Is Our Journalists Learning Civics?

In a story about my congressional representative (Congressman Billy Long talks with KY3 regarding Capitol Insurrection and possible Senate run that really does not offer any detail but a couple quotes from the Congressman and a couple of times mentions that the Republicans blocked creating of a commission to “investigate” the “insurrection.”

It does, however, offer this bit of civics:

The vote was 54 in favor of the bill and 35 against. That is just six short of what it needed to be at 60 in order for it to pass.

That’s not actually for it to pass, but it’s all the same I suppose for a twenty-four-year-old journalist.

Full disclosure: Although I have voted for Mr. Long, I have not had my picture taken with him since Friday, when I attended the reopening of the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield visitor center where he spoke.

So that’s why posting has been light late last week: I’ve been, you know, doing stuff.

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Book Report: Life After Favre by Phil Hanrahan (2009)

Book coverI bought this book in 2019. Maybe I didn’t know when the time would be right to read it, but given the nonsense in this off season, wherein people are claiming that Aaron Rodgers doesn’t want to play for the Green Bay Packers any more, I knew the time was now. As to the truth of the Rodgers situation, I can believe it. In spite of his being good at Jeopardy! and an entertaining host of it, I can find it easy to believe he wants to leave–I saw the look in his eyes last year, when the conference championship was at Lambeau Field. He did not want to be out there playing football in the cold. So I can find it easy to believe that he might want to play somewhere warmer. But if he does, a pox on him.

But that’s not about this book. This book. Well, it’s an interesting book, all right, a bit interesting in its conception and execution. The author, living in LA at the time but a native Wisconsinite, decides he wants to write a book about the year after Favre left. So he moves to Green Bay for the season, but also attends several games in different places and travels to Kansas to watch a game in Jordy Nelson’s parents’ bar, travels to Kiln, Mississippi, the home of Brett Favre, and travels all over while renting a place in an extended stay in Green Bay. He goes around, talks to other fans, and…. Well, that’s the book. Not a whole lot of insight into the Favre thing other than recounting a bit of it which had kinda fallen out of my mind, and he brings up the names of some nearly forgotten Packers players for some pleasant memories. The book plays up the young Aaron Rodgers as eager to please, to lead, and to make a good impression with his teammates–an impression that, over time, looks a bit disingenuous.

Of course, as I’m reading this, I’m wondering who’s paying for it. I mean, fronting the money for that sort of thing must have been fairly expensive, and this is not a big name author or the member of some media organization. This looks to be about his only book. In the acknowledgements, he thanks his parents for his support, and I thought, a-ha! When I read the back flap of the dust jacket after I finished the book (I removed it while reading the book–funny, it’s there to protect the book, but nowadays we, and by we, I mean I, protect the protector more than the protected), I discovered that he taught writing at Marquette. He must have been after me, I told my beautiful wife, but actually we overlapped–but he must have been an adjunct or associate professor, teaching the 001 classes or something, since I did not take his classes, and I was not only in the Writing Intensive English program, but I had so many English credits that my graduation was in jeopardy (is that the second time that word has appeared in this book report? Is double jeopardy even allowed in these things?).

At any rate, so how did the Favre thing compare to the Rodgers thing? Kinda close, actually: Rumors and hints in the national media, a primadonna star quarterback who believes unfallibly that he’s in the right and that he’s not respected, and the general manager should be sacked. Worry that nobody would want to play for Green Bay without the recently departed star quarterback. The Packers did really get lucky with two really good quarterbacks in a row leading to 25 years of really good football–I’m a fair weather fan who really only got into it about twenty years ago, so I don’t remember the lean years. Perhaps if the Packers revert to the mean, I will end up only kind of following them and catching a game here or there kind of like I follow the St. Louis Blues these days. Eh, we will see.

So I did flag a couple of things for comment.

