NOW (National Organization for Women) Day

June 30 is NOW (National Organization for Women) Day. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination in the workplace because of sex, but little was being done to enforce the law. So several women came together in 1966 to promote women’s rights, and founded NOW. There original key points were:

  • women’s rights as “truly equal partnership with men,” “fully equal partnership of the sexes”
  • focused on activism: “confront, with concrete action, the conditions that now prevent women from enjoying the equality of opportunity and freedom of choice which is their right as individual Americans, as human beings”
  • women’s rights seen in the context of “the world-wide revolution of human rights”; equality of women as an opportunity to “develop their fullest human potentials”
  • purpose to put women in the “mainstream of American political, economic and social life”
  • NOW’s commitment “equality, freedom, and dignity for women” specifically defined as not being about “special privilege” for women or “enmity towards men”

NOW has often been criticized during the years, particularly by conservatives who do not appreciate their stand on gender issues or women’s reproductive issues. They have also been condemned for being too narrowly focused, such as this year when they endorsed Hillary Clinton for Democratic nominee because she was a woman, when many members felt Bernie Sanders spoke more clearly to the broader issues of rights.

This year is their 50th anniversary. NOW is no longer the powerhouse they were in the 1970s and 1980s when they were campaigning to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, but they still serve a useful purpose. Even 50 years after their founding, women still make less than men on the job for the same positions, and women of color even less than their white counterparts. With the overwhelming numbers of men in Congress, women need a strong voice to bring their issues to people with the power to make laws and change society. So I celebrate them today for their successes and hope in another fifty years they will no longer be necessary, because inequality on the basis of gender will be a thing of the past.


Quotes about equal rights

We all fight over what the label ‘feminism’ means but for me it’s about empowerment. It’s not about being more powerful than men – it’s about having equal rights with protection, support, justice. It’s about very basic things. It’s not a badge like a fashion item.–Annie Lennox

I believe in, and will to the best of my ability fight for, equal rights and freedom of opinion for everyone, regardless of colour, religion, nationality, orientation – you know the rest.–Binyavanga Wainaina

I’m not a political person, but I’m a person with compassion. I care passionately about equal rights.–Ellen DeGeneres

We have talked long enough in this country about equal rights. It is time now to write the next chapter – and to write it in the books of law.–Lyndon B. Johnson

To me, feminism is such a simple description: it’s equal rights, economic rights, political rights, and social rights.–Callie Khouri

I believe the equal rights amendment is a necessity of life for all citizens. The cabinet sometimes felt that I shouldn’t be so outspoken.–Betty Ford

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute.–Rebecca West

Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.–Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler

It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union…. Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.–Susan B. Anthony

The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes.–Bella Abzug

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Richard Rodgers

Richard Charles Rodgers was born on Long Island, New York, on June 28, 1902. He was musical from childhood, playing the piano by ear at an early age, and composing music for amateur productions by the time he was fifteen.

He met his first collaborator, Lorenz Hart, while a freshman in college. Though they didn’t have the success Rodgers would have later with his second collaborator, they did compose memorable melodies, such as “Manhattan,” “Blue Moon,” “My Funny Valentine,” and “Isn’t it Romantic?”

After Hart died, Rodgers teamed up with Oscar Hammerstein II, and their careers took off. The two were responsible for such hits as Oklahoma, Carousel, The King and I, The Sound of Music, and South Pacific. has this to say about him: “Richard Rodgers was a pioneer in crafting what became the quintessential American musical, integrating stories from books and plays and creating seamless storytelling from speech to song. He also innovated the business end of show business, allowing writers to keep control of their creations. Rodgers won every major award possible in his field, and it is safe to say that at any point in time, one of his musicals is being reproduced somewhere in the world, and that someone is humming one of his famous songs.”

When they say ever major award, they are referring to Tonys, Emmys, Grammys, Oscars and two Pulitzer Prizes. Rodgers was among the first honorees of the newly created Kennedy Center Honors in 1978. There is also a theatre named after him on Broadway.


