Book: Beachworth Bakery Bears

A Beechworth Bakery Bears e-book by Frank Prem

This is a delightful and easy way to step back into childhood, when teddy bears could talk and move about. These bears are supposed to sit on shelves at the Beachworth Bakery and coffee shop, politely waiting for someone to come along and adopt them, but they’d rather be exploring and having fun — as revealed in Frank’s clever rhymes.

I bought a copy a few days ago and enjoyed it myself. Now I’d like to read this e-book to my grandchildren and hope it will be coming out in a paperback before long. The photos are excellent and it would be fun to sit down and go through the book with young children and grandchildren.

The SQUISH Heard Round the World

“Online Outrage”

That’s the phrase that jumped out at me as I read an article online this morning. An American couple made a family decision, posted the fact on social media, and now face a storm of outrage from all over the world.
Then I read something else online and my muse immediately started to spin and weave the two stories together, finally giving me the odd title for this post.

Fellow blogger Judy-Dykstra Brown posted this morning about the hornworms that live on her Virginia creeper vine, hornworms being the larva of the hummingbird moth. We had a hummingbird moth visit our flowers one summer and I thought it was cute. Judy decided to move them elsewhere rather than leaving them to eat her vine or squishing them. I trust she won’t get a lot of online outrage from objectors. People’s reactions are unpredictable.

I Decide to SQUISH

Let’s say I decide to plant a garden and post the story of my efforts, essentially inviting the whole world to oversee my my project. Some people think I should put my garden in the east corner of my yard, near the trees to gain the benefit of their shade; some think I should put it in the other corner where there are no trees to rob the plants of moisture.

People in Timbuktu may have their ideas about what kind of fertilizer I should use. Gnu dung works best, or maybe antelope. People in Australia think I should lay in pipes for irrigation while Ontario gardeners tell me I should put in lots of drainage because in Ontario it rains so much a garden would be flooded unless it’s well drained. (Well, not quite, but you get my point. This isn’t Timbuktu, Australia or Ontario.)

So I grow my garden, posting online pictures of the resulting lush veggies. One day I find this caterpillar and do a video of it climbing on my pepper plant. Then I SQUISH it. Will I be subjected to online outrage by environmentalists? Will save-the-planet types vilify me on Facebook? Prairie bloggers may give me the thumbs-up and say, “Good for you. I hate those things!”

Because I’ve involved them, people in far-flung lands who know zilch about prairie pests or our ecology will still feel they have an investment in my decision. My followers in Timbuktu, Ontario, Brazil and Australia may denounce me online because I squished a worm. After all, am I not guilty of decimating the number of creatures on the planet and depriving some bird of its rightful diet? Facebook pages may decry my foolish decision.

Yes, this is a silly comparison, but when we invite people all over the globe to peek into our lives, we face consequences. People all over the world have two things in common: they have opinions and they like to give advice. It’s universal.

Social Media as International Opinion Poll

When we put our lives “out there” on television, Facebook, You-tube, and invite the whole world interact, it’s like inviting the global community to be our parents and older siblings. If they spend time following us, they will want to help us along. If we have difficult decisions to make, some of our followers will understand and support our choice, while others will disapprove – maybe even be insulted that we didn’t ask their advice. Get enough people involved and you may get a storm of online outrage.

The article I read tells how, through a foreign adoption agency, a couple adopted a toddler. Three years later, after dealing with various health and behavioral issues that have overwhelmed them and their other children, they’ve made the painful decision to surrender their child over to foster care. And a lot of readers think that’s terrible. “If it were me, I would never do that.”

While this isn’t an unheard of situation and other adoptive parents have faced the same dilemma – I heard of one case here in our province where the baby’s health issues proved more than the new parents could cope with – since this couple put their whole story on YouTube, they now have thousands of people criticizing their motives and their decision.

But my heart does go out to the couple, especially when I read that they’ve actually received death threats, even vicious threats to harm their other children, because of this decision. Seeing that, I had to shake my head. How can people get so involved in the life of complete strangers that they’ll go so far as the threaten the lives of people they’ve never met?

Peace of Mind Versus Media-Generated Outrage

Years back when Nicholas Sarkozy, Prime Minister of France, married Carla Bruni, an Italian singer and former supermodel, my French penpal wrote, “I hate him. I hate both of them.” I asked her, “Have you ever met them? “No, but I hate them.” Her feelings were 100% fueled by the media.

I understand how the media works and why. Competing with an audience steep in television dramas, they need sensational news. They need to – and want to – provoke strong emotions. Getting people emotionally involved in a story is what sells news and channels public opinion in the direction they want it to go. From what I can tell, the emotion the media does best is outrage. Journalists and reporters have proven very able to orchestrate news that will stir up public outrage.

But if I allow the media – or anyone else — to influence me to hate someone, I’d better not criticize the Germans who allowed Hitler to inflame them against the Jews. We all hate the havoc this one man wreaked, but cool common sense has to guide our feelings and actions, or we’ll be ripe for another type of Hitler to come along and use our hatred as his tool.

For myself, I don’t want to hate anybody. Not Trump…or Trudeau…or whoever. I may guess, but I can’t possibly know how they think, feel, react, or what their motives are. Also my own peace of mind is precious to me. Hate and outrage are draining. I like to know what’s going on in the world, but refuse to let my peace be shattered and emotions shredded by the actions of politicians. I may be concerned about different things our Prime Minister says and does, but I don’t hate him.

I’m saddened that a couple with initial good intentions have had to go through this devastating experience, but I can offer neither support nor censure, seeing I haven’t walked a mile in their shoes.

Block-Ed + Poetry–A Trial Run

I won't let Block-Ed frustrate me
I'll practice 'til I'm proficient
So here's a bit of poetry
to see if I've learned sufficient...

