Tuesday, July 26, 2016

2 small mysteries (& the fatal misjudgment)

I kind of wanted this to sound like an Edgar Gorey story.  (Not sure I succeeded.)

Anyway, a couple of weird things happened the last couple of days.  Last night, at 10 pm, the doorbell rang.  Someone was asking about Rick, who maybe used to live here.  I said that it is possible he was thinking about someone that lived down the street.  There is a slim chance he was a drinking buddy of the former owner, though if he was really close, he would have used the French-Canadian version of his name.  At any rate, I have no idea what he really wanted.  He kept muttering about a family funeral.  Honestly, I think the most likely outcome was that he was looking for a place to crash for the evening, but that was certainly not going to happen.  If he had shown up at 8 or even 9, I might have tried a bit harder to understand the situation, but the former owners have moved 500 km away, so I don't think it would really have mattered.  He still wasn't going to get inside the house.  (Boudu Saved From Drowning would have been a short, boring film had I been in charge...)

Perhaps less of a true mystery, but still strange, was that I bought my copy of Adiga's Last Man in Tower from an on-line bookstore.  I'm pretty sure the seller is based out of Indiana, but they sent me a book from the Toronto Public Library.  I looked all over, but I didn't actually see any "Withdrawn" stamp.  So the book may have been lost or willfully stolen from the library (or it just wasn't processed properly), and then eventually it made its way to the seller.  I found the book a little slow with just a few too many families in the mix, though I was somewhat amused by the owner of an internet cafe who tries to hard to please his neighbors.  (Every time he leaves the shop to deal with some new crisis at the housing complex, he yells at his customers not to look at dirty pictures.)  I stand by my earlier comments that the novel seems to have a few similarities with Gadda's Awful Mess, particularly that it doesn't really work as a murder mystery.  Anyway, I dropped it off in the library slot, and as I was getting ready to leave, I saw that they had pulled it out and were trying to decide how to deal with it.  Presumably it was reported lost several years ago.

As for the last item, I generally have tried to avoid talking too openly about politics, but I can't quite get over the terrible judgment of Hillary Clinton, on display once again.  While there is no question Debbie Wasserman Schultz didn't "rig" the election against Bernie Sanders, she certainly was pulling for Hillary.  So she goes ahead and resigns from the DNC, and Hillary immediately appoints her as an honorary chair of her campaign.  I've seen a few posts trying to explain that this is just a face-saving measure that Hillary feels she owes a dear friend, but frankly this is playing it far too cute.  Most voters, even the really engaged Bernie supporters, just don't follow all the nuances of insider politics and feel that Schultz has landed some great gig.  I can't imagine a move that would get them riled up more, feeling the fix was in.  What's so frustrating is that it was so completely unnecessary.  It's a complete own-goal on Clinton's part.  There were so many other places to park Schultz until November.  Add to this, Democrats are notoriously less disciplined than Republicans (social science does back this up and indicates that right-wing political types generally do favor hierarchy and group loyalty, whereas these are not valued as highly by liberals).  While the speeches have been great, the convention looks out of control, with thousands of Bernie supporters throwing a wrench into the works.  For the first time since this sorry excuse for an election began, I think there is a decent chance that Trump will win. 

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