The Seattle Review of Books – Sherman Alexie, Lindy West, and Ta-Nehisi Coates all quit Twitter this week

Read Sherman Alexie, Lindy West, and Ta-Nehisi Coates all quit Twitter this week by Paul Constant (
Sooner or later, enough people I like are going to abandon the service, and the pain-to-pleasure ratio will tip unfavorably. I don't know how Twitter will survive 2017 without making some drastic changes to its service. Maybe it's already too late.

The Daily 202: Key dates to put on your calendar for 2017 | The Washington Post

Read The Daily 202: Key dates to put on your calendar for 2017 by James Hohmann (Washington Post)
Summits, elections, anniversaries and other momentous dates for Trump’s first year

David Fahrenthold tells the behind-the-scenes story of his year covering Trump | The Washington Post

Read David Fahrenthold tells the behind-the-scenes story of his year covering Trump by David Fahrenthold (Washington Post)
A reporter reveals how he investigated Trump’s claims on his donations to charity.

The dirty secret about your clothes | The Washington Post

Read The dirty secret about your clothes: Making them is toxic to people and the environment. Start-ups in India see a better way. But will we pay for it? by Esha Chhabra (Washington Post)

AUROVILLE, India — In the Colours of Nature dye house, Vijayakumar Varathan is busy prepping a vat of indigo. At 51, he looks frail, with a tanned body made mostly of bones, but he runs to and fro, setting up an open fire where he’ll brew cauldrons of natural colorants made from plants.He’s worked here for 15 years. But until his early 30s, Varathan mixed chemicals in a conventional clothing factory in the same region of southern India. There he developed a disease that caused layers of his skin to peel off. Even today, it is discolored. “It was pretty bad,” he says, in his fragmented English. “But I didn’t have a choice.”

Don Katz’s letter about Ralph Ellison’s influence

Read Don Katz's letter about Ralph Ellison's influence by Don Katz (

Dear Listener,During the winter of 1971 I was a freshman at NYU, and I read two books that changed me. The first was Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury—a book I read in a single afternoon-to-dawn sitting. The second was Invisible Man, an astonishingly artful and complex work of literature written by a man I heard was actually teaching a course at NYU the next semester.

Over the next three years, after Ralph Ellison allowed me into a small seminar focused on the American vernacular, and a year after that, when he took me on as a tutee every Wednesday afternoon until I graduated, one of the greatest of all American writers taught me how to read. Ralph also helped me gain the courage and occasional insight to write, and I went on to make a living as a writer for 20 years after that. Ralph encouraged me and spoke up for me publicly until he died in 1994.

I learned from Ralph Ellison that Americans worked to create an identity from a synthesis of divergent cultures. We created a distinctive way of talking and telling stories, which led to the distinctive voice in the way we wrote. I understood from Ralph that the American experience derived from the process of a nation constantly making and remaking itself, a place that needed to create its own myths and art and even its own sounds because we had to. While Ralph Ellison taught me that Americans needed to create our own archetypes and myths, he also conveyed that in a nation creating itself without kings, a new order was created based on the color of people’s skin.

Because of Ralph I always heard the sound of what I read and what I wrote. Well-composed words sound like music to me, and after being a writer for 20 years, this led directly to an idea that became and our 20-years of applying new technologies to the celebration and elevation of the unbridled power of the well-spoken word.

A few feet from my cube is the Ralph Ellison room, and the following is what I wrote about Ralph for the glass wall I see every day: Ralph Ellison’s understanding of the power of the oral tradition and his ability to hear the music in well-wrought arrangements of spoken words informed the vision and mission of Audible from the beginning. Ellison was the teacher and mentor of Audible’s founder. According to Ellison, the way the early American vernacular embraced storytelling around campfires, the braggadocio of our salesmanship, and the sound of our lamenting in the fields became the distinctive voice that defined American novels and our singularly “conscious and conscientious” culture, a culture that created itself “out of whatever it found useful.” Ellison loved the melodies in language and he told stories in a voice that sounded like a coal car coming out of a mine. He loved enormous cigars, jazz, and ideas. In many ways Audible exists to honor his legacy.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that great teachers can’t direct the course and meaning of a life.

Don Katz

CEO, Founder of Audible

Download Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man as a Free Audiobook (Available for a Limited Time) | Open Culture

Read Download Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man as a Free Audiobook (Available for a Limited Time) by Dan Colman (

When Ralph Ellison published his first novel, Invisible Man, in 1952, it took the literary world by storm. Orville Prescott, a literary critic at The New York Times, wrote in April of ’52:

Ralph Ellison’s first novel, “The Invisible Man,” is the most impressive work of fiction by an American Negro which I have ever read. Unlike Richard Wright and Willard Motley, who achieve their best effects by overpowering their readers with documentary detail, Mr. Ellison is a finished novelist who uses words with great skill, who writes with poetic intensity and immense narrative drive. “Invisible Man” has many flaws. It is a sensational and feverishly emotional book. It will shock and sicken some of its readers. But, whatever the final verdict on “Invisible Man” may be, it does mark the appearance of a richly talented writer.

