Coping With Covid

Alisha lost her twin brother Alex to the pandemic and she hasn’t been able to understand why he is not around anymore.  Her parents tried everything to help their little girl deal with her pain, but they were suffering also.  Mourning the loss of a loved one is something that must be done before life can have a chance of returning to normal, but sometimes grief can linger for years and leave permanent scars that change you forever.  The funeral service for Alex was lovely, but he has been deceased for 3 months now and Alisha is far from returning back to normal, sitting in her room all day long alone crying and suffering from depression because her brother is gone forever.  She won’t go to school and the therapy that she is in, does not seem to be helping.

What to do was all her parents thought about.  Making Alisha all of her favorite meals and constantly giving her hugs and telling her how much they loved her, did take her mind off the tragedy for a few moments at a time, but she always sank back into depression and now her parents were considering having their daughter medicated, like one doctor suggested they do.  If only they could bring Alex back to life, they knew this would help their little girl, but they were not miracle workers.  Today was Alisha’s and Alex’s birthday and there would be no party today, they would give Alisha presents, but they thought that she might not even play with them.

Her mom was an artist and she got some chalk and told Alishia that her brother was out in the driveway waiting for her to wish her a happy birthday.  Alishia was all excited and she ran outside to the driveway where she saw her brother laying down and she kissed him and withed him a happy birthday and then she laid next to him and told him how much she missed him.  Alisha’s parents were so happy seeing their daughter talking again and they knew that she was going to be alright.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #139.

Porcupine Abyssal Plain

What is the scariest game (board or on-line) you ever may have played?
Since some people find love on-line and others consider this to be a game, I would have to go with love as being the scariest game ever.  Love should not be a game, but people don’t want to get hurt, so they hide their feelings to help them from becoming vulnerable and by playing this game, it helps them to cope.  It is scary to reveal your love to another and it is not easy being the first one to say, “I love you” to your partner, as this puts all of your cards down on the table, making you susceptible, exposed, defenseless and helpless.

What’s just ‘over the rainbow” for you?
I do buy lotter tickets and I hope that one day a pot of gold is waiting for me, buy I suspect that there is something a lot darker out there waiting to bite me on my ass.

Do you have to watch something upbeat after watching a suspense or horror movie so you can go to sleep?
Nope, I always sleep well.  I put my sleep mask on and turn on my machine and I am off to dreamland in no time at all.

Is there intent behind every action?
Are you looking for the Newtonian answer to this question, like there being and equal and opposite reaction, or is this about some people being sneaky?   I do judge people by their intent and that is how I always get excused from jury duty, as I tell the lawyers that I know the person is guilty just by looking at them and then I am excused.  If that doesn’t work, I have some other tricks.

Gratitude
I ordered a new laptop and I am happy that it will arrive soon.

Written for Melanie’s sparksfromacombustiblemind’s Share Your World, but don’t ask me why I came up with this title.

Food For the Gods

Ambrosia with its heavenly taste was considered the food of the Olympian gods, and they drank nectar, but basically, they were the same thing.  It was thought that the gods needed to eat ambrosia and drink nectar to maintain their immortality and that anyone who would consume this would become immortal for a while.  Whoever consumed ambrosia would no longer have blood flowing in their veins, instead the rarefied golden fluid called ichor, which is the substance that would make them immortal.  In order to live or exist, everything needs sustenance, as nourishment supplies the necessities of life.  For people to understand the gods, they had to be like us in certain ways, so it was decided that they needed to eat and drink, but since they were different from us, they would not eat or drink the same stuff that mortals did.  Dining is the principal expression of social harmony, and this was central men and gods, but the gods considered mortal food to be beneath their dignity.

