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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Archive for the ‘Books and Movies’ Category

Claire Wolfe

Tuesday links

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
Claire Wolfe

Mighty General with a Mighty Wurlitzer

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

Just had a unique experience: watching Buster Keaton’s great silent film The General on a big screen, accompanied by live music from a “Mighty Wurlitzer” theater organ.


Never before and probably never again. Not in a little berg like this one, anyhow. I love The General. And Buster Keaton was a gorgeous man with a magnetic screen presence, amazing directing and acting talent, and colossal daring (those stunts! he really does them). But I’ve never seen The General on anything larger than a mid-sized TV.


Took a while to get things started. First they had a presentation by a “real film buff.” She had obviously gotten all her information about The General and the historic Great Locomotive Chase that inspired it from the same place I got my information — Wikipedia. But she had a Master of Fine Arts, so her info must be better.

The movie itself seemed sloooooowww and static at the start. Modern movies are not only a lot better, but they know how deliver more information during their opening credits than old films delivered in their first half hour.

But once the comic railway chase got underway … wow. This experience I’ll remember forever.

The General is about a dauntless (if also hapless and inept) Southerner in the War Between the States. Movies may be better now, but that’s something you couldn’t pull off today without some government-schooled jerker-of-knees accusing you of being a racist.

Now, for the chance to see Fritz Lang’s Metropolis on the big screen ….


Claire Wolfe

How The Imitation Game is a terrible, awful, really stinkingly bad movie and why it’s a perfect example of why I loathe h-wording and i-wording films

Monday, May 4th, 2015

I really wanted to like The Imitation Game. I mean, what could be more engrossing than a film about genius Alan Turing breaking the Nazis’ Enigma code while being just a few years away from tragic destruction? Starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Seriously. What could be better?

I finally got to watch this movie on DVD recently and I’ll tell you what could be better: Being dipped upside down in alternating vats of tar and maple syrup.

I’ll put the rest behind the “more” link to spare those who don’t like long, frothing anti-movie rants. Or who want to avoid spoilers.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Midweek links

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
  • The courts have been so all over the place on police search issues that it’s hard to say what impact this will have. But the Supremes just declared that cops cannot prolong a routine traffic stop even for a minute without legit cause.
  • Inside the strange and wonderful world of micronations.
  • Emphatically NSFW, but funny: company posts a … unique Craigslist ad for engineers.
  • Bet we’ve all wanted to do this at some time or another.
  • Looks like a must-see documentary (though the characterization of Tasers as “rifles” needs some explanation for sure).
  • Gradeschooler challenges school anti-pot propaganda. His activist mother may now face felony charges. Sick!
  • This sucks, too. I’m so glad the war on pot is ending, but it just can’t happen soon enough for some.
  • Whoof! Just look at all that assembled brainpower!
Claire Wolfe

A most remarkable movie

Saturday, April 11th, 2015

A Most Violent Year
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

I watched A Most Violent Year on DVD last night and found it a most remarkable movie.

It’s not the most technically astonishing movie I’ve seen lately (that would be Birdman). It’s not even the most chilling crime thriller (that would be Nightcrawler). It’s not even the best acted (which would be Whiplash). I occasionally didn’t buy some of the plot points and I thought 20 minutes could easily have been trimmed out of it.

Nevertheless, it was remarkable — and in a good way. Why? Because its protagonist is an independent businessman and a man of honor determined, against great odds, to do everything right.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Monday links

Monday, April 6th, 2015
Claire Wolfe

Friday links

Friday, April 3rd, 2015
  • Ilana Mercer on freedom of association. And dialoging with a Neo-Nazi.
  • Related: Kevin D. Williamson on the war on the private mind.
  • Back in the day, science fiction was a realm where freedom of ideas prevailed. Prevailed by definition, I assumed, because how can you speculate about alternate futures and realities without the freedom to think unbound thoughts? I’m still having trouble understanding how political correctness has consumed SF.
  • Self control in a world that promotes self indulgence. This is about primal eating, but has implications way beyond that. (H/T PT)
  • Chris Christie has pardoned Shaneen Allen. (Updated to direct to Nicki Kenyon’s new post at The Zelman Partisans.)
Claire Wolfe

Tuesday links

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
  • Five simple ‘Net security tricks from a Google engineer. I’m already doing four and a half of them. How about you?
  • Don’t it just figure? Willie Nelson now has his own cannabis variety and hopes to open a chain of stores described as “the Whole Foods of marijuana.”
  • Fascinating. Twenty-five percent of people have an extra color receptor in their eyes. Hm. Wonder how many of those are artists or go into fields requiring good color perception?
  • So what do you think? Should this guy have been kicked off that plane or not?
  • On hiding cops’ identities, a governor does the right thing (although maybe not for the right reasons).
  • The war on geese. So funny I just had to steal it from Joel. Love the idea of a national border collie reserve, even if Kevin D. Williamson doesn’t know a border collie from a Lassie collie.
  • Moviewise, it appears that both the Jane Austen craze and the zombie craze may both have jumped the shark. In the very same film.
Claire Wolfe

Three heavy boxes

Friday, March 27th, 2015


You’re looking at three heavy boxes on that bottom shelf there. They’re physically heavy because they’re full of paperwork. But much bigger deal: they’re emotionally heavy because they contain everything I own that’s related to Randy Weaver and the horrors his family endured. Correspondence with Randy from jail. Notes from his trial. Notes and photos from my visit to his home (including the spot where son Sam was murdered by fedthugs).

