About Don Royster

Don Royster has spent many lifetimes accumulating adventures from a multitude of galaxies. Some of his magic carpet rides have taken him to Japan, the Phillippines, and Texas. Gifted with an insatiable curiosity, a love for creativity and a strange sense of humor, he has been a student, and still is, of everything from A to Zen and back again. Along the way he has written poems, stories and novels about his many adventures and travels. His latest adventure is the blog, Uncle Bardie's Stories & Such.

Aw Shucks

Went to a party,
My baby and me.
Half the night later
We left with a plea

Of “Aw shucks.
My baby’s got the hiccups.”

Took my car into
Mr. Fix-em-up.
“Is it bad?” I asked.
“She’s just a pup.”

His retort: “Aw shucks.
Your baby’s got the hiccups.”

My dog got sick.
I wasn’t sure why.
Rushed her to the vet.
He looked me in the eye

and said, “Aw shucks.
This baby’s got the hiccups.”

Bought myself a house.
It was big and green.
Soon there was a leak.
It was unforeseen.

Just another “Aw shucks.
My baby’s got the hiccups.”

My boss called me in
And he let me know
Things were going bad
And I had to go.

He said, “Aw shucks.
The company’s got the hiccups.”

At the Pearly Gates
I stood in line.
Was no place for me.
Just a maybe next time.

‘Cause “Aw shucks.
Heaven’s got the hiccups.

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Uncle Bardie’s Movie Spotlight: After the Sixty Minutes War

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Movie is “Mortal Engines” (2018):

“Mortal Engines” is not the greatest movie that ever was. That’s the movie whose name we will not speak. But I’m sure that you know the one I’m talking about. The one that makes grown men cry.

I’ll get around to it eventually but not in the movie theaters. I’m waiting for the DVD to show up on Netflix.

If you’re like me and looking for a good two hours of entertainment, “Mortal Engines” might just be your thang. Sure, the title ain’t sexy, but don’t let that hold you back. And the trailer didn’t do much for me either. So my expectations were low to begin with.

Now there isn’t a lot of backstory. But I didn’t need a lot of backstory. I’m given just enough to throw me into the middle of the action and meet the heroine. And I got to tell you this heroine has guts.

“Mortal Engines” plunges the viewer into a steampunk world. It begins many years after the “Sixty Minute War”. Cities are on wheels, rolling around the countryside, chumping up smaller cities and towns. And the biggest, baddest chomper of them all is London. Guess that the Brits will never give up on the Empire on which the sun never set.

Hugo Weaving of Lord of the Rings fame may be the deputy mayor of London but he’s the villain. And Hester the heroine has good reason to stick a knife in his gut. In the opening scene, her town gets the old chomperoo. And before you can say “stempunk” backwards she’s doing her thang. The villain survives. Only because a historian stops her.

Hugo goes after her and throws her down a large dumpster, then he tosses the historian after her. And it is a fun ride after that.

One of the complaints in many of the reviews has been: we’ve seen this story before. Sure. We all recognize the story. But we recognized the Star Wars story. It was the Hero’s Journey. It’s like I’ve been told. There are only two original stories. Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella.

Will I see this one again? Sure will. I wouldn’t recommend it if I wouldn’t see it again.

Thursday’s Music Spot: How Sweet the Moonlight Sleeps

Mostly Shakespeare doesn’t work on film for me. I only have a short list of Shakespeare plays on film I have thoroughly enjoyed. There’s two Hamlets, Lawrence Olivier’s and Franco Zeffirelli’s, as well as Zeffierelli’s “Romeo and Juliet”. The comedies, “Midsummer Night’s Dream” with Kevin Kline, and Trevor Nunn’s “Twelfth Night”. And the BBC productions of the seven plays of the War of the Roses: Richard II; Henry IV, V, and VI; and Richard III.

I think part of the problem most directors have when approaching Shakespeare is they simply don’t understand the medium of film. They want to give us the play, and nothing but the play.

But I have to say that director Michael Radford got his film of “The Merchant of Venice” right and gave me my all-time favorite Shakespeare. From the set designs to the actors to the music by Jocelyn Pook, he takes me to a time and place that Shakespeare would absolutely have loved.

In Act 5 Scene 1, Jocelyn Pook gives us this lovely piece of music, How sweet the moonlight sleeps.The voice is that of Andreas Scholl, a German countertenor, specializing in Baroque music. Enjoy.

Near 500 words: TW ends his day

Cat jumped up onto the table and trod across the postcards. She approached TW (aka The Writer) and rubbed her head against his. Then a purr and then a meow. She was hungry.

TW sighed. “Okay, let’s eat.”

He left the postcards and headed into the kitchen. Pouring out Cat’s food, he realized he was famished. After he fed and watered Cat, he went back to the postcards. He gathered them up and stacked them neatly back in the box, then put them away on the top shelf of the closet.

He would come back to the postcards the next weekend when he had more time to study them and get a handle on what they were telling him. Right then he had to clear his mind and prepare himself for the next day.

He went into the kitchen, pulled out a steak to let it breathe, then boiled potatoes, throwing in milk and butter for mashed potatoes. He took a bag of broccoli out of the freezer. Setting the timer on the stove for thirty minutes, he left the steak and went into the living room and plopped himself into his chair in front of the TV and clicked on the remote. He rushed through the guide and realized there wasn’t much on. Maybe he would watch a movie.

