Short Story: Broken Sign

I love to just happen across something that makes me laugh out loud and frighten the cat. This short story is just brilliant, and funny, and clever, and did I mention brilliant? Don’t take my word for it, read it for yourself, and then discover the other delights that nest in babbitman’s blog.

babbitman

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the dangers of artificial intelligence with luminaries such as Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and Elon Musk warning that AI could be “more dangerous than nuclear weapons”. Science-fiction has been banging this particular drum for decades: from HAL 9000 to Skynet in the Terminator movies, there are dozens of examples of artificial intelligence going rogue. Which is why it probably comes as a shock to learn that the first truly self-aware artificial construct was an overhead electronic variable message sign on the northbound A46, a few miles outside Nottingham.

It wasn’t particularly planned to happen; there was no over-arching project, no great fanfare. In fact, nobody actually recognised what had really occurred.

Variable Message Sign 4427A was installed on the new A46 dual carriageway just north-east of the Stragglethorpe interchange. It wasn’t particularly special, even though it towered over the road and surrounding…

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My Fear Is My Purpose

This very powerful post from Colleen is really worth reading. She puts into words what so many of us think, and wish that we had written!

The Chatter Blog

Hate.   I don’t get you.  So many things are done in your name.  So many things are done with you as the prompt and the excuse.   But I don’t get it.   I don’t get you hate.  And I don’t want to.

I am not filled with hate so there are certain actions I don’t understand.

I don’t understand people expending and even creating energy to spew you in to other’s lives.

Please know, hate, that I don’t confuse you with anger.  I get angry.  And then I try to get past angry.   I don’t get angry and allow it to take me into your neighborhood, or anywhere near your existence.  I look for ways to get rid of anger so it doesn’t simmer in to a slow and rolling and killing boil.  So it doesn’t turn me into you.

I don’t even know how to respond…

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Letter to my Daughter

Just happened across this great post from a Stay at home Mum. It’s lovely, and makes me want to read more, and that, surely, is what blogging is all about!

Kuddos and Kiddos

I thought I had a while before I had to worry about boys, sex, drugs and other perfectly normal but still terrifying things that teenage girls go through. I don’t. It’s here. And it smacked me right in the face. How do we approach this time in their lives? I mean.. parents don’t know anything right? We haven’t lived through any of it. We have no idea what that are talking about. We have no clue what they are dealing with. At least that’s what my daughter would say.

My ex husband and I got divorced when my daughter was very young. Most of her life I’ve lived in another state. I’ve been there the best that I could given the circumstances. But it’s taken a toll. It’s getting much better as she has got older, but there are still future hardships to go through. So I decided to write…

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Yay!! It’s Party Time, Come Right In

There’s a party in progress over at Jacqueline’s house, and everyone is invited. If you can take a tasty morsel along it would be much appreciated but, really, all you need is yourself!

a cooking pot and twisted tales

Image result for images of partyYay! It’s fun time this time. Can you believe that January is finished already? Phew! I can’t stop saying it, time sure flies.

Welcome to my house and Happy New Year to all those I haven’t chatted with this year. I hope your weekend is going great.

Here is a toast to a great year.

Image result for toast gifNow let’s meet & mingle, shake a leg & jingle, connect & interact with other awesome folks in here.

If this is your first-time visit, the rules of play are outlined below, if you are an old-timer, you know the drill.

Grab some refreshments arranged down the page. Feel free to indulge, these are zero calories😉

Just some little party rules:

  1. You must mix and mingle with others. Don’t be a wallflower. Go say hello to someone, follow them home – this is the only time you are allowed to follow a stranger home on a first date…

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Sometimes Stellar Storyteller Six Word Story Challenge

Can you write a story in 6 words or fewer? It’s not as easy as you think!
Have a look at Nicola’s challenge and have a go.

Sometimes Stellar Storyteller

Challenge open Saturday 28th January2017 – Friday 3rd February 2017

Welcome to the Sometimes Stellar StorytellerSix Word Story Challenge.

For those who have never dropped by before a new prompt is posted every Saturday morning at 9am GMT.

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Twittering Tales #14 – 24 January 2017

Kat Myrman over at Like Mercury Colliding has started a wonderful challenge to tax our creative souls. You take her photo prompt and write a story inspired by it in 140 characters or less. I can’t resist such a great idea so here is my attempt at this week’s prompt:

sheepalapexels

The gas is fast escaping and it smells awful!

I really think we’ve been fleeced.

Why the hell did I agree to this airsheep flight anyway?

(136 characters)

Happy Burns Day

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If you’ve never read Rabbie Burns before, here’s a taster.

If you don’t know who he was, then you can glean a little information here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Burns

The Soldier’s Return

When wild war’s deadly blast was blawn,

And gentle peace returning,

Wi’ mony a sweet babe fatherless,

And mony a widow mourning;

I left the lines and tented field,

Where lang I’d been a lodger,

My humble knapsack a’ my wealth,

A poor and honest sodger.

 

A leal, light heart was in my breast,

My hand unstain’d wi’ plunder;

And for fair Scotia hame again,

I cheery on did wander:

I thought upon the banks o’ Coil,

I thought upon my Nancy,

I thought upon the witching smile

That caught my youthful fancy.

 

At length I reach’d the bonie glen,

Where early life I sported;

I pass’d the mill and trysting thorn,

Where Nancy aft I courted:

Wha spied I but my ain dear maid,

Down by her mother’s dwelling!

And turn’d me round to hide the flood

That in my een was swelling.

