Saturday, December 31, 2005
I seem to have the flu or something like it, so I did this quickly. You may disagree with my choices.
(read best of 2004; 2003)
1) Easter Bunnies - notes on Easter and some recipes
2) Happy St. Patrick's Day - imperialism and song
3) "Gorgeous hair is the best revenge" - all about hair - I am not sure why I like this one
4) Portrait of my Brother as a Young Man - the early life of my estranged brother
5) Portrait of my Other Brother as a Young Man - the early life of my other estranged brother
6) 12 Random Facts about my Grandmother - yes, she does re-use toilet paper
7) "You've Got a Nice Box" - shopping and old people
8) George W. Bush and the Decline of America - a political rant against Bush & Co.
9) Troublesome Turd (a true story) - my sister's big poo
Happy New Year to all of you.
Technorati Tags: Zydeco Fish, blogging, 2005
Friday, December 23, 2005
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I was surprised to learn that I have been nominated for the KBCafe Blog Awards in the category of Best Library Blog. You can vote for me or against me here. I am a little surprised because I don't really consider this blog to be a library blog. The two other blogs nominated are real library blogs. Maybe my recent spate of librarian postings had something to do with it. You can vote only once (I gather from the same IP address) until 6:00 PM PST on New Year's Eve. Happy Voting.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
In hindsight, I should have taken all of this week off, not just the last two days of the week. I am back after a long weekend, and I am wondering why I am here. I should be at home sleeping or drinking rum. Instead, I am sitting in front of my computer, with little motivation to do anything, except walk to the supermarket to get some food for today's staff Xmas party. It will be all fun and games, well, at least there will be staff games... :-(
I rarely watch Fear Factor, 'cause I think it is so repetitive and boring. Even when they eat cow anuses, it's a bit boring. If they had to butcher the cow first, then carve out the anus for ingestion, that would be something. Simply eating an anus on a plate doesn't seem like such a big deal to me. Same goes for bull testicles. If you are going to force someone to eat those, make them harvest the things first.
Anyway, it occurred to me that there is little that I would consider to be genuinely fear-inducing. So, my proposal is that they add a new twist to the show. My idea is: kill the contestants and then resuscitate them. You know, stop the heart, and then defibrillate them or use adrenaline or some other means to revive them. Now that would be interesting to watch.
I guess I have to create a post in which I review my best posts from 2005. I did this the past two years, and I have to say that I lack the critical faculties to do this. So, if you have any ideas, I'll gladly listen. So far, I am thinking that the poop entry has to be there.
Technorati Tags: work, Fear Factor
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Imagine my mother (if you can), hair in curlers, wielding a plunger like some sort of impromptu shepherd's staff, rounding up her four children and herding them into the bathroom for a bizarre family meeting. There we stood around the toilet, five of us looking down into the bowl at the most enormous "dropping" I had ever seen. It was impressive. As someone who loved the Guinness Book of World Records, my immediate thought was to call up those guys and have them bring either a ruler or a scale to get the stats on that baby. I was sure we would be famous very soon. I was almost going to suggest that mother get her camera, but I realized that she was angry.
She was angry, not because the culprit didn't flush the toilet after doing his/her business, but because it was so big, it wouldn't go down the toilet. She proved her point by repeatedly flushing the toilet. It spun around and around and never went anywhere. She aimed the plunger at each of us, demanding to know who did it. Who dropped that huge turd that was far too big to flush? I wondered if she was going to hack at it with something as we watched, but she just kept demanding to know who did it.
My eldest brother, I suppose because he was the eldest and a boy, got the blame, despite his protestations. From that day, I viewed my brother as some sort of super pooper (wasn't that an ABBA song?) We were released from the smelly room and I gather my mother used the plunger to batter that turd into small enough pieces that it would go down. I was left thinking that she was a bit unfair to us. After all, who among us can regulate the size of our movements? I'd wager that few of us can, and ever fewer would admit to having the talent.
About five years ago, my sister made a confession to me. She said, somewhat gleefully and through bursts of laughter, that she was the one who did it. With one sentence, she turned everything upside down. She destroyed that image of my brother as a mythical pooper and she made me re-evaluate girls. It took me a while to process the information. I thought she should tell my mother, but then she has probably forgotten about the whole thing by now.
Technorati Tags: poop, family history, sister, brother, mother
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
I apologize for the boring quotient on my blog recently. I guess I've had other things to do, like work. So, this blogs sucks eggs recently.
After the Rheostatics show last night at the Horseshoe, I cycled home through the snow. I brushed the snow from my bike seat, saddled up, and headed up Spadina Avenue. The roads were snow-covered, reminding me of my childhood. Looking at the snow under streetlights always reminds me of late evening tobogganing.
The Rheos were good, as usual, and I managed to speak with Tim and Dave briefly. The crowd was smaller this year than at last year's fundraiser. The timing was not so good 'cause many colleges and Universities are in exams now, so that might have killed the crowd a bit.
I cycled past Grossman's Tavern and heard a few bars of blues that traveled very well through the snowy night. I saw Jeff Healey there a few years back. And then, I cycled home through the quite and snowy streets, trying not to fall off, careful to avoid the patches of ice hidden under the snow.
Happy Birthday Keith.
Technorati Tags: Zydeco Fish, Rheostatics, Spadina Avenue, cycling
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Once again, I will be collecting money at the doors tonight for the Rheostatics show at the Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen Street, near Spadina). This is night 6 of their 10 night Fall Nationals. This is a "free" event, but donations are encouraged for two local schools.
You never know what might happen. This is what happened last year.
Technorati Tags: Rheostatics
Monday, December 12, 2005
It was Friday night, I think, when I awoke after having a very perplexing dream. In it, Jack Klugman reprised his role as Quincy. That's not so strange, you might say. But, let me go on. He was Quincy on Planet of the Apes (it wasn't that lame remake, but I couldn't tell if it was one of the original movies or the TV series). Even now, I hear some of you saying, that's not so odd. But, let me go on. In the dream, he wasn't simply Mr. Klugman playing Quincy dressed as an ape. He really was Jack Klugman as an ape. There was no makeup. Jack was all aped out. OK, maybe it was simply very convincing makeup. My immediate question was, is Jack Klugman still alive? That passed, and I haven't bothered to find out.
Analyze that if you like.
Technorati Tags: dreams, Jack Klugman, Quincy, Planet of the Apes
Friday, December 09, 2005
I was planning on giving you all $1 million each, but I didn't win that huge lottery a while back. Too bad for you. And so, this year, I will be making a donation in your name to the Human Fund. Happy Festivus! I know, I gave the same thing last year. Sorry about that.
By the way, the captions on the photo are: "The automotive equivalent of a really hot librarian" and "Good-looking, yet intelligent. Fun, yet sophisticated." Yup, that's me.
Technorati tags: Christmas, Human Fund, Librarians
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
After yesterday's post, I feel compelled to mention that I spent the entire day sitting next to a librarian called Marian. I am not joking. I met her two or three years ago. She is quite nice, and not the Marian stereotype at all. However, others in the crowd of 130 were rather Marianish. I still haven't decided what the male equivalent is called. Maybe Marvin or Larry or Harry would do.
