haiku, music, photography

See and Hear the Start of Spring

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As the year pivots from winter to spring, crocus plants bloom and little frogs croak.  We celebrate with a photo and a tanka.

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Wordless Oratorio
|Singing silent songs
|of long warm days returning,
|bee and bloom duet.
|In vernal pools near bare trees,
|spring peepers chant the chorus.
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growing old, haiku, photography

Early Spring Snow Shower

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Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Feelings of Spring

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Ground Already Warm
|Falling thru cold air,
|oblivious snow flakes will
|melt on the blacktop.

[2019-03-22]  Bummer.  I want to photograph the inspiration for my haiku, but my old hands cannot go more than a few seconds w/o thick gloves in cold weather.

Hmmm.  Tho unheated, my garage gets some warmth leaking from the furnace.  I put on a pair of thin gloves that can be worn while doing some things that previously required bare hands.  I open the garage door and look outside while standing just inside the garage.  Maybe I can work enough of the camera’s buttons while wearing the thin gloves.

The lens zooms too quickly for fine control.  I cannot move forward or backward to compensate for zooming too far out or in.  Oh well, I can crop the image later to compensate for zooming too far out.  Is there a serviceable view in some direction from where I can stand w/o getting too cold?  Hmmm.  I try five views and go with the last one.

While it does illustrate my haiku, my photo is admittedly not of standalone quality.  I can live with that.  Any partial workaround for growing old is a small triumph to savor.

 

politics

Yard Sign Defies Winter

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I bought a “Warren 2020” yard sign from PCCC with the intention of putting it out after snow season.  Then I went outside the box.

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I do not recall why I bought a spool of electric fence wire decades ago.  (Half a mile of the stuff is more than a lifetime supply for me.)  Like duct tape, the wire has many other uses.  For example, it makes rugged rustproof twist ties.

The sign’s stand is lashed to a fence corner (well away from any driveway) with several short lengths of electric fence wire.  The bottom of the sign is 4 feet above the ground, safe from plows as well as snow throwers.  The sign is easily read from cars going in both directions on my street.  While the sign won’t convince anybody that Elizabeth Warren should be the next POTUS, it has good graphics and might spark some interest.

The list of candidates for the Dems’ 2020 presidential nomination is long and growing.  The Dems may not nominate my first (or second or third or …) choice, but I will not sulk.  However flawed (s)he may be, the nominee will be a patriotic adult.  Unlike the incumbent.

haiku, photography

Beneath the Surface

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Texture

Stack of Textures
|Under the glassy smooth surface,
|roughness grabs the eye.

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While haiku usually have 3 lines, some haiku do have just 2 lines.  For example, Santoka Taneda (1882-1940) wrote a number of 2-line haiku.

After writing my first 2-line haiku, I reworked it to be a 3-line haiku that I preferred.  I posted both and found that a few readers preferred the original 2-line version.

The haiku in this post is my second 2-line haiku, reworked from one with 3 lines.  It is probably safe to say that it will stay at 2 lines, but don’t place a heavy bet.

haiku, humor, language

Innocence Lost & Mischief Found

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Tweaking a wistful response to an earlier challenge in a different series yields a response to

that defers to Canada’s retention of British spelling.  (One of the tweaks was to replace color by colour.)  Being deferential does not suit me, so I revert to US spelling in some new mischief at the end.

When colour computer displays came in, I was jolted to see that a yellowish green and an orangish red were now “primary” for RGB coordinates of coloured pixels.  I also had to use CMYK coordinates for coloured inks and pray to the graphics gods that printing software would translate from RGB to CMYK in a way that respected how something looked.  My prayers were seldom answered.  Eventually, I learned to put away childish things (like hard copy).

Before Colours Went RGB
|Red, yellow, and blue
|were “primary” when kids
|smeared paint on paper.

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I am all too aware of several ways that Canada is more sensible than the USA.  I used one of the less important ones to balance a little mischief about one small way the USA is more sensible:

Color in 6 Letters
|Some folks spell it with a U.
|On my honor, they sure do.
|Hour and sour I can buy;
|misspelled humor makes me cry.
|You stayed loyal to the Crown?
|Gotta press that U key down!
|I’m a proud Yank but confess
|that our anthem is a mess,
|sung as if we never heard:
|yeh-et really ain’t a word.

humor, language, philosophy, photography

Don’t Sweat the Meaning of Life

Your life and mine are not arbitrary symbols used by a third party to communicate with a fourth party.  Don’t let sweating “the meaning of life” interfere with living.
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While pondering “the meaning of food” is rare, pondering “the meaning of life” is common.  Deservedly?  Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

§1: Colors

Meanings are tricky.  Colors provide a simpler way to explore some of the relevant ideas.

