On a Footprints Challenge

It’s challenge time!

Long-time visitors to my little corner of the world know that writing fiction isn’t my thing. With over 1,900 posts, I’ve written one fiction post. Actually two because the original post did turn into a short story challenge that involved me changing my original story.

Not that I’m changing my format in on these pages, but what the heck – let’s try it again!

1. Write a short story based on the image below in the genre of your choice.


2. The story must be 150 words or less.

3. Publish your story after I post mine (Monday, July 10th @ 12:15 am Eastern US) AND link back to the post with my story (not this post).

4. Display the image above your story

5. The story title must be Footprints in the Sand

6. Display the following image after the story.

On a Beach Walk: No. 8

I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

As I walk a vast mass of water is 180 degrees to my side – a mass of water with its currents moving it ashore and beyond. The moving water that splashes and refreshes my feet.

I think of water moving in its cycle. Where has that drop on my knee been? Who has it touched? Did it touch a television or movie star? A world leader? A historic figure? Perhaps da Vinci, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, or Confucius? A farmer, carpenter, librarian, artist, fisherman, musician, or business leader? Or even Lucy the early hominid, Lucille Ball, or Kenny Rogers.

I think of ancient people during ancient times who were unaware of water’s cyclic ways. No wonder they saw the sky as a solid dome separating the waters from above and below. No wonder they saw rain as something that came down from their god above.

Water – so much of it – so many uses – so vital for life – no wonder it is a powerful metaphor. There is much to wonder about water, but now I will settle on allowing my mind to wonder as water refreshes my feet.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 332

When I published my return post, it was nice to see the spike on the graph of daily statistics. More importantly, it was great get to comments from friends all of the world. Thanks to all for the kind words and welcoming return.

I hope to announce a writing challenge in the next edition of this series.

Baby Fiona, (Cincinnati Zoo’s rock star baby hippo) continues to make great progress. Fiona now has a beer named after her, she is featured in a set of playing cards (we have), and continues to be a media darling. She does not regularly appear at the zoo’s exhibit, but she is making great progress bonding with her mother (Bibi) and father (Henry). Below are several links for videos.

With Amazon bid to purchase Whole Foods, this short clip (1-minute) is perfect.

 

In a pile of recyclable materials at a recycling center, what color do you think is the most dominant? (Answer later in this post.)

My wife and I are still enjoying ballroom dancing. Big news would be that we have changed instructors, and a big thumbs-up to our new one.

Did you know:

  • Otto Warmbier, the college student detained in North Korea who returned to the US in a coma and then died within days, was a Cincinnatian. I happened to be in his community the day before his funeral … and the trees lining the streets had blue and white ribbons tied around them.
  • Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), the congressman who first attended to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) at the unfortunate, despicable shooting, is my representative.

Cardboard brown from all the shipping boxes is the most common color in a recycling pile. This has changed through the years, and given all the online purchasing people do today, this shouldn’t be surprising.

American politics is not only frustrating, but is also has become a waste of my time and energy. It reminds of playground squabbles in order to see who gets their way, which actually solves nothing more than determining who gets their way – but this doesn’t mean I’m completely disengaging! No matter the political party, this is what I hear when politicians talk.

I’m no longer listing items for blaming former President Obama because (by now) realizes that he is responsible for everything wrong in the world over the past 10 years and for all ills to come over the next 30 years.

President Trump is a bully who disregards the institution and traditions of government because he thinks he is king.

After the House vote on the Republican-written health care law (AHCA) designed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare), I wrote these words to Rep. Wenstrup after the Cincinnati Enquirer published his column.

Thank you for sharing your story of the health issues in your family as well as your point of view concerning the ACA and the AHCA. You should know that as a political independent, I characterize your “Yes” vote for the AHCA without an assessment by the Congressional Budget Office as incompetent and a prime example of favoring the interest of your party over serving the best interests of the people in our district and all Americans. Health care and health care insurance is a very serious issue that demands more than a frivolous attempt based on partisanship and political gain.”

