Friday, January 28, 2005

The Pleasure of My Company: A Novel by Steve Martin
I enjoyed this breezy short novel about a quirky man and his neighborhood. Some themes from earlier Steve Martin, namely Mensa (from Pure Drivel) and a crush on a valley girl named Zandy (Sandee from L.A. Story), reappear. The overall plot also has the spirit of L.A. Story, namely a wry sense of humor wrapping a romantic heart. Good for a quick read.

The Modern Mind: An Intellectual History of the 20th Century by Peter Watson
A more than serviceable guide to the major cultural theories and movements of the twentieth century. I did notice a few errors, though, and I'm not even a professional historian. A more serious complaint I have is that Watson, in the early chapters of the book, does not allude to the reappearance of themes later in the book. So, for example, you could read the first quarter of the book and learn about Freud and psychoanalytic tradition. But if you stopped reading there, you'd have no hint that in the last quarter of the book Watson covers the major debunking of Freud that happened later in the century. While Watson adequately justifies the focus he places on the Western tradition, I was deeply disappointed that Mahatma Gandhi received all of one sentence.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Hollywood Out, Bollywood In
So says that a new CIA report. Next from the CIA: Tom Cruise out, Colin Farrell in.

To be fair, that was probably editorial license on the part of the Toronto Star.

In related Bollywood/Hollywood news, Amrish Puri is dead. Among his famous lines were "You are in a position unsuitable to give orders" from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and "Mogambo khush hua" from Shahenshah.

UPDATE: I stand corrected. Vivek points out that "Mogambo khush hua" is from Mr. India, not Shahenshah.