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Andrew J. Patrick "underpaid curmudgeon" RSS Feed (Bel Air, MD United States)

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Three Volume 1 TP
Three Volume 1 TP
by Ryan Kelly
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.87
58 used & new from $1.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series, vivid and unsentimental, April 18, 2014
This review is from: Three Volume 1 TP (Paperback)
A counterpoint to Frank Miller's "300" that examines Ancient Sparta in it's decline and from the point of view of all sections of its society, from King to helot, and the cycle of fear and mistrust that burst forth from that particular social contract. Better than a cranky, axe-grinding "debunking", "Three" gives every voice its moment on the stage. Read, but be prepared for blood.

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $10.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, Irascible, Irreverent, February 23, 2013
I've long considered Thompson an addled, overrated buffoon, all sound and fury, signifying nothing. But this book has prompted a reconsideration. The prose is lucid and energetic, and the world it depicts fascinates. Even those who don't share Hunter's views - or find the Dr. "Jesus Creeping S__t!" Gonzo persona wears thin after a while, can still appreciate the hard cold light he shines on the daily life of a political campaign, the human drama of winning losing, punching, pulling punches, and grinding out the votes. It's worth the read, and unlike a lot of books about politics, worth the reread.

The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage
The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage
by Greg Gutfeld
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.54
179 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Greg Gutfeld Wins at Life, December 25, 2012
I received The Joy of Hate for Christmas yesterday, and devoured it in a day. It's a quick read, and most of it tells me something I learned long ago: that "tolerance" is a rhetorical slight-of-hand whereby progressives grant themselves a license to demonize, terrorize and condemn. So to the extent that it didn't reveal anything to me, I was disappointed. One encounters this in reading books by conservatives and libertarians: a lot of "Right on, brother," and very little "I did not know that."

Plus, I was looking for something on the order of the book's tag line "How to Triumph Over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage." Most of the book served to point out the phony outrage, which, as said, I didn't quite need.

The final chapter "The End of Hate," however, came close. An excerpt:

"A few months ago, I came up with something called the Mirror Jerk Effect. This is how it works: Let's say Ed Schultz makes a crack about Sarah Palin that I don't like, because I like Palin and I don't like Schultz I create a mirror effect. I say to myself, What if, instead of Schultz and Palin, it's Rush and Garafalo? If I don't care about Rush' opinion of a silly lefty, then I shouldn't care about a lefty's opinion of a conservative I like. This little mental exercise eliminates so much wasted energy that I now have time to help the poor and needy (i.e., myself).
For the most part you gotta think like one of those lions on the Serengeti, which I beleive is in Canada. Conserve energy and then expend it when you need it most. Responding toe very stupid remark or caustic joke will wear you down. That's why bitter people look decades older than they really are. I'm told Ed Schultz is really twenty-six."

That's the kind of happy-warrior mentality that Breitbart, who gets a chapter devoted to him, exemplified. Breitbart didn't just attack the news; he made the news. He didn't just snipe at the media; he made them dance to his tune. And they hated him for it, and he reveled in their hate.

This is the lesson that the tag-line promised: the triumph lies in absorbing your enemy's rage and continuing on anyway, because for all their fury they remain powerless to stop you. Sandra Fluke was supposed to end Rush Limbaugh; he's still there.

Determine yourself. Know who you are and what you are about. Figure out what you will and won't stand for, and then the Great Hypersensitive diminish to the background noise in the annals of history that they truly are.

The Frozen Sky
The Frozen Sky

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Premise, So-So Execution, August 15, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Frozen Sky (Kindle Edition)
The usual cliches of First Contact Stories are literally turned upside down, making the title more than a little clever. The author wisely focuses his energy on the main character, so that the reader can feel the same revulsion and fear that the protagonist does. The premise works.

That said, there were a few things here that felt obligatory rather than necessary. The reverse-plotting, for example, I found to slow the story's rhythm rather than enhance it. I get it: the moon's getting mined; they went exploring and found the beasties, and now its a fight for survival. I don't need to be walked back through every step of it.

Likewise, the final line felt incredibly forced. It's one thing to develop understanding and respect for a hostile alien species. It's another to insist that they require interplanetary assistance. They seem to be surviving just fine, actually.

But overall, thumb's up. If this is the kind of quality work you can get for 99 cents at Amazon, then it's, forgive the pun, a whole new world.

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $4.99

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Instead of Dancing, Let the Dragons Fly, August 15, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There's a lot here to savor and enjoy. I liked seeing things pick up from AFFC, for example. The Cersei scenes remain my favorite part of this and AFFC, so sweet is the comeuppance. And I found myself remembering that Martin is a fine prose stylist, whose descriptions resonate and whose dialogue snaps.

But we are in the doldrums, plotwise, as the various threads become too long to spin together. Tyrion seems to go everywhere and arrive nowhere. Daenerys's thread ends just as she finally does what we've been waiting for her to do for five books. Bran's story remains infinitely less interesting than Martin seems to think. And Jon Snow's thread is massively frustrating.

But the biggest problem is the feeling that We Aren't Getting Anywhere. Hopefully Winds of Winter (publication date: August of 20??) will get this thing moving again.

Braddock's March: How the Man Sent to Seize a Continent Changed American History
Braddock's March: How the Man Sent to Seize a Continent Changed American History
by Thomas E. Crocker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $28.00
34 used & new from $7.30

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-Opening, January 16, 2010
I received this book as a gift this Christmas, and found it a thoroughly engrossing read. I never gave much study to the French and Indian War, considering it largely a branch of the simultaneous European conflict. This book has made me desire to study this shadow war the further.

