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Monday, May 30, 2016

The true meaning of Memorial Day

The true meaning of memorial day is much more than barbecues, a day at the beach, and movies. Time for Kids explains:

Technically, summer doesn't start until June 20. But many people consider Memorial Day to be the unofficial start of the season. This year, we celebrate the holiday on May 30. Many families will heat up the grill, head to the beach or take in a big blockbuster movie. But Memorial Day has the word "memorial" in it for a reason.Soldier Donnie Terrell, a member of the U.S. Army, carries his daughter Hailey during a parade at MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Florida. EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN—TAMPA BAY TIMES/AP
Soldier Donnie Terrell, a member of the U.S. Army, carries his daughter Hailey during a parade at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
The holiday got started on May 30, 1868, when Union General John A. Logan declared the day an occasion to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. Twenty years later, the name was changed to Memorial Day. On May 11, 1950, Congress passed a resolution requesting that the President issue a proclamation calling on Americans to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. President Richard M. Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1971. Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday of May. It is an occasion to honor the men and women who died in all wars.
Remembering Those Who Served
It is customary to mark Memorial Day by visiting graveyards and war monuments. One of the biggest Memorial Day traditions is for the President or Vice President to give a speech and lay a wreath on soldiers' graves in the largest national cemetery, Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia. Most towns have local Memorial Day celebrations. Here are some ways you can honor the men and women who serve our country:
- Put flags or flowers on the graves of men and women who served in wars.
- Fly the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon.
- Visit monuments dedicated to soldiers, sailors and marines.
- Participate in a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time.
- March in a parade.

Brought to you by:
Thursday, May 26, 2016

Get your autographed copy here

I received my print books of Short Circuit in the mail yesterday. They look great.

If anyone wants an autographed copy just email me and I'll send one out to you.

Paperback is $9.99 and five dollars shipping. US funds on Paypal.

Fiverr did some graphics for me. What do you think?

Passionate And Original Inventive Author

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My son's cat Fuzzy Kitty - a Memoir of a black cat who found its way home

I looked after my son's black, long-haired, affectionate and personable cat on many occasions. Nicknamed Fuzzy Kitty, we never were sure of his real name. He loved a certain brand of cat food, I discovered, and would provide it to him on every occasion.

Fuzzy Kitty wandered away one summer day when my son brought him to a park and fell asleep. He was sorely missed and didn't turn up for many months, long after he'd been given up for lost or worse. My son received a call from the Humane Society. He'd been tracked by a chip on Fuzzy Kitty's ear, and paid I think $100 to get him back. Fuzzy Kitty was thin and his fur was matted, obviously he'd spent many months on the street, and some kind soul had rescued him and brought him into the Humane Society. The cat was overjoyed to see my son and my son equally to see him, I'm sure. It was like a small miracle to get him back.

Please, pet owners, put a chip on your valued companion! It brought Fuzzy Kitty home.

Fuzzy Kitty in my suitcase

Fuzzy Kitty with his mouse

Surveying his kingdom at my place

Peek a boo

Fuzzy Kitty in an upturned basin. He loved enclosed spaces.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


I wrote this a couple of years ago in a longer, and somewhat raunchier, format. This has been edited and shortened, and I present it to you as a little skit in four acts.

Would you pay a ticket price to come see this in a local theatre?

Criminal Embarrassment
A Skit

By Kenna Mary McKinnon

Act 1

A classroom. There are pots of orchids on shelves along the side and back. Professor Froot Loops at a lectern with a laser pointer in her right hand. A flowered cane leans on the wall beside her. Helen Wheels sits at a study desk poring over some papers, a large textbook open in front of her. A whiteboard behind Professor Froot Loops spells out in Greek, words and phrases of exorbitant praise for the professor. “Concrete Flats University – Glenora Annex” written in large letters on top of whiteboard.

Helen:             (Looks up and smiles). Well, here's our past, Professor Froot Loops.
Prof:                This is where it began, Helen Wheels. You and I in a classroom together and we ended up in a courtroom. (She moves her arm and the red pointer light descends on Helen’s head. Prof becomes more agitated each second as the red light simply harmlessly shines down Helen’s body.)

Helen:             (Sips on a slush type drink). Yup, Mrs. Froot Loops, studying Greek. It’s all Greek to me. By the way, I brought my dog. That’s how it all started. She’s on the lawn outside.

Prof:    That’s Professor Froot Loops to you, Mrs. Wheels. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid. (pause) What kind of dog?

Helen:             She’s a Great Dane.

Prof:                Great Scott. (walks to window and looks out).

