HB V

is older than it's ever been and now it's even older

2/26/2001

Why did I have to read that in high school?


So Holden Caulfield's world, Catcher in the Rye, is now 50. The headline of the article says that Holden Caulfield himself is 50, but that would imply that he is an infant in the book. No, he's the embodiment of all things adolescent, and has served as a stand-in for understanding youthful minds by adults for most of, if not all, those years. Back in Sophomore English, we read Catcher, and I remember being profoundly irritated by it. No, it's not the self-centered, self-pitying drivel that Holden is always putting out, or his projected "phoney" label that he applies to everything; it's his abject lack of decisiveness that really chapped my hide. I don't care what you do, just do it. It's part of my tripartite philosophy of life:
1. Efficiency. I try not to do things that are unnecessary. Things that must be done should be done with as little effort as possible.
2. Utility. When in doubt, go the route that contributes the greatest good for the greatest number. Or the greatest good for the intended recipient. Also, although I am a fan of aesthetics, when in conflict, I pick utility. That's my justification for not dressing well in daily life; it doesn't make sense from a utilitarian view to wear expensive clothes if you mess them up. Thus, I only wear good clothes for Good Occasions.
3. Decisiveness. Make decisions firmly, be sure, and don't second guess them. Admit you're wrong if and only if it is proven to your satisfaction.

Maggie and I have been getting into literature recently. Actually, considering how many books I've read in my life, I'm shocked to report that Maggie has been much more diligent about getting her reading done than I. Whereas she has recently read The Fountainhead (thick), The Satanic Verses (thick), and is now reading War and Peace (extra thick), I have only read Bridget Jones' Diary (skinny, a four hour read), The Mouse that Roared (skinny, a two and a half hour read) and am now in the midst of The Satanic Verses myself (BTW, Rushdie's fatwa was recently re-iterated). As an aside, let me note that it is very good; somewhat scattershot in focus, but impressive in scope and imagination. Full report later. Maggie says that the reports of War and Peace's boringness are greatly overstated, and she doesn't think that she can go back to pulp novels and their lack of character development.

Did I say scattershot in focus?



While I'm on the subject of books, I thought I'd share this Salon review of a book entitled The God Part of the Brain, which has as its premise the fact that certain epileptics have had religious visions, which points to the theory that a part of the brain affected by this epilepsy must be the part that imagines God. Apparently the author was set off by a drug trip:

"I realized that my life's primary pursuit would be -- if it were at all possible -- to acquire clear and distinct knowledge of God." Sometime between that period and his 21st birthday, Alpert had a bad LSD trip that mired him in anxiety and depression, which were alleviated by medication.

His suffering made him an empiricist: "The fact ... that my conscious self had been so ravaged, scrambled and defiled in the past year and a half convinced me that there was no fixed or eternal essence in me."

An interesting read, especially considering that the reviewer, a Christian himself, decodes the book as being specifically targeting Christianity for his vitriol. (Or the reviewer is paranoid. On the other hand, as my mom always says, "It isn't paranoia if they really are out to get you.") I'm intrigued enough to where I might have to get this book and check 'er out.

While I'm on the subject of Christian links, I absolutely love the fact that this Online Bible Quiz is listed as being "for kids." I don't know which kids they're referring to, but I wasn't ever able to keep Elisha and Elijah straight when I was a young 'un. For disclosure's sake, I scored a 126 (Superb Knowledge. You obviously know the Bible!). Not bad for someone who hasn't regularly attended church in 8 years or so.

Wake me up when it's spring

The Pioneer Press has a table called the Pain in the Posterior (PIP) index, that measures how bad the winter is compared to winters past. This year, we're scoring at a 21 (serious pain). However, 98-99 was a 27, and I know it wasn't as bad as this one. I think the scoring needs to be re-tabulated. I demand a recount!

Thinking about having laser eye surgery? Why not wait a few years so you can get SUPER VISION? Sounds cool to me. Personally, I want that visor thing that LeVar Burton wore on Star Trek: TNG.

Finally, semi-LAPI: For those of you who think that Minnesotan Garrison Keillor only does the wholesome Lake Wobegone thing, here's a link to his sex and relationships column he does for Salon. Always entertaining.

Hobbsblog II borrowed links from these outstanding blogs: Robotwisdom, Follow Me Here, and the Alt-log



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