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Showing posts from March, 2018

Wannaskan (Coloring) Almanac for Saturday, March 31st

Welcome to the Wannaskan Almanac for Saturday, March 31st!

Lately I've seen an uptick in the number of crunched papers stuffed at the bottom of my Kindergartner's backpack. I unfold, smooth out all kinds of artistic endeavors. Shapes cut and glued to form a book. "Journal" pages with a daily illustration accompanied by a single sentence. A portrait of a 100-year-old lady with makeup removal pads for hair.

Which begs the question:

How do you know if your kid is going to be an artist?

By coloring, of course.

Coloring is the first opportunity a kid has to test drive art. What parent hasn't watched their child color and wondered if, and where, he or she would fall on the artistic scale?

I have observed each one of my five kids ever since they could hold a crayon and scribble. (Especially because I'm a lefty. Having a left-handed child means welcoming them into a very special club.)

As a self-professed artsy type, I would love if my kids harbored hankerings for art…

Friday March 30

Welcome to the Wannaskan Almanac for Friday.

    It's the birthday of Robert Bunsen in 1811 in Gottigen Germany. Bunsen designed the famous burner, which his assistant, Peter Desaga actually built.  Bunsen gave Desaga credit and never patented his design, saying the intellectual rewards were more than enough.
   The Bunsen burner burns with a clean flame which Bunsen needed to analyze substances. Now, the burners are used for heating and sterilizing in labs all over the world.
  Bunsen was especially interested in studying arsenic, which led to huge improvements in iron production. He came up with an antidote to are arsenic poisoning which came in handy the day he poisoned himself during an explosion in his lab.
   His true love was geology. He traveled to Iceland and figured out how geysers worked by lowering scienctific equipment down the blowhole as he stood by. He also loved mountain climbing, but in his later years, he would walk to the base of a mountain and send his friend…

Wannaskan Almanac for Thor's Day, March 29, 2018

Eli Whitney was the inventor of the cotton gin and a pioneer in the mass production of cotton. Whitney was born in Westboro, Massachusetts on December 8, 1765 and died on January 8, 1825. He graduated from Yale College in 1792. By April 1793, Whitney had designed and constructed the cotton gin, a machine that automated the separation of cottonseed from the short-staple cotton fiber. Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin revolutionized the cotton industry in the United States.
   In 1798, Eli Whitney invented a way to manufacture muskets by machine so that the parts were interchangeable. Ironically, it was as a manufacturer of muskets that Whitney finally became rich.

Paul Marie Eugène Vieille (2 September 1854 – 14 January 1934), a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique, was a French chemist and the inventor of modern nitrocellulose-based smokeless gunpowder in 1884. The new smokeless powder was three times as powerful as black powder for the same weight and left virtually no residu…

Word-Wednesday, March 28, 2018

And here is the Wannaskan Almanac for Word-Wednesday, March 28, 2018, brought to you by Lawson, Lawton, Lawman, and La-La, P.D.G., Serious Law; Lyrical Filings, new offices opening soon in suburban Williams.

March 28 is the 87th day of the year with are 278 days remaining until the end of the year and 363 days remaining until the Chairman's next birthday.

Earth/Moon Almanac for March 28
Sunrise: 7:10am; Sunset: 7:48pm
Moonrise: 4:31pm; Moonset: 6:04am

Temperature Almanac  for March 28
           Average    Record
High       39             74   
Low       20            -28   

National Black Forest Cake Day
National Weed Appreciation Day
National Little Red Wagon Day
National Something on a Stick Day

Notable historic events, literary or otherwise, include:
Astrid Lindgren sprains her ankle and begins writing Pippi Longstocking, 1944
Giorgos Seferis, Greek poet and Nobel Prize laureate, makes a famous statement on the BBC World Service opposing the junta in Greece, 1969
Pope Francis…

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Welcome to the Wannaskan Almanac. I hope to make this a unique and enjoyable experience. Do you know what a felsenmeer is? If not, be patient. All will be revealed! First off let's look at what makes March 27 so special. Today is American Diabetes Association Alert Day. Find out more about this important day here. It is also Education and Sharing Day. I think that is a little ironic because kids are probably on their way back from spring break about now and are sharing their lack of excitement in being back in school. It is also National Joe Day. I wonder if Chairman Joe knew about that! It is also Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day. This begs the there anything about country music that is not quirky? Oh oh...I have offended country music fans everywhere!
On to this day in history. In 1964 the second largest earthquake ever recorded occurred. The Great Alaska Earthquake measured 9.2 on the Richter scale and cause a devastating tsunami.
In 1914 the fi…

