Dog Days

August approached in a golden sweltering haze.  In August, the weather is hot, because in the Northern Hemisphere we are in summer and sometimes the days can be so stinking hot, and sultry and irritating, that it makes you lose your mind.  The dog days were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star system Sirius, which Hellenistic astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck.  Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky, and it is the eye of Canis Major, the greater of Orion’s two hunting dogs.  A heliacal rising occurs when a celestial object appears in the sky at the same time, or just before the Sun, or this event is its first visible rising after a period of invisibility due to conjunction with the Sun.  Sirius’ heliacal rising occurs when the Sun is about 8° below the horizon and Sirius is 3° in altitude in the east-southeast sky, and this will happen on August 16, 2021.  Thus, the dog days are coming and there is nothing that we can do about it, except drink a lot of water and try and stay cool.

An extended heat wave has been baking everyone this summer and August is only just around the corner, so it will most likely just get worse.  I saw that there are floods in London, but here in the US many places need rain.  Record high temperatures are being broken every day on our rapidly and continuously warming planet, which spells trouble for everyone.  Recently hundreds of deaths were reported in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, which have all been linked to a heat wave that has roasted the Pacific Northwest for days and broken Canadian heat records, sending hundreds of thousands of people scrambling for relief.  In Washington, at least 78 people died, while in British Columbia, officials counted nearly 800 deaths from June 25 to July 1.  Extreme heat is an invisible yet dangerous consequence of human-caused climate change, killing more people each year on average than any other weather-related event, according to the National Weather Service.  To be considered a heat wave, the temperatures have to be outside the historical averages for a given area.

People spend a lot of time talking about the weather, and a lot of this is friendly conversation stating what a beautiful day it is, but it is also a lot of complaining usually because it has been freezing cold, or it has been blisteringly hot or persistently raining.  Everyone has some experience with the weather and people love to express their opinions.  There are a lot of whiney people out there these days and the weather makes an easy victim for their attacks.  Chatting about the weather is never going to change anything, but it may provide relief on some level for those that need to rant.  Some like it hot and others like it cold and some just enjoy talking.

Unlike hurricane seasons or monsoons, there is no single prescribed date for the start of the North American wildfire season.  Canada and the United States share wildland firefighting resources including personnel, vehicles, helicopters and airplanes.  President Biden was on TV today speaking about the devastating wildfires that are plaguing our country and how this is also resulting in poor air quality.  Biden indicated that we have reserved up to a hundred million dollars to battle against these fires, which are out of control now.  The dog days sounds like a good excuse to run around under some sprinklers, but heat waves are no laughing matter.  They are serious weather phenomena that can be quite dangerous.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan.

It Be Like That

1.What is a skiff?
This is when you play hooky and don’t go to school.

2. What is a liner?
This is something that ladies stick inside their panties to absorb discharge.

3. What is a ferry?
This is when a lady doesn’t shave her armpits.

4. What is a destroyer?

5. What is a cruiser?

6. What is a galleon?
The Galleon Resort And Marina is an excellent choice for travelers visiting Key West, offering a romantic environment alongside many helpful amenities designed to enhance your stay.

7. What is a pedlow?
This is a dangerous condition when your brake pedal sinks down low.

8. What is a kayak?
This is an online travel agency.

9. What is a schooner?
The S. S. Minnow is a schooner that will take you on a three-hour cruise.

10. What is a coracle?
This is when you are diving and coral gets stuck in your snorkel.

Written for Di’s Fibbing Friday.

The Mares Tail

That is not a feather cloud, it’s a mare’s tail and I ought to know as I carefully lifted many horses’ tails and I wondered what purpose they served.  I noticed that when it was swung around, it would deter flies from biting its ass and this was their defense in their war against insects.  This is a part of the horse that must be respected, as a tail can be used like a whip and it is a formidable weapon, especially when it is frantically swished and swayed around.  Animals’ butts may seem mundane to most people, but only creatures with an anus are able to physically segregate the acts of eating and defecating, so they don’t have to finish processing one meal before ingesting another, allowing their bodies to harvest more energy, so they can grow bigger.  People may joke and say that a moron or an unlikable person is a horse’s ass, but a horse’s tail can reveal a lot about the horse, as when it is moving the horse is thought to be frisky and energetic.

