Wednesday, January 29, 2014

General Musings of the Doofus

I haven't written anything in here in like, quite a while.

So, let's see...what's going on in the world?

The President's State of the Union Address was last night.  I tend to avoid politics altogether.  And you know why...because it's never ending.  Obama spoke, and I thought what he said sounded good, but then the Republicans came on and said how everything Obama said was wrong.  I used to think the same thing about President Bush...he'd speak and I thought what he said sounded good (although he's not nearly as good of a speaker as Obama), and then the Democrats would come on and say how everything Bush said was wrong.

Whatever.  I'm a moderate.  I take pretty much both parties with equal size grains of salt.  There's no way either side can be all right and all wrong.

The Superbowl is coming up.  Peyton Manning and his Broncos face the Seahawks and (I'm not sure who their marquee player is?  Russel Wilson? Marshawn Lynch? Richard Sherman?) their complete team.

It looks like it will be a great game on paper...#1 offense vs #1 defense.  The Superstar aging QB vs an intense, young, and hungry defense.  I'll probably cheer for the Seahawks, because #1 the Broncos are AFC West Rivals, and #2 I can never cheer for Peyton Manning.  (I personally think it's some sort of envy stemming from when he was drafted first by the Colts, and the Chargers got stuck with Ryan Leaf).

Motley Crue announced yesterday that they are retiring....cue all the "I thought they were retired already" jokes!  But, before they go, they are going on a final last hurrah, if you will.  I'm not their biggest fan, but once upon a time I liked them alot, and it's kind of sad seeing them go through this "publicity stunt" type event just to get some attention again.

The Weather has been in the news...guess what?  It's Cold and Snowy!  Nevermind the fact that it's January with February coming up and it's pretty much always cold and snowy in the winter.

Justin Bieber was arrested!  And I'm not really sure why anyone cares...or why I brought it up here.  (OK, fine, you caught me...I went to Google News after the Motley Crue thing, I was out of ideas)

I heard something on the news the other day, that teens and young people are fleeing Facebook by the millions.  This is not surprising.  Have you been on facebook lately?  It's a bunch of old people showing pictures of their Grandkids.  Frankly, I'd have given up facebook a few years ago...except for the fact that there are a few friends from college and HS on there, that I'd have no other way to keep in contact I keep my account.

OK, that's it for me.  Maybe I'll put something of some substance on here sometime soon.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Cold Day in Minsk

Sam Malone, the fictional Cheers bartender and owner... in one of my favorite episodes said that the next time he read a book to impress a babe, it would be "A cold day in Minsk."

He said this after reading Leo Tolstoy's massive "War and Peace", to impress Diane Chambers and one of her "snooty" professors.

How does this concern the self proclaimed Sports Doofus?  Well, as part of a ridiculous deal I made with myself a few years back, I try to read at least one "classic" each year.  Over the past few years I have read: "Little Women", "The Count of Monte Cristo", and "Don Quixote".  (and a few others).

Coming in at 1,296 pages, this has got to be close to the longest book I have ever read. (although there a few Stephen King books in that range).

As I have noted many times before, I'm not a book reviewer, or a literary critic... but sometimes I like to talk about books.

Well, what can I say about "War and Peace" other than it's long, like really long?

It's a good book.  It covers a number of Russian families (Most notably the Rostov's and the Bolkonski's), during the early 1800's in Russia.  This is the time in which Napoleon was invading Russia.

It was originally published in 1869, and was of course, originally written in Russian.  The translated version that I read was the "free version" available from Amazon's Kindle store.

Tolstoy rotates back and forth quite a bit in the book between the main characters, and their families, and their lives (in both war and peace time), and the action of the war itself...discussing the generals, and the strategies, and etc, etc...

There's a little bit of everything in the story...death, destruction, love, temptation, adultery, financial trouble, criminal behavior, and basically anything you could imagine happening in a war torn nation.

A couple of thoughts:
1.  I enjoyed the book.
2.  Would I have read it had it not been "free"?  No, I would not have paid for it.
3.  I did gain a sense of "accomplishment" in finishing it.
(after all, it took me pretty much 3 solid months to finish after day after day)
4.  It was NOT an easy book to read.  There are a TON of characters, many of whom disappear for hundreds of pages and then reappear.
5.  Do I recommend it?  If you are a literary type...yes.  If you are just a normal casual reader, probably not.  Just watch one of the several movie versions, if you want to know what it's about.
6.  I am glad to be done.  Whew!  That took forever, and I'm ready to read some books that were written, you know, in this century.

Another Point of Interest:  War and Peace is going to be made into a Television Miniseries by the BBC in the coming year.  So, if you want to know the story without reading the massive tome... it is on it's way.

So while I am glad to be done reading about Pierre, Natasha, Nicholas, Mary, Andrew, Helene, and the rest... I am looking forward to seeing the BBC production, and also to see what they can do with such a massive original work to condense down to 6 episodes.