Monthly Archives: November 2012

…awards, awards, my Kingdom for awards …

The Liebster Award

Goodness Gracious Me!!
I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award by Susan Buchanan. Thank you! ( I think )

Here are the rules:
  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure you notify the blogger that you nominated them!)
  • You write up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your own blog!
  • You paste the award picture into your blog. (You can Google the image, there are plenty of them!)
11 random facts about Seumas Gallacher:
The average height of a Scotsman (standing up) is 5’8”.  I am above average at 5′ 8 1/2 “.
Varying levels of languages run around in my head at any one time, inter-alia English, Gaelic (Scots version), Tagalog, Cantonese, French, Arabic, but the main tongue is in Rubbish.
In my youth I played football on S-Forms (schoolboy sign-on) for Third Lanark, a latter-day Scottish First Division club. They went bust in 1967, one of the few Scottish football disasters for which I am NOT blamed.
At one time I owned a Siamese cat to which I gave a dog’s name, FIDO. It still refused to collect the morning newspapers.
When I was two years old I stole all the flags with the hole numbers from a local putting green. All these years later, golf is still getting its own back on me.
Alex Ferguson, Manager  of Manchester United, and I were born in the same street in Govan, Glasgow. He’s 6 years older than me, and has tons more money—but I’m better-looking than he is.
I learned to swim when I was 38— too late to represent Govan at the Olympics or to help significantly with that Titanic business.
As with most adolescents of the 60s, I belonged to a ‘beat group’, (now called ‘bands’), as front lead singer and harmonica player. We were called ‘The Other Side’ and had cards printed with the group’s name on it. People kept turning the cards over and over, so we changed the name of the group to ‘Green Onion’.
The best laugh I ever had in business was over an executive in our group who did all his own travel arrangements as he fancied himself as a bit of a worldly-wise business fellow. On a trip to Scandinavia, he messed up all the arrangements and ended up in towns he’d no knowledge of… We called him the guy who didn’t know his Aarhus from his Oslo.
Although I reckon myself a hard-nosed product of the docklands, when I hear things like ‘Amazing Grace’ on the bagpipes, especially the clip from You Tube with Andre Rieu, I can still bubble like a baby—and proud of it.
The first time I saw Billy Connolly perform was on the Michael Parkinson Show  in 1975, and he’s made me laugh non-stop ever since. The man’s a comic genius.
Questions from Susan Buchanan:-

Q. If you could turn back time, what, if anything would you change?

A. Not a thing. Everything, good or not so good, that’s happened in my life was necessary to get me to this point. I don’t want to mess with the Big Guy’s plans.
Q.What 3 things did you definitely want to do before you turned 30?
A. 1. Play football on Hampden Park, Scotland’s premier football stadium. 2. Go abroad. 3. Keep breathing..   Managed all 3.
Q. Favourite takeaway food.
A. Cod and chips from a Scottish fish and chip shop, but NO fried Mars Bars, please.
Q. If you could date a famous actress for one night only ( don’t read anything into this!) who would it be?
A. Mae West, a Lady with real fun and attitude– and I wouldn’t need the gun.
Q. Wildlife programs or home makeover shows?
A. Live  TV  soccer matches, which is close to the Wildlife bit, I think….
Q. Favourite city in the whole world.
A. Hong Kong, hands down–the most vibrant ‘can-do’ place on the planet–and going for a Chinese meal is never a bother.
Q. City, countryside or by the sea.
A. City boy, me. I’d break the cows and things if I was let loose in the countryside.
Q. Do you have any particular talents (keep it atPG level pls!)
A. I have a black belt in snoring.
Q. Which sport do you wish (if any) that you were really good at.
A. The obscene amount of money that soccer players earn today would make my old footballing skills quite lucrative if I was a few decades younger.
Q. If today was the last day of Mankind (cheery thought…) what would you like to be doing ?
A. Playing guitar very loudly, singing very loudly, and then listening to massed pipes and  drums as the take-out music ..and the ex-directory line to God might be quite handy, too…
Questions for my nominees:
What’s your earliest recollection of anything?
How old were you when you were informed that Mister Claus may not be for real ? and how did you take it?
What was the first book that you absolutely hated ?
Money or Love ?
Fantasy holiday destination ?
First kiss?
Favourite funny person?
What kind of music, if any, makes you cry?
If you could remove any three letters from the alphabet what would they be, and why?
Favourite animal/pet?
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to ?
My nominees are: Stephen Edger, Andrew Peters, Andrew Scorah, Thomas Rydder, Tim Dittmer, John Dolan, L.Leander, Jim Wright, Kim Cox, Alexandria Szeman, Stuart Laing.

