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Coming Soon

A wave of new movies is about to break at your local movie palace, so I thought I’d let you know what’s coming.

  • Top Gun: Maverick – After barely surviving the Tailhook scandal, and the messy divorce that followed it, Maverick fights to get back into the cockpit after almost 30 years of meteorology duty on Diego Garcia.
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet – An innocent 8 bit graphic and his underage sidekick find themselves enmeshed in the hive of scum and villainy that is the Internet.  Not recommended for children or pregnant women.
  • Aquaman – The prodigal son returns to find that his ancient kingdom is being menaced by Republicans, overfishing, and a vast continent of Chinese plastic garbage.
  • BumbleBee – Return with us to the glory days of transforming cars, 1987.   The robot in question tries hard to win the heart of a young woman who befriends him, not knowing that he was a generation early if he wanted to find a woman who could fall in love with a machine.
  • Mary Poppins Returns –  No.  Just, no.  I can’t even.  What did I do to Disney to make them hurt me like this?
  • Jacob’s Ladder – A haunting tale packed with tension and a twist ending that we’ve already seen before.
  • Dumbo – I wonder what they’re going to do with the crows in this one.  In other news, I’m going to be taken to see this on date night, so I’ll need to pack along a box of tissues.

Musings

  • Trust is defined as giving your wife your debit card when she goes out a couple of days after Thanksgiving.
  • I’m not having leftover dressing for breakfast.  I’m having savory french toast casserole for breakfast.
    • In the same vain, it’s not a big bowl of pumpkin custard washed down with fresh coffee, it’s high-fiber and beta-carotine squash superfood accompanied by a hand-crafted artisanal energy drink.
  • Now that the political season is over and the Christmas season is beginning, it’s time to think of what to give your loved ones.
    • Considering how the political season went, I suggest canned food and shotguns.
    • I told Irish Woman that I fit very well in to a 62 grain 5.56.

Musings

  • Someone once told me that “If you don’t shoot weekly, you’ll shoot weakly.”
    • This weekend, I proved that if you only shoot quarterly, then your shooting won’t be worth two bits.
  • You know it’s been a long time when you open the gun safe and ask yourself, “When did I buy an SKS?”
  • The best part about holding the Raingutter Regatta in the school cafeteria is the fact that the floor always gets a good, thorough mopping after tear down.
  • Kids were fascinated with the concept of syphoning the water out of the gutters after the races.  I refrained from mentioning that I learned it from my father during the gas shortage in the 1970’s.
  • I want credit for refraining from sending an electronic guffaw to someone in an on-line group this evening.  You see, said someone was boasting about what a ‘warrior’ they were when they were in the Army, lo these many years ago.
    • Said someone failed to mention the time I had to coach him through zeroing his weapon and he broke down into shaking sobs after the first three shots.
  • A pulled muscle in your lower back is nature’s way of telling you that you need to slow down and read books for a couple of days.
  • I’m re-reading the Monster Hunter International series, and it occurred to me that someone should make an MHI sticker that reads “Skippy Is My Co-Pilot”, complete with the green smiley face.
  • Boo is listening to the audiobook of “Starship Troopers”, and seems to be enjoying it.
    • He giggled like a fiend at the “30 Second Bomb”
    • He also thinks that Sergeant Zim is a complete badass

Today’s Earworm

Decided to check the political news and got this stuck in my head.

 

Book Review – Next Stop Execution: The Autobiography of Oleg Gordievsky

I decided to take a break from monster hunters, zombies, and hover tanks and picked up Next Stop Execution: The Autobiography of Oleg Gordievsky.

Oleg Gordievsky was the highest ranking KGB officer ever to work for Britain.

For eleven years, from 1974 to 1985, he acted as a secret agent, reporting to the British Secret Intelligence Service while continuing to work as a KGB officer, first in Copenhagen, then in London.

He provided Western security organizations with such a clear insight into the mind and methods of the KGB and the larger Soviet government that he has been credited with doing more than any other individual in the West to accelerate the collapse of Communism.

In this thrilling memoir, Gordievsky lays out his extraordinary, meticulously planned escape from Russia, a story that has been described as ‘one of the boldest and most extraordinary episodes in the history of spying.’ (Ben Macintyre – The Times)

Peopled with bizarre, dangerous and corrupt characters, Gordievsky introduces the reader to the fantastical world of the Soviet Embassy, tells of the British MPs and trade unionists who helped and took money from the KGB, and reveals at last what the author told Margaret Thatcher and other world leaders which made him of such value to the West.

Gordievsky’s autobiography gives a fascinating account of life as a secret agent. It also paints the most graphic picture yet of the paranoid incompetence, alongside the ruthless determination, of the all-encompassing and sometimes ridiculous KGB.

Next Stop Execution tells the life story of Oleg Gordievsky, a KGB agent who should have been the idyllic Soviet man.  Instead, through exposure to both Western ideals and witnessing such Communist brutality as the raising of the Berlin Wall, he began to work toward the ruin and eventual downfall of the Soviet state.

Gordievsky’s descriptions and narrative are detailed, if a little dry at times.  However, his ability to draw exquisite pictures of the people he worked with, for, and against brings his story to life.  In addition, his description of life under Soviet oppression acts as a stark backdrop to these characters.  This isn’t an action story by any means, but it proceeds with a tension that breaks only in the aftermath of his escape from the Soviet Union.

Next Stop Execution is a must-read for history buffs who want to learn a little more about the shadowy side of the late Cold War.

100 Years On – Armistice

Negotiations that led to the end of hostilities on the Western Front began after the German military began to melt away in the face of Allied advances, as well as the abdication of both the German and Austro-Hungarian emperors.  Beginning on November 8, 1918, German representatives attempted, but failed, to soften the harsh demands the Allied Powers presented them.

After only minor changes, the armistice was signed at 5 AM on November 11, 1918.  It took effect at 11 AM that morning, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  German forces soon began the final evacuation of their remaining forces in Belgium and France.  Other terms of the armistice agreement included the occupation of the Rheinland, surrender of naval, ground, and air forces, and the continuation of the blockade of Germany.

Later, a myth that the German Army was not defeated in the field, and had been “stabbed in the back” by the civilian government became popular. This, however, was belied by the fall of the Hindenberg Line and general retreat of German forces in the face of the 100 Days Offensive.  It is possible, maybe even likely, that the German Army would have rallied had it been pushed back across the Rhein. But the inability of the German economy to sustain its armed forces, much less replace what it was abandoning on the field, would have made even that a desperate, and likely short-lived, reprieve from total collapse.

As the guns finally fell silent across Europe, Asia, and Africa and the last man died, the world could count the war’s cost.

 

Musings

  • My day started with me cooking up 8 pounds of bacon, then baking both banana and cranberry bread, and is ending with me sitting in front of a nice, hot fire.
    • All of the bacon was eaten by a horde of Cub Scouts. The accompanying pancakes were also devoured.
  • If you’re going to give Cub Scouts crap for asking that you consider leaving a food donation out next weekend, please take a few moments to examine your soul and upbringing.
    • Seriously, there’s nothing wrong with just saying “No, thank you.”
  • The maple trees have finished dropping their leaves.  Now comes the time of The Rakening.

100 Years On – Abdication

On November 9, 1918, Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert von Hohenzollern, King of Prussia and Emperor of Germany, abdicated his throne and ended monarchy in Germany.  Over the course of the war, the increased influence of the military, especially that of Ludendorf and Hindenburg, atrophied the power of the Kaiser.

Eventually, as revolution raged in the streets of Berlin and other German cities, Kaiser Wilhelm II was informed that the army would not fight to keep him on the throne.  His abdication was quickly followed by the creation of a republic in Germany.  Wilhelm lived out his days in exile.

Wilhelm had been a bombastic keystone in the arch of monarchy that stretched over pre-war Europe.  Many, including me, place at least partial blame for the initiation of the to his belicose support of Austria-Hungary during the crisis of 1914.

The Great War ended soon after the departure of Wilhelm from the stage.  The republic that replaced him was ill-fated, and it was replaced in its turn by an even worse dictatorship.

 

 

Book Review – Galaxy’s Edge: Retribution

Jason Anspach and Nick Cole have completed what they’re calling “Season 1” of their Galaxy’s Edge series.  The 9th book in the series is “Retribution“.

VICTORY is at hand.

With the galaxy in tatters, Chhun and Wraith lead Kill Team Victory and the remnants of the Legion in a clandestine final effort to bring about Article Nineteen. It’s needed now more than ever as the Republic’s new emperor, Goth Sullus, grows increasingly enigmatic and tyrannical in his rule, leaving some to question their roles in bringing the mysterious leader of the Black Fleet to power.

Meanwhile, a dark traveler finds Prisma Maydoon at the sanctuary of Mother Ree, and bids her to depart from the path of the Ancients.

Experience the exciting conclusion of Galaxy’s Edge Season One, as a desperate, daring raid on Utopion itself leaves Kill Team Victory torn between duty to the Legion and the need to make those responsible for its demise finally pay!

I usually burn through Galaxy’s Edge books in one sitting, but I kept putting this book down.  This wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy it.  Rather, it was because the authors did an exquisite job of building to the finale and I didn’t want it to end too quickly.

The plot is thick with tension and punctuated by action.  The characters, all of whom we’ve come to know by now, race toward a final confrontation that rocks the galaxy to its core.  At the same time, the authors point to what comes next, and I’m already looking forward to it.

Retribution is a fitting end to the beginning of what I hope is a long list of stories from Galaxy’s Edge.

 

Quote of the Day

I personally cannot yet find words adequate to tell you all that I feel as I stand here this morning by the dawn’s early light. So I echo the words someone recently shared with me: “Brent may have died on Afghan soil, but he died for the success of freedom and democracy in both of our countries.” — Jennie Taylor, widow of Major Brent Taylor, Utah National Guard

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