Monday, August 29, 2016

Aug 25-29

Frog in Pond

A couple of days before the Montreal trip, as I was cleaning out ivy from around the pond, I saw this little guy:

Montreal, August 2016

Now you know where those clay pots come from.

On the way to the Montreal Olympic Stadium
From outside
Also from outside
Inside---but why did they have to put their logo over someone's face?!?

Outside the insectarium---the rare monarch butterfly to be found this late in the season

Monday, June 6, 2016


While I'm thinking of Paul Simon, here's this one:

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Boxer

Sorry to hear today of the death of the great fighter Muhammad Ali. When I first heard of him, he was still called Cassius Clay, and I remember people castigating him for taking a new name. But he said he was throwing off that "slave name," and good for him.

He fought for his principles, talked a lot, sure, but fought.

The Boxer
(Simon & Garfunkel)

I am just a poor boy.
Though my story's seldom told,
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles,
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest.
When I left my home
And my family,
I was no more than a boy
In the company of strangers
In the quiet of the railway station,
Running scared,
Laying low,
Seeking out the poorer quarters
Where the ragged people go,
Looking for the places
Only they would know.
Asking only workman's wages
I come looking for a job,
But I get no offers,
Just a come-on from the whores
On Seventh Avenue
I do declare,
There were times when I was so
I took some comfort there.
Then I'm laying out my winter clothes
And wishing I was gone,
Going home… 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Weird Word of the Week: Lash

Definition from Google follows. First read this, "The First 50 Lashes." Here's an excerpt:

It [video of the writer's husband's lashing, in front of a large mosque in Jeddah] wasn’t hard to find. By now some of my Facebook friends were referring to it. It also appeared immediately on YouTube when you searched for “Raif Badawi” and “lashes”. It was as if I was being operated by remote control. With trembling hands I clicked on the video to set it in motion. I saw Raif’s delicate frame from behind, in the middle of a big crowd of people. He was wearing a white shirt and dark trousers, and his hair hung down to his shoulders. He looked thin. His hands were cuffed in front of his body. I couldn’t see his face. The men around him were wearing the usual white gowns and shouting “Allahu Akbar”.
The man himself could not be made out in the video. But I saw clearly that he was striking Raif with all his might. Raif’s head was bowed. In very quick succession he took the blows all over the back of his body: he was lashed from shoulders to calves, while the men around him clapped and uttered pious phrases. It was too much for me. It’s indescribable, watching something like that being done to the person you love. I felt the pain they were inflicting on Raif as if it was my own.

The men I had seen in the video might as well have put me in a square and flogged me. But worst of all was the feeling of helplessness. I sat on my sofa, wrapped my arms around my legs and wept.
I myself am not going to post the video or a link to it. Why would I want to see or encourage others to see such a barbaric spectacle, the whipping with the "religious" men standing around shouting "God is great" while watching a man be tortured? No. 
But here, as promised, is the Google definition, to remind us of how passionless some words seem, until we see or experience what they really mean:

verb: lash; 3rd person present: lashes; past tense: lashed; past participle: lashed; gerund or present participle: lashing
  1. 1.
    strike (someone) with a whip or stick.
    "they lashed him repeatedly about the head"
    synonyms:whip, flog, flagellate, beat, thrash, horsewhip, scourge, birch, belt, strap, cane, switch; More
    informalwallop, whack, tan (someone's hide), larrup, whale
    "he lashed the beast repeatedly"
    • beat forcefully against (something).
      "waves lashed the coast"
      synonyms:beat against, dash against, pound, batter, strike, hit, knock
      "rain lashed the windowpanes"
    • drive someone into (a particular state or condition).
      "fear lashed him into a frenzy"
  2. 2.
    (of an animal) move (a part of the body, especially the tail) quickly and violently.
    "the cat was lashing its tail back and forth"
    synonyms:swish, flick, twitch, whip
    "the tiger began to lash its tail"
    • (of a part of the body) move quickly and violently.
  3. 3.
    fasten (something) securely with a cord or rope.
    "the hatch was securely lashed down"
    synonyms:fasten, bind, tie (up), tether, hitch, knot, rope, make fast
    "two boats were lashed together"
noun: lash; plural noun: lashes
  1. 1.
    a sharp blow or stroke with a whip or rope, typically given as a form of punishment.
    "he was sentenced to fifty lashes for his crime"
    synonyms:stroke, blow, hit, strike, welt, thwack;
    "twenty lashes"
  2. 2.
    an eyelash.
    "she fluttered her long dark lashes"