 

Wi’ alter’d voice, quoth I, “Sweet lass,

Sweet as yon hawthorn’s blossom,

O! happy, happy may he be,

That’s dearest to thy bosom:

My purse is light, I’ve far to gang,

And fain would be thy lodger;

I’ve serv’d my king and country lang-

Take pity on a sodger.”

 

Sae wistfully she gaz’d on me,

And lovelier was than ever;

Quo’ she, “A sodger ance I lo’ed,

Forget him shall I never:

Our humble cot, and hamely fare,

Ye freely shall partake it;

That gallant badge-the dear cockade,

Ye’re welcome for the sake o’t.”

 

She gaz’d-she redden’d like a rose –

Syne pale like only lily;

She sank within my arms, and cried,

“Art thou my ain dear Willie?”

“By him who made yon sun and sky!

By whom true love’s regarded,

I am the man; and thus may still

True lovers be rewarded.

 

“The wars are o’er, and I’m come hame,

And find thee still true-hearted;

Tho’ poor in gear, we’re rich in love,

And mair we’se ne’er be parted.”

Quo’ she, “My grandsire left me gowd,

A mailen plenish’d fairly;

And come, my faithfu’ sodger lad,

Thou’rt welcome to it dearly!”

 

For gold the merchant ploughs the main,

The farmer ploughs the manor;

But glory is the sodger’s prize,

The sodger’s wealth is honor:

The brave poor sodger ne’er despise,

Nor count him as a stranger;

Remember he’s his country’s stay,

In day and hour of danger.

 

 

#RobertBurns #BurnsDay

My life#7 – The Army -First 3 years (very briefly)

This, and subsequent “The Army” entries, came about through my Niece requesting some information on my Army days. She was doing some sort of project that required a “behind the scenes” view of military life, so I started to jot things down.

I got a little carried away!

I suppose that this became the precursor to my blog, so I have Penny to thank for that!

I am offering these jottings exactly as originally presented, the only changes being the introduction of badges, where appropriate, and occasional comments, shown in blue.

For more like this click on the Tag “My Life”.


The first night is horrible, strange surroundings, strange people, strange noises, strange smells. Each barrack room has an A/T Lance Corporal or A/T Corporal in charge and the 3 rooms that make up the Squadron have an A/T Sergeant. They are not your friends!

That’s a good thing.

It means that we, the great unwashed, all 120 of us, have a common enemy, and that’s what good army training and discipline is all about. You are broken down, your persona is crushed, and you are built back up again. Deep inside you retain your personality to sustain the hard times and to use outside of army life but for the really hard times you need to leave it all behind and do what you have to do for Queen and Country, and I really do believe that! It is not an easy thing to understand if you have not experienced it!

The first 3 months starts off with a familiar pattern, 4 periods in the morning and 4 in the afternoon:

Drill, drill, PT, drill, Trade and Education

With Breakfast, Dinner, Tea and a night of kit cleaning, room cleaning and homework to intersperse.

One day each week we had a change:

Drill, drill, PT, drill, PAY, Trade and Education.

We were paid £2.12.06d a week but were only allowed to draw £1 one week and 10/- (ten shillings or £0.5) the next. If you needed to buy boot polish and brasso on a 10/- week you had to give up smoking! We all had to open a Post Office savings account and any left over money (commonly called credits) was given to you before you went on leave.

With lots of young men together, working hard, vying for position in the hierarchy, it was inevitable that swearing was part and parcel of daily life. So much so that, when I went home for Christmas, I said the F word in conversation with Mum for the first and last time of my life. She registered it with her eyes but did not comment!

The 3 years at Harrogate passed with varying degrees of horror, enjoyment, laughter and terror. Some fell by the wayside, some were pushed, some jumped. After the first term, if you wished to leave, you had to apply to buy yourself out of the army. I think it cost £40, quite a sum then!

As with many gung ho young men I applied to go to war and for my first posting asked for Aden, which had been a Crown colony but was in the process of being handed back, later to become South Yemen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_of_Aden

Back came the reply “posted to 15 Signal Regiment” – Aden here I come!

Not so fast – 3 Squadron, 15 Signal Regiment was being relocated to Bahrain.

October 1967 saw me in London, getting drenched through, in my suit and tie (as you did!) prior to my first ever flight of 13 hours in a turbo prop Britannia, via Istanbul. I landed in Muharraq at 3am to a temperature of 85°.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muharraq

So, there I was, a real soldier, 3,200 miles from home, no television, no mobile phones.

I wrote to Mum and Dad less than I should have. The letters obviously meant a great deal because Mum kept them for many years afterwards.

We had to book telephone calls a week in advance and they had to take place between specific times, in the evening, because international lines were few and far between and very costly to use. You were given a ¼ hour slot. If the lines were down you lost it! Very often there was a terrible delay in transmission and inevitably an echo. Great times!

I did eventually get to Aden to help dismantle some equipment and deliver it to Bahrain but didn’t stay long enough to get a medal. Shucks! It was, however, a unique experience.

After 9 months I was allowed leave for a month. I could choose to fly back to UK or go to Mombasa, Kenya. I chose to go home and I’m still not sure that I made the right decision!

This first trip home after so long away set the boundaries for my family relationships for ever. I got used to lack of close contact, I couldn’t phone often and my letter writing has never been regular, even to girl friends!

To this day I do not have an urgent need to keep in constant touch with family. I know and cherish that they are special, I know that I love them dearly and that they love me. I have fantastic memories that I cling to. When I speak to or see any of them I pick up from where I left off and it is as though it were only yesterday that we last met.

(what was your name again?!!!!)

To an infantryman, who joins a Regiment where he may well serve the whole of his career with the same 600-800 men, the Regiment serves as his second family. In many cases it is the only family! They know each other, look after each other, cry together and die together!