Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Top o' the mornin'

Happy St Pat's, everyone. Speaking of which, I'm always a little surprised to see people wearing "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" buttons. Don't the Irish spread disease? Is that still true?

Anyway, I am of English descent (with a little Welsh, I think, to keep me humble), so I will be watching the day's festivities from the windows of the ancestral manse. I do so enjoy all the charming dancing, singing, drinking, fighting, and fornicating.

In honour of this day, I offer you my favourite Irish drinking song:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"The nature of this evil is arrogance"

I got a message in my work e-mail inbox with the above subject line, and my immediate thought was, "What have I done to piss people off now?"

Instead, it was part of a pitch from a publicist. Which just shows, I think, how much better and more valuable I am than anyone else. N'est-ce pas?

Monday, March 15, 2010

February by Lisa Moore

My review of Lisa Moore's novel February is in the new issue of Canadian Notes & Queries.

A taste:

“Without the reflection of characters scarred by traumatic events, such as war, depression, natural disasters and genocide, to name a few, Canadian literature would lose its essence, not to mention its most celebrated authors.”

That is one of the more harsh and sweeping (not to mention deadly funny and sadly accurate) condemnations of the current state of Canadian fiction I have come across in a while. It is not a Canadian invention, nor do we have any particular monopoly over it, but it does often seem that the Sensitive Person Remembers Bad Things novel is one of our literature’s specialties. As a literary culture, we are the Good Grandchildren, the ones who come to visit, bring treats, and sit patiently through stories of past hardships.

Unfortunately, the assertion quoted above was meant as a compliment....
Read it all here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nuts in March

It's sunny and warm out. When you get to my age, you learn appreciate the small things.

Everyone sing!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Life can really circumstance you up sometimes

In his review of Roman Polanksi's new thriller, The Ghost Writer, Peter Howell refers to the diminutive director as "a prisoner of circumstance."

Which is, I guess, perfectly accurate, as long as by "circumstance" you mean "knowingly drugging and raping an underage girl in Jack Nicholson's hot tub."

(As for the movie, if it manages to work around the indisputable fact that Ewan McGregor is to good acting what I am to a lush mane of hair - that is, a complete stranger - it may actually be okayish.)

A big asshole at Dufferin Mall

There's always more than a few there, to be honest, but this time it's giant and inflatable.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Dead on survival

From the Toronto Star:
Just before dawn on Thursday morning, Richard Code disappeared into the darkness and lit out for the Ontario wilderness, bringing little more than a few supplies and the skills he had learned from watching Survivorman, a reality show about subsisting in the bush.

The 41-year-old left behind a note, asking his landlady to call police if he failed to return by Sunday night. On Monday, she reported him missing and on Wednesday afternoon, Code’s body was found in a marshy, snowed-in area just north of Huntsville.
I have nothing much to add to this, other than that crass headline, and the fact that I've been a Survivorman fan for years (and have recently inducted my poor kids), and have never felt the urge to imitate the man - perhaps because pretty much the most exciting thing that ever happens in the show is that Les Stroud occasionally gets the runs from creek water. (Still, that's part of its charm.)

Here is my review of Stroud's book, Survive! Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere – Alive.

(It is a testament to my fanhood that I did this review pro bono.)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Ebert talks

Roger Ebert can no longer talk or eat, the very two things most people would imagine were previously his most frequent activities. (Yes, I just made an oblique fat joke about a man who lost most of his jaw to cancer... My apologies: it's a reflex.)

But there is hope - for the talking, at least:

A company called CereProc has taken voice samples from Ebert's DVD commentaries and created a computerized voice that Ebert can use to "speak." This could even lead to Ebert using the voice for other media, including podcasts, video, and commentaries.

With any luck, they will have grabbed a few choice sentences from here:

    A very subtle and funny writer - one I've become obsessed with over the past year - in a decidedly Muriel Spark mood. Imagine The Pr...