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Another game of tag. October 29, 2008

Posted by ourfriendben in Ben Franklin, gardening, pets, wit and wisdom.
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Ratty of The Everyday Adventurer (http://everyday-adventurer.blogspot.com/) linked to our blog, Poor Richard’s Almanac, in a recent post, “In the Spirit of Tag.” Ratty had been tagged by WiseAcre of WiseAcre Gardens (http://wiseacre-gardens.com/). “Tag” in this case meant that the taggee was asked to reveal six things about him- or herself, then tag six other bloggers so they would do the same. And the beat goes on. Ratty, however, perhaps sensitive to the recent blogging backlash to these games of tag, merely linked to six favorite blogs rather than tagging them. Thank you, Ratty!

We here at Poor Richard’s understand that being “tagged” every five seconds could become tiresome, but we think the concept behind the tagging, encouraging bloggers to share information about themselves, is entirely valid. For example, we’d wondered why Ratty had chosen to call him- or herself this for months. Thanks to WiseAcre, now we know. Joy of Garden Joy 4 Me (http://gardenjoy4.blogspot.com/) was also tagged by WiseAcre, and though she’s been tagged bazillion times before, it was fun to read the new things she chose to share about herself.

It’s not just a question of new things, either. All of us who blog regularly attract new readers as we go along. And these readers don’t know the things our “old faithfuls” know about us. Even without tagging, our friend Ben thinks it would make sense to post a little “Who we are” or “Things you don’t know about us” fact sheet every quarter or so, since most of the time, the “About us” sections of our blogs are concise and to the point, leaving out many fun details. This gives us a chance to think about who we are—something we should all do from time to time regardless—as well as thinking of fun facts about ourselves that it might not have occurred to us to reveal. I feel sure that regular readers would forgive us for repeating things about ourselves they already know, and newbies would appreciate the update. Our friend Ben invites bloggers old and new to write a post about themselves and tell us things we might not know, whether they’ve been tagged or not.

In this spirit, we’ll try to come up with 6 things about ourselves that you may already know and, if not, may or may not want to know! Here goes:

1. Our blog, Poor Richard’s Almanac, was inspired by our blog mentor and hero, Benjamin Franklin, who published Poor Richard’s Almanack annually back in the 1700s to provide the colonists with wit, wisdom, and practical advice. Poor Richard’s Almanack was so successful that if a colonist owned only two publications, they would be the Bible and his copy of Poor Richard’s Almanack. We are humbly trying to follow in old Ben’s giant footsteps in the age of the internet.

2. The adventures of our friend Ben, Silence Dogood, and Richard Saunders here on Poor Richard’s Almanac are true. There’s so much real-life stuff to blog about that we don’t have the time or inclination to make stuff up.

3. The adventures of our pets are also real. Our friend Ben and Silence wish we could invite all of you to one of our holiday gatherings here at our rural cottage, Hawk’s Haven, located in the precise middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania, to meet our faithful golden retriever, Molly, our brainless but beautiful cat Linus and his brilliant sister, Layla, our matriarch, the Maine coon cat, Athena, and our parrots, Plutarch the Parrot and Marcus Hookbill, not to mention our parakeet, Willow, and our fish, snails, and shrimp. And of course we’d like to introduce you to our outdoor cats, the baby, Marley, his uncle Simon, Danticat and Beau, Dixie, and Aloysius. And our six heritage chickens and bunny, Amy. Stop by anytime!

4. Urk. This one’s hard to admit. We know we should love everyone equally, but Silence and our friend Ben can’t help but play favorites among our many pets. We both love our dog Molly and she loves us. But among the many others in our household, our friend Ben has to admit to a special soft spot for our incredibly gorgeous and affectionate but not-too-bright (that’s putting it kindly) cat, Linus, while Silence, in her heart of hearts, has a deep, abiding affection for our bright and feisty bronze-winged pionus parrot, Marcus, who clearly returns her affection. But we really love them all, and our hearts of course go out to our motherless infant cat, Marley, with cold weather and his first winter coming on. Doubtless you’ll read more about what we’re doing about that in a future post.

5. If you know our blog, this is obvious, but if you don’t, this will help you figure out what the %$#@!! is going on: All of us write about topics that grab our attention, so you can see a post about anything from any of us at any time. But we also tend to divide up posts by our own personal interests. If you see a post about cooking or domestic arts, it’s likely to be by Silence. If it’s about history, numismatics, or backyard birds, it’s probably by Richard. Our friend Ben likes to write about gardening, nature, the arts, and whatever larger issues strike me. But we’re all perfectly willing and happy to rant about whatever strikes our fancy, and if it’s a humorous post, we’re pretty much all happy to take a turn. For all of us, blogging is fun, so humor plays a big part.

