Sunday, December 28, 2014

Book Review: No Turning Back by Dan Burns

No Turning Back
By Dan Burns
Chicago: Chicago Arts Press: pp 253 

10 short stories in one book by Dan Burns
 may be just the thing to get your mind off the world or decide to engage just a bit more. Thought provoking, the sometimes Twilight Zone reminiscent or Bradburyesque tales transport the reader to another place.

The ten stories are: Cone Out Wherever You Are, At the End of the Day, Out of Touch, Letting Go, The Dark Side, For a Few Laughs, Adios Amigo, An Unexpected Guest – A Fantasy, The Pass, and No Turning Back. Will keep you turning pages through the quick paced prose.

Come Out, Wherever You Are takes one path on an apocalyptic day. What would you do if you were the last man standing? You may think differently when you’re done with this one. I particularly liked the descriptions of the location and how what was expect just wasn’t what was found.

Adios Amigo is particularly disturbing in that funny Twilight Zone sort of way. While it reminded me of one of the tele-plays it was distinctly different. The differences included a 21st century taste for the ew-factor. By the end, we’re not sympathetic to the main character and yet… ew.

An Unexpected Guest is the answer to, if you could have dinner with anyone, absolutely anyone, who would it be? Dan Burns’s guest is simply delightful, and if it is based completely on fantasy, it’s just how I would imagine his guest would be. No spoiler here. But when you read it you’ll know why he included this vignette with this collection.  

The last story No Turning Back is thought provoking especially with the announcement of the end of the warfare in Afghanistan; it gives us food for thought before we send any other young men to foreign countries.

If you like SciFi stories without the gore you’ll enjoy this collection of short stories and commentary from author Dan Burns.

Thank you Dan for the opportunity to read and review your latest book: No Turning Back. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Birthday Sir Isaac Newton

Setting aside the controversy this year with wishing Sir Isaac Newton a Happy Birthday on Christmas, there were two thoughts in different directions: the calendar and do most people even know for what Sir Newton is noted.

Happy Birthday on December 25th looked like January 4th for Sir Isaac in his life time which started in 1642. With a healthy long life, the astronomer lived to be 84 years old, expiring March 20 1726. Interesting thing about the calendar between 1642 and 1726, it didn’t change.

While the calendars around the world were changing with the Catholic church adopting the Gregorian calendar in 1582, England, Wales and the Colonies were not participating until the New Style Act in 1750. American historians will point out to eager students that the change in calendar is the reason for President’s Day being sometime in February rather than on Washington’s Birthday because we changed the date during his life time. Imagine thinking you know your date of birth only to find out you’ve been wrong by about a week: Poor George.

More importantly, Sir Isaac Newton formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation. Because of his work, we understand planetary motion, trajectories of comets and other fun astronomical facts. Newton removed the last doubts about the center of our system being the Sun. Believe it or not, there were nay-sayers to that fact for a several centuries.
Sir Newton was a professor of mathematics, biblical chronology and alchemy, a combination not likely in our day but quite the scholar in his time.

For more information:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cheshire Smile

A most memorable character, the Cheshire cat and his smile are famous. The broad smile often comments like: He's smiling like a Cheshire cat waiting for something. 

In the story of Alice in Wonderland that cat explains that he 'isn't all there' which goes quite well with his mischievous grin and giggly laugh. 

But the Cheshire smile has a sinister side as well. Also known as the Glasgow smile is the signature disfigurement inflicted on the victims of a beating from the Chelsea Headhunters. Gang members cut the edges of the person's mouth, then beat them in the face until the cuts widen across the face until the wound spreads from ear to ear. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Book Review: Stop, Drop, and Wiggle by Gaia Shawna Morrissette

Stop, Drop, and Wiggle

by Gaia Shawna Morrissette

2014: Balboa Press: Hay House. 103 pages $28.95

Pulling from her own experience, Gaia Morrissette offers detailed seven steps to lift yourself out of depression by wiggling. Can't be bummed if you're giggling and wiggling is the philosophy.

Step 1: STOP!
The beginning asks that you check in with your emotions. How are you? Really.

What's the universe telling you? The messages are there if you look for them.

Step 3: DROP
Take control of your feelings. They belong to you, not the other way around.

Step 4: WIGGLE!
Shake it baby!

Find something to be grateful for. This exercise will help you feel better, no matter what.

Step 6: LOVE
List those things that make your life worth living.

Step 7 SHIT or get off the pot
Time to put it all into action.

The rest is simple but not necessarily easy: practice practice practice.

It is absolutely impossible to stay bummed out if you're wiggling your tush, as my grandma used to call it. Try it.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Alternative Music Rocks!

