Thursday, January 26, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dad, for 2017! (With an UPDATE!)

Yes, indeed, time keeps moving on.

So it's time to wish my late Father a Happy Birthday.  As I did on Mom's last birthday, here's a list of some cool events which happened on Dad's special day.

  • 1697 - Sir Isaac Newton receives AND SOLVES Jean Bernoulli's 6 Month Time Limit Problem
  • 1788 - The British First Fleet sails into now what is Sydney Harbor; this date now commemorated in Australia as Australia Day
  • 1790 - Mozart's opera Cosi Fan Tutte premieres in Vienna
  • 1837 - Michigan becomes the 26th (!) U. S. state
  • 1925 - Actor and entrepreneur Paul Newman is born
  • 1948 - Executive Order ending racial segregation in the U. S.  Armed Forces is signed
  • 1992 - The Americans with Disabilities Act goes into effect

 So there you go, some cool stuff indeed. 

Happy Birthday, Dad and enjoy your special day cosmically somehow, some way!


The Google doodle told me... today was also the birthday of Bessie Coleman, first African-American/Native American female pilot.  I'm sure Dad, who once had a private pilot's liscence, would approve!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Harmony, Healing, Hope

Here's something I wrote and have set against a starry background.

Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Went to a local restaurant for breakfast today. As I checked out, I noticed a wall hanging behind the counter. I noted how lovely it was and asked the owners about it.  They said it someone made it for them and it was for good luck and protection.

So I just knew I had to do something similar graphically, even with my limited skills.


My original design - "Talisman"

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Some Abstract Art Just for Fun!

Last time I posted some fractal art I did.  Well, I was again in a playful mood and did some graphics with Paint.



"Watercolor in Pink and Gray"         


Saturday, July 02, 2016

My Fractal Art

Guess I just felt the need to do something creative but different.  I do try doing some graphics with paint but I'm always upfront I'm not an artist.  However sometimes more abstract stuff can work and haven't we heard of fractal art?

So I thought I'd see what could do in that regard.  I attempted to use several online generators but couldn't figure them out.  Finally did find one I could actually use..  Results are below.  Hope you enjoy!

'Silver Streaming'

"Bluezy Daydream'

'Glow of Symmetry'


'Cyan Chaining'

Monday, June 13, 2016

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Unbelievable.  The year is really scurrying along and it's Mom's Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!  Hope you somehow sense this on the other side.

While watching a PBS show it came to light something really neat happened on her birthday way back when.  I'd also seen that something historical happened on her birthday a bit more recently that still has resonance today.  So I thought it might be nice to do something different on this occasion and list a few events which happened at various times on her special day.  So here goes:

  • 1777 - the Marquis de Lafayette arrives in the new "United States"
  • 1805 - Lewis (of Lewis and Clark fame) and a few companions of the company arrive at the Great Falls of the Missouri River (a series of waterfalls in North-Central Montana);  this was extremely significant, since not finding this would have put the success of the expedition in jeopardy
  • 1866 - the 14th Amendment to U. S. Constitution passes Congress - a step towards equal rights
  • 1910 - Charles Hamilton makes first one-day round trip NY to/from Phila. by air
  • 1966 - The Supreme Court hands down the Miranda decision (you know, Miranda rights)
  • 1967 - Thurgood Marshall nominated to SCOTUS
  • 1971 - The New York Times published first installment of the Pentagon Papers 
Now those are some pretty cool events.  Well, Mom's a cool lady.

So have a really cool birthday, Mom!

Saturday, April 09, 2016

What Can Poetry Do?

As I write this, I'm realizing there are actually two threads in my thinking.

The first thread started the other day when I had a thought as I tried to do some writing; the phrase 'poetic justice" was in my mind. I thought 'can poetry really help to achieve justice?' Can art really have that much power (discuss, please!)?