Watch a Needle Ride Through LP Record Grooves Under an Electron Microscope | Open Culture

Read Watch a Needle Ride Through LP Record Grooves Under an Electron Microscope (

Last year, we highlighted a 1956 video from RCA Victor which demonstrated how vinyl records were made back in the good old days. If you have 23 free minutes, you can get a pretty good look at the production process — the live audio recording, the making of a master disc, the production of a mold, the eventual mass production of vinyl records, etc.

Almost 60 years later, vinyl is making a comeback. So why not let Ben Krasnow, a hardware engineer at Google X, give us a much more modern perspective on the LP? Above, watch Krasnow’s stop motion animation, made with an electron microscope, which shows us a phonograph needle riding through grooves on an LP. Much of the 9-minute video offers a fairly technical primer on what went into making this stop motion clip in the first place. So if you want to get to the action, fast forward to the 4:20 mark.

If you hang with Krasnow’s video, you can also see him take some microscopic looks at other media formats — CD-ROMs, early forms of DVDs, and more.

via Devour

Why we don’t support old WordPress versions | Yoast

Read Why we don't support old WordPress versions by Joost de Valk (Yoast)
For all sorts of reasons, some people have a problem with updating WordPress installs properly. I will state now that for both our free and premium plugins we do not support anything but the latest and the prior to last version. At the time of writing that’s WordPress 4.5 and WordPress 4.6 . If you’re running anything else, we can’t help you. But mostly, I want to convince you to upgrade by dispelling all the reasons why you shouldn’t or “couldn’t” upgrade.

Why I close PRs (OSS project maintainer notes) | Jeff Geerling

Read Why I close PRs (OSS project maintainer notes) by Jeff Geerling (

GitHub project notifications geerlingguy/drupal-vm PRs

I maintain many open source projects on GitHub and elsewhere (over 160 as of this writing). I have merged and/or closed thousands of Pull Requests (PRs) and patches in the past few years, and would like to summarize here many of the reasons I don't merge many PRs.

A few of my projects have co-maintainers, but most are just me. The bus factor is low, but I offset that by granting very open licenses and encouraging forks. I also devote a set amount of time (averaging 5-10 hours/week) to my OSS project maintenance, and have a personal budget of around $1,000/year to devote to infrastructure to support my projects (that's more than most for-profit companies who use my projects devote to OSS, sadly).

I don't like closing a PR without merging, because a PR means someone liked my project enough to contribute back. But sometimes it's necessary. I'm not trying to be a jerk (and I usually start by thanking the contributor to try to soften the blow of a closed PR), I'm just ensuring the continued health of the project. Below are the principles behind how I maintain my projects, and hopefully by reading through them you'll understand more about why I choose to close PRs instead of merging.

How much do our (supposed) intellectual elite…

Read How much do our (supposed) intellectual elite know about human progress? by Michael Nielsen (

That's a question I've been stewing about for the past few weeks, ever since reading the results from a quiz (at…/three-minutes-with-hans-rosling-wil… ) in the scientific journal Nature, from Hans Rosling.

The quiz contains 8 fundamental questions about the state of the world: questions about poverty, life expectancy, wealth, population, and so on. All big, important questions.

What has me stewing is that respondents to the quiz - I presume,'s readers - do far worse than chance. That is, they would have done much better overall if they'd simply guessed their answers at random (the questions are multiple choice). Only on 2 of 8 questions do respondents do appreciably better than chance. On most questions they do worse than chance, sometimes much worse than chance. A chimpanzee pushing buttons at random would have done better than's readers.(By the way, I'm not certain the response data is from's readers. It may be separate data, perhaps from Rosling's audiences. If that's the case, it weakens my argument below.)

I'm not usually bothered by this kind of thing. Media love to bemoan surveys showing lack of basic scientific knowledge among the general population. That kind of thing doesn't alarm me. We're a society in which most people specialize, and it's not surprising if most of us are ignorant in major areas; collectively we can still do pretty well. But this data from Rosling - the Nature survey - really got under my skin. It's a survey of a group (one I'm part of, I guess) that often seems to think it has special knowledge of solutions to big, important problems - things like climate change, energy, development, and so on. And what I take from Rosling's data is that that group isn't just ignorant about the state of the world in some fundamental ways. They're actually anti-informed.

So, why does this matter?

On Twitter, I regularly see people like Rosling, Max Roser, Steven Pinker, and Dina Pomeranz post graphs showing changes in the state of the world. Often, those graphs are extremely positive, like Roser's wonderful graphs on poverty, education, literacy etc over the last 200 years:

(See the images below, or:… )

It is absolutely astonishing to read the responses to such tweets. Many people are furious at the idea that some things in the world are getting better. Many responses boil down to "Nah, nah, can't be true", or "I'll bet [irrelevant thing] is getting worse, why don't you focus on that, you tool of the capitalist conspiracy."

