The above illustration, "Blowing Bubbles," has been adapted for use here by generous permission from the artist, Cyril Rolando.

August 17, 2008

More of those late night, whiskey perfumed thoughts.

Okay, so I may have consumed a tad more of the Johnny Walker Black than was good for me, but I consumed it at the Red Door Tavern over in Grandview, so at least I had a nice color contrast. Funny thing, too, because I went there directly after seeing 'Bottle Shock,' a nifty little film starring a favorite of mine, Alan Rickman. Rickman does snooty so beautifully. And he doesn't do it just one way either; the snooty wine snob in this film is a very different kind of snob from the murderous creature Rickman portrayed in 'Die Hard.' Anywho, you'd think that after a film about an award-winning chardonnay that I might at least have examined the wine list, eh? I can be so perverse.

Have you read Michael Koryta's latest and greatest, 'Envy the Night?' Why not? Hurry, because Craig McDonald has a new book coming in scant weeks and you'll need a day or two just to get your head around the title, 'Toros and Torsos.' His first book was 'Head Games.' You think he's got some kind of fixation on anatomical bits?

I've slowly, and I do mean slowly, been watching the first season of 'Dexter.' I'm struggling with it. The scripting is excellent, the acting is mostly good, but I have difficulty with the concept of hero-serial killer -- he only kills people who "need" killing... I go back yet again to Harry Bosch: "Everyone counts or no one does." And in Dexter, the feeling is that no one does. And I can appreciate the avant-noir aspect of the show without actually approving of it. I'm not usually squeamish, or at least I didn't think so, but the more I watch the show the less I am entertained by it. Yet it's clever, and certainly original. The feeling I get from this show is that somehow I am still supposed to root for Dexter, but as he is a sociopath that's not possible. Let's contrast Dexter, say, to Jim Thompson's Lou Ford, the killer deputy in 'The Killer Inside Me.' I was entertained by Thompson's psychopathic protagonist without Thompson ever once making me feel that I should be sympathetic to the Lou Ford. So when the denouement occurs in the book I am both entertained and morally appeased. Not so with Dexter, or at least not in these first few episodes. There is no moral appeasement and any comeuppance he receives comes from a character as dark as Dexter is. So I am less entertained and am, in fact, rather disturbed by the notion I'm getting that I am supposed to consider this butcherous monster as just another aspect of social 'diversity.' Hey, I'm all for understanding cultural diversity, but Dexter is not simply a guy with a different religion or culture or skin color. He's a monster walking around in human form. Portraying him as cute and lovable and maybe just a trifle dysfunctional is stretching my tolerance too damned far. Do you think I make too much of it? Well, try this: Watch the show, but don't watch it. Close your eyes and picture Mohammed Atta or Osama bin Laden doing and saying the things Dexter does. How does that work for you?

I'm not a big fan of the summer Olympics. I'll take the winter version with ice hockey and the skiing and the skaters over any number of swimmers, runners, weightlifters and what have you. There's nothing in the summer that makes me catch my breath like a really dangerous luge run. Did you see those women running the long distance race? Maybe it was a marathon or 10K, I didn't tune in long enough to find out. All I could see was a group of women -- the announcer said they were women anyway -- who looked like they'd been in an Olympic concentration camp. Their bodies looked wholly unnatural. Scary, even. Looked like there was going to be a medal ceremony for 'Night of the Living Dead.' Mm, and don't get me started on those guys lifting weights either.

I saw a noir film this past week, 'The Killing,' Stanley Kubrick's first film. That was pretty good stuff. Generally Sterling Hayden leaves me cold, but his performance was nicely toned even if it was pretty much overshadowed by that of Elisha Cook, Jr. And the plot was like something from one of Stark's Parker novels, brutal and economical.

Moose tracks...sounds good. I think the Johnny Walker has settled enough to allow for it. It's all about risk/reward, innit? Want to see more about 'Toros and Torsos?' I love this noir trailer:

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