Category Archives: Likeit

George Macdonald Fraser on his Tripe

#simpleadvice to #selfpublisher or #editors from George Macdonald Fraser #flashman

George Macdonald Fraser 1925-2008
His old typewriter from the Glasgow Herald come up for sale at auction recently.
“It may be tripe but it’s my tripe – and I do urge other authors to resist encroachments on their brain-children and trust their own judgment rather than that of some zealous meddler with a diploma in creative punctuation who is just dying to get into the act.”

Book One From the continuing Adventures of Falstaff Wild


Falstaff Wild got up and poured himself a drink. He felt sick. He looked at Minami in a new light, he didn’t look right. The Japanese man was far too friendly. Maung as a Burman was too accepting. Surely it wasn’t too incredulous that Minami, as a Japanese, was lying? Except Maung was Asian and seemed to trust his fellow Asian and his fellow journalist, the Japanese Minami.

Minami had either gone native, which seemed unlikely, his newspaper could recall him at any time or he was a spy worming his way into Burma society. A man with a mission in Burma and nothing to do with him at all; not part of the pursuit that had brought down the Japanese on the town. Selfishly he smiled with relief.

Falstaff’s first thought was one of joy. Could it be true he was no longer a target himself? Standing he reached for the bottle, thinking it over. He had escaped, but what did Minami’s presence mean?

If Minami said one word about co-prosperity, he’d know what he was about he decided. Falstaff realised he was standing staring at Minami with the bottle in his hand. He wished he could smash the bottle into the Japanese reporter’s face.

“I’m sorry, I’m being rude, can I offer you another drink?” Falstaff said at last. “Good health!”


Dragonball Super is Coming!

The first new Dragon Ball series in 20 years will debut this July 2015

Unlike Dragon Ball GT creator Akira Toriyama is running the show.

The surprising news is a great triumph for fans of the series.  Both in Japan and the the rest of the world.  Dragon Ball Z, the sequel to the original Dragon Ball, is one of the most recognizable animes in the world, with multiple TV and Theater movies; video games and toys figures and merchandise to the point of ubiquity.  Every toy shop in Asia or Gatcha Gacha machine (Capsule machine) will have Son-Goku or Dragonball in them.

The 2012 movie ‘Battle of Gods’ and 2014 Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’  have proved the popularity of Dragonball, despite the shaky Dragonball:Evolution.

Fans will excited just by the name, in this case F stands for Freezer!  Making his return!

More Tales of the Gold Monkey

I received a very early Birthday present yesterday.  A magazine dedicated to Flying Boats of World war 2, seeing the beautiful cuttaways of the Grumman Goose reminded me where my love of Flying Boats came from; Tales of the Gold Monkey, in which Jake Cutter flew his goose into and out of trouble every week.

Tales of the Gold Monkey

Having just finished writing and editing my own book; another pilot another place and time, but always the float plane or flying boat, it was a pleasure to be reminded of the golden episodes and adventures from the ‘Gold Monkey’ bar.

TV of the 1980’s was dominated by science-fiction, so this 1930s inspired series was like a breath of fresh air, even if it was an homage to the pulp novels of the time.   Set in the South Pacific in the late thirties, pre-war (although of this we are never sure) such as Bora-Bora in French (or to be French Vichy) Polynesia,  a chain of islands bordering Japanese ruled waters.

The Blue Parrot Hotel, of Bora-‘Gora’ comes to be known as the ‘Gold Monkey’ bar following the first adventure in which a Brass Monkey is found on a volcanic island.  The bar is run by ‘Bon Chance’ Louie, played by Roddy McDowall a former member of the French Foreign Legion.

The Blue Parrot ‘Bora-Gora’

The colorful bar and likeable-rogue characters included the main chacter Jake Cutter, pilot of the Goose flying boat.  Jake claims to be a veteran Flying Tiger (AVG); pre-thirties this is unlikely (they started flying in 1941) but it adds to his character nethertheless.  Along with his sometimes-drunk mechanic Corky. The crew of the goose is completed with a side-kick with a one-eye.  A dog who speaks several languages, if one or two barks for yes and no count?

