Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Aarrh, Pirates!

Those of you who have arrived here by way of my brothers' blogs will be aware that they had a screenplay accepted as a finalist in the Duke City Shootout, a film festival in which the finalists get one week in which to shoot and edit, by totally digital means, a short film. Jer and fuego's screenplay, "Pirates of the White Sand," won the Federico Fellini award for best international submission, and so they've spent the past week making their dream into reality. This evening (OK, well, it's officially yesterday by now) was the screening and awards ceremony. As far as I know, they're still out celebrating, so most likely you heard it first from me.

Allow me first to say that they were up against some really stiff competition. All of the films were excellent. Among the competitors were a film in which a biker makes a deal with the Devil and gets the better of him, a comedy that totally nails the angst of an insecure middle-school girl and then gives her nemesis the ultimate comeuppance, and a mini-film-noir about a young woman using shady means to bring down a corrupt senator.

I'll allow Jer to publish details on his blog, but for the short skinny, "Pirates of the White Sand" got two of the big awards. Miguel, who played the pirate captain Moab, got Best Actor. And the film itself got the Audience Award.

It's like the Academy Awards -- a comedy almost never wins Best Picture. As soon as the other dramatic film was announced as a runner-up, I knew "Miss Liberty" was going to get Best Picture. And it deserved it. There was a whole lot of good acting, and the music underlying the picture was compelling. That music had a whole lot to do with why I liked the picture.

Still, "Pirates" was a whole lot of fun. I'm looking forward to hosting a screening party at Five O'Clock Somewhere.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Wild country

Earlier this evening, Tres was sitting on the windowsill of the living-room window that opens onto the front deck, and he was yowling and yowling and yowling. So I got up to see what had him so agitated. I turned off the room light, and I peered out the window. I could definitely sense something was there, but at first I couldn't tell what. Gradually, as my eyes became adjusted to the dark, I first became aware of a pair of eyes that intermittently made their presence known by the occasional flicker of reflected light. Then, as my eyes became more dark-adjusted, I began to see the occasional flash of white. Eventually, I was able to make out two white bands, roughly parallel, elegantly curving, narrowing down to a graceful point. Yep, Tres wanted to make friends with a skunk.

That got me to thinking. So many people want to move out into the country, but they're not prepared for the inconveniences. One community in New Mexico even went so far as to produce a brochure to explain the trade-offs to prospective buyers of rural property, but business leaders and some (but far from all) real-estate people didn't like having a document around that discouraged prospective residents -- never mind that people who aren't prepared for rural life shouldn't move to the country.

So we get city folks moving out into the country, or the woods, or wherever, who just don't understand the hardships, and who then try to make the country into what they thought it should be. They try to impose city standards on country living, and they have unrealistic expectations -- they expect to live in a place that has clean, sweet-smelling air to breathe, and lots of peace and quiet, but they also expect convenience and services that they might have thought were available everywhere, but which, in reality, don't happen in the country, such as having people come by once or twice a week in a truck to pick up the trash.

True story: A woman in a rural community near Albuquerque was peacefully minding her business: She raised hogs and boarded horses, as well as growing a few acres of alfalfa to feed the horses. Her family had been doing the same thing with the land for more than 50 years. A very wealthy person bought the next farm over and constructed a million-dollar mansion. Once the new neighbor moved into the mansion, he sued the farmer, because her operations caused unpleasant odors and drew flies. That particular case, the rich guy lost, because the hog-and-horse operation had existed before he bought his property.

But still, there are a whole lot of people who are not millionaires, but who believe that when they move to the country, they're getting rid of big-city problems, and that the country doesn't have any problems.

First: The country contains livestock -- that is, farm animals. The "fresh air" that the country has is, indeed, free of industrial fumes and motor vehicle exhaust, but where there's livestock, there's manure, and manure smells. A responsible farmer will manage manure in a way that reduces the odor, but there's no way to eliminate it completely. Likewise the "peace and quiet" of the country is far from silent. Livestock makes noise. Cows moo, chickens cluck, and roosters crow. If a person has trouble sleeping because of all the city noise, that person will have the same problems with country noise -- although a rooster crowing would generally not be as alarming as a police siren.

