Thursday, February 25, 2010

Split Image by Robert B. Parker

I have just spent 2 hours in the presence of some good friends, and am covered in the glow of a good time (even if TLomL will bemoan the fact that I knocked off a hardcover in a single 2-hr setting, sorry dear).

I was apprehensive and ambivalent about picking up one of the last books that Parker finished before his death, but that vanished by the end of a chapter or two--and given the wafer-thin nature of his chapters, that means it didn't take long at all. And other than the occasional transient thought, it really didn't come up as I read. But now I'm done, and all I can think about his how this was the end of the road. And that's really too bad.

Many people will say they can tell in Rex Stout's final novel that Stout pretty much wrote a conclusion to his series--not an airtight conclusion, he could've easily continued, but it served well as a conclusion to his long-running series. The same could be said for Split Image, although Night and Day could've functioned that way as well (but not as neatly, and the book wasn't nearly as good, so I'm glad it didn't have to). There is a real sense of Parker saying goodbye to the characters -- although a lot of that is likely projection and isogesis on my part.

For awhile there, as the quality of Parker's other series/works vacillated, the Jesse Stone novels could be counted on for a certain level of quality--but lately, they've been just up and down as the rest. Thankfully, thankfully, Split Image comes out on the up side. Sure, there's the now typical wandering around in the middle portion, but there's enough various plot elements at play that it doesn't detract as much.

A typical Parker novel will have 2 plotlines, one having to do with a case and another having to do with some personal conflict with the protagonist--and with Jesse Stone novels, that's typically Jesse dealing with his ex-wife and excessive drinking. But a few years back, Parker merged his female PI series into the Stone books, and this is the pinnacle of that merge giving us 4 basic plots--the crime Jesse's dealing with, the case Sunny's working, Jesse dealing with Jen and alcohol, and Sunny dealing with her relationship with her ex. That's enough balls in the air at one time that even if the novel's basically at a standstill, you don't notice.

And thankfully, each plotline actually works pretty well. Jesse's investigating a double murder involving some gangsters, Sunny's dealing with a girl who may have been kidnapped/brainwashed by a possible cult (shades of an old Spenser case as is typical of a Sunny story), Jesse's gaining insight (with the help of Sunny/his therapist) into what he expects from a relationship with a woman and how Jen just wouldn't fit that, and Sunny's gaining insight (with the help of Jesse/her shrink) into her relationship needs with men.

Throw in appearances from Spenser regulars, enough name-dropping to tie Jesse's gangsters into the larger Parker-verse, the lines any Parker novel has to have ('We'd be fools not to,' 'Enough with the love talk,' etc.), the glorification of having pet dogs (yet another Parker philosophy that's dead-on), and an actual satisfying conclusion to the investigations and you have yourself a great Parker novel.

Not the book to start reading Stone with (that's Night Passage), but for people who know the characters it's a darn satisfying read.

I should admit I was pretty embarrassed at how long it took me to get the title. In my defense, tho' I really didn't think about it until I saw it out of the corner of my eye printed on top of p. 195 and had an "Well Duhhhh" moment.

Trailer for the "Health Care Summit"

just had to share...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Wireless Life

So other than that picture, no real post today--and that pic doesn't really count much (still get points for the inherent cuteness embodied by both WonderMutt and Arnold, squared by them together).

Why? Am I having another season of being blocked?


Cuz we had a bit of snow today, which I guess wreaked far more havoc than snowstorms or simply larger amounts of snow have done. Namely:

  • our satellite TV was out for 3-4 hours this morning
  • our Wireless Internet was out for about an hour in the middle of that
  • our cell phone lost service for about 2 hours after that
  • ourWireless Internet was out for about 3 hours after that
...and of course, not thinking that such a measly amount of snow (90% of which was gone before noon) would be responsible for that, I spent a good deal of time attempting troubleshoot each of those items. By the time I was fully reconnected to the world, I was in no mood to expend any more energy dealing with any of it, y'know?

I know being so free to move about without the tether of a cord or cable or anything is supposed to be a boon, but Shnikes! It can be such a pain.

Random Offspring Photo

Naptime this afternoon...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Over My Dead Body by Rex Stout

And here we are at the seventh Archie Goodwin novel (feat. Nero Wolfe), Over My Dead Body. All things considered, this is not my favorite in the series, though I admit to reading it at least bi-annually. It should be noted that "not my favorite" roughly equals a grade of B-.

