Corn Maze Chapter Eleven

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here once again on a summer Thursday to introduce the eleventh chapter of my story Corn Maze. This week my novelist and I came across a Stacker article called the 100 Best Films of All Time According to Data. Here were their criteria:

“To explore the 100 best films of all time, Stacker analyzed IMDb ratings and Metascores to create a unique score equally weighting the two. Only English-language movies released in the U.S. were considered for the list. Additionally, each movie needed at least 20,000 votes on IMDb, and if the movie didn’t have a Metascore, it was not included.”-Stacker

Sadly, we found only sixty films on the list we thought solidly worthy of the honor of best films of all time. This made us concerned that perhaps American movie watchers may not be viewing a large enough collection of quality work. And this is despite their enormous access to streaming content. We decided, therefore, to find and comprise a list of eighty-five English-language films released in the U.S. of all of which we believe were as good and, in most cases, better than the forty that did make the list. And on that sad note, here is chapter eleven of Corn Maze, and here is our list of eighty-five stellar films that failed to make the cut:

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Fargo

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Lawrence of Arabia

Rocky

The Bridge on the River Kwai

Patton

A Place in the Sun

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

High Noon

A Clockwork Orange

Midnight Cowboy

Precious

Jaws

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

The Graduate

Doctor Zhivago

It Happened One Night

The African Queen

Flight of the Phoenix (original)

The Sound of Music

West Side Story (original)

Full Metal Jacket

Sunset Boulevard

In the Heat of the Night

The Hustler

Dog Day Afternoon

The Terminator

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Harold and Maude

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

To Kill a Mockingbird

From Here to Eternity

Unforgiven

Memento

Dances With Wolves

Bonnie and Clyde

The Deer Hunter

Giant

Shane

American Graffiti

The Third Man

Rebel Without a Cause

Leaving Las Vegas

2001: A Space Odyssey

Ben-Hur

Dances with Wolves

Spartacus

Easy Rider

Rebecca

The Defiant Ones

Deliverance

All the President’s Men

They Shoot Horses Don’t They?

Tootsie

Forest Gump

Five Easy Pieces

The Conversation

Witness

Good Will Hunting

Hoosiers

Stalag 17

Paper Moon

Strangers on a Train

The Usual Suspects

My Man Godfry

Marty

Mississippi Burning

The Magnificent Ambersons

The Third Man

Blue Velvet

Zodiac

A History of Violence

The Royal Tenenbaums

Lost in Translation

Raging Bull

An American in Paris

Blade Runner

Sling Blade

Laura

The Shop Around the Corner

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Easy Rider

Sideways

Corn Maze

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Chapter Eleven

The night before the competition, Mallory skipped up the steps to Farley’s porch and knocked on the door. When she didn’t get a response, she knocked again. And when she still didn’t get a response, she knocked a third time.

Finally, Farley shuffled around the corner in his green flip flops as he wrapped his black terrycloth robe around himself. He yawned as he tied the belt and stepped up to the door. He opened it and looked through the screen. Upon finding Mallory there a large, crooked grin stretched across his face. He stepped out onto the porch and said, “Well, well. Look what the cat dragged in.”

“I wanted to talk to you before the race tomorrow,” Mallory said.

“Why, surely. Talk.”

“I’d like to go over the ramifications of the bet.”

“Oh, I think we went over the ramifications of the bet a while ago, Mallory.”

“You and I both know you’re going to win.”

“And how do you come to that conclusion?”

“Your maze is better than Harley’s.”

“Shouldn’t you be rooting for your fiancé?”

Mallory smiled wryly. “Aren’t you the slightest bit curious why I agreed to this contest?”

Farley yawned. “Maybe.”

“Because men like you get what they deserve.”

Farley leaned against the doorway and folded his arms. “Do they now?”

“They do indeed. And you were right. I was flirting with you when I first arrived here and asked for directions.”

“My impression from the dinner party was you’re not keen on going out with me.”

“What was I supposed to say with my fiancé sitting right there? How would that have looked if I hadn’t put up a fight?”

“You have a point.”

“I want you to know I’m going to make sure our date is a night you’ll never forget.”

Farley laughed. “And what does Harley think of that?”

“Probably the same thing you think about Harley winning. If he could win that is.”

Farley pushed off the door frame, took a step into her and said, “So, how long have you known old Harley?”

“Almost two years.”

“When did he ask you to marry him?”

“Oh, he didn’t ask me. I told him I wanted a ring.”

“When was that?”

“Right before we moved here.”

“You went out for two years and he never asked you to marry him?”

“What difference does it make who asks whom? Point is we’re engaged.”

Farley held his hand out and gestured towards hers. “May I?”

Mallory smiled coyly and extended her left hand. Farley took it and studied the engagement ring. “My, that is a small diamond.”

Mallory pulled her hand away. “I love it. Harley picked it out.”

“I’ll bet he did. I’ll bet there wasn’t a smaller one to be found.”

“It’s not the size it’s the quality,” Mallory said tersely.

“Maybe it’s both.”

“Valerie doesn’t seem impressed.”

“And why do you say that?”

“Well, she doesn’t live here, now does she.”

Farley crossed his arms. “She will.”

“Under the circumstances I find it peculiar you’d propose such an odd competition. One might think you’re desperate.”

“Desperate for what?”

“Valerie.”

Farley narrowed his eyes. “It’s late. You should go home to your fiancé. We’ve both got a big day tomorrow.”

“Like I said, when you win, I’ll make it a night you’ll never forget.”

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: THIRTEEN LIVES (2022)-Amazon Prime

Prime Video has just released a fantastic new film. Fueled by a stellar cast and superb direction by veteran Ron Howard this fact-based tension filled story is an absolute must see.

One afternoon after their junior football/soccer match a group of twelve boys decide to go spelunking in the Tham Luang caves before attending the birthday party of one of the boys. Their young coach tells them he will go along to keep them safe. But an unexpected turn in the weather changes everything as monsoon season decides to come early… and fast. Soon the boys’ parents are wondering why they haven’t come home from the party and quickly a rescue party is formed at the park.

World class British cave divers Richard Stanton (Viggo Mortenson) and John Volanthen (Colin Farrell) are called to assist the Navy Seals in locating and rescuing the boys and their coach. But upon discovering their location is a brutal and treacherous 7-8 hour swim a rescue seems bleak. That is until Stanton comes up with the unconventional idea of adding to the crew Richard “Harry” Harris (Joel Edgerton) an Australian cave diver with an unusual skill.

The claustrophobic underwater scenes shot by cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom are outstanding. And his work, as well as Ron Howard’s should (hopefully) be remembered come Oscar season.  

Corn Maze Chapter Ten

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here on my usual Thursday to introduce chapter ten of my story Corn Maze. Today the Maltese and I…

My name is Tucker, and I am a Maltese.

…know that many of you out there are getting ready to head back to school. And this week we want to talk about school clothes. Granted, an odd subject for our blog but one we’d like to discuss just the same.

Tell them about the fibers. Tell them about the fibers…

Yes, yes. Well, because our novelist studied drama as one of her majors, she was required to take costume classes. What they do or at least did teach was fabrics and yarns are usually better quality and often more comfortable if they are natural as opposed to synthetic.

I like natural things. I like them very, very much.

Yes. Well, the best fibers to wear are primarily natural ones. These include:

Alpaca, Angora, Bamboo, Camel Hair, Cashmere, Cotton, Hemp, Lamb’s Wool, Linen, Llama, Mohair, and Silk

Processed products include:

Acrylic, Microfiber, Nylon, Polyester, Polypropylene, PVC, and Spandex

Semi-synthetic fibers include:

Acetate, Artificial Silk, Rayon (Viscose) and Tencel

The clothing brand does not matter as much as the quality of the fiber. In other words, don’t buy the label, buy the quality of fiber instead. And although sometimes it is necessary to use synthetic fibers for work clothes, exercising, sports, etc., generally it is better and more comfortable to wear natural fibers. Also, the expertise of the design and the skill of the seamstress or seamster is important as well. Here is a wonderful article by Diane Von Furstenberg on the subject. Also, we’d just like to add that we are not big fans of fast fashion.

No, we are not fans of fast food or fast fashion.

Fast fashion is cheaply made, low quality clothing that is not designed to last, priced low to lure you in, and is often found in stores such as Forever21, H&M, Hot Topic, Old Navy, Target, Topshop, Uniqlo, Urban Outfitters, Walmart, and Zara among others. We know the prices are tempting but we would humbly suggest primarily purchasing quality natural fiber clothes at reasonable sale prices. And to be picky, stay within your budget, get what you really like and not buy something because of a label. You should be happy with your clothes, and they should last you a lot longer than one season.

I am picky. I am very, very picky.

If you would like to read more about this topic, we suggest the book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline. And with that, here is Chapter Ten of Corn Maze. Nasoloditisya!

Corn Maze

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Harley entered the Tulip Valley Café and found Valerie studying at her usual table. He observed the way the emerald-green shaded light shone on her hair. Pat hurried to the hostess station and said, “Hello, Harley. Your usual again today?”

“Uh…I’m here to see Valerie,” Harley said nervously.

Pat looked over at Valerie’s booth and back at him. “Oh,” she said bemused. “Do you need a menu?”

“Yes, please.”

Harley took off his John Deer baseball hat and fiddled with it in his hands. Pat grabbed a plastic covered menu from the wooden slot affixed to the desk and led Harley to Valerie’s table.

“Looks like you’ve got company,” Pat told Valerie.

“What?” Valerie said and looked up from her studies to find Harley standing beside Pat. “Harley, what are you…?”

“I thought we could have breakfast together.”

Valerie’s eyes widened. “I…yes, of course.”

“I remember when you two used to come in here together and order fountain drinks when you were in high school,” Pat said, a lilt in her voice.

“That was a long time ago,” Valerie said.

“Not that long,” Harley said quietly.

“Care for some coffee, Harley?” Pat asked.

“Please.”

“I’ll get Poppy to bring you some.”

“Thank you kindly.”

“Of course,” she said, setting Harley’s menu in front of him before she left.

“Why did you agree to this corn maze catastrophe?” Valerie asked Harley.

