#131 – Powers Of The Crown, Time Life BOOK REVIEW

December 28, 2018
krauserpua

Powers of the crown

Contrary to popular opinion, my initial interest in Japan grew not from its porn or video games but actually from ninjas. Yes, those shadow-skulking, shuriken-shuffling assassins for hire. I first saw them in the 1980s movie Enter The Ninja, hired from my local Jet Garage gas station’s small video rental booth. That was followed up by Revenge Of The Ninja and god knows how many others until I finally discovered the king of all ninja movies: Mafia vs Ninja.

At my school it soon became accepted as established fact that martial arts superstar Bruce Lee did not die of a brain aneurysm, but had actually been assassinated by a gang of seven ninjas who were upset that he was too fucking hard for them [1]. Indeed. You need to be careful who you piss off in life, and I’ll tell you now there wasn’t a single kid in my junior school who’d have risked pissing off the ninja. We’d rather risk the wrath of the Eagle’s Claw school of kung fu than the ninja [2].

My love affair with ninja continued throughout the 1980s, including my frequent visits to the South Shields seaside amusement arcades where I’d play games such as Yie Ar Kung Fu and Ninja Warriors. When playing Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja I was firmly on the side of the latter, and then when I discovered the original Eastman and Laird Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic books in my local Timeslip comic store, I was all over them.

The 1990s were a blur of university, work, and not enough ninjas. I did try my hand at the university Ninjutsu club, being a regular student for all three years though I realise now I was wasting my time. The ninja mythos was so strong that all kinds of charlatans got involved. I still suspect that Grandmaster Hatsumi Masaaki is a bullshitter. Talented martial artist in the traditional sense yes, but more like the leader of a historical reenactment society than a legit ninja [3]. Then of course, there was Ashida Kim. I did get in a bit of ninja gaming though, such as with From Software’s [4] Tenchu: Stealth Assassins game.

Finally in 1998 I visited Japan for the first time, spending a week in Tokyo then a week in Osaka and Nagoya. My bird at the time told me there was a ninja museum within day-trip distance of Nagoya, in the Iga province (their old base). So, off we went. We visited a beautifully reconstructed Tokugawa-era mountain village just like you’d see in a Zatoichi or Kozure Okami movie, and then found a big wooden house deep in the forest that housed the museum itself. A purple-clad kunoichi [5] showed us around and I bought a souvenir coffee mug that I own to this day. A great day out.

Where on earth am I going with all this? Frankly, I don’t know. I just like to talk about ninja. They were a secret society of assassins hired by rival feudal leaders to infiltrate castles and murder VIPs. They also never actually dressed in those black suits – that’s a coincidental artefact from the custom of Japanese plays to dress stage hands head-to-toe in black so the audience ignores them.

Oh wait! I remember. Yes.

In Powers Of The Crown, the theme of which is that AD 1600-1700 saw consolidation of royal power in most civilisations bar England, the first chapter covers Tokugawa Japan – the time of the first shogunate. It’s the period covered by James Clavell’s classic novel Shogun, which itself was made into a TV series with The Count Of Monte Cristo himself Richard Chamberlain. I read that in 2015 and was surprised that the book ends on the eve of the fateful Battle of Sekigahara. Fateful why? Well, that’s the battle where Tokugawa Ieyasu of the Eastern Kanto region crushed his rival of the West, Ishida Mitsunari, and became undisputed military dictator of all Japan.

Incidentally, it’s also the battle the aftermath of which begins Eiji Yoshikawa’s classic Musashi saga, as the teenage tearaway Miyamoto Musashi wakes up injured on the morning after the battle, having been knocked unconscious while fighting for Ishida’s losing side. I’m pretty sure the battle also features plenty in Japanese video games from the warring kingdoms period, such as Kessen and Nobunaga’s Ambition [6]. Look, the important thing is that the battle was ace, some 140,000 warriors laying into each other with pike, spear, and sword. I wish I’d seen it (from a safe distance).

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Loved it

Anyway, that’s chapter one. Powers Of The Crown also explains the Manchu invasion and occupation of China, the Great Shah of Persia, the rise of William of Orange and the Dutch Republic, and then the settlement of the USA by the English. The only break from the theme is the Civil War in England leading to Charles I getting his head lopped off and Oliver Cromwell establishing a reign of terror. To take Powers Of The Crown at face value it rather seems like Charles I was asking for it, making the dumbest and most arrogant of moves when he could’ve easily held onto his throne with Roundhead consent if he’d been reasonable.

But no, he was rather Cavalier about it.

I think he envied Louis XIV across the channel, who’d established an absolutist government. All this is great backstory to fill in the Alexandre Dumas novels I’ve been reading. Dumas was an avowed Royalist, so he gives it all a rather different slant [7].

Anyway, after 168 pages of world history painstakingly assembled for this volume by Professors Geoffrey Park (Illinois), Christopher Bayly (Cambridge), I.J. McMullen (Oxford), Denis Twitchett (Princeton), David Morgan (SOAS), Nicholas Tyacke (UCL), Jonathan I. Israel (UCL) and G.V. Scammell (Cambridge) we can all agree on the major learning point: Ninjas are awesome.

If you’d like to see some real stealth attraction, stealth comfort, and stealth seduction from a masterful daygaming ninja then do consider my own textbooks Daygame Mastery, Daygame Infinite, and the video series Daygame Overkill. Check them out here.

