Exclamation Points

cartoon, exclamation pointsWasn’t it Terry Pratchett who said, “Five exclamation marks are the sure sign of an insane mind”?

Then again, if I was stuck in a hospital I’d probably want a few more exclamation points, too… and not worry about my sanity.


Review: Whose Mouse Are You by Robert Kraus

cover 'Whose Mouse Are You' by Robert KrausCute story, especially for toddlers. The little mouse of Robert Kraus‘s picture book, Whose Mouse Are You? is asked just that: ‘Whose mouse are you?’

The answer is that it is nobody’s mouse because its mother was swallowed by a cat, it’s father is in a trap, it’s sister is far away, and it does not have a brother. Nevertheless it is a brave and clever little mouse who saves its family and brings them all home.

My favorite part of this book was not the rhyming story, but the pictures. The mice are cute, the cat and trap are colorfully scary, and the book barely needs the limited number of words (101).

While I think the story might not be exciting for a six-year-old, the pictures would be delightful for a three or four-year-old.


Beginning, Middle, End

If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other End signbook. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle.**

You may be asking how could this be, surely there must be some happiness in this book. Well, there isn’t. The reason is that this book has no ending and not much of a middle. You are in the middle of the middle and not far from the end. Does that make you happy? It shouldn’t especially since you either spent some good, well-deserved cash on this thing, or you spent some time deciding whether or not to read it and it is obvious you have decided to read it, which means that now you are either wasting some of that cash you could have spent somewhere else, or some of your good,but rather limited time and… he says with a pause that is intended to raise your curiosity, but probably will not… there is a very good chance (although not a chance worth putting odds upon) you are doing both.

Now, you probably see why I’ve said this has no happy endings, beginnings and not very much happiness in the middle. Please don’t tell me you don’t see, because you’ve already reached the end.

** beginning of Lemony Snickett‘s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events


Epithets and Epitaphs

I look in many places for inspiration and save all sorts of interesting and odd things that I look at every now and then when I need to motivate my muse. I don’t know where I found this. I have a bad habit of finding things on the Internet and saving them,scrabble gravestone but not adding a citation so I’ll know where it came from if I ever decide to use it for something other than my amusement of inspiration.

I used to live a block away from one of the cemeteries in Wausau, WI. It was a great place to walk the dog, but it was a little spooky at night, especially on a cloudy, drizzly night near the back where there wasn’t much light. I think the spookiness came, not from the cemetery residents but from all the cemetery stories I saw, read and heard when I was growing up.

Here are some fascinating inscriptions found on old tombstones:

Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York: Born 1903–Died 1942.
Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the
car was on the way down. It was.


On a gravestone in a Georgetown, Washington, D.C. area cemetery
Katharine Phelps Brown Ivison 11/25/17 – 6/12/97
Sterling Hollinshead Ivison, Jr. 6/26/19 – 8/16/08
We finally found a place to park in Georgetown.

In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery:
Here lies an Atheist, all dressed up
and no place to go.

In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery:
Anna Wallace
The children of Israel wanted bread,
And the Lord sent them manna.
Clark Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.

On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia:
Here lies Ezekial Aikle, Age 102.
Only the good die young.

In a London, England cemetery:
Here lies Ann Mann, who lived an old maid
but died an old Mann. Dec. 8, 1767


John Penny’s epitaph in the Wimborne, England, cemetery:
Reader if cash thou art
In want of any
Dig 4 feet deep
And thou wilt find a Penny.

In a Uniontown, Pennsylvania, cemetery:
Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake,
Stepped on the gas instead of the brake.

In a Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery:
Here lies Johnny Yeast.
Pardon him for not rising.


On Margaret Daniels grave at Hollywood Cemetery Richmond, Virginia
She always said her feet were killing her
but nobody believed her.

In a Silver City, Nevada, cemetery:
Here lays The Kid,
We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger,
But slow on the draw.

A lawyer’s epitaph in England:
Sir John Strange.
Here lies an honest lawyer,
and that is Strange.

In a cemetery in Hartscombe, England:
On the 22nd of June, Jonathan Fiddle went out of tune.

Anna Hopewell’ s grave in Enosburg Falls, Vermont:
Here lies the body of our Anna,
Done to death by a banana.
It wasn’t the fruit that laid her low,
But the skin of the thing that made her go.

On a grave from the 1880s in Nantucket, Massachusetts:
Under the sod and under the trees,
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.
He is not here, there’s only the pod,
Pease shelled out and went to God.


The grave of Ellen Shannon in Girard, Pennsylvania is almost a consumer tip:

Who was fatally burned
March 21, 1870
by the explosion of a lamp
filled with “R.E. Danforth’s
Non-Explosive Burning Fluid”

In a cemetery in England:
Remember man, as you walk by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so shall you be,
Remember this and follow me.
To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone:
To follow you I’ll not consent, Until I know which way you went.


Most celebrity gravestones are well known, but this is my favorite, Winston Churchill (1874-1965):

I am ready to meet my Maker,
Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter!

I was thinking of something…