49. Books on Fire


:so fucking perverted:

The Amazing Grace Baptist Church in North Carolina  is celebrating Halloween in a slightly different way – they’re burning all “perversions of God’s word.”

According to their website, there will be:

“Great Preaching and Singing”

Flip preaching at First Baptist Church of Ferguson

:this looks great to me:

and lots of burning!

Unfortunately, the website makes it very clear that this event is invitation only. So, if you wanna, you can recreate it on your own.

Here’s a list of what to burn, thanks to the AGBC:

“We are burning Satan’s bibles like the NIV, RSV, NKJV, TLB, NASB, NEV, NRSV, ASV, NWT, Good News for Modern Man, The Evidence Bible, The Message Bible, The Green Bible, ect. These are perversions of God’s Word the King James Bible.

We will also be burning Satan’s music such ascountry , rap , rock, pop, heavy metal,western, soft and easy, southern gospel ,contemporary Christian , jazz, soul, oldies butgoldies, etc.

We will also be burning Satan’s popular books written by heretics like Westcott & Hort, Bruce Metzger, Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, John McArthur, James Dobson, Charles Swindoll, John Piper, Chuck Colson, Tony Evans, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swagart, Mark Driskol, Franklin Graham, Bill Bright, Tim Lahaye, Paula White, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Joyce Myers, Brian McLaren, Robert Schuller, Mother Teresa, The Pope, Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Shane Claiborne, Brennan Manning, William Young, Will Graham, and many more.”

However, these are the books they are not burning – just to keep you straight:

“We are not burning Bibles written in other languages that are based on the TR. We are not burning the Wycliffe, Tyndale, Geneva or other translations that are based on the TR.”

Also, the website says that they will be serving “fried chicken, and all the sides.”


:some fried chicken (i bet my mom's is better):


:but check those sides, bitches!:

There are a couple factors that make this particular book burning really interesting.


:feast your eyes on the amazing grace baptist church:

First, they have a long list of scriptural reasons to burn these books. I won’t list them here, but check it out (scroll down). The first explanation, however, is a Bible verse:

“And many that believe came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together and burned them beofer all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed” (Acts 19:18-20).”

But let’s look at the books they’re burning. First, they’re burning my bud Tim LaHaye, author of the bestselling Left Behind Series. This pulls at my heartstrings, I must admit. However, this is the opposite of the evangelical fundamentalist worldview that America has lately been exposed to – a great effort to expose Megachurch culture as a positive phenomenon and an attempt to spread “the Word” in any way possible.

The folks at AGBC, however, are also burning works by Mother Teresa and the Pope. This seems like a really interesting split in the church – a rejection both of modern evangelical theology and also traditional Catholicism. In a sense, this is an old-fashioned Protestant church – King James is the only option, and no other writings or interpretations are either valid or necessary. The AGBC sees this questioning as Satan’s way into God’s world.


:i heard god hates those fuckers:

“The first step of Satan,” the author writes, is to “try and get man to question God’s word.” The questioning, here, is what is threatening. How fascinating. Seriously. How can you study the Bible and ask no questions? I’d love to sit in on one of their Bible Studies. I’m not being facetious, this seems really interesting.

This is a short explanation, from their website, on what they stand for:

“We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, and it is our final authority in all matters. We believe in teaching “no other doctrine”, like Paul told Timothy, and that is our stand. We stand on God’s Word and not man ideas or “scholarship.” We make no apology for our stand. We are an old fashion Independent Fundamental Baptist Church. To read in more detail of what we believe go to the “What we Believe” tab. Thanks.”

Salvation is also a big part of their focus, and the website encourages readers to admit their sins and accept Jesus, much like my experience reading Tim LaHaye. Anyway, I would highly recommend checking out the website and reading through – it’s a great look into a world we don’t see much.

(Props to Aaron for the tip-off)


:and, appropriately, king james gets the last word:

October 28, 2009. Books, Culture, Rectangles, Religion. 4 comments.

48. Board Games

Board games – so versatile, so much variety. From a rainy day distraction to a potential drinking game, board games sustain us in so many ways.

:a rather large selection:

:quite the selection:

Unfortunately, I’m really bad at them. But it’s not my fault. When I was younger, I was forbidden by my family to play board games. Especially CandyLand. I got too competitive and ruined the experience for everyone. Allegedly.

:i used to love this game. my parents didn't.:

:i loved this game. mom and dad didn't.:

So I was cast out of the world of Board Games, like the Jews cast out their sins on Yom Kippur.

:jews throwing bread into the water to cast out their sins. aka "tashlich.":

:jews throwing bread in the water to cast out their sins. aka "tashlich.":

Eventually, I was let back in. This was in 5th grade, when my brother Sam, my nanny Erin and I started playing Clue. Somehow, I discovered a system (that I no longer remember) that meant that I won every time. Every. Time. I’d guess that my “secret system” probably involved cheating. But damn, that shit was fucking sweet.



Every. Time.

Finally, my freshman year of college, I got intimate with Scrabble. The boy I was dating at the time was one of those people who’s just good at games. Really, really good. At any kind of game. He just always won. Soon we learned that Scrabble was not helpful to our relationship. I was a sore loser and I’d quit the game and sulk.


