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HemmingPlay

“Between us and heaven or hell is only life, which is the frailest thing in the world.”.

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Humor

Prayer for Good Humor


 

by St. Thomas More

Grant me, O Lord, good digestion,
and also something to digest.
Grant me a healthy body,
and the necessary good humor to maintain it.
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil,
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.
Give me a soul that knows not
boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments,
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.”
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor.
Allow me the grace to be able to
take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy,
and to be able to share it with others.

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Advice From An Old Farmer


farmer

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.
Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
Words that soak into your ears are whispered… not yelled.
Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight.
Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.

Continue reading “Advice From An Old Farmer”

Very Funny


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Be careful what you wish for
Because you might just get it,
And if you get it, you might
Not know what to do with it.
There’s always a catch.
Very funny, Universe.


neologism

Skidding By A Woods On A Snowy Evening*


 

car-overturned-in-snow-583648880-57e9c59d5f9b586c35079f79

 

Whose tracks those are I think I know
His auto’s by trees yonder, though;
He cannot see me skidding past
(His windows buried deep in snow.) 

My Subaru must think it queer
To try to stop in any gear
Trapped ‘tween ditch and looming truck
Whee! First ice storm in this crappy year!

Safety brakes cause wheels to shake
Miss the truck? ‘Tis a grim sweepstake
The only other sound the squeals
Of a useless scream and semi’s brakes.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
And I now wish I’d picked the Jeep,
But tears’ll freeze if now I weep,
But tears’ll freeze if now I weep.

*With apologies to Robert Frost

Dreamer


dreamin'

You may say that I’m a dreamer,

And you’re not the only one.

I hope someday you’ll see that

I’m really just zoning out.

Tomorrow


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by Jim Harrison

I’m hoping to be astonished tomorrow
by I don’t know what:
not the usual undiscovered bird in the cold
snowy willows, garishly green and yellow,
and not my usual death, which I’ve done
before with Borodin’s music
used in Kismet, and angels singing
“Stranger in Paradise,” that sort of thing,
and not the thousand naked women
running a marathon in circles around me
while I swivel on a writerly chair
keeping an eye on my favorites.
What could it be, this astonishment,
but falling into a liquid mirror
to finally understand that the purpose
of earth is earth? It’s plain as night.
She’s willing to sleep with us a little while.

[from IN SEARCH OF SMALL GODS, Copper Canyon Press, 2010, $16, pb. ]


screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-7-05-26-pm

In Memoriam


ok-breathe-water
An Obituary printed in the London Times…..

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, “Common Sense”, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
– Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
– Why the early bird gets the worm;
– Life isn’t always fair;
– And maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can Continue reading “In Memoriam”

Advice to Young Writers


 

1.)  The Elements of Style (because I’m really not going to shoot you.)

2.)dorothyparkerquote

Adolescence


To My Favorite 17-year-old High School Girl
By Billy Collins

Do you realize that if you had started building the Parthenon
on the day you were born,
you would be all done in only one more year?
Of course, you couldn’t have done that all alone.
So never mind;
you’re fine just being yourself.
You’re loved for just being you.

But did you know that at your age
Judy Garland was pulling down 150,000 dollars a picture,
Joan of Arc was leading the French army to victory
and Blaise Pascal had cleaned up his room –
no wait, I mean he had invented the calculator?
Of course, there will be time for all that
later in your life, after you come out of your room
and begin to blossom,
or at least pick up all your socks.
For some reason I keep remembering
that Lady Jane Grey was queen of England
when she was only 15.
But then she was beheaded, so never mind her as a role model.
A few centuries later,
when he was your age,
Franz Schubert was doing the dishes for his family,
but that did not keep him from composing two symphonies, four operas
and two complete masses as a youngster.
But of course, that was in Austria
at the height of Romantic lyricism,
not here in the suburbs of Cleveland.
Frankly, who cares if Annie Oakley was a crack shot at 15
or if Maria Callas debuted as Tosca at 17?
We think you’re special just being you –
playing with your food and staring into space.
By the way, I lied about Schubert doing the dishes,
but that doesn’t mean he never helped out around the house.

 

 

 

On The Decay Of The Art of Lying


Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

ESSAY, FOR DISCUSSION, READ AT A MEETING OF THE HISTORICAL AND ANTIQUARIAN CLUB OF HARTFORD, AND OFFERED FOR THE THIRTY-DOLLAR PRIZE. NOW FIRST PUBLISHED. 1882. (Did not win prize.)

by Mark Twain

Observe, I do not mean to suggest that the custom of lying has suffered any decay or interruption, — no, for the Lie, as a Virtue, a Principle, is eternal; the Lie, as a recreation, a solace, a refuge in time of need, the fourth Grace, the tenth Muse, man’s best and surest friend, is immortal, and cannot perish from the earth while this Club remains. My complaint simply concerns the decay of the art of lying. No high-minded man, no man of right feeling, can contemplate the lumbering and slovenly lying of the present day without grieving to see a noble art so prostituted. In this veteran presence I naturally enter upon this theme with diffidence; it is like an old maid trying to teach nursery matters to the mothers in Israel. It would not become me to criticise you, gentlemen, who are nearly all my elders — and my superiors, in this thing — and so, if I should here and there seem to do it, I trust it will in most cases be more in a spirit of admiration than of fault-finding; indeed if this finest of the fine arts had everywhere received the attention, Continue reading “On The Decay Of The Art of Lying”

“Life Is Hard. After All, It Kills You”


Hepburn
‘Life is hard. After all, it kills you.’  –Katherine Hepburn

Ah, I miss you Kate. What a woman.

