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Triumph of the WhimTriumph of the Whim by Adam Thrasher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Funny as hell. The balls-out, totally over-the-top collected comic strip (not a complete collection, mind you) of the adventures of Space Moose, the most perverted moose imaginable. How perverted, you ask? Well, when he gets his hands on a time machine, he -

No. I won't spoil it for you. Let's just say that if coprophagy, misogyny, abort-o-matic machines, feces, gore, sheer insanity, ----, and lots more ---- don't make you cringe, and if you don't hold anything sacred, you'll find this a hell of a funny read.

Or rather, you WOULD find it a hell of a funny read. But you can't read it. Because it was only available direct from the author, and he's not doing that stuff any more. I have my copy (and t-shirt), but you're out of luck!

But don't be sad. The online web archive of Space Moose was taken down when the author discovered that the grown-up world of employment and grants doesn't have much of a sense of humor. Luckily, I, personally, had cached a copy of most of the site. And I passed it on to a few select people. Google "Space Moose" and you should be able to find a copy.

They're all there because I saved that site. You're welcome!

But FYI, there are a couple of strips in the book that were never published online, including the soul-stirring sequel to "F-----io Barn". The humor! The tears! The nausea! The, um...

Never mind. You'll just have to imagine it.



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Three Men in a BoatThree Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Three young Englishmen decide to spend a fortnight boating on the Thames for their health.

A classic of English humor; I'm quite dismayed that I hadn't discovered it before now! It's one of the funniest books I've read in a long time (and I've read many funny books). I found myself laughing out loud quite often, and couldn't resist reading sections of it to my wife - even though I know it's not the sort of thing she cares for.

It's astonishing that a book written 123 years ago should feel so modern. I hadn't realized that such dark humor had been invented back in 1889!

The occasional turns into more somber and lyrical prose are a bit jarring at first (they're quite reminiscent of The Wind in the Willows, which was published 19 years later), but you soon get used to them. And the serious passages are quite brief, just sufficient to cleanse the palate (so to speak) before the next comic gem.

The illustrated EPUB edition at Project Gutenberg is excellent and, of course, free. The illustrations are well-formatted, clear, and enhance the text. If you appreciate humor, you have no excuse for missing this book!

Incidentally, I "found" Three Men In a Boat via Robert A. Heinlein's Have Space Suit-Will Travel. The protagonist's father is a fan. I'd read the book (Heinlein's that is) a dozen times before, easily - but I always assumed that Three Men in a Boat was fictional. For some reason while reading Have Space Suit-Will Travel out loud to my son, I found myself wondering if Three Men in a Boat was real; and Wikipedia soon set me right.

I'm glad it did. And now, on to Three Men on the Bummel! I've already downloaded it from Project Gutenberg.

Oh, I almost neglected to mention: there's an audio book of Three Men in a Boat, read by Hugh Laurie. A perfect choice, of course. It can be found in sections on YouTube, or, I presume, it can be purchased. But I must say that I laughed more when reading the book then while listening to it. I'm not quite sure why!



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The Chameleon Corps and Other Shape ChangersThe Chameleon Corps and Other Shape Changers by Ron Goulart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Ron Goulart is one of the four funniest science fiction writers in the world (the other three are Fredric Brown, Robert Sheckley, and Keith Laumer, if you were wondering). And in The Chameleon Corps and Other Shape Changers he's at his hysterical best. There are many lines here which have stayed in my head and amused me for over thirty years now.

The book itself is divided into two sections. The first five stories are about the adventures of Ben Jolson of the Chameleon Corps. Esoteric treatments applied at a young age have given Ben the power to alter his form at a moment's notice; he can impersonate anyone, as well as objects of his own general size, flawlessly. Problem: he'd rather sell pottery than be a secret agent. But you're not allowed to quit the Corps.

So Jolson finds himself being sent to one hot spot after another throughout the Barnum system of planets, carrying out odd, sometimes bizarre missions for a government that often seems a lot like ours - given to hypocrisy, greed, idiocy, and sudden tragic bursts of realpolitik.

