Sunday, May 15, 2016

Janet Flash: Dumb Animals

by Michael Seese

This week's Janet Reid contest was somewhat challenging, given the nature of the words:


Luckily, we're allowed to tack extra letters onto the words. Doing so allowed me to write "Dumb Animals."

The deer chuffed as it pranced in the white fluff.

“Take a breath, squeeze the trigger,” Dad urged me.

I froze. The deer spied me and dashed. I exhaled relief. Clearly, bloodlust is miffy. Then Dad coolly felled it.

He sulked the entire drive home. “It's just a dumb animal,” was all he said. The relief of his silence lasted only to the front door.

“I need a stiff drink, and... Look at this house! Where’s your idiot mother?"

That day, for the first time in my life, I saw my Father as a killer. It wouldn't be the last.

I've got to say, "miffy" is a pretty cool word. (And yes, I had to look it up.) 

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Janet Flash: Fifth Wheel

by Michael Seese

Two weeks in a row with a Janet Reid 100-word contest.

This week our mission was to include


Since we are allowed to "expand" the words, I immediately thought of "whee" as "wheel." And out came "Fifth Wheel."

“Just ignore Fifth Wheel,” Eric said to his friends. Elias hated the nickname. But if it meant his big brother would play near him…

“Look, Fifth Wheel, don't tell Mom. Maybe I'll let you keep half your allowance.” Elias, too young to know the word “extortion,” smiled feebly.

“If you don't scream, Fifth Wheel, we'll make this quick,” Eric leered as he and his friends stood, belts at the ready. For a brief moment, Elias saw Dad in Eric's eyes.

When he turned 16, Elias stole the car and took off, making sure Eric learned what four wheels felt like.

Ironically, the day I wrote this, my two boys got along perhaps better than they ever have.

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Janet Flash: Unanswered

by Michael Seese

I guess the previous Janet Reid contest tuckered her out, and she needed a break. But she is back, with a twist.

We still had to write 100 words. But the new wrinkles this week:

1. Start with this phrase:  "And then she saw"
2. End with the phrase: "stunned her."
3. Use these three prompt words: cat   hat   splat

The result was "Unanswered"

And then she saw the hatchet bearing down on her skull. She closed her eyes and waited for the SPLAT or SPLORK or whatever it would be.

The blow never came.

“Well, well,” said a low voice.

Margot peeked. Her deranged ex hung frozen in time. Beside him stood God.

“You haven't spoken to me in 15 years,” He said. “Now you want my help?”

Margot was in no mood for catechesis.

“Seriously?” she fumed. “Drunk pervert father. Abusive husband. I never stopped calling. You didn’t answer. Just go ahead. You've been dying to.”

His Mona Lisa smile stunned her.

We'll find out tomorrow how "Unanswered" did. Until then, what do you think?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Castle: Heartbreaker

by Michael Seese

First, we had Castle jetting off to La-La-Land. Then we had Beckett flying solo. And now “Heartbreaker,” aka the Esposito Show. As I've said far too many times, I enjoy the episodes where the supporting cast takes the lead. So I suppose we'll soon be seeing “Ryan Time.”

“Heartbreaker” let us see a few different sides of Esposito. We saw frustration, which often seems to be his primary emotion. But the conversation he and Sonia had in the car -- the one Castle and Ryan eavesdropped on -- was genuine and tender. His speech in the van, as Ronaldo is driving them to the gold stash, showed his nobility. Then we saw his inner strength when he slapped the cuffs on her yet again.

Plus, we were treated to a glimpse of his family, including a feisty tia who slapped him upside the head. “Estupido! Don't let this angel get away twice.”

And of course in addition to tenderness and strength and nobility we had humor.

Esposito: "Sonia and I were kind of involved."
Castle: "Involved? Like dating?"
Esposito: "Dating? No. Come on. Dating. We... we were more like engaged."

Castle: "So, did you ask for the ring back, or did you let her keep that so she could trade it for cigarettes in the prison yard? That's... don't answer that."

Sonia: "And speaking of, I need new clothes, because this outfit is damn near ten years old. And I got a rep to protect, so I need labels."
Esposito: "Fine, whatever. Let's just hurry up and get this over with."
Sonia: "Didn't I used to say that to you whenever you got frisky at night?"
(Followed by Ryan slapping a hand over Castle's mouth, preventing him from saying what they all wanted to.) 

