Reading Retired

One of the nice things about being retired is that I usually have quite a bit of time to read: newspapers and books, primarily.

Unfortunately, my favorite authors seldom write more than a book or two every year or two (or three or four). This means I re-read a number of books every year as well as find new authors to read. It also means that I sometimes am “inundated” with several new books at about the same time — publishers do not go over their schedules with me before releasing their books.

I received my copy of Peter F. Hamilton’s new Commonwealth novel — A Night Without Stars — last Tuesday and dove right in. By Friday I was on page 264 and Ian W. Toll’s The Conquering Tide (in paperback) arrived. The Conquering Tide is the second in Toll’s trilogy of the Pacific war. At 542 pages, not counting Notes and Index, it was a good quick read. Yes, I finished it today while sitting on our exercise bike and watching parts of Day of the Jackal on the room’s Apple TV.

By the way, I give The Conquering Tide 5 Stars.

Now I can resume reading A Night Without Stars and Spoor’s Spheres of Influence. And tomorrow my copy of Flint’s Castaway Odyssey should arrive — even though I saw it already on the shelves of HB’s B&N last Saturday.

Next week Modesitt’s Treachery’s Tools should also be delivered to my front door. I have several other books on order that should be arriving in the next month and a half . . . ahhhhhhh. Now, if I could just get an advance copy of The Gathering Edge before Christmas . . .cats and reading

Reading Humor

On a side note — p. 433 of The Conquering Tide:

Many who worked with Nimitz later recalled his shrewd use of the well-applied joke. While winding down a testy planning session in the spring of 1944, the admiral said he was reminded of history’s “first amphibious operation,” conducted by Noah. “When they were unloading from the Ark, he saw a pair of cats come out followed by six kittens. ‘What’s this?’ he asked. ‘Ha, ha,’ said the tabby cat, ‘and all the time you thought we were fighting.'”

Oh yeah, I went to our new Senior Center last Friday to get my annual flu shot and made the “mistake” of stopping at the library and getting a new card. Found a copy of Sue Grafton’s X. Now I just have to find time to read it. Hmmmmm . . . such a problem.

News Commentary for a Rainy Day

News Commentary

It’s been a while since I’ve let my cynical side out in public–so today a few comments on this week’s news stories.

News stories from the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register

Lawsuit tossed in actor’s death (LA Times 4.6.16): It seems as though traveling too fast killed the people in the Porsche. The deaths couldn’t be blamed on the lack of a crash cage or a racing car fuel cell. Let’s see: drive too fast — hit object — die. If you can’t fault gun makers, when people are killed by their weapons, how can you fault car makers?

Remember The Shawshank Redemption? His Judgement Cometh and that Right Soon. . . .

Ex-undersheriff’s obstruction case handed to jurors (LA Times 4.6.16) & Jury finds (Paul) Tanaka is guilty of obstruction (LA Times 4.7.16): Gee, it seems the jury didn’t believe that it was all (Lee )Baca’s fault and Tanaka was an innocent bystander kept out of the loop by his boss. Possible 15-year sentence in federal prison. Baca made a deal with prosecutors and will get a maximum of six months. Hmmm, doesn’t sound too just to me.

Surprising News? People in power and their relatives aren’t always honest . . .

Relatives of China’s top leaders are identified in Panama papers (OC Register 4.7.16): We’re surprised that the relatives of people in power are creating secretive offshore companies to, maybe, hide ill-gotten funds? Yeah, right.

Icelandic leader quits over ‘Panama Papers’ (LA Times 4.6.16): Iceland? Heavens is nowhere safe?

Secret money is U.S. problem too (LA Times — Op-Ed page 4.6.16): Gee, really? 215,000 offshore shell companies, 14,000 clients — Putin, Poroshenko, Assad, Salman — and billions of dollars. “Nevada, Wyoming and South Dakota have all passes laws making it easier to set up shell companies. . . .” Can someone say Ka-ching?


Let the Fed handle tax rates (LA Times — Op-Ed page 4.6.16): Don’t let Congress raise and lower taxes; pass the job off to un-elected, appointed bureaucrats. Wow, great solution.


Women should vote for women (LA Times — Op-Ed page 4.6.16): Women vote for women, men vote for men, whites vote for whites, blacks vote for blacks, browns vote for browns, gays vote for gays, bigots vote for bigots. What a great solution for a polarized country where our leaders in government can’t seem to compromise. This will help.


More in O.C. are Turning to Guns (OC Register 4.6.16): 8000+ people in Orange County can now legally carry concealed weapons (guns) — 0.35% of our adult population. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel safer to know that all of these people are secretly carrying guns. And, according to the article, that’s far below the national rate of 5.2%. Safer? Yeah, right.


Officials warn of voter ‘surge’ for June 7 primary (LA Times 4.7.16): Gee, more people are registering to vote. Hmmm . . . wonder why. Could it be that there are actual differences between our two major parties and their candidates in this year’s election. Maybe, people are interested in an election that promises to be more than just choosing between Dum and Dee.

More taxes

U.S. imposes tougher rules on inversions (LA Times 4.6.16): You’ll have to pay more taxes that you can’t re-coup by just raising the price of the drugs you sell. Ahhh . . . what a shame–no merger between Pfizer and Allergan to create another monster-sized monopoly.

