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More poetry that isn’t pretentious and a waste of time.

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Forgotten Language

By Shel Silverstein

Silverstein S

Sheldon Allan Silverstein (1930-1999)

Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,
And shared a conversation with the housefly
in my bed.

Once I heard and answered all the questions
of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying
flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers.
.
.
.

How did it go?
How did it go?

——–

 

Percy and Books

By Mary Oliver

Oliver M

Mary Oliver (B. 1935)

Percy does not like it when I read a book.
He puts his face over the top of it, and moans.
He rolls his eyes, sometimes he sneezes.
The sun is up, he says, and the wind is down.
The tide is out, and the neighbor’s dogs are playing.
But Percy, I say, Ideas! The elegance of language!
The insights, the funniness, the beautiful stories
that rise and fall and turn into strength, or courage.
Books? says Percy. I ate one once, and it was enough. Let’s go.

 

———


Still Here

By Langston Hughes

Hughes-L

James Mercer Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

I been scared and battered.

My hopes the wind done scattered.

Snow has friz me,
Sun has baked me,

Looks like between 'em they done
Tried to make me

Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin' --
But I don't care!
I'm still here!

---------

We Alone

By Alice Walker

Walker A

Alice Malsenior Walker (B. 1944)

We alone can devalue gold
by not caring
if it falls or rises
in the marketplace.

Wherever there is gold
there is a chain, you know,
and if your chain
is gold
so much the worse
for you.

Feathers, shells
and sea-shaped stones
are all as rare.

This could be our revolution:
to love what is plentiful
as much as
what's scarce.


---------

 

A Red, Red Rose

By Robert Burns

Burns R

Robert Burns (1759-1796)

O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,

And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.

 

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The Questions…

1. Sculptor Don Featherstone (1936-2015) is best known for creating in 1957 that icon of pop culture, the plastic pink flamingo lawn ornament. How did Featherstone subsequently celebrate the masterpiece he created?

2. In most parts of Alaska, the buildings are constructed on pilings instead of being in direct contact with the ground. Why?

3. What is the oldest continuously-run team in the National Football League?

4. Queen ants live considerably longer than the workers, soldiers, and drones that make up the rest of the colony. How much longer?

5. In 1952, chemist Julius Samann patented the first air freshener for cars. You know it as the stylized evergreen tree hanging from the rear-view mirror. On the original patent application, however, another image was proposed. What was it?

The Answers…

1. He displayed 57 pink flamingos in the front yard of his Massachusetts home.

2. Raising the structures prevents them from transferring heat to the ground and melting the permafrost. If the frozen ground thaws even slightly, buildings can tilt and sink. Permafrost covers about 85 percent of Alaska.

3. The Arizona Cardinals. The team was established in Chicago in 1898 as the Morgan Athletic Club; joined the NFL in 1920 as the Chicago Cardinals; became the St. Louis Football Cardinals in 1960; and moved to Phoenix in 1988. The Cardinals last won an NFL championship in 1947.

4. Queens can live up to 30 years. Non-queens live from a few weeks to a year or two.

5. His first patent application envisioned a buxom woman in a swimsuit. Samann updated the patent in 1959 to the pine-scented evergreen.

Featherstone

Samann

 

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If people destroy something irreplaceable made by mankind, they are called vandals; if they destroy something irreplaceable made by God, they are called developers.

— Joseph Wood Krutch

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The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.

— Mark Twain

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Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.

— Benjamin Franklin

###

There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of people in that society who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that they have nothing to lose. People who have a stake in their society protect that society.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Krutch JW

Krutch

King ML

King

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This Just In

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA — A Los Angeles man was arrested for attempting to smuggle three king cobra snakes into the U.S. in potato chip canisters.

He was charged in connection with a parcel from Hong Kong that was intercepted by Customs and Border Protection agents. The shipment contained three juvenile cobras concealed in separate canisters. The snakes were two to three feet long.

The highly venomous king cobra, Ophiophagus hannah, can grow to 18 feet in length. When confronted, the snakes can raise up to one-third of their bodies off the ground. Typically, when threatened, they flare out their hoods and emit a frightening hiss.

During questioning, the man admitted he had received a total of 20 king cobras in two prior shipments, but all had died in transit.

Cobra

CARDIFF, WALES — Seven Roman Catholic priests were refused service in a local pub after the bartender mistook them for members of a stag party in costume. In the UK, costumes are commonly worn to stag parties.

The priests arrived at Cardiff’s City Arms on a recent Saturday to celebrate the ordination of Father Peter McLaren. They were turned away and told that the City Arms did not serve “large groups in fancy dress.”

When the priests realized the bartender wasn’t joking, they turned to leave. But another staff member realized they were legitimate, invited them to return, and gave them a free round of drinks.

An assistant manager of the pub said it was the policy of the pub to turn away large parties in costume because such revelers frequently become unruly.

