I’ve Been Thinking

We attended the Free Thinkers luncheon again, recently.  I was seated beside a new member, and was guessing his country of origin, based on his accent.  Score one for the old guy.  He was Russian.  He studied English and German in University, and is qualified to be a professor in either, or both.  So, that means he’s working as an assembler in a plastics plant, similar to the son’s.  Always nice to know we’re putting the skills of our immigrants to the best use.

The reason I didn’t immediately place his accent was that he said he comes from Eastern Russia, Southern Siberia.  He said he could look out his back door into China.  I worked at the stamping shop with a young Russian who described his home town almost exactly the same way.  At least he had got a job as an engineer.  Thinker Russian said that he had decided to get rid of his TV, because there was nothing good on, and asked (told) his kids if they should sell the TV.  Engineer Russian did the same thing – scary!

The young lad across the table asked him what the name of his town/city was, apparently because he had some knowledge of the area.  He said he was from Kusnetzk.  I asked him to repeat the pronunciation and translate to English if he could.  I had heard correctly.  My name in Russian is Kusnetzov, not merely Smith, but (son of a)Smith.  He was from my namesake Russian city.  Please, hold your applause.  I’m only 50 miles from Smithville, here in Ontario.

The Mennonite lady was also there, although she’s actually an ex-Mennonite now.  As close as the Brethren are, I asked what the rest of the congregation thought she was doing while they were at church.  She says they’re waiting for her to repent of her errors and rejoin the flock.

She says they can go flock themselves!  She ain’t going back.  She’s moved to the big city with hot and cold running sin, and taken an apartment.  I must remember to ask what she’s doing to support herself.

Mennonites are cheeeap, at least the local ones are.  They could give my Scottish kin lessons.  They’d shit themselves rather than use a pay toilet.  The women make their own modest, ankle-length dresses with whatever fabric doesn’t sell, at the fabric shop. So here she is in a dress made of cloth which makes her look like an overstuffed sofa in a brothel, and a bright white pair of Avia sneakers poking out underneath.  They’re all air-cells and sparklies, not really completing the modesty theme.  She hasn’t completely left the entire mindset.  She says she’ll continue to wear the dresses, because that’s what she’s used to.

When I was setting the daughter up in the park, for the Non-Violence Festival, I met a dog-walking club/group (?).  As I was trying to carry her stuff from the car to the bridge to the island, I was cut off at the pass by 25/30 humans leading 15/20 dogs on the paved walkway around the lake.  The dog leading the parade was a beautiful Golden Lab, with his own Golden Lab, a stuffed toy half as big as he was in his mouth.  Later, I saw Mommy carrying, when his jaws got tired.  One couple was walking two dogs.  He had the leash for one, and that dog had the leash for the other in his mouth.

There was a young man who liked to view the lake and feed the birds.  He had some muscular dystrophy, and got around in a power wheelchair, similar to the daughter’s.  He liked to roll the chair near the water, and then sit on the raised bank and toss bread to the ducks and swans.  The week before the Non-Violence, he had been found drowned.  He was always happy, and had made future plans.  It is thought that he exited the wheelchair and had a muscular spasm at the brink, fell in, and, of course, could not save himself, and no-one else noticed.

I have a couple of blogs “in the can”, which will require the wife to help me add pictures.  We (She?) went through the digital photos on the computer, and set up a file for my posts.  We realized that some of the shots we wanted were in a scruffy, ignored pile of “bricks and mortar” photos, from before the arrival of the digi-cam, and scanned them in.  This impelled the wife to spend the best part of two days, organizing, labeling, and properly storing, envelopes of negatives and prints.

A short while ago, Ted @ SightsNBytes said that, when he started blogging, he intended to post recipes, and photos of his area, and trips.  Then he discovered he had constructive writing ability, and has never got around to it.  The wife asked if I was interested in using pictures of some of our trips, to post some photo-blogs.  Since I still haven’t discovered much constructive writing ability, hopefully with Ted’s permission, and your acceptance, I thought that I’d start working some into the rotation.