Second: The country contains wildlife. If you plant a garden full of stuff that rabbits and deer love, the rabbits and deer will eat it. If you allow a small dog to stray, it will become a meal for something -- a coyote, hawk, eagle, owl, bobcat, bear, or possibly even a mountain lion. If you move into a neighborhood full of deer, you have no right to complain when they eat your vegetable garden. If you want a vegetable garden, you should not move to a place where the deer eat vegetable gardens, unless you're prepared to protect your vegetable garden with an 8-foot-high electric fence. And you should not expect the government or neighborhood association to pay for your electric fence.

Third: The country is not full-service living. In general, people who live in the country don't get ANYTHING delivered to the door. Mail is usually at a post office box, or at a community mail station out at the nearest highway. Deliveries from FedEx and UPS go to someone else who has an address on a public road -- in the case of Five O'Clock Somewhere, it's a restaurant out on the highway. Trash is not picked up from the front of the driveway; it has to be taken to a transfer station a few miles away. Telephone service and electricity are far less reliable than in the city, because the lines are stretched out over many miles. Road maintenance is different, too. Many properties are on private roads, which means the government isn't maintaining the road. Homeowners have to pool their money with others who live along that road to keep it up. Here at Five O'Clock Somewhere, the organization that maintains the road does an excellent job. Our road has been called the best private road in Rio Arriba County. But anyone who is thinking of buying a rural property should check out the road maintenance before completing the sale.

Rural living has immense rewards. But it also has drawbacks, and it is important that anyone who buys a rural property should understand what those drawbacks are and be prepared to live with them.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Grammar moment: Oh, those confusing verbs!

A comment on another post raised the question of the difference between the verbs lie and lay. In addition to that pair, two others often cause confusion: sit/set and rise/raise. All three pairs have the same problem -- one verb is intransitive, meaning that when you do it, you do it yourself and you don't do it to some other person or object, while the other is transitive, which means you do it TO something.

Intransitive: lie -- to recline
Present tense: I lie on the beach all the time. WCMIK lies on the beach all the time.
Past tense: I lay on the beach yesterday.
Present participle: I like lying on the beach.
Past participle: I have lain on the beach every day for a month.

Transitive: lay -- to put (something) down
Present tense: I lay flowers on the memorial every month. WCMIK lays them too.
Past tense: I laid flowers there yesterday.
Present participle: Laying flowers is a valuable tradition.
Past participle: I have laid flowers for many years.

Intransitive: sit -- to be seated
Present tense: I always sit in the front row at the cinema. WCMIK always sits in the front row.
Past tense: I sat in the front row yesterday.
Present participle: Sitting in the front row is good.
Past participle: I have sat in the front row for ages.

Transitive: set -- to put (something) down
Present tense: I set the table every day. WCMIK sets the table every day.
Past tense: I set the table yesterday.
Present participle: My favorite chore is setting the table.
Past participle: WCMIK has set the table for years.

Intransitive: rise -- to get up
Present tense: I rise every day at noon. WCMIK rises every day at noon.
Past tense: One day, many years ago, I rose at eleven.
Present participle: Rising earlier doesn't work for me.
Past participle: I have risen at noon for most of my life.

Transitive: raise -- to lift or bring (something) up
Present tense: I raise well-behaved cats. WCMIK raises well-behaved cats.
Past tense: My old English teacher raised well-behaved cats when I was a kid.
Present participle: Raising well-behaved cats is essential.
Past participle: Smart people have raised well-behaved cats since the days of ancient Egypt.

All of this may be difficult to memorize; the best way to learn is through practice. But the key question to ask, whichever of these verb pairs is giving you trouble, is "Is there a direct object? Is this action being done TO something?" If the answer is yes, you use the transitive form. If not, use the intransitive.

Finally, a word to all of the dog owners and trainers out there: Please stop teaching your pets improper grammar! Don't command them to "lay down" when what you really want them to do is "lie down."

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A car for WCMIK

So .... the World's Cutest and Most Intelligent Kid (aka WCMIK) is soon to start Driver's Ed. At some point thereafter, he will have a driver's license, and he will want a car of his own.

The thought is more than a little bit frightening. Young, inexperienced drivers, especially the male ones, have a high likelihood of becoming involved in traffic accidents, and these accidents often involve serious injuries, or even death. There's also a financial burden -- even with discounts for driver's ed and taking the insurance company's safe-driving course and being a good student, when WCMIK gets his driver's license, the cost for our car insurance will more than double. If we end up getting a third vehicle, we have to deal with the costs of insuring and operating that car.

