Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Banner Up

For those of you who read via the RSS. And it is not supposed to make any mathematical sense so don't even try to complain about it.

Music of the Day: Medusa - Annie Lennox

New feature here! I listen to music a lot, and usually the specific artist comes in spurts and gets played a few times a day or week and the just peters out and isn't heard for a while. Some make it into the normal rotation, like Red, Yellow & Blue by Born Ruffians did. Others can just be nostalgic listens like today's post.

Before you start questioning my manliness let me explain. As a child I loved to play with toy cars on the window sills in my living room. For my mother this was awesome, because it left her to do what she needed to do (namely deal with my brother Brian who was not as independent as myself) all the while listening to her feminist music. I never realized until fairly recently how much female empowering music I was subjected to as a child; K.D. Lang, Bonnie Rait, Sinead O'Conner, Joni Mitchell and of course Annie Lennox.

A particular album sticks out in my mind when I reminisce about yesteryear, that album being Medusa by Annie Lennox. Besides having a cover of my favorite Clash song (Train In Vain) Medusa brings with it a hard hitting feminist style that I think subconciously put the fear of God (rather my mother) in me as a young child. The more I think about it I don't know if my mom actually liked that music as much as it was a form a psychological warfare. Regardless I know every word of every song Medusa and poor Mumkin (our cat) was privy to many examples last night and this morning.

I don't see this one making it into the rotation anytime soon but rather coming out when I'm alone and feel like I need a heavy dose of 80's early 90's female empowerment.

Mixed Rulings for The Underling

After a fervent, and at times almost violent, debate The Court of the Underling has ruled that The Underling is not required to continue reading Lord of The Flies because of the two previous times in his life that he has read said book, as well as his unyielding support for its character. Immediately after the ruling The Underling could be spotted removing the bookmark from the book in question and is expected to place it back on the shelf sometime later in the day.

This move came on the heels of a long planned trip by book comptroller Katy who could not be reached for comment. Many analysts believe that The Underling has been waiting for this trip to push the issue in order to limit any damage he may receive in the press.

In other news The Court of the Underling ruled that John Lennon: The Life by law must be finished by The Underling sometime in the future. A spokesman for The Underling who will remain anonymous because he is not authorized to speak on such matters said "The Underling is interpreting this as a requirement before death and will continue to actively not finish this book for the time being."

Story by the AP

What I Just Read: The Post-American World

Another day, another book. On the heals of yesterdays triumphant finish of Post Office I have accomplished another such glorious feet by finishing The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria.

Now this book was not a choice for pleasure but rather a choice made by the illustrious Prof Portz the humble leader of my Senior Capstone class. The choice was made as a sort of wrap up of the International Relations portion of our Political Science studies. A good choice, if I were graduating a year ago.

In his book Mr. Zakaria breaks down the status of today's world and where he thinks it will go. His view of the future is nothing new; a world still dominated by the US but in a less and less unipolar world, with ascension of India and China to the world stage, the consolidation of Europe, and increasing power to energy rich states like Canada, Russia and The Middle East. All well and good and he even goes into great detail about why this is going to happen, fairly convincing when I channel my 20 year old self.

The problem is, we don't live in that world anymore. We no longer live in a world where China will continue financing US debt, where the US has decades to adapt to the new world order, where a booming first world economy is lifting the developing nations. This is a great book, well researched and well written but it is the wrong book for this class.

I guess that is the problem with most Political Science books, they exist in a world where policy and theory react to real world events on a daily basis, a world where not even this mornings New York Times is correct anymore. This is a digital world and I don't know if professors really get that yet.

As for what I will be reading next (in addition to Lennon and LOTF) I have been assigned Fixing Failed States by Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart for Capstone, which I will dive into Monday night (expect a blog post about it that evening). As for pleasure it's either going to be White Tiger or Women. The problem is I really want to start Women but in order to do so I need to wait until Sunday when I go to work to buy it. Where as White Tiger is within arms reach at the moment. I'm going to start White Tiger tonight I think but if it doesn't grab me by work Sunday I will forgo it for Women. Check back Sunday night for a post about one or the other.

Friday, January 23, 2009

What I Just Read: Post Office

Yeah I know, that was quick, but it is a testament to how much I really like a good book. I'm not saying that Lennon is a bad book but it could stand to lose a little wait. Anyway onward with the review!

Kurt Vonnegut with hang over, that is how Bukowski writes. Strip away the goofy foolish parts of Vonnegut's books and you are left with a dry and biting sarcasm, Bukowski has that but he also had 6 pack and half a handle of whiskey the night before writing it.

Post Office is a novel about a hard drinking, sleep deprived, gambling, low life womanizer who just seems to roll with what life throws at him. Bukowski, of poetic fame (which means the prose flows that much better), writes post office in six major parts broken down into chapters that range from 1/4 of a page to 4 full pages, with each chapter having a type of finality to it. The book took me know time to read because every time I finished a chapter I moved onto the next and then the next and then the next.

All in all I loved the book, as of right now one of my favorites just because it was very fun to read and was straight forward with its point, Charles Bukowski is a sleazy old man who loves alcohol and a nice pair of legs (and ass and boobs). This Sunday I plan on picking up Women because it's Steve's favorite Bukowski book and I can only imagine how it will read.

As for the next book added to the list, it might be White Tiger or I may simply wait until Sunday and start up with Women, regardless I plan on finishing Post American World for class before I start anything new.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A dog is not just a dog

The Sports Guy lost his dog the other day and upon reading it I felt moved to write him an email.

