22 Jul
2014

Merry Go Round Day!

July 25th is Merry Go Round Day!

I don’t know about you guys, but I LOVE merry go rounds. Be they beautiful and intricately designed, like everything you hoped that your My Little Pony collection would grow up to be

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Lovely!

or creepy ones that you see in abandoned wings of old malls!

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SO FUN

America’s first Merry Go Round is still up and running in Rhode Island. Made in 1876, The Flying Horse Merry Go Round is named as such because the horses are only attached from the top of the carousel and not at the bottom, so they swing out when the ride is in motion.

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It is the only flying horse carousel left in the country and is detailed with real horse hair in the tail and mane, because nobody cared about that sort of thing in 1876.

If you can’t make it to Kennywood for Merry Go Round Day,

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take some time to enjoy the best Merry Go Round Moment in Movie History in the best movie ever, Mary Poppins!

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IMAGINE! ME in a HORSE RACE! Why I’d NEVER…..

Aren’t you nostalgic for the good old days?!?

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BRB I’m going to go re-watch Mad Men for the 7th time….

 

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21 Jul
2014

Uno Mas for Tequila Day!

July 24th is National Tequila Day, you guys! Instead of boring you with facts about the liquor (like how it’s made from the blue agave plant, how it is often between 76-80 proof but in some instances can be as high as 110 proof, etc), I’m going to try a little experiment. You see, it’s been a few years since I’ve actually had tequila. I don’t remember much of the night (as is the case with most people who drink too much tequila), though I’m pretty sure I made quite an ass of myself (again, common side effect). In the interest of science, I have selflessly volunteered to do a little research in the true effects of tequila. Mainly, I’ll just be quaffing the liquor and texting about it. FOR SCIENCE!  Uno Mas for Tequila Day! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

8:20 pm  Shot #1 : This shot was straight up. Ugh. I won’t be making that mistake again. Like I said, it’s been a while, totally got the tequila shivers. Why do people drink this stuff? I think my next one, I’ll do that whole salt/lime thing.

8:22 pm : My tummy does feel nice and warm, however.

8:42 pm  Shot#2 : Ok, I’m really not feeling anything, besides the whole warm tum-tum. Time for another shot. This time I’ll do the salt/tequila/lime thing.

8:43 pm : Ok, that wasn’t as bad as the first go.

8:55 pm  Shot #3 : Wait a sec, or was I supposed to do it salt/lime/tequila? Guess I’ll just have to have another.

9:03 pm : Hold on… or is it that you put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up? Wait, do I need a coconut? Do I even HAVE a coconut? I think the cornerr store has them. I’ll be right back.

9:21 pm : Coconuts are hard to open, you guys. My floor is all sticky.

9:28 pm : Hey, remember in Monthy Python’s Holy Grail when they used coconuts to make horse hoof sounds?

 Uno Mas for Tequila Day! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

9:36 pm : Ok, the neighbors complained about my imaginary horse. I named him Fred, btw. The horse, not the neighbor. Neigbors name is Adam, noice guy. HEY, I WORK WITH AN ADAM! I’M GOING TO TEXT WORK ADAM TO SEE IF HE KNOWS MY NEIGHBOR!!!

9:38 pm : He does not

9:42 pm Shot #4 : In memory of Fred, I think it’s time to do another shot! I miss you Fred, you were a good horse.

9:52 pm : You know what I love, you guys? Potato chips. BEST. THING. EVER.

10:03 pm : My face is numb.

10:08 pm : You know what’s a really great idea? Imma gonna text my ex, I’m sure he’d want to hear from me!

 Uno Mas for Tequila Day! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

10:10 pm : No responze. Im going text him again.

10:13 pm : Maybe my texts arent working. I’m going to call him.

10:16 pm Shot #5 : Boy, some people can be quite rude. Screw em, time for another shot.

10:27 pm : Whay is me floor sticky and why do i have a coconut?

10:43 pm Shot #6 : U know what, guys? i <3 u , you r teh bestest. DA BESSSST! I raize my glass to u.

10:59 pm : U knw wht fealz gud, u guyz? The carpet. ON MY FACE. I waz sitting in da chair & sum how ended up of teh flooor. Itz soooooo soft, u guyz!!!!!

