wombat_socho: Washington (Washington)
Went out today to return some books to the library and apply for work at a Dunkin' Donuts that will be opening soon in Foxchase.
Well of course I came home with more books. )
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
I'm giving up on The Gormenghast Trilogy and taking it back to the library tomorrow. There's a whole lot of nothing happening, and although it's exquisitely described, it's about as interesting as my Basic Tax Preparation text, which at least rewards me with useful knowledge. Not recommended unless you don't think Lovecraft was prolix and turgid enough for you.

A Storm of Swords fills the gap between A Clash of Kings and A Feast for Crows. Jesus X. Christ, what a crapsack world. By the time you get to the end of the fourth novel, pretty much everyone likable or honorable is either dead, fleeing for their lives, and/or has broken one or another of their vows. Which isn't to say the bad guys don't get hosed, but there's a strong implication that the merely corrupt and stupid Lannisters are going to be replaced by something much worse.

Moving right along to the real world, P recommended The Dead Hand to me, and I have to say that having lived through the Cold War, it brings back a lot of unpleasant memories, because we didn't KNOW what a primitive bunch of screwheads the Soviets really were. The book is about half diplomatic history of the arms control efforts between the US and the Soviet Union and half --formerly-- secret history of the USSR's strategic weapons programs, many of which were notable mainly for paranoid secrecy and a comically sinister ineptitude grounded in the inefficient nature of the Soviet economy. There's plenty of nightmare fuel in the chapters pertaining to the bioweapons program, but since I'm only two-thirds of the way through the book and the Soviet Union has just collapsed, I'm sure there's worse stuff waiting. Anyway, it's definitely worth reading if you were around at the time and even more so if you weren't. Either way, you're going to learn something.

I stopped reading Harold Coyle's books quite a while ago, probably for the same reason I quit reading Dale Brown; after the USSR stopped being the USSR, there just wasn't another credible high-tech global menace around for the US to whang on. I probably should have stayed away from Dead Hand as well, because it's not at all up to the standard of his debut, Team Yankee, or even the last novel of his that I recall reading, The Ten Thousand. I am especially annoyed at the huge chunk of expository asteroid science stuff that ate five minutes of my life this afternoon without advancing the plot to any measurable degree (and was done much better in Lucifer's Hammer anyway) and given the various reviews on amazon.com, I doubt it's going to get much better.

Well, that was depressing and annoying. I think I'm going to find something cheerful to read as a bedtime book. Some David Drake or something.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Doc says I don't have cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration and my vision is just as good as it was two years ago. Also, while waiting for the atropine to dilate my pupils, I wandered down to the PX in the basement of the VA medical center and found one of these Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker on sale for $29.99. Of course I bought it*. :) Unfortunately, the rain that's been dripping on Washington disappeared while I was having my eye exam and the sun emerged to fry my rods & cones on the drive home, since I hadn't brought my sunglasses; fortunately, for once the traffic on 395 South didn't suck and I was home quickly.

Other than that it's been a pretty dull week so far. I've been doing linkagery and smacking trolls at The Other McCain, successfully getting my diet and schedule back under control, and waiting for a job offer to come along.

While waiting, I have of course been playing EVE, and also rediscovering the dubious joys of Graduation, which I am every bit as bad at as I am at EVE. Actually, worse, since I haven't played Graduation in, what, ten years? Anyway, it's not a dating sim and not at all hentai, but it's pretty damn hard to figure out. It was on sale for $1.99, and I've already had at least that much fun out of it.

I've also been getting some reading done; nothing new except for Do the Work, which is available for free for your Kindle. This is a useful guide on how to kick your own ass and get it in gear, and if you're having problems getting a project done, maybe you should take the time to read this. It seems to me that the book is primarily aimed at writers, but I think the lessons it has to offer apply equally well to starting businesses and other, more small-scale things. Recommended.

