When You Kiss My Lips

A little preparation goes a long way, but there is no need to overthink this.  Fresh breath would be greatly appreciated and please don’t lick my entire face like you are a golden retriever, as I don’t want to be slobbered on.  There is no perfect way to kiss somebody, but it must be natural and done in the moment, while you are giving me your full attention.  If you are going to introduce your tongue into my mouth, do it slowly, as it will probably take me a while to adjust to your saliva, before we start swapping spit like crazed teens, or playing tonsil hockey.  If you are thinking about biting me, or doing some gentle nibbling on my bottom lip, please try and warn me before you do that.  I would be OK with you leaving a lingering trail of kisses on my neck, but I am going to think that it is weird if you start to shove your tongue in my ear and give me a wet Willy.  I understand that ears can be important erogenous zones, but you should start off by nibbling on my earlobes, before you move on to licking them.

If this is our first kiss, start slow, be gentle and use light pressure.  Keep it simple and try to kiss back the same way that your partner is kissing you.  A kiss is meant to be shared, so don’t try to dominate someone into submission.  A kiss can be really sexy if it is kept brief, as that may make your partner beg for more.  Take a breath in between kisses till you discover what feels good for both of you and if you are not sure, then ask.  Once you find out what triggers the best response, then keep doing it, but try not to get overheated.  Humans get distracted by visual stimuli, so we usually close our eyes when we kiss and this helps us to enjoy it more, but this doesn’t mean that you can stop concentrating on what your partner likes or doesn’t like.  If you open your eyes during a kiss and notice that your partner also has their eyes open, that is called the sea kiss.  There is nothing to worry about, as this leaves open the potential for an even more intimate experience.  How you kiss, where or what you kiss, and whether your eyes are open or closed is all about what feels best for you and your partner, so this is your choice and nobody else’s business.

Written for Paula’s Paint Chip Friday challenge #8 where today we are supposed to derive inspiration from Valspar’s “sea kiss” and/or “ghost ship”.

Nothin’ Else Mattered

‘Edge of Seventeen’ was written by Stevie Nicks and released on her debut solo studio album Bella Donna in 1981.  The song peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance in 1982, while the album went multi-platinum.  Nicks was expressing the grief she felt from the death of her uncle Jonathan and the assassination of John Lennon during the same week of December 1980.  Her uncle was not anyone famous, but he was part of her life.  John Lennon was a music legend who was a very-close friend to Nicks’ producer and lover at the time, music mogul Jimmy Iovine.  One of Jimmy’s first jobs as a recording engineer was a gig he got with John Lennon after showing up to the studio to work on Easter Sunday.  His bosses were so impressed, they connected him with Lennon.  Jimmy was so close to Lennon that his death had a direct impact on his and Nicks’ relationship.  Stevie didn’t known Lennon personally, but she was still deeply saddened due to the depressing effect his passing had on the man she loved.

Nicks got the title for this song from a conversation that she had with singer Tom Petty’s wife Jane Benyo.  During the conversation, Nicks had asked Jane when she met Tom for the first time.  Jane replied Nicks by telling her that she and Tom met when she was “at the age of seventeen”.  Jane had an incredible thick Southern accent and Stevie thought she said ‘edge’ not age, so she told Jane, “Forget it, it’s got to be edge.”  Nicks liked the phrase and decided instantly it would make a good title for a song.  Nicks planned on making this song about the romance between Jane and her then husband Tom.  However, after the devastating demise of Lennon and her uncle, she changed the song’s theme but kept its title.

White-winged doves synchronize their migration into the Sonoran Desert with the reproductive cycle of saguaro cactus and they serve an important job as saguaro pollinators.  In 1980, Stevie was flying home from Phoenix Arizona and someone handed her a menu that said, “The white wing dove sings a song that sounds like she’s singing ooh, ooh, ooh.  She makes her home here in the great Saguaro cactus that provides shelter and protection for her”, and this became a basis for her song ‘Edge of Seventeen’.  Several days later, outside her room, she heard a bird singing the same thing over and over, making some “Ahhs” and “Oohs”, which she thought was an owl, but her friend said, “No, that’s a dove!”  Stevie started to cry, thinking that this dove had come here to watch over her.

Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
Ooh, ooh, ooh
Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
Ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh

And the days go by, like a strand in the wind
In the web that is my own, I begin again
Said to my friend, baby (everything stopped)
Nothin’ else mattered

He was no more than a baby then
Well he seemed broken-hearted
Something within him
But the moment that I first laid
Eyes on him, all alone
On the edge of seventeen

Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
I said ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh
Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
I said ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh

Well, I went today
Maybe I will go again tomorrow
Yeah yeah, well, the music there
Well, it was hauntingly familiar
Well, I see you doing what I try to do for me
With the words from a poet and a voice from a choir
And a melody, and nothing else mattered

Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
I said ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh
Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
I said ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh

The clouds never expect it when it rains
But the sea changes colors
But the sea does not change
So with the slow, graceful flow of age
I went forth with an age old desire to please
On the edge of seventeen

Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
I said ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh
Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
I said ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh

Well, then suddenly there was no one
Left standing in the hall, yeah, yeah
In a flood of tears
That no one really ever heard fall at all

Well, I went searchin’ for an answer
Up the stairs and down the hall
And not to find an answer
Just to hear the call
Of a nightbird singing, “Come away”
(Come away, come away)

Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
Ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh
Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
I said ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh

Well I hear you in the morning
And I hear you at nightfall
Sometimes to be near you
Is to be unable to feel you, my love
I’m a few years older than you
(I’m a few years older than you) my love

Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
Ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh
Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
Ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around – Challenge #193.

Scarf Was Apricot

1.Exactly what did Columbus do in 1492?
He sailed to India.

2. Why does Canada celebrate Thanksgiving in October rather than November as the US does?
It gets too cold in November to celebrate anything in Canada.

3. Why do we carve pumpkins into Jack-o-lanterns for Halloween?
To celebrate the ride of Paul Revere.

4. If “octo-” means eight, then why is October the tenth month?
The stinking Romans screwed everything up, because their emperors wanted to have their own months.

5. Why do kids dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating on Halloween?
Because if they did that on any other holiday, they wouldn’t get any candy.

6. What is the movie, Hocus Pocusabout?
It is the first Harry Potter movie.

7. In the Movie, Halloween, why was Michael Myers sent to an insane asylum when he was only six years old?
He was sent there so he could be cared for by Charlie Manson.

8. Continuing from the previous question, what did Myers do when he escaped approximately fifteen years later?
He shot John Lennon.

9. What was the movie, Lost Boys about?
This was a story about Tinkerbelle.

10. According to legend, why don’t vampires have a reflection?
They are too vain.

Written for Frank’s Fibbing Friday.

Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around – Challenge #193

When Stevie Nicks was 27, she became famous for singing in Fleetwood Mac, and she quickly descended into a drug hell and becoming addicted to cocaine, alcohol, and Quaaludes so she could sleep, until her system broke down and she started having nosebleeds, falls on stage, blackouts and near overdoses. She bought $1 million worth of cocaine and it burned a hole in her nose the size of a dime. Around 1986, Stevie Nicks’ cocaine addiction reached crisis levels. Her management company checked her into the Betty Ford clinic and she was prescribed Klonopin. Nicks struggled with a Klonopin addiction that was used to treat panic attacks, and anxiety and this sort of turned her into a zombie. Stevie underwent an abortion in 1979 after she got pregnant while dating the Eagles singer Don Henley. Nicks is the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, reflecting her success with Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist, as a writer and singer of raw, magical songs about love and freedom, including ‘Dreams’, ‘Rhiannon’, ‘Gold Dust Woman’, ‘Landslide’ and ‘Edge of Seventeen’.

Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

In 1981, Stevie Nicks released her debut solo studio album Bella Donna, which went to #1 on the Billboard 200 and contained ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’.  This song charted #50 in the UK and it reached #3 in the US.  In 1975, when Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were still known as Mudcrutch, and they wouldn’t gain mainstream success till their 1979 album Damn The Torpedoes which is when Petty and Nicks first met.  Stevie became infatuated with Tom Petty and they eventually developed a four decades-long friendship that grew into one of mutual love and respect for one another, even though it started as a one-way obsession.  Nicks asked Petty half-jokingly if he could write her a song that she could record for her first solo album.  Petty didn’t take her request seriously at first, but Nicks reiterated her request a year…

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Won’t Eat Anything with a Face

This is not a vegan thing, as my wife eats meat, but if something has been given a name, or it has a face on it, she will refuse to eat it.  I have known this about her for years, but I painted the eggs for my art class and I thought that they turned out really cute.  I didn’t have a problem eating a dozen hard boiled eggs, even though my doctor had me taking medication to lower my cholesterol.  I could make egg salad sandwiches and maybe even some deviled eggs and once they were taken out of their shells, who would even know that they had faces painted on them, but she was adamant about this.  The first year after we were married, I told her that I was going to name our Thanksgiving turkey Jake this year and she told me that if it had a name, she would cook it, but I shouldn’t expect her to eat any of it.  She was fine with me naming the turkey every year, as long as I didn’t tell her the name.  I felt like she was missing out on all the fun, but she was a damn good cook, so I always kept the name to myself.

