December 29, 2008

Which Writer Would You Like to Meet? My Choice Is...

By meet, I mean sit with for several hours just talking.

Some of my favorite writers are known as A-#1 curmudgeons or ego-bags. I know many love Kurt Vonnegut, as he has earned his reputation as a great writer. I have watched interviews of him, and know he know writing, but I get the impression he thinks plenty of himself. I'll read what they write, but don't care to share a bottle of wine with them.

My choice... Edward Lear. Not because he was the deepest of poets, but because he wrote some delightful, happy poems. Their consequence is not adding to the study of poetry, but are appreciated by ordinary readers. Often excellence and hoi polloi popularity are not one unit.

I do not dream of being Shakespeare, John Keats, or C.S. Lewis (love all). My own writing is much more populist and humorous (or, rather, such is what I work toward), and Lear is among those I revere (rhyme intended).

Who else... probably more of the classic writers than modern ones. The moderns are often embroiled in making statements, or murked in full-fledged publishing machines. That is fine, but a pure writer is hard to find in this muddy scene.

Mark Twain is another, if he could be real and not in character. I think he had everything a good writer could be... craft, skill, depth, sense of humor, and an ability to repeat quality. He was no one-hit wonder.

Bill Watterson is a possibility, and still alive. He drew and wrote Calvin and Hobbes. Maybe Charles Schulz. I see both as genuine writers, not just quippests. Schulz took merchandising his characters to the hilt, but seemed to hold onto the quality of what his characters stood for.

December 26, 2008

Worth Half of Liechtenstein's Otmar Hasler: 14,600 Times of Pure Brockeim-mania

Brockeim is listed 14,600 times in Google?

Look at this link:

All of this from what? A few book reviews, this blog, and a daily nonsense blog?

Compare this to current head of Liechtenstein, Otmar Hasler, at just over 30,000 results. To think, from Google's perspective, I'm worth half of that.

Even closer in the result count is Yaren, the de facto capital of Nauru.

December 25, 2008

Have a Double Espresso Christmas

A double espresso for you all. Made by me, just for you, except I had the pleasure of drinking it.

That's not much of a Christmas gift, I know, but, given this forum is global, and I am handicapped by anonymity, that is the best I can do.

Still, my wish is that your Christmas is as warm as this drink, as sweet as its crema, as bold as its taste, and as energizing as its caffeine.

Christmas is about one new life, born humbly, ready to live so that it may die and rise from the dead. No ordinary life this was, but God incarnate, Jesus Christ.

See today's Christmas-themed Bits of Nonsense. No nonsense this time.

Merry Christmas.

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December 21, 2008

Ordinary Picnics and Marriage Proposals Will Be Better With Sugar Cane Stalk Plates, review, Stalkmarket 10-Inch Heavy Duty Dinner Plate, 25-Count

Ordinary Picnics and Marriage Proposals Will Be Better With Sugar Cane Stalk Plates

Stalkmarket 10-Inch Heavy Duty Dinner Plate, 25-Count Packages (Pack of 12)

Thick and resilient, these paper plates hold what's under them. While manufactured from environmentally kind sugar cane stalks, the purchaser wants to know whether or not they are sturdy enough to withstand a 12-course picnic en route to proposing to his beloved.

They are.

With one plate used atop another to retain the freshness of each course (and to hide all surprises), the future fiancé can be confident that nothing will soak through or leak.

The first course, in keeping with picnic tradition, needs to be potato chips. Three chips. The third one is broken in half and shared.

The second course is cheese, four kinds (sharp cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, and brick), cubed, with toothpicks, laid on their side to look like spokes on a wheel.

The third is simple: whole wheat bread, toasted, cut in triangles. The fourth are honey baked ham slices, cut small into heart shapes.

For an interlude, the fifth course is a sweeter, palate cleansing taste, try concord grapes, cooled.

The sixth course is chicken. Use wings which look like small drumsticks. No more than four wings should be served.

Twin desserts make up courses seven and eight: chocolate chip cookies, crunchy, two, each broken in half, with end touching. The next dessert is lemon pudding.

The ninth course is a note, saying sweetly how much you love her. Few words are necessary.

Finally, the course which will make the afternoon worth the effort: a single diamond ring, with "Will you marry me?" written in chocolate syrup, and revealed when ready. I will presume she will say yes, justifying the need for the next course, two breath mints.

The final course involves no preparation at all, and is a cell phone, so she call her mother.

One plate remains. What is served next is not for this review to say.

Any picnic can appreciate these fine plates. The most special of picnics can rely on them.


December 20, 2008

Wine Rack or Book Case, Wine Box Stand Carries Its Weight: review, Pinzon 3-liter Wine Box Stand

Wine Rack or Book Case, Wine Box Stand Carries Its Weight

Pinzon 3-liter Wine Box Stand

Black steel. What else can support a man's life? This Pinzon 3-liter Wine Box Stand carries a youth through his generation until he, at last, sets down all he has read the final time. As iron sharpens iron, this wine rack highlights what is important, what will further sharpen a man's perspective and skills in navigating the breathing world. These books give him definition along the way, a frame and mirror of where he has been and where he is going.

