"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

readin' readin' readin'

#5 The Sister Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
Not many reviewers can resist comparing The Sister Brothers to the Cohen Brothers' version of True Grit and not without reason. The dialogue has the same declamatory feel and both works have their own odd sense of humour. It didn't win the Governor General's award for nothing. A fine, seemingly simple style (which is always the hardest stuff to write) and a few truly memorable scenes and images.
And if the Coen Brothers don't do the film version, there is no justice in this world.
As usual, leave suggestions in the comments.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Another day, another trial balloon

Fresh from launching a trial balloon on reopening the abortion debate that he swears he has no interest in reopening (mainly because it is too handy a chunk of raw meat to dangle in front of the base at fundraising time) Steven Harper sends his legal beagles forth to reopen the debate over same sex marriage that he swears he has no interest in reopening. Amid the screeching, outrage in response to their clumsy er, backdoor effort to test the waters the Justice Minister is backpeddling at light speed.
The whole foray was ill advised to start with and as transparent a bit of wind testing as has ever been seen.
The lawyers for the feds, who would not be responding to this case in the way they did without checking with the boss first, argued neither woman was legally able to marry a person of the same sex under the laws of Florida or the United Kingdom, where they reside. "As a result, their marriage is not legally valid under Canadian law."
The whole thing could have and should have been avoided by citing the fact that Ontario divorce law has a residency requirement. That makes some sense, since if you don't live here, things like orders to divide property or share custody become much more difficult for Canadian courts to enforce.But no, Harper decided this would be a good time to mess around and provoke a freakout, thus giving him a chance to a) burnish his "see, I'm not really a bigot" credentials by tut-tutting about this "misunderstanding" b) blame the Liberals for not creating perfect legislation (that his party opposed) and c)reopen the legislation to 'fix' it.
These trial balloons, along with the earlier push to villify the CBC, are great tools for Harper because they allow him to rile up the base and squeeze them for cash to fight "those lousy socialists and liberals who are obstructing the grand conservative agenda to remake Canada" and lay the groundwork for changing things without having to do any actual remaking until he's damn good and ready to do it.
Well played, you baby-noshing, dead-eyed low-rent Machiavelli


Beatles Reunion!

And a bunch of other stuff I found

  • Now that Stephen Colbert is sort of running for the Republican nomination and outpolling Jon Huntsman in South Carolina, does that mean he will be included in the Republican leadership debates? (Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease)
  • Another reason where I live is cooler than where you live. And that's not counting the new outdoor rink at city hall.
  • It is Friday, so naturally you are listening to Driftglass and Blue Gal on the Professional Left podcast. Any other activity would be a less-productive use of your time and theirs
  • No one can possibly be surprised by this, though the fact that the person who got rich giving so many Americans diabetes will now get richer by promoting diabetes medication is really an "only in America" moment.
  • Predictable despicable douchebag, as predicted, behaves in a predictably despicable douchy way
  • Meanwhile, in the Excited States the militarization of your local police force continues. 
  • Copy editor humour  
  • That whirring sound you hear is Comrade Che spinning in his grave. If we could hook a generator up to him, he could light up South America all over again.
  • From our Very Short Answers to Stupid Questions dept. Yes. Supporting evidence here (It's nice when the fish swim into the barrel and hand you a grenade like that)


    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    The joy of books

    A little something in honour of my 50 book project.

    (for Dan and Tammy)


    Monday, January 09, 2012

    Whatcha reading?

    As mentioned previously, I've embarked on a little project this year to read 50 books. Partly because I found I had started to cut down on my off-line reading late last year and partly just for the hell of it. As with hard-boiled eggs, I figured 50 was a good round number for books. Nothing too arduous, just plug along at a book a week, right? Should work fine as long I don't decide to read anything more ambitious than your average airport news-stand pot-boiler, right? We will see how the system works when I tackle some meatier stuff later in the year. But for this week, a pair of quick engaging reads that the ripped through in not time.

    #3 The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler
    Noir before there was Noir. Chandler is one of those writers of genre fiction who is so good that he rises above simple genre writing and moves on the plane of "Literature." Of course it helps that he practically invented the hard-boiled detective genre.
    This is one of his later, less-known novels, and one I've had sitting on the self for a couple of years where I've saving it like a vintage wine. They aren't making any more 1990 Chateau Latour Paulliac and Chandler isn't writing any more novels, so to get to read one for the first time is always a treat.

    #4 Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    I read this year's  big contribution to Geek Lit in a single afternoon with only a short break to fetch the daughter from school and to cook my ought-to-be-world-famous eggplant parmesan (baked, not fried, so as not to be too greasy). Great read for any and all geeks, nerds, gamers, or anyone who grew up in the 80s  or  watches Big Bang Theory and says "Pfft, those aren't real nerds,  I'll show you real nerds - come and meet my friends from the games club." The first novel from the screenwriter of the movie Fanboys. If you liked the movie or have ever spent time in Second Life or a comic store or been to an SF convention or John Hughes movie marathon, you'll like this book.
    Apparently, I am not the only one to read and enjoy this recently.

    Currently in the on-deck circle: more Chandler, The Sister Brothers and some early Vonnegut and some Gabriel Garcia Marquez, if I can find my copy of Love in the Time of Cholera. Please, if you have suggestions, leave them in the comments.