About Me

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Armchair theorist, poet, and occasional IT manager, Sascha B. is equipped with a Master's Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas, and is not afraid to use it. His work has been published by the University Press of America, Edwin Mellen Press, University of Texas Press, and a variety of small journals nationwide. He is also the proprietor and baker for 3141 Pie, of which you should eat many.

The Deal

I stopped blogging in 2013, when life overtook me. My father became ill and died shortly thereafter, and my mother was left with increasing dementia. I became the primary caregiver, and now orchestrate my mother's care and our family estate.

Now, I am coming up for air again.

Looking for the next book to read. All suggestions welcome.

My reading list is over here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

No? Join the club. A record number are now on the dole, and the trend shows no sign of slowing.

Budget Bull

So the state finally was able to get a budget squeaked through in Sacto last night. But it isn't pretty, and the attitude that maintained the stalemate is even less so. The telling quote from dam-breaker Maldonado:
"It was not easy to decide to support the budget, Maldonado said. "I would have liked to see someone else vote for this budget. But during these difficult times I've decided to step up to the plate." [emphasis added]
They all wanted it passed. They just don't want their fingerprints on the taxes. NIMBY politics at its most destructive. As it is, we are avoiding the smart tax plan (additional $0.12 gas tax), and getting the tax that brought about the recall of Gray Davis (doubling the car license fees). I really don't understand the way GOP minds work, even ones willing to come over to the dark side, like Maldonado did last night.

You have to wonder what it would have been like if he had "stepped up to the plate" a couple months ago. I mean, isn't stepping up to the plate what we elect these shmos to do in the first place?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

End Of An Era: Madoff, Stanford, and now...UBS.

For tax evaders, money launderers, and international men of mystery: UBS is the first Swiss Bank since the Middle Ages to open its books on secret accounts to authorities.
UBS’s offshore private banking business once employed some 60 private bankers in Lugano, Zurich and Geneva. Prosecutors claimed UBS referred clients to lawyers and accountants who set up secret offshore entities to conceal assets from the I.R.S.

UBS urged some American clients to destroy records and to stash watches, jewelry and artwork that they had bought with money hidden offshore in safe deposit boxes in Switzerland. The bank also encouraged them to use Swiss credit cards so the I.R.S. could not track purchases. In a statement on Wednesday, Peter Kurer, the chairman of UBS, said that “UBS sincerely regrets the compliance failures in its U.S. cross-border business that have been identified by the various government investigations in Switzerland and the U.S., as well as our own internal review. We accept full responsibility for these improper activities.”
Mmm'kay. Another corrupt banking entity collapses under its own gross, dross weight of iniquity.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This is funny.

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Somehow, this is the sort of thing I expect to see in a DeLillo book or a Saunders story, or something. But not on the AP wire. The gasping irony is too stunning.
(02-17) 09:20 PST Buffalo, N.Y. (AP) --

Police say an upstate New York television executive who sought to improve the image of Muslims in the media beheaded his wife after she filed for divorce.
Good job, dude. Because image is everything, right?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dumbest. Forecast. Ever.

I'm not much of one to delve deeply into astrology; for my own reasons though I do follow the pseudoscience for my own pleasure. But today's personalized horoscope is just about the dumbest thing I've seen in print ever --- at least of those things that try to pose as oracular guides. Straight from today's 'cast:
GEMINI: Today could pan out well for you, or it could pan out not so well for you.
Gosh, thanks.

A Story For The Ages

Two nations. Two submarines. A bunch of nukes. A helluva lot of water:
"The Ministry of Defence needs to explain how it is possible for a submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction to collide with another submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction in the middle of the world's second-largest ocean," he said.
This is the sort of story that just begs for some detail. If it were fiction, there would be some wondefully complicated and slightly dastardly sub-plot for us. As it is, we'll probably never know why or how a French and a British nuclear submarine collided with one another in the vastness of the Atlantic.