48 Comments


  • I’d add Michael Herr’s Dispatches to your war books list.

    Have you read any Elmer Kelton, one of the grand old men of westerns? I think his The Good Old Boys is a great American novel, and perfectly captures the feeling of being at the cusp of history changing from the old to the new.

    August 13, 2004
  • really cool lists. For me, Keegen’s The Face of Battle is the single best book on war I’ve ever read; and the best land-war fiction I’ve ever read is Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire, about Thermopylae.

    Sea stuff? For me, Patrick O’Brian. Duh.

    You know, maybe I should just do some lists on my LJ.

    August 13, 2004
  • And Tim O’Brien’s The Things they Carried.

    Hmm. I think Bob is spreading the reading list meme, but I don’t think I’ll be able to do anything about it this weekend…

    August 13, 2004
  • I liked Dispatches quite a bit; I just didn’t think of it when I was compiling this list. I’m manfully resisting adding more titles.

    I’ve never heard of Kelton nor his books. Thanks for the tip. I’ll give Good Old Boys a try.

    August 13, 2004
  • You know, I’m not a big Tim O’Brien fan. I tried The Things They Carried and Going After Cacciato, but I found neither compelling. For me, the ring of truth was absent in his books.

    August 13, 2004
  • I don’t know Gates of Fire; I’ll have to pick it up.

    The Face of Battle is another book in my military collection that I neglected to list (my copy, by the way, is a used $3.50 trade paperback from Smith Family Bookstore). That book didn’t come immediately to mind when I was making the list, I suspect because Keegan has a particularly academic approach to warfare (no surprise: he taught at Sandhurst), and because two-thirds of the book is devoted to battles prior to the Twentieth Century. I’m also wary of books written from the generals’ point of view, which Keegan most certainly has.

    August 13, 2004
  • Mask of Command is his command book. What I loved about FoB is that he gets into the (rather unpleasant) little stuff: the fact that at Agincourt a bunch of those folks are going to have dysentery or diarrhea and because it’s a bitch to get into and out of armor, they’ll just sort of — well, never mind. And that your experience of a battle like Waterloo is going to be almost entirely immediate and personal, because you won’t be able to see or hear much through the cannons.

    August 14, 2004
  • Yes, there’s some very good work in Keegan’s books. His description of denuded treetrunks slick and glistening with human viscera after an artillery barrage at Ypres in The First World War is another of those images you can’t forget.

    August 14, 2004
  • Coolio (somehow missed this post amid all the animalia posts).

    Say, what’s a “UN Category: New York Times Democracy”? My nation I just set up is designated as such, and I ain’t never heard of it before. Here’s my nation (you can get one, too):
    http://www.nationstates.net/cgi-bin/index.cgi/target=display_nation/nation=offworld_states

    Chris

    August 24, 2004
  • what’s a “UN Category: New York Times Democracy”?

    I’m not sure: I thought it was a spinoff of the Jennifer Government novel, no?

    I visited your country a little while ago, when you first mentioned it, but it was confusing and I didn’t have time to give it a thorough look. I’m going to take a more leisurely peruse of it soon.

    August 25, 2004
  • I’ve read ONE of all of those books. (Watership Down, also on my “favorite books of all time” list)

    I must be really behind on my reading.

    I have a book called Multiple Exposures, which stands out as one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read. It was a real page-turner, and really has stuck with me over the years.

    I have not yet read, And the Band Played On, but I’m looking forward to reading it. I’ve heard it’s also very compelling.

    Probably my #1 “favorite book of all time” is Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. Much like Watership Down, it’s kept my undying and faithful love from childhood, through adolescence, and into adulthood. It is a simple story, yet addresses issues of existentialism and metaphysics, so that every time I read it, I learn something new about what it is to be a “member of the flock.”

    August 25, 2004
  • Sure, it’s by the same guy who authored JG. What I mean is — you’re the politics expert guy; what would a NYT democracy be like?

