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.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Onward, Christian Soldiers

My parents used to have to sing that song when they were in public grade school. I see it as a great American achievement that the same was not required of me. But it is looking like the same might not be the case for the next generation of children. Straight from TPM and The Washington Monthly, we have another alert on the Texas textbook revisionists, and what may be a setback for secular education for the entire nation for the next 20 years.

Read the articles to see what is being proposed. But I think that this quote from one of the committee members says most of it, quite concisely:
"The secular humanists may argue that we are a secular nation. But we are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles. The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan--he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes."
So much for dispassionate inquiry, or unbiased teaching. It's just a simple test: Is it Christian Enough? Is it Rapture enough? Is it Reagan enough?

Personally, I don't think that teaching students that Joe McCarthy has been vindicated by history serves any good purpose---not for students, not for historical education, not for the nation, not for truth, not even for Joe McCarthy.

Cool Astro Info

Apparently, there was a near miss with an asteroid on Wednesday. Now, I don't worry too much about these things, but I do think it's pretty cool. So do these guys.

Are you looking for chickens?"

"What does that mean---tame?"

"It is an act too often neglected,"
said the fox.
"It means to establish ties."

"To establish ties?"

"Just that," said the fox...
But if you tame me, then we shall need each other.
To me, you will be unique in all the world.
To you, I shall be unique in all the world. . ."

"I am beginning to understand,"
said the little prince.


("I have serious reason to believe that the planet from which the little prince came is the asteroid known as B-612...")

How can you go wrong with an astronomical organization named "B-612"?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Quote of the Day

Leaving phones on the table is rude, and knows no national boundries [sic]. It seems as if these little devices now dominate our lives. It drives me crazy; I have friends and relatives who can't seem to get through a meal without texting or checking their emails. Today, the mobile phone is a constant companion, that more often than not ends up sharing dinner with us. I find it both discomforting, depressing and rude.

- Michael Bauer

Monday, January 11, 2010

Exporting Our Own Insanities, Along With Western Medicine?

A fascinating article on some of the unintended consequences of America's global cultural reach.:
NOWHERE ARE THE limitations of Western ideas and treatments more evident than in the case of schizophrenia. Researchers have long sought to understand what may be the most perplexing finding in the cross-cultural study of mental illness: people with schizophrenia in developing countries appear to fare better over time than those living in industrialized nations.

This was the startling result of three large international studies carried out by the World Health Organization over the course of 30 years, starting in the early 1970s. The research showed that patients outside the United States and Europe had significantly lower relapse rates — as much as two-thirds lower in one follow-up study. These findings have been widely discussed and debated in part because of their obvious incongruity: the regions of the world with the most resources to devote to the illness — the best technology, the cutting-edge medicines and the best-financed academic and private-research institutions — had the most troubled and socially marginalized patients.
If the author Ethan Watters is correct in the concerns highlighted, the impact on our understanding of mental health could be huge. The only question is yet again whether we even care to listen.


As I pour through the planning work on my desk, I am thinking about the past, and wondering about some of the tangential people who I once met, and now miss, having passed tangentially through the misty fogs of our lives.

To all of you, I wish you well, and wonder if we will ever cross paths again.