Friday, October 10, 2008

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 34

This is week 34 of the Saturday Wordzzle challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works.

This week we have a new participant who doesn't have her own blog, so I have posted her submission below my vanity wordzzle in a separate color. I haven't read it yet, but I know she has gone political. I pretty much controlled myself this week. Only a tiny little bit of politics. Special thanks to Melli for next week's words and to Chatty for this week's. My young friend Shannon has given me four or five for a future week. She spent some time with me today while her father ran some errands, so I didn't have much time to write or proof-read. Not sure I have made any sense. Also, there's a big black line in the middle of everything. I don't know where it came from and I can't seem to make it go away. Sorry about that.

Oh... also... PLEASE remember to add your name to Mr. Linky.

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: bluebottle, puppy love, livid, misanthrope, torrid, apathy, erudite, catalyst, hockey puck, parakeet And for the Mini Challenge: totalitarian, moronic, boondoggle, tycoon, insipid

Here's my ten-word offering for this week:

Bluebottle, Hortense Hooligan’s great dane, was in the grips of a desperately torrid and literal case of puppy love for the neighbor’s beautiful, golden-haired Irish Setter. He alternated between tragic apathy and the canine version of hysteria whenever he saw her. The catalyst of this passion, alas, gave him no more attention than a duck hunter would have given to a parakeet. Hortense’s erudite but misentrhopic neighbor was not amused by this tragic case of unrequited love and complained to everyone within earshot about the dog’s noisy love-lorn behavior. Hortense, for her part, could not contain her scorn for this lack of compassion. “That man is a hockey puck,” she whispered to the poor lovelorn Bluebottle. “Don’t you pay any attention to him.”

And here's my mini challenge:

The insipid moronic George W. Bush made a boondoggle disaster out of everything he laid his hand to, from wars to economic devastation for a once great nation. All the greedy tycoons who fed like pigs at the trough of his generous tax breaks were now dining from another trough. As for civil liberties, Mr. Bush seemed quite comfortable dismissing the Constitution and the law and operating like the dictator of a totalitarian nation. The worst shame of it was that the Congress and the nation let him do it.

And the mega challenge:

Martha Jane was livid, positively livid. Her moronic, insipid, hockey puck of a brother-in-law was running the once proud and happy Bluebottle wine company like the misenthrope he was, thinking that made him some kind of tycoon. His unhappy employees, ruled like peasants in a totalitarian dictatorship, were increasingly restless and unhappy, alternating between torrid rage and restless apathy. Like a parakeet – or was it a canary – in a mine shaft, their restless muttering and angry faces should have warned him that trouble was brewing, but he was oblivious. His latest boondogglecatalyst of the current strike - was an effort to prove himself erudite, with an absurd new product called In Vino Veritas, a ridiculous product that only he though was a stroke of genius. The man was an egotistical birdbrain and it was all her sister’s fault, Martha grumbled to herself. Maggie and her stupid puppy love romances with one idiot after another had finally culminated in marriage to the dumbest one of them all and the potential failure of the family's beloved winery. Of course, in her sister’s defense, they had all been stupid enough to put him in charge, so perhaps they were as much to blame as she. In any case, it was time, she decided, to call a family meeting and depose a tyrant.


This week's vanity wordzzle used the words: Cholic, tristes, pusillanimous, hubris, flatulation, torment, coursing, deity, patter, intrepid

