Television: Longmire, season 1

Longmire is very much an old school procedural (with old school values).  That is its best trait and its worst.  The twisty mysteries of each episode are often over-compressed and would benefit from a bit more time to breath.

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Nonfiction: Robert the Bruce: King of the Scots by Michael Penman

As I mentioned in my post on Braveheart and Outlaw/King, the history of the Scots-English border region is the history of hillbillies.  There is no Scots-English border region, and thus no distinctive culture for David Hackett Fischer to catalog, without a Scotland to provide one side of the border.  And there is no Scotland without Robert the Bruce.

Braveheart features the Bruce in a bit role that is only a little bit historical.  Outlaw/King is centered on the Bruce but, like most accounts, it only tells the tale of how he won the realm, not how he kept it.  Penman’s account’s primary selling point is that he devotes as much attention to the Bruce’s post-Bannockburn career as to what happens before.

Sadly, Penman falls into the academic history trap of sucking all of the tremendous inherent drama out of his narrative.

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Music Monday: Whipping Post by the Allman Brothers Band

I’m a hillbilly, but I didn’t grow up listening to hillbilly music.  My parents were rockers.  Lots of Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd . . . and Southern rock.  If Southern rock ain’t hillbilly music, it’s damn close.  Southern rock is working class music that straddles the intersection of rock, country, and the blues.  Like outlaw country, Southern rock hit right when the hippie subculture ran out of steam and the country boys started growing out their hair and beards.  The Allman Brothers Band were the great Southern rock band (yeah, I said it), and Whipping Post is their greatest song.

Valentine’s Day is approaching, so I owe you something romantic.  What better than some of my parents’ music?

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A Cruel Mathematical Symmetry

I am 36 years old.  My dad died when I was 18.  That means I have lived roughly as long on this earth without my dad as I did with him.  My brother died when I was 11.  Seven years later my dad died.  Seven years after that my sister died.  It has been 11 years since she died.  I have now gone roughly as long as I have ever gone in my life without losing an immediate family member.

That is one hell of a mathematical anomaly.

Should I be going through a midlife crisis?

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January 2019 Month-in-Review

Check out which posts were most popular at Hillbilly Highways last month and see what I’ve been reading.

Every Day Should Be Tuesday

There ain’t no month like Vintage Science Fiction Month.  I took full advantage of the five Thursdays in January and published five Vintage SF Month posts: a guest post on “Shambleau” and “Black God’s Kiss,” a review of Alec Nevala-Lee’s account of John W. Campbell’s editorship of Astounding, a review of Heinlein’s Space Cadet, and reviews of collections of short stories by Isaac Asimov and C.L. Moore.

Speaking of Thursdays, though . . .  Guys, I’ve got some bad news.

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