6. Gack! We’re already at our last point, and both Silence and Richard are ribbing our friend Ben mercilessly about going on and on (and on). So rather than state the obvious, OFB will attempt to think of something you all really don’t know about us. Uh… er… (desperately thinking) our friend Ben’s favorite author is Homer. Silence’s is Jane Austen. Richard’s is Ben Franklin (with all other Colonial and Federal authors a close second). All of us love Tolkien, Sherlock Holmes, and A Christmas Carol, and we also love reading Helen and Scott Nearing and books about Tasha Tudor.

We’re shutting this down now, since we each have so many favorite authors, we don’t even know where to start. Silence is pointing out to our friend Ben that alert readers may already know this about us.

So here’s another quick fact: Our friend Ben loves peonies, hollyhocks, columbines, basil, cilantro, sweet potatoes, okra, and potatoes best of all garden plants; Silence loves freesias, nasturtiums, baptisias, rosemary, thyme, onions, and tomatoes; and Richard loves hot peppers, garlic scapes, morning glories, marigolds, black-eyed Susans, beans, green onions, and arugula. All of us love bearded and Siberian iris, roses, Johnny-jump-ups, violets, and violas, clematis, chrysanthemums, hostas, coleus, cannas, bulbs, daylilies, ferns, hellebores, astilbes, heucheras, corn on the cob, melons, leeks, and virtually all fruits, veggies, and herbs. We’re not even going to go into the zillion other plants we adore. Suffice it to say that there are a few veggies and fruits that each of us don’t like (turnips, except for salad turnips; rutabagas; collard greens, beet greens, and turnip greens; mealy fruits like papaya). Maybe we’ll devote future posts to them and why we dislike them.

For now, however, let’s just say that’s enough about us. (Unless there’s something else you want to know!) What about you?

When Luddites play tag. June 22, 2008

Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, Uncategorized, wit and wisdom.
Tags: , ,

Zora at the delightful blog Gardenopolis (one of our faves; see the link on our blogroll at right) tagged Poor Richard’s Almanac yesterday, asking us to write six random things about ourselves and post them on our blog. Since our blog is a joint effort by three of us—our friend Ben, Silence Dogood, and Richard Saunders—this threw us into instant chaos.

Today being Sunday, Richard had come over to Hawk’s Haven, our rural retreat in the scenic middle of nowhere, PA, to have brunch and talk about the week’s upcoming posts. Picture our friend Ben and Richard seated on the deck, surrounded by plants and kittens, listening to the babble of the little creek, Hawk Run, just off the deck. Silence has gone into the kitchen for a coffee refill. Here’s how the scene played out:

Richard Saunders: We need to write a post to respond to Zora’s tag and tell people six random things about ourselves.

Our friend Ben: Uh… right.

RS: Right.

OfB: Right.

Silence returns to the deck with a fresh cup of coffee. Richard and our friend Ben turn towards her with one accord.

Silence: Why are you two staring at me?

OfB: Um, about the tag post…

Silence: What about it?

OfB, RS: We think you should write it.

Silence, glaring at them, then smiling sweetly: Ah. Well, I’m sure I could think of six fascinating things to say about each of you

OfB: Oh, come on, Silence! How hard can it be to come up with six things people might want to know about you?

Silence: Well, you could find out how hard it is by writing the post yourself. Seems like it’s high time one of you two took a turn, unless you want to rename the blog “Poor Silence’s Almanac.”

RS, OfB: Uh…

Silence: Look, why don’t we draw straws. Whoever pulls the short straw has to write six things about themselves.

RS, OfB: You’re kidding, right? You mean people actually draw straws?

Silence (slaps forehead, rolls eyes): Look. I’ll go get three grass stems and cut one in half. You can each draw one, and we’ll see who’s the lucky winner. (She returns with the “straws.”) Gentlemen, take your chances!

OfB: Urk.

Silence: Hah, you’re elected! You pick six or I’ll do it for you! And, please, don’t make one of them that you want to win a MacArthur award. Surely everyone who’s old enough to read has gotten the hint by now.

OfB, glowering: Thank God you’re not one of the nominators.

Silence (smugly): How do you know?

OfB groans, closes eyes. Saints preserve us…

RS, looking desperately at his watch: Er, Silence, Ben, perhaps we could get on with this so we could have a little brunch before suppertime?  

OfB: Okay, okay. (Thinking.) How about these?

