E.M.’s Sunday Ramble Prompt — Uplifting Chatter

It’s time once again for E.M. Kingston’s The Sunday Ramble. Her prompt is based upon a certain topic about which she asks five questions. We are invited to ramble on about that topic however we wish. Today’s topic is “uplifting chatter.

E.M. said that with all of the negative things we are facing on the news, she wanted to give everyone a forum to uplift one another through the responses to this ramble. So let me see if I can dig deep to find some “uplifting” answers.

1. When you feel negative, what techniques do you use to bring yourself up to feeling positive?

Stop reading or watching the news and watch “Young Frankenstein” on TV.

2. What is a smell that made you smile when you woke up today?

Freshly brewed coffee.

3. An owl is known for its wisdom, what are you known for?

I’m known for not being an owl.

4. Do you know any good recipes? If so, can you share one?

Funny you should ask. This afternoon I’ll be grilling some surf and turf in our backyard. For the turf (New York strip steak), I will marinate the steak for a few hours in a mixture of barbecue sauce and teriyaki, season it with garlic powder, onion powder, and Montreal seasoning. I will then quickly sear it on both sides and then grill it for a few minutes until it’s medium rare. For the surf (lobster tail), I will be butterfly the tail, brush the meat with olive oil, and season with sea salt and black pepper. After grilling meat side down for a few minutes, I’ll flip the tails and brush a mixture of melted butter, garlic, lemon juice, smoked paprika, and cayenne over the lobster meat and continue grilling for another minute or two.

5. How do you console the people around you? (Online or in-person)

In person, there’s nothing better than a hug or a cuddle. Online, I send my thoughts and prayers.

Yeah, right. 🤣 Actually, I think the best way to console someone online is through expressing some empathy for what they are going through.

FOWC with Fandango — Negative


It’s April 30, 2022. 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 “negative.”

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.

Fandango’s Provocative Question #6 Revisited

Note: Because I am participating in the A to Z blogging challenge this month, I will not be posting any new provocative question until May. Instead, I will be revisiting some previous provocative questions that you might have missed. This one was originally posted on December 19, 2018 and can be found here. Please feel free to respond to it if you haven’t already.


Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.

By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

This week’s provocative question came up when I read an article that talked about how the extent that Russia used social media to influence the 2016 presidential election in the United States and the Brexit vote in Great Britain was more extensive than what was originally thought and that such disinformation and misinformation on social media sites continues almost unabated to this day.

With that in mind, here’s this week’s provocative question.

“Is technological advancement a net positive or a net negative?”

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments. But remember to check to confirm that your pingback or your link shows up in the comments.

Throwback Thursday — Religious Influences

Maggie, at From Cave Walls, and Lauren, at LSS Attitude of Gratitude, alternate hosting Throwback Thursday. The idea of the prompt is for them to give us a topic and for us to write a post in which we share our own memories or experiences about the given topic. This week, Lauren chose the topic of “the impact of religion.”

Well, this should be interesting, given that I’m an atheist, but let’s give it a go. Anyway. Lauren wants to know…

  • Did your family attend services together?
  • Did you attend weekly, more than once a week, only on specific holidays, or some other designated time frame?
  • Was everyone of the same thought as to what faith to follow?
  • Did you have friends specifically from church/synagogue/ temple/ mosque, etc.?
  • Did your family practice religious ceremonies at home?
  • If you chose to depart from what your family believed (and feel like sharing) why did you do so?

I started to craft an answer to each of Lauren’s questions as asked, but then I decided that doing so didn’t really make a lot of sense for me, an atheist. Yes, I went to church (with my mother and my two older sisters), to synagogue (with my father), and to Sunday school as a kid. I appreciated all the great Bible stories, but I just couldn’t think of them as anything more that very imaginative and highly entertaining stories. They are great fiction. That did not please my parents at all, although by the time I was a teen they pretty much wrote me off as a lost cause when it came to embracing their faith.

I could not fathom how anybody could believe that what was written in the Bible — written by many different men hundreds of years after the virgin birth and crucifixion of the alleged son of God — as being the “gospel” truth of what actually took place 2,000 years ago. And the religious rituals seemed totally ridiculous to me.

The fact that Christians didn’t like me because I was half Jewish and Jews didn’t like me because I was half Christian didn’t help me embrace either religion. Organized religion seemed to foster divisions between people of different faiths, rather than attempt to bring us all together as human beings who theoretically prayed to the same God, only in different ways and in different languages. And even for those who shared the same overarching religious beliefs, many were designated as the “other” based which version of the Bible they read or on the color of their skins.

Yet for a long time I wanted to believe that, despite all that, some sort of god did exist. But then I thought about all the lives lost and the atrocities committed throughout human history in the name of God. I read about the Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery, the Holocaust. How many people were persecuted, hunted down, and murdered, not because they didn’t believe in and celebrate God, but because of the way they believed in and celebrated God? How could an all knowing, all powerful, ever present creator permit all of his children — supposedly created in his image — to behave in such a destructive manner?

I had my epiphany that God didn’t create humans in his image. Humans created God in their image. God became our answer to unanswerable questions, an explanation for the unknowable. That’s when I knew that God is a fiction.

And as we continue to destroy our planet, to fight wars, to judge and harm our fellow human beings based upon the color of their skin, their religious beliefs and practices, their gender, or the place of their birth, I am more convince than ever before that God is a contrivance designed to control the masses while the precious few gain immeasurable fortunes from the tithings of their flocks.

So when it comes to my personal perspective on Lauren’s question about the “impact of religion,” it’s very negative. But hey, that’s me. For those of you who are true believers in whatever god it is that you worship in whatever way you worship him (or her), well, all I have to say is “whatever floats your boat.” Just as long as you don’t try to sink my boat because it’s not the same as yours.

Sorry for this rather long and perhaps whiney rant.


I just found out that my daughter and her live-in boyfriend both tested positive for COVID. Both are fully vaccinated and boosted, as am I. I was with them on Sunday and Tuesday. And was scheduled to be with them and my son, daughter-in-law, and grandkids on Saturday, Christmas Day. The operative word being “was.”

I took a home COVID antigen test earlier today and the results were negative. I’ll do another home test on Saturday and I’m scheduled to be have a PCR test, which is more sensitive, a week from today at a state testing facility.

I can’t imagine that I won’t test positive the next time I take the test, given that I spent multiple unmasked hours with my daughter and her boyfriend and hugged them both upon arrival and departure.

In the meantime, I’m going to self-isolate for the next few weeks, assuming that I’ll test positive on one of the two upcoming COVID tests.

What a wonderful way to end 2021 and to start 2022.