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National Lampoon Movie Double Feature

Gentle reader, my wife and children are finding excuses to go to Silver Dollar City once or twice a week to get the most out of season passes, and as I am not an amusement park kind of guy–once a year is enough for me to walk around and maybe get onto the shoot-at-stuff ride (the Flooded Mine at Silver Dollar City), that means I get a chance to watch a couple of movies each week. Which is good, as I have a cabinet full of videocassettes, DVDs, and a Blu-Rays that I’ve been meaning to get to, and I’ve also started grabbing them with more frequency at garage sales and whatnot as I see their availability in such places coming to an end in a decade or so. Wow, that was quite a sentence.

Regardless, I bought and watched two National Lampoon-branded movies from the early part of the century this past week. I picked them up at a thrift store for a couple bucks each (the same trip where I bought My Cousin Vinny).

Book coverNational Lampoon’s Dirty Movie (2011)

When I got back from the thrift store, I made sure to show my purchases to my beautiful wife just in case my youngest (he of the I thought I’d find you in the Adult section infamy) saw some of the titles and told his mother I bought a Dirty Movie.

So. The movie is not a movie about a porn film a la Zack and Miri Make A Porno. Instead, it’s a meta film about making a film comprising nothing but dirty jokes being acted out. The frame story is a polyester producer who wants to make this film working with the studio, the director, writers, and actors to make the film interspersed with dirty and offensive jokes acted out. You have a bunch of clips with doctor, give me the good news/bad news jokes, Dirty Johnny jokes (a favorite of my father’s) where a schoolboy responds to a normal question with an off-color remark or pun, and that sort of thing. The comedy is full of ethnic humor and jokes at the expense of homosexuals, too, including some in the acted-out-joke portions and in the meta portion, where the writers insinuate that the director is gay. AND an extended bit where the producer wants to insert the baddest word but the head of the studio won’t allow it–and every time the writers, producer, and head of the studio say the baddest word, they bleep it out even though they’re using all manner of other ethnic slurs throughout the movie and in this bit in comparison (“So a bleeped baddest word can call a lesser ethnic slang, but not bleeped out a lesser ethnic slang, but not bleeped out, but a lesser ethnic slang, but not bleeped out cannot call a bleeped baddest word a bleeped baddest word?”) So it’s poking fun at the then-orthodoxy which has only gotten worse.

So it was amusing for people of a certain age who were not raised snowflakes, but it’s also not for young people, so if I ever make a locked cabinet for films to keep them out of the hands of my boys, this one will go in it. Although they’re teens now, so I only would need a locked cabinet for a little while yet, so I will probably not and just rely on their predilections for just staring at their other electronic devices and finding setting up the entertainment center to watch a movie on physical media too much of a chore to bother with.

Book coverNational Lampoon’s Adam and Eve (2005)

With the title Adam and Eve, one might expect some sort of Biblical story, and that’s not what this is at all. It has a standard setting for a National Lampoon film, a college, with main characters in a sorority and a fraternity (it says), and there’s a lot of drinking, sex, and drug use.

But at its core, this movie has a very, erm, conservative message. Adam introduces himself to the girl Eve, and they start dating, but she’s a virgin, and she’s not sure when she might want to go all the way. So most of the story deals with his frustration and her uncertainty, with pressure on Eve not only from Adam but also her sorority sisters. The gags are typical college movie fare, but the story isn’t about the gags. It’s about the tension and resolution in Adam and Eve’s relationship. Can they stay together without sex? They both declare their love for one another to each other and to others. An obvious plot twist and a satisfying conclusion.

So I was rather pleased with the film. But another one not for the boys.

In the film, Eve is played by Emmanuelle Chriqui, whom I recognized from You Don’t Mess with the Zohan but who also apparently has had a good career in television as well.

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Brian J.’s Recycler Tour Comes To Your Town

Over a decade ago, I said:

Brian J. Noggle insists earnestly that his child’s first doctor visit involved him getting examined by a vet.

And I explained in a comment:

Lt. Cdr Terrill USN, ret., had just gotten her first job outside the service. Being former Navy, she was used to treating babies, though.

Aforementioned baby is now, what, almost fifteen and in the JROTC. Not the Navy, though, since we don’t really have that much water around here, even in the wet springs.