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…in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man gets 50% off at Specsavers…

…as ‘they’ say at the beginning of things,… ‘and so it starts..’…the  blog post prior to this one ‘ere contained an open invitation to all and sundry to come GUEST POST with me…another round of the BLOGGERS GOT TALENT idiom for this ‘ere blogging idiot…stirrings of interest have begun from myriad quill scribblers …but also, Mabel, come the questions…always the questions, eh ?…’Will there be biscuits?’.. ‘how about cakes?’…’cheese?’..’.wine…?’ Biscuits is it? Biscuits!!!  sure, I’ll get ye biscuits.!..billions of biscuity biscuits, bits of biscuits, bisected biscuits, biscuits in bins, bestowed biscuits, bitterless biscuits, biscotti biscuits, les biscuits, biscuits the size of yer biceps..,.bitty bicep biscuits bi all means ….as for  Cake? Caramba, there’s eclairs, vienna slices, marzipan squares, neapolitan wafer-y bits, chocolate digestifs, coconut crispies, souffléd mountains, hills of profita roules, smatterings of lemony snickets, and spondulacks of spiffing M & Ms…whew !…. cheese and wine for them what does will be ferried in by tank loads, tuns of tons of it…I can’t do no fairer than that now, can I ?…THEN, the other questions…’What to write?’  ‘How long should it be ?’…’What topic(s) d’ye want, Master Seumas?’  …The response is simplicity itself…“SIMPLICITY ITSELF”… now I expect the usual raft of sma’at-asses to merely write a two word blog piece,  ‘SIMPLICITY ITSELF’… hum ho… t’was ever thus when pioneering cutting edge invitational events, wasn’t it , Mabel?…For the saner among you ( for legal and truth in advertising reasons, I must exclude myself from that descriptive), be guided thus: ANYTHING you feel like contributing, in whatever format, in whatever language ( sumb’dy out there’ll probably unnerstand it …) about whatever takes yer fancy…let it all hang in…include links to whatever you  please… yer books, yer blogs, yer hairdresser, whatever…it’s  your piece, write what you like… in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man gets 50% off at Specsavers…in the land of Master Gallacher’s Blog, the one word and upward guest blog piece gets pride of place … go for it… meantime I’ve got to go discuss with Matron about a few scattered throw cushions here and there and some dappled lighting to welcome you all here to the ward …see yeez later …

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…I have nothing to offer but blog, sweets and teas …

…those who have been loyal or crazy enough to follow my blog for any length of time will be aware of my lifelong admiration for ol’ Winnie Churchill…there was a man of many talents…from the art of making whisky disappear in splendid quantities, to engaging the monstrous chess game that was World War II…in between times he penned the Nobel Literary Prize-Winning ‘History of the English-Speaking Peoples’…I am set now to wond’rin’…what would such a literary giant make of the present day ubiquitous social networking scene?…with his gift of communication and adaptability to most things he encountered in his life, I can imagine he’d make a pretty fist of it…”..Never, in the field of human tweeting, have so many been bored by so many others…”  “…An Iron Curtain has come down across the Web…it’s become known as Facebook Jail, and its pal, Twitter Prison…and it will take many eons before it leaves us …” “…Yes, ma’am, but in the morning, I’ll be blogging…”  …I can hear that gravelly delivery reverberating down the virtual halls…what a blogger he would have been…Madonna gets twenty trillion followers on Twitter, Justin Beiber hauls in fifty billion, so what price the finest wordsmith of this past hundred years ? (apart from Ernie Wise, like what he writ, etc….)…however, the reality check is this…all we bloggers derive our own pleasures from scribbling away on these wires…I think ol’ Master Churchill would’ve wanted all of us to be heard, read, followed, Goodfriended, and tweeted .. so in his honour, I’m opening up my blog page once more as an invitation to all and any of you who wanna GUEST POST here …but I warn you, I have nothing to offer but blog, sweets and teas.. of the Web-by sort, y’unnerstan’…Send me your posts for inclusion on here… any topic you wish…all welcome…email is seumasgallacher(at)yahoo.com…oops, Matron’s been listenin’ again, here comes the tablets …see you soon guys and gals …

