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Archive for the ‘humour’ Category

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Running Title: Live Right and Find Happiness (Although Beer is Much Faster)

It has been a while since I read a Dave Barry book, and anyone living in the northeast this past winter could attest to the fact not only are we willing to garrote the next person that talks about having a “white Christmas” (in public) but we could use a bit of cheering up. Though I must admit that at the time I’m writing this review it is currently in the 50s outside in NYC (yeah baby!) and I feel like I should be running around on a mountainside with flowers in my hair singing “the hills are alive with the sound of music” as my skirt whips up with the warm spring … oops … sorry you had to read that. Damn you Julie Andrews.
Onwards to the review shall we (lest I embarrass myself even further).
It is always a pure delight to read Dave Barry books. Sure it freaks out most of the folks that travel with me on mass transit as I would seemingly break out into hysterical giggling and making farting sounds with my mouth. But still … the stuff is funny and I am easily amused.
In Live Right, Dave gives us some more of his hilarious (and yet often times, thought provoking) insights in life. From the world of cable news to Google glasses to soccer in Brazil. His escapades in Brazil during Fifa World Games is probably one of the most hilarious chapters you’ll encounter. At least now I know how to say “here’s my money” (aqui esta a meu dinheiro) and “please don’t stab me” (por favor, nao me esfaquear) in Portuguese. His chapter on his travels in Russia is quite the eye opener. Did not know that there are Latin themed restaurants in Russia … though you might want to avoid the chimichangas. And if you own Google glasses, hope you have a sense of humour and a thick skin. He ends the book with an endearing letter to his newly born grandson. It is riddled with charm, very hilarious and actually exposed something about mustard and ketchup that I’ve unknowingly overlooked over most of my existence on this planet. Damn it, Mr. Barry you’ve done it again.

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davebarrymature
Running title: I’ll Mature When I’m Dead – Dave Barry’s Amazing Tales of Adulthood

Dave Barry, smirking on the cover of the fore mentioned book, reminds me of that funny uncle most people have. You know the type, the one that you are always glad to see because you know that hanging with him will be nothing but pure good times filled with giddy laughter. I have such an uncle. He lives in Canada, possibly the most delightful and funniest bloke ANYONE could ever encounter. Also a great electronic whiz and is probably one of the many factors that influenced me to study electrical engineering during my undergrad years. Awesome chap, and I’m sure if you ever crossed paths with him, you’d feel the same. Alas, it seems that I have detoured a wee bit. So unto the book shall we?

After having read Insane City, I just had to get my paws on the next available Dave Barry book I could find in the stacks. There were many, and of course, this title won because of its quirky title and the cover featured a smirking Dave Barry (alas, I’m a wee bit strange that way). Needless to say, it did not disappoint. The book is a (hilarious) compilation of all things most of us will encounter as an adult (and a parent): dance recitals, colonoscopies, vasectomies (or as Dave so eloquently put it “they cut a freakin hole in your scrotum”), and dog ownership. And of course there are the oddities: visiting Miami (be sure to duck often), saving the newspaper industry, healthcare, the ultimate Jack Bauer script (please, tell me you know who this is … seriously), and deliciously bladder-pummeling parody of Twilight (Fangs of Endearment). By now, from the myriad of seemingly strange topics compiled, your interest should be peeked and your funny bone inside of you is frothing and screaming “GET IT, GET IT, GET IT”. If not, check yourself, you might be a stone or meat popsicle. Though most of his essays are not too far from the sobering truth, they are marinated in infectious and toxic humour which often comes out of nowhere and hits you with a wallop causing you to burst out in giddy laughter or making farting sounds with your mouth … all to the pure dismay of the unsuspecting public that is stuck with you in mass transit. I have probably destroyed many marriage or dating prospects along the way. Oh dear, oh dear … life goes on. There are many (and I do mean MANY) gems in this book. On fatherhood, Dave cautions most men that after childbirth they (men) will have the sex drive of a waffle iron … and there is the possibility that your wife might be sleeping with a Taser. He is however emphatic about women and their reluctance to “get back in the sack” after childbirth: “try passing a mature grapefruit through your urinary tract”. Aye, point well taken … and now every time I see a grapefruit in the supermarket I find myself in a limp. On attending his daughters’ dance recitals: given a choice of attending a recital or having his prostate examined by a scorpion … he would choose the latter (ouch).