Written for Reena’s Xploration Challenge #203, where today she gives us a dozen eggs with faces on them.

Mom It’s the Police

My mom has had a tough week and ever since dad left and ran off with his secretary, things have been really hard on her.  I knew how much she needed her rest, but the cops were out front asking questions about my older brother and they said that they wanted to speak with an adult.  My mom was an attorney and I knew that she could handle the police no matter what this involved, so I woke her up and told her what was going on.  She put on her robe and went to the front door, so she could talk with the police.  The told her that my older brother had borrowed somebody’s car and he sideswiped another vehicle and that they wanted to bring him into the police station to test his blood alcohol level to see if he was over the limit and then they could give him a DWI ticket.

My mom was furious and she told the cops that it was 3AM and that she needed to get back to sleep, because she had a big case that was going to trial the next morning.  My mom found out that nobody was injured and that there was minimal damage done to the car that was sideswiped and she assured the officers that she would get to the bottom of this, but now was not a good time.  She told the police officers that blood alcohol levels will continue to rise even after somebody has passed out and that her son has been in bed sleeping for the past 2 hours, so what ever level that found on him she would have it overturned, as she knew all of the judges in town and the police commissioner and this case was a cinch to be dismissed.  She suggested that they let this go till the morning and that she would bring her son in to answer any of their questions at that time and she warned them that if they didn’t want to let this go that they could probably kiss their jobs goodbye.  My brother was always a wild man, but my mom knew her stuff and these officers turned tail and went away.  I learned that most people would never mess with my mom, especially while she was trying to get some sleep.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver – Only When I Sleep – hosted by Stephanie Colpron of Word Adventures.

My Safe Spot

When I was younger, we used to play Hide and Seek in the woods and after I learned that I was immune to Poison Ivy, that was where I would hide put.  It is a low growing plant, being only about 12 inches high, so I had to lay down in the patches that were growing.  I guess it is not surprising that nobody ever came looking for me, when I was hiding there.  Poison Ivy is technically not a poisonous plant, but it does cause skin reactions to many people who come in contact with it.  The poisonous part of Poison Ivy is actually an oil found inside the plant, that makes its leaves very shiny.  Sometimes I would get bored laying on the ground in the patch of Poison Ivy, because I could hear all the other kids yelling and screaming and having fun and then I would get up and leave and try to find another hiding spot.

One day I saw this older man walking in the woods, which was strange, as usually only kids went in the woods, but he was walking his dog.  He told me that I should be more careful because those plants that were nearby were poisonous.  I told him that I was OK, because I was immune to Poison Ivy and that it would not give me a rash.  He said that he wasn’t referring to the Poison Ivy, that he meant those Hibiscus plants that I was standing next to.  He said that every part of the angel trumpet is highly poisonous, including the leaves, flowers, seeds and roots.  That they all contained toxic alkaloids, which could be deadly poisonous.  I told him that I thought they looked pretty and I was thinking about taking some of them home for my mother.  He warned me against doing that, saying if I touched them that residue could enter my blood stream or gastrointestinal tract, or it could get in my eyes or even some food that I might eat, which would lead to symptoms that include muscle weakness, dilated pupils and dry mouth, as well as a rapid pulse, fever and hallucinations.  He said that there was also a chance for me to become paralyzed or go into convulsions, which might cause me to go into a coma or cause my death.  I ran away and warned all of my friends about the deadly poisonous plants.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Poisonous Plants – Image by KL Caley.

What a Drag It Is Getting Old

The 1966 Rolling Stones song ‘Mother’s Little Helper’ was released on their album Aftermath, which was the band’s fourth British and sixth American studio album.  The single charted at #8 in the US and it was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.  The song deals with the popularity of prescribed tranquilizers among housewives, who abused these prescription drugs to get her through the day and it warns of the potential hazards of overdose or addiction.  Jagger said that he got the inspiration from things that are happening around him in everyday life.  The song contains the idea of addiction, overdose and death, which can happen with any drug that is misused or overused.  At this time Miltown was being prescribed for everything from severely ill mental patients to recovering alcoholics to comfortable middle-class people who sometimes felt anxious.  It was an alternative for mentally ill people instead of going to a therapist to manage the worst of their symptoms.