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…of Irish Setters and Donald Duck…to raise a smile, a smirk, a guffaw or three perhaps…

…there’s altogether far too much of the Cable Channel Cheerless Charlies pervading our television screens…this calamity, that disaster, another tragedy unfolding, countless gnashing and wailings of teeth and gums…it has become a desperate effort to find something to counteract it all…to raise a smile, a smirk, a guffaw or three perhaps to brighten our lives… I have the antidote right here…Let me state upfront— the following piece came to me this week in the form of an email attachment, so I know not its provenance, but it’s one of the best I’ve received in a long time, kudos to the unknown writer … I will cut and paste it, untampered by my editorial efforts :

“Subject: I’m not welcome at TESCO

Didn’t like shopping there anyway. Yesterday I was at my local TESCO’s
store buying a large bag of Winalot dog food for my loyal pet and was
in the checkout queue when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog..
What did she think I had, an elephant? So, since I’m retired and have
little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn’t have a dog, I was
starting the Winalot Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn’t,

because I ended up in hospital last time, but I’d lost 2 stone before I

woke up in intensive care with tubes coming out of most of my orifices

and IVs in both arms.
I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that
it works is to load your pockets with Winalot nuggets and simply eat
one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally
complete so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to
mention here that practically everyone in the queue was now enthralled with
my story.)Horrified, she asked me if I ended up in intensive care because the dog
food poisoned me. I told her no, I stepped off the kerb to sniff an
Irish Setter’s arse and a car hit me.
I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was
laughing so hard. I’m now banned from TESCO’s. Better watch what you
ask retired people. They have all the time in the world to think of
daft things to say.”

BRILLIANT!!!
As a follow on, emboldened by that tale, now my own personal caper last evening…I went to buy a few cupcakes at the local
patisserie, and took with me  a giveaway voucher that provides one free cupcake with the purchased items…easy
enough, that, eh?..not so, Mabel…As I received my change and the extra freebie, the young lady behind the counter pushed
a piece of paper and pen at me, asking for my name and signature…what? author’s autograph hunter? sadly, no… this was
company policy to ensure that the holder of the freebie voucher was legit…(what an untrusting world we’ve created)..
I scribbled down in BOLD LETTERS the name ‘Donald Duck’, and said it out loud in a Donald Duck cartoon squawky voice before handing it back…
Now, I swear to you, the girl had not a smile on her face as she looked at it then said , “Thank you, Mister Duck.”…I squawked back “Thank you, too,”
in my best canard impersonation before waddling towards the exit…They live and breathe amongst us, ladies and gentlemen… be warned…and for
my efforts, here comes Matron with some duck eggs and the syringe…quack, quack, quack…:):):)

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…I’m not American…but I have reason to say ‘Thanks” this Thanksgiving…

