Friday, August 30, 2013

Inner Art

I passed this car the other day and decided I just had to take a picture. I think that it belongs to a company the does art therapy sessions at the local hospital. Their name is a little redundant, though, because in a sense, isn't all art "inner." That is, ideas and the way we express these ideas spring, from a well deep within us.

Inner Art

OK, I know that some artists pander to the tastes of their purchasers and create works that people will buy. Monet, I believe was one of these. I can't say that of Van Gogh, because apparently he never sold a painting in his lifetime - very sad. Still the choice of subject, the techniques used and the particular style of a piece comes from somewhere within the artist.

Literature, as an art form, is the same. Words, subject matter, shape and genre are all selected by the author. I often read a poem or look at a painting and think of the artist as expressing his inner self. Some are really tortured souls, others are detached, often not actually a part of this world and still others are so involved in life, that their work is almost overwhelming.

When I arrived at the office the other day, I was caught in a heavy downpour. I decided to wait in my car until the worst of it had passed. Fortunately I had my camera with me and I amused myself by taking pictures. The rain on the window created "watery pictures" reminiscent of the French impressionist painters. Unfortunately the scenery was anything but romantic. Here's my parking spot sign through rain.

Watery Sign
It might have been more aesthetic, if it had been a lovely street scene. Oh well - art from within a car! Not actually inner art, but you get the idea :)

Have a great day!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Yoplait and the cure?

The other day I posted about a couple who had created a day to celebrate on August 18 - Bad Poetry Day. They claim, that because they own the "branding" of this day that if anyone wants to use it, they have to notify them or pay them.

I find it very frustrating when companies decide to brand or copyright words and phrases for profit. It seems as though they are depriving us of a language birthright. We should be able to use all the words available to us in our Mother Tongue(s).

For example I knew of the Komen Foundation's branding of "For The Cure" in relation to any charity wishing to raise money for Cancer. Well now you can't use this phrase, because the Komans own it. You cannot legally have an event that is named "Quilt for the Cure" for example or the Komen lawyers will bully up on you and make you stop. Read about  the problems "Mush for the Cure" had in this article from the Huffingtonpost.

Don't stir the Yogurt :)

The Komens are linked with the brand, Yoplait - hence the title of the post.

There are other more well known examples such as using the term "Super Bowl" to promote any parties that you or your locals may be hosting on that revered day - bottom line is, you can't use the term. There is also a lot of branding of genes isolated from our DNA that are used for medical research - or not - unless you are willing to pay huge sums to the original companies which isolated the genes. Here is a very interesting, but lengthy post on 5 items that you won't believe are legally branded.

I can certainly understand copyrighting a trademark, that you have and want to protect or a corporate slogan.  However, "We make the best widgets" should not mean that no one else can use the phrase "We make the best.." Someone else should be able to own "We make the best Kazoos," for example.

The picture - store brand yogurt - the best I could do in the word and yogurt wars.

Have a great day. (I hope no one owns that!!)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Day of Bad Poetry

I decided to phrase the title of the post this way, rather than referring to the actual name of the day that was August 18 - Bad Poetry Day. You see someone actually created the day and copyrighted their idea, so that, if you want to make reference to this day, you have to contact them and if you have monetized your blog, pay them. Here's the site.

My preference is always to read good poetry, however, I know that I write really bad poetry :) So I guess I missed my day to "shine."

One of my lessons, when I was teaching poetry, was to take a recognized poem and emulate it. That is, use its structure, but substitute your own words. For example:

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

Car Keys

Then you do something like this:

Who Has Seen My Keys

Who has seen my keys
Neither daughter nor son
But when it's time to go to work,
The keys are never found

Who has seen my keys
Neither son nor daughter
But when I check my coat again
They are where they oughter.

Please post your own emulations !!

Have a great poetry day!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Aga Angst!!

I have always wanted an AGA range!!  This is ridiculous; I know. But ever since I saw a picture of one in an old Gourmet magazine, I have coveted an AGA. There is something about the aesthetics of their design that goes beyond the functional. Then, there are the 2, 3, even 4 ovens. Really what would I put in them and all at once, as well!!

I know that I would cook too much and then eat too much. I would also have to take up baking, roasting and ultra slow cooking to make use of all their amazing features - sigh!! Some how just boiling an egg on an AGA would be a bit like using an elephant gun to kill a fly. Maybe not the best analogy, but you get the idea!!

However convincing these arguments may be, they haven't stopped the wanting, the lusting, the salivating. I guess that I'll just have to get my cast iron fix from my ancient frying pan. Well really, how many people actually need a cast iron fix to begin with and do you smoke it, snort it, not inject it, I hope - gives a whole new meaning to the term Iron Man.

Have a wonderful day!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Stick Shift

Someone posted to my FB wall a picture of a car with a gear shift, on the steering wheel. Times, like gears, have changed. I learned to drive on the proverbial "stick shift." Actually I am told that many people, who have trouble learning to drive with automatics, do better on a stick shift. The idea being, if all else fails, you just let go of everything and the car stalls!!

There is a lot to be said for progress, but there is also a lot to be said for knowing the basics.  I will never know the basics of the internet or computers, because, although I grew up with DOS and Edlin, I did not grow up with Binary and Fortran. My brother-in-law worked in computers in the early '60s and in fact culminated his career by assisting the Vatican in putting their library on-line. He grew up with the early computer languages and has problems with those who program in secondary languages without knowing the primary ones.


But I digress, I have posted a few blogs lately about diminishing values. The watering down of what was and the acceptance of what will be, if we don't fight against this erosion. I am not a great reactionary and I know that progress means giving up somethings in favour of others. However, we must be vigilant in determining, what we are losing, in exchange for seeming progress.

Enter the "stick shift." Certainly for some the automatic transmission is not only a convenience, but also, a solution, especially for those who have trouble coordinating foot, clutch, gear and brain to get from A to B. The problem, though, is that there is a great danger in accepting the "automatic shift" solution to everything that permeates our daily lives.

Some company makes it easy to do "something" and we say "Oh wow" this is great, without ever asking what have we lost. There is progress and then there is blind acceptance. By all means drive an automatic, just make sure that you know, who is in control!!

The picture? The microwave, when it was first introduced, seemed like an amazing convenience. Now some consider it a health hazard.

