Matthew Gomez Flash Fiction Challenge: Sub Genre Mash-Up of Southern Gothic and Cosmic Horror “Cotton Farmer”

Cotton Farmer

By EF Sweetman

My dear Mama passed on while bringing me into this world-her one baby girl. Nine strapping boys couldn’t kill her, it was me, her tiniest baby. Nannie and Poppy came to help take care of us and run the farm when Mama died. Nannie always said Daddy was just so broken hearted, ready to give up, but I was only thing that could make him smile. 

We fell on lean times, barely scraping by some years. My older brothers, Brooks, Wendell, Orly, Jeb, they scattered off to big cities or the military before I started schooling at Miss Duffay’s. The younger ones, Wylie, Emmett, Marcus, and Job left, one-by-one, just as soon as they could. Duke was the last to go, just last spring. He stayed to help with seeding. Daddy wasn’t bitter, he knewn the town felt too small, too oppressive to make anything of themselves in it, and there was little money. The boys should discover the great, wide world beyond.

 Daddy and Poppy were left with the poor option of hiring help on the farm from the town, which was wanting in the quality and reliability of the work. Relief came in one Mr. Abner Clanton, a descendent of the first family to settle in these parts. The Clantons owned forty acres down by the creek. They left, because a fire destroyed their house and barn. The only structure standing was an old outbuilding. Young Mr. Clanton and his bride settled in that tumbledown shack, which was no place for habitation, let alone a home for newly wed. 

The town women decided to investigate by organizing welcoming parties which were soundly rebuffed. Mrs. Clanton would not come to the door, nor would she respond to any invitations to tea and potluck, so town children were dispatched to throw rocks at the shack’s windows. When Nannie learned this, she sent Poppy to chase those kids off, and gave Abner Clanton a basket of provisions once a week.

As summer progressed, town folk whipped the rumor mill into a frenzy with new hateful stories, all of which Nannie recounted from her errands to town. Abner Clanton was a drunk, the entire Clanton clan turned to robbing and mayhem after they were run out (the tragedy of the fire was no longer the account for their leaving). The Clantons excommunicated-although they weren’t Catholics-and they moved down to Mexico to practice dark arts. Abner Clanton wasn’t a farmer at all, he was looking to rob Daddy. The gossip on Mrs. Clanton was equally dispicable: her kin were from up north, maybe England. She had extra fingers and toes. She was a working girl from Kansas City, and got Abner to marry her by poisoning his drink.

I warned Nannie to hush up about all that, and not to a word to Daddy’s ears, although honestly, the stories unnerved me. Something about the way Mr. Clanton just stood out in the middle of the field. He never took any samples, he just ran his hand along the tops of the bols. Strange.

One fine June evening Mrs. Ibrahim from came to sit out on the porch with Nannie, and tell the strangest story about Mrs. Clanton-that she only left the house at night, accompanied by, of all things, a few young children! The Clanton’s had no children, rumors were that was she was barren after an illegal procedure as a working girl. Mrs. Ibrihim asserted these “night children” weren’t normal, they were pale as ghosts with great shocks of white hair and white eyes. Then Daddy came out which shut her down before she could finish, however that tale scared Nannie, but good. 

Next morning Nannie declared she would not go outside when Mr. Clanton was in the field. No amount of rationalization would bring about any change of heart, so our outdoor chores and kitchen garden got done before breakfast and after dinner. She still made up a basket, but she would not carry it to Mr. Clanton. Daddy laughed, but said he was fine with however she wanted to run her affairs, as long as Nannie promised to stop listening to trash talk that scared her from going outside. I convinced Daddy to stop making fun, Nannie was better off working outside in the cooler time of day. Besides, I won’t lie, Mr. Clanton made me feel uneasy too. 

Nannie didn’t mind her promise. She kept coming home from her errands with more bizarre tales about the Clantons. Long forgotten was the real reason the family moved off their land: they left in abject poverty because of the devastating fire. No one seemed to recall that fact, because the newest talk was they poisoned the creek, unsubstantiated! No animals or humans suffered from drinking the water, which was pumped into our homes every day. 

