Wars and Windmills

21 December 2006

A Sign of Age

Besides the overt slowing of my metabolism, the most distinct sign of aging is my enhanced interest in nonfiction books and documentaries.

i have always enjoyed documentaries, but not to the level that i now do. mostly, i equated them with school...mostly. and i can't remember reading nonfiction in my yesteryears, it was usually sugar coated prose designed to entice, but not necessarily stimulate the ol' think tank. or, as my nerdery is as boundless as the known, and unknown, universe, i read comic books...tons and tons of comic books.

An example of the documentary deep fried goodness is Why We Fight, a documentary named after the World War II-era propaganda newsreels. it is centered around President Eisenhower's farewell address and his statement warning his fellow citizens about the rise and maintenance of the United States military-industrial complex and focuses on the wars led by the United States of the last fifty years. a very interesting and poignant watch.

Other nougat filled documentaries:

  • Touching the Void(i just wanted to scream "STOP CRAWLING")
  • Enron
  • Grizzly Man
  • Dogtown and Z-boys
  • New York Doll
  • U.S. versus John Lennon
  • Rize ("There is no limit...the sky's the limit" ummm...?)
  • American Movie
  • Trekkies
  • The Devil and Daniel Johnston
  • The Beatles Anthology

    The first nonfiction book that i remember reading of my own volition was one that, and i say this with no fear of hyperbole, changed my perception on life, is sadly one that Ms. Oprah tainted with her self-aggrandizing sanctimonious tirade for "truth": A Million Little Pieces.

    If nothing else we can see from that fiasco that the truths of his book are just as relevant now as before the discovery of fabrications. he wrote about taking responsibility for his actions as his only way to really get through his addictions; not relying on excuses or others to bail him out.

    i am sure he knew what he was getting into when he went back on Oprah...but he didn't back down, he owned up to his so called mistakes and never denied the fabrications. He merely took the verbal lashings of a scorned, self-proclaimed, literary goddess and the boos of her minions and stood by the truth of his book. hardly the act of a liar...and while there are some fabrications, the honesty of his book remains.

    Anyway, sorry...apparently the issue still irks me. i know that whole James Frey debacle is old news and i don't mean to rehash everything that has been said time and time again. i only bring it up because it was and is one of, if not the best book i had read up to that point. and it was the turning point where i realized that nonfiction could be as entertaining as fiction.

    Other fine nonfiction works:

    My Friend Leonard
    • A Short History of Nearly Everything
    (most anything by Bill Bryson really)
    Angela's Ashes
    • Collapse
    • Devil in the White City
    • Manhunt
    • Freakonomics
    • Walden
    • 1776
    • How the Irish Saved Civilization

    mostly, i am just feeling the need to justify the new heavier me, with accompanying weariness and joint ache.
  • 19 December 2006

    As of Late...

    i don't know if it was the fact that we were in Gay Pari that she looks so happy, or that she is eating a sugary treat. my guess is the latter. but what do i know?

    Paris was all that could be expected, with the added bonus of seeing that face looking that happy for a week straight, which was all the sugary treat i needed to have the trip be well worth it. but, i might be remiss if i failed to mention that we did stop at a bakery for a "start the day right" pastry every morning, so still the query remains, was it Paris or a simple treat that made my wife smile so blithely? as with the riddle of the Tootsie Pop...the world may never know.

    as of late my most recent indulgence has been watching two seasons and one half of House M.D. and enjoying sardonic wit at its very finest.

    Also, i have been catching up on the most recent season of 24. which, though sometimes far fetched and formulaic, i enjoy, much to the chagrin of some of my friends.

    The only problem with having cable and all these shows is i haven't sat down and read a book in months. I feel as though i have betrayed my roots, and exposed my real lazy, mindlessly entertained self. But i have, due to an hour long drive to work and an hour long drive home, amassed a ever growing Audible recorded books library. Through that i have read (can you call it reading?): Don Quixote, The Prestige (the movie made me curious), Metamorphosis, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Angela's Ashes, The Count of Monte Cristo, and re-read A Short History of Nearly Everything, Billy Collins Live, Ender's Game, and Ender's Shadow. But all that doesn't beat sitting down, artifact in hand and indulging in actual text.

    i have also in the past few months indulged in a quasi-homage to movies from my childhood by watching some movies that struck me as nougat filled gold when i was only a wee lad, and making a list of the rest that i would like to revisit. i was reluctant for a long time to do this. i was worried that watching these movies now, with a far more critical, if not borderline spiteful distain for all things cheesy and not with the blindly open arms of a child would somehow taint their memory, but i found so far that while i am not as immersed in the film as in the days of yore, i still enjoy the memories.

