Monday, March 31, 2014

Annnnndddd....We're Offffff!



The day has come.  Tomorrow the racing pistol sounds, and the April A to Z Challenge 2014 begins.  


To honor this day-by-day blog hop, here is a special clip about runners in training for the Olympics.  And I give you  Rowan Atkins playing Chariots of Fire, 2012:


It is 2:21 long, give you enough time to relax and reflect.

The game's afoot!

Side note:  Greg Kinnear is in this as well.  Very funny. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Elegant Elocution

William Jennings Bryan, July 9, 1896


Annual Memorial Day Picnic, 1897
Estes Park, Denver, Colorado
The Honorable Judge Cedric Damian Easterton, featured speaker

Easterton was ending the second hour of eloquent homage to the history of the American Manifest Destiny.  It was clear he was winding down and heading into his closing remarks.


"Always be Certain,"
Demanded Easterton.

shake fist and glare

"Facts, gathered hastily
Infect justice!"

pause for dramatic presentation

"Keep learning!
Make no officious proclamations!"

introspective stance

"Quiet reflection --
Serious thought,
Understanding.
Victory!

dramatic pose

"Who will explore
Yonder zeniths?"

Thunderous applause erupted as Easterton concluded his impassioned elocution.  

Mr. Cyril Thyme-Smythe and friend Dr. Richard A Rodgers stood as Easterton left the stage.  They made haste to the refreshments bar.

"What did that pompous old gasbag say?" Smythe quizzed as he sipped Glenlivet.

"Hell, if I know," replied Rodgers, as he tossed back a second shot of Old Bushmills.

I know this probably makes no sense at all, unless you can see the purpose of Easterton's closing statements.  

Are you READY?  The A to Z approacheth.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wednesday Words: Cardboard Town

Source: www.tomtodideas.org
Cardboard Town
Where the bounced are trounced

The in-flamed are out-flamed.

Variety of rich to poor,
Poor to beyond poor.

Raspberry, Blackberry,

Gangrene black
Creep and seep

Down and up,
up and down.

All in Cardboard Town.

Cardboard shanty
www.housethehomeless.org

Many thanks to Delores at Under the Porch Light  for her weekly challenge to use chosen words to create a poem, prose, story, etc.  Do go to her site by clicking on the quiet stream in my right side bar.  You will enjoy what you find.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

...and Heeeeerrrreee's the A to Z....

Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson - THE TONIGHT SHOW
Source

Heeeeerrreee's Johnny.....

These were the words we heard long ago before we closed up the house for the night.  Familiar words.  Even now, they stir up smiles at Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson memories.

But, wait.  Where am I going with this?  A Johnny Carson homage? 

No, it is an attention grabber... 


....and a reminder that the 2014 A to Z Challenge will be starting on Tuesday,  April 1st.  

My posts range all over the topics, but mainly focus on people and events.  People change history.  Events make history.  Together it can be quite...interesting.

See you 'round the weekend.



Heeeerrrreee's April!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Squeaky's Great Send-Off

ziggy the hamster: No description
Source: pitrih (Maja)

Squeaky died sometime in the night.  Scotty said that he noticed when the hamster wheel suddenly went silent.  Oh, well.  It was his time.

Scotty was always pragmatic about things in his life.  Lose a favorite car?  Oh, well. It'll turn up somewhere.  Dropping a slice of pizza?  Oh, well.  Things happen.  So when Squeaky's little ancient heart stopped beating, we both thought about how to give him a send off.

Scotty had been into Vikings after watching "How to train your Dragon" for the twentieth time.  "Let's throw a Viking funeral!"

He retrieved a canoe/barge made of popsicle sticks at church camp last summer.  We put Squeaky on a pile of twigs layered in the water craft.  After pushing the funeral barge out in the swimming pool, Scotty used the "Hunger Games" bow with a burning marshmallow at the point of the arrow aimed at the barge.  

Again and again.  

When the canoe finally caught fire, it initially went up in flames and the thing burned before hisssssing out and sinking, leaving a singed Squeaky floating on the top of the water.