In 1581, when Galileo was studding motion, he was fascinated the regular movement of a pendulum.  A horse’s tail swings like a pendulum, but unlike the pendulum, which exhibits a periodic motion about its mean position, it does not swing at natural frequency.  Galileo discovered that for small amplitudes, the period and frequency are unaffected by the amplitude.  This breakthrough came while he sat bored during a church service in Pisa.  The chandelier overhead would swing gently back and forth, but it seemed to move more quickly when it was swinging widely (after a gust of wind, for example) and more slowly when it wasn’t moving as far.  Intrigued, Galileo decided to measure how much time it took for each swing, using the only approximately periodic event to which he had ready access.  Since clocks with second hands didn’t become common until the 18th century, Galileo used the beating of his own pulse.  He found the number of heartbeats between swings of the chandelier was roughly the same, regardless of whether the swings were wide or narrow.  Thus, the size of the oscillations pertaining to how far the pendulum swung back and forth, didn’t affect the frequency of those oscillations.

The discovery of this natural frequency is what made the pendulum an extremely reliable source for telling time.  It is also this natural frequency, this motion at resonance, that allows a grandfather clock to use so little energy.  A single winding keeps a clock running for days.  Since animals are swinging their tails nearly all the time that they are awake, one would expect that they would want to swing them at their natural frequency to save energy.  Shockingly, horses swing their tails once per second, which is three times faster than the expected natural frequencies based on their tail length.  By swinging their tail three times faster than their natural frequency, they expend 27 times more energy than necessary, but this allows them to shoo away many more flies.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Feather Cloud.

Bound For Failure

That should go over like a lead balloon was a phrase that steered the name of a band that Jimmy Page put together with Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones.  Originally Page tried to assemble a supergroup with ex-Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck and the Who’s John Entwistle and Keith Moon, but that never materialized.  When the Yardbirds broke up, Jimmy Page recruited three new men for a reboot of the Yardbirds.  The four musicians first played together billed as the New Yardbirds, a relaunch of the British Invasion blues rockers who had imploded just months before.  The name Led Zeppelin came from a comment made by Keith Moon, who said the band would go down like a lead balloon.  Moon is said to have borrowed the term from John Entwistle, who had previously used it to describe bad gigs.

Jimmy Page completed a Scandinavian tour with an impromptu band named the New Yardbirds, but Chris Dreja had rights to the name Yardbirds and when this new group started calling themselves The New Yardbirds, he contacted a lawyer, so they couldn’t legally use it.  The choice of Zeppelin in the band’s name was surely influenced by the Hindenburg disaster of 1937.  The newsreel of the event, complete with announcer Herbert Morrison’s famous “Oh, the humanity” line, was commonly seen footage in English cinemas during the 1950s and 60s and Page would certainly have been familiar with it.  The band used an image of the crash for the cover of their first album.  Moon’s prediction could not have been more wrong, as Led Zeppelin became one of the most popular, arguably the most popular, musical act of the first half of the 1970s and reputedly have sold more than 300 million albums.

Written for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #192 using the photo prompt above.

The Devil Incarnate

Hard to think of him as human, just an utterly despicable lifeform and calling him evil would be an understatement.  As bad as it can get, a bloodthirsty monster that went around killing whoever he wanted.  Getting his enjoyment out of torturing women, children, babies, the sick, the poor and the innocent.  Acting with a level of cruelty unbeknownst to man, lower than the worst of the worst in all of history.  The numeral 666 is tattooed on his forehead, and he has pentagrams on each of his arms.  I am not speaking about Charlie Manson, Aleister Crowley, or Anton LaVey, as he is more wicked than all of them.  He is worse than Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Vlad the Impaler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Nero, Heinrich Himmler, Saddam Hussein, Ivan the Terrible, Attila the Hun, Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin, Ayatollah Khomeini, Genghis Khan, Mao Zedong, and Osama Bin Laden all rolled into one for his unimaginable acts of butchery.  Many people will say that Donald Trump is not wicked, that he is mentally ill, but that could be said about any of the people listed above.  This madman tried to destroy my country and build his own evil society by trying to find loopholes to screw people over.  He demands complete loyalty from everyone, wanting everyone to swallow his Big Lie so he can be a king in a society that is based on fear and hatred and he must be put down for the dirty dog that he is.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver A Question of Perspective hosted by Stephanie Colpron of Word Adventures who has taken over for Michael and the prompt is “Are people born wicked?”.