The white-elephant LRT has to pass under the ring-road expressway.  The region was just going to bore a hole through the embankment, and arch it with concrete.  The Ontario Ministry of Transportation insists that they must use special soil stabilization methods.  We haven’t moved one shovel of dirt yet, and the cost, for that one little section, has risen $2.5 million.  I think we’re screwed.

I went with the son to the Bulk Barn store today.  He spotted a new Aztec hot chocolate powder, with some hot pepper added, as the Aztecs used to drink chocolate.  I think I’ll try some tonight as we watch our British crime-show.  I think I’ll survive to post again soon.

I think that’s all the non-information I want to impart for today.  You’ll see me (I fervently hope.) again in a couple of days.

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Free Sex

A Dog Named “Sex”

Everybody who has a dog calls him something boring, like Rover or Fido.  I call my dog Sex

Now, Sex has been very embarrassing to me.  When I went to City Hall to renew his licence, I told the clerk I would like to have a licence for Sex.  He said, “I’d like to have one too.”  Then I said, “But this is for a dog.”  He said he didn’t care what she looked like.  Then I said, “You don’t understand.  I’ve had Sex since I was nine years old.”  He said I must have been quite a kid.

When I got married and went on my honeymoon, I took the dog with me.  I told the motel clerk that I wanted a room for the wife and me, and a special room for Sex.  He told me that every room in the place was for sex.  I said, “You don’t understand, Sex keeps me awake at night.”  The clerk replied, “Me too.”

One day I entered Sex in a contest, but, before the competition began, the stupid dog ran away.  Another contestant asked me why I was just standing there and looking around.  I told him I planned to have Sex in the contest.  He told me I should have sold my own tickets.  “But you don’t understand,” I said, “I had hoped to have Sex on TV.”  He called me a show-off.

When my wife and I separated, we went to court to fight over custody of the dog.  I said, “Your Honor, I had Sex before I was married.”  He said, “Me too.”  Then I told him that after I was married, Sex left me.  He said, “Me too.”

Last night Sex ran off again.  I spent hours looking all over town for him.  A cop came up to me and asked, “What are you doing in this alley at 4 in the morning?”  I told him I was looking for Sex.

My case comes up next Friday.

The Three Stages Of Sex In A Man’s Life

Tri-Weekly

Try Weekly

Try, Weakly

Three Kinds Of Sex

House Sex

When you’re newly married, and have sex all over the house, in every room.

Bedroom Sex

After you’ve been married for a while, you just have sex in the bedroom.

Hall Sex

After you’ve been married for many, many years, you just pass each other in the hall and say “Fuck You.”

Thank you for coming reading this.  If you sex maniacs can get the topic off your minds, I’ll be back in a couple of days.

Teleology

The title is a word which means assigning invalid motives and results.  It is done far too often.  It can range from the small to the large.  A guy says to his woman, “Gee honey, that outfit looks great on you.” and she replies, “Well, if you think you’re getting lucky tonight, you’ve got another think coming.”  Maybe he was hoping to get lucky.  Maybe he was just trying to be the thoughtful, caring, supportive mate she says she wants.  Either way, it might be a long time before he compliments anything of hers again.

The small stuff can just be irritating, but this process is often carried on by politicians and religious rulers.  It can be most dangerous when the two come together.  It is usually driven by egotism and insecurity.  After the recent meteor which streaked over Russia, the leader of the opposition party (Who apparently is the majority stockholder in a vodka firm.) released a statement saying that the phenomenon was caused by “a secret American weapon”.

So, this couldn’t be just a case of God shaking the dust from His sandals over Russia.  Something that left only a dust trail in the sky, and an ice-fishing hole in a frozen lake, had to be a weapon, an American weapon, and a secret weapon.  It would break Igor’s ego heart to know that the Americans haven’t taken Russia seriously since 1991.

Two recent related political/religious stories have me gnashing my teeth.  Two insecure, egotistical pols in North Carolina are trying to establish Christianity as the State Religion.  Ignoring the edicts and directions of the founders of a country offering freedom and tolerance, they are using the best psychological bases to achieve their ends, by wrapping this endeavor in the name, Defense Of Religion.

