Monday, July 29, 2013

JULY 29, 2013 PICS

"Dad, you wanna try Red Baron Pizza flavor ice cream with scrambled egg sauce?"


Monday, July 15, 2013


Starring Johnny Depp,
Armie Hammer,
William Fichtner,
Tom Wilkinson,
Ruth Wilson,
Helena Bonham Carter,
James Badge Dale
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Written by Ted Elliott, Justin Haythe, Terry Rossio
Running time 149 mins.
Rated PG-13

          “Make trade.”
          As if against my own will I’ve been quoting Johnny Depp’s Tonto.
          Yes, “The Lone Ranger” comes from the good folks who brought us “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and yes it’s just as fun.
          Ever see Johnny in “Dead Man,” directed by Jim Jarmusch? Set in the West, shot in B&W, he plays a dude called William Blake. Gary Farmer's mysterious Indian, Nobody, quotes from Blake, and The Doors, to hilarious effect. As Tonto now, Depp gets to say, "Stupid white man," just like Farmer in “Dead Man.” Terrific character yet again from Johnny.
          Make trade.
          And Depp’s indelible performance is in keeping with the story. Remaining intentionally vague to preserve the plot, suffice to say “The Lone Ranger” has parallel quality to larger political events in much the same manner as we’ve seen in the “Pirates” quadrilogy.
          The main thing working against this picture is that it’s not “Pirates of the Caribbean” again. But if audiences can get past that, then they gotta “hold on for the wildest ride in the West,” to quote Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
          In a nod to “Little Big Man,” the story starts when Tonto’s about a hundred or more. (His narration and the way it’s used is comparable to Peter Falk’s grandpa in “The Princess Bride.”) He recounts to a kid in a cowboy hat wearing a mask how he met the Lone Ranger….
          Perhaps the most amazing part of the movie is how well Armie Hammer does in the title role. Because he’s not the star, but he rolls with that punch and proves himself a likable sidekick. How the filmmakers manage the amazing feat of making the Ranger sort of the butt of the jokes, and yet also be a cool dude has everything to do with the casting.
          One thing about trains is they go faster than old-time pirate ships. Fellers can run on the tops and then get slugged right off. Hoo boy, and how! No shortage of action with this one. There’s a whole big sustained action sequence with Rossini’s “William Tell” overture that’s probably worth the cost of admission itself.
          From her previous work in “Sweeney Todd” and “Dark Shadows” with Johnny, we easily accept the always talented and lovely Helena Bonham Carter as the town Madame with the “Grindhouse”-esque modified prosthetic leg. Darn-tootin’.
          The story deals with Westward expansion. There’s also a romance sub-plot, but the gravitas of the movie concerns Colonialism, greed, lies, and genocide. It therefore speaks quite fluently to modern audiences.
          Hats off to the filmmakers also for the wide swath of audience to which this story appeals, because “The Lone Ranger” really does have something for everyone.

And check this:
Turns out, Johnny's makeup and costume are based on an Indian named Kirby, as a matter of fact, Crow Kirby Sattler.

Scrollin' scrollin' scrollin,
keep that mouse a-scrollin'...

Terry LaBarba, author of WE, THE HIDDEN:

Storytelling That’s Wildly Poetic                     

The story takes place in the small town of Madrani in the redwood forest. There were strange things going on that kept me engaged, the reason partly being due to the interesting narration and the main character’s voice. It reminded me of the descriptive ramblings of Arlo Guthrie doing "Alice’s Restaurant," only with higher octane.

It’s a casual read and then again it isn’t. The eventful but not overly complex story uses descriptive word groupings that, in itself, entertains. You will want to take your time and let the verbal constructs take hold. There were “caves of problematical intricacy,” and a trek through the forest mentioned trees with “boughs outstretched like gem-laden supplicants bearing offerings before the ancient giants.” Truly poetic.

When I read this mastery of words, I had to wonder if it easily flows to the author or does he take the time to labor over the most creative way to put together a concept or description? Stewart Kirby’s literary work comes across as play, seeming natural, yet brilliant. As far as being creative, the funny but creepy little twitching doll in this book is a good example. The names of the local businesses in this town were a hoot. There was also some twisted humor when one character builds the perfect, dirty sandwich (with not so nice intentions). It had me laughing out loud as the deed progressed.

The plot moved forward without a dull moment. I’m looking forward to the next book of “uncanny tales of the redwoods in the hugely Hippie haven of Humbaba County,” as Kirby calls them. I suspect it is just as campy, witty and fun as this one.
Craig Jones, author of GEM:


You know when you've got something too good to read when you plough through it faster than your new born baby can fill nappies! 'Drifting Room' is one of those stories. It is well written, cleverly crafted and incredibly interesting, yes, but then so are many novels and novellas. What made Stewart Kirby's work stand out for me was the smile it put on my face as I read it. A piece of serious fun, in a nutshell.

