Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pigs, Math, and Shared Rides

(From "Loonville" series. Tweaked and recycled.)From my new residence, it was a twelve-mile drive to my place of employment. After a year in the elementary school, I transferred to the junior high to teach mathematics. Marie's classroom was across the hall from mine. She taught English to the seventh and eighth graders who were our charges. This lady was the same age as my mother. We worked together for five years until I left the community, and she still had several good years before her retirement.

We soon figured out that a good bit of gas (read: money) could be saved if we were to share rides to work, as we lived only three miles apart, and we were both a dozen miles from school. Thus, we alternated weeks, stopping by one another's house to pick up and drop off the passenger.

The farm of Jim Griggs was located along our route to school. The pigster had posted a large, yet tastefully done, sign at the entry to his property.

-------------Griggs' Pigs------------

----------Hampshire----- Poland China---------
Marie, in her typically pedantic manner, was offended by the sign, for she claimed the apostrophe usage was incorrect, and the sign should read "Griggs's Pigs." I allowed that that would destroy both the rhyme and the lilt, and should therefore read "Griggs's Pigses." Marie was not amused.

There was a saying amongst school people at the time that "every teacher should be an English teacher." But not all English teachers are so willing to share the responsibility. I had occasion, created an occasion, once in a seventh grade math class to assert that "ain't" was a valid word in the language, and that it could be correctly used. "Ain't I" is a contraction for the phrase "am I not" and may be used in a construction as follows: "I am going to town with you, ain't I?" This was reported by my students to the English teacher, who in turn sent a message back to me, telling the kids to tell me that she "will teach English, and Mr. Lacy should stick to arithmetic."
© 2010 David W. Lacy

Monday, January 30, 2012

Teacher Again, in Memory

(For the next few days you will find recycled posts on String Too Short to Tie. Each may be modified somewhat from the original. This will give me time to think through some issues, including whether or not to continue with this platform.)
I recently had a flashback to my days in front of the classroom. I recalled this incident.

Last period of the day. Eighth grade math class. This group is the "band section." It has been demonstrated that there is a positive correlation between musical ability and math ability, which is to say this was a bright bunch of kids, but disadvantaged by being in a last period class. That is, the kids, and the teacher, had already been through six other class periods.

Keeping the attention a top priority, the teacher is performing brilliantly. In the course of the exposition, he makes a statement that inspires Jack to inquire about an issue that does not bear directly on the lesson, but it is related to the topic. Teach understands that this is a valid question and responds, and I quote, "I don't know right off-hand, but I have that information in my drawers. Give me a chance to look for it."

No reaction, except that I note that fourth seat back, far right hand row, Jane has a wicked sparkle in her eye and the formation of the grin on her face tells me she is about to let go. I make eye contact with her, hard stare, glower as if silently to say, If you do, you're dead. She relaxed, I relaxed and proceeded with the lesson.

This has been one of my favorite "teacher" stories over the years. Were I to meet Jane somewhere today, she would be sixty years of age and probably would have absolutely no memory of this incident. And I would not remind her.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Be of Good Courage (Reminder)

(Modified and recycled post.)
I am not a doom-and-gloomer, but I am no Pollyanna, either. Things look dark indeed. Yet the cliche would assure us that it is always "darkest just before the dawn." I don't see that as a hopeful expectation, either, because it might be the case that it is not yet "darkest" and things may get worse before they get better.

Setting aside economic circumstances, political division, and rampant nonsense, he or she who commits it all to God and walks with Jesus may suffer from the ills and vicissitudes of life, but yet will not be overwhelmed by them. We will walk in peace with God, in spite of the swirling and raging storm without!

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?...

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD
Psalm 27

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tapped Out

Creative juices, limited as they are at most times, are simply not flowing at all today. Laundry: sorted, done, folded, put away. Lunch: eaten. Nap: taken. And now, a lazy evening. Life's good.

So, then. What of the blog? Well, someone stole someone's cartoon and posted it on facebook, so I cobbed it and re-release it here for your amusement. Though in some ways I find it less than funny, because I hate it when I find an undershot installation.

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Citrus and Vinyl

Oh, the birds and the bees in the citrus trees tempting me to juicy fruit (Wrigley’s does not own that term!). We have sampled oranges and grapefruit from outside our window; and today BBBH came in wagging a hatful of tangerines from the north end of the park. As you can see, these particular fruit are very small, about an inch-and-a-half in diameter, but oh, what juicy flavor is contained within!

