Tag Archives: comedy

Two Buddies, a Russian Spy, and an Intern Walk Into a Bar In Transylvania by Valerie J. Patterson

Two buddies, a Russian spy, and an intern walk into a bar in Transylvania.  Sounds like the start to a good joke, right?  It could have been if I was a comedian and wrote my own material.  Instead, I offer you a couple movie reviews.

A Walk In The Woods stars Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, and was a very entertaining movie.  It was good to see these two men on the big screen again, too.  Barely recognized Nick Nolte, but without him the movie wouldn’t have been as good as it was.  His and Redford’s characters are as opposite as any two humans could be.  One is refined, the other not so much.  But, opposites often make the best pairs.  Redford plays a character who has spent his whole life in the career/family lane of the road of life.  He’s been successful in writing and in love, and everything about his life speaks fulfillment…until his friends begin dying and there’s one funeral too many, causing him to take stock in his life and what became of his dreams.  One night he makes the life-changing decision to hike the Appalachian Trail–the entire trail.  He goes through his phone book of friends and colleagues and invites each of them to accompany him.  One by one, they all turn him down, and he’s beginning to think he’ll have to do it alone.  One last call comes in.  Nolte’s character–whom Redford never called–asks if he can go on the trip.  This pleases Redford’s character’s wife and the two set of on an unforgettable adventure that resonates with any person at any stage of their life.  If you missed this one in the theaters, it’s worth the rental price.

The Intern stars Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro, and the two have exceptional chemistry and comedic timing.  Hathaway plays an over-stressed work-aholic who started her own Internet company that exploded into a huge success that leaves her reeling between work life and home life.  Enter DeNiro’s character as an intern in the company’s new initiative “Senior Interns”.  DeNiro’s character is living life after retirement and the death of his wife.  After traveling everywhere he’s ever wanted to go, he finds himself with wide open days and tons of time on his hands.  Boss and intern need one another–even if they don’t see it, don’t want it, and don’t accept it, which leads to laughs and lessons learned.  Again, if this is not still playing–as it is here in one or two theaters–it’s worth the rental price.

Bridge of Spies stars Tom Hanks as James Donovan, an American insurance attorney who’s chosen to represent a Russian spy arrested on American soil.  Donovan takes the case, and Hanks shines!  Donovan takes his job seriously and Russian spy or not, his client deserves a fair trial.  Too bad the judge and the jury don’t share the same thought process.  This true story shows humanity at its best and its worst.  When Joseph B. Wirthlin said, “The true greatness of a person…is evident in the way he or she treats those with whom courtesy and kindness are not required.” he was not speaking of James Donovan, but it certainly applies to him.  Catch this one in the theater or via rental, but catch it nonetheless!

And finally, Hotel Transylvania 2, the second installment written by and starring Adam Sandler.  The first movie was adorable and appealed to adults and children alike.  This offering–in my humble opinion–was just disappointing.  Steve and I actually apologized to the couple we had with us!  Dracula is waiting to see if his grandson is a vampire or–gasp–a mere mortal like the baby’s father.  The first movie was all about acceptance of those different from ourselves.  This offering seemed less so, though Dracula does become more accepting in the end, but only after…well, I won’t post a spoiler here on the off chance you have a burning desire to see Hotel Transylvania 2.

So, two buddies, a Russian spy, and an intern walk into a bar in Transylvania…

Until next time, may the movies you chose to see entertain you, warm your heart, and tickle your funny bone.

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I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar…Part Deux by Valerie J. Patterson

You might recall that back in 2012 I regaled you with a tale about using power tools, namely the power washer.  I’m sure it was one of those purely unforgettable stories that you then repeated many times around a campfire, the dinner table, and at the office water cooler!

When you’re done either laughing at my recollection or scratching your head while trying to recall what I am talking about, let’s move on to today’s “Roar”.

I am woman hear me roar…with a mower too big to ignore!

Steve and I bought a new lawn tractor and I am the operator of said tractor.  My first ride, I could feel the power as I zoomed up the driveway toward the front lawn.  I turned toward the lawn, lowered the blades, and smiled as thousands of pieces of grass confetti shot out the right side of the cutting deck.  My hair was pulled back, the wind was blowing across my face…and so was the grass I had just cut!

Note to self:  never mow into the wind unless you LIKE the taste of cut grass!

These days, I whip around the yard and zoom up and down the driveway.  It’s fun!

I’ve made good use of that power washer, too.  My porch furniture never looks better than after a fresh power washing!  It has a way of making everything shiny and new!

Plus, I can also add the snow blower to the list of power tools I have mastered.  Had plenty of opportunity to use that baby this past winter.  Kind of glad it’s been exchanged for the lawn tractor, though!

