Thursday, March 12, 2015


I'm getting low on reading material, so I gave Cell, by Robin Cook a go.


Almost as soon as I started reading, I could see where it was going and had a pretty good idea how it would end. I was pretty close on both counts. What I really had a problem with is the main character, George something. Sorry, Dr. George something. Dr. George is getting the creeping suspicion that something may be up with a new medical device/system that is all the rage and is currently in trials. His suspicion revolves around the fact that everyone he meets who is involved in the medical trial dies.

And that gets Dr. George thinking: Hmmm.... Maybe something is up?

Ya think?

But what really gets me is that George tries to maintain his objectivity. We keep hearing about how Dr. George thinks this new system is swell, and how it may revolutionize medicine. And this is AFTER he has begun to seriously question whether or not its killing people! Including his friends! And Loved Ones! shouldn't be hasty

I think I read Coma back in the late 70s, early 80s when it was all the rage, and the made a movie based on it. Naked coma patients hanging from wires. All very titillating and spooky. But not that good, if I recall.

Cell is a sleeper. see what I did there

Sunday, March 8, 2015


So I read--or experienced--S by Doug Dorst. A concept for a book-like entertainment... thing, created by the director/producer J.J. Abrams.

S, which is like nothing else in the book store, is also packaged differently than most books. One will occasionally find a book shrink wrapped; typically to preserve its content from the damage caused by thumbing at the store, or to prevent damage to young and impressionable minds due to its racy content. S is shrink wrapped because its cover quick, look to the left is not the actual cover of the book. Nor is it a book jacket, or even one of those cool boxes called a slipcase, that you slide your book into, altho its probably most similar to the last one there. It is, more exactly, the packaging. Inside the packaging is the actual book. I'm not sure if you, dear reader, will consider some of the following spoilers, exactly, but I am about to discuss what is inside the package... ssshhhh The book itself is not called S, but The Ship of Theseus.

Herein begins the experience. See, The Ship of Theseus is not a real book, but a fully formed reproduction of a non-existent hardcover book from 1949, written by a non-existent author, complete with discoloration and foxing from age, stickers and stamps indicating that it belongs to a collegiate library. Again, non-existent library in a non-existent school. But within the margins of this book are hand-written notes, written by two people, who use these marginalia to communicate with one another. Among other things, they discuss the author of the book, who is the object of scholarly research for his literary efforts, and his politics.

As we read the "book" we also peer into the private correspondence of the two margin writers as they get to know each other and the mysterious author of the book. What they discover, and what we soon discover, is that the author's radicalism may still be alive today. What that means for the two note writers is what drives the experience forward. S is three or maybe four stories all running in series. The question is: how, or even if, these stories could be tied together.

Its not really a book, but a book is certainly part of it. If I were to try and deconstruct where the idea for this 'book' comes from, I would guess that it came from Abrams holding a book in his hand, maybe with some old forgotten marginal notes in it, and thinking to himself. This. This, is why we need traditional, analog books. This, the tactile, hands-on and hand-annotated 'real' thing can't just be a thing of the past. How much Abrams did to help with the actual writing, I don't know, but he isn't listed as a co-author. As a project, it is beautifully executed. If the effort wasn't put into the details, this project would have felt cheap and imitation. They did a nice job. Ironically, I don't think it will make a good library book. The reason for that should be obvious when you see it.

Monday, March 2, 2015

in like a lion...

Maybe you've seen the news. Maybe you live in New England like I do. If so, you, like me, are probably wondering; is it March? Doesn't seem like March. Doesn't seem like Spring pops in about three weeks. All I see is lions. Its like that old saying about what holds up the world.

Its lions, all the way down.

White Lion image: by Woxy, used without permission

So here's what I think: If March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, the other days must also have animality. So we need a scale, so you can see how lionish or lambish we are on a particular day. This year, I got really close to changing the list so that its lion every day. or at least for the next two weeks or so But this is information--new knowledge--that you can use to plan your day, your week, your weekend, even the whole month!

What's the best day to wear your Velcro monkey tail to work?* What's the best part about goat?** Is there really dolphin in tuna?*** How're you going to know these things without the lion-to-lamb list?

Here's how it stacks up this year. yes, its the same every year, that's why we call it a tradition.

March 1 - Lion: This one's a given. This year, its a white lion. And he weighs about 2 1/2 weeks.
March 2 - Tiger: Up to 11-feet, and nearly 700 pounds!
March 3 - Bear: Oh my! Black, Brown, but probably Polar. And hungry.
March 4 - Shark: Just remember Jaws 4.
March 5 - Wolf: The Timber variety. With the white, winter coat.
March 6 - Bull: One word: Pamplona.
March 7 - Moose: Brake for moose, it could save your life.
March 8 - Eagle: Don't leave your pets outside... or your children. Or your grammy... she weights like 42 pounds.
March 9 - Scorpion: Step on it before it steps on you.
March 10 - Dingo: No, its not a stray dog.
March 11 - Hawk: Not Riverhawk, that's UMass Lowell.
March 12 - Lynx: Its like a house cat. That kills and eats things. That weigh 42 pounds. Yeah, like Grammy.
March 13 - Bat: If you just get near one its a full rabies series. In your belly.
March 14 - Monkey: They pinch! With their feet! HBD Coleen! Maybe this should be Monkey Pi Day!****
March 15 - Snake: The Ides of March. Snakes are known for wisdom, and treachery.
March 16 - Ox: Hard working in a plodding kind of way.
March 17 - Elephant: Wise, big, powerful... gray.
March 18 - Raven: Nevermore.
March 19 - Stag: Power and compassion. Might make a good patronus.
March 20 - Crab: This one can sneak up on you. First day of spring!
March 21 - Goat: Stubborn and tough going.
March 22 - Horse: Strong and reliable.
March 23 - Pig: Smart but messy; wear your boots today.
March 24 - Dog: Friendly and good-natured; take a walk.
March 25 - Dolphin: Fun and wet; bring an umbrella.
March 26 - Rooster: Proud strutter. Crow at the sun! Wear your new socks!
March 27 - Turtle: Muddy, but adorable; boots again.
March 28 - Toad: They're not just for (witch's) breakfast anymore.
March 29 - Robin: The red breast is kind or orangey, no
March 30 - Rabbit: How can you be scared of rabbits? HBD Kelton!
March 31 - Lamb: Mmm... arrosticini. Smells like spring!

According to one source I read "This phrase has its origins with the constellations Leo, the Lion, and Aries, the ram or lamb. It has to do with the relative positions of these constellations in the sky at the beginning and end of the month." Yeah, Aries, the lamb, that must be it. Somebody is thinking too hard. I think the origins of something like this are pretty self-evident.

We have had over 8-feet of snow in Massachusetts this year. It snowed 2-inches yesterday (the first of March), and little today, and another storm is due beginning tomorrow night. And it hasn't been above freezing for more than a few days since January, so most of the snow that fell in late January, is still here.

Spring? Lambs? Yeah, I'm ready.

* Never.
** The shanks.  Chevon is delicious!
*** I don't know man! Focus! 
**** Pi Day is typically on 3/14, but this year its special, especially at about half-past nine: 3.14.15 9:27:54. That's pi to 9 decimal places, nerds!