A Plea to Vladimir Putin on Behalf of Uncle Bogdan

Dear Vlad the Hubris,

After the recent pardons of the Arctic 30, Khodorovsky and the Pussy Riot Heroes, it is clear that there is nothing that you cannot do. Your power is immense and unimpeachable.

I implore you then, to have the unfair ban imposed by the local Kennebec Falls Legion against Uncle Bogdan from competing in the New Year cribbage tournament declared null and void. As you know, it was imposed by jealous factions of the Dothraki and Romulan coalition jealous of Uncle Bogdan’s skill in pegging.

Only you, Great Vlad the Flatulent, can nullify this great injustice done to the man often called “Twenty Nine” by his skill in achieving perfect hands.

The Golden Age of Television is now

Forget I LOVE LUCY, Milton Berle and The Twilight Zone. The Golden Age of Television is now. There have never been more high-quality TV shows available as there are now: Homeland, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Treme, Friday Night LIghts, Mad Men, The Wire; not only are these shows full of great storylines and characters with good production values, the way we are able to access them has changed the nature of TV dramatically. We no longer have to wait weeks or months for the whims of some TV executive to schedule them. Now, we can download them and watch them in sequence over the course of several days or weeks, an experience making them much more like extended movies than traditional TV shows.

Surprise! A Worthy Man of Steel

I went into this movie with very low expectations. None of the Superman movies made throughout the years have been any good at all. I remember going to the very first Superman with my sister decades ago and trying to talk her into leaving after only a half hour, something I had never even thought about doing at that age.
This version is good; very good. No one has matched Margot Kidder as Lois Lane yet, but it excels everywhere else.

By the way, if you haven’t seen it, watch An Education. Fantastic movie.

Here, Pussy Pussy!

How wonderful to see Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina walking around as free women!

Not a surprise, however, as Ioseb Besarionis dze Jugashvili Putin….oops, I mean Vlad the Impaler Putin… tries desperately to whitewash his authoritarian state prior to Sochi. And the ladies only had two months left to serve …. except in modern Russian The Putin can simply tack on extra years whenever he feels like it … a la Khodorovsky.

Watching these cats prowl defiantly out of jail and immediately start clawing gave me both a frisson of admiration and fear. Watch out, ladies. Might be time to withdraw the claws a little bit or the Big Bad Bear will simply sit on you and crush you.

nada

TO HELL WITH KEEPING CHERRY IN A HANDBASKET

Let’s get this out of the way. CBC doesn’t deserve to keep the hockey broadcast right in Canada. Their on-air-product has been so inferior to TSN for years now that the only argument –one that that I was prepared to make until recently — is that they broadcast free-to-air. I strongly believe every Canadian should have the right the watch our national game without having to subscribe to a paid cable package. All Canadians from coast to coast to coast to coast deserve to watch our game without having to subscribe to a pay-for-fee package. It is that important to our national identity. There is probably nothing as important to maintaining our national identity as this. Nothing. Even keeping the CBC itself.

However…however… with the exception of Ron McLean, Andy Petrillo and Kelly Hrudy the CBC’s on-air talent is so inferior to the competition it’s not even an argument. I sometimes wonder if Bob Cole and I are even watching the same game, he gets the on-ice action so completely wrong. When on-air talent is past their ability to keep up with the game, it is time to let them go. Hello Harry Neale. While I hear Don Cherry is a nice man personally, I feel the same about his on-air pronouncements. His between-periods pontifications are as much a personal advertisement as it is hockey commentary. Can you say World Wrestling Association? As for production values, if there is game simulcast on an American channel, since the 2000 Olympics, I’ve chosen the American option, something I would have heretofore held as heretical. NBC broadcasts leave CBC in the dust, never mind the other Canadian cable options.

This morning, overseas, I heard an editorial from the BBC on the lawsuit that several NHL players are filing against the NHL for failure to protect them from concussions. The BBC got it so terribly, completely wrong it was laughable. Unfortunately, as long as Don Cherry keeps being the face of hockey in Canada, they will continue to keep doing so. So long CBC (and Don), and good riddance. I just wish the alternative was broadcast free-to-air.

Khodor!

How fantastic to see Khodorovsky released from jail recently after a decade on trumped-up charges. How disappointing that he had such confidence in the Russian justice system that he immediatedly had to leave for Germany.

There is no rule of law in Russia. Justice depends on the whim of a single oligarch, Putin. The only change from the time of the Tsars is the percentage of alcohol in the vodka!

Please release the Pussy Riot remaining jailees!

Some more reviews for PIG on Goodreads

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16094783-pig?from_search=true

sort: default (?) | rating details

Aug 03, 2013 Musefall rated it 5 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, musefall
Snow is a Canadian on the other side of the world in Russian vodka country, content to be depressed and miserable for the rest of his life, until an accident puts him into a coma.

