2.18.2022 – sat upon the shore

sat upon the shore
fishing, shall at least set
my lands in order?

Part of the series of Haiku inspired by The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot and the article, ‘It takes your hand off the panic button’: TS Eliot’s The Waste Land 100 years on by Andrew Dickson.

Mr. Dickson asks, ‘Is it genuinely one of the greatest works in the language, or – as the poet once claimed – just “a piece of rhythmical grumbling“?’

Readers of this blog may remember that from time to time I struggle with the weight of effort of producing a daily Haiku and any thoughts I may have about the words and time that went in the Haiku that day.

This daily schedule of missing a day can bring on a personal mental paralysis wherein writing these entries becomes impossible.

I learned to deal with this by not dealing with it and let it go.

Then when I look at my register of entries and see blank days with no post, I will grab a topic or book or poem for a source and produce a series of Haiku to fill in those blank dates.

This is one of the great benefits of this effort being my blog and my blog, my rules.

It IS cricket because I say it is.

It is ‘according to Hoyle’ because I say it is.

Thus I have this series based on ‘The Wasteland.’

A thoroughly enjoyable connection of wordplay and source of endless discussion in the search for meaning.

For myself, I like that bit about a piece of rhythmical grumbling by Mr. Eliot so said Mr. Eliot.

I have remembered this story before in these posts, but it reminds me of a story told by the actor Rex Harrison.

Mr. Harrison recounted rehearsing a play by George Bernard-Shaw and that the company was having a difficult time with a certain scene when, wonder of wonder, Bernard-Shaw himself dropped by to watch rehearsal.

Mr. Harrison tells how great this was as they went to the play write and asked how did he see this scene – what was he striving for?

Bernard-Shaw asked for a script and read over the scene, read it over again and a third time, then looked up and said, “This is rather bad isn’t it.”

2.17.2022 – Love is a deep and

love is a deep and
dark like a book read over
and over again

Love is a Deep and a Dark and a Lonely
Carl Sandburg

love is a deep and a dark and a lonely
and you take it deep take it dark
and take it with a lonely winding
and when the winding gets too lonely
then may come the windflowers
and the breath of wind over many flowers
winding its way out of many lonely flowers
waiting in rainleaf whispers
waiting in dry stalks of noon
wanting in a music of windbreaths
so you can take love as it comes keening
as it comes with a voice and a face
and you make a talk of it
talking to yourself a talk worth keeping
and you put it away for a keen keeping
and you find it to be a hoarding
and you give it away and yet it stays hoarded

like a book read over and over again
like one book being a long row of books
like leaves of windflowers bending low
and bending to be never broken

2.16.2022 – a long, gentle curve

a long, gentle curve
hardly realize we’re talking
love, family, life

Based on the short passage:

I think of all the things I’ll want to talk to the catcher about. I’ll guide the conversations, like taking a car around a long, gentle curve in the road, and we’ll hardly realize that we’re talking of love, and family, and life, and beauty, and friendship, and sharing …

From the book, Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella.

Most folks are more familiar with the movie made from the book, Field of Dreams, than they are of the book.

Field of Dreams is a good movie (made possible by Jim Harrison, but that is another story) but a lot of, shall we say, nuance is missing from the movie that is in the book.

For one, the author in the story is J.D. Salinger and not a fictitious Terrence Mann and then there is the twin brother, but that is for another time as well.

The 15th of February is my Father’s birthday.

The anniversary always brings the book and the movie and my Dad to mind

If I say I wish he was here I certainly don’t mean I wish he was here in realtime.

I don’t wish that he was here and 102 years old.

The best part of wishing is that you get to set the rules.

Not being able to set the rules is maybe the best part of wishes not coming true.

Never the less, I do like to say that I would build a ball park in my back yard if my Dad could come back for a day or two.

Not because I have anything I need to say or that I could have said to my Dad when I had the chance, but because I would like to introduce him to my kids and grand kids.

I would like to take him out to any of the seafood restaurants down here where I live in South Carolina.

I have a feeling that when he was stationed at Fort Andrew Jackson near Columbia, South Carolina, he spent time in Savannah.

The idea of sitting with him in Forsyth Park sounds just right.

We would sit there and talk and he would describe how he remembered the city back in 1943.

It would be a long gentle curve in the road.

We would hardly realize we were talking.

