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***** Enjoyed it immensely

Review by Ian Gordon Malcomson| Amazon Hall of Fame / Top 50 Reviewer

Sorry, Bob, for taking so long to read this terrific novel. It does everything I expect in a novel and more:

- one, this explosively quixotic and elaborate tale of globe-trotting Bob Bo's strange compulsion to travel the world in search of weddings to attend has my attention;

- two, while on this global circuit in various capacities, our hero enters into a myriad of conversations about the state of culture, economy, politics, and history;

- and three, each experience contributes to a clearer understanding of what both brings people together and pulls them apart.

Weddings are one of the important social mediums by which ideas are exchanged, issues are hashed over, illusions and fallacies perpetuated, and friendships made and shattered. Might it be said that the convention of a good wedding, with all its rising expectation, glitter, and celebration, imitates life in interesting and cautionary ways: rising hopes, nagging worries, mercurial emotions, intensive views, and creative expressions. I see this book as a clever and fun-loving parody of all that modern weddings have come to mean to the human race.

As Bob Bo has discovered in his global jaunt, weddings are all about the individual needs of the guests and not the matrimonial prospects of the happy couple. To make that point, the author quickly sums up the feelings of the bride and groom in a tersely worded e-mail as a convenient prologue to the main story: the re-enactment of life and all its comic wonders for the umpteenth time.

Rating: 5 / 5 *

Original Posting: Ian Gordon Malcomson | August 31, 2015 | Source Link: Amazon.ca
Bob's sorry ass has been to way too many weddings all over the place, spending a ton of dough in the process. At the end of the book, he just wants to try and put some sense to it, together with all the other stuff in life and what's generally going on out there in the big bad world.

Kidding aside, deep down, my relationships have been like all my other life
experiences: they immerse themselves into the mix like new ingredients in
an ever-evolving simmering stew. They are combined with my ongoing exposure
to the world
's ways, my deciphering of what the news media says supposedly
happens out there, friendly advice (sometimes delivered with mixed messages),
and crossed signals, all exerting their collective influence on me.
I am
infiltrated by all, inculcated by none.

So, whaddup with all that?

N.B. That subtle single word above makes all the difference.

At first, when younger and more naive, cuz that's all you are taught and know, you're led to believe that the news is accurate and true, hopefully most of the time, right? I mean, you gotta sorta trust in the system.

Then, slowly, certain telltale things and events transpire in the world on your watch that make you start to question it all. You do some investigating on your own. Dig a bit, and find some good stuff. Dig some more, and a whole mess of things comes to light from a trickle to a torrent to a tsunami. Bob likens this to finally figuring out the real deal on Santa Claus when you were a kid, but on a much larger scale on steroids.

Here are some short clips that may well pique your curiousity on this whole element of the news. It all starts with being open to the possibility that things aren't as they appear, and how you're told things operate. This is certainly NOT the case with many things in this world, and it starts with the mainstream media, which may as well be re-badged as the Ministry of (Dis/Mis)Information.




It's just like that very old, wise, and really deep saying in the restaurant business (that Bob just made up right now actually).

That's not chicken in your chicken chow mein.
What?! You mean it's turkey? The bastards!


And then when/if you do start to suss things out, you'll need to decide whether to take the red pill, or the blue pill.


Then when things really start to change in the world, you'll be in a position to at least not be surprised by it all or already know what's happening, if not necessarily being able to do much about it. Or consider taking neither pill, because no news is also possibly a solution.

All in all, for a break, Bob would rather be at a wedding somewhere exotic having fun as some single cat, and not worrying (too much) about what's (really) going on in the world. I mean, despite what the mainstream news media says (or not), depending how and where you get your information and process it, you still gotta live and enjoy life, right? At least until other bigger, long-planned, behind-the-scenes events manifest, stuff spins out of control, and everything goes to hell in a handbasket thereafter.


In the mean time, just kick back and read this book to take you far far away from the madness and have a few chuckles. Either that, or watch the mainstream news for comedy relief alone, in conjunction with all that finely crafted "reality" television like Keeping Up With The Kajagoogians that is helping us all get smarter about everything.




Subject: Apple iBooks Consumer Review
(Posted on Jul 27, 2015 at 03:06PM ) Tags:
Wow! A fascinating, offbeat, creative, entertaining, commentary

This book is hilarious.

Bob has a unique style. He chronicles his experience at weddings all over the world, including cynical, humorous commentary on culture, politics, gender, food, religion, and just about everything.

