Monday, July 16, 2018

Sunset Over Stone Coal Gap

Nikon P500, Saturday 07/14/2018

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing

1. What excites you right now?

A. The idea of answering the questions. I'm quivering with anticipation.

2. What are you looking forward to?

A. Getting the windows cleaned.

3. What’s the best thing that happened to you this year?

A. I had this sinfully delicious triple chocolate brownie . . .

4. Where did you grow up?

A. Just a little ways from where I am now.

5. What do you do for fun?

A. I play video games.

6. Who is your favorite superhero?

A. It's a tie between Xena: Warrior Princess and Wonder Woman.

7. Is there a charitable cause you support?

A. I support many. Unfortunately it seems all I do is pay for postage so they can send me more requests for money.

8. What’s the most important thing I should know about you?

A. I believe most people are doing the best they can.

9. Tell us of something that relaxes you and always makes you happy.

A. Reading a book.

10. If you could take the train from anywhere to anywhere, where would 'anywhere' be?

A. I'd take the last train to Clarksville if you'll meet me at the station, you must be there by 4:30 'cause I've made the reservation.

11. What will you always pack in your suitcase?

A. Underwear.

12. What will you never pack in  your suitcase?

A. My eyeglasses. I can't see a thing without them so they are always on my face.


I encourage you to visit other participants in
Sunday Stealing posts and leave a comment. Cheers to all us thieves who love memes, however we come by them.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Saturday 9: I Love Lucy

Saturday 9: I Love Lucy (1951)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Before today, did you know that the "I Love Lucy" theme had lyrics?

A. Yes. I had viewed that episode before.

2) Since its premiere in 1951, I Love Lucy has never been off the air. Are you a fan?

A. I watch it sometimes if I stumble across it, but I don't make a point of it.

3) On the show, Ricky Riccardo supports his family by performing in a nightclub. Do you know anyone in show business?

A. My father plays in a band. I used to play guitar in a band, but that was a long time ago.

4) Lucy and Ricky's best friends are Fred and Ethel, their landlord and his wife. Are you friendly with your neighbors?

A. Friendly enough. Besides, I'm related to most of them.

5) One of the most popular episodes has Lucy and Ethel working on the conveyor belt at a chocolate factory. When did you last have chocolate?

A. I had the most sinfully delicious triple-chocolate brownie on Monday that I have ever had. I will dream about that brownie for the rest of my life. It was magnificent.

6) Another famous episode has Lucy promoting Vitametavegimin. This tonic is made with vitamins, meat, vegetables -- and 23% alcohol. Do you read the ingredients statement before you take an over-the-counter medication? Or do you trust that it's safe because it's on the store shelf?

A. I read the ingredients on everything. I also check the expiration dates.

7) I Love Lucy was filmed before a live audience. Desi Arnaz (Ricky) always maintained he could identify the chuckle of his mother-in-law, who attended every taping. Do you know anyone who has a distinctive laugh?

A. Several people.

8) The show ended when the Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz marriage ended. Have you ever had to choose sides when a couple broke up?

A. Yes. Sometimes people simply force that on you, whether you want to choose sides or not.

9) Random question -- You must eat the same dinner, every day, between now and Labor Day. An identical menu, no deviation. What will you be having?

A. Chicken, peas, mashed potatoes, green beans, rice, a whole-grain roll, blueberries, and watermelon.

I encourage you to visit other participants in Saturday 9 posts and leave a comment. Because there are no rules, it is your choice. Saturday 9 players hate rules. We love memes, however.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thursday Thirteen #560

Tomorrow is July 13, 2018.

It's also a Friday.

Now this is a Thursday 13, not a Friday 13. I'm not afraid of 13 things on Thursdays.

Friday? That's a different story.

I've had two car wrecks - both on Fridays with the date of the 13th. So I stay home on Friday the 13th.

