Archive for March, 2008

More Stunning Revelations From the New York Governor’s Office

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Is there some kind of truth serum in the water in Albany? First we have ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s shocking downfall thanks to his patronization of a prostitution ring. Then the new Governor, David Paterson, admits he and his wife both had affairs years ago during a troubled point in their marriage. And now, Paterson reveals that he tried cocaine and marijuana in his youth. What other skeletons could possibly fit in the governor’s mansion closets after all this?!

Well, the crack investigative team here at BTQ has unearthed the latest mind-blowing news from Gov. Paterson, a secret so incredible it must be heard in the man’s own words:

Good Enough

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

I’ve been wracking my brain for something to write about, betwixt obsessing over my NCAA basketball tournament picks and work stuff like an oral argument and a couple of cert petitions. Failing to come up with anything good, I decided to share an anecdote of one of my little eccentricities.

When I was a kid, I read some mystery book — it might have been an Encyclopedia Brown, or something similar, because the person trying to solve the mystery was a young boy. I don’t remember the plot, but the big clue was that he had to find someone named Huff. He struggled and struggled, and used every pre-Google search method available, but couldn’t find this guy anywhere.

Finally, our hero was at the end of his rope and about to give up, and was lamenting his inability to solve the mystery. And then someone said something about his effort being “good enough.” And then, all of a sudden, the lightbulb went off: “Good enough — Hough!” The person’s name was pronounced “huff,” but was spelled “Hough”! Sure enough, right there in the phone book was the target, Mr. Hough.

Anyway, the point of all this is that even now, years and years later, I still catch myself saying (usually just to myself) “good enough, Hough.”

Maybe I should send this to the Onion AV Club to see if they know the name of this book.

Also, above, I used the phrase “all of a sudden.” I was emailing with a friend today who used the phrase “all of the sudden.” Is this a regional thing? Is there a clear favorite here? I don’t feel as strongly about this as I do concerning “in line” versus “on line,” but I’m sure I’ll stick with the one I’ve been using.

50 Book Challenge #6: My Horizontal Life

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands by Chelsea Handler. (Amazon, B&N, Powell’s) This was a fun enough lark. It’s exactly what the subtitle promises: little vignettes of casual encounters from Handler’s active dating life. Some are pretty amusing. Sometimes when I’m doing a book review, I like to imagine what kind of back-of-the-book blurb I would write. One on this book mentioned David Sedaris, and I think my blurb would have been “Like David Sedaris…except more sex with men!” Handler’s not as funny or insightful as Sedaris**, but that would give you an idea of what you’re picking up. There’s an encounter with a midget, attempts to conquer her roommate’s virginity, a cruise to hell, an unfortunate stain, and a walk of shame in an M&M costume. That kind of thing.

I don’t think I would like Handler very much in person (not because of the sex; her personality just seems like it would grate on me), and her book doesn’t have very much thought-provoking to say about dating or promiscuity or much else. But it is a light read and earns some laughs, and that’s something.

**I don’t want to get into the whole Sedaris-makes-stuff-up controversy. I like his stuff even if it’s fiction, but I don’t think he should market is as non-fiction. Still, I don’t think his sins are as bad as those of some others. Anyway, I just wanted to add this note so you didn’t think I was praising Sedaris without knowing “the truth.”

(Previous 50 Book Challenge Reviews)

50 Book Challenge #5: The Follower

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

The Follower by Jason Starr. (Amazon, B&N, Powell’s) This one had some promise, but didn’t live up to it. It’s about a young woman dating in New York City, and this guy who gets obsessed with her. Ideally, it would have been Bret Easton Ellis crossed with Patricia Highsmith. With Ellis, all those pop culture references tell us something about the characters; with Highsmith, the obsessions are understandable because even the bad guys are genuine. Here, it’s hard to care about anyone in the novel. The protagonist is vapid and spineless, her paramours are interchangeable, the seen-it-all cop we’ve seen before, and we get no motive for the stalker. In fact, his picture is so empty it’s as if Starr is saving the details for a prequel.

There is some amusing satire of post-college singlehood in the big city, so maybe I’m a little beyond the target audience. I guess if you think Looking for Mr. Goodbar is too dated and you’re not old enough for In the Cut, The Follower might be your style. Overall, though, I’d say it’s skippable.

(Previous 50 Book Challenge reviews)