    I started by watching Ladyhawk was the first step as it was easily accessible. the movie must have been where the use of synthesizer was born, if not it must assuredly be where the movement met its acme. and if the film weren't based in the 18th century, perhaps the laser sounds wouldn't have stood out, nay jumped out as much.

    a few other ones on the list are Wizard with the ever adorable Fred Savage and is pretty much a two hour commercial for Nintendo, Flight on the Navigator, The Last Star Fighter, Labyrinth (where i first heard the Thin White Duke), Secret of Nimh and more.

    any other ideas?

    Also in late March i discovered Tony Soberon. and to this day the man makes me laugh out loud:

    As of late i have also gained too many pounds to care to count. i had to go buy new fatter jeans...a very embarrassing and demoralizing day.

    29 June 2006

    Scrumptious When It Crunches

    I ate this up like it was coated in syrup...or salsa.

    24 June 2006


    A few life updates are probably in order...

    i am engaged...she is cool times 10 millions of billions

    i have recently taken employment at Overstock.com writing copy (taking after the talented Elaine Bennice, though my employer is ten shades of boring compared to hers).

    i now prospect for gold whenever i have a free afternoon...honestly.

    i found some.

    i have faithfully followed the world cup and have this to say about it all: How can a sporting event that halts a civil war, is worshiped by every nation (sans one), is commercial free, and motivates governments to give half-holidays on the day their team plays, be seen as anything but glorious entertainment served up like so much pipin' hot pizza to the masses?

    My most recent play-list:

    • Outlaw Song by 16 horsepower
    • Mercy by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
    • Tank Park Salute by Billy Bragg
    • Muzzle of Bees by Wilco
    • A House by Doves
    • Modern World (Original Recording) by Wolf Parade
    • Dirty Girl by Eels
    • Dying of the Pines by the Gourds
    • Crosses by Jose Gonzalez
    • When I Go Deaf by Low
    • My Only Friend by Deadsy
    • All Mixed Up by the Red House Painters
    • Ghostwriter by RJD2
    • 10:1 by Rogue Wave
    • A Guiding Light by Smog
    • Something To Look Forward To by Spoon
    • Don't Think Twice, It's Alright by Bob Dylan
    • Into the Fire by Thirteen Senses

    mostly, that is all

    20 March 2006

    Annie are you okay?

    a professor of mine, Scott Samuelson, taught a few poignant ideas about poetry. he said: "Praise is the essence of poetry; all poetry praises something" and, "The poet is the person who asks the question that has never been asked.”

    to Samuelson's ideas, in conjunction with the words of Caglar Juan, i say: Amen.

    08 March 2006

    La La La

    Life, or so life should seem, is like toes through warm sand.
    But in my life,
    my toes are still in my shoes so the sand is rubbing them raw.

    11 February 2006

    Lights and Spikes

    a question old as middle-earth:

    who would win if a dolphin grappled a unicorn? what beast would triumph if the peaceful passing of two magnificent creatures under a rainbow was brought to fisticuffs?

    it seems that the lopsidedness of this battle is obvious and highly inappropriate. a mystical, and in all probability, magic filled golden horn against a mere blow-hole...sad really. however, give the dolphin a set of lights (lights that may or may not flash in distracting patterns) and a set of fin spikes and what would normally be a boring melee, just got interesting.

    next up...bee-vs-dolphin

    02 February 2006


    i miss my beard. or face merkin as young joneseph would poetically call it. currently my boss feels they are not becoming of a server of steaks...as though it is a prestigious position, because the thing is, it's not. that's the thing.

    i miss the joy of saturday morning cartoons. i have not felt in my adult life the equivalent elation that accompanies awaking at dawns ass-crack and waiting for voltron, he-man, thundercats...et al. the simplicity of the life is what rings true now. the main decisions of a saturday morn were which show to watch, smurfs or gi-joe (which were on at the same time), or train with jack in karate instead of watch cartoons (which, honestly was no real decision in the any definition of the word).

    i miss the hedonism of my teens. but as a wise man once said: "I am tired of hoping for the next best thing. It is like the paradox of hedonism: when you not looking for a good time, it seeks you out like a badger and bites your ass in the night." too true, pal.

    i miss the time when common sense was common...take that as you will. it seems however, that i am becoming more and more surrounded by dumb people. now, i am by no means the sharpest knife, or brightest bulb, or whatever metaphor you choose (as matt, mark or joe can attest), and maybe it is just my lot in life to attract these yahoos, or it maybe outback's new policy of "hire only the slow ones" but when a server comes running to the kitchen frantic about how long his table 13 has waited for their food, only to find out they were half way through the meal he just forgot to check at the table, i stop and think and try not to swear, due to the family environment...a battle constantly lost. or when a patron orders cheese fries and soup then complains that her soup is cold and tastes funny when no actual soup has been delivered to the table, she ate the ranch dressing that comes with the cheese fries, i feel like kicking my own crotch. oh people.
    well, that is not all i miss...not all at all.

    i have no idea how to end this so here is a quote: “The optimist builds himself safe inside a cell and paints the inside walls sky-blue and blocks up the door and says he’s in heaven”
    --D. H. Lawrence