This is an excellent, clear-sighted account of buddhism. It clears away all the extraneous nonsense that has clung like barnacles to this most misundeThis is an excellent, clear-sighted account of buddhism. It clears away all the extraneous nonsense that has clung like barnacles to this most misunderstood religion. Hagen, like many others, thinks it is not a religion, simply because it is not god-obsessed. But, Buddhists sure act funny for non-religious types!! Hagen puts the emphasis on what he rightly describes as the buddha-dharma, the teaching of the 'awakened'; rather than on the 'historical' Buddha, Gautama. And Hagen rightly points out that the ups and downs of life remain despite 'awakening'. Life remains what it is regardless of who you are or what your faith. But, as Hagen points out, Buddhism doesn't ask you to have faith. Buddhism asks you to see. Nothing more; nothing less....more
The book begins with a "Prologue" which provides an un-necessary flashback to some SM torture/terror experienced by the 12A Summary Without Spoilers:
The book begins with a "Prologue" which provides an un-necessary flashback to some SM torture/terror experienced by the 12-year-old Salander.
And then it's on to the Real Story.
In Part One [Chapters 1 through 3, inclusive:] we find Our Plucky Heroine enjoying a well-deserved Caribbean fling: living on the billions stolen from Swedish taxpayers, lazing in the sun doing Super Advanced Math puzzles, picking up and seducing little native boys, and "saving" middle-aged women from the clutches of their husbands. ... Meanwhile, back in Sweden, her "guardian" is busily researching her past and plotting his revenge.
In Part Two [Chapters 4 through 10, inclusive:], Salamander returns to Stockholm after a year of global trotting. She's a whole new person now. She has new boobs (boobs maketh the woman). She has a Lesbian Lover. She's gotten rid of her wasp tattoo and some of her rings. She's rich and buys a new apartment in the tony section of town. She gives her old apartment to her new Lesbian Lover.
As she's settling into her new new life in the up-market section of the IKEA catalogue, her guardian Bjurman is making new unsavory friends. She sees him one day in the company of one of them; an unsavory-looking Blond Giant.
Meanwhile, over at "Millennium" her old ‘friends’ are working away on A Big New Scoop. They are planning to publish a Big Expose in the magazine about the on-going Baltic sex trade and Sweden's role in the industry. In addition, they will publish a Big Blockbuster expose book by one of the investigators. It will name names. It will dish the trash. It will walk the walk.
In Part Three [Chapters 11 through 20, inclusive:], it all hits the fan. But, unfortunately, no one thinks to turn off the fan.
Dag and Mia, the principals involved in the "Millennium" investigation into the sex trade, are found dead in their apartment by Michael Blomqvist. The weapon involved belongs to Bjurman and has Salander's prints on it. Bjurman too it seems has been shot with this gun. As a result Our Little Girl is a prime suspect in a triple murder case, and her "story" is all over the front pages.
Three investigations are triggered by these events. One by the police to find Our Girl, the presumed killer. One by Blomkvist to find the "real killer". And, one by Milton Security to keep an eye on developments and provide legal counsel for Our Girl if things go awry.
Meanwhile, Miriam Wu, the Lesbian Lover, returns from a trip abroad to find herself at the center of a lot of unwanted attention ... from the police, but also [much worse:] from the sensationalist media.
In Part Four [Chapters 21 through 32, inclusive:] the focus returns to Salander herself. We learn a great deal about her not only from the leaked media stories but from her reaction to them. We learn for instance how she earned the nickname “Wasp” by sparring with the celebrity boxer Paolo Roberto. We learn that the media are concentrating on her early years and her late teens and are ignoring an apparent blank spot between the years 12 and 15 when “All The Evil” happened. A police report covering those years would explain and exonerate her, or so we’re led to believe.