And that we would be talking about love and family and life.

Happy Birthday Dad!

PS: The above photograph, was taken by me on a family trip to Wisconsin to visit my Uncle Jim and Aunt Millie.

It was summertime probably 1968 or 1969.

This was taken aboard the SS City of Midland, the car ferry that went between Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin across Lake Michigan.

This was how my Dad dressed for vacation.

Almost always he had on a jacket and often enough, a tie as well.

These were his fun clothes.

That is if your idea of fun was to pack 11 people into a car and drive off into the wilds of Wisconsin.

If this was 1969, my brother Paul was now married and my youngest brother, Al, hadn’t made his appearance yet so the 11 of us, my parents and 9 kids were probably the biggest bunch of us altogether on trip we ever took.

Taken at the National Railroad Museum in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin

We were running all over the ship and my Mom and Dad found a place in the sun out of the wind.

I wanted to take a picture.

I guess I had an interest in photography back then or at least I wanted to be the one taking the pictures.

I whined and whined until my Dad gave me his camera and let me take this picture of Mom and Dad in sunshine.

Then I wanted to take another photograph.

I wanted to take a picture of the bow of the ship cutting through the water.

I explained this to my Dad and he said okay and went with me as far forward on the ship as we could get.

The very peak of the bow was blocked off by a yellow rail so there would be no “I’m flying – Titanic” scenes on this ship.

As I remember the railing of the ship was just above my head level when I was nine so my Dad got a deck chair for me to stand on.

I hopped up and now the rail was about waist high and I leaned over.

My Mom called out but my Dad waved that it would be okay.

I leaned back and my Dad handed me his camera, his new nikon and back over the edge I went.

“Hey, hey hey!” my Dad yelled.

I stood up straight and turned and looked at him.

He reached over and put the camera strap over my head.

“Don’t want you to drop the camera!” he said.

PSS many people have asked and yes this is the photo I took looking down at the bow of the ship … mjh

2.15.2022 – Stafford, the Bengals

Stafford, the Bengals
bumbling franchise Detroit does
everything wrong, right?

I remember reading about that Science had discovered quarks or neutrinos or some such particles of energy that were created as the Sun decayed or something like that.

An experiment was designed to capture a picture of one of these things and somewhere out west, a section of mountain was excavated and filled with cleaning fluid.

This was supposed to capture the moment one of these particles came by or decayed or something.

This giant pool of fluid was filled with photo cells and then the scientists sat back to wait.

And they waited and waited and waited and nothing happened.

After some years the scientist decided there were three possible explanations to what went wrong.

The first was that they did their math wrong.

The second was they set up the physical experiment wrong.

The third explanation was that the scientists had no clue to what they were doing or even talking about.

For most of my life, the third explanation applies to the Detroit Lions football team of the National Football League.

The latest Super Bowl is one more example of how hard the Lions work to show how much they have no clue to what they are doing or even talking about.

First off is the the now Super Bowl winning Quarterback, Matthew Stafford.

Mr. Stafford played for the Lions for 12 seasons and never got past the first round of the playoffs as the Lions management just could not put together the team around him that could win.

The Los Angeles Rams appears to have put that team together, including late season additions in Stafford’s first year.

What did the Rams do that the Lions did not do?

Then there are the Cincinnati Bengals.

In 2020, the Bengals were 4 -11-1 while the Lions were 5-11.

in 2019, the Bengals were 2-14 and the Lions were 3-13.

IN 2021, the Bengals were 10-7 and 13-8 overall, making it to the Super Bowl.

The Lions were again 3 and 13.

What did the Bengals do that the Lions did not do or do that the Lion did not want do or do that the Lions can’t do?

The Bengals were worse than the Lions and in 2 years made it to the Super Bowl.

It can be done.

Its not space science.

Do the Detroit Lions do everything wrong?

Why do I think that if someone took a yellow pad and wrote down everything the Lions did, from brand of Hot Dogs for sale to the colors of the team (and I love Honolulu Blue) maybe change the name, put everything on the table, and do the exact opposite who knows what might happen.

I will even write the dread words, how could it get worse?

We say that every year.

And somehow each year the Lions do the seemingly impossible and make last years team look better and create a true sense of insecurity.

I am reminded of the scene in the movie, Tin Cup, where caddy Cheech Martin has golfer Kevin Costner put a golf tee behind one ear, put all his change in on pocket and a bunch of other weird stuff.

