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Archive for the ‘Funny (ha ha)’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: January 12, 2022] The Bad Guys Episode One

A movie is coming out about this book series (Scholastic must have SO MUCH MONEY!).  S. brought it home from the library and I figured I’d give it a read.  And five minutes later I’d finished it.

It’s pretty funny (although not as funny as I would have liked).

It’s also clearly designed for young readers since there are usually no more than five words per page.  I guess it’s a graphic novel, although there are chapters.

The book opens with Mr Wolf staring at us and telling us to come closer.  But we are smart, we know he is a monster so we do not get any closer. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: December 20, 2021] Weird Accordion to Al [Vanity Edtion]

This book came to my work and I said, Hey I have this!  And then I said, but my cover is orange.  What gives?

And then I saw that Rabin, inspired by Al’s Ill-Advised Vanity tour expanded this book.  Or actually, since there is very little information about these books, perhaps he wrote them at the same time and released a shorter and longer version.  But why would he do that?

The first 366 pages are the same but, (and here’s the thing that messed with my head) they are not exactly the same.  Now, I didn’t read the same text in both books and compare them (that would be really insane). But I did flip through the book comparing paragraph and chapter breaks.  The text appears to be the same in both books.  BUT, the paragraphs are not!  For reasons that I don’t understand, in book 1 some pages end with paragraph F, but in book 2, with the same exact text, the page now ends with paragraph E.  Like the spacing of a period threw off all of the justification (Users of Word will know what I’m talking about).

So I’m assuming that both books are the same.

And then the new stuff was added to Book 2 (or taken out of Book 1, whatever).

Starting on page 368 we move on to Other Stuff. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: December 20, 2021] Weird Accordion to Al

After writing the “Weird Al” biography, with “Weird Al” himself, Nathan Rabin dug even deeper into his “Weird Al” fandom to write a detailed account of, as the subtitle says, “Every ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Album Analyzed in Obsessive Detail.”

“Weird Al” wrote the (short) introduction and then Nathan drops the needle on “Weird Al” Yankovic, Al’s 1983 debut album.

Nathan goes into varying degrees of detail on each of the songs.  Nathan was a rabid “Weird Al” fan from when he was a little kid.  And when he talks about how much he loves Al, you can see his deep abiding appreciation for everything Al has done.

Some songs get a paragraph, nut most get a page or so.  He usually talks about how much he likes (or loves) the song (and occasionally dislikes).  There’s nostalgia in the older songs and jokes and observations about contemporary things as well (Rabin’s politics poke through once in a while.  Good thing he’s a smart guy.

Because he did the Al biography with Al, he presumably got a lot of insight into the man and his work.  So although sometimes his insights seem like maybe he’s reading too much into a goofy parody, perhaps he’s on to things.  Maybe Al’s depth is deeper than rhyming Sharona with Bologna.  Which is not in any way to diminish Al’s intelligence.  He’s obviously very smart, especially as his later songs indicate.

Rabin’s tone throughout the book is smart and snarky.  He talks about the songs and the video (if there is one).  He talks about the production quality (or lack thereof) on the first album.  He references Dr. Demento (because the Dr is essential to Al’s career).  He also references Don DeLillo’s White Noise and says things like “Al is in deconstructionist mode.” (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: hiatus.

[READ: December 26, 2021] Skiing Tales of Terror

My daughter T., got this book for me for Christmas.  She bought it at a flea market.  She told me that she thought I’d like it because it looked like the kind of cartoon books that I like (she is referring to the original editions of The Far Side that came in the short but wide comic style).

A fair guess.

Except that the content is entirely about skiing.  Which is something I have done maybe three times in my life.  And which I’m terrified of.

So, content-wise it’s not really my wheelhouse.

And yet, this book turned out to be pretty fascinating.  It is a mix of jokes about skiers and genuinely helpful skiing tips.  Indeed, if I had read this book before the first time I Went skiing I would have probably enjoyed the experience a lot more. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK:  hiatus

[READ: December 17, 2021] “From the Fifteenth District”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my seventh time reading the Calendar.  The 2021 Short Story Advent Calendar is a deluxe box set of individually bound short stories.

As always, each story is a surprise, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you crack the seal every morning starting December 1. Once you’ve read that day’s story, check this link where editor Alberto Manguel is providing daily commentary on each of the stories he selected for this year’s calendar.

