Simple Minds Psychic Hearing

Hey, hey, hey, hey
Ooh woh

Don’t you listen to me
Leave me alone, with my thoughts baby

You can hear my troubles and doubts
Turning everything inside out
Love’s strange when we’re in the dark
So many tender things I am thinking of

My brain is being pulled apart
When you hear the thoughts in my heart, baby

Don’t you, listen to me
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t
Don’t you, listen to me

Will peak inside of me?
Look my way, never love me
My brain is crawling, brain is crawling
Down, down, down

Will you recognize me?
Call my name or walk on by
My brain is crawling, brain is crawling
Down, down, down, down

Hey, hey, hey, hey
Ooh woh

Don’t you pry into my brain
It’s my feeling it will hurt in the end
I won’t interfere or put up defiance
Vanity and security

Don’t you get inside of me
Leave me alone with my thoughts baby
Stop trying to take me apart
I want to have my own heart, baby

Don’t you, forget about me
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t
Don’t you, forget about me

As you walk on by
Will you call my name?
As you walk on by
Will you call my name?
When you walk away

Or will you walk away?
Will you walk on by?
Come on, call my name
Will you call my name?

I say
(Lala la la lala la la)
Will you call my name?
As you walk on by

Written for Ray NotBradbury Cool Writing Prompt – What would happen with the world, if we all could hear each other’s thoughts?

Propensity For Misfortune

I am going with a reversal of RayNotBradbury’s Cool Prompt “The Wrong Place At The Right Time”, with some bold funk from Dr. John.  In the late 1960s a New Orleans session musician named Mac Rebennack reinvented himself as Dr. John, The Night Tripper and his music combines blues, pop, jazz, boogie woogie and rock and roll.  Dr. John performed a wildly theatrical stage show inspired by medicine shows, Mardi Gras costumes and voodoo ceremonies and in 1973 he scored a top-10 hit with ‘Right Place, Wrong Time’.  When Dr. John wrote this song, he said that he was in the wrong place at the right time, and the right place in the wrong time.  During the summer of 1973, the song peaked at number nine on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.  It is ranked as the 24th biggest hit of 1973.  I will always remember Dr. John for his performance of his song ‘Such a Night’, as part of the Band’s Last Waltz concert.  The album ‘In the Right Place’, was produced by Allen Toussaint a New Orleans-based R&B singer/songwriter.  The record features backing performances by The Meters, who have been described as being the funkiest rhythm section anywhere, funk’s musical backbone who emerged from the great gumbo of New Orleans sounds.

Dr. John won several Grammy Awards in a variety of categories and in 2011, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Brain Salad Surgery is the name of an album by Emerson, Lake and Palmer and supposedly it is slang for fellatio. Some of the lyrics say, “I been in the right vein but it seems like the wrong arm” and Dr. John did suffer from a decades-long heroin addiction.  Dr. John said that he got help with some of the lyrics from Bob Dylan who told him, “I’m on the right trip, but I’m in the wrong car”, and then Bette Midler gave him, “My head’s in a bad place; I don’t know what it’s there for.”  Doug Sahm a child prodigy who performed with Hank Williams at the age of 11 also pitched in with, “I was in the right set, but it must have been the wrong sign.”  Timing is always crucial for success, as well as being in the right place and having the awareness to understand what is going on.  Failure can result from doing the wrong thing, but also if you do the right thing at the wrong time.

I been in the right place but it must have been the wrong time
I’d have said the right thing but I must have used the wrong line
I been in the right trip but I must have used the wrong car
My head was in a bad place and I’m wondering what it’s good for
I been in the right place but it must have been the wrong time
My head was in a bad place but I’m having such a good time

I been running trying to get hung up in my mind
Got to give myself a good talking-to this time
Just need a little brain salad surgery
Got to cure my insecurity

I been in the wrong place but it must have been the right time
I been in the right place but it must have been the wrong song
I been in the right vein but it seems like the wrong arm
I been…

I been in the wrong place but it must have been the right time
I been in the right place but it must have been the wrong song
I been in the right vein but it seems like the wrong arm
I been in the right world but it seems wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong

Slipping dodging sneaking creeping hiding out down the street
See me life shaking with every ho’ I meet
Refried confusion is making itself clear
Wonder which way do I go to get on out of here

I been in the right place but it must have been the wrong time
I’d have said the right thing but I must have used the wrong line
I’d have took the right road but I must have took a wrong turn
Would’ve made the right move but I made it at the wrong time
I been on the right road but I must have used the wrong car
My head was in a good place and I wonder what it’s bad for

Written for Ray NotBradbury Cool Writing Prompt – “The Wrong Place At The Right Time”.

When Dialog Fails

I just accepted this job working as an editor for a foreign company and because of the language barrier, I am not sure if I will be paid in dollars or in doll ears.  These two guys, Bill and Ted were best friends through grade school and Bill asked Ted if he was planning to go to the last school dance.  Ted said that he was not going because he would just feel stupid, as everybody would be dancing and no girl would want to dance with a guy that only had one eye.  Ted had just lost his eye in a skateboard accident and he was self conscious about this.  Bill said, “You are my best friend and I really want you to be there, so we should construct an eye for you to use.”  They made the eye out of wood and they sanded it smooth and colored it and then put a protective coating on it.  It turned out great, but Ted still felt that no decent looking girl would want to dance with him.

Bill said that he thought that this girl named Sally would probably dance with him if he asked her.  Ted said, “Oh yea what is wrong with her?”  Bill said, “There is nothing wrong with her, except she does have fat legs.”  They went to the dance and Ted asked Sally if she would like to dance with him and Sally enthusiastically said, “Would I, would I?”  Ted responded by saying, “Fat legs, fat legs.”

