Monday, August 13, 2018

EYE CANDY: Marti Frieson (reprise)

Marti Frieson has appeared as Eye Candy once before (September 4, 2017) modeling underwear by Hunk. He also has an Instagram page (@martitwelve) with not as many followers as he should (less than 7k) considering the quality of the images that he posts there. You're welcome!

Thursday, August 09, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Savage Run (Joe Pickett, #2) by C.J. Box

Savage Run is the second book in C.J. Box’s Warden Joe Pickett mystery series set in Saddlestring, Wyoming. I rad the first one, Open Season, earlier this year and liked it a lot. I know the series is quite popular, because on Goodreads these books often have thousands of ratings and hundreds of reviews which are overwhelming positive in general.

There are several good features of the Joe Pickett books: they are relatively short (under 300 pages), feature characters and settings that are unusual (wide-open countryside, cowboys and other rural residents) and are relatively suspenseful with thriller elements.

There are problematic aspects of the books as well. Joe Pickett is VERY taciturn and shockingly inept when it comes to the political aspects of his job as a state Fish & Game Warden in Wyoming. He is stubborn and doesn’t seem to make great decisions furthering his interests. His family of a wife and 2 girls is living in a state-furnished house and paycheck-to-paycheck but his actions frequently endanger his employment status. He often puts himself in danger by following leads by himself without any back up. He doesn't appreciate the unwritten rules which maintain the power structures in his state.

Savage Run  was interesting because the plot was basically about the fight between environmentalists and ranchers in the 1990s. The body count is larger than in the previous book but this serves to raise the stakes of what and who are involved. Also this time we were provided the perspective of the perpetrators, not just Joe's as he tries to figure out why and how someone was killed by an exploding cow. (The wry humor is another point in favor of these books.) In the end Joe is lucky to survive his showdown with some “tree huggers” and their opponents. (I don't really think this is a spoiler since this is book 2 in a series which is approaching 19 entries.)

Overall I enjoyed the book but I’m not convinced that these mysteries will be able to keep my attention to finish out the entire series. As I've said before, an important factor in evaluating the strength of a series is the attention the author pays to fleshing out the secondary characters (or sidekicks) in addition to the coplexity of the character of the protagonist. Joe is not complex, but he is an unusual "front man" for a murder mystery/police procedural and the setting of the books is definitely interesting. The secondary characters are basically his wife Marybeth and his young daughters. In, Savage Run Marybeth plays a larger role but his daughter Sheridan (who had a pivotal role in the first book) does not. Pickett does a lot of his work as a "lone wolf" and that's both a strength and weakness of the book(s).

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Title: Savage Run.
C.J. Box.
Paperback: 304 pages.
 G.P. Putnam's Sons.
Date Published: May 6, 2003.
Date Read: August 4, 2018.

★★½☆  (3.5/5.0).

OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.33/4.0).


Wednesday, August 08, 2018

08/08/18: My 10th Wedding Anniversary Is Today!

Today is 08/08/18, the tenth anniversary of my wedding day on 08/08/08. Here are some rare pictures of MadProfessah with The Other Half, taken on our recent trip to Reykyavik (Iceland) and Paris (France) in summer 2018. (See my Instagram feed for more images from our trip, and lots of pictures of my the outfit I wear every day!)

Coincidentally, August 8 is a famous tennis birthdate: (Roger Federer is 37 and Felix Auger-Aliassime is 18)

Friday, August 03, 2018

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: Openly Gay LA School Board Prez Resigns After Admitting Felonious Behaior

Ref Rodriguez appeared to be a rising political star when he was elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District school board in May 2015. He's openly gay, with a Ph.D. and was elected chair of the 7-member board by his colleagues soon after the 2017 LAUSD elections. He represented a majority that was in support of expanding charter schools in the nation's second largest school district.

That all came crashing down last week when Rodriguez pleaded guilty to a felony and immediately resigned from the school board on Monday July 23rd. The Los Angeles Times reported:
Los Angeles school board member Ref Rodriguez pleaded guilty Monday to a felony count of conspiracy and resigned from office, marking a dramatic fall for a widely admired educator who became the first charter schools executive elected to the Board of Education.
Rodriguez, 47, was once the leader of the charter school-backed majority that took over the board a year ago after the nation’s most expensive school board elections ever.
But two months after becoming school board president, the criminal charges compelled him to step back — giving up his presidency but retaining his seat amid the distractions of defending himself.
Under the deal with prosecutors, Rodriguez will avoid jail time. Instead, he will get three years’ probation and 60 days of community service.
Pretty shocking!

Thursday, August 02, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power is  very thought-provoking work of speculative fiction which attempts to portray an alternative world where women develop a power to inflict pain and grievous bodily harm (primarily through self-generated electric shock), that results in a world where gender roles are upended and women become the dominant sex.

The key strengths of the book are its setting and the ways in which the author riffs off aspects of our culture and societal norms in depicting how the world in the book is impacted by the sudden change in the power dynamics between the sexes. Would women really abuse and sexually dominate men if the roles were reversed and women now have the power to physically harm men whenever they want? In the world depicted in Naomi Alderman’s The Power, the answer is a full-throated yes.

A key weakness of the book in my opinion is the depiction of the characters around which the story is centered. For the most part, there was no character that I identified with strongly enough to become emotionally invested in their future. The one exception is the primary male character, Tunde Edo, a Nigerian boy who turns into scampi’s journalist and chronicler of the extraordinary events resulting from the discovery of The Power by women. Tunde was interesting and I definitely cared about what happened to him but as for the other characters, Ricky, Darrel, Allie, Roxy, Jocelyn and Margot, not so much. I don't think this is because of my own gender identity as a cisgender man; Tunde is continually depicted sympathetically, something which really can't be said about any of the other characters in the book (with the possible exception of Jocelyn and Margot).

It wasn’t until I reached the end of the book that I noticed another interesting feature. The entire work is characterized as a work of fiction by a guy called Neil Adam Armon who is exchanging letters about a book (which we have just read) with someone named Naomi, who are discussing different points about the ideas depicted in the story. it's clear from their interaction  that women being the dominant sex is perfectly natural in their world and the idea that men could be soldiers and commit atrocities on women is entirely fanciful and somewhat titillating. One of the last communications from Naomi is the suggestion that the book might do better if it is published under her name instead of a man's.... Also, between chapters there are illustrations of "historical artifacts" which purport to depict ancient examples of women in the past who had the power, demonstrating that the power has been a reality for a very long time. It’s the inclusion of similar clever subversions of gender like this which makes The Power a compelling (and quick), if flawed, read.

Title: The Power
Author: Naomi Alderman
Paperback: 341 pages.
Date Published: October 27, 2017.
Date Read: July 21, 2018.


OVERALL GRADE: A/A- (3.83/4.0).


Monday, July 30, 2018

EYE CANDY: Jones Tamar

Jones Tamar is a Brazilian model, one of the types of guys I like to feature here for Eye Candy fairly often. He has a hefty number (65k) of Instagram followers (@jonestamar). All I know is that he's from Bahia, not his age, height or weight. But I don't think that matters, do you? I don't know if he knows some of my other favorites like Maxs SouzaRobert Oliveira, Ramirez Allender and the boys from (now defunct website) MundoMais!


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