Monday, February 26, 2007

Dennis who?

Dennis Kucinich. I know, I know: who? Apparently, he's a "dark horse" in the race for Democratic candidate in 2008. This is an interview in Newsweek that I thought you might like to see. I can't tell if he's arrogant or if he has that Texan flare: it ain't braggin if it's the truth. What do you think? And don't tell me about Barack. Only teenyboppers, wannabes, and posers like him.*

*Note--I would like Mr. Obama a lot more if he had been around a bit longer. I haven't heard anything exciting from him other than that he's got the guts to run for president so early in his career. As it is, I don't know anything about him (except that he and Hillary got in a fight, heh), and not knowing anything bothers me.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Circle of Life

Sometimes it pays off when you keep on truckin'. When I first read Michael Crichton's Andromeda Strain a couple of summers ago, I thought it was interesting but sadly disappointing. Then I read his Rising Sun, and found it much more enjoyable, but nothing special. Later, I read his The Terminal Man, which I found interesting and somewhat innovative, but generally just OK. For some reason, despite all this mediocrity, I kept reading. I read A Case of Need, one of his first (and pseudonymous) novels, and found it quite enjoyable if a little hard to follow. I also read Jurassic Park back in junior high, before I knew what reading was about. Now my reading has finally paid off. Let me tell you about Sphere.

The book opens with Norman Johnson, a psychologist, traveling to the South Pacific for what he thinks is a plane crash. (He's a contract psychologist for the FAA helping plane crash survivors cope with their survival.) Soon, we discover that the U.S. Navy thinks they've found an alien spaceship from the 1700s crashed onto the bottom of the ocean floor. Following a paper Dr. Johnson had written a few years earlier about how humans could cope (psychologically) with an alien encounter, the Navy has put together Dr. Johnson's recommended team: Ted, the astrophysicist; Beth, the biologist; and Harry, the mathematician. Now, in my opinion, the possibility for interesting conversation exponentiates when you put together a biologist, an astrophysicist, a mathematician, and a psychologist. Oh and throw in your stereotypically cynical Navy captain and his slightly unflat (character-wise) crew, and you get some highly interesting conversations and scenes. Let me put it this way: you can't imagine it; if you could, you wouldn't have to read the book. (OoOoOo--that's so sneaky . . .)

Finally, reading Crichton has paid off with something highly clever. I would liken this to the level of enjoyment of finishing Tim O'Brien's July, July or Tomcat in Love: nothing life-altering, but highly, highly enjoyable. Enough so to talk about it. (Ed. note--I do not mean to suggest that Dr. Crichton and Mr. O'Brien are anywhere in the same league; I just wanted to give my favorite author some props. If you haven't read any O'Brien, you probably don't know how to read.)

Literary recommendation: three books that will change your life:
John Steinbeck's East of Eden
Stephen King's It
Scott Turow's Ordinary Heroes

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Is he real?

There's a lot of talk about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as revolutionizing American politics in 2008. I agree with my revered colleague, President Scott, as to Obama's potential to bring out the politics in our generation.

But John Edwards may be where it's at. If the linked article in Newsweek can be trusted and all this stuff he's spouting is real, he may be the best thing to come around in presidential politics since FDR.

Why doesn't anybody really care about the Republican candidates?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Let's Get Sirius

Growing up, I always heard that if you're really happy about something, then you're going to talk about it. I also always grew up hearing that you only talk to people about things they're interested in. I don't always follow the second axiom, but it governs more of what I talk about than the first. But I think the time has come for me to advise the world about the greatest invention since night baseball games:

Sirius Satellite Radio - I got Sirius as a college graduation present from my beautiful and excellent wife. I have never looked back. I love radio, and Sirius is the answer for the common radio. Come on--I get something like 10 pop stations (by decade), 10 or 15 rock stations, 10 or so country stations, 10 or so rap stations, 10 or so news stations, 10 or so everything. I even get French news for when I want to act like I remember stuff from high school. Besides that: Frank Sinatra is joining Jamie Foxx, Elvis, Jimmy Buffett, the Rolling Stones, and Howard Stern as famous people who get their own stations. Can you top that?

My advice--go by a satellite receiver and pay the $150 per year. That way, you don't have to worry about it ever again. If you don't have $150, it's something like $14 per month. You simply cannot beat that.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Influenza Outbreak

I think I said a few posts ago that I love taking exams. With that kind of attitude, I've never had a nightmare about an exam. Well, I got sick last week from about Tuesday evening until Thursday afternoon. Wednesday morning, around 4 a.m., I woke up several times sweaty and scared, thinking "Crap--I can't even figure out what the contract is . . ." (Thankfully, we had contracts that day.) I took the test and didn't notice anything crazy. (Keep in mind that at this point I was sick and didn't know it. It hit me hard Wednesday afternoon.) Friday morning, my good friend approaches me and says "Jeremy, lord and master of all that eyes can see [all my friends call me that], I've been meaning to ask you. What'd you think of contracts?"

"Well, to tell you the truth, I don't remember much of the contracts exam. I was sick."

"Oh, hehe. Well, after I got done reading the first question, I sat back and thought: 'Crap--I can't even figure out what the contract is . . ."

Needless to say my newly apparent prophetic powers disturb me.