Fast Food Day + Recent articles, reviews and new releases


NATIONAL FAST FOOD DAY

National Fast Food Day is on November 16/ Of course now that most dining areas are not open, all restaurants are now providing window or curb pickup making them temporary Fast Food.

In the 1950s, in the United States fast food is any meal prepared and packaged meal made to the customer can take it away quickly. Merriam-Webster dictionary first recognized the term “fast food” in 1951.

Following World War I, automobiles became popular and more affordable. At that time, restaurants introduced the drive-in. Much like today’s food trucks, Walter Anderson first began selling hamburgers out of an old streetcar body at a Wichita intersection. While the menu was limited, the hamburgers were a crowd-pleaser. When the popularity of his hamburgers grew, he partnered with E.W. Ingram and opened the first White Castle in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas. The enterprising restauranteurs were the first in the fast-food business. They sold hamburgers for five cents each.

The United States has the largest fast food industry in the world. American fast-food restaurants are located in over 100 countries.

Fun fact: The first Happy Meal was served in June of 1979.

While fast-food began as sandwiches and sides, the menus expanded over-time. Today fast-food includes fish, a variety of fried chicken, tacos, pizza and a wide selection of sides. Sodas quench the thirst and desserts sweeten the menu. From ice cream and shakes to pies and cakes, fast food delivers.

As times changed, restaurants added breakfast items to the menu, too. Expanding their hours increased their workforce and their menu options, as well. However, not all fast-food chains offer breakfast. I asked my readers what their fast food delight was. They answered:

Mary Woldering I like Moe's Southwestern Grill Joe Pranaitis Mine is Whitecastle Troy Hudson Carter Krystal (like Whitecastle) Adam Joseph Stump Wendy’s! Baconator triple with lettuce for a bun. Add tomato! Charles Patton PAL's Robin Rance Panda Eddie J. Morales Zaxby's Mark McQuillen Long John Silvers Lai Zhao Chiu Chow Fast Food R.S. James Burger King or Fazolis Crystal Benson Burger King Randy Brown Pastry; cinnamon rolls



Here are two recent Visionary Fiction Alliance articles for those who did not see them.


On Prophecies and Conspiracies. ( 10-10-20)


In our present day, just like in any other period of history, we listen and read with rapt attention any number of prophecies and conspiracies. My question, as one who is naturally argumentative as well as curious, has always been why do we pay them attention when we are learned?

Why do prophecies and/or conspiracies quickly make the leap from an assembly of random facts to dogma that excludes questioning or analysis?

I lump the two together because a conspiracy surrounds events that are happening, or recently happened. Prophecy is about events that have a possibility of happening in the future.

In an abstract of an article written in July of 2020 for Psychology Today, David Ludden explains why conspiracies and prophecies are so compelling.


1. They make believers feel good about themselves and the groups they belong to.

2. They help believers find meaning in a confusing world.

3. They lead believers to feel safe and in control.


There’s also a desire to be part of a unique group in a society that is based on conformity.

For instance, people who believe government is controlled by lizard people from outer space don’t have a social identity. Instead they take comfort in the fact that they have special access to “inside knowledge”

Says Ludden, “In an age of social media, So how do we tell whether a report of a conspiracy is likely to be true or not? After all, as the conspiracy theorists rightly point out, conspiracies actually do happen.

Governments spy on their citizens, corporations knowingly sell dangerous products, and yes, sometimes scientists do fabricate data for personal gain.

Rather than relying on our intuitions, which can lead us as easily to cynical skepticism as to unfounded belief, we need to follow the founding principle of the scientific method, known as Occam’s Razor.

Specifically, when a particular phenomenon can be explained by two competing theories, we should assume that the simpler one is correct.”


My tie in for Visionary Fiction --


I’ve always been a contrarian.

From an early age I was the kid that asked WHY. When I didn’t get an answer, I went to libraries and read varying theories about subjects. This led to fanciful contemplation and a self-made mantra each time I meditated on a subject or contemplated something I’d seen or read in which I asked the Universe, the saints, God, various spirits ands guides and whatever else I thought might listen for “the truth”.