I think that a lot of dialog fails when people start using idioms or idiomatic expressions which are not understood by everyone, because an idiom’s figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning.  Figurative language is an umbrella term for words and phrases that are used with another meaning than their literal one, in order to create different effects, like adding color or amplifying certain portions of our writing.  Idioms can be thought of as having two prime characteristics, where the meanings of the individual words in the expression cannot be used to understand the meaning of the expression altogether, and the expression is also fixed both in terms of its grammar and its lexicality.  For example, when you use the expression ‘raining cats and dogs’, these words cannot be placed in another order, or be changed to synonyms, without losing the idiomaticity in the process.

People who recognize idioms are able to discern the difference between the literal meaning of the phrase and the possible implied meaning behind this expression.  Idioms are used in a wide range of situations and they play an important role in communication.  Idioms may be viewed as peculiar expressions that defy the rules of logic, as their overall meaning is often not immediately obvious from the meaning of their constituent elements.  People tend to use idioms all the time in normal conversation and it is up to the listener to decipher what has been said, if they did not get the meaning behind the words.  Saying things like, “As right as rain”, or “Bark up the wrong tree”, or “Being in deep water”, or “Beating about the bush”, or “Breaking the ice”, or “Being a chip off the old block”, or “Drowning your sorrows”, or “Fly off the handle”, or “Getting a kick out of something”, all have their own unique meanings and the list goes on and on.

Consider horses, people sometimes say that a man does not have good horse sense, but at first glance, you would not think that horses would be used as a measuring gage for mental capacity.  Horses are very sensitive to their surroundings and they are aware of danger, as they are able to sense a storm coming, way before it arrives and they are also able to sense a predator long before a human would be able to see or hear it.  Horses can be trained to do many tasks, but if they sense danger, like a fire, or that they have been led too close to the edge of a cliff, they will go against their training and try to kick their owner off of their back.  Horses are also able to sense the emotional state of humans.  They will know when you are happy or sad or frightened and because they become our partners, they become uniquely aware of everything that they sense from the person that they are with.  People with horse sense are smart and practical and they will make good decisions. Horse sense is something that is gained by experience and not anything that can be learned in school.

There is another phrase that says, “You shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”  Since the age of the horse can often be determined by the length of their teeth, if you did look into the mouth of a gift horse, this would rude, because it would be seen as though you were questioning the value of the gift.  Staying with the horse’s mouth, there is another saying, “I got it straight from the horse’s mouth.”  We all know that a horse is not able to speak, but in the sport of horse racing, this means that certain information came from a trusted authority that is in close contact with the horse.  This could be the rider, the horse trainer, or a stable boy that is around the horse every day.  This information that is said to come ‘from the horse’s mouth’ would be more trusted than even that inner circle of people would know, because this is coming from the horse itself.  It would come directly from the source, being firsthand information and thus it is considered to be very dependable.  As it is personal knowledge coming from the most authoritative source, this information is always considered to be credible, trustworthy and reliable.  This information will need to be considered as being true, because it was obtained first hand, directly from the source, originating in the horse’s mouth.

Another phrase says, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”  Since all horses like drinking water and the average horse consumes between one to two buckets of fresh water every day, it is important that horses drink.  If a horse is deprived of its food, but it is still supplied with drinking water, it will be able to survive for about 20 to 25 days.  All horses that do any kind of work will require good clean water and if a horse refuses to drink this is a serious problem, so you should always make sure that your horse is drinking, because this is absolutely imperative to their health.  When a healthy horse gets thirsty, they will consume a large amount of water, because they have a place to store water and this keeps them happy.  If the horse runs out of its water reserve, then it will most likely become sick and when a horse feels sick, it won’t want to drink anything.”

Not being able to make the horse drink relates to people thinking that horses are stubborn, and if a horse refuses to obey a command and this saying has more to do with people than it does with horses, because it relates to the character flaw or personality defect known as stubbornness which is inherent in people.  Most people will only do what they want to do.  You can show them how to do a certain thing, but you can’t force them to actually do it.  A person could be presented with a wonderful opportunity, but you cannot force that person to take advantage of it.  You can show people the way to find something or how to do something, but you cannot force them to act on anything.  This saying means that you can give someone all the opportunities that they need to learn or do something, but this will be futile if that person doesn’t want to take advantage of a potential break that you give them.

Another horse idiom that deals with futility is, “Beating a dead horse.”  This particular situation is one where you would be wasting your time since the outcome has already been determined.  If you want to go out for a ride and your horse is dead, then you will not get very far, even if you try to beat the horse into submission.  When you have reached the bitter end, or when you are at the end of the rope, or when you have reached the end of the line, or when you have finally hit bottom, or when you think that there is nothing left, or when you have gone past the point of no return, then you are beating a dead horse, because you have already reached your demise, having arrived at the culmination of a difficult or unpleasant event.  This is where you must give up and surrender, because you have met the limit of your efforts to fight and the struggle must end.

There are many other horse idioms like, “Strong as a horse”, “Work like a horse”, “Eat like a horse”, “I am so hungry I could eat a horse”, “You are making a horse’s ass out of yourself”, “You are acting like a horse’s ass”, “You look like a horse’s ass”, “You put the cart before the horse”, “You locked the barn door after the horse was gone”, “You bet on or are backing the wrong horse”, “Getting back up on the horse”, “Get off your high horse”, “Get back on the horse”, “Back the horse up”, “Hold your horses”, “Like an unleashed horse”, “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away”, “Don’t change horses in midstream”, Don’t spare the horses, “I feel like I’ve been kicked by a horse”, “Quit the horse play or stop horsing around”, “He was put out to pasture”, “He is chomping at the bit”, “He is hung like a stallion”, “Horse feathers” and my all time favorite, “Screw you and the horse that you rode in on.”

Written for Ray NotBradbury Cool Writing Prompt – When Dialog Fails.

