Friday Fill-Ins ~ Anarchists, Carnies and Skanks, Oh My!

ffi

And…here we go!

1. The first rule of working in an office and getting along is establish dominance by drinking the last dribble of coffee, eating the food brought in by co-workers and leaving fresh-from-the-litter-pan-presents in the bosses dark-colored chair every morning.  Then whenever anyone expresses their displeasure, relay the passage you read in your copy of The Anarchist Cookbook last night while cleaning one of your many assault rifles and planning the next meeting with your lawyer to finalize the settlement with your last employer.

2. I once gave my kids “sea mushrooms” for supper, but really they were canned clams. (It was a punishment, btw, for ditching the school bus and trying to skip school.  It worked so well, they’ve never tried to skip since.)
 
3. When I think of carnivals I think of cotton candy, popcorn, candy apples and crazy-looking, inbred and toothless pedophiles running the controls on the Himalaya and taking tickets at the Fun House.

4. Lilacs are my favorite spring flower.

5. Things on my desk include an open box of Whoppers, a 2 liter of Diet Coke, a new box of Stridex, Maggie’s homework that she’s standing here waiting for help on, Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank (I just finished writing the review for it), a half-empty bag of Cheesy Poofs, and the little fliers about our town that I picked up from the city building (I put them in the books I send out from BookMooch).

6. The gas company and the gov’tal bureaucracy makes me wanna go postal then go survivalist… better yet, let’s go “Fight Club” on them!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to taking the kids to the new skating rink that’s suppose to be Chuck E. Cheese meets SkateWorld and is probably priced like Disney World, tomorrow my plans include taking Maggie the old skating rink for her friend’s b-day party and trying to get as much of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet read as possible  and Sunday, I want to enjoy a nice Sunday Service and grab the Kleenex while Mags and Gwen get baptized at our new church!

Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbank

Title:  Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank:  And Other Words of Delicate Southern Wisdom

Author:  Celia Rivenbark

Hardback:  262 pages

Date Published:  September 2006

PublisherSt. Martin’s Press

ISBN:  9780312339937

When my daughter announced her class was taking a field trip, I involuntarily shrieked “No!” but then had to realize that it was doubtful the kindergarten classes were going to prison or the dookie factory.

Indeed, it was the zoo.  This would be safe and fun, I thought.  Animals frolicking – what could go wrong?

Well, for starters, the baboon, who was frankly obsessed with amorous activities that didn’t require a partner.

“What’s he doing?” a few of the kids asked.

My husband, who was the only man who had come along to chaperone, decided he would deal with this question, and deal with it he did.

“That’s just the traditional baboon way of waving hello,” he said, sounding remarkably poised and knowledgeable.

“Oh,” a little boy in the class said.  “Should we wave back?”

“Oh, God no.”

Next up:  the “desert habitat” where an ancient camel proceeded to amuse the children by leaning down to eat his own shit.  Without even moving his legs, the giraffe savored every bite as if it were the Christmas ham.

Oooh, icky gross! I think I’m gonna hurl!

“It’s just nature,” said one of the kids, trying to comfort my husband.

-Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark, pages 53-54

I first heard about Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark on the April Books Brought Home Library Thing thread (the discussion starts going around message 174).  It created quite a stir, as everyone passed around their “bad parents and monstrous children” horror stories.  With the conversations circulating, as well as it’s hilarious-but-shocking title, I knew I wanted to read this book.  So I clicked on over to BookMooch, entered the title in the search bar, and voila! mooched the only copy available. 

When it arrived in the mail on Saturday, I cracked open the book and just glanced at the title of the first chapter:  There’s Always Tomorrow(land):  “If You Really Loved Me, You’d Buy Me Pal Mickey”.   The chapter’s about Celia planning and taking her family to Disney World.  Before I realized it, I was at the end of the chapter, ripped envelope still in my lap, and bladder barely holding its ground after all the laughter.  The whole book is like that, and you just about have to tear the book from your hands to put it down to make dinner, sleep or even go to the bathroom (okay, I admit it… Celia went there, too).

