Finding More Happiness

It is thought that happiness comes from three things, those being genetics, circumstances, and values, but I think of it as more of a personal choice where we can all decide if we want to be happy or not in life.  Different things will make different people happy, whether that involves having money, or spending time with their loved ones, first we have to figure out how pleasure works.  Dopamine is most notably involved in helping us feel pleasure as part of the brain’s reward system.  Having sex, going shopping, or smelling cookies that are baking in the oven can all trigger a dopamine release, or a dopamine rush.  This feel-good neurotransmitter is also involved in reinforcement.  Neurons in the region at the base of the brain produce dopamine communicating messages between nerve cells in your brain and your brain and the rest of your body.

American ideals include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, because this was written in the Declaration of Independence.  Happiness can only be found if you are looking for it in the right place and we don’t become fundamentally different people when we are happy.  To find true happiness, you must accept that you are not perfect, because everyone makes mistakes and it is impossible to achieve true perfection.  You can become genuinely content by developing a good attitude about life, which means that you need to accept your current job, accept the way you look, accept your family, accept your friends, your home, your car, and all the material things you now have.  Stop comparing yourself to others, and don’t think about yourself as being a failure, or being unlucky.  Try to make decisions and not second guess them later, questioning if you did the right thing or not in that particular situation, or not.  Think positive, go with the flow as life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes, and you shouldn’t try to resist them as that will only create sorrow,

Written for Reena’s Xploration Challenge 273, where today she gave us a video on how to focus on happiness.

Frog Croaking

‘Peace Frog’ was recorded on the Doors 1970 fifth studio album Morrison Hotel.  This song was written in the studio, after Robbie Krieger came up with what would be the opening guitar riff, that sounded like a frog croaking.  The lyrics are based on some of Jim Morrison’s poems that were titled “Abortions Stories”, “Dawn’s Highway” and “Newborn Awakening” and although may allude to abortion with all of the blood, it is not an anti-abortion song as it never mentions that, and it is more of an autobiographical reference to his life.  The Indians are a recurring theme for Morrison.  When he was a small child, his parents and he, were traveling and came upon a horrific automobile accident, the occupants were Indians.  Morrison felt that the ghosts of those Indians took up residence in his soul.  The lyrics that reference Chicago, “Blood on the streets, in the town of Chicago” may come from the 1968 democrat party convention/Klan rally, held in Chicago, where massive riots broke out, but others feel this is about the time when The Doors played The Coliseum in Chicago.  Jim was angry and frustrated with the way the policemen were treating the audience, so he began writhing, leaping, sliding along the floor and placing maracas into his trousers.  The crowd of around 4,000 was quickly incensed and rushed forward, eventually destroying the stage and clashing with police.

“Blood in the streets in the town of New Haven” refers to a 1967 incident in New Haven, Ct where The Doors were playing a concert.  Before the show, Morrison was backstage on a bench, with a groupie, making out, when a cop came busting through the door wanting to know what they were doing.  Morrison replied, “Nothing”, and the cop responded by pulling out a can of mace and spraying it in Jim’s eyes, blinding him for about 30 minutes.  After recovering, the show started, with an agitated Morrison going after the cops, telling fans what had happened.  The cops then rushed the stage and arrested Morrison, right in the middle of the show.

Jim Morrison was a left-wing liberal who thought that politics is nothing more than the search of certain individuals for private power.  Jim was not against abortion, as he was a sex addict that slept with many women and a lot of them did have abortions.  Along with the blood and violence in this song, Jim puts in a tiny bit of mystery and love into it with the lines, “She came, she came, she came, think about the break of day.  She came and then she drove away, sunlight in her hair.”

There’s blood in the streets, it’s up to my ankles (she came)
Blood in the streets, it’s up to my knee (she came)
Blood in the streets, the town of Chicago (she came)
Blood on the rise, it’s following me
Think about the break of day

She came and then she drove away
Sunlight in her hair

Blood in the streets turn a river of sadness (she came)
Blood in the streets, it’s up to my thigh (she came)
Yeah, the river runs red down the legs of a city (she came)
The women are cryin’ and rivers are weepin’ (she came)

She came in town and then she drove away
Sunlight in her hair

Indians scattered on dawn’s highway bleedin’
Ghosts crowd the young child’s fragile eggshell mind

Blood in the streets in the town of New Haven
Blood stains the roofs and the palm trees of Venice
Blood in my love in the terrible summer
Bloody red sun of Fantastic L.A.

