The Jenoviad Entry #3

February 27th, 2009 by Wordsman

Cloud was a former SOLDIER
The elite of Shinra’s horde
But the coolest thing about him
Was his giant frickin’ sword

No longer Shinra’s man was he
Cloud played the mercenary
But old allegiances die hard
And Barret was quite wary

“Stick with me,” the big man said
Steered Cloud toward elevator
“And if you try to mess this up
I’ll make you sorry later”

But Cloud did not plan to stab backs
So he ignored the taunt
“Hey, as long as I get paid
I’ll bomb anything you want”

At last they reached the bottom
Shinra soon would know the score
‘Twas but a little ways to go
To the reactor’s core

The atmosphere soon darkened
Things would now be turning grave
They knew for sure when their eyes spied
The glowing point of save

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Movie Two-Liners Entry #3

February 25th, 2009 by Wordsman

And now, still in honor of last weekend’s Oscar ceremony, this week’s puzzle will be about a film that should have won Best Picture but didn’t:

Two friends interrupt a discussion of international cuisine and the difficulties of platonic heterosexual relationships to talk a little religion.  Then they change clothes, wash their car, eat breakfast, and shortly afterward part ways forever.

Last week’s puzzle:

An ancient kingdom goes to war with its natural resource-poor neighbor over a dispute over some uninhabited land.  The kingdom’s assault force makes it to the other nation’s border, but its advance comes to a halt as two secret agents sabotage the most powerful weapon they had.

And the answer is . . . ▼

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This Day in History Entry #2

February 24th, 2009 by Wordsman

Louis-Philippe was a great French king
Most enlightened, as then was the thing
But he was not the state
And had to abdicate
And the monarchy to end did bring

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Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? Entry #3

February 23rd, 2009 by Wordsman


“You know,” Abigail said as she weaved her way through the bodies, “this place is actually pretty cool.  Once you get past the sheer quantity of tourists, that is.  Oww!”  She suddenly stopped and began hopping in place, cradling her throbbing foot in her hand.  “What was that?”

The tourist tide in their immediate area began its ebb, and a few moments later the crowd parted enough for her to notice the large rock against which she had just stubbed her toe.  It came up to about the level of her knee and was decorated with a rope and paper squares, like just about everything else at the shrine.  There was also a large sign that presumably attempted to explain why someone had thought it was a good idea to leave such a big rock in the middle of everything where someone could easily trip over it, but of course Abigail hadn’t the first clue how to read it.

Before she had a chance to repeat her angry question, Theodore materialized at her side, already flipping through the English-language version of the explanatory pamphlet.  “This is the Love Fortune-Telling Rock,” he announced after a brief search.

“You’re making that up,” said Abigail.

“I am not,” he countered, making sure to hold the pamphlet high enough that she could not snatch it away from him.  He held it in such a way that the brightly-colored pages covered his face, but it did not matter.  Abigail knew that Theo spent so much time making things up that his face remained straight (as straight as it ever got, anyway) whether he was lying or telling the truth.

“The Love Fortune-Telling Rock . . . ah, excuse me, Love Fortune-Telling Rocks are part of an important tradition here at the shrine,” he continued.  “If one can successfully walk from this rock to the other, then that person shall be granted good luck in all the affairs of the heart.”

“What other rock?” she asked, looking around.  Eventually she spied it through the swaying forest of shifting legs.  Another miniature boulder of similar size and shape had been placed on the ground approximately ten yards away.  “So that’s it?” she asked skeptically, peering at the glimpses of gray that flashed between the mostly pale white calves of the other visitors to the shrine.  “Seems like a pretty easy way to get lucky.  I mean, get good luck,” she corrected, though since they were talking about luck in love she realized that they were essentially the same thing.

Theodore consulted the guide again.  “Ah.  It says here that the participant must either be blindfolded or have his or her eyes closed in order to complete the ritual.”

“That’s crazy!  Look at this place!” Abigail said, sweeping out her arm to indicate the area around them.  The only reason she had enough space to perform the gesture was that it had not yet grown so crowded that people had to stand on top of the Love Rock to fit in the shrine.  The tourist tide had flowed back in, making the short journey to the second Love Rock, which was no longer visible, appear to be near impossible even with one’s eyes open.  “Try to do that walk with your eyes closed and all these people swarming around?  You’d get knocked flat on your back before you even took two steps!  Probably get trampled to death, too.”

“Love is blind,” said Theodore.

“Uh-huh,” Abigail replied.  She firmly believed that Theo knew as much about being in love as he did about being blind.  Totally blind, that is.  He was practically a world champion at the selective kind.