Later in the day in the south end of the park, I plucked a lemon, one of the smaller ones on the tree, which is almost perfectly spherical and just a bit over three inches in diameter.

A trip to the flea market at DonWes netted me two vinyl albums, one by Bonnie Raitt, the other by Cat Stevens. Not a bad haul for an hour of roaming through the aisles of stuff. As I was standing in front of the junk pile that was actually the one where I found these albums, I remarked to Don that it would be a real favor to everybody if the entire pile of stuff were given a home in a landfill. This elicited laughter from passers-by, from the vendor not so much, and then I found these treasures there. Who knows what languishes in a heap of trash? The vendor knows!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

137 Drops of Rain

At four in the morning I awakened
My heart leaped with joy and was taken
with delight, for on the rooftop were drops
of rain! What a joyous night
that there should fall
this blessing for us all!
But one could almost count before it stopped
the raindrops as they plopped
upon the roof. 137 drops of rain
Would not ease the Earth’s pain.
We cry out, “Oh, Lord, give us water,”
But all is quiet now. Will it rain later?

We winter Texans love the sun,
Enjoy the warmth, have lots of fun.
But true Texans who wrest their living from the soil
Or feed their families by honest toil
Need rain most desperately, Lord,
Would you grant us, is our prayer,
A freshening downpour, we are in your care!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We Are Entertained

Monday night’s entertainment was provided by the Edinburg Parks and Recreation program for youngsters. The Folklorico Dancers performed for an hour and kept the audience riveted every moment. These kids, aged eight to eighteen, perform authentic Mexican dances. They are internationally recognized, and have won both national and international competitions. They have performed in such diverse places as Los Angeles, Honolulu, and in two different Brazilian cities.
Apart from the energy level these youngsters display, the stamina and the talent they have nurtured, one has to reflect on the fact that these children also live ordinary day-to-day lives, attending school and doing what kids do. Participation is strictly voluntary (unless there is some parent with a cudgel in the background!) The practice time has to be an intense demand on each individual.
It was an hour well-spent; and it was the second time I have witnessed a performance by the group, though some individuals have moved on to adulthood since I last saw them perform, and some new tykes have been added.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Year's Worst Day

Dr. Cliff Arnall of University of Cardiff (Wales) calculates that this is the worst day of the year as it applies to people's feelings, I guess about themselves and life in general. The unfortunate thing is that any day of the year is a bad day if one allows it to be. Professor Arnall has devised a mathematical-looking formula which one suspects has less to do with mathematics than it has to do with his endeavor to support a personal postulalte; but what do I know? He evidently sells his wisdom and knowledge to people in the tourism business, because it is when people are at their lowest that they are most likely to splurge on tickets, presumably to take them out of their misery.

It has been my observation that one can buy tickets to different geographic locales, but in all likelihood, if one is miserable, he will take his troubles along with him.

Here is a link to the article I read. Do the math if you like.

Meanwhile, happy Doldrums! Now there's an oxymoron.

(As BBBH says, Find a need and fill it...)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chupacabra, Palm Rats and Road Runners #T

Update: According to feedjit, chances are you are here because you are looking for information about or a picture of the roadrunner.  Thanks for visiting, and please join me on String Too Short to Tie on a more or less daily basis.  It is a potpourri; you never know what you will find.  Comments appreciated.

One of the challenges the Winter Texan is faced with is that of sorting out legend, fantasy, and nonsense from reality.

That it is a different world in South Texas from the world we are accustomed to in the Midwest is evident. A day's drive across the semi-arid mesquite and cactus-ridden landscape is more than enough to convince one of the truth of this.

But consider some of the strange "inhabitants" of this land. Following the title, I first mention el chupacabra, and that may be first because he has recently been in the news. Whether or not a thirteen-year old boy actually killed a chupacabra will no doubt be debated into the pages of history until it becomes a part of the legend. El chupacabra: legend or reality?

I learned of palm rats the first year I spent in this area. My skeptical nature more or less demanded that I believe the purveyor of the tale was leading me pretty much on a "snipe hunt." Over the years, I have come to be aware that in some parts of the country there are rats that climb palm trees to raid the fruit thereof, and that some may jump onto roofs; hence we have "roof rats." But of the "palm rats" of which I was first told, those that live in the dead fronds near the top of palm trees and never go to ground, I ask: fact or fiction?