It's a travel guide wrapped in a wedding guide wrapped in a comedic rant. His prose is peppered with hilarious Bob-isms. Will he ever settle down? Hopefully not, because we need him to continue cranking this stuff out.

Rating: 5 / 5 *

Original Posting: ToughGuy3 | July 25, 2015 | Source Link: Apple iBooks (US)

This is absolutely hilarious, and a very different book from any other. You won't stop laughing out loud and being surprised by the intelligent and fresh humour throughout. If you're looking for comedic escape delivered with insight into relationships, cultures, and political issues against a global wedding backdrop, this read is a must.

Rating: 5 / 5 *

Original Posting: Jose Garcia | October 25, 2013 | Source Link: Goodreads

Subject: Apple iBooks Consumer Review
(Posted on Jun 26, 2015 at 08:49AM ) Tags:
Brilliant

Laughed out loud and enjoyed every character ... Couldn't stop reading it! It's a must if you like comedy, traveling, journey books.

Rating: 5 / 5 *

Original Posting: Ibero33 | September 13, 2013 | Source Link: Apple iBooks (ES)


A fun and engaging summer read ...

... to which most confirmed bachelors can probably relate. (Although I've long since given up my own bachelorhood, I found myself smiling and nodding in recognition at many of its wry observations.) Each chapter is self-contained so it's the kind of book you can put down for a while then pick up again days or weeks later without having to go back and re-read previous chapters to get caught up again.

Rating: 4 / 5 *

Original Posting: Trevor | June 15, 2015 | Source Link: Amazon.CA
Subject: Montreal #12 - 80s hair and other things
(Posted on Apr 26, 2015 at 04:47PM ) Tags:
So your young, dumb ass is 21, having fun, and "best" man at some friend's wedding in 1987.

Hey, it HAD to be a great year, just because that's when The Simpsons first came into being, as episodic shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show. And a game-changing tune (stitching together an impressive array of song samples), Pump Up The Volume by one-off UK outfit, M|A|R|R|S, broke out big.


Beyond music. the 80s had a lot of stuff going on, with memorable (if not always classy) developments in fashion, cars, entertainment, lifestyle, and culture.

And this is not factoring in all the serious (and arguably more important) geopolitical events and disasters that otherwise framed the decade (e.g. Iran-Iraq War, Falkands (Malvinas) War, Bhopal, famine in Ethiopia, Space Shuttle Challenger, Chernobyl, Ronnie Raygun and the other Star Wars, Black Monday, and fall of the Berlin Wall).





This link lists several 80s websites to revisit that decade, or yield insight into what was going on if you weren't yet around (or were way too young to remember).

One of the 80s things that stuck out, pardon the pun, was the hair. It was BIG!

And it wasn't necessarily the preserve of the better, smarter sex either, as the guys also dove in eagerly. There were many ways to wear it, be it frizzy, sporting a mullet, Jheri curls, flattop, spikes, half-fro, or rattail.





Yo, they weren't called "hair bands" for nothing, and having it bigger and better than your competition was de rigueur.


Which brings Bob back to the scene in the book on this very topic.

The trio of bridesmaids sported 80s' signature big-hair, achieved with lots of layering,
mousse, and curling iron action, and finished off with heavy blasts of hairspray.

That didn't come naturally after rolling casually out of bed in the morning, and it spawned a whole industry of products like colored mousse and Bold Hold hairspray to help meet demand.

Here is a montage of exemplary 80s hairstyles.


To compete with all this new energy up top, fashion had its own complementary evolution and flair as well.


Some folks went with a decidedly cleaner, minimalist look. Keeping it simple was another statement, as our Oirish singer explains here and her reasoning therein back in the day as she shot to fame. Think of all the time and expen$e saved as a bonus.


Imagine if all of us were like that - about everything, from our clothes, to our food, be it by choice or not, as this 1985 ad toys with.


It's one of Bob's all-time advertising faves from that decade. Hey, it's about food, ties to his Eastern bloc heritage, and good old days of the USSR and Iron Curtain. Plus, the ladies remind him of his grandmothers (or Babas).

There was a lot happening on that particular day at the wedding, but the hair still strikes a chord. Decades later, there's no desire to relive that youthful period though, apart from the memories, until Alzheimer's sets in, one gets hit by a bus, or abducted by aliens to make it all irrelevant.

Better to forge new experiences and attend more weddings around the world. As the ad may have foretold with its authoritative delivery and definitive accent, "Is next - rest of life. Very nice."



Five Stars

Engrossing!

