Friday, February 05, 2016

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXVXI: NetFlix Does It Again With Binge-Watchable True Crime, Plus Megatron, We Hardly Knew Ye

The story of dimwitted, backountry hicks
Exploited by police on NetFlix
Framed at least once by the cops
“Making a Murderer” pulled out all stops
Justice gone missing in Wisconsin’s sticks

Thought his Mets tenure was through
But “La Potencia” has rejoined the crew
Can he put together a full season
And realize his potential beyond reason
Cespedes returning is quite a coup

“X-Files” returned with some sass
But intensity hasn’t come to pass
Scully & Mulder reunited
Had every fan excited
But the magic is gone, alas

Continuing to play hard
With little from Anya or Lennard
The Pack is simply outgunned
The roster has left us stunned
Gottfried can play the depth card
They called him Megatron
He dominated, then he was gone
Like Barry Sanders before
He left Detroit early and sore
Kudos to him for moving on

Friday, January 22, 2016

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXVX: Tone It Down A Bit, 2016, Plus Stop Taking All Our Musicians

A rough start to the year
Our cars taking it in the rear
Shit luck abounds
As unlikely as it sounds
Good news has to be near

Finally an ACC win for the Pack
On Pittsburgh they laid the smack
Maverick Rowan looks like Michael Cera
But shooting, he was on a tear-a
Heart is there, but it’s talent they lack

Thirteen years, quite a ride
But got totaled and I nearly cried
Roundtable trips on ground hallow
Beach treks with buddy Gallo
Said I wouldn’t miss and I lied

Another season, another new face
A new ‘Fins coach made his case
Been down this road before
A time or maybe 24
Are you any different, Adam Gase?

Tunes and emotions, they swirled
With losses in the music world
Bowie, Cole, Lemmy, and Frey
Left nary a dry eye
Around record players many were curled

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Scooter & Hum’s Top Five Books of the Year 2015

The ninth edition of the “Scooties” books of the year was heavy on apocalyptic imagery. Life intervened to slow me down toward the end of the year, but there were still some solid reads this year.

Without further ado …

#1: “Jennifer Government,” by Max Barry

What I Say Now: 

This masterpiece of satirical literature is a showpiece for a clever writer of Barry’s pedigree. This novel manages to live in multiple extremes: it is clever, yet not completely far-fetched … it is hilarious, yet sad … it is both powerful and ridiculous. I raced through this book and immediately found myself jotting down other Barry books to chase in the future—the ultimate in writerly compliments.

Passages to Remember:

"John here," the other John said, "pioneered the concept of marketing by refusing to sell any products. It drives the market insane."

"He had a small, trim mustache but otherwise looked pretty capable."

"We're all cogs in wealth-creation machines. That's all."

#2: “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel

What I Say Now:

This was an interesting, apocalyptic book that struggles against its own somberness, yet features a humor that can sneak up on you. Mandel does a solid job of drawing concentric circles of connections, but you’re occasionally spun down a rabbit hole in following the story and what is happening in different threads. She did a clever job of detailing water in the book as the giver of life, hope, and pain, juxtaposed against air and flight.

Passages to Remember:

"If you've been on the road for that long," the prophet said, "if you've wandered all your life, as I have, through the terrible chaos, if you remember, as I do, everything you've ever seen, then you know there's more than one way to die."

"This life was never ours," she whispers to the dog, who has been following her from room to room, and Luli wags her tail and stares at Miranda with wet brown eyes. "We were only ever borrowing it."

"She was thinking about the way she'd always taken for granted that the world had certain people in it, either central to her days or unseen and infrequently thought of. How without any one of these people the world is a subtly but unmistakably altered place, the dial turned just one or two degrees."

"Hell is the absence of the people you long for."

#3: “In Cold Blood,” by Truman Capote

What I Say Now:

Capote’s painstaking depiction of the mysterious murder of a Kansas farm family is marked by strong scene-setting, good transitions, and long, clause-filled sentences. However, the power of the no-nonsense writing has been somewhat obscured by recent feature films that delve more into Capote’s flamboyance and attraction to (and obsession with?) one of the killers—as well as strong intimations that the author fabricated at least some of the quotes and scenarios. The repetition toward the end becomes off-putting and the story loses steam after the murderers are caught, as Capote struggles to find distinctions in the perspectives offered by Smith and Hickock. Overall, however, a revolutionary foray into a new brand of literature that still resonates to this day.

