Weekend Writing Warriors: Full Metal Librarian (Camel Chiropractic)

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eight sentences at a time?

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Rules are here!


Happy Easter, Merry Sunday, and/or Fabulous Rabbit-shaped Breakfast Chocolate Day—your choice!

In honor of the holiday, early choir practice, two Easter Egg Hunts, and a family birthday party, I’m just skipping over maybe one sentence from last week and laying down eight more about our dear Gladys and how she helped revolutionize the library system after the violent chaos that followed the Second Civil War.

And also providing an image of one smug-looking camel:

English: Dromedary camel in outback Australia,...

“The gang never touched a single Patron, never touched a single book,” Charlie said, “and instead of giving her a word of thanks for defending both, would you believe she was arrested for firing a gun within the city limits and for wounding three of the gang?” 

He shook his head.  “After all the assaults and murders of staff, the destruction of library buildings, the burning of materials that was happening all over the country—“

“Not all of it was directed specifically at libraries,” I said, trying to put out a righteous fire with a teaspoon of reason.  “It was a bad time for everyone.”

“—after all that, Gladys Breitbaum was incarcerated for defending herself, her library and her patrons.  It was the final slap in the face that broke the dromedary’s lumbar region, to mix metaphors.  Leonard Stratton called her ‘the little lady who started the Paradigm Revolution.”


I’ll probably be visiting everyone a little later than usual, what with everything that’s going on and the sad fact that teleportation is still fictional.  If I slip into a chocolate fugue, it may be later still . . . or possibly earlier, considering the sugar rush.  We’ll see how it goes!


Some Simply Amazing Things

Yesterday, Watson told me about a great Buzzfeed video that lists some weird-but-true facts.

That video led me to two videos from ASAPScience which had me spouting random facts at my family* until they told me to stop, please.

And since bafflement loves company, here you go:

And while you’re breathing manually because it’s impossible not to once you’re thinking about it, here’s more:


*Most of them—the first forty-six seconds of the second video featured a couple things I didn’t particularly wish to explain to Sunny at this time.  It’s your choice, of course, but if you haven’t had The Talk with your kids yet, you might want to preview before hitting play. Just sayin’.

Random Thursday: Time Suck of Thrones and some Educated Eggdicators

It’s Random Thursday so I’m shelling out (HEY-o!) my new favorite Time Suck, some questionable Latin, and some eggcellent yolks.

Yeah, I don’t know, either, but ab absurdum seems to cover it . . . 


House Time Suck

I don’t have HBO and for several reasons—only one of which involves Sean Bean’s inevitable death—I think I’m going to give Game of Thrones a miss, though it’s nearly impossible to avoid memes and mentions if you spend more than five minutes online.

But I’ll admit the House Sigils are pretty cool. And that I spent several hours quite some time on Join the Realm making up my own:

House Wesson Alt

And if you really want to lose an hour or two, google “Funny Latin Phrases.”

Ego te provoco.


Not Eggsactly

Jada Swissiedog is suffering from tummy troubles, and has been put on a rice-and-boiled-egg-based diet.

The other day, Watson was boiling a batch of eggs while she made dinner for the rest of us.

Jane came in. “Ooo, can I have an egg?”

“No,” Watson said.  “The humans are having chicken.”

“Oh.” Jane thought a minute. “Then can I have one of the younger chickens?”

Deutsch: Ei in Eierbecher


Concordia Discors

House Samiam


If the Ovum Fits . . . 



“If Easter Bunnies ever create their own government, will they have a Lettuce-lative Branch?”

“You mean to balance the Egg-secutive?”

“Mooom!  You’re such a nerd.”

English: Rabbit shape Français : Silhouette d'...


Cacoethes Internet

House Wifi


In Which Breakfast is Eggsplained

In Which Breakfast is Eggsplained
And you can’t have any—they’re for the dog.


And We Have a Winner!

Because Janie helped . . .

House Sarah2


Poetry Wednesday: George Eliot’s Feminist Manifesto

So shall I join the choir invisible
Whose music is the gladness of the world.
—George Eliot

How old were you, when you found out George Eliot was a woman?

George EliotWere you told right away, as your teacher handed out copies of Silas Marner or Middlemarch? Or were you left to find out on your own and ended up embarrassing yourself in front of the class by making it obvious you skipped the required reading?*

Regardless, it’s no secret now that one of the best novelists in the 19th Century was female, though it may have been at the time. Women were starting to write under their own names by then, but Mary Anne Evans wanted her work taken seriously.**

And for good reason—her novels are amazing. She gets people, she really does, all their pain and joy and meanness and nobility . Silas Marner makes me tear up every single time*** and Middlemarch makes me want to bash some heads together. She was a true storyweaver, she was.

And she wasn’t a bad poet.

For a novelist.

She wasn’t a particularly good poet, either, though to her credit, she seems to have known this and not worried too much about it. It probably helped that the novel gig was going so well.

Only one of her poems is generally considered good enough to be written by George Eliot and while I don’t disagree that ” The Choir Invisible” is an excellent poem, especially for writers and artists, she wrote a few others that I sometimes like better.

It’s a mood thing.

