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Tuesday, March 14, 2006 at 11:00 AM

Thought Provoking Question

You have to love libraries. Where else can you gain the perverse satisfaction of seeing Bill O'Reilly sitting right next to Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?

By adriennelibrarian at 11:00 AM

Friday, March 10, 2006 at 9:30 PM

The Freedom of MSG

Feeling gracious the other day, I let my 6 year old pick out something from the grocery store snack aisle. Like most American 6 year olds, he returned with something that had never resembled food in the entirety of it existence: Wise Onion Rings. There is absolutely nothing in the ingredients that anybody would eat all by itself. Tapioca starch, anyone? In the current political and social climate, where there are those who believe our civil rights are in the process of being eaten away, the back of the Onion Rings package does offer some reassurance, (though goodness knows it's not the list of ingredients). It says right there: "WISE ONION RINGS ... set your tastebuds free!" So, if you are not able to use your tounge as a free instrument of your thoughts and views, at least your tastebuds, tool of your stomach, have some freedom.

By adriennelibrarian at 9:30 PM

Thursday, March 09, 2006 at 10:26 PM

Non sequitur

"The moon closest to Jupiter has a cave on it, so you won't need to bring a tent."
--From Corner Gas, a Canadaian TV show.

You can try going to cornergas.com. But it's all flashy. I'm on dial up so I can't see a damn thing on it. Anyway, the show is entertaining. It's kind of like Northern Exposure, only Canadian. The differences are interesting, because NE was definitely American. The characters were weirder than life, the situations improbable (ie the fate of Maggie's boyfriends -- how many people really die from getting hit by a meteor?) But, not only that but with the Northern Exposure Ginsu 2000, you get not only comedy, but drama, philosophy and morality. (Preach it, Prettyboy Chris!) Not to mention the Native American spirituality bit. The whole weird town of Cicely, Alaska is extremely self-concious of being weird. Kind of not too far off from the whole Real World concept of throwing together characters who have absolutely nothing in common so the audience can watch and see the fur fly.

As for Corner Gas, you pretty much just get comedy, and they don't really worry themselves about philosophy, or good looking actors. Although Lacey is kind of pretty, so apparently Canadian males have some standards. On the other hand, she's pitied in one episode because nobody in Dog River thinks she is all that great looking. Not like Brent, who is over weight and balding. Dog River is on the whole, more homogenous than its American counterpart. There's a few characters floating around you might guess are Native Americans, but it's never ever mentioned. It's not an issue. If you get your hands on the first season, the first two episodes are a bit meh, but it gets a lot better.

By adriennelibrarian at 10:26 PM

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 at 11:55 AM

Good Literary Sex

Every so often, I get the inclination to listen to books on tape as I drive half an hour to work. A few weeks ago, I picked up Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. One of the things I find attractive about it is that it is the story of American expatriots in Europe after WWI. For some reason, I have this thing about World War I. It just seems so sad because it seemed to mark such an abrupt loss of innocence. Anyway, I had never read Fitzgerald before. Somehow I slipped past the high school required reading of The Great Gatsby. It's not too hard to understand why he's considered one of the great American novelists. The contrast between the way he says things, and the way some of the contemporary novelists I've read lately is interesting. The way the latter convey an idea is a bit poetic, and somewhat detatched in an ethereal, thoughtful sort of way. Not having any expamples at the moment, I can only "prove" my point by saying that is the sort of feeling they left me with. Fitzgerald is definitely not poetic, but his descriptions are brilliant. Not so much of places and things, but of people, emotions, motivations and to a lesser extent, ideas. He is probably best at describing the momentary in but a phrase or two, but because he pins down a particular, peculiar feeling, that fleeting impulse becomes almost tangible somehow. In verbalizing a sentiment, I often "knew" just what he meant. I also enjoy his little barbs of sarcasm and satire.

Another great thing about this book is the sex. (For other rants on sex in books, see 1/22/06 and 9/27/05.) Fitzgerald satisfies all my requirements for novel sex, or sex in novels. He doesn't write about it to titillate. He often spends a great deal of time describing kisses, embraces, feelings and all the things that lead up to coitus. He may hint at or suggest goings on. The reader's imagination may take it further or choose to be obtuse about it all. Secondly, every single time sex is mentioned or people do it, it does something to the plot, or the relationship between characters is dramatically changed. Imagine that. Good, novel sex. I was dubious of its existance, but Fitzgerald pulled it off.

The book is about Dick Diver and the eventual decay of his marriage to one of his extremely wealthy psychological patients. For some reason, critics and reviewers like to dub it a "descent into madness." Mostly, I think they are just really happy to have an excuse to use that phrase because nobody takes reefer madness seriously anymore. I'd say a more accurate theme is one of promise unfullfilled. At the beginning of the book, Dick is unbelievably charming, is well respected in his field, has written a book and is working on a second, important book in his field. The rest of the book describes his subsequent deterioration, where he ends up mediocre. This is a book I will probably have to sit down with sometime and read with my own two eyes.

By adriennelibrarian at 11:55 AM

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