Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Life will always find a way.

                              flower-tree-growing-concrete-pavement-101 

resilience 


In all places and in all situations, Life finds a way.

In Sedona, Arizona

Friday, December 24, 2021

Boots on the Ground and Voices in the Air

 

vintage military band pictures

                                             1937 Alexandra Palace, London

"Wearing military uniform and peaked cap a small boy stands on a large stone urn as he conducts during Brass Band Day at Alexandra Palace, north London. Photo: Getty"

Forget about the Philharmonic orchestra, or the Mormon Tabernacle. Christmas songs can now take a different twist, as done by US Navy band AND the US Army band and....  Music can't get much better than this.

 The Navy made those strings giggle.

 

And then there is the Army: 

  

The third branch is the "President's Own US Marine band", which has played at functions for all presidents except Pres. George Washington.


And, finally, are the US Singing Sergeants of United Air Force.

These are only part of the music from the military. Non-political, these talented musicians serve in their own way. God gifted them for His Purpose.

Christmas is theoretically over, but it is not. Music keeps it alive and reminds me that Branches of the Military are filled with talented men and women. They uphold the Constitution and protect our country.

These wonderful human beings give more than just their courage, but they always give themselves to those around them. Sing on, sing with them.

 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Fire in the Trees

 

When cold blows in from 
Canada, pushed up by warm wind from Texas, snow happens suddenly and furiously.  Only older siblings, big enough to sink only to the knee and then leap into the snow face first, could rejoice
                                                     
For two small children, enjoyment was peering out through icy panes and wishing.  Mom…Mom…Mom…Can we go outside, too?  Mom? Mom?  Mom relented only when Mom became unbearable.

Two and four years old, Mary and Bill were wrapped, bundled, booted, and mitten-ed, then given instructions:  Stay on the porch.  Both nodded solemnly.

Mom stood at the kitchen door, staring through the lacy ice crystals at five children enjoying the snow.  Then Bill launched off the porch into deep white sea. Bill, she sighed. 

Stomping out the door, Mom grabbed him by scruff of his coat and pulled him up.  Then Mary whispered, “Mommy!  Mommy!  Look!  Fire in trees!  Fire in snow!”

Fire in the trees?  In the snow?  She beheld glorious cardinals perched in bare trees.  Fiery cardinals with black masks.  Brave cardinals in frigid air. Oh,my! So, so,....

Mom hollered, “You kids get in here.  Been out long enough!”  But she continued to watch until fire became scarlet birds winging over snowy horizons.  

Fire in the Trees
For those bloggers in the beginning of a long winter, this story is about the snow of 1958, which has been called the mini-ice age. This time was our first time on the farm in a very old house.  This post was from December 8, 2014.  Keep warm, enjoy the beauty as much as you are able, and Merry Christmas.
    


  

Friday, December 17, 2021

Santa Claus Can Play the Organ (one of his many talents).

 The year 1959 was a year of change for my family.  We moved onto a farm where we would live until 1995.  So many adventures and so many memories arise from that time.


Santa and Satan
But, here is one memory that we were fortunate to miss.  I never knew that side of Santa Claus’ life, which apparently originated from Mexico. “Santa Claus”, produced in 1959, and translated into English.  
 
Synopsis:

Santa is preparing for his yearly journey at his Toy Land Castle in space.  While children helpers from all over the world sing a variety of each country's carols, precious.

organ
           
                                                          Santa plays the organ while leering at the screen. collinwatchesmovies

Merlin the Wizard does a little hop-dance to check stuff out at his magical telescope, fitted with a creepy blue eye.

Santa and Merlin the Wizard

Mechanical reindeer
 
When he needs help, Merlin the Wizard gives Santa a special powder to induce sleep and a magic key to open any door. Vulcan provides Santa with mechanical reindeer.

Nothing goes well, instead holds a modicum of possible stupid stuff.

YouTube trailer

YouTube in its entirety. 1 hour and 34 min. 

The movie is thoroughly ridiculous, Santa Claus is totally creepy, to the level that it feels like someone should report him. You may watch the film in its entirety on YouTube if you are a glutton for punishment. Fast-forward would be essential here. Lots of creepy stuff is here for you to catch, creepy I tell you.

So why did I post this?

We saw this at the theater in RiffTrax presentation. Movies of this lack of quality are narrated by the three guys from Mystery Space Science 3000. They bring a level of satire to this movie. This is why I pulled this one out of my vault of Christmas movies.

