Full Moon Final Friday…July 2015!

It’s the Final Friday of July, and tonight’s full moon makes it a ‘blue’ moon. Astrologically, a ‘blue’ moon would be a full moon twice in the same sign, which would not necessarily fall in the same calendar month. Me, I’m not picky. I’ll celebrate either one! It’s difficult for me to get nice pictures of the moon, since my camera isn’t the greatest at taking pictures at night. It’s good for some shots, but not others. I’ll upgrade soon, which will be nice. Then I’ll be able to post great photos of the night sky over the Pacific Ocean.

Credit: earthsky.org

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the reporting of Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance. His date of disappearance is reported as either the 30th or 31st of July; just one interesting detail in the life and death of a man who did many things, both good and bad, in the name of doing something good for (most) American workers. From Wikipedia:

James RiddleJimmyHoffa (born February 14, 1913 – disappeared July 30, 1975) was an American labor union leader and author who vanished in late July 1975 at age 62.

Hoffa was a union activist from a young age, and was an important regional figure with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union by his mid-twenties. By 1952, Hoffa had risen to national vice-president of the IBT, and served as the union’s general president between 1958 and 1971. He secured the first national agreement for teamsters’ rates in 1964. Hoffa played a major role in the growth and development of the union which eventually became the largest (by membership) in the United States with over 1.5 million members at its peak, during his terms as its leader. He was a civil rights supporter and expressed this in many statements.

Hoffa became involved with organized crime from the early years of his Teamsters work, and this connection continued until his disappearance in 1975. He was convicted of jury tampering, attempted bribery, and fraud in 1964, in two separate trials. He was imprisoned in 1967 and sentenced to 13 years, after exhausting the appeal process. In mid-1971 he resigned as president of the union, an action that was part of a pardon agreement with President Richard Nixon, to facilitate his release later that year. Nixon blocked Hoffa from union activities until 1980 (which would have been the end of his prison term, had he served the full sentence). Hoffa, hoping to regain support and to return to IBT leadership, unsuccessfully attempted to overturn this order.

Hoffa vanished in late July 1975, having last been seen outside the Machus Red Fox, a suburban Detroit restaurant.[1] His disappearance gave rise to many theories as to what happened to him. He is widely believed to have been murdered.[2] He was declared legally dead in 1982.

A collection of papers related to Hoffa is cared for by the Special Collections Research Center of The George Washington University. The collection contains a variety of materials, including newspaper and magazine articles, trial transcripts, copies of congressional hearings, and publicity materials.[3]

There is a lot of information out there about him – and of course, there are many conspiracy theories as well. Fascinating to read about, nonetheless.

The young ladies of Chibok, Nigeria, have been away from their families for 473 days, now. It’s heartbreaking to think about. Hopefully something is being done to ensure their safe return; if there is, there isn’t much being said about it.

On a positive note, some justice might be done for Samuel DuBose, an unarmed man who was murdered by a Cincinnati campus officer on 19 July. From the Huffington Post:

Two University of Cincinnati police officers involved in a colleague’s recent fatal shooting of Samuel DuBose also were on hand for a 2010 struggle with a psychiatric patient who later died. Officers Eric Weibel and Phillip Kidd were among seven University of Cincinnati police officers and other officials named in a lawsuit alleging the wrongful death of Kelly Brinson, a 45-year-old mentally ill university hospital patient. Hospital staff summoned officers to help subdue Brinson, who became agitated when put in seclusion, according to court documents first reported by The Guardian. Kidd and Weibel gave written statements that they restrained Brinson, while another officer used a Taser stun gun on him. Brinson went into cardiac arrest and died days later, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. The Hamilton County coroner ruled Brinson died from natural causes. His family settled the lawsuit for $638,000. Documents from the Brinson lawsuit are available online.”

There are far too many trigger-happy cops in this country…and too many trigger-happy citizens. That douchebag dentist from Minnesota is in hiding, and rightfully so. What he did was monstrous and unforgivable. What a waste. Lions are already endangered, and that worthless waste of space removed a prime specimen from the gene pool. So-called “trophy hunters” make me want to vomit. They are not hunters by any stretch of the imagination. Shooting something with a gun does not a hunter make. He was overcompensating for many things, I’d wager!

I’ll close with one decent trailer for The Elder Scrolls Online – pre-Tamriel Unlimited – and a couple of my favourite moon-related songs. Happy Friday, everyone!