Walk the Moon and Cage the Elephant played at the San Manuel Casino in October. These two bands rocked the house! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Choice of Lies

Periodically, a person comes across my path who seems to have no grasp of the truth. No truth for their work. No truth for themselves. No true in their lives. Recently, the opportunity came up to watch the fill cycle of the lie.

In the beginning, there was small talk, an exchange of experiences and information. The realization came that some of the information wasn't correct. But we all make mistakes, right?

The once told stories were told again but were different. Details were rearranged. Details were added. The whole of the story changed. Wait, how could you be in two different places at once?

Eventually, conversation was limited to necessary information exchange. After some bad computations with the wrong information, it became better to gather all the information without a query.

Several months passed.... someone mentioned that she & me didn't really talk any more. Really? All that I'd done is stop listening to the lies. She stopped talking.

When she announced her departure, I wished her well. I do hope that she finds some truth.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Friendship Bread

In a large bowl combine 3 cups warm water, 1 ½ tablespoons yeast and 1 tsp sugar. Let mixture set for 5 minutes.
Add 3 cups flour. Stir. Set the bowl in a warm place for 8 hours. This is your starter.
Remove 1 1/2 cup of starter. Give to a friend with instructions.
Replace starter with 1 1/2 cup of flour and 1 ½ cup of water. Mix.

In a large bowl combine 2 cups flour with 1 ½ cup sourdough starter and ¾ teaspoon salt.
Cover bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow bread to rise. Turn dough out on a floured bread board. Knead until smooth. Cover with a towel to rest for 1 hour.

In a 400 degree oven, place dough on sheet. Bake for approximately an hour or until golden brown. Allow 30 minutes to cool before serving. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Stained Glass Windows

Stained Glass came into being in the medieval period when the supplies of metal and coloured glass became available to artists and craftsmen.

Modern stained glass of the 19th and 20th centuries created the unusual light of the sacred space in churches and decorated homes of the upper and middle classes.

The beauty of stained glass enriches the space with a rainbow of colored light.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Pumpkin Ideas

Pumpkin Carvers are really something. The ideas and creative talent that goes into some of the carving is just amazing. 

For more information about pumpkins at Disney Resort click

For pinterest click

Happy Halloween! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Coffee bean... coffee bean...
where oh where has coffee been?

The children's rhyme launches a brief history of America's breakfast beverage.

Coffee has been the rise and shine drink since the 15th century. The Muslim tradition conflicted with the Christian church so coffee was banned for a period. By the 17th century, Christians had resumed drinking coffee with coffee house popping up in college towns competing with pubs for young minds and lively conversation.

The British East India Company transported coffee to England in the 17th century. The brew became quite popular. In America, tea and alcoholic beverages were more popular than coffee  until the British cut off the tea supply. America developed a taste for coffee during the Revolutionary period that has survived through the centuries.

Today, coffee wakes us up, suppresses appetite and provides a large portion of the exports in 12 countries. The top five coffee producing countries are Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Columbia, and Ethiopia. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

7 Tips to be a Better Parent

If there's a struggling parent who wishes they were better at the most important job they'll ever have, here are seven suggestions to help. With love from everyone who sees your struggle but isn't up for a fight. 

1) Always have tissue available. Have you seen these kids with snot running down their faces? And they’re always with moms that don’t ever look at their kids because they don’t want to see that muck either. Carry tissues so the good moms aren’t handing you tissue. Wipe noses, really.

2) Carry fruit leather and a small bag of cheerios for sudden hunger moments.  Hey, kids get hungry in two seconds. Be ready to feed the little tummies. No one wants to hear your little darling cry because they're hungry. It just mean to let that happen.

3) Bring a book or small toy with you. Distract, distract, distract. If there’s some store you just have to go in at nap time, bring some small items with you to distract your tired child. After all you’re the one with the scheduling problems; don’t make us pay for it.

4) Wet wipes clear a myriad of sins and yuck. From sticky to barfy, wet wipes solve problems. You can clean faces, fingers, and butts, shopping cart handles, car seats and more. Hopefully, not all with the same wipe but hey, wet wipes are amazing.

5) Don’t bribe the little darlings. Bribery doesn’t work for parents in the long run. Bribery creates brats. There isn’t enough stuff to get your little clone to behave properly. Don’t be lazy, just discipline them.

6) Don’t threaten them. Threatening doesn’t work unless you mean it. Ever hear a parent say, if you don’t stop it we’re going home. The kid doesn’t stop and the parent gives up. If the first time you threaten, follow through then you’ll never have to threaten again. If you've already messed this up, you'll have to be consistent for a significant period of time until you redeem your credibility. 

