Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “I learned my way of looking on the world from an old slave I was chained to on the galley.  From the farthest east, he was.  He taught me that as I suffer, so do all, and if any suffer, so do I, that we are all part of one, that in any moment my dark skin connects me to all things, light and dark, and all things, light and dark, are part of me, so to do harm to any man, any creature, is to be ignorant to my own nature, to do harm to myself and all other things.  That is what I believe.”

    “Really?  How did that work as a pirate?”

    “Reality is oft uncooperative.”  He shrugged.

    (from The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore)

  8*/10.  The complete review is here.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ebola Joke

    I swear, ditto-heads are only happy when they're in mortal fear of something - Russia, gays, Mexicans, ISIS, women, Democrats, Ebola, and so on, and so on...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Philosophy Tuesday

   With apologies to James Dean.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Mathday

    Once upon a long time ago (early grade school IIRC) my sister and I were both given IQ tests.  I have no idea what either of us scored on it, but I do remember discussing one particular question with her afterward.

    We were given five words - Wrist, Finger, Elbow Shoulder, Palm - and told to arrange them in order.   I put Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist Palm, Finger (or the reverse, perhaps).  My sister put them in alphabetical order.

    I always figured that I got a higher score on that particular question, because the IQ peeps were looking to see if we recognized the relation between all five words.  But really, what is wrong with alphabetizing them instead?

    And when you get right down to it, "8" is more curly than "6".

Sunday, October 26, 2014


    Rex the Sheepdog thinks this is hilarious.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Book Excerpt for the Day

    A couple of Klingoffs flirted with her while she waited for her latte.  At least, she hoped it was flirting.  She didn’t speak the language, and they were fair trade snobs, so the relationship was doomed from the start.

    Two robed Fullcons in long flowing gowns and glowing red hearts passed by making the sign for “live well and tidily.”  She returned the gesture, enjoying the opportunity to give it in a friendly fashion – not just to irresponsible drivers.

    (from This Brilliant Darkness, by Red Tash)

     5½*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” she said in a low voice.  “Reading that old book.  You’d have liked to live in those days.”

    Steven shrugged his shoulders.  “What, having teeth drawn without anesthetic, getting TB, raking out the stove at five in the morning early in January, that sort of thing?  Not to mention the high rate of infant mortality, and the filth and the smoke of the cities.  I don’t know if it’s as alluring as ll that.”  His eyes twinkled as he looked at Sara.  “But you’re right.  Sometimes I really do think I’d have felt more at ease in the nineteenth century.  A poor poet surrounded by a great many books, in a little cottage.  Not a bad lifestyle.”

    “Quite a romantic one, anyway.”

    (from The Ludwig Conspiracy by Oliver Potzsch)

    7½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Depressing Book for the Day

   Incredibly, this is an actual book.  And if you do a search for "Judith Vigna" at Amazon Books, you'll find a slew of other, similarly-themed books by her.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ebola and Edgar Allan Poe

    I mean, any strip that combines Edgar Allan Poe and the Ebola virus just has to be hilarious.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Book Excerpt for the Day

    He has the most extraordinary sense of direction I’ve ever seen in a mammal.  Even in Venice, where the streets were seemingly designed by ants, he left the train station, looked once at a map and led us straight to our hotel.  An hour after checking in he was giving directions to strangers, and by the time we left he was suggesting shortcuts to gondoliers.

    (from When You Are Engulfed In Flames, by David Sedaris)

     8½*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pink Floyd Friday!

   At our house, Pink Floyd is sacred.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Spoonerism for the Day

    Not to be confused with a Malapropism.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Book Excerpt for the Day

    So, according to multiverse theory, there’s a universe somewhere in which that could – would – have been Stephanie and me, on the train.  Extraordinary thought.  But if the multiverse is infinite, like George said it is, then somewhere there must also be trains where I’m making out with Linda Evangelista, Meryl Streep, the nice-looking girl from the dry cleaners, her mother and Condaleezza Rice.  Maybe all five at once.  Inevitably all five at once, given the nature of infinity.

