Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Pillories and Trump

I don't necessarily come from good writing stock.  So, this has always been a blog that you don't have to take much stock in.  In fact, if I were to offer shares of stock in this venture, the stock answer would probably be, "No thank you."  Though, I don't really know why.  After all, I do believe that I have a nice inventory of stock here -- essays and such.  I work hard a few times a week trying to stock the internet world with even more stock.  I know that, sometimes, my writing is about as painful as being thrown into stocks and then boiled in your own pudding -- making sort of a stock. 

I mentioned the other day that I went on a black powder shoot Saturday.
Here is a slow-motion video of Neal, shooting his flintlock rifle.  You can see the whole lock, stock, and barrel in action.

Speaking of shooting off something . . .  I understand that our President Trump had quite the day at the United Nations yesterday.  Said some interesting things, including, "In less than 2 years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country."

The gathered ambassadors couldn't contain their laughter. The roomful of LOLs prompted a head tilt and awkward smile from 45. He was almost forced to say, "Didn't expect that reaction, but that's okay" ... which drew even more laughs (What a lot of media will not report or show that it also drew a lot of clapping).

Anyway, a phrase you will hear a lot in the next few days is "laughing stock."
As in, perhaps, "President Trump is now the laughing stock of the world."

From what I can gather, "Laughing-stock" stock has been around a long time.  There are at least two citations of it dating back to 1533.

Which leads us to stocks and pillories.  According to a site dedicated to stocks and pillories (yes, there is one

The age of the phrase may be the reason that it is often linked with the practice of putting people into stocks as a punishment. The stocks were a means of punishment in use at the time the phrase was coined, by which people were tortured or ridiculed. Victims were held by having their ankles, and occasionally the wrists too, trapped in holes between two sliding boards. The punishment, although not as harsh as the pillory, in which people were confined by the neck, was severe and certainly not intended to be humorous.

It may be that the association between 'laughing-stock' and the practice of ridiculing people in the stocks grew over time.  Also, the stock in question could refer to the meaning of stock as 'something solid that things can be fixed to', that is, a butt or stump. So, 'laughing-stock' is just the same as 'the butt of the joke'.

And that came from the internet, so you can take stock in it!

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, September 24, 2018

Rather sit on a pumpkin . . .

There is something about sitting around a campfire — especially the first night of autumn: The smell of woodsmoke at twilight, the campfire burning, quick to read the noises of the night . . . (to paraphrase Kipling).  

Of course, the temperatures hadn’t really fallen much, so it was hot.  And the mosquitoes were rather bothersome.  Still, there is something about staring into a campfire that connects me to the Original Source. 

This is a shot from our Muzzleloading Club’s shoot on a rainy Saturday:

Autumn!  I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite autumn quotes:  

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all."
- Stanley Horowitz

"How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days."
- John Burroughs

"Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale."
- Lauren Destefano

"I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion."
- Henry David Thoreau

I'm off to unpack my "pumpkin sittin'" sweaters from their totes.

Carpe diem Autumn,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


I'm learning that you have to dig a lot of dirt to mine a few ounces of gold -- especially when reading Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Having said that, I've already dug trough a ton of words to present a few nuggets here for you:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

“Always do what you are afraid to do.”

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

“I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

“Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.”

“Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.”

“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”

“The earth laughs in flowers.”

“It is not the length of life, but the depth.”

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”

“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”

“It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”

“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

“Make the most of yourself....for that is all there is of you.”

Thank you Mr. Emerson

Carpe Diem Life
David Kuhn

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Don't know where to go with this . . .

I started my "career" in television news.

I got out as soon as I could.  I moved to something more honorable:  Advertising (I didn't say I've had a great career).

One of the things I find most ludicrous in today's reporting (okay, since the beginning of time) is the need to put reporters in harms way in events like hurricanes.  Why?  "Don't ever stand in flood waters," reported by a guy who is standing in flood waters.  "Stay indoors.  Debree is flying everywhere," reported by a guy wearing a baseball batting helmet with the Weather Channel logo in it. It is MORONIC. 

And then there is this reported all over the internet:  This is the bizarre moment a TV weatherman appeared to be caught faking his battle against gale-force winds during Hurricane Florence.

The Weather Channel’s Mike Seidel was seemingly battling to stay upright as he filmed a piece in North Carolina — only look in the background.  Two pedestrians calmly stroll past.

Speaking as he fought to stay in the shot, he whined: “This is about as nasty as it’s been.”

A spokesman for the Weather Channel said: “It’s important to note that the two individuals in the background are walking on concrete, and Mike Seidel is trying to maintain his footing on wet grass, after reporting on-air until 1 a.m. this morning and is undoubtedly exhausted.”

Perhaps I need to add The Weather Channel to a poem I wrote earlier this year:

The Fake News Blues

They all say “We’re on your side”
We feed them profits
Yet they feed us lies

Nothing you can believe
On the web, radio,
Print or TV

Satan has gotten to them
Spinning the truth
We’re all condemned

Fox Reports, you decide?
Is it the true
Or is it lies?

CNN: The most trusted name in news?
Well if that’s the truth
Then we’re all screwed!

Special Reports and Breaking News
A ratings win
But we all lose

These are claims politicians make
But we can’t trust them either
For the truth’s sake

Truth be told, we’re all on trial
Just look at social media
We’re guilty, too, of spreading this vile!

What’s this world coming to
Media’s got me singing
The Fake News Blues
Got me singing
The Fake News Blues

What’s this world coming to?
I’ve finally learned the truth . . .
It’s time to quit . . . Exposing myself . . .


