May 31, 2003

Another Book Report

Well, I finally finished that David Wells' book about his life (so far) in baseball. It was probably about twice as long as it needed to be, but I guess the guy has spent so much time half-paralyzed with back problems, he had a lot of time to write/dictate to his co-author. While I've been reading, the Rangers have lived down to my expectations, still struggling at a few games under .500. Argh, I miss seasons where my interest in baseball lasted past the end of May.

While Cody's pal was here for a sleepover, and the dogs were going nuts, and they kids were hyper, etc., I had occasion to stay up late and do a lot of reading, so I quickly finished off Al Franken's latest book, which is quite a poor effort. The hardback costs $20, and I swear I read the whole thing in 40 minutes. Big type, big margins, lots of blank pages, small book. What a joke.

There were maybe two page-long passages throughout the entire thing that made me crack a smile, but everything else was dreck. It's a semi-attempt at a humorous satire of self-help books, with some political commentary thrown in. One of the only highlights was making fun of the "pinpoint your goals and achieve them" advice. Al said this isn't a good idea for everyone. For example, Ken Lay pinpointed his goals to be ripping off his employees, stockholders and anyone else he could to become a billionaire, so maybe not everyone should try to achieve their goals.

Okay, kinda funny. Give me a 200-page book with several dozen riffs like that, and I'd say that's worth reading. Don't give me a padded 120-page book with one or two mildly amusing paragraphs. Oh well, that's what the library is for, right? I lost nothing on the book because I checked it out (and will return it on time ... this book isn't even worth the late fee I'd have to pay for one day).

Thinking about politics lately (surprise!), I was reminded of a couple of visionary fiction books that I really enjoyed by James Halperin. The better of the two (not by much) was "The Truth Machine" (the other is "The First Immortal"). It is a tale of a man who invents a completely 100% accurate, portable, lie detector.

All you have to do is look through a little device at someone while they are talking, and if they are lying at all, a little red light comes on. In this book, they are cheap, and they are everywhere, and they completely change society. This book is about those changes and some of the more interesting and unexpected effects of no one being able to lie effectively.

The other book by him talks about what society would be like if cryogenics works out (freezing people as they die in order to revive them centuries later when the appropriate nanoscale technology exists). Both are good reads.

Posted by Observer at May 31, 2003 08:24 AM

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At least my M's are doing well. You should switch teams! :)

Posted by: Humbaba on May 31, 2003 11:21 AM

Wooo! We're now 18 games over .500! Of course, our 5 game lead over Oakland isn't even close to comfortable. We'll lose that after the all-star break if not sooner.

I love having my team be at .667

Posted by: Humbaba on May 31, 2003 05:53 PM