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Posts Tagged ‘humour’

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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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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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Chris Elliot is a riot. I’ve enjoyed his short-lived show Get A Life on Fox during the early 90s and loved Cabin Boy. Some find his humour … well more to be desired, whilst those of us that are easily amused think his humour is the dog’s bollocks (or excellent). So when I came across Shroud of the Twacker in the stacks, I was somewhat puzzled because I didn’t know Chris Elliot (THE Chris Elliot) had decided to put his wit to paper … in novel format. Of course, turning to the back and seeing him with Cheshire grin … well. So my curiosity got the best of me and I was not disappointed.

The story is narrated by a detective called Caleb in 1800s New York City on the hunt for a serial killer called the Jolly Thwacker that has a penchant for killing prostitutes. Sounds familiar. Yes, it is basically a parody of the Jack the Ripper situation from across the pond. But that’s just the half of it. Throw in a randy Teddy Roosevelt, time traveling, and Yoko Ono (yes you heard me on that one, THE Yoko Ono) and you’ve got a recipe for laughter and the possibility for pissing yourself silly. Caution if you are easily amused, don’t drink too much liquids and read this book. Seriously, it is painful, especially when you’re stuck on a slow moving, very crowed MTA bus and every bump in the road amplifies that need to void your bladder. Too much information, maybe? Why yes, I fear I have detoured. Even worse, the book hits hilarious highs as Chris Elliot breaks character as the narrating detective and gets into banters with the reader. Yes, he actually starts conversations with the readers. And it is the funniest stuff you can stumble upon. The funny thing is that as you read the novel, those of us that are familiar with Mr. Elliot, you basically hear his voice narrating the whole thing. Or maybe that’s just me. No, really, you sort of hear his voice doing the narration … and this puts everything into a new humourous stratosphere. Another caution: avoid reading this in public for if you are easily amused you will find yourself giggling like a little girl. Or bursting out into sidesplitting guffaws, that will make others wonder if some nice afternoons with electro-therapy, in a nice sterile building complete with padded comforts, would do you the world of wonderful good. Ah Chris Elliot, you wonderfully funny bastard.

Twacker is a magnificent, hilarious read and it seems as if Elliot has found his niche in writing comical prose.

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