Quotes by Richard Rodgers

What’s wrong with sweetness and light? It’s been around quite awhile.–Richard Rodgers

Whenever I get an idea for a song, even before jotting down the notes, I can hear it in the orchestra, I can smell it in the scenery, I can see the kind of actor who will sing it, and I am aware of an audience listening to it.–Richard Rodgers

In many ways, a song-writing partnership is like a marriage. Apart from just liking each other, a lyricist and a composer should be able to spend long periods of time together – around the clock if need be – without getting on each other’s nerves.–Richard Rodgers

A song is a lot of things. But, first of all, a song is the voice of its time. Setting words to music gives them weight, makes then somehow easier to say, and it helps them to be remembered. It may be that that we can sing what we often cannot say, whether it be from shyness, fear, lack of the right words or the passion or dramatic gift to express them.–Richard Rodgers

If somebody wants to sing my songs after I’m gone, nobody will be happier than my dead body. –Richard Rodgers

I have to laugh to myself. I don’t find it work to write music, because I enjoy it. I’d find an evening of bridge hard work because you have to think like hell, and at the end, you get nothing for it.–Richard Rodgers

There isn’t anything I wanted to do that I haven’t. At the same time, there isn’t anything I’ve ever done that I didn’t want to do better.–Richard Rodgers

I don’t believe that a writer does something wonderful spontaneously. I believe it’s the result of years of living, of study, reading, his very personality and temperament. At one particular moment, all these come together and the artist ‘expresses’ himself.–Richard Rodgers

I would like, if I can, to broaden the possibilities of the musical theater. I think there’s a better ‘Oklahoma!’ someplace, a better ‘West Side Story.’ And I’d like to be mixed up in it.–Richard Rodgers

If a composer is to reach his audience emotionally – and surely that’s what theatre music is all about – he must reach the people through sounds they can relate to.–Richard Rodgers

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National Milkman Day

June 26 is Milkman Day. Sponsored by Smith Brothers Farm, its purpose is (to quote from their official site): “To honor our hard working milkmen, those purveyors of freshness delivering farm fresh dairy to the families for decades, we have declared June 26th as National Milkman Day. While it is not officially recognized as a National Holiday, we will not rest until Milkmen have their own day of celebration just as our great US Presidents, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Easter Bunny have received for generations.”

As they continue: “June is National Dairy month. So why wouldn’t milkmen get at least one day? Join us in celebrating milkmen and support our mission to make this a true national celebration!”

If you go to their Facebook page ( in the near future, you can take their Which Milkman Are You quiz, which automatically enters you into a pool to win the 2016 official Milkman T-Shirt. In case you are wondering, I got “old school milkman.” 🙂

I like this holiday. When I was little, we didn’t have a milkman come to the door, but we did go to the dairy to pick up our milk in glass bottles, which were then returned and recycled. What could be a better outing for a small child than being able to go into the barn to see (& smell!) the cows?

And certainly nothing goes better with an Oreo cookie than a glass of cold milk.


Quotes about milk (couldn’t find any about milkmen, alas)

Think what a better world it would be if we all–the whole world–had cookies and milk about three o’ clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap.–Robert Fulghum

The cow is of the bovine ilk; one end is moo, the other milk.–Ogden Nash (Free Wheeling)

Don’t lose your time gazing at the spilled milk. There are other cows to milk.–Bangambiki Habyarimana (The Great Pearl of Wisdom)

Everything gets better with milk.–Debasish Mridha

You can only milk a cow so long, then you’re left holding the pail.–Hank Aaron

Ireland, in breadth, and for wholesomeness and serenity of climate, far surpasses Britain; for the snow scarcely ever lies there above three days: no man makes hay in the summer for winter’s provision, or builds stables for his beasts of burden… the island abounds in milk and honey.–Venerable Bede

I love milk so much! I make a point of drinking a glass of milk every day. So now anyone who did those milk ads with the milk mustaches, they’re my heroes.–Natalie Portman

Stay away from milk. It is nature’s perfect food – but only if you are a calf.–Mark Hyman

I don’t believe that you have to be a cow to know what milk is.–Ann Landers

I think all cats are wild. They only act tame if there’s a saucer of milk in it for them.–Douglas Adams (Last Chance to See)

Opie, you haven’t finished your milk. We can’t put it back in the cow, you know.–Aunt Bee (The Andy Griffith Show)

A cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may be oversophisticated. Yet it remains, cheese, milk’s leap toward immortality.–Clifton Fadiman

