MLMM — The Rorschach Test

0FBD3EA6-D381-4B64-97B9-ADD4776CC435Hal and his wife, Marlene, were sitting in their living room watching a rerun of “The X Files” when they heard a commotion on their front porch. “Did you hear that?” Marlene asked her husband.

“Yeah,” he said. “Probably a raccoon. He’ll go away when he doesn’t find any food out there.”

But the noise coming from the porch didn’t stop, so Marlene said, “Hal, get your lazy ass out there and see what is going on.”

Reluctantly, Hal slowly got up and out of his easy chair, went to the front door, turned on the porch light, and flung open the door. At first he didn’t see anything, but then he looked down and saw a creature the likes of which he had never seen before. Startled, he jumped back a step or two. The strange-looking, three-foot tall “thing” stepped into the living room. When Marlene saw it, she let out a blood curdling scream.

The creature waddled toward Marlene and she jumped up on the sofa as she might have if she’d been frightened by a mouse. Meanwhile, Hal went into the front hall closet and pulled out his shotgun.

“Do not fear me,” the creature said in a somewhat metallic voice. “I am sorry I scared you; I intend you no harm.”

“I’ve got you in my sights, you freakin’ monster,” Hal said. “One false move and I’ll blow you to Kingdom Come.”

“I do not know what that is,” the critter said. “But there is no need for violence.”

Almost hysterically, Marlene screamed, “What do you want?”

“My name is Rorschach and I am not from this planet,” the creature said. “My mission is to explore the solar system for signs of intelligent life.”

“So what were you doing on our porch, you alien?” Hal asked, shotgun still pointed at the creature. “Ain’t no intelligent life in these parts.” With that, Hal started to pull the trigger, but before he could, both the shotgun and Hal disintegrated into a pile of red embers.

Looking at the ashes where Hal had been standing, Rorschach said, “Yes, I can see that.” It then turned to Marlene and said, “Is this any way to treat visitors from out-of-town?”

At which point Marlene fainted dead away.

Written for today’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Sunday Writing Prompt. And for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, “treat.”

Sunday Photo Fiction — Any Port In a Storm


“How does the jury find?” the judge asked.

The jury forewoman stood up and said, “We find the defendant, Charles Maxwell, guilty of assault and battery.”

The judge looked at the jury and thanked them for their service. He then looked directly at the defendant and, in a somber voice, said, “You have been found guilty by a jury of your peers. You will be sentenced to serve one year at the state penitentiary.” The judge banged the gavel down hard and said, “Court adjourned.”

The defense attorney turned to Charles and silently mouthed the words “I’m sorry,” as the two bailiffs led Charles out of the courtroom.

About an hour later, right before Charles was scheduled to be transported from the holding cell in the courthouse to the penitentiary upstate, Charles’ father came to see him.

“One bit of advice for you, son,” his father said. “Whatever you do, if you drop the soap in the shower, don’t bend down to pick it up.”

“Why not, Dad?” Charles asked.

“Oh boy,” his father said. “You’re not going to do well in jail, I’m afraid. You’re going to be incarcerated with a bunch of men, some of whom have been in prison for years. Many of them have not had sexual intimacy with a woman for a very long time. Don’t be a target, son.”

“But, Dad,” Charles protested. “I’m not a woman.”

“Any port in a storm, son,” Charles’ father said. “And I mean any port.”

Written for today’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt from Susan Spaulding. Thanks, Susan, for using my photo this week.

Should the Press Boycott the President?

US-POLITICS-TRUMPI read this post yesterday from the excellent blogger behind Write Brain Widow. It’s all about what is happening to America’s free press. And she posted it in August 2017. I wrote in my comment after reading her post, “You wrote this almost a year ago and it still applies today, only things have gotten even worse for the media due to the instigator-in-chief and his inflammatory rhetoric.”

One of her memorable lines in her post was, “Like a mirror, the news is only your enemy if what you see or hear isn’t true, not if it’s just not what you want it to be.” Our president (and I use the terms “our” and “president” loosely) doesn’t like what he sees and hears (I’d say reads, but I’m not sure he actually reads anything other than his teleprompters, and he doesn’t even do that very well), not because it isn’t true, but because it’s not what he wants it to be. And so he lashes out at the press, claiming everything they say about him that he doesn’t like is “fake news” and calling the reporters and journalists “the enemy of the American people.” His rhetoric is actually putting members of the press in jeopardy.

Write Brain Widow responded to my comment on her post by writing,

“I always wonder why the media doesn’t rise up, doesn’t boycott the so-called press conferences, and the ego-stoking rallies; why every legitimate media source doesn’t strike back each time the hateful barbs are thrown. It may not change anything but now, though they take the ‘high road’, their silence is deafening.”

I agree “bigly.” I also wonder why the members of press still attend the White House daily briefings when they know that the smokey-eyed, snide press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is going to lie to them and demean them. Why does the press attend Trump’s rallies, when all he does is spew lies and hate and inflame his lemmings against reporters?

