The Lighter Side of JzB

Here you will find photos, poetry, and possibly some light-hearted foolishness. For the Heavier Side
of JzB
see my other blog,
Retirement Blues. (There be dragons!)

I claim copyright and reserve all rights for my original material of every type and genre.


Every day visits*
From Moose, Goose, and Orb Weaver
All seized by Haiku


"Why moose and goose?" you may ask. Back on 2/04/13 Pirate wrote a haiku with an elk in it, and I responded with
one with a moose and then included him every day. A few days later in comments Mystic asked "Where's the goose?"
So I started including her with this post on 2/07. A week later on the 14th, Mark Readfern
asked for and received a spider. The rest is history.

*Well, most days, anyway. Grant me a bit of poetic license.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Just another Spider Tuesday in the Garden

It's an open forum on Tuesday, even if you don't get to it until Wednesday.

I have a lot of music events on the near horizon, including some challenging solos to master.  I guess I have a limited amount of creativity, since it seems to always be music or writing, not both.

Here's a haiku I wrote for Carpe Diem back in 2014.   There were strict requirements, as per classic haiku.  I've written a lot of bad ones, and even worse - haiku shaped word clusters, but this one came out well, I think.


on the silken strands
sad fly plays a minor chord
orb weaver's delight


It has 5-7-5 structure, a summer kigo, 1st-3rd line interchangeability, and phrase and fragment structure - an English language adaptation of the cutting word.  There might also be a deeper meaning, which I'll leave for you to ponder, if you so chose.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.  He will be spending the day with my kids and their kids.


L.A. Times Crossword Wednesday, November 22, 2017 Johanna Fenimore

Theme: WELL, THAT WAS UNPLEASANT!  The first word of the theme answers are adjectives describing things that might make you curl your lip, cover your eyes, plug your nose and leave in disgust.

18. Last one in, so they say : ROTTEN EGG.  Swimming pool/hole cry, and a nasty sulfurous odor.

29. Bad thing to end on : SOUR NOTE.  Indeed, the first rule of the musician's code is to always end on a good note.  A sour note in the middle of a tune might be forgotten, or better yet, not noticed. But at the end - it's a poor statement that might be remembered.  By analogy, can apply to any situation that ends badly.

34. Serious carelessness, in tort law : GROSS NEGLIGENCE.   Per Wikipedia, the "lack of slight diligence or care" or "a conscious, voluntary act or omission in reckless disregard of a legal duty and of the consequences to another party."  In a different, more vernacular, sense, something GROSS is disgusting.

43. Place at the very bottom : RANK LAST.  To have an unsuccessful competitive season or tournament.  Somebody has to end up there.  In a different sense, RANK describes an offensive odor.

55. Trait of one given to obscenities : FOUL MOUTH.  A person with a FOUL MOUTH utters what we used to call "bad words."  Odors and struck baseballs can also be FOUL.

And, tucked deep into the far corner [but I can still smell it]  the unifier:  67. Reaction to the starts of the five longest puzzle answers : YECCH.  A vocalized expression of disgust.

Hi Gang, JazzBumpa on duty.  Let's set the unpleasantness aside, and and seek the good stuff in this puzzle.  With 5 theme entries, including a grid-spanner, plus the unifier, it's thematically rich.

Down

1. Minty Derby drink : JULEP.   Now this more like it!  Bourbon, crushed ice, sugar and fresh mint, typically served in a tall frosty glass.  A Kentucky Derby tradition.



6. Shopping extravaganza : SPREE.  An event of self-indulgence, carousal, or extreme activity.

11. ABC show for early risers, briefly : Good Morning America.  A news and pop-culture program shown from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. in all time zones, live in the Eastern Zone and on broadcast delay in the others.

14. "Ditto," more formally : AS AM I.  Me too.

15. "Can't win 'em all" : I LOST. Somebody always goes home disappointed.  Wish it were the other guy.

16. Conniving "2001" computer : HAL.



17. Copperfield's field : MAGIC.  David Seth Kotkin [b 1956] aka David Copperfield is an American illusionist who has grossed [in yet another sense of the word] over $4 billion in ticket sales, more than any other solo entertainer in history.   He also owns 11 islands in the Bahamas, called Musha Bay, which he uses as a private resort.

20. Complain : KVETCH.  Something I assume Mr. Kotkin would have little cause to do.

22. __ extra cost : AT NO.  It's all included.

23. Banged shut : SLAMMED.  As a door, frex.

27. Cover the spread? : CATER.  My first reaction was - eh?  But a CATERER provides the victuals, aka "the spread," for an event.  Clever!

