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Snazzy

May 16, 2022

Snazzy is a fun word and it just happens to be the word of the day at the Ragtag Daily Prompt.

I’m not a snazzy dresser and I don’t drive a snazzy car. In fact, there’s really nothing snazzy about me. I am, in a word, plain.

Or in two words: quite plain.

Or in two different words: borderline dull.

snazzy
adjective, snaz·zi·er, snaz·zi·est.
1. extremely attractive or stylish; flashy; fancy:
a snazzy dresser.
2. Pretty much the exact opposite of that Michaelsfishbowl guy.

Some time back I found this app that lets you take your photos, or isolate sections of your photos, and edit them into really cool designs and shapes. I like playing with it more than any game I’ve found and I believe that the possibilities are truly endless. One could, if one were in a mood, describe the images they end up with as snazzy.

Here are just a few that may be snazzyish.

Spotlight (21)

May 14, 2022

The weekend is a good time for a Weekend Writing Prompt.

Spotlight (21)

Be the spotlight: shine.
That’s what she said.
This is supposed to help?
If you let it.
I don’t want to.

###

Goal for today: try and dance like Arthur Conley.

Thanks to you

May 11, 2022

Over at the Ragtag Daily Prompt the word of the day is CREATIVITY.

The best part of blogging for me is the people who make up the blogging community. Not the bloggers who are doing it for business, but the people who are in it for fun: the hobbyists, the people looking to connect with others, to dialogue, to build community.

To all of you writers and poets and photographers and memoirists, and to those of you who provide us with daily or weekly prompts to help prime our creativity, thank you for sharing your talent and your life with me every day.

In your face (2)

May 8, 2022

Over at the Ragtag Daily Prompt the word of the day is FACES.

Some faces just don’t want to be seen.

Some faces look at your face in a manner that would suggest anger while wondering why your face is looking at their face.

Merriam Webster defines pareidolia as the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.

Like animals or ice cream castles in clouds or faces in things. I love pareidolia because I see faces in all sorts of things and it’s a lot of fun finding them and taking pictures of them. I have hundreds of pictures of faces I’ve seen in random things and here are a few of them below. I also blogged about pareidolia once some years ago and that’s here.

A pot of spaghetti.

The rubber base of a security fence.

Canned meat.

A desk stapler.

“I know faces, because I look through the fabric my own eye weaves, and behold the reality beneath.” – Kahlil Gibran, Faces

Bridges everywhere

May 7, 2022

Over at the Ragtag Daily Prompt the word of the day is BRIDGE.

A ‘skyway’ is an elevated footbridge connecting two buildings. Downtown Minneapolis is a city of skyways, and within those skyways lie another – elevtated – city.

From the Minneapolis website: “The Minneapolis Skyway System is the largest contiguous system of enclosed, second-level bridges in the world—composed of 9.5 miles of pathways connecting 80 city blocks. The Minneapolis skyway system connects corporate offices, bars, restaurants, bakeries, hotels, government services, retail, gyms, grocery stores, liquor stores, banks, doctors, dentists, masseurs, pharmacies, hair and nail salons, dry cleaners, live theaters, three pro sports facilities, a church, art exhibits, and… well, you get the idea.”

They forgot to mention a stripper bar.

If you like maps, you can see a map of the skyway system here.

So, why this is even remotely interesting is because the picture below was taken from one of the skyways. If you looked at the map, it’s the skyway that runs between 4th and 5th Avenue South and 6th and 7th Street South. The picture is showing you the historic Minneapolis Armory (which has been remodeled into a concert and event venue where a bunch of bands I’ve never heard of play) with the Viking’s stadium in the background. The tall building is just that. That building has 12 stories and even though you’re only seeing nine, I can vouch for the existence of the other three. You see all those cars and trucks parked on the street in front of the Armory? The shaky red arrow on the left is pointing to exactly where I was parked on the day my sweet Cavalier was hit. An event I wrote about yesterday. And it’s not too late to read it if you want! 🙂

If you like The Replacements, they wrote a song about the Minneapolis skyways.

Go back? (48)

May 7, 2022

Saturday means it’s time for Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt

Would I go back?

Boom handles wedged into the bed frame. A length of rope and two blankets: we had our tent. Flashlights flickered an impromptu campfire. We huddled inside, eyes wide reading House of Mystery. Fighting alongside Sgt. Rock. Flying with Superman.

Go back? I’m already there.

###

“Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories” – Steven Wright

PMS 2728*

May 6, 2022

Over at the Ragtag Daily Prompt the word of the day is COBALT

I used to drive a 1997 tan, excuse me, I take that back – Sandrift – Chevy Cavalier. It was the first brand new car I bought, and it was a good car and I liked it a lot. Not enough to give it a name like a lot of people do, but enough to keep it clean and in good shape.