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion explains how cell phones have changed our lives.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Health scare prompts man to overeat healthier
Earth ranked as number 1 party planet
New study finds no long-term health benefits
Man pulling on loose hangnail slowly unravels skin from entire body
Beauty industry exec keeps photo of crying 15-year-old girl on desk to remind himself why he does this

Interesting Reads
Sagan’s baloney detection kit
Continued fascination with Phineas Gage
Tree-climbing goats
A personal view of cystic fibrosis and the benefits of research
(Photos) 91 picture of 91 years of Queen Elizabeth II

To send you into the weekend, here’s a fun song that you may not know. Enjoy! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Beach Walk: No. 7

I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

The sands display a myriad of shells. Different shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. Although they now lay idle on the sand, each was once a home for something alive – a clam, oyster, scallop, whelk, conch, or other Molluscan relative. Home for a comparatively simple life – a life born to eat so it grows and survives so it can reproduce then die. A life aiming at perpetuating the species so that species can fulfill its niche in nature.

A life with a collection point of nerves serving as its neurological center – but not a center of with emotions, intellect, problem solving, and complex communication. But a simple brain – one geared for operating body functions, movements, sensing, and responding. Sensing the presence of food or predators, the current’s direction, the water’s temperature, and more – to sense to react.

The numerous shells I see tell only a fraction of the story of what life in the water must be. All those shells contained a life – a life starting as a simple cell floating free in the water. A life that developed into a free-swimming larva or served as food for something else. A life that continued to develop into a young shelled organism or food for other organisms. Finally developing into an adult that can reproduce, yet also be a food source for other life.

No wonder adults release so many eggs as not all will get fertilized. Not all will survive the free-floating stage or as free-swimming larvae. Not all will develop into reproductive adults. No all will live a full adult life.

That’s the life of a mollusk – a clam, oyster, scallop, whelk, conchs, and others. Compared to ours, a life that is simple, but one that is ecologically important. Each fulfilling a niche in the intricate web of life on our planet.

This is what I ponder as I see the shells on the beaches that I walk. After all, walking is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Blog-Break Reflection

Image from 123vectors.com

The previous post announced the start of a blog break. That was April 5, and I was thinking 2-3 weeks … not 2-3 months. Although I did some visiting and wrote very little, my little corner of the world occupied my mind. After all, it’s been part of me since late August 2008.

I built my little corner of the world the old fashioned way – hard work. I responded to comments, and visited and commented on the blogs of those who visited me. Who knows how many blogs I visited without establishing a relationship. After all, this place was about honesty, respect, and kindness – not trash-talking brashness and without a even a small dose of shock and awe. I was simply being myself. Here is a snippet from my first post.

To readers I promise insight, yet will respect comments from others. I will be respectful to all as bashing is not my style, thus hope others are the same. Disagreement and criticism are fine, but it should be done with class. Other times I will simply provide information for readers to use.

I not only achieved that, I stayed true to the initial course!

During the break I thought about the many WordPress regulars that no longer post – people like Virginia, Guapo, Mags, Starla, and many others. Some have died, such as Third Stone, Larry, and Cynthia. Many others have cut-back – and I understand that perspective now more than ever. Some of us as Elyse, Debra, and Marina have a long history together. Were we all together during the Golden Era of Blogging? Maybe … but maybe not. After all, maybe our time has passed and a new generation is carrying the torch forward.

Some of us have been together a short time. Nonetheless, the power of the relationships built from blogging is one of the biggest surprises that I didn’t anticipate when I started … and that is what I cherish the most.

Conversations in 2008 with a good friend (Tim, who comments here) planted the seeds for this place. Did you know AFA started as a sports and politics blog? After several months, I knew I needed more. The “Categories” in the sidebar now displays a long list of topics. As I like to think – there is something here for everyone!

My topics grew as a response to my audience and my interests. Eventually I saw myself as a weekly magazine with Monday Morning Entertainment, Tuesday’s a specialized topic, Wednesday Satire Bits, on open topic on Thursday, Friday’s Opinion in the Shorts, and the Saturday Morning Cartoons series was absolutely one of my personal treasure …. and to think 6 blog musicals covering 62 acts found a way into that schedule. Whew … that was a lot of work … but I loved it … and I was also visiting many blogs during at the same time

Over time, the weekly magazine slowly changed as I stopped various sections for a variety of reasons. After all, I couldn’t keep up the pace I had established for myself.

OK – that was the past, but what about today? What does all this mean? Is A Frank Angle over?

Nope – it’s just a reflective post looking back at eight-plus years and over 1,900 posts with almost 73,000 comments from over 281,000 visits. I still have more to say and more to share – and as they always have, the friendships built here still touch me. On the other hand, I know I can’t rebuild this community as I did in the past because I realize that level of energy is missing.

I have my eye on one statistical goal because I like milestones: 2,000 posts, but my aim is without a timetable – without a regular posting schedule. It will simply happen when it happens.

