75 Books: 21-25 Collins, Diamond, Lewis and Abignale

21. Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins

This is the 2nd in the Hunger Games trilogy and it isn't quite as strong as the first, but it expands on the universe that allowed the first one to happen.  Weirdly, I had more suspension of disbelief issues with this one than I did with the other two in the series.  The main character, Katniss, is thrown into the Hunger Games again and has also become the unintentional center of a resistance movement that threatens to break into genuine rebellion.  Her struggle with the ideas and consequences of rebellion are interesting and it is a fairly rewarding tale, especially if you're already attached to Katniss.  A-

22. Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins

This si the final in the trilogy and is the least satisfying of the three, but still an engaging read.  Katniss is now working for the rebellion, though the character tends not to actively make decisions but rather allow others to force her to do as they want.  She is also trying to determine her feelings for two different leading men, in a storyline that reminds me more of Twilight than I'd prefer.  She is more talented and has a personality, so she's not anything like Bella, except that she doesn't take control of her life or her choices very often.  I felt like this book came apart as it went and the motivations were murky or not presented at all.  B

23. Guns, Germs, and Steel – Jared Diamond

This Pulitzer Prize (Pull It Surprise!) winning book is a surprisingly gripping explanation of why society and civilization looks like it does now.  The basic premise is that civilizations destroy/take over others because of technological advances and the rate of advancement is based, not on genes or race, but on natural resources — particularly the availability of domesticable plants and animals.  Fascinating and brilliant, I've already passed it on to others. A

24. The Blind Side – Michael Lewis

Aside from the World Cup, I'm not really a sports person, but I love sports movies, and I loved this one.  That is at least partially due to my love of Ms. Bullock, but it was also a great movie.  The book has a lot more than just the story of Oher's rescue from the Memphis ghetto and delivery into upper class white America, it also has a history of the NFL and how different sorts of tactics and strategies came to dominate the game.  It follows what the changing coaching styles did for different positions, and the players who were good at those positions.  I'd always figured winners were the teams with the best talent on the field, but apparently there's a lot to the art of coaching.  A-

25. Catch Me If You Can – Frank Abignale, Jr.

Another movie I enjoyed and another charming con man.  My unbridled love of "I Love Phillip Morris" made this a bit of a let down.  It's not that Abignale didn't pull of some ballsy tricks but no single one of them had the overwhelming cajones and audacity of Russell's.  The main thing I got from the book is that I never want to go to France because their prisons are disgusting hellholes of prisoner abuse and I may fly to Sweden and commit a crime so I can live in their prisons which sound awesome.  B

25 books in 10 weeks, holy crap, that's a lot.  Maybe it should be 100 books?

Woman Jailed and Fined for Sending Kids to Wrong School

A woman lied about her address so that her kids could go to a different school.  This happens all the time.  I know, because my parents did it.  They said I lived at rental property they owned so that I could go to the best public school in town.  Is it legal?  Not really.  Is it criminal?  I wouldn’t have really thought so.  More of a, “You know you can’t do that, right?” sort of thing.

Apparently, it is a felony in Ohio.  Well, only for this one mother, who was after all poor and black, but you know, it’s the law.

http://blogs.babble.com/strollerderby/2011/01/25/mother-jailed-for-sending-kids-to-a-good-school/

Shocked and appalled is sort of an understatement here, but I am certainly those.  Why would you send someone to jail for this?  She was just trying to help her kids.  The motives and need are so clear and so understandable, to call it a felony is absurd on the face of it.

Bloggies 2011

http://2011.bloggi.es/ you should nominate me and shethought.com for bloggies!  (Best secret, topical, and writing/best community, best new)

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 79,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 3 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 191 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 307 posts. There were 133 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 38mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was May 10th with 10,467 views. The most popular post that day was My Dinner Date with PZ Myers.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were scienceblogs.com, Google Reader, accrispin.blogspot.com, facebook.com, and en.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for alexander mcqueen, otters, fernando muslera, alexander mcqueen dresses, and eddie kritzer.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

My Dinner Date with PZ Myers May 2010
56 comments

2

Skeptiathiesm: The Solution November 2010
105 comments and 2 Likes on WordPress.com

Bishop Gene Robinson to Retire Early

Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly non-celibate gay bishop of the Episcopal Church is going to retire early because of the non-stop death threats he continues to get from Christians.

You know, there are always calls for Muslims to speak up against terrorism, but I’d like some Christians to publicly come out supporting the Bishop and denouncing the people sending him death threats. You want to complain that there aren’t enough moderate muslim voices? Then show me some moderate Christian ones.

Gene Robinson is an incredibly decent human being who is being terrorized because people who believe almost exactly the same thing he does, don’t like who he loves. Things like this make me find the appeal of Christianity completely incomprehensible.

And for those of you who say that that is not the behavior of a True Christian, I’d like to point you to the No True Scotsman fallacy as well as Leviticus. For those of you who think the appropriate way to deal with someone you don’t like is to threaten to murder them, you need help.

For the Christians who don’t particularly like the death threats but are glad that they’ve gotten this homosexual to step down, your tacit support is the moral equivalent of approving of Al Qaeda and Imams calling for death threats. You don’t have to agree with his lifestyle, but you should be at the front of the crowd denouncing the people using terrorism to get their(your) way.

Wow it’s the future

I can update my page from my phone. Holy crap!

Sadly, the ninth circuit has stayed walker’s decision meaning that the soonest the gays can marry will be december. Always sad when progress is slow.

Summer

Why don’t we get a summer break?  Doesn’t the world know that people need breaks?  Doesn’t the world know that people burn out spending 50 hours a week doing some job in some office?

Alexander McQueen

I am not, generally, a fashion person.  I mean, I enjoy a pretty dress and Project Runway as much as the next person, but I am generally way more interested in costumes than I am in fashion. Hence my love for Alexander McQueen.  Who has killed himself at the age of 40, only a few days after his mother died.

All I can think to do is to show some pictures of his completely over-the-top work.

Recurring Dreams

I put absolutely no stock in interpreting dreams to mean something.  Except I can’t help but try to interpret them anyway.  It’s like Christopher Hitchen’s — he doesn’t believe in horoscopes but he can’t help but feel a jolt of excitement when he reads one that says he’ll meet a girl.

I have a recurring dream that I am trying to find a parking spot in a heavily wooded area beside a dock.  I’m picking someone up, maybe from school.  Normally I’m driving a black volvo and can’t find a legal space.  Or simply can’t park in the spaces I find due to some apparent lack of driving skill in the dream.  Not that I’m the best parallel parker anyway, but I hold my own in the waking world.

Last night I was driving an 18 wheeler that I was trying to park and I kept thinking I had parked it and then I was essentially blocking the road and had to decide whether to just leave it and risk a ticket or not.

Dreaming about parking.  Only in LA right?

To see a truck in your dream, suggests that you are overworked. You are taking on too many tasks and are weighed down by all the responsibilities. To dream that you cannot find a parking space, indicates your inability to find your place in life. You may still be on your quest to find your talent or niche where you belong. Alternatively, it may reflect your busy life and the lack of time you have.http://www.dreammoods.com/