Category Archives: Musings

The Tree Which Stands Alone

George Seaton
Photo by George Seaton

Ute Prayer for Earth’s Teachings

Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring
as the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation
as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain.

Cheatsheets

Check this out!!

Interactive HTML5 Cheatsheet!! Very useful!

From dreamcss.com

Google:

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ASCII Character Codes :

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Blogging:

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jquery :

mod_rewrite Cheat Sheet:

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Python:

Ruby:

WordPress

XML Technologies :

Misc

  • Regex Pal – testing tool for Regular Expressions

Bittersweet Goodbye

Tammi’s little West Highland White Terrier “Sugar” has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She was 16, not a bad run.

In the vet’s office, waiting for the vet.

Tearful hugs.

Kylie saying her goodbyes.

My first Christmas with Tammi and our entire herd.

Sugar liked to lay next to me on the couch.

When we first moved her to Longmont, she LOVED her new yard!

Kink wasn’t completely crazy about this interloper, but they made peace.

Sugar loved to sleep under the edge of our bed.

First day at home – rescued from a puppy mill!

Ah, nothing like a warm clothes basket!

Queen of the Mountain!

Sugar’s new momma loves her!

And so did her dad – that’s Tammi’s first husband Scott.

Persona Non Gratia

My litany of Comcast’s misdeeds starts with their idiotic harrassment of people trying to cancel their service. This was just one of probably THOUSANDS of users they needlessly abused and then gave the usual corporate non-apology.

Blocking Cancellations

http://time.com/2985964/comcast-cancel-ryan-block/

If Dante’s Inferno had been written today, an extra circle of hell would be dedicated to dealings with cable providers.

Former tech editor Ryan Block posted a maddening 8-minute portion of his phone call with a Comcast “customer retention” specialist desperately (and aggressively) trying to stop Block from canceling his service.

Not taking no for an answer, the rep peppered Block with questions: “You don’t want something that works?”; “So you’re not interested in the fastest internet in the country?”; “I’m really ashamed to see you go to something that can’t give you what we can!”; “What is it about this other internet provider???”

But Comcast wasn’t a spurned lover deserving of an explanation. It is a cable provider.

Block maintained an impressive state of calm, cooly repeating “I’m declining to state, can you please go to the next question” so many times that if this were a drinking game, players might not survive the length of the call.

Block writes: “This recording picks up roughly 10 minutes into the call, whereby she and I have already played along and given a myriad of reasons and explanations as to why we are canceling (which is why I simply stopped answering the rep’s repeated question — it was clear the only sufficient answer was “Okay, please don’t disconnect our service after all.”).”

Block said that his Comcast was successfully disconnected at the end of the call.

Comcast senior vice president of customer experience Tom Karinshak released the following statement Tuesday regarding the now-viral recording:

We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and are contacting him to personally apologize. The way in which our representative communicated with him is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives. We are investigating this situation and will take quick action. While the overwhelming majority of our employees work very hard to do the right thing every day, we are using this very unfortunate experience to reinforce how important it is to always treat our customers with the utmost respect.

 Political Thuggery

From Community Networks (copied in case the article is removed later) – here’s a detailed article about Comcast’s political machinations that included over half a million dollars to deny Longmont voters access to their own fiber optic network:

Longmont Votes Again, Comcast Breaks Spending Record Opposing Referendum

Tue, November 1, 2011 | Posted by christopher

Today is election day in Longmont, Colorado — tomorrow we will find out if Comcast’s record-breaking campaign of lies has scared enough voters to prevent the community from using its infrastructure to encourage broadband competition.

It looks like Comcast will break the $300,000 mark, funneling the money through the Colorado Cable Telecommunications Association. Two years ago, it spent over $245,000 in a similar effort — setting the record for most amount spent on a local election in Longmont. Comcast and its anti-competition allies will spend approximately 10x as much as the total amount spent on the entire mayoral campaign. All to stop the city from having an alternative to the cable/DSL duopoly.

In a recent news story about the absurd spending level, the present Mayor struck an indifferent tone:

“It doesn’t really matter at this stage of the game,” Baum said. “It’s going to the electorate. The electorate will vote. And we will know on Tuesday how they voted – if they believe a $300,000 ad campaign, or if they believe the people they’ve entrusted their votes to.”

Both incumbents and challengers in the City Council race have unanimously endorsed 2A over the course of the campaign.

The Boulder Weekly has even weighed in on Comcast’s campaign of lies and misinformation, tying it to their efforts two years ago:

In 2009, a similar campaign called “No Blank Check” was bankrolled to the tune of nearly $250,000, primarily by the telecommunications industry. That campaign, which was successful in defeating the measure, was labeled as misleading by city officials because it claimed money would be taken from police and firefighters to fund city telecommunications services.

“It was actually just the opposite of what No Blank Check was saying,” Tom Roiniotis, director of Longmont Power and Communications, told Boulder Weekly this summer. “They were saying we were going to have to lay off police and firefighters. Nothing could be further from the truth. … In fact, telecommunications would actually generate money for those departments. But they had models dressed up as firefighters, looking very sad.”

When we say that this campaign is orchestrated by Comcast, we should be clear — virtually no one in Longmont opposes the 2A ballot initiative. And no one running for office opposes it! See the Boulder Weekly discussion about their support for 2A:

But we — along with every Longmont City Council member and candidate who responded to a Boulder Weekly questionnaire — agree that the city should be able to use its own network, despite the corporate powers’ concerns about losing market share to a new competitor. Taxpayers have already invested in this network and should benefit from it. We strongly urge a YES vote on Longmont Ballot Question 2A.
The Times-Call also supports the measure. Just how unanimous is the support? Consider this report from Longmont’s Future:

At an event at Silver Creek High School last night, according to the Times-Call,
“Carroll and Levison were joined onstage by Mayor Bryan Baum and his challenger Dennis Coombs, at-large candidate Ron Gallegos, Ward 1 candidate Suzzanne Painter and Ward 3 Councilman Sean McCoy.

One question, on Ballot Question 2A, drew immediate solidarity from the panel.
“Everyone, on three, say yes or no on 2A,” Baum told the other candidates with a grin. “One, two, three …”

“YES!” they all echoed.

“That is the one thing we all agree on,” Baum said.”

You can listen to a local radio story about the referendum here or at the bottom of this page, where it is embedded for the future.

Comcast’s campaign of lies has gone so far as to take out a full-page ad inventing a story of impropriety, accusing the City of somehow colluded with Alcatel-Lucent to scam the public.

The Times-Call looked into the allegations and found nothing but smoke and mirrors — exactly the tactics of bait-and-switch you would expect from an out-of-town astroturf campaign:

A group against Longmont Ballot Question 2A claims city officials coordinated a push for the issue with telecom company Alcatel-Lucent, a claim the city denied, saying that early email contacts with the company were taken far out of context.

The opposition group Look Before We Leap said the charge would be part of their advertising against 2A as the election campaign enters its final week. The group spent about $2,800 to look through city emails related to the ballot question, which, if passed, would lift state restrictions on how Longmont can use a fiber-optic loop it built in 1997.

The group’s findings included three messages from an Alcatel-Lucent representative offering information and suggestions for a supportive campaign to Mayor Bryan Baum and Longmont Power & Communications director Tom Roiniotis. All three were sent before Aug. 23, the date the City Council put the question on the ballot, after which city staff could not be involved for or against the issue, though elected officials could.

Roiniotis called the charges ridiculous and said there was no relationship. He said he had received many “sales calls” from telecommunications companies interested in Longmont’s fiber system; the main difference here, he said, was the offer of help.

“I made it perfectly clear to them that they could do anything they wanted to do, but that the city could not be involved in advocating for it,” he said. He also noted that the city had been aware of much of the information sent by Alcatel-Lucent since 2009, the last time Longmont tried a ballot issue to lift the restrictions.

….

