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Thursday, April 24, 2014

A to Z BLOG CHALLENGE...APRIL 24, 2014...LETTER U

A to Z CHALLENGE
Today's letter is.......U

Thank you for visiting! Comments welcome! Happy reading!

UNION STATION, KANSAS CITY - IS IT HAUNTED?

Is the Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri haunted? As your footsteps echo on the highly polished floors, your eyes are drawn upward. The vast ceiling is awe inspiring. Beautiful and intricate artwork, and huge chandeliers make you catch your breath. Voices are hushed, as you feel the history emanating from the walls.

You think of all the souls that have passed through this train station throughout the years..soldiers travelling to their next duty stations during WWII, regular travellers, and even fugitives from the law.

Built in 1914, Union Station operated for many years, until a slow decline in business forced it to close in 1985. After a renovation, in 1996, it was opened as a museum. By 2002, it was again being used as a train station, when Amtrak began service. There are many attractions, besides train travel to be seen here now. There is the museum's history and displays, kid friendly, hands on learning areas, restaurants, and gift shops.

Outside, you can go on an elevated walkway above the huge trains. You can feel the vibrations of the great engines, and look down at the tops of them. There are many photo opportunities in and around Crown Point, inside and out. The architecture is amazing.

We learned, too of the Union Station Massacre. It took place right outside, in 1933. The shooting took place, as FBI agents were transferring a fugitive back to Leavenworth prison. Gang members tried to free him from the agents, and a gun battle resulted in the fugitive being killed...his head blown off. You can still see bullet holes in the building's exterior walls.

I've heard it said that the headless fugitive's ghost roams around the station, now. Employees, during after hours, have seen and heard this, as well as other paranormal entities. There are reports of a lady, dressed in black, that walks up and down the stairs at night, and phantom travellers with suitcases roam around. Eerie train whistles can be heard, when no trains are there.

Union Station is a very interesting place to visit, even if you are not travelling. I would definitely urge you to go, if you are in the area.

Thanks for reading! If you'd like to, visit my other blog for the letter U. It is at http://teleportingweena.wordpress.com


Peace, Love, & Writing

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A to Z BLOG CHALLENGE...APRIL 22, 2014...LETTER T

A to Z CHALLENGE
Today's letter is......T

Thank you for stopping by! Comments welcome! Happy reading!

F-5 TORNADO

May 11, 1970, I experienced what an F-5 tornado can do.

It was the strongest tornado recorded in Texas history at the time. Twenty-six people died, and hundreds more were injured. The city was devastated.

I was just out of high school, attending evening classes at a business college downtown. Thunderstorms had developed, and we were dismissed early, around 9 p.m. or so. I had to wait for my dad to come pick me up.

As we drove through the downtown area, on our way home, there was an underpass we had to go under, but the wind, rain, and hail, was so bad, we instead, pulled in under a gas station awning, to wait it out.

We had no idea a tornado was bearing down on us.

As we watched in horror, things began flying through the air...all kinds of debris. Then, bricks from the gas station began to crash into the car windows, shattering glass all over us. We felt the front end of the car being lifted into the air, by the strong winds. We dove into the back seat, to take cover, where my knees were cut by the glass.

As it eased up a bit, we got out, hoping to make it to the next block where we knew there was a basement in the courthouse. It was a miracle we didn't get electrocuted from the downed power lines, as they snaked through the air and into the calf deep water in the road. Still, trying to stand and walk down the street, we finally made it to the courthouse, where lots of other people had taken shelter. We did finally go through a tunnel that led to the police station and emergency center.

It was chaos in there, with frightened people, dispatchers on their radios, policemen running around, and no one knowing just what to do. Eventually, we did go back up to the street. As my car was ruined, we found a person to give us a ride home. That was treacherous, also, considering all the debris in the streets, sparking power lines, and flooding.

We did make it home that night...around one o'clock in the morning. My mom and sister had gone to the cellar, and had no idea what had happened to us. The next day, we managed to go find my car to be towed home. We couldn't believe how lucky we'd been. The gas station building we'd been by, was completely destroyed...only a few standing bricks of the front wall remained. We'd come that close to being blown away. And beyond the underpass that we almost went through...complete devastation...everything leveled.

