Tuesday, January 19, 2010

RIP, Robert B. Parker

Author Robert B. Parker, the dean of American detective fiction, has died at age 77. Parker wrote many books, but his most popular creation was Spenser, a wise cracking Boston private detective. He also wrote a series of Westerns, novels about police chief Jesse Stone and female private eye Sunny Randall, as well as a novel depicting a fictional bodyguard working to protect Jackie Robinson in 1947.

I've read Parker for a long, long time-25 years at least. I have read nearly all of his books-all of the Spenser books, save that I haven't read the most recent, plus there are two more coming, according to the publisher. For me, he is one of the few who completely captures a male voice and a male perspective. As tough as Spenser has to be, he has genuine regrets and insecurities, and Parker writes like a dream-lean, tough, beautiful prose, with just enough detail. I have written papers on Parker in both high school and college, and I feel like I have internalized parts of Spenser like few fictional characters I have ever encountered.

Parker's departure, though certainly no surprise at age 77, leaves a void in my mental life. His voice will be missed.

Heard on the West Wing this morning...

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral; returning violence with violence only multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

100 Words On Breakfast

Another week, another 100 Words Challenge from Velvet Verbosity. Get your own peek at her verbosity.


Most important meal of the day, right?


When you wake up with nausea and a sense of unease, and this happens every day, you don't eat breakfast. You don't eat lunch. You go without food until raging hunger compels you to eat, then you make stupefyingly bad food choices.

Then you feel sick again, because you waited so long to eat. Then you feel bad, because you made a foolish food choice that you know will make you feel bad later. So you feel bad now, and you feel bad later. So you eat more.

Good call, chief.

Cri De Coeur

Tweetbookz.com-Possibly the stupidest idea I have ever seen outside of the Republican Party platform.
Now, I told myself I was going to be nice. I guess I lied.
“Once there was a way to get back homeward…”
“We note our place with book markers/
That measure what we’ve lost…”
Did I mention I love the IPod? Squeeze’s “Tempted” rolling into the Fugees’ cover of “Killing Me Softly (With His Song)”. Gorgeous. Lauryn Hill could sing the phone book, and I’d want to listen to it.
I’ve been writing this post for a while now. You may notice (you probably won’t, but you indeed may) that I haven’t posted anything in nearly a week. You may notice, and be worried. You may notice, and be grateful. You may notice, and not care in the least. Or you may not have noticed at all.

I have been having a crisis. Not exactly a crisis of faith. Not exactly a midlife crisis-although, fortunately, I have managed to be unattractive enough to make an affair a physical impossibility. (I wasn’t tempted to begin with, in any case.) Not exactly a crisis of conscience-although there are certainly elements of that.

Dan Carlin told a story on his latest podcast. He says his daughter, age 7, was complaining about the fact that her schoolwork and other household chores were preventing her from doing the things she wanted to do. Carlin says that he told her, in typical parent fashion, that in life, sometimes the things that you have to do get in the way of what you want to do. Typical-you can’t have your ice cream until you finish your carrots. Simple, right?

Carlin then thought about what he had said. Carlin’s show has been focused for a while, and particularly so recently, on the problem of political corruption. Carlin’s view, which I find very hard to dispute, is that the way we fund elections in this country amounts to legalized bribery. Both parties siphon in enormous amounts of cash from corporations and special interests, and then, to no one’s surprise, we get wars fought for corporate profit, health insurance reform that won’t and financial reform that doesn’t. In short, the government responds to the needs of those who pay for it-large corporations and lobbyists. This makes America, essentially, crony capitalism, as corrupt and rotten as Columbia or any other state where the government is for sale in the marketplace.

Carlin noted that, despite his writing and podcast ranting on the topic, he hasn't really done anything to change it. This makes him a hypocrite-he tells his daughter that she has to do the “have to's” before the “want to's”, and then he doesn't lift a finger to do the biggest “have to” of all-saving democracy.

Carlin's story is an apt one-I'm not doing my have to's either. I am having a crisis, at the end of the day, of relevance. I am having an enormous amount of trouble seeing the point in continuing the effort, at blogging in particular and at everything else in general. I can't escape the feeling that we are doomed.
On an unrelated note, another Red Sox season is approaching, and longtime readers of the space will probably remember that I posted here accounts and commentary about every game during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. It seems a shame not to do so again, given that the first two seasons were enjoyed by enough people to fill a Volkswagen, at the very least. I'm thinking that this year, I have to do something a little different. I am thinking maybe poetry, or starting each entry with a letter of the alphabet, or something like that, to keep myself interested.