Monday, August 31, 2015

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Humans spread over their world.  They spread in waves across the universe, sprawling and brawling and breeding and dying and evolving.  There were wars, there was love, there was life and death.  Minds flowed together in great rivers of consciousness, or shattered in sparkling droplets.  There was immortality to be had, of a sort, a continuity of identity through copying and confluence across billions upon billions of years.

    Everywhere humans found life: crude replicators, of carbon or silicon or metal, churning meaninglessly in the dark.

    Nowhere did they find mind – save what they brought with them or created – no other against which human advancement could be tested.

    They came to understand that they would forever be alone.

    (from Manifold: Origin by Stephen Baxter)

    9½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Political Views

    There's a ha-ha factor to this graph, of course.  But beyond that, I think its creator managed to present a set of balanced, and surprisingly accurate, viewpoints for each of the three major political blocs in the US.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Joy of Cooking - Joy of Cooking (Album)

Artist  :  Joy of Cooking
Album  :  Joy of Cooking  (1971)
Genre  :  Folk Rock

- Tracks (favorites in pink) -
01. Hush
02. Too Late, But Not Forgotten
03. Down My Dream
04. If Some God  (Sometimes You Gotta Go Home)
05. Did You Go Downtown
06. Dancing Couple
07. Brownsville/Mockingbird
08. Red Wine At Noon
09. Only Time Will Tell Me
10. Children's House

    Joy of Cooking was a short-lived folk-rock band, formed in 1967.  This is their debut, eponymous album.  It came out in 1971; by 1972 the band was split up.

    I picked this LP in Seattle for about $8.  Amazon has a 2011 CD version of it for $39.99 (an import, probably), and a much more reasonably-priced MP3 version for only $9.49.  There are no bonus tracks included.  Visually, the album was in good shape, but it had a lot of scratches, and I had to use the de-scratcher program to clean it up.  The software did a nice job.

    The two stellar tracks are Did You Go Downtown and the hybrid Brownsville/Mockingbird.  The whole album is good, and a fine example of a "hippie California" sound that sprang up in the greater San Francisco area (Joy of Cooking is out of Berkeley) in the late 60's.

    According of Wikipedia, Joy of Cooking is reputed to be the first rock band to be fronted by a pair of women.  The band's sound is a pleasant fusion of rock, folk, jazz, and blues.  A number of the songs were feminist-themed, which put them 5-10 years ahead of their time.

    Sadly, Joy of Cooking only put out three albums before disappearing into the San Francisco fog.  I searched YouTube for live videos of their performances, but didn't find any.  I also picked up their third album, Castles, at the record store in Seattle.  It is equally good, and I will post a review of it sometime in the future.

    The Wikipedia article on JoC is sparse.  I have no idea whether any or all of the founding members are still with us, but I for one would love to see them get together again, if only for a single reunion tour.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Monty Python Holy Grail Quote

    I was thinking it was a LOTR quote, but that was slightly different.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “I don’t believe you’re even the daughter of a river spirit.  You probably just made that up too.”

    “I did not!  I was Metricia’s favourite daughter.  Second favourite.  Third at the very least.”

    Bremusa glared at her in the way she’d once glared at enemies on the battlefield.  “Did you inherit any of your mother’s powers?”

    “Of course!”

    “Like what?”

    “I can make daisies and buttercups grow really quickly.  Look!”

    (from The Goddess of Buttercups and Daisies by Martin Millar)

    8*/10.  The complete review is here.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Coke vs. Pepsi

    Really, this seems about right to me.  I don't know who the Coca Cola marketing peeps are here in Phoenix, but they need to get their butts in gear and recapture some of the market share back from Pepsi.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015

LSD and Mannequins

    I'm happy to say that this has never happened to me.  But there are some pictures of me in compromising positions with some nude female statues at the Phoenix Civic Center from a long, long time ago.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fruit Juice Diet

    Just started this diet tonight.  So far, so good.  Hic!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Book Excerpt for the Day

    He (Ullholm) considered that there had been no law and order in society since the thirties.

