May 18th, 2004

wombat

Good and good for you

A couple of quick reviews before bedtime - which will be at 10:30 for once, dammit.

Proving once again that it's not a good idea for me to go anywhere near Best Buy when i have money in my wallet, I picked up Sergio Leone's classic Once Upon A Time In The West with Jason Robards as Cheyenne, Henry Fonda as the brooding & malevolent Frank, Claudia Cardinale as the lovely Jill McBain, and Charles Bronson as Clint Eastwood Harmonica, a/k/a The Man With No Name. While the impact of the scenery was somewhat reduced by seeing this on my laptop instead of a huge-ass movie theater screen, this was still one kick-ass movie. It's the apotheosis of all Leone's "spaghetti Westerns" and as such can be ripped by film critics for its formulaic gun battles and other cliches, btu I'm not a film critic and I love it. Probably the best modern Western movie, with the possible exceptions of High Plains Drifter, Tombstone, and possibly Unforgiven, which I haven't seen yet. Whoo...worth staying up for and then some.

I mentioned below that John Ringo's Hell's Faire, the fourth novel in his "Legacy of the Alldenata" trilogy, was in stock at Dreamhaven when Melody and I went by there on Sunday, and I've read it through a few times since then. It's not very long, not nearly as long as Gust Front or When The Devil Dances, but is a much more upbeat book. It also bounces around less between the main characters, partially because most of them are in the same place at the same time, but I suspect also because Ringo was looking at the real possibility of a fifth novel if he didn't choke this one off NOW. Good combat SF, has a sampling of "Sluggy Freelance" cartoons in the back along with some maps, and comes with the freebie Baen multimedia CD that seems to come standard with all the Baen hardbacks these days. Heck of a bargain for $25 less the standard discount.

They didn't have any Cake at the downtown B&N when I stopped in there last Friday (but they did have U2's Zooropa, w00t!) but they special ordered Fashion Nugget for me - sure enough it arrived too late on Monday for me to pick it up, but I got it today over lunch. Nice set of tunes - aside from "The Distance", "Nugget" is rude and funny at the same time, and "Frank Sinatra" is just weird. Now all I need to round out the set is a copy of their Motorcade of Generosity, which of course is now out of print while they change labels...sigh.

In order to maintain an even strain and avoid the hideous consequences of Too Much Happiness, I also acquired Anne Applebaum's GULAG, which will go right next to Solzenitsyn's GULAG Archipelago when I finally get some bookshelves and sort out all my nonfiction in Dewey Decimal order. The ETA of that happy moment is about six months after I move back east...anyway, the Soviet destructive-labor camp system (pace A. Solzhenitsyn) has been morbidly fascinating to me ever since I found a copy of One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich in my Dad's library, and Applebaum's book looks great so far. I can't really say I'm enjoying it, because it's not that kind of book -unless you're a complete fscking sadist- but it's very, very well written and painstakingly researched.

On that note, pleasant dreams.