So, now 44 years later, when the anniversary of the May 11 tornado comes, I still have horrible tornado dreams. I never want to go through a tornado again, but living here in Tornado Alley, it is always a possiblility.

Thanks for reading! If you'd like to, visit my other blog for the letter T. It is at http://teleportingweena.wordpress.com


Peace, Love, & Writing



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A to Z BLOG CHALLENGE...APRIL 22, 2014...LETTER S

A to Z CHALLENGE
Today' letter is.......S

Thank you for visiting! Comments welcome! Happy reading!

PASS THE SALT & PEPPER, PLEASE

Do you like to collect things? How about salt and pepper shakers? I have quite a few sets that I've collected over the years. I find them at yard sales, flea markets, and thrift stores. Some were given to me as a gift, as friends and family members are always on the lookout for them.

Most of mine fall into the catagory of collectibles, antique, vintage, and novelty. Salt and pepper shakers come in all manner of materials. I have wooden, metal, plastic, and glass ones.

The novelty S & Ps are the cute ones, even though they can certainly be used at the table as their intended purpose. There are so many catagories to choose from to collect, as it suits your interests. You can pick one theme, or just randomly create your collection.

Some themes include animals of all types, holidays, kitchen wares, letters, clowns, souvenirs, lettters, advertising, and many more. Some can be very rare to find, very costly and valuable; others can just be fun to add to your collection.

I entered one of my salt and pepper shakers in the fair one time. It was a kangaroo, with the baby joey sitting in a pouch. I won a ribbon for it. The picture is similar to the one I have. What I need now, is a display case for all my sets.

For very little cost, you can start your own collections of salt and pepper shakers. It is a fun hobby and a great topic of conversation.



Thanks for reading! If you'd like to, visit my other blog for the letter S. It is at http://teleportingweena.wordpress.com



Peace, Love, & Writing

Monday, April 21, 2014

A to Z BLOG CHALLENGE...APRIL 21, 2014...LETTER R


A to Z CHALLENGE
Today's letter is........R

Thank you for stoppping by! Comments welcome! Happy reading!

RAIN ON ME!

It actually rained here on Saturday evening. I even heard a bit of thunder. Here in the semi-arid region of west Texas, rain, or the lack of it, is a main topic of conversation, everywhere you go. Everyone comments on us needing it, and will it ever rain again.

Some groups have prayer vigils for rain, others perform rain dances, and there has been times when the clouds were seeded with silver iodide or dry ice, to help bring the rain. We just never have enough.

At those times we do get a good rain, it causes flash flooding. A couple of those a year will be all we get. Our average rainfall for a year is only about 19 inches. That's on a good year!

You can actually feel the relief people have when even a small amount of rain falls. People begin smiling more, and are animated and energetic again. Lots of times we run outside, just to feel the rain on us, after being without for so long. Then the next day, everyone will ask "Did it rain at your house?", because sometimes it is hit or miss.

Rain clears the air of all the dusty, sandstorms, and seems to clear everyone's head from the monotonous dryness of this area.

So, I've been thinking of songs that mention rain. Here are a few. Can you think of others? Rain is a very popular topic in all genres of songs.

  • "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" by B.J. Thomas
  • "Rhythm of the Rain" by the Cascades
  • "November Rain" by Guns 'n Roses
  • "Fire and Rain" by James Taylor
  • "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • "A Hard Rain's a'Gonna Fall" by Bob Dylan
  • "Rainy Night in Georgia" by Brooks Benton
  • "Purple Rain" by Prince
  • "Rainy Days and Mondays" by the Carpenters
  • "Rain on the Roof" by the Lovin' Spoonful
  • "Kentucky Rain" by Elvis Presley
   Hope you've enjoyed reading about the rain! If you'd like to, visit my other blog for the letter R. It is at http://teleportingweena.wordpress.com


TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE (Thirty first installment)

TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
(31st installment)
warning.....adult content


                                                      CHAPTER 8

He walked out of the mountain village and down the twisty road, back to the highway. His head was reeling. He had no idea which way to go. He didn't want to go back home yet, so he started in the opposite direction, to the west...the same way Ghost had gone. As the sun went down and it began to get dark, a semi truck came down the highway... the trucker stopped for Steve.