Charming, witty, hilarious … and possibly the cure for many forms of depression, Mr. Barry’s writing though not too far from the sobering truth is a pure delight. To those of that are easily amused, this stuff is like super-enhanced heroin to a junkie. You get a constant stream of fixes, though Mr. Barry’s opiate is more likely to leave you with soaked undies rather than lying face down in dark alley in your own froth and vomit. A bit too dark … that one? Aye, I know … sometimes I tend to go there.

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insanecity

I’ve often come across many of Dave Barry’s titles in the stacks and they all have these hilarious titles … and many of these are non-fiction. Yet I’ve been, inexplicably, hesitant in reading them. And then I came across Insane City and after having read the synopsis, I decided that I simply had to read it. Needless to say, it did not disappoint … and now the Dave Barry catalog is on my radar.

Seth Weinstein, who makes a living tweeting about products including douches (yes, that’ll be the feminine hygiene product … not wankers), is about to marry Tina Clark, a very accomplished and stunningly beautiful lawyer, that is … yes … way out of his league. I must add that unlike Seth, Tina is from a family that is stinking, filthy, and obscenely rich. The book opens with Seth and his friends, of questionable character, known as the Groom Posse preparing to travel to Florida, the site of the wedding. Five pages into the book the hilarious hi-jinks kick into gear when Seth is pranked at the airport and there is a hilarious exchange between him and TSA agents concerning a male sex aid (some kind of a hybrid flashlight/artificial vagina … don’t ask … I looked up … shook my head .. the things some folks do to get their jollies … I’ve parenthetically detoured). Trust me it is bloody hilarious and the really GOOD news is that this is the tip of the iceberg of Barry’s humour. Yes, it certainly gets better. After a stop at a bar in South Beach (the Clevelander … bloody hell, I really miss South Florida) and a bit too much drinks, everything takes a chaotic yet interesting turn. Actual more or less like a spiral rather than a mere turn. There are drug sniffing dogs, pirates, Russian gangsters, an angry large-sized stripper, an equally large-sized pimp named Wesley, an amourous orangutan, a randy so-called holy man, a Haitian refugee on the run with her two children, “special” brownies, a secret group of powerful businessmen known as the Group of Six (apparently much more powerful than the Group of Eleven) and yes, an eleven-foot python named Blossom. This is just the first day.
Insane City is a comical tour-de-force filled with a perfect blend of action, drama and intrigue … all slathered and marinated in gut-wrenching, bowel/bladder squashing humour. A few points of humour: an encounter in a supermarket with an old woman toting coupons as thick as phone book, and Big Steve (one of the Groom Posse) ordering breakfast for the group. Trust me. To the easily-amuseds be forewarned: if you travel on mass transit you might provoke unwanted stares in your direction as you find yourself giggling like a little girl … or blithering moron. A truly delightful and humourous read with a delightful ending that’ll warm the cockles of your heart and even though it’s my first Dave Barry book … I think I’ve become an unwitting fan of his writing. Damn you Dave Barry, and your fine, funny prose.

I miss you, Florida. Call me.

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lamadness

No surprise here, but I’m a big fan of British gangster movies. Particularly, the ones made by Guy Ritchie and um … starring Jason Statham. So as I going through my rounds at the library I came across this one in the stacks. Something about a bloke holding a gun, on the cover, and pointing it at the reader … gets my attention. On top of that, when I saw it was written by J.J. Connolly, the author of Layer Cake, my interest was naturally heightened. Yes, I’ll admit it … I have never read Layer Cake but I did see the movie that starred Daniel Craig (you might know him … tall, blond and acts as that Bond fellow) and I did like it. But enough with the pleasantries, shall we?

Madness, apparently, continues from where Layer Cake left off where we find ourselves guided, throughout the book, by the narrative of Cake’s anonymous hero. Whom, I must add, seemingly speaks with Jason Statham’s voice (in my head). Yes, it has occurred to me that I “like” Mr. Statham way too much that it is enough to put my current sexual orientation in complete and utter peril. I have detoured and may have ventured into the “Too Much Information” zone. My apologies.