We already know we're going to be setting forth a lot of ground rules. For example, if WCMIK's grades fall below the level at which the good-student discount applies, his driving privileges will be revoked until the grades come back up. If we get an additional vehicle, at least some of the costs of operating that vehicle will be his -- Pat and I haven't figured out details yet, but the general thought is that we pay basic preventive maintenance, and he pays for gas, repairs necessitated by his own negligence, and any improvements or customization he wants to do -- and if he's paying for the improvements, we as parents won't veto anything unless it's unsafe or obscene.

So I've been thinking about what sort of car WCMIK ought to get.

Brand-new Camaro or Mustang: Utterly out of the question. I am astonished at the number of kids who believe it is their right to get a Camaro for their 16th birthday, no matter what -- and the number of irresponisble parents who actually buy into that myth. Ford has even issued a warning to dealers (lawsuit protection, I'm sure) not to sell a Mustang if they suspect the primary driver will be a teenager. Since a primary characteristic of teenagers is acting before thinking, I don't want the acting part to be connected to the accelerator of a car that does 0 to 60 in far less time than it takes for the thinking to kick in.

1996 Chevy Cavalier: It's a decent, solid, reliable car. It gets the job done. It's not pretty. It's not a hot rod, although with good tires, it has really great handling. Yeah, it's the kind of car a self-respecting teenager wouldn't want to get caught dead in -- but maybe that means he avoids driving in such a manner that he would end up dead. Also, if he totals it, it's not worth much, so it's not a major loss. There's a bonus for me: If El Caballero becomes his car, I get a new one.

2000 Ford Expedition: Scary. An inexperienced driver in a large, clumsy vehicle could really do some damage to whatever he runs over. Crushing the occasional Yugo might be seen as a public service, but there's no telling what else he might flatten. Yeah, Babe is good for the Boy Scout stuff, but the Scouts require adult supervision anyway, and WCMIK doesn't need need a large SUV for day-to-day driving around town.

1989 Volvo 240: This was our original plan -- it's WCMIK's great-aunt's car. She loves her Volvo, but we thought that we might get her to part with it if we stood her the down payment on a new Volvo. The thing is built like a tank, so safety is taken care of. It's had one owner, who has maintained it fastidiously, so it's reliable. Unfortunately, Auntie has moved out of town, so her car's not as available as it used to be.

1983 Lincoln Town Car: It's an heirloom from Pat's family. It's lived in a climate-controlled garage for all of its life, so it's in good condition for its age, but it does need some minor body work (a dent in one of the doors) and the air conditioner needs rebuilding. I see huge potential for the car to become a major work of art -- it's a veritable cathedral in the rough. This car can also keep the kid out of trouble -- he will be spending so much time keeping the engine running (it's vacuum-hose city under the hood, which means a lot of time tracking down vacuum leaks to fix whatever goes wrong) and doing the artistic customizing that this car cries out for, that he will not have time to get into mischief.

1975 Olds 98: Like the Town Car, but more so.

I'll be setting up a poll for easy, quick, short answers, but I'd like for people also to ring in with their opinions and reasoning here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Scary -- REALLY scary

So now that I have this blog up and running, even if it's not running perfectly yet, I want to let people know about it, especially people from my past. So I try to track down an email address for the English teacher who, way back when I was in second grade, even though she taught sixth grade at the time, actually got me into this English-teaching mindset. And I also want to find the person who was a colleague as a journalism student and a heavy-duty girlfriend, and just about the greatest optimist I ever knew.

The English teacher had a fairly simple lookup: the home phone, and therefore nearly all records, are in the name of her late husband, so it was easy to get everything but an email address. When I tried to get the email address, what I got was a notice that there was an unlisted phone number for her husband, and another unlisted phone number for her, and that if I authorized a charge on a credit card, I could get those numbers. Since all I wanted was an email address, I declined.

The lookup on the fellow journalist was much more troubling. I didn't get anything even remotely referring to an email address. Instead, I got multiple reports that, without giving details, implied she was a delinquent of the highest degree, implicated in drug trafficking. I know that it is utterly impossible that she could possibly be involved -- she was the team mascot, and as such, she had to pass all the same drug tests as the players on the team. Plus, I knew her personally, and I know that she could not possibly have done anything drug-related. But still, the "free previews" of the background-checking companies portrayed her as a dangerous individual. I just wanted to find her email address, but instead, what I find are all sorts of bits of false and/or misleading information about her. And I can't even warn her about all of that false information, because I can't find her real email address.

