Like Calling The Milwaukee Police “The 5-0”

Official government agencies in the heartland take on the slang based on popular entertainment. Yes, when I was riding the buses to and from the university in Milwaukee, I heard the local police called “the 5-0” from a television series that had gone off the air a decade before (and whose short-lived reboot was still almost 20 years in the future).

This week, I renewed the plates on one of our vehicles, and I brought my oldest son along to see the process as he’s a licensed driver now and might, in the next couple of years, have to license his own vehicle (not the one of our vehicles that he uses now and calls “his” truck).

On the way, I pointed out that Missouri does not have a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Instead, it has License Offices, which are run by charities on behalf of the Missouri Department of Revenue (not the Department of Transportation). But people still call it the DMV because that’s what it’s called in movies and television.

Including headline writers for the local television station.

Ozark License Office (DMV) closed after building collapses nearby on the historic Ozark, Mo., square

::Sigh:: It’s so hard to be right on the Internet.

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Book Report: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur (2015)

Book coverAh, gentle reader, I had a hard time writing this particular book report. For this young woman is a New York Times best-selling author, and she has appeared on numerous television programs and many venues, reading her poetry to large live audiences. And, as you might know, I have self-published a collection of poetry (Coffee House Memories–surely you have not forgotten even as you have not bought it!) that sold dozens of copies. Or at least a dozen. Perhaps.

So you might consider anything negative I have to say sour grapes. You might even be right! However, here’s what I thought.

I bought this collection of poetry in August, and although it is not my wont this year to read poetry or artists’ monographs during football games, but this would have been one I could have browsed as the poems are generally short.

According to a quick Internet search, the author is a more modern InstaPoet who wrote and illustrated this book when she was 21, and she’s a perfomance poet, although meta tags from various Web sites don’t indicate this is the rough-and-tumble poetry slam/open mic world or more genteel events where she is the featured poet given in small rooms or auditoriums at universities. Probably the latter, although in interviews she says she came up through the open mic circuit. They might be friendlier in Canada than the Wabash or the Venice Cafe, though.

So what of the poetry? Most of it is only a couple of lines, a lot like a thoughtful tweet. Some of the sentiments thematically resonate with me, or at least with where I would have been in my twenties–I mean, look at much of the material in , particularly the reproductions of Unrequited (released when I was 22) and Deep Blue Shadows (released when I was 23). They share a bit of the cynical romanticism, the hardened vulnerability….

But some, not so much, as they rely a bit on modern feminist celebrations:

the goddess between your legs
makes mouths water

That are really not for me. That is a whole poem, so you can see what I mean by being tweet-length. What is it? Does it somehow describe the vagina as a deity separate from the vagina-bearer that somehow causes a salivary response akin to good food or a conditioned response to Russian bell-ringing, or is a simplistic and twee feminist self-affirmation or reclamation of sexual power? I’ll take Occam’s razor to it: The simplest answer is probably true.

So some of the shorter poems have a good sentiment but are undeveloped, and when the pieces are longer, they’re unrefined. Overall, the work reminds me of Pierre Alex Jeanty whom I read earlier in the year and who is also more of an Internet “influencer” than a true poet.

The volume I have has some poems or lines therein highlighted–I’m not sure whether this means the books was used as a textbook or if the previous owner marked bits from favorite poems that way. It’s not how I do it, of course–if I like a poem a lot, I memorize it. And have been known to recite them at open mics. Including Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” which is, what, 20 pages? Yeah, you don’t uncork those too often at open mic nights. Certainly not at the Wabash or the Venice Cafe.

So, overall: Some promise, but a lot of emotion dumps that express but do not evoke. Still, if I see one of her later volumes at ABC Books, I’ll probably pick it up.

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Book Report: Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa (2005, 2007)

Book coverI thought this might be the last of the manga that I bought at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton garage sale in 2015, but extensive studies have determined that although I have read Shaman King #17 and Warriors: The Rise of Scourge, I don’t see a book report for Naruto #15. So I guess I will find that seven years hence.

