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Illimitable Library Zone: Critques, Current Reads, & Challanges..


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 So what's on your reading list? What have you been and are planning to read?

 

I have been recently reading Creativity Inc, by Ed Catmul. It is about the rise of Pixar and the secrets of managing such an expansive creative company. I learned a lot of tricks about management from it, which already have informed the development of this very site. I whole hardheartedly recommend it, especially if you are prone to micromanaging, are overwhelmed by managing a large group trying to solve a creative problem, or just need to learn how to collaborate with others creatively. It is amazing to see Lasiter, Steve Jobs, and Catmul all created a whole new art form together in their own new unique way and breech through all the obstacles there were to create artful (and profitable) digital animations. It is inspirational to say the least.

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The Dwarves does sound like an interesting take on high fantasy from a unique perspective. Might have read some of the books.

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Read all of Stephen King's Memoire of The Craft the other day in one go. It is the around the seventh (eight?) time I have read it and still has lots to give to yourg writers by going through the "vita curricula" of one of  America's greatest modern prolific writers. Qoutable get frank, it will help you develop both technical skills, the right mind set, and fresh non-ephemeral and earthy perspective of the writing process and solutions to the struggles of the craft. For the EoT writer team it's actually mandatory homework while they help with the material. Prime rule from the book - "if you want to become a good writer you must read a lot and write a lot."

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I managed to read "Crisis of Character" by Gary J. Byrne last week (after storms took out the power over here temporarily).

It was a very interesting account of Mr. Byrne's time with the Uniform Division of the Secret Service and the Federal Air Marshals (FAM); he witnessed some very disturbing things going on at the White House during the years that the Clintons were there O.O;

 

Other than, I've been reading mostly stuff for class...

http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators.html

DEFCON 13: Google Hacking for Penetration Testers

Yes, I know that's a video, but it's on our -reading- list :D

 

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On July 14, 2016 at 5:35 PM, MoKat said:

I managed to read "Crisis of Character" by Gary J. Byrne last week (after storms took out the power over here temporarily).

It was a very interesting account of Mr. Byrne's time with the Uniform Division of the Secret Service and the Federal Air Marshals (FAM); he witnessed some very disturbing things going on at the White House during the years that the Clintons were there O.O;

 

Other than, I've been reading mostly stuff for class...

http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators.html

DEFCON 13: Google Hacking for Penetration Testers

Yes, I know that's a video, but it's on our -reading- list :D

 

Oh you gotta share some of the juicy details when you are done with that book. We could all go over it in the dialogue section.

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Do you remember the Monica Lewinsky scandal? There were a few incidents which pertained to that, including the numerous times White House staff helped her dodge security so she could "spend time" with Bill Clinton. And she wasn't the only woman he saw behind closed doors.

{Edit: speaking of Monica, I found an interesting and somewhat recent article about her; apparently she helps out at anti-bullying organizations now.

Monica Lewinsky: ‘The shame sticks to you like tar’

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On July 23, 2016 at 1:14 AM, MoKat said:

Do you remember the Monica Lewinsky scandal? There were a few incidents which pertained to that, including the numerous times White House staff helped her dodge security so she could "spend time" with Bill Clinton. And she wasn't the only woman he saw behind closed doors.

{Edit: speaking of Monica, I found an interesting and somewhat recent article about her; apparently she helps out at anti-bullying organizations now.

Monica Lewinsky: ‘The shame sticks to you like tar’

It's sad how much mud she was dragged through, more than Bill Clinton. I have always felt this ironic that Hilary, a touted "champion" of women, has a reputation for enabling such a man and glossing over the double-standards this scandle entailed on the other person involved.

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On August 21, 2016 at 9:47 PM, MoKat said:

Ironic, indeed. >.<

*changes the subject*

I just read a rather disturbing article about a major leak that involves Microsoft:

Microsoft accidentally leaks golden keys that unlock every Windows device

Wow...talk about a big gaffe. 

