Saturday, December 23, 2006

Yet again, more stuff to read

I know that federalcheese has become more of a bookclub than a . . .well a waste of time I guess, but here is another selection; Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys. Many may have seen the movie and some may include it as one of their favorites, as I do, but the book is better. I try to stay away from reading books after I have seen the movie. I don't know, maybe I think that I already know the story and will be bored. Maybe I think that always imagining the actors from the movie as I read somehow diminishes the experience. But trust me on this one; there is so much more to the story of Grady Tripp, Terry Crabtree and James Leer going on that fans of the movie need to know about. It's just a hell of a great book.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"The Flotsam of the New California"


I’ve been reading Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem in recent days and have to say that it has made it into the “Federalcheese Canon.” The essays are about the absurdity of 1960’s California and the illusion of the “Golden Dream.” As someone who grew up in California, I can say that what Didion says was true of California forty years ago, is still true today. The title is borrowed from a Yeat’s poem and relates to what she sees as the failings of the “counter-culture” revolution. She is not against the idea of rebellion and change in the ‘60’s, but is highly critical of the masses that claim to be a part of it. The masses that in reality are naïve young men and women who are merely following what they believe will postpone reality for a just a bit longer. People from all over this country seek out California because they believe it is the answer. Most find out the hard way that life is just as hard in California and often worse. There is a piece praising Joan Baez and the Institute for the Study of Nonviolence, as well as an essay exposing the self-referential and innocuous state of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Didion trys to make sense of life in the Haight. She even reports from the set of John Wayne’s last film, The Sons of Katie Elder. But her most poignant work is when she gets personal and describes what it’s like to be native to such a bizarre and contradictory place.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Items to consider

Rumsfeld reportedly recommended major changes in Iraq War policy just two days before he was fired. . .er resigned. Does most of the blame for the failed policies fall at his doorstep or is it Bush's pride that continues to fuel this fiasco? Now, don't be confused, Rumsfeld didn't call for a withdrawal of troops. He in fact requested more troops to speed up the transfer of power and to secure borders, but it does look like he was on the outside looking in. How long has he not been part of determining policy in Iraq?


Retail gasoline prices continue to rise after falling PRIOR to the mid-term elections.