Monthly Archives: January 2014

Monkey See, Monkey Do. Monkey Don’t Want To See That Anymore

Have you ever had the good fortune to see a pack of toothpicks saunter down a runway modeling the latest fashion? I don’t mean the type of clothes your average, everyday, run-of-the-mill, normal human being would don.

 Naw, baby! I’m talkin hats that extend four feet from either side of the head and peak twelve feet above the ground with a monkey balancing on a unicycle and its top.images

 What really excites me are the sleeveless, spiral dresses that wind their way down from the neck to the ground like some Dr. Seuss creation.

 What really, really excites me are the designs that your more forward-thinking (translation “this sucks”) fashion aficionados have contrived.  Namely, the provocative ways they have devised to conceal the female boob.  One of my favorites being the metal conical cover that brings out that medieval, “here’s your claymore; let’s throw down.”

 What really, really, really excites me is when they take that delicate unassuming boob and slather it with chocolate.  Now that’s something I want my wife wearing out in public.   Throw in a pair of fuzzy 8” pumps and you’re ready for the moon walk…and I mean on the moon.

 I don’t know who comes up with this stuff but I guess everybody has to do something.  As outlandish as some of these fashions can be, if I turn this concept around and apply it to writing, it seems perfectly natural.

 The ridiculous hat suddenly becomes a high-tech helmet in a science fiction novel.  The swirly Dr. Seuss type dress is a huge constrictor threatening to put the squeeze on the protagonist in an intense action adventure.

 The fuzzy pumps are just one item in the arsenal of a seductress in a steamy romance novel.

 And the chocolate boob……well, that’s just wrong.

 So the next time you see something that’s so outlandish, so bizarre and just downright unnecessary, stop looking.  Your mother didn’t raise you that way.

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A Love Affair for the Ages-Libations and Lips

 As usual, here I sit in front of my computer staring at a virtual page with virtual words plastered across it.  Suddenly, I think of the masters, namely Hemingway.  I can’t help but wonder how many words he penned sober whiskeyand how many under the influence of mind altering liquids.

 This leads me to think of my own life.  How many words have I penned sober, and in the days of yore when I was known to tip a grog or twelve, how many did I pen while gassed?

 Once again (as ideas are wanton to travel from point A to point B and continue on unabated), the word “buzz” bounces off my four walls several times and then into my brain.  At once I am weighed down with that nagging question of the ages.  “Buzz,” I think–that all important state of mind.  It’s not a ball, and it’s not a cold.  So why will the human race go through so much to catch one?

 The first evidence of a fermented beverage was found as residue in a clay pot 9,000 years ago.  At that time they would combine honey, rice and fruit.  I don’t have a clue about the finished product, other than inebriation was sure to follow.  Additional proof that the more things change the more they stay the same, and also that the “buzz” would never go out of style.

 Down through the ages mankind, thirsty for different tasting “buzzes,” develop different tasting drinks.  Beers and mead were always ready for a good time.  And then came the fermentation of grapes which we all know as wine. This beverage was so important during weddings in biblical times that it warranted the attention of Jesus.  In the French town of Cognac, the Dutch would transport wine long distances.  In order to make more room, the wine would be distilled, concentrating the beverage, allowing more to be shipped.  Once it reached its destination, the wine could be reconstituted and enjoyed by all.

 It was soon found that the distilled wine was enjoyed much more than its diluted cousin.  This distilled wine or burnt wine which translated to brandy wine was later shortened to “brandy.”  Then after a second distillation the beverage adopted the name of the town from whence it came, “Cognac.”

 During the middle ages, more alcohol than water was consumed due to the bacteria laden H20.  Even kids could walk around snockered.

 Sea faring ships carried more beer than water for the same reason.  British sailors were given a ration of one gallon of beer a day.

 During prohibition, organized crime was centered around the illegal sale of alcohol. Moonshining rose in popularity and profitability, especially in the Appalachian region. In fact, my bride hales from what one Parisian paper dubbed as the “moonshine capital of the world,” Franklin County, Virginia.

 There are alcoholic beverages still made today in some primitive cultures that are not fermented with sugar or yeast but human saliva.

 I am still confounded as to why the human race will go to such ends to achieve that grand ole pastime of “gettin high”.  Oh well, some things just aren’t meant to be answered.

 Now, where was I?  “Buzz”, “Buzz”, “Buzz”, Hemingway……..now I remember.  I was writing a story.

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Keep the and’s, and the but’s, Just Drop the IF’s

if

“If”…… There’s that word again. I sometimes think it should be abolished. I mean, does it really have a valid use? No other word denotes such confusion and uncertainty.

