Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Quote for the Day

     "Religions change, but beer and wine remain."
     - Hervey Allen, Jr.; American Writer; 1889-1949

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Extreme Chess

    FWIW, White is winning.  Big time.  Black's only hope is that the pieces aren't magnetized.

Monday, July 29, 2013

FaceBook TimeLine

    Well, it's not the best explanation of the Time-Space Continuum I've ever read.  But it is somewhat accurate.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch

    Onward, Christian soldiers!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “Pwease,” she said, her great big eyes puppyish, her little lower lip pushed out and trembling, “Oh pwease mister, pwease?”

    “Awwwwww,” went the town-folk.

    “Ick,” went the Miser.

    “How can anyone say no to a face like that?” said the leader of the militia.

    The Miser leaned down from the edge of the gallows, making the whole platform rumble and squeak, and stuck his face right up close to the girl.  “No,” he said.  “Nooooooo.  No and no and no again.  No!”  He turned back to the men of the militia.  “See?  It’s easy.”

    (from The Wizard, The Farmer, and the Very Petty Princess,  by Daniel Fox)

     7½*/10.  The full review is here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Falling Rocks

    Painfully true.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Small, elderly, grey, and fierce in his piety, Father Elias ate like a little bird, whenever he remembered to eat at all, and ran about among his flock busy and bothered, like a flustered hen trying to round up alien ducklings under her wings.  Souls tended to elude him, every one seeming at the time the only one to matter, and he spent much of his time on his knees apologizing to God for the soul that slipped through his fingers.

    (from The Heretic’s Apprentice by Ellis Peters)

    8*/10.  The complete review is here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Etherfysh - Box Of Fysh

    Box Of Fysh by Etherfysh is almost 80 minutes of New Age music, which somehow manages to be both complex and relaxing without being boringly repetitive.

    Frankly, I know nothing about Etherfysh.  The lone review of their/his other album mentions that it's a project by UK-based Chris Christou, but since I have never heard of him either, that's of little help.  However, I am a big fan of Tangerine Dream, and Etherfysh's sound matches up closely with that of TD, so I liked this album right off the bat, and have been playing the snot out of it at work.

- Tracks  (favorites in pink) -
01. Sanctaury
02. Garuda
03. Orange
04. Rama
05. River of Mills
06. Sidewalk

    Rama is my favorite track, but as is the case with most New Age CD's, you'll judge the album as a whole, not the individual tracks.  In short, the whole album is strong.

 Amazon sells the MP3-version of this album for $5.94, which is a heckuva deal for this much music.  But if your local library offers Freegal, you can find it there.  Which is how I stumbled across this album.

    Freegal is a fantastic resource for those who enjoy discovering obscure artists.  Many thanks to Etherfysh for posting his/their work through that medium.  I am frankly dumfounded that this band/album isn't better-known.  Box Of Fysh has apparently been around since 2005, yet there is no Wikipedia entry for either Etherfysh and Chris Christou.

    Indeed, ANAICT, there aren't even any YouTube videos out there with Etherfysh music.  Was there zero promotion of this album?  Has Chris Christou moved on, leaving his aspiring music career behind?  Has no one else discovered this album via Amazon or Freegal?  What gives?

    Ah, but I'm in the process of learning the ins and outs of making music videos and putting them on YouTube.  I confine myself to tracks that no one else has posted there yet, and so far I've done one on each of the past two Saturdays.  Those have both been 4-minute songs; Etherfysh tunes are just getting started at that point.  So it would be quite the challenge to make a video to one of these tracks.  We shall see.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Chess for Puppies

    Well, Castling is a two-step process, so as long as the puppy remembers to pick up the King first and move it over two squares, and then pick up the Castle, there is no need for opposable thumbs.

    Beyond that, White is much better developed than Black, who seems to have done nothing but move her Knight(s) back and forth.  Indeed, one can say the puppy has a superior, perhaps even a winning position already.

