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You Phail!

Dec. 7th, 2005 12:50 am
teabiting: (dumbledore OMG)
I'm bored, and so decided that instead of my usual "Romance Novel Review", I'm going to review this novel, which is better sleepy-time material than the White Pages in the Smith section.
Title: Savages of Gor
Author: John Norman
Pages: 330
Year Published: 1982 (The 1982 Gor Book!)

Summary: Tarl Cabot (har de har) is hanging around on the planet Gor when some big, hairy things (Kurii) come and say they are looking for another large hairy thing (Kur) that is supposedly lost in some wasteland somewhere. Tarl, after careful (hahaha...) questioning and probing at the Kurii, asks them the Big Question - "Why do you want to find the big hairy thing in the wasteland?" The answer? The Kurii want to kill the other big hairy thing. They ask Tarl Cabot (tee hee) if he will assist them, since he probably knows the location of the Kur. Tarl Cabot says no, the Kurii get pissed off and rip the table apart, end of interview. Sadly, they do not rip Tarl Cabot's head off. When questioned later by his trusty sidekick - "Why not help them find the Kur?" - Tarl says, "Well, I had a drink with that Kur once. You know."

Obviously, this is plenty of reason to trek into the wasteland. So Tarl does, eventually joining up with a trader going through said wasteland, where we eventually get to the heart of the story: slave girls and sex.

The story suspends for awhile (ahem... nearly the whole book) while Tarl explains the rigors of slave-owning to a new slave. First, they have to submit to you. How do you do that? Sex. Then, you have to teach them to submit a little more. How do you do that? Sex, sometimes near-rape, but they'll like it all the same. All women like it, they just don't know it. Women want to be feminine, because it means sex and being owned by a man. Obviously.

So, sparing you reading 150 pages of endless, moronic diatribe that borders on the creepy, John Norman basically is saying, through his adventurous intermediary, women should all be slaves. Slaves are pretty awesome to own. You can have sex with them a lot. The end.

But Tarl is a smooth talker. He can go on and on, talking the poor slave girl (who obviously has the brain capacity of a small, deep-sea fish) in circles. The poor slave girl who has his attentions is an Earthling, brought to Gor by magic spaceships who deposited her in a field with a bunch of other girls, nearly nude, of course. After a brief explanation of her incredibly boring heritage, she declares, "I am afraid to be feminine!" and says she wants to be a good slave. Tarl realizes that she really just wants to have sex, and so woos her with the following pick-up lines:

"I do not mean to insult you, girl of Earth, but you are obviously extremely feminine. You have, doubtless, a large number of female hormones in your body" and "I will be gentle with you this time, but sometimes you must understand you will be used quite differently, for example, with contempt and scorn, or brutality, or cruel indifference, or perhaps, with ruthless power." Of course, what girl could resist such charm, such graceful delivery? The girl falls straight into his arms, he takes her virginity, and paints her virgin's blood all over her legs. Why? Obviously, because he is Tarl Cabot. Taker of Virginity, Spreader of Seed, Virile Manhood of the Universe!

Anyway, the caravan goes on, collects some more slaves, etc. Tarl has more sex with all the slaves, which he obviously enjoys to the point of unending sentences and endless diatribe, to which pitifully short and undescriptive "love scenes" are penned. There's some fighting among the Indians red people on the grasslands, the Kurii show up, more fighting, Tarl proves himself to be a virile man by slaughtering lots and then having his way with a couple of slave girls.
Reviewer's Notes: Oh my god, make it stop. Please make it stop. Please, dear God, have mercy, and make it stop. And someone please make John Norman use punctuation that is not a fricking comma.
By the Numbers:
"Love" Scenes:
References to stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost virginity: 16
Plot "Twists": 0
Number of Women Lusting After the Hero: 454,105,294.3
Number of Fights/All Out Wars over the Heroine/Hero's presence: 7
References to "slave orgasms": 25

Overall Grade: F! Where's the action? It's nowhere to be found. For a book that professes to be action-oriented, this read like a treatise on sexual slavery. "Slave orgasms?" He threw her down on the ground and told her to beg for mercy, and she supposedly orgasmed! What the hell! The entire book is just a stupid man's fantasy, who wants to make-believe that women want virile men to smack them around. Ok, ok, so the first few books were ok, but this is utterly ridiculous. F. Don't ever read it. There's a reason they're out of print.
For anyone that is aware of my history with Robert Jordan books, they would know that I don't consider him a good writer. I consider him a mediocre writer who happened to hit on a large, pre-pubescent fanbase.

That said, I'm reading his... 11th? book. Or whatever number it is, they all blur in my head as being one and the same. The one where Rand is recovering from cleansing saidin and they are searching for Faile and Matt is going on about the Princess of the Seven Moons or whatever... It's really good reading material, if you want to fall asleep. Very soothing.