7) Don’t let them scream. You may understand why you’re child is screaming, he’s tired, he’s hungry, he’s rotten. Don't ignore your offspring. We don’t want to listen. You need to leave now. But please come back when the crisis is over. 

While there are a few people who can't stand kids no matter what, most people enjoy a well-behaved child. In the end, the little ones are your project. We're just pulling for a good outcome.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Corporate Dumb

I know the argument from the bean counters: less-qualified, under-trained, fewer customer service workers makes for better profit at the end of the quarter. After all, workers are an expense that corporate daddy has to reduce, right?

Well, they have their belief and I have mine. I believe that customer service has the power to distinguish a company from the rest. I do spend my money where this appears to be a thought in the marketing and sales strategy.

Sometime ago, I broke up with my phone company. Things changed, I moved and the old company wasn't an option. The break-up wasn't pleasant but it wasn't horrible and by the end, the customer service gal asked that if the situation changes to just consider them again.

Enter Time Warner company: clearly the offshore customer service didn't care much about fulfilling their end of the bargain: the phone numbers weren't transferred, I had to start over with all new numbers. One of the numbers I received was getting collection calls day and night for the last person who had the number. So I had to change the number again, that was a fiasco. They told me one number but assigned another. I had a friend ask me why the number on her caller ID wasn't what I had given her.

When the 'deal' was up, I received the notice letter that they were going to nearly double the bill. I called to talk about it with customer service. The 'for a lifetime' deal lasted less than 2 years. The company rep launched into a sales pitch for more services, which I declined. He hung up.

So I changed providers.

I called once again to discontinue my service. When Time Warner discovered that I was taking my number with me and no, I really did take the hang up personally, they transferred me with hold times for over 85 minutes.

Guess what Time Warner, if the situation comes up that I need a different provider, you won't be on the short list. You've been cut.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

30 years

Each day placed end to end over a period of time allowed for personal growth and change into a new person and now an elder. 

This weekend marked the first occasion that I was accepted as a new elder. I am so moved by the experience. There are not yet words. 

Monday, September 22, 2014


One of the most influential composers in history, Ludwig van Beethoven left us 32 piano sonatas. 

Piano sonatas are written for piano only. The romantic songs include the  Fur Elsie, Funeral March, Moonlight, Tempist and the Hunt

Beethoven's list of works were numbered. The sonatas are also given dull titles: Piano Sonata 1 in F minor, 2 in A major, 3 in C major, 4 in E-flat major, 4 in C minor, 6 in F major, 7 in D major, 8 in C minor, 9 in E major, 10 in G major, 11 in B-flat major, 12 in A-flat major, 13 in E-flat major, 15 in D major, 16 in G major, 17 in D minor, 18 in E-flat major, 19 in G major, 20 in G major, 21 in C major, 22 in F major, 23 in F minor, 24 in F-sharp major, 25 in G major, 26 in E-flat major, 27 in E minor, 28 in A major, 29 in B-flat major, 30 in E major, 31 in A-flat major, and 32 in C minor. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Route 66

The highway crosses the western half of the United States providing a major travel corridor from the middle of the country to the coast. Route 66 was established in November 1926 until it was officially displaced as an official highway in June 1985. 

The highway runs through Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. 

For thousands of pilgrims in the 1930s, route 66 offered a way to leave the Dust Bowl to go West to start a new life. It also provided a road to connect hundreds of towns that were previously isolated. An entire travel economy developed along the route. 

Route 66 is part of American history. Nostalgia is best shown in the most recent tribute by Disney's movie CARS. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Passages from point A to point B offer lessons in life.

7 point story arc

Normal day - my character starts here.

Happening - a dilemma makes a normal day impossible

Quest - the path to resolution defined

Obstacle to Solution - nothing happens easily

Choices - if this then that... sometimes

Climax - the possibilities are endless but pick one

Resolution - happily ever after  until the next happening...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Re-evaluate Again??

Reevaluate – access, determine the significance or worth.
Reset - to clear any pending errors or events to bring the system to normal condition.
Renew  - to make something new, fresh or strong again.

Anymore, it seems I’m in a constant state of evaluating and modification: Modification to my surroundings, modification to my attitudes, gathering more information to find if there is a way to improve the situation.

One of my advisors says that it’s for spiritual growth that we must continue to change. Another of my advisors says that the world has changed and all we can do is adapt.

So I set out to learn more in a new writing class and hear the same thing that was said to me, said to a new generation. I’m not so inclined to believe everything but I am looking for the jewel that may change past experience into a better brighter future, not just for me but for everyone.

