Sunday, February 25, 2024

Pic of the Day


The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
—Proverbs 12:19

Over the years, I have had to deal with unscrupulous and disingenuous individuals, deceitful business practices, and those who attempt scam us for their personal gain. Other than losing someone you love, I think it’s one of the hardest things in life. Sometimes, we are able to see through the lies immediately and can do something about it. 

Politicians lie to us every day, just look at a certain former president of the United States who lost an election by millions of votes, yet he continues to claim that the more than 7 millions of votes he lost by are fraudulent. Many in his party even support this lie. We all know that politicians are going to lie to get elected. I am skeptical of all politicians, because I don’t think any of them are completely honest all the time. However, we are able to vote against the ones who tell the most grievous and/or dangerous lies.

The internet has become a major source of modern day lies. We all get spammed by emails everyday phishing for our information and attempting to defraud us. Usually, spam emails are easy to spot and be marked as spam, and most email programs will even attempt to filter out spam messages. If you use dating apps, there are so many scammers, and you constantly have to look scrupulously at people on dating apps to see the signs of a scammer. Social media is constantly full of lies and misleading information. We have to be vigilant against such falsehoods and scams, but again, we can usually avoid these lies by paying attention to what we read.

But the lies that harm us on a personal level are the hardest to deal with. I think the most harmful is probably when loved ones lie to you, especially when your partner cheats on you. Luckily, I have never had to deal with that, but I’ve also had few long term relationships in my life. What can also be the most disheartening is when we trust someone in our lives maybe it’s someone you hired to work with you who turns out to not to be the person they led you to believe they were, or it’s someone you conduct business with that you find have lied to you.

John 8:31-32 says, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” Sadly though, while the “truth will set you free,” it’s not something that comes quickly, and sometimes, it comes at great cost. There is a expression that may originate in a book written by Anthony Weldon in 1651, The Court and Character of King James: “The Italians having a Proverb, ‘He that deceives me once, it’s his fault; but if twice, it’s my fault.’” In other words, we have to learn from our mistakes. 

None of us want to go through life constantly worried that someone is deceiving us. I haven’t often been in the position of being in the hiring decision process, though it’s become more frequent in the last several years. The first several times I was part of the hiring process, did not turn out well as I’d hoped. I misjudged the people. With one, the top job candidates was discovered to be a nightmare to work with before they were hired, and another one fooled me completely, and I’ve regretted trusting that the person was being genuine. They turned out to be the opposite of what they seemed. Now, I feel like I’ve lost my confidence in deciding on who is genuinely honest and who is good at playing a part by telling us what we want to hear.

The other lie I’m dealing with at the moment is because I trusted someone in an oral agreement, when I should have had it written on paper to have the proof I needed. I worked for an attorney for years, and I should have known not to take someone’s word for something but to make sure I got it in writing. In my defense, I was in an exceedingly difficult situation, and I felt trusting this person was my only option. Now, I feel like an idiot.

I don’t want to go through life never being able to trust anyone, but I’ve learned too many times, and to my detriment, that just because I’m an honest person, not everyone else is. Thankfully, I do have some very genuine people in my life that I can always count on to be honest and supportive. They are the ones who I believe were heaven sent. 

I just pray that the world at large will one day be a more honest place. Sadly, I doubt it ever will be, but we can do something about it. Just as we can live our lives as model Christians, we can also make sure that we are also truth tellers. We may not always receive honesty in return, but if we are truthful, the truth will set us free. That freedom may only come in the next life, but if we live our lives by the Golden Rule, “whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12), our reward will be greater than anything that we can experience on this earth.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Pic of the Day

Moment of Zen: Sleeping In

I slept until 6:30 this morning. I can’t remember the last time I slept that late, or the last time Isabella allowed me to sleep that late.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Pic of the Day

It’s Friday

It’s Friday, but it’s not the end of my work week. I have to go in tomorrow for a few hours to open up the museum for some tours that will be coming through. I really don’t mind. I’ve done tours for this particular group (there are different people each time, but they are on campus for the same reason), and it’s never bad. Tours only aggravate me when there is someone who has specific questions about weapons, engines, or other military minutiae that I don’t have an answer for. Usually, the person asking already has the answer and wants to show off how much they know.  Usually, tours are very easy going.

I’ll also be giving a tour today, but I’ll have coworkers with me who can answer any difficult questions. I can tell stories about our artifacts all day long, but when it comes to specifications of a piece, I sometimes have issues. I’ve also never been good at remembering numbers, so that also makes those type of questions difficult.

Today is going to be another long Friday just like last Friday. At least I’ll get a good dinner at a nice restaurant tonight. I just hope I like the person I have to spend much of the day and evening with because I might have to deal with them a lot more in the future.

Anyway, that’s all the ramblings I have for today. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Pic of the Day


The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
Bertrand Russell

People often have different definitions of what wasting time means. I know of a lot of people who were told when they were younger that they were wasting time because they were doing something they enjoyed. Maybe they were day dreaming, doodling, or even reading a book, but if you think about it, the imagination of poets and writers comes from their day dreams, great artists began as doodlers, and reading is how we learn. We agree with Bertrand Russell that if you enjoyed what you are doing, then you’re not wasting your time.

Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970) was a British mathematician, philosopher, and public intellectual. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Pic of the Day

Getting Over the Hump

I worked from home yesterday. Usually, I work from home on Fridays but last week and this week, we are having visitors to the museum that I have to be there to meet with. It will be another long Friday because I am taking our guest to dinner Friday night. Luckily, there are no major tasks to be done today or tomorrow. I have a meeting this morning and am meeting with a photographer this afternoon for him to take photos of one of our artifacts.

