Friday, April 30, 2010

iPhone = Imperfect

Not everything about the iPhone is wonderful. Its camera lacks awesomeness. Plain ol' point and shoot turns out photographs that look flat and washed out. No flash. No zoom. My Blackberry's was better. There. I said it.

So I'm reluctant to use the camera, even though it's right there, ready and available - with video, if I need it! Checking out my bank of pictures, they're few and far between. About the only thing worth uploading is this one of Emily from a few Saturdays ago, waiting for her audition time at the band hoo-ha at Westmoore. (Twitter followers have already seen this picture.)

The full moon's been quite bright these last few mornings so why not try to catch it with the iPhone's camera?

See what I'm saying? Oh, I suppose it's good enough for catching spur-of-the-moment, hey-ain't-that-amazing kinda stuff but for anything decent? Bah.

I'll try to do better.

Al Gore, Tipper Gore Snap Up Montecito-area Villa

Like Instapundit says, I'll believe it's a crisis when they believe it's a crisis:
Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, have added a Montecito-area property to their real estate holdings, reports the Montecito Journal.

The couple spent $8,875,000 on an ocean-view villa on 1.5 acres with a swimming pool, spa and fountains, a real estate source familiar with the deal confirms. The Italian-style house has six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms.

Carbon footprint estimates not available at this time.

Lennon Lyrics For Sale

If I had oodles of money and nothing better to do with it, I might try to bid on this:
John Lennon's hand written lyrics to "A Day in the Life," the haunting final song on the 1967 "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album, are to go on sale at Sotheby's this June.

The auction house estimated that the double-sided page of writing, inscribed with corrections, will sell for between 327,336 and 458,270, pounds when it goes under the hammer on June 19 in New York.

From the article, a lousy picture of the merchandise:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tarpoon SCUBA Diving Center: The Oldest Dive Store in Florida

Commenter El Pollo Real in this post mentions his father's fondness for the scuba diving scenes in the James Bond movie, Thundeball; I responded with a brief memory about link between the movie and the shop where I took lessons and the shop's owner but, of course, my faulty memory couldn't dredge up the name of either. Thanks to brother John, I can now tell you the name of the shop - Tarpoon - and the owner - Mike Kevorkian. Thanks, John!

Here's the shop today, or at least on the day the Google Street View van came to town, thanks to the magic of Google Mappery:

View Larger Map

That's where I got my equipment, too, and back then, before environmentalism ruled the world, Tarpoon's where you'd go to get the best spearguns around. Our class met after shop hours. We sat in folding chairs with our books while listening to the instructor's lecture about what we need to know about scuba diving. I don't remember where our pool work was done but we'd have one night of classroom work, one night of pool work, for three weeks and then an open water dive. I took lessons with my best friend at the time, Kenny Diaz, and I don't remember why but I missed the scheduled open-water dive. Was I sick? I just remember that Dad took me on a cold and rainy January day and he waited for me in the truck while I went out with another class that I didn't know. The day was rough and the visibility limited and I had a nose-bleed from ruptured sinuses as I went deeper than I'd ever been before - 30 feet! - and the color of the blood in my mask - don't worry, it wasn't much - was green because of the absorption of the red portion of the color spectrum at that depth. (Ruptured sinuses? Maybe I had missed my scheduled open-water dive because I had been sick and my sinuses were still stopped up.) We went through the drills - the hand signals, the buddy breathing, I don't remember what else - and then were through and headed back through the waves to the dock. Dad was waiting there for me there. I was tired, cold, hungry, but glad and proud of my accomplishment, of being NAUI certified diver.

Noah's Compass - Book Review

Anne Tyler's Noah's Compass is such a subtle, low-key work that you might miss just what it is she's trying to accomplish. Uh, oh. Subtle and low key means slow-moving and boring, right? Well, there are no 'splosions to be found in this lovely book, that's true, but then there's nary a 'splosion to be found in any of Tyler's books. Besides, there's plenty of books out there with 'splosions in 'em. Don't worry. We'll get to them eventually.

For now, though, Noah's Compass offers a gentle story about 61-year old Liam Pennywell and his search for the memory he lost the night he was conked over the head by an intruder on his first night's stay at his new apartment. That event sets him off on his journey to re-evaluate his life and try to reach out once more for a chance at love. But he comes late to this realization about himself:
All along, it seemed, he had experienced only the most glancing relationship with his own life. He had dodged the tough issues, avoided the conflicts, gracefully skirted adventure.

