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.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Flash Fiction Exercise -- Uncle Albert's Desk

For good or for ill, I've discovered a new flash fiction meme - or at least an exercise, since this might be a one-off.   Following Lillie's FSF links, I visited Laura McHale Holland, and found her flash fiction challenge.  She writes an opening sentence, and this is the prompt for a fiction element of 500 words or less.  My initial reaction to the prompt was that there wasn't much I could do with it, but then something creative kicked in and I'm very pleased with the result -- most especially so, since it illuminates a bit of Marci's back-story that I was totally unaware of.  I love it when things like that happen.  In this vignette, Marci is a recent college graduate, ready to set the course for her life.

Here it is in 347 words.


She knew right away the stamps were no good — no good for mailing anyway.  They were, if anything, Marci thought, even stranger than the other weird artifacts in the oversized roll-top desk that crazy old great-uncle Albert had bequeathed to her.  He had disposed of most of the detritus of his picaresque life before his final illness laid him low.  But either he never got around to the contents of this desk, or they were things he simply couldn’t bear to part with. 

There was the quill he used as a writing pen, that he claimed was a hippogriff feather, and a vicious-looking, foot-long bony spike he said was a manticore's sting.  Marci unrolled the tattered scrap of what looked like starched silk, but felt like a rubbery membrane.  Uncle Albert claimed it was a torn remnant of a fairie's wing. The only time Marci had ever seen him break down in tears was when he told her that story.

With a sigh, she rerolled what was left of the wing and returned to the strip of stamps.  Each was the size of a playing card, and as she touched each one, its picture seemed to come to life for a brief instant.  The sad-eyed fairy fluttered her wings and hid her face in her hands.  The threatening-looking unicorn aggressively stomped a fore-hoof.  The lascivious faun satyr, strutting in full tumescence, winked and thrust himself at her.

Suddenly aroused, Marci shuddered and, blushing, put the stamps away and closed the desk.  Here in uncle Albert's study was not the place to explore those kinds of ideas.  Before Rob moved off to Lansing, she'd have him and his friends move the desk to her apartment.

There she could explore the many oddities of this old desk, and ponder the things she found there at her leisure.  Most specially those stamps.  Maybe that shy fairy had a sad tale to share.  Maybe the faun satyr could teach her about pleasure in ways she hadn't yet imagined.  And maybe that unicorn could transport her to adventures in a strange new world.

 ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Reduced to a haiku

Desk full of relics:
Dust of a life, portal to
Some strange adventure

Marci's thread

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction - Joy

Lillie McFerrin

This is the Joyous moment I've been waiting for.   Continuing from here.

THE JOY OF  .  .  .

Gil empties his wine glass of the last joyous ruby sip, then reaches past Marci to place it on the counter.

Then he puts his other hand on the counter, enclosing her in his arms.

She puts her arms around his neck.

He slips his hands under her blouse; gripping her slim, taut waist.

Her smile is knowing as she takes his hand and leads him toward her bedroom, pausing to whisper in his ear, "Just as I remembered - not so unpredictable, after all."

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Reduced to a haiku

Alex Comfort laid
It all out for us in his
Book, "The Joy Of Sex"

12/06 Update: Inspired by Laura McHale Holland's entry.

From somewhere without
Or better still, within — joy
Is where you find it.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 
UPDATE:  Next installment is available here.

Gil's thread

Marci's thread

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Triple Visual Dare Number 4 Plus SHW

Angela threw down the gauntlet this time and, mixing metaphors, sought to snare us with a tricky collection of presumably intractable photos.  But I was up well past midnight blogging the Crossword puzzle, and in the wee hours my addled brain takes off in even weirder flights of fancy.  This time it's 92 words.


Though he promised, "Nevermore!"
That damned raven's at my door.

So quickly, now, my little men
Before he flies away again,

Bring to me my sharpened snips
To give his wings some grounding clips.

But with his feathers ebon dark
There's no use for a pencil mark.

Imagine how he’ll raving sing
When I bob his raven wing.

Then when he can no more fly
I will bake him in a pie.

And when his evil, awful caws
No longer echo in my halls --
I'll resume my favorite pass time:
Sniffing walls.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Reduced for Sensational Haiku Wednesday


Again the Raven comes
Spoiling my tranquility.
This time I'm ready!

Join the fun!

