Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “Sigrid, back in the days before you decided on a career behind the stick...“

    “Hold it right there, huh?  Being a bartender’s not a career, and I didn’t decide on it.”

    “You didn’t?”

    “Of course not.  Nobody does, not in New York.  You decide on a career in the arts, and you wait tables to make ends meet, and it begins to dawn on you that bartenders make more money and don’t have to work as hard, plus they never get yelled at for dropping a whole tray of pasta dishes full of people from Ridgeway, New Jersey-“

    “Did that happen to you?”

    “No, but it could have.”

    (from The Burglar On The Prowl,  by Lawrence Block)

    8*/10.  The full review is here.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

RIP Gahan Wilson

    The real reason Playboy magazine used to be so popular.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “Would you care for a spot of port, my good fellow?”

    “No,” growled Toreg.  “You try our shmiriz.  Not to insult us.”

    “Oh, very well,” agreed the Hoka.  He emptied the pot into his flagon.

    “Shmiriz got power,” Toreg bragged.  “Turns your ears purple.”
    A gasp of awe rose from the crowd when Bertram drained his huge cup in a single swallow.

    “Nonsense,” he said.  “Do my ears look purple?”

    Toreg squinted blearily.  “Too much fur on them to tell,” he complained.

    (from Hokas Pokas! by Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson)

    5*/10.  The complete review is here.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Is It or Isn't It?

    Yeah, I do this a lot with the garage door opener/closer.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Music Wednesday

   You sang along while reading this cartoon, didn't you? 

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Book Excerpt for the Day

    As murder weapons go, the lowly tire iron has the virtue of being genderless and easily obtainable.  Lots of people have tire irons.  They’re probably not as common as a set of kitchen knives, but they’re cheap, readily available, have no moving parts, and no one would think to question your possessing one.  You don’t need a license to buy one and you don’t have to worry about a three-day waiting period while your local hardware salesman runs a background check.

    (from Q Is For Quarry, by Sue Grafton)

     8½*/10.  The full review is here.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Christmas Lists

    It's that time of year again.  When Santa wants you to have your Christmas list finished.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Word for the Day

    Widow’s Walk (n.; phrase) : a railed or balustraded platform built on a roof, originally in early New England houses, typically for providing an unimpeded view of the sea.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Three strands for the French hens, under the sky,
    Seven for the swimming swans, my true love gave to me.
    Nine for the gracious ladies dancing by,
    A partridge for the Red Lord, in a pear tree.
    Tinsel ensnares them all, tinsel entwines them,
    Tinsel confounds them all and in the ice-floes binds them,
    In the land of Kringol, where the reindeer fly.

    (from The Management Style of the Supreme Beings by Tom Holt)

    8*/10.  The complete review is here.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Christmas Lights

    Done.  Used little plastic clips this year instead of staples.  We'll see if they hold up until the 1st of the year.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Book Excerpt for the Day

    David Rosenhan, a professor emeritus at Stanford, (…) in 1973 got himself and seven other completely healthy friends admitted to the mental wards of hospitals across the United States.  The point of his experiment was to question the validity of psychiatric diagnosis – but they hadn’t expected it to be so easy.  Rosenhan and his colleagues each phoned a hospital complaining of hearing voices.  The rest of their medical history and any other life stories were all true.  All eight were admitted – seven were diagnosed with schizophrenia, one with manic-depressive psychosis.  As soon as they entered the hospital they said their hallucinations had disappeared.  It was then up to each individual to convince the staff to discharge – a task that took between seven and fifty-two days.

    (from Unthinkable by Helen Thomson)

  9½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

2019 Holiday Season

    There's Christmas music on the CD-player (I didn't do it), some (a couple hundred, just the beginning) indoor Christmas decorations are up, and there's an artificial log in the fireplace.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Hallmark Christmas Movies

    Every freaking one of them.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “I can’t believe you didn’t pack any weapons.  Some kind of handgun adapted for Martian air.”

    “Believe me.  I didn’t.”

    She hesitated.  “OK.  Well, I did.  In the back of the food lockers, on both the gliders.  I stowed away crossbows.  To work them, you just have to-“

    “Found them.  Took them out.  Dumped them.  Sorry, kid.”

    She felt unreasonably enraged.  “Why the hell?  Listen to me, Dad.  Weapons like that have helped keep me alive a long time in the Long Earth-“

    “Don’t hold with weapons.  Wouldn’t expect that from a guy from Wyoming, would you, Frank?  Weapons kill people, in the hands of idiots.  And since most of the human race are idiots-“

    (from The Long Mars by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter)

    4½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Monday, November 25, 2019


    Mine's "Gilgamesh Shakespeare", and I'll refrain from pointing out that there's only one "n" in "Cuneiform".

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Art Appreciation Sunday

    I love the Realism movement.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Anarchy at the Library

    Today was library day for us. We supported anarchy by signing a petition (on the steps of the library) to make healthcare more accessible to people with pre-existing conditions.

Friday, November 22, 2019


    This is soooooo me.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Dad followed me.  He sat down with a loud exhalation and turned to stare at me.  After twenty-seconds of uninterrupted comical glaring he joked: “If you’re on drugs you can tell me you know.”

    I lowered the magazine and laughed a muffled response.  “If I was on drugs I would never tell you.”