In the email messages, Jennie Burgoz of Alcatel-Lucent offered contacts and information related to successful municipal telecommunications campaigns in Chattanooga and Bristol, Tenn. She also suggested ideas such as “tricking out” Baum’s campaign vehicle as a mobile fiber vehicle and working with attorney and advocate Jim Baller, who was familiar with a similar campaign in Illinois.

Comcast’s “Look Before We Leap” group has even attacked the actual grassroots pro-2A groups for how little they have spent!: [from the same article as above]

Merritt said he also had concerns that there had been no reporting by Longmont’s Future, a pro-2A website. That amused its proprietor, Jonathan Rice, who is the only person operating the site.

“It’s not really so much a group as it is ‘me,'” Rice said. Between a couple of Times-Call ads and the website, he said, he had spent $353.

“I don’t have $300,000 to work with ,” he said. “So I’ll do my $300 and see how that goes.”
Rice has invested in an online pro-2A ad on the local newspaper’s website.

Some of the pro-2A folks have responded to these trumped-up charges with the following press release:

$297,000 On A Local Election? Isn’t That A Little Crazy?

Look Before We Leap – a front group for the Colorado Cable Telecommunications Association – continues to block Longmont’s efforts to partner with private industry.

In a new twist on the saga of Ballot Question 2A, which would re-establish Longmont’s right to partner with private industry to use its fiber-optic ring, Comcast-sponsored group ‘Look Before We Leap’ has now spent over $297,000 (http://www.ci.longmont.co.us/city_clerk/election/candidates/documents/LB…) on robo-calls, door-knockers, and most recently a full-page ad in the local Daily Times-Call to mock the city’s efforts to partner with private employers.

The city of Longmont, which attempted to win the valuable gigabit network from Google last year, is prevented by state law from using its fiber-optic network without a voter referendum. That is what is on the ballot this November 1st – with Comcast’s monopoly over telecommunications at risk.

In recent public comments by Google VP of Access Services Milo Medin, he specifically identified political hurdles such as these as a cause for automatically removing cities from consideration. As Google reviews additional cities to partner with, Longmont will continue to be disqualified if Question 2A does not pass.

Question 2A specifically supports the City working “either directly or indirectly with public or private sector partners.”

“Look Before We Leap have tried to pretend that this is a grassroots effort,” said Jonathan Rice, editor of the pro-2A website longmontsfuture.com

“But the truth is that not one single donation over $50 has been declared by the front group… other than those of the Colorado Cable Telecommunications Association.”

The organization has spent more than ten times what the rest of Longmont’s elections put together will spend, and flies in the face of elected public officials’ opinion.

“Every single candidate for office and every incumbent, in every race, supports this measure,” continued Rice. “But Comcast and its friends are more interested in profit than progress, and continue to run a smear campaign to spread misinformation and outright lies – they recently posted Mayor Baum’s name as an opponent of 2A when he is actually a vociferous supporter.”

With Longmont reeling from the loss of hundreds of local jobs over the last few months, it could badly use a shot in the arm from a major employer – but without 2A passing, that won’t be Google.

“We tried our darnedest to get them to come here,” said Rice. “But without access to the fiber optic ring, they just couldn’t quite bring themselves to be part of Longmont’s future.”

Question 2A is a battle between the rights of citizens and local businesses versus the desire of out-of-town corporate interests to maximize profits at their expense.

Gouging

Literally the day that NextLight announced that their installation schedule was being accelerated, Comcast began implementing data caps on their customers – our monthly bill nearly doubled! I heard the same complaint from neighbors. The city was told, nothing was done. I let it slide because I KNEW Comcast’s days were numbered.

Flat-Out Lying

Less than a week after we made the switch to NextLight, two very nice young gentlemen wearing XFinity-logo shirts and tasteful khaki pants showed up in our neighborhood and tried to push Comcast’s service.

Among the bald-faced lies they told me were:

  1. “NextLight is already having trouble maintaining their network”
  2. “Fiber optic isn’t as reliable”
  3. “We have our own fiber optic”
  4. “The fiber optic service is interfering with other city services”
  5. “Fort Collins had a disaster with it”

and more.

This is sad and shameful and I reminded the nice young men of Comcast’s political adventurism and how angry it had made me at the time. The older of the two immediately tried to mollify me by saying: “Don’t get heated” – and at that point I politely asked them to move along.

To the shiny-suited shits at the top of the Comcast foodchain:

Goodbye assholes, your days are numbered. You are officially Persona Non Gratia in our home.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Keep the Faith

Here we are in mid-summer, poised at the swing of the seasons and the pendulum of life is picking up speed after grinding to a halt on it’s swing and reversing – finally!

I wanted to say thank you formally to everyone that has helped my family and I over the past three years. God bless you all. It was one of the worst tunnels I’ve been through since Marilyn’s death.

We’re making changes and improvements – hoping for new adventures and great joy in the remainder of ’16 and more and better in ’17 and beyond!

To all of you on the team, thanks.

You are my family, by blood, tears or laughter and I cherish you all.

Sometimes the best man for the job is a woman

My friend George “Andy” Hofferber sent me this and Wikipedia confirms it!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charley_Parkhurst

Buy the historical novel 'Riding Freedom,' based on the life of Charley Parkhurst, written by Pam Munoz Ryan and illustrated by Brian Selznick.
Buy the historical novel ‘Riding Freedom,’ based on the life of Charley Parkhurst, written by Pam Munoz Ryan and illustrated by Brian Selznick.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Western stagecoach companies were big business in the latter half of the 19th century. In addition to passengers and freight, stages hauled gold and silver bullion as well as mining company payrolls.

Stage robbery was a constant danger and bandits employed many strategies to ambush a stagecoach. Thieves rarely met with much resistance from stage drivers, since they had passenger safety foremost in mind. The gang was usually after the Wells Fargo money box with its valuable contents. Passengers were seldom hurt, but they were certainly relieved of their cash, watches and jewelry. Before the completion of the transcontinental railroad over Donner Pass in 1868, the only transportation through the Sierra was by stage. Rugged teamsters held rein over six wild-eyed horses as they tore along the precipitous mountain trails. The stagecoaches were driven by skilled and fearless men who pushed themselves and their spirited horses to the limit.

One of the most famous drivers was Charles Darkey Parkhurst, who had come west from New England in 1852 seeking his fortune in the Gold Rush. He spent 15 years running stages, sometimes partnering with Hank Monk, the celebrated driver from Carson City. Over the years, Pankhurst’s reputation as an expert whip grew.

From 20 feet away he could slice open the end of an envelope or cut a cigar out of a man’s mouth. Parkhurst smoked cigars, chewed wads of tobacco, drank with the best of them, and exuded supreme confidence behind the reins. His judgment was sound and pleasant manners won him many friends.

One afternoon as Charley drove down from Carson Pass the lead horses veered off the road and a wrenching jolt threw him from the rig. He hung on to the reins as the horses dragged him along on his stomach. Amazingly, Parkhurst managed to steer the frightened horses back onto the road and save all his grateful passengers.

During the 1850s, bands of surly highwaymen stalked the roads. These outlaws would level their shotguns at stage drivers and shout, “Throw down the gold box!” Charley Parkhurst had no patience for the crooks despite their demands and threatening gestures.

The most notorious road agent was nicknamed “Sugarfoot.” When he and his gang accosted Charley’s stage, it was the last robbery the thief ever attempted.

Charley cracked his whip defiantly, and when his horses bolted, he turned around and fired his revolver at the crooks. Sugarfoot was later found dead with a fatal bullet wound in his stomach.

In appreciation of his bravery, Wells Fargo presented Parkhurst with a large watch and chain made of solid gold. In 1865, Parkhurst grew tired of the demanding job of driving and he opened his own stage station. He later sold the business and retired to a ranch near Soquel, Calif. The years slipped by and Charley died on Dec. 29, 1879, at the age of 67.