The stories grew more dark and eerie: both Mr. and Mrs. Clanton wandered around with a passel of children at night, children with white faces with white eyes, who peered into windows, and if you saw them, you would die. For whatever reason, there was a determination for people to frighten themselves senseless over the young couple. A growing number of folks who wanted to run them off their land, despite the fact that no one turned up mysteriously poisoned or dead.

As the strange summer wound down, anyone could see it was our best cotton year ever. We got visits to our porch every evening, Our guests, clutched their glasses of sweet tea while they eagle-eyed the field. These were thinly veiled reconnoiterings to feed the rumor mill about the Clantons. Daddy had a good laugh over the shenanigans, and always shooed visitors off once they got an eyeful of his beautiful field and barely a sip of tea.

 It was magnificent-fluffy and white-a perfect harvest. One morning, in late August, Daddy and Mr. Clanton discussed when they would start ginning and baling. They agreed it would be soon, and shook on it. After they talked, I watched Mr. Clanton as he stood in the middle of the fluff. I could almost swear he was talking or singing to the cotton, but decided it was the heat shimmers that played on my eyes.

The next day we got rain which turned into three days of solid, soaking, heavy rain. Daddy despaired at the edge of the field, watching the stalks bend under the weight of the water. Mr. Clanton did not show up on those days, which worried Daddy even more than rain. He would not speak of it, fear that he had been duped, but I could read it on the lines of his face.

The fourth morning dawned bright and sunny. I woke to Daddy yelling from the yard, then I heard Poppy run out and begin whooping and hollering. I jumped out of bed, and ran outside, dreading to know the harvest was ruined. It was anything but. The field was picked clean, bales and bales stood in the sun, along with sacks of seed for oil and  next year’s crop. After daddy yelled himself out, he was dumbstruck. There was no sign of any equipment or machinery, it looked like a massive army had been through, leaving tracks, as if they marched along the cotton stalks and did the work by hand. A double line of tracks left the field toward the creek. When Daddy got his voice back, he told me to go on in the house with Nannie, and not come out until he and Poppy returned, which terrified me more than anything that summer.

Nannie was sitting at the table. She looked petrified, but could say nothing other than, “It’s a beautiful day” “Praise heaven” “We have much to be thankful for”, which she repeated over and over. I was convinced she had a stroke, and needed medical attention, although other than looking scared and repeating herself senseless, she appeared to be healthy as a horse.

Daddy and Poppy returned within an hour, looking so shocked or amazed that I forgot tell them we needed to bring Nannie to Doctor Trout. I brought them glasses of water to help move them along to tell me what they saw.

Daddy finally spoke. Said they followed the tracks to Clanton’s place.The truck was gone, the shack was empty, abandoned, no sign of Abner or his wife. They saw that those tracks lead to town, so Daddy and Poppy followed them with growing dread. The town was quiet, too quiet. But folks were up and out, although it wasn’t the usual activity and bustle. People moved slowly and carefully. As Daddy approached, he saw they looked like they all saw some kind of ghost or horror, but otherwise looked fine. They  greeted him with the same nonsense phrases, “It’s a beautiful day” and “We have much to be thankful for” 

Nannie fainted on the table when she heard that. I revived her with a cool cloth, and she woke right up, but did not recover from her strange speech affliction for several weeks. It took nearly a month for her to resume regular conversation, and she continued to become tongue-tied at any attempt to malign the Clanton’s for the phenomenon of her inability to speak of certain subjects. Daddy reported the same happening in town with similar symptoms. 

The profit from the cotton crop that year made us rich. I decided I to stay put instead of going off into the big world. We are very comfortable now. I guess you could call me a spinster, even at my young age, which is not a terrible thing, but I prefer to think of myself as unattached, and the paragon of restraint and civility.  Things are far more interesting here now, especially if Mr. and Mrs. Clanton decide to come back. Besides, I do believe Daddy, Nannie, Poppy need me.


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Up early, getting my coffee before deciding do I kill time on the bad news, or write with a clean head. Large, milk no sugar.

