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.

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.


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


Friday, October 27, 2017

Images in the Garden

The challenge is to write a poem in any style matched to one or more images.   Simple as that.

I'm short on time this week - playing Sibelius's 2nd Symphony this evening - and, of course, a day late.  So one short simple verse.

fox on an island
in shimmering images
thinking of rabbits


Afterthought: I like it even better with 1st and 3rd lines reversed.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tuesday in the Garden

Another one from the archives.  And with halloween looming, another tilt toward the macabre.

                  PASSIONATE PRETENSE

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.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Briars in the Garden

"Both read the Bible day and night; but you read black where I read white."
-- William Blake

I'm a little late to this one.  Checking the analysis of Blake's poem we find that he was protesting the biblical interpretations that the Anglican church was imposing on ordinary people, particularly regarding the repression of human sexuality.  I'm not a believer, but I was brought up in the Catholic church, had 12 years of religion classes, occasionally paid attention, and have some familiarity with the teachings of Jesus.   I find the beliefs and attitudes of American conservative christianity to be anti-scriptural, nihilist, judgmental, hypocritical, hate-based and intellectually offensive.  On the other hand I find the concepts and attitudes of progressive christianity to be enlightening and fulfilling.   If I were a believer, I would find them compelling.

So Blake's 1794 poem resonates with the religious landscape of 2017 America.  I went back to the shadorma again to express my thoughts and feelings.

Thistle Flowers

Where is love?
Have grabbed it;
Transformed it
To judgment and damnation
Out of hate.


Where is God,
That loving father?
In Crown thorns?
Does he bind his love for us
In brambles?


Salvation -
What then does it mean
If they change
All the good
Into the coffers of a 
Mega church?


Oh, no - I exceeded the 12 line limit! 
Lo siento. 
At least they are short.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Awhapery In the Garden

Today we have a list of obsolete English language words to chose from, and an invitation to use others, which I have taken advantage of.

Not feeling up to attempting rhyme, or anything long-form, I've chosen to do another shadorma, as befits my dwindled attention span.  But I'm delighted to finally get to use the word "swyve." which has been sitting idle in my vocabulary for decades.


Oh Wasteheart!
Coney-caught again:
Awhaped by
She swyved with a losenger
I’m betrumped!

Here it is translated


Woe is me!
Cheated yet again:
By lover.
She screwed a lying rascal.
And tricked me.

Awhape -- confound
Betrump -- deceive or cheat
Coney-catch -- cheat or deceive
Dowsable -- sweetheart
Losenger -- false flatterer, cad
Swyve -- copulate
Wasteheart -- expression of grief or dismay

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

L.A. Times Crossword Wednesday, October 18, 2017 Robin Stears

Theme GUARDS! GUARDS! As we shall soon see, each theme entry is a [more or less] in-the -language two-word phrase that contains two quite different kinds of GUARDS. In all cases, each theme word can be followed by the word GUARD to yield a different in-the-language phrase.

17 A. Eastern seaboard, facetiously : RIGHT COAST.  I can't recall hearing it addressed as such, but it makes sense if you look at a map.  But why facetiously?  RIGHT GUARD is a lineman position on an American football team, and the deodorant brand he might chose after a shower. The COAST GUARD is a branch of the U.S. military that protects life, property and territory along the country's shore lines.

25 A. Unlikely to run : COLOR SAFE.  These colors don't run.  Hence the term.  Also a palette of 256 colors that is consistent on any computer monitor.   A COLOR GUARD is a uniformed group who present or parade an institutional or national flag on formal occasions.   To SAFE GUARD is to take active measures to protect against some undesirable event.

46 A. Secret overseas cash stash site : SWISS BANK.  I think the Cayman Islands and Cyprus give them some competition these days.  The SWISS GUARD is a small force stationed in the Vatican, responsible for the safety of the Pope.  They are famous for their colorful uniforms.

A BANK GUARD protects your deposited savings.

58 A. What Aladdin craved and Jasmine wanted to escape, in the Disney film : PALACE LIFE.  Aladdin is a street urchin who longs for wealth and luxury.  Jasmine has it all and finds it profoundly unsatisfying.  So - a match made in heaven, right?  The PALACE GUARD is responsible for keeping the PALACE and its occupants safe from street urchins and other miscreants.   A LIFE GUARD is a certified swimmer and CPR expert whose job is to keep us from drowning at the beach or pool. 

