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review 2018-02-01 19:59
Fire and Fury: A review with feathers
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House - Wolff-Michael Roth

Here we are, at the end of a long, challenging read. There were moments I wasn't sure I could make it, but I persisted, as is a woman's way. And what have I learned from this 300 page clusterfuck?

 

Our president is a bird brain.

 

Don't believe me? I brought the receipts. 

 

 

I want to introduce you to Snow. 

 

 

Snow is an only child, quite happy with his lot in life, and by all intents and purposes the President of the United Cage of Cockatiels. Stay with me here.

 

Snow, who was the runt of the clutch, was the only baby we kept out of four little cockatiels. He has been pampered, spoiled and allowed to run the show. He thinks he has all the chirps, the best chirps. He can be loud when ignored, and petulant when angry.

 

He literally will chew the perch out from under himself if it means it will take down one of his flock mates he's in a spat with.

 

 

He is, in short, a little shit.

 

But according to everything I have read, he is completely qualified to be our elustrious leader. They are so frighteningly similar it gives me pause. Is Donald Trump a bird? Nah, just a bird brain. Let's explore this further with quotes from the book. This is the first time I have ever highlighted in a book I purchased because I just didn't want to miss anything.

 

1. Cockatiels have notorious short attention spans.

 

Early in the campaign, in a "Producers"-worthy scene, Sam Nunberg was sent to explain the Constitution to the candidate: "I got as far as the Fourth Amendment before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are rolling back in his head."

 

This was one of numerous times Trump had no patience for anything not to do with him. More than once it was noted he would simply get up from a meeting with a world leader and leave because he was bored. This was also why he couldn't seem to hire people: they ran on numbers and he ran on drama. He would likely not hire the proper person simply because they used data.

 

Cockatiels are trained in 10 minute intervals, by the way. Birds just don't do well with extended periods of learning.

 

2. Cockatiels love to preen, strut and be the center of attention. Even if it makes no sense.

 

...he lied about his height to keep from having a body mass index that would label him as obese.

 

Some seducers are preternaturally sensitive to the signals of those they try to seduce; others indiscriminately attempt to seduce, and, by law if averages, often succed  (the latter group might be regarded as harrassers). That was Trump's approach to women- pleased when he scored, unconcerned when he didn't  (and, often, despite the evidence, believing he had). And so it was with Director Comey.

 

Here is another peculiar Trump attribute: an inability to see his actions the way most others saw them. Or to fully appreciate how people expected him to behave.

 

One of Trump's deficiencies- a constant in the campaign and, so far, in the presidency- was his uncertain grasp of cause and effect.

 

The virtue of Donald Trump- the virtue, anyway, of Donald Trump to Steve Bannon- was that cosmopolitan elite was never going to accept him. He was, after all, Donald Trump, however much you shined him up.

 

Snow spends his day trying to woo his own mom. When that fails, he sits and crows at the top of his lungs for any attention the others might lavish on him. They mostly ignore him because they have grown tired of his obnoxious squawling. He is the cleanest of the four birds in the cage, but will poop in his own food dish. He makes little sense to his cage mates. But to himself he is an amazing, vocal superstar.

 

3. Cockatiels aren't known for their strategy.

 

As for the President, it was quite clear that deciding between contradictory policy approaches was not his style of leadership. He simply hoped that difficult decisions would make themselves.

 

...Steve Bannon was running the Steve Bannon White House, Jared Kushner was running the Michael Bloomberg White House, and Reince Priebus was running the Paul Ryan White House. It was a 1970s video game, the white ball pinging back and forth in the black triangle.

 

My tiels are notorious for getting themselves into messes. Like crashing into things then laying helplessly and waiting for me to come pick them up. They are like kamikaze pilots. I see very much of the White House in their motions. At least no lives but their own hang in the balance when Snow convinces his cage mates to blow that taco stand and fly head first into the mantel.

 

4. And finally, as much as I love them, sometimes cockatiels just aren't all that bright.

 

Trump didn't read. He didn't really skim...Some believed for all practical purposes he was no more than semiliterate. 

