Looking good, Billy Rae; Feeling good Louis…

The above  quote comes from the end of that evergreen celluloid perfection, Trading Places.

I mean, what is not to like? A manic Eddie Murphy, the comic genius that is Dan Aykroyd and when has there been a tighter fitting top  than Jamie Lee Curtis’? Not  since they introduced safety caps on medicine bottles. Pause, feels faint.

This is my 300th post (second pause, takes bow) so why not feel good? I kicked off in April last year with no real aspiration and certainly no plan and now I have a book out there for the public to buy and 300 posts under my belt. Of course I feel pretty good.

And then I read this article about how we are all now so interconnected, we are all so dependent of our electronics and our chips and our digital what have yous that our world will soon be run by AI, Artificial Intelligence and this is the greatest existential threat to humanity since the cold war or the Industrial Revolution or the invention of the potato crisp (or maybe none of those – I didn’t read it that closely even though it seems Stephen Hawking is a proponent of this fear). And then I saw the film Brotherhood, an extraordinary epic by Richard Linklater. In it the lead, Mason who grows up before our very eyes posits that there is some major conspiracy behind all the social media that dominates our lives and holds us in its thrall. But then he’s seventeen and talking shit is kind of obligatory at his age – if you haven’t seen the film the last line, which sort of defines his philosophy cracked me up; it was so true to life – it was exactly the kind of utter bullshit that the eighteen year old me came out with, thinking it profound but actually it is about as deep as Kalaharian puddle (straining the metaphors, aren’t we?). And no I won’t tell you what Mason said; go see the film: it’s epic in all senses.

But, and here’s the thing, the Textiliste mistrusts social media in the same way she mistrusts cold callers offering free anythings, the notion that diets work and my judgement of what colour suits her. And she’s not wrong in her misjudgements (apart from the green cardigan; I was right there – and it was green and not blue). She won’t participate, not because she fears a conspiracy to control us or that AI will render most human employment pointless but because it stops us being human and having human level interactions and discourse. Sure she hates giving out her details to anyone; she cannot believe well of anyone who wants her debit card details and she still thinks the cheque book is the finest fiscal control measure since the gold standard was reintroduced in the 1920s. No, what pisses her off the most is when I look at one of my many devices just when she wants/needs/expects/deserves my attention.

During his TED talk (posted by Norah as part of the 100o voices for Compassion) Dan Goodman referenced a word which he said was created to describe the annoyance and puzzlement engendered by someone answering the phone or reading a text/mail/whatsapp/whatever when half way through a conversation with a real person: PIZZLE (a compound word to describe how a person feels both puzzled and pissed off at being ignored). Leaving aside the fact that the urban dictionary describes this as slang for penis (which might merely mean the person ignoring the sentient being and answering their device is  actually a dick) it is good to have such a word for such a state which, sadly, the Textiliste finds herself in more often that she would like or deserves.

All this makes me wonder if we wouldn’t all be in a better and happier place if we put our phones/tablets/laptops etc away for a day. In the last year I’ve posted 300 times. I’ve published a book, reached a point where another is with my editor for a final polish, written many flash and a few poems, finished Nano with at least 70,000 words  towards a sequel my first book, started a weekly novel…. a lot of time spent with my fingers on a keyboard, as you can see.

So I will try and ration my computer use. Really. Well, maybe a bit… But I will not engender that sense of pizzlement if I can help it. And if I do, then I will have every reason to feel good!

This stream of nonsense emantates from Charli Mills latest prompt

February 18, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about feeling good. Is it a relationship? A new dawn, a new day? A reprieve or a relief from earlier tension? Does it come from giving or receiving a gift? Is it the result of compassion? If you hear wedding bells, add them to the story.

So Mary. She who is, Atlas -like, carrying all humanities burdens in 99 word weekly dollops. I know what Charli is doing. She’s trying to see if my tortured and twisted mind can both be true to the prompt and keep Mary in her own little hell.

If you need a refresher, click here; you will also find a summary of the story to date at the top of the link.

Glorious Gloria


‘How did it go?’

Mary sat still, a grin slipping unbidden across her face. ‘Gloria made me feel lighter, you know?’

Paul nodded. ‘Did you learn much?’

‘No. But I don’t mind. I think, even if those bones are my twin… well let’s see.’

Paul let her speak in her own time.

‘No one knows if she’s alive. I believe Rupert. Dad’s diaries don’t mention her, only me. It looks like Mum knew who my birth mother was, though not Dad’s… affair.’

‘Can we bottle Gloria?’

Mary hugged her husband. ‘From here on, I just need you and Penny.’




