His chops are too righteous.

Is anything as satisfying as a well-crafted thriller? Does anything get you as trembly as discovering a new thriller writer who’s been working for a while, and has a long string of titles for you to work through?

No? Well, I figured as much.

I’m not even a huge fan of mysteries/crime fiction, but the writers I like, I like — John D. MacDonald, Ross McDonald, Martin Cruz Smith, the faboo Ms. Laura Lippman of course of course. There are others. Elmore Leonard, who gives the librarians fits because they don’t know where to shelve him. Ms. Lippman’s first stand-alone — Every Secret Thing — is double-shelved, too, at least in Grosse Pointe, in mystery and fiction, and that’s a good sign.

All this by way of saying after years of seeing this phrase popping up here and there — “the taut, well-crafted thrillers of Patricia Highsmith” — I finally got around to taking one off a shelf. The edition of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” I picked up is post-1999 movie, with Matt Damon’s face on the cover, but I don’t care. It’s just that good.

And the best part? Reaching the final page, and seeing there are at least six! more! Ripley books!

I know what I’ll be doing this summer.


OK, so we all know the country is being overrun by the religious right, but just in case you need one more piece of evidence at what, precisely, their mindset is all about, consider this story, from yesterday’s WashPost, on the cottage industry Christian conservatives are making of “re-editing” Hollywood movies to take the dirty parts out. Most of the story is pretty predictable: blah blah blah parent’s right to control their child’s viewing blah blah blah artistic integrity blah blah blah and so on, but I was most amused by the little details — you know, what exactly is being excised from which movies, in the spirit of preserving innocence.

Some you can predict: Kate Winslet’s nude scene in “Titanic,” some of the gorier gore in “Saving Private Ryan” (but not in “The Passion of the Christ,” hmm), and so on, but how about the scene in “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” in which Patrick the starfish sings and dances in fishnet stockings and high heels?

“We don’t hate homosexuals,” says Sandra Teraci. “We just don’t think that lifestyle should be glorified. It’s becoming rampant in more types of films.”

As Alan points out: “I think starfish are asexual, anyway.” Patrick was just getting in touch with his female DNA. (Technically, they can reproduce both sexually and asexually.)

By the way, when people like Sandra Teraci say “We don’t hate homosexuals”? Why don’t we all take a moment to laugh in her face, figuratively speaking.

Richard Cohen tells the truth about Bill Frist. Lots of people have already, but, you know: Noted.

Jack Shafer explains why journalists love Romenesko, and why lots of non-journalists do, too.

We have black squirrels here in Detroit. (I call them Grosse Pointe sables.) I know, I know — lots of places have black squirrels, but this is my first experience with them, so humor me. I didn’t realized they have such a large fan base, but I haven’t seen anything yet that discusses how aggressive they are. Technically the black coat is supposed to be the only difference between them and the more common gray and red varieties, but just based on casual observation, I’d say the Detroit black squirrel is a breed apart. If I don’t keep the garage door closed, they come in and eat through the trash bags, something I’ve never seen another variety do. Other stories are more alarming, although I’ll say the day one gnaws through my window screens and steals my bread is the day I buy a shotgun.

Enjoy the day. With a high of 80-freakin’-degrees predicted for this one, I plan to.

Posted at 8:47 am in Uncategorized |

12 responses to “His chops are too righteous.”

  1. 4dbirds said on April 19, 2005 at 8:59 am

    Except for my respite week in Vegas, I’ve been staying with my sister in Pasadena, Maryland. She is dying of advanced breast cancer. She gets so much enjoyment watching the squirrels in her back yard. From her bed, she can watch their antics through the sliding glass door. She claims she can distinguish between them and even knows exactly where they nest. In her area of Maryland the squirrels are gray but there is a white one in the group. Perhaps he or she will contribute some of its DNA to the future crop of squirrels.

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  2. Dick Walker said on April 19, 2005 at 9:05 am

    Regarding Frist: The pursuit of power corrupts long before its possession has a chance to.

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  3. Danny said on April 19, 2005 at 10:21 am

    Nance, why is it that you never seem to find anything whatsoever wrong with anyone who is a democrat, but have this penchant to frequently natter on about how such-and-such republican is “false” and needs to be “exposed,” to have the “truth” told about them. It is very disheartening to read this sort of thing from you.

    You site Cohen. Come on! I mean, third or fourth paragraph down, Cohen is making the silly argument as to how Hillary and Ted Kennedy are people of “faith.” As if. Two more mercenary bloodsucking powerbrokers, I cannot think of. I’m not saying that Frist is not the same. I don’t trust him either. But get some perspective.

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  4. Nance said on April 19, 2005 at 10:47 am

    That’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying “people of faith” is code for “people of OUR faith, and of our particular subset of belief.” Hillary and Ted Kennedy may be opportunistic and ambitious, but they have their religious beliefs too, and five’ll get you ten that many Christians don’t even consider them worthy of the title.

    Thass all.

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  5. Maureen said on April 19, 2005 at 11:36 am


    Enjoy nn.com for what it is – a personal blog written by a talented writer. It is not the place for political analysis and commentary despite the various links to current political topics. I stopped reading this website for a while because it had gotten so predictable and didn’t say anything that wasn’t covered much better elsewhere. (No offense…) Personally, I miss the old days without all the bloggage, but I found that I missed Nancy’s daily slice of life more, so I’m back, loyal reader #7,499.

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  6. carmella said on April 19, 2005 at 11:36 am

    I have just discovered a new author, and its odd reading how you feel about your new ‘find’, b/c I feel exactly the same way you do, I’m thrilled to learn she has more books! Can’t wait to get to the library! She’s Jodi Picoult, and I’ve read 2 in the past week, and they are hard to put down. My Sister’s Keeper and Vanishing Acts. Apparently one (or more?) of her books were made into a Lifetime movie, don’t let that scare you. What about those people who don’t like to read?!?! What’s THAT all about?!?!

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  7. Jen said on April 19, 2005 at 12:45 pm

    My personal theory after observing black squirrels while living in DC is that they are the offspring of a mating between a grey squirrel and a rat. Kind of like the rodent equivalent of a mule in the equine world. I don’t know that science agrees with me, but that’s what I like to think–it kind of explains the more aggressive behavior, and have you seen how their tails are way less fluffy such that you can kind of see the rat-like tail underneath?

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  8. John said on April 19, 2005 at 12:58 pm

    All squirrels are nothing more than tree rats…pigeons are winged-rats and deer are rats on HGH.

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  9. mary said on April 19, 2005 at 1:25 pm

    On Sex and the City, Carrie described squirrels as “rats with cute outfits.” Those black squirrels do look awfully ratty to me, and chewing through trash bags is SOP for the rats in these parts. We even had rats chew through the plastic dog food bin in the garage.

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  10. Mindy said on April 19, 2005 at 2:53 pm

    I live in a large patch of woods and love to watch the squirrels romping about. The bare trees afford a wonderful view of them climbing very high and jumping from branch to branch. Since the cable companies refuse to extend themselves another mile from the nearby subdivision to my home, this often serves as entertainment until Jeopardy comes on.

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  11. mary said on April 19, 2005 at 3:42 pm

    Mindy, you and my cats have a common interest. They enjoy Jeopardy as well. And squirrels.

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  12. basset said on April 20, 2005 at 12:36 am

    best place for a squirrel is on a plate. preferably after a headshot of at least fifty yards with a 22 rifle, just to keep it sporting.

    apres that… le gravy.

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