Essential Books 2009

December 19, 2009

It was hard to choose, but here are the best books I read in 2009. If you want more info, click the links:

1.   The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. If you only read it in your high school English class, you should go back and try it again. I feel like the Lost generation is happening all over again with mine.

2.    Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This is Young Adult, and you can’t help but fly through it. Original, action-packed, political with a little romance.

3.    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Do not believe what they tell you. This is not a love story. But it is completely brilliant.

4.    Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. SO, so funny. But if you don’t get irony or wit, don’t bother.

5.    On Writing by Stephen King. Non-fiction, King writes about what he’s been doing for 40 years, writing. He also adds a small autobiographical section and a sort of journal of how he recovered after nearly being killed by a car.

6.    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larrsson. The trouble with these books is that once you hit a certain point, it’s impossible to stop. I was up to 6 a.m. one night reading the first and the second’s ending is unbelievable. I will warn you, it takes a little while to get into the first one, give it 150-200 pages.

7.    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Eugenides writes more beautifully than anyone I’ve read in my life. Gorgeous prose. This book was a Pulitzer winner and its easy to see why.

8.   Travel Writing by Peter Ferry. Quirky and original.

9.    When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. So funny. I was laughing out loud, but the end, a day to day journal while he’s quitting smoking, kind of drags.

10.   The Handmaiden’s Tale by Margaret Abbott. Post-Apocalyptic is one of my favorite topics and this book looks at everything from a woman’s prospective. The role women play in Abbott’s book is pretty shocking, but she makes it completely believable.

Honorable Mentions: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, My Life in France by Julia Child, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, and Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

And The Best True Story, but Worst Written: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Everyone really should read this even though it felt like pulling teeth to get through it. The story is amazing. And Mortenson wrote his newest book, Stones into Schools, by himself. It’s in book stores now.

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Hanna’s Hotties and Notties: The Poets

December 17, 2009

Al Gore vs. Walt Whitman

I was beyond ecstatic when I learned that Al Gore read aloud his poetry of the apocolypse.  I just couldn’t wait to get home to bask in the greatness of his poetical genius. Ah yes, it’s not often one man can brag that he is best-selling author, Oscar winner, Nobel Prize winner, and Vice-president. And now, I think we must surely add Pulitzer Prize Winner to his list of accomplishments in the near future based on this heartbreaking work he so humbly created. Indeed it was a work that poured out a place of pain, of fear, and of love for our great mother earth. Wow, I am humbled just to live in the same state that birthed such magnificent greatness. If you can stand to listen, I beg you. You will be moooooved.

Gross. Seriously though, why don’t we contrast that crap from Nottie Al G. with some real poetical beauty from the likes of one of my favorites, freedom fighter Walt Whitman.

Pioneers! Oh Pioneers!

Come my tan-faced children,
Follow well in order, get your weapons ready,
Have you your pistols? have you your sharp-edged axes?
Pioneers! O pioneers!

For we cannot tarry here,
We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger,
We the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend,
Pioneers! O pioneers!


Hugo Chavez, The Next Global Warming Celebrity

December 17, 2009

I simply do not understand how Liberals first of all believe in the whole man-made global warming mantra, and second do not see how the rest of world is hell-bent on using it as a means to destroy the greatest country  in world. Anyone who is even remotely following the climate talks in Copenhagen, must surely be aware of all the anti-American rhetoric dribbling from the mouths of the likes of Hugo Chavez and others. And this drivel comes even as our country pledges 100 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “b”) to supposedly help developing countries address climate change needs. Yep folks, all this as we are in a recession and 12 trillion in debt. What a bunch of bunk.

And then there’s Chavez:  apparently next to AlGore (or the Goracle as he’s referred to at Hot Air), Chavez is the next  world-wide celebrity of man-made global warming. As he spewed his anti-capitalistic and anti-American rhetoric he brought the house down.  Consider these words from his speech:

“our revolution seeks to help all people…socialism, the other ghost that is probably wandering around this room, that’s the way to save the planet, capitalism is the road to hell….let’s fight against capitalism and make it obey us.”

I leave with this question: how can our political leaders not see how the rest of the world wants to use this huge farce coupled with Cap and Trade to cripple our country and bring the last beacon of freedom in the world to her knees? It’s simply astounding.

-Johanna


SYTYCD Season 6 finale

December 16, 2009

Pretty much the lamest finale ever to the lamest season I’ve seen of this show. I think it was definitely hurting from Mia’s departure, SYTYCD fatigue due to back to back seasons, and a lame 6 contestant finale.

BUT the good news is, the girl who’s been my favorite from the very get-go might win. Kathryn has been consistenly great, but it was awesome to see her with Jakob. They were unbelieveable and I can’t believe the bomb Nigel dropped last night. This was by far the very best number of the night:

My Least favorite. Stop with the crying already! This routine was so easy, you know poor Travis held back so much. And if either of them win, I don’t know what I’ll do…Notice none of the judges even comment on the dancing.

And now to the prediction of the winner!