On the cycle-in today, I had this unsettling feeling that my crotch was really cold. I blamed the minus 18 degree windchill, but when I arrived, I noticed once again that my fly was down. Hopefully, no damage was done.
I am not (and have never been) a metal head, although I have listened to my share of Iron Maiden and others - mostly from driving around in my cousins' souped up cars and looking for chics. I have to say that I found that embarrassing and never knew what to say to these young ladies. One of my cousins had all of the lines down, like "hey, girls, what's up" and "you wanna beer?" There was usually a cooler full in the back seat. Mercifully, we did not have a Mr. Microphone. Oh, and we struck out every single time, as you might expect.
Speaking of metal, The Diablo Red have a new album out. I know the drummer; I even went to his wedding. So, if this is your thing, check it out. You can listen to samples here.
Technorati Tags: librarians, cycling, The Diablo Red
Monday, December 05, 2005
OK, well, I am not really sure if a group of Librarians is called a gaggle, and even if it is, at what threshold does it become a gaggle and not simply a group? But, if not gaggle, then what? A collection? A classification? A range? A pod? A herd? Who knows?
This is just to say that I am off for a one day meeting with a number of librarians tomorrow (out of blogging range). I am not sure how many librarians will be there. I will know a few of them and others will be new to me. Whenever I attend library conferences or meetings, I invariably reflect on the librarian stereotype. You must have heard about Marian the Librarian. I think that comes from the Music Man, wherein we meet a librarian, Marian Paroo, who is dubbed 'Marian The Librarian'. There is even a song by that title in the film. In fact, here are the lyrics:
What can I do, my dear, to catch your ear
I love you madly, madly Madam Librarian...Marian
Heaven help us if the library caught on fire
And the Volunteer Hose Brigademen
Had to whisper the news to Marian...Madam Librarian!
What can I say, my dear, to make it clear
I need you badly, badly, Madam Librarian...Marian
If I stumbled and I busted my what-you-may-call-it
I could lie on your floor
'Till my body had turned to carrion....Madam Librarian.
Now in the moonlight, a man could sing it
In the moonlight
And a fellow would know that his darling
Had heard ev'ry word of his song
With the moonlight helping along.
But when I try in here to tell you, dear
I love you madly, madly, Madam Librarian...Marian
It's a long lost cause I can never win
For the civilized world accepts as unforgivable sin
Any talking out loud with any librarian
Such as Marian.....Madam Librarian
The truth is that I am saddened by the stereotype. It does not serve us well, but I guess I'll have to live with it. It leads people to assume that the writer of this blog is female. It leads others to assume that I am gay (not that there's anything wrong with that). It leads others to assume that I check out books all day and tell people to be quiet. That is the lament of the librarian. The truth is that we have multi-faceted jobs that cannot be summed up neatly in answer to the question "what do you do?" I want to say: let me write a paragraph, and I'll get back to you.
'Tis true: some librarians do have buns and wear wool suits. Some librarians are a walking, talking stereotype, but I don't know any of them personally.
Technorati Tags: librarians
Friday, December 02, 2005
Happy Birthday to Me
Happy Birthday to Me
Happy Birthday dear Me
Happy Birthday to Me
Happy birthday to all the of the December 2nd folks out there. People born on this date include: Britney Spears, Nelly Furtado (we have the same dentist), Monica Seles, Lucy Liu, Alexander Haig, and Maria Callas. Lots of people died on December 2nd, including Robertson Davies (I met him once), Aaron Copland, Pablo Escobar, Desi Arnaz, Marty Feldman (my hero), Max Weber, Marquis de Sade, and my grandfather.
I think I have figured out why time moves slower when you are a child. It's because you spend most of your life waiting. You wait to be old enough to have legal sex, to drive, to vote, to drink. I still remember when the cops showed up at Cactus Jack's in Guelph, where my friends and I were drinking underage on my 18th birthday. They flashed their badges, but they did not give us that $53 fine for some reason. High school seems so long because you can't wait to finish. But, my undergrad went fairly fast, because I had no idea what I wanted to do afterwards. I wasn't waiting for anything.
As I was reflecting on the fact that this week just screamed by, I decided that time would move slower if later ages offered some benefit. And I am not talking about those minor senior's discounts. Maybe time would move much lower if I knew that at age 55, I would be exempt from income taxes? Perhaps at age 50, you would get a new driver's license that would permit you to exceed any posted speed limit by 25%. How about allowing anyone older than 75 to urinate where ever they want to? (potted plants, etc). Those are just random thoughts off the top of my head.
Anyway, it's Friday already, and I can't believe it. I thought I was busy, but I have no idea what I accomplished this week.
Technorati Tags: December 2nd, time, birthday
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
And those trout ... well, they're sweet 'cause they only eat Blogs
And Blogs, after all, are the world's sweetest frogs
I am off to a very long meeting now...sigh.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
1) I'm not going to say anything about the looming election, other than that Jack Layton should really shave off his moustache. I've said that before. If he wants to keep it, he'd be advised to slip on a cop uniform or dress from head to toe in leather. It's really up to him which way he goes, but the status quo is definitely out. Oh, I once commented on the fact that Stephen Harper kind of looks like a Husky. I think that is worth repeating.
2) Reuters has recently reported that longer syringes are needed for injections into people's butts because asses are getting fatter. (Hey, I've used some form of the word 'ass' in my last two posts). It seems many of the injections are missing the muscle and end up being intrafatular, rather than intramuscular.
3) I just read a story about a 50-year-old man who pulled a truck a few yards with his penis. Evidently, he studies Qigong, an ancient Chinese art or movement. This makes me nauseous.
4) Tom Cruise bought a sonogram. I wonder if he can use it to see if he has a brain?
Saturday, November 26, 2005
A Mark Twain wannabe left an idiotic comment on my previous post. The deranged chap states:
I don't know what is worse,the montane subject matter,or the fact that so many peole have no lifes that they actually stop and read this kind of worthless trival.
I review Blogs,that's what they pay me for anyhow,and I am always in search for some new talent.
I send my reviews to over 400 Yahoo and Google groups all over the world,thereby promoting myself by promoting them,so if you know where I can find a good blog that as an original theme backed by good writing with at least an attempt at originality(see past reviews for sample)let me know!Must dash,the search continues,there's nothing here so....
How about reviewing the blog for what it is, not for what you'd like it to be. I am certain you would not recognize good writing if it bit you in the ass. After all, your comment has many grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. ("peole", "lifes", "trival" plus comma splices, and punctuation failures).
Thanks Jeff for your comment.
And, so you don't have to dig through the comments, here is what I told this jerk in the comments of the last post:
Sam, have you read my entire blog, over 300 posts? Didn't think so. Did I say anywhere that I was attempting to write something other than "worthless trival [sic]?" No. So, your opinion means shit.
How about this: I have been published at last two dozen times in popular, trade, and academic journals. Did it ever occur to you that a blog might have a different purpose? Obviously not.
