“The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club” (Dorothy L. Sayers, Lord Peter Wimsey #4) Lord Peter Wimsey stumbles upon the corpse of an old foggy who has, improbably, died of perfectly natural causes on his chair at the Bellona Club. OR HAS HE? (Spoiler: The second Sayers I’ve read where we are meant to dislike anybody who makes any claims on behalf of science.) (5)

“The Red Thumb Mark” (Austin R. Freeman, Doctor Thorndyke #1) Sayers just mentioned this medico-legal detective, hero of a long saga. In Thorndyke’s debut, a mysterious thumbprint points the way to an innocent man./ “The Eye of Osiris” (Austin R. Freeman, Doctor Thorndyke #2) An Egyptian amulet can help determine the time of death. (4)


“The Enigmatic Mr. Barelli” (Bob de Moor) Barelli is an actor, a master of disguise, a detective- and given to pratfalls. Essentially a more mature Tintin, (that magazine published his adventures.) De Moor is close to Herge in the “ligne claire” pantheon, and seamlessly collaborated with the master in Tintin. (4)





apaleview“A Pale View of Hills” (Kazuo Ishiguro) Maybe I want my Nobel prizes to rise above pedestrian declaratory sentences? At first glance I thought Ishiguro’s first novel was pretty damn meh. And yet it stuck with me, as I thought about the disputable ambiguities of the narration. Reading interviews with Ishiguro, he himself will admit he didn’t quite pull off the desired effect. It’s clear Etsuko is lying about a number of things, and Sashiko and Mariko are either entirely imaginary or real people upon whom she’s projecting her own story. Less clear is whether Ishiguro was going for a larger tale of how Japan, in an attempt to become Westernized, killed off a part of its “Japanishness”- or how much of that is Ishiguro’s own tale, told through the imaginary Etsuko. Better as a discussion topic than as a novel. (4)

TaylorSwiftAlbumDeluxeTaylor Swift (Self-Titled Debut). Just a small town girl in a lonely world, her endless adoration for a pretty boy with a pick-up, and her endless contempt when he disappoints. Classics: “Teardrops in my Guitar,” “Tim McGraw,” “Our Song”, “Picture to Burn”. (5)

holiday“Holiday” (The Magnetic Fields). “On the Ferris Wheel, looking out on Coney Island/ Under more stars than there are prostitutes in Thailand.” “The Magnetic Fields” in a couplet: Romance and cynicism going at each other.  This stuff has always appealed to me, but I mostly avoided the Stephin Merrit catalog until now because his mega-albums sounded like threats. “10,000 Ballad Chronicles,” etc?! Yikes! But the lo-fi carnival of his writing beckons. “Desert Island,””Take Ectsasy with Me,” “Strange Powers.” (5)

The Magnetic Fields: “The Charm of the Highway Strip.” If Holiday had a “get away from it all” theme, here Stephin Merritt takes to the pleasures of the road. A lite concept-album./ “Get Lost.” Lots of songs about the moon! Does Merrit stick to images or what? (4)

parks and rec 4

“Parks and Recreation” (Season 4 re-watch) Pawnee stride and pride! Leslie Knope and her gang of lovable government miscreants keep wasting tax-payer’s money in a good 2012 season that is marred by some chemistry free liaisons. No one is writing fan fics about Amy “Not Tina Fey” Poehler and Adam “Are We Having Fun Yet” Scott, or about Azis “Bad Dater” Anzari and Rashida “Quincy’s Daughter” Jones. We’ll always have Aubrey “Deadpan April” Plaza and Chris “I Went to the Gym and Now I’m an A-Lister” Pratt.  (4)

wilwheaton“Will Wheaton’s Table Top” (From the Geek and Sundry channel on YouTube). Love to learn about games I don’t get a chance to play, but the awkward nerd humor grates; I can do awkward and nerdy with my own peeps. (3)


campus“Campus Notes: Forget Me Not.” Visual Novel about a Japanese University that is best interpreted as a long Orientation class. (3)




Armored-Warrior-Iris-Free-Download“Armored Warrior Iris”. Another slow-paced eroge ordeal, but the visual novel genre interests me so much that I endure. Here, a robot-suited girl fights bad guys- and they defend themselves in naughty ways. (3)








“In a Valley of Violence” (Ti West). Delightful Western pastiche, “Hateful Eight” on a budget. Ethan Hawke, Taissa Farmiga, Burn Gorman, Karen Gillan, Toby Huss, John Travolta. (4)


“Super Dark Times” (Kevin Phillips) Pre-Columbine tales of a handful of 90’s teenagers, one katana, and a million mistakes. But it doesn’t get as good as the dead deer on scene 1. (4)


“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales.” (Joachim Ronneng,Esper Sandberg, POTC #5) As usual, garish special effects, a nonsensical myth-mixing plot, odd rock star cameos (this time, it’s Sir Paul McCartney) and Jack Sparrow in a fun bit with a rotating guillotine. There is an overwhelming sense of desperate replication, though, and the new leads (Effy from “Skins” and… some guy) are not quite Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.




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