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Holy Fuckballs!

If you’ve been following the news or watch SNL, you’ll no doubt be aware that President 45 has surrounded himself with Nazis, Sexists, Homophobes, and Fools. 

President Bannon (different than his puppet President 45) has his agenda (I’ll discuss that in another post, but look at this: 

TIMELINE (for those too lazy, the link is where I obtained my info, and it is a direct copy of what follows, and I have verified most of the info through sources linked below)  
December 29 – President Obama announced sanctions against Russia and ousted Russian diplomats. 

December 29 – Flynn made at least 5 calls to Russian ambassador 

December 30 – Putin announced he will not retaliate invites American children to Kremlin 

December 30 – Trump praised Putin in tweet for his reaction and sucked up to Putin 

January 13: Flynn’s calls to Russia were reported 

***January 14: Pence said oh Flynn just called to tell Russia Merry Christmas (it wasn’t Christmas in Russia) ***

January 15: Pence went on Fox News and said it was Christmas not sanctions that Flynn talked to Russia about (Five times? he called them to say Merry Christmas five times?) 

January 2? – Yates and US Intelligence warned Trump administration that Flynn is lying 

January 30 – Trump fired Yates 

February 13 – Washington Post broke news that Trump has known for weeks that Flynn was lying. Kellyanne confirms that she had been working on this for weeks. That the story (that Flynn called to say Merry Christmas five times) was no longer “sustainable.” 

February 13 – Flynn resigns.

—–

President 45 KNEW that Flynn was lying, Conway knew he was lying, and it’s reasonable to assume others knew as well. 

 This is no longer a Right and Left matter. It’s not a difference of Policy. This is a matter what is best for our country. 

President 45 must go! 

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote-A Review

I’m a delivery driver by profession. As such, I’m in my car quite a bit, and I use my time in the car to listen to audio books. It’s no problem to finish most stories in a week’s time, and even longer books can be made enjoyable with the proper narrator. 

Before listening to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, my knowledge of the story was Truman Capote wrote it, Audrey Hepburn was in the movie, and Deep Blue Something wrote a song about the film. And my only prior exposure to Capote’s work was the film version of In Cold Blood and the movie Capote (the one with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener). 

So I was untouched, a virgin to the story, unaware of what to expect.

In 1943, our unnamed narrator meets Holly Golightly, a beautiful woman that makes a living from her looks and suckering men into paying for everything. She seems flighty, but underneath, she is quite calculating. Capote wastes no time in letting us know she is not a character to admire, but to detest.

But just as quickly are we made known of this fact do we forget it because Capote’s lyrical sentences help to mold a mythical creature that stands on par with the Sirens that Odysseus encountered. Even those savvy to her ways repeatedly fall under her spell.

Once I finished this story, I had to pull over for a few minutes to absorb everything. The story could have ended no other way, but I still felt a tremendous sadness.

I, too, have fallen under Holly Golightly’s spell.

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Anathema by Megg Jensen-A Review

In book one of the Cloud Prophet trilogy (and book one in the larger Song of Eloh Saga), we are introduced to Reychel. She is a slave in the house of Kandek, her master. She is also forbidden to see the sky, except for when she has private meetings with her Master. No one knows why she, alone, is forbidden to see the sky.

It is this mystery that drives much of the first act of the book. Until the reveal, which is more of a “oh, cool” moment more than a “WTF?!” moment, it is enough to keep the reader (or, in my case, the listener) from putting the story aside.

And once the story starts rolling, it doesn’t stop.

It’s easy to see where the author received her inspiration. Anathema has many Star Warsian elements, but it’s not a ripoff of the story. 

Ahem.

Instead, Ms. Jensen seems to take select ideas from Episodes 1, 4, and 5, and crafting them into an original narrative. And best of all, there’s no JarJar.

Now, a bit of padding to make this review longer. I’ve owned this book since it was released way back in 2011. I purchased it after meeting the author at a book signing. Now, after six long years, I have finally read the book, and am off to discover how the tale ends.

(after I finish the next fucking James Clavell book, of course).

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Shogun by James Clavell-A Review

A few weeks back, I wrote about challenging myself to read all of James Clavell’s Asian Saga. And every word of that remains true. 

