Delilah Jones

Delilah was the wife of gentle Jack Jones who worked hard plowing the fields, but they were not yielding crops like they once did and when the ox died, this labor became so strenuous that it caused Jack to start drinking.  He was a handsome man and the ladies always chased after him, and even though he was a religious family man, sometimes he was tempted to stray.  He started drinking whiskey from the jar in the 1920s, but when Prohibition came around, he decided to make his living by selling red-eyed gin.  He sold this for two dollars a bottle and it burnt like hell, and if you were able to drink down a whole bottle, you would be ready to kill.  Delilah Jones bore two sets of twins and all together she raised eight boys, however some of them were conceived out of wedlock when her husband was not around.

Seven of the boys turned out to be outstanding citizens and one turned bad, because he didn’t get the beatings that the others did.  Over time their house started deteriorating, till one night when it snowed so hard that the roof caved in and it was nothing more than a tumble-down shack in Big Foot County, or you might call it a folly.  Delilah Jones died that year and gentle Jack was never the same again.  I missed my mother because she never hit me, however I was the boy who turned out bad.  I ended up living in the folly after taking over the still for my old man and I kept making that clean liquor, while chasing after brown-eyed women.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – The Folly – Image by KL Caley.

Humans Burning Fossil Fuels

The evidence is clear about climate change being a real thing and this is mostly the result of burning fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal.  Earth gets warmed up by the Sun and some of the incoming sunlight is reflected directly back into space, especially by bright surfaces such as ice and clouds, and the rest is absorbed by the surface and the atmosphere.  Much of this absorbed solar energy is re-emitted as heat (longwave or infrared radiation).  The atmosphere in turn absorbs and re-radiates heat, some of which escapes to space.  If all heat energy emitted from the surface of our planet passed through the atmosphere directly into space, Earth’s average surface temperature would be approximately zero degrees Fahrenheit.  Our moon doesn’t have an atmosphere, so it doesn’t have a method to trap heat, thus it has temperatures of minus 378 degrees Fahrenheit up there.  Strictly speaking, outer space has no temperature since it has no mass.

A greenhouse gas will absorb and emit radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect (trapping of the Sun’s warmth in our lower atmosphere).  Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, including water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, act to make the surface much warmer than this because they absorb and emit heat energy in all directions, keeping Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere warm just like the glass roof on a greenhouse does.  Without this greenhouse effect, life as we know it could not have evolved on our planet.  Adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere makes it even more effective at preventing heat from escaping into space.  When the energy leaving is less than the energy entering, Earth warms until a new balance is established.

Having established that greenhouse gas can be a good thing, right now it seems to be getting out of control.  I want to live on a planet where it is warm, but the increased greenhouse effect is causing changes in our planet that can potentially destroy everything, and Earth could end up being like Venus where no life exists.  The increased greenhouse effect will not go away unless we do something about it, as we have reached a point where it just keeps accumulating and this is a serious problem.  Even if human-caused greenhouse gas emissions were reduced to zero, global temperatures may continue to rise for centuries afterward, as some scientists think that we have already gone past the point of no return.  We may need some genius to invent a way to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it underground, which would make Earth’s surface brighter.  If we had our own storage container of greenhouse gas, then we could heat our planet up again, if it ever got cold.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver – Climate Change – hosted by Stephanie Colpron of Word Adventures.

Not Doing Lunch Today

The song ‘Miss Otis Regrets’ tells a tragic tale about a society woman who simply would not take it anymore.  It features a contrast between politeness and violence, where Miss Otis sends her regrets because she drew a gun, and had to shoot the man who wronged her.  She is guilty of a murder and is imprisoned and then killed by the mob, but she still apologizes, or at least is announced so, for missing lunch, as if that was more of a crime than the murder she committed.  ‘Miss Otis Regrets’ was written by Cole Porter in 1934 and it is thought that the song was originally written off the cuff as a bet, because Porter’s friends challenged him in a restaurant to turn the opening lines spoken by a waiter, thus this was written not for one of his musical comedies but for the private entertainment of his friends.  If that is true then the great songwriter certainly moved it in an unexpectedly twisted but brilliant direction.  Monty Woolley was a good friend of Cole Porter’s as they both attended Yale University and mixed with the best of high society.  Woolley was fond of dressing up as a butler and singing this song, while Porter played it on piano at parties.

