The Little Prince — He Who Has No Name

 

The world is waiting with bated breath to find out what the name of the newest British royal will be.  Some no doubt find a fascination with this current event puzzling.  But would you rather hear about a baby name or shootings at Waffle House?  Yes, that’s what I thought.  Baby names it is then.

In case you have been living under a rock, let me inform you that Kate Middleton gave birth to her third child with hubby Prince William earlier this week.  Although she was able to recover quickly from childbirth and sashay out of her luxurious hospital suite impeccably coiffed and attired less than seven hours after birth, naming her second son is taking Kate a tad more time.  In fact, we are at three days and counting.

Why the delay?  It’s not like Kate and her beloved Wills have not had sufficient time to consider this parental task.  Because she suffered from  hyperemenis gravidarum (exteme nausea) which impacted her ability to carry out official duties, Kate’s pregnancy was announced way back in early in September.  Accordingly, the royal couple was on notice quite some time ago that a baby name would be needed in a few months.

Oddsmakers are having a field day with what name the bouncing baby boy will be given.  Apparently the British will bet on anything.  Here in the former colonies we are more concerned with betting on what team will be named the champion than what name some newborn will have placed on his birth certificate.  Arthur and Albert are the odds on favorites for a name choice.  Arthur is more royal a name as it evokes images of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  I personally think of Fat Albert and not a prince when I heard the name Albert. Thumbs down on that choice from me.

While I do not know what Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s little bro will be named, I can tell you what he will NOT be named.  This bouncing baby boy weighed in at a whopping 8 lbs. 7 oz, the heaviest British royal baby in over 100 years.  Despite their baby’s large size, Wills and Kate are too proper to name their BIG bundle of joy Bruiser.  The baby is the third child for the couple, but Trey is just too preppy to befit a royal.  Toss that one out with the baby’s bath water.

Commoners frequently turn to baby books to peruse thousands of names available for a moniker for their offspring.  Somehow I do not picture Wills and Kate pouring over such a resource and discussing names such as Jaxon, Owen, Hunter and Brayden during afternoon tea.

Perhaps the royal couple would like to make a political statement with the name they choose for the latest addition to their family. “Donald” might be considered for improving relations with the former colonies n/k/a the United States.  Then, again, maybe not.  After that ugly spy poisoning incident, relations with Russia are at rock bottom.  Maybe “Vladimir” could be used for some friendlier relations with the Putin regime.  Unfortunately, that choice is not too subtle and would receive the diplomatic thumbs down.  The Queen seemed quite taken with dashing Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.  Great-grandma could have her own tiny Justin to make her blush if that name is chosen.

Many baby names are taken from popular figures in books or movies.  “James,” as in Bond, James Bond, would be pretty awesome.  I mean even the Queen make a clip with James Bond for the London Olympics.  How could she object?  Then there’s “Elton.”  Sir Elton John was a good friend of Diana’s and is a music legend.  Uh, no.  Grandma Camilla would never stand for that.  (She and Diana were not exactly BFF’s.)

Since the British monarch is heavy on tradition, a family name is a safe bet for the name with which the infant will be saddled — er, will have bestowed upon him.  And to be precise, Mum and Dad will need to come up with not one but several names.  Prince William’s name is William Arthur Philip Louis.  Uncle Harry is Henry Charles Albert David.  Grandpa is Charles Philip Arthur George.

One thing we do know for sure.  The child’s surname is Windsor.  The royal family’s official last name has been Windsor since World War I.  In 1917 the name was changed to Windsor from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha due to anti-German sentiment. (Not to mention that the former name was too long and tedious to write.)  Even Windsor is too long for Queen Elizabeth who merely signs, “Elizabeth R.”  with the “R” standing for “Regina” (Queen).

Whatever the little prince is named, he will ultimately grow up to be Prince Charming.  Whether he is good-looking or not and whether he is actually charming or not will be irrelevant.  He will be a real live prince and in line to succeed to the throne (albeit not in the top three or four positions).  As such, he will be quite the eligible bachelor and charm the ladies.  But for now, let’s just get this little prince a name already.

