Saturday, June 30, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Alice found prostitution to be an easy profession.  "Physical beauty is the sole preserve of woemen," Madame Lola was fond of saying.  "A man's beauty is in his money; the more of it he has, the better looking he is."

    It was a point of view that Alice took to heart, devoting herself to her 'relaxation' duties even when the utterly repulsive Count Honas Obese (who looked more like an asymmetrical merging of six fat frogs than anything conceivably born of woman) took a fancy to her.

(from Alice's Adventures in Steamland: The Clockwork Goddess by Wol-vriey)

6*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Kindle Freebie

    Freebie Alert!  For today and tomorrow (Friday/Saturday) ONLY, Kindle users can download Book #1 of M. Edward McNally's "Norothian Cycle" series, The Sable City for FREE at both Amazon and Amazon-UK.

    Ed McNally is making this offer in celebration of the e-publication of Book #4 in the series, Devil Town, which I'm about 1/4 of the way through.

    This is epic fantasy, akin to AD&D and LOTR, but definitely in a world of its own.  I highly recommend it.  You can read my review of The Sable City here, and if you scroll upward from there, you will find the reviews for Books 2 and 3.

    The Sable City normally sells for $2.99, with the subsequent books in the series $4.99 each.  Which means if you like the first book, reading the rest of the series won't drain your piggy bank.  But take advantage of Ed's generosity and get acquaintred with Tilda, Phin, Zeb, Allison, amd the rest of the gang.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Healthcare Reform Passes

    Surprise, surprise.  Chief Justice John Roberts actually acted like a Supreme Court judge instead of a paid political stooge and admitted that Obama's Healthcare Reform was indeed a legal act.  Imagine that.

    Of course, his defense of the ruling was tepid at best, implying that anybody who didn't like it could vote Obama out next November.  But we'll take it, John.  See ya on Election night.

    My dittohead co-workers had their panties in a ruffle all day, and it will only be worse tomorrow, after they've had a chance to chew on their defeat.  And of course, 10 million FaceBook members all have an opinion to share...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mugly !!

    Meet Mugly, the winner of the 2012 "World's Ugliest Dog" competition held recently in Petaluma, California.  I don't want to second-guess the judges' decision but, c'mon now, Mugly is adorable!

    Mugly wins "a trophy and a $1,000 prize, will participate in a photo shoot with Nuena Photography, will receive a VIP stay at the Sheraton Petaluma and will chow down on a year's supply of dog cookies".

    I suspect the photoshoot is already done, and that the above image is from it.  And the Union Jack decor is apropos, since Mugly is British.  So CONGRATULATIONS MUGLY!!  The judges are wrong, but you deserve your rewards anyway.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Stand Your Ground - Bullsh*t

   There was new police evidence released today that greatly supports the contention that George Zimmerman deliberately instigated the confrontation with Trayvon Martin, even though he had several opportunities to avoid it.  You can read MSNBC's article on it here.

    It's a lethal combination when you're both a bigot and a gun-nut.  You're itching to finally shoot your pistol at somebody, and you go around just looking for an excuse to do so.  And when you think your a$$ is completely covered by the NRA-inspired "Stand Your Ground" law, any black male is fair game, as long as there are no witnesses.  The hoodie is proof that he either has just committed a crime or is about to.  Just ask Geraldo.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Among the more outlandish recruits was a man of indeterminate age, hairless but for a small waxed topknot, his nose cosmetically removed - the practice of his western tribe - and the two nares forming the centres of whorls of tattooing in green and blue, which descended to his throat and spread out in fans across his chest.  Another, dressed wholly in black, was a deaf-mute who conversed in a fluent and eloquent sign-language, refused to eat any food of vegetable origin, and insisted on sleeping in the open, even if snow were falling.

(from The Flint Lord by Richard Herley)

8*/10.  The full review is here.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


    Justice was served on Friday, when Jerry Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of the 48 charges, and shipped off to jail.  Which is poetic justice since inmates are notoriously brutal to child molesters.