Despite all the hits I’ve taken I really am an idealist at heart. More than a decade into the 21st century, I’m seriously disappointed with the state of affairs. My little bit of the world has progressed in a most delightful way but as is the human condition, I want things better and even more progressive to a happy peaceful place rather than the apocalyptic zombie land that invades our collective consciousness.

So I’m back to reassess, reset, renew.... Life Continues... 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

End of Summer

End of Summer means getting back to the regular schedule... kids in school, back to work, and move forward on everything that's taken a backseat to fun in the sun. 

Spending the Summer at the beach


California King Bed

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Back Story

Demonstrated by the flood of movies providing excuses for villains, the collective subconscious seeks to justify the bad decisions and resulting bad circumstances we find ourselves in today. After all, if the same back story would have happened to you, you'd be bad too.

In past generations, the outcry from the clerics would tell the populous that their circumstances were the result of situations which could be changed by directing their energies toward higher goals, better achievement and a little bit more in the collection plate. Monumental changes in society started from the pulpit includes abolition of slavery and women's voting rights.

Today's pulpit, the TV has created a new class of cleric: the talking heads. The heads get together to spout the most base philosophy, me-ism. Me-ism obviously works for the heads but does little to improve the status of our society. Rather than strive to improve self, family, country, they recommend status-quo and understanding of the bad guy who make bad decisions that we all live with today.


Wage Calculator

House Affordibility

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I Miss NY - working title

I Miss NY is the story of Beth's return to the mid-west hometown she couldn't wait to leave.

Beth brings her kids to their grandfather's funeral only to find that her life in New York is gone. Friends and foes wait for her in her home town, she finds herself caught between who she was, rebellious trouble maker) and who she is (middle-class mom).

In the first episode, we meet Beth's brother who is involved with Beth's nemesis. Her handsome bad boy sweetheart has returned too... as the town sheriff.

Beth learns that as much as things change... things stay the same... Oy!

First Episode is registered with the writer's guild.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Joe's Italian Ice

On hot days, it’s worth the drive down Harbor Blvd to Joe’s Italian Ice. It’s the best Italian ice around.

Authentic Italian Ice cools and refreshes as it melts in your mouth. Incredible flavors include the traditional fruit flavors as well as some tasty original flavor combinations. Fruit flavors to consider for your treat are Apple Pie, Banana n cream, Grape Devine, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Peach, Sour Cherry Strawberry, Tangerine, Watermelon or Wild Cherry. Some flavors are specifically for the adult palette, for example: Birch beer, Blue Hawaii, Java Joe and Pina Colada. For the more adventurous Italian ice eaters, there is an imaginative selection which includes: Bada Bing Cherry, Chocolate Moose, Fuzzy Wuzzy, Poison Apple, Smurf Poison and Snozzberry.

If ice isn’t your thing, that’s fine, Joe’s Italian Ice has some of the smoothest ice cream in town. Soft serve ice cream in a cone or Super Sundaes in a bowl; there’s something for everyone. Soft serve cones are served with your choice of dipped shell flavors: blue raspberry, butterscotch, chocolate, or peanut butter. Super Sundaes for the old-fashioned ice cream eater will be pleased to find the standards on the menu: Brownie Fudge, Oreo, Peanut Butter as well as Banana Splits.
Priced by size Italian Ice comes in a cup: small $2.49, regular $3.49, large $4.49, quart $6.49, 1 ¼ gallon $24.98, 2 ½ gallon $39.98 (plus a $10 deposit on the bucket). Ice Cream Cones & Cups start at $3.49 with the super sundaes from $5.99 to $7.49.  

I took my son who had never had Italian ice before. He selected his favorite flavor: chocolate. I selected the historically correct Italian ice flavor, lemon. We both were completely delighted with our selections.

Joe’s Italian Ice is a popular place on a hot day. The line was well into the parking lot. We were ordering & served in less than 10 minutes. The young people that work at Joe’s really move quickly. 

Special price on Italian ice, if it’s raining: 2 for 1.

Joe’s Italian Ice is located at 12302 Harbor Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92840, just a few blocks away from Disney Resort. Hours of operation are Sun-Thurs 11 am – 10 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am – 11 pm with extended hours during summer. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Ticking Clocks

How important is time?

Time is all we have.
Clocks tick the seconds that are our lives.
Hands move to show the passing.
How important is time?

From ancient to modern time, the importance of time to a society is demonstrated by the presence of clocks, specifically the clock tower.

Centerpiece to a thriving metropolis, the economic powers creating a productive environment will dress the need for punctuality in architecture or sculpture. A brilliant way to control the minds of the many by placing the function within something beautiful.