I am not sure I can respect the opinion of a man who has a blog with only a handful of posts, the last written over three weeks ago.
Besides, if you were a good reviewer, you would offer constructive criticism and not insults. Yes, I have published several book reviews too in real publications, not self-published and congratulatory online junk like your so-called reviews.
You are the one that clearly has no life. You know nothing of mine or the people who comment here, so take your garbage comments elsewhere and don't read this blog. Your comment here makes you look like a big loser. So, screw off.
I'll answer my own question. Yes he is. Oh, and WTF do you mean by "montane subject matter?" I don't believe I have ever referred to mountains in any post.
Update: And I am not the only one who holds this opinion. Read this post, wherein Mr. Clemens is given the inaugural '“Total Fucking Prat of the Blogosphere'” award.
Another Update: Sam is a liar: he has left the same comments on other blogs, like this one and this one. If you visit his blog (there's no reason to as it is quite awful), you will see that his last post was devoted to reviewing two blogs that are clearly also written by him. These are And From the Ashes and The Road Down. He also has posted messages in Yahoo! Groups under the name of H.D. Forbes promoting The Road Down. He has another blog called The View from Outside and The Abuse Ends Now. It is painfully obvious that all of these blogs are written (and I use that term loosely) by the same person, as were the comments left here. I'm not the first person to point out that he is rude. It's clear that I am right, otherwise he would not have deleted the comment I left on his blog, where I pointed out his fraudulent act. Reviewing one's own blog under an alias is a fairly desperate act. He needs help.
Technorati Tags: jerks, assholes, Sam Clemens
Thursday, November 24, 2005
So, I plonked my purchases down on the conveyor belt, behind the cheese and milk and yogurt and ice cream the person ahead of me was buying. I made sure there was one of those dividers on the belt so that we could ensure a barrier (not at all sterile, however) between our products. Happy with that, I waited for my turn to pay while reflecting on the fact that huge numbers of shoppers at No Frills seem only to buy pop. I'm talking entire carts filled with pop. It's insanity. Who can drink that much pop?
A few seconds later, this guy comes up behind me and puts his stuff down right on top of mine. He didn't wait for space or for one of those dividers. In fact, some of his things rolled ahead of mine. His salami was touching my green pepper!
I decided to wait to see if he would move his products back when the belt moved along: he didn't. I wondered if he was conducting some sort of sociological experiment in shopping. Soon, it was my turn to pay, and he made no move, so I have to push all of his stuff back along and place one of those dividers between our goods. He just stood there. What's up with that? He looked mentally competent, so I wondered how he could be so socially incompetent.
This is neat. The goal is to identify as many band names as possible. There are a lot.
Technorati Tags: supermarkets, shopping
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
The wooden soup spoons used at ____ are a triumph of form and function and may well be the perfect utensil. It should have been a pleasure to dine with such a lightweight and delicate wooden instrument, even though I strongly believe that soup, on its own, is not a meal, except in Chinatown where one often discovers half a duck—bones and all—swimming in enormous bowls. Eating such a soup with a pair of chopsticks and a ceramic spoon is no small victory, and well worth it, as it is very filling. My soup at ____ failed to quench my appetite on any level, although the challenge of eating the noodle parts with chopsticks was no less real.
Mr. J's and Mr S’s ____ occupies a large, open, and beautiful space on a trendy section of ____ Street East close to _____. The exposed brick walls of this 19th century building project an inviting warmth over a floor filled with square tables, perfectly complimented by low cubical lighting fixtures. Sitting in ____ should be a delightful experience, but the backless stools inflicted on the diners are cruel and inhumane and probably contravene even the Geneva Convention. I would have preferred to stand or sit on the floor, without shoes, in the traditional Japanese style.
On the other hand, the staff was very attentive, but that may have had something to do with the fact that the words “Toronto Star” were dropped early. Or, it could have been the knowledge that we were all students in a reviewing class. In any event, only once before has a chef made a trip to my table to inquire about my meal. In St. Lucia, the chef, a sous-chefs, and a waiter crowded around our table, each in turn prodding my fish fillet with various sharp objects in an attempt to determine if the fish was, as I claimed, breaded, and, therefore, not what I had ordered. At ____, when Chef S. made the trek to my table, all I could manage was that it was okay. It was okay, not spectacular, not delicious, far from perfect, but, mercifully, gluten-free.
Prior to the meal, I grew hungrier and hungrier watching others devour appetizers while taking copious notes—careful not to confuse the Tskune ($5.00) with the Negima Yakitori ($5.75) or the delicious-looking Duck Gyoza ($6.50) with the Pork Gyoza ($4.75) or the Shrimp Dumplings ($6.00). I looked forward to the special meal awaiting me. The waiter had already reviewed the menu with me, suggesting the ____ Beef, grilled top sirloin ($13.75), or the Cha Han ($9.25), both quite delicious-sounding. Instead of these meaty dishes, I learned that the chef had taken a keen interest in feeding me a special item, which turned out to be a small bowl of unnamed soup at an unknown price. I decided that it is probably a mistake to serve a dish with no name, for it affords the diner (or the reviewer) an opportunity to assign one. I might apply the name Pond Soba to the dish served to me.
The tepid soup, bland beyond all imagination, achieved only partial salvation by means of a few niblets of corn and three or four snow peas, all crunchy and quite delightful. In contrast to the soup, these bits of vegetables were an explosion of flavour. Soba noodles, gluten-free, but decidedly boring, lurked at the bottom of a concoction of shiitake mushrooms (the plural form of the word mushroom being an extreme exaggeration) and a cloudy stock, tasting what I imagine warmed up pond water would taste like. I wouldn’t have been too surprised to discover a fish hiding in the tangle of noodles. I was still hungry at the end of the meal, and ran out to get something else to eat, something delicious and extremely succulent.
I keep a list of restaurants that can provide a gluten-free meal. I may add ____ to the list, not because the food was great, but simply because they were able to produce a meal that matched my dietary restrictions. But, if I ever go back, it will only be to sneak away one of those awesome spoons.Technorati Tags: restaurant review
Monday, November 21, 2005
I have obtained my laptop (or notebook, if you prefer). Yeah, I would have liked a Power Book, but the price! Anyway, I am now mobile. I just connected to the campus wireless network and am blogging. Cool. I can now, if I want, write while sitting on the toilet. I've always thought that a bathroom ought to have a telephone and a computer, so I'll just camp out there with my cell phone and laptop. The only other thing I would really need is a fridge and a TV. Sounds like heaven.
I failed as a blogger last week. I don't think I visited any blogs, other than my own. My excuse is that I was busy. I will make it up to you.