“Perhaps being willing to undergo the dangerous trek is a sign of total devotion to one’s lover,” Theodore suggested.

“If you’ve already got the lover, what do you need the luck for?” Abigail muttered bitterly.

Theodore could not possibly have heard her in the commotion of the crowd, but he continued, “Or maybe it is a symbol of one’s willingness to sacrifice to the gods that inhabit the shrine.  They are the ones granting you the good fortune, after all.”

“Uh-huh.”  Abigail was not particularly interested in sacrificing to the shrine gods right at that moment.  “We should go,” she announced suddenly.  “All these people are making me feel a little claustrophobic.”

“So you’re not going to do it?” he asked.

“No,” she replied as she searched for channels in the sea of humanity that surrounded them.

“Oh, that’s too bad,” he said gravely.  “It also says here that people who touch the rock and then don’t attempt the trial are cursed with bad luck until the end of their days.”

Abigail grinned and turned back to face her brother.  “Now I know you’re making things up.  Give me that pamphlet.”

“I am merely reading what is written here,” he said, holding the brochure safely out of her reach.

She sighed and looked back down at the rock.  For no particular reason, she reached out to touch it.  The surface was very smooth, as if it had been stroked by hundreds of people who had hoped some luck might rub off on them.  It was also probably covered with hundreds of people’s worth of germs.  And at that moment she decided to try it.  She did not believe that completing the dangerous journey would really give her good luck.  She was not doing it “just in case,” either.  Abigail chose to try the Love Rock Challenge for the same reason that great men before her had chosen to climb Everest or fly solo across the Atlantic: because it is there.

Abigail placed her feet right up next to the Love Rock, fixed what little she could see of its partner in her gaze, closed her eyes, took a step out into the unknown . . .

. . . and was immediately struck in the face by the elbow of a tourist who was backing up to take a picture.

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The Jenoviad Entry #2

February 20th, 2009 by Wordsman

“Help!  Oh, help!  We’re und’r attack!”
The guards prepared to shout
And they surely would have said it
‘Cept they then all got knocked out

AVALANCHE descended quickly
For time it was a factor
They had to hurry to destroy
The Sector One Reactor

Shock and awe was this group’s game
They wanted all to know
That they would do whate’er it took
To bring down Shinra Co.

A noble cause these bombers had
Unlike some folks might say
Shinra’s Mako reactors
Sucked the planet’s life away

A tiny group was AVALANCHE
The count to five it ran:
Barret, Jessie, Wedge and Biggs
A spiky-haired young man

The blond man was a newcomer
With face not fierce or proud
He looked at them with blue-green eyes
And said his name was Cloud

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Movie Two-Liners Entry #2

February 18th, 2009 by Wordsman

In honor of the upcoming Oscar ceremony this weekend, this week’s puzzle will be about a film that has won Best Picture:

An ancient kingdom goes to war with its natural resource-poor neighbor over a dispute over some uninhabited land.  The kingdom’s assault force makes it to the other nation’s border, but its advance comes to a halt as two secret agents sabotage the most powerful weapon they had.

Last week’s puzzle:

A group of animals escape from their crazy old owner and start new families.  Meanwhile, children team up with scientists in order to go home, and a hunter gets his just comeuppance.

The answer: Show ▼

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This Day in History Entry #1

February 17th, 2009 by Wordsman

There once was a state called Missouri
Whose admission drove some men to fury
Compromise to maintain
The free states added Maine
But on slav’ry still out was the jury

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Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? Entry #2

February 16th, 2009 by Wordsman


“I’m going to join them,” Theodore announced suddenly.

“You . . . what?” Abigail asked, lowering her camera.  “You’re going to join who?”

“Them,” he answered, pointing toward the group of men in front of them who were waiting patiently to proceed.

“You’re going to join the Funny Hat Brigade?” she asked skeptically.

“All it takes is a hat,” he declared solemnly.

“Uh-huh,” Abigail responded, rolling her eyes as she went back to taking pictures of other parts of the parade.  Then she stopped.  Theo liked to make proclamations like this, and most of the time he never acted on them, but every once in a while they were a prelude to his doing something insane that got them both into trouble.  Unfortunately, there was no way to tell which kind of statement it was beforehand, so if she wanted to avoid a disaster she had to treat them all as if they were serious.

“So how would you join them?” she asked, returning the camera to her pocket because she knew this was going to be a lengthier conversation than it really should be.  “Don’t you think they’ve spent weeks, maybe even months practicing for this?  You can’t just waltz in and take a spot in the parade.”

“All it takes is a hat,” Theodore repeated.


