Wednesday, September 19, 2018

My Very First Book Review

by Angela K. Durden
The Most Brilliant Woman in the World
Business writer.  Songwriter.  Protecting creator's copyrights. 

My very first book review ever was when I was in first grade. That's right. In first grade I had a big ol' hint as to what I was going to be good at, what would make people hate me, yet what would serve readers well.

It came when the teacher gave out a book called "Fun With Dick and Jane" featuring two kids who looked like brother and sister. A picture showed Dick running. The words said "See Dick run." I turned the page and there was Jane running. "See Jane run," said the words. I turned the pages and saw more equally inane content and story line. I slammed it shut and issued my first book review.

"This book is stupid!"

So what that Dick and Jane ran. Where was the plot? Why was Dick running and why was Jane running after him? Where was the fight? Who was being threatened? What were they running toward? Hell, what were they running from? 

I needed backstory. I needed a compelling first paragraph that would suck me into the story. Something that would make me care they were running. Did the writer deliver any of this?

No, he did not.

Look, when I saw the title included the words "Fun with...", I assumed a completely different story than some insipid little tale of two kids running around doing silly things like playing with a dog or brushing their teeth or running around a yard. 

And the repetitious use of words like look, up, run, and see, made sentences completely boring. As you can see from the graphic to the right, it was obvious to me, a first grader, that this man had no clue how to write. Hell, I was in first grade and already could make sentences better than that.

Granted, I couldn't write them too well because I was still learning how to form the letters, but by second grade full sentences with little to no repetitious words were the norm for me. My sentences also tended to wrap to at least a second, and sometimes a third, line, whereas the other kids in the class sweated over sentences that included maybe three or four words.

By fourth grade, I was at the public library checking out stacks of books over a wide array of subjects and that used lots and lots of words that I had to use a dictionary for.

I was in heaven. Librarians did not understand. They thought I was faking reading those books. Reading above my grade level was not the norm and you would have thought they would encourage it, but many didn't know what to do with such a child and kept pushing me toward age-appropriate material.

They could tell by my gag reflex that none of those were my cup of tea. Once, a librarian suggested I read a story about teenage love. "All the other girls like it," she said. I took it because I couldn't figure out how to get out of it and, besides, maybe this will be a good book.

It wasn't. All drama and girl-boy parties, but not one bullet, fight, or big issue on the table. 

So when I issue a book review these days, I only do it when I like the book because there are still so many bad books out there with the equivalent of insipid writing in the first book I reviewed.

Nothing has changed. That is so sad. 

Reviewing books naturally led to editing. After all, what is a good editor but someone with an opinion they can back up with hard facts and who can offer a brilliant solution? So many writers wear their hearts on their sleeves that when they get my edits back their first thought is how much they hate me. They never think, "Gee, I have to improve my writing." 

By seventh grade I was reading John lé Carré, Frederick Forsyth, Victoria Holt, and others like them. Those folks knew how to make Dick and Jane run. 


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday morning breaks on Angela's balcony.

The Most Brilliant Woman in the World

The constancy of the cicadas' calls do not stop even as the wind twitches the tops of trees and shuddering leaves fall. 

A mother calls for her child to come eat his breakfast. 

A door slams and a dog yaps for his owner to hurry, hurry down stairs slick with dew, huffing, panting, pulling hard to sniff out this morning's special piece of grass or tree. 

The wind dips lower and hair moves into my eyes. I push out a lip and blow quick, focused air pushing strands back into place. 

Small drops of rain, blown by the wind, land on my arms like cold, fine needle points, teasing the skin with refreshing vigor. 

Coffee cools as pages turn and a gray light of an overcast day threatens to hide the story. 

Distant echoes of wheels on pavement remind of chores undone and goals unmet, but the cicadas' calls say bide a while longer in our company... and I do.

Help support this author. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

P-HWPCLDRSFC*: A commentary in video on their state of being

by Angela K. Durden
The Most Brilliant Woman in the World
Business writer.  Songwriter.  Protecting creator's copyrights. 

ISSUANCE OF A "Trigger Warning" for the perpetually offended is hereby attached. Do not click the video if you're gonna get your panties in a twist and whine. 

