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The Blog

October 9 features what we hope is a one-time event–promises, promises.

On Writing or Having a Blog

There are many hard things in the path of life. Saying I'm sorry. Asking forgiveness. Admitting fear. Having your favorite TV show pre-empted by a not-so special.

And, if you have a blog page, writing something on a regular schedule (oh, let's pick twice a week as a totally arbitrary number) that's clear, intelligent and fulfills its purpose is on that hard things list. And then getting it posted on time really ratchets the pressure.

Actually, those two paragraphs are an infinite loop. Fear. Forgiveness. Writing. Delay. Posting. Fear. Forgiveness. Posting. Delay Etc. Etc. It's sort of like the five stages of grieving, only not limited to five steps.

Back in the day, when the world was pure and this blog was a shiny new toy, there was a lot to write about, it seemed. There were pages devoted to photography, food, stories, and old cartoons and postings. Alas, those days are gone as I stopped taking pictures, stopped looking at cookbooks except as a source for a specific recipe, and cut back on story writing in favor of poetry. Cartoons are still conceived, but execution takes a lot longer. And then the loop repeats again Fear. Sorrow. Boredom. Delay. Sorry, that's a different list.    Top

Local Folk.

A new holiday popped up on my calendar–Indigenous Peoples Day. I'm sure it's coincidence that it just happens to be on Columbus Day. No, I'm not sure. In fact, I know it's a plot to de-emphasize the discovery of America by some European guys.

Well, I say more power to 'em. Columbus has done nothing for my life, and the areas I've lived (with the exception of Southwest Ohio) was never anyplace that native Americans lived, so I have no personal connection to either side. In fact, I think we should just have America Day and celebrate whenever we or our ancestors got here, whether that's a millennium or a week ago, from wherever they came. I'm picturing a big food day, where you can have a pizza or a gyro with pemmican or squash and a beer. We can celebrate what brought us all together, and what each person or group added to the mix.

indiginous peoples

What I do like about the usurpation of Columbus Day is how it fits into a fine old tradition of overwriting a previous culture's tradition. Christianity did it with Christmas. Jesus was no more born on December 25 than I was, but the Christians needed a holiday to get people away from Saturnalia, a very big Roman solstice festival, celebrated in December. One sadness is that Saturnalia was celebrated for seven days, where Christmas is only one. But the religious day pre-empted the holiday, and now Only strange anachronists celebrate Saturnalia. My favorite example of overriding is May Day, which began as a pagan spring (read–fertility) festival, especially in Germany, the British Isles and Northern Europe generally, but was turned into a celebration of the Virgin Mary (a really neat twist, don't you think?), which was especially popular in Russia. Well, come the Revolution and communism, the feast morphs into May Day, a celebration of the worker/proletariat. Not to be outdone, the Catholic Church revised its calendar, so May 1 becomes the feast of St. Joseph the Worker (a popular figure in Russia). It's like that game you play with a baseball bat to determine who bats first, where you try to get as close to the top knob as you can without putting your hand onto the knob.

For those of you who were worried about Mary losing this big day, don't worry. She still has lots of days. The Annunciation. The Assumption. The Immaculate Conception. Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Mexican celebration which celebrates the appearance of Mary to Juan Diego, who coincidentally enough, was an indigenous person. So celebrate as you will. What goes around comes around, sorta.    Top

Some Good News

In reference to the disappearing back pages, someday soon one of the back pages will reappear, dedicated to a long and glorious string of halloween cartoons from both Apt.123 and Fred the Flower. There will be an announcement to the right. So enjoy.    Top

Random Thought

I have an active mind. Sometimes, it's so active I have to lie down to catch up to all these thoughts. One recent thought (which did not require lying down) was prompted by a TV host who breathlessly announced that something was at least a century old! The thought? A century isn't what it used to be. I mean, a century ago from now is 1920. People had cars, there were airplanes, and movies; prohibition and voting rights were in place. Not really an old, antiquey world–just a predecessor to our modern world. . In fact, the jazz age (right around the corner in the 20's) was considered modern. I know people who were alive a hundred years ago. They're all dead now, but still...

Now, when I was growing up, a hundred years ago then was the 1850's, before the civil war, before the American Centennial, before the transcontinental railroad. Slavery was still in place. People were as likely to have gold and silver in their pockets as they were to have folding money. Now that's old!    Top


There's never enough surety to go around. .


Fred the Flower

Fred likes to be hip and with it..

Fred the Flower

Fortnightly T-Shirts

Sometimes it's a mug, sometimes a meme, sometimes it's funny. But the price is always right.

T-shirts you just can't buy.

Poetry Corner


Hey–it could have been that way.

They sure kept those gods

In ancient Greece busy.

Multi-taskers, all of ‘em.

The god of this, the god of that,

The god of this and that

And that too.

All reporting to the god Zeus,

Who seemed to be the god of

Impulsive fits of anger,

Picking fights with gods, titans and humans,

Unprotected sex

And delegating.

Hermes was a particularly busy god,

if you go by the titles.

Messenger, protector of travelers,

Inventor of roads and speech,

Conveyor of souls to the underworld.

