Book Review: Tai-Pan by James Clavell

Book Review: Tai-Pan by James Clavell

A friend of mine used to say, “New books are better than old ones.” After reading by Tai-Pan by James Clavell, I have to agree. It’s bold, funny, raucous…everything a novel should be. I give it five stars.

The story takes place in China during the 1700’s. We follow Dirk Straun, the English sailor. He’s become a wealthy man by trading opium with the Chinese. Simultaneously, he takes an Asian wife and starts a company called The Noble House. He lives in Hong Kong, a new city in the British Empire (we all know how that turns out, of course).

Dirk is the “Tai-Pan” – it means supreme leader in Chinese. The locals respect and fear him. He rules with an iron hand, learning how to do business in the local way: saving face, calling bluffs, and fighting when need be.

Enter Culum, the son he left behind in England. The book segues into a great father/son tale at that point. Dirk…the man who went to China to make a fortune, yet left a boy in England behind. And Culum…the son who comes looking for a father: hoping to learn from him yet full of resentment. It’s a universal conflict.

I love the story for many reasons, but perhaps most is this…

Deep inside of every man, there lives a Dirk Straun—a man that longs for a life of adventure.

So many of us lead mundane lives, trapped inside a cubicle farm in corporate America. The break room, the bathroom, the freeway…boring. Thankfully, with the help of James Clavell, we can be transported to another place and time. A world of sailors and sword fighting.

I highly recommend this novel—it belongs on the bibliophile’s bookshelf.

May the Stones Live Forever

May the Stones Live Forever

The Rolling Stones taking it to another level…the world is better with them in it. And “Tumbling Dice” is one of my favorite. The energy, the rock, the passion for life. That’s what it’s about. Reaching for the ring. Demanding the summit. Believing in a crazy dream when everybody doubts you.

You got to roll me and call me the tumbling dice…

“Tumbling Dice” from the Beacon Theater in New York City, 2006

Wo Yeah! (Wo, wo)
Women think I’m tasty, but they’re always tryin’ to waste me
And make me burn the candle right down,
But baby, baby, I don’t need no jewels in my crown.
Cause all you women is low down gamblers,
Cheatin’ like I don’t know how,
But baby, baby, there’s fever in the funk house now.
This low down bitchin’ got my poor feet a itchin’,
Don’t you know you know the duece is still wild.
Baby, I can’t stay, you got to roll me
And call me the tumblin’ dice.
Always in a hurry, I never stop to worry,
Don’t you see the time flashin’ by.
Honey, got no money,
I’m all sixes and sevens and nines.
Say now baby, I’m the rank outsider,
You can be my partner in crime.
But baby, I can’t stay,
You got to roll me and call me the tumblin’,
Roll me and call me the tumblin’ dice.
Oh, my, my, my, I’m the lone crap shooter,
Playin’ the field ev’ry night.
But baby, I can’t stay,
You got to roll me and call me the tumblin’ dice, (Call me the tumblin’)
Got to roll me (yayes), Got to roll me, Got to roll me (Oh yeah)
Got to roll me
Got to roll me (yeah)
Got to roll me (Keep on rolling)
Got to roll me (Keep on rolling)
Got to roll me (Keep on rolling)
Got to roll me
My baby, call me the tumblin’ dice, yeah
Got to roll me
Baby sweet as sugar (Got to roll me)
Yeah, my, my, my yeah (Got to roll me)
I went down baby, oh
Got to roll me (hit me)
Baby I’m down

What’s the Greatest Love Song of All Time? (Episode 2)

What’s the Greatest Love Song of All Time? (Episode 2)

Blending Ame has started a competition with me…the search for a greatest love song. As an example, I mentioned “You Are My Shining Star” by The Manhattans. She countered with some great selections of her own: “Close to You” by The Carpenters and “Endless Love.”