P-HWPCDLRSFC is Pussy-Hat Wearing Politically Correct Democrat Liberal RINO Socialist Fascist Commies


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Your Pig Latin Song O'da Day #4

At it again...all for you.

by Angela K. Durden
The Most Brilliant Woman in the World

You see what I do for you? I scour these here Dubya-Dubya-Dubya Internets to bring you stuff like this.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Goodbye, Aretha.

by Angela K. Durden, Fan

August 16, 2018 the Queen of Soul died from pancreatic cancer exactly 41 years after Elvis died from a heart attack. I mentioned this to my friend, an old, old, old former radio guy from the mid-1960s to early 1970s who remembered Elvis and Aretha well. He hastened to change the subject to a more upbeat topic.
He said, “Hey, Angela, the reason I remember when Elvis died is because he and Aretha both died on my birthday.”
I said, “What? Today is your birthday?”
“Yep. Guess who else was born on this day?” He looked all eager for me to guess but I just couldn’t and looked at him like I really wanted to know and then I said, “Who?” “Madonna!”
Let it be made perfectly clear that my friend has never once heard a song by Madonna because my friend stopped listening to the radio on the very day he quit the radio station. My old, old, old friend is one of those people who is thrust into a situation where he must remember massive facts and figures then spew them out again quickly and accurately. Which is why he made such a great DJ. He is also one of those people that never forgets data. So that the fact that he even knew Madonna’s name and that she was a singer, actress, and all-round glamourous material girl has nothing to do with his interest in her but more to do with her team’s marketing expertise and damn, they are experts at it.
Of course, even Madonna’s team is having trouble with marketing these days because a lot of their efforts centered around Madonna’s outrageous and ever-increasing scandalous behavior.
All this is quite opposite from Aretha Franklin who is not known for swirling scandal, but for her massive talent. Granted, Aretha had drama in her life, but she did not use it to get free column inches. Instead, she did not want to talk about the drama, often refusing to speak of it when asked by reporters.
While I was not there when reporters got pushy in digging for scandal, I can bet the Queen of Soul put them in their place real fast, and I can bet they didn’t try it again for fear of finding out what “or else” really could mean.
And that is why I like Aretha. She was truly the Queen of Class and Soul. She showed both during the 1998 Divas Live brought to television by VH1 which lined up the best of the best: Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Céline Dion, Gloria Estefan, Shania Twain, and Mariah Carey. So, what happened was that Aretha didn’t stop singing when it was Céline’s turn to sing. Well, Céline, unlike most Canadians, wasn’t putting up with Aretha stomping all over her stage time and she decided she was going to show Aretha a thing or two.
By way of explaining what happened, Carole King began by saying, “Bless [Aretha’s] heart, but she does like to take over.”
But Aretha knew who was on the stage with her. And she knew who needed to learn a lesson. And so she was teaching the tiny Canuck to know her place. Now, Aretha could do that and not be a smart-ass high-faluting ego-maniac because Aretha had come up the hard way in life and in the business. Céline did not. In fact, Céline’s story is more like a fairy tale comparatively speaking.
Aretha understood that some folks gotta learn the hard way and that some folks need to learn in public and where but on national television in a much vaunted show would be better? No place. Aretha did not shirk her duty and when she kept singing through Céline’s part and Céline was getting antsy about it, Aretha knew Céline would try something stupid and she did.
She tried to out-diva Aretha.
Céline’s attempt did not work. Do not believe what the other stars on the show said about the situation because I’m telling you what it looked like from the viewer’s POV and that is all that matters in live TV and in this show Céline showed herself up as being a Wannabee. She pulled out all the stops in her vocal arsenal and found herself wanting.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, she found herself craving the power, tone, control, and range of Aretha’s voice, and was inadequate in rendering the song “Natural Woman” with all the emotional capacity carried fluently through Aretha’s voice. Céline ended a great evening by trying to start a cat fight and all that did was make her look bad. Not a good move, Céline.
But, Aretha, Aretha, Aretha, even Céline will miss you and I bet she does a tribute to you in one of her splashy shows because, I do believe, the lesson you taught her has been learned.
Goodbye, Aretha.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Your Pig Latin Rap O'da Day #1

At it again...all for you.

by Angela K. Durden
The Most Brilliant Woman in the World

You see what I do for you? I scour these here Dubya-Budya-Dubya Internets to bring you stuff like this.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Where do story ideas come from? Well, let me tell you.

