Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Bader is Awesome

Mini Blue?
One thing about North Carolina, we got the best car dealership commercials down here. The badger is freakin' hilarious.

Friday, December 14, 2007

C-Dog's 2007 Faves


Albums

Dropkick Murphys - "The Meanest of Times": I can't imagine any Battle of the Bands format the Murphys wouldn't win ... and I'm not only imagining formats where the band members have to do shots of whiskey chased with Guinness between songs, where success is measured by the vivacity of the mosh pit, where the bands play in front of a soused crowd of laborers in the sweaty basement of a union hall, etc...

Tim Armstrong - "A Poet's Life" : I don't know if Armstrong is more than thirty years old but, even if not, he might want to take Mencken's quip to heart. As much as I like this album, the title makes me cringe. Once you get past his "I'm a poet and a sex-drugs-and-rock-n-rolling party man" posing, there's no denying the wickedly danceable ska-inflected groovealiciousness.


Books (Read for the First Time Regardless of Year Published)

Kim Stanley Robinson - "Sixty Days and Counting"



Richard Dawkins - "The God Delusion"

Richard McEwan - "Atonement: A Novel"

Richard Harris - "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason": Did we need both "The God Delusion" and "The End of Faith"? Evidently, yes.

China Mieville - "Perdido Street Station"



Movies

The Bourne Ultimatum

Michael Clayton

Live Free or Die Hard

Eastern Promises

A more macho list of manly-men movies would be hard to imagine. I'm really not trying to exclude female filmmakers (nor authors, nor musicians) ... but, wow, take the Y chromosone out and you're not left with much here. Although, I actually thought China Mieville was a woman until I saw his picture in the back of "Perdido Street Station".


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Heinlein's Star Fading?


I keep rereading Starship Troopers, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and some of the "juveniles" (Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, Citizen of the Galaxy & Podkayne of Mars) every year or two and I still think he's miles better than Asimov or Clarke. Still, I haven't even thought of going back to Stranger in a Strange Land, Friday, To Sail Beyond the Sunset (any of the Lazarus Long novels, actually) and -- long separated from the wild libertarian to fascist swings of my teenage years -- I don't have much stomach for his "hairy-chested" prose, as this LA Times piece dubs it. (Nice synchronicity, btw, with Mark over at Cheek nominating R.A.H. for membership in the Manly Writers Corps.)

Also in the LA Times is a list of fave sci-fi novels of 2007 that'll make it's way to my library hold list.

Update: Heinlein's (manly) optimism in an essay on thisibelieve.org -- he's popping up everywhere these days as his Centenary year winds down.

(via SF Signal)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fiery Phoenix Forming Again?


So there's going to be a G-Force movie, but no Mark, Jason, Princess, Tiny, or Keyop?! And what's with the Mole, Hamster, and Guinea Pig? Is this a Battle of the Planets/G-Force/Gatchaman remake or The Wonder Pets ("This is sewious!")?

Speaking of kids' TV, we watch the Backyardigans now. My babies love to dance, so it's a whirly, twirly, circly 20 minutes when they're dancing around. Mrs. C-Dog seems to think we watch it because I like it, but just because I often find myself humming the decidedly Morphine-ish "Riding the Range" song doesn't mean it's my show. It's for the kids.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Conductor of Light

Waiting for a Chance to Drop in Conversation
Text not available
The Hound of the Baskervilles: Another Adventure of Sherlock Holmes By Arthur Conan Doyle

Testing the clip feature in Google Books. And, I like the line.

Davison and Tennant


Brilliant short from the annual Children in Need Special last night. Check it out before Youtube realizes it's there.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bonds


I guess it was only a matter of time before the indictment came down. Now it has. I don't like Bonds. Don't know if anyone outside of his immediate family and San Francisco does? But is it really the result of a "witch hunt" as Sir Charles claims? I don't know. I hope that he wasn't the "big fish" the government has been after, as has been discussed by guys like Stephen A. Smith on ESPN. A user, no matter how prominent, shouldn't be the big fish. The suppliers, the doctors who write bogus scripts so guys can get them -- these are the guys that should be the big fish. I'm hoping that the roll of Bond's personal trainer (as it appears) turns into Bonds rolling over on someone else, someone up the supply chain.

