Eighty-Three Days Remaining in 2021

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Why?

I still read the newspaper and watch a morning news show . . . More accurately, I tape the news program, then fast forward the segments causing me anxiety, and skim the newspaper for stories that interest me. There are a few.

The number of days remaining in the year is always mentioned.

There are eighty-three days left in 2021.

The days are flying by, and highlights another news alert; the short supply of basic items and more importantly items on peoples’ Christmas list. . .  Not holiday, Christmas!

I will be curious to see this news-story’s trickle-down affect over the next two months. The supply shortage will more than likely go away. But what is not going away is vaccination resistance and many are asking; why?

Alan Alda’s interview on his podcast, Clear & Vivid, with author Lee McIntyre addressed the issue.

McIntyre attended the Flat Earther convention in Denver, Colorado, hoping to understand the thinking of those who believe strongly that the earth is flat. Perhaps, like myself, you might think the convention a joke or spoof; possibly a metaphor for a comedy show.

No! It was a serious convention.

McIntyre attended the convention to gather information he hoped would combat disbelievers of global warming and change, his real passion and topic of most recent book.

The experience was eye opening for the author. Attendees attempted to convert him to their belief that the world is flat.

McIntryre was unscathed and determined attendees shared five traits;th

  1. Cherry picked facts, believing only some, i.e., The Santa Marie never returned.
  2. Believe in conspiracy theories, i.e., Queen Isabella wanted revenge.
  3. Quoted fake experts (people who lack legitimate credential’s) and denigrated real experts, i.e., Christopher Columbus needed glasses.
  4. Express illogical reasoning, i.e., the world is flat because you don’t fall off.
  5. Want Science to be perfect,.i.e., Lemons can’t cure scurvy.

. . . just saying

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Flash Fiction

woman standing by the side of a watercraft
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Lynn

    Lynn stood on the sidewalk and could not remember who she used to be.

    It was a horrible feeling.

    She strolled casually to a nearby bench and sat to quiet the feeling.

    The weather was mild. The sun strong.

    It was not the present that disturbed her.

    Having silly thoughts, she hummed an old Peggy Lee song, “Is That All There Is?”

    She came to buy Christmas gifts, or so she thought.

    Instead, she window shopped and tried on clothes in an upscale woman’s store; attempting to find a new identity.

    Norman Rockwell’s picture of the golden-brown turkey on a large platter surrounded by family flashed  across her mind.

    Her romanticized past was painful to watch.

    She had been the women wearing the plaid apron, trying to fulfill other people’s dreams. Okay, perhaps they’d been her dreams too.

    It was hard to remember, things were different.

. . . just saying

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Old Film Twelve Angry Men

Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I watched the film, “Twelve Angry Men”

It is a classic.

We frequently tape movies on Turner Classic Movies or our local PBS to watch together at a later date. Everything about the film is impressive and perhaps more relevant today

The writer, Reginald Rose, used a single setting, little action, and mostly dialogue to explore social issues; prejudice, segregation, and injustice.

Wikipedia states it nicely. “12 Angry Men explores many techniques of consensus-building and the difficulties encountered in the process among this group of men whose range of personalities adds to the intensity and conflict. It also explores the power one person has to elicit change. The jury members are identified only by number; no names are revealed until an exchange of dialogue at the very end. The film forces the characters and audience to evaluate their own self-image through observing the personality, experiences, and actions of the jurors.”  

The gentlemen of the jury, many dressed in tie and jacket, appear civil  . . . But tempers flare when Henry Fonda suggests things may not be what they appear.

It is a great movie.

. . . just saying

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What To Read 2

“When the Stars Go Dark”, by Paula McLain, was a good read.

She wrote, “The Paris Wife”, which I enjoyed even more. Both books draw upon facts. The Paris Wife  is the story of Ernest Hemingway’s life with his first wife, Hadley in Paris, and gives Hadley the credit she deserves as a spirited loving woman.

