Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hits, twits and falling idols

Here's a grab bag of items on a day when nothing in particular rises to the fore. Such days seem entirely too frequent.

* Just finished reading Hit and Run, Lawrence Block's latest in his series about the hit man J. P. Keller. These days I rarely finish a book on the same day I acquire it; when I do, I have to give props to the author. Block is no literary genius, but he's a master at crime fiction. He keeps you believing the story and turning the pages. That's what good fiction is all about, and it's a lot harder than he makes it look. Particularly if the protagonist is a hired killer who collects stamps, and not all of the people he kills have it coming. If you haven't checked out his Keller series, do so. Just don't expect a warm and fuzzy feeling to result. This is not the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

* I mentioned on this blog a few weeks ago that I'm a fan of American Idol. I'm pretty close to demanding a retraction. I skipped last night's episode, not because I was otherwise engaged or the DVR wasn't working; I just realized I wasn't up to another evening with the four smirking judges. These people are phoning it in. Their repertoire of criticism has devolved into a tired assortment of catchphrases. They are each as banal and predictable as any of the contestants on any given night. Give us a show called American Talent Show Judge, and every one of them would be going home by round two.

Of course, I'm not so off the show that I skipped reading the recap in the Washington Post. Glad to see I didn't miss much.

* A few more thoughts about Twitter, since nobody else has anything to say about it. I'm kidding. Over the last few months, I got a Twitter account, quit in disgust, then got on again. Nowadays I mostly lurk, following 20 people I actually know. As far as I can see, they're having the same experience as me: you post some thought you deem to be clever, describe some activity, link to some picture, and presto! -- the comment is universally ignored. Presumably we're all reading each other's tweets, but it's like we're sitting in empty rooms, tapping our little missives into the void. It's called social media, but it sometimes seems the opposite.

Twitter couldn't exist without the proliferation of handheld devices on which to tweet. For all the talk about networking, I think its popularity is more about having something to do with our new toys. I'm constantly updating Twitterrific on my iPod Touch, just because I can. Without that, I'd be forced to check my e-mail twice as often, or look up the local weather again in lieu of actually stepping outside.

No doubt everyone's already seen this, but here's a video that lacerates the Twitter fad pretty well.


Ryan said...

The hitman series sounds pretty good. I might look into that. Not sure why but I've always thought hitmen were intriguing characters.

And I'd agree that one of twitter's uses would be to give us something to do with our extremely expensive doohickeys. I mean what would the iPhone be without the apps store?

Well...I suppose it'd be a phone. And we can't have that now can we?

pattinase (abbott) said...

Hi -I run a little blog project on Fridays where writers and readers talk about books they think are forgotten or neglected. More than 150 writers, reviewers and readers have recommended a book. I wonder if you'd be willing to do one for April 24 or May 1. Your review doesn't have to be long or complex and you can see it at
The entire ten months' worth is at
Any book you choose is fine--even if it's already been reviewed.
If it's not your thing or you’re too busy just now, I understand. Best, Patti Abbott
My email is if you're interested.