The book's title comes from a scene between Pennywell and his grandson, who is coloring in the pictures of his Bible coloring book. In talking about the story of Noah, his grandson asks Pennywell how Noah knew where he was going. Pennywell realizes that Noah didn't know where he was going - why should he? He had nowhere else to go. All Noah had to do was stay afloat, and so had no need for a compass or sextant. (Yes, yes, I know, neither the compass nor the sextant existed in Biblical times. We're talking metaphors here, okay?) The connection of this scene to Pennywell's life is obvious but it's Pennywell's reconciliation to what he finally sees how his life has been that provides the climax to this story. Whether you find that reconciliation satisfying I'll leave to you.

This is probably a minor work of Tyler's. I'm glad I read it because I find her so rewarding but it's her other books that resonate more with me than this one. That may change over time but I still think that Tyler is our greatest living author out there writing novels about ourselves that'll stand the test of time.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sam Bradford Picked First

The things I know about sports? Squat. But even I know enough that this is good news:

Holding a St. Louis Rams jersey with his name already stitched on the back, Sam Bradford flashed a million-dollar smile.

Make that multi-million.

The Oklahoma native and Sooner superstar was the first overall pick of the NFL Draft on Thursday night. With that spot comes great prestige, great clout and great wealth. But even with the $50 million or so that Bradford will be guaranteed — his contract will be a paltry $25 million, plus or minus a few million — nothing will be greater than the expectations that he now faces.

We saw him once at a Waffle House in Norman. Or, rather, Clara did. We came in and Clara said that was Sam Bradford. I thought she meant the guy working the grill. Clara rolled her eyes and said, "No, the guy who went by us when we came in the door." Oh. I'm a little out of touch with this stuff.

Anyway. Good for Bradford. Good for Oklahoma.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shakespeare in an Image

While I was at Starbucks with Emily this past Saturday, I saw this striking image used in a poster for the Reduxion Theatre Company's production of Shakespeare's Tarantino-esque Titus Andronicus:

That pretty much sums up the play, doesn't it?

(Though I think this production may actually be a ballet; the production notes aren't clear but the rehearsal pictures clearly show folks a'leapin' everywhere. Sorry but I don't want no fancy dancin' with my Shakespeare.)

I don't know if a local company did the poster - it seems more slick and professional than you'd expect for Oklahoma City but you never know - but bravo to them for creating an eye-catching poster that cuts through the clutter and tells me exactly what I need to know about the play.


Leo Grin finishes his magnificent series on Ian Fleming, Sean Connery and Goldfinger.
James Bond — that magnificent battler of Communism and preserver of the old order — remains a blessed salve to conservatives, an antidote to the anti-Western fulminations of so many lauded writers of the modern era. . . Ian Fleming’s spy fiction was pulp. Bond is pulp. . . (B)eneath all of the “Sex, Snobbery and Sadism” of a book (or a movie) like Goldfinger lies more honest humanity, morality, and existential truth than has been mustered up by most of the “nuanced” and “complex” novelists of our time over their entire award-winningly wretched careers.

(Edits made to omit references to Kingsley Amis, which is much of what Part 6 is about, and to put together a more coherent summary of the entire series rather than just the final installment. I don't think I altered the meaning. Sue me if I did.)

Treat yourself to the whole thing here.

Inspired by the installment about John Barry's music for the Bond franchise, I downloaded from iTunes the themes from Goldfinger, Thunderball, and You Only Live Twice. The other evening, while driving Emily and her friends to whatever destination I had to drive them to, I dialed up the themes on my iPod and cranked it up. An eye roll from Emily but one of her friends said, "Hey, that's James Bond. My Dad likes him. Cool."

Cool, indeed.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Murrah Bombing Remembered

Time to remember.

Fifteen years ago. I was on detail to the Examination Division at the IRS building on Robinson. My morning routine included a trip across the street for coffee. I had some books on reserve at the library less than a block from the Murrah building and I'd checked to see if they were in - I wanted to go by when I went out for my coffee and pick them up if they were in but they weren't so this would be just a coffee run. I went out, got back, and was just setting my coffee down when we heard the boom and then the building swayed and then stopped. We all looked at one another, puzzled. Had something crashed into the building? There was a loading dock that could be tricky and if the truck were big enough. . . We went to the window see what we could and to the north, in the clear blue April sky, we saw a great white shining cloud of fluttering papers, like some huge flock of birds. (Clara would describe it as silver.)