Harley shifted his eyes to his nervous hands. “You know why.”

“Harley…that ship has sailed.”

“That ship never left the harbor.”

“What about Mallory? What’s her opinion?”

“Good morning, Harley,” Poppy said siding up to the table. She turned over Harley’s mug and filled it with a freshly brewed pot of coffee.

“Thank you, Poppy.”

“You are welcome. Are you ready to order?”

“I haven’t gotten a chance to look at the menu.”

“The eggs Benedict is awesome. And the biscuits and gravy are popular.”

“Sounds fantastic, but I think I’ll have a stack of toast with that fresh baked bread you get from the local bakery.”

“White, wheat, rye, or whole grain?”

“Better make it whole grain. I need the nutrition. And a scrambled egg too please.”

“You’ve got it.”

Poppy left and Harley poured cream into his coffee. “Ever since that dinner,” he said quietly as he tore open a packet of raw sugar, “I’ve been thinking maybe this contest isn’t such a bad idea after all.”

“Farley’s trying to ruin your life,” Valerie said.

“Interesting choice of words.”

“Don’t be naïve, Harley.”

“What makes you think I am?”

“You know he’s out to ruin your relationship with Mallory. Win or lose either way he comes out on top.”

“You sure of that, Val?”

Valerie anxiously tapped her fingers on the sides of her coffee cup. “Aren’t you?”

“Do you remember that sterling silver chain you used to wear around your neck? The one with the silver strawberry charm on it?”

“Yes.”

“And we came in here one day, sat down in the booth and you suddenly realized you’d lost it.”

“I was very upset about it.”

“And do you remember when we left, I found it lying outside on the sidewalk.”

“Yes, I remember.”

“And the chain had somehow gotten this big knot in it, and I thought you were going to explode because you loved that necklace so much. But you didn’t. You stayed calm. And we came back inside and sat down at the same booth because Pat let us, and you started working the knot out with your little pink polished fingernails. And I sat across from you and watched as you loosened it one loop at a time until finally the knot was gone, and it was the way it was before. That’s what this is, Valerie.”

“What do you mean, Harley?”

“Things are in knots and I’m going to untie them.”

Valerie reached out her hand and touched his for a moment before she pulled away. “Aren’t you concerned you might make bigger knots?”

“What are you going to do if I lose?”

“I didn’t agree to this contest, Harley. But you can be sure if you lose your fiancé will go to bed with my fiancé.”

“And if I win?”

“You won’t win.”

“If I win?”

Valerie took a sip of her coffee and sighed.

“Here’s your toast and scrambled egg, doll,” Poppy said cheerily as she set Harley’s plate in front of him. “Can I get you two anything else?”

“This looks great,” Harley said.

“More coffee?”

“Please.”

Poppy topped off Harley’s cup. “More for you, Valerie?” she asked.

“No, thank you, Poppy,” Valerie said. “I need to get going.”

“I’ll just leave your check here.”

“Thank you,” Valerie said and reached into her purse.

“You didn’t answer my question, Val,” Harley said snatching the check, pulling out his credit card and handing it to Poppy.

“Thank you,” Poppy said and left to charge his card.

“Wait!” Valerie called after her. She turned to Harley and said, “I don’t want you paying my bill.”

“Too late.”

“Fine,” she said and started gathering up her studies. “I don’t have an answer for you, Harley because you’re not going to win.”

“We’ll see.”

Valerie shook head and climbed out of the booth. “You’re going to lose, Harley, and I don’t know what I’m going to do,” she said and left.

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: VICTORIA’S SECRET: ANGELS AND DEMONS (2022)- Hulu  

After watching this three-part documentary, I know I will never look at Victoria’s Secret the same way again…and I don’t mean that in a good way. This is a fascinating study about a company that started out brilliantly and became more and more corrupt as time went on. The establishment was originally founded by Roy Raymond and his wife Gaye who, in 1977 decided to start a lingerie store that was classy instead of sleezy.

Roy founded his first business at the tender age of 13 which produced wedding invitations. He graduated from Tufts University and received his MBA from Stanford University. He and his wife founded Victoria’s Secret on the idea that it was embarrassing for men to purchase lingerie for their wives at department stores. They decided to create something elegant. Victoria was a tip of the hat to the Victorian era suggesting sophistication and the Secret was the underclothing the women wore at the time. This one-of-a-kind concept garnered success and they opened three stores in San Francisco and a very successful mail order catalogue. We shall call Roy and his wife Gaye angels.

In 1980 along comes Les Wexler who, upon seeing the distinctiveness of the store wanted to acquire it. Raymond said of Wexler, “When I met him, it was as if I’d met the devil.” Sadly, Raymond was right and most unfortunately sold the company to Les Wexler in 1982 for a measly one million dollars. Raymond and Gaye, after having a son and daughter together, divorced in 1990. On August 26, 1993, after suffering serious business failures, Raymond took his own life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. We shall call Les Wexler a demon.

Instead of focusing on male clientele Wexler decided to focus on female clientele. And at first there was “some truth” him doing this. But ultimately Victoria’s Secret’s upper crust was dominated by men as opposed to a balance of a man and woman running it together like it was originally. And Les had an affinity for picking the slimiest excrement at the bottom of the dirtiest garbage can to assist him and enlisted both misogynist psychopath Ed Razek as his chief marketing officer and none other than infamous pedophile Jeffery Epstein to assist him with his financial affairs. We shall call Ed Razek and Jeffery Epstein demons as if that needs to be pointed out.

The documentary goes on to chronicle how the company, with the help of these three fallen angels went from floating on clouds to diving into a netherworld inferno. They engaged in all sorts of wrong from airbrushing its models to appear thinner than they really were, to creating the PINK brand to sexualize underage girls. From being one of the first American clothing companies to send its manufacturing overseas for cheap labor to allowing Epstein to lure and lock an underage girl in his mansion (which he lived in next to Wexler’s) where he and Ghislaine Maxwell repeatedly raped her over a weekend of utter debauchery. After watching this documentary, you may think twice before ever shopping at this and the other L brand establishments again.  

Corn Maze Chapter Nine

Good afternoon. It is Thursday once again and I Gigi the parti poodle am here to introduce chapter nine of my story Corn Maze. This week has been hot. Dare I say sweltering. My novelist thought it would be a good idea to go for a walk in the late afternoon. I assure you this was a mistake. I panted most of the way and I could not stop panting once we returned home. My novelist gave me water, put me in a cooling vest which is too big for me, and stuck me in the bedroom which is the coolest place in our home. She herself did not fare well from the heat and learned a valuable lesson: walk your dogs in the early morning. And so, we fixed that little faux pas, and we are both the better for it. As you probably guessed, being from the northwest, I am a huge Fraiser fan, and the show is apparently getting a reboot. I came across this video, which is not, I repeat NOT the trailer for the new reboot but it is rather amusing just the same so I thought I would share it with you. Now here is chapter nine of Corn Maze. Nasoloditisya!

Corn Maze

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Chapter Nine

“Let me get this straight, boys,” the head of the corn maze committee said. “You two want to do a race to see which one can get through the other’s corn maze first.”

“That’s right,” Farley said.

“And you want this dog and pony show to be a part of this year’s annual corn maze competition.”

“Right again.”

“And you think this should be a paid competition. In other words, you want us to sell tickets to this hootenanny.”

“With all the proceeds going to help fund next year’s corn maze festival,” Harley said.

“Well, that’s mighty philanthropic of you two.”

“We’re dedicated to putting money back into the community,” Farley said.

“That’s mighty kind of you boys. But Farley, I can’t remember you ever being philanthropic. In fact, I can’t remember you ever being at a single money raiser your entire life.”

“I’ve grown up a bit, Roy.”

“Uh, huh,” Roy said looking from Farley to Harley and back again. “If I remember correctly, you boys had a falling out in high school.”

“That’s right,” Harley said. “We did.”

“As I recall it wasn’t a small thing. In fact, it was the talk of the town.”

“I suppose it was.”

“And from what I recollect, Harley, you left. Saw you a couple of times during summer break and maybe Christmas and that was about it. So, I’m a bit perplexed about you wanting to put money back into the community and all.”

“I grew up here. It’s home.”

Roy grabbed the baseball off its stand, propped his feet up on his desk and tossed the ball from hand to hand. “I’m going to have to think on this one. I’m not saying no, mind you, but I do have to think on it.”

“We appreciate it, Roy,” Farley said. “Thanks for seeing Harley and me today. We know you’re a busy man.”

“Thank you kindly, Farley. Harley, it’s good to have you back in town. The committee and I will look over your proposal and we’ll have an answer for you boys by the end of the week.”

Farley and Harley left the office and headed down the hall. “What if the committee turns this cock and bull idea down?” Harley said.

“They won’t,” Farley replied. “I give the committee too much support for them to turn us down.”

“Why doesn’t Valerie want to marry you?”

Farley’s face turned red. “That’s a bold question!”

“Just trying to make conversation.”

“Are you going to marry Mallory?”

“I’m planning to.”

“After I bang her that is.”

Harley grabbed Farley by the collar and threw him up against the wall.

“You think that’s smart, Harley?” Farley said as Harley breathed in his face. “Starting a fight right here in the courthouse over your beloved fiancé’s honor?”

“You’re a reptile,” Harley said seething. “You always have been, and you always will be.”

“At least I’m not engaged to one woman and pining for another.”

“Valerie has no business being your fiancé and we both know it.”

“You sure of that, Harley? Because I didn’t force her to take my ring and say yes.”

“No, but she was thinking “what choice do I have?””

“A better choice than marrying a loser like you.”

Harley shoved Farley back. “I’m not losing to you anymore, Farley. This time, I’m going to win.”

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: PARIS, TEXAS (1984)-HBO Max

Winner of the 1984 Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival as well as the BAFTA for best director Wim Wenders, this Indi masterpiece still holds up great today. The film has a stellar cast with Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell, Aurore Clement, Hunter Carson, and a stunning Nastassja Kinski. Written by Sam Shephard it is one of the most outstanding reconstructionist pieces from the 1980’s.

Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) wanders through the Texas desert. We don’t know how he got there or why. He traipses into a rickety establishment wearing demolished shoes and passes out from heat and exhaustion. After being tended to by a small-town doctor his brother Walt (Dean Stockwell) who lives in Los Angeles and works in the billboard business receives a phone call and heads out to Texas to retrieve Travis. But by the time he arrives, he finds out his brother wandered out that morning. Walt pays the doctor bill and finally hunts Travis down by the side of the road to find him tattered and mute.

Walt drives the two of them back to the airport where they board a plane, but Travis disembarks and refuses to fly. The two brothers continue back to Los Angeles via rental car, the exact same rental car they were in originally and arrive at Walt’s home where Walt’s wife Anne and Travis’s young son Hunter (Hunter Carson) live. Slowly Travis begins to acclimate back into the land of the living and weaves together a plan to find his estranged wife Jane (Nastassja Kinski).

Corn Maze Chapter Eight

Good afternoon. It is Thursday once again and I Gigi the parti poodle am here to introduce chapter eight of my story Corn Maze. This week the Maltese and I got a double whammy. First, we were both taken into the groomers. That alone is terrifying.

It is scary. Very, very scary.

As you can see Tucker the dratted Maltese is here to assist me.

Yes, I am. I like assisting on stories.

We both came out looking beautiful as always. I of course was the more beautiful. And then the next day our novelist left for a couple of days.

That means we were left with…Him.

Yes, him. Him is our guardian when our novelist abandons us and goes away somewhere. And then we are left with…Him.

Him doesn’t give us very many treats. And we are not allowed to beg at the table.

It is most dreadful. Most dreadful indeed. I am unable to be finicky about what food is prepared. I am forced to eat my designer dog food. I become ravenous. My stomach grumbles, my heart is lonely, and I sit in front of the door for hours waiting for our novelist to come home.

I sit at the door too…when Gigi lets me.

Yes, well. In front of the door is prime real estate especially when we stay with…Him.

Him is kind, though. He lets us sit on the couch and we sleep on comfy cushions.

That is true, but the moment I see my novelist again I burst into frantic jubilation.

Yes, she always returns. We are glad when she returns. Very, very glad.

And once again our world is in balance with me in charge and running things. That is how it should be. And now here is chapter eight of Corn Maze. Nasoloditisya!

Corn Maze

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Harley stood outside on his porch overlooking his corn maze. What a different design this was from his original helicopter concept. He put his hands on his hips and allowed the wonder of his work to soak in. He surveyed his notepad and the complexity of his design. A bug snuck up under the short sleeve of his t-shirt. He batted it away and scratched his shoulder. Gazing over the twisty-turn of stalks he decided to find out what he was made of. He folded his copy of blueprints, stuck it in his back pocket and proceeded forwards.

He knew he couldn’t practice navigating Farley’s maze, but he could navigate his own. He’d never really walked through corn maze routes much. He’d designed them for his parent’s sake not his own. But now it was crucial for him to understand the craft.

He moseyed down the steps and over to the maze’s entry point. Something about this year’s design felt ominous and uninviting. It was like looking at some menacing piece of art. Maybe something from an old horror movie.

He gazed at the hard dirt path. He was surprised how daunting the first steps inside the stalks were. It did not take him long before he met his first sharp turn. Within the next few yards, he came to a fork in the road. He could go right or bend sinister. He curved right and found the path inversed. He curved left. The ground was still soft, but he knew in time it would become hard and flat. He turned right, made an abrupt left and a quick right. The stalks rustled like paper. He found himself forced to make a sharp left, a quick right, another sharp left. He should have started his timer, he thought. Farley had probably memorized his own mazes for years.

Harley saw the path ahead was about to circle and he bent sinister. A small field mouse bounded in front of him then scurried away. That was concerning. What if visitors ran into mice? Another sharp left. He turned and looked behind him. Nothing but corn stalks and dirt. Another sharp right. Then Harley reached a second fork in the road. This time he had more trouble determining if right or left was better. How was he going to beat Farley going this slow? He had miles to go before he reached the exit. 

It occurred to Harley the ground might be a tip off to Farley as to which path to turn on and what to avoid if he could deduct something from footprints. Especially since Farley was a hunter and had become a good tracker. Harley continued through the stalks occasionally resorting to the blueprints in his pocket. He came to the third fork in the road and struggled with deciding whether to turn right or left. He turned left. The choice reminded him of a carnival ride taking hairpin turns through a haunted house. An abrupt right, then left, then right again. He’d made so many turns he was becoming confused. His map provided less and less help. Claustrophobia set in. The warm day had turned warmer.

He grabbed the hem of his t-shirt and wiped his sweaty forehead wishing he’d brought a bandana. He closed his eyes breathed deep and kept trudging. Then he stepped on something. At first, he thought it was a bottle cap. He looked at the circular object shining in the dirt. He reached down and grabbed it. He squinted as he scrutinized the thing not certain of what he was looking at. Maybe walking around in this corn maze was causing his mind to play tricks. He turned it over in his hand and gently removed the filth with his thumb. Then, as if it were a rare gem, he slipped it into the front pocket of his jeans.

Harley found his second wind and proceeded forwards. Right turn, right turn, left turn left turn. He heard something and looked up. There in the sky was a Piper that must have taken off from the small airfield on the other side of the freeway. For a moment Harley watched the green plane putter through the blue sky. Then he continued forwards.

Valerie entered Farley’s study, sat in the chair across from his desk, and faced her fiancé. Farley sat perusing the aerial pictures taken of Harley’s corn maze from the Piper. Bud the pilot was a crazy kind of guy. The type who always wore his shirts unbuttoned exposing more skin than most folks cared to see. He always had a big thick silver chain around his neck and one around his wrist and sported wild curly bleached blonde hair that left folks guessing if it was natural or permed.

“I’m not going to do it,” Valerie said.

“You’re not going to do what?” Farley said without looking up.

“Participate in this stupid game.”

“Oh.”

“Well?”

“Well, what?”

“When are you going to put a stop to this corn maze contest?”

Farley chuckled. “I’m not.”

“I refuse to be the prize.”

“Right before you came traipsing in here, I just finished taking your name off all my credit cards. And about a week ago I took your name off all my bank accounts.”

“I have a bank account of my own.”

“Yeah, I know. I liquidated all the funds you had in that one into my account and took your name off it.”

“You can’t do that.”

“Yeah, well, I just did.”

“You’re insane.”

“That may be but I’m insane with money.”

“Don’t think I can’t leave you, Farley.”

“The only family you can go to is your sister’s. And we all know how well the two of you get along. All you’ve got left is that diamond ring on your finger and that diamond is marked. See they etch information into those little darlings so they can’t get stolen and sold. But you could try. You can always try.”

Valerie’s face went ashen.

“So, you see,” Farley continued. “Once again I thought of everything.”

“Maybe you have and maybe you haven’t.”

“Was there anything else on your mind?”

“Yes. You’re going to lose.”

Farley didn’t chuckle this time. He guffawed. “Well, if that don’t beat the band, girl! Good luck with that! And by the way, I could use a sandwich. All this banking works up an appetite. I’ve been hankering for a Monte Christo all day. With strawberry jam. Don’t forget the side of strawberry jam, Val. Can’t have a Monte Christo without a side of strawberry jam.”

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: CONVERSATIONS WITH A KILLER: THE JOHN WAYNE GACY TAPES (2022)-Netflix

This three-part documentary is not for the faint of heart but is well worth the watch. Directed by Jon Berlinger who is known for his superb films Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (which is engrossing even if you are not a fan of the group) the movie expertly jumps around in time to help capture the super psychopathic mind of one of the worst American serial killers to have ever lived. A super psychopath is someone (if American) who scores over 34 out of 40 on the PCL-R. Ted Bundy, for example, scored 39 out of 40.

Psychopaths have certain traits and the one you will notice the best with Gacy/Pogo the Clown is how he starts out a sentence rationally and then devolves it into menacing evil. One example is Gacy talking about moving the body of a boy from his bed he has brutally murdered so he can go to sleep. Also chilling, is the thorough testimony of a terrorized victim and how he survived a harrowing night in Gacy’s house.

Like other psychopaths, Gacy was exceedingly arrogant, had an above average IQ (118) and HSS (VNTR 2R allele of MAOA also known as the “warrior gene”) which manifested itself in his hazardous driving habits. And of course, Gacy’s cavalier manner of manipulation. All these traits were passed down from his father’s side and his father, from what we find out about him in the film was psychopathic as well.

Psychopaths are pathological liars and Gacy was outstanding in this capacity. When you watch the film keep that in mind. You are not dealing with a normal person. You are dealing with a mind that is missing 21% of gray matter in the prefrontal lobe and about 10% of gray matter in the paralimbic system. The latter involves the amygdala which is where the most intense memories for human beings are stored. Gacy’s amygdala was like an empty vault. Memories meant nothing to him. He lived in the now. That is a large part of what makes the film fascinating.

Some critics have complained about how Gacy spews out whatever he wants to say and doesn’t answer the interviewer’s questions. Well, of course he does whatever he wants because that’s what he does. I don’t know what they thought they were going to hear on the tapes because getting a confession from him is absurd and thinking he’s going to show emotion or regret is ridiculous. What the film does is invites the audience into the mind of a predatory animal. The purpose of this is so they can understand how a real monster thinks which is in no way shape or form normal.

Gacy was born a genetically brain damaged monster. He had no humanity whatsoever. If you are looking for motivation you aren’t going to find it. If you are looking for a reason for his actions, there isn’t one. He doesn’t have feelings other than irritation and rage. He’s primarily indifferent. He doesn’t care what he did to his victims. He just wanted to rape and kill them. Humans have reasons for their motivations. Predatory animals do not. They have instinct. Period. Reason for them does not exist. They are just laser sharp at picking out a mark and killing it.

Corn Maze Chapter Seven

Good morning. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce chapter seven of my story Corn Maze. I must say this has been a most unconventional week. We had an unexpected visitor stay with us over the weekend. A shih tzu mix. I did not wish to have any visitors, but my novelist insisted. In fact, the shih tzu was lost and my novelist found her wandering alone on the street. I reluctantly agreed to allow the visitor to stay with us as she was at least four times my size. Probably five times larger than the Maltese.

