Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Talk Like a Pirate Day

One of the wonderful things about doing my blogs is learning new things that I never would have known otherwise. For instance, I read the newspaper a lot more thoroughly as I am looking for the story to transform into a news print poem. 
Today I discovered something I never would have known. I discovered that there is such a thing as “Talk Like a Pirate Day.” I was wondering why so many people arrived at my blog after using a search term that included the word pirate.  Then I happened to notice an ad in the Orlando Weekly (Orlando’s alternative free weekly newspaper) placed by a local “drinking establishment” inviting people to enjoy a free rum drink on "Talk Like a Pirate Day.”  

Men's Pirate Costume
to see costume detail
Lady Pirate Costume
to see costume detail

September 19 is “Talk Like a Pirate Day”.  It has been celebrated for every year for the past ten years. There’s a website: The Original Talk Like a Pirate Site. I knew it was too soon for pirate searches related to Halloween; they must have been for "Talk Like a Pirate Day." 

According to the website some folks celebrate well into October. So, if you want to get in on the fun, check out the website and you may be able to locate an event near you.

And check out my pirate poem, “Pirate Action Group.” It is about real-life pirates. Not the fun kind.
How should you celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day? With some rum of course. Florida rum was is a favorite. A Toast to Florida Rum.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Beyond My Control

I feel like I don’t know who is in control of this blog—me or automatons.

For instance, after I post something on one of my blogs, I do a “status update” on facebook to let people know that there is something new on my blog.  I do this only once.  However, when I look at my posts on facebook I see that a notice of new post is on facebook two, three, even four  times.

It’s out of my control.  I must have given permission, implicity or explicity, somewhere some how.  There is probably a way to revoke this permission, but I don’t know how.  If you know how, please let me know.

Automatons from google put ads on my posts. They appear on the right side of my page and below my poem.  I have no control over them.

At first I didn’t like them very much. However, I’m starting to like them because they enhance what I am putting out into the world wide web. For instance, when I did a poem about the new Apple iPhone5, (iPhone 5: Smiles and Long Lines), I saw an ad for a cell phone case for the iPhone5.  That’s cool.

Another example: When I did a poem about manatees, (Little Econ Manatee) I saw an ad for an attraction offering the opportunity for a manatee swim. That’s super cool.  I had heard of swimming with the dolphins, but not with manatees.  I want to swim with the manatees.

And lastly some of my poems are political. I use news stories and politics is in the news a lot in the run-up to the election.  Last week I did a poem that slams Romney (Romney Controversy).  Since it was negative on Romney I didn’t expect to see ads that asked for Romney donations alongside that post. I’m OK with that.  Romney (or more exactly Romney’s campaign), has to pay for those ads. I like taking Romney’s (or Romney’s campaign’s) money.
The ads change all the time so you may not see the ones I mentioned.  I wish the cool ones would stay up.  But as I said, I have no control over them
This picture is from http://www.theshrubbery.com


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Act Like a Kid Day

Yesterday’s poem for my News Print Poetry 2012 blog was about the release of the new Apple  iPhone5.  I chose that topic because it was more “newsy” than the poem I really wanted to do about fun.

So here is the poem about fun, entitled “Fun.” 

The title for this essay is “Act Like a Kid Day” because it is a phrase I use in my essay “The Amazing Gift of Laughter.”  The essay is in my book, What Ifs, If Onlys, and So Whats, a collection of essays based on my speeches.


Channel your inner kid.
Bring back a sense of play.
Appreciate a wink of whimsy.
Think lighthearted.
We all need this in our lives.

Consider adventurous playfulness,
levity, and a sense of fun.
Be as wild as you want to be.
The most important thing in life
is being willing to laugh.

© 2012 Catherine Giordano


Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Fascination with Pirates

for Pirates of the Caribbean
What is this fascination with pirates?

On August 16, I posted a poem about pirates on my blog News Print Poetry 2012.  The poem is entitled "Pirate Action Group." It was about how the Somali pirates had turned kidnapping into a business, complete with form-letter requests for ransom. That post has gotten more hits this week than any other post  even though it is over a month old.

Search terms that include the word "pirate" are the main search terms that bring people to my blog. What is this sudden interest in pirates? Are people planning to take up pirating for fun and profit?  Are teachers assigning school children to write essays about pirates? Are people already thinking about Halloween costumes?   