Oh, well.  

I managed to scoop Squeaky from the failed Viking send-off with the pool  skimmer.  What now?

Scotty had watched some warrior movie where the slaughtered hero was placed on a funeral pyre.  "Let's do that, Dad!"  So we did.

We lay out some sticks criss-crossed and carefully placed Squeaky on it. Scotty once again used the Kingsford wand lighter to get a good burn going on the bottom layer.  But, with us being novices at funeral pyres, the whole pyre thing collapsed, leaving Squeaky lying on the concrete surrounded by embers.

Oh, well.  

I didn't know how we were going to give Squeaky a big send off.  But, Scotty, being the boy scout he is, had an idea which made me wince and cringe.  It made sense, but man....really?

I pulled out the old rusty Coleman barbecue and built a pyramid of Kingsford guaranteed-to-light charcoal briquettes.  Scotty placed Squeaky in the center above the coals, using my brand new set of BBQ tool set.  Then he used the Kingsford lighter and got the coals going.

At first, it seemed that Squeaky was finally heading to his fiery hamster Valhalla.  But Noooo.

Squeaky had some sparks here and there, but clearly the charcoal was not enough.  It developed a nice white ash like briquettes do.  But that was it. Instead, the odor of grilled Squeaky told us the truth.

Oh, well.  

By this time, Scotty had had enough.  "Let's just bury it."  He retrieved a shovel from the garden and quickly dispatched the hamster with minimum effort.

"Dad?"

Oh now, what will he ask?  What do I say?

"Dad?  Can we go to Famous Dave's BBQ tonight?  Mom has a coupon for free appetizers."  He wiped a charcoal streaked hand across his nose.  "I'm kinda in the the mood for ribs, aren't you?"

Well, then.

Susan Kane

Saturday, ‎22 ‎March, ‎2014
Sorry about the lengthy story; just got going on it, I guess.
My daughter's hamster Max died on the first day of middle school.  My son, in an unusual act of kindness, placed it in a shoe box and buried it.  Nothing elaborate, mind you.  She has never recovered from the loss, she says (at age 32).

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wednesday Words: Ephemeral

: Weird abstract texture. Thought it might be useful.
xymonau: Dez Pain
As the raging migraine hit, Maura sat with her head over a bucket.  When the nausea retreated, an inexplicable ephemeral euphoria descended over her. 

The scurrilous and reprehensible pigpen-scent that had been part of her 
accursed life receded,  Maura was left with an unidentified sense of 
petulant-less peace and lack of pain.  The air was at once free of smell.


Well.  I wonder how long this will last?

Many thanks to Delores at Under the Porch Light.  She tosses out six words faithfully to any who would participate in the Wednesday Words.  Please click on the stream in the right bar to access her site, complete with a list of participants.  Delores is awesome; I hope to meet her someday.

Oh, the photo above is by Dez Pain/xymonau at Free Stock Photos: Rgbstock.  The photo is what I see in my head when I have a migraine.  Sometimes the colors are purple and blue.  Please check out the photo site--talent there to be found.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Scared



Source: xymonau
Such a pretty kid...How old did you say?

Her name is Vicky and she was twelve years old.

Do they know yet what happened?  

They?  You mean the detectives?

Who else would I mean?  Yeah.  Them.

They don't know.  Some kid found her in the creek, under the ice.

She....Vicky must have floated downstream...

       Then the ice froze over her...her folks waited for so long...

How are Ken and Sheila holding out?

'Bout as expected.  You taking food in for the family?

  Yeah, Lisa fixed some chicken something or other.  And a pie, peach pie.

I wonder if or when they'll ever figure out...find out what you did?

God, I hope not.  I didn't mean to...the car swerved..she just appeared and...

You must, you have to tell them what happened.

She was so scared...at the end.

       She was scared before that...you could have saved her...she would still be alive.

Father, I wasn't thinking...
     
        Time to own up, Tim...Time to give Ken and Sheila peace.

Scared...so scared.  I am so scared.

