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Showing posts from February, 2011

Funny for the Day

Two blind pilots both are wearing dark glasses, one is using a guide dog, and the other is tapping his way along the aisle with a cane. Nervous laughter spreads through the cabin, but the men enter the cockpit, the door closes, and the engines start up. The passengers begin glancing nervously around, searching for some sign that this is just a little practical joke. None is forthcoming. The plane moves faster and faster down the runway and the people sitting in the window seats realize they're headed straight for the water at the edge of the airport. As it begins to look as though the plane will plough in to the water, panicked screams fill the cabin. At that moment, the plane lifts smoothly into the air. The passengers relax and laugh a little sheepishly, and soon all retreat into t heir magazines, secure in the knowledge that the plane is in good hands. In the cockpit, one of the blind pilots turns to the other and says, “u know, Bob, one of these days, they&

Book Review: Power, Faith, and Fantasy by Michael Oren

Why I chose this book  As noted in my last book review entry, I am working my way through three distinct volumes on Middle Eastern history, each focused on a different cultural group whose interests were or are entangled in the region – native Muslims; Americans; native Byzantines. Oren’s book centers on American involvement in the region as seen from the American point of view from the time of our nation’s founding through the present age. Book recommendation: Buy Recommendation Justification: This book is long (over 600 pages) and at times tedious and dry as compared to Ansary’s work which I reviewed yesterday .  While Ansary covered over a thousand years in less than four hundred pages, Oren devotes the same page count for just the first hundred years of the history he is presenting. Still, the knowledge gained from a focused reading makes it well worth the effort. To this end, I suggest reading no more than a few chapters a day to keep from feeling overwhelmed with facts and det

Book Review: Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes by Tamim Ansary

Why I chose this book  With the escalations in terrorism and violence directed at Americans over the past decade that have originated in the Middle East, it has been an item on my to-do list for some time to dive into the history of the region. Toward this end, I picked up three distinct volumes concerning the Middle East- the first focused on its comprehensive history from the perspective of the Persian, Turkish, and Arab Muslims starting from the time of Mohammad; the second centered on American involvement in the region as seen from the American point of view from the time of our nation’s founding; the third revealing Middle Eastern history through the eyes of the Eastern Christians (Byzantines) who resided there after the fall of the Roman Empire. Perhaps in time I will also pick up a volume that channels the thoughts of the European powers who were heavily involved in shaping Middle East history. That will just about round out the story from every perspective.  Book recommendatio