Some Articles!

I’ve been publishing at Hub Pages and have some great articles for you to enjoy there!

Here are some more photos, some previews, and some easy links to follow while I invest some time in getting set up over there.

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Technological Marvels That Have Saved Humanity From Trouble And Difficulty (Definitely Satire!)

Since the dawn of man, humans have searched for Dawn. Humans need to have washing liquid or something that can get the fat and grease off of hands and plates!

Since the dawn of man, humans have longed for lightweight, but super useful stuff that would hold up against all kinds of heat, cold, dropping, stabbing, piercing, burning and sinking under water.

Since the dawn of man, humans have striven to invent, make and distribute cheap crap in the most effective ways possible.

Humans have now reached the point where technological marvels that make life wonderful are always being honored and recognized for their goodness.

Here are some of my personal favorites.

 

 

 

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The Sacramento Occupaton At Cesar Chavez Park (I am very proud of this one)

After setting out for César Chávez Park in downtown Sacramento, California, it was clear that parking was going to be an issue.

Parking is always an issue in Downtown Sacramento, which is why most residents of the region do all that they can to avoid the place.

But yesterday, there were big doings in César Chávez Park. Several hundred children showed up to do a “flash mob” dance. After midnight, about 16 of the protesters were arrested in a “catch and release” program for violating park rules by blocking the park entrances or staying in the park after closing hours. The arrested individuals were either lying or sitting at the 9th and K street entrance.

These hardy souls braved a blustery day to start the first wave of the ongoing Sacramento Occupation style version of the Occupy Wall Street Protests.

But what a contrast!

Jealousy: A Short Tale

This brief tale illustrates how jealousy can either be a bitter dish or can lead to a tasty reward. It all  depends on how the meal (and the life) is prepared.

 

 

The jealousy started when she was nine years old. She was jealous of the girls who had a different, fantastic dress for every day of school.

So she asked her mother for more dresses.

“Now that is just too much!” her mother replied. “Those girls are spoiled. It is a waste of money for you to have a different dress for every day of the week! Besides, where would we keep all those clothes?”

She instantly became sad. She was sad that her mother was so upset over not being able to give her a dress for every day of the week.

So, she asked her father. Her father told her that it was greedy of her to ask for so many dresses.

“Those girls are either from wealthy families or their mothers are spending money that they can’t afford to spend. You need to learn how to sew. In time, you will have more clothes. But that is not important. Right now, you need to focus on more important things and to get your mind away from keeping up with those girls.”

So, she asked her Aunt. Her Aunt was always good for a bailout or for some sound advice. Her Aunt always took the time to think about things called “alternatives”.

 

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The Strange Theaters of the Old, Old West

This is the tale of two grand theaters in Old Sacramento. The physical theater now lies under Old Sacramento in California’s capitol city. The theater of the bizarre was acted out just before the city of Sacramento was raised a few stories in height to prevent the frequently overflowing Sacramento River from washing over the most important part of town.

The “Excelsior” Theatre was the scene of many a wild penny opera and more than a few murderous brawls. One poor soul was whipped to death in full view of a horrified crowd. The whipping was carried out by an itenerant gold prospector who believed that he had been unfairly divested of his gold coins in one of the rigged poker games that went on in the upper rooms of the Excelsior Hotel.

The poor victim was flayed to the bone, but suffered for days before he expired. It later turned out that he had no part in the purloining of anyone’s gold, so the murderer was hanged a few days later.


PLEASE READ THE REST HERE!!

Note: Stay with me, because this is flash fiction and I haven’t read the “rules” for flash fiction yet. This is a message to the Tea Party and to Republicans, who seem to think that they are exempt from consequences and who have become destructive.

 

The Cycle of Beauty, Betrayal and Death

 

She walked in beauty, all day and all night long. She could not even glance at her reflection by accident without being forced to acknowledge that her figure, her face and her clothes were beautiful.

She never saw the underside of a car. She never saw a dank or scummy utility room. She never saw a dead body that was not wearing a ten thousand dollar suit and nested in a satin lined and very expensive coffin.

Heaven forbid that she should ever lay her eyes upon a roach, rodent or road kill.

