Friday, November 23, 2012

Who Knew?

For all you Whovians out there, today is a very special day for you:
I'm not sure how one is supposed to celebrate this; perhaps by eating fish sticks and custard, whilst wearing stripy scarves? Having a Dr. Who watching marathon? Purchasing a sonic screwdriver of one's very own? Anyway, happy Dr. Who Day!

(This post is dedicated to all of you - you know who you are - that insisted that I would love Dr. Who, and promptly showed me every single weak episode in season one!)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

This is going to be a very short post, as I am still behind in Nano, in spite of my furious efforts not to be, and I am feeling guilty taking time out of writing to do a post. I present a poem, by Sgt. Joyce Kilmer:


(For John Bunker)

The roar of the world is in my ears.
Thank God for the roar of the world!
Thank God for the mighty tide of fears
Against me always hurled!

Thank God for the bitter & ceaseless strife,
And the sting of His chastening rod!
Thank God for the stress & the pain of life,
And Oh, thank God for God!

Joyce Kilmer is my favourite American poet. He was quite a character, but a good man through and through. He fought with the Fighting 69th in the first World War, and he wrote some fantastic poetry during his time in France, though you will seldom find him listed amongst the poets who came out of that conflict - which is really a shame. I love the courage in poem, and I want to be like that too.

PS. For all of you who have been so nice about commenting, and to whom I have been so remiss in responding, thanks muchly. I appreciate the comments, and I will be better about it once November is well away.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Today would have been the 80th birthday of Richard Dawson. Apparently, he is best known for hosting the original Family Feud show. However, I know him as Corporal Peter Newkirk, who just might very well be my favourite character from Hogan's Heroes. I have no idea what Newkirk did for a living before joining the RAF and landing himself in a prison camp, but I suspect it was rather shady, whatever it was. Newkirk is the go-to guy for safe-cracking, pick-pocketing, conning and forging. He does card tricks, and when the situation demands it, the occasional imitation

Hogan's Heroes is one of my very favourite TV shows. Yes, it is very corny, it has canned laughter, it is wildly implausible. For all that, it had a great cast of characters, all very distinct, who played well off each other. It is genuinely funny, and the comedic timing is brilliant. There is a surprising amount of genuine history in it, and while the main conceit of the show - that POWs were actively working against the Germans - is played for laughs, there is a real-life basis for it. (The Great Escape, anyone?)And it occasionally sobers up enough to remind us that there is a war going on, and that there really are very high stakes invovled here. Furthermore, though it ran for six seasons, and there are a few weak episodes here and there, it is one of the few TV shows that never jumped the shark. It is, in my humble opinion, unjustly underrated.

For your entertainment I present the following clip, in which the boys trick the prison commandant into thinking that the Germans are losing the war: (That's Newkirk there, the fellow pretending to be Hitler.)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

On This Day We Celebrate:

The Marine Corps Birthday

The United States Marine Corps is 237 years old today. Marines are very big on Tradition and Decorum (at least at official functions) and so this day is quite often celebrated with a fancy dinner and dress ball. OO-rah! Semper Fi, Devil Dogs!

Padraig Pearse's Birthday

He was an Irish patriot, and also a teacher and a poet, who wrote rather lovely poems in Irish Gaelic. Here is a translation of one:

The Wayfarer

The beauty of the world hath made me sad,
This beauty that will pass;
Sometimes my heart hath shaken with great joy
To see a leaping squirrel in a tree,
Or a red lady-bird upon a stalk,
Or little rabbits in a field at evening,
Lit by a slanting sun,
Or some green hill where shadows drifted by
Some quiet hill where mountainy man hath sown
And soon would reap; near to the gate of Heaven;
Or children with bare feet upon the sands
Of some ebbed sea, or playing on the streets
Of little towns in Connacht,
Things young and happy.
And then my heart hath told me:
These will pass,
Will pass and change, will die and be no more,
Things bright and green, things young and happy;
And I have gone upon my way

And I just noticed that this post makes my 100th post!

And since today was a beautiful cold day, with several inches of snow on the ground, a changeable sky that would be grey and foreboding one moment, and bright blue the next, and the last golden leaves of autumn still clinging to the bushes and the trees, I decided to take a picture of what I can see in the bit of yard outside my hobbit-hole of a house. Happy sigh.... I just love this time of year!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Autumn Is Changeable

My Dear Followers,

I know that you are not robots. I had no idea that Blogger thought it likely that great numbers of robots would be interested in a blog like mine, nor that it had taken it upon itself to sniff out these nefarious beings, and stop them at the door. I have had a stern talk with Blogger about it, and one should now be able to comment without having to prove one's humanity.

