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Greeting cards vs. Rhyming Trbutes

People forget what their greeting cards said by the time they have put them down and picked up a new one, but they remember their rhyming tributes forever. At least that has been our experience.

October 27, 2009 at 12:23 pm Leave a comment

Before They Write the Eulogy

Why Wait ’til They’re Dead? is one of the company mottoes that never made out of the boardroom. The point is, you go to these memorial services for such wonderful people, who have so many grieving loved ones and such a lot of nice things to say about the deceased…but it’s all falling on deaf ears, as the expression goes. The person who might have cared to hear these comments most of all is not available! It makes no sense to me. The time to set the record straight is NOW. Do it in rhyme–it’s so much less treacly and clunky than straight prose. It brings more humor and joviality into the enterprise when the tribute rhymes.


October 27, 2009 at 12:22 pm Leave a comment

Blessing Bounty

Blessing Bounty_2

Our Bearded Dragon, Bounty, being blessed on the Feast of Saint Francis at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, CA.

October 13, 2009 at 6:29 am Leave a comment

The Sandwich Generation: Hold the Cheese

I have heard all kinds of horror stories of my peers living with once reasonable parents, who have been transformed by dementia into wanderers, paranoids or just mean-spirited bullies.   I suspect these parents didn’t think about taking out long-term care insurance when they were still in their right mind (It’s expensive, for starters).  Mine did. At last count, the insurance has paid out over $300,000 worth of assisted living expenses and for Dad at least, there are probably years left of living for him to do.

Residing 1.5 miles from aging parents is the perfect co-habitation policy for the sandwich generation. Under the same roof might not go quite so well, but having a father in his eighth year of Alzheimer’s lovingly cared for by my mother and a crew of ‘care managers’ at Sunrise Assisted Living is the most pleasant possible arrangement for this doting daughter.  I drop in on them at mealtimes, and sit over a quick cup of decaf, catching up with Mom and giving dad intermittent hugs and winks.  For Mom, who is nursing Multiple Myeloma, yet clinging tenaciously to a fairly active life, a surprise visit from her only local kid is like getting mail at a faraway summer camp. It brings her enormous pleasure for the short time she gets to enjoy it.  I fit them into my schedule, and they are appreciative of any face time.  We also go to the same church, so there is another fixed rendez-vous every week.

October 13, 2009 at 6:26 am Leave a comment

Feast of Saint Francis

Feast of Saint Francis

October 12, 2009 at 4:13 pm Leave a comment

Family tradition

Every family is like a little country, with citizens, government and cultural traditions.  The form of government that worked best in our family growing up was a form of Marxist cooperation.  When we cooperated, things ran smoothly. When we did whatever was required of us “with good grace,” things ran even better.  For example, let’s say the oldest needed the car to get to his job dispensing soda at Jimmy’s in Milford.  But the next oldest had a babysitting job in Hamden. The third child wanted to go to the movies…in some families this situation would end up in loud shouts, slammed doors and squealing tires. Not at our house! The oldest would drop the younger one at the movies, swing by the babysitting job, and get to Jimmy’s 45 minutes early where he would sit in the parking lot reading Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Maybe he would not have done it “with good grace,” but God knows he would have done it, without involving any raised voices or slammed doors. The tires might have squealed a little, but definitely out of earshot of the parents.

Decades later, we pride ourselves on having made it through those formative years without so much as a dent in our family structure.  Whatever grievances we may nurse deep down, we ride a pleasant wave of nostalgia and good feelings whenever we get together.  When the parents’ fortieth anniversary loomed, two of us got to talking about what to give the loving couple.  Perhaps forty of something? How about a roll of quarters? suggested my older brother.  We thought a little longer and came up with the best gift kids could ever give their parents (apart from a rhyming tribute, that is, and Lord knows we’ve given plenty of those): Forty Happy Memories.  Thus began a tradition of publishing little booklets at our local copy shop of Forty Happy Memories, a page per memory, first for the parents, then for each child as s/he turned forty.  When the kids started turning fifty, the books morphed into Fifty Reasons Why We Love … (fill in the blank).  Now, everyone I know has a whole storehouse of unhappy memories, and plenty of reasons why we rather resent certain people, but these little books help us all remember what it is that makes being a close-knit family such a good idea.

