Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Pulling men had never been her forte.  She'd always believed that an outright demonstration of her virtues would serve to establish her firmly in someone's affections.  Womanly virtues had  a longevity to them that sexual allure could never match.  And when lust and passion died the death of familiarity, one needed something of substance to take their place.  Or so she had taught herself to believe through an adolescence and a young adulthood remarkable for their solitude.

(from In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner, by Elizabeth George)

    7*/10.  The full review is here.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Abecedarian Insult

    "Sir, you are an apogenous, bovaristic, coprolalial, dasypygal, excerebrose, facinorous, gnathonic, hircine, ithyphallic, jumentous, kyphotic, labrose, mephitic, napiform, oligophrenial, papuliferous, quisquilian, rebarbative, saponaceous, thersitical, unguinous, ventripotent, wlatsome, xylocephalous, yirning zoophyte."
    A positively pedantic delight.  FWIW, spell-checker only liked the H, I, M, R, S, and Z words.  Googling found all the rest.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Aerosmith - Toys In The Attic

Artist  :  Aerosmith
Album  :  Toys In The Attic
Year  :  1975
Rating : 8*/10

- Tracks -
01. Toys In The Attic
02. Uncle Salty
03. Adam's Apple
04. Walk This Way
05. Big Ten Inch Record
06. Sweet Emotion
07. No More No More
08. Round And Round
09. You See Me Crying

    I've never gotten into Aerosmith.  Can't really say why; they play good old Rock & Roll.  Liz has a couple CD's by them - Big Ones (good stuff); Honkin' On Bobo (not so good).

    A co-worker gave me this LP a couple weeks ago, along with about 10 others.  It was in wretched shape, as was true of all his LP's.  If God is an audiophile, this guy will surely spend Eternity in Hell.  So despite not having a big interest in the band, I digitalized the album, just to see how my De-Scratcher program would do.

    The program performed quite well.  About 95% of the scratches were removed, with only the last track, which is more ballady, still sounding like a wirebrush had been applied to it.  As background music, it sounded good.  On the good speakers on the PC, it was only so-so.  Unfortunately, what the de-scratch program couldn't touch were a bunch of forward skips.  Which became quite irritating once I knew where they'd crop up.

    Surprisingly, I found Toys In The Attic to be a very solid album.  Walk This Way and Sweet Emotion were the big radio-play hits, of course.  But really, there are no weak tracks on either side.  Favorite tracks are in pink above.  You could add the two hits as well, but I've heard them too often on the radio.

    Liz says Aerosmith albums are hit-or-miss; this one must be a hit.  We'll give it 8 Stars, and probably go looking for a better copy of it at the local used-record store.  Amazon sells with - sans any bonus tracks - for $8.99, which is kind of a ripoff.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Beach Reads

    Well I'm pretty sure this is Photoshopped, but jeez, wouldn't it be sweet to have something like this at your nearest beach?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Science Friday

    It's been a long week, but the weekend is at last upom us.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    "Do you realize," Elizabeth said, mumbling a little, feeling that the words came from a long distance, "that I myself have hardly ever been out of Harwich?"

    "I know," Katarina said.  "The old folks do say the railway changed the world as surely as the constructs did.  Not so destructively, though; as I said, it can't hurt you unless you stand in front of it."

    "Because it can't think for itself," Elizabeth said.

    Katarina gave her a surprised look.  "The constructs can't either.  I thought you realized.  It takes three men each to make them go."

(from Timepiece, by Heather Albano)

  8*/10.  The full review is here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday Math Lesson

    How can you argue with that enthusiasm?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

RIP - Sally Ride

    One of the few true heroes of modern history, Sally Ride, died Monday from pancreatic cancer.  She was 61.  First American woman in space; also the youngest astronaut ever.  And possibly the first gay astronaut.