There's another book I'm reading that's called The Lost Secrets of the Sacred Ark which is, as one can guess, about the Ark of the Covenant, gold, Philosopher's Stone, etc. It's pretty interesting, though some of the conclusions are pretty far out. Like this mysterious white powder that was found in the Temple of Hathor in Egypt is actually the stuff the pharaohs used to lengthen their lives (mfkzt), which is tied with the manna Moses found for his people in the desert, which is actually a powder derived from gold which purifies in an unknown way into an edible powder... and then, too, documents the process in which gold was derived from non-gold elements, but saying that the guy who patented and did the process was forced out by government officials who wanted a cut.

But it draws other, unrelated and more interesting parallels. Like the possibility that Moses was actually Pharaoh Akhenaten and his followers, forced to abdicate the throne by the people who wanted the old systems of worship and government back, and banished from Egypt. It has a whole history of words in it, which is interesting if not entirely related to the point, and the entire book dwells mostly on the history surrounding Egypt and the lands around it, touching only lightly on what would be the focus of the book. Also, another good point: the Bible rejects magic in any form, yet stories upon stories give it to one person or another, under the guise of 'miracles' (a stick that changes into a serpent when dropped, but that will change back into a stick again upon being picked up?), because magic, if given 'God' in name, is termed a 'miracle'...

Ok, so it's just interesting. Not in that I can believe wholeheartedly in the gold-powder creating nearly immortal life, though. It still seems a tad far-fetched, but you never know - maybe some convicing point will be made along the (long and rambling) way.
I nominate this to be the best exchange I have ever read in a historical romance novel. Probably kind of NSFW. )

Harry Potter

Aug. 12th, 2005 11:56 pm
teabiting: (unreal hp marge)
Hahahahaha... when I met Steve, he was all "Ugh. Harry Potter". He didn't understand what I saw in the books or movies, until he bought me Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and read it after I finished it. That was about two years ago, when I had just discovered He read the first books, then, in order, and we went to the movie together.

Now he tells me when there are new trailers and news about Harry Potter. He, who didn't know what a "Muggle" was and thought a boggart was a particular type of booger. Mwahahahaha... he has been converted!

Title: The Love Slave
Author: Bertrice Small a repeat offender
Pages: 449
Year Published: 1995

Summary: Regan is one half of a twinset in the land of the ancient Celts. Aside talking with an incredibly annoying burr that makes one reread the page atleast five times to figure out what she said, she is also (of course) fantabulously beautiful, and makes many manroots spring forth and grown men cry. At the tender age of 15, she is shipped off to a convent to live out her days, because of course, her fantabulous beauty makes it somehow necessary.

But lo! The convent mistress is really an awful slave trader (because really, how often does that happen)! Regan isn't even in the convent long enough to make the stableboy wibble before she's shipped off to a slave trader in Dublin. Fate intervenes (oh nebulous fate) to take Regan to the one slave trader in ALL of Dublin that could possibly know her worth. Snippet:

Slave Trader: You're beautiful and after I have you trained in the EROTIC ARTS, you'll bring me many favors from the Caliph! MWAHAHAHAHAHA.
Regan: Ok.

Conveniently for the title of the book, this slave trader decides to ship Regan off to somewhere in the Near East where she will be trained as a Love Slave (capitals necessary) by Karim al Malina (who is a Passion Masta) and then given to Caliph Leader of the Country. She's shipped off to the Arabic lands with Karim, and we see her use her Celtic Logic (+2 bitchiness) to tell the other wailing slaves on the ship to shut up and quit crying, they're giving her a headache (and they are, of course, wowed by this and ask her where she got her inestimetable logic).

And so, we meet Zaynab.

Karim doesn't like Regan's "Christian" name, so he names her "Zaynab", or "the beautiful one" in Arabic (because oh, she's beautiful. Did I mention that?). And so Karim starts to introduce Zaynab to the erotic arts. He teaches Zaynab how to use her body to make men tremble, and pretends to take her immense emotional baggage seriously while getting some action himself. She awes him with her Celtic Logic and he wows her with his dancing manroot. A match made in heaven.

But lo! Zaynab is cruelly ripped away from Karim when she has to go to the caliph, the aging leader of the country. Luckily for her, she's beautiful and has that aura of Celtic Logic which makes her irresistable and so he falls in love with her. But! His first wife in his harem of 4,000 poisons the Love Slave (which is, as I understand it, one of the perils of living in a harem of jealous women who have only one lover and a bunch of gay men living within 25 miles), so the Caliph uses his Moorish Logic (+4 attack to manroot) and gives Zaynab, his beloved and beautiful and oh-so-talented Love Slave, to his virginal Jewish doctor.

