A Love Of Reading

Even for a grumpy, retired old dude like me, with nothing much to do, COVID-infested infected 2020 provided me with a little extra time to read ‘em and reap.  I thought that I was doing well, but….  The son swore off TV some years ago, and spends all his spare time reading – something.  He still reads the occasional dead-tree book, but gets most of his from Kindle Unlimited.  Kindle keeps track of how many books he has read – and reread.  In 2019, he went through 152.  During Apocalypse 2020, his list numbered 213.  I recently went to bed.  By the time I arose, eight hours later, he’d (re)read 3 books.
I only got these 37.

Hawking dumbed down ‘A Brief History of Time’ enough that I understood a lot of it. Mlodinow further simplified the concepts, in this version.

Book number 6 of The Expanse series. I am currently watching my way through series number five, on Amazon Prime

Interstellar Sci-Fi, with magic. Thanx to the son for introducing me to this series.

A time-filling men’s adventure book

A little bit of spaceships and ray-guns Sci-Fi

Alternate-Earth, with magic. Second book, Red Magic will be in this year’s list.

More Action/Adventure

A Sci-Fi book about time travel. One of several read last year.

A stand-alone book from these author’s ‘Magic” series, explaining some plot focus changes, and allowing for the beginning of a new series.

A murder mystery from fellow blogger K J Ivany. A post about this book will soon follow.

The culmination of the ‘Magic’ series. Swords, vampires, shapeshifter were-animals, and various monsters. It’s been fun.

Book #2, mate to last year’s ‘Saints.’

Book number five of The Expanse Series – the one I’m currently streaming. Thanx BrainRants – great reading, and watching.

Bourne Identity type of men’s action/adventure

Another in The Innkeeper, ‘Sweep’ series. This husband/wife writing team are almost as prolific as Isaac Asimov, with four series and several singletons.

More mindless men’s adventure. I am highly qualified.

Another Jack Reacher book. Another in the series has just been released for this year’s reading. As Clive Cussler passed his series on to his son, so has Lee Child passed his on to his son.

Tom Clancy’s heirs just passed the writing of the Jack Ryan series on to a committee of commercial writers.

Same series – different author

An invading alien machine makes the gods of Greece, Egypt and Rome real for those trapped inside a reality bubble.

If one was fun – and more importantly – sold, let’s trap another group with the Norse gods.

One of several ‘Classic’ Sci-Fi books that I reread. A book review will soon follow.

I realized that I had not read this book in the 1960s, so I bought it from Kindle for $1.99.

For the same two bucks, Star Rangers (above), came attached to this book, which I had read in the mid-’60s, titled ‘The Last Planet.’ As a matched pair, this second novel now makes more sense.

Eight millennia-old immortals among us, and how they have dealt with change. Another upcoming book review will tell you how.

Historical/urban fiction to pass the time

More Sci-Fi rereading. I originally read this, titled as ‘The Junkyard Planet.’ How to pull a failed world up by its financial bootstraps.

More interesting men’s action/adventure to pass the time. The first of another series which I believe I have to thank River Girl for introducing me to. The rest will help keep me busy in 2021.

Another reread from the ’60s. Urban fiction which barely qualifies as Sci-Fi because a man finds a way to get rich through industrial espionage, by inventing a device which allows him to move about, unseen and unstopped, while time stands still for everyone else.

More historical/urban fiction. They contain a pleasant amount of fascinating trivia.

Not much blood and guts, but lots of brains and gunplay. Solid story arc and character development.

Were the ten plagues of Egypt actually real?? Is the entire biome of the Earth a semi-sentient, interlocked, Gaia-type entity? Dunno! But it makes good reading.

Another ghost-writer, for Clive Cussler, presents a period-piece action/adventure whose hero is an early 20th century detective, reminiscent of the real Alan Pinkerton.

Time travel without leaving home. Bits and pieces of geography and time periods are inexplicably swirled together. Can our hero figure out how to put it all back where/when it belongs?

Centuries of life through organ transplants for planetary monarchs, but not for the their subjects. A topic brought up in this ’60s novel. The author also wrote the 1776/1976 American Bicentennial Saga series. If I read this book soon after its release, I don’t remember it. It was a pleasant discovery in a storage box.

At least one book to reinforce my lack of belief in the supernatural/religion. A disappointing little 156-page novelette with several passages repeated in different chapters.  Trying to justify his position through  philosophy and logic – and failing miserably.  As dry and tasteless as Muffets.