The book opens with our hero in Barbados waiting at the airport for several of his mates (from the underworld) from England. Though not an entirely social visit, this is a business trip where Sonny, a major “player”, is doing a bit of banking (or hiding) of – no surprise – ill gotten gains. Somewhere, along this get-together, our nameless hero is old that he is need back in England, where (by the way) he is wanted criminal and has been living in Barbados on the lam. Whilst in England, he is soon re-united with his mates from their abruptly interrupted Barbados vacation for what seems to be the untimely passing another fellow comrade-at-arms. There is an encounter with a psychotic Venezuelan gangster which leads to his untimely and extremely violent demise. And then the fun begins. There are Venezuelan and Brazilian hit squads; narcissistic and self-delusional South American psychotics; a fiery, sexual Latino femme fatale named Jenna Zambrano; the usual English underworld back stabbings and bumblings all marinated in Machiavellian schemes; and yes, a USB drive with information that everyone’s willing to paint the streets of London red for. Yes, London has some interesting visitors and they are not there to see the changing of the guards, Big Ben or to have some bloody tea and scones. The action is fast, vicious and sometimes, senseless (what’s new). The language is most definitely politically incorrect (thin-skins be warned) and marinated in dark English humour, wit and Cockney lingo (don’t worry you’ll start figuring out most of it before the book ends). And oh yes, from some strange reason Jason Statham’s voice seem to be narrating the entire bloody book (I think I mentioned that before). Bloody hell, I think this what they call a man crush. Maybe I shouldn’t say that out too loud. Sigh. Great book, though.

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Running title: America Again – Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t

The last time I reviewed Colbert’s I Am America, I did this a few YEARS after having read the book. I will not make the same mistake twice simply because I love America and I DON’T want the terrorists to win.
In the end of my preview of I Am America, I jokingly wished for a sequel. You think I am kidding, feel free to check it out … it is only a few posts down. I’ll wait …. *reading* ….. Oh good, you’re back. Oh ye of little faith, it is truly a sad day when an evil parrot word counts for naught. I am detouring.

From the moment you the book you can see from the cover that you’re in for a hilarious roller-coaster in tsunamic proportions: a bruised Colbert with knuckles up in Fight Club mode. To add to the heightened, humour-induced delirium the book features a sticker that indicates that you can now experience this book in 3D, high definition “deptiness”. And yes, it actually includes a pair of red and blue 3D shades (which, if lost, can be bought for $28.99 along with a complimentary second book from your nearest bookstore … as suggested by Mr. Colbert). Now to truly appreciate this book, it is important to read EVERYTHING in this book. Especially the usual odds and ends that we usually forsake to dive into the story. The book starts out with an odd “Terms and Conditions” section and though there is great temptation to avoid, I must encourage you to read it. I promise you, it is the dog’s bollocks.

Like , I Am America, Mr. Colbert dotes on an array of topics that litter our socio-political landscape: jobs, healthcare, energy, food, and the justice system. And for some reason there is a preoccupation with Jamba Juice.

Favourite tidbits on the run include (and this is just the tip of the iceberg):

  • Aside from questionable rewrites of resumes (and he gives a hilarious example of such) he advises on ending the interview hand shake with a blown kiss since “a little romance never hurt”.
  • On surviving jail: “When all the other meatheads are grabbing the free weights, grab the oft-overlooked rhythmic gymnastic ribbon and put on a show that will rock everyone to their emotional core.”
  • Using the analogy of a Mrs. Havermeyer who uses a bit of shit in her cookie batter to outdo the competition at a church bake sale … to explain Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) which is surprisingly effective and tremendously hilarious (seriously, you’ll piss yourself silly when you come across and you’ve had too much liquids to drink).

Needless to say, there is a lot more of this good stuff and I don’t want to be a wank and give away the cow for free … and other such bollocks.

Now for anyone that has read some pseudo-political screed being touted by some left or right wing blowhard has had to deal with footnotes. You know, that stuff that is stuffed at the bottom of pages to give you the impression that it is validating the author’s blathering balderdash but it is nothing more that some boring run-on that is enough to make you whip up (and down) a sulphuric acid cocktail coated with some powdered glass …. just to make your day (and reading) fun again. The bad news is that Mr. Colbert employs a lot of footnotes in his writing. The really good news is that it is done with such majestic wit that to avoid it would be robbing yourself of the many humourous gems that really light up this book and renders you into giddy, giggling school girl. Yes, on public transit this can be very annoying, especially to certain Starbucks-clutching chicks that is trying enjoy and indulge their inner randiness as they read the “tastefully”, written Fifty Shades of Grey. Whatever, luv, but you could’ve done better if you read the Sleeping Beauty trilogy by Anne Rice. And yes, the Evil Parrot has just admitted to reading (gasp!!!) …. erotica. And once again … I have detoured (but more on that on a very later date …. waaaaay later).

In a nutshell: Mr. Colbert has done it again. Fantastic wit and humour, and in many part you actually walk away learning stuff and possibly, soaked (or soiled) underwear and destroyed dating prospects. Small price to pay for such bloody good humour. I’m already looking forward to the next sequel (hey … it worked the last time).

