Cattle, by Berta Heart Nance

I was reminded of this poem the other evening. The opening stanzas were used in the beginning of the great PBS Texas history program “Lone Star,” which was based on a book of that title.

by Berta Harte Nance (1883-1958)

Other states were carved or born
Texas grew from hide and horn.

Other states are long and wide,
Texas is a shaggy hide. Continue reading

Yom Kippur

To my Jewish Readers:

May your name be inscribed in the Book of Life, and may your new year have started as it should continue: as sweet as honey, filled with health and peace.

Meaning Shifts: Awful and Awesome

English is not quite as variable as Humpty Dumpty, who averred that words meant what he said they meant, no more and no less, but it does shift, reverse, and back-track when it comes to meanings.

I tend to get irritated when a perfectly useful term or phrase becomes taboo, or a euphemism that is just common enough that I can no longer utilize its services in my writing. DadRed steams when terms are watered down to the point of losing their meaning and power. I learned this when a not-too-bad 1980s youth choir anthem became a praise chorus. The core meaning of the music was lost, leaving a very different sense behind. Continue reading

Due to Dentist…

and eye-glasses shop (dark glasses, at last!!!), and waiting at drug store for prescription, and grading, I lack a brain sufficient to blog.

It turns out that there are very few lens labs remaining that grind glass. Combine that with lousy timing—right before school starts—and you get to wait a month and more for glass lenses to be ground and put into frames and shipped back. But I now have two pair of indoor glasses and a pair of dark glasses once more.

Watching the Monkey Dance

“The monkey dance” is Rory Miller’s term for the steps young men (and some women) go through leading up to a fight. Think bar fight, or two guys in high school being egged on by others. There’s a pattern of action-reaction that can lead to a serious fight if those involved, or their associates, don’t back down or defuse things. It is about dominance and rank in the social group.

I got to watch the end-result of that very early one weekend morning in Krakow, Poland. As in, five forty-five AM early. Or late, depending on when the bars closed. Continue reading

Castle, Festung, Burg

A re-run from 2015. I’m still somewhere without internet.

“Well, it’s really more of a schloß than a burg.” One of those lines that make no sense out of context, unless you speak German (or the NATO version of Deutch-lish). The building in question happened to have a medieval core with extensive Renaissance additions, to the point that it really had become more of a palace than a castle, although it still had -burg in the name. Confused yet? Continue reading