Monday, January 28, 2013

2012 Wrap-Up: The Good Books

So, not all the books I read were awesome. But there were other goods ones. Here are some more notables:
I'm late to the party on this one, but it was surprisingly good. I also think the criticisms of it being a stereotypical "white liberal saves the blacks" is misplaced. The protagonist is less-than-pristine
Those Guys Have All The Fun -- The juicy bits of the ESPN oral history weren't nearly as interesting as how it has become the business juggernaut that it has. Still, a fun read
Sure, it's Oscar-bait now, but the book outshines the movie. I still hate Salmon Chase and McClellan, though. Jerks.
A great bit of fast-paced "hard" sci-fi. And INCREDIBLY realistic -- IT does everything it can to prevent progress
I'm a Kingsolver fan, sue me. Like "Prodigal Summer", it took me a bit to get into, but I really enjoyed it. It's got Trotsky and Frida Kahlo, what's not to like?
A novelized history of the last 40 years or so of the Mexican drug trade. All the ludicrously unbelievable parts are pretty accurate.
NPR's 40 year old sports reporter tries to become a kicker for the Shanahan Broncos.  Good look at rookie life in the NFL
What if Van Helsing didn't manage to kill Dracula? How about the undead take over Victorian London?
I actually liked her first book, "Gregor and the Underworld", too,  but this was surprisingly good.
The last 30 years or so of Saudi history are fascinating, and will be relevant for a while.
A modern take on "Rendezvous with Rama", but with some changes.  A good novel of first contact, though it abruptly ends in anticipation of a sequel
         Next: The Meh... and Worse

Sunday, January 27, 2013

2012 Wrap-Up: The Awesome Books

2012 was my first Kindle year, and it definitely changed my reading habits. Unlike 90% of people who would say this, it had nothing to do with "50 Shades of Grey". Instead, I found I was reading more, surprisingly. So, here's a rundown of my favorite books of the year: 
This is technically a reread, but it was even better than I remembered it. If you haven't read it, slap yourself, then click on the link above to buy it*.

Hilarious and QUITE useful if you plan on doing any time traveling. And who doesn't?
A sequel to the almost-as-awesome "The Magicians", this is pretty phenomenal. Go plow through The Magicians, then devour this one.

Coming Next... The "merely" good.

* Why not support my bloggery?

My Current Work Soundtrack

A Russian group does Terry Riley's "In C". The music starts around 3:50. Enjoy

Saturday, January 26, 2013

You Stay Classy, Billy Hunter

There are a lot of ways to know that your union boss is a huge sleaze bag*, but if he gives this quote after an investigation into the union's finances, you should raise the red flags from half- to full-mast.

"While I strongly disagree with some of the findings contained in the report, I am pleased it recognized that I have not engaged in criminal acts nor was I involved in misappropriation of union funds."

Note that he's glad there were no criminal acts FOUND, not that he didn't engage in inappropriate behavior -- like giving himself a $3 million salary without proper approval. You stay classy, Billy Hunter

* Common ones include being buried in the Meadowlands, being in the mob, and just being a union boss.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

You Stay Classy: Pat Robertson

It's not a good sign when your advice to a viewer starts with "It's easy to blame the mother!" But Pat Robertson says that awful-looking wives are ruining marriages. Pat probably meant that each partner needs to put in some effort to remain attractive to their mate, but he seems far more concerned with the ladies. This is possibly because of his belief in that "women submit to your husbands" shit*, but it's not like he's ever been mistaken for Brad Pitt.

What else is there to say, other than... You stay classy, Pat Robertson!
* Sorry to Mom and any easily-offended readers, but this was the nicest way I could phrase this load.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Back in Schneedorf!

It's been 4 days back in the 'dorf, and it's snowed everyday. I think* it's a record, at least during my 7-year tenure**. The traditional gift is wool or copper, apparently so that one spouse can construct a lightning-rod sweater for the other, to facilitate an end to the sever-year itch. However, I will also accept the modern gift -- desk sets. Ugh. First, it's turning 40, now I only get shitty blogiversary gifts.

* and am far too lazy to check, since I'm a blogger
** That's right -- the 7th year anniversary of JTinGermany is fast approaching!