Sonia: "How dumb do you think I am?"
Esposito: "Don't answer that. It's a trap. Trust me."

Then the big sad one:

Esposito: "Nine years ago, I found out you were a thief. You know what I did then?"
Sonia: "Yeah. You arrested me."
Esposito: "No. I went home, and I packed a bag. And I grabbed my passport, cleared out my savings account. I was ready to abandon everything I believed in because I couldn't picture a life without you."

And as Esposito was trying to sort through his complex relationship, we saw the same in the Castle-Beckett-Lucy triangle.

I was in stitches when Castle and Lucy were jostling back and forth.

Lucy: "No, Rick, you're amazing."
Castle: "No, you are."
Lucy: "No, you are."
Castle: "No, Lucy, you are."
Lucy: "Rick, you are amazing and you know it."
Castle: "Stop it."

And then Lucy’s dismissal of Beckett: “Great. Have fun. Goodbye. Leave the house.”

Naturally, Beckett would never allow herself to play second fiddle…

Interesting aside: Toks Olagundoye (Hayley) was listed in the opening credits, but never appeared.

Updated aside: In the back of my mind, I'd wondered if Hayley's increased role was in preparation for a possible Beckett departure. Now we know.

We're looking forward to trying to catch up. In the meantime, please share your thoughts on “Heartbreaker.”

Monday, April 11, 2016

Castle: Fidelis Ad Mortem

by Michael Seese

So “G.D.S.” the previous week gave us Castle flying solo. Then in “Fidelis Ad Mortem” we had Beckett working a case sans Rick.

I thought “Fidelis Ad Mortem” had a cool vibe to it, for lack of a better term. Beckett returns to a place from her past, a place instrumental in defining the police officer and person she would become. Yet it didn't seem to carry the weight that burdened so much of her past. In contrast, she seemed quite at peace at the Academy.

Quick aside: I thought it was cool how they went all techno-thriller and introduced us to the cadets by typing out their names onscreen.

And I always enjoy it when they give us a well-developed, wholly realized character. This time, it was Sgt. Ortiz. A tough cookie, the stereotypical drill instructor. Yet, he clearly was human beneath the gruff exterior, as evidenced by his obvious affection for Beckett. And he had some great lines.

“Way to faceplant in front of a superior, Decker. This is Captain Beckett.”
“Respect her, or your ass will meet my boot.”
“Oh, it's gonna take more than a bullet to put me down for the long dirt nap.”

Other great lines:

Castle: “Careful. I made it [the coffee] a little strong this morning.”
Kate Beckett: “Yes, that will wake the dead.”
Castle: “Certainly would make your job a lot easier. One interview. ‘He's the guy who killed me.’ Case closed.”

Martha: “Read the dedication.”
Castle: " ‘For Richard. Without your constant stumbles in life, the advice in this book would not have been possible.’ Constant stumbles?”
Martha: “Let's not make this about you.”

Beckett: “That would be the height of irony, huh? Manage to successfully hide our relationship from LokSat only to get outed by your Mom.” (The disheveled hair in her face was a nice touch as well.)

Beckett: “I have been at the edge of that map and monsters lie there.”

Hayley: “You are a hot mess. I take it your talk with Beckett last night went well?”
Castle: “Less of a discussion, more of an Irish intervention.”

Picky aside: Ryan said the handwriting analyst would have a hard time determining who wrote the threatening notes since they were done in block letters. I'm no expert in graphology. But my understanding is that they could match samples, even if one of them was written while drunk, and using the wrong hand.

Picky aside 2, which contains a small SPOILER: Beckett is an experienced cop. When she got the call suggesting that Ortiz was the killer -- and he was standing right there -- ARMED, she would not have played her hand like that.

And kudos aside to my wife, who called the killer right away.

Please share your thoughts on “Fidelis Ad Mortem.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Funny Foto #72

by Michael Seese

More from Mexico.

The perfect flavor for ice cream snobs.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Funny Foto #71

by Michael Seese

We just got back from a week in Mexico. In the duty-free section of the airport I saw these.


One even said something like "Smoking harms those around you."
Gotta love truth in advertising.