11:06 pm : Roomz all spinnyz.

11:13 pm : I hate u, tequiala. I hatez u sew much.

11:22 pm : Im sorry, teqwuila, Idonthateu. pleasemakeroomstopspin.

11:31 pm : Izsosleepyses. florfealzsogudsssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

*editors note: At this point it Jessi was found asleep, cuddling a coconut.

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18 Jul
2014

It’s National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo!

July is National Ice Cream Month, and to celebrate I’ve created a well considered top ten list of the best ice cream novelties to enjoy this month (or whenever you want, you nonconformist, you!).

Ok! Let’s start with THINGS FOUND ON AN ICE CREAM TRUCK 

#10

Flintstones Push Up

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So much better than Flintstones vitamins

 

Hands down most fun (messy) thing to eat from the ice cream truck!  The best flavor was blue but for some reason they always only had orange, which was also really great.

 

#9 Strawberry Shortcake

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Yum!!

 

#8 Creamsicles

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!!!!

 

Perfect if you could never decide whether to get ice cream or a popsicle and were sent in to a panic every time the familiar ice cream truck music twinkled faintly in the breeze.

#7 Generic Ice Cream Sandwiches

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Seriously, the more plain the better! The ones from my elementary school pizza day were the BEST! Who knows where they came from?!? I remember them being wrapped in plain white paper. Honorable  mention to generic tubs of  ice cream with the little wooden spoons attached on top.

 

#6 Rocket Pops

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*humming national anthem*

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Rocket pop jersey!!!

 

SOOO GOOD! SO PATRIOTIC! MUY REFRESCANTE!!

#5  Glove with Gumball Baseball

1 Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Delicious! Great way for kids to sneak gum into the house! Most of the time looked like this when you took it out of the package…

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Still good!

#4 (#1 best thing from the ice cream truck) Mickey with “Chocolate” Covered Ears

 

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Look how cute!

I think the ears were actually coated with whatever Swiss Rolls are coated with… but they are still so good due to a smushy ice cream texture and vague chocolate/vanilla flavors.

 

OK! The top three are comprised of  TREATS FROM AN ICE CREAM SHOP  (because sometimes you just can’t find enough quarters rolling around in the couch in time to catch the ice cream truck)

#3 Clown Cones from Baskin Robbins

clowns Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

” Yes, I’d like twelve clown cones, please”

 

I love these because they are the best parts of an ice cream cake,  the frozen icing and ice cream. Mint chocolate chip was my favorite flavor. I requested these for my sixteenth birthday. No shame, best party ever!

#2 Root Beer Float

RBF Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

 

The ice cream foam at the top !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

#1 DQ Cherry Dip

cherry dip Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts CardsTHIS IS THE BEST!!! NO ARGUING !

 

 

 