I gave up the sugar in my coffee in 1987 because I ran out of sugar and there wasn’t any money to get more. I tried to drink it black, but just can’t. Mr. Ocho-ocho learned to drink it black in the Navy-no milk on the ship, and it was terrible with just sugar, that was that. So now you know.

Those stupid facebook, buzzfeed, creepy quizzes are back. It pisses me off. Facebook supposedly banned that shit when Cambridge Analytica illegally downloaded an app to steal ALL your information from those idiotic quizzes.

I used to go all in–who are you on Friends, how cool you are because of what you eat at brunch, who is your rock star twin. That shit is “data mining, usually an app that harvests not only your profile data, but also data from the profiles of ALL your Facebook friends. Names, birth dates and location data, lists of every Facebook page they liked, were downloaded — without their knowledge or express consent  to do serious damage-politically, financially…

Change your privacy settings. This is a really rough time. It galls me that what we use to make it more fun, pass quickly is digging in your personal, financial, private information while the platform rakes in $$$,$$$,$$$,$$$ on your back.

That’s it. Have a good day.

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Monday morning

Large, milk, no sugar, thanks.

That didn’t take long, did it? News on the radio is that senators can’t get together in the biggest health crisis in over one hundred years. And depending on your political slant, it’s either they’re holding out for more for the actual workers, or they’re still blocking anything the other side wants-so business as usual. Which could not be any farther from this unbelievable reality. The good news is, they are still working on it.

The numbers are scary-all of them. It’s so quiet outside.

Makes sense we’ve all been sent to our rooms. I just hope everyone-everyone can be warm, has enough food, care if you are sick, and a way to know “you’re not alone”.

Thanks, take care.

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Sleep is for suckers, right?

Up early, still dark. I’ve never been a good sleeper, so why start now?

Large, milk, no sugar.

It’s my dad’s birthday. He’s 89. He’s awesome. I mean it, he’s an amazing guy-both my parents are amazing. I’m so lucky, both parents are alive and well-managing through this with phone calls from the five of us.

Yep, five kids. In seven years. I gained serious respect for my parents the shortly after my oldest son was born. Like, holy crap, how did my mother do this…five times?

My father’s favorite age was last year. Hands down, no doubt about it. Wasn’t like he won the lottery or anything, he was 88 and said, “Ocho-ocho” when he was asked his age. It gave him the biggest kick. I know this because I took him to appointments at the VA in Boston. He was asked his age a lot-make that, he offered his age when asked his date of birth. It was awesome.

My favorite song right now-because it makes me think of people I love very much-is Rearrange Us by Mt. Joy–

“‘Cause it seems like a short life
But it feels like a long time
When I remember everything”

Happy Birthday to Mr. Ocho-ocho. Have a good day.

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Oh hi, it s been a while, and we're in a pandemic

It’s been years, hasn’t it? How’s everyone been? Kind of a rough time to ask, given the epic event that we’re in right now. I hope, pray, wish–all those foamy, easy words that come automatically–that you are doing well and can weather this through without unspeakable loss that is predicted.

I want to use this as something of a coffee shop. Drop in, exchange pleasantries for the purpose of feeling like I’m connected to humanity for a brief moment in the day. So, “Good morning, how are you? …doing good, thanks.”

That’s about all I do. Chatting has always felt awkward and forced to me. My timing sucks, I say stupid things, and if I do get talking, all of a sudden I don’t have an off-switch.

I didn’t just take a break from this blog, I cut out my time on social media-first Facebook, then Twitter. The time and energy lost was cutting into my real existence. Wait, what am I saying? Here’s the truth: my Twitter break wasn’t a real break because I can’t quit you Twitter!

So, Good morning, how are you? Large with milk, no sugar. Nice to see you, everyone good? Let me know. Ok, take care, have a good day.

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Don’t Panic Earthlings

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I am way out of line here, and I’ll pay for this later. Really pay. But I’m like most of you earthlings-with your priorities so out of whack that it’s a wonder how you survive each day. Like you, I can’t scroll by a video of a pathetic puppy without clicking on it, then crying for anywhere up to an hour, then devoting the rest of my day to saving pathetic puppies.

