October 21 is National Reptile Day Awareness

While the history of reptiles may go hundreds of millions of years back, National Reptile Awareness Day has an unfortunately short history in comparison. Additionally, it wasn’t really until 1966 when the first Endangered Species Act was passed that awareness of the needs and threats facing reptiles (or any animal, for that matter) started to make its way into our cultural mainstream. 

Herpetophobia is a common specific phobia, which consists of fear or aversion to reptiles, commonly lizards and snakes, and similar vertebrates as amphibians–so fear of more than just reptiles.

Famous fictional reptiles

  • Geico Gecko
  • Godzilla
  • Reptar
  • Yoshi

Top 5 Characteristics of Reptiles

  • Reptiles Are Four-Legged Vertebrate Animals. …
  • Most Reptiles Lay Eggs. …
  • The Skin of Reptiles Is Covered With Scales (or Scutes) …
  • Reptiles Have Cold-Blooded Metabolisms. …
  • Reptiles Breathe With the Aid of Lungs.

Examples of Reptiles

  • Snakes
  • Lizards
  • Turtles
  • Tortoises
  • Alligators
  • Crocodiles
  • Komodo Dragon

Celebrating October 12 in Spain and Latin America

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue to “discover” America. Columbus has since fallen out of favor and the day now has other names. The Don Quixote blog shares how Columbus Day is celebrated in Spain (where Columbus sailed from, although Columbus was originally Italian) and Central and South America.

Spain: Spanish law establishes it as the Fiesta Nacional de España, or the national day of Spain, although many Spaniards continue referring to it as Día de la Hispanidad, which was the former name of the Spanish holiday.

Latin America: October 12 is still known as el Día de la Raza in some Latin American countries including Mexico. Other Latin American countries however, that once commemorated the day as el Día de la Raza have in recent years changed the name to honor diversity or to celebrate indigenous heritage.

See the blog for more information.

Poem for the end of a war

Some people continue to deny the truth, no matter what war or conflict is being fought. My least favorite group are the Holocaust deniers.

Pacific Paratrooper

B-29 air raid damage in Hachioji, Japan, 1 Aug. 1945

The End and the Beginning

After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won’t
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the side of the road,
so the corpse-filled wagons
can pass.

GI hooks a tow rope to a Type 97 Te-Ke tank during cleanup of the Okinawa battlefields at the end of WWII in 1945.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone has to drag in a girder
to prop up a wall,
Someone has to glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it’s not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

We’ll need the bridges back,
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.

U.S. and Japanese soldiers collaborate to rebuild Japan

Someone, broom…

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Water for Tea

I like coffee but am essentially a coffee wuss. I get the Blonde Coffee at Starbucks to put it in some perspective.

French press coffee usually reminds me of waste water. If the coffee is strong enough to take the enamel off of your teeth or so dark that cream and sugar can not touch it , then I usually order hot tea.

Most restaurants are much more likely to offer you a refill on coffee than they are to remember that you had asked for more hot water so you can make a second cup of tea.

If they are reluctant to provide additional hot water, why do they bring you a single, undersized tiny pitcher of hot water that will not fill your mug.

This is the how full the tiny metal pitcher of hot water was able to fill my mug. I could have used the tea bag again but nobody asked me if I wanted anymore water. Would a larger metal pitcher be too much to hope for?

The coffee and tea cost the same price

To receive the same cupful would also be nice.

Lament for Ruth

JeanMarie is my friend and a North Carolina based poet. IMHO this one of her finest poems yet–timely, poignant and worthy of being shared. It is written from the heart.

This Breaking News has broken
my heart, my hope.

Justice, my grief is suspended in fear.

What is to become of the poor, the abused, and the desperate
with overburdened wombs?

What is to become of the immigrants and the asylum seekers
caught in wire nets?

Read the rest on JeanMarie’s page.

R.I.P. Ruth Bader Ginsburg ~ March 15, 1933 – September 18, 2020

Here is a short but timely tribute to the sadly missed and always impressive RBG.

By Hook Or By Book

If there needs to be further proof that 2020 is the never-ending year from Hell, Supreme Court Justice and legal pioneer/icon, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died. I’m pretty much at a loss for words here. A tireless advocate for gender equality, the Notorious R.B.G. may have been tiny in stature, but she took on an almost superhuman persona. She has been a personal hero of mine for much of my adult life and this loss is simply devastating. I’m sorry, I can’t write anymore right now. I’m going to share one of my favorite quotes from her:

Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

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One Liners to Ponder

From a forwarded email:

You come from dust and to dust you will return. That’s why you shouldn’t dust. It could be someone you know.

