Monday, June 4, 2018

Book Review: SOUTHERNMOST by Silas House

   After nearly ten years since the release of his last novel, Silas House returns to the literary scene this summer with Southernmost--Algonquin Books, $26.95--a story of compassion, redemption, and a man standing up for his beliefs in the face of turmoil.
            Asher Sharp, a hell-fire and brimstone Pentecostal preacher, and his young son, Justin, desperately fight to save their neighbors as a catastrophic flood devastates his small Tennessee hometown. The raging Cumberland river is literally washing away homes and businesses. Two men, engaged to each other and themselves victims of the flood, join in to help Asher and Justin save more people. When Asher learns the two have also lost their home to the flood, he offers to let them stay at his house with his family.
This decision sets in motion a series of not quite epiphanies, but more awakenings, in Asher and his belief system. As his mind opens and his world becomes larger, he soon realizes that his old way of preaching no longer works for him. Asher immediately feels the resistance to this change in his own family as well as his congregation. When a heart-felt, but ill-planned, sermon given by Asher is videoed and goes viral, he realizes the time for real change has come, whether he is ready or not.
This results in Asher planning what only a few months earlier would have been unthinkable: a not-exactly-legal road trip for him and his son to Key West, Florida. There, Asher hopes to find empathy, acceptance, and understanding for his crisis of faith, to show his son that the world is so much more than what he has been taught so far, and perhaps reconciliation with his older brother who was disowned by the family years ago for being gay.
Silas House is a master of dialogue and description. In fact, the description of driving through Georgia on the way to Florida is so perfect—from the religious billboards lining the interstate to the local roadside gas stations and diners—I feel like House stole the scenes directly from my memories.
House's descriptions of Key West are perfect.
The novel is lyrically written with poetic language that allows you to lose yourself in the pages. With his fresh, progressive approach, House is changing what a classic Southern novel looks like.
This is a timeless story of faith and family, as well as a timely tale of justice, equality, and acceptance. While this is a departure from Silas House’s other more Appalachian themed books, it is his best work to date. He captures the essence of the contemporary South beautifully without delving into the typical “grit-lit” that is currently so popular with the region’s authors.  In the years between novels, he has developed into one of the South’s best and bravest storytellers. SOUTHERNMOST is proof of that. 
Silas House
 Silas House's first public reading of Southernmost will be June 7th at Lexington's Brier Books at 6:00PM, located at 319 South Ashland Avenue.
To order a copy (even a signed copy if you wish), click here: ORDER SOUTHERNMOST
For more info on the reading, click here:  READING EVENT INFO
For a preview, click here and see a clip of Silas reading from Southernmost. If you have never heard him read, you are in for a treat: VIDEO CLIP OF HOUSE READING

Monday, February 12, 2018

2018 Inappropriate Valentine's Day Gifts

Valentine's Day is almost here!

IT IS ALMOST HERE. Do you have your well-thought-out, creative, one-of-a-kind gift purchased for your special boo? Have you scoured the pages of Pinterest to find THE perfect craft project that will let your love for your honey shine through? Have you read over thousands of greeting cards to find the one that says EXACTLY what you want to say to your lover on this special day? I certainly hope so, because IT IS ALMOST HERE.

If you haven't purchased your love-nugget a gift yet, might be the voice of reason and say just go with a heart box full of chocolate or some nice flowers. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BUY ANY OF THE FOLLOWING.

Inappropriate Valentine's Day Gifts

Penis Slippers

What can I say here to make you understand what a no-no this is for a gift? Really, the mere fact that one needs to tell you not to buy them, makes me question the fact you have a Valentine at all. Not only are they really ugly--the pubic hair alone is enough to make you gag--they are very impractical. I would imagine the phallus flopping along your shin would be very disconcerting, annoying, and would make you lose your balance.

Link to Penis Flip Flops

Toilet Products of Any Sort

Toilet paper has its place. It is a necessity, but it is never a gift item. Especially a gift for the most romantic holiday of them all. The last thing you want to do on Valentine's Day is remind your special someone that you poop. Period.

Link to Love Shit

Anything Emoji 
Showing up for your Valentine's Day date wearing this Emoji mask isn't funny. It is creepy. It doesn't say, "I am in love with you, and I want to have fun tonight!" It says, "I am psychotic, and you should run away from me while you still have a chance."

Link to Emoji Mask

Love Welcome Mats

Even if you lover is as dumb as a doorknob, he or she will not miss--at least subconsciously--the significance of being invited to wipe his or her feet on your heart. Don't do it.

Link to Heart Door Mat

Hot Shot Love Disc Shooter

Let me explain what will go down as soon as this gift is opened: 
Ouch! Oh, that’s cute, honey! Haha! I love you, too.
Ouch! I am yours, too! Okay? That's enough.
Ouch! Hey, let's play something else. Haha, Sweetie!
DAMN! Okay, give me that thing NOW!

Link to Love Message Disc Shooter


These things have been around as long as there have been Spencer Gifts in malls. I have never, ever understood the point of them or the attraction to them. No one wants to put on the same pair of underwear. It doesn't matter how hot you think you are, you are not hot enough to pull off this look. It is stupid, unsexy, and just plain dumb.

Link to Fundies

Any Diamond-Related Gift That Isn't A Ring

On Valentine's Day, the only thing should come in a ring-sized jewelry box is a diamond ring. In
This is actually a coffee cup. No.
particular, an engagement ring. No one wants a key chain with a glass solitaire. No one wants a coffee cup with a ring as the grip. No one even wants a freaking friendship ring on February 14th. Either bring out the good stuff or face the dire consequences. You have been warned.

link to Diamond Ring Coffee Mugs

Handmade Coupons 

Ain't nobody got time at all for some crappy homemade coupons that allows the recipient to redeem for "a long, wet kiss" or "a full body massage." No, no, no. Because you know why? The person giving these never intends to honor them. Ever. ESPECIALLY the ones that are a little more risque. You know that on April 24th, when you get home from a long day at work, the last thing you are going to do is allow your boo to cash in a "Tongue Bath" or whatever else you thought would be a good idea back in February. Not appropriate.

