Jan 31, 2012

Tess at Willow Manor offers this picture to get our creative juices going.

Walissy Kandinsky  Red Spot II

The Scourge of the Staff Room offers another . . .

Leviticus P. Simpleforth   Red Spot I

"What have we here, Simpleforth?"
"A picture, sir."
"I can see it's a picture, Simpleforth.  What, forgive me for asking, is it a picture of?"
"It's another red spot, sir.  I mean . .  it's a picture of another red spot."
"Simpleforth, I know I'm getting old and my memory of last week's art class may be growing dim, but did I not ask you to apply yourself armed with canvas and brushes in modo Kandinsky?"
"I thought about that, sir. Honest I did. Then I thought that re-interpreting Red Spots might be a better outlet for my talents. I'm not really into boomerangs and artificial knee caps. Even red ones."
"Your talents, Simpleforth, have so far remained well below your kneecaps.  And this bloodshot eyeball isn't doing much to make them more visible. Please explain your . . um . . I hesitate to say . . um . . daub."
"Good one, sir!"
"I thought I implied it wasn't good at all?"
"No sir, I meant your joke was good."
"I'm not in  the habit of making jokes. Particularly when viewing  . . "
"You said my eyeball wasn't making things more visible. Eyeball. Visible. I thought that was kind of funny. And just now you added 'viewing' "
"You can't waffle your way out of this, Simpleforth. The picture! Explain."
"Not much to explain really, sir. It's the Red Spot."
"The Red Spot?"
"Yes sir.  The Great Red Spot on planet Jupiter.  It's a hyrogen hurricane. Been blowing for hundreds of years. The winds blow round it at 950 kilometres per hour. Blow anybody's hairpiece off. Sir."
"That's quite enough of that, young man!"
"Sorry sir.  Just sort of slipped off. Sorry. Mean slipped out. Out, I meant."
"I'm tempted to open my punishment book, Simpleforth.  Disobeying simple instructions as to what to paint. Waffling. Studied insolence. You'll end up painting double yellow lines in the road at his rate."
"Oh sir! I was only . . "
(Art master exits in search of punishment book. Simpleforth calls after him but sotto voce)
"I'll paint double yellow lines round planet Uranus if you like. Look nice that would. Real purty!"


Many more interpretations of Kandinsky's picture can be found here

Jan 27, 2012

Friday Flash Fiction 27th. January

Not for the first time, the All-Knowing G-Man brightens our Fridays with another tempting 55 word offer.

Congrats! Here's your iGotcha phone. When you hold the mouthpiece to your forehead, your victim hears your thoughts. Don't waste words. Let it all hang out! Think bedtime. The mouthpiece camera shows him your top half. When he starts grunting the wired-in alarm clock rings. Whip your top off and shake yourself about. You got him!

Jan 25, 2012

Poetry Jam, 24th.January

Dani asks us to write a poem celebrating our senses, or senses as yet undiscovered  . .

The 1011000111011011th. Sense

There was a young blogger called Chet
whose navel could download the Net.
But a hacker called Cyrus
emailed him a virus.
Now ring-tones are all he can get.

Jan 22, 2012

Magpie Tales#101

Tess at Willow Manor offers us a prompt which at first sight is problematic/enigmatic, but in fact is quite easy to decode.


Scots cannae hear a fiddle band
without they tap their feet.
And when the 25th(*) comes round
the lassies feel the heat.
And so before they take the floor
we strap them to a sheep!

The "Bees of Maggieknockater"
is not their first choice dance
and "Dashing Sergeants" (black or white)
do not lead to romance.

They listen to the jigs and reels,
while waiting "Strip the Willow"
The big black bandage keeps them still,
the fleece a pleasant pillow.

The hoolie starts!  We cut them free!
They join in with high zest.
(Do they do this in Fochabers
or stuck-up Inverness?)

And old John Knox turns in his grave
at this eye-popping Burns Night rave.

(*) 25th. January. Burns Night is celebrated by Scots, both domiciled and ex-pat. They foregather to feast on haggis and mashed neeps (golden turnips), and whisky.  The Haggis is piped-in, welcomed and addressed.  The poetry of the iconic Rabbie Burns is recited. Bagpipes are played. "Ae Fond Kiss", "My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose" are sung, at which point tears may flow as the whisky takes hold. There is often dancing. These guys have dispensed with the traditional kilts and tartan skirts for Auld Lang Syne, or other reasons I leave you to guess at. 