I’ll spare you the details of what I am, because most of you won’t believe it anyway. And to those of you who do believe in me…well, you are just too freaky. Anyway, three hours to go, transition of power time, and I’m dressed up in a modest black dress, white half apron, white cap, sensible black shoes, and heavy tan hose. Think of a British maid in the 1930’s. But I’ve got myself a rockin’ body. Tits that defy gravity, legs that look good in anything, even these black shoes. Hell, these legs would look good in Birkenstocks. My face is pretty, but not too pretty. Because that’s not where his eyes go, but it’s where the Mrs. looks first. If my face is nicer than hers, I’ll be back in the kitchen scraping food off plates. As I am, she’ll just dismiss me as forgettable.

The Obamas will appreciate the service, and won’t even notice me handing off the cups to whoever brings them over–to one of the most awkward coffee & tea get togethers in history. I mean it, as far as you people go, this is going to be more uncomfortable than Hoover and Roosevelt in 1932. You had to wonder how Hoover, knowing he was called a fat, timid capon choked down a cup of coffee with a guy he thought of as a chameleon on plaid?  I know that information is utterly useless to you people because your personal history goes as far back as what Instagram picture you liked last night when you really didn’t mean to, it was just that you had too much wine with dinner. All I am saying is it could help you in the future if you read up a little on your presidential history. You might choose more wisely next time.

When the butler hands me T’s cup, I’m going to do something to it that defies your laws of science, physics and astrophysics. Y’all are so cute when you try to explain things you don’t understand. The three other humans at this little do are going to get shitty, lukewarm coffee or tea…well maybe the Mrs. will get that 10,000x calorie sugar cube I whipped up last night on her plate, but I’ll bet my seventh eye she won’t touch it. Not because it is suspect-it looks exactly like a regular sugar cube, but because I know for a fact that that woman has been off sugar since she got pregnant with Baron. Oh well, I can hope to tempt her, right?

When T sips his brew, the impact will be instant. It will render him unable to speak, and his fingers will grow so fat, amorphous and rubbery that he will be unable to type on a keyboard or touch screen. He will panic, attempt to get up, and try to run in tiny circles, but the drink will render him unable to react in moronic ways. The effect of this potion on T will only be that he can only operate his body in a stately, calm, purposeful manner. He won’t be able to grab, pinch, pull, tweak or tweet. And he won’t be able to speak.

Shut up! SHUT UP!  You beings are so frigging reactive! I’m not done telling you about this awesome thing, and you’re already losing your shit-half of you screaming and pissing on the carpet about poisoning the president elect, the other half of you are screaming, pissing on the carpet, and tossing your stupid pink pussy hats in victory. God Almighty, I have to wonder for the billionth time, why am I doing this?

Now, to get back to my plan: T will be able to carry out the duties of his elected office in appearance only. He had laid the groundwork for what he is, and for what he wants for his term in office long before this sucky coffee/tea gathering-the symbolic transfer of power that no one really cares to endure. That’s true! You’d think the incoming douche bag would be all, Hey, look at me! I’m shoving the outgoing douche bag out the door so I get get my stink all over this place! but no. Usually by the time this coffee klatch takes place, both incoming and outgoing are either shitfaced, or hungover, or both; useless and beyond care. Technically, my seraphic roofie is an overkill on this particular day.

The major ramification of my concoction is to neuter your new President-in the figurative sense. (I believe he’s been physically neutered since 2007 when the Mrs. caught him with the pool boy.) If he can’t talk, can’t tweet, can’t pout, can’t gesture, and can’t grab, can’t stop his hair from lifting off his head he’s a figurehead. A statue. A symbol. A token. A representation. A metaphor. I’m running out of your words here, and you’re still not getting it…you people really need to put down your devices and start paying attention to what is really happening around you, stop reacting after the fact, and plan a little better. T, in the state that I will put him in, in the position that YOU elected him will be rendered powerless. So it will be up to all of you!