It simply is no such thing!  It is not defense of Islam, or Judaism, or Shinto!  It might be Defense of a Particular Religion – Christian – but it’s not even that.  As in my Aug. 14/12 post, A Gored Ox, they had been asked nicely, not to begin State Legislature meetings with a Christian-only prayer, in legal contravention of the “Separation of Church and State” directive.  Now they want to pass a law which allows them to do just that.  The only thing that this law will defend is Christian religious monopoly.

I can smell the insecurity from here.  People like this amaze and anger me.  If they are as sure of the monopolistic validity of their beliefs as they would have us believe, why are they so adamant to silence opposing views?  If you ain’t one of us, you ain’t welcome!

The other legal/religious situation which irks me, is the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA!  Like the above, this is a carefully crafted psychological crusade to conceal the fact that it isn’t what it says it is.  If two homosexual men are allowed to marry, not one heterosexual couple will be forced to divorce.  If two lesbians are allowed to marry, not one heterosexual couple will be prevented from marrying.  No man will be forced to marry another man!  No woman will be forced to marry another woman!  In other words, if gays are allowed to marry, the only change – the only thing that Bible-thumping, Good Christian, heterosexuals will lose – is the morally highjacked right to the monopolistic use of the term, married.

I am glad to see that the American Supreme Court has finally ruled against DOMA.  This is not the end.  The Westboro Baptists and their like will still need their daily doses of ego and insecurity to feel good about themselves, but it is, perhaps, the beginning of the end of this moralistic bitching.

To justify not allowing gays to call their unions a marriage, they say, “We never have in the past.”  I’d like to call this circular logic, but there’s no logic applied, just exclusionary emotion.  There is no need to Defend Marriage!  It is not under attack.  Many gays, having been clearly and pointedly shown that they are not welcome within their previous religious groups, opt for a civil ceremony.  Others marry in churches with more open, accepting rules.

As citizens of democratic countries, they want what all other citizens of the same country legally receive.  Why don’t they call it a Civil Union?  It’s the same thing.  If it’s the same thing, why don’t you let them call it a marriage?  Civil unions, especially in areas controlled by moralists like these, do not always accrue the same benefits as marriages.  Companies do not provide spousal benefits.  Long-term partners are not granted care decision-making in hospitals, or burial arrangements for deceased partners. Unlike even common-law partners, in the event of a split or death they do not receive a fair portion of shared assets.

Many of these same Good Christians rail against the attempted application of Sharia law for Muslims, yet feel they are justified in forcing their opinions into law against those they morally resent.  They want to apply religious law in countries which are supposed to be secularly governed.

Not letting you push Christianity and your, perhaps mistaken, opinion of Christian morals, down my throat is not an attack on your religion.  It is my Defence of Freedom!  Christ was accepting and inclusive of many who might be called fallen.  It would honor Him and His teachings to do the same!  Let some of the pressure out of your self-important ego, stop jumping at every imagined religious slight, and get on with it.  I’ll let you do your thing, as long as you let me do mine.

Seinfeld Rerun II

The solution to the crossword clue, “Many blogs”, the other day was, “Rants”.  I’m glad to know I’m holding up my end of the bargain.

I’m also glad I caught a clue from BrainRants’ site last February, and started putting my posts in a Word file.  It has reduced tension and evened out my publication.  I pound out three, thousand-word treatises in 36 hours, then go into suspended animation for 8 or 9 days.

Lady Ryl has been diagnosed with type-II diabetes.  It should be to her to announce this, but she hasn’t felt well enough to post since the end of March.  Added to fibromyalgia and mobility restrictions from two damaged knees, this just increases her burdens.  It was caught early enough, that diet and medication should control it.

Her doctor got the blood-test results on a Friday, and wanted her to come in on Saturday, but she was already committed to the Cherry Park festival, where she had a good time, and made some sales.  The trip to the crazy cat lady was delayed a week, and I took her over on Sunday.  A male, and a female, doctor share the office.  Neither wishes to work a full week.  Her lady doctor is in on Tuesday and Friday.  The man she saw, is in on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, providing clinic-like coverage.

In my post about names, I mentioned Laurie Embro, and her sister-in-law, Lori Embro, who both worked in the same plant with me.  Recently, “Laurie Embro” turned up as a search term.  I hope I didn’t say anything derogatory.  Speaking of names, a local female executive carries the surname of Bodkin, so rare that the surname website doesn’t even list it.  In my May 12/13 post, You Don’t Say, I explained that a bodkin is a pointed tool, somewhat like a naval marlin spike, used to work on leather, canvas and rope.

