Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the category “humor”

It’s a bit squirrelly lately…


Not sure if we have adopted a squirrel or if she has adopted us.

It began with me spotting a medium grey squirrel bounding across the lawn. A somewhat unusual sight. Deer are more frequent visitors. Squirrel activity diminished with dogs moving into the neighborhood.

Or so we thought.

Upon spotting the bounding squirrel I mustered up my squirrel call. You know the one, that high-pitched ch-ch-ch the do. Yeah. She was impressed and came leaping right over to me. She look fairly surprised to find me instead of a swaggering grey suited critter of interest.

Since then she has shown little fear of hanging out in the yard with us. Costco is making a tidy profit from the bags of peanuts the hubs buys for her.

She will cautiously approach us and grab a peanut from our fingers. Rolling and measuring its worth in her mouth she will then deposit it in some part of the yard. Digging like a little terrier she pats it in place with dainty satisfaction and traipses over for more. I split them open because once open she tastes that peanuttyness and snacks right on the spot, inches from whern indoor th b f the f federal gregg geg for gu the gggy g of b no un noun bun nt in n ink in b min in see see e sawwwww swe wewew es swe de xmewwe swe was e I sit on the bench. Syringa, does truly work for peanuts.

Now we have a couple of new additions. A tiny sable squirrel who discovered the neighbor’s squirrel proof red ffcc ccfc f fcc cd c cc bird feeder could not deter him. He used our fence as a diner freeway until trashing the bird feeder in less than two weeks. He has moved on the freebie peanuts laid out for Syringa. She’s having none of it.

There tussles and chitterings range across the lawn and through the lily leaves. Entertaining turf wars at its best. We call this little guy Skitter, since he moves as fast as a drop of water on the pancake skillet. He’s too fast to snap a photo.

And a third squirrel has appeared. Yet, this one is a puzzlement. I notice it is small with characteristic squirrel gray coloring yet its eye rings are white like a chipmunk and so is its tummy. The legs are brownish. A hybrid squirrel? We’ve dubbed this one Buddy, as in “Hey, Buddy—what are you?”

The cx bbcgf he are beginning to vacate the area for warmer climates so there is less action at the feeder. On the other hand, the colder weather is ramping up squirrel activity as they gather nuts and bury them all over the yard. I find peanuts in my plant containers, in flower beds, and all over the lawn. How will they find them all?

Syringa will come over and spread out on the concrete like a dog when we are hanging out back.
Buddy infiltrating Syringa’s snack tray. Strange markings for a squirrel, wouldn’t you say?

National Cherry Popsicle Day!


Cow Appreciation Day!


For those who follow my postings, you know I appreciate cows. Today is their day. Yup, July 13 is National Cow Appreciation Day.

She enjoyed her flowers thoroughly

To celebrate the cow here are a few facts:

DID YOU KNOW?

  • There are around 200,000 glasses of milk in a cow? That’s a lifetime estimate.
  • A mature cow weighs about 1,400 lbs, and stands about 5 feet tall.
  • A calf can walk within one hour of being born.
  • A Holstein cow’s spots are unique. No two cows have the same pattern.
  • Cows don’t sweat. They need to live in cool weather.
  • By hand you can milk about six cows in an hour or you can milk sixty cows with one person and fourteen machines.
  • Cows get really thirsty during the day. They drink close to thirty gallons worth of water, which is about a bathtub’s worth.
  • Cows can eat a lot as well. On a typical day a single cow can eat nine pounds of hay and thirty-five pounds of mixed grasses and grains. They also consume over twenty pounds of mixed grains, salt, vitamins, and minerals throughout the day. No wonder they need so much water!
  • Cows are boney. There are two hundred and seven bones in one cow. Humans have about the same amount of bones. Hmmm…
Cowabungee they are amazing animals!

Bonus! Here are some cow jokes:

  • What’s green and black and white all over?

A field with cows.

  •  What did Old MacDonald say when the cow stepped on his foot?

    “Ee-ii-ee-ii-ouch.”

  • What did Old MacDonald say when the cows began to stampede?

    “Aaugh, I’m having a herd attack!”

  • What did he say after the stampede?

    “Cows should be seen and not herd.”

*  How did the farmer divide up his herd of cows? 

             He decided between the calves and the calve-nots.

*  What did the farmer say to the old cow?

“It’s time you retired. You’re pasture your prime.”

So today when you reach for that glass of milk or spoon up your yogurt or nibble a cheese slice or revel into your ice cream confectionery, salute the cow. The world would not be the same without this udderly marvelous animal.

National Kitten Day!


They are so amewsing!

Bard Bits: Overcoming Shakespism


Up until teaching Shakespeare to my high school English students, my exposure and awareness of Stratford Upon Avon’s poet/playwright had been limited to the usual reference of Romeo and Juliet being a play about two teenagers who have a tragic romance. I saw it as a film in junior high. It was rated “M” for mature audiences (being a 13 year old counted as mature then). Certain scenes were embarrassing and I doubt we were mature enough to handle the morning after flesh flash of Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. Plus, I had a really difficult time understanding what they were saying—were they speaking English?