You know it's sad, I don't even know what the number is. In my mind it's still 755. (And 61 for that matter.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Embarrassment of Riches

2004 2007!
Two championships in 4 years?! We're not turning into the New Yankees, are we? Nah. Sometimes nice guys do finish first, that's all.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Game 7 Tonight


Cool to see the Dropkick Murphys will be performing the anthem. I know there's no real reason to think Dice-K will be dominant tonight but there was no reason to think J.D. Drew would do anything in the first inning with the bases loaded last night either. So, yeah, I'm thinking it could still be our year, again.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fanboy Gushing


Just finished watching Doctor Who's finest hour. I thought the same thing last week, and the week before, and the week before that. But this week, oh man. Spoilers are everywhere and nearly unavoidable, but skip the next paragraph if you don't already know what made this week special.

Derek Jacobi was brilliant, absolutely perfect ... what a genius way to bring the Master back. (And the new guy looks like he'll do just fine.) The drums, the voices from the past, they really did this right. Wow. And we get the dope on Capt. Jack, and the hand in the jar (of course!), and it all ties back to the end of Season 1 and Torchwood (sort of)and the classic series, while managing to stand alone as a great episode. More wow.

HD, if you haven't seen this yet, when the Series 3 DVD comes out, I'd actually consider asking the missus if I could fly up to NYC, or fly you down to NC (yeah, I'll be down there Oct 1st) for, if nothing else, a mini-marathon of the last 4 episodes and next week's conclusion to this one.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

video"Romeo and Juliet" Covered by the Killers
Caught this on the "Live from Abbey Road" show on Sundance. Not included in this clip is the the band talking about how much they love Dire Straits, this song, and hoping that by trying to do it justice they can introduce some of their younger listeners to Mark Knopfler & co.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mo

Michael Vick, Tim Donaghy, Jason Giambi, Barry Bonds, Pacman Jones ... hard to find a story from the world of sports these past few weeks that wasn't about cruelty, corruption, cheating, or fake wrestling. Former Sox (Angels, Mets) slugger Mo Vaughn's work in Brooklyn was one of the few positive stories I saw this weekend.

Who Rumor

Outpost Gallifrey: Doctor Who RSS News Feed: "McCoy claimed that Fifth Doctor Peter Davison is due to return for Series 4 in a Multi-Doctor episode."

While I'm surprised they'd go all the way back to the Fifth Doctor when McGann (8), and probably McCoy (7), wouldn't be so obviously older than when they played the Doctor, and in their cases because McGann was a one-0ff and Sly got to walk off the role, their older appearance could be explained, where with Davison we saw his Doctor from beginning to end and there's no getting around the fact that he's aged. That said, I hope the rumor is true.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Trailers


I really wanted to be optimistic before seeing the trailer for "The Darjeeling Limited," but having seen it, I'm just not feeling it. Much as I loved "Bottle Rocket" and "Rushmore," "Tenenbaums" felt like a bit of a step back and "Life Aquatic," while not full on disappointing, misfired. Not looking forward to the next Wes Anderson flick is a dispiriting experience.

Also looking less appealing than I'd hoped, the Coen's new one, "No Country For Old Men." Tangentially, "American master, Cormac McCarthy" ... really? I've only read "The Road," and if that's representative, I guess I can't imagine why anyone would want to read more? Am I way off base here?

Malkovich, Hopkins, and Jolie in "Beowulf" immediately suggested an alternate title: "Clash of the Hambones."

Oh, Jackie. ~shakes head wearily~ The next time you see Brett Ratner or Chris Tucker's name on your caller ID, chuck the phone in the nearest body of water and get a new number. I could link to the "Rush Hour 3" trailer, but what would be the point? On the other hand, "Dynamite Warrior" might satisfy the martial arts/actioner jones.