Almost a year ago, on July 26/12, I posted the story of how I got into collecting foreign coins, titled, “A penny, lira, peso, etc. for your thoughts.” It got the usual 40 or so views, and disappeared.  Suddenly, about a month ago, I started getting, “A lira for your thoughts” as a search term, and usually 4 or 5 views of that post, each and every day.  The views come from countries all over the world.  Pleasantly puzzling!

While many of the larger auto-parts firms have left the area, it is still possible to get a job with some of the smaller ones.  The Workforce Planning Board held a meeting of HR executives recently, and, among other things, the topic of strange applications came up.  These are definitely not the usual ones, but they include an applicant showing up for an interview in a hoodie and baseball cap.  Mark Zuckerberg can get away with wearing that to a board meeting, but not a job applicant.

A candidate who had been granted a $17 dollars/hour, 40 hours/week, 9-week summer job, then wanted three weeks vacation in the middle.  Applicants tell HR reps that they’ll only work days.  They don’t do afternoons or night-shifts.  It is not appropriate for parents to call to set up an appointment for their child, nor is it appropriate for them to call, and follow up after an interview.  A parent showed up at one plant and asked to submit a resume for the son who was sitting out in the car.  Who wants the job, the kid, or the parent??  One mother even came to her son’s performance review, and fielded questions for him.

I recently took the wife to a local rheumatologist for a cortisone shot.  The building is filled with doctors, including one of her nephews.  Every door has two signs, “Leave all wet footwear outside.” and, “No food or drink allowed in office.”  Dr. Tom’s door has a third one added.  It says, “This includes Tim Hortons!”  This just shows how Canadians regard Timmie’s.  This stuff isn’t “food and drink”, this is Canada’s lifeblood.  It goes where we go!  Rrrrolll up the rrrimm on the large double-double, eh!

California became the first state to ban the Pray-The-Gay-Away repair therapies for minors, to change their sexual orientation.  These therapies have driven teens to depression and suicide.  Gay rights groups have labelled them as dangerous and abusive, and claim these practices have no basis in science or medicine and have been relegated to the dustbin of quackery.

I saw a man pursuing the horizon,

Round and round they sped.

I was disturbed at this.

I accosted the man.

It is useless, I said,

You cannot….

You lie! He cried, and ran on.

I checked my stats today, and found that Akismet had protected me from 3,333 spam comments, such an interestingly round number.  They included a new one from Mona@bogusemail.uk, who wished me a happy belated birthday, and said she loved my wrinting??  I treasured it so much I could barely delete it.

My brother phoned to tell me that he had lost his job as a bank guard.

I said, “That’s awful.  What happened?”

He said, “Well, a thief came in to rob the bank.  I pulled out my gun and told him that if he took another step, I’d let him have it.”

Mesmerized, I asked, “What happened then?”

He replied, “Well. He took one more step, and I let him have it.  I didn’t want that stupid gun anyway!”

Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.  Coming soon to a blog near you, posts that make much more sense than this one.

My Weekend Weak-End

The daughter wanted to attend the Non-Violence Festival in Victoria Park on Saturday, so it was up to me to haul her stuff over and set her up.  It is a short festival, from noon till five.  Set-up was from 10 AM to 11:30, which meant I had to pick up her friend at 9:45, which meant I had to be up at 9 AM, which is still the crack of dawn for me.

On the way home, I stopped to pick up one item at my supermarket, and headed for the express checkout.  Busty Black Betty cut me off, and pushed her cart in front of me, not full, but the bottom was covered.  I pointedly stared at the cart, and then the “8 Items or less” sign.  You know, she could read, and count.

The daughter had a good day.  Her friend had a good day, and the wife sold a few candles and a pair of knitted baby socks, in absentia.  The usual religious suspects were there, as well as the Free Thinkers, to prove you can be Good Without God.  This year she got a spot which wasn’t in the sun all day.  I helped a lady about the daughter’s age move her my-aged father in a wheelchair, up and over the arched footbridge, then I hauled the daughter’s stuff, and her friend home after 5, and made an appointment for the next day.  We were going to visit the Crazy Cat Lady.

