Monthly Archives: February 2017

Healthy As A Horse

I am lucky. I am healthy as a horse, if you take away the arthritis, and I do not count arthritis as an ailment; rather, a nuisance. There are simply no big concerns and if there became one, it would surprise me.

horse-running-on-the-beachSo, why in the world am I compared to a horse?

Sure, this is one big, beautiful animal, but how did human health become equated with a horse? Let’s think about this for a bit. Horses are strong, carry the weight of people or supplies on their backs. They are swift and have the ability to run miles without becoming winded that would require them to slow down or stop. They are workers, hence, the saying, “She works like a horse”. They are also in good shape. Shoot, they get a lot of physical exercise, more than humans get. We humans do not stand on our feet all day, we sit on our rump most of the day. Horses eat plants instead of meats, something only vegetarians do. They are sociable animals — you may see this one above as a solo runner, but if you were to go into the wild, you would see a herd of horses running together. Our modern world is becoming less and less sociable with everyone peering, neck bent into a small screen to play a mind-numbing game or tweet what we eat. So few people today run like horses, in a group. And when humans run in groups we call them gangs, and gangs have a negative connotation, owing or being owned by someone else, instead of running free like horses.

The sad part of being a horse is when it gets sick, it is “put down”. Maybe that is being more humane than how we sometimes treat the sick human. Old horses are “put out to pasture”, and to me that is definitely better than the alternative of sticking an elder in a room with four walls to wither the days away.

Still, why a horse? Why not healthy as a bear? Bears are also big and symbolize strength. But, bears scare me. Horses don’t scare me. Tigers also are big and symbolize strength. Why not, I am as healthy as a tiger? Once again, tigers signify more than strength, they symbolize boldness and fierceness They also would scare me if I met one alone on the plain. I could be its dinner. I could be the bear’s dinner. Even though bears and tigers symbolize strength, they also bring forth a degree of danger. That settles that. I will stick with the horse.

Now, I need to wrap this up because I am hungry as a horse.

Until Friday…have a great week…





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A Far Cry

yellingI’ll tell ya, Mr. Smith’s lawn is a far cry from mine.

No, this far cry has nothing to do with someone yelling over a distance where someone could also say it is within shouting distance. Originally, in the 16th century, a “far cry” had to do with the measure of the land, and the villagers would measure the distance as “within a cry” of the houses or villages. Fast forward to the 18th century, and now a “far cry” meant it was too far away to be heard. Today, I have never heard a “far cry” as a distance too long to be heard or not heard. We may use inside or outside of “shouting distance” when we need to get a message across by the use of our vocal cords. But, that is uncommon to use with technology so readily available in today’s society.

In the beginning of our nation, we also had “town criers” — those were the people who would go through the streets announcing the happenings of the day. (Remember, many people could not read the newspaper or town postings at that time in history, so there was a need for a “town crier”.)

Still, none of these definitions have anything to do with how we commonly use “far cry” today.

Back to the first statement. “…Mr. Smith’s lawn is a far cry from mine.” What I really meant was Mr. Smith’s lawn is very different from mine.” The statement does not tell us much about the differences in the lawn, but it does give emphasis to the differences of the lawn. For instance, my lawn may be well manicured with few ornaments around the bushes. Knowing this about my lawn, when I see Mr. Smith’s lawn with the many ornaments, that is a far cry from my minimalist lawn.

The English language is spoken in more countries than in the United States, and when you visit one of those countries, the English there is a far cry from what is used in the United States. Take England or Australia, for instance — there, petrol is our gas; lift is our elevator; biscuits is our cookies. Similar, but not the same. Even though we understand the language the word meanings are a far cry from what we know in the United States.

Shoot, for that matter, we can go to parts of our country, and the language’s accents are sometimes a far cry when we visit the different regions or meet people from the various regions. I still have a hard time understanding people who are from the Boston area with their accent vs. my Midwestern nasal sound. I have to stop and listen to people who are from the South when they have a heavy Southern drawl.