Anybody see "The Simpsons" yet? I gave up on the show a few seasons ago, but find myself singing Spider Pig, Spider Pig, does whatever a Spider Pig does quite a bit.

xtimeline

xtimeline - Explore and Create Free Timelines
Some interesting exploring here.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Deadly Arts Redux


When I first saw Deadly Arts, I wished for a different host, and the History Channel has delivered -- Human Weapon puts a couple of guys (an MMA fighter and an ex-football player) in some of the same environs as Josette, but they're more able to compete against the fighters. The first episode is about Muay Thai.

I Feel Like I Ought to be Appalled ...


But I really like the amped up version of Squeeze's "Goodbye Girl" in the Under Armour commercial. According to the website, Squeeze actually rerecorded the song. I'd like to hear the full version, not just the 30 second snippet.

c-dog's 2008 President Selector Rankings

1. Theoretical Ideal Candidate (100 %)
2. Barack Obama (81 %)
3. Dennis Kucinich (77 %)
4. Christopher Dodd (72 %)
5. Joseph Biden (72 %)
6. Hillary Clinton (71 %)
7. Alan Augustson (campaign suspended) (71 %)
8. John Edwards (70 %)
9. Wesley Clark (not announced) (70 %)
10. Al Gore (not announced) (67 %)

Try if yourself ...

Q: Why Do the Super Wealthy Need Luxury Subs?



A:
The underwater fortress is vulnerable when it surfaces.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Not Dead Yet


Long beaked echidnas may still be scurrying around in Papuan forests.

The Princess Bride 20 Years Later


ABC News has then and now photos. Another one of those tedious reminder milestones that I am as old now as when my parents (hopelessly out of touch dinosaurs, yeah?) were when I was teenager. The other movies that leap to mind as my favorites from that year are: The Untouchables, The Living Daylights, Robocop, and Planes, Trains & Automobiles ("Those aren't pillows!"). (I thought Die Hard was 1987, but a quick check of IMDB reminds me that was 1988.)

In 1987, movies turning 20 were Bonnie & Clyde, You Only Live Twice, The Graduate, The Dirty Dozen, and Cool Hand Luke. It's mildly interesting to compare what made the 1967 movies seem dated (aside from the obvious music, hair and clothing styles) in 1987 to what makes the 1987 movies seem dated now and identify what will make 2007 movies look laughable in 2027 ... wildly unconvincing, jarringly incongruent CGI leaps to mind first. The persistence of James Bond is notable as well. Already 5 or so films deep in 1967, one of my favorite movies of last year was Daniel Craig's first outing as Bond. 45 years of a feature film franchise built around a single character is stunning.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Boy Likes the Blues


One of the funniest things I've seen is my baby boy jammin' along to the Fabulous T-Birds "She's Tuff" (no, not "Tuff Enuff.") Mrs. C-Dog was holding him while he drank his bottle. The blues channel was on tv and he started shaking his head and rocking in time with music, his bottle like a trumpet sticking out of his mouth.

Beatbox Français




via Ikram "The Dude"

Nice Find


A 35,000 year old carving of a wooly mammoth. (No recent word on the success or failure of attempts to clone a wooly mammoth Jurassic Park stylee.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

600


Congratulations are in order, I guess. Sammy Sosa blasted his 600th HR last night and now he pretty much has to go into the Hall of Fame, right? Or not. 600 home runs doesn't mean what it used to.

He's only the fifth player to reach 600 and the first three to do it were immortals: Aaron, Ruth, and Mays. The problem is the fourth (and fifth ... though probably not the sixth*) to do it is as much the product of shady science as he is talent and effort. Hard to applaud known cheaters just because they're getting away it.

So Sosa cracks 600 and Bonds will get 756 sometime this summer ... and all I can think about is whether the records should get an asterisk next to them, or if the typographical dagger† would be more appropriate.

