Light Reading

I got an email from an initiative manager today asking everyone to kindly pitch in and work the next three weekends in order to hit some scheduled dates. Sad face. So my weekend will consist of alternatively sleeping, staring blankly at the wall, sitting in my cube, and stuffing my face with whatever food The Admins see fit to order for luncho on Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, Erin’s on a houseboat, sailing the fairly well-explored waters of Lake Shasta. Yes, THAT Shasta. She is sailing on an ocean of fizzy Orange sugar water.

In other news, I’ve become disinterested in television lately, what with the Summer of Reruns and Absolute Shit we have going on. I roused myself into reading some of the books I recently purchased on a Barnes & Noble bender that followed me finding that I had a $25 gift card lying around under my dresser.

So I just finished The Geography of Nowhere, which I thought was a really great emotional look at the death of town planning, with a history or urban living and a look at what great communities can be thrown in for good measure. I’m not sure it would be a book that many people here would want to read, but it is good. I found the Town Planning analysis of Main Street U.S.A, Disney World especially intriguing. The key thing to remember when you are at Disney World is that everything is put everyplace for a reason. Ever wonder why lines are designed the way they are? Ever wonder about the placement of gift shops, eateries, bushes, garbage cans, or anything else in that imaginary place? Of course you don’t, but they do. Every single item that is erected or placed within the confines of Disney World was researched over and over again until they found out the way to get maximum profit out of it. And so on and so forth. One thing the author mentions that I had never put together is that nearly every attraction/ride at Disney World has Death as its major theme. From the ghosts of the Haunted Mansion, to the skulls lining the caves of the Pirates of the Carribbean, to the “authentic” shootouts in the streets between two cowboy actors in Frontierland, death surrounds you at Walt Disney World Resort and Theme Parks.

Since finishing it, I have now moved on to Wisconsin: A History, by Robert C. Nesbit. It details the history of Wisconsin from its early fur trading days in the 1700s up until the mid-twentieth century. I was hoping to get a complete, unabridged history of Wisconsin, but I couldn’t find anything that looked promising on Amazon or Barnes & Noble online (obviously I wouldn’t be able to find it in any stores out here). FYI: almost all serious Wisconsin history texts are/were published by the Univeristy Press. Natch. So far I’m through the first two chapters: chapter one discusses the general Wisconsin environment and the prehistoric Native Americans that dwelled in and around Wisconsin (7000BC-1700AD). Chapter two gets more into the start of the fur trade that brought more and more Europeans to the state, and the subsequent trips upriver from Lake Michigan into the interior that defined initial exploration of the state. A bit dry, but full of the kind of information I was interested in reading. Everyone should know a little about the history of their home (first person to mention Cincinnati: I hate you).

I’ll let you know when I get to the biography of Fighting Bob LaFollette. It should be a scorcher.

What the fuck are you cretins reading that’s so great?


5 thoughts on “Light Reading

  1. 2 birds with 1 stone: why i live in plymouth and what i do here. i exploit all of the great city planning here. there are seriously parks and trails and lakes with fishing and boating every 2 city blocks. i am obsessed with disc golf… there is a free 12 hole course across the street. it’s like whazz with exercise… the same golf is for many i assume, but i’m just not good at smacking the ball 200+ yards, so it’s just a lot of dumb for me (because i suck), but disc golf i can drive the green and have a good time with very little practice. then there are trails around the lake and i take the dog on walks. then rachel gets home and we have dinner and sometimes take the dog on another walk, then drain the tivo, she goes to bed and i play poker and theorize about macro economics which basically encompasses everything. city planning falls into that a lot. my analysis always ends up the same: the majority of people are going to be screwed and live shitty lives so that SOME people can live great lives. it’s a median-mean-mode problem that people just don’t understand. in the data set of value of life for every person.

    the mean of this data set is irrelivant. the nature of macro economics makes this value the same in ANY form of government. the median and mode of our country are both below lower middle class… wonderful. communism makes the mean, median and mode all exactlly the same… the most fair way to do it, as well as the best average value of life for everyone. democracy is just a very thinly veiled assumption that eventually we will just conform to communism. why does democracy fail? because of people like me. once enough people realize the system in inherently flawed, we are fucked. until then, i’ll be drinking beers all day and not feeling bad about you chumps grinding it out for the man. hustle. hustle. hustle.

  2. Scientist: I know you don’t read. I know this. But you may be the one person who would see the importance of The Geograpgy of Nowhere and The Long Emergency. Of course, you don’t have to, but knowing what I know about you I think you would enjoy it. Plus I want to talk about it with someone. Geography is $12 on If you read it, hit me up on the phone or on whazzmaster and let me know what you think.

  3. i don’t read many BOOKS, but if i’m online researching a bizzare theory i had, i’m reading all night in between hands. lately i’ve been convinced that inflation is due SOLELY on ONLY the worlds MOST VASTLY USED NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCE. if you understand math you know that any terminal linear decay function is going to have a huge spike at the end as it goes to 0… IE: as our oil use stays the same, every year the percentage that that amount of oil consists of the total amount of oil left will get exponentially higher, the the value of the product is an exponential function. now start an economy where your inflation rests solely on that one product… no matter what “value” you start your unit of currency at, after around 700 years the exponential nature (even though we are just barely on the downward slope) will make any other item cost totally unreasonable prices. why do you think things in china cost billions of units for fruit? but the scary thing: YOU CANT SWITCH DECAY FUNCTIONS. you can’t just wake up and not use OIL… that is just as bad for the economy. shop owners depend on inflation. THIS IS A FACT AS WELL IN MY MIXED UP HEAD. look at how all the money goes around… if phil couldn’t charge a few cents more at his shop, then he won’t have enough left over for all that shit he wants to buy… and america is BASED on getting the shit you want to buy. without inflation eventually everyone would be making just enough to live by: IE communism… which democracy is doom to become: if not for our friend inflation. if not for our friend oil granting us a terminal linear decay function to base our economy on and keep democracy free. do any of you think that top economic minds haven’t already figured this out? we will fucking blow up any country that messes with our oil… WHY? because we NEED it to drive around or make things? FUCK NO. we NEED it to ensure that phil can buy his kid a razor scooter NEXT YEAR. inflation rocks. but then i googled for like 20 minutes and most people say i’m wrong. fuck them, they probably do things mr schadenfreud’s way and just pretend that everything they are taught as fact really is fact and not figure anything out on their own. TERMINAL LINEAR DECAY FUNCTIONS: WITHOUT THEM PHIL KID MUST WALK NEXT YEAR, INSTEAD OF SCOOT.

  4. i just realized the problem with my first post… “value of life” function… oh christ: look what religion does: it makes a lot of people in the lower/middle class to feel better about their lives, and thus INCREASE the value of mean… INCREASE the value of the mode, but DECREASE the median. it is the only thing that can do that… belief is something that isn’t real…. the X factor. take communism, give up religion and lead a truly more happy life. i am a genius.

  5. by the way, i think communism is a horrible form of government because i’d actually have to do real work, but i’m just pointing out something that seems to be smarter for everyone else… pointing out what is wrong with the current system. also, i love apple pie.

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