Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thrift is the Philosopher's Stone


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In the Middle Ages alchemists puzzle long into the night trying to figure out how to take a lump of lead and convert it by a mixture of magic and science into a valuable piece of gold. They did not, could not, know that all their efforts were doomed to failure. However, in their quest many interesting discoveries that led on to vast fortunes for someone were uncovered.

This saying is telling us that rather than burn the midnight oil seeking a way to boost our fortunes we should consider saving on costs. A penny saved is a penny gained.

It is worth pondering that in order to gain 100 dollars it is necessary for most people to earn 100 dollars plus tax, and if you are self-employed, expenses. On the other hand if you cut your expenditure by 100 dollars you gain exactly that. Eliminate waste and gain the benefit.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Prosperity takes no counsel and fears no calamity


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Put bluntly: being well off makes you big headed. If you have plenty of spending power you feel powerful and, subconsciously at least, start assuming you must be an important person whose opinions and ideas are good.

Alas, pride comes before a fall and we can become so convinced of our wisdom and invulnerability that we prefer whatever ideas comes from our own minds and will tend to ignore wise advice from cooler heads.

History is full of people who suffer hubris - an overwhelming self confidence that leads to disaster. Self belief and confidence are important but it has to be based on sound foundations. He who is too secure is not.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Poverty is the sixth sense


Business letters


Many people believe that there is something that guides them beyond reason that intuitively leads them to avoid danger - an extra sense. Ideas like guardian angels and spirit guides are quoted. But could it be much simpler.

This saying seems to be suggesting that our best guide and adviser might be a deep fear of poverty. At the back of your mind this worry could lead you to be a model citizen: avoiding rash decisions, spendthrift ways, rowdy conduct, slovenly standards in personal behavior and business dealings. Respect for authority, care for the health and education of self and family will be seen as good.

It would seem that there are many virtues that we will cherish if we fear poverty. This might also suggest that a welfare state could be weakening if this bracing fear is removed.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

He that hath many irons in the fire, some of them will cool

The scourge of the Internet Age is information overload.

We all have too many irons in the fire and that fire sometimes seems to be your brain. Everyone wants your attention trying to sell you a product or an idea and the more information you have the more confusing it gets.

The only answer is to find a few trusty sources and shut out the rest. The problem is how do you find the best sources. Advice from a friend? Trial and error? Follow the crowd? Like gold mining you have to go through a lot of grit to get to pay dirt.

When confronted with a pile of possibilities, sometimes the best thing is to make a priority list and work through it or just pick one and get it done. This will boost your morale and make you keener for the next challenge.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Proverbs are the wisdom of the street

We have heard quite a lot in recent years about the "wisdom of crowds" where the average opinion of a group can be surprisingly accurate.

Proverbs undergo a kind of evolution - people are making remarks and observations continually, and every now and again something that someone says or writes is picked up and repeated. Due to its wisdom and/or aptnes of phrase, over time it gains the status of a proverb.

Some of the ones we use probably go back thousands of years and have transferred from one culture to another. A proverb can gain in strength by having some poetical quality of alliteration or rhyme but this rarely translates well into another language.


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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Never do things by halves

This is similar to "never put off till tomorrow what you can do today".

Procrastination is the habit of delaying and avoiding things you know ought to be done. Work study experts will tell you that double handling is a waste of time. Putting tools and materials away only to be brought out again to do a bit more means a lot of dead time; so it is better to finish a job if possible rather than do part of it more than once.

Task switching is another stressful time waster. People who use their PCs a lot probably find they have need of many skills, and they jump from one to the other. This requires a different part of the brain, and some time to adjust and remember.

"Chunking" is one answer where you identify a section of a task and focus entirely on that till it is completed.


Whitesmoke's Writing Tool

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Quarrel and strife make shorter life

Is there anyone who has never been involved in an argument or row? I am sure all the readers of this blog will have had their fair share no matter what their temperament or inclination to aggression might be. It is unavoidable and part of normal life to come across situations that will potentially give rise to conflict.

When we are young we react according to our natural defensive or aggressive instincts, and we are also influenced by those around us. Age and experience teaches us to avoid unpleasant situations as we do not want the hassle of stressful confrontation.

The secret is to see the problem coming and take steps to avoid it. Learning the importance of not escalating a quarrel but still looking after your own rights can be a tricky path to follow.

You can duck the issue, overwhelm your antagonist, or turn the other cheek and shame them. These are your options, but only time and experience can help develop your wisdom, and enable you to judge the correct response in a given situation.

Quarrels can arise through poor communication. If you writing is poor you might like to consider some help.

Whitesmoke's Writing Tool

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Woe be to him that reads but one book

There are two sides to every question. If you only read one book on a subject you are likely to get only that author's opinions, and therefore have a biased view.

To have a balanced understanding of a topic it is usually necessary to consider other peoples' opinions, even though you might disagree with them.

For example the present debate on global warming strongly divides opinion. Some people are totally convinced of dire danger and other, equally intelligent, regard it as scare-mongering exaggeration. Those who have only read and absorbed one side of the argument will tend to be intolerant of any other view.

Most situations in life are a compromise between extremes but you need to be familiar with both sides of the debate to form a balanced judgment.


