High in the Saddle

Oliver was weary from the long ride, but he was able to make the trip because he relied on posting as a way to smooth out the bouncing and jarring of being in a saddle for a long time.  He would rise out of the saddle seat for every other stride of the horse’s forelegs, thus smoothing out the jolts that he would have encountered if he had just sat still for the journey.  This made riding his horse much more comfortable, as he would squeeze his legs or give his horse a light kick with his heel to cue it to start trotting.  Once his horse started trotting, he would rise up and move forward in the saddle simultaneously, and then he would return to the saddle softly when the horse brought its other leg forward.  This worked out for Oliver, and it was also appreciated by his horse, because his weight was distributed more evenly which allowed his horse to maintain its balance better.  It is always important for the rider to know which way their horse is going to move and how it will behave, so Oliver always tried to stay in tune with his horse.

Oliver was dead tired, but he understood that he would not be able to have control over his horse’s balance unless he had control over his own balance.  He had the experience to see things from his horse’s perspective and he understood that their vision differs considerably from ours, as they have little to no depth perception.  By recognizing the unique ways in which horses see and interpret the world, Oliver was able to develop a trusting relationship with his horse.  All horses want to be mounted on their left side, as this is the way it has been done for centuries, so Oliver carried his rifle on his right, which kept it out of the way.  Oliver was almost back home now, and he would be dismounting soon and then make sure that his horse was watered, fed and groomed, as this was a way for them to bond.  He had ridden his horse hard to get home in time for his daughter’s birthday, but he was not going to put it away wet.  The ride caused a lather of sweat to form on his horse, but he would never think about putting it into the stable without first drying it off.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #432 hosted by weejars aka Sarah where today she is using a photo by Sarah Whiley.

Turned Into Donkeys

Pinocchio was made out of wood by the old wood-carver Geppetto who spent all of his time talking with his puppets as if they were real people.  One night as Geppetto was falling asleep, he wished upon a star for Pinocchio to be a real boy, so he could have a son.  Late that night, a Blue Fairy visits the workshop and brings Pinocchio to life, although his body remains a puppet.  She informs him that if he proves himself to be brave, truthful, and unselfish, that he will become a real boy.  The Blue Fairy removed the strings from the marionette and the excited puppet jumped around, realizing all of the wonderful things he can do.  He is almost real, but he is still made of wood.  Pinocchio starts his first day at school, but on his way, he meets Candlewick and his friend, Gino, who tell him to not listen to his father but to play hooky with them, instead.  They hate going to school so they never do, fortunately Pinocchio doesn’t listen to the them and he goes to school.  He has a bad time there as the kids laugh at him because he is a puppet.  Pinocchio runs away in tears.  The next day Candlewick and Gino entice Pinocchio to go with them to the Land of the Toys, a place located on Pleasure Island where the boys spend their days having fun, and eating candy, where education, responsibility and nutrition simply aren’t a thing.

Pinocchio decides to tag along with his new friends, and they have fun smoking, drinking alcohol, fighting, and wrecking the place.  Once the boys have spent enough time being bad, they begin to succumb to a horrific curse that exists over the island placed on it by the Coachman which turns them into donkeys due to them being disobedient by playing hooky from school and making complete jackasses of themselves.  The boys first grow donkey ears, then a tail, their head turns furry with donkey hair, their laughing becomes braying, their hands and feet become hooves, they lose the ability to talk, and then finally they are walking around on all fours.  The donkeys are then rounded up by the Coachman stripped of their remaining clothes and thrown into crates to be sold into hard labor.  Jiminy Cricket goes to the island in search of Pinocchio.

Pinocchio felt bad because of the mess that he made out of his life, and he knew that things would have been a lot better for him if he only had been a good boy and listened to his father, instead of his new friends.  After Pinocchio grows donkey ears, a tail, and starts braying, he throws away his cigar and put his drink aside realizing that he has been duped.  Pinocchio and Jiminy flee Pleasure Island and jump into the sea before the Coachman and his henchmen could spot them and before the donkey transformation on Pinocchio could go any further.  When they get back, Pinocchio recognizes Candlewick and Gino are both donkeys working in the mines.  Pinocchio’s nose starts growing bigger every time he tells a lie, as he continues to search for his father.  Pinocchio is deceived by the Fox and Cat, and he decides to drown himself, but because he is made out of wood, he only floats.  A huge whale swallows him up, and he finds that Geppetto is also inside of the whale.  Pinocchio offers to burn himself so that his father can survive, but Geppetto finds a wooden crate, sets it on fire and the whale soon sneezes them both out.  The Blue Fairy is impressed with Pinocchio, and she makes him into a real boy.  Don’t you just love a happy ending?

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #428 hosted by weejars aka Sarah where today she is using a photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash.