Have an easy day!!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Sheeny Man

Every once in a while an image or a sound creeps into my thoughts from a place far away. The other day, I heard a faint cry. I was outside; I couldn't see anyone and the sound was not repeated. Slowly, though, a scene unfolded in my mind, where the sound echoed again. It was the call of the sheeny man.

I can see him now with his horse and cart. Sometimes a small boy is with him. Dressed in black, they huddle together on the bench of the wagon. Periodically the man mouths, an audible but indiscernible cry.

They are collecting refuse. Junk no one else wants. It's a hard life. Few people threw things out then. This was a time of conservation, reusing what you had or keeping items for a time when they maybe needed. However spare the pickings, the sheeny man does have a few things in his cart - an old mattress and its springs, a worn tire, maybe a rusted pipe or two. These will be taken to the scrap yard and sold. A meagre existence, but an honest one.

Treasures for the Sheeny man

I wonder about his life. Does he have a wife? How many children does he have? Where did he come from and where is he going?

When I left my grandmother's house to live with my parents in a new subdivision, I never saw the sheeny man again. Somewhere along the way, horses where banned from the city and I had to believe that the sheeny man's life changed forever.

We have new sheeny men now. They drive up in trucks and pick up the odds and ends that we leave on the curb. The poorer ones use bicycles or push shopping carts and raid garbage bins for glass bottles and tin cans. It's a sad existence, but it is a kind of self-sufficiency, I suppose.

In my research, I ran across this blog about sheeny men in Detroit. The comments are priceless.

Have a memorable day.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ogden Nash

Some books I just couldn't throw out in my various purges. One of these was my "Pocket Book of Ogden Nash." I know that most, if not all, of his poems are on-line, but so many of these sites are just lists of titles. You then have to click on the title to open a second page to actually read the poem. Then you have go back to the original list of titles and click on another entry for another poem - you know - a whole lot of clicking going on. With a book, I can just flip through the pages and pick a poem or two very quickly, such as -

The Perfect Husband

He tells you when you've got on too much lipstick,
And helps you with your girdle when your hips stick.


Reflection On Ingenuity

Here's a good rule of thumb:
Too clever is dumb.

Or I can quickly find one of my favourites -

The Termite

Some primal termite knocked on wood
And tasted it, and found it good,
And that is why your Cousin May
Fell through the parlour floor today.

Or a poem that's very short -



Or more extended -

A Caution To Everybody

Consider the Auk;
Becoming extinct because he forgot how to fly, and could only walk.
Consider man, who may well become extinct
Because he forgot how to walk and learned how to fly before he thinked.

Hope you enjoyed them!!

The picture is for the poem:

Coffee, Games and Cobras

Snakes and Lattes Cafe´
Java with adders, Oy Vey!

Gives a whole new meaning to the term "snake eyes."

Have a day of fun!!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Poetic Condiments

Yesterday I posted several of Dorothy Parker's more memorable quotes. I would often read her work along with the books and poems of Richard Armour. Although Armour wrote many humorous books, including "Twisted Tales of Shakespeare," I will always remember him for two very wonderful poems -

Shake and shake
the catsup bottle
first none'll come
and then a lot'll


Nothing attracts
the mustard from wieners
as much as the slacks
just back from the cleaners


I just couldn't resist attempting my own poem on the subject of condiments.

Of condiments, I relish all,
The sweet, the savoury and the gall.
Whatever is spicy and piquant
Is sure to be used most frequent.
Mustard, ketchup, salty pickle
Cut 'em, shake 'em, let 'em drizzle,
On burgers, wieners, links of sausage.
The blandness, they so smartly assauge,
Tickling the tongue,
'Till the meal is done!

OK the rhyme needs a little massaging. However, there is a point to all of this. Zesty quotes, such as, those of Dorothy Parker, or humorous books and poems from the likes Richard Armour and Ogden Nash are a little like the condiments of language. They add a little tang to what might otherwise be very bland verbal exchanges :)

Tomorrow my favourite - Ogden Nash

Have a fun day!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dorothy Parker

I don't think I really appreciated Dorothy Parker when I was studying or teaching poetry. She had a few poems that I liked. However, I either found them not pithy enough or not funny enough. Mashable just posted a blog on her, given that it's the poet's 120th birthday. OK she died in 1967, but her words live on. Mashable asked people to post their favourite Dorothy Parker quote. Here are a few:

1. If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.

2. The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant--and let the air out of the tires.

3. Men seldom make passes
   At girls who wear glasses.

4. On Katherine Hepburn - She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.

5. I love to drink a martini,
But only two at the most.
After three, I'm under the table,
After four, I'm under the host

Another type of horticulture

6. When asked to use the term horticulture in a sentence, she responded with - You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think. Don't worry if you don't get it the first time. Hint: it involves a pun.

7. I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

8. A few more:
"Heterosexuality is not normal, it's just common." 
"Ducking for apples -- change one letter and it's the story of my life."
"Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone."

9. "I am too f*cking busy and vice-versa."

All this and she was only 4' 11" high. When she died she left her ashes to an enemy, who refused to pick them up. They hung around with her lawyer for years until they were given a decent burial by the NAACP, to whom she left her entire estate. They created a memorial garden for her. Apparently she died almost friendless. There is something about the acerbic retort that makes for great humour, but not great empathy. I don't know, I thought that friends were to accept you as you are - maybe she was really hard to accept.

Now, I would have followed her on Facebook!!

Have great day!!

Postman, Postman

There is something fascinating about receiving letters.  I know that most communication these days is e-mail, texting or twitter, how sad! No more, will we have bundles of love letters, tied up with faded ribbon, to be read years later. These electronic communications will also never be scented, never have touched the hand of the corresponder and never be tear-stained. Alas!!

Yesterday I referred to a post about the possible obsessions of postmen or post people. The idea swirled around in my head all day. I thought of plot lines for novels - mystery, romance, others.....

Here are a few of my ideas.

1. A postman delivers letters regularly to a home. He senses that they may be "love letters." On one occasion he meets the recipient. He becomes infatuated with her. He starts intercepting her letters, opening them and then substituting his own letters. Not exactly a Cyrano de Bergerac, but a tortured soul.

2. Mystery twist - perhaps this same postman decides to murder the sender of the letters. He is now the sole corresponder. He plans a meeting with the recipient......

3. Romance twist. Maybe there are no letters initially delivered to a home, where the postman has fallen in love with the "resident." He begins delivering letters to her. They are friendly, at first, however, he really is a magnificent writer. She falls in love with his "soul." She asks the postman to try and trace the sender.....

