Did You Hear That

If you want to be an Arachnologist, you may only earn a pittance, but insects are fascinating because they are resilient, and it is fun to observe anything that oozes slime.  You will find that where there is one, there will probably be hundreds or even thousands of them.  Arthropods which includes such familiar forms as lobsters, crabs, spiders, mites, insects, centipedes, and millipedes make up about 75% of all animals on Earth and by mounting the comb on one external body part and the sharp edge on the other, they can stridulate by rubbing the two hard parts together producing a shrill, grating sound.  A sharp edge or “scraper” is located on the upper surface of the lower wing and is rubbed against a row of bumps known as the “file” on the underside of the upper wing.  Some insects like fireflies are silent dismal disappointments, as they never make a sound.  Insects can be colorful and Hernándo Cortés learned that the vibrant hue of scarlet in Aztec fabrics was made from the crushed-up cochineal insect.

On a summer day, while a soft breeze rustles quietly through the trees, you can hear the high-pitched hum of crickets, katydids, grasshoppers, and cicadas filling the air.  Bumblebees will buzz through flower gardens, while grasshoppers bounce and crickets chirp.  Summertime brings all of nature’s musically inclined creatures out to play a symphony every day.  The best time to hear late summer insects is after dark, when katydids (large green grasshoppers) take center stage.  These wonderful musicians chirp, click, zip, rattle, and lisp from nature, and sometimes they find their way inside our homes.  It is a joy to behold these choruses of males, serenading the females of their own species with their purposeful buzzing, whirring, chirping, and sawing.  Insect noises also transmit information about species identity, sex, and location.  You may not think of the buzz and whine of insects as musical, but in Aesop’s fable, a grasshopper plays the fiddle in the summer while the ant works.

Insects have the ability to produce sounds, but they don’t have ears, however they are sensitive to vibrations.  Classical music greats like Beethoven, Handel, Chopin, and Schubert have included insects in their works.  ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov is perhaps the most recognizable of these classical works.  Probably the most notable musical group to have taken an insect name is the Beatles and they took this name because they idolized Buddy Holly and the Crickets.  A few of the more popular artists that have recorded insect songs are AC/DC ‘Fly on the Wall’, Aerosmith ‘Joanie’s Butterfly’, Alice Cooper ‘Halo of Flies’, the Bee Gees ‘Butterfly’, Blondie ‘Dragonfly’, Bob Dylan ‘Day of the Locusts’, Cher ‘Elusive Butterfly’, the Cure ‘Caterpillar’, the Dave Matthews Band ‘Ants Marching’, the Doobie Brothers ‘Beehive State’, the Doors ‘The Wasp [Texas Radio and the Big Beat]’, Genesis ‘Cuckoo Cocoon’, Heart ‘Dog and Butterfly’, the Hollies ‘Butterfly’, James Brown ‘I Got Ants in My Pants’, Jethro Tull ‘Moths’, Jimi Hendrix ‘Hornet’s Nest’, Kansas ‘Gnat Attack’, the Kinks ‘Cricket’, Mariah Carey ‘Butterfly’, Paul McCartney ‘Little Lamb Dragonfly’, Pearl Jam ‘Red Mosquito’, the Rolling Stones ‘King Bee’, Smashing Pumpkins ‘Bullet with Butterfly Wings’, Sound Garden ‘Drawing Flies’, Stevie Ray Vaughan ‘Honey Bee’, and Van Halen ‘Spanish Fly’.

A careful listener could match the buzz of a fly to a key on the piano.  That is exactly what Robert Hooke, the natural philosopher did in the 17th century, as he was able to tell how many strokes a fly makes with her wings (those flies that hum in their flying) by the note that it answers to in music during their flying.  Hooke designed and built a wheel with regular teeth marks around its edge. As the wheel spun, the teeth struck a card, making a noise.  The faster the speed of the wheel, the higher the frequency of the teeth hitting the card.  Every time a fly beats its wings, it makes a sound.  But, if it beats its wings many times a second, those combined beats turn into a hum.  The faster the wings are beaten, the higher the hum.  If Robert Hooke’s wheel made the same note as the hum of a fly, then the frequency of the fly’s wings could be deduced.

