Oh, by the way, Gwendoline Christie as Hannah.

As described in A Coward’s Guide to Living, Jacob Will’s love interest Hannah Bishop is described as “intimidating…tall, striking, very fit, almost muscular…and extremely attractive in a Brienne of Tarth (Game of Thrones) sort of way.” So who better to assume the role than the actual Brienne herself, but Gwendoline Christie.

She’ll need no sword in this role, her strengths will always carry the day.

There are many other roles to fill, but I’ll wait until the director(s) call and ask for my thoughts. Wait, is that my phone ringing?

And while I’m thinking about it, Jessica Chastain. And Lasse Hallstrom for director.

Continuing the casting fantasy of my book A Coward’s Guide to Living, the pivotal role of the red-headed Reverend Rose Beecham should go to Jessica Chastain. As Beecham is described as an unusually good looking minister, Chastain is the natural choice.

Her previous roles as a gambling entrepreneur (Molly’s Game), political operative (Miss Sloane), and author (The Help), position her as perfectly suited for the demands of a minister.

And as her last role as Tammy Faye Baker was that of a minister’s wife, she can take the pulpit for real in this one.

Lasse Hallstrom would be a great director for this. His story telling in The Cider House Rules; The Shipping News; Haachi, A Dog’s Tale; and The Hundred Foot Journey, among others, points to his understanding of the human condition in all its forms.

A Day-Glo, Chromium Yellow Panda Bear? Well, of course. And now you can find out why.

That Panda Bear is only one of the characters in my new book, A Coward’s Guide to Living. In this coming-of-middle-age story, Jacob Will is charged with getting his life together via a most unusual method. He must commit a number of little deaths, “killing” those things preventing him from living a genuine life. Be assured, no animals or people were harmed during his quest.

His adventures will take him across the United States in an an attempt to fulfill that charge. Why did he destroy an expensive bottle of Champagne? What’s the meaning of that tattoo? And will he sue the manufacturer of a metal detector? Will he discover what love is?

These and more questions are answered in A Coward’s Guide to Living. Available now through Amazon on Kindle and paperback.

The folly of red.

In what life does one admit to their own weaknesses in public? This one, I suppose.

I have an addiction to… red. Not in clothing, thankfully, but in things that matter more. My first girlfriend, if you can imagine a third grader capable of conducting such a relationship, was the red-haired Patty who sat next to me in homeroom. It was a foretelling of my future. As third grade “romances” go, it probably lasted all of a month. I realize in retrospect, the hook had been set and I was hopelessly attracted to “red.”

On purchasing my first car, it was a toss-up between a snortingly powerful, red Chevy Impala convertible and a small, red, come-hither MGA, it too a convertible. Either one would have been the perfect accomplice to my adolescent dreams of attracting someone of the opposite sex, preferably a red head, to me. I opted for the MGA.

Low slung, wire wheels, and a white canvas top, it was beautiful and vengeful. It rewarded me with a repair bill if taken anywhere further than the nearest gas station. After one particularly long trip to Boston and back, it stayed true to its mission and blew its engine. At least this relationship lasted longer than the one with Patty.

My next “red” relationship was with a Toyota sedan. Purchasing it under the assumption that since it was a Toyota, it was therefore indestructible. It was until one very wet and snowy day, it decided to, in front of my house, self-immolate due to a wet wiring harness. Was this confirmation that redheads are indeed fiery? It may be an inarguable point. However, it did last longer than Patty and my late-lamented MGA. But, I was missing the signs.

This particular curse is spoken about in the 1980 film, “Used Cars” starring Kurt Russell. Red cars are to be avoided at all costs as described in this piece of dialogue, “Rudy, what the hell is this? Rudy, this is a red car. Holy shit! A red chariot to take my ass straight to hell!” Stay away from red cars at all costs. It summed up what I had already discovered.

And yet, that wasn’t warning enough to prevent me from purchasing a lovely maroon red Saab. There wasn’t really anything wrong with that car except it had a penchant for magnetically attracting other vehicles. The first was when a honking big SUV backed into it (details are classified to protect the guilty); the second, and ultimately fatal to the car, was when an elderly person decided to displace my car on the road in favor of his, consequently totaling it. Maybe I should have known better.

But still, it’s a hard addiction to kick.

Have I owned any red cars since then? Hell, no. But I did marry a red head. And many things attributed to gingers are true. And I wouldn’t trade this model in for anything.

Schlock and awe!

Disclaimer: This is an updated post from a previous blog, The Two Bruces (of which I was one, the other being… Bruce. Really.) Courtesy of the Wayback Machine.

If you read the Sunday papers like I do, then you know the primary reason for that edition is to sell you garbage you don’t need. Get over it, there is no news on a Sunday. They print that sucker days in advance. The only thing remotely news worthy are the sports scores so you can see how much you now owe your bookie. And now the Internet has ’em, so screw Gannett.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s just to sell you stuff. Do you think all this “new” technology is making your life better? OK, altogether now, a big, emphatic NO! Of course not. It’s what keeps whatever is left of our economy moving until we can find another war. The sad part of it all is this stuff is made in China…as if we didn’t have enough issues with trade. Speaking of China… nah, that’s not fair right now, but…

Before long we’ll all be flying the flag of the United States of Walmart. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. I have found a way to deal with this.

