Sunday, August 31, 2008
further proof of wikipedia's (ahem) "eye popping integrity"

Tricky. Very, very tricky.

Friday, August 29, 2008
happy 50th, michael jackson!
To mark the occasion, I spent the day doing the Thriller dance in your honor.


Thursday, August 28, 2008
random posts of pretty
I love it that people have recently taken to feeding me things to blog about. I hardly need to think about it this way, which is wonderful. I's gots enough to worry 'bouts right now - all sorts of probletunities and such.

Again, this comes from Carrie, and similar to Harris' inflatable street art and Curtis' reverse graffiti, D.Billy's balloon graffiti is the sort of street art that most anyone can appreciate. Wouldn't you agree?:

(This last one makes me chuckle.  Can't you just picture some goofy thug clown "spray painting" balloons in the 'hood?  Love it.)

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008
As of today I'm officially back to my daily drudgery for bread. (Otherwise known as "work.") But since I honestly do love my job, I suppose I'm mostly joking when I call it drudgery.


Although I feel like I'm far too young to say this, recently I can't help but wish that I could just shrug off all the politic administrative gobbeldigook and just be left alone to TEACH. And what really frustrates me is that I know I'm not supposed to be thinking these things on the first day. When I started teaching eight years back, the first day felt like a celebration. Sure, I was so young, so new, and so thrilled to have landed myself a job that I suppose I may have been viewing it all through rose-colored glasses, but even still - things just felt different. What used to feel positive and festive has somehow morphed into a pessimistic warning of some proverbial rain cloud lurking just over the horizon (aka: China). And although this year's opening day was no where near as negative as the previous two years' have been, it did take an odd turn for the Orwellian.

  • My district is now calling itself a AAA district, which sounds pretty great, except I'm fairly certain that there's no such thing as a AAA district. I'm preeeetty sure we made it up. But we're AAA now. That's like an "A," but times three. Impressed?
  • My job title has been changed from "teacher" to "learning specialist." On the upside, they've assured me this new title is way fancier, thus greatly superior to my previous one. On the downside, it doesn't appear to come with a raise. I know. I looked.
And the kicker:
  • Our district no longer has "problems." Instead, we now have "probletunities," which are sort of like opportunities, but worse. I think.

So basically, our problems, er, "probletunities" were all linguistically based. We've changed the words, thus changed our realities. I'm no longer a teacher in a pretty nice district who occasionally faces problems. Instead, I'm now a learning specialist in a AAA district who gleefully embraces her probletunities!

And isn't that nice? I love Big Brother...


bonus book review: in persuasion nation, by george saunders
(Since I took last week off, I thought I'd throw a bonus book review your way today to make up for it. And aren't you all-a-quiver!)

Last week I found myself in a bit of a pickle. I was supposed to have spent my summer tracking down supplementary readings for a unit on media manipulation, but as of two days before my due date I hadn't found one single thing. Honestly, I hadn't even bothered to try. In short, I was screwed. Fortunately, a friend came to my rescue by suggesting In Persuasion Nation, a collection of short stories by George Saunders, and it proved perfect for my needs. (And thank God I can read a book in a day. Way to cut things close, me.) I wasn't planning on reviewing this book since I read it for work, however I really enjoyed it, and so what the heck - we're mixing work with pleasure over here today.

The cover of In Persuasion Nation depicts a man leaning over to sniff the solitary flower standing in the center of a wasteland - an appropriate image for a collection of stories whose protagonists are often searching for something real, pure and true in a plastic world that values consumerism over humanity. Often humorous, rather quirky and usually disturbing, Saunders' stories serve as a sort of protest of our corporate culture, warning what we very well may one day become if we choose to continue on our current path. The heroes in these stories are the misfits of this modern world. There's Brad, whose life is a sitcom which he is in danger of being written off of once he finds he can no longer continue smiling along with the laugh track, ignoring the world's ills. In the title story, an army of frustrated characters from smug television commercials rise up and refuse to continue being humiliated while hawking Ding-Dongs, Mac and Cheese and Doritos. And, in what I thought was the best story of the lot, there's Jon, an orphan who's spent nearly his entire life as a member of a product focus group, knowing no other way of communicating his feelings but through advertisements.

While some of these stories succeed better than others, the overall collection proves timely, affecting, inventive and highly entertaining. Like the best satirists, Saunders is thought-provoking, but with heart. Fans of Vonnegut and Pynchon should approve.

