Arthur the… Aardvark?

When you only have two television channels (CBC and CTV), sometimes you have to watch Arthur. So Oliver and I sometimes watch Arthur. This got me wondering: what species is Arthur, anyway? It turns out that he’s an aardvark! This seems very odd to me, especially as Arthur has a dog, which you would think would be strange thing for an aardvark to have. But I suppose it’s no weirder a fact than that Arthur (the aardvark) can talk and walk and go to school. Hmmmmm.

Don’t install Windows ME!

A couple of weeks ago I thought I’d do something uncharacteristic and try and lead the technology curve: I upgraded my Windows 98 machine to Windows ME. This was a mistake. Although Windows ME initially looked slick and faster, I soon started to notice problems: applications like Corel Xara wouldn’t load unless I started them right after a reboot; I found myself having to reboot 4 or 5 times a day; things gradually started to slow down to a crawl. Yuck. So I bought myself a CD burner, backed up everything important, and installed the IBM “wipe off everything and start from day one” CDs. My machine now works like a charm. Sigh.

More McCourt

I tend to get obsessed like this: I’ve now finished Malachy McCourt’s latest book, published just this month, Singing My Him Song. I can’t imagine reading this book without reading Angela’s Ashes, ‘Tis and A Monk Swimming, as much of the scene is set in those earlier books by Malachy and his brother Frank. This book is, however, essential reading for a McCourtophile, as it’s the first from the family which brings us relatively up to date on their doings in the 1980s and 1990s. It’s somewhat less rollicking and sprightly, mirroring Malachy’s own winding-down. But it’s still an interesting look at the life. Warning: I like biographies a lot; if you don’t, then ignore this.

My brother Johnny-of-Vancouver — restauranteur, dog-lover, bon vivant — needed a platform from which to speak to the world. The engine was called into action yet again, and the results was his own update-it-online from Vancouver website.

Listen to the McCourt Brothers

You can hear Malachy McCourt online in several places: reading from A Monk Swimming on Salon (another version on; talking about Bombay, plane crashes, customs, and gold smuggling at National Geographic. You can hear his brother Frank read James Joyce on Salon too, watch an interview with Frank on the WGBH site, or watch parts of An Evening with Frank McCourt on the Barnes and Noble site.

Malachy McCourt — The Doorman

I’ve just finished reading Malachy McCourt’s book A Monk Swimming. It was a good read, although not as decipherable or interesting as his brother Frank’s ‘Tis, which I read just before. Malachy, among other things, is an actor. Oddly enough, he seems, in his later years, to have specialized in playing the role of “The Doorman.” Witness: Turbulence (1997), played “Ray, the Doorman”; The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), played “Tony, the Doorman”; Brewster’s Millions (1985), played “George, the Doorman.” Of course he’s also played “Bishop,” “Party Guest” (in Green Card, no less), “Bartender” and — my personal favourite (read the book), “Englishman” (in the 1990 movie Reversal of Fortune).