Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Realize the Road to Improvement is Incremental

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Computer programmer Karl Martino penned a quick essay about what it took for him to overcome homelessness.

-Transportation: Without it you will never hold or find a job. One of my priorities each month was to buy a SEPTA transpass. This was very important. You needed transportation to look for a job and hold one. You needed transportation to maintain contact with your friends. Sometimes you needed a transpass just to find a place to sleep. This was a higher priority then food. You can always “find” food. You gotta *buy* transportation.

-Realizing the road is incremental: You need to take things one step at a time. If you can only get an apartment, and not afford utilities, that is better then not having an apartment. Having the apartment will help you find a job that will pay enough for utilities. This is really difficult. I know a lot of people who get overwhelmed by expecting their goal to be achieved in one step. My experience tells me that’s a fairy tale. Things happen incrementally. Sometimes with the smallest of steps.

Despite extended hunger, cold, despondency, and horror, his experiences living on the streets of Philadelphia propel him forward with optimism and patience for others.

You can read a bit about how he went from homelessness to computer programmer here.


Each Year 2 Million Compete for 8,000 Dinner Reservations

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Known as the greatest restaurant in the world, Adam emailed for 5 years to get a reservation. His perseverance was rewarded when he checked his email and found a reply, “Table for 2, July 30, 2009. 8P.M.”

The evening is told through comics, images, text, and video.




They enjoyed 30 Courses like the one pictured above. Their next drink was a gin fizz topped with whipped meringue. You have to see it to believe it!

Via Matt Haughey

Stranger Than Eviction

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

A new tenant deals with a seemingly alcoholic and mentally disturbed landlord who evicts him. The tenant details the encounter which takes place over the course of 6 weeks and counting. Copies of emails, voice mails, and handwritten signs detail the struggle.

From Landlord Gary-







Dear Gary,

What can I say?  As much as I would like to slight you for it, your grammar is impeccable.

All the best,







If you are wondering, my father did NOT go to Cathedral as I believe Gary is implying.  I think he must have found someone with the same name that went to Cathedral, but I don’t think he gave much thought to the likelihood of multiple people with the Irish last name “Dunn” going to a Catholic school.  I really hope he isn’t currently harassing some confused Dunn in Indianapolis right now. (On that same note: I changed the name of the highschool in the emails so that you won’t try to find Gary.  Everyone deserves their privacy.)

It would seem that this, along with the use of the word boy and as much personal information about me as he could find, were intended to intimidate.  Luckily, everytime an email starts to get a little creepy, he’ll use the term “FOCK,” and then it gets kind of cute again.

The tenant posted a drunken voice mail that landlord Gary left him. Amazingly it has over 10,000 plays. I cannot imagine what the landlord would think if he knew. That amount of people would fill a small arena!

I’m not much for reality TV but I do tend to like these real life type of back and forth exchanges where everything is detailed.

If you would like a good chuckle check it out here. Note: The newest entries are on top. Start from the oldest to get the full scale.

Via Neat o Rama

Get Fit in 6 Minutes a week?

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

I had to read this NY Times article twice to fully digest it. Scientists studied 2 groups of college students riding stationary bikes.

The first group exercised furiously for 20 to 30 seconds then rested for 4 minutes. They repeated this cycle 6 times.

The other group rode at a sustainable pace for 90 – 120 minutes.

Both groups exercised 3 times a week.

After 2 weeks both groups showed an identical increase in endurance.


Tight Writting that Hooks Me

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

It’s always a bit of a thrill when I read something outside of my area of interest that is so well written I’m drawn into a new mindset.

One example of where this happened recently was this post (excerpted) at Abu Muqawama

Oh, the Glories of the Pakistani Army

I have been reading through David Kilcullen’s testimony to House Armed Services Committee on COIN in Pakistan (.pdf). Studying the past few years, one could arrive at the conclusion that Pakistan’s army is epically incompetent. One could similarly arrive at the conclusion that Pakistan’s army is competent — but fighting for the other side. The evidence for both theses is strong. Some lowlights of the Pakistani Army’s recent history, provided from Kilcullen’s testimony last Thursday:

- Numerous incidents in which Pakistani military or Frontier Corps posts have allegedly fired on US forces inside Afghanistan, preventing them from chasing Taliban who were withdrawing from Afghanistan into Pakistan, and allowing the Taliban to escape back to their sanctuaries in Pakistan.