I had a radio on my desk and the reports soon came in of an explosion near the Federal Courthouse - not a week or so before, a construction crew had accidentally broken into a gas main. That must be what it was. And then the reports began to change and we learned the explosion had come from the Murrah building just north of the Federal Courthouse and I thought about the children there at the daycare.

We'd moved Rachel from that daycare 18 months before. We wanted her closer to home - we no longer took advantage of having her being just down the street from us and we knew some day we'd have to move her to a daycare closer to home when she began school. At 18 months, we thought it was time. But we still knew some of the kids who went to the Murrah building daycare, knew that all or most of teachers there we had once known had moved on because of a shake up of the teachers. A new crew was there but we didn't know them. Still, we had intimate knowledge of the daycare. We hoped everyone was all right.

The reports filtered in. Some of us had spouses in the Murrah building were pale with fright when we started getting reports that the explosion had been more massive than we had imagined. Still no reports of anyone killed, pointed out. So maybe things weren't so bad.

I joined others out in the street where we strained to see what was going on to the north of us e but all that was visible was a traffic jam up Robinson towards the Murrah building. Impossible to tell what was going on but maybe it was as big as the news was reporting. They can exaggerate, you know. And there's some smoke but no flames. Maybe it wasn't bad.

The downtown streets began to back up with traffic and we got the word that we should all just go home. But the traffic was gridlocked. We weren't going anywhere. We might as well head up the street to see what we could see. Up Robinson we went but the street was closed down, so we headed a block West, through the alley between the old Oklahoma County Jail and the Oklahoma County Courthouse. The pavement was covered with shattered glass. It was strangely quiet, except for the sirens. Still a beautiful morning and we joked about the chance to be out in it.

We made it to Hudson and started north. We could see the south face of the Murrah building; it appeared intact. See? Things weren't so bad. We kept up the light jokes, but still nervouse about how things could be. We made it to Dean A. McGee, then fourth street and then we finally reached 5th street and looking to the East we finally got a good. long look at the north facade of the Murrah building.

It was so strange to see. So unreal. You could see daylight between the floors where daylight shouldn't be. A huge pile of rubble. Smoke. Emergency vehicles. Crowds of people. We tried to make our way closer but were told to go back; later we'd hear the rumors of another explosive device. And then we found a vantage point where we could get a fairly safe and clear view of what was going on and then we just stood there and watched in silence.

There was the side of the building where we had once seen Rachel at the window, waving goodbye to us after we'd dropped her off. We knew the people in the credit union where we had financed our cars, had cashed in our savings bonds to put the down payment on our home. We knew someone in the Social Security office who'd cut through the red tape to get Rachel her Social Security Number. Her son was still going to the daycare, we thought. Clara knew people she'd worked with at the Government Services Administration. We didn't know what had become of them, not then, not yet. We'd learn gradually over the next few days.

Traffic was finally moving and so we gradually wandered off to find our cars. We got out of downtown, went to Clara's parents house to let them know we were okay. And then we got Rachel, safe at the daycare near our home. Her teachers had heard but the kids hadn't, of course. Rachel was delighted to see us so early but not nearly as much as were to see her. When we first brought her to this daycare, Rachel had had a hard time adjusting. She cried and cried that first week, she cried herself hoarse, something she had never done before or since. We had seriously thought we'd made a mistake and thought about moving her back to the Murrah building daycare. But she adjusted and things were fine and she ended up going to that daycare until she was in the fifth grade, when I'd leave the IRS shortly after 9/11. That day, though, we took her to see A Goofy Movie because the news was just too terrible to hear. Clara and I were distracted throughout the movie; Rachel laughed and laughed.

Our friend in the Social Security office had not come in that day. Her son was sick. Most everyone we knew at the credit union had died. So had many of those Clara had known at the GSA. There were only two kids in the daycare that Rachel had been there with; Brandon Denny, and his sister and they survived. We knew others who had died, others who had lived but then most everyone in Oklahoma City had some kind of connection to those victims of the bombing. We're no different than them.

