The Bookworm Beat 3-3-15 — the illustrated edition and open thread

I live in fear that one day Caped Crusader will think to himself “You know, why don’t I just start my own blog.”  Thankfully, for the time being, he seems happy making me the beneficiary of his time and diligence in searching the internet for the best posters and cartoons every day.  Don’t believe me?  Look at these:

Racist -- wins and argument with a Leftist

I'm with Bibi

Keep calm and support the 2nd amendment

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#BibiSpeech #NetanyahuSpeech — Open Thread

Netanyahu's 2015 speech to CongressHave you listened to Netanyahu’s speech yet?  It was a masterful speech (and I wish American conservatives would listen and learn from it). In clear, elegant, often clever English, Bibi explained precisely why Obama’s proposed deal with Iran is an awful deal, one that paves the way for Iran to have a nuclear weapon system on the sly in the near future or completely legally in a decade. Bibi reminded his audience that Iran isn’t just any state — it is now, and has been for 36 years — the largest single terrorism sponsor in the world.

If you haven’t heard it yet, here’s the video:

Or, if you prefer reading to listening, here’s the transcript.

Bibi made a point that every sane person understands: Rewarding a bad actor does not make him less bad, it makes him more bad.

Along the way, Bibi addressed a point that has troubled some conservatives: Israel is much more worried about Iran than it is about ISIS, while the American people are more worried about ISIS than Iran. I really think that part of the speech gets to the heart of what should be every civilized person’s concern about what’s happening in the Middle East and around the world:

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SPOILER ALERTS: House of Cards, Season 3, Episode 7 — after jumping the shark, show goes full anti-Israel

House of CardsHaving now watched episodes 6 and 7 in House of Cards, I’m done with the show. I’m freeing up several hours of my life to read books, write, visit with friends — indeed, do anything but watch something that’s turned into yet another boring, polemic, Leftist wish factory.

BEWARE — HERE BE SPOILERS. If you haven’t given up on House of Cards, don’t read past this paragraph. You’ll regret it if you do.

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If you want something done, ask a Marine *UPDATED*

Marine insigniaHere in Marin, it’s sometimes hard to get things done.  It’s not just because I’m a procrastinator.  It’s also because other people seem so inert.  I call the roofer; he never gets back to me.  I call the plumber; he never gets back to me.   I call the gardener; he never gets back to me.  I call Macy’s and, after going through automated answering hell, I finally get to voice mail, leave a message . . . and no one ever gets back to me.  And so it goes.  I reach out — usually offering money along with my attempted contact — and no one gets back to me.

Marines are different.

I’ve been looking for ways to push my son out of his comfort zone and get him more involved with the world in an active, engaged way.  One of the programs I stumbled across is the Marine Corps’ Summer Leadership and Character Development Academy.  It sounds like a great program, and I wish I was young enough to do it myself.  (You can read more about the program here and, once you learn about it, I bet you wish you could do it too.)

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Free for 5 days: An imaginative innovative Sci-Fi book by our own Raymond Jelli


For those of you who don’t play chess (as I don’t), Zugzwang means a situation in which “one player is put at a disadvantage because they must make a move when they would prefer to pass and not to move. The fact that the player is compelled to move means that his position will become significantly weaker. A player is said to be ‘in zugzwang’ when any possible move will worsen his position.”

I mention this intriguing definition because our own Raymond Jelli (who is kind enough to comment frequently here) has written a Sci-Fi mystery novel entitled Zugzwang. Even better, for the next five days (through March 5), you can get the book for free and see what you think of it.

At this point, I have a shameful confession to make: Raymond sent me a preview of the book about two months ago and, while I got started reading it, the sudden onslaught of legal work at about the same time meant that I ended up not reading it. A lot of things fall by the wayside when my workload surges and the pleasure of reading Raymond’s book was one of those things.

What I can tell you, though, is that, right from the first page, it’s an imaginative book envisioning a completely realized futuristic space world.  The book’s name alone also promises an intriguing, challenging plot.

I’m definitely downloading a published copy for myself and I hope you will too. After all, the price can’t be beat, and you may find yourself enjoying many hours of reading pleasure.  I certainly expect to.

House of Cards’ weird third season

House of CardsI don’t know how many of you have watched House of Cards with Kevin Spacey. I have been watching it since Netflix released the first season two years ago. Spacey plays Francis Underwood, a manipulative Democrat politician who uses chicanery and much worse to make his way through Washington, D.C.

The show’s been fun to watch because Spacey is wonderful. He affects a broad Southern accent, speaks in a rich deep voice and, in a riot of cheerful overacting, chews up the scenery as his character uses a potent combination of pure malevolence and utter charm to manipulate people to achieve his invariably nefarious goals. At his side, like a sane and sensible Lady Macbeth is Robin Wright, playing his equally vicious and manipulative wife. They are two happily married, evil, dishonest peas in a pod. In the first two seasons, that made for very good TV.

This season, which Netflix released last Friday, is different, though. I’m not going to give away any spoilers when I say that, after having watched 5 episodes in the new season, it seems to me that the writers have changed Underwood substantially. He’s no longer focusing on clawing his way up, and doing whatever is necessary to create the bodies he climbs over. Instead, having already succeeded in that climb, instead of being in control, he’s a victim of circumstances and of people even more powerful and manipulative than he is. Frank Underwood’s less charming when he’s the underdog.

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