On If

If – from the Old English gif

If – mainly a conjunction; sometimes a noun

If – an introduction to a conditional clause

If – a statement around a condition; a presumption, supposition, provision, precondition, proviso, requirement, specification, stipulation, or restriction

If – an assumption leading to an event or outcome

If – delivering a possibility, request, or opinion

If – an implied reservation

If – as in although, yet, despite being, even though, or but – many times serving as an excuse

If – noun as uncertainty, doubt

If – a function in programing to make a decision

If – a 1910 poem by Rudyard Kipling

If – a 1968 movie starring Malcolm McDowell

If – a BBC drama-documentary series

“If” – a 2010 episode of Desperate Housewives

If – a magazine subtitled “Worlds of Science Fiction”

If – a political comic strip appearing The Guardian (a UK newspaper)

If (band), 1970s British progressive jazz-rock band, and the name of their album

If – songs by Bananarama, Bread, Janet Jackson, Joni Mitchell, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink Floyd, Perry Como, Destiny’s Child, Rivermaya, Davido, and more.

If – what if I had answered my own challenge with in a way other than my own.

NOTE: I encourage readers to follow the pingback links in the Comments to other posts about If that answer the If Challenge.

Advertisements

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 351

Embed from Getty Images

Challenge Update: I will publish my post on Tuesday 6 February at 9 PM (Eastern US) … challenge participants publish after that and link to that post.

On the early morning of this week’s Super Blue Moon’s eclipse, Cincinnati had many clouds. A friend of mine (who is south for the winter) told me that he watched the shadowed moon fade away behind the horizon, then turned around to watch the sunrise over the opposite horizon only several minutes later.

Cincinnati has a unique food battle going on – a Burger Battle of the Boy Bands. In short, Nick Lachey (98 Degrees), is a Cincinnatian, plus he and his brother (Drew) have a restaurant. A few blocks away is Wahlburgers, owned by the Wahlbergs (Donnie was in New Kids on the Block). Here’s an article about the battle.

This weekend is the Super Bowl – big deal. We’ll probably have the game on, but without any festivities. Personally, I hope the Eagles win.

PS: More BLINK posts this weekend.

Embed from Getty Images

I knew before making the decision that I would be missing the most unbelievable, the greatest, the most-watched ever State of the Union (SOTU) speech – but I continued my streak of avoiding the occasion because I hate watching the behaviors of our elected officials. Stay seated and remain quiet during the speech seems like such a small, yet reasonable request.

The SOTU is the US President delivering an annual Constitutional obligation. Although I don’t watch, I support it. On the other hand, I despise the fact opposing party have a rebuttal. The record clearly shows I also didn’t support the Republicans rebuttal after President Obama’s SOTU – and yep – I don’t support the Democrats doing the same. SOTU is the President’s address to Congress and the nation … PERIOD.

If I would have watched the SOTU, these bingo cards would have made the event more fun.

Embed from Getty Images

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides an infographic about the myths and facts about Dreamers and the Dream Act.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Woman apologizes to therapist for monopolizing conversation
New acne-free treatment ships teens to remote island for remainder of puberty
Perfect girlfriend blames self for everything
Flustered mathematician unable to recommend good number
Brad Pitt stumbles across old cardboard box with Gwyneth Paltrow’s head in it

Interesting Reads
Europe’s earliest written language?
Dark money and politics
About the Cincinnati murals
The contradictions of Gaudi
Demographics, America, and the future
Anti-evolution in India
(Graphic) World’s most nutritious foods
(Photos) National Geographic’s Best Adventure Photos of 2017

To send you into the weekend, here’s one of my favorites by John Mellencamp. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 350

Embed from Getty Images

 

Although I took a low-key approach to #2000, I greatly appreciate the comments. Yes, they collectively choked me up a bit. Thank you!

I can’t believe WordPress didn’t sent me a special badge. Then again, maybe they did, but I can’t find it.

I had to look, but the first 1,000 took 4 years 1 month … the second thousand took almost 5 years 5 months. Especially given my age, I’m trending in the wrong direction for the next 2,000! But hey – thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

I had to check the party for #1000. I enjoyed looking at the names from the past. Approximately 67 attended: 12 are still here (more than half attended #2000), 14 are still active bloggers but no longer visit, and 42 are no longer active.

My next venture: The IF Challenge. A new (and temporary) page detailing this challenge on a tab. Bottom line, construct a post centering around the word “if”. Writer’s choice of format (poem, short story, graphic, etc). Dates are TBA – probably a specific announcement in the next OITS for the challenge post within 7 days after.

This weekend I hope to introduce readers to BLINK Cincinnati, which will be a series of posts.