Daygame_Overkill_Double_Bill_Poster

[1] I consider it far more likely he was poisoned to keep him quiet after he considered exposing all the paedophilia and child sex trafficking that went on with Hollywood producers during the location filming of Enter The Dragon.
[2] Because Jackie Chan had already proven that while the Eagle Claw is invincible against Snake’s Fist, it is highly vulnerable to the Cat’s Claw style. Nobody had yet figured out the style to beat ninjutsu.
[3] Unless he was actually involved in the Bruce Lee assassination and his role as kindly old instructor is a deep cover.
[4] Yes, that From Software
[5] That’s female ninja to you, lad. And no, you’re not allowed to shag them.
[6] Okay, I think Oda Nobunaga came a bit earlier, now I think about it.
[7] Not that type of slant, you racist!

#130 – Cruel As A Cat, John Creasey BOOK REVIEW

December 28, 2018
krauserpua

Cruel as a cat

John Creasey usually writes books that you’d call “genre fiction” or perhaps “pot-boilers”, meaning they are formulaic and do exactly what they say on the tin. For example his Inspector West stories will always involve the titular West employing police procedure to track down local criminals, with a little levity and seasoning added from his time back home with the ball and chain wife and kids. His Cruel As A Cat, first published under the pseudonym Michael Halliday in 1968 as part of his Dr Cellini series, is nothing like that. It’s a character study that reads much like Agatha Christie’s The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd.

I can’t tell you how it differs from TMORA without giving away that classic’s key twist, so I urge you to read Agatha Christie’s best novel. But what it shares with TMORA is as follows:

  • Mostly in the perspective of a central character who begins the story having discovered a recently murdered corpse without having a solid alibi himself.
  • The franchise character (Cellini here, Poirot in TMORA) doesn’t appear for quite a while, and only then as he is encountered from the perspective of other characters. The detective is not a perspective character himself [1].
  • Ultimately it’s all about the psychology of the murderer, hidden from all but the reader until the detective figures it all out.

Cruel As A Cat begins with poor young James Clayton hidden in shrubbery on the moors at the peak of summer while a manhunt rages around him. He’s the prime suspect in the strangulation murder of his adoptive sister Gloria, discovered that morning in her apartments soon after James was seen quarrelling with her over an inheritance she’d jipped him out of. From the beginning Creasey makes it clear – as the reliable narrator – that Clayton is innocent. But he’s on the run and in deep shit.

His hiding place is disturbed by a dog called Blixi, out being walked by its owner, a Mrs Midge Benison – a beautiful young woman who recently moved into the area with her shifty husband Alec. There’s a tense scene where Midge seems about to turn James in to the posse over the next ridge, but something stays her hand. She seems to believe his protestations of innocence. Quite unexpectedly, she offers him sanctuary in the attic of her apartment, rented out from the spinster Trudie Stern who lives on the ground floor.

It’s here where Creasey begins the head games, as he slips in some misgivings and red flags regarding Miss Benison and her motives. She doesn’t seem quite right. Too flirtatious, too controlling, and altogether a little odd. More a bunny-boiler than a pot-boiler. Thus the character portrait begins. Clayton is kept couped up, effectively a prisoner in the attic – considering the danger of being ensnared by the manhunt outside – while Miss Benison plots and schemes to as yet unknown ends.

Siren

Miss Benison, yesterday

It’s a fact of life that men understand other men far more accurately than women ever can. The reason men worked so hard to present themselves as dependable and of high moral character was that they needed a girl’s father to approve a marriage proposal. Society knew men’s arsenal of bullshit is far more effective on a woman than upon a fellow man, especially a man a generation older than the bullshit artist. This works the other way. Though Miss Benison effectively beguiles the young men in her life (fugitive James and her husband Alec, among others) she can’t fool Miss Stern, her landlady. Stern reaches out and is put in touch with Dr Cellini, who finally appears in chapter nine, making a house call for tea and biscuits with Stern. She relates her concerns:

“It’s past time I told you why I’m worried,” said Miss Stern at last. “There is something rather odd about the young woman who lives in my flat upstairs.” She told Cellini exactly what she had told [Inspector] McLelland although in somewhat greater detail. “Of course I know that the Lombroso theory is out-dated, Dr. Cellini, one cannot really tell a criminal type from their bumps, but—”
“You can often tell a kind person from their face– and a cruel one, too” said Dr. Cellini. “That is, if you are sensitive to appearance, as you obviously are. You might be unpleasantly surprised if you knew how many people there are who enjoy being cruel, Miss Stern.”

While taking an interest in facts, Cellini is as interested in ‘the psychologies’ as Hercules Poirot himself. In order to subtly ascertain the quality of Miss Stern’s interpersonal judgement he asks that she give her impressions of a mutual acquaintance, the Superintendent Hardy who made their introduction. It’s a nice scene, showing Cellini as keenly observational and precise in assessing his sources.

Dr Cellini no longer looked a benevolent elderly man; he took on a stature of which she had not been aware before. She realised that with very little prompting he had made her talk much more freely than she would normally have done, but she could not for the life of her imagine why he had made her discuss Superintendent Hardy. To cover an inward confusion which she did not want to admit, she plugged in the kettle and took the lid off the silver dish of Mary Jane’s sandwiches.
“You are telling me to pay very close attention to your opinion of the Benisons” remarked Dr. Cellini. “A woman who can see a stranger so clearly as you see Hardy is likely to have a very balanced view of someone she knows rather better. How long have you been uneasy about the Benisons, Miss Stern?”

I ate this up. One thing drummed into me from Game theory is the need to elicit values early in a date. It encourages the girl to talk, to share her mind, and build rapport. As I explain in Daygame Infinite, it allows you to begin placing her on the r/K spectrum so as to guide your choice of DHVs and speed of escalation. Detective stories focused on ‘the psychologies’ are good role models for this type of interpersonal communication [2].

