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A Tour of Tim Powers: On Stranger Tides

On Stranger Tides

After the disappointment of Dinner at Deviant’s Palace I waited with muted anticipation for Tim Power’s next book; perhaps The Anubis Gates had been a fluke.  And then, two long years later, came On Stranger Tides, a book about pirates in the Caribbean that inspired the Monkey Island series of point-and-click adventure games as well as (much later) the fourth of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies.Like The Anubis Gates, On Stranger Tides riffs on actual historical figures and concerns wh … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: God Always Understands


We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Next, Thomas shows that God must be identical to His intellect.  This is a difficult point; it almost seems obviously wrong.  God also has will, and love; if He is simply His intellect, how does that leave room for the rest of Him?The problem here is that our mental model of most things is the machine.  If you think of a car, you know that it has brakes and pi … [Read more...]

Duo Gadjo: Sous Le Ciel de Paris

Duo Gadjo is a jazz duet; I've mostly encountered their versions of classic French jazz tunes and songs, including "Sous Le Ciel De Paris", which features the pair on guitar along with a properly musette-style accordion. It's a recording that makes me happy:But, of course, part of the reason it makes me happy is that the tune reminds me of this: Professor Fate's theme from The Great Race, one of my favorite movies, seems to be a rather drunken variation on the same melody. … [Read more...]

Ngaio Marsh on Sophomores

Remington Portable Typewriter

The cub, as Hambledon had called Gordon Palmer, was seventeen years old, dreadfully sophisticated, and entirely ignorant of everything outside the sphere of his sophistication.— Ngaio Marsh, Vintage MurderThe cub in question is an insufferable young upperclass lout out on a world tour in the mid-1930's. It's the unknown unknowns that get you at that age.____ photo credit: Remington Portable via photopin (license) … [Read more...]

Bunnies Don’t Lay Eggs? Who Knew?

Lay the eggs?  How simply ghastly!

So a relative of mine was at the mall, and heard a father say to two very small crying children who wanted to see the Easter Bunny,Birds and reptiles lay eggs! Bunnies don't! We don't support the Easter Bunny, how many times can I say this!I can understand not wanting to stand in line for the Easter bunny, especially with two little ones who were probably over-tired already, so I don't think this dad is a monster for not wanting to do it. But I'm fascinated by what he had to … [Read more...]

A Tour of Tim Powers: Dinner at Deviant’s Palace


This week we continue our tour of Tim Powers' works with his fifth novel, Dinner at Deviant's Palace. Like his second novel, Epitaph in Rust, Dinner at Deviant's Palace takes place in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, but a much more fully realized Los Angeles than in the earlier work.Greg Rivas is a well-known musician in this future L.A., the originator and best known performer of a style of music called "pelican gunning" (a "pelican" is a lute-like instrument). And though this is less … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: What Does God Understand?


We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Thomas has established that God has intelligence, intellect, the ability to understand abstract concepts.  The next question is, just what is it that God understands?  What does He eternally contemplate? In Chapter 30, Thomas says,The foregoing exposition makes it clear that God understands through no other species than through His essence.A bit of review … [Read more...]

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss: Your Long Journey

Anyone who's heard Alison Krauss knows she can sing like an angel...but who knew Robert Plant could, too? Here's a lovely duet that makes me quietly happy every time I hear it. … [Read more...]

The Saint’s Girl on Cocktail Parties


The cocktail party ploughed on through a syrupy flood of mixed alcohols, mechanical compliments, second-hand scandal, vapid criticism, lisps, beards, adolescent philosophy, and personal pronouns.— Leslie Charteris, The Saint and Mr. TealIt's the "personal pronouns" that get me._____ photo credit: Underwood Universal, c.1957 via photopin (license) … [Read more...]