Deadly Earthquake & Tsunami in Japan: In Our Prayers – On my Mind…

“I’m heartbroken by this tragedy. I think when you see what’s happening in Japan you are reminded that for all our differences in culture or language or religion, that ultimately humanity is one. And when we face these kinds of natural disasters, whether it’s in New Zealand or Haiti or Japan, then you think about your own family and you think how would you feel if you lost a loved one, or if your entire lifesavings were gone because of ...

How to Get Rid of Groundhogs from Your Garden

Happy Groundhog Day! Groundhogs (also known as woodchucks) may appear cute and harmless, predicting the weather trends every February 2nd. But they are anything but harmless! For gardeners, they can be a real pest to get rid of! These little critters have a huge appetite for all things green. They will eat everything in sight. You could wake up one morning to find all of your beautiful flowers and plants gone! And on top of all that destruction, the burrows they ...

Fun Flower Facts: Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia)

Is that some kind of brush? Nope, it’s a flower called the red hot poker! Red Hot Poker, also known scientifically as Kniphofia (knee-FOE-fee-ah), is a genus of about 70 exotic plants native to South Africa that produces brightly-coloured spiky flowers in shades of red, orange, yellow or a combination of these colours.  These dramatic, eye-catching plants can grow to be 2 to 5 feet high. Kniphofias are popular cultivated plants, as they are easy to grow and hardy! They produce the ...

On Happiness: Ten Things On My Mind…

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” Frederick Keonig On Happiness: Ten Things On My Mind... Breath. Life. Grace... Breath. Life. Grace. If you’ve ever been in a situation where you saw your life flash before you and knew, after the fact, that grace saw you through, it would give you perspective on all the petty stuff we find ourselves quibbling over ...

Musings: A Bundle Of Ideas…

“You do things when the opportunities come along. I’ve had periods in my life when I’ve had a bundle of ideas come along, and I’ve had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I’ll do something. If not, I won’t do a damn thing.” Warren Buffett Musings: A Bundle Of Ideas... Tangy's words of wisdom Ideas: They come, they go… Just take it slow. In this post, an exercise in briefness, Tangy shares some of his ideas/wisdom and wishes all ...

Whirling Dervishes

We entered a cave and passed through a tunnel that opened into a theater carved from rock. The blistering heat of the day couldn’t reach through tons of insulating rock. We were in Cappadocia, here to see the famous Whirling Dervishes. I knew little about them, aside from that song “Maria” in The Sound of Music, where singing nuns complain that Maria could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl. I remember wondering what this meant but never bothered to find ...

Fun and Creative Garden Planters and Containers

Forget about using flower pots! Add personality and fun to your garden with some of these planter ideas. Plus, you will be helping the environment by keeping these items from the landfill. 1. Got an old useless car in your garage? Turn it into a planter! 2. Or maybe a bike, which is a lot more affordable! 3..   Got too many shoes and don’t know what to do? You can turn some of your shoes into garden planters. 4.  Repurpose old furniture, like drawers, ...

How to make Old Fashioned Rose Skin Cream

Want to make your own lotion? It’s inexpensive and easy to do! Ingredients: 2 tbsp aloe vera gel 3 oz almond oil 1 oz lanolin 2 oz warmed rose water (Learn how to make your own rose water) 1/8 tsp USP borax rose essential oil or perfume (optional) Instructions: In a blender mix aloe vera and almond oil. Pour into top of double boiler and melt in lanolin over the hot water. Remove from heat and slowly add the warmed rose water to which borax has been added, while beating at medium ...

How Sin Mirrors HIV

Today I have an article featured on the Life section of Provoketive Magazine online. Provoketive is a great site that takes an unconventional look at issues of faith. My piece addresses the under-reported medical fact that HIV doesn’t actually kill people – it merely allows other bacteria, viruses or infections to do the actual killing. That pattern is ironically similar to sin. Here’s an excerpt from How Sin Mirrors HIV: ========================= Death Lives Within Us We all know there are bacteria and other microscopic organisms ...

Clownish Celebrity Parenting

Last week, actress and ultra-all-natural mom Alicia Silverstone (who ironically starred in the movie Clueless) posted a home video on YouTube. In the clip she proceeded to feed her son – named Bear – by first chewing the food herself – and then feeding him mouth-to-mouth. Perhaps she might want to consider renaming Baby Bear something more appropriate, to something like…oh, I don’t know…perhaps Baby Bird – since she’s modeling the aviary regurgitation practice. Here’s the video: The first time I saw the video ...

Why People Can’t Stand Christians…

Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) courtesy of Wikipedia Over the holidays we spent time with some close family friends, and one of the topics that came up during our conversation was a seemingly growing distaste for Christians and Christianity in general. Through our discussion, it was obvious that the reasons for this perception are legion. However, one of the examples given during the talk shined a stark light on the issue. One of the individuals participating in our discussion had attended a series ...