… a few blog posts back, I posted what I described as my first ‘serious’ piece, with no apologies for that… Similarly, I make no apologies for this one either…some of you with whom I share on Facebook will have seen my message already today…Last Thursday, just a week ago, in a Glasgow hospital, my younger sister, Helen, underwent a 6 1/2 hour operation to remove part of a cancerous lung…my communication daily was with my niece,  her daughter Susan…we all knew that there were risks and accepted that as much as one does in such circumstances…During the Thursday and into Friday my time here in Abu Dhabi, I shared with my Facebook friends and asked those of a praying nature to do so on her behalf, and for those who don’t pray, a kind thought for my sister would be appreciated…I was inundated with a wonderful deluge of well-wishers and people already offering prayers and support…now, here’s the thing..today I called to Helen, who amazingly is now back in her own home bedroom and she told me the following: A few hours after the operation, the doctors had to stop the pain-killing medicine, as it was causing her blood pressure to drop dangerously low… needless to say, she was in considerable pain and discomfort…and totally exhausted… she felt her eyelids begin to close and fought against that, thinking that if she shut her eyes, she would never come out of it again…eventually, of course, she did lapse into a sleep…she tells me she has this overwhelmingly consciousness that during that sleep she felt a strong warmth surrounding her body, hugging her close…she has the sense that in that time she felt that she now knew she was going to make it….THIS HAPPENED AROUND THE SAME TIME THAT THE FLOOD OF PRAYERS AND WELL-WISHES WERE COMING HER WAY…I’m a believer, as I’ve shared on here before, but I don’t regard myself as easily swung into religious fervour (more of a spiritual bozo, me), but both Helen and I believe that what she felt was indeed the power of prayer…on behalf of Helen, my family, and myself, I cannot thank you all enough…LUV YA!!!  …As Dave Allen used to say, “May yer Gods go with yeez”…

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…the long and winding blog…

…it isn’t everyone’s cup of cocoa, listening to the yesteryear classics of Messrs Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix… nor even, dare it be whispered,  offerings by the Moody Blues, Deep Purple and Pink Floyd, a veritable palette of  colour bands…but, owning-up time right here–, in my youth I used to front a ‘group’ as we called ‘bands’ then… my forte being the raspiest Glasgow voice among my pals, and a penchant for single-reed harmonica a la Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan  ( Ed.note ..”how bluudy far back’s this guy goin’ here? “)…we played all the top spots back then… the Methodist Youth Club at the back end of Greenfield Street in Govan, famous for Percy Sledge never having played there…a local infant school Christmas shindig…a howling success…and a Boy Scouts Jamboree party…and no, we weren’t preceding Ray Charles and Willie Nelson on any of these magnificent bookings, but thanks for asking…The years rolled on, and as Master J. Lennon puts it so well, other things like Life were happening…years grew into decades, and well you know how that bit goes… the point I’m coming to is this… back then, being involved in stuff like that was GREAT… the music took us away to an altogether other space…listening to the musical Gods of the period was one thing, actually belting it out ourselves on whatever stage was MAGNIFICENT…because we were in our own little planets, doing our own trips…today, an admittedly more sedate mode of expression has settled on your ‘umble scribe…my current version is doing this ‘ere blog…it’s my own wee piece of artistic invention… and the wonderful thing is, I can appreciate it in other people’s wee pieces of artistic invention too… fellow blogsters…and I wonder how many started off doing their blog as I did?…merely as an adjunct to all the other web-by frippery that comes with trying to get the name out there…and then discovered, like me, the buzz of just doing it, scribbling away, or tapping away at the laptop…a fair few, I’ll wager…Matron’s just come in with the syringe, and in her usual a propos fashion she’s put on one of our favourites here in the ward … ‘Paperback Writer’…I think I feel a spot of ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ comin’ on…g’night, nurse…

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…I’m NOT a celebrity icon…yet…get me outa here…

