Monday, August 28, 2006

Flashing Swords #1

Flashing Swords #1 (1973)

Edited, with an Introduction and Notes, by Lin Carter

This very fine sword and sorcery collection contains 4 stories.

The Sadness of the Executioner by Fritz Lieber
(A Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser Story)

Morreion by Jack Vance
(A tale of "The Dying Earth")

The Merman's Children by Poul Anderson
(A fantasy of the Vikings)

The Higher Heresies of Oolimar by Lin Carter
(An adventure of Amalric the Mangod)

I really liked the Jack Vance story. Morreion really was a moron, a clever play on words there. An infamous role-playing game stole the idea of IOUN stones from this story.

Bad form for the editor to include his own story. It is a very entertaining story, which is mitigation, I guess.

Teddy Atlas

Atlas: From the Streets to the Ring: A Son's Struggle to Become a Man (2006)

by Teddy Atlas and Peter Alson

Fascinating autobiography.

Teddy Atlas is a true hero in the Joseph Campbell sense. Atlas journeyed into darkness and emerged transformed, with much wisdom to share with those willing to listen.

I was already a fan from his work as a boxing commentator. I am even more of a fan after reading his book.

Friday, August 25, 2006


Very disappointing fight tonight between Sergio Mora and Eric Regan.

Mora won a unanimous decision with lopsided scorecards.

When the fight ended, Regan was jumping up like he thought that he had won.

Someone should nominate this guy for Most Clueless Boxer.

The most pathetic part was that Regan might have won, but he chose to fight a stupid fight. He ignored the advice from his corner. His jab was mostly absent, and otherwise ineffective.

What was he thinking? Trying to emulate Brian "Hawaiian Choke" Viloria?

Regan is a tough guy and has heart, but is it really in the best interest of boxing for the guy to act like a punching bag?


Laura (1944)

A homocide detective, investigating a murder, falls in love with the victim, cut down by a shotgun blast at point blank range (the murder victim, not the detective).

I was never much of a fan of Dana Andrews, but he does a fair job as the detective.

Gene Tierney is excellent as the victim.

The real surprise for me in this film is the young and very dapper Vincent Price as the victim's boyfriend. Very far removed from his later horror film roles.

Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now (1979)

I have seen this movie several times, and it remains one of my favorites.

A very bleak and cynical look at the Vietnam War.

Loosely based on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Very loosely, since Heart of Darkness was set in the Congo.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Cugel's Saga

Cugel's Saga (1983) by Jack Vance

A very fine novel, of which The Bagful of Dreams is only a small part.

Cugel is a rascal, rogue, scoundrel, cheat, swindler, liar, thief and many other things.

Dropped half a world away by a magician with a grudge, Cugel has many adventures before he returns to wreak vengeance on his tormentor.

Known as Cugel the Clever, he is sometimes that, but often dumber than a rock.

One of the best novels that I have ever read.

The author's use of creative language is unparalleled.

sword & sorcery

Flashing Swords #4: Barbarians and Black Magicians (1977)

edited by Lin Carter

This is a fine collection of stories.

The Bagful of Dreams (an adventure of Cugel the Clever) by Jack Vance
The Tupilak (from the saga of the merfolk) by Poul Anderson
Storm in a Bottle (a tale of Brak the Barbarian) by John Jakes
Swords Against the Marluk (a new legend of the Deryni) by Katherine Kurtz
The Lands Beyond the World (from the cycle of Elric) by Michael Moorcock

Definitely worth reading and rereading.

Monday, August 14, 2006

the left never learns

"Strong national security Democrats like FDR, Harry Truman, JFK, and Joseph Lieberman are dwindling, driven out by an appeasement wing of American politics that is gaining momentum. We have been here before. A weak America always leads to further acts of aggression by our enemies. It is a lesson the left may never learn."

-Newt Gingrich

Hawaiian Choke

Brian Viloria, formerly known as Hawaiian Punch, should be banned from boxing for life.

Anyone who disrespects the sport to this degree should never fight again.

bridge at risk

Terrorists planned to blow up the Mackinac Bridge using a van packed with 1,000 cell phones.

The Coast Guard has increased patrols around the bridge.

miserable creatures

“The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made so and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

-John Stuart Mill as quoted by vigilante Britt Craig in the New York Times.

Please note that, according to this philosophy, liberals are miserable creatures indeed.