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I think it’s time we updated our favorite fairy tales to more closely match what our children are learning in the real world every day. Hey, we live in a truly magical time where we can stay kids forever, no worries about growing up, no need to work, everything is free and equal. How great is that? Let’s take a look and see how our favorite stories have evolved over time, you know, much the way our elected officials do. So do like pajama-boy; grab a blanky, put on your pj’s and let someone else do the reading for you. It’s story time at the liberal daycare…

Hi Red. I'm from the government and I'm here to help..

Hi Red. I’m from the government and I’m here to help..

Let’s start with Goldilocks and the three bears. Goldilocks broke into the home of the three bears and became a squatter, supported by the “Occupy the Enchanted Forest” movement, protesting against the 1% of magical creatures who own 99% of the magical dwellings. A local judge, who determined that property rights weren’t all that magical, allowed her to stay until the eviction process ran its course. Three years later, Goldilocks left the three bears with over $150,000 dollars in damages and $500,000 in legal fees. They declared bankruptcy and were unable to maintain their home. They were forced to move out of their house after local authorities condemned it.

There was an old lady who lived in a shoe; she had so many children, she didn’t know what to do. Many suggested she might try to curb her promiscuity, but they were “outed” as being soldiers in the “War on ladies who live in shoes.” So she went down to the local welfare office and got an EBT card, SSI for her children, fuel assistance, food stamps and put her children on “Fairy-Tale Care Act” insurance until they were twenty-six. Once a month she brings all of her daughters to Planned Parenthood for their magical monthly women’s health procedures.

Geogie Porgie pudding and pie, kissed the girls and made them cry. That was until his elementary school principal expelled him and had him arrested for sexual harassment. He was transferred to a juvenile center for re-education in gender sensitivity and womyn’s studies. Years later, he married his long-time partner “Little” Jack Horner who finally came out of the corner. Their wedding was officiated by the Fairy Godmother. A wonderful cake was provided by “Baker-man, Baker-man” who, after initially refusing to bake a cake for what he called a “make-believe wedding,” was sued by the state, lost in court and was ordered to bake the cake under penalty of death. He was audited years later and was arrested for tax evasion. He is currently serving fifteen years.

Jack and the beanstalk is a story about a young man who decided to risk his money in a start-up bean farm venture. Unfortunately for Jack, one-hundred and fifty thousand “unaccompanied Giant minors” came down the beanstalk and took over the land. The unaccompanied giants consumed all the food and social services and soon, everyone was poor. Poor, but equal. With the exception of the evil “Goose that laid the golden eggs;” he was the only one working, supplying capital and creating jobs and they hated him dearly. He was also a member of the dreaded “tea and crumpets” party, which made him even quite ickier. He was soon dispatched for Foie Gras and eventually, no one was able to pay for food and services to the poor. Which was pretty much everyone.

Maybe we should read the old favorite, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. You see, the dwarfs would go into the forest to work for days at a time, but failed to protect the borders of their little dwelling. Now the story has been updated to “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, twenty Mexicans, thirteen Guatemalans, ten Nicaraguans and five Hondurans.” Snow White died from tuberculosis.

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey. Fairy-Tale government officials however, changed the school lunch policy, so now she only gets nutritious veggie-burgers and wilted asparagus, except on Fridays when she gets a slice of gluten-free pizza topped with low-fat skim mozzarella. Poor little Muffet usually throws half of her meal away and goes hungry. One day, her mother sent her to school with a brown bag filled with wonderful curds and whey, but it was confiscated by the nutrition czar and she was sent home with a strongly worded written reprimand for her mother. Child protective services were called to monitor Mrs. Muffet’s child-rearing skills.

Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack was arrested for tampering with a public water supply and the EPA fined Jill for destruction of the habitat of an endangered magical species, the “well-dwelling snail darter,” even though the well was on their property. Both went to jail for five years and subsequently were unable to find work with a criminal background. Jack is now living in public housing on that most magical of money; fairy-tale assistance. Jack is on disability and is also addicted to crystal meth. Jill currently lives under a bridge with a troll who is her pimp.

Well boys and girls, that’s it for story time; time for you to finish your soy milk and celery sticks before the afternoon nap. And remember, you’re special, but not much so. You’re unique, but no different than anyone else. You can get whatever you want in life, as long as there is someone  to take it from and someone else to make them give it to you. Because, you deserve it. You can do anything you want in life, except think for yourself and speak certain words. Remember, Mommy and Daddy love you, just not as much as the state loves you and we’ll always be here to provide you with legal services if they ever decide to spank you. In fact, it’d be much easier if you just stayed here in Fairy-Tale land where you’ll never have to work, you can get anything you want and never have to grow up to be responsible for yourselves. Now isn’t that magical?

