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.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Israel And Iran Talk Nukes In Egypt

This, if confirmed, could be the start of a game-changing dialogue. Israel and Iran have not had direct discussions since the revolution in 1979. The powerful dynamics of the two primary nuclear players in the Middle East --- who are profoundly antagonistic toward one another --- beginning talks regarding nuclear proliferation, against the backdrop of the US leading international pressure against the weaponization of Iran's nuclear program, could be very, very interesting.

Of course, nothing may come of this; or it might get shut down from Iranian backlash against the leak. Or it might not even be true, and just be a propaganda twist out of the convoluted realm of Israeli politics and intrigue. But still it's a potential bomb of a conversation.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Muni Fail III

It's getting to be epidemic: First all this, then this, and now this: a dead body found on a bus in the yard at the end of the day, after the run is over, and nobody noticed him dying.

Once again, "It's not clear whether cameras on the bus were working."

And apparently, after serious investigation, they've discovered that yet again there is a culture of fare evasion on SF Muni. Is there any wonder why?

Sea Change

The Obama administration is easing up on the prosecution of medical marijuana use when it complies with State law.
The memo advises prosecutors they ''should not focus federal resources in your states on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.''
It's like a tsunami of rational common sense just swept across the law enforcement landscape of America.


This is so cool. With a big helping hand from Canada, we now have the potential of reaching Mars in about 39 days --- instead of 6 months. NASA in conjunction with the Ad Astra Rocket Company and an international array of colleagues, has built an Ion Engine (think Star Trek "impulse engines") that will be tested off-planet in 2013.

My physics teacher used to fire a photon gun at us during class when we would get rambunctious. It looked like this, and was powered by Duracell:

I suspect that the Ad Astra engine will be somewhat more...futuristic.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Manbags On The High Seas

“The Tudors were bling merchants. They thought: if you’ve got it, flaunt it.”
That's Andy Elkerton, the collections manager of The Mary Rose Trust in Portsmouth. The Mary Rose is the only warship from its time --- the Tudor period of the 16th century --- on display. And they are expanding the display to show a vastly expanded measure of the material recovered from her wreck. Boots, compact mirrors, drinking tankards, cannon, and more, are on display. And a huge chunk of it fashion related.
A manicure set, a case for a vanity mirror, a “manbag” and a thigh boot are some of 18,000 objects that have remained in storage since they were recovered from the sea bed almost 30 years ago because the present museum in Portsmouth is too small.
As the Chief Executive of the Trust, Rear Admiral Lippiett says (and a rear admiral should know):
Vain lot, sailors.
You can see the new museum and more pictures here.