Bread, milk and butter are of venerable antiquity. They taste of the morning of the world.–Leigh Hunt (The Seer)

I won’t eat any cereal that doesn’t turn the milk purple.–Bill Watterson (from a Calvin & Hobbes strip)

Don’t cry over spilled milk.–American Proverb

Parties who want milk should not seat themselves on a stool in the middle of the field in hope that the cow will back up to them.–Elbert Hubbard

Fortunately the Milk. (title of a children’s book by Neil Gaiman)

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International Fairy Day (or Faerie Day)

Like many American children, I got my ideas about fairies from Walt Disney. We have Tinkerbell playing with Peter Pan, Cinderella’s fairy godmother, Flora, Fauna, and the bumbling Merryweather in Sleeping Beauty, the Blue Fairy granting Pinocchio’s wish to be a real boy. But the history of fairies paints a different picture.

Fairies seem to be particularly part of the mythology of the British Isles. They were seen in many different ways, from small people, to invisible ones, to the souls of the dead. It is said fairies are divided into the Seelie Court, the more beneficently inclined (but still dangerous) fairies, and the Unseelie Court, the malicious fairies. While the fairies from the Seelie court enjoyed playing pranks on humans they were usually harmless affairs, compared to the Unseelie court that enjoyed bringing harm to humans as entertainment. It was never a good idea to get a fairy mad at you. Much of the folklore about fairies revolves around protection from their malice, by such means as cold iron or charms of rowan and herbs, or avoiding offense by shunning locations known to be theirs. They were accused of such things as taking a human baby and leaving one of their own in its place (changelings), causing sudden death from unknown causes, or enchanting young people to dance without stopping.

The Tuatha Dé Danann (pronounced too-AH-ha day dah-NAH) are a race of supernaturally-gifted people in Irish mythology. They are thought to represent the main deities of pre-Christian Gaelic Ireland. The Tuatha Dé Danann were spoken of as having come from islands in the north of the world or, in other sources, from the sky. After being defeated in a series of battles with other otherworldly beings, and then by the ancestors of the current Irish people, they were said to have withdrawn to the sidhe (pronounced like the English word she) (fairy mounds).

If you have read any of the Jim Butcher urban fantasy series about Harry Dresden, you know fairies in those stories are anything but benign or helpful.

So enjoy International Fairy Day, but be careful not to mock the fairies!


Quotes about fairies

Fairies, black, grey, green, and white,
You moonshine revellers, and shades of night,
You orphan heirs of fixed destiny,
Attend your office and your quality.
William Shakespeare (The Merry Wives of Windsor)

This is a work of fiction. All the characters in it, human and otherwise, are imaginary, excepting only certain of the fairy folk, whom it might be unwise to offend by casting doubts on their existence. Or lack thereof.–Neil Gaiman (The Books of Magic)

Don’t mess with the fairies.–David Mitchell (The Bone Clocks)

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”
–W. B. Yeats

It is frightfully difficult to know much about the fairies, and almost the only thing for certain is that there are fairies wherever there are children.–J. M. Barrie (Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens)

Of course you don’t believe in fairies. You’re fifteen. You think I believed in fairies at fifteen? Took me until I was at least a hundred and forty. Hundred and fifty, maybe. Anyway, he wasn’t a fairy. He was a librarian. All right?–Neil Gaiman (The Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections)

I think that people who can’t believe in fairies aren’t worth knowing.–Tori Amos

The fairies went from the world, dear,
Because men’s hearts grew cold:
And only the eyes of children see
What is hidden from the old…
–Kathleen Foyle

Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
Will we sing, and bless this place.
–William Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Find nearly 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at

Old Time Fiddlers Week

No, this isn’t about aged violin players! Let me quote from Wikipedia. “Old time fiddle is a genre of American folk music. ‘Old time fiddle tunes’ derived from European folk dance tunes such as Jig, Reel, Breakdown, Schottische, Waltz, Two Step and Polka. The fiddle may be accompanied by banjo or other instruments but are nevertheless called ‘fiddle tunes.’ The genre traces from the colonization of North America by immigrants from England, France, Germany, Ireland, and Scotland.”

In my neighborhood, one of the couples were part of a group called Old Time Fiddlers. They had been married 75 years before the husband died, and still their group practiced every week in a building near me. I had another friend, too, who was part of the group.

