Category Archives: Rant

A Words Look: Hamlet, 4.5

I received a daily quote from my Shakespeare app which is usually the first thing I see on my phone in the morning and often the last things I see in the evening on my iPad. There are worse ways to start and finish a day than with The Bard.

“Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be. ”                                      -Ophelia, Hamlet, 4.5

Reading and contemplating on this quote by Ophelia from Hamlet, I wonder if this is the perfect description of who we are as a nation. The United States of America is struggling with itself right now in 2017. We are a nation that has entered into its adolescent years. We’ve survived infancy, Independence and setting up a tremendous framework, called the Constitution, and struggled through our terrible two’s during the American Civil War. Now that we are firmly in the adolescent period, we are struggling internally as a middle school or early high school kid might do. We may think we know  100% more than 99% of everyone else, especially the adults/parents and we often fly off the handle emotionally and physically.

We are firmly in the adolescent period and we are struggling internally as a middle school or early high school kid might do. We may think we know 100% more than 99% of everyone else, especially the adults and parents. With a lack of disregard for the opinions and viewpoints of others, we continue to sludge through the muck, making mistakes, and moving further to opposite ends of the spectrum.

Things may seem crazy now, but we will work through this. We will grow as a nation into the fine young adult stage and maybe figure out a thing or two about ourselves as a nation along the way. The opposing forces in the U.S. currently driving at breakneck speeds away from each other will eventually realize it’s time to turn around and address each other because nobody likes running full speed into a wall.

Have hope America! As we mature as a nation, we may actually find out “what we may be”.

Thanks, Bill Shakespeare! You would have been a great American.


We’re not supposed to like reading.
We’re not supposed to like writing.
We appear to be big, dumb jocks.
We look somewhat scary.
We act somewhat scary.
We get tagged as Neanderthals.
From our look,we are
supposed to like certain things,
do certain things,
and act a particular way.
Because of the way we look,
we are judged at first glance,
judged to a stereotype.

I would like to offer an invitation to everyone who has ever swam upstream against the current of stereotype. An invitation to celebrate a love of books and literature despite how we look or act, especially those of us “Neanderthals” who like to read children’s literature .

Me? I fall into the category of dumb-jock stereotype. I guess a big, football lineman-type, multiple sport-crazy athlete and coach, with a somewhat scary visage which often makes little kids cry, cannot also be an intellectually driven, reader and writer of literature. People seem to look at people like me and naturally think, “He’s a Neanderthal.”

  • Maybe its the truck driver looks? (Which, by the way, was the Hollywood descriptor of my extras casting photo when I was given a part as an extra in a movie back in my college days.)
  • Maybe it’s the occasional ranting and raving?
  • Maybe its the Kansas twang of my dialect or the silent “g” in “-ing”?
  • Maybe it’s the smile or the scowl which split time on my face?

Whatever the reason, I have been often stereotyped as the dumb-jock Neanderthal. In honor of fighting against the stereotype, I invite you to join me in a little Twitter fun.

Inspired by The Incredible Hulk, I am going to celebrate reading and literature every Wednesday by tweeting the book(s) I am currently reading under the hashtag, #MeReadBook.

If there is also an audio-book in the mix, that title will be tweeted under the hashtag, #MeHearBook.

Remember: Never judge a book by its cover.


Rant OZ

I have never read the complete book, THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ.  I’ve read a few abridged, illustrated versions, but never the whole, original enchilada. That is going to change.


In a testament to my unbounding cheapskate-tastic tendencies, I found the GREATEST WORKS OF LYMAN FRANK BAUM eBook on the Apple site for $2.99. Sometime in the near (or far) future, I will be an expert on Oz. I am pretty stoked. Now, all I need is time.

In case you are curious, here is the list of books included in the 4,129 page eBook:
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)
Ozma of Oz (1907)
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (1908)
The Road to Oz (1909)
The Emerald City of Oz (1910)
The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913)
Tik-Tok of Oz (1914)
The Scarecrow of Oz (1915)
Rinkitink in Oz (1916)
The Lost Princess of Oz (1917)
The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918)
The Magic of Oz (1919)
Glinda of Oz (1920)


I started to read his introduction to The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz…

Folk lore, legends, myths and fairy tales have followed childhood through the ages, for every healthy youngster has a wholesome and instinctive love for stories fantastic, marvelous and manifestly unreal. The winged fairies of Grimm and Andersen have brought more happiness to childish hearts than all other human creations.
Yet the old-time fairy tale, having served for generations, may now be classed as “historical” in the children’s library; for the time has come for a series of newer “wonder tales” in which the stereotyped genie, dwarf and fairy are eliminated, together with all the horrible and blood-curdling incident devised by their authors to point a fearsome moral to each tale. Modern education includes morality; therefore the modern child seeks only entertainment in its wonder-tales and gladly dispenses with all disagreeable incident.
Having this thought in mind, the story of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was written solely to pleasure children of today. It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heart-aches and nightmares are left out.
L. Frank Baum – Chicago, April, 1900

…and found an issue right off the bat. I was knocked for a loop the first time I read it. I thought, what a pompous ass with his “modern education morality” schtick. But, since he is the author of a classic piece of children’s literature, I decided to give L. Frank the benefit of the doubt and I read the Intro a second time. OK, he’s still a pompous ass, but a pompous-ass, man-of-the-times who produced a better product than what previously existed by entertaining kids without scaring the living crap out of them. Nice job, L. Frank, just tone down the high and mighty next time.

So, take-home lessons learned from Lyman Frank Baum’s Introduction to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:

1. If you write an introduction to your book, don’t come off as a pompous you-know-what.
2. If you write an introduction to your book, don’t trash what came before you. In other words, don’t bad talk your predecessor because someday you will also be the worn-out, simplistic old fashioned, backward thinking author.

Now, rant delivered…on to OZ.