Until next time, may there be power tools in your life that make your life easier, comfier, and more beautiful!  Happy Spring, Y’all!!

TV vs. Real Life by Valerie J. Patterson

Okay, so I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts by authors that are just filled with anger, disbelief, and irritation over the season opening episode of Mike & Molly.  Apparently, Molly goes to a writing camp for several months and returns home with an advance check for a book she has yet to write.

Yep, you read that right.  Some publisher who attended the writer’s camp gave her an advance–and a hefty one at that–for a book she hasn’t written.  As she tells it, she wrote a chapter or two and the publisher loved it so much he gave her a check for thousands of dollars–enough to pay cash for a sports car–and a deadline to finish the manuscript.

The writers’ blogs I’ve been reading have the authors in an uproar.  All of them are peeved that Molly:

  1. Got an advance on a book not yet written
  2. Is an unknown, unproven writer who got an advance on a book not yet written
  3. That the TV show erroneously depicts being a struggling writer as anything BUT difficult, disappointing, and–at times–displeasing

They’re not entirely wrong.  In real life, Molly is more likely to have gotten some writing tips from said publisher–if she got that much at a writing camp.

But this is television.  A comedy nonetheless.

Anyway, I decided to continue to watch the show to see how her progress goes, and I have to say the episode that aired Monday, February 9th is probably going to be ripped to shreds in blog posts by writers that exist in the real world…and I’m going to be one of them.

Molly takes her completed manuscript to her publisher and then has a follow-up meeting with said publisher.  She’s given a suggestion by said publisher that her book was good but could actually be a phenomenal success if suddenly–in the throes of passion–her heroine is transported to a new era in time.  She must bed a man in each time period she lands in hopes of finally landing back in the present and in the arms of her one true love.  Molly–afraid to reject the suggestion–goes home and tries unsuccessfully to make the revisions her publisher  has asked for.

As an aside here, allow me to tell you about one of my own encounters with a publisher.  My novel, Montana Reins, is a western about a strong-willed. stubborn, intelligent horse trainer making a name for herself in a man’s arena.  One publisher I submitted the synopsis to asked for the entire manuscript, which I sent.  I got back a positive response telling me the publishing house was very interested in signing me, but only if I was willing to make a couple changes to the manuscript.  Here are their requests (mind you, I had to pick which one I was willing to adhere to):

  1. Could I change the time period to some point in the future (my choice of time) and have the entire book take place in outer space; or
  2. Could I rewrite the book to 1700s Ireland

I passed on the publisher.  I have faith in my work and had I thought the plot would work in either time period, I would have written it in one or the other to begin with.  And, another publisher took the manuscript as written.  Now, let’s check in with Molly and see what she’s up to…

Back at the publisher’s office, she admits she cannot make the changes requested.  The publisher stands up and snidely tells her he owns her and will destroy her unless she does as he demands.  Dejected and demoralized, Molly goes home and works on the book.  Then we see her at the office of her publisher once more only this time she pulls a fast trick on him and sneakily gets him to change his mind.  It’s not enough that he falls for her ploy, but he also shrinks back and gives in to her demands.

Only in a television comedy could this happen between a writer and a publisher.  What upsets me is not that this isn’t a real world depiction of the relationship between a writer and a publisher, but that it passes as comedy.

I am secure enough in my talent to not be offended by what has taken place between Molly and her publisher.  However, as a television viewer I am disappointed in the plot, the characterization, and the dialogue.  My biggest question is not: Could this happen in real life?  No, my biggest question is: What has happened to sitcom writing today?

Until next time, I hope your television viewing is something to laugh at!

Murphy’s Law by Valerie J. Patterson

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like you never should have gotten out of bed? Or at the very least never left the house? This morning, as I looked down at the hardwood floor in my kitchen, I was reminded of one such day when my husband and I moved into the home we now reside in.  After the closing, we rigorously began making some renovations in order to give it our own personal touch.

We’d painted the kitchen, selected a lovely wall border for the very top, and then decided we should replace the flooring. After making several rounds to such stores as Home Depot, Lowes, and several flooring stores, we settled on laying down a new hardwood floor by ourselves. They call it a floating floor because the flooring is not nailed or glued down, but rather has an interlocking tongue and groove system that makes it the perfect choice for do-it-yourselfers like us.

So, after browsing aisle upon aisle of hardwood flooring by more manufacturers than we ever knew existed, we settled on a lovely solid oak flooring. I scoured the nearby aisles for a handcart in order to load up our many boxes of flooring then excitedly pushed it down the aisle where Steve waited for me. He bends down to the bottom shelf (if that’s what you can call the spaces in home improvement stores where products are stacked on skids and pallets) where our selection is supposed to be supplied only to find out someone has stocked that area with the wrong product.