Whitesmoke's Writing Tool

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Every medal has its reverse

A medal is given to commemorate a glorious deed, notable achievement,
or worthy conduct. It often has a front with a king or other top person's head to give it authority. The reverse side is usually plainer, and is not seen when it is worn at parades and grand occasions.

This saying suggests that the wearers of medals might not be quite as virtuous as the decoration implies. We all have our good days and bad days, and on a good day we might have been worthy of the award; but do we always live up to it?

It is very hard for an average human to be good, noble, and chivalrous all day, every day. We have to try to keep our sunny sides up, put our best foot forward and keep right on to the end of the road despite the off days when we fall from grace.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Never grudge a penny for a pennyworth

We all like to get a bargain or even something for nothing but it is worth remembering that other people must live too.

If you were able to take advantage of difficult times to squeeze your local shop to the bone you might turn up there one day with need for an urgent purchase only to find the shopkeeper has gone out of business. Good business is business with profits to both sides. Drive too hard a bargain and you might drive a needed service to the wall.

What we are being advised here is to deal fairly with others and don't seek to capitalise on other's misfortune. To judge what exactly fair value is can be difficult; no doubt we have all been ripped off by roguish traders at some time or another but, by and large, we get what we pay for.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Never say die! Up, man, and try

This is a clear, simple urge to be positive, not let things get you down, and never give up.

We are all prone to negative thoughts and despair at times and this is probably a natural reaction to the cares of life. A time spent in unhappy contemplation of all our woes and worries is normal just so long as we bounce back.

A healthy body leads to a healthy mind and vice versa. Therefore, the well-balanced person will use this moment of down time as a springboard for an upsurge.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thrift is the philosopher's stone

Turning base metals into gold was the dream of the impoverished alchemist for centuries before science exposed the truth.

In an economic climate of some difficulty the restless human mind seeks ways of coping. In good times people develop extravagant tastes and waste a great deal. How much food did you throw out this week?

Learning to budget and spend your income wisely can result in a tidy sum being available for you to save. Your waste has been turned into gold - now that is a philosopher's stone worth having!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

No bees, no honey; no work, no money

Bees are proverbial for their industry: they toil ceaselessly throughout the summer. As the poet Keats put it in "Ode to Autumn":

"...to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease;
For Summer has o'erbrimm'd their clammy cells."


A vision of plenty from honest toil.

We read and are impressed, but for the individual who is keen and eager to work but cannot find a job, it is like a bee that can't find flowers.

Sometimes there are no easy answers but, unlike bees, humans have unlimited powers to adapt and change. Self-employment might be the answer. Increasing education and skills can lead to new opportunities, and occasionally the frustrated, unemployed person will come up with a completely new, original idea - and make a fortune.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Need makes the old wife trot

In this day and age of political correctness the author of the above might have ended up feeling the heat. One can't help believing it was originally said with a snigger.

However, if we stop to think, it really contains a great deal of pathos.

Imagine your dear old mum, arthritic and failing, responding to an emergency. Most of us know her love of family and willingness to sacrifice herself would give her the strength to cope. The power of a loving mother is stronger than a nuclear blast.

No matter age or condition a mother never stops worrying about and caring for her children, and she will move Heaven and Hell to attend to them in a crisis.

It makes a mere man feel quite humble and undeserving.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Poor folks are glad of porridge

Porridge is a tasty, cheap nutritious meal but many people turn their noses up at it, preferring fancy packaged cereals. If you are having a problem with a tight budget it is well worth considering.

The moral here is the importance of recognising your realities and adjusting to them. Cut your coat according to your cloth is the same idea of living within your means and making the best of things.

Learning to budget, buying second-hand, using thrift shops and adjusting expectations to what is feasible will help you to cope with a downturn. It is not possible for everyone to be a super hero and cope with difficulties in a positive and constructive manner - snatching victory from the jaws of defeat to the sound of trumpets, etc., etc.. Ordinary folks sometimes have to hunker down and wait for the storm to pass.

Survival means you live to continue the struggle another day.

These videos will make you laugh, and that is a good way of coping with stress.


How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Short pleasure, long lament

Think of things that give you a quick-fix pleasure. They usually seem harmless and fun. But ask your grandmother, who has been around long enough to know the facts, and she will soon fill you in on the consequences of a moment's indiscreet pleasure.

Unwanted pregnancies, embarrassing diseases, obesity, hacking cough, gambling, financial ruin; it is so easy to be sucked into a lifestyle that will eventually cause you major harm.

There are many worthwhile pleasures in life and if carefully partaken of they will enhance and beautify your existence. The trick is to look ahead and foresee the consequences of your actions and try to avoid unnecessary follies. You cannot put old heads on young shoulders so some burning of fingers as you gain experience is probably unavoidable; but forewarned is forearmed.

Anything worthwhile usually takes time and effort.


Some harmless amusement:
How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Small fish are better than none

If we go fishing we want to return with a catch we can show off to our nearest and dearest. You are only human if you get a buzz from demonstrating your success; though wise people keep in mind: pride comes before a fall.

Some people still do, and most of our ancestors did, go fishing but nowadays we have jobs - or if we are unlucky in a recession we don't have a job. So we are being advised here to make the best of a situation.

