Sunday, January 27, 2008

Back on the Book-Wagon Again!

Last year was an abominable year for reading. Sadly, I only pulled off one whole book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which I finished in a day and a half. Very good for Harry. Very bad for me and my Reading Ego.

So, it is with great jubilation and pride that I announce my return to the book wagon with the reading of The Man in My Basement, by Walter Mosley. I haven't finished as of yet, but I'm almost half way through it...having just begun today. Its the first book by a black author that I've read in a long while, the last one being the Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, by Ernest J. Gaines. As a black guy, I suppose its expected of me to read more books by black authors, but I just don't get into them. To be honest, I don't truly identify with the usual themes of racial struggle in mostly white settings.

I grew up in a mostly white town, and had mostly white friends, some of which tossed around the "n-word" with a casual "you-know-I'm-just-joking" way. Sometimes it was funny, other times it stung. But such was life, and I dealt with it. But this book doesn't really play on the "race" angle, and I think that's what's drawn me into it.

At any rate, it feels really good to be back on my reading game. I'm one of those creatures that keeps track of all the books I read in year, and I compare notes on the previous years, like some sort of autistic bibliophile. Scary. In 2007 I only managed to trudge through 1 book, but in 2006 I had 9, and in '05 there were 18...yet '04 only saw 3. So, every couple of years I get into a reading slump, which I absolutely hate. Although, is it really a slump if I'm still reading, just not whole books? I mean, I still get lots of Blog reading in, as well as news and magazines. Just not books. I'm sure the book police will fine me if I'm in violation.

Well, here's to a new year full of finished books with lots of new literary friends to cherish!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

So the Empire Has Struck Back?

Today, in what can only be considered a sad day for Democracy, it was announced that Democratic Candidate Dennis Kucinich will be withdrawing from the Presidential race. It seems that the evil Empire has struck us once again.

I've only recently become aware of Mr. Kucinich's campaign, having seen very little of him in the mainstream media. He was nowhere to be seen during the New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina debates. Apparently, he wasn't viable enough for the major news stations to include him. This itself is a curiosity, as he seems to be fairly popular amongst the online community, and unless their opinions mean nothing, this should be enough reason to include him.

However, Dennis's comparative obscurity should come as no surprise to those aware that our media is under the influence of a dark Sith-like Emperor: Darth Greedyus. With media groups like ABC and NBC (which hosted the New Hampshire and Nevada debates, respectively) being owned by mega Corporations (Disney and GE), some that have financial interests in prolonging the war, it should only be expected that they would deny coverage for one of their greatest antagonists: Mr. Kucinich.

On his own website (www.dennis4president.com), Congressman Kucinich outlines his agenda for bringing about regulation for Corporations that have run amok with our Democracy and Public Interests in tow. There, he informs the People of America:

The challenge before us today is whether we can maintain a government of the people,
by the people and for the people, or whether we will timidly accept the economic, social,
and political consequences of a government of the corporations, by the corporations,
and for the corporations.

Such anti-privatization notions would not bode well at all with the Corporate body, which seems to suggest that the media's motivations for skimping on Kucinich coverage had less to do with viability, and more with keeping their Big Corp. Daddies happy. And when Corp. Daddy is happy, the common Citizen cannot be, since the two have dissimilar interests. Kucinich goes on to say:

We need a new relationship between our government and corporate America, an armslength
relationship, so that our elected leaders are capable of independently affirming
and safeguarding the public interest. Just as our founders understood the need for
separation of church and state, we need to institutionalize the separation of corporations
and the state.

That's sound wisdom no matter which side of the political fence you sit on. And, regardless of whether one agrees with all of Kucinich's agendas, what should concern everyone who loves this Nation, is that Democracy is no longer in the hands of the people! This not only makes the meaning of the word "democracy" seem irrelevant, it jars with our very identity as a People. We have always been a Nation steeped in the Idea of "We the People". To break with this is to break with who we are. And I take issue with that.

I take issue with the fact that my options for the next President are being dictated by a select group of men with lots of money; that we're no longer getting fair and balanced coverage of those candidates by a News media which should be acting as Guardians of the Public Interest; that one of our greatest Rights--the Right to Free Speech--is jeopardized because an uninformed or misinformed America cannot accurately or appropriately express or defend itself against those who would lead us back to darkness; and that when you speak out against those with power, they cut out your tongue and leave you mute. I have issue with all these things, and if you value your freedom and American heritage, you should have issue with them too.

The Journey Begins...

Have you ever stayed up all night, letting your mind float effortlessly along the stream of consciousness, well past that last safe harbor for launching toward sleep-land? Was your mental boat fueled by caffeine in its never-ending quest to absorb as much information, conversation and meditation as that sleep deprived brain of yours could allow? If so, then this blog will resonate well with you!

Here is a nice little place where minds inebriated by caffeine, or the simple thirst for knowledge and experience, can come to discuss all things that tickle the soul. Books, music, politics, religion, entertainment: they all have a place in these pages, ready like ships to carry us to lands full of adventure.

So, pour yourself a cup of your favorite mental stimulant, and together let us drink deeply from that vast ocean of Ideas from which humanity has been imbibing for ages!