* Ken Griffey, Jr. will probably be the sixth and while he's played through the era, I don't think there's widespread suspicion around him. At least not as much as around A-Rod.
† Because it looks like a syringe.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

Winner Take All

Shark vs. Octopus
Now if only they could drop a tiger into the mix. (There's a commercial and you can forward about halfway through the video to get to the action.)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Orange or Yellow?

Orange You Glad to See Me?
I'm a little surprised by this. LSU's a top program as well ... but everybody marked UConn v. Tennessee on their calendar. I did anyways. Looks like they'll only dance in March for a few years.

Weird Science



Sunday, June 3, 2007

Darth Stewie

Family Guy Does Star Wars
"Only one thing to do ... you still got that bag I gave you?" And the Leslie Nielsen cameo is brilliant.
via MeFi

Friday, June 1, 2007

Consensus Achieved

Bush's Amazing Achievement [NYRB]

One of the few foreign policy achievements of the Bush administration has been the creation of a near consensus among those who study international affairs, a shared view that stretches, however improbably, from Noam Chomsky to Brent Scowcroft, from the antiwar protesters on the streets of San Francisco to the well-upholstered office of former secretary of state James Baker. This new consensus holds that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a calamity, that the presidency of George W. Bush has reduced America's standing in the world and made the United States less, not more, secure, leaving its enemies emboldened and its friends alienated. Paid-up members of the nation's foreign policy establishment, those who have held some of the most senior offices in the land, speak in a language once confined to the T-shirts of placard-wielding demonstrators. They rail against deception and dishonesty, imperialism and corruption. The only dispute between them is over the size and depth of the hole into which Bush has led the country he pledged to serve.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ponzi

I met a guy at the barber shop last night, an older gentleman, who (as the discussion in the shop made it's way to moneymaking schemes and pyramids) claimed to be Charles Ponzi's nephew. Yeah, that Ponzi, of Ponzi Scheme fame. Frankie the Barber is quite a character in his own right, and I hear a bunch of interesting stories every time I'm in there among the North End's Italian element. Fioremonkey's people. I keep going back as much for the atmosphere as the convenience of having a barber who knows what I want so I can just sit down without having to try to describe a haircut ... not to mention he only charges $10. Anyways, in the course of learning way more than I probably needed to about Frankie's credit situation, past bankruptcy, gambling problems, battles with drug addiction, etc. the guy next me perked up when Frankie started giving his pitch on some miracle drug he and some of his hustler buddies were peddling.

I got the whole story of how this product has been mentioned on Oprah, how Papelbon and Clemens are selling it, how it helped his buddy recover from cancer, how it battles free radicals in your body and is (ostensibly) the "number one food source" in the world -- I let that last bit go, having no idea what that could possibly mean. I couldn't catch the name of this wonderful snake oil pill ... Motiv8, or something like that? So as Frankie's giving the pitch and describing how you get involved in selling it and recruiting other sellers to work under you, this guy cautions Frankie how you don't want to get involved in these pyramids because his uncle invented them and they're a scam. I'm sitting there thinking, "What? You're going to tell us now you're uncle was Charles Ponzi?" and no sooner do I think it than he says, "my Uncle Charlie screwed a lot of people, people in my family, with his stamp scam."

He then described how Ponzi tried to take over the Hanover Bank and outlined roughly what's outlined in the Wikipedia article linked above. I didn't press him for names and dates or anything, but I think he really was Ponzi's nephew. Not exactly a brush with fame, but I thought it was kind of cool anyways. Mildly relevant given Cianci's release into halfway house today. It's Italian Heritage Day here at TC.

Another Jordan

The Legend of Jared Jordan [SI.com]
Tracking the tiny point guard from Hartford from Kingswood-Oxford, to Marist, to the pre-Draft camp next week in Orlando. He's being called "the best point guard you never heard of" and "another John Stockton".
Link via To Wit

Who Would Win: Tiger vs. Shark?


In the water. No Ditka.

