Holidays, M-P

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is an American national holiday that remembers all of the country’s war dead.


On this holiday people pay tribute to those who died in military service by visiting cemeteries and memorials, and many volunteers place an American flags on graves in national cemeteries.

Why Red Poppies?

This site has fairly loud music, but is the best in-depth description I have found on why there are red poppies on Memorial Day.

A more silent and general version of Memorial Day and red poppies can be found at The following is quoted from this site.

“Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies.”

Poem extract by Moina Michael (1915), the founder of the red poppy tradition.

“We cherish too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies.”

About This site was created in 1994 to be a central point of information about Memorial Day in the United States of America, help restore its original intent, and to provide others a chance to share their feelings, pride, respect, and honor for those that gave their all. In the spring of 2009 the site’s original creator, David M. Merchant, turned it over to the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) (SUVCW) for ongoing maintenance and upkeep. In 2014 it was redesigned by SUVCW webmaster Joshua Claybuurn.”

Thinking of and remembering all of those who gave their lives for our country.


Bridge over a field of poppy's

M-P, Mythology, Washington

Mt. St. Helens

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Mount St. Helens was in the news again on May 1, 2014 with a new build-up of magma. The USGS says it is an impending “long-term uplift” coinciding with some increased seismic activity. Despite recently making the news, this is just what the volcano routinely does.

May 1 2014 Magma build-up article

This is the anniversary of the devastating eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980, the deadliest volcanic event in the history of the United States.

Mt. St. Helens is the most active volcano in the Cascade Range Volcanic Arc which is a segment of the Pacific Ring of Fire. It is a stratovolcano (also known as a composite volcano with steep-sided mostly symmetrical cones.

Mt. St. Helens

Fifty-seven people died and the animal loss was estimated at 7000 big game animals, 12 million salmon in hatcheries and more small animals than could be estimated.

The eruption column reached 80,000 feet in less than 15 minutes, spread across the US in 3 days and it circled the globe within 15 days.

The blast itself released 24 mega tons of thermal energy. The temperature of the lateral blast was at least 660 degrees and traveling at 300 miles per hour.

The Mountain’s elevation before the blast was 9,677 feet. It is now at 8,363 feet.

CNN Mt. St. Helens Facts

The Klickitat have one of the most famous of the Native American legends of the mountain. In this story, often called the “Bridge of the Gods” the chief of all gods had two sons named Pahto who became Mt. Adams and Wy-east who became Mt. Hood. They fought over the beautiful maiden (once an old crone) named Loowit, Mt. St. Helens.

This story in all its beautiful detail with the various endings of the different tribes is told masterfully at

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On May 18, 1980, what was once a tranquil recreational mountain teeming with wildlife and graced by the beautiful Spirit Lake exploded into the volcano that is known today. Thick ash clouds, mudslides miles long and nine hours of “vigorous” ash emission ended a 123 year slumber. The area is still recovering.

Mt. St. Helens Science and Learning Center
USGS 30 Cool Facts about Mount St. Helens
Extensive History of Mt. St. Helens and surrounding area attractions

~ lisa

Holidays, M-P

Happy Mother’s Day


Happy Mother’s Day to Mothers Everywhere.

Celebrations of mothers have gone on from the ancient Greeks and Romans forward. The American holiday owes its initial concept to Julia Ward Howe, as she first proposed it in 1872.

Julia Ward Howe was a fascinating woman, activist, writer and poet, best known for writing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, but also for so much more.

The concept of mother’s day was then promoted and put into the public limelight by Anna Jarvis, considered the founder of the American Mother’s Day.

For a complete Mother’s Day History see:

My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” -George Washington.

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George Washington did a fairly good job in praising his mother. Today I would like to praise mine.

A bunch of tulips

My mother is a most incredible woman, a woman who lived life to the fullest long before society said she could. She taught me to soar, to take risks, to be bold, and to explore the world. I love nothing more than to talk to her, share a walk, share a cup of tea, and listen to her explorations of the world around us. What we share is a treasure beyond measure. Times that I cherish, laughs that linger into the dark hours, and a sense that there is always someone who has my back, right or wrong, forever.

“A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.” – Dorothy Canfield Fisher

I could spend several blog posts singing of my mother’s virtues and the love I feel for her, but today I will simply stop with what we all have in common: a profound love and gratitude for all the women, no matter who they may be, who have played the roles of our mothers.

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible” ~Marion C. Garretty


Happy Mother’s Day, Mom Lily and the Bee

And for those of you who have procrastinated, this is a great site for those last minute ideas and poems:


The National Awareness Month of May

America is well-known for many organizations claiming a month to promote awareness.

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For May, I counted 70 National Months of “fill in blank”, everything from Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month to Young Achievers of Tomorrow Month and there are probably many more.

I can only cover a few, but if there are some I left out (non-commercial May Awareness subject and sites only), or more information to add to a specific one, please add such to the comments and I will publish the on-going discussion threads.

National Mental Health Month
There are many ways we stay mentally healthy, understand and emphasize with those who are struggling, and move beyond the stigma and shame to stage of helping and moving forward.

