Singer, Karaoke, Girl, Woman, Sing

Image by Bernd Everding from Pixabay 

Maestro Geovanni Napoli stepped to the platform and took up his baton.  The orchestra,  chorus, and principal singers waited for the great man to signal the beginning of the rehearsal.

He gave a quick nod, and the strings began to play and then the entire piece came to life with melodic brilliance.  But something was not right.  His masterful ear had caught something untuneful, almost nauseating.

“No, no, no,” he bellowed and signaled a halt with the baton.

“Okay, now we will try again,” he said, almost sniffing the air to detect to flaw in the atmosphere.

He again brought in the strings, and the piece again began to flow in exquisite harmony.  But after a moment the dissonance was there again.

“Stop! Stop” By all that is holy – stop.”

The rehearsal hall again fell into silence.

“This time as I point to you section,” he said quietly, “I want you to stop.  One section at a time however,” the conductor instructed.

Again the piece began, and he signaled the percussion to stop, followed by the male chorus members, then the prima donna, and yet the offending noise continued.  He signaled for the brass to halt.  It was still there.  He continued the process until only the woodwinds and strings continued.  There it was.  He had isolated it.  The caterwauling was coming from the dressing rooms.

Signalling for the piece to resume in full, he quietly walked to the dressing room door to find the shrill notes coming from a loud woman wearing a cleaner’s uniform.  She was mopping the floor, oblivious to what was happening around her; her headphones in place, and she belting out a terrible rendition of Madonna’s Material Girl.


Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman

Your Daily Word Prompt – Exquisite – August 28, 2019


Roadside Wonder

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Living in East Anglia surrounded by fenland, and slow moving watercourses making their final approaches to the sea, we do not have many occasions when we can see the power of falling water.

Our youngest attended university in Lampeter in Wales, and our several journeys at the beginning or end of term-time however gave us ample opportunity to witness waterfalls.  Some of these natural water features are small with their plunging waters dancing and splashing upon the exposed rock, while other are mighty churning affairs that thunder and roar as the white foam and spray highlight their power.

In the face of these, and fr a great excuse to break up a long drive, we would find a nearby viewing place and enjoy the spectacle.

Cascading Waters
Nature’s Power Manifest
Mighty Pool-wards Plunge


Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille, August 28th 2019, waterfall


Image result for peter's crucifixion

Luca Giordano – Crucifixion of St Peter: Wikimedia Commons

Simon Peter stood before the emperor.  He did not avert his gaze, but stood confidently before the most powerful man in Europe and beyond.

“I understand you have been causing unrest throughout my realm,” Caesar stated.  “They tell me that Herod failed to kill you, and that you somehow escaped.  It will not be such a simple matter here.  So tell me what are these exaggerated tales you peddle?”

“Your Majesty,  Jesus Christ – a righteous man – was falsely charged and executed by you Roman’s.  But he has come back to life, and of this I am a witness,” Peter proclaimed.

“Nonsense,” the emperor snapped. “The dead do not return to life.  I charge you to depart, and never speak such fanciful yarns again.”

“Yes Mighty Caesar, but I am constrained to tell the truth that Jesus Christ – a righteous man – was falsely  . . . ,” Peter said boldly.

“Yes, yes.  You have had your say, now no more of it!”

“But Jesus Christ – a righteous man, was falsely charged, and . . . ,” Peter rejoined.

“Do you not understand that I have the power to kill you?” Caesar bellowed.

“Yes, Your Highness, But Jesus Christ – a . . . .”

“Do you not realise that I am going to crucify you?” the emperor warned.

“No, Caesar.  Not that I beg you.  I am not worthy to die in the manner of Jesus.  For he was a righteous man . . . .”

And Peter remained bold in his proclamation.  He even then repeated his testimony, and he in his boldness was spared being executed “in the manner of Jesus.”  Simon Peter, the fisherman from Galilee was crucified upside down.



*based on extra-biblical tradition.

Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge: Tuesday, August 26, 2019: Crucified



The Wild One: A Nonet


image: Wikipedia – Public Domain

What to make of his temperament?
A nature unruly, unkept:
He chases every fancy –
Worrying not about
Feelings of others;
On which he so
Often does


Nonet Poems: The Rules

The nonet poetic form is simple. It’s a 9-line poem that has 9 syllables in the first line, 8 syllables in the second line, 7 syllables in the third line, and continues to count down to one syllable in the final (ninth) line.

* I initially titled this – “The Bully,” but it seems to be more than that.  Bully automatically has negative connotations, where “Wild One” is more nuanced.  There are those that admire the recklessness, and self-absorption of some of these.  They may even admire or aspire to such themselves.  The bullying may well be there, but hidden in the “sheen” of the “Fonzy” image, without Arthur’s redeeming heart.  Or they seldom reflect on the harm done by the “one night stand,” mentality, or casual disregard for other’s feelings.




