Update on my friends: Many of them seem to be going through some kind of late-20s “too old to be a rockstar, too young to give up on being a rockstar” phase.
That mail is replete with missing words and two-item lists prefaced with statements like “The behavior that we want is divided into three parts.”
I blame that on my malaria or dengue fever or whatever the hell it was I caught in Rio six weeks ago that still won’t go away.
Lately I’ve been fascinated reading about ancient Rome. I’ve reread some of Livy’s Early History of Rome, which is mainly good but in places is way too reminiscient of the “begats” in the old testement.
The parallels between Rome at its height and Western (but mainly US) culture today are striking, as you’ve been told to think since you were eight: Pax Romana v. Pax Americana especially. The weirdest part to read about — and I’m still figuring this out — is how Rome’s high taxes seemed to eventually erode the middle class, and created immense stratification of wealth and power.
The middle class today is a huge force in the US, and creating a healthy, purchasing middle class seems to be the ultimate end of neoconservatism and the great democratization of the world: to get everyone so worked up about buying a new cuisanart that they abhor war, or, at worst, experience some kind of unplaceable malaise that translates to getting tear-gassed in a protest but not to genuine revolt.
Anyway, I also like the scenes where they describe the battles, and especially the ones where the valor and quick-wittedness of one man somehow saves the day.
I have a lot of friends who are unemployed, and honestly I do not understand why they are missing the opportunity, when asked what they do for a living, to say that they are “between projects.” And then wearily light a cigarette.
This week I was in Utah for a few days. It is so dry there that the hotels provide free in-room humidifiers upon request. I always end up drinking so much water to compensate for the dessication that I spend half of every day running to the bathroom.
There are, apparently, some advantages. Like you can leave crackers out on the table and they don’t get stale overnight. Wow.
Last night I spent a couple hours reading the livejournal of a guy who runs an ISP in Baghdad. Pretty fascinating, I’m jealous of his adventures.
Do not turn your back on the flu. It’s a trick: get an axe.