Magically Delicious?

On occasion, it is useful to look back and ask the tough questions we may have evaded or ignored in our youth. Like is this any good for me? As if we asked ourselves those kinds of questions when we were 10.

In that spirit, I shall endeavor to answer the pressing questions of yesterday.

During a recent moment of weakness, pique, impulse, whatever, I decided that what I really needed, no wanted, was to relive my fantasy childhood by buying and eating Lucky Charms and Pop Tarts. I say fantasy because for the most part my mother disdained buying them in my youth because they were expense and not terribly nutritious.

Shocking, I know!

Fortunately, mom was not there to impede my purchase and my wife, more or less, went along with it, mainly to see if her memories of these delightful breakfast treats jibed with her memories of the past or clashed with the cold harsh reality of now. Money in hand we made our purchase.

My review:

If nutrition is your main focus, then I can’t say that Lucky Charms and Pop Tarts are any better for you at 50+ than they were when you were 10. Three quarters of a cup of Lucky Charms and half a cup of Skim (?) milk sets you back 150 calories, 10 of which are from fat. I used whole milk because skim milk is basically water and if you’re going to drink milk, drink milk! The difference, for those who care, is 40 calories, which is equal to a bite from a donut.

But I’m straying from the subject at hand.

The ingredients are the usual mixed bag when it comes to industrial cereals, meaning along with your whole grain oats you get trisodium phosphate, which is what I use to wash the grease and grime from vertical surfaces before painting. Yum. Apparently, a little goes a long way.

Esthetically, the only noticeable difference in the cereal, from that distant time when I didn’t know better, is that there are now more marshmallow shapes, namely unicorns to go along with the hearts, moons, rainbows, and clovers. Oh, and horseshoes. This may have something to do with the unicorns.

As for how it tastes, I could discern no difference from how I remembered them, nor in how I ate them, which is to eat the cereal part first, before it turns to mush, and then the marshmallows, which are the best part. My wife noted that they still squeak against her teeth. She’s not a big fan.

The Pop Tarts she liked.

And, as an added bonus to this trip down memory lane, the back of the box has a fairly inane game of follow the marshmallows to distract from the food fest being shovelled into one’s yap, as our mouths were once referred to.

All in all, I’d do it again, assuming I live to be 100.

Bon appetit.

©2019 David William Pearce

A Day on the Job

Short vignette featuring characters from Where Fools Dare to Tread, A Monk Buttman Mystery.

Monk Buttman Mysteries

Monk’s job is as a courier/go-between/contact man for the law firm Aeschylus and Associates. In that capacity, and because their clients are somewhat eccentric, he often finds himself in, for him, interesting situations.

“Yes?” A fairly stiff older gentleman was
less than excited with my ringing the doorbell. I, on the other hand was rather
amused.

“I’m from Aeschylus and Associates,” I
informed him.

“And?”

Apparently he would need more.

“Is there a Torvas Takalagas here? This
is the address I was given, and while I’m sure you’re interested in my
intentions, I’m afraid I can only speak to Mr. Takalagas.”

“And yet you feel the need to speak to
me.” A wan grin crossed the old man’s face.

I had no answer for that.

He allowed me in and pointed to an alcove by the door. “Please wait here.”

He left, I assumed, to inform Mr.
Takalagas.

I waited…

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Blessed are the Meek

Let us on this day say a final prayer for our beloved team. Whether they deserve it is another matter. That the season thus witnessed is best buried, unlamented and unloved, in that unmarked graveyard in the back of our collective memory is all for the best.

Amen.

Perhap a prayer, instead, should be said for those tempered souls for whom this season was dedicated, for surely it is they who are worthy of such. Then again for what is prayer worth when little is expected and those expectations met?

I note all this while watching the MLB playoffs, which haven’t featured the Mariners since 2001-the longest playoff drought in pro sports. This inevitably leads to the whole notion of being a sports fan and having a favorite team to root for.

That is not, dear readers, an idle thought.

