Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Eye Candy


An alcoholic is someone you don't like who drinks as much as you do.
Dylan Thomas (1914 - 1953)

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
Carl Jung (1875 - 1961)

I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 - 1951)

Trouble is only opportunity in work clothes.
Henry J. Kaiser (1882 - 1967)

Failure is not the only punishment for laziness, there is also the success of others.
Jules Renard (1864 - 1910)

If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.
Mary Pickford (1893 - 1979)

Truth is the only safe ground to stand on.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815 - 1902)

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Eye Candy

The World of Caffeine

The World of Caffeine, by Bennett Alan Weinberg & Bonnie E. Bealer
$14.00 at
ISBN: 0415927234
The science and culture of the world's most popular drug.
Coffee's legendary origins involve the story of Kaldi, an Ethiopian goatherd and his dancing goats. It seems Kaldi noticed his goats seemed especially frisky after eating the fruit of a particular plant: the coffee tree. When he tried eating the berries himself, they were so bitter that he threw them into the fire in disgust. When the beans roasted for a few minutes, the aroma was so pleasant that Kaldi pulled them back out of the fire again.
This is a terrific book, enjoyable to read cover-to-cover but just as pleasant to flip through casually. Coffee, tea, and chocolate are discussed in terms of their history, and the science of their content and its effects on health and behavior.
Caffeine is the only drug most people feel safe enough to give to children. But what are its effects on human growth and development? How addictive is it? These days caffeine is added to a host of consumer products from soft drinks to breakfast cereal. Is using such products every day really such a good idea?
If you enjoy caffeine, as I do, you'll learn a lot of interesting facts here. For example, one major coffee company's product contains more than twice as much caffeine as most brands, and their decaffeinated almost three times as much as leading decafs. Care to guess whose?
So the science and research is all fascinating, but the richly narrated history is what I really enjoyed. The story of tea gave me some insight into the fascinating cultures of the Far East. Likewise coffee to the Arabs, and chocolate to the ancient American empires. Montezuma is in this story, and so is Marco Polo.
In 1600, Clement VIII became the first Pope to drink coffee. Asked if it was sinful, he replied that it was "delightful" and that he "enjoyed it very much". He therefore "baptized" the drink as suitable for Christian use.
Fun, loaded with enjoyable and relevant information, The World of Caffeine is (pardon the pun) good to the last drop.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Eye Candy

Ten Facts About Hans

I saw my good friend at About a Boy do a post like this and think it's pretty clever. My identity isn't terribly important: I prefer to keep this website about books, interesting trivia, and shirtless guys.

But just in case you're curious, here are Ten Facts About Hans:

1. I can recite the name of all the Roman Emperors, US Presidents, and the properties around the Monopoly Board. I can tell you, by memory, how many points each letter is worth in Scrabble and how many there are in each game.

2. I've been in love once, in jail once, and had two STDs. Nothing too serious or shocking on any count. Thank God for penicillin, though.

3. I live with my best friend, Mike. He's straight.

4. We don't have cable tv at our house, we only have Netflix. The six at a time plan is still cheaper than basic cable, we can watch every show starting with the first episode, and I haven't seen a commercial in months.

5. My name is Hans because my heritage is Norwegian. I'm totally American, though. Born here and everything.

6. I was raised Lutheran. I took my religion very seriously until I was in college and started having doubts. Now I'm not sure what I am, but find religion very interesting nonetheless.

7. At the time of this post I'm 33 years old and (if I do say so myself) I look terrific.

8. Both of my brothers were Eagle Scouts. You know you're the black sheep in the family when your parents have two sons who are Eagle Scouts and one who kisses other men.

9. We all get along fine, though. Both of my brothers are getting married this summer. My father is alive but my mother is dead.

10. My favorite color is green, favorite flower is morning glory, favorite pasta is bow ties.

Hopefully this has been enlightening for you.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Eye Candy

Me Talk Pretty One Day

Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris
$10.19 at
ISBN: 0316776963
There are several reasons to read the work of David Sedaris. First of all, he's incredibly funny and is sure to have you laughing out loud like a mental patient. Second, he's lead an incredibly interesting life, and done a lot of very unusual things. His books allow you to experience the fun of what he's done without all the inconveniences he had to put up with. This is his second book: his first, Naked, is most definitely worth checking out as well.
This is a memoir in two parts. The first part covers Sedaris' childhood and youth in suburban North Carolina and New York City. He has a large, rather quirky family, and a lot of the book's humor comes at their expense. Sedaris took a rather troubled and circuitous route through life: there's a chapter in which he's a crystal-meth addict and conceptual artist. Later he becomes a substitute teacher in a community college, a publisher's assistant, and an apartment mover.
There's also one outstanding chapter in which Sedaris discovers a large turd floating in a friend's toilet. The turd is too big to be flushed away, and he becomes panicky as he tries to find a way to dispose of it, not wanting other guests to think that it's his.
In part two, David is an adult and moves with his boyfriend Hugh to rural France. He comments on French movie theaters, theme parks, and his rather half-witted efforts to learn French in the classroom of a seemingly sadistic teacher. He paints a fascinating picture of the French, and a disturbing one of American tourists visiting his adopted country.
It is my firm belief that Sedaris is the most outstanding writer of his generation. I'm forever recommending him to high schoolers who don't like to read, adults who are looking for something new, and experienced readers who want something light but still worthwhile.
In other words, this book is a sure-fire winner no matter who you are or what you're into. Don't deprive yourself of this curious and up-beat piece of current literature.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Eye Candy