This is the first time we get a feel for Wolfe's politics (and can guess at Stout's), although it's difficult to discern everything Stout's trying to say because of my lack of knowledge about politics in the area around Montenegro pre-World War II. One day I keep telling myself that I'm going to look into that and see just how much Stout reflected reality, but today is not that day.*

A woman who claims to be Wolfe's long-abandoned daughter shows up looking for help in a case involving some missing diamonds. Until he can determine whether she is who she claims, Wolfe has to step in to assist. Just as things look like they're settled on that account, someone is killed in a less than normal fashion. Of course. This sets off a case of multiple homicide and international intrigue, involving more than one European power, the NYPD and the FBI. Not to mention, we learn a little about Wolfe's past, which is definitely more than a little interesting.

There are some truly funny moments in this one, and some very clever work by Stout, Wolfe and Archie. But...I dunno, it doesn't totally work for me, dawg. Still, a Wolfe novel is like pizza and that other thing...even when it's not great, it's still good.

A couple of lines worth repeating...

[after escorting an FBI agent from the house] "You see what happens," I told him bitterly. "Just because you rake in two fat fee and the back account is momentarily bloated, in the space of three weeks you refuse nine cases. Not counting the poor little immigrant girl with a friend who likes diamonds. You refuse to investigate anything for anybody. Then what happens? America gets suspicious because it's un-American not to make all the money you can, and sicks a Senior G-man on you.."

[Fritz] was stiffly formal, as was his invariable custom when there were ladies present, not form any sense of propriety but from fear. Whenever any female, no matter what her age or appearance, got inside the house, he was apprehensive and ill at ease until she got out again.

"I carry this fat to insulate my feelings. They got too strong for me once or twice and I had that idea. If I had stayed lean and kept moving around I would have been dead long ago."

* Assuming I keep at this, fifteen entries from now, we'll get another crack at this region, and I feel much more confident about what's going on there.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Great Speech

Yeah, George Will's an elitist, a snob, etc. (I remember with horror a rant he did against people wearing blue jeans too often in Newsweek last year), but when he's right...he's so, so right. From last week's CPAC gathering, it's worth the time--even if the idea of listening to a CPAC speech fills you with dread and/or gives you hives.
Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

(h/t: HotAir)

A Wonderful Idea that Will Just Never Take

The good people (er, person) over at Treasured Valley today have reposted an opinion piece by a local educator, Steve Hauge, "Sports should be considered when cutting education budget. Incisive, thoughtful, practical, and all-around right. Which means the idea will go nowhere.

Now that Gov. Butch Otter has spoken, let the bleeding begin.

He proposed to amputate part of the budget on education. I suggest it be the testosterone, not the brain. Or rather, the weight room, not the classroom. Bleachers, not desks. Playbooks, not textbooks.

Surely we will hear some claim that football and basketball are financially self-supporting and underwrite other sports, save coaches salaries.

But that is misleading. Multiply the number of coaches by the number of sports by the number of schools in any district by the salary amount, and the figure climbs. Though coaches are underpaid, collectively it all adds up. And don’t think for a moment a varsity sport subsidizes feeder programs at the junior high level. No, it’s the taxpayer again.

I suspect public school sports simply eat up a lot more cash than taxpayers assume. At the very least, taxpayers ought to demand that the financial books are opened and proven otherwise.
Go read the whole thing.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Lesson from College I Should've Remembered

One of the biggest hurdles facing families who have more children than the acceptable norm in our current culture is space. Finding family cars that can actually fit a family, or homes that have enough room for everyone is far more prohibitive than health care, food, clothing, or education (not that those are necessarily walks in the park, mind you).

But I'm not trying to rant about that kind of thing, for now anyway.

Case in point: we have 3 boys in one bedroom. And I have to give them credit, for the most part they get along pretty well. But there's just precious little room for their stuff. Even ignoring their pack-rat tendencies, 3 boys tend to accumulate lots of stuff. But it's hard to ignore those tendencies when you can't even get 60% of their dresser drawers closed.*

So we're generally looking for ways to try to maximize use of our space--we have storage containers of all sizes, shuffle belongings, strategically "lose" ignored toys when they're not looking, etc. So a couple of weeks ago, when TLomL came home with a bright idea, we jumped on it. A loft bed--essentially, a bunk bed without a bottom bunk.

