davidbrucehaiku: CHERRY-BLOSSOM TIME






Cherry-blossom time

Nature’s way of saying it’s

Great to be alive


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Nature’s pickup bar

“So do you come here often?

What’s your life story?”


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Pulls apart the world,

Puts it together in a

Crazy, jumbled form


Note: Lewis Carroll is the author of ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND.

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Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end! ‘I wonder how many miles I’ve fallen by this time?’ she said aloud. ‘I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down, I think—’ (for, you see, Alice had learnt several things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this was not a VERY good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over) ‘—yes, that’s about the right distance—but then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I’ve got to?’ (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)

Presently she began again. ‘I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it’ll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think—’ (she was rather glad there WAS no one listening, this time, as it didn’t sound at all the right word) ‘—but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma’am, is this New Zealand or Australia?’ (and she tried to curtsey as she spoke—fancy curtseying as you’re falling through the air! 

David Bruce: Media Anecdotes


In early June of 1893, President Grover Cleveland discovered that he had cancer of the mouth. He decided to have the tumor removed, but he was afraid that news of the operation—in which he had a 15 percent of dying—would panic Wall Street, which was already having troubles and so this operation would be done secretly. On June 30, he boarded the yacht Oneida, which was anchored in New York harbor. There, six physicians operated on him, removing the tumor, five teeth, and much of his upper left jawbone and left palate. The operation was successful, and by mid-July he began using a vulcanized rubber prosthetic that enabled him to speak in his normal voice. Elisha Jay Edwards, a reporter for The Philadelphia Press, heard rumors about the operation, and he was able to verify it by locating the anesthesiologist. On August 29, The Philadelphia Presspublished a major scoop titled “The President a Very Sick Man.” Unfortunately, although the article was true, the Cleveland administration denied that an operation had taken place, and soon Mr. Edwards was vilified and accused of having made up the story. His career as a reporter was nearly ruined. For 15 years, he could barely find work, but in 1909, he became a columnist for a new, struggling newspaper: The Wall Street Journal. Even then, the Grover Cleveland article he had written tainted his reputation. Finally, in 1917, one of the doctors who had performed the operation, W.W. Keen, who had always regretted how Mr. Edwards had been falsely accused of having made up the story about President Cleveland, wrote a confession that The Saturday Evening Post published. In it, he told the facts about the operation with the purpose, he wrote, of being able to “vindicate Mr. Edwards’ character as a truthful correspondent.” Mr. Edwards received many congratulatory letters and telegrams about the restoring of his reputation, and he wrote a thank-you letter to Mr. Keen.

At one time, Chicago journalists would pretend to be police officers or other officials, either in person or on the telephone, in order to get information from crime scenes. Frequently, they would pretend to be Sgt. Francis (Jiggs) Donohue, the chief officer for the coroner’s office. Chicago Herald-Examiner reporter Harry Romanoff once telephoned a barroom where a murder had occurred. On the phone, he said, “This is Sgt. Donohue of the coroner’s office.” The person who had answered the phone said, “That’s funny. So is this.” Sgt. Donohue had arrived at the murder scene faster than Mr. Romanoff had expected. Once, Buddy McHugh of the Chicago American arrived very quickly on a murder scene (a house), identified himself as Sgt. Donohue, and told the person at the house, “If some newspaper guy shows up posing as me, give him the bum’s rush.” Soon after Mr. McHugh had left, the real Sgt. Donohue showed up, but the householder said, “Go peddle your papers. I’m wise to you. Sgt. Donohue’s been here.”

Sassy, a magazine for North American teenage girls, published some important articles. The writers once spent a day looking through reader correspondence. In particular, they were looking for letters in which the writer wrote about being a victim of incest. Each time they found a letter from a victim of incest, they rang a bell. Unfortunately, the bell rang more often than anyone expected. The article that appeared in Sassy was titled “Real Stories About Incest.” It told the stories of three girls who were victims of incest. Running the story took courage on the part of Sassy, as many advertisers were boycotting it because it had run some articles about sex that the religious right disliked. Shortly after the article ran, Citicorp Venture Capital, which controlled 60 percent of Sassy, asked Sandra Yates, the founder of Sassy, to resign. Ms. Yates says, “It remains the most painful episode of my working career.”