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Weekend Movie Watching: My Cousin Vinny

Book coverSo we, like many people in the nation, are getting saturation-bombed on the radio by the One Dime Down woman. I first heard this series of commercials a couple years ago when I was traveling back and forth to the Kansas City area which was already infested with these commercials. They feature a woman with an exaggerated New York accent in high dudgeon that car dealers want a down payment, and that the selected car dealer only requires “one doime down.”

Here’s an example of the genre:

Well, the blissful silence ended when one of the local Springfield dealerships bought the advertising package and began running the ads in heavy rotation on the local radio stations during the day. As it stands, at :20 and :50 minutes after the hour, as you’re trying to find music but failing because the radio stations all take their ad breaks at the same time, you’re more likely to find a commercial in this vein running on one or more stations, consecutively if not concurrently.

The ads made me think of the film My Cousin Vinny because the titular Vinny and his girlfriend Lisa, played by Marisa Tomei, both have exaggerated New York accents in it. And Tomei is not too far off the squeal of the auto pitchwoman.

I saw this film in the theater when I was in college and once or twice since then, but I was saddened to see that I did not have it in the library. Since my shaming by not having The Blues Brothers among my collected VHS and DVDs, I have been looking to expand the library where I can, and I came across the DVD of this movie at a thrift store recently.

So I watched it with my boys.

If you’re not familiar with the story: Two New York boys on their way to UCLA stop at a quick sack to stock up on food for their trip. One of them, the Karate Kid (Ralph Macchio, not actually playing the Karate Kid in this film), accidentally shoplifts some tuna. After they leave, a couple of other guys in a similar car come in and rob and murder the clerk, and the kids from New York are picked up for murder by Sheriff Jack Dalton (Bruce McGill, not actually playing Jack Dalton in this film), and when the Karate Kid admits to the shoplifting, they think he’s admitting to the murder. So they get locked up and call Vinny, the lawyer in the Karate Kid’s family who just passed the bar and has never tried a case. So it’s a fish-out-of-water comedy as the New York lawyer learns on-the-fly (it’s a flying-fish-out-of-water story, apparently, in my mixed metaphor) court procedure aided by his girlfriend.

Amusing and funny in spots even today. My boys liked it, my older one getting more of the humor than the younger. And then we posed the question: c’mon, man, is Marisa Tomei ugly?

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What I Said In 1990, I Learned Was True in 2021

Back in about 1990, when I learned that Milli Vanilli was not really Rob and Fab (after having seen them at Summerfest where they had problems playing the vocal tracks and were delayed several times–yes, with Dave), I thought, huh, someone made that music–they should release a CD with the real vocalists.

Now, in an article about the death of one of the real vocalists, I see they did:

Farian attempted to repackage the group as The Real Milli Vanilli, to feature the actual singers on Milli Vanilli recordings, namely Davis and Brad Howell, 77. Their album “The Moment of Truth” made rounds in Europe, Asia and South America, but the band never again reached the fame launched by Pilatus, who died in 1998 at 33, and Morvan, 55.

Maybe I should….

… Maybe not.

Given that the record was bigger in Europe than stateside, I guess I’ll have to wait until I go to a European garage sale to pick it up.

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Book Report: Lethal Agent The Executioner #182 (1994)

Book coverI said I was done with movie tie-in and television tie-in books for the nonce, so I dived right into an Executioner novel.

This book starts in media res with Bolan in Burma, rescuing Brognola from Russians who are holding him. To make a couple of paragraphs of treatment into a novel, a former Russian army officer whose brother died in Afghanistan has continued work on nerve agents in the Burmese jungle with the protection of a local warlord. He hopes to make enough nerve gas to use in Afghanistan to get revenge and to embarrass the Russians who have left Afghanistan behind. Bolan goes into the jungle to stop it before the Russian can further test the nerve agents on innocent villagers and finds both Russian and US teams on the Russian’s trail as well with their own agenda.

