Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Book Excerpt for the Day

    The mandatory hermit requirements for estates larger than eighty acres was one of the many “Inverse Consequences” directives undertaken by the Commonsense Party.  The theory was not sound, but that was the point: Bearing in mind that well-meant ideas often had negative unforeseen consequences, it was argued that daft, pointless or downright bizarre ideas might have unforeseen positive outcomes.  Hence mandatory hermits.  Aside from the weekly gruel allowance and the construction of a damp cave, it cost little.

    (from The Woman Who Died A Lot,  by Jasper Fforde)

    8½*/10.  The full review is here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Happy Birthday, Tom Lehrer!

    Actually, his birthday was a couple weeks ago (09 April, born in 1928).  But for the record, he really did lay claim to inventing Jell-O shots.  However, I am acquainted with Tom Lehrer because of his brilliant music hit, "The Elements".

Monday, April 28, 2014

E-Card Monday

    This is one of those E-cards that's better posted on Blogger than on FaceBook.  I actually have a couple FB friends to whom this card applies.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

What I want in 2014

    And air conditioning in the cabin.  And central heating in the winter.  And a microwave.  And cable TV.  But most of all, Wifi.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Book Excerpt for the Day

    The clerk leaped to secure the door and Ruso carried on cleaning up a nastily torn ear as the shouting faded away down the corridor.  “How did you get this?” he asked.

    “Over at the wrestling,” explained its owner.  “We’re cheering our lad on and there was a bit of an exchange with some lads sitting behind, and next thing I know I’m upside down with somebody’s boot kicking the side of my head.”

    “Ah,” said Ruso.  “Sport.  Always brings out the best in a man.”

    (from Medicus : A Novel of the Roman Empire,  by Ruth Downie)

     8*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Wine Ice Cream

    Why are we not funding this?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

OCD Pisa

    I mean, come on now.  The Leaning Tower of Pisa tilts a little bit more every year.  One of these days, it's going to topple over.  Is it asking too much to set it aright again?  Think of the litigation when it falls!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Earth Day

    A couple days late, but worth the wait.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Devil in the White City

    This is last Saturday's Pearls Before Swine strip.  The Larson book being cited is called The Devil in the White City, and it really is a superb read.  So, no, it is not wrong to mace stupid people.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Book Excerpt for the Day

    All the interior doors had been taken off and stacked in the back landing.  Neither bedroom had a door.  There was no door on the bathroom.  Weathermen didn’t believe in the things doors stand for.  The desire for privacy embodied, in the Weathermen cosmos, the worst side of bourgeois individualism.  It was born in the same reflex that denied the body, abstracted the person, and thus prepared a kill target.  Besides, private intimacies might lead to private agendas.  To avoid this, everyone must go to bed and the bathroom with everyone else.  Private pissing was counterrevolutionary.   

    (from Ravens in the Storm by Carl Oglesby)

    9½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


    Happy Easter, anyway,

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “We cannot forge such a river.  Is there no other way?”

    Now Kerris sat back, brow furrowed, chewing absent-mindedly on a thumb claw.  “Well…”

    Kirin waited several moments.  “Well?”

    “Well, if we follow the river another day, the mountains fall away.  It is still fast, but in winter the surface does freeze up some.  A horse can get across.  Well, at least a pony can…”

    Kirin growled.  “It is not winter.”

    “Yes, well, that might be a problem.”

    “And we have ten horses, plus a pony.”

    Kerris shrugged.  “Many problems.”

    (from To Journey in the Year of the Tiger, by H. Leighton Dockson)

    8*/10.  The full review is here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


    I used the word "tautological" in an e-mail at work today.  My life is complete.  I think I'll declare it the Word For The Day.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Excerpt for the Day

    She spun around in a circle, pulling at her hair, crying for help in Cantonese.  Tears streamed down her face as she ran from one gate to another, pounding to be let inside, for someone to rescue her.

    As with many such places, she understood there was an unspoken relationship between the store-owners and the prostitutes who prowled this lower level, defined by the mutually beneficial flow of commerce.
    The shops drew prospective clients, while the prostitutes lured potential shoppers.

    The great circle of life.

    (from The Eye of God by James Rollins)

    8*/10.  The complete review is here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Machine

    Why the hell aren't we funding this!!??

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Phoenix Gay Pride Parade - 2014

    One last photo from the 2014 Phoenix Gay Pride Parade.  I'm on the left, in my uber-kewl Bob Marley t-shirt, and one of the parade participants on the right.  Can't tell you anything about him, but spontaneous interaction is common at the parade.

    One note - I am wearing my baseball cap backwards, not because it is youthfully trendy to do so.  Rather, the brim of the cap was getting in the way of the camera when I was snapping pics, so I reversed it.  Which did have the added benefit of giving the back of my neck some protection from the sun.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Zapcon 2014

    Zapcon was today!  We got there around 3:00, paid our $25, and for the next five hours had our choice of probably 60 or so pinball machines, and maybe 40 or so Arcade games.

