Not The Target Market

P.G. Wodehouse: Entertainer and Educator

I have wondered for a long time why P.G. Wodehouse is left off high school or college syllabi. Now that students demand to be entertained rather than educated, Wodehouse would seem to be a natural fit as he certainly entertains. The beauty is that a clever teacher could also sneak in some education.

In 1939, Hillaire Belloc, no slouch himself when it came to writing and thinking, wrote: “Writing is a craft … Now the end of writing is the production in the reader’s mind of a certain image and a certain emotion. And the means towards that end are the use of words in any particular language; and the complete use of that medium is the choosing of the right words and the putting of them into the right order. It is this which Mr. Wodehouse does better in the English language, than anyone else alive…” (emphasis in the original) (more…)

First Words

The Moose’s articulation is starting to coalesce.

He is a chatty little guy and if you listen you can hear “Mama,” “no,” “dog,” “cheese” (his favorite food), “juice” (we enjoy a decaf Arnold Palmer at lunch), “all done,” “yum” and “up” among the general non-stop flow of syllables. He calls The Hunter “Ga Ga.” He understands everything we say. He has been rooting through my bookshelves and is fascinated by English Made Simple.  He carries it from room to room. He is ready. (more…)

Boys and Puddles: A Natural Affinity

Before ordinary football commercials are left in the dust by the super-expensive, super-hyped Super Bowl ones, I want to comment on one commercial I absolutely despise. Watching a lot of football (as we do in this house), week after week I have seen some really irritating ads. For most of the season the Verizon ones were top-of-the-pile irritating. Until this Volkswagon one came around. (more…)

The Medieval Origins of Groundhog Day

Depending on what century your mind lives in, today, February 2, is either Groundhog Day or Candlemas.

Two inches of wet snow fell last night and the temperature is supposed to plummet as the day goes on. Ergo that two inches of snow would turn to concrete if it not removed pretty darn speedy pronto quick. Rats.

As The Hunter and I cleared the driveway, the sky was gray – going from a deeper gray in the southeast to a lighter gray, almost luminous, in the northwest. The clouds were more like fog than clouds, and there were no shadows, or color for that matter – anywhere on the ground.  We were working away in an Ansel Adams photograph.  (more…)

Stalking Your Customers

Recent CVS mailer (with black black blobs blocking personal info.)

You would think that a large corporation like CVS with, one assumes, a fair amount of resources and money to spend on advertising, could find someone who actually knows how to use variable data intelligently.

Instead they hire someone who sends out this. (more…)

A Jonah Day

Jonah Crab claws

A “Jonah Day” is called a Jonah Day because of Jonah in the Old Testament. To recap: Jonah refused to do what God wanted (go east to Nineveh to preach repentance.) Instead he rushed onto the first ship could find heading west. (more…)

The Case of the Missing Editor

Or I Can’t Believe This Moo Book Was Actually Published.

The young Moose, at 18 months, likes to read his books. At the moment he is a big fan of anything by Sandra Boynton, Chugga Chugga Choo Choo by Kevin Lewis and Who Goes Moo?, a touch and feel book published by Make Believe Ideas, Ltd., with no author credited. Probably they were too embarrassed by the final product to admit it came from anyone on their staff. (more…)

Strawberry Preserves from Heaven

The most fantastic strawberry preserves I’ve ever eaten were made by Mrs. W, my best friend’s mother. This was a long time ago. I was perhaps ten. Since then I’ve tasted other homemade strawberry preserves and countless brands of commercial ones. None of them matched Mrs. W’s with what I call that burst of early summer morning flavor – until yesterday. (more…)

Time to Re-Boot

When I first thought about writing this blog, the working title was Letters at Breakfast. I love letters – both writing them and receiving them. Lagging behind the curve as I do, I’m not sure if anyone else even thinks about letters. The world’s attention span seems to be 140 characters, and I get the impression that a letter in a stamped envelope may be rarer than a double blue super moon in a leap year with five Friday the thirteenths.

Ages ago when I was young (even before the idea of email; before Mark Zuckerberg was born; before texts, and Snap this and Instant that), letters in the mailbox were not all that plentiful. Still, they came along from time to time, and I could maintain a bit of hope. (more…)

There are Yankees and then there are The Yankees

Recently The Son, who has always been independent minded, posted a picture of himself and The Moose. The Moose was dressed in a Yankee’s shirt and there was an immediate outcry because of all the teams the immediate and extended family supports – the Red Sox, the Nats, the Giants, the Cubs, the Mets, the Twins – the Yankees are not among them. (more…)