A welcome break from the barrage of convention and election news, Boomsday is satire at its finest, featuring not only a headline grabbing idea on how to salvage the social security system, but a great satire of a presidential primary, debate and election. Nothing is sacred, as it should be in satire.
Cassandra Devine is a young member of Generation Whatever (in the near future). By day, she works as a PR spin doctor for her boss Terry (who studied under Nick Naylor of “Thank You for Smoking” fame); by night, she blogs away at CASSANDRA, urging those of her generation to not take the depletion of social security by the baby boomers. When Cassandra suggests “Transitioning” (voluntary self-termination at age 70, complete with tax breaks!) and shows how the math would extend the near depleted funding of social security, politicians engage and the showdown to the campaign begins. (more…)
Eclipse, the third book in Ms. Meyer’s Twilight series, escalates the human-vampire-werewolf triangle, and provides deeper background on the werewolf legends, vampire armies and the ever-present threats of Victoria and the Volturi. As with the previous volumes, this one is a mix of a teenage love story and the supernatural, both well-paced and well written. Even though I skimmed the love story pieces (with apologies to Ms. Meyer and my wife (who cried at the end of this book…and no, Bob&John, I continued to show my insensitive side by not)) as with the previous books, I enjoyed the unique back-story she provides with her created world/history on vampires and werewolves. (more…)
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson has been my previous thickest paperback book (or book that I would most use as a doorstop, a step-ladder or a replacement for a bookend). At more than 1,150 pages (in a paperback!) I figured that record was safe.
But I just received a copy of The Reality Dysfunction by Peter F. Hamliton…the Pan published version, not the Americanized split down versions. This one clocks in at 1,225 pages.† A new record….and keeps letting by friend Bob (who has absconded with my copy of Crytonomicon) accuse me of only reading LARGE books.
The Talking Head’s live album “Stop Making Sense” was the staple at our Rugby games, the tunes that got us jazzed up to play. The movie of “Stop Making Sense” (cue the visual of Byrne dancing in his over sized suit) really pounded that album into my brain.
Byrne has re-united with Brian Eno who produced several Talking Head’s albums for a new album called Everything that Happens will Happen Today. The streamer for it is embedded below. Good to hear you again, Mr. Byrne, and please bring back the suit.
The second book in Ms. Meyer’s Twilight series, New Moon brings the werewolves into the storyline, and expands the world of the vampires, while extending the relationship of Bella and Edward to include Jacob, old family friend and new werewolf. The triangle mirrors that of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake / Jean Claude / Richard human-vampire-werewolf relationship, but without the gratuitous sex.
Fresh from an encounter with a stalker vampire who nearly killed her, Bella (a “danger magnet”) is thrown into harms way again by innocently cutting her finger on wrapping paper around a birthday present at a party thrown by the Cullens, Edward’s family (of vampires). The blood from the paper cut throws Jasper Cullen into a blood frenzy, with Edward once again saving her in the nick of time. (more…)
Twilight is the first of four books by Stephanie Meyer telling the story of Isabelle (Bella) Swan, who encounters vampires and werewolves in Washington State. The book is very much targeted at Young Adults; the similarities to Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series are numerous, with the main difference being the lack of sex scenes (which are numerous in Ms. Hamilton’s series, and overbearing in later books) and limited violence.
But there is lots and lots of teenage lust! (more…)
This is the third book I’ve read authored by Chris Roberson, and, although each of the three was quite different (Paragaea was Edgar Rice Burroughs-ish; Here, There and Everywhere was excellent time travel), all three were enjoyable and well-written. Mr. Roberson’s diverse capabilities (he also has penned young adult and graphic novels) do not drop in quality as he moves about the sci-fi/fantasy genre-verse.
The Dragon’s Nine Sons is The Dirty Dozen minus three set in space, in a future where the Chinese (called The Middle Kingdom) and Central American (called Mexica) cultures have proven the dominate world powers, mutually hostile and have taken the conflict off-planet, to a mostly terraformed Mars (called FireStar) plus the surrounding space and asteroids. A group of nine Middle Kingdom military convicts are given the suicide mission of blowing up a strategic Mexica base hidden inside an asteroid as an alternative to execution. (more…)
Hakeem Olajuwon played 17 seasons for the Houston Rockets, and one season at the end of his career for the Toronto Raptors. After averaging over 21.5 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocked shots per game and winning two NBA championships with the Rockets, Hakeem’s final season with the Raptors was forgetable, averaging just 7.1, 6 and 1.5 respectively.
Emmitt Smith played 13 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys, winning two Super Bowls and then played two forgetable seasons with the Arizona Cardinals…but he did win Dancing with the Stars.
Brett Favre, after one season with Atlanta, played 16 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, winning a Super Bowl and multiple MVPs… and is now headed for one season with the New York Jets.
Granted, Brett is coming off a near MVP and near Super Bowl season…but the parallels remain.
All three players should have stayed with and retired with their respective career teams. In each of these situations, fans can find fault with aging veterans who probably should have retired, or with management who viewed the situations with too much of a business lens instead of with an eye on history. Sadly, it’s becoming more and more rare for star players not to stay with the one team where they made their name (and while I’m thinking about it, kudos to Biggio and Bagwell of the Astros for spending their entire career in Houston).
Either way, good luck Brett, and Go Pack!
I’ve been lucky enough not only to travel to Italy, but to have some excellent Italian friends.†† By myself and with my family and co-workers, I’ve been to Milan, Venice, Parma, Rome, Verona and many other beautiful cities. I moved one of my employees and friends to Milano, and she subsequently married a wonderful Italian man.
My friend Bob knows this, and he knew I’d really like Playing for Pizza by John Grisham. It is a quick enjoyable read about an NFL player who loses the big game and gets a second chance in the Italian leagues… but the descriptions of the Italian people, places, food, drink and their passion for all of the above are what make this book worth the read. (more…)
Unfortunately for U.S. Rugby fans, the matches are normally broadcast onpay-per-view channels such as Setanta Sports, which is an expensive addition to cable or dish.
This weekend (thanks to the PoohBah of my masters rugby team, the TexasXXX’s for the hint) Saturday at 6pm central, USA Rugby plays French team Clermont on ESPN Classic…already setup on my DVR. (more…)