Road runners appear in my birders' manual, so I am quite sure that they exist. I have been told that they inhabit this area; but as to the question as to whether they really do or not, I say, Seeing is believing. One morning while taking an early perambulation around the park, a road runner ran out in front of me and fled down the street on which I was walking! He soon sped out of sight around a corner. I did not see Wile E. Coyote. But I'm pretty sure he or his near-kin are close by!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Psalm 5

To the Chief Musician. With flutes. A Psalm of David.

1 Give ear to my words, O LORD, Consider my meditation. 2 Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray. 3 My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up. 4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. 5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. 6 You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man ...

11 But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. 12 For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Other Side of the Coin

"Charlene, what makes you come so far in the winter?"

"Have you ever spent a winter in Minnesota"?

"No, but I was in Minneapolis once, first week of April one year. Went to the stadium to watch the crew paint the grass green for opening day. The snow mountains in the parking lot were ginormous."

"Was it cold?"

"A bit."

"Spread the snow everywhere a foot deep, put some ice under that, and drop the temperature to twenty below zero."

"I get the picture."

Oh, yeah. South Texas is the place to be.

The thing is, though, all these people are older than dirt. No kids screaming and laughing as their sleds fly down the hill; (no hill, for that matter) no teens lallygagging around with their semi-innocent PDsA. Not even any professionals or workaday people bustling home for a bite to eat and a bit of rest before rushing back to work at dawn. The social interactions are largely lolling in the sun or in the pool, talking about what once was.

But it's not cold.

I am sure there was no "accusation," but it has been hinted that I might be "rubbing it in." I present today's post as the other side of the coin. Enjoy your family, your work, your winter wherever you are.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Down in the Valley

Thursday we successfully negotiated the highways between Rockport and Edinburg. No highway trip is without incident, but the good news is that the only "bad" incident we encountered had a happy ending.

As we drove from Rockport to Sinton, we encountered some pretty heavy misting which required the use of the wipers for a few miles. Long enough, as a four-inch strip of rubber flapped in the breeze, to remind me that I needed to change the wipers. In fact I should have done some time ago. So in Sinton we stopped at O'Reilly's Auto Parts. There a very pleasant young man named Ray asked if he could help me. I told him I needed new blades, but I wasn't sure that I could even remember how to change them. No problem, he said, let's go take a look. In a trice he had removed the blades, led me back into the store and matched the junk to the necessary replacement product. He rang up the sale and took my money. Then he took the new blades and headed for the vehicle, where he installed them, following which he offered me a big smile and a handshake!

Why have I related this apparently simple and routine vignette in the life in such detail? Simply this. It is truly refreshing to encounter a young person, for this genteman could scarcely have been more than twenty-one years of age, who is courteous, pleasant and makes one feel that he genuinely wants to help. Way to go, Ray!

Southward from Sinton along US 77 until we came to Texas Route 44 on which we headed west. This strip of road is designated "Cesar Chavez Memorial Highway." So now we arrive in the city of Alice at lunch time. And thus the incident.

We were in the restaurant next in line to place our order (no, it was not a burger joint) when I realized that I had no money and BBBH did not bring in her purse. So I told her what I wanted, then ran back to the RV to get her purse. (What? get my money? Get real.) Following the meal, we got back on the road, drove all the way across Alice and a couple of miles down US 281 where we stopped for gas. After filling, mention was made of the purse. Which was not with us. So, BBBH practically in tears, and I, not feeling so hot myself, drove back to the place where purse had last been seen. Beautiful went in. The hostess immediately brought her purse to her and said, I knew this was yours because I noticed your gorgeous yellow blouse when you were here. A lady brought this to me half-minute after you left!

This has gotten much too long, so I will conclude by noting that we have arrived in Edinburg, we have set up camp, and are planning to stay awhile!


Here we sing the praises of one of our favorite places in Rockport. We have never failed to stop at Mac's at least once each time we visit this village. One year, our plan to travel on southward without a stayover at Rockport, we actually drove several miles out of our way to lunch here.

Our schedule calls for departure Thursday, and Wednesday we realized that we had yet to frequent this place. So we fired up the scooter and traveled the short distance to a wonderful meal.

Domingo serves a great brisket plate, the meat abundant and melt-in-your-mouth tender, two sides. Today, BBBH chose potatoes and green beans, I selected potato salad and peach cobbler. You have your choice, with sauce or without. We recommend "with."

Our next report will be filed from somewhere near the southern-most tip of Texas.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What a Day!

Since Monday was a sunny day, eighty-two degrees here on the Coastal Bend, and since we spent the day mostly outdoors on the scooter or walking on the Fulton Pier, we had occasion to note, as we were prepping for our night's rest, that our complexions were a good bit ruddier than they had been! Excellent, for what good is a winter in Texas if there is no tan when one gets back to the Midwest?