    This is Yours Truly camped out on a machine I used to play back in my college days.  Of the five hours, I probably spent 3½ of them on this one, re-learning the various shots needed to hit the 13 targets for extra balls.

    I found a second one from my era, and played it for at least 30 minutes, winning five games on points, out of 15-20 total played.  So I was reasonably happy with my performance.

    I had a blast.  I think Zapcon is a yearly event.  If so, I will definitely go again next year.

Friday, April 11, 2014


   Yes, I am a Mythology fan.  And a grammar nazi.  So I appreciate the correct punctuation of the possessive of Sisyphus.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Drunk Quiz

    I'm sure I answered that one correctly.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “Molson,” tried the first regular.

    “Molson?” The second regular couldn’t believe it.  “that’s not foreign!”

    “It’s Canadian.”

    “Canadian isn’t foreign!”  The second regular pointed perhaps north.  “It’s right there!  They’re part of us, they’re with us, except for ‘oot’ and ‘aboot’ they talk the same language as us.”

    “They’re their own country,” the first regular insisted.  “Like Hawaii.”

    (from Watch Your Back!,  by Donald Westlake)

     9*/10.  The full review is here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Word For The Day - Gunwale

    As shown in the diagram.  I'd call it the railing, but hey, I'm a landlubber.  It shows up in the lyrics of the song The Mad Sailor by the Danish Folk Power Metal group Wuthering Heights, although I've run across it in books before as well.

    It rates being dubbed Word for the Day because of its pronunciation.  It's "Gunnel", not "Gun-Whale" which is the way I've been mentally saying it all my life.  Who knew?!

   The made-up word "Misanthropoetica" also shows up in the lyrics of that song, which is way, way kewl.  Go find the YouTube video of this, it includes the lyrics.

    And FWIW, Wuthering Heights is a fantastic band.  I've been playing the piss out of this CD on my morning commute for about a week now.


Monday, April 07, 2014

Pinball Wizards

    Geez but this brings back old memories.  We used to play this machine for hours upon end at a local place called Tempe Bowl.  This was back in the late 60's and very early 70's.

    It didn't cost us all that much money.  We were all Pinball Wizards after all.  But I'm sure it cost me GPA points, as we would camp on this machine for whole evenings, from 7:00 PM or so until the bowling alley closed.  Not a lot of time left for studying after that.

    Anyhoo, I post these pics because there's a giant pinball/arcade game convention here in Phoenix this coming weekend.  Something called Zapcon.  $25 gets you an all-day pass for either Saturday or Sunday.

    There will be about 4 dozen pinball machines, and maybe 2x as many arcade games.  You can google "Zapcon" for details.  Most of the pinball machines are from the 80's and 90's, well beyond my "active playing" years.  But this one....  The King of Diamonds is special.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Phoenix Gay Pride Parade - 2014

    The weather was ideal, and for the first half of the 2014 Phoenix Gay Pride Parade, we were even standing in the shade right on the front row of the parade route.  It was the perfect welcome-back for us, since we've missed the previous three Pride Parades for a variety of reasons.

    The sun eventually rose high enough to take away our shade, but we still had a good time.  Shook hands with the mayor of Phoenix, plus a city councilman.

    I did notice the demographics had changed over the past four years.  There were less floats sponsored by gay bars, and zero GLBT entrants from other cities.  Las Vegas and Albuquerque used to always have a presence.

    OTOH, there were a lot more corporate sponsorships, churches, and schools with entries in the parade.  Hell, there was even a Mormon delegation.  It was particularly gratifying to see some High School entries.

    I took 220 pictures.  Liz took another hundred or so.  I doubt I'll put up a separate blog with the pics, as it would be a sh*tload of effort.  But it felt very, very good to be in attendance once again.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

E-Card Saturday

    Today was a busy day.  The Gay Pride Parade in the morning, followed by two separate Celebrations of Life for recently-departed friends.  Between the Sun and the Socializing, I'm beat.  Time to read.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Surreal Friday

    A great piece of Surrealism that a friend posted on FaceBook.  I don't know who the artist is, but this is frickin' awesome!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “And what is there to do for two days in Alice Springs?”

    “Quite a lot, in fact,” I said encouragingly, and pulled out a brochure I had taken from a rack in the motel.  I flipped through it.  “There’s the Alice Springs Desert Park, for one thing.”

    He inclined his head a fraction.  “What’s that?”

    “It’s a nature reserve where they’ve carefully re-created a desert environment.”

    “In the desert?”


    “They’ve re-created a desert in the desert?  Have I got that right?”


    “And you pay money for that?”

    (from In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson)

   9½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Grammar Pirates

    I admit it, I'm a grammar nazi.  And for the record, there really should be a comma after the word "ready".

Tuesday, April 01, 2014


    Quick!  I've got a Time Machine!  Let's go to this concert!  But bring $5, cuz I want to sit in the good seats.