§1.1: What Color is the Number Six?

The question heading this subsection is nonsense.  Many different kinds of thing have colors, but numbers don’t.  Making sense is harder than just having sensible-looking syntax.

One of the ways that philosophy made substantial progress in the past century was the realization that some “deep” questions could be as nonsensical as the one heading of this subsection.  Determining which ones are really deep will take a while.  Nonsensical questions may sometimes be failed attempts to pose serious questions that would be more tractable with better wording, so some nonsense may deserve more sympathy than the heading of this subsection.

§1.2: What Color is the US Flag?

Flags do have colors, but the question heading this subsection is still nonsense.  The US flag is red, white, and blue.  While mostly red, the Chinese flag also has some yellow.  How many nations have flags of just one color?

Nobody is silly enough to speak of “the” color of a nation’s flag, but people often do fall into the trap of speaking of “the” thingamajig when there are in fact several relevant thingamajigs.  I posted 4 varied examples (and there are many more).

It does make sense to say that white is the color of the stars in the US flag, that green is the color of the fake foliage in my Xmas wreath, and so on.  But look at the ribbon on my wreath:

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The color I see at any place on the ribbon is intricately context-dependent.  Where is the light coming from?  Where am I standing?  While the solid red ribbons on other wreaths are easier to describe, my iridescent ribbon is prettier to see.

§2: Words

Mole

© tunedin123 | 123RF Stock Photo
(Image has been cropped.)

The word mole has utterly different meanings in chemistry, dermatology, and espionage.  Even if we suppose it makes sense to attribute a meaning to life, pondering “the” meaning of life may still be like pondering “the” color of the US flag, “the” color of an iridescent ribbon, or “the” meaning of mole.

Like mathematical notations (and many hand gestures), words are arbitrary symbols with enough consensus about what they mean to support use in communication.  Who uses life to say what to whom?

I posted 4 imagined responses by an old Yankee to a novice philosopher’s bloviations; one of the responses is

Wehrds need meanings; life don’t.

§3: How to Live

Your life and mine are not arbitrary symbols used by a third party to communicate with a fourth party.  Maybe some concerns about “the meaning of life” are poorly worded concerns about how to live.  Preferring the workable to the grandiose, I go with a simple short list:

  • Try to have some fun.
  • Try to do more good than harm.
  • Don’t sweat “the meaning” of it all.
fiction, humor

Weird Works Wanted in 2019

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If the following excerpt from a call for submissions sounds interesting, please read the whole thing and consider submitting a story or some poetry.  (Previously published work is OK if the author retained the rights.)  This post ends with a few visual hints about ways to be weirdly funny.

The Writers’ Co-op invites submissions of short stories (and poems) for the second edition of our yearly anthology, The Rabbit HoleVolume one was released in November last year, volume two is scheduled for September 2019.

This year, we are looking for weird stories dealing with the following themes: entertainment, weather or science.  (If you want to combine all three, we’re very open to stories about a group of scientists on their way to the theatre when they’re caught in a freak snowstorm.)  However, there will also be a section Weird At Large for stories that don’t fit the specific themes suggested.

• • •

The deadline is 31st March 2019.  Submissions should be sent in an attached file to curtis.bausse(at)outlook.com with the subject ‘Co-op submission’.  They may have been previously published on personal websites (or elsewhere) but authors must have full rights to them when submitting.  Authors will retain said rights after the story or poem is published in the Writers’ Co-op anthology.

The call for submissions describes the many kinds of weirdness suitable for the anthology.  While definitely not required, humor is encouraged.  For visual hints about ways to be weirdly funny (and sometimes thought-provoking), those whose memories of works like the classic Far Side cartoons by Gary Larson have faded can look at some of the Bizarro cartoons by Dan Piraro.  The following images are also links to the pages where they appear and are discussed:

Bizarro_girm-reaper-gondolier

Bizarro_road-sign -tropies