As the opening image indicates, I’ve engaged the Play button. Yes, I’m slowing down – but I’m not done yet. There are more beach walks to take, more Opinions in the Shorts to share thoughts (but maybe not every Friday – maybe even a different day). Maybe a challenge or two are in the works, and who knows, possibly even another blog musical. Time will tell.

I close this reflective drivel with a musical video that I find to be amazing, amusing, and entertaining. Have a good week. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Pre-Blog Break Shorts & Snorts

The Cincinnati Zoo reported (Tuesday) that Fiona weighs 130 pounds. This is what she does when she’s dreaming.

Monday was Opening Day in Cincinnati. Based on the morning weather reports, we decided to stay dry by not attending downtown festivities … and it didn’t rain a drop! … Damn Obama!

Congratulations of the North Carolina Tar Heels for representing ABK with distinction in the men’s basketball tournament. For those who don’t know, that’s Anybody But Kentucky.

Although their winning streak was surprisingly snapped, a tip of the cap to the UConn Huskies women’s basketball team. Wow – winning 111 games in a row is unbelievable … so I imagine a new streak will start sometime in November.

I enjoy celebrating milestones with a numbers tribute – as the last post was for our 40th wedding anniversary. Our schedule dictated that we go out for a nice dinner the evening before, and it was wonderful. Thanks again for the anniversary wishes.

Count me in on the outcry that penalties should not be based on communication from spectators. The PGA and the LPGA need to put an end to the nonsense!

I can’t recall ever seeing ads on television supporting a Supreme Court nominee. I remain standing firm on my stance of Last Judge Standing, and will continue that position until I feel it is no longer necessary – but I wonder if that will happen in my lifetime.

I continue to avoid watching Chris Matthews, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Rachel Maddow. I very seldom read columns by EJ Dionne, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and Eugene Robinson. Why? … I can think for myself and do not need partisans to verify my position. After all, I have it even better because I have all the partisans to prove my point.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell (JA/R-KY) is threatening to impose the rule change known as the Nuclear Option. I say go right ahead because we citizens need more dysfunction based on partisanship. After all, Former Majority Leader Reid (JA/D-NV) did his share to lead the way by setting an example. Follow the lead, jackasses!

Cheers to Stephen Colbert who makes me laugh at the political chaos. I know he’s a partisan, but he still makes me laugh.

April has a way of being hectic. Better weather gets us outside. Golf league for both of us will ramp up. Working hours will increase at the golf course. Taxes to be filed. The handbell choir prepares for Easter Sunday. Dances are to be done. The Masters golf tournament is a must-watch event. Baseball season has started. A room painting project in the near future. Vacations to plan, and more.

This blog has been very steady for almost 6 months, so it’s time for a blog break. Not sure how I will spend it, so don’t be surprised if I go visiting. For the record, more Beach Walks are to come.

To send you into my blog break, this song goes out to the dreaming Fiona. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On 40

This post is about the number forty, quaranta, veertig, cорок, keturiasdešimt, Minn erbgħin, XL, and many more … can you add any?

40 – As forty, the only English number with the letters of its correct spelling are in alphabetical order

In Mathematics
40 – a composite number, an octagonal number, a semiperfect number, a Harshad number, a Stormer number

40 – divisible by 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 20, and 40

In Science
40 – the atomic number of zirconium, whose neutrally charged atom has 40 protons and 40 electrons

40 – the number of weeks for an average term of pregnancy

M40 – a star in the constellation Ursa Major

NGC 40 – a planetary nebula in the constellation Cepheus

In Religion

Photo from pexels.com

Judaism

  • 40 – a commonly used time period (days, nights, years) – (many references)
  • 40 – the number of days and nights during the Flood
  • 40 – the number of se’ah in a mikvah of water (approximately 200 gallons/757 liters)
  • 40 – the number of lashes as a punishment

Christianity

  • 40 – the number of days and nights Jesus fasted
  • 40 – the number of days between the resurrection of Jesus to the ascension of Jesus
  • 40 – the number of days of Lent preceding Easter (but Eastern and Western Christianity count it differently)

Islam

  • 40 – Muhammad’s age when he first received the revelation delivered by the archangel Gabriel
  • 40 days – the official length of mourning

Hinduism

  • 40 – the number of stanzas (shlokas or dohas) in some popular HIndu prayers
  • 40 – number of days fasting

In Sports

Photo from pexals.com

40 – number of players allowed under contract for each MLB baseball team

40/40 Club – Players achieving 40 stolen bases and 40 home runs in a season (only been done 4 times)

40 – the maximum number of horses in the grand national

40 yards – (36.5 meters): the distance dash as a metric in scouting American football players
The distance run in the 40 yard dash, an important metric in American football scouting.

