fiction, funny stories, humor, ideas, silliness

A very special double repost…

I’m running short on ideas today, and I’m feeling a bit silly. I ran across this post from October 2018 on my original blog. It’s a ridiculous story idea I had back then involving Pernell Roberts, Howard Keel, and Mr. Yuk. I used to write a lot of fiction stories to pass the time, as well as to creatively express myself when people got on my nerves. I don’t write much fiction these days, but since these two posts made me laugh, I’ve decided to share them today. I doubt anyone will read them, but at least they won’t cause controversy.

An erotic story involving Pernell Roberts, Howard Keel, and Mr. Yuk… (originally written October 10, 2018)

I’m sure I could find any number of outrageous news stories to rant about today.  I will probably do just that in a little while.  It’s just that I’ve noticed my blog is not as much fun as it has been in the past.  I’ve been dealing with a little depression and anxiety lately, which has had a noticeable effect on my writing. 

Yesterday, I had a random idea of writing a fiction story about the late actor, Pernell Roberts.  I know him best from his years as Trapper John, M.D., but other people remember him from Bonanza.  I remember he also starred in a Lassie movie back in 1978.  In that film, he played a bad guy.

Sexy Pernell Roberts… there was a time when my dad could sing sort of like this.  I can appreciate it now, but didn’t so much when I was growing up.  Pernell Roberts had a lovely singing voice, though.  Many people thought my dad had a lovely voice, too.  He probably did and I just didn’t like it because of our fucked up father/daughter relationship.  Oh… and the fact that he wasn’t trained.

I think Mr. Roberts is on my mind because I somehow wound up subscribed to a YouTube channel honoring him.  Someone uploaded a bunch of episodes of Trapper John, M.D. and I started watching them last night because Bill is in Italy.  He’ll be back tonight– it was just a one night trip– but I’ll still be alone until after bedtime.  Maybe I’ll watch more Trapper John, M.D., or maybe I’ll make music.  Who knows?  Or maybe I’ll spend the day writing silly stories for those who enjoy my warped sense of humor.

Anyway, I noticed that a number of female commenters on the YouTube videos were saying they thought Pernell Roberts was “sexy”.  I have to admit, now that I am myself middle aged, I agree that he was rather sexy in those days.  Of course, Trapper John was a typically strong male character on the TV show.  He was authoritarian, particularly with his female patients.  Some women are turned on by a strong man who tells them to get in bed and stay there.  Actor Gregory Harrison, who played hospital Lothario Gonzo Gates, was probably there for the younger crowd.  Both of them were such caring dudes… and so skilled as they saved their patients from whatever devastating malady they had while romancing them under the sheets.

Then, as I started thinking about Pernell Roberts, I remembered the late actor Howard Keel and how he always reminded me of a horse peeing on a rock.  I mean, he was really tall and probably made a lot of noise because of the length his whiz had to drop.  I remember seeing him in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which was filmed in the 1950s, when he was young and studly.  But as a child of the 70s and 80s, I remember him best when he was on Dallas, playing Clayton Farlow.  Maybe it was because all of the horses they used on that show and the fact that I’ve spent a lot of time around horses and know what they sound like when they pee… especially the geldings.

Damn… I would love to have a horse that did this!  Cleaning up horse pee is no fun, especially when it’s hot outside.

The guy who officiated at my wedding, then a Presbyterian minister and now a Certified Nurse’s Aide and Catholic, asked me if my erotic story involving Pernell Roberts would involve surgical instruments or horses.  And that just made me think of Howard Keel peeing on a rock again.

Oh my God… speaking of piss.  This is probably one of the most cornball pop songs of the 1980s.  What in the hell possessed Howard Keel to sing this over any one of the classic standards he did in his prime?  

So then, just as I was gathering ideas about other things I could put in my erotic story, I caught this clip from 1988, starring the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.  Front and center is current Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Director, Kelli Finglass, back when she was in her prime and still on the squad…

I was about 16 when they did this.  Look at that hair!  And those shorts look almost like granny panties compared to what they wear today.  My hair was never quite that big.  For the record, I prefer Kelli’s hair the lovely shade of red it is now.  Frosted, frizzy blonde doesn’t flatter her.

Finally, someone shared this picture of Brett Kavanaugh, who will always be a glorified frat boy to me…  

And I was reminded of this…  I wonder if Kavanaugh has ever made this face before having sex with someone.  I wonder if anyone has ever made this face before having sex with him…

Wow… they could be brothers.

Maybe I should write a story involving all of these people.  It wouldn’t even have to be erotic.  I could probably have some fun with it, kill some time, and stay out of trouble.  I do have a very strange mind sometimes, especially when I’m bored.

My latest book is about the East German police, so it’s probably just as well if I write some fiction or something, before I start having nightmares about the Stasi.  Shit… I might as well do it.  

And here it is…

Mr. Yuk gets a treatment he’ll never forget… (written later on October 10, 2018)

Let’s see where my warped imagination takes me…  This story is pure fictional nonsense, pulled straight from the bowels of my mind.  It took about an hour to write this and it probably shows.


It was an unseasonably cool, fall afternoon at San Francisco Memorial Hospital.  The year was 1982.  Dr. John McIntyre, otherwise known as Trapper, was looking dashing in his surgical scrubs, having just removed Clayton Farlow’s appendix.  He was feeling pumped up, because he’d just told Farlow to go to bed and stay there.  It gave Trapper a rush to tell people what to do, especially guys who were taller and more famous than he was.

Farlow was lying in bed, groaning because the incision where his appendix had been removed was a little itchy.  But because Trapper was both authoritarian and a little kinky, he’d had Farlow’s wrists tied to the bedrails.  It was only because Farlow was just coming out of the anesthesia and might try to monkey with the tubes and such.