When Costner then hits a ball down the fairway, he looks at Martin and asks how he it did it, Martin responds, “you ain’t thinking … period.”

Or in the case of the Lions, as Ted Williams once said, “If you don’t think so good, don’t think so much.”

2.14.2022 – place where love begins

place where love begins
a touch of two hands that foils
all dictionaries

For Valentine’s Day, 2022 from Carl Sandbug.

Explanations of Love
Carl Sandburg

There is a place where love begins and a place
where love ends.

There is a touch of two hands that foils all dictionaries.

There is a look of eyes fierce as a big Bethlehem open hearth
furnace or a little green-fire acetylene torch.

There are single careless bywords portentous as a
big bend in the Mississippi River.

Hands, eyes, bywords–out of these love makes
battlegrounds and workshops.

There is a pair of shoes love wears and the coming
is a mystery.

There is a warning love sends and the cost of it
is never written till long afterward.

There are explanations of love in all languages
and not one found wiser than this:

There is a place where love begins and a place
where love ends—and love asks nothing.

And, BTW, this is the poem that Leslie agreed to have printed on the back our the program guides that were passed out at our wedding.

2.13.2022 – war to end all wars

war to end all wars
great war until second war
does world go again

Pelican over Atlantic Ocean

World War One for a long time was known simply as the either ‘The War’ or the “The Great War.”

Woodrow Wilson named it, “The War to End All Wars” and came to the Versailles Treaty meetings with a 14 point paper that would prevent future wars. This document brought the Prime Minister of France, Georges Benjamin Clemenceau, to comment that Moses himself had only 10 points.

It did not become World War One until World War Two came along.

In the book The Winds of War, Herman Wouk has one of his characters saying, “World War Two… You know, Time has been writing about ‘World War Two’ for months. It always seemed so unreal, somehow. Now here it is, but it still has a funny ring.

For centuries the Foreign Policy of Great Britain had been to keep things in Europe as muddled up as possible so that all the European countries would be arguing amongst themselves and no one would notice what Britain was doing around the world.

As Sir Humphrey Appleby put it, “Britain has had the same foreign policy objective for at least the last 500 years: to create a disunited Europe. In that cause we have fought with the Dutch against the Spanish, with the Germans against the French, with the French and Italians against the Germans, and with the French against the Germans and Italians. Divide and rule, you see. Why should we change now, when it’s worked so well?

In 1914, Europe tried to sort their own problems and their solution was to act like kids at recess playing football.

The two biggest kids named themselves as Captains and then they chose up sides.

Once they had teams, everyone on each team agreed that they would be good team mates and come the aid of any other team mate who might be in trouble.

History books tell us The Great War started over an incident in the city of Sarajevo in Serbia.

Austro-Hungry claimed control over the country of Serbia.

Russia claimed an interest in ethnic Russians living in Serbia.

To calm things down, the Austro-Hungarians sent the Archduke Franz Ferdinand Carl Ludwig Joseph Maria of Austria on a tour of the Serbia.

While in Sarajevo, the Archduke was shot and killed by a assassin which brought on a war between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia.

Serbia was on the Russian team so Russia was in.

Germany was the Austro-Hungarian team so they were in.

France and Britain were on Russian’s team so they were in.

And so on and so on an so on.

Wikipedia says, “The Balkans remained a site of political unrest with teeming ambition for independence and great power rivalries.”

And we all get into The Great War.

That is one story anyway.

When talking about the early 1900’s and great power rivalries in Europe, you come down to the two biggest kids on the playground, Britain and Germany.

The Germany of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the grandson of Queen Victoria and the cousin to the then current King of Britain, George V.

Britain had a big navy.

Wilhelm II wanted just as big a navy and built one.

A problem with big navies is that if you don’t use them, they rust up and sink on their own.

It was pretty much a given that once Wilhelm II had his big navy, he would want to put it to the test against the other big navy on the block.

Kaiser Bill was that kind of guy.

He would start a war just to show that he was that kind of guy.

This is the guy who reportedly had a desk chair that was a saddle mounted on chair legs as he felt his brain worked better when he was on a horse.

