Book Scented Candles

Wren Library CambridgePeople have used books as accent pieces or decorations for centuries.  People being interviewed used to pose in front of  book case long before the ubiquitous blue curtain with several strategically placed logos–whether for a photograph or a television/movie/video camera.

Places as diverse as an officer’s club or a hotel lobby often have books displayed to provide a sense of intellectual activity or to make the place seem more homey.


Now they can go one step further.  Since the sense of smell is supposed to be the most primitive sense, why just look at old books when you can smell old books?  It should come as no surprise that you can buy old book scented candles on Amazon.  Frostberd (the company even sounds literary in a Tolkien kind of way) offers  scents that include both books (like the Shire from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy) and places (like Old Books or Reading at the Cafe).

literary candles

To find out more click here for the Atlas Obscura article

A quick review of the Amazon site reveals other purveyors of old book scented candles.

  • Luminous Candles, a soy based candles with titled collections including The Library, Antique Books, Outlander, Middle Earth, and Austen
  • Dio Candles, Hogwarts book-sized collection with candles for all four houses.
  • Paddywax Library Collection with a Tolstoy scented candle
  • Village Candle Leather bound scented candle

What would be your favorite scented candle?



Beware the Ides of March and Spring Has Sprung

March is a hopscotch of Saints’ Days, equinox celebrations, with a bit of Shakespeare thrown in for good measure for measure.

Daylight Savings TimeThe week  begins with Daylight Savings Time on March 11, where we lose an hour of daylight in the morning but gain it in the evening.  So rather than being dark when I get home from work, it is dark when I get up and drive to work. (I’m still not sure how this benefits me.)

March 15 is the day the that Caesar was murdered on his way to the Senate.  A Soothsayer warns Caesar in Julius Caesar Act 1, Scene 2 in lines 103 and 109:  “Beware the Ides of March”.

st patricks dayOn March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish.  It is the traditional death date of St. Patrick .  People wear green to avoid being pinched by leprechauns and other less imaginary characters.

st joseph's day san juan capistranoOn March 19, the swallows return to the mission of San Juan Capistrano, California for St. Joseph’s Day.   St. Joseph is celebrated as the husband of the Virgin Mary and the foster father of Jesus.

The vernal equinox or Spring is celebrated on March 20.  The sun’s direct rays cross Earth’s equator from the Southern to the Northern hemisphere signalling the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere.  Meteorological Spring occurred earlier in the month on March 1.

Good Friday is March 30 while both Easter and April Fool’s Day are on April 1.

Happy Spring Everybody!





National Day of Unplugging

National Day of UnpluggingThe National Day of Unplugging runs from sunset on March 9 through sunset on March 10.   It was founded by the Sabbath Manifesto.  You can take the pledge and win a free cellphone sleeping bag, host an event with family, friends, or colleagues, create I/We Unplug To ______ posters.  They even offer a DIY toolkit.

People are invited to unplug from their smartphones, tablets, computers, game boys, playstations,  I would do it, but I am supposed to meet friends in DC for dinner and if plans were to change, we could not get in touch without cellphones since we are all visiting from out of town.  What’s your excuse?

Does your typical day begin/end with you checking your smartphone?  How long can you go between fixes–whether it is checking your social media accounts, peeking at emails, scanning for text messages?  News features this week show that we become addicted to the likes, comments, and other positive strokes we get from our electronic friends.  Even if you don’t smoke, drink, gamble, cheat on your significant other, or overeat, are you addicted to your social media accounts?  Do you need that instant hit of gratification that a like or Facebook comment brings?

For me, I would have to forgo my daily Lexulous Word Game sessions, checking my email on my smart phone, tablet or computer (depending upon if I am at home or traveling), reviewing my Word Press statistics to see how many people are not reading this blog, and looking for text messages.  I don’t own a game boy and seldom read e-books.  I do like to listen to my iPod while at the gym–would that count?

Ebook readers evolution

Word Play from an English Teacher

This is part of a chain email and I’m not sure where it originated.  I think it is funny and shows why English is such a difficult language.


