Thursday Inspiration — Unchain My Heart

For this week’s Thursday Inspiration prompt, Jim Adams has instructed us to respond to this challenge by either using the prompt word, break, or going with above picture, or by means of the song “The Chain,” or with another song by Fleetwood Mac, or anything else that you think fits.

I’m going to do something a little different today. I’m going to focus on the words chain and break and the three songs featured below.

Unchain My Heart

“Unchain My Heart” was written by Bobby Sharp and recorded first in 1961 by Ray Charles. Sharp, a drug addict at the time, sold the song to Teddy Powell for $50. Powell demanded half the songwriting credit, but Sharp later successfully fought for the rights to his song. In 1987, he was also able to renew the copyright for his publishing company, B. Sharp Music.

The song was a hit for Charles when released as a single in late 1961. Accompanied by his backup singers, the Raelettes, Charles sang about wanting to be free from a woman “who won’t let (him) go.” The song reached number 9 on the pop singles chart and number 1 on the R&B singles chart.

“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”

“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” was a 1976 duet by English musician Elton John and English singer Kiki Dee. It was written by John with Bernie Taupin under the pseudonyms “Ann Orson” and “Carte Blanche,” respectively, and intended as an affectionate pastiche of the Motown style, notably the various duets recorded by Marvin Gaye and singers such as Tammi Terrell and Kim Weston. “There hadn’t been any around for a bit,” said Kiki Dee, “we thought we’d do one ourselves.”

It was good that they did. It was the second-biggest-selling record of 1976 in both the UK and the U.S. and it was a huge international success, topping the charts in a number of countries, including France, Italy, Australia, and Canada.

Chain Gang

Chain Gang” was a song by the American singer-songwriter Sam Cooke, released in July 1960. The song became one of Cooke’s most successful singles, peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Overseas, “Chain Gang” charted at number 9 on the UK Singles Chart.

This was Cooke’s second-biggest American hit, his first single for RCA Victor, and was also his first top 10 hit since “You Send Me” from 1957.

The song was inspired after a chance meeting with an actual chain-gang of prisoners on a highway, seen while Cooke was on tour. According to legend, Cooke and his brother Charles felt sorry for the men and gave them several cartons of cigarettes. Cooke was reportedly unsatisfied with the initial recording sessions of this song at RCA Studios in Manhattan in January 1960, and came back three months later to redo some of the vocals to get the effect he wanted.

My Last Photo — May ‘23

Brian, aka Bushboy, posted his monthly Last on the Card prompt, where he asks us to…

  • Post the last photo from your camera’s SD card or the last photo from your phone taken in the month of May.
  • No editing — who cares if it is out of focus, not framed as you would like, or the subject matter didn’t cooperate?
  • No explanations needed — just the photo will do.
  • Create a pingback to Brian’s post or link in the comments.
  • Tag “The Last Photo.”

This month I’m going to tell a little story. It gets very hot in the summertime where we live. I’m talking upper 90s to low 100s. We have a large back deck off of our family room and love to sit out there. But when temperatures get to be around 100°F, and with the mid-to-late afternoon western sun beating down upon the deck, it gets too hot to enjoy.

We looked at possible solutions: a retractable sunscreen, outdoor curtains, or plants to create a natural sunscreen. We chose the last option and step one was to buy four tall planters to put along the west edge of our deck, which we did in April 2022.

Then we bought four Wax Leaf Privet plants, one for each planter, and planted them in May 2022.

They were tall and narrow and provided barely any shade from the hot sun. But then I took this photo (my last one of month) of these Wax Leaf Privet plants yesterday. They’ve grown taller and, more important, fuller.

And that means that they are very close to reaching the point where they will provide a very effective sunscreen that will keep the deck shady and enable us to enjoy sitting on our back deck even in the hottest of days.

Mission accomplished.

Simply 6 Minutes — A Girls’ Night Out

“Mommy, come see,” Alice grabbed her mother’s hand and started pulling Clara to her bedroom. Once they got there and Clara saw her youngest daughter, Adele, sitting at Clara’s makeup desk, looking up at her mother with her wide, doe eyes, Clara yelled out, “Alice, what have you done?

Alice got a hurt look on her face and tears started to well up in her eyes. “Mommy, I’m sorry,” she said. “You know how you sit at your makeup table and put on your lipstick when you go out for a night on the town. Well, I overheard you talking to Mrs. Winston from across the street earlier and you told her you were going on a girls’ night out tonight. I thought that meant you were going to take your two girls, me and Adele, out for a night on the town. So I found your lipstick and put in on Adele’s lips. Doesn’t she look beautiful? I was about ready to start putting some on me when I heard you come home.”

Clara started to laugh. “Yes, Alice, Adele looks great,” she said. “I’ll tell you what, sweetie, I’ll just take a minute to fine tune and shape up Adele’s lipstick and then I’ll help you put your own lipstick on. Then the three of us — you, Adele, and me — are, indeed, going out for a night on the town and we’re going to have the very best girls’ night out ever!”

Written for Christine Bialczak’s Simply 6 Minutes Challenge. Photo Courtesy of Hamsyah.

FOWC with Fandango — Devoid


Welcome to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (U.S.).

Today’s word is “devoid.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Please check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. Show them some love.

WDP — Practicing Religion

Daily writing prompt
Do you practice religion?

My father was Jewish, my mother was catholic. Or vice versa, I don’t remember. Neither of them practiced their religion religiously. However, I was exposed to both religions. My father wanted me to read the Bible, the Old Testament. My mother pushed the New Testament. I thought the older books were more interesting and exciting, but the God character was a mean and vindictive son of a bitch. The New Testament wasn’t as exciting as the Old Testament, and the God character there was all peace and love.

I asked my parents how, if God wrote the Bible, he was depicted very differently in the two testaments. They hemmed and hawed a bit, but then said that, like everything else, God evolved. That confused me too, because these religions, along with many of the others I was exposed to, denounced and ridiculed evolution. God created us in his own image

By the time I reached high school, I came to the conclusion that God was created by humans, and not vice versa, as my parents claimed. And most of the stories in both the Old and New Testaments were stories written by human beings, not by some omnipotent, omnipresent, supernatural being. And the Bible and its stories had about as much credibility as those written about the Greek and Roman gods. That was when I realized that this whole religion thing, regardless of which specific religion you’re talking about, is all based upon manmade mythology.

So I stopped believing in the existence of God. I was labeled an atheist, a label I embraced.

Some have insisted that atheism is a religion, and because I’m a practicing atheist, I am practicing a religion. But atheists don’t “practice” atheism. We are atheists solely because we deny the existence of a supernatural god. There are no books that we are expected to read and to hold holy. There’s no dogma that we must adhere to or rituals that we must perform. No services that we must attend. I don’t proselytize about atheism or attempt to persuade others to believe as I do.

Atheism has only one tenet: God does not exist. Period. End of story. So for those of you who insist that atheism is a religion, I guess I would simply say that I do not practice that religion.