On the Prowl: Amazed Under the Corn Moon

This month we’ll play with all different types of corn, we’ll take the way back wayyy back for a peak at story publishing in the 1800s, and we’ll play a little game I call “corn whole”. To really get into the mood this month, I’m featuring a salute to corny jokes. Check out Fatherly.com for all ninety wonderfully, terrible jokes.

Why did the golfer bring an extra pair of pants?
In case he got a hole in one!

What lights up a soccer stadium?
A soccer match!

This month we are prowling under the Corn Moon. The moon will be visible after sunset on Tuesday, September 1 and crest at 1:23am on September 2nd. There is something unusual with September’s moon this year. September’s moon is often referred to as the Harvest Moon. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the name “Harvest Moon” is the name given to the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox. This year, that moon is in October. 

And so the dilemma. What to call this moon that isn’t the Harvest Moon? The back to school moon? The start of football season moon? The bring on sweatshirt weather moon? Let’s keep is simple and name it for the delicious vegetable ready for picking. The corn moon.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, other names for this moon include:

  • “Moon When the Plums Are Scarlet” by the Lakota Sioux.
  • “Moon When the Deer Paw the Earth” by the Omaha.
  • “Moon When the Calves Grow Hair” by the Sioux.

For me, this is the “Moon When the Walnuts Fall”, which is the shortened name of “Moon when walnuts fall and are crushed into glass like shards that make your feet bleed” 🙂 

Bacon and Eggs walk into a bar. “Sorry,” the bartender said, “we don’t serve breakfast.”

What’s red and bad for your teeth?


Embracing Every Department of Literature

In preparation for Season 2 of Mysteries to Die For, I have been scouring the internet for the stories that started the story telling style that became mysteries. Many sources recognize Edgar Allan Poe as the author of the first detective story. The Murders in the Rue Morgue was published in 1841 in Graham’s Magazine. Poe was the editor at the time. Graham’s Magazine featured drawings, stories, poetry, and musical scores. Check out Volume XIII from Indiana University and Hathi Trust. Graham’s Magazine Vol XIII

Looking at it with my modern eyes, it is fascinating. I am so used to stories and genre’s being grouped that I was totally intrigued by having stories of all types together with substantial amounts of poetry. Finding steel engravings was a delight. I love glimpses back into yesteryear. I prefer art that is more accessible rather than being limited to the creme de la creme in museums.

The music surprised me. I never thought about how music was distributed back in the day. The music and words are shared in the magazine. How else would a composer’s work extend beyond his own circle, I supposed. Now we have websites and apps that help us amateur musicians play the music we love to hear. Maybe Graham’s Magazine was the very early prototype for what we have today.

I set out to read mysteries and am enjoying what I am finding. What is surprising is how much I’m enjoying the hunt and all the unexpected treasures I’m discovering along the way.   Below is the title and index pages from Graham’s Vol XVIII. The second entry on the right hand column is Rue Morgue. Also included is the cover page of a piece from an opera. I wonder how much it will cost me to get Jack to play it. Hmmmm.

Why did the golfer bring an extra pair of pants?
In case he got a hole in one!

What lights up a soccer stadium?
A soccer match!


This is a podcast where my piano player/ producer/ son Jack and I combine storytelling with original music to put you at the heart of mystery, murder, and mayhem. Episode art is by Shannon. You can find Mysteries to Die For on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, and Stitcher.

Episode 13 is now live. Diamond and Irish turn a drive-by shooting on its ears, putting a classic into practice to find the name that’s behind the hit. We are racing to the wire in Bad Cop, Badder Cop.

The final episode in the story drops on September 11: I’ll Take the Coup de Grace with a Side of Fries.  If you are new to the podcast, start with Episode 1: What a Lovely Corpse You Have. Catch up to us from there. We’ll be waiting for you. A list of characters is included in show notes and on the HERE.

We are starting work on Season 2, which will tell the original stories that began the mystery genre. We are going back to the 1800s. Ladies, dust off your corset and gentlemen wax those mustaches, we are going Victorian. Check back here next month for more details.