Please add any plot lines you may have.

A Letter

I love this poem by W. B. Yeats - substitute the word "letter" for "book" in the second line and you will see why it is so sad to lose all those letters.


WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

Have a thoughtful day.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lists, fun lists...

I've said before, I love lists. Well, Robyn Gallimore of Red Bird Knits posted to my FB wall the site It's a place where you can compare what you have done, read etc. with their lists. The main headings are Movies, Books, Food and Other - this just about covers it!

For example they have a list of

1. 83 desserts to try before you die. Some of these are - Angel Food Cake, Bananas Foster, Cocoa Cola Cake, and Scotcheroos. Many I haven't tried; I guess I had better get started!!

2.  50 best children's books. I missed reading a few to my kids, but not many. My favourite was Good Night Moon.

3. 40 top soda flavours. OK I have never had Mr. Pibb and Mellow Yellow.

4. 36 Mexican and Tex-Mex Dishes. Definitely a reason to serve more than just tacos every Wednesday :)

5. 46 vegetables sounded like a no-brainer, until I realized that I had never had Broccoli Rabe, but I have eaten all the rest.

Artichokes on the vegetable list

6. a Foodie list of 100 dishes proved that there were a few here that I had never had and some I had never even heard of, such as, Arepas. How about you?

7. The top 100 toys of all time was fun. I have maybe played or played with 50 of them - deprived childhood.

8. 100 popular candies was a bust. I really don't have a sweet tooth. Now I liked the beer list and the must try cocktails :)

9. 100 Greatest Musicals was wonderful. I have seen a lot of them and many of them live on stage with one or two in NY, one in Chicago and a few more in London.

10. There was even a list of Shakespearean Plays - my favourite will always be Macbeth.

I'd love to read your comments on these lists!!

Have a wonderful day!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I was in blog nadir again this morning. The only "thing" that came close to an idea for a post was whether or not postmen (people) get attached to their routes. You now, they deliver mail to houses and maybe start to wonder what sort of people live there. They try to puzzle out personalities by following the types of mail they receive......meh! save that for another day - postcards from the edge or something like that.

Ironically I was saved from the above post by the postman. He had just delivered a magazine that we never intended getting. Somehow we have been selected to receive this publication - free of charge!! It's called "Brainspace" and it is billed as a periodical for Canadian students, parents and educators - whew heady stuff!!

I didn't have much time so I stopped at page 5 to peruse what was new in trends and gadgets.  Here is a list:

1. Strip Designer - an app that lets you make a comic strip from your own personal pictures. If you don't want to use photos you can paint or draw your own images - $2.99 from the iTunes store.

2. Storybird - a free website - with over 5 million stories published on-line, this apparently is the largest storytelling community. Here is where you get to share your creative tales and images with animators around the world.

3. JamStudio - a place to make your own music - - for a small fee $4.95 per month.

4. Cube 3D Printer - a 3D printer that allows you to make children's toys!! Anything from dinosaurs to rocketships for a mere $1,299.00US.

5. Cubelets - building blocks with brains. Assemble modular robots with battery blocks, action blocks, sensor blocks and flashlight blocks. These robots perform tricks as they respond to light - $159.00

I think that I have to have Strip Designer and something like a 3-D printer that makes adult toys. Well not those kind of adult toys - but you know kitchen gadgets or garden gadgets or any other type of gadgets!! On second thought maybe I don't need one of these printers - I'm trying to de-clutter!!

garlic press
The picture? A gadget I haven't used in a long time. Chopping garlic is just so much easier, but I'm sure that you could make one of these with a 3D printer.

Have an amazing day!!

Monday, August 19, 2013


I was doing a cryptic crossword puzzle the other day and I had one clue left unsolved. The clue was "German sub." Finally, I caved and looked it up, with the help of Google.  The answer was Ersatz. It is defined as something inferior, a substitute for the real thing, such as artificial rubber or coffee made from grain.

The word originated in Germany during WW I, when the Germans started substituting poorly trained troops to bolster its depleting armies. The practice spread and the term was adopted by the allies to refer to everything that was watered down or laced with inferior materials, such as bread made with potato starch instead of flour from wheat, which was then augmented with saw dust. This concoction was often fed to the prisoners of war.

I can think of a lot of things that could be described as Ersatz. Certainly coffee is right up there. Most of us know who sells inferior coffee and avoid them like the plague. I remember years ago sleeping on the beach in Crete for a summer. Since we were all counting our pennies or drachma, we would drink Retsina at night.

Genetically engineered?

Retsina is a very cheap wine with a terrible taste, because it is fermented with resin. The story behind the resin goes like this. Apparently once when the Greeks heard that the Romans were about to invade their country, they decided to lace their wine with resin, so that their captors wouldn't enjoy it. Apparently, though, the invasion failed, the Greeks won and their reward was to drink their ersatz wine. Obviously they acquired a "taste" for it, because it is still available today, for those who can stand the taste!!

More and more we are being offered the "ersatz" of what was once a pure and rich commodity. We have modified food, factory farms, inferior education, synthetic fabrics, the list goes on....!!!

The more things are weakened, the more the bar is lowered and the more our original standards are eroded. There was a time, for example, when everyone was expected to use the conditional form of the verb "to be," when needed, as in "If I were a carpenter." Now it's just "If I was a carpenter." Small change, I agree, compared with genetically modified corn, but it's an example of accepting less, losing a little more, until there is nothing left of what was once truly wonderful.

I think that it's time to erase the ersatz in everything!!

My rant for the day

Have an ersatz-less day!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Seedy Saturdays

Seedy Saturdays have nothing to do with weekend decay :) They are actually days when people get together to exchange seeds from their respective gardens.

With all this genetic engineering going on, it's a way of preserving heirloom varieties and keeping Monsanto's laboratories out of the flower beds of the nation. I have never considered myself a gardener. I plant "things" and they grow, however, when I am in a group of real gardeners, I fall short - I know I'm only 5' tall anyway - but I never know the name of the latest cultivar and I couldn't do the Chelsea Chop, even if I knew what it meant.


This being said, what I plant grows and in fact, grows wild. One bush of Spirea planted a few years ago is now 5 or 6 bushes scattered around the garden in "gay abandon." A cedar tree, sprung from a seed dropped by a small spreader, is now a towering structure for Christmas lights.

