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The New Toe – A Review Sort Of Thingy

Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22529 – 860

Here’s the haps:

Back in August 2020, I did an Award Winning Wednesday and introduced you to The Lonely Meatball by A.J. McGregor. I really have enjoyed her blog, even though she’s had to cut back on the time she spends doing it. There’s something about children’s poetry that really speaks to children of all ages when it’s done right. I had been following her blog for quite some time when I decided to look her book up on the Internet. is the place I use for searches like that. In fact, will be doing a separate entry about them in a little while because I am considering becoming an affiliate with them. That’s not today’s story, though. Today’s story is about a book and a blog and a nice person.

I discovered her blog by serendipity. One of the ways I discover new blogs is by reading the comments on blogs I follow. Sometimes I will click on the suggestions in the reader that are under posts I have just finished. I’m not sure of the happy accident that led me to it.

I’m not really a reviewer or anything and I’m almost never a reblogger but I just had the idea that people should know about her blog because it is a nice little get-away from anything harsh or political or too crazy. A couple of minutes with a kids’ poem that brings a smile to your face, often because you can identify with it or remember doing or feeling something similar. Like this(I have permission directly from the author to reprint any I wish):


My brother made some cardboard wings
and here's the reason why.
It seems the boy's ambition
is to soar right through the sky

He's jumping from the fence once more,
wings flapping with great might.
I guess he thinks, eventually,
that he will get it right.

I really ought to tell him
that his war cannot be won,
but watching as he flaps those wings
is sure a lot of fun.

So I will sit and watch him try
and not tell him the truth --
unless, of course, his plan becomes
to fly right off the roof.

One of the things I like about her stuff is that it often recalls memories for me. Attached to the barn on the side facing away from the house and out of view, was a small shed which we, as young boys oft are wont to do, figured out a way to climb up on it. I don’t know how high it was, really. A little higher than the outhouse, which we had already climbed and jumped off. Getting on the shed roof we then proceeded, through a series of dares and double-dog dares and solemn oaths, to jump off. Fortunately, no injuries were incurred although our legs were sore for a while after. (When I’ve told this story to people before it seems like they always think I am saying we jumped off the barn, which we did not and I never claimed.) Anyway, the boy in this poem, jumping off the fence, invoked this memory.

Another favorite from the book (there are eighteen in all) which I think you will agree is pretty much about human nature in a nutshell, called Pigs:


When Heaven first created pigs,
it must have caused a stir,
for clearly since they're bare and pink,
someone forgot the fur.

The tail is odd and useless too,
a fact you can't deny.
It's just a little, curled-up thing,
that couldn't swat a fly.

The snout, of course, is really dumb,
for when the wind does gust,
with nostrils open to the world,
the pig fills up with dust.

Yes, looking at the pig, I must admit,
I get a laugh!
I am so thankful God decreed that
I'd be the giraffe.

Another one, which is in both the book and on the blog is called That Word. It’s just funny and, you know, it could happen that way…

That Word

Our parrot, Polly, says a word
I’m not allowed to say,
and when she does, it’s plain to see,
it ruins my parents’ day.

When Polly says that nasty word,
it causes Mom to shriek,
”You really are a rotten bird!
I ought to glue your beak!”

When Polly says that filthy word,
in front of dear old Dad,
his face will turn the darkest red
because he’s boiling mad.

My parents say that Polly got
that word from our TV.
What they don’t know is that she
learned that dirty word from me!

There are far too many to choose from but if you go to her site and add /?random on the end (A trick I learned from Pendantry and which, as far as I can tell, only works on WordPress blogs), i.e., you can find a lot of fun ones.

But the last one I have picked is one that made me smile because at the end it said, “This poem was inspired by a post written by Herb Thiel on his terrific blog, “The Haps With Herb”, as well as by Herb’s black cowboy hat.” It’s called I Want To Be a Cowboy

(She drew this but I wonder if I couldn’t adopt it as an avatar? It’s not really meant to be me, I don’t think, but it is cool.)
I Want To Be a Cowboy

I want to be a cowboy.
I think it would be fun.
I’d get to ride a big horse.
I’d get to tote a gun.

I’d get to wear a big hat.
I’d buy one that is black,
and there’d be a leather vest
covering my back.