Worthier Magpies on display at Willow Manor.

Jan 17, 2012

Magpie Tales#100

This week, Tess's sets her prompt in stone.


Humpback:  "You look miserable. What's up?"
The Sculpt:  "Go away.  Leave me alone."
Humpback:  "You look like you lost a chest of dubloons and found a rusty anchor."
The Sculpt:  "Please. Leave me in peace..."  (Sobs)
Humpback:  "Now this won't do at all. Tears are lost in salt water.  Just tell old Humph all about it. A trouble shared and all that."
The Sculpt:   (Sighs, then) "See, I could've been a contender."
Humpback:  "A contender?"
The Scuplt:  "There's plenty of me. Thirty tons for a guess. I could've been a contender for the really important stuff."
Humpback:  "Important stuff?"
The Sculpt:  "Yeah!  I could've been the head of the Colossus of Rhodes.  I could've been part of the Great Lighthouse at Alexandria.  Or the back-end of that wassname. In the desert."
Humpback:  "The Sphinx?"
The Sculpt:  "That's the one!  I could've topped out the Great Pyramid at Giza."
Humpback:  "Been a Pointyhead, eh?"
The Sculpt:  "This isn't funny. If you find this funny, just swan off!"
Humpback:  "Sorry, sorry. . . "
The Sculpt:  "But what I really wanted was to be Zeus at Olympia. If you chip enough of me away, I reckon I'd look like one of Zeus's ears. Instead of which..."
Humpback:  "You know what I think?  You're doing a more useful job than bein' part of some old  Wonder of the Ancient World.  And you could've ended up much worse off."
The Sculpt:  "What could be worse than sitting in the sea waiting to turn into a coral reef?"
Humpback:  "You could've ended up crushed to half-inch aggregate for a freeway in Montana.  Can't be many fates worse'n that. Corals are all sorts of lovely colours. Montana's just red sandstone. Boring."
The Sculpt:  "Never thought of that.  I end up covered in pretty colours, while you . . "
Humpback:  " . . . I collect barnacles."
The Sculpt:  "You just come along any time and scrape them off on me."
Humpback:  "That's the spirit.  Is that a little smile breakin' out on those stony features? I do think it is. I'll be off then."
The Sculpt:  "Stop by any time. Don't be a stranger. Mind how you go now!"
(Humpback circles the sculpt before swimming away. He swats the water with his tail flukes, which knocks the sculpt off her pedestal and . . )
Humpback:   "Oh SHIT!"
The Sculpt:   "You clumsy prat! Now look at me . .!"
Humpback:   "Sorry. Sorry. But look at it this way. Now you're like that other wassname in the desert."
The Sculpt:   "What other wassname, you idiot?"
Humpback:   "That King Ozymandias."(*)
The Sculpt:   "But he's a colossal wreck."
Humpback:   "Exactly."

(*)  Read all about it!

Jan 15, 2012

Friday Flash Fiction 13th January

G-Man wants us to devote 55 words to some "Nice Guy" we know . . . or knew.

A sweet man, Sidewinder was.  Loved his wife.  Gave to bums and dropouts as well as charity. Adored kids. Mended stray dogs’ broken legs.  Put new clutches up old ladies’ beloved old bangers. Fixed dripping taps(*), leaking gutters, porch roofs or rooves. One bedtime he tackled Kafka's "Metamorphosis" . . . when he woke up . . . life’s so unfair.

(*) faucets when you cross The Pond.

Jan 6, 2012

Friday Flash Fiction 6th,January

The indefatigable G-Man again looks for a precise 55 words of weekend wisdom.  I break Rule 1 - my story is sadly true, or truly sad (?) - and so I reproduce here a heartbreaking communication recently received from our BBC. (Aunty Beeb to non-UK readers)


Your inability to play the violin was not a consideration in rejecting your application to play Holmes in the BBC TV series “Sherlock.” A violinist to coach the successful candidate has been hired and just to rub salt into the wound, Doctor, we enlose her recent picture.

Haha! Better luck next  time.


Eos Chater, violinist.


The Beast Within

Fireblossom in the Imaginary Garden With Real Toads wants us to "show her what wild thing is hiding within you, you animals!"

An Epiphany

An anthropomorphist called Maurice
discovered he was a Slow Loris.

