About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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There's no point improving the implementation of a bad idea.

Raymond Chen



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 6/22/2018

Totals
Posts - 2503
Comments - 2574
Hits - 2,057,457

Averages
Entries/day - 0.46
Comments/entry - 1.03
Hits/day - 376

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 4:37 PM Pacific


  01:16 PM

We have a little whiteboard on one of our cupboards that was originally intended to be a place to write notes ("Dogs are fed") or stuff for the grocery list. However, it's turned primarily into a place where we scribble doggerel on familial themes. (Altho people are inclined to name anything with meter and rhyme a "poem," it seems a little grand to grace our efforts with that name.)

Limericks are the most popular, being a form that sometimes seems to write itself. Haiku has made an appearance. In one case, a "dogs are fed" message went up to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean":

The doggies, they do like their feedings
The doggies, they do like their chow
But should you encounter their pleadings
Ignore them, I fed them just now.

No food, no food
They've snarfed up their breakfast and all the crumbs
No food, no food
At least until dinnertime comes.

We sometimes use unnamed forms, as in this excuse for not doing the dishes:

Against my best wishes
I left all the dishes
(Though I did have to empty the sink)

It's the girls' night for chores
Which of course each abhors
(Though it's good for the soul, parents think.)

Below which appeared in childish hand the comment "Nope."

At times the muse stays away, and at one point after a period of blankness on the board, someone posted the forlorn message "Poem goes here."

Not long ago, Sarah spotted in Poetry magazine a triolet by A. E. Stallings that delighted her, so she clipped it and taped it on the whiteboard:

Triolet on a Line Apocryphally Attributed to Martin Luther

Why should the Devil get all the good tunes
The booze and the neon and Saturday night,
The swaying in darkness, the lovers like spoons?
Why should the Devil get all the good tunes?
Does he hum them to while away sad afternoons
And the long, lonesome Sundays? Or sing them for spite?
Why should the Devil get all the good tunes
The booze and the neon and Saturday night?

This decorated the white board for a while until the morning when E got her braces off. That day, hopped up on coffee, I was re-reading the Stalling for the unpteenth time, a line popped into my head, and I dashed off (speed of which should be obvious) the following:

Triolet on a Visit to the Orthodontist

Now that young E has a mouth free of tin
The bands have been broken and she is now free
Her pearly-whites sparkle with every grin
Now that young E has a mouth free of tin
Let revelry, apples, and popcorn begin
Childhood is finished by dental decree
Now that young E has a mouth free of tin
The bands have been broken and she is now free.

As noted, poems these ain't. The real problem, tho, is that we never write anything down for the grocery list:

We once had a quite useful whiteboard
On which all our lists we could record ...

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