I want them gone.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Book review: Summer of the Eagles

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Summer of the Eagles
By Jackie Clay
Mason Marshall Press, January 28, 2015
205 pages, trade paperback or Kindle edition
the publisher (scroll down to buy)

When Jess Hazzard rides through the gates of the Wyoming Territorial Prison, he wants only one thing: to get away from people as far and fast as possible and be alone.


He’s just served five hellish years for a crime he didn’t commit and is looking only for peace. But first he has to earn money, and here his reputation gets him in trouble. Not only is he known as a rapist, but as a gunslinger, and a “half-breed” Apache. Nobody will hire him and the cocky young son of the one rancher who extends a hand wants to kill Jess on sight for no better reason than to build his own reputation.

Jess moves wearily on — until he stumbles upon an ambush in progress. He rescues a rancher, Sean Thursten (pronounced “Seen” because his mother got the name from a book; a nice touch), from certain death. They quickly learn to trust each other. And at Sean’s ranch in the Wind River Mountains, Jess finds temporary refuge, a family of sorts, and ultimately hope, love, and salvation.

That’s Summer of the Eagles by BHM’s own Jackie Clay. It’s a new western published by Mason Marshall Press (aka Oliver Del Signore, BHM’s long-time webmaster).

If you read Mas Ayoob’s blog, you already know that he’s compared Jackie to Shakespeare and Twain for this story.

Go on and you’ll find nearly 40 reviewers loving it. And that’s just six weeks after publication. So well done, Jackie!

Now, I’m not going to go quite so far as likening Jackie to Shakespeare and Twain (sorry, Jackie). Not even as far as Louis L’Amour. Not quite yet, anyhow. But I will say that this is a good first novel, a page turner, clearly a work of love, and well worth your time.

The characters are well-drawn. Jess, Sean, and the people around them are likable, and you feel Jess’ weariness, wariness, and despair in every line. You also feel his satisfaction as he takes to the tasks of ranching (and to some extent, farming). And this, of course, is where Jackie’s writing shines. She knows what she’s talking about when it comes to everything from training horses to harvesting hay. Better yet, she applies her real-life knowledge to the service of the story. (You never feel as if she’s stopping to explain anything. Her expertise is well-integrated into Jess’ tale.)

Even the cover art — painted by Jackie herself — perfectly fits the dark, stormy, energetic mood of the story.

I’ll be very much looking forward to more Jess Hazzard stories.

The book has a few pacing and style issues. For instance, a wolverine hunt that’s peripheral to the main action occupies nearly as much space as the dramatic romance at the novel’s heart. (Of course, some of you guys would prefer it that way, I’m sure. :-) ) But pacing and stylistic niceties come with experience. The main thing is that Jackie’s a fine storyteller who has created strong characters and a wonderful setting that readers are going to enjoy in more books, hopefully for years to come. Up next: Autumn of the Loons, due this summer.


Want to know more before you buy? Read the first two chapters here.

Claire Wolfe

Death takes Sir Terry of Discworld

Thursday, March 12th, 2015



Given that he had a rare form of early onset Alzheimers, his death at 66 may have been a mercy. But damn. He was the best. The best since Mark Twain. Maybe (we could argue about this) better.

ADDED: It bugs me that the obits are calling Pratchett a “fantasy novelist.” That’s like calling Twain a “writer of adventure stories for boys.” Pratchett’s books, especially the Discworld series, are hilarious social and political satires that just happen to be set in a world populated by vampires, trolls, golems, witches, werewolves, one six-foot-tall dwarf, and let’s not forget that terribly scruffy talking dog, Gaspode.

Claire Wolfe

Book review: I Won’t Take the Mark

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

I Won’t Take the Mark:
A Bible Book and Contract for Children

By Katherine Albrecht, Ed.D.
Illustrations by Julia Pearson
Patterns and borders by AlfredoM Graphic Arts Studio
Designed by Monica Thomas
2014, 40 pages, $22.50

Available from
Or from


I have been remiss. I received review copies of this book around Christmastime and intended to write it up at the first of the year. I was planning to pair reviews with Vin Suprynowicz’s The Testament of James — something for believers, something for curious skeptics, good books from very different points of view.

Then the comment section on Testament got so weird (with people more interested in pushing personal grievances than talking about Vin’s book) that I freaked out & backed off from anything religion-related.

So I hope The Albrechts will be okay with “better late than never.”

« Read the rest of this entry »



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