At any rate, this is early in the series. An alchemist, which is kind of a magician, has lost his arm and has a robotic one to help him with his alchemy/spellcasting. The attack that left him in such a state also destroyed his brother’s body, so he, the fullmetal alchemist, infused a suit of armor with the brother’s soul. A serial killer–well, we would call it a serial killer in a modern suspense thriller, but really it’s an unknown supervillain of some sort–is hunting down the government alchemists. As the story develops, they learn that it’s a survivor of a government suppression of a religious sect, the suppression which used government-sponsored alchemists to perform a genocide on the sect. Pardon me, but what is the verb for genocide? “Perform” seems tame.

So we get four chapters in the saga, where the brothers and other government alchemists battle the unknown assailant and discover his reasons, but not why he is so powerful. Four out of many, many such chapters, and of course it’s comic book form, so a lot of comic art for little story.

So I’ve not really gotten into manga, although I have read a comic book or two. But they don’t count toward the annual total, unlike graphic novels or manga. So I will eventually read that remaining volume when I find it.

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Merry Christmas

Having kittens means you get to enjoy the, well, joy of decorating the Christmas tree every day when you replace the non-breakable, non-heirloom decorations and hitch up the lights like loose trousers dragging towards the floor. But, still, they’ve been a joy.

That’s one Christmas tree our kittens did not invade–because we kept them away while we built it.

My beautiful wife wanted an image for one of her LinkedIn posts, so we built a book tree like you see on the Internet from our old tech books. The books include:

  • Primers on operating systems such as VAX, OpenVMS, Windows NT, Windows 95, and OS X
  • Computers like Apple II, Commodore 84, and PET/CBM
  • Programming languages from Machine Language, J++ (Microsoft’s brief attempt at replicating Java), a pile of ASP.NET (which probably belonged to my wife who has now tricked me to tuck them in with my tech library to free space on her shelves), C, C++, C#, VisualBasic, Java, JavaScript, PHP, iOS SDK / Objective C, SwiftUI
  • Hardware and networking books from the turn of the century, when I studied those topics briefly at the community college and got a large collection from eBay for $100, a real steal but it would have been a better steal if I’d ever read them
  • A couple of testing books like the ones from James Whittaker
  • A handful of security books, including one that prompted this comment on my wife’s post on LinkedIn:

I know, I know, it’s not the reason for the season, but we will attend church this morning and exchange gifts and eat turkey, but our normally small gathering will again be diminished by immobility and continuing COVID fears.

It will also be the last day for listening to Christmas records, and, no, I won’t have made it through all of the Christmas records we own, which is a substantial number.

But we will make time for this Christmas classic:

Merry Christmas, gentle reader.

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Christmas Album Review: Come On, Ring Those Bells by Evie (1977)

Book coverIt has been eight years since I did a Christmas album review (Christmas Album by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass in 2016(!)). Which is odd, as I have accumulated many more Christmas albums in the interim–so much so that I will probably not listen to all of them before they get put back up the day after Christmas and I start listening to new acquisitions. So I have had blog fodder for the nigh-past decade, and the Christmas album posts drive some search engine traffic, so one would think I would have posted between then and now. Oh, but no.

On to Evie: I have seen a lot of Evie records available for a buck or so, including this one which I picked up at Vintage Stock in 2020. She was a folk-sounding Gospel singer from the 1970s (Wikipedia says she married a pastor in 1979 and retired to focus on other ministries, but her Web site has more recent work and her Facebook page indicates she has a more recent Christmas album out, but probably not on vinyl and not for a dollar. The prevalence of her inexpensive albums stems from the fact that a lot of a certain generation had a lot of Gospel albums, but the modern record collectors pass them over–as I generally do. But this is a Christmas album.