COVID19 should have given most of you some extra time this past year to read.  Aside from my magnificent prose, did you encounter anything morally or intellectually uplifting?

’20 A To Z Challenge – T

Amplified and heterodyned gravitonic waves from a giant Black Hole, in a far-off galaxy, https://www.msn.com/en-ca/kids/science/oldest-quasar-and-supermassive-black-hole-discovered-in-the-distant-universe/ar-BB1cLUOj?li=AAggFp5  produced an inversion in space-time which resulted in a reversal of publishing my T and U blogposts.  (Definitely not my confusion and lousy memory.)  Here’s what you missed, two weeks ago.

Little Miss Muffet, sat on her

TUFFET

a low stool; footstool.
Eating her curds and whey.  Along came a spider, who sat down beside her and said, “What’s in the bowl, bitch?”

She tossed her tousled tresses, and said, “It’s getting too damned crowded in here!  I’m going outside for some fresh air.  She trekked her pert little tush outside, and plunked it down on a

TUSSOCK

a tuft or clump of growing grass or the like.

She said, “And it ain’t curds and whey!  Who the Hell eats curds and whey, anymore??  Effete vegans, and twee guys with man-buns??!  (Speaking of which – Has anyone seen that horrible Uber Eats commercial, with the male(?) gymnast??  I don’t have to ask, but I do try to tell him, to turn down the GAY a notch.)  This, and a beer, is the “Breakfast of Champions.”  This, with a beer poured over it, is the breakfast of champions.  This is my namesake cereal, the one that Quaker named after me, ‘cause I’m so cute and well-rounded – Muffets.”

So, when I say that I ate a muffet, it’s not like Little Hot Welding Rod Little Red Riding Hood.  She was on her way to Granny’s, through the deep, dark forest, when a big, bad wolf jumped out and said, “I’m going to eat you.”  Red replied, “Eat, eat, eat!  Doesn’t anybody screw anymore?”

So, don’t screw around.  Stop back in a couple of days.  If I’ve finished my cereal, there’s a good chance that I might have something almost significant to say.   🙄

Flash Fiction #245

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

THE PARTY’S OVER NOW

The band, Semisonic, got a one-time-only, one-song-only chance to play their hit, Closing Time, at the White House, for El Trumpo’s going-away party.

Gather up your jackets and make it to the exits
You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!
Every new beginning’s from some other beginning’s end

This place is deserted.
Where is my cabinet?
You exiled or alienated most of them sire.

Where’s Pence?
You had him beheaded, sire.

Where is Melania?
She and Barron abandoned ship, and are swimming to put as much distance between you as they can, before we sink sire.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Not For A Billion Dollars

Charles Ray Fuller, a Texas dumb-dumb, tried to cash a bogus check for $360 BILLION. To top it off, the check wasn’t even made out to him. He was arrested on forgery charges and sentenced to a million billion years in prison.

***

A West Palm Beach, FL man was arrested on a slew of charges, and was perhaps a bit too honest on his arrest report. He listed his occupation as “drug dealer” and was charged with being the most obvious criminal in the history of crime.

***

Things were looking up for Frank Singleton when he was released from jail. However, when he realized that he didn’t have a ride home, he walked straight into the prison parking lot and attempted to carjack a woman. He was foiled when he realized that he couldn’t drive a car with a stick shift. As he was re-arrested – this time, for felony carjacking – Singleton told police that he simply “didn’t feel like walking.” We’ve all been there.

***

Polish author Krystian Bala, might’ve gotten away with murder… if he hadn’t written about it in his book. His 2003 novel Amok became a bestseller in Poland, but he paid the price when police noticed that the details of a murder in the book eerily matched those of an unsolved case.

The similarities led the police to investigate further, discovering connections between Bala and the victim, including the fact that the victim was romantically involved with Bala’s ex-wife. Whether or not he was inspired by the OJ Simpson “novel” based on a similar subject is unknown. What is known that he received 25 years in prison.

***

The dumbest policeman in the world, who was making some extra cash with drugs and prostitution, was brought to justice after driving a $170,000 Ferrari to work. Osman Iqbal, an officer based in Birmingham England, was jailed for seven years for running a brothel.

***

John Pearce came to realize the hazards of daylight burglary when in the course of climbing through a window, his foot became caught, leaving him dangling upside-down in plain sight of pedestrians walking down the busy sidewalk. Onlookers proceeded to mock him mercilessly until police arrived.

