Monday, January 28, 2002

American Voices: Dashiell Hammett and Mark Twain

Margaret Atwood on Dashiell Hammett at NYRB.

I feel the same way calling Hammett my favorite crime fiction writer as I do calling Kim Stanley Robinson my favorite sci-fi writer; it just doesn't sit right filing them in those categories, however much they may apply, because filing them under genre tags feels more than a little like marginalizing them. I'm linking this article because of my perpetual interest in perceived connections to Mark Twain. Atwood writes:
This approach brings to mind that other American Samuel, Sam Clemens (Mark Twain), who so famously took the stuffing out of Fenimore Cooper's standards of accuracy. Indeed, the two Samuels have a lot in common: the combination of steely-eyed observation of the dirty underbelly of America and the idealistic wish that it would live up to its founding principles, the deadpan humor, and above all the dedication to language. This last, in both, took the form of an attempt to capture the tone and cadence of the American vernacular in literature, of which Huckleberry Finn is surely the first fully triumphant example.

Thursday, January 24, 2002

"Does everyone remember the Foghat rule?"

I laughed my arse off at this Yo La Tengo video for Sugarcube in which rec execs send the band to Academy of Rock.

Sunday, January 20, 2002

Tuck Rule

The Call. CBS and ESPN commentators can't seem to agree on whether the refs got it right. The first reaction was they didn't. Then it came out that by rule they did, it's just that the rule (as it turns out) doesn't make much sense. Then they say that the replay reveals Brady took possession of the ball by touching it with his other hand, ending the forward motion and tuck; therefore, it should have been ruled a fumble after all. It's like the Zapruder film all over again. In any event, the Pats are moving on.

Thursday, January 17, 2002

The Cost of Nostalgia

My guess is the prospect of doing that 80s nostalgia tour is what pushed Stuart ("Adam Ant") Goddard over the edge, landing him in a mental hospital. How would you take being stuffed on a bus with the likes of Flock of Seagulls and A-Ha? Could this also explain what happened not that long ago another Stuart (Adamson, of Big Country)?

(link via the web today)

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

RI surgeon operates on wrong side of man's head.

After the surgeon drilled two holes in the left side of the patient's skull and found no bleeding, the procedure was repeated on the right side, and the blood drained. Except for the incisions, the patient has so far suffered no ill effects from the error, according to hospital spokeswoman Jane Bruno.
Except for a couple extra holes in the ol' dome, no ill effects. (link via Bob C.)

Blogging Sparky

Tom Tomorrow ("This Modern World") is starting a new blog. Nothing much there yet.

Wednesday, January 2, 2002

C-Dog's Five Fave TV Shows 2001

5. Smallville It's the Superman story with an X-Files twist. Monster of the week episodes have limited appeal. It's the relationships between Clark and his friends, his parents, and a well-written Lex Luthor character that satisfy.

4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer The new season has been a disappointment with the notable exception of the musical episode.

3. Pardon the Interruption By far the most entertaining sports talk show. The Last Word is crippled by Rome's posing and The Best Damn Sports Show Period ain't.

2. Alias I knew it was a spy show with some debt to La Femme Nikita, but I didn't realize it was going to start treading in Raiders of the Lost Ark territory with its storyline about tracking down lost 15th c. technology that may have the power to alter time and extend life. What can I say? I'm hooked. The girl's a hottie too, which helps.

1. Angel Has utterly eclipsed Buffy and is now the best-written show with the most engaging characters.

Tuesday, January 1, 2002

2002

2002. The first palindromic year since 1991, which in turn was the first palindromic since 1881. From 110 years in between to only 11. This new millenium is pretty cool. At this rate of increase, our next palindromic year will be 2003 with palindromic years occuring every month thereafter. It's crazy stuff but the numbers never lie! I wonder if our resident palindrome, neilalien, has any theories as to what significance palindromic years might have?

It is perhaps interesting to note that 1881 was a US Presidential assasination year: James A. Garfield (who, in 1876, discovered a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem, not that there weren't plenty of them lying about already, but still...) took a bullet in the back and was succeeded by Chester A. Arthur. Sigh. The brave new world that might have been.

1991 is kind of a blur, it was a college year for me ...but its legacy seems to be the Gulf War and Clarence Thomas. Perhaps palindromic years are notable only for being ignominious.
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