Sleep tight kiddies….


I vowed to make this summer a lot better than last year’s. I started the season last year by ripping my right bicep completely off my arm on Memorial Day. Ouch. So summer was sweltering on the couch, watching the season go by with my arm tightly bound across my mid-section. And of course, too many pain medicines that made me quite a bit more disoriented than I am on a regular basis. As frightening as that actually is…At least I had my guitar to help me rehab. Other than that, summer was shot, totally shot. And if you count the days with your children as closely as I do, that was one wasted summer, time I won’t get back. Time we should have spent hiking, or kayaking or…pretty much anything other than, as my youngest puts it, “doing a rather hilarious impression of a T-rex.”

So this year, I started early. I’ve been putting serious mileage on the bike. But that’s a little too solitary. What I longed for was time with the girls. And summer is here. Let’s roll.

My eldest and I put the short boats in the water this weekend. I’m still a little gun shy about putting my big boat on the rack; nervous to really lift anything, even though it’s been a while since I recovered. No matter, the short boats were perfect for the lake. Temps were slated for the mid eighties and the humidity was nil. We were in the water before 8:30.

It’s funny, but as I watch them grow, no matter the age, I’m still fascinated by what fascinates them. This year, it’s all about her camera. So I’m looking for quiet time with her, she’s looking for the perfect shot. So be it. As long as we’re together, it doesn’t matter the agenda.

It wasn’t until we got home that it dawned on me; she has an eye for it. I’ve spent a while with her, trying to get her to understand framing the shot, but she has less patience than I do. Of course, that’s because she has the more artistic eye. She can see the shot in her minds eye, sets it up well before she gets there. Then it’s just setting the camera correctly and she’s off.

I looked at the couple of hundred pictures she took and it was weird. Usually, I’m on the camera and it’s all about the kids, in this shot, that pose, yaddi-yadda. Not so with her. She sees the beauty in things around her, no matter how insignificant it may seem.

We put in near the landing at the canoe launch, and were no more than 100 yards off shore when a Loon decided that it’d be real neat to pop up about 8 feet from her boat. It was no wonder the surprise didn’t send her over. She froze, with the exception of her fingers finding the exposure she needed, getting the focus correct and trying to steady herself in the small tippy boat. He just floated along side of her, curious, unafraid. I had to remind her that we’d need to move away, it’s the law. She got the shot anyway. I didn’t see it until we got home and dropped it into the computer. Not a bad shot if I say so myself. Untouched. She didn’t have a zoom lens and you can still see the beads of lake water on his cheek.

Hey,,howzit goin'?

Hey,,howzit goin’?

We were still about an hour out before we rounded the cove under a footbridge. We turned away from the open water to the shore and found it guarded by a sentinel of great beauty. Like his friend, he stood motionless, letting us get ridiculously close, probably 20 yards away. He didn’t leave until a noisy pair of kids paddled up beside us, excited and innocent, but still annoying anyway. He dropped his neck and took to his wings, dancing for a few steps across the smooth water before breaking up and over the tress.

Regal ambassador...

Regal ambassador…

It was still quite calm, even though we were pretty far out into the middle of the lake. We weren’t talking; I was concentrating on keeping my boat moving with its aging power plant creaking and moaning. Old bodies make weird noises. The only other noise was the gurgle under the boat as I got it up to speed; I love that sound. Nothing else to hear way out in the open water, no waves lapping, no wind, just the hiss and shush of the water breaking under the bow. Sweet. I didn’t hear her clicking away at the side of the boat, equally fascinated by the wake. I love the shot. It’s like sliding on glass when you’re out there; the water wasn’t even rippled by the wind. I felt like I was leaving tracks for those behind me, leaving footprints in an otherwise undisturbed land. Footprints that were fleeting, very little wake before the surface of the water healed the gash I had made and left no scar behind me where the wound was.

I could hear the water giggle as my boat tickled the surface of the lake...

I could hear the water giggle as my boat tickled the surface of the lake…

I hope that whatever power decides our fate and life span grants me many more opportunities to shut my mouth, open my eyes and listen to the world speak in it’s subtle, beautiful voice. And I hope he grants me the continued opportunities to share it with them, see it through their eyes and know that these moments define truly unimaginable wealth.


You gotta find your passion. Or at least have a hobby. I love writing; well…at least when I’m not juggling two jobs. I often find I’m struggling to get a blog written, usually well past bedtime or while I’m eating a harried lunch, the phone in one hand, catching up on all the work that piles up in the morning. Who has time for passion..yeesh..

