams. 

On March 6, 1913, in a double wedding, Pearl married Fred Funk AND
her sister Grace married John Friend.

Whenever I asked my grandmother about her sister Pearl, she would sigh and say, "Oh, Pearl..."
I was an over-achiever.  I never did any of this.  Seriously.

Imagine what Pearl and her friends could have done with Smart Phones.

***Copied from the text book, written in pencil.

Now, what did YOU do during a high school class?  Be honest, now!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Letter O---on the run in 1937

The Letter O

O...operatic, oophyte, Ottawa.....So many choices, so little time...

There are very few movies that I would personally describe as brilliant.  A film of that level depends on so many elements.  This film is one I put in the short list.

O brother where art thou ver1.jpg
Directors Joel and Ethan Coen
Today the choice  for O:

O, Brother! Where art thou?

This movie is based upon the story of Adventures of Ulysses

This movie follows Ulysses (or, Odysseus as in Homer plot), taking place in 1937, where he is a convict on the chain gangs in the deep South.  

George Clooney is the main character, Ulysses Everett McGill (who fancies himself to be a loquacious and glib con-man).  

He convinces two fellow convicts, Pete and Delmar, to escape the chain gang, proceeding on a quest to find huge treasure and a way home.

Favorite quotes from the movie:

   Ulysses:  Damn, boys!  We’re in a    tight spot! (This our is my favorite  line; my husband and I say it to each other many times. 

   Ulysses: Damn it!  I’m a Dapper Dan man.  (Dapper Dan is a pomade used by men of that period. Ulysses was so vain that he even wore a hairnet at night.)

    Delmar: Them syreens did this to Pete.  They loved him up and turned him into a horny toad.

Ulysses: I was not hit by a train. Dammit, I am the paterfamilias!

Pappy O’Donnell:  Moral fiber?  I invented moral fiber! ( Pappy was played by the late Charles Durning.)

Note:  The writers, producers and directors are Joel and Ethan Coen.
The music is pure blue-grass, memorable and superb.
The over-all plot lines are a loose parallel to the ancient adventures of Odysseus. Loose to very loose. Word has it that the Coen brothers never read the real Homer play, but instead read the Yellow Cliff-Notes, so beloved and used by many students.

I never ever used them.  Seriously.

Basically, try to see this film.
I am very picky about movies I will watch and appreciate.  My husband, on the other hand, will watch just about anything.  We have conflicts.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Oh-So-Negative Letter N

Letter N on the dice: Character on the cube
Krzysztof (Kriss)
The Letter N

My dictionary, The New Lexicon Webter's Dictionary (left behind my kids when they moved out) is handy, as it shows that the letter N garners 27 pages of definitions.  The letter X gets a measly 2 pages, while Z gets 5 pages.  Go figure.

We could go with nourishment, needlenecromancer, Never Land...

The Letter N today is:


It is well used by children and adults alike.  But my desire is to take N to a different level, with the aid from Ringo Starr.  Here it goes:

Now that was rather painless or very painful.  

It depends on your own Beatle devotion.  (Personally, I was in love with George Harrison.  He seemed to be the only intelligent one of the fab four.)

While my female friends swooned about Paul McCartney and John Lennon, ignored George, they didn't view Ringo Starr as a person.  Ringo Starr?  Really?  Is that even a name?  Pretty much what most nubial girls I knew would say.

Ringo Starr is still alive and enjoying success.  

Ringo Starr
from Rolling Stone's Artists

Read more: 
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

With his intelligence, George Harrison viewed Ringo Starr to be one of the best drummers in the business.

My apologies to readers who believe that intelligence is not a common or necessary element for some artists' success. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Letter: M...Murmurations

Letter M on the dice: Character on the cube
Krysztof (Kriss) Szkurlatowski
The Letter M

Where does one go with the letter "M"?  Mystery, mundane, macabre...
There are many many more.

I am a "sky watcher" (very small play on words here), always waiting and hoping for the next bird to soar by (with exception to the crows).  Swooping and rising on the warm drafts, birds are simply amazing.

M is for “Murmurations with Dylan Winter

There is nothing more to be said about this, except "Wasn't that amazing?"

You will need YouTube Video Player to watch this video.
And you will be glad you do.

Monday, April 14, 2014

the Letter L

The Letter L
Let's see...lavender, lycanthrope, lop-sided...

L,L,L,L,....just saying the letter L multiple times tickles the roof of the mouth.

