Young people and their fantasy books. They gobble the stories up, even if the tales don’t make a whole lot of sense. That’s fine, as it keeps people interested in literature. It’s kind of how Shakespeare saved England from falling into a world of gambling, animal baiting, and paid fornication. Even the worst fantasy books work as a balance for all the more sinister potential pastimes of the entitled youth.

 

With that said, let’s look at some of the top fantasy titles for 2019.

 

  1. Taran (Immortal Highlander, Clan Scaraven Book 5):A Scottish Time Travel Romance

I know, it sounds really stupid if you just read the title. You have to keep reading to really appreciate the stupidity, but that’s only if your searching for some kind of reasonable explanation. This book begins with the classic first line:

Wading through the night’s drifts in the Great Wood slowed Rowan Thomas’s gait to a shivering shuffle.

In the very next sentence, the author calls the world “an overfilled snow globe.” Brilliance. The good news is that the existence of time travel will allow you to stop reading and return to a time before you began.

 

  1. Drums of Autumn (Outlander, Book 4)

This seems to be an exciting tale that has to do with escaping the gallows and hard nipples. Here’s a taste from after a night bathing episode:

My breasts rose in the moonlight, cool white domes spangled with clear droplets. I brushed one nipple and watched it slowly stiffen by itself, rising as if by magic.

If that gets your loins going, as if by magic, there’s probably plenty more in the other three Outlander books.

 

  1. The Song of Achilles: A Novel

It’s like where the movie Troy came from without Brad Pitt.

 

  1. Wild West Allis: Every Story Ever Told About Mild, Wild West Allis, Wisconsin

The book’s not sure if it wants to be a novel or a collection of stories, but it’s different. It insults your intelligence overtly rather than because you’re too stupid to realize it. But it also takes you places in literature you’ve never been before. Like a fantasy of a fantasy book, but no slowly stiffening appendages / nipples. They stiffen fast in this book.

 

  1. First Lessons: A Strong Woman in the Middle Ages (A Medieval Tale Book 1)

There are no mirrors in this story so that readers can’t see the bad writing on the wall. Like this:

Her whole life, Aliya had dark hair, olive skin, and she’d never been over a size 8. Which is a perfectly average size when you’re five and a half feet tall. But instead, lying on the sheet, which should have been washed a month ago, was a doughy, fair-skinned body that looked like it took a size 16 or more. The body’s dirty nightgown had ridden up, and she saw that she was a natural blonde. Aliya fainted dead away, but that didn’t keep her from peeing in the pot.

Not lying, that’s an actual quote from the book. I hope it’s like that I Feel Pretty movie, only in the middle ages. Maybe all the dirty, smelly people will learn not to bully the fat, blonde girl. Keep reading if you want to find out.

 

  1. Outlander: A Novel (Outlander, Book 1)

It’s probably better than the newer one...oh, I’m wrong:

‘Mmmm. Your hair smells wonderful.’

‘Do you like it then?’ His hands slid forward over my shoulders in answer, cupping my breasts in the thin nightdress.

It seems like Titlander is more appropriate.

 

  1. The Miniaturist: A Novel

After reading the sample on Amazon, it’s clear this is a novel about nothing at all happening, ever. Or it’s a really long novel, possibly worth your time, based on all the great reviews. But those could all be really bored people with oddly long attentions spans. Good news? No talk of breasts and nipples in the sample section, so it’s safe there.

 

  1. Seven Stones to Stand or Fall: A Collection of Outlander Fiction

Seems to be a collection of stories too boring for the Outlander novels but important to read so that the author can add a pool to her house. Maybe a bit like the Wild West Allis stories.

 

  1. Killing Commendatore: A Novel

There’s probably a good reason this book is #2 in Fantasy. More than likely, the following quote is an exception to the rule that this is a good book:

During the eight months after I broke up with my wife and lived in this valley, I slept with two other women, both of whom were married. One was younger than me, the other older. Both were students in the art class I taught.