Priests

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA –A family’s pet cat is being called a hero for foiling an attempted home invasion.

Police said Binky the cat began growling one night around midnight, waking up the household. His owners checked the property, found nothing unusual, and prepared to go back to bed.

Suddenly, a man pounded on a patio door, claiming to be in jeopardy and pleading to be let in. When the suspicious residents refused, the man tried to force his way into the house through a window.

While the owners called 911, Binky, who is declawed, attacked the man, biting him severely on the arms.

The determined intruder tried to gain entry through another window, but Binky attacked again. The man finally gave up and fled. He was captured by arriving police officers.

Paramedics were called to treat the man’s wounds. He faces charges of residential entry and vandalism.

The residents said they were shocked when Binky leapt into action. Usually, they said, he is friendly and playful and good with children.

Binky

 

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Useless Facts

More “Useless Facts for Inquiring Minds.”

————

— The thin strip of paper protruding from the top of a Hershey’s Kiss is called a niggly wiggly.

— The board game Clue (known in the UK as Cluedo) was invented in 1944 by a British musician, Anthony Pratt, as a diversion for people waiting it out in London air raid shelters.

— In the 1983 “Dirty Harry” movie Sudden Impact, Clint Eastwood snarled, “Go ahead, make my day.” The phrase was later voted #6 of the top 100 movie quotes of all time. In truth, the line was first used in the 1982 film Vice Squad by Gary Swanson, who sneered, “Go ahead, scumbag, make my day.”

— In 1972, Andy Warhol released a rather ghoulish print of Richard Nixon with “Vote McGovern” beneath it. Warhol was audited by the IRS every year from 1972 until he died in 1987.

Vote McGovern

— Opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, a superstitious fellow, was obsessed with finding a bent nail backstage before every performance. Usually, a stagehand was assigned to scatter a few bent nails between the dressing rooms and the stage to make sure Pavarotti found one.

— Only two animal species wage war on their own kind: humans and ants.

— In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration banned the importation of certain classic French cheeses that contain high levels of bacteria. The ban affects such soft, unpasteurized cheeses as Roquefort, Brie, and others that depend on bacteria to create the desired flavor and consistency.

Critics of the ban point out that cheese lovers have consumed these products for centuries with no ill effects. The FDA has stood firm, however. Today, the only Roquefort you can get legally in the U.S. is made from pasteurized goat’s milk. Most agree that, compared to the real stuff, it sucks.

— In 1996, to celebrate the production of the one hundred billionth Crayola crayon, TV’s Mister Rogers poured a ceremonial batch of limited-edition “blue ribbon” crayons. They were wrapped in foil and quickly became collectibles.

Mr. Rogers

— The Bronx, one of the five boroughs of New York City, is named after the Bronx River, which flows south through the borough. Originally, the river was called “Bronck’s river” after Jonas Bronck, who settled the area in 1639, but the name evolved to Bronx.

Rafflesia arnoldii, a plant found in the Indonesian rain forests, is called the “corpse flower” because it emits an odor disturbingly similar to that of decaying flesh. It’s also the largest flower on earth, with blooms up to three feet wide.

— When you speak, you spray microscopic saliva droplets into the air. On average, you spew about 2.5 droplets per word or 300 droplets per minute.

— The motor scooter, a type of motorcycle with a flat platform for the rider’s feet, was invented in 1946 by the Italian manufacturer Piaggio. WWII had left Italy’s economy and roads in ruins, so Piaggio created the Vespa, an efficient, low-cost mode of transportation for the masses. Vespa is Italian for wasp.

Vespa

 

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Rock is dead

Mocking

Angles

Enrolled

 

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The Questions…

1. What is the sport of eukonkanto?

2. Encyclopedia Britannica published its last print edition in 2010. EB is now “Britannica Online,” plus “Britannica Online for Kids,” plus special services for schools and libraries. Back in the day, how much did a 32-volume set of Encyclopedia Britannica weigh?

3. In 1861, the United States government badly needed money for the war effort against the Confederate States. What was the solution?

4. What do the words abhors, accent, access, almost, biopsy, billow, chintz, effort, and ghostly have in common?

5. To what does the medical term diastema refer?

The Answers…

1. Eukonkanto, also known as “wife-carrying,” is a contest originating in Finland in which male competitors try to carry a female teammate through an obstacle course in the fastest time. Fins say the competition was inspired by a gang of thieves in the late 1800s who kidnapped Finnish women from remote villages, carrying the victims away on their backs.

2. 129 pounds.

3. The solution was a tax on personal income. The Revenue Act of 1861 created the position of Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the framework for the federal income tax.

4. In those words, the letters are in alphabetical order.

5. Diastema is the condition of having a gap between two teeth, typically the front teeth.

Eukonkanto

Terry-Thomas

 

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