Alex Stoddard

Like with many pets that look so cute when they are small, the Zurgs had miscalculated exactly how big their acquisition from that beach on the third planet would get.  They had found it while on last decade’s vacation and the children pestered them to keep it.

“Xixi, you really have to stop indulging the kids,” Xorgon Zurg said glancing over to the pet corner.

“What do you mean?” she replied.

“That biped you got for Ziron.  It’s eating us out of house and home.  And, its out-growing its tank again.”

“It’s not like you need to take care of it,” Xixi retorted.

“No, I just have to pay for the stupid thing.  Do you know what the vet bills come to?  I thought not.  ‘It’s a little one,’ you said.  ‘It won’t eat much.’  Do you know what the water alone costs?  What’s a Xenonian to do?”


Photo Challenge #304




Danube Bridges

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Danube Bridges: Budapest

Maria Antonia’s 2020 Photography Challenge includes a prompt to share a picture on the theme of bridge or tunnel.  Bridges feature in the life and history of the Hungarian capital, Budapest.  The city is in reality two cities Buda and Pest, which are linked by the bridges, the first being the Chain Bridge.

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Margaret Bridge



Under Construction

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Sagrada Família

Maria Antonia’s Photography Challenge for 2020 includes a prompts for “Under Construction.”  Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia fits the phrase perfectly.  The Basilica was originally the brain-child of Josep Maria Bocabella i Verdaguer who, in 1866, wanted to create a religious site to honour the Holy Family, and especially Joseph.  Construction began in 1882.   Since then the project has been linked to Antoni Gaudí who took over as architect in 1883.   The construction has had several setbacks, not least being damage during the Spanish Civil War, and a fire in 2011.  But, the work continues and plans are now in place to finish the project in 2026.

Under construction

It seems always to be

Since Gaudi took over in ’83

It’s had some problems

With wars and some flames

But the project goes on-wards

With scaffold and cranes

The site is beautiful –

Though its style’s a big mix –

I can’t wait till it’s finished –

In twenty -twenty and six






“It’s Time”

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Tower Trumpeter – Prague- image: Padre’s Ramblings

The 2020 Photography Challenge from Maria Antonia includes presenting a photo on the theme of “It’s Time.”  The above photo and its companion below are of the clock tower in the old town of Prague.  The Astronomical Clock is amazing, and if its artistic mechanism isn’t enough to draw attention, each hour a trumpeter sounds the time as well.


Now –
It’s time –
The trump sounds –
The clock strikes nine –
Historic figures –
Their hourly paths enact –
Curious tourists gather –
Upwards they stare and gawk – amazed –
In old Prague town the new day begins
The clock-astronomic, has entertained


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image: Padre’s Rambling

The Big Picture

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Image: Padre’s Ramblings

It is the beginning of a new year, and it hold many opportunities and mysteries.  But it isn’t always easy to gain perspective on events as we are experiencing them.  Despite the year’s name, it is the past which actual offers us that 20/20 perspective.  “The Big Picture,” if you will.   OFMARIAANTONIA‘s photo challenges for this year include one entitled, “Big Picture”  I have attached one such Big Picture from Guernica in the Basque Country in Spain.

This image by Pablo Picasso was his response to the Fascist bombing of the town during the Spanish Civil War.  The original oil painting measures 3.49 meters (11 ft 5 in) in height and 7.76 meters (25 ft 6 in) across.  Though huge, the meaning of the painting is perhaps even bigger.  It was painted to raise money for war relief and to bring the world’s attention to the atrocities being committed in the conflict.

Franco’s Fascist government with the aid of the Nazi Condor Legion attacked the Basque capital on 26 April 1937 during market day thus insuring maximum civilian casualties and instilling psychological terror of Franco’s opponents.  The choice of target was calculated on several levels.  First, the aforementioned psychological impact was evident.  But Guernica also symbolised democracy, as the fiercely independent Basque people had their ancient parliament in the town.

The attached photo is of a tile reproduction of Picasso’s work which has been erected in the town as a reminder of the Guernica’s past, and of the consequences of democracy being eclipsed by dictatorship.  That is truly, a “Big Picture,” to remember.





Rare Encounter


Sarolta Bán

“Do you see that?” Tyler said pointing to the sky.

“Yes, it’s amazing!” Lisa responded.

“I bet we are the only people we know that will ever see it.  Are you getting it on your phone, we really have to post this one,” Tyler said excitedly.

“Got it,” Lisa said, and then began the post:  Family of yellow bellied sap suckers getting a take away.




Photo Challenge #295

Take away British  = Carry Out American

That’s Hollywood For You




The studio executives sat at the conference table with the creative staff.  They were in need of a blockbuster in order to reverse the companies declining fortunes.

“Well, I was reflecting back on my childhood, and was trying to think what might capture the hearts of young families,” the Creative Director said.

“What did you come up with?” the CEO asked.

“Cabbage Patch Kids.  They were all the rage when I was young.”

“Hmm. There might be some mileage in that,” the Executive Producer mused.

“Animation?” The CEO queried.  “Expensive, and a little risky with Disney and Pixar to contend with.”

“Yes, and we need at least a PG-13 for any profit,” the Marketing Director interjected.

“I still like the concept,” the Executive Producer interjected.  “What if we go with live action, and ramp it up to “R?”

“What do you have in mind?”  the CEO asked.

“A slasher, set in a small Vermont farming village.  Some disappearances, and gore should do it.”

“Yes, I love it,” the CEO said.  “Do you think we can get Steve King and Quentin T. on board with this?”

And thus, Cabbage Patch Kids: The Movie was born.



Photo Challenge #293



His Future

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image – Winsome Woods

Ernie sat in the corner and pouted.  He couldn’t believe the unfairness of it all.  He had his dreams, and now they seemed dashed.  Okay, Dad was a plumber, and Mum was from a long line of electricians, but why should that matter?  After all it was his life wasn’t it?  But no, his father had put his foot down, and Ernie was going to enter an apprenticeship into a building trade.  Yet, all he ever wanted was to go to university and become a librarian.




Photo Challenge #291