In that, it's rather like the CDT of Keith Laumer's Retief series, albeit considerably less broad. But Goulart's style is considerably more modern-feeling than Laumer's, with more of a 1960s (and, oddly, 2010s) feel. And Jolson is not the superhuman figure that Retief is, for all his powers. Retief saves the world despite its idiocy; Jolson can't be sure that what he's saving is better than the alternative, or even that he's necessarily saving anything. He's just trying to get the job done and survive.

But oh my god, the stories are funny. Jolson often has to impersonate eccentric characters, and Goulart gives them personalities and verbal quirks which are absolutely hysterical - mother of goats, would you question my word? When you reach the end of the fifth story, you'll wish there were more. And there are, I believe; there was at least one Chameleon Corps novel, I think, as well as (possibly) more stories. In any case, much of Goulart's work is of the same quality: just as funny and enjoyable.

The last six stories are not connected to each other, and tend to be a little darker. But they're still very funny and very memorable. This is one of those outstanding collections of clever, jewel-like short stories that's a real treasure for anyone who loves science fiction and/or humor.

So why isn't it in print any more?


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bobquasit: (Sebastian)

Sebastian's Alien A few days Teri told me that Sebastian had been drawing swearing, and showed me this picture. That didn't sound like him, so I asked him what the second line of writing was.

"It's Alien!" he said, as if surprised that I hadn't figured it out immediately.

He's such a good boy...

bobquasit: (Default)
We had a nice breakfast (buffet) with my parents this morning. Then we left Sebastian to play at Fast Track while Teri and I looked around Dealer's Row.

The "LOTR: Movies Vs. Books" panel was quite loud and contentious, but fun and interesting; as always, I was able to get some good laughs out of the audience, which is always satisfying.

The "Avatar: The Last Airbender" panel was also good. We only talked about the movie for the first twenty minutes; most people hated it, some (including me) were lukewarm. So we moved on to the series. Again, I was able to get some good laughs, and as a bonus found out that a sequel series of twelve episodes is coming out! Sebastian will be thrilled.

I went upstairs to check on Teri and Sebastian after that panel. One of the audience members who was wearing a pretty cool Kiss costume with 8-inch heels got on the elevator too, along with several other fen. Lastly, a drunk blonde woman got on; I instantly knew that she was Not One Of Us, not a fan. What would you call the science fiction equivalent of gaydar? Mine is nearly infallible.

She was clearly bemused by the costumes.

"Who are you supposed to be?" she asked in a friendly but condescending manner. The Arisian explained that he was dressed as one of the members of Kiss.

"What does that have to do with science fiction?" she asked. In an ensuing conversation, several of us explained that there had been a movie and comic book about Kiss, and that they'd fought Doctor Doom in the comic. We got to her floor, and she got off.

The rest of us eyed each other. After a long, long pause, I couldn't resist speaking.

"Mundanes..."

Everyone laughed. "Just what I was thinking!" someone said.

"And they're worse when they're drunk." I added, as I got off the elevator to more laughter.

Sebastian was asleep and Teri was in bed, so I went back downstairs and saw the last two-thirds of Terry Pratchett's Going Postal with Klyfix and Stairflight. It was pretty riveting, so I'll doubtless look it up on Netflix.

Tomorrow is the end. I'm not looking forward to my last two panels tomorrow; neither topic really appeals to me, and neither was high up on my list of choices. I'll try to be a good panelist nonetheless, but perhaps I won't be one of the loudest and most vociferous panelists.

I wish I didn't have to wait a whole year to have fun among my own people again!
bobquasit: (Hot day)
Lost Treasures: The Teddy Bear Habit - Book #3 (Lost Treasures)Lost Treasures: The Teddy Bear Habit - Book #3 by James Lincoln Collier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Teddy-Bear Habit is the story of the adventures of a twelve-year-old boy in Greenwich Village in the mid-1960s. George Stable is...not rebellious. No, he's more real than that. He simply tries to get what he wants in a world of adults who don't understand, and is not above stretching the truth or breaking some rules if that's what it takes. He doesn't glory in that, and at times almost feels a little guilty, but he does what he has to.