[Related to the above: Pfizer deal was tax dodge LA Times 4.7.16]

Natural gas

Gas leak slows housing market (LA Times 4.6.16): The Porter Ranch natural gas leak, which lasted months, lowered the number of houses in the area being sold. Gee, contact Captain Obvious–would you want to buy a home there for $670,000?

Retirement News

U.S. adds retirement advice rules (LA Times 4.7.16): “For decades, many investment advisors have been required under federal law to put the best interest of their clients first.” Gee, who could be against that?

“But other retirement advisors, such as brokers and insurance agents, have a lower standard.” Gee, you mean they can put other things, like maybe, their own profits before the best interests of their clients?

“They are required only to make sure investments are suitable for their clients. That allows those advisors, who often receive commissions for the sale of specific investments, to recommend investments that benefit heir bottom line as well–sometimes even more than the client’s.” Hmmm . . .News -- Judgement

Root Beam Float

Here I am on vacation again. I know some of you think this is a redundant statement as I have been retired some three years now, but it is not. There is something about being away from home that adds to the experience.

While reading today’s edition of the Grand Forks Herald, I came upon the following recipes:

White Wine Sangria:

  • 2 bottles of dry white wine
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of brandy
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 3 cups of assorted sliced fruit
  • Combine all ingredients in a clear glass serving pitcher. Stir gently and let ingredients sit for 8 to 24 hours. Serve chilled.
  • (Wine snobs, please, omit the brandy, agave nectar/honey and fruit.)

Root Beam Float:

  • 8 ounces of root beer
  • 1 ounce Jim Beam or bourbon of choice (here’s a chance to get rid of/use the bottle of Old Crow your great-aunt Matilda gave you twenty years ago)
  • 2-3 curls of zest from an orange
  • 1/2 cup vanilla bean ice cream
  • Combine the first three ingredients in a float glass. Stir gently to combine bourbon and root beer. Top with vanilla bean ice cream and serve.

Ah, well, time to take the wife shopping. will return in an hour or three. Will open a beer and resume reading one of my books–either Phoenix in Shadow by Ryk E. Spoor or Liaden Universe Constellation: Volume III by Sharon Lee.

Oh, yeah–here are Smoke and Mist, also on vacation. Smoke and Mist at HB North

English Exercise

Picked up several books at Camelot (used book store) today. Among them was Sue Grafton’s W is for Wasted. Looking at the list of her titles in the Kinsey Millhone series, I was reminded of an exercise I used to assign my seventh graders back in those days when I taught spelling, vocabulary and grammar. (May they never return.)

I’d have the kids write sentences using the words for the week–real imaginative, huh? Some of the sentences had to use two or more of the week’s words. For example: outlaw, evidence, innocent, alibi. Although the outlaw had an ironclad alibi, the evidence showed that she was not innocent and that her accomplice had given perjured testimony.

They could change nouns to adjectives to verbs to adverbs, etc. I also gave them a chance to stump me by “throwing” a bunch of words at me and seeing if I could do it on the fly. I don’t remember ever being stumped, but that could be memory’s ego talking. I do remember stretching things, especially when they’d have me do the whole list, mixed up of course, in a single go.

Well, here goes: The alibi the shapely burglar used was insufficient to save her from becoming a corpse as the deadbeat hodad’s board had evidently hidden a gumshoe of homicidal intent who was bent on blowing away the less than innocent as she passed judgment on the killer whose lawless sense of malice acted as a noose around the neck of the outlaw Pauline who realized that her continued existence was in peril as she was the quarry of the bullet ricocheting off the seawall which in its lack of silence was trespassing the pacific surfline and catching her in the undertow of its vengeance and wasted away her life in the uncaring sand.

Ah, well, the Angels won–on to Chapter 4.

9:32 pm on a Friday. Do you know where your glass of wine is?

Yes, it’s on the table beside me–almost empty, but that won’t be its state for long.

Friday, May 28, 2015

The cats woke me up about 5:30 am this morning and I got up to lay on the couch so they would follow me and not wake my wife. Woke up again about 7:30 am and fed the cats. My wife got up and I fixed her tea, breakfast and got her medicine. I put out the trash bins, a day late because of Memorial Day, brought in the newspapers and fixed my coffee.

I then read through both papers (LA Times and OC Register) from back to front–entertainment (comics), business, sports, local and then the front news section. By then it was time for more coffee and tea. Read a couple of chapters of my current book and then did the puzzles from both papers.

Then it was time to read my email (play on the internet), pay a couple of bills and read a couple more chapters from my book.

Breakfast time: scrambled eggs, vitamins and vegetable juice. Read a couple of chapters from the book, made my wife some more tea and went shopping for cat food–and a toy (received with great enthusiasm).

Read some more, fixed more tea, drank some wine, turned on the Dodgers, made dinner–bought Paddington for Charlie. (She loved it–nice to hear gales of laughter.)

I retired to the bedroom to read, accompanied by the cats while Charlie watched her movie.

Movie over she went out to the patio to smoke, play on her IPad and watch a crime series on Netflix. I sat down to watch the Dodgers and Angels and finish my book–which I did (dirty word, dirty word, dirty word). Now, I’ll have to find another one tomorrow.

I’m done with this and done with this glass of wine. Time to put the computer away, find another glass of wine and watch the last half inning of the Angel game.

Angels win; they beat Detroit Two – Zip.

Wash by Smoke
Wash by Smoke