Hogzilla


Is Hogzilla real? C-Dogzilla will get to the bottom of this!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Too Early to Bury the Yanks


It's tempting, and history says 6 games is usually enough by Memorial Day, but I'm not yet comfortable with our lead over the Yankees. 12 games in the loss in column over Baltimore and Toronto feels like enough. 13 games in the loss column over the Yankees ought to be enough ... but 'ought to' and 'are' are very different things.

Here's why I'm still worried about the Yankees:
  1. They can still score a ton of runs on any given day. Their RS and RA numbers would make you think they'd be ahead of Toronto and Baltimore right now, so I think as the season progresses things'll even out and we'll see them move well ahead of those teams.
  2. Clemens is coming. He's not going to make that much of a difference, but he will make a difference, and given that I think the numbers say their record could be better than it is, and that will start to balance out, the fact that Clemens probably pushes that RA rate down a little looks like accelerant on top of the natural corrective process.
  3. The Big Trade. The Yankees have a way (money, lots of money) to bring in impact players, even it means paying millions well beyond that player's prime. They come in, make an impact, then get moved out later. Eg., Sheffield, David Justice, and now possibly Giambi?
  4. The Red Sox have been injury free to this point and seem to be in great shape with Lester on the way. But one key injury could throw them off the rails. On the plus side, I don't think Manny will slump all year. J.D. Drew and Lugo also figure to bring their averages up a little. But the pitching has been even better than expected and it's hard to see all those guys pitching out of their minds all year. If the pitching comes back to earth and the injury bug bites, suddenly the objects in mirror are closer than they appear.
  5. Finally, and I hate to mention this, but the Sox had a 14 game lead over the 4th place Yankees on July 19, 1978. It was the summer after 2nd grade. Playing ball down in the Pit, I mimicked Yaz's stance. Jim Rice was simply awesome. That summer, into the fall, at the tender age of 7, I learned what it means to be a Sox fan. It wouldn't have been so bad if it had been the Brewers with Yount, Sal Bando, Don Money, (former Red Sox) Cecil Cooper and company. They were likeable. The Yankees on the other hand were thoroughly unlikeable. Billy Martin managing most of that year, Reggie (although I did like his round candy bar), Munson (I despised being called "Munson" on account of my last name), Guidry and Gossage. Couldn't stand those guys. It wasn't until the 163rd game that I had an opinion about their light-hitting shortstop, He Who Shouldn't Be Named.
So yeah, even with a double digit lead on the rest of the division, I'm nervous.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Songs To Which Baby Girl Dances (And Doesn't)


My 1 year old daughter loves to dance. She's got two main dances: a sway with left leg lift, and a bummy bouncer. She likes to watch Jack's Big Music Show and pretty much anything Laurie Berkner but she also likes ska; Hepcat, Bigger Thomas, UB40, and the English Beat seem to be her favorites.

I was flipping through the music channels tonight and noticed that she really liked Howard Jones's "Life in One Day" ... but stopped cold and looked irritated when "Rudebox" by Robbie Williams came on. I'm not saying that makes one good and one bad, but ...

Summing up:
Dances to Howard JonesLife in One Day
Irritated by Robbie WilliamsRudebox

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Good Feeling

Red Sox rally to edge Orioles, 6-5 - Yahoo! News
Now that's some kind of game -- another one for NESN's "Walk Off Sox" collection. Gotta worry about Beckett's finger, but this is the kind of win, when they're already running hot, that gets the True Believers thinking it's going to be one heck of summer ... and autumn.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Traitors

The right's explicit and candid rejection of "the rule of law"