She was a lot bigger than I am. A lot bigger.

Yes, she was bigger than you, Tucker. Anyway, our novelist went on social media and posted that we’d found a dog and then printed posters and put them around the neighborhood. The owner called the next morning, and we promptly returned the shih tzu mix to her home. We invited her back here today so she could provide an idea of what she thought about Chateau Gigi. Good morning, Barshashi.

Good morning, Gigi. Thank you for having me.

Of course. I was hoping you could give us your thoughts about staying at Chateau Gigi this past weekend.

Well, I must say, although being lost was a disturbing experience, I found your grounds most pleasing.

Why, thank you.

Mostly because your owner…

Novelist. I am not owned. I own a novelist.

Yes, yes, of course. Your novelist took good care of me despite your obvious jealous attitude.

What? I was not jealous.

Gigi was jealous. She was very, very jealous.

Shut up, Tucker. How did you find your dining experience, Barshashi?  

It was most satisfying. I was hungry and your food was tasty. You did seem upset about me eating it.

I was not upset. You were hungry and needed supper. Our chef…

You mean our novelist.

Tucker, if you don’t stop talking…

Your novelist did a great job of opening the can and putting the food in my dish.

Yes…well, it’s certainly a task I cannot do by myself. And by the way that was my bowl…

And I very much appreciated all the petting and kind words your novelist gave me. Even though it made you jealous.  

It did not make me jealous! How many times do I have to…! Yes, well, Barshashi, thank you for stopping by. I think if you avoid getting lost in the future and never return to Chateau Gigi and never ever take attention away from me again, we can consider this to have been a successful endeavor for all. Au revoir. Off you go. And now here is chapter seven of my story Corn Maze. Nasoloditisya!

Corn Maze

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Chapter Seven

It was a beautiful summer day with a clear blue sky. Not a cloud to be found. Farley stood on his porch and studied the final draft of his corn maze. At last, it was complete. The corn stalks had grown to a perfect height and were ready to be cut. He’d stayed up all night finishing the map and now at six o’clock in the morning he could begin to carve out his vision.

Dixon and Easton pulled up the driveway in their pickup trucks with the equipment.

“Mornin’,” Farley said to his cohorts. “How you doing today?”

“You got your design all ready, Farley?” Dixon asked disembarking his truck.

“Oh, yeah. I’m raring to go.”

“Let’s have a look-see,” Easton said sliding his thumbs into his jeans and hitching them up. He walked over to the porch and Farley handed him the sketch. “Oh, now that’s a beauty. Kind of different though…you usually have more of a…I don’t know. It’s different.”

“Why’s it different this year, Farley?” Dixon asked taking a gander at the sketch.

“This one’s not for beauty,” Farley said. “It’s for confusion.”

“Confusion, huh? Well, I’d say this design will cause that.”

“Aren’t you worried about losing the contest or something with a maze that abstract?” Easton asked.

“Oh, I’m not going to lose,” Farley said. “That you can be sure of.”

“Well, I’ve got to tell you, Farley. You usually come up with something beautiful. This here is not what I’d call beautiful.”

“I’m not going for aesthetics. I’m going for complexity.”

“But Farley, you’re corn mazes in the past…”

“Why don’t you boys just unload your equipment and let’s get to work.”

“Alright Farley,” Dixon said. “It’s your corn maze, man. I just got to tell you this is one twisty-twine path you want us to carve.”

From an upstairs window Valerie observed the three men. With Farley focused on his corn maze she’d have plenty of time to consider her finances and future. If her timing was right, she could just disappear. It wouldn’t take more than an afternoon to load up her things. She would have to finish her classes first, of course. And then there was Harley. Harley was a lost cause. He was engaged. He was settled and even though she would miss him…terribly, she would be fine on her own.

Farley must have seen her up in the window because he waved. What was he trying to prove anyway? That he could build a better mousetrap than Harley?

“This here’s going to take longer than years past, Farley,” Dixon said. “What with all the extra twists and turns you’ve added in.”

“Are you telling me you can’t do it?” Farley asked.

“No, we can do it. I’m just warning you it’s going to take a lot of finite work to produce the additional twists and turns.”

“I’ve got all the time in the world.” Farley turned to wave at Valerie again. “All the time in the world.”

Harley looked over his corn field. The stalks were high enough to be cut now. He studied his sketch. It was the craziest designs he’d ever done. A labyrinth without any outwardly sensical pattern and at least two dozen dead ends he’d noticed after perusing over it again this morning. 

It was even crazier than that final project he’d done his college senior year. He’d always been good at taking things apart and putting them back together. His parents must have gone through several alarm clocks he’d taken apart so the alarm would go off differently. He’d also broken into a couple of DVD players and fiddled with the connections. One of them even produced a cleaner picture after he finished with it. 

When he’d worked as a barista during the summer between his senior year of high school and his freshman year of college, he’d ripped apart the business’s industrial espresso maker just to see if he could brew a better cup of coffee. It was a good thing he did it at night when he was the only closer. He figured out how to get it all back together with thirty minutes to spare before the morning barista came in to open the shop.

Dust billowed up in the distance as the two guys who would mow the pattern into his corn crop drew near. Harley thought about what he would do if he won. What would it even mean? He hadn’t spoken to Valerie since this whole mess began. A lump formed in his throat when he realized how much he’d missed her.

“Hey there, Harley,” Dixon said climbing out of the truck.

“Good morning,” Harley replied.

“We just got done cutting Farley’s maze yesterday.”

“Yeah? How’s it looking?”

“It’s a doozy, I tell you what. Weirdest design I’ve ever seen.”

“Morning, Harley,” Easton said walking up to the porch. “You ready to make that work of art you’ve got in that hot little hand of yours a reality?”

Harley thought about this for a moment. “I am,” Harley said. “I definitely am.”

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD DO THE UNIVERSE (2022)-Paramount+

This little comedy is one of the best new movies you’ll see this summer. Not quite as good as their first film Beavis and Butthead Do America (and do see this one as well if you haven’t) but awful darned close. Beavis and Butthead find themselves entering their school’s science fair which after an experiment goes horribly wrong lands them in front of a judge who sentences them to space camp where things go incredibly wrong and then things take a turn for the hilarious. This is a great summer film that gleefully thumbs its nose at political correctness (especially funny is a two-part scene at a university) and cheerfully lets its characters run rampant…like most characters should but don’t and then end up in a horrible Amazon Original movie. There’s a reason it’s self-proclaimed itself as the dumbest science fiction movie ever made. That’s just code for awesome. Some folks out there may not care for this type of humor and would probably enjoy some of the newly released Amazon Original movies on Prime Video. Said folks are aptly referred to as fartknockers. Run as fast as you can to your television, turn on Paramount+ find this movie, buckle your seatbelts, and take off.

Corn Maze Chapter Six

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce chapter six of my story Corn Maze. This week the Maltese and I have committed to doing a challenge. For one week we must do the following:

  1. Completely avoid social media and click bait for seven days straight. No Facebook, Twitter, Tik-Tok, Instagram, etc.
  2. Exercise 30-60 minutes each day for six of the seven days
  3. Read a fictional or non-fictional book for 30-60 minutes on each of the seven days.
  4. Take one of the seven days off entirely and do no work at all.
  5. Listen to My Sharonna by The Knack at least one time through on each of the seven days.

I am Tucker and I am a Maltese and I love My Sharonna by The Knack. I am listening to it right now. I love dancing. I am dancing.  I am dancing to My Sharonna by The Knack.  

Yes, well anyway this is our challenge. Let’s see how we do. And now here’s chapter six of Corn Maze. Nasoloditisya!

Corn Maze

by

Gigi the parti poodle

“What do you think you’re doing, Farley?” Valerie asked as she entered the kitchen livid over the previous night’s events.

“Whatever do you mean?” Farley replied before sipping his coffee.

“You’re insane. This whole conjured mess of yours is insane.”

“I’m trying to be a gentleman,” Farley said leaning back in his kitchen chair. “If Harley wins the race, you two can have the night of eternal bliss you’ve been wanting for years.”

“Don’t be smug. You’re doing this to ruin lives.”

“The truth, Val, is you’ve always wanted Harley. But because of elements beyond your control, you never got him, and you settled for me instead.”

“Oh, come on! What you want is to throw Harley’s life under the bus and bed his fiancé in the bargain.”

“You were outnumbered, Val. Mallory agreed to the bet. Harley agreed to the bet. You were the only one who voted no. Not to mention you seem certain I’ll win.”

“That’s because you always do, Farley. You always win.”

“You know, winning takes on different forms. I was standing in the post office the other day ready to mail back those tennis shoes that were too big. And up at the front counter was a young father. And the father had his little boy with him. The boy had blonde hair all neatly cut and trimmed. And where I was standing there was this display of cars because you know that post office is inside a store. You know the one. And that little boy came bouncing over by me and started looking at all those shiny little cars. And because it was early in the day there was no one behind me. And I got to thinking that father up there isn’t paying attention to his son. His back is turned, and his kid is next to me looking at the cars. There’s only one postal worker at the window and she’s focused on the packages this young father has put on the counter to be scanned in.

“And I thought what if I were a terrible man. Even with the store’s surveillance system if I were a terrible man, I could grab that boy and take off before anyone knew I was gone. The door is just over there. I could grab the boy, run outside, toss him in the pickup and drive home.”

“You’re insane.”

“We could be a family. Just you and me and this guy’s kid. We’d all be winners, wouldn’t we? But the kid would never really be ours. We might be his new parents, but he’d always be something we’d stolen from his father. I think when we look at the perspective from the right angle, even though we’d be winners we’d still be losers.”

Farley took a sip of coffee and went back to reading his newspaper. Valerie, her mouth agape, shook her head, spun around, and marched out of the kitchen.

