May 10, 2019

Billy's Books 19: The Hate U Give, Master & Apprentice

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray

These two books just barely relate to each other, but I found a way, dangit. Both feature teenagers as prime characters, both of whom are tenuously associated with sometimes wearing hoodies and Jedi robes (with hoods). Like I said, it's pretty tenuous.


I forgot to mention in the review that The Hate U Give is not just murder and racism, but also has a sense of humor. It's written for teens, after all. At a certain point, they are discussing names ("normal" vs black). One of the characters' names is Seven, and his friend mocks him, asking, "What is your middle name? Eight?"

Master & Apprentice is staged mostly the planet Pijal and its moon. They have an interesting culture that favors modesty, or at least one that shuns showiness. The princess and other rich people wear bland fabrics that reveal just a bit of fancy peeking through. The idea is that inner beauty must be sought out. In one scene a nobleman's garments are torn, revealing too much gold linen. He curses that they are ruined, such a display would be gauch!

Apr 10, 2019

Billy's Books 18: In the Garden of Beasts

I've got another history book to review: In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson. Just another book about Nazis, once again a little too timely.



Toward the end, I mention Operation Hummingbird a.k.a. the Röhm Putsch, The Blood Purge, and Nacht der langen Messer (Night of the Long Knives).

This is a follow-up to my previous blog entry, Nazis Are Bad, which includes a sing-along.

Mar 28, 2019

Nazis Are Bad

Here's a little ditty for the Republicans. Anyone can enjoy it, really. Sadly, it bears repeating.




Nazis Are Bad by Billy Dechand, 2019

We seem to be at the time when Nazis seem alright. 
They're not.
Nazis are bad.
Nazis are bad.
Nazis are bad.
Nazis are bad.
Nazis are bad.

Feb 14, 2019

Billy's Books 17: Fire & Blood

Billy's Books 17 explores George R. R. Martin's latest Westerosi history, Fire & Blood.



Fire & Blood is a history of the Targaryen dynasty by a maester three centuries after the events have transpired. He mostly draws from three sources, often noting discrepancies. The author describes the many sides of a story and usually picks the most plausible, but often leaves it up to the reader to decide. There are a lot of dragons.

Jan 28, 2019

Dec 18, 2018

Down Long

I've got a lot to say about "Down". I don't usually explain my lyrics but I think I might in this case, at least generally. It's mainly about vulnerability. There's risk in offering vulnerability; there are joys and pitfalls. You can say "Don't bring me down", meaning don't make me sad. You can be a drag, as in bummer, or just drag me under water. You can also go down on or with somebody -- that can be good or bad too. They all come down to declaring one's vulnerability, whether it be a come-on or submission. Come-on or submission is context relative.

This is my standard disclaimer in long form. This video in particular is a bit of that, too. I'm a little embarrassed to appear half naked, gallivanting about with my imperfections. But more so, I'm terrified of water and doing that awkwardly in public adds more vulnerability. So this video is about all that too.

So if you feel compelled to mock this video for whatever reason, it's not just a silly music video -- it's really deep stuff, man. Respect my authority art!

Oh yeah... and it's also about the joys of Summer: fun in the pool!

Splish splash!