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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Presidency. (Main Street)

Watching the Governor-Recall in Wisconsin with great amusement. Oh, ye fickle citizens, you know not what you do. By the time you figure it out, the bastards have fleeced you. It's costing millions and millions to undo it all. Let's hope it works.

I had a thought this morning...the BILLIONS of dollars spent on campaigning for political office would bail out our country. That kind of money would wipe out our debt, our problems, our whole fiscal crisis. Let's say that every rich contributor and every rich politician stood up and said, "I'm going to give my money to America rather than to the election machine. I earmark this contribution to go directly to the payoff of our national debt." And THEN, any richly supported politicians who wanted to run for office could follow up by saying, "If you want an honest leader, one who is not trying to buy an election, then elect me. I'm not going to smear my opponents, or try to lie to you on TV ads. I am simply opening a public website and will do all my campaigning in blog posts, public records, tax returns, and interact with any questions, reporters, that care to interact."

Wouldn't that be refreshing? I'm dreaming, right? Just another pinko Liberal ditz who doesn't understand how the world works.

But...keep your eye on Wisconsin. Shit happens. You just never know what surprises are around the corner in a democracy that has lost its way.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

One Hundred and One Nights - Book Review (Main Street)

One Hundred and One NightsOne Hundred and One Nights by Benjamin Buchholz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ben Buchholz is one of the most interesting new writers I've read in the past few years. He has a quality that I am hard put to define...it has to do with a poetic flair, and a just-out-of-my-grasp dreamy reality that reminds me of the various merits of writers like Joyce, Brautigan and Pynchon. It is writing multi-layered with meaning, metaphor,and imagery. For me, it is always a challenge. I chew on it, wresting all the goodness from it, always wary that I don't miss an important detail. All of that is to say I enjoy his work enormously. I've loved his short stories and this debut novel did not disappoint.

The protag is an Iraqi whose life spirals down a surprising path, taking the reader on a wild and unexpected ride. I have always found the middle eastern culture to have a built-in mystery, an exotic view of life, perhaps due to the religious aspects of that world. Buchholz maximizes that mystery, by delving into the mind set and stream of consciousness of one civilian man, in the midst of war, trying to find himself and his old life. It is a ballet of internal dialogue that is quite remarkable.

The 100 and One Nights title of the book forced me to puzzle out the Scheherazade story, but my only conclusion was that Buchholz's version is no fairytale. Layla, the young girl in the story is certainly a key to unlocking this story, and one roots for her even when the truth is evident.

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