Saturday, September 14, 2019

O Say Did You Know...

...on this day in 1814...Francis Scott Key wrote "The Defence of Fort McHenry"?

Mr. Key did so after watching the British bomb Maryland's Fort McHenry during the war of 1812.

In the morning he was so thrilled to see Old Glory still flying proudly above the fort he took selfies with the flag in the background and posted them on instagram.

"OMG!  this is like, so incredible!"

Sadly, there are probably some folks reading this who a) actually think that might have happened or worse, b) would do that today if it happened to them.

What actually occurred was Mr. Key - lawyer, author, amateur poet - was so inspired he took quill in hand (typewriters wouldn't be invented for another 50+ years) and composed his now famous poem.

Unable to force a surrender, the British gave up the assault and Fort McHenry was saved.

Newspapers of the day printed Key's poem, which became quite popular and was quickly set to music.

In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson decreed it should be played before official events of state, and soon it became part of major sporting events as well.

Today we know it as "The Star Spangled Banner", adopted as our national anthem on March 3, 1931.

Yes, its octave and a half range renders it practically un-singable (a real word I just made up) for many of us, but when someone with the requisite pipes belts it out, it still brings tears to my eyes.

So next time you hear it, stand up -
- gents, remove your hats, everyone put your right hand over your heart and give thanks you live in the greatest country on earth.
Speaking of things with national importance, this political season has made me ponder once again the magnificence of our founding documents and especially the Constitution.
What a brilliant work, laying as it did the foundation and mechanisms for our democratic republic to grow and prosper.

Its purpose is clearly enunciated in the preamble - 

Form a more perfect union
Establish justice
Insure domestic tranquility
Provide for the common defense
Promote the general welfare  -and-
Secure the blessings of liberty

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the people who want to run the place actually read this document and took its purpose, principles and proclamations to heart?

After all, whoever wins in 2020 will take this oath as prescribed in article 2 of the Constitution when sworn in as President in January of 2021:

"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Yeah, like that guy.
On a more lighthearted note, Karen forced me to pull out the All Hallows E'en stuff to make sure we're ready for the big day:
I of course did not want to and so tried my best to reason with her:

"But dearest," says I, "it's more than a month away!  Plus, I am very busy at the moment, doing important tasks that should not be interrupted."

"You," says she, "are doing nothing more than watching grown men play a silly game that involves running into each other at high speeds for no discernible reason."
"But my darling kumquat," replies I, "this is a very important game and if I do not see the end -"

"- you will watch the highlights on the news tonight," finishes she for me.

"Now up, up, up and do my bidding!"

She might say I am mixing two different events together here...that it was I who wanted to pull out all the Halloween decorations and only later did I use those excuses when she wanted me to move furniture around in the bonus room.

Me, I prefer not to argue about such trivial matters and really, now that it's over, who's to say what actually happened?

As far as I know there is no photographic evidence and even if there was, that can usually be purchased for a reasonable sum to avoid the unpleasantness of court proceedings.

In any event, I say we let the past be the past and focus instead on the important getting ready for All Hallows E'en.
From the looks, most of the gang is in good shape and will be ready to go on the big night.  Hopefully I will be, too...
Once again, no hickory golf this week...
...too much rain and too many schedule conflicts...dang...I have been swatting whiffle golf balls in the back yard with my hickories but...jes' ain't tha same.

Next week.

For sure.
Bought this gorgeous piece of mid century modern art for our coffee niche...
...from the Retro Lifestyle Company  
Never were truer words spoken.
Gorgeous fall day at the farmer's market...
...well, this guy was spotted on the way to the farmer's market...
big crowds today...

starting to look very fall-ish there...

gotta love Autumn...

Some parting shots seen 'round the ol' homestead...
honest, I have no idea how he got there...

taking a break from the wood pile I guess...

I admit it; it's a weakness...

no denying, fall is on the way...
And so it is with great sorrow and anguish of soul...
...we once again reach the terminus, the end point, the last stop along the path of literary greatness before the driver turns around and yells at all of us to get off his bus because he's got stuff to do that doesn't involve babysitting a bunch of crybaby passengers... I say we listen to the man, get off the bus and get on with our lives before he does something all of us will regret... asking Roseanne Barr sing the national anthem again.

later, mcm fans...

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Sunday, September 8, 2019

No Hay Pajaros...

...en los nidos de antano...there are no birds in last year's nest.

An old Spanish proverb, taken from Don Quixote, quoted by Longfellow at the start of his beautiful poem, "It Is Not Always May".

The punch line of his insightful verse reminds us...

"Enjoy the Spring of Love and Youth,
   To some good angel leave the rest;
For Time will teach thee soon the truth,
  There are no birds in last year's nest!"

The older I get the more I experience the cold reality of that sentiment.

Time is water slipping through our fingers, so we must do our best to enjoy it now...capture those moments, live them, embrace them, be present and accounted for while they're happening, for they will soon be but a memory.
No hickory golf this week... y'all get a reprieve, but don't get used to it.
Seen and heard around the neighborhood...

Spelling Bee
At the beginning of the summer I mentioned we had 3 projects scheduled...a complete roof replacement (ouch, and check)...our back patio replacement (check)...and finally...window / wall replacement in our "bonus" room.

This past week it was out with the old...
...and in with the new...
there was one large window and we replaced it with this smaller one for privacy...and to accommodate a murphy bed on the new wall space
a straight replace on these 2 windows...better insulated now
So that's "check" #3 for summer projects...just in time since summer is definitely on the way out.

The one "extra" we got in this flurry of home improvements was new steps off the back patio.
Al Vandemeer and his helper Larry did all the work on the windows, new wall and stairs.  Great job, men...really appreciate it.

Trying to get things ship shape in case we end up selling.
Over the course of several years I wrote 7 "Papa's Model T" books.  I started on "" which at first partnered with and their Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

Several books into this Amazon bought Createspace and of course changed things up quite a bit.

The end result was the physical presentation became noticeably different from the first book to the last one.

So over the last couple of weeks, I redid all the covers and some of the interiors to give them a similar look and feel:

I wanted them to be recognizable as a series in case, you know, anyone ever actually buys one...or two...

Planning to do something similar with my short story collections, novel and novellas on Amazon as well.
Part of the reason I'm doing the above is because I'm not writing at the a creative dry spell...

...thought I had a hot idea, did some research and even got a decent start, but then changed my mind about the story.

Now there are some uncertainties swirling around that have taken my mind off writing almost completely while we try to sort out other issues.

All very mysterious sounding I know...
...but they're the usual ups and downs of life, nothing unique or sensational...just enough to focus our attention on some unexpected circumstances and away from the normal ebb and flow of the daily grind.

More to come, I'm sure.
It appears we have once again reached the end...
...well, not that end...more like this one:
...and all of us here at the Atomic Monster Cafe...
...will do our level best to serve up another delicious stew of intellectual stimulation in the days ahead.

Don't miss it while you can.

Until then...
...later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on!

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