mercoledì 31 maggio 2017

Novel - Blog Post - Comment

Richard's Bass Bag* prides itself on bringing you the highest possible posts for your reading pleasure. Okay we've had our sad times - like the infamous deletion of older posts because of a problem from this place a couple of years ago.

The one-light-working-corridor at 7am
at Nuova Lazio High School.

We rise above challenges at Richard's Bass Bag* and have invented a scheme to lift ourselves up to even greater heights. Hence our slogan:


Our plan is to have our slogan printed on hats like this.

Lately we've been hit by a spate of very long comments on our posts. We at Richard's Bass Bag believe, no we know, there is a difference in the length of a novel, a blog post and a comment.

We know that comments should be brief, chirpy and to the point. We won't tolerate attacks on the character of any of our staff. If a comment is deemed too long or aggressive, we will delete it and leave our own comment in its place - "Comment removed for being too long' or "Comment removed for being too aggressive."

We won't be entering into debate about how long a comment should be, we'll just go by this simple and easily understood rule:
Novel (very long)                 Blog Post (can vary a bit in length but shorter than a Novel)
                      Comment (short, chirpy and to the point).

We will continue to bring you the highest quality blog posts possible.

* the original bass bagging site

Holy shit.

The continuing story of Richard the Sinner's adventures in Heaven.

The one good thing about spiritual shit in Heaven was that it didn't smell. Actually there weren't that many smells in Heaven, but those that were present were good smells - flowers, cooking smells and coffee were among the most common aromas.

This lack of a stink had an effect on some sayings that had survived from Earth.*
For instance, "Eat shit and die" had become "This shit smells good enough to eat", which wasn't really accurate since spiritual shit actually had no smell. Still, some people liked to use the phrase.
Richard the Sinner had suffered from a bit of a need for cleanliness thing on Earth so non smelling shit caused a bit of a dilema. Was it good or was it bad? 'A rose by any other name...'
Out of habit he personally still used air freshener 'when Heaven called'. There was no need, but old habits were hard to break.
Anyway overall his job was quite pleasant; at worst a whole lot better than he had expected it to be.

To be continued...

* one of Heaven's feeder planets

martedì 30 maggio 2017

Welcome to the afterlife.

No one expected Robert to live until 98, but he did.

Surprisingly those last thirty years had been good.
He'd blogged until the end. Those two old atheist bloggers Richard (of RBB) and The Curmudgeon were long gone and he'd fell in with a little community of Christian bloggers who really appreciated reading his thoughts. In fact, what he wrote after a few beers usually went down really well - the readers seemed to enjoy a bit of fire and brimstone. The Holy Trinity posts were so popular that he went to a lot of trouble to undelete (thanks to new technology from 2029) some of the earlier ones he'd written around 2017.
His poems were popular too. In a time when everything seemed so complicated his simple thoughts and comforting rhymes seemed like just the tonic.
His violin playing was a bit of a hit too. Although he found it a little hard to get past third position in his latter years, the Classical Music Renaissance of 2032 had played right into his hand.

It had become cool to listen to Mozart and Paganini - most kids did. People like Dylan and The Rolling Stones were largely forgotten. Funk music was only played in poorer parts of town and Country music had been sent packing years ago. Younger listeners wanted complexity and had gone back to the old masters. This old guy in his nineties who had a vast repertoire of Classical violin music was held in very high regard. His only surviving brother Daryl was able to suppliment his pension, and rest home fees, by working as Robert's accompaniest.

* * *

Everything has to come to an end. For Robert is was caused by being a bit reckless on his mobility scooter. He should never have tried to overtake that freight hovercraft.

However, it was good to finally meet St Peter.

St Peter welcomed Robert and said that he had lived a good life.
Robert asked about his brothers but St Peter said Heaven was a little more complicated than most people imagine when they are on Earth.
He explained that not everyone was sent to Hell for not getting their shit together on Earth. He also explained that God had several feeder planets and he hadn't given the exact same message (instructions) to each planet; thus causing a little bit of confusion at The Pearly Gates.

It took St Peter a while to find his brother Richard because he has been filed under the surname 'of RBB', a bit of a technical error. He had been reclassified as Richard the Sinner and was eventually found under surnames beginning with the letter S
There are no toilets in Heaven because the occupants are all spirits, but it seemed that Richard the Sinner was working in a job that could best be described as the spirit equivalent on a toilet cleaner.

