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Leavin’ It Behind (Carrot Ranch)

May 2, 2021

From Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch is this week’s challenge.

April 29, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “hit the road, Jack.” You can interpret the phrase any way you like — road trip, goodbye, or story. Go where the prompt leads!

Leavin’ It Behind

At 18 I’d heard “Hit the road, Jack” more than I cared to remember. It was as funny as being asked about my beanstalk. Or if my last name was O’Lantern.

It’s interesting what we do to rid ourselves of sad thoughts.

Like thoughts of love.

Years later, with the liquid chords of Chuck Berry’s steel guitar echoing through my head I walked east on US212. My backpack comfortable on my denim covered shoulders; the morning sun pushing me west.

Left arm out, thumb up.

A deep feeling, yes, indeed.

Sometimes, friend, it’s good to leave it all behind.

Light & Dark

January 22, 2021

I was out walking when I looked down and realized I had crossed the line and stepped from the light to the darkness.

Too late I realized my mistake. Anxious, I stopped mid-stride and wondered what to do. How do I fix this? I thought cutting my right foot off at the ankle seemed a drastic solution. Plus the sharpest thing I had on  my person was my keys.

Helluva a day to leave my fingernail clipper at home, I thought.

Maybe so, maybe not.

Sometimes you wonder how you got yourself int a certain situation which is exactly what I did. I stood and wondered.

I was downright stumped.

I stood there wondering for a fairly long time.

Some time had passed and when I looked down again I realized the sun had moved across the sky and had taken the shadow with it. I was no longer one foot on the dark side. I was 100% all of me in the light. I took this to be a good sign.

I smiled and put my left foot forward and continued walking.

Truly frightful, that weather

December 23, 2020

Nothing against Christmas, or a white Christmas, but you know what happens when enough people wish long enough for a white Christmas?

You get snow.

And you know what happens when that snow is really bad?

You get a blizzard.

From a Google search of “Blizzard Minneapolis”

I just went out for a little walk and the keyword here is “little”. It’s very windy and I got tired of snow blowing in my face. Oddly enough, when I turned around after two minutes and headed back, the snow was still blowing in my face. Novice weather forecaster that I am I can tell you in less than 0.37 seconds that this is sure ’nuff a blizzard. I know the National Weather Service has their own definition of a blizzard, but so do I —

Blizzard: when the snow blows in your face regardless of which direction you’re walking and makes you feel very uncomfortable and you wonder why you’re not watching TV and eating chocolate chip cookies.

So there you have it.

All things being equal, and ignoring the fact that this is dangerous and is going to be a tremendous hardship for a lot of people for a lot of different reasons, the bright side of this – and I’m always looking for the bright side because I’m just <cough> that kind of guy – is that people fewer people will be able to go out on Christmas Eve and maybe Christmas Day which might make for a slightly less than satisfactory Christmas holiday, but will help prevent the unnecessary spread of everyone’s favorite 2020 virus.

That’s all from my neck of the woods for now (woods that you can’t see because snow is blowing in every which way direction).

If you’re reading this please enjoy the holiday. Health, happiness and peace to you and your family.

And if you’re not reading this, but picking up on it telepathically then —

Cream of . . . mush?

December 23, 2020

I’ve been thinking of Cream of Wheat lately.

No, thinking about warm breakfast cereal isn’t some weird manifestation of social distancing and isolation that I’ve suddenly started experiencing.

I like breakfast cereal and I like combining small amounts of different cereals into one mouth-watering, marvelous morning meal mixture.

Or a beguiling breakfast.

One of my current cereal ingredients – I suppose you could call it my base cereal – is Grape Nuts. I love Grape Nuts, but they have one drawback which is that they’re as hard as little rocks. If I’m eating them alone I can solve that by letting them soak in water** for a few minutes to soften. But if I’m combining them with other cereal flavors, then by the time they soften, the other cereals have become soft and unrecognizable. How, I thought, can I solve that problem? I sort of solved it by combing Grape Nuts with cooked oatmeal (really good, by the way!) but I’ve yet to figure out how to soften them for cold cereal. I know they have Grape Nut flakes, but I want regular Grape Nuts with that chewy and nutty texture.

Yes, I want my cereal and I want to eat it, too. It’s my burden.

