November 18th, 2009

10-R

Ten random things: November 18

Ten real people who appear as characters in Sunnyside by Glen David Gold:

  1. Adolph Zukor, mogul
  2. Mildred Harris, actress
  3. ZaSu Pitts, actress
  4. Mary Pickford, actress
  5. Lee Duncan, animal trainer
  6. Charlie Chaplin, actor
  7. Frances Marion, screenwriter
  8. Edmund Ironside, general
  9. Edna Purviance, actress
  10. William G. McAdoo, Secretary of the Treasury

I finished Sunnyside this afternoon, and while I enjoyed it -- especially the references to the Anti-Life Equation (a key element of Jack Kirby's Fourth World) and the Duchy of Grand Fenwick (from the novel and movie The Mouse That Roared), and a minor character named after comics blogger Chris Sims -- I don't think it was as good as his previous novel, Carter Beats the Devil. (Though possibly it's just that I have a taste for the formalized, quasi-nonfiction style he used for Carter.)

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Today's links

  • I was a big fan of the MTV game show Remote Control back in the day, so it was quite a shock to hear that host Ken Ober died this weekend at the age of 52. Hard to believe its been 20 years since it was on the air. Here is a complete episode of Remote Control from 2009, complete with annotations by one of the contestant.
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  • Via the indispensable linkster petzipellepingo comes an essay by Donald Graham about America's greatest President, James K. Polk, and his new biography, A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent. Graham says, "Robert Merry has done the impossible: he has made Polk's presidency fascinating;" I say, if you didn't already know his presidency was fascinating, you have not read my icon.
     
  • Speaking of shocking, I was stunned to hear that the City of Chicago is planning to demolish a building by the legendary architect Mies van der Rohe to make way for a train station. It is, to be fair, not one of his major works, but in my opinion tearing down a minor van der Rohe is like tossing a minor Rembrandt into the recycling bin. Adding insult to injury is the train station is poorly sited. It is directly across the street from a vacant lot, raising the question of why anything needs to be demolished to make way for it, and its design is not in character with the modernist buildings to which it will be adjacent.