It might be argued that Crocker is no prose stylist, but to shine a light on this dark corner of American history he does not need to be. The image, for example, of Braddock's army marching through a ghostly virgin white pine forest, the "Shades of Death," is more evocative than any stylistic frisson.

Crocker is more than up to the challenge of illustrating the historical forces that the Battle of Monongahela unleashed. He makes a sound argument that Braddock's failure aggravated previously unseen British-colonial tensions and set both sides on the course that would lead to the Revolution. His epilogue study of the "Outrages" that the French and their Indian allies unleashed on the colonial frontier from 1755-1758, though necessarily brief, was likewise illuminating of much of our history that followed. Crocker has done yeoman's work, and I expect to read this tome several more times.

A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)
A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)
by George R. R. Martin
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $8.27
333 used & new from $0.04

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fear Not, November 1, 2007
I can understand the fans' panic, as we begin to imagine Book 17 of the Song, with Daenerys STILL on the other side of the ocean, Arya and Rickon and Bran STILL wandering, everyone in the Iron Islands STILL thoroughly disagreeable, Tyrion STILL unavenged, Jaime STILL unable to draw his sword without lacerating himself, Sansa STILL muddling about in an emotional coma, and Cersei Lannister and Walder Frey STILL not painfully dead.

But lets remember why we glommed onto this series in the first place: because Martin is NOT Robert Jordan. Martin is unafraid of killing characters. Martin can make characters not sound like other characters. Martin can write dialogue that possesses actual wit and humour, rather than folksy-sounding colloquialisms and musings that would bore an avid fan of Dora the Explorer.

So let's believe that while, yes, he's wrestling with some sub-plots, he really does have an end of this series in sight, and any hiccups on the road there will become the exception, rather than the rule.

Now on to the actual Book: Love the Cersei plot, she's as incompetent as she is cruel and self-absorbed; and her downward spiral is a pleasure to be inside of. Jaime's movement towards the Light is likewise a joy -- no scene in the series still gives me as much pleasure as his drunken dungoen conversation with Catelyn Stark in CoK, and it's fun to see him develop into what he could become. Liked watching Sam begin to grow a pair as well. Even enjoyed the sojourn in Dorne, especially Doran Martell's venting of his rage and heartbreak. Brienne I find a bit dull (though her tales are illuminating), and I do wish that the Iron Islands would sink beneath the waves and take Asha, Euron, Aeron, and the whole dang crew with them. Other than that, our only hope is for Victarion to finally lose it and kill them all. Also wish he'd let Arya stop suffering, but I suspect this may come soon.

Looking forward to seeing where Bran and Rickon have gotten off to, and Tyrion and Dany as well. When that happens, I may share my predictions for Books Six and up.

Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks
Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks
DVD ~ Matthew Longfellow
Offered by MightySilver
Price: $11.72
21 used & new from $5.67

20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better Than "The Filth and The Fury", March 16, 2006
For several reasons:

1) It's shorter, appropriate to a career as short as the Pistols was.

2) It's less pretentious.

3) It's less burdened by the need to undo "The Great Rock n'Roll Swindle", which was more or less "Fury's" entire purpose. In this we actually get to hear McClaren bubble harmlessly about how he was a "mis-manager" from the beginning.

4) It drives home the point that John Lydon is completely full of offal, and himself. Case in point: in his autobio, Lydon claims that Glenn Matlock directly said to him that he wanted the band to be like the Bay City Rollers: "That's a direct quote from him to me." In this DVD, he says "Turns out, years later, the Bay City Rollers was NOT what Glenn had in mind. That's unfortunate. In a way, I suppose we were both duped." So the "direct quote" appears not to have been instead a complete untruth, yet somehow Johnny's still the victim. When is this fool going to outgrow his adolescence?

5) It nicely affirms my suspicions that the only Pistol you'd ever want to have a beer with is Steve Jones. I suspect that's why he's a DJ on Indie 103 today, and Lydon is...on Judge Judy?

6) It's actually about the MUSIC of the Sex Pistols, as opposed to their place in the sociopoliticoculturoeconomic history of Britain.

7) Very Little Sid. Which is good, because honestly, who cares?

Anarchy in the U.K.
Anarchy in the U.K.
Price: $9.89
29 used & new from $4.48

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complete Shows are nice. Complete shows with Matlock are even nicer., August 4, 2005
This review is from: Anarchy in the U.K. (Audio CD)
I recommend this for anyone who's ever wondered what the Pistols sounded like with their origonal bass player, who could, you know, play bass. It's June of '76, the club is tiny, the PA system gives out before the set's over, half the time you can barely make out what Johnny's singing, la da di da...

Buy it anyway. The power of the band with a competent bass player bottoming out the sound will change the way you listen to them. Sure, this is before "God Save the Queen," but the covers of "Substitute" and "No Fun" more than make up for it. Enjoy.

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3)
A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3)
by George R. R. Martin
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.00
368 used & new from $0.01

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maddening but Vital, December 8, 2004
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
When a certain main character gets bumped off, I was so furious that I threw the book against the wall, cursed Martin for a gigantic tease, and vowed not to finish it.

That vow lasted about an hour.

I haven't cared this much about how a story turns out since I read Tolkein. And that's without having to read about Nyneave pulling on her braid or putting her fists to her hips fifteen times in a chapter.

The King (Jordan) is dead. Long live the King (Martin).

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