The Missionaries: A Short Book Review

“The Missionaries,” by Owen Stanley is a book that can be enjoyed without having to first categorize it.  But while reviewing it I feel it is necessary to identify some of the qualities present in order to attract the target audience and repel those who are clearly the targets of its humor.  So, trigger warning, if you think Hillary Clinton should have won the 2016 US presidential election you’re not going to want to read this book.  But if you think that the high point of Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s career was reached as a double entendre during a Seinfeld episode then this might be the book for you.

The book is a binge, an aristophanean binge.  The characters are in some ways caricatures, but the narrative proceeds fluidly from one fantastically ridiculous scene to the next.  The absurdities are piled up, one on top of the other, until the eventual catastrophe finally resolves the comedy.

The story takes place in the indefinite past that, based on tell-tales like typewriters and the existence of the UN, must be taking place during the Cold War.  An island in the Pacific called Elephant Island is being administered by an appointee of the Australian government named Roger Fletcher.  He has managed to pacify the indigenous (and cannibalistic) tribesmen by convincing them that he is a minor deity of theirs.  When the UN is given a mandate to move Elephant Island to independence, it unleashes a chain of events that demonstrates how social justice policy decisions and stone age tribal dynamics can combine to form a close approximation of the Apocalypse.

I would be a spoil sport if I revealed all the better bits that make up this comedy.  For me the innovation is seeing all of the sacred cows that are typically given the best lines in novels about the third world (or is it fourth world?) getting mugged by reality.  All the pieties about empowering non-western societies come back to bite the smug leftists right in the ass.  In fact, from my point of view, they get off too easily.  I would have enjoyed much more pay back.  But I have quite a bit of Sicilian in my family tree so I shouldn’t be considered an objective judge.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it for anyone on the right wing who thinks the UN should be defunded and moved to Newark, New Jersey.  My only real complaint is I wish it were much longer.  I could see this as the basis for series of books or a long television series with episodic action leading slowly to the eventual climax at the end of season five (or even eight).  So much more could be added to the characterizations and back stories.  I feel cheated that I won’t get to read the prequel describing the arrival of Fletcher to Elephant Island and his taming of the natives.  We could have been given flashbacks of the UN personnel in their earlier roles.  And of course, we could find out whether the capital city (Ungabunga) was named by the indigenous people or (more likely) by Fletcher.  But, alas, we’ll probably never learn these important details.  Damn you Owen Stanley!

Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly recommend The Missionaries to anyone who was ever forced to read any of that genera of modern novels that bemoan the fate of noble indigenous peoples under the control of evil, white, colonial rule.  My most dreary example of this genera was a book I received as part of a subscription to a magazine.  The book was “At Play in the Fields of the Lord” (APITFOTL) by Peter Matthiessen.  It was just alive with noble savages and filthy with misguided missionaries and other white people getting in the way of noble savagery.  Reading “The Missionaries” is a sort of catharsis for this.  It’s as if reading APITFOTL infected my soul and left an overgrown boil that had festered for all these years and this new book was an intellectual scalpel that lanced that boil and allowed it to drain and heal.  Wow, I sound like a very angry old guy.  Anyway, read the book oh my brothers.  It’s good for the soul.

The Coffee Walk Bunch II – The Trumpocalypse Aftermath

For those who read my earlier post, The Coffee Walk Bunch , this is the follow-up.  I was away from the office on some training during election week.  There were some e-mails to acknowledge the momentous events but the face to face had to wait until the next Monday.  To say it was a contrast to the pre-election mood would be a gross understatement.  That  dispirited assemblage of men had been replaced by a jolly band of strutting conquistadores.  Gone was all defeatism.  Cast aside was the doom and gloom.  All talk was of the stunning victory and the accompanying despair of the progressives.  Schadenfreude was rampant.  And personally gratifying was the acknowledgement of my brilliance as a steadfast proclaimer of the Trump victory.  In fact my Tubman wager (although not literally possible to collect on due to the unavailability of a Tubman $20 bill) was celebrated with a framed and inscribed Jackson presented with all appropriate acclamation for the winner (that was me).  I modestly accepted the winnings and gave a brief and animated address on the folly of betting against someone of my obvious accomplishments.  Enthusiasm for this speech was, in my opinion, undeservedly muted and they instead congratulated themselves for being on the winning side.  I let this Trump Triumphalism go on for about fifteen minutes just to be fair and also because I really enjoyed it too.