Any Dental Hygiene Products

Much like reminding your honey-badger that you poop, reminding them of your bad breath or poor dental health is another no-no. His and hers toothbrushes or water-piks should be off-limits for Valentine's Day gifts. More importantly, any product that promises to rid you of "tongue fur" is horrid. In fact, if your partner has tongue fur at all, you may need to reconsider the prospect of this being a long term relationship.

Link to Dental Hygiene 

Bad Language Ridden Stuffed Animals

Perhaps people think it is really funny to combine a cute, fuzzy stuffed animal wearing shirts with very adult sayings on them. I suppose they may have their place somewhere in the sphere of relationship gifts, but that place is not on Valentine's Day. VDay is not the time to mix up your mojo by trying to become all gansta or get some street cred by calling your friend a "bitch." Using the vehicle of a stuffed animal to do it pretty much guarantees a loss of not only street cred, but of all common decency. Don't take that chance.

Link to  bad language bears

To sum it all up, Valentine's Day is not a holiday to experiment with your gift giving. Sometimes, traditional gifts are fine. 99.9% of all people would rather get a box of Russell Stover's candy than a pair of slippers with the entire male sexual anatomy attached.

Stay away from this list and you should be just fine.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Call of the Wild

Fasten your seat belts, it's gonna be yuge.

Well, Well, Well.

Here we are in 2017, and things are just as crazy and out-of-kilter as they were in 2016.

No. Just, no.
Our new President is a reality show star. La La Land just tied a record for the most Academy Award nominations. Big Macs are available in different sizes. Basically, the world is spinning out of control.

What's that, you say? If only we had been given some warning of the craziness ahead in 2017. If only there had been some Universal signs to notice.  Ah, my friends, but we were given a heads up. All we needed to do was look to the Animal Kingdom--the real one, not the one at Disney World that costs like $100 to get in--to see they knew something was amiss.

"We tried to tell you."

For centuries, it has been believed animals have a sixth sense in predicting natural disasters. From as early as 373 B.C., historians recorded that animals deserted cities or left for higher grounds days before earthquakes or floods. Relatively few animals were killed in the Great Tsunami in Sri Lanka and India in 2004. They seemed to know what was about to happen and fled well in advance.

Now, you may not think that 2017 is such an out-of-control year. Maybe you like reality show
Presidents. Maybe you got jiggy with a mediocre musical movie. You may have always dreamed of an even bigger Big Mac. But, my God, man, LIFETIME REMADE THE MOVIE "BEACHES." Is this the kind of world you think is normal?!

The animals certainly don't think so. As I researched, I could see a trend. As late as September last year, our beastly friends were trying their best to give us a signal to open our eyes to what lay ahead. The methods they chose were a little unorthodox, and we probably wouldn't have paid them any mind, but they still tried. How, you ask? I'll give you three examples:

That's a big honking fish.

On Labor Day weekend, Miss Lisa Lobree, was strolling along a park in Philadelphia when, from out of nowhere, a CATFISH falls from the sky and beats her around the head and neck!

 “I think it might have [hit my] head, face, and neck because I smelled so bad afterwards. I smelled
See the mark under eye? Bless her heart.
disgusting,” said Lisa.

According to the report in the link above (the news video is included in the link), the fish fell from about 50 feet above, measured 18 inches, and weighed about 5 pounds.

I am not an expert on the city of Philly, but I am fairly certain there are not a lot of catfish flying around near the art museum.

When you get hit in the head by a catfish falling out of the sky in a major city, that is a sign of some sort. Just ask Lisa.

"Where's the beef? I'll show you where the beef is."

"Come at me, bro."
Also in September, an Australian bull tried to make humans take notice of the upcoming craziness upon us. He hooked his horn into the feet of the low-flying helicopter, causing the pilot to lose control of the aircraft. The result, as you can see, was a total loss of the copter, while the cow remain perfectly fine. Although the official story in the link above describes the helicopter crash as an accident, who is to say that the bull wasn't desperately trying to get the pilot's attention in order to make him tell the Americans to watch out. I bet the pilot, who survived the crash, may think so.

"Yum, another human lollipop."

Finally, the month of September ended with a poor 21-year old feller getting his pecker bitten by a Redback Spider FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS YEAR. This dude works construction, and has to use a porta-potty--which are themselves signs of the End Times, or at least they smell that way--when nature calls on the job. 

Being bit one time could easily be chalked up to coincidence or bad luck. I mean, it is totally within my luck parameters to be spider bit on my privates. In fact, I am a bit surprised it hasn't happened to me, yet. But, to be bit a second time, in the same spot, in the same type of bathroom, is too much. THAT
Not the actual man, but probably accurate face at time of bite.

"I'm the most unlucky guy in the country at the moment," the victim said. "I was sitting on the toilet doing my business and just felt the sting that I felt the first time. I was like 'I can't believe it's happened again.' I looked down and I've seen a few little legs come from around the rim."

Are you unlucky, sir, or were you chosen by a Charlotte's Web-ish spider, albeit a sadistic one, to spread the message of impending disaster? I think you know the answer.

There you have it. The missed signals were given last September by our friends in the wild. Maybe someday we will be wise enough to open our minds and eyes to nature's wisdom, but until that happens, you can find me on my couch watching movies that should have never been remade and eating an extra bigly Big Mac.