Let Em In

The knocking on my door challenge by RayNotBradburry (who has her own distinctive style to say the least) lists 8 actions that a person might take when someone knocks on their door.  Those actions being to panic, pretend that you are deaf, start running, peak through the curtains, smile, go get snacks or just stay inside of your head.  Ray seems to have left out the option of answering the door to see what this person wants.  A home is supposed to be a person’s castle and if they don’t want to answer the door they shouldn’t have to, as it is your right to answer it or not.  If you are rich enough than you could hire someone to do this for you, so you wouldn’t have to get up.

There was great interest for many people to see the Beatles reunite during the 1970s, and this peaked in 1976, six years after the break-up.  Over the course of the previous two years, relations between the two chief Beatles had warmed considerably, with the pair John and Paul spending time together both in Los Angeles on John’s Lost Weekend and in Manhattan at the Dakota where John lived with Yoko.  Paul and Linda McCartney visited the Lennon’s at their apartment and Paul would often drop by with his guitar just to hang out with his good friend.  On April 24, 1976, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels made an offer to the Beatles with an on-air announcement that he would pay the Beatles $3,000 if they would perform on his program together.

In 2000, a movie or television drama was made about this called the Two of Us, which gave a dramatized account of that April 24, 1976 evening.  It was directed by ‘Let It Be’ Michael Lindsay-Hogg, and starred Aidan Quinn as McCartney and Jared Harris as Lennon.  John and Paul were both watching the show this night along with 22 million other people, but they were only about one and a half miles away from the studio.  John said, “They were watching it and almost went down to the studio, just as a gag.  We nearly got into a cab, but we were actually too tired.  That was a period when Paul just kept turning up at our door with a guitar.  I would let him in, but finally I said to him, ‘Please call before you come over.  It’s not 1956 and turning up at the door isn’t the same anymore.  You know, just give me a ring.’  He was upset by that, but I didn’t mean it badly.  I just meant that I was taking care of a baby all day and some guy turns up at the door.  But, anyway, back on that night, he and Linda walked in and he and I were just sitting there, watching the show, and we went, ‘Ha-ha, wouldn’t it be funny if we went down?’, but we didn’t.”

The next day after the Saturday Night Live program McCartney turned up again at the Dakota to hang out with Lennon, but he was dismissed when Lennon told him that he was busy with his young son Sean.  Lennon and McCartney never saw each other again!  That was the end of the Beatles, because John and Paul were both too tired to go 22 blocks to Rockefeller Center and sing a few songs.  Another opportunity presented itself in September 1976, when American promoter Sid Bernstein published a full-page ad in the New York Times publicly requesting the group to reunite and offering 230 million dollars for a one-time-only charity concert.

That same year 1976, Paul McCartney wrote a song titled ‘Let Em In’ with Wings that was featured on the album ‘Wings at the Speed of Sound’.  It was written and sung by Paul McCartney and it reached the top 3 in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.  The song is noted for the sound of a doorbell, chiming the first eight notes from the Big Ben tune, before the rhythm begins.  Paul gave a shout out to several of his relatives and friends in this song, where he mentions his aunt ‘Auntie Gin’ and Paul’s younger brother and former lead singer of The Scaffold ‘Brother Michael’, the Everly Brothers ‘Phil and Don’, Keith Moon played this character in the 1975 film version of the rock opera Tommy ‘Uncle Ernie’ and his famous former mate from the Beatles ‘Brother John’, however some people feel that ‘brother John’ might be Linda’s brother, John Eastman.  His reference to ‘Sister Suzie’ was about Linda, who once recorded a song under the name ‘Suzie And The Red Stripes’.

I read that the Beatles often referred to John Lennon as Martin Luther.  Auntie Gin was a nickname for Jane who was Paul’s paternal aunt who was responsible for hooking up his parents.  Ironically, Keith Moon and his girlfriend dined with Paul and Linda McCartney on the night that Keith died, September 6, 1978, after they had dinner, the two couples attended a London preview of the film The Buddy Holly Story.  ‘Wake Up Little Susie’ was written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant and it was recorded by The Everly Brothers.

Someone’s knockin’ at the door
Somebody’s ringin’ the bell
Someone’s knockin’ at the door
Somebody’s ringin’ the bell
Do me a favor
Open the door and let ‘em in

Someone’s knockin’ at the door
Somebody’s ringin’ the bell
Someone’s knockin’ at the door
Somebody’s ringin’ the bell
Do me a favor
Open the door and let ‘em in, yeah, let ‘em in

Sister Suzie, brother John
Martin Luther, Phil and Don
Brother Michael, auntie Gin
Open the door and let ‘em in, yeah

Sister Suzie, brother John
Martin Luther, Phil and Don
Uncle Ernie, auntie Gin
Open the door and let ‘em in, yeah

Someone’s knockin’ at the door
Somebody’s ringin’ the bell
Someone’s knockin’ at the door
Somebody’s ringin’ the bell
Do me a favor
Open the…

Someone’s knockin’ at the door
Somebody’s ringin’ the bell
Someone’s knockin’ at the door
Somebody’s ringin’ the bell
Do me a favor
Open the door and let ‘em in, ooh yeah, let ‘em in

Sister Suzie, brother John
Martin Luther, Phil and Don
Uncle Ernie, uncle Lin
Open the door and let ’em in, yeah

Someone’s knockin’ at the door
Somebody’s ringin’ the bell
Someone’s knockin’ at the door
Somebody’s ringin’ the bell
Do me a favor
Open the door and let ’em in, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Written for Ray NotBradbury Cool Writing Prompt – ‘8 things to know before knocking on my door’.

