(Non) updates

A reason for the dearth of new posts lately: I looked into some opportunities to become a contributor to other sites and discovered they wanted writing samples submitted to be completed unpublished – not even published on the applicant’s own blog. So some of my most recent literary or pop-culture commentary had to be “saved” for that.

Here’s hoping the book-and-TV posts that are already up generate more discussion…


Introducing the Annie page


Annie on My Mind, a young adult novel by Nancy Garden, published in 1982,  tells the story of a romance between high-school seniors Eliza (Liza) Winthrop, student council president at an educationally-high-quality but rather uptight private school, and Annie Kenyon, start music student of a tough inner-city school who is determined to avoid being a part of the school’s largely delinquent culture.  Continue reading

Japp’s Dream in The Incredible Theft: More Than Comic Relief?

(Note: Semi-spoiler for the the ITV Double Sin adaptation.)

In the ITV Agatha Christie’s Poirot adaptation of the Poirot novella The Incredible Theft, Poirot investigates the titular crime while staying at the home of his politician-client, while sidekick Captain Arthur Hastings and Scotland Yard ally Chief Inspector Japp (who are not in the original) have to make due at a pub so crowded they have to share not only a room but a bed.  Continue reading

Where You Can Learn More About U.S. “Third” Parties (and where you won’t find them)

I don’t intend, for the most part, to make this a “political” blog in the sense of using it to try to tell you which parties, candidates, or positions to support.

But, with the Presidential election underway in the U.S., I feel strongly about people’s right to know that the Democrats and Republicans are not the only parties running candidates (in most states – it varies by state.)

Click here to read about other parties running Presidential candidates as well as who besides the Democrat and Republican is running for the U.S. Senate seat from Ohio.

2016 national and Ohio independent and third-party listing

Continue reading

Agatha Christie, She Isn’t (and didn’t try to be): Comparing Sophie Hannah’s New Hercule Poirot Novel to the Original and its Adaptation

Partial Spoilers for The Monogram Murders, by Sophie Hannah

In 2014, Agatha Christie’s estate granted Sophie Hannah permission to use Christie’s detective, Hercule Poirot, in a new original novel. The Monogram Murders.

Hercule Poirot (the Belgian refugee detective originally created by Christie) hopes for a respite when he stays at a London hotel (even though he’s close to his home), but he is soon drawn into a new case when a young woman name Jennie arrives and makes a cryptic prediction of her own murder, followed by the even more cryptic statement “Let no one open their mouths.” Soon bodies turn up at a different hotel with monogrammed cufflinks – which have a connection to a long-ago tragedy – in their mouths.

Hannah has acknowledged that “Agatha Christie is unique,” and says she didn’t try to duplicate Christie’s actual style. To a reader familiar with the original Christies, in addition to the overall voice differing from Christie, Hannah’s Poirot doesn’t sound – or maybe I should say “feel”  – like Christie’s Poirot. Hannah’s Poirot engages in behaviors that supposedly show many of the quirks for which Christie fans know him, but they feel like variations of those quirks, and feel off.  Continue reading

On Reading and Writing with Asperger’s

We people with Asperger’s – that form of really high-functioning autism that basically programs us for geekiness  – are not crazy about labels like “disability” or “disorder.” A description of Asperger’s that I’ve heard, and like, is “a different wiring of the brain.”

Actually, according to the famous Temple Grandin, we “Aspies” have one of a few different wirings of the brain.

Some think in numbers and patterns. Some (including Grandin herself) think in pictures. Some parents create pictures of their child’s daily schedule, because pictures are the child’s “language.”

But some Aspies, like me, function entirely on words. Yes, I need to-do lists, but I write them in words. Continue reading