Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Finished: LB's Girl With The Long Green Heart

She was every man’s dream - and one man’s nightmare.
The Girl With the Long Green Heart is one of Lawrence Block's novels in the Hard Case Crime imprint. I like these crime noir things with the Mickey Spilane vocabulary.

I'm guessing it's set in the 1960s and one of the scenes that jumped out at me was when the main character flew on an airplane with a pistol in his pocket. He wasn't too concerned about it because there were no metal detectors and his only worry was the slight chance that since it was an international flight (Canada-to-U.S.) that it might get spotted by Customs. Times have changed.

This was a good one. It took a little time to set up the "grift" but it was necessarily tedious as you needed to know that stuff for the ending to make sense.

It was short, interesting, unexpectedly action-packed in areas with a good twist. I gave it a 7- on the Haugenometer. Goodreads grades it about the same at 3.7 of 5.

Block is also an avid Facebooker and goes above and beyond other authors I see there and really gives you a little more personal look at his life and daily doings. He also has an email newsletter I enjoy. Just send a blank email to lawbloc@gmail.com with "Newsletter" in the subject line and he'll get ya on it.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


It's like picking stuff out of a rattlesnake's teeth. Hope they're worth it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Finished: Koontz 'One Door Away from Heaven'

This was one of my least favorite Dean Koontz novels. It's 600 pages, of which the last 200 were a slog.

What kept me reading was the search for the answer to the riddle posed about a third of the way in: What will you find behind the door that is one door away from Heaven? The answer to the question was a quagmire of philosophical gobbledygook that flew so far over my head it died for lack of oxygen.

I thought maybe I missed something so I Googled it, and it seems I'm not alone among Koontz fans who were disappointed that there wasn't a better answer. Oh well. Even a disappointing Koontz novel is still better than most others out there.

I give it a 6- on the Haugenometer.

This book was written 15 years ago, so maybe Dean was going through a phase, but it's difficult to find an adjective he didn't use in this book. Multiple, strings of them. Like the Griswold house at Christmas. If you need to tell me the color of the carpet, just do. Tell me it's red. Don't spend two paragraphs describing the color, feel and odor. I don't care.

Maybe others do. I don't.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Kale chips ahoy!

Never thought I'd be a fan of kale chips but wifey bakes up an awesome version. The saltiness hits the spot after a workout. Picked this bunch this morning because it got a little dinged up by hail earlier this week.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Kronykal on: The Internet of Feels

This is good. Take my word for it. Read it. And you should be following Jester on Twitter if you care about national security.
If you’re a friend of mine, I got your back. Period. That doesn’t mean I’m going to turn a blind eye if I find out you have a basement full of dead bodies, but it does mean I’ll go to you first, talk to you, and then walk with you in to the police station. I’ll be armed, of course. I’m not stupid…

That's pretty much my thinking too

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Rollin' with the flow

I'm quite use to life's ups and downs, but man this last couple months have been crazier than usual. It's ranged from, for example, words you don't want to say: "Ma'm, could I borrow your fire extinguisher?" To words you don't want to hear: "Mr. Haugen, we just can't seem to figure out what's wrong with your septic tank."

Seems every bit of good news is followed by some bad news with then some good news thrown in, just to tease again. It's ranged from sick dogs to the vet, blown transmissions, Twins sucking, flat tires, kid with severely sprained ankle, fender bender, kid with mono, leaking water pump, kid with speeding ticket, septic tank backed up on graduation morning, mother with kidney removed, etc. That's just the highlights off the top of my head.

Fortunately, it's all turned out okay for everybody except the check book.

So let me count a few blessings instead.

Just as our nest empties, wifey and I are excited that our oldest niece is moving to Rapid City with her husband and kids next month. And just when St. Thomas More thought they were done with my ugly mug.

Also, next month our Finnish friends will be visiting us for a week or so. He was a foreign exchange student with my wife's family when she was in high school and we've become great friends. Ismo is THE biggest Prince fan I know and would put him up against any other. He's the dude who got me into Prince's house for the Purple One's 40th birthday party. I look forward to grieving and jamming with him.

As for the kids, Katie continues to shine as an aide to Senator Mike Rounds but will be moving East River this fall, staying on staff, just in a new role.

Rylee is home for the summer and working at Rapid City Regional Hospital's preschool/daycare. She will return to that college in Brookings this fall to finish up her K-8 teaching and Special Ed degrees. The mail just arrived notifying me of another trip to the Dean's List for her. I never knew what that List was back in my day, but I'm told it's a good thing.

Luke is enjoying an internship in the Rapid City Mayor's Office for the summer and is in all his glory working for a private security firm in town, as well as catching some hours at his sporting goods gig in the Mall. He's heading to Minnesota State-Mankato this fall and hopes to have a fulltime job involving a Glock and a badge in a few years.

All three kids are also blessed with significant others we are quite proud of too, for which I give total credit to my wife, who led by example and set the bar quite high with the decision she made.

So, things are actually good in the Haugen hood, really good, though you tend to forget that when your engine is on fire or you're wet vacuuming sewage out of your utility room.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Hot stuff

Notes, quotes and stuff:

*** Nick Lowrey at the Pierre newspaper has an interesting story, The human monster: How a suspected serial killer was arrested in Stanley County.
 Kunnecke evidently didn’t believe in paying ranch hands. He could just as easily, and far more cheaply, bury them on the rolling plains of western South Dakota.
*** James Patterson says he’ll “disrupt” reading by writing shorter books. Good to see Patterson getting on the Haugen Express.

*** Thought this was a pretty funny line from Jonah Goldberg in his weekly email, regarding Hillary Clinton and breaking the glass ceiling: 
"Oh sure, she’s a woman in the biological sense, which is kind of ironic given that her becoming the presumptive nominee comes at the precise moment we’re being told that biological sexual categories are just another way for the evil patriarchs of the Pale Penis People to keep everyone down. Maybe Donald Trump should declare he’ll be the first woman president, too?"
 *** And then there's the crime fighting English professor who helped bring down the Unabomber. Go English majors!

*** Here’s an interesting look back at the Rapid City flood of 1972 that killed 238 people and some speculation of whether it could happen again. Spoiler: It could.

*** I don't subscribe to Tidal, but if you do you're a lucky funky dude.

*** While watching the Muhammad Ali funeral I thought of the irony. Seems many of the same people who revere Ali’s decisions of religious conscience, are often most hateful of decisions others make based on their conscience. Little Sisters of the Poor, anyone? 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Confession, I'm a hater

I hate peas. Always have, always will. I hate the smell of peas, the sight of peas, even typing about peas. I hate them worse than any food I've ever tasted. Cooked or in salad, you can't hide them from me and I hate them.

When I was a kid my parents had rule that you had to clean your plate at mealtime. But when peas were on that plate, eventually the rule changed to "you have to at least try everything on your plate." That still wasn't good enough for me because I wasn't touching those detestable things, and before it was all said and done it became "you have to eat one pea."

I would sit at the table staring at that one damn pea on my plate when everyone else had finished and even while my mom and grandma were doing their dishes. I sat there adamantly refusing to swallow that filthy, gritty, slimy vegetable. Eventually, I'd win and Grandma would say: "Fine, just go."

So, thankfully, God made snow peas a few years ago. I don't know where these things were when I was a kid but they would've saved me a lot of trouble. Because I love these things. Raw, buttered, sautéed, in Chinese food, love 'em.

And they are easy to grow. And when you've got that long-winter itch, they are also one of the first things you can plant in your garden because they love the cool weather.

So mine are blossoming this week and should be picking some in a few days. I will be enjoying every bite and wishing my grandma had planted them instead of the putrid balls of green pus people call garden peas.

Friday, June 3, 2016

^^^ If everybody in the world only watched 1 television show a day, and that show was Baseball Tonight, the world would be a better place. Tonight it was brought to you by the new Ninja Turtle movie. Did you know it's rated PG-13? Seriously? Is Donatello dropping F bombs now? Brief nudity from April?
^^^ For you harder core baseball fans, especially with fantasy teams, here's a cool site for when you're trying to determine at the last minute whether Yasiel Puig is in the Dodgers lineup (or anybody for that matter). It has the team lineups as they are announced.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Here are some notes/quotes/anecdotes to peruse while that thunderstorm passes over (never end a sentence with a preposition):

*** Interesting story on Pine Ridge schools and NFL team nicknames:
When I ask Cecilia Fire Thunder, former president of the Oglala Sioux, about the teachers fired from Wounded Knee, she dismisses the controversy: “I don’t think any of them were Native.” Ms. Fire Thunder is also skeptical of Native teachers educated in universities outside the reservation, saying “they are too white. They think Western.” 
Students on Pine Ridge might be interested in that “Western way of thinking” because it could help them out of poverty, but they have few alternative places to learn. The Red Cloud Indian School, a Catholic institution, sends most of its graduates to college each year and charges less than $100 in tuition. But the tribal leadership has done everything it can to hinder the school’s progress, even imposing a special 2% tax on its teachers’ incomes, according to Ms. Fire Thunder. 
*** I've been wondering lately if these college campus censors and free-speech antagonists are really a thing. Are they made news-worthy because they are so rare and obnoxious? Or are they news-worthy because it's becoming a trend? Are the majority of universities so close-minded now, or are these incidents like the recent one at DePaul just anomalies?

I like to think that a dozen students, and a couple stupid faculty members, are not indicative of the 23,000 students enrolled at DePaul. Just like a bad cop or a sex-offending teacher are only news because good cops, good teachers and normal people don't make headlines. I hope this is the case, because if I were to take this incident and extrapolate it campus-wide, it would appear DePaul's academic environment is becoming as dismal as its once-proud men's basketball program.

*** The secret life of Kim Jong Un’s aunt, who has lived in the U.S. since 1998
They can reveal, for example, that Kim Jong Un was born in 1984 — not 1982 or 1983, as has been widely believed. The reason they’re certain? It was the same year that their first son was born. “He and my son were playmates from birth. I changed both of their diapers,” Ko said with a laugh.
***The Tactical Order of Dressing: An Illustrated Guide (as taught to military and emergency personnel). The best part of this story is the photo accompanying it.

*** Drone swarms are the next big thing in drone warfare. The Navy is testing swarms of drones that fly as one.

*** Quick vid on what to do if you are bitten by Katie Couric.