The Truth Often Escapes Being Known

One day Aristotle went on a cruise with Pythias his 10 year old daughter.  He was getting bored, so he turned to her and said, “Let’s talk.  I’ve heard that the trip will seem to go by quicker, if you strike up a conversation with a fellow passenger.”  Pythias was laying out trying to get a tan, but she sat up and said to her father, “What would you like to talk about?” Aristotle said, ‘I am not sure, but do you have any thoughts about atomism?”  “OK”, she said.  “I always find that to be an interesting topic.  But first, let me ask you a question.  A cow, a deer and a horse all eat grass, but the cow turns out a flat patty, while the deer excretes little pellets and the horse produces a clump of dried grass.  Why do you suppose that is?”  Aristotle thinks this over for a while and then he said, “Hmmm, I have no idea.”  Pythias then replied, “Do you really feel qualified to discuss atomism when you don’t even seem to know shit?”

People have always enjoyed getting together to discuss things and the ancient Greek philosophers did a lot of discussing, with part of their conversations concerning the physical world and its composition.   One of the on-going debates had to do with sand.  The question posed was, into how small of pieces can you divide a grain of sand?  The prevailing thought at the time, pushed by Aristotle, was that the grain of sand could be divided indefinitely, that you could always get a smaller particle by dividing a larger one and there was no limit to how small the resulting particle could be.

One day, Aristotle was walking on the beach thinking seriously about some of the great problems of existence, believing that he was getting close to solving everything.  While pondering this serious problem, he saw another man on the beach who was doing something very intensely, so intensely that even Aristotle could not ignore him.  Normally Aristotle would have ignored this man, but it peaked his curiosity observing what the man was doing, continuously going to the ocean, coming back, going to the ocean again, and coming back again and again.  Anyway Aristotle stopped and asked the strange man, “Hey, what are you up to?”  The man said, “Don’t disturb me, I am doing something very important,” and went on about his business.

Aristotle became even more curious and asked again, “What are you doing?”  The man said, “Please stop disturbing me, I told you that it is something very important.”  Aristotle said, “What is this important thing?”  The man showed Aristotle a little hole that he had dug in the sand, and he said, “I am emptying the ocean into this hole.”  Aristotle looked at this man and laughed really hard when he saw that this man had a tablespoon in his hand.  Aristotle said, “That is ridiculous!  You must be insane.  Do you know how vast this ocean is?  How can you ever empty this ocean into this little hole?  Why are you using a tablespoon, as you should at least have a bucket, then you might have a better chance.  Please give this up this madness.”

The man looked at Aristotle, threw the his spoon down and said, “My job is already done.”  Aristotle said, “What do you mean?  You did not empty the ocean and even your hole is not full of water yet.  How can you say your job is done?”  The strange older man was Heraclitus of Ephesus.  Heraclitus stood up and said, “I am trying to empty the ocean into this hole with a tablespoon and you are telling me it’s ridiculous, it’s madness, so I should give it up.  What are you trying to do?  Do you know how vast this existence is?  It can contain a billion oceans like this and more, and you are trying to empty it into the small hole of your head.”  Heraclitus then exclaimed, “Can’t you see the underlying connection between opposites. Health and disease, good and evil, hot and cold, and everything that is an opposite has a relation to something else.  Thus a single substance may be perceived in varied ways, as seawater is both harmful (for human beings) and beneficial (for fishes).  Understanding the relation that opposites have to each other enables us to overcome the chaotic and divergent nature of the world.  The world exists as a coherent system in which a change in one direction is ultimately balanced by a corresponding change in another.  Between all things there is a hidden connection, so that those that are apparently tending to be pulled apart are actually being brought together.  History is a child building a sandcastle by the sea, and that child is the whole majesty of man’s power in the world.”

The Roman numeral for 1,000 is represented by the capital letter M and any number with a bar over it, is equivalent to that number times 1,000, thus since X = 10 then X̄ = 10,000.  The ancient Greeks originally had a number system like the Romans, but in the 4th century BC, they started using the same system.  In Greece the number ten thousand was called a myriad and it stems from the Greek word murios meaning countless.  Archimedes proposed a number system that used powers of a myriad (base 100,000,000) and it was capable of expressing extremely high numbers.  He wrote a work called The Sand Reckoner in which he set out to determine an upper bound for the number of grains of sand that fit into the universe.  In order to do this, he had to estimate the size of the universe according to the contemporary model, and invent a way to talk about extremely large numbers.

Archimedes argued, “There are some, like King Gelon tyrant of Gela and Syracuse in Sicily, who think that the number of the sand particles is infinite in multitude; and I mean by the sand not only that which exists about Syracuse and the rest of Sicily, but also that which is found in every region whether inhabited or uninhabited.  Again there are some who, without regarding it as infinite, yet think that no number has been named which is great enough to exceed its multitude.  And it is clear that they who hold this view, if they imagined a mass made up of sand in other respects as large as the mass of the Earth, including in it all the seas and the hollows of the Earth filled up to a height equal to that of the highest of the mountains, would be many times further still from recognizing that any number could be expressed which exceeded the multitude of the sand so taken.”

Archimedes was trying to prove that numbers could be greater in magnitude than all the grains of sand, and he said, “There is Aristarchus of Samos who made a hypotheses, in which the premises lead to the result that the universe is many times greater than that now so called.  His hypotheses are that the fixed stars and the Sun remain unmoved, that the Earth revolves about the Sun in the circumference of a circle, the Sun lying in the middle of the orbit, and that the sphere of the fixed stars, situated about the same center as the Sun, is so great that the circle in which he supposes the Earth to revolve bears such a proportion to the distance of the fixed stars as the center of the sphere bears to its surface.  Now it is easy to see that this is impossible; for, since the centre of the sphere has no magnitude, we cannot conceive it to bear any ratio whatever to the surface of the sphere.  We must however take Aristarchus to mean that since we conceive the Earth to be, as it were, the centre of the universe, the ratio which the Earth bears to what we describe as the ‘universe’ is the same as the ratio which the sphere containing the circle in which he supposes the Earth to revolve bears to the sphere of the fixed stars.

