Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's Up!

Some ramblings from my personal life and current affairs:

1) Books

Been reading a lot again lately. I went through a bit of a lull there after our trip to Aruba where I wasn't reading much at all, but now I am back on it. This week I finished a David Baldacci book, Stone Cold. Those are always entertaining, if a bit light on substance. I dove right into the next one in the series, Divine Justice, which is as good as all the others so far, though it's mostly set outside of DC, which is a big part of the reason that I enjoy some of his other books.

I also finished Alive, the story of the survivors of the Andes plane crash in the early 70s, where the survivors were able to last 10 weeks in the mountains by eating the dead passengers. Wow. If you ever think your life is tough, just think to yourself "Well this current work assignment sucks, and I hate traffic, but at least I didn't eat my cousin to stay alive today". Just an amazing story of persistence and togetherness, but at the same time a fair account of personal weakness, and how people can behave (or not) in the face of hopelessness. This book was written quite a while ago, and was made into a movie starring Ethan Hawke, but like most other adaptations, the movie doesn't capture the real spirit of the struggle like the book.

My new metro book is The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, by David Landes. I've had this book on my bookshelf for ten years, but just never got around to reading it. It has been staring at me in its familiar position next to its unread compatriot, Guns, Germs, and Steel, calling out to be read, and I am finally obliging. It is an interesting tale of geography, history, and anthropology, and how they combine to make some societies rich, and some poor. I hope it's as good as it has started out.

2) AIG Bonuses

Lots of talk about AIG bonuses. I would say that any sort of 90% tax is silly. The government has bought up most of the company. Now they are doing all they can to ensure that no competent people will go work there. This means the taxpayers will never recoup their bonuses. If some of the employees there will accept revised bonuses, then good, if not, let them go on their way, but let's not make working for AIG such a poisonous experience that the story will end badly. It doesn't have to - there are still important and viable portions of the company. Everyone just needs to chill out and let this play out without trying to tar and feather a bunch of people who in most cases had nothing to do with the irresponsible financial practices that have killed the company.

3) Where is Spring?

Where is it? It's 50 and cloudy every day. I am ready to go for a run outside and a bike ride, and for leaves on trees. Come on Spring, get your ass in gear!

4) World Baseball Classic

Why is this played? Does it matter? Does anyone really care? I guess it's marginally better than watching your players play in Spring Training, but isn't it basically like watching 23 AAA all star games? I just don't feel it. Side note: my new HD TV makes baseball look sweet, so WBC has that going for it, at least. I just think that all this is doing is penalizing the teams that have lots of good players who play in the classic (see the Tigers, whose 4-5-6 is playing for Venezuela). Bah. Bring on opening day.

5) Travel

We haven't done any. Boo. We are off to Massachusetts next month for our nephew's 2nd birthday, which we are definitely looking forward to! We love our nephew (and Mindy and Jayson too)!

6) Rush Limbaugh

Keep in mind that I am not a 'registered' anything. I vote on the issues, and that generally leaves me squarely in the middle. That said, Rush Limbaugh is just terrible. Is there anything he does that is constructive? It really doesn't seem like it. Seems like he's just a terrible windbag who wants to tear down, tear down, tear down everything that he doesn't think is okay. Easy to snipe when you aren't actually responsible for anything. He should really reconsider wanting to be the leader of the RNC, because then he will be accountable, and that will be new for him.

7) NCAA Championships

God I love college basketball. I love this tournament. I love that Michigan finally made it back in the dance, and I love that Syracuse made a great run in the tournament (6 OTs! WTF!?!) to nab a three seed in a relatively easy region. All I was thinking was "well Syracuse hasn't been announced yet, and we know they are in - what if this ends up as Syracuse-Michigan in a 5-12 matchup?" Could be tough on my marriage! Fortunately nothing came of it. Phew!
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