Technorati Tags: blogging, laptops
Thursday, November 17, 2005
1. What time is it? 9:40 AM
2. What is your name? Zydeco Fish
3. Any nicknames? Zed, Fish, Fishy, Mr. Fish, Zydie (my dad called me Sam, Squirt, Buckethead, etc).
4. Mother's name? Verna
5. What is your Favourite drink? Red Wine
6.(a) Tattoos? Yes
(b) Body piercing? Yes (ear)
7. How much do you love your job-scale of 1 to 10? 10
8. Birthplace: Small Town, Ontario, Canada
9. Favourite vacation spot: haven't found it yet
10. Ever been to Africa? No, but I would like to.
11. Stolen any traffic signs? Yes (with running42k, I believe)
12. Ever been in a car accident? Yes
13. Croutons or Bacon bits? Neither
14. 2 Door or 4 Door car? I don't own a car
15. Salad Dressing? Oil and vinegar
16. Favourite Pie? Gluten-free pie is hard to come by, so I don't eat it. I used to like apple pie
17. Favourite Number? 9
18. Favourite Movie? Citizen Kane or Clockwork Orange or 2001 or Apocalypse Now
19. Favourite Colour? Black
20. Favourite Holiday? Christmas
21. Favourite Food? Indian
22. Favourite day of the week? Saturday
23. Favourite brand of body soap? Favourite? Who has favourite soap?
24. Favourite TV show? It was Seinfeld. Now, I'm not sure...maybe Family Guy
25. Toothpaste? Nature's Bliss Natural Toothpaste
26. Most recently read book? Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
27. Favourite Smell? Chocolate
28. What do you do to relax? read, write, cycle
29. Favourite Fast Food? None. I do eat New York fries from time to time
30. When was your last hospital visit? Can't remember. I sprained my ankle playing basketball in high school
31. Message to your friends reading this: Hi and thanks for visiting
32. How do you see yourself in 10 years? Filthy rich
33. What do you do when you are bored? Blog, surf, read, watch something on TV
34. What presents do you enjoy receiving? CDs, DVDs, chocolate (not milk chocolate), money
35. What time is it now? 9:46 AM
Technorati Tags: memes, me
Monday, November 14, 2005
Something about the audience at last night's John Cale concert at the Lula Lounge made me feel a bit old. Oh yeah, it's because the crowd was old. I was not a Velvet Underground fan when they were together. I am far too young for that. But, I have been a fan for a long time, if somewhat after the fact. I was disappointed when the reunion tour a few years back fell apart in Europe. They never made it back here to play. Sterling died ten years ago, so that rules out any further hope of that happening.
(By the way, I am talking about John Cale, not J.J. Cale. The fact that people confuse these two has always irritated me. )
There was a positively geriatric couple sitting quite close by us (CG & I). I wondered if some of the crowd suffered any hearing loss. There were so few young people there. I find it difficult to believe that young people do not know who this man is. That made me feel old.
Cale and bandmates - who looked half is age at least - played lots of new material, but dipped into the back catalogue for a few key Cale tunes, like: Helen of Troy, Cable Hogue, Dirty Ass Rock and Roll, Leaving it up to You, Guts, and a freaky version of Gun. They opened with a crowd-pleasing Venus in Furs. Some songs sounded much improved, especially Dancing Undercover. My favourite tune from last night has to be the pimped-out version of Jonathan Richman's Pablo Picasso, originally released on Helen of Troy. I'll borrow from my neighbour's bumper-sticker: it was fukengruven.
Cale is playing again tonight and tomorrow.
Technorati Tags: John Cale, music
Saturday, November 12, 2005
My instructor didn't like the picture, or the other one from a slightly different angle. The important thing is that I like it, right?
This was taken with a large format camera (5 x 7) in a studio with tungsten lighting. I won't bore you with the lighting set-up or the exposure or processing details, except to say that I printed it on fibre paper.
Image © 2004 Zydeco Fish
Technorati tags: photography, dolls, large format photography, black and white photography
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
The Squid and the Whale written and directed by Noah Baumbach, with Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, William Baldwin, and Anna Paquin. 88 minutes.
The Squid and the Whale ought to serve as a lesson to aspiring filmmakers in how to make the most of music and metaphor. The opening scene, featuring an unfriendly family tennis match, clearly describes the Berkman family dynamic with very few words. Bernard, played deftly by Jeff Daniels, encourages teenage son Walt (Jesse Eisenberg), to play to his mother’s backhand, which Bernard knows is weak. It is no coincidence that Bernard and Jesse are on one side of the net, while Joan (Laura Linney) and pubescent Frank (Owen Kline) are on the other. It mirrors the family where Walt idolizes his father, while younger Frank identifies with his mother.
Noah Baumbach, writer and director of Kicking and Screaming and Mr. Jealousy, has given us an intense, profound, and, at the same time, very funny film. In just 88 minutes, Baumbach presents a multilayered semi-autobiographical film about a
Bernard, an aging writer, is having problems dealing with his wife’s emerging writing success at a time when his career has seen better days. Bernard’s difficulty in dealing with these life changes, coupled with his wife’s infidelity, pushes them into separation, with a complicated custody arrangement. The children, not surprisingly, find themselves struggling to deal with these changes.
Music, it seems, is often included in movies simply as filler or because it sounds good. That is not the case here. Hey You, a central song in Pink Floyd's The Wall, an operatic tale of descent into alienation, gives us a clear understanding of just what Noah Baumbach is trying to achieve in his tight and clever film. Shortly after Walt’s revelation near the end of the film, we hear Street Hassle, Lou Reed’s oddly optimistic and highly sexual post-punk three-movement musical poem about life on the streets of
Divorce films are not new. It would be too easy to make another Kramer vs. Kramer with emotional screaming matches and tears. The Squid and the Whale avoids that by employing just enough humour to keep it from being too dark, but no so much as to put it in Woody Allen territory. The Squid and the Whale succeeds on many levels: it is a coming of age film, a divorce film, a comedy of sorts, and an example of exemplary film making. One wishes it that it were longer, but leaving the audience wanting more is probably also a sign of a good film.
Technorati Tags: movies, movie reviews, The Squid and the Whale
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Almost exactly one year ago, I wrote this about my refusal to get a flu shot. A new study agrees with me. Ah, I love it when I am right. The Cochrane Collaboration (an international network of individuals and institutions committed to preparing, maintaining, and disseminating systematic reviews on the effects of health care) found that 95% of people who get the flu shot shouldn't even bother because so few people actually get the flu. In fact, a meta-analysis of 12 randomized controlled trials found that a reduction in the spread of the disease was not achieved. There was no reduction in the number of work days lost, and no reduction in deaths or hospitalization.
I worked in a hospital for six years, and the only people for whom the flu shot was recommended were the elderly and those with chronic illnesses, especially kidney and lung diseases. In other words, let's put that $50 million to other uses.
Technorati Tags: flu shot, influenza, public health
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Well, I had a kind of a busy week last week, although I am not sure if I accomplished anything. In fact, I might even have difficulty saying why it was busy. It sure seemed busy at the time. I have nothing to say, really. After all, it is the weekend, and I so rarely post on weekends, preferring to sleep and eat.
But, I do have a cold, my second in a row without any interruption. Colds suck. I hate you, cold virus.
So, the photo on the right (© 2004 Zydeco Fish, by the way) is from a series of colour photos I did a while back. I was never very happy with this one, but I like the alien quality it has.
