Friday, August 31, 2012


    I'm pretty good at Minesweeper.  I only play the "100 mines" layout and I can beat it maybe 5% of the time.  Not bad, considering the layouts aren't rreally random - every one of them has a "dead zone" where you have two squares with one bomb in them, and it's strictly a guess as to which one is the deadly one.

    And I still make some miscalculations.  But the majority of my "tilts" are exactly as indicated in the graph - the farther you get, the faster you go, and the more likely you are to miss the square you wanted to click on.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gay Marriage

     From one of my favorite Bugs Bunny cartoons.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Nigel was complacent about his future.  It held neither interest nor challenge and would be populated by the same sort of people who comprised his parents', and his own, circle of friends.  He did not think he was destined for anything else.  He had no wish to explore the Amazon or be the first man on the Moon.  Far from it.  The prospect of lifelong comfort was much more appealing.

(from Darling Brenda, by Richard Herley)

  8*/10.  The full review is here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What will it take?

    From the fertile cartooning mind at   And yes, I am a strong proponent of gun control.

Monday, August 27, 2012

RIP - Stevie Ray Vaughan

    Lost to the world 22 years ago today in a freakin' helicopter crash.  One can only wonder as to how much fantastic music was still in him.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    "You told them it was out of their hands," Eddie said, "but they didn't ken that any more than they did the business about all those gray horses.  And you didn't press it."

    "Only would have distressed them," Roland said.  "There was a saying in Gilead: Let evil wait for the day on which it must fall."

    "Uh-huh," Eddie said.  "There was a saying in Brooklyn: You can't get snot off a suede jacket."

(from Wolves of the Calla, by Stephen King)

8*/10.  The complete review is here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kleenex Police

    I never post about my job.  I keep my personal life and my professional life separate, and frankly, most of the latter would be boring to others.  But we'll make an exception just this once.

    I went to get a box of Kleenex today,  They're kept at 2 or 3 places in the office, and I was surprised to not find any anywhere.  I figured they'd been moved to some new place, so I went to the office manager to find out where.  And I was updated on the situation.

    Kleenex boxes are now kept under lock and key.  You're allowed one box at a time only (no keeping a spare), and if you do get a new box, the date they gave it to you is marked on a list alongside your name.  The office manager pleasantly noted this was my first box since the new protocol.  The program's been in effect for some time now, and I apparently am not a heavy user.

    My company is not normally a Dilbert zone, so there is a rational explanation.  It is suspected that employees have been taking boxes of tissues home for personal use.  Been there.  At the previous place I worked, it was toilet paper.  Employees would take rolls of it home by the dozens.

    So I understand the need to do something.  But seriously, folks?!  Monitoring employees' Kleenex usage seems a bit draconian to me.  And no, I'm not one of the perps.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Happy Birthday, Tori Amos

    Ms. Amos turned 49 today.  Wow.

    I confess I have not listened to her a lot.  What little I have heard was more or less meh.  But over the weekend I got to hear the above double-LP for the first time.  And it is absolutely stunning.   Methinks I'm going to have to spend more time with her albums.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012



    That if you anagram "Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan", you come up with "My Ultimate Ayn Rand Porn"?

    One cannot over-emphasize the mystical significance of this.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    He liked the noise that a newspaper made when you folded it.  It was the only thing he liked about newspapers; he had to read them through spectacles, and spelling mistakes annoyed him because as a clerk he felt that bad spelling was one step away from bad speech, which was within hopping distance of being Welsh.

(from Alt Hist Issue 2, edited by Mark Lord)

6*/10.  The full review is here.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Star Wars Sunday

    Once upon a time, it was planned to have a third trilogy - Episodes 7 through 9.  That got scrapped.  I for one would welcome it being reconsidered.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The drawbacks of Time-Travel

    And just try using your cell phone in the Mesozoic Era.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Reading is Fun !

   Open up your mind this weekend.  Read a book.  Any book.  Any genre.  Read a book by an author who has passed on.  Bring his voice back to life.  Charles Bukowski, for instance.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    He was too tired, too old, too weary of wandering from place to place.  He had seen his own and all the other nomad tribes destroyed: the old way of life was finished for ever.  Its freedom and plenty, its grinding hardships, its terrors and grandeur, everything he had lived for, everything was gone.  Even had there been enough people to make a spirit group, there was nowhere left for them to go.  The trees were gone from vista to vista, cut down or ring-barked and left to die.  The ancient territories of his people had been laid waste, and still Valdoe's blades were at work.  Once he had been angry; recently he had begun to fear that, one day, he would view it all with indifference.

(from The Earth Goddess, by Richard Herley)

  7½*/10.  The full review is here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Woodstock Day !!