Tuesday was overcast, but again a good day for cruising around. Back at the park, we spent most of the afternoon sitting outside the rig further promoting the tanning. The neighbors to our left, Art and Sue, joined us for much conversation and laughter. A bit later Jim and Holly from across the lane came over, Jim with his guitar. We had our own private jam session right here on the lot! Picking, singing, talking, and a lot more laughter. Missouri, Kansas, and of course, Indiana, all coming together in camaraderie.

We all contributed solos, duets, loud and lusty singing all together. A special treat was a rendition by Jim who accompanied himself on the guitar. It was an excellent performance of Jim Henson's "The Train to Morrow."

  • You can not go to Morrow anymore today,
    For the train that goes to Morrow is a mile upon its way.

We broke it up at dark and repaired to our respective abodes to rest up for the "morrow."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Yam What I Yam

Popeye first appeared full-grown in The Thimble Theater on January 17, 1929.
I yam what I yam.
I eats me spinach.
I'm Popeye the sailor man.

How could you not like a man with a girlfriend named "Olive Oyl"?
How could you not like a man who had an apodal ward named "Swee' Pea"?
How could you not like a man who tolerated his ever-mooching, hamburger gobbling friend named "Wimpy"? ...............Elzie SegarHow could you not like a man who could take a beating from Bluto, pop a can of spinach from his shirt, swallow its contents and beat the tar out of his adversary?

Except for the date, which came up as an "event" on this day in history, the rest of the above is cobbled from my memory. Yes, I enjoyed reading comic books as a youngster. They were not considered to be "edifying literature" in the home in which I was raised. Yet the parents tolerated a certain amount of foolishness, so long as the serious was tended to properly.

Foolishness or not, I think it interesting that the above trivia made a longer lasting impression than did, say, Ivanhoe. Why is that?

Well, Popeye, ye entertained us well. We don't know how old ye were when you appeared, but we do know that ye've been around now for eighty-three years!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Or Fish and Chips

The post office is on vacation today, Federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. But the RV repair shop is open. They are almost always willing to do stuff for money. So the rig is in the shop this morning. Need to get that new coach battery (remember Bowling Green, Ky?) and we need to get a tune-up for the generator, which we virtually never use. But the one time we wanted to use it, it refused to run longer than fifteen seconds at a time.

Have to have the faucet assembly for the shower replaced. Hoping against hope that that is the end of the list, because that will create a sufficient dent in the exchequer.

Meanwhile, BBBH and I will be on the little red scooter scooting around Rockport. Probably beach, maybe some fresh cold boiled shrimp for lunch. For me, that is. BBBH prefers her shrimp with "clothes," that is, breaded. She says the naked ones are, well, unappetizing. She's so wrong.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


or, We Are About to Return to Real Time.

Our resting place in Galveston.

The breakers were very small, but the wind was blowing against them, creating interesting spray pattern.

I found humor in this setting.. Bigify to read sign

I read yesterday's article to BBBH. She said it wasn't funny, had no pizzazz. I did not know what to do about that, since I called it as I saw it. She said, Okay, it's your blog.

In Galveston, we stayed at Dellanera RV Park, which is located quite literally on the beach. We enjoyed the early part of the stay, as it is always a thrill for each of us to be on the ocean. Well, next to it, not on it. Late in the afternoon, though, the wind started to kick up and by nightfall the RV was rocking in the breeze. Breeze, that is, with gusts up to fifty miles an hour. Nevertheless, I slept well; BBBH not so much.

Thursday morning we started on down Galveston Island toward Freeport. While we did note some properties that had suffered damage from Hurricane Ike in 2008, most houses were either repaired, rebuilt, or razed. Overall, the strip looked normal and we were both amazed, once again, at the number of people who apparently have more money than they know what to do with, for these abodes are not fishing shacks, or even, as they are more likely known, "summer cottages." "Mansions" springs to mind.

Off the island and back on the mainland, we went through Freeport, Texas's number one least scenic area. From that point southward, the route is quite familiar to us, as we have taken it many times over the past few years. One stretch of Texas 521 is quite desolate, but the road is good, if narrow, and we made that part of the drive without incident. We connected with Texas 35 at Palacios where we stopped to make and consume lunch while enjoying the scenery of a commercial parking lot.