A few days later, the Sacramento Daily Bee published his obituary. It read;
“On Sunday last, there died a person known as Charley Parkhurst, aged 67, who was well-known to old residents as a stage driver. He was in early days accounted one of the most expert manipulators of the reins who ever sat on the box of a coach. It was discovered when friendly hands were preparing him for his final rest, that Charley Parkhurst was unmistakably a well-developed woman!”

Once it was discovered that Charley was a woman, there were plenty of people to say they had always thought he wasn’t like other men. Even though he wore leather gloves summer and winter, many noticed that his hands were small and smooth. He slept in the stables with his beloved horses and was never known to have had a girlfriend.

Charley never volunteered clues to her past. Loose fitting clothing hid her femininity and after a horse kicked her, an eye patch over one eye helped conceal her face. She weighed 175 pounds, could handle herself in a fistfight and drank whiskey like one of the boys.

It turns out that Charley’s real name was Charlotte Parkhurst. Abandoned as a child, she was raised in a New Hampshire orphanage unloved and surrounded by poverty. Charlotte ran away when she was 15 years old and soon discovered that life in the working world was easier for men. So she decided to masquerade as one for the rest of her life.

The rest is history.

Well, almost. There is one last thing. On November 3, 1868, Charlotte Parkhurst cast her vote in the national election, dressed as a man.  She became the first woman to vote in the United States,  52 years before Congress passed the 19th amendment giving American women the right to vote!

No Hugs for Doug

There was a boy
his name was Doug
and all he wanted
was a hug

When he asked
they’d always shrug
and so there were
no hugs for Doug

When he asked them
in the hall
there he got
no hugs at all

When he asked them
during lunch
they shook their heads
all in a bunch

When he asked
out in the rain
they all thought
he’d gone insane

He asked them late
he asked them early
and all they thought
was: ‘Damn, he’s squirrelly!”

And so he goes
with grin on mug
hoping for
a hug for Doug

To all those who refused.
MDW 4/15/00

Basimanyana

Basimanyana

Basimanyana, Basimanyana, Basimanyana ba llela boroko (x2)
Be re bolaisa go disa
Rena re thuswa le ke bo nimadikepu

(chorus)

sebaka sena se a thosa, se thotse, se a makatsa
ha ke seba sithaba
di kwahetswe ke mohudi kahohle

(chorus)

tlong, tlong badisa, tlong re be mmoho
bokellang makgomo
Basimanyana, Basimanyana, Basimanyana ba llela boroko (repeat)

(chorus)

tlong, tlong badisa, tlong re be mmoho
bokellang makgomo (x2)
ka re thabantana tsosa thabo
ha la ka la memella ntate moholo
ha a re le se ke la thusa makgomo, tulong ena
Basimanyana, Basimanyana, Basimanyana ba llela boroko (repeat)

(chorus)

Vusi Sidney Mahlasela Ka Zwane (born 1965 in Pretoria) is a Sotho South African singer-songwriter.
His music is generally described as ”African folk”. Vusi Mahlasela, is simply known as ‘The Voice’ in his home-country, South Africa, celebrated for his distinct, powerful voice and his poetic, optimistic lyrics.
http://vusimahlasela.com/bio/

A Book Worthy to be Read

A Book Worthy to be Read

I wait quietly, but you do not see me
hidden among the volumes on the shelf.
I am touched by age, tattered with use,
but a book worthy to be read,
filled with tales of love and sorrow,
of days gone by and hopes still to be realized.
Yet you do not look beyond my cover.

My edges may be yellowed and frayed
but my words are strong and true.
So my pages will sing out my words for you
and tell of the marvelous things written within,
etched by time, engraved by experience,
and worthy to be told.

For too long I lingered on the shelf, dusty and muted,
lost between stories that were not my own.
But I have been touched by rays of sun
peeking through heavy curtains
dancing with motes that fall through time and space.

The dust that once buried me, dulled my vision,
now sparkles like so much glitter in the shards of light.
The same sun that once burned, yellowed, faded me
is now my beacon, calling me on through the darkness.
I will not be shut up, shut down or shut in.

Elizabeth Winkelmeyer
November 28, 2009

Printable calligraphy version (PDF)

Commuting Kills

From WordFence.

Every year we lose up to 10% of our electricity purely due to resistance during transmission. If you’ve ever wondered why a room-temperature superconductor is sought after, this is why. Thinking about superconductivity reminded me of the problem I have with companies who don’t allow telecommuting. The way I see it, remote-workers are like work-place superconductivity: Brain power and productivity arrive instantly where they’re needed with zero transmission cost.

I decided to do the math on what the health and environmental costs are related to commuting to work every year.

Moving people from home to work is surprisingly expensive in many ways. The average commute time by car in the United States is about 25 minutes each way. The average commute time by other means is also just over 25 minutes each way. [Source: US Census Bureau and wnyc.org data from census.gov] The average number of work days per year is 261. [Source: OPM.gov]

This gives us a total time spent commuting by car (or other means) per year of 217.5 hours, or 9 days. That’s 9 days (without sleeping) per year of your life you spend in a car, train, bus or other means of getting to work. That assumes you’re the average and not stuck on the I405 in California for 4 hours per day. I worked with a friend who had that commute.

If “sitting is the new smoking” [Source: Mayo Clinic and Dr James Levine], a phrase coined by Dr James Levine which has gained a groundswell of support of late, spending 9 waking days sitting in a car and pushing pedals, or on a bus or train per year has a profoundly detrimental impact on our health.

Read the rest at WordFence.com

Did you know?

The original Constitution of the United States that was ratified in 1789 had only one reference to religion: [Article 6] No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

The de facto motto of the United States, adopted as part of the Great Seal of the U.S. by an Act of Congress in 1782, was E. Pluribus Unum (Out of Many,One).
Congress changed it 174 years later (1956) to “In God We Trust.”

The original ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ was written in 1892 by Baptist Minister Francis Bellamy who DID NOT INCLUDE the words “Under God.” Those were added by Congress 62 years later (1954).

The U.S. didn’t issue Paper Currency until 1861, and ‘In God We Trust’ didn’t appear on it for 96 years (1957).

Just after the Red Scare in the 1950’s, CONGRESS CHANGED the Pledge of Allegiance and our Nation’s Motto over the FEAR of COMMUNISM.

In a time when fear is traded like a commodity, and the word SOCIALISM is being used to create the same fear as the old word COMMUNISM, let’s REMEMBER that our country was NOT founded on fear. NO, OUR NATION was founded out of HOPE for a better world where all people were EQUAL – that we were ONE from MANY.

Let’s not let fear change our nation’s great tradition and direction again.

Transcribed from this graphic seen on Facebook:

Lets_not_let_fear_change_our_nation

Jolly Springtime

Jolly Springtime

Oh! The jolly Springtime
in the merry month of May
Oh! The heavenly hours
Oh! The come again day

Oh! The jolly Springtime
in the merry month of May
Oh! The heavenly hours
Oh! The come again day

Let the day run long
let the river run high
that tomorrow may live
so much yesterday died

Let the resin risin up in the tree
make the green leaf bud
bird and the bee and the fish in the sea
feelin it in my blood

Oh! The jolly Springtime
in the merry month of May
Oh! The heavenly hours
Oh! The come again day

Yes the winter was bitter and long
so the spring’ll be sweet
come along with a rhythm and song
watch Creation repeat

Thin, thin the moment is thin
ever so narrow the Now
Everybody say got to live in today
don’t nobody know how

Oh! The jolly Springtime
in the merry month of May
Oh! The heavenly hours
Oh! The come again day

Oh! The jolly Springtime
in the merry month of May
Oh! The heavenly hours
Oh! The come again day

James Taylor
Before This World – 2015

Friend of My Heart

My uncle Mickey was one of the first men I met who was truly *gentle* with me and playful as I was. His hugs were so encompassing, like no danger or harm could reach me in his arms. All my childhood cares were swept away when I was with him and he made my soul rise up and catch fire. I thank God for his love, it was a wonderful gift to me and transformed my heart.