The Jewish Doctor is, of course, a prince among his people, until Zaynab absconds with his virginity and he becomes a very randy Doctor indeed. Eventually, after many passionate nights, he is called back to Malina because Prince Karim's (yes, THAT Karim) family has been slaughtered because he married the wrong girl accidentally (how this happens is still a bit of a mystery).

In a bold surprise attack as the story degenerates, the Slaughterer (Ali Hassan) comes back and kidnaps the Love Slave from under the Not-So-Virginal Jewish Doctor's nose! An abbreviated version of events:

Ali Hassan: *rides away with Zaynab, drops her at his camp*
Zaynab: You brute! Let me go immediately!
Ali Hassan: No. You're mine now, and will submit to MEEE! MWAHAHAHAHAHA.
Zaynab: Ransom me then.
Ali Hassan: No. Well, maybe. Only for ONE BILLION DOLLARS 500,000 gold dinars!!!
Zaynab: Meh. Booring.
Ali Hassan: Ok, nevermind. You may stay here the rest of your days and submit to my MANROOT OF POWER! MWAHAHAHAHA.
Zaynab: Ok.

The Jewish Doctor eventually finds her and rescues her, after, of course, she has literally killed Ali Hassan with passion. There is some complicated plot twist that involves an unexpected midnight rendezvous, a contagious disease, the hiring of the services of a courtesan, and dancing the hokey-pokey, and Zaynab finds herself given away to Karim al Malina as a bride, so they can have 15 (no kidding) children and be in love FOREVER MORE, minus harems and poisons and stuff like that.
Reviewer's Notes: Zaynab/Regan (outside of having the weirdest Arabic name I've ever heard) has absolutely no emotion. You could supplement a well-formed potato for her and she wouldn't be missed. In addition, all the men with the except of "the bandit" Ali Hassan are WHITE. Nevermind this is an Arabic country. They all have light skin, with blue eyes, shave, and have blonde/red/light brown hair, which is pretty historically impossible. If all the "love" scenes were eliminated from the book, it would make a short one-act play.

By the Numbers:
"Love" Scenes: 32
References to stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost virginity: 8
Plot "Twists: 8
Number of Men Lusting After the Heroine: 601,502
Number of Mary Sue Incidents: 1 or 2 minor ones
Number of Fights/All Out Wars over the Heroine: 2
Times "Fate" Intervened: 3
Times "Fate" Intervened by 500 or more miles: 1/3
References to "Love Balls": 19

Overall Grade: D+, though some "love scenes" were ok and tastefully done, the heroine could be replaced by a bowl of french fries and a vibrator and no one would notice. Also, making all men in an ARABIC country white, plus excessive mentions of "love balls" = bad.

(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2005 08:32 pm
teabiting: (Default)
I haven't written in a few days, so I guess I should update this thing.

I've been pushing all of my creative writing into a gaming project that's due to open at the end of August for beta-testing. I won't go into details as it would probably bore the majority of you, but it's been sucking up a lot of time and energy. I enjoy it, and it's neat to see how it's all coming together, though it's taking up a lot more time than I thought it would, seeing as the owner of it wants me to take on more adminstrative duties than I'm used to.

I've also been reading. I just read the most Mary-Sue filled historical romance novel of ALL TIME, I think. It's about a woman who takes over the leaders of the Byzantine empire with her body. Yes, she is a "Love Slave", passed among the most powerful men like a sweetmeat, yet she is "independent" and "logic-minded" (I'm sure you can see where this is going). Anyway, I'm going to have to review it, because it's just too awful to pass up.

I'm also trying (mostly in vain) to clear my book list before The White House Years by Henry Kissenger arrives. Tantalizingly, it's sat at "1" for two weeks now. There is also the requisite web-site design crap, photography wrangling, and such that's been going on for awhile now. I've also been walking two miles nearly every day for the last month and a half, and I'm at this plateau right now, where I can't yet get to jogging, but walking isn't doing enough for me. It's frustrating me in more ways than one.

Then, in the last week, two people have cancelled going out. One of them has cancelled on me a total of three or four times now in a row, and it annoys me. It's not as if I have a lack of things to do, and so if I clear a time when I'm not a.) picking Steve up / dropping him off, b.) helping him, c.) working on a website / photos or d.) doing annoying stuff that needs to be taken care of (household things, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, training the dog, getting groceries, running errands, etc), it's very frustrating to have someone cancel that time, and not let me know in advance.

I also have lots of art to show, once I can either scan it or "ink" it so it will show up with my camera. I'm thinking of framing some of it, because it's just too silly to pass up, and three of the pieces would make an interesting trio in a bathroom or in the living room or something. Have to figure out how to make those frames, too...