What I’d really like to do today is stay in bed and either read or lay in the dark. Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I started seeing an aura, a reliable sign that a migraine is coming. Since the second round of Botox injections, my migraines have been so much better, but nothing is likely to make them go away completely. With seeing the aura last night, it’s no surprise that I have the beginnings of a migraine. It’s been steadily getting worse the longer I’m awake. 

If it gets significantly worse, I may not be at work all day, though I hope that doesn’t happen. As much as I’d like to stay home today, I have at least one thing to do today which I need access to my desktop computer for. The other reason I’m hoping it doesn’t get worse is that I really need to go by the grocery store on my way home today. It’s something I’ve been putting off that i should have done over the weekend. Going grocery shopping with a migraine is never a good idea because even with a list, I’ll still forget something in my rush to get in and out of the store.

Anyway, that’s all the babbling stream of consciousness I have for today. Have a great day, everyone!

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Pic of the Day

Cold War

Cold War

By Randall Mann


If you can remember the cold war, you’re too old for me.

       —Grindr profile


Because you’re twenty-two, and in your prime,

you silently refuse to date, or “date.”

When war was cold, I had a lovely time.


I messaged you and sent a shot of grime,

then shot some more. It must have been too late.

Because you’re twenty-two, and in your prime?


Perhaps. I’m shifting like a paradigm.

And all the new assumptions formulate

as if our war were cold. A lovely time:


I’ll exercise my stock, internal rhyme—

the currency is yours to circulate.

I’m forty-nine; my interest rate is prime.


Suppose that poverty is not a crime.

Suppose you more or less accommodate,

like war. When cold, we’ll have a lovely time.


Perhaps you’ll click on me in wintertime.

Proximity is constant; so is fate.

Was I twenty-two? Before my prime

the war was cold. I had a lovely time.



About this Poem


“When I read this epigraph on a Grindr profile, I laughed, dryly, and then wrote it down in my notebook. When I returned to it, the villanelle just sort of wrote itself. This poem is in conversation with, and takes a few gestures from, an uncollected villanelle, ‘Complaint,’ that I published in 2002.” —Randall Mann



About the Poet


Randall Mann is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently Deal: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2023), as well as Proprietary (Persea Books, 2017) and Straight Razor (Persea Books, 2013). He lives in San Francisco.


A Note about Villanelles


The villanelle is a highly structured poem made up of five tercets followed by a quatrain, with two repeating rhymes and two refrains. Besides sonnets, the villanelle is my favorite poetic form.


Rules of the Villanelle Form


The first and third lines of the opening tercet are repeated alternately in the last lines of the succeeding stanzas; then in the final stanza, the refrain serves as the poem’s two concluding lines. Using capitals for the refrains and lowercase letters for the rhymes, the form could be expressed as: A1 b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 A2.


History of the Villanelle Form


Strange as it may seem for a poem with such a rigid rhyme scheme, the villanelle did not start off as a fixed form. During the Renaissance, the villanella and villancico (from the Italian villano, or peasant) were Italian and Spanish dance-songs. French poets who called their poems “villanelle” did not follow any specific schemes, rhymes, or refrains. Rather, the title implied that, like the Italian and Spanish dance-songs, their poems spoke of simple, often pastoral, or rustic themes.

While some scholars believe that the form as we know it today has been in existence since the sixteenth century, others argue that only one Renaissance poem was ever written in that manner—Jean Passerat’s “Villanelle,” or “J’ay perdu ma tourterelle”—and that it wasn’t until the late nineteenth century that the villanelle was defined as a fixed form by French poet Théodore de Banville.


Regardless of its provenance, the form did not catch on in France, but it has become increasingly popular among poets writing in English. An excellent example of the form is Dylan Thomas’s “Do not go gentle into that good night.”


Contemporary poets, such as Randall Mann, have not limited themselves to the pastoral themes originally expressed by the free-form villanelles of the Renaissance and have loosened the fixed form to allow variations on the refrains. Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art” is another well-known example; other poets who have penned villanelles include W. H. Auden, Oscar Wilde, Seamus Heaney, David Shapiro, and Sylvia Plath.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Pic of the Day

The Week Ahead

I’m sitting here early on a Monday morning contemplating the week ahead. There isn’t much on my agenda at work this week, except for Friday which will be a long day. My week will basically consist of a few meetings scattered throughout the week, some projects I need to finish up, and a full day and evening of meetings on Friday. Like last Friday, I’ll be heading into work at 7:30 am, and it’s doubtful that I’ll get home much before 9 pm that night. 

At least the evening meeting is at a nice restaurant with great food. It’s rare that I get to go to this restaurant two weeks in a row. I’m looking forward to the Salmone Cucina, which they describe as “wood roasted salmon with artichokes, red peppers, lemon, and capers in a white wine sauce served with risotto.” I’ll probably also get dessert which will either be their Chocolate Ganache Cake or the Lemon Italian Cream Cake, both of which are very good. I had the Salmone Cucina with the Lemon Italian Cream Cake last Friday. I usually get that because it’s an Italian restaurant, and the pasta dishes are not really something you can eat gracefully. 

Other than Friday, the rest of the week should be fairly easy going (knock on wood). I wish we had today off since it’s Presidents’ Day, but like most universities and museums, we don’t take Presidents’ Day as a holiday.

I hope all of you have a wonderful week ahead!