Tuesday, 7 July 2015

It Ain't Over Till The Deli Lady Puns - A Studio30+ Prompt


Hi. I'm Deli Bacon. I'm not shitting ya, that's my name. You can call me bac, though, all my friends do. Get it? Call me back, return my call, you know. Anyway I work at the Deli at the Big Publix in the centre of town. And that's why they call me Deli. Could be worse. People mighta caledl me Ham Hocks or Pig's Feet or Blood Pudding or... well, you get the idea. So I'm happy to go with Deli.

I'm gonna tell you a little story and you can save your comments 'till the end. Like that great orator Kanye would say "Imma let you finish but.."

The story is about opportunity lost and how one of two brothers dealt with it.

In Balognaville, Kentucky were born to Hammy and his wife Peppi Salami twin sons. Their birth brought considerable joy to their parents and as youngsters they were doted upon. As soon as they could walk Hammy had the boys, Kyle "Basa" Salami and Frank "Furter" Salami, out in the front yard throwing a ball. Not a pigskin mind you. But a cowhide to teach the boys how to catch and hit a baseball. Over the years these two grew to become excellent ball players. Playing competitively as kids, in high school, and on a baseball scholarship at college, Kyle and Frank eventually found themselves playing AAA ball, a step away from the big leagues.

Every year Balognaville held what was known as the Deli-ball. Now that's not a dance at Publix. No, that's when Kyle's team, the Balognaville Coldcuts, played Frank's team the Balognaville Bratwursts at Schnieder's (Canadian pun) field. And every year the community went as crazy as a gyro, over the match involving the cross-town rivals.

Now Frank was a pitcher. And an exceptional one at that. Across the plate, Kyle was his team's top hitter, known to blow up pitchers on the mound faster than you can slice a piece of Cajun-flavoured turkey. Mmm, mmm.

Of course it was inevitable that Kyle would face Frank. And over the course of the game he went up against him several times. Every time Kyle would hit Frank's pitch outta the ballpark (subtle pun alert).

Frank was usually the more positive-minded of the two. He didn't let things get him down. He learned his lessons and positively moved on. But today Frank was so unnerved he started singing to himself. Early in the game he sang Put Me In Coach, that John Fogerty ditty but around the seventh inning-stretch his singing had reached a fevered pitch (no pun intended) where he was singing aloud Take Me Out Of The Ball Game, but he changed up the lyrics a bit, of course, to suit his situation. Too bad he didn't change up his pitches.

The umpire, Mayer, Oscar Mayer, was a bit of a brat. But Frank knew he had nothing to do with the trouncing his team received at the hands of his brother. He had to admit to himself, as he continued to hum at the end of the game, that he was a victim of his own undoing.

As they marched off the field. Kyle turned to his brother and said "Sanguine, Frank?"

His brother looked to the sky, thought for a moment and whispered "Are you kidding? Sang lost."


The prompt this week was sanguine from the folks at Studio30+, which I'm not sure they'll be after they read this.


Monday, 6 July 2015

Bibliofile - June 2015



What was with the weather in June? I went fishing in the last week of the month and it must have been one of the coolest last weeks of that month on record. But the weather didn't deter me from reading 6 more books this year and now my total thus far is 40 books.

My pace may have slipped as I've been binge-watching a lot of series on "Crave TV" lately. Things like Carnivale, HAPPYish, The Smoke, and The Fear. All quite good. Where were these series the first time around? Recent movies include This Is Where I Leave You, Still Alice, What Maise Knew and The Good Lie.

DVDs I have in reserve are the Larry Sanders Show, the updated Prisoner series and Sherlock. So lots to get to, too.

Anyway, books...in June.

Did a little catching up with Jack Reacher (One Shot) and Dismas Hardy (The Fall). I like these  detective type novels. In fact a third book was also in this vein, an unlikely novel by Stephen King called Finders Keepers, which is a continuation of his recent Mr Mercedes and is supposed to be followed by a third volume.