And, at last, the unifier.  37 A. Increase security twofold ... and what 17-, 25-, 46- and 58-Across literally do : DOUBLE THE GUARDS.   Twice as many guards should keep out twice as many urchins. And this is the apt description for the other theme entries, each having two kinds of GUARDS.

 Hi Gang, JazzBumpa on duty to GUARD your way through today's puzzling adventure.  Robin Stears has given us a good one with four clever theme entries and a grid-spanning unifier.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Carpe Diem #1281 Suzuran (Lilly of the Valley)

Lily of the valley is a classic summer kigo.

sweetly poisonous
with dangling nodding white bells
a lovely vision
appealing to the senses
wisely do not be seduced


Tuesday in the Garden of Weirdness

Here, Rommy tells us:

"You all know the drill.  Share a piece of poetry as the spirit moves you, new or an old favorite. "

So here is an old one, one of my demented sonnets from many years ago.  This pastiche was going to be a humorous parody of a well known sonnet, speaking of a relationship gone cold, but instead took a much darker turn, perhaps in keeping with creepy October.


Or not.


Shall I compare thee to a winter's night?
Thou art more lovely in thy pallid chill.
Rough winds shake bare limbs, but thine hold tight,
Ever rigid, rigorous, and still.

Sometimes too cold the evening sky-light glows,
Encircled in a wisp of winter cloud
That with the gray dawn sends the falling snows,
Blankets the earth with its white morning shroud;

But thy eternal winter shall unfold,
Never to thaw thy fast frigidity. 
And rigor shall not lose the mortal hold
That binds thee in frozen rigidity.

Now once again I breathe on thy cold flesh,
And with thy pallid loveliness enmesh.


Some appropriate music

Monday, October 16, 2017

Carpe Diem 1280 - Wheel of Creation

"Haiku is not only the poetry of nature, but it is also a way to find that peace. While strolling through nature we become one with nature, become part of nature (as it was once meant to be) and than we experience the beauty of our Earth. We have to cherish her beauty, Earth is the only source to find peace of mind and heart. Isn't that what we all see as our goal?"

-- Kristjaan  [<-- link]

Perhaps this cartoon is relevant.

you and i
in that tantric moment
we are one


we are all seekers
in philosophy


even here on earth
we are made of stardust
one with everything


even moose and goose
in the darkling forest mist
we breath the same air


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Carpe Diem 1279 - Yekaterinberg Aleph

This time we are inspired by an incident in Paolo Coelho's novel, Aleph.

In the Aleph, all things are one, and all of the past, present and future are contained.

in our past lives
were we friends or lovers
now we meet again


i've always loved you
since the moment i was born
and perhaps before


our lives intertwined
spanning across space and time
choice or destiny


now we are old
when we say our last good-bye
know we'll meet again


This reminds me of a sonnet I wrote long ago.

                          THE SUBSTITUTE

There are those whose lives are meant to be entwined,
Lovers thrust together by the force of destiny,
When choice and fate converge, that they may be
Connected at the soul, the heart, the mind.

Within their closed circumference one can find
Two curves in perfect fit -- his yang, her yin,
That in each cycle once again begin
To cluster into love's sweet spiral bind.

But consider -- if in the vast span of infinity
One of them becomes displaced in small degree;
Is born a decade late, perhaps is sent
To the farthest corner of the continent --

The distant echo of an unfelt touch, an unseen face.
Who will be the one who comes to take his place?


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fussy Garden Form

Today we are exposed to a form that is new to me - the shadorma - a 6 line, syllable-counted haiku derivative.  I love haiku/senryu, as you can see by scrolling through this blog, so I like this ideas.  The first one is just playing with the name; the second is how my day is going; the third is today's weather, and the last is in the haiku spirit, reflecting my affection for the amphibians I find in my yard.