After I hail down an employee, he laughs at our request and says, “Yeah, we’re supposed to have a skid of that somewhere around here, but no one has been able to locate it in a week. You’re like the third couple in two days to ask for it.”

We nod.

“If you need anything else, just ask,” he says and then he disappears down another aisle.

I look at Steve and he says, “And so the process begins again.”

Scouring the aisles again, we spy a very popular name brand of hardwood flooring that’s been clearanced. Steve opens one of the boxes that’s previously been opened by another customer and pulls out several hardwood boards, assembles them, and lays them on the floor. I instantly admire the deep, rich stain of the wood and it’s highly polished polyurethane finish and declare, “I like this even better than the other one that they can’t seem to locate.”

Steve shakes his head at my reminding him of our previous selection and agrees that the color is more what we were looking for. So we’re both in agreement and I go to the aisle where we left the handcart, retrieve it, and rejoin him only to notice a deep scowl on his face.

“What?” I ask.

“It would appear the pricing label is in the wrong place. The product that we like is actually several hundred dollars more per square foot than we were hoping to spend.”

“How can that be?” I ask dumbfounded that yet another product in this place has been misplaced.

“Easy. See the arrow?”

I nod.

“The product on sale is this.” And he holds up two huge planks of wood that are sort of orange in color and truly ghastly.

“Yick.”

Steve nods. “I kinda thought you’d say that.”

So the search begins again. The guy who can’t locate the skid of the hardwood we want to buy crosses our path again and asks if he can help. We explain what we’re looking for and he shows us his favorite line of hardwood flooring. Instantly, I find a shade of stain very similar to the one we thought was on sale and I show it to Steve.

“Yeah, that will work.”

And we’re in agreement.

Again!
Steve reaches for an installation guide and begins reading. “We need to keep looking,” he informs me.

“Why?”

“This only has a 10 year life-time warranty and it has to be glued down. I want to avoid gluing the flooring because if one plank gets damaged I’d have to tear up the whole floor to replace it. With the floating floor, I can replace planks with minimal aggravation.”

“Okay.”

I sit down on the handcart I’ve been luggin behind me and Steve sets a small packet of brads on it, and we have a chuckle that we need a handcart for a packet of brads.

Two hours later, we’re still looking at hardwood flooring only now we have several sections of flooring put together and scattered here and there throughout the aisle where we’re looking. Employees have now avoided our section of the store for at least 45 minutes. One guy even put up a barrier at one end that said the aisle was closed.

Yeah, Steve and I got a real chuckle out of that one.

Not.

Okay, so finally, we settle on a lighter shade than we had originally intended and in wider planks than we had originally intended and I once more lug the handcart over to where we think the product is stored. I smile as I realize there are mountains of the product sitting on the very bottom skid and I can actually visualize us leaving the store this time.

Steve reaches down and hefts two cartons of hardwood flooring onto the handcart. We need six cartons. He reaches for another and I stop him.

“That says antique pine on it,” I point out dismally. “We’re looking for oak honey.”

Steve grunts his agreement and shoves the two cartons he had aside, reaches for two more and realizes that they are all antique pine.

“Some of the cartons are in there backward,” I suggest hopefully. “Perhaps they’re oak honey?”

Again, Steve grunts and commences turning the cartons around to read the labels. “All antique pine.”

I throw up my hands and declare tiles of linoleum are the way to go.

“Now hold on,” Steve says levelly. “I want hardwood flooring. This is my project.”

I look at my watch. “Okay, but the store closes in 4 hours.”

“Very funny.”

And the process begins again.

After looking up and down the aisles yet again, we return to the oak honey. To the two lonely cartons of oak honey.

“We’ve been here before,” I inform him.

“Let me ask that guy over there if perhaps they have a skid of it in the back or something.”

I laugh. Our roles are reversed. Usually, I am the one who’s optimistic to the point Steve grits his teeth and grins, trying to be patient with me. Now, I am the one who says if there is a skid of it somewhere, chances are no one knows where it’s hiding and asking will be futile.

Steve doesn’t waiver.

He leaves me in the aisle with the handcart still holding a packet of brads. No salespeople can be found, but to their dismay, there’s a pole at the end of one aisle that allows customers to flip a switch and a voice comes over the loudspeaker announcing there are customers in the hardwood flooring needing immediate help.

A young man approaches. He’s heard the rumors that there is a mad couple in that section of the store. He tentatively shifts his gaze from Steve to me and back to Steve.

