Sunday, January 25, 2015

Poems, Chiefly But Not Entirely in the Scottish Dialect

Today is the 256th birthday of Scotland's most famous poet, Robert Burns. He was born January 25, 1759, in the village of Alloway, Ayrshire, and died in Dumfries at the age of 37.


In his short life, Robbie (or "Rabbie," as he was sometimes called) wrote what looks like a gazillion poems, songs, and ballads on a variety of topics. (We have his complete works in a leatherbound book that we could use as a doorstop!) He even wrote a poem to a mouse, and another one to a louse that he saw on a lady's bonnet in church. One of his most famous collections is Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, published in 1786.

In honor of Burns' birthday, M wore his kilt on our walk this afternoon. This is the first chance he's had to wear it with his new Glengarry cap, which now sports a spiffy feather:

"Do you think I could write one?" I asked him as we eased on down the road.

"One what?"

"A poem chiefly in the Scottish dialect."

"Sure. Knock yourself out," he said.


By the time we got back to our house, here's what I had:

Bonnie Prince Charlie
Riding on a Harley,
Tearing up the heather,
Vroom! Vroom! Vroom!
All around the Islands,
Up and down the Highlands,
In fair or stormy weather,
Boom! Boom! Boom!

"Not sure you captured the dialect," M said. "But it does have a nice Caledonian theme."

I haven't thought of a title for it yet, but I'm dedicating it to Robert Burns.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

John Boehner Attacks Nancy Pelosi

This is pretty startling: John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, forced himself  on Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi yesterday in full view of the House membership. These pictures speak for themselves (especially with the help of the captions):

C'mon, baby. You know you want it.

Give it up. Don't make me use this hammer.

Good God! Will somebody call the Capitol Police?

I can't believe I did that. Where are my pills?

Oh, the humanity . . .

Update: I've just been informed by my editors that the above photos are actually of a similar attack four years ago. In Tuesday's fracas, Mrs. Pelosi was wearing a different dress. Picky-picky-picky.

Well here's one I know was taken yesterday, and do you know what that makes John Boehner? Whatever you'd call him--he's a serial one of those!

Mmmm--can you turn just a bit to your left?

Mr. Speaker, have you no sense of decency, Sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sudden Secrets

Today I get to put on my literary glasses to tell you about a new book by my friend and fellow blogger, the talented YA/teen novelist, C. Lee McKenzie.

Me & Lee

Regular readers of my blog may recall that I interviewed Lee a couple of years back when she launched a spooky novel called Alligators Overhead. Today she rolls out her latest tale, Sudden Secrets, published by Evernight Teen. They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but how can you not, at least a little? I mean just take a look at this:

That girl is seriously upset! I can tell from her body language. What's more, I can relate, because I feel that way every time we have a bad thunderstorm. But I'm betting that beneath the cover is a story whose angst-producing machinery goes far beyond thunder and lightning.

Lee gave me just enough of it to whet my appetite: "Cleo Brown's determined to pull her fragmented family together, but instead, they're growing further apart. Then there's something strange about the abandoned house across the street--flashes of light late at night and small flickers of movement that only someone looking for them would see. Everyone says the house is deserted, but Cleo is sure it isn't, and she's sure whoever is inside is watching her."

Believe me, I know about abandoned and supposedly deserted houses, too. I used to hang out in one myself, mostly on dark and stormy nights! Wouldn't want to go back--except in a made-up story like this one.

To buy Sudden Secrets at Amazon, follow this link.

To find out more about all of Lee's books, go here.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Eeewww--that doesn't smell like roses!

Well, the FSU Seminoles sure stunk up the Rose Bowl tonight. What a way to go--nibbled to death by a flock of Ducks! I forget the exact final score, because the game's not over yet, but it was (will be) basically Oregon a whole bunch, Florida State a lot less.

Instead of a 30-wins-in-a-row victory post, I'll console the faithful with some funny "You're an extreme redneck" signs that one of Mike's Chicago friends emailed him recently. (At least he says they're funny. I'll take his word for it; I'm a bit dense when it comes to human frailties.)

Anyway, here goes. You're an extreme redneck when:

  1. You let your 14-year-old daughter smoke at the dinner table in front of her kids.

  2. The Blue Book value of your truck goes up and down depending on how much gas is in it.

  3. You've been married three times and still have the same in-laws.

  4. You think a woman who is out of your league bowls on a different night.

  5. You wonder how service stations keep their restrooms so clean.

  6. Someone in your family died right after saying, "Hey, guys, watch this."

  7. You think Dom Perignon is a Mafia leader.

  8. Your wife's hairdo was once ruined by a ceiling fan.

  9. Your junior prom offered day care.

10. You think the last words of "The Star Spangled Banner" are "Gentlemen, start your engines."

11. You lit a match in the bathroom and your house exploded right off its wheels.

12. The Halloween pumpkin on your porch has more teeth than your spouse.

13. You have to go outside to get something from the fridge.

14. One of your kids was born on a pool table.

15. You need one more hole punched in your card to get a freebie at the House of Tattoos.

16. You can't get married to your sweetheart because there's a law against it.

17. You think loading the dishwasher means getting your wife drunk.

So--let's try to end the day with a smile and congratulate the Oregon Ducks on beating the poop out of us.