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Musings

  • Nothing like a night of nightmares to put you in a jolly mood the next day.
    • Having the same nightmare at least four or five times in one night is a special treat.
    • Funny thing is, they all involved a morgue in Germany, a funeral home in Kentucky, and a cemetery in Arizona. Sprinkle in a few scenes from <REDACTED> and <REDACTED>, and I really want to now what was going on in my brain last night.
  • Blessed be the coffee, for it maketh me into a human being on days like this.
  • Blessed be the coffeemaker, for it maketh the coffee to descend into the carafe.
  • Blessed be the chicory, for it maketh the coffee into a rich, dense brew.
  • Blessed be the bee, for he maketh the honey to sweeten my coffee.
  • Friday night, I wanted to watch Flash Gordon, while Irish Woman and Boo wanted to watch Harry Potter and the Flaming Ashtray.
    • We compromised and watched Harry Potter.
    • Not that there’s anything wrong with Harry Potter, of course.  They’re fine, well-crafted books and movies.
    • It’s just that I’ve been listening to, reading, hearing about, and watching young Master Potter for nigh onto twenty years.  I’m about spent on the subject.
  • Flash Gordon makes for excellent Saturday morning television.
    • Maureen O’Hara might be the reason I fancy red-headed women, but Ornella Muti is the reason I also fancy dark-haired women with smoky eyes.
      • Irish Woman commented that she doesn’t watch movies just because the actors are hot.  She then purred that she’d like to go see the new Stephen King movie with Matthew McConaughey in it.
    • While watching the movie, I realized that I have never disliked a movie or TV program with Brian Blessed in it.
    • It occurred to me that all of the women loyal to Ming wore pantsuits, while Dale Arden always wore skirts.   I’d make a pithy political comment about that, but I’ve had too little sleep and too much coffee for that.
    • You know your battle scene is going to be awesome when Brian May plays the guitar riff for it.
    • Yeah, it’s cheesy and campy, but then again, Shakespeare occasionally had to paint in broad strokes and pander to his audience, too.
  • Thanks to everyone who has purchased a copy of The BoogeyMan.  Sales have been steady since its release, and I already have three reviews.
    • If you enjoyed it, please consider leaving me a review on Amazon.
    • If you didn’t care for it, please do me a huge favor and leave a detailed review on Amazon.

Musings

  • It’s never a good sign to lose power at the house for about 30 seconds, then a few minutes later hear the firetrucks down the street head out at speed.
  • The highlight of my week was when I bought a 4 DVD pack that included Dune and Flash Gordon.
    • I’m such a wild child.
    • I’ve always said that one of the side benefits of having children is that you get to watch all of the movies again.
  • Boo and I went camping with his Cub Scout group last weekend.
    • A good time was had by all, but I still wonder where the boys get all their energy.
    • Boo now wants me to start every fire with flint and steel.
    • A self-inflating air mattress is only going to work if you leave the air valve open long enough and make sure it’s closed securely before you climb onto it to sleep.
    • By the way, did you know that the sound of an air mattress being manually deflated excites beagles and makes them want to pounce on their owners?
  • I’m not sure what this means for winter, but it’s about 10 or so degrees cooler than normal here, with low humidity, and I have started seeing ducks and geese flying south.

Book Review – The LawDog Files: African Adventures

Following up on his debut book, LawDog has come out with his second work, African Adventures.   The book contains his stories of growing up in Western Africa, including the multi-chapter Ratel Saga, which tells the tale of the time he and his brother ‘captured’ a rather aggressive example of African wildlife.  My favorite, though, was the tale of when one of the village peddlers presented LawDog’s mother with a rather slithery example of said wildlife, which brought the family mongoose to fits of excitement.

African Adventures gives us a more personal side of the author’s life than what we saw in the first installment of the LawDog Files.  The author comes alive, as does his family, their pets, and all of their adventures.

This is a fast, easy read, told in a conversational tone that makes you want to know what happens next.  Read it in an environment where giggles, chuckles, and outright bursts of laughter will not be frowned upon. This is definitely going to go on my list of books which will be read over and over.

BoogeyMan Is Up on Amazon!

The BoogeyMan, my first attempt at a detective story, is up on Amazon, both for sale and for Kindle Unlimited, this morning. Thanks to everyone for their pointers and suggestions.

Here’s the blurb:

Martin Shelby is The BoogeyMan, a private investigator and fixer for folks who get into trouble too tough and too strange for the police. People only bring him the jobs that require the body of a linebacker and the face of a gargoyle.

Now, he’s been handed a job that pays double, but that can only mean double the danger.

But when the things that go bump in the night look under their bed for HIM, how hard can it be? To The BoogeyMan, it’s just another job.

I put up a snippet from the book here, and here’s the first page:

 

The fat guy’s hands moved fast, clearing the big automatic from its holster before I even had a chance to start ducking. Looking down the bore of his pistol, I swear I could see the cavity in the nose of his bullet as it came at my head.

