Saturday, March 2, 2013

Editor's Corner

March 2013

"Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and the discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns." - Anne Lamott.

Noticing the mess is the easy part, the emptiness is what makes everything different now. We do have some good news to share with our readers, especially those who are fans of Phillip Hennessy. He recently messaged us "Mary, I have wonderful news..! Remember "Spiritual Cobwebs"...? Well, just as you's going to be a song..! A band called Aretey in Holland have chosen that poem as lyric for a song they are currently recording. They already have four of our poems on an album..."Breathe", "Dancing in the Moonlight", "Mystery", and "The Play" ...LINK How exciting is That..?"

Phil has three poems in this issue, "Author," "The Past, The Future, The Now," and "The Road." Wendy Shepard-Kalan also has three:"Beautiful People," "A Dove's Constant Call," and "You Don't Like Me." She said her 'muse' had been on vacation, but when asked if she had any of her wonderful work, it inspired her anew. Well, would have asked sooner had we known that would help. Smile.

Another poet we welcome back wholeheartedly is MJMansfield aka FireEagle. His poems "Beast" and "Darkness" make you ponder, but remember, he is among the best for surprising finishes. Bruce Clifford, our other song writer poet has three poems, "Gold Dress," "Look Into My Eyes," and "Many Lifetimes." Your editor adds a poem inspired by a question by one of her granddaughter's who was interviewing her for one of her homework assignments, "On Dusty Mars." She asked where my ideas for writing came from and I replied from all around, people or news events like say, the robot collecting samples on Mars right now.

The two articles for March are "Memories by June-I Remember Pyote," by June Harper Hogue and "Flying foxes drove me batty!" by Eric Shackle whose namesake column is a regular treat. The articles are loosely aligned since June's is about the former 'Rattlesnake Momma' air base. The Monahans in her article is where your editor still resides, but with the current oil boom, it is once again growing and full of people.

Peg Jones (Angel Whispers) shares a personal incident where the angels helped her gain perspective, and Thomas F. O'Neill (Introspective) discusses the resignation of the Pope. Andrea Abernathy gives us a 'green' recipe as she carries on her grandfather's column "Cookin' With Leo" while Mattie Lennon (Irish Eyes) introduces a different and dazzling way to honor those loved ones we have lost.

We have added another chapter in the adult fantasy with rabbits by Mark Crocker "Rabbo II, Chapter 12-Alliances." Previous chapters of this tale can be accessed by clicking the author's name.

See you in April! Once more we remind our loyal readers that without our co-founder and webmaster Michael Cranner, we would not have been able to bring you the past fifteen years of issues. Thanks again, Mike.

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
This issue appears in the ezine at and also in the blog with the capability of adding comments at the latter.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cookin' With Leo

Well, it seems that Grandpa's Dear Italian Fairy Godmother must be waiting and watching to see if I am worthy to share in her many cooking adventures. I sure hope she enlightens me soon. I want to make both her and Grandpa proud. Maybe someday soon, one or both of them will send down some interesting goodies for me to add to my collection. And then, of course I will share them with all of you! 

I know that March is the month of St. Patrick's Day and the Irish, however this recipe is not an Irish tradition…but it is GREEN! I hope you like it!
Andrea’s Chicken Enchilada’s
  • 1 lb boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 pkg cream cheese
  • 1 cup of salsa
  • 2 cans green chilies sauce
  • 8 burrito size tortillas
  • 1 pkg of shredded Mexican/fiesta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
Here’s what you do:
Cut up chicken into 1" squares
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large skillet,
Cook chicken on all sides, and drain excess fat
Add cream cheese, mix well
Stir in salsa until mixed
Grease 9x13 pan
Coat bottom of pan with thin layer of green chilli sauce
Fill each tortilla with chicken mixture, sprinkle of cheese, roll and place in pan
Cover the enchiladas with remainder of green chili sauce and shredded cheese
Bake in 375 degree oven for 30-45 minutes until cheese is bubbly

My family likes to top their enchiladas with Sour Cream…..Enjoy!
See you next time!

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Eric Shackle's Column

Let's see Macca's mob on TV

Can the ABC switch its popular Sunday morning radio show Australia All Over to television? It would be an even bigger drawcard than it is already.

Ian (Macca) Macnamara is a city slicker (he was born in the Sydney suburb of Oatley). For the last 30 years he has visited countless cities, villages and other remote places, with his guitar (he was one of Col Joye’s original Joy Boys), with a microphone linked to the ABC.

He interviews hundreds of rural folk. There’s too much chatter about the weather, but there‘s also a mixed diet of compelling human interest: nostalgia, funny stories, bush poems, recipes... the lot.