(This brings to mind the Civil War General John Pope who dictated reports with the dateline, HEADQUARTERS IN THE SADDLE – meaning they were on the move – He sent off some many reports this way and was such a failure that Mr. Lincoln said that General Pope had his headquarters where his hindquarters should have been)

When Wilhelm II started on his big navy building scheme, one of Britain’s leading Admirals made a predication.

Germany’s biggest naval base, Kiel, is on the Baltic Sea and the Imperial German Navy would have to make its way up and around Denmark to get into the North Sea and attack Great Britain.

In 1907, Germany began work to deepen the Kiel Canal that cut across the bottom on Denmark and would let the Imperial German Navy get into the North Sea both quicker and secretly.

British Admiral Jackie Fisher, the man who invented the big gun battleship, said that as soon as that canal project was completed and Germany could get their fleet into the North Sea, Kaiser Bill would finally start his war.

The Kiel Canal was completed on June 23, 1914.

The Great War started that August.

Now Mr. Putin wants to start a war.

Why does Mr. Putin want to start World War One all over again?

Maybe he cares about all those ethnic Russians in Ukraine.

Maybe he worries about all the offenses those poor Russians in Ukraine have had to put up with since the USSR went away.

And maybe, Mr. Putin is just that type of guy who wants to start a war to prove that that is the type of guy he is.

2.12.2022 – saying yes to the

saying yes to the
paradoxes democracy
hopes of government

Salutations on the aniiversary of your birth, Mr. Lincoln.

In remembrance I offer Carl Sandburg’s 1936 poem, Lincoln?

He was a mystery in smoke and flags
Saying yes to the smoke, yes to the flags,
Yes to the paradoxes of democracy,
Yes to the hopes of government
Of the people by the people for the people,
No to debauchery of the public mind,
No to personal malice nursed and fed,
Yes to the Constitution when a help,
No to the Constitution when a hindrance
Yes to man as a struggler amid illusions,
Each man fated to answer for himself:
Which of the faiths and illusions of mankind
Must I choose for my own sustaining light
To bring me beyond the present wilderness?

       Lincoln? Was he a poet?
       And did he write verses?
“I have not willingly planted a thorn
       in any man’s bosom.”
I shall do nothing through malice: what
       I deal with is too vast for malice.”

Death was in the air.
So was birth.

2.11.2022 – what are the roots that

what are the roots that
clutch, what branches grow out
this stony rubbish

Part of the series of Haiku inspired by The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot and the article, ‘It takes your hand off the panic button’: TS Eliot’s The Waste Land 100 years on by Andrew Dickson.

Mr. Dickson asks, ‘Is it genuinely one of the greatest works in the language, or – as the poet once claimed – just “a piece of rhythmical grumbling“?’

Readers of this blog may remember that from time to time I struggle with the weight of effort of producing a daily Haiku and any thoughts I may have about the words and time that went in the Haiku that day.

This daily schedule of missing a day can bring on a personal mental paralysis wherein writing these entries becomes impossible.

I learned to deal with this by not dealing with it and let it go.

Then when I look at my register of entries and see blank days with no post, I will grab a topic or book or poem for a source and produce a series of Haiku to fill in those blank dates.

This is one of the great benefits of this effort being my blog and my blog, my rules.

It IS cricket because I say it is.

It is ‘according to Hoyle’ because I say it is.

Thus I have this series based on ‘The Wasteland.’

A thoroughly enjoyable connection of wordplay and source of endless discussion in the search for meaning.

For myself, I like that bit about a piece of rhythmical grumbling by Mr. Eliot so said Mr. Eliot.

I have remembered this story before in these posts, but it reminds me of a story told by the actor Rex Harrison.

Mr. Harrison recounted rehearsing a play by George Bernard-Shaw and that the company was having a difficult time with a certain scene when, wonder of wonder, Bernard-Shaw himself dropped by to watch rehearsal.

Mr. Harrison tells how great this was as they went to the play write and asked how did he see this scene – what was he striving for?

Bernard-Shaw asked for a script and read over the scene, read it over again and a third time, then looked up and said, “This is rather bad isn’t it.”

2.10.2022 – you say tomato,

you say tomato,
gazpacho or gestapo
call the whole thing off

I try to avoid making comments about the Congressional Representative from Georgia’s 14th district for any number of reasons.

For the most part I wish the same wish I wish whenever I read or hear about her and that is I wish she would go away.

But her most recent comment that the Speaker of the House of Representatives was sending out the “gazpacho police” was just too much to ignore.