In the Pacific Northwest where I live, both Washington and Oregon have official Old Time Fiddlers Associations. Despite the name implying they are entirely older folks, all ages can participate. Oregon contests divide the contestants into Small Fry (8 and younger), Junior-Junior (9-12), Junior Division (13-17), Young Adult (18-36), Adult (37-59), Senior (60-69), and Senior-Senior (70 and older). There seemed to be plenty of contestants in all the age groups.

A tiny sample of the tunes played are:
Grey Eagle
Hot Springs
Mark’s Waltz
Wednesday Night Waltz
Cotton Patch
Rag Clarinet Polka
Yellow Rose Waltz
Billy in the Lowground (a particularly popular tune)
Crafton’s Blues
Rose of Avonmore
Flap Jack Rag

If you enter “old time fiddle tunes youtube” into a search engine, it will lead you to a large list of music to choose from. If you want just a sample, click on this link: which leads you to the Old Time Fiddle Waltz. It will make you tap your feet. Or if you prefer to just listen, there is a huge list at Old Town School of Folk Music ( If you are a fiddler and want to try your hand at some of these, there is music online from Penn State. (

The graphic is the official decal of the Oregon Old Time Fiddlers.


Enjoy these fiddle quotes.

I wanna hear an old time fiddle
Play an old time fiddle song
I might even drink just a little
If you play Little Jolie Blon
–Vince Gill (Old Time Fiddle)

You know, if you really want to fiddle the old-time way, you’ve got to learn the dance. The contra-dances, hoedowns. It’s all in the rhythm of the bow. The great North Carolina fiddle player Tommy Jarrell said, ‘If a feller can’t bow, he’ll never make a fiddler. He might make a violin player, but he’ll never make no fiddler.–Alison Krauss

I don’t want talking, I want fiddling!–Luther Davis

Fiddlers just want to have fun!–Stacy Phillips

The music comes from the fiddler’s heart, through his strings and straight into your heart.–Father John Angus Rankin

We consider the man who can fiddle all through one of those Virginia reels without losing his grip, may be depended upon in any kind of emergency.–Mark Twain

Music is a great gift, one of the greatest anybody can have, because it’s something nobody can take away from you. Money can’t buy it. It’s a very precious thing, I think, very precious.–Ernie Carpenter, Appalachian fiddler.

I prefer to make common cause with those whose weapons are guitars, banjos, fiddles and words.–Theodore Bikel

FIDDLE, n. An instrument to tickle human ears by friction of a horse’s tail on the entrails of a cat.–Ambrose Bierce

As one old gentleman put it, “Son, I don’t care if you’re stark nekkid and wear a bone in your nose. If you kin fiddle, you’re all right with me. It’s the music we make that counts.”–Robert Fulghum (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten)

Then she took up the bow and began to play. The tone was warm and deep, storied with layers of age.–A. S. Peterson (Fiddler’s Green)

The older the fiddle the sweeter the tune.– Irish Sayings quotes

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The Solstice

Today, June 20, is the solstice, the summer solstice if you are in the northern hemisphere and the winter solstice if you are in the southern hemisphere. Since I am writing from the north, I will concentrate on the summer solstice.

For many, this a day of rejoicing at the beginning of summer. For those who hate the heat of the summer, there is at least the consolation that from now on the days will be getting shorter. For vegetable gardeners like myself, I am hoping this heralds the beginning of a spurt of growth to mature my tomatoes and peppers, as well as the other plants in my garden. For those who (also like me) who live in a semi-desert area, this heralds the beginning of the watering season. With the weather becoming hotter and drier, I will need to water most days now.

Also known as Midsummer, people have been celebrating the solstice pretty much ever since man began. Some historians point to Stonehenge as evidence of the fact that ancient humans used the June Solstice as a way to organize their calendars. Some believe that Stonehenge’s unique stone circle was erected around 2500 BCE in order to establish the date of the Summer Solstice. Different cultures have different ways of celebrating. In ancient China, this was a time to celebrate the feminine, the yin of the year. In northern Europe, it often celebrated the feast days of fertility goddesses. As Christianity moved in, this was changed to a feast honoring John the Baptist, and renamed St. John’s Day. Native Americans also had rituals, celebrating the joining of earth and sky. In Seattle where I used to live, there is a parade in the Fremont area on the solstice, which is wild and crazy, known primarily for nude bicycle riding.