If the great job that you had or sought is no longer available you have to make do with a lesser opportunity. As they say, even the wisest get bitten but only the foolish get bitter.



Relax with a little humor
How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Many lick before they bite

This is a warning to be wary of flatterers and the type of con man who butters you up to create a false sense of camaraderie.

Excessively charming people might just have been brought up that way but more likely you will pay for all that free smarm sooner or later.

Insincere flattery might make you feel good but when you start hearing the things you would like to hear about yourself, be on guard: you might be about to lower your defences and take it on the chin.

Some amusing videos:
How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Trot mother, trot father, how can the foal amble?

Children follow the example set by parents. People whose kids behave badly often ask: where did we go wrong?

It is natural for the young to kick over the traces as they are inexperienced and full of youthful energy; however, if parents preach virtue but do not practise it their offspring quickly cotton on and try to get away with bad behaviour.

Children need a lead to follow; it is inevitable they will make some mistakes but if they have a good set of values in the first place they will know they have fallen short of the ideal. To err is human, to forgive is divine.

Humor sweetens life. Limericks to make you laugh.
How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Sunday, August 23, 2009

He who trusts all things to chance makes a lottery of his life

A happy-go-lucky fellow who worries not what the future may hold, wandering free as a gypsy, and no doubt whistling a merry tune sounds like he is living the ideal life style.

Compare this with the typical modern life of constant care and worrying - will the bills be paid on time? is my job secure? does the boss dislike me? does my bum look big in this? is my spouse attracted to someone else?

The chancer's luck usually runs out eventually. The bankruptcy courts are full of the kind of person who has overweening optimism and always believes that something will turn up.

The ordinary, prudent person who is nagged by worries and doubts will usually take sufficient care to avoid the worst of life's foreseeable calamities. Forewarned is forearmed.


YouTube videos to cheer you up:
How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Destiny leads the willing but drags the unwilling

'There's a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will' wrote Shakespeare in Hamlet.

There are major trends in our lives that surge on like mighty rivers. We can go with the flow or try to paddle across or up stream. When energy flags the current pulls us back down the river.

The thinking behind this idea seems to be that much of the course of our lives is fixed, probably as a result of our DNA plus when and where we were born. "It is written in the stars" is a common expression reflecting a belief in destiny. A knowledge of the cycles of the Heavenly bodies can enable predictions of when and where they will appear. Likewise, many of the coming events in our lives "cast their shadows" before them and can be anticipated.

Wise people can learn to read the signs, and forecast the likely outcomes and adjust their behaviour accordingly. But if you try to deny your nature and circumstances, fate is likely to outwit you.

If, until recently, you thought that it was your destiny to be rich, and now find yourself one of the "credit-crunch poor" perhaps you have been dragged into your true destiny and need to carefully rethink your life strategy and goals.


Watch these videos on YouTube if you need cheering up.

How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Despair doubles our force

It could be as simple as running for a bus - that sinking feeling of missing it, and the consequences thereof, gives a boost to effort.

If we did not feel the misery of loss we would not exert ourselves in difficult situations. It is the intense dislike of losing that propels many successful persons to achievement, rather than the pleasure of winning. Unpleasant feelings are there to act as a spur, to make us try our utmost.

Psychologists talk abut the pleasure/pain principle, and folklore knows the relevance of the carrot and the stick. People will not apply themselves fully out of a simple intellectual recognition of the correctness of some act - they need the stimulus of feeling.

A good antidote to despair is laughter, try these:
How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Diet cures more than the lancet

Better no illness than a cure for illness. We all admire and respect the clever scientist who dedicates a lifetime to finding a cure for a dreadful disease. We do not begrudge the pharmaceutical company its just profits for funding and distributing the resulting medication. But what if the condition was easily preventable?

Being ill is not the natural state of affairs for most people. Wise minds have for centuries been pointing out that good diet and a healthy life style will enable you to lead a long, happy and healthy existence.

There is no need to be faddy or extreme as you can still greatly enjoy food, even a little of what's bad for you, if you put in some effort to use your common-sense and build a wiser pattern into your diet. There is no shortage of good advice - you probably know the basics already - just have the determination to apply it.

It is a tough world out there, and getting tougher, so make sure you are fit and ready to cope with it.


Laughter is the best medicine. Try these funny videos:

How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Prosperity knoweth not the worth of patience

If you have plenty of ready money you get into the habit of wanting instant gratification.

Why slave over a hot stove when you can order up a pizza? Why put up with the hassle of repairing your shoes when you can buy a new pair? Marriage going through a sticky patch? Hang the cost - get a divorce and start again.

To previous generations these easy options were not available - most people had to shift for themselves or go without. Patience is something you develop when you have to postpone satisfaction until you can afford it. There was a time when you had to save up for things - credit was a rarity.

Have now, pay later is a good idea if it is something really needed and you can afford the payments. Using credit for stuff you can well do without is daft - period.



If you can't be rich at least you can have a laugh with these videos:

How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Reason lies between the spur and bridle

For car drivers this can be updated to the accelerator and the brake. The means of travel has changed but the underlying concept of this saying remains the same. We have natural impulses: hunger, love, security, power, and these act as a spur to action. But we all know the trouble they can get you into.