When one door closes and another door opens, you’re probably in prison.

If you answer your phone  with “Hello. You’re on the air”, most telemarketers will quickly hang up.

Sometimes, someone unexpected comes into your life out of nowhere. It makes your heart race and changes you forever. We call these people cops.

Being popular on Facebook is like sitting at the cool table in the cafeteria of a Mental Hospital.

For Sale. Parachute. Only used once, never opened, small stain.

It’s not the ups and downs that make life difficult; it’s the jerks. (Charlie Chaplin)

They say marriages are made in Heaven. Then again, so is lightning and thunder.

Maybe the worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of Charades.

If you wanna know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave most of it to.

Always go to other peoples funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours. (Yogi Berra)

This “killing them with kindness” is taking way longer than I expected.

I started out with nothing. I still have most of it.

There’s nothing scarier than that split second when you lose your balance in the shower and think “Oh shit. They’re gonna find me naked.”

One minute you’re young and fun. And the next you’re turning down the stereo in your car so you can see better.

One day you’ll be able to tell your grandkids that you survived the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020.

The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket. (Will Rogers)

Never miss a good chance to shut up.  (Will Rogers – again)

And finally –   Can we all agree that in 2015 not a single person got the answer correct to the question “Where do you see yourself 5 years from now”.

National Food Bank Day–September 4

St. Mary’s Food Bank founded National Food Bank Day to recognize the outstanding contributions of food banks around the country and to commemorate the establishment of St. Mary’s Food Bank by its founder John van Hengel in 1967. John van Hengel came up with the idea of grocery rescue and food banking and the idea spread throughout the country making St. Mary’s Food Bank the very first in the world!

Be a Hunger Heroe

The Coronavirus epidemic has created an increase in the euphemistically called “Food  Insecurity”.

Feeding America provides the following statistics:

1. From the beginning of March through the end of June, food banks nationwide distributed more than 1.9 billion meals to people facing hunger in the United States. In March alone, food banks gave out 20 percent more food than an average month.

2. If people continue to visit food banks at this rate, we will provide an incredible six billion meals this year

3. As a result of the pandemic, Feeding America estimates 1 in 6 Americans could face hunger.

4. Two-thirds of Feeding America food banks across the country are accepting volunteers.  

Many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for federal nutrition programs and need to rely on their local food banks and other hunger relief organizations for support.

The Well’s Gone Dry


Bentonville--Well for of leaves at Cool SpringIt slaked the thirst of passersby

But now no longer,

the well’s gone dry.

In these  days of toil and strife

we still need hope,

the water of life.

If that wellspring also runs dry,

many will shrivel

up and die.

We need the living waters

to flourish and thrive

keeping ourselves and our hopes alive.


Happy 75th Anniversary celebrating the end of World War II.


Leaving a Footprint on the Sands of Time

I have never thought of myself as one who has left a permanent footprint in the sands of life, and it would be nice to know if I reached at least this one goal so that after I am gone, someone might look at that photograph and still say “wow”.–Rural Iowegian Mark Cooper ; MSgt/USAF Aka; The Rural Iowegian


Footsteps on La Jolla Shores Beach--Human and bird
Bird and Human footprints overlap at La Jolla Shores

I came to this blog via another post I read, “It’s about Living in the Present”.  The Rural Iowegian writes this as possibly his last post. He is celebrating his 63 birthday and has some ominous cancer probabilities.

Have you ever wondered if you will leave a footprint on the sands of time?  If you have children, you probably will leave some mark as least as long as you have descendants. It’s knowing what those descendants might do that can cause such a wrinkle in the science fiction world of Time Travel–what you change today will affect  the  future.

Most of us will not become famous, but we can make a difference.  Will it  be what we write, draw, or say?  Will we start a movement, set up a charity, change somebody’s life? It could be a smile at the right moment or a friendly greeting,  paying it forward at some restaurant, giving an extra generous tip, letting somebody else go first or merge into traffic.

two walking at sunset

We might like a Wow moment where someone remembers what we did that really impressed them;  we can always have a Now moment where we do something unexpected and practice Random Acts of Kindness.  Our Now moment could be somebody’s Wow moment because we gave them something neither of us realized at the time was needed.

Couple and dog walking at sunset


Why Seniors Don’t Change Their Passwords

Taken from a chain email

writer at computer



Please enter your new password.




Sorry, the password must be more than 8 characters.


Boiled cabbage


Sorry, the password must contain 1 numerical character


1 boiled cabbage


Sorry, the password cannot have blank spaces




Sorry, the password must contain at least one upper case character




Sorry the password cannot use more than one upper case character consecutively.




Sorry, the password cannot contain punctuation.