And that's all I am going to say today.
Technorati tags: photography, colour photography, dolls, colds
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
I thought the patron said "I need an encyclopedia of peace." She did have a strong accent, after all. I was transported back to my undergrad days, to that 4th year political science seminar mysteriously entitled "An Inquiry into the Nature and Meaning of Peace." No, it was not simply the absence of war. I wondered if there was such a thing as an encyclopedia of peace.
It didn't help that the professor wore a silk ascot daily and that his bald pate was normally covered by one of seemingly dozens of berets. The worst thing was his verbosity. I have never heard a man say so much and yet say so little. If anyone could have written an entire encyclopedia on peace, it was this man. It would have been inane and possiblly vacuous, but I believe he could have done it.
I recall that my major paper was a discussion of dystopian literature. How often does one get the opportunity to wax philosophical on English literature in a political science course? I'd say rarely.
On further questioning (in a series of open questions - good librarian that I am) I discovered that she said "I need an encyclopedia of peas." A whole encyclopedia of peas? That can't exist. But, I did find a ten page entry in an encyclopedia of food and nutrition. That did the trick. Another happy student walked away, searching for a photocopier.
Technorati Tags: peas, peace
Monday, October 31, 2005
I caught a bit of Aliens (I saw it once before) on the weekend, and I was left with a few observations.
1) Costume design got a bit lazy, if you ask me. Maybe it was a ost-cutting measure, but isn't the suit Paul Reiser is wearing a classic men's suit with the collar turned up at the back? I can't help but think that they gave Paul the part on the condition that he provide his own suit.
2) I kept thinking the Flock of Seagulls or The Thompson Twins every time Paul Reiser was in a scene. It's such a bad 80s hair style. I really thought that he was going to start singing Hungry Like the Wolf at any moment.
3) Most importantly, no one in their right mind would ever build an android that looks like Lance Henriksen:
I realize that he has a fascinating face, but for long trips into dark space, I can think of much better faces.
Technorati Tags: Aliens, movies, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen
Friday, October 28, 2005
It was a warm fall day and I was cycling peacefully through the University of Toronto campus on my way to my old job (about 7 years ago). I was heading down Huron Street, I think. I slowed at the stop sign, checked for traffic, and made a safe left turn right in front of a police officer standing on the corner. OK, so I didn't stop (it was a rolling stop) and I didn't signal, because there was no traffic. I always signal if there are cars or people.
The cop yelled at me, demanding that I stop. I realized that he had been giving out tickets to people like me, rather than giving tickets to all of those drivers who do rolling stops. It was one of those fight or flight scenarios, so I kept on going. There was no way I was going to get a ticket for that. I always stop at red lights; I make rolling stops at stop signs (and stop when there are peds or cars, only to find that other cyclists fly by me, ignoring all road rules); and, I signal when there is a need. In other words, I am a safe cyclist, despite occasionally breaking the rules.
I see cops on bikes riding the wrong way one way streets, riding two abreast, failing to stop, failing to signal, and even riding on sidewalks. The double standard pisses me off. I am pissed off when cars get away with rolling stops all of the time. I am pissed off when I see cops ignoring other cyclists breaking the law. One day, I saw a cyclist on Bloor Street riding on the wrong side of the road at night without a light right in front of a police car. Nothing happened. A few minutes later, a cop car drove up even with and the cop told me he was checking to see if I had a headlight. I did. Give me a break.
I get cut off routinely by cars turning right. Some drivers stare me down and turn left right in front of me (this includes Wheel Trans vehicles, couriers, and even school buses, like this morning).
The next day, there was a police car stationed beside the guy throwing tickets around, I guess in case anyone else decided to make a run for it.
A few good cycling sites:
Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists
Martino's Bike Lane Diary
Get Out of the Bike Lane
Toronto Cycling committee
Toronto Bicycle Network
Community Bicycle Network
Critical Mass Toronto
Technorati Tags: cycling, Toronto, police
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Borrowed from Miss Meliss:
Write down five (or more) of your own personal idiosyncracies. Then, if you wish, tag five people from your blogroll or friendslist to do the same.
Main Entry: id·i·o·syn·cra·sy
Inflected Form(s): plural -sies
Etymology: Greek idiosynkrasia, from idio- + synkerannynai to blend, from syn- + kerannynai to mingle, mix -- more at CRATER
1 a : a peculiarity of constitution or temperament : an individualizing characteristic or quality b : individual hypersensitiveness (as to a drug or food)
2 : characteristic peculiarity (as of temperament); broadly: ECCENTRICITY
- id·i·o·syn·crat·ic /"i-dE-O-(")sin-'kra-tik/ adjective
- id·i·o·syn·crat·i·cal·ly /-'kra-ti-k(&-)lE/ adverb
01) I often read more than one book at a time, sometimes three or four.
02) I sometimes count stairs as I walk up them. It used to be an obsession, but I have been working on it.
03) I cannot start watching a movie or TV show that has already begun, unless I have seen it. I will often choose not to watch it even if I have only missed a few minutes.
04) I work better in the morning (pre-8:00 am) or late at night (after 11:00 pm).
05) I have to end my shower facing in the proper direction - the curtain. It ruins my day when I am finished and facing the wrong way.
06) I have lists of all of the DVDs, CDs, LPs, and cassettes I own.
07) I keep clothes I will never ever wear again, often for years, before I throw them out or give them away. This is probably deeply psychological, as my mother rarely bought me clothes.
08) I glue things into my daytimer (ticket stubs, etc).
09) I used to only read dead authors. Now, I only read living authors.
10) I am always early.
I am sure I will think of better ones tomorrow. BTW, I tag everybody :-)
Technorati Tags: idiosyncrasies, memes
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition, by Owen Beattie and John Geiger. Vancouver: Greystone Books, 1998. 179 pages. ISBN: 1-55154-616-3.
The wretched face of a long-frozen John Torrington, on the cover of Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition, somehow leaves the viewer with a deep understanding of the horror of his death in the dark and frozen ice fields. The picture forces one to jump ahead to the series of colour photographs that highlight the truly astonishing state of Torrington's body, and that of crew mates John Hartnell and William Braine, the only members of Franklin's crew to receive proper burials deep in the permafrost. These bodies lay frozen for more than 150 years, waiting to tell their stories.
Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition tells the story of Owen Beattie's quest to solve one of the major mysteries of 19th century maritime exploration, the loss the Erebus and the Terror in the Canadian Arctic more than 150 years ago while on a mission to seek the elusive north west passage. Although twenty-five previous expeditions to the north yielded some important answers, the cause of the mission's failure had never been fully explained, until now. A complete bibliography of books and articles about the expedition, subsequent explorations, and investigations about the loss of the Franklin Expedition would fill many pages. Frozen in Time offers a conclusive and convincing explanation of what happened and, as such, may well come to be regarded as the definitive work on the topic.
Frozen in time, which reads like a sparkling work of detective fiction-and with the detail of a modern crime scene investigation-chronicles The Franklin Forensic Project, a fascinating attempt to bring 20th century technology to bear on an old mystery. The authors provide a vivid and compelling account of the meticulously-executed forensic examination of the remnants of the expedition, including autopsies of three remarkably well-preserved crewmen, in the Canadian Arctic.