Corn Whole

Below are clues to a word that contains the word CORN. The word appears in complete and in order. Each question has a point value. Total yours up and tell me how you scored! tina at tgwolff dot com. Answers are at the bottom.

3 points each
1. A dapper nut with a tasteful hat 
2. The wonderfully, terrible jokes in this edition
3. A movie gotta have
4. A St. Patrick’s Day delight, in the U.S. at least
5. No way out
6. The horn of abundance

5 points each
7. Where naughty children sit
8. You’ll see green alligators, but not these.
9. I see you
10. Hell pales to this woman 
11. A pepper’s berry

7 points each
12. Have you met my cousin the trumpet
13. An architect’s crowning glory
14. cockeyed


HOWL AT THE MOON to all the parents, teachers, and administrators who are working so diligently to give kids some sense of normal. The work you are doing matters. Thank you.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my dear friend Karen, who writes as Kyra Jacobs. I so proud to call her my friend. Help me celebrate her birthday by checking out any of her 9 sweet romances. Kyra Jacobs on Amazon

MORE HAPPY BIRTHDAYS to the great kids in my life. My smart-mouthed, smart-assed, and just plain smart son Viktor. My trumpet playing, volleyball smashing niece Santina. My baseball playing nephew Rocco and his frog catching, football playing brother Luca. Let’s sing Happy Birthday…Uncle Vinnie style. HaPPy BirTHday to You!

Look out for the Next Edition of
On the Prowl
October 1, 2020
Where we’ll be basking in the colors of the Harvest Moon

Corn Whole Answers

On the Prowl: Swimming under the Sturgeon Moon

This month we are prowling under the Sturgeon Moon. The moon will rise on Sunday, August 2nd and crest at noon on Monday the 3rd. Looking to the Farmer’s Almanac, the name refers to the time of year when the fish were easy to catch in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain.

Now, my knowledge of fish is limited to the few I am willing to eat: walleye, cod, red snapper, tilapia, tuna. My first thought seeing the image of the sturgeon was…what an ugly fish.

I wouldn’t eat it.

Of course, if it was served fileted, I wouldn’t know it was ugly.   

So, what is so interesting about the sturgeon that a moon is named after it? Let’s look at what National Geographic says. The fish is old. It first appeared in fossil records over 200 million years ago. The fish is big. It can be up to 9 feet long and up to 275 pounds. The fish is long lived. The females at least. Males can live to 55 years while females can reach more than 150 years old. The females mature at 15 to 25 years and then spawn about every four years.

Sturgeon are famous for their eggs, which are better known as caviar (not eating that either). Intense fishing has lead to a dramatic decline in the species that once accounted for the majority of fish in the great lakes. Regulations on fishing have given the fish a break and they are trending in a positive direction.

For a different take on conservation, check out these NYT and CNN article where scientists working to preserve the species inadvertently created a hybrid fish. These fish won’t live in the wild…said the the mad scientist in every monster movie ever.

Old magnifying glass on old handwriting

Dateline June 2020. Message Written in Cryptic Language Confounds Teen.

A thoughtful gift turns into an adventure as a newspaper article is accompanied by a beautiful but baffling message. True story. The thoughtful gift was from Aunt Barb, the baffling message was that menagerie of curls and swirls known as cursive. “It might as well have been written in Greek,” his mother (spoiler: me) said.

Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit.

Still, the laugh at my son’s expense got me thinking about cursive writing and its current state. If you thought cursive writing was archaic, you were right. Written script started to be used for business and correspondence by the Romans. The Roman Empire was expansive, spreading the writing across the territory. From that start, writing evolved in style and form right up to modern time. I like this summary of the history on history.com. Like all of you, I learned one way to write in cursive. It turns out, there are many different styles all with names. Draw Your World shows several examples of handwriting including the one that looks most familiar to me, Modern Cursive. I never could make the capital letters D, F, G, Q, S, or T. Sad but true, I am not talented that way and 23% of the letters escaped me including the ones in my name!