JUST WONDER-ing:  If you have a son, how did you come up with a name for him?

 

Transfixing Tax Tale

Tax Day 2018 has come and gone.  Whew! If you were able to navigate through the 107 pages of instructions for Form 1040, you are in need of a break.  While I can’t get the IRS to provide tax relief, I can provide you with some comic relief.

Taxes, of course, are no laughing matter.  They lighten your pocket and darken your mood.  Reading tax regulations is about as interesting as watching grass grow.  How in the world could taxes provide the basis for a transfixing tale?  Think outside the box–or in this case outside the tax code.  What’s entertaining is how people react to tax issues.

A familiar story is really a tax tale.  Heard of Lady Godiva?  She is famous because of how she protested taxes.  Lady Godiva was the Countess of Mercia, an English noblewoman.  Her hubby, Leofric, Earl of Mercia, was a pretty cold-hearted man.  He had imposed oppressive taxes on the commoners who were, as a result, not living a fairy tale existence.

Since opposites attract, Lady Godiva was soft-hearted and concerned for her subjects.  She implored her husband to reduce the excessive taxes he had put into place.  “Pretty, please, Leo?” she asked him on numerous occasions.  Leo grew tired of her nagging and devised what he thought was a clever strategy to end her bothersome requests.  “Sure, Diva,” he told her. “I’ll grant your request if you strip and ride naked through town.”  He was patting himself on the back certain that a true noblewoman such as his wife would never demean herself in this way.

Tough times, however, call for tough actions.  Lady Godiva rose to her husband’s challenge.  She not only had really long hair, but she had a good head on her shoulders.  Lady Godiva issued a proclamation that all the people in Coventry were to stay indoors and shut their windows.  Thus, she would be able to ride through town in her birthday suit without been seen. (Take that, Leo!)

A horse was summoned, and Lady Godiva shed her clothes before mounting.  She rode side-saddle because there was no reason not to ride like a lady even if she wasn’t dressed like one.  Her extremely long hair was arranged to cover herself and preserver her modesty..  Off through the streets of Coventry she proceeded.

Lady Godiva’s plan worked with one small exception.  The streets were deserted and the windows were shuttered.  But Thomas the Tailor (“Tom” for short) disobeyed the directive.  He felt he had paid enough in taxes that Leo had taken the shirt off his back; it was only fair, then, that he see Leo’s wife without hers on.  His prying eyes turned him into “Peeping Tom.”

Meanwhile, back at the castle, Leo was dumbfounded by his wife’s actions.  Apparently he had just taken her for an airhead blonde.  She had called his bluff, and he had no choice but to lower the taxes on his people.  Lady Godiva had found a tax loophole and ridden through it literally and figuratively.

Nothing is certain in life but death and taxes.  Accordingly, there is nothing certain about the truth of this transfixing tax tale.  We don’t really know if Lady Godiva rode bareback or bare everything through the streets of tax-oppressed Coventry.  We do know that Godiva chocolates were named after her.  If you are feeling down because the IRS has lightened your pockets, just indulge in some Godiva chocolates and think of Lady Godiva’s tax protest to make you smile.

 

Book ‘Em!

In case you’ve had your nose in a book and missed the news, this week is National Library Week. The theme for the 2018 observation is “Libraries Lead.” Ho, hum.  A better theme would be “Book “Em!”

Those who don’t frequent libraries because they are glued to the boob tube, will associate the phrase “Book ‘Em!” with the “Hawaii Five-0” TV series.  In this police drama the bad guys inevitably were caught; after detailing their bad deeds, Steve McGarrett (played by actor Jack Lord) would turn and say, “Book ‘Em, Danno!”  Off to the pokey went the criminal–er, alleged criminal.  (Since I have grown up to be an attorney, I realize that the arrestee is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)  Bet the crook would rather have gone to a library than to jail.