Come On, Ring Those Bells definitely is a product of its time. The sound matches the 70s folk sound you get from the Olivia Newton-John or Lynda Carter records of the era, but with religious themes. Christmas themes, as it were. The album includes a couple of carols you recognize and some different songs that you have not:

  • “Come On, Ring Those Bells”
  • “Away in a Manger”
  • “Medley: No Room / Have You Any Room For Jesus”
  • “Mary’s Boy Child”
  • “Silent Night”
  • “O Holy Night”
  • “What Child Is This?”
  • “Some Children See Him”
  • “One Small Child”
  • “A Thousand Candles”

I don’t know why you don’t hear Evie in rotation on the Christmas stations. Perhaps it’s because she’s primarily a Gospel singer, perhaps it a question of the rights packages the radio syndicates can buy, or maybe she falls in that gap between the great orchestrations of Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and the other records from the forties and fifties and the contemporary renditions from the artists from the 80s, 90s, and now that afflicts anyone not named Carpenter. Maybe all of the above.

But it’s a pleasant record to listen to, and better yet if you can find a copy of it for a buck like I did.

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Don’t Know Much About Running

You don’t really have to know much about anything when writing on the Internet, do you? Please, do not immediately hold your humble blogger out even though the case might be true.

At any rate, apparently, a site I have not visited in many years, tried to dunk on the screenwriters of a film I’d never seen.

They compare the speed of a (albeit short) distance runner, 15 miles an hour, to someone who presumably was sprinting.

Why not compare the woman in the movie with a sprinter, say Usain Bolt, whose top sprinting speed was just under 24 miles per hour, not far under the 25 miles per hour. An unproven figure, by the way, but something the “scientists” probably used computer models to generate.

Ah, well. I am not really an expert at anything, certainly not running–where my distance speed is closer to 6 miles per hour, but my sprint is significantly faster that in very short bursts.

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Book Report: Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein (1956, 1957)

Book coverI bought this nice looking (well, better than the scan, and probably better than I started it) paperback from sixty-five years ago at the Friends of the Christian County Libary book sale in October 2019, and it came with its own little story:

Double Star, a Robert Heinlein juvie that earned me a book sale friend. Another guy saw it and asked where I got it; I mentioned it was mixed in, and that there were not others, or I would have them in my hands. He told me of the collection he’d received as a gift, a trash bag full of classic science fiction, and I envied it. Later, he approached me to offer me the copy of Friday that he’d found, but, come on: The later Heinlein hardbacks are easy to come by. At any rate, I’ll hit this one up sometime; I’d say “Soon,” but I’m surprised to see how many Heinlein books I come across in the library here that I have not yet read.

Spoiler alert: It was not really soon unless you’re counting in Nogglestead to-read time, in which a little over three years is actually soon.

The book was stacked amongst some of the paperbacks I bought in Berryville, Arkansas, which includes Diagnosis: Murder: The Silent Partner (can one put two colons in a title) and Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer–when I came across it, I moved it to the top of the stack and started it shortly thereafter.

But, ah, gentle reader–although this book is only 128 pages, it took me a week to read it. Some nights I gave over to watching films, including Highlander, Die Hard, and Die Hard 2, but that’s not the only reason. This book is in tiny print, and the text is in full midcentury paragraphs, where even the dialog is dense. Coupled with a cat and a couple of kittens who hop onto my lap and demand attention by sitting at my reading focal point, and suddenly it takes me days to read essentially a mid-century juvie rocket-jockey book.

So it’s a pretty simple plot: A two-bit actor is down on his luck and is down to his last dime when he tries to befriend a spacer on the run, presumably, who comes into the dive bar where the actor is drinking. As it happens, the man pretends not to be a spacer but has a job offer for the actor. While discussing the matter in private, they’re interrupted by some opposing forces whom our heroes dispatch–and once they are off Earth and on their way to Mars, the situation becomes clearer: a Parliamentary politician, currently out of power, has been kidnapped, and his people need the actor to stand in for the missing man to participate in a delicate ceremony while they search for the missing man. Complications arise, and the actor must determine how much further the show must go on.

