Sunday, December 19, 2010

Round 4 Results

Here's the winners according to my advanced mathematics:
Scott: Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
Myles: Tie between Decision Points and In 50 Years We'll All Be Chicks
Jon: The Great Divorce and The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis
Brandon: Twelfth Night and Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare
Joe: Under a Wild Sky by William Souder

Is everyone okay if we read and host them in that order (as long as we get a tiebreaker for myles by then?).
So, for January, we'll read Jude the Obscure and so on.  Seems like an appropriately depressing book for January.

Anyone planning on getting together for december?  I won't be here for the rest of them month, so what do I care?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Myles' Picks - Sorry it took so long

Innovators Prescription - Clayton M Christensen
I heard him speak in New Orleans, and he's one of my dad's favorite authors.

Decision Points - George W. Bush
My Brother-in-law is mentioned in the acknowledgments, since he helped with fact checking.

In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks - Adam Carolla
I think this one fits the club :)

Stupid History - Leland Gregory
It looks like you either love it or hate it.

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God - Francis Chan
Something completely different from the rest.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Twain Location

While reading about Sam Clemens' days out West, I thought discussing the book at Porter's Place next Tuesday night might help us get into the period:

A big burger and side is between $6 and $8. The "Cure-All" drinks would be on me as host. We could rendezvous at my place at 7:30, pile into the van and begin the proceedings in transit.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Scott's Nominations

I feel the need to get back to my roots in Victorian English literature, so here are a few to choose from.

Jude the Obscure (Oxford World's Classics)
My favourite Hardy novel. I'm nominating it again.

Middlemarch (Oxford World's Classics)
One I have not yet read, but have always meant to read by George Eliot.

The Pickwick Papers (Oxford World's Classics)
No Victorian list would be complete without a little Dickens (and one I have not read), and this is one of his comedic works.

The Warden (Oxford World's Classics)
The first of the Barchester novels by Anthony Trollope, one of the lesser known Victorian writers. Think Dickens lite.

Thackery's masterpiece. A bit of a wild romp with a female lead (Becky Sharp) who is quite un-Victorian.
Aside from a couple of his plays and a short story or two, I have never actually read anything by Oscar Wilde, but I have always meant to.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Round 4 - Joe's picks

Hopefully those who find history boring can find something interesting in this list.

Battle Cry of Freedom
Considered the best single-volume history of the Civil War. If you consider 924 pages just a single volume.

The Company Town
New book about America's "company towns." The author says they only come in two forms: utopian and satanic.

An Entirely Synthetic Fish
Did surprisingly well as a Round 3 nomination (losing out to Mark Twain bio).

Eden's Outcasts
The story of Louisa May Alcott and her father. Won a pulitzer in '08. I nominated because I'm about to have a daughter.

David McCullough won a pulitzer for this biography of Harry Truman.

Under a Wild Sky

A "highly readable" biography of John James Audobon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In case you missed the Yakiniku last month, here's what the cow tongue looked like before we ate it.  Thanks to myles for the culinary adventure.

Round 4 - Brandon's Picks

Since the Mark Twain book is the last of round 3, it's time to get nominating our next batch of study.    Let's have all nominations posted and voted on by the next meeting at the end of november.  Then in December we decided to do our own independent reading and share our findings with each other.

I'm a huge Shakespeare fan, but looking at his list of plays, I've only read or seen about 1/3 of them.  I figure this is a good way to read some of his deep tracks and b-sides.  If it's okay with you all, I'm proposing we read two plays, since they'll each only take 2-3 hours to read.  (unless you are determined to understand what everything means, then it will take a little longer). And if you don't have time for two, then just read one of them.

So here's a list of 6 comedies and 6 tragedies.  Let's treat each one as it's own category, so your top comedy pick will get 6 points, same with your top tragedy pick.  And perhaps our meeting can include not a few performances...

For anyone new to the voting process, click the "manifesto" link at the top.


