Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water and Rachel Ingall’s Mrs Caliban

In 1982 The British Book marketing Council unveiled a list of what it anointed the Best American Novels Since WW2. The list contained a stunner no one expected and all but a handful of people had read: Mrs Caliban by Rachel Ingalls. I immediately bought it read it out of curiosity more than anything else. What a book! A miniature masterpiece, totally unforgettable. A suburban housewife has an affair with a sea monster which has  escaped from the abusive regime of an aquarium. Over the years this magical book has not acquired the readership it deserves and its author apparently reticent. Faber published collections of her novellas but they never seemed to garner reviews or sales. I am reminded of this great book today because the grand prize at the Venice Film Festival, the Golden Lion, has been awarded to Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, about a housewife who has an affair with a sea monster….

Brief Thoughts on North Korea

I don’t like Donald Trump, in fact I loathe him but who among us would like to face his choices. Trump inherited situation that Obama tired to wish away with balm of rhetoric and oratory, his solution for everything. In trump Kim has found the perfect actor who will rise to every threat, jibe. Trump will never deny himself a juicy slither of bait. Trump marches towards the trap door, bluster intact.

This may well e an oversimplification but to spare the US from any further advancements in His nuclear capability the Us will strike NK before they have an ICBM with San Diego’s name on it. NK will counter strike but their capacity will probably be restricted to barbecuing Seoul and Tokyo. That’s probably not what the South Koreans and Japanese thought they were singing up for as America’s allies , and it’s certainly a new take on the America First policy. Reagan notoriously spoke about a ‘limited nuclear war in Europe’ but over and above the fatalities and environmental implications a limited war in the environs of Korean peninsula would gravely impact on China and Russia. Even if they were restrained, it’s hard to see how the US would sustain it’s world leadership role.

At this stage NK may not be able to strike the US mainland but appears to have the means and could quickly muster the inclination to strike other US allies, notably Australia, possibly even Doha the location of the Middle East Central Command. Northern Europe is closer than California. As for involving China and Russia… alien life forms can investigate cataclysmic explosions in a distant galaxy.

Brief Thoughts on Hurricane Harvey

The destruction from Hurricane Harvey and its financial aftermath may allow the Western public, not just Houstonians, Texans, Americans, to grasp something vitally important and profound: rather than the trite gospel that climate change will create havoc in developing nations, the truth is climate change will create most poverty in developed countries. People living in shacks without public utilities will be imperilled yes, but they will, as they always have, move on and rebuild their shanties, adjust and cope as their governments, or lack thereof, neglect them. We, mollycoddled as we are, will, be baffled and bewildered as we, individuals and families, are bankrupted, simultaneously with our governments. People living in shacks are not mortgaged to the eyeballs, or insured. When thy lose their shacks, they lose everything. When Westerners lose they will set off chain of defaults. The scale of the financial calamity will be beyond comprehension and calculation.

The combination of topography and climate will simply doom certain cities. Places like Houston and Miami are not suitable to be metropolitan settlements of five million or more. Even as small cities they would still be humanitarian and economic liabilities. Miami could, just could, at this stage be the final port of call of Hurricane Irma. Miami acknowledges but has barely addressed the rising tides which flood the city so increasingly, so-called ‘sunny day flooding’. Alas, it going to take massive social upheaval in the West before politicians are forced to address the issues, which I won’t go into here.