Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year's Eve !

    We'll be having dinner with friends around 7-ish; open belated Xmas presents with them around 8-ish; be home by 9-ish; in bed by 10-ish; snoring our fool heads off at 11-ish; and wide awake with two freaked-out dogz shorlty after midnight.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “So we’ll just fly over the mountains.  In the dark.”  Ghanima swallowed.  “Against the wind.”

    Taziri leaned over her.  “You’ve done this before?”

    The young pilot shrugged.  “I’ve done a lot of night flights and storm flights.  I’ve seen all kinds of weather and never scratched the paint.  How hard can it be?”

    Taziri drummed her fingers on the back of her chair.  “All right.  But no crashing!”

    Ghanima smiled.  “Fine, no crashing.”

    (from The Burning Sky – Halcyon #1: A Steampunk Thriller,  by Joseph Robert Lewis)

    8*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Demotivational Friday

    Makes sense to me.  Imagine the royalties he'd get.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I am a history buff...

... and yes, I do really get upset thinking about this.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

31 states

    Just another reason why I'm strongly Pro-Choice.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

    The presents have been opened, the season's greetings have been shared, and weeks of holiday music are winding down.  Here's hoping your Christmas morning was everything you could wish for.  Now, let's eat!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012


    But watch out for the sand worms.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    "You’re a liar, Claus.  What did Mother tell you about lying?  It makes your tongue hairy, you know that.  Every lie you tell kills a mermaid.  And that whopper just killed a whale.”   

    (from Claus : Legend of the Fat Man, by Tony Bertauski)

    7½*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Day After

    And another bit of End-of-the-World fakery bites the dust.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Warming Trend

    Nice to see that we'll be getting a break from the recent cold weather tomorrow.  That low looks a bit "iffy" though.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “Well, then, someone just tell me how we got here!”  Calvin’s voice was still angry and his freckles seemed to stand out on his face.  “Even traveling at the speed of light, it would take us years and years to get here.”

    “Oh, we don’t travel at the speed of anything,” Mrs. Whatsit explained earnestly.  “We tesser.  Or you might say, we wrinkle.”

    “Clear as mud,” Calvin said.

    (from A Wrinkle In Tme by Madeleine L’Engle)

    8*/10.  The complete review is here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Five Golden Rings

    I didn't make this graph; I just cut-&-pasted it.  So don't blame me for "Remeber".

Monday, December 17, 2012

Safe Sex

    What is seen cannot be unseen.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    We all knew that in his street-beating days, Commisar Kerevan broke several cases following leads that made no logical sense; and that Chief Inspector Marcoberg was devoid of any such breaks, and that his decent record was the result, rather, of slog.  We would never call inexplicable little insights “hunches”, for fear of drawing the universe’s attention.  But they happened, and you know you had been in the proximity of one that had come through if you saw a detective kiss his or her fingers and touch his or her chest where a pendant to Warsha, patron saint of inexplicable inspirations, would, theoretically, hang.

    (from The City & The City by China MiĆ©ville)

    9*/10.  The complete review is here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Night Movie Tribute

    One of my favorite characters from one of my favorite movies.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Theological Thursday

    We'll be reading from the book of Mark, just as soon as we revise it to suit our prejudices.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

   Specs doesn’t give me as much crap as a couple of the others in our billet do for being stupid.  He looked around the hills again before stepping over and hunkering down, pushing at his goggs to straighten his glasses on his nose inside them.  His eyes are so bad, they are why the Priests sterilized him.  Don’t want to pass on being blind-as-a-feral-at-noon to the next generation.  Up the Hill.  They did me because I’m stupid.

    (from The Apocalypse Collection, by The Eclective)

    7½*/10.  The full review is here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Literary Tribute for the Day

    One of my favorite series, although in truth, the first book - HHGTTG - was far and away the best.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mario World

    This brings back memories.  Sort of...

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Svarta tugged at the mage’s sleeve and headed slowly for the door.  She whispered to him while they walked.  “Come, I’ll show you where the kitchen is.  I assume the Written eat?”

