I woke up this morning to news of another American massacre:
a lone gunman had murdered 50 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando,
and injured another 53 people.
It was the worst mass shooting in US history and also the worst hate crime.
I put it out of my head for the afternoon while I attended an old friend’s wedding,
but it’s been at the forefront of my mind ever since.
Only in America could we put up with massacre after massacre,
yet not find the political will to do anything meaningful about gun violence.
Craven politicians in thrall to the NRA mouth platitudes,
but will not make any …continue.
Title: The Simple Art of Murder
Author: Raymond Chandler
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Keywords: crime, criticism
Reading period: 3–10 June, 2016
The Simple Art of Murder comprises the essay of the same name
and four early non–Philip Marlowe stories (in some editions, there are eight stories).
The essay is justifiably famous and worth reading;
the stories are of middling quality.
All are available online:
The Simple Art of Murder Essay, Spanish Blood,
I’ll be Waiting, The King in Yellow, and Pearls are a Nuisance.
In the essay, Chandler takes aim at the sterile confections of deduction
that comprised most detective fiction written in the 1920s and 1930s,
which “do not …continue.
Without an Address, You’re No One introduced me to What3Words,
an innovative system that uses just three English words to address
any 3m×3m square on the planet.
These words are drawn from a 40,000-word vocabulary.
A 3m×3m square is precise enough to identify a particular doorway in a large building
or a towel on a crowded beach.
I spent much of my childhood living at uses.pills.crunch (Dublin).
I spent ten years working at navy.clear.poems (Microsoft’s Redmond campus).
If I pinpointed the buildings that I worked in,
they would each have completely different w3w addresses.
It reminds me a little of Diceware which strings together several words
to form an easy-to-remember but hard-to-crack password.
I said …continue.
Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for the 2016 Presidential race.
Although Sanders has not yet ended his campaign, he can’t win.
I voted for Sanders in the Washington state caucus
and I still have his yard sign sitting in my front yard.
Unlike some diehard Sanders’ supporters,
I have absolutely no qualms getting behind Clinton.
She’s one of the most qualified candidates ever to run.
If elected, she will be on the right side of many of the issues I care about
and she will make good appointments to the Supreme Court.
She’s competent and capable and gets things done.
Clinton has survived more scrutiny and more attacks than …continue.
I wrote in Preparing Bloomsday Scripts back in late March,
that I was getting ready for this year’s reading of Ulysses.
Our 2016 Reading is a week and a half away, on Sunday June 19th.
We’ll be reading Chapters 3 (“Proteus”) and 6 (“Hades”)
of James Joyce’s masterpiece at the Seattle Central Library.
We had our first full readthrough at tonight’s rehearsal,
one hour fifty five minutes.
Next week, our dress rehearsal.
I’ve bought only three cars in my life:
a new red VW Golf in April 1992, when I moved to Seattle;
an 18-month-old black VW Golf in April 2002;
and a 2007 Mazda 3 in April 2016.
The 2001 VW was still running fine and had recently passed the 150,000-mile mark.
However, it, like the 1992 Golf, had a manual transmission (a “stick shift”).
Emma had a Morton’s Neuroma removed from the ball of her left foot around 2003.
It seems to be coming back
and she was having increasing difficulty depressing the clutch.
Between the ever-increasing traffic in Seattle and Seattle’s steep hills,
drivers need to change gear often.
It was …continue.
Title: The Blackhouse
Author: Peter May
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Keywords: mystery, scottish
Reading period: 29 May–3 June, 2016
Detective Inspector Fin McLeod hasn’t been back
to the Isle of Lewis in twenty years,
but he’s been seconded to the task force investigating a murder.
The dead man had bullied Fin and his friends throughout their childhood.
Returning home brings up a lot that had been long buried: secrets and resentments.
Fin’s childhood and youth is gradually revealed throughout the book,
informing his present-day investigation.
He acted badly in the past and that has not been forgotten.
May skillfully weaves these two tales together,
revealing details of character and plot,
Title: The Dead
Author: Ingrid Black
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Keywords: mystery, noir
Reading period: 2 April–3 June, 2016
At the end of March, I read an article in the Irish Independent,
The girl who stole my book,
about a blatant case of plagiarism.
A Kindle All Star author by the name of Joanne Clancy
had taken two books written by Ingrid Black a decade earlier,
and rewritten them in her own words,
changing the names and adjectives
but preserving the plot.
Eilis O’Hanlon, one half of the pseudonymous duo behind Ingrid Black,
only found out about the plagiarism by accident,
thanks to a tweet from a sharp-eyed …continue.
There was supposed to be a second showing of The Queen of Ireland documentary
this morning at the SIFF Uptown,
preceded by a panel discussion on Marriage Equality.
We attended the discussion,
which was moderated by Phil Grant, the Consul General of Ireland.
The three panelists were
Rory O’Neill, aka Panti Bliss, out of drag,
the accidental activist who became the face of marriage equality in Ireland;
Mayor Ed Murray, an Irish-American and Washington state’s best-known gay politician;
and Gary Gates, an LGBT demographer, married to an Irishman,
who advised the Irish campaigners.
I have a strong interest in marriage equality,
going back more than 20 years—I was wearing a HERMP shirt that …continue.
Title: The Very Best of Kate Elliott
Author: Kate Elliott
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Keywords: sf, fantasy
Reading period: 19 May–3 June, 2016
A collection of short stories and essays from Kate Elliott,
some of which are drawn from her various story universes.
In the foreword and the essays,
she discusses the cultural biases that
lead to the “male gaze” and male characters
being the unconsidered defaults for many readers and writers.
These stories amply demonstrate that good, interesting fantasy and SF stories
can be written with strong female characters and subtle plots.
(I already knew this; some in SF fandom still don’t.)