Let me throw another song in the mix. It’s by Joan Manuel Serrat, a Spanish writer that few Americans know. His song is called “The Woman I Love.” Lyrically…it’s perfect; it captures the lofty heights of emotion:

“The Woman I Love” by Joan Manuel Serrat: See Video for Music

The woman I love, doesn’t need to
bathe herself each evening in holy water.
She has many flaws, says my mother,
and too many bones, says my father
But she is more true than bread and earth.
My love is a love from before the war
in order to know it…
The woman I love, doesn’t need to
pluck the petals of a daisy every night.
The woman I love, is a succulent fruit
rooted in my soul just like anything else.
My friends want her to cheat on me
and my enemies’ lives are embittered…
because without intention, her lullaby envelops you
and against her warmth, pride is lost
and shame…
The woman I love, is succulent fruit
happily ripening, sweet and conceited.
The woman I love, tied me to her yoke,
in order to sow the field from end to end
from a love that speaks to us with the sage’s voice

and has a woman’s skin and lips

They’re all gone my previous companions…
My dog, my Scalextric and my lovers.
Poor little Juan!
The woman I love, tied me to her yoke:
but, please, don’t say anything to her.
We see the influence of Neruda: the focus on the sensual, the sacred connection between body and mind. And the Spanish language is perfect for the music – melodious and fluid. Can you feel this way? Do you still have it in you?
There’s a big difference between being sexual and being sensual – and we need more of the latter.

What’s the Greatest Love Song of All Time? (1st Edition)

What’s the Greatest Love Song of All Time? (1st Edition)

I had a conversation with Blending Ame about love songs—the most pathetic ones of all time, in particular. She asked me what I thought the greatest ones were, so I’m going to dedicate a post or two on the topic. I think it’s a worthy idea – beauty in the time of war.

Let me start with a gem—“You Are My Shining Star” by the Manhattans (1980). It’s filled with the uplifting, the positive, and the healthy: love is lofty emotion and it deserves no less.

“You Are My Shining Star” by The Manhattans (1980)

 

Honey you are my shining star, Don’t you go away
Wanna be right here where you are, Until my dying day

So many have tried, Tried to find a love like yours and mine
Girl don’t you realize how you hypnotize
Make me love you more each time

Honey I’ll never leave you lonely
Give my love to you only
To you only, to you only

Honey you are my shining star
Don’t you go away
Wanna be right here where you are
Until my dying day

Feels so good when we’re lying here next to each other lost in love
Baby when we touch, love you so much
You’re all I ever dreamed of

Honey I’ll never leave you lonely
Give my love to you only to you only
To you only, to you only

Honey you are my shining star, Don’t you go away girl
Wanna be right here where you are, Until my dying day

Honey you, you are my shining star, Don’t you go away

Let’s face it—romantic love is rare. And those who find it are the chosen ones…they receive a gift. They walk in silence, knowing how lucky they are.

We might be happy alone, content in the daily activities. But everyone is looking, searching; they’re hoping that it’s not bullshit. That someday – far into the future, they’ll fall asleep in the arms of a perfect somebody.

What’s the Most Pathetic Love Song of All Time?

What’s the Most Pathetic Love Song of All Time?

The Major is a romantic…it’s true. But everybody has a line, a place they won’t cross. Everybody has a moment they no longer feel love…when they only feel creepy.

For me, that moment occurs when I hear “Always a Woman” by Billy Joel.

She can kill with a smile, she can wound with her eyes
She can ruin your faith with her casual lies

She sounds like a crazy bitch. I say run…

And she only reveals what she wants you to see
She hides like a child, but she’s always a woman to me

Yes, she technically is a woman. That’s true. But you just implied that she was a crazy bitch, so why are interested in her?

She can lead you to love, she can take you or leave you
She can ask for the truth, but she’ll never believe you

Ok, now it’s confirmed. The bitch is crazy.

And she’ll take what you give her, as long it’s free
Yeah, She steals like a thief, but she’s always a woman to me

Uh…ok. Do you have any self-esteem? Any pride? I’m thinking no at this point.

Ohhh…she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants, she’s ahead of her time

No, Beethoven was ahead of his time. Einstein was ahead of his time. Some predatory bitch is not “ahead of her time.”

Ohhh…and she never gives out
And she never gives in, she just changes her mind

“She just changes her mind” sounds like a frightening prospect. I’m thinking of regret rape, or something to that effect.

And she’ll promise you more than the garden of Eden
Then she’ll carelessly cut you and laugh while you’re bleeding

Who can pass up that deal?

But she’ll bring out the best and the worst you can be
Blame it all on yourself ’cause she’s always a woman to me

Blame it on myself? I’m sorry, but I don’t have Stockholm syndrome.

Ohhh…she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants, she’s ahead of her time
Ohhh…and she never gives out
And she never gives in, she just changes her mind

Repeating the chorus, just in case you were wondering if Billy Joel is sick. And yes, it appears so.