I have no idea why Friday the 13th is a big deal. I suspect it is a religious thing, probably going back to Judas being the 13th guest at the Last Supper and the crucifixion of Christ on a Friday.

Fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia.

Here are some things that supposedly have happened on Friday the 13th.

1. On Friday, Aug. 13, 2010, a 13-year-old boy was struck by lightning at 13:13 (1:13 p.m.) in Suffolk, England. The boy’s name was not released, according to British publications the Daily Mail and the Mirror. Rex Clarke, a St. John Ambulance team leader, told the Mirror: “Suddenly there was this huge crack of lightening really close to the seafront and really loud thunder. Seconds later we got a call someone had been hit. The boy was breathing and was conscious.” The boy had only a minor burn. Clarke said, “It’s all a bit strange that he was 13, and it happened at 13:13 on Friday 13.”

2. On Jan. 13, 1989 the “Friday the 13th virus” infected hundreds of IBM computers across the UK. It was programmed to delete files on Friday the 13th.

3. On November 13, 1970, the Bhola cyclone killed an estimated 500,000 people in Chittagong and the surrounding area. The 1970 Friday the 13th cyclone is described by the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium as “the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded, and one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern times.”

4. On Friday, Oct. 13, 1972, a Fairchild airplane carrying a rugby team from Montevideo to Chile disappeared over the Andes. It was later immortalized in the film Alive. Sixteen of the 45 passengers by eating the passengers who had died—a gruesome tale that captured the attention of the world. On that same day, another plane crash killed 160 people. An Aeroflot Il62 airliner flying to Paris via Leningrad crashed near the Sheremetyevo airport, killing all aboard, UPI reported at that time.

5. On December 13, 1995, Joshua Dudley was touring an exhibition of Faberge eggs at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art when he received a phone call telling him he had inherited a $3m estate from a deceased uncle. He began a major celebration that resulted in $4m in damages to the museum.

6. On Friday, October 13, 1972, Dana Hamilton of Rye, New York sold her luxurious hair to a local wigmaker so she could buy her husband a gold chain for his beloved pocket watch. That same evening, she returned home to discover that her husband had sold his watch to buy a pearl necklace for his secretary, with whom he was having an affair. (Sounds like a bad version of an O'Henry story, doesn't it?)

7.  Tawny Wetzel, a researcher investigating the correlation between Friday the 13th and emergency room visits, was attacked and killed by hornets on Friday, January 13, 1977.

8. While preparing a lecture on fatalism and external locus of control for his students on Friday, February 13, 1993, psychology professor Claiborn Phillips was struck by lightning a record 13 times in row. (Oh, the irony.)

9. On Friday, July 13, 1951, the state of Kansas had over 25 inches of rain. The cities of Manhattan, Lawrence, and Topeka were most affected, and over two million acres of land were damaged by the flood. At its highest, the flooding exceeded previous records by four to nine feet.

10. On Friday, October 13, 1989, the stock market fell 7 percent. Known as Black Friday, the market dropped after the buyout of United Airlines fell through. A lot of people lost a lot of money.

11. According to National Geographic, a  Swedish flight disappeared while flying over the Baltic Sea on June 13, 1952. For 40 years, the Swedish government stuck by the story that the plane was merely performing training exercises. However, National Geographic reported that in the '90s someone leaked that the crewmembers were actually spying on the Soviet Union for NATO — even though Sweden was officially neutral during the Cold War. Russia responded with its own confession. A Russian pilot told a Swedish diplomat that he had shot the plane down.

12. From October 12 to October 13, 2006, western New York was hit with two feet of snow. Over 300,000 people were left without power, thousands of trees were damaged, and the Governor of New York declared a State of Emergency for the Buffalo region.
13. Here's a future prediction: according to, an asteroid will come within 22,000 miles of the Earth on April 13, 2029. The closeness of the asteroid could cause damage to the Earth's surface, and there's a one-in-100,000 chance it could collide with us.


Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while and this is my 560th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday. Or so sayth the Blogger counter, anyway.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Tell Me Every Story Told

A long time ago, a friend who is no longer with us told me she was not going to work on writing novels anymore.

The world has enough people trying to write and publishing things. There are already too many books, she said.

My total astonishment at her words was profound. She went on to blast our mutual alma mater as a place that actually deters writing even though it is a college that has Pulitzer Prize winning authors and national poet laurates among its alumnae. The teaching, she maintained, was so geared toward writing The Great American Novel of Literature that it overlooked and discounted multiple genres and forms of writing.

She never published a novel, though she did publish a history book. Like me, she wrote for newspapers. She also had five novels tucked away in a drawer when she passed away, and who knows what else.

I did have a novel tucked away in a drawer, but I threw it out some time ago. I have another stashed in a file cabinet someplace that I never finished. My essay for my masters degree is probably the longest piece of decent writing that I have.

Truth is, I never wanted to write The Great American Novel. I wanted to be a ghost writer and write Nancy Drew books. I wanted to be Janet Evanovich and write Stephanie Plum novels. I wanted to be Victoria Holt and write gothic romances.

I didn't want to write Catcher in the Rye or Jane Eyre. I read those books and enjoyed them, but I couldn't see myself writing them.

My friend was correct about one thing - the college I graduated from gave short shrift to anything not deemed "literature." Aspirations for other forms of writing were ignored.

I don't know if it is still that way. When I went after my masters degree, it wasn't quite as "literary" but that sense of it was still there. It helped that one of my professors was a genre writer, I think. She didn't look at genre quite like other teachers.

Story comes in many forms. Oral stories are great - my father and brother are both great orators. They can bullshit with the best of them and both are salesmen. I am not a good oral story teller, but I do all right with words on paper. I operate best there.

Everyone has a story, but every story is the same. Right? Wrong? I think not, because even in a family, no one sees a situation or event in the same way. What may be funny to one person might horrify another.

That's the thing about humanity and the human story. Differences abound everywhere, even among twins, triplets, or quadruplets. We have a basic underpinning - we're born, we live, we die. It's the middle part that is so fascinating (although some births are rather fascinating stories, in and of themselves). That "live" part.

Living is so different for everyone. Hard for most, easy for a few. Some laugh their way through it, some cry. Some see joy everywhere while others see nothing but sorrow. Some see a mix of everything.

And who's to say who is right or wrong about any of it? Who has the right to tell someone else that what they see with their own eyes, and feel with their own heart, is good, bad, right or wrong? Society has a set of morals that we use to determine certain things in life - it's bad, for example, to murder someone. That feeling needs to be set aside and not acted upon, if you're feeling murderous toward someone. That goes for any other emotion that causes someone else harm or angst. Societal mores have said we don't do those things, and we are raised to know this. Well, most of us are, anyway. If we didn't know this, society would break down and not function.

My friend did not really stop writing. Being a writer means you never stop thinking like a writer, even if you aren't writing. Being a writer is a different way of seeing the world, a way of looking at details, of searching for the overlay of story arc in an event. A search for the protagonist and antagonist in every outing. Is that the good person? The bad person? Who is right or wrong? Who is going against the dictated social mores?

Sometimes I think that every story has been told. Maybe all we're all doing is rewriting Shakespeare in invisible ways, or telling stories from the Bible in new ways, thousands of times over. Maybe we're telling stories with meaning, or maybe our stories mean nothing at all.

Supposedly there are only seven basic plots: overcoming the monster; rags to riches; the quest; voyage and return; comedy; tragedy; rebirth. I always read them as conflicts of man against self, man against man, man against nature, or man against other/society.

However you define it, even if there are only seven plots, there are endless stories, as many stories as there people. Maybe as many stories as there are stars in the sky.

And here I am writing blog posts, or essays. It counts. It's a story about stories. Somewhere in what I have written this morning, is a story.