Since TV was not a part of my daily routine as a child, I read regularly and voraciously.  And from whence did these books come?  From our local library, of course.  To me, the local library was akin to a travel agent for those seeking to take a vacation.  The books on the shelves at the library offered me the opportunity to  travel back in time, travel forward in time, travel into an imagined world and travel across the globe.  It was up to me to decide where I wanted to go by selecting the book that caught my fancy.

In the summers my mom took us to the local library at least once a week.  I would pick out a stack of books to check out to keep me occupied during the long lazy days of summer vacation stretching before me.  What a momentous event it was when I became old enough to have my own library card.  I was as excited as a 16 year old would be getting a driver’s license.  The books available to me at the library could take me places–some totally inaccessible by car.  I didn’t even have to have gas money to go to far off places in my mind; I simply needed to open a book.

National Library Week was first observed in 1958, but libraries have been around since the earliest days.  Well, maybe there wasn’t a library in the Garden of Eden, but I bet Adam would have appreciated access to Gardening For Dummies..  Libraries did exist in the ancient world though.  I saw the ruins of one while on a tour of Ephesus in Turkey.  Given its size, it appears that the Ephesus library was a pretty popular place to hang out in its day.  But its patrons may have had to “Scroll ’em” instead of “Book ’em.”

Americans can thank good old Ben Franklin for the first library in the United States.  It was established in 1731 in Philadelphia.  I am not sure about the healthy and wealthy part, but this Founding Father may have been wise from taking advantage of the knowledge available in the books shelved in the library of the City of Brotherly Love.

Americans think we are #1.  And we are, at least when it comes to having the world’s largest library.  The Library of Congress holds over 155 million items.  How big is this library?  It is so big that it is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill.

Unfortunately, today people are more likely to want to go to Starbucks than to their local library.  That’s a shame, especially since, according to Chiff.com, there are actually more public libraries than Starbucks in the United States. Statista.com states that there were 8,222 company-owned Starbucks in the U.S. as of January 2017.  That means that there are not only lots of barristas out there, but that there are even more books.  Sure, Starbucks will sell you some caffeine to stimulate your body, but your local library will give you the chance to stimulate your mind for free.

Today’s library isn’t Ben Franklin’s or even your parents’ library.  Libraries are no longer simply repositories for books.  They provide access to computers for patrons’ use, offer movies and audio recordings (music and books) for checkout, and host special programs for citizens of all ages.  A library in my local area has given me the chance to hear a lecture by a renowned scientist, witness a cooking demonstration, and experience the joy of adult coloring.  Kids are offered story time, book clubs, etc.  As an involved Mimi, I even went to a sing along time for toddlers with my grandson at his local library in another state.  (Don’t worry.; there was a special room for the activity so no librarian or patron had to say “Shhh!)

Where would we be without libraries?  I shudder to think.  Why, I’d never be able to afford to buy all the books I want to read,  And if you want peace and quiet, the library is the place for you.  You won’t hear folks yakking on cell phones because the focus is on reading, not talking, there.

The library holds a special place in my heart.  I have fond memories of trips to the library as a child and fond memories of taking my own children to the library when they were young.  Let’s be sure to patronize our local libraries so that their existence does not become simply a memory.  While it is all well and good to celebrate libraries one week a year, make it a point to take advantage of what libraries have to offer on a regular basis.  Trips to the library–book ’em!

 

 

The Egg And I

 

An egghead?  Yes, that is EGGs-actly what I am.  My mind has always been the inquiring kind, but not in the tabloid sense.  I am constantly seeking answers to questions and striving to learn new information.  Why?  Because my inquiring mind just has to know.

One of the things my mind wonders about is how the mind works in general and how my mind works specifically.  It made me curious enough to minor in psychology in college.  Okay, I was one course short of achieving that minor, but I learned enough psychology to make me intellectually dangerous.  And what better subject to study than my own mind?  It’s always available to me and free of charge.

The concept of word association fascinates me.  When someone says a word, what pops into your head?  According to psychologists, it is a word that reveals something about your subconscious mind.  So, I’m going to attempt to psychoanalyze myself with a session of word association.  Let’s see if you reach the same conclusion about my mind as I do.