Passages to Remember:

"Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there."

" ... the left eye being truly serpentine, with a venomous, sickly-blue squint that although it was involuntarily acquired, seemed nevertheless to warn of bitter sediment at the bottom of his nature."

" ... for the majority of Holcomb's population, having lived for seven weeks amid unwholesome rumors, general mistrust, and suspicion, appeared to feel disappointed at being told that the murderer was not someone amongst themselves."

"It was like I wasn't part of it. More as though I was reading a story. And I had to know what was going to happen. The end." —Perry Smith

"The crime was a psychological accident, virtually an impersonal act; the victims might as well have been killed by lightning. Except for one thing: they had experienced prolonged terror, they had suffered."

"Nonetheless, he found it possible to look at the man beside him without anger--with, rather, a measure of sympathy--for Perry Smith's life had been no bed of roses but pitiful, an ugly and lonely progress toward one mirage and then another."

#4: “Bazaar of Bad Dreams,” by Stephen King

What I Say Now:

This collection of short stories was perhaps not up to King’s usual standards, an estimation perhaps influenced by the fact that I had previously read three or four of these stories in other formats. However, there were a few standouts that reeled me in in a big way, including “Premium Harmony,” “Batman Robin,” and “Bad Little Kid.” I’m an unabashed fan of King’s work in the short story genre, so any year with a new collection is a good year—even when comprised in some degree by recycled stories.

Passages to Remember:

“Until a writer either retires or dies, the work is not finished; it can always use another polish and a few more revisions.”

“Marriage is like a football game and he’s quarterbacking the underdog team. He has to pick his spots. Make short passes.”

“And the years stretch ahead, a march beneath a sun that never goes down.”

“God’s grace is a pretty cool concept. It stays intact every time it’s not you.”

“I hate the assumption that you can’t write about something because you haven’t experienced it, and not just because it assumes a limit on the human imagination, which is basically limitless. It also suggests that some leaps of identification are impossible. I refuse to accept that, because it leads to the conclusion that real change is beyond us, and so is empathy. The idea is false on the evidence. Like shit, change happens.”

“Be grateful for the time you’ve had with him. A little bit of grace. That’s what a good dog is, you know. A little bit of grace.”

#5: “Deep Breath, Hold Tight,” by James Gurley

What I Say Now:

Even in a year where stories about the apocalypse held sway, Gurley’s stark, dark stories were almost too much to take. Intertwining elements of Cormac McCarthy (“The Road”) and Richard Matheson (“I Am Legend”), the author touches on depravity, possibility, and responsibility. Though grammatical errors and some repetition impact the reading, Gurley asks us to consider space vs. earth in terms of potential vs. constriction, boundlessness vs. comfort, and selfish loneliness vs. the compromising selflessness of shared dreams in an absorbing—at times heart-wrenching—work.

Passages to Remember:

"Church folk really lost their shit, especially the ones who were convinced that Jesus had come back and forgotten all about them."

" ... and keep me from feeling the sting of every single day, the dread of every that was lined up behind it, heavy and ready to fall on me, one domino after the next."

"There were no sunsets left in the world, just a general draining-away of the light. I missed the moonlight, the stars. There were times I forgot that there was an entire universe above the clouds. It was as if a shroud had been pulled around the Earth. Over time, we would forget everything that we had once struggled so hard to observe and learn and prove."

"Nothing is ever really anything. It just looks like something."

"Her tears spill over, and so do mine, my long sleep over, my dark age turned to light."

Honorable Mentions (in 10 words or less):

“Wuthering Heights,” by Emily Bronte: Sweeping love story compromised by density of language, atmosphere.
“Finder’s Keepers,” by Stephen King: A bit too “Goonies” for my liking, but fun.
“Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” by Stieg Larsson: Trilogy finale devolves, but ably caps memorable series.
“Best Short Stories: 2007,” edited by Stephen King: Memorable, well-chosen collection of engrossing short stories.
“The Elements of Content Strategy,” by Erin Kissane: Useful tool for burgeoning approach to marketing copy creation.
“The Mirage,” by Alan Ruff: Clever re-imagining of traditional worldviews puts religion, politics in context.
“Shakespeare’s Star Wars,” by Ian Doescher: Brilliant reformatting of epic showily displays talented writer.
“Always on the Run,” by Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick: “Butch and Sundance” share locker room tales of undefeated Dolphins.
“Ernest Hemingway on Writing,” by Larry W. Phillips: Just a collection of Hemingway quotes, but engrossing nonetheless.
“On the Road,” by Jack Kerouac: Only here because a re-read of former Scootie winner.

