May ’23 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Novels – 16 ↑

Short Stories – 1 ↑

Manga/Graphic Novels – 4 ⭤

Comics – 4 ↓

Average Rating – 3.44 ↑

Pages – 4781 ↑

Words – 1369K ↑

The Bad:

Lapvona – 1/2star of vileness

Speaker for the Dead – 2.5stars of cerebral navel gazing

Web of Spiderman Annual #1 – 2.5stars of 13 year old boy wish fulfillment

The Good:

The Black Cauldron – 5stars of middle grade goodness

The Queen of Swords – 5stars of old school fantasy kicking butt and taking names.

The Yellow Sign – 4.5stars of Fantastic Madness realized


Shrek the Third was a silly continuation of the franchise, but one I still enjoyed quite a bit despite it admittedly going into stupid territory instead of clever territory.

Miscellaneous Posts:


Well, this was a tough month for me. I had an eye bleed (my second in 2 years) and had to get another shot in my left eye to deal with it. If that doesn’t clear it up, I could very well be looking at eye surgery. 3 decades of being a type one diabetic (insulin dependent) are starting to hit me. I honestly expected a heart attack before this. I’ve been mentally prepared since about 16 for the heart attack, so this eye thing has kind of blind sided me (ba dum tish!). In all seriousness though, it is a serious issue and one I’ll be having to deal with from now on. While not as scary as Mrs B being sick at the beginning of the year, this is scary enough and has left me very unsettled. It also pretty much overshadowed everything else for me.

On the fun side of things, Dawie and I were able to play some Warhammer 40K Magic the Gathering. Using whatsapp we took turns and had a couple of rousing games. The final one came down one life point separating the winner from the loser. That’s the kind of Commander game I like. I played the Necron deck while Dawie played Tyranids. Here’s a pix of the commander of the necrons:

Plans for Next Month:

I’ve got the final Shrek movie to watch and review. Then comes the very hard (for me) chore of figuring out what I’m going to watch and review next. For whatever reason, movies and tv shows are just wicked hard to review. Watching them seems like work sometimes and then adding talking about them? But I’ll soldier on. I’ve talked with people at various times about potential projects, but I never end up writing them down and so I forget.

So it will be review, review, review. I’ve got a few ideas for non-review posts but they’ll probably be spur of the moment silliness. My days of addressing current social issues with deep and thoughtful posts are done. Senator Bookstooge, that hoary headed font of wisdom, has retired from the political arena. I’ll leave it to the young bucks.

I’ve also been thinking how crowded my posting schedule has become. It is becoming more of hindrance than anything. To me and to the readers. I’ve come across blogs where so much posting goes on that it is hard to keep up. I don’t want to become that and I’m already well down that path. So something has to change in that regards. I’ve got a couple of ideas.

One is to simply cut down the number of book reviews I do. The problem is that I’ve tried that and while I always have the best of intentions, well, it never seems to work out the way I want. I just keep reading those books! Of the making of books there is no end and of the reading and reviewing of books there is no end either. Sigh.

The second option is to start another blog and post certain categories there and not here. Off the top of my head I’d probably put the magic cards, manga and comics over there. That would immediately free up 3 days a week here. So I might actually have some empty days, which would be nice. The main problem is that while the actual work load wouldn’t increase, the act of figuring out what goes where and dealing with all the setup of a new blog, could be daunting. Plus, since I’m such a stickler, I’d be figuring out all the silly stuff like tags and links. What about my Author Index? Suddenly I’d be having to link to two blogs to deal with that. I can just foresee there being problems, which is why I’ve always kept everything at one blog every time I did a blog.

If there is a third option, or if any of you have some ideas, I’m all ears. Input would be appreciated. This is something I’ll be giving some serious thought to over the coming month and will try to arrive at a decision for July.

WordPress Reader Issues

No, this won’t be a rant this time, just more of an “by the way, X is happening, be aware”.

WordPress has steadily been messing with the reader that has caused other issues, but I’ve noticed in the last week or so that only the picture of my avatar has been showing up when my posts go to the reader. I did figure out that if I made the book cover a “featured image” that it would show the book cover instead of my avatar. I’m guessing the feeder now shows the biggest image unless there is a feature image? So one problem kind of solved. I can go through all my scheduled posts and give them a featured image.

