Out of pure curiosity, I recently picked up a second-hand copy of J.K.Rowling’s (non-fantasy) novel, The Casual Vacancy.
What a delight.
The story involves an enormous cast of characters getting involved in a fairly mundane matter — the filling of a vacant town council seat — and its profound and often tragic consequences for the people of the town. It’s not an easy read — Rowling writes in the Russian style, where characters are introduced and never again explained — but it is very well written.
This is also a novel for grownups and not a Harry Potter book. It’s a searing and bleak sketch of modern British small-town life, and I can recommend it wholeheartedly to any of my Readers (especially of the Brit genus ) who want a decent few hours’ entertainment.
I’m definitely going to read it again, in the not-so distant future. Thanks, J.K.
In a shocking development:
Fox News announced Wednesday that Trace Gallagher will be the new anchor of Fox News @ Night, replacing Shannon Bream, who now hosts Fox News Sunday.
Now I have nothing against Gallagher, whom I recall as a decent enough sort, back when I used to watch cable news shows, and Fox in particular. But let’s just consider what’s happening here:
I mean… seriously?
Shannon is one of the foxiest [sic] anchors on TV, and to relegate her to a Sunday-only position is not A Good Thing. (I’m thinking of the welfare of Fox News regular viewers, here.)
It is not often that I watch a documentary all the way through with my mouth open in amazement, but watching Gladbeck: The Hostage Crisis on Netflix did that to me.
I don’t know how many times I burst out with “WTF?” and “I can’t believe this!” and similar; and you will too.
I know we’ve come a long way since the late 1980s, but this documentary needs to be shown to police forces worldwide as a “How NOT To Handle A Hostage Situation” guideline.
The Jackals Of The Press don’t come off covered with glory either — although I know that any other country’s Press, under the same circumstances, would have behaved the same or worse. (“And now, over to our reporter on the scene, Geraldo Rivera…” OMG, the mind boggles.)
And it ends terribly.
…and so say all of us. What you should do, Gentle Readers, is not tarry here pondering such weighty grammatical sins; rather, you should speed over to Mr. Ishmael’s to see the rest of his excellent rant about, well, everybody. (He had me at “That Albino Cunt Johnson”, a.k.a, the soon-to-be-ex-BritPM, but it’s not the only gem.)
Invective at its very finest.
I’ve watched this eulogy for Muhammad Ali about a dozen times, and it’s still the greatest ever. Enjoy.
I see with sadness that veteran Brit actor David Warner has gone to join the Choir Invisibule, and the screen has lost one of its better character actors in consequence.
My favorite of his roles is in the (apparently-forgotten) time-travel piece, Time After Time, in which he played Jack The Ripper to Malcolm McDowell’s H.G. Wells (storyline here).
What I loved about this movie was that when H.G Wells (the good guy) is transported from his comfortable Victorian life forward to modern-day San Francisco, he finds it incredibly difficult to cope. Not so for the Ripper (Warner), who finds that evil transcends culture and, for that matter, time as well — and among San Francisco’s prostitute population, he has an even greater choice of victims than in 19th-century London. And Warner is beyond-words excellent in the role.