I’d spend my days relaxing,
just riding on my horse.
I’d look just like a hero
and act like one, of course.

But this will never happen.
There is no way, no how.
The trouble is I’m terrified
of each and every cow.

She couldn’t remember which post inspired it at the time but I wonder if it wasn’t one where I posted Gene Autry’s Cowboy Ten Commandments:

Gene Autry’s Cowboy 10 Commandments

  1.  The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
  2.  He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
  3.  He must always tell the truth.
  4.  He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.
  5.  He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
  6.  He must help people in distress.
  7.  He must be a good worker.
  8.  He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
  9.  He must respect women, parents, and his nation’s laws.
  10.  The Cowboy is a patriot.

You know, really, if people lived their lives by these they would fulfill the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule.


27 responses to “The New Toe – A Review Sort Of Thingy”

  1. AJMcGregor Avatar

    I have to say, Herb, this is my all-time favorite post of yours! 😊 More than anything, I have to thank you for your kind words. Your support of my blog has been so encouraging for me, especially because I have admired you as a person and writer ever since I found you. This is the Canadian Thanksgiving, and you have filled me with gratitude today. Again, thank you. (You can definitely adopt my cowboy as an avatar!)

    1. Herb Avatar

      Awww…I didn’t know it was Canadian Thanksgiving day, so have a happy!
      Thanks for letting me use your drawing.

      1. AJMcGregor Avatar

        I’m honoured that you want to.

  2. swabby429 Avatar

    I like the parrot verses best. 🙂

    1. Herb Avatar

      I like a lot of her stuff.

  3. dumbestblogger Avatar

    I’m reminded of the Winston Churchill quote: “cats look down on us, dogs look up, but pigs treat us as equals.”

    The cowboy drawing is super cool.

    1. Herb Avatar

      Lol! True quote.

  4. Jacqui Murray Avatar

    That was fun though I spent way too long browsing AJ’s blog. What fun poems! I’ll give her a shout out as you did a little later on my blog.

    1. Herb Avatar

      That would be cool. Yes, her blog kind of draws you in.

    2. AJMcGregor Avatar

      Thank you so much! Your comment made my day.

  5. kagould17 Avatar

    Great post Herb. I am with you. If we lived by the Cowboy Rules, the world would be a kinder place. Cheers. Allan

    1. Herb Avatar

      Thanks for stopping by. I agree.

  6. Geoff Stamper Avatar

    Another reminder of why we love your posts.

    1. Herb Avatar

      Awww…Thank you.

  7. Bruce Goodman Avatar

    Pigs is really fun!

    1. Herb Avatar

      Yes sir.

    2. AJMcGregor Avatar

      I’m glad you liked the poem. (I actually have quite an extensive pig collection, so I was glad that poem made it into the book. Bill Brownridge chose the poems he wanted to illustrate.)

  8. haoyando Avatar

    Wow, love this post of yours. Love it better than your other lovely posts. I haven’t read children’s book at all, but the poems you selected are very interesting. I especially like the parrot poem. Back home, people get into serious fight if one teaches “dirty word” to somebody’s bird. It is said whenever a parrot learns a dirty word, the parrot is labeled a “dirty bird” and both the bird and the owner will lose face.

    1. Herb Avatar

      That’s really interesting. I have never heard of anything like that before although I have heard the term “dirty bird” before..

    2. AJMcGregor Avatar

      This is such an interesting comment about what happens in your country with regards to parrots. I’m glad you like my poems. Thank you for your kind words.

  9. annemariedemyen Avatar

    Great post, Herb. I love Gene Autry’s commandments but then I have always been a fan of common decency. 💞

  10. Amber Avatar


    1. Herb Avatar


  11. Petra Avatar

    AJ really does a great job, I try to have a look at her blog every so often. I’ve been ultra busy with the house renovation and work lately, but it’s great when I can

    1. Herb Avatar

      And she doesn’t update real often so it’s easy to catch up.

  12. J P Avatar

    There, this is the kind of poetry I can appreciate. It is good of you to share new or favorite blogs. I wish I was not having so much trouble keeping up with the ones I follow now.

    1. Herb Avatar

      I know what you mean, there are so many good ones out there.

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