That however has rippled into other problems. I use the (details)(/details) code to hide my synopsis because sometimes it is outrageously long and nobody needs to scroll through it all. So when I edit a post that is already scheduled that has the (detail) code, WP in its infinite wisdom, strips that code out. So not only do I have to add a “featured image” but I also have to wade through the guts of the post and add the correct code all over again.

Just wanted make you aware of this so if you see all of my posts for the rest of the month showing just my avatar, I didn’t want you to think I was being (completely) egotistical. I’ve started to add the featured image to my already long list of steps that I have to take just to bleeping post here on WP so starting in June it should become a non-issue for any viewers.


Blogshido: The Way of the Blogger

Blogshido. The Art of Blogging. The Way of the Words Warrior. Keyboard Ninjitsu. This ancient art is as many faceted as there are people who practice it. I will not even attempt to cover everything associated with this wondrous art today, but instead I will focus on the specific kata known as The Monthly Review.

I have made this aspect of Blogshido fully my own. To the point where I have a kata all my own, which I call the Roundup & Ramblings. Now, it might surprise you (but hopefully not) to learn that I began to practice R&R not because everyone else was doing it and I wanted to be popular and fit in. Someone who is reading this may even think to themselves “Then what is the point?”. I forgive you and to show that I really have, I have a cookie, a nice glass of milk and your binky blanket just waiting for your nap-nap.

POINT ONE to Bookstooge-san for discombobulating his opponent

Other practitioners of the Monthly Review have their own reasons and methods. My goal is not to judge them. A true master of Blogshido knows what works for him may not work for others and accepts that knowledge, thus making him even more Masterly.

POINT TWO to Bookstooge-san for being so masterly

No, my goal in starting my Roundup & Ramblings were very simple. A very small force may redirect a larger force away from itself and thus Blogshido teaches us that small efforts not only can be effective but that they use less effort and thus prolong your stamina in a battle.

POINT THREE to Bookstooge-san for prolonging his stamina and thus being able to blog for years and years and years.

My blog is mainly a review blog of books with a smattering of non-review posts thrown in. Soon after being married it became evident to both Mrs B and me that she had zero interest in the books I was reading and reviewing but was very interested in the random thoughts that popped out of my head. This laid the foundation of me linking up all of my non-review posts in one easy to access place.

POINT FOUR to Bookstooge-san for thinking of his wife

Once I began doing that, I realized that it didn’t need to stay there and I could include lots and lots of ads, errr, data. Thus the power of Blogshido came full circle. My kata of Roundup & Ramblings ended where it had begun. I was using my own energy to power others which in turn empowered me to overcome them all. Thus my mastery was complete.

POINT SET, MATCH AND WIN for Bookstooge-san winning at Blogshido

I bow humbly before you all, as a true master.

April ’23 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Novels – 13 ↓

Short Stories – 0 ⭤

Manga/Graphic Novels – 4 ⭤

Comics – 7 ⭤

Average Rating – 3.25 ↓

Pages – 4049 ↓

Words – 1123K ↓

The Bad:

Captain of the Monte Cristo – 1star of pure crap

Web of Spiderman #6-9 – 2stars of drivel and bologna

The Good:

The Knight of Swords – 5stars of Eternal Champion’ness

Murder by the Book – 4.5stars of Nero Wolfe. ’nuff said

Galahad at Blandings – 4.5stars of Wodehouse succeeding at making me jovial.


Shrek 2 was a great movie. While not quite as “deep” as the first movie, I found it to be funnier. Looking forward to talking about the third one in May.

Miscellaneous Posts:


Mrs B was fully asymptomatic so she was back to her regular self. Working, eating, visiting, she was back. I hadn’t realized how much of a burden it was until even the shadow of her illness was gone.

We ate out a LOT this month. My mom and Mrs B were going to go to a women’s retreat at my former church one weekend but the entire staff came down with covid in about 24hrs, so it was cancelled. So mom stayed with my bro and sisterinlaw and we spent the weekend visiting a lot. We also took a young couple at church out to dinner to get to know them better. Man, it made me feel old. I’m only in my mid-40’s but they are in the early to mid-20’s and recently married and I was just laughing on the inside almost the entire time. It was great!

