In August of 2019 our neighbors Vic and Sandy invited several couples over to share pizza on their newly-completed front patio. Daunna and I joined Marc & Mimi, and Swapnil & Gagan in celebrating. The last slide shows Gagan offering his approval!
If you like chilling and dramatic horror stories, this is for you!
This was an exciting but very descriptive book about a serial killer who targets women who are on the verge of giving birth. He kills then removes the living baby, which he then sells to a broker.
There is another angle to the story that is even grittier but ties in over the course of the novel.
Here is an excerpt that might serve the reader well: "Keri poured a glass of orange juice and added champagne to sip while she read more of Piper’s journal. The journal was too hard to read without alcohol. After the last couple of readings, she’d decided she wanted her senses dulled a bit."
With that in mind, the book is very well written with a plot that just won't let go, with chill factors that reach pretty high. If you enjoy books with a lot of tension, and you don't mind R+ Rated descriptions, then go buy this book.
Note: I was given an advance review copy free by the author in exchange for an honest review. The review above reflects my thoughts about this book. Because I enjoyed it, I will purchase a copy when it is released.
This was a well-written and very interesting sociological sort-of sci-fi thriller that takes place in a dystopian Kingdom of England and Wales toward the end of the 21st century.
The author weaves a good story that is almost like taking a mirror to 2019 Trumpism and white nationalism here in the US. The narrative point of view alternates between a white English lawyer and a black American medical doctor. Seeing what has amounted to a white-nationalist-dominated England through the eyes of an African American is quite disturbing. Altogether an excellent book. I’ve just purchased the second book in this trilogy, “Torn.” This is a book well worth reading.
California boy guiding tour bus of Germans through Berlin
In the 1990s I worked for an outfit that had developed a reasonably inexpensive way to to transmit voice and data over fiber optic cables. One of the investors was Deutsche Telekom and we had an office in Bonn.1996Part of my job was to help verify that installation and programming techniques were as simple as possible, so I spent a lot of time in Bonn, and later on projects near Berlin.
Then Ericsson bought our firm and at one point a group of Swedes that was visiting Bonn wanted to check out the Berlin project. We all flew into Berlin and somehow I was the designated driver. As part of the visit the Swedes wanted to take a tour of Berlin, so I drove our minibus around and pointed out all the sights. There were several guys from Bonn in our group but they had never been to Berlin. At one point the Swedish leader just burst out laughing, saying that this is a story for the ages: An American from San Francisco guiding a bus of Germans and Swedes through the capitol of Germany, without a map.
Sometimes simply relocating elsewhere has amusing consequences
Shortly after moving from the San Francisco Peninsula to Bloomington, Indiana, I needed to set up refills for some prescriptions.
I made an appointment with a local doctor’s office and was checking in with his assistant.August 2008She was facing down, looking over my forms, asking me questions and filling in my info. It was difficult to understand her because of other noises in the area.
At one point it sounded like this:
“And your (mumble) dressed?”
To which I plucked at my shirt and exclaimed, “I sure hope so!”
The other clerk, who understood my distress, said in a slow clear voice, “She was asking you for your address.”
Clearly the mistake was mine – out West we say ADD-ress but here the accent is on the second syllable – uh-DRESS, which sounded to me as if she were asking, “And you are dressed?”
Never follow a set routine
Our neighborhood is served by a community mailbox – all of our mailboxes contained in one large box on a pedestal where the mail carrier delivers our mail
Since most snail mail is junk mail, I normally walk up there twice a week: Wednesdays and Saturdays. Most of our neighbors know my routine.Wednesday of Labor Day week, 2018
Neighbor George F. likes to kid me about my peculiar habit, and today was no exception as he pulled his car over when he saw me walking our dog.
“Today’s Wednesday so I s’pose you’ve picked up your mail, huh?”
“No actually, this week it’s Thursday because there was no delivery on Monday .”39.1534253-86.467236
You can never pull a fast one on a 1st Sergeant – they will eventually catch on
I was in the Army in the mid-60s, stationed in Berlin as a telephone repairman / switchboard operator. Our outfit was a Signal company, which included any job pertaining to communications – telephone, radio, microwave, crypto, whatever. Our sergeants and officers were not the the strict gung-ho types you see in war movies or accounts of life in the Infantry. We bunked three to a room. Each of us had a tall closet and a footlocker, where all our worldly possessions were kept.1967
Every Saturday morning we peons headed to a movie theater for a couple of hours of training in some obscure military course. During that time the outfit’s sergeants would go room to room and inspect our gear and the general cleanliness of our quarters. The basic idea was that nobody’s perfect, so each room would get a demerit for one very minor infraction or another (such as one sock was gray from too many washings). You get the idea.
At one point I found a fake dog poop in a store downtown and I placed it in a corner behind a couple of footlockers. There it remained for months – so long that I’d forgotten about it…until one day the list of infractions that was posted named our room with the following: “Dust on fake dog poop in corner.” The captain knew he’d been had as the layer of dust on it must have been there for a long time and none of the previous inspectors had noticed it. His note of infraction was priceless. And he knew exactly who to discipline over it!
Verse by FionaFiona created an amusing verse after an afternoon of play ended by a drizzle
One afternoon in 1993 or 94, I took our daughter Fiona to Foothills Park above Palo Alto. It’s great for enjoying a picnic, hiking the trails, or playing catch.1990s
On this occasion, we were wrapping up our visit just as a light rain began to fall. A car pulled up next to us with several youngsters, who looked ready for fun. At that point, Fifi came up with this short verse to describe what would probably happen after we left.
When they get out
They’ll jump back in
And ZOOM they’ll be off!
Not everyone enjoys puns. Puns are rarely funny. Most people groan after hearing a pun. Here are some of my favorites.
Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly. When they lit a fire in the craft it sank, proving once and for all that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.
Two boll weevils grew up in South Carolina. One went to Hollywood and became a famous actor. The other stayed behind in the cotton fields and never amounted to much. The second one, naturally, was known as the lesser of two weevils.
A three-legged dog walked into a saloon in the Old West. He slid up to the bar and announced “I’m looking for the man who shot my paw.”
Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused his dentist’s Novocain during root canal work? He wanted to transcend dental medication.
At a hotel some time ago, a regional chess tournament was held. The action, while appearing slow to the casual onlooker, was in reality quite intense as these masters gave their gray matter such a workout over the duration of the tournament.
At last it was over, the trophies presented to the winners and everyone moved into the lobby to rehash their best moves. What a great time they were having! Wives and husbands began arriving to pick up these gamers. One even arrived with her pet wire fox terrier named Jack, who was pretty excited tugging at everyone’s pants legs and all.
Oh, yes, a great time, up until the hotel manager, who was trying to balance the day’s receipts, got all hot and bothered under the collar. Now this poor soul had broken his leg skiing recently and was temporarily laid up in a wheel chair. This just compounded his annoyance at the party taking place in his hotel lobby.
So he wheeled himself out to the lobby and started telling people to disburse: Go to the bar, go to the dining room, go home – anything but hang around in the lobby!
One of them had to ask why. The manager, who was also busy fighting off the dog, had a quick reply that was to the point:
“I can’t stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer with Jack Fox nipping at my wheels!”
A man entered his local paper’s pun contest. He sent in ten different puns, in the hope that at least one of the puns would win. Unfortunately, no pun in ten did.
A woman had twins, and gave them up for adoption. One of them went to a family in Egypt and was named Amahl. The other went to a family in Spain; they named him Juan. Years later, Juan sent a picture of himself to his mother. Upon receiving the picture, she told her husband that she wished she also had a picture of Amahl. Her husband responded, “But they are twins–once you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Amahl.”
Some friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise the funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the “men of God,” the rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. He asked his mother to ask the friars to get out of business. They ignored her, too. So the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the toughest and most vicious thug in town to “persuade” them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he’d be back if they didn’t close shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving (Brace yourself) That Hugh, and only Hugh, can prevent florist friars.
Some friends decided to get together for breakfast at a new upscale restaurant one Saturday before Christmas. They all placed their orders for a variety of breakfasts: Eggs and bacon, waffles and pancakes with sausages, eggs benedict, and fruit baskets.
The waiter brought each order one by one, and finally served the person who ordered eggs benedict. As the meal was set on the table, the guest did a double take as he found that the meal was served on a hubcap. He asked the waiter what was the meaning behind this nonsense.
At that point the waiter broke out singing, “There’s no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise!”
My uncle was in the fertilized egg business when I was young. He had several hundred young layers, called pullets, and eight or ten roosters whose job was to fertilize the eggs. My uncle kept records and any rooster or pullet that didn’t perform well went into the pot and was replaced. Now this took an awful lot of time. So when my uncle saw a set of eight tiny bells that each rang a different tone, he promptly bought them.
He glued a piece of foam rubber to each clapper shaft so the bell wouldn’t ring except when violently shaken. He hung a bell on each rooster’s neck and went and mixed a Mint Julep. Now he could sit on the porch and sip while filling out an efficiency report on the roosters by listening to the different tones of the bells and marking down each encounter. My uncle’s favorite rooster was old Brewster. Brewster was a fine specimen, but his bell didn’t ring all morning. Uncle went to investigate.
Several roosters were chasing pullets, bells a-ringing. Brewster had his bell in his beak so it couldn’t ring. He’d sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one. Chagrined at first, Uncle was soon so proud of Brewster he entered him in the county fair.
Brewster was an overnight sensation. They not only awarded him the No Bell prize, but also the Pullet Surprise.
The last number for the night at the symphony concert was Beethoven’s Ninth. One of the bass players says to the other: “Let’s talk to the conductor, and go out for a couple of brews while this is on. After all, they only need us at the beginning of the first movement and the end of the last, and there’s lots of time in between.”
They agree, and go to the conductor, who nixes the idea. They’ll have to stay on the stage just like the rest of the orchestra, he tells them.
The first bass player decided he was going to have his way anyway. So during the first movement, just after the basses are done, he leans over to the other one and says, “let’s go get those brews.”
“But we can’t,” says the second.
“Oh yes, we can,” says the first. “I took a piece fishing line and tied the last two pages of the score together, and Maestro won’t be able to get to the end until he figures out his problem and undoes the line.”
So out they go. After they’ve had a few, the second says they better be getting back.
“No, let’s have another,” says the first. And they do. And another. And another. And another.
Finally they get ready to go back, and they start sneaking into their places on the stage.
While they’re doing so, the first violinist leans over to the second violinist and says:
“Look at that! It’s the bottom of the Ninth. The score is tied. And the basses are loaded!”
Two vultures board an airplane, each carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at them and says, “I’m sorry, gentlemen, only one carrion allowed per passenger.”
Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says “Dam!”
Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says “I’ve lost my electron.” The other says “Are you sure?” The first replies “Yes, I’m positive.”
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him …. A super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.
Beware bosses bearing gifts!
Back in the mid-1980s I had a boss who knew that I liked to spice up soups with Tabasco sauce. One day he gave me a new bottle of Dave’s Insanity.
Shortly thereafter, I was making a lentil soup and decided to set a couple of cups aside, ~1986then added to that two-cup portion a drop – just ONE teeny tiny .25mg drop – and did I regret it! Had to ditch that portion of soup and took the bottle to the Hazardous Waste disposal center to prevent my ever-curious infant daughters from accidentally getting a taste from just touching the bottle.