:my tiles were always only vowels:

I mean, come on. He’d have 258 and I’d have  70? I had a right to be obnoxious. That was patently unfair.


:not me, but i was equally bratty:

And then I got my revenge through Scattergories. Turns out I’m really good at Scattergories. My brain is great at looking at the (rectangular) Scattergories cards and thinking of appropriate words to write down (on rectangular pads of paper). Actually, Scattergories became a relationship problem as well. Allegedly, I won a few too many times and rubbed it in. I can’t imagine this happening, but – fuck that, I’m sure I was a total bitch.


:finally! a game i'm good at:

In summation, I’ve pretty much quit the board game circuit. I’m a high-risk player and my friends know better than to play with me. But if anyone wants to challenge me to a nice game of Set – I mean, I’d be down…


:mebs this fella would play with me? he looks kinda lonely:

October 27, 2009. Culture, Rectangles. 3 comments.

47. The Crayola Crayon Box

:taste the rainbow:

:taste the rainbow:

When I was growing up, we had very few art supplies in my house. However, the one thing we always had was a large box (or two) of Crayola crayons. These crayons seem harmless, but my house had many adventures with the 96 colors we possessed.

Or once possessed.

From when I was born until I was 12, my family had a dog named Lucy. Our theory is that she literally had a screw loose in her brain. She was a crazy dog. This is not Lucy, but it looks a lot like her.

:lucy had more of a crazy look in her eyes:

:lucy had more of a crazy look in her eyes:

One day, my brother and I had been coloring. We accidentally left a box of crayons out on a table. This was our precious 96-crayon box. Sharpener included.

:celebrated 96 king-size box - with built in sharpener!:

:celebrated 96 king-size box - with built in sharpener!:

Ten minutes later, we came back into the room. Lucy had eaten all 96 crayons, plus the sharpener. For months, our backyard was covered in piles of rainbow-colored shit. We never found the sharpener.

:i'm sorry, i had to:

:i'm sorry, i had to:

Now, let’s talk crayons. Enough storytelling. Crayola is just so creative, friends. There are so many colors! Not just red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. They didn’t even stop at red-violet, violet-red, red-orange, orange-yellow, yellow-orange, yellow-green, green-yellow and orange-red. No. These trailblazers created colors that no one else could have thought of.

:so many colors. so many names.:

:so many colors. so many names.:

So impressive. Here are some more. Check the variety.

:mo' colors, mo' problems?:

:mo' colors, mo' problems?:

For the record, I’ve always been partial to “robin’s egg blue,” “macaroni and cheese,” and “purple mountain’s majesty.” Luckily, there’s lots of room for disagreement.

October 26, 2009. Art, Rectangles. 2 comments.

46. The Brooklyn Club’s Column

My grandparents live in a lovely “active adult community” in Monroe Township, New Jersey. Recently, Pop-Pop has embarked on a new ambitious adventure:

:kinda speaks for itself:

:kinda speaks for itself:

The Founding of The Brooklyn Club.

This sounds fairly simple, but there is, of course, drama amongst the old people. Before Pop-Pop started to mix things up, The Bronx Club dominated the borough-related scene. It had many members. They went on field trips to exciting places in the Bronx – The Bronx Zoo, old tenements, etc. And then my grandfather had the gall to found The Brooklyn Club. Unfortunately, they had to let Staten Island in, to compete with the Bronx club for membership. I encourage Pop-Pop to just settle it with fisticuffs. After all, as he always says, “You can take the boy out of Brooklyn, but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the boy.” Pretty sure that’s an original quote.

:some locals a-walkin:

:some locals a-walkin:

Recently, the Brooklyn Club got a column in the community newspaper. Pop-Pop wrote it and sent a copy to each of his children – my Dad (Bennett) and his two sisters (Idette and Devorah). The following note was enclosed. Spelling is kept intact.

Dear Idette

Dear Dev;orah

Dear Bonnet

H ere IS tHE CDOLUMN I WROTE FOR  t HE Brookl yn Staten Island club. I am no Walter Winchell but it was fun. I  sent in the one for November and am now working o n Staten  Island for December and t I hope we will  be  in Florida by then.

Love to all of your family

Mom and Dad

Here, now, I present Pop-Pop’s column. I feel like I should just publish it here, without any changes. Enjoy. And be patient, the second half is the best.

Brooklyn/Staten Island Club

By Joe Hecht

Author’s Note: The contents of this column will come from personal experiences of our members  residents from Brooklyn or Staten Island, and from many publications dealing with the boroughs. In today’s column I’ll be talking about Brooklyn.

Peter Golenbrock in the book In the Country of Brooklyn states that one of every seven people living in the United States can trace their families back to Brooklyn, New York. It is only seventy square miles but it is home to millions of people who come from every corner of the globe. I was born and brought up in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn. It did not matter where you lived. When the kids in Flatbush started to play “immies” (marbles), kids in Bensonhurst, Midwood, etc. were playing too. This was true for stickball, potsie, ringolevio and any other game. This was a phenomenon that cannot be explained, but it did happen every year.

