Book Report: Bite Size History by Hugh Westrup (1999)

This is the first book of trivia-stuff or fact-review things I picked up for my upcoming June adventure, and I chose wisely. If I was looking for a quick read, this juvenile book is it. I should start checking publishers so I don’t get snookered by Scholastic.

It’s a quick bit of paragraphs with history vignettes / trivium in it, but it’s not without some trepidation. Any time you run into something in a book that you know is not true, particularly in a trivia book, you have to wonder if any of it is true. In this particular book, the author explains that the origin of the term “jeep” is that soldiers named it after the Popeye cartoon character. Well, that’s one theory of many.

Regardless, if anything in here stuck in my head, hopefully it’s the right questions.

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: San Diego Seige by Don Pendleton (1972)

This is the 14th book in the series. Mack Bolan is summoned to San Diego by some former associates who worry about Bolan’s mentor from Vietnam, who seems to have become embroiled in some sort of mob scheme. Although Bolan does not consider San Diego a major target, he decides to investigate. When he tries to visit the general, Bolan finds the man dead of an apparent suicide and his papers in the fireplace. Bolan decides to investigate and clear his former boss’s name as much as possible. During the course of his investigations, he uncovers a ring involving stolen military-grade equipment.

It’s not one of the strongest in the series, and it contains a little more speechifying than the norm, but a quick and enjoyable read nevertheless.

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: Washington I.O.U. by Mack Bolan (1972, 1979)

This is the 13th book in the series, and it follows closely the events from Boston Blitz. Bolan goes to Washington D.C. to break the Mafia’s growing control over the levers of power. He meets a woman used to bait powerful men into compromising positions who might be an ally or who might be an enemy and discovers that the powerful man behind the Mafia’s efforts–the elusive Lupo–knows the woman better than she knows.

Also, explosions and guns. Bang! Bang!

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: Triviata: A Compendium of Useless Information compiled by Timothy T. Fullerton (1975)

Here’s another bulleted list of trivia items, ungrouped. This one, though, is targeted for adults. And in case you’re wondering, this book’s known untruth is the assertion that the Great Wall of China might be the only man-made thing visible from space. As you and I know, 35 years after this book was published and some decade and a half after the rise of the Internet and, uh, no.

So I don’t know if any of this will help me at all, if I retained any of it, but I did find something of interest in this book. As it was written in 1975, it includes trivia about cigarettes, and they are not demonized. Additionally, there’s a lot of trivia about tea in this book, so the knowledge of the author speaks to the things the author likes, perhaps. I can almost picture what he looked like in 1975, swilling tea and smoking on a cigarette. Hippie.

Books mentioned in this review:

Annoyance Nostalgia

Good lord, this song annoyed me when WKTI played it over and over again when I was 19 years old. It’s “The One and Only” by some Brit named Chesney Hawkes:

20 years later, I get a touch of nostalgia hearing it. But it still annoys me. How is it possible to feel nostalgic for annoyance?

(Seen on Hot Air.)

Read Your Newspaper In The Driveway

After kicking in the door in the middle of the night and shooting a veteran 60 times, the police justify execution of a search warrant, the spokesman for the police explains the guy had a picture of a drug figure of some sort:

Mike Storie, a lawyer for the SWAT team, said at a press conference Thursday that weapons and body armor were found in the home as well as a photo of Jesus Malverde, who Storie called a “patron saint drug runner,” according to KGUN.

Lord, love a duck. I have a stack of Wall Street Journals two feet deep (I’m a little behind). I’ve got photos of drug runners, inside traders, international terrorists, and contemporary athletes. What kind of nefarious man am I?

It’s sad that a law enforcement official had to trot that out. Seriously, a “patron saint”? Are we supposed to imagine a shrine with an altar and some candles burning here?


(Link seen on Instapundit.)

Attention, Mack Bolan Lover

Hey, you. That dude in Texas who likes Mack Bolan books and has been crawling my book reports for a couple of days.

I don’t want to be a tease, but I’ve got a couple of Mack Bolan Book Reports forthcoming.

Also, don’t be afraid to send me a note or comment with some mention of what you think of the Executioner series.

UPDATE You know what sucks? Having blogged over eight years running and being able to reverse-stalk someone from my Sitemeter stats.

That’s So Mashed Up

As I said on Facebook the other night:

Brian J. Noggle snivels, slinkers, and mutters, “Our two dollarssess, we wantses it.”

You see, I thought I would be the only guy in the world who could successfully mash-up Johnny from Better Off Dead:

With Gollum from the Lord of the Rings trilogy:

Yeah, I thought I could possibly be the only one who could pull that off.

But, wait, there is another:

Demian Slade

That’s Demian Slade, who actually played Johnny in Better Off Dead 26 years ago.

I’ll Lose on Jeopardy!, Baby

I have taken the Jeopardy! online contestant tests for a number of years now, awaiting that one night a year where I get the chance to type one or two word answers into a Flash application as fast as I can, hoping to get enough right for the phone to ring or whatever. Every time, I walked away feeling kinda dumb and doubting my own trivia mastery. When I learned that they actually provided categories above the answers (you respond with a question on Jeopardy!, remember), I thought I did marginally better. This year, when I completed the test, I upgraded my self-assessment of my performance to ambivalent.

