Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Excerpt for the Day

  "You must think I'm absolutely frightful," she murmured one afternoon as they sat on the verandah.

    The Kommandant said he didn't think anything of the sort.

   "I suppose it's because I've had so little experience of the real world," she continued, "that I find it so fascinating to meet a man with so much je ne sais quoi."
    "Oh, I don't know about that," said the Kommandant modestly.

(from Indecent Exposure by Tom Sharpe)

The full review is here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

RIF Reminder

    It's been a while since we've exhorted yooze guys to read, so this is a bit overdue.  Look, folks.  If Marilyn Monroe can take on Ulysses by James Joyce, you'uns can certainly slog through a Stephen King thriller, a Danielle Steele romance, or a Terry Pratchett Discworld tale.  Reading enriches the soul, no matter what novel you choose.  So do something holistic tonight.  Open a book.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Games we'd like to see

    My money's still on Mario.  One good leap is all it takes.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Saving myself

    Yeah, I pulled this same stunt too.  My mom and dad probably still would've gotten married, but I didn't want to take the chance of being zapped into non-existence via an alternate timeline.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Captain Roberts ended the mutiny by detaching one of the Sweet Judy's swivel guns and aiming it at the mutineers.  The gun was intended for firing lots of small lead balls at any pirates who might try to board the ship.  It was not intended to be a hand cannon, and if he had fired the thing, the recoil would probably have thrown him into the air, but everyone in front of it would have died of terminal perforations.

(from Nation by Terry Pratchett)

The complete review is here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Makes sense to me

    I know a lot of people that adhere to this philosophy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guess who went to the American Idol concert last Sunday?

And sat on the 11th Row and had a backstage pass, no less?


Nope.  Wasn't me.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Excerpt for the Day

  "I wouldn't have been so generous," Kiera said. "You shouldn't show so much kindness. People will see it as a weakness."

    "You're dealing with people, not mechanoids," Jezzibella said blankly. "You have to make allowances for the odd mistake. If you shoot every waiter who spills a cup of coffee over your skirt, you wind up with a self service bar."

    Kiera smiled condescendingly at her. "What you'll actually wind up with is a group of highly efficient waiters who can do the job effectively."

(from The Naked God by Peter F. Hamilton)

The complete review is here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Congratulations, Japan!!

    It was a great game with a great storyline.  Every bit as drama-laden as the Brazil-USA game a few days ago.  Japan, you gave your country a great lift, just when they needed it most.

    And USA, I know it hurts, but there were no losers this day.  You hustled every step of the way; you left it all on the field; the shots just didn't go in.  Soccer is like that sometimes.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Paring down the vinyl

   Okay, I'm a pack-rat.  And I'm OCD.  And although those two terms aren't synonymous, they do go hand in hand.  So when Liz demanded I start getting rid of some of the LP's that have taken over the computer room, I knew better than to argue.

    I admit her logic is persuasive.  These are albums I've already converted to MP3 files.  I paid anywhere from $2 to nothing for them, and for the sole purpose of converting them.  They have no resale value whatsoever.  There's no earthly reason to keep them.  But still... 

    So I packed up a milk-crate's worth of them and headed to RockZone Saturday afternoon.  RockZone only gave me $6 trade-in, but really, that's just fine with me.  I had done my due diligence, and was ready to leave.  When...

    ... I just had to go through the 50-cent aisle.  And the $1 one.  And the $2 one. And there were just such great finds there!

   There were three Kim Carnes albums.  I've been listening to her a lot lately.  And four-count-em-four Brothers Four LP's.  I've only found two of theirs in the past year or so.  And other obscure gems as well.  The Blues ProjectThe New Riders of the Purple SagePure Prairie LeagueThe Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  Another Doug Kershaw album.  Kingston Trio albums from their Decca days.  The Alan Parsons ProjectThe VenturesLeo Kottke.  A Bette Midler album I'd never seen before.  Eric Burdon & The Animals.

    In the end, I walked out of there with 24 albums, two of which were double-albums, and a third which was a triple-album.  Grand total of discs : 27.  Total cost : $7 (plus another $6 trade-in allowance).  Grand total of disks sold or given to RockZone : 32.

