How to Win a Civil War

In which the author speculates on the finer points of being a human, particularly in the American South.

This blog is on hold

As usually happens whenever I have a blog, I become jealous of the words I'm putting here. Like, I should be putting them somewhere else. This is basically a dark hole. So if you've come here looking for new stuff, just look at the old stuff.

January Viewings

The Imitation Game
The Birds
Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Manchester by the Sea
Hell or High Water
The Untold History of the United States
Blood Simple

January Readings

The Destructive War: William Tecumseh Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, and the Americans, Charles Royster

One Fell Soup

I'm cheating with this one, because I haven't actually finished it. Maybe I will. Maybe I won't. It's mostly a great book, if a tad uneven. Books like this often are — it's basically a collection from Roy Blount, Jr.'s AJC column. Since Roy is Roy, it's almost always going to be uproariously funny, but because it's a collection you're going to feel like you're reading a game of ping pong.

Kings of Tourism

[Ed.] I would hate for anyone to come away from this with the impression that I dislike Atlanta. It's my home and I love it. I just think the tourist industry here is a joke.

Beat to Quarters

Whilst in the midst of reading this volume a month or so ago, I asked my son what the phrase "beat to quarters" meant, and — this is a game we play where he invents definitions for things he's unfamiliar with — he suggested it signifies a really severe beating, as in, you beat someone so badly they are torn into four parts.

Wise Blood

I bought this slim novel in the late summer of 2014 whilst touring Andalusia Farm with my pal Jim. Not that Jim; this Jim.


Given a) the purpose of this blog is to keep my virtual pen moving, and b) the sort of quotidian material I usually use has its limitations, particularly when my brain is all befuzzled by the day-job shrapnel that tears through it constantly, I thought it would be a useful exercise to write reviews of some of the books I've been reading. I've got a bit of a backlog on the year; I've been slicing through a sizeable stack of books at a decent rate.

So, coming shortly, reviews of the following:

Billy Jack

At the behest of my son, I've been taking karate for almost a year. It's been a lot of fun and much easier on my aging body than softball, which was comprehensively an injury factory. I've limped off every ball field in Georgia and Massachusetts, I swear.

Hot Chocolate

Oh the sad life of the hot chocolate drinker. A second— nay, third-class citizen in the world of adult non-alcoholic beverages, behind not just haughty and imperious coffee but that hippie strumpet, tea. Good luck getting a decent hot chocolate at any coffee shop this side of Switzerland. You'll be lucky to get a cup of hot tan milk. Most of the time I drain the liquid only to find a cache of bone dry powder trapped beneath a tarry blanket in the bottom corner. Powder! Like I wanted Tang or Kool-aid.