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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: Barcelona #62 - Of cava, crowns, and craniums
(Posted on May 24, 2015 at 01:14PM ) Tags:
At an early May 2002 wedding in Catalonia, cava naturally featured on the drinks list right after the ceremony as the celebratory bubbles of choice.

With so many great regional selections, Bob was more than pleased to see the couple had picked Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad, not only because it’s a great one (one of his faves)  but also because the bottle has such a distinctive and regal look.



As a major bonus, the bottle is also heavy and very solid. Good for a few things it seems. As taken right from the chapter…

We washed it all down with flutes of Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad. Empty,
the distinctive green cava bottle with its pewter base could be repurposed as
a candle holder.

This hefty bottle could also come in handy for homebound hullabaloo: I
imaginated some chikita banana making a definitive debate-ending point
about sumpin’ or other by crowning her man’s cranium.
OK, maybe twice,
since some hubbies have a really hard head.

Bob reckons the metal base and its sharp edge would do a bang-up job, and provide extra strength against breakage if a woman really wanted to do her man in. Talk about perfect product placement at work here. One reckons the Segura Viudas folks would be more than proud to know their class product doubles down as the drink and instrument of choice (more than adequate for the task)  for settling domestic discontent that has reached a critical point. 

Ladies, best to celebrate the occasion and drink it all down first with your guy, before the devilish deed, so as not to risk wasting any of the beautful beverage. It will help settle the nerves, and take the edge off. Nothing like a little liquid courage to help things along. And a couple glasses might make it all hurt a little less on your guy's receiving end as well.

As with many things in life though, you gotta walk before you run. "Practice makes perfect," as the old adage goes. Start small, practicing on oneself, working one’s way up from beer bottles to wine bottles, just so it is all done right.  A few guiding technique tips to be gleaned below watching these folks with various degrees of expertise and knowledge making their attempts. Some get it, and some don’t.




With beer mastered, you work your way up to wine.


Bob's always generally amazed as to what a little alcohol intake combined with some spare time can result in—human creativity and ingenuity at its finest. The possibilities are almost endless if we really put our heads to it.

These are indeed the kind of pleasant thoughts, simple solutions and worldly insights running through Bob’s mind as he roams the world to far flung places attending weddings as some single guy. Cheers to your health (and to your head, for the fellas)!

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) WarBhopal, famine in Ethiopia, Space Shuttle ChallengerChernobyl, 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’s 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 €xpen$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
I did win Wedding Chronicles from the author, therefore I read it for free, however i do think the book is well written, like it is quite interesting and as a reader i did quite feel like i was a part of Bobby's journey.

But i did feel like despite the wit and humor of the character some parts of the book were dragged out unnecessary making the book seem longer.

This was different read from a lot of the other books i read and i enjoyed the change. I would definitely recommend Wedding Chronicles to most of my friends if they were looking for a light hearted read.

Rating: 4 / 5 *

Original Posting: Swarleen Oberai | September 20, 2014 | Source Link: Goodreads
I won this book through a giveaway here on GoodReads.

I really wanted to like this book, not only because it seemed interesting, but also because the author spent so much time and efforts to trace it, since it seemed lost, and I really wanted to reward him with a good review.

Unfortunately, I cannot do so. I really tried to enjoy it, but I was not able to understand his purpose in all this. The characters were boring and, honestly, sometimes I even felt disgusted by them. Even though he travelled all around the world and he dealt with many different kind of people, I could feel sometimes prejudices and bigotry, not to talk about the machismo. I think this is a book that only Canadian or American people could read, because they are the only ones that could properly understand it. The main character says the he is not ready to get married, but I think that he is just one of those forever irresolute people, unable to make decisions.

I decided to give it 2 stars because the descriptions of the different lifestyles around the world are very interesting.

The writing style is well-built, but in some parts the author uses so much slang that it is almost impossible to understand him for a non native English speaker like me. However, I will not blame him for this, because I am sure that it was due to my partial knowledge of the language.

I am sorry to write a review like this, but this is not a book I would recommend since it communicate me nothing.

Rating: 2 / 5 *

Original Posting: Fede | December 25, 2014 | Source Link: Goodreads

Subject: London #15 - In the pub (on the piss)
(Posted on Mar 2, 2015 at 12:56PM ) Tags:
Pubs—there certainly seemed to be a LOT of them about in the UK in '89 when Bob first visited the place. At a March '91 wedding, the topic of their number came up in conversation. The lads were standing around for a few hours in The Kings Head in Shepperton, to "take the edge off" before that much more serious church ceremony stuff began on a Saturday afternoon.