She’s frequently kind and she’s suddenly cruel
She can do as she pleases, she’s nobody’s fool

I’m picturing a woman who will end up alone with an apartment full of cats. And Cymbalta…plenty of Cymbalta.

And she can’t be convicted, she’s earned her degree
And the most she will do is throw shadows at you
But she’s always a woman to me

“She earned her degree”…from what? University of Menstruation?

Man, I feel sorry for Billy Joel. If he wrote this song from the bottom of his heart, then he’s clearly a beta-male pussy. And it’s little wonder that Christy Brinkley took a left turn on him. If I were a woman, I’d do the same.

There’s nothing attractive about a man without honor.

Read more: Billy Joel – Always A Woman Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Book Review: Victory Secrets of Attila the Hun

Book Review: Victory Secrets of Attila the Hun

Wess Roberts wrote a book in 1993 entitled Victory Secrets of Attila the Hun. It became a best seller, mixing ancient history with business acumen. It was read by CEOs across the United States. One fan was Pat Riley, the former coach for the Los Angeles Lakers. On some level, the book is like President Trump’s Art of the Deal—designed to teach people how to succeed in the business sector.

The book is structured in the following way:

  • Provide an anecdote about Attila the Hun’s invasion of the Roman Empire
  • Use the anecdote as a teaching lesson, told from the perspective of Attila. The advice is centered on how to lead people, how to run an organization, etc.

Here are the pros and cons of the book:

Pros:

There were a lot of great sayings. You can easily use the maxims in a variety of ways, from personal growth to attention whoring on Facebook. Here are just a few of the quotes:

“Warriors with high potential turn down assignments that don’t offer an opportunity for them to learn and grow.”

“A warrior with high potential is quick to leave a poorly led tribe.”

“A chieftain doesn’t waste time by trying to learn more lessons from an experience than it contains.”

Cons:

Roberts was very enamored with Attila; he describes him in positive terms throughout the entire book.  But he conveniently overlooks the other side of Attila; for example, the man who skinned people alive, disemboweled them, and had their bodies torn to pieces by attaching each limb to a horse.

Simultaneously, he describes the Roman Empire in harsh ways; they were savage, brutal, prone to excess, etc. While that was true, there was another side to the Roman Empire—one that allowed them to rule the ancient world.

In short, I found him playing a bit loose with history. And I’m skeptical of people who manipulate the events of history to serve a personal aim.

Summary

Victory Secrets of Attila the Hun is a book that, on some level, has influenced the current migrant invasion of the West. A PHD academic like Wess Roberts, who condemns his own culture while simultaneously sanctifying the foreign invaders. The Roman Empire might as well be America/Europe while the Huns are Syrians, Somalians, etc. It’s very disturbing to see the seeds of our current dilemma. But for anyone that’s familiar with American academics, it should come as no surprise.

I recommend the book on the strength of the quotations. Just be aware that, ultimately, Roberts is a useful idiot that’s being dangled on the puppet strings of George Soros.

The Memory Will Never Die

The Memory Will Never Die

A beautiful song by Default…it captures the moments we all have. The desire to hold onto moments, to not forget, to remain in the arms of a perfect bliss. Your family, your friends, the times that you were elevated into a higher plane.

Sometimes, only music can capture the summit of a man’s emotions.

The Memory Will Never Die Video

I whisper in your ear
The words you want to hear
You fell the wind and it reminds you
It happens every time
You stop and close your eyes
You can’t deny what lives inside you
Well I know it’s all to see
What is meant to be
When yesterday’s so far behind you

Deep inside your soul though
I’m always there

You made me believe
The day you surrendered to me
The memory will never die
The love that you gave
I’ll never throw it away
The memory will never die

The tides take a turn
Another lesson learned
I’m right here but still you wonder
But you say you need more
And it’s not what it was before
Your on your own and going under

Deep inside your soul though
I’m always there

You made be believe
The day you surrendered to me
The memory will never die
The love that you gave
I’ll never throw it away
The memory will never die

Whenever you wake up
Remember you gave up
All that you had from nothing at all
The bed that you lay in
Remember you made it
And nobody’s there to catch you when you fall

You made be believe
The day you surrendered to me
The memory will never die

The love that you gave
I’ll never throw it away
The memory will never die
You made me believe
The day you surrendered to me
The memory will never die
The love that you gave
I’ll never throw it away
The memory will never die

Read more: Default – The Memory Will Never Die Lyrics | MetroLyrics