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Showing posts from February, 2008

Why I Couldn't Handle a Degree In English Literature

Also why I tend to steer well clear of anything that's won a major literary prize. And why the stuff I write may well be popular (I can but dare to dream), but will never be critically acclaimed. At least not by the Critics Who Matter. The ones that expel flatus instead of farting, in other words. AND why the stuff I like to write (and read) is pejoratively labelled "genre fiction".

Long article here:

I came to this essay after reading THE ROAD, by Cormac McCarthy, an Oprah-endorsed, Pulitzer-Prize-winning postapocalyptic novel I had extremely high hopes for. I'd forgotten, of course, that Pulitzer Prize winning fiction must be literary above all else.

THE ROAD is a work of undeniable power. It's a crying shame its author chose to write it the way he did: in complete ignorance of the laws of English grammar, and that's just for starters. The story is chock-full of sentence fragments, there are next to no apostrophes, and none of the quotations are attributed. Th…


I admit it: I've given Stephen Harper and his Conservatives something of a free ride.

It's not that I'm "Steve"'s biggest fan. It's just that I have this severe allergic reaction any time I'm told what to think, and over the past few years there's been no shortage of Liberallissimos trying to convince me that Stephen Joseph Harper is the walking, talking Antichrist. Or at least "Antichrist Lite"--Big Daddy being, of course, one George "Dubya" Bush.

Whatever. I don't like George W. Bush at all, but I'd stop well short of suggesting he's evil: merely misguided, in my opinion. And Harper is nobody's "little Bushie". If he was, we'd probably be in Iraq instead of Afghanistan and our economy would be in a tailspin.

I've been neutral tending towards positive on Harper's government. After eleven years of Chretien's government by inaction and almost three years of Paul Martin trying to do every…

The World is Going To Hell

Part 576 in a never-ending series

Sore throat, what feels like a fever (if I could find the damn thermometer I'd confirm that), racking dry cough (easily the worst thing, for my money, about having a cold), and general mind-sludge preventing me from expanding on the sixty or so manuscript pages of my ongoing apocalyptic novel.
My world meets its end at the hands of a hellish virus that amps up aggression. It's a far-fetched scenario (I hope), especially versus the "little deaths" I'm seeing in the news each and every day.

For instance, today's roundup:

Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, signalled today that he will act to lower interest rates further. He has little choice, having backed himself into a thorny corner. If rates jig up even slightly, the economy will simply nosedive. But lowering interest rates is no small part of what got the States into this trouble in the first place...and making money cheaper is something akin to handing out free crac…

Leaf Talk

Sicker than the proverbial dog, lately. (Why "dog", I wonder?) I don't get sick near as often as I used to, thanks (I'm sure) in no small part to the flu shot I get every year. It also helps that I'm not on a rotating schedule--working at 7-Eleven probably shaved years off my life.
Hockey non-fans will want to skip this.

NHL trade deadline
There has been a small forest sacrificed to try and get inside the head of Mats Sundin, who refused to waive the no-trade clause in his contract and go to a contender. He says he doesn't believe in the "rent-a-player" concept and that Toronto is where his heart is.
The opinions are all over the map. Some people say Sundin is simply exercising his contractual right, and that as a long-serving captain (and, incidentally, the leading scorer in franchise history), he's earned the right to control his destiny. Some admire the man for what they perceive is team loyalty. Others, noting the retur…

Winter Break

Barring world-shattering events, I will not be posting for a little while.

Longtime readers will recall a little hiatus I took last July, wherein I promised I'd get something done with my writing. Oh, I wrote, all right. But not as much as I should have. When I ran up against a brick wall in my short story, I banged my head against it for a little while and then gave up.
Well, I've long had a novel incubating on a mental back burner. Unlike the short story, I have a pretty good idea where it's going. Nothing so tangible as an outline--I don't do outlines--but a sort of mental map.
I've doubled its length in the last few days, editing as I go, and it's now sitting at nearly eleven thousand words. What's more, I've barely started...and this time that's a good thing. My mind is fully engaged with teasing out little nuggets of story (I just had a delicious plot twist exfoliate itself in the shower this morning) and I don't think this one's going …

The Evolution of Godwin's Law

"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."--Mike Godwin, 1990

Godwin's Law originally applied to USENET, but now it's seen anywhere three or more people gather to discuss anything that could possibly be controversial. The argument grows warm, then hot, and before you know it Nazis are jackbooting across your screen.
Some online forums have a rule to the effect that whenever Adolf appears, the debate is over, and whoever brought him up is declared the loser. It's a good rule.

