Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog it's too dark to read.
                                                                                               -Groucho Marx

The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein

SPOILER ALERT! Be forewarned: I reveal details of this book, such as the ending. Don't be mad at me if you continue and then decide you want to read it in a fresh manner. Also, I am not a book reviewer, I am just posing as  one.

A Facebook friend recommended this novel and she spoke so highly of it that I rushed out to get it.

 With a dog on the cover, I figured that the book would involve one. I am smart like that. Well, I am not so much a dog-lover as a cat-lover who loves her dog. Okay, I am an animal lover; I even love armadillos. I have never even seen one but I heard a story about one as a pet on This American Life, and I loved that one.

The story goes like this: The dog, Enzo, the narrator of the story, is an elderly dog and Buddhist in nature. He is ready to go on to the great beyond and be reincarnated back to mortality as a person. But before he moves on, he has his life story to flashback upon and review. He is also a huge NASCAR fan, but lacks the "redneck" aura. Sorry y'all...

We find out his owner is a young blue-collar, aspiring race car driver named Denny Swift. Working as a mechanic, he has one foot in the racing circuit getting jobs as second-third position drivers on smaller races. Nothing in life comes easy for  Denny. However, he manages to fall in love with Eve, a beautiful but stubborn women with very wealthy and pretentious parents. They marry, buy a house, have a daughter named Zoe and life goes on. But not so fast. Enzo knows long before anyone else that Eve has brain cancer; he smells the decay. Clues draw that something is not right.  She has on-going migraines and seizures. Yet, she still does not seek medical attention.

Enzo tells of the trials and tribulations of life intertwined with racing references and metaphors. He and Denny watch TV, mainly NASCAR car races, but they are also fond of old movies.  Denny flicks on the TV for Enzo to enjoy when he leaves for the garage. As trite as the car -racing messages and life lessons are they certainly ring true: your car will go where your eyes go, never give up, even if you're down laps. I will admit that after awhile I skipped through some of the race car jargon.

The drama unfolds after Eve dies and the manipulative in-laws sue Denny for custody. Through Enzo's eyes, we see Denny's perseverance and loyalty shine through during his climb out of the arduous and painful hole that his life has dumped him. Just just like a race driver, he races on. He reads the road, he has a vision, and with Enzo's companionship and wisdom he earns redemption. Yes, Enzo is wise enough to urinate on the papers Denny is about to sign, giving up on the custody battle and admitting to something he didn't do.  He was simply feeling defeated and out of funds and he was giving up. Enzo knew better. Remember never give up, never give in. Keep racing.

Like any dog book, the dog dies in the end.  Enzo finally succumbs to old age. It was very peaceful and the author does a good job not making it overly sentimental.  After all he is going into a human's body, he believes. It is sad, but not sudden and I even teared up just because I am a softy. I even cried when the above mentioned armadillo died, but I digress.

I loved this book. I expected a light-hearted read and that's what it was. I cannot not love a loving animal book. It was smoothly written. The fairy-tail ending didn't hurt either...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy Monday and proper use of the F-word.

Hope this post finds everyone up and at 'em. Not me. This cold has me down. Maybe these funnies will help, they helped me.
From Donna... she titled them "When it's okay to say the F-word", which for me that's anytime except work, school and church( I know, haven't been for years, but I am talking hypothetically), and even then there's exceptions. I can think of lots of them, but that would be a whole new post. However, if you over use it, or use it inappropriately, you'll end up sounding stupid, and or trashy. That and it loses it's power. And it can be very powerful. Remember, gratuitous use, no good.  That's what I told my kids anyway. I suppose any of these situations would merit the "f- bomb".


Hope your day is better than these. And say the f-word when you think it's okay, I do, okay. Carol

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Last days of March

Before last week's bright moments get away from me, we watched Survivor on Wednesday. The night it's aired. This was due to the scheduling of the NCAA basketball March madness which seems has been going on FOREVER. Well congrats to Charlotte and other KY fans over their win to the final four. Otherwise I could care less.


I was so glad when they voted Stephanie off. She was one worrisome bitch. Phil caught Boston Rob and the cute guy looking at a clue after they absconded after finding it hidden in the immunity award. This may be Rob's downfall. Go Phil.

Other News

Sharon was called by hospice to get down to Kentucky ASAP for her mom, so we are all hoping for the best for her. One must do what one must do. Safe travels friend.
Otherwise John and Cyn had their annual March Birthdays' Birthday Party Saturday.
 Here's how it all went down:

 Kwapy got the gift/card handing out going with a little stand-up comedy.

 Greg and I splurged on this hat for John. He really liked it. Or he said he did. Plus he wore it all night.

  Pretty princess Stephanie got a kindle from Craig. Say that three times fast.

 All the birthday folks got teeth. Bad rubber ones. Stephanie's were hidden in the bag. That was her excuse.

 Lee left with the home-made porta-potty from John.

 Noel and Denise are empty-nesters now. They were there having fun.

 Scene from the bar.

Steph found her teeth!

Thanks for the good night Russel's!

Was a quiet lazy-sort of Sunday. Trying to get over this cold.

Here's some visual treats (all photos by others.)

These are from Ron, from wire artists, Bent Objects:
Dog training.

 Bananas  spooning.

This is my fave.

Marshmallow pirates.

Peanut zombies eat brains.

From my guitar teacher, Mo filed under, "There I fixed it."
 This would be a practical quick-fix.

Hot plate?

I think I did this once in a rental car.

These are from high-school friend Penny, titled, "Things you don't see much."

I wonder how he got down?

Nice asction.

 Uncle Harry.
Love this.

Hope all is well on your home front. Keep it real. C.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Somewhere over the Rainbow

way up high...I've heard that song over and over the last few days. I really don't mind it. (ask me in a few weeks if I am tired of it). G2 bought Mags a Yamaha keyboard and she's got right after it in Maggie-style. She already is a very good beginner.

It's been so long that I can't remember all that I was going to talk about so I'll get to the important stuff.

 St. Pat's Day was fun and it fell on a Survivor Thursday. So because we never miss a chance to celebrate, we had a great time.

 Watching Survivor and eating, two of our favorite pastimes.

 Don't believe him, he's not Irish, just wants the kiss.
Really what it is, is that he will be humiliated for food. Sorry, I won't do it again.

John sang and played a wee bit o' the Irish music.
G2 cooked some great corned beef and cabbage. Yum.

Survivor is just frustrating, the team with Boston Rob just follows him around like puppies. They do whatever he says. The blonde side-kick of Russel was voted off to Redemption Island.

Friday we watched Godsford Park at Joe and Sharon's and although it was a complicated ensemble cast movie, I enjoyed it. It was Robert Altman's last movie he directed before he died. A real who-done-it, set in the English country-side in the forties maybe. So watch it, but just not when you're really tired. We had some excellent pizza and some brew beer and you couldn't beat the company!

Saturday I went snowmobiling with G2 and the guys up on Cottonwood Pass to Napoleon Pass and back through Tin Cup. It was weird weather in that it was warm, 40 degrees or so, but very overcast. The snow was warm and lent itself to sinking and if I didn't motor on through, it was a bit of work to stay buoyant. Next time I pray for warm weather I must pinpoint the temperature better. It was too warm. Got some outdoors with some old pals and that's always fun.

Neil on the radio

 Trouble in paradise for Dean.

Neil and Greg trying to free Neil's sled. Neil was trying to lay me a track.

"I'm willing to share my Busch." Yeah, I said that about two years ago ATVing. 
They'll never let me forget it.

Chuck, the Preacher and I took a break.

Jack got so dirty at the dog park this week I had to bathe him twice. I am going to walk him in the park more often. I think I get more exercise that way.

This is literally a five minute walk from my house, I am so lucky. But I am so old looking. Where's my youth, oh yeah, gone. Fifty is not nifty...  it rhymes with nifty. Gotta find the fountain of youth. Like Ponce de Leon. Ponce, Jack, nifty and I. I guess he never found it. I won't either, I suspect.

Jack loves the dog park with all his buddies and dog wrestling possibilities.

Things are looking up for Japan. I don't know what I am more sick of: Charlie Sheen, Libya or the non-stop speculation about the nuclear plant's status in Japan. Jeez they even had reporters in Chernobyl on the Today Show. I get the correlation, but is that necessary NBC? I don't think so. The wasted gas and money on that kinda sensationalism astounds me. Scaring the public. But it won't stop. Corporate competitive media. Remember there's kids somewhere in the US hungry and living in squalor. How do we get them the cash that was spent on that useless trip. How do we get the jet fuel back, we don't. I know they have to report on it. I guess I should shut off the damn glowing box anyway.

Well that's all I got for you. Be good and good at it. Carol