George Saunders
2006 (paperback), 228 pages

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008
random posts of lazy
We had ourselves a fun day at the zoo last weekend (where my wee little niece was adorable, per usual), and I, of course, brought my camera. The pictures I took were fairly pedestrian, but it struck me funny that in every single shot the animals were caught either napping or yawning.

And so in honor of my last true day of lazy summertime freedom, I bring you this gallery. I call it: "Beasties, Sleeping."

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Monday, August 25, 2008
so, we're good then?
I must admit, what with McCain gaining in the polls and Obama selecting the often painfully verbose Biden for VP* I was starting to get a little worried about what November may bring.

But then I saw this, and *poof!* all better!

Go ahead and scoff, but as it says right there in black and white, "He's picked every election winner since 1980." And since we all know the press don't lie, I think this is cause to kick back and stop stressing. A highly advanced space alien says so.

*Not that I'm necessarily anti-Biden, mind you. It's just that dude has a rich history of saying some truly messed-up stuff. Yikes!


monday book review: the nimrod flipout, by etgar keret
I make no secret of the fact that I'm a huge fan of the short story. There's something uniquely satisfying for me about digesting a complete piece in a  single sitting, then possibly even re-reading it a second or third time to pick up on the subtleties I may have missed the first time through. Furthermore, I think short fiction is a true test of a writer's skill, since there's a very limited space to achieve one's purpose, construct a satisfying plot, and flesh out one's characters. I think that's what impresses me so much about Etgar Keret. What most short fiction authors can do in twelve pages, he is able to do in three. Keret possesses a sort of writerly discipline I both admire and covet. For, lo, but I do tend to be verbose.

But my failings aside, The Nimrod Flipout is one of the more unusual things I've read in quite some time, and I mean that as a high compliment. Keret's lightening-quick stories (there's 30 of them in this 167 page collection) are fairly outlandish: one man loves his beautiful girlfriend all the more for the fat, brutish man she turns into at night; a boy is desperate to cure himself of a disease that causes his parents to shrink with every inch he grows; a talking fish provides perspective to the man who had hoped to make it his supper; a father-to-be is so anxious his child won't live up to his hopes that he dreams it into a pony. Keret's imaginative, to say the least.

One may expect such bizarre premises to turn comical, and they sometimes do, but I often found myself bracing for a joke that never materialized. And this was in no way a fault. What begins as silly often turns thoughtful, poignant, or downright sad, and considerably deeper than the offbeat premise had me prepared for.  It's perhaps understandable that Keret, an Israeli, weaves terrorism throughout the collection, but it's handled subtly and his stories are neither religious nor political. Instead, and despite all their strangeness, Keret's stories are oddly universal and his characters easy to empathize with.

In sum, I enjoyed this offbeat little book more than a little bit. Should your tastes lean towards the whimsical, you may do well to check it out.

Etgar Keret
(Translated from the Hebrew by Miriam Shlesinger and Sondra Silverston)
167 pages, 2006 (Paperback)

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Friday, August 22, 2008
friday dance party
I'm finally starting to feel as if I have things under control (rather, I've decided to stop stressing and just make my student teacher do it all instead), and thus I expect to be back up and running by Monday next. Until then, why don't you go on and shake that booty with me? It is Friday, after all...

(The Virgins, "Rich Girls")

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008
i am
  • alive
  • well
  • bemoaning the approaching end of my summer
  • really starting to regret the lackadaisical approach I've recently taken re: getting off my duff and getting down to work
  • as busy as the day is long
  • unlikely to resume blogging until next week

However, I understand that there are loads of other blogs out there.  Perhaps you could read one of those while I work on getting my butt in gear? 

Be back soon...

Friday, August 15, 2008
inelegant eloquence
It's usually around this time in the summer when a few months of well-restedness, eating more during the day and general inactivity has caught up with me. In particular, it's caught up with my bum. And as if that wasn't already too much info for you, I put on a pair of underwear today and nearly burst into tears before I realized that I had put them on backwards. So whew!, that. It's always nice to be reminded that things could be much, much worse.

