Is it a while, or awhile? I can never remember. It’s been a long time. I have some new dog days posts piling up. Read them if you want, or don’t if you don’t. But I will write again soon because I have some things to get off my chest.

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Australia. Desk. Chicken Roll. Although Australia is not known for their “famous” chicken roll, they are quite popular. I wasn’t impressed.

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Thanks for nothing. Cyrus destroys a pair of shoes in the morning. But that’s not all. A mixture of shredded rugs, shredded collar, bent crate, water and urine all over was what I had the pleasure of coming home to yesterday.

This dog is so close to being kicked out of my house. One more minor hiccup and he’s gone.

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Cyrus is the latest dog, and it’s another sick one. I am ready to take a permanent break from taking on sick dogs that have problems going to the bathroom, won’t eat, and sleep all day. Walks are challenging, you gotta give them meds regularly, and sometimes this guy won’t even budge no matter how hard you pull him to go outside. He has eaten Abby’s food, and bent the metal integrity of his crate pushing his way out on numerous occasions. He has pissed himself, shit in his enclosure, and chewed his leash into 4 separate pieces. When they start destroying your possessions, though, is where I draw the line. I don’t care how sick they are, they will be punished. This morning, I came down to a pair of shoes that were not only VERY expensive, but also completely destroyed. Thanks for repaying the favor of feeding you, housing you, rehabilitating you, caring for you, and keeping you from being put to sleep. You are awesome.

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Slaughterhouse Five
by Kurt Vonnegut

If you didn’t know already, I like madness, and any kind of eccentric people that may be defined as an artist of unconventional ideas, or mad, or insane. I’m not talking about the clinically insane. Some people may define Vonnegut as such, mad though not clinically insane, which is why I had been drawn to explore some of his works.

Let me begin by saying that maybe where I am in my life has something to do with how I received this novel. Slaughterhouse Five was interesting, and entertaining, but I didn’t agree with the points that the characters were representing. Perhaps the points were merely being drawn out as an ironic satire where the joke is the ideas themselves. I’m not sure, but I didn’t like it.

The book follows a character named Billy Pilgrim, and Billy Pilgrim has had the ability to jump to different moments in his life from the past as well as the future. This makes the novel have absolutely zero stagnant moments as it tends to jump all over time. He learns when he is abducted by aliens (Tralfamadorians) that everything in the world exists and happens because it has to be and happen. In fact, the aliens explain that out of all inhabited planets they have traveled to, Earth is the only one which mentions anything about free will. They also explain that death is not the end of life, but just the end of one existence that begins another. They know the end of the universe, as well as the cause. And Billy knows how he dies, and has lived it many times.

The one idea that did speak to me was also from the Tralfamadorians. They spoke about although wars, pain, suffering, and anything else unpleasant must and will always exist, but because of that, you should embrace and entirely soak up the good moments to their fullest.

That’s what I took away from this novel.

Because of Vonnegut’s pessimistic attitude, I needed something more refreshing to cleanse my palate. That’s why I chose another Steinbeck novel for my next book. I’m revisiting some of the characters from Cannery Row in the novel named Sweet Thursday.

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I get this feeling often when I finish a book. Inspiration and ambition is high. Documentaries affect me in a very positive way. The same is true as I just finished watching the Documentary about George Harrison named Living in the Material World. Its an outstanding film following the life of who I consider to be in my top 4 favorite Beatles.

Although the driving force of the Beatles was Paul McCartney and John Lennon, George Harrison wrote some of my favorite Beatles songs. While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something, and Here Comes the Sun were all Harrison tunes.

His impact on the world and those around him stretched far beyond his time in the Beatles, though. Watch the film and see for yourself.

If you are looking for another good documentary, you can’t go wrong with the following list. Each one is spectacular.

Fistful of Quarters – The King of Kong
Exit Through the Gift Shop
George Harrison – Living in the Material World
Riding Giants
Bob Dylan – No Direction Home
Moog

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Cat’s Cradle
by Kurt Vonnegut

It’s back, and I have a lineup that will surely inspire all three of you to pick up a book or two. I am fully aware that three may be an exaggeration. I read this book in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and do not know if the distance of time passed or the surrounding attitude will play a part in the review. Let’s have at it.