We all know Brooklyn for its egg creams and the Brooklyn Dodgers (still not forgotten). Brooklyn was one of the first urban areas to decay into slums and one of the first to be reborn. It is a densely populated urban borough with public housing projects, private homes, expensive high rise condominiums and beautiful Brownstones. The Brownstones were renovated and modernized by some of the owners, while other owners restored them to their Victorian or Edwardian glory.

An island that was separate and independent from the rest of Brooklyn, Coney Island, was also known as Gravesend. There was a stockade surrounding the town center on Gravesend Road and McDonald Avenue. Coney Island remained isolated because it was difficult to reach on foot or horseback until 1829 when a bridge was built from Brooklyn to the island.

In 1850 Coney Island became popular. Soon horse racing became the attraction at Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach, and the Gravesend Racetracks. The president of the Long Island Rail Road built a line for the “horsey” set to get to the races. When horse racing died out, Coney Island still offered many attractions that were very popular. In 1895 the first outdoor amusement park, Sea Island Park, opened featuring an aquatic toboggan slide and a two-passenger roller coaster that performed a loop-de-loop. A second park called Steeplechase opened and featured an aerial slide and a double chute. For those who loved horses, a new exciting horse ride was introduced where two people could ride the horse down a long rail.

In 1902 a ride know as “A Trip to the Moon,” copied from the Buffalo State Fair, was built. More than 850,000 curiosity seekers paid to ride to the “Moon.” In 1903 Luna Park opened, with two million lights over the entrance-way. Its attraction was “Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.”

The amusement park craze cooled off because of the sober nature of the World War II era and, perhaps, because the world was becoming sophisticated. Unfortunately, during the Depression most of the parks went into bankruptcy, great fires destroyed others, and in 1949 the land became the site for low-income housing. Coney Island beaches were in great demand but the only access to them was through the amusement parks. In order to get to the beach bathers were charged one dollar. These charges inhibited the masses from bathing in the waters of Coney Island. By the end of the 1920’s the use of the beach was free but one had to pay one of the amusement rides 25 cents if one wanted a place to change from one’s bathing suit to regular clothes.

Coney Island in the 20th century grew at the same time as Brooklyn grew because of the mass movement of immigrants. Immigrants came to Brooklyn and loved it. They came from Germany, Russia, Italy, Ireland, England and Puerto Rico. They settled in Brooklyn and eventually many moved to other areas of the U.S. There is an old saying that people in Brooklyn know only the parts of town that lie between their neighborhood and Manhattan. I, for one, didn’t travel to Borough Park, Bensonhurst, East New York, and Brownsville (you name the areas) unless I met someone from there. Why would I leave Flatbush? As I grew up I found good reasons to travel to other areas. I learned about museums, zoos, the Botanical Gardens and all the wonderful attractions Brooklyn had to offer.

David McCullough, in his book, Brooklyn: How It Got That Way, said, “Brooklyn was the site in 1899 if the famous boxing match when the champion Fitzsimmons lost his title to Jim Jeffries.” It was the start of many famous championship-boxing matches that led to years of big boxing held in Brooklyn. Baseball had been played as an amateur sport in Brooklyn since 1850. In 1870 a professional baseball club was organized. It was the first to defeat the Cincinnati Red Stockings who had gone undefeated in 69 games prior to playing the Brooklyn club. Charlie Ebbets bought the club and they became the Dodgers of Ebbets Field. They won the National League Championship in 1899 and 1900.

Brooklyn is proud to brag that William Makepeace Thackery called Brooklyn, “A tranquil place entirely different from New York.” Tallyrand visited Brooklyn and so did Tom Paine and Lafayette. They saw Brooklyn, as did the immigrants, as a land of opportunity, an area where one could walk down any main street and shop to your heart’s content. One could find things to do, and live in the kind of neighborhood and home of one’s choosing. Brooklyn was and is the land of opportunity.

On November 21, the Brooklyn/Staten Island Club will present a “Coney Island Night.” Look for the announcement and save these dates for upcoming events – February 24, May 22 and August 25, 2010.

As silly as this piece is, it really is a sweet homage to the place that Pop-Pop honestly saw as the land of opportunity. Pop-Pop pretty much only talks about his childhood in Brooklyn now. As hard as he had it (he was a poor, second generation American Jew), Brooklyn was a magical place for him. I’ve always found that really sweet.

I spoke to Pop-Pop about this column soon after we received it. He told me that Coney Island Night was gonna be “just like a Nathan’s store – everything Nathan’s. Nathan’s hot dogs, Nathan’s cups, Nathan’s napkins.” Apparently, Grandma is on the decorating committee. I suggested that she procure a ferris wheel, or else people would be disappointed.

:wait, is this coney island? or is it coney island night?:

:wait, is this coney island? or is it coney island night?:

Clear your schedules, folks. And join on up!

October 23, 2009. Culture, History, Periodicals, Rectangles. Leave a comment.

45. Rashes

:if you got a rash, check out this shiiiiit:

:if you got a rash, check out some hydrocortisone:

Oh, the rash. What a fascinating word. It can either be exciting (Don’t do anything rash!) or really, really unfortunate (Oh…she has a rash?). The second meaning of this word is something that I am all too familiar with.

As a child, I used to love rolling around naked in anything I could find. Once, while washing the family car, I covered myself in car soap. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but then I broke out in hives. I had to take Benadryl and was not allowed to swim in the pool for a whole weekend.