    Farden’s eyes burnt with the after-image from the bright fire and he rubbed at them to get rid of the dancing dots that swam through his vision.  “We do eat, yes, but only live children.”

    “Very funny, mage,” came the reply.  “Enough of your nonsense, let’s go.”

    (from The Written, by Ben Galley)
    7½*/10.  The full review is here.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Friday, December 07, 2012

Happy Birthday Noam Chomsky !

       He's 84 years young today.  Linguist, Philosopher, Wit, and above all, Activist.  I am embarrassed to say I went for about 25 years thinking his first name was "Noah".  Which screwed up more crossword puzzles I was working on than I care to admit.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

September 20, 2013

    Posted because I'm reading an anthology called "The Apocalypse Collection" right now.  Kewl stuff for only $0.99 at Amazon.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Mass Spectrometry

    Just because I'm a chemist doesn't mean I can't be a pretentious snob.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Picture of the Year - Big Miracle

    I call this the Picture of the Year, not because it's good, but because I watch about one movie a year, and this just happened to be it for 2012.

    Drew Barrymore, Ted Danson, and a bunch of other actresses and actors I didn't recognize join forces to save a family of three whales who are too dumb to make it to the open sea for the winter.  That's about all you need to know about the plot.

    The storyline - allegedly "based on a true story" - is sickenly sweet.  The Greenpeace activist (Drew) gets chummy with the oil tycoon (Ted).  The Eskimos get chummy with the gringos.  The Russians get chummy with the Americans.  And two rednecks from Minnesota get chummy with anyone else.  I kept expecting everybody to break out singing Kumbaya at any point.

    I watched this while on our Alaskan Cruise, so at least there was a climate tie-in.  As a 107-minute piece of fluff, it does okay.  Thing is, I cooda just as easily watched Hunger Games.  Poor choice, Terry.

    Big Miracle is rated PG, the gods only knows what for.   We'll give it 4*/10.  Add another 2 stars if you enjoy those TV "Hallmark movies" that are on every Sunday night.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Juan Bautista’s teeth were chattering in his head, and Imarte’s dance had become so frenzied, she was a blur in the moonlight.  Einar was dancing too, kicking up his boots and waving his long arms as he chanted a song, something in third-century Norwegian about hauling on the oars and steering for the land where palm trees grow.

    Porfirio pitched his chaplet over the side of the wagon and drew his six-shooter.

    “Our revels now are ended,” he announced, and fired three shots into the air.  Instantly we were all sober, converting the alcohol in our bloodstreams into water and sugar, as we were programmed to do when confronted by hazard.

    (from Mendoza in Hollywood by Kage Baker)

    7½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Demotivational Friday

    It's been a long week.  Time to take the dogz for a walk, then curl up with a China MiĆ©ville book.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


    I've known this all my life.  And if you cut (or tear) the very top off - you know, where they put nuts or other assorted junk on - it's another 10% better.

    Don't get me wrong, you don't have to remove all four sides of the crust.  Just the top part.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jimi Hendrix

    He turned 70 today.  He ain't dead; that's just an urban legend.  Here's proof.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “Hmmm,” Bugbear mused.  “Pregnant.”  And then the goblin shoveled another spoonful of stew into his mouth.
    “Excuse me?” Manchester blurted.
    Maga turned back to the goblin, her face painted white with panic.
    “Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it?” Bugbear snickered.  “There’s the nausea.  There’s the maternal glow.  There’s the considerable weight gain.”
    “I have not gained weight, you little pumpkin-headed heathen!” Maga fumed.

    (from Noggle Stones : Book 2 : The Tragic Empire, by Wil Radcliffe)

     8*/10.  The full review is here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “What would be the theological position, Sir, if someone confessed to a priest, got absolution and then killed him to make sure that he kept his mouth shut.  Would the confession take as it were?”

    The young face was prenaturally grave, it was impossible to tell whether the enquiry had been serious, whether this was a private joke directed against the Inspector, or made with some more subtle motive.