    So one predator has been removed from society, pending appeals and sentencing.  Penn State will recover with time from this tragedy, probably rapidly.  There is no reason why this can't happen anywhere else; nothing is unique about the Penn State atmosphere.

    Which raises the question - what will be done to minimize this from happening again?  Sadly, I'm afraid the answer is 'nothing'.

    Sex molesters know the best ways to ply their trade.  The common thread is to be an Authority Figure to the kids.  Priests molest altar boys; fathers molest foster children; and administrators molest "troubled kids" at Boys' Homes like Sandusky's preying ground.

    It is time to start heavily monitoring such situations that attract predators.  The administrations certainly won't do it themselves.  Pope Benny thinks activist nuns are more of a threat than predatory priests.  CPS has neither the will nor the resources to scrupulously check for abusers.  And top dogs like Sandusky certainly won't police themselves.

    But we have to do more than monitor.  At-risk kids need to be repeatedly educated about what is unacceptable behavior by adults.  If the predator-harboring institutions don't go along with it, then take away their tax-exempt status, their charter to operate, or their credentials to assign vulnerable kids to dangerous guardians.

    You should get two strikes before sanctions take place.  The first embarrassing incident should motivate you to vigorously monitor your own operation.  The second means you didn't try hard enough, you're incompetent, or your predators are running the show.  You need help.  Strike three means you're out.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy 64th Birthday, LP Records

    According to Wikipedia's entry for June 21, LP records were introduced by Columbia Records on this date in 1948 via a public demonstration at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.

    According to Wikipedia's entry for LP records, it happened on June 18, 1948, at a press conference at the same hotel.

    I won't quibble.  LP's have been a major influence on my life since I bought my first one ca. 1960.  The fact that it was an Engelbert Humperdinck album is something that I'm trying to downplay.  My tastes improved with time.

    So HAPPY BIRTHDAY LP RECORDS!  You're making a comeback, and I still am having fun buying old records for next to nothing and digitaliziing them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy Summer Solstice!

   Hello, Summer!  It hit 112°F today here.  Tomorrow, it will be one degree hotter.  Somehow, this picture suggests itself.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    "Men have killed for a few shillings, or in a rage over a petty insult."

    "Not Alexandra Carlyon," she insisted, leaning across the desk towards him.  "You have met her!  Did she?  Do you believe she sacrificed all she had - her husband, her family, her home, her position, even her life - over something trivial?"  She shook her head impatiently.  "And what woman cares about an insult?  Men fight duels of honor - women don't!  We are perfectly used to being insulted; the best defense is to pretend you haven't noticed - then you need not reply."

(from Defend and Betray by Anne Perry)

8*/10.  The full review is here.

Monday, June 18, 2012


    No telling what would happen if he watched The Hunger Games.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


    Not that I would know.  I've visited Denver a number of times, but only toconnect to another flight.  And mercifully, I've never had to take off from there in a blinding snowstorm.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Quote for the Day

    We miss ya, Sarah.  Mitt is just dull.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    "I need you to tell me everything you know, or everything you think you know.  Otherwise I am not going to keep wasting my time over there.  A Miilarkian House is trying to kill me, Phin.  I need a bit more meaning in what could be my last days of life."

    Phin's eyes were touched with sympathy before he lowered them to the table.

    "I don't know how much I can explain, and it is probably going to sound like I am crazy."

    "You have part of a dead wizard stuck in your arm and it doesn't seem to bother you," Rhianne said dryly.  "There is nothing you can say at this point that is going to make me doubt your sanity any more than I already do."

    (from The Wind From Miilark, by M. Edward McNally)

    8½*/10.  The full review is here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Watership Down

    I converted the LP soundtrack from Watership Down earlier this week.  For the most part, it is instrumental meh, like most soundtracks are.  But the Art Garfunkel track/lyrics, "Bright Eyes" brought back memories of just how much I enjoyed the 1978 movie. 

    Below is a pic from the film itself.  I don't post links to YouTube videos here (it seems to reduce the speed of the blog to a crawl), but you might want to YouTube "Bright Eyes Watership Down" to watch an excerpt from the movie where the track was played, namely, Hazel's passing away.