Under Danni's Window

Under Danni’s Window

Well I at least managed to get my first book finished. “Under Danni’s Window” is a dark tale about a teen who struggles to define himself, tired of being a bullied outcast. Peter and his friends found themselves on the wrong end of the scale of popularity for most of their lives. Who gets to decide where others, or even ourselves, fall along the sliding scale that separates young teens into the “popular” crowd, the “jock” crowd, or even the bully or nerd segments? How different are they, really, from one another? We are all guilty of defining and pigeon-holing others along this sliding scale of distinction, with our own biases and preconceptions, explicitly or tacitly assigning others into roles we believe accurately define who they are, even if we know nothing about them as individuals. Those we wish to emulate or be near, those who frighten us, those who look different than we, all subject to a collective mind set that dictates their value and how we should treat them. Often, we struggle to change our position on the sliding scale even as we seek to keep others mired in their assigned roles; either because we wish to fit in somewhere and hope that we can deflect from our own shortcomings by labeling those we perceive to be “not like me at all”, or we struggle with our own identities, seeing superficially those traits in others who may or may not even remotely possess those very traits we hold in esteem or disdain. Such is the life of a young teen; it is as it’s always been, and probably always will be. As with most teens, Peter doesn’t consider these deeper meanings and questions in his struggle; nor does he recognize that the lines which define these segments can be vague and begin to blur once you struggle for your own identity.

I truly hope you find this an enjoyable read. And with favorable winds and if time is on my side, I look to have my second published by the end of fall. I have found my passion; I share it with you all.


The stuff of dreams and lazy fall afternoons...

If you grew up in rural America, chances are you spent some of your late summer or early fall at the local fair.  Fair season is here in New England and closing quickly.  The last few years I’ve been bringing my kids to the local and regional fairs and this year was no exception.  However, this was the year for me to finally let go of the hand of my eldest while she and her “BFF” shrieked away, partially due to the excitement and probably in some part due to the freedom from Dad, although I stealthily kept her in sight as dads are want to do.

Since I was going to be wandering the fair alone this year, I brought my black and white camera to see if there was a new perspective to be gained through the lens.  What is the charm of the rural fair? I wondered if the things I remembered growing up and the things I noticed as I grew older met anywhere in a middle of some sorts.  The starkness of the black and white was revealing.  Here are just a few of the over 200 pictures I took that one visit.  Click on any one to enlarge.  I hope you enjoy the images and can fill in your own memories from them.

Oh, and my apologies to Cary Grant for the lousy pun.

The midway is always a mix of people, sights sounds and smells.  For me, some experiences you don’t process until you’ve walked past them.

The Candy man....I walked quickly by....

I always find the people fascinating, and I do love greasy fair food.  I Can’t imagine missing a year without having at least one fried dough.  I was a little amused to see the  fried Oreos, fried Twinkies and even fried candy bars.

smell the heartburn...

Standing to the side, watching the traffic stroll by.

This one seemed a little empty all day long....

But our local fair seems to be old and tired and I think that they may have always seemed that way though I never noticed when I was younger.

that this attraction wasn't condemned is what's frightening.

I could see the excitement and joy on my daughters face as she and her friend chattered while queued for the various rides.  It was interesting that some of these rides were probably futuristic looking at one time, not so much now.  Did I notice if they were futuristic when I was 13?  Would she notice they were dated?

leaning out a little too far....

One bump too many?

What we imagined our future to look like?

Needless to say, I couldn't get the right shot from there...

As I looked closer, the wear and tear was everywhere, not even subtle, but masked nonetheless by the buzz of the experience.  How else could you overlook things that were so obvious, to the point where I started wondering if I should allow her to go on any of them?

No sparkle during the day, a slight gap in the blink at night...

Sun set over the midway. The lights not on yet....

Many seemed to pre-date me. From the carousel to the flying bobs, nothing seemed to escape the ravages of time, the dings and dents of a transient usage and levels of neglect.

Not to paint too bleak a picture, I wondered to myself if it was just this one fair, but I’m sure I had some of the same thoughts at other traveling midways.

Yet, not one of the rides failed while we were there, dutifully whirring and spinning as designed, even if not as sparkling and pretty as they once may have been.  I rode them all when I was younger, the Zipper my biggest nemesis.

Usually, the Ferris wheel is where I gravitate to, just to get out of the crowds and sit down for a while.

The animals held little appeal for me when I was younger, though friends I grew up with who were 4Her’s lived all year for this.  Now I find it rewarding to wind through the various barns to see who was breeding what.  Not having grown up on a farm, I actually find it fascinating.  Although, I wonder when the Alpacas and Llamas first made their appearances next to the pigs and goats.  I’m quite sure I never saw any in our small Maine town.