Rating: 5 / 5 *

Original Posting: DNYC | February 21, 2015 | Source Link: Amazon.com
Subject: Santiago #30 - Pisco Potation Punch-Up
(Posted on Feb 7, 2015 at 11:21AM ) Tags:
So, Bob finds himself at a wedding In Santiago just before Christmas 1996, and one of the reception hour beverages being plied is that classic cocktail, the Pisco Sour. It's pushed proudly as being Chilean in origin, when out of the crowd, some cat jumps out to have a say on that matter.

"Actually, there is some debate on this matter of the pisco sour and where
it comes from,
" said a dark-haired fellow with black-rimmed glasses in a
blue suit beside us. "I don't mean to curtail your enjoyment, so please excuse
me, but Peru believes it is the originator of the cocktail."

Antonio Diaz Villamil introduced himself. Bolivian, he lived here in Santiago, and
was a friend of the Gluschitz family.
"Both Peru and Chile consider it their national
drink and there are two competing tales of its origin."

The Peruvian story behind the cocktail was that it was invented in Lima by a
Salt Lake City expat, Victor
"Gringo" Morris, in the early 1920s at the bar he
ran called Morris Bar. The cocktail was essentially an alternative to the whiskey
sour. The challenging Chilean version of the tale attributed the concoction to an
Englishman, Elliott Stubb, a ship steward who disembarked at the port of Iquique
in 1872 to open a bar where he supposedly unveiled the drink.

So what's up with all that, and who's right? There is some debate between Chile and Peru about the origin of the drink; both countries have their own version and claim ownership rights, it can even be a source of friction between the two nations as explained some more here. Wars have probably been started for less. Another little thing to note and factor into all of this, is that back in 1872, Iquique was actually part of Peru at the time, and after the War of the Pacific in 1879, it became part of Chile.

The history of the base alcoholic spirit, pisco, dates from 16th century Spain and more details can be found here.


There's a lot more on the drink's dueling origins here, as well as some differences in the ingredients and preparation therein. And if limes may not be around on some occasions, folks substitute in lemon instead. Reminds one of that whole gin and tonic lemon versus lime debate which got covered here.

No matter whether you want to make the cocktail the Chilean or Peruvian way, you may also elect to try it a la Anna Kendrick style. There is deffo some "different" ad-lib recipe action going down.


Unless our gal was confused and thinking salad dressing with the yolk, she was probably just having some fun on porpoise [sic]. Either that or trying to be some pisco sour experimentalist cum crazy cocktail scientist. Go on and get creative with your own version.


Some recipes out there use lemons, and state that Pisco is from Peru, but hey, we know it also comes from Chile. Oh well, we'll let that slide. It's all kinda like the stuff they tell you on the news and getting the real truth on what's going down out there in the world. You gotta go and dig for the real deal yourself from multiple sources, and ones that are out of the mainstream media.

Bob's seen a bunch of different variations as regards the ingredient quantities as well, so you may want to fiddle around a bit if you try making this puppy at home. Here are two variations alone. Maybe more booze per serving is better. I mean, it 's not like you ever really typically see a recommended serving size on a bottle label of any spirit out there generally, right?



On another note, Chile produces WAY more of the base spirit than Peru does, almost 14x according to 2013 figures, but it's made a little differently. Peru seemingly goes to a little extra trouble to manufacture it in smaller artisanal batches and classify it a little more painstakingly by denomination, quality and strength as well.


There's even a National Pisco Sour Day in Peru (or Día Nacional del Pisco Sour), held on the first Saturday of February since 2007 per this current Forbes piece, and as this ad below from a few years ago plugs.


Uhhmm, yeah, that happens to be today actually, by pure coink-e-dink. Naturally! One would never time the writing of this post so as to tee up with this annual cocktail celebration. Regardless, it's a damn good excuse to take down one or two of these puppies.

And just when you think the origin battle was solved, something like this creeps into the mix, and introduces some added doubt and mystery, as seen below, and elaborated on in more detail here and here about the origins going back to at least 1903 in a regional cookbook.



Despite what the evidence may show, and whichever side you want to pick, Adal Ramones, Mexican television show host and comedian, found some politcal pisco punch here, as linked to the 2009 Chile-Peru espionage scandal:

"What do the Chileans want to spy from Peru?
How to make a good Pisco Sour?
"

Will we ever know the cocktail's real origins? Maybe not. And which version is better? It seems many prefer the Peruvian version to its Chilean counterpart. Best you decide for yourself. This piece navigates the middle ground, basically saying both are different. Our world-wise wanderer, Anthony Bourdain, throws out his two cents on the Chilean variant in a 2009 episode (5 - 11 to be exact) from his No Reservations series.Caveat potator, as one may say in Latin.