:after "the incident

:after "the incident" i was only ever allowed to touch ivory or dial:

Then it was Fifth’s Disease, in seventh grade. I discovered that my face was blotchy and itchy while at a Bat-Mitzvah. This rash covered my entire body and did not respond to oatmeal baths. I missed a week of school. It was terrible. And also untreatable – I just had to wait it out. Worst and itchiest week ever.

The next rash was ringworm, acquired from the high school wrestling mats. I must have gotten it five or six times in 9th grade – on my forehead, on my arms, on my legs – everywhere. Ok, almost everywhere. In order to make it go away, I had to put on Lotrimin – an anti-fungal cream. Seriously. How gross is that? I started wearing only long sleeves and UnderArmour tights to practice.

I get heat rash in the sun. It’s uncomfortable and requires some aloe.

:muthafuckaz, the sun ain't no joke:

:hey, the sun ain't no joke, bitches:

Then, finally, I discovered in college that the dry winter weather gave me eczema. Luckily, eczema is just a fancy word for “really dry skin,” so moisturizing and (in severe cases) hydrocortisone clear it right up.

None of these rashes were rectangular. In fact, most were fairly circular, which is a bit of a disappointment. So I’d like to focus on some rectangular rashes today – for your enjoyment.

Some types of eczema can be rectangular. Look at this nice diagram of a baby with the rash represented in rectangular form:

:baby got some 'atopic dermatitis':

:baby got some 'atopic dermatitis':

Here is a very special rash that has a long, long scientific name.

:fluoroscopy-induced chronic radiation dermatitis:

:fluoroscopy-induced chronic radiation dermatitis:

You can check out a whole article on it here. It seems like a really shitty rectangular situation.

Finally, and best of all, Shingles! Shingles is most always rectangular (a rash after my own heart!).

:shingles - no, silly, not the roofing kind!:

:shingles - no, silly, not the roofing kind!:

It appears in a band or a strip on one side of the body. It is Chicken Pox’s revenge – Shingles, CP’s brother (or sister) lies dormant in the system after a bout of chicken pox and comes to life in a weak immune system. In other words, Shingles often hits up people such as the elderly, the stressed out, and those with AIDS or HIV. Awesome! Also, it’s not curable, since it’s a virus – so just wait it out, folks-with-shingles.

Try to avoid that shit, muthafuckaz. And if you can’t, take a picture.

October 23, 2009. Rectangles, Science. 3 comments.

44. Energy Bars

:i'm about the size of a large dog:

:i'm about the size of a large dog:

I have a problem that gets no sympathy from anyone.

If I don’t watch what I eat, I lose too much weight. Once I dropped down to 90 bony pounds – and I don’t want to repeat that scary skeletal moment again. Not only did I lose my fantastic ass, I had to start shopping in the kid’s section. It’s already hard enough to find clothes that fit – I don’t need the added hurdles. So, I have to trick myself into eating enough, every day. It’s really hard.

One strategy is sneaking calories into my diet. If I eat a sandwich, I drink a soda with it, instead of water. One hundred calories then work their way into my body that, otherwise, wouldn’t have made it. Instead of brewed coffee, I’ve switched to drinking cappuccinos – for the milk. And if my cappuccino is too hot, I add heavy cream. If I’m hungry, then I take advantage of it. Don’t just eat some cereal, Eliza! Drink a milkshake!

Perhaps my best strategy is to trick myself into eating. I find things that I can wolf down before I have the chance to realize that I’m eating.

The two pinnacles of this strategy are Ensure shakes and protein bars. However, Ensure shakes are not rectangular, and they’re kinda heavy to carry around in my purse. And also, they’re not rectangles. I try to live only by rectangles.

:yummy, but not a rectangle:

:yummy, but not a rectangle:

So this brings us to the energy bar. I’ve spent a lot of time testing the products. There are a few Important Factors that I consider in deciding which bars pass the test:

1. Taste

2. Texture

3. Speed of Consumption

4. Number of Calories

There are two bars that I immediately dismissed.

First, the Luna bar.

:nasty, no matter how much fake caramel they add:

:nasty, no matter how much fake caramel they add:

That shit is really disgusting. Don’t fuck with it. I  mean it. It’s really, really gross. It fails Important Factor Number One. So I must dismiss it immediately.

The same goes for the Clif bar:



It tastes and feels like birdseed, failing Important Factors One and Two. I am not a bird, I am a human being – and I would like to eat food that feels kinda like human food.

Once I got past these travesties, I learned something important. I like to call it

Rule Number One of the Energy Bar:

Always go with peanut butter. Peanut butter flavoring tends to cover up any gross protein-related additions.

Once I learned to follow this rule, I started to explore three varieties of energy bar.

First – the Peanut Butter Balance Bar.

:don't order the boxes:

:don't order the boxes:

I used to eat these when I went to wrestling tournaments. They are a good, high protein, fairly tasty choice. They offer 200 quick calories. I support this option. I was ultimately forced to give it up for a highly personal reason. I started to order these bars by the box online. Unfortunately, in the shipping process, these bars tend to melt, reform, and end up tasting like shit. I ate too many of these babies (reformed and not) and I can no longer stomach them.

