Thursday, September 3, 2015

Celebrity Couples Riven by Strange Beliefs

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes called it quits, because Katie couldn't hack one more lecture on body Thetans.  Other famous couples can sympathize with the way bizarre personal beliefs can challenge a relationship

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Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones

"Mike believes there are twelve Supreme Court Justices.  I've tried explaining to him there are only nine.  Otherwise what would you do in case of a tie?  It only makes sense.  I tried asking him how he thinks a five-four decision is possible with twelve justices, but he won't listen.  I mean, how can you reason with someone who can't even get arithmetic?"

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Russell Crowe and Danielle Spencer

"I swear, every time Danielle uses the bathroom, she talks about how in Australia, the water swirls the other way around.  It makes me CRAZY!  I'm from Australia, damn it.  The water goes the same way around.  I've seen it!  But.  She.  Just.  Won't.  Listen.  I start to see why Mel [Gibson] cracked."

Donald Trump and Melania Knauss-Trump

"Donald thinks the expression is 'just desserts,' as in, 'The would-be bank robber got his just desserts.'  That doesn't even make sense!  The expression is 'just deserts,' as in getting what you deserve.  What the hell, does Donald think you get ice cream in prison?  Ivana and Marla tried telling me this would drive me crazy, but I thought it wasn't that big a deal.  But after a while, it really starts to wear on you.  When he says, 'just desserts,' I can tell he's pronouncing it with two s's just to provoke me.  I mean, how hard can this be.  I'm from freaking Slovenia and I know that."

(Originally posted 2012)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Partial Transcript of an Audio Book as Read by the Author

And the Angels Wept, a novel by Hugh Bohanan

I'm not really keen on the title actually.  It was the publisher's idea.  I wanted to call it Bread of Heaven, and I'm not saying The Angels Wept is bad, but you might want to keep in mind my original title, especially when we get to chapter twenty-four, when Claire and Simone discover the letter, and I think you'll see how nicely it informs the book.


And the Angels Wept (Originally titled Bread of Heaven)  a novel by Hugh Bohanan.

Chapter One.

Darcy and the armadillo had stared at each other a long time without speaking.

I know that's kind of a weird opening, but what I was trying to do was suggest a sort of whimsical world, you know, where people stare at armadillos.  The armadillo will not talk later in the book, as the opening sentence suggests, but it's just kind of there.  Darcy and the armadillo clearly have a relationship, though, as you can tell from the opening sentence.  But I'm not going to explain anymore and just let the work speak for itself.

And the Angels Wept.

You know, actually, that's a pretty good title after all, and I can see the publisher's point.  The problem with Bread of Heaven, and it's a pretty good title in its own way, is that it addresses the theme of the book too directly and doesn't leave enough to the reader's imagination, which a good title should do.  So.  I just thought I'd say that.  Good job, publisher.  Thanks.

And the Angels Wept, a novel by Hugh Bohanan

And I'm not even going to mention the original title I had in mind because I can see now it was a mistake.

And the Angels Wept

It's really silly of me to keep starting from the very opening, so I'm going to skip all the stuff I've already read and just pick up from there.

It was around two-thirty on a Wednesday afternoon.

That doesn't really work after all because you really need the opening sentence to sort of ramp up to the second one, which provides important details about the setting but is kind of abrupt if the novel starts that way.

And the Angels Wept, a novel by Hugh Bohanan

Actually, the armadillo did speak in an earlier draft, but I took it out because I thought it was just too distracting.

Bread of Heaven

Chapter One

I'm sorry.  Wrong title.

And the Angels Wept, a novel by Hugh Bohanan.

Chapter One

Darcy and the armadillo had stared at each other a long time without speaking.  It was around two-thirty on a Wednesday afternoon.

I know what you're thinking, and you're right.  Why the hell can't Bohanan be more specific?  I mean, Wednesday afternoon, that's pretty good, but what's with this around two-thirty?  Don't I know what time it is?  Am I afraid to commit?  But on the other hand, around two-thirty suggests this back-and-forth staring has been going on for some time and also that they aren't conscious of the exact time.  (Not that armadillos can tell time anyway.  Ha-ha.)  So I'm just going to stick with the sentence as it is.  Sometimes your first instincts are right and you just have to trust them.

And the Angels Wept


I should have let the armadillo say something.

(Originally posted 2012)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Physical Therapy

The latest on my torn ACL is that if I do physical therapy to strengthen my leg and improve my balance, maybe I won't need surgery and can still do a triathlon sprint with Spencer next summer, so I'm in there twice a week, doing whatever they tell me, which is frankly pretty weird.  The stationary bike and the leg presses make perfect sense, but the part where I stand on one leg on a a little trampoline and go up and down feels just a little silly.  I asked my physical therapist about this.

ME: Do you ever get bored with your job?

THERAPIST: Well, sometimes, I guess.  It's like any other routine after awhile.  You know.

ME: Do you ever think of messing with your patients?

THERAPIST: I don't know what you're talking about.

ME: Do you ever make up crazy stuff for them to do, just to see how much they'll fall for.

THERAPIST: Absolutely not.  That would be against the Physical Therapist Code of Ethics.

ME: Okay.  Good.  It's just that sometimes...


ME: Well, some of the stuff you make me do is pretty weird.

THERAPIST: Like what?

ME: Like making me hold a ping-pong ball between my knees and walk back and forth across the room like Jerry Lewis.

THERAPIST: This is to strengthen the anterior delteus gluteal cortinoid.  I've explained this.

ME: Yes, okay.  But why do I have to wear the chicken suit?

THERAPIST: Look, do you want to get better or not?

ME: I want to get better, I want to get better... Hey, what are you doing with that I-Phone?  Are you videotaping this?

