Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Music Albums Top Picks--Honorable Mention: Thriller by Michael Jackson

This is my attempt at making a top ten list of my fave albums. As per Jon and IDV, there can be no greatest hits or compilation albums. That's a bummer, since I have a lot of greatest hits albums, and they are some of my favorites ever. Let's be honest, a lot of albums have one of two good songs, and the rest are meh, forgettable.

I don't have a top ten. But I do have faves on heavy rotation. But there are also some great honorable mentions. These are albums with great songs, but I don't necessarily play a lot. The songs that get played a lot are the upbeat, fast, danceable ones. They pump me up or make it a party when I just wanna dance and have fun.

But some of the albums get played when I am in a certain mood, like wanting to relax, or feeling blue, or just wanting to set the mood. I have lots of albums.

And by albums, I mean CDs, with a few cassette tapes. Most of the songs I get now are in mp3 form. Those I burn to make mix CDs or save on a hard drive to make a playlist on a USB stick. The technology may have changed, but we still love making our own mix tapes of fave tunes.

And in the spirit of Halloween, the first honorable mention is Thriller by Michael Jackson.

Yes, it's an iconic album. And yes, it's full of great songs, like Beat It and Billie Jean. And of course, Wanna Be Startin' Somethin, with the famous lines, "Mama-say mama-sah ma-ma-coo-sah". I have no clue what that means, and I doubt anyone else knows what it means. Still a great hook though.

The biggest has to be Thriller, with the fantastic dance beat and those incredible dance moves that set the standard for all music videos.

It is a Halloween and Zombie Festival Classic! But for me, my fave song out of the album is definitely Human Nature. This song was originally written and created by Toto, and they agreed to lend the song and make the music for Michael Jackson.

It is unlike any other song Michael Jackson has ever done. And the wistful and unique sound draws me in and takes me on a journey. It is one of my two favorite Michael Jackson songs.

Michael Jackson: Human Nature

Yesterday, I got up early and made chocolate and pecan candies for my coworkers. It's my delicious way of wishing them a Happy Halloween. Skull and Bones--perfect for Halloween, Zombie Fests, and Pirate Parties!

I'm off today to enjoy Halloween. I have plans. I hope you have a FUNtastic and Happy Halloween! Don't forget to buy all the candy going on sale tomorrow! Be safe and Happy Halloween!

Related Links
Bad by Michael Jackson

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Good Help

It's been raining these past few days. And it was gray and sprinkling when I got out of work early. I headed over to a friend's workplace, to wait a few minutes before heading out to meet the others for happy hour. A little rain won't damper our parade.

As I waited, I began talking to some of my friend's workers. They were young college students, part time workers, earning money to pay bills and tuition. They were industrious and mindful of their work. My friend says they're good help, which is rare to find in people their age. And they were friendly, upbeat, and very social. I quite enjoyed talking and laughing with them.

Then radio began playing Lady Gaga's Poker Face.

Imagine my surprise when I heard one of them exclaim, "I love this old song!"

I was like, 'Old? Poker Face is not old!'

Then I heard another exclaim, "Yeah, I was in the fifth grade when this came out."

I started doing the math. This song was only ten years old. Then I realized. Holy crap! That's half these kids lives! And then suddenly, I felt old.

I felt even older when we started discussing favorite singers. They love Lady Gaga, of course, Ariana Grande, and believe Beyoncé as the best entertainers ever. They think Britney Spears is old school!

When they asked me for my fave female entertainers I named Tina Turner, Madonna, Cher, and Whitney Houston as some of my faves. They nodded, signaling that they knew who these musicians were. But when I also mentioned Janet Jackson, I got blank stares.

And when one of them asked, "Who is Janet Jackson?"

I about had a heart attack! Who is Janet Jackson!?! Who is JANET JACKSON!?!?!?! And they looked serious, too. They didn't know who Janet Jackson is!

I prayed, 'Tallulah Bankhead, Grant me your strength as I bitch slap some knowledge into these ignorant fools!'*

But before I could school these ignoramuses on who Janet Jackson is--Miss Jackson, if you're nasty!--it was time to clock out, and they escaped before I could act.

I told my friend about the conversation and how it made me feel old all of a sudden. He laughed and said, "We may be old, but we're old enough to have a drink!"

And that lifted up my spirits and we joined our other friends for happy hour. And after a few drinks and with good company, I forgot all about feeling old and laughed the night away.

*A maid took Tallulah Bankhead to court, claiming the actress had smacked her around, because the maid failed to roll a joint properly. When asked by reporters to comment, Tallulah Bankhead said, "Good help is hard to find."