“Don’t worry, Kid,” Trapper had told him as he tenderly adjusted Farlow’s oxygen mask, “we’ll untie your wrists when you have your wits more about you.  I’ll be back later.”

Farlow grimaced as he watched his sexy doctor prance away.  Farlow wasn’t into men sexually, but he’d been in show business longer than Trapper had and learned to appreciate the beauty in everything and everyone.  Besides, whatever drugs Trapper had given him were wonderful, even if his incision was a little itchy.

For all of his fame on Broadway and primetime television, Farlow had not managed to score a private room.  Lying in the bed next to his was a guy popularly known as Mr. Yuk.  His name was actually Brett, though, and he was quite the whiny brat.  Farlow cast a disapproving look at the young man– all of seventeen years old– lying in his hospital bed looking really disgruntled and bored.  He looked like this…

Farlow wanted to ask Brett why he was so yucky.  The boy had a constant scowl on his face, like he smelled something disgusting or had just walked in on his parents having sex.  But the oxygen mask prevented Farlow from saying anything intelligible and he was embarrassed about his wrists being restrained.  So Farlow remained curious while Brett clicked the remote control on the boxy TV, trying to find something interesting to watch.  He finally stopped on a channel featuring a certain female collie named Lassie.

“Yeah…” Brett snarled.  “This is more like it.  I like watching bitches on TV.”

Good entertainment for the sick…

Farlow rolled his eyes as he recognized familiar faces…  There was Mickey Rooney, Pernell Roberts, who looked a whole lot like Trapper, James Stewart, Alice Faye, and music by his old friends, Pat Boone and daughter, Debby.  Good old fashioned, wholesome, kid friendly entertainment!  It was just what the doctor ordered!

“I really could use a beer.” Brett snarled to himself.  “Fuck being stuck in the hospital.  This place sucks!”

Just then, a pretty nurse named Kelli came into the room.  She was all smiles and had a figure that could stop traffic!  Her hair was as big as her smile was, and Brett could see that her starched white nurse’s uniform was just a little shorter than it should have been.  Casting his eyes downward, he could see the nurse’s adorable knees covered by her white tights.  He looked at her shoes.  They were sensible nurse’s shoes, showing that the woman was just as intelligent as she was sexy.

“Hello Mr. Farlow.” Kelli chirped as she checked his vital signs.  She moved like a dancer, her catlike grace surprisingly apparent as she moved about the tight quarters, cleverly keeping her sweet ass away from Brett’s reach.  “You’re looking much better today.” she said, checking his temperature. “Your fever is almost gone!  Trapper will be happy to hear this!  Yea!”

Farlow looked hopefully at his wrists, but the nurse didn’t seem to notice his distress.  Instead, she adjusted the oxygen mask one last time and turned her attention to Mr. Yuk, aka Brett the brat.

“How are we feeling?” Nurse Kelli asked as she recorded Brett’s blood pressure.

“This place sucks.  I have so many calendars I need to update.  I need to get back to school.  I’m missing so many keggers it’s not funny.” Brett whined.  “I’m being held against my will.”

“I’m sure you’ll be out of here before you know it.” the nurse said.  “You know, once you’re eighteen, you can check yourself out whenever you want.  For now, we have to wait for the doctor and your parents to say it’s okay.”

Kelli turned away from Brett, who then took the opportunity to pinch her ass.

“Ouch!” Kelli yelped.  “I see why they call you Mr. Yuk now!” she scolded as Brett’s face turned into that familiar scowl.  “You really are a naughty boy.  We’ll have to see what we can do about that.”

“Stop trying to impugn my character.” Brett snapped. 

“I’ll be back later.” Kelli promised.  “Enjoy the movie.”

With a heavy sigh, Brett turned his attention back to Lassie and her young master, on the run from Pernell Roberts’ evil character, Jameson.  He was about to start singing along with Pat Boone when Trapper barged into the room.  He started checking Farlow and then untied the man’s wrists. 

“You seem ‘with it’ now.” Trapper said as he patted his patient on the head, patronizingly. 

Farlow eagerly reached up and pulled the mask off his face.  “Can we get rid of this damned thing too?  It feels like a gag.” he complained.

Trapper frowned a bit, looked concerned, and said, “Well, not so fast… let’s not rush things…  You’re going to be in here for a week.  What’s your hurry?”

He glanced up at the television and saw Pernell Roberts chasing Lassie, calling her Heatherbelle.  “Man, I hope that guy gets his dog back.” Trapper said under his breath.

Trapper moved over to Brett, who was looking really disagreeable.  “Fuck this place.” Brett muttered.  “I just want a motherfuckin’ beer.”

“Now now, young man…” Trapper said.  “Take it easy.  You’re in a hospital.  Time to rest.  Let Kelli take care of you.”

“Tell her to bring me a beer… and pizza.  This hospital food sucks.” Brett said with a scowl.

“Young man, your attitude could use some adjusting.  Perhaps it’s time I prescribed a treatment to help you with your problem.” Trapper suggested.

“Fuck that, and fuck you.  I need to get out of here and on with my life.  I have social ladders to climb and women to plumb.” Brett hissed. 

“You really don’t get it, do you?” Trapper asked incredulously.  “You don’t realize you’ve entered another dimension.”

“The only other dimension I want to enter is a beer and nurse Kelli’s vagina.” Brett snapped.

“I see…” Trapper said, his voice steady.  “Well that makes me think you really do need treatment for your problem.  I may have to introduce you to another doctor… a woman who really knows your mind.”

“I don’t need that.  I just want to party.” Brett said.  “Why is that so hard to understand?  And why do I have to stay in this Godforsaken place?  My home is on the East Coast, with all the other snot nosed brats.”

