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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Fire and Fury: I can’t believe I read the whole thing

With my attention span ruined by the internet, it’s hard for me to finish a book these days. Luckily, this book wasn’t too long. The uncut edition of Stranger in a Strange Land is twice as long.

These are the important points:

1. Bannon was a loose cannon. More leaks came from Bannon than anyone else. Bannon hated Jared and Ivanka, referred to as “Jarvanka” throughout the book, and leaked stuff to make them look bad.

There’s more about Bannon in the book than anyone else, indicating that Bannon spoke to Michael Wolff more than anyone else.

Bannon definitely dug his own grave.

2. Kushner also leaked a lot, mostly to make Bannon look bad.

3. Hope Hicks is a more important person in the White House than I had realized. Bannon hated her too.

4. Stephen Miller is strangely absent throughout the book, but in the very few occasions where Wolff mentions him, Wolff presents him as being incompetent and not well liked. I don’t take this as the gospel truth, this could be a combination of Miller being good at staying out of the way of people like Wolff combined with someone else, most likely Bannon, badmouthing him.

Now why would Bannon badmouth the guy most on his side? Because that’s how Bannon is, disrespectful of everyone else, almost as bad as Trump when it comes to being jealous of other people stealing his spotlight.

5. Throughout the book, Trump is presented as utterly incompetent. This appears to be how everyone in the White House views him.

* * *

It looks like Jarvanka won their battle against the Bannonites (except that Stephen Miller is still there and has unofficially taken over Bannon’s role as chief political strategist), and the White House is now an uneasy alliance between Jarvanka and the three generals (Kelly, McMaster, and Mattis) with Tillerson on the side of the generals. The leaking stopped after Preibus and Bannon were kicked out.

Based on this book, I predict that Stephen Miller’s days are numbered, and then the Trump administration becomes a globalist Wall Street dominated administration because only Jarvanka will be left to direct Trump.

* * *

My other reaction to this book is why would anyone with a good high-paying non-government career want to give that up to work in the White House? Actually, that message finally seems to be getting out, and Trump is having trouble attracting new talent.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 15, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Books, Politics

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff, first impressions

Read through chapter 5, out of 22 chapters, so I am only partway into the book.

The goal is to dish out the inside story on everyone that everyone would probably prefer to keep hidden in their laundry basket.

However, surprisingly, it is not anti-Trumpism the way the liberal mainstream media is anti-Trumpism. Wolff lays out the point of view of people like Steve Bannon without condemnation of it.

Most surprising fact I’ve learned so far: Ivanka Trump was Jamie Johnson’s girlfriend at the time he filmed the documentary. I had no idea!

Based on the first five chapters, I recommend that you read it rather than bury your head in the sand like an ostrich. Accept the reality that Trump isn’t a 4D chessmaster.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 7, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Books, Politics

The end of brick-and-mortar bookstores

In case anyone didn’t know. But even when you know something bad is going to happen, when it finally happens it’s still sad.

Not that I’ve ever heard of this bookstore chain. The store pictured in the article looks very prole.

I personally will never buy another paper book if I can help it, they take up too much space and are very heavy. Maybe if I had a permanent house with a lot of empty rooms with empty bookshelves to fill up… but I don’t have that.

Also I don’t read books as much as I used to because the internet has damaged my attention span. I still haven’t finished reading Stranger in a Strange Land.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 30, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Books

The Midas Plague

I never read this Frederick Pohl short story, but here is the synopsis from Wikipedia:

“The Midas Plague” (originally published in Galaxy in 1954). In a world of cheap energy, robots are overproducing the commodities enjoyed by mankind. The lower-class “poor” must spend their lives in frantic consumption, trying to keep up with the robots’ extravagant production, while the upper-class “rich” can live lives of simplicity. Property crime is nonexistent, and the government Ration Board enforces the use of ration stamps to ensure that everyone consumes their quotas. The story deals with Morey Fry, who marries a woman from a higher-class family. Raised in a home with only five rooms she is unused to a life of forced consumption in their mansion of 26 rooms, nine automobiles, and five robots, causing arguments. Trained as an engineer, Morey modifies his robots to enjoy helping to consume his family’s quota. He fears punishment when his idea is discovered, but the Ration Board—which has been looking for a way to abolish itself—quickly implements Morey’s idea across the world.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 9, 2017 at EST pm

Posted in Books, Robots

Win Bigly bonus chapter

Interesting read from Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert.

We’re creatures who act irrationally and then rationalize our choices after the fact, at least for any decision involving emotion. Once you embrace this concept, the world is far easier to understand.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 7, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Books

Heinlein on “faith”

In Stranger in a Strange Land, Jubal Harshaw says:

I’ve never been able to understand ‘faith’ myself, nor to see how a just God could expect his creatures to pick the one true religion out of an infinitude of false ones-by faith alone. It strikes me as a sloppy way to run an organization, whether a universe or a smaller one.

