Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Godfather of Punk

Today in Music History: October 31, 1967

An album titled The Weirdness and a single "Free & Freaky" might make it unsurprising for a band to have had its debut on Halloween. Of course, there is the possibility that was totally coincidental. The music is American Proto-punk, which came out of the mid-60s and mid-70s influencing punk rock. Proto-punk in itself is not a distinct musical genre


Iggy and the Stooges: the creators of punk-rock well before the genre even had a name

The leader of the Stooges, Iggy Pop (born James Newell Osterberg), has been hailed as the "Godfather of Punk". Under the leadership of Iggy, the punk-rock sound was devised and defined by the Stooges for all time. This high-energy quartet has been reviled and revered, but there’s no denying the contributions they’ve made as prototypical punk-rockers. A sound that began in the 60s remained active through the mid-70s being reformed in 2003 and still going strong today. While theirs may be a wild, weird style of music to some, The Stooges were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked them 78th on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.

Pop as a high school senior, 1965.
Iggy Pop, October 25, 1977 at the State Theatre in Minneapolis
Pop at the UK Hop Farm Festival, July 2011

The Stooges soon gained a reputation for their wild, primitive live performances. Pop, especially, won fame for his outrageous onstage behaviour—smearing his bare chest with hamburger meat and peanut butter, cutting himself with shards of glass, and flashing his genitalia to the audience. Pop is also sometimes credited with the invention or popularization of stage diving. Source: en.wikipedia.com
1967 Iggy and the Stooges made their live debut when they played at a Halloween party in Michigan.

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...

Carving History

This Day in History: October 31, 1941

Carvings of a monumental nature reached their final stages on this day in history 1941. These were no ordinary carvings, not of wood using Wayne Barton, Flexcut Tools or Swedish Frost Carving Knives as one might use for basic chipping and carving. These carvings occurred on the side of a mountainMount Rushmore, which is mainly composed of granite, that is, in simple terms, rock! The tools instead of knives consisted of dynamite and drills.

Before watching the videos or reading further, do you know whose faces are carved into the mountain and why these specific historical figures were chosen for the monument? 


Mount Rushmore is a project of colossal proportion, colossal ambition and colossal achievement. It involved the efforts of nearly 400 men and women. The duties involved varied greatly from the call boy to drillers to the blacksmith to the housekeepers. Some of the workers at Mount Rushmore were interviewed, and were asked, "What is it you do here?" One of the workers responded and said, "I run a jackhammer." Another worker responded to the same question, " I earn $8.00 a day." However, a third worker said, "I am helping to create a memorial." The third worker had an idea of what they were trying to accomplish. Continue HERE...
Mount Rushmore before construction, circa 1905.
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
Construction of Mount Rushmore Monument
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
Mount Rushmore, showing the full size of the mountain
and the scree of rocks from the sculpting and construction.
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
From 1927 to 1941 the 400 workers at Mount Rushmore were doing more than operating a jackhammer, they were doing more than earning $8.00 a day, they were building a Memorial that people from across the nation and around the world would come to see for generations. Source: Mount Rushmore

How was your memory?
Did you have the right names with the right faces from the beginning?

Nevada: Running with the Wild Horses

This Day in History: Oct. 31, 1864

"As the cowboys throw loops over two stallions, the friction between equine energy and human calm crackles." ~Beatrice Hodgkin at the Financial Times

Horses on the plains at Mustang Monument (Kristi Johnson)
What does Nevada mean?
The name Nevada comes from the Spanish Sierra Nevada (which is also a mountain range in Spain), or snow-covered mountain range. "Nevada" is the Spanish feminine form of "covered in snow."
Nevada boasts several nicknames with The Battle Born State being the official state slogan. It recalls that Nevada was admitted to the union in 1864, during the Civil War. This slogan also appears on the Nevada State Flag. The Silver State dates from the Nevada silver rush days of the mid 1800s. At that time, silver was literally shoveled off the Nevada ground. Heavy gray crusts of silver had formed on the surface of the desert over millions of years and were polished by dust and wind to the dull luster of a cow horn (called "horn silver"). Since silver is one of the state's most important industries, Nevada is also referred to as The Mining State. Wild sagebrush is abundant in Nevada, thus, the nickname The Sagebrush State or "Sage State". Because of its abundance, sagebrush is Nevada's official state flower and is found on the Nevada state flag. Being a true bird of the West, the sage hen or sage grouse, once very plentiful in Nevada, gives us the nickname, The Sage-hen State.