It's been a long time since I was his age. But to me, that attitude rings very true. Most kids, I think, do what they think they must to get what they really want. George, the first-person narrator, feels extremely real and modern - even though the book is now almost forty-five years old.

In fact, The Teddy-Bear Habit reminds me very strongly of another first-person story of a New York teen who lives somewhat outside the rules: Holden Caulfield. Truth to tell, the book really strongly reminds me of The Catcher In The Rye, so much so that at times the two books have been slightly merged in my memory. The Teddy-Bear Habit was written 16 years after Catcher, of course, but both books have a remarkably modern, timeless feeling. The city of New York plays a key role in both books, perhaps a bit more so in The Teddy-Bear Habit. George's inner voice is remarkably like Holden's, but younger and not as alienated.

George wants to be a rock and roll star, and to be on television. His father hates rock and roll, and won't allow a television in their house. He (the father) is, however, an extremely funny character; a modern painter who makes a living writing and drawing comic books. The passages about his heroes, Amorpho Man and Garbage Man, are simply hysterical. I could have read a whole book of that stuff!

George has another problem, too: he's a decent singer, and is learning to play the guitar secretly from a music-shop owner, but he has self-confidence issues. He is, simply, dependent on his teddy bear. When it's not around, he's a "loser".

Complications ensue, ones that you'll surely find very memorable. The book is at times quite thrilling. But between the humor and the thrills, it never loses that "real" feeling.

There are a few jarring moments when the Beatles or Murray the K are mentioned as examples of modern coolness. But then, the book was published in 1967.

Speaking of which, avoid the "Lost Treasures" edition if you possibly can. The original edition (and most later ones, until recently) featured wonderful illustrations by Lorenz, whose work also appeared often in The New Yorker, where he was art editor for many years. The illustrations are very funny, and should not be missed! I don't know why they were eliminated from the Lost Treasures edition, but eliminating them makes as much sense as eliminating the classic Tenniel illustrations from Alice.

I recently read the book to my son, age nine. He loved it, and demanded that we seek out the sequel. Unfortunately the sequel doesn't live up to The Teddy-Bear Habit, and isn't quite appropriate for my son - yet. But The Teddy-Bear Habit itself is firmly ensconced as a favorite for both of us.


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I've been looking for this online for a long time. It's from Critters #50. I have the original in a box in the basement somewhere, but I never got around to digging it out.

Warning, it's not for the faint of heart! It's really funny, but doesn't hold back at all. It will try to turn you into a life-long vegetarian.

Without further ado, here's The Story of Beef!
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You know what I'd like? Some way to play a recorded announcement when I pick up the phone and it turns out to be yet another charity asking for donations. I'd press a button, and my recorded voice would say "I'm sorry, but we do not accept solicitations via phone. Please note that we are on the national 'Do Not Call' list. We must regretfully insist that you add us to your own 'Do Not Call' list as well. Thank you."

Hotels

Jul. 22nd, 2010 10:50 pm
bobquasit: (Omac Destroys!)
We'd forgotten to make a hotel reservation, so Teri asked me to book a hotel from the car with my phone. Poughkeepsie NY, she said. So I called up Holiday Inn Express and booked us a room for the night.

We were tired and hungry when we took the exit for Poughkeepsie. The Holiday Inn was right there, though. I walked into the lobby and said "I have a reservation."

"Are you sure you're in the right hotel?" the girl behind the counter asked.

Our reservation was at the Holiday Inn Express. This was a Holiday Inn, no Express. The Express was a few blocks away.

We drove there, and I walked in the lobby.

"I have a reservation...I hope."

The girl looked dubious. After she made a quick phone call, she said, "Your reservations are for Poughkeepsie?".

I nodded.

"This is Fishkill."

Poughkeepsie, it turned out, was a thirty-minute drive farther away from the highway. But we finally got there, and were able to check in. Whew!

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bobquasit: (LLAP-GOCH)
Found a PDF collection of the old Fineous Fingers comics online. They're as funny as ever!
bobquasit: (Sebastian Riding)
We made these videos a few weeks ago, before he caught pneumonia. On the plus side, the antibiotic IV he got in the hospital cleared up that lip infection, too.