So it’s an interesting story, but the pacing was a little slower than I’d prefer, and the blocks of tiny text made for a less enjoyable reading experience. Still, it is a very old paperback, designed to be affordable by young people (and to be put into library bindings). I suppose if I am going to complain about it, I could pick up one of the many, many hardbacks with larger print in them that I have available–including some large print editions, no doubt.

Still, I look forward to the other Heinleins I uncover here in the stacks or find in the wild. Even if I’ve already read them. So let that be my endorsement.

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Brian J.’s Recycler Tour, Caroling Edition

From this date in 2011:

Brian J. Noggle is going to put on a ski mask and go caroling just to see if the press accounts describe him as an unknown wassailant.

I did not, of course, as going house to house in rural Greene County takes a lot of time. Also, knocking on people’s doors, ski mask or no, is a risky undertaking.

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Good Album Hunting, Saturday, December 17, 2022: Ozark Treasures Antique Mall

Ah, gentle reader, you know how I operate: I go “Christmas shopping” at a local antique mall and end up with a stack of records.

Well, this year was going to be different. It’s not so much that I’ve straightened up as I’ve run out of space to store records as well as new books–so I skipped the autumn Friends of the Springfield-Greene County library book sale. We have one or two boxes of sixties folk records that we herited when my mother-in-law downsized that are under the desk in the parlor. I have a box of records in the store room yet, my sainted mother’s pop hits of the 60s and 70s. And I moved the two boxes of books I received from my mother in law into my closet so it’s out of sight until I can clear space on the to-read shelves. Friends, reading paperbacks is not making that space. I shall have to read bigger books in 2023.

So I was minding my own business, dragging a bored teenager, when I found a box of $1 records at a booth. A booth which was having a 20% of sale. These records were eighty cents each. It seemed a moral imperative that I take them.

I got:

  • Songs of Leonard Cohen by Leonard Cohen. (Discogs marketplace price: $5.11)
  • Silk Degrees by Boz Skaggs. I confused him with Ricky Skaggs for a long time; however, WSIE plays Boz Scaggs since he’s not a country singer, so I got this, my first of his. (Discogs: .18)
  • Command Performances by The Ray Charles Singers ($1.00)
  • Golden Rainbow: The Original Broadway Cast Recording. I’m not going soft on you, gentle reader: This is a Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme record. ($ .50)
  • The Year of the Cat by Al Stewart. Fun fact: When I heard this on the radio, I thought it was the Pet Shop Boys. So it’s the second in four bullet points so far where I’ve confused the artist with someone else ($ .43)
  • Doris Day Sings Her Great Movie Hits by Doris Day. For a guy who listens to death metal, I sure have a lot of Doris Day records. ($1.00)
  • Doris Day’s Greatest Hits by Doris Day. And I have even more now. ($1.00)
  • Friendship by Ray Charles. A lot of Ray Charles in the two bins I looked through. ($ .95)
  • Get Closer by Linda Ronstadt. ($ .50)
  • Hometown Girl by Mary Chapin Carpenter. You know, gentle reader, I have seen her in concert (with Shawn Colvin) within the last decade. When I showed this album to my beautiful wife, she said, “Thank you.” So I am not in trouble for this set of records. ($ .99)
  • Can’t Buy a Thrill by Steely Dan. My beautiful wife already has several Steely Dan albums, but not this one. ($2.51)
  • Great Jazz Pianists of Our Time. Includes Oscar Peterson, Errol Garner, and Art Tatum. ($9.48)
  • Hey There! Here’s Fran Warren! by Fran Warren / arranged by Marty Paich. No idea who this is, but Pretty Woman on Cover. ($1.22)
  • The Genius Sings the Blues by Ray Charles. ($7.51)