    Liz of course was not surprised to see me lugging in an armload of albums upon my return from RockZone.  Nor was she pleased.  Which I don't understand.  I did reduce the number of LP's in the computer room. By five. Which means there are now only about 300 in the room anymore. Waiting to be converted.

    Really, what did she expect?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Book Excerpt for the Day

    "That is the Temple of Baal-Ahriman, although in better days it was a respectable temple of Horus. I would recommend that you avoid it, Senator. It is a cult brought here by unwashed foreigners, and only the lewdest and most degraded of Alexandrians frequent it. Their barbarous god is worshipped with disgusting orgies,"

    Hermes tugged at my arm. "Let's go! Let's go!"

(from The Temple of the Muses by John Maddox Roberts)

The complete review is here.

Friday, July 15, 2011


    Bagpipes rule!  Especially on a Friday night.  Especially if it's from the movie Braveheart, like this is.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The White Album

   The Beatles' White Album wasn't my first LP, but it was in my first dozen or so.  I bought it "hot" my freshman year at Penn State, from the guys in the dorm room next to ours.  Basically, they spent their whole year shoplifting and selling their wares.  The really kewl thing was you could "order" LP's from them.  And that's what I did for this one.

    The White Album is arguably the Fab Four at their finest.  Back in the USSR, Rocky Raccoon, Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, (They Say It's Your) Birthday, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Piggies, Helter Skelter (calling Charlie Manson - we want this song back), Savoy Truffle, Revolution 1, etc.

    Unfortunately, they only had 3 sides' worth of songs.  Which means some had to go and they'd issue a single LP.  Or some worthless filler had to be added, and they'd issue a double LP.

    Thus it was that "Revolution Number 9" was born.  Which is really just our boys, obviously stoned out of their gourds, playing around with all those kewl sound effects in the studio.  I'm sure it seemed awesomely radical at the time.  But jeez guys.  Did you listen to it the next day when you were straight again?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Arizona idiocy

Meet  Keith Elkcimrac (*).  He's an idiot.  He and his drunken friends and relatives were at the Home Run Derby last night.  Keith has the maturity of a 6-year-old, and the common sense of a lemming.  The sight of a baseball makes him joyfully leap towards his death.

    Picture #2 is Keith after he stupidly dove for a ball from his stance in Picture #1.  Keith apparently is illiterate or has a memory as short as his schlong.  Only last week, an adult fan at a Texas Rangers game plunged 20 feet to his death doing the same thing.  His 6-year-old son watched him die.

    But we're not here to talk about Keith's stupidity.  We're here to talk about what drives certain cretins to go into hyper-gonzo mode to catch a worthless baseball.

    Because really, that ball Keith dove for has no monetary value.  It's not like it's Barry Bonds' record-breaking home run, or Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit.  Nor is it for the vicarious thrill of catching it.  Keith and his fellow morons had already caught three other home run balls last night.

    Is it a competitive thing?  The "I'm a man cuz I caught that ball" even if his competition was a bunch of little boys or a couple of fellow drunken neanderthals?  Is he so unhappy with his wife, his life, his job, and/or his dog that he has to do this to gain some satisfaction?

    I don't know.  Personally, I'm all for letting idjits like this plunge to their doom.  It improves the gene pool and means more booze for the rest of us.

    (*) : Yeah, I spelled his last name backwards.  Deliberately.  The impression I got from the AzCentral article today was that Keith was proud of his actions.  Which means he's probably doing a vanity search right now to see how often his name got mentioned on the Internet today.  No reason to give him the satisfaction of finding yet another "hit".

Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Excerpt for the Day

    If you fell outward to the limit of the universe, would you find a board fence and signs reading DEAD END?  No.  You might find something hard and rounded, as the chick must see the egg from the inside.  And if you should peck through that shell, what great and torrential light might shine through your hole at the end of space?  Might you look through and discover that our entire universe is but part of one atom on a blade of grass?  Might you be forced to think that by burning a twig you incinerate an eternity of eternities?  That existence rises not to one infinite but to an infinity of them?

(from The Gunslinger by Stephen King)

The complete review is here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Vinyl Clearance

    Some of the LP's that I've converted to MP3 files, and simply have to depart from our computer room.  So sez Liz.  Most of these are in decent, but not great, shape.  If the LP was so badly scratched that my "depopper" program couldn't clean it up, the album got tossed. 

