Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Reading Richard Rohmer in The Walrus!



I'd like to think that we've reached new heights, but as my agent will attest, I'm not one for promotion.

Is evidence required?

Consider the simple fact that I'm only now mentioning my 29 June article for The Walrus.

Remember when Michael Cimino was still alive?

Yeah, it's been that long.

You'll find the piece here:



Sunday, 19 June 2016

If you judge a book by the cover...



Ultimatum 2 arrived on my desk the same week The Lexicon of Love II was released. You see the similarities, right? Each looks to capitalize on the greatest hit, beginning with the cover.


Because The Guardian is very keen on The Lexicon of Love II, I'm going to force myself to give it a listen.

Because I'm committed to reading Richard Rohmer, I'll be forcing myself to pick up Ultimatum 2. Before I do, I've got a few things to say about it as an objet. 

A few days ago, I wrote you guys an email in which I referred to Ultimatum 2  as a "competent-looking production."

It's not.

Let's look at the cover, which I'll describe charitably as an homage to the original.


I'm certain that the change in the red, white and blue stripes has no meaning. The placement of  "MAJOR-GENERAL" is evidence of ineptitude. Laziness comes in the form of the Russian coat of arms - though "RUSSIA" is helpful to those not familiar - and the old eagle and Canadian flag design used on the cover of Ultimatum... the mass market paperback edition.



C'mon, 300dpi minimum, guys.

A few lessons in Photoshop would help. 

You know it's true.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

How to Read a Be$t $eller

Seriously, Brian, do you want me to mail you my copy of Ultimatum 2?
Stan, do you want me to send back your copy of Raleigh on the Rocks?
With my daughter Emma attending the University of Toronto this Fall, and God as my witness, we will obtain The Building the CN Tower and The Building of the SkyDome/Rogers Center.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Anticipation 2

Waiting for Brian Busby to receive and read his copy of Ultimatum 2 is like waiting for the last person at work to finish watching Breaking Bad.  Except lots of people like Breaking Bad.  So it's not exactly like that.

I can't believe he's reading Rainbow Country novelizations instead.  Yes, those stories feature a floatplane and thrilling-but-repetitive adventures in the great Canadian outdoors, but do the characters ever negotiate business deals or drill for anything? No, they do not.

They do not satisfy.

It's like trying to drink whisky from a bottle of wine.  Or vodka, without eating bread.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

The password is "swordfish"

At the halfway point, let me pause to say hello to a few old friends: Hello referring to Russia and the US as The Russian Bear and the American Eagle;  Welcome back Twin Otter;  nice to see you again, MacKenzie Delta; what's happening advice on how to eat bread before drinking vodka? How've you been plot device of flying all over the word in a mad rush for meetings that could, in all honesty, wait a day or two? 

So nice to see you back.  In my travels through The Green North and E.P. Taylor's life, I've missed you.

Which brings me to Chris's last posts - if we ever created an RR drinking game, say in the event of a new book being released and taking us by surprise - I say we have a moratorium on using the word "ultimatum".  By page 3 we'd be on the floor.  Unless we invoked a "you don't have to drink if it's not a real ultimatum" rule, which would disqualify most of the uses in this book.  Is it really an ultimatum if, when presented to the Russians, they say "ultimatum!" and then in a line or two, accept it and think it's a good idea after all.

I have a new favorite double entendre: "(Sue Long) sat back, her foot suggestively touching his leg. "Dare I hope, dare I wish, that this something you want can't happen in the bar?"

"Again you've got it. It can only be on the third floor in an appropriate horizontal conference position."

"Where I can take dictation?"

"No. Where you can receive it..."

Oh boy - "receiving dictation".   A clever play on...er, wait.  I take it back.  This is more like a half entendre.  Well, I love it anyway!

If Putin can be named and used as a character, why not Bush and Condoleezza Rice?

A character description for the ages: "Ross was an expert girl-sizer-upper"

Mr. Rohmer - it's time for for your cameo: "You're at the Stafford.  My favourite hotel.  And that American Bar. Wonderful, with all those pictures of the American generals and admirals in the entrance from the hotel's main-floor sitting room. Mind you, there's one Canadian Air Force general's photo contaminating the montage."

"Yes, I saw that.  Air Force, author, lawyer, most decorated Canadian citizen.  Forgotten his name."