Tristes Flagherty had long ago learned to live with the strange name which his mother, who loved all things French, had, in a moment of fancy, bestowed upon him. Having from childhood endured the torments of his schoolmates, Tristes had developed a rather fierce demeanor. His mother, whose strange way with words had not deserted her after naming him, insisted on telling people that he was cholicy, which, of course, only added to the poor young man’s troubles. By the time he reached adulthood, Tristes had developed a number of coping mechanisms. Out drinking in the pubs, he adopted a truculent attitude which often led to fights. “Which one of you ugly pusillanimous, fart-faced bags of unrelenting flatulation,” he would scream after several beers, “thinks he can make fun of my name and get away with it? I’ve got the blood of heroes coursing in my veins.” Which of course was one of his other coping mechanisms: hubris. Tristes had long ago convinced himself that his strange name was a sign that he was descended from royalty. Somewhere in his childhood he had invented the idea that Tristes was a sacred name given to “his people” by an ancient and forgotten deity in what he romantically called “the forgotten times.” He had created a whole mythology about an intrepid hero king driven from his lands by barbarian hordes. It was all very noble and tragic. But when he was at his best, with those he loved and trusted, Tristes had invented a little patter which he would croon in a sing-song voice: “Oh, Tristes Flagherty is my name, For that my mother is to blame. Although I’m sure she meant quite well, She’s put me through unholy hell. No son of mine shall ever face, this kind of miserable disgrace, No, he shall bear a name quite true, like Michael, Patrick, John or Drew. He’ll never hear in idle chat, “Say, how’d you get a name like that?” No, he will have a simple life, Free of shame and free of strife. Yes, Tristes Flagherty is my name. And yes, my mother is to blame. But I’m the last who’ll bear this curse. And that is how I’ll end this verse.”

Anna Norden doesn’t have her own blog so I’ve agreed to post her contribution here. She did the mega this week.

Parable of Rooster Paulson

Rooster Paulson began to swagger around the barnyard. “The sky is falling. The sky is falling,” he crowed with aplomb. No one paid much attention to his gloomy prognostications since it was just such hyperbole that had been the catalyst for a series of disastrous policies in the past. Everyone remembered how rooster’s best buddy, Bluebottle Bushton had frightened everyone to death with his overblown stories about the evildoers who lived in Lower Mongoose County.

A pack of mercenary juvenile raccoons had been recruited for the odious task of “teaching them a lesson”. The motley platoon was given a generous disbursement of oats and vegetable scraps in exchange for making nightly raids. After five years of unprecedented cruelty and plunder, the residents of the barnyard were livid with the toll that this boondoggle had exacted on their community and deeply saddened about the casualties and displacement they had visited on their neighbors.

The trouble was that everyone was preoccupied with their own lives. So even though they were well aware of Bottlenose’s misanthropic impulses and suspected that this new scheme was deeply flawed, the animals plodded along, noses to the ground, desperately trying to keep their respective broods healthy and intact.

Effusey Goosey was up to her downy wings with the juvenile antics of Barbette. What started out as innocent puppy love with Zander’s second gander, Elvis, had hastily ripened into a torrid affair. Meanwhile, Sogsy Hogsy had lapsed into supplementing his rations with too much overripe fruit to remain effective in debunking unscrupulous gambits and refereeing family squabbles.

There was an ominous pall that descended on the barnyard. A breakaway group of sheep gathered on the hill. Deeply suspicious of “presugared slops” in the ”hedges”, they stood by their parsimonious principles. Like a Choros of ancients, they brayed, “eeeeeeet as you go. Reeeeeep what you sow.”

Rooster Paulson strutted pompously across the fields, shrieking his apocalyptic rhetoric. The ever moronic Bottlenose spouted insipid aphorisms meant to reassure the masses.

Zenny Henny was so flummoxed by this display that she screeched, “For clucking out loud. I am so mad. I could hit him over his cockscomb with a hocky puck. She bewailed the barnyard’s incremental slide into tyranny as they had been defrauded of their winter grain by a cabal of treacherous tycoons and profligate players. She concluded by reminding her neighbors that “everyone does better when everyone does better.”

I t certainly wasn’t because of apathy or resignation that the situation had degenerated to its current distressed state. 80% of the denizens of Brown’s barn were convinced that Paulson’s plan would be another crackpot move that would ultimately drive the barnyard into destitution. A representative group was quickly dispatched to consult the venerable council of crows.