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I will be setting up my 2017 reading list soon. Does anyone have suggestions for it? Love all sorts of fiction and writing about writing and art. XP

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On 8/31/2016 at 3:02 PM, F07E said:

My recent reading repetoire has consisted of ungodly amounts of fanfiction.

My recent reading has consisted of copious amounts of cybersecurity articles & chapters from "Data Hiding" by Michael Raggo & Chet Hosmer.

For example, these were on this week's reading list:

Kessler Steganography
http://www.garykessler.net/library/fsc_stego.html

Case of the Missing Code
http://www.salon.com/2002/07/17/steganography/
 

Guess what this week's topic is...

 

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On 8/28/2016 at 0:11 AM, TheRedStranger said:

I will be setting up my 2017 reading list soon. Does anyone have suggestions for it? Love all sorts of fiction and writing about writing and art. XP

I picked up a book called "Drawing Basics and Video Game Art" by Chris Solarski. When I first saw it, I was tempted to dismiss it as fluff, but flipping through it proved it was anything but--and I ended up buying it (25$ U.S.). It covers everything from perspective to character design.

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The topic of the week (in class) is covert channels, so these were on our reading list:

Steganography and Smart Phones
http://www.forensicmag.com/article/2012/02/steganography-and-smart-phones


Covert Channels Over Social Networks

http://www.sans.org/reading-room/whitepapers/threats/covert-channels-social-networks-33960

 

And I still haven't gotten around to reading "Takedown Twenty" by Janet Evanovich -- or anything after that in the series, for that matter :P

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Just finished reading this...

Hillary's Security Detail Hated Her So Much That They Laughed When She Fell and Broke Her Arm

https://pjmedia.com/trending/2016/10/20/hillarys-security-detail-hated-her-so-much-that-they-laughed-when-she-fell-and-broke-her-arm/

Hmm...this is very consistent with some of the observations Gary J. Byrne shared in "Crisis of Character".

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On 10/21/2016 at 4:23 PM, MoKat said:

Just finished reading this...

Hillary's Security Detail Hated Her So Much That They Laughed When She Fell and Broke Her Arm

https://pjmedia.com/trending/2016/10/20/hillarys-security-detail-hated-her-so-much-that-they-laughed-when-she-fell-and-broke-her-arm/

Hmm...this is very consistent with some of the observations Gary J. Byrne shared in "Crisis of Character".

Wow. If you are seeing primary-sources corroborating independently - then that is very, very telling.

__

2017 is here and I am making my yearly reading lists. I am looking for both fiction and non-fiction. Do any of you guys have recommendations? I was thinking of making or expanding this thread to a "Read X" amount of books a year challenge thread. After all  it's the only way to improve as a writer - read a lot and write a lot.

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Hey Red, if you're still looking for reading suggestions I came across this list at the OpinionatedGeek blog while looking for something else.

"Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman seemed interesting at first, especially given that cognitive bias came up in another thread, but then I read this review that made the book sound rather flawed. Still, it might be worth reading...I've just been too busy to investigate it further.

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So far my 2017 reading. List has comprised of -

 

 Heir to The Empire - Timothy Zhan.

 Dark Force Rising - Timothy Zhan.

 River of Earth - James Still.

Creativity Inc. - Ed Catmul.

Thinking with Type - Ellen Lupton.

On Writing: Memoire of The Craft - Stephen King. 

Art of The Deal - President Donald Trump.

 All four of the End of The World RPG Rule Books. 

Several Short Stories and fan-fictions like Blue Light, The Scarecrow Man, The Dunwhich Horror, 1970 Batman Crime Dramas, etc.

---

 Currently reading The Last Command. Bytor also got me a book I am looking forward to reading.  

 

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  • 8 months later...

I managed to read Spam Nation by Brian Krebs earlier this year. This novel isn't overly technical and what few technical terms that appear are adequately explained. It was interesting how so much spam was connected to rogue pharmacies and how Russian spammers tried to outdo each other.

