Christopher Hitchens is 98% dead-on*

          Occasionally still—albeit less and less—strangers and friends of family members ask me to explain my hatred of religion.  I've never been able to be verbally succinct (I'm prone to verbose rants and tangents).  And especially so when the topic is morality, religious thuggery, and the discussion turns to:  there is no creator, is nothingness upon death, and (most importantly) why those facts are more comforting than any of the superstitions others claim to believe in.

          Rather than debate, I'd prefer everyone watch this 90 minutes as Christopher Hitchens explains.

          My largest regret:  the few people I love and care for who aren't aware or self-actualized enough to grasp this simple logic and who not-only prefer their fantasies, but who say they'd be more full of bliss if only I were as deluded as they.

          [I don't think further explanation is necessary...but just in case my last paragraph confuses one or more of those who it's aimed at—I don't regret any of my loved ones, nor do I regret their hatred-and-miracle-based belief systems.  I do regret sharing past, present, and future oxygen with ignoble hypocrites who only interrupt their vitriol with proselytizing and feigned empathy for my soul when I'm within hand-grenade range.]     

*Too soon?  Why?  It's waaay more than a year since he successfully committed slow suicide with alcohol and nicotine.


The Second Law - Unsustainable

Today is Someday: Book 5 - The Stanger

          How does an unimportant someone like me, like anyone, describe or attempt to criticize a work of art which won the highest award by one of—if not the—most famous critic?

          The same way one evaluates anything:  with honesty.

          This parable is about the emotionless everyman who moves through his everydays without really pondering the brevity, meaning, reasons, or value of the existence he's found himself inhabiting.

          The tale begins slow, choppy, and dry (the only thing keeping the reader turning pages is the knowledge that there aren't all that many to turn and the 1957 Nobel Prize in Literature on the cover sparking a strong interest in learning how and why).

          Halfway through the book, we understand the sad and simple motivations of the main character as we recognize that the supporting cast and bit-players are performing their roles in much the same way our neighbors and coworkers are performing theirs (albeit—or maybe because—there aren't any whom we empathize with...not even the mangy dog or abuse victim...everyone just deserves).

          And, as the last pages approach, we learn what makes this story great.

          You and I and everyone who has, is, or will ever breathe oxygen are The Stranger(s) and in this tale Camus has rather succinctly answered the most important question that has, is, or will ever be asked:

          What's the meaning of life.

Today is Someday: Book 4 - A Naked Singularity

          An amalgam of (as well as on) perfection—this philosophical compendium of prose, poetry, recipes for thinking, viewing, and living (as well as eating) captured my intellect and gorged it for about six-hundred pages (which would, obviously, be more-wonderful if it encompassed the entire 678 page book).  The fact that the author lost me in a few places doesn't shine a shadow on the enormity of how De La Pava cleverly informs the reader through this fiction.  Fiction?  This is the truest creative non-fiction I've ever read! 

          If Jonathan Carroll and Gene Wolf decided to use The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (TAAoCaC) as a template to write a story about how wonderful, crazy, terrible, and perfect any and every individual's life can be...and would maybe be half as good as A Naked Singularity.

          In order to fully enjoy this book (just as an interest in comic books helps one's appreciation of TAAoCaC, which won 2008's Pulitzer) readers should enjoy:  a good heist; should be intrigued by—and already more than a little knowledgeable of—philosophy, theology, and science; and should be cozy with how a procedural is written (legal as well as police) .  .  . think: Dashiell Hammett meets Descartes on their way down the rabbit hole.

          I've only had this book on my 'read someday' list for about four years.  It came out in 2008.  I began to see it on must-read lists sometime in 09 or 10.  And I didn't just postpone reading because of its size, but - mostly - because it was, initially, self-published.

          I believed (and still believe) that editors and publishers perform a valuable gatekeeper-type service.  They insure my money is exchanged for polished-to-perfection sentences, grammar, punctuation, and spelling, as well as a great story, deep character development, and thrilling plot exposition.  The Chicago Press may not have edited A Naked Singularity as much as they could have (or at all) but once I got past the first dozen pages, I fell into the authors voice and didn't mind the run-on sentences or the occasional failed grammar.

          This is a five-star book.

          Even with all its miniscule flaws, it's a head and torso better than the book that won last year's (2012) Nebula and Hugo Award, and at least half-a-head better than 2008's Pulitzer (which I couldn't finish because it bored me beyond measure).

Gray Keys - Carlo Vega