Ah, happy Monday folks. It is a gray and drizzling day in Decatur, Georgia, and I think the thinning foliage may be allowing more of the train horn sound through to my apartment. They're louder than they used to be, or at least it seems that way. There's one now. I guess it must be moving through a stretch of track cut through with a lot of streets without the ding ding dings and the striped come-down stick things. Gots to keep the idjits off the tracks. Let them know you're coming. Yeah, all of that's pretty stream-of-consciousness, and I like it about as much as you do, so I'm moving on.
Last week, I wrote about George Saunders and his collection of stories called "Pastoralia". They are good stories. This week, I'm posting a link to some sweet video of George Saunders doing a reading in New York City (along with a guy who wrote a book called "Absurdistan") that was sponsored by the New Yorker magazine. A Q&A follows. It's my first glimpse of the guy in action and I was impressed. The story he reads follows in the same humor-girded-with-pathos vein most of his stories do, and not only was the story good, he read it well. He's relaxed, witty, well-spoken, and essentially sets the bar very high for calm and erudite public speaking. He says that he's taking a year off from teaching at Syracuse and that he's got nothing on his plate at the moment, but that he's hoping that during this sabbatical, he'll get into something "bigger". Perhaps we can expect a full-on Saunders novel? Also: he says that he writes 4 or 5 short stories for every one that he likes well enough to publish. That's a lot of stories he's got moldering in a metaphorical drawer somewhere. Anyway, take a view of the Saunders video if you get the chance or have the inclination.
In political news: A Washington Post article takes note of how "inexplicably upbeat" Karl Rove and W. are these days about Republicans' prospects in the mid-term elections. In fact, they're making no plans for what they'll do if they lose one or both houses of Congress. And this isn't just optimism they're showing off in public, putting a good face on a bad situation and all that. These reports are coming from higher-ups in the White House who don't get what possible reason Rove and Bush have to be upbeat about election day. What could it be? Do they have a standing arrangement with Diebold to deliver every election for Bush while he's in office? Or does Rove have some something evil in the works designed to sway those soft-headed Republicans -- those who may have planned to skip voting on account of Foleygate -- to go out and vote? Well, here's what might be allowing Rove to sleep better at night.
"Saddam verdict to be read out on November 5th."
Hmm. That's on a Sunday. The elections are two days later. That's two full days of full-bore mainstream media coverage of what a nasty guy Saddam was and how great it is that, even though there's all this dying, and Civil Warring, and assassinationing, we got nasty terrible Saddam out of power and into a jail cell. Undoubtedly there will be a national prime-time address direct from the Oval Office in which Bush can make an election-eve plea for his base to come out and vote, and for two full days, the 24-hour "news" networks will give precious airtime to Republican spinmeisters who'll say the misguided and traitorous Dems are far from pleased with the verdict, that, if fact, the party of Pelosi and Kennedy and Reid wish Saddam were still in power, etc. etc. November 5th. Quite the coincidence.
Finally, in movie news: 1) To view a couple teasers for "Hot Fuzz", the new film from the team that brought you "Shaun of the Dead", click here. (I'm not sure quite how they've got the teasers working on this site. Click on the link to see one teaser, then reload the page and maybe see the other teaser?) Nothing riotously funny here, but I'm not about to cast aspersions on this film based solely on a so-so teaser. Also, 2) "The Prestige" opens this Friday. Thought I'd remind folks, just so you have something else to look forward to this weekend.