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.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Olympic Toke?

Apparently, the new Olympic torch is less like a beacon, and more like a huge prop from a Cheech & Chong film. Or my college dorm.

Personally, it looks more to me like a flaming home pregnancy test. Perhaps everyone else commenting was...stoned?

Thanks, Vancouver!

The Very Short Tail

Sullivan's blog points to this BBC report on behavioral patterns for musical choice on the internet. Everyone seems to assume that the massive diversity of choice available online will lead to the "long tail" effect: that small, unknown acts would get exposure and gain followings to counter the mainstream push of corporate music planning. Apparently, not so.

I would suspect we can expand this line of reasoning to ideas in general; the plethora of choices does not imply a diversity of thought. It does seem that our natural instinct to communal agreement, herd mentality, and playing it safe could mean that the wealth of information online might only reinforce our pre-existing prejudices. As noted, "popularity tends to breed popularity whether on the Internet or not."

But we've all known that since high school, right?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Note To Dick Cheney

Your team lost. Go home. Your worldview is busily being repudiated by both the people of the nation and our leaders who we chose over you.

Go home. Please.

The President's Speech

Text here. Obama is politely, gently, soberly opening up a big old can o' whup-ass on Cheney, the weakling press, the GOP naysayers, and everyone who is still wrapped up in pandering to fear, short-sighted and partisan close-mindedness, and the clarion of hate.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nasty Thought

I know it's a bit inappropriate, but does anyone else think today's Google logo (for Darwinius masillae) looks less like a fossil, and more like a skidmark in somebody's shorts?

First Dowd, Now Dylan

Apparently, "accidental" plagiarism is running through the Left like birdbpig flu. First, Maureen Dowd lifts a paragraph from Josh Marshall and publishes it in the NYT; now Bob Dylan ('Bobby Zimmerman') is found to have been passing off other folks' lyrics as his own way back when he was at summer camp as a teen.

You just can't trust these commie liberals, eh?


San Diego Bigotry: 0

This story
is pretty sad. At the same time, this may spur some necessary introspection on the part of a few school administrators. The basic gist of it? The girl wrote a report on Harvey Milk, after seeing the movie:
David Blair-Loy, legal director of the ACLU of San Diego County, said the principal of Mt. Woodson Elementary School in Ramona violated the free speech rights of 6th-grader Natalie Jones, who was the only student in her class prevented from giving an in-class presentation...[the principal] concluded last month that the subject of the girl's project triggered a district policy requiring parents to be notified in writing before their children are exposed to lessons dealing with sex.
She was required to give her presentation during recess---I guess while no one was looking, maybe.

So, since 6th-grader Natalie Jones already knows this, here's the scoop for her school principal, and for anyone else too dim to yet see:

That a person (a public figure, at that) is homosexual does not make their life story and political career "A lesson dealing with sex."

Got it?

Kudos to the ACLU for taking this case. Let's hope it becomes an object lesson in the continuing struggle to educate those who cannot distinguish between what is hate, and what is right.

History Mashup, Yo!

Two things on my mind lately: American Independence, and Twitter. As I watched an episode of the "John Adams" miniseries, I wondered---as Adams and Franklin reviewed the draft of Jefferson's Declaration of Independence---what if these guys had twittered the revolution?

What they said in longhand:
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
What they might have said in 140 characters:
Man's gotta do what a man's gotta do; kick the habit, flip off the king, and do like God said you deserve: Come on folks, let's REPRESENT!
I'm still not sold on the concept.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Crappiest Job In California

Being the Governor.

“It’s not much of career builder; it’s more of a career ender,” said Jerry Brown, 71, the state’s attorney general, who was governor from 1975 to 1983. “But I feel I could bear that better than the other candidates.”
I still don't see a reasonable Democratic alternative to Jerry. And that's just fine. I can happily vote for him if he's willing to be that wry in print.

Oh Yeah? Pull My Finger.

Josh Marshall points to this damning exposé of Donald Rumsfeld and his tenure as Secretary of Defense for Bush II. Robert Draper provides us nuggets like this:
“what Rumsfeld was most effective in doing,” says a former senior White House official, “was not so much undermining a decision that had yet to be made as finding every way possible to delay the implementation of a decision that had been made and that he didn’t like.” At meetings, he’d throw up every obstacle he could. “Rumsfeld would say, ‘Golly, we haven’t had time to read all of these documents! I mean, this is radical change!’ ”
Or this priceless bit of frustration at his disinterest in engaging as hurricane Rita tore across the nation:
In the midst of Hurricane Rita, Townsend learned that Texas governor Rick Perry had signaled his willingness to cede control of the National Guard to the federal government. She called Rumsfeld’s aide and was told, “The secretary and Mrs. Rumsfeld are at an event.”

Townsend knew that. The event was an ambassadors’ ball; she was supposed to be there but was instead dealing with the crisis. “Put me in to his detail,” she ordered.

A minute later, Townsend was on the phone with Rumsfeld’s security agent, who then spoke to the SecDef. “The secretary will talk to you after the event,” she was told.

Later in the evening, her phone rang. It was Chief of Staff Andy Card. “Rumsfeld just called,” said Card. “What is it you need?”

Livid, Townsend said, “I want to know if the president knows what a fucking asshole Don Rumsfeld is.”
You gotta love this stuff. It almost makes me miss the Bush years, just for the sheer volume of idiocy we had as fodder.