Kalitta Air?

May 27th, 2008

There is a remarkable number of airlines I've never heard of. Kalitta air?

Anyhow, their 747 carrying "diplomatic mail" for the US Ambassador snapped on takeoff in Brussels, injuring no one.

You just know Jason Bourne was involved.

Good blog post titles

May 23rd, 2008

My agreement with the sentiments aside, I'm a big fan of this blog post just for the title.

Reviews: Caesar, The Name of the Wind

May 23rd, 2008

Caesar: Life of a Colossus by Adrian Goldsworthy 8.5/10

The missus and I have recently gotten into the HBO television series 'Rome' (on DVD). Realizing that I knew a lot about the Roman Empire, but had never really read a biography of Julius Caesar, I picked up Adrian Goldsworthy's Caesar: Life of a Colossus. It was excellent, a veritable platonic ideal of how a biography should be written. It lacked only a certain narrative drive, the energy that propels one through a book like, say, The Guns of August. But excellent in any case.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss 7/10

I am also always on a quest for great epic fantasy. Nine times out of ten when perusing a fantasy section for such, I find only books I have read or books I have dismissed. But sometimes new books come along, and I'm certainly open to giving them a whirl. The Name of the Wind, the first in an incomplete trilogy, is good. It's not great. I plan to pick up the second book, but not in hardback, nor am I on tenterhooks awaiting it. Interesting world, good writing, interesting characters - but the book suffers greatly from its own pomposity. Grandeur is something an author must earn through storytelling; to start a book with "There were three kinds of silence in the inn" only serves to annoy me. Once I know and follow the characters, and have suffered and triumphed along with them, then the author can - and is encouraged to - whip out the sweeping poetic statements. But not until then. To start a book, try something like "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."

AWESOME: The Game

May 15th, 2008

[11:47] Oso: "WTF: The Game" would be awesome
[11:48] Oso: you could include any idea at all that a 13 year old would find awesome
[11:48] Oso: without regard to continuity or logic or anyting
[11:49] Neal: Magic swords! Chainguns! Riding a fiery horse! It's WTF: The Game!
[11:50] Oso: skateboards! tight-bodied women in slingshot bikinis! horrible aliens! guns that shoot guns! and lots and lots of huge fucking explosions!
[11:50] Oso: WTF: Teh Game!
[11:50] Oso: god damn, people would buy that
[11:51] Oso: almost as much as they would talk about it
[11:51] Neal: Hee. Screw that "games as art" nonsense
[11:52] Neal: I think it would be a huge hit on something like the Xbox Live Arcade
[11:54] Oso: I honestly think it's a great idea
[11:54] Oso: theme? the theme is "awesomeness"

Full story »

Review: The Tycoons by Charles Morris

May 15th, 2008

The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J. P. Morgan Invented the American Supereconomy by Charles R. Morris - 6.5/10 Interesting book, and with decent details as to the creation of the business empires of the titular men. However, it was also more or less a hagiography, particularly of Rockefeller, for whom Morris clearly wishes to be reincarnated as a 19th century soft cloth so as to better polish his shoes. He pulls the classic conservative "scholar" trick of pretending that one contrarian source's opinion is superior to any number of other sources, and spends a lot of time denigrating Rockefeller's critics and generally putting forward character opinions rather than sticking to facts.

According to Morris: Carnegie was a liar and an asshole, Rockefeller was the pinnacle of honesty and righteousness as well as a genius, Gould was also a genius and his character was unfairly blackened, and Morgan was a wet blanket who stymied entrepreneurial competition. What links the men together? Nothing, apparently, aside from time, place, and business success.

That said, it was an interesting book and did contain a great deal of factual material; worth reading but marred by personal bias.

The words of Jonah Hex, as written by Joe Lansdale, are patently too harsh but I like them so I'll use them anyway: "I say you're a boot-licking son of a bitch and you'd suck the jam from between a dead man's toes."