We saw The Post (Meryl Streep/Tom Hanks). Thumbs up – but I enjoyed Darkest Hour more. As with any movie based on history, details are often omitted (because of time), massaged or even made-up to improve the movie’s flow – therefore, I often wonder how much of the movie is true. Here’s one such view of The Post.

Embed from Getty Images

 

Here’s an interesting post about integrity by a blogger that I don’t know. Raye, thanks for leading me there.

The government shutdown was ridiculous. The 3 comments below stuck with me this week.

A president who can’t make a deal, Republicans struggling to govern, Democrats shaped by their anti-Trump base. (Dan Balz, Columnist, Washington Post)

What’s striking is Republican operatives said to me they think this president is erratic, he’s undisciplined, he’s inconsistent which makes it tough for him when he tries to get himself engaged in a deal like this. (Peter Alexander, NBC National Correspondent)

Where’s the empathy in my party? Al Cardenas, Republican Strategist)

This article by The Guardian definitely has an intriguing title: “The 12 Weirdest Days From Trump’s First Year”.

Embed from Getty Images

 

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion capsulizing the history of the World Economic Forum.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Area man thinks movie he saw should have been nominated
Lustful man sensually uses one hand to unhook clasp of take-out box
Ophthalmologist instructs patient not to look at anything 24 hours before eye surgery
Man wishes women in crowded bar would let him read Jane Austen novel in peace
Newborn has father’s asshole
Real life Michelin Man dies (Photo here)

Interesting Reads
Defending the grid
Soybean to diesel fuel: is it worth it?
Feeding 1.4 billion Chinese
Feeding 10 billion people globally
Plague Fort in Russia
(Photos) London Lit

To send you into the weekend, here’s another one from The Cars on the way to their upcoming induction. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Footprints in the Sand

Welcome to the aFa Footprints Challenge. I issued the challenge in this past post, but in a nutshell, participants will develop a story of 150 words or less from the image below.

Not only is my story in this post, I’ve asked participants to link their story here – so I invite readers here to follow the Pingback links in the Comments to more stories. Other writers my provide a link within their comment. There is no question in my mind that readers will find a wide variety of styles and adventures. In a way, another challenge is to read as many of the other stories as possible.

As I stated in the challenge, fiction is outside of my comfort zone. Thanks to participating writers and to all the readers. Enjoy the offerings!

PS: No need to panic because Pingbacks will display upon approval at this end.

Footprints in the Sand

The air is brisk. Yesterday’s rain and wind wiped away footprints, chair marks, and tire tracks from the past. The beach’s sandy surface is smooth except for a fresh set of footprints.

Someone walking alone …

… barefoot …

… a female …

… with short steps …

… using a cane …

… moving toward the water.

Warmly dressed to combat the chilled winds, she reaches the water’s edge. She stood looking in different directions, thinking about her love for the water, the beach, and its sand.

She slowly walked a short distance along the water’s edge – close enough for the occasional lap across her feet. She turned and paused to think about memories. Times when she wasn’t alone – the family vacations – the hand-and-hand walks with the one she loves.

Hooded and alone, she retraces her steps off the beach toward her quarters – the place where someone watched her every step.

(148 words) – Comments about this story? Who was watching?

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.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 267

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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.

On a Challenge

Regulars recall my first venture into fiction (here). The comments provided many helpful suggestions (which I’m incorporating in the rewrite) and various concerns with the ending. From this, I’m issuing a challenge to any and all participants to develop a new ending. See the information below.

Challenge Overview

  • Rewrite the story’s ending
  • Start after “The music ends.”
  • Your ending must be 75 words or less
  • A dance video or song doesn’t have to be included

aFaShortStoryChallengeOption A (by commenting)

  • At the designated date and time, I will repost the story (actually the revised version)
  • Readers can enter their ending as a comment
  • Take the badge to the right for your collection

Option B (by posting)

  • Copy/Paste the story (thus my permission)
  • Wait until I post the revised version on Challenge Day
  • Post the entire story on your blog with your ending
  • Embed the badge at the beginning of the story
  • Link to my revised post
  • Encourage others to participate
  • Extra Information below important

Extra Information

  • Posting date is Sunday, July 12th, 9:30 pm (Eastern US)
  • These instructions are also posted on the Challenge page
  • For Option B challengers, I will include the revised version (for copy/paste) on the Challenge page around July 5th

A Surprise for My Effort
The image below shocked me in multiple ways. 1) A reader took the time to do this … (I’m graciously honored) and then 2) I realized he based it on my words. I wanted to share this with you while publicly thanking Calvin for his time, efforts, and generosity.

post cards from a reader_v2