Blood screams her brain as they chop off her fingers
Blood will be borne in the birth of a nation
Blood is the rose of mysterious union

There’s blood in the streets, it’s up to my ankles
Blood in the streets, it’s up to my knee
Blood in the streets, the town of Chicago
Blood on the rise, it’s following me

Written for Thursday Inspiration #201 Summer Rain where the prompt is peace.

Thursday Inspiration #201 Summer Rain

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word peace, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Summer Rain’, or by going with another song by Johnny Rivers, or anything else that you think fits.  ‘Summer Rain’ was written by James Hendricks who was in the New York folk group The Big 3 along with Cass Elliot, and Tim Rose.  James Hendrix married Cass Elliot in 1963 so he could evade the military draft.  Tim Rose left The Big 3 in 1963 to pursue a solo career, so Hendricks and Elliot teamed up with Zal Yanovsky and Denny Doherty to form the short-lived group called the Mugwumps.  The Mugwumps eventually split up to become the Mamas and Papas and the Lovin’ Spoonful.

When psychedelia reared its head in 1967, Johnny Rivers (born John Henry Ramistella) recorded ‘Summer Rain’ on his 1968 fifth studio album Realization.  This song reached #14 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #6 on the U.S. Cash Box Top 100, and it went to #10 in Canada.   ‘Summer Rain’ is about the peace and love lifestyle that flourished during the summer of love in 1967.   Johnny Rivers, record producer Lou Adler, John Phillips and Paul Simon each put up $10,000 to get the ball rolling for the legendary 1967 Monterey pop festival.  This song references Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beatles album which was released during the middle of that year.

She wants to live in the Rockies
She says that’s where we’ll find peace
Settle down, raise up a family
One to call our own, yeah
We will have a home
All summer long we were grooving in the sand
Everybody just kept on playing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

Progressive Thinking

To be woke is to be politically and socially aware, actively attentive to important societal facts and issues, while staying informed, educated and conscious of social injustice and racial inequality.  Some people think that being woke is a good thing and others are dead against it.  Republicans view the word woke as being a pejorative term and Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis may be the worst of them, as he said, “We can never, ever surrender to woke ideology.  And I’ll tell you this, the state of Florida is where woke goes to die.”  People need a side to stand on and the far right seems to be anti-woke and they have selected themselves to be the guardians of correct thought.  They ban and sometimes even burn books to purify the public from being harmed by anything that they deem to be inappropriate, and they are proud of what they are doing.  Liberty and reason be dammed because they are making the laws.  Woke is not just about racism and discrimination, as it also involves gender inequality, and LGBTQ+ people.

The contemporary meaning of woke started to gain more popularity at the start of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014, but some say it goes all the way back to Leadbelly and his song ‘Scottsboro Boys’, which involved nine African American teenagers and young men, ages 13 to 20, accused in Alabama of raping two white women in 1931.  Woke has evolved into a single-word summation of leftist political ideology, centered on social justice politics and critical race theory.  Woke has become bipartisan, being used by both sides of the political spectrum.  It’s used as a shorthand to destroy the lives of people of both genders, of all races on the right and for political progressiveness by the left, so everyone must choose which bus they want to ride on, as the wheels are already in motion.  Another new cultural phenomenon is Cancel Culture where those who are deemed to have acted or spoken in an unacceptable manner are ostracized, boycotted or shunned.  This takes place when people perceive that the target has transgressed against moral or social norms.  These political correctness advocates belief that offensive speech and behavior should be eliminated, so they attack the left.  The right refers to people who identify as being woke as woketopians, grouping them together with socialists and Biden supporters.

I am open minded, and I consider being woke to be a good thing as if we let social injustice to continue, this world won’t be a place that I want to live in.  People should be allowed to read what they want and identify themselves as who they feel they are.  If you are not woke, then you are asleep at the wheel and you are in for a bumpy ride ahead, as who knows what the right will decide to be unacceptable next and needs to be canceled, cleansed, eliminated or eradicated?  I am a progressive thinking person that is capable of making my own decisions, so I am proud to be woke and I don’t care for anything that DeSantis says or does.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #206 which asks, “What does the word ‘woke’ mean to you?  Is being ‘woke’ a good thing or a bad thing?  Do you consider yourself to be ‘woke’?  Why or why not?”