So the dollar pricing tracks pretty closely with the Internet prices for the records–the jazz pianists and one Ray Charles album were the big scores. As we went to other booths, I pointed out to the youngster why I felt compelled to look through these bins. Here are $20 records, here the prices start at $5 for bands you’ve never heard of, and so forth. I have to wonder if the records at antique malls are priced for the casual collector who doesn’t go to discogs and who isn’t serious but is a casual or fashionable collector. That is, someone following the fad of liking vinyl. The kind of person who buys new records for $25 when the CD is $15. Ah, what does it matter–I am not a collector, I am an accumulator, and I favor accumulating records from an era where the records were the only format available and hence have lots of copies, and they’re from an era not really enjoyed by the casual collector, who wants vinyl renditions of things they hear on the 80s, 90s, and now radio stations.

I won’t listen to this batch until after the holidays–we’re on all Christmas records here, and the two Nogglestead radios are tuned to the Christmas music station, but in a little over a week, we will be back to regular programming, and I will listen to these records whilst I read my many adopted hometown newspapers.

Although who knows whether I will buy other records in the interim. After all, the trip to Ozarks treasures did not yield all the gifts I need to yet buy.

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Book Report: Christmas Stories for the Heart compiled by Alice Gray (1997)

Book coverAs you might know, gentle reader, I like to read a Christmas novel around Christmas. And although I pick them up here and there over the year at book sales and garage sales in anticipation of Christmas to come, once they’re in the disorganized to-read shelves of Nogglestead, they’re gone for years.

I mean, I looked. I have a number of Lloyd Douglas (author of Home for Christmas) novels in Collier’s editions, but they’re not Christmas novels. I have another Thomas Kinkade/Katherine Spencer Cape Light novel, but unlike A Christmas Promise, it’s not Christmas-themed. And so on.

Well, I found this book which is not a novel. Instead, it’s a collection of poems, short stories, devotions, and personal essays recounting events that seem custom-made for personal essays about Christmas. That last, of course, is out-of-step with the Christmas spirit, but I’m a bit out-of-step myself. I have not gone gonzo on the gift-giving. Of course, it has not really snowed–a dusting, almost an imagining, which resulted in measurable snowfall at all points of the compass but not here.

So: It’s a collection of things you might have found, well, not in Ideals magazine, but collected in many mid-century general interest magazines (one of the pieces previously appeared in Reader’s Digest) along with a couple more modern things like Max Lucado.

The short fiction is probably the best; many of the essays are also probably short fiction, and they’re okay. The poetry is akin to grandmother poetry, although the perpetrators might not have been grandmother aged at the time of the writing. The devotional-kind of bits are a bit rote.

Actually, in looking at the end matter which points out where the items originally appeared, the best of the lot comes from the mid-century, and much of the lesser bits come from the 1990s. Which, gentle reader, was 25 years ago–about the age now that the “old” stuff in the book comes from. And it’s sad to see the decline to that point.

At any rate, it’s 156 pages with the end matter. Most of the stories are only a couple of pages, shorter than the things in the contemporaneous Dark Love, and I enjoyed it more.

Although I wish I had found a proper Christmas novel.

I have, however, found an Ideals magazine compendium of Christmas things. The kittens knocked down an old Christmas Ideals magazine from the vintage magazine shelf in the Sauder printer stand serving as the end table in the den, but it looks like I have not mentioned it on this blog. Perhaps I have not read it–I have not read many of the vintage science fiction magazines I got–somewhere, perhaps in my estate sales days. So perhaps I have not read that one wall the way through.

Will I read the compendium I have found recently before Christmas? Before the end of the year? That’s the cliffhanger in this book report. I will say I have not yet started it, although I might carry it to the chairside book accumulation point if I can find it again.

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Citation Provided

Yesterday, Stephen Green asserted It’s Time to Rehabilitate ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’.

Last night, my boys’ high school band had their winter concert, and it featured a duet of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with just a hint of bowdlerization–removing references to alcohol and cigarettes–but with the interplay and flirtation intact.

So whatever this next generation is going to be called, it’s already over the Gen Z/millennial crap.