Harley lay in bed staring at the ceiling. His helicopter sketch would not do. Not if he wanted to win this competition…if that’s what it was. After mulling over last night’s festivities at Farley’s he couldn’t decide if he should have taken the bet or not. On the one hand he wasn’t in love with Mallory. He’d thought trying to be in love with her would somehow make it work. But it didn’t. He’d spent every night this past week lying awake wondering what he was doing.

On the other hand, Valerie was engaged. He should have ended up with her, but he didn’t. That was the downfall in Harley’s life. He could often see the better way but was unable to change the course of action. Still, he loved her, and couldn’t decide if the opportunity he’d been given was in his favor or a setup for his downfall.

If he won, he could finally go out with the girl of his dreams. On the other hand, it would only be for one night. How smug would Farley be about that and what would he do to Valerie if they did go out? And afterwards how could he go back to Mallory? Should he try and secure a night with the woman of his dreams, or should he renege on the bet? If he could convince his parents to sell the farm he and Mallory could move to another state. Maybe get into organics. Maybe he could give up farming altogether and go back to doing sketches for retail. He liked doing sketches for retail. No, he thought sadly. He could never convince his parents to sell the farm. He was stuck with it. There was nowhere to run.

Harley got up, sat in his parent’s old rocking chair, and stared at his design. Maybe the helicopter was a bad idea. Perhaps a different design would be wiser. But what? No, a helicopter wouldn’t do. Not if he wanted to beat Farley. He rocked back and forth and thought about opportunity. It was a heavy door that closed slowly a little at a time until hopeful light vanished, and darkness remained.

A helicopter wouldn’t do. It was too simple, too predictable. He was thinking too small. He needed to think big, go beyond everyday objects. He had to imagine something that was not easy to put into words. He had to express complexities. He had to express the construct of his imagination. He knew the basic rules for designing a corn maze. He knew the lines had to be possible. But that didn’t mean they had to be ordinary. It had to look like chaos but be utterly rational. It had to be madness made sane.

Mallory entered the Tulip Valley Café to order a coffee and a sweet roll. That’s when she looked over at the booths and saw Valerie studying. Valerie’s back was to her which made it feel like an ambush. This brought joy to Mallory’s heart.

“Table for one?” Pat asked her.

“What?” Mallory said.

“Table for one?”

“I’m meeting Val. She’s right over there.”

“Oh, sure. Did you want a menu?”

“No, thank you. Just a cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll.”

“Cream and sugar?”

“No.”

Mallory headed across the red patterned carpet that looked like it was in desperate need of a deep clean shampoo and a vacuuming and sauntered up to Valerie’s booth. She slid across the vinyl seat surprising Valerie and causing her to bolt upright.

“Val,” Mallory said. “We should talk.”

Valerie slowly closed her textbook and said, “And what is it you want to talk about?”

“How do you feel about being made the prize of a corn maze face off?”

“I could ask you the same thing.”

Mallory laughed. “If Harley loses the contest I’m going to sleep with your fiancé.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“That’s the deal. And I can tell you, Harley’s taking this whole thing very seriously. He completely scrapped his first idea and he’s been spending the whole morning out on the porch designing some crazy maze that doesn’t make any sense. No rhyme or reason to it whatsoever. He’s driven to win this thing and I’m willing to bet Farley’s doing the same thing.”

“Farley’s always insane when it comes to designing his corn maze. This year is no different.”

“If Farley loses, will you sleep with Harley?”

Valerie studied Mallory’s face. Then she said, “The deal is the winner goes out on a date with the other’s fiancé. No one said anything about sleeping with anyone.”

The waitress walked up to the table, turned over Mallory’s cup and poured her coffee. “I’ll be right back with your cinnamon roll,” she said. Then she turned to Valerie and asked, “Would you more coffee?”

“No, thank you,” Valerie said.

The waitress left and Mallory pushed the dish of creamers that was sitting on the table aside and said to Valerie, “You didn’t answer my question.”

Valerie opened a creamer and poured it into her coffee. “Yes, I did. And for that matter I already know if Harley loses you will sleep with Farley.” She grabbed her backpack and shoved her textbook inside. “Enjoy the booth and your cinnamon roll.” And then she got up and left.

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: THE MORNING SHOW (2019): Apple TV+

The Morning Show sets out to examine a very Matt Lauer type of situation. As the curtain opens around 3:30 AM in New York City we find out one of the show’s hosts Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) has been fired after being accused of sexual misconduct. His co-host Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) who worked with him for fifteen years is left in a precarious position. She and Mitch had a rather peculiar relationship both on air and off and she was aware of some of his transgressions. She begins to realize the network wants new blood and has plans to replace her and not renew her contract. And at the same time her marriage is falling apart.

After being made aware of a field reporter’s aggressive actions that end up as a viral video, Alex decides to make the reporter, Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) her new co-host and ally. Alex’s bold move sends tremors through the network who had planned to bring in a new male and female pairing. Bradley, who is caught completely off guard reluctantly takes the position and finds out its far more challenging than she imagined.

New head manager Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) sees this unexpected changing of the guard as an opportunity to eventually oust arrogant, underhanded Chief Executive Fred Micklen (Tom Irwin) who enabled much of Mitch’s actions. Meanwhile top producer Chip Black (Mark Duplass) fights to keep the flailing show and his career under control as he finds himself being set up as the patsy who allowed Mitch’s transgressions to go on.

The show has some excellent episodes particularly “Lonely at the Top”. It also has some mediocre and disappointing ones, namely the season one finally “The Interview” which is sappy and poorly written. Anytime a film or show (except maybe Donnie Darko) uses montage as the crux of their final scene, it’s a glaring sign of bad writing. That said, despite some of the operatic emotional choices the show makes, it often manages to rise above its syrupy heartstring pulling moments to deliver an overall engaging and fascinating story.

Corn Maze Chapter Five

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce chapter five of my story Corn Maze.

Hello, everybody. My name is Tucker, and I am a Maltese. I am here to help Gigi introduce her blog because it is Forth of July weekend and because I am a dog I do not like fireworks. We know not everyone cares about dogs, but we do hate July 4th more than almost any other day of the year. It is loud and scary, and every year people get hurt with those things they set on fire.

Honestly, if the tables were turned dogs would celebrate July 4th by setting human’s credit cards on fire. I know how much they detest the smell of burning plastic.

Yes, yes, that is true. I don’t know why those things are so important. They are small and flat and not very fun to play with.

I concur. One time I found one just lying in our novelist’s wallet and I pulled it out with my teeth and chewed it up. She was most disturbed by it. At first, I thought she was concerned I’d swallowed that dreadful little metal square thing. But no, no, all she was worried about was her precious plastic card.

So, have a safe and happy 4th of July and consider being nice to dogs and burning your credit cards instead.

And with that here is chapter five of Corn Maze. Nasoloditisya!

Corn Maze

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Chapter Five

“I baked a cherry pie,” Mallory chirped. “Harley’s trees had so much fruit on them I had to do something about it.”

“Thank you, Mallory,” Valerie said taking the round Tupperware container out of Mallory’s hands and carrying it into the kitchen.

Valerie peeled the lid off and studied the creation. It was the perfect pie with crossing strips of pastry finished with pinking shears and baked a golden brown. The crust was sprinkled with sugar like fairy dust. The cherries were a perfect glossy red. She opened the cardboard box and studied her own pie, the one she’d rushed to buy at the grocery store. She shut the lid and covered the box with a couple of dish towels and set it behind the Kitchen Aid blender to obscure it from view. She sighed, smoothed out her apron and walked back out to the dining room where everyone was sitting around the wooden dining table.

“Whatever you’re cooking smells terrific,” Mallory told her.

“It’s a broccoli and beef stir fry,” Valerie said.

“Val didn’t feel like cooking tonight, so she whipped that up instead,” Farley joked.

Valerie shot him a nasty glare and asked, “Can I get anyone something to drink?”

“Well, I’ll have a microbrew. Harley, you want one?”

“Sure,” Harley replied.

“Do you have any wine?” Mallory asked.

“Of course. Would you care for white or red?”

“Red.”

Valerie returned to the kitchen and grimaced. She despised wine. She retrieved the bottle of Pinot Noir she used for cooking. Suddenly, she realized she didn’t have any wine glasses. She opened the cupboard and surveyed her options. All plastic. The glass glasses were already set out with the plates and silverware.

Then she remembered something. She trotted out to the dining room, walked up to the hutch, and opened the bottom door. Inside was a box with a pair of fluted champagne glasses. She carried them back into the kitchen, took one out and poured Mallory a glass. Then she retrieved two beers from the refrigerator and carried the drinks to the dining room.

“Thanks, Val,” Mallory said as Valerie handed her the glass. Valerie, by the way, did not like to be called “Val” by folks she hardly knew. “What a beautiful glass!”

“Only the best for my guests,” Valerie said.

“Thank you, Valerie,” Harley said quietly looking at her briefly then back at his beer.

“Val,” Farley said. “Why don’t you go get those hors d’oeuvres you whipped up.”

Horror shot through Valerie like an arrow. “Hors d’oeuvres?” she asked hoarsely.

“The ones you said you were going to make.”

Valerie plodded back into the kitchen. Now, what was she going to do? She had no hors d’oeuvres and she’d only mentioned it as a passing idea. She opened the freezer and grabbed a package of mini pizzas and a box of mini creampuffs. She set both boxes on the counter, flung open the cupboards and retrieved a plate and a moderately sized plastic bowl with Easter eggs on it. She laid the mini pizzas on the plate and shoved it into the microwave then dumped the mini creampuffs into the Easter bowl.

Three minutes later Valerie returned to the living room with the pizzas, the bowl of still frozen creampuffs and a stack of dessert plates. She arranged everything on the coffee table and took a step back.

“What the heck is this?” Farley asked after scrutinizing the delicacies.

“Hors d’oeuvres,” Valerie said.

Harley and Mallory looked at her equally surprised. Harley reached over and took one of the cream puffs and popped it into his mouth.

“I love these,” he said.

The cold hit one of his fillings and his eyes bugged out. “Tasty,” was all he managed to say.

Mallory looked at the creampuffs then shifted her eyes to the pizzas which seemed the safer choice. “I didn’t know mini creampuffs had become a hit as hors d’oeuvres.”

