Just Grazin’

Stories from the pond – fun, fiction, and life



After graduation a visit to Knossos beckoned Fiona—but little did she guess where it would lead!


I noticed him because he was always alone.

And in a country where most people are dark-haired and dark-eyed, he stood out because of his blond ponytail and gray eyes. Only the shape of his eyes belonged to Crete—large, almond-shaped, compelling.

The Weirdness of Planning for Extreme Old Age

Garish yellow flowers flaunt themselves while Dearly escapes through the front door

Garish yellow flowers flaunt themselves while Dearly escapes through the front door

My husband and I aren’t getting any younger. In fact, looking at us, you’d say we’re downright old. It’s taken me two years to accept that at 72, I’m no longer “middle-aged”: now I qualify as elderly.

Last year I began to think about what we’d do when we’re too old to drive. In suburban America, you either have access to your own transportation or you languish. We visit the public library, gym, grocery store, bank, gas station, doctor, dentist, Target, Costco. We pick up grandchildren from elementary school (on foot, if it’s nice weather), or from day care, which requires driving.

Taking a taxi is out of the question. The fares would be astronomical. Even the fares for Lyft or Uber would be astronomical, given all the places we visit. So—what to do?

April Showers are Bringing May Flowers!

At Winter Solstice, the light begins to return – gradually, the memory of the long nights fades until the light and dark are equal on Spring Equinox. From that point on,  the light returns more rapidly and on May 1st we arrive at the midpoint between equinox and Summer Solstice.

Today, my sunrise was at 5:51am CDT and my sunset will be at 7:58pm … more than 14 hours of daylight, adding 2 hours since the equinox. By the end of May, we will have added 49 more minutes of daylight.

May your May days be filled with sunlight, flowers … and kissable snouts!

(Place your cursor over the photos to read the hovers!)

Was Shakespeare a Stoner?

Was Shakespeare a Stoner?



Of all the wild-eyed theories ever circulated about William Shakespeare, Bard of Avon, surely the most spectacular is that he smoked pot.

Who’d have thunk it?

Is it time to debunk it?

Let us examine the findings so far.

Jonathan O’Callaghan reports that a team of scientists from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa studied 400-year-old pipes dug up in Stratford-on-Avon. Four of the pipes that came from the garden of Shakespeare’s house were found to contain traces of marijuana.

Marc Cugnon, writing for USA TODAY Network , says:

…in fact, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 76 may contain some references to drug use. Throughout its lines, Shakespeare refers to keeping invention in a ‘noted weed’ and to ‘new-found methods and compounds strange.’

When I first read “Much Ado About Nothing” many, many years ago I was completely bemused by the Lancelot Gobbo scenes. What did they mean? Why were they there? They seemed to have nothing whatever to do with the story of Beatrice and Benedick. If anyone had told me at the time that Shakespeare wrote those scenes while higher than a kite, I would have believed that person implicitly.

However, when I saw the magnificent Kenneth Branagh-Emma Thompson film version of “Much Ado About Nothing,” I realized for the first time that those Lancelot Gobbo scenes were funny. I even laughed. Very likely Shakespeare put in the comic relief for the “groundlings,” those who could afford only a copper to see the play and stood at the back of the theater through the entire performance. It goes back to the old truism: Shakespeare’s plays are meant to be acted, not read.

As to whether The Bard smoked pot and was high when he wrote, Edward Delman, writing for The Atlantic, affirms that so little is known about Shakespeare’s life it’s impossible to say whether he smoked pot or not.

And there’s always this to think about: perhaps he didn’t need to smoke weed to get high. Perhaps he simply got high on his own words—not at all a difficult thing to do. Consider the following (John of Gaunt’s speech from Richard II):

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England….

And there we will leave it, Master Shakespeare, Bard of Avon, foremost poet and playwright in the English language. On this day, the 452nd anniversary of your birth, we salute you once again as being “not of an age but for all time.”


The Invisibility Factor

The girl was snatched before their eyes—why didn’t the police respond to the women’s calls?


It all happened so fast.