I assembled it this morning. Mercifully--and inexplicably--I didn't injure myself in the process. Then I threw together a couple of pre-fab bookcases (I love, love how many books these kids have--and want). I cannot believe how much floorspace this has created. Even more I can't believe it took us this long to come up with the idea! Arnold's days away from his 6th birthday. We really should've done this as soon as he moved into a "big boy" bed.

I feel exceptionally stupid in this regard because one of the first things that any residence hall resident at the UI learned was the importance of the loft bed for fitting in a decent dorm fridge/stereo/television. I had one for 3 years, and fully intended on building one for one more as soon as I found the initiative/$$. So why did it take me so long here?

* should note we're working on curbing/directing those tendencies

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Village Barbershop

I started this year off on a streak of seeing really bad movies, thankfully I seem to have turned a corner and am watching a nice mix of decent and good flicks(even a couple of excellent ones). Chris J. Ford's The Village Barbershop is a good movie, not a great one, but it's full of enough charm, heart, and warmth that you really don't care.

John Ratzenberger plays Art, a cantankerous barber reeling from his wife's death years before, receives another shock--his partner dies suddenly as well. Leaving an increasingly isolated, bitter man without anything but his struggling shop. Naturally, his landlord is looking for an excuse to boot him out and replace him with someone he can make more money from--and Art's giving him plenty of excuses, but is trying to cling to the one thing he has.

Enter Gloria, a thirty-something mess of a woman, who happens to know a thing or two about accounting, cutting hair, straight-razor use, and how to connect with the all-male clientele of the shop. She needs something stable, Art needs help with the money and the customers, even if it's from a woman (ending the all-male enclave that is his shop).

Wow, a match made in heaven--it's like someone scripted it. Er, wait, someone did. Okay, so the movie is 98.5% predictable, I'll grant that. But what makes this one a winner in my book is the execution--Ratenberger's Art has a humanity (even if it is broken) that is so far beyond the iconic Cliff Clavin that it's hard to imagine that it's the same actor, and Gloria's charm is so effortless that she wins the viewer over as she does the customers and her grumpy boss.

Some real laughs, a lotta charm, and some great acting make this small little film shine like the neon of the casinos the action takes place under.

Dead of the Day by Karen E. Olson

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Some Buried Caesar by Rex Stout

While I'm enjoying this little Wolfian project of mine, I noticed when I picked up Some Buried Caesar that I was rather eager to dig into it. This is easily one of my favorite books--not just in this series, either. This is one of the funniest, most entertaining books Stout wrote, a real winner.

Like the last book, we again find Wolfe and Archie away from their cozy New York City abode. Last time, Wolfe was driven by his love of haute cuisine to subject himself to the whims of machinery. He has baser motives for this trip--a fellow orchid grower has slighted Wolfe, so Wolfe's journeyed to upstate New York to humiliate him at a county fair's competition.

As they near their destination, they have a minor accident in their car and find themselves taking refuge at the home of Thomas Pratt, the millionaire owner of a chain of diners called Pratteterias (don't that just sound appetizing?). Pratt is preparing for a publicity stunt, where he will be barbecuing a champion bull, still in the prime of life. This is causing quite the stir among local (and, apparently some non-local) cattlemen, and Pratt is worried (with good reason) that at least one of them will attempt some sort of tomfoolery to prevent the bull feed. The son of one cattleman bets Pratt $10,000 that it won't happen, which drives Pratt to engage Wolfe's services to ensure it'll take place.

From there, Fletcher's Law kicks in and Wolfe has something more up his alley to work on. The trip to the country for a flower show becomes a maze of intrigue, crime, old family feuds, prison reform, and dumplings that are out of this world.

It is in this book that Archie meets Lily Rowan. There will be many competitors for Archie's affections, and a few women will come close, but none are the match for him that Lily is. There aren't many recurring characters that haven't been introduced by this book, but Lily quickly takes her place amongst them.

For the sake of remaining spoiler-free, I trimmed my original selection of quotable portions somewhat, and still have what's likely to be the largest selection I'll offer up in this series.

[Archie speaking] Let's say she goes ahead and ruins him. In my opinion, if he's worth the powder to blow him to hell, he'll soon get unruined. No man was ever taken to hell by a woman unless he already had a ticket in his pocket, or at least had been fooling around with timetables.

