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 25, 2009

Lance And The Tour

So it looks like Alberto Contador has sealed a second win in the Tour de France, after a grueling 20th stage up Mt. Ventoux. But what strikes me is how little anyone is paying attention to Lance Armstrong --- not in the celebrity "what did you have for breakfast" way, or in his spats with the French media and drug test officials --- but in the sheer audacity of his performance this year.

Here is an athlete who has come out of retirement at the age of 37 (almost 38), and looks to be standing on the podium taking a 3rd place win in the Tour de France. No one of that age has ever won the Tour; since 1948* the oldest rider to win, at age 33, was....Lance Armstrong (in 2005). This is far and away a younger man's sport. And yet here is a guy who is able to apparently overcome the natural degradations of age in his late 30s, and perform not only adequately, but admirably, against the best of his younger competitors worldwide. That in and of itself is an achievement of note.

Like his battle against cancer, Armstrong appears to have simply stared down reality, and done what he wants: to live, and to ride. A remarkable story, and a remarkable athlete. Bravo.

It should be a fine ride into Paris.

*Gino Bartali won that year at the age of 34. Firmin Lambot won at the age of 36 in 1922, but let's face it: cycling was a different sport in the 20s, requiring different physicality and prowess. To compare the Tour today to that in 1922 is an apples and oranges comparison, and meaningless.

Another Passing

They are dying, dying away, and their like will never be seen again, for the world that made them is gone.

R.I.P. Harry Patch, 1898 - 2009. Survivor of WWI, the battle of Passchendaele at Ypres, the 20th century, and the rise and fall of more than a century of human-contrived progress and woe.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

People Suck.

We really do. How many times have you been guilty of distraction by mobile phone? Would you drive drunk as readily?
Studies show that drivers who talk on cellphones are four times more likely to be in a crash and drive just as erratically as people with an 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level.

In one study cited by the highway safety agency, “drivers found it easier to drive drunk than to drive while using a phone, even when it was hands-free.”
Dowd hits some buttons with this piece. Read it, and then quickly check your messages.

We've Come For Your Liver

Or your kidney. So the vilest sort of corruption imaginable is being played by rabbis and politicians in New Jersey. I expect as much from the New Jersey politicos. But as a Jew, I am shamed, horrified, galled and disgusted that a human organ ring was being run by leaders of my faith and community.

Truly disgraceful acts. This will be an ugly story as it unfolds.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why I'm Not A Yoga Fan

This site brings it home: I'd rather indulge in a less plebeian and more erudite sort of exercise regime. This one is just too full of losers on the street to make it appealing to an elitist like myself.

The pose that's missing from this humorous list?


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Apropos of Nothing

Suffice to say: I'm not in the best mood; that the California GOP is a tribe of asshats (looking to bollix the recent budget compromise because it will cut prison costs by releasing aged, terminally ill pot smokers early); that Mark Twain's (alleged) "coldest winter" is currently surrounding me in the summer of San Francisco...in any case, I've been listening to Quadrophenia, by The Who, on it's original release 2-album vinyl. And you know what? Despite surface noise, despite obvious wear and tear on my now almost 30-year old pressing, that analog recording and analog playback still sounds a hell of a lot better than any over-compressed digitally clipped signal-impaired mp3.