Certain foods can be named ambrosia and nectar, but since the gods were not real, there is no such thing as ambrosia or nectar and I think the closest thing that we have today to compare with them would be donuts and coffee.  Some people won’t eat donuts, saying that they are loaded with sugar and trans fats, but me being a realist, I never turn down the opportunity to snag a free donut, especially when they are given away at meetings.  I always felt that any meeting held that didn’t serve donuts was not worth attending.  People say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and nothing makes a simpler breakfast than donuts and coffee.  People associate donuts with empty calories, because they have little to no nutritional value, but even though they don’t contain vitamins, minerals, protein, or fiber, they can supply your body with energy to make it through the morning.  As a type 2 diabetic, I need to consume carbohydrates and my aim is to aim to get about half of my calories from carbs, which donuts are loaded with, so I refer to them as food for the gods.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #103.

Rainy Days and Mondays

Some people hate when it rains and others love it, the ones that feel angry on days that have more precipitation, will feel sadness or lower self-esteem when it’s rainy outside.  On days where the Sun is not shining and it is dark and dreary out, some people are definitely more susceptible to feeling lonely or down and like Bill Withers said. “Ain’t no sunshine when you’re gone.”  Rainy weather can make a person lethargic, where they just want to crawl back into bed and get under the covers and chalk the day off as a lost cause.  With that said, does good writing have to evoke feelings inside the reader’s mind, so that they don’t just know that it is raining, they actually feel like they are being rained upon?

I guess you could define good writing this way, but this is only one tiny aspect of good writing, as that is a much bigger topic.  If the writer is able to trigger the reader’s emotions and make them feel or experience something, that has to be considered as good writing, because the writer connected with their audience and that is the whole purpose of communication.  If your writing is relatable and the reader can sense a real-life experience by reading it, that will allow the writer to make their point and it should keep the reader intrigued to see what else they have to say.  Creative writing is not easy, but it starts with knowing and understanding what your wants.  People read so they can have their own experience, so the writer must create a series of effects to facilitate and enhance this experience that their reader is looking to consume.  Readers want to be touched and moved and sometimes they want to step into other worlds created by the writer and be subjected to the unknown.  If a reader is able to immerse themselves into a fictional world that feels authentic to them for a few hours, then that constitutes good writing.

Let’s go back to the rain and discuss if it is possible to make a reader actually feel the rain.  Readers are looking for action in stories, so you can’t just say that it is raining, you have to state that your character trembled from the cold rain, that a shiver ran down her spine as she inhaled only a shallow breath and then struggled for another.  Readers will only relate to your characters emotions, if they are able to understand who your character is and why they are doing certain things.  Poor writing will come across like it is a weather report to the reader, so your writing must be infused with symbolism to give it meaning.  If the writer knows how to set the mood and tone for a story, this will allow the reader to change how they feel about their surroundings.  A good writer has to steer and guide their readers by giving them hints about what is going to happen.  The story should always be under the control of the writer, and the emotions of the reader can be effectively evoked by trickery, when the readers aren’t noticing that they are being manipulated.  People will reread the same stories, not because they don’t know what is going to happen, but because they became transcended in the wonder and awe of a story that made them feel something and that is the magic of writing.

Written for Blogging Insights New Format #13 by Dr. Tanya where she asked us to comment on the idea that, “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader – not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”

Shining Star

‘Shining Star’ was written by Leo Graham and Paul Richmond and recorded by The Manhattans in 1980 on their album After Midnight and the single peaked at #4 on the US Billboard R&B chart, and #5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.  The Manhattans were a classic R&B vocal group that were named after the cocktail not the nearby island and they won a Grammy in 1980 for this song.  They were originally from Jersey City, New Jersey and formed in 1962 as a doo wop-influenced R&B quintet, and then reinvented themselves as sweet smooth soul balladeers during the ‘70s and because they were able to adapt their style to fit changing times, this allowed them to achieve incredible longevity with their career.  ‘Shining Star’ is a sweet slice of Philly soul, with lush string arrangements, punchy horns, organ, and funky bass lines.  There is another song that is also named ‘Shining Star’ which was a #1 hit for Earth, Wind & Fire with Maurice White singing lead and backing vocals, but this is an entirely different song.