The Beatles song ‘Sun King’ is a beautiful melody that illustrates nocturnal peace and the newly born day begins with the chirping sound of a cricket.  In 1992, Tom Waits was listening to a celestial, eerie recording of crickets that was radically slowed down and he thought it sounded like the Vienna Boys Choir.  The song was called ‘Ballad of the Twisted Hair’, off of the album Medicine Songs by David Carson & the Little Wolf Band.  Jim Wilson recorded crickets in his back yard, and he brought it into the studio and went ahead and lowered the pitch and lowered the pitch and lowered the pitch, until they sounded like a well-trained church choir.  Opera singer Bonnie Jo Hunt was approached by Robbie Robertson and Jim Wilson to attach some human accompaniment to the stunning chorus Wilson had discovered, but the original composition only had crickets and it was called ‘God’s Chorus’.

The Chinese kept crickets in a box as pets for more than 3,200 years.  Cricket fighting was started by Tang Dynasty emperors more than 1,000 years ago.  One would think that depression would set in from being cooped up all the time, that is if crickets do have feelings.  Master Fang thought that cricket fighting was a spiritual activity and he felt that it was the cricket trainer could only cultivate virtue in the insects by showing them love and affection.  Only the males fight, but before the fight they are given the company of a girl cricket to spend the night with, which helps them relax.  The fighting lasts just a few seconds and winner and losers are determined by the cricket who starts to run away or moves backwards from the battle, or their downfall is determined if they stop chirping.

The Wet Tropics of Queensland in Australia is the home of the King Crickets which roam the forest floor at night feeding on scraps of decaying matter and killing small creatures with their powerful jaws.  They mostly hide during the day from predators who can detect their smell.  In Southeast Asia, deep-fried crickets are a common snack food and deep-fried grasshoppers are a favorite in Nigeria when spiced with powdered chili, but you might need something to wash them down with.  In Cambodia and Laos cricket farming is the informal food sector for wild caught crickets and this becomes a market for edible insects.  This has become a very long post and I got zilch left, which is probably a good thing.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Pittance, for the Daily Spur prompt – Depression, for FOWC with Fandango – Slime, for June Writing Prompts – Dismal disappointments, for Ragtag Community – Zilch, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Human Vibrant Company, for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Newly and for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle #194 hosted by Yves – Wet Downfall Beautiful Smell Girl Wash Resilient Stridulate Virtue Informal Attach Backwards.

Signs from the Sky

Jim said to Charlotte, “You don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows and although the clouds are constantly changing, there are clear images inside of all of this chaos that seems to be pointing to our destruction.  It is a fine day, so let’s grab a blanket and find a quiet spot outside where we can relax while we examine the sky above for clues.  We can explore the shapes of the clouds to gain a special meaning from them, and see if they will reveal something special just for us.”  Charlotte said, “Are you still tripping on that acid that you dropped last night, or have you decided to take up the lost divination skill of aeromancy?  You are right though, as we should get outside today, because I am tired of being cooped up and listening to that windbag president spewing out his meretricious words that only cause me frustration.  Give me a minute to change into my running shoes and then I will be ready to check out the foliage, as the landscape from our front window has changed from dull browns and drab tans to swirls of pink, yellow and green in a matter of the past few days.”

Jim said, “OK babe, I will feed the hamster and then I will wait outside for you while I check on the birch tree to see how it is doing after I pruned it earlier this year.  Today is Memorial Day and the beaches have opened, but with nearly 50,000 cases of Covid-19 across Florida, I don’t think that we should risk it yet.”  Charlotte said, “Oh yea, it is Memorial Day, as I often forget what day it is since this pandemic struck.  I try in earnest to stay awake concerning this situation, but then I get lost in a sea of statistics and as I begin to hesitate, all I want to do is get more sleep.  We should go to the park and watch the parade and I could put together a picnic basket, but only if you agree to heft it around.”

