Fausta's buys

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Discovery Channel Guys

After two days away from political blogging, I'm still not in political news mode, so there.

Being the only female in the house I'm outvoted when it comes to TV selections, so I've watched a lot of Discovery Channel stuff over time.

I love the Discovery Channel guys.

My first pick is my fantasy cab ride, The Cash Cab. The Cash Cab's the only game show I can stand. There's this guy named Ben who drives a New York city taxi and he asks you trivia questions. If you get the questions right he gives you money. If you don't, you still get a free cab ride: A win-win situation.

I've been taking cabs in NYC for over 25 years and one can only dream of finding a
1. nice American cab driver
2. who speaks English
3. knows where he's going
4. and doesn't drive like he's in the throes of demonic posession.
Making $500 after answering a few questions would only be the icing on the cake. The Cash Cab is on at 5PM while I plan and make dinner, at the same time as Larry Kudlow's program on CNBC, which comes to think of it, has also made me a little money.

The Dirty Jobs marathon was playing on Christmas Eve while I was cooking. Mike, the show's host, has achieved fame and fortune by finding the grossest, messiest jobs around and building a TV program about them. All the jobs require a great deal of physical extertion. Most of the jobs are done by men, with a few exceptions, such as the lady that shucks oysters and the Army maintenance engineer. Some of the jobs - such as silkscreening - require great skill and training, and others are simply disgusting, but Mike's there, showing us that there is great pride in doing a job well, and that these jobs are indispensable to the functioning of our society:
But you'll walk away from Dirty Jobs with more than just a glimpse into unfamiliar occupational duties - serving slop to pigs, collecting sperm from stallions and removing bones from fish, for example. If you're like us, you'll also gain a new understanding and appreciation for all the often-unpleasant functions someone is shouldering to make your everyday life easier, safer - and often cleaner.
Mike's nice-looking and seems like a real nice guy but I hope he gets good and clean before he heads home after he's done. You don't want him bringing that stuff into your house.

I wasn't sure whether to include Man vs. Wild on this post, because I think the premise is crazy. So I (F) discussed with my son (S), and the conversation went like this,
F: It's crazy.
S: It's not!
F: I've watched the program and the guy's crazy.
S: He's not crazy. He's cool.
F: OK, I'll look up the program on the website. What's the guy's name?
S: Bear.
F: The guy's named Bear?
S: That's his real name. Bear Grylls.
F: That explains a number of things.
S: Like what?
F: Like why he has a job that requires him to be dewormed after he's done in the jungle.
S (Patiently explaining to the obviously clueless mother): It's called surviving, Mom. The idea is to go to the jungle and survive.
F: My idea would be to go to Club Med in Cancun and have a great time.
S: He's not going to do that - he was Special Ops in the British Army, and did a program on the French Foreign Legion. And he can fish with his bare hands.
F: That, too?
S: Oh yeah, he's cool.
F; You're right. I'll include him in the post.
But my favorites are Adam and Jamie of Mythbusters, which yesterday had a marathon while I was cooking. (Do I see a pattern here?) Adam and Jamie do actual science experiments while having a great deal of fun (they do get to blow up a lot of stuff), and their crew are definitely cool. However, The Husband, who worked as a scientist in a lab, complains about their lack of safety measures, especially when it comes to flammable materials.

I'm sure I'm not the only Mythbusters fan out there since last Friday I nearly started an altercation at the Barnes and Noble at Marketfair. I was looking for this book and for a last-minute gift when I saw a lady go by carrying a copy of MythBusters: Don't Try This at Home. I was standing at the Information desk while the clerk looked up some information for me, and I asked her where the book was. She said she'd go and get it for me while I picked up the Che book.

She was back before I got back to the Information desk, and waiving the book in the air said, "Mythbusters book!" Four people raised their hands trying to grab at the book while the clerk fought them off.

She managed to tell them where the book was, and as I headed to the register with the copy she'd found me, I saw two people getting in a tug of war over the one copy left at the display.

As I'm writing this post American Chopper's Christmas special's playing. I haven't watched American Chopper yet. No time like the present - they're making Santa a motorcycle.

Not related to the Discovery Channel, but cool, via Maria,


Here's more stuff from the Discovery Channel guys,

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Che myth

Michelle Malkin blogs that Target's pulled the Che CD case but still carries the Che Calendar.

Nothing shows what an ignoramus you are like having a Che Calendar hanging on your wall.

Yesterday I was talking to Mary Anastasia O'Grady of the WSJ, and I asked her, what book would she recommend for a quick primer on Che? Mary's choice is The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty by Alvaro Vargas Llosa, published by The Independent Institute. I read the whole book (67 pages of text) in one sitting last evening.