Monday, October 22, 2018


I was in the mood for some buttered crackers dipped in sweet hot tea. I had the tea and butter, but no crackers. So off to the store I went. I was going to buy my usual plain saltines, but I got curious about the varieties present in the store.

I stood in front of the crackers aisle, trying to decide which type of crackers to buy. I picked up a box of an intriguing flavor and started reading the ingredients and nutritional information.

Suddenly, a hand reached for a box of crackers in front of me, and a woman's voice from behind me said, "I'm just going to give you a reach around."

I couldn't resist replying, "That's the best offer I've had all week!"

She blushed and laughed out loud and said, "I just wanted to get my hands on some crackers."

So I said, "You can call it whatever you want. You're welcome to it!"

We both left the crackers aisle laughing.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Dinner with friends

Once a week, I eat out with some friends, a couple I've known since college. This summer, we've been mostly eating at Chili's. And that's usually because we never plan ahead and Chili's is where we end up going, after a short session of: "Where do you want to go?" and "I don't know...", then "What do you feel like eating?" and "Whatever". And I usually end up suggesting Chili's. I like the food at Chili's. So Chili's it is.

But last week, the couple decided it was time for something different. I was curious if they'd join me and my other friends for happy hour or maybe karaoke. But no, they got as far as saying they'll pick the place to eat next time, and it won't be at Chili's.

Last night, I arrived at their house. We were going to carpool to dinner. I was still in my work clothes, which my friends had assured me were appropriate for the dinner setting. On the way, we made a quick stop at a bakery for pound cake. Dessert for later, I thought. Nice.

My friends were mum about where we were going to eat. And when we turned into a residential area, I wondered, 'Are we going to a party?' and got a little excited.

Soon we pulled up to a house with lots of cars parked in front and all up the side of the road. I asked, "Is this a house party"?

My friends looked at each other, then she said, "They'll be lots of people here. And the food is going to be delicious."

"Sweet!," I said. I followed my friends into the house. There were lots of people. They introduced me to some of them. A very serious, somber crowd, I thought. They seemed nice, though, if a little down for a party. But I smiled and shook hands. Maybe some good music and dancing ought to liven them up. I could smell the delicious food in the kitchen before I saw the wonderful spread on the table. Yum!

My friends quickly pulled me aside and said, "We just have to say a prayer before we can eat."

"Sure. No problem," I said. I grew up praying before eating, and I've been to events where people pray before the feast. I then noticed an elderly gentleman, with a rosary bead, holding a bible. He stood up and called everyone into the living room.

It got crowded. I noticed more people with rosaries. 'Huh. Interesting,' I thought.

Then the old man asked us to sit. My friends and I were squeezed into one end of a sectional. Other people sat down on the carpet. Then the elderly man spoke a few words. He spoke about someone as the reason we were gathered. The guest of honor, I thought. Then the old man said, "Let us pray for his soul," pulled out his rosary, and started praying.

And then it hit me. This wasn't a party. This was a funeral! A Catholic funeral! No, actually, this was a novena! The nine days of prayer, starting the day the deceased was buried! I looked at my friends incredulously! These bitches brought me to a funeral! For someone they knew but was a total stranger to me!

'What the f*ck?' is what I wanted to say to them, but it was neither the time nor the place. God was watching, especially now that we started praying! So instead, I joined in the rosary. And started praying like the good Catholic schoolboy I was in my younger days.

I figured, I've been to a novena before, so the rosary should take no more than twenty minutes. I can hang. But I was wrong. So very wrong! That was a Polish novena, short and sweet. This was a Latino novena, and they stretched out the rosary and prayers! When we prayed passed thirty minutes, I was like, What's going on? Why is the rosary taking so long?

At the one hour mark, I was tempted to get up and stretch. My butt had fallen asleep. I was inwardly cursing my friends for bringing me here, me for being stupid enough to carpool here because now I can't leave, and I chastised myself for losing focus on the prayers; it was disrespectful of me to be so selfish at a funeral. Someone died, for God's sake! Suck it up! You're still alive to complain!

At the hour and a half mark, I was praying fervently to the Virgin, sweet mother Mary, please deliver me from this place! They're still praying! And I'm not even Catholic. The numbness from my butt has moved down my thighs and legs. I fear I may never walk again! Please take me up to the heavens! Help me get out of here!

At this point, I briefly entertained the thought of asking for the ground to open up and swallow me. If getting out of here meant going through hell, so be it. Unless I was all ready in hell, because it was starting to feel like it. Especially with this endless cycle of repetitive praying and being trapped on an uncomfortable, crowded sofa with people sitting in front of me, boxing me in. If I stood up, everyone would notice! Now I prayed even harder to Mary for deliverance!