For Aristarchus adapts the proofs of his results to a hypothesis of this kind, and in particular he appears to suppose the magnitude of the sphere in which he represents the Earth as moving to be equal to what we call the universe.  I say then that, even if a sphere were made up of the sand, as great as Aristarchus supposes the sphere of the fixed stars to be, I shall still prove that, of the numbers named in the Principles (a lost work of Archimedes), some exceed in multitude the number of the sand which is equal in magnitude to the sphere referred to, provided that the following assumptions be made.”

Written for Ray NotBradbury Cool Writing Prompt ‘The End Of Infinity’.

Solving a Mystery

Our universe is filled with mysteries, even though humans have made a staggering amount of scientific and technological progress over the past century.  When are those aliens going to show up here on Earth, or if they have already been here why is the proof of their existence still being covered up?  Do you have to be a crackpot to believe that aliens have visited or will visit this planet?  Is it possible that these advanced alien explorers overlooked us, thinking that we are mere pond scum compared to their advanced intelligence?  What really happened at Roswell and do Men in Black exist to cover up everything?

Alien abduction usually involves a beam of solid blue light transporting someone onto a table inside of a space ship where they are surrounded by beings wearing white robes with high collars.  Crop circles and anal probing are what aliens are best known for, and if they travelled that far to get here, one would think that they could find better ways of occupying their time. Humans dream about aliens because it makes us feel more important in this vast, forgetful cosmos where we need to be seen so we know we exist.  In 1952, a CIA group called the Psychological Strategy Board concluded that, when it came to UFOs, the American public was dangerously gullible and prone to hysterical mass behavior.  The Earth is incapable of defending itself against advanced beings from space, so naturally chaos, panic, and madness are likely to ensue as buildings crumble, fires rage, riots break out and society as a whole collapses if we ever find evidence of alien life, because extraterrestrial life is always portrayed as having negative consequences.  The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is a field of science that’s been around for over 60 years and has yet to find definitive evidence for intelligent alien life in our universe.  If they ever did receive a message from outer space what are the chances that they would be able to understand it?

The first confirmation of an exoplanet orbiting a sun-like star was made in 1995 and a recent statistical estimate places an average of about at least one planet orbiting around every star in the Milky Way galaxy.  That means there’s something on the order of a trillion planets in our galaxy alone, many of them are in Earth size in range.  Once astronomers learned what to look for and after the launch of the Hubble telescope we’ve found that planets are as common as a cheeseburger at McDonalds.  Oumuamua whose name means ‘first messenger’ in Hawaiian is a mildly active comet, and it was discovered floating through the solar system in October and it is significant because it is the first known interstellar object to pass through our Solar System.  It is a rod-shaped object and originally SETI thought it might be an alien spacecraft as UFO enthusiasts point out that rods (along with flying saucers) are the two most common shapes cited by witnesses and the cigar shape would allow it to be slim enough to avoid collision with other objects as well as maximize aerodynamics for travel.

Life as we know it takes dramatically different forms, but all organisms are built from the same six essential elemental ingredients, those being carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur (CHNOPS).  Carbon enters easily into bonds with other carbon atoms allowing it to form vast chains that act as a nice skeleton for other atoms to bond with, making carbon atoms the perfect building blocks for large organic molecules.  The elements nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen are abundant, existing everywhere in our universe, while sulfur has a surplus of electrons allowing electron to shuffle, thus sulfides and sulfates help to catalyze reactions.  The element phosphorus is usually found in the molecule phosphate, which is vital to metabolism because they are able to store a huge amount of energy in their chemical bonds.  With a few exceptions, that being some life forms being able to use arsenic instead of phosphorus for life to occur, it comes down to CHNOPS, plus a dash of salt and a few metals.  Of course, those ingredients do have to be in the correct bonding structure, but this seems to occur naturally.

People concoct crazy conspiracy theories all the time and they believe in vampires and zombies, so aliens are not that far-fetched.  People like to entertain themselves with outlandish stories about the supernatural and the Internet provides a unique platform for these interests to proliferate.  A new survey revealed that nearly half of Americans believe in aliens, and almost as many believe that aliens are visiting Earth.  President Donald Trump says the perils we face from outer space require a new military branch, which has come to be known as the Space Force.  Defense experts fear that the more than 1,700 active satellites, many that are used for military and communications purposes, could be targets in future space wars, or is it possible that everyone is watching too many Hollywood movies?

Written for Ray NotBradbury Cool Writing Prompt – Mystery Challenge.

The Chinese Rabbit

Legend has it that the cat was betrayed by the rat during the Great race while crossing the river on the water buffalo, the scheming rat pushed the cat into the river to ensure its place at the top of the list.  The cat and the rat have been mortal enemies ever since then.  The Vietnamese zodiac has a cat instead of a rabbit and ‘Year of the Cat’ is a song by Al Stewart that came out in 1976.  Al was touring in America in 1975 when he heard Peter Wood (who worked with Roger Waters, Cyndi Lauper, Bob Dylan and Lou Reed) play this haunting riff on the piano and he asked if he could write some lyrics to it, and Peter told him to go for it

Initially he wrote a song titled ‘Foot of the Stage’, about an English comedian named Tony Hancock who committed suicide in Australia where the chorus was, “Your tears fell down like rain At the foot of the stage.”  The record company said that nobody ever heard of Tony Hancock and he thought that was annoying, so he changed this song to be about Princess Anne and the new song was called ‘Horse of the Year’ and some of these lyrics were, “Princess Anne rode off On the horse of the year”, however the record company didn’t like that either.  Al had a girlfriend who had a book on Vietnamese astrology, which was open to the chapter called ‘The Year of the Cat’, which Al thought would make a good song title.

He started writing these cat lyrics, “I used to have a ginger Tabby And now I have a ginger Tom The first one made me crabby The new one…” and then he realized that a song with crazy cat lyrics was ridiculous.  His train of thought was lost and then the movie Casablanca came on television and he thought, about using Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre to see where it goes.  Peter Wood wrote the music.

