Monday, January 31, 2005

I don't want to call it a New Year's Resolution for a couple of reasons. First, it was only a week ago, so I think the deadline for NYRs is past. Secondly, my past experience with such self-promises have almost never born fruit, so why jinx myself from the start.

What prompted this was a program on 'readers advisory' held by the Programming Office for librarians. If I stay awake at these things that in itself is a surprise, but in this case the lecturer was actually interesting. She also told us how she had begun keeping a journal/diary of the books which she read each year. These are not reviews for her own use, but simply the titles of the books and perhaps a line or two to remind her what the book was about.

Anyway, I've gone back and listed the books I have read since the beginning of the month, along with the audio-books I've heard. All I put down are the title, author, date and the genre (if fiction). I will let you know just how long I can keep this up.

At the same time I began this I decided that now might be a good time to actually go back and read or re-read some 'classic' books. Despite having been a pretty active reader for most of my life there have been a number of books which I've never got around to reading. When I have a few minutes to spare I'll even write a bit about what I picked as my first choice.

Well, my hat is off to those brave souls in Iraq who are going to the polls. Of course, if the story which Elayne links to is correct folks aren't really given much choice. If the government is going cut off you monthy food ration you certainly have a strong incentive to vote, other than patriotic enthusiasm.

Still Americans can't seem to get off their duffs even if the polling place isn't a target, so you really do have to admire people willing to put their lives on the line for something our fellow citizens seem to take for granted.

It remains to be seen if the results will in any way change things over there, since I'm sure that the Administration will have put into effect a system to ensure an outcome favorable to "OUR" best interests.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

I'm sure that the fine folks over at the Dept. of Homeland Security take these things into consideration, but two events which took place on different coasts seem to point out just how vulnerable is our national infrastructure.

In New York a homeless man sets a fire and disrupts the subway system, for what could be months. Thousands of people have their commutes disrupted and this will, no doubt, cost a few million bucks to repair.

In California, we have a man who decides at the last minute not to go through with a suicide attempt, but leaves his SUV parked on the railroad tracks nonetheless. Perhaps a dozen people have been killed and many more injured, some seriously. This too will disrupt the transportation system at least for several days and also cost a great deal of money to repair.

As I said in the beginning, this is probably not news to anyone but with all the billions of dollars this administration has spent on 'national security', it seems that two guys did a pretty good job of creating havoc by accident.

Monday, January 24, 2005

While I generally do not duplicate links on my two blogs I thought would have enough interest so that I might make an exception. has 'bookshelves' dedicated to a number of genres, including mysteries, thrillers, humor and science fiction. There is also a page of contemporary non-fiction with many of the same options as the fiction pages. Among those are book reviews, author bibliographies and brief bios, as well as some book excerpts. These allow you to sample the work of a number of authors before heading out to the bookstore or library.

As a librarian I find the site to be nice asset and have recommended it to several patrons already.

Happy reading!
I've made a few changes to my links the past couple of days.

I've dropped Spinsanity, as several other folks have done, but want to be sure that you continue to keep on on political spin by checking out I've also added a link to James Randi's website (with a hat tip to Mark Evanier, whose one link to Randi's Johnny Carson piece finally reminded me that I had been meaning to link to Randi for while).

When I was home the other day, the Independent Film Channel (IFC) was rebroadcasting the Michael Moore pre-election event. This led me to add a link to Veterans Against the Iraqi War page. As a Vietnam-era vet myself I support what these folks are doing and hope that other veterans & non-vets will give their site a look and perhaps contribute to their work.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Like many other bloggers, I'm sure, I'd like to send out my condolences to the family and friends of Johnny Carson. Mr. Carson passed away early this morning and I heard of his death a few hours ago. CNN, Fox News and several other channels are doing 'special reports' on this and you can bet that the major networks (especially NBC) will have further comments and events over the next few days.

Others of my generation will know how it was to grow up with Carson. It seems that he was a already a permanent fixture in most American households when we got to stay up with our parents on non-school nights. Jack Paar and Steve Allen I considered better at certain areas of the talk show format, but Johnny took what they had created and made into the perfect vehicle for his talent and wit.

Goodnight, Johnny! We'll miss you.

Friday, January 21, 2005

If you take note over to the links at the Left you'll see that I've dropped from the list, but kept I'm sorry to see the Spinsanity folks leave, but can certainly understand their desire to work on other projects. The FactCheck people are doing a great job of keeping track of politicians on all sides.

I've also added a link to Veterans Against the Iraq War. As a vet myself I appreciate what these fine folks are doing and hope that others will join them.

Have a good weekend! Let's hope that the snow headed for the North East isn't going to be bad as they are predicting.
I'm guessing that when King George outlined the policy of his first semi-legitimate term "with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world," he wasn't talking about U.S. tyranny.

I have to admit that I was able to get through almost the entire day yesterday with barely a glimpse at His Smugness. Since I've stopped watching the news for the most part and listen to non-news stations my aggravation level has certainly gone down. I figure short of another invasion the all-sports stations won't be reporting on anything that will bother me too much.