The frozen faces of these men stand in stark contrast to the jubilation that coincided with the beginning of the mission. On the morning of May 19, 1845, the Erebus and the Terror, under the command of Sir John Franklin, sailed from the Thames with 134 officers and men and a supply chest that included, among other items, 16749 litres of alcohol, 909 litres of wine, nearly 62000 kilograms of flour, 4287 kilograms of chocolate, 1069 kilograms of tea, 3215 kilograms of tobacco, and 8000 large tins (in 1, 2 , 4, 6 and 8 pound capacity) of preserved meat, soups, and vegetables. It is this last item of the manifest that becomes the focus of the forensic detective work.
This is a book of popular science, despite the fact that it is co-authored by Owen Beattie, an anthropologist at the University of Alberta. Beattie saved the more academic elements of the expedition for publication in scholarly journals. But, while the book is well-written and a real page-turner, the prose conveys little emotional depth, as there is a certain level of detachment from the subject matter, almost as if the voice we hear is that of an impartial observer. It quickly becomes obvious that the voice of Beattie is not fully heard. Instead, and for all the book's compelling detail and crystal-clear descriptions, it reads a bit too much like a lengthy piece of journalism written by Geiger. One wishes that Beattie would have written a few sentences about how he really felt when the coffin lids were pried off. Instead, it seems like we are hearing it from a man who wasn't there.
Technorati Tags: book reviews, reading, Frozen in Time, Franklin Expedition
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
I cannot eat a banana in public, at least not in the normal way. After a brief web search, I would conclude that I am not the only one. One person said that she can't "even eat a banana in public without first breaking it into small pieces..." which is exactly what I do. A knife and fork would also work, in a Seinfeldian way. I am not sure why I have this issue. Maybe it's my fear of looking like a monkey. After all, I have very long arms. Maybe it's the phallic nature of this tropical fruit.
I read a post by someone else who asked: "How do you eat a banana in public without it looking obscene?" I'd like to know that too. I once read that it's OK for men to eat bananas in public (something I do not believe), but it made me wonder why such a double standard would exist.
Which leads me to consider that I may have a psychological problem. After all, there are others who have no problems with public banana eating. I am reminded, of course, of Leonard Cohen.
It's good to be back. I was occupied on the weekend, and then I had to finish a long report, but that is over, thank god.
Technorati Tags: confessions, bananas, Leonard Cohen
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Another item in the box was a letter sent by my Great Uncle to my Grandparents. I can't resist transcribing part of it and adding a few comments. Please note the odd syntax and grammar.
Dear M___ & M___,"[W]e never write unless something happens." Truer words were never spoken, and he proves his point by disclosing that they had just lost everything in a fire. More:
Just a few lines to find out how you people are it appears we never write unless something happens. anyhow we got burnt out not a thing left except the clothes on our back.
We,er staying with J___ & B___. Just how the fire started we don't know We were heating with a gas circulator heater installed by the gas co. Everybody are feeling quite well at present now.So, despite the fact that they were lost everything in a fire, they are all fine and dandy. What strong stock are these folk.
We don't know what we,er going to do yet wheather we build or Buy we owned our own place & had some insurance but always lose a lot more than you put in a home Please let Dad know. Write soon.I guess he was saving postage by not writing two letters. His dad will have to find out via his brother.
W___ had a 8 1/2 pound Boy doing Well as far as we know,And then the letter ends, with that hanging comma. It's kinda cool, and reminds me of Ulysses, which really doesn't have an ending, as far as I know,
Technorati Tags: family history
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
My mother knows that I have a few antiques, and she is always on the lookout for some to give me. She has only a tenuous understanding of the word antique. Over the years, she has given me some odd "antiques", like:
Yes, a bed pan. The one she gave me (and I felt compelled to take it) was blue. I sold it at a lawn sale for 50 cents. An elderly gay man talked me down from my original asking price of $1. "The only problem," he said, "is that this (he pointed to the spout) is not wide enough." It was only much later that someone suggested to me that he was probably cruising me. Anyway, he assured me that he would use this thing.
In the recent box of surprises, there was:
- a very heavy and ornate liquor glass with a huge chip on the rim. It is ugly and broken and on its way to a landfill site.
- a coffee mug made of dark brown glass with a white etching of an automobile from 1910. So, while not actually an antique, it makes reference to one. Again, this is enjoying a new life in a garbage dump.
- an embroidered pillow case. It's actually quite nice, but I wonder where it came from.
- a series of gaudy postcards with infantile jokes on the front. They look like they came from the 70s.
- a broken transistor radio from the late 60s or early 70s. More landfill.
- and three things that deserve individual posts. More on that later.
And now, I have to write that big report I have been putting off.
Technorati Tags: mother, antiques, bed pan
Friday, October 14, 2005
I recently finished scanning about 1000 of my mother's photographs. That was a big job.
Yes, it's true, my grandparents on my mother's side were farmers. In fact, on my mother's mother's side, they were farmers back as far as I can trace them - to about 1480. Maybe that's why I left my small home town as soon I could and headed for larger urban centres, finally landing in Toronto about 18 years ago.
Farming sucks. I appreciate the work that farmers do, but it sucks. You have to get out of bed too early and walk around in manure-coated rubber boots. I really couldn't stand the noxious stench, the miasma of animal droppings. So, dear farmers, thank you for doing what you do.
No, I have never lived on a farm. Yes, I have bailed hay (with tractors and wagons) for summer employment. I met four or five farmer's daughters.
That's my Grandfather (top left), bringin' in the hay.
Technorati Tags: family history, genealogy, farming, grandfather
Thursday, October 13, 2005
I was sitting at my desk, listening to the music in my head -- which was Marlene Dietrich's Favourite Poem, by Peter Murphy (see below) -- when I saw this news story: Marlene Dietrich "hated sex": daughter. Is is possible? At least I didn't misread the headline, as I did for this one on MSNBC a couple of days ago: instead of "Liberians head to polls", I thought it said "Librarians head to polls." Now, the second story is far more interesting, if you ask me.
However, my favourite recent news story has to be about those Hobbit-like bones that were found in Indonesia. Imagine, a skull the size of a grapefruit with no chin, and yet these freaky guys could make and use tools. They even hunted pygmy elephants! What a sight that would have been. Of course, there is some controversy over the interpretation of the fossils. Some would have you believe that these hominids were some sort of inbred pygmy-like mutation. I have to confess that when I heard the term "microcephalic hominid", I immediately thought of Dan Quayle and George W. Bush. I know, some people reading this might admire these chaps. I'm just sharing word-associations with you.
