Musings on Grammar, Usage, and Garner’s

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Be honest with me: how serious are you about the serial comma? Do you wade into discussions on language forums and social media brandishing citations from your favourite authorities? Do you dismiss dissenting authorities as heretics? Are there style and usage guides on your bookshelf with sticky notes and bookmarks in them so you can immediately find your references should anyone post a contrary opinion? Do you haughtily refer to it as the Oxford comma instead of the serial — or, the gods of language … click below for more ↓

Musings on Haiku

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I can’t recall just when I first encountered haiku, that subtle, concise and often baffling Japanese poetry, but I suspect it was sometime in the late 1960s, not long after I was first introduced to Buddhism. I recall having the four-volume set of seasonal haiku by Blyth back in those days, but long since gone from my library for reasons I can no longer fathom. I’ve had several other books of haiku on my shelves since then, and turn to them to read now and … click below for more ↓

Godaddy Broke My Blog 2

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Prelude: For several years, I received emails from Godaddy – the company that hosts my online material — announcing my websites and blogs (then hosted on a Linux server) would be migrated to a newer server with a cPanel administration system. Allegedly this move would prove more efficient and offer faster access to my site (access has long been dismally slow). I wouldn’t have to do anything, just let Godaddy work. However, despite numerous emails promising the migration, nothing was done for those years until … click below for more ↓

Godaddy Broke My Blog 1

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I apologize to readers who have been wondering what happened to my blog. It seemed to go haywire, with an old, out-of-date theme showing and no posts since Nov. 18. Well, the answer is simple: Godaddy — the company I use to host my blog and websites — broke it. How and why I will explain in a subsequent post, but suffice to say they screwed up and I’ve been waiting for the past week to see if they would fix it. They haven’t. Apparently … click below for more ↓

When Did I Become My Parents?

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When Did I Become My Parents? When did I stop listening to new music, and change the dial to something familiar: oldies, classic rock; comfortable tunes? When did I stop driving a standard, shifting gears with practiced precision, and buy an automatic, with power windows, and heated seats? When did I stop riding a motorcycle? When did I stop remembering what’s on the grocery list?

Musings on Downsizing, No. 1

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Downsizing seems to be all the rage among people our age. It’s so popular, it might be classified as a sport or a game for seniors. Assuming someone could codify the rules, that is. I’ve been told it’s all over the TV, too, but since we haven’t had cable for a decade or more, I am only going on hearsay for that. But the topic shows up now and then on the front cover of grocery-store checkout magazines, (along with headlines about glitterati of whom … click below for more ↓

The Cancer Diaries, Part 7

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I don’t want readers to think I’m being narcissistic in writing these posts about my cancer or how it has affected me. Sure, I can be accused of being all sorts of things for writing my other posts, and a narcissist is the least of them. I’m sharing these because I felt — I hoped —others might benefit from my experiences: men and their partners. I think partners (be they men or women) should be as fully informed and engaged about what happens and what … click below for more ↓

Juet’s Journal in Word format

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For those readers interested in the voyages of the late-16th-early-17th century adventurer, Henry Hudson, or in the European explorations of North America, I have recently scanned and edited a copy of Juet’s Journal into Word format and placed it online here. Here is my website on Henry Hudson, too. I haven’t done much with it of late, but that may be slowly changing as I find I have more time these days, during my recovery. The journal documents how Hudson and his crew ‘discovered’ parts … click below for more ↓

The Sounds of Winter

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To the tune of Sounds of Silence, with apologies to Paul Simon… Hello, winter, my old friend I have a bone to pick, again Because a snowplow softly creeping Passed my house while I was sleeping My driveway’s blocked and I’m shovelling again My back’s in pain I curse these days of winter. Every day we play this game. Digging out then filled again. The snow drifts reach up unto my knees Beneath the heavy snow my pipes do freeze Each time I clear my … click below for more ↓

2018 in review

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As the year 2018 closes, it’s time for my customary review of what I wrote. It’s also time to thank every reader for participating, for reading my humble musings, for sharing my posts and sending me emails about them. I appreciate your presence and your comments. Twenty eighteen was another good year for my blog. I wrote almost 180,000 words  and saw one-two percent more visitors than last year (although not quite as many as my best year, 2016). My best month for visitors was … click below for more ↓

Storytelling cubes

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You don’t expect Wal Mart to be the source for literary tools, but if you amble into the section crammed with toys, you can pick up a set of Rory’s Story Cubes for just $10 (the base set). Now, I realize these are meant as a creative game for children and/or families (marked ages 8+), but they are actually an ingenious little tool for plot development and ideas in storytelling. And for some exercises in creative thinking. Wait, you say: they’re just dice with pictures. … click below for more ↓

A farewell to 2017

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Twenty seventeen has a special significance for me, beyond merely another year in the ever-lengthening calendar of my life. I find it difficult, sometimes, to believe I am as old as I am – who, after all, lives this long? I used to think that. Back then, back in my salad days of my misspent youth, fifty was impossibly old. Sixty? Ancient. Beyond that? Methuselah old. Or perhaps I simply don’t act my age. I still listen to the Beatles and the music of my … click below for more ↓

Old habits, old junk

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The past couple of weeks I have been trying to turn my office (one of our spare bedrooms, once upon a time) back into my office. A working space I’ll need when Susan retires this winter. My man cave, so to speak. Over the past few years, since I sold the store and went back to home-based freelance work, I have spread my tools and toys around the house, an inexorable sprawl, rather like moss overtaking a pathway. Books litter the house, while my office … click below for more ↓

What did the former council ever do for us?

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TIM: What exactly are the demands? BRIAN: We’re giving Powerstream two days to dismantle the entire apparatus of the Collus utility, and if they don’t agree immediately, we execute the shotgun clause. TIM: You mean, cut their nose off? DEB: Cut all our noses off. To spite our collective faces. Show them we’re not to be trifled with. BRIAN: Also, we’re demanding a ten foot mahogany statue of the former mayor with his conflicts hangin’ out. KATHY: What? They’ll never agree to that, Brian. BRIAN: That’s … click below for more ↓

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