 
Plus, Alex Cavanaugh recommended the RiffTrax movies generally because they are ludicrous.  I trust his judgment implicitly. 

P.S. On-screen text is narrated immediately before "The End": A sonorous voice speaks these meaningful words. Somehow it was disturbing.

Blessed are those who believe
For they shall see God...
PEACE ON EARTH...
GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN.
MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Go figure.

This is a re-post from 2019.  We laughed at this, which is what we need to do more often!
 

Monday, December 13, 2021

First Cut

 Forged in Fire.jpg

We are faithful fans of Forged in Fire and my husband John had reactivated his passion for knives and swords.  It has been a long time passion since he finished grad. school.

Whenever he passes a sword tent at some street fair, John will hoist a sword from its scabbard and says, "Hmmm. Nice balance..." even though it is clearly something from China. 


Note quality engraving

His love of knives and swords led me to purchase a good quality chef knife set. Made in Germany. Sharp as all get out (which means to the extreme). He exclaimed with joy as he opened it.

On Christmas day, I was going to chop chives for Christmas dinner. I'll just use these German Knives.                   

All was going well as I pulled the knife from from its block and picked up the chives, and made the first slice. That single slice resulted was totally painless until I saw my finger  was bleeding like a son of a gun (a mild or euphemistic term for son of the bitch). Looking down I could see the knife had sliced a translucent piece of skin from my left index finger.

Grabbing paper towel and racing to the first aid supplies, I ran water for minutes to staunch (which means stop the flow of bleeding). Also poured hydrogen peroxide. Then wrapped the dam with layers of gauze.

I picked up an old knife, finished the chopping. BUT my right little finger brushed the new knife, just brushed it. Another flow of blood. It was just a slice, a tiny slice. But, oh boy howdy (which means an exclamation of excitement and surprise from the South or Texas) that slice was leaking.

First aid, gauze, tape. Oh bloody hell (which means interjection which is an exclamation of awe and surprise, sometimes in anger or despondency).

Even as I wrote this, I had to do the hunt and peck typing
.
It was time to change the dressings. 

Cat Stevens
First Cut Is the Deepest

Sing it, Cat. I will definitely understand it.
 
This is a re-post from 2018. My husband was not thrilled of the gift, so the knives are still sharp.
 

When your feet start tapping


I like to think that I have an eclectic taste in music, that I am broad-minded.  Hey, I was in college during the 1960s and 70s, man.  But that is so not true, there is more genre than I knew back then. 

My music education pretty much ended in the early 1980s.  Some how I cannot get beyond Zanadu Xanadu with Olivia Newton John.  Was it the trauma or Boy George? Or both? But then other music styles saved me?




I don’t know, but the last 15 years or more are scarcely dotted with memorable music, except for Whitney Houston and anything Irish music related (of course).

In recent years, I was exposed to something called “Zydeco”.  And I haven’t been the same. 


Can’t help it, my feet want to dance.  I feel the beat and the words—and this is from a person who struggles to clap and sing at the same time.  Maybe I was born down in Louisiana, stolen by pirates and brought up-river to where my folks were buying catfish from a guy down on the levee off the ‘Ssippi. 



What IS it?  It is like gumbo, with every nation tossing a bit of its culture into the pot, adding lots of spice.  And I like it. 

A community gets together, eat some gumbo, dance like crazy.  Just listen, see what you think.

Re-post from October 2013. Arlee Jackson and Alex Kavanaugh helped create the "A to Z April blog a thon" My offering for Z is Zydeco.  

Ireland is actually the top of the dancing kingdom. Sorry, guys. Ireland wins.

 Zydeco. 
 
 

Friday, December 10, 2021

Road Trip to Bethlehem

 

Christmas is on a countdown and children in places around the world know the numbers.   When our progeny were young, that meant bathrobes, aluminum foil stars, white sheets on angels, and parents in the audience. There were no cell phones, no heavy duty cameras, just parents in folding chairs watching their children sing carols and shuffle along.

 
 
Rough times, for sure. Could we do what Mary did? How could we do anything like this? Unless God tapped on our shoulders and told us what to do, magnificence would be happening on that one single night? 
 
One single night changed the world.
 
 
This a re-post from  2015, I think. Explains  Bethlehem in a way one does not normally see.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Did you know?

 

 
 

                                                                    One Voice Children

Words combined with music result in such meaning.  Just saying such songs, singing them, and listening wraps the life of Christ in our own language, and opens our hearts.

  Merry Christmas to all. Rejoice in salvation. Rejoice in God's gifts to us. Sing.

