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Subject: Wedding Chronicles Trade Paperback Now Available
(Posted on Jun 20, 2014 at 04:26PM ) Tags:
Wedding Chronicles is now available in 5.5" x 8.5" trade paperback format from Amazon internationally.

This is in addition to its original e-book formats (Kindle, Apple iBooks, B&N Nook, and Kobo)

See Get The Book for country specific website link details. 


Subject: Tenerife #18 - What's in your glass?
(Posted on Jun 10, 2014 at 10:02AM ) Tags:
Perplexed by that ages-old glass that is half-full versus half-empty conundrum? Decisions, decisions.


It always depends on how you wanna look at stuff, ain’t it? Optimsim and pessimism are just states of mind. Attitude is what counts. 


Just as Dudley Steele scolded Billy Brant and "Student" Grant Lipman pooside at the villa in Tenerife, the day after his bachelor bash dished him a raging hangover, always ask your friendly neighborhood barkeep to pour you another one. Unless your’re getting bad pours, that should usually fix it. 


And if/when the beer runs out, switch to something else.


Whether your thinking runs left, right, middle of the road, or upside down, it doesn't matter. There's always an answer for that too, even if you're a more cerebral science- and math-minded type. 


And as our good friend and drinking buddy, The Most Optimistic Man in the World, always has a pository spin on things, here are a couple of apropos vignettes in light of the World Cup kick-off in just a few days time and another matter of note sure to make a splash in our world at some point down the road. 



Remember, as Bobby Bo likes to always say as a rule in life:

Think Pository = Negatory Suppository

At the end of the day, forget all that pseudo-intellectual philosophical crap, and just shout ¡Uno mas! When the beer runs out, no whine, switch to wine, shots or whatever else may be lying around. It’s all perspective.

And when you tire of this talk of glasses in various states of relative fill, maybe "Think green" and go smoke some weed or sumpin’ for yet another different take.

Subject: Westport #94 - Whaddup with Whiskey vs. Whisky?
(Posted on Jun 4, 2014 at 03:34PM ) Tags:
So what is it all about when you see that word spelled both ways, with or without 'e' in there? Supposedly a logic to it all drives that, but it is not always adhered to it seems. Go figure. Kinda like with a lot of things in the world.

As mentioned in the book, it is dependent on where the drink comes from, but many times, in practice, folks just spell it the way they want, based on what part of the world they are from. This includes writers and copy editors alike. 

First, here’s the Wikpedia skinny of what a whisky / whiskey is, to begin with. As for 'correct' spelling, there seems to have been a rethink on this the last few years though. This fine piece on The Kitchn goes into good detail on the whole matter, and settles on the following rule (going by country of origin, and what is on the bottle label):

- E in country name (e.g., United States / America and Ireland), then spell it whiskey, and the plural as whiskeys.
- No e in country name (e.g., Canada, Scotland, Japan, Australia, Finland, and India), then spell it whisky, and the plural as whiskies.

Note how the dueling plural forms of the word  can further bamboozle folks. Overall though, I  dig this simple rule and it makes complete sense by what it says on the bottle.

But then, Germany, England, and Wales had to come along and $%@* that up and spell it whisky nonetheless with their own products. So much for what makes sense in the world.


When using the term generically, go ahead and write it anyway you want, depending on where you are in the world, and your audience, as long as you are consistent. The venerable NY Times Dining column used to try and do that per here through late 2008, but then seems to have capitulated to the newer thinking here in early 2009. Hey, shit happens. Deal with it and move on is the motto to follow. 

These older chaps below, earlier on, went and messed the spelling up with their rendition of the word as whuskey in song.

Red Ingle and the Natural Seven singing "Cigareetes, Whuskey, and Wild, Wild, Women"  (1948)
The Muppet Show (special guest Peter Sellers), season 2, episode 18, original airing Feb. 25, 1978

Words of wisdom for the ages, unless you want to nail the trifecta, pardon the pun. There are many versions of this song, but the two here were mentioned in the book, in my conversation with Pops di Tomaso and his favorite rendition. There was no debate either back then about whether it was whuskey or whusky. That was for wussies, no doubt.

