Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010 To Everyone

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Simply Beautiful

By Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.



Trees are magnificent things. The neighborhood where I live has many big, tall trees and all kinds of greenery, but on a recent trip to an old part of Dallas, I was dumbstruck by all the old giants that soared over the residential homes that were nestled amongst them. I kicked my puny oak tree when I got home. Not really. It's a beautiful, big oak tree.

I love trees in all seasons, even after winter rains and winds have stripped them of all their foliage. As the world becomes darker and uglier, the beauty in little, everyday things becomes more appealing to me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

China Gets Hummer From US

I'm quite sure that upon hearing this story, I am not the only one who immediately considered the sordid double entendre. It is too obvious to not have it come to one's mind. Sadly, its meaning is actually the more pathetically realistic one - well deserved though it may be. The economically and spiritually ravaged USA has been reduced to turning cheap tricks for Chinese businessmen.

Monday, August 31, 2009

August "Wrap Up"

August has come and gone without a single post from me. I want to get something in here before it is officially over. Let's see... Oh, I burned a good part of my torso yesterday - not seriously, but it was red and really smarted for a good while. Burns, even minor ones, cause so much pain. It was a freaky little accident, quite unforeseeable really. This was a first, and last, as I usually learn my lesson from these mishaps. Unfortunately, there seems to be no limit to the ways I find to do stupid things that put me in bodily danger.

I was on my way to visit Cousin at his shop and decided to take everything for a mate. So, I got out the handy-dandy pump action Nissan thermos, then partially filled it with boiling water to rinse it out. I closed the top and had just begun to shake it a little to get the boiling water all around the inside, when, instantly, the boiling water exploded out the spigot and all over me. It kept spewing out that water like it was possessed! I jumped back but it was too late. The damage had been done. I immediately put ice water all over the area to stop the burning, then covered it all in white sugar and wrapped myself with an ankle bandage to keep the sugar in place. It's all gone now and good as new. That's the sweetest I've been in a long time.

Here's the month of August in history:

1 The first U.S. Census is completed. There are four million people in the U.S. in 1790.

2 Wild Bill Hickock is killed during a poker game. He was holding a "Dead Man's Hand", two pair aces and 8's. (1876)

3 The Nautilus, a nuclear powered submarine is the first submarine to cross the North Pole under water. (1958)

4 Champagne is invented by Dom Perignon. (1693) I'll drink to that!

5 Little Orphan Annie comic strip debuts. (1924)

6 Murderer John Hart is the first person to be executed in an electric chair (1890)

6 Baseball pitching legend Cy Young pitches his first his first game, a win. (1890)

6 The Atom bomb is dropped on Hiroshima, Japan by the U.S. (1945)

7 The "Order of the Purple Heart" is created by President George Washington (1782)

7 Through an Act of Congress, the Federal Goverment takes over the creation and maintenance of the nations' lighthouses. (1789)

8 The Daughters of the American Revolution organization is created. (1890)

8 The USSR finally declares war against Japan. (1945)

9 Animated cartoon Dizzy Dishes premieres, with new star Betty Boop! (1930)

9 President Richard M. Nixon becomes the first and only president to resign while in office (1974)

10 The village of Chicago is incorporated. (1833)

10 "Smile, You're on Candid Camera". Allen Funt's wildly popular show debuts. (1948)

11 The Beatles begin their last US concert tour. (1966)

12 US annexes Hawaii. (1898)

13 Spanish defeat the Aztecs Indians and conquerors Mexico City. (1521)

14 Japan surrenders, ending World War II. (1945)

14 Get a whiff of this...the Whiffle Ball was patented on this day. (1953)

15 The Panama Canal is opened. (1914)

16 Gold is discovered in the Klondike. (1896)

17 Construction is started on the Berlin Wall. (1961)

18 The 1,000 Islands bridge, connecting the US and Canada is dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. (1938)

