Month: September 2016

Talking Like A Sailor–Not Swearing

One of the things I love most about Moby-Dick is its realistic dialogue: while reading of the endeavors of the crew of the Pequod and the ballistic Captain Ahab you feel as if you are stowing away inside the ship and listening to the commonplace interactions between sailors–except there are no rats, nor are there leaks…unless you like to read in the bathtub.

The words they use sound lifelike–granted, sailors have a special lingo like that of businessmen: instead of data they say stowage; instead of bathroom they say poop deck; and while these words are enjoyable they are nothing compared to a good ol’ Aargh! or Shiver me timbers! 

But I am talking about whaling sailors, not cartoonish pirates. Here’s looking at you, Blackbeard.

Ahab is by far the most articulate individual aboard. Whenever he comes into the next chapter a shiver runs down your spine–and as you change your drawers you hear aloud his insulting orders towards Starbuck–hey, isn’t that the coffee place?–and Stubb.

My favorite line is from Ahab: “I’d strike the sun if it insulted me.”  To me that sounds supremely badass. I picture a muscle bound Ahab with a gold casing on the tip of his peg  leg soaring on a white whale bone sled towards the jeering sun. Not enough badass? Give him a harpoon gun fueled by the blood of Moby Dick that fires high velocity water torpedoes. And a dragon–put a dragon at the front of the sled.

I am reasonably sure there are sailor dictionaries out there in the wide world of this-book-is-random-but-it-is-still-loads-of-fun-to-read sections. If I checked out the comedy section in Barnes and Noble it would likely be stowed between a copy of training a crocodile to drink tea and the Klingon dictionary–my uncle can converse in the language.

Take this as a book recommendation. Go find a copy of Moby-Dick to educate yourself in the cultured dialogue of whalers, if not to savor the knowledgable bits on the actual topic of whaling. Herman Melville knew his stuff…

Think daily,

A Southpaw



Cars: The One First Everyone Remembers

They come in varying shapes and sizes and colors and scents and tastes and– to put it simply they are the chariots of the American Dream; a customizer would sell his or her family to obtain a classic beauty and jazz it up; some children believe it their rite of passage to be handed those jingling keys and the dependability which accompanies them.

Old men love them. Old women love them.

Young men love them. Young women love them.

Teenagers drool over them: what would you do if your dream vehicle all of a sudden appeared in your driveway? There is your parent holding the keys over your trembling head–as a matter of fact it is your sixteenth birthday, and you did pass the driving test yesterday. No coincidences in this situation.

Of course I am referring to cars.

What is the first image popping into your head? A Volkswagen beetle, or even better a van; although nowadays those prices are steep. A hot rod–my neighbor owns a loud one. A pickup truck…not a bad choice. A Jeep.

Hold on. A Jeep?

Please tell me you’re lying; someone put to you up to this. Were you double dog dared?

I see–triple dog dared. Okay, go ahead and sit down in the back…yes, we’ll talk later.

Geez, man, Jeeps? Can you believe that guy?

Back to the point:

There is something to be said about the thrills received from driving aimlessly across the interstate system. Towns you never heard of appear instantaneously on the sides of the road; for example you see a sign reading Kimbolish and beneath it in blue letters, 4 miles, but you realize Kimbolish sounds like the dumbest name for a town and you stopped to take a leak not five minutes ago. So grab a t-shirt, a mug with the town name spelled in foam letters upon the ceramic…call it a day. But if you forget to try their local burger joint, then stop off at Fernaningo–the ghost town fifteen miles ahead. I heard they specialize in mystery meat.

Cars are also the social markers of our world. The next time you are prowling the streets–to some of you it may be an everyday routine–watch the reactions to the driver in the sports car compared to the driver of the mini van; babies laugh when one of those horns go off—and it is not the latter.

What was your first car?

Think daily,

A Southpaw




Fortun(-e)ate Son. Clever, Huh?

You go to a Chinese restaurant for a number of reasons:

The dumplings.

The crazy dragon architecture–they are not spouting real fire.

And the fortune cookies; but to be honest those were the first images which popped into your head, weren’t they? Professional psychic, people; I work Tuesdays and Sundays, so go ahead and leave your check on the doorstep.


We were discussing Chinese interests, choice among them fortune cookies; but have you ever wondered how truthful their slips are? See, I look at it optimistically: once you crack open a cookie the fortune listed directly relates to your life. And if your life is literally going down the toilet, perhaps the fortune will say, “Time for a deep plunge,” or if it’s one of those cheeky slips, then “Surf’s up, dude. Hang ten.”

Burn those cheeky slips. Set a torch to ’em–they were manufactured in Hell anyways.

But you know which cookies you dream of…the ones perfectly describing your tumultuous love life by saying, “Tulips are the color of your money…and your heart.” Excuse me, in modern terms, “Buy her tulips, you cheapskate.” What is that going to get you?

I got a cookie today telling me to “maintain my appetite and accept the smaller things” The thing is, I run, so unless it is referring to my current relationship–actually, scratch that, it only makes sense for vampires and cannibals. I don’t eat girls.