Not a bad cop because in Hell there is never any paper.

The Curmudgeon, it appeared, had been luckier. Jesus had come to his aid and he had been made an executive at JC Ecologically Friendly Wine Makers. It seemed that Jesus claimed that the only ingredient in his wine was water. Hard to top, even in Heaven.
It was The Curmudgeon's job to talk about all the things he could taste when he sampled these wines. Actually the wines tasted like water but still got you pissed, in a spiritual sort of a way.

Anyway, it had been a lucky break for that atheist bastard The Curmudgeon. Even Richard the Sinner, taking in the bigger picture, had not done too badly.
Robert poured a beer (a spiritual one - not quite as good as those on Earth), turned on a God 3 (the latest Heaven laptop) and settled down to enjoy his eternity in paradise. Richard the Sinner popped by a little later to empty his spiritual toilet.

lunedì 29 maggio 2017

No future for grumpy old men.

The Curmudgeon was tired.

"Yawn, I'm tired."
It had been a particularly hard week. He'd worked six hours for that bloody wine company, put comments on quite a few blog posts and tried to fill out his superannuation form.
"Surname." He wrote Curmudgeon.
"Christian Name." He wrote The.
"Sex." He wrote I try.
Then the questions got more complicated.
"If your partner works and is younger go to Question 7."
He'd worked hard all his life (except with that six hours a week wine job he currently had and liked to complain about) and, now that he was reaching the end of it all, they made him fill out a complicated form before he could get his meagre pension.
"At least Robert gets to go to an afterlife." he thought miserably.
He consoled himself by thinking where Richard (of RBB) was going.

"At least he'll be warm." he thought.
Then he wondered about Robert. Would God penalise him for all those silly bloody poems?

Possibly. God works in mysterious ways after all, and Robert had consumed a lot of piss in his time on Earth. Hardly a saintly life.

The Curmudgeon had been a man boy of the church once.

He'd been pretty good at it. Maybe, if it did turn out that Robert was right, God would have a long memory? I mean, he did have to wear a skirt. That must count for something.

Right now though he knew that he had to get that form finished. Then he'd allow himself to leave a few comments on Robert's blog.
Finally the form was completed, well at least he had done enough so that he could take it into Work and Income.
He fired up his trusty old Apple and was quick to find the LINKS service on that bass bagging site that he so admired.

Soon he was being redirected to Robert's blog.
His heart sank. Another bloody poem.


An early call, t'was just able to
Rip off for a quick pee;
Broke wind only once,
Yesterday I counted three.

A bit of rush to French does matter,
I cleaned the toilet first;
Brush broke so I used my hand,
This job can be a curse.

Then to Wadestown land of  gent
I had some lunch, five bucks spent;
I sprayed the house with sweetest scent,
That'll come out of my share of the rent!

Then dropped dear wife for tea prepare,
She said I'll wash your clothes;
I did the next clean in my underwear,
Cause I love to rhyme, there goes.

domenica 28 maggio 2017

Humbert is like a mirky pond.

In reality it was yellow and white.

I remember one night when, after deciding to ride on the bonnet, Tony put the brakes on extra hard and that thing in the middle almost castrated me.
Another night, on the outskirts of Taupo, three guys (I was one of them) tried to sleep in that Humber 80. 
The Curmudgeon wasn't there on that occasion, anyway he had his own car and tended to turn up to places in that.

The Curmudgeon
The Curmudgeon has written a couple of posts about an imaginary friend of his arriving - from America, I think.
At first I thought he was talking about that famous Humber 80, but it appears that his character is named Humbert.
Humbert is an old German name. I guess every name has to come from somewhere.
Then there the coincidents.

Imagine Badi al Zaman Hire's surprise when he arrived in the country as a 14 year old and saw those bins - his family have called him Bin since he was little.

Maybe The Curmudgeon needs to give us more background about this Humbert fellow?
Where was he born? Why is he in America?
Well, that's something for him to think about next time he finds himself waiting at a bus terminal.

A bus terminal

in reality

sabato 27 maggio 2017

Humber 80.

Bus stops!
Richard (of RBB) always felt them to be windy and cold.