Let’s move onto the Peanut Butter PowerBar.

:lil bit sticky:

:lil bit sticky:

This option is not too bad. Sometimes it fails Important Factor Number Two – texture. And the caloric level is not at optimum height, at 240 calories a bar. But it is fairly easy to scarf down, even though it looks a little bit like a large, yellowish bar of shit.

Finally, I found the perfect solution – a bar that satisfies all four Important Factors.

The Chocolate Peanut Butter PowerBar Protein Plus.

:oh, it's so good:

:oh, it's so good:

This baby not only clocks in at 300 calories a bar, but the texture is perfect. It’s kinda fluffy, kinda sticky – almost taffy-like. Very satisfying. It tastes almost – well – pleasant. And, for all these reasons, it offers a very efficient speed of consumption. What a perfect solution!

And all in that magical, rectangular form.

October 19, 2009. Food, Rectangles. 6 comments.

43. Coffee Table Books

My Aunt Idette recently posted the following on my Facebook wall:

I am absolutely LOVING the blog, E. You should try to get it published. I’d buy it.”

I told her that I appreciated the sentiment, and would accept any contributions she wished to make toward the fulfillment of my rectangular dreams. After all, checks, bills and credit cards are all rectangles.

:dolladollabillz - the quintessential rectangles:

:dolladollabillz - the quintessential rectangle?:

Later I mentioned the idea to my friend Aaron. He was all for “Things That Are Rectangles” : The Coffee Table Book. Of course, he said, the first entry would have to be “This Book.” And then the second would have to be “This Table.”

:round coffee tables wouldn't be allowed:

:round coffee tables wouldn't be allowed:

Then we started talking marketability. After all, no one buys a coffeetable book for themselves. So we’d have to start catering to special holiday or lifetime experiences – in rectangular format.

For the Bar/Bat Mitzvah set, I could address “The Tallis” as a rectangle.

:fringy, but rectangles nonetheless:

:fringy, but rectangular nonetheless:

For weddings? Maybe a special addressing of the “Photo Memory,” complete with a plastic sleeve for newlyweds to customize the page into their own Rectangular memory-slot.

:here's hoping these two are still together:

:here's hoping these two are still together:

Divorces could be “The Papers You Were Served.” Catholic religious experiences could be “The Confessional.” Graduation? “The Books You Hit,” or just “Tests.” How about Christmas? The formation that the reindeer hold? Or perhaps the chimney, Santa’s entry-way of choice.

:perfect quadrilateral, guys:

:perfect quadrilateral, guys:

:looks like a tight squeeze, santy:

:looks like a tight squeeze, santy:

See, now that all of these ideas are on the (figurative) table, the proposition starts to sound pretty sweet. But I shouldn’t go down this path completely ignorant of my competition. Let’s look at some successful Coffee Table Rectangles:

:this one looks fascinating:

:this one looks fascinating:

:hmmm...celeb journeys through far off places:

:hmmm...celeb journeys to far off places:

:music and a glimpse into an exotic culture:

:music and a glimpse into an exotic culture:

:and cool views of nature:

:sweet aerial views of nature:

Well. There is quite the variety out there, huh?

This is all very confusing. Luckily Aaron is some sort of consultant on the feasibility of ideas or something like that. I’ve never been clear on the details. But at least I know, should I decide to develop a Coffee Table Rectangle of my own, I’ll get reliable calculations and solid advice.

Once again, contributions are always welcome.

:remember, checks are still rectangles! and i'd even settle for less than $2700:

:and i'd even settle for less than $2700:

October 17, 2009. Art, Books, Culture, Rectangles. 3 comments.

42. “When We Were Very Young” & “Now We Are Six”

:my childhood, part 1:

:i threw a lot of tantrums like that:

When I was a tiny little girl, even tinier than I am now, my mom and I used to read two books of poems very regularly – When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six, both by A.A. Milne (of Winnie-the-Pooh fame). The first book of poetry was published in 1924 and the second in 1927.

:my childhood, part 2:

:not quite sure what's happening in this one:

Of course, I have to address Milne’s role as the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh (actually, Pooh Bear makes his world debut in a poem called “Teddy Bear” in When We Were Very Young). Winnie was the actual teddy of Milne’s actual son, who was actually named Christopher Robin. It follows, without much explanation, that Milne wrote the Pooh books for Christopher Robin. Christopher Robin also appears in many of the poems in When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six.

:christopher robin, winnie-the-pooh and aa milne:

:christopher robin, winnie-the-pooh and aa milne:

Now back to the poetry, please.

One time, for a talent show themed birthday party, I recited the following poem, entitled:


James James
Morrison Morrison
Weatherby George Dupree
Took great
Care of his Mother,
Though he was only three.

James James
Said to his Mother,
“Mother,” he said, said he;
“You must never go down
to the end of the town,
if you don’t go down with me.”

James James
Morrison’s Mother
Put on a golden gown.
James James Morrison’s Mother
Drove to the end of the town.

James James
Morrison’s Mother
Said to herself, said she:
“I can get right down
to the end of the town
and be back in time for tea.”

King John
Put up a notice,

James James
Morrison Morrison
(Commonly known as Jim)
Told his
Other relations
Not to go blaming him.