'The rule of law has two defects, each of which suggests the need for one-man rule. That is what is on the Op-Ed page of The Wall St. Journal this morning. The article is then filled with one paragraph after the next paying homage to the need for a Great Leader who stomps on the rule of law when he chooses -- literally:
The best source of energy turns out to be the same as the best source of reason--one man. One man, or, to use Machiavelli's expression, uno solo, will be the greatest source of energy if he regards it as necessary to maintaining his own rule. Such a person will have the greatest incentive to be watchful, and to be both cruel and merciful in correct contrast and proportion. We are talking about Machiavelli's prince, the man whom in apparently unguarded moments he called a tyrant. . .
The president takes an oath "to execute the Office of President" of which only one function is to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." In addition, he is commander-in-chief of the military, makes treaties (with the Senate), and receives ambassadors. He has the power of pardon, a power with more than a whiff of prerogative for the sake of a public good that cannot be achieved, indeed that is endangered, by executing the laws. . . .
In quiet times the rule of law will come to the fore, and the executive can be weak. In stormy times, the rule of law may seem to require the prudence and force that law, or present law, cannot supply, and the executive must be strong.
In the course of explaining how the rule of law applies only in "quiet times," Mansfield also argues that "civil liberties are subject to circumstances," not inalienable, and that "in time of war the greater dangers may be to the majority from a minority." Thus, he explains -- in what might be my favorite sentence -- "A free government should show its respect for freedom even when it has to take it away."'
Link via GITM

Saturday, April 21, 2007

KSR's Next


Stan reveals in a Locus interview that he's working on another historical novel ...
I've sold a book about the birth of science called The Galileans. It will have a science fiction element, but a strongly historical narrative as well. I researched the subject when I was writing The Years of Rice and Salt, which includes an alternative scientific revolution. Having done that, I thought, 'Well, what actually happened is fascinating.' So this new book is constellated about the figure of Galileo. Because he was famously put on trial by the Pope, he's still a good way to discuss the relationship between science and religion, and how those two can be reconciled (or not).
He also recommends a historical novelist I've never heard of: Cecelia Holland. If he thinks she's one of our greatest novelists, I'm intrigued.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Manny, The Myth, The Legend

When I asked his teammate David Ortiz, himself a borderline folk hero, how he would describe Ramirez, he replied, “As a crazy motherf----r.” Then he pointed at my notebook and said, “You can write it down just like that: ‘David Ortiz says Manny is a crazy motherf----r.’ That guy, he’s in his own world, on his own planet. Totally different human being than everyone else.” Ortiz is not alone in emphasizing that Ramirez’s originality resonates at the level of species. Another teammate, Julian Tavarez, recently told a reporter from the Boston Herald, “There’s a bunch of humans out here, but to Manny, he’s the only human.”

From the New Yorker.

Authentic Pop


The Monkees not authentic enough for you? What is?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Top 100


The Telegraph lists the Top 100 books since 1982.

I can only comment on the ones I've read, pardon the formatting:
  1. Historian, The Kostova, Elizabeth Little, Brown 2005 [I can't believe this. I almost didn't finish this book, it was so bad. Two word review: pedestrian, bloodless.]
  2. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, The Haddon, Mark Random House 2004 [Worthy.]
  3. Da Vinci Code, The Brown, Dan Transworld 2003 [A good read, but one of the 100?]
  4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Rowling, J.K. Bloomsbury 1997 [I'm OK with this.]
  5. High Fidelity Hornby, Nick Penguin 1995 [OK]
  6. Suitable Boy, A Seth,Vikram Orion 1994 [Yes. I wouldn't have bothered linking the list if this hadn't been on it.]
  7. Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow Hoeg, Peter HarperCollins 1992 [Yeah, so I'm noticing that lots of the ones I read were made into movies. Great book, good movie.]
  8. English Patient Ondaatje, Michael Macmillan 1992 [I'm thinking of Elaine at the movie theater, unable to bear the overwrought drama. I actually liked both the book and the movie, but I get the attitude.]
  9. LA Confidential Ellroy, James Random House 1990 [Ellroy was on one of those shows on the Biography Channel, or Court TV, one of those things, talking about his mother's murder, his investigation of it, etc. It was kind of creepy how he talked about is feelings about his mother and how he's written about it. Very odd character, that one. Great novel though.]
  10. Remains Of The Day Ishiguro, Kazuo Faber 1989 [I stand by this.]
  11. Bonfire Of The Vanities, The Wolfe, Tom Macmillan 1987 [I wouldn't have included this one.]
  12. Watchmen Moore, Alan Titan 1987 [Yeah.]
  13. Perfume Suskind, Patrick Penguin 1985 [Definitely.]
  14. Handmaid's Tale Atwood, Margaret Random House 1985 [OK]
  15. Love In The Time Of Cholera Marquez, Gabriel Garcia Penguin 1985 [Absolutely.]
  16. Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Kundera, Milan Faber 1984 [Yep.]
  17. Neuromancer Gibson, William HarperCollins 1984 [Zzzzzzz. So many better sci-fi novels to choose from. I guess this is where I'll rant about how there is not a single KSR book on this list. Idiots. This over "The Years of Rice and Salt"?!?!? Over the "The Gold Coast"?! Ugh.]
  18. Money Amis, Martin Random House 1984 [Yep.]
  19. Name of the Rose, The Eco, Umberto Random House 1983 [Ironically, or not, I just finished Krugman's "The Great Unraveling" and was looking for a book I haven't read in a while to reread and "The Name of the Rose" wound up getting pulled off the shelf.]
I'm a little discouraged by the 19% read rate. More discouraged that the literati apparently think so little of Stan Robinson's novels. I mean, fine, if you were put off by the science and pacing of the Mars books, I don't get it, but lots of people were so, I can see how those could be overlooked. But they slogged through Gibson's overrated prose and liked that better? Better than a half-dozen or so of Stan's books that were better than at least half the 19 listed above? I just don't get it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Just Like a Scot to Bring a Caber to Cricket Match