As for any other countries making the spirit that may or may not adhere to that rule, you can check that out, one by one, on Malt Madness if you have mucho mas time on your hands, and looking for something new to sip on. 

A place like Thailand and its whiskies adhere to the spelling rule, but those tipples are not actually officially deemed a whisky to begin with, per this 2011 Intoxicated Abroad posting and the Wiki definition above. BNB very much digs our main man Matt’s slogan, “Life’s too short to be sober at home.” It’s way better to be some single guy abroad, be it at weddings, or on other (mis)adventures cum vacations.

Like many things in life, best not to think about stuff too much, and just go friggin’ do it. And then, I suppose as long as the bartender knows what to pour, then you are golden. I end this post with a nifty little infographic on whisk(e)y to mull while sippin’ sumpin’ smoooooove.
 

Cheers, and bottoms up, Bobbolin(o/a)!

Subject: Iceland #71 - Pondering Phallological Pursuits
(Posted on May 22, 2014 at 08:47AM ) Tags:
So you’re in Iceland for a wedding, and there’s definitely lots to see and do in country, with not nearly enough time to take it all in, especially if you’re a fan of the great outdoors, natural wonders, flora, and fauna. There are many unique elements to experience, but something cultural to put at the top of everyone's "to do" list here is to check out the Icelandic Phallological Museum.


Yep, you got it.  The place looks like some lair where Lorena Bobbitt would ditch, preserve, and exhibit her treasure trove post Bobbitization spree(s). It’s a spot that would no doubt  give her ex, John Wayne Bobbitt, the creeps, after what he went through at her angry hand (and knife) back on June 23, 1993, a day the lads need to remember. Here's the overview on all that. 

Given our Ecuadorian gal’s inspiration and capably demonstrated experience, she might well qualify as a capable curator in Iceland, although she may prefer the field work angle.

Founded in 1997 by Sigurður Hjartarson, it was originally located in Reykjavik, and then moved to much more remote Húsavík in 2004, but relocated more conveniently back to downtown Reykjavik the last couple years. The museum houses a wide array of that memorable member of mammalian malehood (and related bits and bobs), from the massive, to the medium, and on down to the microscopic. I’d show you the hamster one, but some say it needs a magnifying glass at just 2 mm (or 0.0787402 inches) in length.


For the longest time since opening, the museum was missing one all-important exhibit—that which came straight from mandom. But, happily for all, and complete satisfaction, this glaring omission was resolved and here’s the skinny on it in this insightful trailer for The Final Member.


It doesn’t end there folks, cuz, like, there’s always something bigger and better just around the corner, as all the ladies know. There will one day be forthcoming an even greater donation from the mass of mandom out there, and from Manhattan, no less. So much for everything being bigger in Texas. This recent HuffPo piece speaks to Jonah Falcon’s pledge to give to the cause one day down the road, when he passes on. It will be a good replacement for the current donation there as the piece explains.

At the end of the day, the museum is definitely NOT a typical place on most folks’ tourism itineraries, even if you are some well-traveled single guy hitting weddings all over the world. As they like to say there, “It’s all about dicks.” 


ICELAND, an awesome place that’s on the map for many kool reasons, and getting all studious on things phallological is just one of them. When done there, some of the ladies may get all thirsty for a refreshment.


Photo of enthusiasitc founder Sigurður Hjartarson outside the old Húsavík museum location
 
Pulling no punches deep inside the trenches of global wedding tourism adventures as some single guy.


Subject: Barcelona #62 - Cookin' Cucu in Cugat
(Posted on May 17, 2014 at 02:57PM ) Tags:
So, you find yourself on your way to some outdoor wedding ceremony in Sant Cugat del Vallès outside Barcelona, sitting on a bus (or motor coach if you wanna be fancy pants about it) with other guests. You’re killing some time in your mind, and wondering about the origins of the place, its name, and what was up with all that trying to get rid of some cat called St. Cucuphas way back in the daze of antiquity. The place ended up being named after him (initially, it was Castrum Octavianum) because of what happened next. 

Well, it seems the Roman prefect at the time was going a tad creative with trying to get rid of our man. Judging by the following 3-step process, you’d think like maybe, somebody was going to consume our cat Cucu once he was deemed "ready."