This song is about falling in love and succumbing to a beautiful woman in the year of the cat.  The guy is still with her the next morning and he has thrown away his choice and lost his ticket, so he feels like he must stay.  Patchouli is a species of plant from the mint family.  Some people wear patchouli oil just to smell nice, but most use it cover up the scent of marijuana.  Anyway this song came on today, while I was writing and my cat looked at me (see picture above) and told me to turn it up, as this is her favorite song.  My cat is named Bogey, because she was found on a golf course and her twin sister is named Ranger.  A Bogey is a score of one over par and a Ranger is someone that rides around on a cart to speed up play.  Anyway back to the cat, I asked Bogey why this was her favorite song and she said it was because she hated rats and she said that she was named after Humphrey Bogart, so I just turned up the volume, as I didn’t want to argue with her.

On a morning from a Bogart movie
In a country where they turn back time
You go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre
Contemplating a crime
She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolor in the rain
Don’t bother asking for explanations
She’ll just tell you that she came
In the year of the cat

She doesn’t give you time for questions
As she locks up your arm in hers
And you follow ‘till your sense of which direction
Completely disappears
By the blue tiled walls near the market stalls
There’s a hidden door she leads you to
These days, she says, I feel my life
Just like a river running through
The year of the cat

While she looks at you so cooly
And her eyes shine like the moon in the sea
She comes in incense and patchouli
So you…

While she looks at you so cooly
And her eyes shine like the moon in the sea
She comes in incense and patchouli
So you take her, to find what’s waiting inside
The year of the cat

Well morning comes and you’re still with her
And the bus and the tourists are gone
And you’ve thrown away your choice you’ve lost your ticket
So you have to stay on
But the drum-beat strains of the night remain
In the rhythm of the new-born day
You know sometime you’re bound to leave her
But for now you’re going to stay
In the year of the cat

Year of the cat

Written for Ray NotBradbury Cool Writing Prompt ‘Being A Cat’ Challenge

 

Making a Pie

Uncontrolled and an unnecessary excess of atrocities and carnage are committed when vengeance is in your heart, death in your hand, and blood and retribution are hammering in your head, issuing gratuitous violence from start to finish.  The story begins in Rome, where Saturninus and his brother Bassianus, sons of the late emperor, appear before the senators, both demanding to succeed their father as the next Caesar.  Saturninus argues that he is the rightful heir because he is the first-born son. Titus Andronicus, the brother of Marcus Andronicus who is the only voice of reason and calmness determines the valiant general who has just returned home in triumph from a ten-year war with the Goths, must be the one chosen to decide who should get the throne.

A coffin containing one of Titus’s two sons slain in battle is being carried by Lucius and Quintus two of his other living sons. Titus gives a short speech in which he laments the loss of many of his sons and countrymen in the drawn-out campaign.  Lucius demands a human sacrifice to appease the spirits of the dead and insists that the victim must be cut to pieces and thrown atop the funeral pyre of his brothers.  Tamora, Queen of the Goths pleads with Titus, begging him not to kill her son Alarbus, but Titus tells her that her son has been marked, and he must die, to appease his son’s groaning shadows that are gone.  Of course Tamora wants to get revenge for this.

Titus decides that Saturninus is to be the new emperor and he hopes that his daughter Lavinia will become the new queen, but Saturninus becomes captivated by Tamora’s beauty and Bassianus seizes Lavinia, claiming her as his betrothed.  Things start to get out of control as Titus brands Lucius and Marcus as being traitors and calls for the imperial guards, however Bassianus and Marcus escape with Lavinia.  Mutius another one of Titus’s sons blocks the doors to prevent the guards from chasing after Bassianus, and orders Lucius, Quintus, and Martius another son of Titus to help Bassianus hide Lavinia.  Titus tries to follow them but Mutius refuses to let him pass.  Outraged, Titus stabs and kills Mutius.  Lucius re-enters to see his brother dead and he denounces his father’s unjust and despicable behavior, but the remorseless Titus is concerned only with returning Lavinia to the emperor.

Saturninus announces that Tamora shall be his new wife, and she gladly accepts.  Bassianus and Lavinia are brought before the emperor and he accuses Bassianus of raping Rome by kidnapping Lavinia.  Tamora comes forth to defend Titus, telling the court that, since she is now a happy Roman, all previous quarrels should be forgotten.  Tamora is seeking revenge at a later time, and when the right time arrives she wants to massacre them all of them and make them beg in the streets.  Saturninus forgives Titus and suggests that a double wedding take place the next day, with Tamora and Lavinia brides to himself and Bassianus.

Tamora’s servant and lover, Aaron the Moor, celebrates his queen’s new title as empress of Rome.  Tamora’s sons, Chiron and Demetrius, fight over Lavinia and Aaron proposes that the brothers should rape Lavinia during the next day’s hunt.  Aaron buries a bag of gold under a tree and Demetrius and Chiron stab the new groom Bassianus and they drag Lavinia off for their pleasure.  After Chiron and Demetrius ravish Lavinia, they cut off her hands and cut out her tongue to prevent her from revealing the perpetrators of the crime.  The suffering Lavinia is found in the woods by her uncle Marcus and brought to her father.  Aaron frames Titus’s sons, Martius and Quintus, for the murder of Bassianus and Titus pleads for mercy, but Saturninus commands that Titus’s sons be executed.

Aaron says that Saturninus has declared that Titus’s severed hand will be accepted as payment for the crimes of Martius and Quintus.  Aaron hacks through Titus’s wrist and carries the hand away, but only moments after Aaron leaves, a messenger comes to Titus, carrying the heads of Martius and Quintus and Titus’s severed hand.  Titus realizes that Aaron has tricked him and his sorrow turns into uncontrollable rage.  Lavinia having no hands and no tongue tries to give her young nephew a message by drawing attention to the book that young Lucius is reading.  Titus and Marcus are quick to make the connection, and they ask Lavinia to write in the sand the names of her attackers.  When she reveals the sons of Tamora are to blame, Titus and Marcus vow mortal revenge upon these traitorous Goths.

