Despite the somewhat tortuous translation (several typos that (may?) affect meaning and a lot of grammatical errors which obscure it), I found this toDespite the somewhat tortuous translation (several typos that (may?) affect meaning and a lot of grammatical errors which obscure it), I found this to be quite a useful view on the not-quite-unique problems of Taiwanese cultural identity, as well as on the going theories of identity, ethnicity, colonization, and hegemony. Readers may find it more difficult to follow if they don't already have some basic familiarity with the history of the KMT and CCP movements, but even a Wikipedia-quality overview should be enough to follow the basic ideas....more
I still don't get why so many people I know cite this as the greatest graphic novel ever. Is it that the rest are so bad? Is it simply the normalizingI still don't get why so many people I know cite this as the greatest graphic novel ever. Is it that the rest are so bad? Is it simply the normalizing depiction of gender-non-conforming characters? Maybe I'm just more of an Alan Moore type, but I don't see it yet. I'll keep going and keep looking though. ...more
(Disclosure: I have been a friend of the author from some 20 years.)
Mountain's second novel, available (so far) only as an ebook and as far as I can t(Disclosure: I have been a friend of the author from some 20 years.)
Mountain's second novel, available (so far) only as an ebook and as far as I can tell only directly from him, was a rather pleasant surprise. Having long admired his skill as a lyricist, I was not at all surprised to find myself enjoying his prose, and yet long-form prose is a rather different animal than lyric poetry, and rather few people seem to master both.
That said, while I greatly enjoyed it, I can't quite bring myself to say that he has (yet?) mastered the prose novel—but then, I don't think he ever made any claim to be writing "hagh literitchah." This is, in essence, entertainment, just as one might surmise from the title, and I was highly entertained.
The plot focuses on the CEO of a Bayeria electronic game company, and their next release is the sort of ultraviolent timewaste that would have greatly appealed to Alex of A Clockwork Orange were he stuck at home with his pee and em instead of going out with his droogs for a more visceral horrorshow nochy with a chasha of Moloko plus and a bit of the old in and out with a real devotchka. Here, however, the violence is both more and less glorified; it remains shocking in certain ways, but somehow also distant, even when it comes in close.
This may result in part, not only from the subject matter itself, but from the author's—and thus the protagonist's—dry, acerbic, cynical tone. Conveniently, as a cynic myself, I was readily able to connect on this level, though I imagine it may leave certain readers cold. From what I know of the world of tech start ups and venture capital, this is not nearly as out of place as one might imagine for Bayeria, with all its left politics and sensitivity training and workshop language. Yet, as much as this may make it the wrong book for some, the one true hurdle I encountered (and the only real reason I couldn't bring myself to grant the fifth star) was the shifting of points of view. It works, in a sense, in that it puts the reader appropriately off-balance, and it is a stylistic choice that seems integral to the plot itself, and nevertheless I found myself on more than one occasion halfway or more into a chapter before I figured out who it was about and had to go back and start the chapter over as a result.
Final analysis: well worth it, if you're into that sort of thing and can get your hands on it. Maybe drop an email here and see if he'll sell it direct—feed the starving artist before he decides to go postal himself. ;-)...more
This book makes a lot of good points, and it's pretty clear to me that the overall process and exercises described are a much better approach to brandThis book makes a lot of good points, and it's pretty clear to me that the overall process and exercises described are a much better approach to branding than pretty much anything I've ever seen or heard of before.
That said, I have to take some major points off because it also seems oddly opinionated in ways unsupported by data, and gets some things just plain wrong. For example, several of the listed "7 Deadly Sins" of naming have prominent counterexamples of brands that have done stunningly well while violating them, which rather implies that they're not quite so much deadly as not to the author's taste. And witness this gaffe:
"It's confusing and shortsighted to name your product and company the same thing. Although you may have only one product now, think about the future. What if Apple had named their first computer the Apple? What would they name the dozens of other products that have launched since then?" Apple's first product was the Apple Computer, followed by the Apple II, II Plus, and Apple III, before they introduced Lisa, Macintosh, etc. The whole iThing which the author admires so much didn't begin until Apple had been in business for over 20 years.