    He put the greatly increasing crime and brutality down to the fact that the police were not given proper military training and no longer wore sabers.

    The introduction of right-hand traffic was a scandalous blunder that had made the situation much worse in a community that was already undisciplined and morally corrupt.

    “Furthermore, it increases promiscuity,” he said.  “You see what I mean, don’t you?”

    “Huh,” said Ronn.

    (from The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo)

    9*/10.  The complete review is here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Light bulb Joke

    Yeah, that's about all that comes out of this a$$hole's mouth. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Monday, August 17, 2015

Chemists and Romance Novels

   Well, of course.  The similes have to be scientifically valid.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Book Excerpt for the Day

    While there were many negatives to having an apprentice with the paltry cognitive capabilities of Rimpertuz, there were advantages to it as well.  It had been years since Treneth had lifted a shovel, for example.

    “Rimpertuz,” he said, I feel it may be time for you to begin planning your future.  You need to do things you can really own, you see?”

    “I do?”

    “Would I say so if it weren’t true?”

    Rimpertuz didn’t reply.

    (from A Quest of Undoing, by John P. Logsdon and Christopher P. Young)

     6*/10.  The full review is here.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Tonight's Forecast

    We're having a bit of a heat wave here in Phoenix.  Yesterday, it hit 117°F.  Right now today (5:00 PM), it's 114°F.  And tomorrow's high will be 115°F.

    And in case you're thinking, "yeah, but it's a dry heat", no, it isn't.  This is monsoon season, which means we're having Houston humidity.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Risk - the Truth

    The other piece of sage advice I have about Risk - "Never get into a land war in Asia."

Thursday, August 13, 2015


    I don't mean to brag, but I will kick everyone's butt in Simon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Today's Argyle Sweater Cartoon

    I'm embarrassed to say I had to read this cartoon three times today before I 'got' it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Book Excerpt for the Day

    He currently owned or controlled nearly a quarter of the National Parliament and a majority of the cabinet ministers.  His money was appreciated, as was his congenial attitude.  Jamaica was divided into fourteen parishes, and he was influential in all those that counted for his businesses.  He’d become a person respected by both rich and poor.  He was also feared, which was not necessarily a bad thing.

    (from The Columbus Affair by Steve Berry)

    9½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Monday, August 10, 2015

How To Win The War on Drugs

    It's really simple when you get right down to it.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Chocolate Chip vs. Oatmeal Raisin

    I totally agree.  But Liz would think just the opposite.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “It isn’t fair that nothing has color!”

    “Not fair?”  The Giver looked at Jonas curiously.  “Explain what you mean.”

    “Well . . .”  Jonas had to stop and think it through.  “If everything’s the same, then there aren’t any choices!  I want to wake up in the morning and decide things!  A blue tunic, or a red one?”

    He looked down at himself, at the colorless fabric of his clothing.  “But it’s all the same, always.”

    Then he laughed a little.  “I know it’s not important, what you wear.  It doesn’t matter.  But –“

    “It’s the choosing that’s important, isn’t it?” The Giver asked him.

    (from The Giver by Lois Lowry)

    9½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Reading Glasses

    Another fantastic Mythtickle strip.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The Meaning of Life

    I completely agree.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “My dear Miss Elizabeth, I have the highest opinion in the world in your excellent judgment in all matters within the scope of your understanding, particularly in the slaying of Satan’s armies; but permit me to say, that there must be a wide difference between the established forms of ceremony amongst the laity, and those which regulate the clergy.  After all, you may wield God’s sword, but I wield His wisdom.  And it is wisdom, dear cousin, which will ultimately rid us of our present difficulties with the undead.”

    “You will excuse me for saying so, but I have never seen a zombie’s head taken off by words – nor do I ever expect to.”

    (from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith)

    7*/10.  The complete review is here.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Leadership Skills

   This is so true.  My problem is convincing everybody else of it.