    Chris

    August 25, 2004
  • Hey, I’m hardly an expert—I’m just a guy who reads too many newspapers for his own good. Before you asked, I’d never heard the expression “New York Times Democracy.” This from the NationStates FAQ:

    On each of the three main scales (personal, economic, and political), your nation is ranked as having high, average, or low amounts of freedom (or permissiveness, if you want to look at it that way). From this it is assigned one of 27 possible labels.

    So the essence of a “New York Times Democracy” is that it has “excellent” civil rights; a “good” economy; and “superb” political freedoms. Your guess is as good as mine (or better, given your experience with RPGs) as to what those vague descriptions translate into in concrete terms.

    My friend actually is a political scientist; maybe he’s heard the expression before. I’ll direct him to this thread. If I had to guess, I’d say that the definition of “New York Times Democracy” is not an objective one, but exists only in Max Barry’s head.

    August 25, 2004
  • Okay, I added Multiple Exposures to my reading list. When I worked at the Emergency Veterinary Hospital in Eugene one of my jobs was to keep the radiation badges current and track the exposure reports (which were first read by the chief of staff).

    I read Jonathan Livingston Seagull when it first came out, thirty-something years ago. I liked it, and recall it as a cross between Richard Adams and Saint-Exupéry. I’ll have to give it another read.

    I’ve read ONE of all of those books.

    As I said upthread, it’s a very idiosyncratic list. But at least we agree on Watership Down.

    August 25, 2004
  • Heh, you’ll enjoy Multiple Exposures I think. If you like, you may borrow my copy. (Provided any of us FreeStaters can ever convince you to visit our fair town.)

    August 25, 2004
  • Well, I majored in political science which is not the same as being a political scientist. But I’ve never in my life heard the phrase before.

    August 25, 2004
  • Oh, I’m convinced: conviction isn’t the problem. I was going to come out in June, but work/life issues intervened. I’ll probably read Multiple Exposures before I get to Lawrence; next summer is probably the soonest I’ll manage it.

    August 25, 2004
  • Next summer?!!!!

    That’s completely too far away from now.

    Come over the holidays, when all the college kids are gone. The town is lovely when it’s snowing and the streets are free of 18 year olds.

    August 26, 2004
  • Sorry, Sunshine: filial piety demands I visit the family in Scottsdale over the holidays; it will have been a year since I’ve seen them by then. It’s an expensive and exhausting trip that unfortunately rules out any other excursions in the short- to mid-term.

    August 26, 2004
  • *pout*

    *POUT*

    I do not want to spend my next Christmas watching all 3 LOTR movies with my brain-damaged friend.

    Feh.

    August 26, 2004
  • Well, there you go then! I bet it’s just Barry’s way of being a smart-arse about the kind of people who read the NYT and the kind of democracy they’d create.

    Chris

    August 26, 2004
  • Bob, is Scottsdale very beautiful? I have not been to Arizona but its my mom’s favorite state of all, particularly Sedona.

    August 26, 2004
  • I wouldn’t voluntarily watch any of the Lord of the Rings films, even if the screening included a naked jacuzzi romp with Misty May and Kerri Walsh. As you say, Feh. And Re-Feh.

    August 26, 2004
  • Scottsdale is a suburb of Phoenix; from the air it looks like a patchwork of golf courses and swimming pools. My family moved there under the Fearful White People Relocation Program.

    Arizona is beautiful though. whenever I’m there I try to spend at least a couple of days sightseeing: the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, the Superstition Mountains, Meteor Crater (outside of Winslow, Arizona—made famous by the Eagles’ song “Takin’ it Easy”). If you like the outdoors, it’s a stunning state to see. also has family in Arizona, and he raves about the state’s beauty, too.

    August 26, 2004
  • I watched them because it was the best thing I had to do. My brain-damaged friend and I have two things in common: we like to eat, we like to watch movies.

    Naked romping with anyone sounds good to me right now.

    August 27, 2004
  • I would argue that the Meteor Crater was made famous by its important role in the movie Starman starring Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen.