Jim said, “You know that I hate parades, the marching bands and everything that goes with them and it probably stems from that first job that I had, where I was required to scoop up all the horse poop after the parade was over and that was pure misery for me.  People are so messy and they often say don’t cry when life hands you lemons, but they never consider the lemony liabilities.  Let’s just go out in the back yard where we won’t need to wear our masks and it will be quiet enough for us to hear the sounds of the wind passing through leaves on the trees, or it is possible that even the grass may carry some sort of message.  I’ll grab a joint for us to smoke and you could put on that gossamer blouse that looks so pretty on you.”

Just then, the sun turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, and Charlotte said, “We won’t be getting any signs from the sky today, or at least I won’t, as I am not going out there” and then the heavens opened up and it began raining.  Those poor people that are having their parade rained on, I feel so sad for them.  I guess the good news is that we didn’t get our blanket wet.”  Jim turned the TV back on and he saw that Trump was tweeting sexist taunts and personal insults against prominent female Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Jim said, “Speaking of wet blankets, that orange dude is up to his old antics again, I really think that the hydroxychloroquine that he is taking has messed up his mind.”  Charlotte said, “You are being too kind, as he is nothing more than a shortcut to disaster and his brain is the equivalent of what a child has.”

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Heft, for the Daily Spur prompt – Equivalent, for FOWC with Fandango – Shortcut, for May Writing Prompts – Lemony liabilities, for Ragtag Community – Gossamer, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Misery Kind Frustration, for Linda G. Hill Life in progress What Day is it Anyway?, for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Acid and for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle #191 hosted by Yves – Earnest Awake Foliage Aeromancy Meretricious Shoes Running Birch Hamster Smoke Sleep Hesitate.

Walking Down the Red Carpet

Ringlets and roses are a few of my favorite things, but since not all curls are made alike, one has to be trenchant by wrapping their hair in opposite directions, which will give them that much sought after withershins look.  This is the latest craze and it created a brouhaha on the red carpet this year with many starlets adopting this vogue statement.  It takes practice to get this right and no novice can do it, but the importance of being in style is the only way to reach the ceiling, especially in an industry that is known to cause so much grief.  Sure, you also need the right shoes that match your outfit, as that is the only way to achieve harmony, so you can remain composed.

Having the right jewelry will become the feather in your cap, as the competition never ends and it is better to have this done yesterday than having to scurry out like the engine that could, at the last minute to find something.  Everyone who is nominated should put some thought into what they will say at their acceptance speech.  Always remember that the term red carpet is not a thingamajig, as this dates back to Ancient Greece, where it was immortalized in the play Agamemnon, that was written by Aeschylus the Father of Greek Tragedy, when Clytemnestra, Agamemnon’s wife, speaks of a floor of crimson broideries to spread for the King’s path.  Clytemnestra is not a happy camper when her husband finally arrives home from the Trojan War, bringing his concubine Cassandra with him.  She rolls out the crimson carpet to convince King Agamemnon to walk into his death, feeling that he was evil and deserved to die.  She used heavy robes to trap him in his bath which held him like the tentacle of an octopus and then she hacked him up with an axe.  She also kills Cassandra and then she sits down to enjoy some tea.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Trenchant, for the Daily Spur prompt – Composed, for Eugi’s Weekly Prompt – Harmony, for FOWC with Fandango – Practice, for May Writing Prompts – Ringlets and roses, for Ragtag Community – Thingamajig, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Speech Importance Thought, for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Novice and for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle 189, hosted by Yves where the prompts are – Withershins Brouhaha Competition Yesterday Ceiling Shoes Feather Scurry Tentacle Grief Tea Engine.

