ejp626

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  1. African Music

    Was listening to BBC 3 World on 3 program, when I heard a track off of Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes From the Horn of Africa. The track was Rag Waa Nacab Iyo Nasteexo by Aamina Camaari. I really liked that, but I can't speak to the rest of the CD. Anyhow, my library has ordered the Sweet As Broken Dates CD, so hopefully before too long I can listen to the rest.
  2. emusic.com

    I see that they just lost the rights to carry Pi Recordings, which is a shame, as I had a few half downloaded albums that I can't finish up now. Way, way back they lost Prestige/Riverside/etc. I'm kind of losing interest at this point and think I'll cancel my subscription, though I'll take one last look to see about any Steeplechase and Black Lion (listed under 1201 Music) titles I am missing.
  3. The actor, John Hillerman, who played Higgins in Magnum P.I. has just passed away: https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/2017/11/09/magnum-pi-actor-john-hillerman-dead-at-84.html I haven't seen reruns of Magnum in ages. I liked it as a kid, but don't know how well it stands up today (or rather how much have my tastes changed). I think even then I had just a bit of a soft spot for Higgins, who was so often the butt of Magnum's jokes. RIP
  4. Now reading...

    I've actually been reading a fair number of short stories, in addition to various novels. I'm currently midway through Anthony Trollope's Lotta Schmidt and Other Stories. These are generally pretty solid stories. One or two have a bit of a twist (predating O. Henry), though in a way I was impressed by a story about a young writer, on the verge of starvation, who doesn't miraculously acquire a patron at the 11th hour, which I had been expecting from the set up. The denouement was a bit more interesting than that. One book that just came out is F. Scott Fitzgerald's I'd Die for You and Other Lost Stories. Some of these are stories that were a bit too dark for periodicals of the time (or at least under his byline, given what the public expected from him). But in most cases, he had a policy of refusing to accept any editorial advice, and then just filed the stories away if they couldn't be sold "as is." I'm very sorry to report back that, in most cases, Fitzgerald was wrong and far too proud at this stage of his career, as these definitely could have used editing. Quite a few are corny (especially his movie treatments turned into stories), and one has so many factual errors (claiming that the subway up in the 200s in Manhattan only had service every hour) and such ridiculous plot contrivances about an underage cab driver that I actually found it unreadable and stopped midway through. Even his literary agent begged him to fix the errors, but Fitzgerald refused. The first story in the collection (The IOU) was decent and was recently (and belatedly) published by The New Yorker. The second was improbable but at least readable. I personally didn't care for the title story (due to the over-the-top sexual magnetism of one of the characters), but it was reasonably well written and some people will like it. And that's about it. The rest are basically a mess. So this is one for Fitzgerald fanatics only, and even then I would only borrow it from the library. In about a week or two, I'll get to Mordecai Richler's The Street, which is a slim volume of stories set in Montreal's St. Urbain neighbourhood, with Duddy Kravitz as the most notorious resident.
  5. I finally got around to seeing this. The room was relatively packed, so I am a bit surprised to hear the media narrative of this film is that no one is going to see it and that it will lose a ton of money (actually it has sort of broken even already if you don't count marketing, and I saw very little marketing, so I don't know what they spent). In a way, this almost seemed like a throwback to 80s era films with a fair bit of nudity, some in the service of the plot and some a bit more gratuitous. It felt like a long film (and many people slipped out in what was essentially the third reel just to hit the rest room). I just read that the original cut was 4 hours long! So perhaps there will be a director's cut here as well. (Minor spoilers) I agree that it is ridiculous to say it is misogynistic just because the main villain is a female (even one who is gratuitously evil to another woman). You can say that there are some tired tropes here. The way that female replicants (androids) are disposed of without a second thought when they don't measure up (whereas the male replicants at least have a fighting chance literally). There is a bit of a Handmaid's Tale vibe going on where women are sort of reduced to their reproductive status. (And yet children were not actually valued at all, given the frankly unbelievable number of orphans.) I will also agree that there are some ideas that work better than others, but the reveal about the Gosling character (K dash something) was actually pretty good. Still, the internal SF "world building" rules don't seem to make any kind of sense. Also I thought there were a few plot holes, particularly how LAPD of the future has apparently no meaningful internal security or even metal detectors in its building. I thought K, the Ryan Gosling character, 1) might have realized he was easily trackable (this is a neo-noir after all) and 2) would likely have had to give up his cool flying car (maybe this is better explained in the 4 hour cut). Also, why replicants need their own apartments (rather than living in a cubical at work for instance) and are paid actual money for their services is unclear (again see the odd "world building" rules). But I did enjoy it. I agree with Bill that the visuals worked well. I'm glad I saw it on the big screen before it vanished. This may be one of those films that has an audience that grows over time, just like the original film.
  6. Now reading...