    It will bring a lump to your throat.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hot Tuna!

Who  :  Hot Tuna
Where  :  Mesa Arts Center (Arizona)
When  :  Wednesday, 25 July 2012
How Much  :  $41.50 - $77.00

    Wow!  Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady are still touring.  And they're coming to Mesa in another month.  Tickets are a bit pricey, but maybe that's because I'm used to going to the Marquee Theater, where your only option is to stand the whole time.

    If you aren't familiar with Hot Tuna, Kaukonen and Casady are two of the main Jefferson Airplane line-up from the late 60's.  They're more bluesy and acoustic than what JA and they are both accomplished guitarists.
    I may have to find my tie-dyed t-shirt, put on my sandals, avoid the barbershop for the next month, and attend this concert.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Travis' action was purely reflex.  He swung the burner around, even as his mind gave a frantic No! To defend himself with automatic, knife, arrow - yes; but not this way.  He huddled against the wall.

    An instant earlier there had been a man there, a living, breathing man - one of his own species, if not of his own beliefs.  Then because his own muscles had unconsciously obeyed warrior training, there was this.  So easy - to deal death without really meaning to.  The weapon in his hands was truly the devil gift they were right to fear.  Such weapons were not to be put into the hands of men - any men - no matter how well intentioned.

(from The Defiant Agents by Andre Norton)

7½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Politicizing Science

    I am always amazed when tea-baggers and bible-thumpers try to weave their agenda into the realm of Science.

   We scientists are a simple lot.  All we do is try to figure out how the universe works.  We might be chemists (that's me), physicists, biologists, mathematicians, or any and all sorts of engineers.  But we are united in the search for facts.

    We are interested in the "how", not the "why".  If you want to attribute something like Global Warming or Evolution to God (maybe She's punishing us), that's fine.  If you want to say Satan is causing it, that's fine too,

    But don't go trying to say that Evolution isn't happening, or that Global Warming is a myth invented by Al Gore.  Because the scientific facts don't support you.  You can teach your goofy little fundamentalist traditions and right-wing lies to little Johnny and little Susie in church, at home, or at your local Tea-Bag gathering.  But don't even try to force them to be taught in science classes.  We reserve those places for facts, not religous-political bullsh*t.

Friday, June 08, 2012

A Memory of Light - Full Cover

    I guess I really should also post the full (front and back) cover of the upcoming finale in the Wheel Of Time series.  Odd that only two of Rand's wives are shown, eh?

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Happy Birthday, Orhan Pamuk

    Winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature, and perhaps the most popular Turkish writer of our time.  I've read Snow and My Name Is Red (English translations, of course), and they're both good.

    Sixty years old today.  Salut, Mr. Pamuk, sir!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Movie Riddle for the Day

    Au contraire, mon frere.  This movie is sacred to my generation.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A Memory of Light - Bookcover

    Yes, I'm looking forward to it.  Yes, I'll buy it in hardback, cuz I'm addicted to the series.  No, I don't think Brandon Sanderson gets near enough credit for the wonderful job he's done since taking over writing duties after the passing of Robert Jordan.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Philosophical Insight for the Day

    Or, "It is better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven."  Which is actually from John Milton's Paradise Lost.  But I prefer to remember it from the Star Trek episode "The Wrath of Khan".

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Whoever had murdered the president of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce had gone to remarkable trouble to pack him into the red Samsonite.  Sparky was only five-foot-five, but he weighed nearly one hundred ninety pounds, most of it in the midriff.  To have squeezed him into a suitcase, even a deluxe-sized suitcase, was a feat that drew admiring comments from the coroner's seasoned staff.  One of the clerks used up two rolls of film documenting the extrication.

(from Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen)

7½ */10.  The complete review is here.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Nightwish and Kamelot

    Coming to Phoenix on 07 October - Kamelot and Nightwish!  How 'bout that for a fantastic pairing?!

   The concert will be at the Marquee Theater, which should mean great ticket prices at the expense of having to stand through the whole thing.

   Yeah, I'm gonna be there.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Friday Night at the Movies

    Coming to a theater near you.