Nevada is known as a Wild West state that's still a little wild, but there's more to this ancient desert land than the City of Sin. This aerial tour highlights Nevada's vital role in the shaping of America, from the mines and ghost towns of its gold and silver rush, to its icon of American ingenuity: the Hoover Dam. Discover the highs and lows of Nevada's history, and the booms and busts that have defined it as the land of big builders and bigger dreamers.
Nevada's harsh but rich environment shaped its history and culture. In the 1820s, trappers and traders entered the Nevada territory. In 1843–1845, John C. Frémont and Kit Carson explored the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada. The U.S. obtained the region in 1848 following the Mexican War, and the first permanent settlement was a Mormon trading post near present-day Genoa. In 1859, Nevada was made famous by the discovery of the Comstock Lode, the richest known U.S. silver deposit. Nevada became the 36th state on October 31, 1864, after telegraphing the Constitution of Nevada to the Congress days before the November 8 presidential election (the largest and costliest transmission ever by telegraph).
Nevada is a state in the Western, Mountain West, and
Southwestern regions of the United States.

Nevada State Seal

Nevada State Bird: Mountain Bluebird 
Nevada designated the mountain bluebird as the official state bird in 1967 (also the state bird of Idaho). A small thrush found on ranchland and other open areas of the American West, the mountain bluebird lives in Nevada's high country. It prefers more open habitats than other bluebirds and can be found in colder habitats in winter.  
The Mountain Bluebird
 sings with a clear, short warble.

Desert bighorn sheep in Hellhole Canyon
Image Source: en.wikipedia.com

Nevada State Animal: Desert Big Horn Sheep

Nevada State Reptile: Desert Tortoise
Image Source: en.wikipedia.com

Nevada State Tree: Bristlecone Pine

Nevada State Flower: Sagebrush
Close-up of sagebrush flower - photo © Kim Bryant on Flickr

Nevada State Fish: Lahontan Cutthroat Trout

For all State Symbols of Nevada click HERE!

Nevada State Song: Home Means Nevada

The Nevada State March: "Silver State Fanfare"

Running with the Wild Horses

The desert's painted scenes
Fiery sunsets, deep ravines
Splendor beyond Vegas glitz
Nulls neon signs, gambling hits


Long, scenic, empty drives
Taken by few in their lives
 Hidden away such beauty
Calls forth tours of duty


 Roads of ruts, turns and twists
Ghost town shadows in the midst
Primitive camping in sight
Signs of rest for the night


Open wind-swept mountains
 Geysers' natural fountains
Summer's yellow color rush
Veils silver-grey sagebrush

 Arid desert terrain
Dusty from no summer rain
Echoes of freedom voices
Resound with the wild horses

©2014 Sharla Lee Shults

How Nevada Got Its Shape

  Nevada Facts and Trivia

Next states by month: 

#39 North Dakota - November 2, 1889

#40 South Dakota - November 2, 1889



Trick or Treat!

What is Halloween without a good horror story or movie! Stories of ghosts, goblins and ghouls monopolize the setting as the movie makers try to outdo one another with scenes of blood and gore. I often wonder how many bottles of ketchup (or similar fake blood) are wasted as Dracula feeds upon his victims, the Werewolf mauls his prey beyond recognition or Freddy Krueger uses a glove armed with razors to kill his victims in their dreams. We scream at the sight of bizarre transformations and close our eyes as flesh melts away like candle wax exposing the skeleton underneath. Then, as if that's not enough, the Zombies right out of the grave thrash about uncontrollably with gutteral breaths and rattling groans. All in the name of entertainment!

This may be carrying it a bit far with a selfie!

Of course, all horror movies do not necessarily feed upon blood and some actually bring about laughter, rather than shrills and chills. Among the best is the good old-fashioned black and white classic Young Frankenstein staring Gene Wilder and directed by comic genius Mel BrooksPeter Boyle portrays The Monster whose heart is soft while his appearance is grotesque. Then, there is comedy legend Marty Feldman playing Igor, or is it Egor (?), who embraces movie lines that become as natural as speech itself.
The film is an affectionate parody of the classical horror film genre, in particular the various film adaptations of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein produced by Universal in the 1930s (Wikipedia).