The Press Conference

Public Speaking, Speaker, Man, Cartoon

image: Pixabay

The Party Education Spokesman stood at the podium and pointed at the projection of his party’s expenditure within the capital.  As he spoke, he was flanked by the Prime Minister on one side and a teenage girl on the other.

“And I am proud to stand here with Amy Brown, an inner city girl who has achieved remarkable results in both her GCSE’s and her A levels.  This young inspirational woman, in fact, scored the highest in the nation in both English and Philosophy, and she will be entering Oxford University this autumn.  Despite her inner city roots, she has achieved these remarkable results in large part owing to our party’s initiatives . . . .”

Suddenly the girl interrupted him, “Actually Sir, I am from Mayfair.”


Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: Girl Interrupted

Tips for Visiting Places of Worship as a Tourist

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For several years now, I have served as an instructor and guide for school groups visiting a particular place of worship in Cambridge.  The purpose of the students’ visits is to receive a measure of “religious education” about the design, architecture, and practices of the venue.  Church furnishings, symbolism, and art are explained.  But this isn’t the only type of Sacred Site Tourism.  Many people visit cathedrals, temples, mosques, and shrines, with a view of seeing them as historical structures, cultural artifacts, or as “museums.”

The purpose of this post is not to give advice for those visiting places of worship for the purpose of worship or prayer while on their holidays, but rather to give tips for those visiting with a “tourist” agenda.  Many of these points are given to visiting students in my introductory comments of educational visits, and some are more generally “touristy.”

Number One: Be Respectful 

You may not be a believer, or at least share the beliefs of those who worship within the site you are visiting.  It may be to you a historical building, or repository of heritage.  But for those who worship there, it is a special place.  It is therefore useful to get a feel of the place when you arrive.  What is the atmosphere?  Is it a quiet place of prayer and contemplation (as is often the case of Catholic Cathedrals) or of active prayer (Mosques), or of education and teaching.  Try to conform to the feel of the place.

Another area of respect is to aware of dress codes, and gender expectations.  Check to see if there are any notices in regards to these.  Most mosques expect that those entering have their arms and legs covered (avoiding sleeveless tops, and shorts), women are often expected to have their heads covered.  Note that these are not uniquely Muslim norms.  Some cathedrals in Italy expect women to cover the hair, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem requires legs to be covered (men and women).   If visiting during worship time, many mosques require women to stay behind men (for the issue of decency), Orthodox Synagogues for women to be in a gallery, and Sikh Gurdwaras usually have men’s and women’s sides of the worship hall, and men and women are expected to cover their heads in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib.    Many Jain temples also request that leather not be brought into the worship areas.

Number Two:  Photography

Here again see if there are any notices.  Some places ban photography during worship period, but allow it between services.  Others require a permit for photography (some of the ancient synagogues in Prague have this policy).  Even if photography is permitted – then consider Tip One.  Be respectful.  Don’t use flash photography if it will disturb others’ prayer or worship.  Don’t photograph worshipers without their permission, and don’t take too many snaps – giving the impression that the venue is a cheap tourist trap.

Number Three:  Cleanliness and Godliness

Eating and drinking within worship spaces may be permitted, but littering definitely isn’t.  Many places of worship do not have extensive cleaning staffs, but rather are maintained by volunteers from within their congregations.  What you may leave behind, may not be cleared away before the “true purpose” of the space is next conducted.  If eating and drinking is prohibited, then again see Tip One.  Respect the practices of the place.  This is equally true when it comes to foot ware.  In mosques, prayer is conducted by bowing down on a clean surface.  Shoes which have been outside soil this, and therefore are not permitted in the worship areas.  Similar shoe removal is seen in Sikh, Jain, and Buddhist sites.

Number Four: Avoid Souvenir Hunting

Okay for this one you may get a mixed message.  Many famous cathedrals and churches have small shops in which religious medallions, post cards, and the like are sold.  If they are available – go for it.  Other smaller churches have pamphlets, and the like in racks sometimes with “honesty boxes.”  If a price is put on a booklet, please pay it.  If tracts and other literature is noted as “please take one” then follow your conscience allowing for the fact that the intent is to teach you about their beliefs.  As such don’t clear out their pamphlet stands just for souvenirs.

A word about candles.  Candles are seen in many churches flickering away in alcoves.  These are often (especially in Catholic churches) as aids and symbols of prayer.  Many of these welcome you lighting a candle of remembrance or of prayer.  But if a donation is requested please follow your conscience.  If you don’t plan on using the candle as intended,  but want it as a souvenir, then please give a fair gift for it.

Of other items.  Weekly bulletins, and the like are often found in places of worship.  They are usually intended for the regular attendees.  These may seem ideal keepsakes of your visit, but refrain if it seems they are dwindling in supply.

