Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 268

The reward for Gov. Scott Walker (R-WS) officially entering the presidential race is this candidate profile from The Onion. I’m losing track, but I think he is the 15th Republican entering the fray. I see more on the horizon!

A recent poll puts Donald Trump (R-NY) leading the GOP race. Funny … but The Bloviator also has the highest disapproval rating of any candidate in both parties. It’s early, and he’ll keep talking. Meanwhile, he fooled me by filing his election paperwork.

Predictably, numerous Congressional Republicans were quick to criticize President Obama on the recent Iranian nuclear deal. Cheers to the few on both sides of the aisle who prefer to read and study the agreement before commenting.

The question isn’t whether or not Iran will get the bomb, but can the global community convince them of not using it.

Baseball’s All-Star Game came to Cincinnati this past week, and it was a rousing success for the city and its baseball fans. From a Reds player winning the Home Run Derby to having 4 Reds legends being on the field, there were many memorable moments.

Some have called for GM to withdraw their sponsorship of Kid Rock’s tour because his use of a Confederate flag. To me, some people just don’t know when to stop … but Kid Rock needs to seriously think about it. Then again, it is his right to do as he pleases.

Citizens waving the Confederate flag when President Obama comes to town have the right to do so, have the right to look stupid, and have the right to suffer consequences of their choices.

Interesting that some continue to disagree with ESPN awarding Caitlyn Jenner the Courage Award over Lauren Hill. Let the record show that Lauren’s parents wanted to meet Jenner to say that they were not involved with the wave of criticism.

The WordPress gnomes again changed my settings that blocked emails of your new posts. Fortunately, I think the block was less than a week. Damn gnomes.

With only two acts remaining, Meals: The Musical returns next week. Act 9 features Snacks and Leftovers. In this case, leftovers stand for items that haven’t had been in any previous act – such as seafoods, eggs, and more. Acceptable snacks would be candy, chocolate, cookies, potato chips, pretzels, pizza, and more. For both snacks and leftovers, beware of the previous acts. The curtain goes up for Act 9 next Wednesday at 9:30 pm (Eastern US).

I greatly enjoyed the story challenge! Tough for me to pick a fav because each had a different element from humor to relationships to one set to die. Thanks to all for joining in the fun. Special thanks to Dale for interacting with so many comments here and on the other blogs posting the story.

Diane Henders told her readers that we are all free and naked.

Rumor has it that a blogging dignitary is coming to my area this weekend.

The Explore series continues on Saturday featuring a wonderful video about a person, place, or thing.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s their list of pros and cons regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Pope Francis grills burgers on balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica (Gotta love the pic)
Mom would rather sit here and watch you guys have fun
Hungover man horrified to learn he made dozens of plans last night
Flight attendant attempting to pass cup of cranberry juice over laptop
Pluto capable of sustaining rock-based life

Interesting Reads
A good collection of thoughts about the Iranian Nuclear Pact
Making wine in a war zone
Best way to fight memory loss
International war on LGBT (and it goes well with this from last week)
9 things you didn’t know about Pluto

Besides the tip in this post, Diane also got this song in my head, so it’s perfect to send you into the weekend … Aaahoo! Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On the Blogging Community

“I came for writing, but stayed for friendships.” (A friend of Pauline’s: The Contented Crafter)

Although simple and real, many of us can relate to that quote. Seasoned blogger know the importance of community and the effect it has had on them. Yes – selfish bloggers exist – but for many, the interaction with a global audience is one factor that keeps them going.

The original post (On the Blogging Blues – April 27, 2015) focused on breaks, but the suggestions in the comments covered a wide range of blogging topics. This is Part 3 of the series that uses reader comments around a topic – this time it’s Community.

Thanks to everyone who contributed comments that led to this collection.

Topic: Community
Post for readers, not yourself.

Interacting with others beats counting stats.

I still struggle with the many posts that hit my reader every day – let alone replying to comments. Blogging simply takes an incredible amount of time and energy.

If quality and community are important, bloggers needs to reciprocate..

Blogging is posting, commenting, and visiting others.

The best thing about blogging is the friends you make.

The way one interacts elsewhere is an important trademark, thus causing others to want to visit.

Then again, blogging is like a collective that feeds upon one another … and I am fortunate to be in the midst of a wonderful community.

A person starts blogging because of the writing, and then they learn the power of the community.

The best blogging relationships as similar to the best in-person relationships – that is, they work both ways.

Not only reply to all comments, interact with your guests, and definitely write more than “Thanks for commenting” or “Thanks for visiting” – and then visit them. After all, don’t you want them return?

Humans are social creatures who enjoy meaningful social contact with others.

