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.