In March of 2009 I was parked on a street in downtown Minneapolis and while I was away someone slid on the icy street while making a right turn and drove right into the passenger door of my unnamed Cavalier.

Kaboom.

The someone turned out to be nice because she left a note under my windshield wiper apologizing for hitting my car and she left her name and phone number and insurance company. And then she wrote “I’m so sorry” in big letters at the bottom of the note.

I could still drive the car, but neither of the two passenger side doors worked and there was a gap where the front door no longer fit the frame which let in an awful draft. The insurance company totaled the car so that wasn’t such a bad thing for me.

Since I liked the Cavalier (although I suppose one could argue just how much someone could like a car if someone didn’t even take the time to name their car), and was, at the time, of the belief that change is best avoided whenever possible, I went back to the Chevy dealer to get another Cavalier and guess what? I learned that Chevrolet had discontinued the Cavalier and replaced it with the Cobalt.

Oof..

Cobalt? Immediate thought: it makes me think of James Coburn, star of the Flint movies and The Great Escape. (He can be seen at the beginning of this trailer riding a bicycle as well as later on when the cast is introduced)

“It’s really the same car,” the salesman said.

Then why does it have a different name, I didn’t say.

I bought a tan, excuse me, I take that back – Desert Sand Mica – Toyota Corolla instead. Very similar in color (change avoidance, remember?) to my unnamed Cavalier. My little Corolla is 13 years old now and showing signs of wear and tear. I just had it in for an oil change and I mentioned that to the service advisor who assured me that at 147,000 miles the car was “just a baby”. It was comforting to hear that, but then I figured the dealership makes a lot of money on servicing vehicles, and his job pretty much depends on servicing vehicles, so I decided he says that to all the cars and I went back to feeling sad for my little car that’s getting older.

* PMS 2728 = Pantone Measuring System. PMS is a universal color matching system in printing. So if you have printer ‘A’ print something for you using a specific PMS color and printer ‘B’ print the same thing for you using the same PMS color, they should look exactly the same (paper notwithstanding). The number 2728 is the PMS color for cobalt blue.

Follow me

May 5, 2022

From Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch is this week’s story challenge.

May 2, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about extraction. What is being extracted and from where? Is it an idea? How does genre change the perspective (sci-fi versus romance)? Go where the prompt leads!

Follow me

The day was sunny and warm. The sky was as clear and blue as Cindy’s eyes, and if a fellow wasn’t careful, he could get lost in both.

“C’mon,” Cindy said. “Take off your shoes and follow me.”

“Where to?”

“Never mind, just c’mon.”

“I’m not sure—”

“Oh, stop. You’re stodgy. Just do it.”