Just hoping he’s not the main character. Then again, that whole idea of likeable, interesting main characters may be overrated, but this description of lovemaking makes one yearn for the cupping of breasts with stiffened nipples.

 

  1. The Lost Queen: A Novel

This does not appear to be a novel about a man performing song and dance as a woman. It’s actually about a royal who is lost, but most readers will be lost by the sheer number of realms, kingdoms, houses, and name pronunciations. That said, it’s undoubtedly a complex fantasy world. Just a gander at the number of Rh-names indicates how many times you’ll wish people were named Bob or Chuck: Rhydderch, Rhian, and Rhys. For all the G-lovers out there, you’ll have Gladys, Gwenfron, Gwenddolau, Gwrgi, and Garthwys. Can’t make this up.

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  • How Long Does Google Take To Update Streetview After Taking Photos?
    19 Days and Counting

    We've all used Google Maps, and most of us have used the little yellow guy to access Google Streetview. In this mode, Google tells you when the images were taken. I'd never really questioned how long Google takes to get that new image onto the Google Maps website. Luckily, I have the data I need in order to figure it out for my own neighborhood.




    I have a camera that records each vehicle that passes my house. I don't normally look at the images, but I just happened to be testing the system recently. I saw a Google Streetview vehicle passing my house within the recorded images, and the timestamp means that I can accurately determine how long it takes Google to update one specific street (as long as I visit the site every single day to check on the progress). Even if it takes me a few days to figure it out, we'll get a good ballpark estimate.

    The Google vehicle passed my house on April 29th, 2019, which you can see in the image. A Monday at 10:53AM. As I begin this article (May 18th - 19 days), the streetview for my block has yet to be changed, but I'll update right here at the first sign of a change _______________________.

    It's actually odd that my block needs a new streetview, since the last one was done in December of 2018. The one before that had been March of  2011. So why was the Google car in the neighborhood again? Maybe it's because some areas of my neighborhood are still stuck in 2011. Perhaps the new images didn't all get uploaded properly in 2018, so I was seeing a do-over. I actually hope Google uses the new-new images, since my lawn had some disease issues in December of 2018. Come to think of it, since home-selling websites use Streetview, I wonder if there's a way to request a certain version or a retake for after your cousin moves his RV out of your driveway.
  • Roadside Knife Stand - Only in Florida
    My wife was driving through central Florida when she got to see something that surprised her, even though she's now lived in Florida for a couple of years: a roadside knife stand. I have to admit, I was even a little taken aback. My first question for her was whether or not she took a photo of the stand, which she did not. I'd seen oranges and other edibles before. Nuts, watermelons, etc. Shrimp, even. And you'll see people set up yard sales right out to the street, maybe with antiques (or just old junk). There was a place along Locust in Milwaukee where you could pick up a used appliance right from the sidewalk, which was a little odd, but you can apparently get cutlery along a state highway in Florida.




    My understanding is that anyone who sets up on public property along the road would need some kind of a permit to sell. Even the homeless in Jacksonville are supposed to have a permit to ask for money. I will assume that this guy had said permit from the local jurisdiction. If he didn't, I would not think that a knife stand would last very long along a state highway. Unless, of course, he was the off-duty local sheriff.

    If this man had been selling fruit instead of blades, he would have fallen under the Florida Cottage Food Law, which allows him to sell with:
    no license, inspection, or training from the ag department.
    That's good for up to $50,000 in Florida, and I am sure if you can make a little more than that in cash, no one's going to notice.

    I found some information about roadside fireworks stands and roadside flower stands in Florida, but knife stands were not really addressed. Probably because no one ever thought someone would sell knives along a highway in our state. However, I think that just about anything will be attempted at some point in Florida, so there probably does need to be some kind of regulation as to what can and cannot be sold along the roads. Like guns, exotic animals, and probably fireworks (which are basically illegal to shoot off anywhere in Florida). 

    The best bet is to resist your temptation to stop and check out the inventory. When no one stops at your (hopefully) illegal roadside stand, then you don't set it up too often in the Florida sun.