Helen:             Her name is Killer.

Prof:                Where is she now? If she bothers my little Precious, I’ll strike her severely with my cane.

Helen:             Precious is getting frisky with Killer’s leg. He took a shine to my ankle on the way in. I heard Dachshunds such as Precious have back problems. You ought to be more careful.

Prof:                Keep that big pervert away from my Precious!

Helen:             Too late.

Prof:                (Picks up cane and smacks it against the window). Chorus outside of “Don’t Pet the Dog”. There are children in the neighborhood, Mrs. Wheels. You’re such a bad example.

Chorus: “Don’t pet the dog
                        He gets it confused with romance…
                        Just leave him alone or the next thing you know
                        He’ll be asking your ankle to dance…”

Helen:             You don’t know how sorry I am. (Puts head in arms and sobs).

Prof:                What’s wrong now? If you won’t tell me what’s wrong, I can’t help you. Don’t be so vague.

Helen:             (Eyes streaming). If you must know, I’m allergic to orchids.

Prof:                My husband will protect my orchis militaris with his life. Don’t you talk about my orchids in this classroom, and don’t you let that Great Dane near my husband or my Precious. Dear Mr. Froot Loops. I love him so. He’s in the back with the wheelbarrow and the flowers right now. (Tall man leans into window and waves, dirt on his face, then ducks from view and disappears). Your dog dare not come near my sayrion or my Eddy. (leans out window) Ed! Ed! Get that Great Dane out of here! And bring me a box of miniature chocolates. I feel faint and need sweets.

Helen:             My dog assaulted your dachshund. I admit it.

Prof:                I’m not finished. You took duct tape and tied up my cats and rabbits, and left them helpless in the washroom. (She starts to cry and flings the laser pointer across the classroom downstage, where it falls on the floor still shining).

Helen:             I did what?

Prof:                Don’t deny it, you pervert. Your dog is a pervert too. It could be years before my Precious gets over this trauma. If ever.

Helen:             Why don’t we go see? Cogito ergo sum. E pluribus unum.

Prof:                I completely disagree with you. And don’t get fancy with me, missy.

Helen:             (Rises from her desk and goes to the window downstage, singing “Don’t Pet the Dog”. Eddy Froot Loops comes into the room stage left strumming a portable keyboard. He carries a huge box of miniature chocolates under his arm. They all join in the chorus of “Don’t Pet the Dog”.)

They lean out the window staring into the yard. There is loud deep barking, followed by a yelp growing faint.

Prof:                My arthritis hurts so bad, I’ll hardly be able to limp to the courthouse to file a complaint. My, these are delicious. (Takes a chocolate from the box).

Mr. Froot Loops:        Now that I finally have a job, I worry about leaving you at home, little lotus blossom.

Helen:             Upon my word of honor, I’m innocent, Mr. Ed. (Mr. Froot Loops smirks and pounds on the keyboard loudly. Helen helps herself to a chocolate.)

Act 2

Helen Wheels and her friend Chicken Little are in the back of Kelly’s Pub making cookies in the kitchen. Smoke emerges from the oven. They are drinking from amber glasses and singing a drinking song. A dog howls in the yard outside.

Helen:             I think I burned these cookies, Chicken Little.

Chicken:         Speak up, Wheels. You know I’m hard of hearing. Did you say you took a turn for the worse?

Helen:             I BURNED THESE.

Chicken:         No need to yell. I think you did take a turn for the worse. You’re looking a bit red in the face. I think you burned the cookies, though. (They put the cookies into a tin and Helen picks up her phone).

Helen:             I’m calling Mr. Instant Delivery. Professor Froot Loops will love these cookies. I bet she’ll be thrilled to get them. What time is it?

Chicken:         It’s about midnight. I’m supposed to close down the pub at one. You got a thank you card?

Helen:             I’m apologizing, Chick.

Chicken:         You’re apocalyptic?

Helen:             (sighs) Yes, I’ve got a thank you card.

Chicken:         Good. I thought we were near the end times.

Helen:             (Tapes the tin shut and writes something on the tin). Now we’re safe. The cookies are sprinkled and I’ll call the All Nite courier. They’ll meet us out back. (Dials and speaks briefly into her cell phone).

Chicken:         Oh, that’s good. I’m sure she’ll like them.

Helen:             I ruined her book. I ruined her lawn. I ruined her dog. And she can’t find her cats or bunny rabbits. I’m a failure. I had so hoped for better things.

Chicken:         She’ll be so happy to know you’re sorry, Hell.