Clocks Video:

Clocks Wiki:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Stingray Corvette

2014 marks the return of the Corvette Stingray. GM hopes that 2015 will be a better year. If you have $65,000 to spend on a base mid-line model you can design your own car on the Corvette website and have it delivered to your local dealer. 

Chervolet decided to discontinue the Stingray in the mid-1970s. There just weren't as many men going through a  mid-life crisis that could afford a sports car too. Price of a new Corvette in 1975 was just a little over $11,000. 

I appreciate a fast car and love to drive them but with so many bad drivers on the road, I'll stick with my beast! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Where's Fluffy??

For many people, a pet is a member of the family. So a missing pet can feel like a missing person.

Like missing people, the likelihood of finding your pet is best in the first 72 hours. Taking a few steps can increase your chances of your pet returning home safe.

  1. Report your missing animal
  2. Let your friends and neighbors know
  3. Post flyers

Report you missing animal to the authorities. Depending upon your local government you may need to call the local police, the sheriff or the animal shelter.
When you call, have your pet information sheet ready to answer questions about your pet. If they ask you to email the information, place the information in the body of the email as well as attaching the document.

Pet Information Sheet

The best pet information sheet includes the following: Your name and contact information at the top. Your pet’s information:  breed, height, weight, special marks, fur length, type of coat, length of tail, birth date, and possible aggressiveness toward people or other animals.

Pet Photographs

Three pet photographs that every pet owner should have:
  • a portrait of your pet
  • a full body pose of your pet
  • a photo of you with your pet

Let your friends and neighbors know that your pet is missing.

Pets can end up in a neighbor’s yard or running somewhere in the neighborhood. Letting the people living closest to you know about your pet is the best way to look in a hundred places right away. Calling a few helpful friends who will call other neighbors for you is particularly helpful.

Post flyers

Missing pet flyers should include a picture of your pet, description and your contact information. If there have been sightings, include the last place your pet was seen. Print 25 flyers. Post on phone poles or place the flyer on your neighbor’s doors. Post your pet’s photo on social media so other people in town can keep an eye out for your pet.

Just in case: keep your pet information sheet and recent photographs available for the emergency we hope never happens. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Editing: A process

What's your writing process?

Naturally insecure, seeking approval or to say our piece, writers often ask each other, what's your process? I understand the question as a cry for help.

Help me start this project, I don't know where to begin.

Help me with this project, I've just hit a wall.

Help me with this edit, I don't know what to cut.

Help me with this project, I'm done but there it sits.

If you are a writer, life is in a constant state of flux. There's always start. There's something to do. There's always to fix. There's always something to finish.

Oh yeah, an remember to have a life too.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Percentage of adults living with their parents skyrockets

A symptom of the disaster America calls an economy was revealed in the Pew Research Center’s report which contained information about the number of adults living with their parents. The socially acceptable term is multi-generational households.

Based on comparisons between households from 1970-80 and the past decade provides the dire truth about the loss of the American way of life. In the 1970s approximately 10% of young adults lived with their parents, which means 90% of post-high school adults were able to support themselves outside of their parent’s home.

In the past decade, with fewer living wage jobs available for high school and college graduates supports the Pew Research Center’s findings that in the 18-25 age range more than 70% of young adults are living at home, which means less than 30% are able to make enough money to rent a room outside of their parent’s home.

After college the future still looks bleak with one in five adults in the 25-34 age still living with their parent’s. More than half of those who did manage to move-out report they have taken jobs just to make ends meet, not what they studied or trained to do. More than 50% of adults in this age group also report postponing serious relationships, marriage, parenthood.

While we’d all like to believe the reports that the economy is on the mend, there is no proof to support that claim. We’ll know things are better when young adults can live on their own, college students can pay off loans in a couple years and young couples return to buying homes and starting families. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Blender Fun

Summer is the perfect time to bring out the blender and try new juice combinations. The price of fruit at the farmer's market drops just before the close of business giving us a chance to try new fruit without spending a ton .

My Oster blender works great on ice drinks and blending soft fruit into juice. No fancy juicer needed to get a refreshing cold drink.

So far this summer I've enjoyed the following combinations:

1 apple cored & peeled
1 banana peeled
5 strawberries quartered
1/2 cup ice
1/2 cup apple juice

1 banana peeled
1 cup blueberries
1 apple cored & peeled
1/2 cup ice
1/2 cup apple juice

2 peaches peeled
1 banana
1 orange peeled
1/2 cup ice
1/2 cup orange juice

Do you make your own juice drinks? Will you share your favorite recipe? :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kale: It's everywhere!