I find I have not lost an interest in the sports themselves, predominantly baseball and football, but in recent years I find myself less and less interested in being the fan of any particular team, mainly because the payoff is often obscure and the cost not worth the possible ROI-return on investment. This is illustrated nicely by the recent seasons of our Seattle Mariners. While coming close to playoff contention in the previous 2 seasons, the understanding by the cognoscenti was that they didn’t have it in them, as constituted, to compete, that the team was too old and too expensive, so…

With that in mind, they decided to start over, or as the say in the sportsbiz: rebuild. This necessitates gutting the team and testing the patience of the fans.

To which I ask: Why on my dime? What benefit do I derive from the prospect of bad, if I mean to be critical, or maturing, if I mean to delude myself, play from a team that has no reasonable expectation of being competitive, other than being gouged of my entertainment dollar? Will the team be lowering prices, offering bargains, gimmicks, something to better endure the prospect of a 100 loss season?

The answer is no.

But they do want to upgrade the splendid ballpark us taxpayers built for them, so as to lesson the impact of the follies occuring on the field. For what so stirs the wearied fan’s soul than infrastructure improvements, a better sound system-to better pound out the same tired sports tunes-and a new bar for better inebriation.

How about a better team!

There is also the distinct possibility that nothing will come of this, that prospects and draftees will not pan out or, as is common in Mariner lore, make it big after leaving. Thus, I believe, it is better to make peace with the notion of fandom and let go of any particular team because in truth…

They don’t love you and are really only interested in your money.

Harsh? Perhaps, but proven time and time again by example.

So let us pray that the postseason is entertaining, because the regular season, certainly in this part of the baseball world, was not.

Amen.

©2019 David William Pearce

Rebekah Stops By

Short vignette from the book, Where Fools Dare to Tread. Rebekah is a prominent character in the next Buttman book, A Twinkle in the Eyes of God, due out in early January.

Monk Buttman Mysteries

Rebekah is Monk’s somewhat estranged daughter, somewhat because she lives in Virginia and he’s out in LA. Throw in that he’s adverse to carrying a phone and she’s going through a rough patch in her marriage with her husband, Farrell, and the not so insignificant fact that they’ve seen little of one another in the six or so years since he left, and their relationship is tentative at best.Rebekahisstoppingbyaftervisitinghergrandfather,Moses,wholivesinNorthernCalifornia.

“This is where you live?” Rebekah, my
daughter, was not impressed with my quant little bungalow.

“This is it,” I said, confirming her
impression. “Why, what did you expect?”

“I don’t know, something different, I guess.”

She stood at the door.

I didn’t expected her, hadn’t seen her in
six years. My last memory of her is saying goodbye that sad summer’s eve and
her rather blunt, “ok.” I sent my address, somewhat reluctantly, to her a few
years back and…

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Longing For Our Robot Overlords…

There are moments when, alas, all seems lost or maddeningly chaotic, and I’m not just talking politics here!

Though, in truth, I’ve veered from politics because it induces spectacular headaches for the five of us left who foolishly believe we act as rational beings. Turns out this is false. Rational beings are a false dichotomy. We are all emotional response beings, and as such are easily and inevitably manipulated.

This is all coming clear to me as I read Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.

For those of you who like to think we’re in control and aware, or woke in the popular parlance, this book will disabuse you of that belief. I don’t say that lightly: I considered myself to be the same. But the more I inquire, the more I pause and consider my own responses, the more I see he’s right. We are all barrelling down the same road of manipulation and outrage to our psychic and physical demise for the purposes of personal enrichment by those who assured us that their disruptions will do no long term harm.

Politics anyone?

As a rejoinder to this, I direct my energies, my hopes and dreams; my delusions, to the perhaps strange, but highly likely future where our, hopefully, benevolent robot overlords take care of all the important and pressing needs that seem to have died on the vine in our fractured political landscape.