“Can I help you?” he asks timidly.

“There appears to only be two cartons of oak honey flooring here. I need six. Can you tell me if you have more?”

Again, his gaze shifts from Steve to me and back to Steve. He’s almost afraid to say they’re either out of it or have misplaced it. My hand wraps tighter around the handle of the handcart. I’m calculating in my head the height of this skinny salesperson verses the velocity with which I can run him over with the handcart.

He sees that glint in my eyes.

I smell fear in the air.

I see fear in his eyes.

He grins. “Yeah, I’ve got a skid of that stuff on the very top of the aisle. Can you wait a minute while I get a lift to get it down?”

“Sure,” Steve replied.

I just grin, relax my grip on the handle of the handcart, and draw a deep breath.

The young man has escaped.

Ten minutes later, six cartons of flooring are on the cart along with a pull-bar, spacers, underlayment, and that single packet of brads. At the check out counter I nearly expect to see the employees lined up cheering us on as we checkout. I’m certain I saw a few come out of hiding as I pushed the handcart to the register.

The salesgirl is ogling our flooring. Going on about what a lovely choice we’ve made. Steve makes small talk while I mutter incoherently to myself.

It’s over.

It’s finally over.

****

So sorry this is late being posted.  I had a blond moment last night and forgot to post it and set a timer.  I hope you enjoyed this blog.  Until next time, take care and enjoy each day!    Valerie

That Look by Valerie J. Patterson

Ever have one of those moments where the realization has hit you that you’ve turned into one or a combination of both of your parents?  Oh yeah, come on.  Admit it.  You know what I’m talking about.  Out of your mouth flew some catch phrase of your folks that you swore you’d never use, and boom!  You were struck with that bolt of electricity that instantly turned you into your parent(s).

It’s true that I’m not a parent yet, but I am an aunt, a teacher, and an observant person so I know that it’s not only possible, but very likely that at some point in my lifetime I will turn into one or both of my parents.  Not literally, but rather figuratively in the regards that I will either say something or do something that mirrors them when it comes to reprimanding, talking to, or correcting a child.

I suspected it would happen.

I knew it would happen.

I looked for it to happen and I can tell you the exact instant it did happen.

Recently, I was at my little sister’s house.  I was having a great time there with my nieces and my sister.  We were chattering and laughing and giggling and acting silly—like aunts do with their nieces and nephews.  Suddenly, my youngest niece said something my sister didn’t like and I sat there horrified as my mother came out of my sister.

When I was a kid, my mother was the disciplinarian of the normal, everyday, routine infractions.  If we misbehaved to the point where she uttered the words, “Sit there until your father comes home” then we knew whatever it was we’d done warranted severe punishment.  We avoided that at all costs.  However, my sisters and I knew if the words, “Don’t make me stop this car” came from my mother’s mouth, we were in hot water.  Worse yet, if she gave us that look, we knew we were just a few inches away from hot water.

You know what look I’m talking about. That Look.  The one that causes young children and even adult children to tremble with fear, sit up straight, close their mouths, and lower their eyes. That Look.

When my niece misbehaved, I saw that That Look flow like fire from my sister’s eyes.  I mean, even I wanted to jump over the sofa and hide!  My niece just gulped, promptly sat down, and looked everywhere but at her mother.  My sister followed up the look with, “Now you think about what you said to your sister.”

My niece, not being wise in the ways of punishment yet, asked, “Can I do it in my room while I watch Scooby Doo?”

I was left with no choice but to snicker.  For my efforts, I was awarded the look.  To which I said, “I’ll just sit here and think about laughing at improper times.”

My sister lost it!  Before long, we were back to chattering, giggling, and acting goofy.  But I knew my sister had rounded the bend in life and had become my mother.

A short time after that day, I had the luxury of watching my nieces.  As I am the funny, goofy aunt, they weren’t sure just how far they could push me and get away with it.  I think all children test the waters of an adult looking to find their breaking point.  My youngest niece—the Scooby Doo fan—found my breaking point.  She was being disrespectful to her sister.  No, she was being a brat to her sister.  A certain grouping of words came from her mouth—I can’t even recall exactly what they were I just know they caught my attention.  My head snapped up and I whipped around to face her.  The smile disappeared from her face and she promptly sat down on the sofa.

Hitting me with her large brown eyes, she blinked her long black lashes at me and very matter-of-factly said, “Aunt Walry, you look just like grandma and mommy when you do that.  I don’t think you look good doing that.”

The words, “You sit there and think about what you said” died on my tongue.

Instantly, my stomach tightened and that bolt of electricity went through me bringing with it the realization I had turned into my mother.

I had acquired That Look.