If you know why so many people are interested in pirates, let me know.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Give Credit Where Credit is Due

I like to us a picture to illustrate my posts. I find them by searching google images.  Sometimes I will find the same picture from several sources. I actually spend quite a bit of time looking for all the sources of the picture.

I try to find the original source so I can credit the artist, photographer, or organization that created the picture. I don’t think I am too successful at it because people who use the picture in their blogs and websites usually don’t provide a credit.

I believe in giving credit where credit is due. It is my way of thanking the originator of the art I use. I hope that my credits drive traffic to their websites, and maybe someone buys something from them.*

Here’s a picture I love because it is such a powerful image.  I used it for my poem "Trayvon Martin: Shot in the Heart."
* PS: If you want to buy something from me, I have books for sale. Some of them ae on the right side of this page.
This picture is from http://deviantart.net



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reading and 'Riting and 'Rithmetic

Remember this:

School Days, School Days

School Days, school days,
Dear old golden rule days,
Reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmetic
Taught to the tune of a hick’ry stick
You were my queen in calico
I was your barefoot beau
You wrote on my slate,
“I love you so.”
When we were a couple of kids.

I found this picture of a school house at http://nasbe.org
-- Gus Edwards/Will Cobb, 1907


Why am I sharing this old poem?

I’m sharing it because I wrote a poem entitled Back to School on the News Print Poetry 2012 blog, and it gets a lot of hits. When I review my stats, I see that it is probably getting hits because people are searching for a picture of a school house. 

If I put the picture on this blog too, maybe I’ll get more hits here. 
So I’m sharing this poem just so I can get more hits for my blog.

Nonetheless, it is a fun poem. I hope you enjoyed seeing it again. And maybe you were like me and didn’t even know that the poem included those last five lines.
And now you know.


Monday, September 10, 2012

High Praise from On High

My title for this post “High Praise from On High” may be a bit of hyperbole.  In truth, it was only moderate praise and it was only from an editor.

I occasionally submit poetry, short fiction, and creative non-fiction to publishers of anthologies.  Last week I got a response from an editor.

She wrote, “You have good writing skills, and I am glad you sent your story.”

She went on to suggest that I make a few revisions and resubmit the story. She mainly wanted me to use the past tense because they want all the stories in the anthology to be in the past tense. She didn’t suggest any changes to the story itself which made me feel that my story was good and well-written.

It is the first time I have received a personal note from an editor.  Sometimes I get a form rejection email, but most of the time I don’t get any acknowledgement at all. 

If I do make the cut, the payment is minimal but the thrill of knowing I made the cut will be huge.

I only started writing a little over a year ago. Getting praise from an editor is a big milestone in my writing career.  

I found this at htp://katieonfiction.wordpress.com

Friday, September 7, 2012

Haunted: A Poem

Today, I have a bonus poem because on Wednesday, I just had to write this poem.  It's entitled "Haunted" , but it is not about ghosts or goblins or any Holloween type of things.  It's about a seriousinner haunting.

I found this picture at
Kill yourself!
You’re worthless!
Why are you still here?

twists how people think,
twists how people feel,
twists how people act.
spawns paranoia,
spawns delusions,
spawns hallucinations.
  can drive people to kill,
  to kill others,
  to kill themselves.
The voices urge,
“Do It.”
“Do it now.” 

lost in a world of delusions,
a world of bizarre behaviors,
a world a psychosis.
When someone with schizophrenia
goes on a shooting spree,
everyone says they are evil.
They are not evil.
They are sick.
They need help.
Mental illness can happen to anyone.

The newspaper article states the tragic consequences of budget cuts for mental health services.  People who need to be institutionalized have no place to go.

