Friday, May 26, 2006

Steal This Blog.

About one year ago, I first read Steal This Book, written by the late Abbie Hoffman. This book was extremely entertaining, and was filled with tips on how to commit small crimes and to better your life. Many of these tips were outdated, impractical, or both, but they were definitely worth reading about. The book helped me to understand Mr. Hoffman's actions throughout his lifetime better than any biography I have read about him yet. Its reminds us of the struggle that his generation led and their desire and need to change the world. The tips in the book are not for those who want to reek havoc randomly across the country, or the globe, but for those who're "fighting the good fight" and having trouble paying the bills while they're out picketing and changing minds/the world. Steal This Book puts a guilt trip on anyone who contributed to the society who made such a great mind pretend to be someone he wasn't to protect his freedom and family, and didn't bother to say it was wrong. Abbie did many things that can be judged as unwise but everything he did was done to achieve his ultimate goal of making the world a fair, peaceful, and beautiful place for all the following generations to live a life he couldn't have. He and his colleagues and friends took verbal, physical and emotional beatings for what they believed was right and never stopped trying to change the world. I am inspired by the time, energy, and effort all these men and women gave up willingly and selflessly for all of us. This work of humorous and important literature reminds me of those terrific humans who will never be forgotten for their heroism and generosity.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Not So Questionable Content.

One of my favourite webcomics lately is the magnificant Questionable Content created by Jeph Jacques. It can be found at .

The main focas of the comic are the lives of Martin, Dora, Faye, and various friends, coworkers, and relatives who run in and out of the apartment shared by Martin and Faye, as well as the Coffee Of Doom shop owned and/or managed by Dora. There is a constant flow of new information about the core characters in each comic strip, which appear 5 days a week. Love triangles, Indie Music, complicated pasts, inside jokes, always evolving art work, and vocational angst make up most of the comics. For comic relief, the appearances of Martin's robot/pet, Pintsize (picture), more than sufice. I've been reading this comic for over a year now and its still right up there with checking email on my online to do list. This strip blends realism and strangness to give you a taste of the out of the ordinary and keep things grounded enough to be relatable. It's so easy to become attatched to the characters and become interested in their daily lives, that must be the secret that engaged thousands of readers and helped Jeph achieve his current level of internet and comic book fame. As I'm sure all of his readers do, I wish him happiness and continued comic and artistic sucess.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Free Online Novels By Jennifer L. Armstrong.

For today's post I wanted to review a book which is free to be read online. It's called "Society For The Betterment Of Mankind" by Jennifer L. Armstrong and can be found here Also on the site, are a few other books written by Ms. Armstrong and links to online novels by others.

The book I read, "Society For The Betterment of Mankind", was entertaining for a light reading. It didn't require too much effort on my part, as far as comprehension. The depictions of "love" in the book, were juvenile, yet appropriate for the college aged main character. The novel held my attention and kept me eagerly devouring its contents, despite its semi-puerile outlook. During my reading, the light subject matter provided some introductions into serious subjects. For example, I learned more than I ever expected about The Jewish Religion and The Jazz Culture of New Orleans, which was surprising and educational. "Society For The Betterment Of Mankind" is a novel perfect for the casual reader, looking for something enlightening and not too much on the heavy side. I have not read the other books on this website, but I hope to read and review them for you at some point in the future. Thank you for the comments so far, please continue to read.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Are you being delphied?

When I first read this article, the public school system many of us have attended (or are currently attending) sprang immediately to mind. The article, who's title is the same as the one I chose to use, can be found at .

As stated in the article, "The goal of the Delphi technique is to lead a targeted group of people to a predetermined outcome, while giving the illusion of taking public input and under the pretext of being accountable to the public." This is similar to the goal of the average public school teacher. They, for the most part, do not wish to see their students form their own opinion, or rather; they do wish their pupils to develop an opinion, but only one that matches their own. Teachers enjoy the thought that they are The Supreme Being in the class where they educate, they enjoy the fact that because they are responsible and intelligent individuals, they have been awarded the task of molding these fine young brains into model citizens that they can be proud of. However, I can guess that every one of the readers out there can remember at least one time when a teacher was questioned by a student. The Ideal Teacher would consider the quarry and give a truthful and considerate answer. However, as we know, many things, including educators, are not ideal. Maybe the teacher became hostile, and tried, with their unconditional control, to belittle the student, thereby making his or her comments unworthy and appear to be poorly thought out. Or perhaps, they continued with The Delphi Technique and pacified the child by explaining to it that now was not the time or the place to discuss this matter and that The Teacher would be happy to discuss the issue after class if the pupil chose. That action would protect the other students impressionable minds from the dangers of questioning authority.

Another way that public school teachers use The Delphi System to retain a strange hold on the knowledge shared in their little bit of Educational Heaven, is to separate the children into groups that they see fit to interact. "Problem Children" who are likely to speak out in class, or even the quiet ones who are likely to have their own ideas about the subject. Hence the assigned seats.

I wonder whether teachers notice what they're doing, or whether they are merely using techniques they learned when they themselves were being "Delphied"?

Monday, May 15, 2006

The First One.

My first post is going to be about the poem "Question and Answer" by Charles Bukowski, just because I read it recently and I liked it. Chances are, thats how I'm going to choose most of these. . . You can find the poem at the following link. I hope you like it and find it as interesting as I did.

This poem was very real to me, not because I regularly play with knives or save people with my writing, but because I can picture it so vividly. When I read it, I can almost feel the humidness that covers everything in the summer and makes everything stagnant, even the air, it makes it hard to breathe and makes a person just want to sit there and not move if you can help it. I think the season he chose added dramatically to the overall feeling of the poem. This is the first poem by Bukowski that I have read and I hope the others live up to this one. I highly recommend it to people who read to transport themselves from their own world and to step inside another body and feel with their perceptions.

This is how it's going to work.

I read something, give you a link to it, and tell you what I think. When I give you the burning toaster, try not to burn your hands.This is how it's going to work.