He was SO silly. I had not known adults were allowed to BE silly ( I did not know my Uncle Bob very well at this point, rest his soul! ) but oh my God he WAS. I remember on at least one occasion laughing so hard I peed my pants. And it was even FUNNIER. Mickey always gave you a warm feeling – sometimes in ways you didn’t expect – or know that you needed.

At my mother’s funeral his words of comfort were like a stone wall holding me up. Even at that dark moment his blazing soul was hard at work and his humor helped me cheer my sister Paula who was dealing with losing her avatar. With one short conversation he helped us both. That’s a moment I remember so clearly.

He was more than my uncle, he was my childhood friend and as I grew, he remained a friend of my heart. He knew well how much I loved him. His Light lives on in me and I give Thanks to God for it.

This poem is my final homage to him.

I love you Uncle Mickey.

M. Douglas Wray and William D. "Mickey" Rowe - Oct. 30, 2010 - Family reunion
M. Douglas Wray and William D. “Mickey” Rowe – Oct. 30, 2010 – Family reunion

Friend of My Heart

Through wind and fire
you have come –
done the things
that must be done.

Worked the Steel
that built our dreams,
fought the fight
and heard the screams.

Built a family
shared his joys –
his lovely girl
his two fine boys.

Gentle heart
devoted soul –
perfect for
a father’s role.

Always humble,
God’s own tool
he shared his gifts –
obeyed the Rule.

Consoled the hearts
of those in pain
and raised them up
to Light again.

Made laughter ring out
clear and sweet –
wit so clever!
mind so fleet!

Time has taken
my favorite clown.
Friend of my heart!!!
My Friend is gone!

To my Uncle Mickey
With all my love

M. Douglas Wray
a nephew
2015

Guardian of the Light

dozer
Dozer 2013

When I look in your eyes
I sense the corridors of time
that your ancestors have trod.

For endless years
you’ve stood at man’s side
and faced danger with him.

The wheel of time has brought you here
to the warm soft bed
of your human companions.

I know the bitter winds of the steppes
still whistle through your soul
and the howls of the wolves as well.

But for now we are safe – together
in this quiet place in life’s River
no wolves at the door to fight.

When your days grow short
and the Earth calls for you
I will make easy your way.

Into the Great Darkness you will go
to clear the way for my arrival
and to make joyous our reunion.

MDWray 2015

for my beloved dog Dozer, an Anatolian Shepherd dog.

Nota bene: this is not an epitaph (yet), just an sincere homage to an incredible dog. I fully intend to read it at his funeral and will wait impatiently to rejoin him.

An Anatolian Shepherd Dog Guards This Home

dozer
Dozer, an Anatolian / English Shepherd mix

Entrance requires introduction, inspection and approval by ME. I am an Anatolian Shepherd dog. My bloodlines have guarded human homes for millenia. It is what we are.

There may be minor disputes about whom I allow. My Masters will generally default in my favor, we have an understanding of who has better instincts. If you take offense at this you are welcome not to visit again (I won’t forget in any event).

You will get from me what you bring; if you are fearful I will be suspicious, if you are angry I will be hostile, but if you are confident I will be an ally, if you are happy and boisterous I will be your eager playmate. Be warned, I can (and will) jump into your arms from a sitting pose if invited. I assume all the Masters in my home are aware of my strength and speed. Beware. I weigh over one hundred pounds and my standing embrace can be startling to a large man, let alone one of lesser stature. Call me up with care. No other dog will show you affection like me. Again, beware, it is addictive. It is why my breed has endured and flourished. If you are Approved I will lavish the same greeting on you that I do my Masters. And I will lay down my life to protect you.

No matter what, my Family is foremost. If you are violent to one of them, even in play, I may… intervene. Suddenly. Make sure my Family Member makes it clear to ME that it’s a game. Rough play is fine but if I barely know you, I won’t know HOW you play and I don’t second-guess. A play-bow never goes amiss with me. Even a few.

I have huge claws and razor-sharp teeth, so even playing I may hurt you a little. Not my fault you don’t have fur. I also have a double coat and shed – deal with it. Watch out, I will routinely tread on your feet trying to stay in reach. Being big and heavy I can be an oaf. You may stumble over me if you surprise me but I will always let you step over me without rising. For such a big dog I’m good at staying out of the way.

Once you’ve gotten to know me, you’ll see I am a Noble dog. Even when I’m sitting cross-legged at my Master’s side you can see the centuries of partnership in my breed. Shepherds of antiquity prized my uncanny senses, bear-like strength and terrifying speed. No predators survived entry to our camps. Humans feel safer around me for a reason. When I am defending my Family I have no fear and give no quarter.

The Anatolian shepherds made sure I could survive on just about anything – like them. I love to eat and I love it especially when you leave delicious treats out on the counter for me. I will always show my gratitude by eating every bite and begging for more later. I love the couch… and the bed. My favorite place is laying beside you or at your feet with my nose touching you. At the least I will take a position between you and the doorway. If there’s a high spot or stairway I will use that as a lookout. You’ll sleep in safety, as will your children. When you’re awake and the house is quiet I will sleep heavily unless you have work (or play!) for me.

I’m smarter than you think, faster than you would believe and often three steps ahead of you. When I bark at night it’s because I think there’s a threat. I will always obey a signal to be quiet, shepherds appreciated stealth but they wanted me to bark if there was real danger.

The modern world can be confusing to me sometimes…

For example, the sweeper? I’m gonna KILL that damn thing.

Spirit Abides

This is a poetic eulogy for my mother,  Shirley Jean Wray (1927-2001). It was printed on the back of the program for my youngest sister Paula’s wedding.

One of the decorative elements of the wedding was violets in many places, a tribute to our mother. I found it tremendously touching.

I miss you mom.

Spirit Abides

Though absent in body,
a spirit abides
we’ve only to summon –
it’s there at our side

Fire and steel
and a vessel of clay
brought forth a family
known proudly as Wray

But furnaces falter
and day turns to night
what once was so brilliant
is now gone from sight

So if there’s no answer
when her name is read,
let blossoms of violet
stand now in her stead

For Shirley Jean Wray
Beloved Mother

MDW 3/03

Puns 10-24-12

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.

Venison for dinner again? Oh deer!

A cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy.

I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.

Haunted French pancakes give me the crêpes.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.

They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a Type-O.

I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.

Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.

This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.

When chemists die, they barium.

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.

I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.

PMS jokes aren’t funny; period…

Why were the Indians here first? They had reservations.

We’re going on a class trip to the Coca-Cola factory. I hope there’s no pop quiz.

I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?

When you get a bladder infection urine trouble.

Broken pencils are pointless.

What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.

I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.

All the toilets in New York’s police stations have been stolen. The police have nothing to go on.

I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.

Velcro – what a rip off!

Basics of HTML

HTML stands for ‘HyperText Markup Language’ and it’s the lingua franca of the web. Nearly every page you’ve ever seen on the web is crafted from HTML code, excepting those built using Flash but even those are delivered inside an HTML shell.

Many users on the web have been creating blogs using tools like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. and have been spared learning HTML by great graphic user interfaces like TinyMCE. However, to really master your content, you need to understand what’s happening ‘under the sheets’ so that you can make adjustments and add special formatting to set your work apart.

HTML is over twenty years old and is currently transitioning from version 4 to 5. For the purposes of this article I’ll only be discussing HTML 4 and will offer some hints about HTML 5 and its improvements.

Apple’s Hypercard program in 1980 set the stage for the invention of HTML but it was lacking in the ability to link to files on other computers. The web was just getting off the ground at that point and HTML’s creation is tied directly to the inventions that form the foundations of the web we know and rely on today.

