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Life is Bittersweet November 30, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Fiction, Food & Drink, Humor, Word Play.
53 comments

Wikipedia ~ Chocolate (in Public Domain)

I am planning to write a semi-autobiographical historical sci-fi romance murder mystery set in a chocolate factory.

The working title . . . Life is Bittersweet.

I shall conduct research in Switzerland, Madagascar, and other cocoa producing regions.

Chapters will include:

* Now you see it . . . now you don’t.

* Chocolate . . . Here today. Gone today! 

The novel will have self-help overtones . . . encouraging readers to help them selves to copious amounts of chocolate while they read.

Aah . . . that’s bitter!

Related posts:  The Romance of the Sleeper Train (Kate Shrewsday) * A Writer’s Confession ~ I Have No Patience For Research (Eric John Baker)

Imagine That November 29, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Humor, Word Play.
43 comments

We inherited a clunky O~L~D dishwasher in our last house . . . it sounded like a cow going into labor while clattering up the stairs on roller skates.

We could NOT watch TV in the adjoining living room if it was “ON” in the kitchen. 

At the first possible opportunity, we replaced it with a sleek quiet Kenmore Elite.

Emphasis on quiet.

These days, dishwashers have more features than the cockpits of WWII fighter jets . . . with hefty price tags to match.

Most of the features don’t interest me.  Two do.

I want a dishwasher that (1) washes dishes with (2) a minimum of commotion.

Instead of loud pronouncements and proclamations (“I AM WASHING THE DISHES NOW!”), I want to hear nothing but the gentle hum, whisper, and murmur of “white noise.”   

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Dishwasher Ed 101 (Janna T Writes)

Scaredy Coon November 28, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Mindfulness, Nature.
50 comments

Monday morning, I saw a raccoon on the opposite bank at the top of the berm.

As I watched, through binoculars, he wandered down to water’s edge, jumped in fright, and retraced his steps.

I saw nothing that might have caused him alarm.

Meandering a short way down the bank, he again approached the edge of the water to quench his thirst.  Again, he retreated before completing his mission.

Something was scaring him, but what?

I stared through my scopes looking for a snake slithering through the reeds at water’s edge, or a large carp . . . big enough to eat a raccoon for breakfast, or a massive turtle loitering about.

I saw nothing except the raccoon.

I watched again, more closely, and realized, with a laugh, what was causing the masked bandit to advance and retreat, mission incomplete.

The furry fellow was “scared of his own shadow.”  Each time he saw his reflection in the water, he would abandon the quest to quench his thirst.

But he didn’t give up.

After three or four false starts, thirst prevailed.  He stood his ground long enough to take a big swig.  And then another.  And another. 

He faced his fears . . . by staring his fears in the face.  Literally. 

When we have conquered the enemy within, there are no enemies left to conquer.

Aah . . . that’s better!

More Thoughts on Health & Nutrition November 28, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Joke.
18 comments

For those of you who watch what you eat, here’s are some interesting observations on nutrition and health:    

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than  Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks  than Americans. 

5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than  Americans.

CONCLUSION:  Eat  and drink whatever you like.  It’s speaking English that kills you.

And remember: 

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body.

Instead, plan to skid in sideways . . . chardonnay in one hand, chocolate in the other, body spent, while screaming, “WOO-HOO, what a  ride!!” 

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source: e-mail from an unknown author (sent by Granny1947)

Hollow November 27, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Poetry.
42 comments

When we can afford anything,
nothing has value

Instead we dwell in
hollow existences paved
with good intentions

Riding a roller coaster
from elation to despair

Losing our self in
hollow Pyrrhic victories

* * * * *

Written for this week’s Trifecta challenge:

Write a 33 to 333 word post using the following word/ definition:

HOLLOW (adjective):  lacking in real value, sincerity, or substance : false, meaningless <hollow promises> <a victory over a weakling is hollow and without triumph — Ernest Beaglehole>

Want to play along?  CLICK HERE

The Time Is Now November 27, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Poetry, Writing & Writers.
18 comments

One of my favorite e-newsletters each week is The Time is Now from Poets & Writers

In addition to other information and resources for writers, each e-issue  includes a Poetry Prompt, a Fiction Prompt, and a Non-fiction Prompt.

Examples:

* Write Backwards ~ Revise a story by rewriting the story in the opposite order from which it first appeared. Start with the ending, and find your way back toward the original opening. Restructure the story so this new order makes sense.

* Clip Art ~ Take one of your poems that you’re not satisfied with and use scissors to cut it up into its lines. Rearrange the lines, omitting ones that no longer fit. With this fresh arrangement as a working draft, compose an entirely new poem. 

* My Hometown ~ Some of the best stories and essays revolve around the author’s hometown. Spend fifteen minutes freewriting about the town or city in which you grew up. Focus on the people, the places, the landscape, and the memories surrounding them. Where was your favorite place to eat? Who were the most interesting characters? What did you do with your family and friends? What did the school look like? Where did you go when you wanted to run away?