    RIP, Sally Ride.  You inspired a whole generation of little girls to reach for the stars.  And a lot of other people, this blogger included.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Leo Kottke - Guitar Music

    Album : Guitar Music
    Artist : Leo Kottke
    Year : 1981

- Tracks -
01.) Part Two
02.) Available Space
03.) Side One Suite
04.) Perforated Sleep
05.) Strange
06.) Little Shoes
07.) Jib's Hat
08.) Tumbling Tumbleweeds
09.) Agile N.
10.) A Song for "The Night of the Hunter"
11.) All I Have To Dream
12.) Sleep Walk

    An all-instrumental LP from a guitar maestro who for some reason never really got his due.  Nothing fancy; just Leo and his guitars - sometimes the 6-string; sometimes the 12-string.  No drums; no keyboards; no bass.  It very much reminds me of a Chet Atkins album - just one guy making an acoustic guitar sound as good as it can get.

   I picked up the album for $2 at the local used-record store, and digitalized it last week.  There were no skips to contend with, and no major scratches.  But there were a zillion scrapes and small hisses - I suspect the grooves were filthy, and just wiping it with a cloth wasn't effective.  No matter, the DAK de-popper program cleaned it right up.  My favorite tracks are in pink., which is pretty much the whole Side 2.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    "It's you I want.  Need.  You know.  Love."

    We Brits have it much harder than the French.  They've got their word 'aimer', which means to love, sure, but it also means to like.  So you can get away with telling someone you love them without nearly so much risk and commitment.

    I'd had it done to me.  A womans says, 'je t'aime' and then quickly adds 'bien' on the end, and suddenly it's just, 'je t'aime bien' - 'I like you a lot.'

    I guess we could achieve the same deflating effect in English by saying 'I love you' and then tacking on 'in that wig.'  But generally, when we use The Word, even as ham-fistedly as I'd just done, it actually means something.

    (from Merde Actually, by Stephen Clarke)

    7½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Happy (Belated) Yellow Pig Day!

    Je m'excuse.  I completely forgot yesterday was Yellow Pig Day.

Yellow Pigs, all in my brain
Lately things just don't seem the same
I'm provin' theorems, and I don't know why...
Excuse me, while I kiss e^(\pi i).

Yellow Pigs, all around
Some in the sky, some on the ground
All of them singing out "Seventeen"
It's the weirdest thing that I've ever seen.

Yellow Pigs, all in my eyes
This vision, Yellow, I can't deny
I'm turnin' yellow, and grownin' wings
I fly away and shout, "Seventeen".

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Just Wrong - Hendrix and Monkees

    45 years ago, this month - the Jimi Hendrix Experience opening for The Monkees.  Who came up with that pairing?  Who should be opening for whom?  And while we're at it, WTF is that apostrophe doing in "Monkee's"??

    FWIW, the worst concert pairing I ever experienced came in the early 70's when folksinger Danny O'Keefe opened at the Celebrity Theater for Bruce Springsteen and the East Street Band.  Yeah.  For the first 45 minutes, it was just Danny, an acoustic guitar, and 5,000 stoned/drunk Springsteen fans foaming at the mouth and ready to PAR-TAY!!  We were not very nice to Mr. O'Keefe, who was only doing what he was being paid to do.  I can't say I'm proud of the way the crowd acted, but jeez, did anyone stop to think about  the difference in the two genres?

Monday, July 16, 2012

RIP - Jon Lord

    Jon Lord, keyboardist extraordinaire, composer, and one of the founders of Deep Purple, passed away today.  He was 71, and had been battling pancreatic cancer.

    Before they were an outstanding rock band ("Smoke on the Water"), DP put out a couple amazing prog LP's ("Deep Purple" and "Book of Taliesyn") that are still among my favorite albums from the 60's.  Both LP's featured tight composing, masterful keyboards, strong vocals, and bitchin' guitar work.  There simply aren't any weak tracks on either one.

    RIP, Jon.  You made Deep Purple something special, and you were part of it from the 60's thru 2002, when you finally retired.  It sux that you are gone.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    The sea, inconceivably vast, constrained for landlubbers by a curved horizon, had opened itself and fallen on Mape.  Struggling towards the mill, delirious with exhaustion and worry, it seemed to Ralf that sea and Church were of the same.  Under a deceptive surface, both concealed teeming complexities, unknown terrors, inky and sinister depths.  Both were capable of wreck as well as creation: for both were manifestations of the Almighty, and unless he destroyed he could not also create. 

