Tag Archives: books

Quote of the Day – Joseph Heller


This happens to be one of my favorite books and this passage is one of my favorite in the book.

I am reminded of it whenever I read stories of people getting angry or angry rants on social media because someone refuses to say the Pledge or sing the national anthem.

When fellow administrative officers expressed astonishment at Colornel Cathcart’s choice of Major Major, Captain Black muttered that there was something funny going on; when they speculated on the political value of Major Major’s resemblance to Henry Fonda, Captain Black asserted that Major Major really was Henry Fonda; and when they remarked that Major Major was somewhat odd, Captain Black announced that he was a Communist.

“They’re taking over everything,” he declared rebelliously. “Well, you fellows can stand around and let them if you want to, but I’m not going to. I’m going to do something about it. From now on I’m going to make every son of a bitch who comes to my intelligence tent sign a loyalty oath. And I’m not going to let that bastard Major Major sign one even if he wants to.”

Almost overnight the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was in full flower, and Captain Black was enraptured to discover himself spearheading it. He had really hit on something. All the enlisted men and officers on combat duty had to sign a loyalty oath to get their map cases from the intelligence tent, a second loyalty oath to receive their flak suits and parachutes from the parachute tent, a third loyalty oath for Lieutenant Balkington, the motor vehicle officer, to be allowed to ride from the squadron to the airfield in one of the trucks. Every time they turned around there was another loyalty oath to be signed. They signed a loyalty oath to get their pay from the finance officer, to obtain their PX supplies, to have their hair cut by the Italian barbers. To Captain Black, every officer who supported his Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was a competitor, and he planned and plotted twenty-four hours a day to keep one step ahead. He would stand second to none in his devotion to country. When other officers had followed his urging and introduced loyalty oaths of their own, he went them one better by making every son of a bitch who came to his intelligence tent sign two loyalty oaths, then three, then four; then he introduced the pledge of allegiance, and after that “The Star-Spangled Banner,” one chorus, two choruses, three choruses, four choruses. Each time Captain Black forged ahead of his competitors, he swung upon them scornfully for their failure to follow his example. Each time they followed his example, he retreated with concern and racked his brain for some new stratagem that would enable him to turn upon them scornfully again.

Without realizing how it had come about, the combat men in the squadron discovered themselves dominated by the administrators appointed to serve them. They were bullied, insulted, harassed and shoved about all day long by one after the other. When they voiced objection, Captain Black replied that people who were loyal would not mind signing all the loyalty oaths they had to. To anyone who questioned the effectiveness of the loyalty oaths, he replied that people who really did owe allegiance to their country would be proud to pledge it as often as he forced them to. And to anyone who questioned the morality, he replied that “The Star-Spangled Banner” was the greatest piece of music ever composed. The more loyalty oaths a person signed, the more loyal he was; to Captain Black it was as simple as that, and he had Corporal Kolodny sign hundreds with his name each day so that he could always prove he was more loyal than anyone else.

“The important thing is to keep them pledging,” he explained to his cohorts. “It doesn’t matter whether they mean it or not. That’s why they make little kids pledge allegiance even before they know what ‘pledge’ and ‘allegiance’ means.”

To Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren, the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was a glorious pain in the ass, since it complicated their task of organizing the crews for each combat mission. Men were tied up all over the squadron signing, pledging and singing, and the missions took hours longer to get under way. Effective emergency action became impossible, but Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren were both too timid to raise any outcry against Captain Black, who scrupulously enforced each day the doctrine of “Continual Reaffirmation” that he had originated, a doctrine designed to trap all those men who had become disloyal since the last time they had signed a loyalty oath the day before. It was Captain Black who came with advice to Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren as they pitched about in their bewildering predicament. He came with a delegation and advised them bluntly to m ake each man sign a loyalty oath before allowing him to fly on a combat mission.

“Of course, it’s up to you,” Captain Black pointed out. “Nobody’s trying to pressure you. But everyone else is making them sign loyalty oaths, and it’s going to look mighty funny to the F.B.I. if you two are the only ones who don’t care enough about your country to make them sign loyalty oaths, too. If you want to get a bad reputation, that’s nobody’s business but your own. All we’re trying to do is help.”

Milo was not convinced and absolutely refused to deprive Major Major of food, even if Major Major was a Communist, which Milo secretly doubted. Milo was by nature opposed to any innovation that threatened to disrupt the normal course of affairs. Milo took a firm moral stand and absolutely refused to participate in the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade until Captain Black called upon him with his delegation and requested him to.

“National defense is everybody’s job,” Captain Black replied to Milo’s objection. “And this whole program is voluntary, Milo – don’t forget that. The men don’t have to sign Piltchard and Wren’s loyalty oath if they don’t want to. But we need you to starve them to death if they don’t. It’s just like Catch-22. Don’t you get it? You’re not against Catch-22, are you?”

Doc Daneeka was adamant.

“What makes you so sure Major Major is a Communist?”

“You never heard him denying it until we began accusing him, did you? And you don’t see him signing any of our loyalty oaths.”

“You aren’t letting him sign any.”

“Of course not,” Captain Black explained. “That would defeat the whole purpose of our crusade. Look, you don’t have to play ball with us if you don’t want to. But what’s the point of the rest of us working so hard if you’re going to give Major Major medical attention the minute Milo begins starving him to death? I just wonder what they’re going to think up at Group about the man who’s undermining our whole security program. They’ll probably transfer you to the Pacific.”

Doc Daneeka surrendered swiftly. “I’ll go tell Gus and Wes to do whatever you want them to.”

Up at Group, Colonel Cathcart had already begun wondering what was going on.

“It’s that idiot Black off on a patriotism binge,” Colonel Korn reported with a smile. “I think you’d better play ball with him for a while, since you’re the one who promoted Major Major to squadron commander.”

“That was your idea,” Colonel Cathcart accused him petulantly. “I never should have let you talk me into it.”

“And a very good idea it was, too,” retorted Colonel Korn, “since it eliminated that superfluous major that’s been giving you such an awful black eye as an administrator. Don’t worry, this will probably run its course soon. The best thing to do now is send Captain Black a letter of total support and hope he drops dead before he does too much damage.” Colonel Korn was struck with a whimsical thought. “I wonder! You don’t suppose that imbecile will try to turn Major Major out of his trailer, do you?”

“The next thing we’ve got to do is turn that bastard Major Major out of his trailer,” Captain Black decided. “I’d like to turn his wife and kids out into the woods, too. But we can’t. He has no wife and kids. So we’ll just have to make do with what we have and turn him out. Who’s in charge of the tents?”

“He is.”

“You see?” cried Captain Black. “They’re taking over everything! Well, I’m not going to stand for it. I’ll take this matter right to Major —— de Coverley himself if I have to. I’ll have Milo speak to him about it the minute he gets back from Rome.”

Captain Black had boundless faith in the wisdom, power and justice of Major —— de Coverley, even though he had never spoken to him before and still found himself without the courage to do so. He deputized Milo to speak to Major —— de Coverley for him and stormed out impatiently as he waited for the tall executive officer to return. Along with everyone else in the squadron, he lived in profound awe and reverence of the majestic, white-haired major with the craggy face and Jehovan bearing, who came back from Rome finally with an inuured eye inside a new celluloid eye patch and smashed his whole Glorious Crusade to bits with a single stroke.

Milo carefully said nothing when Major —— de Coverley stepped into the mess hall with his fierce and austere dignity the day he returned and found his way blocked by a wall of officers waiting in line to sign loyalty oaths. At the far end of the food counter, a group of men who had arrived earlier were pledging allegiance to the flag, with trays of food balanced in one hand, in order to be allowed to take seats at the table. Already at the tables, a group that had arrived still earlier was singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in order that they might use the salt and pepper and ketchup there. The hubub began to subside slowly as Major —— de Coverley paused in the doorway with a frown of puzzled disapproval, as though viewing something bizarre. He started forward in a straight line, and the wall of officers before him parted like the Red Sea. Glancing neither left nor right, he strode indomitably up to the steam counter and, in a clear, full-bodied voice that was gruff with age and resonant with ancient eminence and authority, said:

“Gimme eat.”

Instead of eat, Corporal Snark gave Major —— de Coverley a loyalty oath to sign. Major —— de Coverley swept it away with mighty displeasure the moment he recognized what it was, his good eye flaring up blindingly with fiery disdain and his enormous old corrugated face darkening in mountainous wrath.

“Gimme eat, I said,” he ordered loudly in harsh tones that rumbled ominously through the silent tent like claps of distant thunder.

Corporal Snark turned pale and began to tremble. He glanced toward Milo pleadingly for guidance. For several terrible seconds there was not a sound. Then Milo nodded.

“Give him eat,” he said.

Corporal Snark began giving Major —— de Coverley eat. Major —— de Coverley turned from the counter with his tray full and came to a stop. His eyes fell on the groups of other officers gazing at him in mute appeal, and, with righteous belligerence, he roared:

“Give everybody eat!”

“Give everybody eat!” Milo echoed with joyful relief, and the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade came to an end.

Go buy the book. It is well worth the money.

Kindle thoughts: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Chapters 1-3


So I got a Kindle for Christmas and have been getting into the swing of using it lately, so I thought I’d start posting my thoughts as I go through various books in the library.

I never read the Harry Potter books, so this is my first time through, and while I realize I am probably 20 years late, here are some thoughts from starting book 2 in the series.

• It was a pretty dick move to dump Harry with an abusive hateful family. Kid might have had a better childhood if Hagrid had taken him and accidentally left him to be raised by wolves.
• So you can’t use magic in the real world without getting expelled from Hogwarts. It would be interesting to see if there are any partially trained wizards or witches out there in the world using their gifts for an advantage in life.
• After orchestrating an escape for Mr. Potter from the room his ‘family’ locked him in, you would think that someone would call Child Services or the Police to come and kindly have a word with them and cart them off to jail.
• And everyone is cool with slavery of elves, huh? Okay…
• They know that his Aunt and Uncle were starving him and still don’t call the police and he’s still expected to go back to that abusive situation next summer. Good Lord, what the hell is wrong with these people?
• Harry has his own little red-haired girl. Good grief.
• Given that I’m 20 years late to the party, I imagine someone has already illustrated Harry Potter and his friends as Peanuts characters.
• Hermione keeps pulling the golden snitch away as Harry tries to catch it.
• Harry’s owl dreams of fighting the Kaiser.
• I think if I were going to have a familiar, I’d want a dog. Maybe a dachshund.
• “Beware of Mr. Weenie, Scourge of Evildoers, Devourer of Souls, and Destroyer of Worlds!”
• Gnome tossing. Man, wizards are real dicks.
• Okay, we get that you’re poor, Ron, but your friend has known nothing but abuse and misery for the first 11 years of his life. You could make him sleep in the yard with a tent and he’d be elated.
• Speaking of which, why the hell don’t the Weasleys become his foster family? Maybe they do in a future book. I don’t know.
All in all, the books aren’t bad and are pretty engaging. I think Harry is quite a bit too passive and I think I like my wizards more like Harry Dresden, but overall it’s pretty good so far.

Quote of the Day


“All human wisdom is contained in these two words–“Wait and Hope.”  – Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Quote of the Day…


“Almost overnight the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was in full flower, and Captain Black was enraptured to discover himself spearheading it. He had really hit on something. All the enlisted men and officers on combat duty had to sign a loyalty oath to get their map cases from the intelligence tent, a second loyalty oath to receive their flak suits and parachutes from the parachute tent, a third loyalty oath for Lieutenant Balkington, the motor vehicle officer, to be allowed to ride from the squadron to the airfield in one of the trucks. Every time they turned around there was another loyalty oath to be signed. They signed a loyalty oath to get their pay from the finance officer, to obtain their PX supplies, to have their hair cut by the Italian barbers. To Captain Black, every officer who supported his Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was a competitor, and he planned and plotted twenty-four hours a day to keep one step ahead. He would stand second to none in his devotion to country. When other officers had followed his urging and introduced loyalty oaths of their own, he went them one better by making every son of a bitch who came to his intelligence tent sign two loyalty oaths, then three, then four; then he introduced the pledge of allegiance, and after that “The Star-Spangled Banner,” one chorus, two choruses, three choruses, four choruses.” – Catch 22, Joseph Heller

Nerd News Roundup


Ender’s Game:

Here’s about 5 seconds of footage from the upcoming film, introduced by two of the stars of the movie. It’s a teaser for a trailer… so yeah… this is apparently now a thing. We have trailers to hype the trailers for the movie.

Excuse me for a moment…

headbang

Okay… better. Here’s the trailer’s trailer, people.

Ant-Man

They are re-writing the script for Edgar Wright’s movie about Dr. Hank Pym who discovers what he calls Pym particles that can make you really small or really big. Also he invents a helmet that lets him talk to ants.

I’m not sure how useful that would be as the only thing they’d have to talk about would involve food, finding food, eating food, why they have to go and get food and brave poison death spray and heat rays from the two legged giants all day while the queen gets to stay in the anthill feasting and getting fat off of the fruit of their labors and how one day… one day, the workers of the colony will rise up and cast off their chains and there will be a bloody revolution, comrade… yes, there will. Down with Queen Marie Ant-oinette!

I digress. They’re re-writing it to make it fit into the current Marvel cinematic universe, so it’s on track for a 2015 release after the Avengers sequel.

Marvel Universe

The Marvel Universe is getting bigger again.

Previously the rights to the Punisher and Daredevil reverted to Marvel and Disney. Now they’ve gotten Ghost Rider and Blade back.

Seriously, though, I wouldn’t expect to see Tony Stark teaming up with any of these guys. Blade’s a vampire, Punisher is a homicidal maniac, Hawkeye can fill any role that Daredevil could, and Ghost Rider is Nic Cage. And a demon… but mostly Nic Cage.

White House Down

Hey, kids.. have you ever sat in your house watching Die Hard and thought, this is pretty cool and all, but what if this movie were set in the White House, and John McClane’s black partner was the President of the United States who stepped up and started kicking butt, and they bantered like the Lethal Weapon dudes?

Well, the movie gods have heard your prayers. Behold the cinematic glory of the White House Down trailer:

applaud

I think based on this trailer alone that this movie is a contender for greatest film ever.

Nerd News Roundup


Justice League

In the running gag that is Warner Bros. attempts to convince us that this is a movie that they’re actually planning to make, the Internet occasionally picks up a crazy rumor that keeps the running gag, well… running.

This is that rumor: the supposed plot of the supposed Justice League supposed movie which will supposedly open in 2015.

It’s basically BS and I would take it with a grain of salt the size of Jupiter, but it’s there if you want to read what is basically fan fiction for a movie that will never be made.

But… but…  I read it on the Internet, it has to be true, Robin!

But… but… I read it on the Internet, it has to be true, Robin!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Lord knows that while I do appreciate the capitalist impulse that drove a writer to take a public domain work and do something profoundly stupid with it, the idea of bringing it to the big screen is simply an awful one.

Between Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and the forthcoming reimagining of Mary Shelley’s classic character as Frankenstein: Puncher of Demons, I think we’ve already reached the pinnacle of movie making and anything else would be a colossal letdown.

You know, unless it involved Hercules: Godzilla Stomper.

herc_godzilla1

Wait… holy crap! This was actually something that happened?!? Why didn’t you people tell me that?!

I am so disappointed in you all right now.

Spider-man 2-2: The Spidey who Loved Me

Slashfilm.com has a video of some set pics that include a stunt man wearing a latex Paul Giamatti mask. Giamatti, who as you will recall, looks like this:

giamatti

will be playing this guy:

Rhino

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Kotaku has a video posted of what might be the best video game tutorial level ever. NSFW due to language.

No, not the locusts! AHHHHHH!!!!


Two of main interests are religion and movies and often when the two get together it’s a giant Reese’s Peanut Butter cup of over the top B-movie so mind-jaringly bad that the movie becomes good again.

So imagine how happy I was to see this:

Leftbehind

Yes, that is Nic Cage.

Yes, that is Left Behind, the overly dramatic fictional account of Evangelical eschatology, whereby a billion or so Christians disappear and most of the world just shrugs and says, “Meh. There was probably a trap door underneath them. Now if Jesus can turn the water in the water cooler into Heineken for our company office party, then I’ll sign up at the local parish.”

So I can only imagine what this will be like.

No, wait, I have an idea:

And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

Nerd News Roundup


Ringworld

SyFy (ugh…) is making a miniseries out of Larry Niven’s classic Sci-fi (Note to Network Executives: that’s how it should be spelled. Also Ghost Hunters =/= Science Fiction) novel: Ringworld.

Michael Perry (The River, Paranormal Activity 2) is adapting Ringworld as a four-hour miniseries. The story follows a team of explorers that travel to the farthest reaches of space to investigate an alien artifact called Ringworld – an artificial habitat the size of one million Earths. As they crash land on this enormous structure, they discover the remnants of ancient civilizations, technology beyond their wildest dreams, mysteries that shed light on the very origins of man and, most importantly, a possible salvation for a doomed Earth.

I have read this book, and I do not remember anything about it at all. But given how “great” the quality of other SyFy (ugh…) movies, I’m predicting a 95% chance of Nerd Rage developing today, with scattered showers of whining about how it’s different than the book.

Tarzan

Much to my disappointment, the WB has put the brakes on the extremely loose adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough’s tale of an English Lord raised by apes in the African jungle. Which, if you recall, would have been a buddy cop movie with English Lord Tarzan teaming up with Civil War veteran Sam Jackson or Jamie Foxx to go back to Africa and take down a corrupt warlord

That’s right: Lethal Weapon: Tarzan!

Seriously, make this happen. I love a good cinematic train wreck.

Superman

Some new movie pics came out in Entertainment Weekly. Slashfilm has more posted, but here are three:

Must fly faster! Must reverse rotation of Earth and go back in time to stop Superman IV!

Must fly faster! Must reverse rotation of Earth and go back in time to stop Superman IV!

Seriously, Zod… always with the kneeling with you.

Seriously, Zod… always with the kneeling with you.

Maximus! Maximus! Maximus!

Maximus! Maximus! Maximus!

Cinemablend also has some more information about the film:

According to Zack Snyder, the film will be the first in the franchise not to feature the alien hero’s only weakness. “I’ll be honest with you,” director Zack Snyder told them, “there’s no Kryptonite in the movie.” Instead, the film will be taking a new tactic with the character, having him be born special while still on Krypton. Apparently, in the film Kal-El’s birth is “cause for alarm,” and once he reaches Earth he is taught by his parents (played by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane) to hide his powers, even when facing dire and dangerous situations.

http://www.slashfilm.com/seven-new-photos-from-man-of-steel-show-zod-jor-el-and-superman-in-flight/

Nerd News Roundup


Dracula

Did you think we had moved on from vampires to zombies as a culture? While Twilight did indeed make a mockery of the bloodsucking undead horrors by making them sparkle and be all ‘romantic’ (and by ‘romantic’, I mean a stunning lack of chemistry and atrocious and insipid dialog that makes the ‘romance’ in the Star Wars prequels look like Casa-friggin’-blanca in comparison) well, you were wrong. Public Domain works are cheap, so Dracula shall live again! MUHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

In his first starring role for a studio, Evans has signed to topline in Dracula Year Zero, Universal’s dramatic horror movie telling an origin story of the most famous of vampires. (UPDATE: A Universal rep says the film will now be called simply Dracula.)

Interstellar

Anne Hathaway is reteaming with Christopher Nolan for Interstellar.

The film is a co-production between Paramount and Warner Bros and was originally set up in 2006 by Steven Spielberg, when Paramount owned DreamWorks, and after Spielberg became intrigued by Caltech physicist and relativity expert Kip S. Thorne and his scientific theory that wormholes exist and can be used for time travel.

Maybe she can stop by 2011 when their first collaboration was still being written and show Christopher Nolan this:

Spider-man Two-B or not Two-B

I can’t honestly say I’m excited for this, except in a ‘this will be a good thing to rent one day from Redbox when I’m bored on a Friday night and just want to watch something while sipping a vodka tonic” sort of way.

But it is nerdy, so here’s a picture director Mark Webb (Seriously? Webb? He had to have changed his last name to that when he got the job, right?) sent out showing the aftermath of Electro getting upset at the NYPD.

ElectroASM

Given the ugly history of racial profiling in our larger urban cities, I would sympathize, but seriously, Electro, you’re dressed like this:

electroAnd you have lightning shooting out of your hands. I’d say the nice officer is just doing his job.

Elysium

Here’s a trailer for Matt Damon’s latest action movie in which he does not buy a zoo, but does get turned into a cybernetic soldier who breaks into the ultimate gated community where, I don’t know, Jodie Foster is the head of the HOA and kills people for painting their houses the wrong shade of beige or something and hates cybernetic poor people wandering through her neighborhood.

General Rant:

This. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS, PEOPLE! STOP IT!!!!!! ARRRRRRRRGH!!!!

Disappointing news


Well, this is a bummer. I liked the books and thought this sounded great:

As of a couple of weeks ago, it was looking like the fate of the feature adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series would be determined at some point this month. And sure enough, the verdict from Warner Bros. is in, and it’s not good. Word is, the studio has decided to pass on the project.

I guess the biggest factor was the money and just how ambitious Ron Howard’s vision for this was with a movie trilogy and a related TV series. Personally, as long as the work is good, I would love to see more cross-media tie ins, television shows that continue a movie’s story or exist in that universe. The two mediums can be used to tell different types of stories. (My personal wish project would be a Peter Jackson/HBO collaboration on bringing Tolkien’s Silmarillion to television.)