They all made you feel like you were in Palmerston North.
He thought about his old friend The Curmudgeon and his imaginery American friend.
"He's called Humber, or something." Richard (of RBB) recalled. "Was it Humber 80? Or was that a car that Tony drove in the 1970s?"
"What," he thought, "was The Curmudgeon up to?"

The Curmudgeon
This was a man who, in his youth, had served the Roman Catholic Church well but had then purged himself of imaginery friends.

The Christian god was one who was now one friend short.

Okay, so far so good - as far as The Curmudgeon's aging reasoning was going.

But then a bit of an oops.

"Hi, this is my friend Humber 80."
Suddenly he has a new friend.

Richard (of RBB) abandoned the bus stop and walked to his car. At least he knew The Curmudgeon was not alone. He made a mental note to ring Bin Hire when he got home. Maybe they could get together over a vino or two?

venerdì 26 maggio 2017

Your practice can let you down.

PBs practice tomorrow, though only 4 boys will be there.

So, are they ready? Who will call the shots?

Will the music of Mozart feature, as Robert seems to be the best prepared?

Will written parts (charts on music stands) be allowed?

Will most songs have a guitar intro?

Will bass notes be restricted to one per bar?

We will find out tomorrow.

Sometimes, when you need a break your parts can let you down.

domenica 21 maggio 2017

Life Is A Journey.

People ride the buses for many reasons. Some are just heading home, while some are running away. For others it represents the start of an adventure.
There were several buses at the central terminal on this wet afternoon. No queues yet. Anyway, anyone wanting to queue would not know where to start. One bus was sitting empty. Lonely for passengers. Another had its baggage doors open but there was no indication where it was intending to go. A driver stood nearby smoking a cigarette.
He waited. No point in rushing, old ladies always shoved to the front at the final moment. Rushing was pointless.
He'd try for a seat nearer to the front of the bus. He liked a comfortable ride and certainly wouldn't be putting up with anyone who was going to try tilting their seat back.
He'd sometimes been referred to as a grumpy old man but that didn't worry him. In reality he viewed the world through a reasonable set of eyes. Eyes, like a camera, that had built an album full of memories and experiences. He understood justice and he knew how to behave. For instance, he'd never consider sitting in the aisle seat and putting his bag next to himself on the window seat. That was just not cricket.
He smiled as he thought of that phrase. Those young dudes sitting in the bus shelter, just across the road, hats on backwards and sharing a funny looking cigarette wouldn't even know what it meant.
He allowed himself to think for a while about his blog. He could see a post here.
"The return trip." he thought. "Or heading up north for a while."
How would he start it?
He could take a pot shot at that bass bagging site - a little joke or two. Then he could talk about the writers' festival and how he sniffed the wine he had with tea and what he smelt.
A bus that seemed to come from nowhere had just pulled in right beside him. It's sign said Whangarei.

He quickly evaluated the situation, "I'm the closest and have only one carry on bag. I can start the queue up close to the door. Okay, allowing for one or two old ladies pushing past, I'll be third on and can pick a good seat near the front. Any young ones will instinctively head down the back."
He took his post and waited. The driver was behind the steering wheel and writing in what he assumed was some kind of log book. He noticed quite a busy queue in front of one of the other buses. It was two buses down the street and he was unable to see where it was going because the buses were parked tightly together. He could see a couple of old ladies trying to push to the front. Except for them, the queue seemed quite orderly.
Then his driver opened the door.
"Sorry mate, this bus isn't going anywhere for a few hours. Where are you trying to get to?"
"Two buses back mate."
This was not fair. Eventually he was on the bus. Last on.
The bus was nearly full. He noticed a spotty fat kid who had parked himself in the aisle seat while the window seat was still empty. He considered having a 'chat' but the bus was starting to move.
No pretty young ladies to sit next to. The only other spare seat was next to a guy wearing a mowhawk haircut and a studded leather jacket. No choice.
His travelling companion seemed to check him out and then he spoke.
"Hey, you're not the guy who writes that blog are you?"
He was stunned as he didn't think anyone except for Robert and Richard (of RBB) read it.
"Yes I am. It's nice to know that people are reading it."
"It's good. I really liked that series of posts you did on the Holy Spirit. Who is that Curmudgeon guy who keeps leaving stupid comments?"

sabato 20 maggio 2017

My son's first double bass gig.

