Monday, 22 February 2010


Monday kittehs

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Sunday, 21 February 2010


Recent reading - quickies

O.G. has been been casting about for some titles to expand my fantasy library... with decidedly mixed results. 

Jim Butcher:  Codex Alera 5: Princeps’ Fury

So, what are you gonna do for an encore?
With Ten Million Screaming Extras!

In Captain’s Fury, the previous volume of Jim Butcher’s non-vampire alternate-universe fantasy, the author brought things to a climax (and knocked out the rebel forces) by igniting a dormant volcano beneath a city, killing the entire populace.  In this volume, he begins by depopulating an entire continent (off camera), then, later, setting off another volcano. Which destroys another city. And what’s left of its defenders. And an invading army. As well as killing off the ruler of the empire, which will leave Butcher’s heir-to-the-throne hero to finish things up in Book 6 - that’s provided he can overcome his political rivals and defeat the invaders and their collaborators.  The finish of Princeps’ Fury brought to mind Raymond Feist’s Riftwar Saga, in which the Final Magical Confrontation That Wraps Everything Up pales in comparison to the demolition of the city of Armengar - and the destruction of most of a besieging army - that comes half way through the final volume.  Caution:  Piling special effect on top of special effect eventually palls, just as the repeated massacres of thousands, and tens of thousands eventually numbs. Can you say “peaking early”?

Butcher has at least one more book to go in his Codex, and I’m wondering what he’ll do to top this one... blow up the planet?  Fortunately for him, unlike filmmakers, fiction writers don’t have to meet payroll for their disaster-fodder.

Will I get the next book?  Oh, hell yes, if only to see if Butcher can manage to crank things up to 11 without crossing the line into total unbelievablity..
Reread potential?  Unless book 6 turns out to be totally hokey.


Steven Erikson: The Mazalan Book of the Fallen:
Volume 1:  Gardens of the Moon
Volume 3(?):  Memories of Ice

We talked and talked
and talked some more.
We talked so much
it was a bore.

Haven’t quite figured out how the series fits together: Gardens of the Moon is the only book that carries a volume number, and there’s another book - Deadhouse Gates - that appears to fall between these two.  A satisfying read through Gardens sent me in search of Gates, which my bookseller didn’t have.  It did, however, have Memories, and, eager to continue, I grabbed that one.

My first discovery was that nothing whatever appears to have happened between the end of volume 1 and the beginning of the putative volume 3.  That turned out to be a feature, not a bug, as I had been  expecting to have to catch myself up with the plot.   Perhaps there’s an alternate storyline in the second book, although in view of my experience with Memories, it could be possible that, indeed, nothing whatever actually does(n’t) happen in volume 2.  I guess I’ll find out whenever I acquire a copy.  At any rate, I didn’t miss Gates one bit.

Erikson’s world includes several sentinent species, and he does a good job of constructing memorable characters from each of them (although one human, a Cowardly Fat Rogue Who Is More Than He Seems, is an obvious borrow from Glenn Cook’s Dread Empire series).   The action in these volumes takes place on a tiny fraction of the area described by the included maps; presumably all those other lands will be explored in books yet to come.  Erikson’s spectacular special effect is The Moon’s Spawn, a magical flying mountain inhabited by one of his species.

Many of the characters who figured in Gardens reappear in Memories, but despite that, and despite a plot that catches you up in it, as I read on I found

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Friday, 19 February 2010


Not Vulcans

Plebian has an important reminder about scientists.

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Thursday, 18 February 2010


Stupid Party sellouts stupidly stagger summit-ward

Didn’t you guys learn anything from Massachusetts?  Dept
Dave Camp, R-MI (and Is anybody running against this guy in the primary?):
“I think what we have to do is keep it on the policy and really continue to describe that we have listened to the American people, and anyone listening to the American people would say scrap this bill and begin again, and let’s begin again by focusing on lowering costs...”
No, dummy, the only purpose of this health insurance summit is to undermine the Republicans and give cover to the Democrats.  It’s stupid for the Republicans to buy into it.