I had been accosted by a tall skinny guy in a pin-check suit, as young as me or younger, wearing a smile that I would recognize if I saw it in Siam--the smile of an elected person who expects to run again, or a novice in training to join the elected person class at the first opportunity. He looked around to make sure no spies were sneaking up on us at the moment, introduced himself as Mr. Whosis, Assistant District Attorney of Crowfield County, and told me at the bottom of his voice, shifting from the smile to Expression 9B, which is used when speaking of the death of a voter, that he would like to have my version of the unfortunate occurrence...[Archie makes a wise crack] That confused him, because he had to show that he appreciated my wit without sacrificing Expression 9B

Dressed in a light tan jersey thing, with a blue scarf and a little blue hat, among those hearty country folk [Lily Rowan] looked like an antelope in a herd of Guernseys. I sat down across the table from her and told her so. She yawned and said that what she had seen of antelopes' legs made it seem necessary to return the compliment for repairs

I was wondering which would be more satisfactory, to slap her and then kiss her, or to kiss her and then slap her.

It was Nancy Osgood, and the glance she cast behind her as she entered one of the sheds was either furtive or I was getting fanciful. Even if she was furtive it was none of my business, but a detective who minds his own business would be a contradiction in terms

"One test of intelligence, [Wolfe] said patiently, "is the ability to welcome a singularity when the need arises, without excessive strain. Strict rules are universal. We all have a rule not to go on the street before clothing ourselves, but if the house is on fire we violate it..."

[Wolfe speaking] "Proscriptions carried too far lead to nullity."
[Archie replies] "After I analyze that I'll get in touch with you. My first impulse is to return it unopened."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Too Many Cooks by Rex Stout

The fifth volume in the Archie Goodwin/Nero Wolfe series, Too Many Cooks, is probably the most controversial, and (no probably necessary) one of the more entertaining and unusual entries in the Corpus. One of the eccentricities that Nero Wolfe spent so much time and energy cultivating is his rule about not leaving the house on business, yet this is the third novel to feature him outside his beloved brownstone. Yes, this time, it didn't start out as a business trip, but still...

The story opens with Wolfe boarding--sacré bleu!--a train, bound for West Virginia where he will be the guest of honor at the meeting of Les Quinze Maîtres (The Fifteen Masters--a group of the world's greatest chefs), being held at the Kanawha Spa resort. Of course, when we have a P.I. on vacation, someone must be murdered (what I call (Jessica) Fletcher's Law). Wolfe does what he does best here, turn the crime and the uncovering of the villain/villains to his profit--this time, not for money, tho--something far more important, a recipe.

As this book takes place 14 hours (by train) away from Wolfe's home, there's obviously not a lot here that further establishes the recurring elements in the series, with one exception. This is the first time we meet Marko Vukcic, Wolfe's oldest friend and one of the two men who call him "Nero." Marko is the owner of Rusterman's, a restaurant that will be featured throughout the long run of the series, and a place I'd love to eat at a time or two. Wolfe will talk to, and interact with, Marko in a way he will not do with anyone else--seeing him like this is quite the change.

Earlier I called this one of the more controversial novels in the Corpus, that is simply because of the language used to describe the African American employees of the resort--and a few others of various ethnic backgrounds. Deplorable language that would not be tolerated today, period. Even Archie uses it! Wolfe, of course, does not, and because of his civility and ability to treat the staff with dignity (and even with a nice little speech about equity) he's able to win them over and get them to divulge information they kept from the authorities. Many are shocked and/or bothered by Stout's use of ethnic pejoratives and have called for the publisher to edit this volume for future editions. Such a ridiculous notion, that. I would encourage you to read Barbara D'Amato's blogpost about 'satiable curtiosity in that regard.

As far as notable quotations from this one, I don't have a large crop. I have two quotes from Archie, which while not getting into specifics, describe a woman in such a way that the reader can A. come up with their own mental image of her and B. absolutely understand why pretty much every male in the book will fall under her spell. The third quotation is Wolfe defending himself from the charge that he doesn't like women (he is often accused, wrongly, by readers/critics/characters of antipathy towards the fairer sex), in a way that illustrates his character wonderfully.