All's Well That Ends Well is a play by William Shakespeare. It is believed to have been written between 1604 and 1605,[1] and was originally published in the First Folio in 1623.
Though originally the play was classified as a comedy, the play is now considered by some critics to be one of his problem plays, so named because they cannot be neatly classified as tragedy or comedy.
There is no evidence that All's Well was popular in Shakespeare's own lifetime, and it has remained one of his lesser-known plays ever since, in part due to its odd mixture of fairy tale logic and cynical realism. 

As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the folio of 1623.  As You Like It follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle's court, accompanied by her cousin Celia and Touchstone the court jester, to find safety and eventually love in the Forest of Arden

Measure for Measure is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1603 or 1604. It was (and continues to be) classified as comedy, but its mood defies those expectations. As a result and for a variety of reasons, some critics have labeled it as one of Shakespeare's problem plays. Originally published in the First Folio of 1623 (where it was first labeled as a comedy), the play's first recorded performance was in 1604. The play deals with the issues of mercy, justice, and truth and their relationship to pride and humility: "Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall".

Twelfth Night, or What You Will is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601-02 as a Twelfth Night's entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The play expanded on the musical interludes and riotous disorder expected of such an occasion,[1] with plot elements drawn from the short story "Of Apollonius and Silla" by Barnabe Rich, based on a story by Matteo Bandello
The title Twelfth Night, or What You Will, prepares the audience for its jovial feel of festivities consisting of drink, dance, and giving in to general self-indulgence. The subtitle What You Will implies that the audience is also involved in the merry spirit found in the play.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1590 or 1591. It is considered by some to be Shakespeare's first play,[1] and is often seen as his first tentative steps in laying out some of the themes and tropes with which he would later deal in more detail; for example, it is the first of his plays in which a heroine dresses as a boy. 

The Winter's Tale is a play by William Shakespeare, originally published in the First Folio of 1623. Although it was grouped among the comedies,[1] some modern editors have relabeled the play as one of Shakespeare's late romances.  Some critics consider it to be one of Shakespeare's "problem plays", because the first three acts are filled with intense psychological drama, while the last two acts are comedic and supply a happy ending.


Cymbeline (pronounced /ˈsɪmbɨliːn/) is a play by William Shakespeare, based on legends concerning the early Celtic British King Cunobelinus. Although listed as a tragedy in the First Folio, modern critics often classify Cymbeline as aromance. Like Othello, Measure for Measure, and The Winter's Tale, it deals with the themes of innocence and jealousy. While the precise date of composition remains unknown, the play was certainly produced as early as 1611.[1]

Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607. It was first printed in the First Folio of 1623.
Many consider the role of Cleopatra in this play one of the most complex female roles in Shakespeare's work.[1] She is frequently vain and histrionic, provoking an audience almost to scorn; at the same time, Shakespeare's efforts invest both her and Antony with tragic grandeur. These contradictory features have led to famously divided critical responses.[2]

Coriolanus is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1605 and 1608. The last of Shakespeare's great political tragedies, chronicling the life of the mighty warrior Caius Marcius Coriolanus. It covers many issues including pride of coming before a fall. The ambitious mother of of the hero plays a large part in his initial successes. Coriolanus supports the old patrician ways and is totally out of tune with the needs of the ordinary people. 

Julius Caesar is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1599.[1] It portrays the 44 BCE conspiracy against the Roman dictator Julius Caesar, his assassination and the defeat of the conspirators at the Battle of Philippi. It is one of several Roman plays that Shakespeare wrote, based on true events from Roman history, which also include Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra.

Titus Andronicus may be Shakespeare's earliest tragedy; it is believed to have been written in the early 1590s. It depicts a Roman general who is engaged in a cycle of revenge with his enemy Tamora, the Queen of the Goths. The play is by far Shakespeare's bloodiest work. It lost popularity during the Victorian era because of its gore, and it has only recently seen its fortunes revive.