What is Angela up to now?
by Angela K. Durden
The Most Brilliant Woman in the World

What follows are first lines from a random selection of books off my shelves. Shall I weave them into a story? If the answer is yes, email me at or reply to this posting with a big fat YES! 

  • Two very beautiful naked girls are crouched facing each other. 
  • In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
  • Franklin Fletcher dreamed of luxury in the form of tiger-skins and beautiful women.
  • We keep contucci di Prato stocked in the bar at all times.
  • Without warning, in the middle of the thirties, I had a breakdown of nerve.
  • The man in gray decided to take the Glen Suite of diamonds at midnight.
  • A man with a wooden leg walked along a hospital corridor.
  • “Wouldn’t you like to go to church with me tomorrow morning?”
  • In Whitfield, Nebraska, there are only three bars.
  • You were born and were a happy child.
  • Many survival case histories show that stubborn, strong willpower can conquer many obstacles. 
  • George had always been a carefree person — or so he thought — until that afternoon in early October.
  • Aliens suck at music.
  • At one minute out, the Black Hawk crew chief slid the door open.
  • Not so long ago, menopause was a word you did not say out loud in public.
  • Why did he do it?
  • Homicide investigation is a profound duty.
  • Either this will ring bells for you, or it won’t.
  • Being a lawyer is hard enough, but being a lawyer who from time to time writes sassy and irreverent commentary for the newspapers is to subject one’s self to flaying on two fronts.
  • The Pilates method of body conditioning is a unique system of stretching and strengthening exercises developed over ninety years ago by Joseph H. Pilates.
  • On an October Sunday afternoon, Jack Taft, innocently unaware that he was marked for death, sat slumped in Singapore Airlines’ first-class lounge. 
  • Two young men on horseback.
  • The house was a disaster.
  • At airports, train stations, sporting events, and just about anywhere Americans congregate in significant numbers, signs posted by the Department of Homeland Security urge, “If you see something, say something.”
  • Frank Borman brought three Russian cosmonauts and their interpreter to see Dolly.
  • What matters?


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

You mean free speech doesn't end because somebody is uncomfortable?

At it again...all for you.

by Angela K. Durden
The Most Brilliant Woman in the World
Business writer.  Songwriter.  Protecting creator's copyrights. 

What does a t-shirt about the border wall on the bottom side of the U.S. have to do with black arm bands protesting the Vietnam War?

In both instances, one from about 50 years ago and one from 2018, the courts ruled that free speech is a right granted students in school. Even after passing through the schoolhouse gates and with P-HWPCDLRSFCs* saying that speech caused them to be offended.

So, yay for those students who spoke up and yay for those judges who said the young man's lawsuit in Oregon had merit and that it would proceed which, of course, made the school district rethink its position on how much money they were willing to throw at the case. They covered his legal expenses to date and the principal wrote a letter of apology to the young fella who brought a political statement t-shirt to a political discussion class.

I remember my first brush with Socialism in the school [Tetherball: My First Brush with Socialism.] and how angry it made me at the time. Still, Miss Chapman didn't realize she was pushing a Socialist agenda because, more than likely, she had received the first round of Fairness Training as the Commies in power in the teacher schools began rolling out their long-term plan for dumbing down the U.S. population with the Socialist Caring Doctrine, and it all sounded so warm and fuzzy and how could that possibly be bad, right?

Socialism is so much more warmer sounding than communism which is why most Socialists in power are Communists, but both ideologies hurt equally bad. Tomato, toemahtoe, it's all the same bloody red mess when government bullets start flying against innocent citizenry after their guns have been outlawed and impounded.

I've always pushed back against Socialism and Communism, I don't care which brand of clothes they claim to wear. Anybody try to force me to show I'm in support of or against a thing or else they will punish me, then I'm all over their asses with a lesson of my own. 

So, to the Addison Barnes in other high schools who have been told they have no right to free speech while they are in schools Elementary, High, or Higher, I say, "Kudos to you. Isn't it nice to get your spine back?"

Please understand, though, that a court's protection of free speech rights does not make the opinion of the speaker valid, and that is where a lot of people get confused. They think if they have the right to say it, then they are right.

That is not true. Getting or giving pushback. Starting or joining a discussion. Finding what works and identifying what does not. That's what free speech is all about and that is why the Middle East and the former Soviet block and some cities and states in the U.S. are having such a difficult time: They believe in free speech only for themselves and they will shut up any dissenting voices.