So pew pew pew, meetings with friendly village militia, Bolan running around with a bullet hole, and dramatic final confrontation where the Russian says he and Bolan are a lot alike (join me, Luke!), and finis.

So it’s a Bolan in the jungle book, not one built with the layers of a thriller like some of the other books in the series. Which is nice that some of these later (but not latest) books move between the two story styles to keep things fresh. After all, I have twelve eleven Executioner novels and 34 related titles left. It turns out I had a copy of Evil Kingdom, the middle book in the Medellin Trilogy, filed not in the numerical order with after all and did not have to order it off of the Internet at an exorbitant price. It was not in numerical order because it was a Super Bolan title, so it was shelved a little to the right of the numbered entries in the series. On the one hand, dang; on the other hand, one less book in the series I have to read.

Strangely enough, I don’t see Executioner books much in the wild at book sales these days. Mainly because the Clever book sale ended as the Clever Library folded into the Christian County Library system and because I only intermittently get to the Friends of the Christian County Library book sale in Nixa or Ozark (when it’s regularly held, which is not in a year and a half). I don’t tend to visit the cheap paperbacks at the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County library sale. Which prevents me from the dilemma of whether I want to get more of these books–after all, I might be but a year or four out from finishing the set I have. Do I want to extend that? I don’t think so, enjoy them as I might. But time will tell when the temptation is there.

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We Get It: You Want Us To Think They’re Crazy Part II

Gun-waving charges against Missouri U.S. Senate candidate’s wife amended.

Not Holding guns in sight on their property when a mob breaks down a gate to enter their closed neighborhood. No, gun-waving, like the mad man and woman they are!

A special prosecutor said Tuesday he has amended the charges against a St. Louis woman who waved a gun at racial injustice protesters last summer, and he’ll decide soon if he’ll amend charges against her husband.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey were indicted by a grand jury in October on felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering. Special Prosecutor Richard Callahan said in a statement that he filed a new indictment on Monday that would give jurors the alternative of convicting Patricia McCloskey of misdemeanor harassment instead of the weapons charge. Under that alternative, the evidence tampering count would be dropped.

Why the wife and not the husband?

Because the husband is running in the Republican Senate primary, duh!

(Part I of what is no doubt destined to be a long series unless the guy stops running for political office as part of a plea deal.)

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On Emperors of Rome by Professor Garrett G. Fagan (2007)

Book coverAfter Lost Christianities, I thought I would pick up something that I could listen to with the boys in the car. I didn’t end up doing so, though, as many of the lectures were bloody and brutal, especially when it came to succession. So it took me a while to get through the series since my time was limited in the car.

The lectures include:

  1. The Shape of Roman Imperial History
  2. The Roman Republic
  3. Caesar and the Suicide of the Republic
  4. The First Emperor–Augustus
  5. The Powers of Augustus
  6. Succession Woes
  7. Livia Drusilla, Empress of Rome
  8. The Early Years of Tiberius
  9. The Would-Be Emperor, Sejanus
  10. The Mad Emperor? Caligula
  11. Killing Caligula, Finding Claudius
  12. The Odd Couple–Claudius and Messalina
  13. Power and Poison–Agrippina and Claudius
  14. Artist and Assassin–Nero
  15. The Trouble with Christians
  16. Dynasty’s End–The Fall of Nero
  17. The Long Year, A.D. 69
  18. The First Flavian–Vespasian
  19. The Last Flavians–Titus and Domitian
  20. Pax Augusta–Nerva and Trajan
  21. Trajan in Rome and the East
  22. The Eccentric Emperor–Hadrian
  23. Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus
  24. Marcus in the North and Commodus
  25. Civil War and Septimus Severus
  26. Caracalla and the Severian Dynasty
  27. Emperor and City
  28. Emperor and Empire
  29. Emperor and Elite
  30. Emperor and People
  31. Emperor and Soldier
  32. Chaos
  33. Aurelian, Diocletian, and the Tetrarchy
  34. Constantine–Rise to Power
  35. The Christian Emperor–Constantine
  36. Reflections on The Emperors of Rome

So, briefly, I can name the Roman emperors in order from Augustus to, what, Severius? But once we get to the next round of civil wars, we get a bunch of claimants and soldier-emperors, and I lose track a bit.