Hercules Poirot

“It’s about the grey cells, Hastings”

This whole book was as smooth as butter with delightful pacing, precise language and suitably colourful characters. I was somewhat surprised how little Cellini’s investigations relied upon careful consideration of evidence. There wasn’t the usual Poirot business of double-checking alibis and establishing timelines, nor of Sherlock Holmes minutely investigating footprints and tobacco ash. This was all about the psychology. The publisher’s biographical note at the book’s end clarifies it nicely:

One of the major factors in John Creasey’s ever increasing popularity is undoubtedly his talent for viewing and so portraying his characters as living beings; each with his own special problem, each with his own hopes and dreams and fears. John Creasey has now written nearly 500 books, and in essence this extraordinary achievement is a testament to his penetrating observation and understanding of human behaviour. Criminals, their victims, the police – all he writes of are touched with this very real compassion.

I absolutely agree and that puts the finger on why I liked his Inspector West and The Toff stories so much [3]. Although Creasey stories are structured like pot-boilers, the characters are never empty suits. They always feel like real, engaging people. I felt like I knew Clayton, Benison, Stern and Cellini.

If you’d rather women were just shagged rather than empathised with, consider buying and then studying my pick-up textbooks Daygame Mastery and Daygame Infinite, which will encourage your malevolent sociopathy into far more constructive paths than murder. Check them out here.

Mastery cover

Mastery interior

[1] Not unlike how Mr Moto is usually written in those classic Japanese espionage stories.
[2] As are espionage stories that rely primarily on verbal jousting to uncover the intentions and secrets of rival spies.
[3] And not the early Department Z stories, where he hadn’t yet developed these skills.

#129 – Sick Heart River, John Buchan BOOK REVIEW

December 28, 2018
krauserpua

Sick Heart River

It’s nice to see a master story teller at work. Most people know John Buchan from his famous spy thriller The 39 Steps and, until Sick Heart River, I’d only read that. This is his last novel, drawn from Buchan’s impressions of his journey in 1937 to the Far North of Canada, and the last of his character Edward Leithen. It’s a haunting and uplifting book that really got me thinking.

At surface level, it’s a frontiersman exploration drama. Leithen is a mid-fifties high-ranking Member of the British Parliament who is persuaded to visit New York on the down-low to investigate the sudden disappearance of one Francis Gallaird, a key industrialist and political mover. Set in 1939 just before the outbreak of war, Leithen canvasses Gallaird’s friends and family until he guesses the man had struck out into the Canadian hinterlands where he’d grown up as a young lad. From here, Leithen and Buchan leave civilisation behind as the Brit engages a half-Indian trapper called Johnny and attempts to follow Gallaird’s trail, overtake him, and persuade him to return.

That’s the surface level, which doesn’t really matter. This book is all about allegory, redemption, and man vs nature. Let’s talk about that.

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Just need rucksack and laptop, mate

Leithen accepted the commission because he’d been diagnosed with tuberculosis and given less than a year to live. Unmarried and with no children, he felt like his constant statesmanship and lawyering in London had grown stale. His health already failing badly he wished to “die in his boots” and jumped at the chance for a challenge away from his comfortable haunts. For the first half of the book Leithen has accepted death and seeks only to show stoic resistance in meeting it. His long trek through the snowy wastes is a slog taken one step at a time, deep in introspection.

The oppressive overbearing Canadian North hangs heavily over the book and against that weight, Leithen and his guide Johnny form a strong bond. It turns out Gallaird had hired Johnny’s more talented brother Lew as his own guide, so Johnny begins building up the latter’s character much like Colonel Kurtz in Heart Of Darkness as they themselves disappear ever further into an uncharted and uncompromising wilderness. They realise Gallaird and Lew have gone off looking for the mythical Sick Heart River, a place never touched by humanity but given a legend of its healing properties. It exists in the book at first as a phantasm, like Prester John’s kingdom.

The book is focused primarily on Leithen’s mind as his attitudes change over the course of his trek. Pushed to the limit his body begins to respond favourably to the clean air, harsh cold, and fresh meat. The North infiltrates his mind and he is pleasantly surprised to find meaning in his trek and his soul is reclaimed. By the final third, Sick Heart River has became an allegory for finding God through trials, tribulation, and service to the good of others. It sounds hokey when summarised like that but, believe me, as Buchan writes it is extremely compelling. For example, here is a short section when Leithen’s has relapsed towards the end of the journey:

For a little while Lew did not speak.
“You’re not going to die,” he said fiercely.
“The best authorities in the world have told me that I haven’t the ghost of a chance.”
“They’re wrong, and by God we’ll prove them wrong!” The blue eyes had a frosty sternness.
“Promise me, anyhow. Promise that you’ll see Gallaird back among his friends. You could get him out, even in winter?”
“Yeah. We can get a dog-team from the Hares’ camp if he isn’t fit for the trail. And once at Fort Bannerman we can send word to Edmonton for a plane…. If it’s to do you any good I promise to plant the feller back where he belongs. But you’ve got to take count of one thing. He must be cured right here in the bush. If he isn’t cured before he goes out he’ll never be cured. It’s only the North can mend what the North breaks.”
Next day Leithen collapsed utterly, for the strength went from his legs, and his difficult breathing became almost suffocation. The business of filling the lungs with air became for him a desperate enterprise where every moment brought the terror of failure. He felt every part of his decrepit frame involved, not lungs and larynx only, but every muscle and nerve from his brain to his feet. The combined effort of all that was left of him to feed the dying fires of life. A rough sledge was made and Lew and the Hare dragged him laboriously through the drifts.

