What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

“A rose by any other name is yet a rose.” Or at least this was true in the days of Shakespeare. With all the horticulture hybrids created since the days of Audubon, I’m not so sure this is still true today. The “ … would it not smell as sweet?” part of the verse might be questionable too. We now have odorless roses and some that smell downright disgusting.

The humble ground hog does not seem to suffer from the same self-image affliction. To the best of my knowledge no one has ever tried to create or hybridize a bigger and better, more beautiful ground hog or one that would smell more sweet. A ground hog is a ground hog is a ground hog … period… Or is it?

I’ve recently heard of the ground hog being reverently referred to as a hedge hog, a wood chuck and a whistle pig. I’ve also heard it called by a number of not so reverent names by people like myself who have found them burrowing extensively under their outbuildings. I only pray that there is still enough soil under my cement garage floor to support the car. Over the years I’ve flooded, fumed and flamed his burrow in an effort to eliminate the threat with little success. In the end I think he just moved up to a better neighborhood and one where he would be better treated.

But I wouldn’t feel too sorry for the poor underprivileged rodent. I don’t know of many humans who have it so well. He works one day a year and is still considered to be an expert in his field. Some are even held in such high esteem that they can bite the ear of the town mayor and get away with it. Mike Tyson is the only man I know who could pull that off. Well, he didn’t actually pull off the whole ear: Just part of it.

Happy Ground Hog Day!

Copyright 2016
Jim Hartman


A Valentine Prayer

My last post was about

“Singing Valentines.”

This one is about Valentine
“Poetry and Prayers.”


A Valentine Prayer


When we were small, a valentine,

We sent to all we knew:

To each one in our classroom

And, perhaps our family too.


Our tender hearts, so easily,

In Love with Everyone:

Our tender years completely filled

With Joy … And Having Fun.


But years have changed our attitudes

And tears replace the thrills,

Our daily effort now concludes

With … paying of the bills.


But years can’t change “My Love for You.”

Your tears, … but Sweeten Mine

And through it all I pray you will

Remain “My Valentine.”


Copyright 2016
Jim Hartman


Another Catastrophe (Cat – as – trophe)

Another Catastrophe (Cat – as – trophe)

Those of you who are cat lovers and have been reading my posts will especially appreciate this one. Several years ago I told you about a Coffee Calamity that made me wonder if house cats are really such a good idea. Well, it’s happened again and “Spunky” our house cat is really in the dog house this time…

And it all happened because of a little red sponge muffler that fits on the receiving end of an inexpensive microphone I use to record with my computer. A replacement muffler would probably cost about fifteen cents … if you could buy one … but you can’t.

It won’t surprise any of you to find that I am a bit … changeable. I work very hard on a project until it’s complete or near complete and then loose interest and move on to something more exciting. Several years ago I got deeply involved in recording some of my original music and as usual I lost interest when I had accomplished what I felt was important. During this project Spunky my cat had stolen the little red muffler from the tip of my microphone several times. Each time I found it after a brief search and continued with my project. I may be wrong, but this may have been what caused my … loss of interest.

Several months or, maybe years after I had discontinued recording the little red sponge showed up on the living room floor. The carpet had been vacuumed weekly all during this period, but somehow, it never showed itself … and then it did… Where Spunky rediscovered the muffler I have no idea, but there it was. I immediately confiscated it and placed it safely in my desk drawer where it could be found for future use.

Well, this is the future. I’m in the process of recording several of my latest Greatest Ideas. I call them ThoughThumpers and they are intended to make you rethink the thoughts you thought you already thunk … and I need that microphone … and that little red mic muffler. After a brief search I found it right where I put it for safe keeping and flew into the task. About half way through it I laid the mic down to do some other task and when I looked up, there was Spunky running off with my mic muffler in her mouth. I quickly repossessed it … almost quietly … and continued with my work until the second and maybe the third or fourth and then … the last: The last theft and the last recording. This time the muffler seems to have totally evaporated and I am nearly catatonic. I was so angry last night that I had extremely bad thoughts about my loving pet and nearly said a lot of words that I don’t ordinarily use.

Today I’ve still not found the muffler and I’m beginning to think I should first find a really good one for Spunky my little cat before I worry a lot about finding one for my little mic. Yeah, she’s still my little buddy and I love her. Besides, she wouldn’t really make a good trophy anyway. She’s Way Too Small.