That was then and this is now. At present I’m the resident Bardinator at school, being the advisor of the Students for Shakespeare Club and being known for my Shakespeare zeal. We’ve brought Shakesperience to the high school several times, I’ve helped with our own drama club’s version of Romeo and Juliet, designing sets and watching my son contribute his thespian skills, and I do my best to engage and interest students to embrace Shakespeare, nudging past groans when studying his works. My appreciation for Shakespeare has nudged me to leave my usual homebody mode to travel cross country to Washington DC to attend Folger’s week long Hamlet academy. I’ve gone beyond the usual Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar school curriculum offerings and have introduced students to Othello, Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, and provided background Bard Bits.

How and why did I go from a Shakespeare illiterate to Shakespeare informed?

First of all, I had to overcome the language barrier. Reading Shakespeare wasn’t working so well. Watching well-produced film adaptations, such as Kenneth Branagh’s Henry IV helped tremendously. Shakespeare is meant to be performed, not read.

Secondly, the more I taught Shakespeare (teaching the same material year after year does have an upside), the more I understood what I was teaching. And if I understand what I’m teaching I can teach the material better to my students.

Beyond teaching the plays, I began reading about the man who wrote them. Since there is so little solid biographical information about Shakespeare, I began researching and became more and more intrigued. Who was this guy and did he really write all these plays and what was theatre like in Renaissance England led to other aspects such as learning more about Queen Elizabeth I and other aspects of that time period.

And I branched out to other plays, learning all about one play before committing to another. The benefit being that Shakespeare’s language was no longer puzzling to my ear, it had become a melody of written expression.

My dream curriculum is to teach a course that is all Shakespeare. We would of course study selected plays and sonnets, but also play Bard Bingo (it’s fun, really), create Flash Mob scenes for the community (field trip!), stage fight (sword fights and Hamlet are a natural), and put on a Shakespeare night for the school—best scenes talent show. I think I would call the course, “Shakespeare Then and Now” or maybe “Shakespeare—the Undiscovered Country.” At least a dozen students would need to sign up to make it a go, then again it could become so popular two sections (or more) would be required as Shakespism transforms into Shakesthusiasm.

I can hope.

Do you suffer from Shakespism or are you a Bardinator or maybe somewhere in between.

Why We Say: from Villain to Windfall


Villains are the bad guys, right? During medieval times when manor houses were kept by feudal lords villains referred to “one attached to the villa” or the manor house. Now a lord, the one who owns the manor house would or should be considered a good guy, right? Wealthy, taking part in civic responsibilities, watching over the land, helping the poor and needy. Apparently not all lords were good guys and villain took on the meaning of bad guy.

Villain - Wikipedia
“Mwah ha ha”

Go to a library and there will be volumes of books just waiting to be read. By why call them volumes? In ancient times books were written on sheets of paper and then rolled up, much like a window shade is rolled up. Ah–“volume” is derived from the Latin volvere meaning “to roll up.” Next time you are feeling the need to read roll up with a volume in your favorite reading spot.

Volume (bibliography) - Wikipedia
Books? Volumes (go for the erudite)

Feeling the last attempt to succeed was a wash out? Thank the nineteenth century British soldiers for this term alluding to failure. As the soldiers practiced their marksmanship by shooting at targets, bad shots were erased by painting over the targets with whitewash. A “wash out” took on the meaning of failure or disappointment.

GAMO PAPER TARGETS, 100 PACK - Walmart.com - Walmart.com
Sometimes our best shot needs a redo

No one wants to be the wet blanket, especially at a party. But why a wet blanket? Well, a wet blanket puts out a fire and a person who is not into the fun zone essentially puts out the good times at a gathering.

More 100 Wet blanket Synonyms. Similar words for Wet blanket.
Wet Blanket goes by other terms, too

Ever go on a wild goose chase? There is no real winner, but it was once considered a game. Riders would follow the lead rider with all the riders following like geese in flight. The leader set the pace and each rider had to follow and repeat the rider’s actions accurately. The game was a chase with no winner which ends up as a wild run with no true outcome.

A Wild Goose Chase!: Morris, Lynne, Morris, Lynne: 9781953177056:  Amazon.com: Books
No doubt there are plenty of variations

Villains, wash outs, wild goose chases–time for a positive saying. How about receiving an unexpected bit of good fortune, such as a windfall? In Old English days people were required to leave the forest timber for the Royal Navy; however, if any trees were felled by the wind they could gather up the storm’s leavings. There you go–bad weather can bring good tidings.

windfall - definition and meaning
When the wind falls a tree does someone yell “timber?”

Which sayings were a surprise to you in their original form?