So when I was looking online for ways to turn little rock-like Grape Nuts into soft Grape Nuts that played well with other cereals I stumbled onto some recipes for warm breakfast cereals using whole grains like farro, millet, wheat berries, grits, etc. Can we say “Yummy!” together? Clicking around those recipes not only gave me ideas, it brought me to Cream of Wheat.

Good old Cream of Wheat.

I loved Cream of Wheat when I was a kid. Same with CoCo Wheats and Malt-O-Meal and Maypo. The standout feature for all of them – for me – was the lumps. I loved the lumps.

So I recently bought a box of Cream of Wheat. Not the instant or quick cooking stuff, the regular stovetop stuff. I couldn’t wait for breakfast to roll around.

What a disappointment. It tasted good and all, but there were no lumps.

What happened to the lumps?

Did they change the recipe or something? Did the cooking properties of boiling water change since I was a kid? Does the new stainless cookware have hidden properties that prevent cooked cereal from clumping?

I tried adding the Cream of Wheat to the boiling water slowly, and I tried adding them all at once, and it didn’t matter. Either way it was as smooth as Chris Stapleton singing about Tennessee Whiskey (which is pretty darn smooth). I tried taking the boiling water off the stove and dumping the Cream of Wheat in all at one time and not stirring it until it looked like it was starting to absorb the water. That held promise because it felt a little thicker when I stirred, and I thought I spotted some precious little lumps, but no. No lumps.


Tasty failure, but failure nonetheless. And I’m at a loss.

So, does anyone out there know how I can get lumps into my Cream of Wheat?

** I don’t drink milk so I use water on cereal. People think I’m crazy when I say that and I know that because they either give me “that” look or they simply say, “Water on cereal? You’re crazy”. I hope you don’t think I’m crazy.

Random Thoughts #37: Blame it on COVID (or WordPress) (but not Lou Reed)

December 15, 2020

I haven’t had much interest in blogging for months now. Or writing or taking pictures for that matter. I don’t know why because it’s the same me with the same brain and the same thoughts and the same amount of time on his hands.

I blame it on COVID because what fun is anything when everything is dangerous and potentially deadly.

Perilous. An adjective. Defined as life over these past nine months.

Nine months. A baby is born in nine months and all I’ve managed to give birth to is an overgrowth of anxiety.

I might also blame my lack of blogging on WordPress because I don’t care too much for the site since they changed it a few months ago. I don’t like the blocks and I have problems pasting text I’ve copied.

So what else is new and exciting? Not much here. How are you?

One thing I’ve continued to find joy in is music. I’ve been on a little Lou Reed kick lately and have been listening to him a lot. Here’s a song that’s insanely depressing and frightening, but it makes me feel good thinking about someone having the honesty to write a poem like this, the desire to put it to music and the courage to share it with millions of people. And I love the guitar solo from a guy who played a lot but not many of us knew.

“I’m too afraid to use the phone
I’m too afraid to put the light on
I’m so afraid I’ve lost control
I’m suffocating without a word”

From Waves of Fear, Lou Reed

Maybe I’ll go listen to some more music now. If you feel like it, let me know what you suggest.

An Untitled (for reasons unknown) Limerick (A Mused Poetry Contest)

October 13, 2020

This week’s A Mused Poetry Contest says, “What could possibly be funnier than accident by hubris? The inevitable fall because of overconfident pride? The trip of the boastful athlete? The …well, you get it.”

And then goes on to suggest, “A limerick might be perfect.” Always one to follow instructions, here is my limerick which, for reasons unknown, has no title.

Are you interested in reading other poems, or maybe offering one of your own? Then you can hook up right here.

= = = = = = = =

An Untitled (for reasons unknown) Limerick

This handsome young man was in love,
well not totally, but kinda sort of.
He kneeled down to propose,
something tickled his nose,
and he blew boogers on her from below and above.

Not to boast or anything, but if I do sound a little boastful then all I can say is that like Thoreau before me, “if I seem to boast more than is becoming, my excuse is that I brag for humanity rather than for myself…“, so I do it for all of you, the dear, sweet, tremendously appreciated readers of this humble blog and not for any shameful feeling of superbia. But this gold medal here? That big, beautiful gold medal? The one that says right there at the top in big bold letters: “FUNNIEST OF THEM ALL!“? Yeah, that’s mine because I was the winner of last week’s contest!

