The Highway

[Amazon Link]

Continuing on my C.J. Box-reading project, this brings me up to 2013. I've come to expect decent page-turning thrillers from Mr. Box. But, truth be told, I was somewhat less enthused about plowing through this one; the subject matter was kind of off-putting. But that's me.

The book is a sorta-sequel to Back of Beyond which I read back in 2014. Returning characters are Cody Hoyt, an alcoholic cop; his upright son, Justin; the admirable teenage girl Gracie Sullivan and her slutty older sister Danielle.

Unfortunately, things aren't going well for Cody. As the book opens, he's planting evidence to implicate a drug dealer in a murder; unbeknownst to Cody, this is being witnessed by his current partner, Cassie Dewell. This is not the best way to further your law enforcement career, especially when your boss despises you anyway.

But at the same time, Gracie and Danielle are being stalked by a psychotic truck driver who's developed the persona of the "Lizard King". (Yes: he's a killer on the road, his brain squirming like a toad.) Will Danielle's irresponsible attitudes toward car maintenance and sex land them in deep peril? Well, of course. Will Cody head off to the rescue? Sure.

As indicated above, all the sordid details about the Lizard King's crime spree were a slight turn-off. But Box pulls something surprising mid-book that I totally didn't see coming. (I saw something coming; just not that.) No spoilers, but I'd go so far as to say that it flouts an unwritten rule of the crime/mystery/thriller genre. Box has the ability to pull such things off.

URLs du Jour


[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 12:1 makes yet another pro-discipline argument:

    1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
        but whoever hates correction is stupid.

    Seems somewhat masochistic, but that's Proverbs.

    [Our Amazon Product du jour is a self-published self-help book about self-discipline. Amazon's "Look Inside" feature will give you a decent taste. If you buy the book, read it, and go on to be a gazillionaire as a result, please remember Pun Salad.]

  • Jonah Goldberg's G-File this week concerns The Tribe’s Useful Idiots. And he's not talking about Cleveland Indians fans.

    I’ve always been fascinated by useful idiots — and I don’t mean interns who are good at fetching coffee or pumicing my feet. I mean “useful idiots” in the Leninist sense (even if Lenin may not have in fact coined the term). Useful idiots, according to lore, were the Western intellectuals who could be counted on to defend or apologize for Bolshevik or Soviet barbarisms and other crimes.

    The Soviet effort to cultivate, feed, and support useful idiots is an absorbing tale in its own right. But the fascinating part is how the real heavy-lifting was done by the Western intellectuals themselves.

    Since human nature is what it is, we have more modern manifestations of useful idiots today, operating with unshakeable cognitive biases.

    Probably including me. Caveat lector.

  • Tom Nichols writes in USA Today: I'm still a Republican, but my party needs to be fumigated.

    Republicans once believed in limited government, fiscal restraint, support for the defense and national security establishments, family values, and a strong American role in maintaining global order. More than that, we were the party that believed in logic and prudence over emotion. Our hearts were perhaps too cold, but never bleeding.

    Today’s Republicans, however, are a party of bellowing drama queens whose elected representatives blow up spending caps, bust the deficit, and attack America’s law enforcement and national security agencies as dangerous conspirators. Their leader expects banana republic parades, coddles the Kremlin, protects violent men in positions of responsibility, and overlooks child molestation. The rank-and-file GOP members who once claimed that liberals were creating a tyrannical monarchy in the Oval Office now applaud the expansion of the presidency into a gigantic cult of personality.

    Somewhat overstated rhetorical carpet-bombing, but close enough to the target. Tom's preferred solution is a sound Republican defeat in November, and for as long after that as it takes to "break the fever" of Trumpism.

  • The new issue of American Consequences is online, and P.J. O'Rourke writes within: My Lousy Education.

    It may say “B.A.” on my diploma, but what I’ve got a degree in is “B.S.”

    I can talk the shingles off a barn roof. Or, as the case actually was, I can talk them back on.

    Yes, I’d be smarter if I had a “STEM” (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. If I’d studied trigonometry, I would have realized that cutting down a 50-foot pine tree that was 20 feet from my barn might result in certain sine, cosine, tangent, and crushed barn roof problems. And no, I don’t know a hypotenuse from a possum belly.

    But… you should have heard me with the insurance adjuster. Euclid, Archimedes, and Pythagoras put together weren’t a patch on me. (Even less so since they’d be talking to the insurance adjuster in ancient Greek.) By the time I got done, the insurance company had not only paid for a new barn roof, it had paid for a new barn to go under it and a new chainsaw and a new pine tree and three cows to replace the cows that would have been killed when the barn roof collapsed if I’d had any cows.

    I have a B.S. and an M.S., and I can assure P.J. that neither saves you from doing stupidly destructive things around your domicile, with even less excuse than "I don't know trig".

  • KC Johnson writes at Minding the Campus on The Fallout From Weaponizing Title IX.

    In April of 2011, the Obama administration changed Title IX policy, pressuring colleges to adopt procedures that dramatically increased the chances of a guilty finding in sexual misconduct cases. Justice for accused males became so rare that many turned to the courts, filing suit for loss of due process. Since then, universities and colleges have suffered 97 setbacks in these suits, few of them as dramatic as the ruling last Monday in a lawsuit against Johnson & Wales University of Providence, Rhode Island.

    Two observations: (1) It's sad—not to mention expensive and wasteful—when males have to resort to the court system to get a fair shake out of universities; (2) Feminist ideology about "rape culture" has made universities stupidly cling to inherently unfair disciplinary tactics that can't be defended in the real legal world.

  • And our Google LFOD News Alert rang for a press release at Manchester Ink Link: Oracle ramps up, ready to lead Manchester into the high-tech industrial revolution. Oracle bought a Manchester company called Dyn back in 2106. Dean Kamen, Mr. Segway, was invited to speak at the event marking rebranding of the old mill building where Dyn was headquartered.

    “I grew up in the people’s republic of New York, a dense place in many ways,” said Kamen, who delivers remarks with the cadence of a seasoned Long Island comedian.

    “I moved here having never been here, but when I was in Boston I saw New Hampshire license plates all over the place, ‘Live free or die.’ One time I was about to get back on a plane and head back to New York, but I made a turn to the left instead of a turn to the right,” he says. “Instead of sitting in that freaking tunnel, I came up here, and — the rest is history.”

    I've never been an Oracle fan, but I haven't noticed any substantial "Oracle is Evil" stories in recent years. So maybe they've gotten less evil.