I might as well take it into consideration. And so should you. Go to a Chinese restaurant, drool over the dragons–maybe some of you want to take selfies under its gaping jaws–then buy rice and more rice; and take a bag of fortune cookies home with you. Read them out loud at the table…even if they say, “A trip to the bathroom is imminent in your future.”

By the way, be careful about that rice.

Think daily,

A Southpaw



Talking to Girls. It’s A Craft.

You are standing right beside her and are currently tasked with catching her attention. She  has to notice you–by God it was you who saw her from the corner of your eye; it was you who walked over here! If that isn’t courage, then you would be better off engaging the girl  talking to the water cooler!

Take a deep breath. Loosen up a bit.

Ah, is she turning? Her eyes find you and a smile spreads on her face. She says, “Hello.”

Brilliant work, my friend. You have succeeded up to the point where others back down–walking up to the girl you’ve had your eyes on since she first walked into the room. Truly, well done; now all is left is to talk back. Go ahead. Say something. Don’t stand there stuttering! And…you missed your chance; either way she was smiling at the guy behind you…yes, that guy.

Time for review:

The first thing you missed–saying hello back, even if it was not to you. Don’t you know girls like it when you intrude on their conversations? Kidding, of course; everyone hates it when people intrude on their conversations. Take Anti-Eavesdropping 101.

The second thing–

Nope. No second mistake because you didn’t make it past the first step.

What? A retry?  Sorry, pal, she walked away; and unless you cross paths on the dance floor the chances are slim she will know your name by the end of the night. But maintain hope–she’s going to have to refill her drink at some point…and would not it be a coincidence if you were standing there at exactly the same time?

Searching for her, are we? Not a bad plan…could be refined. Watch out for the tall guy carrying the tray–ouch, you probably have to pay for those drinks. Go ahead and brush past the gossipers; and–my, my, you did find her.

Okay. Take a deep breath. Loosen up a–

You forgot to loosen up! Flexibility is essential! 

And now you’re reaching for her shoulder–amateur–wait, she is turning and it is a smile; and she says, “Hi there.”

Tip number one: say “Hello.” The rest is rocket science.

Think daily,

A Southpaw




Tarzan–Alter Ego: APE-MAN!

I will admit my mistake:

As it turns out in the book Clayton is not the father of Tarzan. Yes, that may come as a shocker–it did to me. William Cecil Clayton is not remotely an enemy in the book either; however he is a jealous dog when it comes to the budding relationship between Tarzan and Jane. At one point he wants to kill Tarzan to get his girl…Maybe stretch the boundaries some more on English politeness a bit there, Clayton; she is after all attracted to Tarzan’s primal nature.

Tarzan surprises me. His range of abilities and strength seems never-ending; add to that the comparisons Burroughs makes between Tarzan and Apollo, as well showing him off as the penultimate athlete of the human race, and he is a near indefatigable superman. I expect next to read that he can leap tall buildings in a single bound…

Watch, he’s going to put a big green T on his chest, and tell Jane Porter it stands for Bananas. Don’t get me started on the cape–weaved of the finest jungle vines and colored with two spoonfuls of lion blood. He is Ape-Man. All obey Ape-Man. All feed Ape-Man bananas and raw meat.

Okay…he doesn’t eat bananas. Silly me, stereotyping Tarzan as an ape.

At least the Tarzan-Jane-Clayton love triangle is bearable. Although after listening to Jane Porter gush over the primitiveness of her godly “jungle man” and how it makes her feel dangerous and free; and then ditching him because Clayton jealously claims he is a cannibal, I cannot tell where her loyalties lie. Is this the Secret Life of the Woman Who Takes A Trip to Africa and Finds A Suitable Husband Before Ditching Him For A Man With the Middle Name Of Cecil?

Not that Cecil is a bad name…but compared to Ape-Man–where else are you going to find a man who has more skill than the whole of the human race? The answer: Africa.

Note: Apologies for the late post. I have had a lot of excitement the past few days and it has kept me busy; but if ever I get busy again and miss a day be assured I will post as soon as possible.

Think daily,

A Southpaw


Paying It Forward One Person At A Time

To those of you who have heard of the pay it forward movement, well, kudos to you; it is an honorable way of spreading kindness throughout the world, and I hope you have acted on instinct and helped at least one person since you knew of its existence.

To those of you who have not heard of the pay it forward movement, ask the person sitting next to you–they are likely to know of it or know of someone who has paid it forward–and once they tell you, thank them and give them a big high five. They deserve one. And it will make you feel great.

I mention pay it forward solely because my sociology teacher has given us an assignment to pay it forward to three people we know; one of these acts is to be a heartfelt letter to the person that has made a significant impact on you, and the other two acts are of your choosing. Sounds like an easy task, yes? Here’s the kicker: they have to be something big. 