    I could turn this into a blonde joke, but I shall resist the temptation.  And FWIW, I have seen human chess players forget the necessity for moving the King before the Rook when castling.  So the puppy is in good company.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Damned Harvard amateurs, he laughed to himself.  Collins had probably aced all the classes at Langley and Harvard before that, but the one thing the Agency couldn’t teach any of them was common sense.  Still, Thomson knew that a victory like this was like wetting your dark pants on a cold winter’s day.  It gave you a momentary warm glow until the cold chill of reality took over again.

    (from Thursday At Noon,  by William F. Brown)

    7½*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Bush Statue

Release the pigeons!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A glass of wine a day...

    Well, the part about the flawless dance moves doesn't apply to me.  But the rest is valid.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Trinary Solar System

    I've seen a bunch of witty photoshopped images dealing with Disney buying the rights to the Star Wars series.  This is my favorite. Simple, yet elegant.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I can YouTube!

    I may be a techno-dinosaur, but over the weekend I figured out how to create a music video *AND* post it on YouTube.

    I bought a $10 software program called Movie Studio at Best Buy a couple weeks back, but only got to playing with it last week.  On Saturday, I wanted to post a Lonnie Mack song, Three Angels on FaceBook, but was astounded to find it wasn't on YouTube.  So that was a good motivation to get serious about learning Movie Studio.

    It wasn't too difficult of a learning curve, although I kept the bells-&-whistles to a minimum - Title Screen, four pics of the album the song is on, and a transition between the pics.  I had digitalized the song earlier from the LP, but still had to de-scratch it.

    I then had to figure out how to post to YouTube, and that took some time.  But all-in-all, I was satisfied with my first-time effort.  The link is below, but you can also just search YouTube for "Lonnie Mack Three Angels" and it'll come right up.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Friday, July 12, 2013

Book Excerpt for the Day

    The avatar shrugged.  “An Orbital is just unconsciousness matter, even if it does represent a lot of effort and expended energy.  Their Minds were already safe, long gone.  The human deaths were what I found affecting.”

    “Did many people die?”

    “Three thousand four hundred and ninety-two.”

    “Out of how many?”

    “Three hundred and ten million.”

    “A small proportion.”

    “It’s always one hundred percent for the individual concerned.”

    (from Look To Windward by Iain M. Banks)

    8½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Happy Birthday Music Mondays!

    Yeah, it's Thursday, but it's also Birthday #3 of one of the FaceBook groups I'm in - Music Mondays!

    In theory, we're only supposed to post a YouTube video once a week - on Mondays, natch.  Then in theory, everyone has the rest of the week to watch them.

    In practice, people post them whenever they want.  Some members will post a half-dozen at a time.  Others post a video or two every single day.  I'd like to tell you the geezers in the group are the embodiment of restraint, but we're among the worst offenders.

    Still, it works, and I've been introduced to some fantastic new music, new genres, and new bands via Music Mondays!  (The exclamation mark is part of the group name).  So Happy Birthday to all its members.  And if you'd like to join, find me on FB.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

So sad...

    Once upon a time, there was an Internet site where you could practice the vocabulary in one of several foreign languages (French, Spanish, German, maybe one other).

    Every time you got the right answer, a couple grains of rice would drop into a bowl.  In theory, the rice would then be donated to some starving kid somewhere.  So you got the feel-goods for playing.

    But I got thinking.  You mean to tell me some kid is going to starve because I didn't "win" enough rice that day?

    GULL.  LEE.  BULL.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Dear Paula

    Hi Paula.  I heard you've had a hard time lately, what with your uncontrollable use of the N-word.  Then you botched the mandatory apology-without-apologizing TV-op.  Now all my tea-bagger friends on FaceBook are signing a let's-forgive-Paula petition.  Tis a pity nobody takes them seriously anymore.  Bad timing, Paula.

    What struck me as odd, though, was your apparent lack of comprehension about the N-word usage.  After all, said you, blacks use it in conversation amongst themselves.  So I thought I'd enlighten you.