Speaking of summer activities, the water aerobics class that I've been taking all summer comes to an end on Monday. As many of you already know, this class has been one of the more humbling experiences of my life thus far. The course description painted it as a rather intense class, but when I showed up on day one I made the unpleasant discovery that I would be the youngest student by, oh, say TWENTY YEARS! So yes, I've been sweating with the oldies these past months. Ain't it a hoot. Still, despite being a source of embarrassment I will miss it when it's gone, in particular the lovely ladies I've grown to sorta know. I'll miss Dorothy, who loves bingo and hasn't found a presidential candidate worth voting for since Kennedy. I'll miss Rose, who never really does much in the class other than splash around a bit, but she's pushing eighty and likes my tattoo so who cares? I won't miss Sophia - she's a bit of a Eeyore - however, I will also miss Blanche, whose ankles swell up to roughly the size of my head after twenty minutes of light physical activity, but who has a heart of gold and always made sure to save the most buoyant water weights for me. Sigh. Next Monday is sure to be bittersweet, folks. (No, I don't actually know any of these ladies' names, and yes, I've assigned them all Golden Girls pseudonyms in my mind. Doesn't everyone do that?)

Speaking of things coming to an end, my six-week stint as a volunteer at 826 Michigan concluded this past Wednesday, and that truly makes me sad. It's been really nice seeing kids read and write for fun rather than for school, and I wish I lived closer to the center so I could volunteer more during the school year. At the very least I see myself doing some single-day weekend workshops this fall. That place is just so awesome, and I don't want to drop it completely simply because I have to go back to being a productive member of society.

Okay, so this has nothing to do with anything, but what do you think about this? They actually found Bigfoot? Really???

And on that note, I really must motor because I got a family reunion/golf tournament to attend. I won't be playing this year, but I will be coming with last year's trophy in hand. But it's a trophy for placing dead last and has a plastic, gold-painted horse's ass on top, so understand why I really won't be sad to see the sucker go. My family likes to keep it classy, see.

And you, you stay classy too. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, August 14, 2008
random posts of pretty
Like most folks I generally hate forwarded emails, but when one comes from my mom I at least make sure to open it. She birthed me, after all; it's about the least I can do. And so, believe it or not, these pictures of Julian Beever's 3-D sidewalk chalk art come from a mass forwarded email. But aren't they amazing? If all forwarded emails were this cool I might even consider opening them before sending them to the trash...

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008
hello, cupcake!
I'm faaaaaaaar down on the list of folks who should be blogging about food, however I've recently taken a certain sort of shine to baking cupcakes and figured there'd be no harm in sharing an occasional photograph and recipe. And so, tonight I'm introducing a new (and very sporadic) cupcake post series. My plan is to keep it simple: a pic, a link, a rating.  And as it the case with everything else 'round these parts, feel free to ignore.

So, to debut, I bring you:

Level of Ease: Moderate to Easy (although squeezing the juice from 20 key limes is a pain in the arse)

Tastiness Level: Soooooooo high. Graham cracker cake maybe just eclipsed spice cake as my favorite cake. Maybe...


Tuesday, August 12, 2008
lol bush
LOL indeed:

And more here. (Via)

random posts of pretty
I missed the Olympic opening propaganda campaign ceremonies, so I obviously never saw cute little Lin Miaoke perform "Ode to the Motherland."  And as it turns out, everyone missed it; she was only lip syncing.  Apparently the little girl whose voice you heard was deemed not pretty enough to be seen.  For some reason, this is far more irksome to me than the whole fake fireworks debacle. Ugh.

But for some reason this all reminded me of something wonderful my friend Carrie forwarded me last week, and I thought it would be nice to share.  Yeondoo Jung's website is full of all sorts of wonderful things, but his "Wonderland" series, in which he makes photographic version of children's drawings, is particularly fantastic.  See?:

And you know what, you? Just like Jung is to those children's drawings, I happen to think you're quite pretty just the way you are. I don't even care whether you can sing or not!

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Monday, August 11, 2008
monday book review: a thousand splendid suns, by khaled hosseini
Truth be told, I wasn't particularly looking forward to reading A Thousand Splendid Suns.  It's not that the novel's premise didn't interest me - it did - however, I was largely underwhelmed by The Kite Runner and wasn't really interested in hearing more from this particular author. But as it so often does, my curiosity won out in the end, and I decided to give Hosseini a second chance to wow me.  And expectations are a funny thing. I had such high hopes for The Kite Runner that it couldn't help but disappoint, so I then approached A Thousand Splendid Suns with such low expectations that it had a relatively easy time pleasing me.  So, I guess that's the life lesson here: if you want to be happy, it's probably best to keep your expectations low

First, I feel it necessary to point out that the same things that bugged me about The Kite Runner ultimately bothered me in A Thousand Splendid Suns.  In my experience, reading a Hosseini novel feels a bit like watching a Lifetime Original Movie: it can be a very entertaining way to spend one's time, however with foreshadowing that clunky, a plot that annoyingly predicable and a resolution that neat, it's really sort of impossible to take the whole thing too seriously, regardless of how timely or unique the subject matter.  