    (from When It’s A Jar by Tom Holt)

  8*/10.  The complete review is here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Columbus Day!

    Or, Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!  Somehow, the above sentiment seems apropos for the Holiday.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “Mr. Terio was overheard talking to a reporter.”


    Belzer nodded.

    “You mean like . . . he was sitting at the next table, or . . . you bugged him?”

    Belzer’s face tightened in mock indignation.  “I’ve never bugged anyone in my life,” he protested.  Then he paused and added, “We have people for that.”

    (from The Eighth Day, by John Case)

     7½*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Art Appreciation Friday

    A simply stunning piece of Medieval realism by a dude named Frans Snyder (1579-1657).  Click on it for a bigger view, but keep in mind the actual painting is 11 feet wide.  Then Google-Image "Frans Snyder Art" for a bunch more of his masterpieces.

    Wikipedia has a posting for Frans Snyder, but only includes one of his paintings (English version).  He is referenced in a book I'm reading - When You Are Engulfed In Flames, by David Sedaris - which is how I stumbled across him.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Word for the day : Stylite

   Stylite (n.) : a religious ascetic who spends his life on top of a pillar.

    The original, and the most famous stylite was one Simeon Stylites the Elder.  He's the dude on the left in the picture above.  He reportedly stayed up there for 37 years.  You can read about him here.

  The second pic is also of our Simeon the Elder.  His little perch was originally only 9 feet high.  But over time, his townspeeps built it up to a towering height fo 50 feet.

    It's comforting to know that the 20th/21st Century doesn't have a monopoly on religious nutjobs

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Dragon in front of the Refrigerator

   For the record, LSD will NOT cause you to see dragons in front of your refrigerator door.  However, you might spend 6-8 hours opening and closing the door while you try to catch the inside light going on and off.  Or 8-12 hours painting a psychedelic masterpiece on the door with fluorescent paints.

    Official Disclaimer : Not that I have any experience with hallucinogens.  I learned all this from Reader's Digest articles.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

It's been a Bad Week for Bigotry

    Even the bigots admit it.  They're hurt.  Disappointed.  Angry.

    OTOH, it's been a great week for Civil Rights and Tolerance.  So welcome to the world of humanity, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming.  And as of today, Idaho and Nevada as well.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “In my profession you tend to travel a lot.  I always carry a passport.”

    “Yes, I read that in an article about you.  That’s why I didn’t ask you to bring one.”

   “In the past six months I’ve been to at least as many foreign countries: Sri Lanka, Ireland, Monaco, Peru Atlantic City.”

    “Atlantic City isn’t a foreign country,” Rush said with a laugh.

    “Felt like one to me.”

    (from The Third Gate by Lincoln Child)

    8*/10.  The complete review is here.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

What Dogs Think of Horses

    We take our dogs for a walk every night.  Occasionally, when it's not too hot, we go around the extended block, and sometimes we pass a pair of horses in a yard on the next street over.

    Our dogs are completely flummoxed by these strange creatures.  Particularly Huxley, who studies them and barks at them, but with no growling.  There's a fence of course, so the above picture isn't entirely accurate.  But if he could get to them, this is probably what Huxley would do.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Saturday Night Music Quiz

    Okay, this Family Circus cartoon has been obviously altered.  Even if Bil Keane were still alive, I am certain he wouldn't be listening to Alternative Rock.  Someone has photoshopped three album covers into the image, and I for one think it is a superb effort.

    Alas, I only recognize one of the three album covers here.  I'll list it in the comments.  But I'm clueless about the other two.  Then again, while I like Alt-Rock, it's not a genre I'm obsessed with.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “And are you certain no one went in or out during that time?”

    “Yes.  I’m damned sure of that.  What happened before I went there, I don’t know.  Zachrisson said that three people had gone in and no one had come out.”

    “Can one rely on that?”

    “Don’t think so.  He seems unusually dumb.”

    (from The Fire Engine That Disappeared,  by Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall)

    7½*/10.  The full review is here.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Books per Selfies

    Well really, the ratio should be something like a book for every two selfies.  But I quibble.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Save the Cat

    True dat, Alice.