I’ve done some research and found that the new technology really isn’t any better than the old. Blu-Ray? Yeah, right – I gotcha Blu-Ray right here! That sucker’s nothing more than a DVD player with a tuning knob. And we fell for it. Not any damn longer! No! It’s just new paint on an old building. The old stuff was good and it worked, mostly.

I am proud to announce the Grand Opening of the new F’ed Up Freddie’s Antique Tech Emporium, or just Freddie’s for those with small. impressionable children. The premise is simple and based upon the notion that “They just don’t build ‘em like they used to.” And they’re right. They don’t. But, did you ever wonder what happened to all those new, unopened, still boxed, never used DVD players after the Blu-Ray player came out? I do. Through shrewd investments and an off-shore account (Staten Island!), I’ve been buying up all this “new” merchandise and now ready to pass on these incredible savings to you. It may not now be the newest technology, but hey, it works and it is new, so to speak.

Think about it. You’re not that old when you don’t want to hear some of those old scratchy 78RPM records you inherited when your great grandfather died. But the phonograph is dead. Not any more! Come on down to my Highway 36754N. warehouse in Newark and see the wide selection of RCA Victrolas. We got ‘em!

Portable radios and TV’s? All makes, all colors and all styles in stock now for immediate delivery! We know there are plenty of women out there just pining for a new 8 track player to play their tapes of “Neil Diamond Gold” again. Wait no more – we got home and car players ready for you.

And it doesn’t stop there. Relive the sixties (not your age) with a transistor radio. How about a stereo with a record changer? Yeah, those were cool, especially when you stacked the records with “Bolero” strategically placed for the big make-out scene you had planned. Good times, good times.

But while we’re all getting older, it doesn’t mean we have to grow up. We can hold on to those symbols of our youth, our innocence, our disposable cash.

Freddie’s stock is complete with Walkman’s, phonographs, laser disc players, Betamax players, VHS players, reel-to-reel tape decks (for snobby afficianadoes), Discmans, slide projectors, AM radios, B+W TV’s, digital audio tape decks, 8mm film projectors, radar ranges, box cameras, CD players, flip phones, and so much more it’ll give you a headache. But our prices won’t! All of this merchandise is new!

And buying from Freddie’s helps the economy. All of this stuff had been written off already, years ago. No tax deductions from retailers, just pure, sweet American profit. Let’s get this country moving again with F’ed Freddy!

Remember F’ed Up Freddie’s slogan, “It ain’t the latest, but it was the greatest!”

This message has not been approved by the Chamber of Commerce nor the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Does that surprise you?

 

A Newfoundland Christmas post-Christmas poem

I Just received this this morning from a friend of mine in Newfoundland. Sometime ago, I wrote about Mummering at Christmas time in Newfoundland. This little poem does a good job in describing it. Hope you enjoy it.

A Newfoundland Christmas by James Rogin

‘Twas a night after Christmas in old Newfoundland.
The fire in the place was blazing just grand.
I sat on the chesterfield holding the phone,
While the wife’s in the kitchen making a scone.
When all of a sudden there was a loud rap,
And someone was banging tap a tap, tap.

I went to the door and who should appear,
But a “Mummer” or two looking for beer.
They wore old pillow cases,
That well covered their faces,
And I knew our houses were part of their quests.
So I welcomed them in, these old special guests.

They spoke in strange voices,
Saying I had to make choices,
As to who was who in that strange odd pair,
And so I played a part in this yule time affair.
I quickly named a name that wasn’t quite right.
So they drak my drink and went off into the night.

I never found who my callers were that year.
But I’m glad they came with all that good cheer.
And I hope this tradition will never come to an end,
For this is good fun to have with a friend.
And I’ll remember this Christmas wherever I go,
For I love Newfoundland, this will always be so.

We interrupt this blog to bring you… Halloween.

Last night being All Hallow’s Eve, I couldn’t help but put something of a Newfoundland spin on it. At Christmas time in Newfoundland, in addition to all the normal festivities including the prerequisite kitchen parties, is the custom of Mummering. I’ve written about this previously, but I’ll recap. Complete strangers, oddly dressed, descend upon unsuspecting resident’s homes and demand food and drink, carouse, and usually stay until tired or their true identities are discovered and then they leave to repeat said mayhem in yet another home. It can get out of hand. Once the government even tried to outlaw it, but the Newfoundlanders were having none of that, thank you b’y.

This year, as we get ready to dole out the ritual baksheesh to the little and not-so-little ones, I got to thinking how cool it might be to dress as a mummer here in the US.

This is Alphonse.

This is a fairly typical mummer “outfit” and is not the kind of costume one gets in a store. No, this requires creativity or color blindness at the very least. These figurines are from a collection created by two Newfoundland women, Pam and Cara. They produce one new limited edition mummer every year and are usually quite funny. Yet, they are accurate and indicative of what one might have knocking on their door come Christmas time.

Nish from Merasheem.

Now, can you imagine someone showing up at your house on Halloween in this? You might be inclined to call the police or at least use some pepper spray. But generally speaking in Newfoundland, it’s usually just harmless fun. However, I would not suggest walking into a convenient store dressed like this. They do have surveillance cameras after all.

And of course in the spirit(s) of the holiday, a toast must be made. Have another one, Fannie?

Fannie from Fogo.

The other possible downside in dressing this way for Halloween is that you might get picked up for vagrancy. After all, I don’t think we’re in Newfoundland anymore, Toto.