I enjoyed the drive across Lavaca Bay into Port Lavaca while Beautiful dozed. Somewhat later as we were crossing Copano Bay just above Rockport, she awakened in time to take in that bit of scenery. Minutes later we were "back home again" at Ancient Oaks RV Park where we will stay a week while some repairs are done, the laundry is done, and some sheer enjoyment of Coastal Texas takes place by Yours Truly.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


or, Wherein We Discover One Does Not Have to Look Out the Window to See an Idiot; The Mirror Will Do Nicely.

We left Frog City relatively early, that is about nine o'clock. We drove along I-10, passing through Lake Charles and entering Texas! Here it was that, our destination being Galveston, I relied on recall from years ago and chose to exit at Orange. (Proof of this idiocy above.) Thus it was that in order to reach our goal we found it necessary to drive through Port Arthur. (Texas's second-least scenic area.) Several miles farther along a "Detour" sign, but with no further information, appeared. 'Tis some French word, I thought, perhaps meaning "Don't you wish you were somewhere else?" (Idiocy proof number two.) I blithely drove on along the road for a good many miles, came to a right turn that paralleled the seaside, and though the road was now considerably narrower, continued on. Continued on, that is until suddenly and with no warning, the road ended in a salt marsh. (Idiocy: q.e.d.)

Sparing detail, I managed to get turned back along the pathway from which we had come. It was a dozen miles back to the highway which bore the number we wanted. Turned onto it and soon came to a notice that the road was closed "12 miles ahead." So we turned around, asked a service station attendant how to get to Galveston (Brief respite from idiocy.) This took us another dozen miles back to Port Arthur and the location of the "Detour" sign. We took the detour. Ultimately, and much later than planned, we boarded the ferry that took us across Galveston Bay and into the city where we found a place to park for the night.

Travel tip: If you are traveling along I-10, destination Galveston, exit at Winnie, not Orange.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Along Gulfport's Beach

Tuesday we left Shepard State Park and started a leisurely drive along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We had visited this area on our first winter escape to the South. We wanted to see the area as it is now, six years after Katrina. Much has been done to re-create and restore the area. Much has not been done. And much will never be completed, one suspects. A case in point is the development of "prime" beachfront property.

As we drove along US 90 in Gulfport and Pass Christian, we noted mile after mile of empty lots with "For Sale" signs adorning the frontage. It will take very nervy people with very deep pockets to create the change which would restore the area to the functional use of its previous life.

We crossed the new bridge into Bay Saint Louis and drove on in to Waveland where we had spent a couple of weeks, pre-Katrina. This area had been seriously damaged, and it was heartening to see that much of the town has been reclaimed. It was also the beginning of...

Reluctantly I report that things did not go well in Waveland, for it was past noon and we were both hungry. I pulled into a Hardees and BBBH strenuously objected that she was not eating at Hardees. Which did not deter me from the mission to get something to eat, but mostly I wanted a cup of coffee.

There was but one employee in the place, and he was in the kitchen. I stood, and stood, and waited and. And finally turned to go out the door when a young lady appeared from behind a door and asked if she could take my order. Torn between good sense and desire for caffeine, I went back and placed an order for burger, fries and coffee. She gave me a paper cup for the coffee. I went to the urn and drew a yellowy water which looked exactly like what you think it did. So I went back to the girl, showed her the stuff and she said, Oh, no problem. I'll make you a new pot. No, I said, just give me my food and I am out of here. And BBBH showed up in the lobby and chastised me for my rude and inconsiderate behavior, pretty much the last thing said for most of the day.

BBBH had her steak dinner in Lafayette, Louisiana.

The day ended in a campground twenty or so miles west of Lafayette, the name of which was "Frog City RV Park." We practically had to swim in, the roads were so covered with water.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Quick Update

We have arrived in Rockport, Texas. Adventures to share. Unfortunately, the internet server seems to select for me what I may and may not view. Guess what I cannot view. Yep, you guessed it: String Too Short to Tie. Because this is true, I will not know if this is posted to the blog unless you write me a comment, which I will receive by email.

If the posting is working properly, then I will work up a couple of stories for you tomorrow. Or soon. Or whenever, because it is supposed to be a sunny seventy here for the next couple of days, and I think the first priority may be enjoying that!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wish I Could...

...file an interesting report of the progress of the trip so far. A tiring day on the road and a suspect internet connection tend to prompt me to a very brief recap, ever with the hope that I may be able to share something interesting at some point.

Sunday we drove from Montgomery to Gautier, Mississippi where we stayed two nights at Shepard State Park. Beautiful park just across the bay from Pascagoula shipyards. No connection to the webs, though, and barely signals on the phone. But after all, isn't "getting unconnected" the point of a vacation?