As it turns out, Alvaro had an epiphany because of Che's image hanging on a wall (page 2):
A few years later, I spent a semester studying at an American university. Che Guevara made a new attempt to seduce me. This time, my friends were mostly politically active Puerto Ricans who wanted their land to be independent.
It never ceases to amuse me how many independentistas come to the USA for college. But I digress.
One of them hung a poster of Che Guevara on his wall and, next to it, a picture of "Comrade Gonzalo", the genocidal leader of Shinning Path, Peru's Maoist organization.
And that's another thing: the rich Marxists. When I was at the University of Puerto Rico, one of the most Marxist guys around drove a convertible Jaguar. Now, when you realize that a Jaguar in Puerto Rico at that time cost twice what it cost in the continental USA, you really appreciate the meaning of the word irony. Alvaro continues
As I came into the room one afternoon and this couple [Che and "Comrade Gonzalo"] faced me from the wall, I was paralyzed. It suddenly downed on me why my South American friend from boarding school had never been quite able to persuade me to take up Che.

There it was, pure and simple: just like Abimael Guzman, Che was the negation of what I most seemed to long for in this complicated word - freedom and peace. I must have vaguely sensed this at school, but now, for the first time, I was able to fully grasp a precious truth: one should never be confused by the many variations of that species: the tyrant. Stalinist Che Guevara and Maoist Abimael Guzman belonged to different camps and represented contrasting attitudes to life - the former being the quintessential pinup, the latter a bizarre recluse - but what they had in common, their lust for totalitarian power, was much more important than their differences.

I had experienced firsthand Shining Path's campaign of terror against the very poor peasants in whose name it purported to act. Like millions of Peruvians, I had personally been affected in different ways by this unlikely reincarnation of Cambodia's Pol Pot in the middle of the Andes. Seeing Che Guevara next to Guzman on a chic campus wall brought to light the ugly truth about the Argentine hero of the Cuban Revolution, but, more importantly, it inspired the poignant realization that all those prepared to use force to take life and property from their fellow men are soul mates whatever the ideological or moral subterfuge used to conceal their real motives. "Really, you should rip that off. You have no idea," I said to my friend, and I left the room quite disturbed.

Many years later, when I had the chance to encounter numerous other disguises for tyranny, some on the left but others on the right, I focused on that image from university as the starting point of a larger reflection. The conclusion I reached continues to haunt me today: there are myriad forms of oppression, some much more subtle than others, sometimes adorned with the theme of social justice and at other times obscured by the language of security, and recognizing and denouncing the deceitful psychological mechanisms with which the enemies of liberty attempt to bamboozle us into voluntary servitude is one of the urgent tasks of our times.
I highly recommend The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Books for Christmas

Dr. Sowell has the list:

Please visit the Christmas Store for last-minute gift ideas.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Ben Franklin Reader

In the morass of political correctness that floods school curricula today, most students don't get to hear much about Benjamin Franklin.

Aside from helping draft the Declaration of Independence, Franklin was an entrepeneur, scientist, vegetarian, publisher, husband, father, founding father, inventor, diplomat, musician, writer (and singer) of drinking songs, postmaster, and author.

He was also a great wit, with a great sense of fun. He's attributed with advising young men to pursue older women, "because they're more grateful", and there are lots of anecdotes like this one,
Ben Franklin was a little stout later in life and it was said that in Paris a young woman, tapping him on his protruding abdomen, said,"Dr. Franklin, if this were on a woman, we'd know what to think." And Franklin replied,"Half an hour ago, Mademoiselle, it was on a woman, and now what do you think?"
Franklin was indeed eminently quotable.

Several years ago I was at the shore browsing at Atlantic Books when I came across Franklin's autobiography, published by Dover Thrift Editions, and was fascinated by it. Franklin's purpose in writing this book was to describe to his son what was important in life. The Autobiography is brief and very interesting. You can find it on line.

The Husband's an amateur historian, and a couple of years ago I gave him Walter Isaacson's excellent Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, which is now available in paperback. The Husband highly recommends this book because "it gives you an appreciation of why Franklin was trusted with matters of State, especially as ambassador". Isaacson's Franklin is a brilliant man that shaped our nation,
He was the only man who shaped all the founding documents of America: the Albany Plan of Union, the Declaration of Independence, the treaty of alliance with France, the peace treaty with England, and the Constitution.
This week I've been reading the companion book to the Ben Franklin: In Search of a Better World Tercentenary Exhibition (the Exhibition is currently in Houston). The book is a collection of ten essays by prominent scholars, and is beautifully illustrated.

In addition to the essays on Franklin, I also recommend Ben Franklin In Search of a Better World to people interested in the furniture and furnishings of the Federal period. Like myself, Franklin cherished his home and furnishings, and once wrote to his sister,
[It] "fills me with humble Thankfulness to the divine Being who has graciously conducted my Steps, and prospered me in this strange Land to a degree that I could not rationally have expected, and can by no means conceive my self to have merited. I beg the Continuance of his Favour but to submit to his Will[,] should a Reverse be determin'd."
An extraordinary man in extraordinary times, and a man from whom we can learn and learn to love.

Remember to visit the Christmas store. Recent additions: Isaacson's book, and Omaha Steaks. I ordered both as gifts - to the same household; after all Ben liked his food, too.

It's Sunday, and Dr. Sanity has the Carnival:

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