Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dog Day Afternoon

I found this book at a book sale in Schroon Lake, thinking it was the novel that the film was based upon.  However, the book is actually a novelization of the movie, and not a bad one at that.

Some of the names are changed, but the book essentially follows the plot of the movie.  A bisexual Vietnam vet, tired of the same old grind and desperately needing money for his sweetie's sex-change operation, Littlejoe plans a quick heist of a bank that is supposed to have a large amount of cash on Thursday afternoons for a bakery's payroll on Friday.  The robbery is quite well planned but, unfortunately, the schedule has been changed so that the cash is actually to be delivered Friday morning.  Littlejoe and his reluctant partner, Sam, realize all their planning has resulted in a haul of only $4,000, instead of the $50-100,000 they expected.

Because of the low payoff, Littlejoe decides to hold the bank employees hostage for $1 million and a jet to  Morocco.  What follows is a circus of obnoxious crowds, reporters, food vendors, police officers, FBI agents and weirdos who call the bank with suggestions for the thieves, all on the hottest afternoon of the summer.

Once the FBI finds out about Sam, a two-time felon, and realize that he won't give up without killing someone, they give in to the bandits' demands.  Littlejoe, Sam and the hostages load up into a limo which takes them to JFK airport where a jet awaits.  After letting a couple of the hostages go, the remaining people in the car start to get out, not knowing that the driver is another FBI agent.  In a quick flurry, the driver kills Sam with two shots to the head and Littlejoe is knocked to the ground and cuffed, thereby ending things.

Dog Day Afternoon is a quick read, very dirty and gritty, and quite enjoyable.  I'm not sure if it's still in publication, but if you can find the book I recommend it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ripley's Game

After the slight disappointment of Ripley Under Ground, I was a bit reluctant to move on to the next Ripley book, but my friend Ed convinced me to push on by telling me that Ripley's Game is the best of the lot.  I'm glad I listened to him.

This book is very different from the earlier two, in which I was able to identify with Tom Ripley and sympathize with him to a degree, even given his unlawful hijinks. For the first half of Ripley's Game, however, I detested Ripley, as a whim of his helps cause almost unbearable emotional anguish in an acquaintance.

Ripley does later redeem himself, to a degree, by helping out the acquaintance, however it's not enough to save the man's life.  That loss of life creates another enemy for Ripley too, in the form of the acquaintance's wife.

I will have to agree that this is the best of the three I have read so far.  After I finish the other series I'm currently reading I'll probably move back to the fourth Ripley book, The Boy Who Followed Ripley.

Patty Ritchie

To those who know me it is no surprise that I don't care much for Darrel Aubertine as our State Senator, based primarily on his voting record.  However, at least I know where he stands, unlike Patty Ritchie.  As part of my ongoing effort to learn as much as I can about the candidates for political office this year I took some time to try to find out more about Ms. Ritchie and her stances on the issues.

As with the other candidates, I started with Patty's website. It's a nice looking site, but there is very little content there.  Since I am genuinely interested in learning more about her specific ideas, I contacted her campaign through the website.  I was very glad to receive a timely response, but was not happy to see what the response contained - no specifics.  In fact, the email stated, "As the campaign progresses, I will be posting more information about my specific ideas to fix Albany..."  My first thought on reading this was a sarcastic "Gee, do you think it's too soon?"  It's only two and a half months to election day and the Ritchie campaign has been rolling for at least five months now.  Since she is taking on a popular incumbent she should have articulated her views, and how they differ from Aubertine's, a long time ago.

This election season just gets more and more frustrating every day.