For the past couple of years I have been heavily into books. I usually try to read stuff that is either suggested to me by my nerd alert english major friends (DV) or that I feel I should have read years ago. Its great to have resources like this because through these people, I have gotten my hands on some great reading material, and even came across my favorite book of all time (so far). Plus, I just figured my time could have been used a little bit better, rather than listening to Joe buddens and Mos Def on the train to and from work every day. I still do that, but its more of a background music and to tune out the people talking. Anyway, when I get done reading something serious, or mentally draining, I usually try and find something fun and quick, just to refresh me. Chuck Palahniuk and Charles Bukowski both have some great books (Fight Club and Ham on Rye among others) which I would strongly recommend, but I came across some other awesome material that I figured I would share. Check out some of these books and if your looking for something fun and enterainting, I would seriously get over to Barnes and Noble and check these out.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
Step back into the England of Jane Austen’s novels — with an undead twist — in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. Written by well-versed novelist Steve Hockensmith, this latest addition to the Quirk Classic line serves as a prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, exploring the genesis of the zombie plague in early-nineteenth century England. This book looks awesome, and it is something that Im sure I will be picking up this week.
The Dude Abides
If you havent been under a log for the past 10 years, then you know how much a cultural impact The Big Lebowski has had on this generation. If I had no clue what this book was about, I would still pick it up based on the title and cover alone, but it’s not exactly what you’d think. Instead of focusing solely on The Big Lebowski, Cathleen Falsani’s The Dude Abides is an exploration intro to the existential questions raised by the entire Coen brothers catalogue, from Blood Simple to A Serious Man. Whether it’s death, life, love, truth, or evil, there’s a Coen film that touches on it, and not always in the way you’d expect.
With all of this pirate hijacking business going on in the world, and with them never getting caught, it would only seem like the logical decision to throw a book on here that chronicles the history of some of the most well know hellraisers. Outlaws!: Adventures of Pirates, Scoundrels, and Other Rebels might certainly tempt you to switch up careers. This 240-page ode to the outsider chronicles the adventures — and motives — of such famed and feared rebels as Jesse James, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, IRA-activist Bobby Sands, and more!
SuicideGirls: Beauty Redefined
Not a day goes by that I dont have a friend remind me that I have a unique taste in girls. Im not going to sit here and pretend that some super model isnt fine, but I would opt for an original and edgy girl any day of the week. Forget the airbrushed perfection of most modern female nudes, and take a walk on the wild side. SuicideGirls: Beauty Redefined (possibly NSFW) is a 396 page hardcover tribute to the openly real girls of the groundbreaking website. You have a tattoo where?!
If you have a set of balls then Absinthe & Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously is a must read. Professional engineer Bill Gurstelle lays out detailed instructions for making “black powder” (gunpowder), rockets, flamethrowers and other devices that will endanger your digits and eyebrows. To the author’s credit, he is equally detailed in his prescriptions of safety gear and precautions. He also details more hedonistic thrills, such as absinthe, cigarette smoking and “thrill eating”. Take MacGyver and Chuck Norris and combine the two into one human, this book was written for that guy. You can buy the book here from Amazon.
Booze wasn’t always demonized the way it is now by the church, and if you have trouble understanding why, perhaps you should read The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World ($17). It tells the story of Arthur Guinness and the Guinness family, from the founding of the brewery and the first Guinness poured through to modern times, focusing on the family’s faith and philanthropy. We recommend grabbing a pint before you dig in so you can really experience the book in full form. 10 Guinness pints later, and after rereading the 1st chapter 6 times without noticing will keep you occupied for a while.
The RZA, the leader and undisputed master mind of the Wu-Tang Clan and hip-hop culture’s most dynamic genius, embarks on a mission to show the lessons he’s learned on the journey that’s taken him from the Staten Island projects to international superstar, in his new book, The Tao of Wu. Along the way, RZA has been a dedicated student to the knowledge that he has encountered on the streets, in religion, in martial arts, in chess, and in popular culture. Part chronicle of an extraordinary life and part spiritual and philosophical discourse, The Tao of Wu is a nonfiction spiritual journey for the hip-hop generation that is sure to enlighten, entertain, and inspire.
The sea of Wu-Tang fans are fully aware to the way of life and their obsession with the groups puzzlelike lyrics and elaborate mythology has propelled the group through fifteen years of dazzling, multiplatform success. In his 2005 bestseller The Wu-Tang Manual, the RZA provided the barest glimpse of how that mythology worked. In The Tao of Wu, he takes us deep inside the complex sense of wisdom and spirituality that has been at the core of his commercial and creative success.
The book is built around major moments in the RZA’s life when he was faced with a dramatic turning point, either bad (when he was facing murder charges) or good (a record deal that could pull his family out of poverty), and the lessons he took from each experience. His points of view are always enlightening and you cant help but to listen and pay attention when the RZA is spitting some wisdom. This book is a spiritual memoir as the world has never seen before, and will never see again.
The book has an official release scheduled for October 15th, 2009.