Also recently acquired: Ladytron's Best Of 00-10, which is an excellent collection of music by one of the odder electronic/dance bands out there, and Wings Greatest, which I admit to buying just for "Jet", "Junior's Farm". and the original "Live And Let Die", which latter song I frankly like better than the Guns N' Roses remake.
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
This past weekend, because I didn't think I was going to be staying at the VAMC for a couple of days, I didn't bring my laptop with me, and so I spent most of my waking hours reading what was loaded into my Kindle. Fortunately, I have a lot of stuff in my Kindle.

Bitter Scot is bitter. )
A wild ride through the early life of Robert A. Heinlein )
Ice, Iron And Gold )
Hot Fudge Sundae Falls On A Tuesday )
wombat_socho: Wombat (FGSFDS)
Instapundit:
SO MAYBE IT’S GLOBAL FREEZING AFTER ALL? It keeps looking more and more like Fallen Angels. Or maybe a John Ringo novel. I don’t want to live in either. . . .


Me neither, Professor Death. Both of those futures sucked really hard. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to decide which would be worse to live in, as I suspect I'd be dead fairly quick in both of them unless I could persuade somebody to let me back into the Guard right now.
wombat_socho: Wombat (SSuiseiseki)
After downloading Charles' Stross Wireless by mistake, the second and third books I picked up for the Kindle were John Ringo & Tom Kratman's The Tuloriad and S.M. Stirling's The High King of Montival

Cut to spare the f-list )
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
Found a couple of duplicate paperbacks, John Barnes' A Princess of the Aerie and Charles Stross' The Jennifer Morgue, and decided to update my bookstore while I was at it. If you need some inexpensive gifts for a history buff, SF fan, or otaku, please take a look and see if there's something there to interest you.

I also recommend Halcyon Times by Jason and the Scorchers, to say nothing of Stacie Collins' Sometimes Ya Gotta; both of these will get some country in your rock and vice versa, which is a Good Thing.

Also, may I recommend the new Kindle Wireless Reading Device?

Truth.

Nov. 30th, 2010 10:22 pm
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
(h/t [livejournal.com profile] cutelildrow, who ganked it from [livejournal.com profile] melvin_udall)


That pretty much sums it up.

In other news, maxed the last quiz in tax class this morning after going in cold, having forgotten that the quiz was today. Final's a week from Thursday. I'm stoked.
Picked up P from Dulles, played her Stacie Collins' Lend The Devil A Hand*, which P agreed rocked very hard. Had dinner with P, dropped her off at her place, then maneuvered through the back roads of Loudoun County to US 29 and then headed for Intermediate Accounting class, arriving only 20 minutes late. Busy day and a good one.


*Off the incredibly awesome Sometimes Ya Gotta, available for download through this here link. Click it. You know you want to. Wombat needs more BACON!
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
...and I know there are plenty of you out there!
You may want to jump on this deal from Amazon:
Black Adder Remastered: The Ultimate Edition


Today only. I'd do it myself, but I have some more urgent priorities at the moment...
wombat_socho: Wombat (Politics)
Back in 1957, Yugoslav Communist Milovan Djilas wrote a scorching indictment of the Communist system, The New Class, which asserted that the "revolution of the proletariat" had only served to replace monarchies and autocracies with bureaucracies, and to the detriment of the workers and peasants, at that. For this insight, Djilas (who was already languishing in prison for previous criticisms of Communism) had his sentence extended for another seven years.

Angelo Codevilla does not live in the Yugoslavia of Tito's time, and until Steven Breyer and his cronies get around to further mangling the First Amendment, he's unlikely to be spending any time in jail for his analysis of America's current political situation. Codevilla's article argues that the divide in America today is not so much between Republicans and Democrats, but between the Ruling Party and the Country Party. This may seem similar to Milton Rakove's cynical observation that there are really only two parties in America, the Ins and the Outs, but Codevilla's analysis reminds me much more of Djilas' book, perhaps because after seven decades of memetic warfare, the Federal government has become a gigantic bureaucracy, currently being manipulated by the President and his cronies in exactly the same manner Daley the Younger manipulated Cook County and the City of Chicago - and in exactly the same way the leaders of the CPSU manipulated the state apparat for the benefit of the New Class in the USSR. Except, of course, for the lack of a KGB in America, but what need for the secret police, the GULAG, and the psikuska when one has eminent domain, corrupt militarized police forces and no-knock warrantless drug raids? November 2012 can't come soon enough for me.

