On She/He: Initiating the Challenge

 

Note: To participate in this challenge, see the Challenge page/tab.

 

She is the one for the next dance.

He spotted me and doesn’t know who I am, but I know him.

She displays a slight smile as I approach.

He doesn’t know that I started watching him as soon as he walked through the door.

She changes her face into a glow as I extend my hand.

He doesn’t know what I have in store for him.

She graciously engages my offered frame.

He feels like a dancer.

She transforms my leads into beautiful motions.

He’s a better dancer than I expected, but not as good as he thinks.

She glides the floor with grace and elegance.

He doesn’t realize that I make him look good.

She makes me feel like the king of the ballroom.

He’s about to be surprised.

She smiles in appreciation as the music ends.

He doesn’t know I just delivered a signal.

She is the one.

He’s a dead man.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 380

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For those that missed Tuesday’s special announcement, Pronouns: The Musical this weekend with an Encore act featuring songs with two or more different pronouns used in this musical (or click here). See the SPECIAL page/tab (below the banner/header) for more information. Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

For the story writers in the crowd, hope you saw the Writing Challenge I issued earlier this week. See the Challenge page/tab (below the banner/header) for details (or click here). Responding to the challenge starts this coming Tuesday after I post my version. If you aren’t a short story person, pass along the challenges to others you know who may be interested.

A few days ago we saw First Man, the movie about astronaut Neil Armstrong. Interesting and well done, but I wouldn’t call it a must-see blockbuster. It’s not fast-moving, but has its tense moments. There’s a notice amount of silence throughout the movie. For most of his post-astronaut adult life, Mr. Armstrong lived in the Cincinnati area. From what I know of Armstrong’s personality, Ryan Gosling hit it!

I’m drafting a future post about shopping carts – which caused me to develop a new category – Shopping. Would you know it, I already have a few past posts that fit that new category. Feel free to visit the category in the future or by clicking here.

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President Trump says he could fire the entire Mueller investigation team to end the investigation. Mr. President, do what you mean and mean what you say. The time is now – enough talk – do it! Do what you say you can do. Do what you really want to do! Do it!!!

Although the anticipated Blue Wave didn’t not occur, Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives. I give House Democrats a 95% chance to do something in one month (by the end of January 2019) that strengthens President Trump re-election – which I raise the chances of happening to 80%.

Gerrymandering is not new. Not only has it been around for a long time, both parties are guilty – even in recent times!

Important “-isms” are in the news: Anti-semitism, racism, Nazism, and others – let alone include other related terms as Islamophobia and homophobia. I want to toss in another one that would impact more than any of the above – partyism. After all, there is plenty of data showing pathetic candidates from each side getting sizeable number of votes.

Eight states still have straight ticket voting – the method allowing voters to cast votes for candidates in one party by making only one mark. Good news is that the number of states doing this pathetic practice is declining.

As an authentic independent who sneers at each party, I enjoyed this article about Congress by the Washington Post.

Last week I wrote these words, “Whereas the focus continues to be the last 14 words of the Second Amendment, I continue to say the key to the debate is the first 13 words. After all, those are the words not on the lobby wall at NRA headquarters.” This week brought us news of another mass shooting.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion discovered the latest “I Voted” stickers from Nevada. Are you willing to look here?

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man does incredibly well at slot machine demo embedded in ad
Girlfriend really has mind of her own today
Supposedly educated professor has no idea how to get bird out of lecture hall
Area man thankful to be single during Golden Age of Television
Slug just taking it easy today
Voter just needs to know which candidate chops wood in a flannel shirt
North Carolina voter in heavily gerrymandered district somehow voting for Montana Senate, Mayor Of Phoenix

Interesting Reads

Eastern and Western European differences
A large, unused airport
Analytics and health care
Butch Cassidy
The re-shaped Milky Way
(Photos) From the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest
(Photos) Beautifully designed spas

To send you into the weekend, here’s that I heard for the first time earlier this week. Enjoy Alex Murdoch with All My Days. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On She, and a Challenge

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She’s the one for the next dance.

She displays a slight smile as I approach.

She changes her face into a glow as I extend my hand.

She graciously engages my offered frame.

She transforms my leads into beautiful motions.

She glides the floor with grace and elegance.

She makes me feel like the king of the ballroom.

She smiles in appreciation as the music ends.

She is the one.


Note: This post serves as the basis for the She/He Challenge. Click the here or the Challenge Page/Tab below the header/banner for more information. FYI: Unrelated to this challenge, see the SPECIAL Page/Tab for an important announcement. 

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.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 351

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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”.

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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?