Here's how the ABC tells the story:
Ian began at the ABC over 30 years ago as a trainee reporter in regional radio. Here's how it all happened, in Macca's own words...
Being a reporter is a wonderful way to get job satisfaction. You talk to different people every day and get to travel all over Australia which ultimately became my life. 
I suppose the traveling started much earlier when I was a musician. You often had to travel to get work, a bit like a shearer or a contract harvester.
I joined Col Joye's backing band, the Joy Boys, in the early 70s and spent a year traveling with them, which looking back was a great experience. Colin and his brothers have remained firm friends since then.
I was also at that time studying (if I could ever be accused of that) Economics at Sydney University, which was another great experience.
David Hill, former Managing Director of the ABC was one of my tutors, and it was a time of great social change and upheaval in Australia and I look back fondly on that time.
How I became a reporter and thence a "D.J." is another one of life's quirks I suppose. I'd majored in Industrial Relations and after I joined the ABC as a clerk in the Finance department, I noticed a sign saying Industrial Relations Department.
So I fronted up and was given a job, again as a clerk. My passion as they say was however radio. I wanted to get involved. I didn't exactly know doing what. But I took every opportunity to do courses in Radio production etc, so that when the opportunity came I could grab it with both hands.
As I said earlier it's a great job being a reporter which is really what I am - 'reporting' what's going on around the place..
What has also been invaluable is a knowledge and love of music. I grew up listening to music in our house not because my father was a musician (which he was) but because he was obsessed with sound and we had a huge stereo/hifi for which he bought a new album each week.
So I heard everything from My Fair Lady, Muggsy Spanier, Tchaikovsky, Okalahoma, Jack Teagarden etc and I became hooked on songs and melody and I've never stopped.
My ABC life has involved lots of different things which has kept life interesting and keeps me motivated. Lots of different radio programmes, magazine style and current affairs - and TV programmes like A Big Country.
And my Sunday Morning show has become the focus of my life really, not only because I enjoy revealing some of the characters of Australia but also because I have made so many wonderful friends.
My mum used to say after reading my mail for not a few years how wonderful the listeners were. And that's the real privilege. Being taken into the confidence of so many wonderful Australians then meeting them at outside broadcasts or a concert.It truly is for me, and I know my producer Lee Kelly, an experience we cherish.
Our purpose on air on Sunday morning is to share this with everybody and hopefully spread a little joy, and a little Aussie spirit and humour. I better stop but I hope to meet you sometime at an 'OB' or a concert or whatever.
Talk to you Sunday.
Born in Sydney, Ian graduated from Sydney University with an economics degree, but left the city to become a jackeroo.

His career then took a major turn when he joined Col Joye and the Joye Boys as a singer/guitarist, and Ian still manages to perform occasionally and is also a songwriter and producer.

Ian first joined the ABC in 1974, in the Industrial Relations department but moved to the Rural Department two years later as a Rural Reporter. He then spent 12 months in television, working on A Big Country and Countrywide, before returning to Rural Radio in 1980 as a reporter and eventually, presenter of Australia All Over.

In 1984, Ian was appointed Executive Producer of the current affairs program
City Extra (a 2BL current affairs show), but late in 1985 he returned to the Regional Radio Unit as Executive Producer of programs including Morning Extra, Australia All Over, and Resources.

Ian loves speaking with Australians from all walks of life and relishes the chance to travel the country with Australia All OveThe program is an eclectic mix of music, poetry, anecdotes, book readings and talkback, all deliverin Macca's trademark, off-the-cuff style.
Every Sunday morning, some two-million listeners from every corner of Australia tune in for their weekly dose of Australia.
Visit the Australia All Over website.LISTEN LIVE: If you have Real Player or Windows Media Player you can listen to Australia All on Sundays from 0530-1000 AEST.
LISTEN ON DEMAND: Listen to the last week's program in Real or Windows Media format. You can listen to last week’s show here: Link
It’s hot in Brisbane, but cool-n-gatta: Link
For more, see Macca On Tour
Macca All Over: Link
And a story about ABC news reader Jeremy Fernandez: Link
From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia. Posted Wednesday, 20 February 2013, at 16:06

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Author's Blog.

Irish Eyes

By Mattie Lennon

Hair to Diamonds
 Tennessee Williams wrote, ”Man, when he burns, leaves only a handful of ashes. No woman can hold him the wind must blow him away.”
   Not anymore. The ashes of the departed can now be converted into an actual diamond. The word diamond comes from the ancient Greek αδάμας – adámas meaning unbreakable.    
Most natural diamonds are formed at high temperature and pressure at depths of about 200 miles underground and the process can take up to 3.3 billion years. The raw material is Carbon-containing minerals. But diamonds can also be created in a special laboratory.  This involves a high-pressure  process using very high-temperature which simulates the conditions in which diamonds are naturally formed.
There are a few companies in the world offering this service but the best known in this part of the world is Phoenix Memorial Diamonds. All they need is the ashes, hair or nails of the deceased (they can also make diamonds from the ashes of your deceased pet.)
   I asked Managing Director Mike Kelly for a bit of information on their product,  
Phoenix Memorial Diamonds are genuine diamonds. They are not synthetic or cheap imitation but real diamonds only created in a laboratory. They possess the exact same characteristics of mined diamonds, they are cut and polished in exactly the same way as natural diamonds have been for centuries. . . They have all the attributes of natural rare (fancy) diamonds ripped from huge mines - same fire, same hardness but without the social stigma, the blood sweat and tears of hard labour or the environmental issues having a massive impact on the earth.”
     What colours can they make?
   “We only grow NATURAL coloured diamonds. We do not 'irradiate' to change the colour. The usual and natural outcome when using human or animal carbon is a canary yellow diamond. It is also possible to make diamonds in NATURAL shades of blue [and by extra processing - pink, red and green]. We stick to two – Canary yellow and a Free-Range Blue. Mined diamonds in these colours are called 'fancies' and can costs many thousands of pounds per carat – sometimes more than the white/clear diamonds we are all familiar with. The yellow and blue hue does not stop the fire and the scintillation of light sparkling through.”
    Being a man of enquiring mind I did, of course, ask Mr Kelly, “How do you do it?” only to be told,
  “Our process is a trade secret, backed by years of expertise using very special scientific processes, but put simply - we emulate nature – by using fantastic heat, massive pressures, over a period of time. Instead of millions of years it can be achieved in a few months. We then cut and polish the created raw diamond just like mined ones have been for hundreds of years. The human body is basically carbon (and water and other minerals). The lab' take the carbon, purify it and use it in the HHHP high-pressure  process but instead of Millions of years the process can be completed in about 3 months.”
 Why make diamonds only from the remains of the dead? Rod Stewart once famously said, “There is no point in getting married; just find a woman you don’t like and give her a house.” What put that into my head? Well . . . since Phoenix Diamonds can also make diamonds from hair why not take the hair of a woman that you don’t like and have it made into a diamond for a woman that you do . . .?
Mr Kelly and his team of experts don’t make diamonds only from the remains of the dead. Francis L. Cornford said that nothing should ever be done for the first time. Phoenix Memorial Diamonds certainly didn’t take his advice; the company has several “firsts” under its belt.
They made the first diamonds from umbilical cords, dead bees (“that died from natural causes but from the deaths of  2500 honey bees they will live-on, because from their bodies we extracted their unique carbon, compressed it at 10,000 tons/sq.ins. and heated it to 1300c for some time, to produce a raw diamond which we cut and polished with 58 facets in a brilliant cut.” ) And . . .wait for it; Glasgow artist - Teresa Margolles - asked if it was possible to make a Blue diamond from the detritus of the 'London Riots' (using carbon extracted from various bits of wood, sweepings and other debris) The result? Mike Kelly tells me, “After extensive processing, we are proud to show the actual diamond featured in the exhibition.”
Mr. Kelly also told me about another “first” Promessa Diamonds but being a low-tech animal I wasn’t able to grasp the finer points of the process. But you dear digitally-included reader will find all the info on their website;
Phoenix Memorial Diamonds, Hulley Road, Macclesfield, SK102LP, UK. 

