Help Me Rhonda

Delirious, with fever, he called out her name.  She didn’t answer, so he yelled out, “Help me Rhonda, you have always been my best friend and I can’t live without your love.  I will be alone forever, if you are not in my life with me.  Please don’t marry that jerk, as you need to guard your heart against him and watch for the red flags and don’t ignore the warnings.  You are much too trusting, and I know that he is going to hurt you.  He is a charmer and although he probably looks good on the outside, he will cause you trouble later, like he did with every other girl he was with.  Once you get to know who he really is, you will see that he is not normal.  This selfish person will ruin your life, as you will not be able to bring out the best in him, because he will never change, and he doesn’t even realize that he has flaws.”

Rhonda looked at him and said, “What are you talking about?  There is something about him that attracts me like no other and it may not be perfect for us now, but over time, things will improve, especially as we get to know each other better.  I like you, but the moment I wake up, before I put on my makeup, I say a little prayer that he will become a better person.  Signed, sealed and delivered, I’m his, as it has to be him, because I love him so.  You don’t own me, I’m not one of your toys.  You don’t own me, and you can’t tell me that I shouldn’t see other boys.  My love has come along, and my lonely days are over.”  I told her that she could go where she wanted to go and be with whoever she wanted to be with and then I assured her that he doesn’t love her like I love her.  Knowing that people tend to fall in love too quickly, and while they are in the romantic phase, they are always blind you to their partner’s imperfections, I said that she should not be like a fool that rushes into love eventually ends up finding their partner to be irritating them and driving them up a wall.  I told her, “You make my dreams come true, I only have eyes for you and God only knows what I’d be without you, woah, my love, my darling, I will always love you, but my advice is to get out now, before you are trapped with this loser, and if you don’t leave him, then stop dragging my heart around.”

Written for Michelle of Putting My Feet in the Dirt new Weekly Story Starters challenge.

Give Me Gimme Shelter

I was homeless, having just been evicted from my apartment because I lost my job and ran out of unemployment benefits, when she said, “Come in, I’ll give you shelter from the storm.”  She had just completed building her bomb shelter, so she warned me that if I came in that I better be prepared to stay.  She was certain that a nuclear explosion was coming, and she was happy that she would not be all alone in her bunker.  She said that she had room for me and all of my belongings, but I had to be prepared to stay for several months.  She had a wind generator installed, so her bomb shelter would have electricity and she had bottled water, packaged foods, emergency medicines, a hand-crank or battery-powered radio, several flashlights, and lots of extra batteries.  Since water would be scarce, she said that we would have to sponge bathe each other.  She had a composting toilet for us to poop in, but she said that it would be my job to empty it daily and place everything in another container to give it enough time to turn into true compost.  That was a dealbreaker for me and I wished her good luck, as I went to live under a bridge.

Written for Paula’s Random Friday Prompt.

It’s Driving Me Mad

1.What was the actual name of the 1960’s rock group known as “The Fab Four”?
ABBA

2. What children’s TV show was narrated by both Ringo Starr and George Carlin?
Teach Baby To Say Bad Words.

3. What was the name of Sir Paul McCartney’s band after the Beatles?
Aileron

4. What name did The Beatles go by before they became The Beatles?
They were called Toilet Out of Service, till they got John.

5. Who was “The Forgotten Beatle”?
Old Fred the pilot the Yellow Submarine.

6. How many Beatles movies are there?
Just one, as they all Come Together.

7. In relation to the other Beatles movies, what was unique about the movie, Yellow Submarine?
When they sang that song about Yoko, She’s So Heavy.

8. What exactly is, “The Butcher Cover”?
An album cover designed by Ozzy Osborne.

9. What are the flowers mentioned in the song, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” made of?
Marshmallow pies

10. Who is Billy Shears?
Edward Scissorhands

Written for Frank’s Fibbing Friday.