©2 012 Catherine Giordano

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Postcard Perdu:The August Poetry Project

by Catherine Giordano
I took a photgraph of the postcards I received.
The August Poetry Project has concluded. I sent 30 postcards and received 20 postcards. The assignment was 31 postcards.  I guess some of my postcards got lost in the mail.  
I sent 30 instead of 31 postcards because one of the people on my list was in Ireland. At the beginning of this project I went to the post office and bought 35 34-cent stamps. I looked up the postage for a postcard to Ireland. It was $1.05. I would have had to make a special trip to the post office. I decided if I got a postcard from this person in Ireland, I would make that trip and send one in return. I didn’t get the post-card.   
Most of the post cards I got were regular picture postcards, often with photos depicticting  the state and city of the sender.  Three of them had a hand-drawn picture on them. I knew the sender went to a lot of trouble to do that—I really appreciated that.   
I went to quite a bit of trouble for my postcards. I bought card stock so I could make my own postcards. I used my printer to put a picture on the front on the left; the address was on the right. That left the entire reverse side for my poem. 
I had a little bit of an advantage because I used my daily news print poem that I post on my blog News Print Poetry 2012.  I also used the picture that I posted to my blog as the picture for the postcard.
No one could doubt that my poems were original poems composed on the day they were sent because they were “ripped from the headlines.” 
The poems were a varied lot on subject matter. Some were great poems that I read over several times to fully appreciate. Some were clever and funny. They were all interesting to read.
I hope we have another August Poetry Project next year. 
P.S.: The title of this piece is a pun on the title of Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost. In French, the title is Paridis Perdu.
9/10/12: I got one more postcard on Saturday. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

250 and Counting

I found this picture at www.earthpm.com
I've done my news print blog for 250 days in a row.  Wow!

250 poems! Except it is really closer to 300 because I do two or even three news print poems on some days. Once in a while I post the extras on this blog. But I don't always post the extras. I save them for my book.

I'm trying to get Volume 2 of News print Poetry into print. I've had it ready for over a month now. Except I have to proof read it. I've been too busy writing new stuff to proof read the old stuff. I will definitely do it this week. (Promises! Promises!)

You can read the poems at News Print Poetry 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Poems for Labor Day

It’s Labor Day on Monday, September 3, 2012 so I thought a poem about the working men and women of America would be appropriate. One of the most famous poems on this topic was written by Walt Whitman in 1860.

I Hear America Singing
by Walt Whitman
Statue of Liberty America Singing


I HEAR America singing, the varied carols I hear;
Those of mechanics—each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong;
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam, 
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work; 
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat—the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck;
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench—the hatter singing as he stands; 
The wood-cutter’s song—the ploughboy’s, on his way in the morning, or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;
The delicious singing of the mother—or of the young wife at work—or of the girl sewing or washing—Each singing what belongs to her, and to none else; 
The day what belongs to the day—At night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly, 
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.
Click Here for more Walt Whitman poetry
It’s so noble, so glorious, so beautiful.  But that was over 150 years ago. 
What if Walt Whitman were writing today? 
Maybe, he’d write something like this.

I Hear My Workplace Singing
By Catherine Giordano

I hear my workplace singing, the varied sounds I hear
I hear my telephone ringing, or buzzing or singing
I hear my computer keys, clicking and clacking
I hear the air-conditioning, droning and strumming
And my co-workers, each in his cubicle, are yakking
I hear my computer singing, so many sounds I hear
I hear, at the start of my day, Windows chiming
I hear all sorts of binging and pinging and dinging
I hear Email incoming and appointments alerting
And the guy, in the next cubicle, is humming.
I hear my overworked body singing, the weary sounds I hear
I hear my frenzied brain multi-tasking
I hear my stomach churning, my lungs sighing
I hear, in my mind, a deadline clock ticking
And someone, in a nearby cubicle, is snacking and lip-smacking.
I hear all the sounds of the day—and at night I hear the TV blasting
As I sit there, couch potato-ing and de-stressing.

With my apologies to Walt Whitman.
Thank you for tweeting, liking, and sharing this post.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

To TV or Not TV

In addition to my poetry blogs, I do a blog about premium cable TV.  I review, recap and riff on original series on HBO, Showtime, and Starz.  If you watch TV, check out my blog, Premium Cable Reviews. 

My friend Robert Agento wrote this poem for me. He told me he dashed it off quickly.  I thought the first stanza needed a fourth line so I added it.  I hope you don’t mind, Robert.

He didn’t give it a title, so I’ll call it ...

To TV or Not TV
We don't have a TV. We miss all the blather.
We have no relation to Wolf, Beck or Rather.
We missed being taught about all things forensic.
The medical shows would only make us feel sick.

The Becks and Kardashians, they just go us by.
We've missed all the Geicos. We don't even try.
We stay quite informed--without any fuss.
As life on the blue screen, goes on without us.