Construction has begun on the 72-story building in the London Bridge Quarter. The building was designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, they have firms in Italy, France, and New York City. Renzo Piano, born in Italy, is one of my favorite architects, he has pretty much received every award imaginable and has been labeled as on of the best in the world. One of his critics was once quoted as saying,
“Serenity of his best buildings can almost make you believe that we live in a civilized world.”
The building’s concept was designed around the influences of massive church spires and the masts of ships that sailed the waters of Thames. The multi-purpose building will include office space, a world-class hotel, luxury residences, a spa, restaurants & cafes, retail space and a 15-storey public viewing gallery. On the ground level, public piazza, restaurants and cafes will be open to the public with places to rest and changing art installations, pretty cutting edge stuff. A key attribute of this building is that it is directly connected to all the public transportation of the city. The “city in the sky” is destined to become London’s most enigmatic buildings in the skyline. The plan is generated by the irregular nature of the site. Each facet forms a shard, a plane of glass gently inclined inwards, rising towards the top. The corners are open and the shards do not touch, allowing the building to breathe. In turn the glass surface fragments as it rises and the tower dissolves into the sky. Being involved in architecture myself it really excites me to see such artistic ability to go from concept on paper to actual habitable structure. London has really been raising the bar wih the new construction that makes up their skyline, and I applaud their extreme vision of the future. The project is scheduled to be completed in the year 2012.
Everyone knows that America is the most obese nation in the world, but we aren’t just in first place, we’re pulling a Deion Sanders and high stepping into the end zone with this one. Being “obese” is categorized by having a body-mass index greater than 30. As you expected, with so many countries, every country is separated by one maybe two percent, until you get to the number two to one jump. The top 5 most obese nations read as followed 5. Greece 22% 4. Slovack Republic 22% 3. UK 23% 2. Mexico 24% and your undisputed champion and still undefeated 1. USA 31%. A whopping 7% increase from the closest contender is pretty impressive, and that’s coming from Mexico, a country that only eats tacos, burritos, and nachos, so if they ain’t close no one ever will be.
Now as much as the media tries to portray that obesity is such a problem and it is killing our people, let’s take a step back. I’m not a professional body builder or marathon runner so I’m kind of going off the top on this one but what has America really done to stop obesity? Alright making fast food restaurants offer apples and salads was a start. Everything under the sun coming in “low calories” and “fat-free”, O.K. we’re getting somewhere. Big empty concrete buildings charging people $60 a month to pedal on a bolted down bike and lift rusted iron, yea that’s popular now. Either way nothing can be done to stop people from being lazy and eating a bacon and cotton candy stuffed sausage patty on a deep friend peanut butter bun.
The other reason obesity will never slow down is because it makes way too much money for our economy, how much money you ask? This year alone “obesity industries” will likely top $315 billion dollars, and perhaps far beyond. That includes $133.7 billion for fast-food restaurants, $124.7 billion for medical treatments related to obesity, and $1.8 billion just for diet books — all told, nearly 3 percent of the overall U.S. economy. If you break it down even further it gets real fun to see how big of a fat ass this nation is. According to the consumer-research group, Mintel Group, in 2004 we guzzled down $37 billion in carbonated beverages. We also spent $3.9 billion on cookies, $6.2 billion on potato chips, and $57.2 billion on meals at restaurants such as Denny’s, Chili’s and Outback Steakhouse. So if you have half a brain cell in your noggin you can assume that 99 cent double cheeseburgers served to you in under a minute aren’t going anywhere. Simply put there is a lot of money being made by feeding our over-sized stomachs. So as much as the media crys out for a stop to this “epidemic”, the truth is, in no way shape or form is obesity ever going to be stopped.
I put together a few food examples of America being….fat. (Yes there are much more intense gross concoctions, but these 5 are actually worth trying.)
5. The Fat Elvis
4. The Luther Rory
3. KFC Double Down Sandwich
2. Kentucky Nachos
1. The Big Fat Ugly Sandwich
A sandwich filled with four cheeseburgers, a double cheesesteak, a chicken cheesesteak, gyro meat, grilled chicken, bacon, sausage, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, chicken nuggets, mac n’ cheese bites, fried mushrooms, jalapeño poppers, pizza bites, onion rings, hash browns, American cheese, mayo, and ketchup on two rolls. To make it worse there is a challenge that goes along with this beast of a sandwich. Finish it in 15 minutes and it’s on the house plus you get a free t-shirt, cool can I also get a new asshole with that too.
No this is not a WWF wrestling advertisement, it’s the World Wildlife Fund, even the Undertaker had a little more sensitivity than this. This ad, featuring hundreds of planes flying into the direction of Manhattan, leaked online Tuesday. The conservation group quickly denied any involvement with the image and claimed it was a rejected spec. ad, which they had nothing to do with. The next day however, Ad Age reported that WWF Brazil did approve the ad, and ran it in a city newspaper. The image was quickly pulled by Sergio Valente, President of DDB Brasil, the ad agency who produced the spot. There was also a video version created, but DDB Brasil claims they had no involvement with it. All video was taken off YouTube due to copyright claims by, yup you guessed it, DDB Brasil, LIARS! Luckily the video spread fast enough and is still viewable.