Better Sleep Month
Sleep-starved Americans are in the midst of a national sleep epidemic, yet consciously choose against getting more rest.”

Correct Posture Month
Guilty. I definitely have to enter a guilty plea on this one. Contributing poor posture factors include: “Sedentary activities such as sitting, reading, playing video games, using a computer…”

National Stroke Awareness Month

Even though I have listed the FAST acronym of things to check if there is a suspected stroke go to the site and learn much more.
F = Face: Does the face droop on one side when the person smiles?
A = Arm: After raising both arms, does one of the arms drift downwards?
S = Speech: After repeating a simple phrase, does the persons speech sound slurred or strange?
T = Time: In the US call 9-1-1 if any of the above are true (in the UK call 999)

High Blood Pressure Month
This covers everything you need to know about high blood pressure, the risks, the solutions, and just what is considered normal. See above about the risk of stroke.

National May Health Months:
Go to the above National May Health Month site for information on the following:

ALS, Arthritis, Asthma and Allergy, Better Hearing and Speech, Better Sleep, Celiac, Clean Air, Correct Posture, Cystic Fibrosis, Hepatitus, Huntington’s Disease, Lyme Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer Research, Crohns and Colitis, High Blood Pressure Education, Lupus, Melanoma Skin Cancer, Mental Health, Neurofibromatosis, Osteoporosis, Physiotherapy, Stroke Awareness

On the lighter side it is Personal History Month
According to their website: “The month of May is set aside by personal historians as the month to generate awareness about the importance of personal history. The Association of Personal Historians (APH) officially recognizes this month and encourages people to do something to preserve their personal and/or family history.”

National May Foods

Foods not only for the month of May, but day by day celebrations of various foods.
On the National May Food celebrations: Barbecue, Hamburger, Salad, Salsa, Strawberry, Egg, Asparagus, Chocolate Custard, and Beef
From the serious (Action for Brain Injury) to the comedic (Be Nice to Nettles). Also a place where you can start your own national awareness day.

Get Caught Reading Month


See also: Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, Haitian Heritage Month, Jewish-American Heritage Month, Awareness of Medical Orphans Month, Family Wellness Month, Foot Health Month,
Go Fetch! Food Drive for Homeless Animals Month, Heal the Children Month, Meditation Month, National Foster Care Month, National Family Month, National Military Appreciation Month National, National Revise Your Work Schedule Month, Teen Self-Esteem Month

PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF I HAVE LEFT ANY (non-commercial) AWARENESS MONTHS OUT by using the comment field to continue the discussion or add information to those of importance to you.

Author, M-P, People

Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli
Born on May 3, 1469.

Niccolo Machiavelli was a most complex man: a writer, poet, a pundit of political and military theory, songwriter, a guidance counselor to princes, a reviled humanist, and a man who lent his name, not only to a psychological syndrome, but to as a somewhat derogatory descriptive used by the general public.

Machiavelli is often cited as the founder of modern political science and political ethics. Considering how negative the connotation of his name is, it almost makes one wonder if that is the reason for the political mess of the current world.

Machiavelli’s best known work is The Prince in which he imports to instruct a young ruler in the ways of government. The Prince is, at its heart, a manual to acquiring and keeping political power.

Machiavelli is the source of the very popular (in some circles) political theory “the end justifies the means”.

Every century a new theory emerges as to the meaning and purpose of The Prince ranging from literal to ironic to satirical. The author’s true intent may never be known.

It is generally agreed The Prince endorses what most would consider to be evil and immoral behavior. “Politics have no relation to morals.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

More often than not, Machiavelli’s collected writings are unsystematic, inconsistent and sometimes self-contradictory.

For example this almost sounds like sage advice: “The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

And these quotes sound like it could have come from more modern day revolutionaries.

I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it. – Niccolo Machivelli

“When you disarm the people you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these opinions generate hatred.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

This is one of the best historical guides I found on Machiavelli.

This is an excellent New York Times piece on “Why Machiavelli Still Matters”

This site is dense, but thorough
Now on to the word he gave his name to: Machiavellian. The OED defines Machiavellian as “Cunning, scheming and unscrupulous, especially in politics”.

My own search on Machiavellian netted me such gems as:

cunning, expedient, opportunist, artful, astute, calculating, conniving, crafty, deceitful, devious, plotting, shrewd, sly, underhanded, unscrupulous, wily, manipulative, canny, designing, guileful, intelligent, premeditating, scheming, cagey, tricky, observant, treacherous, corrupt, crooked, dangerous, disingenuous, perfidious, surreptitious, subtle, and wormlike

These two clichés also stood out: “Crazy like a fox” and “like a snake in the grass

In Psychology, Machiavellianism is real and disturbing. It is described as being unemotional and detached from conventional morality with a tendency to deceive and manipulate others. Machiavellianism is part of the dark triad along with narcissism and psychopathy.

There are Low Machs and High Machs.

Low Machs give a high priority to money, power and competition and a lower priority to community-building, self-love, and family concerns. Unfortunately, we all know a few of these people. Then there are the High Machs who focus on achievement and winning at any cost.

