Friday, May 31, 2019
Once, as a kid, I was playing my older brother in Battleship, and lost because I couldn't find where he had stashed one of his two-space submarines.
After the game was over, I demanded to know where he had placed that sub. He replied that it was directly below one of his four-space battleships, and when I had called those squares, it only counted against the surface ship, not the sub. According to him, I would've had to call those same two squares again to sink the second ship.
I countered that the battleship, as it was sinking, would've crushed that frickin' sub on its way to the bottom of the sea.
We never did resolve our differences of interpretation of the rules.
Thursday, May 30, 2019
I always wore a fanny pack when I exercised. Water bottle. Sunscreen. Pocketknife. PowerBar. Handcuff picks. And, finally, a palm-sized spray bottle of my own pepper spray concoction – Massachusetts regulated the purchase of Mace and I’m the kind of girl who appreciates her privacy, so instead, I’d invented my own high-test concoction. No, Officer, I’m not carrying Mace. What do you mean my attacker just went blind? Huh. Then I hope his publicly appointed defender knows how to prepare his reports in braille.
(from Look For Me, by Lisa Gardner)
8½*/10. The full review is here.
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Sunday, May 26, 2019
Saturday, May 25, 2019
Friday, May 24, 2019
Yes, men and women eat meals. But they also ingest nutrients. They grind and sculpt them into a moistened bolus that is delivered, via a stadium wave of sequential contractions, into a self-kneading sack of hydrochloric acid and then dumped into a tubular leach field, where it is converted into the most powerful taboo inhuman history. Lunch is an opening act.
(from Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach.
9*/10. The complete review is here.
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
My first computer was a 386, which had just come out and was just barely starting to replace the 286's. It had a 40-meg hard drive, with 12 megs of that already taken up by MS-DOS. I felt like a pig in mud, having that much "free" hard drive space.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Monday, May 20, 2019
“I don’t understand why a man who can slay dragons wants to pick on someone half his size.”
“Oh, I think I get it,” Myra winked. “You know, I heard a sayin’ about men with big feet. And Epik here’s got bigger feet than any man I’ve ever seen.”
“What was the saying?” Gerdy asked, skeptically.
“Was it that they wear big shoes?” Epik asked. “Because I normally don’t wear shoes.”
(from Hero in a Halfling by William Tyler Davis)
7½*/10. The complete review is here.
Sunday, May 19, 2019
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Friday, May 17, 2019
Really, folks. The singular is "datum"; the plural are "data". Using "they" as a singular pronoun is justified when you want to "blur" whether the object of the pronoun is singular or plural, as in avoiding spoilers.
Thursday, May 16, 2019
The sky was suddenly crowded with gigantic sparks and great luminous gas clouds. The glitter of jam-packed stars, some so large they seemed to be broken-off pieces of Earth’s moon, and the shine of the clouds, awed them and made them feel pitifully microscopic and ill-made.
Burton lay on his back on a pile of tree leaves and puffed on a cigar. It was excellent, and in the London of his day would have cost at least a shilling. He did not feel so minute and unworthy now. The stars were inanimate matter, and he was alive. No star could ever know the delicious taste of an expensive cigar. Nor could it know the ecstasy of holding a warm well-curved woman next to it.
(from To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip José Farmer)
7*/10. The complete review is here.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Monday, May 13, 2019
Sunday, May 12, 2019
Saturday, May 11, 2019
Friday, May 10, 2019
“Oh, horrible!” I exclaimed to myself: “Does anyone really imagine that these motor-cars are as smart as the old carriage-and-pair? I dare say. I am too old now – but I was not intended for a world in which women shackle themselves in garments that are not even made of cloth. To what purpose shall I walk among these trees if there is nothing left now of the assembly that used to meet beneath the delicate tracery of reddening leaves, if vulgarity and fatuity have supplanted the exquisite thing that once their branches framed? Oh, horrible!”
(from Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust)
8*/10. The complete review is here.
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Cute, but actually, no. The ancient Romans had no symbol for 5,000, so they had no way to write "4,000". I don't know why, nor what they did when they needed to write down a big number like that.
Later on, in the Middle Ages and such, folks did "invent" a contrived symbol for bigger numbers in Roman numerals. .One was a "V" with a line over it, to represent 5,000. But hey, if the ancient Romans didn't use it, it doesn't count.
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Monday, May 06, 2019
He was no fool, and could hardly have failed to notice that he was being obliquely invited to believe that Cadfael might, when confronted with his old sweetheart married to another, have so far succumbed to jealousy as to remove his rival from the world with his own hands. Who, after all, knew the properties of herbs and plants better, or the proportions in which they could be used for good or ill? God forbid it should enter any mind, Jerome had said piously, neatly planting the notion as he deplored it.
(from Monk’s Hood by Ellis Peters)
8*/10. The complete review is here.
Sunday, May 05, 2019
Back in my metaphysical days, I attended several Psychic Fairs here in the greater Phoenix area, In those days, they were held in Scottsdale, sometimes indoors, sometimes outdoors. One year I was even a participant, doing Tarot card readings for a couple dollars, all of which went to help with the costs of putting on the fair.
And my thought always was, why does a psychic fair need to do any advertising? Shouldn't anybody local who's psychic be able to feel the vibes about the upcoming fair, including where and when it's going to occur?
Saturday, May 04, 2019
Friday, May 03, 2019
Well, yes for Alf, no for ET. And for Predator, whatever he wants, as long as he doesn't shoot me. FWIW, this is a real book, available at Amazon in various formats, including digital.
Seriously, from my Pentecostal days, the Fundamentalists hated this sort of question, preferring to believe that extraterrestrials don't exist. They are probably wrong, but they will never be disproven , since intergalactic travel, particularly by living, sentient creatures, will most likely never happen.
Thursday, May 02, 2019
He had his arm around his girl of the evening, a short, thin, dark twenty-one-year-old from somewhere way out in the sticks. (I’d carded her.) I gave her a close look. Jason didn’t know it, but she was a shape-shifter of some kind. They’re easy to spot. She was an attractive girl, but she changed into something with feathers or fur when the moon was full. I noticed Sam gave her a hard glare when Jason’s back was turned, to remind her to behave herself in his territory. She returned the glare, with interest. I had the feeling she didn’t become a kitten, or a squirrel.
(from Dead To The World by Charlaine Harris)
7½*/10. The complete review is here.