Nudity in Works of Art

Their innocence was forever tainted when I took my wife and kids to the beach that day.  The naked human body is considered to be beautiful and it should not be looked at as a source of shame.  Nudity has inspired some of the finest sculptures and naked statues are widely accepted inmost societies, but they have also provoked some controversial reactions throughout time.  Most civilizations have had a natural interest in and appreciation of the human body.  We went here because it is a wonderful beach, but this statue leaves many parents blushing and their kids giggling, but it’s art and kids have to learn some day.  Some parents feel the nudity is upsetting their children, but I am more upset about exposing my children to violence, than I am about them seeing nudity.  I think that there is a big difference between nudity shown for the purpose of art and sexual nudity, so I thought it would be OK to go here.

Here in America, people are not ready to drop the fig leaf and remove the hypocrisy around nudity that would give children the keys to appreciate the human body and understand why artworks depict it.  I have always felt that the most challenging part of raising children was answering their endless string of questions.  My son who is two years younger than his sister has a talent for asking embarrassing questions and saying things that are inappropriate.  They are both curious and they often say things that I wouldn’t imagine.  My son stared at the statue and asked why she wasn’t wearing her bathing suit.  My daughter chimed in saying that the girl was getting ready to make a baby.  I asked my daughter what made her say that and she responded that the girl needs to be naked to do sex.  My daughter went on to say that the statue had boobs just like mommy does.  My wife and I always tried to encourage our kids to ask questions instead of feeling shamed, but when my daughter asked me what oral sex was, I became flabbergasted.  I tried to remain composed, by taking a long breath and then I told her to ask her mother.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #424 hosted by weejars aka Sarah where today she is using a photo by Sarah Whiley.

Sea Spray

Jake asked, “Mommy why is there a rainbow on top of that wave?”  Cheryl, Jake’s mom responded by saying, “It is interesting that you mentioned that, as the rainbow is formed by sea spray which is blown from the tops of waves by the wind.  The ocean is full of waves, but you don’t notice the ones that are out in the deep water all that much, but as these waves approach the shore, they get propped up by the sand underneath and this makes them more noticeable.  An odd thing happens as the water moves closer to shore, the bottom of the wave catches on the sand and the top starts to fall over.  The bottom of the wave is prevented from moving forward because it has hit the wall of sand, however the top of the wave continues forward.  This is like what happened to you the other day when you walked from the hardwood floor in the hallway into the living room which is carpeted, and you caught your toe and tripped forwards.”

Jake said, “Wow, I never thought about waves like that before, but that still doesn’t explain the rainbow.”  Cheryl said, “I may have gotten off topic, so let’s get back to the sea spray, which is also known as spin drift and basically it is a collection of tiny air bubbles.  The spray drifts in the direction that the wind blows it and here the wind is blowing into the wave, so the spray is seen behind it.  I think that nature is a beautiful thing and I see the wind carrying your dreams over the sea where they can be kissed by the white waves along the shores, producing rainbows above the foam.  Sorry, as I went off topic again recalling something that I read by the poet W. B. Yeats.  Rainbows can occur anywhere where when light meets water in the sky, and the angles are conducive.  As the waves break on the shore, they eject multitudinous water droplets, and these particles from the ocean become aerosolized as a fine mist.  When these water droplets hang in the air and sunlight enters the droplet, some of this light will reflect off the back side of the droplets and pass again out the front.  As sunlight passes twice through the water, the different wavelengths that make it up, will bend at different angles, which splits the entering white light into the spectrum of rainbow colors.  It is that simple.”

Jake said, “I think I get it now mommy, but who is W. B. Yeats?”  Cheryl said, “You are not ready for Yeats yet and kids say the darndest things.”

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #423 hosted by weejars aka Sarah where today she is using a photo by Darrell Whiley.

Lorentz Contraction

The picture above shows an alley, which looks to me like the walls are leaning in on each other and I am not sure if it is an optical illusion, or not.  The faster we go with respect to some observer the more compact we get (in the direction of motion) as viewed by that observer.  A moving object’s length is measured to be shorter than its proper length, which is the length as measured in the object’s own rest frame.  The fact that objects contract in length when they travel near the speed of light is something that came out of Einstein’s special relativity and the contraction is a consequence of the properties of space and time.  Length contraction is the relativistic phenomenon where the length of a moving object is measured to be shorter than in its rest frame.  It occurs only in the direction of motion, and its effect is significant only when the object is moving at speeds close to the speed of light.

