Saturday, October 22, 2016

And the winner is...ME!

It's true. While many of you were sleeping, I was winning a contest.

Author and blogger Frances Garrood, who lives in Wiltshire in the U.K., said yesterday she was "offering a small mystery prize for the best limerick on the subject of...writing limericks." Something snapped in my brain. Resolving to keep it clean, I tossed one off and submitted it:

A blogger whose real name is Bobby
Said, "Limerick writing's my hobby.
I don't know which is worse,
The smell of my verse
Or the people queued up in the lobby."

Frances loved it, so I submitted another one:

A limerick writer, Nan Tucket,
Put all of her works in a bucket.
But next to George Harrison
Hers paled in comparison;
'Twould be rude to divulge where she stuck it.

Frances said, "Even better! You're on a roll today, aren't you?"

I said, "I'm trying, Frances, I'm trying!" and Frances said, "Well, keep on, RWP. I'm enjoying them."

Whereupon she promptly retired for the night.

Not me. Four time zones to the west, I kept writing:

Though writing a limerick is easy,
Especially the type that are sleazy,
It's hard to refrain
From becoming profane
And a struggle to keep one's tone breezy.

...and writing:

The problem, dear reader, is textual.
Whether to be intellectual
And be thought a prude
Or succumb to the lewd
And write something thoroughly sexual.

...and writing:

A contest with limericks? Curses!
Composing those damnable verses
Fried my brain to a crisp,
"Call a doctor," I whisp-
ered, "and two psychiatric ward nurses."

...and then I went to bed too.

Today I awoke to discover that I had been named winner of the contest. Frances did not single out a particular limerick. I think I overwhelmed her with sheer volume.

I am retiring undefeated as the champion of writing clean limericks about writing limericks. And I am keeping an eye out (it's only an expression) for that small mystery prize.

P.S. - I hasten to add that limerick writing is not my hobby at all. I just said that in the first limerick because I needed something to rhyme with "Bobby". But the real champion appears to be Garrison Keillor of National Public Radio fame. You should really watch his final News From Lake Wobegon (17:22) from last July's final Prairie Home Companion with him as host if you want to hear some belly-laughers.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A little of this and a little of that

I found some old family photographs in an envelope and tossed them onto the bed in the spare room. In olden times this photo might have been called Still Life: Blue and Yellow Quilts with Photographs.

All of the photos except my passport photo were taken way back when in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, probably between 1925 and 1948. My passport photo, which I showed you a couple of posts back, was made much more recently in Boca Raton, Florida, in 1969. This also may sound like way back when to some of you younger readers, but it really isn't in the overall scheme of things.

The following photo is definitely from the 1920s. My dad, Ted Brague, the youngest of the five Brague brothers, is on the left. His brother Dan, the fourth Brague son, is on the right. The fellow in the middle is an unidentified friend. You must deal with the fact that the photo is cattywampus on your own; no one ever said that reading a post by moi would be easy. The preceding sentence illustrates perfectly the use of the semicolon.

Mrs. RWP and I find ourselves in deepest Alabamistan once again after a long absence. Yesterday afternoon we sat in the sun in the high school football stadium in Pell City watching a marching band competition. It was worth it; not only were our two grandsons featured in a trumpet and mellophone* duet of "Desperado" during their school's performance, their band received Superior ratings and were named Best Band in Class (AAA). We were also treated to two trains passing by during the afternoon just behind the opposite-side stands, one a very, very, very long freight train and the other an Amtrak passenger train enroute from New Orleans to Atlanta, a rare sighting in today's world unless one lives in the Boston-New York-Washington corridor where Amtrak trains are as thick as thieves pandas in China kookaburras in Australia.

When we get back home I shall attempt to show you a video of the band's performance. As it will be my first attempt in nine years of blogging to embed a video in a post, I fervently hope it will appear right side up.


*A mellophone is the instrument a French Horn player uses during marching season. It looks like a trumpet with a larger bell and produces a lower, mid-range (and therefore mellower) sound.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A peek into antiquity which I mean nine years ago, which is several lifetimes as lifetimes are counted in blogworld.

This blog began on September 28, 2007, so as of today (September 27, 2016) I have been blogging for nine years. Tomorrow -- what some might call my ninth anniversary -- is in actuality the first day of my tenth year of blogging. It is just this sort of attention to detail that keeps you readers coming back for more.

Unless it's my acerbic wit and sparkling personality.

Yeah, right.

Whatever it is that keeps you readers coming back for more, I am truly grateful and will never take any of you for granted.

That being said, here's that peek into antiquity that I promised up top:

My first post

The celebrating may now begin.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tempus certainly does fugit, irrespective of whether you're having fun

Today is our oldest son's birthday. He's 52.

Impossible. I myself am only 38.

Isotopes have half lives. Why can't we?

I'm hoping my half life will have been around 57, but that is neither here nor there.