 

Not only didn't he read, he didn't listen...And he trusted his own expertise- no matter how paltry or irrelevant- more than anyone else's.

 

Here was a key Trump White House rationale: expertse, that liberal virtue, was overrated. After all, so often people who worked hard to know what they knew made the wrong decisions. So maybe the gut was as good, or maybe better, at getting to the heart of the matter than wonkish and data-driven inability to see the forest for the trees that often seemed to plague U.S. policy making. Maybe. Hopefully.

Of course, nobody really believed that, except the President himself.

 

Snow literally bites the hand that feeds him. And he poops on his food. Plus, might I refer you back to the picture of the chewed rope perch? 

 

 

So, in conclusion:

 

The book was frightening in its honesty. Trump isn't in charge so much as he is being led around by whoever gives him to most compliments. He's easily frustrated, he hardly works, he has turned our democratic process into a oligarchy/monarchy, and he has absolutely no grasp of why people hate him. He is a narcissist who expects everyone to love him or bow to him. He has the mistaken idea that a president is a king. And he has zero idea about policy. The sad thing is he said a few things in this book that sort of showed a real human being, but then it was completely crushed by his fragile ego. 

 

Fire and Fury confirmed he never wanted to be president. He did this to martyr himself and raise his brand, but when he won he became power hungry. He has no business in DC.

 

As for the book itself, it was well written, needed some more editing and had a couple of grammatical errors. I haven't ever read a political book before so I got a crash course in realpolitik language. But man, after this, I need a stiff drink. How about...Trump vodka?

 

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review 2018-01-19 21:49
Emma in the Night (needs a flashlight)
Emma in the Night - Wendy Walker

...to find her way thru this complicated mess.

 

I was tempted to lower my rating to 2 stars, but I decided I would leave it at 3. I did enjoy it...mostly. It only had 1 grammatical error. And I finished it within 3 days. So, 3 stars.

 

Now, for the negatives: poorly written. Convoluted. Couldn't follow some of the characters' trains of thought. The switching between 1st and 3rd person. And even at the end I couldn't fully tell what had really happened to some of the story. 

 

Emma was a nightmare sister. Cass became one herself, so I couldn't relate to her or feel sympathy. And she was written to be far too intelligent for a teenager. The side characters were extremes: polarizingly blind and stupid or too involved and conveniently similar to Cass. 

 

I only finished this because I genuinely wanted to know what happened to Emma, the Pratts, and Rick. The curveball at the end was ridiculous. 

 

The book wasn't all bad. It was just juvenile and not original. It was more like an average episode of SVU. 

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review 2017-11-20 16:33
The Most Dangerous Place...
The Most Dangerous Place on Earth: A Novel - Lindsey Lee Johnson

1. This author has a degree is writing and used the word "gentle" as a verb. He gentled his voice. That's just unacceptable.

 

2. I must be super out of touch because there were teen slang terms in this book I have never heard before like "jaws" and "chag". Wtf do those mean?

 

3. Blatant homophobia. For San Francisco, these kids sure do seem to call everyone a "fag". Again, not cool.

 

4. Wow, this whole book was a giant teen drama trope. Teacher/student screwing; the new, naive teacher that wants to save all her students; suicide; bullies; stoners; out of touch parents. 

 

This book wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything special either. It was mediocre.

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text 2017-11-18 19:10
Reading progress update: I've read 148 out of 268 pages.
The Most Dangerous Place on Earth: A Novel - Lindsey Lee Johnson

I do not ever remember high school being this damn dramatic. And I was bullied like no tomorrow. But this? This is ridiculous. 

 

I am glad Molly was mortified by Ellison's manuscript, though. Good God, the little excerpt we were given was a lesson in misogyny. Not to mention it wasn't even a veiled attempt to write about himself as the main character. He just did, right down to the belt he wore. That's bad writing 101: never make the main character you. They can have a couple of your traits, but never make them you. It's sloppy and boring. Ellison was a creep anyway so it figures he would be egotistical enough to write himself like that. What a dick.

 

This book is better than All at Sea but about on par with The Mothers so far. Meh.

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review 2017-11-12 22:37
It
It - Stephen King

 

 

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