Vagabonds unite! Quick takes here on The Tea Party’s Presidential candidate, Texan Secession, Summer Reading, CEO Compensation, Immigration, The World Cup is a Fraud, Bermuda Shorts Updates, and yes, More Summer Reading…
What’s on your summer reading list? I know, I know, but AFTER you’ve read through Bermuda Shorts at least twice, then what?? Here’s a tip. Check out this awesome quarterly book review called Rain Taxi.
It’s a lively publication; most reviews are mercifully short, on books from mostly independent presses you might never hear about otherwise. Their writers pull no punches, and their selection of books is surprising and informative. Brilliant! A great resource.
My summer stack of joy includes two books by Mary Renault, The King Must Die, and The Bull From the Sea. Mythology mixed with history, in a delicious narrative cocktail for summer diversion! Great writing and fast-paced action, I’m loving every word. Where has this crazy broad been all my life?
Also, I’m nearly finished a big fat book called Arsenal of Democracy, by Julian E. Zelizer. This is a history of America’s ever-growing National Security State as it sprung from the machinations of Teddy Roosevelt and his northeastern cabal to the trillion dollar a year monstrosity it is today. The book is more of an overview, or survey, leaving all the gory details for you to go and research as you please. The index is terrif. We breeze along from the explosion on the Battleship Maine in 1898 to Iraq II and Afghanistan. It’s a great place to start if you wish to get your head around a topic that should be in the forefront of any concerned citizen’s thinking these days. I know it sounds like a slog, but it’s a quick read and a very engaging one at that.
Also, books laying all about that I’ve determined to finish or get to over the summer include:
Adrift in a Vanishing City, by Vincent Czyz. This is a truly Beat, or should I call it PostBeat, or NewBeat (?) collection of loosely related essays that is as inventive in its prose style as it’s characters are engaging, strange, and captivating. There’s a wow, or a laugh, on almost every page. I can’t recommend it more highly. When you put it down you’ll ask, “Why isn’t this guy famous?”
The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes. “How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science.” Left and right brains at their separation, and now, a reunion. You’ll love the crazy 18th century balloonists!
Voltaire, A Life, by Ian Davidson. Every ten years or so Humanity needs to remember how this one man saved it.
Invisible Hands, by Kim Phillips-Fein, “The Businessmen’s Crusade Against the New Deal.”Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ about. Please read this so that when I see you I don’t get drunk and start poking my finger at you screaming incomprehensibly.
Leaning Against Time & From the Canyon Outward, two books of poetry by the legendary Beat chronicler Neeli Cherkovski. Ferlingetti’s biographer and ex-hippie survivor, Cherkovski should still be with us when the smoke clears, which, hopefully, won’t be anytime soon!
The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex and Other True Stories, by Pagan Kennedy. A man who plans to save the world by planting trees in Iritrea, a street theatre performer who ambushes political rallies, MIT students learning to live on an average Haitian’s salary, $2 a day. Every one of these stories is a gem!
Rocking Oxford, by Trevor Hayward. Imagine a time when the Beatles, The Kinks, Gene Pitney, Pink Floyd, and a host of others were bar bands! Hayward is an aging rock’n’roll drummer who worked with all of them and more as he booked gigs and helped get players on their way. It’s an 80-page romp that’s nothing but fun!
And Now, The News!
Item: How long before General Dip-Shit McChrystal becomes the Tea-Party’s candidate for President? Any day now is my guess.
Item: Francesco Verdi of Philadelphia has made a new rule that anyone staying at his house must read “The Conjecture Chamber”, from Bermuda Shorts!
Item: Next time some knee-jerkin’ reactionary from Texas threatens to secede from the Union, I suggest we downgrade the state to a territory, like Puerto Rico. No Senators or Congressmen, mere token representation is all they need. Pull back our borders to the neighboring states to the north, east, and west, and let them fend for themselves. I would say give Texas back to Mexico, with apologies, but Mexico has suffered enough.
Item: On Immigration: Speaking of Mexico, why isn’t a better life, in Mexico, for the people of Mexico, part of the debate over immigration reform? We could start by shutting down the 6,000 gun retail outlets that line the US side of the US / Mexican border, and legalize dope.
Item: Could financial reform please give shareholders a say in executive compensation and corporate political influence, as in “we don’t want our company influencing elections?”
Item: Why does the US Chamber of Commerce take sides on political issues?
Item: Congress should ban ballot initiatives. Dealing with those types of issues are what elected representatives are for. The ballot initiative is an ersatz democratic remedy intended to circumvent through populist mandate the will of the people and is too easily manipulated by money and wack-job interest groups. If you’re so fucking lazy you can’t be bothered to get involved in your community and in touch with your elected representatives you have no goddamned business voting in the first place. Stay the fuck home, and shut the fuck up. Get rid of it.
Item: Has everyone figured it out yet? That the Fifa World Cup is a fraud? Countries should threaten to boycott the next one unless big changes are made. Fans who traveled all the way to South Africa should start a class action suit to get their ticket money and travel expenses reimbursed. The networks should drop the games lest a commission be started to look into the authenticity of the other sports they carry.
You heard it here…