As I mentioned previously, Jubal Harsaw was obviously put into the novel to speak the mind of Heinlein himself. And I believe that Heinlein had an important and unacknowledged role in leading many nerdy teenagers into libertarianism and atheism.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 26, 2017 at EST pm

Posted in Books

A quote from Stranger in a Strange Land

I used to think I was serving humanity . . . and I pleasured in the thought. Then I discovered that humanity does not want to be served; on the contrary it resents any attempt to serve it. So now I do what pleases Jubal Harshaw.

Jubal Harshaw seems to be the character who represents Heinlein himself. But a richer and more accomplished version of himself, who has rather weird and polyamorous relationships with women that for Heinlein only exist in his fictional stories. In the 21st century, Heinlein is typically seen as “misogynistic.”

The best parts of Heinlein are these pearls of wisdom which appear from time to time, and which I was too young to appreciate when I first read Heinlein as a teenager. It’s generally a type of libertarian viewpoint, true atheist libertarianism and not Ron Paul’s weird post-confederate states’ rights Christian paleoconservatism pretending to be libertarianism.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 6, 2017 at EST pm

Posted in Books

Regarding the Game of Thrones books by George R.R. Martin

I read the first four books probably not too long after the fourth book came out, maybe 2006 or 2007? It has been a long time and I don’t remember how the books are different than what’s on HBO.

By the time the fifth book came out in 2011, it was such a long time since I read the fourth book that I didn’t feel like I could just pick it up again.

And the sixth and seventh books are still being worked on, even though it has now been more than 20 years since the first book was written.

It seems to me that George R.R. Martin just ran out of steam after writing the first three books. He’s now 68 year old, I’m afraid that he’s going to wind up dying before he finishes his series, just as happened with Robert Jordan.

If the series is ever finished, and at that time I’m still young enough to enjoy these types of books, then maybe I will re-read the series from start to finish.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 17, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Books, Uncategorized

HBD in Stranger

In the uncut version of Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, Ben the reporter explains to the bimbo nurse:

Also it gives Valentine Michael Smith a wonderfully fine heredity; his father had an I.Q. of 163, his mother 170, and both were tops in their fields.

It is clearly implied that Ben (and thus Heinlein himself who put the words into Ben’s mouth) believes that (1) IQ matters and measure something a lot more important and useful than the mere ability to get high scores on IQ tests; and (2) that it’s a genetically inherited trait, so that if both of your parents have high IQ, you will inherit their high-IQ genes and be smart yourself even though you were raised by foster parents (in this case, foster parents who are Martian).

And Ben’s a reporter too! Does anyone from the mainstream media today believe that about IQ? Why are there zillions of articles in the MSM about the benefits of being born rich and the burdens of being born poor, but not a single article about the benefits of being born with high-IQ genes and the burdens of being born with low-IQ genes? Or about the relatively high (but far from perfect) correlation between having financially well-off parents and high-IQ genes?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 17, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Books

Heinlein wouldn’t get away with this today

I started reading the uncut version of Stranger in a Strange Land.

When I read this:

This would account for his action in jetting to Australia and proposing marriage to Doctor Winifred Coburn, a horse-faced spinster semantician nine years his senior. The Carlsbad Archives pictured her with an expression of quiet good humor but otherwise lacking in attractiveness.

I thought that if someone wrote that today, he’d be called a misogynist.

* * *

A commenter asked about the uncut edition. This is the preface to the uncut edition, published posthumously in 1991:

IF YOU THINK that this book appears to be thicker and contain more words than you found in the first published edition of Stranger in a Strange Land, your observation is correct. This edition is the original one-the way Robert Heinlein first conceived it, and put it down on paper.

The earlier edition contained a few words over 160,000, while this one runs around 220,000 words. Robert’s manuscript copy usually contained about 250 to 300 words per page, depending on the amount of dialogue on the pages. So, taking an average of about 275 words, with the manuscript running 800 pages, we get a total of 220,000 words, perhaps a bit more.

This book was so different from what was being sold to the general public, or to the science fiction reading public in 1961 when it was published, that the editors required some cutting and removal of a few scenes that might then have been offensive to public taste.

And this is interesting. Heinlein actually DIDN’T get away with my original quote in 1961. The edited version says only the following:

This resulted in his jetting to Australia and proposing marriage to Doctor Winifred Coburn, a spinster nine years his senior.

Still a spinster 9 years older than Captain Michael Brant, but the part about her unattractive looks was cut.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 16, 2017 at EST pm

Posted in Books

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