Saturday, February 28, 2015

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “I won’t allow my husband to go in there alone,” said Helen.  “It would be too dangerous.  The poor dear might get mauled – or worse.”
    “Thank you, Helen, for your confidence,” said Pendergast.
    “Well, you know, Aloysius, you did miss that duiker at two hundred yards.  That was as easy as hitting a barn door from the inside.”
    “Come now, there was a strong cross-wind.  And the animal moved at the last moment.”
    “You spent too long setting up your shot.  You think too much, that’s your problem.”

    (from Fever Dream by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child)

  8½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Friday, February 27, 2015

E-Card Friday

   Just cuz we haven't posted an e-card in quite some time.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thursday Poetry

    Poets are visionaries, always pondering the future.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Uzi Takes King. Checkmate.

    I did win one (rated) chess game when the opponent played "Uzi Kills Everything".  He was rated 400 points higher than me, and I beat him with an unsound opening, while his friend, the state champion looked on.

    I have also seen several Risk games end this way.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015


   Gawd, I love puns.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “Keep the seer back, Mazuran.  Her powers will be of no use against axes.”  He turned and took a step towards the doors, then looked back.  “The Yull will not retreat.”

    Carveth looked at her gun, as if unable to believe that it would work.  “Oh, arse.”

    “We will have to slay them all,” Suruk said.  “Still, there is at least a bright side to this situation.”

    “Which is?”

    “We will have to slay them all.”

    (from Wrath of the Lemming Men by Toby Frost)

    7½*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Album Cover Friday

    Featuring this clever mash-up  that I found at Music Fail a couple days ago.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cenk Akyol

    Meet Cenk Akyol.  10 years ago, the Atlanta Hawks drafted him.  2nd Round; 59th pick overall.  From 2005 until now, he has never played in the NBA.

    Yet incredibly, within the past year, he has been traded three times.  Hawks to the Clippers; Clippers to the 76ers; and today, 76ers to the Nuggets.

    I suppose technically, it's the rights to (negotiate with) him that have been traded.  I don't know if he profits from this one bit.  But I'm thinking about turning professional.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “I’d love to be a fly on the wall during their conversation,” Maggie muttered, staring across the plaza.
    Norman nodded.
    Sam sat up straighter.  “Why don’t we?”
    “What?” Maggie asked, turning back to him.
    “Why not eavesdrop?  They have no glass on their windows.  Norman can understand their language.  What’s to stop us?”
     “I don’t know,” Norman said sourly.  “Maybe a bunch of men with spears.”

    (from Excavation by James Rollins)

    8*/10.  The complete review is here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Historical Tour

   This is last Sunday's Pearls Before Swine.  It is fantastic for all sorts of reasons.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

50 Degrees in February

    This does not apply here in Phoenix, of course, where the highs have been in the 80's for the past two weeks.  This winter's days of highs in the 50's are probably already gone.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “People don’t know, children,” T. Tommy intoned, “about the bell in yonder church.  How it was donated as the twentieth century turned by a man who gave the money on the assurance that no black folks would ever worship there.  Walnut Street – the street, not the church – goes by Muhammad Ali Boulevard now, in honor of the fighter.  Would it be ironic, you think, if a mosque was to someday take over this site, make this Constantinople into Istanbul?”

    (from Vine: An Urban Legend, by Michael Williams)

    5½*/10.  The full review is here.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day Eve

    Tomorrow's a busy day, so I brought flowers home tonight.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Photo of the Year

    Well, one of 19 winners in the World Press Photo Contest 2015, this one in the Nature category.  A circus monkey in China cowers as his trainer approaches.  Stunningly powerful.

    You can see the rest of the contest winners here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Banned Books - How Many Have You Read?

    I've read eight of the 23 books shown here.  Namely :
Brave New World
A Light in the Attic
Huckleberry Finn
Of Mice and Men
Portnoy's Complaint
Slaughterhouse Five
    The best two of the octet are Brave New World and Slaughterhouse Five.  The worst one by far was Portnoy's Complaint.

    I also *might* have read As I Lay Dying and Lord of the Flies, but I'm not sure.  AILD was a required book in High School English, but I probably faked it.  And I know I did a book report in High School on LOTF, but I'm thinking I also bluffed my way through that with Cliff Notes.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Monday, February 09, 2015

Book Excerpt for the Day

    It certainly did not lack for excitement, nor for ingenuity upon the part of my friend.  Indeed, he came up with several ploys and strategems which I have no hesitation in saying had to be unique in the field of crime solution.  The business regarding Her Majesty the Queen and the see-through aspidistra plant was little less than inspired.  And his employment of radio waves during the period he spent in suspended animation, prior to erecting the full-size facsimile of the Forth Bridge, was a work of genius.