Funny story about a heavy Southern drawl. Al was a steel structure roofer, and when he was young when the weather turned bad in the Midwest, he would go South or West for work. One winter, he spent his time in the South, and he became friendly with the town’s people, but he couldn’t quite figure out what they were saying half the time. He had one conversation with a man who kept talking about Earl. Someone needed to change Earl, someone needed to go get Earl, someone needed to put Earl away. He just couldn’t figure out who Earl was, so he finally broke down and asked the man who Earl was. The man responded “Earl, you know, what you put in your car. Earl. Ya gotta change the Earl every 3000 miles.” Al finally understood. It wasn’t about another man at all, it was oil the man was talking about! And that is how our accents work. They sure are a far cry from region to region.

We use “far cry” frequently in our conversations. “Our world is such a far cry from yesterday due to technology…This new math is a far cry from how I learned to add and subtract…Cars today are a far cry from yesterday, and tomorrow’s cars will be a far cry from the cars we know today…” There are so many aspects of our lives that are so different from before…believe me, I do not need to be a far cry from civilization to know that civilization is a far cry from yesterday. Or is it?

Have a great weekend…

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Fast Life, Hard Life and Keith Richards

Today I went to an acupuncturist in Tampa. It was my first time visiting this office and having this sort of treatment. I will go back. After the treatment, I went to lunch with friends and we spooled our conversation around the fact that so many musicians have either left the scene due to illness or have gone to the big guitar in the sky. Which brought us to Keith Richards.

The conversation went something like this:

“It’s a wonder that Richards is even alive.”

“Yeah, he’s really lived a hard life.”

“Too many drugs, he led such a fast life.”

“But he’s still going strong.”

“Yeah, but I heard he really likes to tend to his gardens now.”

“Yeah, I heard that Grace Slick likes to tend to her gardens now, too.”

What a conversation, huh!?!

Keith Richards is a unique character, though. He is still standing after everything he put his body through. Think of this —  his younger years were filled with too much illicit drugs, alcohol and anything and everything else you can think of. He has been arrested and put on trial five times for his drug use, and finally gave up cocaine at the age of 62 when he fell out of a coconut tree and had to have brain surgery to put a metal plate in his skull.

superhero-534120_1920There is no doubt that Keith Richards qualifies for leading a fast life. And it has nothing to do with his speed. It has everything to do with his living a long and preponderant life filled with drugs, alcohol, sex and what rock ‘n roll legends are made of — rock ‘n roll.

Don’t get leading a fast life confused with having a life in the fast lane. When you have a life in the fast lane, you may have a bit of danger on your side, but mostly you are active, doing many duties at once and, here’s the clincher, a great deal of wealth is involved. So, leading a fast life means that you are heading toward either jail time or death at an early age, (which Keith Richards has evaded) while having a life in the fast lane is being very active because you can because you have the bucks behind you. Think of another Brit, Richard Branson, or I should say, Sir Richard Branson, who is quite a dare-devil (the dangerous side of him shows his kite-surfing, holding or attempting world records for sailing, and ballooning across the ocean) while holding onto a multi-organization and being involved in humanitarian ventures. He, definitely, is the epitome of living life in the fast lane.

So, what about Keith Richards’ “hard life”. He definitely did not have a difficult period that he went through (or it doesn’t appear so), and we did not insinuate that he was some rich and privileged person who eternally complained about not having enough or getting his way, so what did we mean by him having a hard life? In this connotation, we meant that he lived his life hard — doing drugs, flirting with danger and death. It is kinda like having a fast life but it’s doing hard time while living the fast life. Either way, that is Keith Richards.

And he has come a long way. In the October 28, 2010 edition of BBC Magazine, “…during the notorious Redlands raid of 1967, he (Keith Richards) allowed the police into his home in Sussex because he was under the misapprehension, as a result of copious quantities of LSD, that the officers were dwarves “wearing dark blue, with shiny bits and helmets.”

Say what???

That was then. Now, he, along with being an avid reader, strolling in his gardens, and collecting first edition books for his vast collection of books, has written a children’s book with his daughter Theodora, titled, “Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and my First Guitar.”

May he rock on forever….