Everyone wants higher numbers, but community is more important than stats.

A blogging community is like a collective that feeds on each other – and resistance is futile.

Past Topics in This Series
Blogging
Breaks and the Blues

Next Topic: Posting and Frequency

I’ve said it many times and also written it here – I truly believe in the good of the majority of humanity … and to me, bloggers have reinforced that believe. Here’s a jazz great to end this post in a fitting way.

On the Floor: Reprise and Challenge

The story below is the revised version of my first attempt at fiction. I issued a challenge to develop a new ending: a) after “The music ends” and b) in 75 words or less.

New endings will either be posted as comments on this post or as the whole story with the new ending the reader’s blog with links to this post. See the Challenge page for more information as long as it remains published.

I  encourage others to read all the endings. Do you have a favorite ending? Thanks for participating.

aFaShortStoryChallengeThe music starts – its tempo and rhythms define the dance. He approaches her table, and extends an inviting hand. She accepts. They take to the floor. He offers a hand and a frame. Again, she accepts, but looks away while in hold as if to say, “I’ll dance – but I’m not interested.”

They move to the music’s sharp, fiery rhythms that are intertwined with sensuality. Their eyes continue gazing in opposite directions to avoid a visual connection – yet, their bodies touch.

They dance – they move – sometimes slow – sometimes fast – but always sharp and to rhythm.

He rolls her out – they flick in unison. He tugs to roll her back into his arms. She shrugs him off by returning to hold with her head turned away. Their steps continue.

He steps back – a lunge – a corté. She steps forward and raises her leg against his, and slowly moves it downward as a caress. He notices – she’s got his attention. As he returns her to upright, their eyes connect through a glimpse – yet each looks away.

The pace seeming hastens. The musical beat remains steady. Their moves remain sharp. Their eyes are starting to communicate to the other through glances.

She leans her body into him and her head is no longer facing away. They lock their eyes for the first time, and her eyes and face speak to him when. She places her head on his chest.

The normally sharp fans are now slow and smooth – yet still to the music’s rhythm. As she turns, his right hand slides naturally along her sleek frame. He notices the curvature of her hips. His head is not as high as he looks toward her with hopes of connecting again.

To him, her face displays desire. Her eyes are closed, but only she knows why. They are now in another place. To him, they are in the midst of passion. To her, she is the seductress who has succumbed to his fantasy.

He responds to the music’s fire with 8 fast steps down the floor. He rolls out as before, but on her return, she is close – and her right hand slowly caresses his face. The music ends.

They pause – each smiles to the other. She says, “Great dance”. He responds, “Absolutely” as they high-five.

Sounds of the different tempo and rhythms of the next song now filling the hall as they walk off the floor without knowing the thoughts of the other. One looks at the other saying, “Now that’s a tango.”

On Exploring an Elegance

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly. (R. Buckminster Fuller, inventor)

I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man? (Zhuangzi, philosopher)

Art is the fatal net which catches these strange moments on the wing like mysterious butterflies, fleeing the innocence and distraction of common men. (Giorgio de Chirico, artist)

If there is one creature that represents my essence, it’s butterflies. (Patricia Velasquez, actor)

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. (Nathaniel Hawthorne, novelist)

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 267

Donald Trump continues to do what he does best: Bring attention to himself and bloviate. Here’s The Onion’s candidate profile on The Bloviator, plus this related headline made me laugh: Trump tell Iowa farmers he has cattle 500 times bigger than theirs.

This headline captured my attention: Schools That Succeed Because of the System, Not Despite It … GAG … As one on the reform education side of the fence, I can justify the statement being true, but I ask a deeper question: But is this the system we want to master?

Discussions about flying the Confederate flag continue, while some seem to want to expand it to anything Confederate.

  • Should schools with Rebels as a nickname change? (No)
  • Should mascots of Confederate soldiers be replaced? (No)
  • Should schools reconsider using the Confederate flag as a school symbol? (Yep if the school receives any public aid)
  • Should the Confederate flag fly at public memorials on Confederate Memorial Day? (To me, this is a tough one as I can see both sides.)
  • Can a person fly the Confederate flag on a pole on their own property? (Absolutely, and this should remain)

The Daily Beast published this very-timely-now article (Jan 15, 2015) about Robert E. Lee’s view about reconciliation.

Cheers to the South Carolina legislature for voting to take down the Confederate flag from its capitol grounds.

Cincinnati is hosting this year’s mid-summer classic: Major League Baseball’s All-Star game. The city has done a great job getting ready for the week-long festivities. Meanwhile, the team’s owner and management continue to demonstrate they have lost their way.