“I see.  Well, I think it would do you some good to talk to Dr. Ford.” Trapper said.  “She’s a maverick in her field, but I think she can straighten you out… maybe get that yucky look off your face.”

“I don’t want to talk to her.” Brett sniveled.

“Okay… well then maybe Nurse Kelli can give you an enema to help kill the bug up your ass.” Trapper suggested.  “You seem a bit constipated.”

“Hmmmph.” Brett huffed, sullenly turning his eyes back to the TV.

Farlow was watching this scene with interest, although he really needed to pee.  He somehow found the energy to ask Trapper for help going to the bathroom. 

“Sure pal.” Trapper said.  “Usually, I’d let the nurses handle this, but I can see you’re a man’s man.”  The bearded, distinguished doctor came over and helped Farlow out of bed.  He was grateful Nurse Kelli had already removed the man’s catheter.  They went into the bathroom and Farlow let out a long and very loud stream of piss that reverberated throughout the semi-private room.

“For God’s sake!” Brett complained.  “Do you have to be so loud?  You sound like a horse peeing on a rock!”

“Sorry… I really had to pee.” Farlow apologized. 

“Well do you have to be so fucking loud?” Brett scowled.  “No fucking class!”

Farlow gave Trapper a grateful look as he rolled his eyes. 

“That kid is such a brat.” Trapper said sympathetically.  “Sorry you have to share quarters with him.”

“No worries… I once shared a house with six brothers.” Farlow said.  “And they were all horny because they were looking for wives.”

“I think that’s Brett’s problem, too.  He’s a spoiled, horny, little bastard.” Trapper said.  “And he’s also a drunk.  He needs a good spanking to teach him some manners.  I’m tempted to let Nurse Kelli practice some procedures on him, but he’d probably enjoy that too much.”

“I’ve never seen anyone scowl so much.” Farlow admitted as he washed his hands.  “He really is very unpleasant indeed.”

“Nurse Kelli will fix him… with help from Dr. Ford.” Trapper promised as he walked his patient back to bed.

Farlow was safely tucked into bed, where he nodded off. He was right in the middle of a pleasant dream in which he was at Southfork Ranch, making mad passionate love with Miss Ellie, when he was awakened by a blood curdling scream.

“GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!” Brett was screaming.  He had climbed out of bed and was cornered by a couple of beefy orderlies who were holding a straitjacket. 

“Now, now, Mr. Yuk…” one of the orderlies soothed. Farlow blinked his eyes and realized the head orderly was a very muscular woman. She was flanked by two huge guys who looked like they could be linebackers for the Dallas Cowboys. Behind her was Nurse Kelli with a syringe at the ready. A cameraman stood in the corner, filming everything. It looked just like a dramatic scene on Trapper John, M.D.

“Get away from me! I haven’t given you CONSENT!” Brett fumed.

The head orderly advanced at her patient, and with one swift move, pinned him to the bed.  He shrieked in fear as another orderly placed his hand over the young man’s mouth and the other orderly efficiently wrapped him up in the straitjacket.  Nurse Kelli then gave him an injection that rendered him more compliant.

“Wha…” Brett stammered. “What are…”

“Shhh…” Nurse Kelli said, her Pepsodent smile radiating across her pretty features.  “It’s just part of your treatment.  Dr. Ford will be with you in a moment.  Just got to wait for you to relax a bit.  That way it won’t hurt as much.”

The orderlies tucked their patient into bed, put up the siderails, and left the room while Nurse Kelli stood by, monitoring the young man with the Mr. Yuk scowl. 

“This would go so much better if you’d just cooperate.” Nurse Kelli said.  “Take your medicine like a good boy.”

“Fucking bitch!” the young man shrieked.  “I’ll get you for this.”

“Right… I’m sure you will.  Just relax.  Dr. Ford will see you at her convenience.” Nurse Kelli said.  “If you’re lucky, she won’t make you wait for what’s coming to you.”

Brett scowled again as he glared at the nurse.  Her chirpy demeanor and perfect smile were pissing him off even more as he struggled against the rough canvas of the straitjacket.  Farlow glanced over at the spectacle, suddenly glad his own medical bondage scene had been short lived.

A minute later, the door opened and there stood a middle aged blonde woman in a very stylish business suit.  She wore glasses and sensible heels as she strode over to her unruly patient. 

“Hello Dr. Ford.” Nurse Kelli said, her voice rich with admiration.

“Nurse…” the doctor said.  “So this is the patient.  He’s permanently scowling, isn’t he?  Needs a little help with his attitude…”

“Yes, I think so.  I’ve heard you can do amazing things with the mind.” Nurse Kelli gushed.  “I would love to study under you…”

Brett and Farlow both looked at the attractive psychologist and thought the same thing.  But Farlow was smart enough to keep his mouth shut and Brett was too busy scowling to make his feelings known.

“You know…” Dr. Ford said.  “I don’t think I’m going to be able to reach him with just simple conversation.  I think it’s time we forced him to watch something other than Lassie.”  She nodded at the television.  “Change the channel… Lifetime should do it.  A nice long marathon of movies about women who have been sexually harassed and date raped ought to be a good start.”

Nurse Kelli’s eyes widened.  “Do I get to stay in the room and supervise him?” she breathed.

“I’m not opposed to it.” Dr. Ford shrugged.  “That’s just the beginning… we’ll start with Lifetime TV, then move on to Dr. Phil.  Then a steady diet of Kathie Lee Gifford…”

“What?!” Brett shouted.  “I’ve never even heard of these things!”

“Lucky for you, I’m from the future.” Dr. Ford said.  “You’re going to get a headstart on the 1990s and the 2000s.  Then I’ll go back to the future.”