Until next time…have a great week…



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Sick as a Dog

No matter who I talk to, there are many people who are either “sick as a dog”, has been “sick as a dog”, or knows someone who is or has been. I can understand that here in the South where it does not get cold enough to kill any bug, whether crawling or flying, or in our digestive system, but I will never understand that in the North where it gets so cold everything, including bugs are gone for those winter months. So, why aren’t those influenza bugs dead in the North?

Just think about that word “bug” — it could mean the kind that crawls or flies, or it could mean the influenza type, or it could mean the type that invades the computer. Bugs are everywhere! so I guess it is reasonable those little critters could invade our body and make us “sick as a dog”. The poor computer could be “sick as a dog” too.
4527Now, being that sick has nothing to do with a sick dog.

When we say, “sick as a dog” we are talking about humans being sick, influenza sick or with a really bad cold with fever. But, how in the world did we associate ourselves with a dog while we are sick?

I found that in the early 1700s in England, they had a saying as being as “sick as a parrot”, which actually means being extremely disappointed if you were to go to the dictionary. But…there is another story here where parrots were taken aboard ships as they sailed the high seas and those parrots ate the raw spoiled fruit aboard the ship and then acted like someone who had too much to drink; therefore, becoming quite sick. So, next time you watch Pirates of the Caribbean and see the woozy parrot, he is not drunk, he is actually sick from eating all that fermented fruit!

Then, when the British started settling the colonies, the term “sick as a parrot” became “sick as a dog” because, let’s face it, even though they are man’s favorite companion, they have been given a bad rap. Every dog will have its day, though, even when it’s a dog-eat-dog world when the dirty dog must work like a dog, but at least the dog tired top dog will be eating like a dog with its bone leading a dog’s life. Hot dog!


Until next week…have a great weekend…

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A Miss is as Good as a Mile

“Close But No Cigar” gave me another request — “A Miss is as Good as a Mile Except in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades”, and again, I never heard this phrase before it was brought to my attention.

This proverb originated in England, and is in the same category as “Close But No Cigar” and “Almost Doesn’t Count”, meaning that a failure is still a failure no matter how close you come to the finish line. Or is it?

Originally, the proverb “A Miss is as Good as a Mile” was Americanized in 1788 from William Camden’s Remaines of a Greater Worke Concerning Britaine, 1614,

“an inche is a miss is as good as an ell”

(ell equals almost 45 inches in old English measures). So what it is saying is that it doesn’t matter how much you miss by, you still miss. Now Americanize it, modernize it and throw in a few more words — “Except in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades” and we see that sometimes the miss is not a complete failure.

horseshoe-hitch-1For instance, take playing horseshoes. When the pitch is made, it is the closest horseshoe to the target that wins; therefore, not all misses are created equal, not all failures are created equal. Jim Kaat, Minnesota Twins Pitcher in 1967, was the first to add to the original phrase, and Frank Robinson, playing for both the Baltimore Orioles and the Cincinnati Reds during his career,  quoted in Time Magazine 7/31/1973, followed suit by saying, “Close don’t count in baseball. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.”

Which brings me to hand grenades. Hey, folks, these are deadly, so if the hand grenade must be thrown, really aim for that target although close enough will still do the job. Like I said, they are mostly deadly and certainly maiming.

Sure, there are some games, some life rules that dictate a failure is still a failure, but there are times when it’s not about failure, it’s about playing the game and getting as close as you can get to the finish line to be the winner. That is the mentality of shoot for the moon and consider yourself lucky when you land on a star. Go for it (your dream) but sometimes you are still a winner when you get close to your target without actually being first.

Until Friday…have a great week…

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Almost Doesn’t Count

Tuesday, I wrote on the phrase, “Close, but No Cigar” which means it came close but it did not succeed, which took me to another phrase of “Almost Doesn’t Count” which basically means nearly doing something is not the same as actually doing it. Well, of course that is true. When you use either one of these phrases it tells us that unless we do something, it’s really not done. Of course, of course, I get it. I can talk all day about accomplishing a project, but until it is completed, it is not finished.

The similarities between these two phrases are close and yet slim.

The first phrase may mean that the attempt is made, but until it is finalized, it is not a success. Look at the TV show “Shark Tank”. Many people come on that show in hopes of being recognized for their entrepreneurship in creating a new product or a new twist on an old product. Some people win the sponsorship of one of the Sharks and their lives change. Some people come close to having a chosen mentor, so they are “Close, but no cigar” — they did not succeed in gaining one of the golden foursome’s wisdom and talent to take their idea to the next level. I believe many people in life fall in this category. We try, we reach for the moon, but we don’t quite make it — we land on a star, which isn’t all that bad in my head.

For another person, the phrase may mean that I did not succeed this time, but I will try again. (Yes, I am the eternal optimist!)

Then, there is the person who talks about completing a project, may even put forth the effort to gather necessary tools and prepping for the project, but it never quite gets started. I think we all know one of these people. There is the man who starts a remodel job but it never quite gets off the ground. He may have bought the supplies for the job, but he never really starts it, or he may work on it for a couple of hours or maybe a day, and then, it sits for days — sometimes years. Then, there is the lady in my stain glass group where she started a window for her husband for his birthday — that was 7 years ago. She keeps saying, “It’s almost done”, which may get a response of “almost doesn’t count”. Until it’s done, it’s not done.

Which brings me to the word of “almost”. We use this word all the time. “I was almost hit by that car”, “I almost have the house cleaned”, “I almost fell on the ice”…, like I said, we use the word all the time.

Which brings me to my use of “almost”. I am almost done with my book. It has been written, it has been edited, it has been read and reread and reread and edited some more, it now has a book cover, and I am almost there. I am in travail (and yes, that is the correct word because there is pain and suffering as I finish my project) because I have never self published before. But there is always next time… when I will know better then.

And there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Until Tuesday…have a great weekend…

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Close, But No Cigar

This saying came to my attention from one of my readers. I had actually never heard of this saying, so I was anxious to find out where it came from and what it really meant.

stock-graphics-vintage-the-circus-procession-viintage-0001vNineteenth Century Circuses were quite the affair to enter a town. People lined the streets, businesses closed and children did not go to school that day. Everyone went to the circus. (I found this information from my research on circuses for one of my short stories, although my story was not set in the 1800s.) Still, in those days there were the callers to entice people to play games. They would yell out, “Close, but no cigar” as people lost the prize, a cigar.

We may have come a long way today to not give away tobacco as a prize, but then, it was the thing to do.

clowns-71271_1280I do not think the games were this easy. And I have never really seen any carnival game as easy as this one pictured. Instead of yelling, “Close, but no cigar” they would have been giving away the tobacco right and left as people stood in line to play the game and receive the prize.

So, all in all, “Close, but no cigar” means you came close to the prize, but you did not succeed.

It’s different from “close call” because that phrase has a danger zone attached. When we say something was a close call, it means someone barely escaped from danger or disaster. We could say that when we narrowly miss being in a car accident or slipping on ice in the driveway. It has nothing to do with a prize, where we can use, “close, but no cigar” when a success as a prize has eluded us.

Then, there is “almost doesn’t count” which makes no sense to me. This is an idiom meaning nearly doing something is not the same as actually doing it. Where in the world does the meaning come from and what are we really saying? I am going to have to investigate this one further. But, this idiom is in the same category as “close call” (I don’t see it) which is in the same category as “Close, but no cigar” where all three have different meanings altogether. No wonder English is so hard to learn!

2e_3268_0_annieoakleyBack to the circuses. The phrase caught on outside of the grandstands, and people started using it in newspapers and movies. In the 1935 movie of Annie Oakley , one of Barbara Stanwyck’s lines was “Close, Colonel, but no cigar.”

It would be fun to watch that edition of Annie Oakley and see if we could identify the line and how it was used in the movie.

So, there we are folks, from giving away cigars at circuses to frowning on the tobacco industry and seeing the demise of one of the largest circuses in the world, our world has changed. But our words live on.


I’ll be back Friday….until then…have a great day!

On another note. The publishing of the book is coming along. I basically have the e-book edition completed and will begin the paperback edition tomorrow. My goal of having everything completed by the end of this month is still in sight. My artist comes Thursday for the book cover. I am excited.



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