With the charm of a Southern Belle, and a snarky, sarcastic wit, Miss Celia expresses all that it is to be a mother/wife/career woman/person with the sense God gave a goose in this day and age.  She tells of her experience trying to buy size 7 clothes for her six-year-old, and only finding outfits that’d make a Vegas showgirl feel naked.  Later, she points out that grown women in character-embossed clothes need to grow up, which points out the Topsy-turvy nature of the American culture today:  Children dressing like sexually mature adults and grown-ups dressing like school kids at play.

Each chapter’s title both encompasses its contents, while being surprising and tongue-in-cheek.  A few examples of this are:

  • Yo Yo Yo!  Where Can a Sista Get a Cowgirl Outfit?:  Holidays Make This Mama Wanna Get in Your Grille
  • Weary Mom to Uppity Teens:  At Least I Know Where the Continent of Chile Is
  • Field Trip, Fornification, and a Shit-Eating Giraffe:  Who Says School Can’t Be Fun?
  • Montel’s Smoking Weed:  (But Will He Share With Sylvia the Psychic?)
  • Reality Bites:  Super Skanks Lewinsky and Hilton Are Fun to Watch, but Those 100-Pound Toddlers Rule!
  • The Butcher’s Great, the Baker’s Suffering:  But How Is the Anti-Carb Frenzy Affecting the Candlestick Maker?
  • The Paradoxical Male:  Smart Enough to Find “Me Time,” but Dumb Enough to Get Stuck Buying the Tampons
  • If It Ain’t On eBay, It Ain’t Worth Having:  (Whoa!  Is That Willie Nelson’s Face in Your Grits?)
  • Politicians Serve Up McValues:  (With Extra Cheese on the Side)

Amidst the humor and anecdotes, Rivenbark manages to slip in facts and evidence that support her position, but  you’re too busy laughing and enjoying her company to realize “Hey, there’s serious journalism going on here!”

I enjoyed Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark  immensely, and am going to buy a new copy from Amazon and have it shipped to my mom for Mother’s Day (don’t tell her, or you’ll ruin the surprise!).  All the way through, I could just hear my mom’s voice in Rivenbark, and I know she’ll enjoy it as much as I did.  While the book won’t stay with me as far as remembering specifics, the feeling of fun and laughter will live on, and I’m sure that when I re-read this review a year from now, I’ll remember specifics in the chapters mention, and laugh again.  For the joy it’s given me and will give to my mom and myself in the future, I give Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark 4 iout of 5 Krispy Kreme donuts :-D

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In this video clip, Celia Rivenbark opens up a book signing by reading an anecdote in an email from a friend.

BTT ~ Pop! Goes Dean Koontz

Which is worse?

Finding a book you love and then hating everything else you try by that author, or

Reading a completely disappointing book by an author that you love?

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Yesterday one of my facebook friends sent me an invite to take one of those quizzes to see how much alike we were.  It was the kind where you have 10 phrases to put in order, most to least, starting with what I hated the most.  “Disappoint me” was top of the chart, even above “lie to me”, “ignore me” or “talk behind my back”.

At least with reading a book I love, then hating everything else by that author, I had that book one that I  loved.  It’s easier to take the rest of his or her writing, and I can just shrug it all off as a fluke.  As much as I love The Book Thief, I’m slightly worried that nothing else by Markus Zusak will be any good.  However, if I should happen to give another of his books a try and hate it, It will not sully my memory of The Book Thief.

On the other hand, if I pick up a book by an author I love, and hate it, there’s a sense that the author has failed me personally.  We have a relationship, of sorts, and he or she did not hold up his end of the bargain.  He or she has FAILED ME, and with every book I read thereafter I will hold this little uncertainty, a distrust, and wonder if he or she is going to screw me over again.