Timothy McVeigh, the psychopath behind all of this death and destruction, is dead, his ashes scattered at undisclosed location. His co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, is well-cared for in prison in Colorado.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Here's a nice post-tax season surprise: Yesterday, Amazon delivered my copy of Anne Tyler's latest novel, Noah's Compass. Woo hoo! I'm as happy as a little girl! No more of this books-I'm-not-reading for me. No, sir. At last, a book I've been looking forward to reading since January.

Why is Anne Tyler my favorite author? (What? You thought Hemingway was my favorite author? No, he's my favorite dead author; Tyler's my favorite living author. See the difference? And, aside from their living/dead status, they couldn't be any more different from one another. I'm complicated that way.) No one I've been reading, or reading about, writes better about the things that mean most to me - families and what makes up a family and the bonds of love between family members. No, she doesn't fish or hunt big game in Africa but what Tyler does, she does exceedingly well, and I can't recommend her novels too highly.

But don't take my word for it. Here's what Nick Hornby had to say about Anne Tyler in his August, 2005 column (Sorry. The link only goes to a preview of the article. To view the whole thing you have to, get this, pay cash money. Imagine that.) for The Believer:
Anne Tyler is the person who first made me want to write. I picked up Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant in a bookshop, started to read it there and then, bought it, took it home, finished it and suddenly I had an ambition, for about the first time in my life.

A review to follow when I'm finished.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Blogging from my iPhone, just because I can.

President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Tax Returns

You can see President Obama's tax return here; Vice-President Biden's tax return is here. (I don't know how to make the embed thingies work so that PDF files are displayed so you'll have to click through the links.)

Like every good accountant, I checked to see who prepared the returns and if I know the firm. I don't. Not that I would. Still. . . Hmmm. I wonder what the firms charged for their services. It's not clear on the returns by Obama claims a $15,722 deduction for legal and profesional fees on his book royalty income so their fee is likely buried in there somewhere. Looks like I'll be raising fees next year!

Obama did very well for himself thanks to his book royalties so good for him. And good for Biden. He did well, too. Obama donated his Nobel Prize to charity and made some other large charitable contributions but for a guy who earned $5 million and whose living expenses are picked up by the American people, you'd think he could afford to give away a little more. Same thing for Biden - he earned far less than Obama but still, why so stingy when it comes to charitable giving? Oh, right. They believe it's the government's role to help the less fortunate, not private individuals. Carry on, then.

Charitable giving, like prayer, ought to be done in private and not draw attention to itself and it's only because they're required to do so does Obama and Biden's charitable giving become public. But you'd think for that very reason, if no other, they'd be a little more generous than they appear to be. Sure, we could all do better - goodness knows I've got clients who give huge chunks of their income to worthy causes yet they still manage maintain a decent standard of living - but Obama and Biden are in leadership positions that set the tone for the rest of the country.

Look, I'm not trying to start a charitable giving contest here or imply a person's moral worth is tied to what they give. You do what you can do and what you're moved to do. But, come on, guys. You want to raise taxes on us. Biden even calls it our patriotic duty. So Stick a crowbar in your wallets and show us how it's done.

Tax Season . . . Finished!

We crossed the finish line at around 3:00 yesterday afternoon and called it a season. The day had actually ended in the morning - we had our extensions ready to go and one last tax return to prepare but that client called and said he'd be too busy to deal with it and that we could stand down. So we did.

Oh, sure, there were some last minute things to take care of: clients with questions as they picked up their returns, a last minute tweak here and there, even a brand new client calling at the last minute, but for the most part we were through and we had another successful filing season behind us. If we'd had champagne in the refrigerator we would've broken it out but we don't so we didn't. (Hmmm. Maybe next year?)

I've given my fantastic staff the day off but anyone whose name is on the door has to show up. Which means, um, me. And that's fine. I've got much debris to sift through and no time like the present to get started on it. All sorts of projects lined up, too, and they need to get started. And those extensions? Those returns still have to be done. October 15th is only six months away. What are we waiting for?

Anyway, I'm quite pleased with how things went. Could we do better? No firm is perfect so we've got much to do. But, overall, I'd say we're among the best in town. And you know it ain't braggin' if it's true.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sting Stung

Musician Sting may have stepped in the middle of big ol' steaming pile of something:
O Sting, where is thy sting?

It is not where his principles lie, according to human rights activists who are demanding that the superstar stinger donate to charity the more than $2 million dollars “in blood money” he received for playing a secret concert for the daughter of one the world’s most brutal dictators, Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan.

