Monday Night Book Giveaway

I forgot to do the book giveaway last week. Sorry. This week I am giving a way a copy of “An Army of Davids” to the first person who comments, and as usual, I have to restrict this to U.S. or Canada only because of the shipping costs.

“An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths” (Glenn Reynolds)

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The Ahmadinejad Show

I tried my best to watch it, but honestly I got so frustrated by the evasiveness that I only watched parts. The  one laugher had to be this answer:

—On executions of homosexuals in Iran:

"In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that like in your country. … In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who’s told you that we have this."

Ahmadinejad is right, we have the alive kind.

Facebook Profiles

Using your Facebook profile to enhance your personal brand… I’ll go with this idea, quite often I look on FB after meeting new people, but take care in managing your network because it’s not about quantity anymore.

“Facebook seems to be the hot social network these days that people of all ages are getting involved with. If you don’t currently have a Facebook account, I highly recommend that you go and signup now. If you already have an account, it is time to start using it to your advantage. Facebook is not just a place where you can connect with your friends, it can actually be used to further your personal brand and career.”

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Google HotKeys

Here’s a pretty damn useful Firefox extension, Google Hotkeys. You can use the up/down arrows to navigate Google search results (as a side note, I tried for almost a full month and I just couldn’t resist going back to google), but one feature that in itself is enough of a reason to install this extension is the split screen preview mode it enables.


The War – Part 1

I watched Ken Burns’ The War on PBS last night (PBS-HD, even better). Last night was the first part of, I believe, 8 in the series. The general theme is that Burns is covering WWII from the perspective of 4 towns, Sacramento CA, Waterbury CT, Luverne MN, and Mobile AL. Part 1 was devoted to the years preceding the war, Pearl Harbor’s effect, and American fighting in the Philippines and Guadalcanal.

WWII remains one of my favorite historical studies for a couple of reasons, the first being that it is the quintessential struggle of good vs. evil. WWII is also a modern war that was heavily documented, print and video, and with so many veterans still alive there is a great oral record being assembled as well. There’s no such thing as a good war, but WWII was a just war and absolutely an essential war.

Part 1 of The War was interesting, but to be really honest I found there to be too much combat footage. By that I mean I would have found it interesting to have more perspective from the towns represented above. Having said that, stitching together combat footage with current interviews of the veterans explaining the context is powerful in it’s own rite. Wars are ultimately about the soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airman fighting them rather than leaders, celebrities, and politicians experiencing them far away, so in retrospect I will contradict myself and say that Burns does an admirable job of telling the stories through the men who fought.

Tonight is part 2, covering Rommel’s legendary panzer divisions in North Africa and Gen. Patton’s Allied forces, along with the invasion of Sicily and the bombing of European cities. I’m reading a really good book on America’s first engagements of German and Vichy forces in North Africa called An Army at Dawn. It’s really quite sobering to see how unprepared America was to fight professional German (and Japanese) armies in 1942, but inspiring to witness how we rallied and succeeded.

Lastly, I find it discouraging that younger generations know so little about the singular event of the 20th century that shaped much of the world as we know it today, indeed, America’s coming of age on the world stage was WWII. Events like the Bataan Death March are rarely mentioned in history classes and books, and places like Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands are just dots on a map now, indeed Iwo Jima isn’t even called that today.

WWII was, as Burns chronicles, fought in a thousand nameless places by 85 million men and women in uniform across all the armies of all the countries involved… watching Saving Private Ryan on DVD really doesn’t get one closer to appreciating the sacrifices an earlier generation made to literally save the world.

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