As fate would have it, it was the same guy Ghost had hitched a ride with. Steve told the guy he was searching for his friend, who may have come this way. The man mentioned his other hitchhiker sounded like Steve's friend. He didn't mention what he'd done to him.

So, Steve knew he was on the right path, and when offered, he rode all the way to L.A. with the trucker. As they pulled up into the freight yard, he told Steve that this was the last place he'd seen him. Steve walked away, sure he was getting closer to finding Ghost.

He didn't know just how close he'd be. He wandered around the area for a few days, putting out flyers with Ghost's picture on it everywhere he went. He asked around, but no one had any information. That is until he went into a small coffee shop. He spoke to the barista about his search for Ghost.

She screamed, "I know him!" Steve insisted she tell him what she knew. She did, then added, "But, I haven't seen them in awhile. They got too big for this place and started playing bigger venues. They put flyers up, but I haven't been able to get off work to catch a performance. Maybe you can!"

Steve thanked her, then left. He walked around some more, now looking for the flyers. He finally found an old one tacked to a light pole. He tore it down and stared at the picture on it. It was definitely Ghost. His heart quickened. They'd played several nights before, at a place across the city, a popular club. Then he looked closer at the person in the picture with Ghost. He narrowed his eyes. He already didn't like this Maxy person.

~

Back in Missing Mile, Kinsey was looking at the same flyer that Steve was looking at. Just that day, he'd received an envelope in the mail. It had the flyer for Ghost and Maxy's band, and another flyer...one of those Steve had been putting up everywhere. Written on the first flyer was a note. It said, 'Is this the Ghost you're looking for? Don't waste your time. He belongs to me now!' It wasn't signed. Kinsey just stared at it. Steve was somewhere out there, Ghost was somewhere out there...who knew if they'd ever find each other. It just keeps getting worse, he thought. I'm too old to deal with all this drama. He figured he'd just mind his own business for the time being. There was nothing he could do about it anyway. He shook his head and went back to work.

~

Steve continued his search. Every time he'd thought he was close, he found he was just a little too late. He kept on though, searching every group of people he saw, for a glimpse maybe of seeing Ghost.

The night of the phone call had made Maxy furious. He'd thrown Ghost into the wall, his phone was broken, and Ghost wasn't co-operating according to his plans anymore. He was glad Ghost was hurting, there on the floor. He stood over him, telling him he'd crossed the line, that he owned him now, and he demanded Ghost do what he said, that he'd never let him go.

Ghost barely heard him. He'd hit his head hard on the brick accent wall, when he fell against it, and was half knocked out. A gash was cut into the back of his head, and was bleeding, his ears were ringing, and his vision was blurry. Then, Maxy was yelling what sounded like nonsense at him. Ghost tried to sit up, but was extremely dizzy. Before he could do anything, Maxy attacked him. He held Ghost down and took him by force, in anger and dominance.

Ghost was defenseless against such rage. Afterwards, he vowed to himself to get away as soon as he could. He was afraid for his life. He knew he needed help, but from who? He really didn't know anyone in this city, and he'd been kept pretty isolated by Maxy, and now Maxy would be watching him even closer.

The next morning, Maxy was all apologetic, and said he was sorry, but Ghost didn't believe it for a second. He went along with it, fearing that if he didn't, he'd be in for more trouble. Maxy did have another plan for controlling Ghost.  He'd found that whenever he'd slipped Ghost something stronger than pot, Ghost would mellow out and be pliable...he could get him to do anything. He didn't know why, because the same drugs made everyone he knew all hyper. He didn't know about Ghost's ADD problem, and that stimulants worked the exact opposite on it.

So he started slipping the drugs into whatever Ghost ate or drank. It worked just like he planned. What else he didn't know, was that when Ghost was in the calm state, his mind would do what it did best. Ghost was able to actually focus and sent out his mind messages even stronger, and could receive and feel other's thoughts better, too.

For the next few days, as Ghost's head cleared of the dizziness and headache, he kept getting visions and dreams of Steve. They were unfiltered, and seemed desperate and frantic...and worst of all, nearby. He couldn't get the feelings to go away. He didn't really want them to go away, just wanted to know what they meant. He pushed his mind in Steve's direction. Maybe that would clarify things better. He felt that Steve was here, close by, looking for him. He was torn. He wanted Steve to find him, but he wasn't sure he could face him yet.

