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Monday, November 22, 2010

A Thanksgiving Grace, 1936

If you are at a loss for a grace to say over the bird, and you are somewhat literary inclined, then this post will be a memorable one—otherwise you may disregard it and you will have lost nothing. And I am not being facetious.

When I read this many years ago, I made a mental note to read it on every Thanksgiving, and to share it with others.

“In 1976, the governor of Connecticut, Ella Grasso, had the pleasant idea of reissuing the Thanksgiving Proclamation written 40 years earlier by Governor Wilbur Cross, which she called it ‘‘“a masterpiece of eloquence.”’ –William Zinsser

Time out of mind at this turn of the seasons when the hardy oak leaves rustle in the wind and the frost gives a tang to the air and the dusk falls early and the friendly evenings lengthen under the heel of Orion, it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver, who has brought us by a way that we did not know to the end of another year. In observance of this custom, I appoint Thursday, the twenty-sixth of November, as a day of Public Thanksgiving for the blessings that have been our common lot and have placed our beloved State with the favored regions of earth—for all the creature comforts: the yield of the soil that has fed us and the richer yield from labor of every kind that has sustained our lives—and for all those things, as dear as breath to the body, that quicken man's faith in his manhood, that nourish and strengthen his word and act; for honor held above price; for steadfast courage and zeal in the long, long search after truth; for liberty and for justice freely granted by each to his fellow and so as freely enjoyed; and for the crowning glory and mercy of peace upon our land—that we may humbly take heart of these blessings as we gather once again with solemn and festive rites to keep our Harvest Home.
. . .
Indeed a masterpiece. I am thankful to be living in one of the favored regions of earth. I am also thankful for the English language, and its words when gracefully strung together.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kathryn's Polar Bear Blog: Heading Back Into The World

Kathryn's Polar Bear Blog: Heading Back Into The World: "Today is my last day on this amazing and life-changing trip. Its extremely hard to have to say goodbye to all the wonderful friends I've m..."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Goodbye, birds ...

With a sense of delight and a calm tinge of sadness, I awoke this morning to the smell of the sweet air of autumn and to the void the birds are leaving behind. They are solemnly preparing to go south; and they are not singing. There is no reason for them to sing: They are not defending territory nor are they in the mood to mate; a long, torturous journey awaits them.

May your wings be strong and swift, in a journey long and misspent.

Goodbye, birds: I’ll see you next year, if I am so lucky to still be here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Old Man and the Sea

With each book I read, there is usually a line that has a lenitive effect on me--which I try to memorize.

"He was too simple to wonder when he had attained humility. But he knew he had attained it and he knew it was not disgraceful and it carried no loss of true pride." --The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway. A masterpiece.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Grunting Place

When I saw this line form a previous post ,"...could not keep a straight face and ran out of the grunting place," my poetic leaning tingled, and hence the following poem.

Today I was in the gym, and the men were lifting the weights.
Their work-outs were always accompanied by loud masculine grunts, to keep up the pace.
There was a guy who grunted with every lift “Chipss.”
And I could not keep a straight face, and ran out of the grunting place.
But before I left the place, I'd observed this case:
with dignity and smoothness, many a woman had exercised, without a grunt or a contorted face.
They'd reserved the grunting for a different time and different place.
Can't the men, for once, learn form the fine, upstanding kinds in this case.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Loud Masculine Grunts

Today I was in the gym, and the men were lifting and they had wanted everyone to know that they were
sweating it out: Their work-outs were always accompanied by loud masculine grunts and gasps of "Ahhh, Ahhh, goooodd"; and there was a guy who grunted loudly with every lift "Chipss, Chipss" and I could not keep a straight face and ran out of the grunting place.

Moreover, the women exercised (they always do) with dignity and smoothness and without grunting at all.
They save the grunting for a different time and a different place. Can the men, for once, learn something
from the fine, upstanding kind? At any rate, that's my inanity for the night.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Camping With Murderers

Whitewater State Park is alluring and worthy of your visit. It's not known for murderers, really, to camp in it; except for the two men who knew how to choose a great place to enjoy on their last day of freedom.