 

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She never paid attention to the ugly work that her husband did, except to smile while she stood next to him and silently confirmed his political opinions.

She never allowed a hair to leave its proper place or a skirt to flap irresponsibly when her husband’s controversial and increasingly extremist leanings attracted the hordes of journalists and paparazzi.

She refused to take her neighbor’s calls or respond to their pleas for help when the authorities started to clean out the liberals and the lefties. She despised liberals and lefties, anyway. They always made life difficult and spoke on weak and conditional terms.

Her home was a wonderland of silk Dupioni and decorator’s dreams. She was perpetually spared the sight of a dust ball or the task of changing a diaper. A thousand dollars for a child’s outfit or twenty five thousand for a shopping spree were her expectations and were not the rights or privileges that lesser people screamed about.

She ate beautiful food in beautiful restaurants, accompanied by beautiful friends, beautiful children or acquaintances who, if not beautiful, exuded a curious beauty of delusion that only the rich and powerful can get away with.

To her, “nature” was a yacht tour of the open sea. Natural settings were exquisitely unnatural and perfectly manicured lawns and gardens. Natural activity was confined to state of the art and exclusive golf courses or the latest clay or acrylic tennis courts.

 

 

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Her guarantee of never ending beauty lasted until she developed a longing for a bond with another human being and the wrong human being presented himself.

When she started her affair, she opened her eyes and gazed, for the first time, upon the dirt and suffering and despair of the world of humans and nature. She did not become addicted to sex becaue sex was not her motivation or ultimate desire.

Spending time with someone who looked her in the eye and who touched her was the issue.

But her neighbors had been, for weeks, living in the open. They huddled in football stadiums and basketball arenas. After firm and painful convincing, her neighbors decided to “help” the authorities by “refreshing their recollections” about others who were involved with their “crimes.”

Her neighbor’s convenient recollections gave them their convenient revenge and shared some with her husband.  In one singular and ugly incident, she was unceremoniously and rudely snatched off the sidewalk, right in front of Neiman Marcus. Then she was disappeared by the authorities.

Her husband carried on as if he had no regrets, but soon was unable to offer help even if he had wanted to help. Not much time passed before he was also rounded up in convenient acts of revenge by his own large aggregation of betrayed friends, crooked competitors,  and heartless enemies.

She did not live for much longer. Several of her former neighbors found her and killed her in a bloody session that left not much of her or her beauty.

Now she is only flesh, returned to the muck and dust from whence she came, and nothing about her current process or her particular world of nature is beautiful.

Jealousy

The jealousy started when she was nine years old. She was jealous of the girls who had a different, fantastic dress for every day of school.

So she asked her mother for more dresses.

“Now that is just too much!” her mother replied. “Those girls are spoiled. It is a waste of money for you to have a different dress for every day of the week! Besides, where would we keep all those clothes?”

She instantly became sad. She was sad that her mother was so upset over not being able to give her a dress for every day of the week.

So, she asked her father. Her father told her that it was greedy of her to ask for so many dresses.

“Those girls are either from wealthy families or their mothers are spending money that they can’t afford to spend. You need to learn how to sew. In time, you will have more clothes. But that is not important. Right now, you need to focus on more important things and to get your mind away from keeping up with those girls.”

So, she asked her Aunt. Her Aunt was always good for a bailout or for some sound advice. Her Aunt always took the time to think about things called “alternatives”.

“You need to learn how to sew!” Her Aunt yelled. She loved to yell when she had an “epiphany”.

“Now let’s see, you will begin with simple things, so you will have to mix them in with clothes that you already have. Those rich girls have dresses with details that will take a long time to learn, so don’t look for a quick way to keep up with the Joneses, girl! Let’s see if your Mom will help…”

On the first day of school, she had an excellent wardrobe of mix and match clothes. She even received compliments from the rich girls. A couple of the rich girls wanted to pay her to make blouses for them.

But then she noticed that most of the kids had money for school lunches. What a cool thing it would be to sail into the cafeteria without a lunch box,  to step up to the counter and to wave a hand around and order food!