George got held up in traffic and arrived late for his first double bass gig.
The boys in the band were getting anxious so I offered to sit in.

They were all very good young players. We played a Bb minor blues.

George eventually arrived and settled into some great playing. That boy has wonderful time.

George asked me up for the final tune and we did a two bass thing. 

We played Cherokee at 330bpm. Angry Jesus! That's fast! What great young musicians. I did an arco solo that seemed to go okay.

Just off to read The Curmudgeon's next exciting post. On second thoughts I might have a glass or two of Chardonnay first. It might be about planning his bus trip back up north. Please, Robert's God, don't let it be about being rude to pregnant waitresses in wine bars. 

mercoledì 17 maggio 2017

Richard (of RBB)'s WINE GUIDE.

Okay, so you're planning to purchase a nice wine to go with the great dinner you are cooking for the little lady using herbs from your little herb pots that haven't really been adequately maintained.

The wine will be extra important if the herbs taste like shit.

This dog is up there with The Curmudgeon's herb pots.
Rule Number One:
Your wine will need to be about 13.5% alcohol. It gives a percentage number on the back of the bottle, though I always assumed that, being booze, it is full of alcohol.

The best place to get wine is from your local supermarket. Though, if you are a nearly retired school teacher, it might be safer to buy your wine from further afield because those supermarket employees probably have kids at your school and will be taking note of how many bottles you buy. There again, don't forget that you're nearly retired and really don't need to give a shit what they think.

In the supermarket head straight for the Chardonnay section - trust me on this one.

You will soon notice that they are not all the same price.

Rule Number Two:
Don't buy the cheapest or the most expensive.

The real cheap Chardonnays are sometimes shit. Corban's White Label is one to avoid, expecially if you've got a full day of teaching coming up. You only need to buy it if you are in an RSA or in a place like Taihape.

Why not grab that $30 plus bottle?

Expensive plonk won't necessarily get
you pissed any quicker.
The answer is simple:
Two $15 bottles = more wine.
Even a child can work that out.

Okay, dinner is served and you open the first of your two $15 bottles. The little lady is impressed when you tell her how much the wine cost, and that there is a back up bottle if needed.

Make a big thing out of your first sip.*
Tell her that you detect flavours like honey, beetroot and banana. She'll be impressed and, since it's hard to taste much else besides the taste of the bloody wine, you won't be questioned.

Warning: If your wine looks red, like this, it's not Chardonnay.
Drink it anyway, but be more careful next time.

Make a point of mentioning that you grew the herbs in the dinner yourself, but don't overstate the point in case there are consequences later.

Though it's not totally silly to attempt to blame 
such occurances on the wine.

If you go to buy wine and don't really know much about which are the best, there are two points to consider:
  • Choose one with a nicely shaped bottle or a label that catches your eye or
  • Buy wine more often so that you build up some experience.
Well, there you have it. You are now a wine drinker, an apprentice connoisseur. Remember that, when you are taking that first sip, don't mention the same flavours every time. Stick mainly to fruit flavours, but chance your arm occasionally. Surprisingly things like hay, cedar and coal can work but don't use them too often. Avoid tastes like motor oil, concrete and sulfur. Some wine connoisseurs do use sulfur, but they're generally wankers.

Good luck with your drinking.

Just remember that it's not so cool to drink beer, unless you have a 
long flowing beard and it's craft beer. Just be careful there.

* if you get onto the second bottle, don't worry about doing this again because you'll be a little bit pissed and might talk too much shit

martedì 16 maggio 2017

7 weeks and 3 days to go.

I'm nearly free!

Though you never know what's in front of you.
Tuesday, with three 95 minute spells and a 40 minute one, is my hardest day but there are only seven of these left, and I'm away for one, so that makes six.
The boss hasn't announced to the staff that I'm officially going (as he normally does) but he has advertised for a replacement. I gave him a lot of notice so I guess it's not really my problem.

Anyway, there are 7 weeks and 3 days to go.

This lousy war is almost over (click here).

domenica 14 maggio 2017

Mother's Day = Chick Flick time.

We saw this movie called Sense of the Ending.

They referred to the main character as The Curmudgeon and he looked really similar to our famous well known obscue blogger who goes by the same name.

The promo for the film said something like This will depress you.

It was accurate.

