Whistlepig, Groundhog, or Woodchuck

Ground hogHow much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

How much ground does a groundhog grind if a groundhog could grind ground?

How many weeds does a whistlepig wolf when a whistlepig wants to wolf weeds?

No matter what you call the Marmota monax, the large rodent is really the largest member of the ground squirrel family.  They hibernate in the winter, living off the fat they accumulate while chowing down from early Spring through mid-autumn.

Probably the most famous Ground Hog is  Punxsutawney Phil.  Every year on February 2 (Groundhog’s Day), they haul Phil out of his burrow in hopes that he will not see his shadow.

Ground hog day signGroundhog  Day is also known as Candlemas Day according to Wikipedia.  Wikipedia includes English, Scottish, and German poems that celebrate Candlemas Day.

From England, the poem:


If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again

From Scotland, the poem:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There’ll be two winters in the year

From Germany, the poem:

For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until May.
For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,
So far will the sun shine before May

GRound Hog Day Movie locationIn 1993, Bill Murray starred in the Groundhog  Day Movie, where he played a weatherman who did not forecast a blizzard so he is forced to relive the same day over and over again until he gets it right.  Although set in Punxsutawney, PA, much of the film was actually shot in Woodstock, IL.  In 2016, Groundhog Day, the musical opened at the Old Vic in London and on Broadway in April 2017.

In 1996-1997 while American forces were deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Groundhog Day movie was a metaphor for every day seeming like the day before.  That metaphor has also been applied to the weather in San Diego where allegedly ever day in the summer is sunny and 75, with a change to sunny and 65 in the winter. The famous H words–hazy, hot, and humid– exist but nobody acknowledges that.

Is your life a groundhog day?  Have you ever been groundhog counting.  (They are bigger than squirrels so they can be easier to spot.)  Join in the conversation and share your favorite groundhog story.


Word Musings

be-who-you-areRandom thoughts….

Why do we park in the driveway and drive on the parkway?

Why do generals in eat in a private mess while privates eat in a general mess?

A perennial classic:  If pro is the opposite of con, is congress the opposite of progress?

It is probably better to be pissed off rather than pissed on.

Is a smart ass better than a dumb butt?  Would your backside  know the difference?

If I am used, are you amused?

What is black and white and red all over?  Newspaper or a sunburned zebra?

It’s not how often you’re coughin’ that you have to worry about.  It’s the coffin they carry you off in that you should worry about.

She offered her honor.  He honored her offer.  All night he was on her and off her.

If someone flips you the bird, is that a digital offering?

Last night at church, someone wanted to sing badly.  Her wish was granted. When she stopped, our prayers were answered.

Why is wicked good (as in a positive word)) or wicked good (as in a phrase that means very good) in Massachusetts?

Dessert spelt backwards is stresedEvil is live backwards.

Did you hear about the agnostic dyslexic who wasn’t sure there was a dog?

For those of you old enough to remember Vietnam, was fighting for peace really comparable to screwing for chastity?

Don't sweat the petty things

Do you have a favorite phrase or word musing?  Join in the conversation and share your favorite phrase or verbal puzzlement.



Magical Words or Magical Worlds?

Harry Potter logoHarry Potter started as a book, became a movie, and now  how his own Wizarding World in both California and  Florida.  There are books, websites, and college classes that explore the concept of what Wizarding World of Harry PotterHarry Potter means.  He also has his own Pinterest pages, action figures, and other merchandise and social media tie-ins.  J.K. Rowling is richer than the Queen of England according to the Daily Mail.

Star Wars is now a multi-generational film franchise that has spun off books, comic books, action figures, lunch boxes, toys, and a YouTube animated series.  What is the meaning of The Force?


Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien preceded both Harry Potter and Star Wars.  They were best selling books years before the movie trilogies.  In the 60s it even spawned a Mad Magazine parody.

Witches.  Warlocks. Wizards.  Gnomes.  Trolls.  Elves.  Fairies.  Necromancers.  Supernatural beings.

Unicorns.  Dragons. Hippogriffs..  Supernatural animals

Incantations. Spells.  Supernatural words.

DSC01985Many people also find magic in the natural world–the boundless, restless ocean; soaring majestic mountains; cathedral-like quiet of sun-dappled forests; stalking, staring predators, fragile, fluttering butterflies; fleeting fragrant flowers

Sunrise and sunset bridge the gap between dawn and dusk, daytime and nighttime, this world and the next.

Magic is all around us.  Do we believe in it?  What do we consider magic?  Is it white magic or black magic?  Can anyone do it?  Are miracles magic?   Is science magic?  What about religion?

What does magic mean to you?  Join in the conversation and share whether you believe in magic, in nature, in yourself.  What is your favorite magical story?   Do words cast a spell or do you need to see the image?  What are your sacred places?  Do you like to be in them by yourself or with others?  If so, who?

Study Hall or Study Haul

With a nod of the keypad to Target for the idea….