Marlene Dietrich's Favourite PoemTechnorati Tags: Marlene Dietrich, Peter Murphy, Homo Florensiensis
My mother loved it so she said
Sad eyed pearl and drop lips
Glancing pierce through writer man
Spoke hushed and frailing hips
Her old eyes skim in creasing lids
A tear falls as she describes
Approaching death with a yearning heart
With pride and no despise
Hot tears flow as she recounts
Her favourite worded token
Forgive me please for hurting so
Don't go away heartbroken no
Don't go away heartbroken no
Just wise owl tones no velvet lies
Crush her velvet call
Oh Marlene suffer all the fools
Who write you on the wall
And hold your tongue about your life
Or dead hands will change the plot
Will make your loving sound like snakes
Like you were never hot
Hot tears flow as she recounts
Her favourite worded token
Forgive me please for hurting so
My mother loved it so she said
Sad eyed pearl and drop lips yeah
Glancing pierce through writer man
Spoke hushed and frailing lips yeah
Old eyes skim in creasing lids
A tear falls as she describes
Approaching death with a yearning heart
With pride and no despise
Hot tears flow as she recounts
Her favourite worded token
Forgive me please for hurting so
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
I'll tell you anyway.
Have you ever stopped to consider that the person who comments on your blog regularly might be a moron? But, seriously, I often reflect on the fact that people form cyber-friendships with people they might not otherwise click. Or, that people completely misprepresent themselves for some purpose. I am not referring to any of the fine folks who comment here ;-)
Who can say if that 24 year old college girl is not actually an obese 55 year old man who sits in front of his computer for hours scratching his testicles while dressed only in smelly underwear and a tattered bathrobe? No, I am not describing myself.
What I am trying to say is that I think blogging has sparked cyber-friendships that may not otherwise have happened. I think that's a good thing. By the way, I do not live in Toronto, I am not a librarian, and I am not a man.
Technorati Tags: blogging
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I am not sure precisely when it happened, but after I turned 30 (or so), I have noticed that my fly is often down. I had no troubles before then - none that I knew about - but now it seems to be a semi-quotidian experience. I've thought of some of the possibilities, like inferior pants, alien conspiracy, voodoo, vindictive ghosts, stronger gravity, or being in a hurry, but the most likely cause has to be forgetfulness. What else could it be? The deeper question is, of course, why I am forgetting to zip up?
It's not like I show up at work with shaving cream all over my face. Whoops! I put on the shaving cream but forgot to shave! I don't forget to rinse the shampoo out of my hair, well, not normally. I remember to eat breakfast. I cycle to work without major mishaps, and I emphasize the word major. I brush my teeth regularly. I even remember to go to work in the morning. I know the days of the week, can count to one hundred, and have not forgotten the alphabet.
The good news is that I am often wearing a shirt that covers that region, and work mates don't come up to me and point out that my fly is down. But, I have to hope that it is not an early-warning sign of Alzheimer's disease. I hope it doesn't get worse. What if I start forgetting to wear pants?
Technorati Tags: fly, zippers
Monday, October 10, 2005
Just a quick note about turkey. In my family, we were always asked if we would like "dark or dry meat." I come from a long tradition of bad turkey cookers. Chicken is better anyway.
Technorati Tags: Thanksgiving, turkey
Friday, October 07, 2005
So, there I was standing at the front of the class thinking that this was a keen and with-it group of students who were on the cutting edge. And so, I asked a simple question: "Does anyone know what a blog is?" I got 28 blank faces. Not one of these 1st year students had any idea what a blog is. How can this be?
There are millions and millions of the bloody things, with new ones being added every few seconds. I have heard that many people who read blog have no idea what one is. The same, sadly, is true for some students who read journals: they think that they are magazines or newspapers. They also confuse books with journals and the web with libraries, but that's another story.
(By the way, you are reading a blog right now).
I am sure all of them knew what an MP3 player was, and probably the majority had a iPod. They could probably text message faster than I can type. I never knew being all thumbs would be a good thing, but it definitely is when your keyboard is two inches square. I've lost faith in the undergraduates of today.
Technorati Tags: blogs, youth
Thursday, October 06, 2005
There is a restaurant in Taiwan called Marton -- a word based on the Chinese word for toilet -- that serves food in miniature toilets, some of which have a flush action. What's worse is that the food is made to look like what one usually finds in toilets. You'll never get me to eat chocolate ice cream shaped like fecal matter from a miniature toilet. Never.
But, just when I was digesting that story, I heard about a woman in Liverpool who has been standing on a street corner handing out 5 pound notes. That, to me, is a waste of money. I feel that if you are going to give away money, you need to give larger amounts to fewer people. Instead of giving 100 people 5 pound notes, give 1 person 500 pounds. In fact. I think I'll send her my address.
I'm away tomorrow too. My blogging is all out-of-kilter at the moment.
Technorati Tags: restaurants, food, philanthropy
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
I am going to be out-of-the-office for most of the rest of the week, and so that really cuts into my blogging time. I am taking the easy way out and posting a meme-type thing that I borrowed from LeafGirl77, who took it from Doc Ern.
You're supposed to bold all of the banned books you have read. I am not as well-read as I thought I was.
Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
DaddyÂs Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling part of book one, then I got bored
Forever by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
ItÂs Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker saw the movie
Sex by Madonna part of it, mostly the pictures
EarthÂs Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine LÂEngle
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard one of them
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
The Goats by Brock Cole
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
The HandmaidÂs Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
WhatÂs Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
Cujo by Stephen King saw the movie
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis saw the movie
WhatÂs Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
Are You There, God? ItÂs Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende saw the movie
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed WomenÂs Fantasies by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Carrie by Stephen King saw the movie
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King saw the movie The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
WhereÂs Waldo? by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
Do this if you want.
Technorati Tags: banned books, reading, memes
Monday, October 03, 2005
Happy Monday October 3rd. For those of you who are out-of-the-loop, October 3rd in Virus Appreciation Day. I am not sure if that refers to computer viruses or the traditional variety. Either way, there is little to appreciate, if you ask me. By the way, October 2nd was name your car day. I've had 4 cars and never named any of them, but I swore at one of them a great deal. Oh, and if I forget to mark the occasion, please remember that October 9th is Moldy Cheese Day. Is one supposed to eat moldy cheese or appreciate its aesthetic appeal on that day?
In other news, I am not Impressed:
A British rower has just set a record for the slowest Atlantic crossing. It took him 124 days. The poor bastard was trying to claim the record for the fastest rowing crossing and ended up in the record books for the slowest. I'm not impressed. I am sure that I could beat that by many weeks, possibly months.
OK, I admit that I would like to take a trip to the International Space Station, but not if it's going to cost me $20 million. Gregory Olsen coughed up $20 million to ride on a rocket. I am not impressed with that either. I feel that there are far more interesting ways to spend that kind of cash. Send me $20 million, and Ill show you.
Technorati Tags: viruses, rowing, space tourism
Friday, September 30, 2005
1) For about ten years in my life, I had no TV
2) Someone once said something like: "you seem to live in a pop culture vacuum."
So, I am trying to make up for the second point. The truth is, I watch very little TV, usually no more than one program per evening, but that is variable.
So, just to prove it how many shows I have missed, I offer a brief list of shows I have never seen. Believe it or not.