I found myself thinking Sick Heart River could easily be re-read as a parable for Euro Jaunt daygame. There’s a man who is dissatisfied with civilised metropolitan life despite achieving good recognition from his peers in his profession. He’s missing something and wishes to be closer to the coal-face of life. So he sets off on a commission overseas, to a far-off land where several adventurers barely known to him have preceeded him. He then attempts to pick up the trail [1] and blunder into the wilderness. At each step further – at each set – he encounters harsh environmental resistance and blowouts that test his resolve. He puts one foot in front of the other and stoically endures the pain with only his fellow for comfort. After weeks together in a harsh land they feel their bodies respond and their moods lighten. They are living life closer to how nature intended and discovering much about themselves when faced with adversity. I’d go on, but I don’t wish to spoilt the plot – this book is a great read and it’s much better if it maintains the element of the unknown in those snowy wastes.

It’s often a beautiful book too. If you liked the DiCaprio movie The Revenant you know the kind of scenery we’re dealing with

Trapping

Out of the encumbered river by way of easy rapids the boat ran into reaches which were like a Scottish salmon stream on a big scale, long pools each with a riffle at its head. The valley altered its character, becoming narrower and grassier, with the forest only in patches on frequent promontories. The weather, too, changed. The nights were cold, and a chill crept into even the noontide sunshine. But it was immensely invigorating… The air had a quality which he was unable to describe, and the scents were not less baffling. They were tonic and yet oddly sedative, for they moved the blood rather to quiescence than to action.
But the biggest change was in Leithen’s outlook. The gloomy apathy of the Oblate’s presbytery disappeared, and its place was taken by a mood which was almost peace. The mountains were no longer untidy rock heaps, but the world which he had loved long ago, that happy upper world of birds and clouds and the last magic of sunset. He picked out ways of ascent by their ridges and gullies, and found himself noting with interest the riot of colour in the woods… Black bears were plentiful, revelling among the berries or wetting their new winter coats in the river’s shallows, and he saw a big grizzly limbering across a stone shoot… Leithen had a sense of infinite space around him. He seemed to breathe more freely, and the chill of the night air refreshed him, for frost crisped the lake’s edges. He fell asleep as soon as he got under his blankets.

That sounds just like me on the streets when in my Daygame Infinite mood, don’t it? Leithen’s trekking has a similar salutary effect on his mind, curing his ills.

He awoke after midnight to see above him a wonderful sky of stars, still shot with the vagrant shifts of the aurora. Suddenly he felt acutely his weakness, but with no regret in his mind, and indeed almost with comfort. He had been right in doing as he had done, coming out to meet death in a world where death and life were colleagues and not foes. He felt that in this strange place he was passing, while still in time, inside the bounds of eternity. He was learning to know himself, and with that might come the knowledge of God.

Well, excepting that God bit at the end I think many a practised Euro Jaunter will see what I’m getting at. Walking the streets of Kiev and Riga aren’t as dangerous as the Canadian North in winter, but I think we can all relate to the numbing and yet clarifying effect such treks have on our minds. It’s a funny old world.

If you’d rather dispense with the allegories and proceed directly to the shagging, consider my textbooks Daygame Mastery and Daygame Infinite, and my video instructional guide Daygame Overkill. All the information is on this page.

Final Cover

Daygame Infinite interior hardback 1
[1] Perhaps aided by Balls Deep, Daygame Mastery and daygametrip.com

#128 – Skulduggery, William Marshall BOOK REVIEW

December 28, 2018
krauserpua

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It’s funny what you can learn about the real world from fiction. I remember the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China in 1997, and the BBC desperately putting a brave face on it. I’d only just graduated university and it never occured to me to wonder how the hell Britain had hung onto it so long. It was odd enough hanging onto the Falklands Islands. But at least possession of those had a few things in Britain’s favour, (i) a clear straight hop over the Atlantic Ocean by the Royal Navy, (ii) the adversary was Argentina, the most woppish of all South Americans, and (iii) there’s nothing on the Falklands worth having but sheep.

Hong Kong is another story. It’s a bustling economic hub with a beautiful deep harbour in a strategically important location, on the other side of the world, and the adversary is China. Big communist China. I read James Clavell’s Tai Pan in 2014, a fictionalisation of the creation of Hong Kong but it wasn’t until reading Skulduggery that I learned Britain had leased the mainland Kowloon area from China until 1997, and that’s the significance of the hand-over date. Naturally the slants didn’t renew the lease.

Bastards.

I imagine the millions of Hong Kong residents were rather nervous at the thought of losing British governance and rule of law, to be taken over by a murderous communist dictatorship who’d already killed sixty million of their own citizens. But, then again, I don’t much like Chinese people or European ex-pats, so if the whole island had been nuked I doubt I’d have given a fuck. I don’t even like Chinese food.

Big-Trouble-Main

What I do like, however, are detective stories set in Chinatown. Maybe it was the Charlie Chan movies I watched on Saturday mornings as a kid. Perhaps it’s the Sax Rohmer Fu Manchu novels. Maybe Shenmue II on the Dreamcast. It may even have been John Carpenter’s Big Trouble In Little China.

What a movie!

So when my brother gave me this fifth in William Marshall’s Yellowthread Street mystery series about a team of detectives in Hong Kong I was rubbing my hands in glee expecting to see long-moustached Chinese mandarins plotting world domination from underground opium dens tucked into backstreets of violent sailor’s wharves. It turned out to be nothing of the sort. The book was published in 1979 and is set around the same time. This is like The Bill but with slants and chop-suey.

