Thursday, September 30, 2010

The ABC Of Books For Good Dogs

Following an open invitation from Brian Sibley to have a go, here’s the latest literary meme to do the rounds. It comes at just the right time because of late I’ve found myself starting a number of posts that I simply can’t be bothered to finish, deciding that I’d easily prefer to spend my free time in the company of the truly Luminous Beauty rather than witter on here about something inconsequential, so a little brain teaser is just the ticket.

So here are THE RULES (for there must always be RULES) as laid down:

01. Go through the alphabet, and for each letter, think of a book you’ve read that starts with that letter (A, An, and The do not count).

02. You must write down the FIRST book you think of for any given letter. This may make for some odd choices, but them’s the breaks.

03. You must have actually READ the book. (I thought of lots that started with some letters, but I hadn't read them).

04. If you think of a more impressive-sounding book for a particular letter, but you’ve already written your first thought down, you CANNOT change to the more impressive-sounding book. As an example, you have to leave Fifty Famous Fairy Tales (the Whitman Publishing pink and white one) on the list, even if you come up with fifty more impressive books afterwards.

05. If you can think of a book for X, you win... my lasting admiration (I can't afford real prizes!)

06. You can then tag as many people as you like. The more the merrier.

That said, my ABC of books is:

A is for American Tabloid by James Ellroy

B is for The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney

C is for Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

D is for Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane

E is for Enigma by Robert Harris

F is for Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

G is for God is a Bullet by Boston Teran

H is for How to be Topp by Geoffrey Willans

I is for The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

J is for The Juvies by Harlan Ellison

K is for The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana translated by Sir Richard Burton & F.F. Arbuthnot

L is for Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

M is for Mefisto in Onyx by Harlan Ellison

N is for Native Tongue by Carl Hiaasen

O is for One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

P is for A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Q is for Queen of the Dawn by H. Rider Haggard

R is for The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

S is for The Silver Locusts by Ray Bradbury

T is for The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

U is for The Urth of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe

V is for The Visitor by Lee Child

W is for We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

X is for ...nope, I can't think of one either

Y is for You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming

Z is for ...stumped! When I think of one I’ll let you know

When it comes to the tagging I’m going to plump for Stephen Gallagher, Mister Mark – who has defected to facebook and twitter and left his blog wanting – and, if she feels like it, The Woo. Naturally anyone else who feels like taking a shot at it is free to have a go.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

What It Says On The Tin

I finally caught up with the last couple episodes of BBC One’s The Deep before they disappeared from iPlayer and was planning to comment on the drama, but every time I thought about those five hours of my life I’d wasted my gorge would rise and I’d be screaming out for a brain bleach. So in the interim here’s something that dropped into my inbox a while back.

Though email is an absolute boon, like everything there is always a downside. At one extreme you can have your account hacked – and by the way, anyone who got an email from me entitled Making her climax is finally so easy, let’s just say it didn’t come from me – or just as galling are those bloody circulars filled with “funny” photographs, shaggy dog stories or lame jokes that used to take ages to download before the arrival of broadband but are still a complete waste of time. One of my cousins makes a habit of sending out multiple emails with this kind of nonsense every other Friday and most times I’ll give each one a cursor glance before junking them.

Amazingly one of his last electronic missives actually involved something interesting. Though this may not be the best time of year to make light of airliners, here is the new livery for Kulula Air, a low–fare South African airline that operates out of Johannesburg. [click on each image to enlarge]

The airline’s attendants make an effort to add levity to their safety lecture and in–flight announcements. Here are some examples that have been reported in the past:

“Welcome aboard Kulula 271 to Port Elizabeth. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised.”

“Kulula Airlines is pleased to announce that we have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!”

“Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we’ll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Kulula Airlines.”

“In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child travelling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are travelling with more than one small child, pick your favourite.”

“Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.”

“Thank you for flying Kulula. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride.”

“As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses.”

“We’d like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you’ll think of Kulula Airways.”

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

More Of What You Fancy

Tagged a month ago by Stephen Gallagher, who provided his own list here, the object of this particular exercise is to list the films that I’ll watch any number of times. In a way it was lucky I’ve had the time to mull over this particular challenge.

This isn’t a list of the films I consider to be the greatest ever made, especially since I could probably reel off a number of celebrated movies that I wasn’t keen on seeing all the way through the first time and would be happy to never see again. So while some of the titles may not be award winners, overflowing with artistic merit, I do know that if I was at a loose end or bored one rainy weekend afternoon or late evening, any one of these movies could be loaded into the DVD player and I’d be more than happy to watch them from beginning to end, and that’s what counts.

I’m sure there are many more titles I could have included, but given their lack of availability on shiny disc or their absence from television schedules they don’t make the list. Trying to narrow it down to an even dozen to begin with, then two dozen when that didn’t exactly work out, by the time I stopped there were 30 titles (or rather 31 for anyone who knows the movies), which means there are enough to happily keep me going for a month. In alphabetical order, they are:

These are the rules of the meme:

01. Provide a non-exhaustive list of films you’ll happily watch again and again.
02. There is no rule 02. (cute)
03. Reprint the rules.
04. Tag three others and ask them to do the same.

So the three lucky people charged with carrying this forward are Brian Sibley, David Weeks and Will Dixon. Enjoy!