You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

January 16, 2006

Things To Read

1. On Martin Luther King day, it's always a good idea to reread his 1967 speech "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence." It's almost always relevant, because we're almost always fighting a war somewhere.

You might also check out Juan Cole taking the speech and extrapolating 10 Things Martin Luther King Would have Done about Iraq.

2. Robert McChesney and John Podesta have written an article on getting universal broadband internet access. I didn't know this:

Since 2001, according to the International Telecommunications Union, the United States has fallen from fourth to 16th in the world in broadband penetration. Thomas Bleha recently argued in Foreign Affairs that what passes for broadband in the United States is “the slowest, most expensive and least reliable in the developed world.” While about 60 percent of U.S. households do not subscribe to broadband because it is either unavailable where they live or they cannot afford it, most Japanese citizens can access a high-speed connection that's more than 10 times faster than what's available here for just $22 a month.

Beyond the great merits of the piece, I'm pleased and somewhat alarmed to see Robert McChesney (Mr. Left Wing Media Analyst) writing something with John Podesta (former Clinton chief of staff and current president of the Center for American Progress).

What has this world come to?

3. Mimi Smartypants' daughter Nora expresses my thoughts exactly:

Nora is very interested in all things somatic---she gets a lot of mileage out of her doctor kit, she wants to closely inspect any wounds she encounters, she likes to hear the story of how I got stitches in my thumb. It seemed like a no-brainer* to get her a book about the human body for Christmas. Except I did not take preschooler literal-mindedness into account, and did not realize how illustrations could complicate the reading experience. Cutaway drawings of the human body, showing the organs, seemed very troubling to her, and she lingered particularly over the picture of a brain. What's that? It's a brain. Is it in the head? Yes. In everybody's head? Yes. What's it for? Thinking, talking, motor functions, and lower-level stuff like keeping your heart going. It's pretty important. Why does it look like that? That's just how it looks, but remember the brain is on the inside, the picture is just showing you the inside for educational purposes. And so on. Nora repeated this round of questions at least twice before she let me turn the page, which is how I knew she was thinking hard about this concept of "brain."

I did not think the brain would be a problem, however, until Nora appeared in the kitchen doorway, looking solemn, while I was cooking dinner.

Nora: Mommy.
Me: Yes?
[long pause.]
Nora: Mommy.
Me: What is it?
Nora [not crying, but really close, with the chin-wobble and shiny eyes]: I don't want a brain.
Me: Huh?
Nora [crying now]: I DON'T WANT A BRAIN.
Me [confused, hugging her]: Well, um, it's kind of too late. You have a brain. Everyone has a brain. A brain helps you ______ [yadda yadda].


Posted at January 16, 2006 09:53 AM | TrackBack

Nora might feel better if her momma told her that, once she is older, she can kill off her brain safely and legally with alcohol.

Posted by: Aaron at January 16, 2006 06:16 PM

Why yes, a 30 year old Glenfiddich will do nicely, but if not available, a Glenmorangie Madeira Matured 1988 will be acceptable, laddie!

Posted by: Jesus B. Ochoa at January 16, 2006 11:41 PM

Oh, Nora! Lose your brain and someday you can grow up to be President!

Posted by: mk at January 16, 2006 11:57 PM