BZZZZ BZZZZ

Opening my eyes, the remnants of the dream faded as the ceiling of my bedroom came into focus.

BZZZZ BZZZZ

“The shit?” I mumbled as I turned my head and looked for the source of the noise. Beside me, my wife rolled over in her sleep, mumbling something of her own.

Grabbing my phone off the table, I saw that one of my business associates felt it was necessary to call me at three in the bloody morning. Punching the answer button, I put it to my ear.

“Speak.”

“Good morning to you too, sunshine. You pissed because I got you out from under some poor child’s bed before you had a chance to scare the crap out of her?” said the scratchy voice at the other end of the connection.

“Sid, I don’t know whether to bite your head off for being a jerk at this hour or thank you for waking me up,” I growled quietly, scratching at the stubble on my cheek with my free hand. “Since I didn’t like what I was sleeping through, I’m going to give you thirty seconds to convince me to not hunt you down and stake you out on an anthill.” At the sound of my voice, Deb rolled back over and stared at me. The light from the alarm clock made her eyes glint green in the shadow of her pillow.

“Get cleaned up and come down to my office. I’ve got a hot one for you,” he replied. I swear I could hear that damned smile of his through the phone.

“OK, but there better be good coffee waiting for me when I get there.” I punched the “END” button and turned to Deb.

“Really?” was all she had to say.

I shrugged and put my hand on her shoulder. “Sid’s got something, and we need the money.”

She closed her eyes for a moment, then nodded. “Tell him that if he can’t call you during office hours, I’m not going to invite him over for cookouts anymore.”

I chuckled as I swung my legs around and stood up. “Now, that is a threat he’ll respond to.”

I scratched my belly as I walked to the bathroom and quietly closed the door behind me. Five minutes later I came out, dressed and cleaned up as much as I was going to be for my old pal Sid. Deb was waiting by the bedroom door with my go bag in one hand and my holster in the other.

“Be careful,” she whispered as she went up on tiptoes and kissed me goodbye.

“Always am, sweetheart.” My loving wife rolled her eyes and ran her finger down the scar on my cheek.

“I’m going to do a close examination when you get home,” she growled playfully. “There better not be any more of these.” With that, she turned and crawled back into bed. I watched her for a moment, then turned off the bathroom light and walked as quietly as I could out of the room.

 

Hope you all enjoy The BoogeyMan, and remember, reviews are an awesome gift to a writer.

Musings

  • While Irish Woman went to a gathering last night, Boo and I put up the tent and slept out in the front yard.
    • It’s good that he’s still at that age when things like that are fun.
  • When I was 18, sleeping on the bare ground was comfortable and restful.
    • Now that I’m 46, not being able to find my foam pad for sleeping out in the tent with Boo means a sore back and bad sleep.
  • Continuing work on Indus, and I got the Romans moving again just in time for the story to get mildly stuck.  While it ruminates, I’m continuing work on Boogeyman.
  • Boo found a Christmas present he’d forgotten about today: a set of short-range walkie-talkies.
    • He’s too old to fall for “They don’t make batteries for that anymore.”
    • He did think it was funny when I used my handset to ask him if he’d ‘taken care of that thing’ for me, and to tell him that his money was under one of the rocks out by the mailbox.
  • Speaking of Boo, he ran his first mud run this weekend.  Apparently, it’s now considered fun to do a lot of the things I used to have to do while wearing an LBE and Kevlar.
  • A solar eclipse will be happening soon, and Louisville schools plan on taking busloads of kids down to Hopkinsville, Kentucky to witness it.
    • When I lived down that way, the only time busloads of kids got taken to Hoptown was for a “Scared Straight!” field trip.
  • If you’re a member of GoodReads, please check out and follow my author’s profile.

Follow-Up

Yesterday, I reviewed the new movie, Dunkirk.  Reader mrgarabaldi pointed out that there has been a kerfuffle due to the relative lack of non-white and/or female characters.  Well, I’ve done a bit of digging, and found out that Mr. Nolan had to cut out a lot of content to make the movie fit into his allotted length.

I have spent zero time literally hours combing through this additional content, and I am happy to report that if you see the super-duper expanded director’s second-cousin’s cut, you will get to see the following characters who aren’t white or male:

Warning, major spoilers ahead!

  • If you’re looking for African-American characters, have no fear.  Nolan used black actors for all of the German aircrews.  The bomber crews, of course, were female.
  • The u-boat captain, whose deleted scenes run to almost three hours, is a woman of south Asian and Filipino heritage.  You’ll know her by the black swastika embedded in her ruby nose ring.
  • Her first mate may look like he just ran naked through a bleach factory, but rest assured that he is Russian of Tatar extraction.  You can tell by looking closely at his eyes while he’s peering through the periscope.
  • The crew of the Swedish battleship includes your standard blonde, pasty-white Scandinavians, but Nolan added a bridge crew that includes Syrians, Libyans, Somalis, and a couple Japanese observers.  Japanese count as people of color, don’t they?
  • Unfortunately, due to contractual disputes, Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal of the commander of the H.M.S. Mother****** was cut out of the finished product.  Thankfully, a battle royale that included agents, lawyers, SAG enforcers, and several rabid dogs has brought about an agreement that will bring his performance to the extra-special BlueRay release just in time for Christmas.