The idea for “When the Stars Go Dark” was sparked by an incident in California, the kidnapping of twelve-year-old Polly Klaas. The story is plot driven and compelling with insight about trauma along the way.

Both books, although based in fact, are categorized as fiction because facts might be embellished.

Please let me know if you read either, or both.

. . . just saying

 

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Have Your Heard About The Watergoat?

The Watergoat

Have you heard about the Watergoat? Is it a new surfing expression, meme or logo? The term certainly creates a strong visual picture. come to find out its better than all of these. Our local newspaper, News- Journal touted its benefits in a recent article. The Watergoat is a simple relatively inexpensive device that collects waterway trash before it gets away was developed by Mark Maksimowicz.

A follow up article by guest columnist, Donna Craig, in the Sunday’s Community Voice section, elaborated on the device and the efforts of Dream Green Volusia, a grassroots Florida nonprofit group that works on environmental issues throughout Volusia County.

Their objective is “to promote the mindset of taking pride in the community and reducing litter.”

Dream Green partnered with Surfing’s Evolution and Preservation Foundation to secure grant money for Watergoats in Holly Hill, Edgewater and New Smyrna Beach.

The Watergoat effort is only one of several endeavors, adopt a drain, painting murals and trash cans are more.

Donna Craig, the director of Dream Green, suggests emailing her (dreamgreenvolusia@gmail.com), phoning (386-212-7721, or visiting DreamGreenVolusia.com to learn more.

Now, have you heard about “goat scaping”?

This time the goats are real.  

. . . just saying

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Hacked

Computer Rage

I was hacked on Thursday.

 I’ve been hacked before but this was different.

I was lured by the hacker. He was a member of a Facebook writers’ group and posted a need for a beta reader.

I’ve been hiding under a rock, bah humbug over social media, and busy working on a novel, which I finished. The next step is to have Morningside Drive read by people who don’t know me for objective opinions. This is called beta reading.

That’s how I came across Adr lan. I offered to beta read his short story and he sent me the document in FB messenger.

But something was wrong from the start.

It was a legitimate story with markups from other critiques. However, FB messenger had a warning, if you respond Adr Ian would be able to phone you.

I didn’t want to talk with him. Instead, I commented on the writers’ group page saying I would return the critique document only in an email.

I never heard back.

Then, a friend phoned. “Did you send me a friends request and a poorly written covid message?”

“It’s not me!” I said, and spent the next three hours remedying the problem.

I pulled my hair out watching a Facebook video on how to report the incident. Nothing was easy.

The next day I visited the hacker’s page and found numerous requests for beta readers on a variety of different stories. It felt like aliens were reading my mind. The reality is hackers can’t read our minds but they must have access to computer searches.

What do you think?

Although I had been lured, I had a sense of complicity. Like I’d left the front door open and invited them to searched my underwear draw. Nothing was taken, just disrupted and I spent hours righting their wrong.

Now I’m experiencing what my friend Pat called . . . Computer rage.

 

. . . just saying

 

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Flash Fiction

(The word pearl was a prompt given at a writing session. A strong female character came to mind and her story enfolded.)

Pearl

The last time I saw her, she was young; youth sparkled in her eyes. Now the sparkle is gone, the jade blue color diminished by time; her convictions etched in lines across her face. Her once narrow nose is broader, broken from standing up for others. Her chest sunken with anger, not there the first time we met.

“Pearl is that you?” I inquire.

She strains to turn towards me, her range of motion greatly compromised.

“Yes, I’m Pearl,” Her voice recalls dignity, and she pauses to ask, “Have I had your acquaintance?”

It was 1971; we got on the Concourse Avenue bus in the Bronx, each with a child in hand. She took notice of my bruises and we became friends.

I take the seat alongside her and gently touch her forearm, “Pearl, it’s me Rosa . . . . Rose, remember. . . .” I expect her to ooze with gladness, say, “Lordy, Lordy, Rose, how are you?”

