National Road Map Day–April 5, Poem 5

When was the last  time you opened a map
the paper kind that sat on your lap
Used your finger or magic marker
to trace the route before you parked her?

Some marked the stops for gas or food
no mention if either was  cheap or good,
maybe updated once a year
no indication if the route was clear.

Nowadays we use our phone
a voice that seldom leaves us alone
a gentle correction if you miss a turn
some of us take longer to learn.

Pick-up Truck Political Statements

Saturday seemed to be drive your big pick-up truck around Front Royal, Virginia and share your political points of view.

On 55 east, heading out of Front Royal, we sat at a red light behind a large, black and white Chevrolet pick-up with the owner exercising his first and second amendment rights in white lettering on the window at the back of his cab. The top line had a silhouette of an assault rifle pointing at an Impeach Northam (Virginia’s Democratic governor). Underneath that was a white Trump Pence sign.

A re-created image of the Chevrolet’s rear window.

Later in the day, we saw two different F-151 Ford pickups flying large F**K Biden flags . The second one had the added line of “F**k you too if you voted for him.”

The next morning along the Interstate outside Front Royal, we saw three large crosses on a hillside. The largest one in the middle had an American flag hanging from either side of the horizontal portion of the cross. This was the first time I have ever seen a cross used as a flag pole.

Vietnam Veteran’s Day–March 29, 2021

National Vietnam War Veterans Day is observed every year on March 29 and is a way to thank and honor our nation’s Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice. There are 5 objectives with Vietnam Commemoration and the other four are:

  • Highlight the service of our Armed Forces and support organizations during the war
  • Pay tribute to wartime contributions at home by American citizens
  • Highlight technology, science and medical advances made during the war
  • Recognize contributions by our Allies

National Vietnam War Veterans Day will be observed on Monday, March 29, 2021.
Read more:

The last conscripted soldiers
returned home to a country
that often turned its back on them

Fortunate Son
Eve of Destruction
Heard It Through the Grapevine
The Fish Cheer
Give Peace a Chance

Two Wrongs Don’t Make the Right Change

Yesterday, I tried to buy a a few things at a local grocery store. The total was $22.60. I thought I gave the young cashier a single $20 bill and three $1 bills. The change should be 40 cents. After several long seconds he had not given me the change, despite holding the cash in his hands with the register open.

By now, the register should have told him what the change was, even if he was not doing the arithmetic in his head.

Looking at the bills, half hidden by his fist, I thought I saw 2-twenty dollar bills and 2-one dollar bills. He started to place the twenties into the drawer when I asked him to pause. He had the two-twenties and and the two-singles.

I apologized for giving him the second $20 by mistake and offered to give him a third $1 bill instead. He asked me if I had 60 cents.

I said I’d check and pulled a quarter out of my wallet, setting it on the counter. I found two more quarters and was searching for the dime when he picked up the first quarter and reached for the other two quarters. He seemed perplexed by getting $.75 rather than $.60. I found the dime and took one of the quarters back.

If the teenager had asked if I had given him the second $20 by mistake, instead of $1 or if he had returned the two ones and made change from the $40, this exchange could have been shorter. Even with the assistance of the cash register, he seemed unable to figure out what the correct change should have been.

I know they no longer teach cursive, but they surely teach addition and subtraction or how to read the numbers on the cash register.

Why I Hate Day-Light Savings Time Beginning in March

According to Slashdot, “70% of Americans hate Daylight Savings Time.”

According to a Money magazine article reasons include:

  • Causes car accidents
  • Complicates the Heart
  • Makes Teens More Moody
  • Retailer Loose Serious Cash

I hate it because I lose an hour after waiting 5 months for sunrise between 6-6:30 am. As a morning person , when the sun rises after 7 am, I feel like an infant offered a lollipop only have it snatched away right before I shove it into my mouth.

We already have the last remnants of twilight lasting until almost 7 pm, which is enough time to take out the trash, bring in the mail or walk around the block without it being totally dark. At this time of the year, I’d rather have the extra light in the morning than the evening.

When Daylight savings times began in April, the early dawn had already advanced enough that I did not notice it’s disappearance when Daylight savings time began. Now I feel like it is one more thing stolen by politicians.

I have friends who hate Daylight savings time and swear they just ignore it. From a practical point of view, if you have appointments and still work, I can not conceive how you can ignore it.

December Sunrise

The Beguiler

The beguiler charmed

the humans from their homes
and then their winter clothes

the unfurling ferns from the muddy banks
of the winding dirt road

the leaf buds from the trees
and the pointed leaves from buried bulbs

the sleepy groundhog from his underground burrow
and the chirpy birds from the south

the green back into the blighted grasses
and rapids tumbling along roadside creeks

the spirits of the COVID weary
and hope into the future.

Irony: National Masculinity Week during Women’s History Month

Healthy Masculinity Week is an opportunity for the UVA community to engage in conversations and programs that promote healthy masculinity and authenticity. Through workshops, panels, outreach initiatives, and other events, Healthy Masculinity Week programming will promote self-efficacy, authenticity, and shared social responsibility to create a culture of care at UVA. This week will challenge harmful norms of masculinity and promote positive role models that allow men and masculine people to be themselves and live healthy, well-rounded lives.

