My 2008 Reading List

January 15, 2008

12 Books for 12 Months

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“Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley

“The Great Gatsby” by F Scott Fitzgerald

“The Sound and the Fury” by William Faulkner

“The Brothers Karamazov” by Dostoevsky

“Beloved” by Toni Morrison

“Rabbit, Run” by John Updike

“Persuasion” by Jane Austen

“Manchild in the Promised Land” by Claude Brown

“The City and the Pillar” by Gore Vidal

“Tropic of Cancer” by Henry Miller

“Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides

“White Noise” by Don Delillo

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Apparently civil rights don’t include gays or women

October 24, 2007

Homosexuality is a sickness, just as are baby-rape or wanting to become head of General Motors. ~Eldridge Cleaver, “Notes on a Native Son,” Soul on Ice, 1968

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I recently came across this gem of a quote by Eldridge Cleaver and have begun to read Soul on Ice. I have not finished by any means, and as such will reserve final judgment until the end. But so far it has been possibly the oddest read of all times. It has insane range. It varies from brutally honest introspective analysis to preachy ivory tower judgments of others. It varies from oblivious and cocky to self aware and humble. It may be the most offensive thing I’ve ever read (that was not intended as hate speech) towards both women and gays. But at the same time he is very aware of his misogyny and understands his hatred is misdirected. He admits to raping multiple women and practice on girls from the ghetto. There are no direct references really, but it is well known he killed several people over the course of his life.

The book was extremely popular in the 60s, he was a revolutionary (literally and figuratively) and was considered a significant civil rights figure. But his idea of civil rights was extremely limited. He notoriously switched religions at his convenience and after each conversion was a fierce proponent of that religion and its accompanying doctrine. I think if he came forward in our politically correct world and tried to step up as a civil rights leader, he would be a laughing stock. An angry, violent ex con with a disposition towards sexism and homophobia telling us how the world should be equal. Equal for black men at least, all the while flip flopping on religion and trying to assist international revolutions.

As it is with all the crazies, I admire his passion. I am looking forward to finishing his book, and to researching him further. Maybe there is a movie!


Guess Who’s Gay?

October 20, 2007

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Which Harry Potter character has a queer little past? (No it is not Harry, much to the dismay of millions of old pervs, and to the relief of millions of young girls). It is Dumbledore! For those of you who haven’t read the books, or could keep awake during the movies, he is the really old guy who runs the school. Dumbledore is portrayed currently in the movies by Michael Gambon (he was previously portrayed by Richard Harris who died).

I have personally always believe Ian McKellen would be a better match for the role. And now that we know Dumbledore is a butt pirate (no offense, to the gays or to pirates), it makes even more sense. I looked it up and apparently tons of people agree he would have made a great Dumbledore.

In case you were wondering how I know Dumbledore is a homo, the author JK Rowling announced it the other day.  You can read the article below to check out, how it “came out”.

Here is the article


Breaking News: Non-fiction can be good!

October 2, 2007

I discovered something I long thought impossible this summer; Non-fiction books can be good. My dad brought home “Money Girl” by Edward Humes because it was about evolution (a personal favorite topic) and the legal battle over Intelligent Design (which largely took place in PA. woot woot). I devoured the book in a matter of hours. It had a balanced approach like classical journalism, the fast pace of a fiction novel, and the factual background of a science textbook. For the first time in a while I was so impressed with an author that I went out and started reading his other books. I read three more of his books before the summer ended. “Murderer with a Badge”, “Buried Secrets”, and “Mississippi Mud” where all equally well written and interesting. I highly recommend any of his books to you.

What made me think of this today? I was studying at the library and finally remembered to order another one of his books. I’ll tell you how it is when I am done.


And the doctor said, “Let’s get wasted!”