In the meantime, I recommend the book version of Professor Codevilla's essay, The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It, now only $9 and change at Amazon; if you have the Kindle, The Ruling Class can be had for a mere $5.59 with immediate delivery. Don't have a Kindle? Get one now.
wombat_socho: Wombat (WTF)
Meghan McCain’s Dirty, Sexy Politics | The New Ledger:
On June 20, 2002, the United States Supreme Court decreed, in the case of Atkins v. Virginia, that the mildly mentally retarded were categorically exempt from capital punishment, reasoning that fully functional adults of diminished mental capacity were as a matter of law not as culpable for their acts. Writing eloquently in dissent, Justice Scalia drew a sharp distinction between the severely mentally retarded (who are truly not responsible for their actions), and the merely stupid (the category into which Mr. Atkins undoubtedly fell). Scalia argued forcefully that, with respect to the merely stupid, at least sometimes they deserve to be punished for their antisocial and destructive behavior.

This article, of course, is not about capital punishment. It is a book review of Dirty, Sexy Politics by Meghan McCain. However, the above discussion is relevant because I initially had reservations about writing this book review at all. After all, it is clear to everyone who has read Meghan McCain’s twitter feed, her “articles” on The Daily Beast, or her ill-fated campaign blog that Meghan is not a paragon of clear reasoning, exemplar of familiarity with facts, nor a model of English language expertise. And after subjecting myself to 194 continuous pages of her “writing,” it became clear that none of the above-described works truly plumbed the depths of mental vacuity in which Ms. McCain aimlessly and cluelessly drifts.

This presented a dilemma.

It is impossible to read Dirty, Sexy Politics and come away with the impression that you have read anything other than the completely unedited ramblings of an idiot. This being a professional website for which I have a great deal of respect, I searched for a more eloquent or gentle way to accurately phrase the previous sentence – but could not find one.


And that's just the beginning. This is without question one of the most brutal, unsparing book reviews I've read in my life, and I've read some doozies. TL; DR: it made the reviewer want to burn his copy, even though it was a Kindle edition. But don't let that stop you from buying a copy of Dirty Sexy Politics. If nothing else, you're helping keep a deserving young accounting student in bacon, What better reason do you need? ;)

(h/t The Other McCain, also Ace of Spades)



*"You're going to want to put some ice on that." - W. J. Clinton
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Still feeling a little out of it after this weekend's experiment in sleep deprivation & deficit repair, so I didn't really get anything done - except getting Intuit to get their sticky fingers out of my checking account, which they were about to hit up for $78 worth of fees for a service agreement and online storage, neither of which I'm interested in. I might still go out tonight to get some half & half, because frankly, coffee tastes like shit without it.

I'm continuing to plow through a low-carb diet thread on the Something Awful forums. It's full of interesting stuff as well as the inevitable trolling and stupidity. I'm not learning anything new, but it's still interesting.

Oh yeah, I also read some books... )

I have started parish-shopping again and this past Sunday made a drive practically to Columbia (Maryland, not South Carolina) to attend Mass at Holy Trinity Particular Ukrainian Church. I'll have to post pix after next week, since the church is rather unique, even for an Eastern Rite joint, but for now it feels right to me and I have the feeling that once I've been showing up for a few weeks people will start missing me if I'm not there, since it's a pretty small parish. Also, studying the liturgy will give me something besides accounting to keep my study habits fresh for next semester.
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
Because if you're going to buy things through the Internet, you might as well buy them from Amazon and slip me a few shekels in the process, right?

The big news this week, which I'm actually a little late in getting around to, is the rollout of the new DX, which has both 3G and Wifi, better contrast, and all kinds of bells and whistles. To quote P, "F*ck the iPad."

Or, you can go with the slightly less expensive (as in half the cost) next-generation Kindle. Not so many bells and whistles, a smaller screen, but still has the new e-ink, free 3G, and WiFi.