Shining Star is the name of the fourth live album, and fifth album overall, by the Jerry Garcia Band and it is comprised entirely of cover tunes.  It is a double CD containing 15 songs and the first one is ‘Shining Star’.  These songs were all recorded at various concerts from 1989 to 1993 and released in 2001.  The Jerry Garcia Band version of this song is much longer than the one previously released by The Manhattans.  Other musicians on this album are John Kahn playing electric bass, David Kemper on drums, Melvin Seals on keyboards, and organ and Gloria Jones and Jackie LaBranch singing background vocals.  The Jerry Garcia Band was intermittently active touring and recording regularly throughout its twenty-year sporadic existence from 1975–1995, usually during breaks in the Grateful Dead’s schedule.  They played blues, R&B, rock, pop and gospel tunes

In this song, a man tells his woman that she is his shining star and he wants to be with her forever.  He cares about her greatly and the love that they share together.  He is telling her that she is his light and hope in life and that he is under her spell being completely hypnotized by her.  All he cares about is loving her and he has no interest in anyone else.  He tells her not to leave him because he feels so good with her in his life.  He wants to love her for all eternity and when they touch each other, he loves her even more.  This may be the perfect song to tell someone that you truly love them and want to be near them till the end of time, so you can treat them with kindness and respect, while being passionate.  This is an ode to love and it is filled with heartfelt and joyous emotions.

Ooh, yeah

Honey, you are my shining star
Don’t you go away, oh, baby
Wanna be right here where you are
Until my dying day, yeah, baby

So many have tried
Tried to find a love like yours and mine, yeah, baby
Girl, don’t you realize how you hypnotize?
Make me love you more each time, yeah, baby

Honey, I’ll never leave you lonely (yeah)
Give my love, all to you only
To you only, to you only

Honey, you are my shining star
Don’t you go away, no, baby
Wanna be right here, where you are
Until my dying day, yeah, baby

Feel so good when we’re lying here next to each other
Lost in love, yeah, baby
Baby when we touch, I love you so much
You’re all I have with me now, yeah, baby

Honey, I’ll never leave you lonely (will)
Give my love to you only
To you only, to you only

Honey, you are my shining star
Don’t you go away girl, no, baby
Wanna be right here where you are
Until my dying day

Honey, you are my shining star
Don’t you go away, (ooh, ooh)
Honey, you are my shining star
Don’t you go away
Honey, you (are my shining star)
(Don’t you go away)
Honey, you (are my shining star)
(Don’t you go away)
Honey, you (are my shining star)
(Don’t you go away)
Honey, you (are my shining star)
(Don’t you go away)
Honey, you are my shining star
Don’t you go away (ooh, ooh), oh no

Honey, I’ll never leave you lonely (oh)
Give my love to you only
To you only, to you only

Honey, you (are my shining star)
Don’t you go away

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the theme is Heavenly Bodies, Planets, Moon, Sun, Stars suggested by King Ben’s Grandma.

Celestial

Many objects are located in outer space and some of these can be observed by astronomers and the resulting data can be analyzed using basic principles of physics.  The universe is vast, but the afterglow from the Big Bang can be captured by satellites.  In the 1943 Romance film The Heavenly Body which starred William Powell and Hedy Lamarr, an astronomer is hot on the trail of a comet which he just discovered, but his wife feels neglected, so she becomes engaged in astrology to see if she can truly be happy with her husband.  The stars tell her that she will have a new man in her life, which suddenly looks more likely when her husband leaves the house, angry that his wife believes in astrology.  Many people thought that Hedy Lamarr was way to dazzling beautiful to come up with the idea of frequency hopping, a way of jumping around on radio frequencies in order to avoid a third party jamming your signal.  Lamarr invented this technology in the 1940s for use as a secret wartime communication system that could keep the enemy from interfering with a ship’s torpedoes and although it was never used in WW2, this emerged as a way of secretly communicating on all of today’s gadgets like Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth.

Last week we had Laundry where you were supposed to find songs where somebody is having sex, or talking about it, insinuating sex, or hinting about sex.  This week the theme is Heavenly Bodies, Planets, Moon, Sun, Stars suggested by King Ben’s Grandma.  Take some time to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this music challenge, and even better, read as many of them as you are able to as you will probably find many enjoyable songs and it is quite possibly that you will learn a thing or two.  Share your music with others and post a video, try do some research and let everyone know something about the song that you post.  Tell everyone why you like the song, whether it was a hit, or what you think the song is about.  Show the lyrics, let’s all listen to our favorite songs and explore some new music.  Try to find a song that fits the theme, then write your post and create a pingback, or you can just place your link in the comments section.