    The thing is, racial epithets (look it up. Honkie) can only be used by those of the designated race.  For instance, you and I can use the word Honkie in jest between us, because we're both white.  But if a black called you that, you probably should run away as fast as your lily-white a$$ can move.

    All epithets work that way, Fatso.  I might get away with calling you a Heifer, a Hog, or a Hillbilly Hippo, cuz I'm somewhat overweight myself.  But I'm also a guy, and that may trump the kinship.  And of course, I can't call you a Babe, a Ditz, a Skirt, or the C-word, cuz I'm the opposite gender.  You cute little Bowling-Ball-Butted Bitch, you.

    I hope this clears things up, my little Sweetie Sweat-hog.  If it's any kind of an epithet, and you ain't one of  them, DON'T USE IT!!

    P.S.  That applies to sexual orientation, too.   Two gays can use the F-word (not that F-word, you Twit, the other one.  You know, it rhymes with maggot), but you can't.  At least, I assume you can't.  You are straight, aren't you, Paula?  Tea-Baggers don't like to forgive gays.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Demotivational Monday

    I still maintain that Monty Python's The Holy Grail is the greatest movie ever, and will brook no debate of the subject.

    But a number of flicks are in the running for second-greatest of all time.  And certainly, based on the number of one-liners that people remember from it, The Princess Bride is in the top five.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Back from the Mountains

    We spent yesterday in the mountains 100 miles north of Phoenix; hence no posting.  We passed the afternoon with friends out on the patio at their 3-story cabin.

    We watched the dark rain clouds roll in, as the afternoon temperature dropped to 78°F.  Yeah, that ain't gonna happen here in Phoenix for a while.  Then some big, splotchy raindrops began to fall, and we were forced to continue the socializing indoors.

    We returned to the valley that night; didn't want to get someone to dogsit the pups.  But it was nice to get away from the heat for just a few hours.  Life, and work, return to normal tomorrow, but for now let's tweak GOP-head noses once again. 

Friday, July 05, 2013

Book Excerpt for the Day

    We listen to Tone Loc’s Funky Cold Medina played with a sitar – Angelo’s latest experiment in a list that includes Warren Zevon funneled through a didgeridoo (an utter waste) and a recording of Star Wars to The Chronic Album (one million views on YouTube before George Lucas’ lawyers threatened to have Angelo’s shady ass deported if he didn’t take it down).

    I sink back into Angelo’s couch and come to two different, but related conclusions.  1) Tone Loc is unique insofar as he has to be one of the world’s few self-deprecating rappers, 2) the sitar sucks, even when you’re high.

    (from Murder and Other Distractions,  by Michael Estrin)

    */10.  The full review is here.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

    For our Jack Russell Terrier, this is the 2nd-worst night of the year.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Wednesday Awww

     All three of our dogs are rescue projects to some degree.  We got Huxley from a puppy farm, despite the fact that he's a mutt.  Jynx was a runaway that nobody claimed.  And we went to a Rescue Shelter to get Bella.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Livin' on a Prayer

    Liz and I went to a Bon Jovi concert years ago, and I have to admit it was pretty good.  Richie Sambora was fantastic, and JBJ was good too.  Still, once was enough for me.  So many bands, so little time, and all that.

    OTOH, Liz goes to see him/them every time they come to Phoenix.   I think her "best" seat yet was in the 12th row.  Which cost a couple hundred dollars a couple years ago.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Nancy Leigh fanned herself with Julie’s clipboard.  Blank offense report forms fluttered under the clip.  “Okay, we tried it your way, and except for those folks comin’ home from work and that woman leavin’ in the big green station wagon to go get her hair done, there’s been hardly any activity on this street at all.”

    Officer Julie Garland blinked a couple of times, then said in an almost contentious voice, “Now just how do you know that woman was drivin’ herself to the beauty parlor?”

    “Well, I can only hope that’s where she was headin’.  Did you get a good look at that train wreck of a hairdo of hers?”

    (from Welcome To Higby by Mark Dunn)

    9*/10.  The complete review is here.