If unashamed escapism is your thing, as it is mine then you could do a lot worse than check the DVD box set of this excellent piece of tongue in cheek adventure.  The DVD is good quality and makes excellant viewing.

The plots my be pulp classics, the fight scenes good old romps but it is great entertainment.  Many like to say this was only a success because of Raiders of the lost Ark; however the Gold Monkey scripts and idea pre-dated Indiana Jones.

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Kindle Poetry Haiku List

Haiku is a short form of Japanese verse typically characterised by three qualities:

  • Juxtaposition of two images or ideas and wording or idea between them, a kind of verbal highlighing of the juxtaposed elements.
  • Traditional haiku consist of 17 in three phrases of 5, 7 and 5 on (syllables) respectively. A Kigo (seasonal reference), or reference to motion or time.

one of my favourites by Bashō:

at the ancient pond
a frog plunges into
the sound of water

Modern Japanese haiku are less strict in form and subject, but the use of juxtaposition continues to be honored in both traditional and modern haiku.

There is a common perception that the images juxtaposed must be directly observed everyday objects or occurrences; this is not neccessarliy the case, but helps define the form or distill the experience being expressed.

In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line while haiku in English often appear in three or four lines to parallel the three phrases of Japanese haiku.

Modern Haiku can be just as brilliant in clarity take this cutting examble Second Prize The Robert Spiess Memorial 2013: Margaret Dornaus

alphabet soup
I practice cradling love
in a stainless spoon

Writing Haiku

Haiku  on Kindle

The Heart of Haiku by Jane Hirshfield

Illustrated Basho Haiku Poems

Reflection Haiku: Living Modern Lives the Simple Way – Lily Wang’s English and Chinese Zen Shorts by Lily Wang

Reflection Haiku: Living Modern Lives the Simple Way – Lily Wang’s English and Chinese Zen Shorts
Night Fall (Haiku For The Evening Shade)
Intro to Haiku: An Anthology of Poems and Poets from Basho to Shiki
Haiku: This Other World

Kindle books from Michael Wormald

The Long Hard Highway

Kindle Edition Cover

The Long Hard Highway [Kindle Edition]

by Michael Wormald

Poetry, Haiku and reflections on the difficulties of living with ME.

Haiku XI
heap sword hanging
y a good
emands more attention

Haiku XIX
nside neon bright
utside moon full burns
See; dream.

Poem, ‘Dreams of Forgotten Love’, Extract:

Whispering echoes return from sleeping memory.
ipping potions divine, drowning in forgotten loves glory.
ike the recognition of a long forgotten perfume,
istant faces blotted; clear once more a bloom.
he is there lingering with lost affection,
he only light coming from re-surfaced emotion

Souls of dead poets, –
eeking then resting like weary travelers,
n a fool’s paradise, unreal and decayed.
he forgotten flower of Love, withered without sunlight.
hat’s the point of trying to keep it alive without light.
ike a never ending epitaph to a memory,
our path has been too long and too hard to go back.

Leave your sour scars, forgive and forget yourself.
ools gold to forgive all but yourself.

Michael Wormald

The forest of One

I am re-posting this incredible story from Facebook:


Lone Indian Man Plants 1,360 Acre Forest single-handedly!!

A little over 30 years ago, a teenager named Jadav “Molai” Payeng began burying seeds along a barren sandbar near his birthplace in northern India’s Assam region to grow a refuge for wildlife. Not long after, he decided to dedicate his life to this endeavor, so he moved to the site where he could work full-time creating a lush new forest ecosystem. Incredibly, the spot today hosts a sprawling 1,360 acre of jungle that Payeng planted single-handedly.

It all started way back in 1979 when floods washed a large number of snakes ashore on the sandbar. One day, after the waters had receded, Payeng , only 16 then, found the place dotted with the dead reptiles. That was the turning point of his life.

“The snakes died in the heat, without any tree cover. I sat down and wept over their lifeless forms. It was carnage. I alerted the forest department and asked them if they could grow trees there. They said nothing would grow there. Instead, they asked me to try growing bamboo. It was painful, but I did it. There was nobody to help me. Nobody was interested,” says Payeng, now 47.