“Oh, yes,” Vallerie said dryly. “They’re in vogue.”

“Hmm,” Mallory said picking up a plate and placing two mini pizzas on it.

“I suppose you’re wondering why I invited you and Mallory to dinner, Harley,” Farley said.

“The thought might have crossed my mind,” Harley said before taking a sip of beer.

“Today is a special day. A special day indeed because exactly one year ago Valerie and I were engaged.”

“Congratulations!” Mallory said. “That’s fantastic! Isn’t that fantastic, Harley?”

Harley looked at Valerie. Their eyes met briefly before Valerie reached for a plate and put a couple of creampuffs and a couple mini pizzas on it.

“Yep, a year ago. Isn’t that fantastic? And I wanted to make certain to have my corn maze sketch finished on this most auspicious day.”

“I’m sure you’ll win, Farley,” Harley said.

Farley smirked at him and then laughed so loud it make the hairs on Harley’s skin stand up. “Oh, I plan to win alright, Harley! I plan to win big!”

“Dinner’s almost ready,” Valerie said. “Let’s all go sit at the table…”

“Yes, let’s.” Harley, Farley, and Mallory headed to the dining table while Valerie headed into the kitchen. “So, Mallory,” Farley continued after they were seated, “I’m certainly having a slice of your pie this evening.”

“I thought I might try Valerie’s pie as well,” Harley said.

“Oh, no!” Farley exclaimed. “That wouldn’t be right. You need to choose. Can’t have both.” Valerie walked out and set the broccoli and beef stir fry on the table. “Besides, Valerie’s is store bought, isn’t it sweetheart?”

Valerie gave Farley a cold angry look. “It’s alright, Harley,” she said. “Mallory’s is much better.”

“Oh, now, wait a minute,” Farley said. “Let the boy make his own decision.”

“Farley,” Harley said becoming more and more agitated. “What’s the point you’re trying to make here?”

“The point? The point is you must decide. You can either have a slice of my fiancé’s pie or a slice of your girlfriend’s. Not both.”

“What are you saying, Farley?”

“You must think I’m stupid,” Farley said leaning in and glaring at Harley.

“What do you mean?”

“What do I mean? You know exactly what I mean.”

Valerie felt a sudden sense of guilt. Why guilt? She hadn’t done anything wrong. But there it was: guilt.

“I have a proposition for you, chief,” Farley continued.

“A proposition?” Harley said becoming more uneasy by the second.

“I’m tired of winning trophies for my corn mazes. I want a real prize this time.”

“What did you have in mind?”

“Well now, Harley,” Farley said sitting back in his chair and contemplating his beer. “I seem to remember way back at the end of high school there being a dispute between the two of us.”

Valerie’s feeling of guilt turned into terror.

“A little argument ‘twain the two of us. A rivalry if you will.”

“Last time I checked you won that battle.”

“Well, now, Harley, that’s what I thought too. But some light has been shed to contradict my thoughts on the matter. Perhaps I never won that battle after all.”

“Farley…,” Valerie started to say.

“Shut up!”

A silence fell over the table. Mallory picked up her wine and took a sip. Valerie sat back in her chair and waited. Harley narrowed his eyes at Farley. What was this lunatic on about this time?

“I propose,” Farley said, “a contest between the two of us. Your corn maze against my corn maze with the prize being something…personal.”

“Get to the point, Farley,” Harley snapped.

Farley laughed. “Well now, the true test of a corn maze, as I see it, is not just the beauty of the design. It’s how long it takes for the person experiencing it to arrive at the exit. The longer the journey the better the corn maze. So, Harley, what I propose is a friendly contest betwixt the two of us. Each one of us goes through the other’s completed corn maze. Whichever man gets through the other’s the fastest wins.”

“So, you’d time me, and I’d time you.”

“Oh, no! I envision this to be much bigger than that. I say we advertise our competition all over the valley as a little side contest come Halloween so there are plenty of witnesses. Keep the whole thing fair and such. I want everyone to see who’s the winner and who’s the loser.”

“And why would I agree to this cockeyed idea of yours?”

“Oh, Harley, surely you’ve figured this one out.”

“Enlighten me.”

“You ever played that video game Donkey Kong?”

“Maybe.”

“What’s the point of Donkey Kong?”

“To get to the last level.”

“And what’s waiting for the lucky player who’s able to outsmart the game and reach the end?”

“The…princess.”

“Ah! Now, you see my point.”

“What exactly are you saying, Farley?”

“I’m saying whoever gets to the end of the corn maze first gets the princess or rather the other guy’s princess.”

Harley, Mallory, and Valerie all stared at Farley.

“You’ve always wanted Valerie and we both know it. Now I’m giving you the opportunity of a lifetime.”

“Harley is engaged,” Mallory pointed out, “to me!”

“I’m engaged too, sweetheart. And if I get through your fiancé’s maze first, well…”

“Let me get this straight,” Harley said. “You want us each to build our own corn maze and then in addition to the yearly competition you want to tag on an extra competition just between you and me where each of us goes through the other’s corn maze and whoever gets out first wins the other’s fiancé?”

“One date. One night. If I get through first, I get Mallory for a night and if you get through first, you get Valerie for a night.”

“I’m not going on a date with you,” Mallory told Farley.

“Oh, aren’t you now? You think I didn’t notice the way you flirted with me when you came by asking for directions the other day? You’re as much in on this contest as I am. And as for that matter Valerie has been putting off moving in with me. She’s not sold on getting married to me because she and Harley have unfinished business. Isn’t that right, Val?”

Valerie glared at Farley. “Mallory and Farley are engaged,” she said. “You have no right to go around breaking up their engagement.”

“I’m giving you a free pass.”

“No, you’re not.”

“I’ll do it,” Harley said.

“Are you mad?” Valerie said.

“If Mallory and Valerie agree to it, I’ll do it.”

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: GET ME ROGER STONE (2017)-Netflix

If you are a fan of The Thin Blue Line, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes and Farley Brother’s films, this one is for you. Netflix does a great job showing different types of psychopaths through its documentaries. Roll Red Roll and Audrey and Daisy show you the psychopathic rapist. Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story shows you the psychopathic pedophile. Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting and Internet Killer shows the psychopathic kitten and human killer. This one takes you inside the realm of psychopaths at the elitist level.   

If you need someone to run your campaign, look no further than the highly experienced, highly effective, highly immoral Roger Stone. He’s charismatic, intelligent, and dangerous. He knows how to manipulate his audience with the same tactics repeatedly starting with the slogan, “Make America Great Again”.  It was used in both the Regan campaign and more recently in the Trump campaign. The operative word here is Again. Let’s break this down into personality type:

SJ: 40% of the population: Looks to the past

SP: 40% of the population: Looks to the present

NF: 10% of the population: Looks to the future

NT: 10% of the population: Looks at time in cross sections

Guess which group is the most likely to have voters who would get behind a campaign that promotes, “Make America Great Again”. As you can see it’s a very big group. In fact, it may be slightly larger than 40%. These folks tend to be hard working, good with money, traditionalist to the point of being Amish and not very intuitive. Not all SJs will vote this way but a good enough portion will, enough to tip the scales.

And a campaign like this is going to pick up a good portion of those in the group who looks to the present provided the campaign has a charismatic candidate. Because most of them are charismatic and thrill seekers themselves regardless of whether they are introverted or extroverted.

Nigeria did an astounding study I’ve mentioned in other blog posts where they examined the members of fraternities in their country. The members and pledges break down into three groups:

Psychopaths

Suckers

Grudgers

The psychopaths (primarily SPs) run the place. The suckers (primarily SJs) are the henchmen and those who get used by the psychopaths. The grudgers (primarily a mix of NFs and NTs) are the ones who see through the garbage. Grudgers are by far the smallest group and last about one year in a fraternity. They either quit, are thrown out or both.

In this documentary the psychopaths run the campaign. The suckers vote for the candidate that feeds into their deeply entrenched and never changing beliefs whether right or wrong.

Stone is very adept at knowing who to target and how to target them. And he and his teammates are willing to win at all costs. Logic and truth are the enemy. The name of the game is perception. It doesn’t matter if what they are saying is based in fact or scientific study. It’s a matter of telling people what they want to hear and playing into their doubts and paranoia. And they do it well. They don’t do anything creative or rational, but they know that repeating the same tactics works.

Watch The Hunting Ground and see how many victims of campus rape were ensnared by the same con. They single out a younger undergraduate in their class. They ask them to a party say one week away. They butter them up, talk to them, give them attention. The girl goes to the party. The guy gets them drunk, not even with roofies, mind you, but just plain jane alcohol. They ask the girl if she wants to go upstairs to lie down and sleep it off. The guy rapes her. And they run this con repeatedly.

Mr. Stone is a mundane paint by the number’s frat boy on a large scale. He’s just been clever enough to secure a position as a career college student and plays the con better than everyone else. But it works and that’s why when a candidate wants someone to get them in office they say, “Get me Roger Stone”.    

Corn Maze Chapter Four

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle her to bring you chapter four of my story Corn Maze. Today…

Hello. My name is Tucker, and I am a Maltese. I am here to discuss things not to do if you visit the Pacific Northwest this summer…

Nobody cares about that, Tucker!

Number one: do not go hiking off the trails in the mountains. You could get lost and end up with exposure. Number two: if you go hiking in the mountains you could run into a bear and get mauled. Number three: do not go swimming in the lakes before August. They are cold and you could get hypothermia. Number four: if you swim in the waters in late summer when there are signs up about staying out of the water you could expose yourself to toxic blue-green algae. Number five: if you go to the eastern side of the states in late July and August you could get caught in a forest fire. Number six: beware of high winds. High winds can knock over trees and they will crush your car or you. They can also cause mudslides after heavy rains. Have a nice summer!

Thank you for that joyful news, you insipid Maltese. Now, here is Chapter Four of Corn Maze. Nasoloditisya!

Corn Maze

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Chapter Four

Valerie sat in the Tulip Valley Café, a long-established old-fashioned diner in downtown. A cup of coffee with a rising thin curl of steam sat near her as she read her textbook. She usually went there in the morning after attending Big Valley College where she was taking classes, a fact which Farley did not know. Valerie had completed a bachelor’s degree but decided she wanted to return to school. This was of course in direct conflict with her upcoming wedding.

