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.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Economic Aside

Number of bank failures in all of 2007: 3
Number of bank failures in all of 2008: 25
Number of bank failures in the just first 3 months of 2009: 22

Thank goodness we aren't on still on the road to financial trouble!

For more historical info, check out the failed bank list. And for the record, in the fallout from the dot-bomb and 9/11, we had a whopping 11 banks go under in 2002.


It's little items like this that make my days more cheerful...

It's Getting Worse

I've grumbled for years about how the transition to a digital economy of communication has impaired our ability to interact face à face, and that the more tools we have for alternative communication, the less we actually communicate with one another. But now this is growing into a problem which not only academics and communications wonks are discussing; it's hit the popular streets. With the explosion of instant messaging and texting and twitter and facebook and all the other innately narcissistic avoidance therapies of the new millennium, we have come to a point where George Packer can at last unpack it all for us in the New Yorker with some pithy and to-the-point quotes from that epitome of the average Joe, a roofer in New York:
“They don’t know how to deal with a human being. They stand there with that text shrug”—he hunched his shoulders, bent his head down, moved from side to side, looking anywhere but at me—“and they go, ‘Ah, ah, um, um,’ and they just mumble. They can’t talk any more.” This inadequacy with physical space and direct interaction was an affliction of the educated, he said—“the more educated, the worse.”

It was a new group who had moved from Manhattan in the past few years, and who could not detach themselves from their communications devices long enough to look someone in the eye...a mass upper class that was so immersed in symbolic and digital cerebration that it had become incapable of carrying out the most ordinary functions—had become, in effect, like small children with Asperger’s symptoms.
Read the whole piece. It's worth it. And then maybe talk to someone about it: not twitter it, not link to it on facebook, not text. But sit down with some people over coffee, and talk.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Just A Thought

As I look at the AP headline, New jobless claims fall more than expected, I think of the headline last week proclaiming that new jobless claims went up more than expected, and the headline the week before that noting that unemployment numbers surprised the analysts, and on and on.

None of it means that things are getting better. None of it signifies a verifiable trend that things are getting a lot worse.

It only announces loud and clear that we aren't any good at predicting where things are going.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Gotta Love It

What is the reason that the US requires such a deep and lasting political alliance with Saudi Arabia? It couldn't because of stories like this (which warms my heart). Nor, really, could it be due to things like this, which I find a bit hilarious, honestly.

Laser beams to accurately focus prayer. I dunno.

In the meanwhile, I'm listening to the casualty reports come in from the horrible earthquake today in Italy. My prayers go out (un-enhanced by laser accuracy) to those affected.