1) Tenderize - Get a dozen soldiers to soften him up by whipping him, and then tear up his skin with nails and scorpions. Inspired
2) Marinate - cover him with vinegar and pepper. Creative kitchen
3) Cook – Roast him alive. Wuz it low 'n slo'? I dunno.
 
But something miraculous seemed to happen, and our man Cucu escapes death and injury per the tale. Hmmm, the prefect has a rethink on things, deciding to have a really BIG bonfire made and burn him up. Ooopsy, next thing you know, something backfires, and his executioners all die in the flames, but Cucu's okay. Righto.

The prefect has him thrown back in his cell, and then softened up some more with iron whips this time around. Presto majesto, said prefect mysteriously went up in flames in his carriage by divine intervention or sumpin' like that. Lesson learned, and his replacement decides to keep things really basic and has our man finally done in the old fashioned way by having his throat slit. See, keeping it straightforward and not trying to get fancy worked just fine in the end.

                                 Painting: The Martyrdom of St. Cucuphas, (Public Domain); Ayne Bru (1504-07 estimated)

And that’s the way it supposedly went down for our man Cucuphas back in AD 304 during the Diocletianic Persecution.

Now, as a take away point, you generally don’t see girlfolk messing around with making things complicated for no good reason. Case in point was these two women deciding to take out a “player” back in March 1881. In this fine recounting, our man Francisco "Chico" Forster, 40, was sleeping around  under the guise of marriage promises when he got his sorry ass caught out in L.A. Here's some more detail on all that.

Our slighted gal, 18 at the time (guess FCF was goin' younger), just popped him straight through the eye with a pistol shot. Ba-Blam! No messing around entertaining more sophisticated torture approaches a la Roman prefect earlier in history per above. 

           Image: Twoons.com | 2009


Then, as a huge bonus, and no doubt benefiting from a crack legal team, our girl Lastania Abarta gets off employing a defense of “female hysteria.

         Artwork: KarynIronSides on Deviant Art

Go figure. Alas, the ladies can no longer plop that ploy away for potential recycling down the road when there is a need to get rid of your man, whether he be cheatin’, or not. Said medical condition was taken off the books as this informative video points out.


All I can say, as some simpleton single chappie out there attending weddings all over the place, is a man gots to stay on his toes. Sometime, reaching deep for knowledge is needed to remedy what ails, just like our man Dr. Swift here below, and the tale of his special treatment for female hysteria. 
 
                                                                   Vintage Ad: Dr. Swift's "Healing" Massage


 
Super Entertaining Read

Bob's adventures in the world of weddings are close to home - for anyone who either is married, been married or contemplating marriage! Beautifully described, with background music to boot, Bob's sometimes offbeat stories, keen wit and fine observations kept me engaged, laughing and sometimes even squirming as I recognized my own experiences in his tellings.

I read the book over a period of time - the stories are individually entertaining and you don't lose the thread as the characters and stories develop. Highly recommended, an easy and entertaining read.

Rating: 5 / 5 *

Original Posting: Neville Chamberlain | May 12, 2014 | Source Link: Amazon.CA


So what was that drink that took out Dr. LoveSexy the night before the wedding in Jordan, and gave him a big hangover the next day?

Arak is a well-known, anise-flavored spirit distilled from grapes that is consumed all over the Middle East. It is usually accompanied with food, just as it was with the fine open-air mezze dinner on the shores of the Dead Sea. The drink does a great job of clearing the palate, even better than wine.


A lot more on how it is made can be found here in this Wiki piece. This Economist article from 2003 goes on about the history of the drink, the Arab invention of distillation, and other drinks related to Levantine arak like pastis, ouzo, sambuca, raki, mastika, and absinthe, and others. Note the arak in the Middle East, should not be confused with the drink of similar name arrack (and sometimes even the same spelling) in South East Asia that is NOT related at all, has no anise in it, and is coconut, sugarcane, or grain derived.

The process by which this clear spirit turns cloudy white when it is mixed with water is called louching. Basically, the anise oil which is colorless in the alcohol, emulsifies when the water is added, and presto, the drink transforms to its milky color as this short video shows.


