Archive for March, 2012

Just finished watching Chrome and Hot Leather. This thing is straight out of the drive-in. Released in 1971, it stars stuntman Michael Haynes and a young, musclebound William Smith. Who’s William Smith? He made a living on Falcon Crest in the late ’70s, but I remember him as the badass Spetznaz commander in Red Dawn. It also stars Miss Ohio 1969, Kathy Baumann, who rocks the tight T-shirt — and in one scene, doesn’t.

The story is this: Special Forces SFC “Mitch” Mitchell (the late Tony Young) is training troops for Vietnam when his fiancee — played by a Cheryl Ladd so young you won’t recognize her — is killed in an auto accident at the hands of an outlaw motorcycle club. When Mitch hears of this, he takes three Army buddies, one of whom is played by Marvin Gaye (WTF?), teaches them how to ride Kawasaki motorcycles (“I was pretty good rider once,” he says) and leads them in the hunt for this “gang.” And deliver some Special Forces justice.

It’s a terrible movie. The acting — especially Young’s — is so bad I’ll be kind and just call it gross overacting. The only real excitement comes from the bikes — Harley Sportsters chopped in a variety of styles — and the guys riding them. I don’t know if they were real MC members or stuntmen, but given Haynes’ appearance in the movie, I’m guessing the latter. Haynes himself puts on a damn fine display of handling a bike at high speed on an open highway (this, back in the day before CGI, mind you).

I figure the film tried to capitalize on society’s fascination at the time with the outlaw motorcycle club phenomenon. And like most of the films at the time, it fails. It’s full of biker cliches — the old ladies, tough talk about the road, scruffy goofball riders and a ton of homoeroticism (not that there’s anything wrong with that). These bikers are part hippies, part homeless, and part fabulous. And speaking of homoeroticism, Haynes’ character bears an uncanny resemblance to Ben Stiller’s in Starsky and Hutch. See for yourself. That’s Haynes on the left, Stiller on the right:

The military characters fare no better. Stiff, boring and ill-fit in their uniforms, they pull out all the cliches Hollywood could muster: the jargon, the “green berets,” the “I’m in the Army so I’m naturally skilled in all forms of warfare — with a karate chop.” And, apparently, Special Forces justice involves a lot of karate chops.

Mercifully, at only 91 minutes, I didn’t have to suffer long.

Last night’s feature was much better — Winter’s Bone. Yeah, Jennifer Lawrence is all the rage now because of The Hunger Games, but her performance in Winter’s Bone is jaw-dropping. This movie was recommended by an Arkansas friend of mine (thanks Darren), and, boy, does it pack a punch. It’s set dead in the middle of the abject poverty of the deep Ozark Mountains in southern Arkansas. Lawrence plays Ree, a 17-year-old girls raising her brother and sister because her meth-cooker dad has disappeared and her shut-in mother suffers from a debilitating “sickness.”  When Ree learns that her dad was arrested and put his house and land up as his bond — then disappeared before his court date, thus forfeiting the family home — she sets off to find him and save her home, meager as it is. This is not a typical “searching for daddy” story. Ree has to navigate her own family tree of cousins, family loyalties, violence and deceit to learn the truth about what has become of her father. It’s not pretty when she does. To say anymore here would ruin the movie, so you’ll just have to watch it for yourself. But the story is gripping, ruthless and captivating.

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Sometime during my four years at Ole Miss, while studying journalism and the Marine Corps and doing damn little writing, I came into possession of several hard-cover books that I’d never heard of but thought, Hey, this might be interesting. One of those, Harry Crews’ superb memoir, A Childhood: The Biography of a Place, lay unread for years. I packed it up and moved it, several times, from Mississippi to Virginia to Oklahoma to California and Hawaii and back again. Somewhere along the line (while aboard the Missouri, I think), I read it. At the time, I didn’t relate to it that much — it’s hard to relate to the kind of poverty and desolation Crews describes — but as I grew older, I came to appreciate Crews’ writing more and more.

I haven’t read everything the man ever wrote, but what I have read (mostly his pieces for Esquire and Playboy) were certainly original. Crews wrote like no one else, save — possibly — Larry Brown. Right down to the bone. Unflinching, brutal honesty to the point of the bizarre. But Harry never apologized for who or what he was — redneck, Marine, Southerner, raconteur. In the New York Times obit today, he’s quoted as saying:

“To critics who taxed him with sensationalism, Mr. Crews — a plainspoken ex-Marine, ex-boxer, ex-bouncer and ex-barker — replied, in effect, that it took decadence to lampoon decadence. His actual replies are largely unprintable.”