...just as I flipped my [cigarette] butt through the crack between the train and the platform, I could have picked a star right there--or at least touched one. She passed by close enough for me to get a faint whiff of something that might have come from a perfume bottle but seemed only natural under the circumstances, and while her facial effect might have been technicolor, it too gave you the impression that it was intended that way from the outset and needed no alterations. The one glance I got was enough to show that she was no factory job, but hand-made throughout. . . . I muttered to myself, "My heart was all I had and now that's gone, I should have put my bloody blinders on," [and] shrugged with assumed indifference...

She had removed her wrap but her hat was still on, and the odor, faint and fascinating, was the same as when she had passed me on the station platform. I had a chance now to observe that she was as young as love's dream, and her eyes looked dark purple in that light, and her lips told you that she was a natural but reserved smiler. Wolfe gave her a swift astonished glance...

[Wolfe speaking] Not like women? They are astounding and successful animals. For reasons of convenience, I merely preserve an appearance of immunity which I developed some years ago under the pressure of necessity.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Beer and More Beer

This weekend I finally got the chance to stop by Boise's new/first/only specialty Beer Market, Brewforia, something I've been meaning to do for a few months now. What a great store! The staff was incredibly friendly, and tried to be helpful (I prefer to stumble around under the power of my own whims in places like this at first), if you're a local, you really need to give it a shot (assuming you're a beer drinker).

The selection was a bit overwhelming, and man, it made me wish I'd done a better job of reading the Boise Beer Updates on that I'd actually planned the trip, so I could've done some homework. I walked out with a small selection, and a few mental notes for next time--and there will be a next time, and soon. This visit, I walked out with:

Speaking of the Beer Fest, at dinner just before we went to the store, I'd had a pleasant reunion with a couple other things we'd sampled there (Mac & Jack's African Amber and 9lb. Porter). All in all, a very nice evening.

In addition, on my weekly grocery shopping trip I stumbled upon Big Sky Brewing's Bobo's Robust Porter.

So, all in all, gonna be an interesting couple of weeks. I'll try to keep you posted.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thought for Valentine's Day

via Ken Levine:

I would like to offer an explanation for what love really is. It comes from that font of romance -- an episode of TAXI (written by Ken Estin).

Louie is trying to win back his girlfriend, Zena. He asks if she loves him. She says she doesn’t know what love is. He tells her she’s in luck because he does. And he’s the only person alive who can say that. He’s read what everyone else says love is and they’re always wrong. She finally asks him what it is, and Louie says:
"Love is the end of happiness!

The end. Because one day all a guy’s got to do to be happy is to watch the Mets. The next day you gotta have Zena in the room watching the Mets with you. You don’t know why. They’re the same Mets, it’s the same room…but you gotta have Zena there."
Happy Valentine's Day to The Love of My Life, incidentally. Glad you ended happiness for me 14 years ago.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Just got back from taking my niece (hereby dubbed for the purposes of this blog, The Niece) and Frodo from Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (gotta be the longest title of a movie since that one where Casey Affleck took 13 hours to work up the nerve to shoot Brad Pitt). Not Chris Columbus' finest, nor was it a fantastic adaptation, but all in all a good flick.

If I gave him the platform (btw, son, consider this an invite), Frodo could rattle off all the discrepancies from the novel and complain about them. There were many, I should say, but most of them served the film and prevented it from being a 4-hour epic. But they stayed true to the spirit of the book, and got the big things right--which is all one should really ask (a lot of what they did was far less grievous than the things most forgave Peter Jackson of).

The Niece noted that they got the look perfectly, Camp Half Blood, Olympus, Hades..."it was like looking at my mind when I read it, freaked me out."

I was surprised at some of the casting choices, and who actually agreed to be in the movie--but have no complaints about any of them. I guess it's sort of like the number of people whose résumés are too impressive to be in a Harry Potter movie, yet take the gig anyway. Some of the performances were a little hammy, but most of them settled into the roles as the movie went on. Logan Lerman did a fine job, but I'm not crazy about the rumors of him as Peter Parker. Brandon T. Jackson was a hoot--proving that Tropic Thunder wasn't a fluke. Catherine Keener and Joe Pantoliano were great (but when isn't Joey Pants?). Pierce Bronson was as good as he can be outside of a jacket and tie. Alexandra Daddario made me understand why White Collar's Neil Caffrey would break out of prison for her.*

I'm not chomping at the bit for it, but I'm ready to buy my tickets for Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Sea of Monsters Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire or whatever it is.