Then I got the email.

On June 14, I will venture to Kansas City for an actual audition for the program. If you’ve read up on it, you’ll know that this involves another test, a personality interview, and maybe a mock Jeopardy! game. If I pass muster, I get thrown into the smaller pool of people who might get the chance to play on the program.

So I have a little over a month to prepare. I did, briefly, think about “preparing,” as though some program of trivia immersion would somehow make me a better contestant or a more competitive player. However, there’s just as much chance, I think, that I’d stress myself and not enjoy the coming month, so I think I’ll take it in my normal stride: I’ll alter my reading program slightly to include brushing up on some subjects, but I’m not going to study much but maybe the presidents. And hope my native trivia intelligence is enough to carry me.

Compulsory Compassion

Tam on compulsory government-centric compassion:

“We” are not a wealthy “society”. You and I live in a place that has some rich people and some poor people and some in-between people. “We” don’t “just have to” do anything. There may be things you need to do or things I want to do, but we aren’t part of some borg-like collective with collective responsibilities, wants and needs.

If you want to be compassionate, go be compassionate. I know that’s usually what I do when I’m feeling compassionate, not expect some entity called “the government” to go be compassionate for me. Mailing a check to the government to help the poor because you’re feeling compassionate is like handing the local crackhead a twenty to fetch you a pizza because you’re feeling hungry.

If you think something needs to be done, you should do it. You should not assume everybody else thinks the same way or that somebody else will take care of it for you.

I had a very similar conversation in a bar with a friend of mine some years back; he didn’t give to charity because he paid taxes, and that was the government’s job. Except I would expect he did not have a big Federal tax footprint based on his income when he is employed, and he’s not buying bonds.

So I expect it is with many people who favor government taking care of the needy. They want government to take care of the needy (and keep their benefits, including promised benefits intact) with someone else’s money. They want the warm-fuzzies without expenditures of their own and without having to give up any television time to work at the foodbank.

A lot of people are that way. Some people worried about the less fortunate or less responsible put their money where their mouth is and their time where the work is. But if everyone who felt compassion did, we would not need government handling it.

Unfortunately, the charities themselves spend a lot of time and effort working to get government grants, so that they can take that government money to do their good. It diminishes the charity to me if it has a large number of grant writers on staff instead of ladle bearers.

I lack a snappy conclusion. I’ll go with “a pox on them.”

That said, I do support a number of small local charities with goods donations and some with time (just a couple hours last year, unfortunately, but I have chillen). Last year, we gave about 10% of our gross income (not adjusted gross income). And we’re the heartless Republicans.

Good Book Hunting: May 7, 2011

No book sales this week, but I must have known I was going to be challenged, because I bought some books anyway. We hit two church garage sales, looking more for wooden things I could pyrographitate on, but I found some old books marked a quarter each, so how could I pass them up?

Some hardbacks I got from a Baptist church

Titles include:

  • Tim Allen Laid Bare, an unauthorized biography by the author of Rush!, which I think I also have.
  • Glabb’s English Synonymes, which might be a cookbook of some sort.
  • Inside the British Isles, which had better be about mining or it’s misnamed.
  • Jamestown and Her Neighbors, a local history of Jamestown.
  • The Normal Child and Primary Education, a serious education book written at a time when they might have educated. Of course, it might be a spawn of Dewey, so maybe not.
  • 28 Table Lamp Projects, a book about…. well, I guess it’s obvious.
  • A Book of English Literature, a textbookish collection of English literature. Which is a good thing, since I don’t have any of that sort of thing already.

Most of the books are from the early part of the last century. They’re in fair shape, but come on, they were $1.75 all told.

I also got a collection of flight simulator software that probably won’t work on any of my operational PCs. Right after I donated to Goodwill the joystick I bought some years ago for flight simulators before realizing there weren’t any flight simulators any more. That’s all right, this will have a place on my shelf beside the other games I’ve bought but never opened.

My beautiful wife bought a couple cookbooks and some cheap music.

Seven books. Wow, that’s almost seven times what I’ve read this week. And it was a slow week for book buying.. Maybe I should step away from this chupaclocka and read.

I Hope They Empty The Train Stations, Too

Dry run?

Minor delays on BART trains in Oakland Friday morning were apparently caused by an unruly passenger talking loudly about weapons of mass destruction, a passenger said on the microblogging website Twitter.

The police activity started at about 9:15 a.m. and was causing delays of about 10 minutes for trains headed into San Francisco, a BART dispatcher said.

Around the same time, someone named Michelle King posted on Twitter, “on the train to sf; Of the many crazy people, there’s one right now clapping loudly and talking about WOMD,” a reference to weapons of mass destruction.

Devious scenario:

Step 1: Get them to shut down the trains.
Step 2: Passengers back up in the train stations, leading to a very crowded venue.
Step 3: Poofit.

I hope the government has some fiction writers gaming this stuff out instead of keeping them all occupied in the White House information office.

(Link seen Edstapundit.)