Arak is usually served in a shorter glass with some ice already  in it, and mixed with water thereafter, in a 1:2 ratio.


Maybe it wasn’t just the arak that knocked things out of the box for Dr. LoveSexy, but perhaps the combination of beer, sucking on the hookah / shisha pipe, and any other alcohol that, collectively in combination, may have been the culprit for his hangover the next day and putting him in need of some serious greasy food as a cure. In any event, right or wrong, as a scapegoat perhaps, I claimed that "Haddad haddid him in."

The brand being consumed by all that night was Haddad, a local Jordanian brand made by Eagle Distilleries Co. that was established in 1953, and one of the first companies in the country (number three actually) licensed to manufacture alcohol.


When you’re some single guy hitting weddings all over the world, it pays to be open, flexible and chillaxed about the food and drink going down around you. It’s all part of the fun and experience of different cultures and traditions.

In any event, no matter where you are, or what you are drinking, it’s all about the "Cheers!" or fe sahetek / fi sahitak in Arabic [say Figh sa hee' tik], or literally "to your health." This handy table lists the greeting in 60 languages.


Some things in life, you don’t need to necessarily experience to know enough to stay away from altogether, like, erhm, say sumpin’ like  anal electrocution.

                                     Illustration Credit: Bobbissimo

Or when someone who has been there already with some life experience,  usually suffering for it, and offers up some deep and heartfelt advice. One needs to remember that stuff for future reference. You just know from the way they said it, that they have lived it, and it’s sooooo true. Those kernels of wisdom doled out from time to time most certainly apply to marriage. Stay alert and focused to pick up on these gems when they come across your radar.

Way back when, when I was a teen, I got some of that type of insight from Lulu as recounted in the book, when I asked him what it was like to be married 42 years. Tough to follow and fathom when you’ve just turned 18 at the time, and he’s 63.  His reply was short (at only six words total, and two words were each used twice to boot, for added effect). I still ain’t no closer to getting married after all these years, but know that Lulu’s words ring really true. He had it going on, when it came to life lessons like that.

Here are a few more tips for all the married fellas out there, on how to navigate those perilous waters with longterm success. Learn from your other shackled comrades in arms and their past faux pas and serious speed bumps they have experienced along the way. We guys can all learn!

This guy knows what he’s doing for sure in this sweet little clip, and it all sounds so much better and credible with a posh British accent.


Then there's the scoop on all the poop when a guy is thrown into the proverbial doghouse by da Boss in his life for having a crack moment or brief lack of focus with disastrous consequences.


Tim Hawkins has a fine singing version chocka blocka of good advice for all the married fellas out there.



There are always those simple but highly effective tips humanity can borrow from the animal kingdom. This one is a classic around out there on the Web for several years now in various locations, but it still presses home the message effectively. 

SINGLE


MARRIAGE


DIVORCE


MARITAL BLISS
                              Source: Serkan on MemeCenter.com

So, at the end of the day, why would any (soon-to-be) married guy listen to all this marriage knowledge / experience coming from some still-single guy who has spent a lot of his time, effort and $$$ going to weddings all around the world?  Well, as the ever-astute  Dr. LoveSexy once said, "Yo, I ain't had no safe fall on my head yet either, but I know it would hurt."

You can bank on that for sure.
 
Subject: Montreal #12 - Hockey, Politics + Language
(Posted on May 7, 2014 at 04:11PM ) Tags:
Two things that haven't changed with my hometown since childhood, have been the city’s devoted following of les Habs / Canadiens (especially now that they're in the second round of the playoffs battling it out with the Beantown Bruins, another place I know well) and provincial level politics with its discussion / debate around Quebec's (potential) separation from the rest of Canuckistan. 

It was the case when I was a kid, and again at the time of the opening wedding of the novel back in 1987, and just as true today decades later. The talk of an independent Quebec may be quiet now for a couple years given the election outcome a month ago today, but it will be back again no doubt one day. It just sort of seems to take a break every now and again, to regroup and rear its head once more. But both topics can always be a good excuse for a sprited discussion at a wedding, or any other event for that matter

I might be out of Quebec a long time now, and cross-polinated (or polluted, if you prefer), by many other countries and cultures, but on the plus side, I can still get a fix of maple syrup, poutine, and a smoked meat sandwich as needed, but not necessarily all at the same time though (which you really won’t be getting at any wedding), and I certainly don’t miss winters out East in Montreal anymore either.

Then there’s one of my local flavor favorites on the humor side that has emerged in Têtes à claques (TaC), which has been around now since August 2006. It was all originally in French (still the best version by far if you can understand the language), but there are quite a few sketches that have been translated into English and Spanish too. However, for full effect,  one can’t beat the original ones for their authentic local Québecois accent, which bemuses many folks in France and other countries in the French-speaking world.

Here’s one TaC sketch in French with English subtitles, so those that don't speak the language can pick up on the local Quebec French accent and still follow along otherwise.



This cat Obsesik does a good job on breaking down the difference between how French speakers in Quebec and France sound like when speaking English.
 

And this gal Julie Supastar doles out a good basic primer on how to speak some of the more important local French words in Quebec, handy for any tourist or  Bruins visit  to Montreal and La Belle Province, be it for a wedding, hockey game, or otherwise. Just generally useful everyday French 101 stuff going on here. 


And as regards the outcome of the current Montreal – Boston NHL series, kinda just like with the fate of marriage longterm, as they say in Spanish, “vamos a ver lo que pasa,” or we’ll see what happens. I ain't got no crystal ball or nothing, since i'm just some single bozo bumpkin attending weddings all over the place. C'est beau, c'est bon. 

Subject: London #15 - Thirteen (13)
(Posted on Apr 28, 2014 at 11:40AM ) Tags:
Is thirteen an unlucky number? I guess it depends who you ask, and where in the world you are. This Wikipedia entry covers it off well from both sides of the coin, but it sure looks like this number remains largely viewed as being more unlucky rather than lucky.

This Straight Dope piece from 1992 delves into the matter a little more, pretty much solidifying the take that 13 is really not gonna be your friend most of the time.

In the interest of fairness to the overall debate, and covering both sides, here’s a little more on why some state 13 can be your friend and not a foe. Some think the symbolic presence of 3 in there from a numerology perspective makes it all good and positive. Plus the preceding 1 is good too on its own, and putting them together means there is some greatness in union, and it's a prime number to boot. Here's some more on this thread posting on the postive aspects of 13 worth mulling as well. 



Apart from the background above, it boiled down to just one of those little things I noticed, while sitting in a church for a wedding, and looking around a bit to kill some time, and then spot the church organ pipes as below.


Yo, what was up with that? Who would build 13 pipes on an organ ? Maybe for Sunday services, it may fly and not matter, but I’m sure a few getting-married folks may well notice that, and perhaps be a little spooked by it.

This wedding happened way back in 1991, but I was recently curious to find out who built this puppy. Turns out it was put in back in 1908 by Bishop and Son in the UK, which has a history dating to 1795. I will ask them why thirteen pipes on this sucker they apparently built and see if they come back with an answer. Maybe it was all just  pure coink-e-dink, or limited by budgetary reasons on the part of the church at the time, like they only had enough do$h cum dinero for the 13-pipe version, and not a pipe more, or sumpin' like that. 

Additional church pictures of St. Nicholas in Shepperton (interior and exterior) can be found here. The stained glass windows looked nice enough, and the appreciation thereof at the time certainly may have had a helping hand by all the pints the lads consumed before the ceremony.

More pictures of the wedding  day’s venues at the pub, church, reception, and in and around the Greater London area can be found on this Pinterest Board.

Last but not least, this couple got divorced in 2008. They lasted a long time, at 17 years (beyond our unlucky 13 subject ), but not “forever” and whatever that is supposed to mean in this day and age where our average life expectancy has pretty much doubled from the point when these vows were created iand put into practice in the first place.

It would be neat to try and get some church statistics over the years to see how many couples married in this church got divorced over time, as compared to the norm locally or in the UK in general, and see if the numbers reveal something significant regarding 13 pipes on the organ being a factor (or not) in long-term marriage success. One could then use that as a bellwether for 13 being lucky or unlucky, in that limited sense only.