The kale craze is on. Kale is everywhere: the grocery section, the farmer’s market and even in
Kale is in the same family as collard greens, brussels sprouts and broccoli. The history of kale begins in Roman times. It became quite popular during the Middle Ages as the hardy plant became a mainstay in most diets.
Today, we know that kale is full of beta carotene, vitamin K & C and calcium.

Kale Ragu
In a skillet, medium heat
2 tbsp olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 lb kale
Cook until onions are soft.
Reduce heat to simmer
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp minced garlic
1 ½ cup water
¼ tsp ground cumin
1 cans cannellini beans
1Tbsp oregano
1 tsp basil

Simmer until beans are cooked. 

Friday, June 20, 2014


June 21st the Summer solstice begins the warm months in the northern hemisphere.

For traditional people, the summer is a time of growth and the beginning of harvests that will provide food through the winter.

For city folk, summer is a time for flowers, iced tea and beach trips.

Greek goddess Horae represents the summer. The goddesses of nature guide the seasons. They are also the keepers of time. Summer is the warming to bring the seed to full growth. The growth to harvest is celebrated by farmers.

For More Information about the Solstice:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


The concept of the roller coaster was developed in Russia during 17th century.During the reign of Peter the Great there were innovations in military, social and entertainment for the Russian People. 

In the beginning ice runs were reinforced with wood supports. By the mid-1800s railroad companies were interested in laying track for entertainment rides. 

By the 1880s the roller coaster became immensely popular. As the economy allowed regular people time and extra money, the amusement parks became a new vacation destination. 

Today, entertainment parks compete with each other for the longest, biggest, most loops for thrills, chills and the story of the date of a lifetime. 

What's your favourite roller coaster? 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Toxic People Suck

How to ID toxic people?
     Toxic people lie.
     Toxic people make drama.
     Toxic people bring you down.

How to defuse toxic people?
     Don’t engage with them.
     Don’t believe them.
     Don’t give them your time.

Let toxic people go
     You are not obligated to fix them.
     Choose nice people.
     Fill your time with positive.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Brittany's Tantrum or Ignore versus Tolerate

Ignore: to refuse to take notice of or acknowledge.

Tolerate: to allow the existence, occurrence or practice of without interference.

As I sat watching a mother struggle with her child, I was saddened by the fact that she lost the battle with a two year old. Apparently none of her mom’s group friends wanted to point out to her that she was the adult in the situation. If you can’t best a two year old in a battle of wills, the teen years will be hell, expensive or both.

I realized that her language was part of the problem. After the beloved Brittany got what she wanted, the mom said that she decided to ‘ignore Brittany’s behavior’. She had read on some parenting website that if parents just ignored bad behavior, the behavior would change. 

After I picked my jaw up off the ground, failing miserably to hide my eavesdropping, I realized that she (hopefully) has misunderstood the message or the language.

What this clueless mom was doing was tolerating her darling’s bad behavior. When you tolerate something, it’s does a couple things. 1) reinforces the bad behavior because the child understands that it’s okay and 2) encourages a recurrence with ever increasing frequency.

Yes, you guessed it. Before I could get up and leave, little Brittany was crying and throwing herself on the ground for some other reason. And mom, she was tolerating it by continuing her conversation with the other moms before acknowledging and giving Brittany the attention she demanded.

After training Brittany to increase the volume and the intensity of her demands which were seemingly filled with enough persistence, it will be difficult but not impossible for the mom (and dad) to help Brittany change her behavior.

First, stop ignoring and tolerating bad behavior. There must be consequences. Consequences must be swift. For example: the next time Brittany is at the park, when she throws a fit, simply pick her up, put her in the car and leave. Give her neither the thing she wants nor reinforcing behavior. Once home, perhaps a short time out will help.

At first, Brittany will rebel. It will get louder for the short term. In the long run, Brittany will learn to not throw a fit and with enough consistency and a good example of manners, she can learn to be a well behaved child that everyone enjoys having around. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Poison Party

A Guide to Partying

Moderate Poisoning 
1-2 doses per session

Binge Poisoning (because poisoning is sexist)
3+ doses for women
4+ doses for men

Heavy Poisoning is Daily Poisoning. (you could have a poisoning  problem)

Beware of mixing your poison
Some mixes contain as many as 5 doses of poison in one glass.

Pace your poison
One dose per hour is about all a body can process. (set a timer)

If you poison, poison responsibly
Did you know patrols increase around poison party spots.

