Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
1) By a stroke in 1983.
2) His car plunged into the icy waters of Salem's harbor during a police chase in 1984.
3) Marlena shot him, and he fell from a catwalk as the building caught fire in 1985 (he also had a brain tumor).
4) In 1991, he was presumed to have died in another fire and cave collapse.
5) In 1994, his car erupted into a fireball after being shot at by John.
6) Also in 1994, he drowned near Maison Blanche.
7) In 1996, he died in a plane explosion.
8) Again, in 1996, he was blown up and buried under collapsing tunnel during confrontation with Rachel Blake. This was his last depicted "death" until 2007. However in 2002, Andre DiMera (posing as Tony) claimed that his uncle had died from injuries sustained from a car crash in Monte Carlo. In 2004, when Marlena and the presumed dead Salem Stalker victims found a blackened, unrecognizable corpse on Melaswen, Andre (posing as Tony) claimed it was Stefano. Andre said he had killed Stefano by draining his blood so Andre could cure his own blood disease.
9) In 2007, his death was faked once again. As a setup by the Salem P.D., Steven "Patch" Johnson appeared to stab Stefano to death, but he was drugged and a fake funeral was setup to lure Andre.
10) In 2009 he had a heart attack, but survived.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Why the picture of Homer Simpson? Come on, think about it...
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
I said nothing. For two reasons. Firstly because I didn't want to get worked up and secondly because although I only get a number three all over I was still getting a sensational hair cut and didn't want to ruin it. However I do have an opinion about Inception. (I haven't formally blogged about this but I have mentioned it several times in comment threads, so, if you'll please excuse the repetition...) I thought Inception was the worst kind of film: a really dumb movie masquerading as an intelligent one. Pretentious, shallow codswallop that seems to have fooled a lot of people into thinking there are hidden depths of wisdom or something. Ugh, the acting, the dreariness, the logical flaws, but my main problem with the picture was its asexuality. If Christopher Nolan had really read Freud (or if he'd been French) the movie wouldn't have been the chase and shoot em up fantasies of a 10 year old boy but would have been chock full of seduction. How about instead of a gun battle within a gun battle within a gun battle we had at least one scene where they use eroticism to convince their clients? Ellen Page is a nice young lady but she's not going to launch a thousand ships or start a war is she? And it wasn't just the casting, it was the entire ethos. Does anybody on this planet have such sterile, unerotic dreams as everyone in Inception seems to have? I'll bet even the Pope has the odd sex dream - you can't help it, you're human. It reminded me of the National Lampoon novel Bored of the Rings where the Dark Lord, instead of using the Nine Riders and brute force, hires a beautiful elf maiden to seduce the ring from Frodo...she caresses his hairy hobbit toes and he gives it to her immediately - end of story. Yes I know Nolan is English but despite the stereotype the English are a bawdy people and masters of innuendo from Chaucer to Syd James and Lily Allen.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I do like the cover illustration which looks cute and was done by Loren Long who did the art for, er, Madonna's books, but the Knopf people had to ruin that too by getting the typography wrong. I looked this book up in the Library of Congress Catalog: the title is Of Thee I Sing, not, of THEE I SING.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The big chains only carry the big authors, so we small fry, especially mystery authors, owe these plucky independent book stores a big debt of thanks for keeping our names in the public eye. Actually no, that's the passive voice. Let me rephrase that: I would like to thank every bookshop and bookstore owner that has ever hosted a reading for me or invited me to be part of a panel. I really appreciate it and I am in your debt.
Mr Thompson, my best wishes to your friends, colleagues and family. You will be missed.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I've been reading Tony Blair's memoir A Journey for the last few days and I've been intrigued by Blair's writing style. It's not Churchillian that's for sure but seems to be - like Mr Churchill himself - a trans Atlantic amalgam. Its not quite British English, not quite American English. His vocabulary is very slangy and colloquial and this makes the book chatty and extremely readable but also robs it of gravitas. It's a strange tone to take for what essentially is a political memoir (there isn't really much autobiography).
It was probably a mistake on my part to get the US version of A Journey because its full of irritating parentheses explaining by elections and Arthur Scargill etc. Sonny Mehta the editor in chief at Knopf probably told Blair to unpack everything so that readers with the meanest understanding could get it (this might once have been good policy once but times have changed since Sonny's heyday and now in the age of wikipedia this thinking is completely redundant). I imagine too that the UK version doesn't begin with the gushing preface about Blair's love for America which most American citizens - including your own correspondent - will find embarrassing. I suppose the biggest surprise of the book so far is Blair's prudery: he refuses to use profanity, writing "f***ing" and even "bull****" lest anyone be upset by words which have been appearing in English publications since the time of Chaucer.