Students of history will be aware of how people in the past had a different mindset, especially those in positions of extreme power such as early kings. Their emotional impulses were immediately transformed into actions with severe results for the recipients. Modern systems of government include a great deal of the bridle or brake to curb excesses and moderate conduct.

It is, however, in the nature of things that those in power will seek consciously or unconsciously to circumvent the controls. The saying: The price of democracy is eternal vigilance is very apt here. Reason is the means by which we seek to understand the truth of a situation and apply balance and good sense betwixt the spur of emotional desire and the counterbalancing, inhibiting bridle of fear of consequences.

Enjoy a humorous break with these funny videos.

How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Remove an old tree and it will wither to death

Digging up an old tree will sever many of its roots and without the supply of nutrients it will perish. A young tree might have the vitality to push out new roots and replenish its strength; time is on its side but the older tree has a bigger bulk to service and can't take the strain.

You are not reading this for advice on gardening, and as always with sayings there is a deeper meaning. If you are getting on in years and are made redundant you will find the pressures more severe than the younger person with fewer commitments.

If a large tree must be shifted the only safe way is to take as much of the root as possible and to trim back surplus branches to reduce demand on the available nutrient supply. Plenty of watering is essential. If you are losing your job, try to retain as many contacts as you can and quickly re-establish union with the "commercial soil" The equivalent of water here is cash, so try to build up savings to tide you over.

These videos will give you a laugh, and that is a good stress buster.

How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Poor folks are glad of porridge

Porridge is a tasty, cheap nutritious meal but many people turn their noses up at it, preferring fancy packaged cereals. If you are having a problem with a tight budget it is well worth considering.

The moral here is the importance of recognising your realities and adjusting to them. Cut your coat according to your cloth is the same idea of living within your means and making the best of things.

Learning to budget, buying second-hand, using thrift shops and adjusting expectations to what is feasible will help you to cope with a downturn. It is not possible for everyone to be a super hero and cope with difficulties in a positive and constructive manner - snatching victory from the jaws of defeat to the sound of trumpets, etc., etc.. Ordinary folks sometimes have to hunker down and wait for the storm to pass.

Survival means you live to continue the struggle another day.

These videos will make you laugh, and that is a good way of coping with stress.


How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Poor men are apt to think everybody flouts them

When you are at the bottom of the heap you think everyone is on top of you. Well, this is a surprise?

Knowing your humble position can make you oversensitive to criticism, real or imagined. Things you might laugh at or pass over when things are going well and your confidence is high will prey on your mind and seem barbed when you feel weak and vulnerable.

One obvious answer is to increase your wealth and status but that can be very difficult, though you should consider trying it. The other approach is to develop a thick skin and realise that most people will try to be polite and not rub your misfortunes in because they know the saying: there but for the grace of God go I. Remember that those who are up one day can be down the next. Every dog has its day.

Keep your chin up, stay optimistic and enjoy a wry smile at the thought of all the worries, stresses and ulcers the guy at the top is experiencing.

The human race has one really effective weapon and that is laughter. - Mark Twain. Learn to say it with limericks:
700 Limericks & How to Write Them by William Clark

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Pretty pussy" will not feed a cat

The human race has one really effective weapon and that is laughter. - Mark Twain. This book shows you how:
700 Limericks & How to Write Them by William Clark

"Pretty pussy" will not feed a cat
This is a variant of the idea behind: Fine words butter no parsnips. In other words: You gotta walk the walk not just talk the talk.

Politicians discover at a young age that if they talk well and learn to schmooze the public they get a highly paid job and lots of opportunities to grow rich. This means they concentrate on learning to do what pays best - persuading people to vote for them. Ideally they would learn to do worthwhile things and let their actions speak for themselves.

But that is letting the cat out of the bag!

Some funny video for you:
How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A brave retreat is a brave exploit

The human race has one really effective weapon and that is laughter. - Mark Twain. This book will arm you:
700 Limericks & How to Write Them by William Clark


The high point of Old Western films was the arrival of the cavalry with trumpets blaring and guns blazing. Attacks are always more satisfying than retreats but: he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. In World War II the British retreat at Dunkirk was hailed as a triumph as the battered army limped off under constant bombardment to reform and later to return to victory.

In our personal lives we have moments of success and failure - times to advance, times to pull in your horns and retrench. In the current financial turmoil many people will be faced with job losses and money worries till they feel like an army in retreat. The British at Corunna were in total disarray and falling back when somehow they managed to reform and fight back to win a defensive battle and then withdraw.

If you are reeling under a financial crisis try to keep cool and disciplined. Success can be snatched from the jaws of disaster if you stay positive, focussed and determined to grasp any opportunity to advance. Be brave: fortune favors the bold.

Fun videos:
How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Sunday, June 07, 2009

A shut book is but a block

If you don't read you don't learn; if you don't learn you can't do; if you can't do you don't earn.

We are being encouraged here to apply ourselves to the acquisition of knowledge. In the day when this saying was first coined, books were probably hard to come by and a privilege to own; so not making full use of them would have been seen as foolish.

Today we are inundated with knowledge and our main preoccupation is how to filter it out. "How do we shut the book?" is the question because the Internet is like a hose of knowledge that is difficult to turn off. We are drowning in facts, figures and opinions.