Instead, she says “Rose? Can’t recall a Rose, refresh my memory child.”

If she remembers me, she would never mention beatings, and hiding in safe houses. I remind her of Bainbridge Park; how we would meet after lunch, let the children play in the sand box then walk them to sleep in strollers.

“I remember sunshine and playgrounds, how is your boy . . . ?”

“Danny, Dan, he’s at Fordham University; studying to be a lawyer.

Danny was five when I made the decision to leave the morning after a beating. I phoned my sister, asked her to get him from school, and left a note for John saying I didn’t want a divorce, and wouldn’t fight him for our son.

I worried about leaving Danny behind. Pearl said, “Don’t fret; your boy be fine,” and hooked me up with people.

John was a New York City Police officer and protected by his brothers, but the force would not ignore his beating a child.

Sill, I moved every four months with a new identity.

Three years later, the Richmond Virginia Newspaper reported the hunt for the killer of John McGill, a NYC Police Officer shot in the line of duty. I went home; stood next to his coffin, widowed with a pension; my eight-year-old son at my side.

John had never mentioned I was gone to anyone on the force.

Now Pearl dozes next to me, and her head bobs from side to side startling herself. “What was I saying?”

“We were talking about the time we brought the boys to the Bronx Zoo and rode the train around the park ten times. You packed potato salad and fried chicken; a stranger asked to buy your picnic lunch.”

The mention of potato salad crystallizes in her milky eyes, “I remember the day you left, bruised and wearing borrowed clothes; it broke my heart knowing I’d not see you again. How you been?”

“I never got to thank you, Pearl. . . .” She interrupts my attempt at gratitude and explanation of regret .

“Hush, Woman . . . tell me something that will make me smile.”

* * * just saying

(Originally posted on November 23, 2014)

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Autumn

Autumn In New York

Autumn In New York

I missed the first day of Autumn or Fall or the Northern Equinox, whatever you call it these days.

In Florida we don’t experience the typical indicators that cooler weather is coming.

The temperature did drop, but not significantly; it feels cooler because it’s less humid.

What is significant is . . . it’s starting to get dark earlier. A reminder of the darkness that descends starting at 5 PM in the North. At 27 degrees latitude, Florida is not far from the equator. New York City’s latitude is around 40.

Their days will be shorter still.

We know that the Southern Hemisphere experiences Spring when the Northern Hemisphere experiences Autumn, but we forget. However, it was brought to light when I read a blog post featuring flowers springing to life in South Africa. It’s difficult to image we’re in opposite states of nature especially since their latitude 33, is close to ours.

We exchanged comments and she never sees yellow, orange or red colors, either.

I miss New York. We turned on a radio to hear the weather report. I preferred to study how quickly people walked from my fifth-floor walk up apartment window. If it was a rapid pace as they rushed to the subway, I knew to dress warm.

 

. . . just saying

 

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Photos from Italy

Bobbie Soprano In Italy

In 2019 my husband, Bob, myself and neighbors, Joan and Jodie travel to Italy and cruised on the Azama Pursuit. We docked in Taormina, Sicily and took an an excursion to Savoca, The Footsteps of the Godfather, where Francis Ford Coppola shot scenes for Godfather II. The cafe is now a tourist attraction where you can drink espresso and smoke a cigar.

Bob’s last name isn’t Soprano . . . but he’s all Italian.

* * * just saying

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Poetry

A Pity Party

(I write poetry for people to enjoy. In other words, I haven’t a clue where the periods, commas or semicolons belong.

                              A Pity Party

Come to the party.

We’ll stand on the chairs.

We’ll dance in the garden.

Dig our toes in the sand.

Forget yesterday and tomorrow.

Just soak up the sun.

Come without clothes, if you like.

We’ll blow out the candles and talk about life.

We’ll share party platters filled with mistakes.

Eat casseroles from left over dreams and sour grapes.

Dessert will be whipped jealousy, smothered in envy.

Come to the party, we’ll commiserate.

* * * just saying

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