But that's not to say that there aren't things worth praising, and to prove that I'm not just being contrary for contrariness's sake here are three things I loved about A Thousand Splendid Suns:

#1: The Female Element
I don't know about you, but it drives me crazy when male authors say they don't write females because they don't understand them.  Like we're so incredibly complex, so wildly different, so...alien that we can't possibly be rendered realistically by a male author.  Good fiction writing demands an empathetic imagination, and writing what you know is easy.  Ignoring 50% of the world's population simply because you aren't in that particular group is lazy and lame.  I love that Hosseini took a chance here by centering his novel around two fully formed, realistic and highly sympathetic female characters.  I'm sure it wasn't easy, but he took the risk and I think he did a great job.

#2: The Message of Female Unity and Empowerment
Hosseini didn't just create two female protagonists; he created two badass female protagonists. Timid Mariam comes from a childhood of abuse, extreme poverty and rejection, while outspoken Laila was born into a relatively modern, well-educated and loving family. These two very different women are brought together when separate tragedies force them to wed the same man, a man who submits them both to unspeakable abuse. Although their relationship is understandably rocky at first, they develop a incredibly tight bond that sustains them through their darkest moments.  In a society that is brutal and dehumanizing to women, Mariam and Laila become each other's saviors and refuse to stop fighting for themselves and for each other.  No man is coming to save them, so instead they save themselves.

#3: America Isn't the Goal
I hope I'm not giving too much away, but no, the war-weary characters don't find refuge in America. While it's wonderful that many refugees can and do escape the countries that oppress them, I think it's dangerously myopic to keep perpetuating this ethnocentric idea that 1) America (or any other Western country) is the ultimate solution the the Third World's problems, and 2) that all Third Worlders dream of escape. In the end, the characters in Hosseini's story elect to remain in Afghanistan. Despite all the havoc left in the Taliban's wake, they still love their country and they feel a certain sort of responsibility to stay behind and rebuild it.  There's plenty to admire about America, but there's plenty to admire about other countries and cultures as well, even those countries that may be a bit worse for the wear.

So in sum, maybe Khaled Hosseini hasn't bowled me over with his literary skills, but there's plenty to praise in A Thousand Splendid Suns.  It ain't perfect, but it's pretty good, and for what it's worth I think it's better than The Kite Runner.

Khaled Hosseini
2007, 367 pages

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in defense of fiction
Five or so years ago, I was explaining to a non-reader friend how hot and bothered I was getting about the release of some new fiction book. Using that pedantic tone that so many male high school science teachers seem to favor, he smirked and told me that he considers reading - in particular fiction reading - to be a waste of time, that whenever he reads fiction he feels a sort of guilt that he isn't using his time in a more meaningful way, and that non-fiction is pretty much the only thing worth an intelligent person's time. (I'm sure you can see why he and I aren't so close anymore.  He's a bit of an ass.)

Anyway, I wish I could have referenced this study at the time, finding “...a positive association between exposure to narrative fiction and social abilities, and the opposite pattern for expository non-fiction." Basically, that the more narrative fiction one reads the better one's social skills, and that those who primarily read expository non-fiction tend to be more socially deficient.  Ha! Take that sucka! 

However, despite my passion and pluck I think I ultimately lost that particular argument for fiction because I had no such study to point to at the time, and he's the sort of person who won't accept the validity of any point without a proper scientific study to back it up.  

Again, he's a science teacher.  (And also a bit of an ass.)

Sunday, August 10, 2008
random posts of pretty
A thought for Sunday:
"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness... all these things: compassion, charity, patience, forgiveness, joy; these do not belong to religion. One does not need religion to understand or practice them. They are simply the expressions of what it is to be human."
- The Dalai Lama


Saturday, August 09, 2008
and on a lighter note...
...consider yourself Barack Rolled, punk.



