Wednesday, February 29, 2012

3 more dead

    Here we go again.  Student goes on rampage in a Ohio high school, and three more kids are cut down in their prime of life.  But God forbid that anyone should call for even a shred of gun control.  Cuz you never know when those commie Cubans (or commie North Koreans, or commie Iranians, or pinko Norwegians) are gonna invade the United States, and we'll all have to be like Patrick Swayze-ish, and hide out in the wilds of Colorado.  With our Rugers.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


   Yes, it's a pun.  My favorite kind of humor.  Yeah, it's a bit forced.  But hey, come on now.  Have you ever seen Vivaldi used in a pun before?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    "Then we have divers inventors of our own, of excellent works; which since you have not seen, it were too long to make descriptions of them; and besides, in the right understanding of those descriptions you might easily err.  For upon every invention of value, we erect a statue to the inventor, and give him a liberal and honourable reward.  The statues are some of brass; some of marble and touch-stone; some of cedar and other special woods gilt and adorned; some of iron; some of gold."

(from New Atlantis by Francis Bacon)

4*/10.  The complete review is here.  I love my new Kindle!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Steve and I/Me

Two comics from this past week.  Both hilarious.  Both good strips to read every day.

But I'm a grammar-nazi.  So I have an issue with Panel #2 above.  I really think it should be "Steve and me", not "Steve and I".  The applicable rule is given in the comic below.

    And yes I know, we were all taught in grade school to use the "Steve and I" convention.  But is it right?  Listen.  remove the "Steve and" words from Panel 2 of the top strip, and it's obvious that "me" is correct.  So why would the inclusion of  "Steve and" change that?

    Alternatively, replace "Steve and I" with "Steve and him" and do the same exercise.  It's never "Steve and he".  So why should a first-person pronoun be any different from a third-person pronoun?

    Language is a living organism.  It is constantly changing.  We can't read 10th-century English (think "Beowulf") because of this.  And in 50 years, the rule here will be "Steve and me".  Trust me.  I've traveled forth in time and can confirm this.   

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day



    "Are we accepted?"  I held my breath.  When she did not reply immediately I took a daring chance.  "May we stay here under your protection?"

    After a measureless moment the answer came.  "You may, as long as you pay the price."

    "What price do you ask?"

    "Remember us," whispered the voice.  "Remember us."

(from The Greener Shore by Morgan Llywelyn)

9½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Suns-Warriors tonight!

    Heading out to see the Phoenix Suns play the Golden State Warriors tonight.  Neither team is setting the NBA on fire, but both have a run-&-gun-the-hell-with-defense mindset.  Which means it'll be a fun game to watch.

    Can't really find any basketball-related jpeg in my pics stash, so we'll go with this one.  If you see some pornographic here, you need to seek professional help.  A hooker maybe.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


     I've taken another step into 21st Century technology.  I am in the process of reading a book on the Kindle that I got for Christmas.

    I downloaded the book during the holidays, but didn't read a word of it in January, due mostly to the fact that I was working my way through 600 pages of Dostoevsky's The Idiot.

    The book I downloaded is New Atlantis, by Francis Bacon.  Are you impressed?  Actually, I chose it because it was free (public domain), and extremely short (48 pages long in a real-world book).  I'm OCD; I am compelled to finish almost any book I start.  So I figured if I didn't take to the Kindle, at least my ordeal would be over rather quickly.

     But not to worry; I'm adapting to the Kindle faster than I expected.  The screen is easy to read, and I've figured out how to underline (digitally) excerpts.  I'm not sure how to quickly get to a given note or page yet.  If I'm on, say page 50 (actually, the units are in "percentages", not page numbers), and want to go back to, say, page 10, all I can do is hit the page-back button 40 times.  I have a feeling there's a quicker way to do this, but since the Kindle is not a touch-screen, the shortcut isn't intuitive.  Yeah I know, I can always RTFM, but where's the challenge in that?

    I still prefer to be holding an actual book in my hands.  And despite the fact that Kindle downloads are now (for the most part) cheaper than the real-world book, I'd rather pay a bit more, then put the book on my TBR shelf, read it whenever I bloody well want, and get a couple pennies for it when I take it to the used-book store.

    But no trees are killed when making an e-book, and when the download is *free*, I can be talked into going the digital route.  And there are hundreds of free e-books.  They are all "classics" whose copyrights have expired (New Atlantis was first published in 1627).  But that means if I want to read a Sherlock Holmes book, or something by Mark Twain, or even something by - gulp - Fyodor Dostoevsky, I can probably download it for free.

    So I'm sure I'll be using my Kindle more in the future.  I am told it can hold about 3600 e-books, so space will not be a problem.  And Lord knows, when I go to the used-book store, the Classic Lit section is not a place I spend any appreciable time in.

Monday, February 20, 2012


    Well, not exactly Pangaea, since some liberties were apparently taken with the relative sizes of the various chunks of landmass.  But these are cleverly done.  Even if it's a rooster, not a chicken.  And T-Rex has a nipple.

    This does bring back memories of my Risk-playing days, though.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


    The musical Wicked was in town over the weekend.  Liz and Jason went to it on Friday night, along with a bunch of friends.  I stayed home with the dogz.  Everyone thought it was a splendid evening.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    There were parts of Monk she admired greatly: his courage; his strength of will; his intelligence; his loyalty to his beliefs; his passion for justice; his ability to face almost any kind of truth, no matter how dreadful; and the fact that he was never, ever, a hypocrite.