Yea, verily. And he did it better than anybody. And in the redneck noir world, he stands alone. Like Flannery O’Connor and Brown, Crews wrote of the violence peculiar to the Southern culture — and like both of those writers, that violence was rarely gratuitous in Crews’ work. Breathtaking, yes; pointless, never. I consider O’Connor and Brown influences of my own, but Harry Crews is like the Rosetta Stone of modern Southern fiction.

Ten bucks says he punches Mr. Death in the mouth when they meet.

The womenfolk around here a little concerned tonight. About an hour ago, we heard a series of gunshots — sounded like shotguns — off in the darkness, out in the hills and briars and occasional swamp that is Stafford County. Nothing to worry about, I said. Hunters, most likely.

Now, I know it’s not hunting season, unless groundhogs count. Varmint shooting is allowed up here, even if it is only March. I mean, this is Stafford, after all. (I don’t hunt a lot, but when I do, it’s deer season. And this, clearly, ain’t deer season.) Of course, it’s a lot easier to see said varmints in the daylight. So, for all I know it’s a couple of guys out in the woods who, fortified with $20 worth of Dollar Beer Happy Night, thought it would be a good time to go out in the woods after dark and compare guns. You know, mine’s bigger’n yours and all.

Like I said, the womenfolk were a little nervous. Me, not so much. When I didn’t hear sirens or other sounds of the law right  away, I figured whatever shooting was going on was most likely legal. Either that or whoever was getting shot probably had it coming. In any event, I wasn’t too worried. Besides, I have guns, too. And those ol’ boys ought to know that cranking off rounds in the woods after dark is a good way to get yourself shot.

I’ve heard lots of stories about snakes and guns today. Seems like everybody has one. I’m no different. There’s the most recent serpent I dispatched in my yard a couple of years ago. Me and that snake had what you would call a dysfunctional relationship over a period of a couple of months one summer. I knew he was there, up against the house, because every time I cut the grass, I’d see him and he’d scare the living hell out of me. I generally left him alone, which is huge progress for me. But since I now live in an area free of water moccasins (see last night’s post), I’ve moderated my zero tolerance — a little. But this snake was pissing me off. Scaring me like that. I finally had enough when I kinda forgot he was there and got too close and he scared me so bad I just went in the house and grabbed my Ruger 9mm (already loaded up with snake shot) and put one through him. It was him or me, you understand.

Then there’s the one I shot from a boat while fishing with my stepfather on the Tombigbee. Now, trying to hit a moving target in moving water from a moving boat is not exactly an easy thing to do, but since I’m the one writing this blog, I’m on the record saying hell yeah I hit him. I’m sure he crawled up on the bank and died.

There’s also the one about me and my brother-in-law fishing up in Tate County. Technically, that’s a “snake and no gun” story (thanks to the brother-in-law), but some other time.

But my best snake-and-gun story is the one that made me a legendary gunslinger, at least in the eyes of the dozen or so people who saw it. I’m not a “When I was in the Marine Corps” kind of guy, but when I was in the Marine Corps, I was often stationed in southern California, and one particular duty station made it necessary for me to carry a sidearm most of the time. Part of my duties included being armed and dangerous, and we expended a lot of ammo trying to accomplish the latter. I got pretty good with the .45. This was back in the days of Lethal Weapon and Mel Gibson’s Martin Riggs shooting smiley faces into targets at the range. I was never that good, but I could put a bullet through each ear on the silhouette target about about 15 yards.

So, anyway, we were in the field at a Southern California Marine base. Because I don’t know anything about California laws and the statute of limitations, I’ll refrain from naming it. We were out there for a few days to do some infantry training, so of course, we all had rifles and about a gazillion blank rounds. And because we had all that, policy was that one person (read: an officer) had to carry live rounds for “security.” Like someone is stupid enough to walk up to a company of Marines and take their blanks. Since I was the executive officer (XO) — what Hollywood calls the “second-in-command,” I carried the live rounds. In this case, 9mm because I was carrying my own weapon (that’s another story), an HK VP70 that I still have. Sweet weapon. That’s it in the picture.

