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The Singing Sword

Original cover painting by Bob Larkin from Savage Sword of Conan #206,
by The Urban Blabbermouth
Jana ran for the last hour from them.  Her fast breath surrounded her head with steam in the cold mountain air as she paused, looking for hiding places.   Jana avoided her pursuers, slipping in and out of the nooks and crevices of the mountain.  Those same nooks and crevices worked to offset the speed of the pursuing vampires.  The vampires could not see her in the heavy snow, nor smell her blood in the extreme cold. Score one for Jana.

Jana ran out of the mountain onto the plains.  Now the vampires could speedily catch her, if they could locate her.  Score one for the vampires.

Moving through the snowy plains, Jana heard a mournful dirge carried in the wind.  Ah, people, maybe some help.  She ran towards the music. 

Jana came upon a sword, jutting from a snowy mound.  A singing sword?  No matter, it's a weapon. 

Root Canal? Why, I'd LOVE one, thanks!

Photo: Steve Martin as Orrin Scrivello, DDS in Little Shop of Horrors
by Vol-E

You know how people say "I'd rather have a root canal than..." with the blank filled in by "attend a teacher conference" or "drive across the country with my mother-in-law" or "pick up after my dog" or what-have-you.

Well, I've had nearly half a dozen root canals over the last few decades. No, they're not especially enjoyable, but I can't remember any episodes of PTSD that resulted from them. I guess the worst thing you can say about them is, they always require more than two visits to the dentist. Sometimes more than three. First you go for a routine visit (or maybe not so routine -- maybe you're hurtin' for certain). The dentist tentatively gives you the bad news, with body language that suggests he's expecting you to hit him. [Pardon the sexism -- I've never met a female dentist or even heard of one. Plenty of female…


by The Urban Blabbermouth
Betsy died today at 3:53 pm. Betsy was the sweetest Cocker Spaniel you could ever want.  She loved people.  Every day when I came home, she was always jumping at the door, impatient to greet me.  She would jump on me as if I were the happiest and best thing that ever happened to her.  I have to admit, she did the same to Rachel, my wife.

Let's not forget the kids.  Betsy, never had puppies, but our kids were her kids.  She always had the energy to play with them.  Thank God for that.  I remember one of my kids, Raquel - named after her mom - running from Rachel in the kitchen to me on the living room sofa, back and forth, back and forth, for an hour non-stop.  How exhausting!  But, every step of the way, there was Betsy running and playing with her.

All of us sat with Betsy and the kids petted her until she passed.  We buried her in our backyard, so she would always be with us.  Her ho…

Ghosts vs. Spirits

A group of us were hanging out recently, and the topic turned to ghosts.

“Do you believe in ghosts?” Leslie asked me.

“No,” I said. “I believe in spirits, but not ghosts.”

That was, as they say, an attention-grabber.

“Huh?” “What?” “Aren’t they the same?”

To be perfectly honest, I had not thought about that answer before it came popping out of my mouth. But once it was out, I had a chance to look it over and decided I’d pay the tax & license fees and drive it off the lot. I owned it.

So, okay, what’s the difference between a ghost and a spirit?

As I see it, a ghost is a non-corporeal entity (a former living being) that has an active will and endeavors to make itself known, whether its presence is welcome or not.

Plenty of people claim to have encountered ghosts, but I’m not one of them.

But a spirit is something everyone has, and when we die, it stays behind. It’s not just the memory of the departed. It’s everything they brought to this plane that changed the way things were.

The example I …

Princess and the Frog

by  The Urban Blabbermouth
A princess was strolling by a pond when a voice called out, “Princess! Princess!”

“Who is that?” asked the princess.

“It’s me, the frog, over here by the pond,” said the voice.

The princess approached the pond and stared in wonderment, “Will you look at that, a talking frog.”

The frog said, “Princess, I need your help. I am a prince and a witch changed me into a frog. I need your help to change back into a prince.”

“Oh, Mr. Frog, that is terrible,” said the princess. “What can I do to help?”

“Well, to be spiteful, the witch told me that only when a princess willingly consents to kiss me as a frog will I turn back into a prince.”

"So you want me to kiss you?"

“Yes Princess, if you would be so kind as to help a stranded man.”

“But Mr. Frog, did you do something to cause the witch to change you into a frog?”

“No Princess, I did nothing to the w…


By Vol-E

Seventy-seven days ago, I got ready to sleep in my own bed, having missed the previous night. That night had been spent in the Emergency department of our big city hospital. I ended up there because I felt sick, knew I might pass out as I had a few times before, and wanted to find out why. A kind co-worker drove me over, ignored my urging that she "just leave, I'll be fine" and watched me pass out cold in the wheelchair before they could process me into a room. Other fun experiences ensued, including a battery of tests and a parade of doctors and nurses. And an uncomfortable gurney with a "blanket" that was more like a paper towel with pretensions, over-bright lights, and some poor soul down the hall who kept yelling "Heeeeeeelllllllp!"  The conclusion drawn for my discharge was twofold: 1-I was dehydrated, and 2-My diabetes was not being properly controlled. The hospital helped me as best they could with those things while I was there, but …