So, what does one learn from this audio course? Well, some interesting trivia about Rome, some better sense of how it was governed, some of the war situations on the frontier, and some of the architectural contributions. How it went in cycles from strongman to brief dynasty to civil war to strongman. A couple of the emperors were considered crazy and a couple were considered ‘good’ or beneficial to the empire or history as a whole, but that the reigns had ups and downs and most of the impact was felt by Rome and the court. Which is somewhat consoling in this the modern world, but our panopticon internet and our incessant need to say “Look at me!” makes it easier for the would-be emperors and their hangers-on in these days. Listen to me talking about it–I am at eighteen years and running on this blog, ainna?

At any rate, an interesting listen: The lecturer describes the emperors’ reigns narratively but for a few survey lectures that explore the emperors’ changing relationships with the city, the elite, the people, the empire, and the soldiers.

So what would I tell my uncle I remember from the course? Probably passing familiarity with emperors by name and relative length of their tenures. A little about Trajan and Hadrian that I hadn’t known reinforcement of some received judgments about others like Caligula and Nero. A bit more reinforcement of early Christian history where it intersects with the Roman empire.

So it was about eighteen hours of listening over a couple of months, and it’ll probably be a while before I get through another as the school year has ended and with it my daily commute taking the youngest to school daily.

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“So What Do You Want To Do In Branson?” My Beautiful Wife Asked

I had mentioned maybe taking a weekend in Branson this summer to my beautiful wife this weekend, and she said, “So what do you want to do in Branson?”

“Go to Calvin’s Books,” I said. I mean, I guess we could do a show. But Calvin’s Books was a given, along with walking up to the Uptown Cafe to see a country singer while I eat breakfast.

Well, strike that trip to Calvin’s Books. Well-known Branson bookstore closing doors due to pandemic challenges, rent spike:

Calvin’s Used Books owner Heidi Sampson said the bookstore faced tough financial struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a recent rent spike leaves them with no other choice but to walk away from their business.

Although the video story shows them moving their inventory out instead of liquidating it, so one can hope that perhaps they might reopen later in Hollister or West Branson where rents might be less expensive.

So we might as well cancel our weekend in Branson since there’s nothing to do there now.

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Weekend Movie Viewing: Blue Hawaii

Book coverSo we had some time on Sunday evening, my youngest and I, to watch a film. As my youngest is very patient and will watch old movies with me, I picked Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii. You know, my sainted mother was a big Elvis fan–she was a woman of a certain age, after all, and so many of the Baby Boomer women were Elvis fans–but I had not actually seen an Elvis picture before. So I got it in my head to watch this film, and I set it upon my entertainment centers for just such an occasion.

So: It’s Elvis being Elvis, in Hawaii. It was one of the first films after he returned from his army service (c’mon, man, you know he was drafted and served in Europe for a couple years in the fifties, ainna? How old are you, son?). So he plays a GI returning to Hawaii, where he wants to take up again his life of surfing and goofing off with his friends who are mostly natives. His parents are transplants, his father an executive at the pineapple canning plant and his mother (played by a 36-year-old Angela Lansbury–at 36, she was cast as a matron, a look that she would carry for, what, sixty years now? Hollywood certainly had a bright line for when actresses were old in those days). They (his parents, not the people in Hollywood) want Elvis to come work at the plant, but he wants to find his own way. He gets a job with the tourist agency where his native girlfriend works (Joan Blackman with a makeup tan/native coloring). His first assignment is to show an attractive teacher and her teenaged companions around. Which he does, with some hijinks including a surly and worldly teen who is unimpressed with Hawaii but wants to nail Elvis and who causes trouble–including inciting a bar fight that lands Elvis in jail and fired from his tour guide job.

