Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Internetz Movez On, Or The Perils of Highlighting

I hate it when I buy a book that someone else has highlighted. It's a hazard of buying a lot of used books, especially on the internet, but it doesn't make it any less annoying. Take a look at this one.

This is from an 806 page tome called The Faith by Brian Moynahan, which I got used for a couple bucks on Amazon. Billed as a "History of Christianity," it's one of those books that would be highlighted, as opposed to the John D. Macdonald mysteries I also buy, but there's no reason to highlight the entire page. Literally...the entire page, except for two sentences, a couple Bible verses, and the fucking footnotes.

I would recommend to this person that they just cross out the irrelevent stuff next time. Thankfully they stopped after the third chapter, so either they ran out of highlighter or put the book down. I'm guessing the latter, as someone who would highlight that much isn't very studious to begin with.

Another less egregious example came from a more recent cheapo purchase on Amazon with The Ancient Maya, compiled by Robert J. Sharer. I have an old version of this book compiled by Sylvanus G. Morley in 1956 (mine is the '77 printing) that is literally falling apart. The cover is held on with masking tape, and inside we're dealing with 1950s era knowledge.

The Morley edition is fascinating reading, but a lot has happened in Maya studies since 1956. They can read Mayan glyphs now! So now instead of just reading about ruins and potsherds, you're reading about royal dynasties and great battles. There's more history, less mystery.

Now we don't have to listen to Erich Von Daniken speculate that Lord Pacal's sarcophagus lid depicts a Mayan driving a flying saucer, we can read the side and see that it says "Here lies Lord Pacal, Born 615 AD, Died 683 AD."

At 892 pages, The Ancient Maya (5th Edition) is also a book worth highlighting. But I won't do that. The first three chapters are already highlighted, and besides, there's nothing highlighting can do for you that can't be accomplished by just reading the text again.

The Internetz Iz Boring

Doing my Seinfeld...

You ever notice how the internet gets real boring around the holidays? All the bloggers are on vacation. The news gets slow and silly. A santa cam? A top ten list?

I mean, internet content providers, you (we?) do realize that in this 24 by 7, 365 day globalized world we live in that some people (and mostly I mean me) don't get to go back home and spend warm and fuzzy time with their families. We don't get a few days to mess around and relax, wear our new reindeer sweaters and drink hot cocoa by the tree.

And we need shit to read. So how about June or July or something, you know, earlier in the year, write some stuff and put it on standby. Just so that when you check out for a week in December, I can continue my daily routine without interruption.

Sounds like a plan to me. Whatdya say?

Christmas Memories

There was that one year when we all got tapes. There were three Metallica tapes and one other one. My stepbrother Nick got And Justice for All. Nate got Ride the Lightning. Jason got Master of Puppets.

And I got New Kids on the Block. It was like Santa Claus was laughing at me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Now I Have a Machine Gun Ho Ho Ho

Oh yeah, it's Christmas! *

So Merry Christmas, Bitches!

Two points for whoever gets the allusion in the title.

Hint: It's my favorite Christmas movie.

* Also known as "Just another workday for me."

The Ownership Society Dodge

Everyone knows I'm no fan of George Bush. (Although I suspect he will be my favorite ex-president. I mean, he seems like an alright long as he's not running the country --into a ditch.)

But I think he's getting a bad rap on this "ownership society" thing. A lot of journalists seem to want to peg the housing crisis on, as one commenter put it, "the stupid social engineering program to increase home ownership."

Sorry, dude, but it wasn't stupid.

Despite the crappy housing market, owning your own home remains a good idea, one that should be promoted as much as humanly possible.

Here's why:

Unless you are comfortable living in a box, you have to live somewhere, preferably a place with a roof and running water. If it's heated in the winter and cooled in the summer, even better.

Anywhere you live, with the exception of the box, will be owned by someone. Maybe it will be a little old widow, supplementing her social security with your monthly rent. Maybe it will be a rental management company or an entrepreneur.

Regardless, someone is going to hold title to the property you call home. Will it be you?

Or are you content to rent someone else's piece of the rock for the rest of your life? I guess that depends on how self-sufficient you want to be.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

For Chi

I don't know if you heard about this, but Chi Cheng, the bassist of the deftones, has been in a coma since he was in a car accident in early November. I'm pulling for him, and you should be too.

Places I Want to Go

Macchu Picchu

More Bad Writing

While I think Arianna Huffington makes some good points about laissez-faire capitalism in this piece, this sentence is a clunker:
The problem wasn't just the bathwater; the baby itself is rotten to the core.
Say what?

Cliche, meet Mixed Metaphor. Mixed Metaphor, meet Cliche.

While it's true that you don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, it's apples that are "rotten to the core." (A baby rotten to the core? What, is it a dead baby? Rosemary's Baby, maybe?)

Ironically, after Arianna's mangled metaphor she quotes William Seidman:
"This administration made decisions that allowed the free market to operate as a barroom brawl instead of a prize fight. To make the market work well, you have to have a lot of rules."
As you can see, his metaphor is a bit more coherent.