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    The news of Pope Benedict XVI resigning as Pope took me by surprise because being raised a Catholic I was always taught the Pope is Pope for life. Pope Benedict XVI is the first Pope to resign in nearly six centuries so for modern day Catholics this sort of thing doesn't happen.
    I was born when Pope John XXIII was Pope he was considered by many to be the most progressive Pope in our modern era. He brought about Vatican II but unfortunately he died before the changes went into effect.
    Pope Paul VI was the next Pope and many Church historians feel he did harm to Vatican II. He pulled in the reins and rescinded many of the changes that Pope John XXIII wanted to see come about. In the 1960’s many Catholics were very disappointed with the little progress that came out of Vatican II.
    Pope John Paul I was the next Pope but he was Pope for only 33 days. His death came shortly after he announced plans to clean house at the Vatican. His death became fodder for all sorts of documentaries and books for the conspiracy minded.
    Pope John Paul II was then elected Pope and many considered him the greatest modern day Pope. He was only 57 years old when he took over and he ruled the Vatican during the fall of the Soviet Union.
    The world also witnessed his declining health and the deterioration of his mental capacities due to the ravages of Parkinson’s decease. Some say Pope John Paul II’s failing health was the reason for the Vatican’s slow reaction to the world wide coverage of the pedophile sex abuse scandals at the hands of Priests.
    The sex crimes against innocent children by Priests cost the Church Billions of Dollars that were paid out to the victims. How the Church handled those crimes is still the subject of outrage throughout Europe and the United States.
    Pope Benedict XVI was fully aware of the numerous child sex abuse cases that came to his desk at the Vatican when he was a Cardinal under Pope John Paul II. He later found himself the focus of those atrocities through the worldwide media shortly after he became Pope.
    Under Pope Benedict XVI watch there were financial scandals, leaked documents aimed at embarrassing the Pope and money laundering at the Vatican Bank. The Italian newspapers also ran stories of power struggles among various cardinals at the Vatican. It is now understandable why the current Pope would want to step down and the world now waits in anticipation as to who will be his successor.
    I grew up in Shenandoah a small coal mining town in north eastern Pennsylvania in the United States. There are many Catholics in the coal region of Pennsylvania and many Catholic Churches. The changing demographics in the coal region have caused many churches to consolidate and many catholic schools to close. It is mostly due to a lack of vocations, church attendance, donations, and serious financial issues among the churches and schools.
    The students who attend the parochial schools are getting a decent education compared to the public education system. However, for the majority in the coal region a catholic school education is beyond their reach due to poverty. If the majority could afford such an education the catholic schools would not be closing.
    There are no simple answers in raising our national education standards either. Our public schools are failing due to a substandard education system. The catholic schools are certainly doing a much better job when it comes to educating our youth and it is mostly due to the low enrollment numbers. The teachers can take more time in helping the students with their individual needs. The teachers in the parochial schools are less burdened with overcrowded classrooms and with unruly students.
    The national teachers unions are also the greatest impediment in reforming the public school system. It is harder to get rid of the mediocre teachers in the public sector who seem to be the most protected by the unions.
    The Roman Catholic Church is not just facing monetary challenges in our region it is also facing a daunting challenge in making itself relevant.
    Pope Benedict XVI does not recognize the declining numbers in church attendance as a crisis for the Church. His response was our church will be much smaller and much stronger. That response angered some Cardinals especially some American Bishops who see strength in numbers. They are also looking for ways to bring back the wayward Catholics to the catholic faith.
    One problem facing the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. and Europe is that the church is losing its relevance for the average catholic. The modern day issues in a fast changing world seem to be jet streaming past the outdated mandates of the Roman Catholic Church. Today’s Catholics also have to deal with putting food on the table, daunting unemployment, paying their mortgage and bills. The 24/7 worldwide news stories make us more informed about world events but it can also make us more cynical when it comes to corruption and cover-ups.
    I do not see a religious crises taking place in our country and abroad but rather a spiritual crises. Religion may not be the answer for many in our information age but at the same time there is a deep spiritual hunger in the world. The more humanity evolves spiritually the greater the divide will become between institutionalized religions and personal spiritual growth.
    Pope Benedict XVI failed to understand that people in our modern era are searching for ways to connect to their spiritual nature, not artificial, non-substantive, religious mandates, that have no relevance in their daily lives.
    The failure of the Roman Catholic Church to connect with the modern era was not Pope Benedict XVI personal failure but rather the failure of the Roman Catholic institution as a whole. I do not see a brighter future for the Church if they continue to be non-progressive in a progressively changing world.
    Here in China where I live and teach there are approximately 12 million Catholics and the Churches and Schools are thriving. They don’t seem to have the same difficulties facing the Catholic Church in the U.S. and Europe.
    A couple of my students here in Suzhou, China mentioned in my class about the Pope resigning and the issues behind his resignation. I told them my history of being raised Catholic and some of my students seem somewhat perplexed as to how people could believe in such things especially in China.
    In a somewhat humorous way when the subject of Catholicism comes up in my class I simply tell my students that I am a recovering Catholic and that I have to take it one day at a time. I am not a practicing catholic or a religious person but I am spiritual by nature.
    I believe that in some ways my coming to China was my salvation and I am supposed to be here. I am here at this particular time and place in my life for a particular reason. That is not a religious belief or a religious practice it is just something I have come to understand on a spiritual level.
    I like to tell my students "when you move in the direction of the flow you will find it takes you in the direction of your true destiny." Then in a humorous way I tell them "when the student is ready the master will appear."
    My students always laugh and say “you are our master Mr. Tom.”
Always with love from Suzhou, China
Thomas F O’Neill
    U.S. voice mail: (800) 272-6464
    China Cell: 011-86-15114565945
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill
    Other articles, short stories, and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found on his award winning blog, Link:

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Angel Whispers


The Angels Are Always Around Us

The Angels have been testing me all week with putting challenges right in front of me. Having my car smashed while it was parked outside the healing center where I work. Of course I didn’t know about it until I saw a piece of paper on the windshield with the plate number and a short note “ Hit your car.” And then as I was driving well now I know why my car sounded awful on the way home.

Checking with local authorities and finding out the plates were not in use and not able to locate this person made it worse. I thought oh no the points will go up more. I was so upset by the unfairness of all of this that I found myself very upset and projecting the worst case scenario.

Speaking with a friend calmed me down that next morning. As I was speaking to my friend I saw the most beautiful picture of thousands of angels surrounding Jesus. There was so much light in the picture shining on the Angels and Jesus. It was just what I needed to see . I asked the angels about the meaning of the picture and what it stood for me at this time. And this is what I heard them say…
Child, “Things may seem to be at your worst but you will be very pleased with the outcome. Talk to us, tell us what is on your mind. Know that we your angels are with you today and always.. Do the foot work of reporting to the right people and see what transpires. Keep your ego out of this situation and live from the heart place as you talk about so often. Let the anger dissipate and feel the peace that is in your heart place. Be grateful that you were not in the car when this accident happened. You are safe with us, dear child. And know that we love you dearly.”
After looking at the picture a while longer, I did begin to feel better and I did see hope in the situation. Things have become clearer and in the long run it will all work out. I am getting the coverage I need and work needed to repair the damage. So for that I am grateful. I am getting by and the worse has not occurred. I am going to be just fine after all..

Thank you Dear Angels.

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Gold Dress

I saw her in a gold dress
She's caught up in a cold mess
Flowing hair and wind that blows
I saw her in places that nobody knows

I was the life of the party
She was the motion in the wind
Why put up with each others sorrow
Not knowing where to begin

I had a vision of her in a gold dress
No other images came before
Still holding on to this fire that burns
I can't let this go, this I am sure

I can't get her out of mind
All of the time she's is with me

I had a dream of her in gold dress
Getting caught up in deep distress
Can't seem to find a way past this pain
I saw her again, she looks the same

©2/22/13 Bruce Clifford

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Look Into My Eyes

Better to be here than nowhere at all
Better off to fight than it is to fall
Never found the answers written in the sky
Hopes and dreams are shattered and no one to tell me why
Look into my eyes

Better to be here than nowhere at all
Better off crying than waiting for her call
Never thought of reasons to live an endless lie
Living in the moment with no one to tell me why
Look into my eyes

Look into my eyes
Tell me what you see
Am I still the man
You'd always thought I'd be

Look into my eyes
Am I under attack
Have we reached to point
Of no turning back

Better to be here than nowhere at all
Better off in battle than feeling 2 feet tall
Never found the answers written in the sand
Never had a master plan

Look into my eyes
Tell me what you see
Am I still the man
You'd always thought I'd be

Look into my eyes
Am I lost in time
Are we heading towards
The end of the line

©2/14/13 Bruce Clifford

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Many Lifetimes

I knew one day you would arrive
We said goodbye all those lifetimes ago
Many different times
All the words we trust to hold

I don't know why you can't see
All those things that we used to be
I don't know what's changed over time
We were in love for many lifetimes

I don't know what's changed in your soul
The universe has always pointed us to hold
I don't know why your memory is blocked
Rain soaked and lost in time again
I know this will not be the end

I knew you would tap me on my knee
As the wind spoke to a time when we believed
I can't go on knowing you cannot see the signs
I'm heartbroken as we are together trapped in time
Wish I could hold you in my arms

I knew one day you would arrive
We danced together in many different lives
I don't know what you can't see, why can't you feel
My heart and soul are lost, but our love remains real

©2/4/13 Bruce Clifford

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Beautiful People

Beautiful people all around me
Through dirty clothes and sad faces
So much more that I see
In the lowest of places

She sits there on the bench
Out in the cold
Beyond the stench
Stoic and bold

Others walk by
Blind to her plight
I stare and wonder why...
It's just not right.