* not a good sign that the White Collar folks have failed to deliver on that

Friday, February 12, 2010

We're Not Gonna Take It

Absolutely wiped out today, no energy to write anything. But I had to share this cover of Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" that played at the end of this week's Damages...not crazy about what I see about this band, but they knock this one out of the ballpark (their cover of "Jump" ain't too shabby either)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Young @ Heart

Stephen Walker' and Sally George's Young @ Heart is not the best documentary I've seen lately, but it's one of the most enjoyable.

From Ben Folds to Glee, choral groups are turning up all over the place, very frequently in unexpected places--and for some reason, singing pop songs. Young @ Heart is one of the more unusual choral group -- their average age is 80, and they sing songs by The Talking Heads, James Brown, the Stones, Coldplay, etc. And they do so pretty well, I should add (for example, the cover of "Nothing Compares 2 U" has a greater emotional impact than Sinead or the Symbol could've ever hoped for--partly given the performance, partly given the timing in the film).

They've toured in the US and Europe repeatedly. And this film follows the group as they prepare for their new show, and eventual tour--with a couple of music videos and a concert at a prison thrown in along the way.

Given the demographics of the group, the impact--and increased possibility--of serious health issues and death is greater than it would be in similar groups. But it's through these issues and struggles that we see the real spirit, the real joy that music and their camaraderie brings the group.

It's not a perfect movie--the filmmakers intrude a bit more than I'd like, and I do question the sense of filming these singers while they are driving so much (that would go for singers in their 20's as well as in their 70's for the record), and a few other minor issues. But they were all very easily forgivable given the film as a whole.

It's more than trite to call a movie about senior citizens "life affirming." But sometimes things are just that trite. Young @ Heart--is horribly life affirming, and fun, and inspiring--a lot like the performers it profiles.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Red Box by Rex Stout

this is my best attempt at recreating what was lost earlier, I had a hard enough time finishing this the first time, my heart's just not into making this pretty. Just going for done.

Ugh, I thought it was bad when I was a book behind by Week 3 of this little project* , and now I'm two behind in Week 6? Not I'd better hurry up and talk about The Red Box, the fourth novel in the Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin series by Rex Stout.

Thanks to a nice piece of trickery, Wolfe is dragged out of his office(!!!) to investigate a murder at a fashion show. A poisoned box of chocolate ended up in the wrong hands and stomach, cyanide in an almond candy, of course. Before he can figure out who's responsible, Wolfe first has to determine who the target was. And he has to move fast, because there's a whole lot of cyanide being tossed around and the bodies are going to start piling up.

I had a blast reading this one, I apparently hadn't picked this one up in ages, but I don't think I'll make that mistake again. Now, I'm having a hard time writing this one up because there's nothing remarkable about this one, unlike the previous installments--yes, the methodology is creative, the motivation is novel--but that's par for the course. There are no new features to the corpus (well, a minor one, but it's nothing unique to Stout), the regular cast of characters are pretty well set (had some good scenes with Saul and the gang). This is exactly what one is supposed to get out of a Wolfe novel.

This novel does introduce us to another feature common to Wolfe stories, 'tho Archie seems to make a bigger deal of it here than later--it must have worked well enough for Stout to decide to use it again and again. As Archie put it it

that case was just one damned client after another
The client that dragged Wolfe into the case ended up trying to fire him, and then eventually did; which was okay, because a richer client wanted in on it; but that wasn't the end of it. This did serve to move the plot along, and provide a few humorous moments, but that's about it.

There were several great lines--those that had me rolling or were particularly insightful, but as I looked them over, I realized they all need too much context (up to a page or two) to appreciate/understand, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow or so for some samples of Archie the wordsmith. A lot of good back and forth between Archie and Wolfe, Archie and the clients/witnesses/cops/basically everyone, Wolfe and Cramer, and so on.

* and now that I've publicly announced I'm undertaking a project/doing a series here, I'll make it one more entry before crashing and burning. Curses! Foiled again!

Monday, February 08, 2010

There Should be a Post Here

...a very unsatisfactory, but finished after 1.5 weeks of poking away at, post. But as soon as I finished it, but before I hit save on my new handy-dandy text editor, my system crashed, and 45 minutes of tooth-pulling went up in smoke.