I also like playing Rose of Sharon roulette. That is, I dig up the small seedlings that sprout at the base of the tri-coloured Rose of Sharon, trying to grow a new tree in each of the three colours - white, purple and pink. I have a new mauve one now and I am just waiting until next year to see what colour a second one I transplanted will be - this roulette wheel takes a long time to spin :)

Tri-coloured Rose of Sharon

Now I will happily share any of these seeds, along with seeds for wild Tulips, Columbine, Coreopsis. In fact I beg people to take my Lily of the Valley, orange Day Lilies, Achillea, Lady's Mantel and more.


Seedy Saturdays are a great way to meet people, well garden people anyway, and a great way to breathe new life into a fading border. There should be a chapter near you. Google always sends me to sites in Toronto, so it will probably send you to sites in your area. Sometimes the exchange days are called Seedy Sundays - just imagine!

Have a blooming wonderful day!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Randomness - definition and examples

Today I did more keying into Google of random words to see what would come up. In fact, I actually keyed in the word "random." Well, this amazing collection of photographs came up from a NY gallery named "rANDOM." Click on the link for an fabulous slide show of modern photography.

Then I found a site called random website dot com. There is a link in the middle which you click and a random website comes up. You then go back to the original page and click again for another site to come up. You can even add your own site!! How random is that!!

Next, there was the site RANDOM.ORG, which bills itself as a true randomness site. It tends to concentrate on randomness in numbers and offers a free password generating service.

Their other free services are:

Games and Gambling

Lottery Quick Pick is perhaps the Internet's most popular with over 170 lotteries
Keno Quick Pick for the popular game played at many casinos
Coin Flipper will give you heads or tails in many currencies
Dice Roller does exactly what it says on the tin
Playing Card Shuffler will draw cards from multiple shuffled decks
Birdie Fund Generator will create birdie holes for golf courses

Lists and Strings and Maps, Oh My!

List Randomizer will randomize a list of anything you have (names, phone numbers, etc.)
String Generator makes random alphanumeric strings
Password Generator makes secure passwords for your Wi-Fi or that extra Gmail account
iGoogle Password Generator is a handy tool for your iGoogle desktop
Clock Time Generator will pick random times of the day
Calendar Date Generator will pick random days across nearly three and a half millennia
Geographic Coordinate Generator will pick a random spot on our planet's surface
Bitmaps in black and white
Pregenerated Files contain large amounts of downloadable random bits
Pure White Audio Noise for composition or just to test your audio equipment
Jazz Scales to practice improvisation for students of jazz guitar
Samuel Beckett's randomly generated short prose
DNA Protein Sequence Randomizer (at Bio-Web)

Web Tools and Widgets for Your Pages

Integer Widget Wizard will put a mini-RANDOM.ORG on your web page or blog
Draw Widget Wizard will put the result of a paid drawing on your web page or blog
HTTP API to get true random numbers into your own code
Guidelines describe how to avoid getting in trouble
Banned Hosts lists who didn't behave and have been blocked

There are also paid services and links to learn about randomness and statistics.

Random picture
How long will this relationship last?

Finally, from the Urban Dictionary - a definition of "random."

The latest buzzword used amongst mindless teenagers as a way of showing just so utterly irreverent their predictable sense of humour is. Particularly dominant among English teens and University students, the word "random" or the act of being "random" is a desperate plea for others to recognise how totally against the grain of the norm you are and that you're really crazy and out there. Trouble is, being "random" is predictable, boring, moronic and extremely sad indeed.

Opps - maybe I shouldn't tell the other sites about this definition.

Have an organized day!!

Ablative Absolute

Some of my posts lately have been about "stand alone absolutes," such as the concept of "nothing" or "something" or just simply "being." As a result I couldn't resist a post about the "Ablative Absolute."

Let me explain. The "Ablative Absolute," which, by the way, this has nothing to do with voiding your bladder :) is a grammatical construction derived from the Latin. That is, ablative absolutes are Latin phrases which are in a way detached or set off  from the rest of the sentence. (This means that they do not grammatically interrelate very closely with the other words of the sentence. They have a certain independence.)

Be unique and independent.

Here are some examples in English within the brackets. ( )

(All things considered,) you are on your own.
(Tax included,) you owe me a bundle.
(It goes without saying,) this could become very boring.

These are common everyday sentences, but they embody a concept from an ancient language and they pay homage to the idea of being set apart or acting independently.  I like to compare this concept to people. There is something very inspiring about a person who is independent and can stand apart from the crowd!!

OK, grammar isn't all that exciting, especially grammar from a dead language and discussing the ablative absolute is not exactly cocktail conversation, unless you are at a reception for classicists. However, I take my examples for personal growth, where I find them. And just in case you are at one of those intellectual parties, here are a few examples from the Latin:

mutatis mutandis
with the things that need to be changed (mutandis) having been changed (mutatis)
vice versa
with the alternation turned around to its opposite, reversely

So, as I was saying, keep these under your hat or mortar board, until an occasion arises, by all means stand out, be independent; but pick your venues, for discussions of the ablative absolute :)

Have an outstanding day!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Idiotic Idioms

I wrote a post the other day on idioms using the word "tongue." It got me thinking of the strangeness of idioms and how I really didn't have another language to compare our idioms with. Well, a quick google search brought me this article in The Guardian and this amazing list of idioms in other languages.

1. To seize the moon by the teeth: attempt the impossible (French).

I know that we take the bull by the horns, which actually has a slightly different connotation. It means to tackle a project directly. I can't even imagine biting into the moon, especially if it's made of cream cheese :)

2. To reheat cabbage: to rekindle an old flame (Italian). 

Now this is as un-romantic as anything I can imagine. It gives the concept of a cabbage roll a whole new meaning :)

3. When the crayfish sings in the mountain: never (Russian). 

Much more graphic then - in a month of Sundays or when Hell freezes over.

4. Cleaner than a frog's armpit: to be poor, broke (Spanish).

Probably nicer than "not having a pot to pee in."

Heads of straw  - Hollow men - a poetic insult

5. To think one is the last suck of the mango: to be conceited (South American Spanish). 

Now I have heard conceit referred to as "the cat's whiskers" or "the cat's meow." Then again mangoes don't grow in England so we wouldn't naturally have this fruit as a reference point. Somehow "the last suck of the apple" doesn't really translate.