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The Songs That Bring Me Back

As you might be aware, gentle reader, a myriadic plethora of radio stations play the modern equivalent of the “Jack” format, billing themselves as the best of the 80s, 90s, and today, but their playlists are really only an inch deep and reflect whatever catalogs of song rights are cheap at the moment–and they tend to play the same songs from the 1980s year after year, and have for a long time.

Suffice to say that none of those songs that I’ve heard, if not constantly since the 1980s, at least in the last decade or so since the 80s hits have taken over the airwaves again. I mean, Bon Jovi’s catalog from the Slippery When Wet era gets heavy rotation on both the Jack and the Classic Rock stations, so they’re not pinned in my memory to the time. Or Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me” from the Breakfast Club soundtrack. That runs regularly on the radio.

But the 1980s programs like the American Top 40 replays or Nina Blackwood’s syndicated program play songs that were on the radio all the time in the 1980s but have not been on the radio all the time since, so those songs pin me like a butterfly on a display board to the moments when I was young and wishing that the DJ would stop talking so I could record the whole song from the radio even though they were talking in and talking out to keep me from recording on the radio.

I recognized one such song on the radio during one of the aforementioned radio programs, but not enough to identify it. Apparently, it was Simple Minds’ “Alive and Kicking”:

It pulled me back to the 1980s when I heard it even though I could not name it. My beautiful wife could, as she had (or maybe has) the record.

Yeah, “Jesse’s Girl” doesn’t do that. “Jesse’s Girl”, who is on Medicare now, has been a staple through the decades. Which makes it common. And not evocative of the time of which it is the product.

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Book Report: The Silent Partner by Lee Goldberg (2003)

Book coverWhen I read Monk book by this author in February, I said:

I don’t think I have any more Monk titles by Goldberg in my library, but I do have several in the Diagnosis: Murder series that I will get to before too long (but I am more likely to finish other series/sets that I’ve started recently).

Well, that prophesy has proven true for sure. I completed a number of series, or at least the volumes I had (the Doubleday children’s books, the Executioner book, the James Blish Star Trek books, etc.), and after I read the Conan movie tie-in books that I bought in Berryville, Arkansas, in July 2021, I thought I might enjoy some of the other paperbacks I bought at that time. So far, so good.

I am only aware of the Diagnosis: Murder program whose canon this book extends. My mother liked the show, and I sometimes caught bits of it when visiting her. I knew Scott Baio was in it, but was replaced (or replaced) the other guy. I knew Dick van Dyke, depicted on the cover, was a doctor who wore roller skates at times (actually, Heelies shoes), and his son was the cop. But that was not it. So when the action started in the book, I was not sure whether to think of Dr. Travis as Scott Baio or the other guy, but Scott Baio’s character, Dr. Stewart, makes an appearance, and the book describes him as looking like a grown-up Chachi, which not only identified the characters for me but also captured a bit of the show’s side jokes as well as Goldberg’s style.

At any rate, the book has two murders: a wealthy, type-A restaurant chain owner needs a new kidney, and his son volunteers one of his. So the two junior doctors played by Scott Baio and the other guy perform the operations, but the kidney recipient dies of a penicillin allergy that might have been caused by a near-pharmaceutical antibiotic administered by the cocky Dr. Stewart–but Dr. Sloan had given him the same antibiotic without a reaction some weeks before. So who wanted to kill the man–or to frame Dr. Stewart for negligence?

In the other, Dr. Sloan is added to a cold case task force by a deputy chief trying to neutralize his meddling in homicide. But Dr. Sloan uncovers what might be a serial killer who is killing by mirroring the methods of other serial killers. Officially, the police want this theory to go away, as it might throw into doubt the conviction of the actual serial killers, but investigation seems to be proving Dr. Sloan right, especially when he is the target of a drive-by attempt that would have filmed wonderfully (but didn’t translate as well to the page).

I mean, the book is almost 300 pages, but I knew who would turn out to be the killers very early. Still, it was an enjoyable read to the finish.