The worst of all, though, is that first experience reading an author and loving the whole book, every word is perfectly placed, his pace perfect, his story compelling, and you sit there and think “How on EARTH have I lived my life without reading this author!”  Then you get to the last three or four chapters, the last 10-15 pages, and he totally and completely bottoms out in epic-sized proportions.  And now, because of this, every book you touch by him you are leery to pick up, no matter how fascinating, intriguing or compelling the story line, because you wonder if he’s going to “screw you over” again.  AND he’s one of your bookfriend’s favorite authors, so she’s always sharing whatever one of his 147 just-out-in-paperback-because-he-has-a-new-release-ever-five-minutes-book she has just finished, and you look at every single one she thrusts at you to read, with the proclamation, “This is his best book yet!”, as if it were an adorable puppy you just watched get bitten by a foaming-at-the-mouth, crazy rabid squirrel and you know it’s only a matter of time until the big-eyed, heart-tugging pup turns on you.  But you finally relent and take her offering, however, no matter how good the writing is, you say to yourself, “Oh, sure it’s good now, but is he going to screw me over in the last few chapters like the other one?”  So you can’t enjoy it AT ALL because every page comes with that feeling you have as you turn the Jack-in-the-box crank as “the monkey though ’twas all in fun….” plunks out.  EVERY page you ever read by him again is saturated with the aftertaste of that massive  let down.

Dean Koontz, I’m talking to you. 

If you’d like to play along, or read other Booking Through Thursday answers, click the button above :-)

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After reading The Darkest Evening of the Year and loving it, loving it, loving it… then having it all turn to crap in the last three or four chapters, I feel like Buddy in this vid clip while reading From the Corner of His Eye.

VVW ~ Kids Say the Darnedest Things!

Hello and Happy Hump Day!  Woo-Hoo!  And who doesn’t like a good hump?  Today’s Viral Video Wednesday has a few new things about it.  First, we have a button!  WooT!  I’ve got a few other pics to turn into buttons, and if you’ve got one, lay it on me! :-)  Second, if you look at the bottom of the picture header of this blog, you’ll see a Viral Video Wednesday tab.  I’ll be keeping the current week’s VVW there, and you can add your blog in the comments so I can check out your VVW posts, too :-)  The third change to VVW is, at the end of my post and on the VVW page, I’ll let you know what the subject of next week’s VVW so you’ll have a week to hunt down some fabulous vid clips for your own VVW posts :-D

And now, on with the vids!

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The famous comedian W.C. Fields once said, “Never work with children or animals” and the reason for his sentiment is clear:  They will upstage you and steal all the laughs!  If you’ve ever tried to have a conversation with the pastor at the carry-in, only to be interrupted by your four-year-old, “Mommy, Pastor Bill does TOO have a watch… See!  It’s right there on his arm!  Pastor Bill, did you buy that at the dollar store with the $3 Mommy put in the offering last week?” then you KNOW that kids can chime in was some really hilarious stuff every now and then.  So this week’s VVW is dedicated to all those darned funny things the little whipper-snappers say!

Poor little Colin suffers from two things endemic to childhood…  Like most children, he absolutely adores being the star of the home movies, and he struggles with the correct pronunciation of some words more than others.

I first saw the following video on “The Ellen Degeneres Show”  It’s always funny to watch a child when they realize where they’ve gone wrong in a conversation… that little “A-ha” moment when they take one step closer to understanding their world.  

The next video brought back memories of my oldest daughter’s trips to the dentist.  An utter dentophobic, she had to be given the red liquid sedative (Versed) AND the piggy-nose (nitrous oxide) to get her into the chair, then she had to have a TV headset playing Powerpuff Girls to keep her mind occupied while the dentist did anything inside her mouth.  Even routine teeth cleanings could disolve into a puddle of tears on the 5 foot overstuffed Pooh Bear in the waiting room.  So I completely understand David’s behavior.

What do you get when have an adorable little boy with big brown eyes telling Knock! Knock! jokes? Well… I have girls, so maybe that’s why I never got this…

And I think I’ll end here with the following video.  Before you slip that DVD of Jackass Unlimited into the DVD player, remember that little pitcher sitting next to you is taking it all in, and will recount the whole scene to Pastor Bill at the Mother’s Day after-service dinner a couple weeks from now.

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Do you have a favorite kid vid?  share it with me in the comments, or better yet, post your own Viral Video Wednesday “Kids Say the Darnedest Things!” at your blog and leave the link in the comments so I can visit!

Next week’s Viral Video Wednesday topic:  Stalkers

Tuesday Thingers ~ Run for Cover!

tuesdaythingers

Welcome to another week of Tuesday Thingers!  We always love to hear from regular participants as well as new people.