We get out to the field and set up our position and I, being the XO, walk two Marines out to the listening post for the night and set them in myself. I’m about 200 yards away, within earshot, when I hear a big commotion. Marines yelling, jumping around. “XO!! XO!!”

Now, being the optimistic, glass-half-full guy that I am, my first thought was, “Who in the hell has done something stupid this time?” The list of candidates was long. I hurry on back and one of my NCOs, Cpl. Hanse, tells me the boys have “cornered a snake.” And not just a snake — a rattlesnake. “It’s in that bush. Sir.” Hanse pointed. So, I ask, well, what now? And he reminds me, in that way that Marine NCOs have, “Sir, you got the bullets.” Oh yeah.

Then he proceeds to tell me that some of the Marines tried to kill it with blanks — which the only way you can do that is to get real damn close — but “all that did was piss it off. Then it crawled under that bush.” Great. Leave me to deal with a pissed off rattlesnake. That I can’t see. Hanse is pointing — “It’s right there.” Nods all around. I’ll be damned if I can see it. So me and Hanse argue for a minute, and I finally say, “Hell, if you can see him, you shoot him” and hand him the pistol. Now, Cpl. Hanse is a professional Marine, knows how to handles weapons, and does so very professionally. He also misses very professionally. And hands me back the pistol. We resume arguing. At this point, I’m bent over staring into this big-ass creosote bush, pistol in hand, down by my side. Then, the damn snake moves a little, and I see that big triangular head plain as day. I pulled and squeezed off one round. The head dropped. A huge chorus of “Daaaaaaaaaaaaamnn!” went up from my Marines. Dead rattlesnake.

Cpl. Hanse started pulling on that snake, and pulling and pulling. Dead BIG rattlesnake. By the time we got the thing stretched out for picture-taking, it was six feet long.  We examined it, of course. I hit it square, right where the neck and the head meet. My troops were mighty impressed, let me tell you. After that, word got around, “Don’t be [deleted] with the XO. That sumbitch can shoot.” I kept the rattle for years, but it disappeared some time ago.

Luckiest shot I ever made, and that’s the truth.

I’ve been fortunate the last few days to have quite a bit of correspondence with friends and relatives in the Magnolia State, and, as usual, it’s left a smile on my face. Mostly through the magicurse of Facebook, but I’ll take it. The weather’s getting warm, the dogwoods are ready to bloom, Easter’s coming and it’s almost baseball season. Just a recap: a story of a snake that can thank the husband of a girl I know in Starkville for saving his serpent life. She was about ready to shoot it (which is precisely my recommended course of action upon visual contact with a snake), but her husband decided since it was only a king snake, he should be given a stay of execution and relocation assistance. Services rendered, and now she doesn’t have to clean the gun. See, that’s the kind of woman you want on your side. The one knows how to use a gun.

Now you might be thinking, “why would she want to kill a king snake? It’s not poisonous.” Well, right there, we know you’re from Minnesota or New Hampshire or somewhere. And, second, we don’t care if it’s poisonous or not. A snake is a snake, damn it. There’s something like 2,700 species of snakes in the world, and 2,695 of them live in Mississippi. That’s so many snakes that when you see one, you don’t have time to be studying stripes and colors and sizes and all that. Because while you’re doing that, that sumbitch is going to bite you. So you cover your bets and shoot him. Dead. Twice if he ain’t. Because you make one of those silly “red on black” “red touches yellow” sayings, and that “water snake”  you’re eyeball to eyeball with is a water moccasin and you will be the one who’s dead. So you really cover your bets and assume that every snake you see is a water moccasin and shoot it just in case. You know, shoot first, questions later. Because a water moccasin is your worst nightmare. There’s never been a meaner, more aggressive, remorseless creature on Earth (except maybe an ex-wife). You don’t believe me, I’ll take you to the Tombigbee about this time of year and we’ll fish the banks out of a boat. You fish, I’ll keep my hand on my pistol.