Prompts Are the Mainstay for Bloggers

Linda has concluded her Just Jot It January and Fandango just started up FFE where he provides a Daily Adage for us to write about.  Bee is doing her Love is in Da Blog again for February and Teresa who left over the WordPress scandal that Fandango reported about (and I for the life of me can’t remember the name of this) is back again with exciting new challenges.  It won’t be long before the April A-Z challenge is back here again and lucky for me, I have all of my topics picked out already.  I have already written 4 posts today and Bring Me My Newspaper got 22 views, Being a Perfectionist received 20 views, My Wife Anne de la Roch only got 9 views and Leaving Home and Exploring the World which got 6. That should have been enough writing for one day, but I am a glutton for punishment, so I decided to try and fit in 24 more prompt words, which may or may not be sagacious.

If I ignore the daily prompts, they could all dry up and blow away and then where would I be, left up the creek without a paddle most likely.  At times my responses may be uncouth and readers will pass them by with upturned noses, not willing to savor my aromatic phrases.  I could say that the devil made me do it when I write about sex and drugs, but that would be a lie, as Sexy savvy Sally could attest to.  I have a reluctance to follow the conventional rules for blogging and some people will find this to be imprudent, but I feel that it is fine and I hope others perceive my writing as being dulcet.  It has only been a few days since I last wrote a multi-prompt post and it was starting to feel like a century had passed by, so I was compelled to write this, just so I could feel alive again.

Every blogger must have a toolbox in their camp that they use for topics and the prompt challenges do this for me as they are the mainstay for my topics, but each blogger is different and everyone must develop their own discernment on how they will handle things.  I surrender to the prompts and let them take me to unknown places, without a sliver of an idea where I am heading.  They might lead me to a charcoal shadow, or lend a hand, or elbow me to open wide, or just settle under a willow and gaze at a snowdrop.  I usually like to end my posts with a song, but today I have the Bohemian Rhapsody trailer for you.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Mainstay, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Wide, for the Daily Spur prompt – Camp, for Eugi’s Weekly Prompt – Alive, for FOWC with Fandango – Century, for January Writing Prompts – Sexy savvy Sally, for Ragtag Community – Aromatic, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Willow Hand Shadow, for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Devil and for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle 166, hosted by Yves where the prompts are – Snowdrop Fine Uncouth Sagacious Upturned Dulcet Reluctance Follow Charcoal Surrender Elbow Sliver Discernment.

Weird Dream

If all roads lead to Rome, then how did the Romans ever get anywhere?  This must have pissed them off if they started out heading for Athens and they ended up back in Rome and the imponderabilia of this situation which was always a vicious circle would boggle anyone.  I will just let that thought bake in your brain for a while I relate my dream from last night to you about this large brain that I met in the woods.  The brain had no voice, but we were able to communicate through telepathy.  The brain scarred me with twisted tales and torture devices and I was ready to say bye, bye birdie to the brain, when I heard the wind chime ring out and I realized that we were not alone.  I heard laughter and I did a search for the sound which began to scintillate my ears.

The brain started to mirror everything that I was doing and all I could think about was finding an axe and splitting it into two hemispheres.  I don’t normally subscribe to violence, but I knew that I was dreaming and I began to think of the brain as being nothing more than an unnecessary big empty text box that should be deleted, because it was just taking up space in my dream.  It became vital that I beat this brain at his own game.  The game was on like Donkey Kong and we were going to tangle, as I was going to test his metal and then rub his nose in it.  I had to maintain my poise and refrain from being shy, so I could destroy the brain and not leave any traces behind.  This was not the time to be negligent, but all I had was a beach towel and some paper and as daylight was running out, I needed a plan.  No matter how many winters had to pass, I needed to save the human race from this giant brain bug and I remembered that in Starship Troopers, that the brain was more afraid of us than we were of it.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Vital, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Bake, for the Daily Spur prompt – Test, for Normal Happenings Daily Inkling prompt – Big Empty Text Box, for Eugi’s Weekly Prompt – Laughter, for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #49 where the image is a large silver brain in a wooded area surrounded by trees, for FOWC with Fandango – Paper, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – Bye Bye Birdie, for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan January prompt – Subscribe, for Randomness Inked Scribbling the Unspoken Let it Bleed Weekly Prompt Challenge 34 prompt – Winters, for January Writing Prompts – Twisted tales and torture devices, for Ragtag Community – Daylight, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Beat Towel Shy, for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Boggle and for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle 163, hosted by Yves where the prompts are – Rub Tangle Scintillate Search Wind chime Alone Traces Poise Negligent Imponderabilia Mirror Everything.