Of course, while those responses are irritating, & illustrate a certain kind of wilful ignorance, they don't really much matter. What bothers me more is that some of the most common responses are variants on "It doesn't matter, climate change is more important than all your graphs"; "Where are your climate graphs?"; "Nukes are going to kill us all"; etc.

This type of comment seems wrongheaded for more interesting reasons.

First, appreciating Roser's (and similar) graphs does not mean failing to acknowledge climate change, nuclear security, and other problems. Roser, for instance, has repeatedly acknowledged that the challenges of climate are huge and critical.

But I think the more significant thing is that graphs like Roser's don't happen by accident. They are extraordinary human achievements - the outcome of remarkable technical, social and organizational invention. If you don't know of these facts, in detail, or if you underplay their importance, then you cannot hope to understand the underlying technical, social, and organizational invention in any depth. And it seems to me that that kind of understanding may well be crucial to solving problems like climate, etc.

To put it another way, the anti-Pollyannas, including much of our intellectual elite who think they have "the solutions", have actually cut themselves off from understanding the basis for much of the most important human progress.

What's the solution? I'm not sure. But this line of thinking is deepening my appreciation for the work done by people such as Roser, Rosling et al. And it's making me think about how it can be scaled up & incorporated more broadly into our institutions.

Book Review: Son of Fletch by Gregory Mcdonald

Read Son of Fletch by Gregory Mcdonald (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Son of Fletch Book Cover Son of Fletch
Fletch #10 (in the stories' chronological order #10); Son of Fletch #1
Fiction; Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
1993; ebook: April 19, 2010

Fletch has a son. He's a convict, a racist, a hate group organizer, and he's on the run after a prison break. Will Fletch help him out?


It was a dark and stormy night…

In eleven novels in the series, one of them was bound to start off like this, in a sense. Like most in the Fletch series, the story is off like a shot from the beginning, but then just a tad into the first act there’s another huge plot point (suggested by the title of the book) or known by the close reader who remembers Crystal Faoni who was a major (large?) character from Fletch’s Fortune.

I don’t know that I believed the convicts just taking Fletch’s word for where to hide out at the time, in part because the character development to make it plausible didn’t come until later. There was also a plot point involving the sheriff that I saw coming from a mile away that could/should have been much more subtle for a bigger surprise when it was revealed.

My biggest problem was that after some great build up I was expecting something really big or interesting from either Fletch or his son to close out the whole story. Sadly the end of the plot devolved in too quick and short a manner for a really satisfying pay off.

Of all of the Fletch books, so far this one seems to be the biggest influencer for the creation of portions of the movie Fletch Lives, which was otherwise made out of whole cloth based on the character. In some sense Cleavon Little’s character “Calculus Entropy” replaced Fletch’s son and big parts of the plot were heavily rewritten purely for entertainment’s sake.

Of all of the books which mention the seemingly ever-present Edward Arthur Tharp, Jr., this one seems to have more detail about it, particularly as in this story the book has finally been finished and it becomes a method by which Fletch and his son seem to probe each other about it. Oddly there was no mention or parallel between Fletch’s own mother as a writer and his having become a writer.


Fletch’s girlfriend in this piece serves as pure plot and didn’t feel as multi-dimensional as she should have been given her role in the piece. She does serve well as the “better angel” as well as the gut reaction most readers will also be feeling through the story. But as always, one must just “trust” Fletch and his plan of where he’s going, even if he’s not sure himself.

Fletch himself seems to be much the same as we remember him, though I really wonder how and why he seems to have settled down into small town Tennessee life. Descriptions in the book make it sound like he’s still a man of the world, but somehow interesting people come to him instead of him going to see them. None of this really fits into the bigger character to me, but the story continues as if it doesn’t matter anyway.

Fletch’s son plays things very close to the vest, so his motivations and character aren’t really developed until much later in the piece, but in some sense he’s at least differentiated well enough from Fletch to be his “own man” here.

I liked that even the racists here were given some well done characterization so that despite their beliefs that one could actually feel bad for them in some sense. I will say it was relatively interesting to read in the timeperiod of the 2016 presidential election.


Overall this was a middle-of-the-road Fletch installment. (But still ranks relatively high on the mystery/suspense/detective genres). I suspect that it would have been more interesting to Fletch fans who hadn’t had an installment in a few years based on the time it was released. For a potential reboot of the series, or for kicking off a new series, it wasn’t a bad effort.

