Expired blueberries inspire us all

#Expired #blueberries #inspire us all. Isn't that how the expression goes?

Trying to find out online whether expired blueberries are very dangerous is difficult. 
People say:
"Well, I wouldn't!" or
"You can put them into a pancake!" or
"The sporofidiums boridiums in blueberry blight have been known to turn sheep's wool straight." or
"I would boil them into a wine first, and then strain it through a goldfish." or
"Just sayin'. Moses fell asleep atop Mount Sinai on a patch of gone-off blueberries, and he came back down the hill with his tablets. Just sayin'." or
"Cut the fungus away from the rest and any misty ones that are left, with the misty tint? send those ones off to the local government's Hazardous Waste unit in a hermetically-sealed envelope. You can eat the rest though."

None of it will stop me from my good healthy eatin'!

Right, I'll be back next week to let you know how my trip went!

Dead Men Naked by Dario Cannizzaro

Dario Cannizzaro’s narrator Louis, the protagonist of Dead Men Naked (available at Amazon), loses his best friend Neil in a bizarre, seemingly hallucinogenic near-remote attack from an attic window as they stand in the same room, by Lou’s neighbour and a giant crow. Given the tequila and other substances taken, it is difficult to determine what exactly occurred through the narrator’s eyes. But Louis comes round the following morning worse-for-wear; he finds his friend’s body, realises that what happened was no dream, and summons the authorities to the scene.

Strange beginnings complement a funeral where Neil’s parents end up consoling him as much as vice versa. On the trip, while Lou drowns his sorrows, he meets Mallory at a nearby, not-so-nearby dive, and begins an exploration of the spirit world. The journey is a theme in this novel, the roadside scenery described with a vivid and subtle poetry throughout. Also beautifully captured are aspects relationships – for instance, lifelong friendship.

The idea that you can fall out with or fall away from childhood friends for a number of years, and revert back to that same friendship that will always be there, serves to fortify Lou’s sense of loss.
Also captured in the dreams within the novel are wonderfully subtle elements that are typical of our delta wave activities. The idea that you want to look at something, for instance, but you’re prevented from doing so by other factors that would be trivial in real life, is one detail that stood out.
There are aspects that have echoes of movies such as the Guillermo del Toro-produced The Orphanage, or even the more mainstream The Sixth Sense. The reader can take things a number of ways. Knowing what’s real and what’s not in this novel is not an issue, perhaps because knowing isn’t all that important. One can assume that the author expects a little reader interpretation.

Let it wash over you. It’s the kind of work that stays with you, and you can digest it long after you have read the final page.
Get Dead Men Naked on Amazon. Follow Dario Cannizzaro on Twitter.

Tasty recipe

 630g creamed rice
3 small Kinder bars
6-8 "BBQ" marshmallows
Place in microwave for five minutes, pausing occasionally to stir.
If anyone would like an apology for this recipe, leave a comment below.

Social media rant

Spiderman Homecoming Review

In Batman Returns, there’s a slow-dance ballroom scene between Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) where they inadvertently reveal themselves to each other as Catwoman and Batman, when they repeat the same comment and response that they had uttered while battling each other on the rooftops of Gotham.

There is a similarly smart revelation in the original Spiderman movie, when the Green Goblin’s alter ego realises that Peter is Spidey.

In Spiderman Homecoming, Michael Keaton plays a villain with similarly bat-like wings as his Gotham City role. And although there is a similar revelation, it requires a little more, less likely, guesswork. There are, however, more impressive reveals in this movie, and winks at previous incarnations of the superhero in both the comics and movies. Meanwhile, the movie also deserves praise for taking Spiderman in new directions, with input from Stark Industries and its technologies.

Other Marvel movies play the humour more heavily. There are funny moments, but to say that it’s all belly-laughs as a pejorative is entirely unfair. There is a little less struggle than we’ve seen in previous Spiderman movies, less teenage angst. But digesting it after watching, that’s a little unfair too. If you demand satisfaction in your superhero schlock, and you're already a fan of the Marvel movies, you probably won’t be disappointed in terms of emotional fulfilment, resolution, and whatever else.

