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From the Notebook

Cover of "Gulliver's Travels (Unabridged ...

Cover via Amazon

Pretty slow summer so far, not much to report…

-The Book is coming. When it does I’m sure you won’t hear the end of it from me.

-I’ve had lots of discussion recently with many people (mostly on Facebook) about raising the top income tax bracket rate “just a little bit”, a “trivial amount”, so the deficits will go down and the economy recovers. [And the argument that higher top income tax brackets leads to a better economy has become pervasive, but that’s a different blog post].  It is annoying to hear the “little tax increase” argument, as people are suggesting a tiny increase would be meaningless. If that’s the case, then why do it? If it’s a trivial amount up, then it’s a trivial amount down. The reply to this is, of course, that a little from a lot is a lot. Fine, if the tiny tax increase has a large effect on the deficit, then the tiny increase could be said to have a large effect on the economy. The “littleness” argument goes both ways, that’s my point.

-Many Twins bloggers I read are talking about how far away from .500 the Twins are. At one point, they were ten games below .500 but only 6.5 games back. Worrying about some arbitrary number is incorrect reasoning. The only thing worth worrying (or thinking, or talking) about is beating the teams in front of you. The Twins, despite the recent setbacks, have a lot of opportunity to make up some ground in the AL Central race. They have a lot of home games against their Central Division opponents. If the June Twins team is for real, then the Twins can make a legitimate playoff run.

Books Read:

-Operation Bullpen by Kevin Nelson. This book is about the large undercover FBI investigation of a forgery ring in the 1990’s. The items being forged were autographs, almost all of them done by a man named Greg Marino. If you bought an autographed baseball online in the 1990’s, you probably have a piece of Operation Bullpen in your home (at least two baseballs in my family are from the Marino forgery ring). The book was really good, though sometimes Mr. Nelson writes as if he forgot how, but most of the time it’s okay (Mr. Nelson is a journalist, so writing well is not his forte).

-Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. This is another selection from the Great Books of the Western World Ten-Year reading list. Most people are familiar with the Lilliputians and the giants (Brobdingnagians) that are featured prominently and frequently in popular culture. But there is so much more to Gulliver’s Travels. There are scathing satirizations of lawyers and academics and harsh criticisms of the human race in general. In the final book, Voyage to the Houyhnhnms, Swift lets us know we are all brutish animals. And it’s hard to argue with his conclusion. It’s just another book everyone should read.

-SEAL Team Six by Howard Wasdin. Wasdin was a sniper for SEAL Team Six and got shot up real bad in the Battle of Mogadishu. His co-author/ghost-writer Stephen Templin does an incredible job creating a fast-moving narrative that gets to point. It is unlike most of the other autobios of SEALs I’ve read; it does not dwell too long on the SEAL training (which anyone who reads military memoirs regularly already understands is incredibly torturous) and there’s not a lot of narcissism (in fact, one of the lessons from the book is Wasdin’s realization that he’s not an ubermensch).  It did not take long to read this book, and anyone interested in the subject matter should pick it up.

-151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen by Leonard Maltin. I didn’t actually read the whole book. I read a 32 part selection available for free on Dailylit.com. I was debating whether to get the book, and based on the 20% of it I’ve read so far, I’m going to pass. Maltin is obsessed with celebrity, instead of performance. (There were other weaknesses in his reasoning that just turned me off.) While I had not seen many of the films on the list, those I did see I would not put into a list of the “best”-anything. Maltin certainly did not convince me to venture out to see any of the movies in the selection.

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