Saturday, February 7, 2009

What I Just Read: Fixing Failed States

In the immortal words of Denny Green "they are who we thought they were!" Just as I stated before this book proved to be predictable and if nothing else just a grouping of ideas and forward thinking policies that we all know but refuse to implement.

The problem with the world today is that too many states have governments that have failed them because of their inability to provide a stable government that is free of corruption and is geared to a capitalistic working environment. The remedy calls for the consolidation of aid agencies into one forward thinking cabal that seeks to implement stable governments that are accountable to the people and provide a market and public financing.

Basically make the third world like the first world, and do it through investing infrastructure and good government.

And how is that a new idea?

All in all this book presented nothing new to me and did so in a frustrating format that could have been scaled down to a magazine article and probably would have reached a wider audience because of that.

I'm going to go read something interesting and informative now.

Dirty Old Prophet

The rest of us would be all right until the poor learned how to make atom bombs in their basements.

- Charles Bukowski Women

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

On Haircuts

While sitting getting my hair cut at Floyd's today I came to the conclusion that if I am going to spend a decent amount of time in Boston I think it may be a good idea for me to find a specific someone to cut my hair. Ever since leaving for Belgium I have encountered the issue of having my haircut by someone who is not Tony. I have had people who don't speak English, to a guy who just gives you the regular "I'm a white boy" haircut, to a guido who cuts well but almost takes your ear with him, and then there is Floyd's where you can have the same person twice and they wouldn't know any better.

And each time I'm scared I'm going to walk away with an aweful haircut (so far it's about 50/50). So today I officially announce my search for a new barber. It's been a long time coming, and looks to be no small feet in finding one I like considering how I haven't found one as of yet. But I think I'm going about it the wrong way, simply hitting the first place I see. I need to do some research.

All I want is a small shop with a few stools, a TV, moderately priced, and for the barber to be over the age of 40. The last one is the key, because I do not want anything in common with the person cutting my hair. To me getting your haircut is a moment in life when you reflect on things, it's like being in the shower or at the dentist; you sit there in silence and think. I don't want to talk about where I go to school, the Red Sox, Barack Obama, the weather or any of that shit. If I talk about anything with the guy, other than hair, I want it to be about my family, only because I want to have frequented the same place long enough that the guy knows my family.

And above all I want to walk in, sit down, and get my haircut the exact way I like it without having to show him pictures, explain what shampoo I use or how I comb my hair (for the record I don't). I want this guy to know my hair, and just do what needs to be done.

If your interested or have a suggestion, reply to this post.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What I Am Reading: Women

I have since finished this book, for the review navigate here.

Next up on the never ending trail of books is Women by Charles Bukowski. When I was purchasing Post Office a couple weeks ago my coworker Steve voiced that Women was his favorite book by Bukowski, I vowed to make it my next Bukowski book. Well as it would happen someone else decided they wanted to read Women as well, so I had to wait a week to purchase it. Now I have it, and I'm reading it, even though I have a boring book to read as well.

As I have stated before Bukowski is the dirtiest of the dirtiest old men and he gets his dirtiest when it come to talking about females, so I can only imagine how dirty this book is going to be. Stay tuned for the review.

Oh I also have purchased Factotum (another Steve favorite) and Ham on Rye which Worth commented on when I was purchasing it. So it appears as if Bukowski may be going the way of Vonnegut, that meaning I will probably end up purchasing and reading ever piece of his published works when it is all said and done.

It's Easy (but probably not probable) Being Green: Green Gyms

Here is our ongoing segment known It's Easy (but probably not probable) Being Green. Which is ripped from a Kermit the Frog song. Again I am not the green energy consulted that also goes by the name Kevin Doyle, I'm just the guy who gets his emails.

Mr. President

Americans are obsessed with staying in shape, as you well know, Mr. President by your countless hours at the gym each day. Millions of Americans hit the gym daily like you do, burning up calories, through many forms of exercise. Which is why we have come to you today with this report, on the benefits of the stationary bicycle.

You've seen it sir, in many of the post-apocolyptic movies out there, citizens left with no power, and what do they do? They hook a stationary bike to a turbine to run power to the light bulbs (that flicker constantly). I see you nodding you head over there sir, you can see where we are going with this. We want you to put one of these bicycles in the Oval Office, and stream you 2 hours a day over the web!

No? No camera? Not in the Oval Office? How about in Rahm's Office? O.K. I guess the White House gym makes sense as well, but sir it's just that we foresaw you meeting world leaders perched atop the bike. Vulnerable? Hell Putin takes his shirt off and flexes his pecks every time he has a meeting with Angela Merkel. The Fact that Germanic - Ruski relations have suffered is irrelevant sir. The point is that you are losing the war on machoness to a former member of the KGB!

No sir I'm fine, I....I....I just love this country so much and I can not stand to see you play second fiddle on the scale of manliness to a damn Russian sir! But I digress.

What brings us here today is the effect that these machines could have on the energy market. With our history of dieting and exercising we believe if deployed correctly these machines could account for 1/3 of our energy use (or they could barely cover the energy cost of each gym, you have nerds to crunch those numbers and come up with an exact number).

It's up to you sir to get Americans to use these. We were thinking maybe we would slap your name on it because people will buy any piece of crap with "Obama" stamped on the side of it. Maybe name it the Obamanator, and have you hawk it on an infomercial with one of those guys who yells and gesticulates a lot. You would be good at selling things to people wouldn't you sir? Tell them a whole bunch of really cool things about the product that may or may not be true. Travel the country and show them how it works. Yeah I can see it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What I Just Read: The White Tiger

This book is, as my manager at Borders put it today, "sneaky good". You do not realize how well written and entertaining until you are 100+ pages in and your realize you are over 100 pages in and you hadn't realized it. For myself a quality of a good book is if I am not constantly looking at the page numbers counting down until I am done. Most books I read I read for what I want to call a "Conquest". I read them because I feel as if I need to read them, be it because I bought them with the intent of reading them for pleasure and now I just have to read the book because I own it or because I want to know whats in them (i.e. John Lennon) or because it appears to be a book everyone should read (any Shakespeare). The White Tiger may have started that way but it finished as an overall enjoyable book.

In more detail, The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga was the perfect book to follow my reading of The Post-American World. It was a narrative on what India is like for the lower castes of society and how regardless of Globalization and the "Rise of the Rest" it takes a serious and dedicated individual to advance themselves in society. The White Tiger touches on everything in Indian society, from poverty to pollution to forced prostitution to government corruption to outsourcing to the emergence of a modern India. All of this through the lens of resourceful and determined young Indian named Balram in his writing to the Premier of China.

A thoroughly enjoyable and well written book.

Next up will be Women by Bukowski but I am forcing myself to read my Captone book before I read Women but it just does not look appetizing at all. We shall see. Expect a post on Women before weeks end.