For some number of dollars, there are Internet companies that will produce sufficient evidence to convict whoever the payer wants to convict -- assuming the person in the gunsights is NOT a septuagenarian retired English teacher, but a young adult with a rebellious background. That's scary.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Looking like a local

Well, I had to come down to the big city ... El Caballero had picked up a nail in a tire. The limited-service spare wasn't suitable for the road between Five O'Clock Somewhere and the highway, or for the highway itself. I got a can of flat-repair stuff, but it wasn't suitable for highway speeds, and according to the label, it would have caused a whole lot of problems for whoever had to fix the tire later. So I had Pat bring up a new (but cheap), full-size tire and wheel. That allowed me to drive El Caballero to Albuquerque so I can get the punctured tire repaired, or more likely, buy new tires all around -- the old ones are pretty near worn out.

I stopped at a local place to fuel up, since my gas gauge was running low. As I was pumping my gas, it occurred to me that I really did look like a local -- I had a ten-year-old, cheap American car, very dirty, with a bit of body damage, and my tires didn't even match.

The other weird thing was that, at the level the fuel gauge had been at, in Albuquerque, it would have taken 12 gallons to fill the tank. Up north, it only took 10. When I made calculations based on the odometer mileage, El Caballero had been getting 35 miles per gallon. When I fuel the car in Albuquerque, even if coming right off a trip up north, I only get about 30. The best conclusion I can come to is that a gallon is bigger in Rio Arriba County than it is in Albuquerque.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Allow me to introduce ... Dulce and Tres

Since cats are one of the topics to be discussed here, I'd better get around to introducing mine. They're both adopted from the Humane Association, and they demonstrate the joys of adopting a shelter animal as well as getting a grown or near-grown animal rather than a kitten or puppy.

Dulce, the tortoiseshell, was a stray picked up in the East Mountains during a blizzard. When we got her, she was extremely skinny, with such thin fur that at her initial checkup, the vet's assistant put "Domestic Short Hair" in the "breed" blank in her health file. My comment at the time was, "She'd never win any beauty contests, but she'd definitely get the 'Miss Personality' award" -- she really knew how to turn on the charm to get what she wanted. However, after a couple of months of living in a warm house with plenty of food, she filled in and fluffed up, and she's now a stunning, long-haired beauty queen.

Tres, the white cat with gold trim, was an adolescent cat when we got him, with many of the same traits as a human teenager, such as long legs that stuck out all over the place and a clumsiness that comes from not yet being used to the recent growth spurt. Dulce took him in like a good mama cat, giving him hunting lessons and washing his ears, both to keep them clean and to assert command. He's still long and skinny (he thinks he's a cheetah and loves to dash from one end of the house to the other), but at least he's not as clumsy as he used to be.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Poetry corner: Robert Browning

Last time, we looked at Elizabeth Barrett Browning; this time, let's see what her husband, Robert, did. This isn't a complete poem; rather, it's the closing lines of "A Grammarian's Funeral," in which the grammarian's mourners have been climbing a mountain to find the proper place to lay him to rest.

Well, here's the platform, here's the proper place:
Hail to your purlieus,
All ye highfliers of the feathered race,
Swallows and curlews!
Here's the top-peak; the multitude below
Live, for they can, there:

This man decided not to Live but Know--
Bury this man there?
Here--here's his place, where meteors shoot, clouds form,
Lightnings are loosened,
Stars come and go! Let joy break with the storm,
Peace let the dew send!
Lofty designs must close in like effects:
Loftily lying,
Leave him--still loftier than the world suspects,
Living and dying.

Whew. This guy really had a lot of respect for us grammarians. This is definitely a poem that I can come back and reread when I feel as if nobody really cares what I'm up to.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

So THAT'S what that funny smell was ...

Back a couple of years ago, when we first had Five O'Clock Somewhere delivered and set up, the setup guys were supposed to give us the keys, but they either "forgot" or "lost" them, so we had to get the dealer to make us new ones.