I slowly sit down too
I smile, say hello
she screams at me to "Shoo".
I jump up ready to go

As I walk away
Her eyes shine,
a smile
She is beautiful today

Before their hopes faded
And they just gave in,
Dreams, all they contemplated
Thinking they can't win...

There are so many beautiful people in the park
Through eyes of love I see
They are no longer shadows in the dark
They are the spirit of you, of me.

©Feb 24, 2013 Wendy Shepard-Kalan

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What's more important - the Author or the words?
Who cares where Wisdom came from, or who made the verse?
When lessons are accepted, the teacher then appears..
Enlightenment becomes you, despite the passing years
 Does it really matter, when the Voice is heard?
...Or where the sound is coming from; (the search is so absurd)
What matters is the things we learn, through each and every way
And the lessons we discern; from what the people say

Be thankful for what we are shown, the help that we receive
Don't worry where the Light came from - just follow it - Believe!
Your heart will know which way to turn, each time there is a choice
Just flow with it - just Go with it - and recognise the voice

The time is Now, we must move on, there is no Yesterday
That time has gone, we must move on, there is a Better way
Those days we thought were wasted, those streets we walked with gloom
The "food for thought" we tasted, the sweet-talk of “our tune”

Who cares who wrote the Music, to every song, we dance?
The notes we sing, the hopes we bring, are never left to chance
Why should all the prose we write contain such stunning rhyme
How could we, suppose such Light : could manifest each time

The language of our thoughts, impossibly translated
Those words of Wisdom on each page, the Ego, thus inflated
Regurgitated lines of Learning, all re-shaped and planned
Each author claiming untold credit for thoughts, (we understand)
For every word in every poem, every song, we sing with Pride
....comes from IN us, ALL of us, each song is HERE inside!
©2012 Phillip Hennessy

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why do I allow myself to hope
why do I dare to dream
just another chance for god to fail me
just another day to die

a brilliant flower blooming in a sea of filth
to be seen by only sightless beasts
golden glimmers of chance
destroyed again by time

each minute a glimmer of hope cascading down the waterfall of regret
hope, useless hope, pooling at the bottom like a cesspool
no chlorine can seem to sterilize it it sits there shimmering mocking me
year after year dream after dream mixed together in one evil slurry

leaning over the pool breathing in the foul stench of broken dreams
I look my shimmering reflection in its soulless eyes
rainbow hued grins of a mad man stare back at me
briefly I almost succumb to the intoxicating lure of the dreams

but beneath the pretty rainbow I can see the dark oiliness of truth
I can taste the false hope and it taste like bile
spitting my vengeance into the dream spattering its face
ruining the image the way that it ruined my life with its false hope

I turn and walk away into the darkness
The darkness never lied to me the way the dreams did
it never promised me glory or beauty
it always comforted me with its unknown terrors

when I was at my lowest it cradled me and it absorbed me
even in its darkest evil wings of hate and despair it didn`t lie
how comforting truth can be, even ugly truth
my friend, stark bloodied and beaten Truth

©11/9/2012 MJMansfield aka FireEagle

Click on M. Jay Mansfield  for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.


he was evil and strange
the village knew this as a whole
out in the woods wild, deranged
a strange light always shining in the cold

the few that sought him
never to the village to return
oh what strange sins
what magical ways did he harm

one by one they would seek him out
to destroy this monster old
each one came screamed and shout
then laughed at the little demon so bold

the villagers came and fell
a gleam in their eye
ready to enter hell
one by one the mystery died

Not a one was harmed
they came, they sought
each one was charmed
No matter how they fought

He taught his ways
he gained their trust
and by the dawn of day
their way of life in the village was crushed

each one left with a glow
a little more beast like
light where ever they go
stomping forward into the night

Oh how the villagers hate him
sooner or later they fall
they all give in to that primal sin
and answer their wander lust call

It starts for some as a game
A jesting friend playfully shoves
one at a time they learn his name
as they stumble to the beast and learn it is 

©12-23-2012 MJMansfield aka FireEagle

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A Dove's Constant Call

From a pond gentle waters flowing,
A dove's constant call I hear
Morning sun glowing
Sleeping cat purring in my ear

A new day
My peaceful home
Nudging dog wishing to play
In the yard, free to roam

One child so quickly growing
Dear Husband, real and true
Happy just knowing
I'm with you

Time goes by so fast
From wedding, house, baby,dog and cat
Wishing it would last
Loving where we're at

A dove's constant call I hear
Drowning out all my fear
A dove's constant call I hear...

©Feb 25, 2013 Wendy Shepard-Kalan

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The Road

The Road ahead
Where does it lead…?
Should I need to know its destination,
Or where, beyond, it carries..?
Should I walk it both ways, taking care
That I miss no view from this singular path
Or its connection to the Highway, so busy
Could I wander from its mapped direction
Of previous travelers, passed on by..?