Eggs are an EGGs-tremely timely topic with Easter having occurred this past Sunday.  Where would the secular version of this religious holiday be without eggs to dye, plastic eggs to fill with candy and eggs to hide for an Easter egg hunt?  Interestingly, Easter eggs were not the first thought I had when I pondered the word “egg.”  In fact, they  weren’t  even in the first five or six thoughts I had.  My take on this result?  Easter, to me, is not about bunnies, baskets and boiling eggs.  It is about the resurrection of Christ.  Conclusion:  I am a person of faith.

Now that we know what I didn’t associate with the word “egg,” let’s move on to what I do associate with it.  Green eggs and ham.  That’s it Sam I Am.  I think of green eggs and ham.  Dr. Seuss is a favorite author of mine.  I read his books when I was a child, and I then read them to my kids when they were little. Why, I even made my offspring a green ham and eggs breakfast to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday one year.  Conclusion:  I am a reader and have fond memories of being a child and of being a parent.

The next word association for me with “egg” is deviled eggs.  Mmm! Mmm! Good!  Deviled eggs are a family favorite.  I learned to make them at an early age and used this creation to impress a high school boyfriend.  My recipe endured even if the relationship did not.  I am typically directed to bring my special deviled eggs to family gatherings, and my father-in-law loves to receive some all for himself on big occasions such as his birthday.  No, the devil doesn’t make me make deviled eggs–that’s what my family does. Conclusion:  I think of family togetherness in terms of shared meals and show my love for my family by creating food for them.

Another word association I have for “egg” is Egghead. Egghead was a villain on the Batman TV show which aired when I was a young child.  The character, played by horror movie star Vincent Price, thought he was the world’s smartest villain.  Despite his literal and figurative egghead, Egghead could never outwit the good guys, Batman and Robin.  Batman may have been the big hero, but I was EGGs-tremely taken by his youthful, good-looking sidekick, Robin.  Robin could have laid an egg for me whenever he wanted  Swoon!  Conclusion:  While I admire intelligence, I realize it can be used for the wrong purposes.

The next association I have for “egg” is the question “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”  No, it is not a silly question.  It is an infuriating one.  The chicken had to come from somewhere (Duh! An egg!), but then the egg had to come from somewhere as well (Duh! A chicken!).  I have easily resolved the question based on my faith.  The creation story found in Genesis has God creating birds and animals.  Nothing was said about whipping into EGGs-istence any eggs that Adam and Eve would have to wait on to hatch.  God’s directive to be fruitful and multiply meant that He wanted the hens He had just created to get down to the egg-laying business.  Conclusion:  I enjoy intellectual inquiries and have no problem accepting an answer based on my faith as opposed to having scientific proof.

A final and very personal word association for “egg” in my mind is “hot pavement.”  No, I haven’t flipped out; I tried flipping an egg on the hot street in front of my house one summer.  I had heard the expression about it being so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk.  There being no sidewalk in front of my house, I went with what was handy–the street.  My sister, my friends and I got an egg from my kitchen and proceeded to crack it on the street.  We waited EGGs-pectantly for a fried egg to magically be produced.  Instead we were treated to what was as EGGs-citing as watching grass grow.  Nothing happened.  At least not then.  The egg never fried, but it did eventually tear up the pavement.  We would pass that spot as we went for walks down the street and say, “That’s where we tried to fry an egg.”  Conclusion:  I am not content to simply take someone’s word for something and will often need to verify it for myself.

Perhaps your mind isn’t inquiring in the way mine is.  At least you were inquiring enough to read this blog post to see what EGGs-actly I had to say.  Hopefully, my words brought enjoyment to you and I will not end up with egg on my face for having written this post.  If you did not enjoy it, please do not egg my house.  Word association for house egging?  Law breaking.  Don’t be a bad egg!

Just WONDER-ing:  What do YOU associate with the word egg?