Sunday, July 31, 2005

Curmudgeon in the Wry 302

Sunday, July 31, 2005---673 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 14 seconds
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Rave: Kay Starr
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We know this to be true: When the Tour de Lance reverts to the Tour de France next summer, you and I, almost all of America, will stop caring about the race.
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Hmmmm: Can hotels on islands offer continental breakfasts?
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Good advice: Always avoid single ply toilet paper.
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Rave: I really enjoyed Steven Bochco’s “Over There.” In fact I watched the instant replay. I was not alone as it was one of the 10 highest-rated debuts in the history of basic cable and the highest rated series of the night on cable TV.
It got a lot of ink and TV talk time…and mostly favorable reviews.
I agree with one commentator who said it “is not about pro-war or anti-war…it is just about war.”
I do wish The New Yorker could have kept their editorial out of the review.
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Paperback Reader: Two merciless natural born killers make their way to Washington, DC as the Bicentennial approaches in “King Suckerman” by George Pelecanos. They cross paths with Marcus Clay and Dimitri Karras during a minor drug deal. The results force Clay and Karras to hunt down the killers before the killers wreck havoc on their families. Nobody gets Washington better than Pelecanos. He has not written anything less than A material.
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Ross Thomas never got his fair share of credit for having written some of the best works of crime fiction ever published. Among others, Michael Connelly and Laura Lippman urge their readers not to miss his works. “Chinaman’s Chance” (1978) was enough to hook me. An intricate sting perpetrated by Artie Wu and Quincy Durant---and no one can work a great con like this duo. Those being conned realize it, but feel they can out con the conmen. Add in a colorful group of grifters, ex-CIA types and the former folk trio, Ivory, Silk & Lace. The layers of deceit and inveigling are uncountable and end up with a conspiracy in Dallas in the fall of 1963. Not to be missed…unbeatable fictional creations.
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“Cop Hater” (1956) is the first 87th Precinct novel from Ed McBain, and broke new ground in crime fiction. The scene is set for the 87th and the cops that will fill over fifty novels. Crisp, lean prose and complex character development make for a fast read. It looks like a serial killer is targeting cops. Detective Steve Carella has one slender clue and parlays it into a white hot finale. Easy to see how “Cop Hater” was the genesis of one of the longest and most enduring crime series.
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In 1973, Robert B. Parker’s highly popular and influential Private Detective, Spenser was introduced in “The Godwulf Manuscript.” Spenser’s unapologetic confidence, snappy repartee and deductive powers explode off the pages and continue thirty-some novels later. No Hawk yet…but Spenser is a pretty self-reliant sort anyway. No tedious Susan or tiresome Pearl the dog, and for that I cheer. Great read!
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Rope-a-dope: Forty-six-year-old Thomas Hearns returned to the ring for a scheduled 10-round fight Saturday, said, “I’m going to prove that age is just a number.” Guess he did just that.
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Hmmmm: It has been said that Grahame Greene wrote exactly 400 words a day, and would stop when he hit that number, even if he was in mid-sentence. May or may not be an urban legend.
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Rant: “Please wait, all of our customer service associates are busy helping other customers.” This translates to: This company does not hire enough people to adequately provide customer service.
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Hmmm: Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are getting weak?
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Ever wonder: What did bagpipers play before that guy wrote "Amazing Grace"?
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Best line going on TV: “The matrix is not perfect.”
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

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