Friday, December 3, 2021

One, two, three, and four

                            Photo: L.A. Cicero 

 He could hear the music and feel it.  His grandmother’s touch, ringing pure and precise, echoed around this empty room.  Her words were there, reminding him “Fingering!  Tempo!  Correct…sit up tall…”

The music played in his mind, while the fingers moved, waiting for her older hand to join with his: Two generations performing music written centuries before. 



Apologies for the voice over in this Synchrony Financial commercial
 
"Any changes?...No, still the same...It was just a fall!  A simple fall...I saw it happen, so quickly...What does the doctor say?...Time, just time...But his fingers, see how they move!...

Timing, have to remember the timing.  Grandmother insists on perfect timing. Oh, why are they talking during this recital?  Don't they know how rude that is?

One, two, three, and four...

"Will he come out of this...sleep...this coma?"  I don't know.  Like he said, it is a matter of timing and time...

I have observed pianists at a recital sitting in the audience and playing the notes silently in their laps.

This is a re-post of  October 1, 2014. Playing a piano with one you love would be so amazing.


Monday, November 29, 2021

Words from Lucy's Past

STACY IGEL: Thank you Old Journals and Best Friends
                                 Old Journals

 

 


 When the town’s beloved, elderly, and feisty Lucy Powell died suddenly at age 95, all wondered how to peer into her belongings.  

Miss Powell had no relatives yet alive and no family to inherit a lifetime of her history.  Her family was her community and friends.

Slowly, close friends began to assimilate bits of China, old books, quilts, and other items into their own homes.  That was when the diary was discovered. Who should take it?  Who should even open it?

A diary can paint a picture of unrequited love with hearts broken, hearts renewed, and love lost then found. Finding a worn diary, fringed from fingers turning pages over decades, awed all who gathered around.

Finally, Old Ms Alda Franklin stepped forward.  I will take it.  She and I shared so many memories… All agreed.
 
When Alda finally settled down into her rocker with a cup of tea, she opened the cover and began reading each page. She chuckled, cried, gasped, and sighed until she read the last page:
 
My life had meaning and gave me reason to exist.  Touching others, being kind and generous, loving those who are unloved: that is the essence of life.
   
To all who turn these pages: Go!  Make your life count! 

 Journals paint lives in ways that simple words cannot. When we moved, I unpacked 10 complete diaries and a few not so complete. The bold underlined words are from Wednesday Words, 2015.  Delores started this challenge for bloggers to try other genres.
 

 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Love floating in the balloons.

 


The Balloon of the Mind
Hands, do what you’re bid,
Bring the balloon of the mind
That bellies and drags
In the wind,
Into its narrow shed.
Wm. B. Yeats



A Drinking Song
Wine comes in at the mouth
And Love comes in at the eyes.
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift my glass to my mouth, I look at you and I sigh.
Wm. B. Yeats

Enjoy, and follow the balloons.

This is a post from October 14, 2013. WB Yeats is my favorite poet.


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

I have finally arrived.

                             The "Kid's Table"

                                                        Pinterest                         
  
This is THE Thanksgiving! Victor laughed as he placed two casseroles in the back seat of his new hybrid Toyota Prius.  His new pristine, low maintenance Prius—Victor eagerly caressed the leather seats around the Jell-O™ salad and hot vegetable dish.  How I love the new-car smell!

After years of wishing that he could finally sit at the Thanksgiving Adult Table never seemed feasible, Victor squirmed excitedly as he started the engine. The Adult Table!  And, I am only 25! Great-great Aunt Agnes had died in August, moving Victor up the roster from the Children’s Table.  At last!

Jell-O is Utah's official specified snack.
 
  He glanced back at the assigned dishes he was bringing.  Man, I was lucky with these!  Improvising, Victor had thrown together a lime Jell-O™, along with some fresh kiwi and fresh pineapple (see note belowęśś).  These guys were on the verge of rotting…sure lucked out!

The odoriferous steaming hot Brussels sprouts, swimming in Cheese Whiz™, wafted fragrantly through the car. Victor opened the window, and in those few seconds, that precise moment, the beat-up Honda ahead of Victor’s precious Prius braked suddenly.

Victor braked hard and swerved, barely missing the damned Honda. 

That one moment sent the gelatinous Jell-O flying, covering the precious leather with green slime.  Brussels sprouts bounced merrily around the leather seats, leaving ball-sized Cheese Whiz dots there and on the ceiling.