L A Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, November 28, 2012  Doug Peterson

Cross posted at The Corner

Theme: RESIDENT EVIL.  Today, Doug gives us a hidden word theme, with EVIL tucked into 4 starred entries, and plainly identified in the unifier.  I try to avoid solving the unifier too soon, so as to not spoil the gimmick, so for this kind of give-away unifier, it's good to place it close to the end.  Let's see where EVIL lurks (other than in the minds and hearts of men.)  With 4 answers, one of them grid-spanning, there is lots of opportunity.

20. *Darth Vader, e.g. : MOVIE VILLAIN.   Well, this is just about perfect.  A major nasty from a block-buster epic series.

Not a good drinking partner, no matter what the drink

28. *City near Sacramento : ROSEVILLE.   I don't know anything abut the placethough we also have one here in MI.  Maybe the CA coven can fill us in. 

Something EVIL might be happening there - if you're a crustacean.

38. *Weekly newspaper with three Pulitzers : THE VILLAGE VOICE.  The definitive source of information for news, music, movies, restaurants, reviews, and events in New Yorksuch is their claim.

Beware of EVIL content

46. *Bottom-feeding fish : DEVIL RAYS.  Also an American League baseball team since 1998.

 They only look EVIL

And the unifier -- 53. Horror video game/film franchise, and a literal feature of the answers to the starred clues : RESIDENT EVIL.  This is a series of video games and movies in the horror genre about which I know next to nothing.  But I was able to find this picture.

Alice has some big guns, but is not that EVIL looking

Hi gang.  JazzBumpa here.  This is a strong theme, and a good one if you don't give in to it.  Let's see what else is lurking in this puzzle - if you dare join me.  I'm taking amulets, a light saber, and a lobster cracker, just in case.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction - FEAST

Lillie McFerrin

This scene was vaguely taking form, but this week's prompt helped to put some flesh on the bones.   This developing story involves four characters, but so far never more than two at a time.  Each character's thread can be accessed from the links in the right hand frame.

Somehow, I almost missed the prompt, and thought we were skipping a week.  I hadn't known of Lillie's illness, and wondered what was going on.  I wish her the best, and am very thankful for the inspiration she provides.


For her 32nd birthday Rob treated Marci to a special dinner at the fanciest restaurant in town.

He wasn't always around, but when he was he always made it special.

And when he wasn't, Gil would sometimes fill in for him, and that - in its own way - was special, too.

But neither of them knew - in fact nobody on this earth knew - that Marci was worth close to 5 million, that she was a mother, and - though this was only her 32nd birthday - that the total chronology of her life spanned almost 36 years.

Marci knew from Rob's reaction to her painting that he had also had some other-wordly experience; and as she gazed at him over her grilled salmon and the iced bottle of Chardonnay, she wondered if maybe - just maybe - he could be the one she would share these secrets with.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

Reduced to a haiku

The birthday lady
And her escort, both with dark
Secrets - can they share?

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

UpdatePhil Hall's entry reminded me of a demented sonnet I wrote a few years back.  It doesn't relate to the Marci story, but it can be construed to relate to the theme.  plus, if I counted correctly, it contains exactly five sentences.


Her throat, no longer perfect, but still white,
Invokes the crimson from the sunset glow,
As she awaits the dark - to taste, to know
Carnality incarnate in the night.

       The sun's suffusion stains her skin to pink
       With its last russet bloom, as if she were
       A blushing maiden, innocent and pure,
       On satin sheets where white and scarlet link.

What has her throat to do with being white?
Like thorn and petals torn they two entwine,
But not as lovers do -- instead, to dine
In sweet engagement of an ancient rite.

Her white throat is a passionate pretense
That now, twice pierced, belies her innocence.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Marci's Thread

Monday, November 26, 2012

Triple Visual Dare No. 3

I'm a bit late to this one, due to the Thanksgiving holiday and lots of wonderful family activities.

This entry is another stand-alone, and on the surreal side - again at exactly 100 words.

The photo prompts:


You wake alone. 

Where is the mysterious woman who had lured you into her house and pleasure bed?

After you dress, the strange little girl appears there.

"Look in the garden," she says.

Yes. There she is – still beautiful, but not in the flesh – in cold, hard stone.

“No.  There.”  The strange girl points to the fountain.

A sunbeam strikes the cascade, and in the rainbow, her lovely face.

From the mist she beckons to you with her arms, eyes, lips,   .  .  .

“Yes!” the strange girl encourages you.

You remove your clothes and step through the watery curtain.

 ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

I wrote this in present tense to heighten the sense of weirdness, then at the last minute decided to oonch it up another notch by changing the PoV from first person to second. Good idea? Bad? What do you think?

 ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Reduced to a haiku

You long for her once
More, and find her waiting in
The fountain of love

 ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

UPDATE:  Taking some inspiration from Bjorn's post, I also tried my hand at a Triolet.  It feels a bit forced, so I'm less than thrilled with the not-quite-satisfactory result.

Remembering a single night of love
You seek the elusive loving stranger.

Can there be a destiny to prove,
Remembering a single night of love?

You heed the little girl and do not leave,
But search the garden heedless of its danger,

Remembering a single night of love
You seek the elusive loving stranger.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shadow Shot Sunday - Mellow Yellow Monday

Thanksgiving Day Morning

On the last warm day
One little boy plays outside
With his soccer ball

On Friday it turned 
Cold, then Saturday night snowed:
Winter is coming.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cheryl's Thread

This post contains the story fragments in which Cheryl is the PoV character.  They are presented in story order, not posting order.  Links to the original posts are provided with the prompts.  There you might find further elaboration on the prompts, along with readers' comments.

Gil's Thread

This post contains the story fragments in which Gil is the PoV character.  They are presented in story order, not posting order.  Links to the original posts are provided with the prompt words.

Rob's Thread

This post contains the story fragments in which Rob is the PoV character.  They are presented in story order, not posting order.  Links to the original posts are provided with the prompt words.

[I had no intention of this first one being anything other than a stand-alone, but it seems now that Rob and Marci go way back.]

Marci's Thread

This post contains the story fragments in which Marci is the PoV character.  They are presented in story order, not posting order.  Links to the original posts are provided.  There you will find the prompts, and quite often some other elaboration on the story fragment.

Marci is the pivot for this story, but as of 11/15/12 BUSINESS was the first entry from her PoV.

Five Sentence Fiction - Business

Lillie McFerrin

Today's prompt is BUSINESS, which gives me an opportunity to explore a bit of Marci's back story.

See "Unraveling the Threads" in the right hand frame if you want to keep up with these characters.


Marci was a sophomore majoring in art when she met H. Bradley Tallemond, benefactor of the school and patron of the arts, at a student exhibition.

After 30 years of marriage to the former high fashion model he called "The Ice Queen", Brad was more than ready for a woman one third his age, and at 19 Marci was a prime and compliant target: their courtship was quick - she was in his bed that same night.

He loaned her $10,000 to devote to an IPO he couldn't legally touch, and within 6 months she had not only paid back the loan but was $137,000 richer.

Her part of the bargain was that he could have her whenever he wanted in any way that he wanted, and for the next few years he called on her two or three times a month, meanwhile guiding her investment decisions in up and down markets.

By the time he died in a mysterious boating accident when she was 26, Marci already owned her own gallery and was well on her way to her second million.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Reduced to a Haiku

 Sex is a form of
Art, a passionate story,
And monkey business.

Or Two

 The art of business,
The business of art; plus, he
Gave her a hot tip

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

UPDATE: Here is a bonus, at no extra charge, inspired by Sania's entry and, in a way, by mine, above.


It's a service provided to meet a need.

Customers travel, sometimes great distances, and plunk down their cold, hard (so to speak) cash.

Sounds like capitalism to me.

So explain to me why it is illegal.

After all, is this not the worlds oldest business?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Triple Visual Dare #2 Plus Sensational Haiku Wednesday

Find this week's TVD challenge here.  The SHW prompt is FIERCE!

The picture prompts [see the challenge link for photo credits]:

And now for something completely different - in exactly 100 words!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~


Elpheba wasn't going to fall into the same trap her sister did, so she cast a potent repelling spell at the rapidly descending house.

In the stress and strain of competing forces, the structure was rent asunder.

Zebra Boy wandered through the rubble, running his nimble fingers over various ruined items: twisted plumbing fixtures, half an old wall clock with a wall chunk still attached, bits of masonry and wood.

"Hey, kid," Elpheba hollered, "get out of there.  What do think you're doing?"

"Mind your own bee's wax, Lady, " Zebra Boy retorted, "I was just feeling a little board."

~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

And, since I am never above mixing my memes --

The story reduced to a Haiku:

Home wrecker yells at
Strange little kid; he hurls back
A verbal brickbat.

Update: Here is some history on the word "brickbat."