To learn more and/or subscribe:  Creative Writing Prompts.

Write on!

How Bright Are You? November 26, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Nature.
42 comments

This is a quiz for people who know everything!  These are not trick questions.  They are straight questions with straight answers.

1. Name the one sport in which neither spectators nor participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.

2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backwards?

3. Only 2 vegetables can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?

4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn’t been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?

6. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters ‘ dw’ and they are all common words. Name two of them . . . without using the dictionary.

7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar.  Can you name at least half of them?

8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.

9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter ‘S.’

So, how did you do? 
Did you get them all right?
Not sure?

Answers to Quiz:

1.  Boxing.

2.  Niagara Falls ~ the rim erodes about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.

3.  Asparagus and rhubarb.

4.  Strawberry.

5. The pear grew inside the bottle ~ bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.

6.  Dwarf, dwell and dwindle.

7.  Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, braces, question mark, exclamation point, quotation mark, brackets, ellipses, and parentheses.

8.  Lettuce.

9.  Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.

Extra Credit Question:  If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?

Aah . . . that’s better! 

Source: e-mail from an unknown author (sent by Granny1947)

Call Me Shallow If You Will November 26, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Nature, People.
43 comments

170px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_30At times, I judge a book by its cover.

Especially when “the book” chooses to change its cover with plastic surgery and ends up looking like a comic book character . . . or worse.

The “after” images of Meg Ryan, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, Joan Rivers, and other celebs who worship the fountain of perpetual plastic youth,  resemble creepy clowns wearing too-tight smiles.

Guess the Joker’s on them.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Before The Knowing Time November 25, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Magick & Mystery, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
64 comments

Wikipedia ~ Salem Witch Trials (in Public Domain)

If you’d been in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, you might have met Susannah North Martin, one of 19 accused witches hung during those troubled times.

Susannah, a feisty widow with a sharp wit, is my great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother on my father’s side.

In the 19th century, poet John Greenleaf Whittier composed “The Witch’s Daughter” about her:

Let Goody Martin rest in peace, I never knew her harm a fly,
And witch or not – God knows – not I?
I know who swore her life away;
And as God lives, I’d not condemn
An Indian dog on word of them

Like many of the alleged witches in Salem, Susannah happened to be a female landowner with no male heirs. Once accused of witchcraft, she lost her land, but not her sense of self, or her sense of humor.  

I’ve read Susannah’s trial testimony. It’s testament to her acerbic wit and “devil may care” attitude.  When asked what she thought of her accusers, she laughed. When asked why she laughed, she replied, “Well, I may laugh at such folly!” 

BEFORE I knew that I had descended from Goody Martin . . .
BEFORE dad had done genealogy research tracing our roots back to her . . .
BEFORE I knew of any ties to the Salem Witch Trials . . .

I wrote a story about going back in time to Salem in 1692.   The story is raw (as most are when written by 13-year-olds), but I love that I wrote it BEFORE the knowing time.

* * * * *

Wikipedia ~ Salem Witch Trials (in Public Domain)

Aah . . . that’s better!

Written for PTC’s Weekend Theme ~ Genealogy.  PTC’s Filling In For Sidey.

Related posts:  Opening to Sight ~ The Shaman, The Witch, and The Ancestors (Bluegrass Notes) * A Magical Recipe Book ~ The Grimoire (Kate Shrewsday)

Bottlenose Dolphins ~ Bubble Ring Play November 25, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Nature.
26 comments

This video of dolphins at play is apt to amaze and delight you.

As if by magic, the dolphin does a quick flip of its head and a silver ring appears in front of its pointed beak.  Instead of rising to the surface, the bubble ring stands upright in the water.

After a few moments the dolphin creates another ring to play with.

These silver rings are “air-core vortex rings.”  Invisible, spinning vortices in the water are generated from the tip of a dolphin’s dorsal fin when it is moving rapidly and turning.

When dolphins break the line, the ends are drawn together into a closed ring.  The higher velocity fluid around the core of the vortex is at a lower pressure than the fluid circulating farther away. Air is injected into the rings via bubbles released from the dolphin’s blowhole. 
 
The energy of the water vortex is enough to keep the bubbles from rising for a reasonably few seconds of play time.

It isn’t known whether creating bubble rings is learned behavior for dolphins or an inbred ability.

Source: e-mail from an unknown author (sent by Granny1947)

* * * * *

Knowing how easily digital images can be manipulated, I checked the claims on Snopes. com.  Snopes confirmed the phenomenon, citing an article published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology ~ Bubble Ring Play of Bottlenose Dolphins (copyright 2000).

To see what Snopes had to say, CLICK HERE.

Want to make your own bubbles?  Watch this and pick up some pointers:

Aah . . . that’s better!