I did it, but not for long.

~~~

The worst part was when the emergency room doctor pulled the rusty Coke pull tab out of my foot and stitched it up.

The best part came later than night as Cindy proved to be an excellent nurse.

###

Today I learned

May 2, 2022

Today I learned (courtesy of Wikipedia and other online sources) that East Timor is an island country that comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor. The island of Timor is located just north of Australia. The island of Timor has a bloody history of occupation, first by Portugal and then Indonesia. Thanks to help from the United Nations, Timor – now called Timor-Leste (Leste is Portuguese for “east”) – became a sovereign state in May 2002, at which time it joined the United Nations.

The capital of Timor is Dili.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but a man from Dili who is courteous and who has good manners could be called a diligent.

Would it be coincidence that today’s word prompt at Your Daily Word Prompt is DILIGENT? Or could it be something… more?

Sometimes I walk

May 2, 2022

Over at the Ragtag Daily Prompt the word of the day is STUMP.

Sometimes I walk a path that takes me past this stump. This isn’t a creek or stream or pond, it’s like a swampy place where rainwater drains. I know that because there’s a metal culvert about 30 yards away and because the water is stagnant and it’s only wet like this in the spring.

Pretty soon we’ll have a week of sunny skies, and the trees and bushes will leaf out and the water will dry up and the stump will be surrounded by a lot of mud, and then just plain dirt. Goofy squirrels will bury nuts they’ll never find again in the dirt that might someday turn into a new tree.

About a year ago I started to write a story about this stump, but I never finished it.

Concrete

May 1, 2022

Over at the Ragtag Daily Prompt the word of the day is CONCRETE.

After graduating high school I wanted to learn a skill/trade that I thought would pay me a lot of money. Someone recommended masonry school so I enrolled and learned about concrete. It was really hard.

So, yeah, I eventually dropped out. But before I did, I learned that if you’re building sidewalks you want to make sure there are no ducks nearby because you don’t want any quacks in the cement.

Sorry.

Take a few minutes and say adios to all this concrete.

ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94RVX7pLF_A

Ok, so you wake up and find yourself in a cement-encased room with a wooden table and a handsaw. How do you get out of the room? You cut the table in half because everyone knows that two halves make a hole.

Time to get dressed

May 1, 2022

At Song Lyric Sunday, the theme Jim shares with us this week, as suggested by Paula Light, is songs that mention Suit, Pants, Dress, Shirt.

My song is Loose Ends by the British rock band Foghat. Or, I suppose since the band goes back to the early 70’s, I should refer to them as the “classic” rock band Foghat. Foghat formed in the early 70’s and put out album after album of blues, boogie, and rock and roll that was like candy to my young ears. This was also a time when album art was something important and their second album is still one of my favorite covers. It had the band’s name in small type way up in the top right corner and taking up the bottom third of the cover was a picture of a rock and a roll side by side.

Loose Ends is a song on the band’s 1980 album, Tight Shoes, and the singer is a hapless fellow who tells us he’s working on, or dreaming of(?), tying up those few loose ends in his life so he can get that woman to love him. One of those loose ends just happens to be owning a suit with sleeves that are too long – although a perfect fit if he had arms like King Kong. Another loose end is the lack of a car with a good 8-track stereo. I’m guessing the humor and significance of that particular loose end is lost on anyone who didn’t drive a car way back when that didn’t have an 8-track stereo.

Even though the song has a disco-y, new wavey, dance club beat introduction and fill, it rolls and rocks with that driving Foghat sound. The only thing missing are the extended guitar solos by the bands two guitar players: “Lonesome” Dave Peverett and Rod “The Magician of Slide” Price. We can thank the classic rock radio format for that.

The band went through numerous line-up changes over the years, and this was the last album to include the band’s original lead guitar player, and slide guitar virtuoso, Rodd Price, until their reunion about a decade later. With the exception of drummer Roger Earl, all of the original members are now gone. But Earl is still on the road with new players keeping Foghat’s slow ride going.

Luminous (30)

May 1, 2022

Saturday means it’s time for Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt

The girl from the south.
In the midnight dark of sleep,
she glows.
A luminous soul,
softening even the hardest
and most cynical heart.
How was there ever any doubt?

###

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius 

Cleared for takeoff

April 30, 2022

From Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch is this week’s story challenge.

April 25, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “up and away.” You can imagine a story from the photo of hot air balloons, a flying superhero, a natural wonder, or any other direction your inspiration goes. Go where the prompt leads!

Cleared for takeoff

This wasn’t his first mission, but that didn’t calm the butterflies. Each launch carried its own dangers, and as an experienced astronaut he knew the risks.

Major David planned on a safe voyage and landing, but was prepared should he find himself on an ice planet like Zeistorun, or worse, a prison planet like BL7130.

He took a deep breath when the countdown reached 10 seconds.

3… 2… 1…

“Up and away!” He jumped and landed with a thud on the wood floor.

“DAVEY!” came the call from Mission Control. “Are you jumping off your bed again?”

“Sorry, mom.”

###

Isn’t that the way

April 26, 2022

Over at the Ragtag Daily Prompt the word for today is MELODRAMA

(I tagged this as poetry/poem but I’m not really sure that it is)

We started out romantic.
We soon turned melodramatic.
We tried to remain pragmatic but lost all sense of ourselves.

We both made our tearful cases.
We both covered all the bases.
