Wednesday, December 31, 2008

book review: The Areas Of My Expertise

#57 The Areas Of My Expertise John Hodgman 2005 * * * * An almanac of lies. Hodgman's professorial tone coupled with his ludicrous, outrageous absurdities is LOL funny. I actually "laughed out loud". Someone else has already compared it to Steve Martin's Cruel Shoes, and I have to agree it is right up there with the craziness. ~ December 31, 2008


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Monday, December 29, 2008

The Lie I Would Tell Oprah

I see in the news today that Opera, that gullible TV personality who will interview anyone with a tall tale (in order to add further to the glory of the mountain of gold on which she keeps her lair) has once again fallen for a lie, this time about a fabricated story of love found in the Nazi concentration camps. Herman Rosenblat's memoir will not be published.

Oprah has fallen for lies before. She was fooled by James Frey's alleged memoir "A Million Little Pieces," in September of 2005. She was also fooled by Tom Cruise who professed his love for a WOMAN and jumped up and down on Opera's couch, which as everyone knows, is made from the skin of all those she has stepped on to build her media empire. And I assume that everyone assumes that Tom Cruise loves only himself.

I would like to lie to Oprah as well. Given the opportunity to appear on her show, I am willing to tell her I was born during a high-speed chase after a bank robbery, which my parents only took part in because they were forced to pay ransom to release my mother's parents, who were scientists at Los Alamos Atomic Research Laboratory during the height of the cold war. The government denied my grandparents' existence, so it was impossible to get the police to help gain their release. Forced to rob banks to raise the 1 million dollar ransom, I was delivered in the back of a getaway car by a sympathetic nun who accompanied my parents during these bank heists of 1965-66, acting as a getaway car driver, lookout, and wise confidant during their adventures. (My parents' crime spree inspired Steve Miller to write "Take the Money and Run", one of his better known hits.)

My parents were brutally gunned down in Las Vegas by Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley (both at the time employed secretly by the FBI) after a failed heist at the Bellagio. The nun, able to escape, hid me in an abandoned Japanese internment camp, where I was raised by wolves. That nun would eventually move on to become Phyllis Diller.

The wolves taught me how to play croquette, disarm bombs, seduce women, and whittle. The Wise old Pack Leader taught me to read using a single copy of a 1944 Sears catalog.

At the age of eighteen, as is wolf custom, I was cast out into the wild, where I was taken in by a band of gypsies who toured the nation following bands like Quiet Riot and Ratt. They would take advantage of stoned teenagers by telling their fortunes and selling them mushrooms. It was here that I met and fell in love with the woman who would take my virginity and cast me aside, Jamie Lee Curtis. If you pay close attention, I am an extra in the restaurant scene in the 1988 movie "A Fish Called Wanda".

That is the lie I will tell Oprah. She will believe it, because after years of lounging on mountains of gold bullion, she has been enfeebled. Many of those golden bars are simply lead bars painted to look like gold bars. (Stedman is routinely beaten if her glory does not increase each day.) Exposure to lead has completely destroyed Oprah's incredulity gland, which as everyone knows, is located just to the left of the hippocampus in the medial temporal lobe of the brain.

book review: The Partly Cloudy Patriot

#56 The Partly Cloudy Patriot Sarah Vowel 2002 * * A collection of essay's by Sarah Vowel. I read two of her other books and they were great. This one, not so much. I was underwelmed. ~ December 8, 2008


Read all my book revews here:
http://www.danmanning.com/37.php

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas

Girls got great gifts. I will not list them, so that hobos don't read this at the library and come and rob us. We have lots of snow. My dad told me he golfed today. GOLFED. Whilst I had to dig a path through the backyard so I could get to the firewood. The piles of snow at the end of our driveway make it impossible to see oncoming traffic. Yet my father golfed today. And told me about it. Oh the humanity!