Her Mother told her that school lunches were nasty and expensive. Her Father told her that she should be glad that she had a Mother to make lunches for her.

“Some kids don’t even get to eat lunch. A lot of them have to get the free lunch programs.”

Then she asked Auntie. Auntie came up with the idea of selling some of her creations. That would give her money to buy school lunches. So, she went to the rich girls, started making little detailed blouses and skirts of her own design, and soon had money for cafeteria lunches.

Mom was right, though. The cafeteria lunches were nasty, so she stopped buying them and started appreciating the beautiful lunches that her mother packed for her.

In High School, she became jealous of the kids who had time to hang out after school and go to dances. So she started hanging out after school and going to dances. But it was too much to study and sew and hang out and dance. She cut back to studying, sewing, and hanging out with her good friends. That was far more profitable than mindless hanging out with stupid kids and boys who just wanted to get in her pants.

Then, she became jealous of the glamorous kids who modeled and acted and traveled. She was a good actor and she learned some things. She learned that she was a brilliant seamstress and that she could make good costumes. Her greatest accomplishments included a complicated dress for the “Queen of England”. It was a stupid play and the language made no sense at all, but it was fun and the actors were cool kids.

Her school counselor recommended that she go to design school and become a fashion designer. The counselor gave her some books about the fashion industry. She started reading biographies, watching movies and soaking up all that she could soak from the fashion magazines.

She asked her Auntie about fashion as a career. Auntie said “Don’t you ever take drugs. Ever! That industry is the worst for starting people onto drug addictions. And they will lie through their teeth to get you to try drugs! The very first drug that you take could get you addicted for life!” She yelled.

“And don’t get overly concerned about your weight, either. Just watch your diet and exercise. They’re all starving themselves in the fashion industry, and those New York women are completely neurotic about weight!”. Auntie was passionate about this topic. But Auntie soldiered on and delivered some goods.

“Let me see who has been able to do well in that industry without going crazy or doing drugs….”

So she graduated High School and went to the graduation parties wearing fabulous outfits that had all of those “Rich Girl” details. She spent the Summer sewing and selling clothes and went to Design School on scholarship.

And she promptly became jealous of the people who spent their lives designing and modeling and traveling and going to parties without becoming drunks and doing drugs. She graduated at the top of her class and went out into the world in order to design, travel and avoid drugs.

Today she sits by her pool, watching her grandchildren cavort. She is waiting for her husband to come home for dinner. They will have a traditional “Pre Oscar” quickie after their son had picked up the kids. Then they will get dressed.

She wonders if she will win another Oscar tonight, this time for her costume work on the most nominated film. Her husband has two films up for Oscar nods. They are “A” listed for the red carpet, so they will have to deal with the coked up, yakking interviewers. Her phone is ringing off the hook. It’s only the press. She ignores the calls and watches her grandchildren cavort in the pool.

She reflects upon her life and is amazed at how jealousy, a negative emotion, could have been such a positive and motivating factor in her life. She is thankful for the people who made her work that jealousy and do the right things about it. She has lived long enough to know how it could have all gone wrong.

She has witnessed the ways in which mishandling jealousy went so wrong for so many. The emotion slowly destroyed bodies, hearts, careers and minds.

She shuts down the internal dialogue about jealousy. She watches her grandchildren cavort in the pool.

The truth is that she hasn’t been jealous of anyone or anything for decades.

A Spooky Tale: The Dead Ringers

She danced to the music of off-the-wall songs, such as “Express Yourself” and “Another One Bites The Dust”. She was a dancing star who had developed a loyal following that included mayors, A-list celebrities and godfathers. There was no personal or physical contact with the followers. There was no buying and selling of any more of her time or services. There was nothing but the dance and there was no one who could perform the dance but her.

But on one fateful, dark and stormy night, her heart was ransacked and the contents stolen by a man who was so smooth, so worldly, and so urbane that she would dance her last dance (in public, anyway).

