Month: August 2019

John Grisham: The Brethren

August 31, 2019 Incoherent ramblings No comments ,

(spoilers here)

This was an enjoyable book, and a page turner, even if it’s a bit predictable, and contained a few large holes in the plot logic.  The basic idea is that there’s a group of incarcerated older judges in a federal prison, who with nothing left to loose, concoct a blackmail scam.  They use their lawyer as a mule for gay hook-up themed “penpal” letters.  After some private investigator work, also initiated by their lawyer, they try to discover the real identities of their correspondents, looking for in-the-closet married men that are nicely blackmailable.

This blackmail story is intertwined with story of a senator who is determined by the head of the CIA, to be “so clean” that he is a good candidate to secretly finance for a can’t lose presidential run.  I found that idea to be pretty naive and comical, as it goes against my suspicion that many politicians win their selections because they can’t be compromised, but are pushed to positions of head-clown and distraction-chiefs precisely because they are compromised.  In this book, this new would be presidential candidate selection is promised the job if he exclusively pushes a help the military become great again agenda, which will be aided by convenient terrorism incidents, and massive sums of PAC money from military-industrial people and individuals.  Clearly Mr So Clean, is intrinsically dirty under the covers, as he has no objections to people dying in these engineered terrorism incidents if it gets him into the presidential role.  Of course, he’s also been secretly participating in some gay procurement penpal letters courtesy of the judges, and you can tell it’s only a matter of time before his true identity becomes known to the judges, and they get ready for their best blackmail haul.

Complicating things for the judges is the fact that the CIA watches their soon to be president carefully, and they discover the blackmail plot to be before their man, and intercept the situation.  The lawyer is first paid off and then taken out, and eventually the CIA director swings presidential pardons (from the lame duck president, in exchange for past favors) for the judges, and gets them all paid off and safely out of the country.

It’s a kind of weird ending, because the soon to be president has been saved from blackmail (by resources and gobs of CIA dirty black money), and the judges are out of jail.  Everybody wins except the letter mule lawyer who was taken out while attempting to run with some of that CIA cash.  This “good ending” obscures the fact that the new president is a scumbag that didn’t have any trouble killing a pile of innocents to get the job.  In that respect, he’s not much different than Trump, Obama, either of the Clintons, or either of the Bushes.

I enjoyed this book, but it assembled some strange conspiracy-theory style themes, in ways that just don’t make sense.

My office hardware, fully deployed today

August 30, 2019 Incoherent ramblings No comments

I’ve got all my desktop hardware deployed today:

  1. Intel NUC6i7KYB (Skull canyon NUC)
  2. Intel NUC6i7KYB
  3. Large cup of coffee
  4. Mac thunderbolt monitor
  5. Mac thunderbolt monitor
  6. Monitor for my NUCs (not usually connected)
  7. Mac Laptop, a really expensive way to run terminal (to access my NUCs)
  8. NUC keyboard (not usually connected)
  9. Keyboard for my mac
  10. Mac trackpad
  11. NUC mouse (not usually connected)

(and half concealed by monitor (4) is my WD “My Book” backup drive for the Mac).

The lldb TUI (text user interface)

August 26, 2019 C/C++ development and debugging. No comments , , ,

It turns out, like GDB, that lldb has a TUI mode too, but it’s really simplistic.  You enter with

(lldb) gui

at which point you get a full screen of code or assembly, and options for register exploration, thread and stack exploration, and a variable view.  The startup screen looks like:

If you tab over to the Threads window, you can space select the process, and drill into the stack traces for any of the running threads

You can also expand the regsiters by register class:

I’d like to know how to resize the various windows.  If you resize the terminal, the size of the stack view pane seems to remain fixed, so the symbol names always end up truncated.

Apparently this code hasn’t been maintained or developed since it was added.  Because there is no console pane, you have to set all desired breakpoints and continue, then pop into the GUI to look at stuff, and then <F1> to get back to the console prompt.  It’s nice that it gives you a larger view of the code, but given that lldb already displays context around each line, the lldb TUI isn’t that much of a value add in that respect.

This “GUI” would actually be fairly usable if it just had a console pane.

My youngest reader

August 23, 2019 Incoherent ramblings No comments ,

My nephew Jake is a prodigy, and is already tackling QM!

Two more books dispatched: Art of the Deal, and Deception Point.

August 3, 2019 Incoherent ramblings, Reviews No comments , , , ,

I’ve been working hard to take down my backlog of books to read, and have now finished two more.

1) Trump’s: The Art of the Deal.

Other possible alternate titles for this book would be “How I financed my projects at others’ expense using  tax rebates and other tricks”, and “How I used PR to get what I want.”  Reading this leaves you with the slightly nauseous feeling that you have after talking to a slimy used car salesman.  A lot of what was stated left me with the feeling that relevant facts were being omitted.  I’d like to see a fact checking “Coles Notes” for this book, and to look at how the projects that are named in the book are doing now.

I am inclined to enumerate all the people that Trump mentions in the book and dig into the relationships that Trump took the time to name drop in this book.  Trump’s pedophile buddy Epstein didn’t make the cut in the book, but Adnan Khashoggi did. A lot of the other names I didn’t recognize.

EDIT: here’s some backstory on the book.  Included in that article was one more interesting name drop, Roy Cohn, Trump’s lawyer.  That name may have been mentioned in the book, but if so, I didn’t recognize it when I read that part of the book.  With Epstein’s case reactivated, I now recognize Cohn’s name from Whitney Webb’s writing [1], [2] and her interview with Pierce Redmond.

2) Dan Brown’s: Deception point.

This book would be a lot better as a movie. Like a lot of Michael Crichton books, this one moves very fast, but is pretty shallow, as well as predictable and probably forgettable.  I did enjoy it, but it’s definitely not one to keep, and I intend to bring it to the second hand bookstore, or if they don’t want it, to the communal take-or-leave a book shelf at the recycling depot.


[1] Hidden in Plain Sight: The Shocking Origins of the Jeffrey Epstein Case

[2] Government by Blackmail: Jeffrey Epstein, Trump’s Mentor and the Dark Secrets of the Reagan Era