Troilus and Cressida is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1602. The play (also described as one of Shakespeare's problem plays) is not a conventional tragedy, since its protagonist (Troilus) does not die. Throughout the play, the tone lurches wildly between bawdy comedy and tragic gloom, and readers and theatre-goers have frequently found it difficult to understand how one is meant to respond to the characters. However, several characteristic elements of the play (the most notable being its constant questioning of intrinsic values such as hierarchy, honor and love) have often been viewed as distinctly "modern."

Not shabby, as far as first dates go

Sam Clemens and Livvy Langdon's first date took place at the Langdon home, where they listened to Charles Dickens give a reading to a small gathering. Like the guy or not, Sam lived an extraordinary life.

Monday, October 25, 2010

East of Eden


I'm feeling like a Japanese yakiniku barbeque for this months meeting.  Weather permitting, we'll do it in my backyard.  I'll provide the meat and the rice and the raw eggs.  If others could bring some of the following, that would be great.  Everything should be pretty thinly sliced.

- cucumbers
- onions
- carrots
- bean sprouts
- anything else that would be good grilled
- beverage
- dessert/snacks

Meet at my place at 7pm on Thurs.  Email me if you don't know the address.

In solidarity,


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Manifesto

I made a new page, up there to the top, to describe the voting process and stuff to any newcomers.  Feel free to suggest any changes.

Brandon's Admonition

October's meeting will be at 7pm on Thursday October 28th at my place.  Mark your calendars now.  Make sure and plan your relief society meetings, vacations, and baby births on a different day.
I think the blog has been neglected.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Short notice for "Short History"?

Update: Jordan had to bow out because of a new work schedule. Let's meet tonight at my place at 7:30 (811 East 150 South). Eat dinner before you come but bring a snack or treat. We'll play bocce ball (a very old game) while discussing the history of everything.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We discussed it, but luckily TEOTWAWKI isn't here yet

Welcome Ben and Darryl, the newest members!

We had a good time at Upper Falls.  The rock castle was deemed indefensible due to the lack of flowing water.

I think it was unanimous that we all need to develop some more skills... Moonboot skills, nunchuck skills...

We enjoyed rotisserie pigeons (cornish game hens), corn on the cob, potatoes, carrots, beets, IBC, Delicias ice cream bars...

My girls are all excited about starting book clubs.  The first thing they're planning is the menu.

One link from Provident Living

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

TEOTWAWKI night is July 27th

Meet at my house at 7:30 to carpool to an undisclosed location known to a few as "The Rock Castle."  It's not far enough away to completely avoid the Golden Horde, but it is fairly defensible.  I'm having trouble deciding which meat to roast.  Pigeons from an overpass, locally harvested vole, organically raised free range vermin of any kind...  Or hot dogs to get a combination of all three.

For those of you that are writers as well as readers, you could win Rawles' writing contest!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Emancipators in South Fork Canyon

It sounds like Jordan had a pretty good excuse for not being there.  Congratulations to you and your wife!

We saw bighorn sheep on the way up.  And at least one raccoon and a mouse joined us, too.

Joe caught a couple of trout, Scott brought homemade cheesecake, Brandon brought buttermilk bars from the Provo Bakery, and everyone consented to be a guinea pig for my last minute brainstorm.

String cheese on a stick, wrapped in a couple of pieces of pepperoni and some crescent roll dough.  Cook over the fire until well browned on the outside and the cheese starts to run.

The name for this new delight?  Campfire Calzones?  Stick Pizza?

Brandon christened them emancipators.  I thought later emasculators since it contains the same root as masculine, but it's probably better not.

Sorry, there are no pics of the food, animals that joined us, or the stars...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This Thursday

Here's what I was thinking. We could meet at my place in Thursday (June 17th) and carpool up Provo Canyon to someplace we can get a fire going and enjoy the mountain air for the evening. I can carry three people comfortably, four a little less so, so a couple of us may need to drive depending on who comes. I will supply cheesecake; everyone else can bring whatever they feel moved to bring (perhaps something they picture having in paradise, or something decadent....cheesecake works both ways). I am going to go scout out locations tomorrow, but any suggestions of favourite spots would be most welcome.

