If you are between 8 and 108 years old and like to read middle grade books, then you are especially welcome here!

A holiday letter

Posted: December 15th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

This is my second cousin once removed, composer Cornelius Power.

Composer Cornelius Power (April 1, 1821 – July 4, 1915)

Cornelius loved writing letters, and every year at holiday time, the Power family turns to one of them in particular, which has been handed down through the generations. It is dated December 17, 1856, and I’d like to share it with you.

Greetings, Holiday People!

You’ll never guess what I’m doing right now. I am actually dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh. Contrary to expectations, I am not laughing all the way. It is far too cold here in this winter wonderland for that. As it is, I am bundled up from head to toe in warm clothing, but I think I’ll burrow down deep into the cozy quilts and blankets that my sleigh driver has so thoughtfully provided.

Sleigh driver? Ha! It is my BFF, James Lord Pierpont, the famous organist and composer and my comradely rival in all musical endeavors. James has got a thing about one-horse open sleighs. The only thing he cares more about than composing catchy songs is dashing through the snow. He is working on a new song about it now, but I can’t see it going anywhere. He calls it “Jingle Bells,” and it’s fairly simpleminded, not at all up to the high standard he set with “Ring the Bell, Fanny.”

How I long for a cup of hot cocoa! We brought a whole lake of it in a thermos, but it spilled all over the floor of the sleigh thanks to James’s erratic driving. He’s up there now on the absolute edge of his seat, cracking the whip and singing at the top of his lungs. I’m burrowing further into the blankets and quilts. It’s a well-known fact in these parts that survivors of sleigh crashes are nearly always found closest to the floor of the vehicle.

I can only imagine how wondrous one-horse sleighs will be one hundred and fifty or so years from now, but I daresay holiday wishes will have remained exactly the same. By then, no doubt poor James’s simpleminded ditty “Jingle Bells” will have been long relegated to the dustbin and some other songwriter will have come along to better describe how fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh. I am far too humble to be referring to myself, of course, although some say my sleigh song “Horsey Snow Ride” is the catchiest number they’ve ever heard.

Darn it, James! That turn was much too sharp. Ohhhhhhhh!!!!

(At this point the letter ends in a series of jagged marks.)

Of course, as history shows, Cousin Cornelius was wrong about “Jingle Bells.” James Lord Pierpont’s sleigh-ride song went on to become one of the best known and most commonly sung winter songs in the world, whereas, sadly, Cornelius’s own sleigh song “Horsey Snow Ride” has been completely ignored. But he was right about holiday wishes. They’ve remained exactly the same.

Give thanks for blessings.

Say a prayer for peace.

Give a donation where it’s needed.

Resolve to be a little more patient, a little more forgiving, and a lot more helpful.

Amen to that!



Posted: November 14th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Letters to T | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Here are three fluffy caterpillars. Eating leaves, living their lives, looking forward to a nice long nap in a cozy cocoon. Can you guess what they’ll look like when they wake up? Hold tight!

Here’s Apatelodes torrefacta. Just chillin’.

And here’s Apatelodes torrefacta, in full moth form.

Hiyeee, milkweed tussock caterpillar, serving a lewk!

Hey there, milkweed tussock moth!

Finally, salutations to the woolly bear caterpillar, keeping it real. Really furry, that is.

Fly free, woolly bear moth!


Where do books come from?

Posted: November 17th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Books come from book trees, of course!



Posted: July 13th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Some cars look cool. A few look downright funny. These must have popped out of a cartoon. Get in and go for a ride, if you can stop laughing. They’re guaranteed to get forty smiles to a gallon.



Happy World Bee Day!

Posted: May 21st, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , | No Comments »


Looking good

Posted: March 10th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Conch shells are something to blow like a horn on special occasions and otherwise keep proudly on a shelf of treasures.

In the ocean, however, conch shells are something else entirely.


We see you, conches!


Small wonder

Posted: January 17th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , | No Comments »

Paedophryne amauensis, a species of frog from Papua New Guinea, is the smallest known animal with a backbone. With an average body length of 7.7 mm, it lives in the leaf debris on the tropical forest floor. It’s nocturnal, so you won’t see it in the daytime. You probably won’t spot it at nighttime, either!


A little perspective

Posted: August 28th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , | No Comments »


Bug buddy

Posted: July 14th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Fossils found from the Triassic Period 190 million years ago indicate that the giant weta of New Zealand is an insect species that’s older than some dinosaurs. Certain arthropod-happy New Zealanders keep them as pets. Wetas have ears on their knees. Some are as heavy as two sparrows or three mice. And they love eating carrots! I don’t think they play fetch. But they might bring you your slippers in the morning!


When every action has a fun reaction

Posted: June 15th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Kinetic artist Joseph Herscher is the creative genius behind YouTube’s Joseph’s Machines. His amazing chain-reaction devices are sometimes referred to as Rube Goldberg machines. Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist who drew complicated gadgets that performed simple tasks. Behold the diagram for Rube Goldberg’s Self-Operating Napkin!

And here’s Joseph Herscher’s tooth-brushing technique.

More work=less fun is true in most cases.

Not with Joseph’s Machines!

Check out more of them on YouTube.