“Why?” Brett asked plaintively.

“Because big things are in store for you… and if you don’t get straightened out now, you will fuck up a lot of lives.” Dr. Ford said, smoothing her blonde hair.

“I don’t have time for this.” Brett sneered.

“We’ll see that you make time.  And if you’re difficult about it, I can think of some very fun ways to make you comply.” Dr. Ford said.  “Don’t try me, young man.”

Brett sighed heavily.  “Yes Ma’am…  Let the re-education begin.”

“I’m sure you’ll be good and ready for the future after a few Lifetime movies.  Every man should watch them so they can learn proper respect.” Dr. Ford said.

END

And here is the one comment I got on this tripe…

I like it, an instant story! Write more.

Maybe I should… especially now that my former monitor is no longer monitoring me.

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animals, celebrities, complaints, condescending twatbags, social media

Wow! Who knew commenting on Facebook required sharing my resume?

The featured photo was taken in September 1988, right after my beloved Appaloosa pony, Rusty (Diamonds n’ Rust) and I won first place at the State 4H horse show in Richmond, Virginia. There were about seventy other ponies in that class. It was a great morning and a highly unexpected surprise to win first. Rusty bucked, but I guess the judge never saw it happen.

If you follow my blog, you probably know that I have a tendency to overshare sometimes. I often feel compelled to share the whole story, even if it’s not necessarily interesting or wise to do so. We all have lessons we could learn. I know I could use a few lessons in brevity. However, even someone who overshares, like I tend to do sometimes, can be surprised by other people’s expectations on social media platforms.

Before I get started, I will issue a half-hearted apology for the fact that my writing this week has been so much about stupid Facebook dramas. The good news is, I’m so annoyed by the responses I’ve gotten on recent comments I’ve made, that I now make a conscious effort to comment less. That could mean that I’ll move on to more hard-hitting or entertaining topics. One can only hope!

Anyway… on with today’s gripe.

A couple of days ago, Facebook suggested either a group or a page about Elizabeth Taylor. I honestly don’t know why it was suggested to me. I was never a big Liz Taylor fan. I mean, I certainly thought she was a beautiful woman, and as a horse crazy kid, I appreciated her performance in National Velvet. I do remember seeing her guest star on The Nanny, and I saw her in commercials for her perfumes and such, but I don’t know much about her acting career.

Liz Taylor was a little behind my era, and had done a lot of her most famous acting roles before I was born. I wasn’t into most old movies when I was growing up, aside from the major ones like Gone With The Wind, The Sound of Music, and The Wizard of Oz. When I was coming along, I heard more about her marriages, alcoholism, and celebrity activism, than anything else.

I think I was more familiar with her son, Michael Wilding Jr.’s, work as an actor. He was on Guiding Light and Dallas, back in the 80s, and I watched both of those shows.

Anyway, for some reason, Facebook suggested this Elizabeth Taylor page to me, along with a post about her love for horses. There was a picture of her, as an adolescent, with a horse– probably the one who starred with her in National Velvet. And there was a quote by her about how she’d learned to jump before making the movie, and had successfully jumped a six foot fence while riding bareback. She allegedly said it made her feel like she was flying.

As someone who literally spent a huge portion of my childhood in a barn, I find that story pretty hard to believe. Is it the truth? Maybe… but I still find it implausible. Not that many horses regularly jump six foot fences. Those that do tend to be very valuable jumpers. And, in all of my years around horses, I’ve never seen nor heard of anyone jumping at that height bareback… at least not on purpose! Could it have happened? I suppose. But I noticed a lot of people agreed with me that the story sounded a bit like bullshit. They were saying so in the comment section.

I added a casual comment to someone’s response, reminding everyone that National Velvet was made in 1944. So if she did try to jump six feet while bareback, it likely would have been extremely dangerous and foolish. She probably didn’t bother wearing a hat (helmet), and even if she did wear one, it was not as safe or effective as the ones that people wear today. If she tried such a stunt and was successful, she was damned lucky… and pretty stupid, in my opinion. But again… it’s just my opinion, and I realize I could be wrong.

“Velvet Brown, who do you think you ARE?”

When I left this comment, I was being totally casual. It was an offhand remark– the online equivalent of small talk. This is a very trivial issue to me, and not something I care to research or verify. Mainly, I was just gratified to see that I wasn’t the only one who was calling bullshit on the story’s veracity.

Naturally, people started tagging me in responses, reminding me that Liz Taylor allegedly started riding when she was three years old, so she wasn’t a “new” rider, as I wrongly assumed, based on what was written in the quote.

Again, Liz Taylor doesn’t really matter to me, so I didn’t look her up to see when her ass first landed on a horse’s back. If she really started riding at age 3, fair enough… although I doubt she was progressing that much in her skills at that age. I wouldn’t expect her to be good enough to be piloting talented jumpers over six foot fences, even if she did start riding at age 3. Certainly not bareback. That’s sheer lunacy to me. My opinion again. It was not something I really wanted to argue about. If it’s true, it’s true. I don’t really care one way or the other.

The evening wore on, and Bill and I went to bed. I spent all day blissfully unaware of that post and, in fact, had completely forgotten about it. Then, at about 5 PM, I got a tag from someone I didn’t know. Not knowing what she was referencing, I clicked to see what was up. And it was some twat who wrote something along the lines of, “Have you ever even been on a horse? Do you know *anything* about horses?” Then there was a long diatribe about how Liz Taylor certainly could have been jumping six foot fences bareback, and a link to some site that I didn’t bother checking. To tell you the truth, I didn’t read beyond her first two sentences, because I found them extremely insulting and irritating, and I was momentarily really pissed.

Weeee! Us again… probably in 1988.