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16 Jul
2014

A Gonzo Birthday

The ashes formerly known as Hunter S. Thompson are turning 77 today (July 18th)! What a guy, what a guy, such an honest soul, and a prolific honest man of truth. TRUTH. What is that anyway? An enduring concept or is it just reality slapping you you in the face. The latter of which is how Gonzo filtered into the world circa 1960’s-1970’s Hunter S. Thompson. DELETE DELETE DELETE, have you ever tried to write something perfectly the first time and failed like nobody’s business? Ya, that just happened. Gonzo is not for the weak at heart, batteries not included. I love the bastard’s writing. I am reading “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” currently, and spend my evenings either reconsidering my stance on drug and alcohol usage, laughing in a perverse shrill that haunts my apartment, or pondering my navel. Shush, nobody has to know. No navels were hurt in the making of this blog. And back to our inflight movie. Thompson! An incredible writer, truth in satire, wit without compromise. God, how it must have felt to experience the world through those eyes.
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Yes, these eyes.
Thompson (forget the first name and middle initial, I can’t be held responsible when twisted into a slinky) was a journalist and writer from the 1960′s until his death in 2005. He would regularly contribute to many magazines and newspapers, none more so than Rolling Stone (before it was hip and then really hip and then blithely unhip again in the Bieber days). In Rolling Stone, Thompson was one of the only non-musical writers on staff, and would regularly contribute his on personal style of journalism while exploring politics and counter cultures in America. The name of his war cry would be called “Gonzo”, a style of writing that is similar to a stream of consciousness, placing the author in the center of the action rather than writing from above in an invisible hot air balloon. Also, the author was often the instigator of the action, writing about the happenings as they would occur. A great and bizarre example is “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, in which our hero of the day, Raoul Duke (Thompson) and his lawyer Dr. Gonzo (some Samoan lawyer), drive to Vegas to find the American Dream while covering the Mint 400 race. So of course, they completely blow off the race and experiment with mind bending drugs like LSD (hello pink lemon lizards), ether (can you feel your face, I highly doubt it), cocaine (snort hard, snort far, and your dreams will smell like blood) and booze (also known as breakfast). This is a drawing made for the occasion of the publishing of Fear Vegas (again, not responsible for things like titles when there is a SQUID ON THE WALL CAPS LOCK WHY YOU SO ANGRY) by Thompson’s close friend and partner in crime in his article “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved”, Ralph Steadman.
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Steadman was one trippy ballsack. Don’t you just feel the drugs settling in?
You may have noticed that the previous two paragraphs are pretty out there. In honor of Mr. Thompson, I wanted to experiment with writing in the Gonzo style. Admittedly, no one can be as perverse or oddly charming as Thompson was. Even with the drugs and booze, he was a prolific writer of politics, following many campaign trails throughout the seventies. He would also explore culture and counter culture, ranging from the psychedelic drug scene on the west coast to sports to the new generations versus the old to riding with the Hells Angels. Thompson is brutally honest in his writing, not sparing anyone in his path. Famously, he absolutely hated Richard Nixon. Really, hate is a soft word for the absolute disgust this man had for Nixon, as can be seen in his book “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72. Nixon’s one redeeming quality for Thompson? Football. Go figure. Other interesting occurrences were travels in Puerto Rico (which produced the Rum Diaries) and in South America. Rather horrifyingly, Thompson took a job reporting on the war in Vietnam, and arrived in Saigon to find that the job had been scrubbed just as American troops were evacuating the country. Rough right?
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After a failed trip to report on a boxing match in Africa, our intrepid writer began reducing  his output during the 80′s up through his death. Fame itself seemed to get to Thompson, who did not want to write just because it was expected of him. Never wanting to live to an age of dullness and infirmity (amongst other reasons), Thompson committed suicide on his ranch in February 2005. To commemorate his life, friends and family gathered to give him a proper send off in the form of Thompson’s last wish: his ashes were shot out of a canon on top of a massive monument of a double thumbed fist (the symbol for Gonzo) with red, white, blue, and green fireworks, all to the tune of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” and Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” It is in the honor of this bizarre, brutally intelligent and incredible writer that we say happy birthday to Hunter S. Thompson. Cheers.
15 Jul
2014

KU Summer Reading: Comics You Should Read Right Away

The life of a comic book nerd is not easy.  Misunderstood, dismissed, and much maligned, the graphic novel/comic medium is in reality just as complex and varied as is traditional fiction, it just happens to include freakin’ awesome illustrations.  If you’re someone who has, in the past, dismissed comics because you thought they were all about superheroes with onomatopoetic sound effects like ‘biff’ or if you’re someone who’s never even considered diving into the rich and wonderful world of the graphic novel, give these books a try.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised!

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Batman, R.I.P.: What it’s about: Batman, obviously.  He dies in this one! (Maybe…)

Why you should read it:  Batman R.I.P. is pretty much the culmination of Grant Morrison’s (aka, the Leo Tolstoy of graphic novels) work with the Batman character.  It’s huge, complex, and challenging.  Not your run of the mill superhero comic.

 

 

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Lucifer:  What it’s about:  Yes, that Lucifer.  In the DC universe, the character of Lucifer appears in many stories, most notably in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, which is where the stand alone Lucifer series got its start.

Why you should read it:  Sorry, did I not mention the part where it’s about the devil and that the stand alone series is a spin-off from Sandman.  Additionally, because re-vamps of the traditional devil character are fascinating.  And finally because Lucifer is just an incredibly cool character.  He’s got it going on, is what I’m saying.

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The Filth:  What it’s about: A weird, crazy romp through post-modern interpretations of the status quo!