😎

Protected: ESO Fan Fiction: Search for the Sky-Crystals – Part IV

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R.I.P., Ann Rule

Ann Rule: 22 October 1930 – 26 July 2015

Ann Rule, noted “true-crime” author, passed away on Sunday at the age of 83. From the Huffington Post:

True-crime writer Ann Rule signed a contract to write a book about an unknown Seattle serial killer six months before he was identified as her co-worker Ted Bundy, who shared the night shift at Seattle’s Crisis Clinic. The woman credited by her publisher with reinventing the previously male-dominated true crime genre by focusing on the victims has died at age 83. Rule wrote more than 30 books, including “The Stranger Beside Me,” which profiled Bundy. Rule and Bundy met in 1971 and their relationship was mostly a grim coincidence, except that he later confessed to eight murders in the state of Washington. The FBI says Bundy started to kill attractive college students in Washington state around 1974 and was first arrested in 1975, but he later escaped and continued killing…Rule’s book on Bundy — her first and most famous — was published in 1980. She said she corresponded with him until his death. Rule died at Highline Medical Center at 10:30 p.m. Sunday, said Scott Thompson, a spokesman for CHI Franciscan Health. Rule’s daughter, Leslie Rule, said on Facebook that her mother had many health issues, including congestive heart failure. “My mom died peacefully last night,” Leslie Rule wrote. “She got to see all of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.” Ann Rule, who went to work briefly at the Seattle Police Department when she was 21, began writing for magazines including “True Detective” in 1969. A biography on her author website says she has published more than 1,400 articles, mostly on criminal cases. Rule said she was fascinated by killers’ lives, going back to their childhood to find clues about why they did what they did. But her books focused on victims, and she became an advocate for victims’ rights.

I have many of her books; I always found them to be well-written and fascinating. She did her research on each case and ensured that the facts stood out – at the same time, she brought the human aspect of the victims and families to the forefront. Her books on Ted Bundy, Diane Downs (Small Sacrifices), and Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, were of interest to me, as they were local events. I understand that many of Ann’s books were made into television movies that are most likely aired on Oxygen, Lifetime, OWN, and other “women’s” channels…but I’ve not watched a one. The books are always far more detailed than the movies, and one can use their own mind to imagine the scenarios that Ann described in the pages.

I’ll miss her writing – she was good.

R.I.P., Bobbi Kristina…

Bobbi Kristina Brown: 4 March 1993 – 26 July 2015

It’s a shame…I knew that it was an eventuality, but my heart still goes out to this young girl. Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer and actress Whitney Houston and singer Bobby Brown, passed away yesterday at the age of 22 after being in a comatose state. From the Huffington Post:

Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of Bobby Brown and the late Whitney Houston, died Sunday, according to Entertainment Tonight. She was 22 years old.

Brown was hospitalized on Jan. 31 after she was found unresponsive by her boyfriend Nick Gordon and her friend, Max Lomas, in a bathtub at the couple’s home in Roswell, Georgia.

Multiple outlets reported that Brown had been placed in a medically induced coma and was breathing with the help of a ventilator. Brown was then transported to Emory University Hospital’s neurological department in Atlanta on Feb. 5, before being transferred again in March to Dekalb Medical’s rehab facility in Atlanta.

Things were looking more hopeful for the family in April, when a lawyer for Brown’s father told the press in a statement that the 22-year-old had “opened her eyes,” and went on to say “there has been improvement” in her condition.

However, on June 24, Brown’s aunt Pat Houston announced that Brown’s “condition has continued to deteriorate” and Brown was moved to hospice care. Additionally, the statement went on to say that the Houston family thanks “everyone for their support and prayers. [Bobbi Kristina] is in God’s hands now.”

Authorities are still investigating the circumstances that led the then-21-year-old to become unresponsive.

Brown was the only child of Houston, who died on Feb. 11, 2012, and one of singer Bobby Brown’s six children.”

Credit: zap2it.com

Poor Bobbi…it seems that her own days were numbered when her mother died of an overdose on 11 February 2012. Her father apparently couldn’t spare time for her, before or after her mother’s death. Sad to grow up in a seemingly privileged home – yet having to witness, and live with, the dysfunctions of drug abuse and physical violence. I never watched the reality show about her father; it saddened me when Whitney was obviously involved with drugs, yet denied it to the world when questioned about it. One can’t get help if they deny that they have a problem. Whatever issues Bobbi Kristina was dealing with, it seems that she ignored and avoided them…to her detriment, unfortunately. I don’t know much about her own husband, so I can’t say anything good or bad about him; he’s an unknown entity, to me. If there is suspicion around her death, then it should be investigated. It is definitely a tragic story…a promising young life cut short – why? There might never be an answer to that question…

Sunny Sunday…

Credit: intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com

The sun is out now, but it rained overnight – it’s definitely needed!

