Title: The Hateful Eight
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Keywords: western, mystery
Watched: 16 April, 2016
We saw the “roadshow” edition of The Hateful Eight at the Cinerama,
projected in 70mm as Tarantino and God intended.
The eight protagonists are all as hateful and violent
as you would expect given the title and the director.
Tarantino is incapable of making a film
without gratuitous violence and gore,
but neither can he make a film
without memorable characters who eviscerate with dialog.
He continues to deliver both.
During one long day, some years after the Civil War,
eight characters find themselves trapped by a blizzard in a remote inn.
Two are bounty hunters,
another claims …continue.
Title: The Locked Room
Author: Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Reading period: 8–12 April, 2016
In The Locked Room,
Martin Beck, recovering from being shot,
investigates the death of a man,
who has been found shot in a locked room with no gun.
Meanwhile, some of his former colleagues,
now serving on a special task force,
are trying to deal with an epidemic of bank robberies.
The latter is a comedy of errors, with the police consistently messing up.
The authors are severely critical of the growth of Swedish police powers
in the decade before this book was written.
They also write harshly of the …continue.
Title: A Stone of the Heart
Author: John Brady
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Steerforth Press
Reading period: 2–8 April, 2016
A student is found murdered on the grounds of Trinity College Dublin.
Sergeant Matt Minogue, newly back on duty after serious injuries,
investigates and eventually finds links to the violence
then roiling Northern Ireland.
A slow-moving but thoughtful police procedural.
Minogue may be traumatized by earlier injuries,
but he is not the cynical, hard-drinking policeman so typical of fiction,
but rather a happily married father with a nose for the truth.
I like to use io.StringIO rather than the older cStringIO.StringIO,
as it’s Python 3–ready
io.StringIO is also a context manager:
if you use it in a with statement,
the string buffer is automatically closed as you go out of scope.
I tried using io.StringIO with unicodecsv,
as I wanted to capture the CSV output into a string buffer
for use with unit tests.
unicodecsv is a drop-in replacement for Python’s built-in csv module,
which supports Unicode strings.
with io.StringIO() as csv_file:
lines = csv_file.getvalue().split('\r\n')
return lines[:-1] # drop empty line after trailing \r\n
It failed horribly with
TypeError: unicode argument expected, got 'str'.
Title: Venetian Mask
Author: Mickey Friedman
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Reading period: 27 March–2 April, 2016
Six people arrange to meet in Venice for Carnival,
masked and costumed as their true selves.
Not knowing how the others are costumed,
each makes very different—and wrong—assumptions.
Brian, husband of Sally and lover of Jean-Pierre, is found dead.
Surely one of the group is the killer.
An effete local, Count Michele Zanon, takes an interest in the affair.
A strange novel whose plot hinges on
miscommunication, mistaken identities, and incorrect assumptions,
as the seven protagonists rush around Venice,
seeking or hiding from each other.
Somedays on Facebook,
it seems like I spend half my time being that guy,
the killjoy who debunks the false memes.
One that I’ve debunked many times in the last few weeks
is the one that claims Sandra Day O’Connor
called the GOP a group of "vile, petulant, hateful" obstructionists.
Although I (and many of my friends) agree with that sentiment,
O’Connor never said it.
Snopes—as usual— is on the job
and points out that the GOP Obstructionists meme
is due to sloppy punctuation that then went viral.
In the last week, I’ve seen what purports to be a poster
from a 1970s anti-drink driving campaign,
often supposedly in Ireland,
“Driving? Don’t have that …continue.
I’ve long been a fan of Edward Tufte‘s work.
I’m also a fan of old-style serif fonts, such as Bembo.
I happened across the R Studio Tufte Handout Style yesterday,
and I was immediately struck by how much it resembles Tufte’s books.
It uses Tufte CSS and the open-source Tufte Book Font.
ETBook is a “computer version” of Bembo that Tufte constructed
for the more recent editions of his books,
supplanting the lead type of the earlier editions.
I’ve adapted this blog’s stylesheet to use ETBook
and some of the other settings from tufte.css.
It’s not completely faithful;
e.g., headings are bold, not italic.
How have I never discovered Sizes.com before?
It’s been around for 20 years
and it seems to be an authoritative source
on the sizes of all kinds of things:
screw threads, shoe sizes, horse collars, cake pans,
comas, chronologies, gross national happiness,
vehicle identification numbers, and much more.
I discovered it when looking up penny nails.
I signed up for a three-part Android Study Jam
organized by the Seattle Google Developer Group,
at the behest of a colleague who is also one of the organizers.
The last session takes place tomorrow morning.
I’ve built a little Android app that I call the Toastmasters Assistant
for the final project.
It doesn’t do very much yet,
except present some information about Toastmasters meetings, roles, and speeches
in an ExpandableListView.
I have some ambitions to do more with it.
Specifically, I want to add a speech timer.
Title: National Sunday Law
Author: A. Jan Marcussen
Publisher: Amazing Truth Publications
Keywords: delusional religious propaganda
We received an unsolicited copy of this ridiculous book in the mail.
It drones on and on about Satan and his plans,
bashing both Catholics and Protestants.
Apparently, ‘Sunday worship is “the mark of the beast!”’.
Who knew? Who cares.
I assumed that it’s from the Seventh Day Adventists,
though I couldn’t confirm that from skimming it.
However, Catholic Answers confirms my guess.
Best avoided, especially on Sundays.