Correction, a day later - this form is not a haiku derivative.  It comes to us from Spain.

it’s not a shadow
nor gray shade
nor color
standing out in black and white
waiting to be read


lonely day
i sit by myself
just writing
scribing thoughts
my lovely wife lies in bed
sick and all alone


falling rain
in early autumn
thick gray clouds
the whole day
night falls and darkness deepens
winter is coming


slow hopping
under the bushes
mottled tones
blending in
hiding from the hawk’s sharp eyes 
a brown speckled toad


Carpe Diem - Time Glass

Kristjaan offers us two inspirations today, a picture and a verse,  along with a time limit to respond.  In the press of other things, I don't participate every time, but today I have a few moments.  So I'll give a thought to each.  Most of my writing has taken a somewhat dark, sad or lonely turn lately.  Who knows why?

the picture

lonely flower


walking lonely now
after last night’s adventure
losing her flower


the verse

a little verse
lighted a fire in my heart 
addicted to love

© Chèvrefeuille 


that fire in my heart
bursting out in flaming words
my love is scorching


Friday, October 13, 2017

Cruel Imagination in the Garden

I didn’t hit her often
Only when she deserved it
How could one so beautiful be so cruel

Not so beautiful with bruises though
And welts
Oh the anger
When she ran away
How that made it worse

Why do I miss her so


Carpe Diem #1275 nakedness

Some naked thoughts for this CD prompt.

here we are naked
remembering mother eve
she was merely nude


here we are naked
if only we were alone
what would we then do


here we are naked
homeless starving and thirsty
who comes to help us


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Carpe Diem #1274 Ryuko-ji (compassion)

Salient quotes from the prompt --

Today I have chosen one of the temples on Shikoku Island to inspire you with. This temple is named Ryuko-ji and is devoted to the Buddha of Compassion. One of the main ideas of Buddhism.

"Wordlessness" is (in my opinion) one of the pillars of haiku. Look at our haiku. Three lines, approximately 17 syllables and around 15 or 20 words. It's a very short poem, but in that poem the strength is the scenes that are told about without words. So "wordlessness" is part of haiku.

Of course, I come at this obliquely.

does my stone face show
the sympathy that i feel
this i cannot say


Carpe Diem #1273 Into The Sea

Hmmm - scroll down my page and you'll find the last few entries are poems of some sort, all related in some way to a body of water.  Well - it is the source of all life.

Today, a tan renga, the first stanza © Jane Reichhold (1937-2016.)
Second stanza by me, the wonderer.

melting into the sea
the full moon
leaves a candle bright 

illuminated path way
could i walk on that water


dVerse Tuesday Gardening

Should I apologize for standing this Hope prompt on its head?

Well, I too have been thinking a lot about the world lately.  It seems that everything is going sour - from killer wild fires and hurricanes to killers and idiots and megalomaniacs running the world - into the ground; which is a strange way of putting it.

Anyway, my verses have taken a sad and lonely turn of late - thankfully, not reflecting my conditions in real life.

So here is a Quadrille.

           Hope On The Strand

I met her on the strand
Told her my name
She said hers was Hope
We talked then hid away and did some things

My mistake to fall in love so easily
Since she soon sailed away
Now I walk the strand alone


Monday, October 9, 2017

Why We Never Catch Mermaids

Why We Never Catch Mermaids

So lovely to behold
And to be held by  .  .  .

Ah, though -- careful when you kiss that pretty mouth
Lips and tongue so very salty-sweet
But watch out for those teeth
That bite like knives through stout fishing nets

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Imaginary Garden - Camera Flash

The entries I've read for this prompt have tended toward a dark turn - and, indeed, the photo surely invites that.  But it jogged a memory for me - of when I happened to be in the water at just the right moment.  This is an older poem, but - hey - the challenge is wide open --- so . . .

The date stamp on the file for this poem is August, 2000, so I suppose that's when I wrote it. It is the narrative of a real incident, just as it happened. My wife and I were driving around one day, rather aimlessly, and went into a park. There was a lake, and we took our shoes off, and waded along the shore line. It wasn't crowded, but there were quite a few people there, in the water, and along the beach.

I am not a religious person, but this was a deeply moving event. Every time I re-read it, I have to fight back the tears.  Here is how it happened.

               SAVING TIME

Such a simple thing, to lift a child.
Hands grasp her sides, a second pair of ribs
Beneath plump arms, and swing her high:
Inconsequential weight on angel's wings.

Farther down the beach a gathering:
Mexican Pentecostal Church of God
All clad in white and black, their Sunday best,
With angel voices raised in Spanish hymns.

That little girl, no taller than my knee
Has not yet mastered walking on dry land.
In childish guile she flees her family's eyes
Makes her way to water's edge, and in.