Copyright 2016
Jim Hartman

The Christmas Story

The Christmas Story

For centuries the people of northern Europe had been telling the story of the Christ Child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger to their children. They told how the three wise men traveled from the east following a star and how the angels in the heavens sang “Glory to God in the highest” while the shepherds watched their flocks by night.

Then after the dark ages, the middle ages and the renaissance, the powers that be felt the need to create a more believable story to explain the miracle of Christmas to their children in this new, more educated and sophisticated society. After several unsatisfying attempts they finally settled on this one.

It’s the story of an oversized elf with a white beard dressed in a red flannel suit that climbs down the smoke filled chimney of every house in the world, through the flaming embers of every well-stoked fire and still remain spotless while delivering Christmas gifts to every single child. He then flies back up every chimney and swiftly flies away to the North Pole in a sleigh pulled by eight tiny rain deer. The children were thrilled and excited with the story and the powers that be had a Very Merry Christmas.

I pray that all of you have a Very Merry Christmas too. God Bless Us … Everyone.

Copyright 2015
Jim Hartman


Show Time!

Show Time!

Yes Sir Re Bob: September 26th at 7:30 PM is show time in the big city of Toledo, Ohio.

Also: “Back to the Future?” After about ten years of cabaret style chapter shows the Black Swamp Barbershop Chapter is returning to a real stage production similar to the style of decades past. Our illustrious show chairman, Tom Henkel decided to tackle this entirely new/old format. It will be a show comprised mostly of “Songs of the 60s” and will be performed at the Maumee Indoor Theater on Conant and the Anthony Wayne Trail in Maumee … and there’ll be a good old fashioned “Afterglow” held in another room at the same location directly after the show. WOW! What a party. Unfortunately seating is limited.

The Concept: An on stage radio show with a disc jockey at the rear of the auditorium. He/she will announce the songs and insert commercials, editorials and comments.

The show will feature the now united Blackswamp and Maumee Valley Barbershop Chapters, Quartets, Octets and Mini-Choruses or Very Large Quartets. What a Blast!

Here are some of the songs we’re working on:

The attachment to this message gives further details. Please contact your favorite chapter member for tickets. If that’s me call my cell at419-719-0637. Thanks. Jim Hartman

Chorus                  Moments To Remember

Chorus                  Old Cape Cod

Octet                     Beach Boys Medley

Octet                     Sh-Boom

Chorus                  Boardwalk

Chorus                  Nevertheless

Octet                     Peggy Sue

Octet                     Little Darlin’

Chorus                  When I Fall In Love

Chorus                  Paper Moon



Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving

I try to write humorous stories, but some things just aren’t funny… Distracted Driving is one of them. I like to think of myself as a comedian of sorts, but … try as I may, … I can find no way to make it so. So will you forgive me if I get a bit serious for a moment?

When I was young, I must admit that I was guilty of DWD … daydreaming while driving. Maybe I should just call it what it is: Dumb Driving… I was an active young man and I had a life to live and important things to do … just like every active young man and woman today. When I was driving I was always planning for my next exciting adventure. Now that I’m too old to even dream about exciting adventures and far more aware of my limitations, I try to focus on one thing at a time: Sometimes to the point of the ridiculous. Ask my wife, Nancy. But I do have an important point to make here: Multitasking is Hazardous to Your HealthAnd Dumb Driving is Dangerous.

To drive safely you must actually look where you’re goingReally!  Sounds simple doesn’t it. But young drivers seem to think it’s safe, maybe even an ideal time, to check out their finger nails, dot their eyes or draw their eyebrows in the car mirror, to make phone calls and type and read text messages, operate their GPS … or exhibit their best Yoga or Dance moves. Where did they ever get such foolish ideas? Possibly from Mom and Dad???

Let’s face it, … Anything that occupies you mind is a Distraction… Any Distractions can cause an accident… It’s a fact. Research has proven that drivers using cell phones look at, but see only about 50% of the information in their driving environment.

Drivers texting while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash:

Eating while driving 2% more likely, … applying makeup 3% … Reaching for and operating other devices 9% … Even reading and studying while driving are commonplace and … It Ain’t Funny. Not one bit.

The science is clear. Distractions cause Destruction.