Porter’s biographer William McBrien states that Porter wrote ‘Miss Otis Regrets’ for the unproduced musical Ever More, which was based on the stage play The Spell.  It was first performed on stage by Douglas Byng in Hi Diddle Diddle, which opened October 3, 1934 at the Savoy Theatre, London.  However, Ethel Waters recorded it in New York on August 20, 1934, before Hi Diddle Diddle opened in London.  ‘Miss Otis Regrets’ is a blues style song, where Porter does a wry take on some common lyrical subject matter of the genre, telling the tale of a woman who comes to a bad end after an encounter with a man.  Porter’s peculiar twist is that Miss Otis is a polite society lady, and the story of her last evening is told by her servant after Miss Otis has met her demise.  In a few compact lines, the servant reveals how, after being seduced and then abandoned, Miss Otis hunted down and shot her seducer, was arrested, taken from the jail by a mob, and hanged.  The servant conveys Miss Otis’s final, polite, apologetic words to her friends saying, “Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today.”

The song has been recorded by Nat King Cole, Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich, Nancy Wilson, Jose Feliciano, Linda Ronstadt, Ella Fitzgerald, Kirsty MacColl with The Pogues, The Mills Brothers, LaBelle, Bette Midler, Bryan Ferry, The Lemonheads and others.  The title of the Cheers episode “Mr. Otis Regrets” is also, presumably, a reference to the song.  Taking afternoon tea is an English custom, that began in the 1660s by King Charles II and his wife the Portuguese Infanta Catherine de Braganza, but it didn’t become a popular social event until the mid-19th century.  Wealthy American folks emulated the latest British etiquette and the privileged ladies started to entertain each other with fancy luncheons.  F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third novel The Great Gatsby published in 1925 is probably based on parties that he attended hosted by the extremely privileged people with upper-class status when he lived on Long Island in the early 1920s.  When upper class people said, “Let’s do lunch”, that conveyed the idea that they would get together to have lunch sometime in the future.

Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today, Madam.
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today.
She is sorry to be delayed,
But last evening down in Lover’s Lane she strayed.
Madam. Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today.
When she woke up and found, that her dream of love was gone.
Madam. She ran to the man who had led her so far astray.
And from under a velvet gown,
She drew a gun and shot her lover down, Madam.
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today.
When the mob came and got her and dragged her from the jail, Madam,
They strung her from the old willow cross the way.
And the moment before she died,
She lifted up her lovely head and cried, Madam.
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today.
Miss Otis regrets… she’s unable to lunch today.

Written for Thursday Inspiration #126 Already Gone where the prompt word is lunch.

Thursday Inspiration #126 Already Gone

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word lunch, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Already Gone’, or by going with another song by the Eagles, or anything else that you think fits.  ‘Already Gone’ came out in 1974 included on the On The Border album which was Eagles third studio album and the single charted #32 in the US.  This album has been RIAA certified 2× Platinum and during the making of the album, the band experienced significant changes moving towards a harder rock sound, but it was is not an outright rock effort by any means, as it contained plenty of country rock also.  ‘Already Gone’ is a breakup song where the guy places an extreme importance on being the one who broke up first, as how could she break up with him when he is already gone.

This song ‘Already Gone’ was written by Jack Tempchin and Robb Strandlund, who were both friends of the Eagles.  In the late 1960s, just a few years before Glenn Frey co-founded the Eagles, Jack Tempchin and Frey struck up a lifelong friendship at a San Diego music club called the Candy Company.  Tempchin and Frey were both gifted young singer-songwriters who dreamed of fame and fortune.  Tempchin was a local solo act, while Frey worked with fellow troubadour J.D. Souther in the Los Angeles country-rock duo Longbranch Pennywhistle.  When Jack Tempchin attended SDSU, he ran a club called Backdoor in the basement of the former Aztec Center where he booked and opened for Tom Waits and that was where he met Robb Strandlund.

