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ivan

faggoty book read'n

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The Battle for God, Karen Armstrong, 2001. A dense, but enlightening look at the reasons why fundamentalism is having resurgence in world religions in opposition to reason and technology. Armstrong is an amazing researcher with a varied background (former nun, rabbinical scholar, Muslim teacher). Tough read though – it’s pretty dense and I kept having to go back and re-read sections and decipher my page notes.

 

 

so what's her thesis? why do them thare tribal folks cling to their suicide belts so tightly? :)

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so what's her thesis? why do them thare tribal folks cling to their suicide belts so tightly? :)

 

Oh boy. Well, at risk of simplification, it's not new - there have been previous waves of fundamentalism. People feel alienated when basic changes in the society make the world a strange and unrecognizable place. They feel that they are battling against forces that threaten their most sacred values. It may be that the super speed of technology has accelerated a conflict with scientific rationalism - pushing some to attempt to turn the mythos of their faith into a logos.

 

In a vague nutshell.

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While Ms. Armstrong didn't articulate it that way, somehow I think it's and underlying assumption.

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I've been catching up, after too many years with limited time available for reading.

 

Three Day Road was my second Joseph Boyden novel this year, after The Orenda, in which a Jesuit priest... ummmm... spends time among the Huron, developing an appreciation for their culture. Grim reading, in some ways harder going than Three Day Road. I have a third Boyden on the shelf - Into Black Spruce - but frankly I'm afraid to start just yet so I've taken to lighter fare in the interim.

Currently reading The Map That Changed The World by Simon Winchester, about the canal-builder in early 19th-century England who basically invented modern geology. Prior to that was Endurance by Alfred Lansing, about the Shackleton expedition. Also Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli, which is pretty much what it sounds like, examining global trade patterns and economic impacts of same by tracing a t-shirt from its very beginning to its end. Tzeporah Berman's This Crazy Time is about her role in BC's "War in the Woods" of the 1980s and 90s, and her evolution from hard-line absolutist to pragmatic negotiator.

Chasing the Phantom is by a friend of mine, Ed Fischer, principally about his multi-year quest to observe snow leopards in their natural habitat, but encompassing many more aspects of Ed's world view and the past experiences that brought him to his present place.

And last but not least, having already read The Guns of August a couple of years ago, my main nod to the centenary of the Great War has been to read Tim Cook's history of the Canadian Corps. At The Sharp End covers the first half of the war, from the initial mobilization of reservists and the call for volunteers that made up the First Contingent, their first major combat experience including the first German deployment of gas on the Western Front and the battles for Kitchener's Wood at 2nd Ypres, through to Thiepval Ridge, Regina Trench and Courcelette at the Battle of the Somme. Unbelievable - simply unbelievable. I can't begin to fathom how men could endure, much less excel, in such conditions. The second volume is next on my list, so first up for 2015 - Shock Troops follows the Corps from the spring of 1917 through to the conclusion of their war at Mons, so covering Vimy Ridge, Passchendale, Lens, Amiens and the 100 Days.

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2015 reading list:

january:

the generals: american military command from world war 2 to today - thomas ricks - got a copy from my pops, well annotated w/ his neat handwriting - basic premise, the quality of army generals has degraded since the days of marshall due largely to the institutional abolishment of relieving incompetent officers - the glorification of tactics over strategy, generals becoming glorified squad leaders - the classic rut, an organization devoted to doing what it's always done, rather than what it should be doing now

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2015 reading list:

january:

the generals: american military command from world war 2 to today - thomas ricks - got a copy from my pops, well annotated w/ his neat handwriting - basic premise, the quality of army generals has degraded since the days of marshall due largely to the institutional abolishment of relieving incompetent officers - the glorification of tactics over strategy, generals becoming glorified squad leaders - the classic rut, an organization devoted to doing what it's always done, rather than what it should be doing now

 

Just finished that book. Only Marshall, Bradley, Ike, Ridgeway, Abrams and Petraeus come off as fully capable. And their all dead or on their way to jail.

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book came out before petraeus fell apart - would be interested in ricks take on that

 

the phenonomen he describes seems applicable to much of the world outside the military too - tactics vs strategy - sure, we can do a thing, but is that the best thing to be done?

 

been a few weeks w/o a book - gotta get my ass to the biblioteka - been doing too much npr listening :)

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book came out before petraeus fell apart

 

Given this administration's penchant for makin' shit up and terrorizing dissenters, I'm not sure Patraeus is much guilty of anything.