So many things came in dreams but many were outside reigning theories – that I more than once had living guides complain:

“The problem with you is you really don’t believe anything. You have to have faith and believe what you are being told.”

I answered, “That’s not true. I just want to analyze it, to test what I see/hear against other ideas.” I don’t want to be trapped by what I was told to believe. I want to look at it myself.”

A theory that couldn’t be questioned or analyzed, in my opinion was likely dangerous whether it was prophecy or conspiracy.

Even today, as I read the prophecies and conspiracies I see them merging into Apocalyptic vision once again. (we love our end times stories!) Somehow I see Ascension, being woke, the rising of Atlantis and the Second coming of Christ all being linked in a strange zig-zag pattern but find it disquieting more than comforting.


My favorite story, by example, is the tale of the Mixteca who saw the Spanish Fleet approaching in the early 1500’s.

At that time they were engaged in conflict with the Azteca, though both worshipped the same deities. This was not a disorganized group of villages. They were powerful and skilled nations, albeit very given to Prophecy.

Their wise priests looked at the calendar based on the charts of the stars and the years and saw that 1519 was indeed the year for the return of Quetzalcoatl - the plumed serpent – the creator deity and god of the winds from far away who had taught them art, language, science and a number of other skills but who had gone into the rising sun centuries earlier stating he would return. The significant part was that he was described from the beginning as a man with pale skin, red hair and a beard.

The Mixteca believed his return would gain them a victory.

The ships were seen ONE MONTH further than predicted and were led by a man (Cortez) who looked like the god with pale skin, red hair, and a beard. He would come out of the east in vessels made of clouds (think sails) bearing the equi-armed cross.

Seeing this, they welcomed the Spanish fleet. Too late they realized they should have questioned the arrival.


In Children of Stone, I depict the royalty of the late 4th Dynasty in Egypt as wrapped up in conspiracy and prophecy. King Menkaure, after the death of his daughter under suspicious circumstances receives a prophecy that he will rule only six more years and must “stay awake” to overcome it.

Though he is loved by his people, he’s seen by the priests and being too kindly and welcoming - not harsh enough or in command.

Distraught, he begins to drink heavily and party heartily, hoping to confuse the gods as to whether it is day or night and how many years have passed.


Using another legend I show Wserkaf’s story. He was supposed to be one of a set of triplets sired by the god Ra. In reality, he had no siblings and his father was merely a priest of Ra.

The prophecy was manipulated by others in power and a conspiracy to overthrow the gods by a foreign power was added to insure his faithfulness and duty to protect by his beloved teacher who had his own agenda.

When he eventually learned the truth through contemplation and friendship with Marai and the women in his life, the knowledge that his entire life had been manipulated to fit a prophecy his parents received and a grab for power, it nearly crushed him.


We all want to believe in prophecy and in a formula that makes life make sense. A better pastime I’ve learned is to count one’s blessings and examine everything “told to you” with regard to motive. Having done that, get on with life and witness the joy that is really all around and through you.

Enjoy a wonderful Autumn!




About Teaching Critical Thinking (11-13-20) As I was writing a comment to someone about my post Tuesday on Conspiracies and Prophecies I thought of my own training as a teacher.


When I studied to get my liscensure to teach Visual Arts at a K-12 level (What else could I do with a vintage Art History Masters?) I learned that much of school teaching is based on a very outmoded pattern known as the “Prussian” System. It isn’t really Prussian, but was a public school education system designed for children of the Industrial Age who were neither wealthy or exceptional in either direction. It featured a teacher in a lecture position in the front of the class composed of rows of students. Class sizes were large and discipline was demanded. Information in each lesson was based on fact drilling, workbooks, recitation, and silent listening which would be tested later via multiple choice, fill in the blanks and very few short essay questions. There were “right” answers and “wrong” answers.