Tim Berners-Lee, 2005

Tim Berners-Lee, starting with SGML (Standard Generalized Mark-up Language), devised a language that was independent of the tool that viewed it. The inherent simplicity of HTML is what made it such a hit and why it was adopted so swiftly and widely. One of the new elements Berners-Lee devised was the anchor tag – the ‘link’ functionality that allowed authors to ‘hyperlink’ to other pages. This was the springboard to the future.

He defined a set of ‘tags’ that when placed into standard ASCII text gave commands to rendering programs (browsers) to generate headers, paragraphs, bulleted and numbered lists, tables, etc. Here’s the basic tags that users really need to know (loosely organized by function):

h1 – 6 Headers. H1 largest. Secondary function – highlight information for Search Engine Optimization.
p Paragraph. Line height, leading and trailing margins can be assigned using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
ul (and li) Unordered List. Bulleted lists for arbitrarily-ordered items.
ol (and li) Ordered List. Numbered lists for sequentially-organized items. Numerous numbering schemes available including lettered and roman numerals.
blockquote Block quote. Indentation for quotes or highlighted material.
br Line break. Carriage return – no extra space as in end of paragraph. Used to force content onto new line. Also can have special uses with CSS.
a Anchor. Linked item – can be text or image. JavaScript commands can also be triggered using this block element. Anchors are often combined with unordered lists and CSS formatting to create navigation structures. Anchors can also point to specific locations within a page.
div Division. A segment of a document. Divs can be given specific ids and used to apply visual formatting from CSS. These replaced tables in design methodology.
hr Horizontal rule. A non-graphic line. Thickness and width can be set.
i Italic. Current standard calls for ’em’ for ’emphasis.’
b Bold. Current standard calls for ‘strong.’
img Image. Images can be sized and made clickable to display a larger image (thumbnails). Images can also be links to other pages.
pre Allows preformatted text to be displayed as-is (for example for code segments or free-form poetry)
table (and th and td) Table. Tabulated (rows and columns) data. Table headers can be called out with th tags and table data (cells) make up the bulk of a table. In early years of web design tables were used to structure pages. This has been supplanted by CSS-based design using divs.
span Span from arbitrary location to location. Used to apply custom formatting inline.
sub / sup Subscript and Superscript. For inserting references.

I’ve purposely omitted tags for creating forms since there’s many tools for creating them and even a brief discussion of them is prohibitive here. Suffice to say forms open a whole new door into interactivity and require skills not usually considered ‘basic.’

So, as you can see, the ‘rock bottom’ basics of HTML are indeed very basic. The artistry comes in how you combine the elements. Also, the serious bang comes from Cascading Style Sheets – but that’s another article!

Cheers!

The Frozen Man

Lyrics by James Taylor

The Frozen Man

(James Taylor)

Last thing I remember is the freezing cold
Water reaching up just to swallow me whole
Ice in the rigging and howling wind
Shock to my body as we tumbled in
Then my brothers and the others are lost at sea
I alone am returned to tell thee
Hidden in ice for a century
To walk the world again
Lord have mercy on the frozen man

Next words that were spoken to me
Nurse asked me what my name might be
She was all in white at the foot of my bed
I said angel of mercy I’m alive or am I dead
My name is William James McPhee
I was born in 1843
Raised in Liverpool by the sea
But that ain’t who I am
Lord have mercy on the frozen man

It took a lot of money to start my heart
To peg my leg and to buy my eye
The newspapers call me the state of the art
And the children, when they see me, cry
I thought it would be nice just to visit my grave
See what kind of tombstone I might have
I saw my wife and my daughter and it seemed so strange
Both of them dead and gone from extreme old age
See here, when I die make sure I’m gone
Don’t leave ’em nothing to work on
You can raise your arm, you can wiggle your hand
And you can wave goodbye to the frozen man

I know what it means to freeze to death
To lose a little life with every breath
To say goodbye to life on earth
To come around again
Lord have mercy on the frozen man
Lord have mercy on the frozen man

On the Other Side

On the Other Side

On the other side, the sun always shines
No minutes, no hour, there’s no such thing as time
Where the streets are paved with gold and
you never grow old on the other side

On the other side, everybody sings
there’s miles and miles of flowers and lots of pretty things
Where the sky’s pearly blue and everything looks brand new
on the other side

Chorus 1
Well I’ve never been to heaven,
I didn’t know what it was like
But God let me have a glimpse,
in my dream last night
And I could see you smiling,
you were looking right at me
For the first time in a long time,
on your face I saw some peace
I knew everything was going to be all right,
on the other side,
on the other side.

On the other side, do you ever see me cry
Do you know how much I miss you,
wish I could have said good-bye
Just one more I love you,
oh am I really getting through on the other side?

Chorus 2
Well I’ve never been to heaven,
I didn’t know what it was like
But God let me have a glimpse,
in my dream last night
And I could hear you laughing,
you were looking right at me
For the first time in a long time,
on your face I saw some peace
I knew everything was going to be all right,
no more tears and no more sad good-byes,
on the other side
On the other side

I’ll see you on the other side.

 written by: Tommy Dunbar, Kyle Vincent; Lyrics © Bob-A-Lew Songs, Cohen and Cohen

Memorial for Scott Alan Hofferber

Scott Alan Hofferber April 24, 1965 - April 10, 2003
Scott Alan Hofferber April 24, 1965 – April 10, 2003

Scott Alan Hofferber, 38, of Littleton, Colorado, suddenly and unexpectedly went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Thursday, April 10, 2003.

Scott was born April 24, 1965 in Grand Junction, Colorado and moved to Fort Collins with his family in 1968. Scott was a 1982 graduate from Rocky Mountain High School, Fort Collins, CO, and went on to continue his education at Aims Community College, Greeley, CO graduating in 1984 with an AA in Small Business Management. Scott was born with a very serious congenital heart defect; doctors said he would not survive past the age of four or five years of age. He had several close calls but proved the doctors wrong.

Scott truly was a miracle.

Scott married Tammi J. Lockman in March of 1986 and was blessed with four beautiful children, three sons and one daughter. He was a loving husband and father. He was very involved with every aspect of his children’s lives and enjoyed every minute he had with them. His wife and children were his life.

Scott was a member of Englewood First Assembly of God in Englewood, Colorado. He was very involved in the church and a leader of Royal Rangers Program.

Scott was Manager at Crown Trophy in Littleton, CO. Scott loved to camp and be outside as well as riding horses – his latest passion was watching NASCAR. Go #24!!

Scott is survived by his wife, Tammi, four children, Zachary 16, Jeffrey 15, Skyler 13 and Kylie-Jeanne 10; his parents George “Andy” and Maryann Hofferber and a brother, Steve of Fort Collins; a sister, Kimberly of Rio Ranch, NM; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Services will be held Wednesday, April 16, 2003, 11 a.m. at Timberline Church 2908 Timberline Rd., Fort Collins, Colorado with interment at Grandview Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Scott A. Hofferber Family Fund at the Colorado Business Bank of Littleton, Colorado. Donations may also be made at Allnutt Funeral Home in Fort Collins, Colorado.


I had the good fortune to meet Scott’s widow Tammi eight years after his death. Even at that huge distance of time I could feel what a good man he must have been. I wish I could have met him but I’m grateful that his legacy has come to me to preserve and protect. It’s an honor to be associated with the Hofferber family. Rest in peace Scott, you are fondly remembered and greatly missed. – MDW

Fire when ready

I’ve heard and used the phrase ‘you may fire when ready Gridley’ and never knew it’s origin. A quick web search yielded this article from HistoryNet.com:

“YOU MAY FIRE WHEN YOU ARE READY, GRIDLEY.” : January/February ’98 American History Feature

U.S. Navy Captain Charles Gridley earned a place in history on May 1, 1898,during the Battle of Manila Bay.

By Richard Harris

Just after midnight on May 1, 1898, the USS Olympia led the United States’s Asiatic Squadron quietly through the calm, glassy waters of the Boca Grande Channel, between the island of Corregidor and the coast of Luzon in the Philippines. The United States was at war with Spain, and the American squadron was preparing to attack a Spanish fleet in Manila Bay.