After that I brought them back to earth.  “So you think God is in his heaven and all’s right with the world in this best of all possible worlds.  Suckers!  All you’ve got is a reprieve.”  I spelled out the problems they faced.

  1.  Although Trump had shown great discernment in identifying immigration as the underlying issue that needed to be addressed by a candidate, there was no way of knowing if he could or would solve that problem.
  2. The Democrats wouldn’t just fold up and go away and let Trump and Republicans have a free hand in undoing the Obama agenda.
  3. Trump was a completely unpredictable player.  He might be a great help or he might actually do great harm to the country.
  4. Regardless of eventual success or failure of the Trump presidency, the weeks and months ahead would be full of frustration and uncertainty.
  5. The country itself had not unified.  A few hundred thousand votes in a handful of states separated the progressives and conservatives from majority to minority.  The nation was just as disunited as ever.  Probably more so, based on the post election violence on display.

I’m not sure if they believed my assessment.  I’m not sure if I wanted them to believe it.  After all, the holidays are supposed to be a time of happiness and generous spirit even toward your enemies.  Maybe we should embrace optimism at this time of year.  It’s definitely more enjoyable than pessimism.  Even the lousy coffee served by the cafeteria was described as better by those who somehow imbibe it.  So I’ll grant them their respite until the Obama retreat.  Then we’ll renew debate and solve the world’s problems, one lousy cup of joe at a time.

Trump vs. the Cabinet Picks

Donald Trump (DT):  Pence!  Where the hell have you gone now!  Will you get in here?  I need your so-called opinion.

Mike Pence (MP):  I’m right here Mr. Trump.  I was just on the phone with George Stephanopoulos.  He wanted to know if you were sorry for your history of hate speech against a metabolically challenged member of the LGBTQ community.

DT:  What?  Who the hell is he talking about?

MP:  I think he was talking about Rosie O’Donnell.

DT:  You can tell that muppet troll of a fake journalist that he can kiss my ass.  Now come on.  We have work to do.

MP:  How can I help?

DT:  I don’t like these picks we’re getting for the Cabinet.  These guys are all old and boring.  I mean Romney?  We need someone tough and smart.

MP:  Well, sir, what qualification would you rate as most important; confirmability, expertise, loyalty?

DT:   Balls.

MP:  Excuse me?

DT:  I want somebody who’s not afraid to tell the Press or Congress or the Europeans to pound sand when they start whining.

MP:  Mr. Trump, I don’t think you understand the art of compromise.

DT:  I don’t do compromise.  I fight.  I get what I want by knowing what the other guy will and won’t do.  That’s the kind of men I want working for me.

MP:  Could you give me some examples of this type of man?

DT:  Of course.  The history books are full of them.  Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Vlad the Impaler, Alexander the Great, Napoleon.  All my heroes.

MP:  Sir, those are brutal conquerors.  They hardly reflect the American spirit.

DT:  Fine.  How about George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, George E. Patton, Robert E. Lee?  They were Americans, weren’t they?

MP:  Yes, but those are wartime leaders.  We’re at peace.

DT:  Bull!  We’ve been at war in this country for over a hundred years with the communists.  I need men who know how to fight.

MP:  Nevertheless, I don’t think men of that caliber exist today.  Where could you find them?

DT:  Pence, did your mother ever give birth to any children that lived?  The military of course.  All those high-ranking officers that Obama fired for not kowtowing to the LGBTQ mafia.  They’ll be perfect.

MP:  Mr. Trump, that’s brilliant!  I’ll get right on it.

DT:   Ding, ding, ding.  Finally, you hear.  Hey, do me a favor.  See what you can do about returning the name to War Department.  I think that kind of rebranding will attract the right kind of recruit.

MP:  Yes, sir.

DT:  And find out if I can transfer the Corporation for Public Broadcasting into the Army.  I have this idea about having Big Bird court-martialed and hanged for treason.

MP:  Uhhh, okay?

Autumn with the Sony A7S – Part 4 – Voigtlander 10mm vs. Loxia 21mm

Autumn with the Sony A7S – Part1
Autumn with the Sony A7S – Part2
Autumn with the Sony A7S – Part3

All but the last three photos were taken with the Loxia 21mm lens on the A7S. This lens has proven to be sharp wide open and corner to corner (of course it gets even sharper when it’s stopped down). The colors are excellent and the lens does not suffer from chromatic aberration or other faults. It is a fantastic lens for any photos that conform to a 21mm focal length. I highly recommend it to any A7-type camera users.

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The final three photos in the group above were taken with the Voigtlander 10mm. This lens cannot compare to the Loxia 21mm with respect to corner sharpness, or flare resistance or chromatic aberration. This is not to say that it is bad in these respects. On the contrary for an unbelievably wide 10mm focal length it’s actually amazingly good, just not in the same league with the Loxia. What it does excel at is providing the ability to juxtapose a foreground and background in extremely creative ways that only ultra wide angles can provide. And so if you need that type of composition I wholeheartedly recomment this Voigtlander (or the 12mm version too).

Andrew Klavan’s The Great Good Thing: A Short Book Review

Andrew Klavan is a multi-faceted individual.  He is an acclaimed suspense novelist whose stories have been adapted into movies starring Clint Eastwood and Michael Douglas.  Since the 2001 terror attack he’s produced a series of web based videos that allow him to advocate for conservative views on a range of topics.  It was in this capacity I first noticed him.  In my opinion Klavan is one of the brightest and funniest people on the conservative side of the fence.  I’ve read several of his novels and found them equally engaging.   He is undoubtedly a gifted and entertaining writer.  But the full title of his present work, “The Great Good Thing (A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ),” made me stop and consider whether the traits that resonated with me in his other work would translate well in an autobiographical story of religious awakening.

Well, I’m glad to say they do.  I won’t specify my own religious beliefs but I do come from a background where upbringing has steeped me in the Christian world.  And my feelings are very sympathetic to religious people.  We’ll leave me at that.  Of added attraction is that Mr. Klavan and I are of about the same age and both grew up in the New York City area.  The world he speaks of is extremely familiar to me.  All these factors made the material comfortable for me.

So, now you know I liked it.  Will you?  Let’s review what this book is and isn’t.  It’s not an in-depth story of every facet of his life.  We do not find out all the technical details of how he honed his writing style.  We will not hear anecdotes of his acquaintanceships with famous actors and writers.  We don’t hear details of his other conversion, from a liberal to a conservative.  What we will hear is the personal history from early childhood right up to fairly recent years that impacted and informed his spiritual journey.  His family life and his education, much as they are with most men, are the arenas where his search for meaning and truth began.  His circumstances are unique but the questions are universal and timeless.  Unless this is the subject matter you are looking for, you shouldn’t read this book or this review.

Okay, if you’re still there, let’s move on to what I’d like to say about “The Great Good Thing.”  I found it to be an interesting read. Klavan is writing about some extremely difficult, sometimes depressing events in his life.  But the writing is never slow.  The story propels itself along.  The emotions represented run the gamut from comical to desperate but the writing style is never over-wrought which is especially unusual when describing religious experiences.  I would describe the effect as lyrical.  And this I attribute to the combination of the experience the author is describing along with his very great talents as a writer.  If I were to compare this book it would be to C.S. Lewis’ “Surprised by Joy.”  Both books describe the journey of an intelligent witty author from atheism to faith.  Both books include a measure of humor and pain.  Both books are well written.  Both men reveal themselves down to their very souls.  I found the book inspirational and satisfying.  The title is apt.

Giving Thanks for a Short Respite

As Rooster Cogburn said “I am grown old.”  I’ve lived through the horror of the Kennedy assassination, Nixon’s resignation, Carter’s humiliation, Clinton’s disgrace, Bush’s frittering away of the American hegemony and Obama’s deconstruction of its greatness.  I no longer harbor any illusions about happily ever after.  When Trump reaches the White House we will witness a wave of vitriol unleashed by the left that will infect every stratum of American life.  Their drumbeat of accusation will be relentless and exhausting.  Even if Trump manages to achieve much of what he intends and even if this corresponds to what I want done it will not be fun.  It will be akin to fighting the hydra, a multi-headed monster that refuses to die.  It will be exhausting.

And that brings me to my thesis.  Thanks to Donald Trump (and divine Providence) for allowing us a holiday season before the ordeal.  I will take the opportunity to celebrate and spend time with family and friends, to eat, drink and be merry.  In fact, I’ll go one better.  I have close relatives who are committed progressives.  They are probably extremely dejected over the election loss.  If the conversation turned to the subject of the election it would probably cause them lots of discomfort.  So, for that reason I will make a point of not discussing the election or Trump.  If anyone else does I will not join in and instead attempt to steer it away from this subject.

Why?  After all, the schadenfreude would be considerable.  These folks had taken great pleasure in Obama’s every disruption of American life.  They had indulged in the vilification of Bush during the Iraq War.  They thoroughly deserve to be gloated at.  They’ve richly earned it.  Why won’t I do it?  Because it’s too dangerous.

I’m becoming convinced that an open breach is building up in America.  There will be some pretty powerful hate unleashed on both side of this divide.  Many friendships and families will be torn up and I want to do whatever I can to steer it away from my family.  I have seen what happen once you let the genie out of the bottle.  You can’t unsay things.  The poison remains in the wound and never fully heals over.  Some people say that this is a better way to handle these political differences, to have your say and walk away from the other side and not come back.  I don’t agree.

I have always felt that family is the absolute bedrock foundation of life.  Turning your back on a brother or sister was tantamount to gnawing off a limb, an act that can only be justified if your very life is at stake but still so awful that the survival is a pyrrhic victory.  And the election has been so ugly and the anger has been so corrosive that it would only take a few rounds of escalating rhetoric to blow up a holiday gathering into a political hate fest.

So, that is why if someone tells me that Donald Trump stole the election from Hillary and that he is not her president I will answer, “okay, but please pass the mashed potatoes, and here are the candied yams for your side of the aisle… I mean table.”

I’ll save my venom and scorn for the internet trolls who work for Soros and endlessly opine on the evil of white privilege, misogyny and the plight of the downtrodden.  I promise not to give them a single inch.  And I’ll continue to post all through the holidays to rally the troops.  But I’ll preserve a truce at the holiday table.

Happy Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years to both patriots and progressives.  Season’s greetings to all the families out there.  Rest up and enjoy.  Next year is going to be extremely busy.  Eat, drink and be merry.  You’re going to need it.

Peter Thiel’s Zero to One: A Short Book Review

This book is a bit of a departure from my usual fare of science fiction and fantasy.  It’s a book based on a course the author gave on business start-ups.  And considering that Thiel was one of the founders of PayPal I guess he knows a thing or two about innovation.  The title “Zero to One,” is a way of describing the invention of something new, literally something out of nothing.  He contrasts this to the current business paradigm of amplifying existing businesses by small incremental improvements mostly involving decreasing business costs.  This might seem like a narrow topic that would only interest business school types and in one sense that’s true.  What makes it important to the general reader is how he frames this situation as a symptom of a larger societal problem that effects us all and threatens to make permanent the recession that has gripped the United States for the last thirty years.

Thiel defines the parameters involved as two binary variables.  The first pair is optimism versus pessimism.  As examples of these he compares American culture in the post WWII era (optimistic) with other cultures that tend to pessimism (e.g. Modern Europe, Modern China).  That’s easy enough to understand and familiar to most readers.  The other parameter he describes is definite versus indefinite.  The dichotomy here is the difference between believing that you can shape the future (definite) versus believing that the future is ruled by luck or random events.  Putting these two sets together you can come up with four cases, Definite Optimism, Indefinite Optimism, Definite Pessimism and Indefinite Pessimism.  With respect to the United States he claims that we have shifted from the Definite Optimism of the 1940s and 50s to the Indefinite Optimism of the present.  He maintains that Americans tend to regard the future as optimistic but instead of the bold plans for creating the future in the 40s and 50s (characterized by such bold endeavors as the Manhattan Project and the other engineering marvels of the times) we just assume that everything will turn out well without actually having a blueprint of what needs to be done to achieve this prosperity.

This framework is then extended to other areas of human activity such as finance, politics and even philosophy.  These observations seem genuinely compelling.  The analysis is uncomplicated and fairly obvious once examined.  I find this section the most interesting from a general interest perspective.

The majority of the book returns to more concrete elements of what a successful start-up business should look like (and that is something that is interesting to more than just venture capitalists and computer savants) but sprinkled throughout the book are arguments that show Thiel’s divergent view on modern business goals.  His thoughts on the desirability of monopolies is clever.  And finally, he examines the consequences of automation on human society.  He recognizes the disruptions to older life styles inherent in these technologies but offers an opinion on how it can be made to serve society instead.

News that Thiel is being considered for a role in the upcoming Trump administration strikes me as a positive turn of events.  He appears to be an original thinker who seems to possess insights into how innovation is central to the American Dream.  I think it’s almost prophetic that both Thiel and Trump seem to be telling America to return to a winning strategy.

This book is primarily for those interested in what makes for a successful start-up company but I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know why America is faltering economically and even spiritually.

Of Trump, the Alt-Right and Me

So, the Trumpocalypse came to pass, as foreseen by the Alt-Right.  Some will argue that he got lucky, that he was just as likely to choke and lose as badly as a mainstream republican like JEB!.  Possibly, but I don’t think so.  Reading the reasons that the Alt-Right give for Trump’s success I think they have identified some very important facts:

  1. There was a pool of white voters that felt unrepresented by both the democrats and republicans. These were the so-called Reagan Democrats who stopped voting after 1988.  They were forgotten by George Bush Senior and didn’t like what either the democrats or the republicans were doing to the heartland.  They were abandoned by the corporations who used globalization as a way to access cheap labor in Mexico and other developing countries.  This stayed the same under Clinton, Bush Junior and Obama.
  2. The Progressives have successfully moved forward an agenda over the course of the last fifty years that is aimed at progressively disadvantaging and demonizing white people in general and straight white men in particular. To achieve this, affirmative action laws and the progressives in the media and education were used to incrementally deprive them of opportunities and dignity.  The narrative of female and minority oppression at the hands of straight white men was endlessly reinforced on television, in the movies, in the news, at school and by government agencies that enforced these discriminatory practices.
  3. The Democrats were endeavoring to bring in enough Illegal immigrants to ensure that white Americans would no longer be a majority of voters. This would allow them to easily remove the parts of the Constitution (freedom of speech and right to bear arms) that interfere with them permanently controlling the country.
  4. And finally, the Republican Establishment, from Bush Senior on, was complicit in this immigrant plan as a way of providing cheap labor for their crony capitalist friends. In addition, they were allowing these corporations to shut down all major industrial activity in the US and move it to the third world (China).  This was the so-called new world order of Bush Senior.

The only one of these that is at all surprising is the last.  It had always seemed perplexing that Bush Junior was unable to achieve any conservative reform during his first term when he had a virtual mandate from heaven to do as he pleased and which Congress would rubber stamp.  He lowered some taxes but that was for his corporate friends more than for anyone else.  All his other efforts were indistinguishable from progressive programs.  Now it seems clear to me that the Bushes, McCain, Romney and most of the rest of them are identical to the Democrats.  They use fear of progressive control to get themselves re-elected every few years but they are much more interested in their own careers and the connections they cultivate in office than in helping to conserve the way of life that is systematically under attack from their friends on the other side of the aisle.

On all these points, I am now in unanimity with the Alt-Right.  Beyond this is where I differ.

Many (if not all) on the Alt-Right feel that racial differences preclude modern America from going forward as a united country.  They predict that the US will splinter into separate racial homelands with descendants of the British colonists self-segregating themselves into one nation and other groups dividing up along ethnic lines.  They state that a propositional nation based on rights and equal treatment will not last and shouldn’t.

They believe this will be sparked when white people become a minority in the US and revolt at the treatment they receive at the hands of the minority majority.  In their estimation, this would have preceded more quickly if Trump had lost the election.  They see a Trump administration as a band-aid and a delay before the inevitable revolt.  They believe that the other ethnic groups and their allies in the sexual grievance communities (women, the various sexual deviants) will push white men too far and they will secede from the country.

So here we are.  I will be the first to admit that much that they say about our present situation is accurate.  And I’d be the last to deny that the treatment of white men in the last fifty years has been outrageous.

From my point of view, the leftists have followed a strategy that will divide this country in much the same way Yugoslavia disintegrated.  This is a truly frightening possibility.  The misery and destruction such a conflict would represent is hard to overestimate.  When you consider the possibility of outside forces getting involved, the scope of the disaster could be virtually apocalyptic even on a global scale.

But I shy away from the idea that people can’t exist under a government that treats its people impartially.  To this end I tried to envision what changes to our government would forestall this rupture of the American people.  Here they are:

  1. The recognized status of the family uniquely defined as a man and a woman producing and raising children.
  2. The elimination of government interference with parents raising their children as they see fit.
  3. The elimination of affirmative action or protected status in any government law or program based on race, gender, sexual orientation or any other discriminatory factor.
  4. The elimination of government interference to free association. This includes any forced association by government decree.
  5. The elimination of automatic citizenship to the children of non-citizens.
  6. The curtailment of all but minimal immigration for the foreseeable future.

I believe that if these changes were made to the government, normalcy would be restored.  Of course, seeing these kinds of changes initiated would require action by the three branches of the government well beyond any effective action seen since the Great Society legislation of the 1960s.  So, it’s hard to see how this will happen.  And although I am unhappy with the Alt-Rights vision of the future, I don’t think I can dismiss it as unrealistic.  Based on the wide-ranging disruptions occurring every day around the world it’s a bold man who would preclude almost anything as impossible.  So, that’s where things stand.

I admit to the accuracy of the Alt-Right’s assessment of what is going on in the world right now.  I hope that they’re wrong about the fate of our country.  I think I see what changes would improve our union.  And I don’t have a sense of how likely it is that we’ll fix these problems.  Time will tell.  In the meantime I’ll enjoy the spectacle of the Trumpocalypse for as long as I can.



Nick Cole’s CTRL ALT REVOLT! (CAR!) is a 2016 publication that was rejected by his original publisher.  This was probably because it takes a number of swipes at the politically correct culture found in this dystopic future (and more importantly in our own real world).  For that reason alone, I would probably have given it a whirl.  But when it won the 2016 Dragon Award for Best Apocalyptic Novel I felt I owed it to myself to test whether the Dragon Awards would be a better fit than the Hugos when it came to predicting a good read.

I am happy to say they are.  CAR! is an excellent read.  Putting aside that it pokes merciless fun at progressive ideas and practices (which I see as a plus), the action in the story is interesting and fun throughout.  The characters vary from barely sketched in to fairly full framed but they do not jar the way the characters in the “literary sf” often do.  Even the computers come off as recognizable personalities and not HAL 9000 stand-ins.

I won’t describe the whole plot because there are enough twists that I’d be spoiling a lot of the fun.  But the back cover says it’s a robot revolution and I’ll add that it’s a goulash with artificial intelligence, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), the Star Trek universe and the extravagances of Silicon Valley as ingredients in a future world where a nanny state handholds its wards through their cyber cocooned lives.  Because of the skillful insertion of on-line story lines the action jumps from deep space naval battles to running gun battles through the streets of a Caribbean paradise.  The real-world action is more bizarre.  Not to indulge in cliché, but the good guys consist of a rag-tag bunch of individuals that barely know each other and can’t be sure if they’re actually on the same side.  The ending is a train wreck (a really cool one) and promises at least a sequel.  I have to confess that there are so many odd elements that I have no idea which way he will take this story line, but I am excited at the prospect.

One of the more interesting concepts that Cole has built into his near future is the merging of television and MMORPs.  There are scripted and semi-scripted intrusions of television shows into MMORPs and to some extent, the reverse.  The professional “reality” for the actors highlights how the old studio star system will continue to degenerate until minute by minute trending of character popularity on social networks will replace long term contracts.  One of the sub-plots revolves around the interaction of gamers with tv stars and how knowledge and intelligence can trump telegenicity and histrionics.  There’s even the recognition that the finance people in media might be more reliable partners than the directors and talent agents when it comes to dealing with difficult situations on the set.  So here you have the collapse of television, on-line gaming, social networking and on-line business into one complex that allows some people to spend most of their time and almost all of their working and even their emotional lives interacting with each other only virtually.  But looking at the way the world is heading I hesitate to even call that a prediction.  It’s probably closer to a short term extrapolation that’s already reality for some.

Now a word about the anti-pc snark.  Full disclosure, I’m a card-carrying member of the “Basket of Deplorables.”  I haven’t met a dig at SJWs that I didn’t chuckle at.  So, it’s not hard to imagine that I haven’t deducted any points from my review for lack of cultural objectivity.  I laughed at every single ironic take, every set-up shot.  If you happen to be of the other persuasion will these bother you?  Probably.  Should you read it anyway?  I think so.  But remember I’m a terrible person and worse, I have a sense of humor.

And finally mention of the trekkie angle.  There is a small amount of Star Trek plot that dredges up mention of Kirk and Shatner and the associated hagiography.  Suffice it to say that there is a comical congruence between the pretentious prima donna that was Shatner and the current captain in the book.  There is even a reference to him performing a “shatner.”  Now of course, Shatner mockery is required reading at the academy but I have to add five points to the review grade to cover these goings on.

So if you want my opinion, read this book unless you’re a literary sff type.  In that case run, run for the hills.

Trump vs The Wake-Up Call

Scene:  Trump Headquarters, Election Day evening.

Donald Trump (DT) (Reclining back in his desk chair asleep and having a bad dream):  No, no.  I don’t want to eat the Supreme Court.  Sotomayor is too greasy, Ginsburg is too stringy and Kagan is too bitter!  No don’t force me to do it.  Don’t suspend the first amendment!  No, no, noooooo!

Melania Trump (MT)  (bending over and shaking Trump):  Wake up Schmoopy, you’re having the bad dream.

Mike Pence (MP):  Mrs. Trump is he alright?

Chris Christie (CC):  Yes, should we call an ambulance?

MT:  No he sometimes has the bad dreams.  They started after we went to the Clinton wedding.  Very scary.

DT:  Where am I?  Did I eat them?

MP:  Eat what?

DT:  The Supreme Court broads.

MT:  Why are you dreaming of having the oral sex with other women, you bad man?

DT:  No, not have sex with them, tear them to pieces and wolf down their flesh.

MT:  Oh, in that case it’s alright.

CC:  Mr. Trump have you gone out of your mind?  Why would you dream of such a thing?

DT:  Because I’m a werewolf.  Remember, after being bitten by a loup garou down in Louisiana after the flood, I became a werewolf and killed vampire Hillary Clinton during the debate and then during my first hundred days in office I was forced to eat the democrat members of Congress and the entire staff of the Departments of Education and Energy.

MP:  But Mr. Trump it’s only election day and none of those things happened.  Look at the TV screen on the wall.  They’re showing Clinton Campaign Headquarters and there she is and surrounded by all those democrats.

DT:  But you were there Mike and you were there Melania and you Chris.  And I ate Hillary and Biden and him and him and him too!  It all seemed so real and there were some meals that were really, really, gross but there were also some meals that were really, really good.  Like when I ate Oprah, it was exactly like Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia.

CC:  No Mr. Trump.  All those people are still alive and you’ve been right here asleep.

DT:  Well I’m glad I’m back because even though slaughtering your political opponents is very effective, it takes a terrible toll on your self-esteem and waistline.  And that’s why every time they told me I had to solve one of these political problems by digestion I told them I just wanted to go home to Queens.  And they sent me back and here I am.  And I’ll never leave again.

MT:  But Schmoopy, if you win tonight won’t you have to go to Washington the DC?

DT:  No.  I will sign an executive order making Queens the new capitol.

MP:  But Mr. Trump, all the federal personnel are in D.C.  The government won’t be able to enact business for years if you move the capitol.

DT:  That’s a feature Mike, not a bug.

MP:  Mr. Trump, that’s brilliant.  Without access to the presidency these bureaucrats won’t be able to spend money half as fast as they do now.  I should have thought of it with my brain,

MT:  And I should have felt it with my heart.

CC:  And I should have sensed it with my courageous political instinct.

DT:  Whatever.  Just give me a few minutes to wake up and I’ll join everyone at the main screen.  But have someone send out for a snack.  I’m ravenous.  Better make it ice cream and put on the Oxygen Network during dinner.