There’s all kinds of stories about water moccasins and boats down South. I have personally seen them chase a boat — mine. There’s the one about the old man in a wooden boat taking down his trot line he had tied to a willow tree on the bank. Everybody knows a water moccasin loves a willow tree to get up in and wrap around a limb. Well, this old guy is cutting his line loose when behind him he hear a big plop. Turns around and in the bottom of  the boat is a huge moccasin, thick as his arm. He grabs his shotgun (that he carried along exclusively for this purpose, Mr. Game Warden) and gives the snake both barrels. Kills it. And blew a big-ass hole in the bottom of his wooden boat and promptly sank.

So, no, we don’t take kindly to snakes.

Then, cousin Susan in Artesia made me jealous and hungry by posting her supper menu — “fresh caught catfish and homemade fries and hushpuppies.” I’m still hungry just thinking about that, even though I had that same meal last week.

And then, an old Marine Corps buddy from Biloxi texted me the punch line of a joke I told 25 years ago to a room full of lieutenants in Virginia and we laughed hard all over again. Damn, I can barely remember that joke (which, now that I think about it, I can’t post here), and he’s sending me the punch line of a little Johnny joke. Was a good one, though.

And people wonder why I miss Mississippi.

Somehow I totally missed National Alfred Hitchcock Day this week. That would be March 12. I only learned of my oversight while listening to the best radio show in America – the Mark & Brian Radio Program on KLOS Los Angeles, my –one-stop source for all things news and entertainment.

Hitchcock has become one of those long-forgotten threads in the quilt of American entertainment, and that’s too bad. They, as they say, don’t make them like that anymore (cue the Greg Kihn Band).

I think the first Hitchcock film I saw was his last, a comedy (yes, that’s right) called Family Plot. I was in junior high at the time. And I went in to the show knowing only that Hitchcock made scary movies (I don’t recall if I’d seen Pyscho or not), but I had no idea the man had wicked (and I mean that in a good way) sense of humor.

He was definitely original, from the cameos he made to the mind-bending suspense of Pyscho or Rear Window. I never really watched his TV show, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” all that much – I’m a little young for that, plus I generally tuned into Rod Serling’s “Night Galley,” which was sometimes spooky as hell. But I do enjoy Hitchcock’s movies, and his style. I feel a Hitchcock Weekend Marathon coming up.

Or another blast from past — a Dark Shadows marathon (provided, of course, that I can find the episodes). Yahoo posted the trailer for the newest Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration in which Depp will star as the original creepy, horny vampire Barnabas Collins. I watched the trailer, and I have to say, I’m a little torn. I think Depp is perfect to play the part in a Burton version of Dark Shadows, but the trailer leads me to believe that  Burton is playing up Barnabas (and the expense of the other characters) and making a comedy, when the original show was, frankly, scary as hell.

Those of you who are old enough remember that Quentin, Josette, Barnabas, et al, were all a little creepy, but Barnabas would just scare the life out of you. The show ran in the late ’60s into the early ’70s, and I used to catch it in the afternoon, right after school. I would walk home from Marion Park Elementary (first grader) in Meridian, Miss., and plop in front of the TV at 3:30 to watch Batman (the Adam West version), followed by Dark Shadows. Yes, I know, the wisdom of letting a 6-year-old watch a show like that could be questioned, but there I was. And here’s the thing. It was broad daylight outside, and I was scared to death watching a TV show! Forget about your Addams Family, The Munsters or today’s Twilight and True Blood. This shit was scary. And I wasn’t the only child in Mississippi affected by it. Singer/songwriter Kate Campbell (check her out, she’s real good) gave Barnabas his props in a line of her song, “When Panthers Roamed in Arkansas.”

So, while I’m sure I’ll catch the movie version (I know Depp will nail the part), I think I’d rather have seen Burton make it truly scary — like the original, but without the overacting and the melodrama. I’m not a “Oh, they ruined it when they remade it!” kind of person — I loved the Coen Brother’s True Grit and Burton’s “re-imagining” of Planet of the Apes — but there’s enough of that little kid in Meridian left in me to want to have the bejeebus scared out of me again.

10 March 2012: Long live rock

Posted: March 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

If the decade that was the ’70s hadn’t sucked, it would have sounded like the Black Keys.

I got a chance to see the duo from Akron at the Verizon Center in D.C. last night, and  I can say without fear of retribution that rock and roll is most definitely not dead. — although after nearly an hour of the warm-up act, the Arctic Monkeys, I had my doubts.