I did flag a couple things:

It was a pricey, and exclusive, stretch of sand. Most of the houses on Broad Beach belonged to actors, directors, big-shot producers and a few over-compensated, perk-fat CEOs.

Wow, okay, but some of those outside of Hollywood might have heaped opprobium on people who work in Hollywood, too.

“What about the bullets?”
“We’ve recovered some shells,” Rykus said. “They’re on the way to the lab.”

Oy, vey. I am not sure if I am out-of-touch with actual gun owners or if Goldberg (or Lee Child), but I don’t know anyone who calls rounds or casings shells. Shells go into shotguns, and they’re what’s left after the shot has gone down range or into fowl (or, depending upon the gunner, near the fowl–all right, all right, all right, also slugs/deer, but that’s rare).

So I am pleased with this other series of Goldberg, which is good as I have several. I’d like to think he’s written them himself, but he’s a big-shot producer, so it’s possible, maybe probable, that someone else wrote them for him. But he’s not quite the brand of James Patterson or Tom Clancy to farm the work out quite that much, ainna?

Regardless, I’ll pick up the other Diagnosis: Murder books by and by. Probably too late to clear all the books I own the series in 2022, though, as I have four more to go.

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About as Useful As a hims Ad

So in my Facebook ads feed, which is 30% Sponsored posts (ads), 50% Suggested for You (ads, but not ads ads), and 20% random people I’ve known, I often get a lot of ads for hims ED-treatment-by-mail, and now this:

Easy fitness over 30? C’mon, man, I still haven’t given up on the dream of one day doing a tornado push-up:

I am not beholden to wall exercises. Although I have not been to the YMCA in a month. Maybe that’s what The Algorithms are working from. Or reminding me.

And, as a reminder: No necesito huevos de tortuga!

Thank you, that is all.

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Five Things On My Desk On A December Morning

Time for a novel-gazing “What junk has landed on my desk, and why?” post. I don’t know if you get anything out of them, gentle reader, but my best reader, me in a couple of years, will find it interesting. So here’s what is on my desk.

A dreamGEAR MyArcade DGUN-2561 from 2013. Back in the olden days, when I would pick my elementary school children up from school, if I took them home before going to martial arts classes an hour later, they would rebel. So we would sometimes go to the library across the street instead of going home, or we might go to the frozen custard stand in the shopping center with the dojo. Most times, though, we would go to the martial arts school and wait for the classes. I picked up a couple of cheap coloring kits at Walgreens to keep them occupied or to keep the youngest occupied when he was too young to do class himself. I later bought minature Etch-a-Sketches, and then little games to occupy them. Including this little pocket gaming system which was under $20, but it occupied my boys through those martial arts waits and in the waiting rooms of orthodontists, dentists, and doctors.

Now, of course, they have phones and devices and can occupy themselves for all their waking hours on them. So this device has languished in the drawer where I keep my gym bag for a number of years. I’ve donated the other little things, but this is on my desk because I’m going to mount it on my wall. It will be the most personal of the items, and the least recognizable and least valuable to collectors. But it will resonate with me and will fetch maybe a quarter at my estate sale.

Marine Corps Toys for Tots is the last holdouts sending fundraising appeals to my sainted mother who passed away over a decade ago. I tear open the envelopes and shred the papers, but I keep the coins, paperclips, and the stickers. In the olden days, my children, especially my youngest, loved stickers, so they would be delighted when I gave them some. But they’re beyond that now. My beautiful wife uses stickers to adorn to-do lists and that sort of thing, so I was planning to see if she wants them. And I’ll probably do just that after I post, which renders this item (these items?) the least likely to still be on my desk the next time I write a Five Things on My Desk post.