26 March 2018 - Bob

“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”
                                                       Agnes Sligh Turnbull

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.”
                                                      John Grogan

This week’s post offers a poem for all those who have lived with, loved, and lost a dog. You know who you are because once you have loved a dog there is no turning back. Unfeeling types may be so crass as to say, “Get over it. It was just a dog.” Such persons who use the pronoun, “it,” betray their shallow and uncompassionate natures. (Note: I’m leaving cats and other types of pets out of this exposition simply because the length of our posts does not permit enough space to do justice to our other sentient friends.) In addition to the “it” people, there are a few who actually mistreat dogs. This is one of the lowest levels a human being can sink to. And don’t even get me s…

Sunday Squibs

I lock my faults behind what I thought was an iron door, which turns out to be a ratty old shower curtain.

"Write what you know." This advice results in a heap of novels about struggling writers.

Does a series of small accidents inoculate a person from a major crackup? Probably not, but thinking it does consoles the klutz.

The whine of the vacuum cleaner is white noise to those with OCD.

As a little yeast leavens the whole loaf, so a little tyrant can flatten a whole democracy.

Without others, we run out of fuel and there we sit. But the hermit, lucky devil, has a tiger in his tank.

Would you forfeit your job to take down an unfit leader? That's Congress's job, and its basic dilemma.

Jesus said not to call our brother a fool. Use parables instead: "There was once a king..."

Like flies hanging in the Web, we shake. A tasty meal for the host we'll make.

Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four, and since it's a dance, the Tu-Two.

I ignore one star reviews.…

Wannaskan Almanac for Saturday, March 24th

Good day and a very warm, Wannaskan Almanac Happy Birthday to my W.A. fellow writer, Chairman Joe, who shares a March 26th birthday along with my son, The Middle Child (yes, the car-loving one.) May you, and all March 26'ers, enjoy a year of good health filled with belly laughs, books that make you think (and maybe even cry) and a curiosity that pulls your eyes to new horizons.

Today is March 24th, but Joe is off and abroad on his own adventures. He gave me his blessing for early birthday wishes and shared these little birthday bits before he left: Also born on March 26 are Robert Frost, Tennessee Williams, and Leonard Nimoy. Leonard was born in Boston and, like Joe, attended Boston College. Nimoy left the planet in 2015 to explore strange new worlds.

Robert Frost is one of a handful of poets I remember learning about in high school English class. I ask you, who doesn't know The Road Not Taken? According to Paris Review, this is The Most Misread Poem in America.

Here it is for…

Friday, March 23

Welcome to the Wannaskan Almanac for Friday, March 23.

     It's the birthday in 1430 of Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI of England. Margaret was born into French royalty and was married off at age 15 to the mentally unstable Henry who was eight years older than her. This took place during a truce in the Hundred Years war between France and England. All the way back since 1066, England had either been a colony of France or ruler over large parts of France depending on the fortunes of war.
     Henry's father Henry V was a great warrior and had extended England's power in France to it's greatest extent. The son, however, was more interested in religion and study. He built churches and founded colleges. Margaret on the other hand loved politics. Historians think Henry was unable to father children due to his insanity, but he and Margaret did have one child, possibly not Henry's.
     Margaret fought to maintain the English crown for her son. This fight…

Wannaskan Almanac for Thor’s Day, March 22, 2018

I attended the annual St. Patrick’s Day Party in Palmville this past March 17. I’ve attended many in the last eighteen years or so, I’m guessing, as have many of the other forty or so guests who are typically invited. As it is, we’ve grown old together and rehash this fact once a year as we meet and greet one another again in the warmth of a modest, but stylish artsy home along the south fork of the Roseau River.
    Under several large framed watercolor paintings, and the Irish greeting of “SLÁINTE!” meaning “To your health!” in large hand-cut green letters over a hallway door, and amid the lovely mixed fragrances of Irish stew, Swedish meatballs, baked chicken wings, and a lot of other foods I cannot name, we guests visit at length, standing, sitting or leaning, our varied beverages at ready, smiling and laughing about a variety of lifetime activities and experiences as Irish music plays away in the background and the hosts hurry about, making sure everyone is reasonably content…