Men should be either treated generously or destroyed, because they take revenge for slight injuries – for heavy ones they cannot.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

These are great sites on the psychological aspect of Machiavellianism
This site is cluttered with adverts, but the information is good.
This is a great outline 48 Laws of Power and The Machiavellian Personality

There are also many non-scientific quizzes to find out how Machiavellian you are. Fun to take if you aren’t too scared of the outcome. The sheer number of these tests show how influential and
long-lasting the work of Machiavelli has been.

Check out these Machiavellian characters in popular culture

My favorite quote by Machiavelli:

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”

Read the book THE PRINCE by NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI and decide for yourself which of the hype through all the ages is true and what of the contradictory messages of Machiavelli can you see as a truth of this age.

M-P, Mythology

Happy May Day


Focus stacked flowerHappy May Day

May 1st is a long-standing spring festival in the Northern Hemisphere, but is also celebrated as May Day, the International Worker’s Day in many countries around the world.

Historical May Day associated celebrations include, but are not limited to:

The Celtic Beltane
Walpurgis Night
The Roman festival of Flora

Historically and in the “big picture” just a little time ago, May 1st was considered the 1st day of summer and summer solstice was considered Midsummer. Thus most May Day festivities wove their myth and celebrations around welcoming summer.

An old lost custom of May Day was the giving of small baskets (May baskets) filled with sweets and flowers and usually left anonymously on doorsteps. What a beautiful custom. I for one, would love to open my door to a basket full of flowers.

AzaleaBulgarians celebrate Irminden (too many alternative spellings to list). They perform rituals such as jumping over fires and making a lot of noise to scare snakes. Irminden is quite focused on protecting people from snakes and lizards.

Equally enchanting is the Romanian celebration of Arminden which includes washing one’s face with morning dew and decorating with birch saplings.

The U.S. State of Hawaii has adopted May Day as Lei Day to celebrate Native Hawaiian culture. There is a lot of myth and folklore there that will be mined in future posts.

Wishing all of you a great May Day and a figurative basket of flowers on your doorstep.

Apple Blossom

Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun.” – Kahlil Gibran

Fonts, M-P

P = Poetry

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Papyrus is a widely available typeface designed by Chris Costello, 1982

Plantagenet Cherokee, late 1810sto early 1820s. Fascinating story related to this and Cherokee Chief Sequoyah. Does anyone know where the Plantagenet part of the name comes from?


We have stumbled upon another one of my first literary loves. Since I first had to stand up in third grade and recite a poem, Kilkenny Cats by Anonymous, I have been in love with poetry.

There once were two cats of Kilkenny,
Each thought there was one cat too many;
So they fought and they fit,
And they scratched and they bit,
Till, excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails,
Instead of two cats there weren’t any
Yes, that was my introduction to poetry. Soon after the Kilkenny Cats, I discovered a book labeled Gifts of the Wise Men – Collected by Everett T. Brown. I can find no date on this tattered little book of mine, but it was published by The Acmegraph Company, Chicago. Does anyone have a date for me?

Since that time, I have collected and memorized many poems. It’s sort of a side hobby. On this post, I will give you a brief overview of the poets and poems I will cover in the future.

You can tell a lot about a person by the literature they love and, I believe, even more by the poetry they choose. This is a picture of me as it has been emerging over the years. On the memorized list:

A.E. Housman (March 26, 1859 – April 30, 1936) wrote one of my all-time favorite poems.
Terrence, this is stupid stuff

Thomas Hardy (June 2, 1840 – January 11, 1928) has so much wry wit and irony packed into each one of his poems.
The Ruined Maid

E.E. Cummings (October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962). I like how Cummings would often break capital letter rules.
anyone lived in a pretty how town

I first discovered Robert Frost (March 26, 1874-January 29, 1963) when I was a freshman in college.
Fire and Ice, The Bearer of Evil Tidings, The Road Not Taken, Birches

Ruyard Kipling (December 30, 1865 – January 18, 1936)
If – I have this mostly memorized, but keep messing it up.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson who wrote under the pen name Lewis Carroll (January 27, 1832 – January 14, 1898). I hope to eventually memorize all of his poetry.
The Walrus and the Carpenter, Jabberwocky

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882), the man who skewed the public view of history for all time.
Ride of Paul Revere

Ogden Nash (August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971). Full name was Frederic Ogden Nash. I discovered Ogden Nash when I picked up his book, The Face is Familiar, (1940) at a garage sale. Whenever I need something light and fun, I set about memorizing another of his poems. Some of the Ogden Nash favorites of what I have so far memorized are:
Two and One Are a Problem, The Oyster, Adventures of Isabel

There are many poems on the I-Sure-Would-Like-to-Memorize List.
Some of the poets currently on the list are W.H. Auden, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, Sylvia Plath, and William Shakespeare (Sonnets).

I also love John Milton’s Paradise Lost though I doubt I will ever memorize more than a verse or two and so far I haven’t done that because I can’t decide which verses to memorize.

In addition to all the poems and poets I have mentioned there are also rock lyrics and folk lyrics which when you look at them on paper are also poetry.

I’m happily accepting suggestions on all the poems or poets I should read. What are your favorites?