I enjoyed it, mind. That’s the good thing about trying things out without bothering to read the back cover blurb. Your reading becomes like Forrest Gump opening a box of chocolates. So, to the story of Skulduggery.….. A skeleton tied to a makeshift raft is washed up in Hong Bay early one misty morning, discovered by a fisher-woman. The coroner asserts time of death as twenty years ago, murdered by blunt force trauma. Detective Chief Inspector Harry Feiffer is on the case, beginning first with an attempted identification. That same morning Detective Inspector Phillip John Auden is riding an elevator up and down an apartment block in an attempt to solve a spate of five muggings: all occurred in the elevator, the victims distracted and surprised when the doors opened at the third floor, despite the elevator being unable to stop there. Quite the puzzle. Lastly, Detective Inspector William Spencer is concealed in the storeroom of a Chinese money changer in stakeout for a band of three hold-up men, known as the Deaf And Dumb robbers, who are expected to hit that store. These three threads entwine with the mugging and hold-up cases providing leverage against leads in the murder case.

The murder mystery has shades of The Usual Suspects, especially the climax, but it’s a fairly standard pot-boiler. I managed to figure out the wheeze two chapters from the end and experienced the Gestalt satisfaction of pieces sliding into place, but also a diminished interest in closing out the book now that the suspense was neutralised. I wasn’t even able to pat myself on the back for being a smart boy, given how late I solved it. Kind of like getting a football score right in the 89th minute.

My main enjoyment from this book was seeing how mundane and normal the detective’s scenes were despite the somewhat alien (to me) setting of 1979 pre-handover Hong Kong. It’s still a bunch of daft lads in Her Majesty’s uniforms squabbling in the office and puzzling over clues. There were no poisoned lotus leaves, or slinky femme fatales, or plots of world domination. It was to Fu Manchu what Ackrington Stanley are to Real Madrid and enjoyable precisely because of its homeliness.

If you’d rather be banging your way around the Far East than solving its murders, consider my four volume memoir series available here. I’ve also written the best two instructional textbooks on picking up girls, Daygame Mastery and Daygame Infinite, and the best instructional video, Daygame Overkill. Check them out here.

Final Cover

Daygame Infinite interior hardback 1

Ask Jimmy #5 – A Christmas Tale

December 23, 2018
krauserpua

Chapter One – A Knave’s Lucke

One of the comments on a previous Ask Jimmy requested tales of classic Mystery Method bar game and working in teams. These tales I have by the bag full. Back in the times of yore, long before knaves recognised the ease with which they could simply pound the streets on a sunny day to find themselves a fine wench, or use Tinder, there was genuine suffering, scarcity and loud music. Night game it seems is a dying art, and I can see why because day game is simpler, easier and much more effective for the lazy knave. But back in the mists of time, we had not this wondrous new technology. Nor did we have ‘the Facebook’. We didn’t even have MySpace at first. We had ye olde text messages, passion in our hearts and the night game teachings of a legendary old wizard. These are things of a now long dead age, but things you will all meet in the following story of magic, Christmas and bravery.

So get yourself a hot toddy, a mince pie and a seat by the fireside and jump into Jimmy’s time machine for a moment to experience a three part Christmas tale of a bravery and valiance that all took place in the distant past, when man rode only on horse-back* while dragons circled the air . And throw a few fog filled streets in to add to that ‘ye olde’ feel.

*and the South Western trains from Wimbledon to Clapham Junction, I can’t tell the story unless South Western trains from Wimbledon to Junction exist, so we’ll just fudge that bit.

 

We’re now far back in the mists of time, it’s all black and white and a yuletide spirit is in the air. We can see someone, emerging through that wispy wintry mist at Wimbledon station. Is it a great hero, a man of derring-do? Is it a selfless hero whose legend shall span the ages? No, it’s just me, nigh on 15 years ago! There I am! A long haired, lazy layabout. Look at me back then, a right useless knave, always looking for the short cut and a way to put my feet up early. How I have changed. If you’d asked me how to meet a girl back then I’d have had but one answer. ‘To the tavern, mate’, I’d have proclaimed. You see there was simply no other way back then. Yes there was the office, and the office was generous, but you had to rely on the luck of the hiring policy to bring you your fayre. There was online gayme, which was mostly full of rotters and porkers and still a bit embarrassing to admit to doing. There was ye olde speede-dayting for a while, which was great for about a month, but was then full of rotters and porkers. There were out of the blue occurrences like at the super markets or on the the South Western trains from Wimbledon to Clapham Junction, but you couldn’t survive off such an inconsistent supply. No, it was really just ‘the tavern’. That’s where you had to be. Be it at gigs, or salsa dancing or just being on yet another almighty bender, the tavern was the place to get the job done.

Young Jimmy and his knaves were a likely bunch. They were Northern of origin, base of intention and as daft as they came. The lowest of the low if we are to be honest. They spent a lot of time in the taverns and much fun was had, but there were so many distractions and drawbacks to game in the tavern that luck was all too often a deciding factor. Jimmy had little to complain about in life, but he was always left with the feeling that he was missing out on the secret of great riches. A knave he was, but was he not kind? Was he not generous? Was he not loveable? Was he not talented? Alas, he was in fact none of these things, but still he felt he was thoroughly deserving of a tumble with an 8.5.

One wintry afternoon with Christmas fast approaching, Jimmy was scurrying home earlier than usual from the office. Claiming a dose of some vague but impossible to pinpoint malady had raised eyebrows but won him an entire afternoon off and he planned to fill it like Faust, in pleasure and dalliance. There was a Christmas party starting at a local friend’s house and he intended to ‘get on it’ early. Being cheery of spirit is maybe why he took a slightly different route home that day.

xmas1

‘I’ll get off a stop early and have a walk through the village, I’ll get myself one of the spiced yuletide pastries at the Giggling Squid’, he chortled as he drifted past carollers chiming ‘Good King Wenceslas’ and street vendors hawking horse chestnuts and toasted waffles. ‘Why shouldn’t I, I have all the time in the world. I am but a young knave and also a genius I am beginning to suspect, so I shall do what I want’.

