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I honestly wasn't prepared. When I found out that Sparky Anderson had died I was struck by sadness: fond memories of my youth have moved on. It's odd to consider, but Sparky was to a certain extent key to my engagement with The Church Of Baseball over the years in a way that Cito and the Jays of 92 and 93 never were. I've never been a Tigers fan, but growing up, if the team wasn't the Jays, it was the Tigers. Have a good rest, Sparky.
viktor_haag: (Default)
While I may be willing to believe that the incidence of cancer in humans could dramatically increase with changes to diet and environment that result from increases in population density, industrialization, pollution, and other factors that are, essentially, caused by human habitation, to me this is a far cry from trumpeting that "cancer is man-made".

Smoking, getting no exercise, and eating lots of saturated fats increases risk factors for coronary heart disease: does this mean that it also is man-made?

What the heck is not man made in this case? Presumably death caused by animal predation? (But then why are you walking around in the predator's catchment area?) Lightning strike? (Why are you walking around in a thunder storm?)

Hrm.
viktor_haag: (Default)
While I may be willing to believe that the incidence of cancer in humans could dramatically increase with changes to diet and environment that result from increases in population density, industrialization, pollution, and other factors that are, essentially, caused by human habitation, to me this is a far cry from trumpeting that "cancer is man-made".

Smoking, getting no exercise, and eating lots of saturated fats increases risk factors for coronary heart disease: does this mean that it also is man-made?

What the heck is not man made in this case? Presumably death caused by animal predation? (But then why are you walking around in the predator's catchment area?) Lightning strike? (Why are you walking around in a thunder storm?)

Hrm.
viktor_haag: (Default)
Seen at work in lunch-room:
• Handsome Young Intern fellow fetches plastic fork out of drawer full of plastic cutlery next to sink, for lunch.
• HYI takes two steps back to lunch table with fork, bumps fork against his leg, and drops it on floor.
• HYI picks up fork, takes two steps right past sink, gets another fork out of drawer, and then pitches first fork into garbage.

I am boggled with the idiocy of this event on so many levels.
viktor_haag: (Default)
Seen at work in lunch-room:
• Handsome Young Intern fellow fetches plastic fork out of drawer full of plastic cutlery next to sink, for lunch.
• HYI takes two steps back to lunch table with fork, bumps fork against his leg, and drops it on floor.
• HYI picks up fork, takes two steps right past sink, gets another fork out of drawer, and then pitches first fork into garbage.

I am boggled with the idiocy of this event on so many levels.
viktor_haag: (Default)
In one fell swoop, the interestingly awesome weekend I saw spreading out ahead of me shrank and disappeared rather like the ever-smaller-zooming dot on a CRT that's just had its power line cut. Turns out that the corporate travel that I had managed to align in a "the stars are right" fashion suddenly turned out to be foolishly impractical, got binned, and now the stars are all a-kilter.

Crap.

On the upside, I get to spend my Thanksgiving weekend (or the portions I wouldn't have) with my family.

On the downside, I lose out on meeting all the cool new people I would have met.
viktor_haag: (Default)
In one fell swoop, the interestingly awesome weekend I saw spreading out ahead of me shrank and disappeared rather like the ever-smaller-zooming dot on a CRT that's just had its power line cut. Turns out that the corporate travel that I had managed to align in a "the stars are right" fashion suddenly turned out to be foolishly impractical, got binned, and now the stars are all a-kilter.

Crap.

On the upside, I get to spend my Thanksgiving weekend (or the portions I wouldn't have) with my family.

On the downside, I lose out on meeting all the cool new people I would have met.
viktor_haag: (Default)
Stan-Van says (according to Tim Povtak) of Vincey:
"Everybody here just wants him to play the game the way he's played it through his career -- attacking the basket."

Excuse me, Mr VG, were you at all paying attention to Vincey's career here in the "tee dot"? Where, season after season, we heard constant commenting from broadcasters and pundits, "You know, the Raps would be in this game, if only Vince would live up to his promise and aggressively go to the rim..."

Vince's unwillingness to bring his game on a consistent and regular basis is the key to his disappointing career, to the Raps, to the Nets, and no doubt now, to the Magic. The Magic may in fact do well next year, but I rather doubt it will be at all thanks to Vince.

From Vince himself, we get:
"Just bring it. It's time to be me (again). I accept that. I understand that. It's been on my mind all summer. And I don't have a problem with it."

Wow. How refreshing. We've never heard anything like that from Mr Carter. If I only had a nickel, etc, etc, etc.
viktor_haag: (Default)
Stan-Van says (according to Tim Povtak) of Vincey:
"Everybody here just wants him to play the game the way he's played it through his career -- attacking the basket."

Excuse me, Mr VG, were you at all paying attention to Vincey's career here in the "tee dot"? Where, season after season, we heard constant commenting from broadcasters and pundits, "You know, the Raps would be in this game, if only Vince would live up to his promise and aggressively go to the rim..."