6. Onions should grow in your navel: a mild insult (Yiddish). 

I am speechless - make that wordless. I can't think of an insult using a vegetable. Please post any you may know. The best I could do is - You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear.

7. Brew tea from dirt under another's fingernails: to learn a bitter lesson (Japanese).

I'm not sure what is worse - this drink or eating crow.

8. Belch smoke from the seven orifices of the head: to be furious (Chinese).

I'm still confused. I can't seem to find 7 orifices in the head. Maybe one gets so angry that they really blow their top!!

Have a day of compliments!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

To Be or Not To Be....

August 17 is national "is" day. Ironically, today I was looking for a blog topic and I keyed in the phrase "to be" in google. I was hoping to find something meaningful and, you know, "deep" as in "I think; therefore I am" or "I thought; therefore I was" - No, that was yesterday, so it should really be, "I will think; therefore I will be," for Saturday - you know, the day we will all celebrate the "is" day!!

The site Zany Holidays describes "Is" day as follows:

What is the meaning of is? You can't even ask the question without using the word, so it's pretty hard to define. It's the third person singular form of the word "be," which is also hard to define without going into existential mumbo jumbo. Spend today trying to define is in your words without using the word be. It's actually sort of a challenge.

Actually, I used to use the Zany Holidays site a lot until they weren't anymore in 2011 and 2012. Well, it seems that they have done this future thing too and decided that they will be again in 2013 with 7 posts. Begs the questions, "Doth 7 posts an existence make?"

"is" day party - "be" there :)

Anyway, as I was researching existence or the state of "being" on google - this might be the ultimate existential state, as in, "I found myself in a search engine" - I came across lots of grammar sites that gave you the complete break down of all the tense forms of the verb "to be." Very intense!! It is, of course, an irregular verb - aren't we all. Here is the most detailed of the sites:

I loved their description of the verb "to be" -

The Greek sea god, Proteus, was (like the sea) capable of changing form in an instant. In order to get any decent information out of him, you had to grab him and hold on tight while he went through his various forms — lion, wild boar, snake, tree, running stream — it wasn't easy. The verb “To be” is said to be the most protean of the English language, constantly changing form, sometimes without much of a discernible pattern. Considering that we use it so often, it is really too bad that the verb “To be” has to be the most irregular, slippery verb in the language.

Certainly I can't finish a post on existence without the famous statement from George Berkeley - "To be is to be perceived." So in on-line terms do you really exist if no one knows you are there? Sacré mot!! I knew that there was a reason for all this blogging - I write; therefore I am, in every imperfect, conditional and passive state there is :)

Have a wonderful day!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Years ago I heard the term Glossolalia. Biblically it means speaking in tongues - uttering incomprehensible syllables, usually as part of a religious experience. Although it has strong links with Christianity, it is also a practice used by shamans, the Oracle of Delphi and really bad actors :)

This got me thinking of all the idioms in English that refer to the tongue, when communicating. Here is a list from the site learn-english-today.

bite your tongueIf you bite your tongue, you stop yourself from saying
what you really think.

Often a very hard exercise that may or may not be helpful. 
Probably it's better to hold what you really want to say for 
a better time or a better way of saying what maybe needs 
to be said. Enough said!

get your tongue around

If you are able to pronounce a difficult word or phrase,
you can get your tongue round it.

As in, "Say not that the struggle naught availeth."

 Just because you can say it, doesn't mean that 
you have to know what it means.

give rough edge
of tongue
If you give the (rough) edge of your tongue, you
scold someone severely or speak to them very 
aggressively or rudely.

Helpful when you have to tear a strip off a person.

hold your tongueIf you hold your tongue, you stay silent and
say nothing.

This is a bit like biting your tongue only maybe 

not as painful :)

keep a civil tonguePeople who keep a civil tongue express
themselves in polite terms.

I often fail this one when speaking to the civic
employees at city hall.

slip of the tongueslip of the tongue is a small spoken error
or mistake.

Probably similar to a Freudian slip - calling
someone by the wrong name, for example.
It's often the fatal error in spy movies!!

on the tip of your 
To say that a word or answer is on the tip of your 
tongue, means that you're sure you know it but
have difficulty finding it.

A very graphic expression for a very irritating situation.

tongue in cheekIf you describe a remark as 'tongue in cheek' you
mean that it is not meant to be taken seriously;
it is meant to be funny or ironic.

I like the term but hate the gesture. Tongues can 

be so expressive.

tongue-lashingWhen you scold someone severely, you give
them a tongue-lashing.

Again similar to giving the rough edge, but 

presumably the body remains in tact, just 
beaten up badly.

tongue-tiedIf you are tongue-tied, you have difficulty in
expressing yourself because you are nervous
or embarrassed.

Another graphic expression. It's often better to change 

the topic, as in "Oh what lovely Geraniums you have" - then 
trying to un-knot the moment.

tongues are waggingWhen tongues are wagging, people are beginning
to spread gossip or rumours, often about someone's
private life.

This always reminds me of a dog. Fortunately they 

rarely spread gossip!!


Other terms not included in this list are:

Speaking with a forked tongue - telling lies or trying to deceive someone. Possibly an illusion to being two-faced or speaking out of both sides of your mouth. I always think of snakes, as in the snake-oil salesman.

Speaking with a silver tongue - Maybe not a snake-oil monger, but probably a politician. It means speaking eloquently so that people will follow you.

Cat got your tongue - obviously the opposite of the dog image - go figure. Remaining silent or refusing to speak, withdrawn.

Find tongue - finding a way to say something.

Loosen one's tongue -  take someone out for a drink to get some inside information. Get the person relaxed in an informal setting. It's a deceit, but so many of these expressions are about being deceptive.

Mother Tongue - one of my favourites, though I envy those who can speak in many tongues!

I think, though, that Ogden Nash said it best:

I hope my tongue in prune juice smothers, 
If I belittle dogs and mothers.

Have a great day

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Exotic House Sitting

I decided to write about this because I wanted to make sure that I didn't lose the websites. So this is sort of a selfish reason for sharing, but it also looks like a lot of fun!! There are apparently a number of websites that link people together for the purpose of house sitting.  That is - owners going away for an extended period of time and needing someone to look after their place, while they're away.