The Letter L is for:
Lilian and President Lincoln

Miss Lilian was quite the charming lady.  She had an easy giggle, knew no strangers, and was curious about everyone and everything.

William T Peck as President Abraham Lincoln
William Peck, originally from Illinois
This day was a special one.  Miss Lilian was attending a country fair near the Union encampment with her papa.

 Miss Lilian did not see the man only steps away until she bumped into him.

  Miss Lilian gazed up at this tall stranger, who tipped his stove top hat and smiled down on her, saying, 

Daddy, Miss Lilian, and President Lincoln
"Pardon me, young Miss.  I pray you are not injured..."

But Miss Lilian could not utter a word: President Lincoln stood before her.  

  She curtsied with eyes downcast while President Lincoln took her hand. 

"Why, no.  Mr. President!  I am quite well...My name is Lilian,..."

"Well,then, Miss Lilian."  He handed her a card, "This is a personal invitation to call upon  the White House at your leisure..."

Too soon President Lincoln moved on, leaving a blushing Miss Lilian in awed silence.  For Miss Lilian, this was quite unusual.

Lilian taking a rest between Daddy and Grandpa

My granddaughter, Miss Lilian, carried the "ticket" around, clutching it tightly.  She showed it to every costumed participant.  "President Lincoln gave this to me," she explained seriously.

  Each person smiled at the serious 2 1/2 year old Lilian, who possessed an unusual command of vocabulary and sentence structure then, as well as now.

Lilian knew all about curtsying as her mommy had taken her to Renaissance Fairs several times. 

This actor, William Peck, is a distant cousin  on my father's side.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Amorous K: the Kiss


"Kreutzer Sonata" by Rene Francois Xavier Prinet, 1901
What could be more appropriate or wonderful than Kiss for the letter K?

In 1889 Leo Tolstoy created a novella entitled Kreutzer Sonata, in which forbidden discussions of sexuality, love and lust, morality and immorality emerge.  

Marriage, divorce, and love were examined in a conversation on a train with Pozdnyshev and other passengers. 

He later marries and time goes by with relative happiness and children.  He discovers his wife has started using contraceptives.  There is a schism in the relationship and his wife begins a relationship with a violinist (whose name is 15 letters long). 

This is the first movement of the sonata, lasting about 7 minutes.

Well, then....

They begin practicing this challenging sonata, with the wife accompanying the violinist.  Pozdnyshev discovers them in a passionate kiss and kills the wife.  The violinist flees.

 The Russian Government prohibited Tolstoy's story to be published.  

Portions of the story made their way to the United States where these chapters were published in the newspaper.  

Not able to suppress free speech, President Theodore Roosevelt forbid the U. S. Post Office to deliver any newspaper containing the story.  

He called Tolstoy “…a sexual, moral pervert.”

Leo Tolstoy, 1828-1910

The title chosen by Tolstoy was based upon Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 9, (which is another story in itself)!

All this happened as the result of an illicit kiss between a married woman and her lover. 

A kiss is a powerful thing.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Letter J with Johnny Cash

Character J on the cube: Dice with letter J
Krzysztof (Kriss)
The Letter J

Almost half over, right?  Today is the letter J, and oh, what I could have written:
jittery, jasper, jerky, jocky, juxtaposition....

But I have chosen:
made famous by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.

We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout.
We've been talkin' about Jackson, ever since the fire went out.
I'm goin' to Jackson,
I'm gonna mess around,
I'm goin' to Jackson, 
Look out  Jackson town!

Listen to the YouTube:

You gotta love Johnny and June!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

the Letter I

Character I on the cube: Dice with letter

Today is the day for Letter I.  Again, choices are wide:  innate, indigenous, irate, idiom...  But I will choose this for my Letter I:

Isle of Innisfree by W.B. Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes
      dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the 
       cricket sings;

There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

Source: Wikipedia

W.B.Yeats---worth a read

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Letter H is for eating

The letter H.....hail, horrific, haberdasher....
Yes, I am prone to go for the exotic, but today I have chosen:


The above video shows the mowing of the hay which is called "alfalfa, or clover".  It is a prime source of nutrition for cows and horses during winter. The scent of fresh cut alfalfa is delightful.

Here is the difference:
This is hay. Horses and cows love this.  Photo below:


This is straw.  This is great for putting into a stall.  Then it has to be "mucked out".  Messy job. This is what remains after different grains, such as wheat, rye, etc. have been harvested.  Straw---it is unpleasant to walk upon, and is used for animal bedding.  Not for consumption.
Round em up: Round straw bales
Source: chidsey
The letter H is for hay.