Of course we all think it won’t happen to us, … But is it worth the risk???

You are valuable to yourself and all those who love you. Make that value last. Don’t be a Distracted Driver. Enough said.

Copyright 2015
Jim Hartman


Watch Pocket

The Watch Pocket

I have a watch pocket, but carry no watch.
Though I carry a phone I’ve no pocket to match.
How logical is that?
When I was a boy: Yes that was a long time ago… When I was a boy my dad carried a pocket watch. I think that was common in the 1930s, but I may be wrong. I was a country boy and lived a pretty protected life. Dad also had a watch pocket on the right side of his pants just above his regular pocket made especially for a pocket watch. This was very convenient and very logical to me. Some men wore a fancy gold chain that was attached to the watch so it could be pulled from the pocket easily and couldn’t get stuck. This was also convenient and logical to me.
What wasn’t and still isn’t logical to me is that none of the major jean and pants manufactures today have chosen to produce jeans and casual men’s pants with convenient thigh pockets for cell phones. Am I that strange? Doesn’t everyone have the same problem? Where do you put that purposeful puppy when it’s not in use … which, if you’re honest, is most of the time? What if you need both hands to do something important like blow your nose or, heaven forbid, drive a car or change the baby? They could even make the pocket with a see through cover so you could dial it without removing it from your pocket. They could even put one on each thigh to carry Matching His & Hers Cell Phones. What a gentleman you’d be.
And another thing: None of the cell phones I’ve seen are manufactured with a convenient chain loop for that fancy gold chain to attach to either. How logical is that? How many times have you misplaced your phone and wish it had been attached or can’t find it or squeeze it out of your pocket in time to beat voice mail or a hang up? I’m talking men here: Not accusing you women.
Now I must admit that I was given an expensive wrist watch by my sister Marian when I graduated from high school and wore one all of my working days so I’m not a prime example. I also admit that times have changed and I haven’t really changed with them, but isn’t there really a need, … a market for … Hip Huggin’ Thigh Pocket Jeans?
I thought about marketing an aftermarket pocket you could slip into a slit on the thigh of your already wholly jeans, but I decided that the young folks wouldn’t want to damage or interrupt the wholly pattern with another slit.
I guess I secretly hope no one ever starts to market such wonderful jeans though. If they did, I’d have to replace my entire wardrobe. I can’t even find my clean socks in my top dresser drawer where I know my wife always puts them, let alone locate a wandering cell phone.
Copyright 2015
Jim Hartman


Sunday Funday

Sunday Funday

The Stateline Chorus of the Blackswamp Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society meets at the Northpoint Church of the Nazarene at 5825 Suder Avenue off of Alexis Road in Toledo Ohio 43611. We meet every Tuesday evening at 7:30 PM. That is unless we get a better offer. Today wasn’t Tuesday. It was Sunday, but we did get a better offer … and we took it.

We did meet at the church at 10 AM and sang a Mini Christian Concert as part of the service and then moved on to the Lutheran Old Folks Home on Seaman Road at Wheeling Road in East Toledo where we did walk around singing for an hour or so at The Old Timers Baseball Game. No Baseball Gloves, No Shin Guards and No Rules I understood… No Problem. It was exhausting for a bunch of old fogies like me just to watch, but equally exhilarating. What a joy it is to have such wonderful friends sharing such a wonderful hobby. I hope the audience enjoyed it too.

The chorus was doubly blessed since they were able to field test many of the Sixties Song we will be singing in our annual concert on September 26th at the Maumee Indoor Theater. This is our first radical departure from Basic Barbershop and the first departure from the cabaret style productions we have done for several years, thanks to the efforts of Tom Henkle, our show chairman and Fred Sandman, a new energy packed member who doubles as about everything. Show tickets are available from any chapter member.

We also spent a portion of the afternoon with Muddy and Madonna, the Mud Hen baseball team mascots. I was especially blessed to have some private time with Madonna. Well, private … with my wife Nancy sitting right beside me. I’m getting old. But sometimes I still need a chaperone.

Ah yes, and now it’s on to a Barbershop Fun Night with the Defiance Chapter on Monday. It’s hard work, but someone has to do it. What can I say?

Jim Hartman

  1. S. This is Tuesday and we had a ball at Defiance … No, not a Base Ball and we get to practice tonight. Back to the grind. Oh Yea.