Books, movies, politics, and whatever I want

Monday Book Pick: The Color of Magic

January 29, 2024 – 00:01 | by Mark Urbin

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The very first Discworld novel. The start of a very long comic fantasy series. Loads of fun. Give it a try, and then be prepared to dive into the remaining 39 books in the series.

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Monday Book Pick: Athenaeum, Inc.: Door Number three

November 6, 2023 – 21:30 | by Mark Urbin

Athenaeum, Inc.: Door Number Three by Dan Kemp

To be honest, I knew I was going to buy this when read that author was a former Army NCO and a fan of both John Ringo and Larry Correia. Kemp mixed elements of the Paladin of Shadows and Dead Six series into his own blend, which was a really fun read that I didn’t want to put down until I finished. My major problem with this book is that there no sequel yet. The book was full of Easter Eggs, which I highlighted heavily for future research. Which I admit resulted in my getting a Rocket City Trash Panda hat, despite my serious lack of interest in professional baseball. Be prepared into deep dives into various types of deep nerdness: gun, watch, knife, and Hong Kong tactical tailors. Oh, and his deep obsession with Asian women. As the author says, writing this book was cheaper than therapy. This would make fun movie, and one that Joe Bob Briggs would recommend.

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Friday B-Movie Pick: Samurai Cop

September 15, 2023 – 13:27 | by Mark Urbin

Samurai Cop

This classic from 1991 has the Joe Bob Briggs seal of approval. It’s got gun fu, sword fu, and kung fu. There is also plenty of gratuitous nudity. The production values make you long for the high quality of Dolemite. This is a movie with aspirations of being a B-Movie, which made it so fun to watch. One plus is Gerald Okamura, he raised the value of the acting and the martial ars scenes. In the days of the local video store, it would have been well worth the rental. Check it out.

Friday B-Movie Pick Archive

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Monday Book Pick: It’s Always Darkest

February 27, 2023 – 22:20 | by Mark Urbin

It’s Always Darkest by Frank Schildiner

This book is set in Philip Jose Farmer’s “Nine” universe. I really enjoyed this book, the main character, Langston Dupont, is a mirror universe version of The Shadow with an more Asian flavor, and is one of The Nine‘s candidates. He still makes use of twin .45 semi-automatic pistols and the echoing mocking laugh though. The very select pool of individuals who gain immortality (at least very, very slow aging) at the cost of being the complete servants of the nine member ruling council who have been influencing the fate of mankind for thousands of years. Dupont has turned against his masters after close to a century of service, including his childhood training. The author is a martial arts instructor, and writes really good fight scenes. Something I really appreciate. A fun read set in 1970s and added bonus, a fight scene featuring one of my favorite bladed weapons!

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Monday Book Pick: The Black Mountain

February 14, 2023 – 08:11 | by Mark Urbin

The Black Mountain by Rex Stout

Not only does Nero Wolfe leave the Brownstone in this book, he leaves the country! The murder of his childhood friend, and the violent death of his adopted daughter force him to travel to the land of birth to track down the killer and bring him to justice

I’m day late on this one…Close enough for government work…

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Friday B-Movie Pick: Goncharov

February 3, 2023 – 14:31 | by Mark Urbin

The 1973 Martin Scorsese classic gangster movie with an all star cast. Al Pacino, Cybil Shepard, Gene Hackman, Robert DeNiro, and Harvey Keitel. Set in Naples, it has male and female homoerotic sub stories, but is primarily the story of a Moscow hitman who ‘retires’ to Naples to run a nightclub.

What? You say you have never heard of Goncharov? Really?…That is probably because the movie was never made. It was an Internet inside joke (i.e. a meme) from an obscure social media site. Legend has it that someone bought some “off brand” boots, and the label mentioned the 1973 Scorsese movie Goncharov. The nerds ran with it and came up with outline of a plot, a cast, and other details of the film. It got enough traction what Scorsese got in on the joke with a November 2022 tweet: “While Goncharov (1973) never got its full debut like I wanted, it warms my heart to see the younger generations embracing my film, and what it could have been. Seeing it trending gives me a special happiness that I cannot describe.”

Friday B-Movie Picks

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Monday Book Pick: The Last Centurion

November 8, 2021 – 22:40 | by Mark Urbin

The Last Centurion by John Ringo

Given the last year and half (and a bit), I’m going back to an early 2008 pick. John Ringo’s tale of the “time of suckage.”

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Monday Book Pick: Theater of Spies

May 11, 2020 – 11:40 | by Mark Urbin

Theater of Spies by S.M. Stirling

This is the second book in his new alterate history series were Theodore Roosevelt wins the 1912 election.
Black Chamber operative Luz O’Malley Arostequi and her partner Ciara Whelan are sent back to Germany to get information into a new German invention that can turn the war in a really bad way for anyone who opposes the Kaiser. Lot of good basic spy craft material in this book. Some really good action sequences, but they come late in the book, when things go really wrong from a spy’s point of view. Stirling includes a nice James Bond reference in which will be more obvious to those who have actually read the books. There are references to actual historical figures, including Ernst Rolm, and nasty Austrian Corporal.

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Monday Book Pick: An Oblique Approach

April 27, 2020 – 16:56 | by Mark Urbin

An Oblique Approach by David Drake and Eric Flint

The first in the Belisarious series. Alternate History by by two masters of the genre. Forces of vast power in the distant future locked battle, and decide to “fix the fight” by sending agents back in time to change history. The first wants to lock humanity into their vision of perfection. They send an AI back to days of the Eastern Roman Empire to create a powerful empire in Northern India, using their caste system to their advantage. Here is a hint for those who haven’t read a lot of work by Drake, it involves introducing gunpowder long before it was used for weapons systems in our timeline. The second group sends a crystalline intelligence to contact a Roman General by the name of Belisarius. Conflict on a grand scale follows. A series of good adventure stories.

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Happy Lenin’s Birthday!

April 22, 2020 – 08:41 | by Mark Urbin

Yup, it’s time for the annual Lenin’s Birthday post!

For those of you coming in late to the party, Earth Day” is on Lenin’s Birthday.  Not a coincidence, given that the “founder” of Earth Day was much more a “Watermelon” than an actual environmentalist. Watermelon: Thin layer of green of the outside, red to the core.

Let’s review the predictions from the very first so called “Earth Day” back in 1970.

“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — George Wald, Harvard Biologist

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day

“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” — Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University

“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….” — Life Magazine, January 1970

“At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” — Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

“Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” — Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

Ok, Ehrlich was sorta right on this, if you restrict his predictions to modern Communist China, where they are showing the typical communist/socialist contempt for the environment.

“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” — Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

Now we get to my personal favorite, although probably not Al Gore‘s…
“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” — Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

2014 Update: Wired Magazine publishes this article: Renewables Aren’t Enough. Clean Coal Is the Future

It wouldn’t be Lenin’s Birthday with out this clip of the late George Carlin discussing “Saving the Planet.”

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