Helen:             I can just imagine how thrilled they’ll be when they open the cookie tin.

Sound of car stopping outside. Helen and Chicken exit through a door marked “Alley”. Sound of car pulling away. A dog howls.

Act 3

Helen Wheels sits in a courtroom with lawyer and witnesses on stage right. Prosecutor is sitting on stage left with the two Plaintiffs, Mr. and Mrs. Froot Loops. Chorus sits downstage left and right. Bailiff enters stage right.

Bailiff:            All rise. Here comes de judge.

(Judge enters in black robes and takes his seat).

Bailiff:            Order in the court.

Chicken:         I’ll have a fish sandwich.

Mr. Froot Loops:        Same here. With fries.

Prof:                I’ll have what he has.

Bailiff:            Order in the court.

Chicken:         I’ll have…

Bailiff:            Stop that.

Judge:             What is the charge, Ms. Tagonist?

Court Reporter:          (reads) Criminal embarrassment of the first degree.

Prosecutor:                 Kill her!

Judge:             Steady, Anne.

Prosecutor:     Sorry, sir.  I got carried away.

Judge:             We can arrange that. Order in the court.

Chicken:         Okay, two hotdogs…

Prosecutor:     Kill the witness.

Judge:             How do you plead?

Helen:             Not guilty, your honor. (looks at lawyer)

Lawyer:           Your Honor, we intend to prove my client was in Kelly’s pub at the time of the alleged offence.

Prosecutor:     Do you have a drinking problem, Mrs. Wheels?

Helen:             No problem. I drink, fall down, get up, drink again. No problem.

Prosecutor:     Where were you at midnight on the night of March 17?

Helen:             I was in Kelly’s pub.

Prosecutor:     Were you not in front of the Froot Loops house in Glenora delivering cookies?

Helen:             No, your Honorableness.

Prosecutor:     Those cookies are Exhibit A, seized as evidence by police and analyzed in the forensic lab by five police officers working overtime for twelve hours each. Did the cookies not contain flour and sugar and baking soda and chocolate sprinkles?

Helen:             I plead guilty to that, your Honor. I do make the occasional cookie.

Prosecutor:     Does Kelly’s pub have a kitchen in the back?

Helen:             Maybe.

Prosecutor:     I rest my case.

Court reporter:            Slow down. Chocolate sprinkles…

Lawyer:                       Objection!

Prof:                            Boo hoo. (Takes out tissue and wipes eyes).

Mr. Froot Loops:        There, there, dear. We can go home soon and water the orchids.

Judge:                         Order in the court.

Bailiff:                        Okay, I’ll have a…

Judge:                         Stop that!

Lawyer:                       Objection. My client is being harassed.

Judge:                         Objection sustained.

Prosecutor:                 Hang her! Hang them all.

(Chicken Little takes stand).

Prosecutor:                 What did you do with the cookies?

Chicken:                     We put them in a tin and delivered them to the Youth Shelter. They’ll eat anything with chocolate sprinkles on it.

Prosecutor:                 Objection! And when did Mrs. Wheels leave the pub?

Chicken:                     Helen stayed until the pub closed at midnight then we went home together.

Judge:                         Ah!

Prosecutor:                 Objection. The witness and defendant are obviously very dangerous perverts.

Judge:                         Overruled.

Prosecutor:                 Hang them!

Lawyer:                       You may step down now. (Chicken Little sits down).

(Chorus sings first verse of the Drinking Song). Drink, drink, drink…

Judge:                         Stop that.

Prof:                            Oh, DEAR, I can’t stand to be in the same room as that pervert.

Mr. Foot Loops:          There, there, dear. We’ll be home soon with your kitty binky.

Prof:                            Oh, I love you so, dear Mr. Froot Loops.

Mr. Froot Loops, glaring at the Defendant:               Hang her!

(Judge recesses court then returns almost immediately, fluffs his black robes and sits).

Bailiff:            All rise! Here comes de judge.

Judge:             I have made my decision.

(Chorus sings first verse of Oh Sweet Mystery of Life).

Bailiff:            Stop that.

Judge:             Order in the court.

Chicken:         I wouldn’t touch that line with a ten foot…

Prosecutor:     Kill her! She’s guilty of being… trite.

Judge:             Not guilty due to insanity.

Lawyer:           Insanity?

Prosecutor:     Insanity?

Judge:             The charge is insane. Therefore, not guilty due to insanity. I find you guilty of a lesser offense.

Lawyer:           What is the verdict?

Judge:             Guilty of making poor quality cookies. They were burned, you say? Disgusting.