***

A 22-year-old man in Mineral Wells, TX landed himself behind bars after allegedly posting on his Facebook page that he had more than a dozen warrants out for his arrest. The warrants ranged from traffic citations to petty theft and totaled more than $1,200 in fines.

***

Let it be known that you can now be arrested for ballin’ on a budget. William Anderson, 51, was arrested after attracting attention by applying for welfare while driving an H2 Hummer. Thinking it an odd sight, the local sheriff ran the plates, and the vehicle came up as stolen.

***

An Ohio man reportedly called 911 numerous times, threatening to harm himself, after he had downed an entire bottle of Everclear because his pet pig, Millie, had eaten all of his marijuana. He was charged with disorderly conduct and later said that he would keep his weed out of reach of his pot bellied pig.

***

A 56-year-old woman’s boldly idiotic defense in her trial for drunk driving was that the alcohol did not affect her because she kept one eye closed to avoid seeing double. She was sentenced to two months in prison. If she keeps her eye closed it could cut it down to one.

***

A Florida man and woman spent two days trapped in what they said they believed to be a locked closet – until police let them out and discovered that the door was actually never locked.

John Arwood and Amber Campbell claimed they were chased into a janitor’s closet at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, FL, by unidentified assailants. They were charged with trespassing and Campbell was also charged with violating her probation.

Looking At More One-Liners

A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall….
….Police are looking into it

I would tell you a COVID joke….
….But it would take you two weeks to get it.

If you jumped off a bridge in Paris….
….You’d be in Seine

No matter how much you push the envelope….
….It will still be stationery

The fattest knight at King Arthur’s table was Sir Cumference….
….He got that way from too much pi

Two silkworms had a race….
….They both ended up in a tie

When the cannibals ate the missionary….
….They got a taste of religion

Einstein developed a theory about space….
….And it was about time, too

I saw a dwarf climbing down a prison wall….
….I thought, that’s a little condescending.

I went into a book store, and asked if they had anything on turtles….
….”Hardback?”

I like to have my cake, and eat it too….
….I’d also like to have your cake and eat it too.

An Optimist laughs to forget….
….A Pessimist forgets to laugh.

I am a mental tourist….
….My mind wanders.

The closest to perfect a person ever comes….
….Is when they fill out a job application.

Statistics say that 1 out of 3 people in a relationship are unfaithful….
….I need to figure out if that’s my wife or my girlfriend.

A store clerk fought off an armed robber with a pricing gun….
….Police are looking for a man with a price on his head.

I know the voices in my head aren’t real….
….But sometimes they have great ideas.

My girlfriend said she got a tattoo of a chameleon….
….I don’t see it

I haven’t lost all my marbles….
….But there’s definitely a hole in the bag.

How many general-relativity theoreticists does it take to change a light bulb?….
….Two.  One to hold the bulb and one to rotate space.

Why can’t you take electricity to social outings?….
….Because it doesn’t know how to conduct itself.

What did the male magnet say to the female magnet?….
….Seeing you from the back, I thought you were repulsive. But seeing you from the front, I find you rather attractive.

What did one uranium-238 nucleus say to the other?….
….Gotta split.

I was gonna go on a diet….
….But I’ve got too much on my plate right now.

The technical name for a coffee at work….
….is, Break Fluid.

 

WOW #68

I once knew a man named Isbister.
Thank you for your concern and condolences.

He pronounced it izz-biss-tur.  His first name was Murray – a good Scottish name.  It’s where the word ‘Mondegreen’ comes from.

They’ve killed the Earl o’ Murray,
And laid ‘im on the green.

His last name might have been Czechoslovakian for all I knew.  There was a Scottish housewife in town, with a brogue as thick as a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, married to a Polack named Mackowski.

I recently heard spoken references to another Isbister, this one clearly a Scottish citizen, referred to by another Scot.  This time, the pronunciation was eyes-biss-tur.  The family name is locational, coming from a village named Isbister.

The speaker also referred to another village named Fladdabister.  The Scots do have a way with language and pronunciation.  I kid (Sure I do) that the Irish are hard drinkers.  With names like that, maybe my lot were giving them lessons.  I mean, Scotch whiskey didn’t just happen.

Two towns with the word

BISTER

in their names – what could it mean??

