REVIEW (by John Scott G): Economics professor Richard Wolff regularly raises eyebrows with his clear-eyed explication of the many advantages of Marxism. Now, in "Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism" (ISBN 9781608462476), he makes the case for curing some of capitalism's ills via Workers' Self-Directed Enterprises.
REVIEW (by John Scott G) : The U.S. is drowning in laws, laws, and more laws. So says Philip K. Howard in his fast-paced "The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government" (ISBN-13: 978-0-393-08282-1). He calls for some common sense changes of attitude and makes a good case for constitutional amendments as part of the cure.
FICTION: Area Code 666 Part 26 (by John Scott G): Ian and Faith were walking through the park near her apartment. A jogger passed them, then two more going in opposite directions. There was a whoosh of air as the bodies rushed by them. Several yards away, a couple was playing Frisbee with their family, including their overly enthusiastic dog.
FICTION: Area Code 666 Part 25 (by John Scott G): Our son Zan was in despair. His despondency was readily apparent as soon as we caught sight of him. As per our habit of late, our meeting was inside an art gallery. He was floating past the canvasses but they remained unseen and unappreciated. Everything, in fact, seemed dead to his eyes.
REVIEW: Humanity triumphs on every page of Elizabeth Warren's "A Fighting Chance" (ISBN: 9781627790529). Her life story is inspirational but it's her goals -- fairness, a level playing field, justice -- that are crucial to our country's future.
FICTION: Area Code 666 - Part 24: We watched, bemused, as one of our entities signed up for internet dating. While the matchmaking company's questionnaire was a little too human-centric for our acolyte to comfortably handle, the entity made a concerted effort to dutifully provide all the Personal Profile information. The application eventually looked like this...
REVIEW: Glenn Greenwald's excellent "No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State" (ISBN: 9781627790734) is not only about Edward Snowden and the NSA; it's also about power. Who gets to watch you? Who gets to know your life's decisions? Who gets to monitor your activities? And who is watching the watchers?
REVIEW: With an eye-catching title, Elijah Wald's "How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music" (ISBN: 9780199756971) is an off-kilter look at the progression of music from ragtime to rock to rap, with lots of insights on swing, jazz, folk, and blues. Consistently interesting and fun to read, the book pays special attention to what the media and the American mindset have done to influence the music we hear today.
REVIEW: Peter Schuck's "Why Government Fails So Often: And How it Can do Better" (ISBN: 9780691161624) takes 30 pages of brilliant observation and crams it into 412 pages of text. His combination of garrulousness and impenetrable language makes it a very long and extensive and extended and elongated and lengthy and protracted and time-consuming and boring read.
BOOK REVIEW: Peeling back the thick tapestries of privacy shielding the odious Koch brothers, Daniel Schulman's "Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty" (ISBN: 9781455518739) is consistently compelling and a good read. There's a lot here: the Koch's anti-American politics, their disgusting waste of personal wealth, their in-fighting and lawsuits, their dysfunctional family life, and their attitude of total warfare against people in the middle class.
FICTION: Area Code 666 - Part 23: Zan, the son of Lucifer, and his search for god, continued ... "The life of a human being here on earth is already an afterlife," the man said. "Yes, that's true," our son replied. "How do you know that?" "Well, it's obvious, isn't it?" the man said. "We can't have been plunked down here to live out this brief, miserable, brutish existence with no purpose. Certainly all this," he waved his hand around ....
BOOK REVIEW: Spies! Treachery! Deception! Camels! With an eye for detail and a love of intrigue, Scott Anderson plunks you down in the desert for 'Lawrence in Arabia' (ISBN-13: 978-0385532921). The author unleashes a rip-snortin' tale that ultimately reveals a lot of the backstory on the muddle that is today's Middle East.
FICTION: Area Code 666 - Part 22: When he was still a student in elementary school, James was a plugged-in kind of kid -- if something was electric-powered, he was all for it. Naturally, this led him to data processing. "I got interested in computers back in the second or third grade. It intrigued me that something as basic as electricity being turned on and off could create elaborate images on a screen."
FICTION: Area Code 666 - Part 21 'Viginti et unius partis' (Chapters 85-90 of 666) -- Cheryl Price sat on a park bench, casually dressed in jeans and a denim work shirt. A few yards behind her was a woman lounging on a blanket while her young daughter stood to one side, languidly dancing to music only she heard. The woman was doing a crossword puzzle, ignoring her offspring who was plainly bored.
Fiction: Area Code 666 - Part 20 ~ del Tjugo (Chapters 79-84 of 666) -- Consumerism is one of the ways we tempt humanity. While drooling over the Neiman Marcus catalog may not be of tremendous concern in the scheme of things, making purchases from it makes a certain statement about your progress through life. The accumulation of unnecessary goods is something we note down.
OPINION (Satire): What is the connection between the devil and the Super Bowl? Author John Scott G mixes fantasy and commentary in this look at the organized violence of the NFL and the disorganized outrage of the seemingly endless commercials during the broadcast of the Big Game. This literary endeavor has quite naturally led to speculation about how Satan's envoys would react to a certain highly-viewed and overly-hyped sporting event.
Fiction: Area Code 666 - Part 19 ~ pars novem (Chapters 73-78 of 666) -- Zan stood quietly inside the building he had just set ablaze. In all directions, angry yellow-orange-red conflagrations were merrily sprouting and fluttering: the walls, the carpets, the furnishings, the rows of seats, the ceiling, the offices, the computers, the sound system, the video recording equipment, the interactive touch screens, the phone bank -- everything was on fire and the smoke was quickly becoming thick, noxious, and...
FICTION: Area Code 666 - part 18: Zan, issue of our loins, progeny of progenies, and scion of most exalted lineage, was floating into a pentagonal-shaped building. Heavily guarded by man and machine, the Pentagon is the war capital of the world. Wait, did we just say "war capital of the world"?
ADSP Chapter 24: The blues will never die. Here's one reason: Audiences have a visceral response to the music, even if it's done merely adequately. And when it's done well, the audience reaction can be amazing. Either way, when somebody is playin' da blooze it means that guys will be drinking and girls will be dancing. In other words, a good time will be had by all.