{Edit: I just found & read this article: The myth of freedom. Still trying to decide which thread is the most appropriate for discussing its contents.}

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On 9/15/2018 at 4:08 PM, MoKat said:

I managed to read Spam Nation by Brian Krebs earlier this year. This novel isn't overly technical and what few technical terms that appear are adequately explained. It was interesting how so much spam was connected to rogue pharmacies and how Russian spammers tried to outdo each other.

{Edit: I just found & read this article: The myth of freedom. Still trying to decide which thread is the most appbropriate for discussing its contents.}

To be honest, I think Harari’s historical analysis is intellectually dishonest. He equivocates massively a use of the term “Liberalism” conflating it with postmodern liberalism (Positive Rights) and Classical Liberalism (Libertarianism/Negative Rights). His position is ideologically romanticized and oversimplified. He posits that there is some magical contiguous political philosophy, frankly more like a religion, called “Liberalism” (though the positions he sites have very different spins on what that term is defining. The irony is that the die hard Modern American conservatives are actually Classical Liberals, who are opposed heavily by modern liberals in regards to trade regulation, economic interventionism, and unilateral mitigation of trade by global organizations. The irony is that  conservatives believe in the “Christian myth” of autonomy of the individual in the political realm more than Harari does, a liberal who believes we are just reorganized pond scum. Harari also does not admit that Fascism is the weeds on his side of the idealogical fence. 

What we are really seeing here is a cognitively dissonant man trying to piece together his disjointed postmodern, relativist philosophy with some clean cut unified theory, all after realizing the devestating effects of his intellectual certainty in uncertainty, which has lead to the tribalist Gentelian politics of today. Flip the color of the people, and you get white supremicism. People like David Duke actually love the exact policies the Gaurdian loves to tease in their articles, like Universal Healthcare (for “white” people). It’s still Gentelian politics, just favoring a different tribe. But what do you expect when you defect from “The Christian myth?” You dehumanize what means to be human. When you assume there is no soul, nothing beyond the shifting ephemeral flesh of man, then there is no reason to believe in the individual having import, let alone any form of equality. We are biologically determined, pond scum with fatalist destiny towards an absurdist end.

 

Personally, I think he has two choices - embrace biological determinism and fascism honestly. “I was born that way” must be a worldview that goes all the way, or be denied. We may have genetic influences, yet according to both epigenetics and Christian theology we are responsible for the way we express our genes and falling to temptations caused by our nature, marred by original sin.  This man must intellectually honestly embrace his materialistic worldview, that the fittest of us in mental and physical constitution should govern by authoritarian force. Or...he could perhaps doubt his doubts in the spiritual and question his faith in humanism, which has lead him to combat with a very ironically anti-human philosophy. 

Some things to consider - 

 

 http://www.hawaii.edu/PCSS/biblio/articles/2010to2014/2013-transsexuality.html

—-

I would consider opening up a Nature vs Nurture Topic in the Dialogue section. 

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On 9/22/2018 at 3:18 PM, TheRedStranger said:

To be honest, I think Harari’s historical analysis is intellectually dishonest.

 

I agree; that's why it rubbed me the wrong way.

Quote
What we are really seeing here is a cognitively dissonant man trying to piece together his disjointed postmodern, relativist philosophy with some clean cut unified theory, all after realizing the devestating effects of his intellectual certainty in uncertainty, which has lead to the tribalist Gentelian politics of today. Flip the color of the people, and you get white supremicism.
 

I was thinking along those lines, but you stated it more eloquently that I would have.

Quote

 

 http://www.hawaii.edu/PCSS/biblio/articles/2010to2014/2013-transsexuality.html

—-

I would consider opening up a Nature vs Nurture Topic in the Dialogue section. 

 

That was an interesting study; thank you for sharing, Red.

I wasn't looking to open a new topic, but as I said before it didn't seem to fit any existing ones.