One minute the young girl in the pale pink track suit, eyes cast down as she texted on her cellphone, was walking down the opposite side of the street from where Charmiele sat on her front porch working on her laptop; the next minute, a young man jumped out of a black SUV with darkened windows that rolled to a stop behind the girl, and grabbed her phone. Thirty seconds later another man jumped out of the SUV and helped him bundle the girl into the vehicle.

Springing into Spring … No Kidding!

Today at 04:30 UTC, the Spring Equinox occurred.

An equinox occurs twice a year (around 20 March and 22 September), when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth’s equator. The name “equinox” is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, night and day are about equal length.

The amount of daylight and darkness became equal over the past few days (on March 17, here) and soon daylight will extend ever deeper into the evening and the early morning hours.

Spring is about hope and new beginnings and the sheer joy of being outdoors in the light and the warmth. Here is some (light!) kidding around as we celebrate this year’s Spring Equinox.
(Place your cursor on the photos to read the hovers)

“Leave Ted Alooooone!!”

President Obama in the Philippines on Tuesday:

I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate. ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West. And when you start seeing individuals in positions of responsibility, suggesting that Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative. It’s counterproductive, and it needs to stop.

And I would add, by the way, these are the same folks oftentimes who suggest that they’re so tough that just talking to Putin or staring down ISIL, or using some additional rhetoric somehow is going to solve the problems out there. But apparently, they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition of compassion. First, they were worried about the press being too tough on them during debates. Now they’re worried about three-year-old orphans. That doesn’t sound very tough to me.

Senator Ted Cruz (R) on the campaign trail on Wednesday:

“Let me suggest something Mr President, if you want to insult me, you can do it overseas. You can do it in Turkey. You can do it in foreign countries,” Cruz told reporters. “But I would encourage you, Mr. President, come back and insult me to my face.”

First a map:

Then a reminder:

Sadly, President Obama is unlikely to want to give free press to one of the single-digit-polling Republican presidential wannabees … because a Barack Obama v Ted Cruz debate would be great theatre.

BREAKING: Clinton’s Inbox Exposed! Full eGhazi!


Contents includes:

(1) The final resting place of Jimmy Hoffa.
(2) A complete accounting of the contents of Al Capone’s vault, before the Clintons emptied it in advance of Geraldo’s Dont See TV program.
(3) Full schematics of the explosives lay out in the WTC buildings and the detailed process for bringing the buildings down.
(4) Language for a proposed constitutional amendment repealing the 2nd amendment.
(5) A nondisclosure agreement signed by Oliver Stone concerning the death of Vince Foster.
(6) Very worrying financial arrangement proposals from lawyers in African countries, purporting to represent various royals, attempting to move money into the US potentially for terror-related activities.
(7) A very disappointing guacamole recipe.
(8) Discussion plans to use Planned Parenthood and their evil subcontractors to implement Obamacare Death Panels to harvest organs and tissue for black market sales to buy cell phones for welfare recipients.
(9) Proof that the Clintons reaped a $100M profit on the Whitewater real estate deal and used half the proceeds to create an elaborate red herring by hiring Monica Lewinsky to pretend to have an affair with Bill.
(10) Documents demonstrating that Al Gore single handedly causes global warming.


Meanwhile in Tennessee:

Hamilton County Chancellor Jeffrey Atherton denied the divorce petition last week after hearing from seven witnesses and going through 77 exhibits.


Atherton said the Supreme Court must clarify “when a marriage is no longer a marriage.” Otherwise, he contended, state courts are impaired from addressing marriage and divorce litigation altogether.

“The conclusion reached by this Court is that Tennesseans have been deemed by the U.S. Supreme Court to be incompetent to define and address such keystone/central institutions such as marriage, and, thereby, at minimum, contested divorces,” Atherton wrote.

Maybe Santorum was right… next comes dogs and cats living together?!?!


Barack Obama has decided, by the executive order, to rename Mt. McKinley, North America’s highest peak, Denali. That is the traditional name of the mountain, but it was changed back in 1917 or so to honor President McKinley.

The Alaska Delegation, including the Republicans, wanted it to go back to Denali. The Ohio delegation was blocking the legislation. President McKinley was from Ohio.