    A lot of these are from the $1 bins at the local used-record stores.  Generally these are albums that you just won't find at file-sharing sites. 

The Lettermen - Special Request
Walter Carlos - The Well-Tempered Synthesizer
Porgy & Bess - movie soundtrack (rare)
Klaatu - Sir Army Suit
Klaatu - Hope
Genesis - Abacab
Johnny Winter - And/Live (single LP)
Johnny Winter - And/Live (double LP)
Chris Rea - Whatever Happened to Benny Santini?
Doug Kershaw - Mama Kershaw's Son
Kim Carnes - Sailin'
Lobo - A Cowboy Afraid of Horses
The Brothers Four - Roamin'
Golden Earring - Something Heavy Going Down  (2 of them)
Exodus - movie soundtrack
Stokowski - Symphony of the Air
Planxty - The Collection
Spirit - The Family That Plays Together/Feedback (double LP)
National Lampoon - Greatest Hits of the..
Steeleye Span - Please To See the King
Steeleye Span - Below The Salt
Leon Russell - Hank Wilson's Back - Volume 1
Petula Clark - These Are My Songs
Canned Heat - Living the Blues  (2 of them)
Kim Carnes - St. Vincent's Court
Country Joe & The Fish - I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die
Melanie - Madrugada
Country Joe & The Fish - CJ Fish
Harry Nilsson - A Little Touch of Schmilsson
Melanie - As I See It Now
Glenn Gould - The Goldberg Variations
Doug Kershaw - The Louisiana Man
Once Upon A Time In The West - soundtrack
Arlo Guthrie - One Night
Man of La Mancha - Soundtrack
Leon Russell - Will O The Wisp
Vladimir Horowitz - Beethoven - Sonata Appassionata, Sonata Waldstein
Donovan - Donovan P. Leitch
Chris Rea - Dancing With Strangers
Hot Tuna - Hot Tuna
Doug Kershaw - Spanish Moss

Friday, July 08, 2011

Friday Night Inspirational Quote

    Party on, Garth!  Party on, Wayne!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

This is Weather. This is Climate

  Actually, the most direct proof of Global Warming is the overall rise in ocean temperatures.   At every latitude.  Bye-bye, polar ice caps.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Word for the day : Haboob!

    Some photos of the mother-of-all-dust-storms that blew across Phoenix around sundown yesterday.   No, I didn't take any of these.  I have better things to do than go outside and have my expensive camera get sandblasted while I snap some pics.   For instance, like try to take the dogs for a walk in it.  Yeah, that didn't turn out real good.  Especially with me wearing contacts.

    I've seen reports that it was 50 miles across and a mile high.  It was almost like those Mt. St. Helens "ash" pictures - every outdoor surface throughout Phoenix was coated with dust this morning.  The streets were brown, the lawns were brown, the cars (those that weren't in garages) were brown.  I passed a quarter-mile-long line of traffic on the way home from work around 11:30 AM.  "Strange", thought I, "it doesn't normally pile up at that spot."  Silly me.  They were waiting to get into the local carwash, and the line had spilled out onto the street.

    The Word For The Day is HABOOB, which is Arabic for these types of dust-storms.  Wikipedia has some nice pics of them from other desert parts of the world.  Surprsingly, they're not very dangerous, unless you're trying to drive, fly, or walk around in them.  However, they are a royal nuisance.  Particularly, since we didn't get any precipitation out of it.

    The air today is still filthy with the dust.  What we really need is some rain to wash it all out of the atmosphere.  But it doesn't look good for tonight.  So the only thing to do is sit inside, pour yourself a glass of wine (red wine, s'il vous pla├Čt), and drink it in order to wash all those pesky dust motes out of your digestive system.  Hey, it's for your health! 

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


    True dat.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Book Excerpt for the Day

  The knowledge that all this had happened before and was certain to happen again, was a crushing burden. Since the last crime they had gotten computers and more men and more cars. Since the last time the lighting in the parks had been improved and most of the bushes had been cleared away. Next time there would be still more cars and computers and even less shrubbery. Kollberg wiped his brow at the thought and the handkerchief was wet through.

(from The Man on the Balcony by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo)

The complete review is here.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

C&He Guevara!

    Them what knows, knows.  Them what don't knows, google "Cyanide & Happiness".