Here are the “rules”:
• Try to use the prompt words or at least conform to a general theme, as you see it.  If the song you select does not meet the criteria, then please explain why you chose this song.
• It would be good if you could post the lyrics to the song of your choice, as this is helpful for the people that want to follow along with the music.
• Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due. It would also be a good idea to give credit to the singer and the band associated with your song.
• Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be, but please try not to include too many videos as that just makes it take longer to look at all of the other posts.
• Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
• Ping back to this post or place your link in the comments section below.
• Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
• Feel free to suggest future prompts.
• Have fun and enjoy the music.

I am writing about the song ‘Shining Star’ by The Manhattans and it was also done by the Jerry Garcia Band today.  Next week, I will be writing about the Chuck Berry song ‘The Promised Land’.  The upcoming prompts will be:
October 17, 2021 – Communication, Information, News, Telephone suggested by Di of pensitivity101
October 24, 2021 – Atoll, Island, Key, Lagoon, Peninsula, Reef, Tropical suggested by Tales from the mind of Kristian
October 31, 2021 – Songs that feature wind instruments which includes Brass instruments (horns, trumpets, trombones, euphoniums, and tubas) and Woodwind instruments (recorders, flutes, oboes, clarinets, saxophones, and bassoons) suggested by Maggie From Cave Walls
November 7, 2021 – Past, Present, Future

How Much is a Lid?

I remember buying nickel bags and dime bags of weed when I was in High School, because I was not able to scrape up $40 to buy a whole ounce, which was also called a lid back then.  A nickel bag was less than an eighth of an ounce and it only cost $5, but it was usually loaded with sticks and seeds, which you can’t smoke, well at least I didn’t.  An ounce of pot was also called a four-finger bag, as people would hold up the bag and judge the amount in it by placing their fingers next to the bag to see how tall it was compared to your fingers and if it didn’t measure up to four-fingers, then you were shorted.  No one actually weighed the pot that they bought, it was all done by eye.  A kilo of pot, later called a key came in a brick, marijuana that was packed tightly together for smuggling purposes, and before my time, pot was measured out and sold in Prince Albert tobacco cans that had a lid on them and the lid became an ounce.  After I got out of High School, I had a much better connection, who had really good stuff and I bought in greater quantiles then, like quarter pounds and pounds of weed.

My friend lived in Greenwich Village and he knew this guy who was a writer for High Times Magazine, so he had to write reviews on all different types of pot.  In order to write about it, he had to try it and he had all different types of cannabis and sativa, which he gave to my friend to sell.  Most of the marijuana was green, but he had black, red, orange, purple, yellow and gold and a lot of them had names like Skunk, Kush, Wacky weed and he also had Thai Stick every now and then.  I had my own scale, so I could break down the pounds into ounces, but my particular skill was being able to roll the perfect joint.  When we went to my friend’s apartment in Greenwich Village, he would always hand me a bag of weed, like an ounce and tell me to roll it up.  I could get 50 nice size joints out of an ounce, so this was an all-night effort for me.

First you have to clean the weed, which means getting rid of all of the sticks and seeds, so the joint will burn properly.  You need the right touch for this and many armatures would grind the weed into powder, which would make the joint snake down one side, so you need to be careful when you are breaking up the buds.  You have to crush them gently between your fingers and I would pull the buds apart, which leaves you fingers very sticky, that is if it is good weed loaded with resin.  This may be where the Rolling Stones got that name for their 1971 album, but with that working zipper on the cover, it probably has a sexual meaning.  It is an art form tearing buds into the right size pieces, so that they maintain a certain consistency, (small enough to be rolled without ripping the paper and not ground down into powder) and this only comes with practice and patience.  I am a two-handed steam roller, so I need a surface to roll a joint on, although some people can do this with just one hand and no surface, which always amazed me.  Back in the day, I guess I was pretty much of a wild child, but somehow, I managed to live beyond the age of 27.

Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt is lid.

Keepers of the Golden Flame

The sacred fire of the goddess Vesta was always tended to by the Vestal Virgins and they would be punished if it ever went out.  They lived privileged lives, being transported through the streets to special events in covered carriages accompanied by guards to protect them.  They took a vow of chastity and they were considered to hold the luck of Rome.  Vesta’s symbol was the sacred eternal flame and she was not only associated with the hearth, but also with the home.  She was the domestic goddess who was responsible for the knowledge of building houses, which were designed around the hearth.  Houses arose as shelters for fire, which was more crucial to life than having a roof, because the fireplace formed the heart of a home’s interior.  Romans thought that the flame had to be treated with respect and it must be guarded by and dedicated to the gods.

The goddess Vesta was the gentlest of all the gods, she protected the earth, and she was a guardian of the Roman people.  Vesta represents the life force of the earth, and she has an invisible presence in every family hearth as all household hearths are considered to be shrines to Vesta.  She is the spirit of fire, because she provided heat and light to every household and she allowed the minds of all the citizens to relax so they could imagine and dream.  The worship of Vesta exhibits the best side of Rome, as in this, good manners, a love of home, respect for family life and a desire to remain sexually pure and uncorrupted was found.  Vesta is the flame and she consumes everything, so nothing can be born of her.  She only allows chaste hands to touch her sacred relics, so virgin servants are the only ones allowed to keep the living flame in her temple.  She is sacred to women and is a protector of marriage.  This goddess of the hearth, and fire, was also the guardian of virginity.

Saturn and Ops decided to have children, but Saturn knew of this prophecy that said one of his children would overthrow him, so he had to take drastic measures to prevent that.  To accomplish this, he swallowed each of his children whole, just after they were born.  Fearing his destiny, Saturn opened his immense mouth and swallowed his new-born children in one gulp, thinking that this would let him rule forever.  His first five children were Vesta, Ceres, Juno, Pluto, and Neptune.  Vesta was trapped inside the stomach of her father Saturn, and she always regarded her younger siblings as being her wards, so she saw to their well-being as best she could.  Vesta was not happy being inside her dad’s stomach, so she made herself turn into a flame and she exuded hydrochloric acid, which helped to digest the food that her father ate and it also killed any surrounding bacteria which protected her siblings.  This caused her father to experience a painful burning feeling of indigestion after each meal that he consumed.  Her brothers and sisters that were swallowed after her, did not like the fiery symptoms that she produced, but since she was the first child inside, she made all the rules.

The Vestal Virgins would recite this poem every day when they woke up.
We are the keepers of your sacred flame.
If it ever goes out, we are the ones to blame.
We keep your fire for the sake of Rome.
We live in your Temple and call it our home.
The glowing embers in your holy hearth shine brightly through the night.
You watch over your priestesses assuring us that everything will be alright.
The smell of your sacred fire, gets in our hair.
Tomorrow we will wash it, as we say a prayer.
The heat from your fire warms our bodies and makes us feel at peace.
As long as we are here in your temple, your fire will never cease.
We are mystified at your swirling smoke rising up through the roof.
We will do anything for you goddess Vesta, our hearts are our proof.
Our life here in your temple is good, but we still have much to learn.
We make your cakes and tend your fire, as long as there is wood to burn.

Written for Paula’s Paint Chip Friday challenge #7 where today we are supposed to derive inspiration from Valspar’s “golden flame” and/or “autumn fire”.

Book Titles

1.A Tale of Two Cities
This is about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

2. Pride and Prejudice
This is a book that contains dating tips.

3. Little Women
This is about a priest, a rabbi and a minister that walk into a bar.

4. The Carpetbaggers
This is about the NY Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter.

5. What Katy Did Next
This is about a florist that specialized in arranging Katydidit flowers.

6. Dune
This is about David Bowie’s first wife Angie.

7. Cider with Rosie
This is about all the wild adventures that Rosie had after drinking the cider.

8. Far from the Madding Crowd
This is about Trump staying away from the insurrectionists on January Sixth.

9. Jaws
This is about James Bond’s nemesis.

10. The Lord of the Rings
This is about a guy who had 9 wives.

Written for Di’s Fibbing Friday.