Reading Progress
  • 08/7/16 marked as: want to read; “The Rio Olympics reminded me that I’d gotten Carioca Fletch to read back in the 80’s and never got around to it, so I thought I’d come back and revisit the series.”
  • 11/26/16 started reading
  • 11/26/16 13.0% done; “Fletch has a son. He’s a convict and he’s on the run after a prison break. Will Fletch help him out?”
  • 11/28/16 25.0% done; “We’re off like a shot. Somehow it doesn’t seem terrifically believable that the escape convicts so easily take Fletch’s advice on where to hide, but he does a fantastic job of coralling them in the opeining.
    Some of the overt “Southernness” feels overdone to me, but perhaps it was the effect of Mcdonald’s many years living in Tennessee which had a tarnishing effect.”
  • 11/29/16 57.0% done; “We’re starting to go somewhere, but I can sadly already almost predict the ending. In particular, there was a ham-handed mention of a car that gave the whole thing away for me.
    Of all of the Fletch books, so far this one seems to be the biggest influencer for the creation of portions of the movie Fletch Lives, which was otherwise made out of whole cloth based on the character.”
  • 12/1/16 64.0% done; “This is where things begin to go sideways! Here comes the third act… Much of what I anticipated was going to happen has; the question now is how will he manage to extract himself (and his friends/family)?”
  • 12/03/16 Finished book

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

“Some villains decided to take themselves a little vacation from the federal penitentiary up in Kentucky, Carrie.”
“Can’t blame ‘em,” Fletch said. “We’ve been advertising Tennessee as a vacation spot. Take yourselves off to Tennessee. Isn’t that the slogan?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 44-46

Added on Saturday, November 26, 2016 10:47:45 PM

“Mister Fletcher. Miss Carrie.”
“Howdy, Sheriff,” Carrie said.
“Don’t Francie let you take a shower-bath at home anymore?”
“Says I keep leavin’ wet towels on the bathroom floor. So she sends me out every time there’s a hard rain.

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Added on Saturday, November 26, 2016 10:47:59 PM

A few months before, two of the county’s cars had smashed into each other, in a parking lot.

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Poor storytelling form here.

Added on Saturday, November 26, 2016 10:51:46 PM

“I don’t have a gun,” Carrie said. “What do I do if the wolf comes by?”
“What you charmin’ Tennesseans always do.”
“What’s that?”
“Say, ‘Hydy, Mister Wolf. How’s your pa?’”
“Which paw will I be askin’ about in this case? Right, left, front, back?”

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Added on Saturday, November 26, 2016 10:53:09 PM

At first Fletch saw only the back of a soaking wet, lean male in his early twenties. The back of his denim shirt had stitched on it FEDERAL PENITENTIARY/TOMASTON. Fletch tisked. “You kids. You can’t wear anything without some sort of an advertisement or a slogan on it. Wouldn’t the usual beer logo or ‘YALE’ do just as well?”

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Added on Saturday, November 26, 2016 10:59:30 PM

“It’s like being a beautician in the land of the ugly!”

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Added on Saturday, November 26, 2016 11:26:14 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 537
Added on Sunday, November 27, 2016 11:50:34 PM

“Idea is, they could have Ms. Carrie hostage in one room while you’re sweet-talkin’ us.” “Me? Sweet-talk anybody?” Fletch grinned. “I understand.”

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Added on Sunday, November 27, 2016 11:51:44 PM

“You got any of those Tharp paintings, Mister Fletcher?” “No. I guess I ran the price of them up too high for me to afford ‘em.”

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Added on Sunday, November 27, 2016 11:52:12 PM

In this life, who are the bastards?” Jack muttered, “The fathers, or the sons?”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:01:53 AM

“You escaped from a maximum-security federal penitentiary after only five weeks?”
“I didn’t like it there,” Jack said. “Noisy. Food could have been better. I’d read all the books in the library.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:02:55 AM

Ever since you wrote the book Pinto: The Biography of Edgar Arthur Tharp, Junior. That was a big success, wasn’t it?”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:04:44 AM

“Big book,” Jack said. Fletch said, “It took a while.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:05:15 AM

“You believe in straight lines, don’t you?”
“Nature does not love the straight line,” Fletch said. “Man is compelled to it.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:08:03 AM

People here don’t really, really believe frogs drop from the sky in a hard rain.

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:11:08 AM

“I could sit here forever,” Carrie said, “feeling you inside me. What would you do if I sat here forever?” On his back, Fletch shrugged. “Send out for Chinese, I guess.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:13:45 AM

“Everything all right?” she asked. “All things being relative.”

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Ha! Relative. Nice double entendre.

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:14:46 AM

“E=MC2!” Such was Carrie’s expletive. She considered the theory of relativity the most outlandish thing she had ever heard of.

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:17:26 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 910
Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 2:06:45 AM

good, Fletch.

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 2:10:25 AM

Turning, Kriegel went to Jack and clasped him by the shoulders. “This man is your father! Why didn’t you tell me? He is one of us! We are saved!” “Praise the Lord,” Fletch said.