We cannot scoot through the assignment by simply picking up a dropped pencil or telling someone they’re wearing a nifty jacket that day–although those are random acts of kindness–we have to impact their lives on a large level; and then ask them to pay it forward to three people of their choosing.

A domino effect.

When I think of who I want to help it sends shivers across my arms. Help improve three lives? Who could be so crazy as to devote time to such a crusade? Finding the right problem alone…

But I am not cowed.

I swear here to write a heartfelt letter to a person who has had a significant impact on my life.

I swear here to help improve the lives of two people, even if it gets difficult.

Movements of kindness can change the world–that is what I intend to do. And in writing about pay forward on my blog I am hoping whoever reads this post will pay it forward to three people of their choosing; and maybe together we can all change the world one person at a time.

Make a difference today.

Think daily,

A Southpaw


Tarzan: The Book Version…Not Disney

How many here knew Tarzan was based on a book series?

I will be the first to admit I had no idea. Until several months back when I bought a copy of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes the only Tarzan I remembered was the shaggy haired romancer from the Disney flick in the early 2000s. Let’s crack that up to literary ignorance and leave it.

Did you know he fights his own father in the movie? Clayton is the bad guy in the film; however in the novel Clayton is the last name of the family from which Tarzan is stolen by the apes. Major mistake on the part of Disney there. That could cause Tarzan serious psychological damage–not that he has much to fret over being raised by monstrous apes until he is in his mid twenties.

But Mowgli seemed to fair all right…

The book is pulp fiction–not the Tarantino movie…the genre–and is written in a style which I find mildly distracting at times. Burroughs likes to use one complex sentence to construct his paragraphs; and he will place them one after another in some sections. This can detract from the story a little; although he is skilled in creating the one sentence paragraphs and attaches a strange fluidity to them.

As I am reading Tarzan is slowly developing as a character–in his younger years he learns how to tick off all the apes. And I am currently awaiting the arrival of the woman who will educate Tarzan in his humanity and come to love him. Will it be Jane? Will it be a woman who had no presence in the Disney movies at all?

I can only read and wait and pound on my chest.

Think daily, 

A Southpaw



Why Collecting Horror Figures Is Fun…

One of my more stranger qualities is my obsession with collecting horror memorabilia; masks; props; and figures–yes, I said figures, as in nine inch action figures of my favorite horror movie monsters, from Frankenstein’s Monster to Leatherface.

As of now I have them propped in my windowsill in numerous terrifying positions: Jason Voorhees is in the process of chopping off Candyman’s hand; Leatherface is about to smash a hammer on a Freddy Krueger head; and Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s Monster is standing dull on his sandstone podium, his green right arm hanging from a chain on his green left arm, as he looks in wonder at the stupidity of his fellow figures…I also like placing one in view of the doorway; so when people walk into my room–guess what they see:

A fifteen inch Chucky.

He is standing atop my writing desk beside a plush Slimer; and is holding a blood stained butcher knife. This is the figure most people want to throw in the garbage because of how frightened they are of him. It is why I keep him out–how often do people get a good scare anymore?

For me it is a three year collection. I know, lazy, compared to some collectors whose hobbies consume whole rooms, even houses; but I like to keep the collection small and manageable within the parameters of my cramped four foot windowsill–it will get cramped if I buy enough of these plastic guys…you betcha.

Tirelessly I have searched the counters of antique stores and the webpages of Amazon for them. One month I would pick up a figure, then another month would pass; and the following week a package from Amazon would arrive; and then come my birthday–but you get the point. They took a long time to collect. A hobby this large is not easily accomplished in a number of weeks. It takes motivation and perseverance, interest and eagerness, money and…more money.  And space; you need tons of space.

But all the same it is worth the investiture. Everyone needs a hobby; and even if you only collect pocket watches or gunpowder shavings from the Civil War you will have fun searching and eventually stacking them on your own shelf.

Think daily,

A Southpaw










Vampires: You Know You Want To Be One…

There is something about the way Anne Rice writes of vampires which make them seem so enticing…that you think of the fun times to be had as a night prowler skipping over rooftops and draining victims as you flutter over sea and land like a dark god.

Only I think so?

Others have likely entertained such thoughts of power and immortality–leaders like Napoleon and Hitler wanted more than anything to live eternally through their global changes.  Fascination comes with immortality. Fascination comes with vampires.


One, never seeing the sun. I love the sun and the shadows it creates.

Two, blood is your only source of energy. That means I have to give up pizza and chicken and ravioli and chocolate cake and yogurt and milk and…

Three, all life despises you. As of now I have prepared my letter of goodbyes to my family, wishing them a pleasant life without me and my silly thoughts–oh, and, sis, yes, my nails were extremely long yesterday morning–and in my pets’ beds I have placed tiny notes attached to treats so that they might garner an understanding of my absence.

Cut the last part–dogs and cats can’t read…pity. That means the copy of Clifford: The Big Red Dog I left in my dogs’ cage was never savored. Double pity.

Perhaps I should consider living as a werewolf.

Full moon anyone?

Think daily,

A Southpaw