James James
Said to his Mother,
“Mother,” he said, said he:
“You must never go down to the end of the town
without consulting me.”

James James
Morrison’s mother
Hasn’t been heard of since.
King John said he was sorry,
So did the Queen and Prince.

King John
(Somebody told me)
Said to a man he knew:
“If people go down to the end of the town, well,
what can anyone do?”

(Now then, very softly)

W.G.Du P.
Took great
C/O his M*****
Though he was only 3.

J.J. said to his M*****
“M*****,” he said, said he:

My recitation was flawless and full of feeling. Some of the adults present may have been in tears. I won first place. I think I got a dollar.

:the dollar bill was a rectangle:

:the dollar i got was a rectangle:

When I read “Disobedience” today, I still hear it in my head the way my Mama used to read it to me. It lilts to a very particular rhythm, with certain words emphasized in a certain way. Like “Disobedience,” all of these poems have stuck with me (or to me – to my bones, like a good bowl of mac ‘n’ cheese). I used to memorize them, just for the fun of it. At one point I could recite five or six of them without looking.

To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of poetry. I don’t like oblique imagery, or the verbose nature of the Romantics. I don’t get visceral joy from complex rhyming schemes. I don’t like the stark rules of the villanelle.

But – I like poems that don’t rhyme. I like poems that break structure. I like nonsense words. Maybe this is just a perversity in my character. But I’d like to think that it’s thanks to Lewis Carroll and, primarily, Alan Alexander Milne.

:isn't the rectangular paneling beautiful?:

:isn't the rectangular paneling beautiful?:

When We Were Very Young contains 44 poems. I think I read this volume most often, since I feel a stronger connection to more of the poems in here than those in Now We Are Six. But I will address them both, nonetheless. Now We Are Six contains 35 poems, in which Winnie plays a much bigger role. I remember less of these poems, but the ones that do pique my heart are just as loved as those in Milne’s other collection.

Whenever I feel sad, I pull out my tattered old copies of these two books. I turn to my favorite, yellowed pages and read a poem or two. I love the musicality and the lilt of Milne’s work. I love his depiction of childhood. It’s a world of innocence and dreams and – of course – fears. But it’s also a world that – ultimately – we can live in, and blithely.

Perhaps most impressively, Milne manages to invite everyone in. One doesn’t have to be six, or seven, or even eight or ten to feel the life of these poems in an honest and beautiful way. They have charmed children and adults alike for generations, and I expect that they will forever.

Now – today, in Washington, DC, it is a very rainy day. And on rainy days, it’s easy to feel low. So, out of love for my readers (and also for myself) I’m going to post some poems. Because, no matter how old the patient, a dose (or two, or seven) of A.A. Milne’s poetry is often the best antidote, whether for sad feelings or broken hearts or fears of aging or thoughts of anguish. And for as long as one is immersed in Milne’s gentle world, all grown-up concerns get to disappear.

:rain, but not in washington:

:rain, but not in washington:

Please, just sit and read.

The Dormouse and The Doctor

There once was a Dormouse who lived in a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),
And all the day long he’d a wonderful view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

A Doctor came hurrying round, and he said:
“Tut-tut, I am sorry to find you in bed.
Just say ‘Ninety-nine’ while I look at your chest….
Don’t you find that chrysanthemums answer the best?”

The Dormouse looked round at the view and replied
(When he’d said “Ninety-nine”) that he’d tried and he’d tried,
And much the most answering things that he knew
Were geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

The Doctor stood frowning and shaking his head,
And he took up his shiny silk hat as he said:
“What the patient requires is a change,” and he went
To see some chrysanthemum people in Kent.

The Dormouse lay there, and he gazed at the view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue),
And he knew there was nothing he wanted instead
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

The Doctor came back and, to show what he meant,
He had brought some chrysanthemum cuttings from Kent.
“Now these,” he remarked, “give a much better view
Than geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).”

They took out their spades and they dug up the bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),
And they planted chrysanthemums (yellow and white).
“And now,” said the Doctor, “we’ll soon have you right.”

The Dormouse looked out, and he said with a sigh:
“I suppose all these people know better than I.
It was silly, perhaps, but I did like the view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).”

The Doctor came round and examined his chest,
And ordered him Nourishment, Tonics, and Rest.
“How very effective,” he said, as he shook
The thermometer, “all these chrysanthemums look!”

The Dormouse turned over to shut out the sight
Of the endless chrysanthemums (yellow and white).
“How lovely,” he thought, “to be back in a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red.)”

The Doctor said, “Tut! It’s another attack!”
And ordered him Milk and Massage-of-the-back,
And Freedom-from-worry and Drives-in-a-car,
And murmured, “How sweet your chrysanthemums are!”

The Dormouse lay there with his paws to his eyes,
And imagined himself such a pleasant surprise:
“I’ll pretend the chrysanthemums turn to a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)!”

The Doctor next morning was rubbing his hands,
And saying, “There’s nobody quite understands
These cases as I do! The cure has begun!
How fresh the chrysanthemums look in the sun!”