Back in 1996 at the wedding, a younger Bob was just some happy-camper, single wedding guest, going with the flow, open to learning more about the matter and the country's history, and drinking in the scene.





Subject: Los Angeles #70 - BFF Neighbo(u)rs
(Posted on Jan 15, 2015 at 08:41PM ) Tags:
You're at some wedding in Greater LA just after the Blackout of 2003 took out a big chunk of the Northeast on both sides of the border, when the following comes up in conversation about supposed neighboring BFF countries, Canuckistan and Amerika.


"Canada is America's invisible, steady, safe-sex partner. The Beaver's only too happy
to just bend over and take it like any good bum buddy. One day, we'll just take the
place over," said Jock.

"That won't happen," said Wade.

"It's not imaginable at this very moment, but go back almost 200 years. We attacked
and invaded Canada in 1812. Then, in the 1930s, there was an attack plot--War Plan
Red," said Jock.

"OK, I'll give you that. Canuckistan even had its own cockamamie preemptive plot to
invade south before that, in the 20s--Defence Scheme No. 1."

"You never know how quickly close friends can become enemies, or vice versa," said Lamont.

"Betcha there's still some super-secret-squirrel crank Yank plan in the works under
the
guise of liberating Canada one day from its socialist left-wing tyranny--for water
and
oil. But," said Wade, "that's another topic altogether."

"We'd still graciously let you keep all the hockey rinks, polar bears, maple syrup, and
McKenzie brother tuques you'd need," Jock said. "America's munificence is unbounded."

So whaddup with all that?

Not only was Canada attacked as mentioned in the War of 1812, there was an earlier invasion in 1775, and the series of Fenian Raids between 1866 - 1871. Okay, so maybe America officially wasn't involved in these last raids, but it appears they looked the other way. Yeah, go figure like that tactic of tacit approval ain't never been used since by nobody.

The skinny on War Plan Red and Defence Scheme No. 1 are in the links and are also summarized below.



Canada has, like, stuff, and shit, as this informative website lays out. Another interesting but much more serious spin on the topic, both historically, and with a modern day slant, can be found here.



The pretense of war could all shake out just like this in Canadian Bacon. It doesn't take much to start a war, and today, most folks seem to believe what they see and hear on TV about world events unfolding as depicted and being accurate.


Or maybe it will go down as it did in South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut. It all started from that fine flick the kids saw, Asses of Fire, as previously covered in a blog post here (see Step 2). Next, the kids' behavior gets modified, Kyle's Mom goes apeshit, scapegoats are created, and war breaks out easy breezy before you can say "Bob's your uncle."


That's when the propaganda machine revs into overdrive and feeds the masses pulp to fan the flames of patriotism and doing the right thing.


Bob's basic premise is that if invasion plans like that existed historically, they certainly exist now. They could now be camouflaged under different guises of economic harmonization, secure perimeter integration and other stuff like, uhm, say protecting against the coming zombie apocalypse as elaborated on below in Canada's Parliamentary House of Commons. Bob be only bringing your ass the important stuff.


Or maybe it will be about the ever au courant, contrived and poorly named War on Terror, really about a state of mind when you think about it. Everything's relative, depending on your perspective.


But if shit shakes out either way down the road, here are some great ideas for a new flag, depending on how the "union" goes.



But really, some others at higher levels are really looking to have things all end up like this below, as taken from that classic 1964 Kubrick masterpiece, Dr. Strangelove.Bob digs this scene, as our man Slim Pickens, playing the role of Major T.J. "King" Kong,rides it out to the end and goes out with a bang. Yee haw! He shares the same birthday as Bob too, so what's not to like.


And like all great fairy tales (as with marriage, perhaps, some of the time), there is the stereotypical Happily Ever After, or HEA, as it is labeled in all them romance novels. Hey, just like in Dr. Strangelove and its full title, learn to stop worrying and love the bomb. Relax.


Then there's the momentary happiness when you"re just some guest taking in the scene as two folks walk down the aisle together, the ceremony is finally over, and you're anticipating the start of the reception N.B. This be where the food, drink, music and fun is at.

This is the kind of stuff going down in Wedding Chronicles. In this particular chapter, single simpleton gets caught up in discussion about Canada and USA before Japan-meets-Canada ceremony with his friends at sea, and everything "goes to hell in a handbasket" thereafter.