And that he did. He did indeed get off a stop early that day and as he wound himself through cobbled streets of the familiar old village of Wimbledon, squeezing tight pathways lined with old stone houses, past the busy cafes and bars filled with early Christmas revellers, he savoured the spicy smells of the cinnamon buns and the sights of the festive ales on offer.

‘I’ll be back up here in an hour or two and I’ll have a right laugh’, he announced aloud to himself, imagining getting stuck into some daft wench after quaffing more than his fair share of the festive ale.

‘Huzzah!’ he yelled excitedly as his daydreams got the better of him, forgetting himself in the moment and setting people spinning around in alarm, clutching at their valuables. The thought of the forthcoming evening’s festivities spurred him on and now, turning away from his intended route, he turned his collar from the chilly afternoon air and pushed through the warm hordes drinking mulled wine at the Wimbledon Pentecostal Christmas market.

‘I’ll have to hurry up and take a short-cut through these dingbats’, Jimmy mused. ‘if I want to get to the Squid, get home and back here in time to not miss some of this festive ale’.

Assassins Creed Syndicate

“The Squid later, methinks”

The Christmas market was a proud tradition in Wimbledon with a long history, as generations of traders had painstakingly built their reputations over the decades for this mere six weeks every year when they could return to the village and set up their colourful stalls and share their gifts with the world. As he pushed through the crowds Jimmy’s eyes took in a blur of rich colours, browns, greens and reds, stripes of German candy canes flew by his left, brightly coloured boxes of swiss chocolates up ahead, the noises of chatter filled the air in stereo as he veered to his right past a stall where kids in duffel coats pawed at crafted wooden childrens’ toys, asking their mothers for one more Christmas gift. It was a swirl of family fun, joy and good cheer, but thankfully in an hour or two all that crap would come to a close and the ale would flow as the venue became merely a great place for Jimmy and his merry band to do an early spot of Christmas wenching.

As he passed a spiced pie stand and slowed down to consider the trade off between the Giggling Squid, his favourite eaterie, and the succulent juicy ripeness of the Christmas mince that seemed to twinkle right in front of his eyes, out of the corner of his vision Jimmy saw something that made him look twice. Tucked away at the side of all the cacophony and chaos, between the sloped walls of some of the old village cottages, he saw a tiny alleyway, a ginnel that he was sure he’d never seen before. He’d been at this market 100 times and knew it like the back of a losing betting slip, but there had surely to his mind never been a street there. He glanced around as if to ask for confirmation from the cheery revellers, but although they were only an arms length away, they seemed to be out of his reach, oblivious even to his presence.

He gazed up at the plaque on the corner of the old stone, the name of the ginnel was obscured by ivy that draped itself over the wall. Thoughts of the Squid and mince pies were fading from his mind. He was strangely enticed by this queer little street. He drew a breath and slowly craned his neck to take in what appeared to be a light a few metres up the alleyway. To his amazement, there, just a stone’s throw from the Xmas revelry, in the gloom of the tiny alleyway was what seemed to be an olde curiosity shop throwing out a yellow glow from it’s tiny, almost hidden, entrance. Through the gloom of the ginnel he could see the illumination of a variety of unusual objects stacked up under a green awning, pushed up against the front of it’s olde peeling red framed window.

Drawn towards the shop, Jimmy began the few tentative steps which would change our brave young hero’s destiny for years to come.

small_the-old-curiosity-shop

Part two is coming soon. You can find Jimmy at his own blog here, though quite why you’d want to do that is completely beyond me.

#127 – The Countess Of Monte Cristo vol.2, Alexandre Dumas BOOK REVIEW

December 23, 2018
krauserpua

Countess of Monte Cristo

I’m not sure how many of these The Count Of Monte Cristo knock-off fake sequels I want to read. Why couldn’t Dumas have just written a real sequel to his best book? It’s not like he was shy about creating epic series, is it? So I thought The Son Of Monte Cristo wasn’t half bad and a quick perusal of Forgotten Books shows me there is also an Edmund Dantes book, a Wife Of Monte Cristo, a Monte Cristo’s Daughter, and of course this The Countess Of Monte Cristo. Sadly there appears to be no Dog Of Monte Cristo nor a Count Of Monte Cristo With Zombies.

This book is a load of shit. I looked it up on teh interwebs to see what other people have said of it and I can’t find a goddamn thing. The one review I found on the whole of the internet was this, on Goodreads. It’s literally the entire review:

“Man struggle to be somebody, take a revenge to all that make him life in suffer.”

So, mostly harmless. Well, I think he was actually reviewing the Count not the Countess, as he’s summarised the plot to the original book not this one. Therefore, no reviews at all. Imagine my surprise when I see there were three different The Countess Of Monte Cristo movies released in 1932, 1934, and 1948 respectively. That’s promising, or is it? No, just have a look at the plot synopsis of the first: “Two struggling actresses are hired as extras to drive an expensive car while dressed in fancy outfits. Stopping at a winter resort they decide to pass themselves off as part of the wealthy set, one of them declaring herself to be the “Countess of Monte Cristo””

Countess shit

That’s got absolutely nothing to do with the book. The 1934 movie is likewise: “In Austria a struggling actress borrows the fancy clothes and car from her film set, and goes to stay in a luxury hotel under the name “Countess of Monte Cristo”.” The 1948 movie is a meta-level comedy about actresses auditioning to make a movie like the first two. Weird. It couldn’t be more ridiculous if they’d made a Disney On Ice out of it.