Today in our mechanized society, it is easy to dismiss the rhythms of the earth and let this significant day pass with hardly a thought, but it does mark the turning of the seasons, and it is good to stop and honor that.

Here are some quotes about summer to brighten your day.

And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
With mask, and antique pageantry,
Such sights as youthful poets dream
On summer eves by haunted stream.–John Milton (“L’Allegro”)

Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.–Pablo Neruda (100 Love Sonnets)

I should like to enjoy this summer flower by flower, as if it were to be the last one for me.–Andre Gide (Journals)

It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.–Maud Hart (Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib)

No price is set on lavish summer;
June may be had by the poorest comer.–James Russell Lowell (Vision of Sir Launfal)

The Queen of Hearts
She made some tarts,
All on a summer’s day;
The Knave of Hearts
He stole the tarts,
And took them clean away. (well-known Nursery rhyme)

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.–Sir John Lubbock

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou are more lovely and more temperate… –William Shakespeare (“Sonnet 18”)

Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.–Henry James

Summer Time an’ the livin’ is easy…–Heyward DuBose (Porgy and Bess)

Summertime is always the best of what might be.–Charles Bowden

The way to ensure summer in England is to have it framed and glazed in a comfortable room.–Horace Walpole (Letter to Rev. William Cole Correspondence)

What is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days. . .–James Russell Lowell (Vision of Sir Launfal)

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M. C. Escher

I have seen both June 17 & 18, 1898 as dates of Escher’s birth, so will celebrate him today. Escher, of course, is the artist who created pictures of such things as stairs which seems to go up in impossible ways, as well as other optical illusions. I have always found his work fascinating.

Maurits Cornelis Escher was a Dutch graphic artist who made woodcuts and lithographs. His work is based on mathematics, and includes “impossible objects, explorations of infinity, reflection, symmetry, perspective, truncated and stellated polyhedra, hyperbolic geometry, and tessellations.” His work forces us to take a new view or reality, which can feel very dreamlike.

He was born in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, but spent most of his youth in Arnhem. He did not do well in school, but excelled in graphic arts at the School for Architecture and Decorative Arts in Haarlem. After school, he traveled through Italy, where he met his wife, Jetta. The couple settled in Rome, until shortly before the outbreak of the second World War, when they moved to Switzerland, where he produced a large body of work. He finally moved back to the Netherlands, where he remained until his death on March 27, 1972, in Laren, leaving a legacy of more than 2,000 pieces.

The graphic I chose is called “Convex and Concave.” I chose this because I once put together a puzzle based on the work, and it was the hardest puzzle I have ever done! But I also love some of his other works like “Relativity” and “Waterfall” and “Castrovalva.” You can find all his works at the official Website at I have also taken most of the quotes below from that site.


We adore chaos because we love to produce order.–M. C. Escher

The ideas that are basic to [my work] often bear witness to my amazement and wonder at the laws of nature which operate in the world around us. He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder.–M. C. Escher

I believe that producing pictures, as I do, is almost solely a question of wanting so very much to do it well.–M. C. Escher

I could fill an entire second life with working on my prints.–M. C. Escher

To have peace with this peculiar life; to accept what we do not understand; to wait calmly for what awaits us, you have to be wiser than I am.–M. C. Escher

At moments of great enthusiasm it seems to me that no one in the world has ever made something this beautiful and important.–M. C. Escher

I am always wandering around in enigmas. There are young people who constantly come to tell me: you, too, are making Op Art. I haven’t the slightest idea what that is, Op Art. I’ve been doing this work for thirty years now.–M. C. Escher

I don’t grow up. In me is the small child of my early days.–M. C. Escher

The things I want to express are so beautiful and pure.–M. C. Escher

So let us then try to climb the mountain, not by stepping on what is below us, but to pull us up at what is above us, for my part at the stars; amen.–M. C. Escher

My work is a game, a very serious game.–M. C. Escher

Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?.–M. C. Escher

Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible. I think it’s in my basement… let me go upstairs and check.–M. C. Escher

I try in my prints to testify that we live in a beautiful and orderly world, not in a chaos without norms, even though that is how it sometimes appears.–M. C. Escher

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