Guest post from Socrates

Hey everybody! Cmere a minute.
I'd like to just give you my bio up top. I'm the first of the three great Greeks when it comes to the love of wisdom. I taught Plato, and then Plato taught Aristotle.
As the first in this triumvirate of philosophers - and excuse the use of a later Latinate signifier to describe the three of us - you could say with some qualification that the entire tradition of Western thought originates with me.
Introductions out of the way, I have something I want to be clear about. It sums up my beliefs system, my mode of thought, my methodologies. My entire opus can be summed up - all issues reconciled in the dialectical style - by letting you in on this little nugget of wisdom I picked up on the way to the agora.
Here - in a nutshell - is everything I know:


That's it folks.
Right, I'm here for eternity in the works of others' and the word Socratic.
Try the lobster...
for a crime it didn't commit - which is being served as food, so he's boiled alive in a pot for your delectation.
But let's not judge the non-kosher pescaterians. Don't let it hinder your happiness.

Damastor by Dimitri Iatrou: Book Review

Damastor by Dimitri Iatrou, available at Amazon, features three mid-fourteenth-century figures, Herendin, Nestor and Ann, living under the pall of Black Death. 
England has been decimated by the plague, its people so adversely affected that society has broken down. Nestor – effectively a village idiot reluctantly abandoned by his family – finds Herendin hanging from a tree – executed. Seeing that the man still lives, Nestor cuts the elderly warrior down. Herendin’s attempted murderers have fled. The pair encounter Ann, daughter of a doctor, who has been employing her medical expertise to treat victims of plague. The nature of this historical fiction is both parable-like and epic. The journey or quest, with its group and story expanding, is complemented by encounters such as that of the man carrying his dead child, and another who takes his own life in front of a place of refuge, and the panicked noble keen to sell his castle for the indulgence of salvation from disease and survival. We learn of Herendin’s status as a soldier battling the Scots decades earlier, and episodes of his captivity and torture. 
But Damastor is also set in the present-day. In truth, it’s the story of Kameron, a young man so poisoned by childhood abuse and subsequent addiction that the reader can barely recognise his humanity. Long after being introduced to Kam, we match-cut between scenes of torture in the fourteenth century and similar present-day goings-on in an urban gangland milieu. Next, we see a balletic (and ballistic) gun and knife battle. The results are shocking. 
Similar shocks await the novel’s fourteenth century characters. Interspersed too – and presented in a somewhat anthropomorphised form – are battles between what appear to be angels and demons. Although the novel’s mythos is Abrahamic, the good vs evil themes are universal. We learn that Kameron faces regular beatings by a malevolent force of some kind, and it seems to happen every time he acts violently himself. There are great touches that are almost throwaway (the above encounters with plague victims included), and fleeting cameos here and there that could certainly be developed. But squandering the good stuff to tell this tale is superior to delivering garbage.
Better to tut at the death of somebody we’d like to hear more from than to tut at poor characterisation. 
Through both scenes of violence and displays of humanity, with flashbacks to Kameron’s childhood and Herendin’s soldiering days, and a celestial subplot (sur-plot?) that suggests As Above So Below, Mr Iatrou serves up a very different kind of novel.
Follow Dimitri Iatrou on Twitter.
Get Damastor at Amazon.

Historical Fiction: Some thoughts on an article by Michelle Cox

Author Michelle Cox has written a matter-of-fact, very useful piece at Writers' Digest, on historical fiction. One of her points speaks not to historical accuracy, but to the appearance of accuracy.

The late John Yeoman sent me a fine collection of short fiction set in Tudor England a couple of years ago, and far more the expert in the era of Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Webster than I could ever hope to be, his stories were replete with historical detail. 

But, as I said to Dr Yeoman at the time - the idea, for instance, of a man eating Spanish oranges in London when Queen Liz the First was on the throne - had me looking to Wikipedia to peruse the history of the fruit.

By the way, this (highly recommended) collection and other work featuring his detective hero can be found at his Amazon author page.

But about the semblance of accuracy: In one of my own stories (set in 1906), a schoolboy called Jeremy is nicknamed Jez. Somebody said it seemed a little modern. 
We do have Dickens's Boz, pre-dating "Jez" by half a century.