Her Mother is a Drunk

I know that sounds cold, and I felt bad that she had such an awful woman as a mother, but her mom was beyond help and there was no possibility of her ever having any semblance a normal life because of this.  They were Irish and Irene’s mother was Kathleen and she developed a real thirst for beer, even before her husband left her and then things just got worse.  I met Irene one day when she was singin’ in the rain and wearing an alabaster pendant of Saint Christopher around her neck.  I was able to recognize the Saint, as my parents had one on the dashboard of their car and I said, “Your necklace was demoted in 1969, you are wearing the saint that ain’t a saint no more.”  Irene smiled at me and said, “I hear what you are saying, but he is not delible to me, as I feel that once you are a saint, you are always a saint.”  There was a creative wisdom in her words, even though I knew that Saint Christopher would never regain his former temporal power.

I asked her why she was out in the rain and she pointed up at a cloud and told me that she enjoyed watching it blow around in the wind.  She said that her mom was sleeping off a hangover and she usually gets angry when she wakes up, so it was best for her to be out of the house to let her simmer down and preserve the little peace that she had.  Irene said that her mom was all over her case about a missing scarf and when she heard her fall asleep, she decided to tiptoe out of there to muffle the sound of her footsteps.  The rain stopped and we could both smell the honeysuckle and I suggested that we take a ride in my car to go get some ice cream.  Irene said, “I call shotgun!”, which made me laugh because there were only two of us and I was driving, so where else would she affix her butt.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Thirst, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Help, for the Daily Spur prompt – Cold, for FOWC with Fandango – Creative, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – Singin in the rain, for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan prompt – Possibility, for Ragtag Community – Temporal, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Shotgun Cloud Wind, for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Wisdom and for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle #162, hosted by Yves where the prompts are Alabaster Honeysuckle Delible Hear Tiptoe Recognize Preserve Muffle Little Simmer Affix Scarf.

Bridge Inspector

It’s a wonderful life, I love my job and since somebody has to do it, it might as well be me.  I routinely certify bridges applying strict standards and specifications to ensure that these bridges are safe for public use.  If the bridge meets my approval and is free of mechanical mishaps, then you can feel safe driving over it and not have to worry about being drown in a watery grave.  In the long run, I look at every fissure and try to discover why it has formed.  If I see that some of the metal has turned patina because of a hostile environment, then I will order it to be painted.  My labor consists of climbing in and around structures to access their condition trying while to catch any defects and I often end up ripping my shirt or getting blood on it.

I am a structural engineer that is specialized in Chemistry, Physics and the properties of materials and I concinnate my education with my work experience to be the consummate professional.  I utilize everything from snooper trucks to aerial drones to ground-penetrating radar and ultrasonic testing equipment, to listen to the different musical sounds that trucks will make when they march over the bridge which will help me determine if the top layer of concrete is separating from the layer that is below it.  I don’t want anyone experiencing peripeteia and singing ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ as they are driving over any of the bridges that I have inspected.