I would love to see either of these 2, because I think they are amazing:

But, of course, I’m really hoping Kathryn got the votes.  And how can I forget Russell? This guy is unbelievable, it’s almost like a light shines from him when he dances. You can watch when he shows up Ashleigh, but I was glad he and Kathryn finished out the show.

OH. P.S. All this talk about Ashleigh’s injury blah blah blah. Did you know Ellenore tore her rotatar cuff last week and danced through it? It’s crap that Ashleigh/Ryan and the “show’s doctors” made such a big deal of Ashleighs and no one said word one to commend Ellenore on being brave through hers.


On Topic: Obama’s Grade from the Left

December 16, 2009

by Andrea Burke

On Oprah’s special, Obama gave himself a B+ and while I slightly disagree with his self-grade, I don’t whole-heartedly disagree the way the good little sheep who watch Fox News do. Remember little ones B is for Baaaaad.

Hanna, in the great tradition of many Republicans before her, thinks that the conditions Obama stepped into office under are irrelevant.

And you know what, I realized tonight that each and every one of them are so right! History does not matter. If you buy a used car and it has some problems in the first month or so, its not the dealer’s problem because clearly, in that short amount of time it was in your possession, you messed it up.

It is so Obama’s fault that the economy sucks and that unemployment is up and that we are at war. The way I remember it, we’re fighting because he wants to free his Muslim brothers! THAT’s the real reason we’re over there.

But seriously, how can you smart people buy into this way of thinking?

My rule is that he has to stop referencing the problems Bush left behind when we’re out of them. We’re not out of the 2 wars Bush greenlit, we have not recovered from economic failure. Obama is having to make decisions on someone else’s policies and in essence, yes, clean up the mess that he stepped in to.

And God bless him for even wanting to take on that responsibility.

He has initiated a bill to cover something he cares about: Health Care. But we all know how that’s gone. He’s fallen in the polls and he’s being admittedly blocked by Republicans.

All in all, Obama’s followed up on most of the campaign promises I cared about. I wanted Guantanamo shut down, I LIKED the cap and trade bill (we can talk about this another day). I’m not sure how I feel about health care, but I love that he continues to stand by it even if the country is more fickle.

I want out of Afghanistan, but even more I want out of Iraq, but the right way. And I think he’s completely right not to call it a victory. I love that he cares about other countries’ cultures enough to follow customs (lowering your head below a host’s head) even though he must know psychos like Glenn Beck are going to call it worship or subservience.

And the stimulus. As one final act, Bush bailed out Wall Street, and Obama’s stimulus was an answer to those millions who asked “What about main street?”

So, overall, I’m giving him a B. He’s actively working on solutions to the wars, the economic failure, our relations with other countries and the rest of his campaign promises.

It’s just naive to think he could fix everything in one year. It took many, many years to get us to this point.


On Topic: Obama’s Grade- From the Right

December 15, 2009

I’ll Give You A “B” for Blame Bush

I did not watch the Oprah Winfrey interview of Obama, just as I promised (I mean good grief I was having too much fun at a Christmas party after all), but I did happen to catch wind of the now-infamous grade Obama gave himself. And I have to say if by B+ Mr. Obama meant bad, or beastly, or bummer, than I would have to agree. Here’s the run down:

On her Christmas in Washington special on ABC last night, Oprah Winfrey asked President Obama to grade himself.

“Good, solid B-plus,” the president said.

Explaining, he said, “we have inherited the biggest set of challenges of any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

“We stabilized the economy, and prevented possibilities of a Great Depression or a significant financial meltdown. The economy is growing again.

“We are on our way out of Iraq. I think we’ve got the best possible plan for Afghanistan.

“We have reset our image around the world

Now in the president’s defense, I know he can’t go around telling the truth. I mean of course he can’t say, “Well, Oprah, to be honest, we’ve passed a gigantic pork-filled $800 billion dollar stimulus that has done nothing to improve the economy. I know I promised unemployment wouldn’t go over 9%, and we’re now at 10. And I know the value of the dollar is in the tank. I mean good grief Oprah, we are 12 trillion in debt, and I want to spend even more…”

He also can’t say, “I promised the American people government-run healthcare and I can’t get that done, and I don’t really care if we are victorious in Afghanistan. I know that the success in Iraq was due in large part to Bush and McCain, so if I sum it all up, I think I deserve a big, fat FAIL.”

I mean seriously what good has come out of his presidency so far? He says the world likes our image now, yet the world voted down Chicago. Iran is building up nuclear power plants, and every where we turn, powerful dictators are plotting our failure. But he won the Nobel! Oh goody! And I’m sure his golf game probably deserves a B+ with all the time he’s spent on the course.

You know what Mr. President,  I reconsider, I’ll give you two B’s… for Blame Bush, since you do seem to have that down perfectly.

-Johanna


Religiosity-ness

December 12, 2009

Oh and by the way, the Australian dude does a mean Southern accent. Kudos!

And FYI, there is a difference between this and true Christianity. Don’t confuse the two.

-Hannaloves27