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 2:12:50 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 1003
Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 2:23:23 AM

Kriegel took a few steps toward Carrie and Fletch. It seemed his intent to take them by the hands. Fletch stuck his hands in the pockets of his shorts.

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 7:51:05 PM

“Shit,” she said. “He’s your son, all right. Clear as a church bell on a crisp night. He’s got your body.” “Oh, don’t say that,” Fletch said. “Last time someone said that about me and someone else, one of us got shot through a window.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 7:52:34 PM

“You going to get married?” “These days you marry a woman and two lawyers. Beds just aren’t that big.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 7:57:47 PM

“Hey.” Jack trotted behind the horse. “You’re riding a horse barebacked in shorts.” “Yeah,” Fletch said. “Just like a Native American.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 8:17:39 PM

“Ah, Fletch. Don’t think of yourself as a Yankee anymore. You’re about gettin’ over it.”

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Like it was a disease

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 8:32:04 PM

Jack had been amazed to see Fletch come out of the henhouse carrying eleven eggs. “Wow!” he said. “You make your own eggs!” Then he said, “They’re dirty!” Fletch said, “You think they were hatched already scrambled with milk and butter?” Jack grinned. “I was hatched sunnyside up, I was.” “I see,” Fletch said. “So you scrambled yourself.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 8:33:12 PM

“For a guitar picker, you sure know some different scales.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 8:55:04 PM

Having been a print journalist, and someone who had written a book, Fletch persisted in believing there was not much future in electronics, generally.

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But what about his technology platform in the prior book (Fletch and the Man Who)?

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:00:35 PM

We’re as slick as a boxer after the tenth round.”

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should have been noting these. this is the 20th of these goofy similies…

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:12:36 PM

“Describe him.” “Hispanic.” “I’m prepared to call that a good arrest, aren’t you?” “Absolutely.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:14:19 PM

One way and another, Fletch had learned the importance of creating a diversion.

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:14:59 PM

Arms akimbo, Carrie said, “What are you? Only God and you know that, and I suspect you’re confused.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:17:38 PM

“Besides,” Carrie answered in a milder tone, “generally, Fletch doesn’t hold much stock in simple questions. He says, when you ask a question all you get is an answer to the question, not the truth. He says, to get the truth it’s best to wait and watch and listen.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:19:58 PM

“Oh, yes,” Carrie said. “Fletch calls you the tactile generation. For short, he calls you the scabpickers. What you know, what you do isn’t important, only what you feel.

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:21:24 PM

By golly, Ms.

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Consistency of chapter opens?

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:26:55 PM

“All three hundred and fifty pounds of white and naked flab you all call Leary is dead to the world out on the back lawn,” Fletch said. “I swear, if we drag him down to the roadside, the slaughter truck will pick him up for the glue factory without even stopping to ask which nature of beast he is.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:28:48 PM


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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:31:49 PM

“Come, come,” Fletch said. “Jack and I will be with you. What have you to fear? You know Jack is a karate expert. And I? Don’t even ask. Never have I met man or beast to make me tremble in nose or lip.”

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I love the stilted language here to poke fun of the racist

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:35:15 PM

Pity if you escaped prison just for a zoological experience in a ditch.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:36:00 PM

If biff came to bang, Fletch would be interested to see what John Fletcher Faoni would do.

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:36:18 PM

“Yes, I see,” Kriegel said. “Wasn’t it Julius Caesar,” Fletch asked, “who said something about divide and skinny through?” “He said, ‘All roads lead to Rome.’” “That, too,” Fletch agreed. “Quite a phrasemaker, that Caesar feller. I knew you know your military history.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:37:18 PM


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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:40:25 PM

Fletch shouted at Leary, “Now, hold on to that little cow!” Standing, with his feet spread, Leary grabbed the bull calf’s tail. As Carrie started the truck down the driveway, Leary’s boots slipped in wet manure already on the floor of the pickup truck’s bed. He landed on his ass. On the manure. Both his hands still held on to the bull calf’s tail. “Hold on to it!” Fletch ordered. “It’s shittin’ on me!” Leary yelled halfway down the driveway. It certainly was.

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:41:31 PM

Then Fletch watched Jack choking with laughter. “Oh, hello.” Fletch slapped Jack on the back. “How are you feeling?”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:43:13 PM

Jack smiled. “Shall I sing a few bars of ‘Let the Punishment Fit the Crime’?”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:44:52 PM

Jack said, “I’m amazed at the way you have kept us all weak, incapacitated.”

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Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:45:37 PM

In the backseat, blinking slowly, Kriegel was waking up. The guitar was propped up on the seat beside him. Their shapes were similar. The guitar had the more attractive neck.