As Sunday morning dawned hours later, the Olympia’s commander, Captain Charles Gridley, waited for the order to fire his ship’s guns. The order would come from the squadron’s commander, Commodore George Dewey, who watched from atop the Olympia’s flying bridge as shore batteries fired harmlessly at the advancing column of American ships. At 5:40 A.M. Dewey finally hailed Gridley with the now-famous words, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.”

There’s a ton more story – go read it and you’ll have a whole new appreciation for ‘Mr. Gridley’ as well some historical background on the Battle of Manila Bay.

Amazing Grace

Judy Collins a capella choir (mp3)

Bagpipes (mp3)

John Newton (1725-1807)
Stanza 6 anon.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Life with Dad

Transcribed from this image on imgur

4 years My Daddy can do anything
7 years My Daddy knows a lot, a whole lot
8 years Dad doesn’t quite know everything
12 years Oh well, naturally Dad doesn’t quite understand
14 years Father? Hopelessly old-fashioned
21 years Oh, that man is out of date! What would you expect?
25 years He comes up with a good idea, now and then.
30 years Let’s find out what Dad thinks about it.
35 years A little patience… must get Dad’s input first
50 years What would Dad have thought about it?
60 years I wish I could talk it over with Dad once more.

For my father, George Wray. You are sorely missed this season.

Human vs Pet Age

Human/Pet Age Analogy
Adult Size in Pounds
0 – 20 21 – 50 51 – 120 > 120
Years Feline Canine
Pet Age Human Equivalent Age
 3  28 28 29 31 39
 4  32 33 34 38 49
5  36 38 39 45 59
6 40 42 44 52 69
7 44 46 49 59 79
 8 48 50 54 66 89
 9 52 54 59 73 99
 10 56 58 64 80
11 60 62 69 87
 12 64 66 74 94
 13 68 70 79
14 72 74 84
15 76 78 89
16 80 82 94
17 84 86
18 88 90
19 92 94
20 96
Adult Senior Geriatric

Hymn

‘My way is not thy way, and thine is not mine.

But come, before we part
Let us separately go to the Morning Star,
And meet there.

I do not point you to my road, nor yet

Call: “Oh come!”
But the Star is the same for both of us,

Winsome.


The good ghost of me goes down the distance
To the Holy Ghost.
Oh you, in the tent of the cloven flame

Meet me, you I like most.

Each man his own way forever, but towards

The hoverer between;

Who opens his flame like a tent-flap,

As we slip in unseen.

A man cannot tread like a woman,

Nor a woman step out like a man.

The ghost of each through the leaves of shadow

Moves as it can.

But the Morning Star and the Evening Star
Pitch tents of flame

Where we foregather like gypsies, none knowing

How the other came.

I ask for nothing except to slip

In the tent of the Holy Ghost
And be there in the house of the cloven flame,

Guest of the Host.

Be with me there, my woman,
Be bodily there.
Then let the flame wrap round us

Like a snare.

Be there along with me, O men!

Reach across the hearth,

And laugh with me while the woman rests

For all we are worth.’

-D.H. Lawrence

Collective Nouns

From here.

Animal Collective Nouns

Animal Group Name
Albatross Rookery
Alligators Congregation
Apes Shrewdness, Troop
Antelope Herd
Ants Colony, Army, Swarm, Nest
Asses Pace, Herd, Drove
Auks Colony, Flock, Raft
Baboons Troop, Flange
Bacteria Culture
Badgers Cete, Colony, Set, Company
Barracudas Battery
Bats Colony, Cloud
Bass Shoal
Bears (General) Sloth, Sleuth
Bears (Cubs) Litter
Beavers Colony, Family
Bees Grist, Hive, Swarm, Nest
Birds (Chicks) Brood, Clutch
Birds (Flight) Flight
Birds (Game) Volary, Brace, Plump, Knob
Birds (Ground) Flock, Dissimulation
Birds (Sea) Wreck
Bison Herd
Bitterns Sedge, Seige
Bloodhounds Sute
Bobolinks Chain
Buffalo Herd, Troop, Gang, Obstinancy
Bullfinches Bellowing
Bullocks Drove
Butterflies Flight, Flutter, (Many more)
Buzzards Wake
Camels Caravan, Train, Flock
Capons Mews
Caribou Herd
Caterpillars Army
Cats (General) Clowder, Clutter, Pounce, Dout, Nuisance, Glorying, Glare
Cats (Kittens) Kindle, Litter, Intrigue
Cats (Wild) Destruction
Cattle Drove, Herd, Team
Cheetahs Coalition
Chickens (General) Brood, Peep
Chickens (Chicks) Clutch, Chattering
Chinchilla Colony
Choughs Clattering
Clams Bed
Cobras Quiver
Cockroaches Intrusion
Cod Lap
Coots Cover, Raft
Cormorants Gulp
Cows Kine
Coyotes Band
Crabs Cast
Cranes Sedge, Seige
Crocodiles Bask, Float
Crows Murder, Horde, Parcel, Storytelling
Curlews Herd
Deer (General) Herd, Leash, Gang
Deer (Buck) Brace, Clash
Deer (Roe) Bevy
Dogs (General) Kennel
Dogs (Curs) Cowardice
Dogs (Hounds) Cry, Mute, Pack
Dogs (Puppies) Litter
Dogs (Wild) Pack
Dolphins Pod
Donkeys Drove, Pace, Herd
Dotterel Trip
Doves (General) Dule, Bevy, Cote, Dole, Paddling
Doves (Turtle) Pitying, Piteousness
Ducks (Flight) Flock
Ducks (Ground) Brace, badling
Ducks (Water) Raft, Team, Paddling
Dunlins Fling
Eagles Convocation, Aerie
Eels Swarm, Bed, Fry
Elephants Herd, Memory
Elk Gang, Herd
Emus Mob
Falcons Cast
Ferrets Business, Cast, Fesnying
Finches Charm
Fish (General) Draft, Nest, Shoal, School (“school” is possibly a corruption of shoal)
Fish (Caught) Catch, Drought, Haul
Flamingoes Stand, Flamboyance
Flies Business, Swarm, Cloud
Frogs Army, Colony, Knot
Fox Leash, Skulk, Earth, Lead, Troop
Geese (General) Flock
Geese (Flight) Skein
Geese (Ground) Gaggle, Herd, Corps
Giraffes Tower
Gnats Cloud, Horde, Swarm
Gnus Implausibility
Goats Tribe, Trip, Drove, Herd, Flock
Goldfinches Charm
Goldfish Glint, Troubling
Gorillas Band, Troop
Goshawks Flight
Grasshoppers Cloud
Greyhounds Leash
Grouse Pack, Covey
Guillemots Bazaar
Gulls Colony, Screech
Guinea Fowl Confusion
Hawks (General) Cast
Hawks (Flight) Kettle
Hawks (Spiraling) Boil
Hedgehogs Array
Herons Sedge, Siege, Hedge
Herring Army, Shoal
Hippopotamuses Bloat
Hornets Nest, Bike
Horses (General) Team, Harras, Stable, Troop, Stud (a group belonging to one owner)
Horses (Colts) Rag, Rake
Horses (Ponies) String
Horses (Wild) Herd
Hummingbirds Charm
Hyenas Cackle, Clan
Impalas Herd
Insects Horde, Nest, Swarm, Rabble, Plague
Jays Party, Scold, Band
Jellyfish Smack, Brood
Kangaroos Troop, Mob, Herd
Lapwings Deceit
Larks Exaltation, Ascension
Leopards Leap
Lice Flock
Lions Pride, Sault, Troop
Lizards Lounge
Locusts Plague
Magpies Tiding, Gulp, Murder, Charm
Mallards (General) Brace
Mallards (Flight) Sord
Martens Richness
Mice Mischief
Midges Bite
Minnows Shoal, Steam, Swarm
Moles Labor, Company, Movement
Monkeys Troop, Barrel, Carload, Cartload, Tribe
Moose Herd
Mosquitoes Scourge
Mudhens Fleet
Mules Pack, Span, Barren, Rake
Nightingales Watch
Otters Romp, Bevy, Family, Raft
Owls Parliament, Stare
Oxen Team, Yoke, Drove
Oysters Bed
Parrots Company, Pandemonium
Partridge Covey, Bew
Peacocks Muster, Ostentation, Pride
Pekingese Pomp
Pelicans Pod
Penguins (General) Colony, Rookery, Huddle
Penguins (Nursery) Cr�che
Pheasants (General) Nest, Nye
Pheasants (Brood) Nide
Pheasants (Take-Off) Bouquet
Pigeons Flight, Flock, Kit
Pigs (General) Drift, Drove
Pigs (Boars) Singular, Sounder
Pigs (Hogs) Team, Passel, Drift, Parcel
Pigs (Piglets) Litter, Farrow
Pigs (Swine) Sounder
Pilchards Shoal
Plovers (General) Congregation
Plovers (Flight) Wing
Polecats Chine
Porcupines Prickle
Porpoises Herd, Pod, School, Crowd, Shoal
Prairie Dogs Coterie
Ptarmigans Covey
Quail Bevy, Covey
Rabbits (General) Colony, Warren, Bury, Trace, Trip
Rabbits (Domestic) Herd
Rabbits (Hares) Down, Husk
Rabbits (Jackrabbit) Husk
Rabbits (Young) Litter, Nest
Raccoons Gaze
Rats Colony, Pack, Plague, Swarm
Rattlesnakes Rhumba
Ravens Unkindness, Storytelling
Reindeer Herd
Rhinoceroses Crash, Stubbornness
Roebucks Bevy
Rooks Building, Clamor, Parliament
Ruffs Hill
Salamandars Congress
Salmon Run
Sandpipers Fling
Sardines Family
Scorpions Bed, Nest
Seabirds Wreck
Seals Pod, Bob, Harem, Herd, Rookery
Sharks Shiver, School, Shoal
Sheep Drove, Flock, Down, Hurtle, Fold, Pack, Trip
Sheldrakes Doading
Skylarks Exultation
Squirrels Dray, Scurry
Snails Escargatoire, Rout, Walk
Snakes Den, Nest, Pit, Bed, Knot
Snipe Walk, Wisp
Sparrows Host
Spiders Cluster, Clutter
Springbok Herd
Squirrels Dray, Scurry
Starlings Murmuration, Chattering
Stingrays Fever
Stoats Pack, Trip
Storks Mustering, Muster
Swallows Flight, Gulp
Swans (General) Bevy, Bank, Herd
Swans (Flight) Wedge, Flight
Swifts Flock
Teal Spring
Termites Colony, Nest, Swarm, Brood
Thrush Mutation
Tigers Streak, Ambush
Toads Knot, Knab, Nest
Trout Hover
Turkeys Rafter, Gang, Posse
Turtles Bale, Nest, Turn, Dole
Turtle Doves Pitying, Dule
Vipers Generation, Nest
Vultures Venue
Vultures (Circling) Kettle
Walruses Herd, Pod
Wasps Nest, Swarm
Waterfowl Knob, Plump
Weasles Gang, Colony, Pack
Whales Pod, Gam, Herd, School, Mod
Widgeons Company
Wildfowl Plump
Wolves (General) Pack
Wolves (Moving) Route, Rout
Wombats Wisdom
Woodcocks Fall
Woodpeckers Descent
Worms Bed, Clew, Bunch, Clat
Wrens Herd
Zebras Zeal, Crossing, Dazzle, Cohorts, Herd

