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Elementary, My Dear Watson! October 15, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, People.

Who’s the first literary character that springs to mind when you think Aquatics Safety?


Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde?
The Green Hornet?
Homer Simpson?
Robinson Crusoe?

Hold that thought.

The other day we arrived at the beach for our walk and noticed a red and white striped pavilion-style tent on the beach, with a film crew bustling about.

We walked over to find out what they were filming and to ascertain whether they had all the necessary permits to film on the beach.

Not that I know which permits are necessary, but it never hurts to expand one’s base of knowledge.

Donald-DirectorThe director yelled, “CUT!”

Time for action.

I wandered over to ask what he was filming.

“Hi.  What are you filming?”

“A training video.”

My litigation background kicked in and stood me in good stead as I countered his rather terse response with a question designed to elicit additional scintillating details.

“What kind of training video?”

“Aquatics Safety.”

Deciding to expand my base of knowledge elsewhere, I scanned past the hustle and bustle of the film crew and noticed two actors sitting on the sidelines studying their lines.

Of course, at that distance, I couldn’t be certain they were looking over the script.  It could have been a Take Out Menu for lunch, but I suspected script.

Their distinctive dress was a dead giveaway.  In less time than it takes to flip off my flip flops, I deduced they’d been cast as the first literary duo that springs to mind whenever one considers the topic of Aquatics Safety . . .

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson!

What’s that?  You don’t see the glaringly obvious tie-in between Holmes, Watson, and Aquatics Safety?

Too bad.  I had hoped you could clue me in.

Anyway, BFF and I watched a take or two and then I got a chance to talk to Sherlock during a break in filming.

“Sherlock, you lucky dog!”


“I see you are garbed in a wool cloak, a woolen vest, wool trousers, and a deerstalker cap.”

“Quite right.”

“You will, of course, agree that that gabardine garb would be quite unbearable and, indeed, vastly uncomfortable, if the temperature here on the beach hovered in the mid- to upper-90’s . . . as it has for at least 98 of the past 100 days.”


“And I suspect you will also concur that, given the sudden recent shift in weather from the standard seasonal summer setting of “BLAZING HOT” to autumn’s vastly more reasonable”FUN IN THE SUN,” your gabardine get-up will NOT cause your get up and go to get up and go before the director’s done filming.”

“Quite so.”

“If you will permit me, I will go so far as to venture one further observation.  And that is this:  In light of the gorgeous cooling breeze blowing inland from the Gulf, you, despite your attire, will NOT perspire or expire from extreme heat exhaustion, no matter how many takes the director takes.”


“Ergo. Ipso. Facto.  E Pluribus Unum.  Quid Pro Quo.  Res Ipsa Loquitar.”

“Yes!  Yes!  Exactly right.  I see the reasoning of your logic and the logic of your reasoning.”

“I thought you might.”

“I am, indeed, one lucky dog.”

“Now, tell me old chap.  Just what do you and Watson have to do with Aquatics Safety?”

“Haven’t the foggiest.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Quiet Mind Is All You Need August 31, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Health & Wellness, Meditation.

InfinityIn Journey Into Healing: Awakening the Wisdom Within You, Deepak Chopra encourages us to seek that place inside ourselves that is at one with the infinite intelligence of the universe, the source of life.

There, in the silent space between thoughts, beyond sound and beyond breath, we tap into our inner wisdom and find our Self surrounded by unbounded peace, gratitude, love, and enchantment.

A few thoughts to ponder:

When the mind is peaceful, inner energies wake up and work miracles for us ~ without any conscious effort on our part. (77)

Hand-dipping-in-waterA shift in awareness is the first change. (95)

Quietly, in your own heart, say that you do not want to be afraid. (116)

Intentions automatically seek their fulfillment if left alone. (118)

Complete healing depends upon your ability to stop struggling. (121)

The higher self is that place where . . . [a] mere desire becomes the trigger for transformation. (123)

All transformations eventually lead back to the same source ~ our own pure awareness. (137)

A quiet mind is all you need. (79)


Aah . . . that’s better!

It’s Great To Be A Bag Lady! June 13, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor.

The Friends of the Island Library hold a book sale every year to raise funds for speakers and other expenses.

At the end of the sale, any unsold books get donated to Goodwill.

2016-02-27 15-34-18_0017

That is, they donate any books that don’t get snagged during the Bag Sale ~ when books are sold at the rock bottom price of $2 a bag!

That’s right . . . grab a bag, stuff it full of books, pay $2 and leave.

2016-02-27 15-34-25_0018

I love being a Bag Lady at the book sale!  I fill a couple of bags with books and give them a quick look before donating the vast majority to Goodwill.

Everyone wins!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  ¿Cómo se dice? . . .

Piles of Poetic Jello February 25, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Word Play, Writing & Writers.

170px-alice_par_john_tenniel_30Wading through descriptive prose that sounds poetic but makes no sense is like trying to climb over a pile of jello.