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I started reading "Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion" (George J. Thompson & Jerry B. Jenkins). So far, it makes sense - especially the chapter titled "Eleven Things Never to Say to Anyone". The authors noted how telling somebody to "calm down" often results in that person doing just the opposite.

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On 11/24/2018 at 3:30 PM, MoKat said:

I started reading "Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion" (George J. Thompson & Jerry B. Jenkins). So far, it makes sense - especially the chapter titled "Eleven Things Never to Say to Anyone". The authors noted how telling somebody to "calm down" often results in that person doing just the opposite.

What does book recommend instead?

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The jist of the chapter focuses on showing empathy. Specifically, instead of just telling someone to "calm down", the book suggests reassuring the subject that things will improve.  Of course, this requires you to put on a calm face & demeanor.

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"Calm down!" is criticism of people's behavior and implies that they have no right to be upset.

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...look the person in the eye, touch him gently if appropriate, and say, "It's going to be all right. Talk to me. What's the trouble?"

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If someone says "Calm down!" to you, say "I'm obviously not calm and there are reasons for it..." That should open the door for that person to help, but if he doesn't respond in a more meaningful way, further discussion is probably unwise.

 

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Okay, this makes me want to read The Federalist Papers again:

 

 

Quote

Do you understand the Constitution? What makes America different? Ben Shapiro joins Michael Knowles to discuss The Federalist Papers, a collection of essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. They discuss the founders’ vision for a limited government that protects the God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

 

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I am reading Steel Boats, Iron Hearts: A U-Boat crewman last life aboard U-505 by Hans Goebler. 
65D4FE3A-2DAF-4377-AC37-2FFFC4B87B38.thumb.jpeg.5d71c774fdd970907012aa7d3529dc26.jpeg
 

oddly in the early chapters Goebler talks about his family more specifically his father as he was a veteran of the First World War on the eastern Front. Though he was a prisoner of war in Russia, he and many other POWs fought their way through the Russian civil war and witnessed the Bolsheviks atrocities to its own people back to Germany. Only to come home to not only a home country defeated but also a place had taken root in local labor unions. because his father after his experience in Russia refused to adhere to the communist unions ideals, he was blacklisted from working his old railroad official job. But with Hitler and the nazis coming into power Goebler’s father was able to regain his job. Goebler would become a second class machinist of the U-505 in February 11, 1942 under the command of Captain Axel Löwe. The documents the patrols and experiences from that time up to U-505’s capture among many his own experiences during the war an Post-war. 

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Finished Darth Bane: Rule of Two. Probably should be called Darthy Potter and the Thought Bomb of Ruusaan. 😝 

I think it skips a bit too much in places when he is a Sith solider, but Bane’s struggle is interesting as a villian protagonist in the Sith school. His hunt for traditional Sith Culture is intriguing and the idea of a schism between the Sith is also fun to read. But it feels like it’s missing some meat in the late and early middle, which is a rare complaint for books like this (they typically need a trim). The ending pages and introduction of a final sequel-bait character feels very tacked on as well, after an ending that has a cool concept but verges on anticlimax. Over all it has an interesting tone, despite some gaps in Bane’s arc between his Solider to Sith and Sith Lord sections. It seems to be glossed over with a “Chosen one” trope, which probably would be better if the perception was much the opposite, and easily could have been made so with giving the mantle to another rival character until the ending, and keeping Bane at the bottom rung before his sudden climb, after a stunning pursuit of the deemed heretical Sith secrets of the past.. 

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1 hour ago, Wulfsbane said:

Re-read Brave New World for the first time in 8 years, yeah it's still weird and messed up

Also started reading Journey to the West. Want a good summary of the first 8 chapters:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

Sun Wukong has absolutely zero impulse control.

 

Sounds like a novel about half the people I work with.

