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, July 18, 2009

The Great War

''I want everyone to know,'' he told The Associated Press during an interview in November. ''They died for us.''
Henry Allingham, the world's oldest man, a 113-year-old World War I veteran and original member of the RAF, is dead.

With the commonplace wars of the last century, too many people grow inured or ignorant of the first great war of modern times. With more than 15 million casualties, including more than 9 million soldiers, the war devastated Europe, massacred an entire generation of men, and left the world fractured in ways that were never quite repaired or even too-well understood, even today.


So, you think you can text while driving? The NYT has an interactive game that will test your responsiveness behind the wheel while trying to use your phone to text. I recommend it to anyone who is still trying to drive while using their mobile. Or for that matter, putting on makeup, scolding the kids in the back seat, looking for something in the glovebox, or anything else that takes them away from actually paying attention to the road.

Try it, and see how you do.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Down The Memory Hole

My cynicism is rising. Why would we be excited about an electronic literature delivery device that allows the unannounced editing, altering, or total removal of works by the manufacturer / seller? With the latest Kindle kerfuffle by Amazon --- the painfully ironic deletion without notice of George Orwell's works Animal Farm and 1984 from the Kindles of thousands of owners --- leaves me wondering why I would ever want to convert my library from one which I physically own, to one which I access at the whim of an unknowable corporate entity.

For decently snarky conversations on the topic, check out this, and this, and this.

Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

Support your local bookstore.

Monday, July 13, 2009

More Cultural Crap

Wired Magazine reviews 10 video games targeted for tween girls, and finds that only one has any redeeming qualities. Not surprisingly, the other 9 aggressively sell product, vapidity, backstabbing, and an obsessive attention to shallowness and accessories that only a childless American marketer with an MBA from Wharton could love. My Faves?
The Clique: Diss and Make Up

(Warner Bros. Interactive, Aug. 31)

What it’s about: Inspired by the best-selling books, The Clique has the player take on the role of a new student at an all-girls middle school. The goal is to work your way up the social ladder through different cliques (math club, jocks, etc.) using “gossip, fashion and wit” until you finally are able to join the school’s top posse, the Pretty Committee.
What it teaches girls: Ponytails, books and plaid shirts will get you stared at. Better to jump through hoops and pretend to be someone you’re not in an effort to become one of the most popular girls in school, because it beats the hell out of being part of the Ugly Committee.

And this one too:

My Boyfriend

(THQ, Sept. 14)

What it’s about: Players pick various outfits and make-up while they hang out, exercise and gossip with their friends. But the main object of the game is to create “the love story of your dreams” by choosing from five different guys. Then, players will have to “charm, chat up and chill out” with each different guy to find true love.
What it teaches girls: You are incomplete without a man, or at least a digital replica of one. More specifically, the game instructs that there are only a limited number of potential mates in the world, and the only way to find the right one is to flirt with all of them.