Since the late 1800s, drug manufacturers had been hunting for a new, non-addictive anti-anxiety medication.  Opiates produced disastrous results and barbiturates were also written off as being too addictive.  Doctors began prescribing anti-psychotic drugs known as phenothiazines, but those drugs triggered severe side-effects such as uncontrollable facial movements.  In the 1950s, BZDs, or benzodiazepines were discovered.   Miltown, a Happy Pill was launched in the 1950s, and it was the first “blockbuster” psychotropic drug in the US.  In 1956, the Food and Drug Administration approved Librium, which was followed by Valium in 1963.  Valium went on to become the pharmaceutical industry’s first $100 million brand, as it rapidly became a staple in medicine cabinets, as common as toothbrushes and razors.

Brian Jones played the sitar on this track and it was one of the first pop songs to use the instrument, with the first being the Beatles ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)’ that was released a year earlier.  Brian Jones was the founder and original leader of the Rolling Stones.  He was one of the first people in Britain to play slide guitar and his love of the blues was at the heart of what he and the rest of The Rolling Stones were all about when they started out.  His musicianship, especially in the early days of the band, added so much to the group that the early Stones’ singles were propelled into the pop charts.  He was the original rock star with his fashion sense and his hairstyle, that appealed to everyone everywhere.  Many people considered him to be a genius for his multi-instrumentalist ability, being able to play anything that he picked up.  When Jagger and Richards discovered that Jones was being paid more money than everyone else in the group, they decided to take control of it.   Brian Jones announced his departure from the Rolling Stones on June 9, 1969 saying that they no longer saw eye-to-eye and that he wanted to play his kind of music, which was different from what the Stones were doing.

A business manager who does not have their client’s best interests in mind can always take advantage of a group, especially if they don’t read the contract.  Allen Klein managed the Rolling Stones and he retained ownership of the band’s entire recorded music catalogue during the years from 1965-70, which many consider to be the Stones’ best era.  All of the Stones’ songs before 1971 are owned by their former label, ABKCO, which Allen Klein founded.  Mick Jagger felt that they were being cheated by Klein and the Rolling Stones spent two decades suing him for what they considered his improper dealings.  In the 1960s, the income tax rate was approximately 83%; added to that could be a 15% supertax, meaning the British government might take up to 98 cents out of every dollar someone earned.  Klein was going to handle all of their money problems, but the savvy businessman turned out to be a swindler.  The Stones thought he was handling their money and making more for them by investing it, but they didn’t think to ask him what happened with the money and he never said, so he could keep the interest for himself.  All the royalties (both publication and copyright royalties) are somehow divided between ABKCO and the Stones.

What a drag it is getting old

“Kids are different today,” I hear every mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she’s not really ill, there’s a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of her mother’s little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day

“Things are different today,” I hear every mother say
Cooking fresh food for her husband’s just a drag
So she buys an instant cake, and she burns a frozen steak
And goes running for the shelter of her mother’s little helper
And two help her on her way, get her through her busy day

Doctor, please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more

What a drag it is getting old

“Men just aren’t the same today,” I hear every mother say
They just don’t appreciate that you get tired
They’re so hard to satisfy, you can tranquilize your mind
So go running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper

And four help you through the night, help to minimize your plight
Doctor, please, some more of these

Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old

“Life’s just much too hard today,” I hear every mother say
The pursuit of happiness just seems a bore
And if you take more of those, you will get an overdose
No more running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
They just helped you on your way, through your busy dying day

Written for Thursday Inspiration #130 Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag where the prompt is drag.

Thursday Inspiration #130 Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word drag, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag’, or by going with another song by James Brown, or anything else that you think fits.  ‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag (Part 1)’ peaked at #8 in the Billboard 100 and went to #1 on the Billboard Hot Rhythm and Blues Singles chart.  This song won a Grammy for Best R&B Recording of 1965 and it was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.  With this song Brown invented a sound that dramatically changed R&B, and pop music as a whole, for decades to come.  The title “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” ostensibly refers to the lyrics’ tongue-in-cheek story of an older man getting hip to the new dance trends.  The phrase, however, also signals Brown’s departure from the soul and the creation of funk music, which became his signature sound.  Brown rattles out the names of popular dance crazes mentioning the Monkey, the Mashed Potato, the Jerk, the Twist, the Fly, the Alligator, and the Boomerang, all over a beat that’s entirely unconducive to doing any of those.  A “bag” is slang for a way of doing something or a kind of lifestyle.  In the music industry artists were always being classified, and being described as surf music, Motown, the British Invasion, R&B, pop, bluegrass, country, jazz, hip hop or a doo-wop performer and some were thought to be a mixed bag.