Ongoing is the debate of whether cursive should be taught in schools. For my kids, cursive has made only a brief appearance in their elementary curriculum. This blog post on Thinkfun gives some pros and cons. On the “pro” side is the development of fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and cognitive skills. The info graphic created on the “pro” side triggered the engineer in me. “Fifty percent of students write faster and more neatly in cursive than print”…which means fifty percent write slower and more messily in cursive. Not a compelling argument. “There is a correlation between better handwriting and increased academic performance across all subjects.” Explain doctors. “Cursive is included in dyslexia therapy because its fluidity and baseline decodes and reduces the swapping of letters.” Totally buy it…but you can still make tails backwards. At least, I can.

On the “con” side of teaching cursive in schools is the argument that cursive was created as a communication. It was cutting edge in its day. Communication today needs to keep up with the speed of life. Life has shifted to a digital font and so our communication style needs to similarly shift. Competing and succeeding as an adult today is better served by developing a proficiency with a keyboard and competency with software.

Where do you fall?

Here’s where I land. Aside from a sweet note from your Aunt, there isn’t anything to read in cursive. Print is everywhere. Signs. Hard copy and e-books. Social media. Texting. There is no argument to be made that reading and writing cursive is necessary to functioning in our modern world. The argument, then, is for advantages to fine motor skills and cognitive development. To my mind, if it is included, it should be treated as a development tool. No poor marks for bad handwriting. Wide latitude to adapt, adopt, and create your own style as is completely normal.


Seriously, this isn’t just a game, you’re challenging your brain to think differently. It’s simple, all you have to do is write backwards. Before you roll your eyes, this is the way Leonardo DaVinci wrote.

EASY. Print mirrored all in capital letters: She’s not dead.
(Opening line to Driving Reign)

MEDIUM. Print mirrored with a mix of capital and lower case: They buried me today and I had the balls to show up.
(Opening line to Widow’s Run)

HARD. Mirrored cursive – You can do it: Today was a good day to die.
(Opening line to Suicide Squeeze, coming February 2021)

Here’s mine…alright my cursive needs a little work to reach DaVinci’s level.

Welcome to Mysteries To Die For
This is a podcast where my piano player/ producer/ son Jack and I combine storytelling with original music to put you at the heart of mystery, murder, and mayhem. Episode art is by Shannon. You can find Mysteries to Die For on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, and Stitcher.

Episode 11 is now live. Diamond travels to Oklahoma to put the screws to her #1 suspect. At least, that’s her plan.

August is the ramp up to the end of our story. August 14 is the drop date for Episode 12 That’s SWAT I Call Awesome. Diamond discovers there’s a bounty on her head, the kind of money people would kill for. This one has a hitch, she has to be recovered alive. And, please, who has time for that. Episode 13 Bad Cop, Badder Cop goes live on August 28. In this 2nd to last episode, the house of cards start tumbling down. 

If you are new to the podcast, start with Episode 1: What a Lovely Corpse You Have. Catch up to us from there. We’ll be waiting for you.


HOWL AT THE MOON to all of you for doing your part to keep your friends and neighbors healthy. Yes, masks suck, but COVID sucks more. In a few years, we’ll look back at just how crazy life is right now and we’ll laugh and laugh and laugh.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my son and podcast co-host and producer Jack and to my podcast cover artist Shannon. It is so much fun working with two such creative people. May every year be blazing with color and worth the treble. (Did you see what I did there? treble? trouble?)

BUCKING CRAZY but fun. Here’s my answers to last month’s game. Thanks to those who shared their answers. Yes, there was more then one way to skin that buck.

MY DOWN DOG THANKS to everyone supporting the release of my 3rd mystery as TG WOLFF. Driving Reign is out on the street, exactly where Cruz likes to be, especially when his mother is looking for him. Help me grow. Request my books in your library. Recommend me to a friend. Write a Review. Here is what people are saying…

“It grabbed my attention from the start and I couldn’t put the book down! “
“Captivating from cover to cover”
“I’m only disappointed in one thing…I want more! I don’t think she writes fast enough for me!”

If you have something to announce, cheer about, or celebrate, email me at tina at tgwolff dot com My rules: 1) Keep it positive 2) Keep it clean 3) Keep it real. Of course, I reserve the right to pick and choose what to include. It’s my right as the leader of the pack.

Look out for the Next Edition of
On the Prowl
September 2, 2020
Where we’ll munching under the Corn Moon