Does this work for everyone?

It's this Thursday, right?

Believe it or not, but the third Thursday of the month is this week. Are we going to gather around a fire pit Scott?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Votes are in -- Round 3

Here are the results, according to my calculations. Correct me if I'm wrong.

June: This Side of Paradise, Scott hosting
July: How to Survive the End of the World as We Know it, Myles hosting
August: A Short History of Nearly Everything, Jordan Hosting
September: Undaunted Courage, Jon Hosting
October: East of Eden, Brandon Hosting
November: Mark Twain, A Life, Joe Hosting

Sorry, Doug, you gots to put up more nominations next time. Manly men are democratic. Like Robin Hood.

If anyone needs to switch dates or has other recommendations, speak up.

Monday, May 24, 2010


However, we can't read "War And Peace" because I just read that during the winter. It was great but come on! You want me to do that all over again?

I'm for "The Big Short," "A Brave New World," "Crime & Punishment" and if "Cakes & Ale" will give me an education in the production of ancient spirits, I'll read that one too.
"I only regret that I have but one nomination to give for my book club: The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court."

- Douglas Kleven

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I know after missing the last two book club meetings my club credibility is low. So I come before you in great sheepishness to nominate the following books for your consideration:

People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture by Terry Givens

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt

The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell

A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Scott's Nominations Part Deux

OK Brandon, you're on. Here's my latest round of picks.

I wasn't around for round 1, so this is really only my second set of nominations. This time I am focusing on books I have never read (unlike last time) by authors I enjoy. There is something for everyone here, I hope.

Cakes And Ale - W. Somerset Maugham - I enjoy Maugham, but have never read this one. He is mainly known for Of Human Bondage, a book I hear is widely regarded as one of the most depressing in the English language (though I really liked it). This one is supposed to be one from his lighter side.

Stranger In A Strange Land - Robert Heinlein - One of Heinlein's best known, but one I have never read.

Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh - This is one of Waugh's best known novels, and one I have not read. I have enjoyed Scoop, Black Mischief, and others, though.

This Side of Paradise - F. Scott Fitzgerald - Fitzgerald's first novel. I have always meant to get to this one, but never have.

Bone - Jeff Smith - And now for something completely different...a graphic novel. This is the complete series in one volume. Though I have it, I have never read the whole thing as I came to the comic toward it's conclusion. This is more light-hearted fare, but not something you can breeze through as it weighs in at about 1300 pages.

The Tolkien Reader - J.R.R. Tolkien - Believe it or not, I have never read this book by perhaps my single favourite writer...and I have slogged through The Silmarillion at least four I thought maybe it's about time.

Myles' summer picks

Friday, May 21, 2010

Brandon's Nominations --- Round 3

My theme for this time around: books I've wanted to read for a long time but really won't ever get around to (or stick with it) if it's not for book club. Besides, nothing says Summer Reading like settling in with a monolithic classic novel, right?

Billy Budd, Sailor and Selected Tales (Oxford Worlds Classics)
Crime and Punishment (Norton Critical Editions)

Round 3

Jon posted his picks recently, but due to his messed up priorities, won't be able to read anything for the next two months. So we'll read his pick for August. In the meantime, let's get some more nominations from everyone. If Doug gets his up soon enough, we'll read it for June. Otherwise we'll go with someone else's picks. Can we have everything up and voted on by next friday? Sure we can. But let's kick it up a notch. How about by tomorrow? That would be manly.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chess at Joe's

The bratwurst will be hot and the IBC root beers will be cold at 7 o'clock on Thursday evening. If you want to bring an item, keep it simple and make your choice known in the comments to avoid duplication.

My place is 811 East 150 South (one block north of Myles).

We're counting on Brandon and East Hollywood High for chess boards.