I got in two music-themed books this month. One about the Stones I won't even mention other than to say it was by the group's former money man. This is for really, really serious Stones fans. Alas, I don't fall into that category. But the other book about Led Zeppelin was quite good - a well-researched comprehensive history of the group.

The last book was a very humorous look at "hair treatment" that I was asked to read and review. I'm glad I did and my review can be found here.

Here are the 6 books and my ratings.

The Fall - Dismas Hardy #6 ****
Hell Toupee - My Ridiculous Year Wearing a Hair Replacement - Mitch Friedman ****
A Prince Among Stones - Prince Rupert Lowenstein **
When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin - Mick Wall ****
Finders Keepers (2 of 3 after Mr Mercedes) - Stephen King ****
One Shot - Jack Reacher #9 - Lee Child ****

Let me know what you've been reading or would like to recommend. Until this time next month...

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Driving An Automatic



How he came to be here he wasn't quite sure. He hadn't set out to be here. He was out for a drive with Dad and before he knew it here he was.

It was like he had been on auto-pilot, something instinctive or automatic that had driven him here. He laughed at his own pun because actually it had been him that had been doing the driving. And it was an automatic.

But it had all been a blur. Which wasn't good if he'd been behind the wheel. Nevertheless all seemed to have gone well because here he was, all in one piece.

"Well done" said his passenger, a portly middle-aged fellow. He jumped. Just where had the passenger come from and where was his Dad?

"I think you've passed with flying colours" said the passenger. "It's not everyone that passes on the first try".

"Passes?" he echoed.

"Your driver's test son. Your driver's test"

"Oh my God" he blurted. "If I can drive like that without paying attention think how well I'll drive when I take stock of my surroundings." I may just be ready for NASCAR!"

"Not so fast" said his passenger. "You'll never get anywhere in NASCAR. All you ever do is turn left."


The prompt from Studio30+ this week was instinctive. Which is how I wrote this post - instinctively.


Saturday, 13 June 2015

I'm Dying Here - A Studio30+ Prompt



You know, I think I'm quickly becoming a grumpy old man. My wife says so. I've reached the point where, just to warn her in a conversation I preface my outburst with "I'm gonna go to grumpy old man mode here..." and then let fly.

I confess it's an affliction. I was never like this in my younger days. But now? Now I've got a word or two about almost anything. And don't get me started on today's so-called popular music or Quebec political party leaders. But what am I talking about?

Like when you're driving down the street and the car in front of you abruptly turns, no signal, no warning. So I shout to my vacant vehicle interior "Hey, there's a little stick on your driving shaft. It's called a bloody blinker. I'm dying here!"

Same when some joker in a fancy car parks himself in the passing lane going 5-10 miles an hour under the speed limit. "Hey, move outta the passing lane where, you know, people are supposed to go fast. I'm dying here!"

Now it wasn't enough that You Tube placed ads in front of videos that there's nothing you can do but watch. But now when you get to your video, there's a banner ad at the bottom that you have to click to remove (Everybody, with me...) "Hey, I'm dying here!"

Speaking of those banner ads, TV has suddenly latched onto them and you can't click them away. They pop up over credits, during shows and across sub-titles. Christ (say it with me now) "I'm dying here!"

And another thing, I don't know about the States but Canada has evolved to a twelve month a year election campaign period even though no election has been called. I'm sick and tired of the slew of negative ads all parties have come to broadcast, let alone the ones the sitting government pushes to promote itself. It's like I'm supposed to be so thankful to "the motherland" or something. "Man, (it's okay, I'll take this one) I'm dying here!"

But it's not all bad. My charming wife - who used to think the lyrics to Take Me Home by John Denver were "West Virginia, honky momma, take me home country roads" came up with a new one today when she told me she always thought Neil Young was singing "keep on rocking on the freeway."

Ha, ha, I was dying, here. But thankfully in a good way.

Sneak on over to Studio30+ for a peek at how others covered this week's prompt of moribund/dying.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Bibliofile - Hell Toupee


So here I am in the middle of the month, instead of the end of the month, talking about books. One book actually. A kind woman got hold of me on Twitter and asked me if I'd like a review copy of something called Hell Toupee. With the number of books I buy a month I jumped at the chance of reading something for free. And that worked both ways. I wasn't payed for this review (hint, hint).