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I pulled out an old game-book and played through it recently. It's a loose adaptation of the I6 "Ravenloft" module titled "Master of Ravenloft". You play a 15th level Paladin named Jeren Sureblade (lol) who enters the village of Barovia and soon rescues a girl named Irena. She tells you all the dirt she has on Strahd & the rest of the book takes place inside Castle Ravenloft. Three pre-game rolls determine the locations of 3 key things within the castle: the Sunsword, the Holy Medalion of Ravenkind, and Strahd himself. This gives it more re-play value, like the module upon which it is based. There are other things you can find in the castle too, such as healing potions and Holy Water. Unlike the module, your character only has three stats: Fighting, Dexterity, and Wisdom; there are a few occasions in which you'll need to make checks against them, btw. I'd forgotten how much fun this book can be, but there are only three ways it can end: 1) Strahd kicks your butt 2)You kick Strahd's butt, but he'll eventually revive & return 3)You figure out how to destroy Strahd permanetly.

*posts scans*

Strahd's comment about paladins gave me a chuckle ;)

 

MoR-cover.jpg

MoR-char-stats.jpg

MoR-Strahd-intro.jpg

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Do you all remember Goosbump books? I have not read the Werewolf of Fever Swamp or Night of The Living Dummy, but I heard they were good. I have not read a lot of them in a while. I think I would still enjoy them as an adult, but they'd probably not be as scary and more nostalgic. Shame that I cannot find the old show on Netflix.

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8 hours ago, IronCheeze said:

Do you all remember Goosbump books? I have not read the Werewolf of Fever Swamp or Night of The Living Dummy, but I heard they were good. I have not read a lot of them in a while. I think I would still enjoy them as an adult, but they'd probably not be as scary and more nostalgic. Shame that I cannot find the old show on Netflix.

Werewolf of Fever Swamp has a fun ending. I like the illustrated edition of it. Some got outright dark. There is one where a kid races his little sister from existence, which is probably the most evil thing you could ever imagine. You are not just taking someone’s future away, but their very existence as a fourth and fifth dimensional whole. Poof. Ultimate Annihilation. But Stine just casually mentions it as a twist. Talk about ‘fridge horror...’

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On 8/23/2020 at 3:36 PM, IronCheeze said:

Do you all remember Goosbump books

Yeah; that was one of the most requested series when my mother was a librarian.
 

{Edit: I need to re-read Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos because I cannot recall if that's where I got the "figures do not lie, but liars can figure" bit from. However, he -does- say (on page 44),"There's always enough random success to justify almost anything to someone who wants to believe"}

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Speaking of horror, I could not help but delve recently into the forbidden lore of Lovecraft. I pondered worse and worse, morbidly curious after the superstitious babbling of social blasphemies by the rainbow-vestmented lay-clergy of our current hegemonic orthodoxy. Rebuffing norms, as of young Dexter Ward before me, I did spy some social evils in his phantasmagorical works, and some of his physionogmic descriptions are most odious to those, like myself, see only equity in the races of men.  However, his prose is arguably engendered with an erudition and cultural value that is most innervating to thought and imagining, and would prove to be a grave agitant to the verbal placidity of the attention-stunted minds of this queerly technophilic age. He had a bravery to delve into concepts many among us now would never dare face, the horrors of a pure materialism, darwanism, and nietzcheism that only a passionate New Englander, with puritan blood, could muster. In a tantamount passion, he could readily rebuff the childish utopian skepticism of 20th century modernism, soon to be dashed to oblivion by the horrors of the world's bloodiest century. I can understand why now that Lovecraft has influenced many, from Gygax to King, even if the latter denies his own loathsome heritage in fear of the babbling inquisitors wailing incessantly in their digital ecumenicals, Tumbler and Twitter, much like Lovecraft's own Dunwhich Horror. 

