So it took me two and a half weeks to get through the over 500 photos of the concert, in a new and dark venue with a ton of tech difficulties. Maybe that’s why. . .
So it took me two and a half weeks to get through the over 500 photos of the concert, in a new and dark venue with a ton of tech difficulties. Maybe that’s why. . .
Anonymously written around the turn of the millennium. . . not the past one, the one before that, as in a thousand years ago.
Maybe I shoulda saved this for Arbor Day. . .
We love the daylight,
God’s glorious illumination,
Hope for rich and wretched.
The oak is on earth for us.
Feed pigs the acorns.
Make a good boat.
The towering ash we love,
Its stout trunk steady too
Amid a crowd of enemies.
Strapped to the horse
With the rest of the gear,
The bow, ready to go.
The serpent leaves the sea
To feed and swells encircled
By water, in pure delight.
We hate the clay, the cold flesh,
The pale corpse, the fallen
Flowers, the broken promise.
The bigger half of the famous magic duo tells you how, among other things, he lost over 100 pounds in what is genuinely a small amount of time. Even after reading this it’s still hard to believe it happened, but at least he’s not claiming it was magic.
There’s a lot of repetition; he tried to make it funny, but I found myself skipping quite a bit. Same with his really long list of stuff he’s eaten. And in case you ever wondered if you would see recipes in a book written by Penn Jillette, here they are.
This was a tougher read than expected; there’s plenty that’s lighthearted, but even more that’s not. It’s no surprise to note that the humor is the main attraction here, despite the topic. But what really surprised me was that I didn’t read it in my head in his distinctive voice.
Aches and Gains
If you want to know why the author wrote this book, here’s his reason: “As a physician, nothing is more frustrating than watching your patients suffer and feeling like you can’t do anything about it.”
Amid long stories about celebrities like Patrick Swayze, JFK, and Elvis, used to illustrate particular chapters, there’s brief explanations about various illness and injuries, followed by several treatments, with emphasis on unconventional methods. Of course some chapters are going to be more important to each reader than others, so it’s easy to skip a few that you might have no interest in. For instance, when I was reading one of the chapters toward the end I was wondering if stem cells would be included, and a few pages later it was (and it turned out to be much more involved than a simple injection, and painful!). At the same time I passed over subchapters that featured diseases I’d never heard of and wasn’t likely to get. Because everything but the kitchen sink is included, it gets boring quickly. Listing every medicine doesn’t help. At this point it becomes more of a reference book in case it does become relevant to you.
There’s suggested further reading after each chapter, as well as episodes from the author’s podcast. I tried a few, but like this book it was long and rambling. I do have to say it got better as it went along. Though there’s still plenty that went over my head with the not-well-enough-explained medical terms, I did feel like I ended up grasping more than other such “for the masses” medical books. Maybe it was the word use, maybe it was the tone. Perhaps the experience he has from the podcast makes him seem more approachable here too. Still could have been better, though.
Cloudia & Rex
A strange graphic novel that doesn’t do a good job of explaining things. It goes from a quick intro about a human family moving to a new city straight into gods—particularly Death—and annihilation, with some Aztec warrior-looking creature as the bad guy, both powerful and psychologically slimy. But without any attempt at explaining, it lost me right away.
Thankfully it had plenty of funny moments. For instance, it’s not just looking at phones that causes car crashes; it’s trying to swipe them from your teenage daughter in the back seat too.
Best line: “We are trapped inside of a teenage girl.” Words no god ever wants to say.
Other winners: “I am quivering in irony.” And “Where the heck is my superhuman mom strength? I’m supposed to get braver and stronger when my child is missing!”
That is the least scary Death ever. Plushies of him would sell out.
The ending is so Wrath of Khan, but everything else is so confusing. Lots of color, plenty of humor, but I wish I hadn’t bothered trying to understand the story.
Rough Riders Volume 2: Riders on the Storm
When a secret cabal tries to take over the world in the late 1800s/early 1900s by fronting the anarchist movement, it takes someone like Theodore Roosevelt to gather an elite unit of famous/semi-famous commandos to stop them. And apparently it’s for the second time, though I haven’t read the first volume.
When a story starts right off with the assassination of McKinley, it’s normal to wonder if Teddy might be behind it. I didn’t know Jack Johnson; considering he was a boxer, that’s not surprising. All the other characters are familiar. . . well, not Monk. Some of the tech is steampunk, but the eye scanner goes way beyond that. (Ah, got it. Again, didn’t read the first volume.) Annie Oakley is drawn much more attractively than in real life, but then that was the usual in the early days of cinema.