“No.  Don’t you see?  Look at them.  There are people of all types in that column.  Young and old.  Short and tall.  Those with glasses and those without.  Only one tie binds this group: their costumes.  If I had a hat like that, along with the rest of the outfit, then I could be one of them.”

“They’re also all men,” Abigail muttered, but this would not be an obstacle for Theo.  And it wasn’t like she wanted to join the Funny Hat Brigade.  “So why do you want to join them, anyway?” she asked, growing more and more concerned that this would be one of his tangents that actually turned into reckless action.

“To see the world as they see it,” Theodore explained.

“I don’t think they see the world any differently than we do.”

Theodore gave his sister a look, as if to say that she was the most naïve person he had ever met.  Then he turned back to contemplate the column arrayed in front of him.  “Their eyes are shaded by the brims of their hats,” he said at last.

“You want shade?” Abigail asked.  “We can go stand under that tree right over there.”

“It would not be the same,” Theodore said, shaking his head sadly.

“It’s exactly the same!” she began to protest, but her brother was already stepping away from the line of spectators.  “Wait!  Stop!” she cried, causing Theo to halt and turn back toward her.  “How are you even planning to get a costume?” she tried desperately.

“I will wait for one of the men to leave the parade in order to go to the bathroom,” Theodore explained, as if this was the most obvious thing in the world.  “Then, while he is unawares, I will use the element of surprise to knock him out and take his costume.”

“What?” Abigail asked.  She seriously wondered if he thought that the element of surprise alone was enough to knock a man out, or if he understood that his fists would also be required.  “That’s the stupidest . . . one of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever heard!” she corrected, recalling some of their previous conversations.

Theodore shrugged.  “It always works in the movies.”

Before Abigail had a chance to explain that just because something works in the movies doesn’t mean it will in real life, or that that particular trick no longer worked every time even in films, one of the members of the Funny Hat Brigade abruptly left his line.  He had an expression on his face perfectly befitting a man who has been trying to hold it in but can take it no longer.  “Now’s my chance,” said Theodore, and he took off after the man, cutting through the crowd with surprising ease.

Abigail was unable to follow, being disadvantaged by the height difference between her and her brother, so she remained exactly where she was, hoping Theo would be able to find the spot again.  She tried to take a few pictures but wound up spending most of the time worrying about just how much trouble he could get into and growing more distressed with each answer she came up with.

A few minutes later, the man returned to his place in the line, followed shortly afterward by Theodore, who remained amongst the spectators.  Abigail was thoroughly relieved to see no signs that they had either fought or attempted to exchange clothes.  “So what happened?” she asked, natural curiosity overriding the desire to move on and forget the incident had ever happened.

“We talked,” he answered.  He sounded slightly disappointed, but mainly his tone was thoughtful.


“He said I am not yet ready.”

“See?” she said, pulling out her camera again.  “I told you that you need practice to be in a parade.”

Theodore shook his head.  “It is not a matter of practice,” he explained.  “It is simply a matter of being ready.  He said that any man can put on the hat, but there are few who can truly wear it.”

The camera descended once more.  “That doesn’t make any sense at all,” Abigail said.

“He said he could see it in my eyes,” her brother continued, talking more to himself than to her.  “That someday I would be ready.”

“You’re making all this up,” she said, deciding that at this point it was best to just ignore him.

“Someday I will wear that hat, and I will see the world through their eyes,” Theodore went on, no longer paying attention to his sister’s doubts, or the click of her camera, or the parade passing by in front of him.  “And I will be one of them.”

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The Jenoviad Entry #1

February 13th, 2009 by Wordsman

Air fills with gentle music
Sky fills with twinkling stars
This is not a tale you’ll hear
In schools, bookstores, or bars

The telling may take quite some time
So sit down, grab a beer
Though our story starts quite brightly
It will grow darker from here

Our story tells of loss
Both to come and come before
At times it is quite tragic
‘Tis the story of a war

No ordinary war is this
To win’s no piece of cake
Monstrous evil looms o’er all
And the planet is at stake

But do not fear, do not despair
Cling e’er to strands of hope
Our story has a hero
Though he sometimes is a dope

At saga’s start our hero
Has arrived in a great city
Of smokestacks, towers, metal plates
It is not very pretty

And now the music fades
Gives way to noise much more profane
For like many classic stories
This one starts upon a train

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Movie Two-Liners Entry #1

February 11th, 2009 by Wordsman

A group of animals escape from their crazy old owner and start new families.  Meanwhile, children team up with scientists in order to go home, and a hunter gets his just comeuppance.

Posted in Movie Two-Liners | 1 Comment »

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