Meanwhile, Salander does some snooping of her own. She finds that a gang led by the Ranta Brothers have been running amphetamines and girls back and forth across the Baltic from Estonia. Their story sheds some light on the Blond Giant and his accomplice, Ponytail. And on a mysterious background figure called “Zala”.
The turning point in the story comes when Miriam Wu (the Lesbian Lover) is abducted by the Blond Giant and Ponytail, but is rescued by Celebrity Boxer.
Thereafter the saga moves inexorably but all-too-tediously, to its concluding confrontation between Salander, Zala and the Blond Giant.
And of course Blomkvist is bringing up the rear, trying to save her.
I'm NOT a fan of this series (or of this kind of pulp mush) but I did find the first volume palatable enough to warrant a second helping! Boy was THAT a mistake!!
This book is marred by writing so painfully bad, it's a puke party!! There are huge long chunks that read like you're trapped in an IKEA catalog, buying functional pressboard boxes masquerading as "furniture". Also, the author suffers from a very serious case of "consumerist envy" -- it's not enough to write "she bought a coffee machine", No! We must be bored to death by the consumerist details and the up-market product specifications ... "she bought a top-of-the-line Bjorkenmaster BrewLine with a built-in cappuchino maker, and an automatic toaster/slicer" (or whatever) ... It makes for some very tedious reading. And, it's most evident when computers are mentioned. He won't just say "Curiously, Dag's laptop was missing." NO! Too easy!! He'll write: "Curiously, Dag's brand new top-o-the-line iPad with the 24" plasma screen, the overhead camshaft, and 35gazillion byte hard drive was missing. He noticed this because Dag had chosen the Magenta Model which was all rage with the younger set."
And, of course, there are the endless cliches. And not just the common-or-garden "hang 'em out to dry" type either. In fact, some of these "literary" cliches are so monstrous they are LITERAL HOWLERS.
Salander, for instance, allegedly is a natural-born math wizard. We know this cos the novel beats us over the head with it at every available opportunity. Also, (Big Clue) she plays chess ... and NEVER loses. O.M.G.!!!!!
Of course, she's got Aspergers [Backasswards:] Syndrome, which in Pulp Fiction Land, is equivalent to saying: "she's not just a punk loser, dude; she's an idiot savant man. She's got, like, super powers an' stuff."
My absolutely favorite part however, is when she allegedly figures out Fermat's Last Theorem as she's closing in on the Killers!! ... I kid you not!!
Wow!! She's, like, a genius dude!
AND ... she looks hot on a bike!!!
Writing like this is sooo embarrassing only an adolescent could find it credible!!
"There was a difference ... between Catholicism and Judaism." [432:]
"You're an entropic chaos factor." [p. 140:]
"reading a book on the frequency calibration of radio telescopes in a weightless state." [p. 185:]
"Salander was the woman who hated men who hate women." [p. 667:]...more
This is basically a book for browsing in, not a start-to-finish read. It deals essentially with the problem of "doublets" (twin versions of the same sThis is basically a book for browsing in, not a start-to-finish read. It deals essentially with the problem of "doublets" (twin versions of the same story) as they appear in the Bible (or, more precisely, The Torah). These "doublets" have long been known to scholars although theologians and mainstream "religious" types have tended to ignore or gloss over them ... for obvious reasons: Such contradictions are not likely to assuage the anxiety of those who feel the need to believe that the Bible is literally "the Word of God," or that it was written by Moses.
In his "Introduction" (pages xv to xxvi) Greenberg provides a coherent outline of what's called "the Documentary Hypothesis": Because some stories in the Torah refer to god as Yahweh, and others refer to "him" as Elohim, scholars argue there are two "authors" of the Torah: J (the Jaweh source) and E (the Elohim source). In addition, there is a Priestly (P) strand within E (dealing largely with priestly matters of ritual etc), and a later source D which is evident in the Book of Deuteronomy only. Scholars have long claimed (plausibly) that, as Greenberg puts it "Many of the doublets in E and J reflect the political and religious propaganda wars between Israel and Judah after those two nations split apart." (xviii) (Although "nation" is a loaded and anachronistic term under the circumstances).