There is a need for clever software that helps us to identify and chose the things we ought to know. Perhaps people need to learn to exist/work as teams, each specialising in their own niche and reporting to the group anything that everyone should be aware of. A sort of brain collective.

Escapist holiday read: verse adventure story from James Hogg abridged by William Clark.
Queen Hynde of Berigonium, Scotland by James Hogg & William Clark

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A deluge of words and a drop of sense

This saying could have been written for politicians.

How much do we take away from the average conversation, political address, or even the news? Often not a lot. The modern world is filled with information - so much so that we can't cope.

At one time there were polymaths - people who tried to master all known subjects - but that age is long gone. Today we need coping strategies to filter out all the irrelevant stuff. But how do you know it is irrelevant until you have read it? If you read too much how can you retain it?

Speed reading is one useful technique where you learn to skim, picking out only the really important bits. You need to grasp some idea of what knowledge should you seek. Having wise old friends to point the way is good.

Hacking a path through this knowledge jungle to find the treasure requires a goal, planning, team work, tools, lots of preparation, and a mind set ever ready for the unexpected. You might have a map of sorts or just be winging it but the temples of knowledge contain many fair jewels for those who find their way there.


The human race has one really effective weapon and that is laughter. - Mark Twain. This book will arm you:
700 Limericks & How to Write Them by William Clark

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Empty vessels make the most noise

Try dropping a sauce pan early in the morning and the literal truth of this is very evident.

The idea is, of course, that people who don't know very much are always convinced of the greatness of what little they do know. Experience tends to teach you to be wary of jumping to conclusions, and as you acquire deeper wisdom you learn to be more tolerant and understanding of others. It is very rarely that an argument or situation is totally clear cut - shades of gray are the norm. It is an observable fact that people who are the least useful at something are always the most critical.

The expression to sound someone out, meaning "to seek their opinion" is interesting here, as tapping on a vessel can tell you whether it is full or not. Perhaps rapping so called experts in banking and politics on the head with your knuckles might be a better way of testing their ability - or sending them a message!

Laugh with a video, it's good for the health.
How to write a Limerick Edward Lear improved Part 1

How to write Limericks Edward Lear improved Part 2

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The fish will soon be caught that nibbles at every bait

This saying could have been made for the Internet Age when our inboxes are filled with emails offering goods or services. Information overload is the downside of the technological revolution that brought the PC to our desktops. How to deal with masses of emails, and other information, overloading the mind and causing inertia is a problem.

A useful strategy is to form clear goals and delete everything irrelevant, no matter how interesting it might be. To compulsive information junkies this is not easy but wasting time reading immaterial stuff is not wise.

The advent of services like Twitter allows a quick glance to let you know what should be followed and what to avoid. No doubt, as time progresses, clever people will come up with ways to streamline and organise our information requirements. Perhaps a robot that thinks for us!



Escape from everyday reality with this verse adventure tale from James Hogg abridged by William Clark.
Queen Hynde of Berigonium, Scotland by James Hogg & William Clark

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fair words make me look to my purse

If someone wants something out of you they know that the gentle art of persuasion is the best method of getting under your radar.

Conmen perfect the ability to convince you that they are your friend by saying the right thing and making you feel good. Mostly they like to get you tempted into a situation where you might feel you are getting a slight advantage over others - even bordering on the wrong side of right. This accounts for the saying that a totally honest person can't be conned. Well, conmen would say that wouldn't they? Salves their conscience, what little of it they have; but there is an element of truth in it.

The important thing to remember is if you feel you are being flattered, seduced and persuaded, carefully scrutinise your own conscience lest you are being tempted by the Devil. There are times in your life when you are more vulnerable, so be on guard.

The present credit crunch came about because people being offered mortgages they couldn't afford were being conned; the shareholders in the corporations providing the finance were being conned; the pushers of fair words were only interested in emptying your purse.



The human race has one really effective weapon and that is laughter. - Mark Twain. This book will arm you:
700 Limericks & How to Write Them by William Clark

Escape for a while from everyday reality with this verse adventure story from James Hogg abridged by William Clark.
Queen Hynde of Berigonium, Scotland by James Hogg & William Clark

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Trust not one night's ice

Warnings about skating on thin ice are very common. It might seem like common sense but there is always a new generation that has to learn its lesson.

When I was a child I was lagging behind a group of kids that crossed a small, ice-covered stream. As I hurried to catch up, I trod on the ice and immediately sank up to my neck in icy water. I gave a wild yell and the guys at the rear caught my outstretched arms and yanked me out. I was in Hell for a matter of seconds.

This saying stresses the importance of checking and double checking a situation that might prove dangerous. For example, a rally in the stock market might be the start of a new bull run but it might also be a sucker rally in a continuing bear market. Someone you go out with might seem very nice but only time will tell if it is a polished veneer or they are the real thing.

Avoid commitment until you have tested a situation thoroughly.


The human race has one really effective weapon and that is laughter. - Mark Twain. This book will arm you:
700 Limericks & How to Write Them by William Clark

Escape for a while from everyday reality with this verse adventure story from James Hogg abridged by William Clark.
Queen Hynde of Berigonium, Scotland by James Hogg & William Clark

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Truth hath a good face but bad clothes

Honesty is genuine and not given to pretense. There is a classic image of the poor but honest individual who might not present themselves well but have hearts of gold. This is a person you can trust and rely on. They will share their humble crust.

