Arrivederci and good riddance

From Drudge:

Italy should consider leaving the single currency and reintroducing the lira, Welfare Minister Roberto Maroni said in a newspaper interview on Friday.

Maroni, a member of the euro-skeptical Northern League party, told the Repubblica daily Italy should hold a referendum to decide whether to return to the lira, at least temporarily.

He also said European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet was one of those chiefly responsible for the “disaster of the euro.”

The euro “has proved inadequate in the face of the economic slowdown, the loss of competitiveness and the job crisis,” Maroni said.

Unlikely, but definitely cool. I still have a few lira that were accidentally tucked away in a drawer a few years ago. The Euro has been a disaster, significantly increasing expenses in Italy while doing almost no one any good except the European Central Bank and their cronies.

According to Prechter, third waves lead to the dissolution of treaties and alliances, so this may only be the first sign of the impending doom of the monetary union.

Speaking of reviews

I was perusing the Original Cyberpunk’s Ranting Room – a must-follow blog for anyone interested in the fiction business – and the discussion of reviews came up. Being a former video game reviewer, it should come as no surprise that I rather enjoy reading reviews and writing them.

That being said, there’s an awful lot of reviews that are simply terrible, barely worthy of the name. In the game world, such reviews usually focus on whether the graphics are better than they were in last year’s games, which is why the magazine reviews are all too often a collection of superlatives. In the book world, the lousy ones frequently focus on one minor aspect of the novel that the reviewer has somehow managed to get hopelessly wrong.

For example, when one of my books was reviewed by a sci-fi site, the reviewer concluded that demonic possession was tantamount to removing all responsibility from a character for his actions. Never mind the small fact that the character actually suffered severe and lasting consequences, the reviewer decided that her self-manufactured divorce of action and responsibility was the central message of the book and spent half her review criticizing that. For me, as a writer who has done more than his share of reviews, it was very strange and more than a little annoying.

As you’ve probably seen, I prefer a structure review format that specifically covers what I consider to be the four main elements of a novel: characters, creativity, story and style. But every reviewer needs to develop his own style; here’s a review of THE WAR IN HEAVEN from writer and VP regular Cris Naron:

Back in November, I wrote a piece about how conservatives and Christians need to take the creative professions more seriously, and the author responded, basically saying that he was doing exactly that. [X] is no conservative, mind you; he’s a raging libertarian. He is also a Christian and a writer who takes fiction seriously. That’s what sets him apart from most Christian writers. Most of the works of fiction you’ll find in Christian book stores are watered down, unrealistic visions of a world that the Christian religion itself strives to paint as hopelessly depraved and fallen. So my problem with “Christian Fiction” has always been with the Ned Flanders depictions of this fallen world. No one in “Christian Fiction” ever does or says anything that equates with the depravity the Bible describes. A glaring example would be Tim LaHaye’s and Jim Jenkins’ Anti-Christ, Nicolae Carpathia, in the Left Behind series. The book version of the character is slightly more evil than J.R. Ewing or C. Montgomery Burns. The movie version is less frightening than a Kennedy even after we learn he’s the devil.

[X]’s characters have dimension, and that means they’re dark, mean and ugly….

Go there to read the rest of the review. And by the way, Chris, where’s that SHADOW review?

That education president

The NYT hits the recruitment problem:

Some of that opportunity was provoked by the very law that was supposed to make it easier for recruiters to reach students more directly. No Child Left Behind, which was passed by Congress in 2001, requires schools to turn over students’ home phone numbers and addresses unless parents opt out. That is often the spark that ignites parental resistance.

Recruiters, in interviews over the past six months, said that opposition can be fierce. Three years ago, perhaps 1 or 2 of 10 parents would hang up immediately on a cold call to a potential recruit’s home, said a recruiter in New York who, like most others interviewed, insisted on anonymity to protect his career. “Now,” he said, “in the past year or two, people hang up all the time.”

That sounds like a little Law of Unintended Consequences action happening there. How ironic… and it just couldn’t happen to a more appropriate administration. And what a surprise, that helpful Federal government is protecting the children by giving out their telephone numbers and home addresses to the military.

Of course, the government military has a perfect right to make its pitch for voluntary service in the government schools. It’s just bitterly amusing that that’s the one thing that parents find objectionable.