He was not amused....

yes, that's his bottom tooth..

I happened to see an Ox the size of a small pick up truck, his thunderous stamping causing the ground to shudder underneath the pen.  I came upon the draft horses during the pulling contest and again was amazed at the size of some of these animals.  One horse appeared to be the lead of his team and stood motionless with his head held high over the fence, oblivious to his team mates who were chewing furiously on the rail in front of them.  He wore the same expression of pride as his mud-covered handler.

he was very proud indeed...

A snack between events...

Just how does rural America live? I may not have grown up in an urban setting, but I wasn’t anywhere close to living on a functional farm.  The nearest I ever came were the part-time summer jobs baling hay and cleaning chicken barns (a job that would bleach my work clothes totally white in a week, boots included) that helped me pay for my summer activities.

Walking through the exhibit halls, one sees things that seem curious, but only to those outsiders.  A collection of over 100 different milk bottles.

What does one do, pray tell, with a 500 pound pumpkin, aside from winning the ribbon? Amusingly, I watched a 16-year-old girl kick the pants off a bunch of men trying to oust her from her log-rolling perch.  Is this a skill in demand? Or a pastime I am not privy to?  No judgment, just asking.  Of course, my favorite exhibit was the local woman selling her award-winning fudge…Well, second to the old tractors.

Big friggin' punkin....

Made by Aunt Bee.....

I want one....I don't know why.

Not too many brave souls wanted to be embarrassed...

I tried to analyze just who was playing those midway games of chance.

Some seemed to attract the very young families, the squirting water type games or ball toss.  Others seemed to be more obvious to betting, laying down a quarter on a color or a number while a ball rolled around the table, almost dropping into the depression that would make the bettor his money back.

I even chanced to see that 14-year-old boy, trying to win a prize for his crush, he all red-faced and embarrassed, she all proud and cheering him on while giggling to her friends.

It would seem that this is the only explanation for the appeal, the lure of these games.

Where else would you spend 5 or 6 dollars for a toy so cheap and gaudy that you wouldn’t give a quarter for it at a local yard sale?

Obvious: The cost of the prize is far outweighed by the value of the memory involved in attaining it.  And if my daughter had asked, I would have exhausted a pocket full of quarters to win the reggae banana, although no one could tell me what a reggae banana has to do with a fair in the middle of rural New Hampshire.

probably one of the cheapest games to run....

All this for a quarter!

Okay, now you're just being silly....

Reggae Banana? Why?

How does this look under the lights to a 3-year-old?

I asked several carnies if I could take their pictures and got indignant no’s from every one of them.  Some didn’t even bother to wait for the question, they either waved me off or turned quickly and walked away at the site of my camera, making sure their back was the only view I had.  A fertile imagination paints them as wanted by authorities, living on the lam, if you could only imagine someone so desperate.  There were some who were obviously local teens, working part-time yapping with friends, letting them cut line.  Still others seemed morose and distant, some old and grizzled, some lacking teeth, a few lacking in some faculties, most lacking in hygiene.  Not all though.  Several were bright and talkative, doing what they could to engage you as you walked by their game, imploring you to try a chance at the elusive reggae banana.  Where do these people come from, where do they go each night? Who do they go home to? What and where is home?

The daily grind....

Sometimes, even carnies get to ride....

He turned his back quickly, then walked away. I ruined his break.

Where does he go at the end of the day?

Boredom...

The grandstand was  close to full, folks watching the demolition derby.  As the sun started to throw long shadows from the exhibition buildings across the midway, every attraction  started to glow and twinkle to it’s own rhythm.  There seemed to be an endless stream of people still making their way from the dirt field parking lot into the midway.  The fair seemed to take on a whole different life at night, less like working, more like play.  As loud as the Midway was earlier, it seemed to increase in volume as the sun dropped away.  The black and white stills taken at night had their own charm, their own way of hiding the flaws and blemishes only visible if you sat long enough to watch the flickering pattern to discern where the gaps of missing lamps occurred.  And even though those flaws were still there, they didn’t seem to matter to anyone else, colored light or not, night-time or not, as people continued to wait in line for their fried dough’s, creaky rides or reggae bananas.  In all, I’d say worth the $10 admission for the whole day.  I’ll be back again next year.

The longest lines all day.....

My old favorite.....seems so small these days...

Still going at 11:00.....


The fountain of youth has only two wheels....

 

The midnight road plays hide and seek through the late-night ground fog. My thoughts are drowned out by the sound of the wind singing through my helmet as insects tap a morse code on my face shield. I ease into another gear as I hug the black ribbon of country back-road with the stars as the only other lights for miles and just for a moment, i’m eighteen again….

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