Will hopefully get it and maybe one more up here after I get to work.

Incidentally, on a somewhat related note, does anyone know how to get Notepad++ to auto-save?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Too Dependent on the Internet? Me?!??

So my coworker and I are watching a TV show on DVD tonight and got into a dispute over the identity over a guest star. I said it was so-and-so, he said it couldn't be--so-and-so wouldn't take a small job like that, and wasn't that short. I countered with the evidence that the guy hadn't had a job in years, so he wasn't likely to be picky, and yeah, he was a shrimp. So, naturally I went off to to settle the argument before my friend made a bigger fool of himself (sure, I had to grant the possibility that I was wrong, but come on...)

For some reason, the cast listing for that particular episode was rather lacking, and the actor's listing didn't help either. So I went to another website, and another. Nothing gave me the answer I was looking for.

So we went on with our shift, somewhat dissatisfied. And my poor colleague continued under the delusion that he knew what he was talking about.

Fifteen minutes later, I had a brainstorm, picked up the remote and fast-forwarded to the bit after the credits where they list the guest stars. Quaint little solution, eh? So dependent on the Internet that I couldn't see the answers right in front of me. How pathetic.

I should go check google or Yahoo to see if there's a way for me to work on that.

Oh, and not that it matters at all, but I was totally right about the actor.

Friday, February 05, 2010

I Have No Tolerance for Idiocy

you just know there's a Zero-Tolerance Policy behind the school's administration here.

NEW YORK — A New York City fourth-grader was sent to the principal's office and nearly suspended for bringing a 2-inch toy gun to school.

Nine-year-old Patrick Timoney and a friend were playing with Legos in the cafeteria at Public School 52 in Staten Island on Tuesday when Patrick produced the tiny plastic machine gun and put it in the hands of a plastic police officer.

After Patrick's mother got a call from the school, his parents met with the principal and persuaded her not to discipline him if he agreed to leave the toy gun at home.
the rest of the AP story is here.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

"do it yourself, spend some of your own money and get it done."

Have you seen the story about AC/DC's Brian Johnson criticizing Bono's charity work? I've stumbled across a few versions of it in the last couple of hours--like this one.

the outspoken singer said he and his Grammy-winning band prefer to help in private with no press conferences.

"I do it myself, I don't tell everybody I'm doing it," Johnson said.

"I don't tell everybody they should give money - they can't afford it.

"When I was a working man I didn't want to go to a concert for some bastard to talk down to me that I should be thinking of some kid in Africa.

"I'm sorry mate, do it yourself, spend some of your own money and get it done. It just makes me angry."
This attitude goes back to LiveAid back in the 80's, which AC/DC didn't take part in.
"Bob Geldof is a canny lad. He did what he thought was right at the time but it didn't work," he said. "The money didn't go to poor people. It makes me mad when people try to use politics or charity for publicity.

"Do a charity gig, fair enough, but not on worldwide television."
It's a good point he's making, 'tho it's not original to him, for example, I remember someone making it 2000 years ago. Now, I know this will get forgotten in a couple of weeks (at best), and the next time Bono or whoever does a big nationwide/international TV charity event this won't even get a second thought, and we'll have more lauds given to people wealthier than Midas because they're telling us how we need to give and give and give.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

That Phantom Menace Guy Strikes Again

This time he takes on Avatar, in a briefer, but just as insightful and funny, two-part review

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Choice in Education

The Idaho Press-Tribune hosts a handful of blogs of local interest--most featuring the kind of writing/perspectives that the paper could use. The newest is provided by Idahoans for Choice in Education, they describe themselves as

an Idaho Political Action Committee dedicated to improving education in Idaho. Our mission is to give parents an independent voice in education by supporting their right to choose the best education for their children. Parental choice is the key to improving Idaho's education system.
Am looking forward to reading this one on a regular basis. Particularly if they keep coming up with pithy, useful posts like this one.

Walking that Fine Line Between Awesome and Scary Pathetic

I'm not a particular fan of this song (like 95%+ of what Beyonce does), but I keep coming across videos/takes/etc. of the song that I just love--like the Barrowman video from a few months ago, or the all kinds of awesomeness that was the version on Glee by Kurt et al. This one just might take the cake, tho'