Ice Run

[Amazon Link]

Continuing my effort to catch up with the output of a pretty good writer, Steve Hamilton. This isn't quite as good as the previous entry in his series of novels featuring ex-ballplayer, ex-cop, ex-private eye Alex McKnight. But it's a page-turner, no doubt.

In the previous book, Alex met Canadian lady cop Natalie Reynaud. Sparks flew. And, despite the fact that Natalie seems rather reticent about her past and hesitant about taking on the relationship, they set up a Serious Date up in "Soo" (Sault Ste. Marie) Michigan. But they can't help but notice an old odd guy, wearing an old odd hat, behaving oddly. Like he knows something Alex and Natalie don't. And he leaves the hat, full of snow, at their hotel room door, with an odd note: "I know who you are!"

And then the old guy turns up oddly dead, frozen in a snowbank.

Alex can't help but try to figure out what's going on. He is surprised when his investigation meets with violent hostility. Not only surprised, but also hospitalized. And it becomes apparent that Natalie knows more than she's letting on. Eventually, we're in what I think of as Lew Archer land: today's crimes are the echoes of decades-old sins, coming back to bite the survivors in the ass.

URLs du Jour

2018-05-04

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 13:11 offers sound financial advice:

    11 Dishonest money dwindles away,
        but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.

    For some reason, this reminded me of a two-year-old New York Daily News story: Curse of the lottery: Tragic stories of big jackpot winners.

    It's more likely you'll get struck by lightning than win the Powerball — but if you do win, there is an even better chance that you'll go broke.

    Nearly 70% of lottery winners end up broke within seven years. Even worse, several winners have died tragically or witnessed those close to them suffer.

    I really dislike those odds. I'll stick with the weekly WSJ crossword contest, thankyouverymuch. Entry is free, assuming you can figure out the puzzle, winning gets you a WSJ mug, and is unlikely to wreck your life.


  • At NR, George F. Will writes on The President Who Knew Too Little about the Electoral College.

    Among the recent garbled effusions from today’s temporary president — cheer up; they are all temporary — was one that concerned something about which he might not have thought as deeply as the subject merits. During an episode of government of, by, and for Fox & Friends, he said: He won the 2016 election “easily” but wishes the electoral-vote system were replaced by direct election of presidents by popular vote. He favors this “because” — if you were expecting him to offer reasons drawn from political philosophy or constitutional theory, grow up — “to me, it’s much easier to win the popular vote.”

    He added, accidentally stubbing his toe on a truth, that running for president without the Electoral College would involve “a totally different campaign.” Which, he does not realize, is one reason for retaining the Electoral College.

    Will offers a spriited and convincing (to me) argument for the EC.


  • It's amazing how some companies manage to get any work done. The WSJ (possibly paywalled) considers Google vs. Google: How Nonstop Political Arguments Rule Its Workplace. The lead anecdote is telling:

    Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, flew to Silicon Valley earlier this year for a long-planned speech to Google employees. It wasn’t until she sat waiting in a parking lot that a call came through notifying her the event was canceled.

    Ms. Newkirk had been invited by some employees to discuss her view that animals can be subject to prejudice just as people can, as part of the company’s “Talks at Google” series. Another group of employees said the topic was offensive to humans who face racism, and they protested.

    First thought: Wow. Lunatic disinvited due to pressure exerted by even bigger lunatics.

    Second thought: What are these people afraid of?

    Third-through-nth thought: left as exercises for the reader.


  • But if you want to cheat a bit on those exercises, I think Jonah Goldberg can offer you a clue, albeit with respect to a slightly different issue: Cultural-appropriation Outrage Shows People Are Desperate To Be Offended. Jonah takes off from the Great Offense Taken in response to a Utah teen wearing a Chinese-style dress to her prom. I liked this bit:

    Without cultural appropriation, American blacks would never have picked up European musical instruments to create the blues and jazz. Without cultural appropriation, white and black artists alike would never have spun these wonderful creations into rock and roll.

    Nearly every meal you've ever eaten is the byproduct of centuries of cultural appropriation, to one extent or another. This column is written in English, a language that contains hundreds of thousands of words appropriated from other tongues. Just under two-thirds of our language derives from Latin or French. About a quarter is Germanic in origin. And about a sixth comes from Greek, Arabic and other languages.

    And even Swedish Meatballs, my friends. After centuries, the Swedes have finally come clean about their true origins:

    As I long suspected. Sneaky Swedes.

    Unfortunately, nobody's claiming Norwegians stole lutefisk from anyone else. As a Norwegian-American, I accept my share of our collective guilt.


  • The Federalist's Neal Pollack—the Greatest Living American Writer, it says here—probably has the last word on the White House Correspondents’ Dinner kerfuffle: Michelle Wolf Finally Spoke The Truth About Donald Trump. Someone Had To Do It

    The White House Correspondents Association Dinner is a peculiar institution that needs a better caterer. It brings together the news media, the people they cover, bartenders, valet-parking attendants, and, when Barack Obama was president, rich hipsters. Unlike at other times in American history, when the media and political elite weren’t in bed together, the dinner operates under a central fiction, a lie, that journalists and politicians and comedians and the people who sign their checks can hang out together in nice clothes and still maintain their objectivity.

    This must end. People must stop enjoying themselves on the weekends. Journalists should remain in their shoddy apartments, tying together blurry photographs with string to deduce patterns. Politicians must simply murder anyone who gets in their way. And comedians need to go to jail as free-speech martyrs after publicly uttering the f-bomb in Greenwich Village. East is East and West is West and never the Twain shall meet, because Twain never met the president.

    I believe Pollack has the most accurate take I've read on the dinner.


  • howmuch.com has a shocker: This Map Shows Every State's Biggest Export. Specifically, given ten or so guesses, I would never have guessed New Hampshire's biggest export. It's the same as a number of other states', including California, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Florida. Check it out. Then explain it to me, OK?


  • And Gizmodo has news you will almost certainly never use: This Is the Longest Straight Path You Could Travel on Water Without Hitting Land. "Straight" in this context means "geodesic", of course. Bonus: the longest straight path on land without hitting a major body of water. Thanks to non-Google researchers:

    The researchers, Rohan Chabukswar from United Technologies Research Center Ireland, and Kushal Mukherjee from IBM Research India, created the algorithm in response to a map posted by reddit user user kepleronlyknows, who goes by Patrick Anderson in real life. His map showed a long, 20,000 mile route extending from Pakistan through the southern tips of Africa and South America and finally ending in an epic trans-Pacific journey to Siberia. On a traditional 2D map, the path looks nothing like a straight line; but remember, the Earth is a sphere.

    Had Rohan and Kushal been working for Google, they'd have to deal with co-workers questioning their arbitrary dichotomy between "land" and "water".


Last Modified 2018-05-15 4:54 AM EST