Counterculture Art

SurrealOdd,” Errol said, as he pondered the painting. “It’s a big zero. It makes me feel totally empty.”

“But you’re suppose to be this world famous art critic,” Marianne said. “Are you saying this piece does nothing for you?”

“Yes that’s what I’m saying — it does nothing for me but inflict a lot of artistic angst,” Errol said. “It lacks subtlety, it’s in your face, literally.”

“But aren’t you intrigued by its surreal nature?” Marianne asked. “Don’t you find it in any way bounteous in form or function?”

“I do enjoy your naïveté,” Errol said. “Please tell me what it is that you find intriguing about this painting.”

“To me, it is fascinating, in that it has an almost tropical feel to it,” Marianne said. “And, there is something mesmerizing ….”

Marianne’s observations about the painting were interrupted by a commotion at the entrance to the gallery. A nattily dressed black man walked up to Errol and Marianne. He stood nose-to-nose in front of Errol. “I am Victor and I understand you’re not fond of my work of art. I call it ‘EMO Kid.’ You are clearly too old and too out of touch to be an art critic if you have no appreciation for the new, American counterculture.”

Written for today’s Three Things Challenge from Di at Pensitivity101, where the three things are “odd,” “enjoy,” and “tell.” Also for today’s Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Also for these daily prompts: Ragtag Daily Prompt (ponder), Word of the Day Challenge (zero), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (inflict), Your Daily Word Prompt (bounteous), Daily Addictions (tropical), and The Daily Spur (entrance).

Share Your World — Holiday Edition

Share Your WorldMelanie welcomes in December, the final month of 2019, with this week’s Share Your World prompt, which is pretty much focused on December’s holidays. As you’ll see from my answers, I’m not a fan of December’s holidays, but not being a fan of something doesn’t stop me from talking about it! So let’s get to it.

What’s your remedy for the Holiday blues?

Holiday blues? What holiday blues? I try not to think much about it, but I have no doubt that before it’s over, I’ll rant about the bogus war on Christmas promoted mostly by Fox News and Donald Trump.

In fact, I just saw a blurb in today’s newspaper about the mayor of Charleston, W.Va., who wanted her city to be more welcoming to all faiths and people, so she changed an annual celebration from the “Christmas Parade” to the “Winter Parade.” It didn’t last long. Some people thought renaming the parade was an attack on Christianity. People in the overwhelmingly white, Christian city talked about how renaming of the parade was an insult to “the almighty Supreme Being.” One person posted that, “Christmas is all about Christ, not some winter parade.”

Of course, once Fox News got hold of the story, it was too much for the mayor of Charleston, who reversed her decision and agreed to keep the “Christmas Parade” name.

Your favorite beverage (if it differs) during the holiday season? If it doesn’t differ, just answer the ‘what’s your favorite beverage” part.

I have two favorite beverages and neither is very exciting nor in any way related to any holidays. In the morning, it’s coffee. At other times, it’s caffeine-free Diet Coke.

This one has been asked before, but what’s your take on pumpkin spice?

I have no take on pumpkin spice. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never tasted anything that is pumpkin spice flavored. And since I don’t particularly like the taste of pumpkin anything, it’s unlikely I ever will.

Is there is a person or god connected with your holiday?

  • Who are they and do you believe in them?
  • If you do not believe in these people or gods, does the celebration/honoring of that being, bother you in any way (e.g., ignored, dismissed, angry, etc.)? 

No, there is not any such person or deity that I connect with any holiday. As an atheist, I don’t believe in deities, and as a skeptic, there are very few people I believe in. As to the question about getting angry or dismissive of people who do celebrate these holidays, I don’t. I’m a whatever floats your boat kind of guy. But I do get pissed at people who try to force their believes down my throat, whether personally or legislatively.


Share a song that you enjoy during this Winter season (whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, The Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, and so forth).

The Monday Peeve — Weather Apps

iPhone weather app logoMy wife and I had just finished watching the final, season two episode of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime last night, which is a very good series if you can stream Amazon Prime shows. Anyway, it was about 9 pm and time for me to take our dog out on her final walk of the day. It had been raining on and off all day long so I got up and looked out of the window to see if it was raining. The sidewalk out front was wet, of course, but I didn’t see any sign of rain.

I opened up my iPhone’s weather app and it told me that it was currently cloudy and no more rain was expected until midnight. Then, just to double check, I opened two other weather apps I had downloaded. Accuweather told me that there would be no rain for at least the next 120 minutes. And my Weather Underground app assured me that I needn’t worry about rain until around 11:45 pm.