Take Flight

The bird knew all the best places to scavenge for food and when it was hungry enough, it would resort to eating roadkill and garbage, but it enjoyed eating Mexican food and it hoped to find some tasty morsels at the Taco Bell parking lot, if it got there at the right time.  Today was one of those lucky days, as someone threw a half-eaten burrito away and that made a very satisfying meal.  It gave the bird gas, which wasn’t a big problem as it could always take flight and not have to smell it, but you wouldn’t want to be flying behind this bird after it consumed that bean burrito.

Written for Simply 6 Minutes hosted by Christine Bialczak.

Damn Census Taker

The warm, golden glow of the streetlight outside her bedroom window gave Marilou the illusion of security.  Little did Marilou realize that the home sweet home that she just purchased 6 months ago had a blood-stained history.  The previous owner was killed by her son and he sealed her corpse in the back room because he didn’t want to stop cashing in her Social Security checks.  She had not been seen by any of the neighbors for years and her son just smiled and said that she sleeps a lot, but the Census taker keep coming around asking to speak with her.  The Census taker wanted to know why the lady of the house stopped taking her medications and why she wasn’t keeping any of her doctor appointments.  Her son got nervous, and he just took off and when the mail and the newspapers kept piling up, the police were called in to investigate.  When the coroner said that the body had been dead for 5 years, then an arrest warrant was issued for her son.  The property was behind in its mortgage payments, and it owed a lot of back taxes, so the house was sold at auction to a house flipper who did some work on it and then had it listed with a real estate agent.  The real estate agent kept very quiet about the horrors that took place there because that would devaluate the home.  The son was still running from the law, but tonight he returned to the scene of his crime, and he was lurking below Marilou’s bedroom window.

Written for Fandango’s Story Starter #89.

Belly of the Beast

That was some storm, I thought it would never end.  I got a warning about this severe weather forecast saying that it was going to be a huge event and since I am a storm chaser, I grabbed my gear and I was off to pursue the phenomenon.  The possibility of a tornado is the only motive that I need to pique my curiosity.  There is no job description for a storm chaser and I am driven by adventure trying to test myself to get as close to the danger as I can.  The wind and rain are born to soar the sky and it has been that way since the world began.  I am excited by storms, and I have never suffered from lilapsophobia (fear of tornadoes or hurricanes) or astraphobia (fear of thunder and lightning), but my girlfriend says that I am a nut.  As I got closer to the disturbance, I heard the thunder rumble and saw the lightning flashes and then my radio said that an E-F4 tornado had just touched down.  I looked out of the window of my car, and I saw the roof of a house being sucked up into the sky along with a car and they were now both inside the belly of the beast.  The violent tornado only lasted about two or three minutes, but it did plenty of damage.  The beast had its belly filled and now it was going to take a rest.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #178.

Staying In

Humans are social creatures, but sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do.  Her friends wanted her to go out with them and party, but she turned them down saying that she would rather just stay at home, watching TV after soaking in a hot bath.  She had been out five nights in a row with her friends and although she had no intention of becoming a hermit, she felt that it was her prerogative to say no to invitations from her friends every so often.  By doing this, she would remove the element of expectation that her friends had that she would automatically join in with them every time they contacted her.  She was tired of the peer pressure that was compelling her to agree to something when she just wanted to relax.  She had succumbed to this social coercion long enough and she wasn’t having it anymore.  Instead of going out clubbing with her friends tonight, she wanted to do something that is more appealing to her, so after her bath and preparing a snack, she was going to lay on her bed and have her eyes glued to the TV watching The Power on Prime Video, which may not be for everyone, but she enjoyed the trailer.  In this world, suddenly, and without warning, teenage girls develop the power to electrocute people at will, and she would like to be able to do this to some people that she knows.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #211.

