Saturday, April 30, 2011

THE DRAGON FACTORY, Jonathan Maberry

The Dragon Factory (Joe Ledger, #2)The Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Joe Ledger and Echo Team are back, kicking ass and taking names, then checking the list of names and kicking everyone's ass again just to make sure. This time, Joe and the DMS (Department of Military Sciences) are up against not just one, but two teams of mad scientists monkeying around with the human genome. One group's literally making monsters; the other's winding up what they call the Extinction Clock for a multi-racial genocide that makes the Final Solution look puny.

This is another great, fast, fun read from Jonathan Maberry. There are a couple of spots where the multiple sets of villains make the story a little confusing ("Wait, which bad guy's island lair is this again?") There's also one spot where the story gets derailed for a stretch of exposition, including the dreaded "as you know Bob". But when the flag goes up and the shooting (and cutting, and punching and kicking, etc) starts, you forget all of this, because no one--no one--writes action scenes better than Jonathan Maberry. Part of the secret to that is that by the time the action begins, Maberry has given you enough of a peek into the warrior hearts of the characters that you really care what happens to them, and it hurts when they fall.

Highly recommended.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

War Is Over, If You Want It....

Mitt Romney criticizes Obama's spending in a "peacetime" economy.

This should come as a surprise to the people still fighting three wars, four if you count the GWOT. So can our troops come home now?

Then, of course, he had to backpedal: "He meant to say since World War II," a spokesman said later.

Wow. The government's spending more that it did in 1946. What a shock.

What an empty suit this guy is.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Today's Reading From The Book of Trump

Latest newspaper column:

It came to pass in those days that times grew lean among those whose job it was to mock and to ridicule the Powerful and the Silly.

The Snow Princess’ star had begun to fade in the North. The Chalkboard King had announced he was leaving the Fortress of the Fox. Even the Mad-Eyed Lady of the Cold Lands had shown a glimmer or two of sanity; forced to gaze upon a ­certified copy of the president’s birth ­certificate, she ­abandoned her demands that Obama prove his birthright and stated, “That’s what should settle it. … I take the president at his word. Introduce that, we’re done. Move on.”

And there was ­wailing and gnashing of teeth among the jesters and the merchants of the snark. “Who is able to be as crazy as these?” they cried. “And who shall be like unto them in mockability?”

But there were others who said, “Fear not. For it is written that in the darkest hour, a new buffoon shall rise, and great will be the silliness thereof.”

Then it came to pass that out of the Big Apple, one did come. Greatly did he bluster and strut. Hilarious was his hair, if hair it was. His name was Trump. He took up the banner of the Birthers, and did champion their cause, saying, “Lo, I have dispatched my minions to the Far Island, and there you will be amazed at that which they find. Just see if you aren’t. Real soon now.”

Greatly did his polls rise as the People of the Far Right, including the Birthers and the Baggers of Tea, did hail him, saying “We knew it! We always knew the president was not of our tribe and land, and soon shall he sit no more in the White Palace!”

And there was great rejoicing. But not just among the People of the Right.

“Whew,” said the makers of humor, “that was close. But now shall the jokes practically write themselves.” For Trump’s last job had been as Master of Celebrity Apprentices, leader and director of a motley crew of those who had once been Somebody, but who were now sad and diminished, having sojourned long in the Land of the Has-Beens.

“How can you take a man seriously as a candidate,” it was said, “who was recently on TV as the boss of Gary Busey, Meat Loaf, and some woman named NeNe?”

“He makes liberals angry,” said the People of the Right, “and verily, that’s all we need.”

The Humble Columnist spoke out then, saying, “You know he supported a Canadian-style health system, right?”

The people of the Right were sore amazed, saying “What?”

“In truth,” the Columnist said, “for thus it is written, in Trump’s book ‘The America We Deserve,’ that ‘we must have universal health care. I’m a conservative on most issues, but a ­liberal on this one. … The Canadian plan also helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans.”

“Stop! Stop!” said the People of the Right, and they did place their hands over their ears.

“Wait,” the Columnist did say, “for it doth get better. Thus it is also written by Trump: ‘By imposing a one-time 14.25 percent net-worth tax on the richest individuals and trusts, we can put America on sound financial footing for the next century.’ Soundeth like a tax increase on the wealthy to me.”

“Thou liest,” the People of the Right wailed. “The Donald is a conservative.”

“Nay,” that one said. “The Donald is a huckster. A showman. A con artist. Crazy he is, but as the fox is crazy. Verily, he shall tell thee anything he thinketh thou wantest to hear. He no more believeth thy Birther nonsense than he doth in the Easter Bunny. Ye rubes, ye have fallen for yet another grifter, this one in a bad comb-over.”

“Thou fearest the Donald,” they sobbed, “just as thou did the Snow Princess. Thou liberal, thou art filled with hate for conservatives, for they are successful.”

“Thou mayest tell thyself that if it doth make thee feel better,” said the Columnist, “but there shall I be when this one crasheth and burneth. And great shall be my mirth on that day. So long, suckers.”