And happy Monday, everyone! Break a leg.

 

Obstacles

What Are Your Favorite Quotes?


UseTheForceHarry
Beware of Internet ‘quotes’. “All I know is what I see on the Internet.” An actual quote from Donald Trump. Really.

It’s Mother’s Day as I write this, so I’m staying away from Facebook’s 74 billion identical posts about Mom. (Don’t hate me. It’s not the sentiment, it’s the volume.)

And it’s Sunday here, so I’m taking the day to read and recharge (and do some work in the yard later). I find that reading widely and accidentally gets my subconscious working for later.

If this sounds at all familiar to you, and you have a favorite quote or two to share, would you leave it in the comments section for others to find? Please include the source, in case others want to read more. It can be whatever moves you, or has been important to you.

Now, that wheelbarrow isn’t going to fill itself with mulch. See you next week. But first, here’s one I found today, from Gabriel García Márquez:

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

From “One Hundred Years of Solitude”— a novel that some argue contains the most beautiful opening sentence of all time.

See you next week.

H.

Obstacles

Raison D’être

What Kind of Writer Are You?


Once again…

Comic relief is all I’ve got right now… 

writer

I Think I’m There


W. C. Fields
W. C. Fields (1880-1946)

“There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation.”

—W.C. Fields

Writer’s Block


WritersBlock

QOTD: “There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.” ~Terry Pratchett

Donkey Name


shrek_confuseddonkey

If I ever get a donkey, I’m going to name it “Hoty.” Then it would be Donkey Hoty. (Say it out loud)

(It’s worse in my head than you could possibly imagine. The meds don’t help.)

Stolen from here. 

For My Writerly Friends


I know, I know. I’m on a preachy kick. This is the last one (for a while), I promise.

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First Day Back At Work in Three Months


And this is all I have to say about this: MORE COWBELL!  Now… where’s the wine?

(For context: https://hemmingplay.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/getting-real/ )

 

More Weird Al: Battering Business-speak Bull**it


Screenshot 2014-07-21 15.28.00

Direct link if the link on the image above doesn’t work: http://vevo.ly/zTDyrD

 

Long overdue takedown of something awful. If you like this, just google “Bill Hicks” and “marketing” for an even more NSFW take on a pernicious evil that is driving the car with Thema and Louise and all of us straight over the cliff.

Set to something close to Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Suite Judy Blue eyes”, Weird Al skewers the hateful plague of meaningless business-buzzword-BS.

 

French Chocolates


If you have your health, you have everything
is something that’s said to cheer you up
when you come home early and find your lover
arched over a stranger in a scarlet thong.

Or it could be you lose your job at Happy Nails
because you can’t stop smudging the stars
on those ten teeny American flags.

I don’t begrudge you your extravagant vitality.
May it blossom like a cherry tree. May the petals
of your cardiovascular excellence
and the accordion polka of your lungs
sweeten the mornings of your loneliness.

But for the ill, for you with nerves that fire
like a rusted-out burner on an old barbecue,
with bones brittle as spun sugar,
with a migraine hammering like a blacksmith

in the flaming forge of your skull,
may you be spared from friends who say,
God doesn’t give you more than you can handle
and ask what gifts being sick has brought you.

May they just keep their mouths shut
and give you French chocolates and daffodils
and maybe a small, original Matisse,
say, Open Window, Collioure, so you can look out
at the boats floating on the dappled pink water.

“French Chocolates” by Ellen Bass from Like a Beggar. © Copper Canyon Press, 2014.

Laughing Puppy*


 

Overnight

Wet Snow…

Astonished, Puppy runs through it,

Snapping and laughing.

 

*just found this on a scrap of paper. I must have jotted it down a few months ago.

Don’t Ask


dance

Well, That Explains That


  • Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
  • Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
  • Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

Add this…


eyes

For women out there who talk about “bad hair days”, I’ve got another for slightly better days:

It’s the “I look pretty good from afar” day.

In case you missed it, that was a joke. Seriously, we think you look fabulous even when stumbling to the bathroom in that ridiculous flannel shirt in the morning. Do you really think we judge you as harshly as you do yourselves?

Correct answer: Nope.


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Leadership Advice


mahatma-gandhi

“There go my people. I must get in front of them, for I am their leader.”

— Mahatma Gandhi

Just Misspell Someting


How to get an audience

 

misspell-stagesblog-comments


rollo

The Difference Between Men and Women


By my favorite humorist, Dave Barry. I’m old enough, and married long enough, to certify that this nails it down, tapes it shut and puts a bow on it. Each side is charmingly, sweetly nuts in its own ways. 

