[Amazon Link]

Another fine outing for C. J. Box, with the latest exploits of Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett. Who goes through an unusual amount of hell here.

As the book opens, Joe is investigating the remains of Lek 64, a sage grouse colony that's been shotgun-slaughtered by persons unknown. A major distraction intervenes: Joe's wayward daughter April has been discovered nearly beaten to death on the side of a road.

Suspicion naturally falls on the rodeo cowboy with whom April had run off in the previous book. But (hm) an anonymous tip is called in, pointing the finger at a reclusive, heavily armed nutjob who doesn't recognize government authority, etc.

In the meantime, Joe's friend Nate Romanowski is in the hands of Federal law enforcement, and they have the bright idea to release him and use him as bait to entrap the at-large bad guy Nate betrayed in the previous book of the series. But Nate's only out for a brief time until he runs into big trouble.

Confession: I thought I saw the big plot twist well in advance. I was wrong. Author Box had me fooled.

A Star Is Born

[2.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Your mileage may definitely vary: this movie won one Oscar (Best Song) and was nominated for seven more (including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Screenplay). The IMDB raters give it a 7.8, pretty decent.

And the Netflix algorithm thought I'd love it.

Wrong. But maybe I was just in no mood for seeing the story of impossibly rich, majorly famous, allegedly talented people destroy their lives.

Anyway: Bradley Cooper plays Jack, the musical superstar with substance abuse problems, a dysfunctional relationship with his older brother, Bobby (Sam Elliot) and also tinnitus. After a performance, he's on a desperate search for booze and goes into a drag bar, where Ally (Lady Gaga) is performing La Vie en Rose. He is enraptured, and before you can say "Are you sure this is a good idea?" she's sharing the stage with him, which launches her career into the stratosphere. Which sets him up for his inevitable eclipse, futher substance abuse, and…

Well, you get the idea. Hollywood loves this plot; IMDB counts four previous movie versions. (One of which I saw, the one with Barbra Streisand, and I didn't like that one either.)

Except… whoa, that was Andrew Dice Clay?

URLs du Jour


[Amazon Link]

If you want to set an alarm or sacrifice a virgin or something, the Spring/Vernal/March Equinox is today at 21:58 UTC. (Convert as desired.)

I for one am kind of bummed that I didn't get the Amazon Product du Jour.

  • At the (possibly paywalled) WSJ, James P. Freeman opines: Elizabeth Warren Isn’t Qualified to Teach History, Either.

    Trailing the Democratic presidential pack in opinion surveys and fundraising, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) is urging Americans to consider a new redistribution of wealth. The basic idea is that the federal government will apportion among the citizens living now the historical guilt for heinous acts committed by people long dead against other people long dead. Then money would flow from people who have not been convicted of any crime to people who have not been found by any court to have been victimized by a crime.

    That of course is the appeal of "social justice": it's the opposite of actual justice.

  • At Reason, Nick Gillespie bids farewell to Dick Dale, a Great American Original, RIP.

    Dick Dale was born in Boston in 1937 as Richard Anthony Mansour, but he died on Saturday as "The King of the Surf Guitar." His life encapsulates so much that is great about America, especially our part-mythic, part-real ability to invent and re-invent who we want to be. It's fantastic, and totally to-be-expected, that a son of the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe ended up creating one of the most purely "American" strains of popular music. That's worth pondering, especially in a moment when xenophobia is on the rise.

    Dale was Lebanese on his father's side, Polish and Belorussian on his mother's. He became entranced by Hank Williams as a kid and his paternal uncle bought him a tarabaki and an oud, a Middle Eastern drum and stringed instrument respectively, and he started developing a highly personal guitar style in which he used the guitar as both a lead and percussive instrument.

    His family moved to Southern California in the mid-1950s and Dale started blending Middle Eastern music with rock and country. Along the way, he was christened Dick Dale by "Texas Tiny" Cherry, himself a short-lived, 640-pound country music legend. Dale didn't just reinvent himself and popular music styles. He also reinvented the technology to play rock, country, surf, you name it, by helping Leo Fender perfect the first 100-watt guitar amplifier that was not just incredibly loud but precise and durable.

    My CD collection is regrettably light on Dick Dale. I should remedy that.

  • Bryan Caplan looks for The Missing Planks. No, not on his deck. He's talking about the planks missing from Presidential campaign proposals. All good ideas, here are a couple:

    1. Stop REAL ID before it inconveniences tens of millions of American travelers.  Also, order the TSA to stop asking to see your boarding pass twice just to board a plane.
    2. Let students fulfill their foreign language requirement with a computer language.  For both high school graduation and public college admission.

    Provocative! When I was in high school, that probably would have been Fortran. Instead of… I think I took German? Wie geht es ihnen? Wo ist der Biergarten?

  • At Heterodox Academy, Ilana Akresh has thoughts on Extremism, Hate and Viewpoint Diversity triggered by the latest horror.

    One effect of such tragic events is to remind us that we are terrifyingly powerless to prevent them. And while most of us desperately want to craft a world where such atrocities are exceedingly rare, we struggle to understand how to get there. Yet, while we can’t control individual actors, we are not helpless in the climate we create. We can do something about the way we communicate with and listen to one another. And a climate in which people are led to view other identity groups as adversaries on a zero-sum battleground for resources is not one that will minimize such atrocities.

    Granted, to a certain extent, competition between groups may well be innate. However, it is a perilous move to encourage groups to divide along visible fault lines, appealing to entrenched histories and apparently intrinsic identities.

    A subtle but important point.

  • Andrew Klavan writes at the Daily Wire on the latest outrage: Democrats Fight To Extend Voting Rights To Stupid Kids.

    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says the voting age should be lowered to sixteen. In a speech to a mop closet she mistook for a feminist rally, Pelosi said, “Democrats need to get kids involved when they’re totally ignorant and half out of their minds on hormones or we’ll never get elected again.” Pelosi then realized she was talking to a bunch of mops, and said they should have the right to vote as well.

    Inspired by the Speaker, high school students across the country have formed an activist organization called Teenagers Who Like Really Think it Would Be Cool to Vote and You Can’t Stop Us—or TWILLRIT WUC V-YICSU.

    The group’s president, 16-year-old Thad Mellow, made his position clear in an essay he handed in two weeks late because his stupid little brother spilled Red Bull all over his laptop. The essay begins, “Why I would like to vote. By Thad Mellow. I would like to vote because I think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is really hot and if I voted for her I would get to meet her in person and show her how I can ride my skateboard down the concrete stairway in back of school while lighting a lighter with my tongue only this time I’d do it without cracking my skull and setting my face on fire.”

    Oh, yeah, I forgot: it's explicitly labeled "satire". But is it, really?

  • At National Review, Kevin D. Williamson speaks for me, and the sliver of the electorate that disbelieves in the Government Free Lunch Fairy. Donald Trump's Budget: Just Stop Spending.

    Stop spending money you don’t have, dummy.

    Can we conservatives agree — at least among ourselves — on that much?

    Maybe not.

    Confession: I am not much of an ideologue. And I don’t think “Stop spending money you don’t have, dummy!” is an ideological position, exactly. And there’s no need to be fanatical about it: Running a deficit during a serious economic downturn, a war, or a national emergency? I’m flexible. You show me Hitler invading Poland and my response is not going to be: Stop spending money you don’t have, dummy.

    It's hard. But it's not that hard.