This is the review that, in Friday's entry, I said that I would post. I have torn the bottom portion off
So how is poet Ginsburg's first novel, Sunset City? I truly wanted to like it, but it didn't get my motor running. My literary ego is flattered that she has the protagonist's ex-boyfriend observe that Houston is "too small a town," to which the protagonist flatly replies, "There's six million people here." I am not so ego-driven as to conclude that the author has read A Small Town for Its Size.
The reviews that I have read on Goodreads make some excellent points: The writing is solid, the pacing is mostly appropriate (sometimes slowing down when it really shouldn't), and the references to Inner Loop Houston locations will make any seasoned Inner Looper smile. It's certainly entertaining enough for a fast reader to get through in a few sittings. At no time did I want to just leave my signed copy on a bench and let somebody else pick it up.
But for a book labeled "literary noir," I didn't find enough literary or noir in it to really dig it. It's not that the action is lacking in noir-ness. It is certainly a murder mystery, even if the detective is not the protagonist. The detective is, in fact, an HPD homicide investigator who drifts in and out of the story. Writing it from the point of view of the murder victim's young, smart, attractive friend, rather than the misanthropic detective, is a pretty cool twist.
I just didn't get the expected James M. Cain/Raymond Chandler flavors from the style. Literary fiction with some noir touches? Sure, that fits.
Yesterday evening I did something that I seldom do: dropped in at a book-signing by a novelist.
Make that two somethings: The signing took place at Murder by the Book, and it was my second visit there. Ever. I spent a good chunk of change for a slim hardback copy of Melissa Ginsburg's Sunset City—which is technically a murder mystery, MbtB's stock in trade, but not the hard-boiled detective story associated with noir fiction. (Here's my review.)
What intrigued me enough to put this signing on my calendar? I attribute it to a bit of hype from the Houston Chronicle's Gray Matters section, where I was fortunate to get a contribution published last summer.
Green: Last week, Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein's campaign has been certified for federal matching funds. Her first allocation of about $100,000 has been processed, a substantial amount of green. Stein is the first Green Party presidential candidate since Ralph Nader in 2000 to reach that milestone.
To qualify for federal matching funds, Stein had to raise $5,000 in donations from each of 20 states, irrespective of those states' populations. Any portion of a person's contribution above the $250 mark is not counted toward the $5,000. For the remainder of the 2016 campaign season, the Stein campaign may file with the Federal Election Commission for donations to be matched one-to-one.
Grumbling: The latest controversy in national Green Party circles concerns candidate Kent Mesplay's April Fool's Day post on mesplay.org. To all appearances, he's not fooling: He has asked Roseanne Barr to be his running mate, in the event that he receives the nomination. Here is the original, and here is Green Party Watch's post.
Barr, in case you missed it, put herself forth as a serious candidate for the Green Party's presidential nod in 2012. For a professional comedian, she showed a horrible lack of timing: Stein, twice a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts, had already built a substantial organization and a devoted following by the time Barr entered the race. The two candidates appeared together in this presidential forum in May 2012 (it's about 1 hour and 45 minutes long), at which Barr talked the Green Party line quite convincingly.
Both items linked above make reference to Barr's recently adopted Zionism and her acerbic comments leveled at anyone who views Palestinians as human beings. She has even trotted out the tired old line about how anyone who criticizes Israel must be anti-Semitic.
The Zionist stance alone would make Barr anathema to the Green Party of the United States. However, neither item deigns to mention how Barr alienated herself from GPUS back in 2012.
In June of that year, she could not appear in person at the Texas Green Convention, so she telephoned in. Most of her appearance went well, as she detailed her policy positions. Then she took an opportunity to accuse Stein's followers in New York State of dissing and dismissing potential Barr delegates at the Green Convention there. She did not even bother to phone in for the national Green Convention in Baltimore, instead convincing a campaign organizer and delegate from Minnesota to read a prepared statement that accused several Green Party leaders, by name, of sabotaging and otherwise thwarting the Barr campaign. The delegate was careful to inform the Baltimore crowd that the words were Roseanne's, not her own.
After slamming the Green door shut, Barr went on to accept the nomination of California's Peace and Freedom Party, with Cindy Sheehan as her running mate. The Barr-Sheehan ticket won just over 67,000 votes, almost all of them in California, the only state on which that ticket appeared on ballots.
Having a candidate with big-time name recognition is helpful for a minor political party in this two-corporate-party system. Mesplay has run for president four times, and he's not even that widely known within the Green Party, let alone likely to win the nomination in 2016, so the Green Party has nothing to worry about. I would love to see GPUS field a well-known candidate, someone in the same league as Nader, for president or VP; I would prefer a candidate who knows better than to spew toxic rhetoric.
Meanwhile, I give Mesplay props for trying.
The third chapter of Eastern Daylight, "June," is now available for your perusal.
The Green Party of Texas just concluded a packed weekend at the Grey Forest retreat in San Antonio. On Saturday, GPTX held its nominating convention for statewide offices, including the selection delegates to August's Presidential Nominating Convention in Houston. On Sunday, the Party held its annual meeting, at which the delegates assembled elected members to the State Executive Committee and passed a few resolutions regarding policy positions and internal procedures.
President of the United States—updated
According to Green Party Watch, here is the Texas delegation to the Presidential Nominating Convention:
Jill Stein: 15
SKCM Curry: 3
Darryl Cherney: 2
Kent Mesplay: 2
Bill Kreml: 1
The win for Stein continues a nationwide pattern: Among states that have had their primary elections, caucuses, or conventions, Stein has won all of them. Unless something changes radically in the next three months, she will likely be nominated resoundingly on the first ballot in August.
David Wager, longtime treasurer for the Harris County and Texas Greens, reports that all the candidates for the various state offices had their nominations confirmed:
Railroad Commissioner: Martina Salinas
Supreme Court, place 3: Rodolfo Rivera Muñoz
Supreme Court, place 5: Charles Waterbury
Supreme Court, place 9: Jim Chisolm
Court of Criminal Appeals, place 2: Adam "Bulletproof" King Blackwell Reposa
Court of Criminal Appeals, place 5: Judith Sanders-Castro
Those were the only candidates who registered to run for those positions. GPTX has a history of fielding only one candidate per office, whose only opposition is None of the Above.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.