You see, I spent years riding horses. I owned a very special Appaloosa pony for years. I took lessons, cleaned stalls, went to horse shows, showed hunt seat and Western, went on competitive trail rides, attended riding clinics given by fancy Frenchmen, fox hunted, completed 4 H horse projects, and I have a huge box full of over 200 ribbons, plaques, medals and such in storage in Texas. I even won a horse blanket one year. So yes, I do know my way around a horse, even though I gave up riding a long time ago.

Maybe I should have responded to the idiot with just a picture of my ribbons…

I realize this person doesn’t know me at all. I don’t know her at all. My guess, though, is that I was probably riding horses and shoveling manure when she was still a spark in her daddy’s testicles. I also suspect, like a lot of Facebook experts, she moseyed on over to my Facebook page to see if there was any evidence of my “expertise” with horses. When she saw no equine pics on the public version of my account, she wrongly assumed that I don’t have any experience with horses, hence her moronic challenging questions to me– a total stranger.

I was tempted to respond with indignance, but instead, I took a deep breath, and then sighed with a loud groan of utter annoyance. Then I posted something along the lines of this:

Yes, I have experience with horses. I grew up riding and showing my own horse. I still don’t believe this story. If you do, good for you. I really don’t care.

Then, just because I had a feeling it would inspire laughter from those who knew me when I was young, I posted this:

I was gratified when my former riding instructor wrote this…

A time or two?🤣🤣🤣. Try more years than I care to think about! 🙈🙈

I am honestly very indebted to my old riding instructor, because I certainly wasn’t the easiest person to teach… or even just to deal with, especially when I was going through puberty. And she was there to see me in all my moody, hormonal glory! Isn’t it awesome that I still know her as I’m now going through menopause! I’m not quite as moody these days… or, at least I cry less.

It’s because of her that I ever owned a horse of my very own. She taught me so much, and having unlimited access to her farm no doubt kept me out of trouble… and possibly even the psych ward. I had a tendency toward depression in those days (as well as today, but now I have booze).

The fact that I had a horse, and had to work to keep him, kept me productive and active, and helped stave off the darkest moods of depression. I spent hours riding my bike to and from her farm, cleaning the ten stalls in her barn, and doing the many horsey chores required when you have a horse. Even if you aren’t into showing, as I was in those days, there’s a lot of work to be done. I do miss it– and horses– very much. But I think the work might kill me these days. 😀

So yes, when some rando on Facebook asks me if I “know anything” about horses, simply because we disagree about a silly quote allegedly by Elizabeth Taylor– a dead actress I don’t even particularly care about– it does smart a bit. Was she really expecting me to post my horse experience resume on such a random comment between total strangers? Who’s got the time for it?

However, I was also gratified that my fellow horsey friend from those days, another of the many Jennifers born in the 70s, posted this in response to my peevish status update…

Ha! I was doubting that post from Liz too. I’ve never seen anyone do six feet bareback.

Jennifer and I were in 4 H together and enjoyed many a hot Saturday at horse shows when we were growing up in Gloucester, Virginia. She knows her way around horses, too. And anyone who knew me in those days, knows that horses were then my life. It’s almost hard to believe now. Seems like a dream.

I guess this incident can be filed away under yet another reason why Facebook sucks. But then, if it weren’t for Facebook, I couldn’t share a laugh with the people I knew when I was an avid horsewoman. It’s a testament to the specialness of that time that those people are still my friends so many years later.

Whether or not Liz Taylor ever jumped six foot fences while riding a horse bareback isn’t that important, at least not to me. She’s been dead for years, so it’s not like her feelings are going to be hurt if I don’t believe this alleged quote from her about her horseback riding skills. Maybe it is the truth, but I don’t feel like verifying it, one way or the other. Especially now.

Liz’s alleged quote kind of reminds me of that ghastly video of Alan Osmond, when he talked about how he was the best marksman in his Army basic training unit, yet he never saw a single day in Vietnam. Instead, he stayed behind at Fort Ord, where he served as a typist. Now, I absolutely respect Alan for serving in the Army, but I think his claims about his military badassery are probably hyperbolic bullshit. And this quote by Elizabeth Taylor is probably similarly hyperbolic. I base that on my experiences with horses, even as I acknowledge that I’m not an expert and I quit riding some time ago. I never claimed to be an expert. I just know what bullshit smells like.

So no, I don’t feel like qualifying myself with a rundown of my equine experience and expertise, just to be allowed to leave a comment on a random Facebook post about horses. I shouldn’t be expected to do that. I’ve got more important things to do, like manscaping Bill’s chest hair.

On another note… I notice that a lot of horse people really can be insufferable jerks. I don’t miss that.

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King Charles gets crowned and gowned for all to see…

I genuinely looked forward to watching King Charles III’s coronation ceremony yesterday. Since I live in Germany, and Germany is an hour ahead of the United Kingdom, I didn’t even have to get up early to watch the whole thing live on my television. While I can understand why some people think the British monarchy should go, I can’t deny that I enjoy watching the pageantry of their traditions. And so it was yesterday, as I tuned in– first on German television, then on YouTube, where I found plenty of live coverage in English.

I think I love watching the British royals, not necessarily because of the family itself, but because I love all the sights and sounds of their parades. I love watching the horses, especially, all smartly decked out, prancing down the wide boulevard between Buckingham Palace and whichever church is hosting the main event of the day. Yesterday, it was Westminster Abbey again, but it’s not always Westminster Abbey.

I also love hearing the wonderful music invariably played at British royal events. Yesterday was no exception, as there were choirs and orchestras playing, and they sounded so gorgeous on my HomePod, hooked to my TV. Some of the music played was obviously composed for the coronation, including one piece that addressed Queen Camilla in song. Prince William and Princess Catherine both looked regal in their robes, and their children, as usual, were so beautifully behaved.