In the section "Punctuation is a crutch," I expected solid advice about, for example, the unnecessary exclamation mark in Yahoo! Instead, "if your name needs the visual crutch of punctuation (güd)...." Note to the author, copy editor Tanya Grove, and proofreader Nancy Evans: punctuation is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "The marks, such as period, comma, and parentheses, used in writing to separate sentences and their elements and to clarify meaning." The diaeresis in ü is a diacritical mark, not a punctuation mark. Also, domain names are not "also known as URLs." The domain name forms the (arguably) most essential part of a URL, but is not, in itself, a URL. One minute of fact checking on each of these would have made it look more like you actually know what you're talking about.
The one that really got me hot though was this: "As with book titles, song titles (as well as album titles and band names) can't be trademarked and are up for grabs when it comes to brand names." (my emphasis) No. Nonononononono. This person claims to be a branding professional? Has lawyers on staff? This is just. Plain. Wrong. I mean, aside from the bad will likely to be generated by stealing a band name for your own product line, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office makes it pretty clear and simple: "You can register a trademark for a band name." And there are lawsuits about just that all the time.
So yes, if you have a branding project, by all means, check out this book. Then, consult your lawyer (which admittedly the book repeatedly advises)....more
Strangely, this had both a lot more and a lot less detail than I was hoping for. The author missed a large chunk of the concluding Dzogchen transmissiStrangely, this had both a lot more and a lot less detail than I was hoping for. The author missed a large chunk of the concluding Dzogchen transmissions, and so had nothing much to say about them. Still, it provided and interesting perspective both on the differences between how the Rinchen Terdzöd is bestowed in India vs. America, where I received portions of it, and on the background of the transmissions. Still, I'd say this is of more relevance to adherents of the Shambhala lineages than it is to students of the Terdzöd generally....more
An interesting decision examining the application of the Fair Use doctrine of U.S. copyright law (plus several trademark dilution claims) in a disputeAn interesting decision examining the application of the Fair Use doctrine of U.S. copyright law (plus several trademark dilution claims) in a dispute between the makers of the classic porno film and the bio-pic of its star (resolved in favor of the latter). Short and easily digested if you understand a modicum of legalese....more
This slim volume is the briefest possible useful high-level overview of the entire history of Sufism from underpinnings to publication, and as such isThis slim volume is the briefest possible useful high-level overview of the entire history of Sufism from underpinnings to publication, and as such is just barely skims the surface of each relevant topic. Nevertheless, it does so with many quotes from the "saints" of the movement, mostly translated by the author, and the pace is kept rather lively. I can think of no better means of introducing the subject to a Westerner possessing little familiarity with Islam.
My only real gripe—hopefully fixed in later editions—is that the endnotes are so sparse as to be essentially useless for follow-up, and make use of notations such as "op. cit." that make them difficult to use even internally. Even the simple addition of a proper bibliography would have vastly improved that section....more
This is an extremely good overview of the issues at play in the case that allowed closely-held companies to skirt the contraception coverage requiremeThis is an extremely good overview of the issues at play in the case that allowed closely-held companies to skirt the contraception coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"), touching on the central arguments of both the decision of the Court and the dissent, and outlining possible Congressional responses (which are possible because the Court relied on statute for their ruling, rather than addressing Constitutional implications)....more
Layout is very strange, probably a binding error. Mostly fairly basic information, though Ngakpa Yeshe Doreje's section is explicitly relevant to theLayout is very strange, probably a binding error. Mostly fairly basic information, though Ngakpa Yeshe Doreje's section is explicitly relevant to the intermediate Tröma Nagmo ngöndro from the Dudjomter Sun of primordial Wisdom and so handy in that regard unless one has already had fairly extensive teaching on that, in which case it a bit redundant. That said, his entertaining style alleviates what might otherwise tip over into boredom.
Overall, worthwhile for active practitioners, and probably not worth the price for anyone else....more
Far more speculation than science, but enough science to maintain interest. I also appreciated the ethical issues were not ignored, though they were gFar more speculation than science, but enough science to maintain interest. I also appreciated the ethical issues were not ignored, though they were glossed over rather perfunctorily. About par for the course of popular science and futurism, which I generally find to be overly optimistic and oddly naïve....more