Word-Wednesday, March 21, 2018

And here is the Wannaskan Almanac for Word-Wednesday, March 21, 2018, brought to you by Roseau Parents Forever and the following keen observations:

Marriage is a great institution – but I'm not ready for an institution.  Mae West

All family life is organized around the most troubled person in it.  Sigmund Freud

You enter into a certain amount of madness when you marry a person with pets.  Nora Ephron

All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.  Leo Tolstoy

Some things are best mended by a break.     Edith Wharton

God created man, and finding him not sufficiently alone, gave him a companion to make him feel his solitude more keenly.  Paul Valery

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.  James Baldwin

Marriage is not a simple love affair, it's an ordeal, and the ordeal is the sacrifice of ego to a relationship in which two have become one.  Joseph Campbell

March 2…

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hey it is March 20th, which means it is officially the first day of spring. If it is still winter where you are then I would encourage you to complain to your local weather service. They really like that. If you aren't fully satisfied with complaining then take it up a notch and file a frivolous lawsuit. That should teach your local officials.

Now for a quick look at what has happened on March 20th historically.

1760 - The great fire of Boston destroyed 349 buildings. The cause of the fire is unknown to this day, but it left over 1000 people homeless.

1792 - In Paris, the Legislative Assembly approved the use of the guillotine. (I think the guillotine lobby had paid off a bunch of the legislators)

1833 - The U.S. and Siam signed a commercial treaty. (I assume that this was to allow Superbowl commercials in Siam)

1868 - Jesse James Gang robbed a bank in Russelville, Kentucky, of $14,000.

1886 - The first AC power plant in the U.S. began commercial operation. After get…

19 March 2018 Settling into Silence

Death is a subject we ignore for the most part. It’s true, isn’t it? Other than illness, few other topics get the cold shoulder (pardon the black humor) that death does. We just hate it, and with legitimate reason. Death means the end of us. When push comes to shove, those who are comforted by beliefs in an afterlife can’t prove it, yet don’t want to give up the consolation. Reasonable, isn’t it? Maybe even necessary. 
This week’s post, in parallel with a post on 22 January 2018 which took on the subject of life (“To Be or Not To Be”), takes on the other big one: Death. Be forewarned: A few poems in future 2018 posts will continue to explore this endgame topic. And why shouldn’t we be courageous enough to take a look at the certain inevitable final act that comes to each and every one of us? Well, one answer is that it’s just too dang scary. Buck up muffin! What we don’t know about can kill us. (Ouch! Another bit of sly humor.)

Settling into Silence

Louder than all sounds before

Sunday Squibs

Squibs sift the cosmic chaff for bits of brain bran.

The mystics can break the rules because they have seen God. We others must be careful not to end up seeing eternity through a noose.

"Don't be evil?" That's really hard. How about we start with the slightly easier, "Don't be a jerk."

The crammed shelves,...the piles of books,...evidence of my vain search for wisdom.

Each pole should fly two flags: one for the NRA, and the other half way up for its victims.

To accept guidance to the light, we must first admit we're in the dark. But beware the guides!

Our devices are like the old Model-T Ford. Everyone wanted one, everyone needed one, but they broke down often, and the roads were unspeakable.

Our storehouse of knowledge is always looking to expand. Unless we cut off funding.

The mystic is happy to sit quietly. Boring! We seek bedazzlement. And if it's fact-based bedazzlement, so much the better.

Sunrise, the silent housekeeper, sweeps away da…

A Wannaskan Almanac Happy St. Paddy's Day

Top of the morning to you!

Really, there's no way getting around the fact that today is March 17th and St. Patrick's Day. So, in good W.A. fashion, today's post will stitch together bits o' Ireland with a local favorite pastime: quilting.

But first, let's address this St. Patrick part of the day. If you're Irish, it's all green this, green that. It's a day to celebrate Irish heritage and if you're not Irish, to wear a t-shirt that says, "I'm with him" with an arrow pointing to your buddy. Or, according to Google Translate, "Tá mé leis." (Note: Always keep your pal on the right side of that arrow. Don't want to end up with a non-Irish lad, now do ye?)

Pubs serve green beer and it's the only day of the year when the line to the men's restroom is longer than the women's. If you live in Chicago, you get a green river. If you're having a promenade along the south lawn of the White House, enjoy the green founta…