Their opposite is the typical con man who is an expert on presentation. He knows and understands human weakness and his trade is exploiting it. He seeks to impress by dressing well and developing a charming manner. If you are taken in you pay dearly for the charm.

The people who caused the present credit crunch did not have bad clothes though they could be said to have taken the clothes from the backs of the poor. Come to think of it, look closely at their faces and they are not a pretty sight.


Escape for a while from everyday reality with this verse adventure story from James Hogg abridged by William Clark.
Queen Hynde of Berigonium, Scotland by James Hogg & William Clark

Sunday, April 19, 2009

He that is won with a nut may be lost with an apple

This is a caution against bought friends. If you seek to make friends by doing people favors they will not be sincere - just value you for what they can get out of you.

The best way to make friends is by being yourself and letting others see what they have in common with you. There might be a tactical short term value in sucking up to someone but long term they will be of little consequence. If you have a disagreeable personality it might be worth considering what your problem is and finding a fix. Having a few good friends is better than a lot of insincere ones.

If people only like you for what they can get they will quickly change allegiance when a better offer appears. In other words they will tell you what to do with your nuts.


Escape for a while from everyday reality with this verse adventure story from James Hogg abridged by William Clark.
Queen Hynde of Berigonium, Scotland by James Hogg & William Clark

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He that measures not himself is measured

This saying deals with the idea of self-criticism.

Unless you consider your own performance, and how well you have measured up to expectations, others will be quick to spot your shortcomings.

It is a recommended practice to self-assess regularly - to have goals and objectives that can be quantified and measured in some way. Regular assessment lets you know how you are doing and where you need to improve.

Don't wait until a competitor or mischievous person points out your faults, or quietly exploits them.

The Japanese have a word kaizen that means constant checking and improvement, and they have used the concept to great effect in personal and business matters. Do not wait till you have been tried in the balance and found wanting.

Easter is a time of renewal - act now.


Escape for a while from everyday reality with this verse adventure story from James Hogg abridged by William Clark.
Queen Hynde of Berigonium, Scotland by James Hogg & William Clark

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Put your finger in the fire and then say it was your misfortune

This appears to be a variant on play with fire and you will get burned.

We are all tempted by situations that have an element of danger - a little adrenaline boost perks us up and makes life seem exciting. When we find we like a little of something there is a logic in thinking: if a little gives a buzz a bit more will give a bigger buzz. And so many of the ills that plague mankind begin.

The drug dabbler becomes the drug dependant becomes the addict becomes the hopeless down and out. The loan from a friend becomes the use of a credit card becomes the mortgage becomes the "can't lose investment on borrowed money" that eventually goes down the pan and brings bankruptcy.

The credit crunch of today is the consequence of governments, and those who should know better, taking reckless risks and hoping that it will be someone else who gets burned -- and sadly, that is probably so.

To use old fashioned language: the devil tempts us with a dainty like a fisherman tempts a fish; once hooked we are reeled in and fried.

Don't poke your finger where it doesn't belong.

Ad.
The human race has one really effective weapon and that is laughter. - Mark Twain. This book will arm you:
700 Limericks & How to Write Them by William Clark

Sunday, March 29, 2009

When God says "today" the devil says "tomorrow"

Don't put off till tomorrow what can be done today is the same idea. People have long recognised that humans have a tendency to procrastinate. The trouble is that having made a decision you then have to live with the consequences for good or ill. It is therefore tempting to put off a choice till the last moment.

Those who study these things and offer advice will tell you to make lists, prioritise have a routine, be positive and so on. It is so easy to give well-meaning advice -- and even easier to ignore it.

If you wake up one fine morning and rise determined that today it will be different -- you will be decisive and efficient -- you just might be starting on a whole new way of life.

If you are naturally pessimistic and cautious your decisions will be mainly to do as little as possible and be safe. If confident and energetic, you will boldly go on to fame, fortune or disaster.

There are no perfect guarantees in this life.

The ills that have come upon us as a result of the credit crunch mean that many people will be faced with difficult decisions. Now is a good time to get your house in order.

Like a ship heading for battle or stormy seas it is a good idea to batten down the hatches and clear the decks for action. Only you can know what that means in your own life, and how to transfer the metaphor to practical actions.

You are the captain of your ship of life and your decisions will affect the outcome for good or ill. Be prepared.

"The human race has one really effective weapon and that is laughter." - Mark Twain. This book will arm you:
700 Limericks & How to Write Them by William Clark

Sunday, March 22, 2009

He that studies his content wants it

This saying suggests that only those who are discontented are to be found pondering the nature of contentment. Put another way: only unhappy people are concerned with the pursuit of happiness. You never miss the water till the well runs dry is a very well known saying and all of us have experienced it.

The wisdom here seems to be telling us that if we go about our lives in a sensible, active way we will be happy and contented without realising it. But like a contented, suckling baby, take away its teat and you will get howls. Perhaps being overly concerned with the pursuit of happiness could be a false goal -- just do the ordinary things of life competently and conscientiously, and happiness follows.

Tell yourself that you must keep up with the neighbors to be happy and you will never be.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The habit does not make the monk

This could be a play on words as habit can refer to a regular practice or a monk's cloak.