I Love My Shirt

I ripped my way through this yellow paper background, because I feel like singing.  It is hard to express the joy that I feel in my heart without singing and today I want to tell you all about my new shirt.  You probably think that I am a nerd because my dad cut my hair using a bowl to make it look even, but this re-born bowl cut has a fresh punk feel to it that’s perfect for showing off your modern, masculine style.  That old fashioned rule of never buttoning up the top button on your shirt unless you’re wearing a tie no longer applies as when I do things, they become cool and trendy.  Perhaps you are thinking that my arms are way to long for my shirt sleeves, but in my opinion, the vast majority of men are wearing dress shirts that are one to two sizes too large.  I have these awesome wrist tattoos and with this sleeve length, everyone can check them out all the time.

I think that these wide vertical stripes really make a statement about who I am, because they’re quite elegant.  Fashion gurus used to say that an outfit with vertical stripes appears to elongate your figure by drawing the eye up and down, thus making you appear thinner, but scientists have concluded that this is simply not true and they actually make you look fatter.  I am not trying to hide a big belly behind this yellow paper background, and I am actually wearing my skinny jeans, although you can’t see them.  I like to take my inspiration from the warm end of the spectrum, so I often dress with fiery reds, oranges, rusty tones, creams, camel, and all things that are earth tones.  My pencil mustache completes my look, as what would Clark Gable be without his mustache.

Do you have a shirt that you really love,
One that you feel so groovy in ?
You don’t even mind if it starts to fade,
That only makes it nicer still.
I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortably lovely.
I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortably lovely.
Do you have some jeans that you really love,
Ones that you feel so groovy in ?
You don’t even mind if they start to fray
That only makes them nicer still.
I love my jeans, I love my jeans,
My jeans are so comfortably lovely.
I love my jeans, I love my jeans,
My jeans are so comfortably lovely.
When they are taken to the cleaners,
I can’t wait to get them home again.
Yes, I take ‘em to the cleaners
And there they wash them in a stream,
Scrub a rub dub dub
And there they wash them in a stream –
Know what I mean.
Do you have some shoes that you really love,
Ones that you feel so flash in ?
You don’t even mind if they start to get some holes in
That only makes them nicer still.
I love my shoes, I love my shoes,
My shoes are so comfortably lovely.
I love my jeans, I love my jeans,
My jeans are so comfortably lovely.
I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
In fact I love my wardrobe.
I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortably lovely.
I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortably lovely.
I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortably lovely.
I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortably lovely.
I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortably lovely.
I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortably lovely.
I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortably lovely.
I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortably lovely.
I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortably lovely.

Written for Reena’s Xploration Challenge #213, where today she has given us the photo prompt above.

Things Ain’t What They Used to Be

Marvin Gaye wrote and recorded ‘Mercy Mercy Me’ on his 1971 album What’s Going On and it charted #4 in the USMarvin Gaye wrote this song about the environment and how we have an obligation to care for the Earth, many years before global warming became a hot topic.  This is his plea to everyone to hear mother nature’s desperate cries that it needs to be healed and a prayer to God to allow his message to reach their hearts.  Gaye got away from love ballads and explored deeper social themes, which at first didn’t sit well with Motown boss Berry Gordy, who thought these songs wouldn’t be marketable.  The song is a warning, to us, about direction that we are heading in, and although Mother Earth is forgiving our world may not be around for much longer.  The really sad part is that this song is over fifty years old, and it seems like we still haven’t learned from it, as we are making the same mistakes.

Marvin’s change in songwriting style can be traced back to a traumatic event that occurred on March 16, 1970, when Tammi Terrell, the singer’s longtime collaborator, died as the result of a brain tumor on her 25th birthday.  Her death sent shock waves through the deeply spiritual Gaye, who refused to tour for several years afterward, retreating from the limelight to examine his thoughts and feelings.  Tammi Terrell was one of the most popular singers of Motown’s early hit factory in the 1960s, and she is known for the duets she sang with close friend Marvin Gaye.  She had been involved in abusive relationships with James Brown and The Temptations lead singer David Ruffin.  On October 14, 1967, while performing ‘Your Precious Love’ with Marvin Gaye, she collapsed into his arms onstage.  Doctors diagnosed a malignant tumor on the right side of her brain, and she underwent brain surgery in early 1968.

