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Jack Reacher Series #1: Killing Floor  —  book review
Every great book series has to start somewhere, and this is where the Jack Reacher series started…
Roughly two years ago, I reviewed the Tom Cruise movie: “Jack Reacher“.  I enjoyed the movie, found out it was based on a book series and put it down on my list of things to look into later.  Last month I finally got around to reading one of the novels in the series: (“The Enemy“).  That book was actually the eighth book in the series, but I decided to read it first because it was a prequel to his leaving the military and starting out his civilian career.  I was hoping to jump into the series with background from before the series.  As it turns out, this was probably a great idea.
The book I just finished: “Killing Floor” (1997©) written by Lee Child, is the first in the series and begins shortly after Reacher has left the Army and more or less relates the story of his becoming a Paladin (of sorts).  Although Reacher considers himself to be a fairly amoral person who doesn’t want to get involved with other people’s problems, in the end (actually, very early in each story) we see that, in fact, he chooses sides, and it’s usually for “right” as he understands it or for whomever he judges to be the underdog in any given situation.
Without giving too much of the book away, the death of someone close leads to the “decision” to help.  There are “very bad” bad guys.  There is murder.  There is money (the root of all evil).   There is an indifferent local populace and, of course, the beautiful damsel and the righteous hero.  There are twenty books in the series, so the hero always survives (ho-hum).
If I have one complaint (comment), it is the typical criminal mystery / drama / action story tendency to have the hero “intuitively” solve the mystery around 90% of the way through the book and then not tell us what (or how) he figured out the answer.  Instead, the hero spends the remainder of the book unravelling the proof for us so everyone else in the story (and us) are left to recognize how smart Reacher is.  Despite this minor fault, the movie and the two books I’ve read have all been very entertaining.  Final recommendation: strong to high.  A fast read with a good mystery, action, non-graphic sex and the bad guys get their just desserts in the end.  One other side comment, I now understand (and agree with) the folks who complained about Tom Cruise playing Reacher in the movie.  Cruise gets away with the role (adequately if you’ve not read any of the books), but he is NOT Jack Reacher.
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Love is like a tree: it grows by itself, roots itself deeply in our being and continues to flourish over a heart in ruin.  The inexplicable fact is that the blinder it is, the more tenacious it is.  It is never stronger than when it is completely unreasonable.
   —  Victor Hugo
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On This Day In:
2015 Avengers Assemble II
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2014 Turning Pages
2013 We Are All Accountable
2012 American Sign Language
2011 Happy Disproof
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The world we want for our kids — one with opportunity and security for our families; one with rising standards of living and a sustainable, peaceful planet; one that’s innovative and inclusive, bold and big-hearted — it’s entirely within our reach.  The only constraints on America’s future are the ones we impose on ourselves.  That’s always been the case with America — our destiny isn’t decided for us, but by us.  And as long as we give our young people every tool and every chance to decide the future for themselves, I have incredible faith in the choices they’ll make.
  —  President Barack Obama
From the new section in Time Magazine: Motto – Words To Live By; (and also on the web):  http://motto.time.com/4199637/barack-obama-daughters/
Feb 22-29, 2016 edition
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Size Matters

The measure of a man lies not in brains or brawn, but in the size of one’s heart.
  —  Anonymous
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Now, when I have overcome my fears – of others, of myself, of the underlying darkness: at the frontier of the unheard-of.  Here ends the known.  But, from a source beyond it, something fills my being with its possibilities.
Here desire is purified and made lucid: each action is a preparation for, each choice an assent to the unknown.  Prevented by the duties of life on the surface from looking down into the depths, yet all the while being slowly trained and molded by them to take the plunge into the deep whence rises the fragrance of a forest star, bearing the promise of a new affection at the frontier.
   —  Dag Hammarskjöld
From his book (journal):  “Markings
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As I Recall

I Got It Honest

It ain’t nothin’ but a small frame house on an acre lot
It ain’t that much different from any other house on the block
And it may not look like we’ve got all our share of the promise
But at least one thing’s for sure, I got it honest
Roll out of the sack every mornin’, head on down to the mill
Give ’em all I got for eight, ’cause that’s the deal
If you’ll check out my paycheck
Well, you’ll see that there ain’t that much on it
But every single penny I’m paid, I got it honest
I never had to hang my head in shame
For puttin’ a price tag on my name
Never turned my back on what I believe
Or let my heart be ruled by greed
‘Cause buddy if I didn’t earn it, I don’t want it
That way I can always say, I got it honest
Now you ain’t looking at some dude
That was born with a silver spoon in his mouth
And I might seem like some kind of low-life
To that high-falutin’ crowd
But I’m plain spoken, straight talkin’
And damn proud of what I have accomplished
And some folks appreciate that and some don’t
But, I got it honest
Now when I die, I may not leave my kids a fortune
But I hope they know’d my life stood for things that were important
And I’ll hand out the same sturdy old values
Of my daddy and my momma
It made me every ounce of what I am and I got it honest
I never had to hang my head in shame
For puttin’ a price tag on my name
Never turned my back on what I believe
Or let my heart be ruled by greed
‘Cause brother if I didn’t earn it, I don’t want it
That way I can always say, I got it honest
Friend there ain’t no doubt about it, I got it honest
Writer(s):  Bruce Burch, Marcus Franklin Johnson, Aaron Tippin
Performed by: Aaron Tippin
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Or Blog

To survive, you must tell stories.
  —  Umberto Eco
[There is a saying that you “live” as long as you are remembered.  I wonder if blogging counts?  —  KMAB]
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