       So was she, Tim.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick, not as you think of him


One of the many iconic paintings made of St. Patrick/Padraig



Saint Patrick's Day: At King David’s Pub and Winery

(Scene opens in Heaven, at the Pub.  Seamus and Patrick are sitting at the bar.  Patrick is asleep, with his head on the bar counter.)

Seamus (St. James):  Say, Paddy, now.  Wake up, you idjit. 

Padraig (St. Patrick)/Paddy:  Ah, Seamus.  Can ye not leave a good saint to a daecent sleep?

Seamus:  It’s yer people there, Paddy.  They’re at it again.  (Leaning over his pint, looking down on the velvet green)

Paddy:  Oh, Mother of God, is it that day already?

Maire (St. Mary):  Paddy, was it ye who called?  Oh.  (She looks down on Dublin.)  So.  Yer Irishmen are at the celebratin’ yer Holy Day.  The day ye up and died down there.

Paddy:  (Looking down) So it ‘tis, Maire.  And would ye look—Chicago has dumped green into ta rivers again!  As if that meant a ting, Lord help us.

The Lord God: (enters with angels singing and clouds billowing)  Was it ye, Paddy, that called m’name?  (Seamus and Paddy vacate their pub stools immediately.)    David, here, be a good man, and pour me a glass of cider.

King David:  Aye, My Lord.  The best Yer Hands ever made, here Ye go.  Have at it. (David pushes the glass over to God, who has settled down on a stool.)

The Lord God:  So, Paddy, what’s troublin’ ye, up here in heaven?

Paddy:  Oh, it’s the Irish people agin.  They’re after celebratin’ my holy day with all sorts of carryin’ ons.  And it bein’ Lent, ‘tis a sad ting ta behold.

The Lord God:  (quaffing a satisfying amount of apple cider) Well, ye know, Paddy,  People ha’ forgotten jest what I did for them, sendin’ ye to Ireland.  They were a terrible mean group, worshippin’ trees and such, ‘fore ye taught ‘em about the Trinity.


  
Seamus:  Yer right, My Lord.  An’ Paddy drove out them there serpents, and done all them miracles.  Ye did right good work, there.  (Seamus pats Paddy on the shoulder, who nods and perks up a bit.  Maire sits down next to The Lord God.)

The Lord God:    ‘Tis my desire that ye shake the Irish up a wee bit.  Paddy, ye go down to yer holy wells—there’s one down near Clonmel I’m partial to.  Stir the waters up a bit when there’s a group there.  And, Maire, go to some of yer holy grottoes, and send some tears down the cheeks of yer image.  That’ll make the Irish think a bit.  I bet ye’ll see more pious Irish at Mass come Good Friday.

Seamus:  I’ll go along with ‘em, My Lord, jest to keep ‘em company.  (The three saints exit.)

The Lord God:  (watches the saints depart, and laughs softly) Ah, there go some fine saints.  Glad I made ‘em.  (He leaves the pub in a cloud of glory, with angels singing.  David gathers up the glassware, and hums “When the saints go marching in…”  Scene ends.)

If I have offended any, please forgive me.  I lived in Ireland, and have a different perspective. This is a re-post from March, 2011.
I don't know about you, but my fingers are flying over the keyboard in readiness for the A to Z 2014.  Thus, a re-post.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Wednesday Words: Nefarious

Town of Nefarious, Wyoming: pop. 4957 ---953

"Come Sick, Leave Healthy"

At the turn of the 1900s, Nefarious had been a boom town.  Seltzer Springs brought in wagons full of health seekers to use the springs, eat peculiar food, and spend money.

Alas, the Springs started to dry up along with the tourists.  Around 1993, the population itself dwindled.  Then one day, few boys were playing in the empty waterbed.  They screamed in delight, ran back to the mayor, Ol' Doc Kinkaid, who confirmed their big find.  He took to kids to his house and locked them in a closet.  "I'll let you out when the city council men get here."

The council men came quickly as there had been little to do lately.