Well, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

book review: Don't Know Much About History

#55 Don't Know Much about History Kenneth C. Davis 2003 * * * A FAQ format covering US history, highlighting some of the events people talk about but usually don't actually know anything about. Very informative. ~ December 23, 2008


Read all my book revews here:
http://www.danmanning.com/37.php

movie review: goodfellas

Goodfellas 1990 * * * This movie was entertaining. Joe Pesci is always good. Not the greatest movie ever made but it was a decent story. Unfortunately, no one was smokin' hot. ~ December 24, 2008


See all my movie reviews here:
http://www.danmanning.com/38.php

Monday, December 22, 2008

movie review: balls of fury

Balls of Fury 2007 * * * I couldn't have had lower expectations for Balls of Fury, the movie about Ping Pong, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was funny, it was a decent story (considering the subject matter) and Maggie Q was smokin' hot. ~ December 22, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day Log, Installment #2

11:20 AM: take two pre-emptive Motrin.

12:41 PM: disconnected from World of Warcraft Server. seen as sign I should do something else.

12:43 PM: caught the dog getting into the cat food.
Scolded same.

12:44 PM: opened can of tuna.

1:53 PM: Finished driveway again. Sun was briefly out, and blue skies. Alex's friend arrives. Dan updates Facebook status.

2:01 PM: disconnected from World of Warcraft server again. It is time to write my bestselling novel.

2:15 PM: made more tea. watched "The Office" with Deb.

2:26 PM: the episode wasn't that good. Deb gets a call from a friend in Virginia.

3:30 PM: Snow day is over. going to bank and then to have a beer.

Snow Day Log, Installment #1

Around 5:30 AM: the phone rings. The automated service from the school tells us that school is cancelled today. We go back to bed.

6:20 AM: Savannah's alarm goes off. Deb goes in and shuts it off. Alex cries because the school Christmas party was scheduled for today.

Around 7:30 AM: I wake up and get out of bed. Deb is working tonight, so she sleeps.

7:30 AM – 9:00 AM: Snowing like batshit outside. I check Facebook and Internets. I update my movie review page. Girls are making paper snowflakes with scissors, paper and glue. Alex asks to borrow Scotch Tape. Alex asks to call her friend "just to talk."

9:03 AM: I fire up gaming computer.

9:06 AM: I put water on to boil.

9:12 AM: hot tea steeping process begins.

9:17 AM: hot tea (splash of milk) realized. I check Facebook again. I Adds all people listed in "people you may know" even though I'm not sure if I know any of them. I have a bad memory.

9:25 AM: I cut two doors in a TigerDirect shipping box for the cat to play in.

9:26 AM: Cat plays in cardboard box.

9:27-9:29 AM: I write one sentence in my new novel.

9:30-9:31 AM: teased cat with cat toy.

9:32 AM: check calendar. Yep, nothing scheduled today.

9:33(?) AM: put on wristwatch. I realize the watch is two minutes behind computer clock. Check time.gov to see which one is correct.

9:34 AM: set wristwatch up two minutes.

9:36 AM: I watch the official clock's website second hand and compare it to my computer clock. Only 4 seconds off. I decide that this is acceptable.

9:38 AM: another paragraph in novel complete.

9:42 AM: checked Facebook, went out to shovel snow.

10:14 AM: helped neighbor get car back into their driveway.

10:16 AM: half-way finished shoveling driveway. Take break.

10:18 AM: fresh cup of tea. Check Facebook.

10:20 AM: checking hits on my website. "grand rapids sledding hills" page has had six hits.

10:25 AM: back outside to shovel more snow.

11:15 AM: finished first dig-out of driveway.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Two Book Reviews I Forgot to Post:

#53 The Wordy Shipmates Sarah Vowel 2008 * * * * Crappy title for a book, but the Puritans were freaks! Not really, but Vowel brings these mixed up folks to life. ~ December 8, 2008
#54 Assasination Vacation Sarah Vowel 2006 * * * * * More Historic Goodness from Violet Incredible. You'd be surprised how many tourist traps are based on Presidential assassinations. Kind of reaches when she tries to get "lofty" but still, an absolute great read. ~ December 8, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Church of the Eternal Dachshunds

Last night I had a vision. (I was SOBER thank you) and this is what was revealed to me. I wrote it in one go on graph paper. Those papers will be retained as historical religious artifacts:

The Seven Eternal Dachshunds reside on the Cul-De-Sac of Eternity, bathed in the Light of The Eternal Summer Saturday Afternoon.

