Raylan

[Amazon Link]

This 2011 novel was Elmore Leonard's last; he passed away in 2013 at the age of 87. He wrote it just as the TV series featuring US Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens, Justified was in its early years.

It's set in a slightly different universe than the TV show. It's also set in a slightly different universe than Leonard's previous Givens-featuring novella Fire in the Hole; at the end of that one, Boyd Crowder has been shot deader than dead. But in Raylan, (surprise!) he's back, healthier than ever.

The novel interweaves three plot threads: (1) a transplant nurse masterminds a gang who steals victims' kidneys; (2) a ruthless coal company exec comes to town to try to negotiate the sale of a mountain; (3) Raylan is asked to track down a fugitive college-aged poker player, but gets caught up with a sleazy pimp who is branching out into bank robbery, with the help of his stable.

People who are familiar with the TV show will recognize plot elements and characters mutated semi-recognizably from the book. (For example, the book has Dickie and Coover as members of the Crowe family, under the thumb of their daddy. On TV, they were Bennets, and it was their mom, the unforgettable Mags Bennett, who was running their criminal show.

And the wonderful, precocious, Loretta McCready has a cameo.

All in all, a fun read. This ends my Elmore Leonard reading project, at least for now. It's been fun.

URLs du Jour

2019-09-09

[Amazon Link]

  • Seen on a Power Line "Loose Ends" post, attributed to Geoff Whisler:

    How ’bout a demonstration of government regulation working? You guys successfully ban telemarketers and then we’ll talk.

    A related question: Who is this guy named "Scam Likely" and why does he keep calling me from so many different numbers?

    Until the happy day when the FCC figures out how to deal with this (can you imagine how well they would have handled Net Neutrality?) you might want to check out our Amazon Product du Jour.


  • A wistful query from Adam Mill at the Federalist: What If Americans Wanted Freedom As Much As Hong Kongers Do?.

    As I watch the fearless Hong Kong protesters risk life and limb, standing up to the Chinese juggernaut to protect freedom, I can’t help but wistfully wish we’re witnessing the beginning of a spreading popular movement. In my heart of hearts, it’s my fondest hope that these courageous, freedom-loving protesters succeed and that their message of hope catches fire in other countries in desperate need of the Hong Kong formula.

    I’m not referring to a spread into mainland China, which would also be wonderful. No, here I’m hoping their thirst for freedom also spreads to the United States.

    I’m not saying the United States isn’t free. But it’s a whole lot less free than the special experiment of Hong Kong. For one thing, the Heritage Foundation rates Hong Kong’s as the freest economy in the world, and the United States as the world’s 12th-freest. That’s embarrassing.

    Worse than embarrassing. Sad. Outrageous.


  • Michael Huemer is a professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado (which, not that it matters, eked out a win against my beloved Cornhuskers on Saturday). He's in a good position to opine honestly on the World’s Longest Running Scam: The Academy. Longish, but well worth it.

    Sometimes, I feel as though my profession is a giant scam. I don’t mean that we’re not doing anything of value. I mean that what people think we’re doing, which explains why they pay us so much, is not what we’re actually doing. And when I reflect on that, sometimes, I wonder how long it will take for the world to catch on, and then stop giving us tons of money, at which point most of us will have to find real jobs. That might be good for society, but I hope it doesn’t happen before I’ve retired.

    Well, I made it out. So did Mrs. Salad. I'd wish good luck to Michael, but (honestly) I hope this "catching on" thing happens sooner rather than later.


  • At the Washington Free Beacon, Andrew Stiles asks the musical question: What Is The Point of CNN?.

    And, spoiler, sorry, the subheadline gives the answer away: "Nothing".

    CNN is a mid-tier cable news network that provides non-stop breaking news to bored airport travelers and internet journalists. The network has breathlessly covered President Donald Trump's every fart and utterance since 2015 and has contributed to the "national dialogue" through countless interviews with serious public intellectuals. Michael Avenatti, for example.

    One of CNN's most recent hires, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, was found to have lied to federal investigators under oath prior to his firing in March 2018. In addition to his role as CNN contributor, McCabe has a new side hustle: Keynote speaker at Democratic Party fundraisers.

    And speaking of the network's keen eye for talent, CNN invited celebrity white nationalist Richard Spencer on in June to discuss Donald Trump's "racist tweets." Brian Stelter, who hosts a show called Reliable Sources, recently nodded along as his guest, former Duke University chair of psychiatry Allen Francis, argued that Trump "may be responsible for many more million deaths" than genocidal dictators Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong.

    It's not so much that CNN (etc.) are blatant Democratic Party cheerleaders, it's that they're so inept at it.


  • [Amazon Link]
    Sean Carroll, probably the best the world has to offer in the realm of "actual scientist willing to explain things clearly to the masses", writing in the New York Times: Even Physicists Don’t Understand Quantum Mechanics.

    “I think I can safely say that nobody really understands quantum mechanics,” observed the physicist and Nobel laureate Richard Feynman. That’s not surprising, as far as it goes. Science makes progress by confronting our lack of understanding, and quantum mechanics has a reputation for being especially mysterious.

    What’s surprising is that physicists seem to be O.K. with not understanding the most important theory they have.

    Sean (I call him Sean) has a new book (out tomorrow, Amazon link at right) that advocates the “many-worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics. Which I've resisted buying into so far, but I'll check it out when the book becomes available at the library.


  • New material from Dave Barry at the Miami Herald on Grandparents Day: Grandfather Dave Barry on lessons learned. Now, I'm not a grandparent (as far as I know), you might not be either, but I can assure you that even if you're not, Dave's worth reading:

    You may not be aware of this, but today [actually, as I type, yesterday, sorry], September 8, is Grandparents Day. It’s also — really — Literacy Day, Star Trek Day and Iguana Awareness Day.

    I don’t know why we need a special day to be aware of iguanas. It’s definitely unnecessary in South Florida, which is IguanaPalooza. Spend an hour walking around my neighborhood and there’s a good chance you’ll encounter a green lizard the size of a small dog, glaring at you with a look that says: “If I were larger, I would swallow you in one gulp, like the Tyrannosaurus Rex that ate the lawyer in ‘Jurassic Park.’ ”

    That’s the iguana community’s favorite movie. It’s showing 24/7 down at the LizardPlex.

    So we South Floridians don’t need Iguana Awareness Day. What we need is Stop Sign Awareness Day, or Your Car Has Turn Signals For A Reason Awareness Day, or It’s Not A Great Idea To Celebrate Festive Occasions By Shooting Your Gun Into The Air You Moron Awareness Day.

    But getting back to Grandparents Day…

    I'm a few years behind Dave, agewise, so I consider him like an early warning system of what's coming up.