Heck, I've so totally tried to cut myself off from GW 'reality' that that I'm back to listening to Howard Stern in the mornings. I've discovered that Howard really hasn't changed much in the four years I stopped listening and that I'm going to miss him when he switches over to Sirius next year.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I don't think that anybody was surprised that the Senate panel would rubber stamp the nomination of Condoleezza Rice. It was nice to see that at least Democrats had the courage to make at least some token resistance. Of course, the GOP toadies will say it was sour grapes on the part of John Kerry. Barbara Boxer also displayed her usual tenacity by calling Rice to account for her past mistakes (which of course Rice wouldn't admit to).

Is it me, or is there something 'creepy' about Rice? I hope that nobody will take it as either racist or sexist, but there has always been something about her which makes me uneasy. As with Dick Cheney, you get the idea that she feels herself superior to those around her and that she is unanswerable for any of her past deeds or comments. Also, like several others in the ruling cabal, she reeks of insincerely in many of her pronouncements.

Like others, I'm doing my best to ignore the upcoming coronation gala, with some hope that there will be just enough disruption to make folks remember that there was no mandate in November.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Actually watched some the national news last night, which is always a mistake. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that there are indications that the administration is already gearing up for further mischief in Iran and Syria.

I love the 'talking heads' who won't deny the charges outright, but choose minor details to nitpick. Of course, the news readers and commentators advise us, the Administration would never try and bring us to war THIS TIME without proving their intelligence was accurate. The American public would demand such a thing. Right...Just like last time!

Anyone really believe that? Or that the Iranians or Syrians would be the initial cakewalk that the coalition found in Iraq? Also, do you believe that even the British would back us on this one?

The other story getting some airplay is the amount of security which will be called into play for the coronation this Thursday. Nice to live in a democracy, but let's keep the royal family and retainers safe from protestors, leftists and other terrorist threats. From the few reports I sat through it seems that we'll have enough troops, police and Secret Service types to take down anything the Yippies can throw at them. :-)

Keep your head down fellow-traverlers, they don't even have to pretend this time out!

Friday, January 14, 2005

I always seem to be behind the times on commenting on things, but how could I NOT!

A member of the House of Windsor dressed in a Nazi uniform? I'm shocked & appalled.

Certainly in bad taste, even for an inbreed member of a royal family, but I can't say that I'm all that upset about it. I can, of course, sympathize with those folks who are genuinely angry about this. I mean, I don't know where the Prince got the outfit, but you would think that someone might have raised some objection or pointed out that it might not be taken lightly.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

My thoughts and sympathy are with those folks in California suffering from the continuing rain. We've heard from Kristina and she's doing fine, although she has had some trouble getting to work due to the closing of several roads. She lives in the Laguna Hills area and there have been mudslides along some of the area highways.

I sincerely hope that none of my fellow bloggers or readers are having major problems. Fingers crossed that the worst is over for all of you.
It truly is amazing the amount of fluid the human body produces when trying to rid itself of illness. For the past six days I've been suffering from an upper respiratory infection (as my doctor calls it) and have been laid up at home. I'd probably have used some of that time to read some blogs or even post something, but between the effects of the illness itself and the drowsiness brought on by the medication I really didn't do much except sleep or try to watch day-time television.

Lord knows what I would have done if I was restricted to the blandness of basic cable, but Direct TV let me enjoy hours of movies and reruns of old favorites. The best was having back-to-back episodes of PERRY MASON on the Hallmark Channel every afternoon. I know I've spoken about my fondness for this series before, but it really is a treat not only to see how Perry gets the actual murderer to jump up at the last moment, but also to see the number of actors and actresses in small roles who went on to larger roles after appearing on the show. Also, as with the 'guest stars' who showed up in the later made-for-TV movies with Raymond Burr, it is a kick to see folks who were even then well known appearing in roles, often quite different from what we'd come to expect.

Well, I'm feeling better now so it's back to work and back to watching Prime Time.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I have been pretty busy the last couple of days, not even having the chance to post a bit about my New Year's Eve weekend. I also have not had time to read any of the blogs or on-line columns I generally try to get to daily. Because of that I just read in the CBG Express mailing that Will Eisner has passed away.

I really cannot recall if I ever had the chance to actually meet Mr. Eisner personally, although I did see and hear him at several conventions I attended in the 1980s & '90s. He always seemed to be surrounded by fans and his peers, so going up to him seemed intrusive.

On the other hand, I remember first discovering his character THE SPIRIT and learning about Eisner's early experience, in Jules Feiffer's classic THE GREAT COMIC BOOK HEROES (which I discovered in my high school library, of all places!). When I began seriously collecting comics Eisner's name came up all the time in the various fanzines I read. Finally, Warren Publishing began to publish reprints of THE SPIRIT and it became obvious just what it was that made this character and his creator still resonate with readers.

His various graphic novels and the creative way he (and his collaborators) told the Spirit tales influenced several generations of artists and writers. His is a legacy which will endure.

I am saddened by his passing and my thoughts & wishes go out to his family, friends and legends of fans.