Of all the places in the whole country, the murderers of the Florida family were enjoying their last day of freedom in the majestic Blufflands of southeastern Minnesota, camping in Whitewater State Park, where we just camped.

We arrived Thursday evening at the Park. The ranger pulled out a Press Release and informed us that earlier that day at 1:40 a.m., the Florida fugitives were arrested when the U.S. Marshals and Winona SWAT team had stormed their camper, throwing in two concussion grenades, breaking windows and doors. In terror and confusion, the sleeping campers were awakened by the commotions (I later spoke to one of them who had been slumbering thirty feet away when the bombs went off).

The good news is that no one was hurt and the fugitives were apprehended. Only one family left the park that same night. Shaken and unable to sleep for the remainder of the night, the rest of the campers stayed:
They were in a good spot for Labor Day and were not going to lose it for a small war breaking in their midst. Minnesotans are hardy and have a record to prove it.

Despite the excitement, we had a wonderful experience camping there for four days. Had it not been for the ranger telling us what had happened that morning, we would not have known that a quiet, sensitive, and magnificent a place was the scene of such ugliness.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

10th Year Anniversary

I wrote a short poem for my boss in here 10th year anniversary with the company.

So you’ve been here for many a year;
do you know what you’re doing dear?
Although sometimes you shed a tear,
through it all you had a cheer.
By golly, we’re glad you’re here.
Have a holly ten-year with a beer.

Literary critique is welcome; however, I could only spare ten minutes to write this and, therefore, to display my foolish babbling. Publish and be abominated.

Friday, August 27, 2010

We are all refugees. ...

We are all refugees on this earth, metaphorically speaking: we can all feel forlornly when the light has dimmed and the sky has shrunk upon us, feeling there is no way to go—this is it. But then there comes hope marching on, illuminating the loneliness of the heart and making it whole; and irrigating the desert of despair, turning it into green landscapes quilted with flowers in the sweet air. And then the broken heart may heal.

Hope is what we need; for it's silly not to hope.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Reflections on Chicago

With brilliant architecture and alluring entertainment and a constellation of charms, Chicago is not just a mere big city with a large population, it's not any old city, it's an amazing city. When you glance at the resolute faces of the fast-moving hunks of bodies in the streets and between the towers of the city, where you're afforded public-privacy in their steely eyes looking through you and pretending not to see you, appreciation of their mannerism and loneliness strike you. Judgement day, or so it seems, is in the hair of the hour. And you feel nothing.

To be continued. ... I'm tired and my mind has stopped. This is work in progress. ONLY a DRAFT.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Threepenny Opera

I just discovered a pot of gold: "The Threepenny Opera," which I am still reading. ... It jolts the credulous and passive state of mind into a stimulated and critical thinking state.

"What keeps mankind alive? The fact that millions
Are daily tortured, stifled, punished, silenced, oppressed.
Mankind can keep alive thanks to its brilliance
In keeping its humanity repressed.
For once you must try not to shirk the facts:
Mankind kept alive by bestial acts."

Gulf of Mexico's Oil Spill

As the Gulf blackens and the fishermen don't fish—but disperse chemicals on the dark waters of the beautiful Gulf they once fished—and their tears darken by the hour, there is no one to blame but us: Our sybaritic life and, therefore, hunger for oil. And in the spirit of our mediocrity and I-only-care-about-me patriotism, I intend to go have a glass of wine and listen to Mozart.

State of the Union Speech 2010

It's convenient to be cynical listening to the president's speech, but hardly useful. The opposite of being cynical is to be optimistic; and I think that's a healthier course for the soul. For without hope, life is dry and dead. It pays to know there is a better tomorrow. The only thing that doesn't pay is to dwell on the past. [And I like the black lady in the White House: She's terrific.]

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kurt Vonnegut (Cat's Cradle)

We live and then we die; life is too short and we all die too soon. For death is unpredictable, variable, and inevitable. One of the characters in Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle says it well; and he is not resentful that he's dying, but rather thankful to have lived. ...