Pubs and churches went hand in hand, and were often physically side-by-side—as close
as possible to marrying the two, short of actually serving alcohol during the ceremony.

Now that would be awesome.

This physical proximity to pubs wasn’t reserved solely for churches; pubs were everywhere
in this country.

“Some 74,000 or thereabouts per current measure,” Rowland had told me. “Factor in another
35,000 on-license locations between restaurants, private clubs, other residential, and the
off-licenses, and there is no shortage, my boy.”

You could be anywhere, doing anything, and if you fancied a pint, a short walk or drive in any
direction would lead to a place to wet your whistle.

Pubs are friendly places, where even complete strangers can have a deep and meaningful conversation on just about any topic. This classic Monty Python sketch originally aired in 1969 (when Bob was not yet even in kindergarten) ably demonstrates that.


Yo, that’s the way British humo(u)r rolled back then. The Two Ronnies take another run at things in the pub with their What’s My Line approach. 


And what cultural pub overview would be complete without a little “mixing it up” a la Hale and Pace.
 

In all fairness to the ladies, we must give them a say about the pub, drinking, and what their guys may be up to, especially when the girls may have other things in mind ... nudge nudge wink wink, know what I mean? Here’s the Loose Women crew having a natter on the matter, even though it takes them a few minutes to make their points.


Say no more! Remember ladies, even if you're not from Purley and haven't been around, menfolk are simple, and not mind readers. Best to always give them a heads up on things, especially as a relationship / marriage (d)evolves over time.

So, back to the numbers and related things about pubs. The count quoted above re watering holes matches up with this source here, but seems to be significantly different from this source here, and echoed here. Well, you can chalk that up to being the nature of statistics many a time—someone always has a different way to count stuff of note. Dig deeper on your own if you feel the burning desire to demystify that.

Anyway, bottom line, it’s always better when one need not stray far for a glass of liquid cheer. With all the pubs out there, it seems many names get used repeatedly per this piece. Regarding the specific pub on that particular wedding day, it is but one of 240 with that name. There may not be a lot of creativity at play.  The Red Lion takes top spot with 518 places electing to name their establishment with that. But there are still a few examples of imaginative names with the likes of The Pyrotechnists Arms, The Cat & Custard Pot, and The Legend of Oily Johnniesamong others, as this piece highlights.

The number of UK pubs has actually been in a slow and steady decline the last decades, as pointed out here and here, for a few reasons. Other options for drinking are present now with bars and clubs, consumption patterns are changing, and lots of supermarkets are selling too, so one can drink at home more easily than ever before. Historically, there’s a long and deeply ingrained culture at play, going back to a time when drinking water may not have been so clean, so beer was a better, safer opttion—one simply had to go where that was to stay hydrated. Some of the history and background can be dug up here and here

Despite the modern day decline, there are still plenty about today if you need to get your drink on.  If you’ve never been to a real authentic pub, how does one explain the differences between pub and bar cultures? Two pieces here and  here expand on that. The best way to sort it is experiencing it firsthand if you can. 

With this talk about pubs and drinking, is it all a bit too much, and is there a problem? Australian comedian Jim Jefferies may have the answer, with his focused and artful spin on drinking, and subtle comparison between the UK and US.


We won’t bother to dig further on comparisons with other pub cultures such as Ireland and Australia—let’s save that for another drink and time. However, Bob couldn't resist pulling up an Oirish gem (from some refreshment oasis, no doubt) that wisely tells folks not to worry about most matters in life. It adheres to the KISS principle. 


Whether or not hanging around the pub fits with your own personal socializing style and/or life-knowledge gathering modus operandi, as some single-guy, occasional wedding guest and part-time typist, Bob has gleaned the following kernel of wisdom, as this pub signboard below points out. More similarly insightful and informative pub signs can be seen here.



This be TRUTH and deffo, is stuff they ain’t teaching your sorry ass in skool [sic]—maybe sumpin' best mulled in situ in some "appropriate" spot with our culturally- and world-aware Aussie mate, Jim from above, and those of similar ilk.


If you're lucky, the opportunity to experience this may be there just as it was for Bob, traveling the world for weddings. Or just read about it all in his book.




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 Díaz Villamil introduced himself. Bolivian, he lived here in Santiago, and
was a friend of the Glüschitz 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. 
 


Here’s another take on it from our outgoing bubbly bartender cum mixmaster of the moment, courtesy of Tipsy Bartender. Note their tagline philosophy of "Shake it and keep it sexy!"


Note she uses lemons, and says 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 cocltail'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 globe-gallavanting guy, 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 BaconIt 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 & Uncutit 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, contriived 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.