They might bring out a sequel for next mother's day. Fingers crossed.

sabato 13 maggio 2017

Saturday Morning Live at Richard's Bass Bag.*

[As the opening credits roll Richard (of RBB) is deeply in discussion with two guests]

Richard (of RBB): Good morning devoted readers of the bag. While you were getting your coffee and having your first pee of the day I've been discussing important topics with my two guests Angry Jesus and Bin Hire.

I see that over on his blog Robert (Geremy/Geramy) HERE is having a bit of a go at Richard Dawkins and atheists.
Angry Jesus: Well those atheists are a bit of a pain in the arse. I don't like being compared to Zeus.
Bin Hire: Don't knock Zeus. He was a pretty good god who led a great team.
Angry Jesus: Not on the same playing field as me, Dad and The Holy Spirit! For fuck's sake!
Richard (of RBB): Let's watch our language. Robert is convinced that Catholicism is the only true religion. That means that all those people in India and China have got it wrong.
Angry Jesus: Well, you've never had Vishnu or Shiva on Saturday Morning Live at Richard's Bass Bag*! Why is that?
Richard (of RBB): Okay, I admit that you're a bit of a crowd puller.
Bin Hire: I just noticed that on my avatar there's a phone number. Do you know that the pope has his phone number on a bottle?
Angry Jesus: What?
Bin Hire: VAT 69.

Richard (of RBB): That's a very old joke Bin.
Bin Hire: An oldie but a goodie.
Angry Jesus: [Under his breath] My full name!
Richard (of RBB): Well chaps I think we'll have to wrap it up there. I've got to Skype an Italian friend this morning so I need to warm up with some Duolingo.
Angry Jesus: Why don't you just concentrate on talking bloody English?
Richard (of RBB): Speaking another language is good for you.
Angry Jesus: Why? I had to learn all those silly Middle Eastern languages back in the old days and I hardly ever use them now. I mean, what good is it being able to chat in Babylonian?
Bin Hire: Might be handy for a baby?
Angry Jesus: Well, aren't you just the funny man this morning!
Bin Hire: يسوع يمشي في حانة ...
Angry Jesus: Yes, I know, and I ask for water and the barman says, "What have you ever done for us?"
Richard (of RBB): Okay, okay. Have a good day everyone and thanks to my two guests.

* the original bass bagging site

martedì 9 maggio 2017

La hoha hola con la hannuccia horta e holorata

Coke with the short and colourful straw.

domenica 7 maggio 2017

Lost in Translation.

You won't get an answer to what this is all about on Google Translate.

My friend Antonio, who lives in those parts, says, "Batman slaps Robin because he makes fun about the way people in Florence speak. Often the c becomes h in florence dialect. In fact "abbozzola" in Florentine dialect means stop to do it or shut up."
People in regions of Italy often use their dialect to talk to each other and not Italian.
"La hoha hola hon..." would become La coca cola con (with)...

Here are some interesting facts about the Florentine dialect that I've pinched off an article on the internet...