In my free time, which I have every evening, as it is best to check out the bridges in daylight, I dabble with pottery and I am currently working on a vase that can be used to hold umbrellas and I will keep this outside my front door.  I have a web page where you can view my aesthetically pleasing and functional pottery.  I have constructed vases in an array of playful shapes and sizes and I have made some pastel favor vases, which make unique wedding gifts and are perfect for a bridal shower.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Discover, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Why, for the Daily Spur prompt – March, for Eugi’s Weekly Prompt – Patina, for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #47 where the image shows a two lane bridge spanning two mountains along a coastal road high above a deep gorge or inlet, for FOWC with Fandango – Musical, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – It’s a Wonderful Life, for Let it Bleed Weekly Prompt – Goodbye, for December Writing Prompts – Mechanical mishaps, for Ragtag Community – Pastel, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Evening Shirt Blood, for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Labor and for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle #161, hosted by Yves where the prompts are Vase Watery Catch Door Hostile Concinnate Peripeteia Page Fissure Run Drown Long.

Goodwill to All Men

When Charles Dickens wrote his book A Christmas Carol, this helped him to discover the true spirit of Christmas.  It was 1843, and times were tough for Charles, as he was already the father of four and soon to be the father of five and winter was approaching quickly.  Dickens had already published The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, Barnaby Rudge and he was in the middle of publishing his sixth novel Martin Chuzzlewit, which was being released as a serial.  Charles Dickens thought this was his best work and he didn’t understand why this was begining to fail, only selling 20,000 copies a month whereas The Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby sold 40-50,000.  It was one of his least popular novels, and since it did not do as well as he expected, he decided to write a quick Christmas story that would be sure to sell.

Dickens needed to publish something that would earn enough money so he could provide for his family.  In September, Dickens visited a Samuel Starey’s Field Lane Ragged School, which provided free education for urban children and this inspired his story.  Dickens empathized with these children as he was also a product of a poor childhood.  The inspiration for Scrooge may have been those who put Dickens’ own father into debtor’s prison and these people were also responsible for young Charles working in a shoe-blacking factory.  Charles Dickens saw conditions in his everyday life that he wanted to change, and he hoped writing about them, would contribute towards reforming them.

He was an industrious author who kept to a tight writing schedule, starting this novella in October of 1843, and it was published six weeks later on December 19, 1843.  Dickens was originally inspired to write about someone who was poor, but he changed his mind and decided to write about someone who was rich, about a terrible miser, someone who lived his entire life for money.

A Christmas Carol was published by Chapman & Hall, with Dickens paying the publishing costs himself.  The owners of the company had no way to gage how this book would do and they began to lose faith in marketability of Dickens’s work especially after the sales of Martin Chuzzlewit were not going well, so they proposed that A Christmas Carol be issued in an inexpensive collection of Dickens’s works, or possibly as part of a new magazine.  Dickens was adamant that A Christmas Carol be published as a high-quality, stand-alone book.  After discussion between the parties they came to an unusual agreement.  Dickens funded the publication and he would receive the profits.  Chapman & Hall would be paid for the printing costs and receive a fixed commission on the number of copies sold.  Since Dickens was paying for the publishing of the book, he wanted the book done his way.  There were issues with the color of the endpapers, the title page and the book binding.

A Christmas Carol was the most successful book of the 1843 holiday season.  By Christmas it sold six thousand copies and it continued to be popular into the new year selling 15,000 in its first year.  Sadly, A Christmas Carol wasn’t the moneymaker that Dickens hoped it would be, he thought he would make a tom of money from it, and he decided to sell it for a relatively low price.  Sales were good, but the publication costs had been high due to its lavish bindings.

A Christmas Carol isn’t a particularly religious book, as it does not extol or deify Jesus.  It is more about Scrooge discovering that life has much more to do with generosity, family gatherings and large cooked birds, than it does with being stingy about his money.  Dickens surely knew of the parable that Jesus taught about a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus and it is possible that Dickens picked up on this tale where Jesus left off.  Dickens story stimulated charity, and it became an important voice to potential middle-class givers.  People related to his characters like Bob Cratchit’s family, Scrooge’s lost love of Belle who later married another man.  They never went to the ball, so all he could do is wonder what might have happened after the ball.