 As for his more particular works, under specific scrutiny I found the Dunwhich Horror, The Mountains of Madness, The Curious Case of Charles Dexter Ward, and Color out of Space to be most interesting. Reanimator however I found deeply banal and frankly silly in its horrors, except in the fate of one of its nobler antagonists, which dripped with metaphor of grave social and philosophical import. Call of Chuthulu sadly is rendered somewhat anticlimatic in its ending, given its contemporary laudations. But nevertheless, its thematic depth of cosmic horror, sobers the blind optimism of utopic modernists, even Lovecraft's own.

 The expression of their individual horrors are most detailed, and framed in a paradoxically analytical yet emotionally tenebrous narration. The dialogue is infrequent, and its rustic characters have been decried as weakly spoken in a seemingly classist manner. I found those protestations to have a modicum of merit, however when heard spoken by those with the accents traditional to that time and place, loose some of its poignancy of argument. The exposition is dense, yet engrossing in its unvieling of mystery. If you have a love of academics, whether it be of liberal arts or hard sciences, you will be enchanted by the erudition of its academic prose, feeling like one reading and studying these mysteries in Miscatonic itself. The lore is deep as depths of its eldritch seas and stars, which themes decry his own flimsy veneer of material irreligion.

If you cannot understand a thing I just said - then you should really read him. Hold your nose at some of the more stereotypical descriptions, but note it seems to be pretty equally-offending than inflated by several, white people, blond haired and blue eyed, are the most nasty villains in the bunch. His works are not mystical and will not turn you into a devil worshipper or clansman, unless you are so weak-minded to believe everything that you read (if so, it would be best to blind and deafen yourself and never speak again, for the benefit of us all). Lovecraft was more a snobbish, introverted person with morbidly curious love of eugenics and a deep social anxiety, much like Wells (who hypocritically has been praised for years, despite being the adulterous lover of the sanguine Margret Sanger herself). He oddly reminds of me of Roosevelt in his isolated Ivy League demeanor, one that dares think human life in anyway can be engineered with some mechanistic study. Hypocritical, given the subtext of his own work that rivals, perhaps overpasses, Shelly in its romanticist rebuttal of empirical hubris . Overall I see a many of great psychological disturbance, paralyzed by grave anxiety. He was a man in between a puritan world and dark tide of atheist science without spirit, and fanatical worship of man. His work was a canary-call for bloodletting and social-science quackery and the cruelty of the age, even if he was in part conflicted and infected with its horrors. In this regard, Lovecraft was  akin to his haunted characters, slowly taken by maddening evils, embodying cultural conflict in a projection of cosmic perspectives.  

Overall, I pity the man and his premature death. He was a wayward soul, cognitively dissonant. I find it deeply amusing that modern science, economics, and his own political party has betrayed his faults as not fully fraternal to their own history. As one of the "mendacious republicans" he bemoaned in a private letter to his friend, I ironically am at his grave tolerating him in his death, though his future generations wish to erase him from their family tree, given his overwealming connection to their arrogant ehtno-socialism which gave us the segregation of his beloved president Woodrow Wilson, and that  inspired the barbarisms of Adolph Hitler and FDR's interment camps and New Deal Quackery that gravely extended the Great Depression.  

Too bad he did not, in all his 1500 books (a measly amount to us posmoderns, though we do not read as we ought), could not read any Friedrich Hyeck and question the blind protectionism of his northern heritage, a bias that is tantamountly correlated and vile to his racism in its elitist pursuit of pedigree over natural progression of nature and the free volition of the populist, which by far are  more epistemological aware of optimizing their own economic need. If only Road to Serfdom we’re gifted in his flaccid library twenty years prior. But overall, HP Lovecraft gives us insight in the controlling academic generation that gave us in response, non-white conservatives like King and Thomas Sowell, who like those ideologies during Lovecraft’s zenith in 1920’s, seek to silence in the 2020’s. One hundred years later, the insidious pursuit to tyrannize stands the same, haunting the hearts of psudeointellectuals and sophomores in their ephemeral gibbering, about the Azathoth of their own cultic collectivism. If there be anything to be woke to it would be to be woke against this arachic and false dream. 
 

*Cue spooky music.*

 

 

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