Category Archives: Opinions

More Da Vinci Blows

Scrolling through the deals from Publisher’s Lunch and I see this:

Stephen Lanzalotta’s THE BAKER’S CODE: Weight Loss Secrets of DaVinci’s Golden Proportion, blending science and Renaissance lore with the mathematical principles that govern life and beauty in a book that presents the benefits of a healthful Mediterranean diet that honors carbs, to Diana Baroni at Warner for their new Wellness imprint, in a significant deal, in a pre-empt, by Marly Rusoff at Marly Rusoff & Associates (world English).

I can’t tell if he’s trying to cash in on the whole Da Vinci Code steamroller or what.

Dammit. I want to be inspired!

This article on originality in speeches (pointed out by the good folks at Bookninja) made me think. When was the last time you heard a memorable speech from a government figure? Our current president lacks the oratory skills of the previous president, in my opinion. But even Clinton’s speeches lacked that certain something. Nothing either of the last 2 presidents has stuck in my mind at all. You can’t compare any of them to Martin Luther King Jr.’s or JFK’s words. Sure they didn’t write those speeches. So maybe my issue is not with the presidents but with the speech writers. But I think Dan Rather was right on when he wondered out loud if it were too much to ask for the leader of the free world to write his own speech even once in four years.

Has anyone else read this article?

Does anyone else find this extremely disturbing? That someone should be paid such a huge sum of money to promote the ‘No Child Left Behind’ program seems totally wrong. “That almost no one would notice, let alone protest, is a snapshot of our cultural moment, in which hidden agendas in the presentation of “news” metastasize daily into a Kafkaesque hall of mirrors that could drive even the most earnest American into abject cynicism.” I think the deeper problem is that I don’t even watch Crossfire. I don’t know who to trust for the news. It seems like each media outlet has its own agenda and I feel like when I read news, I constantly have to be on the lookout for whatever they are pushing, be it pro-Bush or anti-Bush (and obviously I am more attuned to the anti-Bush stuff, but I try to see both sides).
Anyway, this article is really disturbing, but I doubt it will go far. People will read it and get mad and turn their attention elsewhere. It’s hard to constantly be angry about the state of the union especially when you feel like nothing changes and your voice doesn’t matter.

Tsunami Relief

Happy New Year everyone (in about 3 hours 20 minutes really). Edward Renehan (whose blog I just added to the left column) has a great list of places to go if you want to aid Southeast Asia in any way possible. Here is a great list of places.

I’ve been living in a cave apparently

I just learned today about the 9.0 earthquake in Sumatra. I don’t know how I hadn’t heard, but the whole situation is mind-boggling. Ed points out a place where you can help out here. 22,000 people is too many to lose (1 is too many). I have no wise words here. I just hope they get the aid they need.

Update: Brad DeLong linked earlier to a site called The Command Post that provides many ways to help.

Red state, blue state, we all shop at

Maud posts today that corporations’ political contributions. She names two great sites: BuyBlue, which has a nice chart showing who gives what to whom, and Open Secrets, which has even more information. It’s hard to avoid shopping at places who support things you are against. And I am not sure if me not spending money at Target is really going to make a difference. But it does help just knowing where my money is going politically.

Disturbing trends in America

This article from the NYT Magazine disturbed me a bit today. The article is about word of mouth marketing. This marketing company got the brilliant idea to recruit regular folks to promote things. And they don’t get paid. They just talk up the product to everyone they know. There is something about being elite and knowing more than other people. It’s all just weird. I like to think I wouldn’t fall for that, but I am not so sure. I get to read books before they get out on the shelves and it is fun I admit. Somehow the people, called BzzAgents, recruited by the marketing company don’t see themselves as marketers because they don’t have to talk up products they don’t like and they don’t get paid. But where is the line? It’s not as clear anymore. How can you take a conversation at face value when one of the participants has a hidden agenda?