 What solace, what pleasures of Nature
Could await me there..?
What dangers should I prepare to encounter
And who,… who ? would follow in my footsteps,
Or will every trace of my journey be Lost.?
Lost, …beneath the dust of time
And trampled deeper, by warriors braver, stronger than I

As I walk toward such colourful sunsets
Safe, in the knowledge that the rising sun
will warm the day, will light the way
its Glorious energy, touching all, and giving Life
to the darkness of the nights, so coldly passed
Illuminated only by sparkling, yet long-dead Stars. So Far

So Far away, So Long passed, though their shining Light
Still continues, beyond Death, to the wonderment
of weary travelers and curious children, Playing.
Could they really be what remains of those who have tread before
Celestial reminders that Life continues
Into, and beyond the darkness…?
©2012 Phillip Hennessy

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The Past, the Future, the Now

Did I fall in Love on Friday night,
Was it all a dream?
Has it been, all in my mind
Or do we manifest, those scenes? 
 IN the past, FROM the future
Is it all at once?
Slow it down, then synchronise
then analyse, this “time”

The clock says this, - your mind says that,
You wonder where - your Head is at

Illicit scenes of dubious wonder
Alight your minds, amidst the thunder
Storms of emotions and passions arise
From flashes of lightning, lines burnt, in our eyes

The outline remains, and frames the new
Enveloping all, encasing the view
The frame, or the picture, - Which do we own..?
Do they come together,
Do they come – Alone?

The Past surrounds, the Future, the Now
It's all connected, there, somehow
Slow it down, if you dare
To see what it is, that you left there.

Old baggage returned, from the “Lost and Found”,
We carry our burdens, like luggage, around
Traveling light screams its advantage
As trains arrive, at stations, advancing
Glancing around, in the crowd so frightened
whose train has arrived, whose journey, enlightened

Do we step on, or turn around…?
Will those “pastures green”, be found..?
Is this the right train, is this the right track,
Will somebody please give me MY ticket back!

I want to get on, I want to get off,
One foot in the future, the past, now aloft
In our minds we see forward,
Though our bodies look back

Into fields of derision, the colours, burn black
The sunlight we see in the morrow of life
Is it lighting our way, showing a sign?
Toward, or away, we shall follow this line
Casting our shadows for longer, we feel
Enveloping scenes from our future, revealed
©2012 Phillip Hennessy

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On Dusty Mars

In outer space on dusty Mars
A robot diligently digs and pools
The particles gathered to inform
Scientists interpreting molecules
Determined to learn what sealed
The fate of that planet so red
And whether any once alive spore
Is among the silent dead.

Along this street with paving neat
Families carry their groceries inside
The contents planned for several meals
Shiny recipe books will serve to guide
The cooks who want to wisely cook
So the family will stay healthy
Are having a harder time these days,
So much is priced for the wealthy.

But we aren't going to fade away
Nor turn into a dusty dead world
Our inner strength is wise choices
No matter what fate has unfurled
We'll learn to be wiser each year
And our purchases will be clever
Our creativity will tempt palates
In every sort of weather.

Our children will be strong and tall
And their minds will amaze and astound
Their abilities to invent what's good
And their blessings shall abound
Simpler ways of doing difficult chores
Will be one of the ways they excel
Defining the challenges to solve
And beginning where they dwell.

©2013 Mary E. Adair

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You Don't Like Me

You don't like me
I don't know why
How can it be
You won't try

You look away
When I talk
You don't want to stay
You start to walk

Did I say too much
did I want too strong
You cringe at my touch
Where did I go wrong

I smile and nod a goodbye
Composing myself with grace
Trying not to cry
Cold kiss left on my face

I watch you go
You can't see
Or ever know
How special I can be

You don't like me...

©Feb 25, 2013 Wendy Shepard-Kalan

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Flying foxes drove me batty!

Living in Sydney’s leafy North Shore suburb of Gordon 40 years ago, I used to enjoy sprawling in a deckchair on summer evenings, watching thousands of giant flying foxes flying low overhead. They were probably returning to their home in the city’s Royal Botanic Gardens.
Those flying foxes are the world’s largest bats, with wingspans about 1.5 metres (six feet) across. Known as grey-headed flying foxes, they are found only in Australia, mostly in rain forests from Ingham in Queensland to Adelaide in South Australia.
Many of those fascinating creatures that I watched had youngsters almost as large as their mothers clinging to them.
Writing of the Botanic Gardens reminds me that a few years ago the Gardens management had to scare them away from the area, as the bats had formed such a large colony that they were killing the trees they were clinging to.
A colony of flying foxes residing on the Macintyre River, behind the sporting complex at Inverell was the cause of this outage as well as a number of others in the area over recent weeks. The good news is the flying foxes eventually move on
For details, see the Botanic Gardens report: Flying Fox Relocation
Video: video of Flying Foxes
From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia. Posted Wednesday, 6 February 2013, at 12:27

Hand in a bushy tail to enter Fox Lotto!

Anyone handing in a foxtail to an office in Dubbo, New South Wales, during March will be entered for a cash prize in a Fox Lotto run by the Livestock Health and and Pest Authority. Alternatively you may buy a poison bait to enter the contest.

Foxes attack poultry and native wildlife in many parts of Australia, despite landholders’ attempts to poison or trap them (thus validating the phrase “cunning as a fox”).