We’re then taken into the past and what has happened to him up to that point with the help of the woman, Magda, who won’t give up on him. There is also a danger that is making the workers sick, and as a keeper of the documents for the company, he may be the deciding factor in exposing the threat before it continues on i…more Snow is a Canadian on the other side of the world in Russian vodka country, content to be depressed and miserable for the rest of his life, until an accident puts him into a coma.

We’re then taken into the past and what has happened to him up to that point with the help of the woman, Magda, who won’t give up on him. There is also a danger that is making the workers sick, and as a keeper of the documents for the company, he may be the deciding factor in exposing the threat before it continues on its dangerous course.

Magda was an interesting character, and her determination to not give up on Snow and pull him out of his darkness defines her complex character even more. I felt a lot of sympathy for Snow as well, and his past that helped put him where he is now. The conditions that they have to endure are harsh and in many ways unforgiving. This is a great read for anyone who enjoys unconventional thrillers that have something to offer other than the usual.

(less)
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Sep 03, 2013 Gillian Burles rated it 4 of 5 stars
Overall I enjoyed the book. Magda is a wonderful and well developed character. Snow is a man haunted by his past, content to wallow in solitude and his misery but Magda refuses to let him.

This is a book that is not so easy to categorize: a man slogging his way out of depression, the tales of enduring the gulags, a sinister camp boss, murder, greed. I loved the character of Magda and her musings about physics, time and mushrooms. The author managed to combine smatterings on Russian history with…more Overall I enjoyed the book. Magda is a wonderful and well developed character. Snow is a man haunted by his past, content to wallow in solitude and his misery but Magda refuses to let him.

This is a book that is not so easy to categorize: a man slogging his way out of depression, the tales of enduring the gulags, a sinister camp boss, murder, greed. I loved the character of Magda and her musings about physics, time and mushrooms. The author managed to combine smatterings on Russian history with some nice descriptions of southern Alberta, Canada. I also liked many of the Russian characters who had either made it through the gulags or those who had found ways of coping with the new power structures. There was a gap respecting the protagonist and how he ended up in Siberia which was never fully explained. I also felt the plot line about the smuggling was a little rushed at the end but its worth a read(less)
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Jun 05, 2013 Brenda rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: stand-alone
The writing style and use of words, almost completely lost me at page 10. I have read similar styles of writing before and almost always am able to follow very easily. There is a picture of a pig on the front, but the book is not about that kind of pig, so bad use of cover art. There is a use a “useless details” in this book, meaningless conversation.

I wish the author luck in the future.

I rarely stop a book without finishing it, out of respect for the authors time and effort, I want to give a g…more The writing style and use of words, almost completely lost me at page 10. I have read similar styles of writing before and almost always am able to follow very easily. There is a picture of a pig on the front, but the book is not about that kind of pig, so bad use of cover art. There is a use a “useless details” in this book, meaningless conversation.

I wish the author luck in the future.

I rarely stop a book without finishing it, out of respect for the authors time and effort, I want to give a good review and fair chance. I could not do that will this book and it saddens me. I hope to see something new from this author someday and see growth beyond this book. Right now I am just really lgad I did not pay for this book, I got it free online..either on Amazon or one of the other websites that offer free books from time to time.(less)

A few very nice reviews for PIG on Barnes and Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pig-darvin-babiuk/1114373992?ean=2940044271609

Anonymous

Posted August 16, 2013

This starts off very good – unlike many other books I’ve read. I was intrigued right from the start with Snow’s adventures. There is crime, spies, thrills – enough for a good weekend read in between gardening or relaxing around the house.

The style is very sharp and makes you think about how it has a distinctive silent reading style. The characters were well thought out and you feel along with them. Without letting the story out of the bag you will enjoy reading this story filled with suspense. Russia sets the perfect backdrop for such a story with it’s cold past and chilly weather. The story presents terrorism in a different light and viewpoint.

How ironic that the main character’s name relates to the U.S.’s recent news of a supposed "whistleblower and traitor", which makes for an even more interesting read.

Anonymous

Posted August 14, 2013

This book is prefaced with the definition of a P.I.G. (an instrument used to clean industrial pipes) – this sets the tone of the story – that of tension and suspense. Snowden ‘Snow’ Nastiuk lives in the camp housing workers from the Noyabrsk oil production facility, in Russia,. He is thrown into a world of international terrorism when he meets Magda Perskanski.
The writing style is sharp and edgy, similar to a style distinctive to spy thrillers and crime fiction. The characters are well-written and the plot is complex and interesting. I was hooked form the beginning scene that sees Snow accidentally locked outside his cabin in the middle of a below freezing night in just his underwear!

Anonymous