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awesome description

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:47:33 PM

Kriegel asked, “Who is this Professor Josiah Black?” Neither Fletch nor Jack answered. Kriegel insisted. “What did you mean by ‘Josiah Black’?” Fletch did not answer. “It comes from an old American song, sir,” Jack answered. “What’s the name of the song?” Jack said, “‘Ol’ Black Joe.”’ “‘Ol’ Black Joe’?” Kriegel spluttered. “You called me an old, black Joe? Is that supposed to be funny?” “I had to tell him something, didn’t I?” Fletch asked. “Couldn’t say you are Santa Claus now, could I?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1685-1693

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:52:48 PM

“I mean, don’t you realize you are the most despised person on earth?” “Who, me?” “You are the intelligent, educated to some degree, I gather, well-off, middle-aged, heterosexual white male. On this earth, you are distinctly the minority. Yet you and your kind have made the world, as we know it, what it is. For centuries, you have created the religious and political institutions, the businesses, the wars, laws that protect and suit you to the exclusion of others, while exploiting all people of color, Indians, Negroids, Orientals, even those less fortunate than yourself of the same tribe, the laborers, as well as all women and children.” “Wow.” Fletch well knew these sentiments. He had been confronted with such often enough. “And all this time I thought I was just gettin’ along best I could.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1698-1705

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:53:56 PM

“What, your being thirsty? Chew buttons.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1722-1722

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:55:17 PM

There is no place from the Balkans to the city of Los Angeles where tribal wars are not raging. Am I right? Humans basically are tribal, Mister Fletcher, something your government does not understand. There is the individual. There is the family. There is the tribe.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1736-1738

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:01:05 PM

“That tribalism is being used, around the world, by a lot of would-be tinpot demagogues and dictators, warlords, simply to grab power and all the good things for themselves. That that is what really goes on in the world, among whites, blacks, Orientals, women, children, always has and always will: power-mongering based on individual greed.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1758-1761

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:02:48 PM

“Ummm.” Fletch smiled at Jack. “Not the first time I’ve noticed that those who lecture, frequently don’t listen.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1772-1773

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:04:30 PM

Racism has taken off its coat,” Fletch said.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1782-1782

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:08:04 PM

“Best-laid plans,” Carrie said, “often get screwed up.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1838-1838
Reference To a Mouse by Robert Burns: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:11:26 PM

The place looked like a wacky seven-year-old boy’s idea of heaven.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1881-1882
great description of a klan encampment

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:15:49 PM

“You came to my house to involve me.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1936-1936

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:20:02 PM

“Joe Rogers’s wife.” Jack sat to Carrie’s right. “Sheriff Joe Rogers?” Fletch asked. “Yeah,” Carrie said. Fletch said, “Must be a coincidence.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1969-1973

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:22:46 PM

Hello, Andy. How’s your head bone?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1975-1975

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:23:07 PM

The governor of California has issued a statement reminding people that most of California is not affected by earthquakes at all. I suspect that bit was written for him by the Chamber of Commerce goaded by amusement park operators.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2003-2005

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:25:31 PM

Always he had noticed builders in this area of the South never left trees, or any source of shade, in their parking lots. Trees are pretty, give shade, lessen the need for air-conditioning, but golly gee, take up as much as a square foot of ground space.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2110-2111

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:34:09 PM


Highlight (yellow) Location 2121-2121

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:34:52 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 2179
Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 12:34:21 AM

I hate to accept their food.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2180-2181

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:37:20 AM

She tasted her chili. “Yee! It tastes like chopped horned toads and ketchup! These foreigners don’t even know how to make respectable chili!”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2187-2188

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:38:15 AM


Highlight (yellow) Location 2196-2196

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:39:41 AM

“Fletch, the license plate is from our county.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2227-2228
Major tell that Sheriff didn’t pick up escapees

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:42:35 AM

She’s out of pocket.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2262-2263
I’m curious about where/when this phrase originated with the meaning of being “not available”? Perhaps with the invention of the cell phone that could fit into a pocket? Or earlier with a pool reference?

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:45:17 AM

“This kid could be as crazy as a groundhog on ice.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2269-2270

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:46:16 AM

“I suspect it’s not every man’s dream to discover his son is a cop-killing, escaped convict, racist, hate-group organizer.”

Highlight (blue) Location 2276-2277

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:46:53 AM

“I always want to know the truth.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2282-2282

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:47:18 AM

“I am Commandant Wolfe!” “I’m Shalom Aleichem.” Fletch stuck his thumb toward Carrie. “This is Golda Meir, as a girl.” “Doctor Kriegel has warned me of your sense of humor, Mister Fletcher.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2316-2319

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:49:27 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 2326
Added on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 1:45:26 AM

“Ah, Fletch! You’re not going to give me that one-world crap, are you?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2326-2326

Added on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 1:45:35 AM

Softly, Fletch said, “Since the beginning of time, a few have taken the fact of economic competition, no matter how great the resources, and used it to create hatred and violence to satisfy their own greed.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2328-2330