While she was studying that morning, Harley walked in. He was wearing his old shearling denim jacket and looked like he’d put in some work that morning. He took off his work gloves and shoved them in the back pocket of his jeans. “Hello, Pat.”

“Why, hello, Harley!”

“How’s your son, Pat?”

“Oh, he’s doing just fine,” Pat said. “Glad to be done with school for the year. He’s been playing baseball.”

“Good for him. I never went out for athletics much.”

“I never thought you’d move back to this town, Harley.”

“Well…I knew my parents would eventually want me to.”

“Ah,” Pat said knowingly. “Let me go check on your order.”

“Alright,” he said.

At that precise moment Valerie looked up from her book and saw Harley standing there. She stared at him longer than she should have before she looked back down at her book.

“Here you are,” Pat said returning with a paper bag. She set it down on the counter along with a coffee in a to-go cup.

“Thanks, Pat. I’ll be seeing you soon.”

“See you tomorrow, Harley.”

Pat grabbed a couple menus and slipped around the counter to seat some patrons as Harley turned to leave. That’s when he saw Valerie sitting in the booth reading her textbook and sipping coffee. An awkwardness overcame him.

Both fixated on each other with Valerie gripping her book and Harley gripping his to-go bag in front of his belt buckle. They stayed that way until the waitress strolled up to Valerie’s table with a coffee pot. “You look like you could use a touch up,” the waitress said.

“What?” Valerie asked snapping out of her stupor.

“Coffee, more, would you like some?”

“Please,” Valerie said.

Valerie looked back towards Harley. But Harley was gone.

Farley sat on his porch swing in the late afternoon surveying the vast layout of his field where his corn crop would grow. A light breeze blew across the dirt. He thought about the pattern he’d like to create. He would have his friend Bud take him for a ride in the Piper after the corn started to grow to see if the labyrinth he envisioned would work. This year’s corn maze would be something like he’d never created before. A true work of art.

He grabbed his sketchbook and began to draw. This was almost the best part: the planning. The early phase. The best part was finding out how many people got lost. That was the real joy: proof the plan worked. Sure, it was all fun and games when folks went in, but it was even more fun when they got lost and needed help to get out. That’s when you knew you’d crafted it right.

Valerie came driving up in her crystal white Subaru Impreza. She’d finished work and dropped her books off at home before heading to Farley’s. She parked the car, shut off the engine and sat for a moment with her windows down.

“Don’t stay out there too long,” Farley said. “You and I are having a dinner party.”

Valerie whipped her head around to look at him. “What did you say?”

“I paid a visit to the Hutton’s a couple of nights ago.”

“Why?”

“Mr. and Mrs. Hutton moved out. Harley moved back in.”

Valerie’s eyes widened. “You invited him over?”

“Actually, I invited Harley and Harley’s girlfriend over.”

Valerie felt a cold shiver move across her skin. “His…girlfriend?”

“Mallory. Cute little thing…well, maybe not so little.”

“Why did you invite them to supper, Farley?”

“Well, I’m thinking of it as a welcome back to the neighborhood dinner. They moved in less than a week ago. Thought we should roll out the red carpet, try and be cordial.”

“You’re insufferable, Farley,” she said disembarking the car.

“Why’d you start taking classes at the college?”

Valerie pressed her lips together. “Who said I was taking classes?”

“You can’t get a masters at that school.”

“No, you can’t.”

Farley raised his eyes with a glacial glare. “Just what are you planning to do there, Valerie? You going to pack up your bags and run back to a university?”

“I could drive up to the University in the mornings and drive back here in the afternoons.”

“And how do you expect to keep a job and do that what with you commuting to your classes and all your studies?”

“I’ll make it work.”

Farley laughed and slapped his knee. “You’re a real comedian, Val, A genuine belly of laughs!”

“You don’t think I can do it?”

“I know you can’t do it.”

“You have yourself a good laugh there, Farley. You yuck it up. I am going to complete my masters whether you want me to or not.”

“Well, aren’t you the tiger.”

“Oh, shut up, Farley,” she snapped and marched up the steps. “You could have told me sooner you were having them over for dinner.” Then she threw open the screen door and went inside.

Farley took a pull off his Rainer, grinned menacingly and went back to sketching his corn maze.

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: HIGH ANXIETY (1977) & MEL BROOKS: UNWRAPPED (2019)-HBO Max

It is important to laugh, and it is healthy to laugh…unless you have broken ribs or some such thing. And therefore, this week’s pick and accompanying documentary are all about laughter.

High Anxiety is Mel Brooks’s send up to Hitchcock films and many of the scenes are downright hysterical. I am especially fond of one involving newspaper. The story revolves around Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke (Mel Brooks) who suffers from an acute fear of heights and takes a job at the Psychoneurotic Institute for the Very, VERY Nervous. After his bizarre odyssey at the airport, he arrives at the psychiatric hospital to find things amiss. He is replacing the previous Dr. Ashley who died under mysterious circumstances and his driver Brophy (Ron Carey) suspects foul play.

Among his new colleagues are nervous Dr. Philip Wentworth (Dick Van Patten), daffy Dr. Charles Montague (Harvey Korman), and militant Nurse Charlotte Diesel (Cloris Leachman) all of whom seem to be hiding secrets. After seeing light shining from the violent ward, he meets new patient millionaire Arthur Brisbane who acts like a cocker spaniel. But Brisbane may not be who he seems which he finds out from Brisbane’s daughter Victoria Brisbane (Madeline Kahn) who believes her father is being held hostage. 

Mel Brooks: Unwrapped is a short documentary by Alan Yentob from the BBC. It’s a funny and touching look at the different times through the years Yentob interviewed Brooks where we get to see Brooks over the course of his remarkable career. Carl Reiner comes along for some of the ride which is an extra treat. Brooks’s humor elevates the documentary even more. It’s a great addition to watching his classic film.

Corn Maze Chapter Three

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the Parti poodle here to introduce Chapter Three of my story Corn Maze. I have spent most of my free time this past week tormenting the Maltese. Sometimes he requires more torture than usual. Don’t think he’s innocent in all this. The Maltese have their nefarious ways. Oh, yes. Nefarious ways indeed. One can never be too careful about them. Their noses change color. In the summer months it turns black. In the winter months it turns pink. Apparently, this is called Winter Nose. Right now, it is both pink and black at the same time. I find the whole thing terrifying. My nose it always black. I cannot understand nor trust a dog with a nose that cannot make up its mind. Anyway, here is Chapter Three of Corn Maze. Nasoloditisya!

Corn Maze

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Chapter Three

Monday evening Farley sat on his front porch swing overlooking the stretch of land where his corn would be grown. Right at the edge of it sat the Hutton farm. Harley’s parent’s farm. He and Harley hadn’t spoken for nearly five years. As he was sitting there, a Magnetic Gray Prius came driving down the long driveway that led up to his porch. The Prius stopped and the driver shut off the engine.

Out of the car stepped a slightly rotund twenty-something woman with fake blonde hair. She looked like she didn’t come from around these parts. More citylike but oddly friendly. She waved her hand and said, “Hello there!”

Farley waved back, “Well, hello,” he said. “You lost?”

“I was looking for the Hutton Farm and I think I made a wrong turn.”

“You’re close. The Hutton farm is right over there.” Farley pointed across his future corn maze towards Harley’s parent’s farm. “They’re my neighbors…for now.”

“Oh,” she said.

“You a friend of the family?”

“I’m Harley’s girlfriend.”

Farley narrowed his eyes. “Are you now?”

“Yes. Harley just moved back in there.”

Farley glared over at the Hutton farm and then looked back at the woman. “When?”

“A few days ago.”

“Well, isn’t that interesting.”

“His mom and dad asked him to take over the farm.”

“Huh.”

“They haven’t moved out yet, but I think the moving trucks are coming tomorrow. Should I tell Harley you said hello?”

Farley shook his head. “Nope. I’ll surprise him.”

“Thank you for the directions.”

“Oh, you’re welcome, Miss…?”

“Mallory. Mallory Blander.”

“Good to meet you, Mallory Blander.”

“See you later.”

“Oh, you will.”

Farley marched up to Harley’s house and pounded on the door. It was four in the morning and Farley had been up the entire night fuming.

Harley came to the door yawning, wrapping his buffalo plaid robe around himself and tying the belt. It took a second for his bleary eyes to come into focus and recognize his neighbor and nemesis.

“Harley,” Farley said menacingly. “Looks like you’ve come home.”

Harley scowled at him. “It’s four in the morning, Farley.”

“Is your girlfriend up in your parent’s big bed?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Mallory, is it?”

Harley studied Farley’s face. He still had that vindictive quasi-smile. “Who told you about Mallory?”

“Mallory.”

“I put her up in the guest room.”

“Well, she’s a cutie, I’ll tell you that.”

Harley clenched and unclenched his fist.

“Harley,” a nasal voice said somewhere behind the front door. “Who are you talking to?”

“Go back to bed, Mallory,” Harley said.

Mallory ignored Harley and shuffled around behind him in her fuzzy hot pink slippers. “Oh,” she said. “It’s you. What are you doing here? What time is it anyway?”

“It’s four ten in the morning,” Harley said. “And Farley was just leaving.”

“Why do you always have to be so exact about time? Couldn’t you just say it’s four in the morning? Who cares if it’s a few minutes past the hour?”

Farley grinned. “Lady has a point.”

“What did you want to talk to me about, Farley?” Harley asked.

“Why, I just wanted to greet my new neighbor.”

“At four…,” Harley looked at the wall clock, “…eleven in the morning?”

“The early bird catches the worm. Besides, I wanted to extend an invitation to you.”

“What kind of invitation?”

“I’m getting married.”

“Congratulations!” Mallory said jumping up and down and clapping her hands.

“Who’s the “lucky” girl?” Harley asked.

Farley’s eyes twinkled. “You remember Valerie, don’t you?”

Harley’s face went ashen. “Valerie…”

“Gladhart. That’s right.”