The son suggested I take along the GPS unit.  We can’t set a trip endpoint with a rural address, but if we take it along, we can get it to set, once we’ve arrived, and it knows where it is.  The grandson and fiancé came along, so I gave it to him to play with in the backseat.  To exit town in that direction, there are two main roads.  With the usual DNA twists, one arcs out to the left, then curves back.  The other arcs out to the right, then curves back, both meeting three miles away, at the edge of town.

There was an LPGA tournament here on the weekend.  Since I have less than no interest in golf, I didn’t pay much attention.  I thought the course they were using was on the west side of town, and I was going east.  We usually use that road.  Let’s do something different, and take this one today.  I couldn’t figure where all the traffic was coming from.  Did church just let out?  Is Shoney’s having a buffet special??  Then I started seeing signs, Competitor Parking, Caddy Parking, Observer Parking.  Could you idiots move along and just Park already??!  Even Mrs. Recalculating in the back seat said, “Turn around and go home in ten yards.  You’ll never get through this mess.”

We eventually got out of the city without resorting to gunfire, or atomic-powered profanity and let the bucolic countryside calm my frazzled nerves.  Llamas, Archon!  See the llamas!  Beautiful weather meant lots of motorcycles out to covet.  Passed a small clutch of wind turbines again, reached Cat Lady’s place, and set the GPS.

Summertime means many of her cats and dogs have been sold and delivered.  She had four female breeders downstairs, but only 13 juvenile Bengals in her living room.  This is a large step down from 40/50 mothers and kittens of various ages.  Previous visits have given me an understanding of the tornados which sweep though Kansas and Oklahoma.  Still, anyone who doesn’t believe in perpetual motion has never been in a room with 13 six-month-old cats.

She also had two short-haired Chihuahuas, one, a young male which had been returned and had separation anxiety.  The other was a female, coming up to her first breeding season, which had lost her right rear foot to a snappish female, as a newborn.  Because of an upcoming business trip, the daughter had agreed to foster it till the late fall.

After several hours of cat petting, food and drink, storytelling and gossip spreading, it was time to head home.  The daughter settled into the car with the little dog supported across her ample bosom, with its head on her shoulder below her left ear.  The grandson turned the GPS back on as we headed down the concession road towards the highway.  “In 3.2 Kilometers, turn right on road 19.”  Okay, that’s the way we always come.  I guess I can find my way back.

Suddenly, “Recalculating.  In 2.1 Kilometers, turn left on road 19, then right on county road 37.”  Mrs. GPS has found me a shortcut which cuts off two sides of a triangle, and saves five miles.  Five years ago, it was just a gravel road, but now it’s paved, and lightly travelled, so I took it.

Humming along at 95 Km/h in an 80 zone, halfway across, I saw a car approach a tee-intersection from my right.  This is just a county road, not a highway, but it’s a police car.  I eased off the gas and rolled past him at the speed limit.  He pulled out and headed in my direction.  Sure enough, within a quarter-mile the lights and siren come on.  I’ve been good!  What’s this all about??!

I pulled over onto the shoulder, turned the car off, took off my sunglasses and rolled my window down.  Attitude In Blue Serge exits his cruiser and struts up to my car.  No matter what I’ve done, or not done, I am at a disadvantage if I allow him to speak first.  As he neared my window I said, “Good-day Sir.  Do you have a problem?”  “No, I don’t have a problem.”  “Do I have a problem?”  By this time he is leaning in my window, looking across at the daughter….and the dog she’s cuddling to her chest.

“Oh!  No!  I just thought she had a baby.  I hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend.  You’re free to go.”  I enjoyed my weekend right up until I got pulled over.  Despite the aggravation, he was observant and safety-conscious.  I just wish I’d been wearing Depends.  Oh well, the wife should be able to get the stain out.

Well, that was my weekend.  Did you all survive yours?