    (from The Black Tower, by P.D. James)

    7*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Demotivational Friday

    OTOH, his demise will improve the gene pool by at least a couple IQ points.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cruise Blog !!

    The pics from our Alaskan cruise this past September are now posted on a blog.  You can find it via the "View my Complete Profile" on the left (Alaskan Cruise 2012) - or use this link.  Feel free to leave witty comments and cruise-related questions as you sail along with us up the west coast of British Columbia and lower Alaska.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “Look,” she said, “the Empire’s gone and the country’s broke.  How else can a young man be expected to get on these days?  Really it’s just the same colonial thing, but more clever.  We used to turn up in some part of the world we’d never seen before  and say to the nearest wog “Who’s in charge round here?”  He’d find the chief and we’d tell him, “You people are British now and all this belongs to us”, and he’d say, “Yes, bwana”.  It was great while it lasted, but eventually they cottoned on.”

    From The Drowning by Richard Herley.

    9*/10.  The complete review is here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dark Side of the Loom

   Still my favorite band of all time.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Manatee Awareness Month

    I am told by an impeccable source that this is Manatee Awareness Month.  I'll take my son's word for it.  It gives me an excuse to use this image.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    There was a man sitting in the lounge, wearing a fantailer hat, jodhpurs and a nervous smile, three things that mildly annoyed Vimes.  A nervous smile generally meant that somebody was after something they shouldn’t have; he personally thought a fantailer looked silly; and as for the jodhpurs, no man should meet a copper if he is wearing trousers that make his legs look as though he has just burgled a house full of silverware and shoved it hastily down his trousers.  In fact, Vimes thought he could see the outline of a teapot, but possibly that was his eyes playing mischievous tricks on him. 

    (from Snuff, by Terry Pratchett)

   8*/10.  The full review is here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Just Wrong

        Aw, such a cute child.  And so smart too, being able to play chess at such a young age.

    There's just one problem.  Those two outside black pawns are on the back row.  Which is IMPOSSIBLE, I'm sorry to say.  So actually, this tyke doesn't have a clue as to what chess is all about.

    You can read the CNN article on gifted children, from whence this photo came, here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Demotivational Wednesday

    What can you expect from a Conference that can't even remember how many teams are in it?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Just Wrong - Halloween Edition

    The annual early-November tradition is winding down at our office.  I speak of course of the bringing in of the leftover Halloween candy.  Some selections - such as Reese's PB Cups, Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate, and Kit-Kats - get scarfed up immediately.  Others, like geeks in a gym class, are left until last.

    This year, the last three bottom-feeders were Skittles, Nerds (the candy, not the geeks), and some atrocity I'd never heard of before - Body Parts Candy.  By yesterday, only the BPC remained.

    I made the mistake of taking one - an eyeball.  It had the texture of a three-week-old marshmellow, and the taste  of a shoelace.  After three unsucessful tries at biting into it, and with my taste buds pleading for mercy, I tossed it in the trash.

    Duly inspired, I researched the delicacy.  It is distributed by the Frankford Candy & Chocolate Company in Philadelphia. But it is made in China.  The items are individually wrapped; and I have nothing against Chinese sweets.  But you are confronted with the fact that this candy is most likely several months old.

    By today, all that was left of the BPC's were the "brain" ones, pictured above.  I brought one home with me to aid in this post.  I notice that it comes with the following warning : "Manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, milk and soy."  I am not making this up.

    This post is done, and I have no reason not to open this little dainty, and give BPC's a second taste.  I am mortified.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tribute to Oscar Wilde

Brought to you by the genius that is Dork Tower.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

In Memoriam...

    We remember all veterans today.  But most of all, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that others could be free.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Quote for the Day

    "... if 51 percent of Congress were women, we wouldn't be debating contraception, we would be debating jobs and the economy."

    Kirsten Gillibrand is the recently re-elected US Senator from New York.  She picked up 72% of the vote, a new state record.  Originally, she replaced Hillary Clinton when the latter made a presidential run.  As if all of that isn't kewl enough, she also speaks fluent Mandarin.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Demotivational Friday

    Proof that you should never get schnockered during the day.