Why did I like it so much?

Okay, first off was the material. A good sci fi needs certain elements (the unknown, a hero you can take to, believable unbelievability) and what Kirby does really well is to take normal people and put them into very strange situations, which makes the story then become plausible. Then there is the story structure. I was reminded of Dean Koontz and how he used to wield story arcs until, unlike the Ghostbusters, he would cross the beams and bring everyone together in a dramatic conclusion. Many people have tried and failed with this technique, usually one character would have to do something quite bizarre for everything to fall into place but 'Drifting Room' is a tight story and that does not happen here. Then there is the humour. The material may be quite different than say Gaiman and Pratchett but the wit and turn of phrase is there. Cleverly funny is how I would describe it. Like I'd read a line and find myself starting to snigger a few lines I said, cleverly funny Next up are the characters...personally I liked the kind of Irvine Welsh way that the main character (not going to give the plot away) develops as the story progresses. I liked the guy and wanted him to succeed, no doubt about it. And finally, in sci fi there has to be an ending that you cannot guess at fr
om five pages in...why read it otherwise....and Kirby has that down like Charlie Brown!

Loved this story, off to purchase more from Mr Kirby's back catalogue. I've found a good un here, methinks. I suggest you give 'Drifting Room' a turn too. You will not be disappointed! 

We're all on Amazon, by the way.

 Much obliged, folks!


Sunday, July 7, 2013


Driving home after work catching glimpses of the river alternately thundering and creeping but always ever flowing, Raul Bay took no comfort from the natural world, could not appreciate the twisted trunks gnarled and snarled over the road. It would be dark soon. Deer were prevalent.

He kept his trailer tucked away in the maze of back roads. Just a temporary situation. At least until he could get his head above water. When he unlocked the door and stepped inside, the first thing he saw was Sonia at the table with the cards sitting out. Due to circumstances, he’d had to home school her for the year. Reliable transportation to and from school which would not compromise his illicit parking status did not exist.

They played gin rummy and ate little sandwiches on cocktail bread. Then it was time for homework. The look of concentration on Sonia’s face as she worked on her subtraction brought tears to Raul’s eyes.

“All done now, Daddy. Can you check my work?”

“I absolutely can. Let’s see here…yep…yep…yep…double-yep—how did you get to be so smart? Are you a genius?”

Sonia smiled and shrugged. “I don’t know. I think maybe so. Did I do them right?”

“You sure did.”

“All of them?”

“Every last one. And you know what that means.”

“I get a story?”

“That’s right.”

Sonia climbed up in her dad’s lap.

“Let’s see now, all right. Did I ever tell you the story of the kid who went to the toy shop?”

Sonia shook her head, smiling.

“No? Well, there was a kid. And she was just minding her own business standing in a toy shop one day. Wasn’t the world’s biggest, nor the world’s smallest, just a regular toy shop. And she stood there thinking about all the toys she’d like to have. Couldn’t make up her mind, really. That was the cause of the whole problem. You see, if only she has made a selection and left, she would have been totally fine, and everything that was to follow would never have happened at all.”

“What happened?”

“Well, I’ll tell you. As you know, a lot of toys are made of plastic. Most, really. And a lot of plastics have properties to them that, even today, no one fully understands. The best anybody can figure, some of the toys had a weird new plastic that didn’t work well in the sun. The toys spontaneously combusted, literally turning the girl into a living synthesis of flesh and toy.

"She burst from the smoking rubble on crazy jack-in-the-box springs for legs. All kinds of toys were roiling around only in the loosest semblance of a human form. But the really odd part was, as the thing that used to be a kid rampaged across town, incoherently blaring all kinds of toy sounds, toys from other kids in nearby houses began floating free right out of their little hands. Like toys in a bathtub heading toward the drain, all the toys of the kids in town got sucked into the rampaging kid toy, and every toy taken in added to the bulk, so that with every increasingly thunderous step the kid toy grew, grew up into Toyzilla, for this was the only name that all who saw realized could possibly apply.

"The skies darkened. Toys streamed like cyclones from homes forming massive burgeoning clouds of toys and toys and toys. Big as a very big tree, Toyzilla emitted a semi-inarticulate, knell-like command: 'Toys…TOYS!' Fft! Fft! Fft! Tornados of toys funneled into Toyzilla, until Toyzilla was as big as a skyscraper, and then ten skyscrapers, and then fifty skyscrapers, for now all the toys in the world were filling the skies, swirling inexorably toward the One Toy Source, until every last toy in the world strode crash! boom! over the globe, and so concentrated was this vast weight of toy upon the planet, it actually shifted the rotation of the earth’s axis sufficiently to affect the planet’s orbit, and it wasn’t long before the planet spun right into the sun, and out of everything on the planet, Toyzilla, being biggest, lasted longest before the final melt.”

Raul caught the gleam in Sonia’s eyes.

“Bed-time,” he said...