Just ask bakers of cakes about being shut up and shut down for standing up for their rights to free speech.


P-HWPCDLRSFC is Pussy-Hat Wearing Politically Correct Democrat Liberal RINO Socialist Fascist Commies.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Paper or plastic?

At it again...all for you.

by Angela K. Durden
The Most Brilliant Woman in the World
Business writer.  Songwriter.  Protecting creator's copyrights. 

The cashier helpfully pointed and asked, "Paper or plastic?" 

"Paper or plastic what?" I replied as I turned attention from my children who were about to kick each other's asses in the grocery checkout.

She pointed again. "Bags. Paper or plastic?" 

"Plastic!" I cried out in joy because these bags were the same size as my little trashcans around the house and all I could think was, "Ha! Saving money."

And for the next thirty years I was not asked that question until I moved to Decatur, Georgia, a place one cannot turn around in twice without bumping against a P-HWPCDLRSFC*.

Now when I get asked paper or plastic, I know where I better say paper, or else, brethren, the environmental gods will rain disapproval down upon my head. 

Ah, what a difference three decades can make. A complete 180° turn and yet the piousness has not left the room. 

To bring you up to date, you might want to read what I wrote HERE about the recent plastic straw ban in Santa Barbara. But do you see the problem? Everybody used to use paper straws, then plastic came in because they lasted longer, were sturdier, and so forth and for seven decades made the tree huggers happy because it SAVED TREES. Now the tides they be a-turning.

However, the real reason for this column is that I have to ask the P-HWPCDLRSFC* how it is they can recommend, or force use of by law, of anything? 

If they use paper products, a TREE DIES!
If they use metal products, the SKY DIES!
If they use leather, a precious COW DIES!
If they use plastic products, the EARTH DIES!
If they use electricity, the CLIMATE DIES!

How can they wipe their boohiney, blow their nose, change a tire, clean their car, make use of life-saving medical procedures, and a host of other things I know all these folks do? 

What does the current Santa Barbara plastic straw ban tell us? It tells us that there is more than one kind of environmental wa-...errrr...I mean — you know, I'm just gonna say it — wackjob, and that they are all shortsighted hypocrites.

We should soon be seeing Pro-Paper P-HWPCDLRSFC* marching against Pro-Metal P-HWPCDLRSFC*. Oh, the fun. I can see it now.

Both sides show up in the same uniform — pussy hats and "Execute Trump!" signs  — and they stand around hurling insults at the sky because they can't tell who is for paper straws and which is for metal.

Hmmmm...maybe not so much fun after all...unless the Pro-Leather doms and dommettes show up.

But I bet #CrunkNewsNetwork will manage to turn the pussy-hat fest into a cause célèbre what with their great ability to use misleading figures and tight camera shots and their willingness to have a stand-up reporter have a hand in making up fake news. 

P-HWPCDLRSFC is Pussy-Hat Wearing Politically Correct Democrat Liberal RINO Socialist Fascist Commies
** FLOTSAM means For Liberal Opinion That is Serious and Actually Matters


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Knock-Knock-Knocking on Your Front Door: The Straw Schutzstaffel

At it again...all for you.

by Angela K. Durden
The Most Brilliant Woman in the World
First they came for straws in a restaurant. What's next?
Breaking down doors and pointing guns at kids while straws are snatched from their mouths and they see their parents hauled off to the gulag?

Boys and girls, I am all for looking after the environment, but how one goes about it is usually the problem. Get gubment P-HWPCLDRSFCs* involved and see how that turns out. I shall say just five words that will tell you all you need to know:

Prohibition. The War On Drugs.

That's right. Starting in 1920, alcohol, or as we say here in the South: alkeeHAUL, became illegal to drink, produce, transport, or sell. Thirteen years and many deaths at the hands of the new gangs running the rum later, somebody called a halt to that silliness.

Then the nation and a whole heap of the rest of the world got distracted from alkeeHAUL what with fighting Fascism, Socialism, and Communism, and what not so that, come 1971, President Richard Nixon, who never broke a law in his life**, ended the Vietnam War and started another.

The War On Drugs is still going on here in 2018, 34 years longer than the ban on the demon drink. This silliness is still going on.