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This book review is loooong overdue. I just hope Mr. Colbert can forgive me. And now with the pleasantries out of the way … we plod forward.
Unless you are living under a rock encased in a meteorite and buried at the bottom of the Marianna’s Trench … you should have an idea who Stephen Colbert is. If not, then you are probably Communist (just kidding … or am I). In I Am America, Stephen Colbert brings forth his brand of “truthiness” and slight illogical fear/hatred of bears to everyone living under the great blue skies in this fair, great land. It is hilarious, somewhat troubling and then hilarious again. Troubling yet hilarious bits include things like sleeping with a loaded gun underneath your pillow and firing away at any shadow that moves in the house after 8 PM … as mandatory duty of the man of the house. Troubling, maybe, but bloody hilarious (as it turns out, I am not only easily amused but have a dark sense of humour). And the there is the downright hilarious bits like illustrating why it is better to be poor or rich but not middle class, where you practically piss yourself silly until you get to a point where you find yourself going, “hey, that shit’s not funny” … and then you move on the next chapter, and the laughter and pissing regains full momentum. Trust me, it never misses a beat. Now like every red-blooded male in this land, most of us don’t waste our time reading absolute bollocks like the “acknowledgements” and “foreword” and other such shite. Nay. We just plunge into the book, headlong, or as the 80s rock group, Accept, would say, “balls to the wall”. Bloody hell, an actual reference to Accept. Detouring … must … stay .. on … track. In I Am America, my advise to everyone is to read every part of this book. From cover to end. Simply hilarious, with some subtly disguised truths and great for destressing. To add to this, Mr. Colbert leaves a transcript of his cringeworthy performance at some press dinner in Washington that really makes you feel it for the ex-prez. Well, almost. The minerals on that Stephen. Brilliantly funny book, look forward to the sequel. There IS a sequel, right mate? Ahhh, c’mon.

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Running Title: Free For All – Oddballs, Geeks And Gangstas In the Public Library

Yes, it has been awhile since I’ve posted some more books on my site. But I’ve been busy with work, and other stuff. Aye, it can be a bit overbearing especially when you work with the public. And since we’re talking about work (in this case my work as a librarian) I couldn’t help but introduce this delightful little ditty.

Free For All is a semi-biographical account about life of a librarian in a Californian library. In Free For All, Mr. Borchert introduces us to his humble start as a clerk in the library onwards to becoming a librarian and strange landscape of characters he encounters along the way. To most, the library is just an average ho-hum place where folks come to borrow books and DVDs. To those of us that work in the systems, we know it’s anything but dull and the stuff one encounters is sometimes better than anything most of the stuff that is on the telly. In Free For All, Mr. Borchert deals with fecal covered sex toys (now I know why the close the book slots overnight) to bathroom drug dealers to single mothers that are allergic to birth control and bent on practicing fraudulent behaviour. Surreal, you might say. But you haven’t lived until you walk into a public bathroom, prior to opening, only to discover half a bottle of Georgi’s Vodka and an opened box of orange juice on the floor. Yes, in case you missed it, someone was using our bathroom as their own personal barroom. Free For All is hilarious at most, ponderous at some points and very heartwarming (such as the neglected bi-racial kid that was virtually raised by librarians who moves away and sends them cards every year). Yes, there is an inside joke that the public library is “unofficially free daycare”. Aye but the problem with that joke is that many of us that work in the library don’t think it’s bloody funny. No seriously, especially when you have a late commute with a crappy bus route … and the buses come every twenty minutes … that is if the bus drivers decide to even keep the schedule … and Timmy’s mom just “stepped out” for the last three hours … and we REALLY need to close, you twit. Dear, oh dear, me thinks I had a flashback of sorts and as a result have detoured. At the most Don Borchert’s book is very hilarious, filled with colourful characters. At the least, it gives the reader an insight to what today’s library is like where many of the staff have more on their plate and shushing is as effective as throwing an ice cube into a forest fire. For many of us we have to have the mindset of a bouncer, FBI profiler, lawyer, teacher, forensic analyst (that stain on the returned Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue may not be Boston crème), and occasionally gets to be surrogate parents (not necessarily of our choosing … but in the end it gives us a nice fuzzy feeling … or maybe that’s the alcohol). Brilliantly written, tremendously hilarious, and very enlightening. And it’ll probably make you appreciate librarians or your local branch (if it is nothing like what you read in the book) a bit more. Maybe. Just Maybe.

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