I thought  had read more by Mavis Gallant, but apparently I hadn’t.  This is a light and amusing ghost story, set in the fifteenth district of Paris.

But Gallant has an amusing twist on the concept right from the start.

A deceased soldier says that he is haunted by the entire congregation of St. Michael and All Angels on Bartholomew Street.  Since he received his posthumous purple heart, people await for him to come and receive communion, and the crowd gets larger every year. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK:  hiatus

[READ: December 13, 2021] “Tobermory”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my seventh time reading the Calendar.  The 2021 Short Story Advent Calendar is a deluxe box set of individually bound short stories.

As always, each story is a surprise, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you crack the seal every morning starting December 1. Once you’ve read that day’s story, check this link where editor Alberto Manguel is providing daily commentary on each of the stories he selected for this year’s calendar.

Saki was the pen name of Hector Hugh Munro, a British author born in Myanmar (then British Burma).  He loved skewering the British upper class.

This story is hilarious.

An upper class couple is throwing a party and they have invited a host of boorish people.  They’ve also invited Mr. Cornelius Appin, a “clever” man with a vague reputation.

It soon came out that Appin discovered a means for instructing animals in the art of human speech.  The room is incredulous, until he says that his first subject was the hosts’ own cat Tobermory. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK:  hiatus

[READ: December 10, 2021] “The Bees, Part 1”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my seventh time reading the Calendar.  The 2021 Short Story Advent Calendar is a deluxe box set of individually bound short stories.

As always, each story is a surprise, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you crack the seal every morning starting December 1. Once you’ve read that day’s story, check this link where editor Alberto Manguel is providing daily commentary on each of the stories he selected for this year’s calendar.

I’ve enjoyed Aleksandar Hemon’s stories.  And this one was a huge mix of humor and sadness.

This story begins simply enough.  The narrator and his family are watching a film.  But his father is so annoyed that the film isn’t real that he (and the family) walk out before it’s over.

His father only wants to see things that are real so he sets out to make his own film. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK:  hiatus

[READ: December 4, 2021] “The State of Grace”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my seventh time reading the Calendar.  The 2021 Short Story Advent Calendar is a deluxe box set of individually bound short stories.

As always, each story is a surprise, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you crack the seal every morning starting December 1. Once you’ve read that day’s story, check this link where editor Alberto Manguel is providing daily commentary on each of the stories he selected for this year’s calendar.

This story was funny but also had a moral.

Set in 1939, we meet the best Christian in all of Rue Gabrielle and indeed all Montmartre.   Monsieur Duperrier was “a man of such piety, uprightness and charity that God, without awaiting his death… crowned his head with never left it by day or by night.”

He was grateful, of course, but his modesty did not allow him to show it off in public.  However, his wife did have to look at it and she was filled with resentment and exasperation.  She was afraid of what others would think of him if they saw him like that, so she encouraged him to sin a little but to lose the halo. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK:  hiatus

[READ: December 3, 2021] “A Lovely and Terrible Thing”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my seventh time reading the Calendar.  The 2021 Short Story Advent Calendar is a deluxe box set of individually bound short stories.

As always, each story is a surprise, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you crack the seal every morning starting December 1. Once you’ve read that day’s story, check this link where editor Alberto Manguel is providing daily commentary on each of the stories he selected for this year’s calendar.

You know this story is going to be unusual because the main character works for Ripley’s Believe It or Not (I didn’t know they had that in Australia).

He is off to investigate a claim when his car breaks down in the middle of nowhere.  After a few hours of fruitless struggle, a local man approaches.  They decide that the place the driver is going is too far to walk so the local (named Angola) offers to let him spend the night at his place. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK:  hiatus

[READ: December 2, 2021] “Lend Me Your Character”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my seventh time reading the Calendar.  The 2021 Short Story Advent Calendar is a deluxe box set of individually bound short stories.

As always, each story is a surprise, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you crack the seal every morning starting December 1. Once you’ve read that day’s story, check this link where editor Alberto Manguel is providing daily commentary on each of the stories he selected for this year’s calendar.

This story was probably my favorite of the collection.

It was meta- and funny with a feminist slant and a perverse kind of sexuality throughout. (more…)

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