The Dormouse lay happy, his eyes were so tight
He could see no chrysanthemums, yellow or white.
And all that he felt at the back of his head
Were delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

And that is the reason (Aunt Emily said)
If a Dormouse gets in a chrysanthemum bed,
You will find (so Aunt Emily says) that he lies
Fast asleep on his front with his paws to his eyes.

:the books are also full of sweet illustrations:

:the books are also full of sweet illustrations:

Buckingham Palace

They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace –
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Alice is marrying one of the guard.
“A soldier’s life is terrible hard,”
Says Alice.

They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace –
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
We saw a guard in a sentry-box.
“One of the sergeants looks after their socks,”
Says Alice.

They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace –
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
We looked for the King, but he never came.
“Well, God take care of him, all the same,”
Says Alice.

They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace –
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
They’ve great big parties inside the grounds.
“I wouldn’t be King for a hundred pounds,”
Says Alice.

They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace –
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
A face looked out, but it wasn’t the King’s.
“He’s much too busy a-signing things,”
Says Alice.

They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace –
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
“Do you think the King knows all about me?”
“Sure to, dear, but it’s time for tea,”
Says Alice.


John had
Great Big
Boots on;
John had a
Great Big
John had a
Great Big
Mackintosh —
And that
(Said John)


In a corner of the bedroom is a great big curtain,
Someone lives behind it, but I don’t know who;
I think it is a Brownie, but I’m not quite certain.
(Nanny isn’t certain, too.)

I looked behind the curtain, but he went so quickly-
Brownies never wait to say, “How do you do?”
They wriggle off at once because they’re all so tickly.
(Nanny says they’re tickly too.)


Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

God bless Mummy. I know that’s right.
Wasn’t it fun in the bath tonight?
The cold’s so cold, and the hot’s so hot.
Oh! God bless Daddy – I quite forgot.

If I open my fingers a little bit more,
I can see Nanny’s dressing-gown on the door.
It’s a beautiful blue, but it hasn’t a hood.
Oh! God bless Nanny and make her good.

Mine has a hood, and I lie in bed,
And pull the hood right over my head,
And I shut my eyes, and I curl up small,
And nobody knows that I’m there at all.

Oh! Thank you, God, for a lovely day.
And what was the other I had to say?
I said “Bless Daddy,” so what can it be?
Oh! now I remember it. God bless Me.

Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

“Vespers” is the last poem in When We Were Very Young. I’ve never in my life said prayers before bed. I don’t think I ever knew what “Vespers” was supposed to mean (I don’t think I know now), but for some reason this poem always felt hauntingly beautiful to me. Maybe because it was such an honest image drawn of a son by a loving father.

Now, let’s move on to a few gems from Now We Are Six.


I have a house where I go
When there’s too many people,
I have a house where I go
Where no one can be;

I have a house where I go,
Where nobody ever says “No”;
Where no one says anything-so
There is no one but me.

:christopher robin in his bed, a-sneezling:

:christopher robin in his bed, a-sneezling:


Christopher Robin
Had wheezles
And sneezles,
They bundled him
His bed.
They gave him what goes
With a cold in the nose,
And some more for a cold
In the head.
They wondered
If wheezles
Could turn
Into measles,
If sneezles
Would turn
Into mumps;
They examined his chest
For a rash,
And the rest
Of his body for swellings and lumps.
They sent for some doctors
In sneezles
And wheezles
To tell them what ought
To be done.
All sorts and conditions
Of famous physicians
Came hurrying round
At a run.
They all made a note
Of the state of his throat,
They asked if he suffered from thirst;
They asked if the sneezles
Came after the wheezles,
Or if the first sneezle
Came first.
They said, “If you teazle
A sneezle
Or wheezle,
A measle
May easily grow.
But humour or pleazle
The wheezle
Or sneezle,
The measle
Will certainly go.”
They expounded the reazles
For sneezles
And wheezles,
The manner of measles
When new.
They said “If he freezles
In draughts and in breezles,
May even ensue.”

Christopher Robin
Got up in the morning,
The sneezles had vanished away.
And the look in his eye
Seemed to say to the sky,
“Now, how to amuse them to-day?”

And, finally:

The End

When I was One,
I had just begun.

When I was Two,
I was nearly new.

When I was Three,
I was hardly Me.

When I was Four,
I was not much more.

When I was Five,
I was just alive.

But now I am Six, I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.

And that’s the last poem in Now We Are Six. And the end, as well, of this post. May we all take a note from A. A. Milne and stay a little bit six – for ever and ever.


October 15, 2009. Art, Books, Culture, Rectangles. 5 comments.

41. Saskatchewan

Hello Fans of the Rectangle, Great and Small,

My name is Daniel. I know, woah.

As the father of Eliza’s child, a committed follower of this blog, and a fellow rectangleologist, I’m writing a guest post. I would like to thank Eliza for providing this opportunity to dip my toes into rectangular waters.

Which brings me to my topic: a beautiful land, far, far away, called Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan, very rectangular

:saskatchewan: VERY rectangular:

I lived in this magical, rectangular land for the last year. Before living there, I didn’t even realize that Saskatchewan constituted its own province – in the same likeness as British Columbia or Ontario, the provinces people actually care about. But it does, bitchz, and it’s proud.

