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?

Potlicker

Potlicker

From my random knowledge post about ‘Boudin’, a rustic French sausage, I want to tell you about a real-life potlicker.

‘a poor person, often uncouth and uneducated’
Dialect. A worthless or disgusting person or animal.

A small but prestigious College in the United States had a professor retire.  The Dean and his staff set out to find a suitable replacement.  The final choice(s) came down to two men.  On paper, they looked exactly evenly matched, the same amount of education, the same amount of quality experience.  Both had sterling references.

“On paper” and “in person,” are not the same thing.  It was decided to invite each of them out for dinner with the small selection committee, to see how well they fit in on a personal basis.  Each was taken to a lovely, up-scale steakhouse.

The meeting with the first one went well…. until the main course was finished, and the applicant picked up, and licked his plate clean.  Glances were cast, and he was assured that, “We’ll be in touch.”  The choice seemed obvious, but, it was felt that the second contender should, at least, be looked at in the same social situation.

Again, all went well until the end of the meal.  When he was asked if he had any questions about things that they hadn’t covered, the only thing he wanted to know was, what the College’s policy was on professors dating students.

In the car, on the way back to the College, it seemed unanimous that, “I guess that it’s the plate-licker then.”  You can teach a rube some table manners, but it’s dangerous to have a sexual predator on campus, especially one dumb enough to advertise his intentions.  😯

WOW #58

 

I am the walrus…. No, wait. That was John Lennon.

philosopher

I AM THE ARCHON

And I have been since a high school history class in 1958, when we studied the Classic Greeks. The king of Sparta was killed in a battle, and his son was only 11. The law stated that he needed to be 18 before he officially succeeded his father.

Seven of the king’s closest friends and advisors formed a committee, and offered to protect and mentor the young teen until he could take over. They became ‘The Archons.’   True to their word, they trained and advised the young man for years, and when he came of age, they crowned and installed him as king.

Impressed by their wisdom and honesty, I decided that I wanted to be an Archon – a tribal elder, a senior statesman – passing along knowledge and integrity. It is a self-appointed title that I’ve held for over 60 years.

Somewhat sadly, the word/name/concept did not begin with the ancient Greeks. It actually goes back to, or beyond, the time of Gilgamesh and the Mesopotamian Empire. The original meaning was of beings that held power and positions which they were not authorized to hold.

Modern Christian Apologists have decided that these tales were about demons afflicting mankind. I have been unceremoniously dismissed by Christian debaters, because my ‘Archon’s Den’ website is obviously a home for the Devil.

Well, now that I’ve made it all about me, it’s about time that I dragged out the Word Of the Week, gave credit where it is due, and explained why.

Once upon a time, I claimed that I was ‘The Archon,’ and blogger buddy Jim replied that, of course I was, and he was the

POLEMARCH

That had me quickly scurrying for a dictionary and a history text. It turns out that, while an Archon may be a noble, a member of the aristocracy, one who makes the laws to rule a country – the POLEMARCH is a senior civilian bureaucrat, charged with the administration and enforcing of the rules.

Fasces

I hope that Jim is not dismayed when I say that the Polemarch is Fascist. Like the swastika symbol, the poor word ‘Fascist’ has suffered a reversal of fortunes and meaning, which may not be set right for another hundred years. The left-hand, reverse swastika has been the symbol of the Zuni Indians’ Sun God for centuries.

Swastika

The right-hand version, presented flat and square, instead of the diamond Nazi method, had been a good-luck symbol to the Hindu and Jain religions for millennia. It has even been accepted by various Christian sects as the cross of Saint John.

The Greek concept of the Polemarch was adopted and modified (along with so many other things) by the Romans. Administrators named Magistrates – a word, which in English, means ‘master’ – patrolled Roman cities, dispensing justice. They were accompanied by one or more assistants, bearing their badge of office, called ‘Fasces.’ (fass-case) These consisted of an axe, the blade visible and facing outward, surrounded by a sheaf of wooden rods.

Actually, only the rods were fasces, but the whole assembly soon took on the name. The axe (more than) symbolized the power of death – by beheading – capital punishment.   The wooden sticks were used to administer a beating or flogging – corporal punishment, for lesser crimes.

Instant justice, delivered hot and fresh, on the spot – today’s lawyers would be aghast at the lack of fee-producing stays and appeals. The term ‘fasces’ produced the word Fascist when Mussolini’s WWII Brown-shirts co-opted it, and the symbol, to show the government’s seizure of the right of life and death over the population.