That will allow us imperfect humans to utilize, or waste, our time and energy on all the vacuous nonsense that is slowly killing us already. No need to worry about food supplies, power production; even warfare! All that can be handled by AI instructed machines while we are systematically manipulated by other AI programs that have continuously monitored and tracked our responses and outrages over such important things as whether our favorite celebrities, real or not-and the fake ones are already a part of social media-are being loved or dissed, whether the earth is flat, along with our thoughts and feelings on race, gender, marriage, death, you name it.

And, if this drives you to hole up somewhere in the wilds of the frontier, assuming it hasn’t already been sold off to the oligarch billionaires running the planet and owning the very robot overlords looking after us, then good luck with that when your uncontrollable desire for Cap’n Crunch inexplicably drives you back (AI can also track and manipulate your addictions, intended or not) because you can’t live without it.

Now it’s possible, since machines are not the product of genetic predispositions to emotional responses honed over a million years, that the use of AI and the algorithms that define and direct how AI collates and compilates the data it collects on us humans will be of a beneficial nature to us humans.

Anything is possible.

Whatever it is, given the situation on the ground, as they say, it can’t be any worse that it is now.

I think.

Next I believe I’ll rant about the world being flat.

What do you think, HAL?

©2019 David WIlliam Pearce

Miguel and James

Characters from the first book, Where Fools Dare to Tread.

Monk Buttman Mysteries

Miguel and James are friends of Monk from when he was a kid. This scene takes place years before when they were dealing weed as teens.

“It’s a sure thing, man!” James had that look, we knew it from all the other times he had a sure thing.

Miguel wasn’t so sure. “I think its bullshit! I think we’re fucking up here, screwing around with these guys. My cousin says we gotta be smart, and messing with the Pronto’s ain’t smart.

“Are we going or what?” I asked. I had
other things to worry about. Lisa was bugging me about the baby and Moses was
hounding me about my new responsibilities, and though I didn’t say it to them,
what the three of us were up to.

“It’s a easy score,” James insisted,
“reliable, man, I’m telling you…”

“Telling us what?” Miguel demanded.

James was unhappy with the question. “Come…

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And Now… A Few Words About Sex…

Oh, the titillation!

Ooh, what have we here… gasp, just about everything you can do to one another (and yourself), erotic and otherwise is online for all to see, and…

All the questions one has in living in a world overrun by sex, of, at least, the visual kind. I know this because just about every magazine or website I go to-for news and information, mind you-has advice for those seeking it. And depending on the zine or site, of a highly graphic nature, something you’d never find in the same years ago.

As an example, the following is from the September issue of Men’s Health, which I’ve been reading for 3o years.

And which I may be aging out of, but that’s something altogether different.

One column is Ask Her Anything, which as one would rightly suppose, is where men find out from a woman, in this case Naomi, what they need to do to… well… here are the questions, with my answers in italics:

Sexplay with the wife-she not into it, not really… what should I do? Ask. Unless you already know the answer, but think using Naomi may change her mind.

Romantic dinner and I don’t know anything about wine. Again, ask your companion. If she doesn’t know or have a preference, go for the muscatel.

My girlfriend and I are political opposites-deal breaker? Yes. Unless you think it has Instagram potential, then get it all down in legalese.

Are movies still a good first date? Only if you’re my age (old). Naomi’s friend frowns on this, because, sadly, most men are creeps and darkened theaters don’t provide for a hasty getaway. Naomi, oddly, does not. So take your pick. Don’t know what she likes? Ask.

What’s the etiquette for dating multiple women at the same time? There is no etiquette-it’s whether you think you can get away with it. Naomi says women will assume you already are when they first meet you, so they’re already set up for when you act like their boyfriend and then blow the whole thing up when you’re found out. Of course she may be doing the same thing.

Are men still expected to pay for dinner? As the magic 8 ball will tell you: chances are good. Unless, of course going dutch, assuming anyone uses that phrase anymore, is specified early on. And no, paying for dinner still doesn’t mean sex later.

And on and on.

So while the technical visual aspects of sex are out there for all to see, whether you want to or not, we’re still stuck with fact that relationships require a fair amount of communication and that is rarely forthcoming from conventional sources, hence books and zines and sites.