This edition of the Book Club covers Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. If you don’t know Kurt Vonnegut’s style, think sarcastic, dry, pessimistic. I believe he might hate people, specifically Americans, though not limited to. He justifies his pessimistic outlook with stories of the ridiculousness of our actions, of our wars, of our religions, of our government, and of our personal choices. These, among others, are all covered in Cat’s Cradle.

Cat’s Cradle is told from the viewpoint of a guy named John. He is inspired to write a book about the atom bomb and it’s detonation, destruction on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. John logically seeks the creator of the bomb, which brings him to interview and follow the lives of (mainly) the Hoenikker family. Although the novel is told through this guy named John, he is really merely a conduit for the main characters’ stories. The Hoenikkers and their associates are the subject.

Felix Hoenikker, in a way the patriarch but only because he is the father of the children in this book, is the “Father of the Atomic Bomb.” He is/was a scientist or thinker that had no personable or personal characteristics, though he was not cruel. He just was. His purpose was to invent, solve, and create. He was a mad scientist of sorts that would fully immerse himself in work not because he loved work, but because he enjoyed solving a problem. Felix Hoenikker had two main (subject) inventions that are covered in detail. One was the atomic bomb. The other was a substance called Ice Nine. Realism stattes that the former is fact, the latter fictional.

John interviews Felix Hoenikker’s children: Frank Hoenikker (the logical coward), Angela Hoenikker (the tall matriarch), and Newt Hoenikker (the midget). Incidentally, all 3 children have in their possession a small vial of Ice Nine. John encounters many more characters and interviews which cover everything from espionage, scientists, religion, law, money, art and of course, the apocalypse.

If you follow my book club, you know that I won’t spoil the end, or even the beginning or middle, because I don’t make a point to cover the book in it’s entirety. But it is good to know that this book covers the end of days. Vonnegut’s attitude comes alive through the words of John, and you can tell that he is tired of the stupidity of mankind. At times he is funny, even if only through pessimism and ironic observations.

Is Cat’s Cradle worth the read? It’s short, it might be a little funny (though not really), it might be a little depressing (though not really), and entertaining. I enjoyed every minute of it, enough so to pick up Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, which I’ll cover in the next edition.

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It may be dangerous to take a picture while driving, but there’s no way I can ever pass up the opportunity to capture one of these.

I just love this shit. See you next time, hombre.

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I had a little side bet with Woody last fantasy football season on who would win our second head to head game. If I won, he would send me a couple CDs and some Tastykake treats, and if he won I would send him something authentic to the west coast and some CDs (I was thinking Mexican candy would be appropriate). Well, I won, and was on my way to riches.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t wait too long to eat them. All but one of them were fine, or at least they looked fine. I’m thinking that something must have happened with the change in pressure when they are flown across the country to compromise the structural integrity of the packaging. Or maybe this was just a bad batch of kakes. Whatever the case, I was truly disappointed in Tastykake. Can you tell why?

It doesn’t look quite like the picture on the package, does it? I always looked forward to picking up a few of my tasty favorites whenever I visited my home in Philadelphia, and I have spread such high regards of these kakes that they have become something of a legend in my personal circles, but now I might have to take a step back and re-evaluate my relationship with Tastykakes.

I really like this picture for 3 reasons that have nothing to do with the disgusting Tastykake in the foreground. On the coffee table I have a bottle of Miller High Life, there’s a little Casio synthesizer, and our dog Abby is photo-bombing in the top right corner. That bitch always gets me.

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Sounds like a morning radio show, doesn’t it? But in this case, Dunny, bog, and the boot are all words for restroom in Australia.

When I first arrived at my hotel late into the night, I couldn’t wait to do the following: restroom, brush my teeth, and go to sleep, in that order. I just needed to make sure I did the first and last in that order or I might have left a present for the cleaning lady. So, I did my business. When I went to flush, I reached for the handle, only to find that there was no handle. I was met with 2 buttons.

I figured maybe one was to flush, and one would shoot water up. If that was the case, though, I would expect them to be clearly labeled. I tried pressing one, not much happened. I tried pressing the other, same thing. I pressed both, held them in, and got the action I was looking for. I learned that one button is for number 1 and one for number 2, although I’m still not sure which is which. I went for the double barrel every time.

Another interesting thing I found in Australian dunny’s is that public restrooms implemented the peeing wall. I can only imagine that the reason for these bathrooms being created is because aboriginals would miss urinals and kick off the toilet handles.

Yeah, I went to the other side of the earth to take pictures of bathrooms.

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