Faithful Friend

Faithful Friend

In my heart you shall always live
eyes aglow and eager
quivering with excitment
ready to play

My child soul rose up in joy
when we first met
for surely I knew you
from lives before

Now you’ve gone to heaven
and live only in a field
that I keep verdant
– for you alone,
my faithful friend.

One day I’ll greet you again
when life has had enough of me
and we will spend eternity
at play.

For my lost friend Cody,

rest in peace.

MDW June 8, 2011

Ode to Spot

(original transcription found here)

Felis Cattus, is your taxonomic nomenclature,
an endothermic quadruped carnivorous by nature?
Your visual, olfactory and auditory senses
contribute to your hunting skills, and natural defenses.

I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
a singular development of cat communications
that obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
for a rhythmic stroking of your fur, to demonstrate affection.

A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
you would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilized to aid in locomotion,
it often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.

O Spot, the complex levels of behaviour you display
connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.

— Lt. Commander Data from Star Trek The Next Generation


I’ve always enjoyed this poem, on several levels, not the least the humor in the scene in which it’s read:

How Can I Keep From Singing?

Traditional Shaker Hymn

My life goes on in endless song
above earth’s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
that hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing,
it sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth it liveth.
And though the darkness ’round me close,
songs in the night it giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I’m clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth,
how can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble in their fear
and hear their death knell ringing,
when friends rejoice both far and near
how can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile
our thoughts to them are winging,
when friends by shame are undefiled
how can I keep from singing?

–Enya from Shepherd Moons

Dreams are more precious

Dreams Are More Precious

Come see, high above.
Come see, high in the heavens.
A new star shining bright.
Out of the darkness, comes a light.

Come here, midnight chimes
Come here, bells that are ringing
And from some distant shore
Sounds of a journey, echo on

This is the night
They say,
Everyone wants a dream.

This is the night
They say
Nothing is as it seems.

Come sleep, close your eyes.
Come sleep, give me your sorrow.
And I keep watch for you.
Until the dawn is, breaking through.
Until the morning wakens you.

Da, Da, Da…

Come dream, through the night.
Come dream, and then tomorrow
They’ll see who, what will know.

Dreams are more precious than gold
Dreams are more precious than gold
Dreams are more precious than gold

– Enya

Web prayer

Our root,
Who art in UNIX
Hallowed be thy Shell.

Thy kernal come,
Thy commands be run.
@localhost as they are in iNet.

Give us this day our daily updates
And forgive us our four-oh-threes
As we forgive those who 403 against us.

And lead us not into segfaults
but deliver us from /dev/null

For thine is the Kernal, access and 1337ness

Forever and ever

EOF

Transcribed from here.

You may also enjoy this…

Jolly Copper

Preface

Listening to Randy Newman’s Jolly Coppers. Visualizing the lyrics. Thought of circus clown routines. Thought of clowns. Remembered my father was a Shriner clown in his later years. Remembered he was ‘Sherrif’ of the clowns (quite presitgious among the flappy-shoed).  Remembered this photo:

George Parker Wray 3/9/1928 - 5/21/2008

 

Jolly Copper, indeed.

Miss you dad.

Cheesehead hackers

1 failed login attempts (1 lockout(s)) from IP: 208.66.135.190

Last user attempted: admin

IP was blocked

IP Address Country (Short) Country (Full) Flag Region City ISP Map
208.66.135.190 US UNITED STATES WISCONSIN MADISON 5NINES DATA LLC

Hm.

If anyone in the Madison, WI area knows the owner of 5 Nines, would you mind reminding them that the Department of Homeland Security really frowns on hackers?

Makes me really question their ‘technical specialist’s claim that they “…strive to make technology your trusted partner” – someone trying to hack my personal site’s password really makes me not trust someone. A lot.

My pal Deb Johnson

The Gifting

I send you roses.  And warm fuzzies.  And Cinderella’s horseshoe I have on my mantle.

I send you sunshine, and blue skies, and white puffy clouds that come in funny animal shapes.

I send you rainbows, and dewdrops, and the soft scent of rain;

the smell of freshly mown grass in the farmer’s field;

meadows of wild flowers; sheep, content.

