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July 2014
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So Many Books; So Little Time

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I’m a relatively fast reader, whether of fiction or non-fiction. With fiction, I find that I generally skim ahead of where I’m scanning, since I usually see a page or so at a time while actually scanning line-by-line. *shrugs* It took me many years to realize I was doing it, but after the initial stumblings caused by becoming consciously aware of what I was doing, I eventually just fell back into doing it absent-mindedly again.

Stories really move along for me. . . except when the author throws a wrench in the works with some subliterate crap, completely stupid description, or idiotic idea that derails my suspension of disbelief. But that’s a “whole nother post” as it were. (Excuse my use of “nother” or don’t. I DGARA. No one’s paying me to write this, you know. *heh*)

With non-fiction, another mechanism slides into play. Along with the “skim ahead” mechanism, nearly 50 years ago I began integrating the “SQ3R” (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review) technique into my non-fiction reading, and the technique has become almost second nature by now. It fits really well with my skimming facility and enhances recollection and understanding.

Add to that the lil thingy that I really enjoy doing (very) amateur word-sleuthing and “etymologizing,” and just flat know a lot of words (too much time as a youth spent reading dictionaries for fun)and can figure out most that I do not know based on familiarity with a few–mostly Romance, though one classical and a couple others–languages and the context in which a word has been used, and reading even otherwise dull tomes is fun for me. . . if they’re written by someone who is literate.

Still, even with a decent reading speed and comprehension, so very, very many books are being added daily to the potential reading list of books already written, that some winnowing skills are essential for any active reader. Here’s a rough outline of how I approach purchasing another book.

Does the subject matter, whether fiction or non-fiction, interest me. This isn’t really all that limiting, since my range of interests is pretty wide, but it does cut off some areas. Social sciences are mostly voodoo, so unless a book has a really good “hook,” I’ll give it a pass. Fiction? Oh, so-called “romance” crap is, urm, not for me. Otherwise, any genre except so-called “literary” crap will do. (I actively abhor typical “literary” works that have been shat out since somewhere around the turn of the 20th Century. Yes, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote crap. So did James Joyce. Pick any one of the other “lit-uh-rah-ree” writers of the 20th Century. Probably crap.)

So, does the subject matter interest me.

What are the first few pages like? How does page 50 read? If a book fails to come up to snuff in the first few pages, I’ll turn to page 50—just a page number I selected many years ago—and see if it’s any better. If not, buh-bye!

What are the reviews like? No, not how many raves or pans but what do the reviews actually say? If a book has many rave reviews but the reviews are hash written either by idiots who are “lit-rah-chure” snobs or illiterate boobs, I’m likely to give the book a pass. If the pans are written by either of those classes, I’m likely to give it a chance. Think about it.

Even given application that general, loose selection process, if I buy a book and try to read it but find myself unsold by anywhere from 25%-50% through, anymore I’ll just ashcan it. There’s not enough time to waste it on reading crap. Oh, if it’s BAD ENOUGH crap, I might finish it, but I’ll compile a list of the author’s sins along the way and might even post a scathing review of it, complete with mocking diatribe pointing out some of the author’s worst sins. So far, though, I have only written one review where I told the author to JUST STOP WRITING! In most reviews of badly-written books, I have stopped short of that and simply counseled those writers to enroll in remedial English courses immediately after beating any proofreaders or editors they had employed with a brickbat.

Really: I just don’t want to waste my time and energy on crappy books. I have too much else to do to pollute the 7-10 books a week I do finish with crap writing. (But when the train wreck’s horrific enough. . . heh)


Pejoration of Language is Inevitable

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But why does it always seem to stem from illiterates and liars?

Illiterates, for example, tear down useful words and phrases through simple ignorance and sometimes stupidity. An example from something I read recently will illustrate this point: “[I]t’s the exception that makes the rule.” This corruption was obviously drawn from the old adage, “The exception proves the rule,” which actually means, “The exception TESTS the rule.” The writer of “the exception. . . makes the rule” never bothered to learn what the original adage actually said and so his corruption makes at least some sort of (non)sense, based on his poor literacy.

Worse are those who wittingly corrupt words, terms and phrases to mean something opposite of their once common senses. Take for example a self-proclaimed “liberal democrat” whose words and deeds prove him to be a tyrannical statist bent on corrupting democracy.

That’s why I so often call out and condemn both illiterate and disingenuous abuse of English. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” as it were.

