Thursday, January 31, 2013

Theological Thursday

    One catchphrase you never hear the religious right say when it comes to the issue of gays, is What Would Jesus Do?  Cuz if you think about it, He'd accept them as they are.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Her face was calm and fixed, her eyes looked far.  She could have daunted any man, even an abbot.  Prior Robert baulked at sight of her.  Cadfael was proud of her.

    So far from checking at sight of Robert, she gave a slight spring of hope and purpose to her step, and came on without pause.  Face to face with him at three paces distance, she halted and stood so still and quiet that he might have mistaken this for submission, if he had been fool enough.  But he was not a fool...

    (from A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters)

    8½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Today is "Fun At Work" Day !!

   Really.  It's also National Kazoo Day, but I didn't have any way-kewl image for that.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

War - Greatest Hits

    My latest LP-to-MP3 conversion, this was released in 1976, pretty much after the group's heyday.  War got their start in the early 70's when Eric Burdon, lately of The Animals, teamed up with them to put out two albums of - hmm, what to call it - white man's funk.

    Burdon left the group midway through one of their tours (so sez Wikipedia), and it was pretty much assumed War would rapidly fade into obscurity.  Instead, they had a string of hits in the 1972-76 period.

- Tracks (favorites in pink) -
01. All Day Music
02. Slippin' Into Darkness
03. The World is a Ghetto
04. The Cisco Kid
05. Gypsy Man.
06. Me and Baby Brother
07. Southern Part of Texas
08. Why Can't We Be Friends?
09. Low Rider
10. Summer

    The album itself was in fairly good shape - the usual plethora of small scratches, but no major ones and no skips.  The de-popper program cleaned it up just fine.

    I recognized all but one or two of the tracks, and was surprised how many hits they had.  I've been playing it for the past week at work, and digging the vibes.  I've been looking for the two Burdon/War album for a long time now, but they seem to be collector's items.  I remember that my college roommate had the second one (Black Man's Burdon), and we played it to death.  But I note that Amazon has both LP's at just under $10 each, which is probably cheaper than what the vinyl is going for nowadays.  So I'll probably pick them both up soon.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “Patience!” he thundered.  “It’s a week from now your destiny becomes known.  That’s as long as it took the gods to build the world.  Do you really think this will be harder than the creation of everything in existence?”  Dante worked his throat and Cally stepped forward, craning his thin neck.  “You know what happens to apprentices who try to work gold before they’ve hammered iron, don’t you?”

    “They’re commended for their initiative?”

    “Their masters stuff them into the forge.”  

    (from The White Tree, by Edward W. Robertson)

    7*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, January 25, 2013

we'll be doing this tomorrow

    Dressed to the nines, hobnobbing with the rich folks, and bidding on various (donated) prizes at the 2013 Cameo Ball.  I'll be looking debonair in my one-and-only tuxedo.  But it's all for a good cause - a number of them, actually.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Happy Birthday, Doug Kershaw

    Born in 1936, and one of the finest fiddlers ever.  In the early 70's, he introduced us college-type hippies to Cajun Music.  Specifically, Orange Blossom Special.  And we dug it.

     Fame was fleeting;  Cajun music is really more akin to Country & Western than Rock & Roll and/or Folk Music.  But over the last ten years, I've hunted down, and digitalized, most of his LP's.

    I frankly am in awe of his musical talent.  There are a few videos of him on YouTube, but mostly live and homemade stuff.  Which is okay, cuz it's kewl to watch him shred that fiddle.  But someone really needs to post a bunch of his studio tracks.

    So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DOUG KERSHAW.  Hope you celebrated it Cajun-style.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Surreal Tuesday

    I don't know what it represents, but I like it.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Nothing on TV

    Wormholes.  A whole new way to travel.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Dark Knight Rises

    Finally watched this last night.  At 165 minutes, it dragged a bit, especially as we waited for Batman to work himself back into shape.  But I quibble.

    Catwoman was kewl.  I like the dark tone.  The Bane character could've been psychoed up a bit more - sticking a muzzle on him was chintzy compared to Heath Ledger's Joker character in the previous film.

    The storyline held together reasonably well.  The takeover of Gotham by Bane reminded me of Doctor Zhivago after the revolution kicked out the Czar.  But it was quite a stretch to imagine that the federal government would just sit idly by while a major metropolis was occupied.

    The action scenes were well done.  There were enough plot twists to keep me on my toes.  I suppose there could be a Part IV to this series, but that would frankly surprise me.

    I quite enjoyed this whole Batman Trilogy.  Whoever makes the next Caped Crusader movie has his work cut out for him.  I'd rate TDKR around 8 Stars - some minor irritations, but overall a good flick.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “This,” he displayed between thumb and forefinger a small sphere which glowed, as if lit from within, “is a key.  The key, in fact.  It has lain in a secret place for over 1,000 Earther years.  From the time, in fact, when it was supposed to be used the first time.  But now I am informed by the backers that its moment has come for certain.”