…I’ve saved up the down-payment on the Greta Garbo sunglasses…and trawled the Yellow Pages for the advertising pitches of the best Public Relations spin doctors …they’re standing by for my signal…I’ve brushed up the edges of my Scottish accent…although I’m told there’s still some mileage in the Sean Connery sound-alike delivery…several visits to Photo-Shop have air-brushed the hand-out portfolio smileys…I’ve told Uncle Fred and Auntie Mabel to get their background story right about their favourite nephew (me) for the society magazines…so, bring on the fame…I’m as ready now as I’m ever gonna be…Now, lest the unkinder minds among you may wonder what the Hades am I prattling on about this time, let me just remind you of names of some previously unheralded scribblers …anyone remember J.K.Rowling?… or, John Locke?…how about Amanda Hocking?…or, Billy Shakespeare before he changed his name to ‘William’?…don’t forget Chuck Dickens, until he plumped for ‘Charles’…If Susan Boyle can land the biggie on Britain’s Got Talent, what earthly reason exists for ANY of we Kindle Feeders not to dream?…no, no, no, let’s leave out ‘skill’, ‘years of hard slog at the craft’, ‘impeccable grammar’, ‘knowing how to spell, parse and précis’, …picky, picky…have yeez no faith?…where’s the romance in your soul?..OF COURSE IT”S POSSIBLE!! …when I re-read the masterpieces what I’ve writ, I see no obstacle…well, not many, except getting out of this lock-up, and Matron chasing me with that bluudy syringe…she thinks I’m  delusional, but what does she know, eh?…bet she doesn’t even have a laptop…meantime, my continued pipe-dream is fed this week by the last couple of days (ends November 18th) of the FREE PROMO  on my novel, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY.. fill yer boots for nowt ..cheers :):):)

UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Violin-Mans-Legacy-ebook/dp/B005D7JNCQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1341400377&sr=1-1

US http://www.amazon.com/The-Violin-Mans-Legacy-ebook/dp/B005D7JNCQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1344867273&sr=1-1&keywords=the+violin+man%27s+legacy

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…of best frocks and media tart-ism…guilty as charged, m’Lud…

…Chicago’s Al Capone got away with it…London’s Kray brothers managed it…and New York Godfather, John Gotti doubtless did it…running their operations from positions of legal incarceration…I guess it’s my turn…slogging my way through the unilaterally imposed Facebook Jail sentence…I’ve forgotten how many days I’ve served now, ‘coz they even took away the virtual chalk so I can’t even mark the passing of the hours on the virtual walls…but back to pulling the strings on things on the ‘outside’…it’s ‘fess up time, I’m at it again, Mabel…my first masterpiece (my Gran says it is, so it must  be), THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY, goes free on Kindle today for the allotted 5 -day giveaway madness…November 14-18th …There MUST be a full moon around, surely …some of you clever-clogs will note that this literary precocity  has been donated to the masses before via the Kindle Kindness …CORRECT!…but here’s what I’ve twigged… come in a little closer and listen, my fellow guys and gals of the Glibbery…this will be of interest to those who, like me, struggle from time to time as to how and when to use the promo mechanism…..THE PAID DOWNLOADS AND THE FREE DOWNLOADS WORK BEST WHEN THEY ALTERNATE ON A REGULAR BASIS...when Cinderella went to the ball, she wore her best frock, but like any savvy fairy princess, she had more than one Giambattisata Valli Gown in the wardrobe…our novels appeal to the reading population when adorned in different clothing, betimes with cost attached, and at others, handed out freer than a politician’s promises…and it’s all part of getting the name out there…a shameless media tart I’ve become, and proud of it…the paperback offerings sit happily now on the shelves of the local bookshops…interviews have been arranged with the art and literature review sections of the country’s Fourth Estate columns…I’m getting a sense of what the mobs bosses must have felt to know that the media tart-ism works, even from deep inside FB prison… Parcels of ice cream and chocolate biscuits can be channelled in through Matron c/o Bed 218, The Lock-up… meantime for those who prefer the novel stripped of price, just click here :

UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Violin-Mans-Legacy-ebook/dp/B005D7JNCQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1341400377&sr=1-1

US http://www.amazon.com/The-Violin-Mans-Legacy-ebook/dp/B005D7JNCQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1344867273&sr=1-1&keywords=the+violin+man%27s+legacy

 

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…doesn’t take me long to wait half an hour, Auntie Mabel…