Sting's response:
"I have come to believe that cultural boycotts are not only pointless gestures, they are counter-productive, where proscribed states are further robbed of the open commerce of ideas and art and as a result become even more closed, paranoid and insular."

You know, he's kind of got a point here. Name one boycott that's brought a dictator to his knees. Go ahead. I'll wait.


Boycott's don't work. Dictators only understand brute force and while I'm not saying Uzbekistan should be miltarily invaded, we can accomplish quite a bit with a cultural invasion. Let the people get a taste of freedom and they'll take it from there.

Happy Tax Day!

What, you're not celebrating? Well, that's probably because you're not a CPA. We won't exactly be celebrating either, really - we've accomplished quite a bit this filing season, even managed to pull off a minor miracle or three - have I told you lately about the crack staff I have cranking out the excellent work? - but the stack of extensions we've filed and the tasks we've had to put on the back burner mean we'll still be quite busy in the months ahead. Not that we won't be enjoying our victory over the government's deadline. It's just that we'll be keeping it pretty low key. We're accountants, after all.

And, hey, look who's number one when it comes to Googling articles about the epic battle between using turbo tax versus a tax professional. Yep.

Hollywood Stars In Need of a Good Accountant

Being a Hollywood Star means you're too busy to take care of mundane things like paying taxes:
Take heart, America. Even celebrities pay taxes on April 15.

Well, sometimes.

Nicolas Cage’s bookkeeping got a bit muddled, and now he has to shell out $13.3 million to the federal government.

Joe Francis, founder of “Girls Gone Wild,” forgot, too. His tab? $29.4 million -- or roughly 5 million margaritas.

Sinbad the Comedian? A very unfunny $8.15 million, which doesn't even include interest and legal fees.

Other celebs who owe the taxman big bucks are Pamela Anderson ($1.7 million), the rapper Nas ($3.4 million), singer Dionne Warwick ($2.2 million) and actor Terrence Howard ($1.1 million).

They need look no further than here but I'd want my money up front.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

All You Need is Love

Love breaks out between the Vatican and the Beatles:
The Vatican has finally made peace with the Beatles, saying their drug use, "dissolute" lives and even the claim that the band was bigger than Jesus are all in the past — while their music lives on.

Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano paid tribute to the Fab Four in its weekend editions, with two articles and a front-page cartoon reproducing the crosswalk immortalized on the cover of the band's album "Abbey Road."

The tribute marked the 40th anniversary of the band's breakup.

The Obama Tax Hikes--What to Do

The Obama tax hikes, they're a'comin'. Forbes tells us what to do:
Buy munis, book losses, avoid marriage, consider a Roth conversion now and get your Lasik eye surgery next year.

And since the tax hikes are only targeted for the rich, I'd add one more strategy: don't get rich.

Hello? Anyone Out There?

Alien life forms have been bashful about revealing themselves:
After five decades of patient listening, however, all the astronomers have to show for it is an eerie silence. Does that mean we are alone in the universe after all? Or might we be looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Some argue that since the universe is so vast, alien life must exist but in an infinite universe, all things are possible including the disconcerting notion that we are, in fact, alone. Still, it's good to see scientists have such unwavering faith in the unknown despite the lack of supporting evidence. Their fervor is almost religious.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Think We Need a Tax Hike? What's Stopping You?

Howie Carr notes that those in favor of tax hikes are in favor of tax hikes for everyone but themselves:
As the deadline for filing 2009 state income taxes nears, once again the Beautiful People of Massachusetts are proving that while they enjoy talking the talk, walking the walk is another thing altogether.

We have a two-tier income tax in this state, you know. You have the option of paying either at the standard rate of 5.3 percent, or at the old, higher 5.85 percent rate.

As of Wednesday, here are this years numbers, according to the state DOR:

Of 1,840,000 state tax filers, exactly 931 have opted to pay taxes at the higher rate. That works out to one-twentieth of one percent. Think of it this way: In 2000, only 60 percent of the Massachusetts electorate voted to cut the income tax, but a decade later 99.95 percent of the population has decided to take advantage of the tax cut a lot of them claimed they didn’t want or need.

The moonbat motto is: Do as I say, not as I do.

No need to wait for Congress and the President to act before you can have your own tax hike. There's nothing in the Internal Revenue Code that prevents you from understating your deductions - it's the reverse that gets you in trouble. So, go ahead, create your own tax increase. Forgo those itemized deductions. Claim fewer dependents. File separately from your spouse. And hurry. Health Care Reform isn't going to pay for itself.