They’re next… maybe I’ll be around to see King William and Queen Catherine, someday.

The ceremony itself was interesting, although I confess that I fell asleep a couple of times. I think that had to do with the fact that I was watching it in bed and I don’t typically sleep all night without waking up at least once. So yes, I dozed off a couple of times, only to be startled awake by the beautiful music booming through the HomePod again.

I was a bit surprised to find out that the new king and queen are both anointed in oil. Charles had to undress, get anointed, and then get dressed again in different robes. Camilla was also anointed, although I don’t think they did it as part of the ceremony yesterday. Charles’s anointing took place behind giant screens with crosses on them.

It reminded me of what I’ve heard and read about LDS endowment ceremonies, where church members wear special garments that allow temple workers to anoint them with “sacred” oil. I kinda wonder if the church got that bit of the endowment ceremony from Britain’s coronation ceremony. But who knows? I’ve never been Mormon, and all of that stuff is probably only meaningful to those who attach meaning to it… which I don’t. Charles isn’t my king, and the LDS church isn’t my church.

I got a little choked up, anyway, though… because if I weren’t from the United States, I’d be British. Or really, I’d probably be Scottish. I think I inherited a lot of national traits from my ancestors, like a love of good music, an affinity for good spirits, a tendency toward depression, a quick wit, an appreciation for interesting stories, and an affection for time honored traditions. Most British royal ceremonies incorporate those things… I might even include depression, since I know not everyone appreciates the British Royal family or their soirees.

It’s not lost on me that the huge production that went into yesterday caused issues for the locals. Yes, there was an opportunity to make a lot of money– hotels, restaurants, taxi drivers, airlines, cruise lines (especially in the case of Cunard), and souvenir shops all probably made out like bandits.

London isn’t cheap to visit under the best of circumstances. I’ll bet hotel rooms were scarce and very expensive! I wonder about those who booked hotels a year in advance. What did the hotel managers do? Because I’m sure the price went up for those dates. Did they jack the price up on the people who booked ahead? What if they paid in advance? I mean, this could have been a thing. A year ago, Queen Elizabeth II was still living. What if someone had planned a trip to Britain for the weekend of May 6, 2023 and planned WAY in advance, as I tend to do for trips that involve cruises?

However, along with all of the money, excitement, and pomp and circumstance, no doubt came traffic snarls, loud crowds, pollution, and everything else that comes with huge events. I’m sure some people– even including those who don’t have a problem with the monarchy– were annoyed by the whole thing.

Some people simply don’t like Charles and Camilla. I saw people commenting about how Diana should have been queen. To that, I say no, she shouldn’t have. Charles and Diana should never have married in the first place. They didn’t like each other, let alone love each other. Yes, Diana was beautiful and extraordinary, but she wasn’t suited to being Charles’s wife. It’s clear to me that Charles and Camilla deeply love each other, and have for well over 50 years. They should have been married to each other in the first place. I think, if Charles hadn’t been who he is, they would have married and never divorced. As far as I’m concerned, Camilla is the rightful Queen Consort.

Meh… this is pretty simplistic. It’s not like Camilla swooped in on Charles, nor is it like Diana and Charles really had chemistry. They probably would have divorced even if Camilla had never existed.

But that doesn’t mean that Diana wasn’t an incredible person. It’s tragic that she died so young, under such terrible circumstances. She should have had more of a chance to find the right person to be with, and do the work she loved to do. Her story is very sad, and what makes it worse is that her death could have been prevented.

It’s all I can do not to offer a rebuttal, though, when I read comments about how awful Charles and Camilla are. Charles didn’t ask to be a prince. He was born into that situation. And he didn’t ask to have his family meddle in his love life, back in the 1970s and 80s. Most anyone else would have been permitted to marry the person they loved. He obviously loves Camilla. Yes, it was wrong for Charles and Camilla to have an affair when they were married to other people. But… to be fair, it’s not as if Diana didn’t also have affairs. I’m not sure about Camilla’s ex husband’s fidelity.

Charles and Camilla may be royal, but they’re also human… and as the second wife of a man who married the WRONG person in 1990, I have great empathy for Camilla. I think she’ll make a fine Queen Consort. Divorce generally sucks on many levels, but sometimes, it’s absolutely necessary. And I think it was necessary in the case of Charles and Diana.

On another note, I’ll bet Charles and Camilla are tired today…

I’m glad I was able to watch the coronation. Regardless of what I might think of British royalty, yesterday’s ceremony was historic. If nothing else, I just really enjoyed the music and watching the beautiful horses (and missing having my own horse). I also enjoyed seeing my new favorite royal, Princess Anne. 😉 It was a nice way to pass the time alone, while I wait for Bill to finish his latest TDY assignment, and we start making some summer fun plans. I am in some serious need of fun, after the last three years… and the last six months, really.

Well, I have a few things to do today. I might try to finish preparing the garden furniture for the summer. Noyzi needs a walk. I need to practice guitar for a few minutes. I have a book to finish, and a roast to cook. So, I think I will end today’s post, and get on with my Sunday. Hope you enjoy yours…

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animals, dogs, music, pests, songs, videos, YouTube

Getting rid of “Flea-loaders” with an old fashioned Avon product…

This morning, I ordered a bottle of Avon’s Skin So Soft. I don’t usually use this product, but thanks to the pesky hedgehog who has made a home in our backyard, I feel compelled to buy it. I woke up this morning with a rash around my neck, and I’m pretty sure it came from fleas on the hedgehog and her baby. Hedgehogs are notorious for having fleas.