Such order in the class was geared more toward teaching order and control than educating, because Industry needed compliant, rule-following workers for the factories. When I studied this, the professor explained that Educators knew (even in 1999) that this was not the optimum way to encourage learning and they lamented that students knew many things but were losing creativity, spontaneity, a sense of curiosity and the ability to question for higher knowledge. Educators had also discussed a need for teaching Critical thinking and deeper learning. Sadly, most teachers did not know how to encourage it, so the Industrial model remained. A few gifted teachers emerged who broke classrooms into pods and groups and encouraged teamwork as well as research and questioning among students. In this model the teacher becomes a facilitator rather than a lecturer. Magic happened. Children became more enthusiastic, creative and curious even though a few personal dynamic problems within the groups still existed. That, too, taught children about life and encouraged development of visionary learning. I wasn’t successful as a teacher in the Industrial model because of a mild ADHD (errant behaviors distracted me so class control became an issue) I did learn that I was quite good in small tutoring groups because I could interact and encourage the questions, dissent and the research. The students and I could challenge what we read and come up with creative solutions for problems posed or pose our own questions. Story connection: In my series Children of Stone, Marai is a shepherd with no formal education. He is sent to the priests of Djehuti to “Unlock” the wisdom of the Universe in his heart. He has two teachers. Hordjedtef who wants to teach the basics in rapid-fire speed and send Marai, still virtually untutored on his way, and Inspector Wserkaf the assistant who teaches differently as he instructs Marai in Kemetic Yoga (which encourages vision), rather than his elder’s lecturing.

*********** One morning as the Inspector was instructing him in proper breathing techniques to use during the meditative poses, Marai asked about the rapid-fire lectures Hordjedtef was delivering.

After three days, even with his Child stone-assisted ability to learn years of lesson in a few hours, it was becoming difficult. He worried he would slip and interpret the lessons incorrectly.

“He is giving you a shallow version, it seems.” The Inspector held his hands in front of his face and drew them gently down as if he was drawing in breath. “I knew he would do that.”

Marai nodded, stretching and repeating, then noticed how clean the exercise made him feel.

“I overheard it was something about needing to complete this with me in only another fifteen or so days because he sails to Khmenu for his duty then. I guess at that point I will go back across the river and wait for him to present my request to the king.” He paused, instantly feeling the man’s discomfort. “But there’s something you know about that, isn’t there?” he started, feeling the man’s memory of an early morning argument replaying.

Trust that I know what I am doing, Dear One, he heard the elder’s voice semi-scolding his assistant. I am sampling his wit, so to speak. I am testing to see what he knows under the guise of a lesson or two that we normally would give a lower level initiate. There’s nothing deep or secret in this course of action.

The response from the Inspector followed: But that is not truth. Does it not dishonor the goddess to teach confusing or distorted lessons?

What should it matter, Wse dear? He bears no allegiance to us or our ways. I wouldn’t expect anything I’ve taught him rattles in his heart as more than gibberish. That he understands any of it both mystifies and entertains me. I’m just seeing where it goes. In the end, he will return to fetch the things he was tasked to bring us in the first place.

The rest of the memory was cut off by the priest’s response: “I just don’t feel it’s right for him to teach that way. For instance, I am teaching the groundwork for your achieving Smai Tawy, the Sacred Union. I am leaving nothing out, but we start with just two or three of the easier poses. But, it’s all I’m prepared to say on the matter.”

Marai frowned, then returned to his stretches and poses, demonstrating the proper techniques. When he showed the Inspector his ability with trance work and received a few tips on proper centering, another memory of something the old man said surfaced:

You have the sacred knowledge already coded in your heart. I am merely speaking words of power at various intervals so that your will is enabled and these truths are unlocked in you. Divine wisdom allows me to speak to varied levels of consciousness to determine what your elevated soul can tolerate. It does speak to your gifted nature, dear sojourning one. Others might perish early in their struggle to understand the concepts I impart. Your untruth is that you were already wakened to much more than you admitted.



He’s right, Marai decided he agreed with the Inspector. It would be better for him to teach me the simplest things, not simple versions of many things.

That day wasn’t the right one to ask the elder about it, but it gave Marai time to think about the overall picture that was being presented.


