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{ Monthly Archives } January 2012

About what you’d expect

I watched Monster House and The Artist on two consecutive evenings, and I have to admit up front that this is one of the harder “double review” pairings I’ve attempted, but I’ll try.  First, brief synopses: Monster House follows the adventures of three neighborhood children who discover that the house across the street is inhabited […]

The Dervish House

by Ian McDonald Set in the nearish future — 2040 or so–Istanbul, McDonald’s book dances around contemporary issues as they may evolve in the old-and-new world of the Middle East.  We follow the adventures of a natural gas trader, his wife who trades in antiquities, his neighbors who work for government think tanks, and a […]

2012-01-29 Tweets

How to have your day made: a random person asks for your autograph because you wrote a scholarly article. # Powered by Twitter Tools

The Horde

The Horde is a solid fast-zombie thriller with above-average character development and good production values. A few thoughts…

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett; read by Judith Brackley Bartlett chronicles the world of rare and antique book collecting through the eyes of two men deeply embedded in it.  The first, John Gilkey, is an unrepentant con man who stole hundreds of […]

A Quick Lesson in Commodity Fetishism

For time or convenience or bad parenting, I let my children watch television while they eat breakfast in the morning.  They do so from the couch, using plastic dinner trays that we purchased after they broke the nice Target ones with wooden legs.  Despite the fact that we ordered two identical lap trays, the ones […]

There’s no stopping them now!

In honor of my Zombies in Popular Media course, this month’s featured photos are all from Messiah of Evil, a mediocre zombie film with lovely mise-en-scene.

That feeling that you know for certain

One of the callers to Episode 743 of The Atheist Experience last week inquired whether the hosts would endorse belief in God that was not rational, but made sense.  When Martin and Russell dug into the concept a bit, the caller tried to make an analogy with love or music, things people feel but can’t […]

Half-Empty

written and narrated by David Rakoff David Rakoff is one of those writers whose every word makes me wish I were a better writer.  He dashes similes across the page with Raymond Chandler’s gusto, and his reading voice is downright heavenly.  The only thing one can complain about is that the cost of his erudition […]

2012-01-22 Tweets

Interesting post re: sexism and racism. http://t.co/Xvy9P8KH # SOPA is dead, for now. YAY!!!! http://t.co/UZ7qGtFx # Trading emails with your boss at 7:11am on a Saturday morning: #theprofessorlife # Powered by Twitter Tools

One week down

It’s the first week of a new semester here at Columbia College Chicago.  I’ve got a heavier load than usual — three twice-a-week classes, two that meet on Mondays and Wednesdays and one that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays (online).  Here’s a snapshot of the work we’re doing in the classes: Writing for New Media […]

In which I may change my mind… perhaps

My early instinct against the Citizens United decision revolves around the idea that corporate influence in politics is frustrating and corrupting.  I think we’re all on the same page there — the fact that lobbyists and campaign contributions play such a huge role in government decision making bothers me to no end.  And the Citizens […]

Any Human Heart

by William Boyd Logan Mountstuart lived an incredible life, spanning the era from just before the first World War until the middle of the 1980s.  He kept journals off and on throughout his life, chronicling his experiences as a writer, an adventurer, a lover, and a gatabout.  This novel collects those journals and creates a […]

Stop SOPA and PROTECT-IP

I’ve written about this before, and if I had  more time (beginning of the semester morass), I’d do the whole blackout thing.  Instead, you’ll have to settle for this. Please, please contact your Congress-person to protest the awful SOPA and PROTECT-IP laws.

Sophisticants, unite! (Mid 90s edition)

Looking for Richard and Cold Comfort Farm We subscribed to HBO for a few months last year so we could watch Game of Thrones and True Blood.  While we did so, I taped recorded several movies on our TiVO to watch later.  While preparing a Christmas gift for the kids last month, I had occasion […]