Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Iraq: Saudi Arabia’s Mexico?

According to this CNN article, Saudi Arabia is planning to "build a fence along its entire 560-mile (900-kilometer) border with Iraq to prevent terrorists from entering the kingdom from the chaotic north."

Seriously, a fence? Did anyone think that a fence between the US and Mexico would actually work to keep out Mexican immigrants, who, for the most part, are peaceful and only seeking gainful employment?

Iraqi terrorists, by definition, will be much more malicious and much more likely to be equipped with the kind of tools necessary to, say, cut a hole in the fence, or maybe even blow a huge hole in it.

I guess it's a good time to be in the fence-building business.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A rhyme for Amanda

Sage: i hate folding laundry
Sage: it is the only chore i really abhor
Amanda: yay rhyming
Sage: i'd rather be mopping, or maybe go shopping
Sage: vacuum my carpet and ...
Amanda: wonderful
Sage: and...
Sage: then roll around on that same carpet
Amanda: bahaha
Sage: wipe down the counter and maybe encounter a germ or spot or stain
Sage: then spray them with tilex and laugh as I flex and wipe them away with disdain
Amanda: hehehe
Sage: ok, that's enough
Amanda: all right
Amanda: i'm going to go to sleep
Sage: i'm going to post that rhyme in my blog

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Don't Stop Me Now

Buy Queen's Greatest Hits from Amazon
Don't Stop Me Now by Queen is my new favorite song. I first heard it on the Queen Greatest Hits CD that my parents got me, but it somehow slipped under my radar, or it went unnoticed among the other songs.

Last Friday, I was listening to my Killer Queeen Radio station on Pandora, and it played this song. It was like discovering it all over again. I listened to it in my car a few times on the way home, and now it is firlmy stuck in my head.

Then on Saturday, I printed out the lyrics and practiced singing it a few times when Hugo wasn't around. I wonder what the neighbors think ...

I am going to sing this at Karaoke if they have it.

In other news, I finished Lolita. It was amazing. Definitely the most entertaining use of the English Language I've ever experienced.

Now that I am immune from spoilers, I decided to read the Wikipedia article about Lolita (I won't link to it lest I make it too tempting to spoil yourself before reading the book).

As you would probably guess, but not until the two subjects were proximate enough in your mind to snap together by their own magnetism, Don't Stand So Close To Me by the Police is referring to Lolita in the line "Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov."

Following the hyperlinks which are so delightfully inherent to Wikipedia, one discovers that the Dire Straits song Money for Nothing reuses the chords from "Don't stand so/Don't stand so/Don't stand so close to me" in "I want my/I want my/I want my MTV".

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I Love to Read

Books I am reading now
Ron Suskind - The One Percent Doctrine
Whereas previously, I only hypothesized that the President routinely eschewed reason and made decisions based on pre-concieved ideology, now I have some substantiation.

Vladimir Nabokov - Lolita
Gautam was right. "You want to lick the words right off of the page." Nabokov is an absolute artist with the English language. This book is funny, absurd, arousing, tragic, amusing, and incredibly hard to put down.

Books I have read recently
Gary C. Schroen - First In

Schroen is a CIA commander who airlifts into Afghanistan immediately after 9/11 to secure the allegiance of several Northern Alliance warlords. He writes with a good voice, and the topic is interesting. ****

Barbara Ehrenreich - Nickled and Dimed
Ehrenrenreich is a journalist who goes "undercover" to work and survive on low-wage jobs. This book was good enough to make it to the end, but not a must-read by any account. It's a good read if you want to gain perspective into the life of a person who is working poor, without actually diving into such an unpleasant experiment yourself. ***

Ian Kerner - She Comes First
Don't take my word for it. Read this book, and then ask your girlfriend for the review. ****

Al Franken - Lies and the Lying Liras Who Tell Them

Franken is AWESOME. Hilarious and pointed. *****

Kurt Vonnegut - A Man Without a Country
An unususal non-fiction offering by Vonnegut. Kind of a loose retrospective. I read it on the plane coming back from Texas. Nothing special. Read Breakfast of Champions instead. *

Eric Schlosser - Reefer Madness
Fascinating and engaging stories; extremely well researched. This book is 3 essays on vices which have a thriving black market in America - Marijuana, Porn, and Immigrant Labor. I have recommended this book countless times. ****

James Whyte - Crimes Against Logic
Routine treatise on logical argument. Pretty dry. Reasonably short. **

Eric Schlosser - Fast Food Nation
You have to love reading Eric Schlosser. This book gives a great history of fast food chains in the U.S., traces the plants, animals, and chemicals that become fast food, and tells some personal stories of fast food workers. I liked it a lot. Especially interesing is his discussion of artificial flavor. ****

Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner - Freakonomics

This book is popular for a reason. Lots of well-reasoned analysis of mondern day life and human behavior. Good voice. ****

Books I have started and not finished
Various - Twilight of Empire: Response to Occupation
This book is pretty depressing. I don't any reinforcement to think that the Iraq war is a misguided, mismanaged fiasco.

John McCain - Character is Destiny
I oredered this from Amazon after seeing McCain on The Daily Show. Why did I actually think I wanted to read this book?

Jim Hightower - Thieves in High Places
Next to Franken, this is less funny and more flimsy. Read Franken instead.

Virginia Postrel - The Substance of Style

The subject matter is interesting, but about half-way through the book, I could no longer stand the author's writing style. Let's play a game: How many times repeat the same idea in one poorly organized chapter? Hmm, even tthat's a waste of time. Let's read a book that's well written.

George Riley Scott - The History of Prostitution
This book is hilariosly unsubstantiated. The author makes sweeping generalizations on almost every page and uses them to build an argument. I might come back to this one because it is so amusingly uneducational.

Barry Schwartz - The Paradox of Choice
The Paradox of Choice is one of those books you can judge by the cover. I absorbed the entire thesis of the book by reading the jacket. I'm not even really sure why it takes so many pages to make the point.

Sam Harris - The End of Faith
Harris is unashamed in criticizing religion. But I am not really engaged. This book for me is like preaching to the chior, only the opposite of that. After the first few chapters, I was not biting.