The boys told them and led them to the creek bed.  "Look, Mr. Jenkins! Look!"  And there it was: the bones of an immense prehistoric boa, 50 feet long with the circumference of 8 feet.  Silence fell.  There was more to be found as they walked along the dried stream lined with dinosaur bones.
Source: Pin
Source
In the quiet dining room of the widower Jasper Fillings way out of town, all men along with the boys sat around the dining table and a plan was hatched.  "In two weeks time, we must re-construct our miserable little town to make it look like it did back in 1890s.   Stores must occupy the empty old stores....and anyone known to be a gossip and who has relatives who are gossips must be confined.  Phones ripped out, Facebook and such shut down...secrecy is the key. Boys?  You wanta help or be locked up in the old boarded up classroom out in the Old school?"

The town without the gossipy kind threw muscle into renewal.  Quilts were ordered from China, tags removed, with new tags added "Hand-sewn by Louisie May Smith".  Rusty tools and blackmith shop restored.  Jars and jars of jams, preserves, and candles were ordered.  The labels were stripped off, and new ones put on:  Mrs. Nefer's Homemade.... My...Oh, the work. Nefarious appeared to be frozen in the late 1800s.

The gossipy type were sent on a 21 day cruise to Hawaii in the Holland American vee Dam. 


Finally, the paleontologists were summoned.  Two wise men, then four, then more:  all agreed that this was the biggest titanoba ever found, and joy overflowed as they walked down the creek bed.

A lackadaisical bearded old man was paid to sit in an old chair with his feet propped up on the sidewalk railing.  Curious tourists with full shopping bags asked him how long had he been there.
BRASS SPITTOON
source
"Heck if I know,"  he answered and then aimed some tobacco spit at the nearby spittoon.  Sometime he hit the mark, sometimes he did not.

Please forgive me if there is a town/city named Nefarious.  I checked every where and this did not seem to be anywhere.  If there is, I do beg for your forgiveness.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Blue to Red, Past to Present

red blood cells
Source
Red from blue,

Blood--the secrets of lives lived

Are always
in blood.


Your blood,

My blood.

Everything to be known
Is in blood.

Past, present, future--

Must search for them--
 in blood.

I may have been watching
too many CSI or Science
documentaries.
However, it also sets up
a novel I am writing, Scent of Sage.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Where have all the Thin Mints gone?

Thin Mints
Girl Scouts
Where have all the thin mints gone?
Too soon paaaasssing.
Where have all the thin mints gone?
Just weeks ago.

I bought armfuls of these delights,
Put them in my freezer
They were out of sight.
But I ate them anyway,

One, two, three, eeeevery day.
The History of Girl Scout Cookies - 2000s
Source: girlscouts. org
Now those green boxes are all gone.
Girl Scouts tricked me with this treat.
They smiled at me, I took the bait.
When will I ever learn?

When will I eeever learn?
Source: geekation.com
Next year I'll do something else.
I'll back up the car, open the trunk.
"Load those green boxes, girls, 
Fill up the car, and here's the cash!" 

Here is the cash.

I think then I will learn,
I'll freeze then in the freezer
And lock it tight.
I will looooock it tight.

Looooock it tight?


It is Girl Scout Cookie Season!
Source: you must check this site

Sing this to "Where have all the flowers gone?"  Forgive the meter, forget the rhyme.  I have a few thin mints left, but I won't tell you where.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Colors of the Rainbow: pt. 2

Source: how to make this cake
William heard Caroline's voice and strode toward, his white cane sweeping the walkway.  His excitement quivered in the air.  "Green! I felt a lime, tasted it!  The fern fronds--like a kite!  And the sound!  The wind in the trees!...."

William's face glowed with such pleasure.  "Now, what will we do today??"

Today was blue.  The sky, William reached into the air, knowing that the sky was untouchable but the wind swept through his fingers.  Water--cold and warm--salty or not.  Blueberries, blackberries...even a Smurf.  'Blue is cold'  William thought as he squished a gel therapy pack from the freezer.