Yesterday, a family in Albuquerque began to move into their new manufactured home, when they discovered a deranged, drugged-out man in the living room. Turns out he was a buddy of one of the setup guys -- who also was one of our setup guys -- who would give his friend keys to homes that had just been set up but not occupied yet, so the buddy could hang out in those houses and smoke meth. The setup guy also reportedly often joined his buddy doing drugs in the new houses. In this case, the buddy lost track of the date and/or time, so he didn't get out of the house before the new owners arrived. Since manufactured homes are known to have unpleasant chemical smells when they're first set up, nobody had noticed anything amiss -- or at least amiss enough to report. I had sort of wondered about the 32-ounce malt liquor bottle, since, aside from the setup guys, the contractors we had working on the place were a devout Mormon, a dedicated Seventh-Day Adventist, and a dyed-in-the-wool Southern Baptist.

So now the setup guy has been fired, and he and his buddy have been arrested.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A grammar moment: quotation marks

I have been observing very often of late serious misuse of end punctuation marks when combined with quotation marks, and as a public service, I will now clarify how the American rules apply.

First, periods and commas always go inside the closing quote mark, regardless of whether they are part of the quoted material:

Eric Moneymaker called "all in," and then he laid down his pair of aces.
After the politician lost the election recount, he commented that he had been "am-Bushed."

Second, colons and semicolons always go outside the closing quote mark, also regardless of whether they are part of the quoted material:

There is one essential step to becoming a "made man": killing someone.
"All's fair in love and war"; still, you might want to set some ground rules.

Finally, question marks and exclamation points will go inside the closing quote mark if they're part of the material being quoted, outside if they're part of the surrounding sentence:

Did I hear someone say "free beer"?
The crowd rose to its feet, yelling, "Free beer!"

One warning: These are the American rules. In Britain, the rules on commas, periods, colons, and semicolons are exactly reversed from the American rules. In Europe, the rules vary, but for the most part they seem to more closely resemble the British rules than the American ones. On this site, when I am quoting from British materials, I will use the British conventions as used in the source material, but for all other situations, I will use the American rules.

Waiting for the Monsoon

In spite of (or according to some of the weather people, because of) having a nice, wet winter and early spring, our summer monsoons haven't arrived yet, but we're waiting.

For those of you unfamiliar with New Mexico weather, the summer monsoons are rainstorms that pop up nearly every afternoon during the summer, starting about the Fourth of July. For farmers, those rainstorms are critical, and for everybody else, they're important for maintaining the state's water supply. This year, we've had a few storms pass through, but the monsoon pattern hasn't started yet. The system in the atmosphere that generates the monsoon rains hasn't gotten itself organized yet.

However, Hurricane Emily may give the monsoons a kick in the pants. After throwing a lot of nasty weather at northern Mexico and the southern end of Texas, she's expected to turn northward. Her energy and moisture may be just the thing to get the monsoons started.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Thrift shop bargains

While shopping for furniture for Five O'Clock Somewhere, Pat and I discovered the joys of thrift shops. While our initial motivation was furnishing a 2100-square-foot house without spending too much money, we have also discovered that a good thrift shop is also a great place for clothes, and a fantastic place to get books. Two of our favorites are in Pagosa Springs, one run by the Methodist Church, and the other by the Humane Society. It was at the Methodist shop that I found the volume of Elizabeth Barrett Browning that I mentioned in an earlier post. It's a 100th anniversary specal edition, published in 1950, in excellent condition complete with the dust jacket, which has only a bit of minor moisture damage. It was priced at $2, but we got it for $1, because the last Saturday of the month is bargain day (all the clothes you can fit into a paper grocery sack for $2, everything else half price). I haven't looked up what it's really worth, but I'm sure it's a lot more than $1. At the Humane Society shop, I recently picked up a first edition of Jimmy Buffett's Tales from Margaritaville in like-new condition for $3; it's listed at $36 retail in the guides.

It's ironic -- in Albuquerque, I've lived for more than a decade within a few blocks of two of the biggest malls in the state, and never had a real interest in shopping. But now that I've discovered thrift shops, I enjoy the adventure.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A word game

Earlier this evening, on another blog, I poked a bit of fun at beaureaucratic language that pretties up language while obscuring the meaning. These particular pieces of rhetoric go beyond mere euphemism -- for instance, saying an airplane "made unintentional high-deceleration contact with the terrain" rather than simply saying the plane crashed. The state of New Mexico has decided that signs warning of "Dangerous Crosswinds" might scare away tourists, so the Highway Department has replaced those signs with "Gusty Winds May Exist." One of my favorites of my own invention is when I say I have spent time "in pursuit of undomesticated waterfowl."