Four legs, with feet reminiscent of the ones Little Lord Fauntleroy wore, raise the device a half foot. Equally delicate and discrete are the four buttresses on each side, allowing books to stand ready to read.

Built to display boxed wine, a drink few are proud to flaunt, yet on everyman's desk, on my desk, it hosts five books to guide a man from youth to eternity.

Five Books
1 - A collection of nursery rhymes and tales to give a young boy wonder. I recommend the classic Richard Scarry's Best Mother Goose Ever (Giant Little Golden Book), or Edward Lear's The Complete Nonsense Book.

2 - Robert Louis Stevenson Seven Novels Complete and Unabridged (Robert Louis Stevenson Complete and Unabridged), so that the boy will taste adventure. If Stevenson is unavailable, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (Modern Library Classics), is an excellent start.

3 - A book of etiquette, to give him sophisticated grace and courtesy. Only one book will do, Emily Post's Etiquette.

4 - A blank diary (try: Monet in Normandy Blank Journal), to record his life as adult, his adventures and dreams of adventure. While a simple spiral bound, college ruled notebook satisfies this need, something perfect bound, on acid free paper will look better and last longer for the sake of posterity.

5 - A Bible (try: Zondervan NIV Study Bible, Personal Size), to prepare him to meet God. This is my choice, but recognize others may prefer the Koran. The unbelieving man can choose Poor Richard's Almanac.

Whether a book stand or wine rack, this Pinzon wine box rack adds class to any home.


December 17, 2008

For a Speedy, Consistent Cup of Coffee, Find Your Way to Keurig: Review, Keurig B60 Special Edition Gourmet Single-Cup Home-Brewing System

For a Speedy, Consistent Cup of Coffee, Find Your Way to Keurig

Keurig B60 Special Edition Gourmet Single-Cup Home-Brewing System

With perspective in place, this Keurig single-cup brewer earns it weight.

Consider quickly what this is: a small office or home single-cup coffee maker. Consider then what it is not: a replacement for a state-of-the-art espresso maker.

I use, thanks to my employer's choice, K-cups from Caribou Coffee, a coffeehouse chain. The brewer pierces a hole on the top and bottom, and pushes hot water through. It is much like any drip coffee maker. K-cups can be purchased through other coffee vendors, and reusable K-cups are available as well.

With the K-cups, each cup is exactly the same. The flavor becomes predictable, but that is resolved easily with a trip to an offsite shop for a cappuccino.

Per cup, this is expensive. The quality is fine, as is convenience. If you want to save a buck, buy a coffee press. If speed is your game, start here.


December 10, 2008

Negative Commenter Honors Brockeim's Bodum Chocolatiere Review

A strange honor came around this morning when I noticed a review ("The Sad Maiden and Only Voyage of the Bodum Chocolatiere") I recently wrote had an intriguing comment. Followers of my nonsense blog will catch the reference.
"A dorkier post I have never encountered. Are you attempting sophistication? A frustrated poet want-to-be? Sounds like something Frasier Crane would say but as a statement about the ridiculousness of his character." -- Amazon commenter Karen Wolf
I replied that I was glad she caught on. Sure, she intended it as insult, but, in many ways, it means my readers understand my reviews.

Partly, I am completely sincere. The vignettes happen to be true, as is my emotional response found in this review. I adapt the vignettes somewhat, keeping the product as the main element and changing a few things like names and locations. Important to me is the essence of the event, with a wink toward impressionism.

Partly, though, and Wolf might agree, is how my reviews parody the ultra-serious tone sometimes found in wine reviews. This is not saying there are not many nuances to be found in good wine, but there is a pretension among some reviewers. There's a language to it that begs of literary-esque overtones, with an undertone of the Emperor's New Clothes.

What Wolf missed is the satire in the midst of it all. As I read her comment, she thinks I'm looking at what I'm doing straight-ahead, trying to sound intelligent, and that is quite all right by me. Her December 1, 2008 review is not unlike mine in structure. She had high expectations of a product, told the story of its use, how it disappointed her, and her solution.
Over the Door Purse Storage Rack
I was so excited about this when I first got it. But since then 4 clips cracked right in half. Once while adjusting it and the others simply by the weight of the purse or bumping a purse while walking by. I am trying to figure out a way to fashion my own hooks. Shouldn't have to, though.
And if you are interested, you can read more about the Bodum Chocolatiere Glass Hot Chocolate Maker/Frother

December 08, 2008

December 06, 2008

On Writing... Loves and Not Loves

I love finding a phrase that dances,
an image that finds something new in the ordinary,
the telling of a story that before was stuck in my head.

I do not like the insecurity that comes with showing it to people,
the realization that perfection was only for Shakespeare,
that I have trouble thinking past five pages.