Signs of too much poison
Cold, clammy skin

Party Host
It’s illegal for anyone under 21 to poison themselves. Poison is for adults only.
If your guests over poison themselves you could go to jail. Let your guests stay or call a cab.

This is from an actual pamphlet handed out on college campuses. The words beer, wine, drink and alcohol were replaced with poison for clarity.

Fact: 5,000 young adults die each year from poisoning themselves. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Ageism Whiplash

I’m on the older end of Generation X and loved the band of the same name when I was a teen. My work life has been all about computers. My generation X entered the work force with DOS and Lotus 123. Our work and lives have been about changing and upgrading. Think about it in our first few years there were men on the moon. And we’ve birthed digital kids.

Frankly, I wasn’t surprised when just last week a Baby Boomer told me that I was so young, still implying inexperience. Why wasn’t I surprised? Notoriously, Baby Boomers have been disrespecting Generation X their whole lives, why would it change at retirement? Why not argue? To argue with stupid is a waste of breath.

What I didn’t realize was that they transferred their disrespecting attitudes to their children. Son of Boom delights in discounting Generation X’s experience because they get mommy & daddy boom’s approval.  Son of Boom actually said to me today that people of ‘your age’ are set in their ways, implying Gen-X doesn’t change. As wrong as their parents were, son of boom are so wrong, it’s just sad.

Generation X has been at the forefront of change. We heard the music of the 60s and 70s and believed that we could live the change. That’s what we’ve done: microwave ovens, punk (pre-steam), VCRs, cell phones and all the way around to discover our grandparents had it going on with milk in glass bottles and helpful customer service.

So disrespect us at your own peril. For Generation X, life is change. We’ve been highly competitive as we create and invent our lives it’s what we do, it’s who we are.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A to Z Triumph

As a writer, I have found that I need to make myself accountable to write on a regular basis. Life can carry me away. 

A to Z Challenge is a great way for me to be strict with myself to write a series of quality and quickly. It also gives me the incentive to read many other high quality blogs and connect with other blog writers. 

I'm so glad to finish the A to Z again. Cant' wait for 2015! 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z = Zorro

Zorro: The Mask of Zorro
Directed: Martin Campbell
Antonio Banderas as Alejandro Murrieta
Anthony Hopkins as Don Diego De La Vega
Catherine Zeta-Jones as Elena De La Vega Montero

Action packed variation on the Zorro story. The aging Zorro finds an apprentice who coincidentally is interested in his daughter. It seems Zorro was meant to be a family franchise. The good-rich man who fights for the rights of the populous continues to excite the imaginations of the hopeful.

I loved this movie for several reasons:

Action was reaching but the stunts were amazing. Any regular person would have munched but Zorro prevails. Much to Martin Campbell’s credit, his perfectionism really worked well in this film.

Antonio Banderas plays the poor boy and the amazing Zorro equally as well. Zorro is a continuation of the good bad guy theme like in the film Desperado.

What can be said about Sir Anthony Hopkins? He’s amazing as Don De La Vega. The Englishman playing the Mexican Don works for me. But I’ve admired his work since Magic.

Catherine Zeta Jones rises to the level of the actors around her. She is particularly interesting in this role when she discovers her identify. Raised with one father, she accepts her true identity with grace.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y = Yankee Doodle Dandy

Yankee Doodle Dandy

James Cagney as George M Cohan

Irish-American Cagney played the Irish-American Cohan, singing in a half-sing/half-reciting style. The songwriter leaves the family act, is black-listed and had difficulty. Until he teams up with a new producer and he becomes a success.

In the scene where Cohan dances down the stairs, Cagney performed the step down dance with no rehearsal and completed in one take.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

X = X-File

Director: Rob Bowman

David Duchovny as Mulder
Gillian Anderson as Scully

The best of ET meets crime drama comes together in X-files the movie. Mulder follows leads that seem to always go to the Cigarette Smoking Man. From the laboratory of the cigarette Smoking Man, Mulder saves Scully but is just too late to document the space ship that flies over him and away.
X-files asks the questions about eternal possibilities, are we alone in the universe? It also provides the moral compass through Mulder to follow your heart, save the one you love, Scully.

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

W = Wizard of OZ

Wizard of Oz
Director: Victor Fleming

Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale
Billie Burke as Glinda
Ray Bolger as Scarecrow
Bert Lahr as Lion
Jack Haley as Tin Man

A most beloved story written by L Frank Baum, the Wizard of Oz was the first film to be both black & white and color film. 

The dull Kansas prairie offers little to the imagination of young Dorothy Gale. But following a cyclone, the girl travels to the colorful place called Oz. She becomes obsessed with going home.