What’s that? I’m very sensitive to this sort of thing and did someone just have a thought that they’d like to read last weeks winning entry? The one that brought home that gold medal up there? You can do that by clicking right here.

Unaltered By Time (A Mused Poetry Contest)

October 6, 2020

This weeks A Mused Poetry Contest theme is the wittiest message inside your next anniversary card. Click right here to read and, if you want, join in.

Unaltered By Time

148,920 hours since we said, “I do”,
and honey, baby, I still love you.

You always fight fair, you sometimes let me win.
And who really cares if you’re no longer thin?

You’re the mother of my children and one day you’ll agree,
that it’s probably a good thing that the kids look like me.

You’re the one and only entry in my little black book,
and it’s never been a problem that you really can’t cook.

Your eyes are as bright as that very first day,
and it doesn’t bother me that your hair is all gray.

All these years later, and I happy I met ‘ya?
Every minute, every day, oh sweetheart, you betcha.


Ouch! (A Mused Poetry Contest)

September 29, 2020

The theme for this week’s A Mused Poetry Contest is Commercials. Click here to join in the fun or read the A Musing poetry.


Sticks and stones won’t break your bones?
Ever been hit in the head with a rock or a club?

If you have, stop on into the Slowpoke Skull Center.

At the door we’ll meet’cha
And then we’ll treat’cha
And we’ll all be wearing masks.

And for safety we all wear gloves!
well, kinda sort of,
we’re still waiting for a delivery from our vendor.

And if you do like being hit in the head with a rock then we have doctors at the Slowpoke Psychiatric Center standing by. Just enter the door on the left.

If you’re dizzy and your visions blurry –
Don’t worry.
Just wave and we’ll come and get ‘ya in a hurry.

So, my dear head hurtin’ friend;
stop tiptoeing through the minefield of concussions,
come on in and we’ll have a discussion.
We’ll get rid of that pounding percussion
and that pain you can just start aflushin’.

Evening and weekend appointments available.

Candy is dandy . . . or is it?

September 25, 2020

So I heard on the news this morning that some guy ate so much licorice he died. That’s crazy.

Not that I don’t feel bad for the guy and his family, but I guess the thing that bothered me the most about the story was the reporter saying, “…doctors said the man switched from red licorice to black.” There is no such thing as red licorice. What people think is red licorice is just red candy and it contains no licorice. File that under ‘Pet peeve’.

There was a time when Grand Funk Railroad was one of the best, most popular, rock bands in the world. In the video below they sing of some of the different dangers associated with black licorice.

Seasonal Change (A Mused Poetry Contest)

September 24, 2020

This week Chelsea tells that the theme for the A Mused Poetry Contest is a funny haiku. Then she added a bunch of technical stuff that reminded me of being back in school which made me think about lunch which brought me to Hostess Cupcakes and I sort of zoned out at that point.

(I don’t know why I thought about Hostess Cupcakes because I never really liked them, but whenever I did eat them I liked peeling the chocolate icing off of both of them and then breaking the cupcakes in half to get at that creamy stuff in the middle. Then I’d eat the remaining cake parts. Then I’d go back to the two pieces of chocolate icing and break those in half along the white curly frosting they put down the middle, put all four pieces together and eat those.)

I’m not sure if Hostess Cupcakes qualify as food but that’s beside the point.

Seasonal Change

More accurately, this should be Seasonal Changes because I did two. I don’t know if that’s legal or not (that’s what you get for zoning out and not reading the rules, buster!), but I guess that’s what I get for zoning out and not reading the rules.

Picked up a red leaf.
pulled a muscle in my back;
Thanks a lot, Autumn.

Autumn is here now.
Lovely time; I’d write more, but
sadly I’m out of . . .

I’m guessing none of you reading this have ever heard of Edgar Winter. I liked him a lot when I was younger and 48 years later I still listen to his They Only Come Out At Night album. The song below, Autumn is from that album and it’s a song that’s never going to vie for space on my music playlist. It’s alright for a sappy ballad, but a person is better off if they simply skip over it and listen to the other nine songs because all of those are very good. Aside from being sappy, the first line of Autumn always made me laugh:

“Autumn, the wind blows colder than summer.”

Really? It’s no wonder they buried this song in the middle of side two.

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