I haven't finished A Journey but at the moment, despite its weirdness, it's up there with Churchill's My Early Life as one of the most entertaining Prime Minister's memoirs - not a genre studded with brilliance, admittedly.
I have read enough to be unimpressed by the indexing job. If you look up Australia in the index there are two listings. The indexer missed Blair's visit to Australia where he stayed with the Prime Minister and spoke in front of Rupert Murdoch's business group, he somehow missed Blair's influential Australian best friend in college, and he missed the fact that Blair actually lived in Australia for nearly five years when he was a boy. This is lazy stuff from Knopf.
Finally I felt this clip from Apocalypse Now was appropriate (esp at 1:59) but it should NOT be watched by animal lovers. Oh and yeah, spoiler alert, this is the end of the movie.
And a final final thought, Peter Morgan who wrote The Queen and who owes his entire career to Blair is saying in The Daily Telegraph that Blair plagiarised him when Blair wrote about his first meeting with Queen Elizabeth. "You are my 10th Prime Minister, Winston was the first," Helen Mirren says in the film. Remarkably, in the book, the real Queen Elizabeth says exactly the same thing even though Peter Morgan says that he completely made that line up. Interesting, no?
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Anyhoo I was telling my older daughter about the Shel Silverstein author photograph and how freaky it was and she delightedly informed me that in Diary of a Wimpy Kid there's a whole riff about that author pic and there's even a scary drawing of the pic done by the Wimpy Kid himself. The Wimpy Kid's father repeatedly threatens him with the promise that if he doesn't "brush his teeth Shel Silverstein from The Giving Tree will get him" which is pretty funny stuff.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
I assume the "peace activists" are not talking about Northern Irish kids. Since the Good Friday Agreement which Blair brokered between Nationalists and Unionists in 1997 the murder rate in Northern Ireland has plummeted, presumably saving the lives of many children and there are certainly a lot fewer orphans. Perhaps the UK was wrong to support the US invasion of Iraq, de jure and de facto, I don't know, but the "peace activists" chant seems perverse in the context of what Blair has done for peace in Ireland. A peace that was supported in a referendum by massive majorities north and south of the border.
Incidentally Ghandi was a peace activist who never felt the need to throw a shoe or an egg, but then again the protesters on O'Connell Street were Irish (not one of the great culinary peoples of the world) and so maybe they were just trying to make a Dover sole omelette.
Dover sole omelette, geddit? Huh? No? Is this thing on? . . . Sheesh, sometimes I dont know why I bother.
Friday, September 3, 2010
And here's Orson Welles telling one of my favourite anecdotes about He and Winston Churchill.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I really wanted to like this film because I enjoyed Audiard's The Beat That My Heart Skipped and especially after Mark Kermode's gushing review on the BBC, but je ne l'aime pas mostly because the plot was just too ridiculous. A film doesn't have to be logical but it does have to follow its own internal logic and A Prophet doesn't. He's either a criminal mastermind or a dogsbody, he cant be both. Prisons run on the currency of fear and you've either got the shekels or you dont. The director doesn't really understand how prison or organised crime works and his deus ex machina Red Harvest/Yojimbo ending was completely unbelievable. There's a Muslim revelation subtext which feels tacked on and a Henry IV Falstaff/Prince Hal brush off bit that you could see coming from the first ten minutes. The acting is one note from everyone including the lead who has been praised to the skies for this performance. Other reviewers have lauded the vague religious iconography but it might as well have been a man sticking his arm in his jacket and pretending to be that other famous Corsican bandit for all its relevance. Nothing in the screenplay has been thought through too deeply. Stereotypes are everywhere: devout Muslim scholars, long haired Corsican goons, flashy Italian gangsters etc. The one thing I liked was the direction which was supremely confident and bold, but even the best scenes were often undercut by cheesy musical choices. Yes but its 97% fresh, I hear you say. Well, I'm sorry I don't know what film they saw but the 97% are wrong and I'm right: A Prophet is a bit like French pop music - an interesting curiosity but ultimately just fluff that no one should take too seriously. Jacques Audiard can do better and needs to be held to a higher standard.