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Bookshot#179: Five Past Midnight In Bhopal

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Another book that's been on my shelf far too long, Five Past Midnight In Bhopal is a harrowing story of the world's worst industrial accident. Before reading this book, I knew the basic outlines of what happened. An industrial plant in Bhopal, run by Union Carbide had some kind of a gas explosion, that killed a ton of people, and then Carbide refused to take responsibility for it. (There were some court cases/decisions in the early 2000s that put this in the news back in the day, so I was vaguely aware of it.)  This book, however, lifted the veil on the horrible details you don't get from reading random news articles about court cases. I don't want to say something trite like "Man, this was way worse than I realized" but that's more or less what I was left with. Honestly, comparing this to Chornobyl in scale and long-term after-effects probably wouldn't be too far from the mark and I don't want to say it's a 'searing indictment of corpora

The Hysteria Meter: Summer Edition

I had to close the internet last week a few times because it just got to be way too much. I get that the algorithms are designed to feed into rage and hysteria. It's just a general byproduct of social media these days, but sometimes, it gets to be a little much. Especially lately, so let's look at the HYSTERIA METER of late June and early July: 1. The Biden Thing:  I was torn when I first heard about the debate schedule. On the one hand, I've always thought that the Commission on Presidental Debates was a festering pile of horseshit designed to shut out and an all third party candidates to preserve the duopoly as much as possible. (If you can get to 270 electoral votes on paper, you get an invite to the first debate. 15% in the polls get you to the second debate should be the rule.) On the other hand, I didn't know why they were scheduling debates before the convention until it actually happened. You have a debate in June because if you're 81 and people are concern

Bookshot #178: Rhythm of War

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So far, the pattern of the Stormlight Archive has been more or less this: lots of book interspersed with interesting moments until you get to about the 75% mark, and then things trip into fast forward in the usual Sanderlanche and you wind up with a big, awesome payoff that makes the lots of book you just went through more or less worth it. Three books in and you kind of know what to expect when you're getting into a Sanderson book so, I picked up Rhythm of War (Book 4 of The Stormlight Archive) thinking I was going to get much the same formula and only this time, I didn't. Going into this one, I had seen a lot of chatter online that indicated people either liked it or hated it and I was curious about that, because about 25% of the way in, I was actually enjoying this one. Things were happening. There wasn't as much 'lots of book' in between key moments in the plot. It felt like it was moving a long as a pretty brisk clip. Yes, there were the flashbacks to build out

Netflix & Chill #107: American Fiction

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This movie finally made it to Prime Video. On a long, difficult afternoon, I decided that I was going to sit downstairs in the cool of my basement and watch it because I hadn't actually done that for a while and I'm so glad I did. American Fiction stars Jeffrey Wright as Thelonious 'Monk' Ellison, whom everyone calls Monk who is a highly-intelligent upper-class African American Professor and writer who lives in Los Angeles. His novels receive a ton of academic and critical praise but don't sell well and publishers have rejected his latest manuscript as not being 'black enough'. He gets placed on temporary leave after making one of his students cry over objecting to having to discuss a short story by Flannery O'Connor containing the 'n-word' in the title (the second weird intersection of what I am currently reading in real life and what I'm watching. Flannery is everywhere, apparently) and he is encouraged to go home to Boston and spend time

A Multi-Modal Avenue of The Saints

Y'all, I submitted something for publication. I've done that before in the past, but with my plan to activate paid subscriptions of my Substack later this year, I've been kind of keeping my powder dry when it comes to the submissions train this year. I'm not closing the door on it entirely, but I just don't think my writing fits what a lot of publications are looking for and while I understand rejections are a part of the process and have no problem with them whatsoever when I found myself spending more time submitting and less time actually writing stories, I started to wonder what it all was for. But sometimes, you stumble across something that just sticks in your brain so much you have to write something out and send it in. A link on Marginal Revolution led me to this call for submissions from The New Atlantis and I loved this challenge . I loved that they specifically wanted projects that could be achieved ('no pie in the sky') and as a kid who grew up p

Squawk Box: Fargo Season 5/Criminal Record

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Fargo Season 5: Fargo is one of those shows that the Missus and I started watching immediately when it debuted. We devoured Season 1 and although I remember starting Season 2, I don't remember the end of it at all and then we sort of... watched other things until we started seeing previews for Season 5. Jon Hamm, Jennifer Jason Leigh and- since we had just finished watching Ted Lasso and she was fresh in our minds, Juno Temple? Sign me up. Set in the fall of 2019, Juno Temple is Dorothy 'Dot' Lyon, who is a seemingly typical Midwestern housewife, living in Scandia, Minnesota who turns out to have a mysterious past when she accidentally tasers a police officer during a school board meeting which descended into a riot. Her husband Wayne (David Rysdahl) bails her out but her appearance in the criminal justice system sets off alarm bells for people from her past. She is soon kidnapped by Ole Munch (Sam Spruell) at the request of her estranged husband from a decade prior Sheriff

Bookshot #177: The Perfect Pass

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I think it was probably the closing of Iowa Wesleyan University that made me want to read this book. I can only think of one person I know ( The Quiet Man 's sister) who went to IWU down in Mt. Pleasant but the only other thing I ever knew about the place was that legendary football coach Hal Mumme along with Mike Leach helped develop the Air Raid system down there and as people usually mention, 'changed the face of football.' Other than that, I knew nothing. Nothing about IWU or really about the history of football in general- I mean, I've taken in a couple of seasons of Dead Letters now and have expanded my knowledge base about specific teams as a result, but the development of the game? It's ebb and flow? I didn't know about that. What I did know is that the author of this book, S.C. Gwynne wrote a fantastic book called Empire of The Summer Moon about the Comanches and I figured if I enjoyed the writing in that book (I did), then this book couldn't be t