In honor of this special day let’s revisit one of my favorite posts.
I don’t have anything new to say about Halloween, but I was looking back and saw this post I wrote 3 years ago. The funny thing is that after finishing this post, I went to bed and a couple of hours later my wife told me she was going into labor. And so my son was born the day after Halloween, meaning that these are very sugar-filled days with trick-or-treating and birthday cake all coming together.
Also, this is as good as place as any to post a photo of the magnificent monster jack-o-lantern carved by my talented wife.
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (1977) by Mario Vargas Llosa represents Peru in my ongoing effort to read a work of fiction by an author from every nation on the Earth called Around the World for a Good Book. The supposedly autobiographical novel is told from the point of view of Marito a law student who also works producing news updates for Lima’s high-brow station, but dreams of becoming a writer. When Marito is 18, two people come into his life and it turns his life upside down. The first is Aunt Julia, the ex-wife of Marito’s uncle, with whom he falls in love with despite being half her age. The other is Pedro Comacho, a work-a-holic writer of radio serials who gains great acclaim creating lurid soap operas for the more popular low-brow radio station.
Chapters of the book alternate between Marito narrating how he woos and eventually tries to marry Aunt Julia in a absurdly complex series of events (and still refers to her as “Aunt” the whole time). If that doesn’t seem soap operish enough, the chapters in-between are the plots of Comacho’s radio serials which come across as well-constructed, gripping short stories. Yet, as the character Comacho works his way to a nervous breakdown, the stories become more confusing with characters showing up from other stories. Is it a masterpiece of expiremental literature or is he just going insane?
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter is funny, sexy, and satirical. Writers in particular are shown up for their pretension while at the same time Vargas Llosa shows the skill and effor that goes into their craft. The novel also a nice flavor of Lima in the 1950’s. This is an enjoyable, fun but not dumb novel that I recommend highly.
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (Picador Books) by Mario Vargas Llosa. Pan Books Ltd (1984), Paperback, 374 pages
Today we’re celebrating a holiday I learned about two years ago. It is the only holiday dedicated to a number, the number Π.
As my friend Steve posted on Twitter:
Today’s 3/14 and seriously, I don’t see what’s so hard about finding the end of pie. Just OM NOM NOM and you’re there.
I made sure to commemorate the day with a slice of key lime pie at Doyle’s cafe.
Make sure to listen to this Only a Game broadcast of a Pi recitation contest at Harvard University. I haven’t been able to find any mention of this event reoccuring this year.
Happy Π Day, to 3.141 and all!
A couple of years ago I wrote What do Presidents do when their term is up?, possibly one of my most well-researched and better written posts. In it I examined the post-Presidential career of every US President who survived his Presidency. The post was prompted by a suggestion that if Hillary Clinton became President, that her husband former President Bill Clinton could be appointed to her vacant spot in the Senate.
Well, now we have the answers to that question. Looking back at the post, there are a couple of things that make me chuckle. First, Hillary Clinton didn’t get elected President, but left the Senate anyway to join President Obama’s cabinet. Second, I noted that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer would appoint Senator Clinton’s successor, but since that time Spitzer’s governorship has come to an ingnomious end. Instead, Governor David Patterson appointed Kirsten Gillibrand as New York’s new junior senator.
And thus Bill Clinton continues his “retirement years” as the husband of the Secretary of State. Meanwhile, as of January 20, 2009 we have another former President George W. Bush. I can only hope that he follows the example of Jimmy Carter in making his post-Presidency years better than his time in office.