Leftists Are Anti-Science

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[By "Leftists" I mean, of course, the full spectrum of Dhimmicraps--and their Bureaucrappic minions--and all others to the left of "mainstream" Dhimmicrappic thought, Academia Nut Fruitcakes--almost all of them in the "humanities"--and at least 99.99% of the Mass MEdia Podpeople Hivemind.]

In every aspect of leftist propaganda–from hardcore Marxist theory to anthropogenic climate scare-ism to social “welfare” policies–leftist theories have been tested in the real world and found to be fatally flawed. Whenever I view the real world wreckage of leftist cant, I’m reminded of a Robert Heinlein comment:

“One can judge from experiment, or one can blindly accept authority. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all important and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. . . “

By any honest assessment, whether one were to use Heinlein’s metric for science or Popper’s or any other honest scientist, leftist thought is anti-science.

In a Civilized Society. . .

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. . . you know, one that actually recognized private property rights, the natural progression illustrated below would be perfectly acceptable.

A simple statement, easily understood, establishing a clear boundary saying, “Not yours. Stay out.”

no-trespassing

If a trespasser were to proceed, then a second warning might justifiably be issued by an exceedingly patient and forbearing landowner:

no trespassing

If that failed to deter a malefactor, then *sigh*. . .

final-warning

OK, MORE than excessively generous, kind and gentle landowners might include, between #2 and #3 (or #1 and #2), a sign stating,

Fence and “No Trespassing” Signs

Security/Surveillance System

Guard Dogs

Armed Response

For clearance to enter the property try calling 1-800-UGO-AWAY

Is “No Trespassing” Clear Now?

Hey! King Putz!

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As they say, read between the lines, bubba:

between-the-lines

People Who Cannot Even Speak or Write Their Native Tongue Are Stupid

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eye-c-stoopid-ppl

I see stupid people. I see stupid “edumacators” who avoid teaching grammar and stupid students who avoid learning English.

Example: “If [I, they, he, etc.] would have” is a construction that, I suppose, is intended to indicate a class of conditional that should be simply, “If I had.” I am *gagamaggot* sick of seeing the evidence of laziness and stupidity “If [I, they, he, etc.] would have” demonstrates. Now, both of y’all who might comment on this are excused, since I have no doubt such abuse of the English language is off the table for you, but for those folks who may read this and grunt, in their most articulate manner, “Huh?!?” I have only this: *arrgggghhh!*

And that is the kindest, gentlest, most generous response possible. In fact, it is far, far kinder, gentler and more generous than such folks deserve, but that’s just me: kind, gentle and generous to a fault. ;-)


N.B. Execrable grammar, word misuse, impenetrable amphiboly, etc., are all completely, totally and absolutely inexcusable* in text written by someone who wants to be PAID for writing. It doesn’t matter what excuse some lame-brained writer, editor or critic (IMO, critics who are writers are few and far between, so I consider the class to be separate, for all “intensive porpoises” *heh*) excretes, such abuse of English is offensive to anyone who thinks these things through, ESPECIALLY when the abuser wants to be paid for the abuse.

*An exception that proves the rule: dialog in a piece of fiction intended to build a character that is an illiterate boob is the one place such things can be marginally legitimate. Anywhere else these abuses occur just demonstrate that the author is an illiterate boob.

About “Third World County’s Corollary to Santayana’s Axiom”

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Democracy has a dirty lil problem that too many people tiptoe around. The Founders tried to ward against it with a design of representative democracy that allowed states to limit the franchise–with both good and bad results–and by making the only national office that was prescriptively designed as a popularly-elected post the post of Representative in the House. (The Senate posts were left to the states to fill pretty much as they wished, so some were by popular election, most by legislative appointment, etc.) The problem the Founders were trying to limit?

“In a democracy (‘rule by mob’), those who refuse to learn from history are usually in the majority and dictate that everyone else suffer for their ignorance.”–third world county’s corollary to Santayana’s Axiom

This corollary can also be stated as, “Stupid, ignorant, greedy people invariably ruin democracy for everyone else.”

Jose Ortega y Gasset noted something similar in his prophetic 1929 work, “The Revolr of the Masses,” when he noted (my extremely inadequate paraphrase/précis) that the trend in democratization was toward the coarsening of society, and indeed, that has proven to be the case. He essentially argued that those blessed with the material, mental, educational and moral blessings of modern civilization (without using these terms at ALL *heh*) had a responsibility to convey the essentially Neoclassical (architecture, literary and graphic arts)/Classical (musical arts) principles of

  • balance
  • clarity
  • accessibility
  • expressiveness
  • edification

to the masses, but that increasing democratization militated against civilizing influences. That, sadly, has proven to be the case. Many of those in our society who have been blessed with many advantages of education, material and mental resources have instead bent their advantages to greedily (and stupidly, when one thinks beyond one’s own immediate aggrandizement) manipulating the baser desires of the masses to seek an increasingly lower “lowest common denominator” to define society’s norms. Unfortunately, the defining of society’s norms by encouraging lower and lower standards and practices also tends to dumb down any putative elite as well, and the cycle becomes a vicious spiral to decay if not checked and actively reversed.

Strangely, to some (and even perhaps to those with Ortega’s mind set ;-)), the encouragement of critical thought, the inculcation and spread of Classical Values can only be found easily in the grassroots “bourgeois” leadership in the populist TEA Party movements (note the plural). Prominent “leaders” of the movement? Notsomuch, unfortunately. IMO, one finds the brightest, best-educated leaders of the populist movement with the highest ethical and moral standards on the local level.

And that local level could be the salvation of American democracy, even American representative democracy.

For further reading on how this could work, see Robert A. Heinlein’s “Take Back Your Government” for principles/strategies one can help implement. (Heinlein’s specific tactics may be a bit dated, but the strategies are applicable, IMO, and the tactics he advocates could be easily adapted to a 21st-Century political battlefield.)

Holes and Gaps, Lacks and Losses. . .

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I read too much and have done so for darned near all my life. That creates a few problems from time to time. For example, recently, my problem with reading books on history has been too many moments of getting into a book and either saying to myself (over and over), “Know that already,” or “Oh, you flippin’ idiot,” or “Liar!” *sigh* Every now and then, though, I do manage to run across a decent history (or related) book I’ve missed. For example, how I missed Thomas Babington Macaulay’s “Lays of Ancient Rome” for so many years, I’ll never know. Strange the lacunae one can find in one’s reading list. . .

Another problem is in reading fiction (well, and non-fiction for that matter). By now, I know all the plots. My reading/recognition/comprehension vocabulary is. . . probably excessive. Heck, I enjoy reading dictionaries and even puzzling out probable etymologies on my own before checking authorities, etc. I have read enough well-written text that, while I don’t always show it in my own casual writing here and elsewhere (for which I am NOT PAID), I’m familiar enough with good writing (grammar, word usage, etc.) that I’m offended by people who expect to be paid for writing crap.

And do NOT let me get started on contemporary “poetry”! Please! “Crap” is far, far too kind as a description of most of it.

It’s a burden. Be glad I bear it so you don’t have to if you don’t want to. *heh*

(Both of my regular readers here are literate enough to bear the burden as well, but can feel free to let me do so *cough* alone *cough* if they wish. ;-))

OTOH, one of the very real joys of reading a “lottamuch” is the discovery of those holes and gaps, lacks and losses in my education and. . . filling them.

When One Is a Windows User. . .

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. . .no matter how experienced, educated and “crafty” *heh* sometimes the best answer is to throw one’s hands in the air and. . . go check OPE (Other People’s Experiences). Almost invariably, someone, even someone with all sorts of certs and official qualifications, has had the same intractable problem and has fumbled around and eventually churned up a workaround from the muck on the stable floor.

So it was with this problem/answer.

Short and sweet(er than not): error message stating some third-party security apps were blocked from running by group policy. Checked group policy editor and even did a “gpresult /h” (to have a nice html file report to read in a browser) and no, they were not. . . according to Windows. Still blocked, though.

Kludge-around: back up the Policy keys in the registry. Delete those keys. Force a GP update. Ta-da! All’s well. But. . . I really hate deleting keys, even when they’re backed up, so I’d not gone that far. I would have preferred fixing the problem the right way–in Group Policy Editor. Nope. *head-desk* “It’s Windows, dummy. Do it the roundabout, kludged-up way.”

*sigh*

Did I Say That?

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Juuuust in case things should ever “get real,” 1776-style, having such things as FM3-07.22* and other military manuals to have some ideas how to counter the counters, as it were, might be handy. . . *heh*


*”Counterinsurgency Operations. Knowing what “counterinsurgency” might entail would be useful to those seeking to restore rights as the Founders were forced to do. Do keep in mind that I’m not advocating another American Revolution to overthrow illegitimate government, though our “feddle gummint” has certainly delegitimized itself. After all, the Founders themselves counseled overthrowing an illegitimate government only as a last resort. But should it ever become necessary, “know your enemy” is wise counsel. . .