Review: Revival –by Stephen King

Revival by Stephen KingI’m a lapsed Stephen King fan. I read The Stand and Cujo and The Dead Zone when I was young but found Misery and The Shining too frightening. When I was looking for reading material for my vacation, I grabbed a Grisham and a King (Revival) and wondered at the time if the latter was a mistake.

It wasn’t. I enjoyed Revival no end. Jamie Morton, the hero, reminded me of the sweet-natured hero of The Dead Zone and he ends up carrying a similarly heavy burden, though it isn’t second sight. The story chronicles his life from childhood to the present, and the conclusion is both uncomfortable and thought-provoking. I had a hard time putting the book down, even though I was on a cruise, with plenty of distraction.

Jamie comes from a large happy family in (where else?) New England. Tragedy strikes, and in his late teens and twenties he has trouble dealing with it, and becomes a junkie. He’s saved by the minister from his home town, a man who lost his family early and has been on a quest to find a new source of electricity ever since, a source that can both heal and cure.

Working the religious carny circuit, the minister learns how to harness this power, and cures Jamie of his addiction, and others of assorted ailments and diseases. But he also extracts a pledge from Jamie, and compels him to honor it in a scene that has much of the horror that we associate with Stephen King.

Revival is a super read and I’m now a renewed King fan, with plenty of catching up to do.

My rating: 4 stars

On Amazon


Living Dangerously

“It’s against regulations.” The phrase is everywhere these days.

When four boxes of books arrived from my printer, the delivery driver backed his vehicle up to the garage but would not carry the books inside. “It’s against regulations,” he said.

I bent to lift a box while he stood flatfooted at the entrance to the garage and watched. It turns out regulations now forbid delivery operators, haulers and other shippers from carrying anything across the threshold.

Where you stand on this depends on your liking for government regulation. For my part, I’d much rather see the problem of on-the-job injury tackled company by company or even industry by industry. That way, we might see one sector or business leapfrog another with different techniques or solutions. Instead, we have a blanket rule imposed on all businesses. As far as I can see, this permits no latitude to the business and allows no room for individual judgement by the driver.

Exercising your judgement is part of what enables you to grow as an individual. Does it overstate the problem to suggest that excessive regulation stunts personal growth? I don’t think so. But these days flouting the regulations means you’re living dangerously, in more ways than one.



What Day Is It?

It must be Sunday, because New Year’s Day, like Christmas Day, always falls on a Sunday. That at least is what happens with the Hanke-Henry calendar, a proposed replacement for the Gregorian calendar (the one we know and love).

The Hanke-Henry has eight months of 30 days and another four of 31, for a total of 264 days in the year. “It stays exactly the same year after year” is the slogan. Sounds like the kiss of death to me.

The calendar then throws out a caveat: every few years we’ll get an extra week, just to stop winter becoming summer, I guess. So how would that work? An extra week’s holiday? An extra week’s work/pay? It would happen every five or six years: a leap-week year. Would it happen in winter or summer? Tacked on to the end of a month, so that you get married (or divorced or born, for that matter) on, say, December 38th?

Adopting this calendar in place of the Gregorian could save the world billions and billions in annual updates and reprintings because it never changes. Would we die of boredom in the meantime?

Under the Hanke-Henry, my birthday would always be on a Friday. I’m fine with that. But Halloween would fall on a Monday, unless parents united to push for Saturday the 28th, which seems wrong somehow. As for July 1, Canada Day would fall on a Sunday, making Monday an annual holiday. But July the 4th? That would fall on a Wednesday and I can’t see the Americans buying that. Wednesday doesn’t lend itself to a holiday. You can’t bleed it into a Saturday; it sits, stark,  isolated and unloved, in the middle of the week.

Maybe Wednesday could fall on Sundays instead. And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of this dotty 24-hour day. Time to go metric: 100 seconds/minute; 100 minutes/hour; 100 hours/day.

According to my calculations, that makes me 32. Now that I could get behind.

happy new year

(Happy Sunday, too).