This is not like a house exchange, where you go and live in someone else's house and they come and live in yours. We have actually done 2 of these, one to Hilton Head SC for 2 weeks and one to Scotland for 3 weeks. Both worked out very well and we even exchanged cars. The only negative is that I had to do a lot of cleaning to bring my house up to trading standards. I also had to leave the exchange house very clean when we left. It was worth it though to have free accommodation and free use of a vehicle while on holiday!!

A little weeding required

House sitting is actually going to live in and look after someone else's house while they're away somewhere else. The book, "Live Your Dream! House Sitting Around The World," by Cheryl MacDonald and Lisa Chavis explains how to raise your profile on these exchange sites so that you will get "noticed" and possibly be offered a "housesitting job."  The idea is that you can go to exotic places, not pay for hotels etc. and have a wonderful time, while taking care of someone else's place!! Both of these woman have done just that and lived to write about it!!

A little shoveling required

The sites mentioned were "" and "" The authors made suggestions, such as mentioning some of your talents. For example, if you love gardening, you may be able to snag that gorgeous cottage with a English garden for a month or so. Or if you have run a hobby farm, are good with horses and/or can manage large properties, be sure to mention these to bump up your appeal. Saying you are good at hosting wild parties probably wouldn't work :)

I just popped along to the sites. Housecarers has places all over the US, Canada, Australia, NZ & France. Trustedhousesitters has the same countries with the addition of spots in South America, South Africa, and Asia. Now if you get to go somewhere exotic, you must promise to let me know so I can be totally envious!!

The picture? - My house. I like it better in summer :)

Have a great day!!

Monday, August 12, 2013


OK today I keyed the word "nothing" into the title bar of my MAC desperately looking for something to write about (about which to write.) The results were proof that nothing really is something because...

1. Lots of sites came up on the topic of "nothing," which shows that people are entertained, educated and/or diverted by - nothing.

2. One of these sites was the Do Nothing site. It's a pretty picture of a sunset (maybe a sunrise, maybe not. I think that there should be more pink for a sunrise and really why would you have to do nothing in the morning, when you have just done nothing but sleep for the past 6, 8, 10 or 12 hours - 12 hours this place should be selling mattresses!!) Oh yes back to the site - sunset with the sound of waves in the background. The site asks you to do nothing for 2 minutes. There is a timer on the site and if I am supposed to relax, I can't because of the tension the timer creates!! At the end, you find out that there is an app for this 2 minutes of not exactly silence, but a bit of respite in the day. You need an app for this?  I just play FreeCell - really that's doing nothing isn't it?


3. Then there is the site which is a tongue-in-cheek take on nothing. At least I think that it is a joke - maybe not - maybe it's for real. Here's a quote from the site:

"Nothing is bigger than cyberspace, the Internet, and the NFL site on the world wide web." - Microsoft.
People all over the world are talking about nothing. It doesn't matter what language you speak or even if you can't speak. Nothing's the same everywhere you go. Almost the entire universe is made up of nothing. Philosophers think and talk about nothing until they die. "It's" that important!

4. Then there was the Buy Nothing Day website. This is a global protest against consumerism. Ironically it did offer "buy nothing" Christmas cards. I don't think that you actually bought them though. I think that you just downloaded the pdf and printed them yourself. Actually their pdfs for posters were really quite inventive. I think that they should sell T-shirts on the site - yes totally against their focus, but they wouldn't be the first!!

5. Finally there was the wiktionary site that defined nothing.

So really there is a lot to be said about nothing :)

The picture - the best I could do for a picture of nothing - a void, an emptiness.

Have a something day!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Not Exactly Fast Food...

Another FB post from Mental Floss made me laugh so hard I nearly cried. It's a post about animals that are illegal on planes, however, some people just don't get it.

First there was the fellow who tried to take his pet turtle on a plane by hiding it in a hamburger bun. Slow food at its best or maybe at its worst. I have to feel sorry for the turtle.

Another hummer was the Dutch fellow who tried to smuggled a dozen live hummingbirds sewn into the seams of his pants. Can you imagine sitting beside anyone like this on a plane? Again, I  have to feel sorry for the birds.

Fortunately, the person who tried to smuggle 206 pounds of caterpillars (dried) on board, did not try to disguise them as hot dogs. 
Fast Food

Being sloshed took on a whole different meaning, when the authorities confiscated $31,000.00 worth of tropical fish that where concealed in 15 plastic bags under a woman's skirt. It was the sloshing sound of the water, when she walked that tipped them off - gotta give her credit for inventiveness :) If you remember when crinolines were popular - just think of what you could conceal in those nets!!

When is a brooch a beast - when it is being smuggled. A chameleon was almost smuggled as a hair clip until it flicked its tongue - more points for inventiveness or stupidity - hmmm.

Finally in the slow animal category there was the passenger who tried to smuggle 4 rare birds and 50 rare orchids in his suitcases. They also found a pair of slow lorises in his underwear.  These animals are actually quite venomous - more points for stupidity.

Have an exciting day!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Sometimes, when I need an idea, I key a word into my title bar to see what google produces. A while ago, I keyed in the word "today" and a few interesting topics surfaced. Today I keyed in the word "something." Well, this website called "The Something Store" came up. The idea is that you send them $10.00 and they send you a mystery box.

Maybe it's a way of keeping the money circulating, you know helping the economy, but really to buy something that you don't need and maybe in the end don't want or can't even use is a little sad. Now they have shipped 131,771 items since 2006. So that would be 20,272 items per year or $202,720.00 gross per year. Hmmmm I wonder if I could de-clutter my house this way?

can opener

Some of the things that have been shipped are listed on the site. They include:

An Amazon Kindle - yes I could use one.
An RC Excalibur Chopper - not sure what I would do with this.
A fedora hat - well they are in fashion - but how do they get the size right?
A harmonica - hmmmm - exactly :)
A kite - as in go fly one
A set of finger drums - a table top won't do?

I don't think that I will take my chances and send them my hard earned $10.00. I guess that it's a type of gambling and sad to say that people need this type of amusement in their lives. However, it might be the answer to all those silly parties where you have to bring a mystery gift which will be given out randomly.

Now, I could use a good can opener. What are the chances that this would come in a Something Surprise Box??

Have a great day!!