Part way through the month a memo went out that our hours were going to be changing to 48hrs per week. That was going to be a killer and I wasn’t sure how we were going to actually do that. Thankfully our office manager told us that the reality was our hours (field crew) were going to be staying the same and so I’m still at 40-45hrs, which is fine. That was a big relief.

On Resurrection Sunday we were invited to an Easter Dinner with a family at church. They also invited another couple. Unfortunately, the female half of the other couple tends to talk non-stop when she’s not completely comfortable, to the point of cutting other people off and not letting conversation flow. We were hoping that since she and her husband are comfortable with us (we’ve gone out to a great mexican place several times) that she’d be ok. It didn’t work out that way and our plans to get to know the host family came to naught. They nor us could get a word in edge-wise. It simply reinforced my view that people, even when you like them, are jackasses.

I did get pretty close to posting only 1 post a day for the whole month. Much better than in March. I’m proud for not going crazy again 🙂

Cover Love:

Cassilda’s Song edited by Pulver was the clear winner for the cover love this month. The tattered, yellowish robe is close to what I imagine the King in Yellow himself wears.

Plans for Next Month:

I know I have moved a lot into the visual medium a lot more than even 2 years ago. Comics, manga, MTG picture posts, I feel like my focus is shifting. I don’t know how comfortable I am with that. And I say that because I am thinking of adding a once a month post depicting some artwork. I’m still tossing that idea around in my head, so we’ll see if it happens this month or not.

Other than that, it’s business as usual. Book reviews on Tuesdays and Thursdays with the occasional but random Sunday and Saturday. Magic posts on Mondays, manga on Wednesdays and various comics on Friday. Then random stuff on random Sunday and Saturdays 😀 Routine is a great thing!

The Dungeons & Dragons Book Tag

Originally created by the Witty & Sarcastic Bookclub

Barbarian: In a simplified nutshell, barbarians are fighters whose anger can give them a berserker state of mind: think an overdose of adrenalin allowing someone to do the nigh impossible.

Name a character with a temper:

Jerome, from Way-farer. It’s what leads him to kill one of the fabled “Grandfathers” and find out they are nothing more than a deception of the Mushin keeping humanity shackled as cattle.

Bard: Bards use music and song to either help or hinder. Music is massively important to them, and can give them power.

Name a book/character for which music is important:

Porcelain by the musician Moby. Music was kind of his life

Cleric: “A priestly champion who wields divine magic in service of a higher power” (D&D Player’s Handbook)

Name a book/character for which religion plays a large role:

Gavin Guile from The Burning White. The author has a whole chapter with Gavin talking to the Creator on some pretty serious subjects. It’s not your usual Hollywood religion-lite crap.

Druid: Druids are representative of nature. They get their power- healing, magical spells, etc.- from either the land itself or from a nature deity. 

Name a Book where nature plays an important role:

Sentenced to Prism. The 2 main characters find out that life on Prism is integrally linked together and they themselves become part of that link by the end of the book.

Fighter: A fighter relies on physical skill. They are often good with a weapon and can function as a pretty good meat shield.

Name a book with great fight scenes:

Dune.. The scene between Paul Maud’dib and his cousin Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen. While not a chapter long fight, it conveys exactly what the author wants. That is important.

Magic Users: Dungeons and Dragons features Warlocks, Wizards, and Sorcerers. Each is different, but I’m lumping them together for the purposes of this tag. The name is self-explanatory: a user of magic.

Name a book or character with cool magic:

The Swords from Fred Saberhagen’s Book of Swords. 12 Magical swords created by the gods that end up being powerful enough to kill the gods.

Paladin: A holy warrior.

Name a character with strong convictions:

Anakin Skywalker in the novelization of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. While it led him down to the dark side, he was convinced every step of the way that he was doing the correct thing. He became known as the Dark Lord for it. An Unholy Paladin if you will.

Ranger: Hunters, wilderness survivors, and protectors, rangers are often what stand between civilization and the monsters that live in the wild.

Name a character that is in tune with the wild.

Nonnus, a mage shaman hermit from the Lord of the Isles series. While he dies, he teaches Sharina everything he knows about surviving in hostile lands.