"God made mud.
God got lonesome.
So God said to some of the mud, "Sit up!"
"See all I've made," said God, "the hills, the sea, the
sky, the stars."
And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look
Lucky me, lucky mud.
I, mud, sat up and saw what a nice job God had done.
Nice going, God.
Nobody but you could have done it, God! I certainly
couldn't have.
I feel very unimportant compared to You.
The only way I can feel the least bit important is to
think of all the mud that didn't even get to sit up and
look around.
I got so much, and most mud got so little.
Thank you for the honor!
Now mud lies down again and goes to sleep.
What memories for mud to have!
What interesting other kinds of sitting-up mud I met!
I loved everything I saw!
Good night.
I will go to heaven now.
I can hardly wait...
To find out for certain what my wampeter was...
And who was in my karass...
And all the good things our karass did for you.
— Kurt Vonnegut (Cat's Cradle)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA)

My wife has gone into the wilderness of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). A place where many a soul soars to the heavens, as eagle's speed soars in a stoop; a place in the blessed regions of the earth. A place not desecrated by modernity and ruined by humankind's ingenuity; a place with ornate civilization enlivened by pristine lakes and wild flowers and mighty pines; a place with moose and caribou and bears; a place where the fish is mercury-free and the water is still blue and tastes good; a place of tranquility and wonders calling to the heavens; lively, yet masterly constructed for canoeists. And canoeing is what she is doing. To think such a place exists, and humankind is in it, and to justly be able to describe it, is beyond my humble pen.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hang the Head of BP

What shall we do with the boyish head of BP (the S.O.B who said: “I want my life back.”)? Here is an idea: Until death he must pick up tar balls off Louisiana's shoreline; and when he is done with that, he can move on to Alabama's, and then on to Florida's, and then farther afield. ... A better idea, however, and I shouldn't say this (actually I do.): let's hang him—only if we were China. Now you know how I feel.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Appreciate The Little Things In Life

At the moment I am at the neighborhood's coffee shop. I sit down to read. ... But instead I find myself writing. ... By the window a young man is confessing his love to a shy girl, she looks uneasy. To my left a man and a woman, with age and pain creased on their faces, hold hands as they bow their heads to say a prayer, before they take a sip of their lattes; they gaze at each other's eyes as lovers' first sight. Across from me sits a woman, oblivious of her surrounding, with her exquisite legs well displayed under her yellow skirt, typing on her computer. ... And I read, “Drink to me only with thine eyes. ..." It's an intimate evening, and I am happy to be here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Oil Spill

As the Gulf blackens, and the fishermen don't fish—but disperse chemicals on the dark waters of the beautiful Gulf they once fished—and their tears darken by the hour, there is no one to blame but us: Our sybaritic life and, therefore, hunger for oil. And in the spirit of our mediocrity and I-only-care-about-me patriotism, I intend to go have a glass of wine and listen to Mozart.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Coalesce Around Our Common Virtues

I am disheartened by the division of our country: Democrats versus Republicans. We must set aside our differences and coalesce around our common virtues.


As long as you're not always stock with misfortunes, life is good. But the cruelty of life ordains that someone has to be at the very bottom of the pit. You just hope it's not always you or your tribe. No humankind eludes injury, whether physical or emotional; the Cruel God makes sure of that. To hurt is to breath, and to breath is to live.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Capriciousness of Fate

On a sweet, sunny spring morning, I arrived at Canterbury Park Racetrack in Shakopee, MN, for the Autism Walk. Seared in my memory was the following encounter.

Grandpa (by appearance, not by relation) was taking small, stubborn steps, and I waited … holding the door open for him, as he ambled with his stoop through the doors of the Canterbury Park Racetrack’s lobby, where the registration for the Autism Walk had commenced in earnest

What would bring a man—deserving leisure more than labor—walking on three to such a clamorous place, I had to wonder? “The capriciousness of fate had chosen my grandson,” Grandpa said. “He has autism.”

Grandpa, a Midwestern upright folk, turned around to hide a tear, and continued taking his slow, stubborn steps with his cane, stoop and all.

The old man seemed to have heard the doubtful whispers of my mind: I always questioned if I were making any difference by attending such events. But not Grandpa, with life’s wisdom behind him, he knew that small, virtuous acts could affect change.

Mother Teresa, a legion of compassion, once said, “If you can’t feed a hundred, then just feed one.”

I hope you enjoyed the post, and thank you for stopping by.