Thursday, October 25, 2007

Book Review: Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay

I'm a big fan of justice, and most of the time mere revenge is an adequate substitute. And while often times neither is possible in the real world, I love tales of justice and revenge in fiction. So it should come as no great surprise that I'm a fan of both incarnations of Dexter--the uber-graphic serial killer saga on Showtime and the series of novels that inspired it. The show is back, and appears to be diverging from the plot of the books (a good thing, since I spoiled the end of the first season for myself by reading the first novel). But the latest book in the series? Eh....not so much.

Oh, stylistically, not much has changed. Dexter is still a sharp, sarcastic, soulless sonuvabitch--Jeff Lindsay's still got the knack for writing the protagonist's inner standup comedy routine down cold. No, the problems here are all in the plot. Up until this point, the books have unfolded exclusively from Dexter's first-person narration. In the third installment, Lindsay experiments with interludes with the villain's (or is that villains' ?) from the third-person "omniscient narrator". This would work....except for the antagonist itself. Dexter has been compared to Batman before (and even refers to himself sarcastically as the Dark Knight this time around), but just like Batman, Dexter is a mere mortal, and likewise the foes he deals with. His "Dark Passenger" that drives him to kill and provides him with the insight to find the worst of society's predators for his victims, up until now treated as a mere psychotic trick of the mind, is now revealed to be something more, something supernatural and older than time, changing Dexter from a brilliant-yet-demented detective into a possessed-yet-still-in-control bystander, and moving the book's feel away from Batman and more towards a Spider-Man-with-the-symbiote-costume. All in all, a disappointing entry in the book series, recommended only to the most die-hard Dexter fans. Here's hoping Lindsay can get the series back to basics in the inevitable next volume.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Drink Review: K Cider

For the most part, I'm strictly a beer-and-Scotch guy when it comes to my drinking. I certainly enjoy a nice bottle of wine with dinner from time to time, but I wouldn't be caught dead drinking a Zima, wine cooler, or other fruity beverage (fruity referring to both their flavor and their target demographic.) But my girlfriend came to Delaware for a visit over the weekend, and since her tastes are somewhat different from mine, I thought it best to have something other than Penn Oktoberfest in my fridge. If I'd have bought a container of Seagram's wine coolers, I wouldn't have been able to show my face in my local liquor store ever again, so what to buy? Then inspiration hit me--cider! It's the one fruit-ish beverage that even I enjoy, especially this time of year, and I found a beauty of an import tucked away in the store's "girlie fridge". It's an imported hard cider from the U.K. that goes by the simple moniker of "K", and it's far superior to the American offerings on the market. The likes of Woodchuck and Hornsby are OK, but overly sweet--closer in taste to a Zima than a nice mug of spiced cider. (The beer list/guide at Monk's Cafe in Philly refers to American ciders as "sugar water".) That's not the case here--K seems to have almost no sweetness to it whatsoever, giving it a crisp, tart flavor that's not to be missed. Highest recommendation for the cider aficionado.

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Blogrolls: Hot Sauce Blog and Straight Cash Homey

I've added two new sites to my blogroll for this Monday afternoon. The first one covers a subject near and dear to my heart(burn), hot sauce and spicy foods. I've followed this one for a while because my pal Squidly is a contributor over there, but recently I've been reading the RSS feed of the Hot Sauce Blog on a daily basis, so I thought I'd throw it up there for anyone who reads my blog and hasn't heard of this wonderful site (as if such a mythical creature as a regular reader of this drivel existed.)

The second one is a fun site for spotting people who wear out-of-date or simply ridiculous sports jerseys. We're not talking about the throwback powder-blue Mike Schmidt Phillies jerseys that can be seen around C.B. Park--we're talking about the Eagles fan who bought a green Jeff Garcia jersey while McNabb was hurt last season, and is still wearing it in spite of the fact that Jeff is winning games for Tampa Bay now. And it's named after a terrific Randy Moss quote to boot--go check out Straight Cash Homey.

Friday, October 12, 2007

An Inconvenient Prize

Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize, sharing it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in both cases for "their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change." What exactly this has to do with the purpose of the prize stipulated in Alfred Nobel's will ("fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses") is completely beyond me, but heck, after they awarded it to Yasser Arafat, it really doesn't have much credibility left anyway.

In other news, Red Sox LF Manny Ramirez was named the NFL Player of the Week for his contribution to the Patriots' dominating win over the Browns, Martin Scorsese won the Best Actor Oscar for his direction of The Departed, and Cowboys QB Tony Romo was awarded the Best New Artist Grammy award for dating Carrie Underwood during 2006.

Hey, they all make as much sense as Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize! Feel free to post your own in the comments section.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Annual Beast's World Halloween Rant

We're just a couple short weeks away from my least favorite holiday of the year, Halloween. Oh, sure, the horror-movie-fests on IFC are fun to watch, but having my evening interrupted by packs of germ-ridden neighborhood children, the oldest and most obnoxious of which often don't even bother to wear costumes, is just the worst. Then I heard about a great new program this year, and I'm thinking of signing up. Absolutely free of charge, you get:

  • A sign for your house that says "No Candy at this Residence"
  • To stay in your house from 6 PM on Halloween night until the next morning
  • To not have to answer the door to your house for all that time
The only catch? You have to register as a sex offender.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oh, No, Joe!

My Yankees have made an early exit from the playoffs, and Joe Torre's career as their manager may be over. Never mind that this team was circling the drain and leaving skidmarks for the first third of the season, hitting bottom at 14 games out of first place, yet Torre still rallied them into the playoffs and damned near yet another division title. Never mind that he's never not made the playoffs as the Yankees' skipper.

You can hardly blame Torre for the Yankees' pitching woes. He's not responsible for age catching up to Mike Mussina, nor for the multimillion dollar contracts handed out to certain washed-up, way-past-their-prime pitchers in both the past and present. And he's not responsible for the statements made by George Steinbrenner (or, if you believe this character assassination, his "handlers") while the team was still fighting to salvage their season. After the miraculous rebound the Yankees put together during the regular season, Torre deserves at least one more chance to show he's still got what it takes.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Fond Farewells

I just removed a pair of sites from my blogroll--Cox and Forkum and the Brooklyn Blowhard. C&F has announced their retirement from editorial cartooning and daily updates, although they intend to keep their site alive. I'm not sure where the Blowhard went, but his address has already been squatted on by a porno spammer. Hopefully he'll resurface somewhere else to rant another day--his space will be warm for him if he does. I'm looking for other daily reads to take their place--suggestions are, as always, welcome!