Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Worldly Wednesday #4

It sure is difficult to find cheerful news these days. Hmph.

Great Britain: Body Under British Parking Lot May Be King Richard III

Paraguay: Paraguayan Orchestra Using Instruments Made From Rubbish

Russia: Putin's Adoption Ban is Agony for American 'Mom'. As we all know, nothing says 'We support human rights!' like condemning children to be raised in institutions.

Serbia: The Bloody Truth About Serbia's Vampire

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012: Reading Review and Looking Ahead

Sherry at Semicolon is celebrating book lists today, specifically lists of books read in 2012 and plans for 2013.

I had several reading goals this year:
1. Every year since 2008 I've participated in the Fifty Book Challenge at LibraryThing. It's pretty straight forward: read any fifty books you want. I read 42/50, although I think I'll finish one more before the year is up.
2. 12 in '12 Challenge: Pick twelve subjects to organize any reading challenge around. I only completed two of my twelve subjects (Star Wars and general fiction); and in four subjects I didn't read any books!
3. Shakespeare: Read one Shakespeare play a month. I read three: King Henry IV, Parts I & II; and King John.
4. Star Wars: Read one Star Wars book a month. Challenge completed.
5. Geek Girls Book Club: Follow the monthly reading schedule. Of the twelve books, I read four (Ready Player One, Dragonflight, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, and Redshirts) and started two (Leviathan and the Complete Works of H. P. Lovecraft). The verdict:
-Ready Player One and Redshirts were both great fun.
-The Beekeeper's Apprentice is a worthy addition to the Holmes world.
-I really, really wanted to love Dragonflight. It's McCaffrey, after all. However, I thought the writing was mediocre, and was shocked by the amount of rape the author included. It certainly wasn't something I expected from the woman who championed women in the sci fi world.
6. My 'anything goes' category was meant to be my time to work on reading more non-fiction. I ended up reading hardly any this year. Instead, 2012 became the Year of the Zombie. I read a zombie short story and the first 92 or 93 issues of The Walking Dead graphic novel series. The short story, Death Has Come Up Into Our Windows, I recommend. The Walking Dead...not so much. All the things on the show that annoy me so much (I watched the show before I started reading the graphic novels) I now see come from the shoddy writing and plotting in the novels. I could write a whole separate post on that, and I probably will.

Goals for 2013:
1. Fifty Book Challenge, again. I try to focus on books I already own, rather than buying more books.
2. 13 in '13: Thirteen subjects to keep my reading varied.
3. Shakespeare: One a month, same as last year. If I follow this schedule, I'll finish Shakespeare's history plays before the year is up. I could have done so in 2012, but I allowed my spring and summer courses to derail my plans. Not this year!
4. Star Wars: Same as last year. At this rate I'll finally catch up with the back-log I've accumulated since becoming a student. I think there are at least five series I haven't read yet, not to mention the trilogies and duologies. They're just sitting on shelves, judging me.
5. GGBC: The same.
6. I have several challenges I've made almost no progress with over the last couple years: presidential biographies (0/44), the 1000 Books to Read Before You Die (I think I've read 2%?), reading the world (read a book for each country/state), and the Newbery challenge. I'll be making these challenges categories of the 13 in '13 challenge.
7. Libertarian Reading Challenge: The 31 day program of articles and book excerpts; followed by the nine books used to source the book excerpts.

According to my tally, it should end up being 106 books this year. We'll see.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Worldly Wednesday #3

Late again, I promise I'll get better at this. Slim pickings again, what with the holidays and all.

North Korea: Drive North Korea's Deserted Streets

World: Freedom House has released the 2012 review of Freedom in the World.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Worldly Wednesday #2 (Belated)

Is it Thursday already? Oops.

Due to the tragedy which occurred in Connecticut, I have not collected many new stories, as most news outlets were covering that particular issue. 

Egypt: Egyptian Islamists Plan Big Rally as Referendum Loom

Palestine: Palestinians Aim to Isolate Israel

Russia: Putin Evasive on Banning Adoptions by Americans

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Message to Spreadsheet Requestees

If your email is wildberger,, tom-a, or phillip.yoo (I'm using truncated names to avoid sharing your email with the wide world), please check your spam folders for an email from me. The subject title is '1000 Places' and it's the spreadsheet you requested.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


So, Paris. An entry from 1000 Places that gets its own multi-page feature, with lists and lists of top 10 must-sees.


Meh. If I had to rank the top ten most beautiful cities in the world, or even just Europe, Paris wouldn't make the cut. I think people have a tendency to hold onto what something once was, rather than face the reality of what it has become; and what Paris has become smells awful. If you took all the graffiti from every city I have ever visited and plastered it across one city, it might equal what's going on in Paris.

There. That's about the right height for viewing Paris. No smells. I suppose if you take the trouble to go all the way there, you're going to want to see more, so:

For ten euros you can get a day pass that works on all public transportation there. The easiest way to visit the big sites in Paris is with one of the tour bus companies, who charge around twenty-seven euros for a day pass. The company we went with stopped at the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre (closed on Tuesdays), and a handful of other sites. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a stop at the Catacombs, which I deeply regret missing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Worldly Wednesday #1

Just a collection of articles from this week, that I found interesting:

Argentina: Inca Girl, Frozen for 500 Years, Now on Display. This one is actually a few years old, but I didn't find it until today. Make sure to read the comments.

Congo: The 7 Deadly Sins of Congo's Peace Process

Israel: Keeping the Flame Alive This has the potential to create a lot of changes in that region.

North Korea: North Korea Launches Long-Range Missile

I swear I read cheerful stuff this week, but I can't find the bookmarks anywhere.