    Well okay, there's no such thing as Woodstock Day.  But 43 years ago, today was the first day of the 3-day extravaganza.  I wasn't there; we had moved to Lake Havasu City that summer, and I was sweating my butt off working as a carry-out boy at one of the local supermarkets there, while also doing the paperwork for transferring from Penn State to Arizona State.

    The line-up for Woodstock will never be equaled.  Bands are sponsored now, and sponsors don't like to share stage-time with other bands/sponsors.  The Coachella festival draws some nice bands, but still not like Woodstock did.

    Pictured above is one of the bands that played there, and one of my personal favorites.  So we'll make it a quiz - who are they?  Answer in the comments when you give up. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

RIP - Arnold Horshack

    Well crap.  That's two of the four Sweat Hogs that have died this year.  And neither one of them was Vinnie Barbarino.  RIP, Ron Palillo.  Your character in Welcome Back Kotter was unforgettable.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ah yes, the Voices

    Most of them are also good conversationalists.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Adieu, les Olympics

    The 2012 Summer Olympics are over.  Despite dire warnings by our Republican dimwit presidential candidate, London pulled the whole shebang off without any security issues.

    As expected, the US won - both on total medals count and number of gold medals.  China ended up in a worthy second place.  And the host country came in at a creditable fourth.

    For me, the Olympics are generally boring.  I tend to cheer for the underdogs, and the US is hardly ever in that position.  One can appreciate that Women's Beach Volleyball is played in underwear.  And I learned that the sport of Handball is now something totally different from what I used to play back in the 60's.  And who knew that there was such a thing as Men's Field Hockey?

    So now the athletes head home, and for most, it's a return to obscurity.  Which begs the queastion - was it worth it?  I mean, if you trained your whole life to be a star Water Polo player, and even if you won a Gold Medal in London, so what?  Will it get you any endorsement deals?

    Maybe the guy who draws Blondie felt the same way.  So above is his small tribute to Water Polo players all over the world.  May your face appear on the front of the box that Dagwood brought home.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    They were looking a mite apprehensive.  I could tell - the twitchy feet alone gave them away.  Not to mention the sidelong glances at the door, oh, maybe eight times a second, like they were sizing up the escape route.  Fat lot of good it'd do them! Well, McDoul could have probably outrun Greyboar, he could scurry faster than any hunchback I ever saw.  And Erlic might have had a chance on the flat, if he could avoid tripping over his potbelly.  But Geronimo Jerry couldn't have escaped a pack of wild turtles.  The man was built like a two-legged pumpkin.

(from The Philosophical Strangler, by Eric Flint)

  5½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Demotivational Friday

    Makes sense to me.

Thursday, August 09, 2012


    It's been around longer than you think.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Why is Janis smiling?

   Methinks Arlo & Janis slipped another one past the censors.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

RIP Gore Vidal

    I can't say as I've ever read any of your books.  But you were a royal pain in the butt to Republicans in general and to Tricky Dick in particular, and I for one applaud that.

Monday, August 06, 2012

This is a Sikh

    Dear right-wing, hate-mongering, gun-fanatic, tea-baggers.  Above is a picture of a Sikh.  That is a turban.  Its design is very specific to the Sikh religion.  It is not a veil.  It is not a burqa.  It is not an Arabic piece of clothing.  There is nothing Muslim about it.

    Below is a picture of Osama bin Laden.  Notice his headdress.  It is not the same as what the Sikh is wearing.   If you took the time to think before you hate, you'd find that Sikhism is a religion based in India. India is not (for the most part) a Muslim country.  You freaking hate-filled wing-nuts.

    Yes, they both have beards.  So did Abraham Lincoln.  And he was a Republican.  Get over it.

    Sikhism is a very spiritual religion.  You can read the Wikipedia article on it here.  Sikhs are monotheistic (I know, that's a big word.  Look it up.).  You will find more love among Sikhs than in a Christian church.  And a lot more love than at your local Neo-Nazi meetings.

    So listen up, you psychopathic bigots!!  Please stop killing the Sikhs.  You're only showing what a bunch of utterly ignorant assholes you are.  And while you're at it, stop killing Muslims too.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Book Excerpt for the Day

    "That girl will have you married and settled down as an innkeeper before the year is out," Borlan said with a laugh.

    "Let's see if we can get me some more work here so that isn't necessary," I said wryly over my shoulder as I opened to door to leave.

    "Which, being an innkeeper or getting married?" Borlan teased.

    I closed the door behind me without answering him.  "Either," I said to myself after the door had closed completely.

(from Vaetra Unveiled, by Daniel R. Marvello)

  5*/10.  The full review is here.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Friday, August 03, 2012

Thursday, August 02, 2012

in defense of marriage

    Chick Fil-A.  Never ate there.  Never will.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012