Being the Ongoing Chronicle of the Anticks, Misadventures, and Odd Deeds of an Overalls-clad Wanderer.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Bad Joke Friday

Two fish are in a tank.

One fish turns to the other and says,

“How do we drive this thing??”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Something for Thursday

You know who hasn't been featured in this space in a long time? John Denver, that's who. So here's some John Denver.

(And if you don't like John Denver, you're wrong.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

That is NOT a pie!

Headline on

Getting hit in the face with a pie will always be funny

But then they show this video of a kid playing a game called "Pie Face" with his grandfather. It's a game of chance where, if you lose, a dollop of whipped cream about two inches in diameter gets plopped onto your nose.

That is about as much getting hit in the face with a pie as those post-game baseball celebrations where the "pie" is a towel shmeared with shaving cream.

This is a pie. Get it right, America!

Thank you.

In other news, it's entirely possible that I have issues, and all the writing I've been doing is getting to my brain....

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"Wanna go to Joe's?" "Ummm...I'm not sure I can get in there."

A video about a bar called Joe's Knight Hawk, in Waverly, IA:

This bar is located on a streetcorner very near the campus of Wartburg College. I spent a few nights there while attending that very school. I remember being there and trying to scramble out of the way of a fight that had just broken out; I remember the fine art of sneaking in when I was underage. You had to be 19 to get in, but if you timed it well, you could get in by just glomming onto a large group of people entering. They couldn't card 'em all, right? I remember playing a few performances with the jazz band in that bar, during which as an underage kid I learned the usefulness of the phrase, "I'm with the band." And I remember celebrating my roommate's 19th birthday -- or maybe it was his 20th? -- and at one point realizing that the girl I was sitting next to was kinda cute. That observation served me well, as six years and some change later I'd marry her.

Long live Joe's! (I wonder if they ever stopped serving wings with the tips still on? Always bugged me, as a right proper Buffalonian.)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lord of Cups

More info here!

Here's hoping this thing, the King of Trophies, eventually finds a home here in Buffalo.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Star Wars Episode VII.V: The Force Stretches And Turns On The Coffee Machine

I haven't said anything about the new trailer for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens yet, so a few thoughts.

:: First, here's the trailer, just in case you somehow missed it.

:: A Star Destroyer and an X-Wing fighter, both wrecked on the desert planet which we're being told is not Tatooine. OK.

:: Voiceover from Luke Skywalker. Interesting. I wonder who he's talking to.

:: Vader's melted helmet, distorted to the point of looking skull-like. Again, interesting.

:: Lots of quick visuals. X-Wings in a combat configuration, but on a planet surface. Lots of new-ish stormtroopers standing beneath a flag we haven't seen before. Quick glimpses of the red lightsaber in action.

:: My favorite shot in this trailer? What looks like a TIE fighter just hovering above a landing bay, blasting everything in sight.

:: "Chewie, we're home." Oh yeah, babe. That helps a lot.

I've seen some commentary to the effect that "This trailer makes us feel like we're eight years old again!" I don't know about that, and even so, I'm not sure being transported back to that age is really possible. I think it's that expectation that partially caused people to elevate their desires to levels no film could match, not the least of which would be the three Prequel Trilogy movies. Besides, I don't want to be transported back to when I was eight.

And, as usual, any new bit of Star Wars news seems to bring out all the folks who want to sharpen their anti-Lucas axe at every opportunity. I almost dread new Star Wars stuff for that very reason.

But anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing this in December. It feels a bit odd, really, having new Star Wars on the way for which I have virtually no investment in terms of the characters or idea of what the story is doing. This is almost virgin territory for me!

A Casting Coincidence

I don't tend to spend a lot of time -- at all -- thinking about what real-life actors might play the roles in the inevitable movies which will be made from my books. First of all, I don't want to get locked down in my head to a single look or voice, and second, well...that's the writer's equivalent of the kid with the bat stepping up to home plate on an empty neighborhood field and saying to himself, "It's the bottom of the ninth. Game seven of the World Series. Timmy steps up...."

But like all rules, I don't follow this one specifically, and there are two roles in the Forgotten Stars books that I have mentally filled with specific actors. One is the stern, business-like, and highly competent Lieutenant Penda Rasharri, who serves as an unplanned mentor to Princess Tariana Osono, giving the Princess her first lessons in what it is to be a Stardancer. I'm not sure why, but the actor I've always had in my mind as playing Rasharri is Taraji P. Henson.

But here's something weird: via SamuraiFrog's blog, I literally just learned -- after loving Henson's work on Person of Interest for the first three seasons -- that the 'P' in her name stands for Penda.

(And who is the other character for whom I've had a specific face in mind? Hmmmm...any guesses. folks who have read Stardancer?)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Something for Thursday: In remembrance of the Shoah

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The Daughter has, this past week, watched Schindler's List in school. I don't know if this is because of Holocaust Remembrance Day, or if it's a coincidence that their study of the WWII and the Holocaust period happened to line up with today. Schindler's List is a favorite film of mine, a deeply human testament to the evil that can arise out of simple human nature and the good that can also arise out of the same thing. What begins for Schindler as an easy way to make money over time becomes a mission to save as many lives as he can, and he's never even aware of the shift; there's no moment when he sits down and says, "I am going to save them." He just...does. By the time his mission has become humanitarian, all the Nazis around him are so utterly convinced of his skill as a businessman that it never even occurs to them that he's not making money and that he is literally buying their lives.

Likewise, the film's flip side is the staggering banality of its evil. Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), kills sometimes because he is enraged and sometimes because he clearly loathes the Jews, but other times, he is shown killing because he has nothing else to do. He's up one morning and shooting Jews with his rifle and then he leans back to pop his spine a few times and then he shoots a few more and then he goes to the bathroom and so on. Much has been written over the years of how the Nazis managed to elevate their evil to industrial levels, and no scene establishes that in this movie quite so well as the scene when Goeth is ordered by Berlin to have his men dig up the mass graves and cremate the bodies instead. The shots here are jaw-dropping in their horrific nature: giant piles of bodies being set aflame, and a conveyor belt thing being used to drag them from the carts and dump them on the pyre. A horrified Oskar Schindler arrives on the scene, and Goeth turns to him and says in the tone of an annoyed and overworked office worker, "Can you believe this? As if I don't have enough to do, they come up with this?" That's when it hits me, in this movie: the Nazis didn't just make one of the most egregious evils of all time into an industry. They made it people's jobs. People showed up to work, punching a clock and bitching about their workloads at lunchtime, to kill six million Jews.

Here is the scene where the war has ended and Schindler, technically a fugitive, must go on the run. It's my understanding that this did not happen in history. I don't care.