Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Also... Army uniform now comes with sneakers.

This blog has received EXCLUSIVE VIDEO of how, exactly, the Obama administration expects to honor its promise that it can confront ISIL in Iraq and Syria without introducing any boots on the ground.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review of I, Alex Cross by James Patterson

I, Alex Cross (Alex Cross, #16)I, Alex Cross by James Patterson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

You can give this one a pass, and you won't be missing much.

There isn't much in this book that could be considered thought-provoking or even especially challenging.

When a man who's readily recognizable and highly connected in the White House is committing sex crimes, and then the author makes a point of saying it's not the VP and the president is a married woman, well... it weren't the butler.

I saw another reviewer here bring up an excellent point as well. Alex Cross doesn't actually UNCOVER much of anything in this book. The Brit (Nicholson?) hands him a video of the crime, and Generic Agent X hands him another video of the crime. A witness tells him who did it, and they go off to arrest the guy. Cross doesn't actually DO a great deal in this, at least in terms of investigative work. It all drops in his lap.

Once you get past a small handful of characters (Cross, his central casting grandmother, and to a lesser degree Bree), there's almost no description or fleshing out of characters. The various elected officials & staffers are all interchangeable and pretty one-dimensional, as are any other cops. I guess it's unfair to criticize a thin central character in the middle of what's a serial of books but it's also telling that at the end when Cross proposes to Bree... to that point I had no idea she wasn't his wife.

It's largely inoffensive, and I pushed through the CDs relatively quickly. I'd say it's relegated to beach reading, but it doesn't even have the benefit of a lot of dramatic tension or suspense that would make it light yet entertaining fare.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Have you thought about not sucking?

I listen to a lot of sports radio. I guess it's a "guilty pleasure" of sorts. It's really pretty ticky-tacky content sometimes. But you do get good updates and some of the hosts are pretty entertaining and/or humorous.

Since I'm generally listening to the Miami stations, I hear a lot of Canes callers. It occurs to me these fans pretty much fall into one of two camps (no, NOT alumni and the other 95% of the fan base)...

Caller I: "It's really disconcerting when I see the UM offense relegated chiefly to screen passes and dump-offs to the safety valve receiver for short gains. Starting a true freshman is a gamble. Even when trailing against a team like Louisville, the vertical threat seems to be almost completely eliminated, which of course means the box gets loaded up to shut down the run as well. Is this concern being sufficiently addressed?"

Caller II: "We're BAD. We used to be GOOD. We lose now. We should not lose. Other teams should lose to us. We had SWAGGER! I want swagger. This coach should go away and instead there should be a coach that is GOOD."

Interestingly, I suspect it's more of the FIRST category that actually goes to the games when UM plays FAMU this weekend... and more of the second that has a UM logo tattoo (and, okay yes... went to FIU.)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Theory of Everything That Is Convenient To Plot Device?

So there's (another?) movie coming out about Stephen Hawking's life. I can see how it could make a pretty compelling drama. I can also see how it could make a virtually bulletproof anti-abortion argument, but that's SUCH another topic for another time (which may be the twelfth never).

It seems the story chiefly focuses on his illness and precipitous decline, but presented as a love story. That might get a bit tricky since he apparently left his first wife for one of his nurses (and subsequently divorced #2 too.)

Hopefully they don't pull too much out of their ass like they did with A Beautiful Mind... I think that'd be hard because Stephen Hawking's certainly better known and documented than John Nash will ever be. Nash ain't gonna get calls from Star Trek, Simpsons and Big Bang Theory to swing by.

I'm hoping for more of a Walk The Line-esque "warts and all" kind of approach. It's funny that in the trailer they drop in the bit about the voice of his speech system being "American" even though he's a Brit. I've read before that he's said (perhaps as humor) that's the one thing that bothers him about his condition.

I wonder, only half-seriously... if the system were designed today instead of 40 years ago, would it be built for things like linking YouTube videos instead of picking words from menus?

 I think I could probably go an entire day just responding to people by clicking on YouTube links. (Depending on my stubbornness and licensing restrictions I might be able to do it with just lines from The Godfather). I don't particularly intend to try that anytime soon, though.