    But she hated the streak of cruelty she knew in him, the arrogance, the frequent insensitivity.  And he was a fool where judgment of character was concerned.  He could no more read a woman's wiles than a dog could read Spanish!  He was consistently attracted to the very last sort of woamn who could ever make him happy.

(from The Silent Cry by Anne Perry)

7*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Escher and Dali

I notice I haven't posted any Daliesque or Escheresque stuff for a long time.  Not sure why; those are probably my two favorite artists, and even take-offs of their works are really a salute to them.  I've got a couple Escher books on my bookshelf; and 4 or 5 Dali ones.

   So here's a couple Worth1000 tributes to them.

    Yeah, I know.  This blog just oozes culture.  You're welcome. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Science Wednesday

   Your science lesson for the night.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

    And Happy 100th Birthday to Arizona as well!  It's also Oregon's 153rd Birthday, but that's not nearly as noteworthy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Palin Power

    I'm bummed that failin' Palin never got around to joining the Goat Rodeo this year.  But I am impressed that she actually could read the tea (party) leaves and realize that there was about zero interest in her antics this time around.  Methinks she'll end up being a permanent fixture on Faux News.  Spewing bile; screeching outrage; and trying to be stupider than Glenn Beck.  Yeah, good luck with that, Sarah.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    "Well," the Bemme robot spoke up, "my kind has fought the bone-fleshed kind ever since our two species went to space and discovered the delights of interstellar war.  We even named your kind: MAN."

    "You did?" Norton asked, surprised.

    "Of course. MAN - an acronym."  The mouth on the screen quirked with obscure humor.

    "Oh? What do the letters stand for?"

    "Multi-Appendaged Numbskull, of course.  Every creature who is worthy of the title sapience knows that."

    "What?" Dursten exclaimed indignantly.  "It can't be that!"

    The Bemme fidgeted, and the screen mouth frowned.  "I did clean it up a little for mixed company."  Two eyes formed on the screen, glancing at the Alicorn.

    "What's the danged original?" the spaceman demanded.

    "Mucky-Arsed -"

   "We'd better get moving," Norton said quickly.

(from Bearing An Hourglass, by Piers Anthony)

5½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

GOPigan's Island

    They're lost, clueless, and frankly, no one wants to go looking for them.  Although I think Ron Paul's kinda sexy in that dress.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens!

    Born exactly 200 years ago today.  I can't say that I've read a lot of his stuff, other than David Copperfield, which I trudged through in English class in high school.  But there's no arguing that he's one of the greatest authors of all time.

    And a major influence on the English language as well.  Here are a few of words that he either invented personally, or "saved" from the linguistic dustbin : butter-fingers, sawbones, messiness, spiflication, whizz-bang, seediness, unpromisingly, flummox, kibosh, devil-may-care, angry-eyed, hunger-worn, proud-stomached, fancy-dressed, coffee-imbibing, ginger-beery, copying-clerk, crossing-sweeper, tousled, boredom, rampage, casualty ward, allotment garden, footlights, fingerless, fairy story, messiness, natural-looking, squashed, tintack, spectacularly,confusingly, and last-but-not-least, dustbin.

    So Happy 200th Birthday, Mr. Dickens, sir!  I think I'll pick up one of your works the next time I'm at the used-book store.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Happy Waitangi Day!

    It's a New Zealand thing.  Those of European descent there think it's a time to patronize the locals and accept their thanks for civilizing their culture.  Those of Native descent see it a bit differently.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    "I came here today with curiosity, with excitement.  I wanted to see for myself and make up my own mind whether this uppercrust of Russian society is really good for nothing and has out-lived its time, is drained of its ancient life and only fit to die, but still persists in a petty, endless strife with the men... of the future, getting in their way and not conscious that it is dying itself."

(from The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky)

9*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, February 03, 2012

I pledge allegiance...

    Wow.  It's amazing who got the pledging right and who got it wrong in this photo.  The littlest girl is doing it right.  So's Laura, despite being high on her meds.

    The Village Idjit apparently has gas.  The girl on the far left can't seem to remember which hand to use, so she's covering her bases by using both.  And the gorilla behind her either has cold fingers, or is packing a rod.

    All in all, I'm thinking family get-together here.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

new John Hiatt album

Artist  :  John Hiatt
Title  :  Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns
Release Date  :  16 August 2011
Available In  :  CD, Vinyl, MP3-download
Genre  :  Folk-Blues; Americana

    Santa brought me this CD for Christmas, but I just got around to listening to it now (I got lots of music over the holidays), and it is fantastic.  Of course, I say that about all John Hiatt albums.

    He still has his gravelly voice; and he's still writing powerful songs about the Common Man in America.  The opening track, Damn This Town, very much catches the feel of living in a small town.  Other tracks that I really liked : Adios To California; When New York Had Her Heart Broke (about 9-11); and Til I Get My Lovin' Back.  But frankly, there are no weak tracks; this is good from start to finish.

    The CD comes with a DVD about making this album, but I haven't watched it yet.  I discovered today that I can play DVD's at work, but it would have to be during lunch, and that's my reading time.

    If you're a fan of (the late) John Stewart, or Bruce Springsteen since he's re-defined hinself as a folk-singer, you're going to like John Hiatt.  Mosey on over to YouTube and check him out.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


   We don't post Calamities Of Nature comics as often as we should.  I don't know why.  It's one of only about a half-dozen comic strips out there that actually assumes the reader has a certain degree of intelligence.  Plus, it quite often has science or math as its topic.  Plus, it is usually hilarious.  Like this one.