Two Centuries

It seems like only ten months ago when I reached my first 100 posts, and was worried that I was not coming up with new ideas, and wondered if I would ever reach the 200 mark.  So, here it is, ten months later, and with the enthusiastic support of some of my readers, I’ve reached the double century mark, and am wondering if I can come up with enough ideas to get to the third.  Plus ca change, plus la meme chose.  That’s a French phrase, meaning pull your thumb out, quit your whining, and get writing.

This is the third new century I’ve seen arrive.  I transitioned from the first half of the 20th century, into the first half of the 21st, and I’m using that fact to pump out the occasional “remember when” post.  I realized the other day that I am within a couple of months of my 69th birthday.  Damn! 69, that’s almost 70!

When I was younger, birthdays were just numbers.  I had a brother-in-law who went berserk when he turned 50, a month before I did.  Fifty is the same as thirty.  Sixty-five is the same as fifty, just with more aches.  But 70 is not the same as dead.  I am seeing my mortality a little clearer.  Thankfully, I was blessed with good genes.  My mother was 92 when she died.  My dad had had bronchitis for years and was 85 when he passed on.  With good diet, a little exercise, and the wife coddling me as I deserve, I should still be here irritating you for years.

Actually, I started this post when I had published number 180, and realized that I had another twenty tucked away in a Word file.  With this one, and at least one more rattling around in my empty head, I know I’ll clear two hundred; it’s just that some of the stats I plan to brag about may be a bit off.

My followers continue to accumulate, although nothing like my more talented and famous fellow-bloggers.  They also have passed a century mark.  Count is around 140, although, sadly, I believe two have died, and a couple more have disappeared from the blogging scene.

BrainRants survived a year in Afghanistan, and we survived a year on short rations of his wit and wisdom.  The world’s most famous commenter, John Erickson, built himself a blog cabin, although for medical reasons, he drifts in and out of regular posting.  H E Ellis has received some kind of significant promotion.  I think she’s going to end up being the governor of New Hampshire, or maybe Jodi Picoult’s publisher.  Too busy to publish regularly herself, she’s still full of great ideas and help for other bloggers.

At the risk of appearing the obsequious cur that I am, I would like to state that there is not a day when I do not acquire, from the blogs I read, some new piece of information or viewpoint, or opinion, or support, emotional or technical….except when I get distracted and don’t read your blogs for a couple of days….or a couple of weeks.  My brain finally thaws out, and I try to get caught up, usually causing information overload and a headache.  I lie quietly on the couch, and take two bowls of chilli, and soon I feel normal (?) again.

I’ve received six more blog-awards, first one from SightsNBytes, then one from Benzeknees, then four all at once from Benze, that blew down here on a Chinook.  I had great fun with the acknowledgement posts.  I was going to put all of the logos on my sidebar, but another blogger opined that it just looked messy, and detracted from the importance of the posts themselves.  I proudly put up the Rants’ Army badge just to warn potential trolls.  I know a guy with a handgun and a tank, and who eats a lot of beans.  Mess with me, and, one way or another buddy, you’re in big trouble.

The quality of my writing has improved a bit….right?  C’mon guys, work with me on this.  I have increased the amount of comedy I post, and have begun publishing book reviews.  Okay, two so far, and counting.  I have learned how to insert photos, and even videos into my posts.  I just bitch and whine until the wife puts her Kobo down, and comes and does it for me.  Hey, we all got our strengths.  That chilli ain’t gonna make itself.

I assume that you, my readers, are also enjoying the entertainment, amusement and self-improvement.  This stringing words and thoughts together can be quite addictive.  I’m focussed on number three hundred now.  You guys go ahead without me.  My right hip is a little stiff and sore today, but I’ll get there!

Book Review #2

So, here it is only four months later, and my lazy, forgetful ass is finally getting around to doing another book review.  I bitched in another post about a book I was particularly disappointed with, but it wasn’t really a review.

After a considerable wait, I finally received, from the Library, the second in the Jack Reacher series, like the previous, 700 pages of large print.  It was the fourth book I was reading simultaneously, and took just over a week to get through.

The wife decided to do some research on the series, since I’ll want to work my way through it.  The library has an e-copy of the next one, which we reserved.  I’ll probably receive it quicker than this one.  After that, they don’t have any, till the latest in the series.  She checked with one of the e-book distributors, and they have them all, for $4/ea.  I may have to ask for my own Kobo for my upcoming birthday.