James Brown is arguably the greatest artist in the history of black music, and his contribution to American popular culture with 33 years as a hitmaker is immeasurable.  He invented funk and rap, and his profound influence on music is international in scope.  Brown is the most popular black musician of all time charting 114 singles.  Brown’s showmanship and voracious performance style set him apart from his contemporaries and he was called Soul Brother No. 1, the Godfather of Soul, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, Mr. Dynamite and he was widely regarded as one of the most important figures in American popular music.  Brown began his career as a gospel singer in Toccoa, Georgia.  He came to national public attention in the mid-1950s as the lead singer of the Famous Flames, a rhythm and blues vocal group founded by Bobby Byrd.  Brown built a reputation as a dynamic live performer and his success peaked with the 1963 live album Live at the Apollo and the 1965 compilation album Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.

James Brown was far from being an angel and he served time behind bars, spent 30 years beating women, gypped collaborators out of record royalties, threatened musicians with guns, tried to steal their girlfriends, left band members stranded on the road, and he got so high on marijuana and PCP “angel dust” that he thought he could “fly like a bird.”   Brown was prone to drug abuse and his ailments included prostate cancer and diabetes.  James Brown died on Christmas Day 2006 at age 73 with his cause of death listed as being congestive heart failure related to pneumonia.

James Brown recorded this song in one take, the released version was supposed to be a run-through, but it sounded so good they kept it.  Brown still hadn’t memorized the song’s lyrics yet, so he read them from a sheet that was in front of him.  At the beginning of the original take, he can be heard saying “There’s a lot of words here, man.”   He also can be heard exclaiming “This is a hit!” just before the band kicks in.

Musically, funk refers to a style of aggressive urban dance music driven by hard syncopated bass lines and drumbeats and accented by any number of instruments involved in rhythmic counterplay, all working toward a “groove.”  Previously with rhythm and blues, rock and roll and soul music, the emphasis was put on the second or fourth beat of the bar, but when James Brown began to stress the first beat, this became the bedrock of funk music.  Brown didn’t invent playing on the one, or the rhythm of the one, as this was already a standard technique in New Orleans jazz and R&B, but ‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag’ did become known as the first funk song and funk went on to become one of the most popular genres in the 1970s and ‘80s.

Come here sister, Papa’s in the swing
He ain’t too hip, about that new breed babe
He ain’t no drag
Papa’s got a brand new bag

Spontaneity and Stability

To live my life without a plan, or to become steady and unchanging, that is the question, although not for Hamlet to consider, this is what Fandango is asking today.  Would it be better to live a life of spontaneity, or one that is structured with stability?  Life is much too short to take away all the fun, so spontaneity sounds good to me, but without any type of plan, I could face eviction and end up living in my car.  I guess this is why Fandango refers to this as a provocative question, because there is a lot to think about here, and it is a tough one today.  I have fallen on hard times before and I lived in my car and I went to Food Banks to receive free food, which I am not proud of, but when the economy is bad, sometimes you have no choice.

Let’s get to the real question which is actually 3 questions and they are, “Do you consider yourself today to be more of a spontaneous person or more of a stable person?  Which characteristic in others, spontaneity or stability, do you prefer?  Why?”  When I was young, I never thought about my future and I had a live for today philosophy, but as I got older this changed.  Since the only stability in my life comes from Social Security deposits to my checking account and these payments are supposed to last for as long as I live, I will get by.  However, I read that Social Security benefits will be depleted by 2034, which is only 13 years away and if that happens, I will be in trouble.  The benefits will not abruptly end, as they will still be able to pay 78 percent of the benefits that I was entitled to, and if that happens, I will need to tighten up my belt a bit.

I am very accepting of other people, especially since I don’t have to support anyone else besides myself, so I have no preference if others live their lives with spontaneity or stability.  I can see advantages in both, as without spontaneity the world would be filled with robots, just going through the motions and this would be a serious loss of expression, which would affect music and art, but it would be better for the bottom line and then maybe my Social Security benefits would last longer.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #139.