Just had a few random things on my mind to share on this fine Sunday…a few little things which may or may not be of interest, so here goes!

First off, I know that there has been an official autopsy report in the death of Sandra Bland, who was laid to rest yesterday. I will freely admit that I’m very, very skeptical of it – and I’m not the only one. In light of recent events, it isn’t hard to see why many are skeptical.

The abducted young ladies of Chibok, Nigeria, have been away from their families and loved ones for 468 days now…it’s sad and disheartening. All I can do is hold out hope that they will be freed.

I have an ISTP ‘personality type,’ from what I’ve learned over the years – I think it is what enables me to laugh at myself as loudly as I laugh at anything else that tickles my funny-bone, LOL

Maybe that will give you more insight into who I am…but then again, it probably won’t. This is fine with me, either way!

😉

Today marks the Procession of the Witches, also called Heksenstoet, in Beselare, Belgium. It’s an interesting local festival, there. From Expatica.com:

“Beselare in West Flanders has been associated with stories about witches for centuries. Its most famous witch is Sefa Bubbles, who according to legend was the witch chief of all the local witches.

You can see her at the local witch festival or Heksenstoet, held on the last Sunday in July, with songs and dances about her, and her children. But she’s certainly not the only important witch in town; in the weeks before the festival, every local household makes its own witch, and enters it in a village competition to win a prize for the best one.

You can see life-sized gnarled old papier mache witches sitting outside every gatepost and every door. The local folklore has it that husbands have been known to sit their unwitting mothers-in-law outside on the judging day of the competition.

Everyone dresses up as a witch for the day. The local people say it never, ever rains for the witch parade. True to form, last Sunday, the day remained gloriously hot and sunny. Sorcery!

Once the Witch horse riders have cleared the road, and the parade gets underway, two marchers carry forward a large sign reading ‘In this village, there is witchcraft!’, and the first of many floats go past (including a vast 17th-century castle which caused hilarity one year by getting stuck on the bunting across the road).”

I’m getting ready to watch a baseball game, so I’ll close with two funny videos and a song…I know that my humour might not be to everyone’s tastes, so feel free to not watch them! You’ve been warned, ROFL

XD

 

Neat Saturday Stuff

I like living on the coast and close to nature…it’s soothing to me. The best part is being able to watch the animals do what they do, with no schedule or planning required.

One afternoon, I was sitting on the deck off of my bedroom, enjoying an ale and some green in the sunshine. I had sunglasses on and was relaxed and still, and I noticed a rabbit sitting by the clump of bamboo, nibbling on a dandelion. Then I saw that a squirrel was sitting on the back fence. A hummingbird was perched above a feeder I have there, guarding it from rivals. It was very pleasant, just sitting there watching them while they were watching me. After 10 minutes or so, they went away – the hummer to feed, and the rabbit and squirrel were off to do their respective rabbit and squirrel activities.

This past Thursday morning, I was looking out of the kitchen window as I was doing dishes after making up some soup. The sun was out and the air was warm, so I had most of the windows open to let the cross-breeze through. I heard some of the sparrows chirping, so I ‘talked’ back to them for a bit. Two decided to perch in a bush close to the window, so it was easy to see them – a third was somewhere below the window, chirping away as he or she added to the conversation. The resident hummer buzzed through, inspecting the sparrows closely before zooming away. So, I had four birds saying “hello” and “how are you?” – it’s nice when that happens.

Yesterday, one of the many deer was relaxing in its now-favourite spot in the backyard. She was there for most of the morning, even when my husband got the bike out and ran some errands – she didn’t move even though she most likely heard us talking, the door opening and shutting, and the noise of the motorcycle leaving and returning. I guess she is comfortable and used to hearing us move about. Later on, she was in the yard next door with two other does; one was with the fawn that is almost two months old, now. It still has spots, but they are fading fast. Anyway, they were all running around, back and forth, butting at each other and the fawn – deer training school was in session. There are coyotes and bears on this little peninsula, so the deer were basically putting the fawn through its paces at evasive maneuvers – it was fascinating to watch. Sometimes, there just isn’t time to grab the camera…and trying to line up a good view for a capture might startle and disturb them. So, I have many great pictures in my mind – I just might invest in a GoPro before my next road-trip, though! That seems like it would be the best way to get more photos, especially from a motorcycle.

I’ll close with some cute Pokémon pictures accompanying a loud song…feel free to mute the music if you don’t like it. I like music…a great saying that I heard once, and firmly believe, is this: “There are two kinds of music: good and bad. There are no genres!”