- Several incidents of Taliban allegedly setting up firing positions for mortars or rockets, either next to or in clear view of Pakistani military bases on the frontier, without interference from the Pakistani army.

- Ongoing relationships between militants, terrorists and members of the Pakistani military and intelligence service, which were acknowledged by senior Pakistani officials in interviews with the New York Times in March 2009.

Just to remind you, we have provided nearly $10 billion to the Pakistani military since 11 September 2001. You would, incredibly, have been better off putting that money in the stock market.

So to review, either a) the Pakistani military is incompetent or b) it is fighting for the other side. And if the later is true, then either the Pakistani government has a) lost control over its military and intelligence services or b) it is not the valued ally we keep saying it is.

Fela Kuti

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Nigeria’s most famous musician, Fela Kuti, could have lived a millionaires lifestyle anywhere in the world. Instead, Fela chose to stay in Lagos, Nigeria and rail against the corrupt government.

His songs directly attacked specific government agencies and individuals. For this he was arrested, beaten, and imprisoned on multiple occasions.

Undeterred he released the album, Zombie, a scathing attack on the Nigerian Army.

In response then dictator, Olusegun Obasanjo, sent 1,000 soldiers to raze his nightclub.

In a cloud of gunfire, rape, and random beatings, Fela was dragged out by his genitals and his 78 year old mother was thrown from the roof to her death.

At her funeral procession Fela delivered his mother’s coffin to the army barracks responsible for her death.

His nightclub functioned as social club and welfare center during the day. At nighttime, the huge wooden shed held several thousand was the hottest club on the continent.

Fela continued his crusade and music career. In 1984 he was arrested on trumped up charges of currency smuggling and imprisoned for 20 months.

His output slowed as years and struggle took their toll. 1997 Fela Kuti died. Over 1,000,000 million attended his funeral.

New Fun – Read the Lowest Rated Reviews

Friday, April 24th, 2009

At you can sort ratings a variety of ways. Best, worst, etc. Search for a favorite movie/music/book and read the lowest rated review. Its very entertaining.

Lots of good ones already compiled at

Miles Davis, “Kind of Blue”

“I found Mr. Davis’ playing to be laughable at best. Finally, it’s irritating; and confusing that so many people laud it.”

“If pretension, tedium, and self-indulgence are your idea of what should animate music, then this is the album and Miles Davis is the ‘artist’ for you.”

John Coltrane, “A Love Supreme”

“Nobody will care about the technical achievements of these guys in 100 years.”
“I think about Kenny G., for instance. His rythmic session is much more regular, whereas Coltrane’s session seems sometimes to loose the beat.”

Nirvana: Nevermind

In all honesty, though, if this music is the best you have to be nostalgic about, you might as well shoot yourself.

Ernest Hemmingway – The Old Man & the Sea

    This book sucks. Only a depressed person would like this book. The old man is lonely and keeps trying to fish but doesn’t catch any. It’s like that old saying, if you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything, but this old man failed. Only a depressed person would like it


Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

This is really a good read. Here’s an excerpt-

Kwame Kilpatrick-

Charges: Had a stripper party at the mayor’s mansion, at which his gate-crashing wife assaulted the entertainment. The stripper was later gunned down in an obvious hit, the second attempt on her life. The guns and bullets were Detroit Police standard issue. The cop investigating the incident alleged sabotage by two subsequent police chiefs and other officials, finding files deleted and reports missing. He was transferred. Nothing happened. Then Kwame was accused of having an affair with his Chief of Staff, which they both denied, perjuring themselves, until steamy text messages were released—the only part of this story that made national news, naturally. Other texts showed preferential treatment for friends in business contracts, but that’s just not very sexy. Oh yeah, he also assaulted a cop. Finally, “justice” caught up with the mayor—and gave him 120 days in jail. Even Kwame had to laugh, calling the sentence a “joke.”

Exhibit A: “I want to tell you, Detroit, that you done set me up for a comeback.”

Modern Confusicism

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Author Marshall McLuhan (1911 -1980) put together this list that is as applicable now as when he wrote it. Its timeless.