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My wife and I visited Japan two times while our oldest daughter lived and worked in the country for five years. We went up, down, around and across the country, in and out of big cities, small cities, to islands, to tourist places, local bars, Mount Fuji and more. We struggled to learn how to use the toilets once we found them, how to catch the wrong and right trains and how to bow the correct amount for almost every occasion. It’s a wonder I didn’t see more signs for chiropractic help but, then again, how would I read them? Anyway, if you’re looking to experience a spaced out feeling while traveling but can’t afford a ticket on the ship to the moon, Japan might be your best option.

Liking sushi and/or soup (Miso, or the egg laden, Udon) is a plus when tramping Japan, but there’s so much more on the plate there. Of course, I can’t tell you what half of it was or is, but if you have a daughter like mine you might find yourself enjoying Saki while ordering a second helping what seemed a delicious casserole only to later find out it was composed of fried cow guts. Bon appetit, and enjoy the stronger Shochu if you like Saki…it will help you forget.

Okay, discount some of the eye-ball foods or still alive squid. Concentrate, instead, on the millions of types of shoes the Japanese wear or the clothes that range from traditional Kimonos, New York City tight, expensive high style to the ‘metal’ look. Notice the street signs….

They mean no peeing or pooping on the street….just a head’s up/

And enjoy the absence of fearing you’ll be mugged (Ain’t gonna happen in Japan…) There’s a beauty in the country that is mirrored in the people’s hearts. It’s a kind, obedient society that honors others as they honor themselves and their heritage.

Our daughter lived in Kitsuki, Japan, where she taught English to middle schoolers who were strictly forbidden to chew gum in school, that a ‘high crime.’ Imagine this: if a teacher is ever caught driving after drinking the entire staff and children of the school are punished! See? It’s all for one and one for all or things get stinky real fast. Japan rows together.

My daughter left her purse on a train station bench and those attendants got her purse back to her days later though she lived in another city. Of course, her items had not been touched.

Kelly lived in a bay comprised of three cities: Kitsuki; Beppu and Oita.

Our daughter lived in Kitsuki which is located approximately where the number '10' is on this map...

Our daughter lived in Kitsuki, Japan,  which is located approximately where the number ’10’ is on this map…Swinging south by train leads to Beppu and then to Oita.

The ‘hot’ fun really begins in Beppu.. The place is smokin’-literally. The city sits on top of 3000 hot, volcanic vents (Bring marshmallows)city

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We bundled in robes and laid down in hot, black beach sand and listened to the ocean lap the shore twenty feet away as the warming effect soothed our souls. The rest of the day’s 90 degree heat felt cool.

I think it was here in, Beppu,  that I had a massage that featured a gal who actually hopped on my back and walked a few miles. Warning: don’t do this more than a few times per day-that could get like, really addictive.

On to Oita. (say it fast three times to sound like a tweety bird.)

That's Monkey Mountain behind us

That’s Monkey Mountain behind us-Our daughter’s adopted, ‘Grand Parents” in Japan put us up in this swank ocean side hotel and taught us how to take Onsens (Japanese baths) and how to eat some of the food.

Monkey Mountain is a famous place near, Oita, Japan. It’s teaming with wild monkeys, but a visit to Monkey Mountain doesn’t start that way. No, it starts at the base of the 2000 foot high mountain where a quaint train station painted in bright primary colors nestles among a dense jungle greenery-not a monkey to be seen, only a few signs and attendants that understand English who direct people to the train. Of course, this is a jungle train, something you might expect in a Disney safari ride- open air, no glass windows, small cabs that slowly rattle along a twisting, mountain climbing train track.

We finally stopped at the ruins of an ancient temple that looked out over the vast ocean. Again, the ‘monkey mountain’ thing seemed hardly unique with nary one in sight but for a few, small, cute monkeys. I had to wonder why the signs said, “Do not look monkeys in the eye?”

Jus’ a few cute ones….

“What monkeys?” I had to ask. Then someone hit a huge gong.

The entire landscape that I’d mistaken for jungle turned out to be made of monkeys!!!!