Friday, August 09, 2013


I was reading an article that was posted to my FB wall the other day on the use of the noun ending "ling" as in gosling. Apparently adding the "ling" ending to a phrase to create a noun, began as far back as old English with words such as, frumberdling - a teenager with peach fuzz for a beard. I think that peachling is also a possibility - probably better than filthyroomling :)

 Help, Blogger just changed my peachling to poachling - who would have thought - now we have the word roachling - these are the small (maybe) insects that reside in a peachling's bedlings or something like that :) Oh good godling!!


The use of the ending then morphed in middle English to suggest smallness as in suckling, duckling and toadling - toadling? Adding this "ling" ending also began to take on a derogative connotation as in underling, weakling and shaveling - a monk that presumably you didn't like. Given the presence of the church in middle England - not to be confused with middle earth - we could also have churchling, popeling, saintling and Lutherling - presumably one who objected to the established churchlings.

Recently, though the practice has lost most of its negative side and has become just a cute expression. I wonder, though if anyone has thought to add it to the "lings" who interact on the internet - maybe interactling and bloggerling  -  too cumbersome? How about tumblrling or flickrling - maybe a little too zoo-y. Now linkedinling has possibilities, as does googleling - not the same, though, as "Here we go a googling." Now, I think that I could love a nerdling and maybe there would be homes for weblings. Those who have vision could be sitelings and I'm not sure what an URLling would be but it might be right up there with alienlings. Maybe it's time to come back to earth!!

I know there is a Panda named Ling Ling, however, I have never heard of a Pandaling.  The zoolings in Toronto have brought a few in, so that the peoplelings can have a outing. Maybe I've had too many winelings and need to say good nightling.

Hope you have a great day-ling !!!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Psychic Phenomenon

Lately I've been divining posts a lot. That is, I have been looking more and more at the links to other posts that I see at the bottom of the page. It happened again today. I don't even remember the original post, but I was fascinated by a link to "6 Unusual Jobs That Pay Surprisingly Well." OK, I know that I wouldn't be an ice cream taster or a sommelier, I just don't have enough taste buds for either job. I also wouldn't be an oil and gas diver, an airplane repossessor or an ethical hacker - isn't that a contradiction in terms?

However, I thought that maybe I could be a psychic - really how difficult would that be and it pays an average of $41,000.00 a year according to Forbes magazine. Now, I would have to invest in a crystal ball, learn to read Tarot Cards and study palmistry, as well as trying to read people's minds - couldn't be that difficult :)

I remember years ago playing Ouija and being fascinated by the kinetic power of the triangle. We asked someone in the room to give us a question to answer. A person in the corner said, "Tell me were my brother is?" The Ouija spelled out Maracaibo. It was right, because she actually knew where her brother was and no one else did. I really should have kept a diary of the names it spelled out for questions such as, who will I marry? Because invariably it would spell out a name totally unrelated to the person you were dating then and by the time you actually married someone, you had forgotten the name the ouija had spelled out - it may have been right.

Psychic Cat

I have gone to a psychic only once and I was terrified. I was so worried I would be given bad news. I had actually gone with a group of three friends to a person recommended by one of them. The cost, about 30 years ago, was $5.00. We went to the psychic's apartment which was out in the suburbs. It was a very tidy place and the psychic, a woman, was very neatly dressed and looked quite average - not the strange sort of veiled witch that one sees in the movies.

Anyway, when it was my turn, she did note that she knew that I was anxious and that she wasn't going to get a very good reading, however, she recited a series of numbers and after each recitation, she made a prediction. The only one that I remember was that I was going to adopt a son and his name would be John. A year later we did just that. My son's name at birth was John, we changed it to Alexander.

I don't know how good I would be, though, when I don't even know myself, what I'm going to have for dinner on any given night. Hmmm. Wikipedia gives some fascinating examples of the use of the Ouija board by notable authors and media celebrities. There is even a site that explains how you can be a psychic in 10 easy lessons. It's on the host site

Please post any Psychic Phenomena that you know of. It is still an area of fascination!!

Have a predictable day!!

Monday, August 05, 2013

Bad Day

Somedays are better than others and on a bad day I often turn to poetry to put things in perspective or as a distraction. I do like the site Poetry 180. It always comes up in a poetry search, even when I am looking for a poem for a specific day and don't necessarily want to search a poem by its number from 1-180. However there is a list of titles on the site and you can just go down the list until one speaks to you. This one did.

Bad Day

Kay Ryan

Not every day
is a good day
for the elfin tailor.
Some days
the stolen cloth
reveals what it
was made for:
a handsome weskit
or the jerkin
of an elfin sailor.
Other days
the tailor
sees a jacket
in his mind
and sets about
to find the fabric.
But some days
neither the idea
nor the material
presents itself;
and these are
the hard days
for the tailor elf.

This is one of those days when nothing seems to be coming together. The words won't write themselves and the brain slops around like water in a bucket. There is little or no focus. Or there is focus, but it only serves to un-focus one from the task of writing a focused article, if you know what I mean.

Maybe later in the day, I'll find the magic material for that jerkin of a post that fits perfectly or I'll meet the elfin sailor, even more magical because I am not near the sea - surely he will have a story to tell. In the meantime, I'll read a few more poems, hoping to find that verbal key to unlock the material closet.

The picture? - the work of elves - maybe :)

Have a great day!!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Bullet Pudding and other games of chance

I felt that I just had to explore this idea of parlour games more thoroughly - you'll notice that I didn't use the word exhaustively, though many of these sound exhausting, if not downright dangerous!! A quick google search brought me to this site which is btw another great source of insane blog topics. Anyway, one of the posts was by a blogger Stephen West. His post on parlour games is beautifully written and illustrated, presumably with un-copyrighted photos. Here is the link. The author is trying to build up a readership, so you may want to follow him. Here is a brief synopsis of Stephen's description of 10 parlour games that some crazy Victorians played. I have humbly annotated a few :)

1. Bullet Pudding - load a platter with a huge mound of flour and place a bullet in the centre at the top. Each person takes a turn "fiddling" with the flour and hoping not to disturb the bullet. The one who does, has to do this - I'm quoting from the author -

The player whose avalanche caused the bullet to fall must put their hands behind their back and slam their face into the flour mountain, digging around using only their face and mouth and retrieve the bullet with their teeth. It can be read in the diaries and letters of the people who played this game back then that the real challenge of the game was to do all of this without laughing too hard, because if you did you would run the risk of inhaling the flour and choking yourself to death. This game is truly a timeless classic. Substitute cocaine for flour and you have a family reunion you won’t soon forget . . . just ask Amy Winehouse.