Fo/vo | I do/I go Remember those hours you spent learning the conjugations of irregular verbs 'fare' and 'andare'? Forget it, because Tuscany has its own forms - for the first person singular, at least. You'll hear 'fo' (I do) instead of 'faccio' and 'vo' (I go) instead of 'vado'.
There are a few reasons this change might have happened. Frequently-used words often underwent this kind of 'erosion' of consonants during the change from Latin to Italian, and it's possible that the change was helped along by the fact many other irregular verbs (dare, stare, sapere) have a similar form in the first person singular (do, sto, so).
Topini | Gnocchi
'Topo' means 'rat' or 'mouse' in Italian, so you might not be delighted to go to see 'topini al sugo' on the menu. But don't be put off - this is simply the Florentine name for gnocchi, a kind of dough pasta usually made of potatoes. Another Tuscan variant on the dish is known as 'malfatti', which literally means 'badly made'.
Ganzo | Cool
'Ganzo' is the Florentine way of saying 'cool', though when used as a noun, it means 'lover', so pay attention to context! It's mostly used by the younger crowd, as a more colloquial term than 'bello' or 'grande'.
It's particularly handy as an alternative to 'figo', which can cause trouble to non-native speakers as it has vulgar connotations.
Grullo | A silly person
You can use 'grullo' as either a noun or adjective to refer to someone foolish. It's not entirely clear where it comes from but may be related to 'gru' (crane) as birds are often associated with silliness in Italian. Grullo has been used in Florence for centuries, dating back to at least the 1500's, and will be understood by most people from other regions too.
Boncitto | A good guy
On a more positive note, use this word to talk about someone with a calmer personality, level-headed - someone you can rely on.
Chetarsi | To be silent Anyone who's learned Italian through studying literature might find themselves being laughed at from time to time for using antiquated words that aren't usually heard in 'real life'. But in Florence, some words which might get you odd looks elsewhere are normal parts of the local lingo.
'Chetarsi', meaning 'to be silent' is one example - in the rest of the country, you're best sticking with 'fare silenzio' or 'tacere', as 'chetarsi' is seen as formal literary language, but it's normal in Florentine conversation. Another example is the pronoun 'codesto', which has fallen out of use in speech across most of the country, and has a pretty specific meaning: it's used to talk about something which is far away from the speaker but near the person they're talking to.
Piaccicone | A slow worker
Being a 'piaccicone' is not a good thing. It's a negative way of saying someone spends a lot of time carrying out their tasks, possibly not to a very high standard and without putting much effort or care into the work.
Ruzzare | To joke about/have fun
'Ruzzare' is slightly stronger than 'scherzare' (to joke) - it tends to be used when someone's taking the joke a bit too far, or to refer to play-fighting, for example. The verb is thought to have the same origin as Italian 'ruggire', which means 'to roar'.
Desinare | To have lunch
'Desinare', used both as a verb and a noun, is an alternative to 'pranzare' or 'il pranzo' meaning 'lunch'.
So where does it come from? In Vulgar Latin, 'disieiunare' meant 'to break one's fast', the root for the French word 'déjeuner' (which at first meant breakfast and later came to mean lunch) and English 'dine'. Old French used 'disner', and the Tuscan dialect appears to have borrowed and Italianized the term.
In several Romance languages, the meaning of words for 'breakfast' have shifted to refer to lunch, likely due to lifestyle changes which saw the midday meal usurp breakfast as the most substantial of the day.
Garbare | To like
People will understand you if you use the verb 'piacere' but you'll rack up instant points for swapping it to 'garbare'. It's formed the same way as 'piacere', so to say 'I like Florence' you'd say 'Mi garba Firenze'.
Berciare | To yell
'Berciare' means to shout or yell loudly, generally without much sense or coherence. It can also refer to someone singing badly and out of tune, and when followed by 'di', it means 'to harp on about something'.
Abbozzare | To stop
Here's another useful word for parents, au pairs, and teachers of Tuscan children, to use as a regional alternative to 'smettere' or 'cessare'. It likely comes from the word 'abozzo' (sketch or rough draft' and the verb 'sbozzare' which referred to sketching out or drafting an artwork or sculpture.
Ciabattone/a | A slob
In English, a 'ciabatta' is a type of crusty bread but in Italian it means 'slipper'. From there, you get 'ciabattare', a verb meaning 'to shuffle around', and 'ciabattone', which means 'slob'. As well as referring to a scruffy appearance and lazy habits, it can also be used for people who are generally a bit incompetent.

sabato 6 maggio 2017

Africa Day in Wellington.

That's out friend Taitu in the middle.
Check out Ethiopian coffee!

Some more photos...

It was a great day, except that the Ethiopians turned up a bit late and some tight arse official wouldn't let them perform. Come on! That really was against the spirit of the day. These guys have had really bad things happen to them in their original country. For Christ's sake (oops, wrong religion probably) just let them dance and celebrate who they are!

How did the Universe begin?

Good morning fans of the bag and welcome back.
Is there a god? 
Wow, I can hear your startled minds thinking, "Richard (of RBB) is straight into it this morning!"
Well, either someone (something) made the universe or it made itself.
I guess that, if something made the universe, you then have the problem of where did that something come from?

The which is the right religion problem is a long way down the track and a far less important question.

Religions are a bit like musical instruments.

They sort of do the same thing but some get better (nicer) results.

The Salvation Army would definitely be a cornet.

The Anglican Church would definitely be an electric organ.

What would the Roman Catholic Church be?

Robert may know.

Atheism, though definitely not a religion, would certainly be an electric guitar.