Role of Kids in Your Family Life

Here’s a guest post from writer, Sophie Samuel. If you’d like to write a guest post for The Daily ReTORt, check out the guidelines here: Children are an integral part of a family and a home. A newly married couple waits anxiously for the birth of their first child and for more thereafter. We all love sound of little feet running around the house, the mischief and prank, the unbridled laughter and so many other joys that only kids can give. Now what exactly is the ...

8 Least Favorite Fruits

I love virtually all vegetables and fruits. But let’s be honest, not all fruits are worth eating. In fact, some might only be sanctioned for consumption in a post-apocalyptic-global-thermo-nuclear-war scenario. Such is the case for the following eight fruits that are simply not fit to eat otherwise. 8. Prunes - I rather enjoy plums but somehow during the dehydration process to metamorph into a prune, all the tart deliciousness gets sucked out and gets replaced with the blechy flavor of nursing home, moth balls, Geritol and Ensure. 7. Mango/Papaya/Pineapple/Akee – The very thought ...

30 Nights of Solitude

Last night was my third evening home after 30 nights of solitude spent in a bed far far away. A month was long enough for me to form an intimate relationship with nocturnal privacy, where my thoughts were free to roam naked down the carpeted halls of my mind, bumping into only myself on the way to the bathroom. “Excuse me. Oh! It’s just me.” It was a luxurious fling. A sprawling self-indulgence of fluffed pillows, and scrolling paragraphs — the ...

10 Women I’d Like to Have a Glass of Wine With

I’ve noticed several blogs recently that have posted “10 Women I’d Like to Have a Glass of Wine With,” and I’ve developed such a list myself now.  My mother, Barbara Burnham Rutter, who died two weeks after I turned eighteen. I’d love to catch her up on how things have gone for me. I might leave out a few stories, just to keep the conversation on an even keel. My grandmother, Mazie VanderWyk Burnham, who died on a Christmas day while, thirty miles away, ...

How did you propose to your fiancee???

How did you propose to your fiancee???

Check out this surprise marriage proposal video, it starts a little slow but it's necessary to set the back story for the couple.  It got me thinking about my own proposal, which I share below - I'd love to hear about yours! My wife (Kim) and I have been happily married for 16 years. While we've had our ups and downs, I wouldn't trade any of it - but it all began when I asked her to marry me in a ...

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Stephen - The Chubby Chatterbox
June 29, 2012, 8:58 am

Sex On Mountain Road

A few days ago I was on my way to a dental appointment when an impulse prompted me to detour through our old neighborhood. Years had passed since I’d driven down these streets and I saw a street sign that made me smile. It wasn’t a traffic sign; it was one of those chin-high decorative brick walls that announce the name of a new housing development or apartment complex. I pulled to the curb and studied it. Written on the bricks:

SEXTON MOUNTAIN ROAD

Sexton Mountain Road was a development of comfortable homes named for the street leading up to an unimpressive bluff called Sexton Mountain. The sign was in good shape, without any vandalism. This was intriguing because I remembered when this sign was created. The letters spelling out the name were made of individual pieces of wood attached to the brick backdrop. Thieves thought it great fun to steal the “T,” creating a message that made the prurient giggle:

SEX ON MOUNTAIN ROAD

The Operations Department in our city was responsible for maintaining signs, and replaced the “T” dozens of times. These letters always disappeared. They were eventually replaced with painted letters that couldn’t be stolen. Taggers wasted little time painting out the “T.” The poor fellows at Ops were constantly sent to repaint the “T,” but the problem persisted.

A police car was dispatched to persuade vandals to keep their spray cans away from the sign but the cops could never apprehend anyone in the act of vandalizing the sign. It was as if the taggers had an informant at City Hall warning them when a squad car was near. One tagger did more than paint out the letter “T.” He was skillful enough to execute a trompe l’oeil painting, clever enough to fool the eye; not only was the letter painted out but the tagger skillfully recreated the bricks beneath the letter to hide the fact that it had ever been there.

Mrs. Chatterbox worked for our city’s Operations Department at the time; she told me the city was going to repaint the sign and shield it with a sheet of bullet-proof plastic. And so they did, but the plastic vanished after a few days, along with the freshly restored letter “T.” Residents of our city gave up on a solution being found for this problem and began referring to the street as SEX ON MOUNTAIN ROAD.

As I sat there staring at the sign, my fingers itching, I was distracted by fond memories. Drives at midnight. Excuses to utilize my artistic skills and play with pompous concepts like trompe l’oeil. Yes, those were the days. Interesting that the sign was now left alone, with no one sullying it with wanton acts of disobedience.

But then I didn’t live in the neighborhood anymore.

Stephen - The Chubby Chatterbox

Stephen - The Chubby Chatterbox

Visit Stephen Hayes’ blog Chubby Chatterbox for excerpts from Hayes’ memoir The Kid in the Kaleidoscope, a collection of observations about growing up in the Fifties, Sixties and beyond. The Chubby Chatterbox is an unabashedly sentimental journey seen through the eyes of an artist, traveler and world-class screw-up.

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