Added on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 1:45:56 AM

“How can I object?” Jack said. “I am a result of selective breeding. Aren’t I?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2351-2352

Added on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 1:48:02 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 2352
Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:08:04 AM

“My, my,” Fletch said to Carrie. “This is being taped.” “‘Vanity, vanity,’” Carrie said. “‘All is vanity.’” “More than that,” Fletch said. “Like their predecessors, they are carefully documenting their own history.” “So later they can deny it, right?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2365-2369
very remniscent of Trump

Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:08:59 AM

Ethnic cleansing. Separatism.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2392-2393

Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:11:21 AM

In the wasteland of Karoo, South Africa, Orania is the name of the headquarters of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2453-2454

Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:15:46 AM

There, standing, staring at them, openmouthed was their friend, the sheriff, Joe Rogers.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2490-2490

Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:18:53 AM

I’ll believe that when catfish meow and climb trees.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2500-2500

Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:19:44 AM

If it were not the nature of these people to blame others for their ills, Fletch reasoned, they would not be here.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2546-2546

Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:22:23 AM

I mean, get the E=MC2 out of here!”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2576-2576

Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:25:09 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 2576
Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 1:29:41 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 2686
Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 2:05:44 PM

Fletch heard Toninho say,

Highlight (yellow) Location 2710-2711
Quick reference back to Carioca Fletch

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 2:11:09 PM

“Animals? These aren’t the chosen people?” “No. You are the chosen people, Mister Fletcher. All this I do for you.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2756-2757
Sounds like something Jesus would say

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 2:16:10 PM

“Never judge a leader by his followers.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2759-2759

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 2:16:18 PM

“We are just using these fools, these psychotics, toward an end.” “‘Using’ them,” Fletch repeated. “Of course. Using them. I wish I didn’t have to. There are many reasons you should be grateful, supportive toward my efforts.” “Sorry, I never carry my checkbook.” “Where would these psychotic fools be tonight, what would they be doing if they were not here bashing each other’s brains out?” “Home baking cookies?” “They have to belong to something, something bigger than they are, something secret, of which they can be secretly proud. By their natures, these fools are gang members. They are incapable, you see, of standing on their own, as individuals. We’re just taking advantage of their natures. We direct their energies. We organize them. They need the discipline we give them.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2762-2771

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 2:17:11 PM

Jack said to Fletch: “What do you know? I’ve killed a cop.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2888-2888

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 2:26:54 PM

Sabotage Corps is

Highlight (gray) Location 3082-3083
typo extra line return

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 2:44:09 PM

And you know the one thing people never can remain silent about is silence.” Andy remained silent.

Highlight (yellow) Location 3246-3247

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:01:35 PM

Carrie quoted Fletch: “‘We’re all mysteries awaiting solution.’” Fletch said, “We’re all histories awaiting execution.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3303-3304

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:05:12 PM

“God! We’ll never get rid of that damned body!”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3347-3348

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:07:54 PM

Jack had awoken in time to set up the sound system for The Reverend Kriegel’s religious service, prayer meeting, sermon, harangue, newly scheduled for eleven o’clock.

Highlight (yellow) Location 3357-3358

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:08:54 PM

The Reverend Kriegel then had said a few words over the grave. To the men’s amusement, he commented on the appropriateness of “burying the cook cheek to jowl with roasted beef.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3362-3363

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:09:39 PM

we will take just the men you have here—having chosen a small, fairly isolated city, in the Southwest, South, Midwest, West, it doesn’t matter—gather intelligence on it, turn off its power and water, attack it in force, and liberate from that town’s banks and other businesses what I think you Americans call ‘cash money.’

Highlight (yellow) Location 3465-3468

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:28:45 PM

Fletch realized he had the advantage. She was backlit by the fading light in the window behind her. The attendant had closed the door behind Fletch. He could see her amazing outline. She couldn’t see him at all.

Highlight (yellow) Location 3558-3559
Interesting use of “amazing”

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:36:02 PM

“If you had raised a son, he would have rebelled against you, dissented, probably become the opposite of everything you are and everything you stand for. Sons do that.” “Some sons, I guess.” “Your son would have. I’m certain your son would have. Not knowing you, Jack adores you.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3605-3608

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:39:43 PM

“His name is John Fletcher Faoni?” “Yes.” “Who’s John?” “You wanted more of Irwin Maurice maybe?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3625-3627

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:40:56 PM


Highlight (orange) Location 3690-3690

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:45:38 PM

“I’m not clucking.” It was getting dark outside and Fletch’s mind was settling on pizza. “I’m expostulating.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3695-3696

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:46:12 PM

For a moment, Fletch was unsure whether it was Wolfe’s idea to shoot at Jack and Fletch, or to shoot himself.

Highlight (yellow) Location 3882-3883
What a dull ending if this is it.