😉

 

Thursday Thoughts on Friday…

I had a “Thursday Thoughts” post all planned out yesterday, but an unexpected internet outage made it impossible to do anything. Here it is, along with some Friday music!

First off, the new moon was last Wednesday (15 July 2015), which also marked St. Swithin’s Day. I first heard that day referenced on an episode of The Simpsons and decided to look up its significance – it’s pretty interesting. From Project Britain:

“St. Swithin’s Day is 15 July, a day on which people watch the weather for tradition says that whatever the weather is like on St. Swithin’s Day, it will continue so for the next forty days.

There is a weather-rhyme is well known throughout the British Isles since Elizabethan times. copied from projectbritain.com

image: cathedral‘St. Swithin’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin’s day if thou be fair
For forty days ’twill rain nae mair.’

dost = does
thou = you
nae mair = no more.

Who was St. Swithin?

St. Swithin (or more properly, Swithun) was a Saxon Bishop of Winchester. He was born in the kingdom of Wessex and educated in its capital, Winchester. He was famous for charitable gifts and building churches.”

Ida B. Wells-Barnett: 16 July 1862 – 25 March 1931

On Thursday, 16 July, the Google doodle honoured Ida B. Wells-Barnett, noted African-American journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, Georgist, and early leader in the Civil Rights Movement. From Black Past:

Activist and writer Ida B. Wells-Barnett first became prominent in the 1890s because she brought international attention to the lynching of African Americans in the South. Wells was born a slave in Holly Springs, Mississippi, in 1862. At the age of 16, she became primary caregiver to her six brothers and sisters, when both of her parents succumbed to yellow fever.  After completing her studies Rust College near Holly Springs where her father had sat on the board of trustees before his death, Wells divided her time between caring for her siblings and teaching school. She moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1880s.

Wells first began protesting the treatment of black southerners when, on a train ride between Memphis and her job at a rural school, the conductor told her that she must move to the train’s smoking car. Wells refused, arguing that she had purchased a first-class ticket. The conductor and other passengers then tried to physically remove her from the train. Wells returned to Memphis, hired a lawyer, and sued the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Company. The court decided in her favor, awarding Wells $500. The railroad company appealed, and in 1887, the Supreme Court of Tennessee reversed the previous decision and ordered Wells to pay court fees. Using the pseudonym “Iola,” Wells began to write editorials in black newspapers that challenged Jim Crow laws in the South. She bought a share of a Memphis newspaper, the Free Speech and Headlight, and used it to further the cause of African American civil rights.

After the lynching of three of her friends in 1892, Wells became one of the nation’s most vocal anti-lynching activists. Calvin McDowell, Thomas Moss, and Henry Stewart owned the People’s Grocery in Memphis, but their economic success angered the white owners of a store across the street. On March 9, a group of white men gathered to confront McDowell, Moss, and Stewart. During the ensuing scuffle, several of the white men received injuries, and authorities arrested the three black business owners. A white mob subsequently broke into the jail, captured McDowell, Moss, and Stewart, and lynched them.

Ms. Wells-Barnett made a stand against discrimination approximately 70 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on that bus in Montgomery, Alabama. From the Huffington Post:

When Ida B. Wells was 22, she was asked by a conductor of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company to give up her seat on the train to a white man. She refused, and the conductor attempted to forcibly drag her out of her seat.

Wells wouldn’t budge.

“The moment he caught hold of my arm I fastened my teeth in the back of his hand,” she wrote in her autobiography. “I had braced my feet against the seat in front and was holding to the back, and as he had already been badly bitten he didn’t try it again by himself. He went forward and got the baggageman and another man to help him and of course they succeeded in dragging me out.”

The year was 1884 — about 70 years before Rosa Parks would refuse to give up her seat on an Alabama bus.

Wells’ life was full of such moments of courage and principle. Born into slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862, Wells was a vocal civil rights activist, suffragist and journalist who dedicated her life to fighting inequality.

On July 16, Wells’ 153rd birthday, Google honored the “fearless and uncompromising” woman with a Doodle of her typing away on typewriter, a piece of luggage by her side.

16 July also marked the anniversary of the first atomic explosion, conducted in Alamogordo, New Mexico, in 1945. “Trinity” was the code name of the test, which was part of the Manhattan Project. That such horror could willfully be used on human beings after witnessing it, simply boggles the mind…

Two centenarians made the news; one local, one national. Locally, a woman who turned 108 years old on Saturday, 18 July, threw out the first pitch at the Seattle Mariners baseball game. She was escorted by a daughter and a grand-daughter and appeared to have enjoyed herself greatly…especially since the Mariners won the game that evening!

