Category Archives: poetry

Life is butter

Life is butter, life is butter
Melancholy flower, melancholy flower
Life is but a melon, life is but a melon
Cauliflower, cauliflower.

        (source unknown)1

1Well, the source where I first saw this was on a whiteboard on a dorm room door when I was a freshman in college. It tickled my fancy then, and it stuck with me since. I seem to recall googling the origins at some point, but wasn’t excited about what I found.

bed post

bedPhoebe got a real bed a couple of weeks ago, inspiring me to think about beds for a ThThTh list¹.

A bed list²

  1. make one’s bed and lie in it: an expression meaning that one must accept the consequences of one’s actions. The wording of the expression is somewhat variable, with various subjects (and agreeing possessives) possible, some variation in tense/aspect of the verb make, and variability in the the following clause. eg. You’ve made your bed, and now you must lie in it. or He made is bed, so now he’ll have to lie in it.
  2. The Princess and the Pea: a classic fairy tale in which a pea is hidden under mattresses to test whether a girl can feel the lump under the bedding
  3. “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed.” Something the bears say in the fairy tale Goldilocks.
  4. flower bed: an area, such as in a garden, that has been planted with flowers
  5. bed of roses: an expression meaning an easy or luxurious situtation. More often heard with a negative, such as “it was no bed of roses.”
  6. fortune cookies: If you add “in bed” to the end of the fortune when you read it, hilarity will ensue (in bed).
  7. hotbed: an environment conducive to rapid growth
  8. Beds Are Burning, a song by Midnight Oil. (youtube video)
  9. “5 little monkeys jumping on the bed:” a children’s song/rhyme of the “counting down” variety:

    Five little monkeys jumping on the bed
    One fell off and bumped his head
    Mama called the doctor and the doctor said
    “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”

    Subsequent verses are sung with one fewer monkeys jumping, until one reaches the final “no more monkeys” state. There’s a book based on the rhyme, too.

  10. “10 in the bed:” another kids’ song of the countdown type.

    Ten in the bed and the little one said “roll over! roll over”
    So they all rolled over and one fell out…

  11. in bed with the enemy: an expression meaning “consorting with the opposition”
  12. strange bedfellows: an expression used to describe a situation where unlikely individuals cooperate, having been brought together to by unusual circumstances. Taken from a line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest: “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.”
  13. In Bed with Madonna:” The title of the 1991 Madonna movie (“Truth or Dare“) as it was released in various countries. I saw it in Brazil as “Na Cama com Madonna.”
  14. My Bed is a Boat:” a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson from A Child’s Garden of Verses

    My bed is like a little boat;
    Nurse helps me in when I embark;
    She girds me in my sailor’s coat
    And starts me in the dark.

  15. Come, Let’s to Bed:” a Mother Goose rhyme:

    “To bed! To bed!”
    Says Sleepy-head;
    “Tarry awhile,” says Slow;
    “Put on the pan,”
    Says Greedy Nan;
    “We’ll sup before we go.”

  16. bed head: hair that has been messed up during sleep, or that at least appears that way

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¹Also at times inspiring me to miss the cage-like qualities of the crib. Is duct tape really so wrong?
²You know, I pretty much never make my bed. But I’m clearly not opposed to making a bed list.³
³You know, I really need to get to bed.

girl in bed image source: Ella M. Beebe Picture Primer (New York: American Book Company, 1910), Copyright: 2008, Florida Center for Instructional Technology

along came some spiders

spiderweb1.pngHalloween’s around the corner. One thing this means is that people break out the creepy crawly decorations to get festively creepy. It’s harder to get much creepier or crawlier than spiders. So I offer you a whole mess of festively creepy crawly eight-legged critters for this week’s Themed Things Thursday. Enjoy. (Or shield your eyes, depending on your feelings towards spiders.)

A Few Spiders

  1. Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White. A novel featuring a very smart spider who could weave a remarkable web. One of my favorite books of childhood.
  2. Little Miss Muffet
    A nursery rhyme about a little girl who was frightened off her tuffet by a spider.
  3. black_widow.png       black_widow.png       black_widow.png                 black_widow.png

  4. “The Spider and the Fly”, a poem by Mary Howitt. A poem best known for a first line that doesn’t actually appear in the poem: “Step into my parlour, said the spider to the fly”. Here’s how the text actually begins. (You can read the full text here.)

    Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
    ‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
    The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
    And I’ve a many curious things to shew when you are there.”
    Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain,
    For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

  5. Seven Spiders Spinning, a kid’s novel by Gregory Maguire, an author best known for writing Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.
  6. Anansi: A spider who is a trickster character in many West African folktales.
  7. peter_sm4_8001.jpg

  8. Spider-Man. (Or Spiderman.) The superhero of comics, cartoons, and the more recent live action movies. A man was bitten by a spider and got spider-themed superpowers. Such as a spider sense. Which tingled. (When I’ve been bitten by a spider I’ve gotten a red welt. I guess you could say it tingled. But I wouldn’t.)
  9. Spider-Man,” the song. The theme song from a cartoon version of Spider-Man. Since performed by a variety of artists, including Moxy Fruvous and the Ramones.

    Spiderman, Spiderman,
    Does whatever a spider can
    Spins a web, any size,
    Catches thieves just like flies
    Look Out!
    Here comes the Spiderman.