Wait… what?

The book The Countess Of Monte Cristo was published within a thirty-volume set of Alexandre Dumas’ works in 1902 by P.F. Collier of New York despite the fact Dumas had nothing to do with writing this one. It’s all in public domain now so you can get the set of PDFs here, of which this book is volume 26. I don’t recommend it.

The plot is something about a rich count being killed by his servants in the prologue in order to steal his fortune, casting his kids out and framing his wife for murder. She gets out of prison and with the help of an escaped wood-cutter’s boy, plots revenge in Paris. That’s all in volume one which I reviewed here. Volume two picks up without pause and it’s mostly about closing out the revenge plot. Despite concentrating very hard I struggled to follow it, mainly because every character has multiple names because they are all taking on false identities. Thus the original criminal conspirators all took on new identities in Paris, including the main beneficiary who became Baron Matifay, the richest businessman in France. The Countess herself is referred to by that title in scenes where her mask is off around her fellows, but then she’s called Helene when dealing with her lost daughter, Aurele when dealing with Legigant / Hercules Champion (a scumbag), and Widow Lamoroux when dealing with one Madame Rozel. Her main helper has multiple names too.

Look, I’m not smart enough for this shit.

The book is also badly hobbled by it’s effusive romanticism. Each character floats weightlessly six inches above the pavement lost in swirls of melodrama. After taking five hundred pages to rescue her lost daughter, the Countess is overcome with emotion…. and suddenly said daughter dies of a broken heart because she’s in love with helper Joseph who loves another. Wait, what? Yes, some teenage girl just ups and dies of a broken heart. She doesn’t kill herself or anything vaguely believable, but rather expires in a melodramatic flourish.

shite excerpt

Gibberish, yesterday

Dumas’ original book was a powerful tale of carefully-plotted revenge with an absolutely epic payoff at the end. This hack job tries to construct an equally complex revenge but it makes so little sense. The Countess already possesses the official documents necessary to prove her and her son’s rightful claim to the stolen fortune. Her helpers are hidden behind multiple secure identities. The targets of her vengeance are shifty criminals who are frequently drunk and alone in bad parts of town. It’s not like the Countess has any scruples, as she intends to lock one of them in a secret room and starve him to death.

So, why not just get Joseph to knife them in a back alley? Could’ve had everything handled in a weekend without any of this precarious bullshit. I dunno….. look, it’s just shit. I enjoyed reading it purely as a research exercise in how hack fiction was in 19th Century France. Kind of like taking a bus to Wales to see how cross-eyed sheep-shaggers live. You wouldn’t want to stay.

Sigma Wolf store

It’s no exaggeration to say my own books are far better than this tosh. Have a look at them here.

#126 – Jordanetics, Vox Day BOOK REVIEW

December 23, 2018
krauserpua

Jordanetics

Some books need to be written. For the most part, the stuff I see in the alt-right and PUAspheres is just “me too” rubbish. I don’t mean the #MeToo movement of false allegations sweeping Hollywood, which was a fabrication of the elite talent agency CAA. I mean in its older sense, of when a company launches a successful product so a horde of imitators release their own products to cash in on the trend.

PUAs are like that. They never stop to think, “has this material already been covered? Does the world really need me to repeat the same thing?” Of course not. They want a slice of the money, even if it means plagiarising someone else’s content.

However, while there’s nothing new under the sun, the world does indeed change. The charlatans of yesteryear get exposed but then a new breed emerge to take their place. Modern idiots need to relearn the lessons of the old timers anew. Vox Day has been on quite a roll in performing this cleansing function. His last four non-fiction books have each addressed the new mask of an old fraud.

  • SJWs Always Lie exposed the new book-waving Maoists.
  • Cuckservative exposed the new Whigs and Pharisees.
  • SJWs Always Double Down exposed the new entryists and infiltrators.
  • Jordanetics exposes the new Wormtongue.

How is it that Vox can achieve such a steady hit-rate and always be at the leading edge of the curve? His Cuckservative book came out before Trump won the Republican nomination. His take-down of Jordan Peterson came at the peak of his popularity when pretty much every right-winger I knew was riding the Canadian globalist’s nut-sack. Vox isn’t just outside the mainstream Overton Window, he’s perpetually outside the Alt-Right’s own Overton Window. So, how does he manage it?

Simple. He’s read history and philosophy. Modern retards raised on YouTube, Twitter and hyper-ventilating click-bait conservative bloggers have no sense of perspective. They think Animal Farm is a porno, Big Brother a TV show, and Franz Ferdinand an indie band. Those of you fortunate enough to get a real education are better able to spot the same old patterns reemerge.

There’s nothing new under the sun. It’s just old wine in new bottles.

Liar

“I didn’t sleep for 25 days”

The problem when first approaching Jordan Peterson is that he’s a muddled thinker, bullshitting speaker, and incompetent writer. That means to make sense of him you have to straighten out all the knots he himself has created. Reading Jordanetics reminded me of a philosophy lecture I took as a fresh-faced 18yr old scamp in a course called Rousseau and Marx. I asked the lecturer why he’d assigned the Past Masters summary books on those two black-hearted rogues [1] rather than their original writings.

“Oh, they are terrible writers. It’ll take you forever to figure out what they are trying to say. Don’t bother. Just go to the summary books. Those are cleaned-up Rousseau and cleaned-up Marx.”