Yeah, this is a cricket post. For real. For real real. I know it's NCAA tourney time, but my brackets are blown, the men aren't playing, the women are still on cruise control, and baseball is still a few weeks away. The Cricket World Cup is being played in the West Indies and there's legit Cricket Fever going on up in here.

Cricket is huge in India. Tear-the-wicket-keeper's-house-down-if-they-lose huge. I mostly hang out with the Indian guys at work so I'm caught up in the fever. Ikram's Bangladeshi, actually, but that's part of the drama. Bangladesh pulled a stunning upset of India the other day and stands a chance of making the Super 8. If Bangladesh beats Sri Lanka today, they will be in great shape (and I will get a free lunch). So I'm getting pulled into the world of cricket here at work.

Scotland is in for the second time in the history of World Cup play. First time since 1999 when they got it handed to them. That seems to be happening again, but not much was expected of them. I'm pulling for my people to at least manage a draw in this Cup. The Irish managed to upset Pakistan -- a defeat that seems to have lead directly to the death of the Pakistani coach (heart condition or something more sinister?) -- so maybe Scotland can manage a shocker as well. Or not.

The game is actually fun to watch and there are some good stories, Dwayne Leverock, for example. Finding a stream to watch is difficult but not impossible and tv coverage here is spotty to say the least. When you can track down CNN's World Sport show, you can get highlights, but otherwise it's pretty much a web only thing. The terminology is so different from what I'm used to, it took me a while to catch on, but I'm learning the game and the scoring well enough that I can tell what's going on. The Bangladeshis won the toss and have taken the field ... it's on.

Update: It looks like Woolmer's death may have been something more sinister after all.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

60 Days Reviews Coming In

60 Days and Counting
A disappointingly slight, but accurate as far as it goes, Salon review of the new KSR.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Scorpion and the Frog



Has anybody documented the number of times the Scorpion and the Frog parable has been used in movies and TV since The Crying Game? I can't remember hearing it prior to that, but I'm starting to think it gets into every TV series at some point. The Dresden Files made reference to it in the last episode and I heard Chakotay tell it in a Voyager rerun last week, which is what got me thinking about how many times I've thought "not the Scorpion and the Frog again" since Forest Whitaker told it to Stephen Rea.

And, by the way, KSR's Sixty Days and Counting came out today. Finally. It's been a long wait, especially since I've been bogged down in The Historian for weeks now ... I doubt you were tempted, but I can tell you if you were, don't bother. It's crap. Kostova's bloodless prose is uniquely unsuited for telling vampire stories. Bulgarian travel guides, maybe, but not vampires.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Saturday, January 6, 2007

New Tenant in the Tardis?