It makes no difference whether the Republicans offer anything.  The Democrats hold all the power, let them come up with a plan that the public will accept, or let them fail and suffer the consequences.

There is no need to pass anything.  The Republicans have the best argument: The Democrats already spent all the money, so there’s none left for anything else.  Plus public sentiment backs no-action:
In a New York Times/CBS poll [!!!] released this month, 56 percent said they preferred “a smaller government providing fewer services” to 34 percent in favor of “a bigger government providing more services.”  Some 27 percent named jobs as the most important issue confronting the nation while 25 percent said the economy.  Thirteen percent said health care, fewer than the 16 percent who said “other.”
13% - the best the liberal press could come up with - and 56% saying they want smaller government. Neither is a clarion call for immediate action.

Regardless of the outcome, Republicans will get no credit.  The Democrats and the press - but I repeat myself - will label the Republicans as mean-spirited obstructionists.  It’s as inevitable as Lucy yanking away Charlie Brown’s football, and it won’t be any different this time, either.

Finally, beware the chimera of “bipartisanship.”  For the Democrats and the press (but I repeat myself) “bipartisanship” means Republicans giving up Republican principles to give the Democrats what they want.  This time, just say no.  Your base is watching: Any move away from “no” will be taken as more RINO-willingness to sell out to socialism-lite.   You don’t want to go there.

And as for that message from the American people, Rep. Camp?  You should have stopped at “scrap the bill.”

Provoked by: Bashir, commenting at Daily Pundit, where there’s more discussion.

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In Passing

Coming headline: “BATFE Raids DHS”

Darn. It was here just a minute ago...  Dept
USA Today:
The nation’s Homeland Security officers lost nearly 200 guns in bowling alleys, public restrooms, unlocked cars and other unsecure areas, with some ending up in the hands of felons...

Most of the misplaced weapons — including handguns, shotguns and military rifles — were never found. Most losses occurred because officers did not properly secure firearms,” says the Homeland Security inspector general report.

At least 15 of the guns ended up in the hands of gang members, criminals, drug users and teenagers...
Well, the obvious solution is for the BATFE to aggressively investigate the DHS’s poor weapons security and recordkeeping.

Thus making a start at keeping BOTH agencies out of our hair.

Via:  IP

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In Passing

Blast from the past

Well, I certainly never expected this!   Dept[1]:
Durham [NC] police arrested Duke lacrosse accuser Crystal Gale Mangum, 33, late Wednesday after she allegedly assaulted her boyfriend, set his clothes on fire in a bathtub and threatened to stab him.
Police charged her with attempted first-degree murder, five counts of arson, assault and battery, communicating threats, three counts of misdemeanor child abuse, injury to personal property, identity theft and resisting a public officer.
I expect K.C. Johnson to have something about this shortly.

Via: alexthechick
[1]  where you have to register to read the comments.  How lame is that?

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Wednesday, 17 February 2010


Politics no more?

“The Hoosier Slant” opines that Evan Bayh saw in the mess in Washington an opportunity to do something he’d long wanted: To get out of politics.

LATER (100218 15:50), Related:

Pointman’s Page:  Why Dan Coats?

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February Blog•Meet - Sunday the 21st

Where the Reet Elite Meet ‘n’ Greet  Dept

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The Press

LA Times tries re-writing history, gets caught

Dang those pesky eyewitnesses!  Dept
Kathleen Hennessey:
[Republican Party leaders have] worried that the energy driving the tea party movement might create a third party that would split the conservative vote.

That scenario played out in New York’s 23rd Congressional District in a special election last year, a cautionary tale in Republican circles because it led to a Democrat capturing a longtime GOP House seat.
Stacy McCain:
From start to finish of the NY23 campaign, the Republican Party was exclusively responsible for electing the Democrat.

Any attempt to foist blame for the Democratic victory in NY23 onto Hoffman and his supporters is a willful perversion of the actual history of that campaign...
McCain reviews how events unfolded here.

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Tuesday, 16 February 2010


What shall we name the WAP?

Uncle Jay does a survey:  Part 1; Part 2.

(“Zohrek the Inhospitable.”  Snicker.)

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