    “What does it do?” Jason asked.

    “In short it ties up a lot of loose ends.”

    “A McGuffin,” Jason suggested.

    (from Armageddon The Musical by Robert Rankin)

    8½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


    Santa brought me a Chromebook, which is kinda sorta like an iPad.  I still don't know squat about what all it can do, but I'm having fun finding out.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Howz the weather, you ask?

    It's FREAKING COLD, thank you very much for inquiring.  In fairness, it has been colder in years past.  I think it got down to 24°F at once while I lived here.  So far during this present cold spell, the lowest we've hit is 26°F.

    What's unprecedented is the duration of this weather.  We've been freezing our buns off since last Friday.  And that means during the day as well as the night.  Yesterday's high was 43°F.  That's just plain ridiculous for Phoenix.

    There are some positives.  We've had zero precipitation with these Arctic temperatures, so that means no scraping ice off the windshield in the morning.  And it's killing a sh*tload of 6- and 8-legged critters, the benefits of which we'll reap this coming spring and summer.

    Nevertheless, I am ready for some warmer weather.  And promises us highs in the 70's by Thursday.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A McDonalds Pun

    Barney & Clyde is one of my favorite daily comic strips.  It's in the same vein as Non Sequitur, but with a lot of puns and other witticisms thrown in.  Plus, it assumes you have an IQ of an adult, not a 5-year-old.  Kewl stuff.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Book Excerpt for the Day

Duman believed in the common people and their right to rule their own destiny.  But he knew the common people could not achieve this goal without help.  Oppression kept them weak, too consumed with daily survival to fight.  They needed the strength only he could provide.  He would seed the way to victory.   

    (from The Schliemann Legacy, by D.A. Graystone)

    5½*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chemistry Humor

    A fine piece of punnery.  But beyond that, it's a well constructed chemistry joke.  Exactly one tooth in exactly one liter of water.  And chemically, that makes it a 1-Molar solution.  Bravo!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

What? A 5-Day Work-Week?!

    I haven't worked a full, 5-day work-week since early December.  These next two days are going to drag.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

In The Eye of the Storm - Roger Hodgson

    My latest LP-to-MP3 conversion, and a good one.  Roger Hodgson is the ex-lead singer of Supertramp.  He split from them in 1983 and In The Eye of The Storm was his 1984 debut solo album.

- Tracks -
01. Had A Dream (Sleeping With The Enemy)
02. In Jeopardy
03. Lovers In The Wind
04. Hooked On A Problem
05. Give Me Love, Give Me Liofe
06. I'm Not Afraid
07. Only Because Of You

   My favorite tracks are in pink, but the whole LP is great.  The arrangements (and the voice, of course) could easily be off a Supertramp album, but ITEOTS is somewhat proggier.  I was listening to KCDX on the way home from work one afternoon, and they played Track 07.  I looked up who it was (aren't radio websites great?!), then waited patiently until it turned up at one of the local used-record stores.

    It was worth it.  Wikipedia says the album didn't chart well.  I don't know why; Hodgson probably doesn't know either.  9*/10.  Highly recommended.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Occupy Mordor

    I mean, really now.  We just waltz in and sit down in front of Mount Doom.  Surely the orcish masses will join us.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Necalli shrugged.  “I’ve seen stranger.  This one guy, a few years back, he turned up on the outskirts of Mixquiahuala naked apart from an anaconda skin.  He’d killed the snake and cut the skin off and draped it around himself like a sort of cloak.  There was plenty of it, too, so the snake itself must have been a monster.  He was under the delusion that by wearing it he had become an anaconda himself.  He died in custody.”

    “Oh, one of those.  Resisting arrest.”

    “No, a genuine accident.  There was a rat in his cell – crawled in via the toilet.  He caught it and tried to swallow it whole.  Choked to death.”

    (from Age of Aztec by James Lovegrove)

    8½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Happy Birthday, JRR !

    John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, 121 years old today.  500 years from now, people will still be reading LOTR.  And Fifty Shades of Gray will be a lost manuscript.  

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


    Sad but true.  Once upon a time, every electronics store carried phonograph needles.  Not anymore.  I bought my present turntable online at a place that sells the whole kit-and-kaboodle, but not just the needle.  So god only knows where I'll find a replacement.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Bertram blurted out, “Maybe tomorrow you could come to my house and see my artificial flowers that I collect from gravesites.”

    Max shuddered and said, “Can’t.  Synthetics make me itch.”  He scratched at his leg through his new trousers.  He checked his watch.  “Oh wow, it’s really late.  Good night, Keller.  See you at work.”  He closed the door and circled his finger clockwise around his ear.  “Looney Tunes.”

    (from The Attic Piranhas by Marlin Williams)

    7*/10.  The complete review is here.