At the hour and forty five minutes mark, I began praying to the Buddha. Dear Buddha, I've never prayed to you before, and I'm not sure if I'm doing this right. But if you can, please get me out here!

At the two hour mark, it was finally over! Sweet Jesus, it was finally over! Thank you Buddha! I could finally stand! My legs hurt! But thank God (and Buddha!) that I could still walk, and that it was over! I didn't even care about the food anymore. At this point, it was a relief to just be able to move around freely after being confined to an uncomfortable, hard sofa for two long hours!

The atmosphere changed from somber to celebratory as the people started telling funny stories about the deceased. And while I didn't think I cared about the food anymore, I was ravenous after the marathon session of praying.

My friends looked sheepishly at me and said, "The food's great, right?"

And it was. Shrimp, meatballs, tuna casserole, and chicken Caesar salad were among the many delicious foods served. Plus the lemon glazed pound cake my friends had picked up at the bakery.

I said, "Oh, definitely!!! The food is awesome."

My friends smiled, "Glad you came?"

To which I replied, "Hell no! If I'd known where we were going tonight, I would not have come! Why did y'all bring me here? I don't know any of these people!"

My friend said, "They're from church. We just found out that the funeral was today. Since we couldn't leave work for the funeral, we thought it best to attend the first night of prayers. And we didn't want to miss out on our weekly dinner outing with you tonight. And besides, we knew there'd be good food here."

"So you thought you could kill two birds with one stone," I said, "Go to a funeral and have dinner with me at the same time?"

"Yup," my friend said, "At least it's a change from Chili's right?"

"It sure is!," I said, "At least at Chili's, I ain't got to pray for two hours before I can eat! That's the last time I let you all pick the place to eat! And that's the last time I carpool with ya'll! Next time, we take my car, so I can escape!"

Next week's dinner, I get to pick the place. And if they don't feel like Chili's, I'm taking them to my favorite Mexican restaurant: Taco Bell.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Mariposa de la Muerte

Today I had a most intriguing visitor. Perched on the corner of the front entrance was a big, beautiful, black witch butterfly.

To the Aztecs and some natives tribes across the Sonora and Chihuahua deserts, this beautiful creature was a messenger from the death gods, an omen of death. This belief has carried over to some parts of South Texas: If a black witch butterfly flies into the home of ailing person, that ill person will die soon. Hence, the name, Mariposa de la Muerte, the Butterfly of Death.

But more than a death omen, black witch butterflies are believed by other tribes to be the souls of loved ones, come back to visit the living, especially in the fall. This native belief has merged with colonial influence and developed into the Dia de los Muertos festival.

Growing up, I was taught that butterflies and moths were the souls of loved ones who passed on, come back to visit us and bring us blessings. To see them is a sign good luck and prosperity. I just think that they are enchanting and marvelous and gorgeous. And I love that they symbolize transformation and change for the better.

I'm looking forward to good luck this week!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Sitter

I've been busy. I took off last week, to use up excess vacation days I've accumulated from working overtime. I had until the end of the month to use them or lose them. And I definitely wasn't going to lose them.

I usually don't use a house sitter, but one of my friends was having a family reunion on his wife's side. He happened to have his brother visiting at the same time. His place was crowded, so I offered up my place for his brother to stay in while I was gone.

My friend and his brother arrived the evening that I was leaving. I gave them a quick tour of the place. And I let them know to call me in case of emergencies. Before I left, the brother asked if there was anything he could do to help out around the place while I was gone.

I said, "Nothing important. But if you have a few minutes, you could look after my plants."

I pointed at the three colorful mixture of flowering plants adorning my living room--a blooming cactus, some vibrant orchids, and some bright yellow mums. I said, "I usually dust them once a week."

The brother raised an eyebrow and said, "You mean water them once a week?"

I said, "No, just dust them with this duster," and pointed out the duster and continued, "These plants are fake, plastic ones. If they get really dusty, I rinse them under the tap and dry them outside."

My friend asked, "Why do you have fake plants?"

I said, "Because they look good and I can't grow plants. Anyway, real or fake, flowers are lovely to look, and they make me happy when I see them in all their wonderful varieties. They are nature's wonders! Just like boobs, real or fake, big or small, I love looking at their glorious shapes and sizes. They are nature's gifts!"

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Be good to your boobs. Check for lumps and bumps and see your healthcare provider for any questions or concerns.