Daylight Ahead

I'm slowly making my way towards daylight and finding time to catch up on a few posts. Clearing out my cache of stuff I've come across the last few weeks. Hope you find 'em interesting.

Monday, April 12, 2010

An Education - Movie Review

Not much showing at the movie theatre this weekend so time to hit Redbox. Hmmm. Heard some not bad things about An Education - wasn't the leading actress nominated for an Oscar? Good enough. Let's give it a go.

Except for subject matter giving parents a queasy feeling - a 16 year old girls falls for a man twice her age - not a bad movie. Written by Nick Hornby from Lynn Barber's memoir, he makes the plot easy to take and turns it into a gentler coming-of-age tale than I imagined it would be. Alfred Molina does a good job of playing the befuddled but loving father who's taken in, like his daughter, by the easy charm of Peter Sarsgaard. The supporting cast is equally fine as well and, of course, being a fan of Hornby, I liked how he handled the material. It all ends the way it should and in the meantime we catch a glimpse of London in the early 60s just before it started to swing.

Did Carey Mulligan deserve her Oscar nod? She's 25 playing a convincing 16 year old so I'd heartily say I suppose but I guess I'm used to actors being nominated for roles where they sport heavy accents or they're afflicted with some disease. But I liked her and I liked this movie so what more could you ask?

Busy Planet

Jonah Goldberg's right. this is cool:

Final Week

The tax filing deadline is only days away and we ought to be able to take care of everyone who've brought their records to us as late as this past Friday. It'll make for a thrilling finish. So radio silence around here for a few more days. Though I manage a post or two in the meantime. Stick around and see what happens. The suspense'll kill you.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Clash of the Titans - Movie Review

Clash of the Titans is one of our favorite movies from the 80s - sure, scoff if you want, cheesy as it is with it's dull Harry Hamlin and the scenery-chewing Olivier and the not-as-crude-as-you'd-think special effects work by the great Ray Harryhausen but it's great entertainment. But it's not a sacred work so we were looking forward to the remake with up-to-date effects and a crop of the latest stars that'll be forgotten in 10 years hence. (Okay, except for Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, you won't hear from any of these people again in a few years. All right, I'll maybe include Mads Mikkelson, the Bond baddie in Casino Royal but with a name like that, I don't really think so.)

We weren't disappointed. We opted for the 2D version for the usual reason - the 3D effect is a distraction rather than an enhancement to the story - and it was great fun. With the state of digital effects, it seems anything that can be imagined can be put onscreen. Sam Worthington is a poor man's light-weight Russell Crowe. A very poor man and very light weight. He's merely okay. Neeson and Fiennes collect their paycheck and Neeson bellows the best line of the movie with great gusto. The Kraken? Meh. Kinda busy with all the stuff going on and an odd looking mouth. Sort of short and stubby, really, with lots of teeth. But the movie retains the charm of the original and while it doesn't strictly adhere to its mythological source, so what? We had fun and munched through a tub of popcorn and afterwards we thought we'd had a pretty good time.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Light Blogging

Well, lighter than usual. Filing season, you know? Back to the usual sporadic posting when things calm down a bit.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Unread Books

I'm taking my own, and Nick Hornby's, advice and I'm not reading several books.

The first two I'm not reading are George Pelecanos' Hard Revolution and Drama City. Yeah, I know I said I'd give him another chance but Hard Revolution was turning into a book Pelecanos had already written - a portrait of Washington DC in the 60s, an incident that haunts the main characters in their adult life, and some kind of resolution to that incident. Didn't care any more. And if I wasn't going to read Hard Revolution, why read Drama City? Makes sense.

Another book I'm not reading is Robert Parker's Stranger in Paradise. Things started off well enough in the typical clipped Parker manner but then he got lazy and trotted in some old tropes that told me he was just coasting along. Did you know rich folks are intolerant of those they think are beneath them? Yep, it's true. Robert Parker says so. And that it's quite all right for the main character of your novel to be quite smug and superior to those intolerant rich folks? True again.

I think the fact that I only paid a couple of buck for each of these books has a lot to do with my low threshold of tolerance for nonsense. I don't have a lot invested in these to begin with so I'm not obligated to invest much more. It's the books that fail, not me.

Moving on. More to report once I get something read. Or unread.