19 Indianapolis Speedway holds it's first auto race (1909)

20 The Civil War is formally declared to be over by President Andrew Johnson. (1866)

21 Venetian blinds are patented. (1841)

21 Hawaii becomes the 50th state. (1959)

22 The Mona Lisa is stolen from the Louvre (1911)

23 The first picture of Earth from the moon is taken by Lunar Orbiter 1. (1966)

24 The infamous Mount Vesuvius eruption buries the city of Pompeii. (79)

24 The Waffle Iron is patented by Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York. (1869)

25 Ivan the Terrible, the first Tsar of Russia was born. (1530)

25 Amelia Earhart completes her trans-continental flight. (1932)

26 Julius Caesar's Roman army invades Brittain (55 BC)

26 U.S. Congress passes the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. (1920)

27 The island volcano of Krakatoa in Indonesia erupts. It was heard over 3,000 miles away and was one of the biggest natural disasters ever recorded. (1886)

28 Senator Thurmond begins a 24 hour filibuster against the Civil Rights Bill. (1957)

29 Walt Disney's Mary Poppins is released. (1964)

30 The Late Show with David Letterman premieres on CBS. (1993)

31 Heavy weight champion Rocky Marciano dies in a plane crash near Newton, Iowa. (1964)

I guess with all the crap that happens in this world, I should consider myself lucky to have gotten through August with just a red tummy.

Friday, July 31, 2009


Somehow, someway, sometime, I must visit this little jewel in the Mediterranean. I've Google Earthed all over it. From its white powder beaches, turquoise and lapis lazuli waters, to its coves and inlets, to its interior of grassy rolling hills and quaint farm houses, to its pine treed walkways leading to the beaches, Menorca isn't just gorgeous, it's also very civilized, which is the way I prefer islands to be.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happiness Is...

Don't ask me, but everyone else has an opinion on this. For your listening pleasure, while you peruse the long list below, I've embedded Karajan - Beethoven Symphony No. 9

I haven't even read all of these yet, but I wanted to get this post up before JQP gets to Texas and hunts me down for causing him to lust after Matthew Macfadyen, who he knows he can never have.

Happiness quotes:

Abd Er-Rahman III of Spain: I have now reigned about 50 years in victory or peace, beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot. They amount to fourteen. (960 A.D.)

Albert Camus: You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.

Albert Camus: But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?

Albert Camus: All men have a sweetness in their life. That is what helps them go on. It is towards that they turn when they feel too worn out.

Albert Camus: When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him; and you are torn by the thought of the unhappiness and night you cast, by the mere fact of living, in the hearts you encounter.

Albert Schweitzer: Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

Albert Schweitzer: I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.

Albert Schweitzer: Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: One should never direct people towards happiness, because happiness too is an idol of the market-place. One should direct them towards mutual affection. A beast gnawing at its prey can be happy too, but only human beings can feel affection for each other, and this is the highest achievement they can aspire to.

Algernon Black: Why not let people differ about their answers to the great mysteries of the Universe? Let each seek one's own way to the highest, to one's own sense of supreme loyalty in life, one's ideal of life. Let each philosophy, each world-view bring forth its truth and beauty to a larger perspective, that people may grow in vision, stature and dedication.

Allan K. Chalmers: The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.

Amy Lowell: Happiness: We rarely feel it.
I would buy it, beg it, steal it,
Pay in coins of dripping blood
For this one transcendent good.

Anne Frank: We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.

Anne Frank: The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.

Aristotle: Happiness belongs to the self-sufficient

Baruch Spinoza: What everyone wants from life is continuous and genuine happiness.

Benjamin Disraeli: Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.

Bertrand Russell: The happiness that is genuinely satisfying is accompanied by the fullest exercise of our faculties and the fullest realization of the world in which we live.

Bertrand Russell: To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.

Brother David Steindl-Rast : Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy -- because we will always want to have something else or something more.

Buddha: Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.

C. P. Snow: The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase, if you pursue happiness you'll never find it.

Carl Jung: There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year's course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word 'happy' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.

Claude Monet: The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration.

Denis Waitley: Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.

Ecclesiastes: For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Edith Wharton: If only we'd stop trying to be happy we'd have a pretty good time.

Edward de Bono: Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox: The truest greatness lies in being kind, the truest wisdom in a happy mind.

Eric Hoffer: You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy.

Felix Adler: The truth which has made us free will in the end make us glad also.

Fran Leibowitz: Remember that as a teenager you are in the last stage of your life when you will be happy to hear the phone is for you.

