The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #1)

The Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience the Hugo Award-winning phenomenon from China's most...

Link: https://www.goodreads.com/work/best_book/25696480
In this politically charged climate, it feels like you have to be super careful with your language, no matter who you are or what side you're on. Stories about people who say the “wrong” thing and suffer the consequences, including a very conservative Republican from Louisiana who's lambasted for being too liberal.

The Midnight Line (Jack Reacher, #22)

Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to gradu...

Link: https://www.goodreads.com/work/best_book/54120408-the-midnight-line
Join bestselling author Jon Ronson as he traces a very strange butterfly effect. A teen in Brussels had an idea – to make porn free and easy to stream online. The consequences of that idea are mysterious, delightful, surprising, and sad. This 7-part series takes you on a journey to places you’ll never expect.

Episode 10 - No FoPo, Fight the Blob feat. @dwdavison9318 (5/15/16)

In episode 10, we're joined by Derek Davison (@dwdavison9318)who voxsplains to us what the Iran nuclear deal is and breaks down a juicy New York Times Magazine profile of White House literary savage B

Link: https://soundcloud.com/chapo-trap-house/episode-10-no-fopo-fight-the-blob-feat-dwdavison9318-51516
I don’t think that in my lifetime there will be a Woman in the White House. We learned that women can still be abused, physically and mentally. There will still be men and women who work to take decisions about control of our bodies, , we will not make as much money as our male counterparts, decisions about the people we love must have religious boundaries.

January 4, 2016

My bookcase is next to the dinner table.

At dinner, someone heading to Rwanda asks what books they should read. This is my cue, and I start pulling titled from the shelves.

Well, Philip’s book is the go-to. It’s quite good.

Fergal’s book is also here.

Elizabeth’s book is my favorite, may she rest in peace. It mixes in Bosnia as well.

Gilles’ book has few words, but says everything. You will have a hard time looking.

I don’t think I have Romeo’s book any more.

Immaculée’s book, which I don’t have, has a scene that burns itself into your soul, regardless of your faith in God.

Then Jean’s book is in the words of the killers. Very chilling. I only got that far into it before I needed to take a break.



All for a Few Perfect Waves: The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer Miki Dora, by David Rensin

Why did I never know about Miki Dora before? How nice to meet a brother on the path, even if I’m not a surfer. Check it out:

Dora played the game as only a natural can. Soul surfing— surfing for the sheer art and pleasure of it— was his church long before the term was coined, and his passion for worship was equaled only by his drive to create and sustain a lifestyle that gave him the liberty to live free to seek thrills, spontaneous adventure, waves, and wonder, wherever he could find them.

Dora was there surfing Malibu at the beginning. The beginning is always a good place to be, except that you get a front row seat at seeing the mainstream come in and ruin things. Greg Noll remembers:

The whole Hollywood bullshit deal just brought more assholes over the hill from the Valley. If you’re from the Valley, don’t take offense, but this is basically what the beach guys thought. When you watch Stacy Peralta’s documentary, Riding Giants, they ask the guys, “What did you think of the Hollywood movies and surf music?” Answer: It was just a bunch of shit. Take the movie Ride the Wild Surf; it shows Tab Hunter and his friends sitting in the water, not a hair out of place, water calmer than a fish pond, no surf in the background. Suddenly someone yells, “Surf’s up,” and they cut to the same guys riding twenty-foot waves. Man, who’s gonna belive that? It’s one of the biggest laughs in the movie.

I guess I should say this before quoting more: Miki Dora lived to surf. He never sold out. A true soul. In fact, he would be against this very book about his life, which was only published after his death.

I go into contests once or twice a year for the pleasure of shaking up the status quo…the more restrictive they can make a contest’s (rules), the less (the judges) have to think or know about what you’re accomplishing in the water; thus making an easy job easier at our expense. What do these people care about your subtle split-second maneuvers, years of perfecting your talents?

I can relate to that, though I cannot claim the purity of Dora’s complete devotion to his art. I’m also leaving out a big part of the book that details Dora’s exploits funding his lifestyle without holding down a job and spurning most of the income his fame could have brought in. Lots of scams ensue and everyone compares his life to the film Catch Me If You Can. But here’s a paragraph to end everything with and send you on with the rest of your boring life. It’s Dora:

My whole life is this escape; my whole life is this wave I drop into, set the whole thing up, pull off a bottom turn, pull up into it, and shoot for my life, going for broke man. And behind me all this shit goes over my back: the screaming parents, teachers, the police [laughs], priests, politicians, kneeboarders, windsurfers, they’re all going over the falls into the reef; headfirst into the motherf*cking reef, and BWAH! And I’m shooting for my life. And when it starts to close out I pull out and go down the back, and catch another wave, and do the same goddamned thing again.

Five stars.

It’s been so long since I posted a book review. It’s not that I stopped reading books, it’s that I just didn’t finish any. After carefully cataloging my library, I realized that I had started over thirty books in the past several months without finishing a single one. Time to get focused. So here’s a review of a book I got (and finished) over the holidays.

Kill Bin Laden: A Delta Force Commander’s Account of the Hunt for the World’s Most Wanted Man

Writing under the pseudonym Dalton Fury, a commander of the elite Delta Force tells about the attack on Taliban and al Qaeda forces at Tora Bora in late 2001, when Usama bin Laden escaped capture. Here’s a little bit about how Delta operates, and when I read it I thought about the company I work for:

In Delta, as in the most successful Fortune 500 companies like GE, Microsoft, and Cisco, the organization makes the individual its number-one priority. It teaches, nurtures, and implements bottom-up planning. That is the direct opposite of the U.S. Army’s structured and doctrinally rigid military decision-making process, which is too slow and inflexible for fast-paced, high-risk commando missions or minds, and one undeniably driven from the top down.

This won’t be much of a book review, other than to say that Fury provides a detailed account of his operators and their frustrations with the mujahideen soldiers hired by the CIA to help in the battle. Another quote:

The fundamental Delta principle has long been “Surprise, Speed, and Violence of Action.” It aplies to commando tactics. If during an assault you lose one element, the implied response is to increase it in the next. For example, if we lost surprise during a stealthy approach to a target before reaching the breach point, we would increase the pace from a deliberate move to a stepped-up jog or sprint. At the breach, if it became obvious to the team leader that whatever or whoever waited on the opposite side of the door or window was alert and expecting visitors, we escalated to an even more violent explosive entry.

In writing this review, my mind is obviously more focused on strategy and tactics than recounting Fury’s tale. But his is a story worth reading.

Kill Bin Laden: A Delta Force Commander’s Account of the Hunt for the World’s Most Wanted Man