Monday we dawdled around, drove into Ocean Springs for a Wally World fix and to get a flat repaired on the scooter. Tuesday, a very late start. Drove along the beachfront in Gulfport and Pass Christian. Never have we seen so much beachfront real estate that someone would desperately like to unload. Mile after mile of "For Sale" signs. Nice beach, too, with beautiful white sands.

We had supper at Lafayette, Louisiana, then drove a dozen or so miles on west to the campground where we are currently ensconced. Next report, if all goes well, will be filed from Texas!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Alabama, But First...

...we will look quickly at our first day out. Drove to Bowling Green, Kentucky where we parked the RV on LaQuinta parking lot. Very nice people, no charge. But also, no amenities, other than use of the lobby. So, no problem. We will heat with the propane furnace.
We did.
Temperature overnight dropped to 29 degrees, tank ran out of propane, so at 2:30 in the morning, awakened to a serious chill. Additional covers, still too cold for BBBH who dressed and took her book into the lobby to read while I curled into a fetal position and went back to sleep. And though I did sleep, I was never completely unaware of the chill.

And the coach battery died. Picture this. The day before we left, I had the truck battery replaced and did not think to check the coach battery. No comments on that, please.

Then I tried to crank the generator. Oops. Needs battery power in order to crank. Can't start generator, can't charge battery. Vicious circle.

Time's up. Bought propane, cleaned and rewatered battery, made trip safely to Montgomery. Battery now charged, furnace now works, and we are parked where we have a land line for electricity. Life's good.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Where in the World are

vanilla and Beautiful?


or Here?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

North to Alaska!

March 1867, the United States purchased Alaska from Russia for about two cents per acre. It was eventually organized as a Territory of the United States in 1912. On January 3, 1959, Alaska became the 49th State of the Union. Happy 52nd Birthday to this fine State.

Six rows of eight stars each on the field of blue had occupied the upper left-hand corner of Old Glory. Now, just in time for the beginning of my new career as a teacher, we had a "new" Old Glory with seven rows of seven stars on the blue field. Its tenure as our official flag was short-lived, though, because Hawaii was not far behind.*

*Hawaii was admitted to the Union August 21, 1959, less than a week after the start of the new school year. The new fifty-star flag became official on July 4, 1960. See "Flag Day."

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Tangled Web

New Year's Day post quoted Job and addressed some of the complaints of the human condition.

Case in point. At about the very time the article was being posted to blogger, I was lying awake with ridiculous pain in the area of the right transverse tarsal. Inasmuch as this was preventing sleep, or rest for that matter, I used the time, trying to get my mind off the foot, by attempting to think of material for String Too Short to Tie. This was largely an exercise in futility, and finally at daybreak I got up for the day, the first day of 2012.

During the time of the mind games, I thought of many terms in my vocabulary which are seldom used by anyone, including myself. Many of them were the result of specialty studies or job-related cant. I dreamed up, in a manner of speaking, enough of these to fill a page in total randomness. Of course, when I was showered, dressed, and fully awake, I could remember practically none of them.

A few I do remember.
--adiabatic lapse rate --standard deviation
--lemma --top dead center
--ground fault --fundamental theorem of arithmetic
--flying buttress --boolean algebra
--matrix --isobar,
a sufficient sample to give you the idea that 1) the mind was disorganized and rambling; 2) the mind was engaged. in nonproductive activity; and 3) there is certainly little enough of interest to engage a reader of the blog.

Try as I might, I cannot seem to connect these in any cogent way. I have to say that I strongly desire to come up with more engaging material in future. Please bear with me.

Your assignment, if you should choose to accept it, use any two of these terms in the same sentence such that it reflects some sense of reality.

About the picture. During a couple of years in the past, we have had roses into December; but this is the first time I can remember taking a picture of a rose in our yard in January. I should have done a little dead-heading, snapped a better shot. But it was cold out there! Persistent little plant. There are five roses on this bush at about this stage.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Days are Swifter...

When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day. Job 7:4

I do that. Job continues on with his complaint that his skin is broken (I have that); that his days are passing quicker than the eye can see (mine, too); that his life is a wind and he shall no more see good. (I fear I might have that, too. I know I don't see as well as I once did.)

What is good? Do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord. Deuteronomy 6:18.

Notice it does not say "Do that which is right in your own sight;" nor yet does it say "Do that which is right in the eyes of your fellow man." Interesting.

Bodacious thoughts on the beginning of a new year.