“She moved back here?”

“Right after college.”

“When’s the wedding?”

“You should tell him congratulations,” Mallory told Harley tugging on his sleeve.

“When’s the wedding?” Harley repeated jerking his sleeve away from Mallory.

“After the corn maze competition.”

“Right. The corn maze competition.”

“You going to make one, or you going to pussy out?”

“You’ve made corn mazes, Harley?” Mallory said surprised.

Harley was considering the most effective way to shove Farley off his front porch. “I’ve helped my parents design some,” he told her.

“How come you never told me that?”

“Yeah, Harley,” Farley said. “How come you never told her that?”

“Get off my porch, Farley.”

“I will, I will. But before I do, I’d like to extend a second invitation.”

“Yeah, and what’s that?”

“Come on over to the house and have dinner with us Wednesday evening. Get reacquainted as they say.”

“Oh, that would be fun!” Mallory said. “Wouldn’t that be fun, Harley?”

Harley glared at Farley. The two eyeballed each other for an uncomfortable minute. Then Farley chuckled. “Val would love to cook dinner for you guys. Besides, we can chew the fat about our corn mazes, can’t we Harley? Be seeing you around say, seven o’clock?”

“We’ll be there!” Mallory said jubilantly.

“I’m looking forward to it. Yes, sir, I certainly am.” Then he jumped down of the porch and left.  

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK-DOWNFALL-THE CASE AGAINST BOEING (2022)-Netflix

A great acting teacher I had once said, when two people from different classes marry, they both fall. He was referring to Stanley and Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire. I, however, am referring to McDonnall Douglass and Boeing. My favorite line from Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is, “If you ain’t first, your last” and this applies to the former. McDonnall Douglass was a second-rate aerospace manufacturing company who needed a brand name because they built lousy passenger planes that crashed. They were last. Boeing, on the other hand, was originally the best of the best aerospace manufacturing company founded on July 15th, 1916, by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. His engineers and workers were expected to be extremely precise and careful and build the best aircraft without cutting corners. They had an unrivaled record for safety.

Then came whoring guttersnipe McDonnall Douglass who wooed and “married” Boeing but just brutally raped them in a bathroom stall after getting them good and drunk. Little by little under the name Boeing, the upper management snakes of McDonnall Douglass began to fire safety staff and engineers, you know the people who know how to build things. They drove their entire staff to focus exclusively on the stock price and not really build anything anymore. Why? Because the reality is many graduates from business schools who become upper management are nothing but banal inept manipulative psychopaths with delusions of grandeur who have never nor will ever be able to do anything of worth. Occasionally one will wear a strait jacket as they are wheeled out on a dolly while wearing a modified hockey mask, so they don’t sink their fangs into anyone before they give a lie-filled press conference and tell you they love your suit.

Which is exactly what happened to Boeing after the McDonnall Douglass merger. They killed men, women, children, dogs, cats, and anything else they could get on their airplanes and indifferently crashed them knowing the planes they built were faulty. Not accidentally, mind you, but killed them because they didn’t want to put money and time into research, training for the pilots, and, oh, yeah, for profits and to drive up the stock price. And then after they face a senate hearing do they put what money they have left into rebuilding the company? No. They give the sub-par CEOs they fire a multi-million-dollar paycheck and say thanks for the deaths and profits. It was fun. Think of mundane moron Marissa Mayer who ran Yahoo into the ground and walked away with a wheelbarrow of cash.

This is a straight-forward, well-researched documentary from Ron Howard and Brian Grazer directed by Rory Kennedy and written by screenwriters Keven McAlester and Mark Bailey. An excellent microcosm exemplifying why America is on a runaway train heading straight into inferno.   

Corn Maze Chapter Two

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce chapter two of Corn Maze. The weather this week has been a great indication summer is almost here. It’s been so warm I’ve panted on walks I go on with my novelist. Marigolds have been planted at our abode which brings about a burst of color. We wanted to plant violets but found we were too late in the season. Perhaps we can plant them in the fall. I plan on spending more time outside doing some light reading. I for one am a fan of the classics. How can one pass on a Sherlock Holmes novel? Or something by the fantastic Jules Verne? The Maltese mostly reads coloring books. He doesn’t color them, mind you. He just stares at the pictures. And with that thought, here is chapter two of Corn Maze. Nasoloditisya!

Corn Maze

by

Gigi the Parti Poodle

Chapter Two

Harley hadn’t move back home after graduating from college. He’d gotten two degrees: one in botany and the other in art. He worked as a sketch artist for retail which wasn’t a bad job all things considered, and he was plugging along when he got an email from his parents. They wanted him to come home and take over the farm. It didn’t come as a complete shock to Harley, but it was heartbreaking just the same. Harley had never fancied himself a farmer. But in the back of his mind, he realized it was his destiny. He always knew he would return to the Big Valley, and he knew he would be farming corn. It was his least favorite crop. But his family had done it for years and instead of designing sketches he would build corn mazes.

While he was in his senior year of college, he chanced to meet a young woman named Mallory. Mallory was a socially adept slightly rotund girl with fake blonde hair working on a degree in education. She was gleefully passive aggressive and wanted nothing more than to become the principal of a grade school and run it with a joyful iron fist which is the same way she ran her relationship with Harley. And Harley quietly went along with it because he’d given up on finding love.

Mallory lived on the same dorm floor as Harley. Once she noticed him, she decided she was going to snag him and adore him with all her might. Harley, on the other hand, was too busy studying and working to notice her. But by the time they went on their first date he was fully aware she had captured him in her snare. She was easy on the eyes, so he didn’t care much at first. But by the time they’d gone on a couple dates he was fully aware she was a complete and thorough autocrat.

The whole fiasco started like this. One day while Harley was in his dorm room studying as usual, he made the mistake of leaving his door open. Mallory came sauntering up carrying a plate of freshly baked brownies. “Hi, Harley,” she said in her upbeat yet strangely sour voice. “What are you up to?”

“I’m studying for midterms,” Harley said not looking up.

“Which class?”

“All of them.”

“At once?”

“Shouldn’t you be studying for your midterms, Mallory?”

“I’m going to, but first I’ve made you brownies. You like brownies don’t you, Harley?”

“Not particularly.”

“I love brownies. They’re comfort food. I feel comforted when I eat them.”

“Fantastic. Enjoy your brownies.”

“But that’s the thing, Harley. I baked them for you.”

“Okay, well leave one on my desk.”

“That’s not very nice of you, Harley.”

“What do you mean?”

“I spent my whole afternoon baking brownies and you have absolutely no appreciation for my efforts.”

“I said I’d take a brownie.”

“But you don’t want one.”

“It’s not that I don’t appreciate your efforts, Mallory. I just don’t care for brownies.”

“Someday you’re going to appreciate me, Harley. Someday you’re going to ask me out on a date.”

“What? Why?”

“Well, thanks a lot! Thanks a lot for hurting my feelings! You just said I wasn’t good enough to ask out!”

“That’s not what I said…”

“You said what and why would you ask me out!”

“I’m just trying to study for my midterms, Mallory.”

“Oh, so that’s your excuse!”

“Well, yes.”

“What’s going on?”

Harley and Mallory turned to see the RA standing in the doorway.

“Harley’s being cruel to me,” Mallory said.

The RA rolled his eyes. “What did you do to her, Harley?”

“I made him brownies,” Mallory said, “and he told me he doesn’t like them!”

“You don’t like brownies, Harley?”

“I prefer cookies,” Harley said.

“Right. Look, just to keep the peace around here do you think you two lovebirds could quiet down. It is midterms you know.”

“We aren’t lovebirds.”

“Well, you sound like you are.”

“I’ve been minding my own business studying all day and Mallory shows up and starts talking about brownies.”

“He said I wasn’t good enough to ask out on a date,” Mallory said.

“That’s not what I said.”

“You’re a dog, Harley,” the RA said. “You could have just told her you didn’t want to go out with her.” Then he left.

Harley glared at Mallory. “I have a lot of studying to do and I have to go to my job tonight.”

“What job?” she asked.

“The same one I’ve had all year.”

“I didn’t know you had a job.”

“Thank you for the brownie, Mallory. Now I need to study.”

“We could study together.”

“No, we could not.”

“Why?”

Harley got up and herded Mallory out of the room. “Goodbye, Mallory,” he said and shut the door behind her.

After she left Harley tried to go back to studying but his thoughts were jangled. He walked over to his dresser and opened the top drawer where he always put his wallet, out of sight out of mind. He opened it where in the plastic inserts was a graduation picture of a high school girl. Harley stared at the picture. After a moment he sighed, closed the wallet, returned it to the drawer went back to his desk and continued his studies.

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: BUBBA HO-TEP (2002)-Tubi and Pluto TV

It’s hard to believe that today June 9th marks the twentieth anniversary of the release of this incredible and highly underrated film.

Based on the novella of the same name by Joe R. Lansdale, it is the story of Elvis Presley impersonating an Elvis Presley impersonator named Sebastian Haff. Elvis traded places with him in Texas at Sebastian’s show and it was really Sebastian who went on to die in 1977 and not the real Elvis Presley. The story begins with Elvis (Bruce Campell in his landmark performance) as a resident of the Shady Rest Retirement Home in East Texas. In voiceovers he philosophizes on old age, his life as a star and living in anonymity. He tolerates the condescending nurse (Ella Joyce) who takes care of him but doesn’t believe he is Elvis Presley. And he misses his wife Pricilla and his daughter Lisa. His friend who lives in a room down the hall is John F. Kennedy better known as Jack (Ozzie Davis). Jack says he was the President of the United States, but “they” dyed his skin and hid him away which is why he is still alive.

One night at Shady Rest things start to change for the worse. Something old, very old, is walking the halls. Something by the name of Bubba Ho-Tep. Slowly but surely Elvis and Jack begin to put together a puzzle of terrifying proportions and reach inside themselves for the courage to TCB.

The ingenious and wholly original script was adapted from Joe R. Lansdale’s novella by director Don Coscarelli and the fantastic original score that would rival just about anything up for an Oscar was written by Brian Tyler. An absolute must see.