Bister is a pigment obtained by burning (waste) wool.  It is/was used in paint and ink.  Apparently the simultaneous oxidation of lanolin and keratin, produced a deep, permanent black, similar to India ink.  It is no surprise that it is linked to the sheep/wool industry.  Other than growing oats, raising James Bond, and stealing magic rocks back from the British Parliament, there’s not much else to do in Scotland.

Scotland the Brae!  It’s a great place to be from.  Now, don’t get your kilts in a knot.  😉

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

No matter how cynical you are, it’s never enough to keep up.

I learned about scams at a very young age.  My Mother obtained two successive jobs in Detroit during the Dirty Thirties, in the middle of ‘The Great Depression’.  She worked at Burroughs Adding Machine as an assembler, and later moved to a better-paying position in the kitchens of Detroit General Hospital.

Pencils could be bought in a store for 1 cent each.  On the sidewalks of the commercial district where she worked, could be seen a little Jewish man, with a mug half-full of pencils, and a sign, 2 cents each – 100% markup.  Mom said that one time she gave him two pennies, and took a pencil, as many others did.  Some dropped in the two cents, but declined to take one.  Some dropped in the occasional nickel, or even the rare dime.

She shared a tiny apartment in a huge building, amongst several more, with few trees, little green space, and no parks.  Sometimes on Sundays, to get away from the industrial blandness, she and her room-mate would take a bus to a more upscale residential neighborhood.  There they would tour the area, enjoying the shade, the grass, the flowers, and the birds and squirrels, staring longingly at the magnificent homes.

One Sunday, they passed a large red-brick manor home on an acre lot of manicured lawn and gorgeous gardens, behind a six-foot wrought-iron fence.  When they reached the driveway, there was the little Jewish man, washing his Cadillac.  😳

On my Flash Fiction about seeing a roadside beggar, a commenter from England said that a panhandler in his city has been spotted ending his day by climbing into a nice car.  Toronto had a similar scam artist.  The Shaky Lady was regularly seen in the banking district.  She had muscle tremors, a distorted face, and difficulty speaking…. until quitting time, when a Toronto Sun reporter noticed her striding up a side street, and driving away in this year’s Audi.

I’m not saying that begging as a means of support is easy, especially the roadside panhandling.  You have to stand on pavement for hours, exposed to wind, rain, heat, cold, snow, and exhaust fumes.  You can’t eat or drink on the job, or it destroys the image.  You generally can’t take a break, and washrooms are not available – unless there’s a nearby clump of bushes.

One of my biggest objections to individuals supporting themselves in this manner, is that these people are like leeches on society, adding nothing – no goods or services – to the economy and the general welfare.  My other main objection is that most, or all, of the money received is unreported, and no tax is paid on it.  This means that I (and you) have to pay more taxes for infrastructure and social services, like supporting the unfortunates who really need it. Get some ethics!  Get some self-respect! Get a job!

’20 A To Z Challenge – U

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s New Pussycat? Whoaoo-oaoo-oaoo-whoa!  Tom Jones says, It’s Not

UNUSUAL

to hit a bit of writers block, but that’s old news.

What is also not unusual is that, like many other entertainment personalities, the Welsh singer, TOM JONES, isn’t.  He is Sir Thomas John Woodward OBE.  Jones is the most common Welsh surname, although there does not seem to be any among his immediate ancestors.

I can find no proof that he assumed the name Tom Jones because of a desire to reference the raunchy 1749 English novel with that name, which enjoyed a resurgence and republishing, just as he was beginning his public career.

Still, at the height of his popularity, inside industry observers estimated that he was having sex with up to 250 female fans per year.  His son/manager says that he is astounded and embarrassed that even into his 60s and 70s, female audience members were throwing panties with their phone number onstage.

So, I you got screwed without even a kiss, because Creativity bailed out and went for a beer, Desperation moved into the pilot’s seat, and barely landed a post with a U word in it.

I could go on a #MeToo rant, about guys like Bill Clinton, Harvey Weinstein, Peter Nygard, Jeffrey Epstein, Randy Prince Andy, Keith Raniere and Bill Cosby.  Men like this regard themselves, and are regarded by others, as alpha males, somehow entitled to unlimited sex with an unlimited number of females.  Sadly, these actions and attitudes are also not unusual.  Cosby’s only difference was that he had a kink where he preferred his victims unconscious.  All they have done is bring the concept of droit du seigneur up to date into the modern, electronic age.

I won’t do that (Too late!) because this post is already too depressing.  I’ll have something a little more upbeat in a couple of days.  C U then.  😀

Flash Fiction #244

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehuda

WHERE THERE’S SMOKE

Why can’t we stay up till midnight on New Year’s Eve??  What are they doing?