Word Nerd: Kangaroo Words


Ah, words within words…

Kangaroo Word: A synonym within a word, like a little joey tucked away within the mama kangaroo.

alone=one

astound=stun

blossom =bloom

calumnies =lies

cavern=cave

contaminate=taint

dazzle=daze

enjoyment=joy

fabrication=fiction

honorable=noble

impair=mar

joviality =joy

lighted=lit

myself=me

nourished=nursed

observe=see

plagiarist=liar

quiescent =quiet

respite=rest

substandard=bad

A word within a word that reflects the host word—now that is a Word Nerd discovery of delight!

Binging, Anyone?


Binging is becoming a bit of a habit in my determination to stay home and be safe mode. And I am not sure if it’s a problem or simply a by product of the current situation.

It would be too easy to fall into binging on comfort food like chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, yet even thinking about such caloric delights becomes a weighty problem requires exercising discretion.

Instead, I am trying more constructive avenues of occupying myself in my downtime.

Puzzles are a bit of mainstay in our household. Hours are spent putting chaos in order, except I quickly lose interest if the remaining section is all sky or water.

A piece at a time can be peaceful

Books. So easy to get lost reading a batch of novels. I’ve read six novels so far this year. It’s finding a stack to keep on the ready being the problem. I’m finding the fifty page rule is invoked more often than not these days—it has to pass muster by fifty pages or back in the bag. This is vexing when it takes ever so long to select to scout out book bag candidates at the library.

Booking an appointment for a good read

Oh, and now it’s at the true moment of binging confession: PBS series. I gave myself a Christmas present of PBS Passport which allows me to unlock episodes prior to their actual release. I have already zipped through the first season of All Creatures Great and Small and Miss Scarlett and the Duke and picked through Nature seasons. I rewatched Wolf Hall.It’s akin to a viewing buffet. Hours swish by.

Tuning in, Tuning Out

And I will quickly move past that I had an Angry Bird Bubble Pop phase replaced by Wordscapes. No worries, by apps deleted. I’m back to the infrequent checkers game as a boredom buster.

So—is binging good, bad, or indifferent? Is it avoidance, escape, therapeutic? Has it increased during our increased home time?

To binge or not to binge?

Now there is an interesting binge—a Hamlet fest.

Maybe instead of binging I can call it researching and do away with any guilt feelings of excessiveness.

Word Nerd: January


Some say (including the hubs) “nerd” is derogatory. I’m of the opinion a nerd is less of an insult and more of an endearment, or at least an acknowledgement of pursuing a passion with zeal, that others might not embrace. For instance, the movie The Nutty Professor, had the singular inventor trying to prove his “flubber” invention. Deemed eccentric, the professor for all his nerdy qualities became a hero. All those computer geniuses (now CEOs and billionaires) were no doubt shuffled into the nerd nomenclature in their tinkering phase. I see “nerd” as an alternate spelling of “clever,” besides the assonance of “Word Nerd” is cool sounding.

Onward to this month’s batch of words—although if you want to jump in with your thoughts about nerds, I am much interested.

1. bight: a bend in the river or the shore of the sea.

2. limb: to portray with words; describe.

3. comity: mutual courtesy; civility

4. sobriquet: nickname

5. epizeuxis: a literary or rhetorical device that appeals to or invokes the reader’s or listener’s emotions through the repetition of words in quick succession. An example:

“Jane, Jane, Jane—you are my favorite epizeuxis.”

6. inanition: lack of vigor, lethargy

7. juberous: uncertain; undecided;dubious

8. aroint: begone as in “Aroint thy, scalawag!”

9. legerity: physical or mental quickness; agility

10. doddle: something easily done. Fixing the flat tire wasn’t a problem at all—it was a doddle.

11. blatherskite: someone given to empty talk.

12. spang: directly; exactly

13. butyraceous: containing or resembling butter.

14. cachinnate: to laugh loudly or immoderately.

15. illation: an inference; a conclusion

16. totis viribus: with all one’s might

17. ambivert: a person between an extrovert and an introvert*

18. caduceus: dropping off early as in The leaves were noticed to have a caduceus departure this autumn.

19. mardy: grumpy, sulky

20. clement: mild in disposition; compassionate

*this word, ambivert, solves the puzzle of designation. A few within my circle have often contemplated how to most accurately describe our situation of being known as social, even boisterous, yet reluctant at joining large gatherings. Suggestions have included “high-functioning introvert” or “gregarious hermit.” The classification of “ambivert” seems acceptable, although the desire to write with either my left of right hand suddenly becomes immediate.

What words leapt out at you as keepers this month?

May I get personal? An ambivert perhaps you are? (Yoda syntax is less intrusive)

Christmas Green


Mom called: “Come over and get your Christmas present. It’s green,” adding a bemused half laugh to her statement.

I laughed as well. She always gives us a check so we can buy want we want.

Apparently this year green took on a new meaning. It was quite literal.

A Christmas Tree-t

Mom decided the little palm tree plant that had fit so perfectly in the corner of her living room had outgrown its decorative touch.

What does one do with a largish palm tree plant that is unexpectedly gifted? Decorate it for Christmas, of course.

If we still have it by Easter we will be ready for Palm Sunday.

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