Senor Juan Baptiste strides chest-deep
Into the lake. The others, arms raised high,
Invoke God's power as he grasps behind the neck,
Supports each penitent beneath the waves.

When no one else was looking at this girl
I saw her falter, fall, then float face down.
Two splashing steps, hands on her ribs,
I raise her out and draw her to my chest.

We could have driven past this lake today,
Or lazed another minute on the shore,
Or turned our wading walk the other way,
Instead, I found myself above this child.

Juan Baptiste mouths a Spanish prayer,
Lifts his new-found brother from the lake,
As I lift and hold this child close to me,
Saved, as by the very hand of God.


An inspired after-thought

All water flows to the sea
Taking with it everything we've lost
Friends lovers pets tokens memories
Only the memories can be brought back
Dragged to the bony shore in neural nets


Friday, October 6, 2017

Fireblossom Friday In the Garden

Another Friday trip into the garden for me - or maybe  .  .  . who is that?

Sometimes, a duplicate of a living person takes form, called a Doppelganger. The double does things the original person is unaware of, but others see. 
"I didn't know what I was doing." "I didn't know what my double was doing." (!) "I don't know what came over me." Maybe these are more than just common expressions. Maybe our wills are not always our own. What do you think? Let's write about it. 

My Doppelganger - a Villanelle

Yeah - that’s what I was thinking:
I would never do those awful things.
Not even if I had been drinking.

Always clever, never shrinking,
This is what my doppleganger brings.
Yeah - that’s what I was thinking:

All those women: their forlorn hopes sinking;
Sad songs plucked on their heart strings.
Not even if I had been drinking.

My wife is glad that I’m the one she’s linking;
Not stuck inside HIS binding wedding rings.
Yeah - that’s what I was thinking:

All those women’s sobs, their sad tears blinking
In memory of those cheating, piercing stings.
Not even if I had been drinking.

That doppleganger always slyly slinking
Into that good night after those flings.
Yeah - that’s what I was thinking:
Not even if I had been drinking.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Carpe Diem #1269 -- Reflection


in my mirror
after these many decades
my father's face


mountain and sky scene
reflected in a calm lake
turn it upside down


who is the fairest
she asks her oval mirror
it does not answer


the old mirror

with its lines and distortions
what truth does it tell

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

L.A. Times Crosssword - Wednesday, Oct 4, 2017 C. C. Burnikel

Theme: OLD VINYL.  Each two word entry has the letters L and P as its alpha and omega [so to speak.]  These letters signify a Long Playing phonograph recording - i.e. one with several songs on a side.  More will be explained when we get to the unifier.

17A. *Vodka cocktail often served with a sugared rim : LEMON DROP.  Made with vodka, Triple Sec, simple syrup and fresh lemon juice.  Pucker up.

60A. *Largely bygone penal colony : LABOR CAMP.  A prison camp where hard labor is enforced.

3 D. *Store website feature : LOCATOR MAP.  Here is the locator map for the restaurant where we had a wonderful lunch with some relatives yesterday.

8 D. *Shari Lewis puppet : LAMB CHOP.

30 D. *Totally drunk : LIQUORED UP.  Self-explanatory, and no image needed.

39 D. *Light source with hypnotic bubbles : LAVA LAMP.  Suitable illumination for nudism and getting high in a variety of ways.

And now the unifier -- 26 A. With 49-Across, it keeps repeating itself ... and, based on the first and last letters, an apt description of each answer to a starred clue : BROKEN.

49 A. See 26-Across : RECORD.

So, now we see that the wide split between the L and the P indicates that the RECORD has been BROKEN - but not in the sense of a historic feat of athleticism.  In the old days, back in my yute, a phonograph record that was scratched or broken would catch the play-back stylus and keep repeating the same groove section on the recording surface, groove section on the recording surface, groove section on the recording surface.  Very annoying.  Hence, a person who repeated himself a lot would be compared to a BROKEN RECORD.  

Raising this up a notch, conceptually, is the fact that the unifier itself is broken.  So we have a pinwheel formation of theme fill, that also includes the symmetrically placed two-part unifier.  Very clever and unusual design!

Hi Gang, JazzBumpa on duty.  Let's see where our own hostess and travel guide C. C. takes on this trip.