Marvin felt that the days of clear, blue skies would become far and few between as we keep on consuming fossil fuel and belch the black smoke out into our atmosphere.  Marvin reminisces on the days of simple pleasures like seeing clear blue skies.  Marvin was ahead of his time knowing that pollution or poison as he refers to it in our skies, effects on the climate and weather and this didn’t become a serious issue till much later.  Marvin was mad at the human race for continuing to allow this to degrade our environment at an exponential rate and he thought that our values needed to be changed before things got worse.  Reports were released about Mercury getting into the blood of almost all fish, with the larger fish having absorbed all the mercury of the fish they’ve eaten.  The mercury thermometer was invented back around 1748 and it was in use everywhere, because it gave an accurate measurement of temperature, but most of the mercury emissions entered the oceans from power plants.  Many people still have mercury amalgam fillings in their teeth and it is still legal to buy mercury.  It wasn’t until 1991 that the use of mercury in paint was phased out in the US.  The mercury thermometer is going extinct and being replaced with the digital thermometer.  Mercury poisoning is particularly toxic in dolphins, which are regularly slaughtered and consumed by countries around the world, especially Japan.

Marvin mentioned radiation being underground and, in the sky, and this made him sad because animals were dying as a result of atomic bomb testing which continued for at least another 20 years.  The Soviet Union’s last nuclear test took place on October 24, 1990, the United Kingdom’s on November 26, 1991 and the United States’ last one took place on September 23, 1992.  France and China conducted their last tests in January and July 1996 respectively, before signing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  The last statement that Marvin makes in this song is about the land being overcrowded.  The song ends asking this poignant question, personifying the planet as a living being reaching its breaking point because of “abuse” suffered at the hands of man.

Woah, ah, mercy, mercy me
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows
From the north and south and east

Woah mercy, mercy me, yeah
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury

Oh Jesus, yeah, mercy, mercy me, ah
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Radiation underground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying

Hey, mercy, mercy me, oh
Hey, things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land?
How much more abuse from man can she stand?

Oh, na, na, na
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Hey, ooh, woo

Written for Thursday Inspiration #142 I’ll Take You There where the prompt word is mercy.

Thursday Inspiration #142 I’ll Take You There

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word mercy, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘I’ll Take You There’, or by going with another song by The Staple Singers, or anything else that you think fits.  The Staple Singers were a family group which included Roebuck “Pops” Staples, his son Pervis and his daughters, Cleotha, Mavis, and Yvonne.  They had a #1 hit on the Billboard R&B Singles chart and the Billboard Hot 100 chart with ‘I’ll Take You There’ in 1972 and this was written by Al Bell who was born Alvertis Isbell.  Stax Records signed a simple distribution agreement with independent giant Atlantic Records that, unknown to almost anyone at the time, gave away the rights to all of their music that was performed, recorded, licensed and distributed.  It was common in the 1950’s and 1960’s for small independent labels to sign distribution agreements with larger, more-established labels to get the music out to radio stations and music stores.  Both labels provided talented artists, but Stax provided a killer studio band Booker T & the MGs and an amazing team of writers and producers, while Atlantic provided a distribution machine that allowed hit after hit to be disseminated to every radio station and record shop.

Al Bell was a very successful black Washington DC disc jockey that started his own label Devore.  In 1965, Stewart hired Al Bell as national sales director, to join Stax as head of promotion, because of problems that Stax was having with a distribution agreement that they made with Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records.  Bell was hired to try and turn the struggling record company around, so he moved from the business side to production, and he made his biggest contribution as a producer with the Staple Singers.  He had been introduced to the group while working at KOKY in Little Rock, and Bell wrote their biggest hit, ‘I’ll Take You There’ while visiting North Little Rock for his brother Louis’s funeral.