Why you should read it:  Another piece from the genius mind of Grant Morrison, The Filth is one of those things that you just have to see to believe.  If you’re into media that looks at the line between appropriate and inappropriate and then promptly obliterates it, The Filth is for you.

 

 

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John Constantine: Hellblazer:  What it’s about: One of DC’s longest running characters, antihero magician, chain-smoker, and pro-level snark factory John Constantine and all his supernatural adventures.

Why you should read it:  It’s a fantastic exploration of the humanist antihero.  If misanthropes who are committed to doing something good are your thing, look up my man John.

 

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Saga of the Swamp Thing:  What it’s about:  Pretty self-explanatory, actually.  He’s a Thing.  That lives in a Swamp.  Loves plants and the environment and stuff.

Why you should read it:  Self-explanatorability notwithstanding, it’s actually really cool!  A global environmentally aware comic book character is a fabulous protagonist.  For real.

 

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A Game of Thrones:  I don’t need to tell you what it’s about because you’ve probably seen the show.  I hope.

Why you should read it:  Again, feel like I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but I will say that the graphic novelization of ASOIAF is like a really incredible mash-up of the show and the books, which is baller.

 

100Bullets vol1 200x300 KU Summer Reading: Comics You Should Read Right Away Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

100 Bullets:  What it’s about: It’s basically everything fantastic about noir, pulp, and revenge thrillers all rolled into one stylized, metaphor-rich creation.

Why you should read it:  See above.  It’s like the breakfast burrito of the crime story world.

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15 Jul
2014

Grab your favorite dummy, it’s National Ventriloquism Week!

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If ol’ Charlie here freaks you out, you may have automatonophobia.

Ok, yes.  Ventriloquists’ Dummies frequently are extremely creepy.  Being a ventriloquist, though, is really cool.  Did you know ventriloquism (Yeah, try typing it in less than three seconds.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.)  was considered a form of prophecy in ancient Greece and Rome?  The oracle at Delphi was a ventriloquist.  Except she didn’t use a puppet, I guess?

ANYWAY, the third week of July (7/13 – 7/19 this year) is National Ventriloquism Week and that’s pretty awesome.  Ventriloquy, dummy-creepiness notwithstanding, is a really impressive performing art.  Plus, on the non-creepy end of things, there are adorable puppets like Lambchop and Blue-eyed Goose!

So enjoy these videos, and get your puppet on during National Ventriloquism Week!

0 Grab your favorite dummy, its National Ventriloquism Week! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

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14 Jul
2014

Notes from Our July Book Club Meeting!

Hello, hello!  Time for another round-up of the highlights from our latest book club meeting.  This month we discussed Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, the best-selling mystery novel of all time.  It’s one of those books that I had been meaning to read for a loooooong time, so I’m really glad we finally got to it in book club.  If you’re unfamiliar with the story, it’s about a group of strangers who are all invited to a mysterious island off the coast of Britain – but once they arrive, they learn that they’ve fallen straight into *someone’s* murderous trap, and the guests start falling like dominoes.  Also, bizarre side note: there were 10 strangers in the book and EXACTLY TEN PEOPLE AT OUR BOOK CLUB MEETING.  Eeerriieeee.

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This is not us. Although I wish it were. Let’s start dressing up for book club? Can that be a thing?

This was the first Agatha Christie book I’ve read, and I have to say it lived up to expectations.  I worried that I might be bored by it (and, admittedly, it wasn’t as gruesome or as graphic as I thought it would be), but Christie certainly knew how to build up the suspense.  There were some great passages in the book that were just bits of internal dialogue from all the characters, jumbled together, so even though one of the characters was saying things like “I think I’ll get him next…” you never really knew who the killer was until the big reveal.  If you’ve already read this one and you’re looking for another AC book to read, I’d recommend Murder on the Orient Express, which I believe is her second best-selling book.  AND IT HAPPENS ON A TRAIN!  Don’t see many of those around anymore.

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Not *this* train. Though shut up, that would actually be pretty cool.