Yes, the Keys are a hipster band, and no, I’m not exactly in their demographic — full disclosure: I’m old enough that whenever I walk into an arena for a rock concert, I still expect the whole building to smell like weed.  But that’s part of what made the evening so interesting. I started listening the Black Keys a few years ago, when Brothers came out, courtesy of a friend who, being a few years younger than me, was a little more in touch with this fresh sound.

The first cut I ever listened to was “Ten Cent Pistol,” and I was immediately intrigued. And after listening to the next cut, “Sinister Kid,” I was hooked. Even though it was perfectly produced, there was a ragged, raw, basic sound to it. And, similar to the band they’re usually initially (and wrongly) compared to, The White Stripes, it’s just two guys — a guitar and a drum kit.

Their latest record, El Camino (which I wrote about here), was on full display last night. And, as I mentioned before, the music on this record reminds me of a Tarantino soundtrack — a “grindhouse” B-movie from the 1970s. In fact, listening to all their music, I’m always reminded of the ’70s. Or maybe an idealized memory of ’70s rock.

But what is a hint in the studio is a full-blown power salute in a live show. And they’re not merely ripping off old music. The Black Keys have captured the essence of what was good from that era — all the bombast and guts of Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Clash, Cream, Grand Funk Railroad, even T. Rex and ZZ Top — re-tuned it and made it their own. They took the power trio concept and stripped it down to a power duo. The result is no-shit rock and roll: loud, thumping and full of attitude. Jimmy Page would be proud.

But probably the most interesting thing (to me anyway) was that probably half of the people in the crowd last night were born after any of the aforementioned bands were grinding it out on the American music scene. I bet they wouldn’t even have known who Jimmy Page (or Joe Strummer, for that matter) is. But they were clearly into this “new” sound. I mean, in a very hip way, of course.

Best show I’ve ever seen? No, it wasn’t. But it was one of the most refreshing nights of music I’ve witnessed in a long time. And it’s nice to know that, as Neil Young told us, rock and roll will never die.

Oh, and white people still can’t dance. And shouldn’t try.

Spring break is coming…so stock up on your reading. Get a copy of the Hawaii murder mystery, A Simple Murder at Amazon.

As often happens in my daily life, somebody said something today that stuck in my head. Thank God that, this time, it wasn’t somebody trying to remember the words to “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Today, the subject was reading, which led me to thinking I don’t do enough of it, which led me to thinking I read most of my stuff these days on my Kindle, which led me to lamenting the sorry state of book publishing (and getting an agent, for that matter), which led me to thinking about the disappearing phenomenon known as the bookstore.

No, it’s not necessarily new, but it’s still a real issue. One bookstore owner interviewed for Beyond the Margins says “he thinks many people don’t realize the struggle bookstores really face — and they don’t see the people who really do walk into stores daily, with handheld devices to scan barcodes and buy books more cheaply at Amazon.”

True enough. In a way, this resembles what those of us in the journalism business saw 5-10 years. Newspapers, wanting to get in on the whole Internet fad, starting building websites that mirrored their print versions. Same layout (essentially), same content. But why pay 50-75 cents for a daily copy (or more) when you could read the same copy for free on the Web? A newspaper ended up competing with itself. And losing. And has been ever since. I do remember thinking, at the time, that the Philadelphia Inquirer had the right idea, at least for the time being. The PI was one of the first papers to offer an online presence that enhanced the print version, with hyperlinks to source documents and full reports, for example.

I’ll admit, I read more and more off my Kindle these days.  GQ, CNN, ESPN, J.D. Rhoades’ latest redneck noir novel, USAToday, Inked Magazine, American Iron, and various blogs. But not because I want to be all high-tech and hip. The Kindle — and online book shopping — has just become more practical in my life. It doesn’t help that the only bookstore in my county, a Borders, closed months ago. And I’ve felt that loss. I truly enjoy browsing a bookstore, especially one set up just for people like me who enjoy the experience. Borders was like that. It probably killed them, though.

And I know that over the last year I’ve sold more Kindle editions of my books (at least the ones that are available in e-book format) than any other edition.

That same book owner seems to know this: “I don’t know what’s going to happen to St. Mark’s or to independent bookstores in general. I think there are still people who want to be able to walk into a bookstore and browse and walk out with a new book. I just think that there are fewer of them all the time, and not many new ones coming along.”

That sure seems to be the case.