Scrooge feels that those who know best how to acquire wealth and double their money will make the best rulers for any republic.  Scrooge is an elderly man suffering from chronic depression that experiences visual hallucinations causing him to see ghosts that are likely precipitated by a gastrointestinal pathology.  When Scrooge’s sister Fran is dying, she decides to entrust the care of her son Fred to his uncle.  This story painted a vivid picture of a time and place where need was everywhere, especially in London and this let the citizens band together.  Scrooge’s redemption is the anchor for the story along with the ghosts that nudge him on an incredible journey of the heart.  Scrooge learns that it is never too late to try and be a better person.  Scrooge is a tight, dry husk of a soul filled with bitterness and bile who eventually becomes a sympathetic toward Bob Cratchit, a man who always obeyed Scrooge’s rules and was too timid to ask about going home early on Christmas Eve to be with his family.

The ghosts are personal to him and after they visit, he cannot erase the deep meanings that they left with him.  Scrooge sees the first ghost that has the initials JM on a nightgown and he realizes that this is Jacob Marley, his old business partner.  Tiny Tim had rickets, a Vitamin D deficiency, so he used a walking stick made out of oak to get around.  The ghost tells Scrooge that he sees a vacant seat, in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved and says that if these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die.  Scrooge has a change of heart and the go to part in this book is when Tiny Tim says “God bless us, every one!”.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Extol, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Ton, for the Daily Spur prompt – Republic, for FOWC with Fandango – Go, for Randomness Inked Scribbling the Unspoken Let it Bleed Weekly Prompt Challenge 32 prompt – Fail, for December Writing Prompts – After the ball, for Ragtag Community – Band, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Nudge Timid Double, for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Gauge and for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle #161 hosted by Yves where the prompts are – Initials Pathology Entrust Anchor Husk Deify Personal Erase Deep Oak Love Try.

Couch Potato

Shel Silverstein was gifted at almost everything that he ever tried, being a cartoonist for Playboy magazine, and also writing poetry for Hugh Hefner’s magazine.  He published several children’s books and he composed more than 800 songs.  In 1959, he released his first album, Hairy Jazz that featured two original compositions along with a group of other jazz standards.  In 1962, he released Inside Folk Songs, which included all original songs that took a satirical view of the folk-music craze.  Silverstein wrote ‘The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan’ for Marianne Faithful, ‘The Unicorn’ for The Irish Rovers, ‘A Boy Named Sue’ and ‘25 Minutes To Go’ for Johnny Cash, ‘Hey Loretta’, ‘Here I Am Again’ and ‘One’s On The Way’ for Loretta Lynn, ‘Daddy What If’, ‘Marie Laveau’, ‘Tequila Sheila’, ‘The Winner’ and ‘Hippie and Redneck Romance’ for Bobby Bare, ‘My Heart Was The Last One To Know’ for Kris Kristofferson, ‘Wrong Ideas’ and ‘Big Four Poster Bed’ for Brenda Lee, ‘Put Another Log On the Fire’ for Tompall Glaser, ‘The Taker’ for Waylon Jennings, ‘Queen of the Silver Dollar’ for Emmylou Harris and his own songs which he recorded ‘I Got Stoned And I Missed It’, ‘It went From So Good to So Bad So Soon’, ‘Yes, Mr. Rogers’ and ‘The Mermaid’.  Shel Silverstein also wrote the soundtrack to the 1970 Mick Jagger film Ned Kelly and the Oscar-nominated song ‘I’m Checkin’ Out’ for the 1990 comedy drama film Postcards from the Edge which stared Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine, and Dennis Quaid.  Silverstein also produced more than a dozen albums over the course of his diverse career.