I Thought You Loved Me

The Poppy Family consisted of the Canadian duo of Terry and Susan Jacks, who were husband and wife from 1967-1973 and two other musicians.  The group recorded the song ‘Which Way You Goin’ Billy?’ for their 1969 album of the same name.  Terry Jacks wrote the song while Susan sang lead and ‘Which Way You Goin’ Billy?’ went to #1 in Canada and Ireland.  It was also a significant hit in other parts of the world, reaching #2 on both the U.S. Cash Box and Billboard pop charts and it charted #7 in the UK.  It hit #6 on Billboards Easy Listening chart and it ranked as one of the ten biggest singles of the year (at #9) on the Canadian ‘List of Biggest Singles of 1969’ chart.  In Billboard’s ranking of the Top Hits of 1970, it was listed at #26 for the year.  It also ranked at #5 on the ‘List of RPM Biggest Adult Contemporary Hits of 1969’.  It was kept from the #1 spot by both ‘Everything Is Beautiful’ by Ray Stevens and ‘The Long and Winding Road’ by The Beatles.   Allmusic critic Mark Deming said, “If the ‘70s were supposed to be about having a nice day, ‘Which Way You Goin’ Billy?’ shows the Poppy Family were one band waiting for a cloud to blot out all that annoying sunshine…”

Terry Jacks was a big Buddy Holly fan, and he started writing the song with the working title ‘Which Way You Goin’ Buddy?’  He had the melody, but he couldn’t come up with a lyrical theme.  After he formed The Poppy Family, he hit on the idea that this song was about guys going to Vietnam and leaving their women behind, which he thought must have been awful.  He knew some guys that had to go to war and their wives or girlfriends didn’t know if they were coming back.  He felt that it was a stupid war, and he wanted to write about this woman that gets left behind.  Terry Jacks decided to name the lead character in this song “Billy” after hearing a song ‘Billy, Billy Went A Walkin’’ by one of his favorite acts, a Montreal group called The Beau Marks.  Jacks thought the name was a good fit, because lots of people are called Billy.  At Susan’s suggestion this song was rewritten to be sung by a female and Susan had a brother whose name was Billy.

When Susan did her vocal for this song, Terry thought it came out perfect, but it was too perfect, as it soundrd too happy with her beautiful voice, so it wasn’t right.  They were living over at 21st and Marine Drive in West Vancouver, way up in a high-rise, the Sea Strand.  The couple went home and they argued over whether or not she should redo it, as Terry felt it needed to include some type of heart being ripped out thing.  Terry eventually convinced her to give it another try.  The next day they went into the studio and she did it on her first take, probably because she was a mess from being tired and worn out, and that allowed her to capture the feel that this song needed.  When a couple is romantically involved and they make music together, the romance can fade, especially when the producer husband tries to coax a better vocal out of the singer wife.

This was the first song The Poppy Family released outside of Canada.  One night when the Chessmen were performing on a Canadian TV show, Terry Jacks met a singer named Susan Pesklevits.  Susan Pesklevits recorded her first singles with two other well-known Vancouver performers, Howie Vickers and Tom Northcott, using the name The Eternal Triangle.  In 1966, 18-year-old Susan Pesklevits asked Terry Jacks to back her at a gig when she needed a guitarist where she was scheduled to sing.  Terry Jacks’ group, the Chessmen, had already disbanded, so he agreed to fill in.  From there the pair formed a duo and started to perform at small nightspots.  The Poppy Family consisted of Satwant Singh, a tabla player, and the guitarist Craig McCaw.  Terry and Susan married, and they had several hits in Canada and internationally, with their biggest being this song.  The song was written and produced by Terry Jacks which earned him a Gold Leaf Juno award (Canada’s version of the Grammys) in 1970 for Best Produced Single.

Which way you goin’, Billy?
Can I go too?
Which way you goin’, Billy?
Can I go with you?

