We were having dinner at a local restaurant last night. There was a karaoke machine in the bar area, playing mostly Christmas songs. When I heard “Little Drummer Boy,” a song that has always struck me as being tedious, for some reason it occurred to me that Todd Rungren’s “Bang on the Drum All Day” was a much better version of the song.
My buddy Hank Wagner and I have started a new thing. We have taken to doing “dialog” reviews via email for Dead Reckonings. It started when we took on Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Then we repeated the process with Doctor Sleep and this week we finished up a tag-team review of The Abominable by Dan Simmons. It’s a little like hanging out at the bar at NECON talking about books.
I also reviewed Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin over at Onyx Reviews. I just finished Cockroaches by Jo Nesbø. This is his second book in the Harry Hole series, but it has only just now been published in English.
Yesterday my final contribution to Storytellers Unplugged, called The End, went up on the blogging site. I’ve been noticing for some time that there were more gaps in the schedule than actual posts. In its heyday, a different person posted every day of the month. I did a tally and was surprised to discover that the monthly average had dropped to four. So I figured it was time to throw in the towel. It was my 100th post, and during the final month of the year, so it seemed like a good time to go.
I was highly satisfied with the way Survivor ended this season—and it was a mighty fine season. I was hoping Tyson would win from at least the midpoint, and his sweep of individual and hidden immunity idols late in the game made it smooth sailing. I thought Vitas’s question at the final council was a clever one, getting each of the three finalists to say which of the other two deserved to win. I wonder what the record is for the least amount of weight lost by a contestant who almost reached the end. Ciera must be a contender: she only lost 1 pound in her 35 or so days. By contrast, Hayden lost nearly 25. I always wish the reunion show was longer. We could have done without the Cochran sketch, at least, or the inane comment from a random audience member.
Last week’s NCIS was one of the funniest in recent memory. Whenever Gibbs and Tobias get together, hilarity ensues, especially when their mutual ex-wife is involved. It was so funny to see Gibbs go home and absolutely collapse, face down, onto his couch after dealing with their issues, only to realize they were in the room watching him. Warming to the new kid on the block, Bishop, the Ziva replacement. An interesting character, statistics- and scenario-bound, not exactly a people person, but she has a husband so she’s not a total introvert. They’re still finding the balance between letting her shine and bruise her knees. Not many shows would have a Christmas episode centered around dozens of kids with the plague. But they did have their “very special moment” with Vance’s father-in-law.
The season finale of Sons of Anarchy was brutal. The sound of that meat fork going in and in and in again…eek. I’m not sure exactly what Juice thought he was accomplishing by shooting the cop. He cleaned up a little bit but he could have done a better job. Hell, maybe even set the place on fire to cover the evidence. For want of a nail (or, in Gemma’s case, information), the kingdom was lost. I wonder what the provisions are for Jax’s kids if Tara is out of the picture, Wendy is in rehab, Jax is arrested (theoretically) and Gemma is unavailable.
I’ve been watching a British crime series called The Last Detective, which stars Peter Davison (Doctor Who #5, currently on Law & Order UK) as a middle-aged Detective Constable in north London. His character is called Dangerous Davis, precisely because he isn’t dangerous at all. He and his wife are separated (they share custody of a St. Bernard), but he can’t quite pull himself free from her. He gets no respect from his colleagues. He’s “the last detective” his boss would think of assigning to a case, unless it’s a crap detail. Still, he manages to stumble upon major crimes and sort them out, more through plodding and procedure than brilliant flashes of deduction. It’s quite charming.