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{ Monthly Archives } December 2009

Holmes and Burn Victims

Sherlock Holmes and The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson A double-review since I have two things to write up, but also individual reviews because both works deserve them.  First, Sherlock Holmes, a re-imagining of the classic character as a bit more rough-and-tumble, with a badass Watson at his side.  They investigate a series of murders and […]

A little work around the house

The four projects I did as part of the “get stuff done cuz I have some free days” bonanza: Installed new lights in all three upstairs rooms. I bought a new light for my office about 2 years ago, and Jenny bought lights for the guest room and the “reading nook” a couple months ago.  […]


Year in Review: Best posts

I’m not going to spend a long time building the arguments for these posts, but rather just skim through and pick out the ones that strike me as having been really good. Science Fosters Good Values See! It Proves My Point The American Cargo Cult Radio Interview Finally Available Ethics quiz My Ten Favorite Characters […]

Student comment

I just discovered this in my notes from this semester’s “Detective Fiction” class, during a student-led exercise in which small groups come up with an idea for a murder mystery: Student 1: We were tossing around the idea that the killer only kills people with cats.  And then he shaves one of them… Student 2: […]


The Man Who Loved China

The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom written and narrated by Simon Winchester I like SW’s books quite a bit.  I’ve read several of them, and continue to enjoy his mix of entertaining facts, astute history, strong biography, and good writing.  The Man Who Loved China doesn’t […]

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Do you know what are you doing January 14th?

Wait! Wait! Don’t tell me what you’re doing.  I don’t want to know.  But I know what I’m doing. Jenny gave me the tickets as a Christmas present this year.  Woot. [ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | […]

In which I pontificate and prognosticate

I was recently interviewed via email for a graduate student paper.  The interview questions are block-quoted below, with my answers left-aligned. 1) For how many years has your class been running? Four.  This coming January will be the fourth time I teach it. 2) Do you know of any similar classes being taught at other […]


Comics Roundup: Eat or Be Eaten

Chew, issues 1-6, by John Layman and Rob Guillory Chew tells the story of Tony Chu, a “cibopathic” detective who learns clues by eating things.  It’s pretty yucky, but funny.  The story takes place in a post bird-flu world where chicken has been outlawed.  Chu and his partner work for the FDA tracking down black […]

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Year in Review: Fiction

I read a whole bunch of books this year, and these are among the best. Calibre by Ken Bruen Tells the story of a group of police officers in Wales(?) investigating a variety of cases.  Refers to and models itself on the Ed McBain 87th precinct series, with a nod to Jim Thompson as well.  […]

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Happy Christmas

Editor’s Note: Okay, I’m back-dating this, posting on the 28th of December but back dating to the 25th. Too bad. We spent the 21st through the 27th in Minnesota visiting my family. A couple highlight photos. More on our family blog. If you don’t have that address and want it, drop me a line and […]

Yikes! Trickery

A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History’s Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes and Frauds by Michael Farquhar I read this book very slowly over a long time, which is how it’s meant to be read, I’d guess.  Farquhar  crafts a variety of short essays exploring/explaining a whole bunch of deceptions […]

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Dead Man’s Diary and A Taste for Cognac

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Year in Review: cinema and television

I watched just over five dozen films this year; here are my favorites (among the movies I saw for the first time): Cinema Star Trek – I enjoyed this rollicking rethinking of the original space adventure.  I loved the way Abrams kept the old continuity and erased it at the same time–it’s a cute plot […]

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Ralph Nader vs. Zombies (and Robots)

An Unreasonable Man Zombies vs. Robots Complete by Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood For my double reviews, I try to pair two texts I’ve finished closely together and review them as if they were meant to connect.  As perhaps my strangest connection yet, I’m now reviewing Zombies vs. Robots and An Unreasonable Man.  First, a […]

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The Innocence of Father Brown

by G.K. Chesterton; Narrated by Brian Roberg for Obviously, I enjoy mystery stories.  And I understand that G.K. Chesterton is a revered and honored British writer, and that his father brown mysteries are most enduring and likeable.  But they didn’t do much for me. Don’t get me wrong, they were clever enough, with some […]

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