    I must emphasize my admiration for the way he dealt with the conundrum of the Greek lady-boy and the travelling rhinoceros impersonator.  And his bravery when confronted by quite so many fire-walkers whilst he foiled the evil intentions of the psychic triplets should have earned him the Order of the Garter at the very least.

    (from The Chickens of Atlantis by Robert Rankin)

    8*/10.  The complete review is here.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

First Novel

    Yeah, this is quite often true.  Sometimes it's cloaked as a Fantasy or Science Fiction novel.  Or even a Horror novel.  But the underlying structure is a coming-of-age tale.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Bonnie Raitt - Nine Lives

Artist  :  Bonnie Raitt
Album Title  :  Nine Lives  (1986)
Genre  :  Rock

-  Tracks  -  (favorites in pink

01. No Way to Treat A Lady
02. Runnin' Back To Me
03. Who But A Fool (Thief Into Paradise)
04. Crime Of Passion
05. All Day, All Night
06. Stand Up To The Night
07. Excited
08. Freezin' (For A Little Human Love)
09. True Love Is Hard To Find
10. Angel

    Bonnie Raitt is a fantastic Blues guitarist/singer, with a string of successful albums beginning in 1989.  But before that, she also put out a bunch of critically-acclaimed but modestly commercially-successful LP's, during the years of 1971-1986.

    I picked this album up for $1.99 in a small record shop in Federal Way, Washington, and digitalized it last week.  The record was in pristine shape - a couple small scratches at the beginning/end of the tracks, and that was about it.  I ttok those out manually, and then didn't even have to use the de-scratch program.

    If you can get over the fact that Nine Lives doesn't contain a lick of Blues on it, you will find it to be a very enjoyable album.  Yes, it's 80's music, with horns and synthesizers and stuff.  But there are some nice guitar riffs injected into the majority of the songs, and even a way-kewl reggae tinge on a couple of them.  My two favorite tracks are No Way To Treat A Lady (a Bryan Adams cover) and Stand Up To The Night.

    Wikipedia gives some fascinating details about the making of this album.  Apparently, Bonnie was having some severe record company (Warner Bros.) problems at the time.  So Nine Lives was under-sponsored, lacked a promotional tour, and unsurprisingly, did not sell well.

    Warner Brothers and Bonnie parted ways after this album, and a couple years later she signed with Capitol Records, redefined herself as a Blues artist, put out the smashingly-successful album Nick Of Time, and never looked back.  And while it was a fantastic career move,  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that her earlier albums are pretty decent as well.

    FWIW, Nine Lives is available at Amazon for $15.96 (CD) or $9.49 (MP3).

Friday, February 06, 2015

Thursday, February 05, 2015

American Idol Tryouts

    Man, it seems like a gazillion people are trying out for American Idol this year.  The above flowchart seems like a handy guide for them.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “Once you’re in the arena, the rest of the world becomes very distant,” he continues.  “All the people and things you loved or cared about almost cease to exist.  The pink sky and the monsters in the jungle and the tributes who want your blood become your final reality, the only one that ever mattered.  As bad as that makes you feel, you’re going to have to do some killing, because in the arena, you only get one wish.  And it’s very costly.”

    “It costs your life,” says Caesar.

    “Oh, no.  It costs a lot more than your life.  To murder innocent people?” says Peeta.  “It costs everything you are.”

    (from Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins)

    9*/10.  The complete review is here.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Super Bowl Memes

    There are hundreds of Super Bowl memes out there, some of which aren't about the Katy Perry halftime farce.  Of all of them, this is my favorite.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Pennsylvania State

    Um, dear sweatshirt seller who uses a computer to generate these "State University" pieces of apparel.  The Keystone state is unique.  We call it Penn State.  Nobody but NOBODY who went to PSU is going to buy this stupid sweatshirt.

    And FWIW, while the other state school can be formally called the University of Pennsylvania on occasion, its alumni/alumna will simply call it Penn.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Quote for the Day

    Really, now.  How many Eli Wallach quotes have you seen?  And movie lines from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly don't count.