For example, I found a new blog today that I hope to explore over the next few days, Dead Mule. If the fiction and poetry are as entertaining as the “About” section, it’ll be well worth the time.

This isn’t a sports blog, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least comment on the latest NFL scandal brewing in New Orleans. I say “brewing” because it’s a long way from being over. The news broke yesterday that the Saints former defensive coordinator, Greg Williams, ran a “bounty program” — more like a “pay for pain” program — wherein players were paid cash bonuses for knocking opposing players, especially quarterbacks, out of the game. This program allegedly went on from 2009 through last year (yes, that includes their Super Bowl season). You can read the ESPN story here.

I’m not going to go on ad nauseum about this. I’m a lifelong Saints fan and will remain so. As far as this illegal activity goes, I kinda apply the “Baretta” rule to it: don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. Don’t do it. The team screwed up royally, and should pay the price for it.

I’m not, however, going to overreact like some fans I’ve seen and heard and start calling for heads and blood and impugning everything in New Orleans. I hate that it happened, but even the two quarterbacks most affected by the bounty program, Kurt Warner and Brett Favre, said, essentially, “Hey, it’s football.” And Warner took one of the most ungodly hits on a quarterback I’ve ever seen.

And this really has nothing whatsoever to do with the Saints’ negotiations with Drew Brees for a new contract. This issue will inevitably spill over onto that, but the two are separate matters. I hope they stay that way. And for the record, I don’t think Brees is being greedy or selfish or anything other than a player who has a brand and a market value that he’s trying to protect. He ain’t negotiating the price of a new car.

So the Saints are going to pay a heavy price. As the great Stan Lee would say, ’nuff said.

Some people have wayyyy too much time on their hands (not me, of course). Today’s chuckle comes from the folks who came up with “Pulp Bard,” which, as you can probably guess, is yet another take on one of the most-discussed movies of a generation, Pulp Fiction.

I’m a huge Tarantino fan, and I love Pulp Fiction (though Jackie Brown is right up there, too). I’m not alone. There have been countless parodies and imitations. One of my all-time favorites was on Mad TV: a sketch called “Gump Fiction,” in which Forrest declared he was about to “get medieval on your buttocks.” And someone else with way too much time on their hands actually pieced together the entire movie in chronological order. I think one of the main reasons the movie is so fascinating is the fact that it’s shot out of sequence, but this is still an interesting look at the movie — and you get your Christopher Walken right up front. Check it out here.

Pulp Bard” is the entire Pulp Fiction script written in Shakespearean (supposedly) English. And it’s hysterical. You can view the entire script here, but here’s one of my favorite scenes (Samuel L. Jackson inquiring about the country of “What”) rewritten:

Julius: Your pardon; did I break thy concentration?
        Continue! Ah, but now thy tongue is still.
        Allow me, then, to offer a retort.
        Describe Marsellus Wallace to me, pray.
Brett:  What?
Julius: What country dost thou hail from?
Brett:  What?
Julius: Thou sayest thou dost hail from distant What!
        I know but naught of thy strange country What.
        What language speak they in the land of What?
Brett:  What?
Julius: English, base knave, dost thou speak it?
Brett:  Aye!
Julius: Then hearken to my words and answer them!
        Describe to me Marsellus Wallace!
Brett:  What?
(JULIUS presses his knife to BRETT's throat)
Julius: Speak 'What' again! Thou cur, cry 'What' again!
        I dare thee utter 'What' again but once!
        I dare thee twice and spit upon thy name!
        Now, paint for me a portraiture in words,
        If thou hast any in thy head but 'What',
        Of Marsellus Wallace!
Brett:  He is dark.
Julius: Aye, and what more?
Brett:  His head is shaven bald.
Julius: Hath he the semblance of a harlot?
Brett:  What?
(JULIUS strikes with his blade and BRETT cries out)
Julius: Hath he the semblance of a harlot?
Brett:  Nay!
Julius: Then why didst thou attempt to bed him thus?
Brett:  I did not!
Julius: Aye, thou didst! O, aye, thou didst!
        Thou sought to rape him like a chattel whore!
        And sooth, Lord Wallace is displeased to bed
        With aught save Lady Wallace, whom he wed.

It’s a great way to waste a couple of hours. Alas.

And when you’re tired of reading the Queen’s English, check out today’s writing: A Simple Murder at Amazon.