So we switched e-mails and I let her know my address. She told me it was by Mitch Friedman. I confess after I heard "Mitch" I was certain this was Mitch Albom's latest book. You know, the author of Tuesday's With Morry, The Five People You Meet in Heaven?

When I opened the package I had received I learned the book was by some guy called Friedman. Oh, well, I'll get to it after I finish the latest Dismas Hardy Detective novel The Fall.

This was nothing like that, although maybe in one way, that they were both about the search for truth. In the Dismas Hardy piece they searched for the murderer. Quelle surprise! In the Friedman book he searched for the cure to male pattern baldness. Sure. Similar, right?

Toupee is such  funny word. One of the funniest in the English language. And I was pleasantly surprised that Mitch Friedman was equally funny - and educational. In my early 60s, I'm still blessed with a full head of hair. You hear that Mitch? Poor Mitch took the unfortunate route of purchasing "The System" in his early 30s. And he put up with what for all intents and purposes looked like a wet dog for a full year. His tale is simply hilarious. I confess I chuckled, shook my head and laughed out loud at various spots. (See what I did there? Spots? Bald spots?)

Thoughout this tale he weaves (ha, ha I didn't even do that one on purposes) a humorous yet sad tale about his dysfunctional family. Think Augusten Burroughs pointedly sad but hilarious books and you'll get an idea of what I'm talking about.

On the whole, for a first book, I truly enjoyed reading Mitch Friedman's Hell Toupee. I can't wait to see what he writes about next.

Wanna learn more? Check out Mitch's website.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Bibliofile - May 2015


Well, we've turned the page on another month - an apt turn of phrase for a post about books, eh? It was a busy month, so let's get right to it.

Of the 10 books I got through in May, 6 were detective novels, including 3 about two Dutch police detectives, one about a Swedish detective and another about a Norwegian cop. Throw in the eighth Jack Reacher novel and the latest from R.J. Ellory and I can tell you I've seen a heck of a lot of crime this month.

Highlights? There were many. Andy Weir's tale about an astronaut who gets left behind on Mars was very well written and takes the reader through the predicament with wit and subtle humour.

Rick Wakeman's Grumpy Old Rock Star provided a glimpse of the varied musical career of the fella probably best known as the keyboardist for Yes. And Wakeman can be a very funny guy. This was a quick and  enjoyable read.

The Grijpstra and de Gier series was a delightful new find in the style of Nesbo or Menkell, except the action takes place in Amsterdam. I quite enjoyed the first three volumes. It goes without saying Nesbo's sixth Harry Hole book and Menkell's An Event in Autumn with Kurt Wallander were as great as ever. Menkell's book was actually written some years ago as a short story and he entered it between the already completed 9th and 10th volumes, sort of as a flashback or prequel. I haven't read the 10th book but it, unfortunately, is the last of Wallander's adventures.

William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade was a humorous look at Hollywood. It's a little dated, originally written in 1983, but if you're interested in the behind the scenes goings on in the movie industry, you'll like this. I did.

So here's the entire list for the month in the order in which I read them.

Adventures in the Screen Trade - William Goldman ****
Outsider in Amsterdam - Janwillem van de Wetering (Grijpstra and de Gier #1) *****
The Martian - Andy Weir *****
Tumbleweed - Janwillem van de Wetering (Grijpstra and de Gier #2) ****
Mockingbird Songs - R.J. Ellory ****
The Corpse on the Dike - Janwillem van de Wetering (Grijpstra and de Gier #3) ****
Rick Wakeman Grumpy Old Rock Star - Rick Wakeman ****
The Enemy - Lee Child (Jack Reacher #8)
An Event in Autumn - Henning Mankell (Kurt Wallender #9.5)
The Redeemer - Jo Nesbo (Harry Hole #6)

And these 10 books bring my year-to-date total to 34 books.

How about you? I'm looking for recommendations. What have you been reading?
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