As we bid farewell to another wonderful year of life on our humble little blue planet, Upscale Shack would like to take a moment to thank all of you, the friends, followers, readers and supporters, for making 2014 a great year. Starting a blog was a daunting prospect, one that filled me with doubt. Would anyone even read it? Would I be able to keep up with it, keep developing new content? Would readers be receptive to the things I post? Your response has overwhelmed me. I am humbled each time a post is “liked”, each time the page is visited, each time a new follower joins in, and with each comment that is made. Though it may still be a small blog in terms of readership, your loyal support means a great deal to me. This blog has turned into a great outlet for my bouts of creativity, random rants, book reviews, musings on life, and as a place to share photos from my travels and share a bit of my life’s work with you. But I couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you. A sincere thank you for your support.
May 2015 bring you all the love, happiness and prosperity you deserve. Have a safe and happy New Year!
From Matthew Lewis and the Upscale Shack Blog.
So there’s been a buzz lately about Idris Elba potentially portraying James Bond at some point in the future. And today there’s been a stir because the always-buffoonish Rush Limbaugh once again said something stupid. You can easily tell when Rush is saying something stupid, because it happens whenever his lips are moving. Continue reading “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being”
This is from the Al Jazeera broadcast of December 15, 2014. Me talking about the status of the northern white rhino subspecies.
On a cold and wet December Saturday I find myself bored and flipping through television channels. There’s a channel called Destination America, which is part of the Discovery empire, and from its lineup it appears to specialize in a combination of shows that exploit the redneck lifestyle at one end, versus shows about the uber rich and their palatial mansions at the other. Because presumably everyone in America is either an inbred hillbilly or stinking rich. The spaces between are sprinkled with an inexplicably large number of shows about ghosts. Shows like Hillbilly Blood, Amish Haunting, Alien Mysteries, and When Ghosts Attack! An eclectic mix of all the worst parts of American culture. Their website says they are adding wrestling in 2015, thus fulfilling their mission of lowering the collective IQ of America. Thus is the sorry state of American television in 2014. Continue reading “Affording the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of”
It’s been a while since I posted a rant. I guess I’m fortunate that nothing has fired me up lately. But yesterday I was confronted by such a blatant display of smug self-righteousness that I had to write about it.
I was sitting on the Metro, commuting to work. My normal routine. The typical commuter is silent, anti-social, lost in our own introspection before the start of our workdays. Suddenly a group of college girls gets on the train. They were holding cups of coffee, which annoyed me, because scofflaws of the Metro rules (no food or drink!) always annoy me, but coffee in particular is especially egregious. If the train makes a sudden stop and you dump your scalding extra-venti cup of decaf-soy-mocha-choco-caramel-pumpkin spice-2000 calories of over-sweetened glop onto my lap, we’re going to have us some issues. Continue reading “But do they teach humility?”
My forested suburban backyard is abuzz on this autumnal morning with the soundtrack of life. The deejay is the Northern Mockingbird, who has worked all summer long on his repertoire, sampling the songs of everyone else, keeping the bits he likes, rearranging them, altering the pitch and tempo. Continue reading “Autumn Birdsong”
Kenya is now producing Africa’s cheapest car, the Mobius. By stripping it of pretty much everything but the barest of essential parts, they are able to offer a brand new car for around $10,000, which is about the same price as a decent quality used Japanese import. Mobius have taken the Upscale Shack mantra (simplify, simplify!) and applied it to auto making. Continue reading “If Upscale Shack were a car”
Question for discussion: Is it better to read anything, no matter how bad it is, than to read nothing at all? Continue reading “Confessions of a literary snob”
Hooray, it’s time again to celebrate the man who got lost, washed ashore on a land that had already been inhabited for tens of thousands of years, claimed it for his financier, the King of Spain, enslaved its inhabitants, left behind smallpox and syphilis, never really figured out whether he was in Asia or not, and was such an inept and brutal governor that he was jailed by his King. Continue reading “You know what? F*#@ Columbus”
Today would have been my grandfather’s 100th birthday. Harry Allen Prettyman was born on October 4, 1914 in rural Delaware County, Oklahoma. He was born just 7 years after Oklahoma statehood in what had been the Delaware District of the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory. The family lived along the Elk River near the small settlements of Cayuga and Turkey Ford, but they moved around a lot. Continue reading “A Century of my Grandfather”