After a heartbreakingly short spell of true childhood, our hero Innocent is pulled headfirst into the atrocities of war as a child soldier at the tendAfter a heartbreakingly short spell of true childhood, our hero Innocent is pulled headfirst into the atrocities of war as a child soldier at the tender age of 10. He grows up fast. From the moment the author meets Innocent, many years later, we're left working to reconcile a seeming contradiction. How can a boy go through such hell, yet grow into a young man with such compassion? How does such an experience breed not cynicism and victimhood but drive and fortitude? Through hardship after hardship, Innocent refuses to be shattered by a life he did not choose.
In between chapters, like me, you might put this book down to marvel at the relative safety and abundance of the world around you. Innocent's life story is a full dose of perspective for those of us from less calamitous upbringings. With wisdom beyond his years, Innocent provides an example we can all strive toward: of peace and reconciliation over bitterness and anger. It's something our world could use more of....more
Mostly a celebration of Elon Musk and his accomplishments, and the setbacks that didn't defeat him. If you're a Tesla or SpaceX fanboy, you'll love itMostly a celebration of Elon Musk and his accomplishments, and the setbacks that didn't defeat him. If you're a Tesla or SpaceX fanboy, you'll love it....more
Beautifully written, and not a war book in the normal sense of the term. Many opportunities to explore the human condition in between the tedium and pBeautifully written, and not a war book in the normal sense of the term. Many opportunities to explore the human condition in between the tedium and profound self-doubt of being in a position of some power during active duty, and the confusion of being done with the whole thing. ...more
Needs More Adjectives! I believe this is Hemingway's earliest book, and it seems to have the most exaggerated form of his trademark stilted, descriptiNeeds More Adjectives! I believe this is Hemingway's earliest book, and it seems to have the most exaggerated form of his trademark stilted, descriptionless writing style. That style, when it drives a more linear narrative like The Old Man and The Sea, works better than it does in this book about nothing....more
Not recommendable for readers in 2014. Franzen's collection of essays are well written but at least half of them focus on 'technology vs society' andNot recommendable for readers in 2014. Franzen's collection of essays are well written but at least half of them focus on 'technology vs society' and are alarmingly out of date, like reading a faded copy of Wired magazine from 1994. Those that are on more timeless topics, like his journalism pieces on the post office and prison system, and Franzen's coming to terms with his success after The Corrections, are enjoyable....more
I used to eat meat. I ate fruits and vegetables too, and a lot of other things people handed to me. I guess you cThis is the best essay from the book:
I used to eat meat. I ate fruits and vegetables too, and a lot of other things people handed to me. I guess you could say I was an “Omnivore.” Like a lot of people, I didn’t know any better. Then I read a couple of books. One of them was called How Chickens Are Raped Before You Eat Them. Another was called Hotdogs and Fingertips. I also read The Cow Feces Dilemma as well as Barf, STD’s, and Veal. These books, and my girlfriend who made me read them, really motivated me to become a “Vegetarian.”
I started out as a “Regular Vegetarian” (Someone who does not eat meat), and then I became what is called a “Constipated Vegetarian” (someone who eats too many bananas). After that I became what they call a “Strict Vegetarian.” That’s someone who eats only fruits and vegetables that have been disciplined in some way – like, for example, corn that was grown in a perfect row, or grapes that were stomped by someone in uniform.
After being strict vegetarians for a while, my girlfriend and I became “Militant Vegetarians” (vegetarians who not only eat fruits and vegetables but also fight with them). That lasted until we both got pretty severe rashes from accidentally eating some poison ivy. That led to our eventual breakout / breakup / make-up / cookout / make-out / break-fast, and then final breakup.
After that, I switched to a fish-only diet, becoming a “Pescatarian.” I decided to try it because I wanted a change, and also, I happened to be stranded on an island. I was relieved when they rescued me. I was also pretty embarrassed, because the island turned out to be a peninsula (I have an especially bad sense of direction). Still, by then I was happy to give up fish for a while.
Next I decided to become a “Vegan” (no animals or animal products). After that I became a “Las Vegan” (the same thing as vegan but living in Las Vegas). There I found a whole community of like-minded souls. I often found these people in small grocery stores that smelled kind of weird and were run by people who smelled kind of weirder. We could talk about politics and religion and how to keep bugs out of your hair. Everybody was open-minded, which was nice, and many of them wore shoes that were open-toed. And that was nasty.
After that, I became what some call a “Hyper Vegan” (no animal products or things that even look like animals – including animal crackers, gummy worms, those Easter peeps, asparagus that resembles a snake, a snake that resembles asparagus, etc.). It was hard, but I was really committed to it. I spent my time reading books like Being Hyper Vegan: It’s Hard But Be Really Committed to It and Four Things You Can Eat Besides Dirt! These books, and my new girlfriend who made me read them, really kept me on track.
I was hyper vegan for almost a year. Then one afternoon I sort of freaked out and ended up eating an entire cow. From what I can remember, I didn’t cook or even kill the cow. I just tackled it and ate it. I’m not proud of that, but I feel I should mention it here in the interest of full disclosure.
After the trial, a battery of shots, and several rounds of antibiotics, I decided to turn over a new leaf. I became “Raw” (someone who only eats raw food). I added sushi to this a few weeks later, becoming “Raw Plus Sushi,” which some say is redundant because sushi is raw. Whatever. Shortly thereafter, I decided to remove the sushi from my diet, which made me raw again. Then I decided to eat only raw foods that had the letters from the word “vegan” in their name (like “agave”). I was, at that point, what they call a “Literal Vegan” (a vegan whose diet is based on wordplay).
In an effort to get healthy, I did a cleanse, a fast, a master cleanse, a mistress cleanse, a master fast, a faster master fast, and then a purge. I stopped shaving my legs, because someone pointed out that it was strange that I was shaving them in the first place. Then I stopped hunting, mostly because it seemed wasteful just to kill the animals and leave them there, considering my diet and everything.
After completely cleansing my system, I was ready to get serious about my diet. That’s when I went from “Raw Vegan” to “Raw Forager” (when you only eat things that are raw that you find in the woods, like a leaf or… another kind of leaf).
Finally, last month I decided to go from “Raw Forager” to “Passive Forager.” Passive forager is when you lie down on the forest floor on your back and then you open your mouth and eat only the things that fall into it. You’re supposed to only eat the things that fall in that are also not alive. However, you can eat a living thing if it is attacking your mouth, which happens from time to time. And that works out pretty well if you need to get some protein or defend your face.
Anyway, today I am feeling pretty good, definitely much better than I look. I guess you could say my diet has been a personal journey of sorts. It hasn’t been easy, but it sure feels great to eat healthy.
Of course, none of this has been good for my breath....more