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Community Comment

Posts tagged: Virtual Ballroom

A brief introduction to the Virtual Ballroom…

Good morning, Netizens…

For those of you who have read Community Comment for any prolonged period of time, you will quite possibly remember my creation called “The Virtual Ballroom”, a fantasy world I created from the inception of Community Comment. The Ballroom is a fanciful, fictional place in my heart which is a mix of living, mortal souls and ghosts of great and not-so-great individuals who call this place home. It is traditional, when visiting the Virtual Ballroom, that the host offers each visitor a free espresso drink, typically named in honor of whatever occasion comes to mind. We’ve had some doozies over the years.

For the sake of many of our recent visitors, occasionally I write fiction/fantasy because I love it so, and thus it too has become part of this Blog.

As of late I have been remiss in tending the “home fires” of the Virtual Ballroom, mostly because of the considerable demands placed upon my disposable time aside from Journalism and writing. However, as we approach Christmas each year, I have always posted fiction and non-fiction about the Christmas Season as I perceive it to be.

I am hopeful that in the coming days, I will be able to find the time to share some of these tales, including a brief visit to the Virtual Ballroom, for the sake of our Russian guests, and that you will find it illuminating or perhaps amusing.


Probius Phoont…

Good morning, Netizens…

I have been in and out of the Virtual Ballroom and the Virtual Garden all summer long, but only long enough to have a quiet cup of Virtual Espresso, exchanging casual conversations with the various ghosts that have served as the barrista of the day, perhaps to appreciatively listen to some of the music being played by the Virtual Orchestra. For some unexplained reason our orchestra this summer has taken to playing really eccentric music, things by classical composers that have long since been buried in our collective histories, things that even the most-dedicated classicists would recall.

The Garden Gnomes who tend the lush Virtual Garden, either through magic or sheer pluck, have managed to raise a respectable garden of vegetables and delightful flowers that adorn the stone walkways throughout the garden, despite the heat of July and the chilly weather of August. If the casual were to go looking for the Gnomes during the worst of the strange weather we’ve had this summer, you would like as not note they were missing, for during the worst of the heat, the Gnomes were taking shelter beneath the giant, uncontrollable rhubarb plants that grow unrepentant toward the rear of the rear garden wall, and during the recent chill, staying deep underground in their warm burrows. It has been only at twilight and daybreak, that they have been visible, hard at work at weeding and harvesting. Oh, my Lord we have cucumbers!

Perhaps the most dramatic event to take place all summer has been the arrival of Probius Phoont, who has appeared in the Virtual Ballroom recently.

Nobody, not even the ghost of the Greek dramatist Aeschylus, who frequently comes by to recite some of his own ancient verse while serving Virtual Espresso at the bar, who seems to know far more about everyone in the Virtual Ballroom than anyone, does not know the origins of Probius. Of him, Aeschylus states, “That is the only spirit who has an uncertain past, present and future, but who seems to know or presume a great deal about everyone and everything in the Virtual Ballroom. Be his assumptions correct or in err largely remains to be seen.”

Thus it was in the half-light of early morning, I came to meet this strangest of all Spirits in the Virtual Ballroom, as once more he was serving as the barrista of the day. Attired in a plum-colored robe that rippled as he moved up and down the counter, with a brass-colored helmet atop his head, Probius Phoont slid a cup of orange espresso tinged with streaks of chartreuse in front of me, and tapping it meaningfully with his forefinger stated, “It has no need of a name. Unlike most things of nature, its presence requires no name. Simply imbibe it, bask in its ambience and move onward.”

Taking a tentative sip, and finding it extremely pleasurable, I gazed on this odd spirit and asked, “Who are you, Probius? That is a question everyone in the Virtual Ballroom seems to be asking. No one seems to know where you originate nor how you came to be here.”

I am the ghost half-brother of a cartoon character known as Flakey Foont which was drawn by R. Crumb back in the 60’s and 70’s.

My mouth fell agape. We have ghosts in the Virtual Ballroom, but now we have a ghost of a cartoon character’s half-brother? Will miracles never cease?


A Little Zing for my day…


Good morning, Netizens…

I carefully slid back into my favorite bar stool at the Virtual Espresso Bar very early this morning, noting with some degree of interest, that the Virtual Ballroom has its usual collection of ghosts, spirits and various other dignitaries floating around the ballroom dancing to the heart-warming sounds of Artie Shaw back in the days when music was written on paper before it received any great public notice.

No sooner than I am ensconced upon my bar stool, today’s barrista, the Ghost of the Great Satchel Paige strolls up to me, and thus completes a history of sorts, for I once researched Paige before his death in 1982, for he was one of the first black Americans to play professional baseball, and played pro ball for Bill Veeck who at the time was at the helm of the Cleveland Indians.

“Do you have any good quotes or quips for me this morning?” I ask, remembering how Paige loved to turn a phrase in front of the news media of his time.

“Mans got to do what he’s got to do,” he states emphatically, with what appears to be a twinkle in his eyes.

Before I can rise to the occasion with something of merit of my own, he deftly slides a cup of Virtual Espresso in front of me with a smile that appears as suddenly as the cup of balmy-appearing espresso.

“This is what is called ‘fast ball espresso’ because although it is delivered without much spin it is guaranteed to have a zing. Helps make the days go better.”

Given that I have worked harder at my real day job in the last two weeks than I probably should and given the Garden Gnomes have already made their appearances in the Virtual Garden out behind the Ballroom, I am comfortable with the prospect of Spring, despite the cold weather this morning. Things are resuming their normal ebb and flow once again, and I am once more sitting at my home away from home.

As other patrons have drifted in the front door to the Virtual Ballroom, and Paige wanders down the forty-foot-long bar, I feel the zing of the espresso, the uplifting of the day and the contentment of knowing there is nothing I need to do about either.


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