Openers: Riding into Splitrock, Wayne Morgan's senses -- the keenly whetted instincts of a man long hunted by men -- detected the pressure of suspense which gripped the cowtown, built within Winchester range of the Mexican border. -- Walter A Tompkins, "The Outlaw Sheriff" (Masked Rider Western, November 1950)
I've Been Reading: Much of my week was taken up by Dashiell Hammett's The Big Book of the Continental Op, a 2017 collection edited by Hammett scholar Richard Layman and Julie M. Rivett (Hammett's granddaughter) -- all the Continental Op stories ever published, including the stories that formed the basis of the novels Red Harvest and The Dain Curse, as well as a story fragment that was part of an abandoned Continental Op story. Great stuff! I also read Hovering Over Baja, the fourth of the thirteen travel books that Erle Stanley Gardner wrote and the only one of the thirteen that I haven't read before. These travel books were sometimes overblown, but they (especially the ones dealing with Baja California) do give one an idea places that have greatly changed over the past fifty to seventy years. The Strange Bird: A Borne Story is a post-apocalyptic SF novella by Jeff Vandermeer, a companion story to his novel Borne. And finally, two books by Max Allan Collins: Supreme Justice, the first of his trilogy featuring retired Secret Service agent Joe Reeder and FBI agent Patti Rogers, and Antiques Frame, a Trash 'n' Treasure mystery written with Barbara Collins under the joint pseudonym Barbara Allan. Collins doesn't disappoint.
March March: A big shout out to all those who marched against gun violence this Saturday, including many of my friends and family. When I started this blog I tried very hard to keep my political and personal feelings out of it, yet more and more I find myself ranting against the stupidity rampant in Washington and elsewhere. In this case, I am certainly not against the Second Amendment although I feel that the Supreme Court ruling which basically expanded gun rights was based on a flawed and politically motivated reading of the Constitution. I do believe military grade weapons have no place in civilian hands. I believe bumpstocks and other such devices have no place in our country. I believe background checks should apply to all gun sales. I believe that gun deaths are a health problem and should rightfully be studied by the CDC with an aim to use the results in an effort to reduce gun deaths. I believe in a national computerized gun registration system. I believe there are some people who never be allowed to own a gun. I believe in the old NRA, which promoted gun safety and sportsmanship. I do not believe in the current NRA; to my thinking it comes dangerously close to a terrorist organization. I do not believe in the current NRA spokespersons, whether it be Dana Loesch, Grant Stinchfield, Chuck Holton, or any other miserable excuse for protoplasm they have, including the self-serving Wayne LaPierre. (Remind me, how much money does the NRA pay LaPierre? $985,885 in 2014, $5,110,985 -- including a near $4,000,000 retirement payout -- in 2015, and $1,422,339 in 2016. Also remind me of the NRA coffers. Oh, it brought in over $336,000,000 in gross revenue in 2015? Well that is a lot of money on the table.) I do not believe in arming teachers, even the "qualified" ones because most school buildings with their long corridors are not architecturally designed for shootouts and because of the high risk of the wrong persons getting shot. I do not believe in our weak-willed politicians who put party politics and their own careers over our children and out country. I do not believe in the blithe, meaningless soundbites you hear from the "establishment" whenever there is a shooting tragedy. I do not believe spending more money on mental illness (whatever that means) will solve our gun problem. This is another of those feel-good soundbites that crop up and will do little to solve the problem and much to acerbate many other problems. (I do believe in greatly increased spending for mental health because it is urgently needed, even though it would have little effect on school safety.) I do not believe in the good guy with a gun theory -- another meaningless soundbite. (Cynically, I can only think, 'The only thing that can save us from an innocent person of color with a mobile phone is a good policeman with a gun.") I do believe that Rick Santorum made the idiotic statement that protesters would be better off learning CPR. I do believe that Tucker Carlson made the idiotic statement that those under 18 are not citizens and have no right to sound off on gun policy. I do believe that if you are old enough to get shot you are old enough to try to do something about it. I do believe that this student upswelling is important because somebody has to hold our feet to the fire, for sanity's sake.
Ranted Out: That's enough ranted. I'll save our orange Cheet-o and his transgender ban, his sexual accusers, his out of control ego, his stupidity, and his naming of John Bolton for next week. Okay?
Need To Know?: In a recent interview, actress Jennifer Lawrence revealed that she has not had sex "in a long time." I need to know this why?
Underrated: According to Good Housekeeping, the most underrated attraction in Florida is the Bok Tower Gardens with its 205 foot tall Singing Tower which houses one of the worlds finest carillons. According to an informal poll on my street, the most justly underrated attraction in Florida is the goiter on the neck of the woman two streets over.
Easter Yummies: How about some Cadbury Creme Egg brownies?
Or Italian vegetable Easter pie?
Or roast leg of lamb with pomegranate, garlic, and herbs?
But Wait...: Sunday is also April Fool Day. Here's some classics;
And, for those who don't care if they lose theri jobs, there's this;
Enjoy your week.