In the summer of 1971, Mr. Bell’s younger brother Louis was murdered in Arkansas.  Louis was shot to death and Arkansas native Al spent four or five days unable to interact with relatives while coping with this loss, doing nothing but looking to find his murderer.  Right before the funeral, Al Bell said, he sat on the hood of a junked school bus that his father kept in the backyard and something happened inside of him, as this song came to him.  He didn’t feel comfortable, even with being in this familiar place, because he kept thinking about his brother, and he began to hear this music.  Bell likes to say that he did not write the song, but that it was written through him.  All he could do was cry, and then he heard, “bum, bum, bum, bum,” in his head, as a bass line came to him and then the words.  Bell recalled trying to write other verses, but he couldn’t come up with anything and since nothing worked, there was nothing left to say.  Bell brought the song to a recording session with the Staple Singers, who “took it to the next level,” with its island groove.

Mavis Staples has a different recollection of how this song was written, as she said that this was a collaborative effort where she was working out the lyrics with Bell on the living room floor of her condo in Chicago when a neighbor complained they were making too much noise.  The Muscle Shoals rhythm section says the arrangement was developed from scratch in the recording studio, with a little help on the opening coming from an obscure Jamaican instrumental reggae tune by Harry J All Stars called ‘The Liquidator’ about an assassin.

The Staple Singers were among the first groups to move from gospel to inspirational soul music.  In 1968, the Staples signed with Memphis-based Stax and their first two albums were produced by Steve Cropper and backed by Booker T. & the MG’s, but this album Be Altitude: Respect Yourself, Al Bell took the group down the road to Muscle Shoals, where things got decidedly funky as they were working with The Swampers.  ‘I’ll Take You There’ features lead singer Mavis Staples inviting her listeners to seek Heaven, a place where nobody is crying, and no one is worried.  The song was almost completely unrehearsed, and most of the lines that Mavis made up came from inside of her.

Help me now
(I’ll take you there)
Oh!
(I’ll take you there)
Oh! Oh! Mercy!

I Had Many Jobs

I can’t even list all the jobs that I had, but I wore many hats when I was still working.  I read that the average person will have 12 different jobs during the course of their lifetime, well I shattered that curve, as I had 17 jobs before I ended High School.  My first job was working as a solicitor, I walked around the neighborhood selling seeds (vegetables and flowers) door to door that would be delivered through the mail.  The company gave me some sample packets of seeds and a catalog that the potential customers could browse through and then order.  It wasn’t a bad job, but eventually you would exhaust the supply of relatives and neighbors and then the job ends.

I lived in Milwaukee when I was young and I made money shoveling driveways, which was not steady work, but Milwaukee does get a lot of snow.  I had a lemonade stand and I raked leaves for money in the autumn.  I also made money cutting lawns and my dad also paid me to help paint the house.  I had a paper route, but I spent all my money on the ice cream truck.  I worked as a pet sitter and a dog walker.  In High School, I got a job working as a busboy in a restaurant and then I worked as a bagger for a grocery store.  I worked at the country club as a golf caddy and also as a valet parking attendant.  My older sister paid me to watch her boys, but I was like the worst babysitter ever.  I worked at a car wash and I also worked on a garbage truck.  My dad paid me to be his helper when he got jobs to install antennas.

After High School, I got a job as a furniture mover working for a moving company.  I worked as a janitor, cleaning office buildings.  I had a job as a vacuum cleaner salesperson.  I worked in a carpentry shop and I worked in a machine shop making rollers for the newspaper printing industry.  I had a job that required me to assemble a crew of boys and canvas different neighborhoods for newspaper sales.  I worked as a swimming pool installer and I also worked as a landscaper.  I worked as an order filling clerk in a company that sold legal supplies.  I worked in a plumbing warehouse and in a steel mill.  I worked as a mixer in a place that made frozen cheesecakes.  I worked in a factory making roof trusses.  I worked in a cosmetics warehouse and I worked on the receiving dock at a shipping company.  I worked as a stacker in a factory that made clay targets that people use for shooting practice.  I worked as a helper in a panel shop that required me to do many different things, like degreasing panels with this nasty stuff called panther piss, helping the painter, the carpenter, the wiring technicians, driving the truck for deliveries, but basically just being the gopher.  I spent a lot of time hoping around from job to job till I finally matriculated 7 years later after getting out of High School.