…epithets from dearest aunties are part of the price for growing up being pampered by them with chocolate eclairs and assorted jammy biscuits…Auntie Mabel was full of ‘em (epithets, that is, not choccy eclairs and jammy biscuits)…one of her more frequent utterings, targeted at my insistent pestering for cake  goodies was, ..‘Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can, often found in Woman, seldom found in Man..’… which brings me rather neatly into the blog topic today…when I surfaced from the prolonged elation of having finished my first ever novel, … and the edges of the pink cloud began to return to their normal hue, I became obsessed with getting  ‘my baby’ to the great reading Universe, which, I had little doubt, was champing at the bit to devour my freshly crafted prose…undaunted by the little nagging voice buried deep away in my brain that kept whispering ‘are you sure it’s quite ready yet?’…Slam, Bang, Thank you Kindle, and it was hot onto the presses, and I may say it enjoyed surprising success in the download charts…the following year was consumed with penning, or more accurately, laptop-tapping-out, the second novel…this fortuitously, was accompanied by loads of interaction with other bloggers, infinitely wiser than I shall ever hope to be, whose guidance led to a much-needed, if already delayed, introspection on the quality of the first book…in sum, I realised that the work could be improved, and not just slightly, but massively…I began to edit, and re-edit, and edit once more…and I’m sure it could still bear further fiddling with…now here’s the surprise..I found I was actually enjoying the process…I’ve shared elsewhere in a recent blog the discovery of a self-editing critique software which I’ve now spent a few weeks using to re-do the entire first two books, and I applied it to my current Work In Progress…perhaps not too late in this wonderful writing journey, I’m convinced that the editing can be just as satisfying as drafting the little Mother-  in the first place…Thought I’d mention that on here, ‘coz I read lots of folks saying they resist and sometimes ‘hate’ the need to edit…take it from me, a seasoned professional who’s been at this now all of at least twenty minutes, this editing thing-y is THE WAY TO GO…and a further tip from the least patient patient ( yes, Matron, I’ll be there for my injection in a minute), if it all gets a bit too much, keep a stack of chocolate eclairs and jammy biscuits handy…. see you later…

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…bein’ a hardened criminal’s not easy, y’know…day three in Facebook jail…

…the virtual handcuffs were unlocked only when I was safely interred in the confines of Facebook jail…the first night in the slammer was the worst…even the virtual jailers seemed to look  on pityingly as the doors  closed against the outside world, more with a whirr than a clang,—this is the electronic  universe after all…my cell-mate, Albert, was nearing the end of his sentence—10 days for ‘poking’…that’s apparently the Facebook legalese for daring to ask someone more than once to engage in the abomination of friending…he communicated in grunts and wild nods of the head, a common condition for many who have known little in the way of real human contact since the advent of the Great God Internet..like the rest of us, having devolved into almost exclusive Twitterdom, FacebookTown  and Blogsville…it took a while to get a real conversation moving, but we both tried very hard, and somehow, managed to get our voice messages across…Albert was a repeat offender and his stories of meeting others in the Facebook jail would curdle the blood of a fully-grown iPod…he told me about Xaphenes, (not his real name, y’understand, but the poor bloke had been using his  virtual handle for so long, he’d long forgotten the name his parents gave him)…Xaphenes came in a week ago and couldn’t take it, with no access to the ‘www’ world,. he went nuts… they took him away the night before last, and the WordPress is ( sorry, read ‘the word is’) he’s gonna be up for an enforced lobotomy next Wednesday…then there’s Bill Gates, no not THE Bill gates, another disciple of the ether waves who changed his name by deed poll, online, to try somehow to get closer to his Nom de Virtuel…troubled, I tried to sleep, and drifted off into a dream state, where I actually welcomed Matron with her syringe, …funny how we get used to things innit?…tomorrow they’ve got me on library duty …yes, real books, with paper an’ all… they really know how to hurt a guy in here…Trying to keep my virtual chin up…visiting times for friends are on Thursdays  5 till 7, if you can make it down here with some ice cream, lots of ice cream…yeah, I know,  Facebook doesn’t allow friends…okay, okay ,okay…I know when I’m beaten…

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