By the way, if you’re wondering, I have two previous FTomD posts this year, in August and October. Of those 10 things, 4 have been put elsewhere, 4 remain, and 2 have been put on a shelf or in a cubby of the desk (the clock, the Time, the book, and the iPad case are elsewhere, and although I put the majority of the spoons back into the store room, others emerged from under other things, so technically, I still have spoons on my desk). So my track record is not good in tidying up even after these posts.

A pocket-sized copy of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. This came in a fundraising appeal from some constitutional or political organization. I already have them in other places and larger editions. I don’t know what to do with this copy, to be honest. I can’t just throw it away. Likely, I will donate it, but there is a non-zero chance that I will get toward the end of the year (wait, we’re there?) and read it to pad my annual total. Time will tell, but it won’t be long before I have to decide.

A signed copy of Jane Monheit’s new Christmas CD The Merriest along with the little thank you note she sent. The CD is a nice collection of secular Christmas songs (not unlike her album The Season which I got a few years ago, also likely autographed). I’d like to see artists feel free to cover religious songs, but I suspect many of them are not religious.

The signed CD will soon go into the stacks with the other CDs and the note into the collection of autographed ephemera, but I’ve been thinking of trying to find a solution for putting all my signed CDs into a place for display or browsing. Which would require culling through the whole collection, but most of my signed copies have been relatively recent purchases. Like this one.

I would say a photo of Gimlet’s oldest child at 2 months old, but that would be weird, but also true, and for the same reason that I have the depicted (repicted?) photo of me, the ringbearer at my uncle’s wedding in 1976, dancing with the flower girl. It would be until my own wedding that I would dance at a wedding again, although I am pretty sure that when I was best man at an Elvis impersonator’s wedding that I had to dance with the maid of honor since my wedding.

At any rate, I end up with random photos from the past on my desk when I go digging through things in my closet, looking through bins that contain both old Christmas cards and electronic bric-a-brac. Generally, I’m looking for a cord, charger, or some other obscure bit that I’ve put in my closet and not the bins in the storeroom, and I end up with photos slipping out–which is why Gimlet’s child is on the desk. The photo from my uncle’s wedding probably came out of the boxes when I tore through my collection of family effects in July when I had to produce my wedding license to get my wife added to my new employer-provided insurance plan. As I’d never been asked for this before, I could no lay my hands on it, and I ended up going through all of the files, all of the file cabinets, and all of my family’s papers. I could find my parents’ wedding license, but not my own. Somehow, the photo was set aside and never got re-boxed.

So both photos came from the relative disarray that is my closet. I’m thinking of cleaning it out a bit in 2023, but time will tell if that happens. Or if I even put the photos away before then.

So watch this space for important 2023 updates about how messy my desk is, and what a time capsule it provides. Also, a distraction when I have better things to do.

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The World We Live In Now

Saturday, 7:30pm: I’m sitting in a restaurant, eating dinner beneath a television that is showing the PBR Minneapolis Invitational rodeo bull-riding event, and I’m learning about the sport and commenting on it.

Saturday, 8:15pm: Facebook shows me my first suggested post for a site streaming rodeo stuff online:

As I’ve said before in my conspiracy theory voice, it’s not just your phone that’s listening to you. All the phones are listening to you, and they all know your voice.

Now, I just have to wonder what I’ve said that has Facebook showing me random car posts in Spanish:

Tomorrow’s headline, today: Someone is arrested and prosecuted for a precrime because The Algorithms mistook someone else’s voice recorded on someone else’s phone.

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Citation Provided

Steve Green at Instapundit links to this story: Walmart CEO warns that retail giant could HIKE prices or shut down some stores if ‘historically high’ thefts at the chain continue and prosecutors’ lax approach to dealing with criminals is not corrected.

Meanwhile, here in Springfield: Shoplifter injures greeter at a Springfield Walmart

Not our home Walmart, but when we went to the office supply store next door only to discover it did not have Christmas stationery, I thought about stopping in at this Walmart to see if they had any. But we did not. We were about four hours before this incident, though.

UPDATE: Couple tricks Walmart cashier to get away with $6,400 worth of items, deputies say

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