I was randomly (desperately searching) the site for something different and fun to look at this week, and I stumbled onto a few fun pages.  One of them was a page that will show you “All Your Covers” by title, author, or date entered! Find it here.  If the link doesn’t work (or if it takes you to MY covers), I found it by going to Tools (tab at far right), going down to number 9, and selecting the link for All Your Covers.

Questions:  Do you have any missing covers (they show as a plain gray book)? Did you have a favorite view (title, author, date entered)?  Do you have any favorite covers?  If so, is there anything they have in common?

Here is a WebCapture pic of a screenful of my covers:

WebCapture of my book covers

I changed my default cover to the decorative red, blue and brown covers, but yes, I do have quite a few.  A lot are older books where I’m one of a small few LTers with that book and it’s long since out of print, so no cover is available.  A lot of them are ARCs or self-published books and their covers haven’t been entered into the system yet. I have added a few covers to LT, but I’m too lazy to do it for all of them.  Maybe if there’s no cover when I review them I’ll do fix their cover.

A very funny thing:  As I was scrolling down through my covers to decide which screenful to use, my eye landed on a few covers and I thought, “Oooh! I want that book!” then said, “Duh! I have that book.  I have all these books.”

As to whether I have favorite covers or views of all my covers, of course I have favorite covers ;-), but the views didn’t matter.  I didn’t want to put a capture of the “by authors” view because I have a ton of Bentley Little, Stephen King, and C. S. Forester, so the books in those sections would have looked the same and my library uninteresting.  Date added, though, may have been interesting, but I’m too lazy to go back and do it again.

If you’d like to join TuesdayThingers or read other answers, visit Wendi’s Book Corner :-D

Dune by Frank Herbert

Title:  Dune

Author:  Frank Herbert

Date Published:  January 1977

Publisher:  Berkley Medallion Books

Miscellaneous:  1966 winner of the Hugo Award and was the inagural winner of the Nebula Award in 1965.

His mother was beside him, holding his hands, her face a gray blob peering at him.  “Paul, what’s wrong?”

….”What have you done to me?”  he demanded.

In a burst of clarity, she sensed some of the roots in the question, said:  “I gave birth to you.”

…”Did you know what you were doing when you tranined me?”  he asked.

There’s no more childhood in his voice, she thought.  And she said:  “I hoped the thing any parent hopes – that you’d be … superior, different.”

…”You didn’t want a son!”  he said.  “You wanted a Kwisatz Haderach!  You wanted a male Bene Gesserit!  … Did you ever consult my father in this?”

She spoke gently out of the freshness of her grief:  “Whatever you are, Paul, the heredity is as much your father as me.”

“But not the training,” he said.  “Not the things that awakened… the sleeper…. You wanted the Reverend Mother to hear about my dreams:  You listen in her place now.  I’ve just had a waking dream.  Do you know why?”

“You must calm yourself,” she said.  “If there’s -”

“The spice,” he said.  “It’s in everything here – the air, the soi, the food, the geriatric spice.  It’s like the Truthsayer drug.  It’s a poison!”

She stiffened.

His voice lowered and he repeated:  “A poison – so subtle, so insidious … so irreversible.  It won’t even kill you unless you stop taking it.  We can’t leave Arrakis unless we take part of Arrakis with us.”

The terrifying presence of his voice brooked no dispute.

“You and the spice,” Paul said.  “The spice changes anyone who gets this much of it, but thanks to you, I could bring the change to consciousness.  I don’t get to leave it in the unconscious where its distrubance can be blanked out.  I can see it.”

… She heard madness in his voice, didn’t know what to do…. We’re trapped here, she agreed.

-Dune by Frank Herbert, pages 195-196

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I could seriously cry. I just wrote the full review, clicked “publish” and WordPress ATE IT! AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

short version.

Dune is really cool. read it.

I give it 5 out of 5.

Boo! WordPress!