Orange...Red...Yellow...Violet...Indigo...Days flew by as colors gained meaning.  Caroline saw that William was experiencing color, even if his eyes saw only a dim foggy gray.

'This is the last day' Caroline realized sadly.  William was ready to go on to other teachers, other explorations.  'Today is a rainbow!'


Rainbow: After the storm over the Texas Gulf Coast there was a rainbow.
Source: Photonut
Caroline led him to an arc drawn on a table  "This is a rainbow, with its curving side reaches into the sky and down again."  They knelt by one side.  

Guiding his hand along the top color, she asked, "What color is this?"  

William touched, tasted, and smelled the items--tomatoes, salsa, a cinnamon JellyBelly, a plastic chili pepper....."Red!  This is RED!  The first color is red!"  Caroline clapped as William worked his way through the colors.

"Red...orange...yellow..blue...green...indigo, but that is a weird color...and, violet!  That's it, isn't it?  That's the rainbow!  The rainbow in the sky after a rain..."

Then the time ended when William's mother walked to them.  "I'll see you soon, won't I? Miss Caroline?"

She patted his face, assuring him that soon, yes, soon.    William was led away with his mother, talking excitedly about the rainbow.

Caroline wiped the tears from her face.  "Go and find your rainbows, William!"  She picked up her own white cane and found her way back to her classroom, counting the steps memorized over the many years of her own blindness.

Delores @ Under the Porch Light  hosts "Wednesday Words", providing a list of six words and/or a sentence prompt, and/or an assignment.  This week I have chosen to do the assignment:  Describing a rainbow to a blind person.  This is part 2 (Friday, March 7th).  You absolutely MUST go to her site (by clicking the delightful stream on the side-bar)and read other participants' writing.  Go there!  I mean it!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Colors of the Rainbow...part 1

Source

A new student today…a blind teenager...William, oh the fun we will share!’ Caroline tied her apron, checking the full pockets.

William walked toward her, his white cane sweeping across the sidewalk and she joyfully called to him, “William!”  He swung toward her.

“Miss Caroline?”  William hesitated as Caroline gently laid her hand upon his arm, squeezing lightly.  “I’m…William.  Your new student… here to learn…colors,” he stammered.

William felt warmth and acceptance as she led him to the lawn where they both knelt.  Caroline took his hand, guiding across the grass.  “This is green.  Green is new life—in grass, in leaves, in foods both tart and sweet.”

Source

Tearing some grass, she crushed them between her fingers, then touching his face.  “I want you to smell grass….really deep breaths.  This is green, green grass.” 

William inhaled and smiled at the unique scent.  Then Caroline directed him to taste the grass, chew the grass.  The bitterness hit his tongue immediately and he spat it out.  “Not all greens taste so awful.  Here, try this kiwi.”  She placed the peeled pieces upon his palm.

He smiled at the delight of tart and sweet, soft and chewy.  “Now this I like!” 

Caroline helped William stand and head to the sidewalk. “That’s all for today.  Here is a list in Braille of items for you and your parents to taste, feel, and smell.  And this CD has as the first track. .  Explore them all.”  She noticed William’s mother walking down the walk and calling him.  “Tomorrow…we will discover…BLUE.”

William turned in the direction of his mother’s voice, but he paused.  “No one has ever done this…”


As Caroline turned toward her room, she was yellow and orange as she relived William’s words.  


Delores @ Under the Porch Light  hosts "Wednesday Words", providing a list of six words and/or a sentence prompt, and/or an assignment.  This week I have chosen to do the assignment:  Describing a rainbow to a blind person.  Part 2 (final) will be posted tomorrow, Friday, March 7th.  You absolutely MUST go to her site (by clicking the delightful stream on the side-bar)and read other participants' writing.  Go there!  Right now!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Last Days of Pompeii

Karl Brullov - The Last Day of Pompeii - Google Art Project.jpg
Artist: Karl Briullov

Most interesting and surprising discoveries are made by pure chance.  The discovery may something as small as the remote control under a newspaper, as a house key in the laundry basket. 