I send you healing thoughts; your mother’s hands to hold you in warm embrace;

fresh loaves of homemade bread; sunflowers; and a night sky filled with stars.

I send you wind through pine trees whispering; the song of your sisters singing.

I send you your child’s first word; a purring kitten on your lap; fireflies dancing the dark;

and a garden, filled to overflowing, waiting for canning.

I send you a basket, woven of marsh grasses, lined in velvet,

full of wonder and love.

I send you butterflies and the 4th of July; rubies, and Christmas;

a circle of friends to hold you; and a seat by a warm fire.

For you, I light a candle.

I send you peace.

© June 1995 by D.W. Johnson


On a Thought Of Leaving Home and Coming Here

The next time I come (here)

I will go (this way)

I am always coming or going–

Coming to stillness; going out of chaos.

Coming from work; going home.

Coming from home; going to a friend’s house.

Coming from the grocery; going to the book shop.

It is the pattern of my life–

I am coming in; I am going out.

Breathing in; breathing out.

What is left from the wake of the wave.

So if I say, “I don’t know if I am coming or going”, what does it matter?

I am in step with what I am…

A part of it.

©  August 26, 2005 by D.W. Johnson

Sisters of Mercy

A wonderful plaint. Posting inspired by my friend George Seaton.

Burn bright George. Burn bright.

Sisters of Mercy

Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone.
They were waiting for me when I thought that I just can’t go on.
And they brought me their comfort and later they brought me their song.
Oh I hope you run into them, you who’ve been travelling so long.

Yes you who must leave everything that you cannot control.
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul.
Well I’ve been where you’re hanging, I think I can see how you’re pinned:
When you’re not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you’ve sinned.

They lay down beside me, I made my confession to them.
They touched both my eyes and I touched the dew on their hem.
If your life is a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn
they will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem.

When I left they were sleeping, I hope you run into them soon.
Don’t turn on the lights, you can read their address by the moon.
And you won’t make me jealous if I hear that they sweetened your night:
We weren’t lovers like that and besides it would still be all right,
We weren’t lovers like that and besides it would still be all right.

-Leonard Cohen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJQuwLZrusU

Bramble and the Rose

Thinking about all the loves I’ve had, how our lives twined around each other and how we changed each others path through life.

Here’s to all the wonderful and terrible moments, summed up in a traditional folk song by the Black Family (my favorite rendition) – go to the link and give it a listen.

Bramble and the Rose

Traditional. Arrangement The Black Family

We have been so close together
Each a candle and each a flame
All the dangers were outside us
And we knew them all by name

Chorus

See how the bramble and the rose intertwine
Love grows like the bramble and the rose
Often cruel and often kind

Now I’ve hurt you and it hurts me
Just to see what we can do
Give ourselves unto each other
Without ever meaning to

Chorus

Throw your loving arms around me
And sing for me a true love song
And the words sung together
I could sing them all night long

Chorus

See how the bramble and the rose intertwine
Love grows like the bramble and the rose
‘Round each other they will twine

Can be found on the album The Black Family.

Masterpiece

I’ve always believed that humor is where you find it – and you don’t have to look too hard.

Most of the advertising and packaging I’ve seen is so blissfully self-unaware that it self-lampoons with little or no help.

Case in point. Walking through the kitchen at work recently I saw this empty carton sitting on the counter waiting for its trip to the recycling bin:

Innocent enough

but on a whim I picked it up and saw this on the side:

Hm... what's this?

Here’s my thought process as my eyes homed in on the top:

"Morning Masterpiece" ? Oh, I think NOT.

“Morning Masterpiece”? What’s that brown stuff? Doesn’t look a thing like my ‘morning masterpiece’… and mine sure don’t come in pints… but it is kinda creamy… don’t think folks would want it in their coffee…

So to my coworker who was mystified as to my inexplicable laughter… now you know. Yes, it’s scatlogical, yes it’s puerile but it WAS a funny moment to me.

10 Simple Words

10 Simple Words Students (And Everyone) Screw Up

from EDUdemic

OMG U Guyz, Grammar among kidz the$e days be terribllle! So does speeling! There is a big problem unfolding around the world right now. Lucky for you, The Oatmeal has spelled it out, literally. The guy behind the hit comic strip has laid out the top 10 words everyone probably misspells. Hilarious stuff. Enjoy!

1 MeV

JEOL-1000 High Voltage Electron Microscope

One of my favorite places at the University of Colorado was the High Voltage Electron Microscope lab in the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology building.

I spent a lot of time there helping my father and the techinical team while in high school, then later when I worked at CU as a lab technician I ran a project that used the HVEM – full circle!

Sitting at its console, looking into the vacuum behind the viewport at the phosphor screen, my hands on the controls for the sample stage and the magnification I literally could see the unseen on the glowing surface. Being fully aware that there were million-volt x-rays bashing around just inches from my treasured brain, held back by inches-thick leaded glass and metal added to the thrill. The click of relays and the faint chugging of vacuum pumps mixed with the curls of vapor from the liquid-nitrogen oil trap completed the atmosphere of super-super-high-tech. And I was driving!! Hard to forget being at the controls of a building-size microscope.

Heady stuff for a young man very taken with science fiction – this was science fact! I’ll never forget the faint, high-pitched whistle the high-voltage system generated. I’m sure it still echoes in the walls even though the massive machine itself has been disassembled and gone for years now.

Neighbor Sarah

Sarah A. Medina
August 20, 1942 – October 15, 2010

Sarah A. Medina, 68, of Longmont, died October 15, 2010 at Life Care Center of Longmont.

She was born on August 20, 1942 in Center, Colorado to Paul and Miquilita (Chavez) Maez.

Sarah married Andy Medina in Leadville, Colorado on October 27, 1961. They lived in Leadville until moving to Boulder in 1987, and to Longmont in 1990.

She was a nurse at St. Vincent General Hospital for 20 years. She then worked at Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Boulder and later at Frasier Meadows in Boulder. She retired in 2003.

Sarah was a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, where she was a Stephen Minister. She was also a member of Catholic Daughters and Women of the Moose. Sarah enjoyed crossword puzzles, reading, watching Westerns on TV, sewing, cooking for her family on holidays, dancing and oldies.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her daughter, Monica Rae and her siblings, Tony, Pauline, Leo, Jake, Bernie and Joe.

Sarah is survived by her husband, Andy Medina of Longmont; her son, Tony Medina (Roxann) of Leadville, Colorado; three daughters, Tina Lovato (Harvey) of Northglenn, Maria Medina and Andrea Medina, both of Longmont; four brothers, Robert Maez (Eloyda), Paul Maez (Nancy), Juan Maez (Sharon) and Richard Maez (Rosemary); a sister, Charlotte Padilla (Tony); sisters-in-law Burdell Maez and Sally Maez; five grandchildren, Paul (Jenny), Brandon, Jason, Christopher and Marissa; two great-grandchildren, Alana and Olivia and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Visitation will be 5-8 PM with Vigil Service 7PM on Monday, October 18, 2010 at Ahlberg Funeral Chapel. Mass of Christian Burial will be 10 AM Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 323 Collyer Street. Cremation to follow services at Ahlberg Funeral Chapel and Crematory.

A second Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10 AM on Wednesday October 20, 2010 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Leadville, Colorado. Inurnment will be at St. Joseph Cemetery in Leadville.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Liver Foundation, 2100 S. Corona St. Denver, CO 80210.


Sarah Medina has been my neighbor on Bowen St. since I moved to Longmont. She and her husband Andy, as well as their daughters Maria and Andrea are like family to me. They were incredibly supportive when my wife Marilyn died and overjoyed when they met my new fiance Tammi.

Sarah’s struggle with liver issues was a long one – and her family stood with her staunchly. Andy showed me what a real husband was. He and his daughters did everything they could for Sarah to make her way easier.

God Bless them all. I know the pain you’re enduring and I know it’s only somewhat tempered by the realization that she’s walking without pain at our Savior’s side.