So what are you reading?

I just finished “The Weed Agency” by National Review’s Jim Geraghty. It’s the 30-year story of a fictional agency created by Jimmy Carter and the true attempts over the years to cut spending. Sure, the Democrats are tax-and-spend, but the Republicans are only too willing to blink first in the budget battles. While it’s a little frustrating to read, knowing there’s billions of dollars wasted in the federal gov’t, there’s enough funny bits to keep you turning the pages.

The part that hit home for me was the young go-get-’em employees bogged down in red tape and “It’s not my idea, so I don’t like it” attitudes, especially the part about setting up a website. My group set up its own website in the 90’s to show off our unique capabilities and try to bring in outside business. This was soon followed by, “You can’t do that, we need all our websites to look the same.” Okay, uniform website coming up. This was followed by, “You can’t do that, it’s not 508 compliant.” Okay, we did that. Next was, “You can’t do that, it’s technical information, and that has to be cleared the same as papers and presentations.” Okay, we filled out the forms and sent them up the management chain. We have to do this every time before we can change the website? Okay. Finally, the spambots and hackers found us, so we said screw this and took it down. Somewhere in there, our secretary went through months of training to learn how to code HTML. She thought web designer skills would be the fast track for a raise. They contracted out the official webpage support.

Next in the reading queue is “The Girls of Atomic City” by Denise Kiernan. I picked this up when I was in Oak Ridge earlier this month.

So what are you reading?

24 thoughts on “So what are you reading?”

  1. Rory Muir’s biography of the Duke of Wellington.

    Ah for the good old days, when after you storm the fortress you could put the defenders to the sword and spend a day or two looting and pillaging without JAGs whining about “war crimes”.

    Also, John Bellingham assassinated the Prime Minister on May 11, 1812; tried on May 15; executed on May 18 (“you shall be hanged by the neck until you be dead, and your body to be dissected and anatomized.”) This kind of swift and effective justice we can only envy today!

    1. Tarl – there is currently a spate of articles here in the UK about the death penalty, as it is 50 years now since we abolished it. I don’t personally agree with capital punishment; however, it is striking the speed of the process when it was carried out here. I link to a BBC article: – the last 2 men hanged in the UK (not far from me here in Manchester incidentally). From conviction to execution was around 5 weeks, including appeals and plea hearings. The sentence was carried out swiftly, in private and by all accounts fairly respectfully and humanely as such a process can be. I see the comparison with the recent US ‘botched’ executions taking hours, or the whole process of death row lasting years, if not decades. I know this is a very emotive subject, so I won’t say too much more. Cheers.

  2. Black Horse Riders by Phillip Keith in hardback. Various crap science function I’m not willing to own up to on my kindle account.

  3. I am currently reading a book about the German attacks in the U.S. and on U.S. shipping in 1915 and a David Weber/ John Ringo reprint, Throne of Stars. (Should say re-reading the Weber/Ringo.) I also have five to eight other books which I have started, but am not actively reading. I currently have 50 (yes, that is five zero) checked out of libraries in the county in which I live and the two surrounding counties.


  4. I’m reading Neptune: The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings by Craig L. Symonds and Napoleon: From Tilsit to Waterloo 1807-1815 by Georges Lefebvre.

    I just finished Napoleon from 18 Brumaire To Tilsit 1799-1807 by Georges Lefebvre. On deck: Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell.

    Why yes, I have no life. Why do you ask?

  5. I’m catching up on the “cyberpunk” stuff. Just finished Neuromancer – is URR a fan of that book or was it a wild coincidence? Next up is Snow Crash, then back to Gibson for the rest of the Neuromancer series.

    1. I’ve not read any cyberpunk until now – I will add Too Too Solid Flesh to the list. Thanks!

  6. Just finished “The Rules of the Game” by Andrew Gordon. About the evolution of Royal Navy command philosophy from Trafalgar to Jutland. Highly recommend.

    Now reading “The Battleship Builders”. About the British yards and companies that built the RN’s dreadnoughts. Fascinating.

    1. It sounds interesting. I read Eric Brown’s Wings of the Luftwaffe earlier this week, and read a kid’s book from the early ’20’s today, Tom Swift and his Electric Locomotive! i love kids books from back then, when kid’s would read 300 page books for fun. One of the series of books from that era has one of the all time great lines in it. In The Girl Aviators, the heroine is a pilot, and her bother and his best friend are aircraft builders. The pilot’s best friend is going to the bank to get some money to pay off a mortgage, so it is a fair sized amount. She believes that she should take precautions, so she stops by the aircraft plant and says to the brother and his friend., ” I’m going to the bank to get some money, do you have a revolver I could borrow?” The Plane builder’s reply was the just as good, ” Um….No.”

  7. My next Alibris purchase will hopefully be Norman Polmar’s new book, Ship Killer: A History of the American Torpedo.

  8. I’d been on a big submarine kick lately, so I’ve wrapped up:
    “Thunder Below” by Eugene Fluckey (MoH)– A fun book. Great story-telling. An inspiring example of taking it too the enemy.

    “Clear the Bridge” by Richard O’ Kane (MoH)– Honestly, a little sterile.

    “Sink ’em All” by Charles Lockwood. Lockwood was the boss for the aforementioned. It is interesting to see the war fought through the Admiral’s eyes. In the case of Lockwood, he genuinely seemed bonded to his submarine crews.

    “Ten Years and Twenty Days” by Karl Doentiz. A fascinating must-read. The man was wicked smart– good think Hitler was the big boss in the dictatorship. If guys like Doenitz had a free hand to actually prepare for the war before committing to it, there would likely have been a drastically different outcome. He and Churchill seemed to have thought alike at the strategic and operational levels. Also, some fascinating insight into the rise of Nazi Germany and the Nuremberg trials.

    “Iron Coffins” by Herbert Werner. Another interesting read by one of the only U-Boat skippers to survive the duration of the war. From life ashore to life at sea, he infuses the book with emotion of the time– from the triumphant “happy days” early in the war, to the crushing blow of defeat and watching his country die.

    Along the way, I picked up “Super Freakanomics” by Leavitt, and am currently reading “Outliers” by Gladwell. I enjoyed the former as a fun read, but I think Gladwell’s book is a whole lot more insightful.

    1. A very interesting sub book I read as a child was Zoomies Subs And Zeros by Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, Jr. USN (Ret.) and Colonel Hans Christian Adamson, USAF (Ret.). It’s about heroic rescues in World War II by the submarine lifeguard league.

      Back in the day, the Naval Station library was chock full of great WW II books. Next to the library was the five balls for a nickle pinball machine. A harmonious combination, IMHO.

  9. All done with Wellington, just moved on to volume III of Glantz’s Stalingrad Trilogy… but like Game of Thrones the “trilogy” has expanded beyond the original intent to include four or five books now. =)

    I tend to skip over a lot of the “this division went here and did this, that division went there and did that” stuff in his books.

  10. Just reread “Guerilla”, by Charles Thayer, copyright 1963. “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose”.

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