One Dubbo woman was so intent on winning a prize in the Lotto competition that she pulled up her car outside the LHPA office, opened the boot, and dragged out a whole fox carcass.

“Exotic foxes pose a serious conservation problem in Australia”, says an article in Wikipedia. '”Current estimates indicate there are more than 7.2 million red fox (Vulpes vulpes) with a range extending throughout most of the continental mainland.

“The species became established in Australia through successive introductions by settlers in the 1830s. Due to its rapid spread and ecological impact, it has been classified as one of the most damaging invasive species in Australia.”

Video : Fox and chooks
From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia. Posted Friday, 1 March 2013, at 14:53

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Author's Blog.

Memories by June -I REMEMBER PYOTE

 Yes, I remember… Pyote!

When I received this article on the cockpit of the Enola Gay,
suddenly time turned backward and I was there again…
memories flooding my mind  like
the waters from a broken dam. . . .
For I was there again…

But let’s start at the beginning…
Let me introduce you to the most famous bomber
Of  World War II…
The Enola Gay

Cool photography..   Lots of history in this clip!
Check this out. This gives you an HD 360 Degree view from the cockpit
of The Enola gay; the plane that dropped the 1st Atomic bomb on
Hiroshima.      This plane was built at the Martin Bomber
manufacturing plant in Omaha in Building D. (now Offutt AFB)
This is pretty amazing, you can look around, but look down too and up
in the cockpit of the Enola Gay B-29 the Japanese will never forget!
It ended the war and that was its mission and intention.
You can manipulate the camera up, down and around, pretty cool.  gotta
love The "horn" button.
Be sure and drag the pointer (cursor) in all directions.

       (Editor's Note: the link above worked in Internet Explorer but not in Firefox for me.)
From My Box of Memories
 By June Harper Hogue
 And now my story begins . . .

It was the Spring of 1942.  I had just turned 8 and was in the second grade, but I remember it well.  We had just moved to Monahans, Texas from Crane, Texas, a small oilfield and ranching town situated in the middle of a wind-blown mesquite laden prairie in a rather remote area of West Texas. To the south one could see the distant hills that beckoned one to explore Castle Gap, a pass between the hills on the Goodnight Trail of which many legends have been built…and much of West Texas history has been written.   We could see Castle Gap in the distance from our yard in Crane.  To the north were the seemingly endless mesquite pastures of the Pegasus Oil Field which bordered Midland and Odessa and  to the west were more of the same endless mesquite pastures dotted with greasewood.  To a child…Crane was not an especially interesting place to be.  Though I did not understand it at the time, WWII had just been declared and our move to Monahans meant that I was about to step into a whole new world of exciting and interesting new adventures.

Monahans was considerably larger than Crane and not isolated from the mainstream of life.  It was on Highway 80, the major connecting highway across the southern United States from California to Florida. It seemed there was always traffic on that highway and the railroad ran parallel to it.  Monahans was a main watering station for trains passing through…a new interest for me and my 3 brothers, for we had never before lived where there were busy railroad tracks with passenger trains that passed through!    From the beginning Monahans (which was 22 miles east of the state line of New Mexico) provided a whole new range of experiences for me.
Bordering the town on the east were great sand dunes (now known as Sand Hills State Park) and they were only about a quarter of a mile from our house!  Not only that, one of the world’s largest oak forests covered a large portion of those nearby sand hills.  They were Harvard oaks which grow only about 18 inches high and produce acorns just like other oak trees.  The desert flora fascinated me from the beginning.  Dotted throughout the dunes were occasional ponds of water (known as THE SEEPS) which ranged in depth from 12 to 20 feet deep in places.  Here the cold crystal clear water seeped out of the sand between the dunes, , and low willows grew on the banks around them.  For reasons unknown, many of the seeps had gold fish in them.  As I grew older I learned that these dunes extended all the way through New Mexico as far as the White Sands proving grounds.  This was a band of sand hills that few people really knew much about, even to this day,  but they proved to be very important to the war effort during WW II. 

The town of Monahans seemed to bustle with activity. There was a small airport and we enjoyed watching the small planes that flew over us and tipped their wings as the pilot waved to the folks on the ground below.  Gradually  we began to notice an increase in the airplanes flying overhead …there were not only small private planes but we began to notice large military planes as well.  Mother and Daddy reminded us that we were in a war and we would soon see many more planes in the sky.   We began to hear the word “Pyote” mentioned often and then…gliders and blimps began to be seen overhead…. and over and over we heard the words: PYOTE….PYOTE….what was it all about? 

We began to hear rumors about a large airbase that was being constructed at a place called PYOTE, a small town 18 miles to the west of us.  Everything seemed to be so secretive at first, but then we began to see soldiers in uniform about town and new words began to creep into our vocabularies as we began to became familiar with the idea of…war…WAR…Pearl Harbor…the Japanese…the Germans…rationing….and PYOTE!   Our parents explained what happened at Pearl Harbor and the meaning of war…and the draft!  Would our Daddy have to go to war?  How long would it last?  And what was the meaning of PYOTE?  Eventually we learned that the small town of Pyote, which was 18 miles to the west of Monahans, had been chosen by the government as the site to construct a huge  and highly secretive airbase where bombers would train.  

Because of the millions of rattlesnake dens and rattlesnakes that were found during the construction of the base it was named RATTLESNAKE AIR BASE.  

It was to be THE base for training all bombers during the war.   It also meant that we could expect the influx of thousands of people who either worked on the base or were families of soldiers who were to be stationed there.  