To my unspeakable delight I woke up to a world that looked like this today:

I am one of those odd people who absolutely glories in stormy weather. While most people are doing their best not to complain, I go about beaming from ear to ear, tromping about in the rain - I seldom go for walks in warm weather - and generally acting as though I have won the lotto.

The rain stopped for a bit in the afternoon, when a fierce, cold wind began to blow. The sun occasional peeked out from the clouds, and the air was full of dancing, golden leaves. It looked very Tolkien-ish:

If one cannot have storms, then a dramatic setting works nearly as well for keeping one cheery. The fierce, cold wind eventually drove away the sun, and by the time I was ready to come home from work, the world looked like this instead - but with more pine trees:

If there is anything I enjoy more than a good rain storm, it is a good snow, so my cup of joy was nigh to overflowing. It is supposed to keep on like this for the next couple days, which makes me feel very pleased with life at present, even if I am behind on my would count for Nanowrimo. I topped 10,000 words on it, in a fit of inspired determination, but it still lags. (So if the old blog starts looking rather unattended, it will be because I am attempting higher forms of literary abandon.)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

All Hail November

Eeeeek!!!! I am missing it! We are smack dab in the middle of Sherlock Holmes Weekend! Who knew, eh? According to Brownielock's handy site, Sherlock Holmes Weekend this year, runs from November 2nd to November 4th. I find this very exciting. I must take time out of my busy life life and read a Sherlock Holmes mystery. Or watch Basil Rathbone portray the famous detective. Or maybe even watch the second season of Sherlock. Oh, the possibilities!

November is also National Novel Writing Month, and I am writing a novel. Well, I am sort of writing a novel. I started bravely, and for one day, all was good. Then I had a devastating attack of writers' block, and ended up tossing out all of the work from the first day, and starting over from scratch. So now I am behind and having to write madly to get myself back on track for finishing by the end of November. At present, by handy word counter is informing me that I shall not finish until January. This is alarming. I need to get a move on.

However, before I go, Bella tagged me a post or two ago, and I have not had a chance to respond to her properly. Since I do not know when I am going to be able to write a decent post again, I am going to take care of the tag right now. Here we go:

Eleven Random Facts:

1.) According to the Urban Dictionary, the word twee has three meanings:
       1.) Something sweet, almost to the point of being sickeningly so.
      2.) To be obnoxiously sweet or quaint.
     3.) The sound a sparrow makes the moment it dies.
The first two definitions are obviously connected, but I have no idea where the last one came from. I now want desperately to write a sparrow's death scene into a story, so that I have a chance of using that word.
2.) I am wildly fond of Mumford and Sons' new CD.
3.) I am also wildly fond of piobaireachd.
4.) I can pronounce the word piobaireachd.
5.) I can sing the Cinderelly song the mice sing in Disney's Cinderella... and sound just like the mice do.
6.) Water does not boil at 212 degrees Fahrenheit if you live it 6000 feet. It boils at 201 degrees. So there.
7.) The United States Marine Corps has its own official tartan and pipe band.
8.) There was a piper at the battle of the Alamo.
9.) In the first draft of the Fellowship of the Ring, Strider was not a Ranger. He was a hobbit named Trotters.
10.) There is no good response when a homeless man informs you that he is going down to the lake to get a free manicure.
11.) I really must get back to my novel.

And Now For Bella's Questions:

1.) Do you like musicals?
I like Gilbert and Sullivan.

2.)What is your favourite musical?
The Pirates of Penzance.

3.) If you could step into a book for a single day, which one would it be?
It is a toss up. The Lord of the Rings is the one that comes to mind first. However, I would dearly love to be on the run with Alan Breck Stewart, so Kidnapped is giving that a run for its money.

4.)Do you know what a "Silver Tongue" is?
Here's one:

5.) How does this quote end? "There is evil there...."

6.)Do you like having your picture taken?
No. Nor do I like taking pictures.

7.) Do you like cold or warm weather better.
 Cold weather. Bring on the cardigans and kilted skirts!

8.)What is your favourite colour?

9.) Do you know how a war can be passed down for generations but only last 7 days?
 Um... does this have anything to do with the Campbells and the MacDonalds?

10.)Who are three of your favourite authors?
G. K. Chesterton, Patricia McKillip, Robert Louis Stevenson, but not in that order.

11.) Do you know what a jean jumper is?
I do my best not to.