Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bad Review, A Zillion Years Later

I recently finished A Frolic of His Own and looked up reviews on the excellent Gaddis Annotations, which featured one from the Times Book Review:
Other obstacles seem gratuitous, even perverse...[T]here seems little excuse for subjecting the reader to 50 pages of verbatim, tiresomely repetitious testimony in one of Oscar’s legal depositions.
While I can imagine that a lot of people did find the deposition scene tedious—all they want is blood and gore and her hand unbuttoning his trousers—I am really astounded that the reviewer thought there was "little excuse" for the scene in question.

It's not "one of" Oscar's depositions, it's the only deposition in the novel. It happens early on: the two lawyers in the scene appear for the first time, in their only scene together, and the whole remainder of the plot refers back to this encounter as the reader learns new things about each of them. And it's not the testimony that's repetitious, but the lawyers' constant objections and rebuttals, which take on a Laurel and Hardy type quality.

In any case, I think the deposition scene is literally essential to the novel.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Occamize It!

Ezra Klein doesn't understand why the administration would do something like call for a discretionary spending freeze without getting something in exchange. I think Matt Yglesias's speculation regarding Ben Bernanke from a few days ago might be relevant here.

It is not outside the realm of possibility that Obama just genuinely is a fiscal conservative who worries more about potential future inflation than current unemployment. Our last Democratic president thought trimming the deficit in a recession was a good idea on the merits.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

AxWax Source

Source and Eclipse project files for the cryptic crossword thing available here. You can now sign in with a Google account and have it save your progress.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cryptic Thing

I cobbled together a little (barely) interactive crossword puzzle engine. Here's a link to the puzzle I did a couple months ago, Transportation Alternatives.

It has some rendering problems, especially on IE, and there isn't any way to save your progress or check your answers yet, but the highlighting and everything seem to work okay, so I thought I'd link to it.

The interface is GWT which is very cool and fun. And sort of mind-blowing in that it even exists at all, let alone works as well as it does.

Update: changed puzzle link.