Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for January 22nd, 2011

Just reviewed “Troubled Waters” at Shiny Book Review

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Folks, I enjoy Sharon Shinn’s writing a great deal, so reading TROUBLED WATERS wasn’t a hardship.  That said, it’s far from the best of her novels, and her magical universe — one which deals with five elements, but not the traditional five of air, fire, earth, water and spirit (instead, hers are water, air/spirit, earth, fire, and the Hunti or wood/bone element) — was not that unusual.

What was unusual, though, was a plot structure that required nearly a full half of the book before Zoe Ardelay (the main character) figures out who and what she is, and nearly a fourth of the book before Zoe makes much sense (as she starts off the book in the throes of grief as her father has just died; her mother died years before).  That Zoe’s personality was more or less subsumed by her father, one of the Sweela element (or fire/mind), is a given; how she comes out of that is unusual and worth reading, yet is so slow-going that at times it was nearly torturous compared to other Sharon Shinn novelizations.

At any rate, here’s my latest review:

http://shinybookreview.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/sharon-shinns-troubled-waters-is-good-but-slow/

Hope y’all will enjoy it.

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 22, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Keith Olbermann Ousted by MSNBC

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Keith Olbermann is out at MSNBC, and many of my friends among the Hillary Clinton Democrats (and Independents) are cheering tonight because of some of the awful things KO said about Mrs. Clinton (one of the comments was something like, “Someone should take her into a room, then only one of ’em come back out,” which was indeed a terrible comment to make).

But I feel . . . strange, I guess is the best word.  I don’t think this is a triumph at all, nor do I see it as a form of karmic comeuppance.  I feel that Olbermann , while controversial, would nearly always backtrack when something he believed later turned out to be wrong.  And in fact, earlier this year after the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), Olbermann apologized for any comments he might’ve made — including that awful one I alluded to above — that made violence seem at all an acceptable resort to combat any political candidate, or any politician.  Olbermann has made it clear in recent weeks that the only two things people should do are these:

1) Educate yourself, and learn about the candidates.

2) Vote for the candidate who best represents you and your beliefs.

(For which I applaud him, as he’s been one of the very few commentators who’s been explicit about what should be done in the wake of what’s now being called the “Tucson Tragedy.”)

In other words, I think Olbermann has realized he made a few mistakes here and there, and had become a slightly better balanced commentator over recent weeks.  I’d been heartened at this turn of events and hoped it would continue; that “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” is now off the air is, to my mind, a stunning disappointment because despite my objections to how Olbermann sometimes handled himself (especially over l’affaire Hillary Clinton in 2008), he was an entertaining host who made politics a little less complex and a lot more fun on his best nights.

Lawrence O’Donnell will be taking over Olbermann’s time slot, which isn’t an improvement by any means . . . while O’Donnell can have an interesting perspective, he doesn’t have much of a sense of humor, nor does he seem to know when to back off a little (his overwhelming personality, bigger than Olbermann’s in my opinion, does not help anything, either).   Then Ed Schultz moves into O’Donnell’s late-night slot — and while I like Ed’s program a great deal, I’d rather see it at 5 PM CST where it’s always been than have it move to the 9 PM slot.  And finally, Cenk Uyger, who’s called one of the “Young Turks,” is getting his own program at 5 PM for reasons that escape me . . . this, to my mind, does not bring MSNBC even close to being a balanced network, nor does it promote a balanced perspective in any way, shape or form.

Keith Olbermann has always been a lightning rod for criticism; he was one when he worked for ESPN as a sports announcer, and he’s been one at MSNBC as a news announcer.  But one thing KO has never been is boring . . . so in that sense, unlike many of my HRC friends, I will miss Olbermann, especially as he really did seem to be getting a better, and more centrist, perspective lately.

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 22, 2011 at 12:43 am