While it’s taken years for Payeng’s remarkable dedication to planting to receive some well-deserved recognition internationally, it didn’t take long for wildlife in the region to benefit from the manufactured forest. Demonstrating a keen understanding of ecological balance, Payeng even transplanted ants to his burgeoning ecosystem to bolster its natural harmony. Soon the shadeless sandbar was transformed into a self-functioning environment where a menagerie of creatures could dwell. The forest, called the Molai woods, now serves as a safe haven for numerous birds, deers, rhinos, tigers, and elephants — species increasingly at risk from habitat loss elsewhere.

Despite the conspicuousness of Payeng’s project, Forestry officials in the region first learned of this new forest in 2008 — and since then they’ve come to recognize his efforts as truly remarkable, but perhaps not enough.

“We’re amazed at Payeng,” says Assistant Conservator of Forests, Gunin Saikia. “He has been at it for 30 years. Had he been in any other country, he would have been made a hero.”

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Only Angels Have Wings 1939 Howard Hanks

Only Angels Have Wings

Cary Grant     Directed by Howard Hanks   with   Jean Arthur


Cary Grant (Born 1904 and aged 35) and Jean Arthur (Aged 39) in the contrasting DVD cover and post for the 1939 Howard Hanks movie; “Only Angels Have Wings”.  The Bright blue and iconic palms trees might lead you to think this was a happier picture than it actually was.  The only clue to suggest otherwise is the worried looking Rita Hayworth Cradling the head of Richard Barthelmess.

I mention Cary Grant age just to place him where he was in time, his carer and endurance of this popularity being enormous.

This dark film is far better represented by the DVD cover; Cary Grant’s character Geoff Carter attempting to remain cold and distant from Jean Arthur, playing Bonnie Lee whose bouncing positive nature rattles Geoff Carter from the start.


This Columbia poster sums up the movie better; although to give credit to the performance of Jean Arthur she be the one holding the swooning Grant.  The film is dominated by dark night scenes; dark rain scenes and death.  With pilots dropping from the skies like files.

Now I bought this film due to two recommendations.  One that the Iconic ‘Indiana Jones’ outfit – the Fedora and leather working jacket; or in this case flying jacket (similarly to Alan Ladd in China) was inspired by this film.  A perfect description as far as wardrobe goes for these pilots.  The bar where these ill fated pilots gather looks like an ‘Indiana Jones’ convention!  The sight causing me to spluttering and snort my coffee all over the place.  Have got over these I must add the movie is in no way spoiled by this association.  Nor does the second recommendation as a possible inspiration for ‘Tales of the Gold Monkey’ – a favorite series from my childhood – whose humor and  characters could easily walk from the Monkey bar in Bora-Bora, South Pacific, into the Barranca Bar, South America!

‘Only Angels have wings’ was directed by Howard Hanks; supposedly based on personal experiences.  This followed his previous success with Cary Grant in the comedy ‘Bringing up Bady’, called the “the screwiest of the screwball comedies” by critics – defining the genre of screwball comedy.  Howard would work again with Cary revisiting the style.  However Howard, as did throughout his carrer.

The idea for the film was developed with Jules Furthman who work ed with Howard Hanks on many successful, and style defining movies such as ‘To Have and Have not’, ‘Rio Bravo’,  ‘The Big Sleep’.  ‘To Have and Have Not’ it self made by Hanks and Furthman out of Hemingway’s “worst book” for a bet.  Furthman and Hanks make an prefect team; if you are studying either direction or scene writing – both are worth study – especially together – or in seeing the development and reuse of ideas and progression of style and how both writing and director drives a plot with a smooth realism.

Bonnie Lee opens the story, looking lost in the foreboding docks on some unknown distant shore.  The setting dumping the Vacationing show girl, Bonnie, in foreign immediately sets a scene which the viewer is uncomfortable with.  Bright attractive blonde – at risk of being marooned, robbed or worse in a setting which at first is difficult to place, and then is not all together pleasant South American trading port – with poor communication and wholly unreliable transport links.  Yet Bonnie fixes to stay a while attracted to Geoff; in the opening scenes a voice at the back of your head screams no!  Get the next boat out of there, but then events hook you – drawing you in.

