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, September 26, 2009


Sad news today that Alicia de Larrocha has died. I heard her play many years ago, and have a number of her recordings. She and her artistry will be missed.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Unsurprisingly, a new uranium enrichment site has been discovered in Iran. Remarkably, the US is being led by a president who thinks strategically about international policy. This puts into much greater clarity the missile move in Poland and the ensuing dance with Russia; also it sheds some light on the extraordinary meeting of the UNSC Heads of State - led by Obama - on nuclear non-proliferation.

The question is, what will the longer response be from the Iranian government and Supreme Council, now that they have been cowed and caught out yet again by the international community. Only now it comes with concerted pressure, and on the heels of major internal unrest (cf. the twitter revolution in the streets of Tehran).

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Reuters is reporting that Justice Ginsburg has been hospitalized for observation after "feeling faint:"
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was taken on Thursday to a Washington hospital for evaluation after she experienced lightheadedness and fatigue, a Supreme Court spokeswoman said in a statement.

Incredibly Cool.

"This is going to alter our perceptions of Anglo-Saxon England as radically, if not more so, as the Sutton Hoo discoveries.

"(It is) absolutely the equivalent of finding a new Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Kells."
So says the former British Museum specialist in such things at the largest Anglo-Saxon gold hoard ever uncovered. It was discovered this July by a Mr Herbert, of Staffordshire, who apparently is living the dream of every average guy with a metal detector. It's too bad that the hoard has been declared treasure of the Crown. But even so, it must be amazing to make such a find.

We too often write off the period of the 7th - 8th century to brawls and darkness and illiteracy. The artistry and quality of finds like this can help to remind us that we aren't so much more advanced in terms of absolute culture than we were then.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You Can't Make This Stuff Up.

"In our view this is a vital step toward equality for left handed men."
About what, you might ask, is this department store executive waxing so eloquent?

Left-handed underwear for men.

Hom, the company behind the pants, claim the underwear will "save left handed men up to three, often vital, seconds when visiting the loo"
It makes you wonder.

Wow. Life Imitating....Marketing.

You know that commercial campaign by the California Milk Advisory Board and Real California Cheese, about how happy cows make better cheese?

Seems it's true.


Not sure who else is following the backlash against the cuts at the UC schools, but I think it will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow. For the record, we employees have apparently been warned by "management" not to attempt to walk out or join the picket lines, or risk having our pay docked. Honestly, I think that the message from the faculty who are supporting the walkout --- that cost cutting of this scale cannot reasonably occur without an impact to teaching, and thus to the students --- is absolutely of value. And when you couple that with the massive tuition increase that has been enacted, what you have is yet another instance of trying to squeeze educational blood from a stone.

To anyone who will be joining the protest, or who is considering doing so: make it of value. Coordinate with the teaching faculty, and staff. This is about making a statement to the administration and Regents about the impact of cuts on education, not about skipping the first day of school.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Anchovies have disappeared, and scientists don't know why...

"We've had an extraordinary number of dead animals," said Jan Roletto, the research coordinator for the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. "It seems to be that the animals that suffered the most were the animals that forage on anchovies."
Whether a previously unseen cycle, or El Nino, or climate change, it's a strange and concerning phenomenon. When the little things in the chain start to shift, you can lay even money down that the big surprises are just around the corner...

[n.b. I must admit that the anchovies were fully visible on my pizza last night.]

Pet Peeve

What is it about people who can't shake the herd from their hindbrain? The people who enter a bus that is mostly empty except for you, and immediately zoom in and seat in the seat immediately next to you --- despite dozens of empty seats available without neighbors. The people who walk near you to the corner, and you move aside to wait for the light (and keep distance from them), and they actually move themselves out of the way to get next to you again.

I'm not talking people you know. I'm talking random strangers. And not psychos or stalkers; these are people who are apparently really doing this unconsciously.

And this is totally different from those people who have no innate sense of personal space (at least how we judge it here in the West); those people who crowd you, or get just a bit too close when talking...they're a different issue. I'm just talking here about the folks who seem to be magnetized to other people in the public sphere, no matter what the crowd density.

Please: Keep your distance.