    “Why not?” he feigned surprise and hurt.  “You’d be missing out.  We could share.  I have a cupboard full back home.”


    “Sure.  Uppers, downers, lefters, righters.  I got the lot.”

    (from An Idiot In Love by David Jester)

    6*/10.  The complete review is here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Cursive History

    This is pretty much historically accurate.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Vocabulary Tuesday

    Makes sense to me.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Eye Test

    This really works!!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Book Excerpt for the Day

    “If I tell you this,” I said quietly, “it could be bad for you.”

    “Bad how?”

    “It could force you to keep secrets that people would kill you for knowing.  It could change the way you think and feel.  It could really screw up your life.”

    “Screw up my life?”  He stared at me for a second and then said, deadpan, “I’m a five-foot-three, thirty-seven-year-old, single, Jewish medical examiner who needs to pick up his lederhosen from the dry cleaners so that he can play in a one-man polka band at Oktoberfest tomorrow.”  He pushed up his glasses with his forefinger, folded his arms, and said, “Do your worst.”

    (from Dead Beat by Jim Butcher)

    9*/10.  The complete review is here.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Art Appreciation Saturday

    "Nude Descending a Staircase" by Marcel Duchamp.  I posted this on Facebook to see if they'd delete it for its erotic content.

Friday, November 15, 2019

My Retirement Career

    I've found my retirement career goal - teaching folk music to bees.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Words were what excited Jim [Morrison], writing rather than singing them.  “I never did any singing,” he told Rolling Stone, looking back on his youth.  “I never even conceived it.  I thought I was going to be a writer or a sociologist, maybe write plays.  Anne expected her brother to become a poet “and be poor all his life”.  As an example of his intellectual interests, she notes that when he graduated from high school in 1961 he asked his parents for the complete works of Friedrich Nietzsche as a reward, which says something about the sort of boy he was and offers a key to understanding the performer he became.

    (from 27 – A History of the 27 Club… by Howard Sounes)

  9½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

I confess

    It was me.  I'm the Whistleblower.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Philosophy Monday

    When Good Enough just ain't good enough.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Overdue Book Charges

    I got an email from the Phoenix Library this past week, informing me that they have changed their policy, and will no longer be charging/collecting fines for overdue books. You're free to ignore the due dates, but at a certain point, they will charge you a "replacement fee", presumably to buy a new copy of the book.
    I have mixed feelings about this new policy.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Depeche Mode

    Admit it.  You sang that chorus as you read this.

Friday, November 08, 2019

Book Excerpt for the Day

    The door to the archway banged open and the three lads startled.  They looked at each other sheepishly; it was only Treasurer Fogg.  “Gentlemen,” Fogg nodded at the lads.  “Mrs. Sprye, my light and joy,” he said as he bent to kiss her upturned cheek.

    “Foggy come a’courting, he did ride,” Stephen sang, sotto voce.

    Ben and Tom chuckled.  Tom wondered why it was the highest poetry when youths and maids fell in love but basest comedy when persons of middle years did the same.  Their lumpish figures, he supposed.  And their appalling lack of shame.

    (from Murder By Misrule by Anna Castle)

    8*/10.  The complete review is here.

Thursday, November 07, 2019


    I do some pro bono editing and beta-reading on the side.  This is exactly what we're supposed to do.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Word For the Day

    Gleeking came up in a book I just finished reading.  It was set in the 1580's, and there are two definitions for the word, one modern, one archaic.

    I presume the archaic definition was the one the author intended for the book, and it is "joking" or "gibing", which fit the context of the passage in the book.

    The modern meaning is considerably different, although still akin to the 1600's version.  I'll let you google it.  I was quite amazed there was a specific word to cover this bodily action.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Acronym Tuesday


Monday, November 04, 2019

Book Excerpt for the Day

    Almost immediately young Boyd had alienated the other Scouts with his nettlesome commentary and disdain for physical labor.  By the time the troop made its first expedition, Shreave had been accurately pegged as the resident slacker.  Soon after midnight a prankster had opened his sleeping bag and set loose a juvenile armadillo, which innocently began to explore Shreave’s armpits for grubs.  The unhappy camper had reacted by clubbing the bewildered creature to death with his boom box, a second-degree misdemeanor resulting in the troop’s ejection from the Lady Bird Johnson State Floral Gardens and Nature Preserve, and of course, in Shreave’s lifetime banishment from the Scouts.

    (from Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen)

    7½*/10.  The complete review is here.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Dia de Los Muertos

    Happy "Day of the Dead", everyone!

Friday, November 01, 2019

French class

    In truth, my favorite word to practice over and over again in French class was "non".

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Samhain to all!!

    Tis the reason for the season!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Book Excerpt for the Day

   Christmas is Yule with religion, and the West Saxons managed to spoil the midwinter feast with chanting monks, droning priests, and savagely long sermons.  Yule is supposed to be a celebration and a consolation, a moment of warm brightness in the heart of winter, a time to eat because you know that the lean times are coming when food will be scarce and ice locks the land, and a time to be happy and get drunk and behave irresponsibly and wake up the next morning wondering if you will ever feel well again, but the West Saxons handed the feast to the priests who made it as joyous as a funeral.

    (from The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell)

     10*/10.  The full review is here.