No matter how much we prize historical accuracy about the bravery of our forefathers, there’s no reason we can’t check all the correct demographic blocks in our entertainment.

What a time to be alive.

 

Movie Review – Dunkirk

I treated myself the other day and shelled out for an IMAX showing of Dunkirk.  The movie, written and directed by Christopher Nolan, tells the story of the evacuation of almost 400,000 British, French, and Allied soldiers from the beach at Dunkirk after being cut off and surrounded by the German invasion of France in 1940.

The story centers around three principle characters:  Tommy, played by Fionn Whitehead, is a soldier trapped on the beach.  Mister Dawson, played by Mark Rylance, is an Englishman who answers the call to take his pleasure craft across the Channel to rescue soldiers.  Finally, Tom Hardy plays Farrier, a Spitfire pilot trying to provide air cover to the beaches and evacuation at the very limit of his aircraft’s range.  Another, but by no means the only, shining star in the highly talented ensemble cast is Kenneth Branagh, who plays the British naval commander on the beach.

Dunkirk is tense, and traps you in its world for its entire length.  Nolan paced the movie very well, and interlaces these three storylines in expert fashion.  Only in the last, climactic scenes do we see how they relate to each other, but you have to pay attention throughout the movie to catch how it is done.

Dialogue is kept to a minimum throughout the film, and what there is is terse and necessary.  There is little to no expository dialogue, and very few exchanges meant to sway the audience one way or another.  The story is told through the actions of the characters, not through long soliloquies.

The film’s score occasionally seemed to be overpowering, but it was used to drive the audience’s mood and synced very well with the story.  I’m not sure that it’s a soundtrack that I would enjoy just for its own sake, but it meshed well with the movie.

The sound effects were excellent.  Nolan obviously took the trouble to get the sounds of the different guns firing, the engines roaring, and the bombs exploding right.

If special effects, either physical or CGI, were used in this movie, I found it hard to see them.  The aerial combat scenes were outstanding, and they make me hope that Nolan follows this up with a movie about the Battle of Britain.

As someone who enjoys military-themed movies, I would put this on the same level as Saving Private Ryan, Blackhawk Down, or Lone Survivor.  I definitely recommend it for adults, and I believe that young people who can handle a bit of justified violence and already know something about World War II would enjoy Dunkirk and learn a bit of history from it.

Musings

  • Apparently I can’t expect others to walk and chew gum at the same time when I’m spinning plates on a high-wire over a flaming pit of gasoline while riding a unicycle and loudly singing Ta-ra-ra-boomdiyay.
  • I’d like to thank Christopher Nolan for making his newest film extra loud, because that meant I didn’t have to listen to the jackass two seats down from me shovel popcorn into his gaping maw and chew his cud with his mouth open for two freaking hours.
  • I was working on the next Roman’s book tonight when a character from something I’ve been outlining off and on whispered in my ear “Flat tire”.
    • So, I spent half an hour moving forward on that story until I got stuck again.
    • If the people inside my head would learn to wait their turn, I’d be a lot more productive.

Musings

  • Irish Woman Word for the Day – Knife Condom
    • The rest of us just use the term “sheath”
  • The fact that the yearly “Don’t be an idiot on the Internet” training hasn’t changed in five or six years tells me that the same tactics that worked five or six years ago are still effective on idiots who use the Internet.
  • If you need me to summarize my problem in an email, why does your problem reporting website require me to summarize my problem before it assigns you to my problem?
  • You know a young man had a good day at camp when he comes home exhausted, sun-kissed to about a medium-rare, covered from head to toe in sand, wet from his armpits down, and stained several shades each of brown, green, and black.
  • Note to self – If the waiter doesn’t bother to tell you how much their special braised tuna and rice dish is when you come in, you have no right to let your eyes bug out when you get the check.
  • Note to dude at the $5 a scoop ice cream place – I just want a cola.  Please don’t look at me like I have lobsters crawling around on my head when I ask for one and all you have is the best artisinal root beer ever made in a bad part of Newark.

Book Review – The LawDog Files

Like I said the other night, LawDog has published his first book, The LawDog Files. As the title suggests, this is a collection of the best stories from years of writing on his website.

Each chapter is a separate vignette from the author’s career as a deputy sheriff in rural Bugscuffle, Texas.  We meet the critters, both human and otherwise, that kept him on his toes, along with the folks he worked with.

Each story will bring laughter to your lips, tears to your eyes, and thought to your mind.  While this is a quick read, it’s not bubble gum.  Be wary of outbursts of laughter that will draw strange looks from family and co-workers, and enjoy the collection of outstanding yarns in The LawDog Files.

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