28. More unsure : WARIER.  More cautious, actually.  Is a person who is less unsure under wary?

32. Feels lousy : AILS.  Hurts or has a tummy ache.

33. Casual "You game?" : WANNA.  "Do you want to?" in short mouth.

41. Westminster landmark : ABBEY.  The Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster, opened in 1090 C. E.,  is a large, mostly gothic structure located in the City of Westminster, London.

42. Indifferent responses : MEHS.  I'm not impressed.

47. Letter-shaped shoe fastener : T-STRAP.  A description that fits to a T.





49. Tablet download : E-BOOK.  Electronic Book to be read on your portable device. I have sheet music on mine.

50. Becomes depleted : RUNS DRY.  Gets all used up.

51. "Tickle Me" toy : ELMO.  Fuzzy red muppet.

52. Tries one's hand (at) : HAS A GO.  This always reminds me of the scene in Raymond Carver's short story, "Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?" when Mitchell Anderson asks Marian, "Would you like to HAVE A GO at it?"  And she does.

57. Held the deed to : OWNED.

62. Dawn goddess : EOS.  The rosy-fingered goddess who opens the gates of heaven so that the sun may rise.

63. Naturally lit lobbies : ATRIA.  A large open air or sky light covered space surrounded by a building.

64. Connect with : TIE TO.  Make an association between

65. Apt. divisions : RMS. Rooms, with or without views.

66. Oyster bead : PEARL. A more or less spherical calcium carbonate object produced within the soft tissue of a mollusk.  They have long been prized as gem stones.


Down

1. Traffic snarl : JAM.  I deal with it several times a week.

2. Mex. neighbor : USA.  Los Estados Unidos de Mexico and the United States of America.

3. Fall behind : LAG.

4. Old U.K. record label : EMI.

5. Hand raiser's cry : PICK ME.  There's always that one kid in the back of the classroom  .  .  .

6. Fathered : SIRED.  Begat.

7. Devious scheme : PLOT.

8. Campus cadets' org. : ROTCReserve Officers' Training Corp.

9. Bk. before Job : ESTHer.

10. Summer on the Seine : ETE.  French

11. "In the __": Elvis hit : GHETTO.



12. Refrigerator art holder : MAGNET.  We currently have several photos in place.

13. Climate Reality Project chairman : AL GORE.  ]b 1948]  Former congressman, senator, vice president and presidential candidate.

19. Indian flatbread : NAAN. A leavened  oven-baked flat bread common in south and central Asia.

21. Bible transl., e.g. : VERsion.   Who knew there were so many?

23. Party loot : SWAG.  Things given away as gifts, usually for promotional purposes.

24. Den : LAIR.  Where the Lions live.  They'll need to be better than they have been against the Vikings tomorrow, and I'm not a liar.

25. Guthrie of folk : ARLO.  Who provided us with another Thanksgiving Day tradition.  [Warning: it's a little over 18 minutes.]



26. __ Piggy : MISS.  And her handsome beau, Kermit.  It's a match made in a bog.  Or maybe a sty.



27. Rock climber's handhold : CRAG.   In rock climber's lingo, a crag is any climbable cliff.  But I think the intended meaning here is an outcropping that can be grasped.

29. "Full House" actor : SAGET. Bob [b 1956] as Danny Tanner from 1987-95.  He's also done several other TV and movie projects.

30. Like a child without siblings : ONLY.  I was one for 6 1/2 years.  It's almost like my parents raised to ONLIES.

31. Start of a cycle? : UNI-.  Half a bicycle.  I'm not fond of cutsie affix clues.

33. Woven traps : WEBS.    The work of spiders.  Here is one of my better haiku.

on the silken strands
sad fly plays a minor chord
 orb weaver's delight

35. Polio vaccine pioneer : SALK.  Jonas [1914-1995]

36. Kevin Durant's org. : National Basketball Association.

37. CPR specialists : Emergency Medical TechnicianS.

38. Geek : NERD.  Call him/her for your computer or cell phone issues.

39. Sear : CHAR.  Burn or blacken the surface of something.

40. Award for athletes : ESPY.  Granted by sports TV network ESPN.

43. Sailor's jacket : REEFER.  A thick, close-fitting, double breasted coat.  I believe this word might also have another meaning.

44. Flowering : ABLOOM.  Buds are busting out all over.

45. Half a rhyming "easy to do" phrase : NO MUSS.  No fuss, no bother.

46. Menthol cigarette brand : KOOL.  First introduced in 1933.

47. Harbor helper : TUG.  A boat that moves other larger boats by pushing or towing them in hard to maneuver places.

48. Highfalutin : SNOOTY.  Elitist.

50. 1986 Indy 500 winner Bobby : RAHAL. [b 1953]  Winner of 3 championships and 24 races in the CART open-wheel series.