Back to school MBA students

back to school septemberSchool is about to start for many students from Kindergarten through Graduate School.  Long gone are the days for many of us, when the  Tuesday after Labor Day marked the beginning of the academic year.back to school store

Back to school sales seem to start before the 4th of July.  According to the National Retail Federation, “Total combined spending is expected to reach $83.6 billion, an increase of more than 10 percent over last year’s $75.8 billion.”  Many states offer tax free weekends to encourage people to pick up backpacks, pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks, clothes, computers or tablets and dorm necessities like refrigerators and microwaves.  A local Salvation Army recently had a Red Kettle Drive to get school supplies for deserving kids who might not otherwise be able to have the necback to school backpack fill upessary backpack filled with school supplies.  Churches, civic groups, and various charities all have Back to School fundraisers or parties to fill backpacks with donated items.  (Note:  we are not even talking the Christmas sales season where  The BlackFriday.com site already has listings for Christmas 2017.)

When did going back to school become more important as a shopping requirement than an opportunity to catch-up with old friends, meet new friends and teachers, check what was new or changed in school?  (I realize that social media may make the whole catching up thing old school.)

back to school study hallDoes anyone go to school for the sheer pleasure of learning something new?   What is study hall used for now?  Was it ever a place to study or try to cram in the homework you didn’t finish the night before?  Instead of trying to chat with your friends, is it now a place to text or surf the Internet?

What do you like best or hate the most about going back to school?  Join in the conversation and share your back to school memory or nightmare.  Do you think it is more study hall or study haul?back to school rainbow


See shells or seashells

DSC00245When we visit the beach, many of us like to look for seashells or sea glass.  Most of us have an almost childish need to collect the seashells or the sea glass.  Whatseaglass is the harm in taking just one shell or piece of glass?  I have heard the justification for sea glass over sea shells because the glass is man made/sea burnished, but it was never alive.

According to January 17, 2014 Smithsonian post, by Rachel Newer., “When those whimsical walkers pocket the nautical treasures they find on the beach, however, there can be unintended ensea shellsvironmental repercussions. Shells provide a diverse swath of environmental functions: they help to stabilize beaches and anchor seagrass; they provide homes for creatures such as hermit crabs and hiding places for small fish; they are used by shorebirds to build nests; and when they break down, they provide nutrients for the organisms living in the sand or for those that build their own shells.”



Some places, like National Parks or Beaches, do not permit anyone to take any animal, plant, rock, shell.  “Take nothing but pictures and memories; leave nothing but footprints.” When I was a VIP (Volunteer in Park) at Cabrillo National Monument, Monday mornings were my day to be at the Tidepool Education Table where we provided TPERP–Tidepool Protection, Education, and Restoration Program.  We averaged over 100 people a day and it could get to over 500 people on a weekend.  If each person or even each family, took only one souvenir home we would have run of souvenirs (shells, animals, rocks, plants, etc) in short order.  My least favorite people were the ones who got hostile when being reminded that no one was allowed to take anything from a National Park–one family smashed the shells on the ground of the parking lot.  I suspect their attitude was “If I can’t have it, then nobody else can have it. either.”

So will you see shells or will you collect sea shells” Join in the conversation and share what your favorite sea shells are.  “She sell seashells by the seashore.” But she really shouldn’t sell the shells–some hermit crab may need it for it’s home.




What Begins with F and ends in UCK

Disclaimer–you can tell this joke to your mother, grandmother, preacher, at work, in mixed company-etc.

dog on a treadmillIt’s not the word you are probably thinking.  This word has two syllables.  Does that help you guess?

F-*-*-*-*-*-u-c-k–Got it yet?

It is big and red and makes lots of noises.  It is used by both men and women.  For some people it is just a job, but for most of them it is a true passion.  They used to do it with horses but now it is a mechanized.

You must have guessed it is firetruck.

Usually when a limerick starts There once was a girl from Nantucket, people start to squirm.  This may not end well.  How about this version?

Girl with bucketThere once was a girl from Nantucket

Who carried her lunch each day in a bucket

Her bread was so hard

It bounced more than a yard

And so she decided to chuck it

Have you ever engaged in sideways cursing–where you say heck instead of hell, dang instead of damn?  Join in the conversation and share your favorite There once was a girl from Nantucket limerick or what word you use instead of the F word.  I had a friend with a son who was four at the time.  His 9 year old brother came home from school and shared that a kid had used the F-word.  Bobby, the 4 year old, did not know what the F word was, but he could figure out it was something bad. He went around saying  “You F-word.”




Precedent vs President

White HouseSince  1993, the Republicans and the Democrats have traded off White House residents every eight years.  Each president has been considered unprecedented  because of where he was from, his family background,  his skin color, or the size of his bank account.  Bush (1946), Clinton (1946), and Trump (1946) are early Boomers and Obama (1961) is a late Boomer.  (Boomers were born between 1946-1964 according to Google and Wikipedia.)

Before becoming President, Clinton and Bush were both governors.  Clinton and Obamastates red amd blue were both lawyers.   Bush worked in the oil industry and Trump worked in the real estate industry.  All four are married and have children.  Three of them also have grandchildren.

President (noun) – elected head of a republican (Small r) state or the celebrant at the Eucharist

Presidential (adjective) – relating to a president or presidency, having a bearing or demeanor befitting a president; dignified and confident.

