Tag Archives: books

Bruce Cumings on the Korean War

I finished reading Bruce Cumings’s book on the Korean War — finally.

There’s an excerpt in the final chapter that will likely inspire me to read more military history books on Asia (already his book has sparked my interest in reading about the Vietnam War and likely vis-a-vis modern Asian military history or post-war/Cold War context; anyone have any recommendations?).


In the new century Americans have once again replicated their Korean experience — this time in Iraq. Without forethought, due consideration, or self-knowledge, the United States barged into a political, social, and cultural thicket without knowing what it was doing, and now finds it cannot get out. A great civilization arose and flourished at the intersection of the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, but American leaders know almost nothing about it. Somehow they thought they could invade a sovereign country, crush Saddam Hussein’s army, and find the road to Baghdad strewn with flowers. Shortly after the occupation began in 2003, a New York Times reporter asked a professor at Baghdad University how he thought things were going: the scholar’s first comment was “You Americans know nothing about my country.” (232).

Here are some YT audiovisual accompaniments:



On the Mind, Brain, and Bob Knight

There’s a book on the Korean War by Bruce Cumings that I bought a few years and still haven’t properly started reading.  It is among the handful of other books (fiction and non-fiction) that I still have not finished reading.



And yet, what do I keep doing?  Buying more books and reading a few of them back-to-back and then starting/stopping a couple others. After my trip to my neighborhood Barnes & Noble today, looks like The Korean War is going to have to continue waiting for its turn to be read.  I went to the bookstore with the intentions of getting Unbroken (Angelina Jolie, 2014) and The Blind Side (John Lee Hancock, 2009) so I could write about them and potentially re-evaluate my thoughts concerning their presentation and themes.

Upon browsing the science and sports sections, though, I came away with three books:

Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking by Richard E. Nibsett
— I read his book Geography of Thought many years ago and enjoyed it.  I even emailed him about the concept of amaeru (and he responded!  This was back in the day before social media was an appropriate way of contacting published scholars, writers, artists, athletes, companies, etc).

A Season On the Brink: A Year With Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers by John Feinstein
— John Feinstein possesses such a pithy and humorous narrative voice.  See previous posts about his work.

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
— I like reading about cognition; I also like the way this book smells.

Oui.  I’m probably going to read them concurrently; I’m a few pages in already on A Season on the Brink.  Before the inevitable waxing poetic on Mr. Feinstein’s writing, though, I am going to address whether or not the NBA, MLB and possibly NHL have teams whose websites need footer updates.  After clicking through half a dozen NBA teams’ sites, their footers are much more consistent (if not identical) in text and display and reflect the current calendar year…unlike the NFL’s teams every-which-way UI/UX.

Je vais finir, je vais finir.


To Bless you or Not to Bless you

I was at a bookstore yesterday, strolling through aisles in no particular order when David Foster Wallace’s book Consider the Lobster and Other Essays stopped me in mid-stride.

I opened it, flipped through it, and read a few pages from the chapter on “How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart.”  By the time I was done reading this excerpt and its subsequent pages, I was hooked and purchased the book.



In the midst of being mesmerized by Wallace’s wit, I heard someone sneeze ten to twelve feet to my right.  I wanted to bless him.   If I raised my voice a certain amount, to “Bless you,” he would’ve heard me.  I didn’t say anything, though.  He was twelve to fifteen inches too far away.  Ten minutes later, he sneezed again.  Once more, I thought about blessing him and ended up not saying anything.

Have you ever wanted to bless someone and ended up thinking too much and too long about whether or not you should that any decision to do so would’ve been silly?  Or, if you’ve never thought about blessing a stranger who’s just sneezed, what about picking up something someone has dropped? Or, calling out to someone who’s just dropped something to alert them?  Do you do it without a second thought or do you do a cost-benefit analysis before deciding?

That’s What I like about you

Yoo hold ming tight.  Tell ming I’m the only wong, wanna come over tonight?

The Romantics’ ode to adoration and giddiness applies quite well to what I like about books, tangible books.  I like holding books, I like flipping and thumbing through the pages and smelling them.  Hardback or paperback, I can throw a Dickens novel at someone without seriously injuring them.  I can drop a Dorothy Parker anthology down a flight of stairs without fear of it breaking.  Even if the spine’s glue is unable to keep the pages together, as long as there’s no mighty wind, I can easily retrieve them.  Clutched against my chest, a book could save my life if a knife or a bullet found its way to my torso.  With one of these gadgets, though, I’d constantly have to worry about it breaking, falling, and getting wet.  A coworker feels the same way.  He even pointed out the remarkableness of being able to bend a book (and a spiral notebook).  Can you say the same about your Kindle or iPad?

My coworker then asked me what book was the first I had ever owned.  I had to think about it for a few seconds, but Kirby Koala came to mind.  I’m not even sure I ever read it, I just looked at the pictures.  I didn’t develop a love for reading until I was in sixth grade.  Prior to that, I would just look at the pictures in children’s reading material and weird manga that a childhood friend had in his room.

Tonight would be the first time I read the first book I ever owned.

I couldn’t even spell my name!

A sample of the contents:

Take a look at the upper right corner of back of the book.

You may recall an entry I wrote a couple months back about the Page 99 test.  I decided to put four of my football books through it:


From Friday Night Lights:


From Beer and Circus:


From The Physics of Football:


From America’s Game:

Each 99th page conveys its respective book’s main theme quite well.   The 99th page of Friday Night Lights speaks on segregation and desegregation in Odessa football.   Beer and Circus introduces the significance of subculture and identity on school campuses.   The top half of America’s Game‘s page 99,  discusses changes in the way in which a team would think about game-play and the bottom half mentions the role of advertising.  The 99th page of  The Physics of Football, I must say though, doesn’t pass the test as well as the others.


In my previous post, I pondered about Scott Sicko’s state of mind.  Well, it seems he’s come to his senses and is now a Dallas Cowboy.