Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pet Memories...

I've always had a great love for the Looney Tunes' character, Tweety Bird. So much so that my first pet was a beautiful yellow canary, a present from my grandmother when I was seven-years-old. I named her Queenie (because somehow "Tweety, Jr." or "Little Tweety" didn't seem to fit).

Queenie was a unique bird who loved football. Her cage was in close proximity to the television set and whenever a game was on she'd chirp happily. If we changed the channel, she squawked. She also liked to "swing" and "sing" to Frank Sinatra. When my father put a Frank Sinatra album on the stereo, Queenie would jump on her swing and tweet and peep to the beat.

When I got home from school each day, she would leap from her perch, clasp the cage bars, and put her head in the open space for a rub. While I patted her head, I would tell her about my day. Whether it was good, mediocre, or exceptionally crappy, Queenie was always ready to listen.

For most children, their pet -- be it dog, cat, canary or goldfish -- is their first best friend and confidant. Often, the relationship a child has with a pet is as significant -- if not more -- than that of any other family member. For a child, having a pet instills responsibility, commitment, and unconditional love.

We had Queenie for four years. I came home from school one day to find her listless, her "peep" more like a "croak." She wouldn't flutter around, but simply sat on the floor of her cage. My dad and I took her to a neighborhood vet who recommended that we just keep her quiet and warm. I don't think there was anything to do to help her, but the man felt he had to offer some suggestion to console an upset little girl (me!). Dad and I took Queenie home, covered her cage before bedtime as we always did, and the next morning when we removed the cover, she had passed away.

Dad took a shoe box, padded the inside with several layers of tissue, placed Queenie in the box, covered her up to her shoulders with an additional tissue, and secured the lid to the box. Since I had an aunt and uncle who had recently moved from Philly to New Jersey, Dad and I buried the box in their back yard.

To this day, whenever I hear the birds chirping outside my window, I think of Queenie -- especially if there's a football game on television.

Does anyone have a pet memory to share?

Have a good week, Everyone!

(photo c/o

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Grand Funk Railroad

Grand Funk Railroad during 1970s

On a recent Saturday morning, as I stood in a supermarket line, whoever was in charge of the music began streaming a block by one of my favorite bands from my high school years, Grand Funk Railroad (often shortened to Grand Funk). Out of Flint, Michigan the band formed in 1969, with the trio of Mark Farner, Don Brewer, and Mel Schacher, I didn't discover their music until 1973. By then, keyboardist, Craig Foster had been added, enhancing the mix.

Grand Funk Railroad today 

With their sound, a combination of rock, soul, and metal, Grand Funk Railroad received little airplay on the more popular AM radio, but the guys sure knew how to pack -- and rock -- an arena. I remember putting aside part of my allowance until I had saved $7.50 to buy a ticket for the band's appearance at our local venue, the Spectrum (which is now a parking lot). Back in those days, many concerts were "open seating" or "first come, best seat." My friends and I stood in line for hours for the chance to sit in one of the front rows closest to the stage. Seeing an always shirtless Mark Farner (he's no longer with the band) strut across the stage was worth every minute of the wait.

With gratitude to several folks at YouTube, I've posted links to my favorite Grand Funk Railroad tunes -- including  a live performance of We're An American Band featuring a shirtless, strutting Mark Farner.

We're An American Band

Some Kind of Wonderful

Rock 'N Roll Soul

I'm Your Captain/Closer to Home

While doing my YouTube search, I started thinking of the many bands I enjoyed in the Seventies -- The Grass Roots, Chicago, Three Dog Night...

If you have a favorite Seventies band, please share.

Have a good week, Everyone!

(photos c/o; We're An American Band video c/o Dario Paccagnella; Some Kind of Wonderful video c/o Jmoore 75860; Rock 'N Roll Soul video c/o Jmoore 75860; I'm Your Captain/Closer to Home c/o TIJ188)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

RWA Annual Conference

Romance writers from all over are headed to San Diego, California for the annual Romance Writers of America conference, July 13th through 16th. Four days of special events, workshops, networking, and catching up with friends.

To all traveling and attending, best wishes for an informative week, be safe, and have a great time!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

Independence Hall

On July 4th, here in the United States, we celebrate our birthday as a nation. As with any "birthday party," celebrate, enjoy, be safe...and don't forget to take a moment and remember our military men and women serving our country, especially overseas. They're protecting us, and making it possible for us to celebrate America’s independence!

Happy July 4th!

(photo of Philadelphia's Independence Hall c/o

Sunday, June 26, 2016

DVD Watching...

Rainy days are always good for DVD watching. I wanted to take this week to give a FIVE star "shout-out" to several recent DVDs I've viewed.

Should you be interested in checking them out, I've included Amazon links.


This year's Academy Award winner for Best Picture (and Best Original Screenplay), an awesome ensemble cast tells the true story of how The Boston Globe  uncovered the immense scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese.


Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), who never knew his father, Apollo Creed, asks Apollo's former boxing rival and later friend, Rocky Balboa, to be be his trainer.


After CBS anchor Dan Rather (Robert Redford) and "60 Minutes" producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) broadcasts a report about President George W. Bush's military service, the story affects their lives and shakes their careers.

Anyone have their own recommendations? Please share, and have a great week!

(Snoopy & Charlie Brown photo c/o

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Picture Books to Honor our Soldiers...

A few days after drafting my blog post on the philosophy behind Memorial Day in the U.S.A., I was returning DVDs to my local branch of the Philadelphia Free Library. As I turned to leave, I noticed in the Children's Department, a thoughtful, respectful display of Children's books focusing on our military. American flags complimented the display.

Since I'm a strong believer in the importance of reading to children, I took a look at the display and was impressed by how the authors explained serving in the military to children.

As I strolled home, I decided to use this week's post to introduce these awesome reads to you. I've provided "Buy Links" should you need more information.

Hero Dad 
by Melinda Hardin and Bryan Langdo

A boy compares his father, a U.S. soldier, to a superhero.

Amazon Buy Link:

Barnes & Noble Buy Link:

Hero Mom 
by Melinda Hardin and Bryan Langdo

These superheros are moms. Military Moms.

Amazon Buy Link:

Barnes & Noble Buy Link:

My Big Brother 
by Miriam Cohen and Ronald Himler

A boy idolizes his brother who has left home to join the army.

Amazon Buy Link:

Barnes & Noble Buy Link:

The Wall (Reading Rainbow Book)
by Eve Bunting and Ronald Himler

A young boy and his father visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Amazon Buy Link:

Barnes & Noble Buy Link:

Have a wonderful week, Everyone!

(flag photo c/o