52. Table d'__: fixed menu : HOTE.  Meal with a fixed price and few options.  You get what you get.

53. Mystical glow : AURA. A supposed emanation surrounding living creatures, allegedly discernible by certain adept individuals.

54. Cookbook verb : STIR.  What ya got cookin'?

56. "The Amazing Race" prop : MAP.  To determine the next leg of the adventure.

Hope you enjoyed this adventure, and escaped with your senses and sensibilities unscathed.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.  We'll have 10 family members joining us to celebrate.



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tuesday Gardening

Tuesdays are wide open in the garden.  Here is another demented sonnet from archives.

The captured maiden, monster, rescuing hero trope is as old as story telling.  One common variation derived from European folk-lore has a princess and a dragon in the starring roles.  This has become a fantasy cliche over the last few decades, eventually leading to creative alternate approaches, such as in the movie SHREK.  I've written a couple of stories that play with the idea, and this poem, which I think takes an original approach.  I hope you enjoy it.

Also, this trope plays into male-dominance, and its a short step from there to the abuse and pedophilia that is so prominent in the news these days.   It's all about power in relationships, and power corrupts.

Afterthought - I didn't watch the music vid at the Garden post until just now, so the idea of using a dragon is completely coincidental, and resonates in a rather weird way.



    IN PRAYER SHE CONTEMPLATES

Far from her home, sequestered in a cave
In dampness, gloom and foul lizard's filth
With golden chains that mock a kingdom's wealth,
She waits the coming of the knight or knave --

The fool who'd face the flame and fang to save 
A royal maiden from this monstrous death.
The fool arrives.  To scale and scalding breath
He shouts his dare.  Could one so wild and brave

Be any but a lout?  No doubt he'd clench
A princess as he would some low-born wench. 
Is lance of knight or fang of worm to be
The one to test her vain virginity?

Reposed in prayer she contemplates her sins,
Then spies her knight, and prays the dragon wins.


~~::~~::~~

Friday, November 10, 2017

It's All Relative In The Garden

Isadora asks us to,"Write about a relative's encounter with a famous person. That's all. The encounter doesn't have to have actually happened. And the famous person does not need to be living or even from the same era."

Well, if the famous person can be fictional, then why not the relative? And if not the same era, then why not a different planet?  Full disclosure: I do not have a cousin named Amoretta. Her name and a draft of the first two couplets popped into my head from who-knows-where. I wrote them before I went to bed, then composed the rest on my pillow [instead of sleeping] and set it all down this morning. Can't tell you when the last time was I wrote anything rhyming and metric, so this was a fun challenge.


                                  SNOW FALL

My cousin Amoretta was a drudge at Winterfell;
For a simple low-born lass she was doing well.

Robb Stark never noticed her, though she tried to flirt;
He was destined for a high-born girl whose skirts weren’t fringed with dirt.

So she set her mind and heart on father Ned’s by-blow:
A sullen and impulsive lad whose bastard name was Snow.

This Jon Snow had a weakness for girls with hair of red,
So red-haired Amoretta sought to lure him to her bed.

But their tryst was interrupted when he answered duty’s call
And road off to the North to join the Watchers on the Wall.

Then she was left alone again, bereft of love and joy
Until she caught the eye and heart of the burly black smith boy.

Soon they were wed and she decided he must never know
That in their closest moments she was dreaming of Jon Snow.


~~::~::~~


Monday, November 6, 2017

L. A. Times Crosword -- Wednesday, November 8, 2017 C. C. Burnikel

Theme - CONVERSATIONS of a sort. The circled letters that book-end the theme answers to the asterisked clues are all synonyms for TALK.  Hence today's theme song.




Let's check them out.

16 A. *Golfer's guide for measuring distances : YARDAGE BOOK.  I'm not familiar with this term, but it's clearly a record of tee to green distances.  To YAK is to overdue the talking.

28 A. *Philatelist's find : RARE STAMP.  A philatelist is a stamp collector.  A rare one can be worth a fortune.  About 50 years ago the word RAP meant to have a casual conversation, perhaps involving some vocabulary lubricating substances.  Now it indicates a music genre in which rapidly and rhythmically delivered words are presented over some sort of music background.