October 2, 2009 at 11:22 am Leave a comment

This Just In…from a visitor

It is widely accepted that no single English word is a true rhyme for orange, though there are half rhymes such as hinge, lozenge, syringe, flange, Stonehenge, or porridge. A commonly referred to word on this subject, however controversial, is “door hinge”. Although sporange, a variant of sporangium, is an eye rhyme for orange, it is not a true rhyme as its second syllable is pronounced with an unreduced vowel [-ændʒ], and often with stress.

However, there are proper nouns which are almost true rhymes, including Blorenge, a hill in Wales, and Gorringe, a surname. US Naval Commander Henry Honychurch Gorringe, the captain of the USS Gettysburg who discovered Gorringe Ridge in 1875, led Arthur Guiterman to quip in “Local Note”:

In Sparkill buried lies that man of mark
Who brought the Obelisk to Central Park,
Redoubtable Commander H.H. Gorringe,
Whose name supplies the long-sought rhyme for “orange.”

Compounds or sequences of words may give true or near rhymes in some accents. Examples include door-hinge, torn hinge, or inch, a wrench.

Enjambment can also provide for rhymes. One example is Willard Espy’s poem, “The Unrhymable Word: Orange”:

The four eng-
Wore orange

An even more strained example by Tom Lehrer relies on the New York-New Jersey accent’s way of pronouncing orange as “ar-ange”:

Eating an orange
While making love
Makes for bizarre enj-
oyment thereof.

Composers Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel contrived a rhyme in the song “Oranges Poranges”. It was sung by the Witchiepoo character (played by Billie Hayes) on the show H.R. Pufnstuf.

Oranges poranges, who says,
oranges poranges, who says,
oranges poranges, who says?
there ain’t no rhyme for oranges!

January 6, 2009 at 2:37 pm Leave a comment

“We’re not happy until you’re crying!”

This is one of our company slogans. We have one for every occasion (that’s another of our slogans, by the way). After all, what’s the point of founding a company if you can’t have lots of slogans? Another one is, “If we don’t burn the midnight oil getting it right, then it’s already right.” But now I am going off topic. One of our Jazz and Blues specialists, Noodle, did a tribute for a young lady from North Carolina set to the tune of Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister) from The Color Purple soundtrack. Noodle got every last detail in that sweet song: the honoree’s prowess at ping pong back in the 80’s, a reference to her attempt to rollerblade at a skateboard park (which didn’t work out), her culinary preference for hors d’oeuvres…the usual smorgasbord of human foibles…and when we delivered that bluesy little tribute over the phone, the client (her sister) said: “You got everything in! My eyes are watering!” Those are called tears, ma’am. We actually give a tear-on-delivery discount. If you cry when we deliver the draft (those tears are different from all the tears that will be shed at the event–those are guaranteed), you get a 10% discount.

For Dorsey on her 50th

Sister, it’s your special day
Sister, we got something to say
So Sister, shut those moving parts for now
You used to talk to hear the sound of your own voice
Oh Sister, now you got no choice
It’s our turn
To make you feel special now!

Business trips, or holiday fun have brought you out to see us a lot
And when you’re here, the party never stops
You know you’re fun on wheels
But Sister, you never sit still
That is, of course, unless you take a spill
Oh sister you’ll hop right up and do it again

Your hors d’oeuvres are legendary; no one’s going hungry ‘round you
You’re singing’s extraordinary too
So let me tell ya something
Sister, I’m singing your song
My sister who beat me at ping pong
But Sister, you know I’d let you do it again

So shake your shimmy

Sister it’s your special day
Girlfriend, well, anyway….
We’re sisters and we still got a long way to go
We can hear your laugh across this great land of ours
You spread the love, and so much more
Oh Sister,
It’s time you took a bow!


December 24, 2008 at 8:14 am Leave a comment

Injections and how they work

We all know about the latest injections that change lives. Lips look fuller, brows look devoid of concern, and oh, the boobs! Unapologetically gigantic pillows twinned with little waists and frames. Injections make the withered look plump and the moderate look less so.