I really love you, Billy
And all this time
I thought you loved me, Billy
And you were mine

I’m gonna miss you, Billy
And though I’m trying
I’m hurtin’ so bad, Billy
I can’t help cryin’

You are my whole babe
My heart and my soul babe
I’d have nothing to show babe
If you should go away

You are my whole babe
My heart and my soul babe
I’d have nothing to show babe
If you should go

Which way you goin’, Billy?
Or need I ask?
‘Cause you don’t want me, Billy
You’re free at last

I won’t forget you, Billy
For all my life
I’ll always love you, Billy
I’ll stay your wife

You are my whole babe
My heart and my soul babe
I’d have nothing to show babe
If you should go away

You are my whole babe
My heart and my soul babe
I’d have nothing to show babe
If you should go

You are my whole babe
My heart and my soul babe
I’d have nothing to show babe
If you should go away

Written for Thursday Inspiration #119 Seasons in the Sun.

Thursday Inspiration #119 Seasons in the Sun

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word wine, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Seasons in the Sun’, or by going with another song by Terry Jacks, although Jacks never had another big hit like this, so just go with anything that you think fits, as it shouldn’t be all that difficult to find another depressing song.  It is a bit gloomy, but the self-produced single ‘Seasons in the Sun’ from the 1973 album of the same name, sold over eleven million copies worldwide, going to #1 in the US and the UK.  It went on to win two Juno Awards for best male vocalist and best contemporary/pop single and it was the best-selling single in 1975.  Terry released this on his own label, Goldfish Records, and was amazed when it became the largest-selling single in Canadian history, selling more than 285,000 copies sold in a matter of weeks.

This song is about a man who is about to die and he says his goodbyes to his loved ones, which must be heartbreaking.  The French Belgian poet-composer Jacques Brel wrote and performed this in 1961 and it was titles as ‘Le Moribond’ which translates to ‘The Dying Man’.  Originally this song was written about an old man who was dying of a broken heart, because his best friend was screwing his wife.  Brel wrote his version while he was in a whorehouse in Tangiers, and the words were quite different and done to a marching tune.  While the old man was dying of a broken heart, he was saying goodbye to his priest and his best friend and his wife Francoise, who cheated on him.  He forgave her for cheating on him with his best friend, and he admitted that without her that he would have had a lonely life.  Brel was a family man and cardboard-factory worker until his breakthrough in the 1950s.  In the clubs of Paris, he became a hipster chansonnier, a cabaret hero who was compared with Dylan, and he was an inspiration for David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, and many others.  Shortly before Terry’s recording came out, Jacques Brel retired, at the peak of his popularity.  Fans around the world were stunned, but the composer gave no reason for his retirement.  As it turned out, Brel succumbed to cancer after a quiet, six-year battle with the disease and died on October 9, 1978.

The American poet Rod McKuen translated the lyrics to English, and in 1964 The Kingston Trio released the first English-language version of the song.  Terry Jacks heard this version of the song, and that became the basis for his rendition.  Rod McKuen, being a poet didn’t just slavishly translate Brel word for word, instead he drew on the original song to create a new work.  Brel’s version of the song, was much darker, telling his good friend Emily, his priest and his wife that he was about to die, and Rod McKuen decided to lighten up the lyrics, however he did credit the writing of this song to Jacques Brel.  Terry Jacks made some significant musical changes and wrote an entirely different last verse, but didn’t get a songwriter credit, since he never claimed one.  Jacks says he didn’t think of it at the time, and never anticipated the song becoming a royalty-generating hit.

The original version is rather morbid, but Jacks had an earnest inspiration for his reworking of the song after his good friend developed leukemia, and was given just six months to live.  Sadly, his friend passed after just four months, and that made Jacks remember this song of an old man dying of a broken heart, which he liked some of the melody and felt that it had promise, so he rewrote the song about his good friend.  The Kingston Trio rewrote the chorus to include, “We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun”.  Jacks rewrote it again, taking out all the cheating-wife stuff and replacing it with uncomplicated declarations of love about his friend that just died.