After graduating college, I had at least 30 different jobs, but most of my time I worked as a consultant, so I often had 3 to 4 different jobs in a year.  The job titles that I held don’t fully describe what I did there, or what kind of companies I worked for.  Once I had my associates degree in Electrical Engineering, I started out as a drafter not knowing much, but learning how things are done.  My next job, I was called an electrical designer, which was a step up from being a drafter.  The drafter was basically told what to do, but the designer was in charge of identifying and organizing how electrical drawings were being produced and in order to do this job, so you had to understand relay logic and be familiar with power distribution.  I had some understanding of the relevant standards, including an introduction to the National Electric Code (NEC), so the equipment could be designed safely and this is where I first worked with Computer Aided Design (CAD).  This job was basically working with temperature controls, but there were also some actuators involved in this system.  My next job was also working with temperature controls for hydrogen furnaces.

When I got my fourth engineering job, I was an experienced designer understanding how all of the equipment worked together in a system.  I knew what the components looked like and singe I was good at investigating which parts were tied together, I was assigned to do a lot of reverse engineering on existing systems that lacked documentation.  This company had rooms full of equipment that they needed to keep running, but because of the poor or total lack of electrical schematics on these systems, it made maintenance a nightmare.  I had to reach into control panels to find out which wires were connected to what items and basically crawl around everything, till I could produce the necessary control system documentation.  During this time, I went back for my bachelor’s degree at nights, and then they gave me a raise.

Working as a consultant, requires you to be an expert on day one when you start a new job, as you are hired for a specific job and there will not be any training for you.  After working for this medical device manufacturer, I got another job working with a company that made several kinds of weird products and one of these produced an electrical charge that removed barnacles from the bottoms of ships.  The other products were also a bit strange, but they involved equipment for the water treatment industry.  I then got a job that involved mixing rubber for the tire industry.  I worked with weighing equipment, blending and material handling conveyors.  The next job I got was working in the quarry industry creating one-line diagrams for motor controls that were mostly conveyor systems, but I also helped to design a lime kiln and a crusher.

In my next job as an electrical controls system engineer, I worked in the Liquid Crystal Display manufacturing market on prototype machinery for this assembly line in a clean room.  The system had just become operational when I got this job, but it broke down often and I was there to tweak it when necessary.  Several different Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC’s) were tied together on a Data Highway and working in conjunction with a Wonderware SCADA system and there were several other operator interfaces tied into this system along with some stepper and servo motors.

In my next job, I worked as an instrument engineer creating installation drawings that showed how all different types of instruments were to be mounted and connected.  In the following job, I worked on gas-fired batch annealing furnace projects for the Steel industry.  In my next job I worked on several ion exchange membrane water treatment projects.  In my next position, I worked as an instrument engineer again on a pharmaceutical project where I worked with the Process and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&ID’s) incorporating interlocks to meet designed control system specifications.  My next job as a controls system engineer involved a lot of travel and they sent me to South America, Europe and different parts of the US to program their machinery, which included tobacco drying ovens and thermal oxidizers.  I am certain that this post became too long and that I have lost every one of my readers talking about my career, but I am retired now and I have never held a job for more than three years.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #152 which asks, “What do you do for a living?  If you are retired, what did you do before you retired?  If you’re currently unemployed, what did you do before becoming unemployed?