I also looked up the etymology of the word "outfox" - to mean "outsmart" - for the same post-fin-de-siecle story. I was surprised to see its first use comes a few years later. But I like the word so much in its context within the story that I kept it.

Anyway, the late great John Yeoman had himself edited that particular story after I had voiced some concerns to him about it - and he didn't mind these little things.

One edit I had paid serious attention to from another beta-reader was the relationships between staff and gentry. The fact is, the staff NEVER talked to the nobility the way they do in these Downton Abbey programmes. So in my yarn, I toned down the familiarity between the butler-maid couple and the civil servant for whom they worked.

Perhaps the semblance of historical accuracy gets a pass under a number of circumstances:
-if the author (such as Doc Yeoman above) knows better than the reader (if it jars a little for anyone, it's something that can be looked at)
-poetic licence (for a movie example, think Sofia Coppola's rendering of Marie Antoinette, or elsewhere, whether you can install mechanical elevators in Ancient Egypt, or at the wall holding back the Wildlings (for a fantasy example), or if there were battery-operated devices in pre-Muslim Mesopotamia)
-finally, importantly, does it work for the reader? (Again, some people didn't like Sofia Coppola's take, to cite this example)
A fish lifting its head off the plate to deliver its thoughts before a character tucks into it might suit the magic surrealist writings of Etger Keret. But it can be confidently dropped from your thriller about killing Hitler, unless (of course) the narrator is drugged and it's that kind of book.

Given that there are as many interpretations as there are readers, accuracy is a risk that every author and artist regularly runs.

Quantum of Sorrow

I occasionally feature science fiction work-in-progress The Queantum Eavesdropper in #1lineWed, where the hashtag is used to share lines from people's novels, poems, short stories, etc, once a week.
Worth checking out and contributing a line or two based on the theme they put out weekly.
Anyway, a recent theme was Sorrow so I found a few paragraphs to share. The first two are related, the third not so much.
Check them out below.

Perversity in Irish Literature

The late great Frank McCourt includes scenes in Angela's Ashes describing public masturbation (albeit in secluded areas, and a scene up a ladder, staring in the bedroom window of a young woman).

Are we to presume from these scenes that the teenage McCourt was a pervert? If he had been caught by a police officer, for example - even as a minor - might he then have lived a very different life? 

Never to become an educator in New York? Or would he have just
fled Ireland faster? Would he have never written his autobiographical novels in later life? 
What if he had been caught in New York conducting himself inappropriately?

Would he have been undermined, with a criminal record of some kind? Discriminated against for his perviness? Sent to a workhouse or borstal, or to juvie? Because this stuff - perhaps exaggerated, perhaps not - is likely to have happened to some degree.
There was probably a point in time at which Frank McCourt was masturbating in public - albeit in a secluded location - in or near Limerick City.
What of Joyce and his solicitation of prostitutes through the mouthpiece of Dedalus? And similar self-satisfaction, echoed in McCourt's work?

If you were to suggest that these men were perverts, or advocates for perversity, what would they have told you to do?
No doubt something more perverse.
No moral to the story.

What the kids are looking up...

The kids are looking up the meaning of emojis. But what do they symbolise?
They all mean I 💓's yazzz! LOLZ! FML! Hurrayyy! SMH! Hooorayyy! Etc.

The Perduror - What's it about?

The Perduror is available on Amazon for Kindle! What's it all about?
It's about an old man called Jack, and a young man named Blythe, who is in effect his carer and the closest family member willing to take care of him.
Jack has seen one-hundred years of life. He recounts the family's history to grand-nephew Blythe. But the older man has other ideas to impart: The importance of carrying on an esoteric family tradition.
Jack paints a picture of a family sworn to protect the underdog since the Middle Ages. Blythe gradually learns to believe his uncle’s tales, but his trust is questioned when it transpires that Jack’s motives are not what they seemed.
As Blythe meets and falls in love with a young Frenchwoman, he learns from Jack that there is a family representative in each generation with the ability to talk to God, a gift Jack claims has been bestowed on the family since medieval times. A gift that is bestowed on Blythe

He is the family’s Perduror - and he must perdure until the traditions are passed on to the next generation. Blythe soon discovers that these family traditions - and his own life - appear to be under threat from rival clans.