Quip–a witty remark.  E-Quips (think e-book or email) is hopefully a witty blog  – dedicated to word play such as parodies, puns, and word parallels and stories about libraries that you may not have heard before. It has also expanded to include a few book reviews, nature and observational essays and poems,  stories about military and veterans, and tips about writers and writing. It has evolved into an online journal.  I also include select re-blogs to admire or inspire.



Hope you enjoy the ride and the fun.

Please let me know if there is word that deserves a riff or a library that has a story to share.

Thanks for joining me in the blogosphere.






Bathroom Signs VII

Outhouse on Tiverton Farm, corner of Plank Road and 250 West in Albemarle, Co

Bathroom--Tiverton Outhouse

Pictures from the Bathroom of the Medallion Suite at the Villas (formerly the Versace Mansion in Miami Beach, FL)

bathroom Medalllion Suite the Villas, Miami
Sign for the Medallion Suite at the Villas
Bathroom door, Medallion Suite, the Villas
Bathroom door
Bathroom Versace Mansion
Bathroom murals ove the toilet and bidet
Bathroom picture the Villas, Miami
Reflection of the picture across from the sink

Bathroom signs at the Matchbox Restaurant at The Shops at Stonefield Shops in Charlottesville, VA

Bathroom Signs, Naked Mountain Winery in Markham, Virginia

Tomorrow is the Start of National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996.

Things you can do to celebrate National Poetry Month (suggestions from the Academy of American Poets)

My recommendation (and one I will once again try to accomplish), write a poem a day.writer with quill pen

Some will be better

Some will be worse

But no one will know

‘Til you write the danged verse


Live in the Time of Coronavirus, Pt 5: Signs of Hope?

President Trump did not want the cure to be worse than the disease, expressing hope that the country can get back to work or a more normal existence by Easter.

My church has canceled in-person services until after Easter.  (For Easter, this church normally adds an extra early morning service to meet the demand of the parishioners)  So who do you believe?

According to the New York Times, “Families are decking the halls to bring light in a dark time.”   Christmas is close to the Winter Solstice when the amount of daylight is at a minimum.  We are now past the Vernal Equinox when most places in the Northern Hemisphere are getting more than 12 hours of daylight (and increasing daily until June 20, 2020 ).  So the darkness is more symbolic of hard times with an unknown future than the amount of daylight.

Christmas lights against a dark sky and wrapped around bare tree limbs is a wonderful, glowing gift to passersby.   To me, Christmas lights competing with sunset and burgeoning leaves and flowers do not have the same impact. (Bah, humbug!)


On the plus side, I saw people walking out of Wegman’s with large packs of toilet paper. When I went back today, there were only single rolls left. However, this was the second store in a week that had toilet paper. (I  have not seen any store have it in about  three weeks.)

toilet paper at Wegman's

Adult incontinence supplies and feminine hygiene products and were also being rationed.  So are flu and pain medicines.


Do you think that things are getting better or will they continue to get worse for at least a few more weeks?  What  things cheer you up these days?

Taking Books to the People, Part XIII–National Emergency Library

Internet archivesWith most  libraries closed, did you know that the  Internet Archive is offering one compelling alternative: a “National Emergency Library?

The Emergency Library is a digital collection of 1.4 million books. Until June 30th, or the end of the national emergency in the United States (“whichever is later”), anyone, anywhere in the world, can check books out of this library—for free.

Holiday Ensigns

American flag backlitAccording to U.S. Naval Regulations, Chapter 12;

1.  The ceremonial hoisting and lowering of the national ensign at 0800 and sunset at naval commands ashore and aboard a ship of the Navy not underway shall be known as morning and evening colors respectively and shall be carried out as prescribed in this article.

2.  A band and the guard of the day will assemble in the vicinity of the hoist of the ensign.

3. “Attention” shall resound, followed by the playing of the National Anthem by the band.

4. At morning colors, the ensign shall be started up at the beginning of the music and hoisted smartly to the top of the peak or truck.  At evening colors, the ensign shall be started from the peak or truck at the beginning of the music and the lowering so regulated as to be completed at the last note.

5. At the completion of the music, “Carry-on shall be sounded.

6. In the absence of a band, or an appropriate recording played over the public address system, “To Colors” shall be played by the bugle during morning colors and “Retreat” at evening colors. The salute shall be rendered as prescribed for the National Anthem.

