‘Johannes Cabal the Necromancer,’ Jonathan L. Howard

“He’d painted himself into a corner and a thousand lazy reporters and ever-so-sincere politicians had rendered the only word that he could use comically melodramatic. ‘I think … Johannes Cabal … is evil.’” – Jonathan L. Howard, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer

I don’t remember how I stumbled across this book – maybe my sweetheart recommended it to me? At any rate, the Johannes Cabal series by Jonathan L. Hubbard has been delightful and they’re among my favorite books.

Johannes Cabal is a clever necromancer and student of various sciences on a mission to defeat death. He’s taciturn and cranky and short of patience, and does not suffer fools well, at all. He’s aided in his missions by a fantastic cast, including his brother Horst, a vampire.

I love these books. They’re fun and smart and the writer’s sense of humor is dry and hilarious. The writing style reminds me of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, which is pretty good company to be in if you can manage it.

There are five books and a handful of short stories in the series (so far?), and you should definitely read every single one of them.

Here’s a link to the first book. That’s an affiliate link, so if you buy it through there, I get a few pennies, which I’ll definitely spend on more books.

‘Go Set A Watchman,’ Harper Lee

“But the white supremacists fear reason, because they know cold reason beats them. Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.” – Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman

Go Set A Watchman was the “sequel” to Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. It was marketed as a sequel, that is, but it wasn’t, really. It was the first draft she wrote for To Kill A Mockingbird.

It does work as a sequel, sort of. And it’s a good book, a good read. But it absolutely ruins Atticus Finch as a character. It does so for the reader in the exact same way as it does for Scout, the character.

I was never sure what I thought of this book. I loved To Kill A Mockingbird. It’s one of my favorite books. Go Set A Watchman was certainly an interesting read, and it made me think a lot, so it’s got that going for it.

There was a lot of drama surrounding the publication of the book, and a lot of weirdness in the way the book was written. It doesn’t work at all without Mockingbird, but it was thought to be a first draft? Was Harper Lee taken advantage of in the publishing of the book? It’s hard to read the book and look past all that.

But despite the mess, it’s worth a read. I wouldn’t consider it… canon, exactly. More like, and alternative version of events, maybe?

Anyway, here’s a link to buy the book: Go Set A Watchman. That’s an affiliate link, FYI. If you buy it through there, I get a few cents, which will promptly be spent towards buying more books.

Linkdump: So many things I’ve been saving up…

Lots to do and not much time to do it in, so I’ve cleaned out my linkdump folder and located a pile of good reading to check out.

I have three days to do a week’s worth of work and I already used up one of those days, so this’ll have to be quick.

🚀 First up, a new Oatmeal comic: On November 26th, a Mole Will Land on Mars. This is super neat and I just found out about it.

📚 Here’s a brand new free short story from John Scalzi: Automated Customer Service.

🍔 From Thrillist, “I Found the Best Burger Place in America. And Then I Killed It.,” the story of how a restaurant review killed an awesome burger place in Portland, Oregon.

📰 NiemanLab has an article on how journalists are being trained to detect “deepfakes,” or fake videos.

🤬 So, nationwide, cops are marking rape cases solved without actually arresting the perpetrator. Like, the rapist walks free, and the cops mark the case solved. Read it and get your rage on.

🚓 The New York Times has a longread about how cops failed to see the threat of white nationalism and now aren’t prepared to deal with it: “U.S. Law Enforcement Failed to See the Threat of White Nationalism. Now They Don’t Know How to Stop It.

💩 Bad news, guys. A significant percentage of the conversations you’re having online about current events are BS driven by bot accounts and bad actors. Read it in Wired.

⚠️ The Southern Poverty Law Center says “The Alt-Right is Killing People.” And yes. Yes they are.

🚨 Speaking of the “alt-right” and all that fascist, nazi bullshit, here’s a great article from Robert Evans at Bellingcat about how people get sucked into extremism.

📓 An oldie-but-goodie: Here’s an article in Strange Horizons, from 2005, about the Lovecraft influence in Stephen King’s writing.

To wrap things up, the Arrowverse crossover is coming up Dec. 9, and we’re up to four 30-second teaser trailers. Here they are:

Holy crap, I cannot wait for a full trailer to drop. These crossovers are the highlight of my TV year.

Jim Butcher on Evil

“Most of the bad guys in the real world don’t know that they are bad guys. You don’t get a flashing warning sign that you’re about to damn yourself. It sneaks up on you when you aren’t looking.” – Jim Butcher, Proven Guilty

“There’s no love lost between Harry Dresden, the only wizard in the Chicago phone book, and the White Council of Wizards, who find him brash and undisciplined. But war with the vampires has thinned their ranks, so the Council has drafted Harry as a Warden and assigned him to look into rumors of black magic in the Windy City.

“As Harry adjusts to his new role, another problem arrives in the form of the tattooed and pierced daughter of an old friend—all grown up and already in trouble. Her boyfriend is the only suspect in what looks like a supernatural assault straight out of a horror film. Malevolent entities that feed on fear are loose in Chicago, but it’s all in a day’s work for a wizard, his faithful dog, and a talking skull named Bob..”