If you run through this alley carrying a foot long sub at 60% the speed of light, your submarine sandwich would always measure the length of 12 inches.  This is no different than if you are standing still and measuring the sandwich while you are holding it.  However, if you ran past someone that was standing still in the alley, they would see your foot long sub to be 9.6 inches long.  So, at 60% the speed of light, your sub appears to be 80% of its original length.  I am going to skip time dilation, because I don’t see any need to confuse you.  The Grateful Dead had some spacy songs on their album Anthem of the Sun, and one of them was titled ‘That’s It for the Other One’, which is known simply as ‘The Other One’.  Bob Weir wrote the lyrics for this song, and this was one of the first songs that he ever wrote.  Bobby sang several variants and once he added the new verse, “The faster we go, the rounder we get, in the fourth dimension”, which always makes me think about Lorentz Contraction.  This line, “The faster we go, the rounder we get” is believed to have come from Ken Kesey’s acid tests.  I am not going to try and explain all of the neon light girls jumping on pogo sticks, but I do find that to be pretty weird.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #418 hosted by weejars aka Sarah where today she is using a photo by Sarah Whiley.

Putting It in Perspective

Everywhere I look, I see reflections of you and me and the life that we were supposed to have together.  I was a complete mess at the time and you always had your boyfriend, but I could see that you enjoyed being with me more than him.  I still think about you when I come down to this lake and we took your dog with us.  It was so much fun watching your Saint Bernard puppy swimming, even though he was not able to stay afloat for very long.  He was determined besides his sheer size and thick coat of fur, but when he finally got out of the water, he shook himself off next to you to show how much he loved you.  Life is supposed to be messy, and we’re supposed to get dirty.  We’re supposed to fall down and feel lost.  We’re supposed to be disoriented, confused, sad and lonely, as that is the only way that we get to experience everything.

I remember that day when I jumped over your fence to come into your yard and your dog ran right up to me to greet me and he almost swallowed my whole head with his mouth.  I had his teeth marks on the top of my head and under my chin for at least a week and when I looked like Frankenstein’s monster, you insisted that this was just a love bite.  I was lucky that I didn’t have to get stitches, but I knew your dog had a gentle temperament and that he didn’t mean to hurt me.  One thing for sure, this taught me never to jump over your fence again.  I should have made it happen for us, instead of waiting around for you to fall in love with me.  My biggest weakness was giving up on you and settling for someone else, because I never found true love again.  The reflections of what my life could have been are still haunting me.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #416 hosted by weejars aka Sarah where today she is using a photo by Lerida.

A Cat’s Life

In case you haven’t noticed by the picture, I am a tiger, which is the largest living cat species, but sadly a tiger’s lifespan is only 8 to 10 years, however I am already 14 and I feel like I have another 6 good years left in me, so I am planning on reaching the age of 20.  I live on a reserve, and it’s a jungle out there, disorder and confusion everywhere, but my stripes make good camouflage, allowing me to blend in among the trees and tall grasses.  I have heard many say the lion is the king of the jungle, but I came up against one, and I took his crown away, so don’t believe everything that you hear.  Like all cats, my life is based on sleeping, exploring and eating and the best part is that I get to hunt what I eat, so my food is always fresh.  I can eat whatever I catch, but I have been told to stay away from the humans, and maybe that is because they taste bad, but if I stay away from them, it is all good.  I take a lot of naps, but eventually I get up, get myself ready for the day and everybody basically stays out of my way.  There are not many of us tigers out here and one time the humans tried to have me mate with a lioness, which didn’t work out so well.  She bit me, but she won’t be trying that again any time soon, because I got her really good with my claws.  She said that it was just a love bite, but I am pretty sure that a love bite should not draw blood.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #415 hosted by weejars aka Sarah where today she is using a photo by Claudia Weijers.

The Dark Web

I was feeling particularly cynical when it came to… creating a space where I could have anonymity and do things without Big Brother looking over my shoulder.  I knew that this would develop onto a marketplace for criminal activity including porn, drugs and weapons sales, but I got tired of wearing a paper bag over my head and I also knew that other legitimate people would use it to conduct business anonymously without having to divulge information that could identify them, such as their user location.  It was just a matter of writing specific software, setting up special configurations, and giving authorization access to some people that already use the Internet, but would now be required to use my overlay network to access the dark web.  I realize that this has become a major problem for global law enforcement agencies, but hey, it is what it is.  Everyone was using the surface web, and some people liked to access the deep web, but I wanted more, so I came up with the dark web.

Anyone using search engines like Google is on the top layer, the surface web, and this is where you are right now.  The deep web is the middle layer, and it contains web pages which search engines can’t access because they are hidden, and it can only be accessed via passwords and authorization.  If you’ve logged into an online banking account and viewed your bank statement or accessed a secure online portal for healthcare or academic purposes, you’ve surfed the Deep Web.  Don’t be alarmed!  The deep web is often used for legitimate purposes.  Think of it as a way where certain information is kept away from public view.  If you have created a draft blog post, it is being stored on the deep web.