Shogun is vast in scale, beautiful in its description, and absolutely frustrating in its conclusion. I’ve already said all of that in my last post. So why the need to write a review? 

(Hint: look at the title of my page) 

John Blackthorne is Pilot of the Erasmus, a Dutch ship, with Royal papers to attack any enemy ship. Before the story begins, the crew has attacked several ships, raised settlements in the Americas, and decided to set sail for “the Japans.”

The prologue of this massive book is set aboard the Erasmus, in the final days before the arrival. Blackthorne is lamenting about the voyage, and the onset of scurvy amongst the crew. It’s beautifully written, and instantly draws us in, allowing us to know the protagonist we will spend the next three weeks of our life with. 

The main narrative opens with Blackthorne waking up in Japan. He has been stripped of his clothes, cleaned, and bandaged. A female attendant comes in, bringing food. They converse, and thus the book continues to mislead the reader. The conversation is the setup for a gag that takes 100 pages to pay off, but it’s extremely well done. 

In fact, the first quarter of the book, as long as we are following Blackthorne, Omi, and Toranaga, the story flows amazingly well. But Clavell has a tendency to get bogged down in the details. In the first 300 pages, there is a large passage of a tertiary character’s thoughts about her mother-in-law. The reader already knows the woman is a bitch, we don’t need ten pages of an internal monologue about the ironic nature of the daughter-in-law eventually becoming the woman she loathed. 

And it only gets worse, because Clavell does this for every fucking character. The only thought the reader is not graced with is when they need to defecate. There is a lot of pissing, though. Including a scene where Blackthorne is pissed on. 

Around the 1/3 mark of the book, the reader is treated to the essence of the plot: how Toranaga maneuvers his way to become Shogun. For character study, and a primer on the Japanese culture and language, the novel is worth a look. As a story, it is overly padded and makes me want to scream at the author. 

Sadly, James Clavell passed away in 1994. Sadder still, Anita Blake is not real. I will be in need of a Necromancer at the end of this 6,000 page journey. 

Fortunately, the next book in my queue will offer a slight reprieve before my continued literary self-flagelation. 

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Goddamnit

Since my last post, a lot has happened in the world. You don’t need me to tell you. I can read the expression on your face. It’s the one that clearly says 

No, I get it. I’ve said the same thing every day since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. Aside from the likelihood he will be impeached (and, thus, making Mike Pence the POTUS), the prospect of someone so unstable as the Leader of the Free World is frightening. 

And though I have awoken every day hoping, praying, that it’s all a horrible nightmare, the sad truth is that at noon, Donald J.Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

Goddamnit.

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I Fucked Up

So, last year, my wife and I decided to do a Book Bingo Challenge. We did 25 different categories that ranged from “Owned, Never Read” to “Should Have Read in High School” to “Translated from Another Language”. On some of them, we played fast and loose with the title categories (I’m looking at you “Relationship Book”), while others were more literal. 

The ones I had the most fun with were the categories I could use to read something I want, to have an excuse to finally read a specific book that was in my TBR pile. This year, my Book Bingo is more personalized. There are 25 different categories. Some of them are specific books (I’m finally reading The Shining), some are writers I have wanted to read for a while, a few are extremely broad in scope (a Presidential Biography, History, and Occult to name a few). 

Where I screwed myself is in deciding to read James Clavell’s Asian Saga. 

Chronologically, the first book is Shogun. I’ve read the book before, so I know what to expect. And I know that I’m in for 5,000 pages of only Clavell. What just occurred to me is that if the other books are anything like Shogun, I am in for a serious case of Literary Blue Balls. 

For those who are unfamiliar with Shogun, it is the story of an Englishman living in Fuedal Japan. Based on the life of William Adams, this 1,200 page novel details the lives of the main character, John Blackthorne, but several Japanese and Portuguese characters as well. It is richly detailed, allowing the reader to feel as though they are right alongside each character. We feel everything Blackthorne feels, including his isolation, and we are right there with Toranaga as he maneuvers his way to become Shogun. After 1,200 pages of build up, the story conclude in  two paragraphs.

So, I repeat, if the other books are anything like this, I’m going to have Literary Blue Balls. 

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