Thursday, August 30, 2007

Finished the book, but lost interest in the characters

the immortals survive
the mortal dies

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Wrong films won

I can understand why An Inconvenient Truth & Das Leben der Anderen won - au courant topics, but in both cases they were not the best choice. For documentaries, the two religious films were the best of the nominees with Deliver us from evil being the best documentary of the year. However global warming is the hot topic so Gore's PowerPoint presentation received the nod. In international affairs, Stasi is an in topic, but the protagonists actions defy belief - impossible to believe that a career Stasi agent would feel so much sympathy for an artist as to cover for him repeatedly to the point of destroying his career & risking imprisonment. By contrast the characters' actions in Efter brylluppet were compelling, sad & believable and contained my favourite line of the year "I don't care if he fucked a goat."

Monday, August 27, 2007

Chapters 15-16

moderately entertaining with more "will the immortals be discovered?" tension. Still books work better when the protagonists are slightly weaker & have to overcome some challenge - Vernor Vinge understands that well which is why he's a better author than Baker.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

the Sex has started

so the next 2 chapters provide dramatic tension that the mortals may figure out that our hero (an companions) is an immortal.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

½ review of "The Garden of Iden"

a bit of sexual tension finally has enlivened the book. otherwise, there's no conflict - the immortals are so powerful & so knowledgeable the mortals could never challenge them. There's no competing group of immortals & no insurrection against Dr. Zeus. perhaps later books in the series develop those plot points - otherwise, continued trips to the ignorant past would have to grow old.

Friday Night Beer & Pelligrino Blogging w/roasted tofu

Roasted tofu with Iberian spiced honey marinade

Friday, August 24, 2007

Could time travelers save Greed & Gilgamesh?

Started reading In the Garden of Iden, which both Timothy Sandefur & kk recommended. After 7 chapters, the jury's clearly still out (all intro so far - a real void of dramatic tension), but as i tried to describe the basic conceit to the Ginger Haired Yank i tried to come up with examples of works of arts that time travelers are hopefully saving now. First one that came to mind was Greed. Next Gilgamesh & Satyricon. But finally i came up with the key cultural artifact time travelers should save - the master BBC tapes of 21st Century Schizoid Man.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

31 down - 17 to go

Well Bush showed that for GWOT issues, he can still get his way by playing the fear card. Both the FISA extension & the renewed funding prove that Bush can continue our occupation of Iraq throughout his term. Come September, there's no way the GOP will jump ship and the Dems have proven that they lack both a coherent strategy and the spine to actually pull the plug on funding.

Domestically Bush lacks the clout and the political capital to pass any laws or make any substantive changes for the remainder of his term.

There's periodic saber rattling concerning Iran, but neither Congress nor Britain is going to provide any support or cover for an attack on Iran so I'm sanguine that we will not be attacked another nation while Bush is in office.

Given how front loaded the nomination process is now - seemingly weekly debates by one party or the other - Bush's lame duck status beyond Iraq and domestic spying seems to stretch for eons.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

feeling nostalgic for Prog-rock pond scum set to bum me out

taryl: i can't tell if it was just the period in my life or if there was something about the times listening to the old King Crimson
Ginger Haired Yank: it's you. the songs all sound the same!
taryl: that's because i was playing 3 different versions of epitaph.
Ginger Haired Yank: i knew they all sounded the same.

My step-brother thumbed his nose at "21st century schizoid man" as a bunch of negative words strung together meaning nothing (he was also critical of many of Dylan's songs for similar reason). As an adult i'd have to agree with his critique, but the song does kick ass. My other step-brother looked down his nose at "21st century schizoid man" and tried to remember a superior song about "20th century man". Years later when we had lost contact, I purchased Muswell Hillbillies, and realized that the song was 20th Century Man - far superior lyrics that have aged extremely well "i was born in a welfare state. ruled by bureaucracy & controlled by civil servants and people dressed in grey. got no privacy. got no liberty. cause the 20th century people took them all away from me". When i come across smart modern writers such as Eggers or DeLillo the line "you keep all your smart modern writers" always comes to mind.

But i digress. Recently a friend lent me Epitaph Vol 1-2. McDonald later regretted leaving & wondered if they might have put out better music, but my suspicion is that their first album would have been the high water mark for the group even if McDonald & Giles had stayed. That effort managed to capture some zeitgeist & while other songs such as "Sheltering Sky" are musically superb, the emotional connection that existed with "In the Court of the Crimson King" just doesn't exist with any of their other albums. As an adult I can discern more of what makes the album work - sax/guitar duels, flute following power cords. A unique sound that also kicked ass.

Will agree with my step-brother that Sinfield's lyrics were never that good, but after all these years it is easy to answer the best lyric from the best song he ever wrote - no no one will lay a laurel wreath no matter how often silence drowns the screams.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

a blogging reply to Byron York's blogging head

Just watched Byron York's discussion on Iraq with Daniel Drezner, in which Byron implies that the left wants the US to lose in Iraq out of anger with Bush and ignors America's national interests. Not sure if conservatives, such as York really believe this (in York's case I believe he does) or just parroting GOP talking points, but it is a false accusation. We on the left want us out of Iraq because staying is not in our nation's best interest - in the interest of honesty, smearing Bush as one of the great presidential failures in history isn't absent from his opponents hearts & minds.

Byron's other statement that struck me concerned how he would base his future support for our occupation of Iraq David Petraeus's September testimony. I do not need Salvor Hardin to distill the essence of Petraeus's testimony "We have made progress, but there are still tough times ahead." Additionally, you do not need to be clairvoyant to know Byron's reaction will be "There are tough times ahead, but we have made progress so I will continue to support our occupation of Iraq." While I expect Petraeus's testimony to provide the political cover to continue funding through Bush's term in office, no Op-Ed no pundit no testimony will alter our failure in Iraq, merely protract it.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Friday Night Wine Blogging - long awaited return edition

not an exceptional bottle, but still a nice return to a fine custom.2003 Shiraz Jacob's Creek

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