What do you think?  The opening of Saturday Night Live?  At least part of the Weekend Update.

Too funny.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Reading for "lustres"

I'm not much of a reader. 

You couldn't tell by my office -- which is full of books that I've picked up along the way and have, admittedly, only flipped through.   So, why in the world would I pick up another bag of books at the Willard Library books sale?

                                              Carving of a wise owl outside Willard Library

I don't know.  We all have our sicknesses.

Willard's final day of their "rare and special book sale" was an opportunity to fill a bag up with as many books as you could stuff into it for $20.   What I came home with was a twelve-volume set of Ralph Waldo Emerson's writings.  This collection is copyrighted 1903 and 1904.  Originally marked at $300 (and seen online form more), I figured that, if nothing else, might be a good investment for those that have to clean out my crap in a few years. 

Emerson, I've always found, is WAY too intellectual for me.  But, I found the introduction interesting.  In it, the person who compiled and organized all the prose and poems, explains Emerson and books.  Emerson believed books should be read, not for the information they contained, but for inspiration, or what he called "lustres."

I may not get Emerson, but Emerson, it turns out, gets me!

"Lustres!"   What an awesome concept. 

So, truth be told, I will never read all the volumes.  But, if nothing else, I've gleaned a bit of lustre from Mr. Emerson.

Oh, and he also gives young scholars these two maxims, 1. Sit alone and, when possible, sit alone in Nature and listen to the Universal Mind.  2.  Keep a journal:  pay so much honor to the visits of Truth to your mind as to record them.  Journals, he wrote, are his savings-bank.  "I grow richer because I have somewhere to deposit my earnings . . . " 

Advice well worth the $20. 

Carpe diem Life
David Kuhn

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Cherish . . .

This is a sign that Suzanne and I saw on a walk throught Mesker Park Zoo.  Speaks volumes:

A little information on Stewart Udall which includes some NFL trivia (from our friends at Wikipedia):

Udall served as Secretary of the Interior from 1961 to 1969 under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.[7] Under his leadership, the Interior Department aggressively promoted an expansion of federal public lands and assisted with the enactment of major environmental legislation.

Among his accomplishments, Udall oversaw the addition of four national parks, six national monuments, eight national seashores and lakeshores, nine national recreation areas, twenty national historic sites, and fifty-six national wildlife refuges, including Canyonlands National Park in Utah, North Cascades National Park in Washington, Redwood National Park in California, the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail stretching from Georgia to Maine.

Udall played a key role in the enactment of environmental laws such as the Clear Air, Water Quality and Clean Water Restoration Acts and Amendments, the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, the National Trail System Act of 1968, and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.

Soon after becoming the Secretary of Interior, Udall told the Washington Redskins owner, George Preston Marshall, that he had to integrate the football team as every other franchise in the NFL already had, or risk being evicted from the Washington, D.C. stadium, which was federally owned. Marshall integrated the team in 1962.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Water seeks its own level

I'm not exactly sure if there is a physical "law" that states water seeks its own level, but I know it's true.  Have known it for over 30 years -- at least I've known it for as long as I've lived in our home.  Water does, in fact, seek its own level.  And in our neighborhood, that level is our garage. 

Oh sure, there are lower levels.  Just seems that in heavy downpours, a lot of water seeks our garage. This past weekend's deluge was no exception.

I used to get pretty upset about these events, but I've learned throughout the years to take a little responsibility and place pretty much everything I can on elevated platforms with casters.  It certainly doesn't stop water's from its eternal quest for its own level, but it helps in the aftermath.

If you go into the natural world and observe water, water reveals its qualities:

Water is relentless.  It never stops exerting its force. It also makes no judgment about morality.  It also doesn't complain about the path it follows.  It simply follows the path.  It can be everything from stagnant to a tsunami.  It's just is water. 

And, today, like I do about four times a year, I'm just a guy with a squeegee.
(Now, on the other hand, the leak in the roof . . . )

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Fourteen Years

Fourteen Years.

Based on the law of averages and family history, that's pretty much all the time I've got left on this earth.  Fourteen years.  Not a lot of time.  What I DO have is a lot of stuff I've accumulated as I've wandered through this life.  Which sort of reminded me of this old story retold in a book by Deng Ming-Dao (I Know, namedropper, right?):

There was a wanderer who cared nothing for fame.  What he did search for were teachers who could help him master five things:  zither, chess, book, painting, and sword.

The zither gave him music, which expressed the soul.  Chess cultivated strategy and response to the actions of another.  Books gave him an academic education.  Painting was the exercise of beauty and sensitivity.  Sword was the means for health and defense. 

One day a little boy asked the wandered what he would do if he lost his five things.  At first the wanderer was frightened, but he soon realized that the zither could not play itself, the chess board was nothing without players, a book needed a reader (and so on). 

He realized that his cultivation was not merely for the acquisition of objects and skills.  It was a path to the innermost part of his being.

- - -
Objects and Skills.

I've got a few skills I've tried to practice:  Writing, poetry, woodworking, now guitar this year . . .   I have boxes of "stuff" to prove it.  And even more boxes of stuff that I've tried and couldn't/didn't want to master.  Stuff I know I can't take it with me.  What to do with it all? 

I really don't know, but I figure I have only about fourteen years -- at most --to figure it out. 

Maybe I'll start a "Who was Grandpa Kuhn" box for the grandkids.  And then let them deal with my "zither", woodworking tools, writings, books, black powder muzzleloader, and mountain of other stuff . . .

What're your zithers, chess boards, books, paintings, and swords?

Keep wandering and have a great rest of the week.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn