Archive for the ‘Kindleing’ Category

Quickies from the legal beat.

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

Some serious, some less so.

Stop! Hammer time!

Former Michigan state trooper charged with second degree murder in the death of a 15-year-old boy. He was a passenger in another trooper’s vehicle: they chased after the kid, who was driving an ATV, and the trooper fired a Taser out the window.

Struck and disabled by the Taser while traveling at up to 40 mph, Grimes lost control, struck a pickup and died.

(Hattip: Morlock Publishing on the Twitter. The Powers of the Earth is available in a Kindle edition, and would probably make a swell gift for the SF fan in your life. I already own a copy, but haven’t read it yet.)

Grandma got stopped by a state trooper,
Driving to Vermont for Christmas Eve.
People say “It’s just weed,”
But the state says “60 lbs is a felony.”

(Those lyrics probably need some work.)

Obit watch: December 21, 2017.

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Clifford Irving passed away on Tuesday.

Mr. Irving, for the younger set, was a somewhat prominent author and journalist in the 1960s and 1970s. Among his works is FAKE! The Story of Elmyr de Hory, the Greatest Art Forger of Our Time. I’ve actually been interested in reading that: nice to know there’s a cheap Kindle edition and I don’t have to seek out the hardcover.

But sometime in 1970, Mr. Irving came up with the idea that made him infamous: an autobiography of Howard Hughes. It didn’t make any difference that Hughes was extremely reclusive and didn’t talk to journalists.

After studying a Hughes letter reproduced in the Newsweek article, Mr. Irving forged letters from Hughes to back up the story. He began calling his publisher from exotic locations where, he claimed, he was meeting with Hughes and developing a close relationship. He was betting that Hughes hated the limelight so much that he would never step forward to debunk anything written about him.

He got $750,000 for the book, $400,000 for the paperback rights, and $250,000 for serial rights.

And he was wrong.

At the end of 1971, with McGraw-Hill and Life ready to go to press, the scheme began to unravel. Mr. Hughes went public and denied knowing Mr. Irving, first through a representative and later in a conference call with seven journalists based in Los Angeles.
Swiss banking investigators soon discovered that a Zurich bank account belonging to “H. R. Hughes” had been opened by Mr. Irving’s wife, Edith Irving, a German-born Swiss citizen, using a forged passport with the name Helga R. Hughes.
As the evidence piled up, the house of cards collapsed. In March 1972, the Irvings pleaded guilty to conspiracy in federal court. In state court, along with Mr. Irving’s research assistant, Richard Suskind, they pleaded guilty to conspiracy and grand larceny. Mr. Irving was given a prison sentence of two and a half years and served 17 months. Mr. Suskind received a sentence of six months, of which he served five.

Mr. Irving went on to write some novels and true crime books.

Orson Welles drew on “Fake!” and on the Hughes hoax when making his 1974 film, “F for Fake,” in which Mr. Irving plays a prominent role.

You can get “F for Fake” in a Criterion edition: I’ve seen it and recommend it.

You can also get The Hoax, Mr. Irving’s account of the affair, and Autobiography Of Howard Hughes: Confessions of an Unhappy Billionaire, the actual book, through Amazon as Kindle books.

Christmas giving note.

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

I know we are inexorably drawing closer and closer to Christmas. I hope most, if not all, of you have your Christmas shopping done.

For the record, if you do not have your Christmas shopping done, and if you are, for reasons I cannot fathom, looking for a Christmas present for your humble blogger: please do not purchase this book for me. Thank you.

(If you do have someone in your life who is not cat allergic and likes spirituous liquor, Amazon does have this available with Prime shipping, so you can get it before Christmas. And there is even a Kindle edition, if you need to fill a gap on Christmas Day.)

Bookity bookity bookity bookmark!

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

By way of @newsycombinator:

A whole big bunch of free NASA e-books in various formats, including Kindle and PDF.

A few titles that pique my interest:

  • Unlimited Horizons: Design and Development of the U-2
  • X-15: Extending the Frontiers of Flight
  • Breaking the Mishap Chain: Human Factors Lessons Learned from Aerospace Accidents and Incidents in Research, Flight Test, and Development

I’ll admit some of these are a little geeky even by my standards. It takes either a professional or a special kind of person to want to read a history of pressure suit design, or one of the Langley wind tunnel. But guess what: I am that person, and I bet some of my readers are, too.

Besides, who doesn’t love the X-15 and the U-2?

(No, really, who doesn’t? Raise your hands. No, I’m not noting your IP address…)

Like an oncoming train.

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Christmas is coming. But you don’t have a lot of time to shop and get physical objects delivered.

What to do? What. To. Do.

Well, if the object of gift giving has a Kindle or something like it, ebooks make fine gifts. And they can be delivered, even on Christmas morning.

I just finished, and enthusiastically recommend, Brian Krebs’ Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door. It isn’t quite the general book about spam I was expecting. His Krebsness is mostly writing about the Russian pharmacy spam gangs and their internecine warfare. There’s a lot of good stuff in Spam Nation; I’d recommend it for anyone in your life who has a interest in computers, computer security, or spam.

Another book that I really enjoyed this year is Amy Alkon’s Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck, an etiquette guide for the modern age. Much of her advice is based on the latest developments in cognitive science, too, so it isn’t just a list of arbitrary rules. Also enthusiastically recommended, for just about everyone. (With the possible exception of very small children. But if you have a late pre-teen or teenager on your list, I think they could get a lot out of this.)

Merry Christmas to me! (Part 2)

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

I like Joe R. Lansdale.

I like free stuff.

Joe’s Bullets and Fire is available for free on the Kindle.

(Hattip: Mike the Musicologist. Stuff from Joel’s Classical Shop makes swell gifts this time of year. And remember, the Twelve Days of Christmas begin on December 25th, and don’t end until January 6th. So you’ve got plenty of shopping days left!)

Gratuitous gun porn (#3 in a series)

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Before last week, I had not purchased a gun since July of 2012*.

There are reasons for that. One was that I went through a period of unemployment, where I wasn’t purchasing anything but essential items.

A second reason is that it has been hard to find things I’ve been interested in purchasing. My local gun shops have had very few used guns that I was interested in; it seems that people are mostly holding on to guns rather than trading them in. When Mike the Musicologist and I went down to San Antonio, I did find a few interesting used guns, but either the prices were out of line (in my opinion) or (at Nagel‘s) I didn’t have the ready cash available to make the purchase.

When I decided I was going to the Smith and Wesson Collectors Association symposium in Columbus, I thought there was a good chance that I’d break the drought. I don’t buy guns just for the sake of buying guns, but I generally have a mental list of “grail” guns at any given time. The S&WCA annual meetings are a good place to find at least some of those guns, since many of my “grail” guns are Smiths.

I was lucky enough to find two guns that I fell in love with, both at the table of noted dealer David Carroll. I was even luckier in that they were within price ranges I felt I could afford, and that Mr. Carroll was willing to work with me on payment and shipping. (Mr. Carroll is a swell guy. Go buy things from him. Please.)

(As a side note, it isn’t as easy to buy guns over the Internet or out of state as lying liars who lie would have you believe. The S&WCA meeting was in Ohio. I live in Texas. As a non-resident of Ohio who doesn’t have any type of Federal Firearms License (FFL), I couldn’t legally buy a gun in the state. Private sale or dealer, it wouldn’t make any difference; I’d be breaking the law, as would the person who sold it to me. I had to have my dealer in Texas send Mr. Carroll (who is a licensed dealer) a copy of his FFL, Mr. Carroll had to ship the guns to my FFL dealer, and then I had to go to my dealer, fill out a BATFE Form 4473, and provide my Texas concealed carry permit to my FFL dealer before I could take possession of the guns. If I didn’t have a Texas concealed carry permit, I still could have gone through with the purchase, but my dealer would have had to phone in a NICS check. The only thing my Texas concealed carry permit gets me is bypassing the phone call, since I’ve already been through a background check.)

(If I had a limited collectors license, what BATFE calls a “Curios and Relics” (or “C&R”) license, I probably could have brought one of the guns home with me. The “C&R” license is less expensive and less invasive than a full FFL, but it limits you (generally) to guns more than 50 years old. So I still would have had to have the second gun shipped to my FFL, plus there’s the whole “traveling with a gun on an airline” thing, which is kind of complicated.)

(And I’ll admit, it gave me more than a little thrill when I went to my FFL to pick up the guns, and the guy behind the counter said, “Oh, yeah. I saw those earlier. Those are pretty.” They especially admired the one I’m about to write about.)

(I’m sure many of my readers already know these things. The above is for the benefit of new readers, and people who may not be aware of the process. Remember: lying liars who lie, will lie.)

After the jump, photos and words and things.


Random notes: April 14, 2014.

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Don’t forget: tomorrow is National Buy a Gun Day. I’m not sure I’ll be observing it on the 15th this year, but we’ll see how things go…

I see Lawrence’s killer paramedic, and raise: 77 arson fires in a Virgina county over five months. Serial arsons are kind of interesting on their own, but who did it and (allegedly) why, is the twist here.

In the past four days, the NYT has run two stories bemoaning the closing of J&R Music World. Just saying.


“There is a place for using apps and all kinds of technology to prepare for the holiday, but I would prefer to do that beforehand so that when you’re actually at the Seder you’re actually speaking to one another,” said Rabbi Daniel Nevins, the dean of the rabbinical school of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, which ordains rabbis in the Conservative movement.

I think Rabbi Nevins is on the mark with this. But:

The use of the electronic Haggadot comes just as Conservative rabbis are embroiled in a debate over whether to make e-readers permissible on the Sabbath. Rabbi Nevins wrote a paper last year saying that such devices violated the spirit of the Sabbath and the holidays, traditionally viewed as a sanctuary from the workaday world.

If it is okay to read books on the Sabbath, why is it not okay to use e-readers? (Please note: while I have a great admiration for the Jewish religion and people, I am not Jewish, nor am I a Torah scholar.)

Lawrence also suggested at dinner the other night that I do a comprehensive prison personæ for the city of Bell: basically, a quick reference guide to who’s been convicted of what, and how much time they’ll serve. I may do that in the next few days, but I want to hold off a bit: Robert “Ratso” Rizzo is supposed to be sentenced on his tax charges later today, and sentenced on the other charges related to his role as Bell city manager on Wednesday. I will update here once Rizzo’s sentences are announced.

By way of Popehat on the Twitter: NYC’s Brecht Forum is closing. No, this wasn’t a place where folks sat around and sang “Mack the Knife” and other songs: that would actually have been kind of cool.

The center’s mission, according to its website, is to “create, within existing society, a counter-hegemonic culture of working people and their allies, who are capable of challenging the capitalist agenda, prefiguring new ways of thinking and of self-organization, as well as creating new ways of relating to each other and nature.”
Figures like Noam Chomsky, William Greider, Lewis H. Lapham and Naomi Klein have spoken at events at the forum. Affiliated groups include the Institute for Popular Education, the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory and the Strike Anywhere Theater Ensemble.

Yeah, Donnie, they’re Marxists.

“Rising Manhattan rents forced us to Brooklyn, but we have incurred debts and costs that are insurmountable,” the board members wrote, saying that they had decided to close the forum “with dignity” and the hope that “the larger project we all care so deeply about may survive in a different form.”

Awwwww. But where will they go now?

Plenty of serious discussion about politics and philosophy took place in the brick building on West Street, but the activists who gathered there had a lighter side, too, sometimes playing foosball or a Marxist version of Monopoly, called Class Struggle.

I was hoping to be able to provide an Amazon link for “Class Struggle”, just in case you have any children in your life that you hate. Sadly, it appears that “Class Struggle”, produced by Avalon Hill (!), is out of print and used copies are pricy. Here’s BoardGameGeek’s page.

TMQ watch: December 24, 2013.

Friday, December 27th, 2013

The heck with it. After the jump, this week’s TMQ


TMQ Watch: December 10, 2013.

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

As noted last week, this is TMQ’s bye week.

Meanwhile, we have obtained a copy of The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America. According to our Kindle, we got about 65% of the way through it while waiting for new tires to be put on WCD’s official vehicle. (“Daddy Drank Our Xmas Money”? Yeah, bullshit. Daddy put all our Xmas money into car tires. Daddy doesn’t even have enough money for cheap vodka. Not that Daddy’s bitter or anything.)

It probably will not happen today, but we do plan to have a review of King of Sports up between now and the next TMQ.

Pictures of MatchBook men.

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013


Today, Amazon launched Kindle MatchBook, a new benefit that gives customers the option to buy—for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free—the Kindle edition of print books they have purchased new from Amazon.

Why is this interesting? Well, I checked my Amazon account to see what titles were available to me. Right now, there are six: three of them were purchased as gifts for other people.

So, I can get the Kindle ebook edition, at a reduced price, of a physical book I bought for another person. Let me repeat that: for a considerably reduced price, I can get the electronic edition of a book I don’t even own. I’m not sure if this is by Amazon design, or a flaw in their process. I would have expected Amazon to do some checking, such as: did this go to the primary shipping address on the account, or a different address? Was this a purchase off of someone other person’s wishlist?

But hey! I can get Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for 99 cents!

Add the professional narration of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for a reduced price of $12.99 after you buy this Kindle book.

Yeah. $12.99 seems a little steep. How much for the amateur narration?


Thursday, August 15th, 2013

The 5th edition of Learning Python is out.

Since I am not an idiot, I bought the ebook; doing so is easier both on my wallet and on my back. I started reading it and working through the examples last night.

Quoth Chapter 1, under “Who uses Python today?”:

The IronPort email server product uses more than 1 million lines of Python code to do its job.

I can only smile and say “No. Comment.

And a few bullet points later:

The NSA uses Python for cryptography and intelligence analysis.

So remember, folks: the NSA is spying on you, but they’re doing it with open source software. Doesn’t that make you feel better?

(Yes, yes, I’m sure the NSA also uses Perl and Java and Visual Basic and FORTH and even internally developed languages that are still classified. I just found it funny, is all.)