No? You don’t like it? Not even the hot maid in the frumpy dress? Come on! This shit is what you all binge watch on Netflix! Holy crap, my friends were right. My crew totally warned me about this. They told me it wouldn’t work. They said I’d regret all of it, even before it was done. Let them hang by their own hook, you moron! they said, If you actually help those idiots, if it really makes a difference, you know what we get? We get humans in our world! No thanks! We see what they do to their planet! Let them wallow in their own shit until they figure it out for themselves. I can’t believe I’m standing here, wishing I listened to my friends.

Well I guess I’m a sucker, and you all are the pathetic puppies. What the hell, I’m going for it. Two hours to go, and I’m really hopeful. Excited actually. I really believe this will work out for all of you.

Oh, there is one more thing. It’s kind of mean, but this guy T deserves it. I’ll bet you all want to know what this guy-a billionaire, with the hot third wife, the hot smart daughter, all best properties on your planet, now he’s in the most powerful position in the world wants more than anything. He wants it so bad, and he just can’t have it, and believe me, he has tried. God, this is so mean and petty, totally not like a superextraterrestrial being I am, but I have been spending waaaaaaaaaay too much time with you earthlings. I know I really shouldn’t, but what the hell. You know what? If he just asked me nicely when I first appeared to him, I would have given him it without any strings attached. Instead he tried to grab my antennae and…well it’s just too gross to describe, but that shouldn’t surprise you after this past presidential election, right?

Your new President would give up his gold toilet for Alex Baldwin’s hair.

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Posted in Alec Baldwin, cautionary tales, conspiracy, humor, Inauguration 2017, New Year, Observations, Obsessions, politically incorrect, politicians, Politics, scandal, Trump | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Well This is Interesting.

My blog is blowing up. I mean it, it is exploding with views, and I have absolutely no idea why.

This is, sadly, a very beloved, but a neglected blog. I started it, I think, in 2007. I had no idea what I was doing. I wasn’t really sure what a blog was. I just knew it might be cool to write one, have millions of readers, retire early, and while away my time on my private island. No, seriously. I thought it would be fun to write about things that interested me, and see if anyone was interested in reading them.

The first year was pretty dismal. I don’t think I had a single follower. Probably because I had no idea how to tag, share, or drum up any interest. Then I started following other bloggers on WordPress, and by the second year I was busy and happy with the forum.

On the scale of bloggers though, I was small fry. At my very best, I had 100 views on days that I posted. I got about 25-30 on the off days. Most of my traffic was due to my friendship with uber bloggers-people who naturally drummed up a lot of interest in their writing. I often wondered why that worked for them, and how come I wasn’t hitting the mark. I took it personally when my favorites: The Wonders of Mens Underwear, 4th of July on the Esplanade, and Happy New Year! L Street Brownie Style got only the usual amount of views. I felt slighted that the Boston Globe ignored End of the Season, End of an Era and Thanks for some of the memories, Nomar. I had a couple of really great posts as a guest blogger on another site that got a lot of attention, but that was because it was I was writing for a major blogger, The Idiot.

Then I had a post make “Freshly Pressed”. If you are unfamiliar with WordPress, let me tell you, that is the golden ticket. I went from about 100 views for a new post to over 3,000. It was incredible, and so much fun. I loved the post, Awkward! Awkward! and having it make the “Freshly Pressed” podium was an incredible honor, and likely one of the best experiences as a blogger.

I was writing quite a bit after my fifteen minutes of glory, enjoying a larger following, and keeping up with other much more successful bloggers. Then I started to fade. My writing stalled, I felt fake and superficial on posts I tried to make amusing. I felt like I was overbearing and insufferable on topics I cared about. The whole idea and platform of blogging just left me.

But I didn’t want to abandon my blog. I love it. It is my voice, who I am over the years. It chronicles things I cared about, and although it is neglected, I can’t really abandon it altogether. It has the things I care most about here, here, and here. And especially here.

I blog about six times a year. On tired subjects: Christmas. Starbucks. Bees. Dogs and family. Bikes. Baseball. The little I have to say these days keeps coming around. I keep doing it because this blog matters to me. But I have stopped checking the number of daily views–it has been 0 to 5 for months. A few years ago, that would bother me. I’d think, “What does it take to get people to read what I write?”Now I’m happy if people want to read it, but it doesn’t bother me if they don’t.