Muhammad Ali may be the best boxer who ever lived—he is certainly the greatest boxing celebrity who ever lived. At one point in his career, he had an acute hernia condition and needed an operation. At Boston City Hospital, his surgeon said, “It was such a marvelously developed stomach—I hated to slice it up.” By the way, Mr. Ali knew how to get publicity. He wanted to be in Life magazine, so when he learned that Life photographer Flip Schulke was an expert in taking underwater photographs, he told him that he trained underwater. This was a lie—Mr. Ali could not even swim—but two pages of photos of Mr. Ali “training” underwater appeared in the September 8, 1961, issue of Life.

Not all interviewers are as prepared as they think they are. James Marshall, who wrote and illustrated a series of children’s books about two characters named George and Martha, once was interviewed by a woman on a radio show in Chicago. Before the interview, he asked her, “Do you need any information about myself?” She replied, “No. I’ve done my homework.” Unfortunately, her first question to him on the air was, “What’s it like writing about the First Family?” Mr. Marshall replied, “Well, it’s not that George and Martha.” She then asked, “Who are they, then?” Mr. Marshall replied, “Well … they’re hippos.” As you may expect, the interviewer was completely unprepared to interview him, and Mr. Marshall had to take over the interview.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra flutist Donald Peck was mightily unimpressed by opera singer Maria Callas. Once, the CSO was supposed to record with her. A rehearsal was scheduled, but Ms. Callas did not show up. The CSO waited for her because they were being paid for the time of the rehearsal, and when the rehearsal time was over they stood up to leave. At that exact time, Ms. Callas walked into the rehearsal space. Her agent made sure that the press knew that the CSO had risen out of respect to Ms. Callas, but Mr. Peck writes, “What a manipulation of the truth!”

Mort Sahl got his satiric comedy act from newspapers. The head of Fox Cable News, Roger Ailes, once saw him read a newspaper, then perform his act six hours later with 40 minutes of new satiric observations that he had created from his reading of the newspaper.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


Robert Graves: The Bough of Nonsense

An Idyll

Back from the Somme two Fusiliers
Limped painfully home; the elder said,
S. “Robert, I’ve lived three thousand years
This Summer, and I’m nine parts dead.”
R. “But if that’s truly so,” I cried, “quick, now,
Through these great oaks and see the famous bough

“Where once a nonsense built her nest
With skulls and flowers and all things queer,
In an old boot, with patient breast
Hatching three eggs; and the next year …”
S. “Foaled thirteen squamous young beneath, and rid
Wales of drink, melancholy, and psalms, she did.”

Said he, “Before this quaint mood fails,
We’ll sit and weave a nonsense hymn,”
R. “Hanging it up with monkey tails
In a deep grove all hushed and dim….”
S. “To glorious yellow-bunched banana-trees,”
R. “Planted in dreams by pious Portuguese,”

S. “Which men are wise beyond their time,
And worship nonsense, no one more.”
R. “Hard by, among old quince and lime,
They’ve built a temple with no floor,”
S. “And whosoever worships in that place,
He disappears from sight and leaves no trace.”

R. “Once the Galatians built a fane
To Sense: what duller God than that?”
S. “But the first day of autumn rain
The roof fell in and crushed them flat.”
R. “Ay, for a roof of subtlest logic falls
When nonsense is foundation for the walls.”

I tell him old Galatian tales;
He caps them in quick Portuguese,
While phantom creatures with green scales
Scramble and roll among the trees.
The hymn swells; on a bough above us sings
A row of bright pink birds, flapping their wings.


‘The Bough of Nonsense’ Analysis.

Through the use of allusion, Religious symbolism and diction, Robert Graves’ poem A Bough of Nonsense paints the image of a senseless and worthless war, and describes the effect it has had on the soldiers.



Some Works by Robert Graves


Carl Sandburg: Fog

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Andrew Spacey: Analysis of “Fog” by Carl Sandburg (Owlcation)

“Fog” is probably Carl Sandburg’s best-known poem and has been a popular choice for study since it was first published in Chicago Poems in 1916. Sandburg was inspired to write it one day whilst out walking near Chicago’s Grant Park. He had with him a book of Japanese haiku, the short 17-syllable poems that capture essences of the natural world.




Aesop: The Cock and the Pearl



A cock was once strutting up and down the farmyard among the hens when suddenly he espied something shin- ning amid the straw. ‘Ho! ho!’ quoth he, ‘that’s for me,’ and soon rooted it out from beneath the straw. What did it turn out to be but a Pearl that by some chance had been lost in the yard? ‘You may be a treasure,’ quoth Master Cock, ‘to men that prize you, but for me I would rather have a single barley-corn than a peck of pearls.’

Precious things are for those that can prize them.