Relax, dog lovers, Popper cheats death in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch


If you are, like me, a dog, book and movie lover, you will feel a sense of dread when reading Donna Tartt’s new book, The Goldfinch. This is because it features a small white fluffster of a Maltese dog — called variously Popper, Popchik and Popchyk — who appears doomed from the moment he makes his entry into the novel, greeting with desperate shrieks the evil owner who has left him home all alone for almost two weeks.

Luckily for Popper, things change for the better thanks to Theo, the new teenage addition to his household,  and Theo’s bad-guy buddy, Boris. These two drug and booze-addled dudes let the little dog hang out with them, ending his life of isolation. The downside  is that their activities don’t exactly provide a safe and secure environment for the family pet, provoking many anxieties that he will go missing forever in a deserted Las Vegas subdivision.

Worse yet, when Theo and Boris encounter a mobster, it seems predestined that Popper will get what happens to so many movie dogs and end up lifeless on the front door stoop or kitchen counter with a threatening note attached to his collar.

Any half-serious movie goer knows just how often the loyal family dog meets a gruesome death, enough that there exists an entire website — — devoted to answering this “most important movie question” and mentally preparing dog-loving movie goers for what’s to come.

That there is no literary equivalent to can be seen as a good thing  in as much as it  shows that tear-jerking pet death  has never been as big an issue for books as it is for movies. On the other hand, it also means there’s no quick reference guide to turn to if a reader does start to worry about a fictional dog’s future.

Therefore in the interests of calming the nerves of dog and literary fiction lovers reading The Goldfinch, I am hereby informing you that Popper survives this almost 800-page novel unharmed despite his many brushes with danger and long absences from the narrative.

And no, I did not forget the spoiler warning. The only thing this knowledge will spoil is a sadistic ride on the roller coaster of fear for an innocent little Maltese dog. Knowing Popper’s fate does not in any way affect the outcome of the rest of The Goldfinch.

Rest reassured dear Reader, Popper lives to a ripe old age.

Is Amazon Prime worth it in Canada?

Amazon Prime Canada

Plus, they will deliver your order anywhere in Canada for free!

It’s true. The Canadian version of Amazon Prime is nowhere near as good as the U.S. one, but it’s still well worth it.

We just have to accept the fact that as Canadians we can’t swap Kindle books at the U.S. library or stream Amazon shows or get all the wonderful products Americans can. C’est la vie.

Once you’ve processed this and moved on to a less bitter place, you’ll see that even without all the south-of-the-border Prime benefits, $79 per year is a small price to pay for Amazon Canada Prime, especially with its brand new grocery store.

The biggest benefit of Prime is the free shipping with no minimum order size. I can have my $5 julienne vegetable peeler and $16 K-cups delivered to me for no extra charge. Or I can send stuff to someone else as a gift — again, with no shipping charges. And though Prime guarantees only two-day shipping, in practice most stuff arrives the very next day.

One word of advice — do look for the prime logo to make sure everything you buy is Prime eligible or you may find yourself dinged with shipping fees, which defeats the whole purpose of Prime, which is, of course, no shipping fees.

If you’re not sure you’d order enough online to justify the annual fee, just take the one-month free trial and decide for yourself.

Oh and if you find some good bargains and want to recommend them, please add a comment below.

I just bought these K-cups for myself along with another order for the kids at college.

Sign up for free Amazon Canada Prime trial month

Update: Well, after, I wrote this my K-cups did not arrive on time, which was supposed to be Friday. As of now, it’s Monday and I’m still waiting. This is the first time since February that Amazon Prime has let me down.

Yes, you can buy Fluke Networks’ troubleshooting kit (AT 2000/CableIQ Gigabit Service) on Amazon

The easiest and cheapest way to buy Fluke Networks LRAT2-CIQ-GSV Linkrunner AT 2000/CableIQ Gigabit Service Kit is on Amazon.

This portable troubleshooting kit is used for analyzing and testing Ethernet networks over copper and fiber optic cable infrastructure.

Check it out on Amazon and save $400

Freedom of Information request goes over 30-day limit

I’m following up on things this week. Here’s an example:

In September, I put in a Freedom of Information request with the Ministry of Labour to find out details of a 2005 accident in Brantford.

When I phoned to follow up on why the response was overdue, having taken more than the mandated 30 days, I learned that someone else had made the same request even earlier than I had and was still waiting for their information.

Needless to say, the Ministry wouldn’t, quite rightly, tell me who the other requestor was. But if you happen to be that person and don’t consider me a competitor, I’d love to hear from you at

This week, tell me what you really think

There are some interesting comments on my post, The journalist and the (accused) murderer, his mother and his ex. I hope the discussion will continue throughout the week.

Here’s part of what Ernest said:

It seems as though you punish the people who don’t cooperate with you. You wrote a whole post about ‘Josie’ that provided zero information. Why? Because she wouldn’t respond to your request to do so? Is she obligated to? Does she really need to make a statement as you suggest, simply because Millard was an ex-boyfriend?

And here’s part of my response:

Of course Josie is not obliged to speak to me. But because she chooses not to speak doesn’t mean I have some kind of obligation not to write about her … While you see my actions in this case as punishing someone who won’t cooperate, I see it as failing to reach an agreement and both parties going their separate ways.

Please check out the discussion and feel free to tell me what you really think as well.

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