Cleaned-up? That’s how it feels reading Jordanetics. Vox has done JBP the favour of organising his muddled thoughts for him in order to get at the heart of his true meaning. Actually, it’s not doing JBP a favour at all because to explain what he says in clear terms is to expose him for the evil Satanic globalist fraud that he is. You see, JBP is a wannabe L. Ron Hubbard. He’s a mentally-ill, moral and physical coward, with a messiah complex. His role is to mislead you. There’s a fair chance that JBP was sexually molested by his own grandmother [2] but that can’t be anything compared to the brutal rape Vox gives him in Jordanetics.

Vox’s parsing of JBP’s philosophy, as expressed in Maps Of Meaning and 12 Rules For Life, is that JBP is preaching a post-Christian religion of Balance. JBP uses the terms Order and Chaos as proxies for Good and Evil, and his advice all leads towards a Jedi-like goal of achieving Balance between the two. The goal is not to fight and defeat Evil, but to assimilate it. Obviously that’s ridiculous.

Having read much of the Western canon, Vox is able to trace the intellectual inspiration of JBP to his roots which will surprise the average Peterson fanboy. Vox makes a strong case that JBP is knowingly drawing ideas from Carl Jung and…… Aleister Crowley. Yes, the bald-headed Satanist. He doesn’t just throw those names out as insults but rather draws the connection through exegesis of Peterson’s own written words and a comparison to the gnostics, pagans and Satanists who originated the ideas. Vox firmly believes JBP is knowingly evil, and I agree with him.

The first 1/3 of the book is just set-up, giving the anecdotal background for why Vox decided to look deeper into JBP [3]. I found it all boring because I’d been watching Vox’s Darkstream as all of this background happened in real time, so it was old news to me. The real book begins on page 75, chapter 6, in which Vox finally deals with JBP’s ideas (rather than the man and his fans). Those first paragraphs are the literary unzipping of the fly as Vox prepares to “make him squeal like a pig, pa!”

Vox does a good job of picking out the underlying philosophy. JBP is a habitual liar because it is central to his philosophy. The Left have always been The People Of The Lie because their ideology requires it in order to gain acceptance: the core of Leftism is to steal your shit, clearly nobody wants their shit stolen, so the Leftists first lie to them, and then use the backstop of brutal violence. However, as George Orwell colourfully outlined in Animal Farm and 1984, the Left doesn’t require you to believe their lies but to simply go along with them. I think Theodore Dalrymple expressed it succinctly thus:

“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”

JBP sinks even further into depravity than the communists he pretends to hate. His philosophy elevates lying to a moral imperative. Vox summarises it thus: [4]

“Because Peterson equates truth with survival, or rather, anything that increases one’s chances of survival, truth is intrinsically subjective. And since there’s no such thing as objective truth, the only thing you can do to be truthful, by which he means increase your chances of survival, is to master the art of the lie. Peterson is qualified to teach you this rule because he has, by nature and philosophy, become a spiritual master of lies. Peterson lies regularly and habitually, and here he presents a rule that does not only allow for lying under limited circumstances, but presents dishonesty as a fundamental ethic.”

It’s hard to comprehend how evil such a position is, but you can see why so many PUAs like JBP. The Canadian charlatan is often defended as offering meaning to society’s losers but this is the opposite, a poison pill of the worst kind. By denying an objective reality [5] he is completely pulling the existential rug out from under his poor readers. Vox summarises it thus:

“It’s important to observe that while Peterson refuses to recognise the objective reality of mundane non-things such as “laptop computers” and the transportation devices known as “cars”, historical events such as “rape” or “the Crucifixion”, let alone more abstract concepts such as “truth”, “Jesus”, or “God”, he believes very strongly in the reality of ideas that spring out of the imagination of 19th and 20th century European psychologists.”

You see, JBP isn’t any different to the Crowleyists in the progressive Weyland school in Dennis Wheatley’s The Haunting Of Toby Jugg. He believes everything is relative, except the core ideas of his own paganism. Black is white, except when he wants it to be Black. He reminds me of the famous boxing promoter Bob Arum’s best quip.

“Yesterday I was lying. Today I’m telling the truth.”

Vox makes a compelling case that everything about JBP is fake. JBP was recently in Slovenia attending the Trilaterial Commission globalist convention. He’s signed with the above-mentioned CAA talent agency, and has the effrontery to charge low-paid low-ranking readers $400 to shake his hand and take a picture. Don’t be fooled by the tweed jackets, practised gestures, and word-salad bullshit. Jordan Peterson is an evil globalist rat.

If you prefer your rats to be of the “pussy-” rather than “globalist-” variety, you might well enjoy my four-volume memoir series of picking up girls around the world. Or possibly my video instructional product Daygame Overkill with infield demonstration of banging hotties. I promise you it only looks Satanic.

YHT

12 Rules Of Banging Hotties

[1] I didn’t know they were rogues until much later.
[2] Based on JBP’s own recollection of highly sexualised dreams which are more exceedingly suspicious than Mr Kipling’s apple pies are exceedingly good.
[3] TL:DR = JBP wrote a knowingly dishonest essay claiming Jews have an average IQ of 115 and this wholly explains their gross over-representation in elite positions. When Vox debunked it, JBP doubled down on more lies and his fanboys harassed Vox. Don’t poke a sleeping tiger.
[4] JBP is almost impossible to quote directly because it’s like quoting a pile of dog turd. There are too many flies buzzing around getting in the way.
[5] Note JBP is not limiting this position to a moral reality (i.e. “there’s no objective moral truth”) or epistemology (i.e. “we can’t accurately comprehend reality”). He goes way further to deny such as thing as an objective physical reality. What a loon. And a total liar, of course, as is everyone who holds such a solipsistic position. If he really believed it, he wouldn’t look both ways before crossing a road.