Interestingly, I read this morning’s newspaper column by Willie Brown, former mayor of San Francisco, and he asked the same question. Why doesn’t the press boycott him?

“No reporter or news organization should show up for the White House briefings or for his appearances. Little of value comes out of them anyway.

“All the reporters assigned to the White House could be reassigned to cover the federal agencies where the action really is — the ones that are implementing Trump’s avalanche of executive orders.

“White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would probably welcome it. No longer would she have to embarrass herself by being asked about facts and having to respond with Trump’s fantasies.”

Trump said that we shouldn’t believe what we see, read, or hear. We should, he said, believe only him, the liar-in-chief.

As the Write Brain Widow said at the end of her excellent post, “Remember, it’s rarely true that no news is good news.”

Song Lyric Sunday — Take It Easy

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt, Helen Vahdati selected “drive/driving” as the theme. I’m a big fan of both Jackson Browne and of the Eagles, so choosing the song “Take it Easy,” written by Browne and the Eagles’ Glenn Frey, was an easy choice for me.

“Take It Easy” was the Eagles’ first single, released in May 1972. Frey sang lead vocals. It peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also was the opening track on the band’s debut album, Eagles. Jackson Browne later recorded the song as the lead track on his second album, For Everyman, in 1973. He also released it as a single.

Browne started writing this song for his first album, but he didn’t know how to finish it. At the time, he was living in an apartment in Los Angeles, and his upstairs neighbor was Glenn Frey, who needed songs for his new band, the Eagles. Frey heard Browne working on the song and told Jackson that he thought it was great. Browne said he was having trouble completing the track, and played what he had of it. Browne then played the unfinished second verse that begins with “Well, I’m a-standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona…,” and Frey finished the verse with “Such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.”

Browne turned the song over to Frey, who finished writing it and recorded it with the Eagles. Frey says that Browne did most of the work on the song and was very generous in sharing the writing credit. He described Browne’s unfinished version of the song as a “package without the ribbon.”

I’m including the Eagles’ version as well as Jackson Browne’s in this post.

Here are the song’s lyrics:

Well, I’m running down the road
tryin’ to loosen my load
I’ve got seven women on
my mind,
Four that wanna own me,
Two that wanna stone me,
One says she’s a friend of mine

Take It easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels
drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
and take it easy

Well, I’m a standing on a corner
in Winslow, Arizona
and such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed
Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me
Come on, baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me
We may lose and we may win though
we will never be here again
so open up, I’m climbin’ in,
so take it easy

Well I’m running down the road trying to loosen
my load, got a world of trouble on my mind
lookin’ for a lover who won’t blow my
cover, she’s so hard to find

Take it easy, take it easy
don’t let the sound of your own
wheels make you crazy
come on baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me, oh oh oh
Oh we got it easy
We oughta take it easy

Aptitude for Attitude

I leaned something new yesterday. There’s this thing called a slug. I’m not talking about one of those slimy things that slowly slithers across the sidewalk leaving a filmy mucus trail behind it. Yuck.DD7E9250-3753-477C-A787-172AB6B99FDBNo, the slug I’m referring to is a tool that websites use to be accessed. URL slugs are the exact address of a specific webpage. It is the location where webpages are accessed when their URLs are typed in the address bar. It essentially is used to create a permalink for each post. WordPress automatically generates a post slug from the post’s title. For example, the slug for this post is “aptitude-for-attitude.”

So why is this important? Allow me to explain. You know I host a daily word challenge. Well, I’ll let you in on a secret. I generally create these posts about a week in advance and then schedule them to post at 12:01 am Pacific Time on the appropriate day. So far so good, right?

One of the posts I scheduled in advance was yesterday’s post, which was the word “attitude.” When I originally scheduled this post, it was for the word “aptitude.” But a few days ago, I decided to change the word to “attitude.” I changed the post’s title. I changed the word “aptitude” to “attitude” in the body of the post, and I also changed the tag to “attitude.”

What I failed to do was to look at the scheduled post’s slug. I mean who knows to check the slug? Turns out the slug said “fowc-with-fandango-aptitude,” even though I had changed the post’s title to “FOWC With Fandango — Attitude.”B8D7D1E8-3679-4912-98F9-908FCD700AE7When I changed the title of the post, it did not also change the slug correspondingly. Remember earlier when I wrote “WordPress automatically generates post slugs from a post’s title”? Well, that apparently only happens the first time you either initially publish or schedule the post. If you change or update the post later*, it doesn’t update the slug.

And this apparently led to some confusion, as a few bloggers wrote their posts in response to the One-Word Challenge built around the word “aptitude “ and not “attitude.”

As soon as I saw this, I went back to the post and manually changed the slug to read “fowc-with-fandango-attitude.”

So if you have ever either scheduled a post and then change the post’s title before it’s published, or if you’ve published a post and change its title after it was published, be sure to check and update your slug.

You’re welcome!

*This is not the case with draft posts. If it’s a draft, when you change the title, the slug will also change. It’s only once the post has been scheduled or published that it doesn’t change the slug if you change the post’s title.