The erudite council deliberated for 3 days and 3 nights. When they emerged, they told the story of how a deranged misanthrope had brought about a millennia of totalitarianism in the avian dactyl era. Memory, the Matriarch Mariah warned, is deceptive, because it is colored by today’s events. She paused for a moment, then observed that an empty stomach is not a good political adviser. Everyone returned home to a hearty meal and reconvened on the new moon. The forest clearing was in an uproar. No one knew what to do to preserve the sanctity of the barn. As usual, there were various positions fervently espoused by inspired individuals and devoted sects. The koan that emerged from the grand council was that “ everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler.” The animals scampered back to the barn to digest the events of the evening. They tended to their business, inhaled the salty autumn nights for a fortnight and reassembled under the luminous full moon. A group of proselytizing goats, intoxicated with homilies of an itinerant cleric, insisted that the end times were near. They dug their hooves into the pliant ground and petitioned the group to repent. A penetrating “caw” deftly subdued the evangelistic faction. “Nonsense.” Katerina Crow flapped her thick black wings in rebuttal. Once we accept our limits, we can go beyond them. The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.

There would be many restless nights spent beneath the flicker of the dangling bulb and the animals would gather daily to deliberate about the crows’ council and the barnyard’s common plight.

Meanwhile, a neon green parakeet loosed from the main house trailed a ticker that insipidly proclaimed “mission accomplished.”

Next episode: colony collapse comes to Farmer Brown’s.

This story is based on actual events and the characters are inspired by real life persons.


Many thanks to Melli for next week’s words.

Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: blinking, cellulite, crescent, ship-shape, homonym, suffering, packer, wind chime, scissors, necklace

Mini Challenge: static, floppy hat, penguin, cinnamon, alphabetical

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.



Raven said...

Thanks for participating Anna. That was quite a parable. My favorite line is: "Memory, the Matriarch Mariah warned, is deceptive, because it is colored by today’s events."

Melli said...

Ohhhhhh RAVEN! Your this week works were wonderful -- but your VANITY one is FABULOUS!!! I love that little song! I don't know WHY but I found meself singin' it with a Scottish accent! LOL! That was genius - pure genius!

Anna - a very entertaining yarn! I sort of lost track of the "story" from beginning to end - but it was certainly a fun read!

Lu' said...

Thank you for the game Raven and Chatty thank you for the words. Wow what a tough project for me. No time to read. I'll be back. Got to get to bed. Going to the Hershey Pa. antique car show tomorrow.

Akelamalu said...

I had a really hard time with the words this week, had to look a couple of them up in the dictionary, but you both did a great job!

Lu' said...

I liked the song too, clever.

Dr.John said...

Three good stories Raven. I liked the last one best of all. It's interesting that we both used George in a five word challenge.
Anna an interesting parable but I got lost in it as well. Sometimes the readers aren't as wise as the writer.

Dianne said...

raven - of course I loved the mini LOL, it so speaks to me but I really loved the love struck dog. It just made me feel all awwwww

Anna - I had to read twice, not because of your writing but because I got so caught up in the imagery and cadence that I found myself reading faster and faster.
Absolutely amazing!! Send it to The New Yorker!!

Carletta said...

'A hockey puck' - I haven't heard that expression in many years!

Your mini challenge AND the mega were brilliant!
Tristes reminds me of Brad Pitt's Tristen name in Legends of the Fall. A son probably would be a little disgruntled but I love it.
I LOVE that little patter Tristes sing songs - awesome!

Carletta said...

Very clever! All I can say is what a challenge. Looking forward to the next installment.

SnoopMurph said...

This was quite a challenge! I took me until this morning to get it finished.

I love your use of Tristes too-that was one of the trickiest. You provide so much for the reader and this is a great wordzzle! My favorite was Rooster Paulson shrieking with apocalyptic rhetoric. Excellent!

Richard said...

Raven: loved all the stories this week and the one from another contributor as well. I am struggling to comment while at a Starbucks in Sun Lakes, AZ.


PS: the election is getting closer and more scary.

Raven said...

Hey richard - we miss you. Hope you are soon happily settled in your new AZ home. I agree about the election. But I also have hope that Obama will win and begin the long slow spiritual, emotional and material healing the nation so needs.

Hi to everybody else too. Thanks for your kind comments and for joining in.