Friday, August 08, 2008
politics and the olympics
Discussing The Olympics is definitely a mixed bag these days. As someone who thinks that only good things can ultimately come of the bringing together of cultures, someone who very clearly understands the personal and social merits of athletics, a person who thinks the Olympics have become appallingly commercial, someone who seethes at the thought of China's crimes against the people of Tibet and Sudan, who's been signing every petition she can get her hands on for the last eight years in the hopes that the 2008 games would be kept out of China, a person who's vowed to show her disapproval of this year's Olympic games by boycotting its corporate sponsors (Budweiser, Johnson and Johnson, McDonalds, and Coca-Cola, in particular), a person who realizes that her boycott will have little to no impact in the grand scheme of things but who feels frustrated and powerless and who doesn't know what else to do, and as a normally level-headed woman who is constantly surprised at how emotional she gets whenever the subject comes up in casual conversation, well, let's just say it's a mixed bag for me in particular.  

On the flipside, I fully understand why many people feel that politics and sports don't mix.  According to Lebron James, a man who has used his celebrity status to draw attention to the genocide in Darfur and who is in a rare position to shine a much brighter light on the matter while participating in this year's games,  
"Basic human rights should always be protected. One thing you can’t do is confuse sports and politics. I think the political guys are going to do what they need to do, that’s their job. We are here to concentrate on a gold medal. Sports and politics just don’t match.” (Source)
And in most situations, I would echo James' statements.  I do not, however, think the Olympics is one of those situations.  

Personally, I think that the Olympics is the perfect place for protest.  When else are so many global eyes focused at the same place and at the same time?  Sure, some may scoff, claiming that protests bring a unpalatable negativity to an event that should be celebratory, welcoming and fun; however, I would counter that some of the Games' most shining moments involved politics.  Jesse Owens' four gold medals serving as an act of unspoken defiance of Hitler's Aryan agenda,  Tommie Smith and John Carols' use of the black power salute to draw attention to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, the IOC's decision to ban South Africa from the games until its abolishment of apartheid - these are some of the more memorable ways that politics have been infused into the Olympic Games, and moments that we should recall with pride.

So, will we have a similar moment in Beijing?  I, for one, hope so.  As frustrated as I am with this year's games, hearing that Sudanese Lost Boy Lopez Lomong had been chosen to carry the U.S. flag at today's opening ceremonies was a small sort of balm.  No one would argue that Lomong isn't a hero, but the selection of a Sudanese refugee to carry the flag in a country that supplies arms to the very regime that made Lomong a homeless orphan is an unmistakably political move.

And cheers to that. As a person who hasn't been able to find much to get excited about regarding these Olympic Games, it's a small but important move that - though far from enough to set things right - brings me that much closer to fine.  

Now let's see some more.

Thursday, August 07, 2008
random posts of pretty
I don't know about you, but I happen to think that today is the perfect day for doing the unstuck...

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How awesome would it be to own this, a hand-knitted scarf depicting the entire 1st level of Super Mario Brothers?   

I'd totally wear it, too.  I wouldn't even care that the completed piece will probably end up being roughly 30 feet long.  I'm just cool like that.



Wednesday, August 06, 2008
act one of the godfather (facebook news feed edition)
This isn't the first time that I've shamelessly stolen from McSweeney's (and, frankly, it probably won't be the last), but after reading this, I had a nearly impossible time rewatching The Godfather without thinking of it in terms of a Facebook News Feed. I'm too lazy to do the entire film, but I did do the first act, and it went a little something like this:

Michael Corleone is back from the war.

Michael Corleone and Kay Adams are attending an event: The Fabulous Wedding of Connie Corleone and Carlo Rizzi.

Don Corleone has joined the group "Sicilian Mafia Bosses Who Can Refuse no Favor at their Daughter's Wedding."

Don Corleone is busy.

-                     -                   -

Sonny Corleone has been Superpokin'!

-                        -                          -

Johhny Fontane has added "starring in Jack Woltz's new war picture" to his list of interests.

Jack Woltz is no longer friends with Johnny Fontane.

Don Corleone thinks Johnny Fontane is a crybaby, but cannot refuse his godson this favor.

-                       -                         -

Jack Woltz has become a fan of stud horses.

Don Corleone has given Jack Woltz an offer he can't refuse.

Jack Woltz isn't about to let no greasy-haired goomba push him around!

Don Corleone has thrown a decapitated horse head at Jack Woltz.