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A few thousand monkeys…

Me as a monkey!

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“I’m not looking; I’m not looking; I’m not looking….” Not a time to play, Peek-a-boo.

All of this was hysterical-like my wife. Still, we survived but as much as I enjoyed this my wife says, ‘Never again,’ and she hardly appreciated the monkey beaded small change purse I’d secretly bought her while there-go figure!

Japan is a beautiful country for Americans to visit. Their society has  so much to teach us. For one: respect, respect for the land, ourselves and others. I grimace to realize how much we as American’s have missed as I count the cigarette butts in the beach sands of Florida. The world isn’t really our ash tray. But I digress…

Somehow, in the vast scheme of things Japan has realized as a country that they were as responsible for Hiroshima as the United States was, that World War is a ‘no one is innocent’ thing. “All are punished.”* The people here hold life dearly, and respect every step they take.

The beauty of Japan is truly unbelievable.

cheers

Franque23

*Shakespeare

 

 

 

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September fourth ends the party of a huge, and odd, festival held in the US of A. It all happens on the Black Rock Desert near Gerlach, Nevada. The Burning Man festival, one where this year a man was truly burned alive as he ran into the flames,  is now a long-standing tradition here in the States.  But, before we get into this, I have to reveal a secret.

About ten years ago I thought I’d heard of the most bizarre festival held anywhere world-wide when my daughter who lived in Japan at the time told me about Japan’s Penis Festival. I admit, I was a bit puffed-up to know of this weirdness personified event; I gleefully went around America secretly thinking, ” Oh yeah? I know something you don’t know.”

I mean really, once per year an entire town marches large Penises down the avenue, wearing penises for noses, or hats. arms, worse for their, well, member. And all of this happens while massive crowds watch from the curb sides and chant something akin to, “We love the penis….” It’s different from Woodstock-see? 

Reality goes a bit wonkie for the day * And, it all makes sense according to the link below **, but I don’t see these pops going mainstream in America. Some of it is hard to handle…

Anyway, yep, I figured I had the corner on the market when it came to knowing about the strangest festival going until today, like right now. I flipped through a feature of many photos from this year’s, Burning Man Festival, and now, well, I’m not sure what this is?

Maybe, it’s a ladies clothing fashion show?

Maybe, the aliens have landed?

Maybe, it’s just super hot out there and people have gone a bit south of normal?

Who has time to build these monuments guided by, err, I guess their imagination?

Whatever this is, it’s fun to scan the photos in this link and glimpse what ‘other’ people than me do with their time. And, the 70 thousand who participated in this years’ showings seem to have had a heck of a time. It’s actually amazing to see…

Cheers-

It’s all a bit wacky in the best sorta way. The Burning Man photos of 2017:

https://designyoutrust.com/2017/08/burning-man-2017-stunning-photos-from-the-worlds-biggest-and-craziest-festival/

 

Franque23

*Extentions from the penis festival….. http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-ideas/weird-and-wacky/inside-the-festival-of-the-steel-phallus-in-kawasaki-japan/news-story/1e70c04df0268d3184c7baa68dc2c919

** For those who want an in-depth look and reach a better understanding of the cultural forces behind the Penis Festival, this is really good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HMwASzcdIU

 


A spirited adventure to enliven your soul…..

https://franque23.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/engines-in-tune-halloween/

 

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Homegrown pineapples are heavenly

 

A romp in the swamp that will hook you…

https://franque23.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/hooked-in-the-head/

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gotta try on a few more hats…

The truth of the matter; it’s pure fat, er, fact…

https://franque23.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/the-absolute-futility-of-exercise/

 

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I could hardly get a laugh in between push-ups

How to drink and enjoy it more—A Japanese bar…

https://franque23.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/bar-up-in-nihon/

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You can bathe men/ women or separated in Japan-up to you.

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The whole country comes alive to the sight of the Sakura….

Our dog who died to live…do dogs have souls?

https://franque23.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/red-dog-forever/

Cheers! Have a great weekend…

 

Franque23

 

 


I recently read that ten heads explode everyday from not reading at least three Meme’s per day. It’s a fact; I’ve already gone back in the bathroom and checked on that wall again. However, there’s no mention about the size or shape of the Meme-that’s troublesome.