Imagine my surprise when I got a strange ding on my computer with this notification: Your stats are booming! Of bees, baseball, bicycles…and other things is getting a lot of traffic. That was on Sunday. I got 76 views. Saturday I had two. Friday I had zero. Then Monday came, with a bunch of dings informing me I had booming stats and a total of 1,101 views. Weird! My last post was December 28th. About the Hamburgler. It got about 15 views, and it was definitely not my best.

I looked at what was feeding these views, and all I could find was that the majority of was from Facebook. It was strange. I have less than 300 friends, so how on earth is that happening? And almost every view is clicking on a post from 2014, The Whistler? I can’t understand it. A post about a legend in Central Massachusetts in the 1970s-1980s has now gotten up to, at this time today, 2,583 views.

There are very few comments or likes, so I think this post somehow ended up on a social media feed that gets clicked on, then clicks off. I am sure I’ll find out.

So there it is. Another fifteen minutes of glory, with hopefully, no fall out, nasty comments, trollers, or snark. Of all the things I’ve written, I think The Whistler was the last piece I ever thought would make an impact. It was a personal observation, a blast from my past, and although it was clear to me, when I read about this guy, that he made a big impact, I never thought what I had to say about him would cause any ripple.


Bicycle Girl





Posted in blogging, Blogroll, Boston, Boston Red Sox, Celebrations, christmas, essay, humor, internet, Observations, Obsessions, society, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could 2016 be the Year of the New Hamburgler?

Oh, McDonald’s! Just when I think you’ve given up on your advertising campaign (has it been 10 or 12 years of I’m Lovin’ It!?) you turn us all completely on our heads with your new ad campaign.

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Hello! Here’s the New Hamburgler!

The Hamburgler! Remember him? If you’re anywhere between the age of 0 and 30, I am sure you don’t. The Hamburgler was a member of Ronald McDonald’s creepy squad of quasi puppet/human creatures that showed up on the Saturday morning commercials. I think the following picture is the original crew, although when I googled it, there was a character named Early Birdie who is missing from this picture.


Mayor McCheese, Ronald McDonald, Grimmace, Officer Big Mac        Captain Crook, Hamburgler, Professor and some fry goblins

Now keep in mind that this was a 1970’s ad campaign, very likely in response to public television’s wildly popular muppets on Sesame Street. McDonald’s ad wonks saw how much little kids loved Kermit, Ernie & Bert and Big Bird, and made the logical move to attach french fries, shakes, hamburgers and soda to a crew of odd, slightly scary, and in absolutely no way endearing side-kicks to the already creepy clown, Ronald McDonald.

I was in elementary school, a little too old for Sesame Street, so when the cavalcade of slightly off, sickly sweet McDonaldland creature commercials started sucking up more TV time than the cartoons we watched, I took my parents advice and went outside. To do things like break bottles in the street, throw rocks and parked school busses, but that’s beside the point.

I do not actually know the impact these McMuppets had on a generations of kids but I’m willing to bet it wasn’t the characters that got kids into eating the fast food regularly. It was the play areas, McKids meals and cheap-cheap-cheap prices that got parents to take their kids to McDonalds.

I mean honestly, the first Ronald McDonald was a horror!  And the clown…let me repeat that THE CLOWN he is today is still horrifying.

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Oh my God! Nightmares for life from both THEN & NOW.

I have no idea why McDonald’s decided to roll out the Hamburgler. I am guessing that their “healthy” trend, food truck imagy chicken, and all-day breakfast isn’t gaining back any of the market share they are losing to local, organic, small market feel fast food places, so they are going back in for the kids. With this guy?

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New Hamburgler. Did he steal a hamburger from 5 Guys?

Now, the first thing the McDonald’s suits need to do is fire their ad team. How is the new Hamburgler in any way endearing to an adult who might let their kid eat what he’s selling? Trench coat! Mask! The whole Let’s keep this a secret! message. Holy Mother of God, I am relieved I don’t have little kids, and if I did, this guy would be my example of stranger danger!

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Yeah, that’s going to get me to buy a hamburger for my kid.