Degrassi - I have never seen a single episode of Next Generation, first generation, my generation, primary junior, senior, frosh, or kindergarten. I know it's some sort of Canadian cultural phenomenon, but I missed it, and now it's too late, and frankly, the ads creep me out.
Alf - This was based on ET, right? If I remember, he was afraid of cats. I saw maybe five minutes.
Moonlighting - I have a serious beef with the casting director of this silly show (again, which I have never seen, but I did see the advertisements). Anyway, I blame the casting personnel for inflicting the pugnacious face or Bruce Willis on the innocent of the world. What did I ever do to deserve that? I can only think of one other lug with an uglier face, and that would be Sylvester Stallone. Is Cybill Sheppard famous only because she dated Elvis. I know it is sacrilegious, but I never loved Elvis.
Bosom Buddies - Yikes!
I just realized that I could be here all day if I keep on going, so, off the top of my head, some shows that aired in my lifetime that I have never seen. OK, so I had to look some up to jog my memory:
Charles in Charge, Joni Loves Chachi, B.J. and the Bear, MacGyver, Baywatch, Melrose Place (I'll take a lie detector test), Beverly Hills 90210, The Fall Guy, Vegas, Falcon's Crest, Dynasty, St. Elsewhere, Hill Street Blues, Everybody Loves Raymond, Spencer: For Hire, Quantum Leap, Married With Children, Matlock, Sue Thomas F.B. Eye, L.A. Law, Ally McBeal, Lou Grant, Cagney & Lacey, Little House on the Prairie, Greatest American Hero, Littlest Hobo, Hawaii Five-O, Geraldo, Gloria, Fraggle Rock, Muppet Show (I may have seen a few minutes of one episode), Chicago Hope, Empty Nest, Doogie Howser M.D., Hunter, Sledge Hammer, 21 Jump Street, Full House, Saved by the Bell, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, T.J. Hooker, Private Benjamin, House Calls, The Two of Us, Too Close for Comfort, Kate and Allie, The Bachelor, Extreme Makeover, Desperate Housewives, Boston Legal, Grey's Anatomy, Supernanny, Cold Case, Two and a Half Men, Inconceivable, Six Feet Under, The West Wing, American Idol, Bones, Stacked, The OC, Corner Gas, Third Watch, 8 Simple Rules, Space: Above and Beyond, Roseanne, A Different World, Designing Women, Coach, Fame, Major dad, In the Heat of the Night, The Practice, Touched by an Angel, Judging Amy, Spin City, Just Shoot Me, Stark Raving Mad, Daddio, Veronica's Closet, JAG, Providence, Suddenly Susan, Naked Truth, Fired Up, The Single Guy, Boston Common, The Nanny, Walker Texas Ranger, Hope and Gloria, Dave's World, Grace Under Fire, Northern Exposure, Wings...
...I could go on and on, but I won't 'cause I'm tired.
Technorati Tags: television, TV
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Two Fins Up:
Threshold: so far so good. Interesting plot and what seems like good casting.
Invasion: I thought there might be some Partridge Family references, but that hasn't happened yet. I am sticking with this one for a while.
Alias: I know the new season hasn't yet started. It's a must see, if you ask me.
Arrested Development: I should watch this more often, but I never seem to know when it's on.
Two Fins Down:
Supernatural: super boring. It's like an X-Files episode dragged out to extreme lengths.
E-Ring: This show is a load of crap. And, what's the deal with these movies stars coming to TV? Everyone wants to be Martin Sheen, I guess. Dennis Hopper seems to have forgotten how to act, and Benjamin Bratt clearly never knew how. This show is an advertisement for the American military and the USA as defenders of the free world. It is nauseating and if I have to hear another USA is great speech, I will puke. I bailed half way through episode two, 'cause it was far too painful to watch.
Commander in Chief: Geena Davis wants to be Martin Sheen too. So does Donald Sutherland.
House: Maybe I've just seen too many hospital dramas. Maybe it's because I used to work in a hospital. Maybe it's that I think nothing can tops Scrubs, although I never see it for some reason. Anyway, House is sub-par.
Lost: There are so many things wrong with this show, it's difficult to know where to begin.
Amazing Race: I have seen only two seasons. This, after only one episode, may well be the worst.
Ghost Whisperer: Regrettably, I saw a few minutes of this failure of a show. My question is, why would anyone rip off another mediocre show? As if Medium wasn't bad enough, we now have a clone.
Technorati Tags: television, TV, Threshold, Invasion, Alias, Arrested Development, Supernatural, E-Ring, Commander-in-Chief, House, Lost, Amazing Race, Ghost Whisperer
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Artist: Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band
Title: Horses in the Sky
Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Montreal’s grandfathers of post-rock, have spawned a number of spin offs. Silver Mt. Zion may well be the oddest of the bunch in that this group employs vocals in an almost unmusical manner over lush orchestral instrumentation and drones reminiscent of the Velvet Underground. To this they add a slightly anarchistic and anti-war political stance. The album feels like post-rock punk rock, or rock and roll without guitar solos and power chords, built around chamber instruments, a drum kit, and a most unusual singing voice.
God Bless Our Dead Marines, the opening track on Horses in the Sky, Silver Mt. Zion’s 4th release, is a sprawling 11 minute descent into despair about human suffering. Commencing with the chant “we put angels in the electric chair/ the electric chair/ the electric chair,” it moves into themes of addiction, urban desolation, drowning, social dysfunction, “the hungry and the hanged,” and other decaying landscapes. The feeling is one of overwhelming sadness and misery, made even more so by Efrim Menuck's klezmer vocals over a gypsy-like folk dance. The title track, a solo acoustic guitar piece, offers one of the few quiet moments on the album. However, the feeling of beauty and harmony is subverted by observations about our schools, prisons, and malls. Although Horses in the Sky might be a difficult introduction to Montreal’s avant garde scene, it’s a must have for those already in the know.
Technorati Tags: music, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-la-la band, cd review
Monday, September 26, 2005
Friday, September 23, 2005
I have watched all three seasons of Canadian Idol. Why, you may ask? I am not sure. Let me just say that I have never seen American Idol or the original Pop Idol. I can think of many reasons not to watch Canadian Idol. These include: Ben Mulroney (and his terrible wardrobe), Jon Dore (and his awful facial hair and unfunny comedy routines), bad singing, bad song choices, bad music in general, the ubiquitous cheese factor, and Sass Jordan (I mean, if she could sing, she'd still be singing, right?).
The waiter who won the first season can't sing. In fact, many of the finalists are appalling singers. It drives me nuts that many of these people will get record contracts, when many can't play an instrument or write a song. It's mostly lame music.
I know what you are thinking. You are wondering why I watch it. Let's not forget that, aside from the snoopisms, the search term Canadian Idol sucks brings many people to this blog. I watch it because the cross-country search for "talent" is hilarious. It's amazing to me that so many people would volunteer to make fools of themselves on national television. I also watch it because I need to break out of my pop culture vacuum. The real reason I watch is that I don't have cable and there are very few choices on Tuesday nights.
Technorati Tags: confessions, Canadian Idol