About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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17 Responses to Looking good, Billy Rae; Feeling good Louis…

  1. Sacha Black says:

    WOW 300???????? I don’t have 300 and I have been blogging for almost 3 YEARS! puts me to shame, *sobs* apparently I need to get my skates on! I did have a 10 month gap in my defence though… something to do with pushing babies out… i forget what exactly. big congratulations though I am properly impressed with how much output you have and all those novels, you are going to be the next JK for sure at this rate 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. lucciagray says:

    Congratulations on your 300 posts and your first published book👏 I wonder if you spend much time away from the keyboard, though 🙂
    I liked this week’s flash, too. Those ‘glorious’ people who ‘lighten our load’ and always make us feel good are irreplaceable. I love the idea of ‘bottling’ them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeanne Lombardo says:

    Loved stopping in here today Geoff, though, in resonance with your observations about social media, I duly felt guilty for it. Very impressed and inspired to read of your milestones this last year, too. Good for you! Hope to be able to make a couple of the same claims a year from now myself. I assume the Textiliste is your “spousal unit” (as a dear friend puts it)? She would appear to inhabit the same guarded sphere as my SU “the Philosopher.” I have been well trained to text in private and turn the ringtone off when engaged in some activity involving the two of us. And yet, when the offspring need to communicate with him, it’s me they text. Could go on. Love your writing. Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      Oh how similar; the pained look when I haven’t muted my tweet alert when eating with her (and yes she is my SU – love that expression which I will shamelessly purloin). And thank you for the kind comments; I’m guessing you are aiming for publication – good luck and do let us know when you are out there


      • Jeanne Lombardo says:

        My main project is a memoir I have written for a client, a retired neurosurgeon. He had signed it with an independent publisher but pulled back on the advice of a couple of seasoned professionals who felt his story deserved better representation. In its present form it is a whole autobiography, but now working with an editor/agent to turn it into a medical memoir. My own project is on the back burner, but I have committed to writing each day on it, even it it is only 500 words. Oh, and you win the prize for word of the day yesterday–“purloined”–love it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Only got to read your flash but I absolutely love it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Charli Mills says:

    I refrained from giggling when I learned the social media term ‘pizzle’ but now that you’ve exposed it’s other meaning…we do weird things over here with bull pizzles. Stretched, dried and chopped into 5-inch pizzle sticks, they are sold as dog treats. 😀

    300! You are communicating your creativity to the max and I’m sure you’ll balance time with the beloveds of your life. It was interesting this weekend — our middle daughter, Rock Climber, gifted us parental units with a most awesome lodge weekend. I took photos and posted to Facebook which delighted her because I got to brag up her gift and it also delighted her boyfriend who is the lodge chef because we posted his masterpiece meals. So the texting was approved. I think it depends on the company and being tuned in to the people you are with. If the technology is a distraction, put it on quiet mode.

    Ah, I feel like you gave Mary a massage. At last! She’s reached a pinnacle of acceptance and I feel good that Mary feels good. I echo Paul’s sentiment: let’s bottle Gloria…but then again, I think you might be preparing to push Mary into a deeper level of the inferno.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      I saw the FB posts and the dogs – gorgeous. Looked magnificent. You are right about he setting for it to work. When in N Z with the Lawyer he is as addicted as me so when we stopped at the many fab roadside cafes we’d grab a wifi code take half an hour to catch up and then pity them away and mull over what we’d done what we had planned etc. worked really well

      Liked by 1 person

    • We do even stranger things with bull pizzles. We had one that was stretched, dried and twirled which my great uncle used as a walking stick. We always called it his pizzle stick but I don’t know that we knew as children exactly what that was.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: Feeling Good « Carrot Ranch Communications

  7. Annecdotist says:

    I’m SO glad you’ve given Mary a breather – perhaps this is a turning point for her or will we find further calamities when she gets to meet the river?
    I’m amazed by your 300 posts, on top of all the other words you’re getting out and I’m wondering how you’ll cope with a slower pace. But I am absolutely on the side of Mrs L – I don’t think screens should intrude into together time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I side with Mrs L too; of course she’s right. It’s been one of the constants of our relationship – her consistent good sense and all round rightness; I’m sure you can imagine how effing annoying that makes her!
      As for Mary, I do have one or two ideas but will they flow? Hmm…


  8. Congratulations on all your words Geoff – not just words good, humorous, interesting words. Look forward to many more even if at a slower pace. It is essential to keep your constant happy. I don’t have the problem with the phone as being somewhat deaf I never hear it ringing let alone the solitary beep for a text.
    Will she be happy with just the two of them – I think she is inwardly being consumed by her desire for more but glad that for this week she is happy to be happy.

    Liked by 1 person

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