Sunday, February 28, 2010


So, they've officially declared my computer a superfund sight (as in we're waiting for government funds to do anything about the problem). So totally fuct. Yeah, well, whatcha gonna do.

The first month of computerlessness was quite nice, but things have devolved. I got the television out of the closet and occasionally will watch. I think Charlie Rose is losing it. Maybe it's just one of those things where you don't see something for a long time (like Voltron or Get Smart or Speed Racer) and you have these memories of how awesome it was and then you see it again now that you're older and more experienced and you do all kinds of mental gymnastics to not say that this thing you loved actually sucks. I was wildly unimpressed by the softball nature of his interview with Peter Orzag (director of the Office of Management and Budget). I remember Charlie being the greatest moderator of a political roundtable ever. I'm afraid to have to discover that that was starry-eyed youthful nonsense, cause I still love Charlie like I still love Speedracer (no amount of reviewing can change the place that Speed has in my heart).

In Boston it's cheaper to get internet with a cheap cable option which consists of the broadcast channels and some home shopping channels and some Spanish language channels and the Catholic network (or something). I'm hooked on the Catholic network (also telanovellas). There's this priest who is like your wierd uncle who tells long, boring, tedious stories with absolutely no point, except your uncle is on TV. And all collared up in his priest gear. I'm oddly fascinated by this man.

I kind of want to read Hank Paulson's new book about the financial meltdown. It should be good for a laugh and some amateur psychological profiling. Also Joe Stigliz's new book Freefall or Downfall. That one'll just be good.

There is nothing worse than when smart people dumb it down for a general audience. I started in on Steven Pinker's How the Mind Works to try and get reacclimated with cognitive sci. and neuroscience, but couldn't make it through the introduction. There is no quicker or more complete way to lose my respect than to write a book in that smarmy tone that smart people seem to be so good at when they try to 'popularize' science. It used to be that the really smart people couldn't contain their insights in the journals and so they needed a longer form or used a longer form to organize their work at a higher level. Now its seems the only reason smart people write books are to cash in with these smarmy works that are 'accessible'.

I'm gonna geek out on comics for a minute in order to unnecessarily complicate what should be a pretty straightforward anecdote. The third X-men movie was loosely based on the Phoenix Saga (I use the word loosely very loosely [as in the name they gave Jean Grey was the same and pretty much that was the end of that]). The flashback to when Professor X goes to meet with her and bring her to the academy was an actual scene from the comic, but in the comic she can't stop herself from hearing other people's thoughts. There all bombarding her mind everywhere she goes, and it's freaking her out. It's been kind of like that recently when it comes to narratives. I see narratives everywhere. Everytime I pass someone on the street, every car, every window of every house. Everywhere there are narratives. What is this person's life, where are they going, what are they doing now, are they happy, are they married, divorced, dying, have cancer, just won the lottery, just got fired? Except that the narrative questions go more specifically with the particularities of the person, car, situation, window. My favorite is to look at a building and try and get some sense of what's happening inside through pure imagination. Mostly I get this sense of the overwhelmingness of the narrative possibilities. Sometimes I just tell myself enough already, shut it.

Ava's Man by Rick Bragg-sad and beautiful, beautiful and sad. It makes me nostalgic for a time and place and way of being that almost certainly never really existed or existed in the briefest of moments amongst the slightest range of people. It's a beautiful sentimentality, if also sentimental nonetheless.

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver is kind of affected. Her writing is so elegant that the affectation of the approach gets kind of papered over, but ultimately, so far at the half way point, my opinion is that she should've gone for a straight narrative instead of the mish mashed slightly multi-perspectival approach.

I do want to go through and write up some of my thoughts about big B's first year as El Prez, but I'll save that for another day when I can work in my own home on my own computer.

Also, Karl Rove is a dick.

Friday, February 5, 2010

reading list

Currently reading:
Saul Bellow- A Theft
Rick Bragg-Ava's Man
Arthur Marx-Goldwyn
The Transformation of Myth through time-Joseph Campbell
History of the kings of Britain- Geoffrey of Monmouth (1139)
The Buddhist Tradition in India, China, and Japan- Theodor DeBerry
The Lacuna-Barbara Kingsolver
The Great Unravelling-Paul Krugman
Microenonomics- Somebody other than Mankiw who was cheaper (even the prices of old editions go up when you happen to buy a textbook right when the schoolyear is starting. Duh, Homer.)
Research Methods in Social Psychology-Dana Dunn
On Hold for a month or so-
Political Liberalism by John Rawls( coming back to it in the spring to help gear up for a summer of Rawls [the first summer of non-fiction {and seriously hard core pilosophical non-fiction at that}])
On sort, of hold- The Mists of Avalon-Can't think of it
T book- The laws of the evening-Mary Sukari Waters
Just Finishing- Interaction Ritual Chains randall Collins (with Sociology of PHilosophies next on the agenda)
Just finished-
The Conscience of a liberal-Paul Krugman
Upton Sinclair presents William Fox-Upton Sinclair

Some analysis of the work and politics and a bit about how the creative/conceptual work for the full rewrite of the first book of Mythic Structures; Book One: In the Abstract that represents the form of the hands (and yes I am aware of what you must think of that sub-title, and you can stuff it in a gaint italian sandwich right in between the salami and the red onions). So that's coming soon. Here's a link back to a post I started several months ago that I just posted, for whatever that's worth (not much, but pollution and some climate accord have to be addressed and organized).
So, here's that thing I wrote a month or so ago about The Journal Op-ed page.