He was not a handsome man, but he radiated heat like an acute back injury. It was obvious that he came from a good background. because his top and bottom teeth lined up perfectly with each other when he smiled. His smile was actually a frightening smile, since very few people knew the details of what he did for a living. Whenever a person became too persistent in their inquiries, he simply would flash that smile and his eyes would go very still. No one would persist after receiving such a disturbing, yet genial signal that no more information would be provided.

She danced deep into the night and studied Law during the day. Not one person who knew her could ever have put the two parts of her life together. She had been that discreet and effective in hiding one disgraceful world from the other, respectable world.  Even law enforcement could not have put her in both places on the same day. That is, no one would be able to piece it all together unless she died under suspicious circumstances and the contents of her safe deposit boxes were released.

She did not die under suspicious circumstances, though. She was just a dancer who retired early and who had a splashing success in marriage, in her law career and as a mother. Over the years, she came to be regarded as a perfect example of a woman who could balance marriage, child rearing, and a career with no failure in any part of her overall life program. She worked for a law firm that handled legal matters so esoteric and ethereal that no one could understand it all if they studied for a thousand years.

He came and went.  (It was the nature of his work, you know). He was a doting husband who never complained about the kids, the cost of this, or the interest on that. He just came and went for about a week at a time. One day, he would be gone. A few days later, he would return, behaving as if nothing special or momentous had happened while he was away.

Their lives went swimmingly and without turmoil until that dark and stormy night when a low level mob wannabe decided to track down his favorite dancer who, back in the day, would never so much as waste any spit on him. The woman danced, then she was always hustled back stage, protected by the club owner’s goons. No one got close to her if she did not want them to. The mob low life never explained how he came to believe that America was ancient Rome, where women of low standing could just be snatched and forced into a life of servitude to men.

The low life was never allowed to explain much, having died after hours of torture and in a horrible way.

After breaking into the couple’s home and attempting to have his way with the helpless woman and her children, the mob wannabe discovered his mistake. He had figured that the husband would not be part of the equation, since all of the neighbors and other locals had volunteered the information that the man wasn’t expected to be home for another three days. After suffering the consequences of such a mistake, the low life’s body was tossed into a raging wash of flood water and was not whole when it was found.

The problem with the low life’s plan was that the husband had canceled his trip. He was a contract worker who was employed by a shadowy organization. He carried out missions and worked for higher powers than anyone could comprehend or know of.  Raging storms had caused all flights to everywhere to be canceled and there was no rescheduling going on. As a result, the husband decided not to rearrange the weather, but rearranged his travel projects instead.

Thus, he happened to be at home, rewiring a new home theater system by flashlight on that night.

The mob wannabe’s subsequent “disappearance” did not bring the expected response of “who cares?”  Instead, the disappearance became the ignition source for a mob war that was destined to happen if anything happened to him. As low as he was, he was the son of a major player. The battles spread to15 cities and then infected the gangs. The battles went on for weeks, with neither side ever gaining a clear understanding of what could have possibly triggered such a war.

With the mob wars, no one was as concerned that it stayed dark or that it stayed stormy for two whole weeks.

Amazing. It was the most catastrophic weather event in a hundred and thirty five years, yet  there were so many murders and gun battles going on all over the nation that the weather was the least of the nation’s problems.

What happened to the man and the woman? They lived together for another fifty years then “moved on”.  Both of them treated the catastrophic storm as if it never happened. Both of them remembered the previous storm of its type, 135 years earlier. Those two had either experienced or created all forms of natural disasters, including the separation of the continents. They “reproduced” by stealing and rearing other people’s children.

When one body wears out, they carefully choose new bodies. They thrive in countries where people go missing by the thousands every year. Whenever they grow too old to live convincingly in one community, they move on and start new lives. In such form, they have developed the patience of the centuries, the wisdom of the very old, and the gifts of being able to “do it all over again”.

Some times, they grow tired of starting over and spend some time in the form of pure energy for a while. We call them ghosts when they are on vacation.

Once every ten years, they attend a vast reunion and meet with the millions of others like them who live among us and who have always lived among us. We know when we have encountered one of them and we never realize it. We call such encounters “mistaken identity” and move on.

The Dead Ringers are the reason behind our lingering doubt and unsettling thoughts when we think that we have seen someone who we know.