I.

John is the Dachshund of Wisdom and the Keeper of the Fires of Stupidity. He shakes his head at the folly of mankind. His soft brown eyes fill with tears, for he is tasked with preparing the Fires of War, the Fires of the Forest, and the Fires of Air. Only his tears of pity quench enough of the Fires of Stupidity so that mankind is not consumed.

II.

Ci-Ci, the Besweatered Dachshund of Time checks the clock on the mantle and keeps mankind pinned to the Sweep Hand of The Ages. Ci-Ci has a pink ribbon tied around her neck, while barking the Toll that cuts down the ages. She is the Dachshund of Labor, Work, Growth, Decay and Ultimate Destruction. Ci-Ci is the Destroyer of All. On the second Thursday of every month, Ci-Ci goes to the Pet Boutique of Eternity around three in the afternoon.

III.

Mr. Num-Num is The Dachshund of War. He is the Divider, and he divides mankind into Nations, Creeds, and Sects. His task is the easiest of the Seven Eternal Dachshunds, for Mankind does the rest. Mr. Num-Num lives in the backyard. It is his offal that mankind must collect, lest he step in it on some careless errand. Mr. Num-Num barks in the night, but always in the distance, but Mankind does not recognize him, and instead hears an enemy at the door. Mr. Num-Num scratches at the door and Mankind only hears his enemy, so Mankind readies his weapons. Mr. Num-Num often runs in the street, but he cannot be hit by a car. He always comes back. Mr. Num-Num only eats table scraps.

IV.

Winston Meriwether, The Dachshund of Peace, sits in the shade of the Folding Table at the Lemonade Stand of Ultimate Understanding. The Eternal Summer Saturday Afternoon lulls Winston Meriwether into a doze, while he looks out at the Universe with half-lidded eyes of Eternal Calm. Winston Meriwether does not stir when the Mailman of Ill-Boding rides up on his little bicycle and rings the bell and buys a Dixie-Cup of lemonade, as he has for Ten-Thousand-Billion years. Only those who do not seek can find Winston Meriwether.

V.

Chelsea-Princess II is the Dachshund of Death and the Patron Saint of Second-Person Explanations. Chelsea-Princess II will be there when you die. She sits at the foot of the dying, and right before you go to that final sleep, Chelsea-Princess II reminds you of all wasted time. She whines to go outside just as you are about to die and you let Chelsea-Princess II out and only then, at the moment of your last death-rattle do you notice how nice it is outside, because you are looking at The Eternal Summer Saturday Afternoon. You decide to take Chelsea-Princess II for a walk, and the hot pavement does not burn your feet. You are ten years old again. Summer lasts forever. Only then do you realize that you never walk the dog, the dog walks you. You are planning to just go around the block but you never return.

VI.

Poppy is the Lord of Awkward Silences. Poppy is the Keeper of Unclaimed Farts and Lost Remote Controls. Poppy sits on The Ultimate Throne of Bread Loaf Heels. Poppy's mansion is one thousand miles high, made of spare computer parts and old typewriters. Poppy is the Keeper of Unread Blogs, Coffee Grounds, and Plastic Grocery Bags. The Shadow of Poppy resides silently behind dusty storefront windows in empty "for lease" strip-mall spaces. Poppy is the Lord of Awkward Silences.

VII.

Buster is a mystery. No one, even those counted among the Elect, knows of that which Buster will someday be held in account. Buster shows his teeth and growls at the other Eternal Dachshunds. The only thing the Eternal Dachshunds agree on is Buster is waiting for something. No one knows of what he awaits, but everyone knows the time is nigh upon us.


Please spread the One True Word. . . Thank you and keep clear of Buster.

About Me

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I am the author of 8 books: Android Down, Firewood for Cannibals, Brain Giblets, The Cubicles of Madness, Booze and News, Get Your Zen On, Zen Happens, and most recently, Robot Stories. I live and write in Michigan. My website is at danmanning.com

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