Below is the video of that ad, watch at your own risk, pretty intense. The general consensus is the ad is distasteful and wrong, but there has also been a lot of support of the ad. Many claim it’s simply the truth, and we should be able to use the tragedy in a positive way. We would really like to hear what you think, distasteful, effective, or both?
The Walt Disney Company has officially announced the deal to purchase comic giant, Marvel Entertainment Inc. The buying price was marked at $4 billion dollars to bring Spider-man and Iron Man into the same home as Aladdin and Goofy, real cool. Marvel has followed the same footsteps as DC Comics in surrendering to a large media conglomerate, DC was bought by Warner Brothers in 1969. Disney expects short term profit hits but is looking to bring back the male audience they have neglected in the past years. Disney focused more on the young female demographic signing the likes of Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers.
Disney won’t be seeing the benefits of their transaction anytime soon because all of the Marvel cash cows are currently under contract with other companies. For example, Spider-man is slated for three more sequels but Sony Corp.’s Columbia Pictures has exclusive rights to these movies (The next Spider-man is scheduled to hit theaters May 2011). So it will be a while for Spider-man money to start rolling in, it’s ok Disney can start making money on Iron Man right? Wrong, Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures has a five-picture distribution deal for Marvel-made movies, and guess what the first movie is out of that five-picture deal, yup you guessed it, Iron Man 2. So after Iron Man 2, four more Marvel movies that are set to be released will go to Paramount. Marvel plans to be releasing two massive blockbusters in “Thor” and “The First Avenger: Captain America”, but sorry Disney your too late on that one too. It’s alright Disney has other Marvel movies to make money off of, what about “X-Men,” “Fantastic Four,” “Silver Surfer” and “Daredevil” (Daredevil maybe being the worst movie ever made, but still have to throw it in there)? Ummmm yea, about that, sorry Disney News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox has the long-term movie rights to all of these movies as well. Disney said it will honor and re-examine Marvel’s licensing deals upon expiration and may extend the profitable ones. This is starting to sound pretty awful for Disney, lets step back and recap for a second. Out of the films that have been adapted by Marvel characters include Spider-Man, Blade, X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Punisher, Daredevil, Elektra, Ghost Rider, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, as well as the upcoming films Runaways, Iron Man II, Spider-Man 4, Thor, The First Avenger: Captain America and The Avengers. Disney can make money right away off Hulk, Punisher, Elektra, and Ghost Rider which will probably be around 35 dollars a year, which at that rate would break even on their $4 billion dollar investment in 114,285,714.28 years, not bad actually. Of course I didn’t major in engineering economics and I didn’t major in business so I’m sure Disney will be fine as they hope to start seeing positive return by the year 2012, and not the year 114,287,723.
I’m sure you all know how it works on wikipedia. You start out reading about one thing, and the next thing you know, your so far off your original topic you don’t even know how you got there. That is how I came across the poem, Desiderate, by Max Ehrmann, published in 1927. This poem played a huge part in the spiritual movement of the 1960′s and 70′s and it still holds inspiration today. It is one of those poems that you should read when you are feeling a little uncertain or down on yourself. Enjoy!
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
City of God is a novel written in 1997 by Paulo Lins based on the true story of 3 friends and their life of crime in the Cidade de Deus, a favela in Western Rio de Janeiro. Lins grew up in the same area, and spent many years gathering information about the violence and gang life that was so prominent in the area. While reading this book, I had to keep reminding myself that this is all true, it all happened, and it was all real. The violence in the book was so repetitive and common that it almost started to go unnoticed to the reader. I’m sure many of you have seen the movie (which was killer by the way) but the book was much different in my opinion.
As in all movies, this one was also a striped down version on the book. The movie is based on a boy named Rocket, who is not cut out for a life of crime, and wants something better. He has a dream of becoming a photographer and with a few breaks along the way, escapes the violence of City of God, and achieves his dream. The book is sold on this point, but Rocket was hardly the main focus of the book, especially the last 1/3 or so. The main character in the book was the criminal, Tiny (Lil Ze in the movie), and he comes to power basically by offing anyone who stands in his way. His money is made in the drug trade, and by setting up “Dens”, which are places where the drugs are sold. After a violent attack on Knockout Ned’s girlfriend, Knockout dedicates his life to retaliating and avenging his girlfriends honor. A full on war breaks out in City of God, and the police act as onlookers, as they are too outnumbered to stop the violence. In the movie, Knockout is killed by the child of a man he murdered in a stick up, and this is also depicted in the book. Tiny on the other hand survives the war and after a brief stint in jail, reemerges in City of God, looking to retake control as the head kingpin. In the movie, he is shot down by a group of young (9-13yr olds) boys, looking to establish themselves in the life of crime that is so prevalent in the city.
I thought the book was great, although a bit long. At nearly 500 pages, some of the violence and drug activity got redundant.All in all though, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Scarface or any other story where bad guys do what they want, when they want, to whoever they want.