Tamora has a new son, but the baby is black and it clearly belongs to Aaron and not Saturninus and Tamora wants Aaron to kill the infant, but he kills the nurse instead.  The inveterate Moore who is a victim of a racially biased society is set on a path of evil and these miseries are more than may be born, as he feels that black is the best color, because it does not deign to take on any other colors.  A clown carrying two pigeons brings a message, but as soon as the message is read, the clown is hanged immediately, since no one loves the messenger who brings bad news.

Aaron and his child are captured by a Goth and brought before Lucius, who promptly sentences them both to hang.  Aaron tells Lucius that he will confess all if the child is spared.  Lucius agrees, and Aaron reveals that Chiron and Demetrius killed Bassianus and raped and mutilated Lavinia.  He brags about his part in the evil doings, and is sorry only that death will stop him from performing ten thousand more.

Tamora thinks that Titus has gone insane, so she suggests that he bring the emperor to a great feast, where Titus can then carry out his revenge.  Titus says that he likes the idea, and asks if she will leave Chiron and Demetrius with him.  She agrees and bids Titus farewell.  The two young Goths are gagged and bound and their throats are slit, while the Roman general discusses his plan to grind their bones to dust and make a paste of it with their blood, so it will become pie crust.  He will then bake them and serve the boys to their mother at the banquet, so she will eat what she has produced.

Saturninus and Tamora arrive at the feast and take their places at the banquet table, with Titus dressed in a cook’s cap and apron, he bids them welcome.  He tells the guests a story about a father who killed his own daughter because she had been raped, then he seizes and kills Lavinia.  Saturninus asks Titus to tell him who raped Lavinia, but Titus waits until the empress has taken a bite of the meat pie before he reveals that he knows Chiron and Demetrius are the attackers.  He tells the guests that the two are both baked in this pie and then he stabs Tamora.  Saturninus leaps across the table and kills Titus.  Lucius then kills Saturninus.  The noblemen attending the banquet declare Lucius the new emperor, and Titus is exonerated.  Aaron is brought forth and Lucius decides that he should be buried to the neck in sand and starved.

Written for RayNotBradbury Cool Writing Prompt – The Shakespeare Treasury – Titus.

Denied a Proper Burial

The deceased preta kept wandering as he was a disturbed ghost who could not find rest, his spirit was destined to roam on dark and stormy nights, because others thought he was not fit to be buried.  The soul of this dead being shows gratitude to the person who as an act of charity, arranged for the burial of his dishonored corpse.  His soul could now return to the creator, and he would no longer have to stand on the edge of eternal darkness.  His grateful chant would fill the void in order that others may know that in the land of the night, the ship of the sun is drawn by the grateful dead.

The ancient Greek Cynic philosopher Diogenes of Sinope an Ionian colony on the Black Sea was extreme in a lot of ways, as he lived a very poor and ascetic life, and his residence consisted of a tub and his only possession was a wooden bowl that he used to drink water from.  He felt that people should not be embarrassed to do private things in public, and he was often seen defecating and masturbating in the open where others could watch.  Diogenes told his friends that when he died, he didn’t want to be buried.  He wanted his body thrown over the city wall, where it could be devoured by animals.  My grandmother has similar feelings about funerals and burials, as she thought they were too expensive and she always said that when she died, that all she wanted was for her body to be wrapped up in a burlap bag and then kicked down the sewer.

A dead body is nothing more than an empty container, it doesn’t need to be embalmed, or dressed up in fancy clothes, or be put on some mournful display, or have its remnants placed in an urn up on the mantle.  Caring for the dead is part of being human, as we learned that rotting bodies have a bad odor when they are decomposing thus making them unsanitary, so we put them underground.  Humans have decided that lives matter, and they should be remembered and holding a funeral is a way to help a dead person to pass into the next world.  The deceased are buried out of a need to keep them protected from any interference of scavengers or animals who might desire to eat our loved ones.  An old custom involved placing pennies of the eyes of a dead person to be used as the payment to Charon, the ferryman of the underworld, to ferry the deceased across the River Styx, to their destination in the underworld.

History is full of riches-to-rags stories about fallen stars and tragic historical figures who died dead broke or very close to it. Boxer Joe Louis made a staggering amount of money during his reign as one of the country’s top pugilists in the ‘30s and ‘40s, but money always passed through his fingers too quickly.  His third wife, Martha, was left broke when Joe died, she could no longer walk, and she couldn’t afford a wheelchair of her own.  She needed false teeth and new glasses, but there was no money for any of those things.  Joe Lewis was known for saying, “Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die”, and he also said, “I don’t like money actually, but it quiets my nerves.”

Life is full of ups and downs and everything doesn’t always go according to plan, as you might soar above others and think that you are sitting on top of the world up in an ivy tower and then the next minute you are completely impoverished lacking any resource or the means of subsistence, which is what happened to a man named Dicrotendipes Thanatogratus. He was a noticeably friendly guy who owned the Drunken Whale Tavern.  It was located in a meadow near the woods on the spot where a tidal wave washed up a shark.  A marsh was created from this tidal wave that swept over the shore and Dicrotendipes used this place behind his tavern to dump all of his garbage.

Suddenly everything started going wrong in his life, his wife got sick and the town sawbones was not able to heal her, so she died.  He had to sell his business so he could be around to raise his children.  He felt like he had lost his place in society, as all of his former friends had deserted him.  He became the caterpillar who envied the bird, because it was able to fly away, where he was destined to spend the rest of his life in the cellar and wither away.  He started to borrow money from anyone who would loan it to him even though he knew that he had no way of paying them back.  When his debts came due, he acted forgetful, it was like he had a convenient memory that allowed him to overlook any obligation to pay his creditors back.  Things even got worse because of the antics of an arsonist and his house was burned down. He began to cry when his children were taken away from him to pay off some of his debt.  Dicrotendipes died and the whole town refused to bury him because of his debts so his body was left in a pile of horse dung.