There are an awful lot of articles saying rumors that Tennant is leaving Doctor Who after Season 3/29 aren't true but until today I hadn't seen any mention of new casting. Rumors are what they are so I take it cum grano salis that Jason Statham (imdb) is next up as the Doctor.

Probably not worth commenting on a rumor so unlikely, Statham's film career may not have been boosted by Crank but I find it hard to believe he's looking for series tv work, yet I can't help but wonder what he'd do with the role. He was brilliant in Lock, Stock , Snatch, and proved he is a legit action star in The Transporter. But, while the Doctor is supposed to be a master of Venusian karate, action is hardly the show's calling card. I'd imagine he'd have to play the role more Turkish than Frank Martin, which wouldn't be a bad thing.

Still, I hope Tennant sticks around a few more seasons. The Doctor doesn't have enough regenerations for the role to be revolving door.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year!


2006 was a heck of a year in the c-dog house ... I became a father back in May (some mornings I still wake up and go, "Holy crap, two babies!"), got a new job with commute to Boston started in October (most mornings I still wake up and go, "Oh f*ck, it's 4:45am and if I don't hustle I'm going to miss my train") and 2007 looks like it could bring some more change as well ... good-bye Rhode Island?

It'd be harder than usual for me to make top 10 lists for '06 ... if I saw 5 movies this year, it's because I saw 3 in the last week while on vacation: Casino Royale, Charlotte's Web, and The Good Shepherd. I couldn't recommend Shepherd -- lots of talent just wandering around, interacting reluctantly, occasionally making a facial expression, bumping into some of the other talent, while the weighty theme slaps down on the viewer's head like a round, juicy ham. Thwok, "I'm a self-important movie, meaty and powerful," thwok. The other two lived up to expectations and, if the trailers piqued your interest, I think you could go in confident you'll come out entertained.

As far as music goes ... Panic! At the Disco irritated me -- I got the album based on a Robot Wisdom rave before I heard them on the radio and wish I'd been more skeptical. The Stolen Records have been in the cd player in the car on heavy rotation. Otherwise, I've basically had the iPod on shuffle all year ... although Say Anything's "Alive With the Glory of Love" was catchy enough that it made my commuting playlist.

TV was all about Doctor Who this year. The season 2 finale with Daleks vs. Cybermen was awesome ... the scene where the Cyberman and Dalek meet in the hallway at Torchwood and each demands the other identify themself was brilliant: "Identify!" "No, you will identify!" "Daleks do not identify!" "You have identified yourself as 'Dalek'!" "D'oh!" [I'm paraphrasing here.} The Daleks exterminated with extreme prejudice, demonstrating they are clearly the superior killing machines, but the Cybermen won the battle of wits. Dalek: "Daleks do not need style!" Cyberman: "That is evident." I watched Jericho with growing fatigue. I got back into Battlestar Galactica. I've drifted away from Law and Order (new) but still slavishly watch any of the first 14 or so seasons when they're on (all the time). Heroes, Studio 60, and the The Office are mainstays. Smallville, Supernatural, and Veronica Mars too. We got DVR this year and I don't think I could go back to watching live tv. I'm guessing in the next year or two, product placement will replace commercials as the chief tv advertising delivery method. Sony obviously has their claws in the Bond franchise, but even The Wire hawks snacky chips with ruthless abandon.

Web-wise I haven't got much new to recommend. I'm trying out LibraryThing to see if I can keep my reading list and book collection there instead of at Reader2. Reader2 has the advantage of being free where LibraryThing is free up to 200 books ... but R2 is a little clunkier and keeping track of the exact edition and cover is easier with LT. I find I'm going to The House Next Door for movie and tv reviews these days. They do a great job posting well-written and timely Doctor Who and Battlestar reviews. I check Dealnews and Dealspl.us frequently.

Nap time's over. So much for my Year in Review post. Happy and healthy to all!
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