Helen:             I’m sorry, your Honor. I honestly won’t do it again.

Judge:             I sentence you to a day of community service at the Glenora Community League kitchen learning how to make proper cookies.

Helen:             Thank you, your Honor.

Judge:             Case dismissed.

Bailiff:            There go de judge. All rise.

Act 4

Several women carrying signs printed in large pink and yellow letters, Women’s Temperance League and carrying black and white pots of orchids, surround a black limousine which is pulling up in front of the courtroom outside.

Journalist:       (Taking pictures and speaking into a microphone). Here ends a very curious case, ladies and gentlemen. The underdog appears to have been vindicated. But wait…could it be? A large black limo is pulling up to the front of the courthouse with men in brown shirts wearing dark glasses. Ladies and gentlemen, this is incredible! The president of Concrete Flats University is here and he’s carrying off the Froot Loops in the back of his limousine. There are brown shirts everywhere. They appear to be from Security. What is the meaning of this?

Prosecutor:     (Standing outside with the wind whipping her silver hair about her face, speaking into the microphone). I’m the prosecutor, Anne Tagonist, sir. We intend to appeal, Mr. Macy. This crime cannot go unpunished. Death to all perverts! Hang the infidel and her cookies! We prefer chocolate!

Journalist:       Do you mean to say this is not the end of the drama, Ms. Tagonist?

Prof (leaning out the window of the car):      I don’t want anything bad to happen to the Defendant. I am a good person… HANG HER! Non carborondum illegitimus!

(The Women’s Temperance League bursts into song and throws orchids at the limousine. Professor Froot Loops leans further out the window and playfully smacks the ladies with her cane, including Ms. Androgynous, who squeals with delight).

Prof:                Take that, Ms. Androgynous.

Ms. A:             Oh, Frooty! That hurts your dear Ms. Androgynous. Tee hee.

Lawyer:           We appeal the appeal.

Limousine drives away, covered with orchids. Several of the Women’s Temperance League have been knocked down by the blows of the cane.

Chorus:           (sings to the tune of The Drinking Song) Think, think, think…

Prosecutor:     Order!

Chicken:         Make mine an Irish soda bread, with beer. (She and Helen leave the scene arm in arm).

Journalist:       Wait a minute, ladies and gentlemen. Could it be? (Professor staggers down the street, leaning on her cane. Mr. Froot Loops follows her, pushing on her hips).

Prof:                They threw me out of the car onto the pavement! My satyrion were choking them.

Mr. Froot Loops:        Me too. (coughs) I think I’m allergic to orchids. (Prof dances the can can with her cane and sings “Putting on the Ritz.”)

Prof:                Where is that pervert?

Mr. Froot Loops:        I’m right here, dear. (She hits him with her cane and they link arms and run off stage left, he ducking her blows).

(The Chorus links arms and continues to dance the can can, tossing cookies into the air. A dachshund runs across the front of the stage followed by a large dog, followed by the Professor hopping and waving her cane into the air, swearing in Greek at the dogs. Mr. Froot Loops runs on stage behind her, steps in dog excrement, examines his shoe, and exits stage left. Chorus falls silent).

Journalist:       I think justice has been done.

Mr. Froot Loops comes leaping back from stage right, joins his wife, and they stand together center stage, she leaning on her cane and he holding a pot of orchids in one hand and a can of beer in the other. He sniffs the orchids deeply, burps and coughs.

Prof:                We’ll appeal!

Mr. Froot Loops:        You’re very appealing, Mrs. ‘Cute little Juniper berry’. Have you taken your meds today? (She hits him with her cane and puts her hand on his thigh. He throws the pot of orchids into the air and the entire cast dances on stage covered with blossoms, and they all sing, Don’t Pet the Dog.)


Monday, May 16, 2016

How I spent my Sunday

Dear peeps, happy Monday to you, and may I be alliterative and call it Happy Monday Madness.

Monday is one of my favorite days, but so is Friday. Friday is the rest and fun time of the week, and Monday is a new beginning, every week. I don't know what is ahead for the week but it's probably a new adventure, a new surprise with every day, and the chance for the mail to bring something interesting.

How did I spend my Sunday?

I brought my djembe African drum to a drum circle outside in the Legislature grounds on Sunday afternoon. It was so much fun and I learned something about drumming, too, as I'm just a beginner. A friend came with me and tried to strike up a conversation with a group I wouldn't have chosen to talk to, they were unresponsive and probably smoking up. She even offered to lend them my drum to beat their (broken) sticks on, and I quickly moved her away from them, afraid for the safety of my drum if not her. She is responsible for herself, but my drum is my responsibility.