The Radiant Dark
(George Eliot)

Should I long that dark were fair? Say, O song.
Lacks my love aught that I should long?
Dark the night with breath all flow’rs
And tender broken voice that fills
With ravishment the list’ning hours.
Whis’prings, wooings,
Liquid ripples, and soft ring-dove cooings,
in low-toned rhythm that love’s aching stills.

Dark the night, yet is she bright,
For in her dark she brings the mystic star,
Trembling yet strong as is the voice of love
From some unknown afar.
O radiant dark, O darkly foster’d ray,
Thou hast a joy too deep for shallow day.

Or maybe an attitude thing.

I’d assumed, when I first read it, that this next one was an example from one of the many modernistic schools that started sprouting up everywhere in early 20th Century America.^

When I realized who’d written it, I was stunned—no way was it written by a woman, even one masquerading as a man, of Victorian England.

And it’s so different from her novelist voice . . . but not, I think, her novelist’s intent.

I Grant You Ample Leave
(George Eliot)

I grant you ample leave
To use the hoary formula ‘I am’
Naming the emptiness where thought is not;
But fill the void with definition, ‘I’
Will be no more a datum than the words
You link false inference with, the ‘Since’ & ‘so’
That, true or not, make up the atom-whirl.
Resolve your ‘Ego’, it is all one web
With vibrant ether clotted into worlds:
Your subject, self, or self-assertive ‘I’
Turns nought but object, melts to molecules,
Is stripped from naked Being with the rest
Of those rag-garments named the Universe.
Or if, in strife to keep your ‘Ego’ strong
You make it weaver of the etherial light,
Space, motion, solids & the dream of Time—
Why, still ’tis Being looking from the dark,
The core, the centre of your consciousness,
That notes your bubble-world: sense, pleasure, pain,
What are they but a shifting otherness,
Phantasmal flux of moments?

See? It’s almost, to steal a phrase from Natalie Merchant, a feminist manifesto—and would be, in my opinion, no matter when it was written, or when it’s read.

But this last one is considered her best, and I sometimes find it hard to argue.

I don’t often share religious poems—to each our own—but this one, though it has the usual imagery, isn’t usual. It’s a poem written by someone who had set aside the liturgy and beliefs of traditional religion^^ and replaced them with her own version of heaven.

An artist’s version:

The Choir Invisible
(George Eliot)

Oh, may I join the choir invisible
Of those immortal dead who live again
In minds made better by their presence; live
In pulses stirred to generosity,
In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn
For miserable aims that end with self,
In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars,
And with their mild persistence urge men’s search
To vaster issues. So to live is heaven:
To make undying music in the world,
Breathing a beauteous order that controls
With growing sway the growing life of man.
So we inherit that sweet purity
For which we struggled, failed, and agonized
With widening retrospect that bred despair.
Rebellious flesh that would not be subdued,
A vicious parent shaming still its child,
Poor anxious penitence, is quick dissolved;
Its discords, quenched by meeting harmonies,
Die in the large and charitable air,
And all our rarer, better, truer self
That sobbed religiously in yearning song,
That watched to ease the burden of the world,
Laboriously tracing what must be,
And what may yet be better, — saw within
A worthier image for the sanctuary,
And shaped it forth before the multitude,
Divinely human, raising worship so
To higher reverence more mixed with love, —
That better self shall live till human Time
Shall fold its eyelids, and the human sky
Be gathered like a scroll within the tomb
Unread forever. This is life to come, —
Which martyred men have made more glorious
For us who strive to follow. May I reach
That purest heaven, — be to other souls
The cup of strength in some great agony,
Enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love,
Beget the smiles that have no cruelty,
Be the sweet presence of a good diffused,
And in diffusion ever more intense!
So shall I join the choir invisible
Whose music is the gladness of the world.

It should be so obvious, no matter your personal belief system, that she  did join those ranks.

And is waiting, with some patience, for the rest of us.

*I didn’t do this, but I just figured out why I’ve been humming The Moldau by Smetana for a couple days (if you click the link, it’s the bit around 1:14).  My second week of Music History, I was asked what The Moldau was. I answered, “A symphonic poem.” The prof gave me three more tries (A tone poem? A symphony? A nationalist piece?) and then called on That Student—you know the one—who gave me a superior look down his nose and said, “It’s a river in Czechoslovakia.” It’s been twenty-five years, and I’ve never forgotten that. Still like the piece though.

**She also wanted to separate her writing career from her twenty year affair with a married man. Practical lady, our Ms. Evans.

***As does, for much the same reason, the odd little movie adaption of it called A Simple Twist of Fate, which stars Steve Martin in the first serious role I’d ever seen him do. He’s so devastatingly broken in the first half, so grimly determined that no one will ever get the opportunity to hurt him again . . . It’s not a timeless movie, but in many ways it’s a perfect modern emotional echo of the original. But I digress . . .

^I knew it wasn’t Spectrism, because it made sense, which was not the point of Spectrism.

^^She only attended for the sake of her ailing father, who, when she mentioned her doubts about the Anglican Church, mentioned disowning her.