I lived in a city by the name of Regina. Pronounced like Vagina. This is a subject of great shame for the residents, though they mostly choose to play it cool, as if saying the name of their city isn’t awkward. It’s a concept I was never fully able to grasp. Not to mention that their football team is called the Roughriders and one of the closest cities is called Prince Albert. You might be surprised what you find when you google Prince Albert. But back to the rectangles. Vagina is, not surprisingly, essentially rectangular, at least in the way it’s thought of by the citizens, who use the geographical demarcations of North, South, East, and West to describe where they are in the city. Oh, you’re in the East End? I’ll come meet you at one of the many enormous (rectangular) big-box stores!

Notice how the top and bottom are rectangles on their own.

:flag of saskatchewan. observant readers will notice that the top and bottom form rectangles of their own:

While the official slogan of this region is “Land of the Living Skies,” I prefer the unofficial but brilliant slogan: “Easy to draw, hard to spell.” And that it certainly is! Just try to spell it, I bet you’ll get it wrong. I also could not spell, or even apparently say it properly before living there. But the greater importance of the slogan is its undeniable nod to the rectangular form of Saskatchewan– it’s the only place I can think of where one’s sense of belonging is deeply and inextricably enmeshed in their notion of physical shape, that the rectangle brings a necessary stability and distinguished importance to a part of the world that nobody knows exists.

But the overall shape of the land is just the beginning. Saskatchewan is largely flat and dry, which makes it the ideal landscape for farming. And how are farms divided, people? That’s right, into rectangles. Therefore, the greater rectangle begets smaller rectangles. Need I say more?

Rectangular farms on a rectangular land.

:the rectangular farms of a rectangular land:

Saskatchewan can be most centrally characterized by its painfully desolate, frighteningly cold winters, the kind that make it dangerous to be outside for more than ten seconds at a time. They bring with them blankets of snow that wait months to melt. Once it’s cold, there is no great thaw until spring. But the snow brings with it a beautiful, poetic equalization. The snow covers the boundaries between the rectangular farms and the rectangular cities to create, once again, one giant rectangle. If that ain’t some kind of lesson about humanity, I don’t know what the fuck is.

October 14, 2009. Culture, Geography, Guest Writers, Rectangles. Leave a comment.

40. Capt. James T. Kirk

This is a really rough post for me to write. It’s personally incriminating. I’m really opening up my soul here and expressing my number one weakness –

:yep, that's everyone - acting their lil hearts out:

:yep, that's everyone - acting their lil hearts out:

Star Trek: The Original Series.

IT IS SO GOOD. So good. I don’t know what to say. So, to put some order to my thoughts, I’ll start talking rectangular relevance.

I recently bought this poster on Ebay:

:captain james t. kirk, commander of the uss enterprise:

:captain james t. kirk, commander of the uss enterprise:

This way Captain Kirk can protect me as I sleep. There is no one who I would rather trust with my life and wellbeing. He can handle anything. Really, anything. But let’s back up here.

Star Trek is a cultural phenom that we have all heard of. There is no denying that. The Original Series has drawn me in because it is just so beautifully hokey.

There are three major characters:



Dr. McCoy: A down-home doctor from down-home Kentucky who can fix pretty much anything. He is always reliable, although sometimes overly emotional. McCoy’s weakness is that he can get too focused on the humanity of the situation, instead of looking at the Big Picture.

: "he's dead, jim." :

: "he's dead, jim." :

Mr. Spock: Raised on the planet Vulcan, Spock was trained in the philosophy of Logic. However, he is half human (on his mother’s side), so he sometimes slips into minor emotional struggles. Usually his weakness is that he’s too rational, too logical, and doesn’t account for things that are emotionally based. Because of this, he also often misses the Big Picture. But he’s a great counterpart to Captain Kirk, because he is completely competent and knows everything.

: "captain, that is completely illogical." :

: "captain, that is completely illogical." :


Captain Kirk: The valiant Captain of the USS Enterprise, Kirk can solve any problem. He can do it all. He is intuitive and smart, and – with Spock’s impeccable logic as a counterpart to his humanity – he always wins out. Kirk is in love with his ship, loyal to his people, and always willing to sacrifice his own life or happiness for others. He is the Big Picture man in the situation, balancing out his two BFF’s and gittin’ it done.

: "to boldly go where no man has gone before." :

: "to boldly go where no man has gone before." :

The Original Series, which ran for three wonderful seasons, relies heavily on character tropes and low-budget sets. Every episode has pretty much the same format: there is a conflict on a planet, the crew of the Enterprise must solve it, they get embroiled in the situation and then escape at the last minute to safety and success.

:the uss enterprise:

:the uss enterprise:

It’s absolutely wonderful. It’s silly and sweet and sometimes even a little bit stressful. And Captain Kirk is just about the most wonderful person in the world. I am in love with him. Seriously. This is where I get embarrassed.

In my recent research on the show and its actors, I discovered something beautiful.

Leonard Nimoy, who plays Spock, is a Jew. AND SO IS WILLIAM SHATNER.


:the chosen people:

:the chosen people:

Which means, if I married the 1966 version of Mr. Shatner, Pop-Pop would approve.

October 14, 2009. Culture, Rectangles, Science. 2 comments.

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