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Updated: 11/16/04

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"Fool on the Hill"
by Matt Ruff
"War and Peace"
by Leo Tolstoy

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Tuesday, 16 November, 2004

Had a quiet evening yesterday and have almost finished "Fool on the Hill". It's a strange story but very intriguing - here's the plot summary from Amazon:

In this comic fantasy a young writer-in-residence at Cornell University searches for true love and combats the forces of evil. Matt Ruff uses the stock motifs of fairy tale and myth, but his treatment is remarkably inventive. Inspired by the mysterious Calliope, Ruff's hero learns to write without paper and thus, by the force of his imagination, to revise the mundane scenario of life in Ithaca. Aptly named S.T. George, he vanquishes a green canvas dragon and thereby foils the malignant plot of Rasferret the Grub. The multi-layered plot also includes animals who communicate by telepathy and tiny sprites with Shakespearean names. Ruff's exuberant tale will appeal strongly to readers with a taste for the fabulous.

The book uses Cornell and Ithaca as its setting and there is a whole subplot about a dog and cat from New York City that come to Ithaca looking for heaven. They meet the population of other dogs that live there, all of whom have distinct personalities.

When we were up visiting Stephani a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was reading it and she drove us around the campus to see the places that are mentioned in the book. I asked if she had read it; she said that she went to Cornell with Matt Ruff in the 1980's and that she was the inspiration for Bucklette the Collie.

[Small world.]

I haven't done any PETA-bashing for a while. So here you go: Today, President Bush performed the annual "Turkey Pardoning" at the White House. As in the past, he ceremonially pardoned two turkeys from their Thanksgiving appointments with the Grim Reaper and announced that the duo - named Biscuits and Gravy in an on-line contest - would live out their lives at Frying Pan Park in Herndon, Va., which raises farm animals.

Sounds good to me!

That drew an objection from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which said the turkeys would live in more humane conditions at an animal sanctuary.

[It's never good enough for them.]

Speaking of turkeys . . . it seems that professional basketball stars are not the only ones proving themselves to be terrific role models these day. A fight broke out at the recent "Vibe Awards" - Rap music's answer to the Grammy Awards. Today it was announced that one of the award recipients was being sought in connection with a stabbing at the event:

LOS ANGELES Only in the rap game could an artist win an award and get accused of a felony on the same night.

The top-selling rapper Young Buck was being sought by police Tuesday for allegedly stabbing a man who punched hip-hop legend Dr. Dre at the Vibe awards. Buck is signed to Dr. Dre's record label as part of the G-Unit clique, which was named best group by the music magazine.

Buck fled the Santa Monica airport hangar where the awards show was being taped Monday night, police Lt. Frank Fabrega said in a statement. A warrant was being prepared alleging assault with a deadly weapon.

The incident was sparked as Snoop Dogg and Vibe founder Quincy Jones were about to give Dre a lifetime achievement award. A man later identified as Jimmy James Johnson approached Dre, who was seated at a table in front of the stage, and appeared to ask for an autograph before punching the veteran hitmaker, police said.

Johnson was dragged away by security staff, but then suffered a serious stab wound when he was attacked by a number of people, including Buck, whose real name is David Darnell Brown, according to police.

"Brown is clearly depicted (on videotape) as holding a knife after the assault and is one of a number of fight participants that was pepper-sprayed by officers in their attempt to stop this fight," Police Chief James Butts told a news conference. "We're asking Mr. David Darnell Brown to surrender himself to police."

[Really classy.]

Quote du jour:

"We blacks look for leadership in men and women of such youth and inexperience, as well as poverty of education and character, that it is no wonder that we sometimes seem rudderless. . . . We see basketball players and pop singers as possible role models."

-- Arthur Ashe (1943 - 1993) US tennis player, AIDS spokesperson

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