So much to do, so little time to do it.
I'm reading How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must) by Ann Coulter. I'm not sure why, except as self-punishment or something. So far, it has a lot of opinion masked as truth. It bothers me because in each of the books I read, I do read the acknowledgements and bibliography. I like to know how people got the opinion they did. Al Franken's book was excellent, because it had a lot of sources in the back, most of which could be found on the internet. Ann Coulter's book, so far, has... none.

In the back, there are no pages stuffed full of sources. There is only a lonely acknowledgement page, which annoys me. I feel its an insult to readers to not supply your sources, especially in something as nebulous as politics. Anyway, this is the phrase I got to, on page 83, before I had to put the book down because I was laughing too hard.
While still completely vulnerable to another terrorist attack, Americans submit like good Germans to these purposeless airport shakedowns - which are about as useful as those national guardsmen hanging around in airports right after 9/11 carrying unloaded rifles.

This, of course, right after the diatribe on how airports literally hand out weapons on the plane and how the guards stole all her merchandise that she was planning to give for Christmas presents and her sterling silver bullet charm for her charm bracelet! Bullies!

So anyway, to top off today, a New York reporter is jailed for refusing to divulge a confidential source. The woman was jailed even though she never wrote a story on it, and is now supposedly in detention at the Alexandria Detention Center, which also conveniently houses Zacarias Moussaoui, a convicted terrorist. Haf'ta keep all the terrorists in one place, you know.

And Curious George is disappointed that Iraq has no WMD's. I really hate reading transcripts of the President's interviews because his grammar never fails to make me cringe. "...and at the same time, burning fossil fuels is a part of the cause of greenhouse gases." Dammit, it's burning fossil fuels ARE a part of the cause! 'ARE' not 'IS'! It's a verbal train-wreck. It seems strange that he is one of the most powerful men in the world yet he cannot afford a grammar tutor.

Oh, and I was tagged for a couple of these memes... I'll play along this time.. )
And then there was the Five Reasons You Consider Yourself a Geek...

1.) I have encyclopaedic knowledge of dog breeds. Funny, but true. For instance, I can tell you that the chow chow originated in China, but it was when it was shipped to England in the cargo hold (chow chow), it got its name. Or, I can tell you that the Ibizan Hound's only acceptable colors (per the AKC regulations) are white and red, anything else will earn the dog disqualification. Or even that the Plott(hound or hund) is discouraged from having pendulous flews (flews being the upper-lip portion of the dog's muzzle). I think this particular tendency started when Mr. Graw (I think that was his name - my mom's friend's father) gave me a book on AKC dog breeds when I was 9 or 10 years old, and it's really never abated. This is really never useful unless someone asks "Hey, what breed is Rover, here?"

2.) I am a music geek. My "best years" were in high school, being the "band aid" (yes, laugh it up) and librarian for the band. I have that annoying music-geek habit of leaving the room when something truly aurally offensive happens, i.e., that Bb was supposed to be a B. I like to perform and the smell of cork grease makes me excited (not in THAT way, thankyouverymuch). I like pointing out the merits of the Fux Rules of Counterpoint (which is really a very annoying amount of rules to have), and can recite all the cadences from memory (including what would make them "weak" or "strong"), and get really really really annoyed when amateurs "improvise" and completely destroy the piece (and I can tell you why it's not "improvising", and why a listener cannot accept it as such). Maybe that just makes me a snob, though.

3.) I really, really, really love anthropology. More specifically, I like studying how the human body has developed, and why. I like ancient cultures (none earlier than 1 A.D., please), I like theories on why neanderthals are considered an evolutionary dead-end, I like looking at those really old tools that were made by australopithecines. One of my favorite ancient-hominid holdovers into modern humans is the very slight sagittal crest in some human males, though any improvements on ancient forms are fascinating.

4.) Hello, history. Ok, so not all history. History directly pertaining to World War II, though. It's my forte, another thing I've been studying since my grandfather revealed that he wasn't simply a refugee in Europe, he was indeed also a soldier in the German army (albiet, a very young one and at the tail end of the war). It's fascinating how it started, and even more fascinating how, today, people still get many of the basic facts wrong about it. It's an interesting topic, made even more interesting for the amount of press about it, the wealth of information that's still being discovered.

5.) Ok, so there's really not a fifth thing that's geeky about me, except I use a computer and wear glasses, maybe. Unless it's the fact I like spices categorized by use, books categorized by genre, and really like to just categorize things. Links, objects, etc. Does that count? Or... maybe that I work on a MUD (I build, and I'm getting better at my mprogs) and like role-playing...

On that same note, I should also mention that I lose geek points every day by not being very interested in anime, at all. No, I have never watched a full episode of Pokemon. I've not seen Gundam Wing, and I don't leap joyfully on the newest Sailor Moon merchandise. I don't know a lot about computers, or math, I don't wear fussy shirts with pocket-protectors and seven different species of pens. I can only give you the rudimentary bits about physics, and that only because I'm reading Stephen Hawking's "The Universe... in a Nutshell". So either I am a very odd sort of geek, or *gasp* not a geek at all...


Jun. 28th, 2005 09:07 pm
teabiting: (Default)
I want to cut all my hair off!

It's currently still mid-back, but this sweat and heat and humidity is getting to me. I want to chop it all off, even though I know I probably would hate it, much as I did the LAST time I chopped it off.

But man, the heat... oh the heat. And my hair gets soaked and then soaks my shirt and... Gr.

Also, Al Franken, while throwing mud back at the Republicans and in general contributing to mud-slinging by pointing out their smallest falsities, is a god among writers. I think I actually cackled today.

Pages: 440 (agonizingly slow) pages
Author: Bertrice Small
Year Published: 1980

Summary: Theodora, or "Adora" is the daughter of a Byzantine prince, John Cantacuzenus. At a young age, she is wed by proxy to an Ottoman sultan, Orkhan, and sent to a convent 'till her monthly flow appears (which would evidently make her "prime" for "breeding"). Until! She falls over the garden wall ("Oh noes! The garden wall has flung me over itself! Oh!"), directly into the hands of the prince, Murad. She was thirteen at the time, and had grown tall and had long, beautifully shaped arms and legs, a slender torso, firm, high, cone-shaped breasts (WTF?) with long pink nipples (double WTF!?), and a beautiful heart-shaped face. Her skin was like smooth cream... she never tanned. Her dark, mahogany colored hair with its golden lights... Her violet eyes were startlingly clear, and as candid as they had always been (because every man wants a girl with long nipples and purple eyes!).

Anyway. They become sort-of lovers, until Adora is sent to the Sultan, who forces her into bed after two other virgins (because yay, virgin party!). Eventually, she gives the sultan a son, but a son who was injured. So she takes the boy across the sea, to Bursa, where he is supposed to heal. On the way, they run into a storm and almost drown ("Oh noes! The sea has flung itself through my window!"), but they are waylaid by none other than the pirates of Alexander the Great ("Yarrrrr! Princess Adora of the Purple Eyes!"). She, of course, seduces Alexander the Great, but retains her honor (because drugged sex = honor intact). This romantic interlude in the gold-infested palace gives the author Adora time to show off her fancy "Greek logic" (which would be a great perfume name, come to think about it. "Seductive yet smart, with a hint of smarmy... Greek Logic"). Alexander mopes after her but eventually ransoms her and the boy back to her husband for ONE BILLION DOLLARS!!! 100,000 GOLD DUCATS!

So. Then, she goes back to the Sultan, who conveniently dies, and Murad takes the throne. He gives Adora (whom he lusts after and rapes once or twice) an ultimatim: Either marry Murad, or marry Murad! Adora uses her Greek Logic (+2 intellect) to deal a crushing blow and... runs away back to Constantinople, after dyeing her skin brown so no one can recognize her (because, you know, bright violet eyes are SOOOO common - she was using her Greek Logic again, if you couldn't tell). Adora is conveniently married off to Alexander, who just happens to show up at a dinner party (YARRRR! SurpriseyarrR!).

But Adora's sister schemes in secret! Because... uhm... something or other to do with Adora's beauty or something. She plots to have the beloved Alexander killed and Adora signed off to Sultan Murad as a slave! In fact, she does so, over the course of two chapters (two agonizingly awful chapters). Then, Adora goes home to Murad and the Ottoman empire (motto: Rest your feet and we'll cut off your legs!). At first, she hates Murad and his 50-virgin harem. Then, using her Greek Logic, she comes to the conclusion that she should love him. After that, of course, it's all babies and war and some complicated things that result in Murad's death and Adora's eventual consignment to the glue factory convent, where she will be made into a pair of nice shoes ending out her 90 year life happily, and surrounded by peaches and virgins.

Reviewer's Notes: The Beauty of Greek Logic unaccountably uses Victorian British slang, knows complicated medical techniques that weren't invented until the 1400's, and transforms from sweet Christian Girl to bloodthirsty heathen. Over half the book could have been eliminated if the author was forbidden to use the word "manroot", "pearls", or talk about any historical event that did not happen. Overall, the entire story revolves around a thinly veiled Mary Sue.

By the Numbers:
Sex Scenes: 15
References to "stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost" virginity: 25
Plot "Twists": 9
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine: Entire Byzantine Empire, +5 Ottomans (motto: Put up your feet and you will be beaten to death.)
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine that Heroine Loves: 2
Number of Mary-Sue Incidents: The entire book is a Mary-Sue incident.
Number of Fights Over Heroine: 2 important battles, 1 minor fight
Times "Fate" Intervened: 2
Times "Fate" Intervened by about 500 miles: 2/2

Overall Grade: F, for child pornography, excessive sex scenes and explanations of the word "manroot", virgins virgins everywhere, and murdering all of history.
I've read about a third through the book, America's Right Turn: How Conservatives Used New and Alternative Media to Take Power, by Richard A. Viguerie and David Franke. When I initially picked it up, I thought it had a fairly unbiased viewpoint (reading the foreword). I was astonished to find that most of the press in the United States had been primarily Liberal. I had never previously known anything about press bias, so I was intrigued. It talks a bit more about "left deviationists" than I'm comfortable with, but I felt fairly sure that they were going to get somewhere with it.

Now, I doubt.

On page 65, under the heading "The Conservative Revolution Begins" and "The Birth of a Movement", it reads,
The first young conservative activist foray was the National Student Committee for the Loyalty Oath, formed by Douglas Caddy and your coauthor David Franke in 1959.

The book goes on with a bit more bashing of Democrats at that point, but I'm not sure if it's justified, or simply going to get worse as I read it.

Too, they point out that at the 1960 GOP Convention in Chicago, 'hundreds of young conservatives had sneaked onto the convention floor, with the connivance of the Arizona and South Carolina delegations, where they shouted, tooted their horns, and waved their placards backing Goldwater.' Just the sort of rebellion that isn't allowed anymore, you know, where all GOP convention goers are carefully screened and thoroughly brainwashed before allowing to pass through the door. A page or so after that, the authors speak almost bitterly of 'Kennedy's theft of the election in Illinois' and how 'one must be guard against the temptation to view past history as preordained,' yet you can hear the rich chuckle and whisper in the background at how, well, the conservative party, you know, that's a little different.
Seeds of a revolution... )

However, the smugness and obvious liberal-bashing that becomes apparent in the last half of the book are a turn-off, not just as a liberal person, but as a thinking person. They seem to expect me to be awed by the magic words "liberal press", and take whatever they say and eat it. FDR was a conniving bastard who only wanted the US in WWII for his own aims? OK! John Kennedy stole the election? Sure! The liberals are spineless child murderers who barely have a party left anymore? Yes!... Which is where the book falls flat for me and becomes mindless propaganda. I had really expected better, especially after the interesting beginning, but I guess that my search for non-liberal-bashing factual accounts of the US's political structure (directly relating to the conservatives, of course) must continue.

Edit: Ok, I finished the book...Perhaps I was too hasty... )

So. I reform my opinion of this book. I was too hasty to judge, and it seems as if they've put together a good text that's decently comprehensive on the varied forms of media and how they were used by the Republican party in the US, but most importantly, why they were used. I could have done without the obvious liberal-bashing, but then, they are some of the founding "fathers" of the conservative movement, so I'll be, uhm, forgiving of that, I suppose.

(no subject)

Jun. 9th, 2005 07:30 pm
teabiting: (icaruslaughing black)
It's hazy today. I have a hell of a lot of reading to catch up on. I feel I'm missing a whole bunch of required knowledge as far as political science goes, since I spent my college career absorbing music theory and ignoring the world at large. To make up for that percieved loss, I'm trying to stuff myself as full of history as possible.

It's not to say that I never read history- I paid the required amount of attention in high school, but never really got into actual events. I studied quite a bit on WWII (basically, only the part that pertains to Nazi Germany), but was more interested in the military aspect of it (and psychological aspect of it, now that I think of it- I read "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" about three times, mostly for its detail on the psychological warfare used by the Germans). Little else except an early-blooming obsession with naval battles and ships and my German history teacher.

So I find when someone refers to a political event that was not a naval battle or a decisive turning point of WWII, I am somewhat lost. I kind of stare blankly for awhile, then try looking it up on Wikipedia. I feel like I have these huge gaps in my knowledge where there used to be something, some glimmer of knowledge from fifth grade textbooks, but it was never used so the dust has settled. I feel like I should know a bit about everything, especially the last four decades, but know precious little, and so the stack of must-read books grows higher. I am quite sure that sometime in the near future, I will be engulfed. Steve is writing a program for me, an electronic note-card-type program, so that perhaps I can start classifying sources and whatnot (I obsess over organization, too, did I mention that?), so hopefully that will help a little in organizing my thoughts.

But as for the last four decades that I never paid attention to? All I have to say right now is: Whoa.
What. The. Hell.

4. The Kinsey Report
Author: Alfred Kinsey
Publication date: 1948
Score: 37

7. The Feminine Mystique
Author: Betty Friedan
Publication date: 1963
Score: 30

Honorable mention:

Origin of the Species
by Charles Darwin
Score: 17

HUMAN EVENTS asked a panel of 15 conservative scholars and public policy leaders to help us compile a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Oh, now it makes sense. Gee. Who would have thought.

I'm really, honestly sure that there are sensical Republicans/Conservatives out there. I've met atleast one. Yet, it's people like this that make me angry- and at the same time, kind of glad. I'm sure that with the sex-phobia that many of these people seem to hold, Darwin's theory will get them in the end.

ganked from [ profile] sugarimp

SoT, WoT

May. 27th, 2005 08:03 pm
teabiting: (Default)
I'm so disappointed.

The Sword of Truth series is really the Wheel of Time series made over. Terry Goodkind decided he could write the story better, and he did. That doesn't justify ripping off someone else's work, though. Look at this mysterious similarities.

Richard- the first War Wizard born in over 3,000 years. Conveniently, Rand is ALSO the first "real wizard" born in something like 3,000 years. In Terry Goodkind's books, the "Blood of the Fold" is the mage-hating militant religious group, paralleled by Robert Jordan's "Whitecloaks" who also happen to be mage-hating militant religious groups. Terry Goodkind deviates from Robert Jordan, though, because T.G.'s series is REALLY about the Lone Man Standing Against Destruction of All Magic (After Of Course First Standing Against The Destruction Of The Whole Entire World), and R.J's series is about the Lone Man Standing Against Destruction of the Whole Entire World, Period.

I could go on. Sisters of the Light (SoT) are nearly like the "White Tower" (WoT), even down to their methods, how they find new acolytes, and that they live in a big castle in a city Far Away From Where The Hero Is Born. Rand has a people he inherits command of by birthright (Aiel), Richard ALSO has a people he inherits command of by birthright (D'Harans). Richard's weapon of choice? The Sword of Truth, a very powerful sword. Rand's weapon of choice? Callandor, a very powerful sword. Richard rediscovers old, lost talents and magic, Rand ALSO rediscovers old, lost talents and magic. It's all just... the same.

I think that's why Terry Goodkind's last few books have sucked so much- he's having to deviate from the pre-written Robert Jordan books and think up new things, probably because many more people caught this much sooner than I did (having only started Robert Jordan's books last month).

Having been such a huge fan of the Sword of Truth series, and realizing that it's really a fanciful (and better written) retelling of another story is just... disappointing.

Yes, to CLOVE a Rogue. Hunnert Words 'r less: Lovely Lorraine London had a sensuous charm that seemed to ignite the passions of every scoundrel in New England. Born in revolutionary America, she was sold into indentured servitude until she caught the roving eye of Raile Cameron, a renegade gunrunner, who lovingly rescued her (and then they go and do stuff, like having sex, throwing themselves into historically important events, eating tea and sandwiches delicately, and being rich).
Pages: 419
Author: Valerie Sherwood
Year Published: 1988

Complete Summary: Miss Lorraine is the resident Indentured Tavern Wench in pre-revolutionary U.S. of A. She's lovely, oh yes, with long blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and a figure that can make for plenty of retellings with its beauty. Now you might ask yourself, as I did: why am I being asked to love a tavern wench who is the stereotypical blue-eyed, blonde, hand-wringing, OMG Indians! type of girl whose one brave act was jumping on the back of a horse with a pirate? WHY!? I asked myself that through the whole book.

Anyway, so Lorraine is pretty, and if you believe the picture of her on the front, in the 1600's they believed in gobs of blue eyeshadow and had anorexic tavern wenches at every turn. Lorraine catches eye of Devious, Scottish, Handsome, Baggage-toting Pirate, Raile. Raile is privy to her near-rape ("OMG Phillip I want you! OMG wait, Phillip, I don't!"), and so offers her a chance at freedom ("Come with me to my ship, Tavern Wench, where we shall make love on the seas and I will pretend to take your emotional baggage seriously!" "OMG yes Raile!"). So they gallop off (on a horse) into the sunset.

But WAIT! There is a plot in the making! When Lorraine takes off, throwing off her shackles of servitude, the young dandy who took her virginity (OMG Phillip Dedwinton) shows up to claim dem papers of indenture, WHILE HE'S COURTING THE BELLE OF THE LAND! (*insert doom music here*). He plans to quietly indenture Lorraine after he marries said Belle, then have them both! (*evil cackle cackle*)

But Lorraine thwarts Phillips Evil Musings by, of course, running away with a handsome, well-endowed stranger (OMG). They see Indians ("OMG Raile Indians!"), but surprisingly make it through Indian-infested territory with their scalps intact, to board Raile's ship, the Likely Lass.

Of course, then, it follows that Raile will insist on Lorraine pretending to be his mistress ("OMG Raile how could you suggest such a thing ROFL") because, he says, it will protect her from the Evil Crew, who are a bunch of Frenchies picked up in Bordeaux, no papers, evil looking pirate Frenchie scalawags, who would be absolutely SCANDALIZED if they heard that under the bins of 'cheese n' woolens', they were carrying lots and lots of GUNS. They would be so scandalized they would turn this ship around right now, mister, and there would be NO BARBADOS BEACHES FOR ANYONE.

But there is a Secondary Plot afoot! Someone in the crew is a murdering Frenchie bastard! Is it the genial, kind-hearted doctor, who woos Lorraine when he finds out she is not REALLY sleeping with the well-endowed and masculine captain? Is it Little Johnny, who takes the tea and cakes to Lorraine, and is awestruck by her beauty? Is it the paranoid first mate, or maybe the happy but sinister-looking gunner? Is it one of the nameless crew people, who all like Lorraine when she's had too much wine? Or is it the Big Hairy Mute, who has an 'air of violence about him' like too much Calvin Klein?

Eventually, they get to the Caribbean, and some towns, and there is much merry making, and Lorraine almost falls into the bed with Raile ("OMG Raile you bought me HAIRPINS! OMG love me now!"), but they don't have sex, of course, because Puritanical Lorraine feels its improper to jump into bed with a man whose had many women in many different countries and who still carries around emotional baggage by the name 'Laurie-Ann Why Did You Leave Me'.

So there is a fire in one of the towns, and of course Lorraine is swept up in running around like a chicken with her head cut off, like everyone else in the town. But she eventually recovers what little sense she has, rounds up a carriage, and goes tearing off to the fire to find a girl with a baby whom she doesn't really know but hey, plot. They are, of course, returned unhurt ("OMG thank you God for OMG saving us from the evil fire").

But there is an Auxilary Plot to the Plot! Captain Bridey, commander of Fleet o' Trading Ships, has seen Lorraine! Worse, he remembers her! But Lorraine conveniently forgets all about that in the arms of Raile ("OMG Raile take me! OMG Raile don't touch me!").

But on the high seas there is passion AT LAST, and Lorraine surrenders to the 'burning fire o' loins' and humps Raile until he's exhausted. Half of the crew gets killed by the murderous frenchie, and it is exposed that the mute ("OMG Gaultier! OMG you're not mute! Stop trying to strangle me OMG OMG!") is the strangling killer. He falls off a cliff or something, and teaches us all the important lesson of Don't Trust A Man Who Won't Talk To You Because Likely He's A Lady-Killing Arse Who Only Wants To Masturbate On Your Hair.

So somehow or another, Raile finds out that Virginia is in dire need o' dem guns, so they travel back to Virginia, at the time of Bacon's Revolt. This is where Lorraine turns into a Mary Sue, briefly. She meets Bacon, almost seduces him, but leaves ("OMG Bacon yer so handsome and rich and beautiful, have some tea"). But Phillip finds her ("OMG Phillip what are you doing down here ROFL"), scoops her up and takes her back to Rhode Island in shackles to be his love/slop slave. But there is a Kindly Inkeeperess who takes pity on Lorraine, and conspires to smuggle Lorraine away from Evil Bastard Phillip ("OMG st00pid Phillip! How could he have married the Belle and try to screw me now OMG BAD!"), in a barrel.

So Lorraine goes to Barbados again, where she finds out that her father was rich, becomes an heiress, buys a couple of plantations and lords it above the tonne of Bridgetown, Barbados. Phillip eventually comes sniffing after her, but in a calculated BDSM twist, she imprisons Phillip on her plantation and tortures him to get her articles of indenture back ("OMG liek serioushly, Phillip, give them to me now or I shall squeal and stomp around like a little bitch!"). He doesn't, but Raile shows up with the disputed articles, Phillip is hanged or summat, and Lorraine marries Raile and all live happy ever after ("OMG Raile you pinched my nipple!"). THE END.
By the Numbers:
Good Sex Scenes: 1
References to "stolen/misplaced/otherwise lost" virginity: 19
Plot "Twists": 8
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine: 200,000
Number of Men Lusting After Heroine that Heroine Loves: 2
Number of Mary-Sue Incidents: 1
Number of Fights Over Heroine: 3
Times "Fate" Intervened: 5
Times "Fate" Intervened by about 500 miles: 3/5

Overall Grade: C+, for somewhat historical accuracy and pirates (ARR!), but points taken off for Mary-Sue incident, only one decent sex scene, the mute being "the murderer", and Lorraine being a general idiot.

Other historical romance novel reviews: The Tea Planter's Bride and Traitor's Kiss.