Monthly Archives: January 2013

Book Review: Soulless, by Gail Carriger

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)Soulless by Gail Carriger

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

How strange to go into a review full of groveling apologies. I liked this book a great deal through, say, the first quarter of it. But something about the writing style became rather tiresome to my eyes after that point. And, most peculiar of all, I’m not so sure the issue is with the book as much it is with, well, me. But I just could not get over, or under, or around a sense of the author as a very obvious puppeteer, blatantly pulling strings and trying to show her readers just how amazingly clever she is, rather than interested in spinning a decent yarn.

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Could the South ‘do it again?’ Would they want to? WTF is the ‘South’ anyways?

Of late I’ve learned that whenever I start having utterly useless thoughts, the best approach is to purge myself of them using the ultimate emetic, the Internetz.  And I can’t think of a more utterly useless thought than the one noted above.  I answer the questions asked above as follow:

 

  • A qualified no.  Whatever else, is going on, huge chunks of real estate that once might have been considered ‘Southern’ no longer are. By this I mean at a minimum half of Florida, more than half of Texas and all of Virginia, barring perhaps only the backwaters of the far western part of the state. Indeed, what of North Carolina?  I say qualified in this sense:  barring only a complete collapse of los Estados Unidos, they ain’t goin’ anywhere.  Never mind Maryland of Kentucky. They were never Confederate, and were decidedly a mix bag as far as being Southern.
  • Actually, probably not. In fact, what the spiritual descendants  of an idiotic windbag like William Barnwell Smith, Sr. forget is that he was widely despised even inside South Carolina, was viewed as some sort of imbalanced, rabid weasel by the electorate when it came time to actually pick leaders. Oh, wait, my bad. Silly me. I mean Rhett.  Or… first he was Smith then he was Rhett, right? Since Rhett sounded more “noble” than Smith, right?  Pity he stopped at Rhett. Should have gone all the way to Foghorn Leghorn, now that would be both noble and far more accurate. And if there’s evidence of a shift in Southern attitudes toward fire eaters, well, that would indeed be interesting. But those who look towards a three dollar bill like Smith/Rhett for guidance are doing nothing but shooting themselves in the foot. Or perhaps temple. No doubt there’s hypocrisy among Yankees. But there’s no monopoly
  • As noted above, who can say? Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, West Virginia, nope, not these days. Though I suppose northern Alabama, where only one county voted in favor of secession, which part of said state supplied most of Sherman’s cavalry (The first time I stumbled across a reference to the 1st US Cavalry-Alabama as traveling with Sherman, not fighting him, I thought it was a typo. Nope. I guess the ‘buckra’ could only take so much pissing down their back by their ‘betters?’), etc., might actually have more secesh tendencies than it did back in the day. A curious bit of inversion, that. It was certainly always Southern, but debatably Confederate.

Okay, that should do it for the moment. Now we’ll have to see if we’re looking at a truly cathartic experience (per Aristotle) or if this only fans the flames of incipient lunacy all the higher (per Plato.)

Time will indeed tell. I wonder if Charlie Daniels came from the part of Tennessee that required military intervention – and 20 or so hangings – to be forcibly extricated from the Union. State’s rights, but apparently no rights for hillbillies?

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No title, no point, no purpose

The only subversive mind is the one which questions the obligation to exist; all the others, the anarchist at the head of the list, compromise with the established order.
EM Cioran, The New Gods, Strangled Thoughts

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Ooh, those zany French. Always good for a chuckle.

But what you talkin’ ’bout, EM?

Here’s my take: If you had six months left to live, information utterly irrefutable and delivered from an unimpeachable source, would you:

  • Floss your teeth?
  • Balance your checkbook?
  • Do the Mencken? As in, “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

Answers: No – No – And, hell yes.

I’m attemptin’ to write a serious essay™ and so far except for that Cioran quote it could suck a golf ball through a garden hose.  I knew I was a bad writer. I just never grasped how truly awful and banal I am, to the n-th degree.

So I’ve gone back to drinking. But only for a few days. Fortunately being an amateur, I know that “If something is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” [Who the Eff said that? No idea.] So at some point the booze gets put down and another badly written load of twaddle will without doubt be excreted into an utterly uncaring world.

And, check this out…How big a collection of douchebags are the people who run Annheuser-Busch? Rhetorical question, since the answer is, of course, a gi-normous matched set, suitable for framing. What is messing with my head, though, is why they had to buy out Rolling Rock. Rolling Rock beer, manf’d. by the “Latrobe Brewing Co., St. Louis, MO.” WTF?  You don’t pull things like that on someone who knows Latrobe, PA for (a)Arnold Palmer (b) Rolling Rock beer and knows than (c) an “Arnold Palmer” is a drink of half iced tea, half lemonade.

Jesus wept. And Rolling Rock died. But I still love you all, anyways. Even if you are an Annheuser-Busch running douchebag.

Edit to add:In case it was not sufficiently obvious from the post, I’m drunk. I had an ancestor who’s death certificate listed the cause of death as a “diseased liver.” Why mention that? Dunno. I guess there’s worse ways to go?

 

 

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Book Review: Sherman’s March

Sherman's MarchSherman’s March by Burke Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Even though this book was published in the far ago, ancient past of 1980, Davis brings to the table a boatload of narrative I’ve not seen addressed to this degree elsewhere. As claimed, he certainly did his share of digging, through obscure and doubtless even difficult to locate local historical societies throughout the North and South. His reliance on these previously unknown journals, magazine articles and even books that have “fallen off the table” as it were makes this a very different sort of read from most works of history.

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Book Review: Bitten

Bitten (Women of the Otherworld, #1)Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

I’m marking this one with a spoiler tag, not because I give anything away, but rather because I’m giving it to this piece of vileness masquerading as a book with both barrels. If you continue reading and happen to have been a fan of this, don’t say you weren’t warned. Got it?

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WordPress Annoyance, Pt. 87

I know I’ve whined about this crappy screen that seems to make an appearance on an irregular basis someplace or other, but some topics just never grow old.

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Or at any rate it used to be on an irregular basis. Now it seems to pop up every time you log in. Why and what for, in the name of heaven? I’d rate it as useless to downright confusing if asked, but, alas, I’m hardly amongst the Powers that Be at WordPress.com.

Which brings me to my second irritant: This.

I made the mistake of following the link from that screen. And, ummm, WTF? What exactly are they looking for here? Someone to admit that they chopped up their grandmother in the backyard and baked her remains into a yummy casserole of Grandma Pot Pie? And to note that, nope, nobody’s caught me yet, but I’ve still got some leftovers in the fridge. Do ya think I should leave ’em be or eat ’em up yum as late lunch? (Note to the anal out there: Both of my grandmothers are long deceased, one in 1971, the other in 1985. This is an example, not an autobiographical sketch.)

All about the “art and craft” of blogging, too. Should I expect some Elmer’s Glue and little shiny bits so I can make a coaster, like I did back in the day at the YMCA day camp? One of my resolutions for the New Year was to try to be a bit less cynical and skeptical towards my fellow humans. But, Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, how can I be expected to hold myself to such a task in the face of twaddle like this? Is it even possible?

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Book Review: Directive 51

Directive 51 (Daybreak, #1)Directive 51 by John Barnes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Interesting enough to keep me plodding along, but also not interesting enough to really rouse any deep-seated excitement or interest. I personally thought the underlying premise of how the “Daybreak” organization was supposed to function as more than a bit implausible, particularly given what they were able to accomplish. And the idea of “biotes” and whatnot as destroyers of modern technology have also been done with far more originality in The Martian General’s Daughter, which explored many of the same ideas as this work.

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