Ah, you know the plot does not get much beyond its treatment, stock characters, and a handful of scenes with dialog between the musical numbers. But, c’mon, man, if you’re watching an Elvis movie, you’re watching it for the musical numbers (or you’re interested in them as a cultural artifact). Apparently, this was Elvis’s biggest film, and its soundtrack includes “(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You. One who was not there must wonder if this film was taking advantage of the tiki bar fad or if it triggered it–given this film is from 1960, probably riding on the interest as I think it preceded this film (this article asserts such a place existed before the first recognized tiki bar in the 1930s).

At any rate, it’s a bit of light fun, a summer movie before they had to feature explosions or super heroes. But my son had a couple things to say.

First, he said he’d seen the movie before. Well, part of it. Apparently his teacher likes Elvis movies. And she showed them the first thirty minutes of this film during their lunch period. Last week. Friday. So it was very fresh in his mind, and quite the coincidence that he watched the whole film three days later.

The other thing he said was that the women in the movie were ugly.

Son, I tried to explain to him, perhaps you’re just not used to the fashions of the early 1960s. I mean, it was before my time, but I grew up watching movies from the era, so I’m at least acclimated a bit to it (although since my parents, aunts, and uncles dressed and wore their hair like that, I still kind of thought it was old when I saw it as a kid). But, gentle reader, I would leave it to you to determine if the women of Blue Hawaii were ugly or if my son has a lot to learn.

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Now Do

Professionals advocating. Child marriage is currently legal in 46 states:

A new study shed light on a centuries-old issue still happening across the United States, child marriage.

The organization Unchained At Last found nearly 300,000 children under the age of 18 were legally married between 2000 and 2018.

“When I talk about this issue, invariably somebody says, ‘Child marriage is that a thing?’ Well it is and it’s a problem,” said Pennsylvania state representative Perry Warren.

The new study, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, noted that the age or spousal difference is significant enough it would have been considered a sex crime for 60,000 of the cases.

Now, that’s rich, given the salacious and tawdry things coming out in the Gates divorce, including Bill Gates’ connections to Jeffrey Epstein and so on. Yeah, I know, it’s a logical fallacy to point out the fallibility of an argument’s source as proving the argument incorrect, but c’mon, man. Logic does not win arguments any more. So we can forget all about arguing about the expansion of childhood to the arbitrary 18 or 21 or about how some sixteen year olds are more mature than others, and why marriage is such a bad thing for seventeen year olds.

No, let’s take the dramatic map from the article:

Now, professionals, please color in on this map the states where children on their own recognizance with the assistance of other professionals who are not their parents should be prohibited from reassigning their gender:

Wait, what? Children should not be allowed to marry until eighteen even with their parents’ advice and consent but should be allowed to irreparably alter their bodies based on their childish utterances or phases? Why is that?

Sorry, I forgot: being a professional agitator in one arena means deferring any continuity or consistency in thought. After all, you’re focused like a laser on the issue whose advocacy foundation pays your bills and will leave the other issues to the expert professionals in their advocacy foundations for that issue.

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This Just In: Additional Gun Law Advocates Advocate Additional Gun Laws

You see “many” in a headline like this, and you know who the particular “many” are: Week of violent crimes in Springfield leaves many seeking a larger conversation

The professionals.

Because if you put Professionals with Moms Demand Action or Man Planning Political Career in the headline, it’s definitely less compelling.

Strangely enough, the conversations are about what advocacy groups and the government should do, which is the predictable litany of social programs and gun proscriptions that have not had the intended results over the course of the last sixty years.

It does not say about reaching out to anyone about how our culture or cultures have come to a place where shooting, stabbing, stealing, and a whole variety of immoral acts are no longer condemned or punished. The root causes are always found to be economic, structural, or something other than individuals acting on their own agency against a shared moral code. The very thought of morals oppresses people by telling them not to act a certain way.

No, clearly, what we need are more laws for the lawless to ignore and slush funds for professional advocates and their organizations.

Someone at KY3, probably someone young, picked some low-hanging fruit with this article/news story and wrote the same story that has been written for the last sixty years, leading us in a descending widening gyre.