    I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon, aside from the teensy bit of it you can see when visiting Las Vegas.

    August 27, 2004
  • And how did you know that my first ever secret nickname was Sunshine?

    August 27, 2004
  • I’m a wag, yes, but I can’t help pointing out that Meteor Crater was made famous by the fact that it was created by a meteor impacting Earth.

    August 27, 2004
  • LOL!

    August 27, 2004
  • Naked romping with anyone sounds good to me right now.

    Oh, you say that, but if John Ashcroft and Ryan Seacrest offered, I bet you’d find something that needed doing around the house. (I bet you didn’t know they were an item, did you?)

    August 27, 2004
  • Just a lucky guess. Sorry I blew your cover.

    August 27, 2004
  • Just to set things straight:

    Winslow, Arizona was made famous by the Eagles’ song.
    Meteor Crater was made famous by a giant fucking ball of flaming rock hitting the Earth.

    August 27, 2004
  • The Cow of Squatola was once in Sedona.

    This is not a limerick.

    August 27, 2004
  • I’d take on John Ashcroft if only to beat him mercilessly with a whip, and make him look at my bared breasts.

    I don’t know who Ryan Seacrest is.

    August 27, 2004
  • feh, it’s okay. I came [—-] this close to being named “Sunshine”…

    it was that, Michelle, Stockard, or Independence.

    My parents were not hippies.

    Even though I detest Michelle, it’s certainly the best choice given the options.

    August 27, 2004
  • If it was made famous by an Eagle’s song, how come I’ve never heard this song?

    August 27, 2004
  • I suspect that the Attorney General would, despite his record, be more interested in bared (female) breasts than Ryan Seacrest, a TV host who’s kind of like a mayonnaise sandwich on white bread.

    August 28, 2004
  • I can’t imagine you haven’t heard the song; it was ubiquitous on top 40 radio for years, and still gets lots of airplay. The relevant lyrics are:

    Well, I’m a standing on a corner
    in Winslow, Arizona
    and such a fine sight to see
    It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed
    Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me
    Come on, baby, don’t say maybe
    I gotta know if your sweet love is
    gonna save me

    “Take it Easy” The Eagles, 1972

    August 28, 2004
  • one word syllable regarding Ryan Seacrest:

    EWWWWWWWWW.

    August 30, 2004
  • And here we have established the confusion.
    I am sometimes not very bright.

    You were saying that Winslow, Az was made famous by the Eagles. I can neither agree nor disagree with that statement.

    I thought you were saying that Meteor Crater was made famous by the Eagles. That was a statement I was willing to agrue.

    August 30, 2004
  • Bob, I think that Misty May girl is in this month’s Playboy. No word on whether she’s doing a “real” spread, as I didn’t open up the magazine, but I do believe she was on the cover. Someone was standing in front of the display and flipping through it already or I would have checked.

    August 30, 2004
  • Laurie, you get a gold fucking star for that bit of intelligence.

    August 30, 2004
  • Yeah, that’s not an unusual reaction to Seacrest. I’m sure he thought EWWWWWWWWW was his name for the first ten years of his life.

    August 30, 2004
  • I spoke too soon-again!!

    It’s some other girl who appears naked- but she is an Olympian, and she’s tan, and she’s blonde.

    Hey, they all look the same to me. Hopefully one naked champion is as good for you as another.

    At the very least, its more sanitary than a jacuzzi romp.

    August 30, 2004
  • I wanted to reply to this, but I don’t think I’m allowed to speak to you, being a mere mortal and all.

    How does the Cow of Squatola like his LJ?

    August 30, 2004
  • …its more sanitary than a jacuzzi romp.

    Right, because hygiene is the primary consideration here. I’ll pick up Playboy nonetheless: I haven’t seen that many naked olympians that I’m jaded yet.

    August 31, 2004
  • The Cow of Squatola is above likes and dislikes. The Cow of Squatola is a force of nature.

    August 31, 2004
  • He is not attractive to me.
    EWWWWWW.

    August 31, 2004

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