In 1970, Silverstein was asked to write the songs to the soundtrack of the musical production, “Who Is Harvey Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?”, which starred Dustin Hoffman.  At the time, the film’s musical director, Ron Haffkine, was searching for a band to perform the songs, when the manager of Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show contacted Haffkine about the group.  Dr. Hook ended up recording all the songs for Kellerman and Silverstein wrote all the songs on their self titled first album.  The single ‘Sylvia’s Mother’ was so popular that it shot to #1 on the pop charts all over the world and was played endlessly on AM radio.  Silverstein contributed all the songs to Dr. Hook’s follow-up album, Sloppy Seconds, and ‘The Cover of “Rolling Stone”’ was a big hit on this, and they continued to sing and record more of Silverstein’s songs.

In 1998, Bobby Bare Sr. formed a group called Old Dogs, with country legends Waylon Jennings, Mel Tillis and Jerry Reed.  Their album included 11 humorous songs, all written by Silverstein, about the realization of aging and what it feels like to get older.  Silverstein wrote the songs after Bare told him that there were “no good songs about growing old”.  Bobby Bare and author/songwriter Shel Silverstein were great friends, and they were mutual admirers of each other’s work.  In 2010, Bobby produced a tribute album to his late friend titled Turnable, Twistable Man that contained many of Shel’s best-known songs.  Most of the tracks feature Chip Young on acoustic guitar and it includes songs by Kris Kristofferson, Ray Price, Bobby Bare Jr. and others.  ‘A Boy Named Sue’ won Silverstein a Grammy for Best Country Song in 1970.  Silverstein died of a heart attack at the age of 68 on May 10, 1999 in Key West, Florida.  In 2002, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

A couch potato is defined as a person who spends little or no time exercising and a great deal of time watching television and me being a blogger, I have first-hand experience at being one.  In the case of the real couch potato, a comfortable sofa becomes the fertile soil for them to spend most of their time.  The Old Dogs recorded ‘Couch Potato’ on their one and only album.

You painted up your face and got your mini skirt on tight
Honey are you contemplating goin’ out again tonight?
Just cause my eyes are blurry watching TV ‘til the dawn
That don’t mean, that I can’t see what’s been goin’ on
That’s right baby… I ain’t no fool, I ain’t blind neither
Well darlin’, you been grouchin’,
that I’ve been slouchin’
on the couch and drinkin’ beer, watchin T.V.,
eatin Fritos and takin’ naps
and you said that sooner or later
you knew I’d turn in to a couch potater
with my popcorn bowl still be here on my lap
so you started cutting capers with all my friends and neighbors
comin home after the late late show full of lines,
excuses and lies and you think I’m unsuspecting
of all the loves you been collectin’ whoa,
but even couch potatoes have eyes
even couch potatoes can tell a bad tomato
I’ve been baked and whipped and fried
‘til I got, I got wise
So don’t think I’m unaware of just who you been takin’ care of
Cause even couch potatoes have eyes
Feelings, I get nothing more than peelings
While you’re out all night long with other guys
I might be a lazy loafer for dozin’ on this sofer
But even couch potatoes have eyes
Even a couch potato can tell a bad tomato
I’ve been baked and whipped and fried
‘til I got wise, I got wise
Why must you tear me all apart?
Even artichokes have hearts
And even couch potatoes have eyes
Darling, even couch potatoes have eyes

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Bonus Wordle, hosted by Yves where the prompt is to write a poem inspired by one of the famous poets in the picture above. I didn’t write a poem, but since I like music, I wrote about Shel Silverstein.

The Shape I’m In

A
Bird
That
Will
Drip
Poetry
And
Play
Scales
Carved
With My
Own Hands
Scurry Up The Frets
Hullabaloo Blasted To Amplifiers
Lost                                              Chord
Upper              Sound Hole                Bout
Dream                                  Bridge
Want                                           Music
Pliable                  Steel                  Strings
Lower                                                      Bout
Pink                   Floyd                   Breathe
The Heart Of Rock And Roll
Is In Cleveland

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle Shape Poem, hosted by Yves where the prompts are Heart Poetry Want Carve Dream Breathe Lost Light Drip Scurry Bird Hullabaloo and my poem is supposed to take on the shape of a guitar.