Brian J.’s Recycler Tour Returns

Two years ago, I said:

Oh, no. In the silent auction, I wrote my phone number in the wrong column.

Now I owe almost nine million dollars for a peach pie and some chocolate cookies.

I was referring to the Republic Pregnancy Resource Center’s annual Bluegrass and Barbecue silent auctions (where I have shopped before).

It’s coming up this Friday, so I will have to shop very carefully.

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Alienating Readers A Badge of Honor At The Daily Dammit, Gannett

The “article,” for paying subscribers, is entitled “Young reporter threatened; columnist told that his head is up his #*@”.

C’mon, man, we know what the readers are responding to: The hype stories from the new kid and that the closest thing that the paper has to a local columnist has been writing political diatribes knocking people skeptical of the Recurrent Unpleasantness instead of explaining what’s being built on such and such corner and what’s the story about that one thing we pass on our daily commute.

One wonders how much the article, for subscribers only, will reinforce a certain block of subscribers and how much the article will lead to cancelled or lapsed subscriptions.

I expect both, but for the Daily Dammit, Gannett to continue to shrink in size and subscriber base.

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Book Report: Fire Hammer The Executioner #215 (1996)

Book coverYou know, I have kind of enjoyed the last couple of Executioner novels (all right, mostly Rescue Run and Death Whisper), but this book is a real clunker.

To start with, the plot involves helping China. A group of Chinese rebels working with a Chinese American entrepreneur hope to bring China’s Communist government down by causing an accident at a nuclear plant in southeast China, which will also poison Hong Kong. Bolan has to track them through a couple of set pieces to Malaysia, where he works with a Chinese-American CIA agent and eventually the only remnant of a Chinese “secret service” team that tried to kill Bolan on a couple of occasions. They have to attack an enemy stronghold with a maze-like structure that can serve as a training room for various nuclear plants, which means of course we’ll have a shoot out in a maze.

Yeah, well. You know, when I read Lee Child’s Killing Floor, I mentioned that he (Child) was an Englishman trying to write in the American, and the author of this particular paperback leads me to believe he, too, might be English. But some of the same kinds of things: Calling cartridges ‘shells’ (I think) and especially the mistake in measuring distances. The mistake is this: Americans tend to measure things in terms of feet until they start getting pretty large, at which time we talk about yards. So talking about three yards is ludicrous unless you’re talking about an American football game. At one point, it goes on about how Bolan prepares himself to jump two yards and then barely caught the edge of the precipice/building as though that was a great distance–but if Mack Bolan fell that two yards, he would hit his head on the edge.

I was working myself up to a thesis that this was Lee Child in another early pseudonym, but apparently the author is a guy who lists his Gold Eagle work in his LinkedIn bio. Welp, I guess I am not as clever as I think.

Aside from the British-sounding bits, the book has some clunkers, some misplaced verbiage that could have been cut, as well as some mistakes as to which gun Bolan is holding at any given time (he fires the Beretta, then he fires the Desert Eagle, without mentioning that he’s changed weapons). Maybe that’s not a mistake, as he later goes two-handed, firing one of the pistols in one hand and a Chinese assault rifle in the other. With deadly accuracy.

So I was glad to be done with the book; apparently, it’s early in this author’s work. Hopefully, he got better.

But now that I’m down to four books in The Executioner series on my to-read shelves, suddenly I look upon them with trepidation. I was hoping to finish the series soon and feel some sense of culmination or something for having read almost 100 of them over the last decade. But it will probably be later in the year or early next that I finish the series as I’m going to look for something else for the nonce. Pamela? you say. Let’s not go to extremes, gente reader.

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Movie Report: Top Secret! (1984)

Book coverWe watched Val Kilmer in two movies over spring break (Real Genius and Top Gun). I read something about his new documentary at that time. I have since watched Tombstone, and when I read another New York Post article on the documentary, I decided to watch this movie with the boys. After all, it was on Showtime when I was in the trailer park, so I watched it over and over again while I was about their age.

Val Kilmer plays Nick Rivers, a surf rock (known for his hit “Skeet Surfin'”) who gets invited to a cultural festival behind the Iron Curtain and gets involved with the resistance who wants to smuggle a scientist out of the country before he can be forced to help the communists attack the NATO submarine fleet.