Now, we could, as a people, put more stock in elucidating to our children the ins and outs-no pun intended, and as I stated above it’s all out there for them to see-of human interaction, sexual and otherwise, but that would demand that we know it already.

Which might not be true.

©2019 David WIlliam Pearce

Mac, Buddy, Pal…

Once upon a time these were common salutations: Mac, Buddy, Pal, Chum, Charlie, Mister, Buster, Dude, before it went gender neutral, though I confess I still have a hard time with women being called dude.

I suppose there’s always Bro…

Now, if you use any of these on anyone younger than 60, expect quizzical looks and the attendant shaking of the head. That is, I suspect, the way it goes and should go. Time, the world, greetings, whether benign or malignant, die out with their generation.

But they do live on.

Since nothing is lost, with digitization and the like, though it may be forgotten or missed in the volume of so much created over time; it will wait and spring itself upon you when you least expect it. This happened to me as I was working my way through the classics of mystery and crime.

“Hey, pal, can I bum a smoke?” “What’s it to you, mac?” “Hey, buddy, can you spare a dime?” “That charlie? I’d keep an eye on that guy if I were you, mister.” And on and on.

The language of any period is expressed in its authors and allows any neophyte the opportunity to aggravate his fellows by appropriating the jargon of a bygone era. In this instance, a fedora is also useful. It’s also instructive when you watch movies and television as well. Although, it may not be as culturally attuned as you think. As a youth, I would occasionally cringe when the TV show I was watching would “blow it” by using the slang of the day in the wrong way. Total squares, man! But then hipsters had their own language that the squares were always mangling.

You gotta be hip to it, baby; know what I mean?

As you may have surmised, sadly, my time is falling away just as the mid 20th Century was in my youth. The 70’s are as far away now as the 30’s were then. This allows me to smug when I hear all these hip and happening new terms for that which never changes, but with fresh language will somehow finally be resolved.

Hip to it is now woke, but as the problems endure, one wonders what will replace woke once it becomes passe and the long struggle to make things right-however you choose to define right-continues.

Well, until the machines take over…

Completely.

We’ll talk about that next time. Wink, wink; nudge, nudge…

©2019 David William Pearce

Mr Jones

This is another short vignette featuring characters from my book, Where Fools Dare to Tread. To me it’s a fun way to introduce the characters and add a little something extra you won’t find in the book.

Monk Buttman Mysteries

Mr. Jones is an associate of Monk’s in the loosest sense of the word. They were thrown together in the search for Desiree Marshan.Sincethen,they’vebecomefriendsofakind.

We were stuck in traffic, somewhere between West Covina and Long Beach. No doubt the signs would say where, but I’d lost interest in that. Jones was on his phone. The sun beat down on us in what had to be one hundred degree heat as we sat in my ’64 Ford Falcon. The top was down.

“I gotta ask…” I was tapping on the side of the car.

“Ask what?” Jones put his phone down.

“Aren’t you hot? It’s hotter than hell and you’re wearing nothing but black! Shirt. Tie. Suit. Sweat’s running off your head.” I could feel the sweat as it beaded across his shaved pate.

“It’s a state of mind, Buttman,” was his answer.

“A state of mind?”

“Are you deaf?”

“No.”

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The Need to Get This Done!

Monk Buttman Mysteries

At some point the question of why one creatives comes up. Always. People who don’t see themselves as creative are fascinated by those who are. I think everyone would like to be creative, and personally, I think everyone can be; it’s the doing, the taking the first steps, the apprenticeship, if you will, that tends to dissuade them. That and failure to live up to a self-inflicted desire for a kind of laudatory final product.

There ought to be joy in the journey. Right?

This is further complicated by those who get things done, which isn’t necessarily a knock on those that don’t or procrastinate or take forever to finish something for any number of reasons, but it tends to be intimidating to those struggling to get where they want to go.

And those who are productive will have any number of reasons why- the Internet is a font for…

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