A larger national flag or ensign is flown on Sunday and Holidays.

According to my shipmate, Carl Snow:

The national ensign flown on Sundays and holidays is sized according to the ship’s length.
The largest size, for ships longer than 451 feet is size 5: 8 feet, 11 3/8 inches at the hoist and 17 feet at the fly for the holiday ensign, and size 7: 5 feet at the hoist and 9 feet, 6 inches at the fly for daily use. The jack is the same size as the blue field on the ensign that is being flown.
Jack of the United States
The Jack displayed on the bow of Navy ships
According to wikipedia
The jack of the United States is a maritime flag representing U.S. nationality, flown on the jackstaff in the bow of U.S. vessels that are moored or anchored. … The jack is flown on the bow (front) of a ship and the ensign is flown on the stern (rear) of a ship when anchored or moored.

Carl Snow, Scuttlebutt Editor

Carl’s anecdote about the wrong holiday flag allegedly being flown off the stern of his ship:

When I was a Chief Petty Officer aboard USS Lockwood (FF-1063) based in Yokosuka, Japan we found ourselves tied up to berth seven at pier 6 with USS Worden (CG-18) at berth six on the other side of the same pier. USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) was moored at berth nine “around the corner” from both Lockwood and Worden with a clear view of both our sterns. Commander Seventh Fleet was embarked, with his staff, in Blue Ridge.

On Sunday morning I had the fore-noon quarterdeck watch and checked to make sure that the holiday ensign was ready for morning colors at 8:00 am. Colors were rendered and both ours and Worden’s ensigns shot simultaneously up the staffs at our sterns. Almost immediately the off-ship telephone rang, and the petty officer of the watch picked it up and handed it to me. It was the Seventh Fleet Staff duty officer, an Ensign, who began berating me for not having the holiday ensign up. I assured him that our ensign was, indeed, the holiday size. He told me in no uncertain terms that he was “looking right at your ship and it is apparent that your ensign is considerably smaller than the other ship at the same pier.”

I reminded him that the “other ship” was a cruiser, a hundred feet longer and almost four thousand tons heavier in displacement. The beam of the two ships, however, was only about five feet different. Maybe he was assuming that we were both of the same size, since he could only see our sterns.

He promised to get back to us and “fix” this. He hung up and we never heard back from him or anyone else on the admiral’s staff.


To read more about Carl Snow click here.




The brighter, lighter side of social distancing….

The rebel fish

Went for a short walk yesterday during the lockdown.
We’re allowed a walk.
Heard this shouting from a couple of streets over.
People are even more annoying than usual, I find…
Theres a six feet exclusion zone now.
Great. Now I have to let people get closer to me than ever.
It’s usually 15 or 20 feet.’Pauline’ he shouted. Again. Again.
Is it his dogs name? Who calls their dog Pauline?. 
Paulie?  Mollie?
Has he lost his young daughter?
The noise seemed to be getting further away, says my wife.
That’s because we’re walking, I said.
He didn’t stop.
We took a turn,up a hill. Suddenly out of an alley a young man sprang out.
Looked like he climbed out of a chimney 100 years ago.
We stopped walking,feeling threatened, our exclusion zone was down to 20 feet..
He stopped and stared straight at us.
‘Have you seen a…

View original post 54 more words

Reblog: Redefined Words by Changing a Letter

 The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding,  subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.
Here are the winners:
> 1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
> 2. Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.
> 3. Intaxicaton: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
> 4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
> 5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
> 6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
> 7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high
> 8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.
> 9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
> 10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease.
> 11. Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.
> 12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
> 13. Glibido: All talk and no action.
> 14 Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
> 15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.
> 16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
> 17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

And the winners are:

> 1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.
> 2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.
> 3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
> 4. esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.
> 5. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent.
> 6. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only     a nightgown.
> 7. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.
> 8. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.
> 9. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.
> 10. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.
> 11. Testicle, n. A humorous question on an exam.
> 12. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by Proctologists.
> 13. Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.
> 14. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
> 15 Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
> 16. Circumvent, n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men

Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset!
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears...
From Jerrold Bock / Sheldon Harnick
Fiddler on the Roof
Sunrise silence
Outer Banks, taken by Scott Gower
Sunrise at Key West-before the ships leave dock Oct 2018
Key West
sunrise from wendy's porch
Springfield, Virginia


beach sunset
Sunset in Pacific Beach
Path ro Sunset
Sunset over Mission Bay
Sunset at Septenarry Winery--20200307
Sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains

