Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Tipping Point

Last year I listened to What the Dog Saw, read by the same author Malcolm Gladwell.  If you've ever seen him interviewed, he's kind of a weird dude.  I was in my car and literally laughed out loud because at one point he said "Ketchup is amazing." Except he said it with such enthusiasm and emphasis is came out like this: "" Well, ok buddy.   

The Tipping Point came out a long time ago and it was always on my "I should really read that" someday.  But it turns out that this book was trendy and I'm not totally sure it holds up. It was originally published in 2000 and it feels ancient. As Gladwell would say...."It..feels..aaacient." At one point while discussing remembering phone numbers he says, well, that it why we have phone books and maybe a Rolodex. What the hell.

The book talks about what makes things "tip." What makes a thing turning into a "thing." He uses that same kind of loosely based scientific studies that make you wonder if these studies are making cognative leaps based on coorelations rather than causation. Wait, its not that intellectual. (*punches self in side of head*) Quit thinking so much and enjoy the conclusions! (*drink*)

This book makes you feel like a loser because you are not one of these catalysts for making something "tip."  You are probably not a Maven, Connector or a Salesmen.  I'm not any of those things.  I'm also not whatever Malcolm Gladwell is either.  Sure I like ketchup but c'mon, dude, take it down a notch. 

Drinks: Drink with a fine single barrel whiskey.  We will call that the Tippling Point.  Because, frankly, its close enough. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Silver Linings Playbook

When I go to the movies I usually see those "blow up" action films that you just can't replicate at home.  I do not go to romantic movies to see a four foot version of Jennifer Lawrence's butt, although I can see the appeal.  I haven't seen the movie, but reading a book after the movie has come out, well, you can't help but picture the actors as the main characters. Not that I'm complaining about visualizing Bradley Cooper.  No, not complaining. 

Themes of this book include mental illness and football.  Frankly, its hard to tell the difference between an Eagle's fan and the mentally ill.  I had a friend that dated an Eagle's fan, and I get the impression that the book is not an exaggeration, that Eagle's fans are like football jihadists.  I suspect they are like Firefly fans but more likely to beat the crap out of you.  No thanks.

The book is written in the style of a diary by the protagonist who just spent several years in the mental hospital.  Maybe the illness or drugs addled his brain but he is kind of a simpleton.  It makes him likable and it certainly makes it easy to read but you can't help but wonder, dude, you'll never reintegrate yourself back into the workforce.  Well, maybe he can work at Foot Locker.

Overall, not a bad little book, not amazing, certainly not a struggle to read.  Pat, our protagonist is so likable and relatable you will think you are mentally ill too. But then again, I already knew that. 

Drinks:  Pat is not supposed to drink while he's on his medications but he drinks when he's watching football anyway. They drink Yuengling, as its set in Philly and Southern NJ, so that makes sense.  Feel free to drink your own local beer.  I like Madtree, not for just use as a joke, its actually quite good, crazy good. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Heart of Darkness

This small classic novella is a significant book whether you want to read a classic, educate yourself on the inspiration for Apocalypse Now, or find an awesome title for your new metal album.  Its public domain now, right?  Heart of Darkness sounds like a medical condition involving a clotting disorder and maybe it is, I am not a medical doctor, but it is also a classic book about some crazy colonialists in Africa.

People were dumb in the olden times.  This was the age when they believed in phrenology.  Phrenology is a pseudoscience (they didn't think it was so pseudo at the time) which involves the measuring of a subject's head and the expert could determine a person's character and personality.  Marlow, our narrator, gets his head measured by the physician before he goes on his big voyage to Africa.  It seems to be the most important part of his physical, unlike getting vaccines or getting preventive medicine before going to malaria-town.  In the doctor's defense, Marlow could now order a fitted Padres' baseball cap for his river adventure.

Marlow, our riverboat captain narrator, sure talked fancy for being a riverboat captain.  He was full of philosophical and emotive language.  Maybe before the Internet, people had more time to get a diverse and comprehensive education, instead of my typical day which includes 2-3 hours of figuring out ideal hash tags and how to get my hands on a copy of next season's Game of Thrones.  One thing that is confusing is that all of the action described is by use of pronoun.  And there are too manys "he's."  And trust me, this adventure is one big sausage-fest.  Is this "he" crazy-man Kurtz?  Is he the crazy Russian or the pink pajama wearing-gun toting-ivory agent?  Even the few ladies don't have names.  C'mon Conrad, just make something up! Oh, wait, you can't because your dead.  Don't feel bad, Conrad lived to be 66 and in the olden times that was a long life.

Drinks: Malaria again--so I have no choice but to recommend a tonic drink.   This one is complicated but its called the Pith Helmet so we need this.  Also this is from David Lebovitz, so I'm sure its awesome.  It involves two types of gin.  I'm going to give a link because it involves quite a few steps and photos:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure

I was curious to know if Jack Handey was on Twitter. The author of all those Deep Thoughts, his pithy style was designed for Twitter.  He is not, because Jack Handey is old school and those carefully crafted sayings, well, he doesn't write those for free.  It makes sense that a professional joke writer would actually get paid for these jokes.  That seems like an Onion article right there: Middle Aged Man Hopes to Get Paid for Writing Jokes. 

It turns out Jack Handey, ex SNL writer (Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer) has been quietly writing books these last few years.  They are little joke books, the kind that you would buy your Dad for his birthday and be glad you found something (even if he'll never read it and you find it later when you take him to the old folks home with its pristine binding and birthday card still in it). 

If you were to actually read the Stench of Honolulu, its large font and smaller format would probably only take you about 65-70 minutes.  The protagonist is one of those insane characters like the Pirate Captain from the The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe.  If you've never read that, think one of the characters from Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  Clueless, narcissistic dummies.

This book is ridiculous but its good for a laugh, or at least a chuckle.  I also read What I'd say to the Martians and Other Veiled Threats.  Guess what, more jokes. I do like a common theme in both books which is his "so-called friend named Don." Which is funny because I really do have an acquaintance named Don.  Maybe Jack knows that we all have a so called friend named Don.  Well played sir, well played. 

Drinks: Our main character who sometimes goes by the name of "Slurps," drinks Scotch.  A lot of Scotch.  He drinks a brand called Glenriddance. Which for Scotch drinkers is pretty funny. So drink with your finest cheapest Scotch.  Even for jokes, I don't believe in cheap Scotch, so drink with a Balvenie and a cigar taken from a beheaded man's mouth.  Read it, you'll get the joke, or not, and just think I'm a sick bastard, either way, it makes no difference to me.