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Archive for December, 2016

Tripwire  (1999©) —  Book Review
Tripwire” is book three in the Jack Reacher novel series which I began reading earlier this year after seeing the movie starring Tom Cruise.  I enjoyed the flic, so I wanted to see what the books were about.  You can never be sure just from watching a movie if the character is “really” the same or simply an interpretation by the director or star actor.  Although this is the third book in the series, it’s actually the fourth book I’ve read.  I was looking at summaries and found one of the books was a throw-back to before the “series” began, so I wanted to “start” the series at the chronological beginning even if it wasn’t the first book in the series.  Since I haven’t read all of them, I’m not sure I have started in the right place, but I feel as if I made the effort anyway.
So, the book (and series) is written by Lee Child.  At this point, the series is beginning to follow a formula: Reacher is out minding his business, something happens, he goes to be a hero – because he’s the only one who can work outside the law and get “it” done, whatever “it” happens to be.  This book finds Reacher in Florida, but quickly moves to New York.  He meets a past acquaintance who becomes a lover.  She gets in danger.  Hero time!
The book is solidly entertaining.  It’s well paced and (of course) has a twist ending.  The author accomplishes this with two tricks, misdirected first person narration and then failing to tell the reader what the main character knows until the author is ready for the “twist” ending.  The problem is, this trick is blatantly obvious when the author does it and as a reader you just stop and say (to yourself) “just tell me what Reacher knows!”  Does it spoil the book?  No.  Does it make it less enjoyable…?  Yeah, for me, it did.
Final recommendation: strong recommendation.  I will continue to read the series and see what happens.  I don’t remember the earlier books having the problem discussed above and hopefully, it’s just a one off in this particular book.  Anyway, as I stated, I still enjoyed it.  Action.  Mystery / detective / procedural.  Heroics.  What’s not to like?
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On This Day In:
2015 I’d Settle For Interesting
2014 Old Math
2013 Adequate Explanation
2012 Superior Discovery
2011 Welcome Home And Thank You!!
Two Heritages

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Gifts

A gift much expected is paid, not given.
   —   George Herbert
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On This Day In:
2015 I’d Settle For Interesting
2014 Old Math
2013 Adequate Explanation
2012 Superior Discovery
2011 Welcome Home And Thank You!!
Two Heritages

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The best way to keep good acts in memory is to refresh them with new ones.
   —    Francis Bacon
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On This Day In:
2015 Will You Be Leaving Soon?
2014 Just Long Enough
2013 R.I.P. – Tom Laughlin
Seeking Success?
2012 All Aboard
2011 Sail On, Sailor

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If you haven’t got charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.
    —    Bob Hope
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On This Day In:
2015 From The Inside Out
2014 Alone And Free
2013 Superstition Is Your Way
2012 Escape Hatches
2011 Sing Like No One Is Listening

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Honesty is the cornerstone of character.  The honest man or woman seeks not merely to avoid criminal or illegal acts, but to be scrupulously fair, upright, fearless in both action and expression.  Honesty pays dividends both in dollars and in peace of mind.
   —   B. C. Forbes
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On This Day In:
2015 Would That This Be True
2014 More Likely
2013 Enjoyed The Desolation
Watching Faux News
2012 Speaking Of Products
2011 Ready To Be Immortal?

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Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.
   —   Theodore N. Vail
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On This Day In:
2015 Just Plain Wrong
2014 Finding Beliefs
2013 Pretty Confident
2012 Effective Ranges
2011 Three Wisdoms
2010 I’m Just Askin’…
Space & Time

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Calm self-confidence is as far from conceit as the desire to earn a decent living is remote from greed.
   —  Channing Pollock
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On This Day In:
2015 Rocky 7
Just Like Politics
2014 Game And Legend
“Scientific” Pride In Humanity
2013 Real Honor
Catching Up
2012 Thoughts And Communications
2011 But How Does Peter Feel?
2010 Name That Regret

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The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.
   —    Aristotle
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On This Day In:
2015 Reverberating Silence
2014 Wrong Again?
2013 Improper Faith
2012 One More Rung
2011 Sunday Morning Earlies (Hugging trees and smiling…)
Hurry
Updates On Life
2010 It’s Gettin’ Deep In Here

