Musical Tastes

EA2A85D9-2839-4995-A91D-AF5964D31CCD“I’m not a fan of country music,” I informed my wife when she told me about the Garth Brooks concert coming to town.

“But I love Garth Brooks” she said.

“Give me rock ‘n roll any day,” I answered. “But I also like blues. A lot of rock ‘n roll has its roots in blues.”

“So does a lot of country music,” she countered. “Both country and blues are very personal, whereas rock, to me, lacks that personal touch.”

“Rock is very personal,” I insisted. “Every rock song tells a story.”

“But every country song is a story,” she said.

Listen, there’s a Stones concert over at the old hangar at the abandoned airfield next month. We should go.”

“I’d be a little worried,” she said. “I heard security at Stones concert is rather lax. They even hired a bunch of Hell’s Angels to provide security at one of their concerts and you know how that went.”

“Don’t worry, I can take care of us,” I reassured her. “In the meantime, I’m getting hungry. Let’s head out to dinner. Can you grab my jacket off the hanger?”

“Sure,” she said, “As long as you’ll agree to going to see Garth Brooks with me.”

“Fine,” I said, “as long as you’ll agree to go to the Stones concert with me!”


Written for today’s Three Things Challenge from Teresa. The things today are blues, rock n’ roll, and country.Also written for the Saturday Mix Double Take from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The homophones are lacks and lax, and hangar and hanger.

Tale Weaver — The Climb of Icarus

climb-the-corporate-ladderI tried to climb the corporate ladder
Doing all the right things
Saying all the right words
Playing all the right games
Kissing all the right asses

Friends had tried to warn me
Don’t try too hard
Remember where you came from
If you climb up to fast
Your wings will melt from the sun

But I didn’t listen
I climbed fast and high
Never looking backwards
Always looking up
Keeping my eyes on the prize

But there was that one bad decision
And I started to fall
Saw the smiling faces
Of those I passed
On the way up

They showed no sorrow
Gave me no pity
Only smiled as I tumbled
As I slipped toward the bottom
And hit the ground hard

Now I’m starting over
Going to take it slow and steady
Going to make sure I’m ready
To start climbing again
As I reach for the crown


Written for today’s Mindlovemisery Menagerie Tale Weaver prompt. The challenge is to weave a tale dealing with the concept of climbing to the top.

Saturday Mix Opposing Forces — Summer Solstice

2F04793F-CD0F-48C7-A437-C28FE15D867F“Permit me to introduce you to our host,” my coworker, Clyde, said. “Andrew, I’d like you to meet Mr. Archibald Benedict. Archie hosts this party every year around this time to celebrate the arrival of the summer solstice.”

I put out my right hand to shake hands with Mr. Benedict, but he did not offer me his hand in return. “Do you know what the summer solstice is, boy?” Mr. Benedict said to me, which caught me a little off guard because he isn’t that much older than me.

“Yes, I do,” I said. “The summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky and it is the day with the longest period of daylight. Some suggest that it marks the kickoff of the summer season, but I think most people think of Memorial Day as the real start of summer.”

Mr. Benedict looked at me for a moment and then abruptly turned around and walked away. I gave Clyde a questioning look. “Did I say something wrong?” I asked.

“No,” Clyde said, “but you’re a first time visitor and he can be a little standoffish to people he doesn’t know well.”

“I don’t know,” I said. “It seems like there’s something more to it than that, Clyde.”

“Well,” Clyde said, “there’s a rumor that his parents met at a summer solstice party at Stonehenge and that he was conceived that night. But his mother died giving birth to him nine months later.”

“That’s interesting but it still doesn’t explain his behavior towards me earlier tonight,” I said. “What am I missing?”

“Again, it’s just rumor,” Clyde responded. “You see, Archie had always wanted to go to Stonehenge for the summer solstice as a way to try to make a cosmic connection with the mother he never knew. But his father forbid him from ever going there because he blamed Archie for his mother’s death.”

“That’s some heavy shit to lay on a kid,” I said.

“And, of course, Archie never wants to celebrate his actual birthday because of how guilty he feels about her dying while giving birth to him. So he always throws these parties at his home to celebrate the anniversary of his conception. Unfortunately, he’s never in a particularly jovial mood at these events. So don’t take it personally, okay?”