Everyone Must Get Stoned

The three sisters Meehni, Wimlah, and Gunnedoo went out for a walk on a beautiful day and Meehni the oldest started snapping her fingers and shuffling her feet, while singing, “Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do” and the other two joined in.  Their father was a powerful witchdoctor named Tyawan who was the leader of the Katoomba tribe that lived in the Jamison Valley and he had his hands full with tribal affairs, as they were having problems with the neighboring Nepean tribe who would attack their village for no apparent reason and rape their women.  Tyawan was a single father after his wife was raped and killed by some men from the Nepean tribe and there was nothing that could prepare him for the specific situations that would arise with his daughters over the years.

Tyawan wanted his daughters to be free and happy and to have fun without having to fear the neighboring tribe, but because many of the young men in his tribe had been killed in the last war against the Nepean tribe, he worried that they would have trouble finding husbands.  The witchdoctor found a bunyip lurking in a shallow billabong waiting for its next meal and he was able to cast a spell over this most feared creature in the land.  Tyawan had total control over the bunyip and he made the monster watch over his girls.  The bunyip looked like a giant wombat, this marsupial was as big as a bear and many people believed that these creatures were extinct.  The Outback was a scarry enough place on its own, but nobody in their right mind wanted to get close to a Bunyip, as it was thought to be an evil spirit or the devil himself.

The three sisters felt safe with the bunyip being their guardian, but the creature smelled like a rotting fish, so they would walk far ahead of it and sometimes they would try to ditch it.  This particular day the girls had gotten away from the creature and stumbled upon three boys from the Nepean tribe bathing nude in a water hole.  Meehni looked at her two younger sisters and said, “Doesn’t that look inviting?  We should join them as this could be our only chance at getting husbands.”  Meehni stripped her clothes off, but her sisters were shy and they just stood there.  Meehni told Wimlah, and Gunnedoo that they had both reached puberty and that this is what they were supposed to do, so after a little more hesitation they took off all of their clothes to join their sister completely naked.  They were all staring at each other till Meehni told her sisters how beautiful they looked, which made them feel better about their bodies and gave them the encouragement to be comfortable and confident enough to go down to meet the boys.

As the three naked sisters approached the water hole, the bunyip jumped out of the bushes and devoured the three boys.  The boys turned out to be brothers and their father was also a powerful witchdoctor who took vengeance when he found out what happened, by transforming the three sisters into stone monuments.  The three sisters had to be stoned and remain as the large rock formations for all eternity, never to be human again.  The bunyip was never seen again.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Photo Challenge #398, hosted by weejars aka Sarah where today she is using her own photo.

Magical Arts Based on Nature

The Druid prophecy which was thought to be predestination, said that she would reach the sky, but things didn’t work out they way she thought they would, and now she is in a limbo state between being a girl and being part of a tree.  She didn’t believe in magic, but seeing herself in this transformed situation has reinforced her trust in the old ways and now she realizes that she must fulfill the prophecy so that she can go back to her normal life again.  This prophecy stated that she had risk death by jumping off a cliff covered in feathers in an attempt to fly.  As she jumped, she sang, “Feathered birds fly when they are protected by the gods, there is a chance I will die, but I also could fly, what are the odds?”

Written for Stine Writing – Poetry, Positivity, and Connecting!, Simply 6 Minutes hosted by Christine Bialczak.

Justice

When Frank turned the TV that night and saw the lead story on the late news, he knew that… the defeated ex-President Donald Trump was going to an insane asylum.  The prosecution made their case against him with very strong evidence about his crimes, but he broke down in court crying, “I won, I always win and it is impossible for me to lose, so the election was stolen”.  The judge knew that once he was confined in mental health institution, that he would remain incarcerated for a longer period of time, than if he had been found guilty and sentenced to a term in prison.  The judge saw Trump as a very bad man, rotten to the core with an evil spirit that made him unstable.  The humiliation of him being declared insane will force him to live the rest of his life completely alone in a federal mental hospital.  Gone are the days when Kevin McCarthy would stop by to kiss his ring, as Trump had to hock his ring to pay for his legal battles and he is still a billion dollars in debt.

Written for Fandango’s Story Starter #28.