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OKay, trying this again. *deep cleansing breath*

Dune by Frank Herbert is the science fiction/fantasy book of all time, with the exception of Tolkien’s work. It enfolds ecology, feudal lords, space travel, mysticism, and combat and creates an amazing world that is both an advancement of humanity, while at the same time the regression of it. I found the place water plays in the everyday life of the Fremen of the desert planet of Arrakis completely fascinating, it is the beginning and the ending of their existance, as well as the very essence and the centerpiece of their dream: Arrakis as an Eden.

Paul Muad’Dib has been trained in the Bene Gesserit ways by his mother, who disobeyed the command to give birth to a daughter, which has given him a hyper-awareness of the world and those around him. When his family is sent to Arrakis as his father, Duke Leto’s new fiefdom, the sudden supersaturation of melange, a cinnomon-y spice that extends life and allows the user to become more spiritually aware, and the shock of the attack from a rival Great House (“noble” family) forces a change in Paul. He is suddenly able to see all time, past present and future, and all their possibilities, and is troubled by the visions of jihad being mounted across the galaxy in his name and under his banner. He is determined to prevent this, while avenging his father’s death and leading the Fremen (native… sort of.. people of Arrakis) to autonomy and control of their planet and the spice found only on Arrakis.

I found Herbert’s imagination amazing. In Dune, Herbert created a future that was virtually unimaginable at the time. He gave the world its own rules and specific history. And he gave them a religion that has a sense of being the eventual mingling of the major religions. The Orange Catholic Bible is a sacred text, many of the names and terms have a Muslim feel, and the Litany Against Fear is positively Zen-like:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Dune Messiah :-)

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Books, Buds, and Blueberry-Lemon Crunch Cake

It’s been an interesting and fun day here.  The weather is gorgeous!  Warm, sunny, and a good breeze to blow all the winter stench away.  The girls and I all headed to the library to take back a few things and Sam wanted to get some more movies and Twilight.  As it turns out, by the way, all I had to do was tell her what was in Marked (oral sex), and she decided it wasn’t a book for her.  She’s a good kid :-)

On our way, we met up with a friend who reminded me that the library sale was today, a fact I had NOT forgotten, but alas, did not have any money for it.  I made the comment that I didn’t have any money so I’d have to catch the next one, and she pressed a five dollar bill in my hand and told me to get everyone some books. :-D Friends are great ;-)

So, at our library sale books cost fifty cents a piece, or $5 per bag.  I perused the books, looking at all the books offered. Most of the children’s books were a bit baby-ish, but Maggie picked up a book on Texas (that’s where my mom lives).  Sam snatched up a Where’s Waldo? book, and Gwen got a beautifully illustrated fairy tale book.

One of the main criteria for the books I chose were size.  The smaller the book, the more I could cram in the bag ;-) so no coffee table books today (there wasn’t many available anyway, oddly enough).  But a very interesting thing has happened since joining LibraryThing, the blogging realm and reading emails from publishers, Shelf Awarenes, and everything else.  I’m beginning to recocgnize titles I’ve heard and wanted.  For instance, one book that jumped out at me is called People of the Valley, though I’m not even sure why it popped out at me.

Then, just a little bit ago, the mailman dropped off a few of my mooches, and one of them caught my eye. Last week, Abe Publishing sent an email about the 10 overlooked Pulitzer Prize winning books, and I immediately mooched them or put the titles on my wishlists. One of them, Lamb in His Bosom, was among my haul today.  What caught my attention about the book is that, looking at the cover or reading the title, I would have passed over this book without a thought.

Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller

My first thought on it is, “It’s just some religious book.”  Which reminds me of the proverb “Never judge a book by its cover.”  And I wonder how many exceptional books have I missed, how many life-changing narratives have I blown off, and it makes me a little sad.

Add to that, all those books in the library itself were all dreams and babies of writers, and I will never be able to read even 1% of all of them.  So many colorful spines that call out to me from those lightly dusted faux-wood shelves, and I am forced to turn my back on them and walk out… ignoring all those voices of all those people who had something to say and managed to do what most don’t:  Bind their words in an available and solid, tangible way.

So have you ever had a book call to you?  Have you read a book that you loved, but would have never picked up on your own?  What sources do you turn to for the next title to read?  How do you stretch your reading taste?

Off to eat my Blueberry-Lemon Crunch Bundt cake :-D

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