(from The Tide Mill by Richard Herley)

  8½*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Demotivational Friday

    ...or that Milli Vanilli weren't really singing.  Or that WWF wrestling is fake.  Or that your vote really counts on American Idol.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

mobi. files

    Hah!  I was wondering how my Kindle reader did its thing.  Via something called a mobi. file.  I'm sure Amazon keeps the books I download from them copy-protected, but it's nice to know if I write something, I can convert it to a mobi format, and e-mail it to others who then can read it on their Kindles.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Crossword Puzzles

    Listen, it's not even debatable.  Crossword Puzzles are infinitely more entertaining, more challenging, and more interesting than any Sudoku grid.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Those eyes.  I had to look, as though something was pulling me there.  It was like seeing death.  My own death, and the deaths of all the people I know and love.  Things weren't so funny anymore.  Not only did I have to witness the deaths, but I could feel them, too.  The uncertainty.  The pain.  The complete and utter terror.  I wasn't in that room anymore.  And then came things I've always feared as a kid.  Images of stuffed animals that came to life, with sharp teeth as mouths, razor blades for claws.  The usual stuff all kids are afraid of.  Werewolves.  Demonic clowns.  Giant spiders.  I viewed them all through the eyes of a child, and they absolutely terrified me.

(from I Am Number Four, by Pittacus Lore)

6*/10.  The full review is here.

Monday, July 09, 2012

An Ode to Jerome

    Said Jerome K. Jerome to Ford Madox Ford,
    "There's something, old boy, that I've always abhorred:
    When people address me and call me 'Jerome',
    Are they being standoffish, or too much at home?
   (William Cole, via Michael Quinlan)

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Surreal Sunday

   Just cuz we haven't done a Dali-themed post in a while.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    "A friend asked us to come here, to do this," Tilda said.

    "Well, not a bloody good friend, I can tell you that.  A true friend would not send you nor drag you into such an awful sad mess as this."

    Tilda sighed through her nose.  "We will pay you, Fitz.  We will pay you well."

    "I don't want it!  There is not enough coin to get me under that cursed yellow rock again!"

    "How about a thousand gold pieces worth of Miilarkian banknotes?"

    Fitz blinked, and his jaw fell open within his sandy beard.

    "That, Miss Matilda, should have been the first thing you said."

(from Devil Town, by M. Edward McNally)

8½*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Fourth of July !!

    It's raining today here in Phoenix, with a predicted high of only 93°F.  Bad for barbecuing and hanging out at the pool.  Great for everything else.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    "What is it like," he asked in the spring darkness.  "As a peasant, how do you live?"
    "We get up at dawn," Jan began.
    "As I do," the king said.
    "And we work all day, and at sunset we go to bed."
    "What do you eat?"
    "Cabbage, beets, we grind our own flour."
    "I mean, what meats?"
    "We never eat meat.  Well, at Easter, maybe one chicken."
    "And what do you work at, Jan?"
    "Whatever the master tells us.  Then six weeks each year for the duke.  And three weeks for you."
    "What do you work at?"
    "We till the fields.  We sow the grain.  We harvest.  And then we go to bed."
    "Jan, tell me again, what do you do when you fall sick?"
    "We die."

(from Poland, by James A. Michener)

8*/10.  The complete review is here.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Promoting Capitalism

    Today's Zits comic.  My son was a Pizza Delivery guy a decade or so ago.  It was a dream job - he got to drive around for eight hours at a time, and got paid for doing it.  Plus tips.

    Once upon a time, he was a revolutionary.  I can prove it - that's what he listed as his profession when he got his passport.  Now, like the rest of us, he's a capitalist.  I think the pizza delivery job contributed to the transition, and I think this Zits strip captures the concept perfectly.

Sunday, July 01, 2012