I don’t know.  Lift me up so that I can see over the counter…. Nuthin’ much, just drinkin’ cola outta glasses, talkin’ and smokin’.

Uncle Bob doesn’t buy his cigarettes at a store.  I think he picks his own tobacco in the woods – he calls it skunk-weed.  What’re they talkin’ about?

Nuthin’ really.  It doesn’t make sense to me, but it must be funny, ‘cause they’re all laughin’ a lot.

I’m gonna have chips and dip and Cheezies for New Year’s when I’m an adult.

***

Some adults never grow up.  As Rochelle’s site says, ‘Growing old is inevitable.  Growing up is optional.’  At least these kids were supposed to be in bed, but little mice have big noses.  Celebrate New Year’s any way you want, but stay safe.  Let’s do this again next year.  😀

***

If you’d like to have some fun – in a non-smoking household – go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Be Good – For Goodness Sake

Stupid – or Stubborn??!  Your call.

Many Christian Apologists, arguing against evolution, deny Darwinism because they believe that it supports a ‘Might Is Right’ stance that doesn’t fit with the ‘God Is Love’ picture that they like to paint.
Seems that the tribes out hunting game, making weapons of war, and raping their neighbors ought to have a genetic leg-up on those singing and dancing to their “gods” around the campfire.

Be Nice – Your Species Will Last Longer

If you’d like another opinion on why to be nice, click here.  https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/185318256/posts/294

British naturalist, Charles Darwin got it right, but a lot of Apologists get it wrong.  Most people assume that Darwin was talking about physical strength when referring to “Survival of the Fittest,” meaning that a tougher, more resilient species will win out over its weaker counterparts.  But what if he didn’t mean that at all??!

He said, “It is not the strongest, or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.”  Charles Darwin

Scientists Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, both researchers at Duke University’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, believe something else has been at work among species that have thrived throughout history, successfully reproducing to sustain themselves, and it has nothing to do with beating up the competition.

Their new book, Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity, posits that friendly partnerships among species and shared humanity have worked throughout centuries to ensure successful evolution.

Species endure – humans, other animals, and plants – based on friendliness, partnership, and communication.  People think of it as strong, alpha males who deserve to win.  That’s not what Darwin suggested, or what has been demonstrated.  The most successful strategy in life is friendliness and co-operation.  We (some of us) see that, again and again.

The first question a recent caller to an Atheist podcast had was, “Who took care of the first babies?”  When the answer was, “Their mothers took care of them.” he just laughed and said, “Yeah, right, but who took care of the first babies??”  The host explained that hominids and most other mammals, as well as most birds, and some reptiles, tend and rear their young.  “But a baby can’t even wipe its own butt.  Who took care of them?

After almost five minutes of this “Who’s On First” routine, I realized that, for his understanding of Evolution to be true, at some specific point in time, some or all ape mothers stopped giving birth to baby apes, and started giving birth to baby humans. (Not that there’s that much difference)  The answer is still the same.  Their mothers took care of them.  Has he never read “Tarzan the Ape Man?”  Probably only the comic book version.

When it became clear that neither side understood what the other was saying, he took off in another direction.  Do you believe in DNA?  Of course we believe in DNA.  Well, DNA is a code, and if you have a code, then there must be a code-maker, and that has to be God. DNA is not a code in the way you are referring to it.  Well then, you must believe that fully-formed adult humans just crawled out of a pool of DNA.

It was at this point that the hosts decided that he must be an internet troll, because nobody could be this stupid and uninformed of scientific theories and facts.  I think that they gave him WAYYY too much benefit of the doubt.  The current state of education, especially in the US, and particularly among the willfully ignorant Christian Apologists, means that people like this are far too common.

Despite not knowing what they’re talking about, there is NOTHING that they won’t seize, and present as a gotcha ‘proof’.  One recent unintentional comedian claimed that the head is the home of our intelligence and our spirit, which we use to “know,” and ‘worship’ God.  We are born head-first…. Therefore GOD exists.  😕

Since almost all mammals are born head-first, as well as many birds and reptiles (pecking their way out of their shell), I wonder if he means – and is okay with – hippos and wombats and tortoises, “knowing and worshipping God.”

I am G.O.D. and I can prove that I exist.  I expect a little more worship from you in a couple of days.  Blessed is he who likes and follows.