Number Five: Leaving Your Mark

This too is an interesting one.  You may find in ancient sites, graffiti that is centuries old.  Some of these were left by pilgrims, others by conquering armies, and all give a sense of history.   While it may be tempting to “join the tradition,” it is problematic on several fronts.  A simple one is you are weakening the infrastructure, and a second is that you may be inadvertently removing or obscuring more ancient marks.  If you really feel that your visit needs to be recorded for posterity, many churches and temples have visitors’ books.  Feel free to use them.

Number Six: Provide for the Site’s Future

Remember, these venues were never intended to be tourist sites.   Many of these ancient structures require huge sums to maintain their fabric.   Gravity alone is a foe, pulling on roofs and walls.  But pollution, erosion, and human visitation take their toll as well.  Stairs become worn, woodwork decays, and cloth decays.  If you see a donation box at the end of your visit, show your appreciation for the opportunity you have had to enrich your vacation.



Beyond the Hype

Girl, Model, Woman, Hair, Beauty, Portrait, Women

Image by Oliana Gruzdeva from Pixabay 

Aunt Elsa tossed the copy of Vogue onto the coffee table shaking her head dismissively.

“It just isn’t right,” she observed.

“Excuse me, what’s not right?” I asked.

“These highfalutin magazines, with the sickly skinny models tell’n us how we should look.  That one on the cover there, eyelashes up to her eyebrows and a mascara line almost to her ears.  It ain’t natural, and God help ’em if they get caught in a rainstorm, or did any real work and got sweaty, their man wou’n’t even recognise them,” Elsa ranted.

“That’s a little harsh, don’t you think?” I challenged.

“You think?” she continued. “Take them there Kardashians, and the like.  It’s all false like those magazine eyelashes.  And they think they have all the answers on how to be a woman.  It ain’t the make-up or the “love” advice.  You are born to it or you ain’t.  Take me, ain’t I a woman?  And nobody ever had to tell me how to do it.”

With that she stood and and adjusted the shoulder strap on her overalls and slid on her rubber boots.  “Better be gett’n back to the afternoon milking,” she said.  “But thank you for the coffee.”



FOWC with Fandango — Highfalutin

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: How To Be A Woman

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: Ain’t I a Woman?

Low Sugar Peanut Butter Cookies

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Though the weather is still warm, I thought a little baking wouldn’t be too uncomfortable.  So, it became “cookie time.”  These nut butter treats have no wheat flour, and no added sugar.  On this occasion I made them with crunchy peanut butter which was already in the larder, but almond butter works as well.


  • Peanut Butter 1 Cup (Crunchy) [or similar nut butter of your preference]
  • Eggs 2 large
  • Truvia granulated 1/3 cup
  • Almond Flour/ground Almond 2 heaped Tbs
  • Baking Powder 1/4 tsp
  • Cinnamon to sprinkle


Preheat the oven to 175 C/ 350 F and cover a baking sheet with baking paper.  Then in a mixing bowl mix together the nut flour, sweetener, and baking powder.  In a separate bowl whisk the two eggs until frothy.  Add the eggs and nut butter to the dry ingredients and mix until even.  Roll the mixture into a dozen evenly sized balls.  Place the balls onto the baking sheet and press them flat with a fork in a crisscross pattern.  Place in the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with sweet cinnamon.  Let cool thoroughly before serving.



Lullaby (SSgt Barry Sadler)

Lullaby - SSgt. Barry Sadler

1966 Album Cover

One of the most moving scenes of Mel Gibson’s We Were Soldiers is the depiction of Col. Hal Moore tucking in his children on the night before his deployment to Vietnam.  I have often told my students that one of the hardest aspects of being a warrior is leaving your family while you go to an uncertain future.  Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler released a song in 1966 which captures this, well before Gibson’s film, or my own military service.

Go to sleep
It’s getting late
My watch says
It’s half past eight
In an hour
I must go
When I’ll be back
Well, I don’t know
While I’m gone
You’ll be the man
Help your mama
When you can
It’s a big job
I can see
For a boy
Just pushing three
Son can I have
A little kiss
Just a small one
You won’t miss
That’s right close
Your sleepy eyes
You shouldn’t see
Your daddy cry
So go to sleep
It’s getting late
My watch says
It’s half past eight
In an hour
I must go
When I’ll be back
Well, I don’t know
Source: Musixmatch
YouTube Video Link:  Lullaby
Shazam Audio Link: Lullaby


Photo courtesy of Artur Malishkevych

It had started out as the ideal vacation.  For a package deal, it was amazing.  The food was good, the hotel luxurious, and the tropical location breathtaking.

Marvin’s sense of humor had long made Marge cringe at times, and she had grown to ignore some of his more right-wing and xenophobic views.  But she wasn’t prepared for the consequences of the two factors coming together while on the sightseeing excursion to the outer islands.

“Marvin, did you really have to tell the joke about the Jamaican, the Englishman and the China-man?”

“But it was funny,” he said defensively.

“Yeah? As funny as the one about the Englishman that tells a rude joke in front of his Jamaican tour guide and a boat-load of Chinese tourists?”

(130 words)


Sunday Photo Fiction – Aug 25 2019