Wednesday, March 15, 2006


As readers who came here earlier today know, I have been spending the better part of the day working with one of them new-fangled Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge devices, also known as a BOOK.

My plan was to optically scan a few of them directly into my brain. I promised I would get back to you on the results of this technological experiment.

Well, it worked beautifully! It was exactly the same as an activity in which I frequently indulged before I became addicted to blogging. It was called reading. And it is as relaxing as always. Sometimes it is really necessary (for me at least) to get away from the insanity of today's politics. I must admit that Feingold's presidential maneuvers and the lockstep reaction of the lefty blogging base pushed me over the edge--somewhere way beyond mild amusement and deep into contempt and thorough disgust at what a certain segment of our population is willing to do to satisfy their malignantly narcissistic agenda.

But enough about that, Let me tell you about what I read today.

I have always been one of those people who enjoy read several books at a time. I am usually working on at least two, with 10-20 sitting around just waiting to be read.

Some local bookstores have probably gone out of business lately because I have been spending waaaaay too much time on this blog and have drastically cut back on book-buying as well as book reading. I am relative certain that's stock price has probably plummeted during this time, too, as I have not been doing much one-click ordering.

I started today reading the new book by Jasper Fforde: Jack Spratt Investigates: The Big Over Easy. I am a great fan of Fforde's Thursday Next Series (the first of which is The Eyre Affair); and The Big Over Easy is the first in a new mystery series in yet another imaginary literary world. Jack Spratt is a Detective Inspector in the town of Reading; and head of the Nursery Crime Division. He is investigating the death of one Mr. Humpty Dumpty, who was shattered to death beneath a wall in a shabby area of town. Everything points to foul play! Unraveling this horrible murder immerses the reader in the familiar world of children's nursery

Fforde never fails to amaze and delight me with his incredible imagination. In the Thursday Next Series, I was completely charmed with all the literary wordplay and could hardly wait for the next book in the series. For more information on both series, visit the author's website.

I finished Fforde's book early in the afternoon (I am a very fast reader), and then I started on another wildly imaginative and provacatively compelling book by the psychblogger, Robert Godwin (who we know fondly as Gagdad Bob). Bob frequently discusses the book at his blog One Cosmos, which is highly recommended; as is his book One Cosmos under God: The Unification of Matter, Life, Mind and Spirit.

The book simply envelops the reader in its breathtaking grandiosity. It takes you through a roller coaster ride of intellect and spirit as it explores all--and I mean ALL-- of creation. Like everything Dr. Godwin writes on his blogsite it is filled with incredible insights, creative punning; and extraordinary fusions of Eastern and Western thought. After two chapters I had to temporarily stop because I was afraid that it would burn a hole in my brain if I didn't give it a rest. It reminded me somewhat of my intense yearning to regularly eat jalapeno peppers, which I'm sure says something profound about my personality which I won't go into right now. In fact, I continue to eat them quite regularly; and even though their burning spiciness makes my mouth feel like it is on fire; I am addicted to them. Nevertheless, I must not eat too many all at once; and frequently give my palate a rest in-between peppers. One Cosmos Under God, is a lot like eating jalapenos. It must be savored over a longer period of time, with breaks to cleanse one's mental palate and allow all the fiery goodness to fully digest.

As Bob says, buy his book and enjoy the tome of your life.

Finally, the third book that I spent time with today was The Capitalist Manifesto, by Andrew Bernstein. Bernstein does for capitalism what Marx attempted to do for socialism. Even Marx lost interest in socialism and couldn't finish developing his theory. But Dr. Bernstein suffers no such burn-out; and has an advantage over Marx--Bernstein's system actually works in the real world!

The Capitalist Manifest sets out to explain how and why capitalism has become the world's most practical AND moral system. While I was reading I was reminded of a recent op-ed piece I read about how easy it is to find the writings of Karl Marx in local bookstores, but that the writings of Thomas Jefferson are hard to come by. When I studied economics in college, we briefly read Smith's The Wealth of Nations as a lead in to discussing the crash of 1929, then segued directly into Marx and his successors, where we spent the rest of the semester. If I hadn't already read Ayn Rand's Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, I would have learned little about the economic system that has transformed the world; and slowly but surely has eradicated poverty and misery wherever it is implemented. Meanwhile, Marx's preferred system has been thoroughly discredited and has only succeeded in spreading abject poverty around equally to everyone who is unfortunate enough to live under it.

Bernstein's book belongs on the reading list for every introductory college economics course.

If you are interested in buying any of these books, click on the Amazon link below (and I will get a cut)

It has been a great day!

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