Written for this week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Saturday Mix, where we are supposed to two pairs of opposing words in our posts. The words are (1) “permit” and “forbid,” and (2) “visitor” and “host.”

Tale Weaver — Crossing the Country By Train

AB9DFEE0-F7DE-49D9-B0C0-D3CE638CAF5AA few years back, I had to be in Boston for a business meeting. Normally I would have flown across the country, a trip that typically takes about six hours. But for some reason, I decided that I was going to take a train from San Francisco to Boston instead.

Of course, there is no train that goes directly from San Francisco to Boston. But there is one that goes from San Francisco to Chicago, the California Zephyr. It runs daily from Emeryville/San Francisco to Sacramento, Reno, Salt Lake City, across the Rockies to Denver, and through the plains of Nebraska to Chicago.

The trip takes just north of 51 hours, so I booked something called a “roomette,” which is essentially a small, cubicle-sized room that converts to a sleeper at night. The accommodations also included three meals a day in a dining car and priority access to what they called a scenic-view lounge car.

From Chicago To Boston, I booked the Lake Shore Limited. From Chicago, it heads through South Bend, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Albanbefore arriving in Boston 19 hours later.

So I prepared myself for a 70+ hour train adventure. How did it go? Well, overall, it was, um, okay.

The Good Stuff

  • The scenery along the California–Nevada border (the Sierra Nevada Mountains) and on the Utah to Denver leg (the Rocky Mountains) was spectacular.
  • The other passengers were very friendly. Seating in the dining car was “family-style,” and, as a person traveling alone, I was seated with three other travelers each time. I met some very nice people.
  • Most of the passengers along the San Francisco to Chicago leg were vacationers, either old-timers like me, or families traveling with kids.
  • Most of the passengers along the Chicago to Boston leg were kids going home for the weekend from college, a number of Amish families for some reason, or business people. Fewer families, fewer oldies than on the other train.

The Bad Stuff

  • The scenery between Denver and Chicago is, well, let’s just say that that’s a good time to catch up on the sleep you were unable to get between San Francisco and Denver. And between Chicago and Boston there really isn’t much to look at.
  • The train from San Francisco arrived in Chicago 5 1/2 hours late. Fortunately I had a 7-hour layover before my train to Boston was scheduled to leave Chicago.
  • The train bound for Boston left Chicago 35 minutes late and arrived in Boston 3 1/2 hours late.
  • Trying to sleep in a roomette (a very small, narrow, cramped accommodation) was not great. No, the rocking motion of the train didn’t lull me to sleep. Although, by the second night, when exhaustion set it, I did get a few more hours of sleep than I had gotten the night before.
  • Trying to sleep in a regular coach seat on the overnight trip from Chicago to Boston was close to impossible.
  • Amtrak’s funding has been cut way back, so most of the train cars are older and, while generally in good repair, could use some sprucing up. (Duct tape holding certain parts together in the sleeping rooms and rest rooms is a dead giveaway.)

Bottom line, taking the train across the country was an experience. But if I ever have to travel from coast to coast again, I think I’ll fly.


Written for this week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver prompt, where we’re supposed to write about a train journey. Photo credit: Jim Kable.

MMLM Photo Challenge — Bad Trip

img_1610“It was awful,” Erica said. “I was up to my chest in a sea of stones, unable to move.  A thorny, wire mask covered my head and it was tearing at the skin on my face. Blood was dripping down my neck onto my shoulders. It was horrible. I tried to scream, but I couldn’t.”

“Oh my God,” Joanna said.

“I looked up towards heaven and started to pray. ‘God,’ I said, ‘what have I done to you for you to do this to me?’ And then the clouds parted, the dark skies lightened, and God sent me a sign.”

“What sign?” Joanna asked.

“It was a large, beautiful moth,” Erica answered. “It landed atop of one of the wire protrusions at the top of the mask. It was flapping its wings in slow motion.”

“What did it mean?” Joanna asked.

“It meant,” Erica said, “that I was having a freakin’ bad trip on that LSD I got from Steve.”


Written for today’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge prompt. Image credit: Enzzo Barrena.