It’s rarely worth the effort.

When poetic prose adds depth without detracting from the story line, a lilting flow is relaxing and peaceful.

In contrast, when writing causes readers to get mired down deciphering images that make no sense, it’s just nonsense.

And it’s distracting.

Mainspring_wind-up_keysBy way of example:

“I am hypnotized by keys, thick fistfuls of them, I can taste their acid galvanization, more precious than wisdom.”

~ White Oleander, Janet Finch


When writing detracts from my enjoyment of a book, I ask myself whether I should forge ahead through the dreck . . . to see if the unseen destination is worth the trek.

The answer is almost always:  Nah!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Dress It Up (El Space)

Learn To Be Still January 21, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Music & Dance.

Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and Glenn Frey died this week, each of them taking a final bow before reaching their 70th year.

Alan Rickman flew under my radar until he sneered on screen as Severus Snape.  Like Dumbledore before him, Snape will live on in my imagination.

And now three favorite songs from musicians who helped transform me from who I was then to who I am now.

David Bowie ~ Rebel Rebel

David Bowie ~ Changes

Glenn Frey & the Eagles ~ Learn To Be Still

My only uncle died this week too . . .


But not until after he had a chance to celebrate his 91st birthday last summer!

2015-03-21 16-04-47_0003

We don’t have forever.  Only the time we are here.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Big Magic ~ Creative Living Beyond Fear December 17, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Magick & Mystery, Writing & Writers.

InfinityIn Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) addresses some of the challenges people face when creating.

In my words, not hers:

Don’t let fear of being rejected, ridiculed, or misunderstood stand in your way . . . you can’t please all of the people all of the time.  Create for yourself.

When ideas come to you, you can grab them and express them to the world as part of your portfolio . . . or let them drift off into the ether.  If  you drop the ball, the Universe will toss it to someone else because ideas want to be expressed.

170px-alice_par_john_tenniel_30When you feel inspiration tugging on your sleeve, be curious and follow it to see where it leads.  Curiosity and Creativity are congenial companions.

You don’t need a signed permission slip to live a creative life or attend a fancy ball dressed as the Court Lobster.

You don’t have to be original to be authentic.  Share whatever you care to share.

It is not your job to save the world through your creativity . . . it is your job to express yourself to the world.

Sometimes the well runs dry . . . and sometimes “inspiration arrives, out of a clear blue sky.”

Some ideas arrive in full regalia, ready for transcription.  Other ideas require a bit a coaxing before coming into being.

IMGP1472aWhat you write, paint, sculpt, cook, or sing doesn’t have to be important.  It can be silly, amusing, confusing, or whatever.  Do what you do because you enjoy doing it.

When you feel genuine enjoyment while creating, you win, no matter what happens with your work “out there.”

You don’t need a professional degree or fancy credentials to create beautiful art.  Just do your thing.

People aren’t thinking about you, they are thinking about themselves . . . so do what you want to do.

Don’t strive for perfection . . . good enough is good enough.

Aah . . . that’s better!

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Writing Without Distracting November 5, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.

220px-Arthur-Pyle_The_Enchanter_MerlinDiversity of vocabulary and a playful turn of phrase add depth and flavor when they complement the prose without distracting from the missive.

That said, writers who douse paragraph after paragraph with lexicon that is not a natural part of their vocabulary remind me of cooks who over-season food rather than letting it speak for itself.

When a writer writes with thesaurus in hand to impress readers with a depth of vocabulary not possessed in common measure, I lose interest and turn my attention elsewhere.

Not that I’m missed.

Aah . . . that’s better!

But what does our distinguished panel of experts have to say?

Woodstock-&-SnoopyJohn D. MacDonald: My purpose is to entertain myself first and other people secondly.

Blaise Pascal: Anything that is written to please the author is worthless.

Marianne Moore: Any writer overwhelmingly honest about pleasing himself is almost sure to please others.

Samuel Johnson:  Read over your compositions and, when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.

SnoopyAlfred North Whitehead: A man really writes for an audience of about ten persons. Of course, if others like it, that is clear gain.  But if those ten are satisfied, he is content.

Mickey Spillane:  Those big shot writers . . . could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar.


Grace Metalious: I’m a lousy writer; a helluva lot of people have got lousy taste.

Snoopy2John Hall Wheelock:  Most writers are in a state of gloom a good deal of the time; they need perpetual reassurance.

Georges Simenon:  Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness.

Peter De Vries:  I love being a writer.  What I can’t stand is the paperwork.

Related post:  Defending the Chamois (Silver in the Barn)

Chicken Soup . . . For The Writer In You September 22, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Writing & Writers.

Chicken-Little-PosterFor those of you who enjoy writing and storytelling, Kate Crimmons shared a link that might be of interest:

Upcoming Book Topics in the Chicken Soup Series

Topics come and go.  Right now, submissions are being welcomed on the following topics:

Alzheimer’s and Dementias Family Caregiving ~ October 30, 2015.