I understand that the person in question somehow avoided taking High School Civics or as it was called at Grand Rapids Creston High School, where I went, ‘Government’.

I would have loved seeing this person in the Government class I was in.

I think it was a state law back then, that for anyone to graduate from a High School in Michigan, they had to take a Government or Civics class.

At Creston, that meant Mr. Reagan’s class.

Mr. Reagan knew that every, and I mean every, student had to go through his classroom to get a diploma.

Mr. Reagan knew it and made the most of it.

We knew it too and we all loved it.

Or at least I think we did.

I did.

His classes were not so much classes as they were like a nightly episodes of the Tonight Show.

But instead of being at night, they were during they day.

And instead of starring Johnny Carson, they were starring Mr. Reagan.

The students were not so much students as we were a captive audience as well as the targets for his jokes and efforts to playfully humiliate us.

He loved to pick on the students and he picked on all of us.

He would point at someone and ask, “What color was George Washington’s white horse?”

When the student answered “How am I supposed to know that?” he would just grin and grin and nod and nod.

If no one else in the class laughed, he would stare at the entire class and grin and grin and nod and nod.

See Below *

Somewhere along the line, someone told Mr. Reagan that the Grand Rapids Public Schools required male teachers to wear a jacket and tie on payday.

Mr. Reagan usually had a tie on but he picked up a knee length white lab coat that he liked to wear in place of the usual jacket.

He would stand at the front of the classroom behind a table top podium in his lab coat and read to us the headlines from yesterday’s Grand Rapids Press and then comment on how expectedly stupid or unexpectedly smart the Mayor of the City of Grand Rapids was.

On the chalk board behind him, Mr. Reagan would also list the latest gossip headlines from Creston’s Senior Class.

After reading the newspaper, Mr. Reagan would then read off the list of gossip headlines along with commentary.

“Robin saw Bill with Jennifer at Frosty Boy. Bill is now looking for recommendations for inexpensive wind shield repair.”

No one would be spared.

And once he found out something about you, it was all over.

I remember one young lady who managed to park the family car inside their garage, sideways.

It was winter and the driveway was icy and she was going a little too fast as she pulled in so she hit the brakes, which on ice caused the car to tail spin just as it entered the garage.

The front of the car went to the left and the garage was flexible enough that the wall flexed back and the rear end of the car made it through the narrow opening to slide against the wall on the right.

That part of the wall flexed back, without breaking, so the car slid into place sideways, inside the garage.

Both walls flexed back flat and tight against the front and back bumpers and the car was stuck, sideways, inside the garage.

Mr. Reagan lived on that one for weeks and asked for regular updates from the podium for the benefit of the class.

For me, Mr. Reagan’s class wasn’t so much an educational opportunity as it was a challenge.

If Mr. Reagan was Johnny Carson, I was the new comedian on in the last 10 minutes of the show.

Mr. Reagan came into class and read a long list of students who were out with the flu.

Mr. Reagan then asked if we had heard of the Egyptian flu?

“You catch if from your Mummy,” he said.

“That joke SPHINX!” I yelled back.

I got the bigger laugh.

Mr. Reagan stared at me for a few seconds.

Then he pulled out his gradebook and turned to my page.

“Hoffman,” he says, “ESSAY ESSAY ESSAY,” making notations in the book.

“Essay? Does he have to write reports again?” someone asked.

“Not ESSAY,” Mr. Reagan said, “S.A. Smart Assss…Aleck.”

The points were not for being loud or yelling, the points were for getting the bigger laugh.

There was another time when Mr. Reagan gave us a test.

He passed out the tests and then left the room.

This test was an essay test and we had to outline the steps on how a bill became a law.

I knew there was a flow chart that showed these steps in our text book.

As soon as Mr. Reagan left, I tore the page out of my book and got the hall pass and left.

At Creston High School, each room had a flat piece of wood about one foot square with the words, HALL PASS – ROOM 101 or whatever room it was, painted on it.

Students who left the room had to carry the hall pass with them so that it was visible at all times.

Mr. Reagan had taken the thoughtful step of tying a piece of rope to the hall pass for his room and threading the rope through a roll of toilet paper.

Most teachers kept the hall pass in a desk drawer but Mr. Reagan kept his propped up against the chalk board.

If you asked to use the hall pass, he would ask IN A LOUD VOICE, Number 1 or Number 2?

