Speaking from Experience

I speak from experience when I say that Ms. Parton states the obvious here:

    They let your dream
    Just to watch ’em shatter
    You’re just a step
    On the boss man’s ladder
    But you got a dream he’ll never take away

I have been a boss man myself, and I can honestly say, “Who would want that shattered dream that I let you have? Now get a broom and a dustpan and clean it up!”

Did I mention how many years running I got the Boss Man of the Year award? No?

Lindenwood University Launches Successful Recruitment Drive

They sure know how to recruit male students, don’t they?

    She is a freshman at Lindenwood, as are six Miss Missouri Teen USA finalists. Also among the student body are Amber Seyer, Miss Missouri Teen USA 2007; and LaTasha Lawrie, Miss Kansas Teen USA 2005. In total, the school says it has about 30 winners or top finishers in beauty pageants.

Lindenwood was sort of in the running for my collegiate dollar, somewhere between SLU and Washington University; however, because my first choice accepted me, it was irrelevant.

A program like this, however, might have altered the equation.

Explaining the Joke

Enormous steel sculpture lifted 12 stories:

    A massive steel sculpture installed Sunday on the side of a South of Market building tells a story of humanity’s past and its uncertain future, says the Seattle artist who spent two years on the project.

    The five pieces of stainless steel, obliquely titled “Artifacts from a Coal Mine” and weighing well over 10,000 pounds, were affixed as public art to the outside of a contemporary brick and concrete condominium building at 177 Townsend at Third Street.

    “They evoke a lost world and the uncertainty of climate change,” said artist Mark Stevens, pacing Townsend Street as one giant sculpture after another was hoisted 12 stories up by a 200-foot-high crane.

If you have to say what your tangle of metal is supposed to represent, it’s not actually evoking anything, ainna?

Book Report: Like I Was Sayin’… by Mike Royko (1984)

In January, I read Dr. Kookie, You’re Right!, so I guess you can take it to heart that I’ve read another one of his books this year. I mean, I won’t even mention both names in a sentence, but this guy probably would think he’s like Royko, but he ain’t.

This book collects a number of Royko’s columns from the Chicago Daily News, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Chicago Tribune. When the Daily News folded, he went to the Sun-Times; when Murdoch bought the Sun-Times, Royko went, breach of contract and all, to the Chicago Tribune. He didn’t like Murdoch and he didn’t like Reagan, but I still can enjoy Royko’s columns.

Maybe it’s because he came from a different era, although the columns that talk about Reagan trend toward the snotty. Perhaps it’s the selections of his columns that ensure that the more universal or the less context-centric column inches make it into the book, but I think Royko hearkens back to an era where the political wasn’t personal, and where you could get together with people on the other side of the political divide for beers after the day was done. Besides, he excoriated Daley I, Bilandic, and Byrne as mayors, so he’s proven he’s not a Democratic party lapdog. I think he’d have mocked the netroots and maybe even Hillary Clinton (mostly because he’d be an Obama man, but still).

Royko’s collection of 30 year old columns are worth reading just to give you perspective about how little things change. He talks about hipsters on the lakefront, the sort of people who a generation later sport iPods and Starbucks cups. He gets a Bronco to cope with the Chicago winter and deals with the fuel-mileage conscious people who drive the little Japanese imports of the era. Oddly enough, the unchanging nature of these picadillos gives me hope, because I sometimes wonder if our lifetimes will run as smoothly (in retrospect) as theirs did. If the problems and whatnot are simply ongoing and are not cataclysmic as they seem to someone living through them the first time, maybe so, maybe so.

Books mentioned in this review:


4.5 Years of Personal History

I’ve been on this blog for almost half a decade, and sometimes that’s brought back more vividly.

Like when I was doing a bit of research for the post that appears, chronologically, above this one, and I came across a joke I relayed.

A joke that was originally told to me by the aunt from whom I’ve inherited the pile of books whose reports I’ve been meting out. She’s been gone almost 3 years now; she would have told me that joke right before she’d learn about the cancer.

Me and Andrew Sullivan

I removed Andrew Sullivan from my blogroll a couple years ago, probably about the time he was advocating that the Federal government overtax the rubes in the big states who need gas to travel between points on the vast maps, unlike our betters on the East Coast who trip on a coffee table leg in Connecticut and their elbows strike the floor in New York.

However, the intern in charge of putting together the Kansas City Star‘s Blog Bits section has us together in Friday’s edition.

Here Come Rubber Roads, Guard Rails

Girl falls off bike while riding in the road, parents sue road builders:

    The mother of a girl severely injured in a bicycle crash in 2005 is suing the people who designed and built the road where she was injured, saying her medical expenses are likely to exceed $25 million.

Only fitting because:

    a combination of a road that was too steep, and dangerous wooden posts

Combined with, I don’t know, an accident.

The face that an attorney has found a large number of defendants (6) for the maximum number of out of court settlements is now matter of course. It’s not even sad on its own any more, just one more pixel in a sad portrait of personal irresponsibility in modern America.

Book Report: Hoaxes! Dupes, Dodges & Other Dastardly Deceptions by Gordon Stein and Marie J. MacNee (1995)

This book is what one would expect. Culled from a larger work (Encyclopedia of Hoaxes), this book presents a Reader’s Digest kind of sumamry of a selection of hoaxes from history. It is what it is, which is shorter and more whitespaced than an actual Reader’s Digest anthology, but worth a couple bits if you can find it cheaply.