1. Despite my huge and much-loved book collection, if I were trapped on a deserted island, I’d rather have a huge stack of blank notebooks and pens than any of them. And if I couldn’t have notebooks and pens, I’d take a stick and write my novels, poems, and essays in the sand, even if I had to start again each day.

2. I’ve never understood the compulsive need for novelty that seems to afflict so many of my friends and acquaintances. I can eat the same food, wear the same clothes, read the same books, see the same movies, listen to the same music, appreciate the same view, enjoy the same people and pets endlessly without craving something new. Where I love I love, be it food or art or companionship. Of course I enjoy new things, too, and adding new favorites to the classic repertoire. But I also remain faithful to the old. The shampoo I used in college is still in my shower; I still watch my favorite movies and read my favorite books every year, and listen to beloved CDs pretty much daily; I could eat pasta or pizza or a baked potato or good bread and cheese or rice every day with a salad and side and be perfectly happy. I never tire of the view from our back deck, or wish I could trade my friends, family, and nearest and dearest for newer models. (Shut up, Silence.) Life is rich, good, and rewarding just as it is, and therein lies the secret of happiness, say I.

RS: Uh, Ben, I think these are supposed to be short “random things,” not paragraphs. Some of Zora’s were, like, three words.

Silence (smirking): No one ever accused Ben of being at a loss for words.

OfB: Grrrrrr. Maybe one of you would like to take over?

Silence: Good idea. Maybe we each should take two. Richard, you’re up!

RS: Okay, short and sweet. Let’s see:  

3. If I won the lottery, I’d buy a horse farm in Lexington, a house on the Battery in Charleston, and a summer retreat in Nova Scotia, or maybe in the Smokies.

4. If I could come back as anyone, I think I’d like to be Daniel Boone. What a life!

RS, OfB: Your turn, Silence!

Silence: Oh, all right. How’s this for short?

5. My favorite dessert is fresh blueberry tart in a shortbread crust with tons of whipped cream.

6. If I won the lottery, I’d buy a big farm and raise endangered livestock breeds.

OfB: Okay, that’s short. I know you bought blueberries at the farmers’ market on Friday. I don’t suppose there’s any hope that a fresh blueberry tart is in the offing?

RS: Yum!!! What Ben said.

Silence: (Heavy sigh.) I suppose the spinach-mushroom crepes and strawberry-citrus salad I was planning just don’t measure up, eh? Maybe I’d better just send you two off for some Egg McMuffins…

RS, OfB, fervently: No, no!!! Crepes and strawberry salad sound wonderful!

Silence: Well, maybe while I’m making them you could finish writing this post. I’ll even throw some blueberries in the salad just for you.

OfB: Oops, that’s right. We’re supposed to list the tagging rules and then choose six other bloggers to tag. (Looks at Richard.) I have some ideas…

RS: Go for it!

OfB: First, here are the rules:

* Link to the person who tagged you.

* Post the rules on your blog.

* Write six random things about yourself.

* Tag six people at the end of your post, linking to their blog.

* Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

* Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

And now (heh, heh, heh) for the taggees:

Silence (reappearing on the deck): Wait, I have some nominees, too! 

RS, OfB: I’ll bet you do!

Silence, OfB: And the nominees are…

1. Meg and Kelly at Future House Farm (http://futurehousefarm.blogspot.com/), ’cause we know you have lots of interesting things to say about yourselves.

2. Sean at Bamboo Geek (http://bamboogeek.blogspot.com/), ’cause between Bamboo Geek and your new blog, Trash Watch, we’re sure you’ll have plenty to share with the rest of us.

3. Michael at Tomato Casual (http://www.tomatocasual.com/), ’cause we know if you post a response on Tomato Casual, all six “random things” will have to be tomato-related, and we think that’s a wonderful challenge.

4. Barbee’ at Barbee’s Blog (http://barbeeslog.blogspot.com/), ’cause we’d like to know more about a passionate gardener from one of our favorite states, Kentucky.

5. Deb at Aunt Debbi’s Garden (http://auntdebbisgarden.blogspot.com/), ’cause we know you’ve been tagged zillions of times but want to challenge you to come up with six more things. C’mon, you can do it!!!

6. Joy at Garden Joy 4 Me (http://gardenjoy4.blogspot.com/), for the same reason as Aunt Debbi. If you’ve run out of things to say about yourself, you could always tell us six random things about Emma! 

Okay, hopefully we’ve fulfilled our tagging obligations, or at least, done our Luddite best. (What’s a Luddite, you ask? No, it’s not some obscure cult. See our post, “What is a Luddite, anyway?” to find out all about it.) Now it’s up to the rest of you guys to carry the torch forward…