He complained (through a yawn)

"I wish I'd been born
a fleet of foot racehorse called Doris"

Jan 2, 2012

The Unusual Suspects

Tess gives us this Marina Moevs picture "River" to jolt us out of our New Year torpor.
We have met Simpleforth before. He has moved to the United States where we find him being apprehended for questioning whilst amusing himself by still waters.

"Now see here, Simpleforth - you wanna make stones skip across the river and what happens?  You hit a shed.  I mean, how big was the stone, for Chrissake?  Big enough to tip one shed over and pulverise another?"
"Wasn't a stone."
"Not a stone? What then?"
"Hand grenade. Army surplus. Four second fuse."
"I'm tempted to ask what you were doing skipping a freakin' hand grenade. Things gotta be flat to skip properly. They aren't flat, hand grenades, Simpleforth. They're all . .  all kinda . . kinda . . "
"If you say so. Alright. Nubbly."
"And I wasn't trying to skip it."
"You weren't trying to skip a nubbly freakin' hand grenade? So what were you trying to do that you turned one of those fine wooden sheds to kindling and tipped up the other?  Don't tell me you were trying to hit the freakin' shed!"
"No - "
"So what were you doin'?"
"I was fishing."
"Fishin'? Now I know I'm gonna regret this. Tell me. How do you fish with a hand grenade."
"Easy.  You pull the pin and chuck it in the water.  I goes off, and . . "
"You fragg the freakin' fish?  You're on thin ice here, Simpleforth, you know that."
"It doesn't fragg the fish. It blows them out of the water and stuns them and you just pick them up off the bank. Well known fact."
"I'm starin' at you hard, boy. I get a feelin' you're haulin' on my leg."
"Would I do that?"
"Is water wet?  But let's go down this here bomb-the-freakin'-fish road.  How come this dumbass angling demolished a fine upstandin' shed property of the National Park authority?"
"Ah well now!  You must blame Barnes-Wallis for that."
"Don't push me any harder, Simpleforth!  Who's this what's-his-name . . "
"Barnes-Wallis.  In World War Two. He invented the bouncing bomb . . "
"Now hold it right there Smartass. You think you can talk your way out of blowin' up the Park Rangers' refuge by draggin' in World War Two and bouncing bombs and some Wallace Barnes dude."
"But that's what happened here.  I tossed the hand -grenade sort of side-on, right? It hit the water and bounced. Twice. Just like Barnes-Wallis said. Google 'bouncing bomb'. Anyway, the grenade bounced off the water and through the shed window. Totalled it and put the other into lean-to mode. It still stands, but with difficulty."
(Long pause)
"Does that really work? That bomb the bouncing barn thing? That sounds real cool. Look . . there's still another half-assed shed. Bit weakened but still on its feet.  You got any more of them freakin' grenades?"
"Funnily enough . . . "

Open Link Monday

Kerry O'Connor at "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads" welcomes poems new or old for the first Open Link Monday of 2012.  I first posted this poem on February 13th last year (2011, remember it?) for "The Poetry Bus"

Stopping By Settees on a Snowy Evening
(with apologies to Robert Frost.  And his little horse)

Whose couch is this? I think it's lost.
Who threw it out? What did it cost?
It has not seen me stopping here.
It's arm-rests are all stiff with frost.

My motor-chair thinks I am queer
to stop because a couch is near.
I always do a double-take
when snowbound sofas do appear.

It gives my ass a gentle shake
to ask if I've made some mistake.
But frozen couches make me weep.
I'd thaw them with a long, slow bake.

Its pattern's lovely! Cushions deep,
a couch I'd really love to keep.
But - miles to go before I sleep -
So! Leave it for the rubbish-heap.


Jan 1, 2012

Mary's Mixed Bag

Mary in the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads asks poets to
"Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New"   And why not?

A sensitive fellow called Fells
was deafened each year by the bells
lambasting his ears.
He complained at New Years
"Those ringers should all be strung up on their own bloody bell ropes."

His New Year's Eve antics astound.
He spins round and around and around!
The simple solution?
he makes New Year's Revolution -
till he's dizzy and falls to the ground

(Have a heart, folks!  Every New Year I revolve to write better limericks  . . . )

Tailpiece -
Whilst googling for images of bell ringers I came across THIS!

Provide a caption in 15 or fewer words.  Leave as comment.  I will award points and what do points mean?