The events of the movie are staged around Geoff Carter’s Air Freight business – strangely it appears to be run pretty much of a bar.  Where Bonnie observes the stresses of the pilots, and their boss as aircraft crash, smash – get stuck in driving rain, snow and worse.  All the while Carter pushes to keep is business running, determined to get a lucrative contract to keep his fright company going.

Bonnie involves herself, Carter shuns her all the while diverting his glassy eyes, then to complicate things a misfit pilot – with glamorous wife appears on the scene.  No one trusts the pilot – who risks his life for pay; whilst his wife, who happens to be Carter’s old flame starts stamping in Bonnie patch.

On a knife edge the business, the pilots lives, the stuttering relationships, the poor weather and Carter’s future all balance.  The combination of characters and flaws swing until something has to give.

Bonnie resolutely gives up on Geoff, with some fine dialogue, and bids him farewell.   Carter offers to toss a coin to help her decide: heads, she stays; tails, she leaves.

A break in weather causes Geoff to rush out to secure the all-important contract.  Bonnie is still unwilling to be pushed in to making a choice between Carter, who’s now flown to certain doom with the clouds returning, and the next boat home?   Emotionally she says, “I’m hard to get, Jeff — all you have to do is ask me!”  But Carter stubborn as a mule, and has the dialogue to prove it, gives her the coin to make the toss.

All is resolved, much to Bonnie’s thrill when she discovers that coin is a double header.  Proving Carter might not be able to talk about his feelings, but he really does want to be a likable Bastard?

The endings although not spectacular by today’s standards is satisfying, but you wonder was Carter really any good for Bonnie?  Which goes to show that in the end you have connected with the characters, not be put off by the plot, not doubted the credibility of special effects – which hamper most of todays movies, and in the end you shared part of the emotional journey the pilots went through.  Who ‘won’ is not quite answered – the dead pilots have their wings now.  In the end Carter has a showgirl and a contract; he’ll be looking for more pilots then?


Shanghai Triad Directed by Yimou Zhang

1995-shanghai-triad-poster1A subtle, but sometimes violent look a the turbulent social situation and how this affected the Chinese in the over populated – sometimes lawless – wholly divided – international city of Shanghai in the 1930’s.

A rustic boy fresh from the countryside sent by his poor family to a vaguely related Shanghai crime family, and his uncle who holds a minor subservient position to the notorious gang lord.

The simple country boy is awed and overwhelmed by the opulence and immense wealth he is suddenly surrounded by.

Set in cosmopolitan Shanghai in the 1930s with a background of crime, clubs, showgirls and jazz the boy is given the undesirable position of servant to the ganglord’s mistress, who also happens to be the singer at the boss’s night club.  She wastes not time in showing off her loathsome and selfish character.  To one of the shows other dancing girls “You know the rule – your ass is your own, but if you get fondled in here, the money is mine.”

The uncle plays on the fealty owed to his and the boy’s master the ganglord.  The allegiance is a strong bond of honor and debt in Chinese culture – taught and passed down by Confucian society, in the film this plays out not only through the family ties by their given surname, but also by the debt owned to the gang for ‘bettering’ their position in society.  Uncle “All the kids in our family want to come here to get rich, but you’re the only one I recommended. Don’t let me down.”

Both the boys fealty to the gang, and loyalty to his mistress whom he serves are tested by the violence of gang wars and the greed and duplicity of both Mistress and Master in their affairs.  The film’s conclusion takes us to the point that the boys loyalties to all are tested to the limits.

The splendor of the film is captivating, nowhere is production compromised by lack of investment and direction.  The Gang household is splendid and vast; the pace of the film perfectly captures the lonely feeling that puts you in the place of the boy.

The film is dark but also filled with richness of the Gangland and club society of the 1930’s.  The soundtrack and show music is splendid.  Featuring classic era songs.

The characters themselves are solid, having layers of light and dark which are allowed to develop with the pace of the film.

I’d highly recommend this film, as one of my all time favorites, as a good documentary piece for study  of Chinese side of Chinese in the 1930’s

Thumbs Up - I like it!

Thumbs Up – I like it!