What?

What?

To compare me to what I once was you’d simply have to have a very good memory and a bunch of mirrors. Looking back, my fellow employees once asked if they should nominate me for Survivor. Now, that show might consider me if they needed a drift wood prop.

Often, learning a bit of history can teach an ear -full.

Once, there was this guy….

I'm saving my expanding hand made paper hat we bought in the Bahama's for tomorrow....

None of this should be allowed…WTH happened?

(In case you missed the lead up..this post from 2010 is funny-promise. …https://franque23.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/40-in-a-25-mhp-zone/)

Decaying, ruinated, defunctafied, squishated, flatasided, finishatored and donered-that’s me at 67 going on 100. If my asthma gives me a breath, my splitting fingers still find the sharp end of a hook. My eyes can’t see the stairs I fell down and my bursitis-afied knees feel almost better for the fall. I’d duck to see this all coming-as if. This bent over twig of a frame of mine would snap in two at the thought. Then there’s my center of gravity belly issue-what the hell is that? Some alternate dysfunctional bizzaro universe has landed upon me and absorbed the middle of me.

wife pointing to he middle of the problem

wife pointing to the middle of the problem

Thought may be the worst problem of all, if I could remember one?  Somewhere in my house is a drawer full of dusty, moldy ol’ thoughts that are completely deadified. But there’s a bright side for those who are not yet 67: you’re not yet 67, end of story…*

Oh, I’m not bitter about being this old. Please don’t get me wrong. Harsh, haggard, burnt to beyond crispy, horrified by old pictures, I used to wear turtlenecks not be them, a craggy, draggy,  bottomed butt roast with skinny chicken legs, a funny mole farm with no hair, no grip but ton’s of gripes, a loose cannon of dropping balls and feet that wouldn’t feel a rhino step on them, yes, I’m all that ,but not ever bitter. Bitter would be way extreme.

Turkey neck for sale....it took two to hold me up for the shot....

Turkey neck for sale….it took two to hold me up for the shot….

So all you new fangled people under 67-don’t say I didn’t write on the wall-check the three-way bathroom stalls-it’s all there. Simon once wrote, “It’s all happening at the zoo.” There’s a sense of humor for ya. My zoo is sorta centralized like my weather report-hazy, foggy, unwanted precipitation, cold, hot, random gusts of flatulence accompanied by belching sounds all out of tune with my ringing ears.  Head’s-up! Those ding-dong sounds on the T.V. are actually words-go figure.

It really isn’t that bad; once you’ve lost about everything, then your mind goes. What’s to worry when every day’s a new day and every face, place, word, thought, fart or burp is  new, too! Greetings to my old friends who ever the hell you are! Let’s party, dance, maybe romance (try to remember those kinds of September) or maybe, just party-skip the dance- or sit on the couch to talk before we need the potty, or even better, let’s nap. Yes, stay home and nap at 67-it’s easier than trying to recall how to dress.

I remember being able to tie my shoes and stuff

I remember being able to tie my shoes and stuff( Lake Bonaparte.) I could even go out in a boat and make it back by myself!

Example: I once knew a guy (me) who went to the beach, like three days ago, and pulled down his shorts to go swimming before recalling  he meant to wear his suit under his shorts….if only. Fortunately, there were no witnesses who didn’t see.  Remember those dropping balls I mentioned? I signed autographs most the afternoon-no wait, were those police and lawyers/ I forget-**

Franque23

Me! In another life with a big fish.

Me! In another life with a big fish.

*Of course, I couldn’t leave turning sixty out……enjoy- https://franque23.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/60-my-speed-limit/

** Okay, I did have my boxer’s on so even asking to sign autographs didn’t work. People are soooo demanding these days.


The tide went out by afternoon and left the standing on bare ground.

The tide went out by afternoon and left the Torii gate standing on bare ground.