Here we are being advised that just because someone professes to be something or goes through the motions it does not follow that they are genuine. The proof of the pudding lies in the eating thereof. Many people convince themselves that appearances are what counts, and that the image they project is the reality. After all, we do tend to take people at face value.

The typical con man is an expert at appearing to be what he is not. He assumes the outward manners and style that his victims expect in their heroes. Don't judge a book by its cover conveys much the same idea.

But are you wearing a false habit? It is not until a testing time comes that we really find out what we are made of. It can be a shock to realise that under pressure we will let ourselves down. Tough training courses in the armed services are designed to confront and reveal weaknesses so you will know your true capabilities.

Many people discover that it takes a major crisis in their lives to become self aware, realise weakness and folly, learn to truly improve, and become the person you only thought you were.

An excellent present for Mothering Sunday:
700 Limericks & How to Write Them by William Clark

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The house shows its owner

Our homes are to some extent an expression of ourselves. They demonstrate our ambitions and make statements about our aspirations. Given time and unlimited resources we would externalise our personalities in what we build. Our follies and weaknesses would be plain to all but ourselves.

If you look at some of the buildings commissioned by the super wealthy you get the idea. From extravagant tower blocks to show the dominance of a super tycoon to the awe inspiring devotion to love of the Taj Mahal. The buildings are reflecting in stone the innermost thoughts and motives of their owners.

Conversely, a humble and penitent monk will live in the simplest cell possible. He is trying to tell us that he has put aside all earthly temptations and desires and seeks only the simplest existence.

Most of us content ourselves with an average house with the occasional little attempt at individuality -- even if it is only a twee garden gnome.

This book will help you write your own verse, romantic or otherwise:
700 Limericks & How to Write Them by William Clark

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Those who starve together stick together

Adversity tends to form a common bond: in dangerous occupations like mining and soldiering people have traditionally formed strong supportive communities. The men become a band of brothers and the women support each other -- never knowing when a husband will be lost or a child need help.

To a family on the breadline, survival is uppermost in their minds, and they recognise the need for each other. When everyone is poor there is no jealousy, no reason for envy of other's possessions. You share what you have and others share with you.

When good times come and people have plenty they become more selfish as they are not dependant on the support and sympathy of fellow sufferers. Driven by envy and greed each strives to beggar his neighbor and keep up with the Jones. This kind of behaviour can lead eventually to a community failing -- reducing everyone back to basics where they can relearn the value of co-operation. Their credit gets crunched along with their big heads.



This book will help you write your own verse, romantic or otherwise:
700 Limericks & How to Write Them by William Clark

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Poverty parts friends

Poor relations can be an embarrassment. Who wants to listen to you modestly bragging about your latest expensive acquisition when they are on food stamps? Some people are poor through their own follies and others through misfortune but it rubs it in if friends start to progress in opposite directions.

If your friends are struggling while you are becoming successful you will have less and less in common and your outlook on life will change from theirs. Where they see despair and hopelessness you could be looking at prosperity and improvement. Some friendships will last through good and bad times but eventually there will be drift away from weaker ties. Life is tough and you need to look after number one.

Most people would regard it as right that you should try to help friends in trouble but there will come a point when you have to say enough is enough -- you can't let others pull you down unfairly. When to let go and part company is a difficult judgement to make but sometimes it has to be done.


Learn to write limericks and you are half way to song lyrics:
700 Limericks & How to Write Them by William Clark

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Love makes one fit for any work

Poets have long hailed the inspiring power of love; from Helen of Troy to the cute girl next door, no self-respecting weilder of the pen can do without the sublime influence of a lovely lady. Not many people would rush to regard poetry writing as work but for those to whom it is a vocational calling it is almost as important as the loaf of bread won by much toil in field and factory.

The poet has no doubt about the importance of love in its most refined and basic forms to inspire and drive activity but all humans are motivated by this mysterios joy to greater achievement and worthiness. True love elevates the spirit. ennobles the soul and magnifies the mind of the inspired person who has increased zest and power to accomplish. The knowledge that someone you love and respect reciprocates your feelings is the greatest boost to self-esteem you can have.


However, like all good things love has its downside and we find in the songs of the world many sad lyrics of love lost, love betrayed, stolen love and heartbreak. Those of us who have toiled under a heavy heart know how difficult it is to keep positive and engaged with daily tasks; but as the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, said, "The joys o' love are sweeter far than any other pleasure And if so dear its sorrows are, enjoyment what a treasure".

Friendship can be steadier and more reliable than the foibles of love. Try this song on Amie Street. This is a download site that lets you purchase for a few cents in the early days of a song's release before the price rises. If this blog is of value to you purchases help to fund it, thanks. (You get a free listen to part)

Ol' Jim (Magic in Them Feet)


For more on romantic verse and tips on writing them you might like to try my blog:
Limericks Verse Poetry

This book will help you write your own verse, romantic or otherwise:
700 Limericks & How to Write Them by William Clark

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Love lives in cottages as well as in courts

Amour courtois, courtly love, was very fashionable in Europe in the High Middle Ages of the 12th century. Possibly drawing some inspiration from the Arab world, it began in the French aristocratic courts and is particularly associated with Eleanor of Aquitaine who was queen of France and, later, Queen of England. She loved the attention of the troubadour poets and singers and displays of refined, romantic, chaste love.