I see that Sheryl at Your Daily Word Prompt 
is having her trials switching to the new Block editor,
too. Her word for today is FRUSTRATE.
A CHOICE
by Edgar Guest

Sure, they get stubborn at times;
they worry and fret us a lot,
but I'd rather be crossed by a glad little boy
and frequently worried than not.
There are hours when they get on my nerves
and set my poor brain all a-whirl, 
but I'd rather be troubled that way than to be
the man who has no little girl.

There are time's they're a nuisance, that's true
with all of their racket and noise,
but I'd rather my personal pleasures be lost
than to give up my girls and my boys.
Not always they're perfectly good;
there are times when they're wilfully bad
but I'd rather be worried by youngsters of mine
than lonely and childless and sad.

So I try to be patient and calm
whenever they're having their fling,
for the sum of their laughter and love
is more than the worry they bring.
And each night when sweet peace settles down
and I see them asleep in their cot,
I chuckle and say: "They upset me today,
but I'd rather be that way than not."

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

Conclusions:
Selecting the Verse block and writing poetry works better with this editor, since single line spacing is automatic; I don’t have to hit Shift + Enter to get that, like I would otherwise. On the other hand, I now have to count Categories & Tags to be sure I don’t exceed the WordPress limit of fifteen. And poetry is automatically italicized.

PS: Now that this is posted I see I’m not so proficient after all! 😦
Now, how to fix it!

Where’s the Party?

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is PARTY.

Time for summer reruns? Anyway, I’ve pulled up and tweaked a short tale I posted three years ago as THE MULTI-TASKING DRIVER.

Where’s the Party?

The policeman eyed her critically. “Are you all right, lady?”

“Of course I’m okay, officer. Just…uh…a little distracted for a moment.”

“The way you were writhing around in your seat, I thought you were having a seizure. What exactly were you doing?”

The woman took a deep breath. “This is so embarrassing, but I’m on my way to work, you see, and I noticed this huge snag my hose. I can’t show up at the office like that, especially not today when we’re having the farewell party for our manager. So I was just trying to slide them off before I get there.”

“While driving?” The officer scowled at her. “May I see your driver’s license and registration, ma’am.”

She handed them over. He went to his cruiser, spent a few minutes on his radio and returned, saying, “I hear you had another driving infraction last month?”

“Quite a minor offense, really.”

“Yeah. Blowing up balloons while driving ten kilometers over the speed limit on a main street? Now that’s funny.”

“I’m so glad you’re so understanding, officer. They were for my grand-daughter’s birthday party and I was running late. Sometimes a person just has to multi-task. ”

He handed her a ticket. “This is for driving without due care and attention. Keep on multi-tasking behind the wheel like this and you’ll be attending another party: the one your family has for you at White Lily Funeral Home.”

police-car-1889053_640
Original Image: Peggy_Marco at Pixabay

The Book I Chucked

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is MARTYR. I could take a lot of avenues, either religious or secular, with this one, but I’ll give you this brief rant book review.

SUMMER AT SEA, a light romance by Beth Labonte

Have you ever read a book that you were ready to toss across the room after the first chapter? I started one a few years back. This long-suffering twenty-something chick, writing in first-person, sees herself as a martyr to her parents’ bumbling stupidity. How did they ever survive before she was old enough to help them sort everything out?

Okay, I’m old. Old enough to be this girl’s mother. Old enough to find this kind of parent-bashing offensive. I will admit the story is well written and the story line draws you in; you do want to see how they made out. If you can put up with the voice of this know-it-all chick. The fact that the book won an award shows how popular chick-lit is.

Have you ever chosen a book just to see if it’s as bad as the reviews say it is? (I confess, I have — if it was free.) Maybe you’re even ready to check this one out after reading my review? Some other readers have given it five stars.

Here’s part of the blurb on Amazon:
Four jackets of varying weights, enough socks for the entire Confederate Army, three umbrellas, most of the antacid aisle from the local pharmacy, and six pairs of old people sneakers that all look exactly the same. Have you ever helped your parents pack for a week-long cruise?

No? I didn’t think so. So shut it.

So begins vacation for Summer Hartwell – twenty-six years old, living with her anxiety-ridden parents, and unwillingly booked by her brother on a cruise to Bermuda. Despite the nightmare of being trapped aboard a cruise ship with Mom and Dad, Summer sees a rare opportunity to fulfill The Prophecy – her mother’s declaration that she will live at home until she gets married. With two thousand passengers onboard, at least one of them must be husband material, right?

And now for some polite humour:

Friends + quote.Bansi Patel
Basic image by Bansi Patel

No Place To Go

Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt word is FERNWEH, which apparently means a longing for far-away places, or wanderlust.

Once upon a time, when we were younger, we did travel some — though never to anyplace all that exotic. We’ve visited or lived in almost every province and visited friends in a number of eastern states. But our wandering days are over now. Our own office is our comfortable work space and our own pillows feel the best. I don’t even like going away from home on dark winter nights, so I know where Edgar Guest was coming from when he wrote this verse:

No Place to Go

relaxing-1979674_640

The happiest nights I ever know
are those when I’ve no place to go,
and the missus says when the day is through,
“Tonight we haven’t a thing to do.

Oh, the joy of it– and the peace untold
of sitting ‘round in my slippers old,
with my pipe and book in my easy chair,
knowing I needn’t go anywhere.

Needn’t hurry my evening meal
nor force the smiles I do not feel,
but can grab a book from a nearby shelf,
drop all sham and be myself.

Oh, the charm of it and the comfort rare;
nothing on earth that can compare!
And I’m sorry for him who doesn’t know
the joy of having no place to go.

By Edgar A Guest

(Image: Jill Wellington  —  Pixabay)