Even Donald "The Hammer" Trump, who is himself not a partaker of drugs and drink, is agreeing The War On Drugs is out of hand. After Kim Kardashian West gave him some information on one casualty of this war, "The Hammer" looked into it.

He then commuted the sentence of one Alice Marie Johnson who had one — count it: ONE!  — tiny non-violent drug offense and had been sentenced to life without possibility of parole. Now that it looks like this war is ending, though, P-HWPCLDRSFC, who claim they do not like war, have now started —

The War On Straws.

One can only assume the City Council of Santa Barbara, California, featuring Cathy, Jason, Randy, Oscar, Kristen, Eric, and Gregg (see complete names and mailing addresses below) have nothing better to do than start The War On Straws. You think I jest? Ha. Look at just some of the official language they have released. Please note: Like all sneaky grabbers of power do, they upped the ante. I excerpt pertinent parts:

This ordinance shall take effect on the 31st day following its adoption, but shall not become operative until 2:01 a.m. on January 1, 2019. 
9.165.030 Sale or Distribution of Plastic Beverage Straws Prohibited. A. It shall be unlawful for any food provider or beverage provider to use plastic beverage straws, or to provide, distribute, or sell plastic beverage straws to any person. B....Non-plastic alternative straws shall only be provided upon request. C....
Of course, the first to be in big trouble with the S-SS, or Straw Schutzstaffel, will be the servers. Everybody knows how hard it is to keep that ever-rotating group trained. Brave and brilliant business owners, already under a massive amount of government regulation and yet manage to somehow keep the lights on, employ others, and make a profit, will be the next targeted group.
9.165.040 Upon Request Provision of Plastic Cutlery or Stirrers. It shall be unlawful for any beverage provider or food provider to provide plastic cutlery or plastic stirrers...: (1) the beverage provider or food provider first asks that person whether they want to receive..., or (2) the customer affirmatively requests....
The KGB has to be laughing their asses off as they make fun of the undercover CIA operatives at their cocktail parties. But it gets worse. As P-HWPCLDRSFC care so much, their next provision for lawful use of plastic straws involves government-approved emergency response teams and...

Hold on to your hats...
C....3. The food provider or beverage provider provides, distributes, or sells a plastic beverage straw to a person for whom non-plastic alternatives are unsuitable due to a mental or physical condition that qualifies as a disability pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 USC § 12102).
Holy cow. Now the City Council of Santa Barbara wants servers to ask for proof that somebody qualifies as disabled before they can get a damn plastic straw?

All that proves is the P-HWPCLDRSFC are into dividing people into classes based on weaknesses instead of allowing everyone to go with their strengths.

What say you? 

Shall we send the City of Santa Barbara, Kal-I-Forn-Eye-Aye, a packet of straws for each member of the City Council. I did not see where it was against The War On Straws to receive straws as a gift, though I well imagine that redo of the ordinance language will follow shortly upon the Council members' receivership of the nations' gifts.

Should you decide to send straws, please address your packages to:

City Hall
Attn: Council Member recipient name here.
735 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Shall we say, one package each for the following? Mayor Cathy Murillo, and other Council members Jason Dominquez, Randy Rowse, Oscar Gutierrez, Kristen Sneddon, Eric Friedman, and Gregg Hart.

P-HWPCDLRSFC is Pussy-Hat Wearing Politically Correct Democrat Liberal RINO Socialist Fascist Commies
** You will have surmised major comedic irony in this statement, right?


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Public Service Announcement: National Girlfriend's Day

This is a public service announcement from your Citizen Journalist, Angela K. Durden, also known as The Most Brilliant Woman In The World:

In the real world, this is NOT the best way 
to end 99.99999999995% of relationships.*

Written and composed and sung 
by your Citizen Journalist, 
and songwriter, 
Angela K. Durden.
Alan Dynin on piano.
Ted Pettus on harpoon.
Share with your peeps.

*Please be advised your Citizen Journalist, Angela K. Durden, also known as The Most Brilliant Woman In The World, is not here advocating for any particular murder, nor does this statement endorse the efficacy of any particular method of murder. In other words, easy death or hard, she makes no opinion. She is, however, simply stating a fact and which is that sometimes somebody's gonna die for good cause. Novelists, those who write fiction, rely upon this fact when coming up with their plot points. If you would like to read an extremely good example of this writing method, please click here and buy this book.