Sister In Law for Sale, Slightly Used, Asking Price OBO: A Guest Post

No, it’s not Sarah today1.  It’s Watson, her intrepid cub reporter and SIL, or, as we like to say, “sister from another mister.”

Today’s will be a post to file under the Lifestyle Section.

It starts off with some depressing backstory, but ends up with a funny kick to the rear.

Sarah is nothing if not highly amused* by the entire process.

I imagine a few of her followers are curious about why, exactly, I popped into her life so suddenly last spring.  Basically, in a nutshell, I woke up and realized that the relationship I was in was beyond toxic.  I am a fixer by personality and extremely loyal, so I kept trying to make everything right, but I was the only one.

And, you know, a relationship takes two.

The last straw came the week I was laid off.  He was being his usual selfish, emotionally abusive self, only seeing what my unemployment would do to his fully-supported lifestyle, and for once, I wasn’t taking it well.

And then he said, for about the hundredth time, “I don’t know why I’m still with you. I should just leave!”  This was his standard way to get me to rush in and fix the situation.  This time, I decided I was going to fix the situation.

I said, “You know what?  That’s a great idea.  Please leave.”

Gobsmacked face.  “But where will I go?”

Epiphany face. “Not my problem.”

It was time to start over and the Universe seemed to be saying it was time to leave the DC metro area.   Which is how I ended up here, sitting on the guest bed of my mom’s basement apartment in Sarah’s house, technically living out of Storage Unit 75, licking my wounds and dissolving into puddles of major depression and anxiety attacks.**

Which, if you know me, is not remotely like me.***  My friends nicknamed me Smiley, because I’m literally always smiling.  Or, they used to call me that.  See the bit about toxic relationship above.

Which brings us to The Kick In The Pants.

Fast CarsI’m a motorcycle girl at heart.  Life is just better on two wheels, that’s all there is to it.  I have a ton of biker girlfriends and we all tend towards loud statements (might be deafness from the wind noise), though our actions definitely speak louder than words.

Truth be told, biker girl actions tend to SCREAM.

So how was this screaming kick delivered, and why is Sarah weeping with laughter behind my chair as I type?

I was told, very clearly by one of them to “get back out there,” an order that held a surprising amount of weight, considering it came from a woman who also threatened to fly halfway across the country, ring our doorbell, slap me upside the head, and then fly home.  She is nothing if not determined.  And loaded.

And when I didn’t follow her “advice,” she took the low road and signed me up for online dating.

And supplied the images.

I was honestly surprised she hadn’t already set up my profile for me.

And she also recruited our mutual friends and they got in on the Badgering of Watson, and sent their own advice, dating columns, ebooks, and other links to dating sites.   And also a shockingly long discussion of what specific star signs to look for.

There was much pushing for an Aries.

I looked that up, ladies, so I know what you were hinting.

Apparently, my friends think I need to get laid.^

Seriously?  Am I that pathetic?^^

You know what—I’m not going to ask a bunch of biker chicks that question, for fear that they will answer truthfully.

FriendsSo over the weekend there was much giggling by Sarah at the profiles on the site, as well as by me.  Honestly, wish you were here, it was ever so much fun.

Our personal favorite was the poor gentleman who selected the screen name “Dungo Love Chocolate.”

Seriously?  Seriously? “Dungo Love Chocolate” was the best you could think of?  I don’t think I’d take that, even if the only other choice was “BigMember4U.”

I need to find my fellow nerds and gearheads on the site:  a “BikerBoy” and “Red2standingBy” and “GeekLove” and “GearHead68.”^^^

Or, you know, just someone nice for a change.~

So you’re welcome to contact Sarah, who might end up my pimp~~ as she goes about her library duties.  “Oh well thank you, I’m flattered, you’re cute too, but I’m married.  You’re tall, though, would you like to meet my sister in law?”

I imagine my dating woes will be a continuing source of amusement for Sarah’s muse, ~~~so keep an eye out for it.

So here’s to hoping Hottie McHottiepants— the tall geeky Aries with a — emails me back.

And seriously, thanks for the kick in the rear, ladies.  I’m your classic Scorpio, so it’s not easy for me to admit this out loud:

You were right.



1Except in the footnotes.  Anyone surprised?

*Not true.  I am completely sympathetic to your plight.  I just choose to express this through snarky comments and uncontrollable laughter.

**And kick-ass movie marathons and spelling tests.

***Except for the movie marathons.

^This one thinks we’d better make sure your mother never sees this post.  Or mine, but mostly because she’ll help.  You are not to set her up with Paul, Mom. Or Ben. I mean it.

^^No.  And I’ll keep telling you until you believe me.Spiderweb Test

^^^Or “MathnSpanishtutor,” “Swissiedogguy,” or even “401KDude.”  Maybe I should go for “TallGuyWantsShortNerd”

~Or under 6’4″,  Ms. Picky. 

~~Please.  I am a yente.  And an unpaid one, by the way.  Please, I’m the yente’s homeless unpaid babysitter cook. True.  Looks good on you.

~~~Ohhhh, yeah.  One of the reasons I married your brother was so I would have an excuse not to date anymore.  Because it sucks in many wild and wonderful ways and is pure comedy gold to one’s friends.