Live in the Time of Coronavirus: Pt IV, Hunkering Down

home sweet home hamster

Time is a malleable commodity.:

  • Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock with relentless precision as measured by the clock.
  • Too fast or too slow as measured by human perception

More places close and permissible group size shrinks in direct proportion to the viral spread of COVID-19.    Many of us have reached the whiney kid stage, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”  Other than drawing some hopeful inferences about what is happening in China and Japan, no one knows when There is and what There will look like.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the countless people that were in hiding during WWII.  Their enforced confinement was harsher than most of us will have to endure–insufficient clothing/food/heat and death or concentration camps if discovered.  The volunteers that aided them were in danger of imprisonment at best.

Compared to that, staying at home with access to sufficient food and water, heat and air conditioning, books, computers, television, Internet, radio, music, and streaming services, doesn’t seem so bad.  If anyone has literally died of boredom, I’m not aware of it.

In an attempt to keep some perspective, I tried to find a downloadable copy of The Diary of Anne Frank at my local library.  No such luck.  Then I typed the title into the Internet, expecting to be taken to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  I found a link to a PDF of  The  Diary of a Yong Girl: Definitive Edition,  edited by Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler, translated by Susan Massotty.

So, when does time pass too slowly?  (This is a personal opinion.)

  1.  Listening to pundits debate what will happen next.
  2.  Watching an official brag or complain about how good/bad things are.
  3.  Wondering how good or bad the economy will be when this too shall pass.
  4.  Avoiding chores I should be doing.

When does time pass too quickly?

  1.  Listening to an audio book.
  2. Time away from home.
  3. Thinking of and writing my next blog post.
  4. Sleeping at night.

What is your perspective on mandated social distancing?


Home sweet home squirrel

Musings during the Coronavirus

Monkey scratching his headHave you ever met somebody who exceeds your expectations, no matter how low you keep moving the bar?

Can you get PTSD from self-isolation during the Coronavirus?

For a respiratory virus, why is there a run on toilet paper?

At the local Krogers, why are they also rationing adult incontinence products and feminine hygiene supplies ? Now lack of those things does cause a run…

With all of this self quarantining, will we have a population explosion in nine months?

The babies born in 9 months will be called Coronials…and then in 13 years they’ll change the names to Quaranteenagers.

With most professional, collegiate, and high school sports canceled, the local sportscasters are reduced to talking about high school stars that have signed to play for UVA and the professional prospects for past collegiate stars.

Change, these days seems constant.

Social Distancing–Spread the word, not the virus.

Whether dealing with the virus or politicians:  The situation “brings to mind the words, borrowed from Oliver Cromwell, that British Conservative backbencher Leo Amery used in 1940 to bring down Neville Chamberlain, a prime minister of his own party: “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”

Does grab and go refer to the toilet paper aisle or restaurants that can only offer take out?

Are all of those ads for free delivery of online food or goods,  a case of viral marketing?

In the future will BC stand for Before Coronavirus if we are going to be reshaped as dramatically as some pundits are predicting?

Blue Hour to Golden Hour

I am a big fan of the ‘thin’  places and times when the portal between the natural world and the spiritual worlds blur and you can almost imagine transitioning portals. This post defines segments within that magic period of transition.

Blue Hour to Golden Hour, Yesterday was all about the blue hour of a sunrise. We all know that light is the crucial element in photography.  For sunlight, %

Source: Blue Hour to Golden Hour

New Life in an old Graveyard

graveyard with weeping cherry and forsythiaSpring is gorgeous in central Virginia. Despite the fears and self-isolation of the Coronavirus, each day:

  • the amount of light increases,
  • the leaves unfurl further,
  • more types of flowers bloom
  • the number of birdsong increases.
  •  the average high increases weekly despite temperature fluctuations


There is new life in this woodland graveyard of St Paul’s, Ivy.  The Church may be closed, but nature thrives  next door.

Reblog: Are You a Hobby Writer?

Audrey Driscoll  takes a droll look at what  a hobby writer might be and  synonyms for hobby writer that produce a clever take of what different types of non-serious writers might  be like.

Do you take your writing seriously or is it just a hobby?writer with typewriter

Anyone who writes with serious intention may call themselves a writer. And those of us who publish our own works may even call themselves publishers.