A Bit of Nostalgia


What are your fondest memories of Halloween - laughter or shivers?
What characters have you portrayed through the years?

Ever tried burlap and an old wax mask?

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Witching Hours

With tonight being the eve of Halloween, it's time to finish gearing up and get ready for the witching hours. Each year Awakenings features the writings of Micki Peluso, author of ...And the Whippoorwill Sang. Read more on Micki at the end of the article.

How much do you know about Halloween?

This is a story of the origins of Halloween from olden times up to the present.

animated halloween_animated.gif photo
Photo Credit: photobucket.com
Strange shadows dart stealthily across sparely lit streets, as dusk settles heavily on quiet neighborhoods of tree-lined sidewalks and cheerful well-kept homes. The eerie scream of a screechowl, more likely the brakes of a passing car, echoes deep into the night. Looming ominously from nearly every window is the menacing glare of smirking Jack-o-lanterns, while the often nervous refrain of "Trick or Treat" rings out in repetitious peals. Halloween is here, and with it the shivery remembrance of things that go bump in the night.

, a holiday once favored second to Christmas, is not as much fun as it used to be. The last few Halloweens have brought tampering scares, such as finding razors in apples and poisoned candy. A sick segment of society has forced many parents to hold neighborhood parties, instead of allowing their children to trick or treat. The tricks have been turned on the children, ruining an a once magical evening.

07 halloween costume Peacockseth002MediumWebview.jpg photo
Photo Credit: photobucket.com
Gone are the days when children, dressed up hideously, or gaudily beautiful, could enter the home of a stranger, and be offered chilled apple cider with cinnamon stick straws, and homemade gingerbread, or cupcakes with orange icing and candy corn faces. No longer can mischievous children creep up on neighborhood porches to toss corn kernels against the front door, or generously soap window panes, without triggering house alarms and angering guard dogs kept behind locked fences. The mystical lure of Halloween is becoming a commercial enterprise for the sale of candy, costumes and decorations.
Celtic Warriors - Halloween CelticWarriors_HappyHalloween.jpg photo
Photo Credit: photobucket.com

Halloween is a Christian name meaning All Hallows, or All Saint's Day, but the custom of Halloween dates back to the Celtic cult in Northern Europe. As the Roman conquest pushed north, the Latin festival of the harvest god, Pomona, mingled with the Druid god, Samhain. Eventually, the Christians adopted the Celtic rites into their own observances.
Halloween signified the return of the herds from the pasture, renewal of laws and land tenures, and the practice of divinations with the dead, presumed to visit their homes on this day. For both the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons, Halloween marked the eve of a new year. The Britains were convinced that divinations concerning health, death and luck, were most auspicious on Halloween. The devil, himself, was evoked for such purposes.

The Druid year began on November first, and on the eve of that day, the lord of death gathered the souls of the dead who had been condemned to enter the body of animals to decide what form they should take for the upcoming year; the souls of the good entered the body of another human at death. The Druids considered cats to be sacred, believing these animals had once been human, changed into cats as punishment for evil deeds.

animated witch 029.gif photo
Photo Credit: photobucket.com
The Druid cults were outlawed by the Romans during their reign in Great Britain, but the Celtic rites have survived, in part, to the present day. By the time these ancient rites migrated to America, the mystic significance was lost, and all that has remained is an evening when children can dress in outrageous costumes, and collect candy from obliging neighbors; yet a tiny part of every child still believes in witches, ghosts, and the nameless entities that creep about on Halloween, relatives, to their young minds, of the monster that lives under every child's bed.

In the ancient days, it was believed that Halloween was the night chosen by witches and ghosts to freely roam, causing mischief and harm. Witchcraft existed before biblical times, believed in by ancient Egyptians, Romans and American Indians. The Christian Church held varying opinions on witchcraft, at one time accrediting it to be an illusion, later accepting it as a form of alliance with the devil. As late as 1768, disbelief in witchcraft was regarded as proof of atheism.