​It wasn’t too far from my daughter’s home in Kitsuki….a quick hour train ride-several hundred miles-and then a ferry over to this famous Island spot -the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyagima–We’d just arrived when a helpful person took our picture, and we would spend the entire day there–Kelly and I climbed up a steep path cut in stone to the top of a mountain higher than the one in the background…We had about 300 more yards to go to reach the top when we both decided to turn around and go back. The view was fab.

One thing-there’s a strong tide here–by afternoon the famous shrine stood completely on dry sea bed,,,people were everywhere digging up clams…we walked under the shrine that has stood in place since 1875. There had been a series of others in its place before then. The structure is made entirely of camphor logs…way thick, maybe fifteen feet around at the bases, and that thing stands about fifty or more feet tall……

Wild, miniature deer were everywhere to pet, feed or just enjoy.

soft and warm....

soft and warm….

The smell of easy to eat nibbles- skewered veggies and various meats-drifted through the air. A bunch of shops and vendors selling wares of every type lined the land side of the ocean walkway—As in many of the places we saw in Japan, there was an abundance of finely made china for sale, cups, plates, every kind of bowl. Most places offered to ship either for free or for  very little cost.

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Kelly’s home in Kitsuki was flanked by large bamboo….

The streets were crowded with open fish markets and veggie stands in some parts of Beppu.

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We strolled by thermally heated smoking land vents that hissed in many places about the town.

This pic is taken at a local park,, but steaming vents like this one is common around town.

This pic is taken at a local park,, but steaming vents like this one are common around town in Beppu.

Most memorable was lying in the naturally heated black beach sand by the ocean-quite the thing. Dale noted that after that hour-long rest, and quick shower, the heated summer day felt remarkably cool. The process was simple enough.

Someone shovels the heated sand on you...

Someone shovels the heated sand on you…

Then you lay like a heated lump on the beach for about an hour.

Then you lay like a heated lump on the beach for about an hour.

 

205626_1996162468753_7543855_nOf course, we had to go to the famous Gion district of Kyoto where Memoirs of a Geisha took place. We saw several Geisha impersonators,,posing for pictures as if they were Geisha’s, which our daughter explained would never happen. Then, by stroke of luck, we came upon a gang of paparazzi who were wanting in the street, hoping to catch a glimpse of a real geisha as she excited her apartment and fled into a waiting taxi… But best of all was the, “All my favorite things,” (omyyakamomy -maybe) pancakie thingy I ate in some off-street food joint that served beer as well…really fun,,,and the whole scene(abstractly written) is in my second book of Avatar Magic-The Code of Avatar Magic-*

The sakura, cheery blossoms, were in full swing that May-

The sakura, cherry blossoms, were in full swing that May-

We were lucky to hit the Sakura bloom just right. The land blazed light pink and cherry colors everywhere. While this riotous season is happening, the Japanese talk among themselves as if reporting the blooms like a weather event….It’s not a 90 % chance of rain, but rather, “The Sakura is at 85% south of Kitsuki.” Another might respond, “No, I think it’s more like 90%.”

The shrines, the Sakura, tha mountains and ocean, all of it made Japan a magical place to see.

The shrines, the Sakura, the mountains and ocean, all of it made Japan a magical place to see.

Kelly lived in Japan for five years teaching English to middle schoolers.

Kelly lived in Japan for five years teaching English to middle schoolers.

I loved every minute we spent in Japan--you really should go.

I loved every minute we spent in Japan–you really should go.

One of our first stops that visit was the Emperor’s palace and garden grounds…Hello…really? Disney can’t touch this.

I believe this is where Dale and I saw a wedding taking place on the Emporer's grounds....

I believe this is where Dale and I saw a wedding taking place on the Emperor’s grounds….

The whole country comes alive to the sight of the Sakura....

The whole country comes alive to the sight of the Sakura….

So yeah, even though I’ve previously posted three other globs covering our visits to Japan, there’s still so much more to tell. The last samurai castle to once have actively guarded a place in Japan, Kitsuki; the one million monkeys of Monkey Mountain; Oita and the walk on my back; ground zero at Hiroshima and the real beef of Kobe that I got to eat ON MY Birthday! Wowowow….Tender gains a new meaning.