Angels and Miracles ~ November 30, 2015.

Blended Families ~ June 30, 2016.

Dreams and Synchronicities ~ March 31, 2016.

Military Families ~ November 30, 2015.

My Very Good, Very Bad Cat ~ The deadline date for story and poem submissions has been extended to SEPTEMBER 27, 2015.

My Very Good, Very Bad Dog ~ The deadline date for story and poem submissions has been extended to SEPTEMBER 27, 2015.

Stories about Teachers and Teaching ~ June 30, 2016.

The Joy of Less ~ October 30, 2015.

The Spirit of America ~ November 30, 2015.

Donald-Duck-DivingThe site contains additional information and submission guidelines.

C’mon . . . don’t be Chicken!

Dive in!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Experience Inspiration & Wonder July 15, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Fiction, Writing & Writers.

poems_inspiration-1Life is in the details, the cobwebs in the corners, the echoes of tarnished memories tap dancing over dusty hardwood floors.

Writers bring ashes of the past to the surface, quilting tapestries of interwoven gilded threads.

Our words, when real, create connection.

Stories reel us in when driven by believable characters residing in the “real world” (even if that world is make believe ~ like Harry Potter and Hogwart’s).

When characters feel real, we understand where they’re coming from, we relate to their challenges, we feel their pain, and we want to see them succeed.

We keep turning pages.  We wonder what’s coming next.

220px-TennieldumdeeWonder is why I love Mary Poppins, Nanny McPhee, Harry Potter, and Alice ~> the perfect juxtaposition between familiar elements (British nanny, boarding school) with unfamiliar elements (tea parties on the ceiling, shifting staircases, rabbit holes).

These stories cast charming and disarming spells:  Expelliarmus!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related:  The Stanton Effect: Inspiration from a TED Talk (El Space ~ The Blog of L. Marie) * Write From Experience (El Space) * Invoking Wonder (El Space)

Sun Temples and Druids June 17, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, People, Travel & Leisure.

In 1979, my grandfather pondered the mysteries of ancient settlers in the New World, including Druids in Vermont, after receiving America B.C., by Barry Fell from my father for his birthday.

While the book has its critics, my grandfather enjoyed exploring the subject matter:

3/2 ~ “I have received the America B.C. Book. It has a good picture of the South Woodstock Temple “dirt cellar.” It is evident it is an ancient settler building. The markings are a dedication to (Gel) Sun God.”

Intrigued, my grandfather gathered a group to visit the Temple in South Woodstock in May (after the snow melted and the mud dried):

5/1 ~ “I had to write a little to inform you that a group of us, namely Leon and Marjorie, Al & Judy, Margaret and I, attended services to the Sun at the Temple.  We ran into the owner of the land and told him what we were looking for. I took 2 flash pictures inside with the party standing about. It is a sizable room. Mr. Reeves knew me by sight from Town Meetings. There is a fire place near the Temple structure. It is also of ancient origin, I think. The road was pretty fair and dried out. The symbols of fertility have been moved to a museum for safe keeping. Chapter 14 in America B.C.

A few weeks later, he shared his photos with Joseph B. Johnson, who had served as 70th Governor of Vermont in the 1950’s:

6/25 ~ “Another event of the year is past. The Parade of Springfield Alumni. Lucia took Margaret and I to the Johnson’s at 10. An open car picked us up at 10:30. Joe was in front and Margaret, Virginia and I were in back. We are now the second car of old people. A doubtful honor for us.

“I took along a picture of the South Woodstock Temple. It was news to both Joe and Virginia. Joe may get a copy of the book. Margaret is OK after the parade. It is nearing dinner time and we have berries. So I am all set. The sun is out and porch livable. And so we drift into Summer.”

The next year, he expanded his reading to encompass the Druids of the Old World:

1/14 ~ “It is about time I wrote thanking you for Christmas gifts. Margaret is reading the book on the Druids. They were a secretive sort of religious people. The So. Woodstock building seems to match other buildings in Europe, Scotland, and England.”

That’s one of the delights of reading.  The end of a book need not be the end of the inquiry.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related articles:  The Mysterious Stone Chambers of New England (The South Woodstock complex consists of stone chambers, standing stones, and cairns in a natural bowl surrounded by hills and ridges. Besides having close proximity to waterways connecting with the Connecticut River, the beehive structures would have been interconnected by an intricate network of footpaths.)

Related posts re dad’s dad:  The Other Side of Retirement * How NOT To Cook A Turkey * Pragmatic Thoughts on Life & Death * Wry Observations on Dry Politics * Flying Squirrels & Other Silly Bits * Quaint Colloquialisms * DIY Projects, Work Bees, & No Cavities! * Until The Worm Turns * A Real Straight Shooter