Shakespeare for Squirrels

[Amazon Link]

A gift from Pun Daughter for Father's Day. She knows I'm kind of a Christopher Moore fan.

It is the third book in Moore's series about Pocket, originally The Fool from Shakespeare's King Lear. Moore's gimmick: tell the tale from this (allegedly) minor character's point of view, where it's revealed that he's the actual mover and shaker behind many of the events. It didn't stop the Tragic Ending, as I recall. Moore tells the "true" story (rated R for language, snogging, bonking, and general bawdiness).

The second book in the series took on The Merchant of Venice. And this book deals with an even more out-there play, A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Downside for me: I've never (ever) read or watched any of these plays. I really recommend you do that first before tackling the Moore books. Didn't stop me, though.

It's a devilishly complex plot with a lot of characters. Pocket gets into it when he (and his assistant Drool, and his monkey, Jeff) are cast adrift on the high seas. After nearly dying, they are washed up on the shores of Greece, near Athens. And are immediately plunged into a wacky ecology of foolish mortals, fairies, goblins, and Amazons. Some of the mortals are part-time play-actors, and they plan to present "Pyramus and Thisby" in celebration of an upcoming royal marriage… And (somewhat departing from the play), it quickly turns into a murder mystery, because someone shoots Puck with a crossbow. Pocket turns private eye, interviewing suspects at his considerable peril.

And in the end, what better device to reveal the culprit than a play that's designed to catch the conscience of the… perpetrator. Yeah, even I know that's a different play. But it works pretty well.

Last Modified 2022-09-30 11:49 AM EDT

Matt Mowers Insults My Intelligence

So I got a slick mailer from Matt Mowers, who is running for the GOP nomination to oppose my current US CongressCritter, Chris Pappas. And (honest) this made me laugh like an idiot on the walk from my mailbox back to the house:

[Pap is ON FIRE]

[I know a lot of people black out addresses. I figure that if the Republicans know my address, you can too.]

Let's deal with what's sort of true: Chris Pappas has been photographed wearing a "Resist" T-shrt, with a clenched fist replacing the I. But in the pics I've seen, it's not black text on grey, but rainbow text on black. (Example here.) Pappas's 2019 GOP opponent, Eddie Edwards, tried to make this shirt an issue in his debate with Pappas. Unsuccessfully, as Pappas won 54%-45%. ("Don't blame me, I voted Libertarian.")

Pappas is guilty of (at most) appropriate attire for a gay guy at a gay pride event. And also a phony smile. But…

I'm mortally certain that Pappas has not set fire to a cop car during a riot. I would bet that he's never even been close to a riot, let alone smiling a phony smile in front of a riot. The mailer's photo is a fake that will only impress people who probably shouldn't be allowed to vote anyway.

Let's go back to what's (again, sort of) true: Pappas voted for the "George Floyd Justice in Policing Act". Did he vote "with the leftist mob", as the mailer alleges? Well, only if you equate "all the other Democrats in the House" with "the leftist mob". (And, frankly, that seems a little inflammatory.) It was nearly a straight party-line vote with three Republicans voting Yea. The bill would have limited "qualified immunity" for police officers, which was probably the sticking point.

This is one of the very few issues where I'm on the D side. Pre-Floyd, lawyer Joanna Schwartz took to the Volokh Conspiracy blog to argue against qualified immunity, and she was pretty convincing.

I bet, however, that Democrats would not go so far as Samantha Harris recommended at Reason: It’s Time to End Qualified Immunity for College Administrators, Too. All authority-wielding pseudo-government officials should think not once, not twice, but thrice before violating the civil rights of a citizen they've taken a dislike to.

OK, so Chris Pappas is a loyal Democrat. Does he, as the mailer alleges, vote "with Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time"?

Well, as Speaker of the House, Nancy usually does not vote herself. So, technically untrue. But is Pappas essentially a marionette with Pelosi pulling the strings? As it turns out, not quite (but almost):

Rep. Pappas has voted against a majority of House Democrats 21 times (2.4%) in the 116th Congress (2019-20). He ranks 262nd among all representatives in voting against his party. The average House Democrat votes against his or her party 2.3% of the time.

(In comparison, our state's other CongressCritter, Ann McLane Kuster, is slightly less independent, only voting against party 1.3% of the time in this Congress.)

So Pappas is a (very) typical Democrat. Which is bad enough. Mowers should stick to the facts instead of putting up incendiary (heh) fake photos and deceptive language.

Last Modified 2020-08-29 6:00 AM EDT