The film had more sexual content than others I’ve watched with the boys–some of it went over their heads, although I would have gotten it at that time, but I was a product of public schools for all of my education and I had a copy of the American Heritage Dictionary to look up all the things the other public school kids called me. But the film was also more accessible to them than, say, Airplane! or Hot Shots!. I dunno, maybe it’s because they saw Von Ryan’s Express last year, so they get the behind totalitarian lines thing.

At any rate, I watched this film a year or so back when I got it, so it’s definitely in the class of films I’ll watch over and over again. Just not as often as when I was stuck in a 12′ by 60′ trailer in Murphy, Missouri, with nothing but Showtime to pass the time.

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The Garden Friends of Nogglestead

In years past, I have planted a bed of melons with cantaloupes, watermelons, and pumpkins outside the fenced in beds of Nogglestead (one of which lacks actual fence material at this point, although the posts are still there). I had some success, harvesting a couple cantaloupes, a couple small watermelons, and a pumpkin or two (which is not a large yield for years’ worth of plantings, especially since I planted plants one or more years).

This year, we have put the melons in one of the smaller beds (the one with the fencing) along with a zucchini plant and some corn.

Which means the growing fruit nestle together like this.

The youngest, the most eager tender of the garden and the assistant waterer (to my beautiful wife’s diligent work), keeps asking me if it’s time to harvest. Not yet, I say. We will wait one more day. Until something takes a bite out of them, at which point they’ll be spoiled, if history can be any guide.

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In More Uncle Ted News

In news other than how I made Ted Nugent a rock god, we have Uncle Ted in the real news today: Ted Nugent Resigns From NRA Board:

The National Rifle Association just lost one of its most famous board members.

In an email to the board obtained by The Reload, NRA general counsel John Frazer announced rock star Ted Nugent is stepping down from his role as a director. Frazer said the group thanked Nugent for his decades-long service on the board. He cited “ongoing schedule conflicts” as the reason Nugent would no longer serve.

I’m still a member, and I hope the organization straightens itself out. I keep nominating Darbo for the board. Maybe now they’ll listen.

(Link via Wirecutter.)

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Book Report: Sonic Warrior by Lou Brutus (2020)

Book coverMy beautiful wife, who also gave me Louder than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Heavy Metal last year, gave me this book for my birthday or our anniversary this year. So, in between Executioner novels, I picked it up.

Lou Brutus is a longtime DJ working in various cities, apparently culminating in working for SiriusXM and has been a hard rock/heavy metal fan for probably two and a half decades longer than I have. One of the local rock stations used to run his syndicated program HardDrive XL every night at 7pm, so I would catch snippets of it in the car when I was out later than I should be. So, know, gentle reader, that I could hear Lou’s voice in my head as I read the book and heard his inflection on just about every line. Oh, yeah, and you know, the Dave whose Iron Maiden poster I quoted to win my beautiful wife? After he mustered out of the Army (Airborne, natch, since I know more former Airborne than former Marines), he ended up on somewhere on one of the Deagon coasts as a DJ, so, of course, he knows Lou Brutus (as I often pointed out to my children when we heard him on the radio–I know a guy that knows that guy).

The book describes not so much his love of rock music, but more his interactions and funny anecdotes at concerts or music festivals or when meeting rock bands professionally. He got started as a kid in New Jersey going into New York to see concerts and ascended the ladder. You know, when I took broadcasting classes at the university, one of the professors talked up the fact that you had to move around a lot and go city to city to rise in broadcasting. Coincidentally, that was about the time I decided I was not going into broadcasting. I never wanted to leave Wisconsin again! Er.

So it’s a great book. The voice is humble and self-deprecating but not neurotic. You know, at this time, I would summarize a book a bit, but ultimately, he goes to a lot of concerts, meets a lot of musicians, and sometimes impresses them, but sometimes does not.

It’s a great book. I enjoyed it and actually bought a CD based on it. We’ll get to that in specific things I flagged, below the fold (a.k.a. when you click More.