Sorry, that password is already in use.

Independent Book Store Day: August 29

Do you like to read?  Do you like to support local businesses?  Then  today is for you.

One of the benefits of living near the college town of Charlottesville,  we have many indie bookstores to chose from.  Some specialize in new books, others specialize in second hand books and memorabilia.

New Dominion Book Store  on the historic Downtown Mall bills itself as the “oldest independent bookseller in Virginia” since it has been in continuous operation under a variety of owners since 1924..  Right  now it is open for limited browsing, local delivery, and curbside pickup.  Normally it is a hive of local literary activity with author readings, new book releases, and panel discussions like the Charlottesville Reading series.  Although most of these have been cancelled, the store does have a few virtual events like the monthly UVA Club of Charlottesville Book Club and a virtual book launch.  New Dominion is also a sponsor in the annual March, Virginia Festival of the Book.

Blue Whale BooksBlue Whale Books, also on the Downtown Mall, specializes in antiquarian books in good or better condition, and antique maps and prints.

From the Facebook page:

We have about 20,000 used books, and hundreds of antiquarian / rare books. We also have 1,000 original prints, especially chromolithographs from the 1800s. Our maps are 18th and 19th century, with the occasional early Virginia map from the early or mid-1600s. The owner also performs appraisals on a regular basis.

book piles

Cool Springs in Bentonville, Virginia

As we were driving along Gooney Manor Loop near Bentonville, Virginia, we saw  an old well across from the Cool Spring Church of God.  It looked intriguing enough to stop.

Bentonville--Memorial Sign on Well at Cool Spring

This sign provides all of the information that I could find on the spring.

Bentonville--Well at Cool Spring

The well has gone dry.

Bentonville--Well for of leaves at Cool Spring

I love the romance of a well providing cool water to local residents and trekkers as they past by on a hot, humid day in Virginia like the day we visited the well.  Lucky for us, we were on our way to Glen Manor Winery where we slaked our thirst with wine and water.

Pictures of the Church of God across the street.  According to Manta: “Our records show it was established in 1997 and incorporated in Virginia.”

The Battle of Cool Springs is not connected to this well. According to Wikipedia

The Battle of Cool Spring, also known as Castleman’s Ferry, Island Ford, Parker’s Ford, and Snicker’s Ferry, was a battle in the American Civil War fought July 17–18, 1864, in Clarke County, Virginia, as part of the Valley Campaigns of 1864. The battle was a Confederate victory.

August 26–Centennial of Women’s Right to Vote in the United States

Many people celebrated the Centennial on August 18, when the amendment was ratified by Tennessee.

19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Womens Right to Vote (1920)

19th Ammendment

The 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory took decades of agitation and protest. Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution. Few early supporters lived to see final victory in 1920.

Beginning in the 1800s, women organized, petitioned, and picketed to win the right to vote, but it took them decades to accomplish their purpose. Between 1878, when the amendment was first introduced in Congress, and August 18, 1920, when it was ratified, champions of voting rights for women worked tirelessly, but strategies for achieving their goal varied. Some pursued a strategy of passing suffrage acts in each state—nine western states adopted woman suffrage legislation by 1912. Others challenged male-only voting laws in the courts. Militant suffragists used tactics such as parades, silent vigils, and hunger strikes. Often supporters met fierce resistance. Opponents heckled, jailed, and sometimes physically abused them.

By 1916, almost all of the major suffrage organizations were united behind the goal of a constitutional amendment. When New York adopted woman suffrage in 1917 and President Wilson changed his position to support an amendment in 1918, the political balance began to shift.

On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment, and 2 weeks later, the Senate followed. When Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18, 1920, the amendment passed its final hurdle of obtaining the agreement of three-fourths of the states. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the ratification on August 26, 1920, changing the face of the American electorate forever.

Live in the Time of Coronavirus: Pt 18, What is Return to Normal? Eight Things to Ponder

rush to return to normal

When we return to ‘normal’ what will it look like?

  1. Will we wear a mask and then remember we no longer need it? Will we toss it in the air like seniors tossing their hats in the air at graduation?
  2. Will the anti-vaxxers prolong this epidemic because they don’t want the new vaccine (assuming there is a safe one that works)?
  3. How long will it take us to lose our COVID-19?
  4. Will you have cast what  is probably one of the most important votes in our lifetime? Did you vote in person or by mail?
  5. Are principals or platforms more important to you?
  6. When you can do or go anywhere you want, what will you do?  Where will you go?
  7. What do you miss the most from your old (pre-COVID) life?  What do you want  to do differently?
  8. Are there any COVID lessons you will retain for your new normal?