What to do?? What to think??  Victor’s mind spun in search of an answer.

What do you think he should or will do? 

Note from Jell-O box: Do not use fresh or frozen pineapple, kiwi, ginger-root, papaya, figs or guava.  Gelatin will NOT set.
 
Many thanks will always be given to Delores, the founder of Wednesday Words (underlined above).


Friday, November 19, 2021

Wednesday Photo Prompt: Auntie Marie

 Wednesdays are always fun for me. The Wednesday Words are entertaining and challenging.  This week there photo prompts provided by Margaret Adamson, and her friend Sue Fulcher. The prompts will also include photographs taken by Margaret's friend Bill Dodd.  


Here is my take on those photos:

Auntie Marie reached a shaky hand to the iron work. It had been once black and strong, now it was covered with lichen and rattled. Pushing slightly, Auntie opened it with a creak and rattle.

What had been a garden with pinks, red, and yellows was a tangle of brambles. The house had been one filled with people and family. Now it was bare brick, windows long boarded up.

Auntie opened the heavy door, dust floating in the still air. Closing her eyes, Marie whispered, "I'm home. Do you hear me? I am home."

You may find more bloggers and their comments at Elephant's Child. Head on over there and also to River where prompts are posted.


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

A Field of Punkin' Chunkin' Candidates

 

A fall festival with fun for the entire family – contests, prizes, games, live music, carnival and more!
All are welcome.
Each season in the Midwest has its celebrations and events where there are glorious reflections of community and its people. Traditions date back decades or even centuries where ancestors and their following generations can hold hands across years.

The Midwest, along with the rest of the world, has an event approaching in the first days of November: Pumpkin Chunkin'. I have to believe this event arose from leftover Halloween pumpkins to Medieval ages. Maybe or maybe not, Pumpkin Chunkin' has evolved from simple to complicated.

Here is an official statement from the WCPCA:

The World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA) is a trademark nonprofit that raises money for scholarships, as well as organizations that benefit youth and the local community. 

We host a signature pumpkin-launching event each year, fueling innovative engineering and science-based ideas that draw spectators from all over. 

We believe that Punkin Chunkin cultivates the odd, challenging, and competitive quest for distance that inspires creativity, ingenuity, teamwork, and passion. 

It is this very dedication that drives teams to compete using science and engineering skills and brings spectators to the gate which allows us  to continue our never ending thirst to support our scholarship and charitable programs.

YouTube, about 3 minutes long

There are several divisions from historically accurate to serious military grade.
The passion is the same, love for the event is palpable, and enthusiasm seeps through the attendees.

The above YouTube shows the divisions and constructions. The one below sticks to traditionally accurate 1,000 years ago trebuchet:

About 6 minutes long, skip ahead.

Despite all the mechanics that can overshadow the joy of finding a pumpkin in the field, we look at those faces and hear "Over there! That's the one I want!"

I do not know how many years we have scampered over the fields, chasing grandkids. Each time is like the first time.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

The Heart of the Sea

 

Movie reviews are supposed to help movie goers decide what to see.  Most of those who write these reviews seem to have forgotten why people go to see movies.


We go to escape.  To enjoy.  To be part of something bigger than ourselves.

We do not go to examine the plot line, seek to deride director errors, editing decisions, actor choices or screen writer inadequacies.

When I wrote this post, “In the Heart of the Sea” was story about a story.  Herman Melville, author of “Moby Dick”, had sought out the one of the survivors, adult Old Man Tom Nickerson who had been the traumatized youngest of the crew on the whaler ship, Essex.  It was a bloody, horrible story, and this survivor needed to wrench the images of memories from his tortured mind.
 
Some strong actors deliver strong performances.

Brendan  Gleason is the adult Old Man Nickerson, who saw the horror of whale hunts when he was innocent and ignorant. Chris Hemsworth is the strong main character who makes hard decisions. He gives an excellent performance.  

Nathaniel Philbrick.JPG
Nathaniel Philbrook
Author Nathaniel Philbrick researched Melville, the painful consequences of the Essex and the greed of the company who owned the ship. With this incredible history, Philbrook wrote "In the Heart of the Sea", based on the events of this tragedy.

Interview and relating the story was therapeutic for both the story teller (played by Brendan Gleeson) and the writer, Melville (played by Ben Whishaw) . Tom Holland in a young actor on his way up: think Spider Man).  Even so, film reviewers turned their noses, criticizing it for lacking “stuff”.  

At This Site  every amateur critic had not read "Moby Dick".  One such critic said this. 