Kids in a park, like Sunday, without the flowers

Not a djembe, this is a bongo drum, the drumming circle accepts all drums

There were a whole lot of people there, playing games, eating picnic lunches, walking their dogs, families with children, and some came over and took pictures of the drummers. There's a drumming circle every Sunday there at four o'clock for the summer, and I'll certainly go back. The LRI stops at Grandin Station, which is right there, and my friend gave me a ride today, then we went to Earl's for a nice salad.

Overall, a good weekend,and now I'll continue with social media and more importantly, my "real" life.

How about you? What did you do for the weekend, and have you ever tried drumming?

This blog post brought to you by SHORT CIRCUIT AND OTHER GEEK STORIES, now on Amazon worldwide, available in print and eBook. Look for the trailer soon.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Blood Sister(s) - a change of name

My publisher, Creativia, suggested we change the name of Red Herrings to something "more mysterious" and I came up with several suggestions. We finally decided on "Blood Sisters" but as my Facebook friends commented, there is only one female star in the book, and so it shouldn't be plural.

I've emailed my publisher and asked to change it to singular "Blood Sister".

What do you think? Any comments or suggestions for a better name? It was on Amazon for a few months as a self-published eBook under the name "Red Herrings" and some of my readers prefer that name.

Here's the brief synopsis to "Red Herrings" -- or what will be known as "Blood Sister"...

Annie Hansen, a young (twenty-four) female schizophrenic private eye, must solve a grisly murder in the small island town of Serendipity, Canada. She is a suspect herself, and her boyfriend Samir and his cousin Pepsi may have been on the scene. A not-so-popular doctor, Dr. William Hubert, and the mayor of Serendipity, Rick Spacey, were both murdered, presumably by the same person, and both in a macabre manner. Mark, a handsome detective, teams up with Annie to help solve the murders. Was it drugs or money that prompted the crimes? Who is MASER, a cryptic message left on the doctor's charts, and what message remains on Doc Hubert's laptop memory stick and hard drive that would help Annie and Mark to solve the crimes?
From the group home where Annie and Samir share a room, to the last romantic scene on her float house, when the mystery has been untangled, Red Herrings lives up to its name, replete with red herrings and information about Samir's medical condition,  mental illness as experienced by Annie and her method of coping with delusions and hallucinations, and the cleverness of a network of friends who help solve a nationally-exposed crime in a small island town.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Monday Blues

Monday starts a new week for those who work M-F nine to five, and it is understandably a "blue Monday" for some who enjoy the weekends. I hope you like the relaxing little song I'm attaching to this blog today, and have a wonderful Monday, everyone. You never know what the week will bring. I always feel excited about a Monday coming up. A new week! New adventures! New opportunities!

My condolences to those who must wake up to an alarm clock. It's not Groundhog's Day, though, and this is a new beginning to a new week.

Catch a cuppa java at your favorite bistro or better yet, brew it yourself at home and maybe get up ten minutes early for a nice healthy breakfast.

What's your favorite day of the week? Mine is Friday.

Friday, May 6, 2016

New 5-Star Review for Short Circuit

Music of the spheres rounds out this quirky collection of short stories written in memory of my son, Steve Wild, 1968-2012. He had a quirky sense of humor and loved robots and "hard" SF - he may very well have loved these tales, first published after his death the last day of summer 2012 at the age of 44.

Bjonsmom said, "Even if you don’t understand Geekology (is that a word?), you will find nothing opaque or incomprehensible to the layperson in McKinnon’s book. Any technical terminology is so artfully blended into the prose that what you will find are a collection of fictional vignettes that are either touching, hilarious, captivating, satirical, delicious, and any number of adjectives that come to mind. Using the least amount of words that deliver the maximum impact, Short Circuit creates vistas of imagery that are usually found in longer narratives. Every ending is a surprise, like a genie jumping out of a giant birthday cake.McKinnon has one of those creative minds that can wander uninhibited into fictional terrains to create snappy short stories that are more like abstract paintings. Each tale creates a completely alternate literary universe: a little metaphysical, a bit mythological, often poetic and poignant, a touch Biblical, at times moving and intimate, and often a little bit scary.You’ll find how technology is overtaking humanity (especially household chores), some thoughts on immortality or making deals with the devil; some cross-cultural mishaps, the pairing of soulmates, and maybe some alien bees or wasps, or both. One thing for sure, you will never want to take a shower again using a curtain with colorful animal appliques. OMG."