Warning! Pitbull fighting is sick, sad, and pathetic, watch this graphic slideshow, “Michael Vick, American Loser.”

The Invitation, a poem by Canadian poet, Oriah Mountain Dreamer.

The Invitation

By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
Yes

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

© 1995 by Oriah House, From “Dreams Of Desire”
Published by Mountain Dreaming, 300 Coxwell Avenue, Box 22546, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4L 2A0
Please click here for more information about Oriah’s book.

If- by Rudyard Kipling

If -
by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

father to son

Baby enjoys his first ride on the swing set!

baby on swing set

Cesar Huesca playing Van Halen’s Eruption…

Poem of a dead soldier: “Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori” -Homer, translated: “It is sweet and honourable to die for one’s country.”

“Dulce Et Decorum Est” is a poem by Wilfred Owen. Wilfred Owen was born in 1893 and died a soldier in action in 1918.

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! — An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime —
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen

Scroll down through these fine poems and leave your own favorite in the reply box, Thanks!

My sixth grade English teacher, Mr. Bobino, made us memorize a different poem or important historical piece (preamble to the constitution, the Gettysburg address, etc) every month. Now with a son of my own, I have been reminded of how much I enjoyed learning a new poem each month and how much I believe a young boy can gain from doing so, and I would like to start a new monthly poem book of my own to learn from as, sadly, Mr. Bobino’s little yellow book has long since left me. Please feel free to add your suggestions to the comments section below. Thank you for helping me with my list.

The Road not Taken, By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

and sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveller, long I stood

and looked down one as far as I could

to where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

and having perhaps the better claim

because it was grassy and wanted wear;

though as for that, the passing there

had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

in leaves no feet had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –

I took the one less travelled by,

and that has made all the difference

A poem to help you learn proper pronunciation through rhyme.

Multi-national personnel at NATO headquarters near Paris found English to be an easy language … until they tried to pronounce it. To help them discard an array of accents, the verses below were devised. After trying them, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months hard labour to reading six lines aloud. Try them yourself.

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh, hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sleeve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.

Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.

Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation — think of Psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.

Finally, which rhymes with enough –
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is just give up!

Some help buying local produce in West Tennessee…

I’ve been trying to educate myself on how one might feed himself with local meat and produce in west TN. Here is a chart of growing dates for different veggies and a list of farmer’s markets in West TN, both of which I found at picktnproducts.org:

West Tennessee Farmer’s Markets:

CROCKETT COUNTY

Crockett Farmers Market at Maury City, F.M. Old Elementary School/ 356 College Street, Maury City, TN, 38050

DYER COUNTY

Dyersburg Food Fair, Farmers Market: (2 locations) Church Parking Lots, Dyersburg, TN, 38024

FAYETTE COUNTY

Fayette County Farmers’ Market, Mkt: parking lot across from the Methodist Church, Somerville, TN, 38068

HARDIN COUNTY

Hardin County Farmers Garden Trade Day, Farmers Market Address: Hardin County Fairgrounds, Savannah, TN, 38372

HENRY COUNTY

Henry County Farmers’ Market, Farmers Market Address: Henry County Fairgrounds, Paris, TN, 38242

MADISON COUNTY

West Tennessee Farmers’ Market, Farmers Market Address: 91 New Market Street, Jackson, TN, 38301

SHELBY COUNTY

Agricenter International Farmers Market, Farmers Market Address: 7777 Walnut Grove Road, Memphis, TN, 38120
Memphis Farmers Market, Farmers Mkt: 545 S. Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, Memphis, TN, 38112
Arlington Open Air Market, Mkt: 12016 Walker Street, Suite 101, Arlington, TN, 38002

TIPTON COUNTY

MidSouth Farmers Market, Farmers Market: 190 Mill Road, Covington, TN, 38019

WEAKLEY COUNTY

Martin Area Food Fair, Farmers Market Address: Main Street in Martin, Martin, TN, 38237

Growing Seasons in West Tennessee:

Growing Seasons

Produce

Availability Date

Apples

June 15 – Dec. 1

Asparagus

April 20 – May 30

Autumn Olive

August – Sept.

Bok Choy

Oct. 1 – Nov. 15

Beets

July 1 – July 30

Bell Pepper

July 7 – Oct. 10

Blackberries

June 7 – Oct. 10

Blueberries

June 21 – Aug. 21

Boysenberries

June 21 – Aug. 21

Broccoli

May 10 – June 10 & Oct. 1 – Nov. 15

Cabbage

May 7 – Nov. 15

Cantaloupe

June 25 – Sept. 10

Cauliflower

May 10 – June 10

Chinese Cabbage

Oct. 1 – Nov. 15

Cherries

June 15 – July 31

Carrots

May 1 – July 1

Cherry Tomatoes

June 15 – Oct. 15

Collards

April 1 – June 1

Cucumbers

June 15 – Sept. 30

Dried Apples

Aug. 1 – Dec. 1

Elephant Garlic

June 15 – Aug. 31

Eggplant

July 10 – Sept. 30

English Peas

July 1 – Oct. 15

Field Peas

July 1- Oct 15

Garlic

June 15 – Aug. 31

Gooseberries

June 15 – July 31

Gourds

Year-round

Grapes

July 25 – Sept. 15

Greens

Apr 15 – Jun 21 & Sep 21 – Nov 20

Herbs

Year-round

Honey

Year-round

Hot Peppers

July 1 – Oct 31

Indian Corn

Year-round

Irish Potatoes

July 1 – Oct 1

Kale

May 1 – Jun 21 & Sep 25 – Nov 20

Leeks

June 1 – July 31

Lettuce

May 1 – June 21

Limas

July 10 – Oct 15

Muscadine Grapes

July 25 – Sept 15

Mushrooms

Year-round (depending on type)

Mustard

May 1 – June & Sept 21 – Nov. 20

Nectarines

July 1 – July 20

October Beans

July 15 – Oct. 15

Okra

July 15 – Oct. 10

Onions

May – Aug. 31

Peaches

June 1 – Sept. 15

Pears

Sept. 1 – Oct. 10

Pecans

Oct. 1 – Dec. 31

Pimento Peppers

July 7 – Oct. 10

Plums

July 1 – July 31

Polebeans

June 20 – Sept. 20

Popcorn

Oct. 1 – Nov. 31

Pumpkins

Sept. 15 – Oct. 31

Raspberries

May 20 – Oct. 10

Rhubarb

May 1 – June 30

Grapes

July 25 – Sept. 15

Shelly Beans

June 10 – Oct. 1

Snapbeans

June 10 – Oct. 1

Sorghum Syrup

Oct. 1 – March 31

Snow Peas

May 1 – June 10

Spinach

May 1 – June 21

Sugar Peas

July 15 – Sept. 15

Sweet Potatoes Plants

May 1 – June 10

Sweet Potatoes

Aug. 21 – March 31

Squash

June 1 – Oct. 31

Strawberries

May 1 – June 10

Sweet Corn

June 25 – Sept. 25

Tomatoes

June 15 – Oct. 15

Turnips

Sept. 10 – Nov. 20

Watermelons

Sept. 10 – Nov. 20

Wax Beans

June 20 – Sept. 20

Frog Salad. Um, you fail.

from fail blog, click to check it out.

frog salad anyone?

El frog es fresco y lavado, senor.

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