October 2, 2007

The age old debate, let your kids drink in moderation as they grow up or completely lock up the booze? I grew up in a combination home. When my parents drank they always offered me tastes, but the booze was in a closet that we were supposed to avoid. It worked; I rarely drank until I was old enough. After turning 21 I drank that semester a decent amount and now I am back to only drinking occasionally. I never drink and drive and I don’t think I would have unsafe sex while drinking either, so I got the important messages. I am just curious how everyone else grew up and how it affected their drinking patterns/behavior. This article is what got me back on the topic:

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN)

Experts say binge drinking continues to be a growing problem across the country. According to a recent report from the U.S. surgeon general, there are nearly 11 million underage drinkers in the United States. Nearly 7.2 million are considered binge drinkers, meaning they drank more than five drinks in one sitting. In this age of “just say no,” some people believe it is time for Americans to reconsider how they teach kids about alcohol.

“We taught them to drink in a civilized fashion, like a civilized human being,” says Stanton Peele, psychologist and author of “Addiction-Proof Your Child.” He says many of the programs set up to stop alcohol abuse contribute to the teen binge-drinking crisis. Any program that tells kids flatly not to drink creates temptation, he says. Peele says other cultures have figured it out. He points to Italy, Greece and Israel, where children are given small amounts of wine at religious celebrations or watered-down alcohol on special occasions.

But many other experts say the psychologist is off base. “That’s ridiculous,” says Calvina Fay, executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation. “By allowing teens to drink,” Fay says, “you are giving permission to your children to do harmful things.” In the spring of 2007, the U.S. surgeon general’s office issued its first “Call to Action” to stop underage drinking. “This is not something that is a rite of passage,” says acting Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu. “It has an impact, short term and long term.”

Fay also says Stanton Peele doesn’t take into account other consequences of teen drinking, such as unsafe sex and drunken driving. “You don’t have to be addicted to be harmed or die because of drugs and alcohol.” But the psychologist contends that kids are going to drink no matter what and that it is critical for parents to set the example. “I think the key to preventing all kinds of addiction is to make sure that your child values life, values himself and has purpose in life,” he says. “That’s the single most important thing.”

Drink Up!


Hot Lesbians, Adorable Guys, and Sad Old People?

September 29, 2007

So I wouldn’t normally do this, but I feel compelled to post about “Feast of Love”. I am generally unqualified to review movies, since I like almost every movie I see. I believe in taking a movie for what it is, not what it could be. If it is supposed to be a gross comedy than it should be judged accordingly ( a la Superbad!!!). Feast of Love looked from the preview to be somewhere between a romantic comedy for adults and a character drama. And it was ( just add a lot of nudity).

The acting was excellent. Selma Blair was like a petulant child and very believable. Greg Kinnear was endearing although annoyingly naive. Morgan Freeman was fantastic (as to be expected). Both Toby Hemingway and Alexa Davalos were intense and somewhat creepy, but you bought that they were in love. The story was decent. There were tons of ups and downs keeping your heart on the edge the whole time. Some parts were melodramatic to an extreme degree. They probably could have left out a couple parts, particularly a man named Bat. The plot outline from IMDB says it best:

“A meditation on love and its various incarnations, set within a community of friends in Oregon. An exploration of the magical, mysterious and sometimes painful incarnations of love.”

I liked it and would recommend it to pretty much anyone with a heart. Although I hate sad movies, and this had its fair share of sad moments, the overriding theme was love. It was somewhat unconventional in its willingness to show the often intensely painful side of love. There are tons of movies where people meet and overcome some initial difficulty to walk away into the sunset together. There are only a few movies that show the reality of love. That love can be unpredictable, awkward at times, unreciprocated at others, painful, and intensely scary. But that it is also an absolutely necessary part of our world. It is the part that makes us human, and we are all better people because of it.

Some critics liked it, some hated it. Personally I think the negative reviews are somewhat pretentious. They complain that the movie tries too hard and that Morgan Freeman is playing the character he always plays. He plays that role, because he is good at it. And why shouldn’t a movie try hard, it attempts to show you the bigger picture with love. Yes at times it fails, but most of the movies out don’t even strive to portray real love. Besides how can a movie not be good if early on Morgan Freeman’s soothing voice says:

“They say that when the Greek gods were bored, they invented humans. Still bored, they invented love. That wasn’t boring, so they tried it themselves. And then they invented laughter — so they could stand it.”