👆 Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher, part of his Dresden Files series. If you haven’t read ’em, you should, because they’re excellent. The first book in the series is Storm Front. You’re welcome.

Quick Links: Doctor Who, Jeff Merkley, Jim Acosta, hate crimes, & the Arrowverse crossover

Today I’ve got news about this year’s Doctor Who special, Jeff Merkley’s possible run for president, CNN’s lawsuit against the Trump administration, and teaser trailers for the Arrowverse crossover in December.

Lots to do and not much time to do it in today, so here we go:

  1. io9: There’s No Doctor Who Christmas Special This Year—It’s a New Year’s Day Episode, Instead
  2. Willamette Week: Jeff Merkley Seeks Oregon Law Change to Clear the Way For 2020 Presidential Bid
  3. Vox: Jim Acosta vs. the Trump White House, explained
  4. Washington Post: The Daily 202: Hate crimes are a much bigger problem than even the new FBI statistics show
  5. Arrowverse Crossover Teasers: Barry Allen | Oliver Queen. Betcha we get one for Supergirl on Sunday. Or maybe she’ll get the full trailer?

5TtRT: Hate crimes, CA’s fires, Jim Acosta, John Kelly & Kirstjen Nielsen, & the attorney general controversy

Today’s topics include a (so far) three-year increase in hate crimes in the US, CNN suing to get Jim Acosta’s press pass back, John Kelly and Kirstjen Nielsen possibly getting fired, and the State of Maryland suing to get Rod Rosenstein named acting attorney general. Also, brief mentions of “Game of Thrones” and the new “Detective Pikachu” movie.

Apropos of nothing else in this post, the 2019 Game of Thrones teaser trailer is out this morning. The season’s scheduled for April 2019. Let’s all hope we make it that long.

Also, a trailer dropped yesterday for Detective Pikachu, a live-action Pokemon movie starring Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu. This movie is going to be a white hot mess and I am here for it, y’all.

5 Things to Read Today

⚖️ AP: FBI: 17% Spike In Hate Crimes In 2017 Marks Rise For 3rd Year In A Row

Hate crime reports were up again for 2017, making three years for increases in hate crimes. Hate crimes against Jewish people were up 37% in 2017.

🔥 Lifehacker: What Trump Gets Wrong About California’s Wildfires

Trump’s been blaming “bad forest management” for the California wildfires, which is BS. These are “urban interface” fires, which means they started in areas where people had built homes around flammable areas. The reason the fires are so bad is – drum roll, please – climate change, of course.

📰 CNN: CNN sues President Trump and top White House aides for barring Jim Acosta

CNN just filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to get Jim Acosta’s access to the White House restored.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has changed their story about why Acosta’s press pass was taken in the first place. The White House initially said they yanked Acosta’s press pass because he hit one of the press interns, and tired to back that claim up with an altered video of the incident. Clearly that wasn’t going to fly, so now they’re trying to say Acosta’s press pass was pulled because he wouldn’t yield the mic to the intern.

🏛️ ABC News: Trump planning shakeup, eyeing new chief of staff and DHS secretary: Sources

Apparently Trump’s fixin’ to fire John Kelly, his Chief of Staff, and Kirstjen Nielsen, Kelly’s handpicked replacement at Homeland Security.

Trump’s decided he hates Kelly, and that’s fine, because Kelly’s a hateful trash person. Unfortunately, he’s also one of the so-called “adults in the room,” and god only knows what slow-motion train wreck Trump’ll get to replace him.

Kirstjen Nielsen is the hardline hate machine responsible for enacting Kelly’s plans for separating children from their parents at the border, the child concentration camps, and other atrocities, and she’s apparently being fired for not being enough of a hardline hate machine.

Hold on, kids. Shit’s gonna get real rocky before the Dems take the House in January.

👨‍⚖️ NBC News: State of Maryland asks judge to declare Rosenstein acting attorney general

To wrap things up, Maryland is asking a federal judge to declare Rod Rosenstein the acting attorney general, instead of Matt Whitaker, the toady Trump tired to – possibly unconstitutionally – appoint to the job.

I’m not sure that’ll actually work? I dunno, folks, we’re getting deep in the weeds when it comes to the legal guts of government.

As far as I can tell, Rosenstein should have become acting attorney general when Sessions was fired, and Trump should not have appointed a replacement, because there was already a chain of command in place. That seems to be the prevailing argument at any rate.

‘When You’re Evil,’ Voltaire

And it’s so easy when you’re evil / This is the life, you see / The Devil tips his hat to me / I do it all because I’m evil / And I do it all for free / Your tears are all the pay I’ll ever need

And it's so easy when you're evil
This is the life, you see
The Devil tips his hat to me
I do it all because I'm evil
And I do it all for free
Your tears are all the pay I'll ever need