Just to close talking about “A River Runs Through It,” I wanted to compare it to the novel “A Separate Peace.” I think that Finny is the perfect character that is just like Paul. They are too perfect to exist in a world that is destructive and imperfect like this one. Paul couldn’t handle the vices of the world and Finny couldn’t handle the horror of the world, and both ended up being destroyed by it. Just an interesting thought for a literary comparison. Also I found this fly fishing card and just thought the drawing was so beautiful that I had to include it in the post. So to close out the week here is a great artistic rendering for “A River Runs Through It.”


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So I just finished reading the Norman Maclean story “A River Runs Through It,” and I gotta say it was pretty awe inspiring. Maclean uses fly fishing to help the reader understand his and her place in the world and how that world is something greater, bigger and impossible to control. This is typified by the lead character’s brother Paul. Paul is an amazing fly fisherman and an out-of-control gambler, and despite the beauty he brings into the world, his life is destroyed by his poor gambling habits which get him killed. The narrator and the narrator’s father try to save Paul but to no avail since, as they say, the people that need the most help are the ones that it is impossible to help. Anyway, it just goes to show us the control we think we have on the world and how it is actually not so. Instead we must embrace that beauty we see, if not for a moment to try and be one with that moment because it is fleeting and will not last forever.

So there is this 100 books for a man list over at Artofmanliness.com, which is pretty interesting. I don’t totally agree with this list since it left off some of my favorites like “Jesus’s Son” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” but still it is a pretty strong list of books that “..change your life.” Also, I think it includes too much stuff about Teddy Roosevelt, honestly, how much can could he have done in his life?

Anyway, see the whole list here, pretty good stuff and I think I have read about 1/4 of it so far…
Man Books

So I finished Vonnegut’s “player Piano” on Sunday and really like it although I don’t think the message is the most happy and hopeful for our country. Basically man is making himself useless through his overthinking everything. In the book man wants to machine everything so much that he becomes obsolete and has no purpose. Without purpose there is no reason to live and people become crazy and kill, or just die. Both options that no one wants. Just interesting to see that without purpose, you take away the soul of a person. People don’t need material things like TVs and recliners, they need to belong, they need to feel like they have added something to this world. That is what we all strive for and it is sad to see that we strip it from ourselves on a daily basis. “Player Piano” is a warning against that, make sure that you think of the person and the humanity you steal each step in life. But maybe we won’t be like the characters in his book, I just fear that we are already in the early stages…

So in case you didn’t guess by the title, I am reading Player Piano by Vonnegut right now (are you getting sick of me talking about Vonnegut yet?), and wanted to comment on the how he portrays the working poor in this book. In a nutshell there’s this international prince touring the dystopian machine-run world of Ilium New York and is commenting on the working class people that have lost their jobs to automation and technology. They have been give jobs to keep them busy filling holes in streets, fixing buildings, etc but are doing work that only exists because of the government, otherwise they would be replaced by machines. The international prince calls them slaves, but the US diplomat driving him around keeps trying to correct him. The sad part is that they are slaves. The system, not unlike the system we have now, controls them and makes them marginal in normal society. They don’t make enough to live/interact with the middle class and can’t leave their jobs because there is nothing else for them, they are locked in. This is similar to how this country treats the poor. Once you are poor, you are locked in, there is almost no escape and you won’t be able to work yourself out of it. You are doomed living paycheck to paycheck. It is a sad truth and the only solution lies in education. The more available and the more advanced the national education system is, the better chance every American has the chance to rise above the social class he/she was born into and become a more successful person. That in turn makes the community more successful and creates a role-model that can help pull others to success. The answer to America staying competive and staying equal is the free, good education for all. Once we all have that, then we’ll all be smart enough to address every other issue in the world.

seriously, do you want to see more people making mugs like this one? God if I saw a teacher drinking out of this I would probably just give up…


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So this is a pretty famous poem and I am probably going to butcher the meaning, but I don’t care. Read this poem by Robert Frost entitled “Mending Wall.”

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

So why do good fences make good neighbors? I will tell you why, because it is a definition to the relationship. Every spring they have something to do together and to make sure they establish the boundaries in their little relationship. It’s not just the fence that makes them a good neighbor, it is the interaction that the fence implies. I think that the act of working together to do something, to control their little piece of the world is what really makes them take ownership of their relationship. That, or I have no understanding of poetry.

A thought for Paris

May 7, 2008

Paris France

So you may or may not know that I am going to Paris for week starting next week and I am getting very excited about my trip, so much so that I thought I would look up some interesting Paris thoughts from famous people. Here is one from Hemingway:

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast.”

I love this thought because it really speaks to how being cultured and traveling is something that you carry with you for the rest of your life. Hemingway speaks to the vibrancy of Paris that no other city has and will become the benchmark at which you compare all other locations. I am excited to be a young person and visit Paris to have it help shape the way I see the world for the rest of my life. Maybe some day I will live there too 🙂

Mark Twain quote

May 4, 2008

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
Mark Twain

This quote is so true. Don’t let people bring you down, that is just giving them free control over you. Do you really want someone to have control over you? I didn’t think so. Whenever someone tries to bring you down just think of how sad they will be all at home crying because the only way they can feel better is by trying to bring you down.

Word Wings T-shirt

May 3, 2008

See below for a Saul Williams inspired t-shirt, called “Word Wings.” I love the artists use of texture and just the subtle hits of a fracture, like what most of Williams’ music addresses.


SaulWilliamsWordWings, Vulnerability is Power-S... shirt

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List of Demands

May 1, 2008

So i heard this song “List of Demands” by Saul Williams because of a Nike commerical and was originall drawn to it because of the powerful beat and fast pace it has. Take a listen with this youtube video.

Beautiful, almost perfect beat. Now listen again (I am sure you already have, it’s a good song 🙂 ), but this time listen to the words. The poetry in this song is truly about fighting those idealic and false dreams that the American cultural system tries to enculture into its youth. Williams has a list of demands that he is wanting addressed because he has tried to play the system by the rules and laws and has not received the promised result. It is a really powerful peace about social unrest, not just for African Americans, but for all of those that have had their dreams destroyed by the cold reality of American Life.