Of course, by the time Hitler comes up, I'm long out of the room with the door shut. Arguing's great, but arguing with a fanatic is pointless.

Ask my parents: I used to be about the most closed-minded, black/white, I'm-right-you're-wrong person on the face of the earth. It dawned on me one day that many other people are just as closed-minded, black/white, I'm-right-you're-wrong...and they see things dif…

To Your Health

Finally got around to watching Sicko today (thanks, Mom) whilst recovering (still) from my little operation the other day.
Michael Moore paints an idyllic picture of the Canadian health care system. And why wouldn't he? From the outside, particularly from a country like America that seems to discard anybody who can't afford the outlandish sums demanded for simple operations, Canada's government-pay system seems almost perfect. From the outside.
Moore visits a hospital waiting room, one I'm pretty sure I've been in myself at some point--and surveys the population. Nobody, it seems, has been waiting any more than 45 minutes for care. Given my experiences in hospital waiting rooms over the years, that strikes me as rosy to the point of impossibility.
The few times I've been really sick or hurt, I've had to weigh my pain level against what is almost certain to be at least four or six hours sitting in a waiting room--only to quite possibly be given aspirin I could…

I'm An Adult Now...

I've all my wisdom teeth
Two up top, two beneath
And yet, I'll recognize
My mouth says things that aren't so wise...
The Crash Test Dummies, "Comin' Back Soon" (The Bereft Man's Song)

Well, actually, all I ever had was the one wisdom tooth, on the lower right. And it came out yesterday. Which is when I meant to do this blog, but between the aftermath of the knockout drugs they pumped in and (ahem) the pain, all I felt like doing was sleeping.

I'll spare you the details, since odds are near certain you've either had it done yourself--up to four times--or at least know someone who's been through it. I will say this, however: we need to bring back capital punishment. Not just for cop-killers, mass murdering scumbags and telemarketers, but for those people who, upon hearing you're going in for an operation no matter how comparatively trivial, proceed to shout out every horror story they've ever heard, or God forbid experienced. My sister had her …

I Gotta Get This On Tape

Everybody thinks they have the smartest pets in the world. Or the dumbest.
We have both.
Okay, I'm exaggerating: there are undoubtedly smarter dogs than Tux out there and Georgia's not exactly stupid, just...challenged.
Georgia's a scaredy-dog. We have no idea whence this came: we've owned her since she was knee-high to a chew toy and if there's a calmer, more sedate household than ours around here, you'd call it the morgue. If anything, I'd expect Tux to be the skittish one; he was abused as a young puppy and spent months in the pound waiting for us to find him.
But no, Tux is almost fearless...he'll even let a vacuum cleaner get within two feet of him before moving. Georgia, on the other hand, will refuse to come in the house if there's something on the landing she doesn't like. A bag of cat food, for instance. Or a leaf that blew in.
And she's utterly terrified of the baby gate we put up to keep the dogs out of the basement while we're g…

Morning rant

Forgive me, I'm a little bit snarky today.
I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's the hockey game I watched last night. If I've ever seen a game more incompetently refereed, I've blocked it from memory.
I don't mind the Leafs losing: indeed, if they're going to miss the playoffs (and they're going to miss the playoffs), I'd much rather they miss by a whole lot and net a great draft pick thereby. But it was how they lost last night that really irks me.
I'm an impartial hockey fan: the reffing was brutal last night for both sides. There were five or six clear Leaf penalties that were not called. That said,

* A Leaf goal was called back because the puck didn't cross the goal line...when repeated television replays clearly showed the puck over the line

* A Carolina goal was allowed despite just as clear evidence it was knocked in with a high stick

* A Hurricane player smothered the puck in the crease, which should have led to a Leaf penalty shot and didn'…

Going Moldy....

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