Credit: time.com

Nationally, Ms. Emma Didlake, the oldest living veteran in the United States, met with President Obama in the Oval Office on 18 July – she is 110 years of age. From the Huffington Post:

President Barack Obama met in the Oval Office on Friday with Emma Didlake, a 110-year-old who is the oldest living veteran in the United States.

Didlake joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1943 as a 38-year-old with five children, and served as a private and driver, WJBK reported. She earned the Women’s Army Corps Service Medal, American Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal for her service. After leaving the military, Didlake joined the Detroit chapter of the NAACP, and marched with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963, according to WJBK.

Last Friday, 17 July, marked the Yamaboko Junko parade, the larger of two parades held during the Gion Matsuri Festival – the smaller parade is being held today. From Japan Guide – Kyoto:

Gion Matsuri (祇園祭), the festival of Yasaka Shrine, is the most famous festival in Japan. It takes place over the entire month of July. There are many different events, but the grand procession of floats (Yamaboko Junko) on July 17 is particularly spectacular. Very enjoyable, are also the festive evenings preceding the procession (Yoiyama). From 2014, a second procession of floats was reintroduced on July 24 after a hiatus of 48 years. The second procession features fewer and smaller floats than the one on July 17.

Floats and History

The word Yamaboko refers to the two types of floats used in the procession: the 23 yama and 10 hoko. One of the main reasons the Gion Matsuri is so impressive is the enormity of the hoko, which are up to 25 meters tall, weigh up to 12 tons, and are pulled on wheels as big as people. Both yama and hoko are elaborately decorated and represent unique themes. The procession on July 17 features 23 yama and hoko, including most of the particularly impressive hoko, while the procession on July 24 features the remaining ten yama and hoko.

Another reason for the festival’s impressiveness is its long and almost uninterrupted history. It dates back to 869 as a religious ceremony to appease the gods during the outbreak of an epidemic. Even today, the festival continues the practice of selecting a local boy to be a divine messenger. The child cannot set foot on the ground from the 13th until after he has been paraded through town on the 17th.”

That’s something I’d love to see in person, someday.

Finally, today marks the observance of Children’s Day in Vanuatu. In Vanuatu, Children’s Day is celebrated on the July 24. “Stop violence against children”, and “Give a child the chance to express their opinion today”. After the march there are speeches and activities organized by schools, including a dance. Then, after midday, children return home to spend time with their parents for the rest of the day. Children’s Day is a public holiday, set up following a recommendation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. A group of people in the United Nations monitor and protect children’s rights. A committee, with both adult and child members, organizes activities. In the past, a committee of adults has chosen the theme – but in the future children may help choose it.

Children’s Day originally took place only in the capital of Vanuatu, but it has now been extended to all 6 provinces. Schools, churches, local governments of the provinces and other local organizations all organize activities. Save the Children supports one Children’s Day activity in each province, selecting it from the many requests they receive for support. In 2008, one of the activities supported by Save the Children was a sports day between many different schools.

I’m sure I’ve rambled on long enough, so I’ll close with a song. I’m enjoying the new acquaintances I’m making online, both in-game and here on my little blog. Nice to meet all of you. Glad you stopped in to visit, and I hope you enjoyed your stay. Have a great weekend, everyone!  🙂

 

Protected: ESO Fan Fiction: Search For the Sky-Crystals – Part III

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Monday Musings…

Credit: my-purple-dreams.blogspot.com

Sometimes I just sit quietly and think about things. When I think, I listen to music. Here are three songs that reflect what I’ve been thinking about, recently…good songs, too. Enjoy.

🙂

Credit: boyerwrites.wordpress.com

 

The Power of Body Language

This is something that many people forget – great information, here!

M.C. Tuggle, Writer

Yojimbo2

Are you frustrated with your characters? Are they slowing down what should be a gripping, page-turning story? Maybe it’s time you got them off their rear ends and put them to work.

In my re-writes, I search the text for characters who THINK rather than ACT. When I spot a cerebral, lackluster character, I start re-staging the scene like a director, deciding how the characters should approach and look at one another. When I’ve done my job, every character will be in motion. His tone of voice, eye movements, expressions, and stance will reflect and amplify his emotions and attitudes. THEN each character can tell a compelling story.

Body language is one of the most powerful tools a writer can use. When we express our characters’ emotions and thoughts in concrete, physical terms, we pull the reader deeper into the story.

In my sci-fi short story Aquarius, the protag…

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