Friday, January 10, 2020

Link-oh-rama 2020

Some notes, quotes and anecdotes:

*** I'm generally loathe to criticize the Catholic Church, because the media is usually gleeful to do it for me. However, they do love this Pope and are careful to separate their criticism from him. But it seems several Cardinals and Bishops don't have a problem criticizing him (as seen in this story), so I shouldn't feel bad disagreeing with him either.

I've grown quite discontent with the Church the past few years, for various reasons, and am making an effort to fix that. But it's difficult. As I told my wife a while back: "Right now, I feel like I'm a better Christian than I am a Catholic."

Check out this article that outlines one concern with the Pope: Here’s why authors, theologians think Pope Francis cooperates with the Chinese government despite persecution of religious groups
Francis continually denounces all Western efforts at border control even as he stays silent on the Chinese genocide against Muslims, persecution of Christians, and crackdowns on Hong Kong.
*** Along those lines: Is It Baby Boomers’ Fault Millennials Are Leaving Religion And Less Likely To Go Back?
“Democrats brought up in religious households are roughly three times more likely than Republicans to have left religion. Nearly one in four (23 percent) Democrats brought up in a religion no longer identify with a religious tradition, while only 8 percent of Republicans say the same.”
*** Good news. Looks like Jack Reacher is coming to an Amazon stream. And I didn't know Lee Child lives next door in Wyoming.

*** Another review came in for "Mustang Lang" (he heard about it from the Ace of Spades Sunday book thread. Four stars. I liked the previous five-star review better. But we accept four stars. It apparently didn't reach the heights of great "literature" like Haruki Marukami, Robert Bolano and George R.R. Martin - you know, the Oprah Book Club types. But not bad for a shlub from north of Hermosa.

"This is not great literature. Probably not "literature" at all. But it is a fun read with interesting characters and plot. I thought I'd figured out the ending but the author surprised me with a twist that made the book even better. This is a great book for what it is. I enjoyed it a lot and will look for more by the author. I hope there are more Mustang Lang adventures as he and Anna make quite the pair (that's a hint, Mark)"

And I'd be remiss in not mentioning this 5-star humdinger:

"If you're looking for an easy, light-hearted read that still makes you think, this is it. One part mystery, one part comedy you'll certainly enjoy Mustang Lang. Just when you think you've solved the mystery yourself, there's a major plot twist you can't help put be shocked and a bit amused with. Mustang Lang is the guy you love but sometimes want to hate. Just give it a try -- there's nothing better than support independent artists."

*** Not quite buying this, but apparently koala bears aren't the cute, cuddly things they appear to be.

*** Warren Zevon joins forces with me in promoting free speech and an unbundling of undies.
The past decade saw the rise of the woke progressives who dictate what words can be said and ideas held, thus poisoning and paralyzing American humor, drama, entertainment, culture and journalism. 
“The U.S. economy is fine…. The problem is the rest of the world.”
*** One of the many "best of 2019" book lists comes from the Guardian magazine. Their suggestions come from other award-winning authors. A couple jumped out at me.

Lee Child suggests "The Accomplice" by Joseph Kanon. It "concerns the hunt for a Nazi hiding in Argentina – and what to do with him when captured."

Ann Patchett suggests Kevin Wilson’s new novel "Nothing to See Here" (Ecco) and it sounds just crazy enough that I might like it: "about 10-year-old twins who burst into flames whenever they become anxious or angry. The fire doesn’t hurt them, but it burns down everything else. The adults who made these children want nothing to do with them, and so a governess is brought in to keep them hidden away. What starts off as an outrageous premise soon feels uncomfortably realistic."

*** This guy really likes chess and writes about it well. Concentrate!
The challenge of chess – learning how to hold complexity in mind and still make good decisions – is also the challenge of life. Flow experiences are deeply rewarding, and they arise when our skill level and challenge level are optimally matched; too little challenge and we get bored, too much and we feel anxious.

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