Continue reading “Book Report: Sonic Warrior by Lou Brutus (2020)”

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Good Book Hunting, July 31, 2021: ABC Books

On Saturday, the boys and I made the trek to north Springfield to ABC Books to kill some time. The Martial Arts section is down to three books, one of which is the other Tai Chi Walking book that I did not buy. I have also scoured through the boxing/wrestling section for how-to books but came up empty. I have long-since taken the Green Bay Packers books from the football section (see Life After Favre). So this time, I hit all of the sports books and ended up getting a book from the bicycling section. And I picked up a couple volumes of poetry since I never can seem to find a short collection when I want to (but I can find several hundred page complete collections from various poets).

I got:

  • A Bend in the Road: A collection of poetry and artwork by the residents of Beverly Enterprises which seems to be a poetry collection from the residents of a nursing home.
  • The Later Romances, poems by Eric Pankey.
  • Carver: A Life In Poems by Marilyn Nelson, a collection of poems for young people about George Washington Carver.
  • The Immortal Class: Bike Messengers and the Cult of Human Power by Travis Hugh Culley. This was in the bicycling section, but I’ll bet it’s more of a Meaningful Exploration of Humanity through the lens of this particular profession by someone who went to college and wanted to write a book.
  • This, coupled with two books I bought at a garage sale this week, means I only have bought six books this week. Which is, unfortunately, more than I have read recently. After a powerful start to the year, I only read eight books in July. Which, I guess is pretty good at that.

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I Only Trust The Journalism of Country Correspondents

An article on Substack called The Algorithm: The media’s new business model is propaganda explains partly why the media are so untrustworthy–they’re currently seeking readership by reinforcing political and lifestyle narratives and group memberships and because they don’t do any reporting on their own, instead just gleaning what they can from online sources–generally sources biased to their points of view–and regurgitating it in their own words. Basically, journalism as writing college papers.

Unexplored, of course, is the often stated but rarely adequately defended thesis from here at MfBJN, that to the 23-year-old J-school graduates who provide the majority of the print and online content today, putting tweets into paragraph form is journalism because Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and whatever comes next is real life to them. It’s what they know.

Which is why I only trust, sometimes, what I read in the nine small town papers I take. Because why would Bonnie lie to me about what happened in Handy, Missouri, last week?

(Link via Ed Driscoll on Instapundit.)

Movie Report: Yes Man (2008)

Book coverIn speaking of the Sandlerverse, the Stillerverse, and now the Ferrellverse, is there such a thing as a Carreyverse? I don’t think so. He played with a lot of A-listers. Also, Tone-Loc. But not the same rotating actors in different movies.

At any rate, in this film, Carrey is a recently divorced man who has withdrawn from his friendships. However, a friend takes him to an empowerment seminar, and the guru tells Carrey that he’s got to say “Yes” whenever he’s asked a question. He does not and has some bad luck, and then starts saying yes, starting by allowing a homeless man to use his phone and to give the homeless man a ride to a remote park, where Carrey runs out of gas and cell phone charge. He’s rescued by a manic pixie girlfriend to be played by Zoey Deschanel, and she likes how spontaneous he seems–they take a weekend getaway to Lincoln, Nebraska, because it’s the first flight out. And his yessing leads to the TSA suspecting he’s a terrorist.

It’s not as crass as a Ferrell film; Carrey’s not at the over-the-top energy of his younger years (what, twenty years from this movie’s release and a full thirty years ago now, old man). His character changes and learns something at the end, something that you don’t always get with a Sandlerverse or Stillerverse picture (and hardly ever with the Ferrellverse).

Too often in my life I’ve said no when asked to do something, go out, or try something new. I have gotten better about it these days, although the things I’m asked to do have diminished somewhat. I’ve tried to instill that wisdom into my children, to take the opportunities to do things when they can instead of staying home and playing video games and reading books as those pastimes can wait. I didn’t watch this movie with them, but the oldest has spotted it and has expressed interest in it, so I might watch it in the coming weeks again. Which is about as good of an endorsement that you get on this blog.

Like Sandler, Carrey has taken some dramatic roles in his time–I saw The Truman Show two or three times in the theater and have seen The Cable Guy. So he brings some depth and intelligence and, well, growing up to his roles or playing grown ups who grow, too. So perhaps I should look more into his later films and get caught up.

Oh, and did someone say “Zooey Deschanel”? Continue reading “Movie Report: Yes Man (2008)”

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