This smacks of a last grasp at the public by an aging conglomerate whose best days are behind it. Competition, higher labor costs, the emergence of fast-casual over fast-food, and a global trend (Europe makes up 1/3 of McDonald’s sales) away from hamburgers due to the greater world focus on global health.

Millenials, the population born between 1982 and 2004, and makes up 1/4th of the world’s buying power, many of them raised on Happy Meals, are turning away from McDonald’s for a multitude of reasons: kale, mason jars, packaging that looks like artwork, fermented food, chill surroundings, hand-made, custom dishes, small plates, and sriracha. And no, McHoney-sriracha doesn’t quite cut it. And neither will the new Hamburgler.


Posted in blogging, essay, family, Millenials, Observations, Obsessions, parenthood, society, trends, fast food, McDonald's, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Solstice Shenanigans

What a interesting start to winter here in the northeast! The temperature is in the mid fifties before noon on the first full day of winter and I have to tell you, things are a little crazy with this unusual weather.

I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to find a few upright citizens acting like this, given what I have encountered…

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Unexpected warm temperatures invoke delerious celebration!

Now, from this point on, you will have to suspend your scepticsm and try to believe that what I relay to you is the truth. The only reason I can think of to explain the incredible events that I am going to recount is the unusually warm weather in a region when most inhabitants are ready to hunker down, pile on 10 pounds and hibernate until the bikini edition of fashion and sports magazines hit the stands.

I have the day off and I was straightening up for the house for Christmas Eve. Everything looks decorated.


Mantle is ready for the season.

When I noticed something a little different…


This is new.

So I took a closer look.


Holy moly! It’s a caravan of naked people among my Christmas crap!

What? What! WHAT?! It’s a naked invasion! Among the Christmas decorations…oh the humanity!

I wasted no time, drastic measures were call for. And I had no choice but to bring in the Army.


Captain Plastic! Help me mobilize the naked caravan!

Plastic army to the rescue. Mission Naked Caravan Relocation. Send them back to Whale Rock, the nude beach at Lake Tahoe (lovely spot but lots of naked people).

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Sunbathers at Whale Rock, Lake Tahoe

The plastic army men are always up for a mission.


Troops are mobilized! Back to Lake Tahoe’s East Shore!


And off they go with their usual enthusiasm. I can always count on the green plastic army men.

Feeling as though the situation was now under control and the Christmas mantle could regain a G rating stays, I started making a cup of herbal tea…my nerves were utterly shattered.

When I noticed some rather interesting maneuver formantion of the part of the green plastic army.


Erm, Captain? Sargent? Is this a new formation?


Front line infantry…why are you on your head?


Do my eyes deceive me, or are you soldiers doing…Yoga?


No! Now is not the time of a resting pose! Get those naked caravan interlopers back to Tahoe!


Your poses are perfect, but this does not remedy the situation, soldiers!

Then the miracle of the season dawned upon me. Peace on Earth, good will to all. Even to the Naked Caravan on the mantle.



Happy Christmas, Naked Caravan People, enjoy the mantle.

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Winter Riding

It has been warm and snowless up here in Massachusetts. I am not complaining, the weather has been perfect for winter riding. If you don’t mind riding without snow or freezing temperatures. After last winter, this is something I don’t mind a bit.


Lovely view from Forest River Park

I have been biking as much as I can because I am still shell shocked from the seven feet of snow we got last winter.

Fortunately, the weather has been warm and beautiful. It doesn’t even feel like winter. So thank goodness for all the local businesses that are providing the festive mood.


Santa’s sleigh in store window


Festive holiday window


Glamorous party attire 

The local museum has joined the holiday scene.


Wreath on the Anchor at the PEM


Lanterns glow red in the PEM garden

It isn’t just the holiday decorations that give me a sense of the winter solstice. Despite the warm weather, the angle of the sunlight and the brief length of daylight accord the feeling of quiet comfort, peace and the perception that the year is winding down.


Sunset on the road


Late afternoon light in the park

I am quite grateful that this time of year it is something I can enjoy on my bike.

Posted in Bianchi, Bicycles, bicycling, blogging, christmas, photography, photos, winter, writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment