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Slickster-2012
From this point onward, any ranting, raving and misbehaving will be found at: http://mikeslickster.wordpress.com

Kindly visit my new digs and subscribe to my future ramblings, which will be found there forevermore.

Thanks for you continued support.

Cheers,

Mike Slickster
Slickster-2012


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What happened? Where did everyone go? Was it something I said, conveyed while being improperly misconstrued during my leave of absence? Having a tendency of sticking me foot in my mouth on occasion, speaking, tweeting or Face-booking impulsively, leads me to thanking my lucky stars quite often for the delete feature in social-media platforms. I've caught myself many times sending out something extremely lame on the Net-ways: an arrogant thought or errant, egotistical emotion; and my irrational reaction to something mundane or picayune. Not meaning to hurt someone, I suppose an Internet friend might feel slighted if my slanted communication was caught before I removed it from sight upon realizing what an utter arsehole I had been. My open apologies to anyone for any offenses taken.

Imagine if we could utilize a delete button in real life. Would any of us be left on earth? "You sure you want to delete your mother-in-law?" would pop up probably often; or read, "Do you really want to send your boss to the recycling bin?" Think of the implications to this. Someone cuts you off in traffic: ploink, delete and off to the abyss. A bill collector at your door: not a problem, plunk, delete and off to the recycling bin with him, or [shift] and delete to remove the bloke permanently; but you know they'll just send another one knocking. Your neighbor downstairs keeps pushing that fooking whistling, keyless-entry button for his car: ping, delete, and send the auto off to oblivion. No fuss, no muss, just press "delete" and watch your troubles disappear into life's null-and-void. The Tower of London wouldn't have had anything over this metaphorical holding tank, where one can stay indefinitely as if in Limbo, restored maybe back to its original spot after an extended stay; or expunged forever, sent back to the universal hard drive to be transformed into another assortment of bytes and purposes. We'd all be in big trouble is this were the case.

Further observations regarding issues brought up in previous tirades:

    A. Manufacturers of items in the supermarket are attempting to pull the wool over our eyes by tricking us with lessening the value of their products while still maintaining the present price or higher.

      1. Hating to wash the dishes—even in the dishwasher—I buy paper plates by the bundle and throw them out when finished eating. You don't have to tell me this isn't a very green thing to do, how many trees are cut down because of my laziness; but at least they're not Styrofoam. This week the usual brand offered ninety-four plates as opposed to the prior-packaged one hundred pieces. Those six plates per pack, saved over the span of a production run, will reap for the company a considerable amount of cash over time, while the normal consumer won't even notice the difference.

      2. I've always used just two slices of bread for my sandwiches and toasted two slices at a clip for breakfast, which never allowed an odd slice at the end of the loaf. Lately, I've been left with just one, usually the heel, which makes me wonder if the loafs are being made smaller. Just now making a note that the loaf weighs one pound, eight ounces, I'll have to keep an eye on the bakers.

      3. Packages of my favorite brand of bacon have been modified by the manufacturer with their omission of a slice for the past two times bought. Having always fried four slices for breakfast, I ended up usually right on the money with none left in the package after the final serving of four. Now I've been finding just three slices are last. Again making note of the pack's weighing twelve ounces, I'll be keeping an eye on the butchers too. Do I have to watch out for the candlestick makers' cutting back on their products but charging the same price too? What's next after that, ten eggs in a carton while paying for a twelve? I suppose you could call that a banker's dozen instead.


    B. Top two overused words and one phrase in the present-day English language that drive me battier than I am already:

      1: Awesome - delete it from the blasted vocabulary and use another adjective to express overwhelming brilliance and audacity.
      2: Amazing - see number one.
      3: Check out - especially when used by authors, who as writers are supposed to be craftsmen (or craftswomen) of words. Please figure out another phrase for peddling whatever you're selling. This goes for whomever else is guilty of this verbal over-abuse.

    C. Here's just a quickie about finding out the expiration dates on items left on the shelves of merchants don't always outlive the need for the product; so buyers beware. My current experience was with Ibuprofen, of which I don't have to take too often; but today I threw my back out, slipping in the snow on my terrace while taking pictures of the white stuff, reaching for the bottle and finding my current batch had expired eight months ago. I took two anyway and my back feels better already.

The holidays are upon us again. I hope yours are happy and filled with friends, family and good cheer. Happy ranting, reeling, raving and misbehaving.

Life Goes On

Slickster-2012


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There's always a way out, unless incarcerated by the law or lawless, detained at Her Majesty's pleasure, kidnapped and held by some unscrupulous miscreant with intent of doing unspeakable things to one's person; besieged by a fire, trapped in a building collapse, handcuffed to the bed by a scorned lover, pinned in a car wreck, engulfed by an earthquake, submerged in a flood or typhoon, perhaps lucky to be standing on the roof until the water recedes. Otherwise. there's the front or rear door from whence you entered. Walk back the way you came. Don't forget to take your hat and watch the door don't smack you in the ass.

My laptop finally died, leaving me with using inferior machines long retired and sent to the storage closet amongst all the other fossils of the personal-computing age. With the stuff found inside, I can open a PC museum, featuring old critters like the Radio Shack TRS 80, 64-K color computer; various semi-smartphones, predating the present Android and iPhone models—some looked similar to the Blackberry—an Apple IIe desktop, a 33-Mhz Intel processor with a whopping 1-gigabyte hard drive. How about laptops running Windows 95, XP, and Vista respectively? The latter was the one that died, leaving me with XP to manage my work temporarily, but not with enough oomph to power all my devices.

I fired up the one using 95 for the hell of it, a marvel in its day, but a dinosaur in 2013; for which I've just bought, extremely impulsively, a brand-new notebook with a 2.5-Ghz, Intel-Core i5 microprocessor with an 8-GB ROM; and an 800-GB hard drive, combined with an external drive, boosting the total memory to over 1 TB.

Impressed with the initial findings with regards to computer specifications verses cost, I figured this device had enough balls to drive my resource-eating programs and not crash repeatedly like the prior one did before meeting its demise. Amazon.com had the best price anywhere. After my ordering it, they sent it out that night. This mysterious-looking drone delivered it a day and a half later, placing it onto the roof of my flat. Fortunately I saw it landing up there while I took out the trash.

In the early twenty-first century, CD-ROM drives replaced floppy discs completely, remember them? My 33- 75-, 133-Mhz 'puters, and the 95 laptop all had floppy-disc drives. So did the TRS 80 and Apple IIe, but they used the 5.25 floppies as opposed to the 3.5s like the Window's machines. All my present graphic and video software, utility programs and such have their installation files on CD-ROMS, which is great until finding out the new notebook came equipped without one. No serial VGA receptacle either was available, into which my secondary monitor needs to be plugged to operate. Here I sat with a fast computer with no software to run, sort of like being all dressed up with nowhere to go. I suppose the wave of the future knocked out the CDROM drive as well. Next time around I'll have to remember to put in a little more research as to what I'm impulsively buying.

There's always a way out, thank goodness, although a bit labor-intensive. I copied all my software discs onto a USB flash drive to install all the miscellaneous programs onto the new laptop. When USB ports become obsolete, as seems to have happened already with the tablets now manufactured, I'll have to figure out a way to compensate for that scenario. As far as the secondary monitor, I found an adapter that fits the VGA plug from the screen and converts it to an HDMI plug, which fits nicely into a port provided in the notebook for new-style monitoring, thus setting up the machine perfectly, except for having Windows 8 loaded on it.

Why do they have to always change stuff that worked perfectly well ahead of rolling out a new OS version? Simple things like logging off and shutting down the system were hidden in a well isolated spot, deep within the bowels of the settings menu. Buying Malwarebytes for protection and running a scan, I found thirty-one instances of "PUP" viruses and three "Trojans" lurking about, making me wonder if they were preloaded with the manufacturer's software. Wanting to perform the scan again and remove the malicious bugs while in safe mode, I went nuts attempting to find out how to get there. No more mashing "F8" at start-up. It's like Microsoft doesn't want you in safe mode anymore; but due to the brilliance of the Net, I Googled the method finally and purged the nasty varmints out. Never did I have so much trouble with setting up a new computer before. Progress should make things easier, not the reversal.

Lastly, I must apologize for neglecting my social-media compatriots during all of this fiasco, having been away from Twitter and Facebook for a few weeks, overlooking my contributions in this journal as well, a writer's misdemeanor. However, I've finished my third novel during the dry spell; and now with a new computer, I'm ready to rock and roll again. Thanks, as always, for your continued support.

Mother's Little Helper

Summer, 2012


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As an update to the last tirade, my neighbor seems to have settled down considerably with regards to his whistling key-less-entry device for his car. I seldom hear it anymore, which is a delightful change for the better. Perhaps he stumbled upon my journal and said, "Hey, that sounds like me," after having read the prior entry here and is making a concerted effort now to cease and desist his compulsive, annoying ways. Right, keep dreaming, Mike; and your next lottery ticket is going to hit the big one, for which I hope tonight's drawing at 23:00 EST will be my ticket to paradise. A friend wished me good luck when I was attempting to salvage a deleted dynamic-link-library file on my computer after many tries; and eureka, I fixed the problem, asking her afterward to wish me good luck on winning the lottery. She did and we'll see later how that worked out.

My laptop is going on seven years old and has been crashing a lot lately, especially when I watch videos on YouTube or other venues. The driver for the graphics card is up-to-date. Adobe Flash is the latest version as well as my browser. I need more memory, perhaps: a surefire sign of old age, which leads me to thinking about replacing it with something that contains more RAM, ROM, a faster processor and a hefty hard drive with scads of storage space. "Hello, Bestbuy? Yes, I'd like to buy the Pentium 2000 laptop with a 100-ghz processor, a one-terabyte RAM and a 50-pebibyte hard drive, expandable to one exbibyte, complete with surround sound and 22"-diagonal 3-D screen." After holding on for a bit, they told me it needed an upright defrost-free refrigerator for cooing off the processor, which would be an additional $400.00 to the already low price of $2,500. "Never mind," I said. "I think I'll just buy a Dell."

With the way computer technology is advancing, such a device as mentioned is likely to be seen in a relatively short period of time, I bet. In the meanwhile, I might as well bite the bullet and buy a good one, as I rely so heavily upon it for my photography and writing, and should consider it as an investment in my future. The screen on the present 'puter is beginning to fail with a vertical slew of multicolored lines that look like tiny rainbows, stretching across the entire viewing plane. A couple of keystrokes don't work from my spilling wine in between the keys. I have an auxiliary keyboard attached for typing my dissertations, and another screen is attached in tandem to the laptop for precision graphical work. It's a shame how these things either wear out or become outdated, needing replacement in short periods of time, every-so-many years in a row.

Thank goodness our bodies don't wear out as quickly as electronics, although a time comes in everyone's lives when such uncertainty hits them like slamming full speed into a brick wall at the end of a one-way street. The lights go out and suddenly everyday forward, something different occurs to nag us thoroughly, whether it's a pain in the foot, our backs, an ache in a muscle, an accumulation of unwanted weight, sagging extremities; loss of vision, hair or hearing; wrinkles, laugh lines, tooth loss, hemorrhoids; and the list goes on. Memory becomes ultimately unreliable, for which too bad one couldn't just replace a circuit board in the head, like when memory needs expansion or replacement in a computer; or maybe even install a new motherboard when motor functions in our bodies begin to fail.

Forget a word, a face, a place to where you have been? No problem . . . , tuneup your CPU by replacing chips where needed, and plugging in a USB interface into one's ear slot, syncing with an exterior hard drive compiled for restoration of such important data, loaded onto the latter periodically throughout life as a safeguard against corrupted files in an aged database. Such a perpetual-functioning backup system could be the cure-all for neurological diseases like Alzheimer's, ALS and Parkinson's; however, with every benefit from such a pipe dream, the chance for wretched abuse by a maniacal monster hell-bent on programming captives for no good awaits in the shadows to strike unsuspecting victims.

Bionic technology has advanced to the point of being able to replace limbs and vital organs, but rewiring neurons with plugin harnesses from the electro-mechanical prostheses to the newly implanted circuit boards within one's head is where this process is in need of extensive development. As so aptly put by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, "What a drag it is getting old."

Today's Tirade: Nothing in General

Slickster-2012


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I've just read an article about the brain's needing sleep to purge neurotoxins manufactured during waking hours doing all the things it does to regulate and motivate the body. When a person sleeps, the brain shuts down in parts which open canals to flush out these impurities. Upon one's arising, the canals become buried in the gray matter now swelling with activity and stopping the flow of toxin removers. These waste products if not removed accumulate and attach to brain cells, destroying them slowly, which causes dementia-like diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Makes sense to me, just like in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, during Bike Week. The bars close for two hours daily for sanitary cleanup. Imagine drinking in a bar for more than twenty-two hours straight? I don't think it can be done without becoming totally inebriated. The bar needs to be cleaned out for two hours or else they'll lose their license, like the brain would lose it lease on life without sleep for very long, nor in regular portions.

The preceding really has nothing to do with my forthcoming diatribe, only for the fact venting and having a blessed tirade once in a while is necessary for a healthy psyche, especially mine, or else I become extremely cynical, which is most of the time anyway. Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It's been well over a month since my last tirade. For my penance I must bitch about something which leads into this rant and rave.

Things that get my goat:

    #1 My neighbor has a key-less-entry device for his car that whistles twice every time it's activated. He's a bit anal for checking to see if the doors are locked at least three times before entering his flat on the floor below me and slamming his apartment's door. Then as he walks to his car, he has to open it at least three times before getting in, sometimes talking on his fooking cell phone on the outside of his vehicle while pushing the key-less entry a few more times. All this frigging whistling is driving me nuts. I'll probably never mention it to him. He's a soldier stationed nearby and I wouldn't want to get him riled.

    #2 I've been pushing off doing the dreaded food-shopping as usual. There aren't very many things I hate worse, except for that occasional colonscopy, not to mention the prep on the night before. Not for just the inconsiderate people who block the aisle with their shopping carts, standing along side it with that deer-in-the-headlight appearance while trying to decide which prune juice to buy, but also for the irregularities and pricing of the supermarket's products. Have you noticed the cost of prune juice lately? Not that I buy it, of course. I suppose a sub-order is necessary here:

      A. Why aren't toothbrushes made to fit in the bathroom's cup-holder slot anymore? They've expanded the girth for whatever reason is beyond me.

      B. Ever notice that your regular-size rolls of paper towels are sometimes marked with the claim they've increased the amount of sheets per roll? OK, I'll give that to them, but the size of each sheet had been shortened by half, and the rolls look smaller than they used to.

      C. The same goes for most products. Notice their containers are smaller by an ounce or two for the same price or even higher than their full-sized predecessors.

    #3 This is really insignificant, but why do social-media typist and texters leave a space between the last letter of the last word in a sentence and an exclamation point? I've even seen it done with question marks !

    #4 Lastly, related to #2, faulty cardboard-zip tabs on boxes supposedly easy to open, tend to shear in half, leaving the box sealed and having to have my trusty pair of surgical scissors slice it open. Then there's the zip-lock bags containing lunch meat and such that tear open below the zipper, causing extraction of the contents and transplanting to another cellophane containment, all unnecessary wastes of time, energy and annoyance.

My job is done now. I've fully vented and paid my penance for another month or so. What's beneficial about having a tirade from time to time is seeing that one's life ain't so bad after all and things could definitely be a lot worse, indeed. Until the next time, happy trails to you.



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Putting together the final touches on my forthcoming novel, Thirty Dirty Days Across the Big Pond: Amsterdam High Jinks, I decided to put together a glossary of the Dutch-French-English-Spanish terms and expressions included throughout the story. They read as follows:

    Absoluut - Dutch: absolutely;
    Alsjeblieft - Dutch: please;
    Adieu - French: farewell;
    Adios - Spanish: good-bye;
    Amie - French: friend;
    Anne Frankhuis - Dutch: Anne Frank House;
    Aretha Franklin - American: great singer and musician;
    Arrêter maintenant - French: stop right away;
    Arriba, abajo, al centro, para adentro - Spanish: drinking toast, meaning high, low, center, and inside;
    Attendez vous une minute - French: wait a minute;
    Au revoir - French: good-bye;
    Bebáis Rápidamente - Spanish: drink fast;
    Bedankt - Dutch: thanks;
    Berks - British: fools;
    Bewaker - Dutch: guard;
    Blimey - British: interjection used to express surprise; from God blind me;
    blinkered - British: narrow-minded;
    Bloke - British: fellow;
    Bloody - British: curse word of unknown origin; some believe it's a contraction of by our lady, meaning Mary, mother of God;
    Blooming - British: nice way of saying bloody;
    Bon appétit - French: enjoy your meal;
    Bonk - British: to have sex;
    Bonne nuit, ma belle - French: good night, my beautiful one;
    Bon Sang - French: damned; a light swear word;
    Bon Voyage - French: good journey;
    Buffets Automatique - French: self-serve restaurants;
    Ça alors - French: good grief;
    Certainement - French: certainly;
    Ces bâtards - French: those bastards;
    C'est bien - French: That's good;
    C'est correct - French: that's correct;
    C'est très bonne - French: That's very good;
    C'est tres magnifique - French: that's most magnificent;
    Chap - British: see bloke;
    Chivvy Along - British: hurry up;
    Club Rookey - Nightclub in Rembrandtplein;
    Codswallop - British: nonsense;
    Coffeeshop - Dutch: coffee shop;
    Cracking - British: the best;
    Cranking - British: potent;
    Crikey - British: euphemism for Christ;
    Dames - French and Dutch: ladies;
    Dank U Wel - Dutch: thank you, very much;
    De rien - French: it's nothing; you're welcome;
    Derrière - French: butt;
    Dope - British: cool; fabulous; good deal;
    Eet smakelijk - Dutch: enjoy your meal;
    Eikel - Dutch: dickhead;
    Elephant - Blend of pot found in the coffee shops;
    Enchanté - French: enchanted;
    Escanciador - Spanish: one who pours cider;
    Excusez-moi - French: excuse me;
    Fantastique - French: fantastic;
    Fantastisch - Dutch: fantastic;
    Fen jiu - Chinese: white spirit, very potent alcohol; considered as China's first white wine;
    Fooking - British: euphemism for fucking (less vulgar);
    Full Monty - British: the whole thing;
    Geen probleem - Dutch: no problem;
    Gefeliciteerd - Dutch: congratulations;
    Gezelligheid - Dutch: cozy;
    Goedemorgen - Dutch: good morning;
    Goedenavond - Dutch: good evening;
    Goedenacht - Dutch: good night;
    Goede Reis - Dutch: good trip;
    Goed Zo -Dutch: good going;
    Graag Gedaan - Dutch: you're welcome;
    Gracias, Señorita - Spanish: Thank you, Miss;
    Hallo - Dutch: hello;
    Hardstyle - European: genre of bizarre, abrasive, electronic dance music, popular with the youths;
    Heb je lekker gegeten? - Dutch: Did you enjoy your meal?
    Held at Her Majesty's Pleasure - British: locked up indefinitely;
    Herengracht - Canal north of Keizersgracht in the ring around the city; named after the heren regeeders, city governors during the 16th and 17th centuries;
    Het Achterhuis - Dutch: name of the first edition of Anne Frank's Diary; literally, the back house;
    Ik heb een reservering voor twee personen in twintig honderd uur - Dutch: I have a reservation for two persons at twenty hundred hours;
    It's Potty - British: it's strange; wild; crazy;
    Ja - Dutch: yes;
    Jack Herer - Blend of pot found in the coffee shops;
    Jamaican - Blend of pot found in the coffee shops;
    Je comprends ça, - French: I understant that;
    Je ne veux pas me lever pour l'école d'aujourd'hui. Dix minutes de plus, Mama, s'il vous plait. - French: I don't want to get up for school today. Ten more minutes, Mama;
    Je t'aime beaucoup - French: I love you very much;
    Juffrouw - Dutch: Miss;
    Juicy Fruit - Blend of pot found in the coffee shops;
    Ka - Blend of pot found in the coffee shops;
    Kalverstraat - Exclusive shopping street near the Royal Palace and Munttoren;
    Keizersgracht - Dutch: Emperor's Canal; canal north of Prinsegracht in the ring around the capitol;
    Kerstmis - Dutch: Christmas;
    Kleine moeite - Dutch: no problem;
    Klootzak - Dutch: ball sack;
    Knackered - British: exhausted;
    Knickers - British: underwear;
    Knock Up - British: wake up;
    La truffe noire du Périgord - French: black truffle from Périgord;
    Liedsedwarsstraat - Street on which Skylar's Smoke Emporium resided;
    Ma chére - French: my dear;
    Mademoiselles - French: young women;
    Magic Mushrooms - Psilocybin mushrooms
    Magnifique - French: magnificent;
    Mais Oui - French: why, yes;
    Maudit - French: damn it;
    ménage à trois - French: sexual threesome;
    Meneer, - Dutch: mister;
    Menus in het Engels alstublieft - Dutch: menus in English, please;
    Merci Beaucoup - French: thanks, very much;
    Merde - French: crap; shit (vulgar);
    Mes plus belles filles - French: my very beautiful girls;
    Mevrouw - Dutch: madam or Mrs.
    Mijnheer - Dutch: mister;
    mijn lieve - Dutch: my dear;
    Mijn naam is Mike - Dutch: My name is Mike;
    Misty - Blend of pot found in the coffee shops;
    Moctezuma II (aka Montezuma) - Early-sixteenth century Aztecan chieftain;
    Moi aussi - French: me too;
    Mon Dieu, - French: my God;
    Monsieur - French: mister;
    Muntplein - Plaza at Munttoren;
    Munttoren - Clock tower and existing section of Amsterdam's medieval wall.
    Museumplein - Common area or plaza between the various museums in the Museum District;
    Natuurlijk - Dutch: naturally;
    Nieuwe Spiegelgracht - Street heading northeast between Prinsengracht and Herengracht.
    Noël - French: Christmas;
    Noorderstraat - Street on which Peter's Steakhouse was found;
    Northern Light - Blend of marijuana found in coffeeshops; analogous with Aurora Borealis;
    Nosotros traen tres - Spanish: we'll take three;
    Olympisch Stadium - Built for the 1928 Summer Olympics; former home of Amsterdam's football team;
    Orange Bud - Blend of pot found in the coffee shops;
    Oudekerk - Oldest church in Amsterdam; built in the thirteenth century;
    Oudezijds Voorburgwal - Canal forming the western boundary of the Red Light District;
    Oudezijds Achterburgwal - Canal forming the eastern boundary of the Red Light District;
    Ouf - French: phew;
    Oui - French: yes;
    Oui, c'est ça - French: yes, that's it;
    Par avion - French: by plane;
    Par bleu - French: mild oath; for blue literally, most likely in reference to the Mother of God;
    Par la carte de crédit - French: by credit card;
    P.C. Hooftstraat - Exclusive shopping street in the Museum District;
    Peacemaker - Blend of pot found in the coffee shops;
    Peniskop - Dutch: dickhead;
    Peuh - French: pooh; no very good;
    Philosopher's Stones - Psilocybin truffles;
    Politie - Dutch: police;
    Prima - Dutch: fine;
    Prinsengracht - The Prince's Canal; one of the major waterways in the ring around the city;
    Purple Power - Blend of pot found in the coffee shops;
    Rembrandtplein - Plaza in which Club Rookey stood;
    Rijkamuseum - Dutch National Museum in Amsterdam;
    Rolling Stones - English: the best rock-'n'-roll band in the world;
    Rosse Buurt - Dutch: Red Light District;
    Salud - Spanish: salute;
    Sensationele - Dutch: sensational;
    Shiva - Blend of pot found in the coffee shops;
    S'il vous plait - French: if you please;
    Si, por favor - Spanish: yes, please;
    Singel - Innermost canal within the ring around the city; originally was a mote that surrounded Medieval Amsterdam in the 15th and 16th centuries;
    Singelgracht - Canal directly across the street from the Museum District Hotel;
    Sint Anthonisbreestraat - Original Name of the street on which Rembrandt House Museum sits, now known as Jodenbreestraat;
    Skunk Queen - Blend of pot found in the coffee shops;
    Slap and Tickle - British: old expression meaning hanky-panky; doing the wild thing;
    Space Cake - Pot Brownies
    Spiegelstraat - Street south of Nieuwe Spiegelgracht, north of Weteringschans;
    Stadhouderskade - The boulevard that runs parallel to Singelgracht in the Museum District;
    Stadionplein - Plaza surrounding Olympisch Stadium;
    Stone the Crows - British: same as using blimey;
    Super Weed - Blend of pot found in the coffee shops;
    Swazi - Blend of pot found in the coffee shops;
    Thai - Blend of pot found in the coffee shops;
    THC - The active hallucinogenic ingredient contained in pot, responsible for the buzz;
    Tickety-boo - British: going well with no problems;
    Todo era muy bueno - Spanish: everything was very good;
    Tomatensoep - Dutch: tomato soup;
    Took the Biscuit - British: the epitome of something;
    Tot Ziens - Dutch: see you;
    Tout est fini - French: all is finished;
    Très bien - French: very good;
    une putain - French: a whore;
    Vijzelgracht - Street south of Vijzelstraat;
    Vijzelstraat - Street North of Vijzelgracht; runs north to Muntplein;
    Wacky Backy - British: marijuana;
    Wouah, regardez tous les magasins - French: wow, look at all the stores;
    Wasserette - Dutch: laundromat;
    Waterlooplein - Plaza surrounding City Hall; near Rembrandt House Museum;
    Wat is de soep van de dag? - Dutch: what is the soup of the day?
    Wat wil je eten? - Dutch: what do you want to eat?
    Welterusten - Dutch: good night;
    Westerkerk - Church near the Anne Frank House;
    White Widow - Blend of pot found in the coffee shops;
    Wunderbar - German: wonderful;
    Zeer goed, volg mij - Dutch: Very good, follow me;
    Zeker - Dutch: sure;
    Zoete dromen - Dutch: sweet dreams;
    Zut - French: damn it;

Now I need to include this into the manuscript for the final edit. This pretty much sums up all the foreign expressions and pertinent terms. This list can be used as a crash course for a European traveler's vocabulary. What do you think: seem interesting?

Today's Tirade: Social Media

Slickster-2012


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Social media—a major part of today's total lifestyle in general for those connected to the World Wide Web, users of smartphones and text-enabled cell phones—gripped this writer essentially back in the days of Usnet and IRC (Internet Relay Chat), where all of our acronyms like "lol," "lmao," "roflmao," "brb," "ttyl," "ta," "tia," etc; and the silly emoticons we paste onto our text messages to tell one another that this is suppose to be funny, and even though I'm insulting you, a winking smiley face makes it all in fun for which you shouldn't get all riled up.

Onward, more sophisticated chat rooms developed on CompuServe, the first US commercial online service provider; and finally on to AOL, when social-media sites began spawning like salmon upstream. Classmates.com is considered the first to do so, succeeded by weblog-initiators: Open Diary and later their competitor, LiveJournal, on which this blog is still being published.

At the advent of broadband, I shut off dial-up and proceeded to roam the Web at breakneck speed via the cable network, never-before fathomed by one who had utilized a 56K phone-line modem that at the time seemed like a jet engine, following the usages of a 14K model and originally a 9600-baud dinosaur. Then came Myspace, various video-chat sites, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter; which takes us up to present.

Mobile technology has enabled the Internet-addicted population to never be offline, unless their batteries discharge and no place is available to plug in a charger. These net junkies and phone-a-holics can be seen everywhere, everyday, 24-7, clutching their communication contrivances, checking them every two to three minutes—even while having a conversation with someone face-to-face—which is extremely rude. One of my tirades on here: http://slicker.livejournal.com/2404.html, dealt with those who babble incessantly on their cell phones in public places, probably in the top three of my pet peeves. As a street photographer, I notice in every photo snapped, containing around ten people, at least one person is either talking on their cellular, reading something on its HD digital screen, or scrolling through messages from their social-networking Website of choice. Sometimes I've picked out two in ten individuals tied to their dastardly devices.

Hi, my name is Mike Slickster, and I'm a Web addict, mostly on Twitter, but Facebook and a host of others. I'm guilty of checking my smartphone, not as frequently as mentioned previously; however, at least once or twice an hour. Talking on my mobile device in public is kept to a minimum, and only if called; for which I tell the person who's calling, I'll call them right back when I'm in the car or outside alone. What's the big deal for someone to do that, which boils my temper to almost vaporization when an annoying blabbermouth is standing in line next to me at a check-out counter, chattering away a mile a minute, bringing me to the brink of telling them to STFU (another nice acronym from IRC)?

For the past four days, I abstained from my beloved social media, only logging on a couple of times a day, satisfying my internal cravings and acting like a buffer to lessen extreme withdrawal symptoms. It's fascinating how many various, neglected tasks can be accomplished when not consistently lazing online to see what's happening, feeling obligated to respond to mentions and jawing with friends made on the various outlets. I even took time off to write an entry in my journal, something lacking as of late.

This topic leads me to question, would I have become as habitually lazy in my present state of affairs, had I not become so incredibly involved with such a habit-forming medium as the Internet? What more could I have achieved? After all, over twenty years on the Net is about one-quarter of one's lifespan, closer to a third for many unfortunates. Music would have been a great pastime on which to focus during my free time, as had been the case in my younger years. My aspirations for writing could have been fully realized by now. Perhaps I would still be working eight-to-five, having channeled my energies on business rather than on the Social Web. Could this be the Beast? We're all assigned an IP address, and a large percentage of the civilized world logs onto the Net almost daily, worshiping whatever infernal social-media Website to which they're subscribed.

My obligations for the past four days are now over, and I'll most likely fall back into my indolent ways of tramping around the Information Super Highway (I still love to use that phrase), logging many miles as I have always done for many years. The old biblical saying, "A leopard can't change his spots," applies here for this social-medially addicted net junkie. Perhaps I'll just not log on as often. Right, let's see how long that lasts.

Cogito, Ergo Sum




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Id, Ego and Super Ego, three primary elements of one's psyche, fall into play, everyday; it's the cerebral way: the inner workings of the Freudian mind. But sometimes, someone or thing knocks a pretentious body off their highfalutin pedestal now and then, to make things feel real again.

When the stinging letdown or personal dilemma hits the bloody fan, bringing a sensitive individual down a notch or two—perhaps even three—succinctly pertinent idioms seem to ease the abrasion to one's fragile ego or deeply emotional-control center.

"Well that just took the wind out of my sails," is a nice way of putting it; or "Raining on my parade."

"Popped my bubble," and "Added insult to injury," can be a couple more.

Euphemisms, or unoffensive sayings about an otherwise dreadful occurrence, are a tremendous psychological tool to lessen a tragic "blow to the chin." Calling your adversary, "A few sandwiches short of a picnic," is a good way to lash back, diminishing his or her credibility, thus minimizing the amount of crow to be ingested.

Expanding this theoretical thought, I've decided for this entry to list the more outstanding clichés about having "bitten the dust," found by my extensive research on Yahoo while noting the majority of the witty comments had to do with either death, bodily functions or excrement.

Of the three aforementioned topics, death—although not usually an enjoyable subject upon which to expound—was discovered to be the most tolerable and humorous in its phrasing. Expressions about a "bottom blast, breaking wind and buttock bassoon"; or "building a dookie castle and barbarians at the gate" are somewhat rude and crude after the first few for formal writing. Since I have the itching for scribing about the macabre, death be it a stranger for some time longer:

    Kicked the Bucket (most common one)

    Counting Worms

    Assumed Room Temperature

    Got Stamped Return to Sender

    Wandering the Elysian Fields

    Baste the Formaldehyde Turkey

    Crossed over the River Styx

    Danced His Last Dance

    Decided That Hell’s Got A Better HR Policy Than The Office

    Eating Dandelions By the Roots

    Fallen off the Perch

    Wrote His Final Chapter

    Gone to the Last Roundup

    Turned His Face to the Wall

    Immortally Challenged

    In the Bone Yard

    In the Horizontal Phone Booth (don't see many of them anymore)

    Shuffle Off to Buffalo

    Six Feet Under (second most common one)

    Kicked the Oxygen Habit

    Put on the Wooden Overcoat

    Living in Procrastinator's Paradise

    On a Permanent Vacation

    Bought the Farm

    Popped his clogs

    Flatlined

    The Final Edit

    Extremely Passive Voice

    Fettucine Al Dead-o

    Donating the Liver Pate

    Promoted to Subterranean Truffle Inspector

    In Zombie Land

    Termination Station,

    Stairway to Heaven or Hell

    Reformatted by God

    Hotel California

I'm sure this list could go on ad infinitum. This is not meant to offend anyone. Add some if you know others, and thanks for your continued support.



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Having just published part one of a three-part novel, for which work on parts two and three are needed before adding them to the illustrious set, I've been pondering the thought of what's next? Unless I take another dramatic road trip and make a sequel for Thirty Days Across the Big Pond: Parts One, Two and Three (I left myself wide-open in the story line for doing so) another genre of literary prose with different topics should be explored, not just falling into the rudimentary trap of penning a string of novels with the same theme, unless magical material like the Harry Potter anthology is stashed within the author's bag of tricks.

Edgar Allan Poe, one of my all-time-favorite authors and poets, was partial to short stories and became the master of detective-style literature, dealing with the macabre nature of life, establishing an unique style of writing. With that in mind, I decided to try my hand at such off-the-wall, short-story material, and further shortened several lurid tales from the dark side of my warped imagination to come up with news snippets, as one would hear broadcast on the radio.

# # #

An obese person was found impaled on an upholstered task chair, whose center-support piston broke entirely though the main frame, straight up and piercing the seat, plunging deep within the dead man's rectum. "His eyes were still wide-open and bulging when found by the landlord and the paramedics," according to the terrified woman who lived upstairs from the victim and called for help. "I'll never forget his bloodcurdling screams. I won't be able to sleep tonight." The body was wheeled out on the chair's base and removed from the scene.

# # #

A local musician and songwriter was found bludgeoned to death in her fashionable Soho flat, brutally killed by a baseball bat, allegedly by a faithful Twitter follower who, according to friends of the deceased, had been stalking the victim's timeline since becoming connected to the young woman on the social-media conglomerate. Turns out, the celebrity had activated the GEO-locator in her Twitter profile, identifying her location, and ultimately tipped off the assailant. The information was added to the outgoing tweets from her smartphone. The murderer, who was found dead at the scene, had evidently killed himself with a bullet to the head; a gun was found in the massive pool of blood on the floor alongside what was left of the fanatic's totally obliterated, unrecognizable head; and the baseball bat was still rammed inside the naked woman's blood-encrusted body—specifically in her rectal orifice. Printed directions from Mapquat.com, along with a Google map captured from Twitter's location designator, were found in the killer's possession when discovered by police, leading investigators to their conclusion.

# # #

Instant karma reared it's nasty head at a dastardly derelict who was stealing the wheels off a classy automobile in the middle of the night, committing the crime in a dimly lit, apartment-complex parking lot. Evidently while the last tire was being removed, as the other three exposed wheel-mounting rotors rested on rocks to allow the perpetrator to remove the jack from underneath the vehicle, something shifted; or else one of the exposed rotors slipped off the small boulder that held it off the ground, causing the car to crash down and sink into the asphalt, shearing off the bandit's head in the process. His crushed cranium remained wedged in between the top of the upright tire and the inside of the auto's wheel well. The victims body was found kneeling as if in prayer, leaning against the right-rear quarter panel of the SUV, now repainted with a large spattering of crimson-colored blood.

# # #

Lastly, A 24-year-old woman, labeled in the tabloids as an obsessive gold digger, has been found guilty of first-degree murder for the poisoning death of her 85-year-old husband. "The newly weds were on their honeymoon when the victim was fed Long Island Teas made with ethylene glycol, otherwise known as antifreeze," said the prosecuting attorney after the verdict. "The young woman was already heading out of town when arrested." According to the hotel staff, testifying at the trial, the room was found filled with trails of vomit, blood and excrement throughout the entire suite of rooms, evidently the result of multiple-organ failure and extreme convulsions which occurred twelve to twenty-four hours after ingesting the sweet-tasting poison, undetectable when mixed with alcohol in cocktails. Forensics determined the cause of the multimillionaire's death during the immediate autopsy. The convicted murderess was spotted by a patrolman after an all-points bulletin was issued for her arrest, while she was filling up her Lamborghini at a gas station before the entrance to the Interstate for parts east.

"The car stood out like the 'Yellow Rose of Texas'" the arresting officer was quoted as saying. "You don't see many of those highfalutin automobile in these parts." The New York City woman was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

# # #

That was fun. I like playing the bad guy behind the scenes. For my good-guy guise, see my latest novel which inspired me to write the above ghastly copy for a gruesome newscast. As an opportunity to plug my tome, the following link presents my latest publication: http://www.lulu.com/shop/mike-slickster/thirty-days-across-the-big-pond-part-one/ebook/product-21133275.html. A free preview contains the table of contents and first chapter in its entirety, to hopefully hook and snare you to purchase the wacky tale.

Thanks in advance for your continual support.

Dante's Inferno: Redux

Slickster-2012


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Last Wednesday I attempted to escape the horrendously blazing inferno that's been roasting the entire East Coast of America savagely for weeks, it seems. Packing up the Cooper with my necessities for at least seven days, if needed, I made a mostly swift beeline to the coast of Maine, making it in ten and one-half hours to the front desk of my motel. The most sensational thunder and lightning storm with pouring-down, monsoon-like rain kept me wide-awake for the final leg of my trip—the battery in my phone was dead; otherwise, I would have been filming it. After the deluge, upon my arrival, it felt like a steaming sauna outside. A heavy fog and mist were hovering well above the pavement.

The next few days in Vacationland were quite pleasant, although still unusually hot and somewhat humid for that region of the country. I would have died without air-conditioning or at least a fan in my motel room at night. The seething temps finally subsided considerably on Saturday and Sunday, with my having to wear a leather jacket on the night before I left the beautiful area for returning home to find it more reasonably uncomfortable, hot, muggy and dreary in Philadelphia.

How hot was it during the past couple of weeks? The following are only the tip of the iceberg, sort of an oxymoron in itself:

    It was so hot, the dad-burned Canadian Geese around here all flew back to the Great White North.

    It was so hot my eggs from the market were hard-boiled by the time I put them in the fridge.

    It was so hot my brain overheated.

    It was so hot the cacti plants outside in the garden wilted.

    It was so hot the plastic ice-cube tray melted while out on the kitchen counter.

    It was so hot the barbeque grill self-ignited without propane.

    It was so hot the Bactrian camel at the Philly Zoo grew another hump and is now the world's first three-hump camel.

    It was so hot steadfast conservatives now believe in Global Warming.

    It was so hot Hell allowed air-conditioners.

    It was so hot bathing in the sauna was a relief.

    It was so hot my antiperspirant applicator was sweating.

    It was so hot my smartphone overloaded and shut down during a conversation.

    It was so hot brain freeze from eating ice cream was virtually impossible.

    It was so hot the word "cold" was temporarily stricken from Merriam Webster's dictionary.


Lastly, it's been so hot I never thought I'd be wishing for fall so soon!

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