Out of Shape

I went out to Stony Creek Saturday for a ride with the Sloth and his neighbor.

Stony Creek

It was only about 6 months ago that I rode the entire trail out and back, but this time, I pooped out around Cold Springs road and had to turn back.

Taking a Break at Stony Creek

How embarrassing. I need to get my butt on the bike more.

Books: The Reader

I heard that there was a new movie out wherein Kate Winslet is naked a lot. There are very few things in the world that are nicer than a naked Kate Winslet, and on that count, I would have wanted to see the movie even if it had no story at all.

The Reader

Of course, I always want to be the smug arsehole who reads the book first, and then prattles on about how the book was better than the movie.

Well, there’s no naked Kate Winslet in the book, but it’s a very good book nonetheless. It’s about the Holocaust, but it doesn’t club you over the head with gore and misery. It kind of boils the whole Nazi business down to one character (Winslet’s) and lets you think about whether she is a bad person or not, and about how you might have behaved were you in her shoes.

Also interesting to me were the ideas about what the German equivalent of the “baby boom” generation thinks of its parents. Tom Brokaw writes about how the WWII-era Americans are the “Greatest Generation,” but I imagine it’s a bit more complicated in Germany.

Anyhow it’s a good book, it’s not too long, and the short chapters kind of pull you though it pretty quickly. It’s got a lot of sex in it, and even some bicycle touring!

I give it 4 Jihadis out of 5
4 Jihadis out of 5

Books: Founding Brothers

I have a problem with Alexander Hamilton. I don’t know why. I just don’t like him.

I know Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both thought Hamilton was a dick. On the other hand, George Washington seems to have liked him. I don’t know if that means that Hamilton wasn’t a dick, or maybe that Washington was just a bad judge of character.

People have started to notice that I am always trying to break my ten dollar bills to get his ugly face out of my wallet. He was never even a president, anyway, so what is he doing on my money in the first place?

Ten Bucks

It’s probably not healthy for me to be carrying around hostility towards a founding father who’s been in the ground for 204 years.

Alexander Hamilton

I recently saw that a new biography of Hamilton is available for Kindle. I also keep hearing Ron Paul supporters talking about how Hamilton is somehow wrapped up in “central banking”, the Federal Reserve, the gold standard, the end of the world, and other such crazy matters.

So I thinks to myself, “maybe I’ll read that biography of Hamilton and give the man a fair shake.” Then I see that the book is like 1,200 pages long, and I don’t even like the guy, so why am I going to spend all month reading about his stupid life.

Nevertheless, my political affiliations have been in flux lately, and it is healthy to read books you disagree with to help stretch your brains out. Reading 1,200 pages was just a bit too much time for me to dedicate to such a scalawag at this junction.

Then, I hears about this “Founding Brothers” book. It’s shorter, and dedicates one chapter to each founding father, so I can get just a little bit of Hamilton, to see if I am still interested enough to carry on with the more voluminous tome at a later date.

Founding Brothers

It’s a very nice book (it won a Pulitzer Prize and everything). The very first chapter is about the duel where Thomas Jefferson’s vice president shoots Hamilton dead for talking shit about him in the newspapers. I liked that part.

The rest of the chapters are also good. There’s one about Washington’s farewell address, and one about the Jefferson-Adams correspondence. The chapters are small enough that you don’t drown in detail (like you do in John Adams), but they’re long enough that you feel like you understand a lot of what went on between the constitutional convention and 1826.

One of the ideas I got from the book is that maybe I think poorly of Hamilton because he died young, and Jefferson and Adams got to talk shit about him for years afterward.

In any event, I’m still not convinced that Hamilton is worth my time to read that huge book about him, and now, I’m not even sure if I like Washington anymore.

The more I learn about history, the more I realize that what I thought I knew was totally wrong.

I give Founding Bothers 4 jihadis out of 5.

4 Jihadis out of 5

Vegan Scrapple

Helen’s Kitchen GardenSteaks are really good. They’re vegan and they’re organic, and they kind of remind me of scrapple.

Helen's Kitchen Tofu GardenSteak

If you want to grow up big and strong, you should have some.

I give it 5 jihadis out of 5
5 Jihadis out of 5

Books: Watchmen

Yeah, I know this is nominally a blog about bicycles, but the weather and a general lack of motivation have kept me inside reading books instead of outside riding bikes.


Watchmen

I saw the preview for the movie version, and wanted to read the book before I saw the film. It’s alarmingly good. It’s the only graphic novel on Time magazine’s top 100 novels of all time list.

It takes the super-hero comic book idea, and turns it inside out. It’s kind of hard to believe that anyone would write a super-hero comic after this.

Most of the super-heroes don’t even have any super powers, and they are all more or less crazy. If you think about it, only a crazy person would dress up in a goofy outfit to fight crime if they didn’t have any super-powers.*

It’s a little slow to get started, there’s a lot of characters to introduce, and they all have long, convoluted back-stories, but before too long, the shit starts to hit the fan, and the suspension builds.

Then there’s a “holy shit, I can’t believe they did that” ending.

I give Watchmen 5 jihadis out of 5, and I’m excited to see the movie.

5 jihadis out of 5

* Any police officers reading this can decide for themselves whether I’m making fun of their uniforms or their mental health status