The Coke machines with all the flavors … do you know the ones? Vanilla Ginger Ale is my favorite. Do you have a favorite?

Did you notice that the desserts theme of Meals: The Musical: Act 7 was calorie free? I anticipate only 2 more acts, and preliminary information about Act 8 is on the Hear Ye page.

My wife and I ballroom dance for fun – thus we don’t compete or perform solos in studio-related events – but we have participated in two formations (groups). It appears I’ll be performing with another dance partner (of course with my wife’s permission) at a future showcase. Here’s the song we are hoping to use for our dance. What’s the dance?

For those who will post the entire story on their blog (with their ending), the revised story (without an ending) is on the Challenge page to copy. The Dance Challenge date Sunday, July 12th, 9:30 pm (Eastern US). I’m looking forward to the different endings, so feel free to promote the challenge!

The Explore series continues on Saturday featuring a wonderful video about a person, place, or thing.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s their short video about what children need in a male role model.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Disney unveils first virgin princess
Report: Male hair-loss 7 times more painful than childbirth
S&M couple won’t stop droning on about their fetishes
Insurance only pays for generic heart transplant
Ghost of Julia Child sounds the same
Meteorologist slips family members few extra days of extended forecast

Interesting Reads
Washington Post’s editorial board about independence
An example of Congress avoiding solutions (from the BiPartisan Policy Center)
Same-sex marriage around the world
Brain’s internal compass
13 facts about Crayola Crayons

Here’s a 2-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover dessert from the musical and a classic. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Meals: The Musical – Act 8: Desserts

The Story
Meals: The Musical is an original aFa production is about an important aspect of daily life – eating.

Whether a snack, something on the run, a glorious sit-down feast, or something in between and regardless of the time of day, food is a life necessity. There are three aspects to a truly fantastic meal: the food, the occasion, and the company. We know Meals: The Musical is a festive occasion where friends gather to share wonderful music – thus the acts will focus on what the dining friends encounter.

MealsPlaybillProgram (Past Posts)
Act 1: Meals
Act 2: Fruit
Act 3: Side Dishes
Act 4: Meat
Act 5: Ingredients
Act 6: Non-alcoholic Drinks
Act 7: Alcoholic Drinks

Act 8: Desserts
We’ve had a wonderful meal, but diners have left room for dessert. After all, history shows that the human sweet tooth has been around a long time. The ancient Chinese, the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Europe of the Middle Ages, and many others have enjoyed sweet delicacies and treats.

For Act 8, song titles must include a dessert. Good examples include (but not limited to) dessert, cake, tart, pastry, pudding, ice cream, pie, and their plural forms.

Notes of Caution

  • No cookies
  • No candy
  • No fruits unless as a descriptor of a dessert: Blueberry Hill (no), Blueberry Pie (yes)

Production Note
To prevent browsers crashing from loading too many videos, please 1) include the song title and artist in your text, and 2) paste the URL as part of your last line (not a new line). The latter will provide a link, thus not embed the actual video … but I don’t mind unembedding, so apologies are not necessary.

Announcement
We love to open an act with a classic, and this time we venture back to the early days of television. She was a star with a popular variety show, so making her first appearance ever at an aFa musical production, let’s give a rousing welcome to Dinah Shore singing Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy.

On Breaks and Blues for Bloggers

The Blogging Blues are real and no blogger is immune.

That was one of the themes in my past post On the Blogging Blues (April 27, 2015). Although the primary focus of that post was blogging breaks, readers offered many outstanding suggestion.

I gathered the comments, organized them into topics, then paraphrased the words. Here we are – Part 2 in the series – this time focusing on the Blogging Blues and blogging breaks.

Thanks for those providing the suggestions – after all, this post would not be here without your help.

Topic: Blogging Breaks and the Blogging Blues
Life gets in the way of blogging, but sometimes one must renegotiate life to put things like blogging on the back burner.

The Blogging Blues come and go – just like other aspects of life.

Taking breaks can be a necessary part of life – real or virtual!

The host puts the pressure on themselves, thus the readers are the most understanding – just as they are when reading and supporting others.

The “too-much” factor can cause the Blogging Blues.

A blogging break seems to energize a person.

Blogging breaks are good … but bad for others because they fear not returning.

When returning from a break, somehow all the same faces are still there – and even new ones suddenly appear to say how they missed you.

If one feels blogging is becoming a drudgery, take a break.

When realizing that the blog was becoming a drudgery, a month-long break recharged my creative batteries – and I returned with renewed enthusiasm.

Visit other blogs when taking a posting breaks.

Past Topics in This Series
Blogging

Next Topic: Community

Let’s end with a song from Tracy Chapman