  10. “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” A children’s folk song. About a small spider, itsy bitsy even, who went up a spout. Then down, then back up.
  11. Spiders,” a song by Joydrop

    When love was fresh like a web we’d mesh
    Nothing felt better than your flesh against my flesh
    One fatal slip one rip a tear
    Touch me now and every single hair on my body stands on end
    So don’t touch me anymore
    ‘Cause it feels like spiders
    Like spiders all over me
    Like spiders
    Like spiders all over me

  12. It: a book by Steven King and miniseries based on the same. Involves a big evil spider. (And a clown.)
  13. spider_1.png

  14. Shelob: A giant, nasty spider from the Lord of the Rings
  15. Aragog: A giant, nasty spider from the Harry Potter books and movies
  16. Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)
    A TV movie with William Shatner, about evil, venemous spiders that infest a town.
  17. Arachnophobia (1990)
    A movie about evil, venemous spiders that infest a town.
  18. A few other random spiders include: spider(a type of pan, basically a frying pan with legs), web spider, Alfa Romeo Spider, Spider (2002), and spider veins.

throwing some tomatoes

tomato_pd.jpgIt shouldn’t come as much surprise that I have tomatoes on the brain. After getting 10 pounds of tomatoes from the CSA this week, on top of the several pounds I left from last week’s 10 pound haul, I have tomatoes in lots of places. I’ve been making lots of things with tomatoes: tomato salad with mozzarella and basil, tomato sandwiches, roasted tomatoes with garlic…It seems only fitting that I should also make me a tomato list. So, this week’s Themed Things Thursday is all about tomatoes.

  1. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg. A novel featuring a restaurant that serves fried green tomatoes. (I expect they served other things, too. But the title doesn’t include the full menu.)
  2. Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) A movie based on the Fannie Flagg novel.
  3. The Tomato Collection. An album by Nina Simone. It actually seems to have nothing to do with tomatoes beyond the title, but I love Nina.
  4. The campfire song “Lord Jim”

    I know an old bloke and his name is Lord Jim,
    And he had a wife who threw tomatoes at him,
    Now tomatoes are juicy, don’t injure the skin,
    But these ones they did, they was inside a tin.

  5. Let’s call the whole thing off.” The song written by George and Ira Gershwin. Sometimes known as “the tomato song,” due to this bit:

    You like potato and I like potahto,
    You like tomato and I like tomahto;
    Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto!
    Let’s call the whole thing off!

    Tomato, tomahto…or, as the Wikipedia tomato entry has, with somewhat dubious IPA:¹

    You like /təˈmeɪtoʊ/ and I like /təˈmɑːtəʊ/

  6. Don’t like tomatoes? Perhaps this website is for you: tomatoes are evil. You can purchase anti-tomato propaganda and play anti-tomato games.
  7. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978). The cult classic movie. A comedy sci-fi horror thriller romance. Oh, wait. Probably not the romance. Spawned (or sowed?) several tomatobased sequels, including one called Killer Tomatoes Eat France!² The second movie, or the first sequel, starred, of all people, George Clooney.
  8. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. (1990) A short-lived cartoon TV show featuring the voice of John Astin. (John Astin was also in all 3 movie sequels.)
  9. I think the best way to end this list is to give you this: the theme song to Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!

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¹ I’d be inclined to use square bracket here, rather than slanty ones, for a start, as the slanty ones suggest a phonemic (rather than narrow phonetic) transcription., and the 2 variants of /o/ (əʊ and oʊ) are not phonemic. At the same time, the onset of that last syllabe is transcribed with a t, which seems unlikely in American English. I’d go for a flap. And I produce strong aspiration on the first /t/.
You know, you say /təˈmeɪtoʊ/, I say [tʰəˈmeɪɾəʊ].

²By the way, that exclamation point is part of the title. As someone who rations out my exclamation points, I feel compelled to insert this disclaimer.

for the birds

Chirp, cheep, tweet. This week’s theme for things is birds. The feathers are flying. Suspect fowl play.

  • 10,000 Birds:
    A blog of many birds, though I haven’t counted them. This month’s Carnival of Color, where my green guys have gone to hang out, is graciously being hosted by 10,000 Birds.
  • The Birds (1963)
    Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller of birds on the attack.
  • Eat like a bird:
    An expression that means “eat small amounts.” Of course, actual birds can be seen to eat constantly, and consume large proportions of their body weight each day.
  • Birds of a feather stick together:
    A saying meaning that like-minded people tend to associate with each other. Happily, there’s no actual sticking together, with feathers. Because that would be messy.
  • My little chickadee:
    This is a nickname that my mother had for my sister and me, her little chickadees. Also the title of a 1940 movie. Apparently was a catch phrase of W. C. Field’s.
  • Phoebe:
    Okay, my favorite Phoebe is not actually a bird, but a small person. With no feathers. But phoebes, such as the Eastern Phoebe, are birds. With feathers and everything.
  • The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe
    The famous poem. (Features the name Lenore, too, which is a family name. Most recently in use as a middle name by my own little Phoebe bird.)

    Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!’
    Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. The Adult Swim cartoon. (Not actually a bird, but a guy who dresses in a bird-like costume. Complete with wings.)

    Once a third-rate superhero, Harvey Birdman is now a third-rate lawyer trying like hell to get by in a fancy law firm. It’s not clear whether Harvey actually went to law school, but he definitely knows the things to say to sound like a lawyer. And he has a suit now, that’s for sure.

  • Woodsy Owl
    A mascot for the United States Forest Service. “Give a hoot. Don’t pollute.”
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  • The Golden Goose:
    A fairy tale about a goose with feathers of gold.
  • We have several yellow birds that bear little resemblance to actual yellow birds:

  • Big Bird, of Sesame Street. Large, yellow, feathered.
  • Woodstock, of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts. Small feathered friend of Snoopy.
  • Tweety Bird, the Looney Tunes bird.
    He tought he taw a putty tat.
  • There are also heaps o’ ducks, chickens and penguins. I could easily make a list about each of those. Maybe I will at some point. But for now, lets say…Daffy, The Little Red Hen and Opus.
  • This bird list could go on and on, but I’ll stop there for now.