On the other hand, I guess it’s good that coronavirus EXTINCTION-LEVEL EVENT has passed and we’re back to gun violence. On the other tentacle, it’s always something.

UPDATE: See also An interesting discussion on criminal “gun violence” which is a little more nuanced than you get out of twenty-four-year-olds writing the news.

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People Who Have Punched Me In The Nose In The News

Dr. Bumberry talks about benefits and limitations of personalized medicine

As I have taken martial arts classes for almost a decade at a relatively successful school, I can say of many members of the community in many different walks of life, “She punched me in the nose” or “I choked him.” The Kubota dealer on the radio? Even over seventy, he was tough in a fight. The new principal of the rural school district back east? If she wouldn’t get me, her husband would kill me.

Which is why many of my conversations are kind of short. Well, one of the reasons.

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Book Report: The Blues Brothers by Miami Mitch (1980)

Book coverWell, this book is probably the one that leads me to end my reading of other movie and television tie-in books for the nonce. It, of course, novelizates the classic film based on a Saturday Night Live sketch (which makes it movie and television tie in).

All right, for those of you born in the twenty-first century (Just kidding! What is this, an app-based video because the damn kids can’t even handle a YouTube video that’s measured in tens of minutes? Not hardly!), I will sum up the plot: After a failed robbery to pay the members of his blues band, Jake Blues goes to prison for a couple of years. When he gets out, he discovers that the orphanage where he and his adopted brother Elwood grew up is under the threat of closure for nonpayment of taxes (what?), and a group of Nazis are hoping to buy it at auction. So they decide to get their blues band back together to do a special gig at a ritzy joint where they’re not actually scheduled to perform.

So that’s it. The story is them gathering the band members who have scattered and putting on the show.

The movie, as you recall, gentle (old man) reader, was almost a musical with numbers by James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and others in their various scenes. However, in each of those iconic scenes, the mention of any music is omitted, and the whole scene is over in a couple of sentences or a paragraph. Other lengthy segments from the film, such as the car chase through the mall, are also handled quickly and dismissively, with memorable lines like “The new Oldsmobiles are in early this year!” completely missing.

Given that this is much of the draw of the film and that the humor in the film is kind of droll and not really laugh out loud funny to begin with, the book is not a very good read. As I mentioned, it’s probably put me off of movie tie-ins for a bit, especially as I think the running theme is played out (although with its help, I am at 49 books read so far this year).

I did pick out a couple of things from the book to flag though, tucked below the fold so I do not further tax your patience with my book reports which are more about me reading the books than the books themselves.

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Facebook Must Know My Reputation For Thinking “I Can Do That”

As I might have mentioned, gentle reader, one of the young men from our martial arts school has evolved into a trainer at the YMCA, which is bad news for your humble narrator. For I have always tried to keep up with him in the exercises in martial arts classes, such as matching his push-up total or holding a plank or whatever. I see him working out at the Y, and he’s always doing crazy exercises like Horshaks (a jump squat starting from a seated position in a chair), backwards box jumps with a rear somersault (he hasn’t done that when I’ve seen it, but he’s probably done it, or the impossible push-up.

So perhaps I have gotten a little reputation for thinking I can do anything once or for thirty seconds.

Which might have led to the following sequence on my Facebook feed:

A friend posted an ad for some bit of 70s apparel featuring a man with his calves by his head. Yeah, I used to be able to do that, when I was ten or eleven. Probably later, but not so much now. Although I can throw head-high kicks when warmed up.

Facebook followed this up with an ad for a program that purportedly will get men to do full splits in 30 days. Uh, yeah, thanks for thinking of me, Facebook, but that’s probably not possible at this point. I’m almost fifty and running out of almost.

Still, I do have a book on stretching and improving flexibility that my editor Jerry Pournelle recommended almost a decade ago. I should probably look into that, but to be honest, gentle reader, my time is filled with blogging and looking for images of Indian actresses for your consideration. So maybe next week.

But programs trying to get to full splits? As the sage of San Francisco once said, “A man has got to know his limitations.”

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