Her adventurous life spanned, for those times, an enormous 83 years, and included many children by her two husbands, so perhaps she knew something. This was at a time when people married for position and wealth and their true feelings could only be expressed in poetry and song.

History tends not to record the lives of ordinary folk but it is tempting to think that those who were free to marry for love might have had far happier lives than their aristocratic lords. The bonds of natural affection would likely have been just as real for the untutored, illiterate peasant as for the well-educated, refined lords and ladies. However, the hardness of life might have made marriage a mainly practical method of surviving and procreating for all classes.

For more on romantic verse and tips on writing them you might like to try my blog:
Limericks Verse Poetry

This book will help you write your own verse, romantic or otherwise:
700 Limericks & How to Write Them by William Clark

As a memorial to a fine man who was a friend to all, the author of your blog wrote a tribute song "Ol' Jim (Magic in Them Feet)" now available as a digital download from iTunes and other stores.

Ol' Jim (Magic in Them Feet)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Rest breeds rust

The balance between work and play is a difficult one to get right. Shakespeare observed: "If all the year were holidays to play would be as tedious as to work."

Most people work because they need to earn money and are usually tempted by extra income to work longer hours. Knowing when to stop and put family and friends first is a difficult judgement to make but if you take too much time off then your work will suffer.

This saying implies that if you overdo rest and relaxation you will find it more difficult to make a success of whatever tasks you have. Working long hours might reduce your effectiveness but it is likewise with too much laziness.

A well-oiled, regularly run machine can last longer than one left lying idle.

Ol' Jim (Magic in Them Feet)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The house is a fine house when good folks are within

The wealthy man in his mansion has a fine house to show off to his friends but are they true friends or just attracted to his wealth? Fair-weather friends are not there when you need them.

The poor man with his simple abode knows true happiness when genuine friends come to share his table and enjoy each other's company. The quality of the surroundings doesn't matter when the people are genuine. In times of need they help each other and are likely to know more of life's truest pleasures and satisfactions than the possessor of material riches.

Just as a fine instrument won't make a mediocre player better, or an expensive PC improve poor software, so a grand house won't necessarily provide the venue for good company and fellowship.

As a memorial to a fine man who was a friend to all the author of your blog wrote a tribute song "Ol' Jim (Magic in Them Feet)" now available as a digital download from iTunes and other stores.
Ol' Jim (Magic in Them Feet)

The full story of how a thrown away banknote led to this song can be read here:

The Story of the Song

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ol' Jim (Magic in Them Feet)

A friend in need is a friend indeed

Today I would like to tell you about a man who was a friend to many.

This is the age of the Internet and, as you know, it is constructed from software. In the background in homes and offices all over the globe men and women struggle away to produce the programs we all now rely on. Many of these toilers are self-employed with no colleagues or fellow workers for support and companionship. It can be a lonely and stressing existence.

Thankfully, due to the Internet, it is possible to reach out and make contact with other like-minded souls. The discussion forum can be a godsend for such people. It was on one such forum a very memorable and unique individual, Jim Wolfmeyer, could be found.

Jim was an ex US army sergeant major with a background in missile defense who used his computer expertise in a friendly and engaging manner to help people from all around the globe of every kind, creed and color. His American country boy style, humor and linguistic quirks made him a unique and unforgettable character.

As a memorial to this fine man the author of your blog wrote a tribute song "Ol' Jim (Magic in Them Feet)" now available as a digital download from iTunes and other stores.

Ol' Jim (Magic in Them Feet)

The full story of how a thrown away banknote led to this song can be read here:

The Story of the Song

Whenever you were in need, Jim was a friend indeed.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Repentance is good but innocence is better

We all make mistakes; do things we regret later. When the consequences of our actions or words hit home we feel remorse and wish our ways had been different. We can repent, say we are sorry, and try to make amends.

How genuinely sorry are we? Sorry for what we did or feeling sorry for ourselves because we have to suffer the fall out? The purpose of emotional pain is to teach us a lesson: we act wrongly and suffer the result. Sometimes we suffer when it is not our fault, or it does not seem to be, but we often have no choice in these circumstances other than to adopt a philosophical attitude and struggle on.

Trying to understand the complexities of cause and effect is very difficult. Is it possible for any of us to lead a totally innocent life in a competitive world?

Innocence is not always enough to prevent harm coming your way but in many cases it does help to put the odds in your favor.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Prosperity knows not the worth of patience

When people have more than enough they grow careless and start to waste food clothing and other necessity's of life. They take luxuries for granted. Why discipline yourself when there is plenty to go around?

The result is we begin to overindulge, grow fat and lazy and slip into all sorts of bad habits. Drinkers and smokers consume to excess and damage their health. Credit becomes easily available and leads to more excess of consumption. When you have to save for something it forces you to evaluate how much it really means to you and if you can do without.

When your budget is tight you are more aware of the relative value of things and have to get your priorities right.


A Happy and prosperous New Year to you all.

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About Me


Author of "Stirring Western Poems" "How to Write Lyrical Limericks & Poems that Pay" "700 Limericks & How to Write Them"
"Clean Limericks For All Occasions"