THERAPIST: No.  Well, yes.  A little.  It's for your medical records.

ME: Well, that's okay then.

THERAPIST: Say, do you think you could flap your arms a little?  Say this phrase for me: buck-buck-bacaw.

(Originally posted 2012)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Painting My Granddaughter's Room

I did this for my granddaughter, Aife (Eefa).  It's a blast doing paintings like this.  You start with buckets of red, blue, yellow, black, and white and get cracking.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pain, and How to Use It

I have torn my ACL and am under doctor's specific orders to keep off my feet as much as possible.

This is the sort of thing, which, if applied judiciously, makes the world a living paradise: all nectar, ambrosia, and that sort of thing.

The first thing you need is to be able to pull a brave face.  If you can't pull a brave face, you're not really going to derive the maximum benefit.  The trick to the brave face is you must neither smile nor frown; it's all a matter of nuance.  You can smile a little, but you must do it with clenched teeth and lips tightly pressed together, but not so tightly they begin to form a duck bill.  There must be a hint of the sardonic, but only a hint: the face of a man who has known things that must not be spoken to the fortunate ear of inexperience.  As I say, it's hard to pull off, but it's what really brings home the bacon.

Here's how it plays out in practice.

Self: Oh, let me do the dishes, darlin, you already made dinner.  (Begins to rise from sofa.  A surprised and muffled grunt of pain.  Pulls BRAVE FACE.  Returns to sofa.)  I think maybe I'll sit here just a little longer.  (Ruefully)

Nancy: No, honey, you just stay there.  You need to keep off your leg.

Self: (BRAVE FACE passim) No, really it's nothing.  (Lie back on couch.  Sigh.)

Nancy: Do you want be to put a pillow under that?

Self: (Very BRAVE FACE at this point, so brave it'd make you sick to look at it.)  Well, yes that might not be a bad idea.  (Bravely cooperates with the placing of a pillow under knee.)  And could you bring me a martini?  Two olives

You get the idea.  The injury is the necessary foundation, the roux, as it were, but you really can't get the full jambalaya without the brave face.  I do not wish to brag, but the true expert can make such claims as being unable to watch any movie with Susan Sarandon except Rocky Horror for fear of doing damage to his leg.  This sort of thing, however, should not be attempted by the beginner.  Start small.  You must be able to maintain your brave face without breaking into laughter.  That's the key.  It isn't easy, but well repays the effort.

(Originally posted 2012)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Old Fogey, Me

The other day my neighbor asked me over to see if I couldn't help fix her tv.  I couldn't.  After trying the various remotes she has to operate it, as far as I could make out, the problem was with the little high-tech receiver box that's supposed to pick up the wireless signal.  I know this because of the number of lights that came on the box and the fact the tv screen reported "no signal."

Since I was quickly out of my depth, we had to call the cable company on my neighbor's cell phone.  We couldn't use the land line because of some unrelated malfunction.  Once we called, the computer voice verified we were calling from a cell phone and asked what the billing number was.  

She would patiently say (this is not the real number, I forget the real number) "555-121-2299."  The computer would repeat back, "999-121-2255" and she'd say, "No!  No!" and the computer would say "0-0" and she'd start again, this time keying in the numbers, but if she fat-fingered the wrong one on her little cell phone pad, she couldn't undo it and just had to start over. Finally we got through only to learn the service office was closed on Sunday, thank you very much, and could we call back Monday.  This, in case I haven't mentioned, is the second or third defective cable box she's gotten.

This is where the old fogey in me rears its ugly head.  I swear I'm not making this up or imagining it; there used to be a time you turned on the tv and watched it, and that was all there was to it.  You didn't use a remote because there was a knob, right on the tv that you pulled out and the tv came on, and that same knob would also control the volume, and there was another knob to change channels.  There were only four channels, counting public broadcasting, but they came in relatively dependably, and if there were ever a problem, it could generally be solved with a good solid whack to the side of the set.  

The shows were black and white, but once in a while, the title sequence would proudly say "In COLOR" in various shades of gray, and you had the pleasure of knowing that while you were seeing it in black and white, somewhere it was being broadcast in color.  The cameras for doing this, I believe, actually had three separate lenses.  

As for phones, they were made of a plastic so unbreakable you could crack walnuts with it and still carry on a conversation.  The dials were actual dials where you inserted your finger into a little hole so you knew damn well which number you'd chosen and weren't inadvertently dialing 5 instead of six or even 5,6,3 all at the same time.  Washers, dryers, and refrigerators, as far as I could make out, were immortal.  

Some friends of ours shelled out big bucks for a fancy-shmancy dishwasher and within months the inside was all corroded and looked like one of those cautionary science fiction movies where the doctor discovers the elixir of immortality but then starts decomposing.  My wife and I bought a top-of-the-line refrigerator, and in a week the plastic supports that held up the crisper drawer had broken.  They're still broken because the manufacturer doesn't make replacements.  Our former refrigerator, which I believe was made out of salvage parts from World War II tanks, is still functioning perfectly well in the basement.

I'll get off my old fogey soapbox now.   (You can count on and old fogey to use a word like soapbox.)  And rejoin the modern world. 

Besides, it's time to feed the chickens.

(Originally posted 2012)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Good Bless Americuh

I was in a Subway ordering a sandwich and had the privilege of standing next to perhaps the most repulsive human being in Chamblee, Georgia.  He kept berating the server with comments like, "I don't speak that kind of English," and "You're in America, you got to learn to speak English."  One of these signs was brought to my attention by Mark Childress, and then I found the others on the internet.  I love America.  I love the English language.  And yet there are so many people who see it so differently from me. (Originally posted 2012)