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 4:07:43 PM

“I’ve heard that about you. You once reported a murder to your editor and asked him to tell the photographers to give the widow time to get home to report the murder.” “Did I?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3899-3900

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 4:08:48 PM

Fletch said to Jack, “A woman named Slavenka Drakulic, a victim of the most recent Balkan ethnic-cleansing wars, wrote in The New York Times Sunday Magazine: ‘We are the war. I am afraid there is no one else to blame. We all make it possible. We allow it to happen. There is no them and us. There are no numbers, masses, categories. There is only one of us and, yes, we are responsible for each other.’”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3977-3980

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 4:13:28 PM

While Jack studied his ticket, Fletch said to Jack, “A woman named Slavenka Drakulic, a victim of the most recent Balkan ethnic-cleansing wars, wrote in The New York Times Sunday Magazine: ‘We are the war. I am afraid there is no one else to blame. We all make it possible. We allow it to happen. There is no them and us. There are no numbers, masses, categories. There is only one of us and, yes, we are responsible for each other.’” “Got a pen and piece of paper?” Jack asked. “In the glove compartment. Just thought that quote might add something to your story, if it fits in anywhere.” “How do you spell her name?” “By golly. The kid can even work pen and paper!”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3977-3984

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 4:14:06 PM

“I doubt you’d attempt anything without accomplishing it. Even murder.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 4005-4005

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 4:15:13 PM

His new T-shirt had a logo on it which read: WHY HUG THE ROAD WHEN YOU’VE GOT ME? He had a choice of either that logo or a beer advertisement.

Highlight (yellow) Location 4009-4010

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 4:15:45 PM

Carrie answered. “Hello?” “Hello.” “Where are you?” “I’ll be home in a few minutes.” “That’s good. Hey, Fletch! Guess what?” “What?” “I made a firecracker cake!” Fletch said, “Oh, boy.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 4017-4023
After a half dozen mentions of the stupid firecracker cake, this is almost funny now.

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 4:16:37 PM

Guide to highlight colors

Yellow–general highlights and highlights which don’t fit under another category below
Orange–Vocabulary word; interesting and/or rare word
Green–Reference to read
Blue–Interesting Quote
Gray–Typography Problem
Red–Example to work through

Go To Hellman: How to check if your library is leaking catalog searches to Amazon

Read How to check if your library is leaking catalog searches to Amazon by Rob Hellman (

I've been writing about privacy in libraries for a while now, and I get a bit down sometimes because progress is so slow. I've come to realize that part of the problem is that the issues are sometimes really complex and  technical; people just don't believe that the web works the way it does, violating user privacy at every opportunity.Content embedded in websites is a a huge source of privacy leakage in library services. Cover images can be particularly problematic. I've written before that, without meaning to, many libraries send data to Amazon about the books a user is searching for; cover images are almost always the culprit. I've been reporting this issue to the library automation companies that enable this, but a year and a half later, nothing has changed. (I understand that "discovery" services such as Primo/Summon even include config checkboxes that make this easy to do; the companies say this is what their customers want.)

Point of View: North Carolina no longer a democracy | News & Observer

Read North Carolina is no longer classified as a democracy by Andrew Reynolds (newsobserver)
In the just released EIP report, North Carolina’s overall electoral integrity score of 58/100 for the 2016 election places us alongside authoritarian states and pseudo-democracies like Cuba, Indonesia and Sierra Leone. If it were a nation state, North Carolina would rank right in the middle of the global league table – a deeply flawed, partly-free, democracy that is only slightly ahead of the failed democracies that constitute much of the developing world.

Crocodiles (and Polo Ponies) Go Missing as Scalpel-Wielding Consumers Revolt | WSJ

Read Crocodiles (and Polo Ponies) Go Missing as Scalpel-Wielding Consumers Revolt by Khadeeja Safdar (Wall Street Journal)

Clothes buyers wield blades, markers and iron-on patches to kill off embroidered clothing logos; ‘a tricky surgery’

Since its debut in 1926, the Lacoste crocodile has adorned polo shirts on everyone from the brand’s tennis-star founder to President John F. Kennedy.

Yet you won’t likely find one on Max Ilich. The 47-year-old consultant has extracted the iconic reptilian from at least 10 of his Lacoste shirts. “It’s a tricky surgery,” he said. “But I was pleased with the results.”

I’d always thought of doing this and had tried on a few things with mixed results. Generally I just eschew logos and don’t buy them any more unless I really can’t manage.

Why I posted to Twitter again | Manton Reece

Read Why I posted to Twitter again by Manton Reece (

Following up on my post about Twitter at 10 years, I decided to mark the actual 10-year anniversary of my first tweet by posting from my @manton account, which I haven’t touched in over 4 years. After so much time, you can be sure the tweet was going to be exactly 140 characters:

Hi! 10 years since my first tweet. 4 years since my last. You can follow the blog cross-posts via @manton2. This message will self-destruct.

Why post again? I’ve had some fun experimenting with cross-posting to @manton2.