Jack Woltz and Johnny Fontane are now friends.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008
random posts of pretty
A few weeks back we took a day trip to Marvelous Marvin's Mechanical Museum, a place I love but haven't visited in years. Nestled smack-dab in the middle of sprawling suburban strip mall splendor, Marvin's is part modern arcade, part side-show museum, and stuffed to the gills with antique posters, penny machines, automatons, sideshow artifacts and all other sorts of nonsense.  It's utterly unique, an absolute sensory overload, and frankly sort of brilliant.  It's also a great place to experiment with some new camera settings. Remind me to take you there some time.

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Monday, August 04, 2008
Is it just me, or doesn't today's Fail Dog look *exactly* like my very own red-headed coyote dog?:

I mean...right??? White chest, huge satellite dish ears, goofy fang-toothed grin, death-defying acrobatics, obviously insane...the similarities are eerie, really.

monday book review: child 44, by tom rob smith
How do you stop a serial killer operating in a State where one of the fundamental pillars is that crime does not exist? Set in Stalin's Soviet Union, Child 44 - part political thriller, part murder mystery, and part horror story - is the gripping exploration of that very question.

Leo Demidov is a high-ranking MGB officer who has dedicated his adult life to rooting out enemies of the State, and in the process is responsible for sending innumerable innocent citizens to the Gulags or marking them for execution. A loyal member of the Party, it never occurs to Leo that these people may be innocent until one particular arrest and subsequent interrogation causes him to call everything he once believed into question.

With this one crack, the foundation of Leo's life as a rich, powerful and respected State Security Officer begins to crumble. No longer certain of his work, his confidence weakens and all past cases become shadowed in doubt, in particular that of little Arkady Andreev, the son of one of Leo's MGB subordinates, whose mangled, lifeless body had been found discarded along the railroad tracks. Despite eyewitness evidence suggesting the boy was brutally murdered, Leo - working in a system that cannot acknowledge the crime's existence because to do so would suggest an imperfect society - labeled the boy's death an accident.

Leo's paradigm shift also makes him vulnerable to an ambitious enemy in the MGB, a man who manages to undermine Leo's credibility so much that he suffers a severe demotion and is forced to abandon a life of relative luxury in Moscow with his beautiful wife for a hovel in the depressed, rural village of Voualsk. It is here that Leo, now a low-ranking member of the militia, discovers that little Arkady's murder may not be an isolated incident, but rather the work of a very prolific serial killer. Conducting their own secret investigation, Leo and his wife soon discover that as many as 44 children may have fallen victim to a man the State refuses to admit exists. No longer willing to safely toe the company line, the Demidovs set out to find the killer and stop him themselves, despite the fact that doing so makes them political dissidents and prime candidates for the Gulags or worse.

Typically not my thing, I usually pass on political thrillers, but Child 44 was one of those titles that I couldn't seem to escape, so I was naturally curious to see if it was deserving of all the hype. And after tearing through all 400+ pages in a matter of days, I'd say yes, indeed it is. While it's true that Smith's simple prose won't exactly blow your mind, the compelling story he weaves makes for one gripping read. Although a beast in size, it can be tackled fairly quickly, and the entire time I was reading I couldn't help but think it would make for one terrific movie. (Turns out I'm not the only one who thought this. Ridley Scott committed to direct the film before the book was even published.) The novel does have its flaws, however. My enjoyment was lessened by a late twist that felt far too neat considering the complexity of the plot that had unfolded up to that point, and as I've already mentioned Smith's simple sentences are nothing to gush over. But hey - they can't all be high art, people.  As far as most literary thrillers go, it's far better than most.

In sum, it may not win any awards, but Child 44 is an incredibly ambitious debut from an author to watch and one terrific read. I highly recommend checking it out.

Child 44
Tom Rob Smith
436 pages, 2008

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Saturday, August 02, 2008
crystal bubbles will cremate our troubles!
Devendra Banhart's video for "Carmensita," the first video released for Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, is the weirdest, most wonderful thing I've seen all week.  I had no idea that Natalie Portman was willing to act this silly, but after seeing her as a campy 1960's Bollywood star lamenting the absence of her long-lost "ratty-assed compadre," well, let's just say she's firmly cemented herself a lead position on my list of famous chicks I'd like to have beer with.

(And I know that posting this puts me at great risk for a collective eye roll/head scratch from much of my readership, but maybe we don't all have to be so, so serious all the time. Lighten up, buttercup!)

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Friday, August 01, 2008
In case you haven't seen it, a new picture of the Montauk Monster just surfaced.  From this angle it looks a bit like an angry mutant warthog.  

Gosh darn, I can't help but hope it's real.