I’m not going to give you the context to this, because it’s just as delicious. When Edison screams, “I’m a national treasure!” the only reply can be, “We should drop you (off the train) just for saying that.” Yep, this just plays into everything I hate about Edison. This is also why Tesla is more often featured in fiction. . . and why I loved the moment when he mistook the priest for an admirer. That goes double for the surprise villain at the end.
“You couldn’t handle this even if I came with directions.” Okay, I officially love this Annie Oakley, especially when she ogles the guys as they strip and still beats them swimming.
Totally unbelievable for so many reasons, but enjoyable.
Unicorn of Many Hats (Phoebe and Her Unicorn Series Book 7)
My fave unicorn—and that’s saying a lot—and her human sidekick are back quickly after a new original graphic novel not long ago. This volume doesn’t contain a whole story like that one, but does appear to be all-new material—none of them seem familiar to me from the daily strip, anyway—in, I’m guessing from the size of the panels, Sunday format.
I can’t believe someone as geeky as her dad complains about all electronic devices being the same shape. Will you ever see an apostrophe—rhyme!—riding a unicorn car again? But the best thing of all: we finally get to see Marigold’s house!
At this point there’s nothing much left to say. This is easily my favorite comic strip, and one of the best ones out there. Even though it isn’t a complete new story like the last one, it’s still the same ton of fun as the others.
Casey and Aon – A Cybersafety Chapter Book For Kids
Young geek gets a new robot that he has to train. The robot doesn’t know much yet, wondering what’s in the ketchup tube, for instance. But at least he cleans up his messes, even if he doesn’t know what a reflection is.
Once on the tablet the curious robot wants to check everything internet-y, with the kid stopping him and explaining why he shouldn’t, which is the gist of this book. The kid speaks well above his age, and some of his words will probably need explaining to the young readers, but the book does impart a good dose of caution that even a few adults could find of value.
Huge chunk at the end dedicated to glossary, discussion points, and so on.
Firefighters and What They Do
I do love it when a title tells you everything you need to know.
This book is mainly made up of drawings that show the equipment and how it’s used. Most kids probably don’t realize firefighters do more than just put out fires.
Ends with a little maze game.
Really simple, as in preschool, in fact it says it’s for toddlers, so believe them.
Take a Look. More Fun Together!
A bear is asked if he’s alone, and he looks to be, but turns out he isn’t, according to the words and then the next page. Same with a rabbit, and so on.
At first glance the artwork looks strange, with plenty of spaces that make the whole look uncentered. Turns out there’s a good reason for that, but I won’t spoil it. Some of the changes are pretty clever.
A fun timewaster for kids.
The Mutts Spring Diaries
Another volume about a dog and cat—with a lisp—who are best friends and do everything together. This one was more educational than the one I’d read before, especially when it comes to pet adoption, but I still find it hard to tell them apart.
To my groaning amusement, I really liked the snapping turtle pun
“Meow.” “What kind of accent was that?”
“Veni vidi oink.” Simple joke, but effective.
It sucks when you can’t get a song out of your head, doubly so if you’re a bird.
A lot of the Sphinx’s lines are old Benny Hill jokes.
These are very simple lines and drawings, which remind me of Peanuts in a way. There’s a cute innocence to these characters, like when the turtle is mistaken for a talking rock. The guard dog is not the biting type, but he can Riverdance.
My absolute favorite is the bird on a piano.
Shots of a small garden in a residential part of Pasadena. . . California, not Texas or Florida or any others. Just the thing to walk off a huge cortisone shot in the left hip; smart of my pain management doctor to set up his office so close.
Like most things Icelandic, there’s a simple purity to the language, and the use of it in poetry. This is a famous long poem written anonymously in the 10th century, but the first two stanzas are my favorite, so that’s all you get here. Easy enough to look up if ya dig it.
I crossed the deep sea,
My cargo, poetry,
Odin’s boundless gift,
On board my sleek ship.
Soon as the ice broke
I’d the ship afloat,
Cabin crammed with praise
For King Eirik’s ways.
The prince has shown me
Praise is my duty,
Praise in poetry,
I have brought my praise
To England, bright praise,
And ask a hearing
To laud this great king.
Took a while to get them done, but here’s the highlights from the show on November 7th.
Attributed to Cynewulf, an Anglo-Saxon with a badass name back in the times of Beowulf.
Just to get it out of the way, because I’ll be accused of it, this has nothing to do with the Lindsey Stirling song, which is an instrumental anyways. So there.