He did that he said because in case of tie, number 2 would win.

Hall pass in hand, I ran down the back steps and made my way to the library.

You have to understand my High School career.

I myself can’t explain a lot of it but for the most part, I got away with almost everything.

Bucket of water out a third story window on the band.

Giant for sale sign on top of the school marquee.

The usual stuff.

I was known to be a bit goofy but harmless.

And I was for the most part, responsible.

I mean, the school knew I wasn’t going to try and burn down the school or something too stupid.

I was a familiar person in the hallway during class.

My junior year, I wanted to work on the school newspaper but that class met at 4th hour and I had a conflict.

After an interview with the teacher/supervisor, the decision was made to let me be on the newspaper staff but during 1st hour.

The newspaper had a small classroom office dedicated to the paper and yearbook production and Mr. Eikenhout, the teacher in charge of publications, would meet me there at the start of the day and let me in.

Then he would go do whatever he went and did and I was left alone for an hour.

It didn’t take me long to discover that that little room also had a hall pass.

After that I spent a lot of my time exploring the old building.

I learned how to get in the attic.

I learned how to get into the back rooms of the school auditorium.

There were some rooms I went that I was sure no one had been in for years.

It got to the point that finally one of the school security guards came up to me and asked, “Who are you anyway?”

Me running through the halls during class was not all that unusual.

At the library I waved to the librarian and went back to the AV room.

I was a familiar person here in the library too, and had a lot of freedom.

I fluttered the page in my hand at whoever was in the AV room and I said, “Mr. Reagan needs an overhead made of this diagram.”

The person nodded and waved me over to the duplicator.

Don’t ask me how I knew how to use the duplicator but I did and I slid the page in and pressed a couple of buttons and there was a hum and out came a thin plastic transparency of the page.

I got my page out of the machine and grabbed the transparency and ran back to class.

Mr. Reagan was still gone and on the front table next to his podium, was a projector we called an overhead.

I pulled down the screen over the chalk board, turned on the overhead and put my freshly made transparency on it.

And there on the big screen, for the class to see, was the diagram of how a bill became a law.

Nobody said a word.

I sat down and went back to the test.

The class was quiet.

Then Mr. Reagan came back in.

He must have forgot that when he left that the overhead wasn’t on as he used it constantly and he just walked past the screen and sat down.

I tried to get the person sitting in the front row to switch the machine off but everyone was keeping their heads down.

Mr. Reagan looked out a the class then looked up at the screen, it took a few seconds, and he yelled HEY!

He got up and took the transparency off the overhead.

“You all fail the test,” said Mr. Reagan with his big grin on his face.

Then the class got un-quiet.

Unfair!

Not my fault!

“But what about us who didn’t need that,” said, as I remember, the girl who parked her car sideways.

But here is the thing.

No one and I mean no one, not even garage girl, said, “HOFFMAN DID IT.”

This wasn’t like the time in Biology when everybody said HOFFMAN DID IT!

Mr. Reagan couldn’t help himself and burst out laughing.

He knew this would be a great story both for the other classes and the teachers lounge.

“Okay okay okay,” he said, “just finish the test.”

And he turned off the overhead and sat down, still chuckling to himself.

We all went back to our essays and the room was quiet.

“Hmmmmmmmmm” said Mr. Reagan in a quiet voice, “Somebody,” he said, drawing out the word sommmmmme, “had to cut that chart out of their text book.”

BUT I DIGRESS!

I would love it if somehow all the members of Congress had to take that High School government class over again.

But would they learn anything?

Would they have learned the difference between gazpacho and gestapo?

And again I think is this new?

I am reminded of Mark Twain when he said, “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

———————————–

*The photograph of Mr. Reagan is indicative of my time in High School.

I was the photographer for the school publications which was a very useful thing to be when you wanted to be places most students were not supposed to be.

For this picture I was told by Mr. Eikenhout to get a photo for the yearbook for the Class of ’78, of the three senior class teacher advisors, Mr. Haskins (My Biology Teacher – the one who asked the class, WHO DID IT and the entire class said HOFFMAN), Mr. Vander Lende and Mr. Reagan.

Mr. Reagan told me he would not be in the picture unless it was funny.

I suggested that we could arrange for Mr. Haskins and Mr. Vander Lende to hang him and Mr. Reagan said set it up.