In any event, Greenberg's book goes beyond these well-established parameters and tries to establish Egyptian (first) and Babylonian (later) roots for many of the "myths" in the Torah. I find his arguments eminently plausible, but I'd feel better if his book had received the "blessing" of at least one well-known scholar. No favorable reviews are quoted on the back cover, and this publisher is not exactly a major or reliable source of scholarly work. In addition, Greenberg is known as something of a controversialist in these matters. So, despite my own enthusiasm for his arguments here (and in his earlier work), I'd caution all readers that this book is interesting but speculative ... despite the fact that it is well-written, and plausibly argued. [I'm no expert in these areas myself:]
Because western conceptions of god as author (of "the" Book), creator (of ... Everything!), realtor (Promised Lands for Chosen People etc), and all-round 'miracle' worker (he intervenes in human affairs to "save the day" -sorta- on odd occasions) -- because this tradition strike me as childish and intellectually dishonest, I favor any attempt to view the Bible as just another secular "historical" source, albeit one which needs to be handled with a great deal of care. For that reason alone I'd recommend this work as a worthwhile read, especially for those whose conception of God is not reduced to the silly dimensions that dominate our so-called "public discourse". ...more
I started browsing in this at Border's and found the "Introduction" so thoroughly engaging that I'm now deeply immersed in the book. It is both eclectI started browsing in this at Border's and found the "Introduction" so thoroughly engaging that I'm now deeply immersed in the book. It is both eclectic in its choices and idiosyncratic in its judgments and may even get me to reconsider the novel as a worthwhile form of reading....more
Judging by Tanner's remarks in his "Introduction", he thinks the current Irish problem in Northern Ireland is precisely that ... an IRISH Problem. TheJudging by Tanner's remarks in his "Introduction", he thinks the current Irish problem in Northern Ireland is precisely that ... an IRISH Problem. The IRA and the Catholic Church may want to claim it's about Britain (p 14), he says, because that provides a "secular" not a "sectarian" view of the issues. Northern Protestants have also "connived" in bolstering this view, he claims, because they cannot any longer use religion as the basis for their failed (Protestant) State in the northeast of the island.
But, in truth, Tanner can only maintain this fiction -- that it's NOT about Britain or British imperial projects, and that it IS a dispute among various Irish sects "for the Soul of a Nation"-- by ignoring the evidence he himself presents in this unusual and engaging study of the troublesome issue of Religion in Ireland's history. If we assume (as seems reasonable) that the subtitle reflects the book's thesis, then the intelligent reader can only conclude that the facts paraded in this 431-page narrative undermine the notion that it's simply a struggle for "the Nation's" soul. [But ... which Nation? The English nation in Ireland? The Scots who settled the northeast? The "mere" Irish?:] The first Chapter makes clear that the roots of the problem were imperial (p. 29) and "racial" (pp. 26, 27, 32, 34 and passim) LONG before the canker of religion was injected into the equation.
Despite these reservations, it was enlightening and thought-provoking to read this work. I haven't read any Irish history in over a decade, and while this volume doesn't follow the usual or traditional historians' framework, it does add considerable detail to the "traditional" story. I found the early chapters (1 through 9) somewhat disorganized ... it doesn't help the reader to be led around from post to pillar without any clear sense of what the point or destination might be. But I found Chapters 10 through 18 to be thoroughly engaging and informative.
It was eye-opening to read about the narrow-minded and bigoted anti-Semitism of the Irish Catholic clergy in the 1930s (and earlier). Never, in all my years of reading Irish history, have I read of the Catholic priest in Kildare who described dance halls as "synagogues of Satan" (303); or of the claim that the cinema injected "Anglo-Jewish values" into the pure, Celtic culture of the unsuspecting Irish peasantry (304); or that the Irish towns were falling prey to "the flashy glitter of American-yiddish progress" (305). I had thought, growing up in Ireland, that this kind of cant was the stock-in-trade of 'Irish'-American Catholics, but that we in Ireland were somehow immune to that diseased mentality. Far from it, unfortunately.