Rhymingtributes is in the injection business, too. We inject charm into landmark occasions. Whether we’re serenading at a party, or hand-styling a poem suitable for framing, our rhyming tributes always add charm. We try never to be sappy, maudlin, nor cliche. We try always to be lighthearted, whimsical and clever. We love to take a set of attributes, a few inside jokes and a tradition or two and weave it into something charming and memorable. It’s easy to do, because our clients, and their loved ones, are all, each, charming and memorable in their own right. We are honored to be the ones to hold up the mirror.

December 24, 2008 at 8:12 am Leave a comment

Retirement Parties Just Got a lot More Fun

Nothing jazzes up a dreary retirement function like a rhyming tribute. Whether recited or sung, a poem about a beloved colleague takes the ho hum out of hum drum and gives a long career the sheen it deserves.

Which would you rather hear about yourself at the good-bye party?
“She ran meetings very well, using her organizational and leadership skills to stay on schedule.”


“She ran a mean meeting, let everyone talk,

As long as the talk didn’t drown out the clock.”

Here’s a little story about Charlie Bloggs:


Charlie Bloggs has worked in the accounting office from the time he was a newly minted CPA, and his wife was pregnant with Chucky Junior.  He climbed his way up the departmental ladder, earning his MBA in the evenings mid-career, and taking home extra work whenever the company was audited.  Colleagues say about Charlie, “he’s sharper than a Number 2 pencil.” They say he never makes the same mistake twice.


After twenty-five years of service, Charlie Bloggs is taking early retirement. He is rewarded for his dedication by his grateful employer with a small departmental dinner, where he is presented with a handsome carriage clock engraved with the dates of his employment. It is meant to be displayed on his mantelpiece. Charlie has never heard of a carriage clock before. He doesn’t even have a fireplace. Charlie’s taste runs to Danish contemporary. The engraved carriage clock would look terribly out of place in his sparsely furnished living room. Charlie intends to wrap up the clock in newspaper and store it carefully in the attic in a cardboard box labeled FRAGILE, alongside the Murano sherry glasses he and the wife bought in Venice, and the swan-shaped vase they got as a wedding present from his spinster aunt, Bertha Bloggs.


Now that Charlie and his HP calculator are gone, what do his colleagues remember about him? Do they remember how fast he could calculate accelerated depreciation?  How thoroughly he conducted due diligence on perpetual inventory? No, all that they remember about Charlie Bloggs is, he didn’t know what a carriage clock was.


Had Charlie been celebrated with a rhyming tribute, he might not have needed to take his carriage clock up the ladder to the attic, from which he fell last week, breaking his leg in three places.  He might be lounging poolside right now, re-reading the touching tribute his boss commissioned for him. Instead, Charlie is immobilized on the living room couch, staring at a broken carriage clock wrapped in last week’s newspaper.


Imagine a new start-up, doubling sales and counting
But while production grew, there was a problem in accounting

The balance sheet resembled a bridge score run amok
And as for fiscal forecasts, we were well and truly stuck

Ironically, financially, our state was truly sorry
In Fiscal Years BC, which is short for “Before Charlie.”

Charlie rose to the occasion! He shifted our position
From in the dark to in the black: subtraction to addition!

When Charlie joined the company, the books were unbelievable, yes
But what we saw as unpaid bills, he saw as trade receivables

Sharper than a Number Two, he’s always on the ball
He never makes the same gaffe twice, if he makes a gaffe at all!

(Throughout the next few stanzas, you’d have a host of jokes
About beloved Charlie, provided by the folks

Who worked for years as colleagues of this legend in his time–
And he would know how prized he was, and all of it in rhyme.)

For Charlie Bloggs is everything you need in an accountant
Everything you’ve ever had, everything you’ve wanted

But now it’s time to say farewell to Charlie and his talents
And hope he leaves a legacy of books that always balance!

Now isn’t this a better use of precious petty cash?
And wouldn’t Charlie long remember his retirement bash?

So leave the carriage clocks to those with less imagination
And give the Charlies of this world a fitting celebration!

December 24, 2008 at 8:10 am Leave a comment

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