Francoise de Motteville: The true way to render ourselves happy is to love our work and find in it our pleasure.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.

George Burns: Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.

George Sand: There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.

H.H. the Dalai Lama: The basic thing is that everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering. And happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors. If your own mental attitude is correct, even if you remain in a hostile atmosphere, you feel happy.

HH the Dalai Lama: When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.

HH the Dalai Lama: Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others' actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others' activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.

HH the Dalai Lama: If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Helen Keller: Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.

Helen Keller: When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

Helen Keller: Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.

Henry David Thoreau: That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.

Henry David Thoreau: The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow on him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not friendship divine in this?

Horace Friess: All seasons are beautiful for the person who carries happiness within.

Hubert H. Humphrey: Here we are the way politics ought to be in America; the politics of happiness, the politics of purpose and the politics of joy.

James M. Barrie: Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.

James Oppenheim: The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.

John Barrymore: Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open.

John D. Rockefeller: I can think of nothing less pleasurable than a life devoted to pleasure.

John Milton: The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven.

Kalidasa: Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
Look to this Day!
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
In its brief course lie all the
Verities and Realities of your Existence.
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendor of Beauty;
For Yesterday is but a Dream,
And To-morrow is only a Vision;
But To-day well lived makes
Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness,
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
Look well therefore to this Day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!

Kin Hubbard: It's pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness. Poverty an' wealth have both failed.

Leo Buscaglia: What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.

Ludwig Wittgenstein: I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.

M. Scott Peck: The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.

Marcel Proust: Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Margaret Bonnano: It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis.

Mark Twain: Whoever is happy will make others happy, too.

Mark Twain: Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.

Mark Twain: Happiness is a Swedish sunset -- it is there for all, but most of us look the other way and lose it.

Mark Twain: The perfection of wisdom, and the end of true philosophy is to proportion our wants to our possessions, our ambitions to our capacities, we will then be a happy and a virtuous people.

Martha Washington: The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances.

Mohandas K. Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

Nathaniel Hawthorne: Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

Norman MacEwan: Happiness is not so much in having as sharing. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Oliver Wendell Holmes: The world has to learn that the actual pleasure derived from material things is of rather low quality on the whole and less even in quantity than it looks to those who have not tried it.

Pearl S. Buck: Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.

Peyton Conway March: There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life -- happiness, freedom, and peace of mind -- are always attained by giving them to someone else.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: To fill the hour -- that is happiness.

Ramona L. Anderson: People spend a lifetime searching for happiness; looking for peace. They chase idle dreams, addictions, religions, even other people, hoping to fill the emptiness that plagues them. The irony is the only place they ever needed to search was within.

Robert Heinlein: Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

Robert Louis Stevenson: There is no duty we so underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.

Sophocles: Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness.

Susan B. Anthony: Independence is happiness.

Theodor Fontane: Happiness, it seems to me, consists of two things: first, in being where you belong, and second -- and best -- in comfortably going through everyday life, that is, having had a good night's sleep and not being hurt by new shoes.

Thich Nhat Hanh: Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

Thomas Jefferson: The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.

Thomas Jefferson: But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life; and thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine.

W. Beran Wolfe: If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator.

Willa Cather: That is happiness; to be dissolved into something completely great.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Another Fine Englishman

Mr. Darcy has a rival.

PBS has been airing Andrew Davies' wonderful adaptation of Dickens' rags to riches story of Little Dorrit. I tried to resist Matthew Macfadyen's characterization of Arthur Clennam, but there is something about that man that is quite simply irresistible to me. And his velvety, sexy voice doesn't help one little bit.

Even if you don't happen to find 19th-century English gentlemen as dreamy as I do, I highly recommend the series.

Once in a great while there is something really beautiful and well-done on television and this is one of those times. The second of five episodes was shown yesterday. The first two complete episodes can be viewed online at the Masterpiece site.

A marriage proposal scene in the second episode breaks the heart into little pieces. Russell Tovey, the actor who portrays John Chivery, does a magnificent job. Everybody is just great in this Dickens classic.

The story has a very timely financial subplot as well.

I don't have the time to put together a decent post here, but I did want to tell you guys about Little Dorrit. And, of course, I needed some kind of post as an excuse to embed these pictures.