ON THIS DAY: March 24, 2017

March 24th is

International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for Dignity of Victims

Chocolate Covered Raisins Day

Red Nose Day *

World Tuberculosis Day *


MORE! Matilda Joslyn Gage, Isabel Perón and Halle Berry, click

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Word Cloud: CONTRARY


‘Light Verse’ – one of those labels like ‘children’s book’ that makes a many people assume a writer’s work is not quite good enough to be called poetry or literature. But labels, like the covers of books, are far from the best way to make judgments about an author’s ability.  

The poetry of Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978) is called ‘light verse’ because much of it is humorous, and it rhymes. She uses a foil instead of a saber, but that doesn’t make her poetic observations any less dead-on.

Since we’ve just been through the ‘Spring Forward’ change to Daylight Savings Time in the Northern Hemisphere, this poem seems timely. When McGinley wrote it, the time change was still in April, but not much else different.

Daylight Savings Time

In spring when maple buds are red,
We turn the clock an hour ahead;
Which means, each April that arrives,
We lose an hour out of our lives.

Who cares? When autumn birds in flocks
Fly southward, back we turn the clocks,
And so regain a lovely thing
That missing hour we lost in spring.


These poems go a little deeper. There’s more than a little resemblance to my dad, and maybe yours too. My mom? Well, she didn’t understand me, but she loved me anyway.

First Lesson

The first thing to remember about fathers is, they’re men.
A girl has to keep it in mind.
They are dragon-seekers, bent on impossible rescues.
Scratch any father, you find
Someone chock-full of qualms and romantic terrors,
Believing change is a threat –
Like your first shoes with heel on, like your first bicycle
It took months to get.
Walk in strange woods, they warn you about the snakes there.
Climb and they fear you’ll fall.
Books, angular looks, swimming in deep water –
Fathers mistrust them all.
Men are the worriers. It is difficult for them
To learn what they must learn:
How you have a journey to take and very likely,
For a while, will not return.

The Adversary

A mother’s hardest to forgive.
Life is the fruit she longs to hand you,
Ripe on a plate. And while you live,
Relentlessly she understands you.


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Our long National Shake-down continues … Whatabout The Don?

By ann summers


“Whataboutism,” with its sly equivalences, false parallels, and misleading analogies, can exhaust and frustrate those who confront it. Putin is an especially skillful practitioner. Now something new is happening. The American president is taking Putin’s “what about you” tactic and turning it into “what about us?” He is taking the very appealing and very American impulse toward self-criticism and perverting it.

It’s not a smoking gun, it’s a smoldering armory.


Shakedowns are always tests, whether evaluating a prototype or making a moral decision about the limits of trust, reputation, and wealth.

The nation may have finally reached that moment when reason may prevail over a slippery slope of compounded lies rather than interest. The nation might even say no to being shook down, and not soon enough.

The unicorn of “Fake News” is the whatabout of media discourse, where a claim of “total bias” trumps(sic) the normalized alternate facts of a POTUS45* White House. Whatabouting the media has tried to become the blood sport it has become in Russia. Americans have even accommodated that as RT/Sputnik becomes FoxNews/Breitbart’s “daddy”.

Devaluing rhetoric does not erase its promissory value and Trump has squandered US political and social capital, apparently 140 characters at a time.


We are now at a moment, perhaps even at that “tipping point” where the crony capitalism normalized at national scales under colonialism and imperialism, has become assimilated into the world system and the governance of kleptocrats has finally come up against democratic rule.

Lord Dampnut has shown himself to be a second rate apprentice compared to Putin because of democratic processes and even a public sphere. Trump’s failure comes from his willing sacrifice of the republic for personal gain. Similarly, the GOP has succumbed to picking up the vigorish of his racketeering and extortion, even as his AHCA threats to the GOP caucus now resemble a gangster’s threat to break limbs.

If there can be a “democratic capitalism” that can rehabilitate a failed neoliberalism, it should appear soon in the form of plea bargaining. And there will be Trump team defections with subsequent revelations.

Trump’s bagmen are now being hemmed in and these people dressed as they are, have come to the legal marketplace of America … let’s make a deal.

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ON THIS DAY: March 23, 2017

March 23rd is

Chip and Dip Day

National Puppy Day *

National Chia Day

OK Day

World Meteorological Day *

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ON THIS DAY: March 22, 2017

March 22nd is

As Young As You Feel Day

Brain Injury Awareness Day

Goof-off Day

World Day for Water *

North American Wildlife Celebration

MORE! Anne Hutchinson, Greta Kempton and Barbra Streisand, click

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WORLD POETRY DAY: A Billy Collins Poem

It’s World Poetry Day again. Even if you think you don’t like poetry, I’m betting that you will like Billy Collins.

Here’s a poem he wrote about what he’d like people to get out of his poems, and what happens to the poems when critics and academics start analyzing them.

Introduction to Poetry

by Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem 
and hold it up to the light 
like a color slide 

or press an ear against its hive. 

I say drop a mouse into a poem 
and watch him probe his way out, 

or walk inside the poem’s room 
and feel the walls for a light switch. 

I want them to waterski 
across the surface of a poem 
waving at the author’s name on the shore. 

But all they want to do 
is tie the poem to a chair with rope 
and torture a confession out of it. 

They begin beating it with a hose 
to find out what it really means.


“Introduction to Poetry” from The Apple that Astonished Paris, © 1988, 1996 by Billy Collins – University of Arkansas Press

BILLY COLLINS (born March 22, 1941 – ) dubbed “the most popular poet in America” by Bruce Weber in the New York Times, a two-term U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-03), has published many poetry collections, including Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning and Nine Horses: Poems. It was Questions About Angels, published in 1991, that put him in the literary spotlight. 

Collins says his poetry is “suburban, it’s domestic, it’s middle class, and it’s sort of unashamedly that.”

His career: Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College and founding advisory board member for CUNY Institute for Irish-American studies; Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute in Florida; member at the State University of New York-Stonybrook Southampton; poetry consultant for Smithsonian Magazine; faculty writer-in-residence at Sarah Lawrence College; served as Literary Lion of the New York Public Library; US Poet Laureate, 2001-2003; New York State Poet Laureate from 2004-2006; has also taught at Columbia University; appears regularly on National Public Radio and was guest host for “The Writer’s Almanac,” June-August 2013.

The dead-pan delivery which he has mastered reminds me of Bob Newhart.  It’s easy to see why he’s been a popular guest on National Public Radio programs.

Happy Birthday tomorrow, Billy Collins!

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ON THIS DAY: March 21, 2017

March 21st is

International Day of Forests *

Common Courtesy Day

French Bread Day

National Memory Day

Single Parent Day *

Twitter Day *

World Poetry Day *

World Down Syndrome Day *

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination *

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