MONDAY, MARCH 8th (International Women’s Day):

  • White Ribbon Campaign: The White Ribbon Campaign is an international campaign to raise awareness of and support efforts to end gender-based violence, specifically looking to engage men and masculine people as allies. Wear a white ribbon/white shirt and use a white ribbon background (which can be downloaded at to show you stand against sexual harm. Be sure to enter for the chance to win a sexual respect water bottle and t-shirt! To enter, follow @uvahealthyhoos on Instagram and comment on their White Ribbon Campaign post, telling them why/how you create a culture of sexual respect and using #WhiteRibbonUVA and #UVAHMW21.
  • Supporting Survivors at UVA: This event will equip participants with the knowledge and skills needed to support survivors of sexual harm. When someone you know has been sexually assaulted, it can be difficult to know what to say or do. Oftentimes, the best thing you can do is to just make yourself available. Join SARA to learn some ways to support survivors.

Am I the only one who thinks this is an odd coincidence for the Student Health and Wellness group to pick this week for this event? Am I reading too much into this to wonder if the men feel threatened?

CampusSpeak held this October 18-24 in 2020

March 8 is International Women’s Day

The origin of women’s day goes back to 1908 when 15,000 women held a rally in New York demanding reasonable working hours, better pay and the right to vote, BBC News reported. The women’s day date, March 8 became significant only in 1917 after women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia. The first international women’s day gathering was held in 1911. Since then this day has been celebrated for well over a century. In 1975, the United Nations recognised the day as the symbol of decades of women’s struggle to gain equality and adopted it as the International Women’s Day

The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is ‘Choose To Challenge’. A challenged world is an alert world. And from challenge comes change.

I tried taking the Quiz and it was too hard for me. (Once in a while being humbled is good for the psyche.)

What will you choose raise a hand to challenge today?

Culture Humility vs. Cancel Culture

From Doctor Seuss to Hollywood movies to toys like Mr. Potato Head, this week has brought the idea of cancel culture to a head. Should the movies, books, toys, music, or even school names be an opportunity to right perceived wrongs or an opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation?

Cultural humility is “the ability to maintain an interpersonal stance that is other oriented in relation to aspects of cultural identity that are most important to the other person, the ability to recognize the context in which interactions occur, and a commitment to redress power imbalances and other structural issues to benefit all parties.” (Hurley et al, 2019) Cultural humility therefore offers a way of navigating the spontaneous interpersonal interactions in libraries, whether between our patrons and our staff or staff members with one another, with an awareness of and commitment to challenging inequitable structures of power.

Is cancel culture an important tool of social justice or a new form of merciless mob intimidation? If canceling someone doesn’t work, does cancel culture even exist ? Or does the very idea of being canceled work to deter potentially bad behavior?

These questions have received more and more mainstream consideration of the past few years,as the idea of cancel culture itself has evolved from its humorous origins into a broader and more serious conversation about how to hold public figures accountable for bad behavior .


What do you think?

Some Realities Are Fleeting

What seemed real just yesterday
This morning's already flown away
Politically correct from times now past
Was probably never meant to last

Nature's rules seem more eternal
Mankind's logic sublimely infernal
Lies repeated morph into facts
Fodder for more vile attacks

Commonsense is out of style
while the grifters charm and beguile
with honeyed words hiding poison within
 the stories they always seem to spin

For better times we often yearn
while good advice we like to spurn
if it doesn't fit into our reality
of today's notions of morality

Do Certain Sounds Drive You Crazy?

Someone does not have to be snoring to drive me crazy. The sound of someone’s breathing at night can be enough to set my nerves on edge.

There is a name for that irritation.

The technical term for that noise-triggered irritation and rage is misophonia (“hatred of sound”). People who have it experience uncontrollable and intense negative emotions after hearing certain repetitive noises like chewing, lip-smacking, pen-clicking, and foot-tapping.

Do Certain Sounds Enrage You? Neurologists May Know Why

What sounds drive you crazy?

  • Chalk or nails on a chalk board
  • Bad singing
  • Screaming children or babies
  • Your spouse’s voice
  • Honking horns
  • Heavy footsteps
  • Whispers
  • Coughing or constant throat clearing
  • Rants, politicians, or proselytizers of any type

Tenacious Sweet Gum Balls

Nothing sweet about
bird beak spikes that cling and trip
unwary humans

Decorative balls
ornamental but painful
when you trip and fall

Corona like spikes
that protect the gumball seeds
from dangers like us

Gumballs awaiting the unwary.

I have become fascinated by the gumballs that continue to swing from the branches in the brisk winter breezes long after the sweet gum leaves have called it a season. They are green and pliant early in the season becoming hardened and brown as they weather on the tree. I have seen them decorate the azaleas, boxwood, dogwoods, and hollies that catch the gum balls that fall from the trees overhead. Once upon the ground, especially if it is frozen, the tenacious little balls will roll your ankle or send you ass-bound in a New York second.

Click here to find out what you can do with these beauties, including:

1. Lay the seed pods around young plants to deter snails and slugs who would rather not tangle with them

2. Put them around plants that you also want to protect from rabbits (press the spikes in the ground a bit so they don’t blow away)

Snow Reveries

Gently falling snow
muffles sound; shortens distance
Magnifies details.

Flakes limn the branches.
Black and white outlines sharpen
while contours soften.

Tracks abound in snow
tires, squirrel, human, bird, dog.
Each path visible.

Snow still coming down
coating trees, grass and rooftops.
Melting on pavement.

How can tree roots drink
up snow so quickly that it
leaves behind bare ground?

Snowman on fire pit
Do wet logs hide underneath
smoldering in pique?