The Author – Lee Child

The Book – Die Trying

The Review

I’m still hoping that Child’s writing improves as the series advances.  Like the previous book, some portions of it are inspired.  Then other sections drone and drone.  He seems addicted to whipsawing.  In several passages, the story goes from, It is, to It isn’t, to Yes it is, back to No, it isn’t, finally to It provably is.  Once, or even twice, can be excitingly suspenseful.  Three or four times in one book quickly becomes disappointingly formulaic.

Reacher is in the wrong place at the wrong time when three guys kidnap a young female FBI agent off the streets of Chicago in broad daylight.  Child, through his Reacher character, still shows solid logic.  The fact that the three kidnappers were only gone from a militia compound for five days, means that there is a mole in the FBI office who studied her schedule, a plot twist that got past me.

SPOILER ALERT

The author builds the suspense through the usual process of elimination, and brings it down to just two possible candidates – and then plot twists it that they are both dirty, one for ideology, the other just for greed.

What I liked about the book:  The usual guy stuff.  Lots of things went bang and boom.  Bad guys got dead.  Good guys got saved, good logical thinking employed, lots of witty repartee.

What I didn’t like about the book:  A surprising number of minor details.  I watch a considerable amount of English telly, but things I accept without question on a British broadcast, grate when viewed in a book aimed largely at a North American market.

Child has a character stand on a queue.  Most Americans will join a line or line-up, but not a queue.  Those who do, speak of standing in a queue, not on one.  Standing on a queue, seems like I’m leaving footprints on unfortunate people.

The same with what a character did at the weekend.  “At the weekend” seems like someone drove up to it and parked outside.  Americans do things on the weekend, to enjoy the entire 60 hours

When Reacher first met the heroine, he did a cold read on her, and figured she owned twenty outfits, each worth $400 – an $8000 wardrobe.  While she is impressed with his observational skills and logic, she tells him that she worked at a Madison Avenue firm for three years before joining the FBI and bringing her clothes with her.  She has 35 outfits, and $400 is what she pays for a top when it’s on sale.  She has $8000 worth of shoes.  This is not a problem with the writing, but I have trouble rooting for any female who owns $8000 worth of shoes.

Child doesn’t seem to know the difference between a cave and a mine, and has Reacher fighting his claustrophobia by crawling through a tiny passage where the roof comes down almost to his head and the walls close in till he can hardly move his elbows.  Then he encounters the skeletons of five competitors the head bad guy had murdered.

This is a great psychological passage, showing the ruthless evil of the villain, and Reacher winning out over adversity.  I can ignore the question of, if it’s that tight in there, how did he crawl past five skeletons?  The question I can’t ignore is, how did they get there?  In a passage that small, they couldn’t be dragged in, and they couldn’t be pushed in.

This book is only a year newer than the first, and Child still doesn’t seem to have learned much about guns.  True, he doesn’t have anyone waving little .22 caliber pistols, but, at least five years after the FBI switched to semi-automatic pistols, he has them still carrying old .38 Special revolvers.  Everybody else in the book had auto-loaders, the Army, the Secret Service, even the bad guys.  How come the Bureau got stuck with the antiques?

He has the heroine come into possession of a “MAC 10” machine pistol, but she’s afraid to fire it because the noise will attract more bad guys.  I suppose I should cut Child a little slack on this one.  Even many knowledgeable gun dealers don’t know the difference between an Ingram M 10, and a MAC 10.  The M 10 does not become a MAC 10 until a Military Arms Construction (MAC) sound suppressor has been attached.

Salesmen used to meet potential buyers in hotel rooms.  The “silenced” gun was removed from a titanium briefcase, and the salesman would order a jug of ice water and glasses from room-service.  When the hotel employee knocked on the door, the salesman would toss a couple of cushions in front of the briefcase, to catch ricochets, and burn through a 30-round magazine of shells.  He would then turn the cushions over, jam the gun back into the briefcase, and answer the door.  Not one bellboy ever reported anything suspicious, but tons of sales were made.

Despite their minor flaws, these are good solid action books.  I look forward to the next.