The Rest (in 5 words or less):

“Deja Dead,” by Kathy Reichs: Staggeringly unmemorable.
“Jab Jab Jab Right Hook,” by Gary Vaynerchuck: Sparse advice from self-promoter.
“Content Strategy for Mobile,” by Karen McGrane: Useful work-related tome.
“Planet of the Damned,” by Harry Harrison: Solid story, thin development.
“Writing Down the Bones,” by Natalie Goldberg: So-so depiction of writing process.
“On Bullshit,” by H.G. Frankfurt: Great idea, weak execution.
“Five Days in November,” by Clint Hill: Interesting, generic look at JFK.
“Time After Time,” by Jack Finney: Sequel to classic falls short.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXVIX: Forgetting The ‘Fins And Riding The “Star Wars” Wave Into 2016

For happiness if not riches
For health but no stitches
For laughter and a few tears
For more hopes and fewer fears
These are my 2016 wishes

The stench of rotten fish
Fantasy gods grant his every wish
If luck were a toupee
He’d sport one every Sunday
Guess that’s why they call him Commish

Our old heroes came back
New ones picked up slack
The force it did awaken
All my breath was taken
J.J. Abrams pulled off a genius hack

Every week, another way to lose
The fans all batter and bruise
Give up a safety in every game
New year, it’s all the same
Oh Dolphins, why can’t I unchoose

Kids learn, but also teach
We strive, but don’t always reach
Another holiday season past
Hoping the feeling does last
If you need me, I’ll be at the beach

Friday, December 18, 2015

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXVIII: Dolphin Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves, Plus Melancholidays

 Ineptitude beyond explanation or reason
Another year, another lost season
A franchise which was once so proud
Now just sucks out loud
And no end in sight to be teasin’

A letdown season for Doeren
Pack fans & recruits are snorin’
A home loss to UNC
A disappointment in Year 3
Improvement a concept foreign

Gronk took a shot on the knee
Ingram and Blount made three
Amari Cooper in witness protection
Robbie Gould got a yips infection
The Scooters all abandoned me

Not sure where to put the blame
After a disastrous fantasy playoff game
The injuries I was fearing
Nuke Hopkins disappearing
A great team and season up in flames
When the lights are all aglow
And thoughts turn to nog and snow
When the ornaments are all hung
And the carols beautifully song
I’ll forever think of Mo

Friday, December 04, 2015

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXVII: “The Leftovers” Has Restored Some Hope In TV, Plus Cautious Optimism For The Scooters

It came back from the dead
Better than ever, I said
“The Leftovers” got a second chance
To treat the mortality expanse
Beautiful TV, it’s fed

After some Dan Campbell buzz
Blown out like they always does
The soundtrack of Sunday dreads
Has to be the Talking Heads
Because it’s all the “Same As It Ever Was”

As religious thinking is flawed
Terrorism strikes abroad
If the world can agree on this
And get down to business
Finally we all can applaud

One of the best gunners ever
But passed the ball almost never
He’s basketball’s Tiger Woods
A douche with the talent goods
But Kobe’s more image-conscious and clever

The Scooters gave ‘em hell
The highest scorers, can’t you tell?
Finished at 9-3
A playoff bye for me
Now can Gronk get at least partially well?

Friday, November 06, 2015

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXVI: The ‘Fins Are Who We Thought They Were, Plus The Mets Kick Away A Title

When it looked like a franchise awake
The Cheatriots exposed them as a fake
Decimated a feeble attack
With turnovers and sack after sack
Hard to overcome the loss of Cam Wake

Another bipolar misogynist
Greg Hardy to the top of the list
Unstable to be kind
But Jerry Jones knows his mind
If Dallas had a real fan, they’d be pissed

Pass-outs are causing a bicker
And State got a participation sticker
Only took seven weeks, you see
To throw to the best tight end in the ACC
Should someone tell them now they need a new kicker?

Every week another blown call
The NFL, in college, and all
We’re talking about refs shitting the bed
And not of great games instead
Have to be able to challenge flags in football

A blown opportunity gone by
As the Mets blew a World Series try
Late-inning leads blown three times
Cespedes and Murphy had MIA crimes
Great season after you’ve had a good cry