It's probably obvious that these were totally unscripted?







We're coming along nicely on The Return of the King, now. Merry is about to meet Dernhelm soon. Just for the record, he hasn't seen the movies at all - thank goodness!
bobquasit: (Default)
Pretty funny, and it captures a number of things that irritated me about Peter Jackson's cinematic abortions of TLOTR.

bobquasit: (Sebastian)
Sebastian was the first to sign my cast, of course. It says "DADDY I LOVE YOU" signed "sebastian".

He was asking for scary stories recently, so this weekend I dug out Hitchcock's Ghostly Gallery - ghost stories for young teens. Read him the introduction (which bored him), and then read Dunsany's "In a Dim Room", which I'd told him a few times before but never actually read to him. He loved it.

He wanted another story, so I read "Obstinate Uncle Otis" by Robert Arthur. In it, a character gets a bump on the head and gets amnesia; he believes that he's a furniture salesman from Cleveland. Sebastian went berserk. He decided that he had amnesia, and started saying in a silly voice "I'm Oklahoma Smith!". It's become a regular catchphrase of his in the last few days.
bobquasit: (Default)
This question was obviously inspired by the "lovee" question I wrote about a minute ago.

"Is anyone else concerned with how today's youth can't spell and don't know grammar or simple capitalization/punctuation?"


The problem is our educational system and our culture. Television bears a large share of the blame, for sure. So do parents...and, I suspect, the popularity of divorce (although I think that's probably a reflection of the decay of our culture as a whole).

America has been a bastion of anti-intellectualism for many decades now. That's ironic, when you consider that we were founded by intellectuals - brilliant men, all of them.

As far as eduction goes, I suspect that a key element of the problem is school funding. It's profoundly unfair for school funding to be based on local property taxes, as it so often is. It virtually guarantees that the children of the poor will receive inferior educations, and that goes against the whole idea of fairness in America. True, an exceptional teacher or administrator can sometimes provide a great education to students even with very few resources - but that's the exception, not the rule.

Level funding for all schools should be mandatory, and it should NOT be based on the wealth of the specific community. Every American should receive the best education possible.


I have to admit that on World of Warcraft, it bugs me when almost everyone uses textspeak. Even things like saying "grats" instead of "Congratulations!" annoy me. So I make a particular effort to use proper English.

Of course, that sometimes means that I stand there and let my companions get killed while I'm typing...no, I'm kidding, I wait for the right moment and I type pretty fast.
bobquasit: (Default)
Someone asked "why doesz lovee huuurt?". Oh, hell, I'm going to post their entire question because the spelling is so insane:
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Politics.
Politics. Do not click if the topic bothers you. )
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Apparently someone was recently executed for a crime it was then proved they hadn't committed. Someone asked if this would mean the end of capital punishment in the USA.

I suppose this is political, so here's a cut.
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God help us, it's more politics. Snarky politics, to boot!
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Long ago I heard a radio ad that I loved on the Blue Man Group site. It began with the classic film trailer line "In a world...", and it cracked me up. Eventually, they took it down.

Recently, I found a trailer for a movie that featured Hal Douglass, the East Coast "In a world..." guy. It totally cracked me up; I love it. Here it is.



But I really wanted to hear that Blue Man Group ad again! So I started digging through the Wayback Machine.

And I found it. But I can't find any way to DOWNLOAD the damned thing!

It should start playing as soon as you click on this link.
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The Horde was rampaging through Stormwind City last night; what else is new?

But there was a strange thing going on in the forest outside the city gates. A level-19 fighter was running around without weapons, punching wolves, spiders, and bandits to death.

If anyone had bothered to look or listen, they might have been interested in what he was saying...

"My anger management course isn't helping!"

[To a young wolf] "BAD DOGGIE!"

"It's not you, it's me!"

"Can't we all get along?"

"What's a beautiful girl like you doing in a crummy forest like this?"
Read more... )

Yup, a silly mood...

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