What would this mean  for Monahans?  It would take a lengthy volume to tell all about the changes that took place, but ...

 There is no way you could know the Monahans I knew.  It has passed into obscurity…a quaint little town in far West Texas that grew to be a bustling hub of Pyote Air Base during World War II.  We moved to Monahans when I was in the 2nd grade and I loved it at once.  I loved the pastures, the mesquites, the smell of grease wood (creosote bush) after a rain, the beautiful sunsets, the wild flowers that grew  in the pastures (Mother and I often made special trips to the sand hills to pick a bunch of wild verbenas), the sand hills where we spend long days just exploring,  looking for arrowheads and other treasures,  the Million Barrel (a large but abandoned experimental concrete tank that once held a million barrels of oil) where we played by the hour climbing its steep sides and sliding down them on a piece of cardboard....listening to the legends we heard from the old timers who sat in front of the corner drugstore telling their tales....there is so much I could tell you about it.  I learned to love history and to try to imagine what the country was like when the Apaches and the Comanches rode wildly through that country terrorizing settlers and confounding the  army’s troops... and how the Comanches would raid the settlements as a Comanche moon rose in the sky. 
We lived through the war years there watching troop trains coming through and stopping for water----we kids ran errands for the soldiers who could not get off the train but wanted newspapers, magazines, candy bars, etc which we fetched for them.  We learned all about the war equipment as hundreds of long convoys  rolled through.  At night we could hear the hum of the many squadrons of  blimps that trained over the sand hills and we watched the gliders that also trained over those sand hills.  On Sundays we heeded the patriotic admonition to “Take a soldier home for dinner!” and nearly always brought one or two soldiers home from church for a home cooked Sunday dinner--we considered it our patriotic duty.  We lived across the street from our small county hospital which soon became a haven for the overflow of wounded veterans from the airbase hospital.  We were involved in    many activities from rolling Red Cross bandages to helping with wounded soldiers at the hospital across the street--the overflow of soldiers from the Pyote Air Base Hospital when the base hospital there could not handle all the wounded arriving from the battlefields.  I had had the run of the floor at the hospital by age 8 and got to help with many tasks at the hospital….there was no age limit on volunteers during the war and I was a welcome volunteer at the hospital.  I played the piano at the USO and helped lead the singing at song time.  Many of the soldiers wrote to us for years after the war.  From the opening of Pyote Air Base we watched the transition of our small town of Monahans from a sleepy little oil field town to a bustling small city as it suddenly had to open its arms to the thousands of soldiers and their families who were based at Pyote during the war.  Families in transition could not find housing.  Nearly every  day we had at least one person knock on our door seeking a room or a bed for rent.  You could have rented a pup tent in your yard if you had had one to rent!  Our small grade school could not accommodate the great influx of children whose fathers were stationed at Pyote so one year it became necessary to hold school in 3 different sessions each day.  That year my younger brother, Jimmy,  had to be at school at 5 a.m., my shift began at 10 a.m. and Charles did not have to be there until 3 p.m.  He got out after dark at 8 p.m.  Also, there was a shortage of teachers because when a soldier shipped out, his family left too and the turnover in teachers was high.  My fifth grade year I had 6 different teachers!  How Mother lived through this as room mother, chauffeur, Red Cross volunteer, etc., etc.,  I will never know but our chant was "V stands for Victory and we will win!  We all felt deeply patriotic.  Daddy worked all over the western part of Texas and New Mexico during that time.  Often he did not get to come home more than twice a month---gas was rationed, tires were rationed and he had a job to do--America needed him to drill for oil!  Mother was the Keeper of the Family.  And all the while, we listened for every tidbit of news that rumors brought us from those who worked at the base at Pyote. 
We heard that they were preparing a special bomber for a secret mission…but it was only rumor and rumors were cheap during the war.  Rumors of spies worried us and we were warned to “keep a zipper on our lips” so that no rumor became fodder for spies who might be listening!  We were somewhat suspicious of all strangers who showed up in town.  But still, we felt safe because we were so close to Pyote and I could not remember a time when some kind of military craft was not flying overhead in those days.  Germany and Japan seemed a long way off!
I will never forget the day that victory in  Europe was declared!  Blimps flew low over the playground of our elementary school and the crew dropped candy and bubble gum everywhere…candy that I had not seen since the beginning of the war (things like Jo-Boy…a favorite of mine… and Bubble Gum…rarely seen during the war).  That day school was dismissed early and I went home with a 6-month supply of candy and bubble gum for me and my brothers!  In my heart I blessed those boys from Pyote…they left me with memories that would last a lifetime!
When the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan to end the war, we did not realize that the Enola Gay had been stationed at Pyote and, after the war, would be stored there until transported to the Smithsonian Museum.  We had probably watched an American Icon flying the skies over Monahans and never knew what it was all about…but we were privileged to watch history in the making, unaware that we were witnessing the very core of America’s defense system in World War II.  Thank you, PYOTE and Rattlesnake Bomber Base and the brave men who flew the ENOLA GAY on the mission that ended World War II!  We will never forget you.

YES, I REMEMBER PYOTE and the name awakens all those memories of World War II and of home…Monahans! To me, the two were an inseparable part of my grade school years, indelibly written on my heart with love and thanksgiving to our Creator for a victory that could not have been won without…PYOTE’S RATTLESNAKE BOMBER BASE and THE ENOLA GAY!
Memories of the war years from June Harper Hogue

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