Let’s say a guy named Fred is attracted to a woman named Martha. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

And then, one evening when they’re driving home, a thought occurs to Martha, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: “Do you realize that, as oftonight, we’ve been seeing each other for exactly six months?”

And then, there is silence in the car.

To Martha, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he’s been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I’m trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn’t want, or isn’t sure of.

And Fred is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

And Martha is thinking: But, hey, I’m not so sure I want this kind of relationship either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I’d have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily towards, I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Fred is thinking: …so that means it was…let’s see…February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer’s, which means…lemme check the odometer…Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Martha is thinking: He’s upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I’m reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed – even before I sensed it – that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that’s it. That’s why he’s so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He’s afraid of being rejected.

And Fred is thinking: And I’m gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don’t care what those morons say, it’s still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It’s 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Martha is thinking: He’s angry. And I don’t blame him. I’d be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can’t help the way I feel. I’m just not sure.

And Fred is thinking: They’ll probably say it’s only a 90-day warranty…scumballs.

And Martha is thinking: Maybe I’m just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I’m sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

And Fred is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I’ll give them a warranty. I’ll take their warranty and stick it right up their…

“Fred,” Martha says aloud.

“What?” says Fred, startled.

“Please don’t torture yourself like this,” she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. “Maybe I should never have…oh dear, I feel so…”(She breaks down, sobbing.)

“What?” says Fred.

“I’m such a fool,” Martha sobs. “I mean, I know there’s no knight. I really know that. It’s silly. There’s no knight, and there’s no horse.”

“There’s no horse?” says Fred.

“You think I’m a fool, don’t you?” Martha says.

“No!” says Fred, glad to finally know the correct answer.

“It’s just that…it’s that I…I need some time,” Martha says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Fred, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)

“Yes,” he says. (Martha, deeply moved, touches his hand.)

“Oh, Fred, do you really feel that way?” she says.

“What way?” says Fred.

“That way about time,” says Martha.

“Oh,” says Fred. “Yes.” (Martha turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)

“Thank you, Fred,” she says.

“Thank you,” says Fred.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Fred gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a college basketball game between two South Dakota junior colleges that he has never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it’s better if he doesn’t think about it.

The next day Martha will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification.

They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.

Meanwhile, Fred, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Martha’s, will pause just before serving, frown, and say: “Norm, did Martha ever own a horse?”

And that’s the difference between men and women.

 

This is Not a Guest Post. This Actually Came From My Mind.


This is so well said, but the imagery of the failure pill was what grabbed me.

You've Been Hooked!

They say failure is a bitter pill to swallow.

So don’t.

Take the pill of failure upon your tongue, roll it around until the flavor fills your mouth and penetrates your senses and mind, but never, ever swallow it whole. Let the taste flow through your consciousness, store the memory for days to come and spit it out when you’ve taken what you need.

Never let failure enter your system fully or it will be with you forever. Let the sensation return when you need it most, when the days grow dark and cold, and when you feel the icy, numbing touch of personal crisis around your throat. Use your failure to fuel your hunger for success. Let it be your companion all of your days, but refuse to let it take root in your center, lest it consume you.

And yes, I carry luggage for a living – and…

View original post 34 more words

The Law of Unintended Consequences


campbell quote
Joseph Campbell stole this idea!! (Kidding)

 

I wuz robbed. I coulda been a contender.

My festering resentment was brought to the surface again this morning when I saw this image on another blog. Maybe I ought to listen to it, huh? You decide.

Let me set you straight first. I came up with the term “The Law of Unintended Consequences” in the late ’70s—I vividly remember when, too. It was during an episode of “Rhoda”. Don’t ask me why or how.

It just hit me that in life, one can plan like a compulsive fiend, make lists, pursue absolutist goals like the Wehrmacht sweeping across Poland, but the odds are that something unexpected will trip you up. There are just too many variables in this world, and you can’t account for all of them. And odds are, one of them will send your life careening off in some unintended direction to the sound of your wails. “Noooooooooooooo”.

But as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.”

Like an idiot, I didn’t copyright LoUC and now it’s in the public domain and I have missed out on yet another fortune. Campbell and Lennon have ripped me off. LoUC drifted out into the great conversation and I haven’t made a dime off of it.

My family laughs at me every time I bring this up. They treat me like you treat someone who has any harmless delusion. I can feel them giving me virtual pat on the head. You might as well join in.

But I wuz robbed.  /Shrugs. Whaddya gonna do?

 

Don’t Worry. It’s a waste of time.


“Worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.”

—Mary Schmich

Oh, and wear sunscreen. Lots of it.

There. That should do it.

Behaviorists: Dogs Feel No Shame Despite the Look


Think like a dog. They’re unhappy because you’re unhappy, but don’t necessarily know why. They’ll wait you out until you want to play again.

Balancing Writing & Life—The World Rewards Finishers NOT Perfection

On Awful, Paralysing & Totally Irrational Self-Doubt


I love this woman!

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