For all of you who wonder why folk from other countries have a bit of trouble with the English language. This is a clever piece put together by an English teacher, who else??
*Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning. A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.*   *You think English is easy??*   *I think a retired English teacher was bored…THIS IS GREAT !*
*Read all the way to the end……………..This took a lot of work to put together!*
1) The bandage was *wound* around the *wound*.
2) The farm was used to *produce produce*.
3) The dump was so full that it had to *refuse* more *refuse*.
4) We must *polish* the *Polish* furniture.
5) He could *lead*if he would get the *lead* out.
6) The soldier decided to *desert* his dessert in the *desert*.
7) Since there is no time like the *present*, he thought it was time to  *present* the *present*.
8) A *bass* was painted on the head of the *bass* drum.
9) When shot at, the *dove dove *into the bushes.
10) I did not *object* to the *object*.
11) The insurance was *invalid* for the *invalid*.
12) There was a *row* among the oarsmen about how to *row*.
13) They were too *close* to the door to *close* it.
14) The buck *does* funny things when the *does* are present.
15) A seamstress and a *sewer* fell down into a *sewer* line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his *sow* to *sow*.
17) The *wind* was too strong to *wind* the sail.
18) Upon seeing the *tear* in the painting I shed a *tear*.
19) I had to *subject* the *subject* to a series of tests.
20) How can I *intimate* this to my most *intimate* friend?
Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in a pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig
And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese.  So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?  How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’? AND If a male goat is called a ram and a donkey is called an ass, why is a ram-in-the-ass called a goose?


How Do I Love Thee (Books)

Valentine’s Ode to My Favorite Books

valentine old book

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee from page first to page last
My soul will still love thee though time has past
For the plot of intrigue and endearing pace
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most compelling need, to the author’s next book to read
Your siren’s call I will surely heed
I  love thee strongly as an addiction
To read thee is a cure for my affliction.                               valentine book with rose      
In my dotage and in my youth
Within your pages I find great truth
Whether in print, by audio, or online
I heed thy words in heart and mind.
And though I’ve read thee once before
We shall continue to meet many times more.


Bored games

If I were to watch the Superbowl, it would either be for the Commercials or to partake in a universally expected snackfood orgy. Football is not my cup of anything.


The internet went nuts last week over the three Jeopardy contestants who knew nothing about football. It’s Super Bowl Sunday. I’ll say it: I know nothing about football.

Well, that’s not true entirely. I happened to be watching Jeopardy that night – last Thursday, I think it was – and answered four of the five questions correctly. I haven’t watched football in probably thirty years, except for the couple of times I took my one of my English friends to a game when he visited. I just don’t like it, that’s all. I don’t relate to the objectives. I don’t like waiting two minutes for a three-second play. I don’t like how, on paper, an NFL game should last an hour but it’s never less than three. And I don’t like how people complain about three-hour baseball games but a three-hour NFL game is Nirvana. The last two minutes of…

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Clueless vs. Mindfulness

stop signVisiting a strip mall on  Saturday morning is a microcosm of mindfulness and clueless. People of all ages and levels  of competency flirt with immortality as they amble, stumble, falter, and sometimes come to a complete stop as they attempt to remember why they came to the grocery store.  If you add the extra pressure of trying to sanitize their hands to avoid the flu epidemic, before grabbing a cart to push into the store, you have a colony ants, each of whom thinks he or she is driving the twig down the creek.

grocery store asking for directions

Mindfulness  (noun)- qualify or state of being conscious or aware of something.  The mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Mindfulness is trendy.  The local book store has a display of books about Mindfulness.  It has been the focus of many journal articles, self-help books, and conference sessions  Meditation blogs mine it’s rich vein of material.

Clueless (adjective) – having no knowledge, understanding, or ability.


I submit that Cluelessness should be a noun to identify people that are clueless. If the mindful can have mindfulness, don’t the clueless also deserve a word to identify them?