We really need to talk this over in an onsen. There’s nothing like a Japanese hot public bath house….I’ve completely covered the procedure to follow in one of these houses* in another blog/glob so you won’t be freaked when we meet there…

The Japanese Onsen-a better part of our world.

The Japanese Onsen-a better part of our world.

You can go men/ women or separated-up to you.

You can go men/ women or separated-up to you.

But I have to say, going to men only and then bowing to a cleaning lady/girl while standing butt naked felt a bit off…

Cheers from the beautiful memories of Japan….

Franque23.

 

Exactly how to do an Onsen in Japan…https://franque23.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/onsens-for-a-clean-life/

 


(click on all the pictures for better views)

Whew! Dale, my wife(I know-it’s an odd name for a gal these days but her parents had so badly wanted another son) has made her way back from the African bush lands. In truth, all I saw in her pictures from there so far is mostly barren mountains. Now, I guess she is making her way to a place of relative civilization–Durban.

One of the schools within my daughter's school districts---see? I thought bush lands in South Africa, but, yeah-no, Mountains.

One of the schools within my daughter’s school districts—see? I thought bush lands in South Africa, but, yeah-no, Mountains.

Dale had been in Cape Town visiting with our Daughter’s family….some places are too pretty for words, but here it goes.  Below, Cape Town is across this bay and my son-in- law’s job there is to help the docking and loading and unloading of ships, like the ones you see in the distance.

Beach walk, South Africa-Cape Town.

My daughter  and grand daughter take a beach walk, South Africa-Cape Town.( click on the pic for an incredible view)

Maya is two and speaks several languages- an African one, Japanese, English, and maybe a bit of that African Clicking language-Xhosa?(sp)

The trouble, the real truth of the matter, is that I haven’t really any idea what Durban could be? It’s not like it’s Dublin, but I wouldn’t think one eleter could make such a difference.

This bridge in Dublin is where the Irish stand to see if the Russians are coming.....

This bridge in Dublin is where the Irish stand and wait to see if the Russians are coming…..

As I read it*,  an ancient, dead, runaway  Egyptian slave floated in a reed basket for either forty days or forty years until he was swallowed by a whale. The whale then spit him up upon the beach of Durban where he came to life and encountered a band of very musical Head Hunters who claimed there were no jobs to be found in the area. When the man claimed to have been dead but now alive, as well as barfed from the belly of a whale, the loco entrepreneurs became restless. But it was only when the living dead man refused to leave that he was tied down to the beach sand and left there to mediate until he rotted for good.

 

One large fry and one small guy

One large fry and one small guy

This is exactly when Marco Polo who was looking for his lost pair of shorts came to the dead man’s rescue. Now Marco Polo was difficult to see until he insisted those people around him open their eyes! That changed everything and cheated his fate. To have been called and never seen, searched the world over only to remain hidden-that was his fate but for this one request, first and finally made on this very beach.  It’s here in this saga where it’s made clear that either the Egyptian slave was very large or the head hunters were very small.

Certainly, there is also the mention of elves who did all the work and also had actually named the place, Dirt Pile. Alas, Marco’s best translation of the clicking language sounds for Dirt Pile was, Durban.

I thought about fact checking this story but decided I’d browse google on the term first just for the excitement of it all. Here again, I was completely amazed by what I found.

It seems Durban is a type of hat!

Certainly, it had to be a very large hat.

Certainly, it had to be a very large hat.

How odd that my wife, daughter and grand child would be going to visit the inside of an African hat!?!?!It has to be one of those very stretchy kinds, the knitted kind made by Livingstone,  I presume. Still, isn’t it summer time in Africa so why get in a hat! I called three psychics, two co-ed physics majors-why not?- listed on a 900 number site, both who seemed clueless and a bit down on their luck, and then one mail order psychiatrist, maybe, from Russia. None could explain why my wife would visit a hat in Africa.

I dug some more and found that, yes, it is quite possible to live inside a hat.