"Nobody gives a crap about Moby Dick.  Just THINKING about the idea of a movie about the friggin' story that inspired the story of Moby Dick puts you to sleep.  How did he (Chris Hemsworth) get paid $80 million to make that?!"  

For us, the movie was riveting.  The actors were strong and skillful.  The director was Ron Howard.  The setting was true to the times.  The interaction between Melville and the survivor was emotional and bonding. Knowing the story of the Essex and its demise hung over the audience, hoping “No, not that!”

Engrossing, hope, loss and gain, greed, a dirty industry, eminent death, and finally redemption—all make for a movie that rises above a flood of bad movies.


Please see what the whaling industry became before its demise.  It was a horror. 

More than that, see what the current intelligentsia reads or has not read. 


Thursday, November 11, 2021

Turn of the Road

  

 Charger's many fine points from YouTube.


Charles sighed deeply, gazing at his brand new, fresh off the show room floor, Fire Red Dodge Charger, lying in a field just off the road. Just a dent...I wouldn't mind that.  But this??

Taking that last U-bend on hwy. 238 and then skidding to miss a stray sheep had sent Fire Red spinning out and over onto weeds and grass of some rancher's field.

It did not matter now how many fluoride rinses and teeth extractions Dr. Charles Bentley, DDS, had done to buy Fire Red, now a totaled mass of metal, seat belts, open door, and shattered windows. 

He managed to "extract" his phone, and call 911. Sigh.



Note: there was no way I could insert "espionage" into this and keep a cohesive story.  Instead the Table of Elements will come into play. You will need to use a magnifying glass to read this.


The Periodic Table Of The Elements
This page provides names of the symbols.

Es = Einsteinuim**;  P = Phosphorous; I = Iodine; O = Oxygen; Na = Sodium; and, Ge = Germanium

**This is an element table, a mighty small one, named after Albert Einstein. It is metallic and radioactive with a life of 20.8 minutes.

Works for me. Why I put the periodic table here?  If you can figure that out, let me know.

The underlined and highlighted words are from May 2016, Wednesday Words. This had some challenges. We have a red car and I enjoy the thrill of a red car.

I misspelled "Albert" to "Alfred".  Dang.


Sunday, November 7, 2021

That is the right question.

 

Question  James Cromwell

People tend to accept ideas without questioning the validity. Over modern times, many have nodded their heads and moved on when given such questions. This may have been part of history, but current herd-mentality changes everything. 

We just don't ask enough questions.  And then, we tend to accept the answer and take it as truth, walk on in ignorance. When we hear questions, whenever and whatever they may be, we must think through the question before accepting it, before we are blinded by the noise that floats around.

What is the instigation that pops up in my mind?  Will Smith. He is such a good actor, great comedic sense. But, why him? I mean, why would I see him as a beacon of searching for truth?

asks the questions to Will Smith

   I Robot was written by Isaac Asimov, a famous science fiction writer. His characters are intelligent, and struggle with questions, with the possible answers. He was a prolific writer. 

Synopsis: 2057 was a world with an industry that produced robots for many reasons, but mostly to assist humans. But, then...the essential  creator (James Cromwell) committed suicide. Leaving a holographic message, he asked for police detective Will Smith to investigate the whole question of why. Cromwell says, You must ask the right question.  






Why is this question important? Detective Spooner wrestles with this question and discovers the answer bit by bit. Seeking an answer to the question several times, Spooner finally does find the answer.

Ask questions, and then pursue the answers. we have the responsibility to search for honest truth. If we don't ask, then who will?

Thursday, November 4, 2021

The Magic of the Oreo

                                                          

These are not real, thanks be to God.

Over the decades after WW2, there was a burgeoning of fast foods and junk foods. Drive-Thru and fast: No one even needed to leave the car.

That has not changed, not one iota.  More of this and then more of that appears.

On the sugar front, oh boy!  The list is too long to read through, but this one item is high on the list: 

The simple Oreo, at least it used to be simple. 

The Oreo started with 2 chocolate biscuits with a creamy white filling. It was heavenly. We never had them in our childhood, having only homemade cookies (that can be described only as amazing). We then learned about the only way to eat an Oreo was to twist it apart, scrape the cream goodness with top teeth, and eat the biscuit later. 

Here are some newly distributed peculiar Oreos:

                                           









Some are real and others could be "are you kidding". Time for a field trip to the store. Heck, serve them at a holiday buffet. Your family will finding this highly amusing.