I distinctly remember the day my second dog died, I had been working at my job after school when my dad called and told me he had some bad news. With the news I ran home to find my family crying and pointing to the front yard. I walked outside and saw him lying there, tongue hanging out, not peaceful like everyone tells you they look. I went back inside where it was decided that as the oldest (a mere 15) I would accompany my father to the vet. I spent the next 8 minutes sitting in the car with my dog in my lap, his empty face just lying there. Upon entering the vet I placed him on the table as the doctor went about making the preparations with my father. I kind of just stood there staring, not speaking until the vet asked if I wanted to keep his collar, to which I replied that he should just burn it with the dog. I was angry.

Angry because this was the second time my dog was hit and killed by a car, the second time I was meant to feel like I could have kept something alive by just being there. I never wanted a dog or a pet of any kind again. If I couldn't keep a dog past it's 4th birthday then I didn't deserve one.

This was the first time any form of death really effected me, my first dog was also hit by a car but I never saw the body and I was 4 years younger. It was a fluke, an unfortunate event. The second time it just seemed cruel.

I have been to more wakes and funerals in my life than I could count; from grand parents to uncles to still borns to peers but by far and wide the two worst days in my life have been the days that my two dogs died. I don't think people really understand how hard the death of a pet is, I don't have kids but I can imagine that having a pet die is almost on par with losing a child. It's only pets that you raise them from a time when they can't raise themselves until they die, washing them, feeding them, seeing them every day; something you only do with your parents, wife and children yet when a pet dies no one calls for condolences nor are there obituaries or wakes or funerals just the doctors office and cremation.

If you will excuse me I am going to go make my cat wonder what it has done to deserve to be squeezed so hard.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What I am Reading: Post Office

Yes dear readers I did it again, I have cheated you, I started reading yet another book. I know I just posted two days ago about a book I was reading on top of the other two books I am reading, and yes the shame is getting to me. But not enough that I won't start another book! Armed with a $50 gift card from Borders (it only cost me $2300 on my credit card to get it) I went in to work determined to buy new books (even though I am reading three and have plenty I could read). I decided on White Tiger by Aravind Adiga because it has been recommended to me about 17 times now as well as Shakespeare's Julius Caeser because I am re-watching Rome with Katy. All good choices I think, but we'll see.

The third book I purchased, and the one I am reading now, is Post Office by Charles Bukowski. Now my logic for purchasing this book goes like this; there is a bar that I frequent down the street called Bukowski's which is dedicated, as the name indicates to Charles Bukowski. As well as the bar there is the fact that all his books have amazing covers, and me being a stickler for a good cover figure I should give one a try, so I pulled Post Office off the shelf (should be noted that Please Mr. Postman was playing all day at work, may or may not have factored into my decision). As I was making my decision on what three books to buy (I puled down like five other books which will go unnamed so no one can second guess my final choices, yeah I said it) Steve comes over and tells me "Charles Bukowski is one of my favorite authors." Why? "Because he is the dirtiest old man there is." That sold me and clearly means I have the right to start reading Post Office (and probably all his other books because so far it is a riot) before I finish my other three books.

Get over it, I'll read them eventually.

I have since finished this book, read the review here

43 -> 44

I had a much more stinging blog written for today but I deleted them in the name of Hope!

Tomorrow we as an American people will swear in the 44th President of these United States. The fifth of my lifetime, and the third I will be able to remember. The first black man to hold the office; the office of a country founded upon slavery, and whose capital was built by dark skinned men and woman who were not paid for their labor.

To me personally this has a much deeper significance than what it appears to be on the surface.

Bill Clinton is the first President I can remember. Yes I have vague memories of George H.W. Bush but he was never my President, he was for all intents an purposes he my parents President. Bill CLinton was there when the idea of politics entered my brain; when news became comprehendible to my young mind. Needless to say when Mr. Clinton left office in lieu of Mr. Bush it was as if a part of my life (or life as I knew it) was over and a new part was beginning.

George W Bush can be characterized as the first President I found fault with, not because he was any worse than Mr. Clinton (a debate for another post) but because it was through his presidency that I identified with my own political feelings and not those of my parents. My political awareness awoke if you will. Political goals and ideals yes, but not really life goals and a vision of my future.

That’s where President Obama comes into my life, his term in office will see me; graduating college, looking for a long term job, paying back thousands of dollars in loans, paying all my bills, potentially having children, and buying a house among many other unforeseeable things. It’s not to say that the policies of previous President’s will not effect my future, because they will.

It’s just that now I am my own person, I live on my own, I am starting to make my own money (ok maybe in 2010), I am independent. When I have problems I am not going to look to my family as much as I should start looking inward and for issues I can not fix I will have to start looking to my government (for big issues, not a clogged toilet or something).

For all the fuss and fun surrounding Mr. Obama (which I myself have partook in) he has not shown me anything. He has not done a single thing yet, all of that begins tomorrow, and a tough job it will be. I hope he does well because in the end my life is kind of riding on it.

Oh and the sn is not changing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What I Am Reading: The Post American World

Yes I know I have not finished reading this book or this book but since I have gone back to classes I have been assigned a few books to read by the end of the term. I debated blogging about the books I am going to read for class but then I realized that I am in fact going to read them and consequently digest them so then I should mention them. First up is The Post American world by Fareed Zakaria, which is, as the title suggests, about the world after America is no longer the preeminent power. I am about 60 pages in so far (which is more pages than I am in to Lennon) and find it to be a fairly enjoyable book that has got me to want to read into a few more subjects he talks about. That being said the financial crisis has left some of his points to be slightly outdated but none the less the main theme of the book appears to still be quite relevant. Expect a review of the book in the next week or so (that's a promise you can take to the bank, because I have a test on the book in a week.

Oh and I will finish Lennon it just might take a year or two.

I have since finished this book, read the review here.