20 January 2016

Reading the Classics, or, The Books I Should Have Already Read at My Age...

I have always considered myself a reader, a voracious reader, but lately I'm not so sure.  I feel lacking in the books I have read and have a desire to read the books that many call classics.  I have read some of these, sure.  Oliver Twist and Lord of the Flies, yes, but I had never read until, well, this week Animal Farm.  I have read Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf (and others) but not Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

So, now that all the cataract nonsense is over, it's time to start reading again.  I have my Kindle and scoff if you will, I have over 500 books on it, many of them were free due to being in the public domain.  Many of them are the aforementioned classics, Moby Dick and A Tale of Two Cities for example, many of them, not so much.  I think I have the complete Edgar Wallace in there, which can only be described as formulaic potboilers, but are still fun.

My point here is that I'm going to read more and (theoretically) spend less time in front of the computer.  Spending an afternoon reading a trash novel is still better than an hour on Pinterest or Facebook.

So, yes, my first book of 2016 is Animal Farm by George Orwell.  I think I will add a page to the blog listing the books I have completed for 2016 and see how many I can read by December 31st.

You could also be my friend on Goodreads and share suggestions.

Now, if you will excuse me, I think I will go start Melville's Moby Dick.  Seriously...

20 December 2015

New Poem


Home is where
you can be
to the world,
but the
can't see

-Mark B Hill

08 November 2015

06 November 2015

Friday Night Music with Steeleye Span

This song has been in my head all day so I had to share...

And I've added the lyrics so you can sing along

For to see mad Tom of Bedlam 

Ten thousand miles I'd travel 

Mad Maudlin goes on dirty toes 

For to save her shoes from gravel


Still I sing bonnie boys, bonnie mad boys
Bedlam boys are bonnie,
For they all go bare and they live by the air
And they want no drink nor money

I went down to Satan's kitchen
For to get me food one morning
And there I got souls piping hot
All on the spit a-turning


Me staff has murdered giants
And me bag a long knife carries
For to cut mince pies from children's thighs
With which to feed the fairies


This spirit's white as lightning
Would on me travels guide me
The moon would shake and the stars would quake
When ever they espied me


And when that I have murdered
The man in the moon to a powder
His staff I'll break and his dog I'll shake
And there'll howl no demon louder


For to see mad Tom of Bedlam
Ten thousand years I'd travel
Mad Maudlin goes on dirty toes
For to save her shoes from gravel


Friday Night Poetry with A.E. Housman

‘Terence, this is stupid stuff:
You eat your victuals fast enough;
There can’t be much amiss, ’tis clear,
To see the rate you drink your beer.
But oh, good Lord, the verse you make,
It gives a chap the belly-ache.
The cow, the old cow, she is dead;
It sleeps well, the horned head:
We poor lads, ’tis our turn now
To hear such tunes as killed the cow.
Pretty friendship ’tis to rhyme
Your friends to death before their time
Moping melancholy mad:
Come, pipe a tune to dance to, lad.’

Why, if ’tis dancing you would be,
There’s brisker pipes than poetry.
Say, for what were hop-yards meant,
Or why was Burton built on Trent?
Oh many a peer of England brews
Livelier liquor than the Muse,
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God’s ways to man.
Ale, man, ale’s the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think:
Look into the pewter pot
To see the world as the world’s not.
And faith, ’tis pleasant till ’tis past:
The mischief is that ’twill not last.
Oh I have been to Ludlow fair
And left my necktie God knows where,
And carried half-way home, or near,
Pints and quarts of Ludlow beer:
Then the world seemed none so bad,
And I myself a sterling lad;
And down in lovely muck I’ve lain,
Happy till I woke again.
Then I saw the morning sky:
Heigho, the tale was all a lie;
The world, it was the old world yet,
I was I, my things were wet,
And nothing now remained to do
But begin the game anew.

Therefore, since the world has still
Much good, but much less good than ill,
And while the sun and moon endure
Luck’s a chance, but trouble’s sure,
I’d face it as a wise man would,
And train for ill and not for good.
’Tis true, the stuff I bring for sale
Is not so brisk a brew as ale:
Out of a stem that scored the hand
I wrung it in a weary land.
But take it: if the smack is sour,
The better for the embittered hour;
It should do good to heart and head
When your soul is in my soul’s stead;
And I will friend you, if I may,
In the dark and cloudy day.

There was a king reigned in the East:
There, when kings will sit to feast,
They get their fill before they think
With poisoned meat and poisoned drink.
He gathered all that springs to birth
From the many-venomed earth;
First a little, thence to more,
He sampled all her killing store;
And easy, smiling, seasoned sound,
Sate the king when healths went round.
They put arsenic in his meat
And stared aghast to watch him eat;
They poured strychnine in his cup
And shook to see him drink it up:
They shook, they stared as white’s their shirt:
Them it was their poison hurt.
—I tell the tale that I heard told.
Mithridates, he died old.

  --A.E. Housman

30 August 2015

Sunday Morning Music-Balanescu Quartet

This is my favorite kind of wake up music.  I recommend the CDs titled Lumitza and Possessed (from which this track comes).

Good morning.  I hope you are doing what you want and not what someone else expects of you...

29 August 2015

A Very Tasty Sauce

I have had this recipe from Julia Butterfly Hill (no relation) for at least 15 years now.  I think I even had it as a refrigerator magnet from Utne Reader. It's called Top Anything Sauce.   I finally made it tonight and used as a sauce in stir fry.  I don't think I will ever buy peanut sauce in a bottle again!  I am so excited about how easy it is to make.

So, here it is:

1/4 cup peanut or almond butter
1 1/2 to 2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
2 tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp. of herbed sea salt, regular sea salt, Shoyu or tamari. (I used a tsp of sea salt and 1/2 tsp of Mrs. Dash)
1 tbs Chili Powder
1 tbs. maple syrup (optional but recommended)

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or with a immersible blender (or blend with a whisk)


-I used a little more peanut butter, about a tablespoon more.  I would rather the sauce be thicker and then thin when I add it to the hot vegetables.

-If you like a little more spice add a few drops of Sriracha.

-Toss it with hot lentils and serve over rice.  Like I said, I made a stir fry and added the sauce the last couple minutes of cook time.  Serve that over rice, Udon or Soba noodles.  Or toss it with steamed broccoli.  It truly is a top anything sauce.

-This can also be used as a salad dressing.

27 August 2015

A Second Poem, Yes, Upon Waking


(for Valerie)

Time is not 
a renewable resource
to be frittered away or
spent indiscriminately.
You will, no matter
How hard you hope,
never get it back.
So live your life
doing what enriches
and fulfills
and nourishes
your Self.
And in turn you may have
the potential
to enrich, fulfill,
and nourish another
so that in the very least
they might see the way
to enrich
and fulfill
and nourish their Self

A Poem Upon Waking I

Let's go find out
Before it's too late
Why my feet weigh
So much
and what it will
cost me in terms of years.