Dorothy Gale meets Glinda the Good who recommends the girl travel on the yellow brick road to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard. Along the way, Dorothy finds help in the form of a Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion. The foursome battles the Wicked Witch of the West to find their way to their hearts desire. In Dorothy’s case, she returns home.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

V = Van Helsing

Van Helsing

Hugh Jackman as Gabriel Van Helsing
Kate Beckinsale as Anna Valerious

Continuing on the monster movie theme, Van Helsing brings Doctor Frankenstein, werewolves and Count Dracula together with a new tale of from the crypts.

When Count Dracula’s brides torment a town, Van Helsing comes to save the day. He’s bitten by a werewolf but uses the new situation to his advantage to defeat Dracula and his offspring.

If you like B movies and comic books, you’ll love Van Helsing.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

U = Unforgiven

Director: Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood as William Munny
Gene Hackman as Little Bill Daggett

Morgan Freeman as Ned Logan
Unforgiven tells the western tale of a killer who mended his ways when he married a good woman. However, times being what they are after the death of his beloved wife, he returns to his old skill set for the money offered, in hopes of starting a new life elsewhere.

William Munny isn’t a sympathetic character but we find that he tells the truth and keeps his word. Little Bill on the other hand, while a law-man, he’s less likable and we’re not unhappy when he meets his end.

Epilogue to the movie says that William Munny moved, changed his name and after a new start, became an upstanding citizen, selling dry goods in San Francisco.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T = Training Day

Training Day
Director: Antoine Fuqua

Denzel Washington as Alonzo Harris
Ethan Hawke as Jake Hoyt

Training Day is the first day in the narcotics division for a young officer in the LAPD. A day in the life of a rookie cop should be enough to dissuade most anyone from getting involved with narcotics. In simple terms, the bad guys are bad guys and the good guys are bad guys. And Jake wants to be a good guy.

Training Day is a highly acclaimed, very violent movie about the dangerous lifestyle of undercover police.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S - Sunset Boulevald

Sunset Boulevard
Director: Billy Wilder

William Holden as Joe Gillis
Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond

Sunset Boulevard is the tragic story of a writer who feeling down and out became a gigolo of the former film star Norma Desmond.

Norma Desmond first hires Joe as a script doctor. She wants him to help her write a script. She dreams of working with her friend Cecil B DeMille again. But Norma is increasingly needy. She depends upon Joe too much. She convinces herself she’s in love. Then she convinces Joe by showering him with gifts that he wants what she has to offer.

Ultimately, Joe comes to his senses and decides to leave Norma. Norma suffers a break with reality, shoots Joe in the back and returns to her dressing room to wait for her closing scene, ‘I’m ready for my close-up.’

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Monday, April 21, 2014

R = Rebecca

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Laurence Olivier as Maxim de Winter
Joan Fontaine as the new Mrs. De Winter

The new young Mrs. de Winter is brought to Manderley by her husband and the master of the house Mr. de Winter. Little does she realize she’s up against the ghost of Rebecca and the crazy housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers.

Maxim’s first wife was horrible but the way people speak of her, his new wife things she was perfect and well loved. Rebecca was anything but nice. She had multiple affairs, even with her cousin. 

Ultimately, her bad health got her, as she became filled with cancer. She wanted to die and ruin Maxim too. She almost got her last wish.
Mr. de Winter’s secrets keep him from being honest with his new bride. The tale becomes ever more twisted as the truth rises to the surface. The crazy housekeeper still loyal to the despicable Rebecca comes to her end.

We’re led to believe that the de Winters find happiness elsewhere.
Moral of the story: be honest with your spouse.

The performances are wonderful. The film was nominated for several Academy Awards. Rebecca  is a wonderful movie to watch on a rainy day.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q = Quest for Camelot

Quest for Camelot
Director: Frederik Du Chau 

Sarah Freeman and Jessalyn Gelsig as Kayley
Cary Elwes as Garrett
Gary Oldman as Ruber
Eric Idle and Don Rickles as Devon and Cornwall, the two headed dragon

Quest for Camelot is about a teenage girl who wants to be a knight. Kayley finds her chance to fulfill her dreams when Arthur’s sword is stolen then lost in the forbidden forest.

Garrett and Kayley team up to journey through forbidden territories, conquering tremendous obstacles, then befriending the friendless on their way to destroying the villain Ruber. As payment for their loyal service, Garrett and Kayley ride off together ‘Just Knighted.’

My kids loved this movie, so they watched it many times. Despite the great cast, I didn’t really like it with the exception of the two-headed dragon. But Devon and Cornwall were so ridiculous that I too, watched Quest of Camelot, many times.

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