Halloween customs varied from country to country, but all were related to the Celtic rites. Immigrants to this country, particularly the Scotch and Irish, introduced some of the customs remaining today, but there were many more that are unfamiliar. On Halloween in Scotland, women sowed hemp seed into plowed land at midnight, repeating the formula: "Hemp seed I sow, who will my husband be, let him come and mow." Looking over her left shoulder, a woman might see her future mate.

Glowing Apples AppleBobbing.jpg photo
Photo Credit: photobucket.com
Apples and a six-pence were put into a tub of water, and whoever succeeded in extracting either of them with his mouth, but without using his teeth, was guaranteed a lucky year. In the highlands of Scotland in the 18th century, families would march about their fields on Halloweem, walking from right to left, with lighted torches, believing this would assure good crops. In other parts of Scotland, witches were accused of stealing milk and harming cattle. Boys took peat torches and carried them across the fields, from left to right(widdershins), in an effort to scare the witches away.

The Scots strongly believed in fairies. If a man took a three-legged stool to an intersection of three roads, and sat on it at midnight, he might hear the names of the people destined to die in the coming year. However, if he tossed a garment to the fairies, they would happily revoke the death sentence.

Scotland's witches held a party on Halloween. Seemingly ordinary women, who had sold their souls to the devil, put sticks, supposedly smeared with the fat of murdered babies, into their beds. These sticks were said to change into the likenesses of the women, and fly up the chimney on broomsticks, attended by black cats, the witchs' familiars.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
(Click thumbnail to enlarge.)
In Ireland, a meal of callcannon, consisting of mashed potatoes, onions and parsnips, was solemnly served on Halloween. Stirred into this concoction, was a ring, a thimble, a coin, and a doll. The finder of the ring would marry soon, the finder of the doll would have many children, the thimble finder would never marry, and the one fortunate enough to find the coin would be rich. Jack-o-lanterns originated from Ireland, where according to newspaper editor and writer, George William Douglas, "a stingy man named Jack was barred from Heaven because of his penuriousness, and forbidden to enter Hell because of his practical jokes on the devil, thus condemned to walk the earth with his lantern until Judgement Day."

A more serious custom was the holding of the General Assembly (Freig) at Tara, in Celtic Ireland, celebrated every three years and lasting two weeks. Human sacrifices to the gods opened the ceremonies, the victims going up in flames.

England borrowed many of the Scotch and Irish customs, adding them to their own. Young people bobbed for apples, tied a lighted candle to one end of a stick and an apple to the other. The stick was suspended and set spinning, the object of the game being to bite the apple without getting burned by the candle. This custom was a relic of the fires lighted on the eve of Samhain in the ancient days of the Celts.

The only customs bearing no relation to the ancient rites is the masquerade costumes of today, and Halloween parades. But the custom of masked children asking for treats comes from the seventeenth century, when Irish peasants begged for money to buy luxuries for the feast of St. Columba,a sixth century priest, who founded a monastery off the coast of Scotland.

From the north of England comes the activity known as "mischief night", marked by shenanigans with no particular purpose, or background. Boys and young men overturned sheds, broke windows, and damaged property. Mischief night prevails today, but is mostly limited to throwing eggs, smashing pumpkins, and lathering carswith shaving cream. The custom of trick or treat is observed mainly by small children, going from house to house. The treat is almost always given, and the trick rarely played, except by teenagers, who view Halloween as an excuse to deviate from acceptable behavior.

Children today, knowing little or nothing of the history and myths behind Halloween, still get exited over the prospect of acting out their fantasies of becoming a witch, ghost, devil, or pirate. It is still pleasurable for an adult, remembering Halloweens past, to see the glow on a child's face as he removes his mask and assures you that he's not really a skeleton. Watching the wide-eyed stares of young children warily observing flickering candle-lit pumpkins, is an assurance that even today, thousands of years beyond the witch and ghost-ridden days of the Druids, a little of the magic of Halloween remains. Children need a little magic to become creative adults; adults need a little magic to keep the child in them alive. So if, on this Halloween, you notice a black cat slink past your door, trailing behind a horde of make-believe goblins, it probably belongs to a neighbor. And the dark shadow whisking across the face of a nearly full moon is only the wisp of a cloud, not a witch riding a broom... probably.

flying witch thflying_witch.gif photo

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks!


Happy Halloween, my pretties!