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We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
   —    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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On This Day In:
2015 I Love Bacon, Too
2014 The Wee Bit
2013 Reading Rules
2012 Cadet Prayer
2011 Easy To Tell
2010 A NEW Lion In The Senate (Channeling Mr. Smith)
Inception Redux
A Quick Hit Of Stats

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After A While

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman,
not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn…
©1971 Veronica A. Shoffstall
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On This Day In:
2015 Dog Eat Dog World?
2014 And Sometimes Blogs About It
2013 Outside-In
2012 They Are All Perfect
2011 Delegation – The “How-To’s”
2009 Diet Update and Other Bits & Bobs…

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Of all men’s miseries, the bitterest is this, to know so much and have control over nothing.
   —    Herodotus.
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On This Day In:
2015 Dance And Sing
2014 A Measuring Stick For Progress
2013 Courtly Love Or Victory Over Habit
2012 Have We Met?
2011 Efficiently Useless

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I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him.
   —   Galileo Galilei
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On This Day In:
2015 Adaptive Security
2014 Wants
2013 Side Effects
2012 Just Trying To Earn A Living
2011 Productive Worry

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If there’s no one else better than yourself, you haven’t looked hard for someone else…  and haven’t looked hard at yourself.
   —    Robert Half
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On This Day In:
2015 Fear No Evil
2014 And Nothing Can Be As Tragic As…
2013 Your Tax Dollars At Work
2012 Historically Unacceptable
2011 Niners Are NFC West Division Champions!!
The Essence Of Leadership

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The greatest of all weaknesses is the excessive dread of appearing weak.
   —    Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
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On This Day In:
2015 That Burns
2014 Hey, I Resemble That Remark… (4!)
2013 Sit, Put, Until…
2012 Lessons For My Son
2011 Reaching The Right Audience
2010 Christmas Trees and Profession of Faith

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Many of today’s public affairs programs reflect the polarized political climate and are overtly partisan to entertain listeners and viewers whose minds are already made up.  People no longer tune in to a program for a detached assessment of political matters; they tune in to have their own biases affirmed.  A Murrow program inviting an audience to think might not fare well today.
Morrow never had to put up with corporate bean counters to the degree that today’s broadcast journalists must endure.  In Murrow’s time, new was a loss leader and wasn’t expected to score big ratings and make money.  That changed dramatically in the 1980’s when the networks were acquired by huge firms that dwarfed the Paley-size corporations.  Public service was a luxury the new media conglomerates could not afford.  With network audiences dwindling because of the wider availability of cable TV, the news divisions now were expected to top the competition in the ratings and to make money.  From public service to profit center is a jolting transition, but happened.  It began with deep cuts in expenses, which were fine as long as they involved trading limos for vans and first-class airfare for coach, but then it involved people.  Hundreds of fine journalists lost their jobs in the 1980’s when the networks pared back.  When the bloodletting was over, the quest for profit took a different direction.
The only way a news program can compete in prime time is to become an entertainment program.
Cable relieved the broadcast networks of the pressure to provide live coverage of important breaking stories.  Cable claims to have all-news channels, and indeed it does when there is important breaking news.  In fact, when an important story breaks, the so-called all-news channels cover only that one story, upsetting those who feel “all news” should provide “all of the news.”
On most days, however, cable TV offers no news in prime time (except on the headline channel) because news simply can’t compete with prime time entertainment programs.  It’s a sad fact that cable TV, with plenty of airtime available to explore important, complex issues in great detail, squanders that resource by descending to tabloid sensationalism, personality cult shows, and aping talk radio with high-testosterone shout shows requiring panelists and viewers alike to wake up angry and stay angry.
We should concern ourselves with issues that affect our common welfare, not some tawdry episode that has nothing to instruct us on how to get through a day.  For ratings’ sake, cable news focuses too often on the titillating and not on the news we really need.
Murrow believed it was wrong to recruit a liar to be part of a program in order to balance the truth. *
It’s important to remember that once upon a time we turned to radio and television to entertain us and nothing more.  If we expect the broadcast media to inform us, educate us, and enlighten us, it’s because Edward R. Murrow let us to believe that they would.
   —    Bob Edwards
Excerpts from the “Afterword” to his book: “Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism
[* The emphasis in the above excerpt is mine and does not appear in the original quote.  To read my review of the book, click here.   —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2015 Still Itchin’
2014 One Life
2013 Reason Is Your Light
2012 Bordering Manhood
2011 Even Christ Couldn’t

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