Arran has been messing with the hedgehog ever since she showed up on August 1, and sure enough, he did get fleas. Now, these aren’t the usual fleas that infest dogs and cats. These are hedgehog fleas, which supposedly can’t infest pets the way they do hedgehogs. The fur on dogs and cats is too soft, or something. However, these little beasts do bite, and while Arran isn’t covered in them, I know that he brought a few into our house.

In fact, when he was at the vet’s office last Friday, the vet was looking for an actual infestation. She didn’t find one, but then a flea jumped off Arran’s head. The tech managed to catch it, and they killed it so they could look at it under a microscope. Maybe that’s where Arran’s swollen lymph nodes came from. The vet did tell Bill that Arran’s hormones are fine. I actually hope the swollen nodes are from fleas… because the alternative is probably cancer.

Today, I’m also washing all of the bedding. I needed to do that anyway, and often do it on Wednesdays, but thanks to the blood sucking little fuckers Arran brought into the house, it’s necessary to be aggressive. Both dogs have been treated for fleas. Ordinarily, I would be giving them oral flea preventative as a matter of course, but since Arran is old and has had mast cell tumors, I try not to give him products that might encourage tumors to form. He only gets the most basic vaccines now.

It’s finally raining, which is a huge blessing. We need the rain desperately. I’ve been really delighted to see the grass starting to grow back in our yard. I even used the lawnmower for the first time in weeks a couple of days ago, because there were patches of grass that were looking unkempt. The cooler weather will help get rid of the fleas. The hedgehog will also be going into hibernation soon, if she hasn’t already.

I haven’t had to deal with fleas since the 1980s, before dogs routinely got flea and tick preventative. Our dogs used to get them every summer, and my mom would obsessively find and kill them with her bare hands. I would give the dogs baths to get rid of a bunch of them at once. I gave our dogs baths a few days ago, and all that came off of them, besides a little dirt, was lots of undercoat. Arran, especially, had lots of loose hair coming off.

So how did I know about the wonders of non-toxic Skin So Soft? It was thanks to my days riding horses. My old riding coach used to buy the product to use on the horses. I couldn’t put it on my horse, because he was allergic to the oils in it. I had to use special fly spray on him. However, I do remember my folksy riding teacher talking about how effective Skin So Soft is for getting rid of biting flies, mosquitoes, and other insects. A quick Googling told me that the product will also work for fleas. Some people like the way it smells, too; however, I find the scent basically pleasant, but kind of cloying and sickeningly sweet. I will be able to tolerate it, though, if it means the fleas don’t bite me anymore.

There are, of course, more important things I could be writing about today. Lots of news stories that are blogger worthy have popped up on my radar. But I’m just not in the mood to write about such things now, because I’m irritable. Itchy rashes have a way of doing that to a person.

Remembering about Skin So Soft reminded me that sometimes, even the carefree pursuits of childhood can prove useful in the future. I probably would not have known about Skin So Soft if not for my horse crazy days. My mom didn’t use Avon products. In those days, you had to have a supplier. Now, you can just buy the stuff on Amazon. They even have it in Germany, so I won’t have to get it through the APO system.

In other news, I decided to make another music video yesterday. I had wanted to do it last month, when Olivia Newton-John died, but I was having trouble getting the vocals right. It’s not a lyrically challenging song, but the key is right at the part of my voice that goes from chest to head, so it can be hard to be accurate with my pitch. I’m a stickler for pitch, so I held off on recording. Then, when the Queen of England died, I decided it was time to give “Grace and Gratitude” another try. I managed to do it yesterday, complete with harmonies. Took me about two hours from recording to making a simple video.

This song comes from the album, Liv On, which Olivia Newton-John made with Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky in 2016. It’s a very comforting album, especially when a person is experiencing loss. So anyway, here’s my take on “Grace and Gratitude”. I don’t think it turned out too shabbily. I used photos from last fall’s trip to Slovenia, which was combined with our first proper visit (as opposed to a joyriding day trip) to Croatia. Both places are insanely beautiful. I hope to visit again soon.

I really enjoy making music videos… They usually aren’t controversial, and I almost always find singing relaxing.

Just in case anyone wants to know which product I bought… And if you purchase through the Amazon link, I get a small commission from Amazon. But there is certainly no pressure. I’m just sharing the link to be helpful to those who are suffering like I am.

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book reviews, healthcare, law, politicians, politics

Today, in the United States of Gilead…

Special thanks to my friend “Naphtalia” (not her real name) for today’s featured photo!

It’s another very warm morning in Germany. I kind of hate this time of year in Germany, because while it rarely gets as hot here as it does in my native Virginia or God forsaken Texas, air conditioning is a rarity. That makes for some uncomfortable days when it’s high summer, even with all the shades pulled down and a couple of portable air conditioners. I never run both ACs at the same time, either, because I don’t want to run up a big electric bill. They do electric bills differently here, though. Instead of charging different amounts based on monthly use, they do a yearly average and adjust at the end of the year. But still, I don’t want to be an energy hog, if I can help it.

Bill just bought oil for our house, to get us through the winter. This year, it cost about $1000 more than it did last year, thanks to Putin’s war against Ukraine. Fortunately, we’re able to afford it pretty easily. We stay in Germany largely because Bill makes really good money over here, but also because the lifestyle is much nicer, people are saner and less violent, and it’s cool to be able to drive to so many countries. That doesn’t mean I don’t think of home often, though. Missing my uncle’s funeral the other day was another reminder that I’ve been gone a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of beloved relatives for the last time. The United States is my home, but it doesn’t feel much like home anymore. People seem to be absolutely batshit nuts.