Vince's unwillingness to bring his game on a consistent and regular basis is the key to his disappointing career, to the Raps, to the Nets, and no doubt now, to the Magic. The Magic may in fact do well next year, but I rather doubt it will be at all thanks to Vince.

From Vince himself, we get:
"Just bring it. It's time to be me (again). I accept that. I understand that. It's been on my mind all summer. And I don't have a problem with it."

Wow. How refreshing. We've never heard anything like that from Mr Carter. If I only had a nickel, etc, etc, etc.
viktor_haag: (Default)
One of my favourite authors reports that his agent (also the agent of another of my favourite authors), Ralph Vicinanza, has recently (and suddenly) died in his sleep from a burst aneurysm. This is sad news, but I also find myself envious in this regard: I quite hope that I die in this kind of manner--sudden, quiet, quick, and also a bit unexpectedly.
viktor_haag: (Default)
One of my favourite authors reports that his agent (also the agent of another of my favourite authors), Ralph Vicinanza, has recently (and suddenly) died in his sleep from a burst aneurysm. This is sad news, but I also find myself envious in this regard: I quite hope that I die in this kind of manner--sudden, quiet, quick, and also a bit unexpectedly.
viktor_haag: (Default)
On the weekend, I finished off Mankell's "The Pyramid" a book of shorts and a novella that chronicle the career of Wallander up to (the very beginning of) "Faceless Killers". "The Pyramid" makes a clever change of pace to Mankell's previous depictions of Wallander: structurally and narratively.

Structurally, because to this point, all the Wallander tales had been novel length; narratively, because the stories in Pyramid have a strong anti-mystery component to them. We already know how the lives of many of these characters develop through the years: who lives, who dies, who remains faithful, who betrays, who leaves. The mysteries themselves are even more strongly in this direction than most of Mankell's Wallander stories: the conclusions seem to leap upon Wallander as if by chance, good or bad. Many of them seem to be united thematically by severe injury.

The stories in "The Pyramid" are strongly written, and serve as a nice counterpoint to the rest of Mankell's Wallander novels -- they are not the best or most compelling stories in the series about the dogged provincial policeman, but because of their differences from the established pattern they reward the reader, like seeing a sculpture from a different angle.

Well recommended for Mankell fans: don't start with this one, but if you've become attached to Kurt Wallander, then you should not miss it.
viktor_haag: (Default)
On the weekend, I finished off Mankell's "The Pyramid" a book of shorts and a novella that chronicle the career of Wallander up to (the very beginning of) "Faceless Killers". "The Pyramid" makes a clever change of pace to Mankell's previous depictions of Wallander: structurally and narratively.

Structurally, because to this point, all the Wallander tales had been novel length; narratively, because the stories in Pyramid have a strong anti-mystery component to them. We already know how the lives of many of these characters develop through the years: who lives, who dies, who remains faithful, who betrays, who leaves. The mysteries themselves are even more strongly in this direction than most of Mankell's Wallander stories: the conclusions seem to leap upon Wallander as if by chance, good or bad. Many of them seem to be united thematically by severe injury.

The stories in "The Pyramid" are strongly written, and serve as a nice counterpoint to the rest of Mankell's Wallander novels -- they are not the best or most compelling stories in the series about the dogged provincial policeman, but because of their differences from the established pattern they reward the reader, like seeing a sculpture from a different angle.

Well recommended for Mankell fans: don't start with this one, but if you've become attached to Kurt Wallander, then you should not miss it.
viktor_haag: (Default)
Fox News (sic) reports that the glorious Ines Sainz has written this gem in a newspaper in Mexico City:
"A group of news people and communicators, eager to make an even bigger scandal out of this situation, have moved women's rights backwards at least 50 years ... I am surprised by how easily some colleagues skip the basic rules of journalism: one should investigate, inquire, and look at the facts before giving an opinion."

Please remember that Ms Sainz is the TV Azteca glam-journalist who has, in the past, performed such critical investigative service as measuring the biceps of football players during the annual presser-orgy-media-week leading up to the superbowl.

Just about everyone seems to have behaved completely shabbily over this entire circumstance. And I'm sure that Sainz' behaviour and comments have absolutely nothing to do with a desire to place herself firmly in the middle of the story. Was she asking to be harassed? Absolutely not. Was she angling to have attention paid her way? That seems hard to deny given her "historical pattern of behaviour" as league head-office is wont to say.

In the words of the immortal Coz, "::phweeeet:: Everybody out of the pool!"
viktor_haag: (Default)
Fox News (sic) reports that the glorious Ines Sainz has written this gem in a newspaper in Mexico City:
"A group of news people and communicators, eager to make an even bigger scandal out of this situation, have moved women's rights backwards at least 50 years ... I am surprised by how easily some colleagues skip the basic rules of journalism: one should investigate, inquire, and look at the facts before giving an opinion."

Please remember that Ms Sainz is the TV Azteca glam-journalist who has, in the past, performed such critical investigative service as measuring the biceps of football players during the annual presser-orgy-media-week leading up to the superbowl.

