Did I mention it was Friday?
And one more thing: Happy Oneth of December.
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As we head into the traditional (at least around my neck of the woods) month of Winter Holiday gift-giving, I want a simple life–free to use my imagination and creativity without the hustle and bustle of early rising to write, edit, create artwork, run my online business, keep up with my blog and social media posts, and attempt to otherwise stay sane. So, my “Wishful Christmas Card to Santa” will read something like this:
Please visit my online shop for some great, unique gifts.
A Modern Reader’s Lament
In tales of old, we find a timeless theme,
Of stories bogged down in backstory’s stream,
The pandemic’s weight, a heavy narrative load,
Drowning the plot where the mysteries flowed.
In pages filled with words, the past unveiled,
Characters’ histories, endlessly detailed,
But where’s the heart of the story’s core?
Lost in the depths of exposition galore.
Oh, for the days of MacDonald and Hammett’s pen,
When plots were crisp, and prose was lean,
Elmore and Chandler, masters of their craft,
Knew when to let character depth take a backdraft.
Hillerman’s landscapes painted vivid and grand,
Yet never did he lose the reader’s hand,
Parker’s Spenser, sharp as a knife’s keen blade,
Intrigue and action, the focus never swayed.
So let us return to the art of the tale,
Where words and plots set our hearts to sail,
For character development, a spice, not the stew,
During a pandemic, the story must break through.
No more septic tank woes and rose gardens fair,
Let the plot’s heartbeat lead us from despair,
In the realm of storytelling, let’s find our way,
And leave the irrelevant backstory’s dismay.
In the echoes of these literary greats, we’ll thrive,
With stories that captivate, and narrative alive,
No more drowning in a sea of character past,
In the heart of the plot, our adventure will last.
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The tradition of giving out chocolate treats–my favorite–during Halloween Trick-0r-Treat celebrations in the United States has its roots in the evolution of Halloween customs and the influence of the candy industry.
Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. People believed that during this time, the boundary between the living and the dead was blurred, and offerings were made to appease and honor spirits. These offerings often included food and sweets.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, following World War II when sugar rationing was lifted, Halloween began to take on a more commercialized and modern form. The candy industry played a significant role in promoting the tradition of giving out sweets. Companies started marketing candy specifically for Halloween, and it became increasingly popular to give out pre-packaged candies during Trick-or-Treat.
Chocolate was among the sweets that gained popularity during Halloween celebrations. Its rich and indulgent taste made it a desirable treat. Over time, chocolate bars and individually wrapped chocolates became a staple of Halloween candy offerings.
The association between Halloween and chocolate treats was further solidified by popular culture. Halloween-themed packaging and advertising by chocolate manufacturers reinforced the idea of giving out chocolate during Trick-or-Treat. Characters like Hershey’s Kisses’ “witch” advertisements or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups’ “two great tastes that taste great together” slogan became iconic parts of Halloween marketing.
As Halloween continued to evolve as a major holiday in the United States, consumer preferences for candy also played a role. Many people began to prefer chocolate over other types of sweets, and chocolate bars and candies became a sought-after prize during Trick-or-Treat.
Today, giving out chocolate treats during Halloween is a widespread tradition in the United States and is deeply ingrained in the holiday’s cultural and commercial aspects. It’s not only a way to satisfy the sweet tooth of trick-or-treaters but also a symbol of the Halloween season itself. The practice of handing out chocolates and other candies has become a fun and cherished part of the Halloween experience for both children and adults.
Way back in ancient times, sometime after the age of dinosaurs and before the invention of the computer and internet, and about the time I received an A+ grade for creative writing in 5th grade, I mean long, long-ago 65+ years ago, I raised chickens—laying hens, to be precise—and sold their eggs. Back then, I don’t remember ever thinking of chickens as being related to dinosaurs, much less the T-Rex. Although my brother did have a rather large and bad-tempered rooster with sharp, three-inch spurs that enjoyed making life miserable for any human who ventured out to the chicken yard and nests to gather eggs. He—the rooster, not my brother—I would have no trouble believing was related to the ancient dinosaur carnivores. No doubt this old rooster could recognize faces. He never attacked my father but came after me and my siblings at every opportunity and then boasted about it with exuberant strutting and crowing.
Enjoy these chicken facts.