Robb Strandlund was a country singer, and Jack and him were both in the back room of the Backdoor club drinking some cider and within about 20 minutes they wrote this song.  Tempchin really liked it so he took it to a coffee house called The Alley in Escondido where Jackson Browne was playing.  He didn’t really know Jackson all that well, but he went up to him and said, “Hey man, you’ve got to play this song with me on stage.”  Jackson played ‘Already Gone’ and then Tempchin sent this to Glenn Frey to pitch it to the Eagles.  A few years later Glenn Frey called Tempchin from the studio and said, “Hey that country song… I think it’s a really a great rock n’ roll song.”  He held the phone up to the speakers in the studio and there was ‘Already Gone’.  JD Souther and Glenn Frye were roommates in the Silverlake area of LA and Jackson Browne was their downstairs neighbor.

Frey had just come off of a relationship, so the lyrics about getting over a breakup were probably meaningful to him.  Frey sang lead on this and twin guitar solos were done by Frey and Don Felder, who was new to the band.  This was one of the first songs the Eagles recorded with producer Bill Szymczyk.  Their previous albums, and some of On The Border, were recorded in London with the venerable British producer Glyn Johns.  Recording with a new producer at nearby Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles was a huge relief for Glenn Frey, who didn’t get along well with Johns.  Frey indicated that he was much more comfortable in the studio with Bill, and recording ‘Already Gone’ made him feel free.

Well, I heard some people talkin’ just the other day
And they said you were gonna put me on a shelf
But let me tell you I got some news for you
And you’ll soon find out it’s true
And then you’ll have to eat your lunch all by yourself

Imagine My Surprise

I forgot that my water had been shut off because I was late paying my bill and when I woke up this morning I headed straight for the toilet.  Ranger hates the noise made by the landscapers when they cut the grass, but I never expected to find her hiding inside of the toilet bowl and hey, I had to go really bad.  I filled her treat bowl and showed it to her and she climbed out of the toilet.  This can’t be a cozy place for her, but it is only natural to hide from danger and I guess that cats will hide out any place where they feel protected.  It is scary and confusing for her when she hears the lawnmowers, and even though they come every week, I don’t think that she will ever get used to these scary monsters being outside of her home.

She has always seemed to think that the bathroom was a nice place for her to play in and when I went in there and closed the door, she would meow and scratch on the door to be let in.  If she can’t be by me, she feels like she is missing out on some fun.  She seems to know that I am trapped in there for at least a few minutes and this makes it easier for her to get my attention.  Going into the bathroom with me has become part of her routine and she seems to enjoy the smells that linger in there.  She enjoys playing with the toilet paper roll and sticking her claws into my bathroom rugs and rolling around on them and she has created many disasters there.

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

And My Bird Can Sing

I bought Twinkles because I loved her voice, and right away I knew that there was something special about this bird.  The owner of the Pet Shop told me that she was a rare cross breed between a canary and a puffin and she may be the only one of her kind.  I was looking for a canary and I didn’t know anything about a puffin bird, so I asked the guy if puffin birds puff up like blowfish.  He said that would be very cute if they were able to do that, but their name stems from them having a dense and puffy covering of down feathers when they are babies and this keeps them warm when their parents are out hunting fish.  He told me that he had been feeding this crossbreed tadpoles, which it seemed to enjoy and he said that he always kept a fresh supply on hand, because many of his customers that kept snakes and alligators think they make a tasty meal.

I bought some cat treats while I was at the Pet shop and the owner warned me not to try and separate my cat and bird, because creating space would only pique my cat’s curiosity and his predatory instincts.  He suggested that I should try to train my cat not to attack the bird, but my best bet would be to get a real sturdy cage.  It usually doesn’t end well when cats and birds live in the same house and birds will get hurt if cats become physical.  My wife loved Twinkles, but her cat actually tried to eat the bird while it was in its cage, however it was unsuccessful in trying to get the door open.  Sylvester the cat was always given plenty of food, so this was clearly a dominance thing on his part and he tried reaching his paw into the cage when the bird was sleeping, but when Twinkles woke up, she pecked him and we had to take Sylvester to the Vet.  Round one for the bird, but Sylvester kept trying as if he was making it his mission to get the bird.

