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No woman ever murdered her husband while he was washing the dishes.


Ruminations of THAT MuddyUm editor

Image by Anne Karakash from Pixabay

Email similar to the following drops in my box nearly every day.

There was a reply to your private note on My Soon-to-be Viral Story

You wrote:

Unnecessary word

A. Spiring Writer wrote:

a generous response.

After an unsteady start, editing for MuddyUm became one of the most rewarding parts of my life. Though we mudditors receive no money for our labors, I am richly compensated emotionally thanks to generous responses from you dear sweet MuddyUm writers.

Wondering what I could bring to the task other than the MuddyUm basics — Kicker / Title / subtitle, typos and obvious grammatical…


I can barely deal with it if I’m not high

Source: Wikimedia Commons

As a little Boomer, one of my chores involved pushing — more like guiding, since it was self-propelled, after a fashion — a lawnmower something like #3304 in the picture above around our 3/4-acre lawn. Something like it anyway. Imagine #3304 and the red one nearby got together and gave birth to a monstrous love child. In recollection it was like the red one except that menacing blades protruded something like #3304 but without the little guide wheels or whatever they are. What I do remember is that it was heavy AF.

Guiding it around was a bear, and I…


How to get old without freaking everybody out

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Everybody knows we had the internet in the ‘60s. We put on our beads & off we went. Except it wasn’t called cyberspace. We called it head space. Whatever. Except that we didn’t say “Whatever.” Whatever. In cyberspace everybody yells at each other and otherwise gets ugly, whereas in head space everybody stares into the vacant spaces in front of their heads and says things like “far out” while listening to psychedelic music.

The world needs more head space.

Sorry, what was I talking about? Oh yeah. I was supposed to be talking about the secrets of graceful aging and…


So why give me something old?

Image by the author

Opening my very favorite thing in the wide world, Medium, I see that number in the little balloon stuck to your profile pic, that is, the one that appears on my “following” scroll. Yes! I would not follow¹ you if I didn’t love, or at least like, your stories, so I go to your profile page to see what’s new. What do I find? Something new? I’m sure it must be there somewhere, but that monstrosity of current Medium fashion confronts me.

Trigger warning: graphic passages

By Sicnag — 1980 Checker A12 Marathon Taxi, CC BY 2.0,, detail

I am serious about that warning. I believe it is well written, introspective, and revealing but if you are squeamish do not tap it open. Instead, please move on to my next story.








It’s a blast to pick on the little guy

Yes that really does say “Plantations.” Some states have state birds, trees, etc. We have a state shame. More about that in the article itself. Source:

As Susan Brearley pointed out in All The State Stuff, Rhode Island has a state mollusk, the Quahog. If you look at the Wikipedia article about Rhode Island you won’t find it so listed but trust me. The Quahog is the state mollusk. By extension,

State Sport: quahogging

As you must be able to guess, quahogging is the act of digging up quahogs from any of the innumerable fetid estuaries up and down our overly lengthy coast. I read somewhere that Rhode Island has the longest coastline/geographic area of any state, but if you know anything about math, more specifically…

By the Power of B.I.T.S.O.W.

Love your backspace key

John Taylor, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Way back in the 1970s I took my undergraduate degree at New York University. As part of my English Composition 101 course, whatever it was called, we read George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language. Therein he proposed six rules for truthful and comprehensible writing. In this article I will limit myself numbers one, three, and four. For the sake of brevity, of course. Wait — this is a six-minute read? May G-d forgive me.

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(iii) If it is possible to…

Grumpy old men need a laugh too

And take your crap with you

Photo by yerling villalobos on Unsplash

You have no idea what it’s like, you kids. I come out here to do a little lawn care and what do I find? Unnecessary words scattered all over the place. I know I told you to lose them, but I didn’t mean lose them here. I’m not exactly Lawn Boy. I know I let it get a little muddy. Weedy too. Does that mean you have to leave your periods all over the end of my driveway?

I try to be nice about it. I explain oh so nicely why you shouldn’t clutter things up. I’m only trying to…


Sheryl Crow did not go far enough

Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

Back in 2007, Sheryl Crow told everybody to limit toilet paper usage to one square per visit¹.

Ms. Crow caught considerable crap over this bit of too-earnest environmentalism.

My immediate thought was, wait a minute. Since, as a guy, I don’t always use toilet paper for #1, can I apply these saved sheets to my #2 trips? The idea appeals to my retired engineer’s inner geek. I’d have to keep a diary in order to determine my bathroom going number ratio, that is, #1/#2. I’d also have to include in my entries whether or not I’d used toilet paper for…


Apologies to the late great Johnny Cash

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

I keep a close watch on this art of thine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I see parens all round now let’s be frank
No way for you, I’ll walk the plank

I find it very, very easy on the queue
Apply the rules and soon my task is through.
Now those ellipses, face it they won’t do
Hey it’s not you, but,
What can I do?

As sure as caps in titles must be tight
And from subtitles periods take flight
And our stats prove that we got this right
So let’s not fight,
You’ll see the light…

Paul Hossfield

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