Destiny Lands walked into town with his horse Charmer beside him and he decided to amble over to the stable so the blacksmith could have a look at his horse and this is when he discovered Dicrotendipes corpse rotting awayDestiny inquired why the man was not given a proper burial and he was told that when he met his demise, that he owed half the people in town money and that his body lay unburied as a lesson to all swindlers that being a deadbeat in this town would not be tolerated.  Destiny started pondering the situation and he made a moral decision that the transformative effect on fate of this man after his death was cruel and that he was now a lost soul who would never be shown the way to heaven. Destiny was moved by this sad story and he made his mark paying off all of this man’s debt by giving up his last penny, so he was able to ransom the corpse and give it suitable burial.  The restless soul was removed from the pile of horse dung and laid to rest and then Destiny continued on his way.

As Destiny was leaving town, he found himself in peril when motor crumbled off this wall next to the marsh and injured his horse.  He dismounted his horse and started to crouch down to get a better look at how bad Charmer was injured, and he saw blood gushing from Charmer’s leg.  There he meets a strange man wearing latex gloves who is able to cauterize the wound and heal his horse.  Destiny felt so grateful that this stranger helped his horse and he was glad that it was not any worse, as he knew that fractures in a horse can be devastating, especially since their legs are so breakable.  The strange man welcomed Destiny with open arms and then disclosed that he is the ghost of the man whose corpse Destiny had befriended and he said that he was the one who was in debt for being allowed to get a proper burial.  He told Destiny about a story that he heard when he owned the tavern.  This man who he took as a drunk told him that money was buried in the land where the marsh was created from the tidal wave.  Now that Dicrotendipes was dead, he was able to see exactly where this money was buried, so he told Destiny the location of where he should dig and he said that there was probably enough money for him to buy a castle.

Written for Daily Addictions prompt – Convenient, for FOWC with Fandango – Memory, for July Writing Prompts – Antics of an arsonist, for Laura M. Bailey All The Shoes I Wear Manic Mondays 3 Way Prompt – Castle, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt – Noticeably, for Ragtag Community – Open, for RayNotBradbury Cool Writing Prompt – Famous couples from the past challenge, for Scotts Daily Prompt – Friendly, for the secret keeper Weekly Writing Prompt #150 (5) word prompt – Ghost Mark Woods Soar Meadow, for Teresa’s Haunted Wordsmith Three Things Challenge prompt – tower tidal wave shark, for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Amble and for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle 204 – Breakable Sawbones Marsh Cry Wither Mortar Crouch Latex Gloves Preta Cellar Mournful Cauterize.

All That I Know

The Thai soccer team became trapped on June 23, when they started exploring the caves after going on a picnic following a soccer practice.  Monsoon flooding blocked their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.  They survived by drinking water dripping off the stalactites above them, however I am not sure if they ever did receive any emergency care packages that were dropped into the shafts of the cave.  Each package contained food, beverages, a phone, a flashlight, candles, a lighter and a map of the cave.  The last remaining member of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach have been pulled out of the flooded cave, bringing an end to a near three-week ordeal that prompted a huge international rescue effort.

I can still remember my trip into the void and all I know is a door into the dark where I became disoriented after entering it, I had to take risks, make choices and find myself, but this gave me the idea of how to design a labyrinth.  I am Daedalus the great Greek craftsman and inventor and you may know me for the labyrinth that I created to hold the Minotaur and the wings made of feathers that I made so my son Icarus and I could escape from Crete.  All I know is something like a bird within me sang and it sang for a little while and then flew on, but Icarus dared to fly too near the sun and the wax that held the feathers on his wings melted.   I am sure that you are curious, so I will tell you all that I know.

In the summer following my birth, a monkey crawled into my crib and told me that I would have to evolve or else I would die, as he had learned how things are done from five other monkeys that tried to climb a ladder to reach a bunch of bananas.  When I turned 10 years old, I went to visit the Oracle of Delphi, a sanctuary dedicated to the god Apollo.  The Earth mother Gaia kept a holy serpent at Delphi known as Python who Apollo slayed and kept to allow the oracle to speak to mortals.  I saw vapors rising from the crack in the floor that was emitting a gas with intoxicating properties, which also sent forth the essences of the sweetest perfumes, while the oracle sat on a tripod, so she would not fall into the chasm.  I consulted the oracle on how to help me evolve into another plane of existence and she taught me astral projection which was a psychedelic, surreal, and abstract way to have an out-of-body experience.  This helped me to discover the existence of my soul or consciousness, however it also did make me into a supercilious person.

My astral body was able to deviate from my physical body and I was no longer a resident of Earth.  I started travelling throughout the universe.  My journey started in April and it was filled with dark sarcasm, because I had had built this personal wall around myself that blocked me from seeing the rest of the world clearly, but all in all not to lessen this experience in any way, I found out that it was just another brick in the wall.  While my astral projection made its way back to my body, I encountered the shadows of this cave, which hid all of the brilliant moonlight, and I became motionless not knowing if I wanted to get back to my real body, or just stay here in this fake world.  The walls of this cave were dappled with bluish shadows that glittered like diamonds, but I did evolve, just as the monkey told me to do and eventually I was able to make it back.

Written for Daily Addictions prompt – Resident, for FOWC with Fandango – Lessen, for July Writing Prompts – In the summer following my birth, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt – Supercilious, for Ragtag Community – Dappled, for RayNotBradbury Cool Writing Prompt – All I know is a door into the dark by Seamus Heaney, for Scotts Daily Prompt – Package, for Teresa’s Haunted Wordsmith Three Things Challenge, where the three prompt words are “monkey, April and brick” and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Deviate.