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Gotta love NPR's Democracy Now. Not sure if it's a taxpayer-funded call for revolution or a statement libtard wet dream. Either way,Totalitarianism Now is probably a better title.

 

Of course, there is more benign fare as well:

 

[video:youtube]z9t5AJNF0so

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book came out before petraeus fell apart

 

Given this administration's penchant for makin' shit up and terrorizing dissenters, I'm not sure Patraeus is much guilty of anything.

strange, i remember the last administration making shit up and terrorizing dissenters on a whole other level, and i havne't heard folks on your side of this cosmic clown show screaming for much leniency for the likes of snowden and such :)

 

never met that david feller - seems pretty smart, but not smart enough to keep his johnson caged - pretty common failing and i'm not one to judge - course i'm not running the cia neither :)

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yeah public radio...what a scourge.

indeed, an outrage of our modern age - nobody ever screaming n' calling for the execution of traitors to the state - long bits on places n' subjects other than 'Merica - straight up fuk'n'country-crazy

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never met that david feller - seems pretty smart, but not smart enough to keep his johnson caged - pretty common failing and i'm not one to judge - course i'm not running the cia neither :)

 

Seems like he deserves a pass.

 

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article-2230697-15F1E715000005DC-365_306x423.jpg

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book came out before petraeus fell apart

 

Given this administration's penchant for makin' shit up and terrorizing dissenters, I'm not sure Patraeus is much guilty of anything.

 

Now you went and did it. Woke up the one trick pony...

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Given this administration's penchant for makin' shit up and terrorizing dissenters

 

It's funny that you wrote that non-ironically. As if those haven't been characteristics of every administration since James Polk.

 

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2015 reading list:

january:

the generals: american military command from world war 2 to today - thomas ricks - got a copy from my pops, well annotated w/ his neat handwriting - basic premise, the quality of army generals has degraded since the days of marshall due largely to the institutional abolishment of relieving incompetent officers - the glorification of tactics over strategy, generals becoming glorified squad leaders - the classic rut, an organization devoted to doing what it's always done, rather than what it should be doing now

February:

warlord: a life of winston churchill at war, 1874-1945 by carlo d'este - a big old tome at 700 pages but every page was great - never had learned much of his early life and enjoyed that bit the most - an insufferable child w/ serious daddy issues - thought an idiot boy by most, notable only for the bizarely intricate games he liked to play w/ thousands of toy soldiers - games in which no else could play, unless they swore to obey him and be defeated :) - a thoroughly lackluster student who only late in life took to academics w/ a vengeance

 

a total pain in the ass to be with, never without a contrarian opinion on any subject at hand since his earliest days - many who worked w/ him couldn't bring themselves to like him, yet were thankful for the opportunity - "When you first meet him, you see all his faults. It takes a lifetime to appreciate his virtues."

 

great quote of his on monty, a man every bit as aggravating as himself:

"Indomitable in retreat; invincible in advance; insufferable in victory."

 

and, in response to monty's claims to extreme health as a result of his tee-totaling: "well i both drink AND smoke, and am 200% fit"

 

taken captive in the boer war, he escaped, perhaps by betraying his fellow captives who's plan he horned in on and then ruined by his hasty flight - rose to prominence as a curious mixture of soldier and self-aggrandizing journalist in india, sudan and south africa - was a renowned polo player in his youth as well, totally reckless

 

didn't know that, after eviction from high office in the wake of gallipoli, he rejoined the army and got posted to the front line in france for a spell - he had a great taste for danger that persisted throughout his life, evident in ww2 by his watching the nightly bombings of london from the rooftops

 

 

 

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A Higher Call, by Adam Makos. True story of a WWII German fighter pilot who let a badly damaged B-17 and its surviving American crew live despite having them dead to rites as they struggled back out over the German coast toward England. Basically, couldn't bring himself to kill the remaining crew in a plane that was a sitting duck--kind of a code of honor among aviators. The surviving crew lived to return and drop bombs for several more missions over Germany, so there are some philosophical questions involved. Told from both sides--the two pilots met face to face more than fifty years later. A really great story.

 

 

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I'm trying to read Capital in the 21st Century. Works better than sleeping pills!

 

Debt: The First 5,000 Years covers much of the same stuff but was way more enjoyable.

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ya'll ain't got a canadaian version of CSPAN to help you cope the zees? :)

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