That Ireland is or was anti-Jewish in its core institutions is not a topic normally discussed in Irish history texts. Or at least, it wasn't when I was growing up there in the '50s and 60s. Similarly, the Fethard-on-Sea controversy in 1957, and Noel Brown's "Mother And Child Scheme" in the same decade -- a public health policy that would've reduced the Church's role in the delicate area of women's health "issues" (contraception, sexual health, etc) -- are treated here with the depth and seriousness which they has always deserved but seldom received. On reading this book, I could only marvel at my ignorance of the true face of my own country. Even as I was growing up in it, it never presented this bigoted aspect to me! It's almost like reading about a foreign country!!
Tanner's work is not a book for the complete tyro; but it is a very rewarding and enlightening read for anyone with a strong grounding in the basic facts of Irish history since 1500....more
"BASELESS NEW AGE GOBBLEDYGOOK"(16) is how Pink describes other books about Right Brain superiority.
Apparently we're supposed to belRating = NO STARS
"BASELESS NEW AGE GOBBLEDYGOOK"(16) is how Pink describes other books about Right Brain superiority.
Apparently we're supposed to believe that what's true of all the others is NOT true about his book. His one is different! ... Only: It isn't!
It is, in point of verifiable fact, one of the most appalling pieces of drivel ever published. It's an insult to human intelligence. Which helps explain why business types -- the ultimate example of the Herd Mind at "work"-- have flocked to it in bovine droves. It's the kind of "deep" superficiality that the Corporate Mind loves. "Entrepreneurs" and "Managers" everywhere (i.e., business bureaucrats), will have "their people" read and discuss its imbecile "insights" and learn to apply it to "our" corporate "Vision Statement." The blind continue to lead the blind.
That's the first thing to notice, by the way ---that it's a "business" book. That is to say, its aim is to give you the business! Pink (the author) is a management guru whose stock-in-trade is to "articulate" a "vision" for corporate America. That the guy is clearly out-of-touch with the lives and concerns of Ordinary Americans is apparently one of the reasons why the Corporate Bubble People love him. The less you know about the Real World the more you can pontificate about "the future."
The book imagines that the American "middle class" (alluded to often but never really clearly identified -- statistically or otherwise) is currently so "affluent" that when it goes shopping at Target [corporate plug:] it doesn't just look for, say, a toilet brush. Oh no! It wants "a toilet brush designed by Michael Graves" because it is "pleasing to the eye and compelling to the soul"!!(14) Because in this America, "beautiful trash cans and toilet brushes" are (wait for it) ... "objects of desire." (14)!!
Have you EVER heard anything so idiotic in your entire life? Does this guy even know that in the Real World, 20% of all American teens are living on or below the official poverty line? No! He doesn't care. No more than he cares where these consumer items are made, or by whom. That's just "scut-work" (44) involving no creativity. The American economy, now and its rapidly approaching future , is allegedly tied to Right Brain "creative" functions like design and aesthetic pleasure! That other non-creative stuff, "the scut-work" that can be "offloaded" to Asians.
I know! That's so RACIST you're probably rubbing your eyes in disbelief! And yet, there it is, in all its ignorant glory, in a BESTSELLING business book that claims to be charting a business path for Corporate America's future, as we march in corporate lock-step into the bubble-headed Conceptual Age!
If this weren't so serious it'd be really funny.
And to think that the "leader" of a private school dedicated to meeting the educational needs of "gifted" children thought this would prove helpful and enlightening reading for "his" people, and obliged us to read it! -- How can our future be better when our "leaders" are so lacking in insight and courage that they need to get their "vision" from books like this?...more