The second thread is semi-ongnoing. Don't we all - or maybe with some of the news going around now - shouldn't we all aspire to do something to help better the world or help others or serve our professions/avocations ---something like that?  You often hear folks talk about "giving back."  For example, Ballerina Misty Copland, first African American Principal Dancer with the American  Ballet Theater, does programs to get youth involved in dance. Other examples are certainly around us.  I frequently watch "Mysteries at the Museum", and my favorie stories are usually the ones where the central subject of the story wants to help folks somehow, like Garett Morgan, who created a breathing safety hood for firefighters and put his own life on the line to prove its efficacy.

So, since I write poetry, I wonder sometimes about serving this great art form.  I don't think I'm the one to lead a workshop (we have some fine local poets who do that) although I feel that is great service. Well, I DID help publicize a colleague's "Poetry Day" at college one year.  Can that count?

Now do you all believe in serendipity?  Not many minutes before starting to write this came the spark for this post. I was doing a totally unrelated search and found - what - this quote from JFK which related directly to the first thread.  Could hardly believe it:
"When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses."

WOW,  just WOW.  It's worth remembering that JKF was the first U. S. president to have a poet do a poem in his inaugural program.  That poet was of course, Ropbert Frost; the poem was  "The Gift Outright."    In his thank you note to Frost, JFK wrote:  “It’s poetry and power all the way!”

Of course, JFK wasn't the only poet to appreciate poetry.  In a post on my other blog, I mentioned how John Adams did.  And of course, Clinton had our wonderful Maya Angelou do a poem for his first inaguration.  Other poets have read/recited at Clinton's second inagural and Obama's two inaugurals.  From what I've read, even though Robert Frost is also great, my nod goes to Ms. Angelou's poem.

But I digress. Again, what can poetry do?  Can poetry really have power?  Poet (and law student) Reginald Dwayne Betts thinks so.  He was recently on the Tavis Smiley program. In this interview he said he wanted to be a poet for the power where his poetry was.  He also said he had seen some people's lives changed by poetry.  Now THAT'S power.

And the great English poet, William Wordsworth, has been in my poetic thoughts, too.  In his Preface to Lyrical Ballads,  he wrote:  "In spite of difference of soil and climate, of language and manners, of laws and customs—in spite of things silently gone out of mind, and things violently destroyed, the Poet binds together by passion and knowledge the vast empire of human society, as it is spread over the whole earth, and over all time."  Pretty powerful stuff!

So what can poetry do?  It seems to me it has power to reach us with its expressions of all manners of the human condition.  And THAT can empower us in many ways, individually and collectively.

Now as far as what I can do for poetry? Hmmmmm.  I'm working on that one.  How about this: two variations of writing forms that could be exercises.

First, a cinquain. Here is a reference for the standard form and an alternate form.
I recently wrote a cinqain, but it ended up being my own take on the alternate form shown in the link.  My last line is 5 words that amplify or extend thoughts about the subject. (And my line 4 is a bit different from that 'alternative' set-up).  I don't know about anyone else, but I find writing exercises or prompts or whatnot seem to work best for me if I a) find them "a fun thing to try" and b) not let it hamstring my final work. Sometimes just doing a exercise to do some writing practice can spark something productive later.

Second, how about a variation on the Pilish poem?  This form is tailor made for mathies. The number of  letters in each word of the poem in order should match the corresponding digits in the famous irrational number, "pi".  My variation would be: Each LINE in order should have the same number of WORDS as the corresponding digit in "pi."  Disclosure: I haven't tried this yet.

OK, does that count as service?  And also in the spirit of service, some time ago I posted some writing prompts for poets and other authors.  Check them out!

Finally, it now occurs to me (days after originally posting this), that taking another  cue from JFK can pull the two threads of this post together: "Ask what Poetry can do for You AND ask what You can do for Poetry."

And it would be so appreciated if you use any of these exercises or prompts to just post a comment and let me know you found them of value. THANKS!