Precedent (noun) – an earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances.

Precedent (adjective) – preceding in time, order, or importance

Precedential (adjective) – of the nature of or constituting a precedent or having precedence

George WashingtonGeorge Washington was our first president and he set many of the precedents that are followed to this day–including adding “So help me God” to the end of the oath of office when being sworn in as President, introducing the President as Mr. President, and leaving after two terms.  Franklin Roosevelt was the only President that broke with that precedent.  He died early in his 4th term in 1945. Franklin Roosevelt

Passed by Congress in 1947, and ratified by the states on February 27, 1951, the Twenty-Second Amendment limits an elected president to two terms in office, a total of eight years. However, it is possible for an individual to serve up to ten years as president. The amendment specifies that if a vice president or other successor takes over for a president—who, for whatever reason, cannot fulfill the term—and serves two years or less of the former president’s term, the new president may serve for two full four-year terms. If more than two years remain of the term when the successor assumes office, the new president may serve only one additional term.

What do you think of presidential precedents?  Are they optional or mandatory?  Join in the conversation on precedent or president.  If you do respond, please be polite and respectful to those with differing opinions.



Alms for the Pour

Carinal Point winesAt the Cardinal Point Winery in Afton Virginia,  I saw the sign attached to a half carafe next to the register, “Alms for the Pour”  I thought it was a very clever take on a tips jar.  Usually the message is Tips Make You Sexy or Are You Feeling Tipsy (which might have been a cause for concern in a winery.)

Alms (noun) in historical context, money or food given to poor peAlms for the Pour.jpgople (pour people?)

Poor (adjective) – lacking sufficient income to live at a comfortable or normal level in society or worse than normal, expected, or desirable.

Pour (verb) -to cause a liquid to pour in a steady steam from a container by holding the container at an angle or to prepare a drink

If you fail to get sufficient liquid into your glass, you might say “Poor pour, pitiful me.”



If the wine is of poor quality you may need the spit jar to dispose of the unwanted spit jar 2remainder.  If you use the spit jar too often you are less inclined to live alms in the tips jar.

Hint–If you are doing a lot of wine tasting, it is recommended that you use the spit jar rather than swallow the wine and increase your chance of getting intoxicated.  Swirl-Sniff-Sip-Swallow normally. Swirl-Sniff-Sip-Spit if tasting in quantity.

What is your favorite tip jar sign?  Join in the conversation and share your favorite beverage tasting experience.  Was it beer, wine, a distillery, or a cidery?  Have you ever been to a water tasting, where they compared tap, with various still or sparkling waters?



Forthright on the Forth

orginal American flagOur first amendment guarantees us Freedom of Speech.  “Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.”

Over the years, certain limitations have been added.

Freedom of speech does not include the right:

  • To incite actions that would harm others (e.g., “[S]hout[ing] ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”).
    Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919).
  • To make or distribute obscene materials.
    Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957).
  • To burn draft cards as an anti-war protest.
    United States v. O’Brien, 391 U.S. 367 (1968).
  • To permit students to print articles in a school newspaper over the objections of the school administration.
    Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988).
  • Of students to make an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
    Bethel School District #43 v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986).
  • Of students to advocate illegal drug use at a school-sponsored event.
    Morse v. Frederick, __ U.S. __ (2007).
Americans take their Freedom to Speak very seriously,  We usually prefer to transmit rather  than receive.  We want to give others the benefit of our opinion, even if many around us prefer to not to have it.  With social media, reading is another way to get our point of view across.  Does anyone remember the ‘olden days’ when you had to be careful about discussing religion or politics?
Selective deafness can be a survival skill, not a social skill.    Is the delete or mute button our new best friend?
What is your stand on freedom of expression?  Join in the conversation and share a moment when you wished you had spoken up or had remained silent.   Use your freedom of expression to perform a verbal random act of kindness.
Happy 4th.flag uniform patch

Training to overeat or choo choo on chew chew

chewing--beaverDo we train ourselves to overeat?  When you were a child did your parents tell you finish all of your food because children were starving in 1) Appalachia,  2) India, or 3) China?  Did you ever really aspire to be a member of the Clean the Plate club?  Were you an eager beaver at meal time? Let’s chew on this concept a bit.


Chew (verb) –  to perform the act of chewing or grinding something with your teeth or to meditate on something or to scold someone harshly

Chew (noun) – the act of chewing

choo-choo (noun) – baby talk for train or locomotive

choo choo train cartoonHave you ever told a baby or small child to open his/her mouth to let the choo-choo come in when you are trying to get him/her to eat the next mouthful?  Do you make chug chug and whistle noises while you do so?

Did you ever get chewed out for not finishing your dinner or hiding it in your pocket or feeding it to the dog?

How many of those finish your plate moments have now become don’t eat everything on your plate moments?  Are we training ourselves to overeat by the parental compulsion to make sure that the young child eats everything on the plate?  They usually said you had two choices  “Take it or Leave it”, but how many of them really let you leave?

Are we what we eat?  If we are, are you sweet, spicy, tart, tough, soft, or a mixture? Were you a member of the Clean the Plate club? Join in the conversation and share your favorite or most traumatic childhood eating incident.