Rogue: Rogues use stealth and cunning to defeat their foes or prevail in a situation. 

Name a book or character with cunning:

The Rogues series in the Forgotten Realms immediately sprang to mind.

PSA: WordPress: We Need Ads, Lots and Lots of Ads

Beginning in April, WordPress began an experiment with adding 3-5 times as many ads as normal to the free sites. Ostensibly it was supposed be towards making them more self-sufficient, but I remain skeptical. Here is the link to the Help Forums where members began bringing this to the attention of the staff, and staff’s response.

Help Forum: More Ads Than Normal

I’ve been keeping an eye on the thread and it appears that what is happening is going to be the new normal for all free blogs. So not only are “new” free blogs being neutered but all free blogs are going to end up looking like clickbait hotels. There are screen shots within the thread above to verify that assertion.

Much like other changes that WordPress has made, they are doing all that they can to see what the outcry is and then walk it back until it subsides. But make no mistake, if you are on a free plan at wordpress, they now consider you excess baggage and will be using and treating you accordingly.

Adblockers on most browsers should help mitigate this, but with more and more people using their phones to view the internet, it’s not as simple as it used to be. Just be aware that this is happening. I recommend taking a look at your own site in incognito mode (or whatever the anonymous version is called in your browser of choice) to see if it has happened to you yet.

An Ode to Energy Drinks

Nebuchadnezzar had his golden statue. I have my tower of power in the form of a Rockstar Coconut Pineapple Energy Drink. Thus, as it is written in the Book of Bookstooge, chapter 3:
To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,
That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the aluminum image.

In honor of this momentous occasion, I have caused to be composed an Ode, worthy of a rockstar.

Caffeine as Nature Intended

Energy drinks, oh how I adore thee
With every sip, I feel so energetic
Your caffeine content is just what I need
To get through the day, it's so therapeutic

Rockstar Coconut Pineapple, my favorite flavor
It's like a tropical paradise in a can
The blend of coconut and pineapple, such a savior
It's a match made in heaven, what a grand plan

Some say caffeine is bad, but I beg to differ
It's a natural stimulant, just like sugar
And when mixed with other ingredients, it's a lifer
It gives me energy, it's real, not just a figure

So here's to energy drinks, my source of power
Caffeine as nature intended, let's raise a glass
To Rockstar Coconut Pineapple, my sweet flower
Thank you for keeping me going, for that I commend and even bask.

The above ode was composed by my faithful servant, the AI Paragraph block. It is truly a good servant and I feed it cookies on the weekend.

Happy Resurrection Day! 2023 Edition

The following is the ending of a Resurrection Day Sermon preached by Bishop Melito sometime in the late AD 200’s.

Who is my opponent? I, he says, am the Christ. I am the one who destroyed death, and triumphed over the enemy, and trampled Hades under foot, and bound the strong one, and carried off man to the heights of heaven, I, he says, am the Christ. Therefore, come, all families of men, you who have been befouled with sins, and receive forgiveness for your sins. I am your forgiveness, I am the passover of your salvation, I am the lamb which was sacrificed for you, I am your ransom, I am your light, I am your saviour, I am your resurrection, I am your king, I am leading you up to the heights of heaven, I will show you the eternal Father, I will raise you up by my right hand.

This is the one who made the heavens and the earth, and who in the beginning created man, who was proclaimed through the law and prophets, who became human via the virgin, who was hanged upon a tree, who was buried in the earth, who was resurrected from the dead, and who ascended to the heights of heaven, who sits at the right hand of the Father, who has authority to judge and to save everything, through whom the Father created everything from the beginning of the world to the end of the age. This is the alpha and the omega. This is the beginning and the end–an indescribable beginning and an incomprehensible end. This is the Christ. This is the king. This is Jesus. This is the general. This is the Lord. This is the one who rose up from the dead. This is the one who sits at the right hand of the Father. He bears the Father and is borne by the Father, to whom be the glory and the power forever. Amen.

The Peri Pascha of Melito. Peace to the one who wrote, and to the one who reads, and to those who love the Lord in simplicity of heart.

Christ’s death and resurrection was for you. I am praying that anyone who reads the above will be moved by God’s Spirit to seriously consider that.