Here's your challenge: come up with pre-existing examples, or better yet, invent your own ways of using far fancier words to say something pretty darn ordinary. For best effectiveness, avoid verbs, and concentrate on chains of prepositional phrases. If you must use a verb, try to make it a weak one, like forms of "to be." Use the most polysyllabic words you can find, preferably of Latin rather than Anglo-Saxon origin.

Here's an extended example, from King Friday on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood:

Propel, propel, propel your craft,
Gently down liquid solution,
Ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically;
Existence is but an illusion.

Now, we no longer have a merry peasant rowing a boat, although when I come to think about it, he really did have an underlying existential philosophy. So, what can you all do with ordinary phrases and sentences?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

We got us a chainsaw

Out here in the country, it's important to have all the appropriate accessories, and one of those is a chainsaw. Now, Pat and I have purchased chainsaws before, but those were wimpy things sold out of big-box stores, and they turned out to be worse than useless.

This time, we needed a big saw, one that could deal with the dying cottonwood tree in Albuquerqe. We had looked into having a tree service take it down, but it would have cost far more than we could afford. So Pat got a big ladder, and cut off as much of the upper part of the tree as he could, so now what's left is the trunk and a couple of big limbs. So Pat went out in search of a chainsaw.

First stop: the big-box stores. He got one of the bigger chainsaws the store had in stock. He opened up the box and began attempting to assemble it. He ran into problems and called the manufacturer's 800 number for help. He spent more than a half hour listening to the manufacturer's telephone system telling him his business was important to them, in between spates of elevator music. He went back to the big-box store and got a refund.

Then he went to two very small dealers of premium chainsaws, and he ended up getting a semi-professional quality saw, which the salesperson assembled and thoroughly tested before even running Pat's credit card through the reader. The salesperson gave Pat some instruction on how to use the chainsaw properly. And he walked out of the store, not with a box of parts, but with a fully functional chainsaw.

Sometimes, it's good to get a good price. Other times, it's good to get personal, professional service and a high quality product. You want a good chainsaw, you get what you pay for.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Aaarrrgh, bugs!

It's a warm night, unusually humid -- about 65 degrees, and 21 % relative humidity. (At this point, imagine a smirk on my face as I gloat over my relatives in Arkansas, where the humidity is about 90%, and the folks in Albuquerque, who are expecting an overnight low in the high 70s.)

But because of the 15-minute downpour last night (yeah, that's how rain happens in Rio Arriba County), we've got all the bugs. The mosquitos and no-see-ums are eating me alive, and they seem especially drawn to the computer screen. There are now about a hundred smudges that used to be flying insects, smeared across my monitor. I'm going to have to get out the glass cleaner in the morning.

Victorian poetry

Yeah, I know, the advert said there would be only bits of Victorian poetry. And really that is my intent. But I found this volume of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in a thrift shop, and I've found the verses to be absolutely stunning. I've also found them to be much like very rich chocolate -- if you have too much at one sitting, you will end up with digestive problems. So I will present Sonnets From the Portuguese, one at a time.

I thought once how Theocritus had sung
Of the sweet years, the dear and wished-for years
Who each one in a gracious hand appears
To bear a gift for mortals, old or young:
And, as I mused it in his antique tongue,
I saw, in gradual vision through my tears,
The sweet, sad years, the melancholy years,
Those of my own life, who by turns had flung
A shadow across me. Straightway I was 'ware,
So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move
Behind me, and drew me backward by the hair;
And a voice said in mastery, while I strove, --
"Guess now who holds thee?" -- "Death," I said. But, there,
The silver answer rang, -- "Not Death, but Love."

Don't let the fame of XLIII get in the way of all the rest of them.

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere

Due to popular demand, I'm finally (and I hear a lot of sighs of relief out there) starting my own blog.

Yes, Pants, yours was the final nudge that put me over the edge. Take a bow.

Now, I am going to ask that you all maintain a certain level of decorum here. Please don't snipe at or insult each other. I'm still figuring this thing out, so forgive me if I have trouble getting catetories and stuff like that to work right. But once I do get everything running, I hope I can live up to the examples set by such luminaries as Jer and Pants. I have a lot to learn.