Still, I was delighted to read about Kansas yesterday, and voters’ decisions to vote for allowing abortion access. I think that was a rude wake up call for the more sensible Republicans out there. They overplayed their hand, and they will probably pay for it with some really tough elections. I have read about some scary elections results in Arizona, though, and apparently the Trump loyalists, drunk on the stolen election Kool-Aid rhetoric, are leading the way to Gilead inspired insanity. Not surprisingly, reasonable Republican, Rusty Bowers, who heroically testified in the January 6th sessions, was defeated by his Trump supporting opponent. I watched Bowers speak about January 6th again, the other day, and noticed that he was almost moved to tears. I was almost moved to tears listening to him, even though I don’t like his politics or religious beliefs. Bowers is a man of integrity, and those types are rapidly leaving the Republican Party.

I don’t think people realize that the power mad conservatives want to enslave them… keep them disenfranchised and begging for jobs that don’t pay enough. Keeping people pregnant, especially if they aren’t financially or health wise prepared for pregnancy, is certainly a big part of keeping them poor. The abortion bans are already proving dangerous for people who legitimately need to terminate pregnancies for health reasons, that they should be allowed to keep private. Personally, I am less concerned about no access to abortion than I am that politicians will soon push an agenda that makes healthcare privacy a thing of the past.

Health information is a very powerful asset, and getting people comfortable with the idea of giving up their confidentiality when it comes to health matters is a big step toward keeping them down. I don’t believe these folks will stop with denying abortion and contraception access. They would like to tear apart legal privacy protections for the citizenry, so they promote bullshit about the “sanctity of life” as a reason to deny abortions to people who want or need them, while idiots like Colorado legislator Lauren Boebert crow about their ridiculous gun control theories. Yesterday, I watched a video about how she claims people in Venezuela are eating dogs because they can’t have guns. Seriously!

Well worth watching, if only because the guy who made this video is awesome. Lauren’s personal assets don’t include having a functioning brain.

I read last night that extremely pro-life Indiana Representative Jackie Walorski, just two weeks shy of her 59th birthday, died in a car crash. Two of her staffers died with her. I didn’t know anything about Walorski until last night, when I saw the article from Reuters. I went to her Facebook page, where she had just recently posted about visiting a “crisis pregnancy center” in Indiana. Crisis pregnancy centers are places where a pro-life agenda is pushed. The goal is to get the person considering abortion to change their minds, sometimes by the unethical use of misinformation or religious dogma.

The comments were pretty bananas, as people squabbled over their respective political views. One guy was especially disgusting toward the pro-choice women who were commenting. Only a few realized, at that point, that Ms. Walorski is no longer among the living and won’t be pushing her pro-life agenda anymore. I only hope that whoever replaces her is more moderate in their views. Like a lot of people, I am tired of being held hostage by politicians who think their religious beliefs have any place in making laws that affect everyone. On the other hand, I see some really ugly comments about her sudden death, including the one below…

No matter what I might think about Jackie Walorski’s politics, I’m sure she had many loved ones. This is not any better than the awful things conservatives say to liberals.
Ouch.

I don’t cheer for Jackie Walorski’s sudden death, but I really hope with all my heart that whomever takes her place will have more heart and sense for moderation. The country is being torn apart by extremism, and it will lead to even more very ugly things in the future, if something isn’t done soon.

Last night, I finished reading Black Beauty to Bill, and once again, I was shocked by how relevant that book is, even today. It was written in 1877, but it addresses animal rights, politics, and religion, and how politics and religion can turn people into insufferable assholes. Here are just a couple of quotes from the book, one of which I recently shared a few days ago.

“Your master never taught you a truer thing,” said John; “there is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast it is all a sham—all a sham, James, and it won’t stand when things come to be turned inside out.”

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (p. 46). True Sign Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

“Well, a man who gets rich by that trade may be all very well in some ways, but he is blind as to what workingmen want; I could not in my conscience send him up to make the laws. I dare say they’ll be angry, but every man must do what he thinks to be the best for his country.

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (p. 142). True Sign Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

“My boy, I hope you will always defend your sister, and give anybody who insults her a good thrashing—that is as it should be; but mind, I won’t have any election blackguarding on my premises. There are as many ‘blue’ blackguards as there are ‘orange’, and as many white as there are purple, or any other color, and I won’t have any of my family mixed up with it. Even women and children are ready to quarrel for the sake of a color, and not one in ten of them knows what it is about.

“Why, father, I thought blue was for Liberty.” “My boy, Liberty does not come from colors, they only show party, and all the liberty you can get out of them is, liberty to get drunk at other people’s expense, liberty to ride to the poll in a dirty old cab, liberty to abuse anyone that does not wear your color, and to shout yourself hoarse at what you only half-understand—that’s your liberty!”

“Oh, father, you are laughing.”

“No, Harry, I am serious, and I am ashamed to see how men go on who ought to know better. An election is a very serious thing; at least it ought to be, and every man ought to vote according to his conscience, and let his neighbor do the same.

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (p. 143). True Sign Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

I announced to some Facebook friends that I was reading Black Beauty to Bill, and one of them, a British lady who used to teach school in Britain, said it would have him in tears. Sure enough, it did. Black Beauty has a happy ending, but it really is a very good book that tugs at the heartstrings, and it’s surprisingly relevant today, on many levels. I’m glad I read it again as an adult (it was never meant to be children’s literature), and I’m so glad I shared it with Bill. He loved it, and never would have read it on his own. It’s a great book for animal lovers– especially horse lovers– but I think everyone should read it. Anna Sewell was very wise. Her book promotes common sense and compassion, not just toward animals, but also toward human beings. And it’s a reminder that things were bananas in the 19th century, too.

Anyway… it’s going to be another steamy day in Germany, and I’m in the middle of changing the sheets, and will soon be vacuuming, which is not my favorite thing to do. So I guess I’ll end this post and get on with it. Let’s hope for better news in the coming days.

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