The Beach Boys became friendly with Jacks, and asked him to produce a song for them, which Jacks was honored to do.  Terry played them his arrangement of ‘Seasons in the Sun’ and suggested that they record it, since he thought it would sound great with their harmonies and with Carl Wilson singing lead.  They went to work on the song together, but the Beach Boys were in a state of flux at this time.  The Beach Boys were going through all this weird stuff at the time, with Mike Love coming into the studio in a white guru suit with a girl on a watermelon fast and although this is supposed to be a healthy diet, it is known to cause bloating, flatulence and diarrhea.  Dennis Wilson was out playing around in the desert with Charles Manson, and one night he came home and found all his car windows broken.  They were trying to keep the group together and Brian Wilson the band’s troubled production genius was off in la-la land, trying to take over wanting to work on songs until they sounded perfect to him.  Other members of the band disagreed when Wilson kept trying to tinker with Jacks’ production, and Jacks eventually got sick of all the intra-band drama and it never got finished.  Brian wanted to get hold of the tape and add some things, and the engineer would have to take the tape home at night so that Brian wouldn’t get hold of it.  This went on and on, causing Jacks to almost have a nervous breakdown, because he put so much energy into this thing and the stress really got to him.  Jacks shopped the song around to some other people and then he eventually decided to record the song himself.  Al Jardine and Carl Wilson were great, and Jacks worked with Al Jardine on the backing vocals and came up with an arrangement that he used when he recorded the song.

According to Terry Jacks, a young David Foster played a bit of piano and did some engineering on this song, his specific contributions being the piano arpeggio after the “flowers everywhere” line, and doubling the bass after the “Goodbye papa, please pray for me” line.  Link Wray supposedly played the opening electric guitar riff on this song.  Jacks didn’t think this song was going to be a hit, so he never gave himself a songwriting credit, even though he could have done that.  This song about pure heartbreak, when somebody realizes that they are going to die and would rather be alive, watching and listening to “all the birds are singing in the sky.”

Before releasing this song, Terry Jacks had considerable success in his native Canada as half of the duo The Poppy Family with his wife, Susan.  Singer, songwriter, guitarist and record producer Terry Jacks was a member of the hippie generation, who joined the Vancouver, British Columbia-based band The Chessmen as both a singer and guitarist in the mid-60s.  The group had a few minor local hits before breaking up.  Jacks subsequently met singer Susan Pesklevits and formed a duo with her called The Poppy Family.  They married and she became Susan Jacks.  With the money he made from this song, Jacks purchased a boat, which he christened “Seasons in the Sun”.  He began sailing up and down the west coast of Alaska and Canada, and had some revelations along the way, becoming a Christian and participating in a quest to protect nature.  He gave up music and became an environmental activist, fighting the Canadian paper mills, which he accused of dumping toxins and destroying forests.

But the wine and the song
Like the seasons have all gone
We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun

Who Do You Love

When it comes to magnets, the opposite poles attract, but people are much more complicated than magnets are.  I think that it all boils down to timing and being ready to take a leap of faith and share your life with somebody else.  When a person is ready to be attracted to another, they will fall for the one that they feel is the best for them, whether that person is more like them, or more different from them.  People look for others that are the same religion, or have the same political interests, or have the same hobbies, or that like the same foods.  I made up my mind to marry my wife when I found out that she didn’t like onions and we got along very well for 25 years.

Differences are also good, as these can be used to complement one another, making the whole greater than the sum of its parts.  I think that you are more likely to find someone attractive if you can agree with their opinions.  Consider the Covid vaccine, if you are vaccinated, you probably wouldn’t date someone who refuses to get the shot.  Opposites attract mostly in fantasies, but in real life, it is the things that people have in common with one another that allows them to stay together.  Is she likes watching HGTV and you enjoy Westerns, that is why households have more than one TV set, but if she likes Trump and you refuse to swallow the Big Lie, then there is no hope for you staying together as a couple?

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #128 which asks, “Do you feel that people are more attracted to one another by their differences or by their commonalities? And why do you feel that way?”

Time To Move On

I’d been planning the perfect vacation for months, but then that tramp broke up with me on a text message last night.  She is ignoring all of my calls and she won’t respond to my texts, so I have been ghosted and this is not a good feeling.  She is so immature and she has no decency, as this 3-night Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas cost me almost $500 and it is non-refundable.  Maybe I dodged a bullet, as this could have been worse, like if this crazy bitch stabbed me in the back 22 times with a butcher knife while I was sleeping.  I should probably write her a thankyou note for not killing me, or maybe I will just slap myself really hard in the face and stop trying to meet girls on Tinder.  Will you look at that, she just trashed me on all of her Social Media sites and now I have to unfollow her.

Written for Fandango’s Story Starter #4.