First I went to the gym to get a rope which I got without any problem.

Then I got the three teachers together.

The center on the basketball team, was walking by and I asked him to stand on a table and dangle the rope over Mr. Reagan who was standing on a low stool.

As I was about to take the picture, one of the school Assistant Principals came around the corner.

I don’t know what he expected to see when he turned the corner but two of his teachers stringing up another teacher was most likely not on the list of possibilities.

He looked at the teachers and he looked at me.

I knew what he was thinking and that was he didn’t know what to think.

At the time, the Grand Rapids Public Schools had come up with a program for those one of kind students who needed a class that no one else in the world might want to take.

It was called the “Independent Study Program” and because of my interest in photography and that the one photography class in the entire school system was in conflict with the only upper latin class in the entire school system, I was allowed to set up not just one, BUT TWO sections of my class schedule with an independent study in photography.

For the most part I was left on my own to put in 10 hours a week on photography.

I would tell my friends that by bringing my camera, I got class credits going to basketball games.

I also had a part-time internship with the Grand Rapids Public School’s Instructional Media Center or IM.

This was the schools districts media center that had special equipment that wasn’t available in each school.

I think that’s were I learned about duplicating machines.

I would show up there a couple times a week and they would send me out to photograph special events at different schools around the district.

The Director of the IM thought I was wonderful.

Nice and polite and on time.

The Director of the IM was the wife of that Assistant Principle.

That poor feller knew what I got away with in school and he also heard about me from his wife.

Now here I was with my camera out and three teachers and rope.

“That’s not right,” he said.

And he grabbed the rope and yanked it down.

“This is how you tie a hangman’s knot,” he said.

And he looped and looped the rope around and then pulled it tight and handed me a rope with a perfect hangman’s knot in it.

And walked away.

Like I said, you have to understand my high school career.

2.9.2022 – flibbertigibbet

flibbertigibbet
onomatopoeic word
unmeaning chatter

Like a gold miner sifting through tons of sand and gravel looking for anything that might be gold, I read through my day hoping for words and or language usage that stands out from pre programmed mish mash that is online writing.

I writing this about online writing as I am writing online.

And I admit that as part of my job, I have to submit some of my writing for work to online tools that will grade my writing as to its ‘clickability’.

Once for fun (okay so my definition of fun is not yours) I copied all 272 words of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address into Microsoft Word and had it graded for its ability to be understood.

According to Word, it would take someone with at least an 11th or 12th grade education to read the speech and as the norm for today was writing at a 4th grade level, Word recommended some changes.

I haven’t tried but I bet you a nickel that if I copy Winston Churchill’s speech before Commons (June 4, 1940), “We shall not flag nor fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France and on the seas and oceans; we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender,” MicroSoft Word would suggest that the text was repetitive.

I am sure if I asked for a headline for the speech I would get, Five Top Reasons to Keep Fighting, or “Revealed, What Churchill Said that got Hitler so Mad …” or the usual, “Miley Cyrus arrested after reading this on twitter.”

But today I was reading an article and the writer used the word Flibbertigibbet.

It was like finding a giant golden nugget.

Flibbertigibbet.

Say it out loud.

Flibbertigibbet.

Dear sweet wonderful word.

Makes you laugh just to say it.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is an onomatopoeic representation of unmeaning chatter and the meaning is a chattering or gossiping person.

The online Merriam-Webster uses the term gossipy chatterer.

That flibbertigibbet is onomatopoeic or the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named is just perfect.

It is also fun just to say onomatopoeic.

And the best part of today’s word prospecting?

The article in question was about the University of Michigan Football Coach, Jim Harbaugh.

The article was discussing whether or not the Chicago Bears missed a chance but not hiring Little Jimmie “I lost the Brown Jug” Harbaugh.

The writer wrote, “The last thing ownership wants is more transition when it comes to football operations. And with Harbaugh, an historic flibbertigibbet, every off-season would bring questions of his potential departure.

As stated, flibbertigibbet is onomatopoeic.

The word sounds like it means.

But what is the word for when THE PERSON matches the word, as it sounds like it means?

There has to be something beyond “apt”.

Harbaugh is a flibbertigibbet is both onomatopoeic in both grammar and application is word smithing at its finest.

A trifecta if you would.

The man and the word have met.

I guess if the words fits, use it.