An inventive guy

As befits a messenger

The inventor of language,

The only god allowed

Both under and above ground,

Interpreter, liar, trickster and thief.

He probably invented them all too.

You would think that,

As interpreter and liar and trickster and thief

As maker of words,

He would also be

The god of love.

But two gods (full-time!)

Already claimed that beat.

You would also think that Hermes

Would be the god of rumor too.

But no, that was Ossa.

I bet they had races to see

Who got there first with the story.

I bet Ossa usually won.

Hermes had shoes

Sprouting wings from the sides

To indicate,


That he was really fast.

He was, and could even keep up

With Sunrise,

Although I doubt they raced.

Hermes had a hat.

It had wings, too.

Hermes’ brain didn’t go

Any faster than the rest of him,

Unless he needed to concoct a lie

On the spot.

Then his brain could fly,

Faster than the sun,

Faster even than Ossa.

The Romans rebranded Hermes,

Even named quicksilver,

An unstable metallic liquid

Deadly if swallowed, impossible to contain,

After him, no doubt

Because the areas of his purview–

Interpreter, liar, trickster and thief–

Display the same properties.

We should probably thank Hermes

For making life interesting.

...the spirits are about to speak

they said it

Some people will kill you over time if you let them; and how they’ll kill you is with tiny, harmless phrases like, 'Be realistic.' When this happens, close your ears and listen to your inner voice instead. Remember that real success in life isn’t what others see, but how you feel. It’s living your truth and doing what makes you feel alive.

Angel Chernoff


Shawn Girvan is getting some content on his website. Click on Vestiges when you go to Girvanaca

My brother-in-law Harvey's academic-politics cartoon: SNAF-U

My sister Mary Pat's occasional musings: New post 8-15! LaBrea Rambles

Suzanne's blog: The Tabard Inn

Austin Kleon's blog; Negative Manifesto

More quirky cartoons at The Oatmeal

Earlier We Said

October 2.

Spell Check Blues

I suspect that by now a spell check has become totally integrated into your life. It's so useful, and helps you look good to your reader.

Even though it's been around for a long time, it's still a work in progress. It doesn't catch words that are spelled correctly but not what you meant (my own personal favorite is typing 'manger' instead of 'manager.' And it still doesn't know if I meant 'there' or 'their' when I type 'theri.' (to be fair, I can't expect the computer to know which I meant when I've forgotten). So there's still some work for me as a writer to do. And of course, autocorrect is legendary for bad guesses, even replacing the correct word when you type it in. Always an adventure.

Recently, though, I've noticed the spell check on my main computer is flaking out. In an email this morning, it thought yoru was spelled correctly, while flagging it's and here as misspellings. I don't need this, especially now that the cat has started jumping up on the desk more and blocking my view of the keyboard, to say nothing of sitting on my mouse hand. Dangerous times we live in.

And while we're bashing technology...

Apple makes a point of touting its safety features. For example, if someone wants to use your location data (hello, Facebook!) Apple will now notify you of the attempt, and let you block it. They also added a feature that lets you block an application from asking. Nice.

But it isn't all there yet. There was an update to the update to the update (I'm not sure which version of Ios 13.1.x we're up to, as I didn't check this morning). One thing they haven't caught yet is that selectively blocking apps from even trying to access location information. I've tried a couple of times now to change the setting from ask to never. When I go back to the setup screen, it's still showing ask. Plus, I'm trying to figure out why Dropbox or a solitaire game even needs to know where I am. Looking forward to Apple getting this fixed, so I can set it and go back to important things, like putting black queens on red kings.

And while I'm at it, why is the caps lock key so big? Except for maybe the tilde/backwards apostrophe key, it is the least used key. But it's the second largest key on the board. Whyyyyy? >

Vacation Plans

So what should we do for vacation this year? I don't know. Staycation? Is that still a thing?

We could always go to Disneyworld. Too many people, with a disproportionate number of children. I don't like being around people I can step on.

How about a cruise? I've always wanted to go along the Inner Channel and see the eagles. Aren't you the one that has to take Dramamine to drive to thee store? Plus bears and other large carnivores. They won't get on the boat, silly. Have you ever talked to anyone after they were on one of those trips? There's a reason. They never come back. Bears eat them.

How about Las Vegas? Rita Rudner has a show there, Or Cirque de Soleil. Uh, I get dizzy watching people spin around in the middle of the air. I'd be the one taking Dramamine. And that's never pretty. Plus, I think Rita's back in New York.

We haven't seen my cousin Mikey in a long time. We could visit him. Mikey still owes me money. He'd feel uncomfortable, and probably want to charge us for staying with him.

Oh! It says here that the Ukrainian government has opened control room four at Chernobyl for tourists. Why didn't you say so before! Nuclear waste, continued simmering tensions with Russia. And if it's newly opened, it won't be crowded. What's not to like? Let's book a flight now!

You really don't like my cousin Mikey, do you?

TomatoPlanet!! is a random collection of writing, cartoons, and things that strike my fancy. © 2003-2019, John McCarthy

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