And so armed with three professional weather forecasts, I got my dog into her harness, attached her leash, and, leaving my umbrella behind, we set out on our walk.

We were about half way through the typical 20-25 minute walk when the downpour began. We sought shelter in an alcove in front of a small apartment building. I was hoping to wait out the deluge, but after about 10 minutes, my dog was getting antsy, so we braved the rain.

Needless to say, we were both drenched by the time we got back home. And I was pissed.

But it’s a new day and my wife and I I need to hit the grocery store today. Fortunately my weather app says no rain until 3 pm. And it’s only 12:30, so this is a good time to….

WTF!? It’s pouring out!

My Monday peeve is directed at smartphone weather apps, which are neither very smart nor very accurate.

Written for Paula Light’s The Monday Peeve prompt.TMP

Blogging Insights — Burnout

Blogging insights

Dr. Tanya, at Salted Caramel, published another one of her Blogging Insights posts in which she poses one or more questions about blogging.  In this case, she asked three questions about blogger burnout.

Here are her three questions:

1. What, in your opinion, is “blogger burnout”?

0D7E35C2-D78B-4F90-9322-1C824617CB1DI think blogger burnout occurs when you lose your motivation to blog, when the joy of blogging disappears, and it becomes a chore. It’s different, I think, from writer’s block, where you still have the desire to write, but are drawing a blank. In burnout, that desire to write has left you, temporarily, at least.

I suffered blogger burnout in 2015 on my previous blog, which , I abruptly shut down. I had become obsessed with my blog. I was always thinking about it, talking about it, and even dreaming about it. I was still working at the time and my work was starting to suffer because I was more focused on my blog than I was on my job. I was even more focused on my blog than on my family, and it was putting my marriage in jeopardy. I finally decided that I needed to regain control — and balance — in my life, so I just stopped blogging. I don’t know whether or not that technically was a case of blogger burnout. But I do know that I was having a life flameout and I needed to stop blogging in order to get my real world life back on track.

2. Have you ever suffered from blog related stress?

I suppose what I just confessed about why I shut down my previous blog was an example of blog related stress. I think another stress inducing factor in a blogger’s life is stats. I look at my stats on a daily basis and, even though I realize that they vary significantly from one day to the next, if my stats are down for a stretch of two or three days in a row, it does cause me stress.

For example, I was looking at my monthly stats today and, much to my chagrin, November was the third month in a row where my views dropped. In fact, I had fewer views in November than I had for any other month this year except for February, which had only 28 days. And my blog had more than 1,500 fewer views this November than it had in November 2018! So yes, when I saw this chart of monthly views, I felt stress.e2ab2a6a-6e75-4197-87b1-15f5d9ca3c69.jpeg

3. What steps could you suggest to keep blogging from becoming a stressful activity?

For me, the answer is simple. Stop looking at, being concerned with, or worrying about stats. I love to write. I rarely run out of opinions to express, perspective to share, or stories to tell. It’s fun. It’s fulfilling. It helps me to hone my imagination and creativity and to keep my mind active and sharp. So I need to do my thing and not worry about how many views, likes, or comments my posts get.

Blogging is not a contest or a competition. It’s an outlet for creative self-expression and to be happy with what I create. It’s the act of writing and publishing what I’ve written on my blog that provides me with a sense of accomplishment. If people read what I write, like it, and comment on it, great. But if not, I shouldn’t let that stress me out. At least not so much that it will result in blogger burnout!

Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #43

FFFCWelcome to “Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge.” Each week I will be posting a photo I grab off the internet and challenge bloggers to write a relatively short flash fiction piece inspired by the photo. While there are no definitive style or word limits, I suggest trying to keep your posts to under 300 words.

I want to sincerely thank everyone who has participated in these challenges so far. Your posts have been very creative. I hope this week’s image will also generate some great posts as well.

So now it’s time for this week’s Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Today I’m giving you the choice of two images. The first image is from Devanath at the visually challenged, the image shows four horsemen dressed in armor riding across a valley toward a mountain range in the setting sun.

The second image is one I happened across on Flickr and it intrigued me. I’m not sure I can even begin to describe it other than to say it’s rather bizarre and surreal. But here it is:49276C8D-6263-4ED5-9B15-371A5F48D0E9If either of these pictures inspire you and you wish to participate, please write your post, use the tag #FFFC, and link back to this post.

The issue with pingbacks not showing up seems to have been resolved, but you might check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

Please take a few minutes to read some of the other responses to this photo challenge.