I can see further extensions with whipped cream, jello or some other equally disgusting  sticky, gooey mound. Bobbing for apples is sooo tame.

2. Are You Moriarity? I have to quote the author Stephen West entirely for this -

Professor Moriarty was the arch-nemesis of Sherlock Holmes in the classic stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle during the Victorian-era. People despised him so much for his fictional transgressions against a a guy that walked around in a safari helmet with a Baskerville pipe, that he lives in infamy as the target of angst in a popular game of the same time period. It is a two player game where the players blindfold each other, hold one hand each and lay on their stomachs. In the other hand, they hold a rolled up newspaper and call out, “Are you there, Moriarty?” The other player replies, “Yes!” and then the player who asked the question tries to hit the other player in the head with the newspaper. That’s it. Someone gets hit in the head with a newspaper, and everyone maniacally laughs until it fades into awkward silence.

Maybe its re-incarnation is "Marco Polo." I could never figure out the intent of this game either. Funny how no-one has invented a "Dr. Watson, I presume" game - probably because it's a different Dr. Watson :)There's that awkward silence again!!

3. Snap Dragon - You basically fill a bowl with brandy and add some raisins or plums. Then light the brandy and everyone playing tries to pick out the fruit from the flames. Waste of some good brandy, I say. I'm not sure why it's called "Snap Dragon." All I can imagine is all those ruffled cuffs going up in smoke, if you didn't snap your hand back quickly enough, while trying to drag out the raisin.

4. Hot Cockles - I'm am going to use the author's exact words here because the game itself has those weird Victorian overtones of slightly offbeat sexual fantasies disguised as a "game."

Hot Cockles sounds like the name of something you buy at a food truck that is absolutely delicious and greatly shortens your life expectancy. Turns out only the second part is true. This is a Victorian-era variation of everyone’s favorite classic Blind Man’s Bluff, because apparently it was such a good game that it needed spin-offs. One person sits in a chair while the main player puts their head in their lap. One by one, everyone else comes up behind them and kicks them. The object of the game is for the guy being kicked to correctly guess who just kicked him. If he gets it right, the person he identified is the new punching bag. Sometimes the simplest things are the most memorable, but if you can’t manage to remember, the bruises will help.

5. Wink Murder. This I have played in theatre school. One person is the murderer and another is a detective. Everyone sits around in a circle doing something else, while the murderer tries to catch someone's eye and wink at them, at which time the murdered performs a magnificent death. The detective, then, tries to discover the murderer, as he continues to slay other players. Perfect for those actors who have always wanted to execute the perfect death scene!!

Better Parlour Games :)

6. Prussian Exercises - from the author, himself, because I think that this is the most ridiculous game so far.

If you’ve always had the dream of getting bossed around like a military recruit in basic training, but never could quite pull the trigger on enlisting, this game is for you. One person is assigned as the captain and everyone else stands in rank and file formation and strictly follows any order the captain gives, without laughing. He gives them commands for a while until everyone is bored and then the game ends by him commanding everyone to get down on one knee. He then walks over to the person that is the furthest to the left or right and pushes them inward so that they crash into the next person and everyone falls over like dominoes. Sounds more like aggravated assault to me.

I hate to even mention that my grandfather was in the Prussian army. I think that he was a bit of a rebel, though. One of his stories was of how he had to wash the floor of his barracks with a toothbrush. Something more productive at least than the aforementioned game.

7. Reverend Crawley's Game a.k.a. Tangle. Again, here is the author's discription -

No one knows who Reverend Crawley was, but he’s probably haunting someone’s cottage in England angry about the fact that the only thing people remember him for is a children’s game. He shouldn’t feel too bad though, it has stood the test of time. Even today this game is commonly used as an icebreaker among new groups of people, or even just an exercise to build teamwork. First, eight to ten people get in a circle and put their hands in the middle. Then everyone tangles their arms up and grabs the hand of someone else on the other side of the circle. No one can let go of anyone’s hand, but the group must untangle themselves back out to a circle. This usually requires a great deal of acrobatics, flexibility and patience. Why was a reverend playing this game anyway?

The variation that I have played is that all but one of the players join hands in a circle. The lone player stays out of the circle with his back turned to the others. The circle players then try to tangle themselves up. When finished, the player outside of the circle has to untangle them. Great for icebreakers at physical rather than verbal parties :)

8. The Bellman. Stephen's description is hilarious -

If you’ve ever dressed up as Santa Claus and worked the donation kettle for the Salvation Army, you’re going to be amazing at this game. One person is given a bell while everyone else blindfolds themselves. The bellman sneaks around the room periodically ringing the bell while everyone else tries to use the sound of the bell to lunge towards him and catch him. It was played mostly in the Victorian-era which I guess was still too early for people to realize the inherent danger of several blindfolded people all running towards the same place with conviction.

Thank heavens for wheels on suitcases. You'll have to read this blog for the connection.

9. The Ball of Wool - using a cotton ball or a bit of roving (this speaks to the knitter in me) all players try to  keep their ball from being blown off the table by the opposing team. Do not do this if you are prone to hyperventilation! The loser must complete a dare, decided on beforehand. I double dare you to eat the cotton ball, for example :)

10. Change Seats - The author says it perfectly -

It is mind-numbing to consider the fact that out of all the parlour games people used to play, this is the only game where the instructions typically tell you to proceed with caution. The warning actually has nothing to do with human safety, they just urge players to clear the room of precious valuables on the off-chance things get dangerous. If simon says and musical chairs had an illegitimate love child, this game would be it. One person is “it.” They stand in the middle while everyone else sits around them in a circle of chairs. The player in the middle asks someone in the circle, “Do you love your neighbor?” that person has the option to say “No”, which forces the people adjacent to them to run around the circle and try to grab a new seat, or they can say, “Yes, except those who wear . . . ,” (brown, blue, etc.) at which point anyone who meets the criteria has to scramble for a chair. The person in the middle will almost always get a chair because they are so much closer, so the one leftover player takes their spot. There’s no way to win the game, it ends either when the players reach retirement age or someone is knocked unconscious by a priceless figurine.

I think that there are variations of this played where ever there is not enough chairs for the people in question. Except that it's more polite - "No, I'll just stand." - "No you can't, allow me." and so it goes ad infinitum :)

Here is Stephen's blog. Please join for more fun and mayhem, maybe!!

Have fun day!!