When stars are hid in the western wave,
dimmed at dawn
And the dusky night steals darkly away
Then strong of wind, and proud of pinion.
It looks over the sea, eagerly over the ocean
For the rising sun.
When the Bright blesses and burns in the heavens,
And glides eastward over the wide water
And climbs over mountains and salt streams
The grey bird wings from its woodland tree,
Swift aloft, soars to the sky
Singing and caroling to meet the sun.
The Billionaires: The Stepbrothers
Insurance investigator finally gets to interview an art robbery suspect, but she finds him so hot she can’t think straight. And he knows it, using the control she’s given him to get her into bed while convincing her he’s innocent. So she goes to interview his stepbrother and, guess what, same thing happens.
As would be expected, after she sleeps with them separately there are times when both have her together. If it was just about the sex it would be relatively easy to write, but when she’s in love with both and wants a threesome relationship it’s a lot harder. Happy to say this writer pulled it off pretty well, as well as making a good mystery. The parallels of the car accidents and subsequent survivors’ guilt was well done.
Enjoyed this thoroughly. I’m predisposed to liking the lead because I love redheads, but the guys were better than most in this genre and the plot was enjoyable. Just one question: what happened to the puppy during that first night. . .?
A young geeky—but of course hot—female techie is tasked with doing the field work to test football helmets in hopes that head injuries will be curtailed. The players love her, one—actually more than one, but only one matters in this story—in particular.
I love this girl, at least most of the time, when she’s not being a pushover. I like the set-up. The guys are okay, probably because I semi-remember some of them from a previous book. But there’s something off about this; not enjoying it like I should, given all that’s going for it. At some points it went as far as tedious. It’s easy enough to say that lack of communication is a problem, but then that happens in just about all books in this genre, so I can’t use that one here.
As I said in the other book in this series that I’ve read, it’s hard to keep track of all the players. For example, Bam feels like a giant lineman; I’m surprised each time it’s mentioned he’s the halfback. Perhaps a character sheet should be included.
The ending, and all the Star Trek jokes, made me feel better about it, but I still didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have thought.
The Roswell Affair
As you can see from the title, the Roswell crash is the setting for yet another story, this time with a hot nurse/scientist called in to interrogate a not-so-alien alien in the famous 1947 crash. Within minutes she’s in lust for him and they’re communicating through sex, which is why the military failed to establish a dialogue.
This works because the main characters are likeable, with an immediate chemistry that might actually be chemical, not just the way the word is used today. Some slight touches of the era were nice, though even for something that takes place 70 years ago it’s hard to imagine the government agents being such asses; ditto for the soldiers. Don’t think they needed to be painted with such black strokes in order for this story to work, though maybe because it was so short there wasn’t time to do anything else with them.
It turns out to be a complete Mary Sue, but since I liked it I’ll let it pass. But for such a short story it didn’t help that 10% of this is ads for other books at the end.
Adam: Doms of the Silver Screen Book 2
A “scream queen” actress gets a role in a “serious” production, only to find her estranged husband is directing. She doesn’t want to quit, but she doesn’t want anything to do with him either. He harasses her until she gives in. (This story takes off from the first book in the series, but reading it is not required to understand this one.)
Even though he’s the Dom of the title, the story is really more about her. There are funny moments in the first half, most of them on the set—I’ve actually seen a bed break during filming, but that actress’s reaction was far different—but there’s just one overwhelming problem, which I can boil down to: I love Nicki, I loathe Adam.
That’s really all that needs to be said. Most of these types of stories feature an alpha male who won’t take no for an answer, but this is a new low. I doubt I will ever hate a character more than I hated Adam. This might have been an okay book if he wasn’t such an unlikeable asshole.
The first book in the series, even if it was far shorter, was so much better.
“It is loose in the country. Everywhere, now. In the very highest corridors of power. There will be a showdown.”
The series was leading to this from the start, but it couldn’t be any more timely. Cara tries to stay away from all men because there’s a price on her head, but in the meantime other women have taken up her just but gruesome cause. It all leads up to a confrontation with possibly the worst bad guy of them all.
“He’d even at one point suspected his own Agent Singh.” Been waiting the whole series for my girl Singh to make her mark, but I sure didn’t expect it to be like this, though I’ll bet Epps will like it, once he gets used to it.
Like Anne Franks’ diary, this is a painful read. Scarier than her earlier horror works, so difficult to read because it’s so plausible. But it’s brilliantly written, Ms. Sokoloff’s best work to date.