44 A. *Hybrid retriever : GOLDEN LAB.  Labrador retrievers are hunting and working dogs that make good pets.  They come in black, brown and various shades of yellow.  In a quick search I couldn't come up with anything about hybrids.  There is a mixed breed dog called a Goldador, which is a cross between a Lab and a Golden Retriever. It's a smart and easy going type of dog, but I don't think it is quite the same thing as a Golden Lab, which looks to be a naturally occurring variant.   To GAB is to talk overlong about trivial matters, or engage in idle chatter.

61 A. *Winter warming spell : JANUARY THAW.  The calm between the winter storms.  To JAW is pretty much the same as to YAK or GAB.  The English language is rich in unnecessary synonyms.

Usually it can be hard to grasp this type of theme if your puzzle source doesn't include the circles.  But today's unifier, tucked into the southeast quadrant, is helpful in figuring it out.

38 D. Popular mobile app ... and, as shown by circles, what the inner parts of the answers to starred clues do : SNAPCHAT.    This is an app for sharing pictures and messages.  Unlike on other social media platforms, SNAPCHAT items automatically are deleted after some time.  The sense of the clue is that the interior letters have been snapped and trapped, alligator style, leaving the circled letters as a free-standing word.

Hi Gang, JzB here to start the conversation.  Now - who would come up with such a snappy theme idea?  Why, it is our own C. C.!  With split-word themes I always look for symmetry or balance. Here, the first two entries split after the first letter of the 3-letter target word; and in the last two, it's after the second letter - a nice, elegant touch. Let's SNAP our way through the rest of the puzzle and CHAT about it in comments.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Cold Flash in the Garden


I immediately thought of the song displayed below, and that guided my entry.

I really couldn't go anywhere else.




in pale perfection
she lies supine on a plinth
we are both breathless


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Carpe Diem #1297 White Hand of Moses

At this stage of my life I am starting to see my grandchildren emerge as adults.  My parents are both gone, and many people of my generation leave this earth every day.  Thus has it ever been.

Kristjaan shares with us the 4th quatrain from the Rubaiyat - a difficult verse with esoteric imagery.

Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the WHITE HAND OF MOSES on the Bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.

© Omar Khayyam (Tr. FitzGerald)

See his post for an excellent analysis and explanation.


My inspiration

after the solstice
new life rises from humus
the cycle of life

~~::~~

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Carpe Diem #1296 Dawn's Left Hand

Kristjaan gives us this -- [for background, see the link]

Today's episode I have titled "dawn's left hand" and it's extracted from the 2nd quatrain of "The Rubaiyat". Let me first give you the 'original' quatrain in the first translation by Edward FitzGerald:

Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
I heard a Voice within the Tavern cry,
"Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry."

© Omar Khayyam (Tr. FitzGerald)

In a later translation of "The Rubaiyat" this verse was translated in another way, more accesible for the reader:

Before the phantom of False morning died, 
Methought a Voice within the Tavern cried, 
"When all the Temple is prepared within, 
"Why nods the drowsy Worshiper outside?"


Inspired by this quatrain, a few thoughts:

~:~

left hand of darkness
or perhaps left hand of light
which way shall i turn

~~::~~

tricksy by false dawn
i surged forth to fill her cup
before she cried out

~~::~~

early morning light
creeps through our bedroom window
witness to our joy

~~::~~

wine in the morning
drunk by a sliver of light
now on to fasting

~~::~~

indifferent to light
orb weaver spins her lace web
in empty wine cup

~~::~~

what is the false dawn
to the devout moose and goose
in the dark forest

~~::~~::~~

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Autumn in the Garden

Magaly's invitation to the danse -- "Share any poem you like. Any form. Old or new. We’ll delight in it. If there is a hint of Autumn or October in its lines, I’ll probably dance with it. Fine, I will kiss it on the mouth."

So - another from deep in the archives - a demented sonnet offered here in honor of halloween, with mouth and tongue all moist and eager.  [Beware the teeth and claws.]


                      CELIBATE FATE

For four more weeks she keeps her innocence --
Mere carnal yearning since she was beguiled
Into wedlock with Selene's child
And his twenty-seven days of impotence.

The moon's once-in-a-cycle minstrel song
Called him out to last night's bloody rending,
Announced his victim's grim and grisly ending,
Siren to his lunatic Wulfsarkergang.

A shimmering crystal moonbeam, cold and clear,
Illuminates what never was but always were.
Its gray light casts the sacrifice's setting,
But her blood never flows at his blood-letting.

Her celibate fate follows Nature's whim:
The moon, not she, brings out the beast in him.

                                 ~~::~~

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Better House and Garden



butterfly cocoon
changing for the better
in a house of silk

~~::~~

a home is not made 
of boards and bricks and mortar
it is built from love

~~::~~