He and Maxy had another show booked that night. It went ok...a big crowd showed up. Then, as they were leaving, Ghost froze, thinking he saw Steve, there on the sidewalk. Steve did not see him, the crowd was pushing and shoving along as they left the venue. Steve was pushed along, too. Ghost was sure it was him, but he looked so sad and beaten down.

Maxy had seen Ghost staring at something, someone in the crowd, and he didn't like it. He grabbed Ghost's arm tightly and dragged him back into the club. He kept Ghost next to him the rest of the night.

Steve had tried to get to the club where Ghost was playing that night. He'd finally found a current flyer and made his way over there, getting lost a few times. As he reached the club, everyone was leaving, and he knew he'd missed his chance at finding Ghost...again. He hung around anyway, just in case, but the club was closing, and he'd never gotten to see Ghost. He was sick of this. He had no money or place to stay. He couldn't find Ghost. Maybe he should go back home to regroup, figure out some other way, because this wasn't working.

So, late that night he got out on the highway and hitched back to North Carolina. It took three days. He was exhausted. Back at the house, he collapsed into bed, not waking for hours. Ghost was in his dreams.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A to Z BLOG CHALLENGE...APRIL 19, 2014...LETTER Q

A to Z CHALLENGE
Today's letter is......Q

Thank you for stopping by. Comments welcome. Happy reading!

20 Q (the game)

Based on a parlor game called Twenty Questions, Robin Burgener, in 1988, invented a hand held electronic game he called 20Q. He was experimenting with using AI - Artificial Intellegence.

When you turn this game on, it will ask you to think of something for it to guess. It has a display screen that you can read it's questions, and buttons you can push, to log in your answer, either yes, no, sometimes, or unknown.

This 'toy' will ask you a series of 20 simple questions. As you keep answering the questions posed, the device will build on them, to ultimately guess what you were thinking about.

In between the questions, it will make funny comments to you. On the package it comes in it states that it can read your mind. One of the comments it makes, is that it is spooky how it knows what you are thinking. 

It is not programmed. It somehow 'learns' from every answer you give, and every time turns out different. Most of the time it guesses right!

I have two of these 20Q games, and have been amazed at how it can even do this. It occasionally does miss the answer, and will make a funny comment about how you can't win them all. 

I think it is a bit weird to be holding a sort of 'mini brain' right there in my hand. Like it says...it's spooky!

Thank you for reading! If you'd like to, visit my other blog at http://teleportingweena.wordpress.com



Peace, Love, & Writing

Friday, April 18, 2014

A to Z BLOG CHALLENGE...APRIL 18, 2014...LETTER P

A to Z BLOG CHALLENGE
Today's letter is.................P

Thank you for visiting! Comments Welcome! Happy Reading!

POISON POTATOES?

Are your potatoes poison? They could be. The potato is in the family of the deadly nightshade plant. All  green parts of the potato is highly toxic, including leaves, stems, sprouts (eyes), and even any green parts on the peeled potato.

If eaten, it will cause, at the very least, an upset stomach...and at the worst...death!

In the past, this alkeloid toxin was used as a remedy for ailments such as, pain relief, an anti-inflamatory, and to ease the symptoms of rheumatism. I would hope these were not administered orally! If they were, I wonder if the doctor wondered why his patients were not getting any better, or even died!

Cooking the potatoes will remove and destroy most of the alkaloid concentrations, so they are mostly safe to eat. Try not to use any potato that shows even a hint of green to the white part, just to be safe. Exposure to light will also cause a potato to turn green, so store in a dark place.

There are many varieties of the potato, and are a staple food source all over the world. I'm not going to stop eating them, but I am careful to cut away any green I see on them.

For a look at this information on the potato, and 9 other common foods that are a bit poisonous, follow this link. http://listverse.com/2009/01/06/top-10-poisonous

Thanks for reading! If you'd like to, visit my other blog for the letter P. It is at http://ghostmmnc.blogspot.com


Peace, Love, & Writing