Join the fun!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Triple Visual Dare

Following FSF links, at Sarah's place I learned of Angela Goff's Visual Dare.

This gave me an opportunity to explore another aspect of the increasingly complex story I'm discovering, and have been revealing through my Five Sentence Fiction entries.  Here, for the first time, Gil's wife [who's name is Cheryl, as it turns out] is the protagonist.

I had no clear image of her, but the first visual prompt clicked - that is Cheryl!  [Photo credits at the Dare link.]

After that, working the other two in was a snap.  The hard part was hitting the word count.  My first shot had me at 101, and only half finished.  So I put on my minimalist hat.  Indeed, this would all be a lot less enigmatic if I had a richer word budget, but this clocks in at exactly 100.

I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo, so, alas, that's a bonus point I can't qualify for.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Of Cheryl, a Tower, and Trees

Cheryl was devastated to discover she was pregnant.

One slip, one time, and this?

She found him waiting where they first met, at the footbridge in the park. 

Silently, they strolled down the long tree-lined lane to a place not of this earth.

Up the spiral staircase of the ancient tower then - yes - where she had been so willingly seduced - that was the very place to share this awful news.

But he, craving a son, was elated. 

She could have her baby – his baby – here, where the time slip was different, and her husband Gil need never know.

Shadow Shot Sunday - Mellow Yellow Monday

Falcons Touchdown

Best sports action shot I've ever clicked

Autumn sunshine, boys
Knocking each other down: they
Always play to win.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction - Character

Lillie McFerrin

This week's prompt made me stop and think.  I've been jumping on Thursdays the last few weeks with a story in my pocket, in hopes that the prompt would fit - and have been pretty lucky.  Of course, with 2 1/2 story lines in progress, I do have some options.

This time, I had a vignette taking form in the dark reaches of my fevered brain, but just now got it set down in print.  I also have two other candidates that fit the prompt in not quite the same way, so this choice was difficult.  Ultimately, it came down to this, because I think the story fits the prompt in a layered fashion, it's freshest in my mind, and I really wanted to stay with Rob a while longer.  Let me know if you think it works.


I haven't seen Marci in over a month, but when she greets me at the door with a warm kiss and a cold glass of Chardonnay I know it's going to be a good night.

Then, in her living room, I see the picture over her couch, and yes, I also see that it is where that enigmatic half-memory came from - I had seen it unfinished, in her studio several months earlier.

Her use of light and shadow is masterful*, the scene and setting excitingly familiar: those are indeed tiny glowing winged female creatures,
and the diaphanous wings and the haunting beauty of that other-worldly face are evocative of, but not quite identical to the one I know so well.

Marci is rightfully very proud of her handiwork; she leans against me and asks, "Do you like it?"

"Oh, yes," I tell her, slipping my arm around her narrow waist, "I like it very much, indeed."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Reduced to a Haiku

Fairy in the frame
So like the one I lust for:
My lady friend's art

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
* I have in my mind an image of this picture that is at once both vague and vivid.  It is in a style very reminiscent of the late Frank Kelly Frease.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Shadow Shot Sunday - Mellow Yellow Monday

I took this shot of the maple tree in my back yard and the shadow it cast in the late morning sun on October 11th, before the leaves started to fall.

Shadows conspire with
The sun to run where they may -
You can't fence them in.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Six Word Saturday

Granddaughter Alexa in Annie* Last Night

*Annie Junior - an all kids cast.

[Saturday entry with minutes to spare]

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction


Something unseen had drawn me there; I was feeling strung-out and more than a little lonely as I wandered through the deserted park at dusk. 

Off the path, in a cluster of trees to the right, I saw a glowing cloud - maybe an unlikely gathering of fireflies. 

Curious, I approached, and as I passed between a pair of soldier pines it suddenly fell full dark, the world seemed to turn on an unseen axis, and she appeared there in their midst. 

A queen in her court, surrounded by legions of fireflies, maybe, or tiny glowing winged women - I really couldn't tell; and the eutre beauty of her other-worldly face was hauntingly familiar, like something from a half-remembered dream. 

Then she turned to look majestically upon me, and in the piercing gaze of those moss-green eyes I knew with a sudden certainty that she had selected me, out of all the thousands of men in this city for some fell purpose of her own dark design, and that my only choice was to comply. 

The first person protagonist is Rob, Marci's occasional boy friend.  Things are getting convoluted.  Today's little vignette is prequel to 1) FAERIES and 2) FLAWED.

Lillie McFerrin