Least expensive option is the plain vanilla Wi-Fi Kindle. This is probably the one I'm going to roll with when cash flow improves.

What are you going to read on your shiny new Kindle, you ask? May I recommend Charles Stross' The Fuller Memorandum? Or how about Saturn's Children? If you're not in the mood for fiction, there's always Victor Davis Hanson's Carnage and Culture, or perhaps Gary Taube's Good Calories, Bad Calories, which will change your thinking on diets if you're not careful.

Or, if you're not in the mood for books, there's always the Friday sale, Because you might need a Fluidmaster Adjustable Ball Cock. (N.B.: not actually NSFW)
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
Amazon recently changed their associate policies to give us front men for the mighty Internet retail empire a taste of the Kindle action. So, if you're considering buying a Kindle, or perhaps buying some NY Times bestsellers for the Kindle you already have, could I ask you to do so through this humble site? You can also pick up Newspapers, magazines, and accessories, if you're so inclined.

If the New York Times bestsellers don't interest you, may I recommend some of the following books reviewed here in the recent past?
The Sword of the Lady
Final Blackout
American Caesar
Carnage and Culture
To Lose a Battle
Quartered Safe Out Here
wombat_socho: Wombat (Default)
Saturday Verse: G.K. Chesterton - Maggie's Farm: Maggie's Farm, a blog I thank RS for introducing me to, reprints one of my favorite poems not written by Kipling. It's a stirring retelling of the Battle of Lepanto, one of the pivotal battles in history and another in the series of battles that kept Islam out of Europe and ensured the survival of Christendom, which evolved into Western Civilization as we know it today. For those who want to look deeper into the battle, Victor Davis Hanson has devoted a chapter in his excellent book Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise to Western Power
to it, and if that isn't enough, there's this: Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto, which is also most excellent. Buy them both! :)
wombat_socho: Wombat (Politics)
The Weekend Interview with R. Emmett Tyrrell: The Right's Happy Warrior - WSJ.com: James Taranto gives good interview here with Bob Tyrrell, longtime writer for and sometime editor of The American Spectator. This interview is especially timely, not just because I happen to be reading the collection of his "The Continuing Crisis" columns from that magazine, but because Tyrrell has another book out, After the Hangover, which is well worth reading, doubly so if you buy it through my links, hint hint.

Down the road a bit, I think Tyrrell is going to be viewed in somewhat the same way we now look back at William F. Buckley Jr.: a theoretician, a man of letters, and a gadfly who kept pushing the Right to be something more than it was when he came on the scene. Unlike Pat Buchanan, whose rage at the New Left's domination of the media turned off a lot of people, Tyrrell's mockery of the Kultursmog made people laugh and realize what fools these talking heads and pontificating pundits were (and are). The Spectator has come to represent a different flavor of conservatism than the (generally) social conservative tack taken by Buckley's National Review; it is more populist in its libertarianism and less Catholic, and perhaps this is why it's less well-known than its older brother. Perhaps it's the often more snarky tone, that some people find off-putting, but it's a magazine worth following nonetheless. I'd subscribe if I could afford to.
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)
Secular America, it appears that the Church has had enough of your shenanigans. (The Western Confucian via The Marmot's Hole)

One photographer's battle against anorexia in the modeling field.(Probably NSFW) (Ibid.)

Need to pick up the season's hottest political tomes? Look not further than The Other McCain! As a further inducement, the taste Amazon gives Stacy off these sales goes to support independent news reporting of the sort not often done by the lamestream media, and keeps Mrs. McCain happy. Honestly, who could deny a woman like that the pleasure of a jingly tip jar?
"But I already have a glut of books/hate politics/want to get something for my SO!" you say? Well, that's already been covered, with some helpful tips on maintaining a happy marriage supplied along with some tasteful art. (YMMV)

As for me, well, I don't have a wife and six kids, but I wouldn't mind a little traffic through my portal either. Take a look at my bookstore or take advantage of Amazon's Black Friday Deals.

Last but not least, The Dugout gives thanks for Joe Mauer.

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