May the Force be with You

Luck is success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions and thus it is considered to be a force that causes good or bad things to happen.  You can’t control luck, as it will happen, or it won’t and that is all dependent on you being in the right place at the right time.  Another way of looking at this is that we all have luck, as just by being born, we are lucky.  It only takes just one sperm to fertilize a woman’s egg, and for each sperm that reaches the egg, there are millions that don’t make it that far.  As of 2022, NASA has found just over 5,000 confirmed exoplanets and only 59 of them are potentially habitable.  We are lucky that Earth is located in a Goldilocks zone that has the right atmosphere for life to form and out planet has water which is essential for life.  Nobody ever said that life was going to be easy, but we are all lucky to be alive, even if you are spending your days behind a screen focusing on what other people are doing with their lives.  I have yet to figure out my purpose in life and I may never know why I am here, but I do enjoy blogging as it gives me a purpose for waking up every day.

Written for Sadje’s Sunday Poser #124 where she asks, “Do you believe in luck?”

A Time So Long Ago

Bluegrass was Jerry Garcia’s first love of music, although he shifted his musical focus to many other genres.  Garcia first picked up a banjo in 1950, and he eventually mastered this instrument.  Garcia and his close friend, mandolinist David Grisman, played bluegrass music often, and Garcia loved hanging out at Grisman’s small studio located in Forest Knolls California which is in the western half of the San Geronimo Valley in Marin County, as this place served as a hideout from the hysteria surrounding the Dead.  In fact, Garcia’s last recording session before he passed away in 1995 was at Grisman’s, covering ‘Blue Yodel #9’ for a Jimmie Rodgers tribute album that was released in 1997.  Jerry Garcia played guitar, banjo, vocals, with Marshall Leicester who was on banjo, guitar, mandolin, vocals, and Dick Arnold on fiddle, vocals in the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers from May 1962 through September 1962.  Jerry was in the Black Mountain Boys along with Robert Hunter, Eric Thompson, Geoff Levin, Sandy Rothman, and David Nelson from January 1964 – March 1964.  In 1964, before the Grateful Dead got together, Jerry Garcia caravanned across the country from California to tag along with bluegrass legend Bill Monroe.  Garcia met Monroe in Los Angeles in 1963, and he toyed with the idea of auditioning for Monroe’s band.

Jerry was in a group called Old & In the Way who some people feel may the best bluegrass band of the time and they recorded five albums, all in 1973.  Garcia played banjo, Peter Rowan was on guitar, Vassar Clements played fiddle, David Grisman was on mandolin and string Bass was played by John Kahn.  Catfish John was written by Bob McDill and Allen Reynolds and was first recorded and released by Bob McDill in 1972.  McDill said that Catfish John was a real person who was friend of his dad.  The Grateful Dead never performed this song live, but they did release a version of it on Beyond Description a 12 CD box set reissue of all the Grateful Dead studio albums released between 1973 and 1989 plus the two live releases Reckoning and Dead Set and then again on the expanded CD release Terrapin Station which is a studio outtake from the Fall of 1976.  The song tells a story about former slave, and the difficulties he encountered every day in his life as did many other Black people at the time.  A boy is warned by his mother not to go near this Catfish John, but he can’t stay away and he goes down to the river to visit him as soon as the morning rolls around.  The boy finds this Catfish John fellow to be an inspiration and a source of Delta culture.

Mama said: “Don’t go near that river
Don’t be hanging around old Catfish John”
Come the morning, I’d always be there
Walking in his footsteps in the sweet Delta dawn.

Born a slave in the town of Vicksburg, traded for a chestnut mare
Lord, he never spoke in anger though his load was hard to bear.

Mama said: “Don’t go near that river
Don’t be hanging around old Catfish John”
Come the morning, I’d always be there
Walking in his footsteps in the sweet Delta dawn.

Catfish John was a river hobo who lived and died by the river bed
Thinking back, I still remember I was proud to be his friend.

Mama said: “Don’t go near that river
Don’t be hanging around old Catfish John”
Come the morning, I’d always be there
Walking in his footsteps in the sweet Delta dawn.

Let me dream in another morning, to a time so long ago
When the sweet magnolia blossomed, cotton fields as white as snow.

Mama said: “Don’t go near that river
Don’t be hanging around old Catfish John”
Come the morning, I’d always be there
Walking in his footsteps in the sweet Delta dawn.

Come the morning, I’d always be there
Walking in his footsteps in the sweet Delta dawn.

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the theme this week is Bluegrass music.