He went through his DVDs and came across just the thing. Humphrey Bogart and William Holden and Audrey Hepburn. “Sabrina” was one of his favorites. Nothing like Audrey Hepburn to get his mind off his troubles. He could make up his mind what his next move with the postcards would be later. They had waited this long. There was no harm to waiting a little longer. And maybe, just maybe, Sylvia’s yearly postcard would arrive in the coming week.

The steak and the broccoli and the mashed potatoes were served with a glass of red wine. TW finished the dishes, then returned to his movie. He fell asleep about three-fourths through the movie.

He snapped awake to the sound of a tree branch tap-tap-tapping against one of his front windows. Outside there was a rain storm passing through. Thunder, then lightning. The clock read midnight.

He reached for the remote. It wasn’t on the table beside his chair. He searched the chair and underneath the chair. He looked all around the living room and finally found it underneath the couch across the room.

Then a whishing noise came from the back yard. He ran through the kitchen and out the back door. Standing in the dark on the back porch, a streak of light crossed the sky, then the rain stopped.

TK’s body went weak and he slumped onto the cement floor and he passed out.

A Superhero Name

In order to be a successful superhero, the superhero candidate must have a sexy name. It’s absolutely required. Jimmy Olsen can be named Jimmy Olsen. Lois Lane can be Lois Lane. Alfred can be Alfred. But Superman must be Superman and Batman must be Batman. Otherwise no one would take them seriously.

Unfortunately all the sexy names were taken when Fish Guy was ready to graduate from Superhero U. Sure, he had played on the football team. Sure, he was graduating valedictorian. But Fish Guy just wouldn’t do for a name. Even though he was Big Man on Campus, the alumni and parents just laughed when one of his fellow students said the name “Fish Guy”.

In all the years of Superhero U, not one superhero had graduated without an appropriate name. If the word got out that Fish Guy was the latest, and greatest, of the school’s graduates, the public would laugh themselves into early graves.

The President of the school and the Faculty Council knew the consequences if they didn’t come up with a name that matched Fish Guy’s status as the latest and the greatest. They would be out of business. The new Paladin School for Champions had been recruiting many of the Potentials lately. If Superhero U didn’t face this crisis head on, they would have to close their doors. Parents would be  just too embarrassed to send their child to such a disaster.

After months of racking their brains, the Administration finally decided they needed a crisis management team. They chose the dream team of dream teams, X-cel Plus, Inc. If anybody could solve the dilemma, they could. After all, they had changed Heracles to Hercules. When Brutus came calling, they chose the  Ides of March for assassination day for Julius Caesar. When the Cleopatra team asked, they substituted an asp for arsenic. After all, if you’re a queen, you  want to go out with a bang. And they had made Lucretia Borgia the envy of her colleagues. Stabbing a person just wasn’t done if you were looking for a good rep. Poison it had be, and poison it was.

Originally Bill Shakespeare was known as “Just Plain Bill”. Bill came to X-cel Plus, Inc. They suggested “The Bard of Avon”. They said, “Now no one will ever call you Shakes again and use it derogatorily as in ‘I’ll be there in two Shakes.'” As you can see, the Bard of Avon is so much sexier than Two Shakes. From that point on, his plays were standing room only.

“But have you done anything lately?” President Positron asked.

“Waterloo. Wellington had chosen Brussels. We said no. No one would take the phrase ‘he met his Brussels’ seriously.”

“But anything since?”

“We were responsible for the Fab Four name for the Beatles and the phrase ‘British Invasion’. It’s amazing how much those two terms netted the British government in tourism dollars. You name the term, and we probably invented it.”

“So what did you have in mind?”

“We’ve given it a great deal of thought. At least, two hours. We took several polls. Tried out Merman on the public. People walked away shaking their heads. There was The Atlantaean. They just scratched their heads confused. Then we took The Swimmer out for a ride. It got a 52% approval. Not good enough. And the women didn’t swoon when they heard it.”

“I guess we just can’t let Fish Guy graduate.”

“No,” X-cel Plus shouted. “For heaven’s to Betsy, no. I’m not through”

“Continue then.”

“We tried Water Boy, Sea Weed, Gill Man. Nothing worked. Maybe okay for villains but not a superhero. Then one of our clerical workers piped up with the perfect name. It was so good we’ve made her head of our PR department.”

“What was it?” There was a great deal of impatience in the President’s voice. There was such tension in the air as the President and the Faculty Council were on the edge of their seats.

“Since it was her idea, we’ve asked Iris to do the honors. Iris?”

Iris stepped forward. If ever there was a business suit, it was the dark blue suit she wore. Her face was painted with such seriousness the President and the Faculty knew how serious she was.

“Over the past two weeks,” her soft soprano said. “we tested this up and down America from sea to shining sea and the responses have been 99% in favor. On hearing the name, women have swooned. Men have said that they would want this guy on their team. The name is…drum roll please.”

“Get on with it,” one of the Faculty Council urged.

“The name is Aqua Dude.”

The name hit the President and the Faculty like a ton of bricks. Before they knew what they were doing, they were on their feet applauding.

When the applause had quieted down, Iris continued, “There’s more.”

“More?” President Positron asked, a big grin on his face.

“What’s an AD without a BC. Aqua Dude has sidekicks. They are the Beef Cakes.”

And so that is how Aqua Dude and the Beef Cakes came to rein over the Seven Seas, pursuing Truth and Justice and distributing sea sick  pill to all in distress.