The other night I dreamed that life was a chess match controlled by unknown entities. That meant I had to move whenever and wherever this mysterious being willed me to be. I spent a great deal of my time at a centrally located cafe table. The nearest opposing player was a nice woman who was understandably apathetic about the circumstances. Nobody got excited about the outcome or felt loyalty to the powers that be. When orders for the woman's next move were issued, she stood up and left the cafe while others moved in to lethargically capture me, a fate I was helpless to avoid since I had not been ordered to escape. Alas, I finished the dream in prison waiting for news not of victory, only of an end.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Celestial Glory

Doug, when I spoke to him on the phone just as we pulled into the Provo Gun Club, was bemoaning the fact that he couldn't make it to last month's meeting because he was doing the right thing and helping a lady in his ward move. "You're just pulling into the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom" he said, "and I'm stuck in the lowest pit of hell."

Turns out he was right. Here's some pictures of what Celestial Glory looks like:

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chess book update

Joe says he isn't getting the specific chess book he pitched. Just get a book that will help you in the tournament. I think I've found mine.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Guns and weather

I know it will be extra manly to kill clay pigeons in sleet, but do we have a backup plan?

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Suggested Book List

I guess I need to post my book list. I am not totally sure how this works. But I'll give it a whirl.

My picks are:

1. Big Rock Candy Mountain-Wallace Stegnar
2. Poisonwood Bible-Barbara Kingsolver
3. Undaunted Courage-Steven Ambrose
4. The American Revolution-Gordon Wood
5. Positive Discipline-Jane Nelsen

So hard to choose I know.


Friday, April 16, 2010

A new meaning for Mean and Green

I found this article the other day. I thought it had an interesting idea buried in it.

"Virtuous acts can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviours,"

I thought the idea went along nicely with The Ministry of Fear.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brandon's manly invitation to this month's meeting

"I'm dying to blow apart a few more clay pigeons. How about we meet at the gun range at 7, knock back some cold ones, then head up the canyon a little further to have the best dessert in the county at Sundance? It'll cost around $6 a person, but you won't be disappointed." - Brandon

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Question For All The Manly Men

Having missed this week's gathering, I'm not certain I have the right to ask this, but would anyone have any objections to moving the date of our April meeting? Much like another member, I scheduled a family camping trip not realizing it was on the same date as our April meeting, so I humbly ask if we could move it to another week. I will be gone from April 22-25. I'm good with any other time. If it's a problem, I totally understand. What does everyone think?

Friday, March 26, 2010

3 out of 5 mormons vote to legalize marijuana!

For those that weren't at Jordan's place last night, you missed a rousing discussion in which we successfully defined the line between what kinds of morality should and shouldn't be legislated. We also pounded the IBC and Hank Weinhardt's along with some banana splits.

Thanks to Jordan for hosting, and welcome to our two new members, Doug and Jon.

Next month, it's conspiracy time again with Graham Greene's "Ministry of Fear." April 22nd, 7pm at my place.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

... and I feel fine... (R.E.M.)

Armageddon truly has never been funnier. Thanks Scott for hosting!

Milkshakes were savored, peanut butter candy was shared, IBC was sipped.

With double-chocolate brownies and twinkies, we definitely ate like there was no tomorrow.

After Joe said it felt like riding with the Hells Angel's... I wondered how he would know until I found this shot of him on a Google image search.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Wish I'd remembered my camera sooner, I could've taken pictures of the sushi too.

The schedule for the next few months is as follows. We're planning on the 4th thursday of each month.

Feb 25th: "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Scott hosting
March 25th: "Nudge" I don't remember who's hosting. Jordan?
April 22nd: "Ministry of Fear" Brandon hosting.
May 27th: "Play Chess" Joe Hosting.
June 24th: "Family Man" Aaron hosting.


Thanks Brandon for picking up the great sushi!

Things we learned:
1. Some of us work/have worked with extremists
2. Some of us laugh at extremists
3. Some of us sympathize too much with extremists
4. Some of us are extremists

References from the night:
What President Hinckley said in October 2001 "Those of us who are American citizens stand solidly with the president of our nation." (Thanks Joe)
A warning from Gidgiddoni

The Manly Calendar