40 – the third point in a tennis game … and 40-40 is called “deuce”

40 – the number of cars in a NASCAR Nationwide race

40 – the number of a NASCAR car that has won 9 races by drivers Sterling Marlin (4), Pete Hamilton (3), Tommy Thompson (1), and Jamie McMurray (1)

40 – a jersey number retired in this professional sports:
MLB: Don Wilson (Astros), Danny Murtaugh (Pirates)
NBA: Byron Beck (Nuggets), Bill Laimbeer (Pistons)
NFL: Pat Tillman (Cardinals), Gale Sayers (Bears), Mike Haynes (Patriots), Joe Morrison (Giants), Tom Brookshier (Eagles)

In Entertainment
40 – the number of spaces in a standard Monopoly game board

40 -the highest number ever counted to on Sesame Street

In Music
Crush 40 – an American-Japanese hard rock band

“40” – a song by Dave Matthews Band, UC, and Franz Ferdinand

“Forty Shades of Green” – a song by Johnny Cash

40 – the name of Canadian hip hop producer Noah Shebib

Symphony No. 40 – by Haydn and Mozart

40 – the number of song on popular weekly radio programs as American Top 40, Rick Dees’ Weekly Top 40, and American Country Countdown – #1 40 years ago today

In Television
$40 – the spending limit for chefs on “Chef on a Shoestring”

$40 – the per day spending limit on $40 a Day, a travel/eating show originally on Food Network hosted by Rachael aye

In Literature
40 – the number of thieves involved with Ali Baba in Arabian Nights

In Culture
To understand a people, you must live among them for 40 days. ~Arabic proverb

40 hours – the customary number of hours in a regular workweek in some countries

40 days – Russian folklore regarding the length of time ghosts of the dead linger at the site of their death

40 years – an age milestone

40th wedding anniversary – Ruby is the traditional gift

In US History
40 acres and a mule – a plan to offer freed slaves after the US Civil War

40th US President – Ronald Reagan

STS-40 – the 11th mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia (June 1991)

Federalist Paper No. 40 – written by James Madison about the authority of the Constitutional Convention

In World History
40 – During the Bubonic plague, the number of days ships isolated in the harbor before passengers could go ashore

40 – another name for The Tessarakonteres, the largest ship of antiquity, constructed by Ptolemy IV of Egypt

40 CE

  • Korean calendar year 2373, Holocene calendar year 10040, Discordian calendar year 1206
  • A leap year starting on Friday
  • Roman Emperor Caligula starts on a campaign to conquer Britain (which failed)
  • The Vietnamese Trưng Sisters rebel against the rule of the Chinese Emperor Guangwu of Han
  • Philo teaches that all men are born free.
  • Christianity comes to Egypt

40 BC

  • Assyrian calendar year 4711, Berber calendar year 911, Buddhist calendar year 505
  • Either a common year starting on Thursday, Friday or Saturday or a leap year starting on Thursday or Friday
  • Lucius Antonius surrenders to Octavian
  • Treaty of Brundisium: The treaty is cemented by the marriage of Mark Antony and Octavia, sister of Octavian
  • Athenodorus a philosopher, encounters a ghost in Athens
  • Parthians conquer Jerusalem
  • Births: the twins of Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Mark Antony

In Geography

Photo from pexels.com

I-40 – a U.S. interstate connecting California to North Carolina

40 – National highways in Argentina, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, UK, and USA

40th Parallel South – crosses land in Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina

40th Parallel North – crosses land in Spain, Italy, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, North Korea, Japan, USA, and Portugal

40th Meridian West – crosses Greenland, Brazil, and Antarctica

4oth Meridian East – crosses Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Antarctica

40-Step Stairway – historical place in Busan, South Korea

Forty Foot – a promontory on the southern tip of Dublin Bay, Ireland where people have been swimming in the Irish Sea all year round for hundreds of years

Forty Shades of Green is a visual term for rural Ireland

Miscellaneous
40 – the code for direct dial international phone calls to Romania

WD-40 – a popular penetrating oil whose name stands for the 40th formula of Water Displacement

Here’s #2 on the Billboard Charts from 40 years ago today – April 2, 1977 – our wedding day