    I've just finished Isherwood's A Single Man, which I guess could be called A Single Day in the Life of a Single Man. It is interesting to compare the fairly buttoned-down George to the let-it-all-hang-out Wilhelm from Bellow's Seize the Day. To be fair, there was a point (in the past) when George broke down in the company of his friend Charlotte, over the death of his lover, but now George keeps these emotions in check. However, given the rivers of booze that flow through this novel (indicating perhaps Mad Men wasn't so far off the mark) and poor George's liver, there is a bit of suspense over what exactly will come out of his mouth while he is drunk. The novel is somewhat radical in how it describes an older male lusting (privately) after a fair number of younger men. Given how much of the novel is an interior monologue (maybe 65%), I'm struggling to imagine how they turned this into a movie. (Most people who have read/seen both, consider the movie a pale imitation of the novel.) I may check out the movie one of these days, but I am in no hurry. I'll be reading Bradbury's The History Man next and then Austen's Sense and Sensibility.
  7. Now reading...

    Have you read Let Me Be Frank with You, which is sort of a coda to the trilogy?
  8. Now reading...

    The Longreads piece didn't do that much for me, but the piece he linked to was quite interesting: https://talkingcovers.com/2012/09/12/vintage-contemporaries/ I particularly find Richard Yates's reactions amusing, as he just didn't like the covers at all. I haven't read all the Vintage Contemporaries, but certainly a fair number. Being in the Vintage Contemporary line-up was a fair indication that the book was solid. Maybe some day if I get through all my other reading (fat chance), I will just go through the list once and for all. What I really ought to do is see if some crazy person has put the entire series on eBay and just buy it and stick it in my basement. I'm not entirely sure how long it would take to collect the individual titles, especially as so many used bookstores have gone out of business.
  9. Now reading...

    While it had a few moments of interest, ultimately I found Bombay Time to be too disjointed, delving into too many marriages (most unhappy or tragic, with 2 happy marriages detailed). I'm about halfway through Atwood's Moral Disorder and am enjoying that. It will be one of Mahfouz's shorter novels, Love in the Rain, next.
  10. It's a tough day for fans of Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip (arguably Canadian's most-beloved rock band). Obit here: https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/music/2017/10/18/tragically-hip-frontman-gord-downie-has-died-band-repiorts.html It doesn't help much that it has been known for quite some time that he had incurable brain cancer, but he did have a chance to go out for one last Hip tour and say goodbye to the fans. Many artists don't get that. I'm amazed that he found the time to do two last solo projects, as well as that last tour with the band. I saw them three times plus a very short outdoor set at Dundas-Yonge Square. So I was hardly a super fan, but I liked their work quite a bit. Similar to Tom Petty, basically Downie was, by all accounts, pretty grounded and was a nice guy; he never seemed to lose his contact with his roots and often went the extra mile to satisfy his fans. One late interview was particularly heart breaking when he revealed that the cancer was affecting his memory. He had to have teleprompters on the last concert tour. He was even afraid he would forget his children's names. Anyway, cancer sucks, though we all know that. RIP
  11. Now reading...

    I decided to tackle The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor. This is a recasting of the Mahabharata with Indian politicians covering roughly 1917-1980. Not surprisingly, my knowledge of Indian politics isn't very deep with only a passing familiarity to Gandhi, Nehru and Indira Gandhi. I've decided to just go ahead and read through the novel, which is fairly engaging, and then I'll go back to the Wikipedia article that explains all the references. After this, Thrity Umrigar's Bombay Time. Then assuming it is in at the library, Anita Majumdar's Fish Eyes Trilogy.
  12. Now reading...

    Working my way through Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Another book I should have read when I was much younger. I'm having a lot of trouble relating to (or even being very interested in) the title character, who is basically a Jewish (and more more cynical and destructive) version of Ferris Bueller.
  13. Now reading...

    I definitely felt The Good Soldier was a bit too drawn out this time around and a bit too needlessly convoluted. We get the gist of what happened by p 50 or even sooner, and then the rest is sort of a baroque filling in of a lot of details and much more back story. Which would be fine if some of it didn't seem just so repetitive. The last few pages do redeem it a fair bit where we finally get a sense that the narrator isn't quite the angel he often portrays himself as. It's still a solid book, but I wasn't blown away by it as I was in my 20s. Carr's A Month in the Country next, and I am also trying to wrap up Fontane's Irretrievable (NYRB). I compared Irretrievable and No Way Back (Penguin) and finally plumped for the (older) translation published by NYRB.
  14. Now reading...

    I'm finding I have no particular interest in any of the characters in Lucky Jim and don't care what happens to them. (Furthermore, David Lodge writes much more pointed satire of academia.) I'll finish it, as it is fairly short, but I am already looking ahead to The Good Soldier, which I liked very much in my 20s, so I hope I still feel the same now.
  15. Walter Becker of Steely Dan dies at 67

    RIP I saw them once after they started touring again after a long layoff. Amazing show. Fagen says the show (current tour) will go on, but obviously it will never be the same.