If the phones are smart, why can’t the people who use them be equally adept?

pedestians crossing street.As a society, we have an implied contract of mutual responsibility for our joint safety.  As a driver, I have an obligation to remain vigilant for people who walk across the road or parking lot, whether there is a cross walk or not.  These distracted walkers may be further hampered by  reading, texting, or talking on their smart phone.  Yes, a car can do more damage to a person than a person can do to a car, but if you absolve yourself from any of our joint safety responsibility, then you are assuming I will be diligent enough for both of us.

What about distracted drivers?  How often have you seen someone buzz through a parking lot while talking on a cellphone or (worse) texting?  Is the pedestrian going to pay enough attention to the driver who is not paying attention to him/her?

Which is worse? Distracted driver or distracted pedestrians?  Who are the most distracted:  seniors or young adults?    Join in the conversation and share your mindfulness/clueless stories.  Does mindfulness help when dealing with the clueless?




Smart Phones and the Gym–Do’s and Dont’s

You might think people go to the gym to work out, improve their health, maybe even to socialize.  Nowadays, they seem to go to text, maybe catch up on a little email.  From college students to their grandparents, gym rats seem to spend more time on their apps than their abs.

Here is my short list of smart phone do’s and dont’s:

no cameras allowed in locker rooms

  1. No cameras in the locker room–ever.  Save your salacious picture taking for the privacy of wherever you call home.
  2. No texting or reading your email while taking a break from your exercises (when you  are sitting at the only leg press in the gym.)  There are couches and chairs near the check-in desk for that.  It’s bad enough to wait while someone finished their umpteenth set of reps.  We shouldn’t have to wait for you to  text too.
  3. Go outside if you have to take or make that phone call.  Between the sports and news pundits on the competing televisions, the music being blared for all to share, the thuds of free weights being dropped, and  every day conversations, gyms are already noisy phone and runner on a bench
  4.  Do listen to whatever type of music you enjoy on you smart phone play list, especially if you treat yourself (and the your temporary neighbors) to a good set of headphones or earbuds.
  5. Disconnect from your electronic life support for however long you are in the gym (the exception being Rule 4.


smart phone on an ellipticalI’ll  thank you the next time I see you at the gym.  (I’ll bet I won’t be the only one who appreciates what you are trying to do.)


Tanks A Lot

Tank may be one of the most versatile words in the English language.

Tank (noun)–Front line combat, armored fighting vehicle

Tank (noun)–large receptacle or storage chamber for liquid or gas

Tank (noun)–a close-fitting sleeveless top.

Tank (verb)–fill the tank of a vehicle with fuel

Tank (verb)—to fail completely, usually a total financial loss

water tower--eat more chickenJeff Foxworthy’s quote–” If you’ve ever hauled a can of paint to the top of a water tower to defend your sister’s honor.” could just as well have said water tank. Other tank quotes include:

  • When you run out of gas, you put gin in the gas tank!
  • Getting a package from your post office requires a full tank of gas in the truck.

Mark_I_series_tankTanks were invented by the British in 1916.  It was called the Mark 1.  From Wikipedia, “The first tanks were designed to overcome the deadlock of trench warfare; in the 2010s, they are a mainstay of modern ground forces and a key part of combined arms combat. ”

Tanks are a theme for multiple online games. A few examples are:


fishtank.jpgWatching fish swim in tanks has been known to lower your blood pressure.  You can either buy a fish tank and stock it or you can watch swimming fish online. YouTube has a 3 hour soothing fish video.  There are also several shorter ones.

Watching a well-built person in a tank top may have the opposite effect

Tanking–filling the tank or hitting rock bottom


Tank you for taking the time to read this piece on tanks.

Emperor’s New Close

The Emperor’s New Close

Most everyone knows

Of the Emperor’s New Clothes

How an ambitious man

With an ingenious plan

Fooled all but a child with false shows


The emperor was rather vane

No one quite said insane

 If you praised him enough

He would not call your bluff

Even though your advice was inane


So it went on with the shows

Fighting with both friends and foes

If he ever felt dissed

He thrust out chin and fists

Such was the Emperor’s New Close.