The dark web is a network of untraceable online activity and websites on the internet.  They cannot be found using search engines.  They are used by lots of different people to keep their web activity hidden.  I was part of the US government research team that was working on ways to allow spies to exchange information completely anonymously.  As part of this military research, I helped to develop the technology known as Tor (The Onion Router) in the mid-1990s and we released it into the public domain for everyone to use.  We wanted to make it harder for anyone to distinguish our government’s messages between spies, so we allowed thousands of other people to use the same system for lots of different things and with all the traffic, our spies could stay anonymous.  It’s called The Onion Router because it uses onion routing, a technique that makes websites anonymous through multiple layers of encryption.  Most websites are also hosted on the .onion domain.

I came up with the idea in a dream that I had one night, where I was up in my attic looking into a mirror and I could not see my reflection, because all of this energy was blasting back at me.  I followed the energy field downstairs out of my attic and it went into a field.  It came to the woods and there were several well-traveled paths there, but it did not take any of them.  It started making its way through the trees, away from the paths and that was when I knew I had it.  The idea hit me like a ton of bricks and I knew that if I could blast this energy out, that would prevent others from being able to look at me.  I was going to use the road less taken and this allowed me to see the whole forest and not just the trees.  I decided to choose a path that Google couldn’t find, bloody hell, it is almost impossible to find, unless you know what you’re looking for.  This would be like a treasure hunt, because the only way to find this obscure path in this vast forest is if you are told where to look.  I understood that it would be extremely difficult to stop people from accessing the dark web, but I reasoned that it isn’t inherently bad.  You should always be careful and if you see something suspicious, make sure that you report it.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #411 hosted by weejars aka Sarah where today she is using a photo by Pobble 365 and for Fandango’s Story Starter #43.

Buried Treasure

Five people had already died trying to find that cursed… treasure.  My doctor told me that I had six months left to live and I didn’t have any heirs, so I decided to burry my money and let people search for it.  I was always a big fan of Indiana Jones and at one time I actually went out to search for the D. B. Cooper treasure, so I understood the thrill of the chase.  My hope was that some unemployed redneck with a pickup truck would decipher my clues and find the treasure.  I didn’t realize that there were so many desperate people out there, or that any of them would actually get injured or worse looking for my treasure chest.  When I was told that the cancer was going to kill me, I decided to take my treasure chest to a special spot, then kill myself, but before I made that trip, I got better, so I decided that to show my gratitude, that I would hide the chest anyway.  I filled the chest with twenty-two troy pounds of gold, coins, precious gems, and ancient artifacts and then I wrote a poem with clues of how to fine it.

My poem contains clues which are left open to the readers’ interpretation.
Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains
My treasures will be found,
Start your journey from the fountains
Where snowcapped tops surround.

It’s no secret my life is through,
Bring provisions if you don’t want to perish
My riches will be left for you.
My treasure will be something you will cherish.

Halt when you reach the warm waters,
Take the canyon path all the way down.
Steer clear of the Jack Torrance slaughters,
When you reach the edge of this cavern, look around.

It’s a 10-mile hike to the astonishing bridge,
A bridge that leads to nowhere.
Look to your right, the second hump on the ridge,
You will be the sole heir.

Written for Fandango’s Story Starter #41 and for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #409 hosted by weejars aka Sarah where today she is using a photo by Sarah Whiley.

Tactical Nuclear Warfare

Even the smallest nukes could wreak unprecedented, horrifying damage.  Once the bomb goes off, your skin will be peeled off of your body and your face will have nothing to smile about.  Putin has put his nuclear forces on the highest alert, but the madman has not pressed the button yet.  President Biden went easy on Putin last night, but he did let him know that he “badly miscalculated” the will of the Ukrainian people.  He let Putin know that the economic pain he will be suffering is just the beginning of his troubles.  Their ruble has been devaluated, the Russian stock market is a mess, Russian oligarchs will have their “ill-begotten gains” confiscated, and Russia will be losing access to key technologies.  The other message Biden sent to Russia was making it clear that the US and its allies would fight to defend “every inch of territory of NATO countries”.

Biden stopped short of causing permanent harm between Russia and the US for good reason, as any peaceful solution would be better than all-out war.  If this war goes badly for Putin, this could be devastating to his career, one which he feels very comfortable in at the moment.  The Russian people don’t want war with the Ukraine, it is only their leader, and he wants this for his own vanity.  He feels that since the Ukraine was once part of the Soviet Union, that this country should belong to Russia now, and nobody knows how far he is willing to go to achieve this goal.  The whole world thinks of him as a crazy person, but he sits inside of his own bubble where people only tell him things that he wants to hear, out of fear of what he would do if they said something that pissed him off.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #405 hosted by weejars aka Sarah where today she is using a photo by Sarah Whiley.