High School Memories

Who was your favorite teacher?
I had some teachers that I liked, but most of them I can’t remember their names.  My homeroom teacher Miss Walker was the best-looking teacher in my High School and she also taught typing, so I signed up for that, but I never really paid attention in class.  I think I was able to type 20 words a minute and little did I know how much typing I would end up doing later on in life.

What about your worst?
There was a gym teacher Mr. Demage, although I called him Mr. Damage that scarred the crap out of me, although he was never my teacher.  One day in lunch where he was a monitor, he saw me shooting spitballs out of a straw and he picked me up out of my chair by the back of my neck and threw me across the floor and told me to never come back to his cafeteria again.  I had to go out for lunch after that.

Were you a member of any clubs?
Nope.

Did you attend homecoming or the prom?
I went to both my Junior and Senior proms.  Our school held a bonfire for homecoming and I went to some of those also.

What was your favorite subject?
I went to school with the intention of having fun, so I basically liked all of my subjects, although I was never a good student.

Were you the perfect student or a troublemaker?
I was far from perfect and I got into my share of trouble.  I enjoyed saying things that made the other students laugh and I guess some teachers may have thought that I was trouble, as I was sent to the principal’s office several times for disrupting the class.  I had a lot of detention and that never bothered me, as I considered it to be a badge of honor.  At one time, I had more detention than any other kid in school and there were some really bad kids in my school.  Most of the detention that I received was for not wearing socks, which I thought was a stupid rule, so I never wore any socks to protest that.

What clothes were in style when you were in school?
My school had 4 different classifications of dress and one of these styles was the dweebs who would be called nerds today and they were just out of it, having no real style except that they were very uncool.  Collegiates were kids that wore shorts with collars that were tucked into their dress pants and most of these kids were planning on going to college.  Greasers were kids that wore shiny pointed shoes and they slicked back their hair and looked like Arthur Fonzarelli from Happy Days.  I was a bagger and this was a casual look where I wore jeans and penny loafers, but I didn’t stick pennies in my shoes.

How did you get to school? Bus, walk, drive?
Before I got my driver’s license, I took the bus to school.  Not a school bus, the city bus which was called the 20 bus and it stopped just down the street from where I lived and it also stopped in front of the High School.

Any extracurricular activities?
I tried out for the golf team but I never made it, but my town was renowned for its golfers and they were State champs several times.  I went on the Senior trip up to the Poconos and I was the campaign manager for a guy who was running for class president, so I had to go on stage in the assembly to tell all the students to vote for him.  I acted in the Senior play and I played the part of Lou Martin in the play Up the Down Staircase.  My role was easy for me as I was there to disrupt the class, something that I was very good at.  I had several lines where I talked about dropping out od school and I was in the curtain closer scene.  At the end of the play, the teacher was calling attendance for the new semester and she said, “Lou Martin” several times before I entered the class and jumped up on her desk and said, “I’m Back”.  I actually made that line famous before Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he would be back.

What did you do for lunch?
Once I was tossed out of the cafeteria, I had to eat lunch outside which meant I could go to the Dutch Hut which was a hamburger joint, the pizza parlor which I just talked about the other day, or the A&P and get a submarine sandwich there.

Did you attend football games or other sports?
I went to watch the football games and the basketball games and I also saw some of the wrestling matches.

Did you attend school when corporal punishment was applied?
Other that that mentally disturbed gym teacher that threw me on the floor, no other teacher ever touched me.  However, I went to Catholic grammar school and I got hit with the yardstick by the nun who taught Math.

Have a school photo you wish to share?
Here is a picture of me in the play and also my senior photo.

Written for Throwback Thursday #7 which is hosted by Lauren and Maggie and this week it is Maggie’s turn and her topic is School Memories.