We both let love trace its way out of our hearts and from our lives.

Our goodbyes were so very unkind.
Our emotions packed tight and primed.
Our hearts we left behind and went in search of something better.

I saw her once years after.
We shared some smiles and laughter
I felt a shaft or spear of hot sorrow cross my heart.

Life’s decisions are innumerous.
Struggling with uncertainty
we do the best we can
making plans while gods laugh
at our bargains and promises.
With luck we adapt and survive.
###

Fading into Bolivian

April 25, 2022

Over at the Ragtag Daily Prompt the word for today is MUSTARD

A good chunk of my sense of humor is made up of malapropisms and puns and was formed and fueled from watching television as a kid. Malapropisms and puns from Slip Mahoney, Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers and cartoons like Rocky and Bullwinkel. And I suppose I should toss in cheesy rhymes thanks to Underdog.

So, when I was younger, so much younger than today, I had a friend named Howard and Howard and I had a lot of jokes like kids do (Hey, wanna hear a dirty joke? Ok. Two pigs fell in the mud!) and one of them was whenever we heard the word mustard, we would reply to whoever was within earshot, “Mustard, but I’m constipated.”

<Insert laughter here>

After a loss to champion Lennox Lewis on June 8, 2002, a beaten and swollen-faced Mike Tyson was asked by a reporter where he would go from here. “I don’t know, man. I might just fade into Bolivian.”

And if it matters, in the mustard vs. ketchup on a hotdog debate, I come down on the ketchup side.

Nobody, I mean nobody, puts ketchup on a hotdog.” Dirty Harry Callahan.

And it’s always Heinz.

Provocative (62)

April 24, 2022

Welcome to the Weekend Writing Prompt #256.

Provocative

I’m not much for politics. Seems like a lot of yelling, and maybe I’m wrong, but I sense the yellers are more interested in their welfare than the nation’s.

I’m not saying I’m unaware. I keep up with the issues and can say without doubt that I’m very
pro vocative. People should be free to do whatever they want with their vocatives.

Blow your horn

April 24, 2022

Over at the Ragtag Daily Prompt the word for today is HORN.

The word “horn” to me is synonymous with “trumpet”. You’ve likely heard of Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis. If you’re into jazz then you may have also heard of Chet Baker, Harry James, Dizzy Gillespie and Cat Anderson. One trumpet player you may not have heard of is Donald Byrd. I hadn’t heard of him until he released the single Walking in Rhythm in 1975 with a group he formed with student musicians at Howard University. I was living in Florida at the time and whenever I hear the song now I get a sweet Florida flashback. This song is still on my playlist today. Not because of a trumpet solo, because there isn’t one in the song, but because the groove is so cool. Here it is, go ahead and hum to the music.

Maynard Ferguson and Bill Chase. These two guys were like gods when I was young and playing the trumpet. They were our Michael Jordan or Serena Williams. They were who you pretended to be when school was done and you sent home to practice. I saw Maynard live once and I imagine I felt the same way a Bobby Soxer felt when seeing Frank Sinatra, or fans of Elvis or The Beatles felt when seeing them perform live.

Here’s Maynard driving his band through a cover of MacArthur Park.

And here’s Chase. I save him for last because despite how much I liked Maynard, I was really into Chase’s jazz/rock fusion more and his music did a lot to shape my musical interests to this day. In the Open up Wide video Bill Chase is the guy in the orange pants and chartreuse shirt and groovy sideburns playing all the solos. He’s more relaxed in the tan turtleneck in the Woman of the Night video, but he’s still playing the solos. Chase, along with the pilot, co-pilot and three band members died in a plane crash in 1974 on his way to a concert in southern Minnesota. Tribute bands celebrate the life and music of Chase today.

The day (Terrible Poetry Contest)

April 24, 2022

It’s the biweekly Terrible Poetry Contest hosted by Chel Owens. Frank won the last round and has the honor of picking this week’s prompt. This week we’ll write as follows: “I would recommend the type of poem being at least one stanza of four lines of common meter. That would be something like “Mary Had A Little Lamb” but there are many variations of the rhyme and meter that would be recognized as common meter. The theme would be to parody some nursery rhyme or start from scratch and write an entirely new one.

+~<>~+-+~<>~+-+~<>~+-+~<>~+-+~<>~+-+~<>~+-+~<>~+-+~<>~+-

The day is bright as cooked brown rice,
the winds as calm as tea.
The birds alight on edelweiss
and
because I haven’t eaten in some time
well, wouldn’t you know,
I’m as hungry as could be.

I ate my rice with ketchup.
I ate my rice with beans.
I ate my rice while looking at a map of Manila,
the capital of the Philippines.

I’ve never been to the Philippines,
I’ve never been to Indonesia.
But wait! I could have been, and I don’t know,
because I could have, ‘ya know, amnesia.

My kitty lies over my other kitty,
He does it for all of us to see
My kitty just got off my other kitty.
I hope they don’t have a baby.

###

Always the same

April 23, 2022

From Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch is this week’s story challenge.

April 18, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about never ending. You can hyphenate never-ending or write an example of a story that never ends. What is endless and why? Go where the prompt leads!

Always the same

You sit in your car trying to calm your pounding heart. You watch people walking in. You take a breath, pause, release slowly. Over and over.

Your body doesn’t listen. BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM.

You reassure yourself. Relax, you say, you’re ok. it’s just—

But it doesn’t matter what “it’s just” because it’s always the same. It’s whatever today is and it doesn’t matter.

Breath, pause, release slowly. BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM.

You start the car, pull out of the spot. BOOMBOOM

BOOM

Boom

boom.

Quiet.

You drive slow. You’re going home. You tell yourself it’s ok. You tell yourself you’ll try next time. Again.

###

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