***********


Today’s connection: Perhaps some students will see the experience they have in virtual learning is more stimulating than classroom learning. Although the social aspect of classroom is gone, parents and educators as well as students will be able re-evaluate what “school” is supposed to be about. Some will yearn for the social aspect and return when the pandemic fades. Others will opt to create their own learning.



Reviews: Of course, I love to review books and review almost all I read. Here are three books I read this month so far.


The Scribe and the Lotus Kindle Edition

by Bakr Fahmy (Author) https://www.amazon.com/Scribe-Lotus-Bakr-Fahmy-ebook/dp/B079J4VYQ6/


5 ***** In the age of the pyramid builders Ineb Hedj later known as Men-Nefer or Memphis was a thriving city enclosed by gleaming white walls. It was the splendor of the Old Kingdom. Those days were gone and now political strife and poor flood seasons had broken the unified two lands into three parts.

Thut-Nefer is a young scribe or sesh in search of truth and wisdom or Maat. With daily prayer and chanting and the contemplation of the blue lotus he gains knowledge of how to coordinate the teaching into his everyday life. With the spiritual help of the blue lotus, he learns how to deal with the events unfolding all around him.

Bakr Fahmy has chosen to write "The Scribe and the Lotus" in First person present so that the scribe tells the reader the story as it unfolds. Rather than writing in modern vernacular, he has written the book in the lyrical style of the translated ancient text such as those one might find in the Pyramid Texts and other rediscovered works so that dialog flows seamlessly into the divine utterances the young sesh chants when he is asking for vision or clarity on a subject. The effect is one of rare beauty. Coupled with great details of his daily life and search, the book becomes a shining beauty and a must for anyone studying Egyptology or ancient literature.




My Impossible Life - trauma travel & trancendence - by Charlene Jones (Author), Sue Reynolds (Editor)


https://www.amazon.com/My-Impossible-Life-trauma-transcendence-ebook/dp/B081723M34/

5***** Charlene Jones wrote a memoir of a troubled childhood filled with abuse, an unstable mother, kidnapping, messages from angels, being a witness to a murder, and denial that has left her hollow, suffering from PTSD and buried memories.

Through her decision to cure herself, she wanders around the world working odd jobs with her brother and other friends. She goes in search of a guru in transcendental meditation who will help her learn how to solve her personal problems when it would have been easier to fall into further self-destructive patterns. Charlene fights that impulse and continues her search despite many setbacks.

The reader travels with her around the world and recovers her memories of abuse as she does. The book becomes an inspiration for any reader on a quest to battle their own demons.

Charlene Jones book is written diary style as if hundreds of pages were scanned into the format. It first I thought it was a error, but I quickly learned it was a stylistic choice and understanding that it made the book that much more believable. A rewarding and uplifting read but may contain some triggers for sensitive readers, Well worth it!



Earth's Angels: Adult Version (The Earth's Angels Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition

by Beth Worsdell https://www.amazon.com/Earths-Angels-Adult-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B07JDQ4Q8V/

We've managed to kill Earth. It's some time in the future and everything is polluted and poisoned: air, water and earth. There is disease and death everywhere. A few have survived and are attempting to get to safer land but suddenly find themselves awakened five years later. They have been healed by creatures who call themselves angels and they DO look like a concept of guardian angels with wings. Creatures of their race have always been here even in ancient Egypt but now come to cleanse Earth, repopulate the flora and fauna and heal the humans. It's what they have done on many planets in the galaxy.

Eventually families are reunited including the main characters Mel and husband and children who are now grown. As they watch and learn the "angels" reactivate ancient energy and magic in the Earth to begin the process of healing, but things do not go smoothly. Marilians, a species of humanoids from another world, who have been healed by the angels resume their warlike and conquering ways. Now they are coming for Earth. A battle is set and just as things look bleakest the story ends, but will roll into Book 2 The Marilans. The book was quite enjoyable and I will be looking forward to reading the next two in the series. This is the Adult Version for a few sex scenes. There is also another version written for younger readers.