“If” this were to happen.

“If” that were to happen.

 However, “if” we were to rid ourselves of that nasty little preposition, think of all the great speculation we would lose.

“If” I were to pen a novel and refuse to incorporate the word, “If,” would it be a refreshing respite from an old, stale has-been or more like a man with one foot nailed to the floor, running around in circles?

And “If” I were successful in ridding the world of this scourge, can you imagine the outcry for a replacement?

I can see it now…there would be riots in the street, destruction of property, possible injuries, total anarchy through every town, city, village and Hamlet. “If” I had only waited to abolish that filthy little scamp “If.”

Then, as our peaceful existence succumbed to mob rule, they would most certainly blame me. And “If” they did, I envision hordes of men, women, children, and fuzzy little pets from hound dogs to hamsters with torches and pitchforks, all after blood… Mine!

 If” I were able to escape and make my way into seclusion, I would be forced to work day and night, night and day without food or sleep and barely enough water to keep my poor emaciated self alive. Then, “If” at all possible, I would gather together a group of nomadic pygmies to act as liaison between myself and the ones who would have my head.

 As I envision possible replacements for that dastardly two lettered faux pas, “If,” I would send the leader of the pygmy liaisons, “Bob,” to meet with the head pitchfork toting nanny, “Henrietta,” to see if the predetermined word is a feasible replacement for “If.”

 For instance, what about using “unknown” instead of “If:” “If” I were to eat a sardine sandwich.

 The new sentence would read: “Unknown” I were to eat a sardine sandwich.

 See what I mean? A perfectly acceptable substitute. Don’t you agree? You do, don’t you? Please say that you do, “If” you don’t mind. I’ve got a lot riding on this.

 Or how about using, “but?” That works, doesn’t it?  “But” I were to eat a sardine sandwich.…

 Here’s one, “Doubt,” yeah, that’s it. Listen to how this flows off the tongue.

 “Doubt” I were to eat a sardine sandwich. See what I mean?

 Now “If” Bob can only get Henrietta to go along with my stunning replacement for “If” then all will be right with the world once someone cleans up the mess.

 Wait a minute. What “If” they can’t reach an agreement? What “If” Bob turns on me? What

“If” the word “If” comes to life and joins the foray?…

 You know, the more I think about it, the more I think that “If” isn’t such a bad word after all…

“if” it’s all the same to you.

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January 13, 2014 · 2:56 PM

Swim Before Eating or Eat Before Swimming; I Never Can Remember

Have you ever thought how much writing and eating have in common? You probably haven’t since it’s not a thought that most lobster-300x213

people are likely to have. In fact, I just had that very thought for the first time only moments ago.

 First, let me say that I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a great deal throughout the United States. Although there are many other exotic locations with foods too exotic for my palate, our country offers a fine selection of diverse delicacies–things like crawfish, rattlesnake, alligator, turtle, elk, kangaroo, ostrich, sea urchin, frog legs, goat, snails–to name a few; all delicious in their own right.

 If we combine writing and dining and then put them under the microscope, the similarities begin to surface. This is where all the thinking (you know, my thoughts, your thoughts, and when we think’em) from the first paragraph comes into play.

 For instance, a rich buffalo tenderloin in a wine reduction with potatoes gratin and bacon wrapped asparagus…a meal, such as this could bring to mind any number of classics.

 And by no means would a meal have to be elegant. How many times, if given a choice, would you choose a hot dog loaded with toppings or a double bacon cheeseburger over a perfectly steamed lobster drenched in butter?…… I’ll have to admit that was a pretty sad analogy, but you understand where I’m going with this.

 The hot dog would go hand-in-hand with a whimsical romance novel. The bacon cheeseburger, a testosterone laden action adventure, and the lobster… oh, the lobster… yes, the lobster.… Give… me… the… Lobster!

 Digging into a snail shell for the first time would certainly qualify as a mystery. For some, I have no doubt it would be the equivalent of a horror. (Did I mention that lobster is also delicious grilled over charcoal?)

 Now the rattlesnake and alligator go hand-in-hand with espionage and danger. (Seawater is also a great liquid to cook lobster in…kinda seasons it as it cooks.)

 Now that I’ve shown you how books and food can be linked together maybe you’ll eat more lobster. (They are also known as the roach of the sea. It’s amazing how something can exist on garbage yet its own flesh tastes like the food of the gods.)

 So take the time to pair a book with an exotic food. Or if you feel so inclined eat the book and read your food. Either way, it’s just as fulfilling.

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