They do it in Dubai

They do it in Dubai

Two things came to me: my wife’s relatives were hatters in England long ago, and my wife actually does always look great in any kind of hat she chooses to wear. Maybe, it all made sense after all.

images (23)And one more thing came to me, a message from my friends who live up North-

Apparently , a snow man I brought to life so long ago froze to death.

Apparently , a snow man I brought to life so long ago froze to death this year.(1963ish-2016)

I decided it might help me forget my grief if I delved further into this mysterious choice of adventure, Durban, to see what type of hat it might truly be. That’s when I saw it. I’d typed as my query, Turban, not exactly Durban.  Dang it! Well, at least I learned a lot  about Durban’s history from that one site called, Swamp Land. Some people really do a lot of work and post all the information they’ve found on internet out of the good God, I thought my wife had gone to live in a hat!

Anyway, to get over this recent fiasco of a search, I scanned through pictures my wife has sent from a beach near Cape Town.

Cape town is located in the distant cove just beneath Table Top Mountain.

Cape town is located in the distant cove just beneath Table Top Mountain.(I think that’s table top?)

people(my daughter's family) sunbath next to the happy penquins

People(my daughter’s family) sunbathe next to the happy penguins.

But, is it safe to be near penguins?!?!? Turns out, there is a degree of danger.

Is it safe tow be around Penguins? Well, there is a certain degree of danger as the sign reads-

Meanwhile, Dale also went to where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean…

Yes, the two ocean's meet at Cape Point, South Africa. They are shaken, but never stirred.

Yes, the two ocean’s meet at Cape Point, South Africa. They are shaken, but never stirred.

So the whole trip for Dale (and me vicariously) has been quite a sight-wow. Basically, our daughter is shuffling us around the globe as we follow in her working life foot steps. First we went to Japan, twice, and then to Johannesburg, South Africa, and now this….my wife goes to Cape Town and to a large hat in South Africa.

So much about hats....

So much about hats….

More to come on South Africa.

Franque23

*Or, this may have been a dream-not sure.

 

 


Before I get to the posts—-I’d like to toast you, the readers, for not having me arrested for them.

Peace is easy to feel in Florida during April. Soft winds blow most days, while temperatures this spring have stayed as they used to each year, around 60 at night and usually no more than 85 in the day. I mention this because with all the crazy weather happening around the Nation, should I say world?, Florida’s weather this year has reflected what I used to think of as a normal weather pattern for here. We had a winter, but not too cold, and now a cooler spring than those we’ve suffered through as of late. If we can just get our rainy season, I think we’d have to do an Irish  jig to celebrate.

Speaking of celebrating, I read on face book today a very logical, clear-cut reason for drinking alcohol. NO wonder 2011 beer sales in America topped 98 billion!!!!

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This blog has posted over 350 posts since 2009. Some have been read more than others, but are these most read blogs the best ones of the group? Not sure. Plus, there have been over 3000 reads of the material that have never been assigned to an actual post. This skews the tallies.  Anyway, here’s a list, active links, to the 30 most read blogs. Please enjoy those you may not have read. Cheers!

Christine Franquemont
Baby Bye Blues
Library Bulletin Board Dragons of January 2012(Year of the Dragon)
R U Frackin’ Kidding Me?
ICE CREAM DAYS
Happy Chem Trails to YOU.
1st Library Bulletin Board of 2012
Silver Linings?
About
RED DOG FOREVER
Something’s not so Fishy
Onsen’s for a Clean Life
Go, Going……
Night Shift Moves: THE Post Office Never Lost A Cent.
Mom’s Music
A Side of Socialism
What’s this? A flickr of images. 5
FAMILY MATTERS: Personal Files of Ed Franquemont(1945-2004)
Roasted Nuts-Gainesville Style
May…be
Toby Toes, you’re a Good Dog.
Bonaparte Diaries revisited….
Make a Promise.
Kelly’s FB Letter.
Snow Way , Bro.
National ‘State’
Unions
BOOM! Prickly Relatives.
A Shot Remembered
Fall’s Up!Franque23.

Avatar Magic, by Gerald Franquemont, is on Kindle and it can be downloaded

onto most readers……

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