Black Willows (Trapnell Thriller Book 2) Kindle Edition

by Jill Hand (Author) 10/22/20

https://www.amazon.com/Black-Willows-Trapnell-Thriller-Book-ebook/dp/B08DH43KX7/

A mysterious cowboy is stalking the eccentric Trapnell siblings. Is he a supernatural entity or a hired killer? To complicate things, the will making them heirs to their billionaire father’s estate is missing and a relative has returned from a watery grave.

Last time, the Trapnells saved the world from destruction. This time they may not be able to save themselves. Black Willows is a darkly funny Southern-fried adventure, complete with Voodoo, arson, and alligators.




These Are for Tears (Will-o'-the-Wisp Stories Book 3) Kindle Edition

by Sherry Perkins https://www.amazon.com/These-Tears-Will-Wisp-Stories-ebook/dp/B08M9K98PP/

Too much family drama at home. That's what Morgan Patterson was thinking when she left the States to finish her final year of college studying abroad in Northern Ireland. She quickly finds herself immersed in a hidden world of magic and danger with the man of her dreams at the center of it. Only he's not a man. Tiernan Doherty is an honest-to-goodness faerie lord with family drama of his own. There's a blood feud to be settled, not to mention a messy chain of duty that binds him to the queen of the dark fae, a woman he truly despises. None of that matters to Morgan, though. She realizes Tiernan's not just the man of her dreams, he's the man she's meant to protect. But what she does to protect him surprises everyone, threatening the longstanding peace between humans and faeries, and causing more than enough tears for them all. "These Are for Tears," is the third book in the Will-o'-the-Wisp Stories, a serialized, epic urban fantasy that proves nothing is what it seems, promises are meant to be kept and words are binding things.




Tatter Fall: A Dark Victorian Paranormal Romance Novel (His Mortal Demoness Book 1) Kindle Edition

by Andrea B. Lamoureux 11/6/20 https://www.amazon.com/Tatter-Fall-Victorian-Paranormal-Demoness-ebook/dp/B08GZS8RFQ/She’s a half-mortal demoness. He’s a fallen angel. Their love was doomed from the start. Vivika is bored of torturing condemned souls. She’s always wanted to learn about her mortal father’s side of the family, but her mother—the demon queen of the underworld—refuses to give her any information about him. When Vivika discovers she only has one living mortal relative left, she defies the queen, putting both her fellow demons and her own heart at risk. Elias has just lost his wings. He can earn them back, but only if he can make two mortals fall in love without the use of his powers. The fallen angel mistakenly expects it to be an easy task… until he crosses paths with the radiant Vivika. Little does he know, she’s about to make his existence so much more complicated. Can Elias resist the demoness’s temptations? Or will he risk winning his wings back to sate his own desire? If you love deliciously dark and romantic books like the Guild Hunter series and Victorian gothic settings like in Stalking Jack The Ripper, you will want to check out the enthralling His Mortal Demoness series. Please note this is a slow burn romance that contains mature themes and is intended for adult readers.




Mated To The Werewolf Next Door: Howls Romance (Maccon City Shifters Book 1) Kindle Edition

C. D. Gorri 11/10/20

https://www.amazon.com/Mated-Werewolf-Next-Door-Shifters-ebook/dp/B08KMCXZ2W/

She's on the run from her ex-husband to protect her half-Shifter daughter. He's trying to clear his name after being falsely convicted of a crime. Fate has brought them to the same seaside town, but the rest is up to them. Will he ignore his Wolf's claim that she is his mate? Can she somehow learn to love again? Find out in this classic romance tale with a furry twist!



Switching Gears Kindle Edition

by C.A. King 11-10-20 https://www.amazon.com/Switching-Gears-C-King-ebook/dp/B08J8GHKFP/

In a single moment, the world changed forever, albeit, life persisted. Cities were rebuilt—society reconstructed—history forgotten. Drivers with vehicles, meshed together from scraps, raced in badlands to decide right from wrong, rich from poor. Only the strong came out on top. Only the just could win. Amidst it all, one junior mechanic took centre stage—a search for parts leading him to a new understanding of not only himself, but the world as well. A fairy came to his rescue, saving his life, but in exchange left doubt in his mind. Could one race alter the future? Was winning all that mattered? What came next?







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