The Informed Patient
This definitely lives up to its title, although by the end of it a more truthful name would be “The Overinformed Patient.”
As one example, the section on IVs and catheters was way too long. There’s no way an explanation of every little nuance was necessary. Same with the description of every kind of chest tube; far too detailed for readers who don’t have a degree in medicine. So many procedures are mentioned this becomes more of a reference book. Some sections are repeated, more than once; at one point it’s acknowledged. This book feels like the first draft came out too short and needed padding.
I applaud the author for the idea, but it’s still not explained down enough for regular people. In fact, the last tenth of the book is glossary, because no one expects the readers to know all the medical jargon tossed around. This is not the kind of book you read, remember, and pass on. There’s so much here that, while a little dumbed down, is hardly comprehensible.
I’m going to treat this as a reference book, ready to be looked up as needed.
The Crime Book
I didn’t know DK did anything but travel books, though this follows the format set by those.
The most intriguing fact hits right at the beginning: the first known homicide occurred 430,000 years ago.
This book turned out to have a pretty standard design, in the form of a reference book: one- or two-page chapters on famous criminals or crimes, with panels featuring similar acts. Each chapter is led with a meaningful title and an even more meaningful drawing, a caricature of the crime in question; my fave was the horse and the can of paint.
Some of the categories really aren’t, more like broad labels: celebrity murder, desert murder, and so on. Don’t expect anything in-depth here, merely something to pique your interest so you can explore the fascinating crime further on your own. Other than to let the reader know about a particular case, there’s nothing here that can’t be found in other books or the internet.
Subtitled: “Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout History.” But despite all that, it’s easy to think of this as a comedy, albeit a dark one.
Simple rhyming couplets accompany an illustration in each story. . . and just to keep the rhyme motif, they’re mostly gory. Best rhyme: “boast” and “ghost.”
If you hate your mother-in-law, give her artificial silk.
The long history of asbestos was intriguing.
Mercury poisoning was known as the “mad hatter’s disease.”
Beauty—supposed beauty, anyway—sure had a heavy price; from belladonna eyeballs to lightning bras to strangling corsets to high heels to lead makeup. . .
Despite how it eventually turned out, I love that a new hairstyle came out of falling off a horse.
Poor Jean Harlow. . .
The scariest part, even if it was a sign of the times, was the newspaper editorial that stated, “What of woman’s mission to be lovely?”
Ends with ten pages of sources.
If you’re into fashion and macabre—if you like your humor black and morbid—this is for you.
Full Service Blonde
“Once I decided to go to Las Vegas, no one could have talked me out of it.”
It’s amazing how different this book is from the other by Megan Edwards I’ve read, Strings. That book was so fantastic I have no doubt it left a high mark for this one to strive for, and it came up far short.
In the end it felt like a whole lot of nothing. Copper goes everywhere but doesn’t do much. Some threads pick up halfway through, but this writing doesn’t remind me at all of the other book. It felt more like a slice-of-life than a mystery.
Strings seemed to take forever to read, but in a good way. This one took forever in the more usual sense.
The two main storylines made everything more complicated than it needed to be. I liked Copper, but I didn’t like Sierra, or many of the other characters, even the ones I was supposed to like. All the relationship stuff—hers, her parents’, etc.—just felt like too much, or the mystery she eventually solved too little.
101 Protocols for Online Dating
Stuff to do–and not do–when looking for love in all the electronic places.
A lot of the stuff offered is common sense, but we all know that common sense isn’t. . . common.
I wonder why the author decided to call these protocols, like it was some top-secret dossier in a spy movie. Sounds silly this way.
I guess if someone went to the trouble of buying this book, they might be inspired to take its advice, but as I said earlier, a lot of these are common sense. Some I flat out disagree with. Others are too self-serving, becoming the person the author warned us to avoid. But more than anything, there was nothing earthshattering here.
A Tamil ditty from around 2000 years ago, by–I hope I spell this right–Itaikkunrurkilar.
His legs strong and lithe,
his bravery fierce and unyielding,
my lord is like a tiger living in a cramped cave
who stretches, rises up, and sets out for his prey.
But they did not think him hard to fight against.
They rose up bellowing,
“We are best, we are the greatest.
Our enemy is young and there is much plunder.”
Those foolish warriors who came with contempt
ran with dim eyes, showing their backs,
but he did not let them be killed then.
He took them to the city of their fathers,
and as their women with fine ornaments died in shame
and the clear kinai drum sounded,
there he killed them.