Twinkles was happy in her cage because she was singing every day and she loved the tadpoles that I was feeding her, but her fear of the cat, caused her to have an out of body experience.  She created this smoky projection of her spirit using her third eye to frighten the cat off.  This mystical power provided her perception beyond ordinary sight and now she was the one who was dominating the cat.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #382 hosted by weejars aka Sarah that uses a photo by Pobble365.

Look Out of Any Window

Peeking through the window, her surprise turned to horror when… she saw her estranged husband walking up the driveway wielding an axe.  She made a big mistake when she married him and although her parents and her sister warned Alice, she couldn’t help falling on love with the bad boy.  A couple weeks into their marriage Alice experienced pain while urinating and her doctor told her that she had contracted chlamydia and that is when she knew that she married the wrong guy.  Later she found out that he had been banging his coworker for months.  One day George came home from work and told Alice that she was going to do everything that he told her to do with no questions asked, whether she liked it or not and she knew then, that she was trapped in a bad marriage.  George nearly killed Alice when she was innocently texting her father as he insisted that she was sending coded messages to her lover.

The next morning, she moved back into her parent’s house and filed for a divorce.  George came by after his work was done and he screamed, “You’re my wife and you are coming home with me” and he wouldn’t leave till the cops came and chased him away.  Alice filed a restraining order against him and that just made George go completely nuts.  George followed Alice when she went out to the store and he cornered her in the parking lot and held her head against the hood of the car until she blacked out.  When she came to, she forgot about shopping and wanted to go straight back home, but when she stopped at a traffic light, George pulled his car next to hers and he pointed his finger in a threatening manner pretending it was a gun and he shot at her.  Alice was happy when she saw George pull into the Home Depot parking lot, but she was curious about what he needed there.  When she made it back to her parent’s house, she grabbed her dad’s gun.

Written for Fandango’s Story Starter #11.

Affirmative

When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
That is an affirmative, as so far, my life has not amounted to a hill of beans.

What does the world need less of?
Whiners, people that bitch about every one of their insignificant problems, or those who write posts about themselves all the time, as if the whole world revolves around them.

Do you feel older or younger than your age?
I feel my age, but I tend to act younger, because I am basically a very immature person.

What is a cause you’ll always passionately support?
I have no causes, and I don’t need no stinking badges.

Gratitude

I’m not worthy to have a personal affirmation.

Written for Melanie’s sparksfromacombustiblemind’s Share Your World.

My Ship Has Come In

The Flying Dutchman is docked below, but oddly only certain people are able to see it.  Many said this ship would never be able to make port, because it was doomed to sail the oceans for eternity.  People felt that anyone who encountered this ship would have horrible things happen to them, but I am totally fine and I am almost certain that I have not been cursed.  There are plenty of stories about people who have seen this ghastly ship, that ended up with a deathly disease or ended up being killed in an unlikely accident.  Sightings have been rare lately and although this is the most famous ghost ship of all time, most people don’t know anything about The Flying Dutchman.

A legend says that the captain of this ship Willem Van Der Decken found himself struggling to round the Cape of Good Hope during a ferocious storm, when he swore that he would succeed even if he had to sail until Judgment Day.  The Devil heard his oath, and took him up on it, thus the Dutchman was condemned to stay at sea forever.  Other stories say that every one of the crew on this ship caught a nasty disease and no port would give shelter to this ship, because they were afraid that this infection would spread and for this reason the ship is still drifting in the oceans.  People still tell tales about Jack Sparrow, Davey Jones and the Kraken, but nobody ever dares to speak about the inexplicable mysteries concerning the Flying Dutchman.  If you see a ship that reportedly sunk, a bad omen is sure to follow, so many sailors sitting up in the crow’s nest would keep their sittings of this ship silent, for fear that they would fall to the deck.

Some people say that there never was a ship known as The Flying Dutchman and all of these sighting can be attributed to the phenomenon called Fata Morgana, where people see mirages that they think are real.  These mysterious optical events associated with the open ocean get their name from the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay, who is also known as “Morgan the Fairy” and scientists explain this as being atmospheric refraction.  People see what they want to see, but I know the Flying Dutchman is real and it is docked just below these stairs.  I am the great-great grandson of Captain Van Der Decken and I plan to board the vessel and take command of my ship.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #99.