Here is a photo of my son and his wife taken this past June at Panama City Beach in Florida. The water behind them is the Gulf of Mexico.

And here I am two months before my 38th birthday. If you must know, the year was 1969. This photo was made for the first passport I ever obtained, and despite what they say about passport photos, I consider it to be the best photo ever made of moi.

If all goes well and I keep breathing, I will turn 76 in March.

Tempus fugit, indeed.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Tri-weekly, try weekly, try weakly

I am blogging less lately but enjoying it more -- wait, that's not really true. I am blogging less than I used to, and I suppose my advancing age has something to do with it. I am now somewhere between "beginning to slow down" and being overtaken by the "general malaise" that President Jimmy Carter used to talk about back in the '70s. Since I am also in my 70s now -- halfway through them, in fact -- I cannot claim to be the man I once was. Take my hair, for instance. Too late. Most of it is already gone. And my skin, my skin, the largest organ in my body and also in yours, has morphed into something unrecognizable. I am reminded of the old joke about the old man who decided to streak through his neighborhood and as he passed the bus stop one old woman said, "What was that?" and another old woman said, "I don't know, but it definitely needed ironing."

Where was I?

Oh, yes. Wondering whether I am enjoying things more now that I am doing them less. Some fellow once said, "Burt Reynolds puts his pants on the same way I do, one leg at a time" and some other fellow said, "That may be true, but he gets to do it more often." If you substitute the name of the hunk du jour for Burt Reynolds you will undoubtedly agree that the second man was a truth-teller.

Digressing seems to be what I do best.

I do think that I enjoy blogging as much as ever, but I just don't seem to get around to doing it as often as when I was in my prime had more energy could actually remember that a fair amount of time had passed since my last post.

So I'm blogging today, more because it fills up time and space than that I have something scintillating to say.

The truly cruel among my readership will now say, "It has been ever thus."

Until next time, I remain
Yr intrepid reporter,

Rhymes With Plague

Friday, September 2, 2016

A still photograph tells you very little, really

The blue dot is me, or rather, it is where I live. See it there, just above Atlanta?

The storm system is Hurricane Hermine, the first tropical hurricane to make landfall in Florida in eleven years. In 2005 we had Dennis, Katrina, Wilma, and Rita. The year before that we had Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. You may not remember most of them, but surely Katrina rings a bell. Then, for eleven years, nothing. Well, there was "Super Storm Sandy" in 2012 that caused major damage in New Jersey and New York but its eye stayed at sea for most of its existence.

As a result, the weather people on television were going bonkers last night, way too bonkers, over a tropical storm that didn't even achieve hurricane status (sustained winds of 74 mph) until a few hours before it hit the mainland. Hermine is a Category 1 hurricane. By way of comparison, Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane.

Here are the categories of hurricanes:

Still, winds of 74-95 mph are nothing to sneeze at.

Last night Hermine came ashore. I took the photo of the Doppler radar this morning.

The first thing I noticed, being a resident of the southeastern U.S. and fairly familiar with hurricanes, is how small the eye of the hurricane has become, which usually means the storm is dissipating and on its way to becoming merely a tropical storm again.

But am I in danger? Is Atlanta about to get soaked? Do I need to batten down the hatches in anticipation of some high winds?

The answer is: It depends on which way the storm is moving, and you can't determine that from a still photograph.

If the storm came ashore from the Atlantic and is moving to the northwest (the upper left corner of the photo. for the geographically challenged), Atlanta and environs could be in for some very bad weather. Fortunately for us, however, the storm came ashore from the Gulf of Mexico, near Tallahassee, and has been moving to the northeast (the upper right corner of the photo). Therefore, kiddies, it is not Atlanta but the eastern coast of the U.S. that may receive lots of water and wind soon. Another possibility is that the storm will go back over water and strengthen again in the Atlantic. Where it may go then is anyone's guess. It is enough to make the most seasoned weather forecaster go bonkers.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

There's always time for football, I mean soccer, I mean football, or Hull City, eat your heart out

Atlanta is an alphabet soup kind of town. We are home to NFL*, MLB**, MiLB,*** NBA****, WNBA***** and MLL******teams, not to mention PGA******* and LPGA******** events. Twice we have been home to NHL********* teams as well, but the Flames left us to go to Calgary and the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg and changed their name to the Jets. Not enough ice here, I suppose.

*National Football League
**Major League Baseball
***Minor League Baseball
****National Basketball Association
*****Women's National Basketball Association
******Major League Lacrosse
*******Professional Golfers Association
********Ladies Professional Golf Association
*********National Hockey League

But now, in addition to all of those, we will become in 2017 a MLS********* town as well.

**********Major League Soccer

Yes, it's true! The team is called Atlanta United -- do I hear echoes of Manchester? -- and here is its emblem:
I left the pièce de résistance until last -- a three minute and 22 seconds fly-through of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, currently under construction, which the Atlanta United Football Club (soccer) will share with the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League.