I don’t know that I gleaned any real new knowledge from this, but it certainly reinforced some trivia I knew. Well, maybe the story of Dupont’s painting will make it into a historical essay one day.

Books mentioned in this review:


Book Report: Vienna Days by Kim du Toit (2005)

When I imagined this book report, I was going to make some cracks about how Mr. du Toit once called me a wanker, way back in the old days. I thought perhaps I would make a comment about how polite the book reports are when you know that the author is better armed than you are. But a funny thing happened on the way to that facile line celebrating my own cleverness: I liked the book too much to fall into the normal patter.

The man has an admitted fetish for Thomas Hardy, and it’s easy to see the influence of the English writer and the sweep and scope of old literature in this book, and as it clocks in at 300 pages of modern English, it’s a better read.

It’s set in 1890ish Vienna and deals with a lawyer-turned-artist who has it all: a beautiful fiancee, a promising career, and all the trappings of youth and wealth. But he’s not happy because he’s an artist at heart, an existentialist one who sees beneath the veneer of bourgeous sentiments to the rotting core of humanity. So he loses the job, loses the fiancee, and pursues a detached, unreachable woman. He then ascends to a cartoonist career, gets the girl, and throws it all away.

I have a lot of sympathy for the character, but he’s a complete cad who wastes what he’s given and then wastes what he earns. He’s got a sort of intellectual hubris common of artists and intellectuals: that he and a few others can see the true meaning of the human condition, which is squalor. Whereas some of the insight into the artifice of interhuman contact is correct, ultimately it sees beyond to nothingness which doesn’t offer a much better alternative.

So I liked the book, and I am considering buying du Toit’s other book, Family Fortunes as well.

Books mentioned in this review:

Vienna Days
Vienna Days

Your Grandfather’s Kajira

Funny, I don’t see any of your grandparents’ Sioux-City-Suean lifestyles banned (unlike Gor-simulation lifestyles) from Web hosting services, but this song from 1945 is not unlike the Kajira:

    ‘Cause I come from Nebraska to find Sioux City Sue
    I’m gonna rope and tie her up, I’ll use my old lasso
    I’m gonna put my brand on my sweet Sioux City Sue

Dudes, that’s Gene Autry singing the most maligned elements of John Norman’s books right there.

Book Report: Unfair and Unbalanced: The Lunatic Magniloquence of Henry E. Panky by Patrick M. Carlisle (2004)

The cover of this book compares the author to Dave Barry on speed; if that’s the case, that explains why this author outran the funny.

The book is a collection of humor pieces that depend upon continual tropes of drug use, sexual situations, bashing conservatives, and….well, that’s about it. If you cannot buy into the voice, you don’t get into the mirth. I didn’t buy into the voice, so I didn’t really care for the book.

The less said about it, the better, I guess.

Books mentioned in this review:


Book Report: Lori by Robert Bloch (1989)

You know, this is the same fellow that was the contemporary of Lovecraft and whose representation was slain in the Lovecraft story of “The Haunter of the Dark.” I picked the book up because I recognized the name. It’s also the fellow who wrote “That Hell-Bound Train”, which I read as part of some anthology or another in the past.

However, this book is nothing to write home about.

It’s a quick enough read, but it’s because I skimmed some of it and read some of it while watching a hockey game (!). So that tells you something about how engaged I was with the language and the plotting.

It probably would have made a decent short story, but it’s inflated to novel proportions with digressions and time wasting. Let’s see: Lori’s having bad dreams. And some voices. Her parents are killed on the day she graduated from college. She has what appear to be memories/dreams/visions of a medical facility. And people are dying when they become involve in the mystery.

Ultimately, the resolution is a head slapper. Not unpredicted, but without some resolution and without the certainty that the author wanted you to think about some of the things and wonder. More like the sense that stuff just got dropped thoughtlessly.

There’s better Bloch out there. From my current point of view, it’s all better.

Hey, look, a link where you can buy it:

Books mentioned in this review:


Brian’s Nightmares

Bad:

    SWAT officers expected to find a victim shot to death, drugs and a belligerent armed suspect when they surrounded the home of an unsuspecting couple, but found they were only a part of a false emergency call caused by a teenager who hacked into the county’s emergency response system, authorities said.

    As officers swarmed the home with assault rifles, dogs and a helicopter, a Lake Forest couple and their two toddlers inside their home slept unsuspectingly.

    On March 29 at 11:30 p.m., authorities allege, Randall Ellis, a 19-year-old from Mukilteo, Wash., hacked into the county’s 911 system from his home and placed a false emergency call, prompting a fully armed response to the home of an unsuspecting couple that could have ended tragically.

Couple that with the fact that in the next twenty years we’ll have SWAT teams with robots on them:

    The National Defence Force is probing whether a software glitch led to an antiaircraft cannon malfunction that killed nine soldiers and seriously injured 14 others during a shooting exercise on Friday.

Jeez, who’s going to need Terminators when you’re going to have defective software and pinheaded hackers playing potentially deadly pranks?

I’m Shocked, Shocked I Tell You

Sunset Hills project wants tax break:

    The Sansone Group has proposed constructing an office-retail complex to replace the 35-year-old Holiday Inn motel-Viking banquet center on the northwest corner of Lindbergh Boulevard and Watson Road in Sunset Hills.

    The developer is seeking $12 million in government assistance for the $48.2 million project. The aid would be via tax increment financing and transportation development and community improvement districts. Each district would levy one-cent sales taxes.

This is already not newsworthy, ainna? As the contracts are written in English, so they come with hands extended for money from the citizens of the “growing” or “revitalizing” area.