Just about everyone seems to have behaved completely shabbily over this entire circumstance. And I'm sure that Sainz' behaviour and comments have absolutely nothing to do with a desire to place herself firmly in the middle of the story. Was she asking to be harassed? Absolutely not. Was she angling to have attention paid her way? That seems hard to deny given her "historical pattern of behaviour" as league head-office is wont to say.

In the words of the immortal Coz, "::phweeeet:: Everybody out of the pool!"
viktor_haag: (Default)
Rare response to a meme: post your photo taken now, un-altered, yoinked from [livejournal.com profile] pyat and [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna.

Only if you need to see me. )
viktor_haag: (Default)
Rare response to a meme: post your photo taken now, un-altered, yoinked from [livejournal.com profile] pyat and [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna.

Only if you need to see me. )
viktor_haag: (Default)
Busted Flush Press, a small independent imprint focussed on "fine thrillers and hard-boiled crime fiction reprints", has reprinted Daniel Woodrell's "Tomato Red", a short crime thriller from '98, published eight years before "Winter's Bone". I so liked the latter that I immediately yanked the former off the shelf when I saw it at my FLBS.

Is it as good as "Winter's Bone"? No. But it's still very good.

"Tomato Red" is, structurally, a formulaic noir narrative. Marginal, well-spoken loser gets mixed up in circumstances that he can't resist: he's led by his pants, the emptiness in his wallet, a sad over-valuation of his abilities, and some ambiguous sense that something better might lie out there that he can grasp. And the reader can fully see that things will not end well: how could they possible do so? It's awfully hard to enlist the reader's sympathy in any of these characters: there's not much nobility in poverty-stricken loserhood. These folks have not much at all to recommend them, barely a chipped cookie jar of crumbs.

The femme fatale for whom the book is named is Lomanesque in her mistaken conviction of entitlement. She's so certain that she deserves more that she binds herself into completely unsustainable choices in the present, choices that ensnare the narrator, and her family, leading to misadventure, homicide, and a bad deal all around.

As with "Winter's Bone", Woodrell's craft is on display: his portrayal of events is graphic, but not necessarily exploitative, frank but not fetishistic. His writing draws you forward smoothly, but has enough texture, depth, and power to convince you that there's something beyond just the events on the page: the book borders on fine bourbon and not just a pedestrian corn mashy slop.

I'm glad I read the two books in this order, because if I'd started with "Tomato Red", I'm not sure I'd feel I needed to move on to "Winter's Bone". But given the strength of the latter, I'm glad to have expanded a bit into Woodrell's earlier work. The two books together lead me to expectation of Woodrell's next book, and not necessarily the rest of his back catalog. I'd give "Tomato Red" a solid B, and if you like well written hard-boiled thrillers, then you'll probably be pleased to read it. It doesn't quite bring to the table what "Winter's Bone" does, but it's quite good all on its own, thanks.
viktor_haag: (Default)
Busted Flush Press, a small independent imprint focussed on "fine thrillers and hard-boiled crime fiction reprints", has reprinted Daniel Woodrell's "Tomato Red", a short crime thriller from '98, published eight years before "Winter's Bone". I so liked the latter that I immediately yanked the former off the shelf when I saw it at my FLBS.

Is it as good as "Winter's Bone"? No. But it's still very good.

"Tomato Red" is, structurally, a formulaic noir narrative. Marginal, well-spoken loser gets mixed up in circumstances that he can't resist: he's led by his pants, the emptiness in his wallet, a sad over-valuation of his abilities, and some ambiguous sense that something better might lie out there that he can grasp. And the reader can fully see that things will not end well: how could they possible do so? It's awfully hard to enlist the reader's sympathy in any of these characters: there's not much nobility in poverty-stricken loserhood. These folks have not much at all to recommend them, barely a chipped cookie jar of crumbs.

The femme fatale for whom the book is named is Lomanesque in her mistaken conviction of entitlement. She's so certain that she deserves more that she binds herself into completely unsustainable choices in the present, choices that ensnare the narrator, and her family, leading to misadventure, homicide, and a bad deal all around.

As with "Winter's Bone", Woodrell's craft is on display: his portrayal of events is graphic, but not necessarily exploitative, frank but not fetishistic. His writing draws you forward smoothly, but has enough texture, depth, and power to convince you that there's something beyond just the events on the page: the book borders on fine bourbon and not just a pedestrian corn mashy slop.

I'm glad I read the two books in this order, because if I'd started with "Tomato Red", I'm not sure I'd feel I needed to move on to "Winter's Bone". But given the strength of the latter, I'm glad to have expanded a bit into Woodrell's earlier work. The two books together lead me to expectation of Woodrell's next book, and not necessarily the rest of his back catalog. I'd give "Tomato Red" a solid B, and if you like well written hard-boiled thrillers, then you'll probably be pleased to read it. It doesn't quite bring to the table what "Winter's Bone" does, but it's quite good all on its own, thanks.
viktor_haag: (Default)
Six.... Four. Three? How about six-effing-teen, and shut the hell up, you entitled punk.

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