Also, one of my favorite films of all time is “Clue” and I could not get over the resemblance between the two.  A house full of crazy people who quickly fall victim to paranoia?  Obviously, the film is much more (intentionally) humorous, but I felt like Christie placed a few funnies in her book for readers, too.  Like, there’s a scene where one of the characters reveals that he brought a gun to the island, and another character is all “WHAT??!! YOU HAVE A GUN?!!! WHO BRINGS A GUN ON VACATION?!! THIS KINDA STUFF ONLY HAPPENS IN BOOKS.”  Which is a wonderfully self-aware statement, if I do say so myself.

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Haven’t seen this movie? Run! Run fast! Go see it immediately!

As far as our next book goes, we had some fantastic recommendations but the victor was Slaughterhouse V by Kurt Vonnegut.  Perhaps his best-known novel and one of the most accessable, too.  I haven’t read anything else by him, but I’m excited to re-read Slaughterhouse.  I think it will get me interested in the rest of his work.  Our next meeting is scheduled for Sunday, August 24th at 6pm – feel free to call and reserve your copy of the August book club pick, or stop in and grab one.  See yinz soon!

13 Jul
2014

KU Summer Reading: Books I’ve Been Meaning to Read

Full disclosure:  As you can tell from the title, I personally have not yet read any of these books.  I recommend them to you based purely on the fact that I want to read them (and the great reviews.  Obviously.)

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The Story-Telling Animal by Jonathan Gottschall:  “Like the magnificent storytellers past and present who furnish him here with examples and inspiration, Jonathan Gottschall takes a timely and fascinating but possibly forbidding subject — the new brain science and what it can tell us about the human story-making impulse — and makes of it an extraordinary and absorbing intellectual narrative. The scrupulous synthesis of art and science here is masterful; the real-world stakes high; the rewards for the reader numerous, exhilarating, mind-expanding.”  Terry Castle, Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities, Stanford University

“This is a work of popular philosophy and social theory written by an obviously brilliant undergraduate teacher. The gift for the example is everywhere. A punchy line appears on almost every page.”  -The San Francisco Chronicle

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American Artisanal by Rebecca Gray:  “We love this book; we had been parceling it out in chapter-sized bits at bedtime but we raced through at the end. Read this! It’s fascinating and inspiring. Who knows – you may be the next American artisan.” -Faith Durand

“If you’re remotely interested in food – either cooking it or eating it – then American Artisanal ought to be your guide.  Anytime Becky Gray gets around cooking, trust me: something magical is going to happen.” -Winston Groom

 

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The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie:  First of all, every person should want to read this book based purely on the fact that it was written by contemporary polymath Hugh Laurie.  Any foray of his into different genres has piqued my interest.  Also:  “This is a genuinely witty and sophisticated entertainment.” - Christopher Buckley in the NY Times Book Review

The Gun Seller is fast, topical, wry, suspenseful, hilarious, witty, surprising, ridiculous, and pretty wonderful. 
And you don’t need a permit to buy it…A delightful novel.” - The Washington Post Book Review

 

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green:  Yes, I’m a little tardy to the party on this one, but I do intend to get to it eventually.

Green writes books for young adults, but his voice is so compulsively readable that it defies categorization. He writes for youth, rather than to them, and the difference is palpable.” - Rachel Syme, NPR Books

“This is a book that breaks your heart—not by wearing it down, but by making it bigger until it bursts.”  The Atlantic

 

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City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers:  I’ll be honest, I mostly just want to read this book because of the title and the fact that the cover art is a structure built of books.  But the reviews are good as well.

“Moers’ creative mind is like J. K. Rowling’s on Ecstasy” - Detroit Evening News

“A yarn of drollery, deeper meaning and sheer lunacy” - Rolling Stone

 

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Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis:  This one I want to read because I love love love the movie.  And since books are generally better than movie versions…

“I reread and study Auntie Mame like a hilarious, glamorous bible where, among other wise lessons, one learns that true sophistication and innocence are two halves of the same glittering coin.”  –Charles Busch, author of The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom

Auntie Mame is a unique literary achievement a brilliant novel disguised as a lightweight piece of fluff. Every page sparkles with wit, style and though Mame would cringe at the thought high moral purpose. Let’s hope Patrick Dennis is finally recognized for what he is: One of the great comedic writers of the 20th century.”  –Robert Plunket, author of Love Junkie

 

 

 

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