There was a discovery of monument size here, or so we thought.  One of my grandmother’s book given to me (in 1972) turned out to more interesting than originally thought:  The Last Days of Pompeii by Sir Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton.


Source: in his later life

My husband was delighted upon seeing that the book, published in 1884, was in mint conditionWe had just seen “Pompeii” at the theater---predictable plot, predictable ending.  To ease his excitement over the book’s possible value, Wikipedia® was accessed and Sir Bulwer-Lytton was there!!

Value of the 1884 edition mass printed book:  about $5.00, despite its age.

What discovery, you may ask.  Well, I’ll tell you.

Sir Edward B-L was an intelligent man who achieved many honorary titles and wrote many very popular books in the mid-1800s.  This made him wealthy and respected.

Considering some unwise romantic choices, his personal life was always in an uproar.  Even so, The Right Honorable Lord Lytton, PC is responsible for some amazing phrases that follow/haunt all writers who wish to avoid clichés.

Recognize these:

“…the great unwashed…”  
“The pen is mightier than the sword…” 
“…pursuit of the almighty dollar….” 
And, of course, 
“…It was a dark and stormy night…”

In honor of such a writer, there is a contest: The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, in which participants create the most terrible opening sentences for imaginary novels.

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents---except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."  Bulwer-Lytton


While my copy of The Last Days of Pompeii is not a great discovery, the man Bulwer-Lytton surely is.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Song of the Soil: Walt Whitman



Walt Whitman has been called “The Father of Free-Verse”, as a writer in the mid-1850s who was pulling away from traditional rhyming poetry.  So very talented, Whitman was a teacher, a government employee, journalist, and a volunteer nurse during the Civil War.

Walt Whitman was connected to the earth, the soil, and he wrote passionately about its beauty, as well as its cycles of life and death.  Toward the end of his life, he moved to Laurel Springs, New Jersey, which he called “the prettiest lake in: America or Europe.”

I took these photos in Bremgarten bie Bern, Switzerland, when I visited my new grandson (and his parents) in 2012.  The photos reminded me of Walt Whitman’s poetry.


One day....


...and then the next.

A song of the grass and fields!

A song of the soil, and the good green grass!

A song no more of the city streets,

A song of the soil of the fields.



A song with the smell of sun-dried hay, where the nimble pitchers
        
             handle the pitch-fork,

A song tasting of new wheat, and of fresh-husk’d maize.

Please notice the next field over is green and tasseled with stalks of corn.




Saturday, March 1, 2014

There Be Dragons....



Bish's place

Bish Denham from http://bish-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/ has given me an award, “Dragon’s Loyalty Award”.  One has to love dragons, and I be no different.

There are some requirements to accepting awards, however:  1) tell seven things about yourself; and, 2) award 15 other recipients and notify them of the award.

This is the hard part for me.  All bloggers who read and comment on my blog delight me totally!  Also, I don’t want to put a burden of continuing the award-giving on these bloggers.  So, I will change this a bit.

I hope Bish won’t mind…she is such a dear blogging friend whose writing and perspective I admire.  Award giving is a way of honoring someone whose blogs have impressed the reader.  

Sooooo…. I will post the Dragon award in this post, and invite readers to copy and paste with the URL from where it came, AND write seven things about yourself.

Without any more whining or such, here are seven things about myself:

     1.  I lived in Ireland for a few years, where my husband’s family owned and operated a hotel, Hotel Vienna Woods, Glanmire, Co. Cork.


1985

.
    2.   Seeing a baby turns me into a mound of grandma goo,  “bbbaaaabbbyyyy!”

    3.  Discovering things about my ancestors has become interesting.

    4.  I love to see an old photo, speculate about the frozen images, and write about them.

    5.  I hate summer.

    6.  I love rain.  (Southern California)

Rain, real rain!


    7.  A swimming pool has to be above 80° for me to take the plunge.


Now…whatcha got?

Please use this award as an opportunity to share something about you...I wrote "grandma goo", didn't I?!